Saugatuck, MI

What a cute small town on Lake Michigan! Very artsy area! We walked along the lake and stopped at an outdoor art exhibit and around the farmers market. We also walked their downtown area and went in all the adorable shops!

I found Mary Poppins

My husband found an area to hike. He heard the views at the top were amazing BUT you had to climb 200 steep stairs to get there. I thought he was nuts but of course I’m always down for an adventure. The stairs were intense but after a few quick breaks, we made it!!! The views were stunning and I’m so glad we did the hike up!

Holland, MI

Ok full disclosure this city was way bigger than i expected. Our hotel was located in an area of the city surrounded by many stores and restaurants. We were about 10 minutes from the lake. Our first evening there we went out to eat, at Boatwerks, and then headed to the lighthouse. This is one of the top attractions. The lighthouse is referred to as Big Red and sits at the entrance of the channel connecting Lake Michigan with Lake Macatawa. The beach area is the largest beach we have ever seen. It is surrounded by bike paths, marinas, fishing piers, a playground and many areas to have a picnic. The area is absolutely beautiful!

Boatwerks where we ate dinner

Traveling Gluten Free

I’m in the process of being diagnosed with Non Celiac Gluten Sensitivity. This requires me to be 100% gluten free for several weeks. This of course all happened within days of leaving for vacation and my birthday, but we were up for the challenge.

My first stop was the store to stock up on gluten free snacks. This was for traveling and also to carry with me during our exploring of the different cities. Always best to have stuff with you when you don’t know if there are any safe places to eat!

Oh the struggle is real!!!! No restaurant is truly safe unless they are dedicated gluten free. We did find many lake restaurants that had gluten free buns. For the most part, the servers had some knowledge of what gluten is.

Our first night we ate at Boatwerks. It was right on Lake Macatawa and the views were beautiful! I had a burger with chips. John had their perch sandwich and chips! The waitress didn’t know if the burger was safe but she went and asked the chef for us.

Our hotel offered breakfast which made at least one meal a day a little less stressful. I had eggs and yogurt and John had all the goods 😉. I’m pretty sure the sausage patty is not gluten free and i should have known better 🤷‍♀️!

Day 2 we found a restaurant on the boardwalk of South Haven. The brewpub had several gluten free options. I went with the chips & salsa and a gluten free pizza. It was honestly the most flavorful restaurant pizzas I’ve ever had. John had fish tacos! We sat outside under an awning and just enjoyed the hustle and bustle on the boardwalk! **the awning was blue which is why the photos have strange coloring!

I’m super grateful coffee is gluten free!! I was so happy to find my FAVORITE coffee shop had this cute little spot on the boardwalk!

For my birthday dinner we ate at Salt & Pepper. I found it based off reviews from Find Me Gluten Free. It was delicious!!! I had a Kobe Steak, loaded baked potato, and a side salad. John had boursin bacon corn chowder soup, a Kobe steak smothered in Boursin bacon and roasted red pepper. For dessert we shared a flourless chocolate torte! AMAZING!!

Day 3 we started out at a gluten free bakery and yep i had a brownie and chocolate chip cookie at 9am 😂!

For lunch we ate at Red Robin. We hate eating at chain restaurants but i will say this place is really safe for gluten free. They have gluten free buns and a separate fryer for the fries. It was nice to know i could enjoy my meal without the worries of unsafe food.

For dinner we ate at Captain Lou’s on the river in south haven. They didn’t have many options so again i had a burger on gluten free bun and a salad. We ate there with John’s childhood buddy and his family. It was nice to hang out with all of them and watch the boats go down the river. We were right next to the draw bridge and Fisher was excited to watch it go up!

Finding places to eat was challenging, but we did it!!!

From the website celiac.org:

The terms non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS) and non-celiac wheat sensitivity (NCWS) are generally used to refer to this condition, when removing gluten from the diet resolves symptoms, after testing negative for celiac disease and a wheat allergy. 1

Until now it was thought that people with NCGS/NCWS only experienced symptoms and did not have any intestinal damage. However, in July 2016, a team of researchers at Columbia University Medical Center, published a study confirming that wheat exposure in this group is, in fact, triggering a systemic immune reaction and accompanying intestinal cell damage.

It is estimated that the impacted population is equal to or even exceeds the number of individuals with celiac disease (the vast majority of whom remain undiagnosed).

J & J Diner summer edition

Steak and zucchini
Lunch
Chicken Philly
Steak and potatoes
Spaghetti squash and non garlic bread
Turkey loin
Protein pancakes
Burgers and fries
Chili
Pork chop, veggies, rice
Smoked kielbasa, peppers and rice
Christmas in July stuffed peppers
Pork & potatoes
Grilled cheese and chicken noodle soup
Dinner salads
My favorite snack! Rice cake, PB2, strawberries
Steak tips and cheesy rice
Steak & corn on the cob 🌽
Pork, veggies, rice
Fajita burrito
Burrito bake
Burrito bake
Steak and potatoes
Blueberry protein pancakes
Strawberries and low carb quesadilla
Chicken pot pie 🥧
Zucchini boats
Grilled chicken and French fries!

Friday Night Lights

I missed week one, but John and i made it to week 2! It was so amazing to watch my girls twirl under the lights. The half time show blew me away and i could not be any prouder of these young ladies. They have worked so hard to become majorettes and their passion showed on the field!

One of my twirlers from another city
I was imitating my seniors pose on her banner
Me with my students

Nanny Camp

Final full week of summer

Well summer has sadly come to an end. It was the oldest nanny kids last full week of summer so we made it her week. She picked our daily activities. We checked out a new library, had daily picnics, had a tea party and visited our favorite spots.

We spent one morning making tie dye shirts and it was so fun. All three kids were amazing with the dye. They were also so careful and we didn’t have any mishaps. I was very proud of them. Their shirts turned out awesome!!! We made them for mom and dad and myself. Family tie dye shirts are the best!

New name, same girl!

Did you notice my blog name changed? I started my blog almost 2 years ago with the name Mama Bears Adventures. The name mama bear was giving to me by my baton students because i always had their backs and did what was best for them. I love that they call me that. My photography name is Mama Bears Memories. I wear that name proudly but i felt it was a little misleading as a blog title. My blog is not about my life as a “mom,” but more just about my adventures in life. I relate more to being a lake girl, as that is where i like to spend most of my free time. My house is decorated in lake themed. I wear anchors on a chain around my neck. I am a lake girl forever and i feel this represents me best! So although the page name has changed, the content is still the same!

A very Covid wedding!

This past Friday we were able to finally celebrate the marriage of Rachael and Dan. They were married two years ago during the beginning of Covid!

Rachael was one of my baton twirling students. She twirled with the Pink Ladies baton corp from the ages 6-20! She was also one of my Olmsted falls majorettes. We obviously became very close and her family is so sweet. I am so honored i was invited to her wedding. Jaime, who is also a Pink Ladies alum and now coaches for me, was also invited!

There reception was intimate and very nice. Santos catered dinner and a local bakery made the beautiful cupcakes. They had a DJ playing music and the Girl Scouts serving drinks. Ok that part isn’t true but the bartenders wore green vests and i thought they looked like Girl Scouts!

Jaime, Ben, John and I had a fun evening together!

Two, Four, SIX, EIGHT!!!

My oldest two nanny kids are turning 6 & 8! I can not believe it. This weekend we celebrate them both with a wonderful summer party. The oldest did a luau theme and her brother went with a jungle theme. The kids went on a jungle safari scavenger hunt to find animals in the “jungle.” Then the kids, and adults, played tropical charades! For dinner they had shrimp, corn on the cob, potatoes, sausage and a table full of themed treats. My nanny boss made the gorgeous cakes, as she does for every party! Nanny nana made the best Hawaiian drink! The entire backyard was transformed with themed tents and crafts for the kids to make! Inside there were two different photo areas, along with props of course! John and i are so blessed to have this amazing extended family in our lives!