Saturday, December 3, 2011

Holiday Activities in Small Towns - Countdown to Christmas - Day 3

The third day of the Countdown to Christmas was on Saturday, so there were many holiday activities in  nearby small towns.

As we were leaving, literally hundreds of Canada geese were flying over the pasture and neighboring fields. It was incredibly loud - and amazing - to see so many geese flying together.

Hundreds of Geese Flying Overhead
Hundreds of geese flew overhead.

Our first stop was Gustaf's Galleries in Lindstrom, Minnesota.  There are three galleries within the building:

- Up North Fine Art Gallery - has regional art and fine art crafts. Artists on exhibit are from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, the Dakotas, Michigan, and other Upper Midwestern states.

- The Art of Friendship Gallery - exhibits gifts which express encouragement, friendship, compassion, and support.

- Välkommen Gallery - exhibits artwork and unique gifts from Northern Europe including Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

Then we went next door to the historic Gustaf Anderson House. The house that was built in 1879 by Gustaf and Helena Anderson upon their return to Minnesota from the Montana gold fields.

With its Italianate brick exterior and Victorian high style interior, the house is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  The building stands as a tribute to the "rags to riches" status achieved by the hard work of early immigrants.

We stopped at a church craft sale in Center City before heading onto Eichtens where there was an open house. We sampled some of the food and cheese; and purchased a couple of items to make at home.

Since the cafe at Eichtens was packed due to the open house, we headed up to St. Croix Falls since it was the annual Lighting Festival. 

Apparently it was a slow year for the Lighting Festival...that or more people attend the evening activities. There were probably a dozen or so people walking on the sidewalks...which is fine, but kind of surprising giving that was a festival.

The first stop was the Senior Center which was decorated and had holiday music outside. There was a bake sale going on and lunch was available.

Lunch at the Senior Center
The girls at lunch at the senior center.

Sophia and Olivia each had a grilled cheese sandwich, brownie, and a glass of lemonade. With their meal came tomato soup. Sophia tried it, Olivia passed on the soup, so I had it along with a glass of lemonade. The total bill for 3 people: $5.

After that, we visited a quilt shop down the street that also was having an open house. Since we all enjoy sewing and quilting, it was an interesting stop. Ended up seeing these cute hand-dyed wool felt flowers.

Olivia is making a quilt and we thought adding some of these to the quilt might add an interesting three-dimensional element to it.

Wool Felt Flower
Wool felt flower.

We began to head home and stopped at a Christmas tree farm on the way. We visited the farm last week as well, and the girls wanted to go back since it had a model train.

This time, one of the owners was there and let us push the buttons that controlled the sounds - engine whistle, circus sounds, train tracks rattling, etc.  Needless to say, Sophia and Olivia enjoyed being able to do that.

Our last stop was Franconia Sculpture Park. The first sculpture they always visit: the swingset.

Swinging on the Art Swing
Girls on swingset.

There were many new sculptures that we enjoyed seeing.
Another View of the Top of the Sculpture
View looking up at the sky
from the interior of a new sculpture.

Sophia and Olivia were alternating between walking and running as they saw new sculptures. Some they were content to walk towards and explore while others were so inviting - they eagerly ran to see them.
Running Out of the Sculpture
Olivia running out of one of the new sculptures.
Sophia's taking her time as she leaves.

When we came home, the girls relaxed, practiced their instruments (piano and harp), and read.

I continued to make more food for my mom. At over 80 years old and with significant health issues of her own, she is going through this holiday season with my dad in a nursing home due to Alzheimer's Disease.

He is now under hospice care, so my mom's motivation to cook and prepare meals is rather low right now. Having premade breakfasts, dinners, and desserts may help her through this month.

1 comment:

Rita said...

What wonderful places you find to visit! The girls look like they had a wonderful time. Sorry to hear about your dad. I'm sure the meals will be a blessing for your mom. I'm sure that's the last thing she is thinking about right now.

Give those girls a hug. All my best! :)