Chris has been wanting to do something with the jars we've been collecting for solar lights. First he tried filling one of the colored jars I made awhile back, but the light was pretty dim.
But a plain mason jar with blue glass beads glows just fine.

Chris's dad came over from White Lake today to hang out and check out Artprize.

We wandered around in and out of a few buildings downtown, including DeVos hall (which is normally pretty empty during the week).

There were all kinds of interesting things, including a giant sand castle, obligatory Gerald R Ford sculpture, and some metal dragons.
The most interesting thing, I thought, was the SiTE:LAB venue. I wasn't terribly interested in this last year, but this year they are apparently in the old Grand Rapids Public Museum.
And the old museum has a lot of the displays still in it.
So the SiTE:LAB setup has a lot of art intermingled with the existing displays.
Honestly it was a little disheartening. The museum has apparently been closed for 15 years (which explains why I've never heard of it - I've only lived here for 7).
There are holes in the walls and displays partially dismantled. It certainly would need a lot of work. Plus there is the in-use Grand Rapids Public Museum downtown which is situated in a better location next to Gerald R Ford Museum. I assume that the museum was moved to it's current location and this old building was just left abandoned.

We certainly only just scratched the surface. We didn't go near the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Grand Rapids Public Library, Kendall College of Art and Design, or any of the small restaurant venues.
After we got back from wandering around downtown, Chris and his dad performed some minor surgery on the grill and discussed various house modifications and fixes.

It's a presidential election year, which means a whole slew of state proposals will be on the ballot and all sorts of advertisements out trying to sway people to vote one way or another.

Chris and I don't watch a lot of live TV what TV we do watch is already on the DVR which means skipping the ads, so we've managed to avoid most TV advertisements regarding voting this way or that. Mail, however, is a different story. So far we've received two pieces of mail, one for proposal 2 and one for proposal 6.

If you look closely, both of these ads imply that if you support or don't support a proposal you will hurt the children. People, they just want you to think of your children.

Of course if you actually look up either of the proposals you'll see that they have nothing to do with school funding or children. I mean, proposal six is about a bridge and two is about a state constitutional amendment for collective bargaining.

Getting political mail doesn't bother me. It's the emotionally charged and misleading piece of paper landing in my mailbox that I find insulting. If I got a piece of paper that said proposal 2 was about collective bargaining I'd be fine with it (even if i didn't necessarily agree with the stance it was taking). But the proposal 2 mailer we received says children will be at risk if it's adopted. It then goes on to cite from Michigan statutes (MCL 381.230a and MCL 257.1851) and implies that somehow those are impacted.

They're not.

Honestly I think putting the statute numbers on there is an attempt to make it seem more official.

Anyway, all of these things are really easy to look up these days. There is a ballotpedia website that has all of the information right there for the proposals on the ballot.

You also no longer need to actually go to a library to look up statutes. You can look them up right on the state legislature website.

Anyway, I'd strongly urge anyone voting (which anyone who is old enough should be, I think) to look up the actual language of the proposals (ballotpedia has got you covered for whatever state you're in) and make a decision based on that, and not an emotionally manipulative piece of advertisement.

Several of my co-workers also have Guild Wars 2, but only a few are actually on the same server as me. So I met up with a few and we ran around with some low level characters we created.

Sometimes it's nice to play with people you already know.

Chris ordered a v701 Onda tablet. It's a cute little 7" tablet and much with a much better response than the Coby or the older Eken M100.

Of course it certainly helps that the screen is capacitive as opposed to resistive (which both of the previous android tablets we bought were).

Anyway, Chris has a nice write-up on his blog about it.

When we first bought the house we scoped out where all the fire alarms were. There were two, one for each floor. The only thing I felt we were missing was a carbon monoxide detector, which we bought and put downstairs.

Now fast forward to 6 months later. Tonight, actually.

Chris and I were hanging out watching a good Bill Moyers episode with Trevor Potter and we started to hear beeping.

We had just replaced the batteries in both detectors a few months ago, so although it seemed odd they'd be dead so quick, we went to pull down the detectors.

But the beeping persisted. And it sounded like it was coming from the basement.

We spent a good 10 minutes listening to the beep, moving to where we thought we heard it, then listening more. Finally, after pinpointing the rough area we started to dig around.


Until finally we reached up past the drop ceiling into the rafters.

Lo and behold there was a third fire alarm.

Who knew?

A beautiful sunny (but windy) Monday afternoon in downtown Grand Rapids.

Due to the rain yesterday, we rescheduled our annual trip to the Renaissance Festival for today (ok, almost annual - I missed last year). 
They've slowly been expanding a new area over the last few years. They even have a giant blue pirate ship (that doubles as a shop, of course).
Chris and I met up with my parents and we walked around, enjoying the costumes and shows. 
The jousting show is always a lot of fun to watch. 

I'd highly recommend going if you've never been before. Seriously. The comedy shows alone are worth it, not to mention jousting, turkey legs, a raptor demonstration and more. 

When we bought our house the inspector suggested getting a screen to cover some air vents in the attic. They're covered on the outside, but there is a small opening that a bird or small critter could get through.

Of course, time went by and we didn't think much of it.

Until this week.

The last few nights I've heard something scratching in the attic. At first I thought I was imagining it but when I caught the cat staring at the ceiling intently, I knew there really was something above us.

So we went out shopping today to pick up some supplies and cover the two air vents.

I volunteered to go into the attic because I'm smaller and the opening is pretty narrow.
Lets just say it isn't the most fun thing I've done. The previous owners blew in insulation. It doesnt have fiberglass, but I don't remember the exact name. It's like shredded paper or cardboard. Very soft, I'll tell you that.

Even with a mask on, which didn't quite fit me, (maybe they make child size ones?) I still inhaled some insulation.

I never did see anything up there, nor any signs of anything having been there. Of course, the insulation was so thick that it would be easy to miss something.

But the very single project that I had for the day is done. Now I can just be lazy.

Chris picked me up for lunch to celebrate my birthday. That means tasty black bean burger from Brick Road Pizza!
The work day was pretty crappy so Chris took me out for dinner too. Lots of Chinese food.

There are so many leftovers in the fridge.
And since it's my birthday I did pretty much what I wanted. Which was run around in Guild Wars 2.

Alright, if you're going to park them all over where I normally have lunch I guess I'll try something...

The pesto egg sandwich from the Silver Spork was pretty tasty - but then I'm partial to most things pesto.

Headed to Rosa Parks Circle for my daily lunch to read and discovered two food trucks and The Outer Vibe putting on a concert.

That's cool too.

I took a stroll through the the skywalk today. There are a lot of Artprize entries up...
..including a massive wall of dogs running. Woof!

Walks after work can be a relaxing thing.

It's great that our house is situated near so many parks.

I really love cinnamon rolls, and they're super easy to make. You just toss ingredients on the dough, roll, and slice. So I started thinking - what else can you make that way?

Pizza pinwheels. That's what.
I pulled out the bread machine and got

So I rolled out the pizza dough I made in the bread machine and topped it with the traditional mozzarella and pepperoni toppings.

(Sometime I'm going to try a pesto and chicken roll. I think that would be delicious.)
Next I rolled the pizza dough into a log. I didn't split the dough in half, which probably would it made it easier to roll a tighter log.
I cut the log into one inch sections...
..and placed them on the a cookie sheet.

I then let them sit for about 20 minutes to rise.

After 20 minutes I popped them into the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
Just add a little cup of dipping sauce and you're ready to go!



  • 1 pizza dough (fresh made or frozen)
  • approx 1c mozzarella cheese
  • pizza toppings of choice (pepperoni, mushrooms, etc)


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Divide dough into two balls and roll out into two rectangles
  • Top rectangles of dough with mozzarella and pizza toppings, leaving approx 1/4 inch border
  • Roll each of the two rectangles into a log. Cut the log into 1 inch pieces and place on a greased cookie sheet. Allow dough to rise for 20 minutes
  • Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.
  • Serve with your preferred dipping sauce

Saturday has been an awesome day. I had a tasty dinner with Lori. We caught up on all kinds of things.

Then I cam home and Chris was Skyping with Comfort and Adam. So I got to catch up with them. Which was also awesome.

I'm not going to lie - I ate most of the bag (I was hungry!) but Kati was right - these pretzel M&Ms are nearly as tasty as you'd think.

I guess at least they weren't candy corn M&Ms. Ew.

Downtown is slowly being transformed for Artprize, which officially starts on 9/19/2012.

I have no idea if this seahorse is an Artprize entry (I dont see a sign up and a few of the other entries up do have signs) but it did show up recently so I can only assume.
They've also added a new (I think) thing to Artprize - walking tours. These may have existed in the two prior years, but I certainly didn't see any spray painted stencils leading you through downtown.

They have a three, six, and nine mile tour. I'll have to poke around and see if they have a map anywhere. I'd like to see how they're getting 9 miles out of downtown. I'm guessing by snaking up and down and back and forth through most of the blocks downtown.

So. Close. To. Home.

They moved the chairs for the museum normally up near the entrance down onto the brick patio by the road. I'm assuming this was done in anticipation of Artprize.

There's significantly less shade now, but on the upside I dont think people have realized these have moved so no one seems to be sitting here.

I can read in quiet again!

The grocery store had these little lunchable snack duos on sale and I thought I'd try them.

They're obviously not meant to be eaten as lunch alone (hence snack in the name) but they're not bad. Tasty cheese and crackers. And mini chocolate chip cookies of course.

Not bad.

Sunday has been a pretty good day. Quiet. Relaxing. We took a nice stroll at the park near us.
Plus I played a bunch of Guild Wars 2.

So yeah, good day.

Today was our first visit to Blandford Nature Center. It's an adorable small area in Grand Rapids that features trails, wildlife, and education
We managed to time our visit with the animal feeding time. I have to say, the meowing of a bobcat anticipating a meal is both adorable and heatbreaking. Especially after reading his story.

I don't even believe in declawing domestic cats (here's a good read on why), so I think declawing a bobcat is especially horrid.
They have several birds of prey as well, including an adorable Merlin who was carrying around a small mouse.

Mealtime for everyone!
We walked a few of their trails. Their largest trail, the Back Forty, is less than a mile long. Along the way we saw several deer but one in particular stuck out. This young one hung out on the path for a bit just looking at us...
..groomed for a bit, and didn't bound away very far when we did get close.
The wetlands they have listed on their map wasn't too wet. I guess that's what a dry summer will do.

Blandford was a nice place to spend a few hours enjoying nature. It's not a very far drive and it's certainly charming. We didn't explore everything - best to save some things for later visits.

We will certainly be back!