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A Tiny House-Driftless Brooke Birthday Weekend

Theo is now an expert at feeding himself. Still messy but at least he gets it mostly in his mouth. 

It was Brooke's birthday, which means I have to make whatever dessert she requests.

Brooke requested a brookie. That's a cookie cake...

covered with a layer of brownies.

My 34th Birthday turned out to be a pretty good one. I was surprised at work with a chocolate Bundt cake.

When I got home Meadow had made me a crown and Scott had made brookie pie.


Brooke brought home some cute candles.

Little boy doesn't get many sweets, but when he does he clearly loves them.

For dinner I chose the hip Hola Arepa.

We'd been talking about going here for years. And we finally did.

Meadow was excited for her mocktail.

This seemed more like a restaurant you'd see in Northeast Minneapolis, but right in our backyard.


Theo, as always, loved the food.

I actually liked the simple kids one that Meadow had ordered the best.

On Friday we took Meadow out of school early to head to our tiny house for the weekend. Normally we have to find a cabin way north to get any snow. This year we lucked out and were able to head south to Lake Pepin.

Just down Highway 61 from Lake City and a bit north of Wabasha.

I loved all the little details like the paintings on the salvaged doors.

The place was tiny and a little more upscale than our usual cabin weekends.

A train would pass below us about every half hour. It was the highlight for these two.

There are five or so tiny houses on the property, but ours was my favorite.

We peeked in the windows of the other ones.

We took Meadow for a couple spins on the sled before exploring the area.



We couldn't really walk too far because of the highway being next door, but we made due.



We googled the best sledding hill in the area. After getting confused where it was Scott asked some locals in Wabasha. The best sledding hill was indeed at a wayside rest stop in Kellogg.

Not just any wayside, but the Wayside Rest. Kellogg is one of the flattest areas around here, which made it pretty funny.

The recent thaw made the slide down icy and a little bumpy.

We decided to stick with the smaller hill.

We've sledded a lot this winter.



Theo enjoyed watching all the snowmobilers go by.

Our tiny house had a coupon book with coupons that expired at the end of the month. One was for a $1 off beer at the Reads Landing Brewing Company.

I could totally buy a place in one of these tiny enclaves.

Sit down Theo.



I had a yummy wild rice pilaf.

BBQ for me, but the beer was more memorable.

Meadow was excited that our house had a tv. I could have done without it.

It was nice after dark to be able to stream a movie.

Meadow says she wanted to live here forever.

I actually think it would be not that hard after our condo move.

I'd miss having a dining table.


Of all the homes, we ended up with the cutest kitchen but the smallest. Ours had a tiny a fridge and just one induction plate cooktop.

I wasn't complaining and I was the one cooking.

Theo loved that all the kitchen utensils were easy access for him.

The kids ate down low on the chest table.

Watching for more trains.


After breakfast we spun the sled around some more.



Theo's turn.


Using my Bivy app we headed across the river to Wisconsin to do some snowshoeing. I really want to come back here in the summer to do some canoeing. There's so many water trails.

According to my app we were on the right trail but there was no bridge to get over the creek.

So made our own trail. I had seen a bridge back down the road and we headed that way.

We noticed a rail bridge on our drive and headed that way.

What I just said. Ha.


What we thought was a trail was really an old railway line.

I knew it was old rail bridge, but didn't realize it hadn't been converted with a deck.

We weren't sure what the condition of the bridge would be under the snow so we headed back.



Meadow did a good job snowshoeing most of the time, so I dragged her back to the car on the sled I had pulled along.

Twice a day the Amtrak would pass us.


Coloring time. No TV during the day.

Lunch time.


Theo loved the little faux fur rug.

With a snowstorm coming we decided to head over to our favorite toy store. Lark Toys.

This was actually right across from where we had sledded the previous night.

We also had a coupon for a free ride on the carousel, but Meadow suddenly doesn't like carousels.

She does like to pick up...everything.

We told Meadow no toys, just looking. But of course we bought a few things. Meadow bought a fashion designer template with her money, Scott picked out a paint by sticker activity book and I found Auto Bingo. Meadow shouldn't complain about being bored in the car anymore.

We decided to use another one of our coupons and stop at Back Alley Brewing, which literally is in the back alley behind a b&b in Wabasha.

Everyone was real friendly here. We talked with a couple who also had their baby with them. Their little one was only a month younger than Theo and they were from Minneapolis. And after talking we also discovered she was one of my nurses when I was pregnant with Meadow.

I'm not an IPA person, but the hazy New England-style blood orange IPA was so good. I know that's a mouthful and it was so, so tasty.

When we got back Meadow unearthed a few solar lights. What a nice little gal.

The "big storm" had finally hit.

It wasn't quite what they'd been predicting, but it was beautiful.

For dinner I made a spring classic: asparagus and egg sammies.



Our house was only three rooms. A combined kitchen, living and eating area, a bathroom and a bedroom.

I liked the cabinets in the bathroom.

So did Theo. Ha.

The bedroom was about as big as a bed.

We spent most of our waking hours in the living room/kitchen.

We tried out all of Meadow's new things.

The next morning it was time to leave. Meadow keeps asking if we can come back in the summer.


Theo and I were matching.

They do this often.

We did a few Father Tuska's detoured routes on our way home.

My dad always loved doing this even when it took us through a "bad" neighborhood.

The snow hadn't been too shabby after all.

I had seen Whistle Stop on a few recent drives down this way and we had to stop.


Classic diner food.

The food was so cheap. The kids pancakes were only $1.35 each.

We stopped at Frontenac State Park for some sledding. I figured there would be a place to sled here with all the hills.

It was quite the sledding hill.

People kept sledding down the hill and stay at the bottom.


Can't get a better view in all of Minnesota, not even along the vaunted North Shore.

We waited patiently to go.

We mostly stuck to the side hill to avoid the crowds. Plus it was a bit less extreme.




At one point I fell off and due to the winds it blew my sled away. As I was chasing it I heard, "Look out below!" but it was too late, a kid ran me right over.

I later heard his mom say, "Don't hit anyone this time."

If you are hating winter, go get a damn sled regardless if you have kids or not. It's so much fun.



Theo just sits quietly watching everyone.

I guess the balaclavas were good investments. Theo and Meadow have been wearing them nonstop.


Eventually everyone left and we had the place to ourselves.

Brooke was the first to brave the steep hill. I didn't really love it.




Even after sledding, Meadow had plenty of energy.


After a quick stop in Red Wing to go to the Duluth Trading Company Outlet we were ready for dinner.

We ended up at King's Place just to the west of Red Wing.

They have an endless menu of burgers. They even had my dream burger: a burger with reuben toppings. Cherk it out.

Until next Brooke birthday cabin weekend.

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