Looks like we are pretty darn close to closing out 2014. It was a great year and we owe it all to you. Here is a quick look back at our top 5 most loved articles of 2014, handpicked by you.
Just a few days ago, I wouldn’t have called these people my friends. In fact, I wouldn’t have even called them acquaintances. We were all just random people traveling along on our own separate paths, going in our own separate directions. Now, here we are, dining together at Buddy’s Pizza in Dearborn and chatting away as if we were old friends. I guess that is one of the wonderful things about travel and stepping out of one’s comfort zone, you open yourself up to meeting new people and developing new friendships. Travel has a way of doing that, you know, enriching lives.
I believe that travel plays an important role in our lives. There are many benefits to travel and this series of articles via the #EcoTravelwithadoba has helped me see that more than ever.
Here are a few of the things I found to be true for me about travel during this trip.
#1 Travel builds self confidence. From the moment that I first decided to take this trip, I was nervous and self doubting. I didn’t know if I could travel alone. This solo trip has shown me that I am stronger than I imagine myself to be and has given me the confidence to venture out alone like this again.
#2 Travel is rejuvenating. From that first night in the hotel alone I found that yes, uninterrupted sleep is as good as I remember it.
#3 Travel is a wonderful way to make new friends. All it takes is curiosity.
#4 Travel is a wonderful way to nourish a desire for learning and discovery. The world is full of new and exciting experiences. I found my learning and discovery on this trip at the Henry Ford museum, an amazing place to visit by the way.
#5 Travel is about community. You might not see it, but travel has a way of bringing people together from all over the world. The more you travel, the larger feeling of community you posses. You begin to see that this world is not about “me” but about “us”.
Just a few short day’s ago I was walking into the adoba hotel alone and now here I was, eating delicious pizza and dining with friends. Travel is an amazing tool, it’s a shame that more people don’t utilize it.
What was the last trip you took? Did it teach you anything?
Check out all of the places I visited on this excursion and read more about what I learned throughout the trip during each checkpoint.
I know, we are not even past Christmas yet, but I am already thinking about what I want my new year to look like. What do I want to accomplish? Where do I want to go? What changes do I want to make? As I sat down and let my mind wander, I started thinking about the goals I set for myself back in 2013 for this year. Did I reach them? If not, why not? As I thought more and more about it, I came to the realization that many of the goals that I did not reach, I did not reach them because I was waiting. I was waiting for the right moment. You see, I
am was a firm believer that all things will happen when they are supposed to and that we shouldn’t rush into anything. However, the more I think about it, the more I feel that I have been mislead because time is never on our side, the moment will never be perfect and things will only happen if we decide to go out and make them happen.
One of the goals that I didn’t stretch my arm out far enough for in 2014 was my goal to travel. Sure, I did improve upon my travel in 2014, but I didn’t take that big leap that I wanted to take. The desire was there, the dream was vivid, but I was just waiting for the right opportunity, the right moment. Sure, if I sit and write out my excuses, there is more to the story than just waiting for the right moment or opportunity to present itself. I was also waiting for the money to be there, my spouse to jump on board with my dreams, my kids to have an opportunity away from school, work to slow down and my fears and concerns to fade. I waited. . and nothing. There was no spark moment of “ah hah! This is it!” and at the end of the year I am no closer to my goals than I was at the beginning because I never took that first step.
Looking back, I wish that I had just taken a giant leap, gone for it and given it all I had. I wish that I had done more. I wish that I hadn’t waited for the moment to be right and all of the stars in line before I tried. Because in all reality, none of that would have helped me. Just because the time is right doesn’t mean that my dreams or goals will present themselves to me without my own hard work and effort to make them happen. Goals are something that have to be labored for. You have to reach out your hands and grab them, not just sit patiently for them to fall into your lap.
So as I look out into 2015 I am gearing myself up for this to be a year of work. It is going to be a year when I strive for my goals and not wait patiently for them to come to me. It is going to be a year of decision making. A year when I make up my own mind about what I want. It is going to be a year of change. A year of growth. I am not saying that I will make all of my dreams come true this year, because that it just setting myself up for failure. What I am saying is that this year I am going to only make one single goal and that goal is to no longer wait patiently for life to come to me.
This can really come as no surprise that I love visiting the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan. I mean, seriously, it has everything that I love! There are vintage cars, great architecture, retro signs and a peek into the past and progression of life in America. So you can imagine how excited I was when the #EcoTravelwithadoba Dearborn tour that I was on brought me back to this beloved place.
From the moment you walk in through the tall wooden doors of the Henry Ford Museum you can’t help but be swept away by the beauty within. Every detail of this place is breathtaking, from the grand entrance stairs to the seemingly endless walls of windows that gently hug a well kept courtyard. And once within this welcoming foyer, a large arena of vintage life awaits you.
As you might have guessed, one of my favorite exhibits within the Henry Ford are the vintage cars. You can find them lined up in rows upon rows of history. Here you can come within an arms reach of everything from presidential vehicles (including JFK’s Lincoln Continental) to a Desoto and even a vintage Airstream trailer.
Directly after walking the rows and rows of well kept pieces of hot rod history, you can choose to stop for a break in a fully functional retro diner tucked away within the exhibits. One step inside the door is like stepping through a time portal into living, working history. You can order a soda pop from a glass bottle, a warm lunch or simply sit for a break at the bar with a cup of coffee and a fresh donut.
Of course, once I saw the open door to this mobile diner, I just had to go in. I was like a kid in a candy store. Kid probably sums it up pretty well because I was simply giddy over my PB&J, potato chips and glass bottle root beer. It’s the small things.
After our short break for lunch, we found ourselves at the Holiday Inn. No, not the real one, but a replica of what the Holiday Inn looked like in the past. My, how things have changed. .
Does anyone remember when hotel’s looked like this? Are you diggin’ the shag carpeting?
What about this? Now this one actually reminds me of an old, one bedroom cabin I stayed in once in northern Michigan. Just a bed, a wood stove and a desk. What else would one need?
If you didn’t already know why before, maybe you can now see why the Henry Ford is one of my favorite places to visit. Plus, this is only a small portion of what lies within these walls. You should come and check out the rest of the retro artifacts on your own. I mean, I don’t want to spoil all of the fun of discovery for you! Come explore!
For more information on visiting the Henry Ford Museum, visit their website at www.thehenryford.org.
Have you ever been to the Henry Ford museum? What is your favorite exhibit or thing to see there?
Christmas is a magical time, full of wonder, beauty, family and friends. Thankfully, the Detroit Zoo has still got the magic! This event, the Wild Lights, was breathtaking beyond words. I seriously don’t know how they do it! How do they hang up over 5 million lights throughout the park and make it look so magical? To walk, hand in hand, through a maze of twinkling lights with my family fulfilled every want I had this year in regards to lights and memories.
However, even beyond just the lights, The Detroit Zoo even offered extra activities to add to the experience I was longing for. As we walked along the lighted path we were first welcomed into a barn where two men were carving fresh ice sculptures right in front of us. I was totally digging it until one of the ice pieces jumped out and stung me in the face. Oh, the things I do to try and get a good shot. 🙂 Just be careful and don’t get too close.
Along with the lights, the ice sculptures, a chance to get a photo with Santa Pup and a wildlife photographer series, The Detroit Zoo also offered guests an opportunity to ride on a animal themed carousel ride. While this attraction does cost extra, along with other opportunities such as smore’s stations, hot cocoa and light up wands to purchase, it was definitely worth it to ride around in the night on a carousel. Especially on a carousel surrounded in Christmas lights.
CHEER , noun
: a shout of praise or encouragement
: a happy feeling or attitude.
Could you use a little more holiday cheer this season? I want you to know that I understand that the holidays can sometimes be tough. They can be stressful and sometimes even sad. I know that over the last few days a little bit of extra cheer would have gone a long way for me and I also know that there are people around me are struggling even more than I this year and could use some encouragement as well. So today, I decided to put together this large and shiny reminder for me to be someone else’s encouragement and praise everyday, but especially during the holiday season.
I wanted my daily reminder to be large and eye catching. After all, I am guilty of getting distracted and busy this time of year too. The idea for this project was to place this word, “cheer”, upon my mantel so I would be sure to catch a glimpse of it on a daily basis and be reminded of its purpose.
I began this project at my local craft store, where I was able to find wooden letters which would stand on their own and in the letter size I was after. They were perfect, except for the color. Unfortunately, they were bland and boring. This monochrome coloring was not eye catching nor was it beautiful. I was pleased, however, to find that changing them into something sparkly and grande was an effortless process that only took me about an hour to complete.
All I used for this project was enough wooden letters to spell out the word “cheer”, modge podge, red glitter and a paint brush. I set up my workstation with a large box, so I could keep the glitter under control, and began painting my first letter. I would paint a small section, cover it in glitter and then move on. When I tried to rush my project and paint too much of the letter at a time, the paint would dry and the glitter refused to adhere. I quickly learned that the more glue (in moderation) that I used and the more patience that I used in going section by section, the better my efforts paid off.
As I worked my way through each letter, gluing and glittering, I was able to take a few minutes to focus in on the things my mind was trying to tell me. That is one of the wonderful things about crafting, it gives me a chance to think, heal and what I am left with is a beautiful reminder of what I need to do or be.
So this holiday season, if you can’t seem to find the cheer, I want you to know that you are in my thoughts. God Bless.
Today I am sharing part duo of my fabulous trip into Dearborn, Michigan with the adoba hotel. Because this trip had so many amazing features, I wanted to break it up into separate posts to make it more manageable. If you missed the first post about my exciting trip, you can view it here. This second article is going to cover the amazing food we had while staying at the adoba hotel and when I say amazing, I do mean Ah-maz-ing!
When I awoke after my first nights sleep while staying at the hotel, I was feeling refreshed and energized. It is amazing how well you can sleep without a kid kicking you in the gut in the middle of the night or a dog whining that he wants to go out. It’s seriously been so long since this happened to me, I almost forgot. However, as my alarm went off to wake me for breakfast, I rolled over to turn it off, slowly put my feet on the floor and walked over to the large picture window beside my bed to let in a little light.
Good Morning sunshine!
I smiled. I was feeling excited and ready for whatever the day ahead of me was going to hold. Off I scurried to shower and prepare myself to meet with the other bloggers downstairs for breakfast. We had a tight schedule and I didn’t want to hold anybody up.
When I arrived at breakfast, some of the other bloggers were already there enjoying their coffee and chattering about the weekend thus far. I could tell that everyone was feeling the same way about this trip that I was because they were all humming with excitement. As I joined in the conversation that was erupting, I found the consensus was the same, this place rocked!
As more and more bloggers arrived for breakfast we were given the O.K. to head over to the buffet and choose whatever we’d like to eat. Hm, hotel breakfasts. . not usually so great. However, when we turned the corner we were greeted with hot cereal, pancakes, french toast, meats, fruits, bagels, muffins and more. Yippy! I do love a good breakfast. I was excited.
There was even a cold cereal station, if that was your fancy. But me, I prefer a warm breakfast so I chose a bowl of hot cereal complete with raisins, cranberries, brown sugar and a dash of milk.
After breakfast, to our delight, we were told that we would be coming back to Giulio and Sons for our dinner as well. How exciting! After the delightful breakfast, I couldn’t wait to see what this place could do with a dinner!
I hate to brag, but I was right. Dinner was absolutely amazing! I decided to go with a vegetarian dish of pasta and vegetables and loved every bite. What the chef did with this basic dish was amazing! I wanted to eat every bite, until I saw the dessert bar. I MUST leave room for dessert. 🙂
When we had finished our meals, dessert was served. Tiramisu, cannoli’s, cream puffs and more! The in house pastry chef seriously has some skill. Fabulous!
After a delightful meal, we invited the chef out for a round of applause. Boy, did he deserve it. Such a fabulous beginning and end to my second day in Dearborn, MI. Ok, right now you might be thinking “What about the rest of your day, did you seriously just eat the entire time?”. My answer is “No, I did not”. The rest of our day, which I have not yet told you about, was filled with adventure, investigation and enjoyment. Keep an eye out for our next #ecotravelwithadoba post as I take you along with me to the Henry Ford Museum, a Dearborn, MI landmark location.
While I enjoyed my food from Giulio and Sons immensely, I loved even more that they too were part of the adoba hotel eco friendly mission. Giulio and Sons has made it their mission to re-purpose their empty wine bottles into glassware for the restaurant. Love this! Also, they have chosen to use locally, organic grown food products in their kitchens whenever possible. Great job guys! I know that I definitely will be coming back again soon.
Can you believe it? Between my sisters kids and mine, we now have five little girls and one little boy in the family! It is so much fun to watch them all play together every Sunday at our weekly extended family dinner. They usually all play pretty well together, but sometimes they need a little bit of structure to help keep everybody on good terms. This weekend, I decided to surprise the kids with a holiday nail decorating party to stoke the holiday cheer and offer them an activity that all the kids would enjoy doing together. It was so much fun to see them all squeal with excitement as they arrived for the day and found this little surprise party display waiting for them.
They all took to the fun rather quickly and could not wait to pick out their colors and have their nails painted! It was joyous to watch as each child picked out the colors that best suited their individual personalities and with Piggy Paint’s wide selection of available hues, we had something for everyone. I loved to watch as each of the kids painted their nails and helped to paint the nails of each other. Everybody really came together in this fun, and of course, the mom’s helped with the nails of the littler ones.
The house was full of giggles, compliments and chatter. Success!
Plus, to add to the fun, there were treats! What is a fun holiday party without treats? The kids were super excited to find a buffet full of party themed foods to compliment their fun, complete with peppermint rice krispies, candy canes and marshmallow nail polish bottles.
Want to see how I made these fun party treats? Scroll down!
Ok, I admit it, I have a BIG thing for krispie treats. Anyone who follows my blog knows that I simply adore them. So the other day, while I was at Walmart picking up the Piggy Paint supplies for this party, I came across peppermint flavored marshmallows. Of course! Light Bulb. It was perfect.
To make these pink holiday krispie treats, I simply substituted the regular marshmallows called for in the recipe for the peppermint ones that I found in the store. I also added vanilla frosting and crushed candy canes to the top for a more festive appearance. Other than that, I followed the directions on the box. Simple!
To the treat buffet, I also wanted to add a snack that was themed directly towards our nail party. I decided that making edible nail polish bottles using marshmallows, sprinkles and tootsie rolls would be the perfect idea (and super easy too!).
To make the marshmallows look like they were full of colored nail polish, I simply spritzed them with a little bit of water to coat and then rolled them around in colored sugar sprinkles. The water made the sprinkles stick and they wont fall off even after the water had dried.
Finally, to create the brush lid, I pushed unwrapped tootsie rolls down into the top. Voila! Edible nail polish bottles. Ok, aren’t these just too cute for words?
Overall, I would consider this party to be a huge success and was pleased to find that it brought everybody together just as I had hoped.
The kids loved the bright color choices of the Piggy Paint and the mom’s loved that the nail polish was kid-friendly, odorless and non-toxic. I adore Piggy Paint and feel that it is the perfect choice for both kids and adults alike because it doesn’t contain any of the harmful ingredients that you may find in other nail polishes. In fact, the company slogan is that it is as natural as mud.
Hmm. . three nights, in a hotel, all by myself? What would I do? Would it be weird to stay in a hotel room all alone? Would I be lonesome? Would I be scared? How would my family fare without me? All of these questions ran through my head as I accepted a chance to go and meet several other amazing bloggers on a trip to Dearborn, Michigan just a few short weeks ago. This was a new experience for me, to travel alone, since normally we take trips as a family. Agh, oh well, let’s go for it. After all, new experiences have always been pretty exciting to me.
As I packed up my bags, my husband and kids sat on my bed with sad puppy dog faces. They wanted to come along with me, but nope, this time mommy was flying solo. I was, in fact, starting to feel really excited about taking this little trip alone. I mean, it did perfectly coincide with my birthday weekend. It was fate.
I loaded up my little white car with my luggage, kissed my babies and left my husband standing with the van keys in his hands (haha). My GPS was programmed, I put on some mommy tunes (you know, songs other than ABC and princess songs) and I was off! The drive wasn’t too bad, I only contemplated turning around three, maybe four, times. However, as I arrived into the main drive of the adoba hotel®, I slowed my car to nearly a stop and surveyed the hotel. I had to actually lean forward to see out my driver’s window to the very top. Wow, I thought. I am so glad I agreed to come to this!!
When I walked in the door, this is what I saw. Levels and levels of rooms, beautifully cascading lights that hung all the way from the ceiling to the main floor, rich gold colors and welcoming faces smiling back at me. This place was swanky!!
I cannot lie. As soon as I walked into the freshly cleaned room I threw myself back onto the bed, in a snow angel position taking up every inch of the bed to myself, closed my eyes and listened to the silence. (A big sigh) Did I miss my family? You bet I did! Did I still want to go home? Not a chance!
I took some time to get myself acquainted with my room before I went and met the other bloggers. There was everything here that I needed. A desk to get some work done (complete with fresh snacks), a TV in case I needed some noise later on to remind me of home, a nice chair to sit and have my morning coffee in and a view of Dearborn, MI that couldn’t be beat!
This definitely seemed like a really nice hotel, much like many of the other hotels my family has stayed in. However, from what I found over the next three short days is that this hotel is very different! Did you know that the adoba hotel® is eco-friendly? Seriously!! All of their guest rooms are treated with a PURE air purification process that removes 99% of pollutants and utilizes tea tree oil to maintain a stable, clean environment. Maybe this is why it was so relaxing here? Well, it could have been that or just the fact that the room was so super clean and I didn’t need to do anything to make it that way. Either way, I’m not complaining.
After I was able to muster up enough energy to get back up off the bed, I next wandered into the bathroom. Naturally, this is always one of the first places that I check when checking in to a new hotel just to make sure they are nice and clean. I flipped on the light switch, looked clean. No garbage in the can, no toothpaste in the sink, nice white towels hanging from the rack and there on the counter sat a fresh roll of toilet paper and those fun little travel sized soaps that I love.
Have you ever wondered what a hotel might do with the soap you don’t use during your stay? Do they just throw it away? If so, what a waste! Do you take them all with you when you go? What do you do? I was curious, so I asked. The answer that I was given amazed me about the eco-friendliness of this hotel even more. The adoba hotel® is one of only a few hotels in Michigan to participate in the Global Soap Project. This project takes all of the partially used and discarded soap from hotels, which they must legally throw away after you leave your room, and reprocess it into soap that is donated to people who lack access to it around the world. Can you imagine not ever having soap to wash your hands with? This project is helping to diminish disease and is giving a fresh start to people who treasure something that we so often take for granted.
I smiled as I headed down to the lobby to meet up with the other bloggers. When I arrived to the lobby I was told that we would all be heading over to the local mall for some touring. We walked out the front door and, would you look at that, the local mall just so happens to be on the other side of the parking lot from the hotel. You can practically walk there! Yes, it seemed as though everything was falling into place. 🙂
Here is a look at how amazing this mall was on the inside. Isn’t that simply gorgeous? This place is called the Fairlane Town Center, and it is beautiful.
After a fun evening of shopping and eating (which I will talk more about later), we headed back to the adoba hotel® for a little R&R. I decided not to rest, but to wander the never ending hallways of the hotel. I can’t help it, it’s the explorer in me.
Lucky me, guess what I found? A fabulous pool area complete with a deck, sauna, heated pool and workout room. Nice!
Everything I was finding during my stay was causing me to like this place, and my decision to come, more and more. Over the weekend I was able to see that Dearborn, MI is a great place to come and relax, shop, eat and pamper yourself. This is only part one of my adventure, be sure to stay tuned for more fun and exciting things I found to do in the Dearborn, MI area.
If you would like to find out even more about the adoba hote® their mission to be an eco hotel, click here.
Over the weekend I promised to share with you my homemade recipe for Rocky Road Fudge. I am not one to go back on my promises, so here ya go! This recipe is super easy to make and tastes fabulous, just like the fudge you would get “up north”! I know all of your mouths are watering, so let’s get right into making it. . .
Line a baking pan with parchment paper for easy fudge removal. I like to use a 4 Cavity Mini Loaf Pan to make perfect gift giving sized fudge loafs.
Once the chocolate has melted completely and the mixture has thickened, remove it from the heat and stir in a handful of almonds and marshmallows. Pour the fudge into the loaf pan, top with remaining almonds and marshmallows and set aside to cool. The cooling process should be done at room temperature and can take several hours to completely set properly.
Wrap up the mini loaves for gifts or slice the fudge and eat it! What flavor of fudge is your favorite?