Friday, August 28, 2015

Ingalls Homestead

We started planning on visiting DeSmet, South Dakota last summer, after visiting the Little House museum in Pepin, Wisconsin.  It was the perfect "last hurrah" of our busy and fun summer!

We picked up the Clarks and set out for South Dakota, making one stop at Camden State Park.  It was rainy, but we found a picnic shelter to eat lunch in.  Because of the rain/clouds, it was pretty dark inside, so we ate by the light of our battery-powered lamp.

We made it to DeSmet between 4:30-5 and got checked in to our covered wagon at Ingalls Homestead.  It was the perfect size for our little group--two side beds for myself and Tiffany, an upper bed for the older girls, and a mattress that rolled out in the middle of the floor for Henry and Norah.  We weren't sure if it was going to rain or not, so we unpacked the car before checking out the homestead.  The last covered wagon right was going to leave at 6, with the staff leaving shortly after, so we headed there first.  The kids had fun holding the reins and driving the covered wagon pulled by mules.

The wagon ride took us to the one-room schoolhouse, where we learned about what school would have been like for Laura.  The girls dressed up in aprons and bonnets, and Henry was given a straw hat to wear.  Abby and Olivia had to recite a lesson in the front of the room, and all of the kids got to ring the school bell when we left.

After our wagon ride back to the barn, the kids all had a chance to take a short horse ride.

We headed into town for supper--there wasn't much in town, but we found a DQ/Subway combo and ate at the DQ.  When we came back to the homestead, the weather was still nice, so we decided to check out a few of the buildings.  We had been told that even if the staff wasn't there, we were welcome to look around and explore.  We found a calf and some chickens in a little barn, looked inside Ma's house, and walked along a path through a cornfield that took us to a little church.  The kids had fun playing the organ and playing wedding inside the church.

After the church, it was starting to get dark, so we got our pajamas on and settled in the covered wagon for a movie night.  Tiffany had brought her Ipad with a couple of movies on it in case of rain...the weather was nice, but the kids still had fun watching Frozen and eating popcorn inside the wagon.

After a rough night's sleep (the wagon was comfortable, but we had kiddos with leg aches and allergies keeping us up all night), Tiffany got up with Henry at 7 and the rest of us slept until almost 9!  We ate breakfast at our picnic table and got ready for the day.  There was a lot more exploring to do now that it was light out and the staff was back.  The kids loved everything about the homestead--driving the pony cart, making jump ropes and corn husk dolls in the garage, grinding wheat, doing laundry and seeing Ma's house in the daylight, visiting the claim shanty, playing in a covered wagon, checking out the sod house (even though they thought it was stinky!), and especially holding baby kittens in the hayloft.

We left a little before 1, and stopped at Subway before leaving DeSmet.  Other than a quick bathroom break in Redwood Falls, it was a smooth ride home!  It was definitely worth the drive!

Sunday, August 23, 2015

August fishing

Our August fishing trip was short and CHILLY this year!  We went up for a long weekend--Friday-Sunday, and unfortunately, Abby had a fever and wasn't feeling well when we made it up to Frazee.  Friday would have been the only nice day to play in the water at the beach, but Abby napped instead.  The rest of the weekend was drizzly/rainy and chilly, but we did a little fishing during the day Saturday (at first in the rain, then it cleared up).  We did a little bit of fishing Friday and Saturday night, too, but didn't go out at all on Sunday.  Dave had a fever/chills and slept all of Sunday (even the drive home).  Because it was such a quick trip, and half of our family wasn't feeling so great, I didn't take too many pictures...just a few at the bridge!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

College cabin weekend

Our college friend cabin weekend was tough to schedule this summer...everyone was so busy!  We nailed down an August weekend, but Dave had to work, Bill stayed back to work on their new house, and the Brekkes couldn't make it.  The rest of us had fun, and the girls and I were able to stay with Kristina and her kids for a couple of extra days.  Friday was HOT!  We set up the tents and decided to go for an evening lake swim just to cool off before going to sleep.  The kids didn't mind one bit!

Saturday was another hot day, so it was perfect for taking the pontoon out to the beach for swimming and a picnic.

Unfortunately, we ended up getting bad weather that night...I was in a tent with Abby, Norah, and Harold.  Abby woke up first as the lightning/thunder got bad.  Harold was next, and we watched videos and watched the radar on my phone until the lightning had passed for a little bit and it was just raining.  We woke up Norah and the kids loaded up all of their sleeping stuff into their sleeping bags and made a run for it into the house before the next part of the storm started.  We slept on the living room floor/couch the rest of the night...quite an adventure!

Matt, Katherine, Harold, and Marcus took off on Sunday late morning.  Kristina and I ended up visiting the beach with the kids Sunday and Monday, even though by Monday the water was warmer than the air.  The girls and I headed out Tuesday after breakfast.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


We had a fun adventure earlier in August--staying in a yurt!  We stopped on our way up at Father Hennepin State Park, where we enjoyed a picnic and playing in Mille Lacs Lake (while Dave did a little hiking).  Unfortunately, Abby's swimsuit top got left behind at this park...

We got to Cuyuna State Recreation Area later in the afternoon, and had a tough time finding the yurts.  After realizing that the e-mail we had received from the park had specific directions, we were able to find them.  A woodchuck was peeking his head out from under the porch area of the yurt to greet us...our friends, the Clarks, had warned us about a critter living under that particular yurt.  Luckily, we only caught a couple more glimpses of him and he didn't bother us too much in the middle of the night.

We loved staying in the yurt, and had perfect weather for opening up the windows and top to let a cool breeze through.  We made pie iron pizzas over the fire for supper, and s'mores later on.  If we were to stay there again, there is a great mine lake for floating or kayaking.

The next morning, we stuck around the yurt for a little while before packing up.  We drove to an observation area and ate a picnic lunch, then went into town to play at the park and swim a little bit in Serpent Lake at the beach area.  We are definitely looking forward to another yurt adventure in the future!