Spring Break was a Needed Break

Coming off of Spring Break this morning, I woke up early-ish, expecting a difficult morning. After a week of being able to sleep in and enjoy a few “pajama mornings” (as we call them), I was sure it would be tough to get my daughter up and moving. And wow, was I ever wrong.

This morning was delightful!

My daughter woke herself up early.  She was well-rested, probably exhausted from swimming, and a quick bike ride to the park after dinner. Plus, she was just excited to go back to school again. We had talked about it on Sunday night, and I asked what she might do to help get ready for Monday morning. She decided to pack up her backpack, which was another thing done! Breakfast, getting dressed, and packing up all went so well that I even had time to french braid her hair. This was a small victory in our year long quest for a better morning routine and a nod to my New Year’s resolution for less hurry.

Looking back at Easter weekend and Spring Break last week, I do think that the “break” really was needed for everyone in our family. We went to church, visited with out of town family, took a day trip to Madison, and did fun activities throughout the week.

spring break collage

Views of Lake Mendota from Picnic Point Beach, Madison, Wisconsin.

As you can see, we had a bright, sunny day to enjoy a brief hike on our visit to Madison. Aren’t the colors of the lake so soothing? Cool as it was, my son and daughter had fun feeling the sand between their fingers and exploring the shore. It makes me look forward to camping this summer and warmer weather in general. Our spring break started with snow on Good Friday and ended with more snow on April 2, so it goes in springtime in Wisconsin.

The time away from our daily routines and the stress of preparing to move was healing, a way to relax and recharge.

Over the weekend I was able to take my own solo road-trip to celebrate one of my very best friend’s birthdays. Quiet time behind the windshield gave me a chance to be with my thoughts, belt out some of my favorite tunes (without any complaints!), and catch up on some leisure reading during pit stops. A chance to re-connect with my dear friend who I’ve known since elementary school is always a welcome and fun break, not to mention a bit of therapy at times!

Plus the kids enjoyed some of their own time with just Daddy O. I was greeted with hugs and many stories of their adventures together. “I only wanted to hug you eight times,” little brother reported, and so we had to catch up on hugs a bit on Sunday afternoon / evening.  I came back from my road trip feeling very loved and happy to be home.

We didn’t do anything overly extravagant or exciting over Spring Break, but it certainly was enough for us all. I saw this quote at the museum we went to and thought that it summed up my sentiments quite well.

quote

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5 Ways to Beat Cabin Fever

It snowed again last night, and there’s MORE snow in the extended forecast with temps not exceeding the 30’s for some time.  Ugh…it’s hard to get excited for Easter and Spring when you’re still sporting snugly sweaters.  I am TRYING to beat cabin fever with these few things:

1. Bright, Colorful flowers now grace my header image.  I received these for our anniversary and they are the same colors as I had in my bridal bouquet. These are my happy colors!

2. Having an indoor picnic We had a blast eating lunch on a blanket in our basement.  Just changing the location of a meal can shake things up a bit and be a lot of fun.

Little brother and big sister enjoy an indoor picnic

Little brother and big sister enjoy an indoor picnic

3. Making up games  We play with pom pons all the time in our house!  You can sort them by size or color, practice counting, pretend they’re eggs (as you see here) or some other food item.  Pom pons are also great for crafts, as I used them in the Quick and Easy Easter Bunnies we just made.

Big sister picking up pom poms

Big sister picking up pom poms

4. Try a new activity – we tested out a sensory bin activity, using oatmeal and cornstarch with a variety of spoons, funnels, and containers.  It started out in a bin on a small table and then we moved it to a big drop cloth on the floor.  I would not recommend adding the cornstarch, as it went EVERYWHERE!  I took this picture as the excitement of the sensory bin wore off.

sensory bin play

Trying out a sensory bin of oatmeal & cornstarch.

5. Take a road trip.  You don’t have to go far to discover something new and fun.  We’ll soon be heading to a B&B to enjoy some kid-free time.  We did enjoy a little road trip to discover some mouth-watering Wisconsin Cheddar. We’ve also played “tourist” by checking out a fish fry at a restaurant we’ve never gone to before and having lunch at a cute little coffee shop today.  Getting out in spite of the cold is our way of thumbing our nose at Mother Nature.

My daughter just commented today that she could see the grass (in SOME places), and she’s right, Spring WILL come soon.  Until then, we’ll come up with more ways to beat cabin fever.

Savoring a 5 Star Wisconsin Aged Cheddar

What do you do when your children are fast asleep in the car, and you know the 20 minute drive home won’t cut it for a good nap?  Well, if you’re like me and Daddy O., you do what any cheese love would do – grab your cheese map, plug an address into your GPS, and GO DISCOVER ANOTHER WISCONSIN CHEESE!

We traversed some back roads, going over some gentle, mostly snow covered rolling hills to Widmer’s Cheese Cellars in Theresa, Wisconsin. Actually the car time felt sort of like a date with my husband, giving us some quiet, uninterrupted time to catch up and really talk to one another – something that can be difficult to do in the busyness of child-rearing.

English: Looking east at the western welcome s...
Looking east at the western welcome sign for Theresa, Wisconsin. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Widmer’s Cheese Cellar dates back to the 1920’s, started by Swiss immigrant John O. Widmer.  The storefront of the cheese shop includes the crests of the Swiss states – a great first impression to this German speaking girl!  We joined a few other cheese lovers in the small shop, drooling over the many varieties of cheddar, brick, colby, and fresh cheese curds.  After some deliberation, we left with a 6 year aged Cheddar, vegetable colby, and Lagerkaese (foil pack aged brick). Our children practically slept until we reached home, giving us even more quiet and pleasant car time.

The Tasting and Savoring

Finally, we were home and opened our fine dairy finds. We were delighted with the 6 year Cheddar!  It was creamy, buttery, and tangy with a slight crunch that made for all around deliciousness!  We gave it a 5 out of 5 possible stars!  The vegetable colby cheese was a huge hit shredded over scrambled eggs and in sandwiches.

I’m sad to say that the Laegerkaese was a disappointment with a taste that we best captured as the musty basement flavor.  Somehow our son enjoyed eating it, but perhaps his palate is not as developed at 17 months old.

Our Cheese Record

How do we keep track of each of the wonderful 6 year cheddars we have tasted? We were given a great little book from one of the original Cheddar-Off attendees called 33 Pieces of Cheese. It’s a great way to take notes and rate each cheese, detailing each dimension of cheese on the flavor wheel.

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