Thursday, June 30, 2011

kate fashion blogs

K, so my little bit of this and that for the week is a confession of a silly little something I've been obsessed with the last few months. Well maybe not obsessed, but seriously fascinated by. And that is the Royal Couple, William and Kate. My sisters will all tell you that I had posters of him hanging on my bedroom walls during middle school. I would deny that fact, except that just last summer, in the bottom of a childhood box I was unpacking, I found an entire picture book of Prince William. haha! That's so embarrassing. Anyway, it's been so fun to see him and Kate in all their happiness and newlywed-ness. I think they are the most adorable couple, they seem so down to earth, given their circumstances, and it seems like they would like to do good in this world. That is so refreshing! What is also refreshing is Kate's style....
I just love her classy-ness! Which is what brings me to the whole point of this post... Kate Middleton fashion blogs! Occasionally I glance at these blogs, which give a pretty in-depth look at Kate's fashion. It's a silly little thing to care about, but I really can't help but imagine what it would be like to have stylists and a budget like a princess must have. Anyway, now you know how shallow I can be and/or how I waste my time. :)

Seriously, I wish I could dress like that every day. She looks amazing!

Also check out-
this interview with the two of them. I love how nervous Kate seems, but then William steps right in and guides her through the interview questions. What a great team. Good for them! 

ps- yes i watched the whole 17 minutes of the interview! we don't have tv so i have to do all my tv watching via youtube, netflix, hulu, etc. it's been a great way to save $$$!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The great outdoors... Black Hills edition

Summer is the best season of all in SD. I just wish it would last a little bit longer. It's not humid, and is just absolutely gorgeous. There are so many things to do outdoors. Here is a list of my favorites. 


M Hill- a quick hike right in the heart of Rapid City.

Harney Peak- a longer hike, located in Custer State Park.

Spearfish Canyon

Deer Field

There's tons to explore, especially if you drive out Nemo Rd. area 


Mickelson Trail

M Hill- mountain biking trails

Schroeder Rd- mountain biking trails


Pactola- the most beautiful drive out in the hills

Sylvan Lake in Custer State Park

Horsetheif Lake

Canyon Lake

Rock Climbing:

Falling Rock- located out Sheridan Lake Rd.

Needles- near Mt. Rushmore


Sooo many awesome places, I can't even name them all.
I know that's kinda lame, but really, the camping spots are phenomenal.


Black Hills Caverns-
I worked here for about 2 weeks, until I had to quit due to a broken back injury

Jewel Cave

Wind Cave


 There's tons of opportunity! deer, elk, pheasant, duck, etc.

Here's my other posts related to travel and fun in the Black Hills:
Things to do on your South Dakota Road Trip
10 FREE Things to do in Rapid City, SD
Seasonal Things to do in the Black Hills
Places to eat in the Black Hills

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Disney World Banner/Countdown

Well, I doubt this will really "wow" anybody, but I thought I'd share this easy banner I made to get us excited for our recent trip to the world of Disney. 

I was at Home Depot when I saw these Mickey Mouse paint chips. I knew I had to make something with them. Originally, I wanted to do an official countdown with them, with numbers on the front counting down the days til departure, or having small jobs for the kids to do to get ready. I sort of ran out of time, so it just served a decoration in our playroom.

Here's a cute idea on helping your kids earn "disney dollars" from my friend's blog, here.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Rolled Flower Spring/Summer Wreath

We just got back from vacation, a really fun and relaxing time with my family. I can't wait to go through all my pictures of the pretty sights. In the meantime, my friend Bobbi, who was here to visit a few weeks ago, requested some pictures of the wreath I made. I've been meaning to post these forever, so here ya go!

This was one of our craft night projects. I loved the idea, and love how it turned out!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Places to eat in the Black Hills

This requires a little drive out to Hill City, about 1/2 hour away from Rapid City. It is worth every mile. They only serve steak and salad, but for some reason it is so quaint and fun and delicious. Also they have the most fabulous desserts. Get there early!

Kevin Costner starred in the legendary movie "Dances With Wolves," which was filmed right here in South Dakota, and happens to be one of my husband's favorite movies. Apparently, a part of South Dakota still resides with Kevin, since he owns a restaurant in Deadwood. It is super fancy, we ate here on our anniversary one year and it was incredible.

And here's some more of my favorites....

and don't leave South Dakota without trying a....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Seasonal Things to do in the Black Hills

The Sturgis Rally- 
beginning of August
kind of a big deal if you're into motorcycles.

Bluegrass Festival-
 end of June
here's our clogging group performing there 2 years ago.

Buffalo Roundup- at Custer State Park
Fireworks at Mt Rushmore

Heritage Festival- around the 4th of July
Summer Nights- every Thursday in downtown Rapid City
Stock Show- a really fun rodeo held at the civic center at the beginning of the year

Monday, June 13, 2011

this and that #1

I'm starting a little thing called This and That Thursday, a place to post things that I love, things that inspire me, things I'd like to remember, anything.

For starters, I loved this interview with the two Moms of the Year. I love how Shawni talks about motherhood being her chosen career path. I can totally relate to her. I had always imagined myself at this point in my life, having kids and being a mom. It took me a while to get used to the transition from career (ok, mine was only a year) to stay-at-home-mom. It was hard being my "own boss," not having to check in with someone every day, or having a system telling me what to do or where to go. I definitely miss that some days. In the meantime, I'm having a great time playing the mommy role to my 3 sweet children. I'm still trying to figure out how to be the most effective mom I can be, which is why I look up to people like the women in this video, who find so much joy in raising a family, and helping others. Give it a listen to be encouraged!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Things to do for a Black Hills Vacation

I LOVE my hometown so much, and it is awesome that you are going to visit! I compiled a quick list of some of my favorite things to do in Rapid City, South Dakota and its surrounding areas. Bon voyage!
Be sure to check out my other posts:

Mt. Rushmore
An obvious must-see. It is truly a wonder. You shouldn't come to Rapid City without a visit to Mt. Rushmore. You do have to pay to park and get in, but its not too much, and is worth it! One of our family's favorite things to do is drive around the parking lot and look at all the license plates. It's cool to see where everyone has traveled from! Another tip- we love to go at night. They've got a large amphitheater, where they show a neat video and have a ceremony. It's very patriotic. You can also visit during on the 4th of July and see the fireworks, so incredible. Plan to get there fairly early in the morning to get a parking spot.

{My family a few months after we moved to Rapid City... sheesh, my hair is really long! This is what I looked like when I first met Troy. And to think, he actually married me... teehee!}

Crazy Horse
Not too far from Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse is a great big rock sculpture, that when finished, will be a memorial honoring North American Indians. It's pretty cool to visit and see the progress they've made (it was started back in the 1940's). If you're lucky, you'll see them blast rock. One of my favorite things is the Crazy Horse Volksmarch, a once a year hike you can take, right up to the base of Crazy Horse.

This is a little town on your way up to Mt. Rushmore. There's lots of touristy things to do here, its really cute.

This a really charming, old west town. There's lots to do and see; one of my favorite things was when we had old-fashioned family pictures taken at a special studio. You get to play dress up with olden day lacy dresses, huge hats, leather chaps, for the guys, vests, etc. You can also eat at Kevin Costner's restaurant, Jakes. It is so nice. I think you need to make a reservation before going.

This place is so cool! The kids will love it. You get to see so many cool animals, with indoor and outdoor exhibits, and some really cool shows. Think alligators, crocodiles, tortises, snakes, lizards, frogs, exotic plants, even prairie dogs. I think this place is really fun!
If you're in the mood to be silly, this is the place for you!

This is a drive through park, and is awesome. You get to see tons of animals, things like buffalo, reindeer, mountain goats, cougars, and of course bears. At the end of the drive, you get out of your car to visit the neat gift shop, and the best part is the little walk you take to see the baby bear cubs. They are so cute. I love this place!

Not your average petting zoo. A cute, fun place for kids.

You could spend days at Custer State Park, and never want to leave. This is one of the prettiest places on earth. There's hiking (Harney Peak!), camping, canoeing, fishing, hunting, and scenic drives to see wildlife. It's totally a must-do to get the full South Dakota experience. This is where you'll see my favorite- buffalo and prairie dogs. 

These pictures pretty much say it all (or, they don't do it justice). People who visit will always remember the badlands. It's amazing!

Wall Drug
About an hour outside of Rapid City in Wall, SD, is the infamous Wall Drug Store. It is fun to drive out there, just to say you've been there. The billboards laced across the state are highly amusing, if you enjoy cheap thrills like I do.

Useful Websites:

***South Dakota friends, or anyone else for that matter, if I've missed something or have something wrong, feel free to add it to the comments below!***

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

gardening books

Here's a couple of garden books I've enjoyed reading and would recommend. 

Square Foot Gardening

Fresh Food From Small Spaces

"Eat Food. Not too Much. Mostly Plants."
(not exactly a gardening book, its more about eating your garden!) I loved it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

mitt romney campaign!

Don't mean to push my political preferences on anyone, but here's my vote. My husband received this in his email last night, and couldn't hold back his excitement. "Music to me ears," he says....

Friday, June 3, 2011

my tips for preparing your garden

I'm a novice gardener, not really qualified to write a post on "how to garden." So my garden posts are more of an account on what I'm learning, with some tips that hopefully will be helpful to you. Here's what I've got so far:

Tip 1: How to Save $ on Garden Soil
We bought about 10 bags of dirt. At appx $7 a bag, that'll add up quickly! My friend suggested asking Home Depot or wherever you happen to be shopping, if there's any bags with holes that they'd be willing to sell at a discounted price. (now don't go poking holes on purpose!) We were in luck- there were 5 bags with holes, that they sold to us for $3. (Thank you Margo for the great tip, I should be having you write this post)!

Tip 2: Raised Bed
We're trying out the Square Foot Garden method, only we combined three 4x4 beds into one long rectangle. As much as I'd love to write about all the things I've learned, for a few bucks you can purchase the book and read all about it (go here). So far we really like the philosophy behind square foot gardening. We chose this method (as opposed to digging into the ground), mostly because the soil where we live isn't very good. Initially, I was concerned that 6 inches wouldn't be deep enough for the roots to grow, but this book put my fears at ease, at least for now. We'll see how it goes!

Tip 3: Miracle Grow
One thing we changed was instead of making the mix suggested in the book, we just bought the Miracle Grow Garden Soil. It seemed a lot easier than purchasing all the "ingredients" for the soil the author suggested. So far so good...

Tip 4: Starting seeds
I really had NO idea what I was doing. I just bought a $6 dollar seed starter kit from Wal-Mart, poked seeds into the little piles of dirt, and watched the magic happen. It was like a mini green house sitting on my kitchen counter for a few weeks. I had seedlings 5 inches tall once I was ready to take them outside to plant them! The reason for starting your seeds indoors, is so they can get a little headstart. They will start to bear fruit earlier in the season with a 2 week start, giving you more time to pick, harvest, and enjoy.
I think you start your seeds in just about any kind of container. These are my little lettuce sprouts. So cute!

Tip 5: End of Season Sales
Last fall, I visited a local nursery to see what was on clearance. They had a whole flat of herbs that they gave to me free; they were happy for them to have a home. I planted them, knowing they would die over the winter. But this spring, to my surprise, look what I have! Since herbs are so expensive at the store, I'm extremely excited to have my own! (tarragon, cilantro, sage, chives, parsley, margoram, spearmint, and basil).

Tip 6: Hit up your neighbors!
We have neighbors who have an entire box full of strawberries. They gladly dug up two of their plants to share with us. They said by next spring, the shoots from the plants will have spread to give us a whole box of strawberries too. They won't bear fruit until next year-- you're supposed to pull off the budding strawberries the first year you plant them. Next year they'll be super productive (I hope).

Tip 7: Involve your kids! (if you have them)

To involve our kids, we planted lillies, marigolds, and peonies next to their playhouse for them to take care of. They love watering, digging, planting, you name it! Teach them about growing things- how does it work, why do we do it, putting your love into something and watching it grow, the miracles of nature. Sometimes its more work to have them "help," but I just can't pass up a good teaching opportunity like gardening.
Unfortunately, our kids aren't good vegetable-eaters. I'm really hoping they will be encouraged to try some veggies come harvest time, especially since they helped to care for them!

Here's a few more pictures from our garden:

Peas- started from seed.
Green pepper
Beans- started from seed
Spinach- started from seed
Tomato- bought as a plant

 Wish me luck, and please note that I am a beginner, and really have no idea what I'm doing here. :)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

"in the garden..." my inspiration

Have you ever heard the song, "In the Garden?" 

It is beautiful, really speaks to my soul.

I love it because it was my mom's favorite song in her Catholic hymnal when she was a little girl. 
This is her garden. When my parents moved to South Dakota, they purchased the lot next door, and turned it into a huuuuge garden.

I was humming the lyrics as my husband and I planted our very first garden.
  There's something so serene and peaceful about plants. Another one of God's amazing creations.
A garden is one of my bucket list items that I am so excited to try this year! Here's the first glimpse:

My husband played that song on the guitar and sung it at my great-grandma's funeral a few years ago. Those words can really speak comfort to someone's soul.
{one of my favorite pics of my husband, had to share}

Have you ever heard Brad Paisley's or Alan Jackson's version of it? Here's AJ, give it a listen, it is soooo pretty and will give you the goosebumps. Enjoy!