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Life on the Lake

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  • Candidly, Meg

It has been a minute since I last posted anything. So, I’ll start by saying “Hey all you cool cats and kittens!”. I couldn’t help myself 😊

I’m sorry if I abandoned ship for a while there. I put my blog on pause as I was finishing up another writing assignment I had procrastinated on for far too long. While I wish I could do two things at once, sadly, there is only so much free time in one day with a two-year old around. Speaking of doing things during the day, is anyone else going as crazy as I am during #quarantinelife?!? This is B R U T A L. And for so many reasons; the obvious being the virus itself, the second being our economy, and the third being stuck inside with nowhere to go all day every day. Please tell me I am not alone when I admit that I don’t even know what day it is anymore?! All the days are blending together, and while these days can be quite long, I also want to admit that living a slower life has its advantages. We’re never in a rush to go anywhere or do anything, which has resulted in slow, calm mornings, plenty of free time, and hours to catch up on Netflix .

On the other side of the coin, being at home with Wynter all day by myself has totally had its challenges. We are still trying to potty train. That’s right, as if quarantine wasn’t challenging enough, I have put the extra pressure/ stress on myself to get this kid on the potty by the end of the month. If you have any tips, please send them my way (or just send wine). Wynter has absolutely zero interest in using the potty (her little potty or the actual toilet in the bathroom). I started by just giving her accolades for trying or going, which was getting me nowhere. Since then, I have bribed her with candy, Oreo’s, I bought a Sesame Street potty chart with stickers, I leave her completely nude on the bottom half of her body... nothing works. And naturally the harder she makes it, the more frustrated I get, the more frustrated she gets, and the vicious cycle of failure starts all over. I am trying to stay optimistic and push ahead, but I am losing steam.

Along with potty training, I have tried to keep somewhat of a (very loose) schedule for us. I find that keeping a schedule during this time is how we retain a certain level of sanity. We get up, have breakfast/ coffee, I let her watch a show while she eats, then we go play in the playroom. I must admit, I am not much of a “player mom”. Gosh, that feels good to say aloud! 😊 That’s right, I don’t really “play”, it’s just never been my thing. In fact, I so admire the moms that get on the floor and play with the blocks or the dolls, you ladies are awesome! That’s just never been me, so you can imagine how long these days have become for us. That said, I will set her up and start her out with bigger things, like playdoh, or finger painting (you better believe I don’t walk away from any painting situation), or coloring, but I really try to encourage her to independently play with her toys. It’s super cute and fun to see what she comes up with. She’ll play with her kitchen, and she’ll make food and try and give it to our dog, or she’ll get out a puzzle and try to put it together on her own, or gets out her doctor kit and gives the dog checkups, etc. Our dog Gus is such a good sport too. I have always given her this time to get her creative juices flowing. After time in the playroom, we then go make our beds (she helps me), we’ll put in laundry, and we finally get ready for the day. That’s right, around 11am or so, we slip out of our pj’s and enter the world of leggings and a sweatshirt... maybe a sweater if I’m feeling extra sassy that day. I don’t bother with makeup or doing my hair, but I do get dressed everyday which I think is key to not feeling like such a slob kabob. At least for me it is 😊. After taking care of our cleaning and grooming, we then move to doing a bigger type of craft, like finger paint, watercolor or baking; but if it’s nice we’ll go for a walk instead. Walks have been a huge saving grace during this time. I think like all moms, we are so used to getting out of the house with our kiddos during the day. They need it, we need it, everyone can use a change of scenery. Under normal circumstances, I would take Wynter with me to the grocery store, Target, Homegoods, go to the library, set up a playdate; but since we aren’t doing any of that right now, getting outside for a walk is quite literally the breath of fresh air that we need. If the weather isn't good we just do something inside, like baking (which has been really good for my #summerbod) or we crank the music and have our own dance party. I don't have a magic closet of crafts unfortunately, so we do things we either have around the house already or fun things that require no gadgets at all. Afterwards, we make lunch, eat, and then it’s books and nap time. Wynter has always been an afternoon napper and luckily, I still get a solid two hours out of her. While she’s napping, I usually tidy up around the house, flip out laundry, do work on my computer or just sit down and stare at my phone for 40 minutes, because these days are long and damn I deserve it! When Wyn wakes up, generally I’m just done “planning”, so I allow her to pick a movie on Disney+ (our new best friend) and I pour a glass of wine and wait for Nathan to come home. I swear I have seen the Lion King more times than I would even like to admit in the last few weeks. We’re talking, I can recite all the songs! Nathan coming home is truly the best part of our day. I think both of us are just so tired of seeing only each other, that by the time he gets in the door we are ecstatic to see a new face!

Bottom line, this time is hard. It’s hard on everyone in this country and we are all doing our very best to cope with the hand we’re being dealt. For any parent that might be reading this, I hope you realize you’re doing just fine. Things don’t have to be perfect, (did you read what I do all day? 😊) you just need to make the best of it. Clearly, I love blogs, and I read a lot of different blogs and see a lot of social media and I think it’s easy to get swept into these accounts that make parenting look easy right now. Girls that have the best crafts for their kids, or the best home school set up, girls that are wearing jeans at home (LOL); it can be easy to go down the rabbit hole of thinking you should be doing more. Take it from someone who didn’t allow much screen time for their child, to now watching full length films; if you’re doing your best, that’s all you can do. Remember that the days aren't perfect, but there are perfect moments.

After all, this too shall pass and before you know it, we’ll be back to spending hours perusing the aisles of Target, loading our carts with unnecessary items, all with a Starbucks in hand. Ahhh the days!

Scroll below to see our “imperfect” perfect quarantine life, enjoy 😊

Lazy mornings. Don't judge my Christmas sheets!

Lots of Zoom parties

Chilly but so happy we got out on the water one day

My AM best friend

And my PM best friend :)

  • Candidly, Meg

As Midwesterners, we are coming up on some of the harder months ahead; also known as the winter. It can be a rough time, especially for parents. All those grueling hours trapped inside the house because the weather isn’t nice and you’re going positively stir crazy. Even when it’s nice outside, like today, it can still be difficult coming up with ideas of what to do and where to go as a parent. When I first had Wynter I remember that going to Starbucks seemed like a big trip out for the day. Now that she’s older and I have my footing, I try to be more creative when thinking of places to go and things I can do with her.

One thing Wynter loves to do is go to the library! Have you checked out the kid’s programs at your local library? Almost every library has some kind of “reading” or “story time” for children. In my area, I’ve been to the Williams Bay Library, the Elkhorn Library and the Walworth Library. The Elkhorn Library is awesome! I was so impressed from the second I stepped foot in there. Wynter and I have done their Books ‘n’ Babies program a few times and she LOVES it. It’s so well planned and carried out, that I can’t believe it’s free to go! Ms. Pattie, whom is a local teacher runs the program, and she’s great with the kiddos (and has the patience of a saint!). Here is a calendar of their events: https://www.elkhorn.lib.wi.us/wordpress/calendar/ We’ve also been to the Williams Bay Library that has a lot for the kids to do. Their play area is packed with toys. This would be a great place to meet a girlfriend; grab some coffee at Steamers across the street and walk over to the library with your kiddos after. As an adult I never went to the library much, but now that I have Wynter I realized that all the libraries have so many programs on their calendar (for kids and adults too). Worth looking into!

Above: Wynter at the Williams Bay Library

Local Libraries:

Elkhorn: https://www.elkhorn.lib.wi.us/wordpress/

Williams Bay: https://www.williamsbay.lib.wi.us/

Fontana: https://www.fontana.lib.wi.us/?page_id=2

Walworth: https://www.walworth.lib.wi.us/

Lake Geneva: https://www.lakegeneva.lib.wi.us/

Another thing I love to do is check out local programs that I can enroll Wynter in. If you have a park district close by, or a YMCA, there’s usually a variety of programs you can get your child signed up for. At Wynter’s age, a lot of the classes I’ve seen are ones where you stay with your child (in other words, you can’t leave to run errands ☹). However, if you have the time and you’re looking for something to do, signing up for a class would be perfect for you. Since having Wyn, she’s taken swimming lessons at the YMCA http://www.genevalakesymca.org/ and she took a music class at Rock Central https://www.rockcentral.org/about/mini-rockers-and-performers/. Here’s my take on classes with a baby/ toddler; don’t have high expectations from your child. I think when you are undergoing any program with a baby... or even with a toddler/ two year old, don’t think they are going to leave and master whatever it is they are enrolled in. For example, I had Wynter take swimming lessons for FUN. I knew it would be an enjoyable way of getting her introduced to being in the water and getting her more comfortable with it. I also like having her take classes just so she can be around other children. With the music class, it was a great solution to eating up some time in our day and getting her out and socializing with other kids and adults. That’s a win-win in my book. Something I’m excited to take Wynter to, but haven’t had a chance yet, is the Lakes Area Gymnastics Center in Burlington. They not only have classes you can sign up for, but also open gym sessions every day of the week for children 5 and under. Sometimes Wynter just needs to run off some steam, and this is key for that, especially in the winter months https://lakesareagymnastics.com/open-gym/. The Gymnastics Center would probably be similar to a My Gym https://www.mygym.com/ that I know exists in the suburbs.

Since we can still be outside (luckily) some other things I like to do with Wynter are, run around Pearce’s Farm Stand https://www.pearcefarms.com/, pick apples at Edwards Apple Orchard https://edwardsappleorchard.business.site/ or pick berries at Blue Clay Berry Farm http://www.blueclayberryfarm.com/home.html (this was so fun)!

Pearce's Farm Stand!

As a mom, I’m forced to get creative when it comes to thinking of ideas of what to do and keeping us busy. Now before I start sounding like Super Mom over here, I openly admit that a lot of days I take Wynter to Target and that’s our big adventure for the afternoon. Sad but true. I love grabbing my Starbucks, putting Wyn in the cart, let her grab a little something from the dollar section and then aimlessly wander the aisles of Target for an hour or so 😊. Wynter and I also like going to Mayfair Mall (she loves a good Nordstrom run), strolling around the boutiques of Lake Geneva or shopping around Homegoods for a bit. Sometimes it’s just about getting out the house for awhile before nap time. Am I right ladies and gentlemen?!?

I will definitely keep posting about things to do in the Lake Geneva area for kiddos, but for now, here are some upcoming events that parents, or visitors will want to keep on their radar:

Halloween Preschool Storytime: https://www.visitlakegeneva.com/event/halloween-preschool-storytime/3783/

Trick-or-Treating in Downtown Lake Geneva: http://www.bestoflakegeneva.com/event/trick-or-treating-lake-geneva

Annual Electric Lights Christmas Parade: https://www.visitlakegeneva.com/events/christmasparade/

  • Candidly, Meg

As a local Lake Geneva resident, I get asked a lot of questions like, “where would you go for...” and “what do you do when...”. It’s basically playing the game of what do you like and what do you not like. I also think it's funny when people say things like, "wow, so you live in Lake Geneva full time... where do you grocery shop or buy clothes at?" As if we lived on some far away island here! I get asked so frequently, that I thought I would put this post together sharing some of my favorite spots! Now keep in mind, this is all strictly opinion based. As someone who lives here year-round, I do have my own opinions on what’s good, where to go, and things to do or see. Don’t we all?! So, for all the people that live around here and for all the people that come up for the summer or on weekends, this one is for you 😊

Favorite Restaurants: Café Calamari https://www.cafecalamari.com/, Sopra https://soprabistro.com/, Oakfire https://www.oakfirelakegeneva.com/ and Crafted Americana https://www.craftedamericana.com/ are all on the top of my list! I don’t think you’ll have a bad meal at any of these places, they are all so tasty!

*I keep hearing SO many good things about Jonathon’s on Brick Street https://jonathansonbrickstreet.com/, however I haven’t been yet. Stay tuned for that breakdown!

Cafe Calamari has the BEST martinis!

Favorite Pizza: Next Door Pub http://www.nextdoorpub.com/ is our go-to spot for pizza takeout, but for deep dish we always go Harpoon Willies! http://harpoonwillies.com/

Favorite Stop for a Burger: Definitely a Chuck’s burger https://chuckslakeshoreinn.com/. I mean, what else do you order at Chuck’s?!

Favorite Place for Breakfast: We love to go to Hazel’s in Hebron http://www.hazelsdiner.com/. Here’s the deal, it’s a little bit of a drive, but their cinnamon rolls are 100% worth every mile 😊

Hair Salon: I’m very funny about my hair, and I’ve been to a few places around here as well as the Milwaukee area. I have quite a few friends that go to Clear Water Salon https://www.clearwaterssalonspa.com/, I also know people that like The Grand Geneva Salon https://www.grandgeneva.com/well-spa and my friend Emily has a salon in her home, and she does a very nice job as well www.luxelg.com

Nail Salon: I always go to Cute Nails in Lake Geneva http://cutenailslakegeneva.com/. It’s extremely reasonable and they always do a thorough job.

Favorite Eyebrow Wax: I finally found the BEST eyebrow girl! Her name is Celeste and she works at Clear Water in Williams Bay.

Favorite Grocery Store: Sentry is the best in the area hands down http://www.danielsfoods.com/! However, if I’m in the suburbs of Milwaukee, I sometimes like to peek into Sendiks Food Market https://www.sendiks.com/ or Whole Foods.

Coffee Shop: This is hard to choose, because we have so many little coffee spots around the lake, but I would say The Coffee Mill in Fontana https://www.facebook.com/Coffeemillfontana/ is my favorite! I also think Boxed and Burlap has good coffee and love the ambiance there https://www.boxedandburlap.com/.

Favorite Boutique: I like Bloomingbryds for clothing and fashion https://www.facebook.com/Bloomingbyrds/ and I really dig the shop Marigold for little knick knacks and gifts https://marigold-gift-shop.business.site/?utm_source=gmb&utm_medium=referral.

Dry Cleaner I Use: Michael Todd’s in Delevan (they are awesome at removing stains!)

Favorite Ice Cream Shop: I love Dip in the Bay the best https://dipinthebay.com/. They have the chocolate peanut butter ice cream I love AND it’s down the street from my house 😊

Best Massage: The best massage I’ve had is at Clear Water in Williams Bay. I’ve gone a few different times and I’m never disappointed. I also hear that Grand Geneva does a good massage and they have a nice spa.

Favorite Patio to 'Cocktail' At: Hands down Pier 290 https://www.pier290.com/! In my opinion, they have the best outdoor setup on the whole lake.

Hotels I Recommend: I always used to suggest The Abbey Resort to people, but I’ve heard a lot of negative feedback lately about the hotel and its restaurants. I myself have stayed there numerous times, and I don’t think it’s anything to write home about. Now, I always tell people to stay at The Ridge Hotel https://www.ridgelakegeneva.com/. I think that The Ridge is a hotel that would flourish anywhere you would put it. It’s appealing from the moment you walk in AND it’s always so clean (which I look for in a Hotel)! What I also like about The Ridge, is that they plan so many events throughout the year (check out their calendar here: https://www.ridgelakegeneva.com/events/).

The Ridge Hotel

Real Estate Agent I would Use: Donna Brongiel, who works for Keefe Real Estate www.lakegenevalifestyle.com. She knows her stuff!

Favorite Lake Geneva Activity: There’s a few things I love to do in the Lake Geneva area, so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one. It also depends on the time of year... but here are a few things I like to do in the area:

· Go see a concert at the Belfry Music Theatre https://www.belfrymusictheatre.com/

· Make a candle at the Candle Mercantile https://thecandlemercantile.com/

· Watch a magic show at the Tristan Crist Magic Theatre https://www.lakegenevamagic.com/

· Apple Picking at the Elegant Farmer https://www.elegantfarmer.com/

· Walk the Shore Path https://www.candidlymegblog.com/post/roaming-the-shore-path

· Make a sign at Board and Brush https://boardandbrush.com/lakegeneva/

· Go watch a musical at the Fireside Theatre https://www.firesidetheatre.com/

· Skiing at Alpine Valley http://www.alpinevalleyresort.com

· Bowling at 10 Pin Pub https://10pinpub.com/, where they also have good pizza!


This is just a brief list of a few of my personal “faves” in the area. If you ever have any questions for me, or would like a recommendation for something in the area, just ask!


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