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Galena Antiquing Finds

21 Jan

As part of our plan to visit somewhere new every month, Ben and I spent the weekend in Galena, IL, a cute little historic town about 2.5 hours away near the Mississippi River. We had a wonderful, relaxing time eating at great restaurants, checking out all of the antique stores and fun boutiques, and even walking on the frozen Mississippi.

Mississippi river

There was an overabundance of antique shops and we scored big! It’s definately the most we’ve bought antiquing, but everything was pretty cheap… about $3-$10 with a couple things topping out at $20. We like getting things for the house while away that way there is a memory/back story behind an item.

So for about $120, here’s everything we brought home (minus the cat..we brought her home last month).


Our finds include a vintage lantern, a couple of spools, a glass candle holder, 4 vintage yardsticks that we’re going to make into something like a frame or box…


An old Pepsi crate, a large crate to hold records, a whiskey jug, a small blue Ball jar (to hold cotton balls or something in the bathroom)…


And a small silver dish (to hold jewelry/hair ties/etc. in the bathroom or bedroom), some “XOXO” printing press letters, and a vintage washboard (I actually have 2 of these now… Ben is worried).

IMG_2211Plus, all our antiquing finds were pretty much free because when we went to pick up our bathroom vanity, we saw it was now on a big sale. We asked if they could credit us the difference and they easily agreed. Thank you, Home Decorators.

We couldn’t wait to get it out of the box and quickly assembled it when we got home. Easy, peasy. Not like Ikea furniture.


IMG_2227Here it is just temporarily placed in the bathroom. You like?


I love it and can’t wait to get some baskets, towels and knick knacks on those open shelves!

Now off to watch the last episode of Homeland. So bummed to be done with this show and have to wait until September for a new episode.

20 Christmas Trees & Ice Skating in the Pool

5 Jan

First there were 12 Oaks, now we have 20 Spruces! Yep, we planted a whopping 20 six foot evergreens, and no we are not starting a Christmas tree farm. We bought these to line the area of our property that backs up to a busy-ish road. A natural fence and sound barrier if you will.

We got a great deal on them from a nursery down the street and actually bought them before the snow hit, but just got them in the ground this week now that Ben is finally feeling better.

So here we were unloading them in December, with the help of an excavator Ben borrowed from his client/friend, Rick.IMG_2057

IMG_2059Ben wasn’t the only one who had fun on the big machinery, though. He taught me how to drive and operate it, it is actually easier than it looks and a lot of fun.

Here’s a few of them today. They are staggered 15 feet apart (the recommended distance) so they should grow together nicely in the future.

Trees pic

We put straw around the base to keep them from freezing. There is still a lot of scrub which needs to be cleared out. But all that will have to wait until Spring now.

Trees 2

Doc is really loving the property and of course is always there to lend a hand paw.


We also had a blast ice skating for the first time on the frozen pool this week! We didn’t even have to buy any ice skates, the old owners left a bunch of pairs that fit us.


We got a kick out of watching Doc relentlessly try to dig out a tennis ball frozen in the ice. Poor guy.


Plus, I think I found one sport I am better at than Ben! Yeah that’s right I can skate backwards and he can’t.


I’m sure there will be much more ice skating throughout the winter!


Fiji Honeymoon Recap

25 Nov

After a fantastic 2 weeks away from work it’s time to re-enter the real world tomorrow AM. womp womp.

So here’s a recap of our truly phenomenal honeymoon with lots of photos!

After traveling for nearly a full day and a less than stellar flight on Air Pacific (e.g. cramped seats and no working TVs), our cares immediately melted away as we hopped on our helicopter transfer from the main land to our resort’s island, called Matanamoa. We saw a bunch of other islands and reefs on the way.

Once we landed 15 mins later, we were greeted in island style with leis, a song by the band and a fruity drink!

We went exploring around the island while we waited for our room. Oh how pasty we were at the beginning.

Here’s a quick tour of our bure (Fijian hut), which was perched right on the beach under some coconut trees.

Here’s the view out the front towards the beach. We spent many a hours lounging, reading and napping in that hammock.

There are less than 30 bures on the entire island, meaning a max of 60 guests and no children! No surprise, most people were also on their honeymoon, which made for a great time since they were all our age and liked to drink and have fun.

We spent most of the first day exploring and snorkeling. We saw a white tipped reef shark which I swear was 5 feet long but Ben says it was only 2 feet. It was actually the only shark we saw the entire time. Phew!

We actually didn’t even make it to dinner the first night, we went to take a nap and didn’t wake up until the next morning. It took a couple days to get on Fiji time.

Day 2 we spent hiking up to the top of hill on the island. It was only about 15 minutes but had some stunning views. In the distance here is Motoriki, where Tom Hanks filmed Castaway.

There were coconut trees everywhere, Ben opened one up in less than 2 minutes.

Day 3 we went on an island hopping and snorkeling tour to the Sacred Islands, which are uninhabited, and where Fijian tribes people went to escape canibalism on the main land.

Day 4 was probably our favorite of the trip as we went sport fishing with another Kiwi couple and caught some HUGE fish! A 40 lb. Mackerel, 40 lb. Grand Trevally, 15 lb. Mackerel, 5 lb. Tuna and some other smaller ones. All in less than 3 hours.

We headed out at 6am, so caught a fantastic sunrise.

The best part was having a couple of the Fijian staff members cook it up for us on the beach for lunch! (We also ate the tuna in the restaurant for dinner and lunch the following day.)

We had some beers, drank out of coconuts, ate on leaves, and learned some Fijian swear words. It was awesome.

We also toured the village where a lot of the staff live. It was pretty 3rd world, no running water, run down houses, animals running around.

The next few days we just took it easy… swimming, snorkeling, sunning, reading.

Here’s the restaurant where we ate all our meals. Dinners were wonderful, lunch and breakfast just OK. But what can you expect when they have to ship everything in daily.

Each night after dinner there were games like crab racing and Mr. & Mrs. Matanamoa, a band, and usually a big bowl of kava. Kava is a Fijian drink made from plant roots and if you drink enough, it is a hallucinogen. It looks like muddy water and makes your tongue go numb when you drink it.

We celebrated my 27th birthday on the island one day. It was a perfect day: treetop massages in the morning, beach all day, sunset and a bottle of wine, and a great dinner and birthday cake.

The final day, we went on a sailboat trip to Tom Hank’s island and a school village.  The school was really neat, the students were so full of joy and loved getting their pictures taken (and throwing up gang signs apparently).

Another chopper back to the airport and we were on our long, but oh so worth it, journey home.

But our travels didn’t stop there. A day after we got back, we headed to Nashville to Ben’s brothers for Thanksgiving and Ben’s niece and god daughter’s baptism. Isn’t Vivian the sweetest thing ever?

And We’re Off

11 Nov

You won’t hear from us for a couple weeks, we are heading off on our honeymoon in Fiji! Can’t wait for some much-needed rest and relaxation.

Here’s the island we are staying on, which houses a max of 66 people. We’ll be staying in one of those beach huts, called “bures.” Should be amazing!

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