Nancy Drew and the Case of the Cabin Snoop

When my family leaves the city and heads to the cabin, we relax on a number of levels. The closer we get to our destination, the more the white knuckles relax on the steering wheel. Work seems worlds away and so our conversations tend to center on the beauty of the passing landscape, what we should grill for dinner and who will be first up to ski behind the boat. Once we arrive, my chore list is set aside as we all head down to the lake. Our Suburban is left, to be unloaded later – and most likely the keys are in the ignition. We’re in the country now. Everyone knows everyone. Neighbors come and go, borrowing a cup of sugar one day and dropping in for coffee the next. No one locks the

New Year's Party at the Cabin!

How to entertain a crowd at your place I think Dorothy from The Wizard Of Oz said it best: “There’s no place like the cabin” – or something like that. For me, bringing in the New Year with family and friends at the cabin is a good alternative to the glitz and glamour of the Emerald City. It’s an all-day affair for us. Everyone meets at the local ski slopes early on the morning of New Year’s Eve. We ski all day and then meet up for a wonderful evening feast at our place, Log Off. Some time after midnight, exhausted from a day of skiing and tummies filled with fine food and drink, everyone dons his or her favorite pajamas and hunkers down for a well-deserved night’s sleep. A hostess w

Food, Glorious Food

How to kick back and really enjoy entertaining your cabin guests This weekend we’ll have 11 members of my husband’s family to the lake. No longer an overwhelming number to me, I will plan just a few days in advance. Had you asked me how this would feel when I was a new bride, I would have broken out in a cold sweat. But, now, after 14 years, this is a piece of cake. I happen to really like my husband’s family. (And, if they’re reading this – Hello!) In fact, I enjoy having them with us at Balsam Lake and so I take particular care and time to plan the daily menus for their stay. After all, food preparation and family meals are all part of the fun and pleasure of weekends at the cabin.

All in the Family

You can lead a relative to water, but can you make them ski? There is nothing quite like the thrill of learning to water-ski. Second only to this would be the privilege of teaching a new skier. Together, over the last five summers, my husband Dan and I have taught more than 35 people how to water-ski. We’re experienced, we know what we’re doing – but somehow none of that matters when it’s a relative on the towrope. We learned this the hard way with our oldest son, Benj. We spent an hour trying to get him up on skis. I watched Dan working to stay patient and positive as our son insisted on “trying it a better way.” I offered a few comments too but quickly realized I was only making thin

Fisherwoman

How a devoted mom got over her squeamishness and learned to love blue plastic deli containers Let’s get something straight. I think worms are disgusting. The only thing I have ever liked about them is that they are good for my garden. And so you can imagine my surprise and subsequent scream when I opened a little blue plastic deli container in the refrigerator and discovered bait instead of potato salad. “What is this?” I demanded of my husband and 9-year-old son. My husband’s reply: “This, my dear, is a little bit of heaven waiting to happen.” My son thought this was hysterical. Together the two guys laughed until they cried. I, on the other hand, closed the refrigerator a

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Balsam Lake

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