My Minnesota - May

I'm joining up again with my fellow Minnesotans to highlight places we've explored in our state this past month. Be sure to click the link at the bottom of the post to follow the circle around.

May found us exploring all sorts of places that really aren't far from home. It seems a shame that we hadn't explore some of these places before since they are so close to us, but better late than never. 

First up is Centennial Lakes In Edina. Last year we went paddle boating here, but I'd never walked around it before (they also have lawn games and a putting course). I dropped Riley off at a Birthday Party near this lake and decided to stick around. I took a leisurely walk, picked up lunch at a nearby grocery store and sat in peace, by myself, eating my salad. It's tucked between retail shops, corporate buildings and apartments... and you'd never know it was there if you didn't hear about it from someone or happen upon it when you were dropping your kid off at Chuck E Cheese. 

After the party, I wasn't ready to leave so Riley agreed to explore one end of the lake with me. I'm sure it won't be the last time we check out this area this summer as I've promised my daughter that we would go paddle boating again soon. 

Next up was an area we've visiting before and has informally become our mother's day weekend spot: Bass Lake park and Wolfe Park in St Louis Park. We started with a walk at Bass Lake and then headed over to the playgrounds at Wolfe Park. I'd just set Riley up with my old Nikon D80 and she proceeded to take about 250 pictures on this outing. Always interesting to see her perspective, but I have to admit I'm deleting most of the pictures so far. Shhh, don't tell her.

At any rate, it was just the Mother's Day morning I wanted... time with my family while enjoying the beautiful weather. Later, when we went across the street to Wolfe Park, I noticed notes hanging off flowering trees. They said things like "I am grateful for my brother who taught me to stand up for myself", " I'm grateful for my friend Veronica because she made me more aware of Human Rights" and "I am grateful to have dreams again". I have no idea how they got there, but wish I had a pen and paper to add my own.

Lest you think that May was all gorgeous weather and beautiful flowing trees, mid-month we dealt with rain and chilly weather. It happened to align with Art-A whirl and St. Louis Park's Ice Cream Social which was unfortunate, but we weren't going to let some slightly miserable weather keep us from having fun. The Ice Cream Social was paired with the grand opening of the Recreation Outdoor Center so there was a lot of activities to watch and partake in. We ran into several friends (Riley's friends, that is) and even though it was chilly, we made sure to get some ice cream. 

Over Memorial Day weekend, my husband went on a camping trip with friends in South Dakota while Riley and I had a fun filled girls weekend. I decided to rent a 24 - 70 mm lens over the long weekend to see if it's a lens I want to purchase (the jury is still out on this one)  and figured this was the perfect opportunity to explore places we've never been before.

Riley and I started our weekend off on Friday night by checking out a local park. There are 35 playgrounds in our city and, starting last year, we've been checking them one by one off the list. This one had a bonus pond nearby that we slowly strolled around. Oh, and the pond provided another bonus as it had a Little Library along the path. My kid loves books so this was an exciting find even if it didn't result in her taking a book home.

The next morning, I pulled up Google Maps and scrolled around to find someplace nearby to explore. Cedar Lake is fairly close to our house and yet I've never been there. So many gems so close to home! I found an area with a path and beach access that seemed perfect for this morning. We recently had some Robins nesting in a tree right outside our kitchen window so Riley brought along a notebook that she'd already researched and written down the Robin's life cycle in. As we walked, we stopped and looked at Robin's and she tried to draw one based on our unknowing bird models that skittered about us.

The beach wasn't anything fancy... in fact there were a lot of tree roots and such, but that didn't matter to Riley. I didn't think it was quite warm enough for beach weather, but that didn't matter to my kid. She played for quite a long time while we watched a group of people training for a triathlon. Apparently, the thing to do on this lake is canoe and kayak as there were a steady stream of people paddling about the lake.  

Later that weekend, I walked around Purgatory Creek in Eden Prairie after dropping Riley off at another birthday party (she seriously has a more active social life than I do). I decided to leave my camera at home because it's heavy and I was tired of lugging it around (sort of wondering if I should have gotten a lighter mirror-less camera instead), but I had many moments that I wished I brought the camera along. It was a longer walk that I thought it would be (made it back to the party with 5 minutes to spare!), but it was a beautiful area and if I wasn't absolutely exhausted, I would have gone back with Riley in tow to have her check it out as well. 

So that wraps up our May. Looking forward to all the adventures this summer will bring us. Make sure to check out Carrie Bayless next!