The Only Covered Bridge In Minnesota!

5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 3, Day 3
2nd Convention Day, Covered Bridge Park

The second day of the “Don’t Give Up!” convention was great!  I felt bad for the people next to us because the kids had to get up and go the bathroom in alternating shifts.  I suppose that’s typical with kids.  Since my kids are all getting older, they sit pretty well except for the bathroom breaks.

After the convention, Princess wanted to go all the way to the top of the parking ramp.  I brought us up and parked the van so the kids could take in the view.  It was a beautiful and windy day in Rochester.

On the way home, we stopped in Zumbrota to see the covered bridge.  I have always wanted to go check it out.  It’s really beautiful and in great shape!  I’m so glad we got a chance to visit!

We took a walk along the creek and then stopped at an amazing wooden park.  It reminded me of a park that used to be in Burnsville called Skyland.  It was torn down to put in a modern park several years ago, which has always made me sad.  I loved playing at Skyland when I was younger.  I’m really glad the children had the chance to enjoy this park.  They want to come back every time there is a convention.

Park Info:

Have you been to the covered bridge in Zumbrota or do you have one near where you live?  I’d love to hear about it or see your pictures!

UPDATE: I made a typo!  It turns out that it was advertised as the only remaining “original” covered bridge in the state.  There are other “non-original” covered bridges.  I did find a list of all of the covered bridges, check it out!

5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Week: Week 3, Day 2: 1st Convention Day, Rochester
Next Week: Week 3, Day 4: 4-Year-Old Adventure

Enjoying A Lovely Day In Rochester

5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 3, Day 2
1st Convention Day, Rochester MN

Today was the first day of the “Don’t Give Up!” convention.  We really enjoyed it!  We left right before lunchtime.  Every time I’ve tried to stay for the second half, I’ve had an anaphylactic attack from airborne food allergies.  The last time, I had to have my dear friend Karen drive me home because I couldn’t walk, much less drive.

I could have gone to the E.R., but I usually try to avoid it if at all possible because there’s always the potential that they could do more harm than good with corn allergies.  Hospitals are full of corn derivatives.  In the severe allergy support group I’m part of, I often hear stories about how the ER accidentally gave them something that made them worse because they didn’t understand what was safe and what wasn’t.

This was the first time I left during the final song instead of after.  I think this was also the only time I’ve ever left not gasping for air or incredibly dizzy.  From now on, I’ll always leave during the final song before lunch.  I always wish that I could stay, but I’m thankful that I’m at least able to attend the first half.

My favorite part of the conventions is hearing the singing of thousands of people.  I love the Kingdom songs and hearing that many beautiful voices always brings tears to my eyes.  Seeing everyone work together to pull off such a large event is always another of my favorite parts.  There are always so many smiles, helpful people and a feeling of love and unity that I haven’t found anywhere else.

After leaving, the kids and I enjoyed a walk along the river in Rochester.  It was a beautiful day.  When we got home, Cat and I stopped by our local health food store for gluten free tortillas, then made a quick trip to the library to return books.

I’ve challenged Cat to read four classics over the summer.  She really enjoyed Romeo and Juliet during school.  Hopefully, she’ll learn to love the older classics as I have.  Lately, she’s been into learning about Japan and learning more about drawing.

Have you attended the “Don’t Give Up!” convention yet?  What was your favorite part?

5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Week: Week 3, Day 1: Hastings Riverwalk
Next Week: Week 3, Day 3: Covered Bridge Park

Hastings Riverwalk

5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 3, Day 1
Hastings Riverwalk

We started off week three with a walk along the river in Hastings, Minnesota.

Before leaving for our walk, Princess enjoyed checking out our lilies at home.  This is the third year since we planted them and they’re doing great!  I can’t believe how many came up this year!

We’ve enjoyed walking Hastings Riverwalk many times.  This is where I took the kids pictures a few years ago.  The Hastings Rivertown Carnival is also hosted here every year.  Earlier this year, Cat and I came here for our 52 project, cold.

Along the trail, there are a lot of interesting things to see.  There are giant vine woven orbs hanging in the trees as part of an art installation.  I got the privilege to see the artist creating them since his studio is not too far from my house.  There is a great view of the new Hastings bridge.  There’s a spot on the side of the trail that has a piece of the old Hastings bridge.  Along the trail, there are signs with bits of history of the area.  There are a lot of beautiful wildflowers everywhere too.

At one point when we were exploring the edge of the river, Nate found a tiny, baby frog.  As it turns out, they were all over the place!  They blend in so well with the ground that it’s difficult to see them, even if you’re looking right at them!  I really hope we didn’t step on any of the little guys!

After our walk, we went to pick up a desk for Cat’s room that we found on Craigslist.  We got to travel quite a ways into Wisconsin and explore an area we’d never been before.  After that, we picked up pizza at Papa Murphy’s for the gluten tolerant side of the family.  Then we came home and made gluten free pizza for Cat, Princess and me.  We watched Enchanted for family night while eating in the living room.  It was a great way to end a fun day!

Have you been on the Hastings Riverwalk?  What is your favorite part?

5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Week: Week 2, Day 4: 2nd Plank Challenge
Next Day: Week 3, Day 2: 1st Convention Day, Rochester

Attempting to Break My Plank Record

Attempting to Break My Plank Record
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 2, Day 4

After my first plank yesterday, I wanted to try again, with my arms rested.  Planking is a lot harder than it looks!  Trying to hold it for long is incredibly difficult!  I might try again throughout the summer to see how much I’ve built up my arm strength.

I was amazed at how long Mr. Awesome was able to hold his plank for!  Princess had a hard time not slipping on the carpet.  Maybe in the future, we’ll have to figure out a way to be less slippery.

Have you tried planking?  How long did you make it your first time?  What is your plank record?

5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Day: Week 2, Day 3: Challenge at Home
Next Day: Week 3, Day 1: Hastings Riverwalk

My First Time Planking!

My First Time Planking!
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 2, Day 3

We tried something new for this workout!  We challenged ourselves with sit ups, push ups and planks.  It was a lot of fun!

Unfortunately, there was a camera glitch for sit ups, so my sit ups were not filmed.  I did reach my goal though!  The kids all did awesome jobs and were really excited about challenging themselves.  I think we might give this another try in the future.

We probably did not do the exercises as they should be done, but that’s ok.  My goal was to get the kids excited about exercising and work out.  We can work on being more precise as we become more experienced.

Having never done a plank before, I was shocked at how difficult they are!  They appear incredibly easy!  I even looked up the average plank time.  This article suggests that two minutes is a good goal, so that’s what I set mine as.  I did not even get close!  Perhaps in the future, I’ll be able to work my way up to a minute!  Haha!

Sit Ups
Princess-A Lot-18

Push Ups
Princess-A Lot-10

Melissa-2 mins-20 sec
Cat-2mins, 30sec-1min 30sec
Cupcake-1min-1min 30sec
Mr.Awesome-5min-2min 41sec
Princess-1min-1min 22sec

Check out our video!

What is your favorite way to challenge yourself, or your children, in a workout?

5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Day: Week 2, Day 2: Old Mill Park
Next Day: Week 2, Day 4: 2nd Plank Challenge

Swimming By The Ruins of an Old Mill

Swimming By The Ruins of an Old Mill
5 Week Workout Challenge: Week 2, Day 2
Old Mill Park

Nate has been working on the RV a lot recently.  He took off a week of work and spent most of that time taking off the old roof and damaged wood and rebuilding it.  By taking the kids on hikes, I can keep them out of the way while the debris is on the ground.  At the end of the day, I help him clean up the garbage and put the tarp back on.  I plan on making a few posts on the progress he’s made.

Since it was a hot day, I let the kids wear swimming suits for our hike.  With swimming on their little minds, the idea of a hot hike to view the falls was not an exciting prospect.  They were little troopers and made the whole hike there and back before making our way down to the river.

Getting from the top of the cliff down to the river is not an easy feat.  It’s not extremely difficult, but it’s also not an easy climb.  There are two ways down, one is through the debris of the old mill.  The other is down some very small wooden steps.  The wooden steps end and leave one to slowly work down the rocks that have become smooth and slippery from frequent visitors.

Once you arrive at the bottom, the view is breathtaking.  The river is bordered by tall limestone cliffs.  On one side, the old mill towers into the sky.  It’s amazing that it’s still standing after a fire 123 years ago.  If you look close enough, you can see charred wood on some of the pieces up higher on the wall.  I can only imagine, that if it hadn’t been burned by arsonists, it would still be a beautiful and impressive building today.

The kids had a lot of fun playing in the water, building sand castles and relaxing in the cool water.  We found a spot in the rocks where a small spring trickles down to the river.  Cat found a little creature that may have been a baby crayfish.  Mr. Awesome built it a giant wall so it would have more space to move about in.

This is one of our favorite spots to visit and we recommend it for all ages.  There are parking lots on both the side of the falls and the ruins which make it easy for a short walk to a view.  Most of the paths are asphalt and easy to walk.  We took a few off road paths on this day since we are more familiar with the area.

Have you been to see the Vermillion Falls of the old mill ruins?  Let us know in the comments!

Basic Park Info:
All Trails:


5 Week Workout Challenge
Previous Day: Week 2, Day 1: Workout At Home
Next Day: Week 2, Day 3: Challenge at Home

How to Make Slime

How to Make Slime

Cupcake begged me for months to make slime.  With busy school schedules, we barely had time to breathe, much less, attempt a new, potentially messy and time-consuming craft.  I promised her that we would make slime once school was out.

As summer approached, Cupcake happily reminded me frequently of the approaching slime adventure.  Once school was out, I went to the store and bought a giant jug of glue.  We gathered the remaining supplies at home and all of the kids excitedly assembled around the table for the project.

We had a lot of fun playing with it plain, but we also added a bunch of fun things into it for sensory play.  We added a couple different glitters, food dye, cut up straws, craft eyeballs, kinetic sand, and beads.  The kids also used straws to blow bubbles.  I also added some child-friendly essential oils to a couple batches.  Really, you could add anything you want!

Slime Recipe
1/2 cup glue mixed into 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 tsp borax mixed into 1/2 cup warm water
Slowly add borax into glue, one spoonful at a time until mixture isn’t sticky.
Knead with Hands.
Add glitter, beads, dye, etc.
Store in zip lock baggies or another airtight container.

Check out our video for an example of how to make it!

Have you made slime?  What did you add to it?  Share in the comments!

52 Project, Week 14: Favorite Scripture

52 Project, Week 14: Favorite Scripture

This is my first chalkboard creation!  My daughter Cat usually makes me beautiful art on the chalkboard that Nate made for me.  Since this was my challenge, I thought I had better give it a try myself.  I didn’t think it was fair to give Cat such a complicated project.  (She insists she could have handled it.)

Drawing with chalk is a lot harder than it appears!  Chalk is thick and flattens with each use, The edges are unpredictable with swirls and curves, unlike using a pen or pencil.  I have to give Cat credit, she makes it look so easy!

Choosing my number one favorite scripture isn’t an easy task.  I have a variety of favorite scriptures.  Actually, I have a book of favorite scriptures!  Narrowing it down to my top two was a little easier.

When I was studying the bible with my mentor, she often helped me find scriptures for life’s problems or questions I had.  As we read through different topics, Isaiah 48:17 occasionally came up.  Karen always mentioned that it was her favorite scripture and it’s not hard to see why.  It’s a great reminder of what’s important in life.

Jehovah is teaching us to help ourselves through his inspired word in the Bible.  The Bible is our guide to life and it can help us with every situation in life.  With daily study and personal, heartfelt prayer, we’re developing a relationship with God and training our consciousness in the way we should walk.

I love that scripture, but I also love the one that follows.

17 This is what Jehovah says, your Repurchaser, the Holy One of Israel: “I, Jehovah, am your God, The One teaching you to benefit yourself, The One guiding you in the way you should walk. 18  If only you would pay attention to my commandments!  Then your peace would become just like a river And your righteousness like the waves of the sea.

I love the visual of peace and righteousness.  It soothes and comforts me.  By listening to God and applying his word, peace will be our reward.

Psalms 91:4 is my current favorite.  The wording is a little different, depending on which Bible you use.  My Bible has a more literal translation in an attempt for accuracy.
With his pinions, he will cover you, And under his wings, you will take refuge. His faithfulness will be a large shield and a protective wall.
Personally, I prefer the new international version, with the word feathers instead of pinions.  A Pinion is the outer section of a bird’s wings.  Although a pinion is very specific to what part of God’s wings will cover, pinion is not a regular part of my vocabulary.  

I love this scripture, because of the thought of being protected by God.  I love the visual of being safe, tucked under his wing, like a baby chick.  Conjuring this image in my mind brings tears to my eyes.  It’s like getting a hug from Jehovah.

Do you have a favorite scripture?

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Next Week: 52 Project, Week 15: Hobby
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