Category Archives: Up North at the Cabin

Memorial Day Weekend

Stuff that is true about taking a toddler Up North: It is infinitely easier than taking up a finicky infant.

I may have set an extremely low bar, but last year, our drives to/from the cabin included 1-2 stops to nurse and change diapers on our 2.5 hour journey, a tiny tyrant who would refuse to nap for more than 20 minutes and be VERY overtired, and screaming for the portion of the drive from Garrison to Crosslake.

This year?  We left to drive to/from at about 6:30 AM after Critter woke, fed him quesadillas/pouch/raisins/milk on the way up, stopped for a diaper change and running around about halfway through, and even though there was some complaining by the end, it was a VASTLY improved situation over last year.

There was lots to do and see since he is a big boy now and not an infant!

We went to the park, and then stopped by the dam.  


Critter was fascinated.

We stopped by the Northern Trackers Train Museum in Crosslake for the first time.


There is no set admission price, they’re only open two times per week and they only take donations.  I’d definitely recommend a visit if you have kids and you’re in the area.

When Critter discovered that the lake in our backyard was essentially a giant kiddie pool, he was thrilled and delighted. 


And he only wanted to splash if he was wearing his play clothes, and not his swim shirt and diaper, but what are you gonna do.

On Saturday night, Marcus and I took the canoe out on the lake and I did a bit of fishing.  


We didn’t bring our phones with so there are no photos but I caught a northern and a small bass.  It was nice to get back into it again, and honestly I think the last time I caught something in a canoe was elementary school with a cane pole so there is that.

We went to Gull Dam Brewery and met up with Amanda, Mike, and Baby O and all was well until there was a torrential downpour.


We ate some Zorbaz pizza.  And some maple-sprinkle cake donuts.  All was well.

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Coming Home

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So.  Let’s discuss the rest of the cabin week.  We came home on Thursday morning because a real rager of a storm rolled though just after midnight and took out our power, a tree in our backyard (that blocked off the road), a power line (c/o said tree) and so then we didn’t have running water and we didn’t have air conditioning and it was supposed to be 90 degrees that day.  With an infant.  No bueno.

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This was after the fire department stopped by to clear the road for us.


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Our neighbors.  Less lucky.

In addition to this, on Wednesday morning, I discovered that because our yard was one of the few dry ones in the area, the local ants had decided to colonize the entire thing.  One such ant lair was large enough to see from the deck and looked like something out of Nat Geo.

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Generally I am an ant pacifist, but it was all too much.  Destruction rained from the sky upon these ants as well as all of the others in the yard so that we could actually…have a yard.

While there wasn’t a great deal of downtime while we were up there because Critter is still a crappy napper and I was all baby-tending, all the time, I did get to fish once, off of our flooded dock and the back of the pontoon.  On one of my last casts, I finally caught a Northern.  When I walked up to the cabin to tell Mom and Dad about it, Mom expressed surprise that I hadn’t captured a photo of it.  I reminded her that for my entire life up until 2011 or so, 99% of the fish I had ever caught were not also captured on film and they still existed too.  Even as I was casting and picking weeds off of my line and casting again, it was just nice to even be doing it.

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And as a grand finale to the entire ordeal, when we got home, I discovered that the bite I had thought was a deer fly bite was actually developing a small bullseye around it.  Even though I had never seen a tick, part of Tick Bites 101 is that if you see a bullseye bug bite, you should go to the doctor pronto.  In order to get Lyme’s Disease via tick bite, you have to be bitten by an infected Deer Tick and it has to roll with you for 24-36 hours.  With that in mind, you can take antibiotics prophylactically within 72 hours of the bite and that should keep you on the healthy list. I did just that when we got home (it’s literally one dose) so what a grand and splendid way to wrap up our time in the Great North. 

Friday Food Round-Up

I headed up to the cabin last Saturday so there is some food here that I didn’t make, some meal ideas that I did propose, and a few things I actually made.

I will also confess I did a heinous job of not photographing the bacon-wrapped shrimp we ate on Saturday and the steaks we had on Monday. Please use your imagination.

Friday – Szechuan Chicken Kebabs from Von Hansen’s, Grilled Tomato and Mushroom Kebabs, Dijon Potatoes


Looks like a weekend date night to me!

Tuesday – Brats on King’s Hawaiian Bread, Corn on the Cob, Baked Beans, Potato Salad, Quinoa Pilaf


I love/hate/secretly love all of the iterations of King’s Hawaiian Bread that now exist. The hot dog buns being an example of a positive expansion.

Wednesday – Yellow Cake Baked Oatmeal from Cravings


That missing corner of the pan?  Me.

Chrissy has some great breakfast recipes that I would never be able to make if it was just Marcus and I eating them. Solution: the cabin. Mom and I agreed thay this would be a great baked oatmeal base for a host of flavors. We’ll probably try it out with a few other combos instead of raspberry-peach.

Wednesday – Baked Chicken with Green Salad, Tots, Stretchy Artichoke, Spinach, and Buffalo Chicken Dip from Cravings


Real talk: we built a meal around the dip because when we scuttled our original plan (too hot to grill!!!), basically we wanted to be sure to eat that.  Not such a bad existence, right?

Lake Baby


We are Up North at the Cabin. Or at least, Critter and I are. With my parents. Marcus is in the cities working this week and living the free life of a bachelor. The man has assembled a social schedule for this time that would have put even his past, childless self to shame. 

  • I can type this without hexing it now (because he woke up last night) but on Saturday and Sunday night he slept from 7:00 PM – 5:30/6:00 AM and it was just so magical. On Saturday morning, I woke up on my own. Amazing. I think that it was probably penance for the fact that he woke up four times on Friday night. Yikes. 
  • As you can see from the snap above, the little tyke is getting MUCH better at sitting up. Even in the past few days, the difference has been profound.
  • We took Critter swimming for the second and third times and once he figured out splashing (and the fact he could try to drink the lake water – gross!) it was a hoot. 
  • I brought my yoga mat up and I am so glad I did. It gives me the chance to keep my “normal” home routine (morning yoga practice during first nap!). I get to practice outdoors instead of in (even though I try to go on our deck every chance I get in the summer!), and it is just so nice, really. 
  • There is some crazy flooding up here.  Our yard is generally fine (see above), but our neighbor’s (see below) is legit under water and I have been watching the sunfish swim in and out from beneath his shed. 
  • We had a wilderness visitor this morning. I heard scratching at the door as I changed Critter’s diaper. I thought my Dad was moving the grill. We peeked through the blinds to surprise him and saw A SKUNK.  My first time ever seeing a live one. 
  • A nice sunset. Behold. 
  • The library really came through for me before we left and four eBooks I had been waiting for became available so I have some absolutely great reading to do. 
  • Not cabin-related at all, but I ditched our original diaper bag in favor of a North Face Borealis Backpack.  I was going back and forth on this before Critter was born and as we all know we chose a traditional diaper bag. It was cute but too small for cloth diapers. Even more important, as we transition Critter into a bigger carseat (and carrying him in-arms everywhere!) I thought this would really be the least-distracting way to get him and his many possessions contained and to and fro. 

The 4th Up North

Wow guys.  That was a LONG weekend.  When we departed on Friday afternoon, we weren’t sure if we would be leaving on Monday morning or on Tuesday (we both had Tuesday off).  Since the weather was SO lovely and we were all having SUCH fun, even though it probably would have been nice to sleep in our own beds, we made the call to stay.

All of our cabin trips this year have been successful so far.  BUT.  This is the first one where I felt like we were all truly having fun.  Together. Critter was into all of it.  The outdoors.  The water.  The people.  Critter went for his first swim.  And his first boat ride.  And his second swim.  And his second boat ride.

We took him into town to eat at the BBQ pop-up.  And for ice cream (us, not him).  And down to The Wharf for drinks and snacks and boat-watching.

 Since everything in town is so close to the cabin (5-10 minute drive, max) it was easy for us to go on outings that were interesting.  AKA not in a suburban strip mall.

Billy and I got totally skunked fishing.


But during the Big Pine Lake annual fishing tournament, Uncle Doug and Cousin Chris both hauled in some Northerns.



Cousin David did too, but we totally failed at capturing his accomplishment on film.

And all of the sunsets were great.



Critter, my parents, and I will be headed up next weekend for a full week of cabin time.  With a husband who will still be down in the cities working, I am sure it will be quite a bit more work, but I am excited to spend more time at my favorite place with my favorite little one.

Memorial Day Weekend 2016


Since taking Critter Up North for the fishing opener did not result in outright disaster, we decided to do it again. I’ll start this post by giving a shoutout to MNDoT for turning 169 into a one lane road in honor of the holiday weekend. Dealing with that was just super invigorating. 

This weekend was MUCH more relaxing than our first cabin adventure. Perhaps because we were staying for a long weekend so we had time to get settled in. Perhaps because Critter is two weeks older and just handled it better. Perhaps because Critter realized the cabin is a fun place where Nana is too!  Perhaps because we knew what to expect. 

Or maybe we just got lucky.  We may never know.  

Billy, Marcus and I did some fishing on Big Pine. Marcus generally drinks beer and spectates. I cannot say that I blame him because this is generally not a bad idea.  


We also did some fishing with Uncle Doug and cousin Chris on Rice Lake.   


I didn’t know if I had a fish or a weed. 


It was a fish. The only one of the outing, actually. 

We did some fishing on Sunday night even though I was so tired I was dizzy. 
 


I’m so glad Mom and Marcus basically forced me out there because Billy is only here every so often. 

And we did some fishing on Monday morning before we left because Marcus is a great husband and Critter was a team player and took an extra long nap.  By extra long I mean 45 minutes instead of 35. 

Basically we fished. I drank a few beers. Others drank (more) beers. We tended to the boy king. I ate sprinkle donuts (6) and drank gas station Hazelnut coffee (true favorite). I ate meals I did not have to cook. That was possibly the best part of the whole weekend. 

I broke out the baby carrier for the flea market on Saturday and a walk in town on Sunday. Critter thought it was great and we got to do more activities!  

We also packed a baby lifejacket that we did not use. Critter’s first pontoon ride is now scheduled for the July 4th weekend. I did, however, dip Critter’s tiny feet into Big Pine Lake for the first time.  Just more things to look forward to. 

Fishing Opener 2016


Like, I think it’s pretty obvious that I have zero time to blog these days, but it’s important to me that I keep up with the cabin-blogging. Looking back on these posts in the winter is what gives me joy when it’s becoming clear that we’re never going to be warm again.

ANYWAY. It was the Minnesota fishing opener and Billy was home from Texas. Had he not been home, I don’t know that we would have gone up. 

More importantly, it was Critter’s first time Up North!  He was just a champ for the drive up (the ride down wasn’t too bad either!) but we paid for it dearly on Friday night when we were treated to a reprisal of The Night Screaming. It was horrid and I am now more sure than ever that I have Absolutely No Idea as to how we survived it for as long as we did. 

On Saturday morning we put the dock in. It’s generally a chilly activity but this year, it was 34 degrees!  We were not deterred! Also, we had no choice!


This also reinforced my belief that Minnesotans are the hardiest of all Americans. 

Then I made Billy go fishing with me.

 This is the closest either of us have ever gotten to ice fishing. 


After my first catch, something fell off of my reel rendering it useless in the sense that it could barely reel. 


BUT I DID NOT LET THAT STOP ME AND I WAS REWARDED WITH TWO MORE FISH!


What a day!  I know some of you are thinking, Kat, what happened to your sweet plaid lifejacket?  Let me assure you it still lives. BUT. I have never been entirely sure of its True Buoyancy and on a day as cold as Saturday, I wanted to be sure if I went overboard, I would float. 

Other important items of business: I ate maple sprinkle donuts, drank Hazelnut Coffee, we had Zorbaz pizza (worth the wait).  Auntie Kim made Sweaterbox Chicken Salad. 

Amen.