Try Something New

Trying something new can be a little scary, especially a new sport.

I was lucky to finally get to try stand-up paddle boarding this past weekend with my sister and my nieces. We started from shore kneeling on the boards until we got out a little further and then stood up. I was so nervous and shaky because I really didn’t want to fall and end up completely soaked. I didn’t have a swimming suit and the water in Lake Michigan is still pretty cold.

marykay on a paddleboard

me on a paddle board

paddle boarding


I’ve been wanting to try paddle boarding for a few years, so it was great fun to be out on the water with family over the weekend. It’s a lot harder than it looks, especially on a windy day, but now I know what to expect for the next time. Of course, going on adventures like this with my sister and my nieces always gives me more courage and motivation to get out there and just do it.


Happy Days

Happy to be celebrating our 13-year wedding anniversary today!

wedding picture

The best thing is that we continue to make each other laugh. Oh Happy Days!

wedding picture

Hope you are enjoying a great kick-off to summer.


Signs of Spring

I have seen a few signs of Spring lately: crocus blooming, daffodils and narcissus standing tall, buds and blossoms starting to open on trees, a late snow storm, and a high school musical of Shrek with my niece Abby as one of the stars.

spring is daffodils

spring is buds

spring is blossoms

abby as the dragon

my niece Abby as the Dragon – she rocked the most awesome solo!

abby as the dragon

abby as the dragon

my niece Abby as the Dragon – she’s the star in the purple dress

abby as the dragon

Spring is my favorite season. It’s exciting to see the world (in the Northern Hemisphere) warm up and come back to life , so I look forward to seeing more signs of Spring. What signs of Spring have you seen?


Birthdays Are Always Better On Fridays

TGIF! Weekend Postcard tools A few highlights from the week:

  • I received great news of more freelance illustration projects coming my way, perhaps a new collection of licensed art each month.
  • I illustrated a new map that I really love and entered into a design contest. (did you vote yet?!)
  • We had a great visit with my dad last weekend. We spent the day at his upholstery shop, helping him with a new computer set-up.
  • All of our snow has finally melted, and our brown matted grass is slowly starting to perk up.
  • We finished our taxes.

Birthdays are always better when they land on a Friday. Happy Birthday to my husband Dave! Dave at Cabo Wabo The first thing I remember about meeting him was his great laugh! He does love making people laugh. Dave also loves Las Vegas, donuts, cats, Coke, pizza, carbs, movies, video games, Journey, Rush, 80s music, taking things apart to figure out how they work, science, space, chocolate chip cookies, the beach, and so much more. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, he’s obsessed with napkins too. Everyone has their quirks. I do admire him for his individuality, confidence and convictions. I count my lucky stars everyday we’re together.

We’re going to a swanky place for dinner to celebrate, and then we’re going to the Zoo this weekend for some adventure. Happy Friday to you. Enjoy your weekend!


Pets Are The Best

As you may know, I love cats. But I haven’t always been a cat lover.

When I was very young, about 5 years old, we adopted a cat named Kirby from a neighbor who was moving across country and couldn’t take their cat with them. He was sooo cool. He ended up getting very sick with throat cancer, so we had to put him to rest. I remember it was a very sad day.

kitties looking outside

When I was about 10 years old, we brought home a puppy English Springer Spaniel named Kermit. He was such a happy dog. He loved roaming the woods around the house I grew up in. Eventually, while my brother, sister and I were away at college, my mom got injured, and we had to give him to a family who could take better care of him. I never saw him reach old age or get sick.

angel on the toilet

Many years later, I had a yellow labrador named Jake. He was a hunter and a free spirit. But he was also a great companion. He used to love riding in the front passenger seat of my car. I had a lot of good times with him. But I left that home before he reached old age, so he was active and healthy when I had to say goodbye.

angel snoozing

I always thought I was a dog lover. When I met Dave, I started to learn more about cats from him. He had always been a cat lover.

angels belly

We adopted two cats in 2002, Angel the mom and Callie one of her kittens. They have been part of our family for 12 years. Losing Angel this past weekend was really heart-breaking.

kitties in window sill

But we still have Callie. So indulge me while I tell you about Callie:

callies belly

Callie has a few nicknames in our house – Calsters, Callie the kitten (she’s 12 now but still acts like a baby), Cat, and Baby Piglet.

callie talking

She is so much fun to have around. She loves to sit on my lap.all.the.time. She follows me around like a shadow. She is a good mouser, finding mice when they get into our basement. She’s not interested in any people food, but she loves to lick the salt off chips and popcorn. She loves to do big paws, aka kneading, on her fleece blanket. She loves to lay on my clothes. She loves to sit in boxes. She talks a lot. (for a cat)

callie on the basket

I would love to be a crazy cat lady and adopt more cats. But Callie is quite territorial, so we will embrace being a one-cat house, taking turns spoiling her.

callie at the screen door

It’s amazing how these little creatures can really capture your heart. If you’re not a cat lover, or even a pet / animal lover, I’m sure you can appreciate the love and affection people have for their pets. So thanks for listening.


Holiday Traditions: Cookie Day

Our annual cookie day was this past weekend. My family has been getting together the Saturday after Thanksgiving for over forty years.

Each year, we spend more and more time catching up, eating and drinking wine, and less time baking. It’s great fun! I love the camaraderie, in spite of all the strong personalities, viewpoints and lifestyles coming together.


jam thumbprints

dipped pretzels

mint bars


chocolate mint surprise

peanut butter bonbons

rolo inside

sugar cookie cutouts

kung fu cookies

pecan cookies


triple chocolate chunk

candy bar spritz

pretzel kisses

Usually a different person each year volunteers to host Cookie Day, someone who has enough kitchen space and countertops for us to spread out, someone who is willing to let us take over and make mess.ingredients

The rule for the little kids is you can eat up to 100 cookies! One year, someone tried… and got sick. ~hehehehehe~christmas subway art

The ladies (and little kids) usually have soup for lunch while the guys go to a bar. At the end of the day, we take turns filling our tins with cookies to take home and enjoy throughout the rest of the holiday season.

Do you have any holiday traditions in your family or extended family?


Postcards From My Sister

In early 2012, I came across a blog post about two sisters who sent each other one postcard a week for a year. I thought it would be fun to try this postcard project with my sister, who was skeptical at first of our ability to keep it up.

me and my sister

My sister and I have different personalities and life aspirations, but we have always been close. I can always count on her. We have lived far apart from each other for many years, but we text, email and talk often, as well as send each other notecards and random care packages. I miss her constantly, so I cherish her friendship.

Postcards from my sister

It didn’t require a lot of work or writing. Sometimes we wrote just a simple sentence about our week or something we were looking forward to. It also became an adventure to find more interesting postcards than those with pictures of the towns we live in. Now I have this really fun collection of postcards from my sister from the year 2012. Thank you, MaryKay, for playing along so well!

Thanks for stopping by.


At the Lake

I’ve been a little quiet around here lately, enjoying the past week at my parent’s house on Lake Michigan with my family.

We’ve been boating, swimming, kayaking, hiking in the woods, biking and spending time together.

sunset at dinner


hiking in the woods

beach bonfire

I haven’t seen my brother and sisters’ families much this year, so it’s been great hanging out together. I’ll be back on Friday with my list of things to be thankful for this week. Hope you’re enjoying some family time these last days of summer too.

Weekend Escape

I escaped for the weekend to my parents’ house on the beach.

I haven’t been there in over a year, so it was great to be back and spend a few days with my family.

I loved soaking up the beautiful blue skies and blue waters, beach combing, watching the waves crash on the beach, and hiking in the woods.

My mom always feeds us really well too, so it was fun spending time in the kitchen with her.

I am in the midst of finals, so I am working on five projects right now, which meant I had to pack up my printer and bring it along on the road trip. I managed to lock myself into my office away from home (i.e., the playroom) for a few hours each day, and found the discipline to get a lot of work done.

I hope you had a great weekend too! Thanks for stopping by.