Thursday, June 25, 2015

Camping on our own!

We had so much fun camping at Lake Elmo park with the Girl Scouts a few weeks back that I decided we needed to try it on our own!  Dave visited us for dinners after work, but slept back at the house to keep an eye on the dog et al.  

The kids and I make a GREAT team!  We got the tent up with no problems--
 Played some games and went to the swimming beach before coming back for some afternoon 'down-time'.  I found these two plastic drawers in the clearance section of Target, and we filled them with paper, scissors, watercolors, washi tape and stickers.  Their "quiet boxes" are a hit!

We stayed two nights-- coming in and out to go to Vacation Bible School and run countless other errands during our 'camping'.  It pays to live really close the the park!

Justin's photo of Alex in the tent.  I think it might be a winner (remember, the Washington County Fair is just around the corner!)

Mmmmm....dessert-- banana boats stuffed with marshmallows, brown sugar and chocolate.

And a successful breakfast of bacon and mushrooms- followed by some fishing :-)

These Frog Toggs were LIFESAVER (the things wrapped around the kids' waists)!  They are water-activating cooling bandannas that kept my two comfortable in the slightly humid afternoon--

Our new camping cot (which arrived halfway through our camping trip) saves TONS of space in the tent---

As you can see the kids were getting a bit crazy by the end of day two, but we made it!  Next camping trip will be with Miss Kolachi, too!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Happy Birthday, Kolachi-Dog!

I can't believe it's already been two years since this girl had been in our lives!
Quick photo montage recap:
3 Weeks old with Breeder, Zoa Rockenstein

 Meeting Alex for the first time- 5 weeks old!

 Puppy pick-up day-  8 weeks old!

10 Weeks Old- Family photo shoot
6 Months old with Santa

 Enjoying the beach at Park Point- Duluth (1 yr old)

Learning how to pull a sled- (1 1/2 yrs old)

 ...and how to herd sheep (almost 2)

and here we are today-- 2 years old!  What a blessing and a joy this girl has been to our family. :-)

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Sunfish and Sun!

Shawano isn't Shawano without some quality fishing time with Papa Bob!
 This year, the kids pulled 12+ 'keeper' fish from the lake.

 It was a good thing they caught so many because we had a CROWD to feed!  Two of Bob's cousins and their spouses joined us for a wonderful lunch. (Shout out to Terri- a blog-following cousin who is always so kind to my children!)
 AND, we were surprised when two of Dave's cousins and their families joined us as well as his Aunt and Uncle!  The kids lucked out that Mr. Christopher was around to expertly clean and filet their fish.  He is a trained chef, so you can be sure that we were all watching to try and pick up some tips!
 It was a beautiful day with tons of good food and many, many good conversations!
 Family photo with our Matriarch-- Great Grandma Alice!
 After we returned to the hotel for the evening, we got to hang out with the kids' (third?) cousins in the hotel pool-- great way to end the day!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Happy Early Birthday at the Leinie Lodge!

On our way to Shawano to visit Great Grandma Alice and Great Auntie Sarah, we made a quick detour through Chippewa Falls to visit the Leinie Lodge and Leinenkugel Brewing Factory as an early birthday celebration for Dave!
 Dave's family has connections to the Leinenkugels-- his grandpa (the kids' Great Grandpa Bob) was a lobbyist for the Wisconsin State Brewer's Association (among many other achievements).  I was seriously impressed when Dave was able to subtly name drop and we became official VIP's!
 The tour includes five beer tastings (unlimited soda for the kids and non-drinkers) AND a souvenir Leinenkugel glass cup :-)
 Uh oh.... do we spy a Vikings fan in Packers Country?
 Dave and Justin were really excited to see the same mirror hanging in the Lodge that we have at home!
 After our tour of the factory (no photos allowed, but it was pretty interesting), we made it to Shawano in time for the Friday night fish fry with the family--

Sarah (bleeds green and gold) and Uncle Sam (Vikings fan) resolve to put aside their team allegiance differences to enjoy a nice meal. ;-)
 Great Grandma Alice with two of her grandkids!

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Girl Scout Camping

The Girl Scout co-leader and I decided to book a camping spot at the local Lake Elmo Regional Park and teach the girls some skills!  Unfortunately, we had a few cancellations (like, everyone), so it ended up being only Alex and Ana.....but we still had a great time-

The girls were in charge of setting up the tent.  This was a big job, but with a little guidance and a few steadying adult hands they got it done!

 Since we were so low on attendees, Justin and Dave joined us for dinner.  Daddy instructed in the art of campfire building and the girls took that task on as well!
 After some swimming, playing at the park and a hike to the fishing pier, they settled down with some books and their lanterns in the tent.  Aside from the racoons who raided our trash (whoops!), it was a successful night and first camping experience.
I was inspired to book a few more dates this summer for some family camping-- 

Friday, June 12, 2015

Friday Ritual

Our new Friday ritual is working out with Auntie Carrie and Vera at Baby Body Balance- followed by lunch and swimming at the pool!  This is what summer is all about :-)
 Happy Swim Baby!
 Goofy, goofy Justin--

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Science Camp!

It is our first week of Science Camp-- Alex has a "Wonka Week", where she spends her day (from 8:30-4!) concocting, cooking, engineering and studying the history of candy!  Justin has a preschool life sciences camp that takes one hour each morning.  After his camp is done, we have lots of time to explore the science museum (and run some errands) before picking sister up!
 We have just started talking about colors / light spectrum during homeschool time, so this exhibit was deemed two thumbs up!

J's favorite exhibit-- the tugboat on the roof of the museum!
Even Kolachi got to come downtown to walk by the river during the kids' classes.  It was a bit rainy out, so she wasn't in the mood for posing for photos---  :-)

Friday, June 5, 2015

Gunflint Lodge- headed home

This mini-vacation went really quickly!  There are so many more offerings we'd love to check out around here, but it is time to head home.  After packing up the cars, we stopped at Trail Center for breakfast--  Paul Bunyan sized flapjacks!

Then it was time to get on the road and make a beeline for Woodbury.  We made good time coming back and got home in time to do a few loads of laundry before bed.  What a FUN vacation-- thank you Grandma Mary and Papa Bob!!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Gunflint Lodge- DAY THREE

We started off the morning with a Breakfast hike up to the High Cliffs overlooking Gunflint Lake.  The scramble to the top was a little challenging, but we all made it!  The kids, too!

Then Alex, Carrie and I had a trail ride at 9am.

 Afterwards, we loaded up the vehicles and headed down to Grand Marais for some 'town' time.  World's Best Donuts is an important stop--

 And after shopping in Grand Marais, we finally got to our favorite stop-- High Tea at Naniboujou Lodge.  It's served from 3-5pm, and we love the fact that it's presented in the solarium.  The kids can relax, read and play games until the service arrives!

The Naniboujou beach always gives us agates, and today Justin, Daddy and Kolachi got to 'visit' with another very special friend-- see him in the water?