Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Little House in the Big Woods

We have been reading the Little House on the Prairie series since last summer, and I heard about the Little House wayside and museum just an hour and a half away in Pepin, Wisconsin, through someone that I follow in Instagram.  We planned a road trip with our friends Tiffany and Olivia, who are also reading the series.  Abby was so excited to see where Laura Ingalls Wilder was born.  The log cabin is literally in the middle of nowhere, but there were surprisingly a few other visitors while we were there.  You can go inside, but there is just a picnic table and some interesting articles/timelines on the wall to read.  The girls had fun pretending they were Mary and Laura (with their sidekick Carrie/Norah) and playing in the cabin and out at the water pump.  We had a picnic lunch before heading to Pepin to the museum.

At the museum, they had a few rooms that showed what things might have looked like in Laura's time (a schoolroom, a kitchen, and a bedroom).  They also had artifacts and tools from the time period, some even Laura's or made to look like hers.  We saw a replica of Laura's corncob doll, the straw they had to twist during The Long Winter to burn to keep warm, quilts that were Laura's, and much more.  The girls especially enjoyed playing pretend in the schoolroom and climbing up in a replica of a tugboat.

On the way home, we stopped in Red Wing for some ice cream and a walk down to the river to burn off some energy.  The day was so much fun--just one of those perfect carefree days of summer that we are going to miss in a few days!  Abby and I are now in the middle of Little Town on the Prairie and I've seen a little bit about the museum in South Dakota--sounds like there are more buildings and interactive things to do there.  Maybe a future summer road trip??

Feed My Starving Children/Pool party

Last Saturday, we had the BEST day with our group of friends that we met in ECFE when Abby was a baby.  We are so blessed to have known this group and made such great connections in the past 6 years.  We didn't organize a cabin weekend this year, but found a day that worked for all to have some fun.  We started the day with the older kids at Feed My Starving Children in Chanhassen.  It was such a great experience--very humbling, eye-opening, heartbreaking, and fun at the same time.  The kids did great with their jobs and as a whole, the room packed meals to feed 69 kids for a year.  We can't wait to go back and do this again sometime!

The other two dads and younger kids joined us for some fun and relaxation at Tiffany's family pool.  We enjoyed delicious brick-oven pizzas and pool time well into the evening.  It was such a wonderful night!


It's been on our summer bucket list to go to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, so I was excited when we had the opportunity to go with my friend Tiffany and her kids.  I'm sure there is so much more to explore on future trips, but we found plenty to do in the natural play areas.  The kids enjoyed being creative and played hard, stopping for just a bit to have a quick picnic.  I love how they used their imagination and needed so little to be entertained!

Cabin weekend

The second weekend of August was our annual college friend cabin weekend--2 of my college roommates + their spouses/kids and another college friend and his family = 8 adults and 9 kids (in a 2-bedroom cabin).  We borrowed a tent and the Brekkes had their tent, so the sleeping arrangements all worked out.  Everyone arrived Friday night (even Dave, who was working just 20 minutes away for most of the weekend).  We enjoyed pizzas made by the Kunzes for supper.  Saturday was our beach day.  We took the speed boat and the neighbor's pontoon out to the island and enjoyed the PERFECT beach weather and water.  Norah and her littler buddies enjoyed her new Hello Kitty floatie that Tracy sent her from Korea.  Abby and friends tried out the alligator that the girls got for their birthday, but it was a little less sturdy.  Abby and Jannah enjoyed a tube ride out to the island.

Saturday evening, we had a baby shower for the Brekkes and Schwartzes, who welcomed new babies in February and April.  Then it was time for a bonfire!

Sunday morning was a little cooler, but some of the braver ones jumped on the water trampoline for awhile.  Erik and Bill helped the older kiddos with a puzzle before the Brekkes had to leave.

Matt took off after supper, but the Kunzes hung around one more night, so we took an evening boat ride before it started to rain.

Kristina and I hung around until Wednesday--Dave had Monday and Tuesday off, so took Abby fishing in Frazee.  It was nice having just Norah for a couple of days, but the cabin was still busy with two 2-year olds and a 6-month old!