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Wisconsin Vacation Recap

A couple weeks ago our family visited Wisconsin for a much-needed vacation with my parents, sister and nephew. We were quite the crew, but it was perfect. Only a 3 hour drive away was very do-able for the kids.

Day 1: Arrival

We stayed in Mishicot, WI at the Fox Hills Resort. The resort was ok. It was quirky and definitely needed updates, but it served us well. We were able to have many adjoining rooms, including a full kitchen and living/dining room. That helped with food. It is such a chore to take 3 little ones out to a restaurant. We did a few times, but it is much easier eating at home.  Everyday we ate breakfast at the resort, some lunches, and most dinners.

I think one of Maddie’s favorite things about this vacation was that she got to watch cartoons in the morning. Our kids are early risers, earlier than my nephew, and most people,  so we tried to keep them corralled in our room as long as possible. This meant Maddie got to watch PBS kids, while we chased Asher around. She discovered a new show she likes, call Wild Kratts, or as she calls it, The Brothers.

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A Break in Blogging this Christmas

For the first time in our marriage both John and I were home for Christmas vacation. We have taken time off in past years, but we’ve gone to North Carolina. This year was our year to be here, and I don’t think I’m quite ready to travel with our little one yet anyway. It was wonderful! I loved having him home. It was a true vacation for me as well. Being at home with our daughter I have to time everything from showers, to cooking dinner, to bathroom breaks, but with my husband home I got spoiled. The Monday after he went back to work felt like the longest day ever. Read more

Happy New Year

After a nice long blogging winter sabbatical I am going to attempt to get back to regular blogging. The break has been nice, but I do miss sharing too!

We took a trip to North Carolina for Christmas break and were able to have the entire 2 weeks off – that was great! We began our trip with a layover in Georgetown, KY where John got us lodging at at B&B on a horse farm. Though it was a rather unconventional place (no people around whatsoever) we did enjoy walking the grounds.

Our Little Getaway
Our Little Getaway

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Can you find the cardinal?
Can you find the cardinal?
Our room
Our room
John's 'Kentucky Hot Brown' - you'll have to look it up, but it was delicious!
John’s ‘Kentucky Hot Brown’ – you’ll have to look it up, but it was delicious!

We were able to visit with lots of family and it was such a relaxing time! I especially enjoyed my in-laws lazy boy recliner and was so thankful they let me have free reign of it while there.Dec Jan 13-1419 Dec Jan 13-1420 Dec Jan 13-1422 Dec Jan 13-1423 Dec Jan 13-1424 Dec Jan 13-1425 Dec Jan 13-1426 Dec Jan 13-1428 Dec Jan 13-1430

On the way back we made a stop in Boone for the night. Daniel Boone Inn is so worth the trip! We rolled out of the restaurant, but my belly was happy, happy, happy. Thankfully our drive was pretty smooth overall. Lots of rain and a little snow, but nothing too crazy. God definitely kept us safe that way and we made it home between snow rounds. However, we came home to this:Dec Jan 13-1431

I so wish we could fly south for the winter like the birds, and actually stay for the winter.

Wisconsin Retreat

Some friends of ours graciously offered their Wisconsin cabin to us for a weekend in June. It sounded like a big place so we invited my parents and made it a 3 day weekend in the woods of WI.wisconsin cabin03

Wow! We had such a wonderfully relaxing time! I wish it could have lasted longer. Our view in pulling up to the cabin was spectacular. There were tall pines everywhere. We were loving it before we even got into the cabin. wisconsin cabin06

Once inside, the amazement didn’t stop. What a beautiful cabin they have built and decorated. We really didn’t know where to begin as far as exploring goes. It’s built near a creek, so there was that to check out. Though the mosquitos kept me from in depth exploration on that front. There was a badminton net out back as well as a hammock. The inside had games and puzzles and books and a ping pong table. A little ways away was a lake with a paddle boat, kayaks and canoes that we could use as well. And I almost forgot about the screened in back porch….we spent alot of time out there as well.wisconsin cabin11

My dad turned on the tv for a moment and I think I almost bit his head off. I suppose I could have asked more graciously, but I made it clear that there was no tv on this vacation. And you know, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we didn’t miss it one bit. We kept busy.wisconsin cabin02

We discovered a new game that I actually just bought my dad for his birthday called Kings in the Corner. My mom dominated. She has yet to lose. We built a puzzle. We played quite a few badminton games. We paddle boated. We grilled out. We roasted marshmallows. We relaxed. We laughed. We talked. We enjoyed our time together. We even saw a bunch of wild turkeys!wisconsin cabin08

If there was any downside it was the last day when a stowaway tick found its way onto John’s chest, but he survived ok. Overall, it was such a blessing. It was a great reminder as well of how much fun can be had without a television or internet. Thank you Lord for the generosity of our friends. May you bless them greatly and increase their ministry!

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Highlights from our Road Trip

What a wonderful vacation we had! Of course it went too quickly as all good vacations do. We were able to spend alot of time visiting with family and that was wonderful. There are no guarantees in life and it’s good to make the most of the time you have with those you love. carolina04

For me, the best part of the vacation was the trip to the beach. We spent a few days at Oak Island Beach with John’s family. We stayed in a really nice condo that was just a short walk to the beach. It was so wonderful!carolina08

I had never been to the Carolina coast before and John wanted to make sure I saw some of the sights. We stopped in Wilmington first and walked around a bit. Then we drove to Carolina Beach and ate lunch outside at this restaurant, with an ocean view. It was really delicious. They have a style of seafood I have never heard of before but it’s called Calabash, and it’s basically fried seafood (an assortment), plus oysters. Anyway, this place did it right and I was wishing I ordered what John did. carolina01 carolina02

Next we took this boat to ferry our car across to Oak Island. I just thought that was the coolest thing. It was crazy windy that day and even more so on the water. I was happy to get back in the car again once we made it across.carolina03

Finally we got to the beach and it was great. We spent 1 entire day out at the beach and I loved it! I loved the sun. I loved the warmth. I loved watching the waves and the birds. I loved watching the kids enjoy the water. I loved being able to sit and enjoy all of the above with no responsibilities or concerns.carolina06 carolina07

John and I did a good deal of walking along the shoreline for the few days we were there. We must have walked miles. It was great! We found some shells we took home and I found it fascinating to come across so many jellyfish that were washed up on the shoreline. I will admit though, it did make me a little nervous about going too far into the water. I would hate to run into one of those while I was out there. Yikes! carolina05 carolina09 carolina10 carolina11

carolina12Overall it was a wonderfully relaxing vacation and I enjoyed every moment with our friends, family and even with John.

Not Quite Ready

Vacation is over and I am not quite ready to be back yet. I know I’m not alone in that feeling. I am trying to take it one day at a time. Laundry – Check (thanks to mom and dad for the use of their machines). Grocery shopping – Check. Unpacking – Check. First day of work – Check. Now there are just all the other things I still need to check off the list. Slowly but surely I will get back into my groove. Just bear with me while I am getting there. Thanks for your patience.

Carolina, Here We Come

carolinaToday is the day! We finally hit the road again for another road trip to the fine state of North Carolina. It will be so wonderful to visit with family again. John has been ready to go since we first planned the trip….months ago.

Nothing like a road trip to start off the summer season. Just plug in the tunes, and the gps and go. Love it. We have been on this big Duck Dynasty kick and I was able to get both of their books in audio version for our trip. Fun stuff. So we’ll be kickin’ it with Willie, Korrie, Si, Phil and the gang as we travel. Hey! It’s gonna be a good time Jack. Of course, we will be living it up “yuppie” sytle. No camping for us.

It will also be nice to travel to some summer weather, since we haven’t been seeing much of that here. I can’t wait to dig my toes in some warm sand when we hit the beach. Overall, we are just excited to get away.

You probably won’t be seeing any posts from me next week, but I look forward to sharing more upon our return! I am hoping to return refreshed and relaxed.

Carolina, here we come!

Key Lime Cove Getaway

John and I had a little money saved up to take a night getaway to Key Lime Cove, in Gurnee, IL. This was our gift to each other and it capped off a beautiful Thanksgiving weekend. We arrived Sunday afternoon and the place was so empty. We were able to do everything we wanted at the water park in about 3 hours. It was so fun and relaxing. It was wonderful to be able to shed some layers and stay warm.

Last year we had found a great deal for the Kalahari in Wisconsin Dells. So we couldn’t help but compare the two. I have to give my vote to the Kalahari. It definitely had more slides and they were a little more fun. However, Key lime is much closer to home. So if you’re looking for a tropical getaway near Chicago, this is far from a bad option.

SPAM: Not an Enemy

Since the first time I met my friend Sara, who happens to live where the Spam Museum is located, along with the Hormel plant I knew I wanted to visit one day. Well that day has come and gone and I was able to visit. And I enjoyed it.

The Wall of Spam

The museum was a look at not just spam but George Hormel and the history of his life and really how he transformed the packaged food industry. It was very informative and fun as well. There were no free samples but we did pick up some Spam to take home with us and then last week cooked it up with some mac and cheese. Yummy!

So I have to say, after my visit, I feel well informed and and not so scared of Spam anymore. Not that I will be consuming it on a regular basis, but it’s good to know what it is and how it is made. And any time I think of Spam I think of Sara and Monty Python. Not only do they have a hit broadway show that I love called SPAMALOT, but they also have a skit about Spam that is showcased at the Spam museum and which I have linked for you here. Enjoy and give it a chance!

MONTY PYTHON SPAM SKIT

Minnesota Top Ten

1. We ate some really good food. Our first meal of the trip was at a Norwegian restaurant, Norske Nook. John got a big Lefse wrap (kinda like their version of a tortilla) and I had potato pancakes. All was good but we had to save some room for their award winning pies. We got two: peach raspberry and pineapple coconut. We couldn’t finish them, but did enjoy every single bite! I want to go back.

2. The Mall of America. 4 floors of endless stores. We found some really unique items and in general had a really good time. We were definitely worn out though by the time our shopping day ended. 7 hours of shopping will do that to you.

3. Our hotel. I love priceline! We nabbed a beautiful hotel, Park Plaza,  a few miles from the mall which had a free shuttle to the mall and airport (both of which have light rail stops). This became very helpful the day we went downtown. It was a classy place and we enjoyed our King size bed and the pool and hottub. And this was all for about $53/night. Seriously, priceline is amazing! Thank you Camfel for teaching me the wonders of this website!

4.  Sebastian Joes Ice Cream: John and I tried combo cups. He got apple crisp/pumpkin. I got salted caramel/swiss almond. It was a little hike to get there from downtown, but well worth the walk. Plus it was a gorgeous day, highs in the upper 70’s, so ice cream actually was enjoyable, outside.

5. Walker Arts Center Sculpture Garden. We enjoyed this free outdoor sculpture garden and the small atrium nearby as well. They had a beautiful flowered walkway and lots of interesting pieces of art. It was a gorgeous and day and we took our time as we perused through the park.

6. Target Field, the Twins stadium. First of all they have an amazing ball park. We were able to purchase tickets from the box office right before the game and got upper deck tickets behind home plate. Great view overall. When we got to the park the box office appeared closed but they had all these self-serve ticket machines around. So we started to do that, and were approached by a man trying to sell us discounted tickets. We shooed him away and kept working on figuring out what tickets we wanted. As we were doing that a lady who by her outfit obviously worked at the ball park asked if were wanting to buy tickets and told us where we could go to get them without a service fee that the machines charge. She was a God-send. So we found the open box office, with her help. She even went out of her way to make sure we got there and was looking for us near the gate as well. Wow. That would not happen in Chicago!

7. The Spam Museum (more to come in another post)

8. Sara’s wedding. It’s always a great reminder at weddings of the commitment I made to my husband. Not that I forget, but I love being reminded about the importance and significance of that commitment. It also reminds me to be thankful for the blessing that he is.

9. We stopped at a state park on the way home at the Minnesota/ Wisconsin border right on the Mississippi. Witnessed some gorgeous views and a spectrum of fall colors.

10. Discussing with my husband whether we need to pull over on the side of the road so he could relieve himself. Got stuck in traffic with no exit in sight. This also led to us taking US Hwy 12 (Rand Rd) all the way home from the Madison area. It was a long trip home, but we did get to listen to much of the Ted Dekker audiobook we liked.