A Rambling Saturday at The Landing

Yesterday, I had a rare Saturday off.  My sweet daughter has been reading the Little House series, so I had told her last week we were going to visit the MN History Museum to learn more about being a settler.  I also asked her G&T teacher (Gifted and Talented– NOT Gin and Tonic) for ideas for real life things we could do to reinforce what she was reading on her own time.  Her teacher suggested that we visit The Landing (previously known and Murphy’s Landing) for their Christmas celebration.  Seeing as how the weather yesterday was supposed to be pretty mild, we packed up the kids and headed South.

After paying $16 for our family of 4 to enter (not a bad deal, if you ask me), we stepped outside and waiting for a few moments for the horse-drawn wagon to come pick us up.  The horses would prove to be the only negative of the whole day; I am HORRIBLY allergic to horses and I have asthma, so after each wagon ride I would have major issues breathing for awhile  But that’s just me.

We first got dropped off at a French- Canadian (my people!) cabin from the 1850s.  The kids learned about trading outposts, how the fir traders traded with the Dakota for essentials, and, in general, learned how different life was like back then.  One volunteer was sewing the ear back on a wolf pelt.  The kids had lots of questions about that.  This cottage kept up their attention longer than almost anything else.  The volunteers were warm and engaging, and truly wanted to talk with the kids about everything.

Next we were off down the trail to a farm from the 1860s.  Inside were German immigrant re-enactors.   This cabin had a few more comforts than the last, and they were making sauerkraut soup that smelled AMAZING.  Unfortunately, the volunteers were less eager to talk than in the last cabin (or in any other place we went), so we only stayed for a few moments until exiting and heading down the trail, where we would next encounter a schoolhouse from 1889.

The schoolhouse kept the kids’ attention for a very long time, too.  Both kids sat at their little desks and practiced writing on their tiny chalkboards with their quartz chalk. The schoolteacher told them all about what school was like back then, and Chris was forced to demonstrate 2 punishment methods from back then. (HEEE!)  Just as another group of visitors walked in, St. Nick walked by!  The kids were eager to see him, so out we headed to have a “walk and talk” with The Man in Red.

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The rest of the park is set up as a village meant to show life in the 1890s.  All of the houses were actual homes moved from surrounding communities   They had a town hall and a church, too.  Each home has a different family from a different country living in it, so we got to see how everyone had their own holiday customs.  Before we could explore the town, though, we had to visit The Depot, where a catering company had food for sale.  All in all, the food was delicious (or maybe we were just cold and hungry).  We then set out to explore all the houses and the General Store.  The kids’ favorite part ended up being the musical performers.  My son made me sit in the town hall, where a choir was doing something called shape singing.  We were handed a book, and I had lots of fun singing with the group (wow– rusty sight reading skills here, but it came back to me!) while the wee man just kept looking from me to the group, to the book, and so on.  Chris took out daughter over to the church. Reports are that she was transfixed with the violinists (CRAAAAAAP) and could not take her eyes off of them.

I will admit that I am in love.  (And no, this is not sponsored in any way, shape, or form.  Please.  Who would pay anyone with 3 posts and 15 totals page views?)  I loved the park, I loved the experience  and am plotting our return.  If you are looking for a fun way to spend a day learning AND getting into the Holiday spirit, this is IT.  They have a candlelight stroll on 12/21.  I very, very much want to go.

I leave you with pictures Chris took.  Doesn’t it look lovely?

Warmly,

Veronica

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Dear Christmas

Tonight, I finished 2 Christmas gifts.  Two.  That’s pretty good, especially when you factor in the fact that I finished another one this morning.  My stack of completed projects is growing.  Yay me!  And yet….

I really, really dislike Christmas.

First of all, had anyone ever stopped to think that one day effectively takes up 1/10 of an entire year’s energy?  We now stretch it alllll the way into November, and butt it up as close to Thanksgiving as we can.  So, disclaimer, I really like Thanksgiving, but now we have this one day completely eating up all of December and most of November. Let a holiday have some space.

Second, I despise giving out gift lists.  It’s one thing to tell people what my kids want, but it seems really ishy to say what I want. And yes, I’ve had a thing against lists for awhile.  Listen to my interview here. (OK, it’s somewhere around the 10 minute mark, maybe?  It’s been a long time, and I forget.)

Third, and this is a huge secret: the family Christmas parties send me into a real, full-blown panic attack. Yes, every year, without fail, I have huge anxiety meltdowns on the way to the family Christmas parties that probably need to be discussed with a health professional.  But they only happen once a year, so…meh.  I’ll live with it.  I have NO idea what drives this, but even the planning and discussion starts to bring on the anxiety. It is enough to make me nervous about the whole affair, even months out.

Fourth, I feel crushed by the stress of figuring out who to spend with what day with and when.  I have in laws, too, so that’s…..well, too many people to figure out who to spend time with.  It should help that both my sisters and my mother all live out of state but….ugh.  My only solution is to spend each and every Christmas from now on at Wisconsin Dells.  And after 6 years of pleading, I might get my wish next year. *fingers crossed*

So far this year I am making each and every single Christmas present I can, which, strangely, has been soothing.  I’ll just push down the annual fear that people will hate what I give them, and craft on.  Words to live by this Christmas season, I guess:  Craft on.

Fall TV isn’t bad–for once

We are going into our second fall season without cable TV.  We have broadcast TV, Netflix, and Hulu Plus via our Roku player.  We’ve gotten used to it.  During the summer we spent free time after the kids went to sleep by watching complete series on both Netflix and Hulu, which was good until we ran out of stuff to watch. I always approach the fall season on TV with a large amount of cynicism. The last few fall seasons have proven to be awful for new shows, as you can see here and here.

This year? So much good TV! SO, SO much! What are we watching and loving?

Parks and Recreation

Not new, but it needs to be at the top because it’s our favorite. After a bumpy start this season, last week’s episode wight finally put it back on track. If you only watched the pilot and vowed never to watch it again, try it again– you’ll like it.  I LITERALLY promise.

New Girl

Back for a 2nd season, it’s again starting off on shaky ground, but hopefully the story arc will even out again and it’ll back in tip top share. It’s funny, at least.

Don’t Trust the B- in Apartment 23

Long name, I thought it was dumb, but we started watching it one night when we desperately needed something new to binge on. If you can handle umm….raunchier…stuff, this is HILARIOUS. Especially if you are a James Van Der Beek fan like I am and  enjoy seeing him play a fake version of himself, you need to check it out.

Go On

I call this “Goon”.  I’m a jerk like that. After the preview they showed in the waning days of the Olympics, I thought it was dumb.  My dear husband thought it looked good.  He dragged me back, and I’m glad he did. This show is hitting it’s stride. Could it be that Matthew Perry gets to stay on a show past a whole season? I hope so!

Finally,

Suburgatory

We are just starting to watch Modern Family too; we started on the reruns during the summer. We caught Suburgatory one night by accident.  It was funny, and I’m always glad to see a fellow spunky ginger on TV. We haven’t gone back to watch all of the first season, but we were happy to pick it up from the season premiere on. It’s always really low on the “Most Popular” list on Hulu, so please watch it and change that.

We still watch The Office, SNL, Modern Family, and the random Friday night drama. I haven’t been able to get into The Mindy Project, Call the Midwife (I know, right? I teach Sundays.), or Chicago Fire. Actually, we tried. with Chicago Fire, more than once.  It’s terrible, and should be axed, and join the ranks of Animal Hospital and Made in Jersey as some of the first Fall TV shows canceled.

Am I wrong?  What am I missing?  Let me know!

 

Another blog? Have I lost my mind?

Ladies and Gentlemen…I might have lost my mind.

Yes, another blog.  I already am the primary poster for my business blog, but I needed a place of my own.  I have a lot of thoughts, you see.  Some of them podcast-fueled.  Some twitter-fueled.  But it’s safe to say I have a lot of thoughts.

As a small-business owner, I’m usually thinking about that.  As a mom I’m usually thinking about the kids at the same time. The words “vagina” and “nipple” are part of my daily vocab. I’m a pop culture and politics nut, so this blog will be a mix of all of it.

One note:  I am not, nor do I ever aspire to be, a blogger.  I know bloggers.  I love blogger.  That’s probably not me; I’m just not clever enough.  But I’m hoping having a blog works out pretty well.  Hell, it’ll be better than Facebook.

Warmly,

Veronica