Not… One... Single… Thing…

For the first time in…  I do not know how long (at least since school started) there was one whole calendar day that nothing was scheduled.

Not…  One...  Single… Thing…

No work (for either of us), no overtime, no after school sports (practices or games), no driver’s ed, no dance class, no Boy Scout campouts, no prescheduled commitments…  NOTHING.  We had a whole day to ourselves!

It was the perfect excuse for a family day!

We wanted to get out and do something ANYTHING after being cooped up all winter.  Since the spring thaw has (significantly) flooded the rivers all around us, we decided to make a road trip. The Mother of Five’s old college town is about an hour south of us.  The journey to Mankato criss-crosses over and through the Minnesota River Valley so we could check out the floods as we traveled (something we wanted to do anyway) then we could spend some time checking out the town – hitting some of our old favorite spots, and checking out what’s new since our last visit.

We arrived in North Mankato, driving past the first house the Mother of Five and #1 of 5 lived in when they first moved into town.  We did a bit more exploring around N. Mankato, then headed to old town Mankato.

Our first “get out and stretch our legs” stop was Generations Antiques.  One of the things the Mother of Five and I enjoy doing together is milling around old antique shops.  This was has a little more “nostalgia” for me as Generation Antiques is located at the old Minnesota Warehouse Furniture building I used to work in.  MWF is no longer at the same location having moved up the hill.  MWF has also been renamed to Rooms and Rest.  Having visited Rooms and Rest a few times throughout the years, I have been able to ascertain that it is still owned by the same guy who owned it (and hired me) when it was still Minnesota Warehouse Furniture back on Front Street.  I’ve never run into him there, but have inquired about him while shopping Rooms and Rest a couple of times.  It would be nice to see him again sometime.

We left Generation Antiques, and drove by the house that I lived in while I was living in Mankato.  We then proceeded up the hill to the second and then the third apartments the Mother of Five and #1 of 5 lived in.  These locations brought back some fond and happy memories of time long since past!

We drove up to Mankato State University.  I never attended school there, but it was fun listening to the stories and pointing out spots the Mother of Five recognized, and things that were apparently new since she attended.

Last December I received an email about a deal that was having.  I could pre-pay for twelve $25 gift certificates – one for each month in 2011.  I bought the deal and have a folder of all these unused gift certificates (because we never have the time to go out to eat).  So, I checked on and noticed there were four participating restaurants in Mankato.  We selected Busters Bar and Grill – and so we all went out and had dinner at Busters.  The portions were big, the food was great and for a change (with the certificate) going out as a family (to anyplace that you do not order a “meal by the number” did not not require a second third mortgage! 

195825_1969031945434_1232038102_32347333_5165474_nAfter eating, we all wanted to get out and “walk dinner off”.  I had preloaded my GPS up with a ton of GeoCaches from the Mankato area – so we picked a nearby park that had two within it.  We arrived at Erlandson Park, but unfortunately, the only person eager to go out caching with me was #4 of 5.  So, while the others sat in the car listening to the radio - #4 of 5 and I headed out and made these two finds.  I spotted the first one – but the log was a soaked and actually even a little “slimy”.  No way to log that find – so we took a photo with the soaked log.  The second cache had me a little stumped, but #4 of 5 spotted pretty quickly.  We logged that find and headed back to the van.

With the weather as cool as it was, and no one else wanting to get out and GeoCache, we headed to the next stop. 

The River Hills Mall.

When the Mother of Five first moved to Mankato, there was no such thing as the “River Hills Mall”.  When it opened, it was a MAJOR event for the area.  A huge improvement in the retail community – and for being a small college town, the mall is actually pretty big.

There was one GeoCache just outside the front door that #4 of 5 and I could find (and we did).  We could get some walking done (inside) – the boys could do some window shopping (GameStop), the Mother of Five and the girls could do some window shopping (Herbergers), I could do some window shopping (Sheels) – the we could all head in and peek through the shelves of Barnes and Noble.

By the time we were back at the van (tired out from a fun family day) it was already 9:30 pm – and so the drive back home (through the river valley) was much less “scenic” and I was unable to get a good look at the flooding on the other side of the river.  

Afterwards, I told the Mother of Five that this was one of the best days I have had in a LONG time.  Were were all together (sans #1 of 5), there was no major complaining, no meltdowns, no arguing, and no fighting and everyone got to do a little something that they wanted to do. 

It’s almost a week later, and I can still feel the positive effects of that day! 


  1. Sounds like a great day! Whenever you talk of Mankato, I always think of Little House on the Prarie. My wife is a big fan and has most of the episodes on DVD. I remember when they were primetime (she only remembers them as re-runs... generation gap). I enjoy watching them with her and as a family.

  2. Yup. One in the same... Walnut Grove, Sleepy Eye, Mankato - all not that far from me.

    My wife and daughters are BIG FANS of Little House too! Funny though... Even living this close - I have never been to Walnut Grove.

  3. What a wonderful day!

    How did you manage a day with nothing scheduled? I can hardly remember one of those.

    Oh, I would love to someday go visit Laura's old haunts! and I have friends to visit/meet, too! That would be so awesome! (Don't worry, you are safe, it won't happen)

  4. Good stuff man, taking those trips down memory lane are always a good time.

    One question though, how in the heck did you guys manage to snag an entire day with absolutely no activities?


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