Tuesday, September 6, 2011

avalon + inspiration + la vie this week :)

Lake Avalon

Good morning!
I hope you had a fantastic Labor Day Weekend. I'm actually starting this blog on Monday night, though it won't be posted until tomorrow. John and I just got back from a great weekend in Hillman and Harrisville, Michigan. Basically, it was a weekend of tradition for us. I'm sure your family had tons of traditions, but two of ours growing up included visiting Harrisville every Labor Day Weekend for the massive art fair they host annually and going to our family cottage on Lake Avalon. 
I really love this lake. It is so clear and as you get further in, the water moves from light blue to a deep teal. It will take your breath away... in looks AND temperature! It was insanely cold. I can't believe I talked John into getting into it! He was such a trooper, though. He took me on a canoe ride and floated atop the water on a little blue raft with me. If that wasn't enough, the little darling indulged my childhood urge to go mussel hunting. I'll save you the sight of our collection (dear PETA, no mussels were harmed in this excursion, we kept them in the water the whole time).  

Hanging out in the rain
We were really so blessed because the weather wasn't supposed to allow us in the water at ALL this past weekend. In fact, in my last blog, we were hanging out at the public library and watching weather forecasts predicting and entire day of rain. However, just after we left, it began to clear up. By 12:30 the weather was nice enough for a swim and we spent several hours playing in the lake.
I should tell you about our cottage. It was the summer home that my great-grandparents built. My great-grandfather was a dentist and he wanted a place far enough away that his clients couldn't follow him to. I thought that was really interesting, because... who is crazy enough to stalk their dentist at his weekend home, right? However, my great-uncle, who still lives next door to the cottage told me that usually 1-2 patients per summer would still manage to track him down there. That is totally insane. Poor great-grandpa. Anyway, they built the house to hang out with their 4 daughters in (though one was later killed by a drunk driver) and eventually my grandfather passed away, his eldest daughter and her husband moved in next door and my great-grandma lived in the cottage year round. She passed it on to her 3 surviving daughters and now my grandma and one of my great aunts share ownership, letting the family borrow it each summer.
oatmeal cream pies... mmm
This is the first time I've been there in 10 years. My family changed a few things (there was a LOT more ivy on the cottage last time I was there), but essentially it was exactly the same. It was really fun to experience it all over again and for the first time with John. He really loved it.
I loved it, too. It was very inspiring and I can't wait to tell you all of the ideas I have for 'la vie'. I took a little notebook that my dear friend, Anna, gave to me (specifically for writing inspirational things!) and filled it in. I'll give you a sneak peek at the end of the blog :) I will tell you something now, though. We made these incredibly easy oatmeal cream pies and I'm planning to put the recipe up as soon as we come out of our sugar coma :) the best part is that there are 2 versions, one for those who are really comfortable baking and one for those who want them to be extremely easy! Both versions are delicious :)
I could go on and on about how beautiful and idyllic the cottage is (you'll have to check it out on facebook... seriously, there is ivy EVERYWHERE!), but it's time to move on to the next adventure, which was Harrisville.

Lake Huron
This involves my dad's side of the family. Every year as a child, all of us would go camping together at the state park. Of course, it was my dad's version of camping which meant going in our RV :) It was always great to sit around the fire, bike, swim in Lake Huron, whittle things (no joke, I really did that as a kid... hard to believe, right?) and SHOP! I can't say the craft/art fair is as exciting for me now as it was then, but it's still fun. Since Harrisville is close to Hillman, John and I decided to spend one of our days out there with my parents and father's family. It was a good decision! We had lunch with my parents and my (former) doggy at a little cafe while the parade went by, we spent some time perusing the art fair and then we had dinner together and a nice little (illegal?) dip in Lake Huron. I'm kind of thinking that we were on private property, but I'm not entirely sure. Should I even admit that publicly? oh well. It wasn't intentional! I have to tell you one great story. My parents bought me a bike for Christmas (and gave it to me early!) that I am absolutely in love with. It's gorgeous and very vintage-inspired.The very first thing I did was get a basket for it and now I ride it all over town every day. I've been realllyyyy hoping that John would get a bike too so that we can ride together. He had the same hope, but it wasn't as the top of our "needs" list. We thought we get around that by purchasing one second hand, so I've been scouring craigs list, flea markets and thrift shops in hopes of finding one there. My deadline was this little vacation because I was desperate for us to ride together. We weren't having any luck at all... until... I got a call from my mom a few days before we left. My great-aunt (the very one who lives next to the cottage) e-mailed her nieces and said she had a new men's mountain bike that she and my uncle were getting rid of. Apparently my uncle wasn't so fond of the gears on it and if no one in the family wanted it, they would just give it to the Salvation Army. Um. YES! It was so awesome! We were already heading up there that week and his bike would be ready and waiting for us on our mini-vaca. Isn't God so great? He's such a personal God. My great aunt and uncle had had that bike for so long the tires were flat! They *just* decided to give it away right before we needed it AND they thought to email the family first. It was perfect. I'm so grateful to them for their generosity and to God for his kindness.

see the baby in the back??
I have so much more I want to say about the trip, but here is my LAST paragraph... Ok, so if there is ONE thing I learned during our travels, it's that Atlanta is the elk capital of Michigan. They are FOR REAL about it. I mean, within a quarter mile of being in the city (township, village..?) limits, I had already seen 2 signs proclaiming this truth. I'm not sure that there is a ton of merit in being the elk capital, but props to them for being so proud of their achievement. Anyway, after the 9th or 10th elk sign in Atlanta, I mentioned to John that I hadn't ever seen an elk. Atlanta isn't so far from Hillman and the first place we went there (after the lake...) was the village grocery store (which is insanely overpriced, just so you know). The store happens to have an entire wall dedicated to taxidermy and their "latest addition" was an elk head. This inspired me to mention to the cashier that this particular elk head was the closest I'd been to seeing an actual elk. She then proceeded to tell me that Hillman has an elk farm (???? these exist?!) and gave us directions. Yeah. we definitely went. Those things are MASSIVE. I was realllyyy glad for the giant wire fencing between the herd and ourselves. Especially when that massive male elk made eye contact with me. Anyway- if YOU've never seen an elk, here is a pic :) 
And now- for this week!

Wednesday- lovers or BFF scarves
Thursday- Felt flowers
Friday- Oatmeal cream pies

Have a brilliant day <3
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