A few weeks ago we went to Duluth, MN to hang out with Daniel’s aunts and uncles (Bill, Beth, Carol, and Preston) and grandparents (Ray and Priscilla).


Since I’d never been to Duluth before, Bill and Beth played tour guides and gave us a true Minnesotan experience. Our first day in Duluth was spent boating out on Lake Superior.

The weather was gorgeous and they even let me drive the boat (a first for me)! I may or may not have squealed “I feel like James Bond!” as I zipped around the bay. Also, Daniel and I may or may not have forgotten to wear sunscreen, thus causing very painful sunburns on our heads.

Beth’s dog Buddy was our constant companion – I am pretty sure he thinks he is a human.

And now for some Fun facts about Duluth, because you know you were waiting for it…

#1. They have an entire park dedicated to the viking Leif Ericson.

Side fact: Before I saw this statue, I thought the park was named after Leif Garrett.

#2. Duluth is the birthplace of Bob Dylan. He has a whole street dedicated to him.

#3. Duluth is also home to the Glensheen Historic Estate – which is basically like Downton Abbey: U.S. Edition. We toured it on our last day in Duluth. I hummed the tune from the opening credits almost the entire time. Daniel looooooved hated that.

While discovering Duluth was really fun, I have to admit, my favorite activity of the weekend involved another first for me: driving a four-wheeler.

Check out our boating-induced sunburns. Ouch.

Oh, and because no Hawkins family weekend is complete without some kind of DIY project, check out the birdhouse bench we worked on for Daniel’s Aunt Beth. The idea was that each Hawkins’ couple/family unit would be given one house on the bench to decorate in their own style.

To fit with the style of our bungalow in Kansas City, we picked the smallest house of the group – the light blue cottage smack in the middle of the bench. During the downtime between outings, I could be found painstakingly working on our little cottage to make it look just right.

I’m not going to lie, I think it turned out pretty awesome. And so us…


We had a blast in Duluth and hope to get back there sometime this winter to check out all of the fun cold weather activities Minnesota has to offer! What about you? Have you done anything for the first time this summer (like going four-wheeling or driving a boat)? For all you Minnesotans, was there anything we missed on our trip?

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A few weeks ago, our full length mirror was mysteriously knocked over and cracked. We’ve narrowed down the suspects, but our main lead has done a pretty good job of expressing her innocence.

The accident cracked a whole corner off of the mirror, so I cut the mirror and sanded the edge so it could still be used. Unfortunately, no one in our house is under 4 foot tall, so it looked a little silly propped against the wall. Emily was gone this weekend, so I figured it was the right time to do something about it. Besides, my tools have been feeling a little neglected in the garage.

My idea was to take a pallet, break it down, and build a frame for the mirror. I had two pallets on hand, a pretty new one and one that had some wear on it. I decided to break down the older one. Once I got it broken apart, I found the number 98 printed on it and decided that was just too cool to cover up.


So instead of trying to sand it down and make it look like new, I decided this pallet was going to stay in it’s weathered condition.

I did some quick measurements and cut 45 degree angles for each of the pieces.


As with most of my projects, I generally have an idea of what I want to do, but figure out the details as I go along. For this project, the “details” were how I would connect the pieces and how I would hold the mirror on the frame. The solution was pretty simple. I cut some “L’s” out of plywood and used them to both hold the corners of the mirror and help hold the frame together.


I glued the frame together then attached my “L” pieces to it, then clamped it up and let it dry.


Next I had to cut down the mirror to fit in the nook in our bedroom, where I thought it would look the best. An even 3 feet was just about perfect.

I cut the mirror, put it in the back of the frame, then used another piece of plywood to hold it in place. I added a simple hanger, and this project was ready to be displayed. Truly, until it was hung, I wasn’t sure if Emily would like it or think it was “a little too dirty to be in the house.” To my relief, she loved it when she got home.


Let me know what you think about this project. Would you have liked it better nicely sanded and stained, or is the weathered frame more your style?

I have been known to dress up my foster dogs to help attract attention to them in public and to make them seem approachable.


I have also never shied away from dressing up the dogs for Halloween…


I’ve taken some flack for dressing up my dogs – some people think it’s silly or dumb or whatever. It’s fine. I do it because it’s fun. But did you know that people 100 years ago were dressing up their dogs too? Daniel recently sent me this amazing post from PetaPixel of dogs from 1905. Bonus: they are bully breeds! Here’s one of the photos – currently archived in the Library of Congress.

via PetaPixel.

Check out the post from PetaPixel to see the rest of the photos – and just try not to smile!

In the early days of bringing Polly home to foster she was so riddled with anxiety that leaving her home alone during the work day was not an option. Luckily, my boss is a huge dog lover and invited Polly to join me at the office for a few days. Well, a “few days” has turned into a regular occurrence over the past few months because my boss has enjoyed having her around so much.

Polly has become the perfect office mascot. She seems to know when she needs to be quiet and chilled out and when she should do something goofy to lift our spirits – like a mid-afternoon zoomies to snap us out of a post-lunch lull, followed by a big pittie smile.

Polly has developed a very special relationship with my boss. Every day I bring Polly to the office, she waits patiently by the front door for him to show up so they can carry out their routine.

When he arrives, she greets him joyously and checks his hands to see what he has brought her that day – a Kong ball to chew on or an order of Burger King tater tots or some other delicious treat. She then follows him into his office and waits patiently by his side while he eats his breakfast, graciously accepting any dropped bits of breakfast sandwich. Once their breakfast routine is over, Polly heads back to the front door to man her post as “client greeter.” Although she has been known to fall asleep on the job.


With as much joy as Polly has brought to our office, it was not the least bit surprising when I heard the International Journal of Workplace Health Management published a preliminary study in March that found bringing dogs to work “may buffer the impact of stress during the workday for their owners and make the job more satisfying for those with whom they come into contact.


So far Polly has charmed every person she has come into contact with, including clients, with every one dropping down to her level to lavish her with head scratches and belly rubs. I want to clarify that I do leash Polly when a client comes into the office in order to respect their space (not everyone wants to be covered in Polly kisses). It also is a great opportunity for me to work on getting Polly to focus on me and sit quietly when she is faced with great excitement (like making a new friend), but most clients make a point to come to her, leash or no, to say hello. By the time they leave, Polly is their friend for life.

It has been a great experience to bring Polly with me to work, and I know that it has been great for her too. Maybe it could even lead to her finding her furever family? One can hope…

* Did you know that we post daily on our Facebook page? “Like” us for more photos/updates of Polly Pocket, Turk, Rufus, and their humans.

** Polly Pocket is available for adoption through Heart of America Humane Society. If you want her to carpool to work with you, email me at {ourwaldobungie@gmail.com}.

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