Minnesota Lake Life, 2023

Hello everyone! I recently returned from my annual summer adventure to my parent’s beautiful home and cabin in Minnesota. Since I began my business, I’ve gotten into the habit of bringing my camera up north and documenting our time spent together at the lake. I enjoy sharing these highlights because I think it’s a really beautiful and honest representation of what matters to me. If you’re curious about the previous years, I’ve got links to those down below. But for now I want to dive into this past summer adventure!

Summertime lake life can be pretty packed and it was a full house at our small log cabin this summer. I’m talking 10 adults and 2 pre-elementary kiddos. My eldest sister and her partner have two adorable and rambunctious little boys who keep everyone on their toes while up north. It’s really fun (and loud) having young kids up at the cabin again. 🙂

The cabin itself is quite charming. Built in the 1950’s, it offers a rustic ambiance and break from modern distractions with no road access, internet, or running water. (Yes, you read that correctly.) To access the cabin you have to load your gear from your vehicle to the boat and make the 15 or so minute boat ride across. When I was just a kid, that first ride took us around 40 minutes with a small 6 horsepower motor, two adults, five children, two dogs, and all our gear. Now, parties typically arrive at different times and in different vehicles so we’ll make several different trips back and forth on the boat.

To accommodate our crew of 12, my parents have a collection of air mattresses that pop up all over the cabin when the sun goes down. It’s a nice upgrade from the ancient fold-out couch that still lives on the front porch covered in a multitude of sheets to hide its age. There’s also this one couch in the living room that’s a prime napping spot during the day so I’m never opposed to sleeping on that one as well. But all in all, air mattresses are nice! (We did put a hole in ours after the first night but thankfully my parents had a patch kit. 😂)

The days were filled with the usual activities such as cooking, cleaning, fetching and boiling water for dishes, reading on the porch, swimming in the lake, throwing sticks for the dogs, splitting wood, taking hot tubs, and the usual sauna in the evening. But there were some fun chores thrown in there too because the cabin needs a lot of upkeep. We replaced the screen and trim on parts of the front porch and all the men worked on fixing the old dock that constantly gets displaced and destroyed by the freezing ice every winter. But it was fun! I like working alongside my siblings, learning together and laughing at one another’s poor hammering skills. (I’m not a very handy person, to be honest, haha.) We also threw in a new activity – shooting clay pigeons in the woods! I didn’t partake in the shooting part (of guns that is), but I did hang out to photograph the experience. It was all for fun and practice and no animals were harmed in the process. 🙂

Not all these cabin activities were documented by my camera. When I’m on vacation, I try to feel like I’m on vacation, and that means not forcing myself to have my camera in hand at all times. I grab it when I feel inspired or motivated, or there’s a heartwarming moment I want to document. But you’ll notice I don’t even have a full family photo of everyone. Mom took care of that one, thankfully! She went full panorama mode on her iPhone, almost a full 360, resulting in a Picasso-like photo that you can’t help but deep belly laugh when looking at it. 😂

I want to highlight one super fun activity that wasn’t documented with my camera but it deserves to be remembered! Get this: I got all the adults to play a game together which is a huge accomplishment in itself, but the cherry on top was that everyone had FUN! I just have no idea what the game is called… It’s kind of like charades but with a twist. There are three rounds and people have to describe or act out different people/characters/etc. What makes it interesting is that it’s the players who write the names down to begin with and then you use all the same names for every round in the game. It’s a ton of fun and if you know the name of the game, please let us know in the comments below and maybe even include a link to directions so other people can play it too! It was a ton of fun and will *hopefully* be a regular thing from now on.

Anyway, I’ll wrap things up. This place holds a really special place in my heart, mosquitos, horseflies and all. 🙂 A huge shoutout to my parents for keeping this slice of heaven in the family and doing so much hard work in the upkeep. I really hope to spend more time there in the coming years. Or at least that’s the plan.

Enjoy scrolling through some highlights from my favorite place on Earth. Soak in the nature, simplicity, and beauty of this wonderful place, and please drop me a line below if this is the kind of blog post you enjoy. And share your own secret paradise too! I truly love and appreciate hearing from you. 🙂

Above: You can see all the gnats and bugs in the air with the sun flare. 🙂

Danger dog loves to fetch by jumping off the dock.

Pretty light streaming in on the porch one afternoon.

Above: Chopping wood is almost a daily activity. We use it for the sauna, hot tub, grill, and occasional evening bonfire.

Below: Indoor cabin scenes.

Above: Probably waiting for the sauna to heat up while hanging out on the porch.

Below you’ll see my partner harassing my brother with the bug zapper, hahaa.

Below: Interior of the cabin. Some food prep, maybe breakfast? Below that you’ll see afternoon hangs with snacks and bevvys.

Below: I caught this garter snake twice. It was hanging out in the rose bushes on the front lawn. It was actually really sweet while we held it and didn’t try to bite us. Super cute.

Above: One of my favorite photos. 😀

Below: Grilling corn on the cob as part of the dinner menu. With 12 people, we took turns making breakfast and dinner meals. Lunch was on our own. This evening my partner and I made corn on the cob, burgers (veggie burgers for us), and coleslaw. Twas delicious!

Above: My sister’s partner, Ryan, snapped this cute image of us. Thanks, Ryan!!

Below you’ll see three baddogs.

Below: Found a friend. 🙂

Below: This is Glenda the leapard frog. My sister rescued Glenda from the road after she had been injured, probably by another animal. You can see she is blind in her left eye and her jaw is broken. She can no longer eat on her own and must be force fed (poor thing). Other than that, she lives a pretty cozy life now with my sister and her partner. 🙂

Crummy Whitney.

Cuties. 🙂

Below: Grandma and one of my sweet nephews. 🙂

Below: A foggy morning on the lake. I had gotten up to use the outhouse (hashtag lake life) and when I walked back to the cabin I saw the morning fog on the lake and knew I had to capture it. So I went inside and grabbed my camera before heading back out and snapping a few images of the moody scene.

Below: Mom and Glenda 🙂

Below: The grandkids.

Below: Burris enjoying a nap in front of the sauna.

Below: The men spent an afternoon working on the old dock. They had to make a crib (the wooden structure sitting on the dock in the bottom right image) that they could fill with rocks underwater and attach to the dock so that it wouldn’t move.

Below: My sleepy nephew 🙂 Time at the lake includes a lot of napping.

Below: Swim time! My sister and nephew, mom.

Below: My sister in law and their baddog. 🙂

Lots of time spent in the water. By late July and early August, the temperatures are pretty nice.

More porch hangs, baddogs, and snacks. Lake life at its finest.

Below: My sister teaching her five year old son how to play Labyrinth while his brother naps on the couch.

Below: My partner accidentally broke the water gun, hahaha.

Grandpa and grandson and baddogs in the paddleboat.

Above: Mom making a face at one of the kids, probably.

Below: My partner stirring the hot tub and checking the temperature.

Below: Returning from a fishing trip.

Above: Pizza on the grill!

Below: This was one of the air mattresses that we set out in the evenings. My partner and I took the living room. You can see I’ve just woken up in the bottom right image, haha.

Below: Left – Coffee being made and hot water for dishes prepped. Right – Messy hair, don’t care. Hashtag lake life? Hahaha. Coffee and Bailey’s, breakfast time.

Below: A rainy afternoon calls for some indoor games! Lake life fun!

Below: A hike to the point with some baddogs while playing lots of fetch + an image of the clothes line that sits behind the cabin.

Below: Ludo, the white dog, learned to fetch sticks from the water! Good boy!

Below: Mal-gal swimming to the 21 Man Rock.

Below: My sister and her partner took the wave rider out. Pi, my sister’s dog, patiently waits for them to come home.

Below: Family paddleboat ride!

Above: Porch hangs.

Below: My nephew’s first time on the wave rider!

Below: A few snaps my partner grabbed of me while I went to say hi.

Below: Cute toad find 🙂

Below: Definition of lake life in Minnesota – swimming!

Cuties above and below.

Below: Stoking the sauna fire.

Above: Serene lake scenes.

Below: Shooting clay pigeons.

I kept telling people to MAGA pose, hahaha (as a joke, obv).

Above: Pontoon time and a Minnesota loon.

Above: More lake time and baddogs.

Below: Pi dog.

Above: My partner spent sooo much time in the water with my nephew. 🙂 They just got out after a long swim and are shaking the water off and high fiving.

Below: Mosquitos better watch out, my mom is armed! Flashlight in one hand and bug zapper in the other, she’s preparing the porch for sleeping, hahaha.

Below: My brother is cracking up hard as he watches this circus. 😀

As promised, here are the links to past years blog posts about Minnesota lake life:

Family time in Minnesota’s North Woods

Kroschel Family in Northern Minnesota

And finally, if you enjoyed this post, you may also love:

Camille & Zach’s Backyard Wedding I Sebastopol, CA

Tips for Feeling Comfortable in Front of the Camera

What to Expect at your Outdoor Family Photo Session

August 18, 2023

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