Monday, October 29, 2012

A Day at the Farm

This is our third fall here in Iowa, and for each of them we've gone to Bloomsbury Farm, which is about 40 minutes away from us. It's a huge corn and soybean farm that the owners open up each fall with lots of fun activities, including a ten-acre corn maze and a smaller one for kids (and less adventurous adults!), a giant jumping pillow, a fun house, a haunted house, cute little pig races, pumpkin blasting, and lots of other fun things for kids and adults. We went last Saturday and had a good time. It's become one of our family's fall traditions, so we'll be back again next year!

Note--These pictures are from when we went last year. I never posted them and they've been sitting in a file folder on my desktop for a year. I took pictures when we went last week but I don't like to upload the pictures from my camera until the end of the month (it's easier to keep things organized that way), so I usually blog about things that happen awhile after they happen. Is that weird?

What better place for corn mazes than Iowa!

Little spiders caught in the web...

Hanging out in the corn bin. Now THAT is quite the sensory bin!

John and my father fed a cute goat on a rather interesting contraption: 

There's a cool tire playground made entirely out of tires. John loves climbing around this every year.

My farm boys on the tractor...

 Sam was a natural at taking the wheel: snack cup in one hand, wheel in the other!

John brushed up on his cowboy skills...

I got some cool jumping shots of John too. That kid loves to jump!

This picture of Peter heading to the Sugar Shack makes me laugh. That's so Peter! Although in fairness to him, I think he was just going over to sit on the steps. I'm the one who went in and bought some treats!

In conclusion (what is this, a research paper?), Bloomsbury Farm is a very fun place. We'll go every fall for as long as we live here in Iowa!

P.S. Do you like the collages? I wish I'd discovered how to do it awhile ago. I like making them!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beautiful French River

"Before you is French River, one of PEI's most famously picturesque fishing villages. Among the area's most unique features is the contrasting yet complimentary combination of water view and farmland within a single vista. It's this gentle mix that has led French River to become one of the Island's most sought after locations for artists, photographers, and visitors alike."

This was a beautiful spot that we happened upon one day during our stay at Prince Edward Island this summer. It was lovely, and I think it would have been even more so in the pictures I took if it had been a sunny, clear day. I liked the combination of the river with the ocean stretching out in the distance behind it, and the red and green farmland and the colorful fishing shacks added such charm to the view.

This is also the spot where Sam decided to pull down his shorts for a rather interesting photo opp when he got upset about something. Crazy kid!
And here is a lovely picture of Sam (with his shorts pulled up but still upset) and me (with my eyes closed and my hair blowing crazy in the breeze). In this case the view was nicer looking than the people visiting it were!

As pretty as this spot was, my favorite is still the river near the Prince Edward Island Preserve Co. that I mentioned a few days ago. It doesn't have the ocean right near it, but it is gorgeous. I'll do a post about that next week--stay tuned for what I think are some very pretty pictures of a very pretty place (on this very pretty island. Sorry, I couldn't resist!).

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

A Walk Around My Neighborhood in the Fall

These are some pictures I took of my neighborhood in the fall last year that I never got around to posting on here. The file folder has been sitting on my desktop for the last year, so it's time for these pictures to have their day in the spotlight.

And yes. There is a farm right at the entrance into the neighborhood, complete with a cornfield and cows. This is Iowa, after all!


There aren't mailboxes at the houses in my neighborhood; there is one big mail house and you get your mail from your box there. The picture below shows the view from the mail house at the entrance into the neighborhood. I miss having mail delivered right to my house! I never realized how convenient that was until I didn't have it anymore. Our mail has sat piled up and accumulating in its box for days (usually in the winter when I go into hibernation mode!).
You can see my house in this picture. It's the one in the far distance on the right. Potential stalkers, please do not use that information against me. You might know that I live in Iowa, but it's a big state and I could be anywhere! 

I hope you've enjoyed this little autumnal walk around my neighborhood today. As much as I miss the familiar forests and foliage of my native New England, especially at this time of the year, I really do like where I live. (Aside from the mailbox situation, that is!)

Monday, October 22, 2012

Saturday Was a Special Day (the PEI Version)

The Saturday that we spent on Prince Edward Island this summer was one of my favorite days. We went out to breakfast at a very popular place, the Prince Edward Island Preserve Company. (And yes, Peter and I ate there on our honeymoon, just in case you were wondering!). They have THE BEST preserves and jellies. We had many jars of it shipped home. We'll probably order our jelly from there in the future too. It's that good!

This place is also right next to one of my favorite, most scenic spots on the whole island. I'll be doing a separate post about this spot because I got some really beautiful pictures there, but these are a few pictures I took that morning.


Next we went to a nearby toy shop called "The Toy Factory" for the kids. This place was so cute. John and Sam had fun playing with the toys and John got to make his own toy car.

LOOK AT THIS! I finally figured out how to do photo collages on my blog!

Then we made an awesome discovery, one of my favorites during our week there. We went to The Great Canadian Soap Co., where we got to see the cute goats whose milk is used to make wonderful, pure, chemical-free health and beauty products, most notably soaps. I have a soft spot for goats as well as for chemical-free products, so this place was perfect for me. I plan on ordering our soap and bath products from there from now on. Their products are amazing! I went home with about a year's supply of different types of soaps, body scrubs, and bubble baths. (Mini-lecture time: Did you know that most soaps on the market are full of detergents and chemicals that can be harmful to the skin and the body? Go as organic and chemical-free as you can when it comes to what you eat and put on your body. I'm far from perfect at it but I'm a big believer in that and have been for years.)

Look out, here comes another awesome collage!

Those cute little goats were very interested in Sam's snack cup.

We got to feed the most adorable baby goats from bottles. Precious!

This was the day that I discovered L.M. Montgomery's house right near our cabin. That was in the afternoon, after we did the above things. Can you see why this was one of my favorite days? And it's not over yet. In the evening, Peter and I went out to a very nice dinner at Dalvay by the Sea, which is known as "The White Sands Hotel" in the Anne movies and the show Avonlea. We were going to spend a night there in honor of our tenth anniversary, but we decided to just go for dinner. We definitely will stay a night or two there the next time we go. It's a historic, beautiful place!

I love the huge wrap-around porch!

Will and Kate came here on their royal tour of Prince Edward Island in 2011. They've got nothing on us! Riiiight.
It was an overcast, rainy evening, which made Dalvay look rather mysterious.

That Saturday was a wonderful, special day, full of fun things, beautiful views, and good food. And now, very good memories, too.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Five Things for Friday: Fashion, Politics, and a Really Good Book

1. There's a fashion trend happening this fall that I actually like (you remember how trend-averse I am, right?)--the return of flannel button-up shirts. I used to wear these in 8th and 9th grade all the time! I'm glad they're back and that now they're more fitted and designed not to be tucked in. I bought the one below in the Juniors section at Target and couldn't believe how soft and comfortable it was, with the additional benefit of actually being in style. I think I'm going to pick up another one or two when I go to Target today. But does this mean that when I wear my flannel button-ups next fall that I'll look out of style? Oh well. I think these shirts are classics, and classics are always in style!

 2. Politics. A few brief words. Because I love and hate politics all at the same time.

The V.P. debate. I couldn't believe how rude and disrespectful Joe Biden was to Paul Ryan. I found his dismissiveness and his condescending laughter to be unbelievable. How is this man our Vice President?

One other thing about that debate--the Nixon family from Massachusetts that Paul Ryan mentioned is a family that was in my ward. The car accident with their kids happened the night of our Annual Lip Synch when I was in high-school. I couldn't believe it when I found out about it the next morning. I had no idea that Mitt Romney had gone over and cooked a special holiday meal for the Nixons and offered to pay for Rob and Reed's college educations. He wasn't in our ward and didn't know the Nixons before that. The Romneys really are very generous and caring people.

The presidential debate on Tuesday. Obama did a lot better in this one, fortunately for him. I didn't like the moderator or the style of the debate very much. I'm actually really ticked that Candy Crowley (I can't help but think of her as "The Tank." I know that's not very nice of me. Thinking about Biden's debate performance must have rubbed off on me, so I blame him! Anyway, I think I need to re-start this sentence.) I'm really ticked that Candy Crowley butted in the way that she did and helped Obama out, which led the crowd to applaud for him, which I think helped him to be the overall winner of this debate, or at least to have the public perception that he won. Clearly she didn't moderate the debate properly, to the disadvantage of Romney. He's going to have to kill it in the last debate on Monday, which is about foreign policy, which shouldn't be too hard since Obama has a lot of problems in that area, especially right now. We'll see what happens!

3. One more thing related to politics and then I'll stop for now. This whole "binders full of women" thing for Mitt Romney is really silly but it cracks me up and it appeals to my slightly irreverent sense of humor.

Hey, I would have loved to have been in one of those binders when he was the governor! That was actually one of my career goals if I hadn't gotten married right after college. This was my plan if I'd still been single when I finished college: I would graduate with an Ivy League degree in Political Science with a concentration in American Politics (I'm not saying that to boast but to emphasize my qualifications) and then I would have gone home to Massachusetts and applied for a job in the governor's office in Boston, doing something, anything, even if it was just filing and typing up letters. I had the degree and the right major, I had experience, I had some good connections. He and Ann were my stake youth leaders in high-school and one of my Young Women advisors was his scheduler; how could I get turned down?! (Just kidding. Sort of.) I do think my chances would have been decent for getting a job there. But alas, my resume just wasn't meant to be in one of those binders. Sigh.
4. I enjoyed the Google Images search for "binders of women" so much that I had to post a few of my favorites...

Ha ha ha!

5. I'm reading a super good book right now. It's Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. It's been on the New York Times Bestseller list for months, and I can see why. It's the amazing true story of a man who survived a ton of unbelievable adversity during World War II--a plane crash into the ocean, being stranded in the middle of the Pacific on a raft with hardly any provisions, Japanese planes shooting at him, sharks galore, starvation, dehydration, sickness, being abused as a POW... (that's as far as I've gotten). It sounds depressing, and it is at times, but it's really inspirational. I can hardly put it down at night when I read it. If you haven't read this book, then read it! I'm so glad my book club picked this one!

What are your plans this weekend? We're going to Bloomsbury Farm and my Dad will be here visiting from Utah for the next week. Have a great weekend!