Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spring Cleaning & Wedding Favors

      And you're thinking....WHAT?  Well, that's what I'm up to this week.  Cleaning cabins everyday for 3-5 hours, then hanging out in the lodge, filling little tins with pastel M & M's and putting cute little stickers on the lid for John & Alicia's wedding on May 8th!!

      Both chores have to be done....and both will get done.  I have a wonderful friend from church helping me clean.  She keeps me on task and she's doing a great job.  I love walking into the cabin after we've cleaned it...everything sparkles and smells so fresh. 

      I also love working on the wedding favors.  I'm thinking of those 2 youngsters getting married in a week and looking forward to sharing that special day with them.  It will be such a special weekend with our whole family together.  And yes, there might be some tears from this Mom.  Weddings are an exciting time and an emotional time.  And we have to keep John on his feet!  When Max got married, John was 16, a groomsman, and fainted dead away during the ceremony!  Then, sister Jen saw it happen since she was a bridesmaid and got light-headed worrying about John and had to sit down....after we made sure everyone was okay, the ceremony continued and we laughed about it as the years went by.  So, we'll all be reminding John to stand tall and not lock his knees up there....or we'll be picking him up again!

      Here's a few photos of the favors....they're more exciting than clean cabins....and most of you have seen the cabins!  Check back for some great wedding photos when we get back from this very special wedding.

Congrats, John & Alicia!!!

First Fishing Trip of 2010

      This northern Minnesota weather is incredible this year!  We seem bent on checking the forecast day after day, just sure that there will be snow before the month ends.  We've never had an April with no snow...but there are lots of first this spring.  I think I told you that the ice went out April 2nd, the earliest in our 23 years here.  Now, the flowering trees are blooming, Steve has mowed twice, all the docks are in.....and a first....we took 4 little boys fishing last weekend!

      Ben, almost 5, is an avid fisherman.  Last year, he saw a big bass in a guest's live well and was determined to go out and catch one just like it...and he did!  Well, now he thinks all he has to do is "want" to catch a fish and it will happen.  Don't we all wish that's how it was done!  So....Papa decided on Friday that he'd take the boat out and let the little guys cast for whatever...knowing full well that it was too early....the water temp is still too weed growth so the fish are deep and easily spooked....but you can't say all that to an almost 5 yr. old!

      Papa gathered 2 fishing poles...even with 4 little guys, he knew that 2 poles in the water at one time was more than he could handle...we all got our life jackets on, yes, the Nana of the group was recruited to go and help "manage" the fishermen.  We had Calvin, 6, Ben, Nathan, 4, and Lucien, 2.  The little girls opted to stay back with their Mommys.  All we needed was Will, 7, and Greyson, 3, to complete the group....we'll save that trip til June! 

      The excursion started out great....Papa was navigating the boat....we all sat while the boat was in motion.  We reached our hot fishing spot on the lake and Papa got the poles ready to cast out.  Of course, Ben was the first to start fishing...then Calvin.  Lucien was content to stand and poke his fingers in the lake.  Nathan wandered back to Papa and decided to turn the throttle...and we almost had a fast trip to another fishing spot.  Papa quickly grabbed Nathan and the throttle...and we looked at each other and laughed hard.  Nathan ended up sitting with Papa...and Papa learned to always keep the boat in neutral when Nathan is traveling with you!

      No fish were caught on this trip, but we had a great time.  We satisfied all the little boys with a boat ride, and Ben kept talking about next time...."Next time I weel catch that big bass!"  He is one determined fisherperson and I am very certain that he will be successful on his next long as we make it when the water is warmer and the weeds are growing...and it's legal to catch bass!

      Here's some photos of our first fishing trip in April!!

Another wonderful day with our grandchildren!

Friday, April 23, 2010

My Last Hurrah!!

      I just returned from a 5 day trip to Las Vegas....sorry, no was a trip to visit my family that live out there.  My youngest brother and oldest brother live out there with their wives, kids and grandkids.  I had not been there for almost 2 years, so the trip was long overdue.  Daughter Jen and her daughter Jillian, 1, went with me.  Steve stayed home to hold down the fort.
      We had a great time.  Never mind that the weather was 85 and sunny everyday.  We had so much fun reconnecting with family and friends that we have met there over the years.  I even got to cuddle a new baby, Addison Grace Lee.  She's my nephew's little girl born just a few days before we got there. 
      Jillian loved my brother's dog....they spent lots of time together in the dog below...Jillian also loved Malia, 11.  She carried Jillian everywhere and entertained her.  We shared in the celebration of Presley's dedication at church...she is such a cutie and we even got to visit with her grandparents and great-grandparents!
      Now we're back home and looking forward to getting the resort in tip-top shape for the guests arriving in mid-May.  Here's a few pictures of our trip...
Jillian & Mercy lounging together in the kitchen.

Jillian & her best buddy, Malia

Cuddling with Uncle Doug

Presley & her Grandpa

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

One Dock In....Two To Go!

      Okay, this is by far the earliest that the Lodgemaster has had a dock in the water!  It's amazing.  We keep thinking there will be a forecast for snow, but no; instead, we get rain and then sunshine and now 65 degrees!  It's a miracle up here in the north woods!
      On Monday, Nic & Aaron, our trusty employees/friends/cute kids, came over, donned their waders and got in the chilly lake with Steve and put a dock in.  Now when you look out the kitchen window, it actually looks a little like summer....and we like that look!  We are so anxious for summer....but first we get to celebrate the wedding of our youngest child.  John is marrying Alicia on May 8th and we can't wait!  She's a peach and he's happy as a lark.  Alicia has the curliest, waviest hair and someday that's going to look darn cute on a grandbaby...I'm not hurrying you kids....enjoy each other first! last post was about vacations and cabins and experiencing the best vacation your family has ever had.  We've had lots of calls and if you're least call and let us hold a cabin for you.  We'd hate to not have the cabin you need! 
      Hope you're all enjoying some beautiful, God-given spring weather like we are!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Do you need a vacation???

      I you need a fun vacation?  One of the most relaxing vacations you have ever taken?  I'm not just saying that because we own this vacation's true!  We take such good care of you...give you something to do everyday if you want to...or we leave you alone if you want to read, sit on the beach, swim, fish, take a walk....we'll even cook for you.  We have a great menu with the best pizza you've ever had....well, we think so.  Hey guests, any comments here?
      We still have some cabins open for the summer months.  We're open mid-May to mid-October.  We are blessed with some of the best guests year after year.  Some of you have been with us since the 60s!!  Not that we were here then....we were only 10 yrs. old!  But....we've been here 23 years and I think we run a pretty cool vacation place...because we LOVE what we do!
      We have 4 cabins open June 26-July 3rd....our new duplex is available for 8-10 people....2 kitchens, 2 baths, adjoining door to each cabin, comfy beds, best view of the lake on the whole resort!  We also have cabin #9 and #10 open that same week.  We'd love to fill these cabins....tell your neighbors, friends, co-workers....we guarantee they'll have a great week.
      We also have cabins open July of the best weeks of the summer.  Good weather, great fishing, the best pool times...and lots of fun people here to visit with.  August 14-21 has 4 cabins open....#4, #5, #10 #11.  All of these are 3 bedroom cabins, most of the comforts of home, nice wood decks to sit and watch the lake.
      The "Elfun Trail" will be back this summer with more elves for the kids to find.  The kids will jump out of the car when they get here....there will be a giant surprise on the to come on this site soon!  It is the first of it's kind in northern Minnesota!!  You will not want to miss this!! are you coming this year??
      We play bingo every Wednesday for great's always been for kids, but what do you think, should we play bingo with the adults this year???  That might be fun!  You could bring a white elephant from home and put it in the prize box....I think that could be a crazy time! 
      Minnow races are a hit every week.  We buy the fastest minnows available, train them, then let you pick one free and race it for prizes!!  Edible prizes!!
      The lodge is the biggest hangout place in town!  Well, in our "Cedar Rapids Lodge" village....pool table, Ms.Pacman, Baseball Pinball, FunHouse Pinball, Deer hunter game, Driving game, pingpong, shuffleboard, foosball, TV/DVD, comfy couch, 24 gallons of ice cream available all day long, french fries, burgers, popcorn chicken, our famous shakes served the old-fashioned way with a tall glass and the extra shake in the tin your mouth watering yet?
      You might just want to check out our website at and see pictures of all these fun things....and I'll show some here too.  We hope to hear from you if you want a vacation this summer to remember the rest of your life!
      Have a great weekend!  And if you live close, stop and see us...we love visitors and the coffee is always on!

So, do you think you'd have fun here???

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Times have changed...

      I was chatting with one of my kids today...she shared that she had taken her son to school this morning and she was getting ready to go pick him up after school.
      It brought back memories of years ago when our own 4 kids were young and going to school.  We lived about 4-5 blocks from school in a "safe" residential area.  The kids all played outside, roaming from one house to the next.  I always knew they were close, just didn't always know what yard they were in.  Looking back, it really was a different era than today. 
     I am especially reminded of one school year when Sam was in the second grade.  It was the first year that he would be at the elementary school by himself...Jen & Max were both attending the middle school at the other end of our small town.  Each morning, Jen & Max would walk to the corner of our block and catch the bus with a group of kids who all lived in the neighborhood.  Most days, I would walk Sam to school, pushing John in the stroller.  For some reasons unknown to this day, Sam decided that he wasn't sure he wanted to "stay" at school, so long after I had walked back home and was busy in the house...I would look out the front door and there was little Sam sitting on the porch.  He was probably afraid to come in the house, but truly didn't want to be at school either.  At the time, I would chat with him, load the boys into the car, and take Sam to school, making sure he got to his classroom.  I don't remember exactly how many times this happened that year, but I know he made the trek back home by himself a few times.  I remember fretting a little that he had crossed a busy highway at the school with no crossing was usually around 10a.m. when he would show up on the porch.  Now...when I think back...a little boy took it upon himself to walk out of the school building, unnoticed, and walked all the way home by himself. 
      Wow, how times have changed! 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Perfect Brownie

      This blogging thing can be're reading and I'm's very contagious...but harmless! 
      Tonight I made a pan of brownies for company coming tomorrow...a group of resorters coming to "crackerbarrel" about building cabins...should be a fun time.  So, a good excuse to bake, right?  And no one makes a better brownie than Betty...Crocker, that is.  I used to make brownies from scratch, but life got busy...grandkids, then more grandkids, then more grandkids...a busy resort, 50 different sewing projects just waiting for me to finish...anyway, Betty and I got together and we work very well together. 
       I use my Pampered Chef bar pan and make 2 boxes of the brownies at once...add a cup of chocolate chips and a handful of chopped walnuts and bake 34 minutes at more.  They're honest to goodness perfect every time.  But...baking the brownies is not the best part.  Cutting the brownies is by far the most important part of the whole brownie experience.  Now the secret to the perfect brownie...using a plastic picnic knife to cut the brownies.  I know you have all struggled to cut brownies, whether they're still warm or completely cooled.  When you cut them, they crumble and drag chunks of brownie down the entire pan when you cut.  Well, not so with the simple plastic knife!  Apparently, the regular knife gets too warm??  I don't know for sure....all I do know is that the plastic knife works like a miracle.  Perfectly cut brownies turn into perfect brownies to eat, share and enjoy!
      Yes, there's one missing from my pan...Steve has to try one to make sure they're okay for the guests!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

How to make a bunny cake

      This tutorial is for all those bakers out there who have not had a cake decorating class and use their own natural talents to bake a masterpiece for special occasions. 
      When I was a little girl, my Mom made this cake every Easter and all 8 of us kidlets thought she was a genius!  I would watch her create the cake and the finished project always made me smile.  Now, with 8 children born in her first 12 years of marriage, this lady did not have time to take any type of class...I wonder if she was taught to make it when she was a kid?  I'll have to ask her!  Meanwhile, here is my tutorial on how to make the cake.  It was a tradition in my family and remains a tradition with my kids and grandkids.  Enjoy!
      Start with your favorite cake mix...I used carrot cake, but any flavor works...
Bake according to package directions.  I use 8" cake pans, but 9" will work too.

I cool the baked cakes in the freezer for 10 minutes.  It makes it easier to remove the cakes from the pans.  I cut one round cake to get the bunny ears and bow tie.  I recently started splitting the layers and filling them with cool whip before I frost them...makes for a moist cake with a surprise in the middle.

The cake splitter is something I've had for 30+ can still buy them or you can mark the center of the cakes with toothpicks and cut with string or fishing line(how appropriate for a resort, right?)
Lay the tops aside and position the cut pieces on a pan lined with parchment paper.  I cut the tip off one end of the ears so that it sets level on the bunny's head.  Those pieces are quickly grabbed by any child(or daddy) standing nearby.
Frost the bottom layer with cool whip and set the top layers on every shown below...

I make a cream cheese frosting...white...and frost the entire bunny to coat everything.  Then I take small amounts of the frosting and color it according to where I need for insides of or whatever color for the bowtie.  I use jellybeans or m & m's for the eyes, nose, teeth, polka dots on bowtie...there's no end to the decorator's imagination when creating this cake.  I made one a few weeks ago for grandson Nathan's birthday...his favorite characters are Max & Ruby, so thus...a Max cake...I have shown his Max cake and our Easter Bunny cake below...hope this sparks your own project and that it becomes your own family tradition.
Happy Easter! 

The ice is out!

      Wow!  We got spring this week...and fast.  With several days in the 50s and 60s, the ice got the message and started melting.  Yesterday, with warm winds gusting all day long, we could tell the lake would open up by days end.  We've recorded the ice out dates for all of the 23 years that we have been here, and this year is the earliest ever.
      Does that mean that the lake will warm up faster?  Well, we woke up to snow flurries this morning, so winter isn't quite over.  The grass is getting green and we're certainly getting the itch to get our projects done. 
      The lodge is almost ready...still waiting for a few clothing orders to be delivered.  We need to go to a couple of food shows and see the new ideas they have for us.  The candy counter is filled and ready for the kiddos to cash in their KIDKARDS...and we're inventing new ice cream sundaes for everyone to enjoy!
      Here's a few pictures of the ice out excitement.  The ice sounded like wind chimes as it bounced up on the shoreline...the dog kept barking at the noises...crazy Wrigley!