Money Spent

The prompts that Mama Kat has are so easy. Every week I get the email with the new prompts for the Thursday link up and there is always one that stands out. One that I have something that I know I can write about.

I know…. I know… you’re thinking, ‘well if they’re that easy why don’t you ever write?’ Good question and my answer is that I’m lazy. I’ve let blogging fall to the wayside and I’ve spent my time doing other things (getting my life in order more or less). Sometimes I’ve done nothing at all too, which is also pretty nice.

So the prompt I picked…. The most exciting thing you purchased this month….

Brass M - University of Michigan

The brass M marks the center of campus

Well, hands down I would have to say that the deposit to the University of Michigan where my daughter will be attending this fall! 

University of Michigan Union

Cait in front of the U of M union

It really was exciting to spend the better part of the day at U of M walking around the campus, taking in everything that was going on, listening to my daughter tell me about all the buildings and some of the history behind them (she’s been there on a few tours so she knows a lot).

Even in the middle of a Michigan spring where it’s a bit chilly, a little rainy, and lacking in leaves swaying in the breeze it was a beautiful campus. I can only imagine what it will look like come summer or even fall. The campus is right in the middle of Ann Arbor, nestled in a little valley, and is full of old trees, gorgeous architecture, and something new around every corner to explore.

University of Michigan law quad

University of Michigan law quad

I can’t wait to see the law quad when all the trees are full of fall color! I think that it’ll look even more like Hogworts then!

There is something exciting about putting down that deposit and not just for my daughter but for me as well. It’s a new chapter in our lives…. a little exciting, a little scary, and at times challenging.

High school has been a long road and it’s coming to an end for her and when fall comes she’ll be off to a place that she absolutely loves. Knowing that she loves it there makes it a little easier for me… also that it’s less than 2 hours away helps too.

So tell me…  what is the most exciting thing you’ve purchased this month? Can you top the U of M deposit?

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Just a few random facts

Life is funny sometimes. You meet people and make connections, lose contact for a bit, and then one day you meet up again. This happens in real life as well as with the friends that we make online through blogging and social media and it recently happened to me (again). Sara from High Heels and Training Wheels tagged me along with some other awesome bloggers to share a little bit about ourselves and answer some questions.
I’ll admit that she did this like a week ago and I’ve just been lazy… I’d like to come up with some other excuse that it is really good but I can’t. So we’ll go with the truth… I’ve been to lazy to write. But I’ve put it off long enough and really want to try and write more so here it goes!

Do you believe you have a purpose in this life? If so, what is it?

I’d like to think that we all have a purpose in life and that we all know exactly what it is, but that would probably be wrong. Well, just the part about knowing what that purpose is. I think that we wander around aimless more or less once in a while trying to figure out what it is that we’re supposed to be doing. For me, well I don’t know yet. Right now I am trying my best to be a good mom, a good friend, a good wife, and a good Christian. None of it’s easy that’s for sure.

What scares you the most in life?

There is a lot that scares me in life but this is not to say that I walk around in fear of something bad happening all of the time. I fear death, whether it’s mine, my husband, kids, parents, siblings, or other family and friends. I’m afraid of how my kids will get along without me around, what will happen when my oldest goes off to college in the fall, how my youngest will turn out because he’s such a busy & loud little boy right now, and if I’ve made the right choices every day.
What is your favorite vacation spot?

Well, right now it’s any place where there isn’t snow, ice, and constant cold weather. This winter has been rough here in Michigan and I read an article yesterday saying that this state has the most snow cover than any other state and that the Great Lakes have more ice than they have had in years. So, warm and sunny.

What is your favorite way to unwind?

This is an easy one! Reading. I love getting lost in a good book.

What’s your home decorating style?

Decorating style? This is funny…. It’s called cluttered, messy, and lived in. I’d love it to be something beautiful and fit for a magazine but in reality I have 4 kids, a husband, and work full time so it is what it is.

What’s a favorite childhood memory?

I find this one a bit challenging. Not because I don’t have good memories of my childhood but more that I can’t seem to remember many of them because of all that bad that happened. This is something that I am working through in therapy. But I do remember holidays with my sister and parents before they divorced, camping together, spending time with my grandparents, and large family gatherings.

If money wasn’t an issue would you want a bigger home, smaller home, or stay where you are living now? 

I think that I would get a new house. The one that we have right now is okay, but there is a lot that we want to do with it and we also want more land (which is not an option where we live now).

What was your favorite age? Why?

Favorite age… Let’s see. I can look back at my life and say this or that was a good age because of X but honestly I have to say 41. 41 is my current age and it has taken a lot of time, a lot of change, and turmoil to get where I am but I have learned a lot along the way. Right now I am moving towards a really good place because of the therapy and becoming a Christian (again). I am starting to understand things that have happened in my life better and seeing things in a new light.

What’s a guilty pleasure?

I have two…. chocolate and Diet Coke.

What’s the most spontaneous thing you’ve ever done?

Nothing, because I am not a spontaneous person. I’m a big chicken and am always worried and wondering, “what if?”.

Why do you blog?

Ummm…. well, lately I haven’t been doing much blogging really. I’m at a point where I don’t know what I want or should do with my blog so I don’t have an answer for this one. Cop out, huh?

So, there are some rules that go along with this…

1) Acknowledge the nominating blogger. 2) Share 11 facts about yourself. 3) Answer the 11 questions the nominating blogger has created for you. 4) List 11 bloggers. 5) Post 11 questions for the bloggers you nominate to answer, and let all the bloggers know they’ve been nominated. Don’t nominate a blogger who has nominated you

I’m skipping 4 and 5 simply because I’m lazy and I don’t even know if anyone still reads my blog! I’d have to hunt people down to actually play along… seems like a lot of work doesn’t it?

Anyway, there you have it….. just a few random facts about me.

Tell me something random about you now.

Surviving a Winter Storm in Michigan

Hello there! Did you think that I had fallen off of the face of the earth? Well, I didn’t but I did take a little break from blogging and all the social media stuff that is involved with it. It was really nice too and I never felt rushed or pressured to get something written.

Anyway, I’m back but probably in more of a limited fashion…. you know, just getting my toes wet more or less.

So how to survive a winter storm in Michigan… I’m sure that you’ve seen the million Facebook updates from people across the mid-west and the tweets as well about the rain, ice, snow, blowing, drifting, and let’s not forget the sub-zero temps that keep us locked up in our homes for fear of frost bite within mere minutes.

Michigan winter 2

I have a few tips to help you survive a winter storm in Michigan… or where ever you live.

These are in no particular order.

1. Totally forget how to drive in the ice and snow. This is especially important to those of you in Michigan and even more so if you’ve lived here your entire life.

2. Wait until the last minute and then rush to the store and stock up on all the essential items you’ll need. Like chips, beer, and wine. Skip the real food.

3. Realize that you don’t have real food and go out in the midst of the storm and shop for real food.

Michigan winter 1

4. Stalk everyone you know on Facebook. Get bored with that and find new friends on Facebook to stalk.

5. Try to remember what a normal day is like where the kids actually go to school and you can go to work.

6. When the county gives the all clear and the state of emergency has been lifted go outside and stare in wonder at the world of glass that you live in. Trees covered in ice are actually very pretty when the sun shines through them.

Michigan winter 3

7. Make sure that your snow shovels are securely put away in the shed so that when you need them you can’t because there is a three foot snow drift in front of the door.

8. Use the spaded shovel that wasn’t put away to attempt to remove the knee deep drift that’s at your door. Toss the shovel and give up quickly.

9. When driving on a snow covered road always go very slow and drive in the very middle of the road. It doesn’t matter what kind of car or truck you have either.  Oh… only move over a little bit if you see an oncoming car.

10. Make sure that you have a generator. Maybe two just in case the first one dies.

Now, if you hadn’t noticed some of these are a bit tongue in cheek. Funny, but definitely things that I’ve seen or have happened to me or have done and no, I’m not telling you which(s).

Holiday Events in Michigan 2013

Michigan is full of the holiday spirit starting this upcoming weekend! There is so much to see and do with your family that picking one holiday event might be difficult.

Let’s break it down by area.

Detroit & the surround area

On December 22nd you can see the Nutcracker Ballet performed by the Moscow Ballet at the Detroit Fox Theatre. This is one show only and definitely something that you don’t want to miss!

America’s Thanksgiving Day Parade: Floats, bands, giant balloons, and celebrities. If you can’t make it to downtown Detroit to see it you can always watch it on TV from the comfort of your couch.

Detroit Zoo Wild Lights: The zoo lights up with an amazing light show! For 24 nights, more than two million LED lights will illuminate trees, buildings and animal sculptures on a half-mile trail through the front of the Zoo.

The Big, Bright Light Show: Downtown Rochester lights up and will be covered with more than 1 million points of glimmering holiday light.

Holiday Nights at Greenfield Village: Step into the past with carolers, candle-lit paths, horse drawn wagons, and of course Santa and his reindeer. The evening is topped off with a fireworks display too!

Genesee County area 

Christmas at Crossroads: This is the one place that we visit every single year for Christmas. The village has carolers strolling around, beautiful lights (you MUST see the tree that is fully covered in lights), and the trip is not complete without riding the old locomotive and seeing Santa.

Nutcracker present by FIM: We have been trying for years to get to this and have yet to make it. There is always some reason why we haven’t gone yet but this year we will go. This show features professional dancers from New York City’s Collage Dance Collective, talented students from the Flint School of Performing Arts, and the  Flint Symphony Orchestra.

Holly Dickens Festival: Starting right after Thanksgiving visitors to downtown Holly will be greeted by performers taking you for a trip through Charles Dickens’, “A Christmas Carol”.

The Holiday Pops: For two nights you can celebrate the holiday season with music and song from the Flint Symphony Orchestra, Flint Festival Chorus with members of area high school choirs, Flint School of Performing Arts students and additional musical groups.

North Pole Express: This is really in Genesee county…. it’s actually Shiawassee county. But it’s really the only event going on in the area. But is so worth sharing! The 1225 has been fully restored and is the exact steam train that was featured in the movie The Polar Express. I’ve seen this train in person… it is incredible.

Lansing area

The Nutcracker 2013:  This is the 33rd year that the Nutcracker will be performed at the Wharton Center and features the Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan and some of mid-Michigan’s best young dancers.

Silver Bells in the City: This weekend, November 22nd, the city will be glittering with lights, a parade, the lighting of the tree on the steps of the Capital, and then a fireworks display all to start off the holiday season.

Wharton Center: The Wharton Center on MSU campus has several events going on for the holiday season. Holiday Pops Series, Vienna Boys Choir: Christmas in Vienna, and  MSU’s Home for the Holidays.

This is just a handful of events that are going on around Michigan to celebrate Christmas in Michigan. To find something different or closer to you check out the Pure Michigan site where they have a huge list of holiday events from all over the state.

Are you checking out any of the holiday events where you live?

Fall Favorite – Bacon, Egg and Leek Pizza

Hey there! Welcome to Wednesday and another Fall Favorite. Today I have fellow Michigander, Ashleigh, guest posting today! I have had the pleasure of meeting her and have to say that she is one of the sweetest gals ever. Sadly, even though we’re less than 2 hours away from one another, we don’t see each other all that often. I think that it’s time to remedy the meeting up with bloggers who live close by issue….

So what is her Fall Favorite? Bacon, egg, and leek pizza! Yum!

Aside from living in the great state of Michigan, Ashleigh is the mom to 3 little girls (toddler twins and a baby), wife to a great man, and a doggie mom too. She blogs at Being Cheap is Easy where she shares tips on how to save money online and in stores, reviews & giveaways, and food & recipes. 

Follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest to get all the updates on the great deals she shares and Instagram for a glimpse into her life with 3 little ladies.

Hello!  My name is Ashleigh and I blog over at Being Cheap is Easy.  I am so excited to be guest posting over at Jackie’s blog…I’ve been a reader for quite some time now!

Since we have a family of 5 and a tight budget, we rarely go out to eat.  It’s helpful that I love to cook!  One of our favorite “make your own takeout” meals is pizza.  My girls love the basic pepperoni, but I like to experiment.  This pizza happened one day by accident and now it’s our favorite!  If you’re not familiar with leeks, they have a sweet, mild flavor after cooking…there isn’t a strong onion taste.

Aldi Pizza crust

During a hectic week, it’s great to have a store bought pizza crust on hand to get dinner on the table in a flash.  My favorite: the Aldi thin crust.  It is cheap, yet it doesn’t taste like cardboard.  If you don’t have an Aldi in your area, any thin crust will do.  You can even make one if you’re feeling ambitious!

Bacon, egg, and leek pizza


  • 2 leeks, sliced and washed

    • Here’s how to wash leeks.  You can also find them cleaned in the produce section.

  • 6 slices of bacon

  • 2 teaspoons of pesto

  • ½ cup to ¾ cup pizza sauce

  • 1 ½ -2 cups mozzarella cheese

  • 1 thin pizza crust

  • 2 eggs (optional)

Let’s cook!

  1. Preheat the oven to 425

  2. Slice the bacon in thin pieces and cook in a pan, draining most of the grease.  Remove from pan and add leeks.  Cook until soft (3-5 minutes).

  3. Mix pesto and pizza sauce, add to crust.  Use more or less sauce, depending on taste.

  4. Sprinkle cooked leeks onto pizza crust, and then add bacon.  Top with cheese.

  5. If you’re feeling adventurous: add 2 eggs before putting it in the oven (like a sunny side up egg).  It sounds crazy, but it really does taste amazing!

  6. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

What crazy toppings do you like on your pizza?

Where I live

My daily 15 minute drive to work takes me through farmland, wooded areas, open fields, and city streets.

Horses graze, deer leap across the road, and chickens around wander yards.

where i live

The “big” city is only about 30 minutes away where we can shop, eat at amazing restaurants, check out museums, and all sort of other fun things.

There are times that I wished that I lived in the city. I love the hustle and bustle, I love all the excitement, and I love all of the opportunities that are available to everyone that is there.

Of course the country and smaller towns have a lot to offer too.

Wide open spaces, safety, a sense of community, and where I live great schools.

As I drive around there are a few sights that have grabbed my attention and begged to be photographed.

red tractor

This red tractor had been sitting in this field for weeks. I don’t know if it was broken down or not… but with the surrounding fields, beautiful trees, and fog the morning I drove by it looked perfect sitting there, like it had been taken from another time and place and just dropped there.

tractor tipping

This green tractor never moves from this spot and each day that I see it I am reminded of the movie Cars. It looks just like one of the tractors that Mater & Lightening tip when they go tractor tipping in the field for fun.

lost truck

I don’t know much about this one other than it was hidden among the weeds and looks like an older truck (look at the horns on the top). I like older vehicles and it looks like this one might still work but has been forgotten for something newer. It’s a sad truck…

This one is my absolute favorite.

forgotten truck

There is a long story behind this one and my husbands grandmother told me about it but of course I can’t remember it. What I do remember is that this truck was parked in it’s current spot close to 50 years ago and hasn’t moved since. The land owners and I think family of the truck have never considered moving it and so there it remains with the windows missing, surrounded by weeds, and little trees growing out of the engine area.

I’ve been thinking more and more about where I live and the sights in my area and have had some great ideas on what to go in search of next. Barns! When you live in Michigan there is a ton of farms and with that comes some beautiful and old barns. I think a little research first might be in order so I’m not driving around aimlessly looking for cool barns.

Tell me about where you live….

Fall favorites

I have been patiently awaiting the arrival of fall… okay, so maybe I haven’t been all that patient. But it’s been in the 90’s the last few days with 100% humidity and it’s September. Fall weather should just about be here already!

I’m looking forward to fall for several reasons and one of those is fall fashion!

With cooler temps I can break out the boots, the scarves, cardigans, sweaters, and all of my fun layering pieces.  This weekend the heat is supposed to leave us and much cooler… 60 degree temps should grace us and that means that an outfit like the one below is what I’ll be wearing.

Fall Style

Besides cute new fall clothes there’s Friday night football games (where I could wear the cute clothes). Even though our high school team has lost the first two games that they’ve played I have hope that they’ll win the next two games. Even if they do lose it’s fine because I really just go to see the band.

Friday Night Football

See… the band is the best!

Let’s see, what else is there in fall that’s amazing?

Oh yes, the beautiful fall colors. Here in Michigan the trees turn the most amazing shades of red, yellow, orange, and are intermingled with green and brown. As you drive around the state, especially the north and northwest areas, you go up and down huge hills that give you some pretty good views of the trees and the surrounding areas. There are even tours that you can take around the state.

Michigan Fall Color

This is across the street from my house

Halloween! The best holiday of the year hands down…. right next to Thanksgiving which is still during the fall season! Truth be told… I’ve already started my fall/Halloween decorating because it’s some of the decor that I can leave up the longest (I don’t take it down till after Thanksgiving), the kids love it, and it’s my favorite time of the year.

lit pumpkins

Our pumpkins

A few other favorites…. pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin bread, pumpkin oatmeal, and of course turkey and dressing.

What are some of your fall favorites?

psssttt…. it’s Thursday and time for Mama Kat’s world famous writer’s workshop! So I’m linking up with her and everyone else. Also…. I should mention that’s she’s pretty awesome because in her email we all get on Monday with the prompts in it she featured my post from last week about my top 6 apps! WOOHOO! 

A weekend at Grand Traverse Resort

At the beginning of August I took a little trip to the Grand Traverse Resort with my family and I have to say that it was great! The place is simply amazing and definitely worth a visit when you’re here in Michigan. As a matter of fact… it has to be one of the top places to visit here in Michigan!

GT Resort 1

Even if you don’t stay there it’s worth checking out … from Dylan’s Candy Bar, to the cute shops, and the amazing Aerie Restaurant on the 16th floor as well as the famous golf courses there is a lot to see and do.

I have Melissa from Sippy Cup Mom to thank for this amazing trip and  if you want to hear more about my mini vacation head on over to her place and read all about it!

10 Things to Smile About – August

Better late than never, right? It’s still August so I’m slipping this one in just in time!

Anyway, I can’t believe how fast this month… or even summer has flown by! Actually, the year in general seems to have flown by. It’s funny when I was younger I couldn’t wait to get older so I could do all the things I was told I couldn’t because I was too young and that time seemed to drag on until infinity. But now that I am finally older time is whizzing by so fast I barely know what’s going on anymore.

By taking part in this meme that Emily from Emmy Mom does I’ve had time to really think about the past month and all that we’ve done and what I have to smile about. There really is a lot!


1. Dinner at Aerie at the top of the Grand Traverse Resort. This place is amazing and there was nothing about it that we didn’t love!

2. Spending a weekend at the Grand Traverse Resort. If you haven’t been to this area of Michigan yet…. go! Now. The Grand Traverse region is gorgeous and there is so much to see and do that you won’t want to miss out.

3. I don’t talk about my husband that often around here and he kinda whines about it. But all in all he is a good guy and does a lot for our family and I appreciate it. So, yes. That is something to smile about and not just in August.


4. Being able to get away for a weekend is amazing. Now, camping is not my favorite thing but it is a cheap way to get out of town fast. So we go. BUT… I wouldn’t be doing it without a camper that’s for sure.

5. Swinging with the kids…

6. Toes in the sand at the beach…

7. And that little guy… you never know what he ‘s thinking. But I do love that picture of him. It’s amazing how well an iPhone can take a picture.

football game

8. Football & marching season is back! We had our first football game of the school year and school hasn’t even started yet!

9. The picture of my two oldest girls together just makes me smile and warms my  heart. I love it that they’re such good friends.

10. School! I am looking forward to school and I know that my kids are too. It’s been a long summer and I think that everyone is ready to head back to school.

What has happened in August that makes you smile?

Wordful Wednesday – A day at Michigan’s Adventure

There are so many things that a family can do together right here in Michigan and one of my favorites is Michigan’s Adventure. It’s an amazing amusement park and just like they advertise it really is two great parks for the price of one! My family spent the day there a couple of weekends ago from the time they opened until… well, I’d like to say when they closed but we got fed up with the on and off rain and finally headed out about an hour before they closed.

Honestly, we took all the kids… from toddler to teen… and there was something for everyone from the coasters, to the Lakeside Gliders, Frog Hopper, and carousel. We went from ride to ride without long waits in lines and enjoyed every one of them. Wait… that might be a bit of a stretch because Natalie decided to ride the coaster, Shivering Timbers (Annually voted one of the top 10 wooden roller coasters in the world byAmusement Today readers.), instead of sitting out with her brother like she did for the last coaster. She’s not a big fan of them and this one was fast and had constant ups and downs some huge hills… she refused to ride another coaster the rest of the day.


Okay, two parks in one. Are you wondering what that’s all about? For one low cost, $29 for adults, you get the amusement park AND the incredible water park! There are 3 wave pools, lazy river, various kids play areas, and something like 7 different water slides and these neat little cabanas that you can rent for the day.

They cabanas are perfect because they have their own tables, chairs, little tent for shade, and you get to for the day. You can drop your stuff there and head out to do what you want and not worry about it because you have to have a special wrist band to get in.


I am a little sad that we didn’t get to meet Snoopy or Charlie Brown… but we were able to get the prerequisite picture of the kids with the Snoopy outside of the gift shop (which they were so happy to pose for).

I think that you could make a weekend out of Michigan’s Adventure and visiting the beaches & lighthouses on the west side of the state. As a matter of fact we’re talking about going back again and spending the day there soon. To save money though we’ll pack our lunch and head out to car when we’re hungry because they stamp your hand so you can get back in later!

What’s one of your favorite home state places to visit?

I’m linking up with Seven Clown Circus and Dude Mom so you could all learn about this awesome park and maybe consider visiting it (and maybe me)!

Disclosure: Michigan’s Adventure provided me and my family with tickets to the park and lunch but we really did love the park. As always all thoughts & opinions are my own.