Happy Birthday!

So today is not only Mother’s Day, but it is my dog’s birthday!  Ellie is 3 today! Did you see her cute new collar? That was her birthday present and I got it from an Etsy store called Charmanique. She has a lot of cute collars and leashes in her store. I love all the trendy patterns! She will even embroider the collar for just a couple dollars more.


In honor of El’s birthday, I made a simple birthday card. My goal is to use up more of my DSP so this is a great simple layout to do so.

DSP birthday

And one more thing =) My husband made the best dinner the other night! He loves to grill so for Christmas I bought him this grilling pan from Bobby Flay. This was his first time using it and he really liked it. He seasoned some chicken breast and once they were done, he topped it with cheese. He then added some grilled onions, cilantro, tomato (to just a few since he doesn’t like tomato) and a squeeze of lime juice. These were delicious…maybe my new favorite meal!


I hope you enjoy your Sunday and get to relax a bit! Happy Mother’s Day to everyone even if you only have a four-legged one =)

Ellie 1

Stampin’ Up! Happy Hour


Hope you are having a good Saturday! This morning we went to Strut Your Mutt which is a fundraiser for homeless dogs in the area. It was a lot of fun to see all the different breeds of dogs, but I think my pup was tired out afterward. Looks pretty comfortable…right?

Photo Sep 28, 11 05 56 AM

It was nice to be outside on such a nice day, but now it is starting to rain so I came inside and there is no better time to stamp! I have had my eye on the sketch at Seize the Sketch for a while now and am just getting to it with a couple hours left on the deadline. My friend is going on vacation to Mexico in a couple weeks for her anniversary so I thought a card would be nice. I kept this card fun and tropical by using the colors Coastal Cabana, Melon Mambo and Lucky Limeaid (retired). I embossed a piece of Coastal Cabana which the Chevron embossing folder and added a flag stamped with Cheers from the set Happy Hour. Using my markers, I colored the drink and layered it on a large scallop punch.

Photo Sep 28, 5 02 36 PM



I also wanted to share my fall wreath with you. I have a basic grape vine wreath that I just switch out the accents for each theme/holiday. I bought some of the autumn berry accessories from Michael’s and tied those onto the wreath. The awesome burlap flowers are courtesy of my amazing cousin. She made a whole bunch of these for a bridal shower. She was so sweet to give me a couple and they added the perfect finish touch to the wreath. Thanks for stopping by!

Photo Sep 22, 5 18 54 PM

Books worth reading!!

Ok, so I know I mostly post about stamping and the occasional hiking trip, but I have to tell you about this new author. Her name is Colleen Hoover and she is super talented. In my free time I like to also read, but for a while I was having a hard time finding books that I could really get into. Then I just happened to stumble upon Slammed and completely fell in love with Colleen’s writing style. She is so funny and witty and her writing style is unlike anything I have ever read before. She develops the characters so that you fall in love with them and are captivated from the beginning.  Point of Retreat is the sequel to Slammed and is just as amazing.

Point of Retreat        Slammed

Collen also has another series of book and the first book is titled Hopeless. Ugh..I can’t even begin to express how amazing this book is!! You just have to read it. Today the sequel to Hopeless was released and I read it in 5 hours. It was that good! It is difficult to say, but I think I like this series better than the Slammed series.. Anything by Colleen will be great read. I hope that by posting this, one person checks out this awesome author and enjoys these books as much as I did.

Hopeless       Losing Hope

Hiking – Little Grand Canyon, Illinois


A couple friends and I went hiking at Little Grand Canyon in Pomona, Illinois yesterday and I wanted to share a couple pictures. This is a truly unique hiking experience. We hiked the 3.6 mile trail counter-clockwise and started off hiking downhill to the beginning of Little Grand Canyon. The trail is so amazing because you actually hike down, through the canyon.


The hike can be a bit difficult as water does flow through the canyon and rocks can be slippery. It is an adventurous task to navigate the way down, finding all the little stairs and hand holds carved into the canyon floor and walls.


Once at the bottom, the trail winds through the flood plain beneath towering bluffs. The hike up is just as enjoyable (and difficult) as the hike down. Once out of the canyon the trail winds around to an overlook over the flood plain.


All in all, an adventurous and wonderful hike!

Update: I started a new blog that features just hiking. Check it out HERE!

Northern Illinois Weekend Trip – Starved Rock State Park


We took a couple days away and went camping and hiking in Northern Illinois and wanted to share a couple pictures. We started out hiking at Starved Rock State Park in Oglesby, Illinois and if you have never been here, it is an amazing place to visit. It is about an hour and a half from Chicago along the Illinois River. The State Park boasts 18 canyons with seasonal waterfalls. A couple of the canyons were closed due to flooding, but we were still able to see some amazing sights. We had been here a couple years ago and were excited to come back especially since there had been a lot of rain lately so that meant that the waterfalls would really be flowing. The first canyon we visited was Wild Cat Canyon and the water was flowing!

      Northern Illinois 8

It was an amazing sight, but it got even better! There was a second waterfall flowing from the canyon! Amazing!

Northern Illinois 1

One of the other amazing waterfalls was in French Canyon. This is one of my favorite canyons because from the beginning of a trail it looks like a peaceful waterfalls flowing out of a canyon.

Northern Illinois 6

Don’t let a little water deter you, climb over the rocks and into the canyon to see…

Northern Illinois 7

A beautiful waterfall in a hidden canyon.

Northern Illinois 3

But, waterfalls are not the only thing you will see at Starved Rock. Amazing rock formations, creeks and trails await you at every turn. Northern Illinois 2

We also visited Matthiessen State Park which is only a couple minutes from Starved Rock. It is definitely an amazing place to visit if you are in the area. Unfortunately, the water was so high due to all the rain, that we were not able to hike through the Dells. All in all a great time. I hope you can find a hiking trail near you and enjoy the beauty of nature.

Update: I started a new blog all about hiking. Check it out HERE!

Home Made Doggie Treats


Well our little puppy (not anymore) turned 2 this past weekend. I wanted to do a little something for her so I made her some peanut butter dog treats. I originally saw the recipe on Pinterest from Pink Pistachio. I changed up the recipe a bit so see below.

Dog Treats 1

Dog Treats 2



1 cup flour

1/4 cup oats

1/2 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon applesauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients and knead into a dough. Roll out dough. Cut the desired shape of the treats. Bake until golden brown.


I wanted the treats to be bite size so I used a medicine measuring cup to cut the dough into circles and then cut them in half. I baked them for 9 minutes.

And a quick pic of the birthday girl =)


If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Central Arkansas Vacation


So one of the other things I love doing besides stampin’ is hiking or just being in nature. There is no better feeling than getting away and hiking down a trail to discover the beauty of nature. Luckily, my husband and I share the same passion so that is what most of our vacations center around. Today, I wanted to share a couple pictures from our trip.IMG_3763

One of the places we camped at during the week was Petit Jean State Park. This park was gorgeous and had several amazing hikes. There was a overlook at the farthest eastern point on the mountain and this is the view from that overlook. It was slightly cloudy that day, but it still felt like you could see forever. I love the different colors of the farms below and the trees dotting the landscape.



Another place we visited was Haw Creek Falls Recreation Area and we checked out the falls. This is a favorite swimming hole for the locals. The falls are not tall by any means, but they are impressive in their own way.


Just up the road from Haw Creek on Highway 123 is a one lane bridge that crosses Big Piney Creek. One thing that I will never forget about this trip to Arkansas is the color of the water. The water is a color unlike one I have ever seen here in Illinois. It is a mesmerizing mix of blues and greens and super clear.



Another place for great hiking in Western Arkansas is Devil’s Den State Park. The hike that we took had 2 waterfalls, amazing rock formations and views of Lee Creek. Definitely check out this park if you are ever in the area.



Ok, last of pictures. We called this vacation the “Vacation of Overlooks” because we drove up so many mountains to see amazing views from the overlooks. These are a couple views from Mount Magazine which is the tallest point in Arkansas.

All in all, we had a great trip and it is always nice to escape for a bit into nature. If you have any questions about places to go or sights to see  in Central Arkansas, please feel free to contact me at kalkal55@gmail.com.