June 30, 2013

Pure Michigan Summer

In Michigan, the tourism industry has advertisements titled "Pure Michigan" which highlight the fun, outdoorsy, cultural things you can do throughout Michigan. In addition to being surrounded by the Great Lakes, this state is also known for it's thousands of tiny lakes which range from ponds to all-sports vacation mecas. One of my goals for this summer is to take advantage of some of the natural recreation areas that we have practically in our backyard.

During the school year, Paul's schedule dictates much of what we do as a family. But during the summer, Paul doesn't go into school much at all and has an ABUNDANCE of family time. Now that I'm working part-time, I was really looking forward to this summer to have the opportunity to take little day trips as a family.

After Finley's nap on Friday, we told her we were going on a surprise trip. Unfortunately it started thunderstorming during her nap. I kept my eyes on the radar and thought that maybe the lake that we were planning to go to may have missed this cell of storms. So we decided to take our chances and drive about 12 miles to Grose Park at Crockery Lake.


I think the weather scared the people off because we were literally the only people at the beach.

Finley braved her way into the water and played around with Paul.

Fisher and I hung out on the sidewalk that surrounded the tiny beach.

Afterwards, Finley and Paul played on the playground (which they have both big equipment AND preschool friendly equipment) while Fisher and I observed their fun.

We definitely will be returning to this park. There were also hiking trails that had mileage marked off in case Paul and I want to go for a run and then dip in the lake to cool off.

So, who wants to come visit?

June 27, 2013

Channeling my Amish Goddess

Yesterday, my mom plus the family headed for a one day road trip to Shipshewana, IN. This Amish community has become a meca of antiques, craft stores, a flea market and antiques auction. Although the real reason I wanted to go there was for the bulk foods store.

Paul found some good deals at the auction which he plans to resell. Finley was enamored with all the horses and even posed for a picture at a horse display.

Fisher was pretty much cashed out in the carrier all day. Paul and I took turns carrying that 18 pound sack of cuteness around in the carrier.

But the highlight of our day was a huge haul at the bulk foods store. 50 pounds of oats, 50 pounds of flour, 3 pounds popcorn, 6 pounds brown rice, 3 pounds Rice Krispies, 2 pounds wheat germ, 2 pounds mini chocolate chips and 3 pounds of spices: I'm pretty sure we're good on these staples for a little while.... I plan on continuing to make boatloads of homemade granola bars and tons of cookies for my brother's wedding.

Now on to researching proper storage of flour and oats..... Oy! I may have bit off more than I can chew!

On the docket today - work, meet with a private client, get a quick run in at the Y and weed the garden... it's getting ridiculous!

June 25, 2013

Versatile Bean Salad

A few times each year we have Paul's team over for dinner.  I usually try to have tasty, home-cooked foods that college students will enjoy yet are still a little on the healthy side. Additionally, we host small group at our house two Sundays each month. We have a loosely organized pot luck dinner and I'm always trying new recipes. To be honest, I often take the opportunity to try a recipe that I think Paul might not love so I won't be stuck with a ton of leftovers!!

Anyway, the last time that I had the team over and last Sunday for small group I made this Bean Salad. (Adapted from here). It's super easy, relatively affordable and pretty versatile. It can be served as a side dish, as a dip with tortilla chips or (as shown below) as a topping on top of a salad with a few crushed up tortilla chips. A few people asked for the recipe so - here ya go!

Three Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 can red beans, drained and rinsed
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups frozen corn, thawed
3/4 cup red onion, very finely minced
3/4 cup carrot, very finely minced
1 jalapeno, very finely minced
Large handful cilantro, minced
2/3 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 teaping tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt

Combine beans, corn, onion, carrot, and jalapeno in a large bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients. Pour over bean mixture and cover tightly. Refrigerate a few hours. Stir and serve.

Serves a crowd: Makes 12+ servings!

June 24, 2013

USA Outdoor T&F Championships

Several of Paul's athletes qualified for the USA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, IA so we decided to make a family trip out of it and fill up the team van with carseats for an 8 hour trip out into the Great Plains. I crammed my booty between two car seats while Finley entertained a few of the athletes on our trip.

We made it to Drake Stadium and it was HOT. But Finley was a trooper, even stopped to pose with the Drake Bulldog.

The first two days we watched Paul's athlete, Deon, compete in the Junior Decathlon. It's all the same events as the regular decathlon, just for athletes under 20 years old. We moved around the stadium from event-to-event and even found this little nook of shade for the high jump and shot put.

Fish and Fin were troopers though. We kept Fisher in the shade the majority of the time by keeping him in his car seat with the shade up. We kept Finley slathered in sun screen and made her drink more water and Gatorade than she could ever imagine.

Day 3 started the senior decathlon (as well as other events!) This is Ashton Eaton, the current world record holder in the decathlon, about to start the 400m in the decathlon. We also saw several world records broken that day.... crazy!

We made it home safely, and needless to say, the kids were exhausted! (As were mom and dad!)

Indy for Father's Day

For Father's Day weekend we packed up the kids and drove five hours down to Indianapolis. Paul's brother, wife and our nephew live there and we were also joined by Paul's parents, brother Daniel and sister Molly.

The main activity of the week was beginning to build a gargantuan deck. But the kids decided that playing in the pool and blowing bubbles was much more entertaining!

But we managed to pick a ton of strawberries for making jam.

Also a walk around the neighborhood. My work is piloting an activity competition app so I needed to make sure I got my 30 minutes of activity! I think I may have burned about 100 calories at the pace that we were going :)

 Finley and Aunt Molly swinging on the front porch - yes, finley has on safety goggles.

Up from the dead

I've decided to resurrect my blog, with a little revamp in mind.

First, let's do a quick update on all the family members since I last blogged 10 months ago:

Finley: Now almost 3, talking up a storm, opinionated, a big helper and a big sister!

Fisher: Born in February 2013, affectionately referred to as "The Tank", quite possibly the most smiley, mild-tempered baby I've ever encountered.

Paul: Getting busier by the day, still a track coach but now also working on his MBA.

Jody: Mom of 2 crazies, now working part-time, still enjoys creating in the kitchen, trying to get back in shape, and crafts for stress relief.

I've decided that this blog will become more than just a recap of what's going on in our lives for our out of town family to keep up with us. I am also going to share recipes that I've tried, use it as an accountability for my workouts, post pictures of new crafts I'm making AND regular ramblings of whats going on with our family.