Archive | January, 2014

Apostle Islands Ice Caves

27 Jan

We have been hearing how amazing the Apostle Island Ice Caves are to see and explore.  We especially wanted to go since they haven’t been reachable over the past 5 winters.  Since we don’t want to wait until Aleah is 10 or who knows when- we decided to head out after church yesterday.

My wonderful friend lives about 30 minutes from Meyers Beach, which is the best place to set out.  So, we spend the night at her house on Sunday, and she kindly offered to stay back and watch Huddy so we could have an adventure with the girls, (the girls are old enough to tell us their feet feel like they are getting frostbite, but Hudson doesn’t quite know how to say that yet – we need to work on that to ensure his survival).  Here is one of her pictures from when she went on Saturday:


On Sunday night- Jared and my phone rang at the same time, that only means one thing: school is canceled, or we owe more lunch money.  The former was true.  They had canceled school for Monday AND Tuesday due to freezing cold temperatures.

Most normal people would think, hmmmm, shoot.  Well, I guess we can’t go but Jared and my first thought was AWESOME!  There won’t be hardly anyone there!  We will have the place to ourselves.  Perfect.  Not so much.

We wore all of our warmest long underwear, hats, neck-warmers, mittens, boots, socks, coats etc but the element were still far too much for us.  The wind cut right through our clothes and pierced our skin, leaving us feeling like our best efforts of dressing appropriately were all in vain.  We could not see 100 yards in front of us and we were surrounded by blowing ice and snow.

DSC_7125 DSC_7127 DSC_7128As bummed out as we were to have to turn around before making it to the caves, we knew it was the right decision for the safety of our children and the safety of our toes.

These stairs were a sight for sore eyes, no wait, they were a sight for partially frozen -closed eyes (I literally could not see out of my eyes since they had crystals connecting my top eyelashes to the bottom eyelashes).

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We were SO so proud of the girls and their willingness to have wonderful attitudes and follow us out into a wild adventure.

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When we piled into the car I realized that I had a flesh wound.  I have no idea how I got it and fyi I am NOT crying because of my finger.  The wetness around my eyes is the icicles thawing!  Lovely.

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The girls were overjoyed when we got them in the car, and told us emphatically that they are NEVER going back there again!  We told them that the next time the weather will be a whole lot nicer- perhaps summer?

Adventures with Wild Kratts

20 Jan

If you have little kids you have probably heard of the PBS show, Wild Kratts.  It is a pretty darn cool program and we all learn tons of stuff from this incredible show.


Since it is the dead of winter and going outside doesn’t always work, (it is -40 below or Hudson is napping) I decided to spark a little fun and imagination for inside.


I made them Creature Power Suits and Creature Power Discs.  In the show, if the Kratt brothers have the special suit on and then put in a specific disc- they will change into whatever creature they are following or trying to learn about.  In past episodes they have transformed into giraffes, fishes, moose, kangaroos, koalas, birds and even snakes.  It is a great show to get kids excited about nature and creatures.

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The girls ran around this morning deciding what creature to transform into and calling one another on their special wrist communicators (also with walkie talkies).


This was very easy to throw together for the kids and will produce tons of good imaginative play in the little ladies!  I used felt for the suit and the discs and cut out different animals from random fabric I had in my wonderful stash.  Since felt sticks to felt, they can easily change what animal they want to be throughout their playtime.

Cooking with Courtney

13 Jan

We got to spend some wonderful time at Grandma and Grandpa’s (my parents) house over Christmas break.  It was such a nice change of scenery and great to see family.  My older sister, Courtney, lives about 8 hours away in southern Wisconsin so I definitely don’t get to see her enough.  Her little boy is 7 month older than Hudson and as cute as a button.  I loved getting to know this serious little thinker a bit better.  He usually had this perplexed look on his face like he is trying to figure out everything about everything, gol he is adorable and funny.

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So while my mom and I played with the boys, my older sister won some serious auntie points with Courtney’s Cooking Classes.  Pretty much any time the girls would get crabby or start to fight with each other she would say, “Who wants to help me bake something!!?!”  The girls would forget whatever disagreement they were so set on fighting about and turn to her and yell, “ME!!!!!”

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I think they baked something every single day we were there.  Courtney is an incredible gluten free chef.  She has been GF for 6 or so years and her dishes and baked goods are so amazing you never miss the gluten.

Their favorite concoction was a lemon cake with lemon frosting with some of our wild blueberries poured over the top.  Yum.  It tasted fresh and light during the cold conclusion of 2013.  Thanks Auntie Court!

Crash Potatoes

8 Jan


While it is colder than both the north and south poles and our weather in Cook, MN is similar to that on Mars– I am trying to stay positive and keep the house warm and happy.  And what could be happier than the most delicious potatoes you have ever tasted.  Thanks to the Pioneer Woman (holy moly I love her) you are so so close to making this a reality.


I think I got a “Best mom EVER” chant from Sophi after making this last night.


  • 12 whole New Potatoes (or Other Small Round Potatoes)
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  •  Kosher Salt To Taste
  •  Black Pepper To Taste
  •  Rosemary (or Other Herbs Of Choice) To Taste

Head over to her beauty of a site for the rest of the instructions.

One change I made (by accident) was I cooked them at 350 degrees instead of at 450 degree.  They took twice as long to cook but had more time to soak up the olive oil, salt and pepper goodness.

These potatoes are the best of every potato option since they are crispy on the outside, mushy on the inside AND you don’t have to cut up any potatoes!

(the crusty stuff left on the pan is flipping to die for…see above picture)

2013 Christmas Letter

3 Jan

Merry Christmas!  We write with joy and gladness as we celebrate the Christmas season and reflect on the wonderful year we’ve had.  Winter certainly comes fast here in the far reaches of northern Minnesota as we currently enjoy over a foot of snow and have already survived two weeks of sub-zero temperatures.  We love it!

Of course, winter also has the potential to linger far longer than we might prefer.  Such was the case last spring as we eagerly anticipated the arrival of our new baby.  The snow and cold carried us though April, and we even watched a snowstorm dive to our southeast, just beyond the commute of our midwife team as they hurried to our home in the wee hours of May 2, 2013 to assist in the birth of Hudson.  He has filled our home with smiles ever since, and is now about the business of crawling up the stairs, babbling incoherently, and squishing food into the bottom of his highchair.

 After the ice had melted and the waters warmed, Jared thought it would be a good idea to take the girls on a canoe camping trip – by himself – for Father’s Day.  They made it safely to their campsite before being fetched on a pontoon to a small, nearby resort to escape impending death in the path of furious winds.  The storm amounted to a few sprinkles and spinning leaves, but the resort put them up in a cabin for free that night and returned them to their campsite in the morning.  Aleah caught enough fish for shore lunch and Sophi fell asleep dragging her hand in the water beside the canoe as Jared paddled home.  It was a good trip.

We enjoyed participating in the Farmers’ Market throughout the summer.  Caitlyn sold a variety of crafts, gourmet popcorn, and ended the season selling out of caramel apples covered in what’s become a coveted caramel recipe.  The summer season was also highlighted by our first experience wild-blueberry picking in a remote, top secret, secluded blueberry utopia.  We’ve been happily munching our way through the several gallons we collected back in August.  You’d be a fool not to be jealous.  The summer fun was enhanced by our first experience with a greenhouse, and the addition of 13 chickens who’ve been providing us delicious eggs and plenty of entertainment.

The warm weather also meant frequent trips to the lake, and after a week at Grandma and Grandpa’s in late June, Aleah was swimming around without a life jacket.  Needless to say, she spent the rest of the summer gliding through the water, sparkling like a sunfish.  Sophia continued her fearless lifestyle, which included jumping off docks and demanding to be dragged to the bottom of the lake so she can float back to the surface.  We have a lot of fun together.

 We were blessed to celebrate two large family gatherings this year.  First, we enjoyed the annual family reunion with Cait’s family in Muskegon, MI at the Maranatha Conference Center.  The waters of Lake Michigan were unusually cold, so we spent a lot of time in the pool or building intricate tunnel dwellings in the sand before Sophi destroyed everything.  Then, in early September we gathered for the first McGuire Family Reunion of its kind at beautiful resort on Lake Vermilion.  The whole array of cousins, aunts, uncles, and grandparents stayed in a massive lodge and enjoyed sailing and fishing by day, and a ruthless Whist tournament by night.

The autumn and winter have meant a return to routine, but a routine full of things we love.  Ministry at our church is filled with excitement and reward, and life in our community is increasingly rich and fulfilling.  Aleah is back at school two days a week; both girls practice in their own gymnastics classes; Caitlyn plays hockey on Sunday afternoons; and Jared skis the river whenever he gets the chance.  The tree sparkles in our living room while the moonlight illuminates the snow on these cold, dark mornings.  It’s Christmas, and we are blessed.

 Grace and Peace,

Jared, Caitlyn, Aleah, Sophia, and Hudson