2,458 miles…

Good afternoon readers!

My husband & I recently moved from Walnut Creek, California back to Central Illinois! We took a 6-day road trip on the way back and saw some beautiful things along the way! Click here to see our exact (2,458 mile) route!

We had a fun, little goal to not stay in a “chain hotel” on any night and we even tried to keep the cost under $50.00 per night! Yelp is terrific.

Here is a little tid-bit about each unique (and even wacky) hotel/motel where we stayed…

  • Scott Shady Court, Winnemucca, NV – Nate and I suspect that this property used to be some sort of military housing. It seemed to be straight from the 60’s and we loved it! $45 per night plus a fun experience! IMG_3906
  • Gas Lite Motel, Laramie, WY – This place had the most ridiculous décor! Horse/bison/bear statues, cowboy figures and paraphernalia, etc. Go ahead and check out the link to see more of the craziness… $50 per night.IMG_3939
  • Armstrong Hotel, Fort Collins, CO – This was our “splurge day” in Fort Collins. We spent an entire day (not driving) and seeing all of the breweries and fun sights we could! The Armstrong was a great recommendation from a couple we knew in California. IMG_3971
  • Big Sky Lodge, Rapid City, SD – We were one of two patrons at this lodge the night we stayed. (South Dakota’s “busy season” starts Memorial Day, and we were there just a few weeks before) The view at this place was gorgeous…South Dakota in general is gorgeous…we even saw Mt. Rushmore and Crazy Horse while we were here!!! $35 per night.IMG_4024

On the last night, we drove ALLLLL the way from Rapid City, SD to Eureka, IL (892 miles) to avoid a snow storm…..guess what? We drove through a snow storm….in the middle of the night….when the truck drivers weren’t even crazy enough to be out! One of the most stressful 4 hours of my life. (Yes…4 hours. I am surprised I didn’t have a heart attack)

The good news is that we made it all the way home in one piece! Our moms were thrilled!

AND NOW…COMES A PICTURE EXPLOSION OF OUR 2,458 MILE ROAD TRIP! Enjoy and please try not to fall asleep before you get to the end of the page… 😀

NEVADA

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UTAH

(The alien-like salt flats and the beautiful Salt Lake)

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↓ Salt flats….not snow! ↓

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WYOMING

(Lots of fields, beautiful scenery & a crazy motel)

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COLORADO

(Fort Collins – New Belgium Brewery, Bike ride around the city, beer, beer & more beer!)

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SOUTH DAKOTA

(Mt. Rushmore, Crazy Horse, Badlands National Park, Wall Drug)

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These bizarre pictures were all taken in Wall Drug. A crazy, bizarre, cluttered, yet hilarious tourist trap…

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My very attractive husband riding a jackalope…

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Want to see my descriptions for some of these pictures? View them on Instagram by clicking the following link!

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Please MAKE ME SO HAPPY and leave me a wonderful comment below! I will be so excited to see your feedback!

Love,

Carissa

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Guess Who’s Moving?!?!

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That’s right…we have decided to embark on our next life journey…and that is moving to IL!!!!

We are very excited! Although, it will definitely be very different not sharing the sidewalk with homeless people everyday….and the lack of mountains in the landscape! (Among many more glamorous things that California has to offer of course!)

Wish us luck!

-Carissa

Holidays with Family & Friends

My husband and I went home to Central Illinois this holiday season for 10 whole days! It was the first time in 16 months we had gone home and didn’t have to worry about planning a wedding! It was relaxing, full of happiness and terrific =)

So for a lot of people, it is probably a battle to be home for the holidays and running around from one Christmas to another but I am very lucky to have a terrific mother-in-law and a wonderful mother! They are always very courteous when scheduling holiday get-togethers so they don’t coincide with one another…makes it very easy for the hubby and I. We are very lucky.

During this trip, I spent a lot of my time cuddling my mom and step-dad’s new little foster baby boy/two toddler foster girls, they are so sweet and all three have already made it into the hearts of our big family!

I was so excited to see my friends and their growing kiddos! I can’t believe they are all walking (everywhere) and talking (a little bit anyway.) It gives me mixed emotions to see how much they’ve grown while I’ve been all the way out in California! [Happy] because they are growing up to be such great kiddos and well…they can’t stay tiny, little babies forever & [Sad] because I’m not there for key points in their lives. I just want to have a good relationship with all of my nieces and nephews even if they live 2,000 miles away =(

Nate & I are also very blessed with a terrific group of friends! We had such a great time playing board games, watching movies and having good yet possibly controversial discussions. Within the past two months, two of our couple friends got engaged and we are SO happy! Can’t wait for your big days!!!

So anyway, here’s some entertaining pictures for you. My mom and I prepared some Christmas themed Minute-To-Win-It games for our Christmas get together this year. We based all of our games from a great blog I found, although you can find these all over the internet and Pinterest. Here are a few pictures from the festivities:

Game 1: See how many nuts you can stack on end in 60 seconds using only a candy cane as a tool

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Game 2: See how many levels of plastic cups you can pyramid stack in 30 seconds (we had to change the time since we didn’t have enough cups)

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Game 3: You put a blob of vaseline on your nose, tie a pom pom to a string, put one end of the string in your mouth andbe the first to get the pom pom on your nose without using an hands!

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My cousin, Andy, actually won the game but couldn’t get the pom pom to stick for the picture!

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Game 4: See how many ornaments you can balance on a yard stick that is balanced on a used paper towel roll in 60 seconds

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Game 5: This one is my favorite…see all of the hilarious pictures below and you will know why!

Put a cookie on your forehead and get it to your mouth first without using any hands!

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This was not one of the games we played, this is just my crazy cousin, Ben, using his ear as a Christmas tree!

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After everyone was done making fools of themselves, we took some family pictures. We had everyone from our family all in one house (which doesn’t happen all that often) so we did the typical grandkids and family pictures. SOMEONE (ah-hem Andy) had the terrific idea of putting together an awkward family picture with random members of each family. So without further adieu…our weird and akward family photos…and yes I realize these are nothing more than for our own bizarre entertainment! =)

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Thanks for stopping by Sparkling Twine! Have a great weekend!!!