Our Fall in Wisconsin

Fall in Wisconsin is absolutely stunning!  It’s what you see in books, magazines and on TV. The rolling hills with orange, red, yellow and brown leaves all making a perfect autumn scene.  I am so beyond blessed to live here this time of year (maybe not so much in a few weeks when the bright colors go away and the cold sets in) but for now, it’s pretty!  We have been taking full advantage of the weather and been able to get outside and do some activities!

A few weeks ago I had to go to Illinois for work, so the afternoon I left, Adam took George golfing with some friends.  They had a great day for it and the boys had an absolute blast!

golf

The first weekend in October up in Stone Lake, Wisconsin is Cranberry Fest.  Adam’s parents have a cabin up in Stone Lake so it’s become a tradition for us to go up for the festival.  Stone Lake is an unincorporated town, but during Cranberry Fest over 10,000 people fill the streets.  Vendors come from all over to sell their goods.  There are food and drink vendors (the good stuff), live music, a parade and a soap box derby for the kids.  This year we had incredible weather and were able to meet up with a lot of great friends!  If you’ve ever met my George, then you know who the love of his life is… and we were so lucky to see her and her family at Cranberry Fest.  We also stopped to watch the Badger game at a local tavern.  Thankfully it was the afternoon and entirely acceptable to have your 2 y/o belly up to the bar.
cranberry-fest

What Fall isn’t complete with a visit to the Apple Orchard and Pumpkin Patch?  We live in the country and were fortunate enough to have a great little Apple Orchard within a few miles of our house.  Grandma, Brit, George and I went to the orchard on Sunday and picked out the perfect pumpkin and apples for Apple Crisp.  (Which we promptly ate with supper after Gram made it!).

George adored the goats and sheep… but I think his favorite was the train.  He could have played on it all.day.long.  He was a bit disappointed that the train didn’t move 🙂  It’s hard to explain to a 2 year old that the train doesn’t have an engine and can’t move…  Since he was little he’s always been able to pickup on the faintest train whistle.  I think he’d make a cute little train conductor for Halloween!  (If I can get him off the idea of being a “bad guy..”)

orchard

Since we live in the woods, we had to take advantage of all the leaves on the ground!  We raked them up (over and over) and jumped in them and then had a big leaf fight!  It was a perfect way to spend a few hours.  George definitely loves playing in the leaves!

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We have really been having a great time with the nice weather this time of year!  What do you and your families like to do in the fall?  Are you as lucky as we are with the amazing weather and gorgeous trees?  I would love to hear more!!

 

 

 

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Exploring: Downtown Hastings, MN

I had so much fun with last week’s post about Hudson, WI that I thought i would try to make this a weekly series where I explore a small town and share some of the great adventures I have along the way.

Last Thanksgiving my friend Vicki asked me to run the Thanksgiving Gobble Gait 8K with her in Hastings.  I had never spent much time there and just figured it would be like any run.  Let me say, it was one of the most beautiful runs I have done!  All of the money from the race is donated to the Hastings Family Service which serves the local community.  What started as a small run has now grown to over 2000 runners.

Post Race Photo with Vicki (right) and her friend Stacie (center)

Although it was cold and went, it was SO WORTH it!  Just being able to say I did it and knowing my race fee went to someone in need felt pretty darn good!

The race started and finished on Main Street in Hastings and although it was cold and wet, I fell madly in love with Main Street!  There are tons of cute little shops and restaurants.  Its very quaint and a nice little day trip. From the Downtown Business Association of Hastings, MN, ” The Historic Downtown Business District of Hastings, Minnesota. You’ll find charming shops that feature; Antiques, Collectibles, Gifts, Fashion, Imports, Toys, Pottery, Jewelry and many one of a kind specialty items and services. Most of our shops are located in preserved historic buildings dating back to the 1800’s.”

Right now they are redoing some sections of Main Street so my photos may be a little limited in the angles as I was simply trying to photo without all the yellow tape and orange cones.   However, even though it was under construction we were still able to navigate to all the shops with no trouble.

My friend Jayme has super awesome taste and had told me about Eye Candy Refind, so I HAD to check it out.  (If you’ve ever been in the Loft at Viva Voce Salon in Hudson, they have several stunning pieces from Eye Candy!!) After a quick trip to their shop in Hastings, I was sold!!  First of all I LOVE the owners.  Super bad ass ladies who run a great shop with gorgeous pieces!  They are SUPER friendly and totally willing to help you with anything.  (and I mean anything, I’m still looking for my card catalog and they are too!).   I ended up buying a gorgeous buffet my first trip there and continue to get inspiration every time I go to their shop!

My buffet table from Eye Candy

I absolutely adore the signs, furniture and decor in Eye Candy Refind. They also do painting classes in the Hastings Store as well if you want to learn how to chalk paint.  Additionally they share TONS of new pieces on their Instagram (eye_candy_refind) and Facebook Pages.  If you’re looking for a one of a kind, quality piece at an affordable price, check out Eye Candy!!!

If you’re someone who wants to DIY your own furniture pieces then stop into one of the many antique shops in town!

A few others:

Second Street Antique Mall

If home decor isn’t your thing, they also have cute little clothing shops as well!  One that is always a stop when we are there is Lah-Tee-Dah Boutique.  They have adorable clothes at very reasonable prices!  You will also find that unique piece you wouldn’t find online or at a mall.  That’s what makes small town shopping so special.  You don’t look like everyone else and you’re supporting a local business.

Other shopping locations for gifts and goodies:

Mississippi Clayworks

Let’s be honest, after all that shopping I’m usually starving and (in my opinion) the BEST place in town is the Busted Nut.  We completely stumbled into the Busted Nut on a whim when we were picking up my buffet from Eye Candy.  It was the best decision ever!!  Fresh peanuts when you sit down and cold beers!  But better than that is the food.  I have been there several times now and I am never disappointed.  Last time we were there, a friend said “This is the best mushroom swiss burger I have ever had!”  I typically order the Chicken, Bacon Ranch Wrap with waffle fries and season sour cream and it’s AMAZING!!!  (See below)

Although the Busted Nut happens to be my favorite, there are lots of other choices while in the downtown area.

Restaurants:

The Onion Grille (I’ve heard this place is awesome too!)

Karl’s Red Rock Cafe (Breakfast and Lunch)

Spiral Pizza

While I was walking around taking photos, I saw the sweetest scene in Reissner’s Meat and Grocery. I was transported back 50 years. (or what I imagine life to be like 50 years ago).  Two older gentlemen were standing in the business enjoying a conversation and a coke.  It was the most refreshing, simple moment they were sharing.  They didn’t have cell phones out, they weren’t distracted by anything but what the other person was saying.  It truly warmed my heart.

One thing that always catches my eye when I’m in town is the Meyer Company Sign (Carhartt, Levis, shopping).  It again, takes me back to a time before modern technology.  And while I don’t know the history, I imagine it was put up in the early years of Jc Penney, Montgomery Wards, Sears Roebuck Co.  Just the lettering takes me back to flipping through catalogs at grandmas house.

 

As you find your way out of town, take a minute to see the beautiful new bridge that was built in 2014.  It’s stunning at night and beautiful during the day.

Hastings is only a short drive from the Twin Cities on Highway 61 South, and about 45 minutes from Western, WI.  I love any excuse to get down here to shop and eat!  (and there may or may not be a casino stop or a stop at Ellsworth Creamery on the way! Pretty sure we’ll be checking out Ellsworth in the near future so I can go back for more fresh cheese curds!)

I hope you are able to seek out new adventures in Hastings or any of the towns I mention along the way.  It’s such a fun journey for me to check out new places and bring friends along for the ride!

XOXO

Kristen

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Exploring: Downtown Hudson, WI

I have always loved where I grew up and am proud to call Hudson, Wisconsin my hometown. Although we now live twenty minutes away (in Woodville, WI), I am still completely enamored with Hudson.  (And I’m not the only one!  Hudson was just named #1 out of the 7 best places to live in Wisconsin – here)

What is it about Hudson that makes it so special?  For me, there was nothing like coming home, crossing the river and seeing the bluffs.  That’s how I always knew I was home.  One of the most spectacular things about Hudson is you can go atop the bluffs and sit in peace and quiet and admire the views of the St Croix River in Birkmose Park.

St Croix River – Looking towards MN
St Croix River – Looking South

 Another thing that makes Hudson so special is all the wonderful shops and restaurants.  And it’s not just that they have great food or an incredible location, the people who own these shops go out of their way to support the community.

Some of these are simply my favorite places to visit, some have special meaning.

 

The Subhouse. Always my first stop after coming home. They have some of the best sandwiches in town!  Fresh baked bread daily, managers specials, eat in or take it to go for a picnic in Lakefront park.

A Northern View of some of the shops of Main Street (Viva VoceSirona SpringLa Rue Marche)

Let the talented (and gorgeous) ladies at Viva Voce Salon pamper you.  My favorite salon in town!  I usually walk in looking slightly homeless and walk out with hair that belongs in a magazine.  Jayme Mees, the owner, is one of the most wonderful people you will meet in town!

Agave Kitchen.  Not only do they have AMAZING food, but they have one of the most giving and humble owners in town.  Paul Rode is a class act.  He heads up truck drives to bring food, clothes, etc to those in need during disasters, organizes flag waving across the bridge on 9/11, as well as many other community fundraisers.  And my favorite, the sign. Promoting the awesome food, other local businesses or saying something clever.   Simply put: Eat here.

 

Ellies on Main.  While I haven’t been here since 2010, it is where Adam and I met, so has a little sentimental value.

Knoke’s Chocolate.  Knoke’s is a sweet little candy shop tucked on a side street in Downtown Hudson. While it is possible to spot a celebrity in Knoke’s on occasion (Martha Stewart and John Boehner have been here to name a few) the real reason to come here is the chocolate or the ice cream, or the taffy or the…. I could go on. Simply delicious!

The 715.  One of the newer shops in town that features home decor (Industrial/Rustic), clothing and more.  The 715 is named after the local area code.   One of my favorite pieces in the shop is a solid piece of redwood that was made into a table top. It is absolutely stunning!

Just one shop down from the 715 is Urban Olive and Vine.  Last fall, I bought a Groupon to do a olive oil tasting with a bottle of wine and I am so glad I did!  The different flavors of olive oils combined with vinegars is endless.  They also serve food – try the Caesar Salad (topped with truffle oil) and one of the homemade soups!

 

Another pic for sentimental value.  I worked at Dick’s Bar and Grill in high school/college.  It’s the bar where you’ll find popcorn on the ground and the same folks sitting around the horseshoe bar that were there when I was there in 1998.  (Slightly joking). However, they do have EXCELLENT food and a great drink special on the weekends!  ($1.75 bloody Marys and mimosas – just get a double mimosa, you’ll thank me later).

Also serving up great food and drinks is Pier 500.   One of the best places in town to sit out and enjoy the St Croix River Views.

And last… take a walk along the River Dike and check out the boats along the river.

Hudson truly is an incredible little city!  The downtown area has several bars, restaurants and shops. I couldn’t even begin to photograph and write about them all.  (BarkersSan PedrosMallory’s (the newest in town), Smilin MooseThe Postmark Grille (in the old Post Office), Brick’s,  Dragon Pearl just to name a few restaurants).

I hope you fall in love with my hometown and love it as much as I do!

XOXO

Kristen

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Weekend in Review – Busy Mama!

We had a very busy weekend!  After being out of town last week (and being crazy busy while I was gone!) I returned home to a full weekend of George.  I was so happy to be back and my sweet boy was still awake when I arrived home on Thursday.  I worked on Friday but since I work from home (most of the time) I was able to keep him home with me.  Which by the way, I was approved to work from home 100% of the time starting in January.  YAY!

Saturday was a fun-filled day of baking cookies and visiting Santa!  George and I went to Grandma’s house and Grandpa played with George while we baked.  We baked a ton of sugar cut-outs, Oreo Truffles, and Wreaths.  Grandma also made Peanut Butter Temptations on Sunday but had made up the dough on Saturday.

We also took a break from our baking and went to see Santa!  The Woodville Lion’s Club also hosted a holiday festival.  Santa was there to take pictures and hear all the wishes of the good boys and girls.  George did so well sitting on Santa’s lap! I was so proud of him. He didn’t quite know what to think but didn’t fuss – so I take that as a win!

Sunday, while Adam was finishing up a Tile Project, George and I went over to Pinstripes in Edina to celebrate our friend Jack’s 1st birthday.  We had such a good time there.  We ate Macaroni and Cheese, tried a cupcake with frosting, and played with Jack’s new toys.  He was so nice to share!

We are coming along on our December goals.  I plan to write an update by the end of the week.  Hope you are getting everything accomplished in December that you set out to do and that your holiday shopping is nearly complete!  Have a wonderful week.

— Kristen

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