“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.”
– Ecclesiastes 3:1
Minnesota living means beautiful, sun-filled summers and cold, sparkly winters. We love the changing of seasons. The different seasons help us to appreciate the types of precipitation, the array of colors, each ray of light, and every flower that buds throughout the year. We have such a creative and artistic Creator, who fashions each season to His perfect and unique specifications. Although we, at Riverside Resort, hold the summer near and dear to our hearts, we so appreciate the other seasons we are given. Winter, especially, looks much different for our family and for the resort than any other season of the year.
This road leads from the water front up to the main house of the resort. During the summer months it is a bustle of people going to and from the lake. When the snow covers the ground, our boys use this road to go play hockey on the lake, or if they just want to slide around. The lake is so beautiful after a fresh, new snowfall.
If these pictures were taken in the summer, the camera would be getting wet! 🙂 When the lake is completely frozen over, we enjoy to walk on the very same water which welcomes so much traffic in the warmer months. As we walk on the lake, we look at the now empty cabins as they anxiously await the guests they will soon host. While these cabins rest, it is the perfect time to pray for and think about all the past and future guests.
Everything looks different when the lake is frozen over and snow is on the ground. This picture is taken in the bay, in front of cabins 18 and 19. This is where we set up our family hockey rink for the winter. We feel so blessed to have this amazing space that is so multi-functional all year round! Our kids love using this space to practice their hockey skills!
During the winter months many of our seasonal guests choose to leave their campers at the Resort. We are thankful for all the people who stay in those campers during the summer months. Having the campers stay year round, is a constant reminder of all the great friendships and memories we share with these wonderful people.
When snow covers the playground area it is definitely bitter-sweet. Our children very much enjoy all the friends and family they share these pieces of equipment with, but when the snow comes they have it all to themselves. We feel so blessed to be able to raise our family in a place with so much versatility.
God gives us many seasons: seasons of rejuvenation, seasons of business, seasons of trial, seasons of joy, and so many more. God wants us to embrace and treasure each season of our lives. He has given them to us on purpose as a part of His perfect plan!
“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.” – 1 John 4:7
February can sometimes be a dreary month, with the short days and long hours inside; but just like in all areas of life there is always hope. This month is the perfect time to focus on loving others. Whether that means your spouse, children, parents, friends, neighbors, or anyone else. Let us all make a conscious effort this month to treat others in a way that shows them beyond a shadow of a doubt that we love them dearly. One way to do that is by making them food. Wait, let’s go one step further, what about making them food that we can shape into hearts!
“Eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, what is the food that we love the most?……. Pancakes!”
Don’t forget the extras: strawberries, bananas, syrup, whipped cream…we could go on forever. Just put a heart shaped cookie cutter down on the skillet and pour the batter into it for a perfect pancake heart. If you really want to get in the spirit you can put some red or pink food coloring in the batter.
Well, this is a unique idea! Instead of shaping the patties into circles, you can form them into hearts. They may not fit on the bun as perfectly as usual, but they will be quite fancy and festive!
Who doesn’t love pizza? Ok, actually there are people in the world who do not really care for pizza, but those people are few and far between. To make this extra special for someone make sure to put on their favorite ingredients (even if they are different from your own). Here is a great crust recipe…a family favorite!
To make heart-shaped fried eggs, you will again have to get out the cookie cutter. The flip can be tricky, but we have found that if you make sure the first side is cooked almost all the way through the egg is able to keep its shape. Maybe you can even serve this on the same plate as the pancakes!
Sandwiches (PB & J, Grilled Cheese, etc)
This is a simple yet, thoughtful idea. Whether you are making a bag lunch for your family, preparing lunch at home, or something else this is an easy way to say “I love you”. Simply prepare the sandwich as normal and then cut it into a heart shape either with a regular knife or again using the cookie cutter.
Chocolate chip, gingerbread, oatmeal, monster, snickerdoodles…oh boy, the options for cookies are endless. It does take a few extra moments to shape the dough into hearts, but you will not be disappointed with the final result (neither will the recipient of the cookies 🙂 ).
These have become a staple at our house on New Year’s Eve, but it occurred to us this would be a great food to make into a heart. Our favorite recipe is an Auntie Annie knock-off. Prepare them just as described, however when it comes to shaping them, instead of the traditional pretzel shape, simply fashion them into hearts. Do not forget to serve with warm nacho cheese! Yum!!
“Praise the Lord. Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the saints.” – Psalm 149:1
Happy New Year!!! It is so hard to believe that another year has come and gone. 2017 was a great year for our family, but we definitely had our struggles also. It is so important for us to reflect on the past year and give thanks to God for all of it. We thank God for the joys as well as the trials because we know that through the trials God makes us more like Him. As you read through this list, choose the areas in which you feel you most need to improve. Take some intentional steps to work on these things and see how your attitude and actions change in those particular areas.
Improve your Relationship with God (#1-4):
- Spend time each day in prayer
- Read the Bible daily (there are some great reading plans at bible.com)
- Memorize Scripture
- Attend a church or a small group Bible study regularly
Improve your Relationship with your family (#5-8):
- Vacation at Riverside Resort!!! 🙂 (Make a reservation today)
- Set aside one night a month for family game night
- Keep work at work so that you can be fully present at home
- Get a pet and work together to care for it
Make better choices for yourself (#9-13):
- Exercise 3 or more times per week
- Find time to read a book
- Take up a new hobby
- Make a budget and stick to it (not sure where to start? Here is one budget option)
- Smile more…be intentional
Take time for others (#14-18):
- Invite people over for dinner
- Surprise someone with a plate of cookies
- Offer to watch a friend’s kid(s) for the evening
- Volunteer at a homeless shelter
- Be selfless (think about others before yourself)
“In all things, give thanks!” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
1. Use a thankful jar/book
Take 1 minute every morning and write down something (or someone) that you are thankful for, try to not repeat to much. This could be a person, character trait, specific opportunity, physical object, or anything else you can think of. This is a great everyday reminder that you are blessed by something, and in fact, many things. Find or make a fun book or jar to put them in so that you can go back on days you may need a little extra encouragement, and look at all the blessings you have in your life.
2. Tell someone you are thankful for them
Schedules get so busy and sometimes it is hard to just take time to be with other people. Make an intentional effort every week to tell someone specifically why you are thankful for them. It would be wonderful if this could happen face to face, but sending them a handwritten card would also be a great option. This can be intimidating but the more you do it, the better it will feel. Just think about how it will bless those you love!
3. Serve others
It is very difficult to grumble about one’s own life or circumstances when you are serving other people. God has commanded us in the Bible to humble ourselves and put others before ourselves (Phil 2:3). Find a place in your church or in your community where you can serve someone who is perhaps less fortunate than you. This will help you feel more grateful for what you have, instead of falling into the easy trap of taking them for granted.
4. Make crafts
Maybe you are a very creative person or enjoy making “projects”. Think about a cute idea that would encourage you to be thankful every time you look at it. Maybe this could look like a poster board that reads “Always be thankful” or maybe it could be a wood pallet that was primed and painted beautifully that reads “There’s always something to be thankful for”. Whatever wonderful idea you come up with, feel free to make more and pass them on as gifts. If you struggle to think of crafts on your own (like me) you can search the internet. This particular site has 30 craft ideas for the kids to help create as well.
5. Check your schedule
It is easier to start grumbling and complaining when you are tired, stressed, or busy. Take some time to sit down and truly evaluate your schedule. Are you to busy? Are you spreading yourself too thin? If so, find a way to cut back on the activities or responsibilities you have and take time to enjoy the blessings that God has so freely and graciously given us.
“The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it” – Psalm 24:1
Fall is a beautiful time to enjoy the outdoors and start to prepare for the long winter ahead. Below are a few ideas for you and your family to consider during this brisk change of seasons!
1. Apple Orchards
Going to an apple orchard in the fall is a MUST! Each orchard is a bit different but usually you can find some delicious caramel apples or apple cider to enjoy with the whole family. The closest orchard to Riverside resort is Hidden Cove Orchard in Cold Spring. This orchard is open Thursdays – Sundays and has a great selection of apples. Another great orchard option in the area is the Collegeville Orchard. This orchard is open 7 days a week and is located in St. Joe’s, Minnesota. Unfortunately, there are not many orchards that allow you to pick your own apples anymore, but no matter how you get the apples, they are sure not to disappoint.
2. Corn Mazes
Have you ever wanted to find yourself in a field full of corn and not know which direction to go? Well, let me tell you…it is a blast! This exciting activity is great for the whole family to do together; or, if your family is more the competitive type, you could take turns going through the maze to see who can make it through the fastest. There is a corn maze located only 30 short miles away from the Riverside Resort at Nelson Farm. Nelson Farm, located in Litchfield, MN, is open on Saturdays and Sundays. It is only open until the end of October so check it out now!
As the evenings are getting darker, a hayride is a great way to snuggle up with the family and relax. It can be tough to find a place to have a hayride, but that is where it helps to have friends or family that farm. All you need is a tractor, trailer, some hay bales, land to explore, and a willing driver…ta-da you got yourself a hayride! It could take some coordinating, but it is totally worth it! If you are like us and do not have any farming friends feel free to check out Nelson Farm or Collegeville Orchards, they have wagon rides which can be just as fun!
We love hiking in all seasons, but when those leaves turn bright, beautiful colors and the air is crisp; you can hardly keep us indoors. This is a great time to reflect upon the amazing God of the universe and His creative and artistic nature. One of our favorite places to hike is Quarry Park and Nature Preserve in St. Cloud,MN. The trails are great for all ages and the scenery is beautiful.
What would autumn be without the some serious pumpkin activity? There is much fun to be had with pumpkins; from picking your own, to carving them, to cooking up the pumpkin seeds. I always pray for warm weather on the days we carve our pumpkins, because it is much less stressful letting the family get messy outside rather than trying to carve them in the kitchen. 🙂 There are many places around Riverside Resort to grab a great pumpkin like Collegeville Orchard and Nelson Farm. Another fun stop to pick up a pumpkin is in Eden Valley at the A maze’n Farmyard.
Here are a few pictures of our family checking out the pumpkins at Collegeville Orchard:
6. Working together
Having fun does not always need to take place away from home or even away from “work”. Spend some time as a family this fall working as a team and making projects fun. It sounds cliche, but raking leaves into a pile and allowing time for kids to jump in it is a timeless and no cost activity. If you do not have any leaves of your own to rake, feel free to head on over to Riverside Resort, there are more than enough to go around. 🙂
“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23
As our 2017 vacation season is coming to a close, we are once again reminded of the never-ending faithfulness of our Lord and Savior. Although it is such a blessing to be able to run a resort where families and friends can gather, there is much that could go wrong. The Lord has watched over our family and Riverside Resort in past years and this year has been no different. We want to share some of the highlights from this summer.
1. The Amazing Fireworks Show
We were able to top off our 4th of July celebration with a huge BANG! This is the second year in a row we put on a fireworks show from our main dock. This event was enjoyed by many. Our guests, family, friends, and even other boating on-lookers were able to share in the spectacular show. God again protected everyone on the shore and dock as working/playing with explosives is usually unpredictable.
2. Fabulous Fishing
It did not seem to matter this year if you were on the shore, dock, or out in a boat; you were bound to catch a fish. If you are just learning to fish or you are someone that needs more encouragement from the “thrill of the catch” this was definitely the perfect year for you. If our boys did not love fishing before this summer, they sure do now!
3. Exceptional Weather
We could not have asked for better weather during the peak of our summer season. Most years we plan for at least one or two weeks of intense heat along with at least one big storm. When the storm hits we are prepared for the electricity to go out or huge tree branches to fall. Neither of these things happened this year. As a result of this beautiful weather, our guests were able to enjoy any activity Riverside Resort had to offer.
4. Cabin Updates
This past spring we were able to make some fun changes to some of our cabins. New curtains and flooring helped to freshen up some spaces. We were pleased with the reports we received from our guests who stayed in those cabins and so glad they were able to enjoy the new updates.
5. NEW RECORD
This summer, at Riverside Resort, we had a record number of reunions and multiple family gatherings. It is so fun to see the resort flooded with members of the same family enjoying time with one another. To see cousins playing with cousins or grandmas and grandpas spending time with their grandchildren truly brings joy to our hearts.
Thanks for sharing in our wonderful summer!
“Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” Deuteronomy 11:19
This verse is talking about teaching our children about the love, power, and faithfulness of God. We do this daily, but there also other things we teach our children. One of these things is teaching them how to have fun. With a great summer behind us and bright hope for the school year ahead of us, here we are with one last hurrah before the summer ends. 🙂 Happy Labor Day!! One of our favorite things to do over this holiday is spend time with our family and friends playing lawn games.
Here are some of our favorite lawn games. We have also attached links to all the rules just in case any of these are new games and you need some assistance in learning how to play.
This is a fairly new game that is sweeping the nation (or at least we are doing our best to help spread the news about it). This is a game that can be highly competitive or one that you can play with kids. Make sure to wear comfortable clothes for this game! Spikeball rules.
If you have great aim with a frisbee from 50 feet away, you will not have to play this game long. The team that gets it in the middle hole wins! This is a rare feat however, so usually we score points the “normal” way. This game is a unique mix of corn hole and disc golf. KanJam rules.
Now here is a game for all ages! You have the ability to make the game as easy or difficult as you would like by choosing the playing field and the distance you throw the pallino (the small target ball). With the weight of these balls it can be hazardous; so make sure there is proper supervision throughout the game (especially if little ones are playing). Bocce ball rules.
This game is known by a few different names: bean bag toss, bags, beanbags, chuck-o and more. No matter what you call it, you are bound to have a great time playing. Cornhole can change from board to board due to the slope, slipperiness, and bounce that each board has. Keeps it interesting! 🙂 Cornhole rules.
The classic game of croquet has passed the test of time. This is a great game to play when your crowd ranges in ages from young to mature. One of the best parts about this game is you have the opportunity to “send” other balls outside of the playing area. It can be a trick or treat situation for both parties, because if you are not careful in the act of “sending” someone else, you make whack your own foot with the club. Ouch! Croquet rules.
Making your own ladder ball equipment can be quite easy and perhaps the wise choice because it may last longer. Typically when making ladder ball, one would use PVC piping which is quite durable. This is a fun, low-key game that can keep the party going and include everyone, regardless of age or talent. Ladder ball rules.
“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” Ephesians 1:5
This is the good news y’all, that Christ invites all of us into His family. He so graciously has given us a glimpse of what this feels like by giving us earthly families. We know that being in an earthly family sometimes brings hurts and hardships, but it also brings so much joy and happiness. At Riverside Resort we pray that our activities, facilities, and resources provide opportunities for everyone to grow closer to their families and friends; and have a great time while doing them.
There are countless ways to spend time with others on our resort, but here are some ideas to get you started.
Some people enjoy to get further out on the water to fish, but there is great fishing right from our docks. There have been multiple occasions where our 3 sons have caught so many sunfish off the dock that it is hard to keep up with them.
2. Making water balloons
What a great activity on a hot summer day. There is great lawn space throughout the resort to play any water balloon game you choose. Or maybe you and another family member will be sneaky and plan an attack on an unexpecting target.;)
3. Taking a walk
You can take a walk at any time of day, but the most peaceful time is in the early morning. During this time, typically the grounds are quiet and the water is calm.
There is something for everybody down at the beach. You can have swim races, go down the slide, play on the splash mat, or simply splash around.
5. Collecting Rocks
God’s creation is beautiful and endless. Children are so good about noticing the small things in life. This couple has taken time this particular afternoon to find the best looking rocks with their grandsons.
6. Playing volleyball
Now time for some friendly competition! Maybe it will “older” vs “younger” or family vs family. However you choose to split the teams, there is bound to be lots of fun times shared.
There are multiple options to choose from at Riverside Resort from canoes, to paddleboards, to kayaks, to pontoons and even a few more. Click here for rental details. Some great memories are bound to be made.
8.Talking on the dock
After a long excitement-filled-day at the resort, just take some time to talk about the day or reminisce about other great memories you have had.
“But be sure to fear the Lord and serve Him faithfully with all your heart; consider what great things He has done for you.“ 1 Samuel 12:24
We love to serve the Lord by serving our guests here at Riverside Resort; it brings us so much joy. One of the biggest ways we get to serve our guests is by making sure everything is clean, prepared, and in working order when everyone arrives for a time of fun, fellowship, and relaxation.
Saturday mornings really get our blood pumping because it is the day our cabins and campsites typically change from one guest to another. You know how they says it takes a village to raise a child, well here at Riverside Resort it also takes a small village to get all our cabins and grounds ready for our next weeks guests. We have a great team of people that help us do just this!
At Riverside Resort we have a special name for this team, we call them the “Bed Bugs”. They are responsible for unmaking and remaking the beds in all the cabins. Some Saturdays all 19 of our cabins need to be prepared for our guests, which means they change 54 beds! You go Bed Bugs!
Each week these dedicated teams take on the important task of cleaning all the cabins from floor, to bathroom, to refrigerator, etc. These ladies are very meticulous in their work and take pride in making sure the cabins are spick ‘n span for the next week’s guests to enjoy.
Have you ever seen such cute management? Although the little one is very cute, sometimes she is not all that helpful. 🙂 Once the Bed Bugs and the Cleaning Crews have done their jobs, we give it one more look with a fresh set of eyes. Can you imagine cleaning for 4 hours straight and never missing a spot? Well, our Cleaning Crews do almost that, but it’s still good to have one last look. During this step of the preparation, the yummy Cold Spring Bakery muffins and all the Resort and area information gets set out for the next week’s guests.
Grounds and Maintenance Specialists
This is a fancy title which basically means they need to be 7 places at once. The list for these men consists of mowing the grass, gassing/cleaning the boats, and tending to any and all maintenance concerns in the 19 cabins and across the entire grounds of Riverside. In these photos they were taking the a/c units from the cabins and cleaning them. (The nice lady in the photo is actually a “bed bug” just giving a little encouragement to the men.) If anything ever goes wrong with your house or boat feel free to contact these resourceful and talented men!
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalms 19:1
Imagine it is a beautiful, sunny day; the wind is calm and the water is as smooth as glass. There is no better activity than paddleboarding on a day like this. We, at Riverside Resort, have 2 paddleboards for our guests to enjoy. Paddleboarding is a fairly new concept for many people, but the neat thing about this activity is there are multiple ways to use it depending on the person, mood, or situation.
1). Paddle standing up
This is the traditional way to use a paddleboard. The biggest fear for most people about paddleboarding is the balance they think it requires. Believe it or not, the most difficult part of paddleboarding is when you initially get on the board and then again when you dismount at the end. The actual time you spend on the paddleboard is very peaceful and surprisingly stable.
2). Paddle while on your knees
This is an alternative to standing up that lowers your center of gravity so balancing is easier. Another advantage to paddling on your knees is that it works different parts of your arms, back, and core because your positioning on the board is different.
This is one of my favorite ways to use a paddleboard. Find a quiet little cove or a nice peaceful place in a “no wake zone” and just relax. You can use your life jacket as a pillow while you spend time sleeping, praying, reading a book, or just getting away from all the demands of life. What better way to enjoy God’s magnificent creation!
Did you know you can do yoga on a paddle board? It is so awesome! This does require a bit more balance especially if you are going to try some of those crazy poses where you stand on just one leg. Even though this may sound intimidating, there are many different levels and variations of paddbleboard yoga so don’t let it scare you. Here is a great video to get you started.
5). Strength Training
In addition to Yoga, you can also try your own strength training routine on the water or discover a new one! Adding the element of balance to any of your workout routines is going to strengthen your core and continue to work your muscles in new and different ways. Check out this youtube video.
6). Hang out on the beach and look “cool”
Still think paddleboarding isn’t for you? Here is a way to be involved without ever getting on the water. You can simply hang out with a paddleboard on the beach. Maybe just sit on it and people will think you are taking a break from a long voyage. Or perhaps fiddle with the different accessories on your paddleboard, maybe people will think that you are just returning or getting ready to depart. It’s all about perception! 🙂
However you choose to utilize a paddleboard, I encourage you all to try this unique and exciting aquatic recreation activity.