Treasure hunting in Michigan

I don’t know about where you are but it was a beautiful weekend here in Michigan! We stayed close to the house on Saturday but don’t let that fool you; we still had fun. We decided that since it was such a nice day out on Saturday, we would go geocaching. (Remember when we did that in Florida? If not, let me refresh your memory here.) It’s not exactly Ken’s favorite thing to do but he plays along nicely anyway. (Thank you, honey.) Besides, who doesn’t love a little treasure hunt? Jackson found our first treasure in a birdhouse inside this tree. Good one, Jackson! See, didn’t I tell you it a beautiful day?We never did find that log book though. We left behind our treasure and took off for the next one.

Which we didn’t find.

Not to be defeated, we headed for our third cache. I was the lucky one to find it this time! See the cork and the little box made from scrapbooking paper? We left those for the next geocachers to find. My little box contained a mini pumpkin, a fall leaf and a note saying “Happy fall!” I say you can be crafty and adventurous at the same time!

Ken and I headed to Ann Arbor to see Ingrid Michaelson on Sunday. She was amazing, although I really didn’t expect any different. This is our 4th time seeing her and I loved it just as much as the first time. She is so funny and has this way of telling stories that suck you in and you feel like you are right there with her. If she ever comes to your area, I highly suggest going to check her out. You won’t be disappointed. Unless you’re a grouchy person that doesn’t like to laugh or tap your foot to some good tunes. And if that’s the case, maybe you do need to see her so you can get happy. What’s wrong with you anyway?

So, how was your weekend? What kinds of things did you do to pass the time? 

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A year in review

I’m filled with hope for the new year. I’m not sure why turning a page on a calendar signifies a new start in my life but it does. Every year. Sometimes I look back fondly on the year and other times, like this year, I can’t wait to flip over the page to January 1st. That got me thinking. How bad has this year really been? In looking through my blog posts, it hasn’t been bad at all. Yes, the last couple months could have been better but this year has held some amazing memories for me. If you haven’t been reading my blog all year, I encourage you to browse through these posts.

We went geocaching and got some interesting treasure. 

Visited the Florida State Fair for the first time.

Took my favorite picture of the year.

I saw the Google maps car!

I conquered a fear of mine.

Went on many Sunday outings.

Went to the beach (several times) and started our jumping picture tradition.

Went on a road trip to see Mumford and Songs (warning, this post is long, with lots of photos). This is a tie for my favorite memory of the year.

Went to Georgia, collected some rocks & jumped for some more pictures.

Threw Ken a 40th birthday bash! 

Celebrated my niece’s birthday in Crystal River.

Watched my friend’s movie screening.

Went to California to interview Roma Downey. My favorite posts about my trip can be seen herehere (my favorite day in California), here and this is my interview.

Recorded an acoustic music video. (Here is the link that includes the actual video.)

So, as I sit back an remember all that has happened this year, I’ve decided that it’s been a good year overall. Yes, the last two months can kiss my butt and I’m still looking forward to 2012 but 2011 & I have kissed and made up. I think I just needed some perspective.  

Have a great New Year’s Eve and may you experience more blessings than you can imagine in 2012!

Geocaching and the not-so-valuable treasure

I’ve been wanting to go geocaching (pronounced geo-cashing) for quite a few years. Don’t know what it is? Let me explain. It’s a game of high-tech hide and seek. There are treasures all around us that you’d never know about unless you were looking for them.

First, I signed up on  for a geocaching account on www.geocaching.com. (I went with the free one that gives you plenty of access to caches all over the place.) They even have a cute little video that sums up what it’s all about. Then, type in a zip code, address, state or country and up will pop a list of locations for you to scout. It’s all done by GPS so if you have a GPS device or even a smart phone, you’re ready to go. Follow your GPS to the “spot” and then start searching. What you’re looking for is a small container filled with a log and a cache – items to trade. Think: trinkets or something of little value. Remember this for later. Sign the log, leave a trinket and take a trinket. It’s really that simple.

On our first trip out, we went looking for three different caches. I wasn’t sure how hard it would be, so I brought three just in case. We drove close to our destination, parked our car and went walking. The weather here has been wonderful so being outside was great. We got to our spot and started hunting. The GPS coordinates brought us right on the other side of a tennis court. While Ken & I started looking for the cache, the boys started counting tennis balls they were collecting from the bushes. We spent about 20 minutes looking for the container with no luck. The boys were not disappointed; they found more tennis balls than they could carry!

Our next hunt was on the way back to the car. It was just off the main street in a little park. Ken spotted the cache first but let the boys find it (with a little bit of coaching). Jackson was the first to spot it. It was one of those M&M’s containers shaped like a pill bottle. I was so excited to see what was inside. The first thing inside was the log for us to sign. Then there was the “treasure”: a bottle cap and a marble. I thought it was pretty neat. Something left by perfect strangers for us to find. Ethan, however, didn’t find it quite as impressive. “A bottle cap and a marble?I tried to explain that it’s about the hunt & not the treasure, to which he said, “Yes it is.” In the end, though, he was happy with the experience. We left the trinkets from our home and went on our way.

We had one more hunt on our list. I won’t bore you with the details but I will say that next time, we’ll choose a location that isn’t close to homeless/drug addicts. And their paraphernalia.

Ethan has since asked me several times if we can go again. I’m always up for doing something different. I hate doing the same things over and over again. This was the perfect fit for our family. I suggest you try it. Maybe you, too, will find something as valuable as a bottle cap and a marble!

Here’s our “treasure”. Notice the tennis ball in the background?

Spoiler alert…This is the spot where we found our cache: