My Michigan Memory: Studio Jewel

This week we are excited to bring you another great Michigan based business for our My Michigan Memory series! And she is offering an incredible prize for you all to try and win!

studio jewel

Studio Jewel is our featured business and you can win $75 to spend on anything that you like in her Etsy store!

All you have to do is link up your blog in the linky tool below and then enter your info into the Rafflecopter form. You’ll get 10 points just for linking a blog post you’ve written about Michigan. If you are not a blogger, you can still enter to win, just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter form.

Lisa Lehmann is the incredible woman behind Studio Jewel and in addition to being an artist she is also a mom who splits her days between creating beautiful jewelry for men and women and homeschooling her children in the Grand Rapids area.

monogram necklace

Perfect for an anniversary

All of Lisa’s jewelry is 100% hand made and they’re all one of a kind jewelry featuring gems, recycled silver, wire, gold, and leather. They’re nothing short of beautiful…. modern…. and unique. You will definitely find something that you want when your browse her shop.

sapphire ring

This is one of my favorites!

You can also contact Lisa to create something that is truly unique… something that is totally customized by you.

You can find Lisa all over the internet too! She has a great blog that is full of information on jewelry, life, and so much more!

Of course she’s on Twitter and Facebook too and then the best part is her Etsy shop.




a Rafflecopter giveaway

#MyMichMemory: Giveaway #1 with the Henry Ford + Linky!

Michigan-Memory

We’re excited to announce our first giveaway for our My Michigan Memory series: A 4-pack of tickets to either the Henry Ford Museum or Greenfield Village (entrance to the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition exhibit sold separately), which is up to a $96 value. How fun is that?!

All you have to do is link up your Michigan-related blog post in the linky tool below and then enter your info into the Rafflecopter form. You’ll get 10 points just for linking a blog post you’ve written about Michigan. If you’re not a blogger, you can still enter to win, just follow the directions on the Rafflecopter form.

Henry Ford Complex - 1

The Henry Ford complex is a top tourist destination for Michigan


So what is the Henry Ford all about?

The Henry Ford (THF) complex, located in Dearborn, Mich., is one of our state’s most beloved tourist attractions – and for plenty of good reasons.

The complex is home to FIVE destinations in one, including: Henry Ford Museum, Greenfield Village, the Ford Rouge Factory Tour, the Benson Ford Research Center and the Henry Ford IMAX Theatre for the latest feature-length and documentary-style films.

Henry Ford Museum showcases the American ideas and innovations, which have fired our imaginations and changed our lives. Here, visitors explore the first 40 years of flight in the “Heroes of Sky” exhibit and walk past awe-inspiring vehicles in “Driving America” including Henry Ford’s first automobile, the Quadricycle. “With Liberty and Justice For All” showcases American freedom and features an amazing array of artifacts representing powerful change agents such as the bus on which Rosa Parks took a stand for Civil Rights, the camp bed George Washington used during his tour of Revolutionary War sites and the chair in which Abraham Lincoln was sitting the night he was shot.

THF - 2

The presidential limousine in which John F. Kennedy was assassinated is just one of many attractions visitors can see at The Henry Ford Museum

Another of the complex’s summertime favorites is Greenfield Village. Visitors are welcome to experience more than 300 years of American history through 83 authentic, historic structures, four living history farms, and nationally-renowned artists creating one-of-a-kind 19th- and 20th-century pieces in pottery, tin and glass. Filled with amazing authentic structures such as the Wright brothers’ cycle shop, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park Laboratories and George Washington Carver’s memorial cabin.

GFV -3

Greenfield Village is a favorite stop for many Michigan residents during summer

Check out the month-by-month calendar for the latest events. A sampling of upcoming events include the Ragtime Street Fair, Old Car Festival, the Salute to America concert with the Detroit Symphony Orchestra and fireworks display, and historic baseball games, following rules from 1867.

Additionally, if you’d like to win tickets to Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition at Henry Ford Museum, be sure to like THF’s Facebook page for weekly giveaways.

For more information, visit THF’s website or Twitter page too!



Continue reading

The year in pictures

While going through my reader the other day (Yes, I do go through it on occasion) I happened upon a post from Ashley from My Front Porch Swing and then the same one from Jessica over at Four Plus an Angel and decided to play along! I mean 12 pictures or my favorite posts from the year… how much easier can it get?

january

January brought Andrew’s first birthday! It seems so long ago but it was only a year…. and what a difference a year makes.

feb

February brings Valentine’s Day… need I say  more?

march

March and my little girl turned 9 and brought Flat Lauren to the party!

april

April at my parents house for Easter and the girls were on a scavenger hunt that their grandma puts together every year for them.

May

May! And my first ever blogging conference! I made the trip…. all2 hrous of it to Holland Michigan for Gleek Retreat where I met some incredible women all from Michigan! That’s me along with Elena from Mommy’s in Timeout and Katie from Sluiter Nation!

June

In June all three of my girls took part in one of the parades that take place every year during the Curwood Festival. I was a proud mama watching all of them march!

july

The heat of July is only intensified by sitting by the ball field while you watch your kids play for what seems like hours on end.

august

August brought another conference for me and this time it was Bloggy Bootcamp. If you ever have a chance to go to one of these GO! Seriously it was incredible! Here I am with so great friends from Michigan! Dutch Being Me, Mommy is in Time Out, Daily Dribbles, and Buried with Children.

sept

First day of school for September of course.

october

October was warm… on occasion and the day we carved pumpkins the kids all made their way outside and spent the afternoon playing together and carving pumpkins.

nov

Every year in November the high school marching band puts on one final performance of the marching season indoors. Yes, indoors! Where it’s warm & we can enjoy it. It is truly one of the best events during the year.

dec

And that brings us to December. And with it being the holidays and all I bet you’re tired of seeing all those happy holiday type pictures so instead of that I’ve decided to grace you with the Pimp of Greek Town. Now, I have no idea what his name is or if he really is a pimp but I HAD to take a picture of this. We took a trip to Detroit for my daughter’s 16th birthday and I have to say that this was probably the highlight of the day!

So there you have it folks…12 pictures from the past year. I do have to say that I loved going through all the pictures from the year and seeing how the kids have changed and grown, the places we’ve been, and all the fun we had. Picking just one picture for each month was hard because I wanted to share so much more with you all.

How was your year? Have you had time to sit and look back at all your pictures yet?

Crash

Write on Edge: RemembeRED

Today we’re trying a little something different. Are you ready? Your word is below. Take the next ten minutes to write about the first single memory that word calls up. Focus on the emotions and the experience, spend ten minutes really exploring that memory. Then wrap it up, publish, and come back to link up.

Write on Edge - Crash

Winter…. January 31st to be exact. Just after 6pm and it was dark outside.

I took a back road for some reason… must have thought that it would have been quicker or something.

It had been snowing like it always does at that time of year in Michigan. Most of the roads were clear except for a few random drifts that happened to fill the roads where the fields were open.

The drifts never worried me much because I drove a four wheel drive Expedition. It plowed through drifts easily… like a knife through butter. Smooth and easy.

I was confident and sure that I was safe from the travesties that others experienced with their little cars.

Excitement was building as I drove on to meet up with some high school girl friends for a night out. I hadn’t seen them in a long time and was really looking forward to it. I never made it.

I came up over the hill and on the downside were drifts. Nothing special… until I drove through it. The drift caught my tire just right and I felt it pull my truck off to the right while I tried to get control of the truck. Fear raced through my body like nothing I had ever felt before. Before I knew it I was in the ditch and the truck tipped.

I was rolling…. I let go of the steering wheel and covered my head, it was an instinct. It wasn’t going to save me though. I kept rolling from side to side. Metal crunching, glass shattering, and my body being banged around the truck even though I had my seat belt on.

Finally, after what seemed like a lifetime it stopped. Windows were gone… the windshield was smashed but in tact, the roof was caved in. I did a mental check of myself…. I was fine. I survived.

Adrenaline was running high as I sat there trying to stop shaking. I fumbled around looking for my cell phone to call 911.

Fear still had it’s grip on me as I dialed several times… my hands were shaking so bad that I could barely dial. Finally I got it.  Help was in it’s way.

I missed my night out with friends and had to walk through almost knee deep snow in my brand new purple heels.

I am much more conscious about how I drive, the weather, and road conditions. I worry more than is necessary and I’m driving another truck.

Note: I followed the rules and wrote for 10 minutes and hit publish… this is not edited at all. So please be kind… the grammar and punctuation probably sucks.

Our Weekend Getaway

This past weekend we went up to Crystal Mountain with the entire family… 13 of us total went. I have to tell you that this is one of the best places to go in Michigan! There is so much for the entire family to do that there is no possible way to be bored!

Instead of me rambling on and on about the trip I’ll share with you some of the pictures from the weekend.

Lauren on the water slide

 

Cait on the slide   Natalie on the slide

 

Andrew smiling   Mtn view

 

family   Beach

 

shoreline   dunes

 

A Michigan Weekend Getaway

 

Michigan entrance sign

Image via Wikipedia

Just like there are a large number of things to do with your family in Michigan there are also just as many things that you can do with your significant other. Whether it’s a day trip or weekend getaway… there is always something to do. There are a couple of places and things to do that I want to share with you today and as usual there are a couple that I’ve actually been to and something that are on my to do list.

The first place that I am going to share with you is a place that isn’t all that well known and is tucked away over on the west side of the state in a very tiny town called Jugville.

The Shack

The Shack is small bed & breakfast/hotel nestled among the trees on Robinson Lake in Jugville, which is just outside of White Cloud, Michigan. I’ve stayed here a couple of times and have loved it every time. They have a buffet dinner that they serve every evening full of homemade food such as fried chicken, fresh veggies, and mashed potatoes and as you dine you can enjoy looking out over the lake.

In the evening after you’ve eaten and taken some time to explore the 100 acres that they sit on, checked out the little museum they have, and sat by the lake as the sun sets you can head on im for their famous banana splits served with hand dipped ice cream. It’s a great way to end the day!

Wine Country – Leelanau

This is on my to do list! Once upon a time I lived in Traverse City and as close as I was the the Leelanau area I never went and checked out all the great wineries that are in the area.

The Leelanau peninsula is a beautiful area with rolling hills, forests, and of course the wineries that is surrounded by the Lake Michigan shoreline. With close to 20 wineries and tasting rooms in the area figuring out which ones to go to and planning my trip could be a challenge! I think that my recommendation for planning a trip would be to do some research and look into what they different wineries have to offer.

The last time that I was in the area was this past fall and we stayed at the Crystal Mountain Restort. The place is beautiful and has year round activities from the indoor pool, spa (loved the spa!), skiing, golf, and the outdoor pool and it’s a short drive to the wineries.

Detroit Jazz Festival

Every year over Labor Day weekend the streets in downtown Detroit are filled with the sweet sounds of jazz music. I love music… all kinds of it too and I would love to spend a Saturday checking out all the great musicians, food, and sights that this event has to offer. And to make it even better… it’s free! Yes, free! They have food, wine, and other beverages available right there at the festival but I think that I’d be saving my appetite for a nice dinner over in Greektown!

Michigan is host to several museums and along with the music I love to spend a rainy day wandering around a museum checking everything out. Now, this isn’t something that I do very often… as a matter of fact I’m lucky if I can make it to one of the museums once a year. The main reason for this is kids. I don’t think that large art museums are a good place for a family trip so unless the stars are aligned I don’t go.

There are a few museums that I am going to focus on. Detroit Institute of Arts, Flint Institute of Arts, and the Grand Rapids Public Museum. Now these are just a couple of the great museums to check out around Michigan and there are so many more that deserve attention as well but in the spirit of saving time I’m sticking to these three.

Interior main hall Detroit Institute of Arts.

Interior main hall Detroit Institute of Arts.

 

I’ve only been to the Flint Institute of Arts and DIA is on my list of places to visit this summer and hopefully I can hit up the museums in GR this fall. I may change around the plans depending on what exhibits they have.

All of them have permanent collections as well as exhibits that change. I’m not going to go into all the details of the exhibits that they are currently having but instead I encourage you to check them all out online and if you don’t live in Michigan take a look around your area for a museum. You never know what amazing things you may find!

So start packing a bag and come visit us in Michigan! There are so many fun things to do, see, and explore!

Great Places to Visit in Michigan

A few weeks ago I was talking with a co-worker, who just moved to Michigan, about all the things that you can do with your family and it got me to thinking. I figured that I would share with you some of the places I love to visit and hopefully it will inspire you to come check them out too.

With as much negative that you hear about Michigan, it’s economy and crime in the news, there is little that is said about all the great things that there are to do with your family. You can drive almost anywhere in the state and find something fun for the entire family.

Michigan is a great state to come and explore!

I’ve always lived in Michigan… from Taylor, Lapeer, Flint, Traverse City, and my current home in the Owosso area (there are a few towns I left out to make this post short). And everywhere you go there are tons of things to do but I’m going to share with you some of my favorites.

Now these things are the must do’s in Michigan as far as I’m concerned especially if you live here.

Now on to the list in no particular order either.

Mackinac Island

Two of the modes of transport on Mackinac Isla...

Downtown Mackinac Island

 

I’ve been to the island and Mackinac City more times that I can count. I absolutely love going to the island and spending the day wandering around the small shops, tasting the amazing fudge, and enjoying the beautiful views of the Grand Hotel and the crystal clear lakes that surround the island. There are no motorized vehicles on the island and everyone walks, uses bikes or horses to get around and this helps to maintain the Victorian charm that the residents have worked so hard at. The only thing that I haven’t done yet is stay over night on the island, but it is definitely on my list of things to do.

Michigan’s Adventure

What better way to spend a sunny summer day than riding the great rides and splashing around the water park! That’s what’s so great about Michigan’s Adventure … you get two parks for the price of one! I was there a few years ago with my two older girls and we had a great time but the only thing that I would suggest it staying the night in the area because after a long day riding the rides, swimming, and playing in the sun a long car ride home isn’t fun.

Sunrise on Lake Huron and Sunset on Lake Michigan

Where else can you go and watch the sunrise over beautiful lake and then drive to the other side of the state and watch the sun set over another lake? I’ve done both of these.. not on the same day… and again the views are gorgeous and something that you can’t miss. Several years ago my daughter wanted to see the sunset so we took a trip over to Holland and spent the weekend there. In the evening we packed up and went to the beach and watched the sun change from yellow, orange, red, and shades of pink as it set over Lake Michigan.

Detroit Zoo

I love going to the zoo and wandering around and checking out all the animals. I know that it doesn’t change all that much but it’s still a lot of fun for kids of any age. From the petting zoo, feeding the giraffes, and watching the penguins dive and swim you won’t be disappointed. This year they have a dinosaur exhibit where they have over 30 animatronic dinosaurs that roar and snarl just like the real ones. We were going to go to the zoo on Mother’s Day weekend but wanted to wait till the new dinosaur exhibit opened this summer.

Binder Park Zoo

Binder Park is a bit different from your regular zoo in that it’s more like an African Safari type zoo. You can walk up and feed the giraffes, see various species of birds fly right in front of you, and watch animals in a  environment that is similar to their natural habitat. Last summer we took a trip down to Binder Park and we really enjoyed it especially feeding the giraffes and being so close that you can touch them.

National Cherry Festival

Like I said before I lived in Traverse City for a while and when I was there I went to the Cherry Festival the first couple of years, but after that the tourists started to get on my nerves. Lots of people driving around lost or just not sure where they want to go. Honestly, I could dedicate this entire post or two to the Cherry Festival to explain all the great things there are to do there. A couple of my favorite things though were the fireworks over the bay and the Blue Angels flying over the bay during the air show. If you ever get the chance go check it out… just know what you want to do & see before you get there!

Children’s Museums (Flint, Lansing, and Grand Rapids)

These places are a great rainy day activity with the kids. I will say that my oldest (a teenager) didn’t enjoy them as much as the younger kids did, regardless there is a lot of hands on activities and fun things to do.

Greenfield Village

The Wright Brother's house. It originally stoo...

The Wright Brother's House

Living history and seeing first hand how things were done so many years ago can be interesting and educational at the same time. I’ve been to Greenfield Village a countless number of times and will always revisit it. Some of the highlights are Noah Websters home, Thomas Edison’s Menlo Park labs, and the courthouse where Abe Lincoln practiced law. You can also take a ride through the village in a model T or take a ride on the old fashion carousel.

Henry Ford Museum

If you plan on going to Henry Form Museum make sure you plan on spending the day there! From planes suspended from the ceiling, to giant locomotives, and the car the JFK was in when he was assassinated I’m sure that you’ll find something that will peak your interest. We took the girls there a few years ago and all 3 of them really  liked it and there was something for each of the despite their age differences. I think that they all walked away having learnt something new.

Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes

These dunes run almost the entire length of the west side of the state along the coast of Lake Michigan. In Frankfort you can do the dune climb and then walk (hike) all the way to the lake. I did this one year and the view was very deceiving … I thought that the lake was much closer than it really was… I think that the walk is close to 2 miles. There are areas along the shoreline where you can walk, hike, or take a ride in a dune buggy. I’ve done it all too! There is legend to the name too.

“Long ago, along the Wisconsin shoreline, a mother bear and her two cubs were driven into Lake Michigan by a raging forest fire. The bears swam for many hours, but eventually the cubs tried and lagged behind. Mother bear reached the shore and climbed to the top of a high bluff to watch and wait for her cubs. Too tired to continue, the cubs drowned within sight of the shore. The Great Spirit Manitou created two islands to mark the spot where the cubs disappeared and then created a solitary dune to represent the faithful mother bear”.

Have you been to any of these places? Are you planning on going? Share your experiences with the rest of us!