Skip to main content

What Does a Northwoods NYE Look Like in the Time of COVID?

We skipped a big Christmas so we could still do our Northwoods NYE. 

There's always a calculated risk, but keeping this tradition alive was important to us. This year we'd only have Blake and Brooke's parents up with us for New Year's Eve.

We arrived just before dark and my parents showed up not too long after. We needed to get our Christmas tree cut down before the sun set.

Meadow hadn't cut the Northwood's Christmas Tree for a few years.

Meadow carried it out for us.

Not too longer after we decorated for Christmas, Blake showed up.

And had Hello Fresh quesadillas for dinner.

Gail was very proud of getting her hair done during a pandemic. I'll admit it looked very nice, though not exactly the best means of quarantining.

Waffles before presents, little Theo.

Cottage Santa really went all out this year. Some of the gifts are from family though.

Most, really.

More Picasso Tiles for our little builder.

A new bottle opener for the log cabin.

I thought this was for the cottage. Oh, well.

Somehow I ended up with two pairs of bluetooth headphones this year, but really wanted these.
 Finally a pair without too much bass.

Theo had fun handing out presents. He kept asking me, "One more for me?" He really caught on to opening presents this year.

Santa brought the goods.

Santa brought me a tow rope in case I get stuck in a ditch again.

Meadow got some good gifts. A mini sewing kit, Ruth Bader Ginsburg book, kids sewing book, a purple hammock with a net cover, and a princess puzzle.

The aftermath.

New Years isn't complete without my ice luminaries.

This year the weather was pretty mild. Sunny and 30's all week.

Perfect weather to get outside, though a little more snow would've been nice.

Meadow still loves Grandpa's rock pile.

One of my new gifts was a slackline. Scott and Blake picked on me because I'm 10 years too late to the trend, but I've always wanted one. As I figured, it's way harder than it looks.

Meadow appreciates it at least.

Oh look who wanted to try it too.

We always thought the people doing it were dorks. Brooke's a dork, and we're dorks, so it's perfect.

We needed a training rope.

Silly gift huh Scott?


The more I practiced the more I started to figure it out. 

I'll stick to the snowmobile, Brooke.

Okay by me.

Everyone took turns towing the kids around.

Ruthie kept dodging the snowmobile.

Then Blake finally convinced Meadow to drive the Kitty Cat. We've been telling her for years to try it. She's finally figured out that it is actually fun. Theo loved being pulled behind her.

She kept going up and down the driveway.

Didn't want to stop.

Wait, could it be? Mom left the house AND went sledding!?

Maybe she finally heard our cries that it's only fun if you get outside.

Theo pretended to drive, or so I thought. I went back inside and saw him actually driving with Blake chasing after him. He managed to hit our boat lift and almost hit a tree.

So, Meadow took back the reins.

"Blakie, did you know that snowmobiling is awesome!"

Back to slacklining.

That sun sure sets early.

Once it got dark it was time to prep our New Year's dinner. 

Since we weren't going out this year Blake, Scott and I made a traditional Wisconsin Supper Club five-course meal.

Potato pancakes. Check.

Cheesy appetizers. Check.

Blake even made up a mock menu complete with a kids menu.

We even made hollandaise sauce for the broiled fish. Apparently it's a lot easier in the blender.

And we even had a salad bar.

I guess we checked everything off the list.

Blake's menu turned out awesome.

Anything that was free was what we actually made.

The salad bar even had jello.

Cheese melted on rye bread for appetizer.

That's cheesy's to you.

Chicken Wild Rice Soup or Beer Cheese Broccoli. Both made vegetarian.

I wanted Blake to be able to enjoy everything on the menu.

Mac and Cheese and applesauce for the kids.

That's the broiled whitefish.

We were stuffed from dinner and waited to have dessert at 10:30. Dessert one was creme brulee.

We also had a peanut butter pie, but no pics I guess.

Too stuffed to make it to midnight.

Our new tradition. Fireworks on the lake.

Is it new when it's the third year of fireworks at midnight?

Still new.

We forgot to have our champagne the night before so we had mimosas for breakfast.

We had plans to go ice skating today. A new rink was made in Three Lakes in the old Onieda Village Inn space. It was pretty dinky and full of people. Instead we went to the rink behind the city hall in Eagle River. Everyone left when we arrived so we had the place to ourselves for a bit.

The Christmas rink next to the river isn't there anymore, so this worked out. Good thing we ran into this rink last year.

Theo has graduated to single blades this year but he doesn't seem too into the idea.

So, I carried the little guy around.

Meadow is still a great skater.

The rink needed to be resurfaced but it worked.

It's probably been too warm.

Theo came back on to the rink with his boots.

Theo was happier in boots.

He chased everyone around the rink and cackled while doing it.

Meadow was done skating only to put her skates back on. She would've skated all day long.

My mom surprised the kids with new ornaments when we got back. A light up crystal one for Meadow and a glass peanut butter and jelly sandwich for Theo.

Now we just need a boxed mac and cheese ornament.

Theo was happy to be back out on Dog Lake.

The fog overnight froze onto all the trees. It was so beautiful.

We almost forgot to do our annual walk around the lake.

This was the perfect day for our walk.

Everything was frozen.

It was a lot of work pulling Theo. 

Kids don't know how good they have it.

I gave Brooke a break halfway across.

Ruthie found a playmate for a bit.

The people across the lake decorated a tree. Might have to do this too.

Brooke was not kidding. What a workout.

Only us, a frozen lake and few ice fishers.

This tree continues to hang further and further over the lake.

Theo decided he wanted to walk.

I always end up being over-dressed on these walks.

Usually we're the only ones up but we saw a lot of groups on the lake this year.

Meadow and Dad caught up to us on their snowmobiles.

Tip-ups out and Meadow towing Theo around. Good times.

Theo didn't want to ride with papa. Too scary for some reason.

Down by the lake in the sun the weather was perfect.


We were going to pull each other on tubes with the snowmobile when I got the idea to try skiing with my mom's old downhill skis.

This was cool and all, but next time bring out the tubes.

It was super fun I can't believe it took me this long to think of it. Makes me excited to try water skiing again. 

She's pretty good at this. I don't think I'd dare do it.

Starting out can be tricky.

We took turns driving Brooke around.

We need to get more sizes so everyone can try.

I've been interested in trying downhill skiing. Meadow has shown an interest and I'd like to take her. I practiced on our squirrel hill.

What a perfect day.

I guess you weren't done yet.

I was starting to get more confident on here. Later at home I watched videos and realized I was doing it all wrong.

I'll leave this to Brooke.

Swinging is a four season sport for Meadow.

Wait what?! Is that mom again outside? This time swinging!

Now, who's making fun of G.G.

Hey look no hands!

I took the snowmobile around Dog and Deer Lakes. Lots of people out enjoying the elements.

I made a pan pizza variant on our classic crust since I was feeling lazy.

We got some new karaoke games for everyone for cottage Christmas. Of course we had to play. 

We judged each other this time and we were all way too harsh. Let the computer judge again next time.

Can't forget King Cake for the upcoming 3 Kings Day.

Super uncle managed to get both kids on to the sled for a ride.

Back on the skis.

We all wanted to stay for a few more days.

Blake squished his toes into the boots so he could try too.

He wanted to go faster and faster. So, I obliged. You two are crazy.

Another great Northwoods New Year's in the books.


Popular posts from this blog

Mille Lacs for the Day

Yesterday I made yogurt and today it was ready to go in the fridge. 

An Art Show and a Berry Good Day

Warning! Lots of photos ahead. Indeed. There are even photos of photos in this post. With the help of my soon-to-be brother-in-law, Blake, I put up my first photo show, "Mapping Disaster," as a part of the FLOW Art Crawl in North Minneapolis. Sadly a day after the show and before a Sunday shift at Geek Squad we had to take the project down. As you guys may remember a tornado hit our hood in May. During the two weeks after the storm I went out and photographed and recorded my neighbors in North. When I heard about this year's FLOW I submitted my idea for a mapped out photo installation with the photos and field recordings. I had just a half a month to get all the images printed and the audio ready.  Somehow I pulled it off (with a little help from my friends). The installation cost more than I wanted, but with Blake's help it worked out way better than I expected. I even ended up getting interviewed by KSTP. What was even better was the r

Backcountry Camping with Kids in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Day 1  Back in May I stumbled upon Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I had no idea there was a National Park in North Dakota and that it was the northern end of the Badlands. Usually our summer vacations coincide with Scott's work trips. Since he didn't have any this summer I thought we should take advantage of actually taking a vacation. What, my workcations are always classics? I suppose a second real vacation this year wouldn't hurt. We definitely have more time than normal. As long as we took Covid-19  precautions and avoided people. We finally settled on a time to go. Blake joined us so we borrowed our dad's van so we could ride together. Scott had just driven from Michigan the day before. Blake had met my parents in Wisconsin to get the van and then drove from Duluth to pick us up. I offered to drive since I literally only drive twice a month.  I was still pretty tired from a long drive home. Don't @ me for doing this, as the kids say. Our kitty has been havin