Most Memorable Moments Of Our Minnesota North Shore Vacation

It’s not often we get to spend time as a family anymore with our son being an adult, working two jobs and usually going separate ways. However, when we do, we waste no time making memories that will surely last a lifetime.

dad is never far behind when capturing that picture from the cliff’s edge

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experimenting with new campfire treats IMG_4976

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very sketchy bridge to cross

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family pictures just as I prefer them….dirty, hot and sweaty

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family picnics

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breath taking pictures of my husband who works so hard to make my dreams come true

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organic fly swatter made while sitting by the campfire (the flies were SOOOOO BADDD)

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beach time

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many, many waterfalls

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Minnesota’s North Shore Family Vacation- Summer 2016

Hello, hello….we are finally back from our family vacation to Minnesota’s North Shore. And what a vacation it was.

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I stressed for days if we would be able to fit all our camping/hiking supplies in my SUV to make this adventure happen. My goal was to bring everything including all our food for the week so no stops at any grocery stores would be needed and I happily accomplished this goal. We had just enough room to sit and breathe but we made it.

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The morning we left Green Bay it was humid and very hot. We knew we would be traveling through some storms to our final destination but I could have never imagined how terrible these storms would be. Here is a link if you would like to view the damage we traveled through. Thankfully, we were headed two more hours north and arrived to find all was well at our campground. IMG_4623

Our plan was to hike and explore the many Minnesota State Parks in the this area. I had high hopes of hiking some of the Superior Hiking Trail, our son wanted photographs of waterfalls, and my husband just wanted a break from work where there are no walls surrounding him. All of this was accomplished but not quite how I had planned it to happen.

Let me just say that we are not big crowd lovers. And taking nature and outdoor photographs is not easy when there are tons of people at easy to reach viewing platforms at given waterfalls. We made it through two parks on the planned lists and then I had had enough of the paved walkways they called trails in the research I did on these parks. My boys clearly could see mom was not having fun and we needed to change things up a bit and venture our own way. I wanted to HIKE, do some boulder climbing, and get my feet dirty and that was exactly what we did. Here is a bit of what we found.

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We did visit all the parks on our list which were from Duluth to the Canadian border briefly, however, if you are looking for more of a backcountry adventure my advise to you would be to stop along the scenic highway and take advantage of the Superior Hiking Trail parking lots and venture the trail leading from these areas. You will find so much more than the parks have to offer in my opinion.

We did climb one mountain/bluff peak during this trip and made many family memories during this week which I will share in the upcoming days. However, right now I need to tend to my numerous laundry piles and my very dirty vehicle that needs a good washing.

More to come……

 

 

Life Lately….

It’s been a bit crazy here lately. Although, I could not be happier with this craziness. It’s clearly summer time in full swing here in our house and I have been enjoying many of my favorite things along with working on many other projects when there is free time to be had.

Our annual date night (yes, I did say annual…sadly) is coming up and I recently picked up the tickets. I am so excited….I love this event. And this year my brother is joining us so it shall be fun for sure.IMG_4532

I find myself packing a beach bag every single weekend.

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I have been working hard at planning and gathering our vacation things. I love vacation but the planning part is the real challenge for me. My goal is not to forget anything and then to go and hopefully accomplish everything on the list that I have planned.

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food/supply table so far

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I started taking water aerobics at a city pool. I use to love water aerobics but normally took a class in winter. Then the older I got the more I dreaded getting out and stepping outside with wet hair into the snow and ice of winter. So I stopped taking winter classes. Maybe I will enjoy summer classes more. We shall see.

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Meeting once a month with my brother for dinner out together. We have been doing this now a few months and I am loving it. We live in the same city and maybe see each other 2-3 times a year because, well, life is just so busy. So I thought the least we could do is try for once a month…. just him and I… and so far its been working out great.

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I am truly enjoying the summer heat, summer sun, and summer activities. Before I know it it will be over and life will slow down drastically. So right now I am rolling with it and enjoying every second.

 

 

Moms Can Have Fun Too

Why is it that after becoming a mom and raising our children most of us often feel we are too old to have fun? This is not the case ladies. Giving birth does not mean giving up on life goals of your own to give your children everything they could ever hope and dream for in life. It may mean putting them on hold for quite some time, but believe me, there is life after raising kids. You may ask where I am going with this statement….well, let me tell you.

This past weekend I had the opportunity to spend with two of my closest friends on a lake at one of their cabins. One is very new to kayaking, one is very new to any water sports, and I, as you all know, would live in the water if it did not freeze like a brick here in WI during the winter. We arrived to find the lake quite rough. Actually, in all honesty, the friend that owns the cabin called us before even leaving home and said its was very windy and we could reschedule if we wanted because the lake was too rough for her to even consider going into. I relayed that message to by husband and son and we all had the same thought…..what, too rough….not possible. We headed out the door minutes later.

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Anyhow, we arrived to find waves and my girlfriend repeating that we were crazy to want to paddle the lake. It took some time but eventually we got her into her kayak and us three ladies took our first paddle together. For extra assistance, my husband was not far behind just in case. A few strokes of her paddle and she admitted that it was not what she expected it to be. Her boat took the waves well and she did just fine. Clark Lake-4

Our next adventure of the day was tubing…..which if you recall two of us did a few weeks ago with not even the right type of tubes. This time, however, we used the proper type of tube and even though they both thought they were going to watch this adventure…. I would not take no for an answer. It’s too rough, my back will hurt, my hair will get messed up, I am not made to tube…..whateverrrrrr, lets do it!!!! And we all did.

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A big THANKS goes out to our husbands and my son. One for driving the boat, one husband assisting with the rope and ready to dive in for assistance, and my son for capturing this moment on camera from the boat. We had a fantastic time and some great laughs together. No one regretted this activity and we all were so happy to share it together.

After this it was time for warm clothes and margaritas by the campfire. IMG_4583

Maybe we forget as mom’s that fun can be had by all. Of course we want our children to enjoy life and grow up to be happy and as the parent we need to be the responsible one to say no that’s too dangerous or yes go for it. We make them wear their bike helmets, life jackets, shin guards and bandage them when they fall. However, that does not mean that when the time is right and our kids are grown up old enough to fend for themselves that we can’t go back to being a bit of an adventurer and try new things. I always say, life is too short to die before you have lived so go for it and live big. I plan to never say, I wish I had done this or that…..I plan to go with no regrets.

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Are you a mom that has raised kids and find yourself scared to try new adventures?

Why do you hold yourself back?

Are you living to die or dying to live?????

 

Learning New Skills With The Dagger Stratos Kayak

Recently, our son switched gears on us and sold his river running kayak for a much longer lake kayak called the Dagger Stratos. (Which I call,”THE BEAST”) This baby is long!!!!

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Which, as a mom, I have been stressing each and every time he gets in it that he has never wet exited and figured out how to re enter this beast. Our river running kayaks we practice the wet exit every spring as a refresher and getting back in is never an issue on a river. But when you are paddling big bodies of water with this type of kayak its a whole different animal to re enter the kayak.

Well, the time finally came where he could give this a try. We were on a lake we knew well and both of us could be there to assist if needed. So we suited up and I let dad go in with him…although I was not far away dock side to jump in if needed.

First, he flipped this beast over and got out. No problem!

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And then he was set on straddling the boat from behind and re entering it. Since on any trip he will always have his camera gear secured to the top, front side of the kayak as seen here, he thought this would be the easiest way of re entering.

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After numerous tries and many flips he finally made it successfully back into the seat of his kayak.

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Now, his next goal is to roll this beast without exiting…..which I can’t even imagine. Although, he claims it will be easy….we shall see.

What I Am Loving Lately

Another version of what I am loving lately here for you all…

Chobani Meze Dip…Chili Lime Flavor

Goodbye plain old sour cream….this is my new favorite taco topping, wrap addition or even just a quick pretzel dip to throw in the cooler for a picnic. Its got a bit of a kick but the lime flavor evens the kick out perfectly.

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My Go To Lunch Bowl Creation

I am not a big meat eater when I don’t have to be, so during the day when everyone else is at work I get somewhat creative with how to get my protein requirements. I found that this mixture is by far one of my favorites and keeps me satisfied for a long time. And, if you prep your preferred veggies ahead of time it literally takes seconds to throw together.

***I use, 1/2 cup of the rice mixture, two egg whites, one whole egg, one cup of cooked broccoli, and a bit of cheese melted on top. Drizzle with a bit of hot sauce and whaaaalaaaa you have a meat free lunch.

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Our Kayak Trailer

We officially finished and utilized our newly constructed kayak rack on our utility trailer recently. And everyone agreed…..it is so much easier to load, unload and carry the different shape and sized kayaks we all have. IMG_4417

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Summer Pasta Salads

There is nothing I dread more when it’s hot and humid than cooking a hot meal and then having to clean it up afterwards. In the summer we eat many different pasta salads which are much more refreshing that a hot dinner. Plus, being on the go as much as we are, they pack up very nicely for lunches.

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Seeing Our Son Do What He Loves….Photography

It’s great to have a passion in life and when you find that passion, I am a firm believer to chase after it until it becomes reality. Our son seems to have that same belief, since he seems perfectly comfortable carrying thousands of dollars of camera gear on a kayak to capture that unexpected moment. (As a mom….it made me very nervous and it wasn’t even my money that paid for that camera gear)

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Mom Time/Wife Time/Me Time….

Call it whatever you wish, but I often think us mom’s/wive’s etc. forget that if we are not happy, no one else around us will be either. So I have no problem making time for just me when I need to. Recently, mine just happened to be floating in a tube for a few hours alone while soaking up the sunshine.

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Kayaking Waupaca’s Chain Of Lakes

During the holiday weekend we had the opportunity to spend a day paddling Waupaca’s Chain Of Lakes as a family. Our son had both jobs off and this meant we were going to do some serious paddling for the entire day.

(If you recall, my husband and I made this trip once before and it was a disaster from start to finish, so we were very happy to see sunny skies for this trip.)

I can’t even begin to tell you all how beautiful this area is. We will be returning without a doubt in the near future. We ended up paddling, swimming, relaxing, fishing and exploring with the camera gear seven lakes in this chain. All of which are highly used for SUP and kayakers…..with Long Lake being the only one we explored that allowed big boats and a wake.

Here are some pictures from Manomin Lake, Knight Lake, Marl Lake, Lake Orlando, Beasley Creek, Long Lake, and Pope Lake. All of which are completely connected.

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We put in at the pubic boat launch at Knight Lake bridge. Here you will find a large parking area and a porta potty. You can go either direction to reach all of these lakes. By far, my favorite of them all is Marl Lake which is the only lake that offers this gorgeous aqua color. It also has a public dock which offers a nice break for the kids to swim, parents to rest and if need be, at the top of the stone step hill there is another bathroom. The other direction from Knight Lake bridge, was Orlando Lake, Beasley Creek and Long Lake. Beasley Creek we needed to walk our kayaks through since the water level was so low. Although, it was a nice walk, not long at all and offered us time to chill in the water.

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When you enter Long Lake from Beasley Creek, you will be able to get back in and paddle more, but this is not a slow wake lake, so watch for many go fast boats!!!!

*****If you have any questions about this area or the lakes we paddled, feel free to send me a message or leave a comment. I will do what I can to help you experience this beautiful area as we did.

*****As an added bonus I would like to share with you all some of our son’s moments captured during this gorgeous day. These last two pictures are courtesy of Quade Byrnes Photography.

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