Thursday, July 2, 2015

Our Spontaneous North Shore Vacation...

We are sufficiently rested and "back to real life" after our "off the cuff" vacation to Minnesota's beautiful North Shore! (Not to be confused with Hawaii's North Shore, which, I'm sure, is kinda pretty too...)

Back to the "off the cuff" part...the hubs and I are notoriously "Type B" personalities. At the beginning of summer, we sat down and plotted out our free weekends and discovered that we had one. ONE. One entire free weekend all stinking summer long. Anyway, we decided that we would make that our family trip/camping weekend. Well, days passed, weeks passed and suddenly we found ourselves at the beginning of the week prior to the weekend that we were supposed to go camping...with no plans.

We were about to scratch the weekend, when we decided to just see what we could find. One resort wanted 300 bucks a night (ouch), one campground was full, another full, we weren't finding anything available on the state parks website. In one last "Hail Mary" pass, the Mr. called a campground on the North Shore. The lovely lady that answered the phone was a wealth of information. She told us that while her campground was full, Tettegouche State park was just up the road and she suggested we call the ranger station there.

Turns out there are a couple of State Forest campgrounds's something new I learned: State Park campgrounds are 80% reservable sites and 20% first-come-first-serve...however, State Forest campgrounds are 100% first-come-first-serve! The ranger told my handsome groom that we didn't have a single worry about finding a campsite on Friday. One of the two State Forest campgrounds would have availability.

And, we found that out Thursday morning. Yes, the morning before we planned to leave! Enter: Mission: Pack and Prep for a Spontaneous Camping Trip!

Here's the other funny part...we didn't own a tent until Thursday night.

To our absolute delight, the weekend was fabulous! Probably one of our most enjoyable vacations!

We found a campsite on the Baptism River in Finland State Forrest...our kids bee-bopped the shores of Lake Superior day after day. We visited and swam in Temperance River State Park (in hindsight, not as great of a decision as I originally thought, but definitely the highlight of the trip!), we toured Split Rock Lighthouse, we enjoyed Gooseberry Falls State Park, we put on miles and miles of hiking in the parks, we ended our trip with a stop at Duluth's Glensheen mansion. What a place that is! Of course, my kids kept whispering the whole time, "Is THIS the room she got killed in?!", to their disappointment, the tour guides are instructed not to talk about the infamous Congdon murder...thank goodness for Google! :)

Arriving home Monday night, we were dirty, bug-bitten, exhausted...and our hearts were happy!

Spontaneity can be amazingly evidenced by the memories we made over the weekend!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Sun-kissed and Happy

Ahhhhhh, life is good.

My house is clean(ish), my children are still sleeping off yesterday's fun, the weather is FANTASTIC, we are sun-kissed and happy. Can't life be like this year round?

My brother got married over the weekend...the weather was PERFECT for an outdoor wedding. A bit on the warm side, but I'd take that over cool ANY day!

Yesterday I was thinking...everyone should experience Minnesota in June. June in Minnesota is nothing short of Heaven on earth. The days are long, the bugs are still tolerable, the weather is GORGEOUS and the sunshine abundant. I am absolutely blessed that my job change has allowed me to enjoy these days with my kids!

One other reason to enjoy Minnesota in June (or July or August...)...our lakes! And rivers. The mighty Mississippi flows right through our sleepy little town, my parents have river access and holy moly do we appreciate it! My baby bro is in town and yesterday we played on the river for a solid 4 hours and it. was. GLORIOUS! phone alert just went off, reminding me that morning activities are starting soon, so I'll sign off here!

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

New Specs!

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned it here or not, but both of my girls have an eye condition called "accomodative esotropia"...basically, their eyes work so hard to focus, that they cross a bit.

As a result of that, they wear glasses and get annual eye exams by an opthamologist. Their lens prescriptions change yearly...which means we get to buy new glasses twice a year, once for each girl (sooooooo nice on the pocketbook). Technically, I guess they could repurpose their frames for a few years, but my theory is that if they have to wear them at all times, they should love them...and that's worth a little extra $$ to me!

My babe just picked out her newest frames, and gosh darn if they aren't the cutest ones she's had yet!

Take a peek:

The picture doesn't do it justice, but gracious, are they ever cute!

Except Hambone, in his brutally honest way (like when he proclaimed, upon first meeting his baby sister, "I don't like her's nose."), "I liked the old ones better." Poophead. Gotta teach him that sometimes, you just gotta keep your little mouth shut.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Summer Vacation...How Do I Love Thee

Oh, sweet Summer Vacation.

How do I love thee, let me count the ways:

1. Late nights with my peeps.

2. No alarms to set.

3. Memories being made at grandma and grandpa's.

4. Sunkissed skin.

5. Windblown hair.

6. Make-up free days.

7. Responsibility, what?

8. S'mores. Need I say more?

9. Wait. Yes. I do need to say more: PEANUT BUTTER CUP S'mores. 

10. Camping.

11. Campfires.

12. Green grass, leaves on trees, flowers blooming.

13. Thunderstorms (as long as I'm not in a camper).

14. Grilling supper.

15. A dip in the river.

16. Hearing my kids giggle with each other.

17. Baseball games.

18. Fresh air.

Summer, you are too should stick around longer!

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Joy Ranch, South Dakota

In my last post, I kinda poked fun at South Dakota by sarcastically calling it "beautiful". If you follow me on Instagram (@mama_m) or Twitter (@5CrookedHalos), you know that South Dakota truly showed off during our visit there.

We visited a place called "Joy Ranch", which always the most amazing place I've seen in a long time! Created as a summer camp destination for children with disabilities, all I could think about is how perfect it would be as a get together setting with my in-laws (my MIL is in a wheelchair)!

Set on a bluff, overlooking rolling pastures and a valley lake, the scenery was breathtaking (there I go, eating crow...I'm sorry for implying you weren't beautiful, SoDak!!) and the setting was perfection. 6 outdoor fireplaces, huge porches overlooking the lake, Old West street facade, covered boardwalks with oversized rocking chairs, playground, Gaga Ball pit, walking trail to the horse stable with the friendliest horses you've ever met, a potbellied pig, noisy turkeys, and the most wonderful, accommodating staff you could imagine. I was blown away...and the kids were in heaven!

There was a beautiful, old church on site that set my photographers heart on fire. The setting sun made it even more beautiful! (These iPhone pictures don't do it justice!)

An adorable old school house:

Paddle boats that my hubby and Hambone took to the other side of the lake and discovered a few cow skeletons. This is the pelvis bone of one, that Hambone thought looked like a mask!

We all had such a great time celebrating my bestie's mom and dad's 40th wedding anniversary at this amazing place! A wonderful couple and such a fun, so grateful we made the trip out there.

Dear South Dakota,

You truly are beautiful...and some pretty amazing people come out of your glorious state!

Friday, May 22, 2015


You guys...I have THREE WORK DAYS LEFT and then it's summer vacation, baby!!!!

I can't tell you how ecstatic I am to have the endless, lazy, fun, (hopefully) warm and sunny days of summer ahead of us. I foresee a lot of swimming and beaching it! With the remodel job tucked safely under our belts, this summer is free from demands!

Oh my gosh, speaking of how it's almost summer vacation, have you read this article about the end of school???

Laugh out loud funny...only because it is so shockingly SPOT. ON.

In fact, my daughter was reading to me in my office after school today and I was "mmmhmm'ing" and "uh huh'ing" my coworker called me and demanded, "WHY ARE YOU LETTING HER READ TO YOU?! IT'S THE END OF SCHOOL!!" Oh, yes...I forgot, we practice auditory reading at this time of the year. Ohmigosh, I laughed so hard!

Memorial Day weekend is upon us and we are headed to beautiful South Dakota! Wait...did I say beautiful? ;) We're headed there to join in the celebration of my bestie's mom and dad's anniversary because, as the invitation read, "they still do". :)

Well, I have a pile of laundry staring me down, just BEGGING me to fold it...I guess I should oblige.

Have a safe and wonderful Memorial Day your gratitude to those vets that have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country and what we stand for. I am so grateful for them!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Real Time...May Edition

A couple of weeks ago the charger to my MacBook sparked and popped and BAM! decided not work anymore. So ever since then, my poor computer has sat. Dead.

Poor old Mac. And did you know a new charger is 80 bucks? EIGHTY DOLLARS people! I think I might buy the off brand that goes for 18. Sheesh. It's highway robbery.

Anyway, I'm typing this from my Blogger app which means the font will be weird and tiny, unless I remember to get myself into a computer and change the font. Slim chances there.

Winding down the school year...9 days left people! And then summer vacation! I can NOT wait. I just saw something in Facebook about year round school and how summers off were built in back in the farming days. Well let me tell you how I feel about year round school:


That would be the thing that pushed me over the edge (that I often teeter on) to homeschool.

I can hear the rain drip dropping into the roof...such a comforting and utterly annoying sound all at the same time. I'm sick of the cool weather...but I suppose it could be worse, and really, we've had quite a beautiful spring so far, so I really shouldn't complain!

I'm super grateful for the weekend...hoping to prep our garden and start planting soon. Will this be the year I actually do some canning?

We shall see.

Well, g'night for now!

Til next time...


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