“Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs”. Psalms 100:1-2
We are so READY to kick-off the 91st season of Riverside Resort and our 7th year as owners! We shout for joy to the Lord for all of His provisions and for His unwavering guidance.
We absolutely love the summers, but once the fall and winter roll around we know ourselves (and our children) could use a little recharge. We had a great off-season as a family with time to relax, play, work, and simply enjoy being with one another. There were many great times, but our highlight of the off-season was the opportunity we had to go to Disney World. It was so fun to watch the joy on our children’s faces as well as act like children ourselves. 🙂
We have been looking forward to opening our 2018 season for many weeks now. Smelling the freshness of spring is amazing and we know that with it will bring many friends and families to the resort. We are anxious to see children running around the resort, families swimming together, and friends fishing on the docks. These are just a few of the many wonderful things that bring joy to our hearts each season.
Each off-season we pray and talk about what changes we could make to improve the resort. This year we took on the large project of finishing the basement in one of our two vacation homes, Pine Valley (cabin #18). Previously, it had a spacious first floor with a large kitchen and living room, in addition to 2 large bedrooms. We have now turned this house into a 4 bedroom house, by raising the basement ceiling and finishing it off. Now in addition to the upstairs, we have 2 more bedrooms, a luxurious bathroom, as well as a small kitchenette and living room. We are so excited to offer this additional space! Do you want this to be your home for a week this summer? Be sure to check out our availability.
Each season we like to offer new experiences to our guests. This year we are excited to introduce Riverside Resort’s first ever boat tour. We call it, “Pontoon Adventure with Captain Jim”. Captain Jim will be driving our guests around on the Sauk River, providing bits of history, telling stories, as well as showing excellent fishing spots along the way. Jim and his late wife, Jeanette, owned the resort for 32 years from 1979-2012. Needless to say this guy knows all the ins and outs of these parts! You should plan on checking out this exciting new activity when you are here this summer!
We are extremely excited for you to join in on the fun this summer!
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.“ – Matthew 4:19
Picture this…it is a gorgeous day; the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, the water is calm, and the fish are ready to bite. I can almost smell the minnows and nightcrawlers, can’t you? Riverside Resort is located on the Horseshoe Chain of lakes and it is a great spot to go fishing. Because there are so many different depths, people catch all types of fish, however, there are 6 that we see most often.
Did you know that these little guys are in the fish family called “Centrarchidaes”? Say that 5 times fast! 🙂 These “panfish” or “sunnies” are great for just catching and throwing back. If you do catch a bunch of larger ones, however, you can easily enjoy a nice fish fry. These are the perfect fish to catch with children, because they are easy to handle and quick to bite your bait!
Also in the Centrarchidaes family, Crappies are said to be one of the best tasting freshwater fish around. The best time to catch these fish are during spawning season, which is spring and early summer. Minnows and small jigs seem to attract these fish like moths to a flame. For more information and tips about Crappie click here.
Walleye have excellent visual acuity when there is little light. Because of this, they are most active during dawn, dusk, and on overcast days. During the spring they will take almost any bait, but then they start getting more picky during the summer months. Once autumn rolls around, they once again, become easier to catch.
4. Northern Pike
Did you know that the largest Northern Pike ever caught was 58 inches long and weighed 68 pounds? That’s bigger than my 7 year old! I am guessing this fish was a female because they are just naturally bigger than the males. If the one you catch is not that big, do not be discouraged. According to “American Expedition”, the average Northern Pike is 3-7 pounds and 24-30 inches long.
Largemouth, Smallmouth, and Spotted Bass are the most popular game fish in North America. Although they are very popular to catch, cooking them is considered to be a “fine art” that not all possess. When cooked correctly they are delectable, but if not, they could taste pretty “fishy” (not in a good way).
Well, hey there good lookin’! I think there is a reason not many people choose to have these around as pets. We get excited when we catch them, but they are not so great to cuddle with. Catfish are typically “bottom feeders”, so if you are looking to catch one of these guys you will have to make sure your lure is pretty deep.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
As the weather starts getting nicer, it reminds us of the new, fresh beginnings God gifts us each year. This is also the time to “Wipe away the Winter” with some major spring cleaning. Sometimes it is hard to get started, but it is SO worth it and once you are finished your home will feel fresh and new!
Clean, clear windows make any room feel lighter and cleaner simply by letting more light in. Also, the more natural light you get, the less electricity you use! Take advantage of the warmer weather by opening your windows to clean both the inside and outside of them.
2. Ceiling fans
Have you ever turned your ceiling fan on after a long winter and gotten rained on by dust? Let me tell you, this is not a pleasant experience. It doesn’t mean your house is dirty, it means that you have not used your ceiling fans in 6 months and, frankly, you have forgotten about them. To avoid a dust shower, wipe all areas of the blades and fixtures. Once this is done, you can have assurance that they will be all set to go when the hot nights roll around.
These are such important places to keep clean because this is where a lot of our food is stored. It does, however, take more forethought and planning, because the emptier the space the easier it is to clean. There are so many styles and models, but to be most efficient and thorough, be sure to take out all drawers and shelves.
Do you know how many coins, legos, pieces of jewelry, and other small items get lost behind or under large pieces of furniture? Well, if you don’t know the answer to that question, it’s time to find out! Go room by room in your house and move each piece of large furniture. After picking up all the long lost treasures, you can vacuum the area and either put the furniture back or take the opportunity to rearrange the room. Perhaps by the time you reach the last room, you will have found enough money to order yourself some much deserved dinner! 🙂
Give the exterior of your home a fast face lift by removing leaves and debris from your gutters before they start to sprout seedlings. Regular maintenance of this out-of-sight area helps prevent rotting and water damage to your house. Use a ladder, bucket, and some gloves to remove the soggy debris.
Sometimes we spend just as much time in our vehicles as we do in our homes, but we do not clean them quite as frequently. Take some time to go through your vehicles and remove all the garbage and unnecessary items. Then you can vacuum all the floors, car mats, and seats in the vehicle. The next step is to take a look at the state of the insides of the windows. Maybe they could use a quick washing as well. Lastly, don’t forget to replace your cabin air filter so that the interior air of your car stays clean and fresh all year long.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?“ -John 11:25-26
Happy Easter! What a wonderful holiday this is!! The sun is shining (or should be:) ), the flowers are budding, the grass is growing, and we get to celebrate the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whenever I think about Easter, it reminds me that even in the darkest days, there is always hope in the Lord. Jesus died on a dark and gloomy Friday night and then less than 3 days later He rose from the dead and took victory over death and sin. Hallelujah!
Here are some fun and creative craft ideas to help you celebrate this wonderful day.
This craft can either be worn around your neck or hung around different parts of the house as decoration. Simply gather up many different craft supplies and see how each person’s unique creation comes together.
Ever wonder what you can do with the egg cartons after you have hard-boiled all the easter eggs? Well here is a cute, cheap, and easy craft that could help make your house or table more festive.
Instead of creating more bunnies to put around the house, simply dress yourself or your kids as bunnies. How do you think your Easter dinner would look if everyone at the table were wearing bunny ears? I would bet it might be a bit more fun, no matter what the age.
This age old activity is a great one! I find that it can be stressful when using dye because it has a tendency to get everywhere! This is a great resource with lots of fun (even less messy) ways of decorating easter eggs.
Who says crafting has to be complex? Coloring pages are a great way to get the creative juices flowing and does not require many special supplies. Just grab some crayons or markers and you are all set!
Although these are Easter finger puppets, you could use many of the same supplies to fit any season or occasion. Once you have finished making the puppets, you could then create a play or performance with all the different characters.
This craft really helps bring your focus to the true meaning of Easter while creating something beautiful. Pick the window in your house that welcomes the most sunlight and put the crosses there. Watch the colors stream from the cross as the sunlight shines through them.
What a great tool for your family to use to remember and talk about all the parts of the Easter story. Many times children listen better when their hands are busy (I know ours do!). This can be a great after-dinner activity while everyone is still sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company.
“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!