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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Date Night at Central Standard

This past Friday night, Trent and I had a little date night. After I got home from work, we went to a restaurant we had never been to before called Central Standard in Bettendorf. It's a newer place, and it has kind of a contemporary, sports bar atmosphere.

We liked it, though it does seem like it gets very busy on weekends. It touts "Burgers, Beer and Stuff," and that's exactly what it is. 

They have 24 beers on tap, including some seasonal selections. I tried the Pumpkick beer from New Belgium. I liked it, but not as well as Leinie's Harvest Patch Shandy. (That's my favorite pumpkin beer.) Trent liked his beer, too, though I don't remember which he got. Something weird, I'm sure!

The food was ok - we got cheese curds for an appetizer, but I wasn't too into my veggie burger. It was a little too different for me, and had a cauliflower taste to it. But it was nice to have a night out to ourselves. 

Next time we go back, I think we'll just go for the milk shakes - apparently they have a Birthday Cake Shake with Rum Chata, and a Sweet and Salty Shake with Kahlua. Those sound amazing!

Have a great day everyone!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Our House, Fall 2016

I snapped a couple of photos of the front of our house the other day. Even though it's fall, the leaves on the trees by our house haven't quite turned yet.

It was a pretty windy day, so the corn stalks on our porch blew over! We've fixed them since, but it's kind of comical to see them all wind-blown in these photos. Plus, look at the flag - it's blowing like crazy!

The above photo is actually a panorama. Makes things look a little distorted, but it shows the whole front yard and all the leaves that have fallen so far.

It's not perfect, and there is still a ton of work left to do on this house, but it's our little house, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Cheesy Corn Casserole Recipe

So, this is perhaps THE most favorite dish in our house right now. And I'm about to share this super easy recipe with you today. For Cheesy Corn Casserole!

I love mac n' cheese and corn, so when you mix the two together, it's pretty much awesome in my book. I make Trent cook this all the time. :)

I've seen a ton of variations online, but Trent likes to experiment with his own, so this is his version. The below recipe makes enough for a small family meal (both of us had enough for 2 helpings plus a little extra). For a bigger group, I would double this.

1 can cream corn
1 can whole kernel corn
1 cup pasta (rotini or elbow macaroni)
1/2 lb Velveeta cheese
Handful shredded cheddar cheese
Optional: garlic and onion for garnish


  1. Add cans of cream and whole kernel corn together in a casserole dish, and mix in a cup of pasta. 
  2. Add small blocks of Velveeta cheese, spreading evenly around dish.
  3. Blend all ingredients together.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for 1/2 hour, covered.
  5. Take out and spread a layer of shredded cheddar cheese and garnish on top.
  6. Bake for another 1/2 hour, uncovered, at same temp.

A couple of notes:

  • A lot of variations I've seen use butter in this, too, but we like it just fine without it. 
  • We've used elbow macaroni in the past, but last time we used rotini (the spiral noodles), and found it to be just as good!

Hope you enjoy!

Monday, October 10, 2016

Fall Front Porch 2016

Hello all, and welcome to our newly decorated fall porch! I added the final touches this weekend. I think this is one of my favorite things about fall - decorating the porch.


Nothing is more welcoming, right? This year I included a lot of the same items from years' past. Scaredy the scarecrow gets to make an appearance every fall. The last couple of years we've also had corn stalks flanking the stairs of the porch. They came from the garden out back. 

I picked up these beautiful mums on the Scenic drive again this year. I love the deep red ones - though the others are starting to bloom like crazy, too. I also found a new "Welcome" sign on the Scenic drive - hung right by the door. It's kind of cute and rustic looking.

My DIY welcome pumpkin has been a staple on my fall porch for a few years now. And the real pumpkins came from my grandma's pumpkin patch. There are some small pumpkins and gourds throughout - some real, some fake...along with a few pots of Dusty miller that are still going strong from the summer.

Finally, something else new this year - I found a couple of Cinderella pumpkins at the Little Red Barn in Knoxville. They are darker and flatter than regular pumpkins, and they're great for stacking on top of each other. Kind of a different look, but I'm digging them!

So that's our fall porch this year! I'm hoping the weather continues to be on the warmer side into late October, because it's been so nice lately. Best enjoy it while we can!

Do you have your porch all decorated for fall?

Until next time :)

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Fall Sunday

It was a beautiful sunny, fall day today. I spent this Sunday at home getting things done around the house while Trent was working. Laundry, dishes, and fall decorating. Yes - I'm finally getting my fall porch finished! It's taken me a while to lug my fall tote out from the closet and finish changing up the decor, but it's all coming together. I'm hoping to have fall porch photos up this week!

The leaves have also been taking their sweet time to change this year. This lone leaf was one of the first colorful guys I've seen on the ground so far. I have a feeling they'll all start changing like crazy soon.

This weekend has been full of fun with friends and family. Friday night we watched the Cubs playoff game at The Fieldhouse in Davenport with a group of friends. It was a good time, and we won the first game vs. the Giants.

Last night was my cousin's couples shower and bonfire, and game 2 for the Cubs. It was a perfect fall day to spend some time outside with family. There was plenty of food and drinks to go around, and the Cubs snagged their second game and are off to San Francisco for game 3. This is the YEAR! I'm tellin' ya.

Well, as my fall front porch is nearly finished...stay tuned for pics this week! Eek!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Virtual Target Shopping

Hey guys! I don't know about you, but every time I step into Target, I have to brace myself, because I know I won't be able to resist spending a ton of money on things I don't really need! From clothes to jewelry to home decor, I can never seem to resist the lure that is Tar-jay.

So today, just for fun, I thought I'd do a little virtual Target shopping. No money spent. Just looking online at for some cute stuff! It's kind of like a wish list of things I'd totally buy if I was at the store. Sound fun? K, let's start!

I've divided my picks into 4 different categories - these are all things I can't resist when I go to Target: Accessories, Clothes, Shoes, and Home Decor.

First up...the Accessories! Here are a couple of scarves that are perfect for chilly fall weather, and I'm loving these Target handbags and necklaces, too.

Next, Clothes. There are some pretty great fall styles this season. I love the fit of Target jeggings, and every year I buy multiple sweaters from Target. All of these items look super comfy and cute.
1. Tan sweater/ cardigan
2. Off the shoulder top in navy

On to Shoes - I can't resist a good pair of leopard print flats. And I love the zipper details on these boots.

Finally, my favorite - Decor. How cute are these animal statues? You know I love some good animal figurines. And textured blankets and pillows are kind of my favorite, too.
1. "Gather" decorative pillow
2. Gold giraffe figure
3. Sweater knit throw in silver
4. Metal fox sculpture
5. White berry wreath
6. Macrame throw pillow
7. Gold and marble tray
8. Velvet square throw pillow

Well, that was fun! What Target items are you loving right now?

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Another Scenic Drive in the Books

It's October! Where has the time gone? Fall is officially here, and although the leaves around our area have yet to fully change their colors, you can definitely feel it in the air. It's cooler outside, a little gloomier at times, and pumpkins are beginning to line peoples' porches.

Fall for us also means the Scenic Drive is here. Our annual fall festival - the Spoon River and Knox County Scenic drive - is full of flea markets, crafts, sales, and fall fun. It's become one of my favorite fall activities every year. This weekend was the first of the festival - it also continues next weekend - and Trent and I spent some time yesterday to enjoy it.

This year we stopped in Knoxville again, and I enjoyed more fried rice at the town square. It's my favorite! We then headed south and made another stop at the Little Red Barn, which had loads of antiques, pumpkins, gourds, and even a fire and some live music.

We also stopped in Maquon and Farmington. I would call this year's trip a successful one. I spent all of the cash I had for the day. :) I ended up taking home 3 giant mums that are just starting to bloom, along with some small ghost pumpkins, a couple of cinderella pumpkins, and some gourds. 

I got my porch somewhat decorated when we got home last night, but I need to add some pumpkins and a few more fall decor items before it's finished.

Today Trent is working, and I'm feeling kind of lazy, spending the day at home with my allergies and waiting for my Claritin and coffee to kick in. Maybe I'll get the energy to finish my fall decorating before Trent gets home. :)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Colorado Vacation: Royal Gorge and Rocky Mountain National Park

Ok folks, it's finally time for a recap of the last leg of our Colorado vacation! After our time in Denver and then Manitou Springs, we stopped at the Royal Gorge before heading up to Estes Park in the northern part of the state.

We thought the gorge was really cool, and was worth going a little out of our way for. It's definitely an amazing sight to see.

The bridge is one of the highest suspension bridges in North America. If you're afraid of heights, walking across it might leave you a little shaky.

We made it across the whole length of the bridge, though, and were very proud of ourselves. Those wooden boards are a little sketchy!

After crossing the bridge, we saw a magic show they put on, and then started walking up to a viewpoint area called "Point Sublime," where we had an incredible view of the whole gorge. 

While we were walking, we spotted some wild mountain goats in one large herd. They hopped over a fence, and a couple of them ran out right in front of us. It was definitely the craziest wild animal experience we had of the whole trip!

We rode the gondolas back to the main entrance of the park. Because why not travel in style?

It was pretty cool. We got to take in a 360 degree view as we glided right over the entire gorge.

After the Royal Gorge, we began our trip north. We had to backtrack a little, through the Colorado Springs and Denver area, but then went a little more northwest and drove up the Peak to Peak scenic byway. It was a really pretty drive through the mountains as we made our way closer to our destination of Estes Park.

When we got to Estes Park, we stayed at the Wildwood Inn, which was right down the road from one of the entrances to Rocky Mountain National Park. We had our own suite, which was a little lodge/cabin style place with a complete kitchen, fireplace, and our own private deck and hot tub.

We spent our last full day in Colorado at Rocky Mountain National Park. And since it was the National Park Service's 100 year anniversary when we went, it was a free weekend at the park.

We drove up Trail Ridge Road, the main road that goes through the park, all the way up the mountains and back down to the other side. When we got to the town of Grand Lake, we ate lunch at a little cafe there, then drove all the way back through the park again!

Along the way, the park was nothing short of scenic, and I think we experienced every type of weather! From sunny, to foggy, to rain, sleet, and snow.

We had sun most of the morning and in the later afternoon hours, but as we got to the higher elevations, it began to rain, which turned to sleet, which eventually became snow.

In Estes Park, it was cooler and felt like fall most of the time, even though it was still August. It was in the 60's in town, but as we got higher in the mountains, it dropped all the way down to about 36 degrees or so.

We got out of the car at several of the lookout points off of Trail Ridge Road, but didn't do very many hiking trails. We did climb onto a few rocky cliff areas to take in the view, though.

I love this photo below, because it looks like the bird is just sitting there taking in the view!

It was very cold in the tundra areas at the top of the mountains, and just walking down a few smaller trails definitely takes a lot out of you at the higher elevations. It was crazy how out of shape I felt up here!

The views were worth it, though.

Just seeing all of the different kinds of landscapes the park has to offer - it was one of the coolest places we had ever seen, and probably our favorite day of the whole trip.

Our last night there, we explored some of the shops downtown Estes Park. The town alone is such a cool little place. And before we headed back home the next day, we stopped at Lake Estes, which was gorgeous.

Our first trip to the mountains together was definitely a successful one. I wish we could have stayed longer and done even more, but I'd say that the 5 full days we spent there were not wasted! 

See ya next time, Colorado!
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