Last weekend there were a lot of activities going on at home in Culver. What kind of fun activities do you have going on this weekend?

We had the Culver Lake Fest. Susan, Jason and Mia had a great entry and won the trophy for first place in the golf cart decoration contest!

Photo: Krista Furry

The annual Sunfish Regatta.

Photo: Greg Furry

And the Culver Naval School Moonlight Serenade.

Photo: Krista Furry


AlwaysHappyLife.com wants to congratulate one of our very favorite bloggers, Kelle Hampton, who received the National Media Award this past weekend that the National Down Syndrome Congress. If you haven’t checked out her blog, Enjoying the Small Things…you need to! It’s amazing and you’ll be hooked. Congrats Kelle, we look forward to hearing more from you!


Wordless Wednesday July 21, 2010


While we were in Chautauqua Lake a few weeks ago, we had a little extra time and decided to do a small vineyard tour. My grandparents were grape farmers and had a vineyard in Westfield, New York many years ago and as a child, I remember seeing it. I hadn’t been there in years and really had no idea what had become of it. I just remembered an old farm house, a creek with the best swimming hole and a gorge full of fossils and grapes, grapes, grapes and more grapes. But…I had no idea where it was, since it had been 20 years from when I had been there.

We stopped at the first winery that we came to. It was called Johnson Estate Winery and was on our way out of town.

We stopped in and tried their wines. It’s a beautiful vineyard on 200-acres…and they have lots of wine.

Award winning actually.

Jason and Nancy were great and we started talking to them. I explained that my grandparents had a vineyard near by and everything I remembered about it. Nancy was a great resource and pulled out the map of the area. Yep, I remembered the road names when I saw them…Hardscrabble Road…that is a hard one to forget! It turned out it was our next turn on the left. Ed was totally humoring my quest and being that he likes wine too was fine with continuing on to another vineyard.

Nancy told us that if anyone knew where it was, it would be Pete, the owner of the vineyard just around the corner. We decided what wines we wanted to take home (their ice wine was delicious…we’ll have to get some next time!) and headed on to see Pete.

As we turned the corner onto Hardscrabble Road and drove up the hill, I did a double take. That had to be the farm house. I just knew it and kept looking back at it. I said to Ed, “It’s either that one or the one up there on the hill. I’m sure of it.”

We walked into Noble Winery and were greeted by Pete Noble himself.

I explained my search and said, “Is this it?”. Pete confirmed that my gut instinct was correct. This WAS it! I fought hard to wipe back tears of joy and didn’t do a very good job. There was such a presence of my grandparents there. This was their everything…they worked the soil for years and planted the grapes, carefully tended them and now they were big and beautiful. Rows and rows and rows of them. It just felt right.

Pete explained that he purchased the farm from my grandparents in 1979, the year I was born. He told the story of how Grandpa went to the Farm Bureau to help Pete get a loan and the man behind the desk said it would be next…after he went through the two foot stack on his desk and the other stack piled on the floor next to his desk which reached the desk height. Grandpa would take none of that and marched with Pete into another office. He apparently came back a little while later, handed the commissioner the loan paper work and asked him to sign it then and there. And that was how Pete bought the farm. I can definitely see my Grandfather doing this. He was a very strong mannered, red head who didn’t tolerate being told he would have to wait, but he also had a great sense of humor.

So since 1979, Pete and his family have lived in the farmhouse, tended the grapes (lots of Concord grapes…Welch’s is located in Westfield and the wine grapes Grandpa imported from France to grow). Five years ago he opened the winery, now called, Noble Winery, to the public and it has been growing ever since. It is beautiful…up on the hill overlooking the vineyards with Lake Erie in the distance.

Our family has always had a German Shepard and lo and behold…the vineyard has one too. I’m sure it’s a farm requirement. Such a pretty doggy!

Anyways, we will definitely be back to visit it again. If you are ever in the area, make sure you stop at Noble Winery, ask for Pete and check it out!


We were on a little road trip a few weeks ago coming back from Chautauqua, NY after the C-Scow Nationals and on a whim decided to meet up with some of my very best friends who just moved back from Belgium (finally!) and were in New York City for work and play.

We stopped in Rye, New York and had delicious bagels because Ed started talking about how good they were and so we just had to stop. Oh how I miss real bagels! Knowing that Drew, Sarah and the kiddos were in NYC, we decided to take the train into the city. Definitely the perfect choice, since parking the F250 is not a very easy task on an every day basis…much less in the city.

Ed definitely was happy to be out of the truck and riding the train.

On arrival…Grand Central Station.

Such a cool building and well planned way back when. I’m guessing changing out the signs etched into the stone wouldn’t be an easy task.

The architecture is beautiful inside and out.

After having true New York pizza for lunch. We headed on a walking tour…

and checked out Rockefeller Center. Wimbledon was playing on a ginormous screen and you could play tennis on a grass court right there. Pretty cool huh?

We saw Radio City Music Hall.

And Times Square.

The kids absolutely loved the Toys ‘R Us and who really can blame them? I loved the Toy Story 3 display in the window. We definitely need to see that soon!

And we had ice cream of course.

Kiley was a good sport and chilled in her stroller. How adorable are her curls?!?

And then we headed back to the train and on the road again to Newport, Rhode Island.

Stopping to see Sarah, Drew & the kids made my day. Thanks Ed for making my day and going out of your way to do something special for me! Talk about a happy day! Can’t wait to see them again now that they are back in the states!


Wordless Wednesday June 14, 2010

It’s a little crazy around here lately…but here are a few from our recent travels…and of course a shot of the corn from out our dining room window. It amazes me how different it looks every day!


Ed and I have been thinking about what’s on our Summer List for awhile. We been talking about what we want to do and what our favorite summer activities are. Some things we’ve already crossed off…but since summer is rapidly flying by, we better get on the rest of them!

1 ) Make popsicles: Ed’s older nephews helped and KNOW they are delicious. In fact, they ask for them every time they come over lately. We have cute sailboat molds I got from Williams-Sonoma years ago and the boys loved to fill them and stick them in the freezer. They come out adorable. I’m glad we got to share that all important skill with them so they now know where popsicles come from. Have you made popsicles with your family? Cool popsicles molds make them taste even better, don’t you think?

2 ) Porch Dates: We live in the country where the light pollution is pretty low and the stars are amazing. On really starry nights, we’ll grab a cocktail and head to the porch late at night to talk and take in the view. One of my favorite ways to end the day. We’ve had a few of these perfect nights already.

3 ) Wake Boarding: Ed went over the Fourth of July…see his skills here…I need to get in a turn too. Also want to try out wake surfing too. It looks super fun and I’ve heard it’s easier then wake boarding. The first time I went wake boarding, I think every part of my body ached in ways it never had the next day and the day after, but I had a blast doing it.

4 ) Bonfire…check…we had one for our Fourth of July picnic and I’m sure there will be more to come.

5 ) S’mores…somehow I didn’t manage to get any s’mores when the kids made them. Guess we’ll have to have another bonfire!

6 ) Canoeing on the Yellow River: We went last year and had a great time with the older nephews. It’s definitely on our to-do list again for the summer. Just have to figure out when?

7 ) Make Homemade Jam: I made Strawberry jam already and it’s almost gone. I guess it was good!!! Still want to get some blueberry jam made now that blueberries are in season. Maybe some peach too?

8 ) Night Swimming: Yep…definitely my favorite R.E.M. song. The water is super warm this year in Lake Maxinkuckee. Day time swims are just not the same.

9 ) Go Exploring: Just head out without a plan and check out a nearby place we haven’t been for the day. There are lots of little towns around our home and when we travel for Sail22, there are always places we haven’t visited in the surrounding areas. Just need to get in the truck and go play for the day!

10 ) Mountain Bike: We are doing the Iceman on November 7th along with 3,698 of our closest friends. We need to get some biking in to prepare and we’ve been a bit lax. We’re looking forward to it, since Greg and Katie are doing with with us and the boys are doing the Meijer Slush Cup. Our friends Shawna & Steve will also be joining us in the fun (so make that 3,694 of our closest friends). We’ll definitely be sporting some special Always happy. Never satisfied.™ gear there for sure!


Fourth of July this year was great! We had lots of friends and family visit us and the weather was perfect! I think both Ed’s and my backs are recovering from sleeping on a mat on the floor for a couple days, since we had a house full. It definitely felt good to climb into a real bed, but it was worth it to have everyone visit. The full gallery of our fun can be found here.

Friday we had a family BBQ with burgers and hotdogs, lots of yummy side dishes and desserts.

Thanks to Karen, we had some fun games for both the kids and the adults. She definitely is the official mistress of games for annual picnic at the farm and it sounds like her family has given her the same title! Fireworks and a big bonfire on the farm is always a highlight of the night and we had quite a show thanks to everyones contributions!

Lots of pier time on Saturday afternoon and some tubing with the kids thanks to the Gibson’s.

The kids all had a blast and I was amazed at their acrobatics as they changed tubes.

Ed did some wake boarding and Cam wake surfed for a little while too.

I definitely want to try wake surfing at some point this summer and do some more wake boarding. It was just a little too rough for me to go. Saturday evening was the Fourth of July Maxinkuckee Yacht Club picnic. Fried chicken, more yummy side dishes and more games.

The Furry & Becker kids did a pretty good job cleaning up the ribbons for the races. I managed to break our egg during one of the early phases of the egg toss. Yuck! We ended the evening on the pier, watching all of the different fireworks displays from the neighbors.

On the actual 4th, we spent the day hanging out on the pier some more and relaxing. Delicious grilled ribs and ice cream sundaes for dessert with everyone and a boat ride to watch the fireworks. Couldn’t have been a more perfect day. I think the Fourth of July is by far one of my favorite holidays!


A little late getting this one up! Hope everyone had a great 4th of July with their family and friends. We definitely did!


Wordless Wednesday June 30, 2010

Our first Wordless Wednesday Photo winner is Randy Loftus! You’ll be seeing more from him in the future. We’ll be sending out some Always happy. Never satisfied.™ goodies to Randy. Send us your Wordless Wednesday photos to share!

Used with permission © Randy Loftus