Winter Feed

Mama Recharge

Can you guess where I might be this weekend??

Enjoy this re-post of my 2018 December column in Minnesota Parent Magazine.  

Take it as inspiration to schedule a weekend away of your own!!!

Northwoods girls weekend

It’s booked — three nights at a vacation rental on the North Shore of Lake Superior for me and three of my great friends. Whoo-hoo!!!!

This will be our third-annual Northwoods “girls weekend” getaway. 

Why is this such a big deal?

Well, as a mother of four, I spent a long time in the thick of the baby years.

During that incredible but long chapter of my life, I felt defined by my role as a mother of a baby. I didn’t stray too far from the house. I spent a lot of time caring for the children, but not a lot of time caring for myself. I don’t have to tell you: It wasn’t easy. Sometimes I felt bogged down with the responsibility of it all.

Now ages 13, 11, 9 and 7, my children are becoming more independent. They have their groups of friends and are involved in all sorts of activities. We’re in a fun new stage of our life as a family. And I feel I have a little more time and freedom to nurture myself as an individual. 

I’m able to focus a bit more on my own physical, spiritual and mental well-being, which, in turn, helps me to project myself as the person — and the mother — I want to be.

Several years ago, I reached out to three of my friends to see if they would want to attend the popular YMCA Camp du Nord Women’s Ski and Snowshoe Retreat on the North Arm of Burntside Lake near Ely. 

They responded with a resounding, “Yes!” “Yes!” and “Yes!” 

We all registered and were soon together — all in one place at the same time, without husbands or kids, for the first time in years!

Although the camp where the retreat was held wasn’t far from my home, I felt a world away. Distancing myself from my day-to-day responsibilities — and distractions of work and home — gave me an opportunity to relax and reconnect with my dear friends.

At the retreat, we were catered to with great food, wine and full days of unstructured time. We had opportunities to participate in yoga classes, get massages, go for hikes, talk, laugh, read and sauna. It was an amazing experience!

We had so much fun that we decided to make our girls weekend an annual tradition.

The following year, we had intentions to do women’s winter retreat again, but it filled up before we were able to make our reservations. 

So we decided to try a ski weekend on the North Shore. We booked a vacation rental and planned on a day of downhill skiing at Lutsen Mountains and a day of cross-country skiing on the Sugarbush ski trails for our second-annual girls weekend. 

We lucked out with mild temperatures and a dumping of 10 inches of snow that made our ski day at Lutsen feel like we were in the mountains! Meanwhile, our cross-country ski trails were perfectly groomed, which made for an outstanding experience.

Although we might not be so lucky to get perfect conditions again, we all agreed we’d have fun together, no matter what we were doing!

I’ve come home from these weekends with my friends refreshed and recharged. 

If you’re in the thick of the baby years — or don’t have the finances or support to get away for a night or more — I encourage you to be creative and find ways to take a break closer to home. Maybe it’s dinner with friends or an afternoon or day trip. 

I think it’s important for our kids to see us having fun and doing something for ourselves.

Remember, if you’re a healthy and well-balanced individual, it can help you to be a better mother!


Around Here....

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We have been enjoying time together outdoors on the weekends on the slopes at Giant's Ridge.  We are enjoying alpine skiing, snowboarding - and - this mama's new style: telemark skiing.

Zoe and I are spending time on the nordic trails as well.   We are having a lot of fun together and it is good for everyone to get away from the responsibilities of home and have a weekend day of fun.

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It certainly feels like December in kindergarten!   There is lots of energy and excitement.   In December I like to pull out some of my favorite projects and activities to share with the kids.   We are in the process of  hand sewing project with felt and buttons. This week my kids completed a winter birds project (I get a lot of inspiration from Patty Palmer's Deep Space Sparkle site) .   The Kindness Elves have also been visiting our classroom, this week the kids were inspired to make Christmas cards for residents of our local nursing home.   (I love this alternative to the elf on the shelf idea.)  

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James is continuing to make great progress on our sauna building.   We now have an installed stove, a sheet rocked wall and a door!   

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The nordic ski season has begun!  Our daughter competed in her first meet this past week and did great.   We are excited to cheer her on at our first home meet next week!

 

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This act of sharing photographs and ramblings of our daily life is a practice in gratitude that brings me joy.

I encourage you to reflect on the good in your life.

What are you grateful for today?


First Snow!

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This is what our neck of the woods looks like these days.   We have had cooler temperatures and snow on the ground for over a week!   A combination of fall and winter, bright and colorful leaves in the contrast of white snow is something of beauty.   

We are anticipating warmer temperatures later in the week, so I expect this first snow to melt.   I don't think anyone around here will complain and would enjoy some more fall weather before the onset of winter.  Time will tell!

 


Around Here - A Season In Transition

 

 

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We're still experiencing winter weather. We still have lots of snow, we even were downhill skiing last weekend!   I am hoping that when Spring weather finally does arrive, it will be fast and furious.  Now, bets are on if the ice on the lakes will be melted by the Minnesota fishing opener early May.

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The sap is has started to run again.  We have had several days in the past few weeks that the temperature has not reached above freezing.  Just this week the sap started running again.  I plan on collecting for another week, then I am planning on pulling the spiles and boiling down what I have.  

Kids and Eggs - 9I am leaning into traditional rhythms of Spring.  I have eggs in my classroom incubator and I am reading Charlotte's Web to my kindergarten students.  Usually, this happens after our classroom pancake party, where I share syrup made from the sap we collected from our schoolyard maple trees.   This year there is a little overlap, but I am making sure these fun experiences happen.   We are holding off a little bit on our planting. Our school garden will be ready for transplants any time soon.
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Taking it day by day, with hope and a knowing Spring will be here soon.  Until then, I am working with intention to enjoy the beauty of this season in transition.

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Around Here....

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Around Here.....

We had an extended break from school with the holiday weekend, which allowed for some extra time for some outdoor adventures.  

I enjoyed a long, solo hike on a familiar trail as well as a couple of ski outings with the kids.  Today we enjoyed getting out on the 10+ inches of new snow that we received on Sunday on our local cross-country ski trails.

We topped the weekend off with a hot chocolate date and some much needed down time at home.

I hope you had a chance to do some outdoor exploring this past weekend.  

Cheers to the week ahead!


First Ski

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Winter weather is here!  The boys and I found opportunity to go out for our first ski of the season this past weekend.   Bracing for a long winter, we are ready with our gear and activities that help get us through.   It was fun to get out this weekend!


Northwoods Mama Getaway

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Girls Weekend

A week ago today I traveled just a little farther up the road, joining three of my great friends at a Northwoods women's retreat at Camp DuNord.  Over the weekend we spent a lot of time outdoors, we were fed great food, we jumped in the frozen lake after a sauna, we were pampered at a local spa had time to reconnect.

Oh what a wonderful experience it was!

 


Harvest of Ice

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We spent a gorgeous winter day at our friends' resort harvesting ice, as has been a mid-winter tradition in our neck of the woods.  We got a wonderful dose of sunshine, we all broke a sweat and shed layers.   Today I am happy with sunburned cheeks and a fun and productive day under my belt.   It is fun to get more involved as my role has changed from children-tender and life guard to ice block hauler.  It was fun to see our children get more involved as well - almost all of them made it the mile ski out to the resort on their own power and they all helped out throughout the day as well.  Fun times with good friends, keeping a fun Northwoods tradition alive.


Around Here

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Outside:

Although we are experiencing some sub zero temperatures, we are finding our way outdoors.    We have a solid base of snow for cross country skiing and between after-school ski practices, MYSL and weekend outings, we're logging a fair amount of kilometers on the trail.

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Coffee shop 2

Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts
Duct tape crafts

Inside:  

We are staying warm, even given our recent sub-zero temperature cold snap.   We recently tried out a new coffee shop in town with a welcoming atmosphere after a cold and snowy ski.  We have been keeping ourselves busy inside, the kids experimenting with duct tape crafts, the mama with some knitting projects.  On these winter days we are also savoring summer blueberries and backyard maple syrup with pancake breakfasts.

Wishing you a great start to your week!


solstice ski

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IMG_1085Yesterday I took the opportunity to take an after school ski with my four.  

This year already we are going a little bit farther, the older two setting off on their own course with the added comfort and connection of a cell phone, and me with the younger two.

A lovey late afternoon in the woods enjoying above zero temps and a beautiful sunset.   

Happy Solstice Friends!