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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Burlington Day Trip

A couple of weeks ago, before our Columbus, Ohio trip, we made a little day trip down to the Burlington, Iowa area. Our reason for the trip was the Kayak demo day at Gladstone Lake. Gladstone is a little town on the Illinois side, just across the river from Burlington. Every year, there's a boat shop there that does a "You can paddle" day, where you can try out different kayaks and canoes and find the best one for you. We were excited to try out different kayaks, and it was a great opportunity to find our next boats.

We got kayaks last year around Trent's birthday, but ended up selling them in favor of more stable ones. Instead of jumping into getting them this time, we've been looking around and researching different models, and this time we were set on trying them first before buying.

I tried out a few different kayaks, and ended up finding the perfect one! As soon as I sat it in, I knew it was the perfect fit for me. It's the Perception Conduit 9.5. I loved this one, and am pretty sure it will be my next kayak!

I didn't buy it that day, but we've looked around a little since, and it looks like I'm probably going to have to special order it. It's not sold in a lot of stores around here, but I think I can just order it at the store, and they'll get it in for me. Trent didn't find his perfect one yet, but we're still looking. I'm hoping we can both find our new kayaks this summer. Then we can do a little boating before the summer is over.

While we were in the Burlington area, we made a few stops before heading back home. We stopped at Snake Alley in Burlington. It's a very crooked street that was built as a shortcut to get downtown several years ago!

This place brought back a few memories. We visited Snake Alley back on one of the first trips Trent and I took together, when we were first dating. That was 8 years ago! I had to do a side-by-side. :)

It's a pretty cool place, and such a unique, wind-y road to drive down if you are ever in the area!

Burlington is a river city, and there are some great sights to see in the area. The bridge is also pretty cool-looking. We stopped down by the river to take in the view.

On the drive back, we ended our trip by stopping at the Warren County Memorial Park in Monmouth, Illinois, to visit a couple of gravesites of Trent's family.

Trent's grandma on his dad's side is buried here, along with her parents. Since we've started looking further into our ancestry, we've learned more about our relatives and their stories. Even though Trent's grandma died when he was only 4 and he didn't really know her, it's nice that we're still able to visit her grave and the graves of his other family members. Trent even remembers visiting this place with his dad when he was a kid and putting flowers on their graves.

We decorated their grave markers with pink flowers. Trent's grandma was Norma June Keever. Her parents were Elva and Geraldine Coleman.

It was a perfect spring day, and a nice ending to a fun day trip.

A day full of kayaks, rivers, and making new memories! :)

Monday, May 30, 2016

Cleaning up the Backyard

Happy Memorial Day! What is everyone up to today? Barbecues, swimming, spending time with friends or family? We've had a pretty laid-back holiday weekend. The weather has been amazing, and it's been the first full weekend for us I think that it's actually felt like summertime.

We've spent most of this weekend cleaning up the yard. We've gotten the yard mowed and the garden almost ready to plant. Trent pressure-washed the back side of the house and patio, and I pulled weeds in my flower beds.

A couple of weeks ago, Trent poured cement by the garage for a little path to the door. He's working on a little drainage system there so the water doesn't build up by the garage foundation. We have a new door we still have to put in to replace the old one, too. 

As you can see, the board on the bottom of that old door was used for a little spray-painting project.  It's been repurposed. :)

The cement pathway turned out pretty good once it dried, and now we just need to tear out the old door and replace it with the new one, then put down new rock around the side of the garage. Another little step in making the yard better. (Though there's still a long way to go!)

We added a fifth panel to the back patio fence, and are going to add a gate to the end of it. The tops also still need to be cut off of the posts, but we're loving the privacy so far.

What we did most of the day on Saturday was clean up the garden. We still had tons of leaves back there and the remainders of the flowers we planted for the wedding last summer. There was also still tons of mulch, some weeds, and weed fabric.

I raked up most of the leaves, and we pulled up the weed fabric.  There were a couple more piles back there of branches and sticks from part of a pine tree that had fallen during a winter snowstorm we had. Trent cut up the branches with his new chainsaw, and I carried the logs over to the log pile. We then started burning the piles of leaves and wood. 

It took a full afternoon to get everything that was back there completely burnt down and cleaned up.

It was a pretty windy day, so we had to do a little at a time. It all burnt down pretty fast, though for the most part!

By Saturday evening we had the whole garden cleared. Now all that is left to do back there is till up the dirt and plant our veggies.

I'd say our log pile is ready for a few fires this summer, too. Thanks to that tree that fell!

The patio is almost ready for hanging out again, though I'd still like some new patio furniture. We'd eventually like to redo the entire patio and maybe build a deck out here, too, but that will probably have to wait until another year!

The fence is a nice addition, though. I love that there are no neighbors' windows right there in plain sight anymore!

Sunday I spent the afternoon pulling weeds and watching Trent pressure-wash the back side of the house. It needed it pretty badly. All of the dirt and grime-y stuff had built up on there again.

It can make for a pretty bad eye sore. The pressure-washer does wonders, though. It's pretty cool to watch all of that dirty stuff just wash away.

I know he probably wished I was helping, but hey, I did get some color while I was sitting out there. It was a gorgeous day, and I was comfortable!

And here is the back of the house, all cleaned. Another huge project that we have left to do is make this side of the house even with the other side - raising the ceiling and roof to be level with the bathroom and bedroom side of the house.. a huge project that's going to take a lot of work, but we're getting ready to take it on. After ripping out the back room ceiling, we'll have to start on it soon. I'm not sure if I'm quite ready for that big of a job!

The good news is that after we get that done, we'll be able to re-roof the house, get new siding, and a new door back here. All in time, though! Oh, the joys of renovating a house...

In other news, the peonies out front have been in bloom for about a week now. I love peonies. I picked a few and put them in a little blue mason jar on the front porch.

A nice little touch, don't you think? 

Well, until next time...I'm sure we'll be working on more projects in the near future!

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Our Rockin' Columbus Trip

So last weekend was our trip to Columbus, Ohio! Trent has family out there, so we decided to plan a fun trip to go out there and spend time with family and friends. It was so nice to get away for a few days and take a road trip. 

We left last Thursday morning, and after we got everything all packed up in the car, our first mission was to drop Saleen off at her Grandpa Dave's for the weekend. She was a little nervous during the car ride because she wasn't sure where she was going, but for most of the ride, she was loving it. She loved looking out the window and loved the cool breeze in her face!

After we dropped the pup off, it was about a 7 hour drive, but we made it to Plain City, where Trent's cousin Aaron and his fiance Jenna live. We stayed with them the first night. They took us out to eat at a nice little Hibachi restaurant. It was really cool - the guy cooked our meals right in front of us, and he was funny and entertaining. We loved the yum-yum sauce!

The next day we all went to Der Dutchman for breakfast, an Amish-style bakery, shop, and restaurant right in Plain City. They had a breakfast buffet, and the food was delicious - especially the doughnuts!

Friday was also the first day of the three-day Rock festival we went to in Columbus, Rock on the Range. Our friends Leo and Kayla also made the trip out to Ohio, and we would pick them up from their hotel each day and drive them back. It was at a huge soccer stadium called Mapfre Stadium, by the Ohio State Fairgrounds. 

There were several bands playing each day, with headliners each night. There were tons of people everywhere, so it was fun to people watch! The weather was ok, but for the most part it was pretty chilly, and it rained some of the time, which wasn't too fun! The first night it got pretty rainy and cold, and the second day we had to wear ponchos, because it rained again. 

We saw some pretty cool bands, though. This was A Day to Remember:

We thought they had one of the coolest shows there - confetti and beach balls everywhere!

For the most part we watched from up in the stands. We had a pretty good view of the bands and the people below. We would watch people crowd-surfing, and some were dressed up in costumes! We saw Santa and an Elf, an "Amish" guy, Captain America, and a guy in a chicken suit.

Here's Trent and Leo rockin' on!

The headliners the first night were Shinedown and Disturbed. Unfortunately, it rained that night so we didn't get to see to much of it. It was too chilly to watch from the stands, so we all huddled under them and didn't have the best view. The music was good from what we heard, though!

The next few nights we stayed with Trent's cousin Amanda, her husband Steve and their kids at their house in Powell. We got to hang out with them a little between concert days. We went out for breakfast at Bob Evans with Amanda and their son Eli, and the caramel mochas there were absolutely amazing!

Another headliner at the festival was Rob Zombie, and the last night we saw The Deftones and Red Hot Chili Peppers. I looked forward to the Chili Peppers the entire time - it was so cool to see them! I love so many of their songs. They performed "Otherside" and "Snow (Hey oh)", which are two of my favorites.

There were so many other bands that played too, like A Bullet for My Valentine, Machine Gun Kelly, Sevendust, and Bring Me The Horizon. Apparently it was the 10th year Anniversary of the festival.

Our last full day in Ohio we did a little bit of shopping in Powell, then went to Hofbauhaus in Columbus to eat with Leo and Kayla. Trent loves this place, and I have to admit it's pretty cool. They make it look like a traditional German brewhouse, and have a great patio area and tables where you can eat outside. We ate at one in Cincinnati last year. It was a good time!

The last night was pretty perfect and might have been the best one yet. We got to rock out to Deftones and the Chili Peppers. Can't beat that!

It's safe to say we had a great time in Ohio last week. It was bittersweet driving home on Monday, then having to go back to work on Tuesday, and back to the grind!

It was definitely a fun little getaway spent with good friends and family, and we got to experience something new with lots of new sights and good music.

I can only imagine what other fun times lie ahead this summer, with trips to Missouri, Wisconsin and Colorado all coming up!  Here's to a fun-filled summer.

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. :)

(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.


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!

Linked to: The Pin Junkie, Tatertots & Jello

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