The mark I leave behind for my child isn’t going to be based on the fancy shoes and clothes he puts on or the material things we purchase for him but in the simplicity and quality of the moments we spend together as mother and child while enjoying the beauty of nature and of each other’s company. Where: Lake Nokomis 50th Street Beach Parking: Street Parking (around the lake) Season: Spring, sunset (May 2017) What about you? How do you show your love for your child / children? What are the things they love to do with you? Enjoy the weekend. It’s going to be glorious! Much love, Joyce

Hiking Westwood Nature Center

I mentioned Westwood Nature Center in one of my posts that it’s one of our favorite places to hike in the Twin Cities and with that, I don’t want it to be popular. This is such a beautiful, tranquil place and my hope is for it to remain that way. You know how some crowds can trash and ruin things? Anyway, we got the chance to hike it one glorious, summer afternoon and here are some of the photos from it. What about you? What are your favorite places to hike? How do you help in keeping your parks clean and orderly? Much love, Joyce

Paddling the Chain of Lakes

(All photos were taken using Google Nexus 6P) We have been itching to canoe for weeks now but my husband’s truck was out of service. The minute we got his new vehicle, we told ourselves that we will paddle. One of our friends suggested the Chain of Lakes right in the heart of Minneapolis and about 5 miles from our home and while I have ran around those lakes so many times, our little family have never been on those waters. πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜‰ How to Get There: If you aren’t familiar with the area, you can always start at Calhoun Beach House located in the northeast corner of Lake Calhoun (rentals are available there, too). However, we started on the south side where the views of the skyline are spectacular. πŸ™‚ (Photo and map of our starting point) Our Wonderful Experience – What to Expect The lake was so calm and almost like glass that day that I initially felt very disoriented but once we got our bearing and started moving it was very smooth paddling from that point on. Lake Calhoun wasn’t very busy until we reached the boat house and the waterway between the lakes. There we encountered […]

Hiking the Minneopa State Park

For behold, the winter is past; the rain is over and gone. The flowers appear on the earth, the time of singing has come, and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land. I told my husband that spring time is the most underrated season of all however for me, since green is my favorite color, I actually gravitate to this wonderful time of the year. Add to that, spring symbolizes rebirth, renewal and regrowth which is always welcome in our household. With that this week, we decided to go a little South and picked the Minneopa State Park for our hike (we typically either bike, hike or paddle). Spring time... I call this color delicious, baby green. πŸ™‚ Β  Minneopa State Park Minneopa State Park is located about 5 miles west of Mankato on State Highway 68 and U.S. Highway 169 - about 90 miles from where we live. We have seen photos of this park and it's resemblance with Minnehaha Falls (less than a mile from us) but this said falls is often extremely crowded especially on the weekends. So off to South we went. πŸ™‚ Here are some of the photos from our hike. Sign […]

Why I Suggest Going Outside

"You are only confined by the walls you build yourself" When I was in my 20s, I was almost a fixture in the mall. One of my great friends even told me point-blank that the mall was my closet as I go there everytime I thought I didn't have anything to wear but in fact I was just "plain lazy." I hunted and pecked for the styles I saw in fashion magazines and didn't really care if my bank account suffers from the consequences (I never went into debt, though). I said, if celebrities could have it, so could I. I was young, naive, almost dumb and didn't know any better about the true definition of being beautiful. Hindsight is, of course, 20/20. Even after donating clothes for three years in a row now, I am still stuck with 3 big closets and containers filled with clothes that I slowly go through when I am not busy giving attention to our little one. I couldn't turn back the time but it wasn't too late. My salvation came when I met my husband... a person who doesn't care what brand he wears, hates clothes and items with big logos, very handy […]

Halloween 2015

I grew up knowing almost nothing about Halloween the way Westerners celebrate it (with pumpkins, costumes, trick or treat and abundance of candies) instead we go to loved-ones graves with flowers and candles to remember, commemorate and pay respect on either the 1st or 2nd of November. I know that times are now a changing there and we are now well established here. It’s high time to marry our cultures and make our little one understand the differences and the history of both. πŸ™‚ I attended numerous Halloween parties here when I was in my 20’s and early 30’s but it’s embarrassing to admit that it’s actually my first time to carve some pumpkins — it’s the little one’s first time as well. We did good. πŸ˜€ This is Elijah’s third halloween. His first, he was a dinosaur; second was an airplane. He wanted to be a pilot but we weren’t able to find a costume in time. The substitute worked out well, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ We met up with friends first for a light dinner and off we go trick or treatin’. I was only able to take photos from the first house we visited as it was […]

Pursuing the Hues

The amazing thing about pursuing contentment in nature is that you ended up with having more -- not of possessions but with real happiness that you can take anywhere with you wherever you go... I wanted to write something that ties the photos to the narratives in my mind but I cannot manage to find the words to truly express what I want to say. This has been sitting in my drafts for 3 days now and with my pace and current brain fogginess, it probably will sit through the winter and even after that. HA! So with that, less words, just photos. πŸ™‚ This was kind of like our usual paddle on the Mississippi River except it's not due to the peak of Autumn in our lovely state of Minnesota. In the past, we have observed the changing of the seasons just on the banks of this lovely river; this time, we were more prepared to witness it while on the canoe... And it was oh, so glorious... πŸ˜€ The Colors To be a little geeky on you -- The Mississippi River Gorge is one of the unique geological features on the said river and it primarily comprises three […]

To Step Into

"You will either step forward into growth or you will step back into safety." - Maslow One thing that my husband and I recently started doing more (with the little one) is exploring the great outdoors here in Minnesota which we coined our "Nature Church." We try to push ourselves out of our home in either an unfamiliar place or situation and believe me, there are plenty of options and it's not hard not to get overwhelmed with possibilities at times. However, this weekly exercise is giving us the chance to actually discover not just places but even ourselves by not having or making any concrete plans. Last weekend, we picked to hike the Barn Bluff in Red Wing -- my husband just looked at the map and said, "Let's go here." In fifteen minutes, we managed to scrounge a decent packed lunch, loaded the car and off we go. We didn't even get the chance to look at the weather radar to see what was in store for us. πŸ˜‰ It was raining when we got there but of course after driving for over an hour, we couldn't really turn around anymore. We were, at first, uncomfortable but we […]

The Mighty Mississippi River

β€œLife is like the river, sometimes it sweeps you gently along and sometimes the rapids come out of nowhere.” When I was dating my now-husband, he told me stories of his paddling conquest on Mississippi River and at that time, I made a mental note to add doing that in my bucket list. We lived a block from this mighty river and have hiked the bottoms countless times but never canoed it. I was intimidated by its sheer size and the amount of boat traffic but since the Lock and Dam at St. Anthony's Falls got shut down, that amount decreased so we took that opportunity to tackle it and 'kind of' cross this off my bucket list and with the little one at that... πŸ™‚ Well, there were still big boats around! Condition It was partly sunny but with a significant breeze so it was a not-so-ideal condition, but I have been paddling with my husband for about 9 years now. He knows me pretty well, vice versa -- and I think he is aware that I actually like headwinds and movement in the water. Our little one is still getting used to it though (it's maybe his 8th […]

Minneapolis Urban Gardening

"Growing your own food is like printing your own money." Spring time is always beautiful here in Minnesota plus the perks of being outside almost all the time is something that we do look forward to every year. We have been gardening for awhile now -- combination of hydroponic and large pots for vegetables and fruits but this year, we wanted to get more serious and see if we can yield more. We have been striving to eat healthy as we know the value of putting nutritious food in our bodies and we are hoping we can instill this in our little ones mind. πŸ™‚ Our handsome little fella What we have to deal with... There are weeds, gophers, chipmunks and pest that we know we have to deal with but for know, the little one enjoys their company. Not only we are excited to see the outcome of this, but we are also thrilled to meet more and more neighbors as they stop by to say hi and admire the raised gardens... We have my husband to thank that for. πŸ™‚ Much love, Joyce * Disclaimer: Please note that our website contains ads and sometimes affiliate links wherein I earn a […]