Darth Vader cake

The other night we had one of those evenings in our house where some people aren’t eating dinner until 10:30 pm and the logical progression is to then make a Darth Vader cake.  We have all had one of those evenings, right?  (Spoiler alert:  this post is not at all foodie….I used a box cake mix and store bought icing.  I’ll let you know when we do this again with some actual culinary skills put into place)  🙂  I’ll also admit that I didn’t allow the cake to cool before I iced it…I already explained that it was at least 11:30 pm by this time right?  😉  Still…not bad for dessert or for breakfast the next morning 🙂

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a blustery Michigan weekend

Brett and I now have a tradition where we go to Union Pier, Michigan in the dead of winter 🙂  You can see photos from our first trip here and a post about our second trip here.  This time around we were pros…we even had a packing list 🙂  We usually eat a cozy meal in one night and go out to dinner another night.  We like to spice it up a little though and try something different each time.  Last year we went to the casino and spent most of that time in the kid’s arcade area 🙂  This time we enjoyed a trip to a really cool distillery in the area.  Here is more about our weekend…

Brett and I really like this small, 2 room cottage that we have rented for the past 3 years.  It has everything that we need for a cozy and relaxing, Michigan weekend

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Usually we unpack the car, make a quick run to the local grocery store, and get back to our 2 room cottage to rearrange the necessary furniture to set up a Brett worth media area 🙂

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the pups run around and start getting comfortable in their new, weekend space

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and we start using the small kitchen 🙂

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finally some relaxation begins!

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For breakfast this year we used a new pancake mix that we bought over the holiday break with our families.  They were sooo good!  I think I’ll have to go ahead and figure out how to make sweet potato pancakes from scratch now 🙂

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One of my favorite parts of the weekend are our walks in the snow 🙂  Champaign has had a lot of snow this year too but there is something really delightful about walking through the small community in MI in the snow!

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Since the weather has been so dreadfully cold, the waves on Lake Michigan were frozen for at least 100 feet off of the beach!  We spent some time each day exploring the frozen water until someone started shivering and we needed to go back to warm up 🙂

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Once back to the cottage, Brett made sure that everyone was roasty-toasty warm!  🙂

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Lunch was usually fun snack/healthy items.

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While in Michigan, we try and buy at least part of our groceries locally

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We usually eat one dinner in, another dinner out, and then decide on that third dinner when the time comes

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That tiny kitchen has most of what we need for cooking for the weekend.  There isn’t an oven though, and this year I decided to experiment with cinnamon rolls in a skillet (more to come on that soon…eep!  Teasers!)

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This year our new activity was to visit a local distillery.  The Journeyman Distillery was really fun, the atmosphere was great, the tour was awesome, and we got to taste all of the yummy liquors that they distill 🙂

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Back to the cottage for more snuggles

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and more snow walks!

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we even found a lost pair of boots in the snow!

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Brett and I like playing board games too during our relaxing weekend.  This year we played Agricola 🙂  This is my favorite board game at the moment…it takes a bit of time to set up until you have memorized all of the rules but Brett and I figured it out and played a few games over the weekend.  Such fun!

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…and you just can’t have a cozy, snow filled Michigan weekend without a few cozy fires 🙂

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On the drive back we experienced really cold temperatures (the car thermometer later showed -1 but I don’t have proof of that haha), lots of wind…

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…and evidence of the winter storm that has been occurring over the past weeks

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We all made it home safe and sound though.  I absolutely love this tradition of ours…I hope we make it up north next year too!

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Girly Wednesday ~ xxxviii~ a Paris nightclub flashback

Musing on relationships is something I very much enjoy.  Meeting up with old friends is always such an interesting experience.  Regardless of the time that has passed in between, I have found that these encounters either illuminate exactly how similar the two of you still are… or exactly how completely opposite you have become.  I rarely find anything in between….we are either in exactly the same spot in life (relatively speaking obviously) or we could not be in more different situations 🙂  Thinking about all of this the other day made me think back to our Paris trip.  (more posts from our Paris trip herehereherehereherehereherehere, and here)  🙂  While in Paris, Brett and I met up with friends of mine during our week long stay.  We reconnected with two of my friends a few times over the week and had such a lovely time with them.  They invited us to their home in the suburbs of Paris and I couldn’t have been happier with our time spent together (except that I didn’t get a picture of all 4 of us together!  I want to get better at that!)  Brett and I also met up with a group of my friends at a Paris night club.  A picture of the two of us with a favorite couple of mine is below.  I was able to reconnect with a few people that night…though many more old friends were present.  With a few of them, after 7 years of not seeing one another, we picked up right where we left off.  It was so nice to see them and for them to meet Brett.  Just makes me want to up and move across the ocean where I get to speak French all day long 🙂

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a holiday date weekend

Brett and I haven’t had a date night in a while 🙂  With the holidays just in front of us, we decided that it was definitely time for an evening to ourselves before all of the crazy family hustle and bustle begins!

We went out to dinner to a quiet Japanese restaurant in town….it took driving by three places to find one that hadn’t closed down haha 🙂  (I told you that it had been a while!)

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After dinner we went on a sleigh ride…this is what Brett’s family calls driving through town while looking at other people’s Holiday lights 🙂

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The next day we continued the holiday festivities by running errands and getting some more decorations for our home.  Leaving the driveway proved to be a bit of a challenge though because some more snow had fallen 🙂

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I guess we were inspired by our sleigh ride the night before because Brett and I added a whole new dimension to our Christmas decorating 🙂  At the hardware store, I found these awesome, little red bows like my mom decorated our entire house with…I just had to have them!  I put a round of them on our small Christmas Tree and one on the Eiffel Tower in the living room for good measure.  I wish I had 100 more to cover the house 🙂

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We also bought Christmas lights!!!  Brett hung them up in the backyard 🙂

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I thought we were ready for the holidays before but now I know that we are!  Have you found yourself adding more decorations and embellishments to your home as we approach the holidays?  🙂  Do you have any favorite things (like my new red bows) that you include in your decorations?  🙂