I have been pretty good at working out and staying fit ever since we discovered P90X.  My body fat percentage has dropped by at least 3% and I'm fitting into all my clothes - comfortably. 

But, I have a weakness:  Culver's frozen custard.

I try to go only once every couple of weeks, but they recently had a flavor I could not refuse: PUMPKIN PECAN.  My favorite part of Autumn is all the pumpkin stuff.  So, you can imagine that I was looking forward to the day that Pumpkin Pecan was the flavor of the day.

The day came.

We drove-thru.
And it was beautiful.

It was SO good. I know it's full of fat and calories. I don't want it every day.  I just want to know it's there. 

Culver's has it down, though.  They give you this monthly schedule of their flavors of the day.  So, you look it over before throwing it in the recycling bin....until....you see a day with a flavor you can't resist.  Then, you can't throw it away.  You have to put it on your fridge so you don't miss that special day.  And, of course, Ella and I have different flavors on our favorites list, so that means we're both looking out for special days!

And there, on the fridge, the flier stares at you....reminding you that it's out there, waiting for you to drive-thru.

But, you need to remind yourself of the last time you got custard.  It was only......how many days ago? If I can count it on both hands, I'm not allowed to go! I figure that will average out every couple of weeks.

So, there it is: My weakness.  I wonder what the flavor of the day is TODAY??
After our Halloween Party (Tuesday's post), Ella and I had a chick-flick marathon planned.  Greg was at the MSU game in Chicago, so we had the place to ourselves. 

We started with Bridget Jones's Diary.  She loved it. I couldn't believe my baby was old enough to be watching these movies with me.  A year or two ago, we would have been watching Disney Princess movies!  This time, we both enjoyed the movies equally.

We took a break and ordered some pizza.
Ella was so excited to actually get to drink pop....after 6 pm!  And, it was even more fun to EAT IN THE LIVING ROOM.

We put in Thing Called Love. One of my favorite movies and one of River Phoenix's last movies.  Great music and a great lesson for a young girl.  She liked that one too! We were on a roll. 

So, we decided to make popcorn.
Then came the high point of the night:  Ella's first time watching Sister Act.  You know, Whoopi Goldberg as a nun?  She LOVED it. 

We stayed up late all jacked up on diet pop.

And the next day, the first thing Ella said was, "Can we watch Sister Act again?"

So many movies....I can't wait for our next Chick-Flick marathon!
Ella has wanted to have a Halloween party for years, and I finally caved this year.  She wanted to have her girlfriends over for a lunch where they created everything they ate. 

She had so much fun and was really appreciative of all the work that went into it!

We both went in costume: Me, a 50's housewife; Ella, a fashion designer.
Is it just me, or does she look like she's 16?
I tricked the kids into eating 'healthy' things at first, such as:

-Carrot 'Fingers' with sliced almond fingernails
-Salty 'Bones' made from bread dough
-Monster 'Toes' made from coctail sausages wrapped in tortilla strips (with ketchup fingernails)
-Apple bites (below) with chopped almonds for teeth
But, we had to get into the sugar at some point, so we made:
-Spiders made from chocolate donut holes, black licorice (legs) and m&ms (eyes)
-Witches Brooms made from pretzels and fruit by the foot
-Cupcake witches (below)
Overall, it was a great success.  Tiring? Yes.  Lots of dishes? Yes.  Sore feet (I was wearing heels you know)? You bet.  Totally worth it to see my little one smile? Definitely!
Ella has always had good taste. If you ask her which local restaurants are her favorite, she'll pick some of the nicest in town.  Around a year ago, though, she asked, "Why don't we ever eat at Target?"

"Eat at Target?"  I didn't even know you could eat at Target.  I mean, I know they have slushies but food?  So, one day, I surprised her and after a shopping trip, we had dinner.  They have a small Pizza Hut in our target, so we split a personal pan pizza and three breadsticks. 

I thought that would 'cure' her curiosity.  I mean, the ambience is nothing  -  flourescent lights, a ton of people, a bunch of stuff made in China...

But, I was wrong. 

Now, whenever we go to Target around dinner time, she wants to eat there!  So, we were shopping for a little Halloween party the other day at Target and sure enough...she wanted dinner.  And, with a checklist of need-to-be-dones, I was open to the convenience.
(No, I don't take my camera to Target, this was taken with my phone!)

She loved it again!

I guess it's the irony that kids love....eating dinner where you normally shop.  As we get older, the thought of going out to dinner does not create visions of a superstore - we've just lost the excitement of irony.

And, I shouldn't complain. At least it wasn't Walmart.
I love blank slates. I love to create the impossible from nothing. It's all a challenge, and challenges are what really get me going.  And, we're facing one of those now.

In June of 2007, Greg opened his own chiropractic office after being laid off.  Let me just say that being laid off truly stinks.  Both of us have had job losses since moving to West Michigan.  But, both of us have gotten back on our feet and started again.

Greg was brave, though, because he started his own practice. It was a bold move.  Where 'who you know' and 'what your last name is' is key, this community is not easy to break into.  But, there are a lot of really good people here willing to try something new.  And, we are really thankful for those people.

But, being a small business owner is tough.  We found a great office space that would accommodate growth. We just didn't need to grow. 

After three years of trial and error, we're finally able to define the type of business we want. 

To fit this definition, Greg has decided to move his office. And now, we're starting again. Fresh.  But it's not really a blank slate. It just looks like it!   
You see, we do have history here.  Greg has built his practice for the last three years with excellent patient service.  He's learned what has worked and he's learned what has not worked. 

That's not a blank slate.

We have blank walls and a newly formed partnership in optimism.  We both believe in this and are willing to put the hours in required to make it work.

A blank slate with a cheat sheet.

Not a bad place to start.

Grand Opening is November 1st: 451 Columbia Street, E2, Holland, Michigan.  Please stop by to say hi!  Or, visit www.ovchiro.com which will be updated soon!




I know, I know, you've heard all about Indianapolis already....well, hold on, I've got one more.

When you've lived in a big city and then move to a small town, there are some things you appreciate and there are somethings you MISS IMMENSELY.

Like skylines...
Going out to eat at fun places and getting big pink drinks in souvenier glasses (part of the proceeds went to breast cancer research)...
Watching the sun set behind buildings of pure majesty...
Seeing your child's horizons expanding by the second...
And feeling very small.
We love cities.

We lived in Minneapolis for 7 years and loved the culture, diversity and energy, so we make sure we get to the city at least a couple times a year. We also want Ella to know that the world does not end at Michigan's borders.

Mission accomplished.
We received a wonderful gift from my Dad last Christmas - a one-night stay at the Crown Plaza in Indianapolis with tickets to the Indianapolis Zoo and Children's Museum.  It was a great gift, because the three of us got away together (something we rarely do these days).  The hotel has an actual train (on the tracks) with rooms to stay in and each one is decorated beautifully.

This year, we stayed in the Charlie Chaplin room, which was better than the PT Barnum room we had last year - too many clowns!

Whenever we would head to the room, Ella would say, "Who's that dude again?"  It's funny how we take for granted our knowledge and experiences.  I was thinking, "Charlie Chaplin wasn't a 'dude' - he was an icon!".  But, we filled her in nonetheless.

The train car was gorgeous! All black and white with red accents.  This sillouette was the first thing we saw as we entered the room. 
I love polka dots!
By the end of our stay, Ella almost had her impression down (without ever actually seeing Charlie in motion).
I love this picture....
The train is actually in an area with skylights, so it actually feels like you'll be stepping off at the next station.
What a treat!  Thanks Dad!
***  Just a note to say THANK YOU for all of you who responded to my blog post on Friday. It was overwhelming - I had Facebook posts, comments here and lots of emails.  Thanks! ***

If you were to ask Ella what her two favorite things are right now, she'd say, "Living or Non-Living?"  Then, once you clarified 'non-living,' she'd say, "Definitely BARBIES and FASHION!"  So, it was a crazy coincidence that when we visited the Indianapolis Children's Museum this weekend that one of their feature exhibits was Barbie: The Fashion Experience.
As soon as we drove by the museum to the parking ramp, she was jumping out of her seat. Heck, the banner was hanging down the entire front side of the building.
Never before had she seen so many Barbies...in so many forms.  She's been taking books out of the library on Barbie fashion, but hasn't seen them in person before.  See these letters?  Yep. All Barbies.
And, I have to admit, I got a little excited to when MY BARBIE DREAM HOUSE was on display....
(Both of which, by the way, are up and used in Ella's room). 

She got to design outfits using several different interactive displays.
And, she saw a lot of full-size (giant-size?) versions of her favorite Barbie outfits.
It's like we were two 8 year olds discovering this at the same time. Awesome!  Except I got to experience it from my own perspective and as her mom, which was twice the fun!

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    My name is Kristen Porter ~ I am a corporate attorney by day, and a writer/artist/renaissance-woman wanna-be by night. 

    This is my blog...my summary of life and attempt to capture small moments forever while appreciating their impermanence.  Those small moments are what make life so wonderful!

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