Sunday, September 18, 2016


My husband has a 3D printer, and lots of people ask me, "What on Earth do you use it for?"

Most people perceive the printer as a big toy, which in some ways it is. But, to me, 3D printers are really more like the 1980s version of a cell phone; back in the day only a handful of people had them, and while lots of people thought they were cool, most folks agreed that they could live without one. Now, 30+ years later, most people consider a cell phone an important piece of technology they wouldn't willingly give up. I think something similar will happen with 3D printers...

So back to the question - what do we use it for? All sorts of things; this weekend my husband printed me a cookie cutter. This cookie cutter, to be specific. My son loves Dr. Who, (and has for a while now,)  and has asked for a Dr. Who themed birthday party. 

Sure, I could have ordered this set from amazon for $16.00, or  ordered a print right from Thingaverse for about the same price. But it was a whole lot more fun, and much quicker to just print one at home. Plus that way, I could scale the cookie cutter up or down to meet my specific size requirements. 

If you're curious about what people who have 3D printers are using them for, check out Thingaverse. Every day there's something new. Oh, and if you want to make your own Dalek cookies, here's the recipe I used...

Stamped Shortbread Cookies
Makes about two dozen cookies.

What you need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 sticks  salted butter, softened
½ cup powdered sugar + more for rolling out cookies & dusting cookie stamp

What to do:
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, cream butter and powdered sugar until light and fluffy.
  3. Sir in flour. Blend with pastry blender until the dough comes together.
  4. Place dough on a large piece of parchment paper and roll out the dough to about ¼ inch thick. Use powdered sugar to roll out the dough. Don't use flour.
  5. Dust cookie stamp with powdered sugar and press onto the dough. Remove cookie stamp.
  6. Place cookie cutter over stamped dough and cut out the cookie.
  7. Use a spatula to lift the cookie and move it to the baking sheet.
  8. Chill the cookies for about 30 minutes before baking.
Bake at 350°F  for about 12 minutes or until edges are lightly brown. Cool the cookies on a wire rack.

Monday, September 12, 2016


My husband and I had been wanting to try the island's newest restaurant, Sushi Grand, all summer. After our trip to Japan in back in 2000, we discovered we both really enjoy sashimi and sushi. Since good sashimi isn't exactly common place in Northern Michigan we were pretty happy to hear about a sushi place opening on Mackinac.

The kids, on the other hand, weren't so sure. "It's raw? Mom, are you sure it's safe to eat?" Except for the udon noodles, they both eyed the slices of sashimi with the, I'd-really-rather-not-put-that-in-my-mouth face.

Dutifully, the kids tried every dish we ordered. My daughter's assessment: "Crunching those little fish eggs was satisfying, but sushi's not my favorite." My son liked the cooked eel roll, but not the raw fish.

My  assessment: if you like sushi or are an adventurous eater you'll love Sushi Grand. The presentation was beautiful, the food was delicious and the service was wonderful. We'll definitely eat there again, though we'll probably only make it there once a summer as a special treat given the cost.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Raring to Go

I may have been too tired to post last night, but I am really excited about the start of the school year. The classroom is organized, 

the bulletin boards are up, 

and many of the kids are just as excited as I am for the new year to begin.  Now, I just need to work to keep that enthusiasm going. This year I have 22 4th & 5th graders and seven 6th graders. They're a great bunch and I can't wait to see what they'll accomplish!

Monday, September 5, 2016



This video, starting at about 5:30 this morning, shows the traffic for the 59th Annual Mackinac Bridge Walk. Rather than walk the five miles, this year I opted to stay home in my PJs and finish up a few last minute chores before school starts tomorrow...

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Mar Chiquita Cave

Right across the street from the entrance to our Puerto Rican apartment, S noticed a cave. It was just an overhang cave, but it was still pretty big,

and it had some cool formations.

Despite the lack of tunnels and dark passages, S really wanted to spend some time exploring it. One interesting discovery we made had to do with the white blotches all over the walls... 

They were spider webs / egg sacks and  they were everywhere!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

For the Kids

I swear, the homemade ice cream absolutely nothing
to do with the fact that I was nine thousand degrees 
after working outside all morning.

It was for the kids. 
They just had to share...

Thank you Ben & Jerry. 
Your Sweet Cream Base made my
the kids' afternoon!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Mar Chiquita Beach

As I'm sure you figured out from my last post, we loved Mar Chiquita beach. It was gorgeous, warm, and perfect for my beginning snorkelers. The beach is like a little cove or inlet, with only a small opening to the Atlantic Ocean, so it's much calmer than the areas around it. (Mar Chiquita means little sea in Spanish.)

I'm still not quite sure how that my daughter used a snorkel without a mask, but she was adamant that she preferred the goggles.

My daughter was all about getting as close to that opening as she could, with an escort from her father of course, but my son was more interested  in looking for critters.

He loved the fish, 

 the sea urchins,

and he even spotted a small octopus. Sadly it did not want to have its picture taken. (Possibly due to the fact that his sister accidentally stepped on its head.) However, once he discovered beach glass, S opted to stay closer to shore and started collecting.

I have to admit it, he and I had a blast hugging the shore and searching for it, too. And despite seeing it all over, we never saw a sharp piece in the water or on the beach. Just to be safe though, we never went out without our water shoes.

We swam every day - usually twice; once in the morning and again before dinner. 

We would've gone after dinner, but in Puerto Rico, the sun sets at about 7:00 pm. It was a good experience for two kids who have spent most of their lives in Michigan, where during the summer, it's still twilight at 10:00 pm.

Mar Chiquita is in the city of Manati, on Puerto Rico's northern shore. It's about a 45 drive from San Juan - most of that on the highway. If you happen to find yourself in Puerto Rico and you're looking to spend a glorious day at the beach,  Mar Chiquita is totally worth the drive!