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Iowa summer sights 2015, Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Council Bluffs Iowa

What a weekend! We were in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area for a weekend long basketball tournament and had plenty of time to check out some sites in between games.

The Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge is a unique walking bridge that is suspended over the Missouri River. You start one side in Iowa and cross over into Nebraska. An interesting and fun way to stand in 2 states at once! Its unique “S” shaped curvature makes it even more fun to cross and the suspension concept allows for movement you can feel as you go across. Scary? Yes. But makes for some great views.

We stopped halfway across and watched the boats speed under us and also spent some time sitting on the bench at the midway point. The sights were awesome. There was a small carnival/ food show going on just below the bridge which made it interesting watching the rides. They also had a helicopter that was going up and down giving rides. It would fly low past the bridge and wave at the people walking.
The plaques at the end of the bridge say that the bridge was awarded the honor of being the world’s most spectacular pedestrian bridge by Travel+Leisure. It also states the bridge is built of twin 203 foot pylons and that 80 steel cables support its deck. The placard also states the bridge itself is 2300 feet in length making it the nations longest pedestrian bridge.



My kids loved the opportunity to stand in 2 states at once!

If you are looking for a neat adventure in this area that is free of charge and offers spectacular views, check this out! It was a find we tripped on when we left the basketball tournament at the CenturyLink Center, and is easily accessed from the downtown area. It would cover a travel spot in both Iowa and Nebraska and one I would recommend seeing.

Until the next stop!

 

Super easy meatloaf muffins

We are a family of five, and our schedule is always busy with sports, FFA and 4H, church, dance and gymnastics and school. I am constantly looking for super easy recipes that my kids will actually eat. I can’t say that I will always cook the healthiest, but it’s healthier than eating out or going through a drive-thru. This is a super easy recipe that my kids love. It has only four ingredients and takes minimal time. Serve it with mashed potatoes, and a side salad and you’re set! Good luck, and I hope it’s a hit for your family too! 

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Start with the 3 basic ingredients you will need. I always use 2 pounds of hamburger since my family loves leftovers and these freeze easily. You will need 2# hamburger, a box of pork (or another flavor if you prefer) stove top stuffing, and 2 eggs….

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Mix together well, it will be crumbly but if you prefer it less so add a little milk to help hold things together…

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Once mixed grease muffin tins with vegetable cooking spray. I usually make my muffins small so 2# will make roughly 18 muffin cups. Adjust as you like!

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Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  After 30 minutes, brush tops with topping of you choice. I like ketchup or barbeque sauce. Then bake an additional 10 minutes. They can be moister or drier based on your preference. My kids like a crisper outside so mine tend to be drier.

Recipe below:

2 pounds lean ground beef

1 box pork Stove Top Stuffing mix

2 eggs

Milk if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray muffin tins with cooking spray. Recipe yields roughly 18 muffin cups. Fill tins 3/4 full and push into muffin cups until firm. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, spread tops with sauce to avoid drying out and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Serve warm or freeze.

  
 

Iowa summer sights 2015, tree in the middle of the road

I forgot to post this one! I have so many pictures I have to get to from this summer and the “Iowa sights” my kids and I experienced that I have not had time to write about. This is a “tree in the middle of the road” that is well-known in Iowa as a tourist stop. Not much to look at except that it is hugeย way bigger than I had planned or envisioned.

My daughter and I decided on a June afternoon to head out and find it. We drove the back gravel roads until I finally had to call my husband to come and show me where to go. Rumor has it several cars have run into it. Old wives tales say to avoid running around it 3 times (bad luck I guess?) but all the same… it is one of those bucket list things I want to say I have seen and now I can say it.

If ever in Iowa… look for the tree in the middle of the road! Directions can be found here:

Tree in the middle of the road, Iowa

Interesting little cemetary along the route, the church is gone.. but the steps remain. Records show a Methodist church was once there

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Iowa summer sights 2015, Willow township

Iowa brings a lot of beautiful things in the summer. Beautiful sunsets, the sound of the grasshoppers in the fields, the smell and sound (yea sound) of corn growing. For me summer in Iowa also means a break from routine and a chance to get out and explore. Like I had said in my previous post, my goal is to get my children out this summer and give them an opportunity to see some Iowa sights. The second stop we made was to the Willow township cemetery where many generations of my family are buried and where my Great Grandfather Edwin Adamson’s one room school-house still stands. I love history especially family history so what a great opportunity to show my children their roots.

The day was beautiful. Sun shining, no humidity and no rain, a first for us in a long time. We went to the cemetery on the Wednesday just after Memorial Day. I was able to easily find my Grandparents graves and right next to them my great aunt and uncle. I do know that there are many generations across the road in the “old cemetery” part as well, but I could not identify them or begin to know where to look. But I know they are there, and it is fun to walk among the headstones and try to identify family names I have heard growing up. My second cousin also has two children buried here. I always make a stop to see several other family friend graves as well. Walking through and seeing names so easily recognized as part of my past. Sheer, Burkhart, Smith, Shirbroun, Huffaker, all names I have stories and history with. What a great thing to show my kids. The school house shown above is the one my great grandfather attended. As the story goes it was used as a voting place for a period of time and it was then they added the handicapped accessible ramp. It is now not being used at all. Locked up we were unable to go inside but I have been told the original chalkboard is still hanging, the old voting machine is still in there and walking in is like going back in time. I wish we would have gone in.

The first two stops of summer have brought back good memories for me. I can only hope my kids (2 of the 3 were able to go) can look back and have happy memories as well.

Until the next adventure happy summer!

Iowa sights summer 2015, Mahanay Bell Towerย 

I am here! I have been gone for a while I know, but spring sprung up on me with a rush of kids activities, wrapping up the year at school and getting our summer started. Despite all my best efforts, I did not get any blogging done.

My goal this summer is to spend some time working on taking pictures, and taking my kids to visit some IOWA sights before they fly the nest and I never showed them how to appreciate their home state. We travel yearly and we have seen much of the United States and we are very blessed to have those opportunities, but…. I still think my children should spend some time visiting the sights Iowa has to offer.

(Photo credit to greenecountynewsonline)

The first stop for me was to take the kids to a sight I visited when I was a child. I can remember my grandpa and my dad on separate occasions taking me up to the top of the Mahanay Bell Tower in Jefferson, Iowa. The bell tower was a sight that was known to everyone who lived in SW Iowa and you didn’t live in Greene County unless you went up to the top.

According to Wikipedia and the tour guide who took us to the top, the bell tower will be celebrating its 50th year this year. It was built in 1966 by the Mr. and Mrs. Floyd Mahanay estate. It has 14 bells in the top that play on the quarter and full hour and has a whole listing of songs it will feature seasonally. It is located on the city square right next to the courthouse. The views of the sprawling Iowa countryside are spectacular and the price is unbeatable. $3 for adults and all children are free. How can you beat that?

The bell tower is on the city square and right across the street was a Ben Franklin… anyone remember what Ben Franklin is? The old five and dime type store was a fun stop that reminds me of summers growing up when making a trip to Ben Franklin was a huge deal. We would go by various colors of floss to make friendship bracelets, hook pictures and yarn. It was so much fun going up and down the aisles, and although my memories are alive and intact, I think I found our stop there more fun than my children did.

After a stop to the Ben Franklin store we crossed the street and boarded the glass elevator for our ride to the top of the tower, timing it just right so we would hear and see the bells toll.

This is a picture I took of downtown and the streets that lead out of town to the country. You can see multiple towns from the top after riding up the 120 feet by glass elevator. The great part is that once at the top they offer the popular game “I spy” for the kids. They have to find all kinds of things such as a tractor, something yellow, a bicycle, etc.

   So if you are looking for something to do with the kids that is cheap and offers a glimpse at Iowa history, check out the Mahanay Bell Tower in Jefferson Iowa! It is worth the trip… and bonus- there is a Twin Shoppe Ice Cream shop right across the street which makes a great place to stop after ๐Ÿ™‚