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Wednesday, July 22, 2009


I've been posting a lot of pictures from South Dakota the last month, so I thought I'd change it up a bit and put some photos up from the other trip I took... Mexico! My Mom took my three sisters and I down to the Cancun area for a long weekend over the 4th of July holiday. I had a really great time, and we stayed at a SUPER nice resort - Iberostar Paraiso del Mar. I've never stayed at an all inclusive hotel before, and it was crazy beautiful!

Beautiful lobby.

Flamingos just haning out.

Hammocks at the beach.

Beautiful swimming pool.

Different dining areas of the hotel.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Prairie Dogs

One of the cutest part of South Dakota was all the prairie dogs everywhere! They used to be endangered at one point, but now they're doing better. Yay doggies!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Badlands, SD

One of the most beautiful places we visited in South Dakota was the Badlands. The soil around the rock formations is being constantly eroded, leaving behind the exposed buttes, gullies, and ridges that we see. There are many fossils found throughout the Badlands. It was really, really hot the day we went, and there are no trees for shade. But the sky was clear, and that makes for beautiful photograph!

It is so hard to get a sense of depth in these photos, but these rocks stretch on for MILES.

I love these next two pictures because they were taken from a moving car. So they're a bit funky, but still show off the beautiful scenery!

The color of the rocks is so amazing!

Just beautiful.

You are allowed to climb on the rocks, so of course, we did! Here are my cousins Jordan and Cory hanging out.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Devils Tower

Some more South Dakota pictures here... although the Devils Tower is actually in Wyoming.

Beautiful sky that day!

Close up of the rock formations.

My Dad and I being hardcore. Forgive the blury photo... it was taken by a 6 year old!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

South Dakota

Jon and I just got back from a week long camping trip to South Dakota with some family, and we had a great time! I have so many pictures to share, so I'll start out with one of the most awesome things about the trip - the buffalo! Specifically, these pictures show that buffalo kinda just go wherever THEY feel like! More to come later.

Buffalo cross the road whenever they please!

South Dakota traffic jam.

Bumper to horns.

And the road is finally clear!


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Garden harvest

This is only my second summer owning a house, therefore only my second summer having a garden. But already I've learned SO much after just one year, and I think this year will be even better. I have a very shady yard, so I'm learning what grows best. Last year we had an adorable little fence, but it let the bunnies right in to munch away – so now we have a heavy duty fence that is keeping all the critters out! Don't worry... they still have the compost pile to dig through and find treats! The rain has done a great job of watering the garden this year, with only a little help from the water in my rain barrel. My goal is to grow enough produce that would equal the cost of the garden, although I'm still a few years out from that.

Tonight my sister and I made the first harvest from the garden – lettuce and mixed greens! I should have taken a picture of the garden and how much there is, because there is SO MUCH! Last year no lettuce survived the bunnies.

Although it didn't look like we picked that much, we had enough for three salads and some leftovers.

Tasty! Here's hoping to much more garden success this year!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Oh yeah!

Awesome grafitti I saw on the side of a passing train...

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bird's the word!

It has been such a busy two weeks, with the next two promising to be equally busy! The blogging has suffered, and I'm sorry!

Just a quick, random update...

I work in downtown Champaign, and one who works in an urban area expects to see certain animals... pigeons, a few other birds, squirrels, and maybe even a racoon. You don't usually see Canada geese hanging around! But this spring a few geese have made their home in downtown Champaign, and it has been pretty funny to watch.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Take me out to the ball game!

Another day at the ball park, supporting the Parkland Cobras women's softball team. My little sister rocked it today, and the team won both games.

There was a pond near the ball park and some kids at the game found a turtle. A brand new baby turtle! He was the itty-bitty-est turtle I have ever seen!

Friday, May 01, 2009

Movie Reviews: Condensed

Well, Jon and I have been watching too many movies lately, and didn't have enough time to write full reviews. So, in short, here is what we've seen and our quick ratings. Longer reviews hopefully to continue next time.

Jon's Reviews:
Journey to the Center of the Earth - 3 out of 5
Hot Fuzz - 4.5 out of 5
Quantum of Solace - 4 out of 5
Mirrors - 3 out of 5
The Golden Compass - 2.5 out of 5
Xmen Wolverine - 4 out of 5

Allie's Reviews:
Journey to the Center of the Earth - 3 out of 5
Hot Fuzz - 4 out of 5
Quantum of Solace -3.5 out of 5
Mirrors –3 out of 5
The Golden Compass - 3 out of 5
X-Men Origins: Wolverine - 4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Rain Barrel

This past weekend we installed our rain barrel. For those who don't know, a rain barrel is a large tank that collects rain water runoff from your roof. Many places in the world use this water for drinking, bathing, or other household use, but you usually need special filters for that. We will be using our rain barrel water for watering the garden and the yard. This helps us reduce water usage, as well as deal with water runnoff.

We purchased our rain barrel from B. Lime Green - an eco-store in downtown Champaign. They get their rain barrels from Prairie Rain Harvester, Inc. Our barrel is made from a recycled 55 gallon vegetable oil drum. We pretty much followed the instructions for setting it all up, and here are the results!

Here is the before. Just a regular gutter downspout.

To begin, Bill digs a flat space right next to the gutter to place the barrel.

Next, he added a little sand to make things level.

You have to elevate the rain barrel a bit in order to get any pressure from the spout, so we placed the barrel on cinder blocks we had.

Next, cut the gutter.

Then, install the adjustable gutter extension to aim into the barrel opening.

We then filled in a little dirt around the cinder blocks.

Then, aim the overflow hose away from the foundation of the house.

And then you have a finished product!!

Already, after one day of light, but constant rain, the barrel is completely full!

Millions and millions of people live with out clean water to drink every day, yet we water our lawns with perfectly good water. Now is the time to conserve!