Weekend Link Love: June 24, 2014



Can I just say how grateful I am that it is finally Friday? This has been a long, trying week for me – stuck at home most of the time with a sprained foot and too much time on my hands, unable to really get much done. The upside to this is that I’ve read a lot of cool things online this week in between ice packs, pain killers and constantly trying to do too much too soon.

Here are some of the best things I’ve read this week:

Nursing home makes calendar of residents posing as iconic movie roles – this is kind of breath taking and really cool.

Stop the Mommy Wars: An empowering photo series – Do you think the “Mommy Wars” are still a thing?

Aerie gets real and stops photoshopping it’s models – Such a great, empowering first step towards giving young girls more realistic role models, though I think we still have a LONG way to go.

This interview with Harry Connick Jr. at EW is a perfect example of why I adore him so and why this season of American Idol is the best I’ve ever seen (so far). I think the simple statement that “I’ve been enjoying watching the audition shows for American idol and not deleting them immediately” really says it all.

59 Slang Phrases from the 1920’s that we should start using again – This article is just darb. I wonder what my local coffee shop would think of me if I went in and asked for some noodle juice? I’m guessing they’d think I was a pretty Dumb Dora!

The 7 Phases of Taking Kids out in the Snow – Per usual, Mommy Shorts pretty much nails this one. Funny and oh so true.

We’ve got a big road trip coming up this summer (I hope) – this printable travel game at The Art of Simple looks like a must have boredom buster!

Need more? How about 100 years of fashion in 100 seconds?

Lastly, there are no shortage of funny spoofs on Frozen, but this one found at *Very Clean* Funny Pics pretty much sums it all up perfectly:



book review: the geography of bliss by eric weiner

 The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World by Eric Weiner Description from Goodreads.com:

“What makes people happy? Is it the freedom of the West or the myriad restrictions of Singapore? The simple ashrams of India or the glittering shopping malls of Qatar? From the youthful drunkenness of Iceland to the despond of Slough, a sad but resilient town in Heathrow’s flight path, Weiner offers wry yet profound observations about the way people relate to circumstance and fate.”

What makes you happy? This is a question a lot of us ask ourselves often. But author Eric Weiner posed a different question, “Where makes you happy?” Or rather, are there places where people are happier – countries whose laws and culture and lifestyle make people happier and would we be happier if we moved there?

I thought this was a really interesting premise for a sort of travel memoir / self help book. I have a pretty serious case of wanderlust teemed with an inability to live in the moment, always planning for the next big thing. Perhaps it’s a case of the American Pioneering Spirit or a side effect from a childhood spent moving often – maybe it’s just part of what makes me human. Regardless, I was very interested to see the result of his travels – to perhaps discover the Magic Land of Happiness. Instead I think I learned a few lessons about being happy where I am – and finding happiness through people instead of places or objects.

Apart from reading about different cultures and lifestyles, I really enjoyed Weiner’s writing style. He may be a self professed grump but he’s also terrifically funny and his writing was easy to digest. Stories from his life and observations made during his travels were always poignant and fun even when they maybe shouldn’t have been. A relatively light hearted read with a lot of really fascinating information – I can recommend this one safely to anyone interested in happiness or travel.

Is there a place you’ve visited or lived that you found made you happier? If you could move anywhere tomorrow, where would you go?

vacation love: Sheboygan, Wisconsin

This weekend we went to a town called Sheboygan, Wisconsin – a small town on the coast of Lake Michigan, north of Milwaukee. Thanks to a good friend of mine, we had a gift certificate for a free night’s stay at a hotel in the area. I thought that was a great excuse to check out a place I’d heard about online recently, Bookworm Gardens, a children’s garden that is based completely on children’s literature—over 60 different books are represented, selected by reading specialists, librarians, teachers, and kids.

It was really amazing to see all of these stories come to life in beautiful gardens that our kids could not only see but also play in and explore. Best of all? Entrance to the gardens is completely free, though donations are happily accepted. We spent a few hours exploring the various gardens and I wish we lived closer so that I could visit them in all four seasons with the kids. It was a beautiful garden and a lot of fun for the whole family.

We had so much fun exploring a Magic Schoolbus, posing in picture frames, sitting in the Three Bears’ chairs, visiting the Hundred Acre Wood, reading stories together and much, much more. And mommy had a lot of fun sneaking in some nature photography while we were there.

That night we had dinner at The Duke of Devon, an English Pub on the riverfront with great food and a beautiful view of the river. Dan and I split their fish & chips and the kids enjoyed a really amazing grilled cheese sandwich (I totally had to steal a bite, it looked so  good) and fruit. Afterwards we walked along the riverfront together, enjoying the view.

The next morning we had coffee and a lemon muffin at the Z Spot before going to Deland Park where we were able to see the wreck of the Lottie Cooper in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, USA.

My husband really liked getting to read all the plaques about how the boat was made and how the wreckage was found buried in Sheboygan Harbor during the construction of the Harbor Marina. The kids liked getting to “walk inside a boat” and when we were done we walked to one of the playgrounds in the park where the kids had an absolute blast playing on a boat in slightly better condition!

Before we left, I dragged the family on another quick walk along the shore of Lake Michigan this time. We got to see the boat docks and a beach that looked like a fantastic place to take the kids next summer when the warm weather returns.

I didn’t take any pictures but we also visited the John Michael Kohler Art Center, a free museum with several different art exhibits on display, with a wide range of topic. I liked seeing The Kids Are Alright Exhibit with a lot of interesting (and okay, some very strange) pictures of the modern family dynamic. I will warn, that there were some partially nude photographs that might not be suitable for your kids – I walked most of this exhibit without them. The one exhibit the whole family enjoyed most was the Awkward Family Photos wall – it was like a segment out of Ellen Degeneres’s talk show in museum form! Certainly this was not an amazing art museum, but it was an interesting and free break from the cold air and some of the pieces were very beautiful.

After a yummy lunch & sundae at Cruisers Frozen Custard next to the Harley Davidson Store (loved their chili cheese dogs and of course the custard, we had a peanut butter cup sundae) it was time to head home.

The focus of our trip was to take in some of the free or nearly free things to see and do in Sheboygan for a fun, inexpensive weekend getaway. In future trips we’ll probably try some mini golf at Harbor Pointe, go to the Above and Beyond Children’s Museum or the Spaceport. We had a great weekend and we’ll definitely be back.