Friday, September 28, 2012

15 years ago.....

At 9:52 am, we welcomed little Miss Angela Nicole into our lives.

And things will never be the same!
Practicing for the Homecoming Dance

 Happy Birthday to my Pnut !!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Holland Ponds in fall...

During the Prohibition Era, the place to go was a series of 3 parks that are now called Holland Ponds.  The parks were closed down in 1974 due to contamination from a nearby landfill.  The EPA stepped in and in 2001, it was declared clean!  Now there is a Heron Rookery and really nice trails to walk thru the woods and to see all sorts of critters and birds.  And since the leaves are starting to change - it's a beautiful place to go!   I was also happy to see the robins haven't left the area yet.  I haven't seen one in about 3 weeks but I saw one (who was camera shy) and heard a few others complaining.

Jack likes it, too!

He was fascincated by us!

Caterpillars - don't think I want to know what they're doing.

Heron nests.
They prefer tall, dead trees to nest in. 
I wonder if it was alive when they found it?

Huge leaves!

it was a nice day for a walk!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday - Fall Favorites

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  I am loving these cooler temps - we had to finally turn the furnace on last weekend! 

Quick off topic - look how cute my daughter & all her friends were Saturday night for the Homecoming Dance!
She's the second from the right - in the super short turquoise dress.
At least she wore dance shorts under it!

Ugh - in the fight against Mother Nature and horrible cramps...Premsyn PMS won and I lost.  I barely was able to make dinner for the family and was in bed by 9 last night.  Needless to say - there was no posting going on!   

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Fall Favorites

1. What is your favorite thing about this time of year?    The cooler temps, the trees changing colors; Michigan is an amazing place to be this time of year!

2. What do you hope to do again before Summer is officially over?   Hmm.  I can't think of anything that I only do during the summer.  Go tubing maybe?

3. When did you last go on a hay ride?   Not since before my Dad got really sick and we had hayrides at our family reunions.  It's been almost 3 years since he passed, so it's been quite a while.

4. What is your favorite pumpkin dish?    Hmmm.  There are a lot, so it's hard to pin just one down.  Pumpkin Cheesecake, probably.

5. Do you decorate your home for fall?  Yes!!  I have both fall and Halloween decor.  The Maple Grove Manor has been slowing coming to life, but next weekend (after the daughter's birthday party on Friday) the floodgates will open and the Maple Grove Cemetery will appear and the Manor will be in it's full glory.  It'll be majority Halloween stuff and a few fall items here & there.  After Halloween it will switch to the fall items & scarecrows until after Thanksgiving.

6. Do you have any hobbies that are seasonally specific? If so, what are they?    Hmm.  Not really.    I plan Halloween all year long, so it's not unusual to see me in the spring doing tweaks on my props.  The neighbors probably all think I'm weird, but they also know my house when it's decorated!

7. Apple cider or hot chocolate?    Cider.  And with it goes donuts.  They're like crack - totally addicting.  And we're going to the orchard this weekend to celebrate my daughter's & nephew's birthdays.  So cider & donuts will be consumed quite happily.  And in excess.

8. Are you a fan of football? If so, who is your team?    Nope.  If I must watch football - it's the Arkansas Razorbacks with my hubby.  He is proud Hawg alumni.  Hockey is my fall sport.  I am a big Red Wings fan and I'm sad about the lockout. 

9. Share a fond Fall memory.   going to the orchard with my crazy family and jumping on this huge inflatable pillow thing (like an open air bounce-house) and just laughing like an idiot.  This will also happen again this weekend!

10. It’s not Fall until…there are a lot of things.  Cooler weather, turning leaves, school & dance starting back up, Halloween stuff showing up in stores......

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions. Don’t forget to come back and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Get Fit, Feel Epic - Week 4

Crap - I missed a week ! It's been crazy here at the Love Shaque, but it's settling down.  We had things like open house at school (to meet all the teachers), beginning of the dance season and last week was "Spirit Week" so I was running all over to get obnoxious tutus and t-shirt paint and Friday was the Homecoming Parade & football game.  Then Saturday was the big dance, so much time spent at the hair-stylist....

Angel is the one second from the right- in the extremely short turquoise dress. 
 At least she wore some of her dance shorts underneath it! 

Alrighty, let's see how badly I've been doing on my goals. 
1.  attend a WW meeting - fail!  I did make the attempt, tho.  I swear the website said there was a meeting at 11 on Saturdays, as well as the 8:45.  I was wrong.  It was at 10, so I missed it. They were already closed so I couldn't even weigh in! 
2. do some sort of exercise 3 x week / 30 minutes.  Hmm.  Maybe in total? 
3. re-listen to hypnosis session 4x week.  0/4 Total & complete fail. 
4. look up and try 3 new recipes this week.  I don't know how to rate this one.  I've made tried & true meals, but tweaked them some.  Like spaghetti that my family gobbles up, but I added garlic biscuits made out of Pilsbury Grands biscuits (YUM) and also meatballs.  They were gross.  I was told to never do those again. LOL!
5. do at least 15 minutes a day straightening up the house.  7/7 Win!  I've made a list of things I wanted to accomplish before Angel's birthday party Friday and it makes me feel so good to see all these items crossed off.
This week's challenge is to do something new.  I have an idea for this.  Friday is my daughter's 15th birthday and she insists that she wants to haul her friends to the mall and hang out for a couple hours.  OK.  So while they're doing their thing, I plan on walking.  I hate the mall, so it's really outside my comfort zone.  However, it's indoors and offers good people watching, so all should be good!  And while she's at dance tonight, I plan to take the dog to the nature preserve nearby for a walk.  I love going there when the leaves start changing colors - beautiful!
See ya next week, hope it'll all be better!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Friend Makin' Monday - Blog Stuff

I think I found my new WW day!  Saturday at 8:45 am!  I'd rather get up & get it over with instead of getting home from work and then having to leave again.  I really liked this leader, she's been a sub leader on Thursday, so I'd heard her speak before.  She didn't follow a script and she seemed more dynamic than my old one.

Unfortunately I was up a couple pounds, but I'm not really surprised.  *#%!*# Randy insisted on getting 3 - THREE - packages of cookies when he went grocery shopping with me.  Chewy Chips Ahoy.  They do NOT need to be within a 5 mile radius of me.  Just because something is on sale, does not need we need to buy it!  Even tho it's hidden in a bottom cabinet, wrapped in a plastic bag - I can still hear them calling me!

However, I did get a bunch of exercise again this weekend - we helped my sister finish painting the Pasture Fence from Hell.  I was painting posts, so there was a lot of squatting and bending (sore butt muscles!)  But at least it's done - whew!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links there too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Blog Stuff

1. Have you ever met anyone through your blog that led to an in-person friendship/relationship?     Nope.

2. Most bloggers have a specific niche. What would you discuss if it didn’t seem inappropriate on your blog?   I have 3 blogs with specific topics, so you don't have to read about my Halloween props or see pics of my daughter's latest dance comp / rectial.   Unless you want to! 

3. If you could meet three bloggers, who would they be?    Since we're getting closer to my favorite holiday, the ones that stand out most are Halloween-type bloggers - Dave Lowe from Dave Lowe Designs , and the lovely Miss Lulu Kellogg from - they both are amazing artists and create the most fantastic things.  Dave with his props and Lulu with her jewelry.  And for my third - is it sucking up if I say Kenlie??  Her dedication and up-beat attitude and how far she's come in her journey is awe-inspiring.

4. If you had to choose between Facebook or Twitter which one would you choose?    I don't tweet, so it'll have to be FaceBook.

5. Do you vlog (video blog?)     No.  I don't like how I look on video. And my voice - ew.  I don't know how my hubby thinks I sound sexy. 

6. How many blogs do you read on an average day?     My reader has 20-30 on a regular day.  It is a pain in the butt to comment on some of them!

7. What is the coolest thing that you’ve seen online recently?    I see a lot of cool things on Pinterest and other blogs.  The thing that comes to mind that really made me laugh was a Simon's Cat video.  They are just hilarious!!! <3

8. If you gave your blog a new name what would it be?    Oh man.  I'd like something a bit more personalized and witty, yet at a glance you know what it's about.  I'm not really happy with the name of this one and my Random Ramblings - although that is an appropriate title.  I've even tried combining the two, but divided it again. 


9. Have you ever attended a blog conference like Fitbloggin? If not, would you?     I don't know.  I don't know exactly what they're for.

10. In the past I have asked why you blog. Now I want to know why you read blogs? What do you take from it?     I read such a wide variety of blogs.  A couple are from other countries, so it's fascinating to read about their lives and stuff.  Some are interior design blogs.  Some are just the writer's thoughts & day-to-day activities.   Some are weight loss / health-related.  I'm looking for inspiration & ideas from those.  The Halloween ones are obviously different ideas & inspiration! 

Now it’s your turn to fill out this week’s questions! Don’t forget to go over and link up in the comments! Happy Monday!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Get Fit, Feel Epic - week 2

Not feeling particularly epic at the moment - we spent most of yesterday at my sister's house for the annual "painting of the fence" party.  She needs to put special paint on the fence around both her pasture for the horses and the riding arena to protect the wood from the elements and also prevent the horses from chewing on it.  And on any other day, the pasture & arena don't look that big, but when it comes to painting time?  The Never-Ending Fence from Hell!!  There were 6 of us working for 5-6 hours and we only got half the pasture done!  The backs of my thighs hurt from bending over to put the roller in the paint tray and my arms are really sore from all that rolling.  And for some reason my right hand is swollen, so I even had to take my ring off!  Guess what we'll be doing next weekend??  On the plus side - it was a beautiful day, comfortably cool & breezy!  

So it's time for....
I don't know if I -technically- met Rebecca's challenge this week.  Do something to make me feel fabulous.  I was actually on vacation when the week one emails came out, so I was feeling pretty fabulous and lazy.  We'd just gotten home from an awesome long weekend in Michigan's beautiful UP.  And the fact that I didn't cry last Tuesday when my daughter went off on her first day of high school is a bonus.  So I really didn't search out and find something to do to feel fab, it just found me!

Here is the update on my 5 measurable goals...I think I need to do better this next week!
1. attend a WW meeting every week.  Check!  And after a 5 week hiatus, I was down 1.4 lbs!  We got a challenge there, too.  To make sure you get the recommended 6 - 8oz glasses of liquids in daily.  Easy!! It's 11:30 am and I've already had a 12 oz can of Coke Zero and am finishing on my 3rd 20 oz bottle of water. 
2. do some sort of exercise 3 times a week for at least 30 minutes.  2/3  The fence painting was definitely a workout! And I did manage to drag the hubby out for a walk, but he doesn't move fast. 
3. re-listen to a hypnosis session 4 times a week  I call this a total fail.  I put headphones on & was asleep in like 3 seconds.
4. look up and try at least 3 new recipes a week   2/3 - I found a crockpot sweet & sour chicken recipe on Pinterest & was *amazing*. 
The other I didn't actually cook myself - but it was food we'd never had before.  Orange chicken from the awesome little Chinese food place we always go to.  Om nom nom nom nom!!

5. do at least 15 minutes daily straightening up the house  6/7 I don't think I made the 15 minutes, but I did do some straightening up.  I also got together a big pile of stuff to donate. 

So now, for week 2......copied & pasted directly from the email......

Post a round up of the progress made on your goals.
You can do this however you like, I find it makes me mindful of all of my goals if I go through them week by week and what progress I've made on each one, if you would rather just focus on what you've got. Remember to think about how you are going to progress in order to meet them or smash through them. What are your obstacles? How are you going to get around them?

The challenge this week.... Find some way to display your goals and keep them in the front of your mind. Kind of like a reward chart for kids!
I set this challenge because making your goals measurable and then measuring them is an important part of goal setting. We can agonise over the goals but unless we make moves to complete them what's the point?

Alrighty.  I already have a tab on the top of this page with my work in progress, with my weekly weigh ins.  I'll have to think about this when I'm not at work and come up with something good.

See ya next week!

Friend Makin' Monday - Have you ever....?

Happy Monday!!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section over at: so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

Have You Ever?

1. Jumped out of an airplane? No, but I'm not opposed to it.  It could be a crazy rush!
2. Lived alone? Yes.
3. Met a celebrity? Not that I can think of...
4. Said something to someone that you immediately regret saying? Yes.
5. Had a manicure/pedicure? Not as often as I'd like!
6. Gotten a hickey? Yes.  And I'm so glad that I dropped out of a certain school, because said hickey was quite prominent in my ID badge!
7. Owned a pet that was not a dog or a cat?  Besides the Beagle and 2 cats I currently have,  I also have fish and in the past have had guinea pigs and hermit crabs.
8. Been outside of your home country?  Yes, I was in the Navy, so I've been to Singapore, Hong Kong, Jebal Ali, Bahrain, Diego Garcia and Mexico.  I've gone on 2 non-Navy cruises, so Cozumel, Grand Cayman, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. And I do live within 40 miles of 2 different border crossings to Canada - so been there a few times!
9. Kissed your best friend? Yes, daily!  I'm married to him!
10. Eaten food that fell on the floor?   Yes!  5 second rule - but that only applies in my own house.
11. Met someone online? Yes. See #9
12. Been on TV? Yes.  I basically photobombed a news reporter.  At least I was in my dress whites, so I looked nice (and also stood out like a sore thumb)
13. Had braces?  Nope
14. Gone skinny dipping?   Many times! 
15. Been to the opera? No.
16. Been caught making out by a policeman?   No.
17. Sung in public? I've done karaoke a few times. 
18. Handed out candy on Halloween?  Yes!  I love Halloween and my house is the most decorated on our street every year.
19. Been snowed in? Yes. 
20. Fallen in front of other people? Yes. 
21. Cheated on a test? I don't think so.
22. Regretted saying “I love you” to someone? Yes. 
23. Finished a meal in a restaurant and realized that you didn’t have your wallet? Not me personally, but the guy I was with left his in the work truck and actually left me sitting there awkwardly while he went to get it.  I died of embarrassment!
24. Shot a gun? Yes.  Besides firearms training the in Navy and the small assortment the hubby has, I also have my own shotgun.  Think about it - can you think of any better burglar deterrent if you're home alone?  The bad guy has to be in the same room as you to see a baseball bat, but the racking of a shotgun echoes thru the entire house. Not that I've ever had to do that, but the option is there if needed!
25. Heard a song that was written for (or about) you? Yes. I was coming off a divorce when I met Randy.  So my mind was messed up & confused.  He left an MP3 player with Gary Allan's The One  in my door and it totally fit me & us.  It ended up being our first dance at our wedding.

Now it’s your turn to answer this week’s questions! Don’t forget to head over and link up in the comments!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hell to Paradise to da U.P. !!

Happy almost Friday!

We ended up having a very nice vacation last week.  Thursday afternoon, Randy said he was feeling somewhat better (darn summer colds, anyway!!) and that if we were going to actually GO someplace, we needed to make some plans.  So I called my sister Laurie who had already offered to take Miss Maddie High-Maintenance so she wouldn't miss her eye meds and also took Jack.  That was a win / win - since we didn't have to pay for a kennel and he was happy to hang out with his cousin Morgan.  So we let Angel invite her BFF and we were on the road by noon Friday!  

Side note - it may seem crazy to take 2 teenage girls on a road trip instead of just one....but they kept each other entertained and Taylor is a good kid anyway.  She was quite pleasant to take along.  

Prepare to be inundated with pics! 

The first stop was in Hell!  Not a terribly exciting place.  There is a gift shop in one building, a pizza / ice cream parlor in the other.  There's a tiny, but cute, wedding chapel out back, next to the mini-golf course.  And that's about it!

 Randy found the official NOAA weather station!

 This lonely colorful tree was in a rest area.

Scenic overlook just south of Mackinaw City.

The moonrise over Lake Huron - from 
the beach in front of our hotel room. 

Angel & Taylor waving from Lake Huron.

 The sunrise from our balcony.  
Even the girls were up at 6:30 to watch!
We learned later that the building that the sun 
is peeking around is the ruins of 
a car elevator that was used to load the second deck 
of the ferry to St. Ignace, pre-bridge!

On the bridge!

Us at the Soo Locks.

Lake #2 - Lake Superior, Brimley State Park

Pt. Iroquois NOAA station

Love the water washing over these rocks!

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

FYI - it is NOT 666 miles from Hell, unless you totally get lost!  
It was more like 400 miles. 

Whitefish Point Lighthouse
not far from where the Edmund Fitzgerald sank.  
The bell is in the Shipwreck Museum here. 
 Lake Superior - again!

Lower Tahquamenon Falls

Woods Critters!

Lower Falls

Lower falls - still!

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Mackinaw City NOAA station - don't worry -- the last one!  The Whitefish Point one was in a bird observatory building & not as obvious as the others. 

USCGC Mackinaw Icebreaker Museum

Wouldn't President Ford be offended at how creepy this is??? 

The ferry to Mackinac Island

The Mighty Mac

McGulpin Lighthouse

In the Straits

Lake #3 - Lake Michigan

Old Mackinaw Point Lighthouse

Fort Michilimackinac Guard Tower 
(with 2 slackers in flipflops lounging inside)

Guard house

Parade Grounds

Firing the cannon

The bridge from the Fort. 

One of the prettiest police cars I've seen!

So it was a lovely 3 days  - the weather was perfect!  Upper 70s and sunny the whole time.  I got a bit red at the Fort on Sunday, but I don't know if that was sun, wind or a combo of  both.  We intentionally left a few things to go see, so we have a reason to go back!