If You’re White, You’re Probably Part of the Problem.

05 December 2014 | 5 Comments
My name is Michelle and I’m about the whitest white girl you’ll ever meet.  I don’t consider myself a racist.  In fact, quite the opposite, racism makes me angry.  The N-word is one I wouldn’t even consider using.  I do have friends of many races, dated a black man, and voted to put President Obama into the highest office in the nation.  Twice.   

I am still part of the problem, the catalyst, causing rioting in Ferguson, Missouri and protests everywhere from New York to Los Angeles.  And you probably are too.

Before you full-on, start freaking out, I want you to listen.  To really listen, and consider the possibility, no matter how defensive it might make you, that I just might be right.

I woke last Tuesday morning, to a newsfeed filled with thoughts about Ferguson.  It was mostly for the business owners who were losing their life’s work because of the riots that had erupted.  There were prayers for the safety of law enforcement and firefighters.  There were admonishments too, of how absolutely stupid and pointless it was to riot and destroy things and how it wouldn’t accomplish anything.  There were disapprovals and tsk tsks over flag burning.  There was this underlying anger for lack of a better word, anger for what the rioters were doing.

What doesn’t make ANY sense to me, is why we have more empathy for a business owner losing their property or someone burning the flag, than we do for a black eighteen year old who lost his life.  Does anyone else find this to be a mortifying reflection of our present culture?  Because this whitey, white girl is raising her hand and frantically waving it around.

Now, you’ll deny the fact that your comments meant anything racist, and I will give you the benefit of the doubt.  You’ll defend the fact that, the business owners you referred to were of any race.  The greater problem that I see is, you’re not even considering the possibility that the people rioting or those protesting peacefully, might have an absolutely valid reason to do so.   For what it is worth, the Boston Tea Party, was also a riot.  I’m thanking the freedom of speech that I freely use, that everyone on Facebook didn’t exist to tell John Adams that he was a destructive loser thug, too.   You’re worried about stuff getting burned or looted, rather than an eighteen year old who died because his skin was brown.  Marinate in that. 

Have you considered when you, collectively, are not being heard… as black Americans clearly aren’t right now, you do something about that?  You stand up and speak out.  Only… for white Americans, speaking out is usually enough to be heard.  So, maybe you can’t even comprehend that for black Americans, it often isn’t.  

This rioting, and the peaceful protests too, it isn’t about the fact that there wasn’t an indictment last week.  It isn’t really even about Michael’s death, except perhaps, to his parents and those who loved him.  It’s about us.  It’s about a nation of people, who knowingly or not, collectively perpetuate a culture of inequality. 

Ignorance shouldn’t be our excuse, you just have to be willing to open your eyes.

There is the very obvious problem that, we don’t shoot and kill white teenagers over a stolen pack of cigars, but Michael died.  White Harvard professors aren’t harassed for breaking in to their own houses, but Henry was.  We don’t kill white twelve year olds for being the absolute idiots that we all know twelve year old boys can be, but Tamir was shot two and a half seconds after the police pulled up.  We don’t have vigilantes killing white teenagers for simply being white and walking in their neighborhood, but Treyvon’s mom will never hold her son again.  We don’t shoot white men mistakenly over a pill bottle that was thought to be a gun, but Rumain is dead.  That happened last week in Phoenix and it has barely made the national news cycle.  And we sure don’t choke hold and kill a white man on video over selling a cigarette for fifty cents while he begs for his life and says over and over that he can’t breathe, as Eric did.

Those things are in our face and we ignore them, we explain them away.  We blame the way the legal system works.  The fact is, we don’t “fear for our lives” and kill white young men when they punch a police officer.  Not even when they are drunk MMA fighters with drug convictions, and we certainly do not leave their bodies lying in the street for four hours.  Those men got the benefit of the doubt, where Michael, Henry, Tamir, Treyvon, Rumain, and Eric did not. 

I’ll bet, if you’re white, you’ve never stopped to consider that simply having brown skin means the ‘rights’ that we all enjoy aren’t actually afforded in an equal manner to everyone.  Because I have heard white people say this, “It’s America, everyone has the opportunity to make something of themselves.”  White people believe this so inherently, I hadn’t even considered it not to be true.

It is so out of the realm of anything we’re taught as a white citizen of the United States, that we simply dismiss these things by saying that people are just being sensitive, or that they are reading into the situation, or that someone didn’t mean it that way.   Just like I did when a few paragraphs above, I said, I’d give you the benefit of the doubt for your comments on Facebook.  We say, “Don’t make this about race.”

That is exactly the point, it already IS about race if you aren’t white.  All the time.  Every day.  It’s about RACE.

I don’t want to hear you say that these men and these boys who were killed were engaged in criminal activity because there are white people who aren’t even looked at twice for things like selling a cigarette for fifty cents.  If your skin is brown, there is racial disparity in police activity, trials, and sentencing.  If your skin is brown, the criminal justice system fails you.   If your skin is brown, well, then, you already know these things.  It isn’t you, who needs to hear them.  To acknowledge them.

As a white person, like it or not, agree with it or not, you still have participated in the collective problem.  By remaining silent.  By dismissing racism in your family or your group of friends.  By not questioning ALL of these things that are in your face.  By simply not recognizing that you have benefited from implicit racial bias.  Just simply because you were born into white skin, you’re granted that benefit of the doubt we’ve all taken for granted.  The ability to move into any neighborhood you can afford without worry that your neighbors might hate you at first glance.  You can smile and wave at a police officer and not get pulled over for something minor like a headlight out.  You might just be considered the best, or most hard working candidate in a stack because your resume doesn’t say Malik, or DeShawn, or Ebony, or Aaliyah.  Your parents didn’t have to consider how white your name might sound when choosing a name that reflects their heritage.  You can simply shut your eyes, as many of you might, and make all of this uncomfortable race talk disappear.  It’s called white privilege.  Here is a great explanation in comic form from 19 year old artist, Jamie Kapp.  

Oh, I hear your indignant cries.  We can’t help the fact that we were born white!  And you are absolutely right, we can’t.  Not at all, in fact.  However, we do have the power to stop dismissing, or making excuses for, or being ignorant of the fact that the United States is different for peach people, than it is for brown people.  Because, it is.  And not one of us should be OK with that.

Truth be told, I don’t even know how we, as a nation, are going to begin fixing this.  Being cognizant of it, recognizing it, and educating yourself is a good start.  We can lend our voices to this conversation and lend our ears to those who have been writing this eloquently for years.  We can say, I believe you, this isn’t ok with me, and what can we do to change this?  We can write a check to the NAACP.  We can ask ourselves, how can we be more sensitive to issues of race.  Even when it’s uncomfortable, especially when you feel awkward.  Even when you don’t know how to begin the discussion… start it anyway. 

It’s time.


If you’re interested in doing some more reading, I recommend:

Joules | winter Wish List.

03 November 2014 | 0 Comments
Disclosure: This is sponsored content on behalf of Joules.  All thoughts, opinions, and words are my own.

The weather here in the Midwest has turned chilly, blustery even.  The leaves are falling, crunching underfoot, and making everything smell like Autumn.  

I know, I know… you summer fans are groaning at the thought.  Summer is great, but I am unapologetically, a fall and winter sort of girl.  I love sweater weather, boots, football, hot cocoa and reading a book next to the fireplace.   Even the thought of the first snow makes me deliriously happy.

When Joules asked me to share the items that I’d like to cozy up with in my ultimate Winter Wish List, I jumped at the chance.  We absolutely love the Joules wellies, vests, and jackets, they get a ton of compliments.  If you’re not yet familiar with the Joules brand, it is a British company and the quality is fantastic. 

Now, I only need to convince them to bring their amazing line of home items to the US!  I could definitely fill another wish list with those items.

Joules Winter Wish List

|1| Joules | Women’s Print Rain Boot Wellies, Red Stripe
|2| Joules | Girl’s Knitted Animal Hat, Pink Grapefruit Owl
|3| Joules | Girl’s Fitted Hacking Jacket
|4| Joules | Men’s Shawl Neck Sweater 
|5| Joules | Women’s Quilted Jacket, Black 
|6|  Joules |  Boys Festive Screen Print T-Shirt

Who Wants to Go to HalloWeekends?

13 October 2014 | 23 Comments

Cedar Point Giveaway

October is my absolute favorite time of the year to visit Cedar Point.  If you live in Ohio and haven’t been to HalloWeekends, you should definitely try to get there.  Not only is the entire park decked out in its Halloween finest, but the cooler temperatures make it the perfect time for coaster riding.  There are family friendly, mild spooky tricks and treats for your little ones during the day and up near the front of the park at night.  If you’re a brave soul, there are scream inducing, frights for you too… and that is just the coasters!  Ride all of your favorites in the morning, then hit the fright zones and haunted houses in the evenings.

So WHO wants to go to Halloweekends for free?  Cedar Point wants to make that happen for one of you lucky peeps. 

That’s right, we are hooking you up with a sweet FOUR pack of tickets (nearly $200 value!) so you can go enjoy a day at America’s Roller Coast during 2014 HalloWeekends. There are just THREE short weekends left, so this giveaway is going to be a quick one. 

Maybe you’ll go this weekend?

Disclaimer:  Cedar Point is one of my favorite blog relationships and I work with them several times a year.  They provided (4) tickets for the giveaway as well as tickets for my family to enjoy Hallweekends.  All opinions are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

20 Years.

01 October 2014 | 6 Comments

I’m in the midst of planning our twentieth reunion. 

From high school.

As in, I graduated from high school twenty years ago. 

cell 433

Two thoughts permeate my brain.  One, how is that even possible?  Two, my best friend is a hoarder.

So, I should tell you that one of my very best friends moved back to Ohio this summer.  She has lived in Florida for my entire marriage and almost all of the time I have been with Dave.  She has seen my kids grow up through pictures and visits twice a year.  I still sometimes forget that she is here permanently.  It is weird and wonderful to have her a three minute drive away.  It’s bizarre to be able to call her and ask her to come over in the middle of the week.   When we do get together, it feels a little like vacation Natalie, home for just a minute.  Let’s pack everything all into one week of shopping and dinner out and fun!  Woooo! 

Dave just keeps saying, “Well, you DO have a lot of time to make up,” and sending me on my way.  I think he secretly loves it because Natalie tells him all kinds of stories about Fun Michelle.  That is what we call me, in the late nineties.  Fun Michelle are the stories my children won’t hear until they are old and planning their own 20th reunions.  Hopefully.

While we’re on the subject, most of our reunion planning meetings go like this,

HOW is it possible that we have been out of high school for twenty years?

It can’t be twenty years.  Don’t you feel like we’re supposed to still be twenty-two?

Maybe late twenties, max.

Do you think so and so will come to the reunion?  I wonder what ever happened to so and so.

Remember when so and so did that thing in high school that was hilarious?

Remember when you dated so and so?  Ahhhahahaha! 

Well at least I didn’t date so and so!

We were such idiots.

SUCH idiots.

We didn’t get anything done!

Totally, but I laughed so hard, my face hurts.

Worth it.

We also have the added bonus of Natalie memorabilia.  Now, I have a box of stuff from grade school and high school and college.  You throw in your senior pictures, some old grade cards that your mom saved, and a year book or two, right?  Pretty typical?  I feel like a lot of people have that box.

Natalie takes it to another level. 

She has receipts from a store where we used to work, with the cashiers’ names circled.  Did we really need to know that you bought a salad and cheese from Julie in 1993?  Probably not.  How about ticket stubs from movies she went to with names scribbled on the back… it’s important to remember that you, Jay, and Abby went to see Jurassic Park, twenty some years ago.  Have I mentioned every award and certificate she was ever given?  There is a folder full, people.

cell 449

Oh, I can already hear her yelling at me while she’s reading this.  She’ll tell me it’s not fair if I don’t tell you that her parents just moved and so they went through everything that was packed away there.  She will protest that she was just keeping all of this for our twentieth reunion.  For this very occasion.  She will try to convince you, THAT was the reason she had two copies of everything from our prom program to our commencement announcement.

I maintain that the ticket stubs speak for themselves.  And I am going to wear this 1994 vintage broomball beauty, pinned to my sweater…

Natalie Button

Just so you all know, Nat is the best sport in the universe and gave her blessing for this post.  By blessing, I mean, she sighed and told me that she was going to tell you all that we’re only friends because she let me cheat off her in pre-calculus class our junior year. 

Clearly, math is NOT my forte, but choosing best friends is.

I Am a Cliché. I even Know How to Spell Cliché.

04 September 2014 | 3 Comments

This morning, I dropped the kids off at their respective schools.

I know.    

Can I explain to you how magical it is for a parent to have two hours and fifteen minutes to themselves, three days a week?  The answer to that is, pretty damn magical.  Thank you, sweet, sweet pre-school.  I haven’t been alone on a regular basis, in a silent house no less, for seven and a half years.

Seven.  And a half.  Years.  Just the QUIET alone.  Those kids of mine are apparently a noisy duo.  The first two days, I couldn’t even bring myself to turn on the radio because the quiet was so magnificent. 

This morning though?  I almost danced my way out of the classroom.  I was the mom in the SUV, giant smile on my face, blasting Vanilla Ice and singing every word, just because I can.  Then I got home, to my quiet house and picked twelve pounds of tomatoes from the garden.  Homemade tomato sauce?  Heck yes.    Did I mention it was quiet? 

I might even shower before noon!

I have much, much more to tell you.  Including explaining what I’ve been doing all summer.  I intend on doing just that, but for now, shhh… thirty more minutes before I have to pick the little one up.

To That Girl, In Her Twenties.

20 August 2014 | 4 Comments

That Girl in Her Twenties

It’s fine that you don’t have it all figured out. 

Hear me out.  I know you think you do, because that is how you have operated your entire life, but no, you don’t. 

Not at all, in fact. 

You are exactly, unequivocally where you are supposed to be in your life.  Trust in that.  Put to rest that feeling, the one that says, everyone else has a plan and you don’t.  It doesn’t matter that your siblings, your friends, your parents, that girl from high school, your cousins, or your mortal frenemy were married, had a job, whatever at your age… that isn’t your story, it’s theirs.  Stop bringing self-doubt and comparison to the table instead of your own bounty.      

Enjoy right where you are, right at this very minute.   Your entire life is there, laid out before you, just loaded with possibility.  You can fill it with whatever you want. 

I wish you could appreciate how unbelievably awesome that really is, but you won’t until you are old.

You get to make mistakes.  Thousands of them.  You get to try stupid shit.  If there ever was a time to do that, it’s now.  Trust me.  You get to do that thing that you believe in, the one that puts a fire in your belly when you think about it.  You can even do the thing that everyone in your life tells you NOT to do.  Sure, sometimes you will screw it all up, but sometimes it will be magnificent.  Do it, regardless of the outcome.  Just because you can.  

That goes for dating too.  You get to date the right ones and date the wrong ones, you don’t even have to recognize the difference right now.  You can have unapologetic {safe… goes with out saying, doesn’t it?} sex without attachment.  You can be in a long term relationship without ever having sex at all, if you like.  You can date, you can flirt, you can masturbate without shame, you can be abstinent, have a thousand partners, you can love a man, or a woman, or both.  Your body doesn’t belong to your parents, your partner, your friends, your religion, or anyone other than you.  And that is exactly who gets to make the decisions about it.  You.       

You get to struggle and work harder than you ever have.  You will learn exactly what you are made of in the moments that you think you can’t handle.  You will flounder and you will figure shit out, or you will fall flat on your face.  The first will teach you perseverance, the second will teach you humility.  Both are hard won, valuable gifts.

You get to figure out, sometimes it’s ok to walk away.  You can run from toxic friends, from your small town, or your big city, from the thing that you no longer want to be, but were just sure you wanted to do when you were twelve, and even from that relationship that no longer makes you happy.    

Your life, it will unfold.  Faster than you ever imagined it could, in most cases.  All it will be a part of you and each piece is important.  You will have hilarious stories to laugh about with your friends, the heartaches will have softened, you will know that you lived your dream, you will be grateful for the mis-steps and mistakes and the lessons learned. 

I know it’s hard to see right now because you are waiting for that next thing.  The person.  The career.  The house.  The kids.  The feeling that you have it all figured out.  Not unlike when you were five and waiting for school to start, twelve waiting for your first kiss, or sixteen and waiting for your drivers license.  Those things you’re waiting for, they will get there, when they get there, they can’t be rushed.  If I’m being honest, sometimes they never show up.  

Here is a secret though, one that some people never figure out.  You don’t need any of those things, not one, to be a complete, wonderful, dazzling human being.  You’re already there.  But, you knew that already, didn’t you?

So, Toledo Was Fun This Weekend.

04 August 2014 | 6 Comments

Saturday morning, I woke up to this…

Toledo Water Emergency

Now, two things you should probably know.  One, my Aunt Sue isn’t tech savvy, she doesn’t text me.  I have gotten exactly ONE text from her, ever.  So you can imagine I was completely confused.   Two, I am an up late kind of girl and Friday… Friday, I went to bed early.  Or I would have seen the health department post at 1:30 in the morning that we should NOT consume, boil, or even touch the water coming out of the tap. 

No drinking.  No showers.  No cooking with it.  No washing dishes.  No hand washing. 


Don’t touch it, don’t let your kids touch it, and don’t let your pets near it.

Which is super fun because right before bed, I downed two huge glasses of contaminated water.  And did a load of dishes on the ridiculously hot setting of our dishwasher.

To put it mildly, people were freaking out.  I told Dave that he should probably hit the store for some bottled water, but by 7:20 am, when he got there, they were already out.  Dave headed to Sam’s because his dad has a business membership, which means he could go in at 7am.  There were already lines around the building and the sheriff’s department was there, so he turned around and came home.

I wasn’t immediately panicked because we had about ten quart sized bottles and some 8 ounce bottles in the basement.  The first two quarts went right into the Keurig and I realized pretty quickly how completely under prepared we were for anything longer than a day.  Even more so when we realized that some family members didn’t have any, like my diabetic 89 year old Gram and my sister and my brother.

We take clean, safe, potable water for granted.  Especially here in Ohio where we have access to the Great Lakes and some of the best water in the country, right out of the tap.  And we use way more than we probably should.   

Try turning off the water to your house for 24 hours and seeing how you would cope.  Then tack on another day and a half, just for fun. 

Now just imagine 600,000 people all doing the same.  Stores in cities an hour away were completely out of bottled water by 11 am on Saturday morning.  Just imagine that.  All of the metro Toledo area, Angola, Indiana, Ann Arbor, Detroit, Monroe, Sandusky, Bowling Green, Findlay all being completely out of bottled water in a matter of hours.  It’s sobering.  Produce departments were also completely cleared because of water spray that contaminated anything exposed to it.  Aisles of paper products were empty.

Produce Section during Toledo Water Emergency Empty Paper Product Aisle Toledo Water Emergency

I swear you’re going to see me on one of those doom’s day prepper shows because of this experience…

Sunday morning, we went to my aunt’s house to shower and fill up our food grade buckets {Dave bought the last four at Lowes} with water.  We were able to bring that water home and wash dishes and our hands in clean water.  They gave the all clear that it was ok for healthy adults to shower, but didn’t provide even ONE actual scientific number to back that up.  As of Monday morning, when they finally lifted the ban, the mayors office and the Ohio EPA still had yet to release any actual data.   

National Guard Water Filling Station      

We’re extremely lucky that it was only half a million people affected and not more than one major city.  If Cleveland or Detroit had also been affected, I don’t think we would have been able to have the immediate response that we {luckily} did.  By Saturday afternoon, the national guard had been mobilized and had a plan for truckloads of water to be delivered, the Red Cross had some water available to those who didn’t have any, people were calm and delivering water to those who couldn’t get out.  I saw gracious people handing out bottles of water to neighbors and friends and strangers alike.  There were calm lines and absolutely gracious, smiling, tired faces of our Ohio National Guard, Red Cross Volunteers, and store clerks.  There were people calling and offering showers and places to fill buckets in cities not affected.

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t all handled perfectly, there were instances of price gauging.  There were altercations at stores.  There were people buying ridiculous amounts of water, that I hope were for more than themselves, but probably weren’t.  The mayors office really dropped the ball disseminating actual information and it just fueled every idiot in the city to fill in the blanks, true or not.  Every rumor you can imagine spread like wildfire on social media.  I really do think his office acted appropriately in not giving information they weren’t sure about, but they should have just said, hey… we have no idea.  Instead they said that they would have answers, test results, and continuously stalled or just didn’t show up when they said they would, it wasn’t good.  By Sunday evening pissed off people were throwing out suggestions about protesting.

They also really need to overhaul whomever is handling their social media accounts.  Pssst… Mr. Collins, call me.      

Cheers to clean water and the ban being lifted.  I’ll wait to drink it, until you provide those actual numbers. 

Frozen Outdoor Movie Party : Frozen Birthday Party Ideas

26 July 2014 | 7 Comments

Disney’s Frozen is still reigning as a giant with it’s legions of pint-sized fans.  Costumes are sold out.  Good luck finding the toys.  Luck is exactly what you’ll need, unless you want to pay an arm and a leg.  There is no end in sight to the fervor for famous sisters, Anna and Elsa.  That fervor very much includes Tate, who knew without a doubt, what kind of party she’d choose for her third birthday.

So, uh, tell me.  What made the queen go all ice crazy?  --Kristoff, Frozen

Not only did she want a Frozen party, Miss Stephanie would make her an Anna + Elsa cake, and she wanted an ice castle too.  Which was charming considering it is July.  I’m no Elsa, as Tate pointed out, when I tried to explain the fact that it wasn’t winter. 

Duh, there would be an ice castle.   Elsa would just make it with her ice magic.

I’m gonna tell him!
Don’t you dare!  --Anna and Kristoff, Frozen

MOST importantly, above all else, she wanted an Elsa dress.  The dress that was sold out everywhere.  Because, of course.

Love this Frozen outdoor movie night Frozen Party

Tate didn’t doubt it for a moment.  Like icy magic, it came together exactly as she said it would. 

DIY Elsa Dress

Wow. Elsa, you look different. It's a good different. And this place...it's amazing.  -- Anna, Frozen

By DIY, I mean, I am convinced that my mother-in-law is secretly a fairy godmother because this dress is spectacular.  {She also did Tate’s Tinkerbell caplet for Halloween last year.}   Sue listened to my crazy ideas, had a couple top secret fittings with her very impatient Elsa-adoring granddaughter, and gave her the best gift ever.  She wears her Elsa dress daily, you can see why.  The dress snaps on to her bodysuit which is washable. Grandma even thought to sew a bit of extra length into it so as she gets taller, the dress will grow with her.

Frozen Elsa Dress DIY DIY Elsa Dress

Frozen Elsa Costume DIY Frozen Elsa Costume

Elsa’s Ice Castle

The cold never bothered me anyway.  --Elsa, Frozen

When I was laughing and telling my husband about the fact that she requested an ice castle, her brother suggested using a tent.  It was a stroke of sheer genius and we already owned it.  The canopy came with sides that we have never used.  They were easy to attach, so we put three sides up and made it our official Elsa’s Ice Castle concessions.  We added some icicle Christmas lights and borrowed some hanging snowflakes from my mom’s Christmas decorations and threw in an Elsa chandelier for good measure.  I made a few Arendelle-esque banners tied together with glittery, sparkly tulle. 

Note to self: Glitter never goes away.  Ever.

Frozen Outdoor Movie Night 

Frozen Birthday Movie Party  DIY Elsa Chandelier 

Frozen Birthday Party Banner

 Frozen Birthday Party Outdoor Movie 

Frozen Movie Menu

We finish each other’s…
That’s what I was gonna say!  -- Hans & Anna, Frozen

First up, the cake!  Stephanie at SugarBean created this cute masterpiece.  She melted down purple and blue jolly ranchers to make shards of ‘ice’ and she had a special surprise waiting on the inside!

Anna Elsa Frozen Cake

Frozen Party Cake Ombre Frozen Themed Cake

SugarBean also created these cute Frozen themed cookies that were a HUGE hit with the kids.  There might have been some rock, paper, scissors over who got the last Olaf.

Frozen Cookies SugarBean

I made these Sven Chocolate Covered Oreo Pops and had summer Olaf taped to mini twirly suckers!  We threw in some of Sven’s favorite snacks, carrots cut up with ranch dip and a spicy nacho dip with chips to counteract the sugar overload.  We also had tons of popcorn and some pink Goldfish crackers because they are a favorite of the birthday girl.

Frozen Birthday Desserts Cell 210

Frozen Movie Night Frozen Party Menu

My intention was to color the lemonade an icy blue with a packet of blue Kool-aid and I completely forgot to add it!

Frozen Birthday Party Drinks Frozen chandelier and Anna pinata

Dave’s aunt brought this adorable Anna piñata from Austin when she came up this summer.  It was as tall as Tate and so cute we couldn’t bring ourselves to break it!

Anna Frozen Pinata

Happy 3rd Birthday, Tate!

Some people are worth melting for.  --Olaf, Frozen

After gift opening and cake, the kids {and some of the adults} chose glittery necklaces and princess crowns.  Then everyone hit the concessions for popcorn and movie treats.   

The main event was the outdoor screening of Frozen and the kids loved it.  We had our usual movie night set up with blow up air mattresses, blankets, pillows and tons of chairs.  The screen is just a white sheet hung on the fence, but the kids just think it’s magical every time we have an outdoor movie.  There was a lot of singing and laughing… and quite a bit of cheering when Anna punched Hans.

A pretty good birthday, she tells me.

Frozen Outdoor Movie Party

Cell 249

Cell 245 Cell 267

There are a TON of Frozen birthday party ideas, if you need more, check out my Frozen Pinterest Board!

Margarita Melon : Margarita Appetizer.

15 July 2014 | 3 Comments

These drunken watermelon bites are perfect for a summer party.  They taste like a mini watermelon margarita and they are so cute that your guests won’t be able to resist.  They have a great tequila flavor, but not enough alcohol in one to make you tipsy.  The sea salt provides a great contrast with the sour of the lime and the sweet of the watermelon. 

It’s the perfect appetizer or amuse for a Mexican dinner with friends.  I’m currently working out dinner party details, just so I can plan around these. 

Margarita Melon


  • Using a melon baller {I just used a metal measuring spoon for mine} scoop out melon.  If you don’t have a melon baller, you can also cut the melon into half inch cubes.
  • Place the melon ball on a tasting spoon.  I used ceramic soup spoons. {amazon affiliate}
  • Pour 1 teaspoon of tequila, 1/4 teaspoon of triple sec, {Grand Marnier, or Cointreau will also work} and 1/4 teaspoon of fresh lime juice over the top of the watermelon.   Make sure to use fresh lime juice, it makes a huge difference.
  • Store in the fridge for at least half an hour to allow alcohol to soak into the watermelon.
  • Top with a pinch of sea salt just before serving!  If these are going to be passed hor d'oeuvres or appetizers sitting out, you can have a little salt cellar on the tray for the guests to add a pinch of salt themselves just before eating.  I used a smoked sea salt that I picked up at Trader Joe’s, but a vanilla sea salt or pink Himalayan is also a great choice.

Just be careful not to indulge too much or you’ll be dancing around with a sombrero on your head before you know it.  It goes without saying that these need to be kept out of the hands of little ones.  You could always do a non-alcoholic version with a little fresh lime juice, and sea salt… just be sure to label them clearly! 

Fun Things To Do in Ohio: Cedar Point.

02 July 2014 | 4 Comments

Cell Cedar Point 210

Located on the coast of Lake Erie in Sandusky, is perhaps one of my favorite summer activities in Ohio.  Where else are you going to have a gorgeous view from the best rollercoasters in the world?

If you live anywhere near the Midwest, or if you are a fan of roller coasters, you have heard of Cedar Point.  We are fortunate to live a short drive from America’s Roller Coast and head to the park a couple times a year.  Visiting Cedar Point each summer was a highlight of my own childhood and a tradition that we are happy to pass on with our children.  No matter your age, that first glimpse of the coasters when you drive onto the causeway, still starts the butterflies in your belly and squeals of excitement fill the car.  There have been many changes over the years, but classics like the Blue Streak {celebrating it’s 50th anniversary this year!} and my favorite, Raptor {celebrating it’s 20th! anniversary} never go out of style. 

Cedar Point has really become a great place for families with young kids.  This year especially, they have added two new incredible family rides in the Gemini Midway.  The Lake Erie Eagles and the Pipe Scream are Cedar Point’s new rides for 2014 and they have added in some new seating and shaded spaces, really improving the entire aesthetic in that area of the park. 

A change that we were also thrilled to see this year was in concession choices.  Our kids tend to eat {mostly} healthy stuff and amusement parks are notorious for overpriced junk food.  My personal favorites are those Cedar Point fries, I justify every delicious bite with all of the miles we log walking around Cedar Point.  But, man can not live on fries alone, so I LOVED seeing that Cedar Point has added healthier snack options at the park.  At the Coca-Cola drink station near the back of the park, you can grab oranges, apples, and cut up watermelon to go, along with water and juice.  We also picked up the souvenir cups, worth every penny, and re-filled iced water and lemonade all day for free.

We hit up all of our favorite rides, some countless times, and had a great day at the park!  What is your favorite Cedar Point ride? 

Military members, both retired and active duty can take advantage of FREE admission from June 30 through July 6th with a valid ID {military ID or honorable discharge papers} and military families will receive huge discounts on tickets as well.

Disclosure:  Cedar Point invited us to visit the park as their guests and treated us to lunch.  All opinions, commentary, and fun having are our own.

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