Museums Rock

art design gallery group
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

 

Honestly the only thing that doesn’t rock about Museums is the fact that I always tend forget how to spell this word, for some reason I’m always incorrectly spelling it (Muesums) … anyway that’s my own personal albatross, onto the post!

Let’s begin by the fact that Museums are a mixture of a show room and library, holding information and art in a visual, three dimensional, and often textile way that we wouldn’t normally have access to. Through visiting museums (and other historical sites that they are often attached to), I have learned local history, had a better grasp on coinciding historical timelines, seen things up close that I would not have otherwise ever gotten to see, felt emotions from art that in front of me spoke more than ever seeing it online or in a book, done unique activities, and quite a few times I got to meet some interesting and passionate people.

In fact, let me tell you about my “Ohio” trip. Back before we weren’t even engaged, my fella (his name is Mike by the way) and I decided to take a trip out to Cincinnati, Ohio to visit one of my good friends. (And also Mike was going to propose but my friend and I had no clue about it!) As I have said in the past we live on the East Coast so we drove approximately 9 hours (actually more with pit-stops) to go visit our friend, then we took a couple of days to drive out even farther west to Cahokia, Illinois (where he proposed!) and then to St. Louis, Missouri. Even though A LOT happened on this trip when asked about it by friends, family, co-workers, Mike and I would often start by saying, “We saw NINE museums, oh and yea and we got engaged!”  We would tell people this because it truly was a highlight of our trip. We are still thrilled by all the unique and cool museums that it tends to be what we mention first and honestly I didn’t even think we were that crazy about museums but we had a blast.

For fun here is a list of all the museums that we visited on the length of our 10 day trip.

In Ohio:

  • Serpent Mound (Peebles)
  • Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati)
  • The Lucky Cat Museum (Cincinnati)
  • American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)
  • The Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park and Museum (Hamilton)
  • The Cincinnati Observatory (Cincinnati)

In Illinois:

  • Cahokia Museum

In St. Lois, Missouri: 

  • World Chess Hall of Fame & Chess Museum
  • The City Museum
  • St. Louis Public Library (Not really a museum but had some really amazing displays so honorable mention)

All of the listed above are museums or were attractions/historical sites that had museums with it such as Serpent Mound where it was the outside historical site and then the museum about it inside. If you notice a lot of these were different and wouldn’t be necessarily considered “main stream”. Not to say we wouldn’t have enjoyed them. We have been to places like Ripley’s Believe it Or Not and Madame Tussauds which have multiple locations. We have been to some of the more “quintessential” or expected museums in the US. And we hope to get back these states and others to see the more of the larger and more popular as well as other smaller distinctive locations that we missed.

If you want our advice which I think you might maybe be interested in what is… I mean you’ve made it this far through the post right? …We highly recommend visiting both the local little museums and big city well-known museums. Our advice is to visit the little local museums around you first, especially around the holidays because they often have neat reenactments, fairs, and events. We are rarely disappointed!

Honestly, I hope to never forget the experiences I had on this trip almost entirely at museums, exhibits, and attractions.(And the experiences attached to those museums.)

In brief here are some of my magic moments:

  • On our way to Cahokia we stopped in Casey, Illinois which has some of the world’s record setting largest items. While we were there we saw GIANT versions of :
    • A Pencil
    • A Wind Chime
    • Knitting Needles
    • A Crochet hook
    • Wooden Shoes
    • Baseball bat
    • Yardstick
    • Mail box (we even mailed postcards through it!)
  • Visited & stayed at St. Louis Union Station Hotel Where we:
    • Whispered I love you to one another through the famous 100 year old “Whispering Arch”
    • Watched a projected light show on their beautiful architectural ceiling
  • Looked through one the oldest telescopes in the United States
  • Got a behind the scenes personal tour from one of the museum’s curators
  • Met a local retired long standing judge who now dedicates his days to helping maintain the museum grounds
  • Was literally inches away from art that was thousands of years old
  • Took green screen pictures at the chess museum
  • Saw some of the most interesting chess sets
  • Connected with nature and man made marvels built in nature by:
    • Standing on a platform gazing down at the serpent mound
    • Looking at the St. Louis arch and all the other mounds whilst standing on the Cahokia Monk’s Mound
    • Feeling the breeze at the top of hill made of grass covered waves at the Prymaid sculpture garden

Outside of museums, attractions, and historical sites we had a lot of fun as well: We saw some to the most unique truck stops, drove on strange roads, caught up with a good friend, and got Krispy Kreme Donuts when the hot light was on!  We just happened to go back in time! (We traveled through a time zone which confused the heck out of us, but was really cool.) We also went to a comedy club, ate at an excellent Asian fusion restaurant, and ordered the most delicious room service at the Union Station Hotel… Oh and Mike proposed!  Hehe.

So as you can see, we did so much more than just visit museums but the museums were definitely the highlight. Filling our minds with information and wonder, these institutions provided that “magic feeling”.  

I hope you take the time to check out a museum. Wether it is just adding one to your trip itinerary or taking the time to visit one that you drive past every day… we hope you have a magical experience much like my husband and I have had and continue to have.

You Got This!

-Heather

 

 

 

Resources:

https://www.wonderopolis.org/wonder/what-can-you-find-in-a-museum  “What can you find in a Museum”

https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/weirdest-things-do-museums-united-states.html/  “Weirdest Things to Do in Museums in the United States”

http://www.museumsusa.org/

 

 

St. Louis Union Station Hotel:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/whispering-arch-at-union-station

http://alivemag.com/5-hidden-secrets-of-union-station/

https://www.stlouisunionstation.com/

 

Casey Illinois:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/worlds-largest-objects-of-casey-illinois

https://localadventurer.com/worlds-largest-things-casey-illinois/

https://www.bigthingssmalltown.com/

 

St. Louis Museums we went to:

https://www.citymuseum.org/  (The City)

https://worldchesshof.org/  (Chess)

https://www.slpl.org/  (Library)

 

About Cahokia (Illinois) :

https://cahokiamounds.org/

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/aug/17/lost-cities-8-mystery-ahokia-illinois-mississippians-native-americans-vanish

https://www.livescience.com/22737-cahokia.html

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/national/daily/march/12/cahokia.htm?noredirect=on

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2011/01/americas-forgotten-city/

https://www.ancient.eu/cahokia/

 

About Pyramid Hill:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/pyramid-hill-sculpture-park

https://www.gettothebc.com/blog/post/find-yourself-pyramid-hill

https://www.pyramidhill.org/

https://www.dayton.com/news/local/why-you-need-visit-one-the-region-most-overlooked-treasures/ei4BAIohk377H9dGq5T00I/

https://cincinnatiusa.com/things-to-do/attractions/pyramid-hill-sculpture-park-and-museum

 

 

About Serpent Mound:

https://www.ohiohistory.org/visit/museum-and-site-locator/serpent-mound

http://arcofappalachia.org/visit/serpent-mound/

https://expo.cleveland.com/life-and-culture/erry-2018/10/71b738640b7079/ohios-serpent-mound-an-archaeo.html

https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/indigenous-americas/a/fort-ancient-culture-great-serpent-mound

https://www.history.com/topics/landmarks/serpent-mound

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g50832-d107554-Reviews-Serpent_Mound-Peebles_Ohio.html

 

Ohio Museums I went to:

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/lucky-cat-museum (Lucky Cat)

https://www.contemporaryartscenter.org/ (Contemporary Arts Center)

https://www.americansignmuseum.org/ (American Sign)

https://www.pyramidhill.org/ (Pyramid Hill)

https://www.cincinnatiobservatory.org/home/ (Observatory)

 

[Serpent Mound does not have it’s own official website]

 

 

 

 

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One Notebook to Rule Them All

person holding black pen and book near pink ceramic mug
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Or how I keep track of all the stuff I have to remember for work (and how I hope to do so at home eventually)

Okay so let me clarify… I don’t just use one notebook ALL the time. But when it comes to keeping track of everything at work I found using a bullet journal like system to save my sanity. Maybe you would find it helpful too… because believe me it took me several years at my job, missing deadlines, needing to recall budgets in a heartbeat, and so on and just being frantic as to where I put the information.  (If I haven’t mentioned it already that my day job is a librarian… so I have a lot of budgets, schedules, reports, inventory, etc. that I have to keep track of.)

Now first off, what the heck is bullet journaling? You could Google bullet journal spreads and see free printables, articles about what are considered the best quality tools to use (be it pens, stickers, rulers, stamps, notebooks, stencils, and so on), and an array of what looks like artsy journals on crack. (I mean I love the idea of being this creative on the daily but it’s a lot of pressure) Honestly, It’s all a bit overwhelming really but these are just examples of the more extreme and creative version of bullet journaling or “BuJo” as those creative kids are calling it… Bullet journaling was originally an organizational analog system utilizing a simple dot grid notebook to organize everything in your life from your random thoughts to your to-do lists and monthly plans. This system was created by a man named Ryder Carroll and I have a link under resources if you want to learn all about him and why he started this system.

Basically, with Ryder’s system, you would save the first couple of pages of your notebook as an index after that you just start writing on each page in no specific order, maybe you might set up a month or weekly to-do calendar but ultimately if you started writing about poetry on one page you can start the next with the daily to-dos, and then start the next page with bills you have to pay, and then the next with ideas about cooking, or whatever… marking each page and what you have decided to call it in the index such as (to-do Monday the 12, bills, cooking ideas, etc.) .  Essentially this system is primarily bulleted lists… and you would put a dot next to a task, you would X out the dot when completed, turn the dot into an arrow to the right if you need to move this task to the next list or another list,  turn it into an arrow facing left for a scheduled task, turn it into a star for an important task, and a slash through the dot if the item no longer applies. Yea it’s a lot… and people have gotten crazier with it too.

Here are some examples of bullet journal keys: (the first one is closer to the original bullet journal the rest are people’s updates)

 

dot journal keybullet-journal-key-lovebullet-journal-key-doo

 

For work, I only use the dots for to-do lists  and simplified:

 Dot = task

X= means completed

> = move to next month

Strikethrough= no longer applies (meaning I didn’t do it but don’t have to do it anymore)

I will use arrows and highlight and star things when needed but overall that’s my system.

As for just putting your to do list on the next page or just using the next page available for whatever you need, I did that the first year I utilized this system but found it to be a bit too jumbled. So I do that for new ideas or subjects that pop up for work, but overall I have dedicated pages with information. (Some are even grids I printed off of excel glued into my notebook and filled out later.)

Ryder Carroll also swears by a specific notebook: the Lechtturm 1917 dot grid journal. (These are nice and I get it because the ink doesn’t bleed through) I however swear by Mead College Ruled Compbook. I usually pick up one (or two) in August at Target for less than a buck a book.

Now also there are the people who have whole Instagram accounts and Pinterest boards dedicated to beautiful bullet journal spreads,  colorful with brush writing… yea for this system to work for me, I have to let all that pretty stuff go.

Below are a few photos of my notebook but not much because a lot of pages have account information or other work information that I probably shouldn’t share willy-nilly on the internet.

Every notebook for work I start by writing the year on the cover in marker. [I usually set up my notebook 3-4 months ahead in case I need to put any planning info in it in advance.]

I usually use only the front of the page (and leave the back side blank this is my built in wiggle room in case I need to add more info unexpectedly to a particular item/topic) and I number in the right top hand corner.

I leave the first few pages unnumbered turning them into a cover page/key and index. I usually have two indexes, Index A: by page Index B: by subject/topic  (examples, I broke the page into sections “to-do & meetings ”, “Important Info”, “Programming/Budgets”, “Meetings” and “Summer”.

Pg 1 – 24:  MONTHLY TO-DOS & MEETINGS.

For example:  Pg1: January To-Do  Pg2: January Meeting Notes  Pg3: February To-Do

I will title these pages and fill in things I know such as for January I know December’s monthly statistics are due and so I put that on the list ahead of time. This is primarily where I use the dot, X, arrow system… I will also add the date next to a completed task such as 9/8/19 etc.

Page 25: DUE DATES.

A list of unchanging yearly/monthly important due dates  (Publicity due dates, reports, budget due dates that are the same every year I use this as reference to set up pages 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23 for the month’s to-dos)

Page 26 -?:  INFORMATION I NEED EVERY YEAR…

These are pages that I need to transfer every year, some will be printed out and glued or taped into the book, some will be written but almost all of them are things from the previous notebook that needed to be transferred (as I copy pages from my previous notebook to the current one I will put a X through the page number so I know I transferred that page)

These pages may include any and all of the following (just as some examples… note the titles here aren’t the titles I use, I tend more of a short hand but you probably wouldn’t know what I meant thus the extremely wordy titles) Some of these will only be the title or just a grid with titles and blank spots to be filled in with future information and some will get multiple dedicated pages:

  • Important contact numbers
  • Ordering accounts information
  • Pay date grid (including pay periods, date, expected pay vs. actual pay—minus deductions)
  • Program budget
  • Programs that need to be entered into our event calendar
  • Statistics that have to be entered into bigger grid outside of the monthly statistics report
  • Special craft programs (setup, who’s running it, what supplies are needed, what budget)
  • Staff training (date, length, title of webinar/meeting, date submitted)
  • Vacation time (allotted, taken, submitted)
  • Sick time (allotted, taken, submitted, doctor’s note information)
  • Summer Specific programming (many subdivisions of this)
  • Prospective programming before released budget

Pages Left-over : THINGS THAT COME UP…  There will always be things that “come up” that I will have to add later, I just add them on the next available page. Some examples of things that just “came up” are…

  • Lists of books about particular topics that are in demand that I did not have any titles collected/suggested for previously
  • Books to be added to previously collated topic lists
  • New Invoices that need to be submitted
  • Incident that happened that I need to keep noted in case there is a follow up
  • New policies and procedures that need a dedicated page outside of meeting information
  • How to fill out and submit an updated form

 

Beyond this of course I also have a USB drive with the actual documents such as blank forms I need to submit, completed forms/reports that I have submitted, lists and so on….  (usually the notebook is for things in flux and also for noting when things are submitted or have to be)  and I also have a calendar where I put statistics and all important work dates (program dates, sick/vacation time taken, co-workers bdays, etc.).

And if you noticed in my alternate title of this post I mentioned that I am also working on implementing a version of this system for my home life, to keep track of bills, events, cleaning, blog posts, projects etc. So hopefully once I have figured out how to implement that system I will write another post about that because I am sure it will differ slightly.

 

So it took me a long time at this job to adopt this system which other than an initial setup is easy and allows me to remember all my to-dos et al. Maybe this will help you too!

Either way…

YOU GOT THIS!

-Heather

 

 

Resources:

 

https://bulletjournal.com/  This is the creator of the very basic analog method that started the whole bullet journal trend.

 

The fancier stuff…

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/a25940356/what-is-a-bullet-journal/

https://www.tinyrayofsunshine.com/blog/bullet-journal-guide

https://thepetiteplanner.com/31-bullet-journal-supplies-recommended-by-the-pros/

 

 

Image links:

https://www.gouletpens.com/products/leuchtturm1917-bullet-journal-a5-notebook-black

https://sheenaofthejournal.com/productivity/bullet-journal-key-ideas/

I’m back, kind of…

Hey everyone, I said I would be back September 4, and here I am!

However I’ve had a cold this past week that I just cannot kick which still has my brain fuzzy amongst other life “stuff” going on…. so unfortunately I was unable to complete a solid post for my readers. I am sorry!

However what I am going to do is list what I started to write about but am too foggy sick brained to finish writing/researching currently but hope to have a post about in the near future….

(Note some may not ever be made if there isn’t enough meat for a solid post)

1)Why walking is really one of the best and simplest ways to stay healthy and how to do it more.

2)How I use a modified bullet journal kind of system to keep my tasks, to-dos, budgets, etc at work all in one place and how I’m attempting to make that system work for my life outside of work.

3)How I’ve been reading this book called the “the F*ck it Diet” and how what I thought would be a funny mocking commentary on diets has been something that has made me do some deep emotional and physical work on myself.

4)A list of My all time favorite graphic novel reads (a mix of genre& age ranges)

5)How I once was a crochet naysayer but now I have made scarves, hats, blankets, shawls and much more. Possible crochet tips and resources

6) my favorite uplifting go to movies

7) my oddly comforting movies (slightly differs from #6)

8) welcoming fall

9) how leverage tv show took my top spot for all time favorite tv show

10) cartoons that are actually brilliant and/or just delightful and I highly recommend

11) my fav Disney resources (primarily YouTube/Instagram)

So those are the topics I hope to flesh out once I am feeling better. Also these are in no particular order so they will be posted whichever calls to me to finish first.

If there is one you would really like to read first tell me and I will do my best to redirect my focus and get that one out next…. also if there is any other topic you would like me to discuss or research get in touch with me by commenting below, posting on my Instagram, or on my Facebook page. @yougotdisblog

note: If it is something I feel like I can properly research or have a voice to speak about I will write about it. (Remember there are just some topics that I might not be the right person to discuss it… however if you request a topic like that I’ll do my best to give another good source!)

Remember, you got this!

-Heather

See you in September…

I have decided to take the advice I would normally give to someone else but rarely take myself and say it’s okay to take a break.

I will be on hiatus from now through August 2019.

I have consistently posted once a week (sometimes more) since October 2018 which is a noteworthy accomplishment for me. I have written more entries on “You Got This” than any of my prior blogs. (Most of which were sporadically updated, often in clusters of time, and all ultimately abandoned. That hasn’t been the case with this blog nor will it be.)

I recognize that in most things taking a break is often needed and pausing to regroup is NOT failure. For I am taking this time to focus on things in my life that need my full and undivided attention and I cannot do so and write what I would consider “quality” posts.

Unlike my past blogs, I still have so much more I wish to share with my followers and I plan to continue jotting down ideas whilst on break. In fact, I already have some ideas for future posts, I just don’t have the time to fully research or flesh out the topics to my standards/desires.

I will return with a post on September 4th. In the mean time thank you for reading and remember, YOU GOT THIS!!

-Heather

New to the blog? There’s much to read while you wait for my return! 🙂

At Least I Posted Something… Keeping a Streak…

I am going to call this an ALIPS post…. as in “At Least I Posted Something”

I am trying to keep a streak going, I have posted once a week every week since October 2018 and I hope to continue to do so, when I created Wednesday as my post day that felt natural to do, and it is irking me that I just don’t have the energy for one of my normal posts. But I just am feeling so drained and strained… there is a lot going on right now (has been for a few weeks, and I am also trying to do some personal inner work type stuff as well as Summer work load that just hit me… ) but I wanted to post something, and do my best to keep this streak of posting/writing so today you get a blah kind of post today. I am sorry about that.

I always try to make my posts on this blog to be informative or helpful.

Lately I’ve been dividing everything into three main categories: Regular (informative with resources), Past Self PSA (a public service announcement to my past self that hopefully helps others as well so this almost the same as the regular posts in that it it is informative however this topic may not have been as deeply researched, and mostly likely won’t include any kind of resources), and TMF (That Magic Feeling, I discuss this at length… in the post called That Magic Feeling which are things that may not be so much researched or service announcement feel but just ways I have and you may be able to feel that magic feeling, also included in this would be Holiday Magic… just bringing that magic feeling into your life)…. and now much to my chagrin I have added ALIPS…. At Least I Posted Something….

See the thing is that I made a deal with myself to try to post once a week every Wednesday… and man oh man do I want those posts to all be full of substance… I mean I created the PS PSA because I needed to give myself a break from researching like crazy and also because there were things I wanted to say that didn’t necessarily need resources…. so occasionally I may post a “filler” post. Because I still want to post something every Wednesday when I can but I am also allowed to focus on self-care… and so there you have it. This blah kind of a post… Maybe I will do these as more of a current introspective? How I view the world or where I am right now.

What’s funny about this is that if it were anyone else, I would just say give yourself a simple hiatus it’s okay to give yourself a break… and maybe I will but whether or not I even have anyone reading these posts I think it’s good for me to try my best to post at least SOMETHING each week.

Anyway… I got this… You got this…

Heather

 

TMF Feed the Animals

feed the animals

TMF: That Magic Feeling

Okay so this may not be that novel of an idea of if you already have a pet or are a caregiver… but there is something so simple and magical about feeding a living creature especially those out in nature.  Also it can be incredibly simple, you can put out a bird feeder or get a few peanuts for the squirrels or chipmunks depending on your area. If you live an apartment complex and cannot feed the local wildlife you can go to a petting zoo and feed the animals. (And if you aren’t into the feeding aspect just watching these creatures in nature or watching animals can spark some magic.)

If you do decide to feed the local wildlife with any regularity you need to do some research, the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, bunnies, butterflies, etc. in your area make like a specific type of food… also you want to make sure that your area isn’t prone to certain types of pests… what time of day to put out the food, what type of feeder if one is needed, where to put the food, etc.

Specifically I feed a chipmunk. It makes me feel like a Disney princess because this specific chipmunk is so used to me that he/she comes up to the door waiting for some yummy treats but is skittish of everyone else. (I am not sure of it’s a gender I think it is a girl for some reason, but I will use the pronoun of he from here on for ease.) This chipmunk disappears each winter to return every spring/summer/fall. About three years ago I started to feed him and it started with simple food like peanuts but then I looked into it and realized that too many peanuts can make chipmunk fat or even ill!  So I did more research and only give peanuts as a special treat.

My husband feeds the birds with a bird feeder in the tree and we see so many different breeds/kinds. It is great to be able to bird watch from our window/yard. He’s done this the past few years (and if we can get our act together for the current summer we hope to keep feeding those birdies; long story but we’ve had a lot going on with work and family so trying to keep up with it is very tough). Normally when he does this he will fill up the feeder once or twice a week and the birds will come usually in intervals.

Now if you already own/have a pet you might be able to get that magic feeling when you give them a special treat, taking that animal for a walk, or playing with your animal.

But what if you don’t have a pet AND (for whatever reason) cannot feed the wildlife… well there are some options! You may want to check out zoos, county fairs, parks, or even your family or friend’s homes! My hubby and I attend our local county fair almost every summer and they have live animals that you can see, pet, and feed. (Usually it’s a minimal cost to get a cup of food to feed animals such as donkeys, goats, and cows.) Also some Zoos give you the opportunity to feeds the animals, I personally have not done this but I know people who have, some extra special events where they have a special ticket to feed animals like giraffes or penguins.  Maybe family or a friend has a pet that you can spoil and be the aunt/uncle to! I know I am a proud Aunt to some fur-children. I also greatly enjoy just dog watching at the park and seeing all the adorable doggies (I unabashedly tend to call all fluffy animals floofers and my husband and I will say “floofer alert” when we see a cute animal… I think part of that magic feeling is allowing yourself to be unashamed of your geeky/dorky/”lame” self haha!).

Side note: All of this is a great way for me to have the joy of a pet without the responsibility, I know that sounds terrible… but I just feel like it would be unfair to have a pet at home when my husband and I work so much and are rarely home and other important factors… I mean if we don’t feed the birds a season they will find other feeders and other things to eat in nature… a pet would solely be dependent on us! (Also, I don’t have to clean up any poop, ha! Although I do help out a lot with family and friend’s pets and have taken them on walks, picked up poo, bathed them, fed them, etc.)

So, whether it’s from your doorstep, at a fair, in a zoo, giving a your/family’s/friend’s pet a special present… feeding/taking care of a living creature is a way to show nature that you care, and is something so incredibly simple that can stir up a bit of that magic feeling I keep mentioning! Even if you don’t feed the animals just going to the zoo or seeing dogs walking in the park can bring a bit of that magic and usually it brings a big smile to my face.

Remember You Got This!

-Heather

TMF: A Sherlock Themed Birthday Surprise

TMF = That Magic Feeling  (I discussed this in the post called: That Magic Feeling )

sherlockbday

This is a post definitely about creating that magic feeling. So many people think fun and silly things are just for kids. But if you are big kid like myself or my husband and enjoy geeky things, well you can have fun like us!

I want to tell you about what I did for my husband (then boyfriend) a few years ago for his birthday. So to be clear this is not a birthday party or gathering. This was a mystery/clue/scavenger hunt with a particular theme of Sherlock Holmes that led him to his birthday presents which were hidden all over the house. Maybe you will want to do something similar for someone who likes mysteries or scavenger hunts. (It probably would work for a lot of different things… I hope one day to do a Batman one for him too, sssh don’t tell him. Although he reads this, so HUBBY if you are reading this forget that part! hehe)

So why Sherlock Holmes? Sherlock happens to be one of my husband’s favorite characters, and he has read and loved so many of Sherlock’s incarnations that I knew I just had to have a special themed birthday surprise for him.

I had specifically tailored this to my husband by utilizing his favorite stories from the original Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I read/re-read these particular stories to reference for clues… (However this can be adapted for any stories, just give different clues/hiding spots, etc.)

My hubby’s favorites to date are:

  • The Redheaded league
  • Scandal in Bohemia
  • Sign of the Four

Now unfortunately I cannot locate the full size photos, which I know I took of all my clues because I put a lot of work into this, however I will include the montage photos and  explain what it is you are looking at as best I can!

The adventure began at the front door (the day before his birthday since he would be extra surprised and would be arriving home from work late enough that day that would give me time to set everything up).  On the front door I put a sign that said “221 B  Baker Street”.  Underneath the sign, attached to the front door I had a letter written from “Irene Adler” addressed to my husband.  I printed it in a fancy script like font and used light tan paper. I made an envelope that looked like an old timey envelope and sealed it with a wax seal.

 

The letter read as follows:

Dear Mr. ____,

Please excuse the abrupt and assuming nature of this missive… As you are an esteemed associate of Mr. Holmes, I am writing you that he had gone missing. The worst has been ascribed by all who know him, and I do fear that he is in great danger. The state of his quarters at 221 Baker Street has been left untouched. Though Dr. Watson, having studied under and lived with him for some measure of time has done his absolute best to interpret the scene; the only clue he has been able to discern is that it seems Mr. Holmes was in the midst of a chess game with some unknown associate and that one of the chess pieces has been removed from the set and cannot be located.  I trust that you will be able to aide in this search and perhaps solve this troubling mystery and that you will have time besides to celebrate what I have been told is your __ year of birth.                                          Fondly, Irene Adler

Obviously I had his name and year of birth in there but edited for privacy. (Although to be honest he probably wouldn’t care but just in case. Ha!)

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Upon entering the house there was a chess set, set up, with one type of chess piece missing, I then hid that somewhere nearby. So he first had to look at the chess set, and discern which piece was gone. Also atop the chess set was what looked like a blank piece of pink paper, but it actually was a note written in invisible ink that told which direction to look for the piece that was missing. It was the rook. (To make sure he got it, I took both rooks from the chess set away. Also we are super-duper dorks, so we actually have a few different sets of chess sets, so I set the chess board up with the smaller board, but hid one of the larger size pieces around so it was easier to spot. And yes that blank piece of paper had a special pen next to it. So he realized that the note was written in invisible ink and he had to use the pen light on it to read it. Yup, I had that one hand already too! Ha! They are easily obtained on amazon though just a heads up.) He then found the chess piece and underneath that was a clue referencing the sign of the four.

Underneath the chess piece was a green slip of paper with a symbol on it (the symbol was from “The Sign of the Four” and it said “Look to where dear brother Bartholomew’s killer entered his room for the next clue.”  Which meant he had to look up, and directly overhead was a picture of a fish bowl that I had taped onto the ceiling… That led him to an actual fish bowl!  It was empty of real fish or water, but inside I had six orange goldfish. On the backside of each fish it had a letter. The Letters:  D E F G I R. He had to unscramble them until he figured out it spelled FRIDGE.

So he went to the kitchen, and opened the fridge. Inside was one of his presents (a book about Professor Moriarty – which is a primary nemesis of Sherlock Holmes) and so on top of that book ,I also wrote a note from Moriarty himself. This one read, “Ah! Clever Holmes has left you clues to find me. Well you’ll find my promise to boil Holmes alive was merely a hooded threat.” (And of course I signed it Professor Moriarty)… this clue led to the range hood over the stove. Which is magnetic, so I put another small present there (I bought him a plush magnet of Sherlock Holmes from the “Little Thinker” Unemployed Philosophers Guild company which you can purchase from their site or on amazon.)

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So he actually found Sherlock Holmes!  But that wasn’t all; Sherlock still had another clue to give. Magnetized underneath him was another clue. It’s hard to see in the picture but on a yellow piece of paper I wrote, “Good chap! Thanks for saving me. But the game is still afoot! 1dst look upon the kitchen table for some substance then continue the search atop the stairs!”

[I think I had some cupcakes or some kind of treat for him on the kitchen table unfortunately I do not remember.]

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After enjoying a cupcake, he went up to the top of the stairs and there on the landing using his shoes, I led a path to the bedroom and on the bed were a few wrapped gifts and a balloon that said happy Birthday.

Explanation of the clues…

In the letter from Irene Adler:  the only clue he has been able to discern is that it seems Mr. Holmes was in the midst of a chess game with some unknown associate and that one of the chess pieces has been removed from the set and cannot be located.  {Which is how he knew to look at the chess board}

The Green piece of paper:  SPOILERS…… if you haven’t read Sign of the Four. In that story a mysterious killer entered the room from above when it seemed impossible so….    Look to where dear brother Bartholomew’s killer entered his room for the next clue. {How he knew to look above}

The orange fish: They could only spell Fridge when using all the letters.

The note from Moriarty: “Ah! Clever Holmes has left you clues to find me. Well you’ll find my promise to boil Holmes alive was merely a hooded threat.” Boil led to stove, hooded led to the stove hood.

Note from Sherlock: “Good chap! Thanks for saving me. But the game is still afoot! 1st look upon the kitchen table for some substance then continue the search atop the stairs!” This led him to the top of the stairs, and since I wrote “afoot” he realized he should pay attention to the shoes leading to the bedroom. (Although that would have been an easy guess since those shoes were originally in the closet.)

 

So it was a fun little jaunt, and though I am sure he would have loved his gifts even without all of this, he was thrilled and it added a special memory to his birthday.

See kids don’t have to have all the fun. Maybe you’ll make a birthday/holiday scavenger hunt for someone you care about or maybe send this post to some friends and say “hint hint” and hopefully they do something like this for you!

Either way I hope you enjoyed and remember YOU GOT  THIS!

-Heather