Glacier National Park: Part 3

Noah’s and I spent our third day in Glacier on an all-day, ranger-led hike to Piegan Pass. The hike started at 10am, and the trailhead was along the Going to the Sun Road at Siyeh Bend. We got up early to do the drive and make sure we were at the trailhead with plenty of time to get a parking spot. It turned out that parking wasn’t an issue that morning because it was cold, windy, and rainy. While we were waiting for the ranger to come, we stayed in the car to try to get some last-minute warmth. At one point, we even wondered if was too cold for the hike (it was supposed to take about 6 hours!). In the end, we decided to stick it out. It was definitely a good choice! The hike was amazing and, although I was freezing when we finished, the weather wasn’t really that bad until we made it up to the pass. PLUS, we came upon some huckleberry bushes!

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Fun fact: huckleberries have never been successfully cultivated, so you can only pick them in the wild!

The hike itself crossed through several different landscapes. There were forested areas:


Flower fields (check out how foggy it is!):

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And it became more and more rocky with snow-capped peaks in the (nearer) distance as we approached the pass:

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When we were in the forest/flower fields things were a bit wet but we were all smiles:


About 3 hours later after we had been exposed to the frigid winds/snow (yes, snow!) past the tree line, we were still smiling but were a little worse for wear.🙂


By the time we made it back down the peak and to the car, the rain wasn’t as heavy but it was still quite foggy. Vision on the road was pretty scary!


Fortunately, Noah was able to build a fire back at the campsite to warm us up (note: the pic below is just the beginning stages🙂 ):


The next morning, our fourth day, was our last day in Glacier. We were only planning to spend a few hours in the park in the morning before driving to Ennis, MT for the wedding of two friends. Noah suggested we do the Avalanche Lake Trail for our last Glacier adventure, and the hike worked out perfectly. The hike was an out-and-back 4-mile trail, and it took us about 2.5 hours – perfect for a quick hike on our way out of the park! At the beginning of the hike we followed along a small stream:

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and were completely surrounded by HUGE trees:

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BONUS: more huckleberries!!


While we were hiking towards the lake, there was still a bit of fog covering the mountains, so we hoped the view would clear before too long:


After a little more than an hour of hiking, we made it to Avalanche Lake. Holy cow, it was gorgeous:

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Fortunately, the clouds were just disappearing as we headed back towards the trailhead:


At the end of the hike there was a short loop called Trail of the Cedars. Trail of the Cedars followed a boardwalk that crossed over the water a few times:


Noah and I learned from a ranger that the unique appearance of the water at Glacier is a result of rock flour. Rock flour is – just like it sounds – the fine flour that is made when rocks scrape against one another (i.e., what is formed at Glacier as the glaciers move). The rock flour gives the water a bright turquoise-ish tint and also makes it very transparent. When the water is shallow and the color is less intense, it almost looks like the rocks are right at the surface!


After the hike it was time to say our goodbyes to Glacier and start the 5-6 hour drive to Ennis. Goodbye, Glacier!


I can’t complain about the drive though – the views from the road were still pretty spectacular:

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Eventually, we saw a sign for Ennis!


Pretty much as soon as we got to Ennis it was time to celebrate:


The wedding celebrations went by in a blur – so many hugs, smiles, laughs, (happy) tears! Before we knew it, we had ranched:

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We had decorated:

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We had rehearsal dinner-ed:


And the last dance was danced:

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It was definitely a happy/wonderful/moving weekend that I won’t forget.❤

And that concludes our Montana vacation – what a trip!


Glacier National Park: Part 2

On our second full day in Glacier, Noah and I woke up bright and early in order to snag one of the first-come-first-serve camping spots at the Apgar Campground. Noah and I rented camping gear from Glacier Outdoor Center, so we got up extra early to pick up the supplies before driving to the campground. We rolled into the campground at about 7:45am and immediately started to drive around, searching for a spot.


After a few minutes of looking, we realized that it would probably be easiest to just ask people if they were leaving that morning. Before too long, we found a group that said they were leaving in a few minutes and we could pull into their spot and wait.

SUCCESS! We immediately pulled our car in and started filling out the tag to reserve the spot:


The campsite was plenty comfortable – there were bathrooms with running water, toilets, and toilet paper (yay!). Plus they had these nifty bear-safe trash cans:


We didn’t dally long at the campsite because we wanted to get moving on Going to the Sun Road(GTTSR) – one of Glacier’s most prominent attractions. GTTSR is a 50-mile stretch of narrow road that winds across the whole of Glacier National Park, featuring stunning sights and a number of pull-offs/attractions to stop at.

Here’s a fabulous view characteristic of the sights from the road:


AND, we saw several bikers along the road – that is seriously ambitious!


The road itself it pretty nerve-wracking to drive, and Noah and I had to take turns at the wheel so we both had time to look around outside the window. The drop off was way too serious to look around while driving:


Heading from West Glacier, we made it to Logan Pass – the highest point on the road – in under two hours. At Logan Pass there are several hiking trailheads as well as a visitors center. The Logan Pass parking lot gets full quite early (we were told as early as 9:00am!), so when we arrived around 9:45am we had to drive around for a bit waiting for a spot to open up. Noah and I were planning to join a ranger-led hike starting at 10:30, so we hoped something would be free soon!

Full lot:

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Fortunately, it didn’t take too long before we were in the right place at the right time and found a spot, and wee joined with about 12 others to hike the Highline Trail.


In its entirely, the Highline Trail is a 15-mile point-to-point hike. The full distance seemed a bit ambitious for Noah and I – especially considering we were hoping to continue our drive along the GTTSR afterwards – so we were excited to do an out-and-back 6-mile walk with a ranger.

The hike itself started with us walking through some low greenery and then along a rocky mountainside:


Almost immediately on the trail we ran into two mountain goats!


From the beginning, the views were great:

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About a mile into the hike, we came upon the Garden Wall – an iconic part of the trail that’s totally covered in greenery:


Every so often, the ranger would stop and tell us interesting bits of information about the landscape, the geology of the area, and our general surroundings. For example, he pointed out the variation in the rocks around us, indicating the different degrees to which the rocks were oxidized:


And, the informational stops also gave us a chance to take advantage of some great photo ops!

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Check out this waterfall!


We also caught sight of several ground squirrels – quite common throughout the park:

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Once we made our turn-around on the hike and headed back towards Logan Pass, we ran into yet another mountain goat!


Logan Pass is on the Continental Divide, so when we made it back to the base area we snapped a pic with the Continental Divide sign:


And then explored the base area for a little bit, enjoying the views:


Eventually, we headed back to our car and passed on our coveted Logan Pass parking spot to some excited folks waiting. After driving for a bit longer, we knew we were getting towards the end of the GTTSR when we started catching glimpses of St. Mary Lake:

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Finally, we made it to the St. Mary Visitor Center, the final stop at the other end of the Sun Road!


We briefly looked around the exhibits at the St. Mary Visitor Center – mainly about the Native American Tribes that used to live at the park and continue to see the area as their homeland. Before long we started heading back to the West Glacier side of the park, stopping by the Glacier Park Lodge. The Glacier Park Lodge was built in 1913 and is maintained as a historic site (and actual guesthouse!). The decor maintains an old-timey, Western feel:

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And we found this ancient artifact…😉


We also checked out one of the Red Buses – a historic icon of Glacier – outside the Lodge:


The Red Buses were introduced in the 1930s as a transportation method for touring groups at the park, and they continue to be used as a way for visitors to be guided around the park.

We couldn’t spend too much time on our way back because we wanted to get back to our campsite with plenty of daylight left for setting up the tent. Once back at the other side of the camp and our campsite, Noah made speedy work of setting up the tent:

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Way to go, Noah!

Our tent was beautifully positioned underneath the trees.🙂


After having everything set up for the night, Noah and I were ready for a delicious dinner. We went to Russell’s Fireside Dining Room at the Lake McDonald Lodge (about a 30-minute drive from our campsite) and had an absolutely delicious, amazing, relaxing dinner.

All you really need to know:

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Yes, that is huckleberry pie with huckleberry ice cream that Noah and I shared for dessert. When in Montana, right?!

If you missed my first Glacier post, check it out here, and be on the lookout for a third post coming soon!


Glacier National Park

Noah and I recently had an amazing week-long trip in Montana. We (especially Noah!) has spent the a lot of time over the past several months preparing for the trip, so it was very exciting to finally be on our way! After we spent a day taking a (seemingly never-ending) string of flights to Kalispell, MT, we picked up our rental car at the airport and drove right away to the Vista Motel in West Glacier.


The Vista Motel was just a few minutes drive from the West Entrance to Glacier National Park. The motel had small, basic rooms, but it was perfect for what we wanted – somewhere clean, affordable, and nearby the park. Also, the staff was incredibly friendly and sweet! The motel also had a small continental breakfast available in the morning (coffee, oatmeal, toast, muffins, etc.) and gorgeous views!

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We arrived to the Vista Motel late in the evening (the pictures above are actually from our first morning waking up there), and after eating breakfast in the morning we quickly made our way into the Park to get the adventures started!


Shortly past the entrance to the park, we stopped by the visitor center to get some maps, information about ranger-led activities, and advice about…BEARS! Glacier National Park has one of the highest concentration of grizzly bears in the country, and it’s recommended for all hikers to brush up on bear safety tips and to have someone in their group carry bear spray.

The nice folks at the Alamo car rental desk at the Kalispell airport had given Noah and I a canister of bear spray when we picked up the car, and we had already joked around with Noah’s “quick-draw” approach at the motel that morning:

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At the visitor center, Noah and I continued our bear education by asking the ranger a few questions, getting comfortable around “friendlier” bears…


…and trying not to get freaked out by the literature on sale at the store:

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ANYWAY, moving on from bears…we were ready to begin our first full day at Glacier!


The morning was occupied by a half-day rafting trip that was a ton of fun. We went white-water rafting with the Glacier Raft Company, and Noah and I braved the rapids alone in our own inflatable kayak. Turns out Noah is a master of the sea, and he was able to safely navigate our kayak through the water while I occasionally rowed. When we finished the rafting trip, it was already a couple hours into the afternoon and we were very ready for lunch. We made our way to The Wandering Gringo – a walk-up burrito/taco stand – for delicious burritos which we made quick work of:


We also stopped by the West Glacier Mercantile to pick up some hiking snacks and lunches to bring with us on the trail for the next few days:

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After we were fed and revived after our rafting trip, we set out for the second adventure of the day – hiking the Apgar Lookout trail!

Anticipation mounting on our way to the trailhead:


The hike was an out-and-back trail to a fire tower overlooking Lake McDonald. The hike was about 7 miles in total distance, and it took us about 3.5 hours to complete. The hike was incredibly warm, but we had a great time making our way along the trail and enjoying the phenomenal views:

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Eventually we made it to the top! (Lake McDonald in the background)


By the time we made our way back down the trail and had washed up at the motel, we were both exhausted and ready for dinner. We made our way to Glacier Grill and Pizza to share some pizza and salad for dinner:


And Noah also tried a huckleberry beer (huckleberries are the regional superfood of Montana!).


By the end of dinner, we were both more than ready to get back to the motel to get a good night’s sleep before the next day’s adventures. Stay tuned for another post soon about the continuation of our Glacier trip!

Creativity: 3 Ways

There has been so much going on this summer and so many things I could blog about…so I’m going to do a quick recap of highlights. A lot of my highlights this summer have been connected to creativity – either my own or someone else’s.

So, here are 3 ways creativity has my summer more fun!

1. Escape the Room [in my apartment]

Noah is seriously clever. For my birthday a couple months ago, Noah gifted me a surprise activity of Escape the Room (see this post to see what Escape the Room is/when we first learned how much fun they are!). Noah set up the living room in our apartment with a bunch of clues, hidden keys, and even lock boxes! It was so fun and a very impressive endeavor.

Noah put his computer skills to use by having one of the “locked” parts of the room be his computer. I had to enter the right password to be given a clue:


Noah also ordered this ridiculous “book” lock box from amazon:


I found it on the shelf and thought…”when did we get this book I didn’t know we owned?”

But, lo and behold:

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It opened and had a clue inside! Noah and I take advantage of a “family” Amazon account, and he joked that he was worried my parents would think he was extremely paranoid if they had seen the purchase. Rest assured, it was used for entertainment and not secure storage of real valuables.😉

The most exciting clue was a white piece of paper with a cut out suspiciously similar to the shape of South America. Wondering if there was a South America connection, I pulled out the game board to Pandemic (a board game that includes a board with a map of the world) and fitted the paper on top of the map:


Sure enough, it fit! AND, the crown drawn on the paper pointed me to the last clue – King of New York, another board game Noah and I own. Inside King of New York were the keys that let me “escape the room” – I won.🙂

Well done, Noah – I think he could go into business with make-your-own-Escape-Rooms!

2. Creative cooking!

One of my favorite activities is having people over for large, delicious holiday meals, and one of the reasons I love hosting so much is because it’s a chance to make a lot of creative dishes I wouldn’t normally cook during the week. Shortly before I left to work in California this summer, Noah and I had friends over for the Jewish holiday Shavuot (if you want to know what Shavuot is, see here). Shavuot is traditionally a dairy holiday – in contrast to other Jewish holidays where the custom is to have a meat meal. I took the opportunity to make two new dairy dishes: a cheesy pasta bake and an Israeli-style cheesecake with a breton crust and chocolate ganache.

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There was more to dinner than glorified mac-and-cheese and cheesecake, but those were definitely the highlights!

Noah has also continued his pizza magic, and he has agreed to let me “decorate” the pizzas on a few occasions. Don’t get me wrong, I love the classic margherita, but sometimes I also want a little pizazz.🙂 Below are a spinach/goat cheese/cream pizza and a cheddar/sweet potato/yellow pepper. They were both delicious!

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3. Building Sandcastles!

During my time working at camp in California, I had the immense pleasure of getting to spend about a week with only the other staff members. Staff week = Each year we do a different staff bonding activity, and the activity is always something unusual/boundary pushing. This year, we made sandcastles! Not just any sandcastles though; this was serious business.

We were met on the beach by Karch – the master builder behind Castles by Karch. He won the U.S. Sandcastle Open (yes, apparently that’s a thing), and now teaches people how to build super bomb sandcastles.

After we got to the beach and were introduced to Karch, we were divided into teams and then set to work on our castles! My group had a few set backs (read: collapsing castles) at the beginning, but we persevered and ended up getting high marks!😉


The other groups were also hard at work:

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Although the competition was fierce, we were all smiling at the end:


Stay tuned for some posts about a trip to Glacier National Park soon!

My Best Friend’s Wedding

I’ve waited a long time for the perfect chance to reappropriate this movie title, and I think the opportune time has finally come. I am en route home from 5 weeks working at camp in California, and I finally feel like I have the time to work a blog post about the event of the summer: my best friend’s wedding!

At the end of May, Noah and I went to New York for three glorious days to celebrate one of the greatest people (and a wonderful couple!). The wedding was held at the Sleepy Hollow Country Club, and since I was in the wedding party, Noah and I stayed for two nights at the Club, making it super easy to get to all of the wedding-related activities.

We left to drive to NY during the late morning on Friday and arrived in the early afternoon. We checked into an adorable room with a very cute welcome note and goody bag:

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Between wedding guests and golfers, the parking lot was starting to fill up:


Before too long it was time to head out to the lawn for the wedding rehearsal. Noah and I went over a little early to check out the beautiful views of the Club and golf course:

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Set-up of the grounds was underway and we went through the choreography of the ceremony pretty quickly:

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Next up…the real fun started with the rehearsal dinner!


Dinner was fabulous: delicious food, a very sweet slide show that the father-of-the-groom put together, and many smiles.

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We got back to the Club pretty late and wedding preparations were scheduled to begin quite early the next morning, so I tried to go to sleep right away once back at the room.

I met up with the bride and other bridesmaids bright and early, and we headed to Vaza Salon to get our hair and makeup done.


While we were waiting to get started, Becca (very thoughtfully) gave me a banana bread cake – it happened to also be my birthday.😉 What a great friend.❤


Once the appointments started, we were all being shuttled through hair and makeup stations pretty quickly. Although we were there for hours, it honestly was a ton of fun and didn’t feel too tedious.

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They went bold for my lipstick…


The cutest sisters in the world (giving me sister envy!!!):


Eventually, our transformation at the salon was complete and it was time to head back to the Club for lunch and to change into our wedding clothes! Lunch was a buffet of fruit, mini-sandwiches, and assorted beverages (primarily, champagne).

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Dressing was an adventure unto itself:

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Once the wedding dress was out in the free world, the photographer went to work:


And we all swooned over the beautiful bride:

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Stunning, right?!?!

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We laughed…


We cried…


We hydrated…


And then it was show time! The ceremony itself was beautiful – everything went on without a hiccup and several family members and friends were involved with the ceremony in some capacity. It was truly beautiful, and I think everyone in attendance cried at least once.

After the ceremony, the reception was an event all its own…

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Noah and I sat at the bridal party table and were right across from the VIPs – best seats in the house.😉

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I don’t have that many pictures from the reception because I was too busy dancing with extreme enthusiasm – but I managed to snap a few pics of the blueberry cake and dessert cupcakes!

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Wedding favors were fill-your-own candy jars. So cute!


And like any good party…there was an after-party! Once the band (which was great, by the way) played their last song, all those who still had energy walked over to the bride’s parents’ house for more snacks, smores, and a night-time pool party:

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Yep. It was basically the best. day. ever.

Eventually, Noah and I walked home – exhausted! – to our room at the Club. In the morning we stopped by the bride’s parents’ house again for the after-after-party. There was a delicious smattering of salads and snacks:

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More pool time:


And (the best part!)…a grilled cheese food truck:


Wut. ?! Noah and I shared two types of grilled cheese – both were delicious and I was too busy eating to take pics. Needless to say, it was such a joy/blessing to be part of this wedding celebration. Love you, Becs!


Purim Review: Noah and the Ark

I know I only recently posted about Passover, but I’m obviously pretty behind the times for this blog. That said, Noah and I had pretty (in-my-humble-opinion) GREAT Purim costumes this year, so I didn’t want the opportunity to show a few pics of them to pass.

Purim is a holiday of “turning things upside down,” so silliness, unusual outfits, and general ridiculous are encouraged. Something I love about Purim as opposed to Halloween is that everyone is expected to get in on the fun – adults are more likely to get a look if they’re not dressed up than if they are! A couple weeks before Purim, Noah and I started talking about what we should dress up as for the holiday. We came up with the idea that it would be funny if one of us were *Noah* and one of us were the ark (pun intended). I would be Noah, obviously. The grand vision for the project required a couple trips to Michael’s to get the necessary supplies, and then the crafting began…

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Noah’s outfit was definitely the more labor intensive one, and it came out great!


And just like that, we were showing our costumes off at the KI Megillah reading…TADA!:

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Like any good holiday, we also made time for some good eats. The weekend before Purim, we had some friends over to make hamantaschen (traditional Purim cookies shaped like Haman’s – BOOO! – hat) and mishloach manot (lit: sending portions – one of the four mitzvot of Purim). It’s customary to give mishloach manot to friends and neighbors as a way to build community and the holiday spirit – essentially they’re little snack/gift bags with at least two types of food in them. We got a mishloach manot delivered to our apartment by the religious school kids at our synagogue – it was extremely cute. Anyway…for our party we had lots of snack foods, fruit, candies, and – of course – the freshly baked hamantaschen for people to use as materials inside their mishloach manot.

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Some folks even got into decorating the bags….


It was a lot of fun to bake and pack bags with everyone. And there was, of course, the added bonus of having all the mishloach manot made, and then we only had to give them out the rest of the week.

It was a great holiday and a lot of fun to celebrate with friends – I’m already wondering what my costume might be next year…!


Date nights around Boston

Although school things have made me feel quite a bit busier, I’ve still managed to find some time to go out and about. And – of course – I can always make time when the situation really calls for it, such as this 3-weekends only performance of Rent by Fiddlehead Theatre, honoring the show’s 20-year anniversary.

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This was my 19th time seeing Rent…but now I’m wishing I’d gone twice since it would have been 20 shows for the 20th year. Oh well.

We also went downtown to the Rowes Wharf Sea Grille for afternoon tea.


First we took a few laps around the (small and family-oriented) ice rink outside – pictured in the left background of the photo above…


…and then we went into the Sea Grille for afternoon tea. Yeah, we felt fancy! We selected our tea varieties and then it came out with a neat timer to let us know when it had steeped:

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The tea also came with a variety of pastries, finger sandwiches, and biscuits (I forgot to take a picture because we were eating…). All in all, fun but a little pricey. It was an enjoyable afternoon out, but I doubt we’ll go again.

Last but not least, we finally went to Made by Me – a paint your own pottery place that’s right by our apartment and I’ve walked by a zillion times. Basically every time we pass by I say that I want to go there because I like painting things and I remember Noah’s and my visit to Paint Your Plate in Minneapolis very fondly. Noah planned our visit to Made by Me a few weeks ago, and I was very excited when he revealed what the evening activity would be. When we arrived, we spent a while checking out all the pottery options and the paint selection:

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As soon as I saw they had seder plates, I knew I wanted to paint one because Pesach was coming up shortly afterwards, and I thought it would be fun to have something I had created on the table! Noah chose an owl mug and then started researching feather patterns.😉


Ready to be fired:


One week later the pieces were ready for pick up – they get so shiny after the firing!


And I got to put the seder plate to good use shortly after!