Day Date Brings Unexpected Fun

The photo does not do this burrito justice-it was huge and was full of fresh flavors!
The photo does not do this burrito justice-it was huge and was full of fresh flavors! This will not be our last date at La Juanita’s!

Last week my husband and I went on a day date. With the busyness of the holidays and raising two kids, we haven’t had much alone time lately. So, when my husband called me at 11:30 AM the other day asking if I wanted to meet for lunch, I eagerly accepted. I was spending the day cleaning and running errands, so this was an unexpected and welcome distraction. Although I knew the reason for the date was because his truck was in the shop and he needed a ride, I was glad he was making some time in his busy day for me.




I scrambled to get ready (I was in sweats and needed to become somewhat presentable) and formulated a plan. We typically have a difficult time deciding where to eat, so I took it upon myself to at least have my idea well thought out this time. Soon, I was headed downtown to meet my favorite guy.

Once inside La Juanita, you'll have to check out the murals. You can find many parts of our community on the walls.
Once inside La Juanita, you’ll have to check out the murals. They add a special touch to the burrito eating experience!

I suggested we try La Juanita‘s for lunch, and he obliged. He hadn’t been there since his college days, and it had been a few years for me, so it was about time we checked it out together! La Juanita’s is known in Storm Lake for incredible food, especially their burritos. And, let me tell you, they did not disappoint! We each got a steak and cheese burrito and were glad we did. Maybe it was because I forgot to eat breakfast in the rush of getting kids ready for school, but that burrito was AMAZING! I could tell it was made with fresh ingredients and a bit of cooking magic. The prices were reasonable too. For a little over $12 we each had a huge burrito and a drink.

Check out all these amazing treats at Delicias Bakery! They make tamales on the weekends. I cant wait to try those soon!
Check out all these amazing treats at Delicias Bakery! I can’t wait to stop by on a weekend and try their tamales!

We had a chance to chat a bit and enjoy the atmosphere before it was time go the second stop on our day date. We walked along Lake Avenue to Delicias Bakery. This is another great locally-owned business. The owner, Diego, is very friendly and is pro at making fun treats. The lineup of treats is huge! And, if you haven’t been there before, Diego will explain what he has made for the day.

I’ve been to Delicias Bakery a few times, and although there seems to be a little different selection each time, I knew whatever we picked out would be fun to try. (Helpful hint: Once you get to Delicias, grab a tray and tongs at the front counter. Then, head to the back, and fill up your tray before paying for your treats.) The sugar coated and fruit-filled pastries and breads don’t break the bank either. For less than $2 we enjoyed some new-to-us sweets.

Here are the treats we enjoyed on our trip to Delicias Bakery.
The treats at Delicias Bakery were tasty!

We opted to enjoy our treats in the bakery. There are only a few tables in the front of the store, so feel free to take your goodies home for enjoyment if you feel so inclined. The baked items are more ‘bready’ and less sweet than the doughnuts and cookies than I’m use to but would be great with a cup of coffee if that is your sort of thing.

We shared our treats and enjoyed a bit more chatting before my guy walked me to my car. It was lightly snowing, which added just a touch of romantic ambiance to our walk. While I didn’t start my day expecting a date, it was a fun way to spend a little extra alone time with my guy. It didn’t take more than a lunch hour and $15 to add something special and unexpected to our day. An extra bonus was not having to find and pay a sitter. I have a feeling we’ll be having more day dates in the future!

Double Date on the Green

Double Date on the Green
A double date at the golf course was a great way to spend time with friends and my hubby!

A date night post is long overdue! It is hard to make date nights happen with our busy family schedule. If you’ve found tricks to make date nights happen on a consistent basis, let me know your secrets! But until we are empty-nesters (only 13-plus years from now), we will do the best we can to fit adult time in with the craziness of kids!

We did manage a double-date with our friends earlier this summer (busy life also means I am behind on posting a few things!). They asked us to golf with them on a weeknight. We found a sitter and happily agreed! This was an activity we knew the guys would even enjoy.

The husbands golf together on a local league, so they get plenty of practice and enjoy extra time on the course. My friend had been a golfer before kiddos and was looking forward to time on the links again. Then there was me. Prior to this date, I had hit golf balls at a driving range a few times and had only ever played a hole or two on an actual course.

Fore!
Giving golf a shot! Do not judge my form-I am still learning!

But I was ready! I had golf clubs; pink ones at that! I had tees and brand new golf balls; all pink as well. And, I had a coordinating outfit (any guess on the color?!). I figured if I didn’t know what I was doing, I was going at least look good and make people think I’d done this before! Sometimes it is a lot more about having a positive attitude and focusing on fun rather than worrying about skill level or performance!

We had a great time! We devised a variation of best-ball as our scoring plan. None of us really cared about our score though. We were just looking to have fun. And that we did! I found that I am NOT a natural born golfer, which was really not a surprise. I learned a few things though and had some much needed adult-time with a group of amazing people. One of my shots was actually used, so that was an added bonus!

Golf Night
Great night. Great friends. What more can I say?!

After finishing 9 holes of chasing golf balls, we had worked up an appetite. We grabbed a bite to eat at a local establishment before we called it a night. It really didn’t matter where we golfed or where we ate, it was all about having fun with great company! So whether it’s actual golf, mini-golf, Frisbee golf, or even ‘golf’ the card game, grab a couple friends and book a sitter if you need one. A week night date might be just what you need to recharge and get your fix of fun!

P.S. Since this double date on the green, my husband and I have managed to golf two more times sans kiddos. We golfed on our anniversary, which was more about having fun than being romantic!

Taking Time to Relax
I found time to relax a bit while on our double date night. It was pretty great!

Then, over the weekend we found ourselves without kiddos when they were invited to their very first birthday party without us (EEEK!). Instead of reminiscing about how they grew up way too fast, we hit the links again. Three dates on the golf course within the matter of a couple months must be some kind of record! My golf skills are improving, and while I am far from being a master golfer, I will be ready for more golfing fun, and dates, in the future!

Two Month Blogging Adventure Update

Vander Haag Museum Fun
The girls just loved these little statues located near the entrance of the Vander Haag Museum in Sanborn, Iowa.

Two months! My blogging journey as Homegrown Iowa Girl started two months ago and has already taken me on many great adventures! I am still learning how to navigate the blog world, but I am having fun along the way. Being able to have adventures with my girls, date nights with my guy, and experience all the small town fun Iowa has to offer is not a bad gig!

So far, our Girls Adventures have taken us to Jones Nursery and Garden Center, on a rainbow walk, to the Buena Vista County Fair, strawberry picking at Getting’s Garden, an afternoon of exploring Sanborn, Iowa, and a day of pottery painting fun. My girls and I have had a few other adventures I can’t wait to share with you very soon!

White House Cupcakery
We had a fabulous date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa.

Our Date Night in Sioux City starting my blogging venture. From there, we hosted a game night group date at our home where a vintage board game created an evening we won’t soon forget! Our most recent date at the White House Cupcakery was also a one-of-a-kind evening. We hope to get back there again before summer’s end.

My family has found a lot of Small Town Iowa Fun along the way as well. From Fiesta Latina and Bully Bullhead Weekend, to meeting local law enforcement over sno cones, to getting ready for the 4th of July and RAGBRAI, we are finding all sorts of things to do in our little corner of Iowa. Many memories were also made at the rodeo in Cherokee, Iowa, the Relay for Life, a last minute stop in Elma, Iowa, and a fishing derby in Storm Lake, Iowa.

Posing with Lieutenant Cole
Lieutenant Cole from the SLPD and my girls at the Cool Down with the Cops event at Tropical Sno in Storm Lake, Iowa.

One of my goals in starting this blog was to inspire others to make every day an adventure. I hope that in following our journey you are finding fun and creative adventures of your own and enjoying all Iowa has to offer. Having fun and making memories can be infectious!

Please share this blog with your family and friends. The more the merrier! Be sure to ‘subscribe’ to the blog by entering your email address on the left-hand side of the screen or on a mobile device, click on the menu box in the upper right corner and scroll down a bit to enter your email address. Be sure to click ‘subscribe.’ An email will be sent to you to confirm that you want to receive blog updates. Once you confirm, you’ll be all set to get my blog post updates right in your inbox. You can also follow me on Facebook and Pinterest. Having more subscribers and followers will allow me to bring you bigger and better blog posts in the future!




Picking Pals
We made sweet memories on our adventure to Getting’s Garden near Sanborn.

Thank you for your support in this journey and for reading along the past two months! I’d love to hear from you. Let me know what you like or what you’d like to hear about. Your feedback is very much appreciated!

So until next time, find joy in the simple things, don’t be afraid to get a little dirty, and use your imagination to make every day an adventure!

Living Deliciously at White House 220 Cupcakery

White House 220
The White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa offers a menu of yummy breads and cupcakes on Friday and Saturday evenings.

Yummy! Fun! Those two words pretty much sum up the date night my husband and I had at White House 220 Cupcakery in Alta, Iowa. The cupcakery, owned by Peg Hinkeldey, is an adorable venue-both inside and out. The cupcakery opened less than 2 years ago and has proved to be a delicious adventure.

The cupcakery sells gourmet cupcakes on Friday and Saturday mornings each week from 9 AM to 12 PM or until the cupcakes are sold out. During the summer, the cupcakery is open from 6:00-9:00 PM on Friday and Saturday evenings. So, when my husband and I found ourselves kid-less (thanks to my parents), we decided to try out the mini cupcakes, bread, and sangria we’d been hearing about.

We stopped in the store and picked out some cupcakes to enjoy. With no kids we might as well go for dessert first, right? The flavors are different each night, but the Monster Cookie and Upside Down Pineapple we tried were pretty fabulous! We sampled the house-made sangria (which was so good we each decided to fill up our glasses-mine with added fruit and his without), and made our way to the backyard.

Inviting Outdoor Seating
The outdoor seating was inviting, relaxing and super fun. It can be romantic, too, if you are looking for that sort of thing!

I must say, walking into the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery was like walking into a different city. The brick backdrop, music, and outdoor seating was reminiscent of downtown Iowa City or Old Market in Omaha, not what you think to find in small-town Alta, Iowa. Old chairs serve as swings and an old door hanging from a tree is a table. A life-size Jenga game sat in a corner, inviting visitors to have fun. I’ve also heard a bicycle built for two often sits in the yard just waiting to be taken for joy ride.

Peg and her husband, Bruce, are host and hostess Friday and Saturday nights. Although they each have day-time careers, they are perfect for these jobs! It was like being at a backyard party with friends instead of being at an eating establishment. Peg brought us a bread menu, and Bruce shared info about the craft beers and local wines with guests. The menu had a handful of specialty focaccia (Italian flatbread) and fresh baguettes to choose from. We chose the Focaccia Italian Alfredo.

Playing Jenga
Trying to beat my husband playing Jenga in the backyard at White House 220 Cupcakery.

While we waited for our bread, we sipped our sangria and enjoyed each others company in the intimate atmosphere. I eventaully talked my husband into a match of Jenga. I’m competitive and had fun trying to beat him. (I secretly wanted to put my name on a Jenga block if I won.) It was harder than I thought. The stack of blocks was eventually taller than me, it slowly stated to sway more on each turn, and then, as I was pulling a block from the stack, it came clattering to the ground in a huge heap. He won. He signed his name. I think we need a rematch!

Yummy Food!
Yum! Words cannot describe how delicious this was!

We enjoyed our Focaccia Italian Alfredo which was topped with creamy alfredo sauce, Italian sausage, melty cheese, chopped tomatoes, and green onions. It tasted as amazing as it sounds! You need to try it for yourself! We totally recommend it.

Before we left, we were already talking about our next trip to the White House 220 Cupcakery. The atmosphere, food, and service were top-notch. We want to bring our friends and our kiddos (that’s two different trips). Peg shared that the neighborhood kids often come with their parents and have a blast playing Jenga. Others come to enjoy a glass of wine and relax with a good book. Groups of friends come to hang out or try new wines and beers. The backyard is perfect for all kinds of fun.

The backyard is also open during regular Cupcakery hours. So feel free to enjoy your cupcake inside or out. Peg shared that the little cupcakes freeze well, so you can get your cupcake fix any day of the week. If that’s not a good reason to buy a big box of yummy cupcakes, I don’t know what is!

Great Date Night
We had an amazing time on our date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery!

The White House 220 Cupcakery hosts parties, special events, and can make cupcakes for all your special occasions. Check them out on Facebook to stay up to date on their schedule of events and most importantly, the current list of cupcake flavors!

We had a memorable date night at the White House 220 Cupcakery. We tried something a little different and had a great time just hanging out. You never know what fun you’ll find when you try something new. If you find yourself in the area, be sure to stop by the cupcakery on a Friday or Saturday to live deliciously!

Game Night: Group Date Fun

Looking for a fun date night idea? I have an idea for you that involves fun, laughter, and friends. Recently, my husband and I hosted a game night at our home and had a blast! And yes, even though we were in our home and our friends were over, I count this as a date night. Our kids were in bed, and we were doing something other than cleaning or watching TV. That has to count for something!

Apples to Apples Game
Apples to Apples is a favorite at game night!

For the last year or so, we’ve been getting together with three other couples for game night. The hosting couple gets to choose the games and menu. We’ve done all sorts of things such as playing card or board games, eating out at a local restaurant, and having a family-friendly backyard party complete with s’mores. When the group first started, some of us didn’t know each other very well, but over games and food, we have developed friendships. (Which is a great benefit in small town Iowa.)

For this particular game night, everyone brought snacks to share. We ate yummy goodies and played a round of Apples to Apples, a hilarious board game of comparisons. The laughter and conversation started rolling. The game ended, and I pulled out a secret game I had been saving just for this occasion. I scored a never-opened copy of The New Newlyweds Game, copyright 1986 for just $2 at a thrift shop. It proved to be big time fun! The object of the game was to have the wives guess the husbands’ answers to Memory, Personality, Sensuality, and Potpourri questions and vice-versa.

The New Newlywed Game
This game was definitely worth the $2 I paid at a thrift shop. The laughter didn’t stop!

I’ll apologize now; we were laughing so hard that I completely failed to snap photos. (Plus, due to the content of the game, I’m sure my friends would appreciate having their identities hidden!)  The game was straight out of the ’80’s; before being politically correct was a priority, and before TV doctors included McSteamy and McDreamy.

We all quickly learned that we don’t know our spouses as well as we thought. To the defense of all of us, the questions were really tough. This was not a multiple choice test! We learned a lot. Like, one of the husbands would like to break out his MC Hammer pants. (Pretty sure we will hold him to that!) More than one of the participants got schooled on the meaning of whoopie, which has nothing to do with Whoopie Goldberg or whoopie pies, in case you are wondering!

The Newlywed Game Questions
The questions in The New Newlywed Game had us rolling in laughter and learning a thing or two!

Two rounds of the game left our cheeks hurting from laughter. That vintage game sure added a little spice to game night! I will be on the hunt for more of those gems but plan to bring out The New Newlywed Game at future game nights. So be prepared if you ever find yourself at my house for an evening of games!

How fun would it be to find other games and go all out to have an ’80’s-themed night?! Just imagine the big hair, neon colors, and playing cassettes on a boom box. A vintage game night can be made family-friendly too. We recently acquired a marble game called Avalanche which was made in 1966. After finding the rules online, my girls and I been having loads of fun.

The great thing is, you can break out a game and make it a family affair, group date, or a night at home for just the two of you. So, keep your eye out for those old boxes tucked away collecting dust and revive them. You never know what fun and laughter will come from opening the lid and sharing a game with others.

Get these games for yourself:

      

[Homegrown Iowa Girl is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.]

Night on the Town

Date night in Sioux City, Iowa
Date night in Sioux City, Iowa

We lucked out on this date! We rarely plan ahead, and this was no exception. We got a sitter a week in advance, knowing we needed an evening to ourselves. By the middle of the week we didn’t know what we were going to do. Ideas were thrown out in between getting supper on the table and tucking kids into bed, but no decisions were made. Then the sitter (a wonderful family friend) gave us a gift. She offered to keep our kiddos at her house overnight. What luck! We graciously accepted and started to think of what we would do with the extra time. By Friday morning, less than 12 hours to our alone time, we developed a plan. We decided to go to Sioux City, Iowa. I know this may not be considered a small town, but there is definitely some small town charm in this city.

Our date started on an hour-long drive. At that point, I honestly didn’t care where we were going or how long it took, I was just happy to be alone with my guy! After stopping at a couple of stores to pick up a few things, we headed toward the Historic 4th Street District. If you haven’t made it past the mall and shopping in Sioux City, you must head downtown! The older buildings are well-kept and have stunning architecture. We took a little stroll to check out the eateries before stopping at SoHo Kitchen and Bar. Check them out on Facebook  here. They had a variety of fun items on the menu. We shared an appetizer and the Bacon, Mac & Cheese Burger with Sweet Potato Fries (calories don’t count when you share, right?) in hopes of making it to the dessert round. Unfortunately, we didn’t have room for the giant warm chocolate chip cookie I had my eye on!

The food was great, and the company was even better. We were able to catch up and have much-needed adult conversation. We weren’t ready to call it a night yet, so we walked hand-in-hand down 4th Street as the sun started to set. I had to sneak a little romance in there somewhere! There were beautiful murals on the buildings as well as some great garden areas. Theaters, specialty shops, restaurants, and bars lined the streets. Downtown Sioux City is also the home to the Sioux City Art Center and the Sioux City Public Museum, which both offer free admission. They are definitely places I’d like to visit in the future.

After our stroll, we tried our luck at the newly built Hard Rock Casino. Truth be told, we aren’t much for gambling, but doing something different was on our agenda. We watched others win (and lose) money and checked out the music memorabilia. The energy was catching, but we decided to head home and keep our money in our pockets.

The hour drive home after a fun-packed night was well worth it. Being able to sleep in the next day without an early morning wake-up call from our kiddos was an added bonus. We picked up our girls from what they called ‘a vacation’ and went about our normal weekend activities. Our first date night of the summer was a success. I am already looking forward to the next one!