Our Trip to Bozeman

Joe and I had a great time last week in Bozeman, Montana.

I knew this trip was going to be great when we got off the plane, walked to the car rental counter and got a full-size SUV comped b/c they ran out of the cheap cars. :)

And it just got better.

We had no schedule; so we slept in, took naps, did some sightseeing, fishing, and had lots of great food.

Bozeman is very similar to Asheville, NC.

They have done a great job at maintaining the small town feel while still growing leaps and bounds in the last few years.

The loft apartment we rented ended up being great!

We were within walking distance of lots of great restaurants and shopping.

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To see the rental listing click here. 

We were within walking distance of lots of great restaurants and shopping.

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We did go to the hot springs in Norris. It was quite the experience. Definitely out of our comfort zone, but so fun.

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Grizzly Lake, Yellowstone Park

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We ate a lot of bison burgers. They were delish!

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Snow on the peaks in Belgrade.

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Mammoth Hot Springs, Yellowstone Park

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Fishing in Yellowstone

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We took a tour of a fancy-smancy fly fishing rod manufacturing shop in Twin Bridges.

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Sitting in Yellowstone just enjoying the view.

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The last day we did a lot of driving around and just enjoying the country-side.

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But now it’s Monday, we are home and back to reality.

Have a great week!

Monday Randomness: Trips, Enchiladas, and Leaf Bags

Well we are really globe trotters this month. Sort of.

In an introvert/we really don’t like flying sort of way.

Bozeman, MT and Beaufort, SC are both destinations in October.

Long weekend will be spent in Beaufort just because.

Hurricane Joaquin canceled our plans…

And then we are spending a week in Bozeman just hanging out, fly fishing, going to Yellowstone, shopping and sitting in some hippy dippy hot springs.

Joe and I kept discussing this trip out West that we were going to take someday.

And then I finally said, “What are we waiting on? Let’s just go.”

So we are going.

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Norris Hot Springs

We got a sweet place to stay in downtown Bozeman.

For the cost of two nights in a hotel, we got this whole place for a week.

Go check out some of the amazing listings on Airbnb.com (including our apartment listing!)

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Then last weekend I tried out this SUPER simple recipe on The Pioneer Woman blog.

It’s called Mexican 5 for 5.

It’s genius I tell you.

5 ingredients, 5 recipes.

I whipped up these enchiladas in 30 minutes flat after church last Sunday.

Go check out the recipe here. 

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And I know some people choose to put leaves in their leaf bags, but I put clothes in mine.

Seriously, I filled 3 leaf bags with clothes and cleaned out a whole closet this week.

Every time I send stuff to Goodwill for donation I think, “Well there is nothing else left in my house that I don’t need.”

And then I wait a few weeks and find more stuff.

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Monday Randomness: My Weekend Trip All By My Lonesome and All The Things

First of all, I got a new niece this week. She is just as precious as she can be.

Mackendrick Grace. 6lb 5 oz.

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In other news, I had 6 inches of hair cut off.

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And almost immediately a fog seemed to clear. I think I had been living with a perpetual headache for months because my hair was so heavy.

On to the main point of this extremely long captivating post.

Back in during the summer I read on Melanie Shankle’s blog (BigMama) that she and Sophie Hudson (BooMama) would be speaking at First Baptist of Charlotte. I immediately thought “I want that for my birthday.” To turn 30, go on my own and hear them live in person. I followed them for years and love both of them.

My weekend started off with a bit of shopping in Gaffney on the way. To shop by myself was the greatest thing ever. Apparently I did not realize how in need  I was of some alone time.

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And of course because I was on my own it was perfectly acceptable to have a Parmesan soft pretzel and frozen cappuccino from the QT on my way to Gaffney because my love language is bread and cheese.wpid-img_20141107_160613.jpg

Big and Boo were exactly what I expected. They love Jesus and sarcasm, and those kind of people are my kind of people.

Appreciation for sarcasm with a southern accent must also be my love language.

After the conference Friday night, I went back to my hotel and ordered room service.

It was delightful. I enjoyed eating in bed so much I ate breakfast there too:)

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During the lunch break on Saturday, I ran up to the South Park Mall.

I have always wanted to go through the Crate and Barrel.

It was amazing. LOVE their product lines and furniture. I wanted to live there.

After the last session, on Saturday afternoon I ran through Ikea with list of things I needed to pick-up.

Let’s just say that was not the wisest plan, because everyone in the Queen’s city had the same idea.

The parking lot was full of cranky people with their cheap goods.

Sunday, we went to church and heard a great message on suffering well, which immediately made me feel slightly guilty for my indulgent weekend.

But only slightly:)

Then we brunched with family at a local restaurant.

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Overall it was the best weekend I have had in a long time.

I feel refreshed and no longer want to strangle everyone.

That’s pure honesty right there.

Have a great week.

Monday Randomness: Falling for Vacations, Cabinet Painting, and the State of our Front Porch

So apparently I have I started a tradition of falling when on vacation which I am going to attest to the fact that I become so relaxed that my legs just decide not to work.

And when I say “fell,” I don’t mean a little trip. I mean head and body on the ground (or riverbed).

I fell when we were in MI this summer (in a river no less), and then again over the weekend.

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Both led to sore ankles and bruises (both pride and body parts).

Last Sunday while walking up to the cute bed and breakfast we stayed at I miss stepped in my 3 inch wedge shoes (I mean really, who wears heels on vacation).

My husband was still unloading the car and didn’t see me, but one second I was walking along and then next I was laying prostrate on the ground.

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So much for trying to appear like sophisticated people staying at a B&B.

Anyway, we came back to the reality on Tuesday and I immediately started painting cabinets again after work on Wednesday. I am on coat three of the cabinet frames.

I am hoping that three coats will do it. Hoping, crossing my fingers, looking for four-leaf clovers (got my St Patrick’s Day reference in), and wishing upon a star.
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And then I will start on all the doors and drawer fronts.

And while I have been working on the cabinets, my husband has been doing a lot of maintenance stuff outside, cutting overgrown tree limbs etc.

And we thought he would be building a new front porch here in the next month or so, but we got the quote back for the composite decking(option #1) and the concrete/brick work (option #2).

Composite decking -$3,500 in supplies, no labor included

Concrete/Brick porch -$3,100 gravel, brick, poured concrete and all labor

So we have decided to go the concrete route because #1 they will do all the work and #2 they will do all the work.:)

But seriously, I would not have believed that the brick work would be cheaper than composite decking materials.

And we actually preferred the look of a brick porch similar to the one below except on a much smaller scale.

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I am so glad we did the research before we firmed up our plans.

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So we will be pulling out the over grown shrubbery, and tearing down the rotting/sinking deck, working on the water drainage problem that causes the sinking deck, and then the masons will come in and do their thing.

I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL IT IS ALL DONE! I think our goal is to be done before summer, hopefully beating the heat.

Do you have any spring projects going on?

 

Monday Randomness: Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill

My husband and I are on a much needed extended weekend away.

I got an AMAZING deal through Living Social combined with 6% back from ebates.com, and a coupon code for a 2 night stay at the Bed and Breakfast on Tiffany Hill.

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My total was basically half off because of the off season and a Sunday through Tuesday stay.

And the accommodations are fantastic! Like one of the nicest places I have stayed ever!

Check out their website!

The B&B is located in Mills River, NC which is about 15 min outside Brevard, and about 20 minutes away from Asheville, in other words it’s super convenient.

We are planning to hit up a couple of our favorite restaurants plus try a few new ones.

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And my favorite,

Doc Cheys.

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I have been looking forward to this weekend away for a while, and it is just as relaxing as I had hoped.

And the best part is it’s my favorite kind of vacation: only 1 hour from home and I didn’t have to get on a plane!

Happy Monday!

PS If you want to read about other thrifty places we have stayed go here,  here, here and here.

Monday Randomness: For Wednesday, Our Trip and a Pumpkin Proposal

Joe and I had a great time on our trip to Devil’s Fork @ Lake Jocassee celebrating our first anniversary.

I highly recommend SC State Park Villas at Devil’s Fork State Park; they are not fancy but are clean, fully equipped and reasonably priced!

We had semi- private dock/beach access, outdoor grill area, a full screened in porch, large fireplace, satellite TV.

I loved that it was only an hour away but felt super remote.

We rented a boat (motorized in case you thought I had lost my mind and rented a canoe) for Saturday and enjoyed exploring the lake at our leisure.

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It was an incredibly relaxing time, and the only thing I “cooked” was Stouffer’s Chicken Enchiladas:)

And while we were gone my brother Rodney decided to propose to his girlfriend with my mom and sister’s help.

Here is the story I was told about the pumpkins. Lettering on the pumpkins courtesy of my mom:)

(you also need to understand that most of the men in my family are big hunters, and the girls play along with the outdoorsy activities)

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“They were going shooting on his property. He had the targets (pumpkins) lined up far enough away that she couldn’t read them w/o looking through the rifle scope. It would be her first time to shoot a rifle (which was not yet loaded). After the scoping exercise, she never did fire it! “

So cute and creative. I am proud of Rodney for pulling it off and so happy to have Alyssa for a sister-in-law.

Congrats!

Happy 1st Anniversary To Us!

The Domestic Lady- 1st anniversary

Today is our first anniversary.

This first year has not been perfect, but we are not perfect.

And thankfully God does not expect us to be perfect.

I am so thankful for my husband, and I am so glad we are doing this life together as a team.

We had two choices on how to celebrate our day.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse or a weekend at Lake Jocassee in Devil’s Fork State Park because we really wanted a low key (aka inexpensive) trip. I mean we did already go to Juneau, AK this year.

Anyway, we chose lake over steak. 

So we are spending our weekend hiding from reality.

But if you would like to read our story, my wedding day post, or the photos from our wedding go here and here and here.

Update: For pictures and info on our trip go here.

Monday Randomness for Tuesday: Trip to MI and a New Cook Book Giveaway

Well we got back Saturday night from our trip to MI to visit my husband’s family.

We had a great time.

And it was my first long trip with my stepsons.

After the first four hours in the first of our  two 14 hour car rides, I started making mental notes of funny things that were said in the car.

“Jacob, don’t put your foot in your brother’s ear.”

“Don’t mash my bladder.”

“Did the roof bag just fall off the top of the car?”

“Only 7 more hours to go.” (insert sarcastic tone)

The list could go on and on.

We laughed  a lot.

Anyway, this was my first grown up trip to Michigan so I did lots of firsts.

A few of my favorites were the Meijer Gardens, a boat cruise on Lake Michigan (which I swear looks like the ocean!), and lots of shopping of course.

I picked up a new cookbook in Holland, MI called Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker Recipes.

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It’s my new favorite. I have already made two recipes from it, and I am loving it.

No weird canned soups or processed ingredients.

Just simple slow cooker recipes using mostly whole ingredients.

I purchased the book “for two,” but her other cookbooks look great too.

I love the one “for two” because the recipes are in small quantities unlike most crock pot recipes.

And I love it so much I am going to give one away this week.

But first let me bore you with some vacation pictures.

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Someone was kind enough to give us free tickets to the Creation Museum in Hebron, Kentucky (right outside Cincinnati) so on our way to MI we stopped for about 4 hours to visit the museum.

Honestly, I was blown away. One of the nicest museums I have been too in a long time.

And we all agreed that Noah in the Ark exhibit looked a lot like Phil from Duck Dynasty.

If you ever have the chance you need to go visit it.

Well worth the time and money.

If you are interested, here is the website link.

Then we finished the last 7 hours on the road and spent the next 8 days with family.

Kalamazoo River/Lake Michigan boat cruise
River meet Lake
Oval Beach, Lake Michigan
We did a little pond fishing in the country
Transparent Apples (an old Danish variety)
Meijer Gardens
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Cocoa Tree (no it’s not lemons, I asked :)

As we strolled through the desert plant exhibit, the kids spotted meercat sculptures and said, “Hey look it’s Poppi.”

The resemblance is uncanny:)

Meercat Chihuahua

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Fly Fishing in the Muskegon River

Okay, on to the giveaway.

I will giveaway one cookbook from the Not Your Mother’s Slow Cooker series on Thursday.

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment below or on my blog facebook page. 

I will randomly select one winner on Thursday morning and the winner can select the cookbook of their choice.

One entry per day.

You can enter until Wednesday July 24th at 8 pm.

Your email address will be kept private. No spam. I promise.

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Our Trip to Juneau Alaska

First of all, I am not a big traveler.

Meaning the thought of traveling in a plane with strangers for hours on end makes me want to curl-up in a fetal position.

So just going on this construction mission’s trip to help build a new church was a stretch for me.

Then we found out that we would actually be staying with strangers was yet another reason to curl-up in the above referenced position.

But we survived.

And made it all work.

My sister-in-law Holly and I assisted the team leader’s wife with a lot of meal preps for all the guys on the team.

And drove team members back and forth between job sites and meals.

Juneau only has 40 miles of paved road, but we put 700 miles on our rental car in ten days:)

Unfortunately the 20 guys on the team did not have the materials they needed for a lot of the work until the last two days of the trip.

But  we made the best of it and found other projects to do around the pastor’s home; and my husband, my brother and the another team member built a much needed shed for church member who was not physically able to build it by himself.

And it reminded us all that churches are made up of people.

And people are more important than buildings.

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Overall, we had a great time.

I can’t remember the last time I have laughed so much.

The scenery and wildlife are amazing.

The bald eagles in Juneau are like pigeons in New York City. They are everywhere!

And the snow covered mountains, beaches and glaciers are breathtaking.

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Even though these sorts of trips are always a stretch personally, I am glad I went.

It’s amazing how your true self comes out in the worst ways when you lack sleep and are working in stressful situations.

But I feel like a grew a little and definitely made some new friends.

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Biking to the glacier (please appreciate this photo. I almost wrecked my bike while trying to take it)
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Mendenhall Glacier and Nugget Falls
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My husband and my two brothers shopping in Downtown Juneau
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The boys did a lot of fly fishing at Auke Lake
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The start of a shed with help from Tater the 200 lb St Bernard.
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Building the church

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Helping the pastor get the new motor on the boat
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Gold diggers in the making

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Me and my husband

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Me and my sister-in-law Holly doing a little panning for gold
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But I spent most of my time admiring my “new” $14 ebay boots.

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Another glacier pic


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Eagle Beach where the team caught 75 crabs (and they were tasty!).

 

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On our way back to home sweet home