Parenting

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

The summer season is fast approaching so I thought I would share with you one of my favorite places on the North Shore – Gooseberry Falls. Gooseberry Falls is a Minnesota state park that is located 40 miles north of Duluth on Hwy 61. It has three main waterfalls and one more that requires a hike into the park, but most visitors just visit the big three. The park also hosts many other trails for hiking and biking, as well as beaches on Lake Superior. Here are my 5 tips for visiting Gooseberry Falls with kids.

My husband and I used to drive up to Gooseberry on a whim and spend time at the park, but it takes more planning now that we have a little one (like everything when kids are involved!). So below are my top 5 tips for visiting Gooseberry Falls with kids.

Tip #1 Getting Started

Gooseberry Falls is an awesome place and you will probably spend more time there than you would have anticipated. With that in mind, pack water and snacks just to be safe. There are not spots out on the trails to refill water bottles or purchase snacks so bring your own. Just be sure to take every thing that you bring in out of the park again…remember, no littering! Also, there are lots of stairs in the park and on a hot summer day you can become dehydrated very easily. The visitor center is by the parking lots if you would like to fill water bottles before you get started. Another thing to consider is the weather. If you aren’t familiar with Lake Superior, it can be noticeably cooler than even a couple miles inland. Prepare for you and your little ones by packing an extra layer or two.

Tip #2 Plan for the Littles

Gooseberry is great for people of all ages and as far as water-falling on the North Shore, it is very accessible. The parking lots are easy to navigate and the visitor center is large and accommodating. The trail to the upper falls is nicely paved and easy to access via stroller or wheel chair. However, that is only to the upper falls – there are four in total. If you would like to visit the other waterfalls, a stroller is not going to work. I suggest a carrier for the little ones if you would like to do more exploring on the trails or falls. There is a lot to see at Gooseberry and a good carrier could make your trip that much more enjoyable!

Tip #3 Before you Hike…

As I said before, there is a visitor center near the parking lot. This is one of the only areas in the park where there are restrooms (there are also some down by the beach and campground but none along the falls). So be sure that everyone in your party uses the facilities before you start. I guarantee that if you only kinda have to go and you get to the falls and hear the thousands of gallons of water rushing over the cliffs, your kinda-have-to-go will change into a need-to-go!

Tip #4 Events

As mentioned, there is a fantastic visitor center at Gooseberry. For example, they have a section that is a dedicated education center. There is much to learn about the geography of the area and the plants and animals that call the park home. Gooseberry also offers many special events for learning at the park (you can check out their full calendar of events here). There is something for all levels of interest, including guided hikes, birding, interesting special programs, and geocaching.

Tip #5 Safety

I hate to bring down the mood with safety but it should be a serious consideration when out in the forests. Most accidents should be able to be avoided if the safety rules are followed. Gooseberry has signs posted that indicate warnings and risks – read them, follow them, and ensure everyone in your party follows them. There can be some real dangers in the park, so they are there for a reason. One of the biggest rules that I see people disregarding all the time is playing in the water. Because the river has some very strong currents, little kids could very easily be swept away. Stay out of the water in non-designated swim areas. These areas are also liable to change, so if you visit one year to the next the park may update these due to the ever changing nature of the river.

Also pay attention to warning signs at the beach. Lake Superior is obviously a very large body of water that is unpredictable. Things to be especially aware of are postings regarding rip tides and E. coli in the water. You can find more information on rip tides here and here. Though they are not an everyday occurrence, it is best to be informed!

I have one last safety note to pass on: be cautious on cliff edges because it’s easy for anyone to fall. But another is that the rock edge may not be stable and rock slides can (and do) occur, potentially endangering others. It is best to stay back from the edge and enjoy the view.

I sounded very much like a concerned mom in that last tip. But then again I am a mom so I guess if the hat fits, right?

5 Tips for Visiting Gooseberry Falls with Kids

Bonus Tips

My first tip is that it can get really busy during the day. Shoot for visiting early in the day and/or early in the evening.

Second tip – Gooseberry is family friendly, and that includes our four legged friends! Be sure that your pet can handle being around many people and keep them leashed at all times. Also clean up after your pet…it should be a given but some people don’t do it.

I hope with these tips you can have a fun family vacation at Gooseberry Falls. It is one of my favorite places on the North Shore and definitely worth checking out!

Let me know if you have any comments or questions. I would love to hear about your adventures at Gooseberry, so leave a comment below!

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How to Treat Clogged Milk Duct at Work

How to Treat Clogged Milk Duct at Work

So you’re going about your day, checking off your to-do items, when you feel it – that hard lump that means a clogged duct…and if you are anything like me an exasperated sigh follows. This post is about how to treat clogged milk duct at work.

What to do? I would simply nurse my baby if I were at home with a clogged duct, then take a hot shower and maybe pump. Most of the time it would correct itself. But I have a feeling that my co-workers might be wigged out if I tried taking a hot shower in the sink in the bathroom…not so professional!

After having to deal with multiple clogged ducts I have developed the following system that works for me every time. Hopefully it works for you, too!

Relax

My first tip is to relax, which is really hard when you are stressed about a clogged duct and getting your work done. But seriously try to relax, it makes everything go easier if you are calm. Try a couple of deep breaths, listen to calming music, or whatever else it takes.

Heat

Before you start pumping, apply heat to the affected area. You could try a DIY heat pack like this. Due to their slimness, these can be easily hidden in your top. I have also used neck heating packs, which are a little bulky but whatever works right? If you don’t have access to a heating pack try a mug with hot water. Leave it on for 5-10 minutes. Heat is so important for helping unclog a duct Taking a hot shower also achieves the same thing.

Massage

Next, give your self a massage in the affected area while heating, before pumping, during pumping, and after pumping. Use your fingers to apply gentle pressure in a circular motion over the clog.

Pump

Pump as normal and massage as you go. You should pump when dealing with a clogged duct at least every couple hours, as well as following the other steps until the clog is gone. Using this method, I have only ever had to go through the procedure once, but some clogs can be stubborn.

Clogged ducts, if left untreated, can lead to very painful mastitis that requires a prescription to treat. Hopefully by following these tips you can get rid of any clogs before they turn into something more serious.

Have you had a clogged duct at work? Do you have any extra on how to treat clogged milk duct at work that worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!

Harry Potter Flying Key Mobile



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Flying Key Mobile

For Little One’s Harry Potter-themed nursery I wanted to create a flying key mobile. In search of ideas, I went to my favorite site, Pinterest. I was amazed at some of the ideas that I saw but couldn’t find any great tutorials on how to make it. For all the other Potterheads out there, I thought I would share how I made this one and what I would do differently if I were to make one again.

One disclaimer before we begin – Little One loved looking up at the mobile and watching the keys fly around. For safety reasons, it will have to go before he is able to reach it. This mobile is definitely not a play toy.

Tools and materials

  1. Embroidery hoop. You can find these at most craft stores. The hoops I got were from JoAnn and are 10 inches in diameter and made out of plastic. Normally I would prefer wood because it is a natural material but the wood ones I found were really flimsy and I wanted it to be able to support the weight of the keys. You can find a wooden one here or a plastic one here.
  2. Keys. I purchased these keys from amazon.
  3. Spray Paint. I used Rust-Oleum Hammered Brown but any color that matches your room would look good.
  4. String or thick thread.
  5. Ribbon.
  6. Hot Glue.
  7. Fairy Wings. I printed out these pages for the wings on my home printer.
  8. Embossing powder and pad (optional). I used clear embossing powder and a pad to attach the powder.
  9. Heat Gun (optional). I have a heat gun that I have had for a very long time…I’m not even sure if they make it any more but here is one like it.

Assembly

Step One

Before you begin, gather all of your materials. Then spray paint your embroidery hoop. For this project only the inside of the hoop is needed (the outside layer has a fastening system that is not used). Spray paint the hoop in light, even coats and watch out for drips. It may take a couple of coats before it is even all around.

Step Two

Print out the appropriate amount of fairy wings to match the number of keys you’re using. I purchased a 30 pack of keys and ended up using most of them. Once printed, carefully cut out the wings. I decided against trying to get the print on the front and back of the wings (if you are a printer wiz that would be a cool look!). Next, use the pad to apply a clear layer over the wing. Then coat the wings in the embossing powder and use the heat gun to set it – the gun melts the powder together and forms a hard coating. This step helps the wings look shimmery. I decided against decorating with glitter because I didn’t want any to fall off into the crib. The wings would look cool, too, with just the paper but I though the embossing would add a magical quality.

Step Three

Attach the wings to the keys using hot glue. Then attach a string or a piece of thick thread to each key. To attach the ribbon to the dry embroidery hoop, tie on four pieces, all being at least 18 inches long, and equal distances apart on the embroidery hoop. Tie the four free ends of the ribbon together but create a loop at the very end for hanging from the eye screw (mentioned later). Depending on your ceiling height, decide how long you would like the hanger to be. Finally, attach the key strings at varying levels around the embroidery hoop. Trim all loose threads and seal the knots with a little glue.

Enjoy

Your Harry Potter Flying Key Mobile should be ready to be hung up. We used an eye screw for attachment to the ceiling. Our little one has spent lots of time lying in his crib watching the keys fly around!

After completing my mobile and using it over these past 10 months, one thing I could have done better right away is securing the knots. Admittedly, I did not do a good job of that the first time around and had to go back and put a little glue on all the knots.

This flying key mobile has added to Little One’s magical Harry Potter nursery in a very cute and whimsical way!

Have you made a flying key mobile or have any questions or comments? Let me know below!