Mt. Rushmore Area Trip

July 21, 2021 at 6:41 am (travel) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

We did it! Iowa to Minnesota, to South Dakota to Wyoming and back again! In a car. With little kids. Do it again? Definitely!

But there’s so much to do and so little time. So here are just a few of the things that we thought were must sees and a couple skips.

Mt. Rushmore. Obvious. But it’s impressive even to all ages. Inexpensive, only $10 for parking and free entry. It was busy, but not overly packed. Of course, we had to hit up the gift shop for something to commemorate the trip. You can do a tour and spend, more time, but it isn’t necessary for the full experience, and overall this stop won’t take a ton of time.

When near Mt. Rushmore, you should totally stop to see Crazy Horse monument. Do I think it’s worth going all the way in? Not yet. It’s still under construction, and amazing as the start is and really amazing as it will be when it’s done, I don’t think $30 for the car to get in is worth it just yet. We pulled over at the sign in a little lot and took pictures. I recommend that!

If you are in this area, driving through Black Hills National Park and Badlands National Park are must dos. There are plenty of pull over and look out spots. And the views are GORGEOUS.

If you’ve made it out to the Badlands, stop at Wall Drug. Yes it’s a lot of hype. And busy. But a very cool see if you need a drink, a bathroom and a leg stretch. You could spend all day here. But you don’t have to. We did an hour or two and picked which bits to see here.

If you make it a little further out to Rapids City, SD, see Bear Country USA. We didn’t stop this time, but would have if time allowed (we did years ago). Totally worth it. Especially with kids in tow. It’s so amusing to see bears up close!

Sturgis is also a fun stop. More for the adults, but still things to see for all ages. Great to say you’ve been there even when the rally isn’t going on. Great food. Not a must do of you aren’t into this type of thing.

If you are at Mt. Rushmore and want to venture just a couple of hours west, a stop at Devil’s Tower, WY is a must do! It was STUNNING in this area! We walked the whole path around it and kids and adult alike were in awe.

This whole area of WY is stunning really, especially to see if you are not local. The red dirt and mountainous terrain are very neat to see. We stayed in Hulett, right next door to the tower and this town was definitely unique if you’re looking for a place to stop. There is an antique store there with unique Native American artifacts. The Best Western in town is very rustic and nice, with a pool. And the local cafe was delicious.

If you have headed out to WY from Mt. Rushmore, Deadwood is on the way. I recommend stopping here if you’re on adults trip. The gambling and drinks life there looked very fun. It’s not a horrible spot to stop with kids, but not a must do. The Broke Boot gold panning mine sounded super cool with kids. However, their website did not say we had to book in advance and since we did not, we were SOL. We also planned to see a shoot out there with the boys. They only do the shows on Saturdays and Sundays and we were there on a Friday. My fault, as this is on their website.

Also on the way out if heading west is Spearfish Canyon. Definitely drive the scenic byway here. Stop for some photos and explore. It’s just amazingly gorgeous out here. We did hear that there are mountain lions when off the paths, but we did not see any. This you don’t want to miss.

If your path take you East to Souix Falls, SD on the way in or out, we loved the Ramada there. They have a little water park. Kid win!

Another stop we had mid-South Dakota was Mitchell. We stayed here on our way out. This is home of the Corn Palace. It’s neat. The kids were impressed. Fun dining in town. It’s not a must see, but makes for a good place to stop if you need to!

Hitting Minnesota on the way? The town of Blue Earth is home of the real Jolly Green Giant. Great place to stretch! The even have a little sound park!

Hope this helps a little bit! If you are the get out and explore or hike type of fam, bring a fee baggies and a permanent marker for any treasures the kiddos find!

XX,

Jess

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Must Have Baby Items You Didn’t Know You Needed

February 24, 2020 at 7:55 pm (Mom Stuff) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

So many options when it comes to baby items now days! Its confusing and overwhelming. And some of those things you just plain don’t need to waste your money on. Here’s a list of things that you probably didn’t know you needed, but that I’ve found to be so helpful! Honestly!

Travel Plate- This has been one of the most handy inventions I’ve used with both the boys! Since it’s got it’s own case, I just fold up the dirty mat when we are out and put it back in the case to clean when we get home. So simple!

Travel Spoon– Handy when they are using purees and soft baby food still. You can fill this guy with food and there’s so much less mess! It’s even got a cover for the end.

Rubber Changing Pad– This one by Ubbi is so handy. Easy to wipe, roll, fold, it makes diapering on the go so much easier.

Roll-up Changing Clutch– I adore my diaper bag, but sometimes I don’t want to haul the whole thing if I’m just running in somewhere. This clutch can fit in my purse and get even smaller if I unzip the pad portion. Just the necessities for quick jonts!

Dream Egg Sound Machine– This is the most portable sound machine I’ve seen. Lots of noise and volume options, plus its wireless. Charge it and go. It can even be used in the car or stroller, etc. So handy for anyone, not just babies!

Baby Nest- There are lots of options out there, but we love ours from Doreen’s Bibs and Bobs. It’s cute, handy, and portable. We still use ours at almost age 2 and take it on trips too! It seems to keep kiddo nice and cozy.

Convertible High Chair– Seriously, if you going to use a high chair, make sure it’s convertible. I had an older Graco version for the oldest and this new model does so much more and therefore is so much more handy. It can be attached to a chair as a booster, the back can be removed for more space, the base itself can be a stool seat for older kids. It really has all the features we need, including folding up and the tray hangs on the back!

Tush Baby- One of the things I found with kiddo #2 is the Tush Baby and I love it! He always wants to be carried, but also get down and look. I’m sure you can all relate! This thing saves my hips and makes it easy to carry forward or backward, front or hip, and he can go up and down to his heart’s desire. So handy!

A Great Looking Diaper Bag- Ok, it’s not a necessity, but it sure does make momming a lot more fun. I’ve had many, loved several, but this Lily Jade bag takes the cake. Its gorgeous. Plus it can be a backpack, or the straps stow away to be a should or cross-body bag. It’s so spacious without being too big or heavy to carry too. I carry everything but the kitchen sink I’m here with me. Its officially my purse/ diaper bag. I just call that the mom bag. ❤

Hope these ideas help you too! Anything else you would add?

XX,

Jess

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Some New Year’s Inspiration: 100 Things I Love

January 2, 2009 at 10:17 am (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

I recently saw a list some one had made of 100 things they loved.  It seemed so inspiring to think about that many things that you enjoy or care about.  So, I tried it.  I thought that it also helped to take a deeper look at your style and personality.  So… here’s my list.  I hope it might help inspire you too…

100 Things I Love:

 

  1. Black and white photos
  2. Polaroid cameras
  3. Roller coasters
  4. Pepsi

    Spiral Staircase by Martin Haesemeyer (Flickr)

    Spiral Staircase by Martin Haesemeyer (Flickr)

     

  5. Huge sunglasses
  6. Antiques
  7. Old records
  8. Small collections
  9. Holey jeans
  10. Thick sweaters
  11. Movie nights
  12. Internet shopping
  13. Color coordinating items
  14. Crushed ice
  15. Photo booths
  16. Horses
  17. Beaches
  18. Lists
  19. Thunderstorms
  20. Coconut lotion
  21. Fireworks
  22. Shoes
  23. Moving sidewalks
  24. Sports

    Bathtub and Fireplace by decorology (Flickr)

    Bathtub and Fireplace by decorology (Flickr)

     

  25. Candles
  26. Typewriters
  27. Outdoor concerts
  28. Bonfires
  29. Wooden boxes
  30. Old picture frames
  31. Ferris wheels

    Dice by kagedfish (Flickr)

    Dice by kagedfish (Flickr)

     

  32. Ticket stubs
  33. Crowns
  34. Silk sheets
  35. Hot nights
  36. Lazy days
  37. The outdoors
  38. Corndogs
  39. French manicures
  40. Treasure hunts
  41. Auctions
  42. Handwritten cards
  43. Miniatures
  44. Vintage items
  45. Chocolate
  46. Street shops
  47. Motorcycles
  48. Dinner parties
  49. Eyeliner
  50. Sweatpants
  51. Mud
  52. Blank paper
  53. Road trips
  54. Black and white movie

    Candles glowing... by annpar (Flickr)

    Candles glowing... by annpar (Flickr)

     

  55. High heels
  56. Lilies
  57. Secret passageways
  58. Cubbie holes
  59. Shiny things
  60. Clean clothes
  61. Gum
  62. Fluffy beds
  63. Music
  64. Shiny lipgloss
  65. Claw foot bathtubs
  66. Tire swings
  67. The River
  68. Moc croc
  69. Small towns
  70. Big yards
  71. Hayrack rides
  72. Massages
  73. Inside jokes
  74. Old books

    Sunglasses by sveltkamp  (Flickr)

    Sunglasses by sveltkamp (Flickr)

     

  75. Dice
  76. Keys
  77. Inspiration boards
  78. Fancy bottles
  79. Layered pillows
  80. Free catalogs
  81. My brother’s art
  82. DIY projects
  83. Wild jewelry
  84. Fireplaces
  85. Confetti                                   
  86. Planners
  87. Mistletoe
  88. Freshly cut grass
  89. Harvest time

    Polaroid Land Camera 1000 by Fallen Angel / Angel...  (Flickr)

    Polaroid Land Camera 1000 by Fallen Angel / Angel... (Flickr)

  90. Sunshine
  91. Fried food
  92. New Year’s Eve
  93. Long eyelashes
  94. Cowboys
  95. Accents
  96. Coffee shops
  97. Sidewalk chalk
  98. Diamonds
  99. Spiral staircases
  100. Clear furniture
  101.  My own house!

 

 

 

Old record player. by MFinChina (Flickr)

Old record player. by MFinChina (Flickr)

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New Year’s Resolution

December 30, 2008 at 8:05 pm (Tid Bits) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Its that time of the year again.  Just like everyone else I start thinking of those new year’s resolutions.  Yes, this is the year, I am going to keep them! 🙂  Here is my list:

1.  Get back to running every morning before work.

The Running Free by Ll'sWorld (Flickr)

The Running Free by Ll'sWorld (Flickr)

2.  Finish the desk we started months ago.

My first camera by Sir Cam (Flickr)

My first camera by Sir Cam (Flickr)

3.  Be more positive.

Focus on the bright spot, and your whole world will light up! by Sicilian Italiano (Flickr)

Focus on the bright spot, and your whole world will light up! by Sicilian Italiano (Flickr)

4.  Save more money, be more thrifty.

Money Saving Tips by Mint Software (Flckr)

Money Saving Tips by Mint Software (Flckr)

5.  Keep a more creative eye out for the unexpected inspiration.

  How to recycle jeans & Save money by gogreen.savegreen

How to recycle jeans & Save money by gogreen.savegreen

6.  Say I love you more.

"I love you" by g-mikee (Flickr)

"I love you" by g-mikee (Flickr)

7. Learn to cook.

Three girls learn cooking by ~~*♥♥♥Michelle♥♥♥*~~~  (Flickr)

Three girls learn cooking by ~~*♥♥♥Michelle♥♥♥*~~~ (Flickr)

8.  Remember to take more before pictures of my projects.

I'll be a Legend after cleaning this mess by naddl79  (Flickr)

I'll be a Legend after cleaning this mess by naddl79 (Flickr)

9. Just like a little kid with a diary, try to post on my new blog every day! 🙂

 

my 2007 diary by akaitori  (Flickr)

my 2007 diary by akaitori (Flickr)

There you have it.  There’s my list.  They are pretty simple and hopefully that makes them easier to keep! (And cute, fun pictures, too!)

What are your new year’s resolutions??

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Trends? Psh.

December 22, 2008 at 9:42 pm (Inspiration) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

It is the end of the year and every one starts rounding up the “best ofs”  lists.  I have been seeing a lot of lists of trend that people would either like to see more of or never see again.  The lists made me ponder.  I came to the conclusion that I do not care what is considered “trendy” or “in style”.  I like what I like and could care less what others think.  Actually, I think that I prefer things that were never in style (both clothing and home decor), because then it can never be considered out of style.  Also, if I like something, it is because it speaks to me.  It shouldn’t matter what list it is on.  I change my mind all the time, but not based upon what other people believe is “cool”.  I, personally, never fit into one category anyways, because I mix pieces from all different styles.  There should be no rules when it comes to your own tastes and your own home.  If you truly love it, go for it.

Whew.  With that said, I will step off of my soap box and show you all a visual list of the things that I have loved this year.  Not because they are trends or not, but because that was what was speaking to me this year.  I hope some one can find this inspirational, but in no way am I saying go out there and copy every picture.  (Would that make it a “trend”?)  Here goes:

1. The first thing that I have loved this year is collections.  They can be utilitarian or completely useless. To me, collections can be like art.  Some people think that if objects don’t function, they just sit there taking up space, but I think they can be beautiful.  Here is a group of cameras and a small group of stereos. 

 //www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/look/look-framed-vintage-camera-collection-on-the-cheap-072111

 http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/look/look-framed-vintage-camera-collection-on-the-cheap-072111

2.  This brings me to my number two- bright colored walls.  I love this blue and I also love a great red accent wall. Some of my fav online finds:

3.  This is a little strange for me, but this year I have love all clear, or acrylic, furniture.  There are so many great pictures, but here is a gllimpse of one that I am wanting:

//www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/look/look-modern-cabin-071787

This one even contrasts well with the cabin decor. http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/la/look/look-modern-cabin-071787

 

4.  No matter what anyone says, I love love love both empty frames and leaning frames.  I lean frames as opposed to hanging them all the time.  Against a wall, on a desk, on the floor…  Just a couple examples:

//www.apartmenttherapy.com/chicago/small-cool-2007-entries/20-renatas-river-east-convertible-022196

5.  I love alll things industrial in the home.  There have been some very good examples recently.  I wish I could do a little bit more of this style in my home.  Some cool pieces:

 

 

6.  I am loving repurposed decor and furniture.  I have always been a fan of old, vintage, or antique items, but it more recently has occured to me how great it can be to repurpose some items into new things in the home.  Some of my favrite ideas below:

//gallery.apartmenttherapy.com/photo/121808patrick/001h

Mail box used for laundry. Patrick's World of Wonder. http://gallery.apartmenttherapy.com/photo/121808patrick/001h

 

This is a vintage sign remade into a sliding door.  I'm sorry, but I do not find where the image came from!

This is a vintage sign remade into a sliding door. I'm sorry, but I do not find where the image came from!

 7.  I am also a fan of decorating in black and white.  Don’t get me wrong, I love punches of color, but black and white can make a huge statment and go with so many additional colors.  Some great black and white pictures:

I'm not sure where this picture came from, but it is gorgeous!

I'm not sure where this picture came from, but it is gorgeous!

 

 

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