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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Ohio Bound!

We are headed to Ohio today, and will be there through the weekend! We'll be staying with Trent's family near Columbus and will be driving back home on Monday.

Our friends Leo and Kayla are also coming out there, and we'll be going to Rock on the Range, a rock festival in Columbus. I'll be sure to share all about the trip when I'm back home!

We are getting very excited for a little road trip, and mini vaca! See ya next week! ;)

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Strawberry Fluff Recipe

This year for Mother's Day, my family got together at my cousin's house. We usually each bring a dish to share. I wanted to bring something easy - no cooking or baking required. That's kind of my style. ;)

I've made other easy dishes in the past - Deviled eggs, Snickers salad, a Veggie tray...this time I decided to try something new. I made Strawberry fluff! It's an old favorite of mine, but this was my first time making it. I've always loved Strawberry fluff, even as a kid. My grandma used to make it, and it looked so easy, I knew I could whip it up that morning with no problem.


And it was easy, and turned out really good! I love those recipes that you don't have to be an experienced cook or baker to do. Just toss some ingredients together! So here are the ingredients I used, and the steps to make it. So easy, even a kid could do it! Or help, at least. :)


Ingredients: 
(these produced a good size bowl for my family to all share - and I had some leftover.)

  • 1 container of Cool Whip topping
  • 1 box of strawberry JELL-O mix
  • 1 20 oz can crushed pineapple
  • 1/2 bag of mini marshmallows
  • 1 cup chopped strawberries


I looked at recipes online, and this one is what I based my recipe off of. It looked like the simplest and most like the kind of salad I wanted to make; however, I added marshmallows to mine to make it extra 'fluffy.' 1/2 a bag seemed to do the trick.

Directions:

1. Empty the cool whip into a bowl, and add the strawberry JELL-O Mix. Combine together.
2. Drain the crushed pineapple, and combine with a cup of chopped strawberries in a separate bowl. 
3. Mix the fruit in with the whipped topping/ JELL-O Mixture.
4. Add in mini marshmallows to the mix.
5. Pour the Strawberry Fluff into a serving bowl, and enjoy!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Solar Walkway Lights

So, remember our walkway we put in last summer? Well, "summer" is a loose term - we actually started it in late spring last year, and worked on it all the way up until the first snowfall. But we got it completed, and we've been using it for a while now. I love it, and it's so much better than walking through the mud or the grass to get from my car to the door, or vice versa.

This spring, we planted new grass in the dirt around it, leftover from where we dug out the area. It seems to be growing pretty full, and now we're just waiting for it to be a little thicker before we mow it.

Trent was really excited about some new solar lights he recently added to the walkway steps. They were on sale for a good price, and there were 2 in a package. Trent got 4 lights total - you just screw them onto the steps, and they are completely solar powered. No wiring or electrical installation required!


I don't know why Trent was so excited about adding these, but hey, it's the little things! 


They probably weren't totally necessary, but they do add a nice little finishing touch to the walkway, and they look pretty cool at night.


Just for kicks, this is how Saleen feels about the lights...


She could stare at them all day. ;)

And I couldn't resist taking a picture of these two best buds sitting on the porch. They looked too cute sitting there together.


Saleen just turned 13 years old at the beginning of this month, yet she still likes to act like a pup sometimes. She's 13 years young, for sure. :) 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Seedlings Sprouting!

My garden seeds have started to sprout! So. Excited.


This is the first year we are starting our veggie garden in seed starter planters. As I shared in my post about planting these babies, I planted two varieties of tomato seeds in all 50 of the containers that came in the kit. :) I don't think Trent was too happy that I planted that many tomatoes, but hey - they're already starting to grow, so I think I did pretty good, right?

I even planted multiple seeds in each slot, so I think there may be a lot more than 50 total plants that come from this...considering some of these little containers have about 6 seedlings already sprouting!


Trent planted a second starter box this week full of more veggie seeds, including peppers and cucumbers. So once the garden area is tilled and the seedlings get a little bigger, we'll be able to transplant them all back there and get the garden going.

I can't wait to see what our veggie garden will produce this year!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Porch Flowers Are Planted

Last Saturday we went to town, and I think we stopped at about 3 different garden centers! I don't remember exactly what we were looking for, but somewhere along the way I picked up some flowers to plant in my pots around the yard. 

I planted them as soon as we got home that day, and 4 bags of soil and 11 pots later, I had all of my flowers planted! It helped that I had some soil leftover in my pots from last year that I was able to salvage. I also made sure to add some garden fertilizer and plant food to each pot to help them along.


The majority of the flowers I picked up were petunias, because they always do really well for me. They are great in part-sun, part-shade, and are so colorful, too. I also picked up some Dusty Miller again this year. I grew them last year to use in the wedding, and they spread like crazy. They are super low-maintenance plants, and I like the subtle green hue.


I actually found some really pretty yellow petunias I thought were kind of unique, so I planted a couple of pots of those. They really add a nice little pop of color to the porch.


We have a few big planters we got for the wedding last summer, and so far I've only filled one. I decided to plant some celosia in it. They always seemed to do well, and I'm hoping these spread and grow nice and full. I have two more of these big planters over by the garage that I'll have to round up some soil and plants for, too.


My little chalkboard planters are back again in full force this year! I love those things. I still remember when I picked them up last spring, and they were perfect for my Dusty Miller, so that's what I planted in them again this year.


So..the porch is now kind of ready for summer, but I think I'm going to switch out some of the brown planters for my colorful ones that I have yet to fill, and take the brown pots out to the back patio once I can get to town and get some more flowers.

Oh, and my hanging pot this year was pre-planted with begonias. I don't know that I've ever had begonias before, so we'll see how they do!


Now, the next thing to do is clean up the flower beds and re-mulch in some spots! Time for the summer weeding to begin..

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

The New Fence

Our new fence is officially up! That's right, we put in a privacy fence for the back patio area. This is a project Trent was dying to do, so we figured we'd do it as soon as the weather cleared up and got a little nicer. We've been wanting some privacy in the yard, and until we fence in the whole backyard, we thought we would just build a fence by the patio for now - that way we don't feel like the neighbors are watching our every move through the windows! 

Last week Trent dug some holes for the posts and got them put in the ground and secured with cement. There were 5 posts total for the area we covered.


Trent did almost the entire thing by himself, and this is the first fence he's ever put up. It was a tricky one, too, because it goes gradually down hill.


There are still a few finishing touches to be done, but we got it fully up last night at least. I helped put the panels up yesterday, and it felt pretty good with each one done. Slowly but surely, our neighbors' windows disappeared from view, and we felt like we had a little privacy for the first time!


We used 4 pre-assembled panels, and they are all a little staggered, or "stair-stepped" with each panel, since they go downhill. This keeps about the same distance at the bottom of each panel. We used a level to make sure each panel was completely straight before Trent drilled them onto the posts, and we got them up to the correct height by stacking bricks under each panel until it was level.

Trent had to attach a few 2 x 4's to the fence posts to help hold them while the cement fully cured. The tops of the posts of course will be cut down to be more in line with the tops of the fence.


The wood is pine and has a bit of a green tint to it right now because it's treated wood. This means it has a chemical on it that helps to prevent rotting. In a month or two, after it's had a little time to dry out in the sun, that will fade a bit, and we'll be able to stain it.


I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out. And Saleen was really happy that we got the fence put up, too!


Trent also got an extra panel and a couple of extra posts in case we wanted to go further, but I think for now we might leave it the way it is. Now we just have to fix up the patio area back here. Some new patio furniture might be nice!


It's not perfect and there are still a few areas to finish up, but the fence is up, and we're excited.


All ready for some fires and barbecues this summer!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Starting the Garden from Seeds

This year, we're getting a little late start to planting our garden. The weather has been rainy and chilly the last couple of weeks, which has delayed tilling and planting. Last year, we grew flowers for the wedding in lieu of vegetables. This year, it will be back to veggies.

We decided to grow all organic veggies this year. Here's what we got:


There are four different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, a couple of hot pepper varieties, sweet peppers,  watermelon, and butternut squash.

We picked up all of the seeds from Home Depot, and I got an indoor seed starter kit this year, which I did for the first time ever with veggies.


There were 50 slots, and I started with tomatoes. But I had so many seeds, that they all got filled with tomatoes! I planted all of the Roma and Rutgers varieties.


Trent then informed me that we aren't going to need 50+ tomato plants in our garden. Whoops. My bad.


So, it looks like we'll be picking up another one of these babies at the store this weekend to plant more varieties of seeds! Maybe some peppers this time. :)


In my defense, I didn't know there were going to be that many seeds in one Roma tomato seed packet! Why must they put way more seeds than you'll need? Nonetheless, it looks like our garden will be full of tomatoes this year, which is ok, because I like me some tomatoes. They are great for salads and sandwiches. So there.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

The Unplanned Ceiling Demo That Was Our Tuesday

Earlier this week, this was happening in our back room:


Yep, we ripped out the ceiling of our back room Tuesday, after getting tons of rain, and the leak in the ceiling becoming a huge, gaping hole! The drywall up there could no longer support the rain that was coming in and had been slowly eating away at the middle of the ceiling.

There are so many structural things wrong with this room, it's hard to decide where to begin. The ceiling is low back here and the roof is not sloped enough for the rain to run off of it. The shingles on the roof currently are not meant for such a low-slope roof. Needless to say, the rain gets trapped on the roof and one hole becomes a giant, seeping nightmare. 


So when I came home Tuesday, Trent had this much of the ceiling torn out in the room, and we then cleaned up the mess that was all over the floor (wearing dust masks of course). Then Trent laid down some plastic sheeting, and tore out the rest of the ceiling. He stapled up some plastic on the ceiling temporarily, until he can patch the roof, and we decide what kind of structural repairs we need to do in this room.

It's just getting nice again outside after having some rainy, colder weather, and we're ready for outdoor projects. Unfortunately, the outdoor stuff might be now mixed with inside renovations this summer...who knows what other unexpected projects will come along after this week!

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What I've Learned So Far about My Ancestry...

So remember when I shared the results of our Ancestry DNA tests last month? Well, since we've gotten them back I've been doing a little research on the Ancestry website.

I've found out a few interesting things I didn't know before. I also talked to my grandma (on my dad's side), and she gave me a couple of huge binders full of information about my relatives! These things are detailed. Not sure who put all of this together, but they've spent a lot more time than me!

I discovered that, yes, I actually do have some English heritage! The Tylers on my dad's side came from England. Apparently I'm related to the 10th President of the United States, President Tyler. Although, I haven't gotten that far in my research yet to actually trace it back that far!

Yep, I'm related to this dude.
Researching a little on Trent's side, I found out that Trent also has some ancestors from England. They first settled in Canada, then came down to the United States.

Little by little I'm finding clues. The Ancestry website gives you hints in the form of "leaf" icons for each person, and these might be documents like city directories, marriage certificates, or death records. It takes a while to compile the facts, though! I'm trying to work one family lineage at a time. Of course the Tyler side of my family came form England, but I've traced the Mier, Scheuermann, and Hartmann sides to Germany. I know I have some Ireland in there, too, but I'm still putting things together.

German, Irish, now British..what else?
So needless to say, I don't think this will be just a month-long project. It might take a little time to trace my family back to every country it originated from!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Trent's Birthday Week

It's been a long week, and a busy one! Not a lot of time to blog! But how about a recap of Trent's birthday week?! The 22nd (last Friday) was Trent's 32nd birthday.

The night before, Trent had to work third shift, but I watched the Cubs game - Arietta's amazing no-hitter against the Reds! I had to take photos as I was watching it because I knew it was a historic game for the Cubbies, and I was sending Trent play-by-plays with every home run. :)


It was one of the best, but also one of the most one-sided games I've seen in a long time! The Cubs are going great this year and are one of the top teams  in the league right now. A pretty good start to our birthday weekend celebration!


Friday night on Trent's birthday, we went to downtown Moline and met up with friends at a new brew pub called Rebellion Brew Haus. It was a pretty cool place with a good atmosphere. They have a large selection of craft beers and a full menu. Trent tried some mini tacos, and we shared some cheese curds.


After Rebellion, we walked over to a pizza place down the street called Brix. We all ordered pizza and drinks, and the pizza was absolutely amazing! Probably one of the best veggie pizzas I've ever had. We will definitely be back!


There was even a guy dressed up in a pizza costume! I wish I would have gotten a picture of him, because it was kind of hilarious!


It was a lot of fun though, to all get together and hang out, and celebrate Trent's birthday. Of course, he got bought a couple of shots and maybe a drink or two! 



After we ate, we went to the Brix Annex, which is another part of the building, and there was a local band playing, The Candymakers. We hung out and listened to them for a bit before we headed home.


It was a good night, and lots of fun all around.

Saturday night my parents took us out to eat for Trent's birthday. We tried another place we had never been to in Le Claire, called Blue Iguana. It was just nice enough to sit out on the patio outside! A little chilly, but still a pretty nice night. 


We enjoyed some drinks and Mexican food, and the scenery of charming downtown Le Claire.


This is another restaurant I'd like to go back to again, maybe in the summer when it's a little warmer, and sit out on the back patio by the river.

Since the weekend, I've been busy working, and selling decor from our wedding! Having to schedule times to meet up with people who buy the items has been a tad stressful, especially when they cancel...but it's been profitable overall. A little extra cash, and I'm getting wedding decor cleared out of the house little by little, which is good!

I did finally get Trent his birthday present, though it was a bit late - a  new chainsaw that he wanted!


We went to a couple of different stores over the weekend, and didn't see the one that he wanted, so I ended up ordering it online. I got free shipping from the Sears website, and it came in just a couple of days. So it was a little late, but he was happy when he got it.


It's an 18 inch Craftsman chainsaw, and Trent can't wait to start cutting limbs, and sawing up the huge part of a tree that fell in our yard when we got a huge snowstorm this winter. The tree is still sitting back in our garden space!


Once he chops that up, not only will our garden area be clear and ready to be tilled up and planted in, but we'll also have a ton of firewood to use for fires this summer! So a chainsaw was definitely needed, and I know it will get some use.

I think Trent had a pretty good birthday weekend, and this week has been flying by. I can't believe tomorrow is already Friday again! It must have been all of the running around, selling my wedding items. :) 
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