Friday, June 28, 2013


As I mentioned in my last post, we spent the past weekend in Northeast Iowa camping and visiting my grandparents. We had put camping down on our summer fun list because we usually try and go tent camping once a summer and we figured this seemed like a good weekend to do it. Pike's Peak is a gorgeous park, close to my grandparents, and we have a nice tent that was easy to set up. It was going to be a piece of cake, especially since we were only going to camp for two nights and do no cooking except for campfire s'mores.


We were laughing because it had been a few years since we set up our big tent and actually the last time a friend had set it up for us! So luckily, Scott figured it out and it went up really easily. We do have a smaller tent that is a breeze to set up that Scott uses on RAGBRAI and if we go camping just the two of us. 

So once we got the tent set up we were feeling pretty victorious. We checked the radar and things looked good so we headed across the river into town to pick up a few things at Walmart and eat a little dinner. When we came back we did our campfire, ate our s'mores (Michael only wanted the uncooked marshmallws!) and chatted about how awesome camping was and how we really should go more often. We finally settled in for the night around 11:30 (it took Michael forever to get calmed down- he thought sleeping in a tent was so fun and loved his flashlight) and fell fast asleep.

Then it started raining. And thundering. And raining hard. A short storm passed around 12:30 and we stayed dry in our tent. We figured it had passed and we went back to sleep. 

Then it started again around 2:30. This time it didn't let up. It was raining hard and it was LOUD. Raining, raining, raining. We tried to sleep through it but I was mostly just laying there worried and hoping it would be over soon. Finally around 5:30 Scott got up and said, "we are floating!!". The floor of our tent was all squishy with water and it was coming in through the bottom seams of the tent. We peeked outside and saw this:

A huge river of water flowing right under our tent. We said, "that's it!" and hopped into the car and arrived at my grandparent's house at 7:00 a.m. It was early but we were happy to have somewhere safe and dry to go with a nice breakfast waiting. We were pretty bummed our camping experience went so poorly but this was definitely a worst case scenario.

As it turns out, that weekend had record rainfall and flash flooding in the whole county and region. My grandparents live right by a little river and by Sunday morning it had overflown its banks and turned the field behind their house into a lake. It was ridiculous. It rained and rained. Probably not the best weekend to go camping, huh?

Anyway, the real point was to visit my grandparents and we got a good visit in. I especially enjoyed going for a little drive with my grandma to see the beautiful butterfly garden in town and visit her church. Michael had lots of playing with new toys and being a silly boy. 

Michael's favorite was this jack in the box sans the jack. It sang the song "Pop goes the Weasel" but we kept asking Michael where the weasel went. He kept saying he needed to find the weasel and wanted to know where that silly weasel was. It was really cute to hear him keep talking about the weasel. 

We took some time on Sunday before heading out to eat lunch at McGregor and visit the cutest shop in the whole world: The Paper Moon. It is a book shop/gift shop with the cutest things and TWO fun cats that live there. One was a girl and very petite and adventurous and the other was a boy who was fat and lazy. Michael thought it was fun to say hi to them and I had fun browsing around. They have a great selection of Iowa books and cat books--two of my favorites! I kept saying I wanted to live there and guess what?? Someone does!!

We've had a good week otherwise, trying to get things done in the house and outside. I have a whole summer list of non fun things for myself that I want to get crossed off such as clean out the pantry and organize every closet/cabinet. I made some headway yesterday as I got my pantry organized and cleared out a whole bag of old tshirts from our laundry room and hall closet. I found some gems in there that made me feel old and thought I better take a photo to document!

I still have about 8 more things on my organizing list that are hard to tackle such as my closet and Michael's closet. I hope if I can get it all squared away this summer it will make the next school year easier if I start from a clean slate. Cleaning and purging is definitely great therapy and getting organized is a free way to make your house feel more spacious and updated.
(I know this is probably riveting to you so I will keep you updated. :o) )

Have a great weekend! Happy Friday !

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Pikes Peak State Park

We were in Northeast Iowa this past weekend visiting my grandparents. We decided to camp at Pike's Peak State Park so we could enjoy the beautiful views. The camping experience was....not great...but I will expand on that in another post. 

We did get a chance to "hike" on Saturday afternoon. It was hot and very humid due to the unsettled weather between thunderstorms. We did about a mile and a half, hiking from our campsite to the big waterfall. There had been lots of rain so the falls and streams were beautiful. The whole park was so gorgeous that these photos barely do it any justice. It had been years since I was up there and I hope I can get back again next year or even in the fall!

The "trail" is very easy- it is all wooden planks. It is a good hike for rookies like us- notice Scott is even wearing flip flops?? Michael had a blast running up the "stairs in the forest" and would have gone even further if we had let him. 

It was very hazy from the humidity but the views were still breathtaking. This has to be hands down, one of the most beautiful places in Iowa. I hope we can make it back again soon!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Strawberry Picking

Last week, we got up early and headed out for our summer tradition of strawberry picking. It is fun to me to have done this three years already with Michael (in 2012, in 2011) . Wow, time flies! He did a great job this year, picking on his own and even keeping some in his bucket instead of just eating them. He of course still ate plenty and had a nice pink strawberry ring around his mouth when we were done, but I think that is part of the fun, right?

We go to Berry Patch Farm in Nevada. It is a little bit of a drive but the drive is nice on a summer morning. It is important to get up early and go so you can beat the heat. They open at 8! 

There was a big crowd of people picking that morning but we worked our way down our row so we were out of the hustle and bustle. Each family or group is given their own row to pick and when that is done you can get another row if you want. We picked about half our row and took home 7lbs.Michael called the tiny ones "cuuuute and widdle" and the big ones "tomato strawberries".

Michael had a great time at the "strawberry center" and I hope these are things that make up his childhood memories of summer. The warm sun, fresh air and delicious strawberries. 

I think they are still in season this week so you better get out there if you haven't already! Berry Patch also sells at a few farmers markets in the area but they are almost triple the price of pick your own. Blueberry season should be starting soon!

Friday, June 21, 2013


Happy Friday!

Isn't the above photo just the most beautiful scene ever? A lovely Saturday morning with a short line at my favorite place? Usually the line wraps around the building on Saturday mornings and this day there was just a short one. Even Michael said, "look!!! There's no line!!!". The kid gets it. He just gets it.

Insta-family portrait on the tilt o whirl. 

Saturday night we went to a party/fundraiser for the Des Moines Social Club. We don't really have any ties to the club but one of Scott's hockey buddy's neighbor's was hosting the party so we got invited also. Louie's Wine Dive catered and it was awesome. They also had four keg beers from a local brewery. Can you believe that whole pig they roasted? It was really good. They had a beautiful property, complete with the best treehouse/playground I've ever seen. Michael had a blast running around and we could still keep tabs on him and enjoy the food, fire, and music from the local band The Snacks. Have you heard of them? They were pretty good. Low budget with drums and a keyboard...just my style! :o) 

These are awesome and usually about $1. A great snack!

My Monday band lessons are going great and I thought I should take a photo of my beautiful space to show you. When a student is a no show, I just want to lay down and take a little nap! No worries, I haven't done that, but I do enjoy curling up on my lunch break and catching up in my book. It has been a great facility to work with and it is going so well. 

We went strawberry picking! I will do a whole post on this later. They were delicious. 

"Play at the West Glen Fountains" is a check on our summer list and we had an opportunity to check it off yesterday. I wanted to run to the mall to get some new flip flips and told Michael we could play at the play place. Unfortunately, there was a naughty boy there who kept trying to wrestle and hit Michael so we took a break and left for a snack to see if he would leave. We came back, and he was still there. So we decided to do plan B and head to the fountains which were lots of fun. Michael had a blast! We will definitely be revisiting this again on another hot day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Johnston Green Days + VanDees Ice Cream

We are checking things off left and right over here on our summer fun list. Up this past weekend were Johnston Green Days Parade and Carnival and Van Dees ice cream. The parade was a little bit of a miss this year as it poured halfway through it. I feel like we didn't see nearly as many entries as we had last year when it was beautiful. None the less, Michael took home a huge bag of candy and we spent a fairly nice morning out and about. One trick I learned from a friend while waiting for a parade: sidewalk chalk! So amazing!
After the parade Michael and I met Scott at the carnival- otherwise known as the fastest way ever to spend $20. We only rode a handful of rides with our very expensive tickets but Michael still had a blast. He was the most disappointed he wasn't big enough to ride their bumper cars even though he rode some last summer at Adventureland. He was totally bummed and hopefully he can ride them at the amusement park when we go later this summer. We did all ride the tilt-o-whirl together as a family and was a wild ride! Scott and I are getting a little bit too old for those types of shenanigans!
After the carnival, we hit up the local ice cream shop for a special ice cream treat. Michael was so tickled by the eyes and sprinkles on his cone- something I knew he'd love. This was his first trip to Van Dees! Scott and I used to frequent it often when we lived just a few blocks away when we were young and just engaged. Now those days seem like another lifetime ago! I'm glad we can make this one of our new summer traditions.
We had a great weekend and a great time at the parade and festivities. Are you hitting up any parades this summer? Do you love them or hate them? My favorite part is always the marching band and I give those directors major props for getting all their kids out there in the summer! It is hard work!
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