It’s the most wonderful time of the year

pumpkin cannonCollege students rejoice – sweatpants weather is back folks! As are all the wonderful seasonal clichés like UGG-ly shoes, bonfires, football games, and pumpkin spice lattes (you know you love them, admit it).

Diets are gradually ceasing now that swimsuit season is over. More importantly, we can now curl up and accomplish our homework while being wrapped in a Snuggie. Life is good.

If the seasonal anticipation is nagging at you, there are already numerous activities available to pump you up for autumn, besides the obvious event of raking up a pile of leaves and then shoving people into it.

Tanner’s Apple Orchard, located in Speer, IL, has enough excitement to easily entertain you for a whole day. With a 20 acre pumpkin patch, wagon rides, and an Apple Bin Bakery, there’s a bit of something for everyone. They’re open 10-5 daily and if you make it out that way, you MUST try the apple cider donuts.


If you’re looking for a pumpkin patch more locally, Country Corner is located in Alpha, IL and hosts a handful of activities throughout October. There’s a Giant Pumpkin Canon that’s in full-operation mode on weekends; who doesn’t want to see pumpkins blasted out of a canon?

Country Corner also has a new activity this year called the Zombie Quest. This event goes on from 7-10 on Friday and Saturday nights now through October 31st.  Prepare to shoot some zombies with a paintball gun while riding aboard the Zombie Train!

On October 18, 24, and 25th, Ashley April performs. Ashley Bearden, the daughter half of the father-daughter duo, confirmed, “Country Corner hires us to come out during certain weekends to perform from 1-4 pm. My dad and I sing various songs from either older country or newer country, with a slight blend of modern hit songs.”

There are countless haunted houses in the Quad Cities with creatures lurking in the shadows to make you scream. Factory of Fear in Moline, Terror at Skellington Manor in Rock Island, and Torment at Twelve Hundred in Orion all charge a fifteen dollar admission fee and are open every Friday and Saturday from 7- midnight.

For the child at heart, Niabi Zoo is hosting Boo at the Zoo again this year on October 24th from 10-3.

The city of Davenport will also be hosting the Halloween Parade on October 31st at 1 pm.

You have to take advantage of this season while you can; it always seems like by the time summer ends, the snow starts to arrive too soon. Although you could be purchasing your new fake Christmas tree at the same time you buy a Halloween costume this year, load up on the candy corn, apple cider, and mini-candy bars while they’re on sale.

Autumn will be gone before you know it, and Santa doesn’t drink pumpkin spice lattes.

Honor society truths

“Hey Ashely, Have you heard anything about this Phi, Theta, Kappa, something or other?”

“O.M.G. Kristina, isn’t that some type of sorority?”

“I’m not sure. I got this invitation to become a member, but there’s a fee to join. I’m not sure this is legit. What do you think?”

Perhaps you received an invitation to join Phi Theta Kappa like Kristina but didn’t respond thinking it was a scam. It’s time to set the record straight. Continue reading “Honor society truths”

Triumph overcomes tragedy in Oregon

“That will never happen here!”

oregon-shooting-victims ktla dot comIt’s easy to find comfort in that statement when you are more than 2000 miles away from a crisis. But we can no longer hide behind such a disguise. Being from a smaller school or a family-like environment or even a close-knit community – it’s not enough. They were not exempt. We are not exempt. Continue reading “Triumph overcomes tragedy in Oregon”

Gabbing with Grunt: If you’re grown up and you know it, clap your hands *clap**clap*

Sometimes my back hurts, or my knees ache. My joints get stiff all the time. You can blame it on what you will (me laying in bed watching Netflix is so not the root of my pain) but my body did not always ache this way.

I blame it on age, but older people tell me I’m too young. Poppy-cock!

If you’re old enough to vote, you are old enough to crab about your back hurting. You are definitely old enough to bark about the money you don’t have. I’d say you even have full reign to “pause for dramatic effect” make your own decisions.

Older folk look down on our generation at times and criticize us for being on our “cellular devices” too much – yes, phones have snagged us into some trouble a time or two – but just because we have more technology does not necessarily mean that we don’t have fewer problems.

I’m not going out on a limb by saying that growing up is tough. Granted, having more control over what monopolizes my time is pretty fantastic, but so much changes along the way.

“I started to feel like an adult when I had to start to buying my own things, like food,” offered BHC student Brett Banfield. “Going out to eat and doing other things, I use my own money instead of asking for a couple bucks to go out.”

Madison Krause, a BHC student hunting for a major in criminal justice, reflected, “The moment it hit me that I was a grown up was when I walked in on my first 8 AM summer class. I thought to myself ‘Well this sucks, so I must be a grown up now!’”

There’s no fancy award for when you have to act like an adult, which is too bad because it would make doing what you don’t want to do that much easier.

Before you know it, you’re caught in a cycle of the same thing every single day, then every week. Work, school, work, school…did I mention I have work and I go to school?

Being on your feet for 6 + hours a day at a job can make you feel like an adult pretty quick. Especially when you have a job where you have to think and act quickly, all the while keeping a smile plastered to your face.

“I think I realized I was finally an adult when I was going to school from 9 AM to 5 PM, then work from 6PM to 1 AM, and then having to do it all over again the next day,” sighed Trisha Rutledge, a BHC student preparing herself for the nursing program.

“I was so drained everyday that I’d forget what day it even was. One night I was so tired after work I just broke down on the way home, but that’s when I realized working so hard is worth it to be successful.”

It’s pretty rare that anyone straight out of high school has their dream job right off the bat, which is why many of us are attending college. You start hearing that phrase “Well at least I’m making money” being used as an excuse for working miserable hours.

BHC student Payton Loete agrees, “I think the most frightening thing about being an adult is the troubles of finance. Making decisions based upon money makes me crazy. It is extremely hard to balance the things I need with the things I want.”

Sometimes the universe has a funny way of testing to see whether you sink or swim. Work and school may seem like they take up a large expanse of our time right now, but every one of us has some type of stressful life situation we have to deal with on top of everything else.

Life, thou art a heartless *bleep**bleep**bleep*.

“Growing up to me has been rough,” confided BHC student Logan Hamilton. “Growing up with depression, especially, has hastened the experience because you learn to cope a lot quicker. It’s great to feel the satisfaction that new responsibilities and experiences bring, but I miss waking up and feeling a sense of wonder.”

BHC student Holly Block admitted, “I had to grow up at a young age. I felt like an adult throughout high school. After graduation, I felt more in place with the world. It wasn’t me realizing I was an adult, it was me finally being accepted as an adult.”

Yes, we now have bills and obligations and adult-ish things to do – reading a newspaper, completing a crossword puzzle, or maybe balancing a checkbook – but there was a reason why all throughout high school we were looking forward to this!

Have you taken the time today to appreciate that you are old enough and capable enough to achieve anything you set your heart on?

There will always be bumps in the road, but it’s how you maneuver around, shoot over, or blast through them that matters. Your goof-ups now will just make for entertaining stories for your kiddos and (gasp) grandkids. Gray hairs won’t really be too noticeable at first on my little blonde head, will they?

Black Hawk program helps improve English

esl 1If you are not from the USA, but are here for some reason and would like to study or improve your English, I have a good tip to give you. English as a Second Language is a program at Black Hawk College (yes, at BHC!) where people from other countries can learn English or improve writing, pronunciation, grammar or all. Continue reading “Black Hawk program helps improve English”

Good Eats! Cheese. Enough said.

When doing research for recipes that appeal to college students, it is believed that the college student diet consists of ramen and pizza. Though not completely untrue, it is overlooking an under-appreciated staple item that can make anything taste good. Put enough cheese on anything and Continue reading “Good Eats! Cheese. Enough said.”

Looking backward, moving forward

Drinking and driving will get people nowhere in life. On this last September, my life changed. Three friends from my old high school were in an accident. It all started at two in the morning on September 28, 2014. Danny Debaker, Andy Adams, and Kaleb Hougland were hit by a drunk driver. This driver was two times the legal limit. Also he had marijuana in his system. The driver was going seventy-five in a thirty-five zone. Continue reading “Looking backward, moving forward”