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A Quick One

Hey friends!  I'm sorry I've been absent all week -- nothing wrong with me, just my internet.  So frustrating!  They finally repaired it this morning so I am finally back online -- for the time being, at least! 

Andy has today off, which means we are busy around the house so I am not going to post much today, just the explanation of where I've been.

Don't forget to follow me on Blog Lovin', Google Reader is D.E.D dead this weekend.  Hope to see most, if not all, of you back here next week!


Friday’s Mini Vacation

Welcome to the last week of June, folks!  Next week the last half of the year begins, seriously!  Ahh!! I am not ready for summer to be half over and to start thinking back to school stuff!  However I must admit, I’m already brainstorming Christmas gift ideas! Ha ha!

Friday we went on a day trip to Dubuque, IA to the National Mississippi River Museum.  We went there 6 years ago, shortly after it had opened, so thought now would be a good time to go again.  They are having a big turtle exhibit this summer, another good reason to go.  They have added a TON of stuff in the last 6 years, they had an awesome aquarium exhibit with string rays and tropical fish in it, really neat!

On the way up there (about a 2 1/2 hr drive) we got DUMPED on!  It was pouring so hard we had to drive slow and have our wipers on super high. We did make it safe and sound, here are some pictures to show the fun we had.


Here we got on a ‘ferry raft’ and used the rope to pull us across the ‘river’.


These turtles were, ahem, giving each other piggy back rides.


Touching a crawfish.


After the river museum we decided that since we were only about 15 minutes from Dyersville we’d drive over and see The Field of Dreams.  Because there was a ‘game’ being played we weren’t able to run the bases.  Now we need to have Aiden watch the movie so he understands what the big deal was.


Also in Dyersville is a Farm Toy Museum, right up our alley.  We had fun walking through there, seeing all of the old toys.  My favorite was the diorama of the county fair!



We had a wonderful, fabulous day vacation!  I’m looking forward to our next one!

Did you all see the SuperMoon this weekend?  It’s a ‘Super’ moon because it is the closest to earth that it possibly gets.  If you missed it here’s a bad picture of it. We had a lot of clouds that night so I couldn’t get a good shot when it was lower to the ground.


Last, I froze 3 pints of peas this weekend.  The boys and I need to get out there and pick them again but it’s been raining off and on all morning, which means the garden will be muddy, and unless I want a ‘mud mask’ on my feet I won’t be getting in there!  The bad thing about peas – they are a lot of work podding all of them to get very little for your effort. 3 bags is a good start, though.


Enjoy your last week of June!


Photo Phriday (or Foto Friday?)

Finally, it’s FRIDAY!!!  Today we are taking a little day vacation and heading to Dubuque to the Mississippi River Museum.  They are having a big turtle exhibit this summer so we thought it’d be fun to go check it out.
Today I thought I’d share some pictures with you.
Yesterday was a nice HOT, HUMID day so we got the Slip-N-Slide and funky sprinkler out.  The boys had fun running and sliding.  Poor Bren got a few skid marks from missing the plastic and diving right on to the grass a few times.
Here are some pictures of my flowers and veggies.
Lambs Ear
Butterfly Flower
My peas, the vines are chock full of pods!  Can’t wait to start picking!
A tomato!!!
Grape tomatoes!
My onions are getting HUGE!  Won’t be long and I’ll be digging them and hanging them to dry!
All in all things are looking pretty good around here!  We went out and put a fence up to keep the rabbits out last night, those little boogers are destroying my pepper plants!!!  And with my green beans coming up I don’t want to tempt them to munch those off, too. 
Aside from today’s mini vacay we don’t have much planned for the weekend – hallelujah!  Maybe we’ll finally get Aiden’s room painted?  Only time will tell!  Have a great weekend!


Finally, it’s hump day!  This week feels like it is going so slow!  Thanks to all you lovely ladies who linked up with Mean Ang and me yesterday.  I added what looks like some good books to my book list for the summer and can’t wait to get started on them!
Also, please follow me on Blog Lovin’.  Google Reader is going bye-bye at the end of the month and I don’t want to lose any of you awesome gals!  The button to follow me on Blog Lovin’ is at the right.  Thanks!
Now for So What Wednesday with Miss Shannon Dew.
So What Wednesday
  • I’m happy Aiden is at a day camp today and I get Brennan all to myself.  I’ve been missing that little boy, he doesn’t want to play with me when Aiden is around (no surprise there).
  • I haven’t had a seat cushion made for our bench Andy made in February.
  • I shut off the AC every night so I can open our bedroom window. I sleep better with the fresh air coming in.
  • I won’t let Andy mow our lawn.  It’s not because he isn’t capable of it. It’s because I love the 35 minutes of ‘quiet time’ where I can sit there, relax and just let my mind wander.  I’ve always loved mowing the lawn, and it really stunk when we lived in our last 2 houses because our lawn weren’t big enough for a rider so we had a push mower.  Then I let Andy mow!
  • I haven’t had my hair trimmed since my hi-lights were done in April.  Yes it goes against all hair advice I’ve ever given.  Yes my hair is getting tangled on the ends.  Yes I have split ends.  Ew.  My appt. for my next hi-light and haircut is in 3 weeks, I’m praying I can hold off until then.
  • I had to cut my fingernails half-way through typing this post because they were too long and hitting the keys and annoying me.
  • we want to go on a family vacation this summer but we haven’t planned anything yet and we’re already half-way through June!

I hope you all have a wonderful Wednesday!

Hot Summer Reads Link Up

Happy Tuesday everyone!

First, thanks for all of the kind words and encouragement yesterday.  It was just what I needed to kick myself in the butt.  Three things I will be trying thanks to your suggestions:

1. Measuring myself, not just weighing
2. Tracking my calories on MFP...again
3. Changing up and increasing the intensity of my workouts

Thank you THANK YOU for all of your help! 

Now on to the link up!  I don't know about you, but I am always wanting book suggestions.  If I don't get a suggestion for a good book I only read Nora Roberts.  I love her books, but they're all the same premise so it's not anything new.  If it wasn't for a friend at my old job I would have NEVER read 'The Help', and how tragic would that have been if I'd have missed that amazing story?!? 

Here are a few suggestions from me:

'The Greatest Generation' by Tom Brokaw
Yes, this is an 'older' book, but this time in history is so important and I think it's just as important for us to not forget these brave men and women and their stories.  Plus, this generation is what I would consider "The" generation to strive to be like. 

'Beautiful Bastard' by Christina Lauren
'Beautiful Stranger' by Christina Lauren
If you like the good smut, these two are for you!  No chains or whips, just a lot of S.E.X. and two good romance stories.  I love reading about people falling in love!
'Summer Sisters' by Judy Blume
I have suggested this book before and I'll suggest it again today.  This is my FAVORITE book of all time!  And that's saying a lot, because I hate pinning down one thing to call my favorite.  It's about a girl who gets 'chosen' by the popular girl to be her friend.  It follows them as they grow up from pre-teens to their 30's.  I bawl my eyes out every time I read it, I get mad at the one character EVERY TIME I READ IT, and I feel the same up and down emotions EVERY.TIME.I.READ.IT!!!!  It is just a good, easy read, perfect for the summer!  I LOVE this book!

Here are a few books I have sitting here waiting for my attention.  I haven't read them yet so cannot 'yea' or 'nea' them, but they might be worth checking out.
'Summer People' by Elin Hilderbrand
'Safe Haven' by Nicholas Sparks
Sylvia Day Triology
I hope you link up with us, I'd love to make that list longer!  And please, if you don't try any other books I suggested, try 'Summer Sisters'!!! And then let me know how you liked it.
Happy reading!


Downer Monday

I swore I wouldn’t talk about my weight on here anymore because it’s always so depressing, but today I need you gals and your supportive words.  I went a whole week without any pop, not even a sip of Andy’s.  I exercised 5 out of the 7 days, ate healthy and GAINED 3 POUNDS!!!  That officially makes me the heaviest I’ve ever been.  What is wrong with me??  I am so angry, I don’t know why I am even trying.  If I can eat what I want, drink pop, be lazy and stay the same weight as when I work out, eat healthy and don’t drink pop then why work so hard?  I have been trying so hard since March and I haven’t lost a single pound!  How is that possible???  I am so frustrated, I just want to give up.  I am tired of being fat but no matter what I do it doesn’t help.  I feel doomed to be fat and ugly for the rest of my life.  I don’t want to be, I don’t want to feel like this anymore, and I’m trying to not look like this but it isn’t working. What am I doing wrong??  Why can’t I lose any weight? Why does it seem to work for everyone but me? 

Helpless and hopeless,


My Favorite Smells

Hey!!  It’s Friday, everyone better have a smile on their face!

Last night I went to supper with a good friend, and on the way home I passed a field of freshly mowed hay.  I had my windows down and that amazing, heavenly scent wafted in to my car.  I took big, deep breath of it and thought “I wish I could bottle this smell up!”  Then I started thinking of other scents I’d love to bottle up. 

  • Grass as it’s being mowed
  • Spring
  • Fall (yes, season’s have different smells)
  • Brennan (he just smells so delicious all the time)
  • Rain
  • Peonies
  • the tree out front when it’s blooming
  • Farm Smell (a little bit of hay, a little bit of manure, a lot bit of fresh air all mixed up together – heaven!)
  • The boys when they were babies

These are just a few of the smells I’d bottle up if I could.  What smells would you bottle up?

Swim lessons update:  It went a little better yesterday.  Aiden went down the slide – it only took 15 minutes of him sitting at the top freaking out and being coaxed to go down before he finally did.  Brennan, on the other hand, threw the biggest fit about doing what he was asked to do!  I think it’s because he saw when Aiden was freaking out he was bribed with more ice cream by the instructor so he thought if he did the same thing he’d get ice cream too.  Last night Andy took them for their make up lesson, neither of them threw fits but they were both a bit defiant and told Amanda no a few times.  Ugh.  I have them signed up for another week of lessons in July, lets hope we make it to the pool a few times between now and then and that they’ll become more comfortable and compliant by then.

No major plans this weekend for us.  Of course it’s Father’s Day, so we’ll spoil Andy rotten all day Sunday.  Saturday we have the boys’ last make up lesson, unless it’s storming like they are calling for. 

Have a great day and a wonderful weekend!


Tasty Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

Happy Thursday!

You might notice things look a little different around here today.  I tried doctoring up my blog a little.  I can’t figure out why my header isn’t centered, but oh well.  It looks a little fancier than before so I’ll take it.

Well, swim lessons were cancelled AGAIN yesterday!  That means Aiden STILL hasn’t gone down the slide. But today, TODAY, he will!

Mean Ang and I have gotten together and decided to do a link up next Tuesday.  The subject is ‘Hot Summer Reads’.  We are always looking for a good book to curl up with, or to pull out when sitting next to the pool or on the beach. Come back on Tuesday and link up with your favorite books so we can all stock pile our book shelves!


If you’re looking for a no-fail, big hit appetizer at your next BBQ or summer party, try these:

Tasty Bacon Wrapped Chicken Bites

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or a turkey breast)

1 pkg. Hickory Smoked Bacon

1 bottle Zesty Italian salad dressing


Cut up the chicken into 1 inch cubes. 


Cut bacon slices into 3rds (so you end up with 3 pieces instead of 1 long slice). 


Wrap chicken with bacon then stick onto skewers (soak your skewers first if they are wooden). 

Once your skewers are full place into container that is long enough to hold the skewers so they rest on the bottom completely.  Once all chicken is wrapped and skewered pour dressing over the top until covered. 


Refrigerate 8 hrs., flipping the container at least once.  Grill until cooked through (15-20 minutes). 

And of course there is no ‘after’ picture because the party was rockin’ at this point and I forgot.  Womp womp.

I have to share a picture of our supper the other night.  If this isn’t a typical Iowa supper I don’t know what is!


It was delicious! 

Have a great day!


So What Wednesday

Happy  Wednesday!  Today is my 300th post!  Wow! Thanks for coming along with me every day on my journey!

So What Wednesday

Today I’m saying so what if…

  • I think it’s weird when people call themselves ‘Mommy’ or ‘Daddy’ to their dog.  Sorrynotsorry, I’m a farm kid, dogs are pets to me, nothing more.  If they die you go bury them in the back 40.
  • I let Brennan use hand soap to clean the bathroom sinks because he likes to and it saves me from having to clean it myself.
  • I haven’t lost my pregnancy cravings for pickles. I shouldn’t say I necessarily crave them, I just want them on a lot of weird things.  I never sit here thinking I’ll give my left pinky toe if only I could have a pickle. 
  • I haven’t had a pop (Mt Dew or otherwise) since Saturday.  That’s 3 full days without pop, people!  Will I still be 'Erin’ if I don’t drink Mt Dew?  I miss it, but have not had any major issues … yet.
  • This weekend is Father’s Day and I gave Andy his gift a month ago and don’t plan on getting him anything else.  We will make him feel special all day and we will take him to his favorite place for lunch – Panchero’s. 
  • I can’t get into the book ‘Save Haven’ by Nicholas Sparks because all I want to read is smut.

A quick update on yesterday’s swim lessons – Brennan held up his end of the bargain and went all the way under water. Then it started thundering and lightning and we had to cancel the rest of the lesson.  So Aiden didn’t get a chance to go down the slide.  They both got ice cream last night, though.  And Aiden promised that today he would go down the slide.  Let’s hope we can have the lessons, they are calling for more storms today. 

Have a great day!


This, That and The Other

Hey Hey! How’s everyone doing today?  We are finally going to get a taste of summer weather today, heat and humidity are forecasted to hit today!  Right now there’s a nice, mild breeze coming in my window and it feels great, but I know in a few hours it’ll feel completely different – I can’t wait!!!  I am not usually a heat and humidity lover, but with the super long winter we had I am SO ready for summer weather!!

Speaking of summer, the boys started swim lessons yesterday.  It was like they swapped bodies.  Brennan wanted to go first, he did (almost) everything his teacher asked him to do, and he didn’t complain about being cold at all.  Then it was Aiden’s turn. He spazzed out!!!  He was seriously panicked that his instructor was going to let him drown, he didn’t want to do anything she asked, and he whined the entire time that he was cold.  OMG.  So today we have bribed them both (parents of the year award!).  If Brennan puts his whole body (not just his face) under water, and if Aiden goes down the slide, then Andy will take them to get ice cream tonight.  If not, no ice cream.  They both seem to be on board so far, we’ll see what happens when they get there.

Wow, is it only Tuesday?  Feels like it should be at least Wednesday.

Anyone watching the Bachelorette?  All I can say is that girlfriend needed some medication, and no one wants a guy to say he is falling in love with you on the second date.  Hello!  One way ticket to getting the boot!  Love that show.

I am in the market for a new phone.  Mine is giving me nothing but fits and I’m sick of it.  I thought I’d get an I-Phone, but now people are telling me forget an I-Phone, go for the Galaxy S4.  IDK, these things confuse me.  Anyone have any advice?

Sorry for the non-picture post.  I will try harder tomorrow.

See you Wednesday!


Let’s Get Physical Link Up– Part 1


Simply Sami

Monday, June 3rd:

I am starting this post on the first day of this workout, Monday, June 3rd.  I figured if I didn’t start it I’d forget all of the nitty gritty good stuff come next Monday when it’s time for the actual link up.  So my first thoughts about doing this Yoga workout were “Cool! Yoga!!!  I’ve always wanted to do Yoga (and be good at it).”  Cut ahead to me actually doing it.  I actually pulled a muscle in my neck!!!  Ha ha, yea, not so sure that’s supposed to happen in Yoga!  It was during the first ‘”Harrrr!”, get mad, let it all out’ exhale.  I didn’t yell or make any noise, was just breathing, but I must have thrown my upper body down too fast or hard or something soooo yea, that wasn’t cool. And it didn’t feel good. And it wasn’t relaxing.  But I sucked it up, rubbed my neck for a bit and got back in it.  I only ran through it once, mainly because of my neck and the fact that I was sweating a little and my muscles felt like jelly.  I think if I can get the hang of it I’ll really like it!  Looking forward to Day 2 of this Yoga thing!

Monday, June 10th: 

I haven’t done the workout since last Monday.  Lame.  Life got in the way (and I was lazy).  Boo.  But I have it saved to my favorites so I can try it again sometime. 

Wrap Up:

I failed. Boo! 

Have a good week!


Book Review

Good Thursday morning to you! 

Finally, today is SUNNY!!!  We are getting ready to head to the park to try out the new equipment they put in last weekend!  I thought I’d get a quick post up.

I just finished reading ‘Beautiful Stranger’ by Christina Lauren (the second in their ‘Beautiful’ series) and it was AWESOME!  The love story in this book was maybe better than the love story in their first one.  I think I rate this one higher than the last one, and I really liked the last one!  It is on my ‘Books’ tab at the top (go check that out for some other suggestions), I added it before I was even half-way through reading it, it was that good!

Oh, and did I mention the lead guy has a British accent??? Yum!

This morning Brennan was asking me how to spell our names so he could write them down in his little notepad.  Then he asked me “How do you make love?”  Say what?!?  I made him repeat it 3 times, and yes, that’s exactly what he said!!!  Luckily he meant “How do you SPELL love” or we’d have really been in a pickle!

Speaking of pickles, when I was pregnant this last time I was addicted to my mom’s home canned dill pickles.  Her’s are the best!  No weird, extra, floaty stuff in her’s, just straight up pickles.  Yum!  Anyway, between Aiden and me we went through quite a few pint jars of her pickles.  I haven’t kicked the pickle habit, although I don’t have them as side to spaghetti anymore, so I emailed her yesterday asking how many jars she had left.  She’s down to only 12 pints!!!  On a normal year, that would be a plenty, but now?  No way!  Especially if I get pregnant again and am still craving them (watch, I’ll despise pickles when I get pregnant!).  So now we are scrambling to find seeds AND space in our gardens to plant them!  Thank goodness the only thing I have to worry about is running out of pickles!  Ha ha!

Have a great day!


Healthy Recipe Link Up

Hey there, friends!  It’s Wednesday!  And I’m exhausted.  I have been walking around for the last few weeks feeling like I’m drugged.  I think part of it is because I have been staying up past 10:00 watching TV with Andy.  I need to hit the hay at 9:00 and see if that helps.

I am linking up with Jodi and Sami today for their Healthy Recipe link up. 


My go-to lunch is what I call Quinoa Salad. You can make it ahead so you can take it with you to work, it still tastes just as good.

Quinoa Salad

1/4 C dry Quinoa (made according to package directions)

1/2 Avocado, sliced and diced

1/4 Red Bell Pepper, diced

1/2 Roma tomato (or whatever tomato, about 1/4 C)

1/4 C grilled chicken breast, diced (I used Oscar Meyer’s, found in the deli section)

While your quinoa is cooking cut up the rest of the ingredients, throw them in a bowl.  Dump in the fully cooked quinoa, mix up and enjoy! So super easy!  It is so delicious, very flavorful.  And those are my go-to veggies to add, you can switch them up however you like.  I’ve used yellow and green Bell Peppers, if you like onions, throw those in there.  Mix and match to your hearts content!


(This pic doesn’t have the quinoa added to it yet, FYI.)

I figured up the calorie content one time and it was under 300 calories for that big ol’ bowl full!  I hope you like it!

I also wanted to share this little gem I pinned on Pinterest.

Now go link up with Jodi and Sami so I can get more healthy recipes!