The Chicago Botanic Garden

The summer of 2020 marked the beginning of our gardening journey when Derek and I grew plants from seed packets on the windowsill of our apartment for the community garden plot. Over the course of the next several months, we learned how to grow organic vegetables, fruits, and lots of sunflowers. So when given the […]

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Art Teachers Unite on Mackinac Island!

Art brings people together. Artists tell stories, bring history to life, and reimagine the future. I consider it an honor to teach art for a living, investing this passion into my students as creative thinkers who become more empowered to take risks, learn collaboratively, and create meaningful artwork. It’s also important to develop myself as […]

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Hiking the Dunes in Sand and Snow

It was so bitterly cold that we wore face masks to shield every possible inch of exposed skin from the ferocious winds that drifted over the dunes. Bundled in layers with our hoods up and snow boots on, we trekked the snow covered staircases one step at a time at West Beach in the middle […]

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Milwaukee In A Day

We didn’t make vacation plans in 2020. Looking back through our photos, our last destination trip was visiting Seattle in the summer of 2019. As we made it through the unknown changes of a pandemic year and relocating for a new job, it has been refreshing to finally settle in where we are and explore […]

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Camping Local

The fire crackles as two plump marshmallows singe to toasted perfection while we gaze into the embers beneath. It’s a warm night and we relish in the stillness of the forest with only an owl’s gentle hoots calling to us from the distance. It had been far too long since we had pitched the tent […]

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The Japanese Grocery Excursion

Matcha green tea, Botan rice, Curry packets, Tonkatsu sauce, and Inarizushi-no-moto, are just some of the ingredients we use regularly that are hard to find. We stock up every few months at the closest Asian store when in the South Bend area or visiting family in Grand Rapids, Michigan. While we can usually find the […]

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Family Camping Trip in the UP

Buckle in, it’s going to be a wild ride. The four of us clip into our seat belt harnesses with growing anticipation for an off-road journey in the Can-Am Side by Side. Craig takes the wheel as we leisurely roll past the neighboring campsites, cross the road, and enter the main passage for ATVs and […]

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Birding the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge

At last, we find ourselves on our first visit to an official birding sanctuary in Olympia, Washington. Where the freshwater of the Nisqually River meets the southern edge of the Puget Sound, the estuary habitat is shared by the lands of the Nisqually Indian Tribe, a hunting area by the Washington Fish and Wildlife Service, […]

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Olympia’s Mysterious Mima Mounds

As far as the eye can see, all around us are oddly symmetrical mounds of earth. Now covered in wildflowers, this dimpled landscape of mounds, each measuring about six feet tall and thirty feet wide over several hundred acres, looks like it could be something crafted by science fiction.  According to Washington’s Department of Natural […]

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THE COAST OF OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK

Massive driftwood greets us as we climb aboard their logs to enter Rialto Beach. Low tide reveals pools of water and crusty barnacles hugging to the rocks for dear life. Wild, undeveloped coastline stretches for miles with jagged “seastack” islands standing their guard to the waves that crash the shore. Derek rips off his hiking […]

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