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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Kayaking Memories

Since we both got kayaks this spring, we've gone once so far, earlier this month. The weather hasn't been the greatest the past few weekends, and when it has been, Trent's been working overtime or we've been busy. We have gone a couple of other times in the past though, before we owned boats of our own.

Last summer, we kayaked at Lake George, in the Loud Thunder Forest Preserve. It's kind of close to where I grew up...another small town area in Illinois maybe about 45 minutes from where we live now.


It's pretty cheap to rent kayaks here (I think it was $8/hour), so we rented a couple and took them out for a couple of hours. We liked this lake because it was really calm, and it's super laid back around here. Not busy at all, just a few boats here and there.

It was a nice day, though I think it was in August, so it was pretty, hot too. We started out with some life jackets on, but it was so hot and the water was super calm, so we took them off for a little while. Shh!

We brought some drinks along, too. These kayaks were really nice and stable. They're Emotion kayaks, and when we bought our own this year, we definitely looked at these. They were a little bit more expensive, though, and the kind we got was actually on sale, which clenched the deal for us on the Pelican ones.

Kayaking at Lake George was my first experience with a single kayak. I was a little worried at first if I would be able to handle it on my own, but it was much easier than I thought it was going to be. To my delight, I could paddle and guide the boat on my own, directing it the way I wanted to go pretty easily.

Trent had a good time, too. Ever since we went out that time, he had been wanting a kayak even more than before! He still says he likes this kind, because of how stable they were. They were also only 8 foot kayaks, and we got 10-footers.

That experience kind of made me want our own boats, too. We had a great time that day. The one other time before this when we went kayaking together, was at Lake MacBride, near Iowa City. I don't have any photos from that experience, but I do have a couple from the beach.

Back in 2010, we were in the Iowa City area for the weekend, and decided to make a day trip down to Lake MacBride. We hung out at the beach for a while, then rented a double kayak.

The double kayak was fun, but you definitely have a little bit more freedom with the single kayaks. Lake MacBride was also a much busier area than Lake George and Lake Storey, which both felt a little more isolated and peaceful.

I'm hoping we can go out a few more times this summer with our new kayaks. I know we'll be pretty busy with the wedding and all, but there's always time for a little fun too, right?!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Spring Office Organization

I don't share too much of my office, partly because I'm not up there a lot. There's not really any air or heat upstairs, and with my laptop down here, it's not as necessary to work on my desktop computer anymore. I do go up there every so often though, and lately it was getting a tad chaotic. I hadn't cleaned or organized up there in a while. Today was a chilly, rainy day, and Trent worked an 11 hour shift (and is still working now), so I decided to get to cleaning up my office space and getting it all pretty again!

Earlier this week, I looked online for a storage unit for all of my stacked containers of craft and art supplies. They were piling up, so I needed something simple that would fit in the corner by my desk. I landed upon this storage unit at Target:

It was super simple and cheap. And it came in this box, unassembled. 

Luckily, though, it was super easy to put together! No screwdrivers needed, thank GOD! I hate dragging out tools, especially without Trent here..and trying to find the right screwdriver is not fun! I have never seen a shelf so easy to put together before.

Once it was assembled, I brought it upstairs, and got to work in my office. Just as I was hoping, it fit perfectly in the corner between my desk and my bookshelves. Space is LIMITED up here, let me tell ya! This room is super small, so I'm trying to utilize all the space and storage I can get. And I do have a lotta stuff!

So on these shelves I put all of my small storage containers, each labeled - paint supplies, craft supplies, crayons (yes, I have a whole tub of crayons), markers, sewing supplies, printer supplies, etc.

Even though I organized and cleaned, my office is still pretty full! And it's still unfinished. A couple of years ago we started painting and putting up trim, but we never got finished. So there's still some work to do up here - hence that corner "nook" above the stairs that's still sponge-painted brown! It currently holds an old little tv, and all of the unhung picture frames with no place to live.

But, it will have to do for now! At least it feels a lot cleaner up here - lots of papers were starting to pile up, and wedding things were scattered around - vases, invitations, etc. I moved all of the wedding stuff into the other upstairs room - Trent's old bedroom next door. That room is completely being used for storage at the moment!

I added that mirror, and rearranged my artwork. It feels a little bit more "me", and a little bit more "homey." And best of all, uncluttered!

Unfortunately, it's not just small, but it's also dark in here - especially on rainy days like this one.

I still have my wallflowers up on this wall...Trent took his plaques for Employee of the month to work with him, so I hung up my Emily Rickard painting on this wall, too. :)

I like the mirror in here because it kinda makes the space feel a little more elegant, and maybe even a little bigger. I'm not sure if on top of my printer is the best place, but hey, it works! I found this mirror at a yard sale - I think it was $4 or $5.

And I put a couple of my favorite paintings that I've done, along with calendar art by Katie Daisy, on my memo board.

All in all, not a huge change, but a nice little project that made me feel productive today! Always good to clean and organize!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Spring Flower Inspiration

Happy Memorial Day! We have the day off work today, so I've had quite a nice day relaxing around the house. Since it's still spring, and I've been in quite the flowery mood lately, I'm sharing more flower pictures on the blog today. But I didn't take these, Trent did. He filled in at the Butterworth Center this past weekend, and sent me a picture of a pink flower. Then I told him to take more!

They have tons of gardens all around with hundreds of gorgeous flowers that bloom every year. It's a historic place in the Quad Cities, that unfortunately not enough people know about or take the time to explore. A couple of years ago, I shared another Flower Inspiration post, which included some summery flowers from the Butterworth Center and Deere-Wiman house. So this one includes a little spring garden inspiration, since it's not quite summer yet. Though, some of these flowers will stay blooming throughout the summer months.

I love this combination of colorful flowers and Dusty miller. I'm of course, a dusty miller fan, as evidenced here and here

I think I spot some peonies in the photo above. And those purple irises are so pretty. Definitely some pretty spring flowers.

This purple flower looks like some kind of Iris, but I'm not quite sure. I don't know if I've ever seen one like it!

Then there are these pretty daisies. Such a variety of flowers in these gardens. And check out these huge stone planters that are permanently positioned on the grounds:

It looks like lots of easy to grow petunias are planted in them. They should last all summer long.

I'm not sure what those tiny little white flowers are mixed in, but I like the mix of color and scale:

These look like some kind of peony:

I'm not positive, but isn't it gorgeous? It might be my favorite. I actually edited this photo and ended up using it as my new wallpaper for my laptop. :)

I think all of these gorgeous flowers are salvia. I have some of these on my front porch again this year. I had them last year and they did so well that I got more this year. They are great for pots.

And here was that first little flower picture that Trent sent me. I love this one, too. Plus, pink is my favorite color. It looks like an early blooming rose. So pretty!

Hope you're inspired to plant your spring or summer garden!

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Heart Spring

Summer, I love ya, but I'm also really digging spring right now. The weather is pretty much perfect. When it doesn't rain, that is. Ha.

Things are growing outside like crazy right now, and there are some gorgeous flowers outside. Lilacs, Peonies, and Irises are everywhere around town. It's Memorial Day weekend, so I'm so excited that it's Friday night, and we have a three day weekend ahead!

I started my weekend by getting my hair cut (feels so much better!), and picked some peonies from the yard. I'm obsessed with them. Peonies have to be my all-time favorite flower.

We have white ones in the front yard, and they finally bloomed this week. They even have a little hint of pink, which is really pretty.

I had to pick a few for the kitchen table. They are soooo gorg. All Trent cared about was that they might bring ants into the house. I say, ants schmants.

He did admit that "they look nice," though, so it's all good. :)

I so wish that I could have peonies for my wedding. Dang August, why can't it be easy to get peonies that time of year?!

We've also been picking some of the Salvia out front. The purple salvia right in front of the house do so awesome every year. I think they look better and better each year.

When they first bloom they're so bright in color, too. The only thing about these is that slowly they die off mid-summer, and you have to cut off all the dead blooms. But they grow back right away after they're cut off, so other than that, they're really low maintenance.


Not only are the plants and flowers in bloom this time of year, the wildlife is quite alive as well. We never have a shortage of squirrels in town. They are pretty much everywhere! Trent took these pics of a squirrel hanging out on our roof the other night. 

Such funny little creatures. 

The weather can just stay like it was today all weekend, and I wouldn't complain. Sunny and seventies. Unfortunately I think they're talking rain. But they could always be wrong again...

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Flower Seedlings are Sprouting

It may have taken a little while (and a lot of work), but I finally got our flower garden planted a couple of weeks ago. We've gotten a little rain since then, and some of the seedlings are sprouting, which is pretty cool! I planted all of the flowers from either bulbs or seeds, so it's cool to see them all sprouting up and growing. 

We're planning to use these flowers for centerpieces at our wedding reception in August, so I'm trying to encourage these babies to GROW! Grow big and multiply! :)

Here are a few pics I snapped when I went out there today after work.

This is one of the Lavender Dahlias sprouting up from a bulb. I didn't think these would be growing so fast - I've heard dahlias take a while to bloom. Either way, pretty cool!

And these are some of the Zinnias. I planted a few different varieties..not sure which exact ones these are, but I guess we'll find out when they start blooming and we see what color they come out to be. :)

It's definitely exciting to see our wedding flowers growing from seeds. The problem is with some of them, where there are multiple seeds in one spot, it's a little hard to tell the seedlings from the weeds! See for yourself:

For first-time flower gardeners like us, we have no idea what some of the seedlings will look like until we see them get larger or bloom! So until they get a little bigger, we're kind of clueless when it comes to weeding out the bad guys so the good guys can grow. I guess we'll hope for the best for now!

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