Thursday, May 25, 2017

Kitchen Update

Wanted to share some photos of the new kitchen cupboards!  Remember we hired a company called  N-Hance and they stained the cupboards??? The cupboards were in great shape and a few years ago we added granite and a new back splash, but we just weren't happy with the honey oak color of the cabinets.  N-Hance came in and taped off the room and sprayed the cabinets frames while taking the doors to their shoppe for a more complete spray.  We love the results and couldn't be more happy with the updated look.  If you are looking for an inexpensive way to update your cabinets and your cabinets are in decent shape than you should really consider this company.  Home Depot is now a sponsor of
N- Hance and you can see their kiosk in most of their stores.   They did not pay me to comment on their product, I just really believe that they deliver a very good product for a very good price.  ... Before and After Pictures!!
Before- always liked the granite and the back splash, but felt the wood made everything look dated.
After- dark wood is rich in color and blends nicely with the other colors in the kitchen!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Monday Mash-Up

Another weekend away!  This time we traveled to Petoskey,  Michigan.

The bag is a Vera Bradley and was a Christmas gift from the girls.  It holds everything I need for a long weekend and is super stylish :)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

KJ on the run!

On Saturday, after Olivia's bridal shower, we all met up at Sagebrush Cantina in Lake Orion for Mexican Mother's Day!  This was an impromptu gathering and one that will live in my memory for a long time.  We had such fun and KJ was in rare form :)
 He's looking a little mischievous.

 Salsa on jacket
KJ ate so many chips with salsa before dinner that I wondered if he would have room for his quesadilla :)

The food was delicious and the laughter infectious!
Photo of Sagebrush Cantina - Lake Orion, MI, United States

We had a hard time saying goodbye to KJ, he is such a blessing in our lives. 

Lauren had to practically rip KJ out of Aunt Livvy's arms!  The girls gave me nice gifts for Mother's Day, but to be honest, nothing beats spending time with them and hearing them talk about their lives and listening to them laugh.  Hope your Mother's Day was just as special.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Just got back from a Viking Cruise!

Romantic Danube- Budapest to Nuremberg
Viking Cruise, 8 days, 3 countries

Wow, we have just had the time of your lives with an amazing trip to Europe!  We left via Detroit to Amsterdam then boarded another flight to Budapest where we stepped aboard the Viking Egil, a beautiful 1 year old long ship!  We left the end of April and returned May 9, just in time for Olivia's bridal shower.  

Not knowing what to expect on a Viking cruise, we were pleasantly surprised! Viking advertises for an older crowd and we were on the younger side of that, but we felt very welcomed by all the passengers and thoroughly enjoyed the cruise. The pace was a little slower, but that was fine with us.  We just did our own thing, ran in the morning and tried to bike in every city.  We logged many miles in Europe which help off set the amount of calories we took in from rich foods and good German beer and wine :)

Lunch was waiting for us as we boarded with plenty of free wine and beer as well.  In fact, the entire week we had free beer and wine with all meals.  No need to purchase a drink card, as there were no limits on how much you could order :)  Yeah, I took advantage of the free drinks on many evenings...much to Dave's chagrin.  Here are highlights of the trip!

Day 1: Budapest, Hungary
Wonderful Cuban Panni's awaited us as we boarded!

Inside the lounge area, very comfortable.
The ship is small, only 150 well taken care of passengers.

On our walking tour with a Viking tour guide.  Sight seeing in Budapest.
Dave had to try a decadent chocolate cake at a Budapest coffee house!

The street food in Budapest smelled just as wonderful as it looked!  People were indulging in all of these local dishes.
Throughout Europe, homemade bread was a mainstay.

Night time Budapest, Capital building
Day 2: Budapest, Hungary.  We visited the Buda side of Budapest.  Buda and Pest are separated by bridges over the Danube River.  We liked the Buda side so much we could easily spend a few days there.  

Matthias Church

 Danube River separating Buda from Pest.

Had to try the Hungarian soup with pure Tumeric, while in Buda.

Heroes' Square
Day 3: Vienna, Austria.   I couldn't wait to get to Vienna, both Dave and I booked this vacation due to the fact that we would spend the day in Vienna.  Neither of us had been there before.  Even though it was wonderful, it was our least favorite stop in the cruise.  We took a tour in the morning with a Viking Tour guide and the afternoon and evening were ours to spend in any way we wished.  Therefore, we rented bikes for the day and rode along the Danube River for quite a few miles then made our way into the city of Vienna.  We came across a festival playing loud rock music that many of the locals were thoroughly enjoying.  We even went back there in the evening with friends we made on the ship to watch the fireworks!  This International May Day celebration honors workers by giving them the day off work to celebrate with friends and family.
The Hofburg Palace, Baroque architecture

St. Stephan's Cathedral 

May Day Celebration

Day 4: Krems, Austria.  This place was just beautiful.  Picture old world town with cobble stone walks and huge wooden front doors ladened with colorful flower boxes on each window.  We decided to run to Krem from the boat. What a joy it was to run along the Danube.  Upon returning to the boat, we quickly ate breakfast and boarded a bus to take a tour of the Gottweig Abbey where Benedictine Monks work and worship on a hilltop overlooking the splendid Wachau Valley. Our tour guide was one of 42 Monks that live at the Abbey.  Our guide was funny and informative and he gave us great insight into the life of a modern day Monk.

View of the Wachau Valley from the Abbey
We sipped Apricot wine in this old brick room while listening to a Monk discuss the history of the Abbey.
One of the ways, besides tours, the Monks make money to care for the Abbey is to bottle wine and juice from the apricot tree.  The wine and juice are available for purchase in the Abbey store. They also have a restaurant on the premises and the food looked amazing- maybe another trip!

Viking provided audio headsets for each tour.

Alter in the church.

The splendid ceiling fresco in the imperial stairwell is one of the largest in the world. 
Back now on the cruise ship taking pictures of the lovely view of the many churches and dwellings along the Wachau Valley - Krems, Austria.

One of the many locks we needed to pass through to get down the Danube River

Day 5: Passau, Germany.  We spent the day in one of the most picturesque alpine settings- home of the wonderful Sound of Music and the birthplace of Mozart. We listened to an organ concert at the St. Stephan's Cathedral.  The organ being the largest in the world with 17,974 organ pipes, the music was magically boring.  

Cobblestone streets everywhere :)

Every church or state building has beautiful ceiling motifs.

St. Stephen's Cathedral with its ornate interior.  Here we listened to the 17,000 pipe organ recital.

We visited a horse ranch in Passau before we headed to the Beer Garden.  I love this bar with the green glass accents. 

In the afternoon we signed up for an extra excursion: a Bavarian Beerfest!  Can you see the smile on our faces as we drink away the afternoon enjoying local cuisine and listening to Bavarian music!

Look at how cute this place is!

Day 6: Regensburg, Germany.  This city was perfect and one that we will definitely try to get back to. Our favorite stop on the cruise.
St. Peter's Cathedral beautiful Gothic architecture, built in 700 AD.  

 There was a wedding in the town square- notice the traditional attire :)
Don't I look like a German Frau!  My German language came in handy :) Eine Bier bitter!


 The medieval city of Regensburg.
Viking supplied the earphones we used for each tour.  They made listening to the tour guide super easy because we could walk away to take pictures and still hear her. 

Oldest sausage making kitchen in Europe, Historische Bursktuche.

We ended up buying these mugs at the Ratskellar brewpub as souvenirs.  We have already used a few times since we returned home!
Day 7: Nuremberg, Germany.   During our Nuremberg tour we discussed the growth of the Third Reich. We witnessed where Hitler gave his infamous speech on the Zeppelin Field- the Nazi parade grounds of the 1930's.  We saw the Documentation Center, the Nazi Party Rally Grounds, the court house where the Nuremberg Trials took place and we heard about the bombings of WWII and how they pretty much destroyed the city of Nuremberg. As a student of history, I really enjoyed these tours.  Viking provided all tours for free and all of our tour guides were so knowledgeable and lived in the cities that they spoke about.

The next day we had to disembark from the ship and head over to Prague.  I will post on that trip in a few days.  We loved our Viking cruise and the friends we made.  We are meeting up with a couple from the cruise this summer in Montreal and we are already dreaming about a Viking cruise along the Rhine... 

If you love to be pampered, have all of your travel needs taken care of; which included luggage transfers, most tips, transportation to and from the airport, and tours, then you really should consider Viking.  Their red coats, shirts, and hats were easily recognized if you got lost, their tours were the best with the best guides, and the food, drink and entertainment on the ship was beyond belief.  One night, while in Germany, they brought on an opera group who sang German songs like Edilweiss!  We had so much fun! 

We whole-heartily recommend Viking Cruises, and we were not even paid to say that :)

I was a little drunk as I sing the song along with the professionals, forgive me.:)

Check back in a few days for the Prague trip!