Staycation Day 2

Day 2 of our staycation – on to Maquoketa Caves.  We visited here last year and loved it so much we decided to take my dad and mom along with us this year.  Unfortunately Eric had to work so he had to stay behind.  First we ate our picnic lunch – PB & J sandwiches and chips!  As you can see – at the visitor station Drew found a snake to make friends with.  He loves all things creepy crawly and thank goodness I’m not too squeamish.  I don’t know how I would have survived all these years with three boys if I was!  Drew even let me pet this little guy before giving him back to its owner! (Again, I apologize for the poor quality of the photos.  Forgot my camera again)

The view looking out before heading into the cave.
The view looking out before heading into the cave.
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Mom was not sure about this. We didn’t realize how much she didn’t like caves until we got in here. Sorry Mom!
The other side of the cave - beautiful!
The other side of the cave – beautiful!

I am always amazed at how the terrain changes so drastically in Iowa.  Just a couple of hours from here it is flat and you can see for miles.  Here you find this.  So many people seem to have the misconception that Iowa is all corn fields.  Boy are they wrong!

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You can hike for hours in this State Park – up and down the bluffs – down in the bottom along the water, exploring caves big and small.  It was a little too rough for Dad and Mom so we spent a little time here and then decided to see what else we could find.

We headed towards the beautiful Mississippi River and the river drive.  We drove past the American Pickers headquarters.  It’s not much – a couple little buildings.  We didn’t stop as there were lots of people.  We kept on going – enjoying the Mississippi River.

Mom wanted to try and find Wildcat Den State Park.  She had never been there but remembered Grandpa and Grandma Houseal talk about it when she was young.  Talk about a hidden gem.  It wasn’t easy to find, and we really had no idea what we were getting into.  When we first found the park, we didn’t see anything too exciting – another pretty Iowa State Park to drive through.  But we had been cooped up in the truck for quite some time and Drew needed to get out and run so we pulled into a parking lot that held lots of cars but no people and let him run. Of course, he found a trail and this is the first thing we found:

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A pretty body of water – looked a little deep and was running a little fast.  It would have been so relaxing to just sit along the bank and take a nap here!  But not with Drew – we had to keep exploring! So onto another trail on the other side of the parking lot – and what a great surprise!

IMG_6047IMG_6046This time we found sandstone bluffs.  It was so much fun climbing up and down the bluffs – sometimes between them!  There was graffiti all over them – it doesn’t take much carve a name into sandstone.    It amazes me that we had never heard about this park.  It’s not too far from home.  We even stopped for a potty break and mom asked directions and the lady at the counter had never heard of Wildcat Den – and it was just around the corner from the convenience store!  I love finding places like this – so much better than anything commercialized.

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Drew is not afraid of heights – he loves climbing!

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Yes - Buddy the hedgehog went along too. Drew insisted on a picture!
Yes – Buddy the hedgehog went along too. Drew insisted on a picture!

IMG_6051The park had this beautiful, easy to walk trail.  We walked and walked until we found the end and then back to the truck.  So much to see, everything was so green and pretty.  I hope to go back this fall when the leaves are changing and the air is crisp and cool.  I bet it would be breathtaking!IMG_6053Two full days of hiking, up and down and all around.  Hopefully this will keep this little guy content for awhile until our next “adventure”!

Memorial Weekend Staycation Fun

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A beautiful barn outside of Solon. I enjoy looking at all the unique barns we have in Iowa.

Drew is always wanting to go on an “adventure”, so we decided to go on one on Saturday.  I had seen an article about waterfalls in Iowa and one of the locations happened to be close to home so off we went!  It was a beautiful day with a chance of rain but we took our chances.  We had camped several times in this area in the past but we had no idea this hidden gem was so close to where we had been.  (I apologize in advance for the pictures – I forgot my camera and was using my phone) We took off mid-morning on our adventure and this is what we found:

Lake Macbride from the dam.
Lake Macbride from the dam – just seconds before the rain!

We found the lake with no problem but it took a little trial and error to find the waterfall.  Then as we were just getting ready to cross the dam on foot it started to rain, hard!  So, we ran back to the truck, drove to town and treated ourselves to an ice cream cone to wait out the rain.  It was worth the wait!

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Drew, as usual, exploring ahead of everyone. The falls are just on the other side of this huge rock.

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Eric just tolerates my picture taking - and his little brother hanging on his leg!
Eric just tolerates my picture taking – and his little brother hanging on his leg!

They weren’t really waterfalls – but were still neat to see.  A fun way to spend the day, didn’t cost much money and we were home and relaxing by evening.  A fun day spent with family!  So much fun that we decided to take my dad and mom the next day on another “adventure”!

Heading back over the rock to find our truck and head home.
Heading back over the rock to find our truck and head home.

New York, New York

It was prom last Saturday – and the theme was New York  City!  The junior class did an awesome job transforming the gym into New York City.  The Golden Gate Bridge, a carriage and park bench, a taxi and skyscrapers.  They did a wonderful job and all the kids looked to nice dressed in their finest.

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Dressed and ready to pick up his date –

little brother had to be in the picture!

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First a meal with friends and such a great group of kids they are.  Some of these kids have been close friends for years and it’s been so fun to watch them as they grow up.  Supper was held at one of the boy’s grandparents’ house.  They were supposed to eat outside by the pond but it was a cold and rainy day so they stayed inside and looked out over the pond.  It was a beautiful setting.

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Arriving at the school.

IMG_1076And Grand March – don’t they look awesome!

 

Saturday Morning Adventure

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Drew loves to go on what he calls “adventures”.  Last Saturday he wanted to take his dad and I down to the creek where he goes to play when he’s at Grandpa and Grandma Ward’s house.  I used to go down to the creek when I was a little girl – I could sit for hours and watch the water flow by.

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See the Canadian Geese watching us?

 

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The neighboring cows kept an eye on us too!

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I loved watching Drew and his dad playing in the water.

Every little boy should have a creek to play in!

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Happy little boy!

 

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And here at Drew’s feet we have a raccoon skeleton. Drew is fascinated with any bones that he finds!

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Thank you Drew for the adventure!

I love these kinds of adventures – they don’t cost a thing yet are so much fun.  Any time spent outdoors is time well spent and spending time with Joe,Dad, Mom and any of the kids is priceless!

I Should Have Known

My five-year-old is a very strong willed child.  He has been a challenge from the day he was born.  Any discipline that worked with his older siblings is not going to work with him.  So – no times outs, no taking away toys, no yelling, no sending him to his room.  What worked before, does not work now.  So, I should have known not to get the fingernail polish out.  I haven’t used polish for a couple of years knowing that usually out of sight is out of mind.  Drew loves polish and he wants to put it on himself.  He isn’t happy with an adult putting it on for him.  So I would rather not use it than have to fight Drew over it.  But . . . the weather was nice, out came the sandals, and toes look so much better when polished.  That was last Sunday.  I made two mistakes – I used the polish in front of him and I didn’t have enough time to polish his toes too. Again, I should have known.  So then the polish was put away and forgotten about.  Or so I thought.  On Wednesday, Drew decided to polish his toes.  And his carpet.  And I thought he was playing with his dinosaurs!  So . . . how do you get half a bottle of polish out of carpet?  With the help of Pinterest I now know that baby wipes, rubbing alcohol and lots of elbow grease does a fairly good job!  I should have taken before and after pictures but at the time I was simply working on staying calm and getting the mess cleaned up – not on taking pictures!  So, Drew and I have pretty polished toenails.  Drew’s carpet is saved.  And I will wait another year to get the polish out hoping that in another year he won’t want to use nail polish like mommy anymore.  I’m learning to pick my battles and unpolished toes are a small price to pay to keep the peace.

Yesterday morning was spent in the timber with my parents and Drew.

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I know spring is here when the bluebells bloom and this year they are absolutely gorgeous.

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The timber was a blanket of blue – pictures don’t come close to the how pretty this scene is – a sea of blue blanketed the whole timber!  When I was young I would wander down to the timber every spring and pick a bouquet of bluebells.  They are such a delicate and enchanting spring flower!

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Five Again!

Drew got to celebrate his birthday twice this year – a very rare occurrence! On Sunday we took him to Chuck E. Cheese in Des Moines.  Lots of family came along too to help celebrate.  Turning five is a big deal!!!!

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Drew and Grandpa Meiners
Playing air hockey with big sister Abby and nephew Braxton - fun!
Playing air hockey with big sister Abby and nephew Braxton – fun!
90 year old Grandpa Meiners playing skee ball - he beat everybody!
90 year old Grandpa Meiners playing skee ball – he beat everybody!

Lots of fun for the little ones and the oldest one!  It was such fun to see Albert enjoying himself.

I’ve been stitching away in the evenings when I can.  I just love this little bunny and those strawberries – so sweet.  And a fun quick stitch.  Will have to stitch it into a pinkeep soon so I can enjoy it this spring!

Strawberries Bunny Pinkeep by primitivebettys
Strawberries Bunny Pinkeep
by primitivebettys

And this is what I’m working on now – this will take a little longer to finish.  I don’t always enjoy stitching lots of one color.  I guess I like to see  that I’m making progress when I stitch.  But, I’m making myself slow down and just enjoy the process of stitching with this one.  It’s fun to slowly see this dress take shape.  This stitch reminds me of days gone by, when life moved a lot slower and things seemed to be simpler.  It’s nice to slow down once in awhile in this fast paced world.

Winter Beekeeper Thread Board Stacy Nash Primitives
Winter Beekeeper Thread Board
Stacy Nash Primitives

Well, it’s time to start the day – laundry to hang out, rooms to clean, supper to plan.  I’m going to try out a new recipe – Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs.  Hope it turns out.  I’m working on getting a list of tried and true recipes everyone likes put in a notebook that I can use to menu plan.  My goal is to be able to plan a weekly menu using these recipes – so I can shop once a week and not make so many trips to the store after work.  Hoping to save myself some time and money.  Wish me luck!

 

Five

IMG_0827My baby is five – and he is loving it!  He was so excited to spend his birthday evening at Grandpa and Grandma’s for a weiner roast this year.  The weather cooperated for once and we had a great time.  First we walked down to the timber to see if the bluebells were blooming.  I always know spring is here when the bluebell have turned the timber into a beautiful sea of blue!  Then hotdogs over the fire.  The only way I will eat a hotdog – there is just something about cooking on an open fire and being outside that can make almost anything taste good!  Of course lots of ketchup and mustard helps too!

Eric, Joe and Dad relaxing and conversing around the fire.
Eric, Joe and Dad relaxing and conversing around the fire.

And then present time – and Drew’s favorite present – a vacuum cleaner!  He has always been obsessed with vacuum cleaners.  He can spot a vacuum cleaner anywhere – and he loves that he now has his own.  I think he has the cleanest bedroom carpet of anyone, anywhere, right now!

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Funny what little ones take an interest in.  His other love is dinosaurs! It was a nice, relaxing evening.  Today we are going to Des Moines to Chuck E. Cheese to celebrate on a little bigger scale – with lots more family to help celebrate being five!

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The first fire of the season – puts me in the mood for camping!
Drew and his buddy Stubby!
Drew and his buddy Stubby!

It’s Coffee Time!

 

Pierre Piddlepants enjoying the fresh air!
Pierre Piddlepants enjoying the fresh air!

I love the smell of coffee in the morning.  I just wish I liked the taste!  I have tried throughout the years but to no avail.  I can drink it with creamer – lots and lots of creamer – but then I can’t really call it coffee!  So – no coffee drinking for me.  But, I do have a fun use for coffee.  It works great to prim up a cross stitch piece, or a homemade primitive doll, or a tea towel that is just too white.  When it comes to my cross stitch, for some reason a piece just doesn’t look finished to me until I’ve darkened it up with coffee.  And maybe some vanilla and cinnamon thrown in the mix!

Here is one of my most recent projects – before the coffee bath.  (I have really enjoyed this series by Tammy Black.  Sheep and the alphabet – two of my favorite things to stitch!)

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In the middle of getting stained.  Sorry – my photography skills are definitely lacking.

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And the final product – so much better with a little bit of stain.

Pure in Heart Scattered Seed Samplers - Tammy Black Sheepish Needle Samplar Series
Pure in Heart
Scattered Seed Samplers – Tammy Black
Sheepish Needle Samplar Series

It is a beautiful spring day here in southeast Iowa.  The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and there is no wind!  It is so nice having the windows open today.  Getting fresh air into the house.  Definitely a day to just enjoy!

Today is my little one’s birthday.  He is five – and loving it!  He’s such a sweet boy but can be such a handful.  He is all boy – that is for sure.  I thought after having raised two boys that one more would be a breeze.  He has proved me wrong from the get go!  He didn’t have preschool today and it’s my day off so we get to spend the day together – nothing special, just hanging around the house.  Tonight we will go to my Dad and Mom’s house for cupcakes and ice cream.  This weekend we will get together with his siblings, brother-in-law and his nephew!  I cherish the times when the kids are together.  It’s not always easy to get them all together when they are spread so apart in age.

Well – off to hang some clothes on the line.  I love seeing clothes hanging out.  I love not having to run the dryer but more importantly just the act of hanging out the clothes is so calming for me.  A time to slow down and enjoy being outdoors.  It reminds me of a simpler time!

Hello!

Welcome to my blog!  Please be patient – this is all new to me!  I have no idea what I am doing.  I am not computer literate in any sense of the word – but I’m willing to learn!  At one time I was an avid scrapbook keeper.  My daughter (and oldest child) was always willing to pose for a picture and I loved keeping scrapbooks of her school years.  My sons, the two oldest anyway, were not so eager to indulge me!  So the scrapbooking took a backstage to my first and foremost love – cross stitch.  But I still feel a need now and then to document the important (and sometimes not so important) goings on in our lives.  My two oldest children have flown the nest.  I have two at home – a 17-year old son and a soon to be five year old son (a very blessed surprise)! I also have a beautiful two year old grandson courtesy of my daughter and son-in-law.  They all, along with my wonderful husband, keep my life busy and fulfilled and there is always something going on around here!