A bit of green, a bit of grey

On the weekend, we usually head for the wild. Or as wild as we can get near Detroit. Lol. The woods call our name and we go. This past weekend however we took a detour and it was a lovely one.

Saturday was a gorgeous sunny day, spring was in the air and all was merry and cheerful. Detroit’s Pewabic Pottery was having a Celtic Celebration, and I couldn’t wait to go. I love the work that comes out of Pewabic, and my family ancestry is very Irish. They had advertised dancing, things for the kids to do, and best of all, live music. I grew up spinning around the living room in my mom’s arms to the songs of the Irish Rovers and I play them now for my son. So I was super excited for him to hear some Irish music live. I knew he would really love it, that and the dancing, all that lively jumping up and down.

We got there at the start of the event since Pewabic is not a large building really, and full of breakables and we had the boyo with us. I wanted to ensure that we were not swallowed by a crowd, plus I didn’t want to chance breaking anything by accident. It was nice as we were among the first to arrive, and we were able to listen to the music and do some coloring without much crowding. Although, Wyatt was more interested in his pretzel than coloring, so Billy colored instead. Lol. Wyatt did love the music as predicted, and loved The Rattling Bog the very best, just like I do.

Oh that fireplace! If only…maybe one day? So many beautiful items were on display, so much fantastic artistry. I ended up buying the bunny pictured alone, although I am going back for more very soon. I love rabbits. The tile I bought was by a Canadian artist named Mary Philpott, and is in the style of the British Arts and Crafts movement. I am in love with it! You can check out more of her work here.

Sunday was about Billy. Kind of. He wanted to go to an RV and Camper show, which I wasn’t super excited to do. But you know how you do, you do things your spouse wants and vice versa, right? Plus, he threw in that it was in the same city as a coffeehouse that I have wanted to go to for twenty whole years! So, off we went. I didn’t hate the RV thing – but I did think once you saw a few of them, why look at them all? We are considering getting one so we can start doing longer trips with the kiddo on vacation. As a kid with cerebral palsy, he has a lot of equipment that goes with us on trips, and a small RV might just be the ticket. Plus…I have turned into a weird germophobe along the way. I love staying in hotels but I am always a bit skeptical about their cleanliness, which I am sure is warranted in some cases, but not all! I guess I just need to bring my own bed with me places now. LOL.

So this coffeehouse – Billy went to it twenty years ago when he was doing travel computer training, when we were first married. Only an hour away, and we never made it back there – until last weekend! This magic place is called The Raven Cafe, in Port Huron, and is so very Edgar Allen Poe. I loved it! It was worth the wait. The coffee was hot and black and delicious, and our food was pretty darn good too! Wyatt wasn’t as impressed, and began to finger paint on the mirror next to us with his cheese sauce. (we of course cleaned it up and stopped him! we are not those parents..lol) If you ever are in the area and get the chance to stop in, I recommend it. The service was friendly, the coffee perfect, and the tables named for poets! It was the perfect day for it as well, cloudy, rainy, a bit gloomy, and the cafe was all warm woods the color of honey and just warmth and coziness. The website describes itself as “Part Hogwarts and part Cheers, the Raven is a unique place. When you step through the doors, you’ll get the distinct feeling you’re walking into a story.” And this is a very apt description, and I agree. I can’t wait to go back again.

 

So our weekend had a bit of glee with a side of gloom, and I loved them both!

 

Saturdays are for family

Saturday is our designated day for us, as much as we possibly can. Our weeks are so full, with work and school and therapy and appointments and cleaning and chores and all the stuff that comes along with living everyday. So we set Saturday aside as our day. The day we let things go, and just be together.

This past Saturday it was very much needed. It’s been an intense two weeks emotionally for me, and I do best when I get space and quiet to process things. We were predicted to have some crazy bad weather later that night through Monday morning, but when we left the house it was a brilliantly sunny day. A little chilly, but warm enough to get outside, walk around a bit, and soak up a little bit of sunshine.

We headed to Belle Isle in Detroit, somewhere we haven’t been for a while. The river was full of giant freighters, making their way through the Great Lakes, and people were running, biking, and two people were even playing hockey on the ice on one of the ponds. We took our time driving around, looking for birds. We eventually pulled into the nature center parking lot to get out of the car and stretch our legs a bit, and get some air and some of that sun. We walked on the trail behind the nature center, among the tall frozen grasses, the sounds of birdsong surrounding us.

 

Being out in the air was so restorative. You can take a deep breath, and feel yourself just relaxing and letting go of things that are bothering you, at least for a little while. And when you have two guys with you that look like lumberjacks, even better.

We of course popped inside the nature center after our walk. It was nice to warm up a bit, talk to the interpreters, and sit and watch the birds from the viewing area.

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And sometimes you see more than birds!

When we had hung out long enough, we bundled back into the car, shared a snack, and headed into the city, to one of our favorite bakeries, Avalon. If you are ever in Detroit, they make some fantastic bread and cookies. Usually Billy stops on his way home from work on Friday nights to get us fresh bread for Saturday morning breakfast, but he hasn’t had a chance lately. So we decided to get our bread for the week since we were already in town anyway.

I always want to go a bit crazy in there and buy everything, but I practice some restraint. This time we got a baguette, challah bread, a raisin bread loafling, an olive bread loafling (they were made from the dough that wasn’t enough to make a full loaf – so I am calling them loaflings..), a plain croissant, three cookies, and a peanut butter and chocolate brownie. I refrained from the Rose Latte which sounds amazing, and the chocolate croissant – this time at least! The sun was shining bright through the windows, it wasn’t crazy busy, and there was a man playing some music on his trumpet, so we stuck around a bit to listen and enjoy our cookies.

Eventually though, we had to head for home, but we did so with restored spirits and full bellies.

Drinks with a Ghost..

Like every city out there, Detroit has its own ghost stories and weird lore. From the Nain Rouge , the little hobgoblin who appears before a disaster, to the myth of Harry Houdini haunting the Majestic Theater, to the various and sundry other ghosties out there, we have our share! Usually I don’t think about them, but of course Halloween and my current reading material has them front and center in my thoughts.

Billy and I have been trying to have more date nights lately and last night we splurged. We headed downtown to The Whitney, which is an old beautiful mansion from the lumber baron days of Michigan’s history, turned into an elegant, fancy restaurant. It was built in 1894, and was described at the time as being one of the most opulent houses in the west. It is one of the few opulent mansions left, and it is a gorgeous old lady, towering high above Woodward Avenue in Detroit.

And it is said to be haunted.

Stories are told of the elevators operating themselves, doors opening and closing and moving between floors; one staff member even saw an older gentleman disappear into thin air when asked to leave.

The third floor of The Whitney serves spirits – and people thank goodness – in its Ghostbar, and it is where we chose to go for our date night. When we got there, the bar was empty, but it was early on Wednesday night. We chose to sit in the big leather seats, all cozied up to the bar, and indulged in decadent drinks and desserts.

 

I ordered the yummy nutty tasting Chocolate Ugli Cake, which is a flourless cake with a chocolate ganache, and their famous martini, the Witching Hour. And it was delicious!! Made with Valentine White Blossom Vodka, Limoncello, St. George Raspberry Liqueur, and fresh lemon, it was delightfully sweet and tart, without being too much of either. I can see why it is a drink that they are known for.

 

Billy ordered the Kahlua cheesecake, which was exactly how you think it would taste – rich and chocolatey, a bit boozy. Yum! It was topped with a coffee infused maple cream that was delish as well. To drink, he had the Spoonful, which is made with Mansion reserve Bourbon, sweet vermouth, Luxardo maraschino, and angostura bitters. It was pretty good too, but not as good as mine! Lol.

We had a great time, enjoying our little moment. It was such a cold night midweek, and we had the place to ourselves with the just the bartender. Although, it did make me feel a little bit like I was at the bar in The Shining..just a little. And that bartender – was he real? Hmm.

I can’t say we witnessed any ghostly behavior or saw any ghosts, but it was fun to hang out there and spend time with my guy.  If you are ever in Detroit and want to grab a cocktail before a show or after dinner or just because it’s a cold Wednesday night and you have a bit of free time, I suggest you step into the Ghostbar and try one of their amazing cocktails. You won’t regret it – and maybe you will see a specter!


If you are interested in more Haunted Detroit, there are many options out there! If only I had the time to do all of these, how fun would that be? Some of the events may be seasonal, or sold out but these tour groups have different tours all the time, so maybe one will open up, or something completely different will catch your fancy!

Wheelhouse Detroit- Haunted Tour and Dusk Tours – Visit haunted locations from the seat of your bike!

Preservation Detroit – Cemetery Tours

Haunted Detroit Tours

Detroit History Tours – they offer a Halloween in Detroit tour which is sold out, but there is a bizarre Detroit tour that still has availability

Historic Fort Wayne Tours After Dark – these are also sold out, but the Fort has many cool events coming up, including a Christmas at the Fort event. And there is always next year!

Saturday Snapshot

SaturdaySnapshot

Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads

In July, we went to a kite festival on Belle Isle in Detroit. We had gone the year before and it was such an amazing sight, all the multi-colored kites flying through the sky. This year was a little different. No kites. No wind. It was a still, hot, humid day. If the kites could have sailed through the moisture in the air, kite day would have been hopping! Despite the gross weather, we set up shop under a tree and hung out for a bit, listening to music, snacking, and basically just enjoying the day and some family time.

I remembered not to touch the fuzzy caterpillar! And I loved our shade tree – doesn’t it look like a woman, arms outstretched, head back, dancing in joy? I could be a little fanciful I guess.

Billy took a little walk, investigating the the food trucks that were lining the street. Wyatt and I stayed in the shade, waiting to see what Billy had found. Billy bought Wyatt his own snack, but somehow that little hand kept sneaking over and eating our chips and guacamole…. He of course was welcome to them, it had just never crossed our mind he would want it!

A short little outing, but we enjoyed some good tunes and family time. We are looking forward to next year – and hopefully a cooler, breezier day!

Mini-Post: Feeling Peachy!

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“We are going on an adventure!”

This is what I tell Wyatt every time we leave the house, even if it is just to head up to the store. You never know what the day will bring! Sunday started out dreary and overcast for the third day in a row but we were not letting a little gray sky darken our day. I had a surprise up my sleeve! As I piled the car up with picnic type foods and rain coats, my husband was a bit confused, but he is game for anything so just kind of shrugged before taking the wheel and heading south.

I navigated our family to a favorite spot of ours, Erie Orchards, an orchard my family has been going to since I was a little girl, probably around Wyatt’s age. It was peach picking time! We picked up our bag from the adorable weather-beaten barn store, and rolled our Jeep on over a few dirt roads back to where the peach trees grew.

We could see people over in the blueberry patch, but we weren’t here for blueberries. We had the peaches all to ourselves. And Wyatt had a blast! Some of the trees were small enough for him to stand under and reach the peaches right off the branch, which he thought was the best thing ever! He happily snapped them off and deposited them into our bag.

 

Look at that look of concentration, and he even said peach for the first time!!

We had a wondeful adventure on a day that looked like it was going to be a bummer. The sky was heavy with clouds, which made the day cooler, and their was virtually no humidity. Add a small cool breeze and it was actually pretty perfect.

You just never know where a day will take you.

And now we have 8 lbs of peaches to use. A small thing though for such a fun day!

Anyone have any good peach recipes to share with me?

A Little Day Drinking..But First, Doughnuts..

Some weekends you just don’t want to end, and this is one of them.

Saturday began with an early morning wake up from Wyatt, who has for some reason decided weekends are for getting up early. Maybe he just really likes them too, all the family time and fun stuff we do, who knows. Whatever the case, we were up before it seemed like we should be. Instead of crying into our coffee, we piled into the car, slightly disheveled, and aimed for doughnuts. There is a local bakery, Sugarr Donuts, that sells craft donuts, and they sell out early, every day. Like sometimes before 10 am. We usually don’t get there early enough to get the cool weekend specials, but this Saturday, we did..

A shark week inspired donut! It was insanely sugary, but so full of goodness. We bought enough for the three of us, plus an extra to drop off to my niece as a surprise. She woke up ‘specially to eat her “silly shark cupcake.”

After our sugar rush and showers, my mom came over to watch the boyo, who was by this point ready for a nap and to hang out with grandma while we went out for a day date. A metropark near us was hosting a prohibition event, with interpreters on hand to talk about prohibition and Detroit. And, to give it a little extra kick, they were serving Michigan craft beers. I was super excited – I am a huge history nerd, and there are rumors that my family had a hand in rumrunning across the river during prohibition. We can see Canada right across the river here, and some houses and buildings even have underground tunnels that were used to smuggle in booze.

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The day was rainy, and I knew the event was outside in a field, so I was super excited to wear my super cute boots! Billy gave me these for my birthday a while ago from Modcloth, and I don’t get the opportunity to wear them much. I felt very British, in my foxy boots and swishy skirt.

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We are not big drinkers much anymore, much less day drinkers, so our day was definitely a departure from our norm. There were over 40 craft beers to choose from, and tickets were ten for ten, a ticket per beer. And I have to say, they were generous pours! We had a blast tasting the different choices. I had the Purple Gang Pilsner ( I had to – the Purple Gang was the Detroit gang that was in operation during Prohibition!), Copyright Cream, Bonfire Brown, Lager of the Lakes, and the Kamikaze Kaleidoscope (a wheat). I am a light beer, pilsner/lager gal, so I stuck to a few I figured I would like and went “crazy” on the other two. Of my five, my favorite was the Purple Gang Pilsner.

Billy likes IPAs, which are not my thing, but he also tried a few fruity type beers, including our overall hands down favorite of the day. He had the Lost Dune (which is about the town of Saigon, Michigan, a fascinating story!), Better Life Choices (IPA), Blueberry Lemonade Shandy, Blood Orange Honey, Level 92 Black IPA, and one called Blue Magic, which was amazing!! It was blueberry with lavender, and it was so good! Definitely the best one of the day.
blue magic

We also chatted for a bit with the interpreters about the history of Detroit and Prohibition, and one guy was on hand with this old school Ford truck. He told us the model which of course I don’t recall, since I had tasted all those beers first. If you know, let me know!

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Who’s got the hooch?

It was a fun, relaxing afternoon, albeit a slightly damp and rainy one. It was a great start to our weekend!

Dino-Might!

I love dinosaurs. I always have. I used to dream about being a paleontologist when I was a kid, but then realized I was better at words than math. I have a love for the sciences even though I am not great at them, and I want to pass this along early to my son. I started collecting dinosaur crafts and projects and coloring books and all sorts of fun things to do with him in July, which I deemed would now be known as Dino-month.

So I was super excited when I saw that a nearby indoor playscape/preschool/wellness center was having a drop in class for preschoolers and toddlers all about dinosaurs!! There would be songs and stories and sensory bins and a craft – all for $12! I was so excited to take Wyatt. I knew he would love it. Then I realized…I would have to socialize too! My biggest nightmare as an introvert super shy momma, is interacting with other parents. But, like we push our kids to move past their fears, so must we as parents push past ours. And it is good for us to get out of our comfort zones too – I need to grow and move forward as well. So, this was it for me. Wyatt needs to do this sort of thing, it is so good for all kids to interact with their peers and all that, and especially for Wyatt. As a kid with some developmental disabilities due to his CP, he picks up a lot of language and movement by being around other kids. So, it was time for this momma to toughen up and go talk to some strangers! Lol.

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I had this super cute outfit laid out for him to wear – but then it got breakfast on it and had to be changed. Note to self: put cute outfit on preschooler after he eats..

We finally rolled up to the place, which was in the middle of an adorable neighborhood. I was feeling nervous, made worse when I walked right in to the end of the baby and mom yoga class that was before the Jurassic Wonders class. But the yogi (whom I actually knew, I met her when our husbands worked together years ago) is a sweet welcoming soul who made me feel less awkward and less like bolting back out the door. Wyatt and I took a seat and waited for the class to clear out then I put him down to explore. The place, Nature’s Playhouse, was super accessible and I totally loved its vibe. Natural materials, solid and sturdy wooden toys everywhere, tables scattered about, puzzles, a rocking board. I felt like I was in a kid’s secret fort. Wyatt dug it, and enjoyed that shoes weren’t supposed to be worn in that room, since he hates wearing shoes. He had a big grin on his face the whole time we were there.

As the rest of the parents and kids trooped in, we circled up with our kids for story time  and songs. Afterwards, there were two sensory areas, an area with dinosaur books to flip through, including a cool one with different textures to touch, and the craft, which was painting a dinosaur with sponges and paint. Wyatt and I started with the painting, getting the messiest out of the way first.

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I think he did a great job! After that we headed over to the sifting through the sand bin, where the kids used paintbrushes to brush away the sand to find the dinosaur stickers hidden under the sand. Wyatt seriously loved this the best. Most of the other kids liked the area where you dug through beans and did some pouring and jazz, but Wyatt liked the sand area. We happily played over there, I made awkward (on my end) conversation with another mother, then, it was time to go! The class passed by super quickly.

I am so glad that I went – Wyatt had a blast! I will have to watch for other classes that fit into our crazy life schedules, even if it is just to drop in and play. It is worth it for the big grin I saw on my son’s face the whole time we were there.

Walking back to the car, I noticed the sidewalk full of acorn hats, something I had missed on the way in. I stopped and picked one up. Acorns are special to our family, almost a talisman. My Wyatt is my acorn, my tiny boy – and like my grandma said, “From tiny acorns grow mighty oaks.”  Stumbling on these acorns was a reminder, I think, of how we all need to grow, to be strong and to be mighty..

I am looking forward to our next visit!