Enjoy a Solid Week of Vacation

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The Adventure:

Relax and unwind on our annual family trip to Five Lakes Resort

The Contender:

A city girl, who needed an escape for a week.

The Experience:

My husband’s side of the family has a very special and unique relationship with Five Lakes Resort - We are now in our 4th generation of attendees. I have been going since 2009; knowing that you will be surrounded by private lakes, little to no cell service and an abundance of family time. Every time is a lot of the same, but just as enjoyable as the last.

Our new and exciting experience would be sharing all of what we know with our new addition, 10 month old Baby Bear. Our older daughter is already eight, where we’ve realized the years have come and zoomed past us, and where we’ve realized we kind of forget how it was to vacation with an infant. Last year, in anticipation of having Baby Bear we purchased a larger vehicle - and we filled the entire side where Baby would be and we joked that we will have to leave her home the following year. (Clearly that was not an option.)

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Vacationing as an adult is so different from being a child. As a child, you’re more caught up in the playing and anticipation. As an adult, you’re caught up in the planning and execution. I remember numerous road trips, where my main concern was what toys to bring and how long the drive would be. Now I find myself running around like a complete crazy just getting everything organized and packed. Nevertheless I felt like we were ready to trek away from the cities, our endless to-do lists, work schedules, play dates - and to just BE for the next week.

Can I just say how lucky my girls are to have portable DVD players to watch during the four hour drive?! I remember having the sad little travel sized games like Perfection and Connect Four; and ALWAYS loosing a key piece to never find it again. I do have my oldest play a classic Road Trip Bingo, which is fun for the entire family; but having a movie play in the background is quite handy and helps kill a lot of the time.

The hustle and bustle of ten family members arriving at the same time felt chaotic, but the kind of chaos where you are excited about. With the exception of Baby Bear, the rest of the family have been anxiously waiting for this vacation all year long. Being a hearty Minnesotan, we spend so much time indoors so to have the luxury of having a resort and lake practically to ourselves is pretty amazing.

The Five Lakes Resort offers ten different cabins, that have easy access to Lake Five. And only the guests of Five Lakes have access to this tranquil lake. We all had many mornings feeding the fish off the dock, canoeing, water biking, the evenings were filled with fishing. (Husband ran around Lake Five every morning as well.)

Then a short drive around the resort will bring you to Lake Six, where you’ll find yourself playing for hours in the beautiful sand bar. Lake six is where my husband and his many cousins learned how to water ski - and now we carry on that same tradition of teaching all of the kiddos how to water ski. (Yours truly did try, got up and hasn’t gone since.)

A full day of fresh air is a lot for a ten month old (and even for the adults) - Baby Bear could not get enough, she loved the water and did not complain (except for wearing her life jacket on the short boat rides to and from). Older Bear enjoyed making sand castles, finding buried treasure and swimming with her cousins. The beautiful weather, picnics by the sandbar, laughing and enjoying the kids antics was exactly what I needed to recharge my battery.

Seven days, two cabins, ten family members, twenty three meals prepared = a lot of memories!

  • Tie-dyed t-shirts

  • Fort building with glow sticks

  • Cousin sleepovers

  • Birthday celebrations

  • All of the kiddos tried to water ski, and almost got up

  • I worked out five of the seven days (Thank you 180 Balance Yoga Fitness Nutrition for the 5:30am practice!)

  • I of course, had countless bug bites

  • Baby Bear took naps when she needed to; and in the evenings we were able to share a room together where we all slept pleasantly well

  • We caught so much fish within the third night, which allowed us to have an early fish fry

  • We only had to have one early day in, due to weather

  • The kids played many games with each other (There was no need for electronic devices!)

  • S’mores by a bonfire

This city girl had her fill of nature and the outdoors - Thank you to my family, for their patience with our new fun-loving Baby Bear. Thank you to the Five Lakes Resort for another very memorable, special week of vacation.

We will see you next year! To book your private Minnesotan get-away click here!

Post author: Taylor Huber

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Housewarming Holiday

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The Adventure:

Celebrating our new home on the Fourth of July

The Contender:

An enthusiastic hostess, who loves a good theme

The Experience:

I grew up always loving the 4th of July, because I knew my birthday is always around the corner once the fireworks go off. As a kid - I remember family gatherings, swimming in the lake, eating fresh cut watermelon, and of course the fireworks. However as you get older the nostalgia wears off and you just go though the motions. Now that we have our beautiful new home and the new addition of Baby Bear to our family - we had major cause for celebration, which reinvigorated my love for the 4th. And of course, I want to share that love for all things 4th of July with my daughters.

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Having everyone under the same roof can seem daunting: the cleaning, prepping, cooking, perfecting. (As a child, you of course have no recollection of this part.) However with a Minnesotan can-do Summer attitude, everything seemed to fall into place - naturally and with ease. I was able to find the appropriate themed paper plates, napkins and cutlery all on super sale (thank you, Hobby Lobby). I only had to run to Target two times within two days of prepping (major win in my opinion). We reminded ourselves to cut some slack and remember it’s only our immediate family - no need to get crazy!

Our new home smell greeted our family members to an afternoon of burgers, brats, fresh fruit and veggies, and my absolute favorite 4th of July treat: angel food cake, fresh berries and whip cream! Good nostalgia always comes with good food - I can always time stamp myself when I eat specific things. We all gorged on all of the yummy-ness, and most for sure went back for more.

Once the sun set, we eagerly waited for fireworks to go off. Due to Baby Bear going to bed we opted out for walking down to the fireworks (which of course I was alright with, I selfishly didn't want to get a million bug bites). Our new home location really has a huge advantage: prime location for fireworks! Everyone ran out onto the deck to have a full panoramic view of the fireworks from all over the southeast metro, such a sight! All of the stressing over prep and cleaning all melted away once I watched the kiddos and the adults enjoying the fireworks.

Everyone enjoyed each other’s company - cousins giggling and enjoying themselves, Baby Bear being coddled and doted on by the relatives, and the adults conversing and laughing. Another Summer memory for the girls, who will for sure remember this and hopefully be able to time stamp this moment when they eat a particular food, hear a particular song or see something red, white and blue.

Slow down Summer…

Post author: Taylor Huber

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Go to the Minnesota Zoo

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The Adventure:

A day at The Minnesota Zoo

The Contender:

An annual zoo pass holder, who needed fresh air and family time.

The Experience:

Twenty five days into our summer vacation, and a lot has been accomplished. My oldest Bear had one week of day camp, playdates/sleepovers, and numerous times playing at our neighboring playground. My newly nine month old Baby Bear is growing at a rapid rate, mimicking everything we do or say, crawling, and of course getting into everything. As for me, I have some how managed to teach shy of 30 ballet and Barre Burn classes, go on walks, enjoy pool nights, catching up on The Game of Thrones/Bravo reality shows, and spend quality time with my family. Twenty five days have come and gone; sixty four more to go!

Last you read about my adventure on decorating our new home. We no longer have moving boxes cluttering our hallways, and most everything has a place. Our home will continue to be a work-in-progress - however with the bulk of it finished, we now have more time to get out of the house.

An afternoon at the Minnesota Zoo with my family, where I realized there were many families like ours, trying to check off their summer to-do bucket list. We have been annual pass holders for eight years; where we’ve walked the many exhibits/trails, and our oldest has done numerous camps and classes (which I highly recommend) for many years. Walking through the numerous trails is familiar to all of us, and it was fun to watch Baby Bear’s reaction to all of the different animals.

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The weather was perfect, walking outside was exactly what all four of us needed! It was perfect to catch up with husband, where we discussed how happy we are with our new home and neighborhood. With the combination of walking and fresh air, we all shared and discussed what we are looking forward to doing for the rest of our summer.

Sixty four days to tackle and enjoy the following:

Midwest summers are fast and furious, we must take advantage of the weather and extended daylight. Thank you to the Minnesota Zoo for keeping me present, to reflect, and to enjoy the small things for the remaining sixty four days.

Post author: Taylor Huber

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Be a Weekend Warrior

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The Adventure

Tackling our New Home’s To-Do List

The Contender

Two overachievers, who want their house to feel homey.

The Experience

As I sit here on this lovely Monday, sipping coffee (one bear is asleep & the other is downstairs playing), I am reflecting on how accomplished I feel from our productive weekend. Last you all read how I found my calm from a donut. Well, it doesn’t take long for this energizer bunny to get back at it.

We have been in our beautiful new home for four weekends, where we’ve unpacked everything and organize each room to its needs. We have had dinners as a family of four, met some neighbors, and accomplished a family game night. Husband and I are doers, we don’t do well in any sort of chaos (small or large). We went into our Saturday with a mission: decorate and personalize our home.

May I just say, one does not realize how much stuff you have until you lay it all out, scattered in many rooms. Case in point - family frames, artwork and chachkies. (I am proud to say that I did purge or store the things that just didn’t work in our new space.)

From 11:00am until 6:00pm, we hung up multiple frames and artwork , extra and necessary towel rods, built shelves (for the necessary chachkies). A lot of the time was spent asking Alexa simple math, helping us secure the correct measurements for the many wall mountings. Luckily both Bear and Baby Bear were keeping themselves occupied while we tackled such a big project. And we only had to take one major break to escape the decorating madness, we all took a much needed family walk.

We rewarded ourselves with a great family dinner, and of course ice cream. The girls were off to bed, we watched Game of Thrones and were promptly in bed by 10:00pm. Mission accomplished: Two true very accomplished, tired weekend warriors.

What are your goals, are they being accomplished? If not, don’t stress - there’s always next weekend!

Post author: Taylor Huber

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Go to Duck Donuts

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The Adventure

Go pick out some tasty treats with my oldest daughter, at our favorite neighborhood donut shop. We have been a handful of times, but today felt special being on summer vacation.

The Contender

Two donut enthusiasts; who enjoy the smells, respects the process, & could eat 1/2 a dozen each if you let us.

The Experience

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When your husband asks to stop by Duck Donuts for some afternoon treats, you don’t hesitate to second guess him.

As of last week, our summer has been in full swing. Amongst the chaos of moving and maneuvering our family of four, I have found it hard to get back into the swing of things. I have had my oldest daughter’s summer schedule all set since April (day camps & activities). My work schedule has been pretty solidified, I’m sure there will be some last minute changes & additions (cause there are always). However my O.C.D. hasn’t helped me get my bearings in our new home. I have always been a creature of habit, my friends will remind me how I would get irate seeing my Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers in the incorrect order or not facing the correct way. Even as a performer it always took me it least a week to figure out where my possessions should be & where I was facing onstage verses the studio.

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So the same thing is to be expected when a giant move is happening. My friends and family joked and knew I would have everything unpacked within a week, which I did. And yes that feels great, but everything else gets shifted; the routes getting to and from, the floor plan has changed, closet formation is different, noises around the neighborhood are unfamiliar. My husband and the girls are adjusting well - normal routine & business as usual seems to be the name of the game for all of them. I know I will snap out of it, there are a lot of lists in my brain, my day planner, scattered post-its & even in my phone reminding me of the MANY things I need to get done for our home, appointments, documents & oh yea actual work.

Today was no different, after our very packed morning of activities for my oldest daughter, teaching, appointments, & multiple feedings for my Baby Bear - going to Duck Donuts was a much needed reward!

Normally you can expect a line (short or long), however I think the universe was trying to give me a break, NO ONE was in there. I was greeted by one of the two workers. I knew exactly what to order, 3 Fudge Pop, 2 Cookies & Cream, and 1 Vanilla icing with Oreo crumbles. Watching them choose the freshly baked cake donuts, place them into your box & finalizing them with your toppings is one the most satisfying feelings you’ll witness. A finely orchestrated pastry symphony.

Our short drive home, my husband, Bear & I enjoyed and devoured all 6 donuts in a matter of minutes. And in those short, very gratifying moments - I reminded myself to ENJOY the small things and take one thing at a time concerning my MANY lists. Thank you, Duck Donuts for your warm & delicious reminder to calm down.

Continue to follow my journey throughout this summer!

Post author: Taylor Huber

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