Sunday, April 21, 2013

And Show Season Practice Begins

And this is what Stanley thinks about it:

Actually, I don't think he minded much at all getting back into the swing of things.  Most of the winter he's been working hard with Equestrian Girl on their dressage so he's stayed in excellent shape.  When the vet was out for spring shots last week, he gave him high marks for looking to be in great shape coming out of a relatively hard winter.  

This year's open shows are going to be decidedly different since EG isn't showing in her age bracket classes. She's only doing the Sweepstakes and Open classes - meaning she will be competing against adults as well as any kids that enter those classes.  It's only a couple less classes but no pattern classes at all (well, unless you count showmanship).  I won't be able to show at all this year, or at least I don't think I will.  As of right now, I'm scheduled for hip surgery in mid-May.  I can't ride right now, it hurts too much, and for sure I can't afterwards for a few weeks at least but possibly as long as 12-16 weeks which would take us right past all the shows....but I need to do it and no time like the present!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

School Update

Homeschooling is one of the best decisions we ever made and probably something I don't talk about nearly enough.  Probably because it's become such a daily thing, like eating, that it doesn't warrant much attention any more.  But it should.

Motocross Boy/Man has continued to use Switched on Schoolhouse for his curriculum this year and has done very well.  He's even pulling a high B in Algebra that has us all pretty surprised since math has never been his subject of choice.  He's also continued with the welding classes with neighbor Jeff.  Last week they worked on the math test that is taken by every plumber who goes through the union apprenticeship program.  Since I'm friends with so many plumbers through work, I was given a copy of the test for practicing.

Hopefully by the time Motocross Boy/Man needs to actually take this test, it will be easy-peasy.  I know I sure had to think hard to get SOME of the answers!  

Next year he will start doing a lot more hands on with the welding which should prove to be interesting.  We also found a cool app that is for welding but it's only available on the Droid right now - he needs it for his iPod.  Neighbor Jeff and I think we need to come up with a cool welding game or app that would be interesting and fun for kids to use to get interested in doing such stuff.  Our world is going to be sadly lacking in the skilled trades if we don't encourage our kids in these areas.

Equestrian Girl is finishing up Spanish and Honors Biology at the co-op school and the rest of her curriculum is Switched on Schoolhouse as it has been the last couple of years.  Next year she wants to switch to Global Student Network.



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A friend of hers has been using this curriculum over the past year and is quite happy with it.  They have a little different slant than SOS - you pay for the year and can take as many classes as you want during the year.  They have a huge selection of classes too.  I have to spend some more time looking at it but I do think it might be a good possibility and will offer some more challenging types of classes.  We still need to wait to find out what classes will be offered at the co-op next year.  Hopefully one of them is chemistry.  I think that class has to be more "fun" when you can have an interactive lab experience.  

It's always such a challenge to start thinking about what we need for next fall when we aren't even done with this year yet but it's fun too.  It's cool to see your kiddos growing up and learning to be adults!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Haul

So I think I mentioned Equestrian Girl and I went shopping at the outlet mall on the way blouse, three sweaters, three dresses, a pair of slacks and a pair of jeans later.....

Monday, April 15, 2013

Day 3

The last day of a trip is always kind of sad...waking up to 5 inches of new snow on April 12th didn't help matters much.

Looking out the windows at breakfast just made me shiver. It was very cold, very blustery, and very snowy.

But being intelligent strong women, we persevered towards our goal of making it to the outlet mall!  It didn't hurt that I had been smart enough to valet park the car the day before so I could just tip someone to scrape off all the ice and snow on my windshield before we ventured homeward.

We left Petoskey in blowing snow, drove into a frozen tundra where the snow had been freezing rain and then finally into just a very sodden southern Michigan and the outlet mall at Birch Run.  We started at the Tommy Hilfiger Store where EG found plenty to like.  We ended at the Ann Taylor Loft where I hit the mother lode.  By 5:30 we were home and hugging our boys.  

It had been a wonderful mother-daughter trip and one we will remember for a long time.  Equestrian Girl is already talking about doing it again next year!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spa Day

Day 2 of our Mother/Daughter Trip started with breakfast in the dining room of the Inn at Bay Harbor. The place was practically empty with only one other couple in there - only 8 rooms occupied in the whole place!  But the food and service were excellent.  I had a "Creme Brûlée Oatmeal" that was amazing!

I was glad we had indoor plans for the morning.  The wind was whipping and the skies were very overcast.  The view of the bay into Lake Michigan was beautiful.

And then the real treat began.  The Spa.

We were shown to the "locker room" and our big fluffy bathrobes and then to the "relaxation room" which was well stocked with lemon/orange ice water and hot tea. This furniture was so comfy!  They had the fireplace lit and it felt good- you could hear the cold wind whipping around that door. 

I obviously don't have photos of the rest of this experience but let's just say it was awesome.  We started with massages with an orange scented lotion.  This was Equestrian Girl's first massage experience and while she enjoyed it, I think her masseuse might have been new or was nervous that EG was new to the experience and didn't seem to do a great job. The one who did her facial seemed to make up for it though and was very friendly and chatty.  We wrapped it up with quick pedicures and big smiles.

After showers and changing clothes, we headed out into the gaslight district of Petoskey for a little cold weather shopping.  We fortified with Chicken Noodle Soup at the Grand Traverse Pie Company and hit the streets.

Our deal of the day ended up being this great dress coat for EG that we got for half off. It's knee length and has these awesome "flowers" around the lapel. Hard to see in this picture...but she was obviously happy with it.

After the shopping we drove along the lake to snap these pictures of the ice.  April 11th and still very much frozen.

That's a little light house at the end of the pier.

As the wind moves the ice when it's breaking up it forms big piles that look like ice bergs.

EG just had to get this sea gull in her picture out the car window.

A little waterfall that comes out under the road into the park and drains down towards the lake.
Last we drove through the houses around the hotel in Bay Harbor - some beautiful places there!

This one isn't really tipping over - just bad photography out the car window!

Some are built on "lanes" where the backs open up to the street but the fronts are very close together on walking paths.  The garages are all to the back.  I like this concept although I'm not sure I'd want one of these houses given the soil beneath them.

This is looking back towards the hotel with houses to our right.  Some are rental duplexes.

There are also houses/condo's up on the bluff to the right that look out towards the lake over this little frozen pond.  This is where you can see evidence of the digging that went on here for years as they unearthed the limestone used for the concrete.
After working out in the gym before dinner, we headed back to the hotel "bar" (the big restaurant was closed - probably because there were so few people staying) for an awesome and expensive dinner.  I have no idea what kind of cabernet I had but it was wonderful.  After dinner we turned on the TV for the first time and watched Glee before snuggling into those down comforters one last time.  It had been a GREAT day!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mother-Daughter Get-away

While it seems like Equestrian Girl and I do lots of weekends away together, 99% of them are usually for horse shows where we work our tails off.  Fun, yes. Relaxing, no.  

On Wednesday we set off on an adventure that would certainly includes some relaxing.  Our first stop was at Grand Valley State University.  My alma mater. EG is considering going there when she graduates high school and since we are homeschoolers, we wanted to make sure that they didn't have any special requirements and she would be considered like any other public school kid.  Happily, she will be.  

The campus has changed a whole lot in the past few decades.  This is what I remember:

But now it mostly looks like this.  Everything is new and modern and beautiful.  There is even a street light at an INTERSECTION on campus!!!
 It was a great tour and visit and has made both of us more comfortable about the future.  GVSU might just see my kid on campus there in a few more years.

Next stop was the Inn at Bay Harbor in Petoskey, MI.  I couldn't get a good picture of the hotel that would have done it justice (only having my phone didn't help that situation).  It's a beautiful place!  It did NOT look like this on Wednesday when it was about 40 degrees and still thinking about the rain that had passed over earlier.

 This is more of what it looked like - these are some of the cottages built around the hotel and yacht club.  Very big, very expensive cottages built on what used to be the land of a concrete factory .  

Our room at this 5 star inn was beautiful and comfortable.  We got checked in, hit the gym for a quick workout, and then down to the "bar" to listen to a 3 man band and have a light dinner.  Then we made good use of these beds with their fluffy down comforters to end our first day away.

Friday, April 12, 2013

An Awesome Gift

My next door neighbor made these house numbers for me out of old horse shoes.  They are so awesome!!!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Purse Organizer - Getting Crafty!

I love this bag.  I love that it came with three different scarfs that you can change up for the season.  I love the two outside pockets for my keys.  I love that it's lined with a black and white bandana type print fabric.  I do NOT love that it's like a bottomless pit.

 I looked around for an organizing insert and couldn't find anything I liked for a reasonable amount of money and since I'm doing this strict budget thing, I really shouldn't be spending any. So off to Pinterest to find a pattern or an idea or something. And then to Joann's for fabric.

I came home with these 6 quilting squares. I loved the colors (teal is agreeing with me this spring) and figured this would be plenty of fabric to do what I wanted to do.

The off white neutral does have a bit of a pattern to it but I decided that was going to be the inside of the organizer.  I ironed on some fairly stiff interfacing to this fabric and then stitched it the outside fabric - the one on the top in the picture above.  In hindsight, I did this wrong.  I should have attached the interfacing to the outside fabric and then added the outside pockets before stitching it to the inside piece. I also made it too big and had to cut off a section but I ended up using it for the sides so no big loss.

Here I've attached the sides.

I carefully measured that top pocket to make sure I could fit three pens, both cell phones, and my foldable brush in them.  There is stitching between each section.  The bottom pocket is upside down in this picture but it's just a flat pocket.

And voila!  The finished product with contrasting tape along the outside edges to cover up the open seams.

The other side.

The ends (those were really tricky but they turned out pretty good!).

Loaded up and in the cute bag!  My wallet and glasses case are in the middle section.  The empty slot is for my iPhone which I used to take the pictures.

And since I still had one piece of matching fabric, I had to make a new scarf too!  LOVE IT!!

Another hindsight - I probably should have made the organizer about an inch shorter.  At 8.5" tall it fits in this bag just barely and this is a pretty good sized bag.  I might be able to roll the top over a bit and stitch it down...  Anyway, I'm pretty happy with my Saturday afternoon project!

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Real View

I actually don't have a great view when I turn around from my desk.  I have to walk a few rows of cubicles over to the right to get those fab sunrise pictures.  If I turn around in my chair, I actually look at this other building.  Sometimes there's actually something more to look at than the building.

You can see my hands holding the phone at the bottom of this pic!  How funny!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Spring Sun Rises

I'm rarely in the office 4 days in a row but I was this week.  Unfortunately, I missed the sunrise on the 2nd because I was actually WORKING.  Made up for it by getting two cool shots on the 1st.

April 1st

 April 1st
 April 3rd
 April 4th

Friday, April 5, 2013

Antique Shopping

There's an antique place in Findlay, OH that Equestrian Girl and I like to hit on our way home.  On this particular day, we were looking for cool stuff made of steel.  Don't ask.

Loved this bird made of an old tractor seat!

This says is a tank wrench.  I'm fascinated by it for some odd reason.

This one grabbed me and screamed. It's a rocking chair made out of horse shoes like the one my neighbor made but this one is OLD!!!  It's not nearly as nice since it uses rebar for the rockers instead of shoes like his but still!!  

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Bigger Ride

I was hanging out in the observation room at the barn one night while the girls were messing around riding their horses when I looked down and saw Equestrian Girl riding this big beast!!!  Apparently she needed a bigger ride.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This is why....

This is why I love capturing the sunrises at work...because at home, it's not much of a view through the trees and garages across the street!

Monday, April 1, 2013

More Ice...

The Detroit River was all melted and then I go into work on March 21st and there was ice covering it again.....Knock, knock, spring?  Are you coming?