Christmas at the Wilderness


Weekend getaway!


I don’t know about you, but those words and phrases make and excited.  I’m one of those people that gets so excited that I like to pack weeks in advance because I just can’t wait anymore.  I can’t contain my excitement so I just HAVE to do something vacation related.

I love my life and Hubby and kids,  but things always feel different on vacation.  Almost better somehow.  Maybe doesn’t make sense, but that’s how feels!

We just had a little glimpse of that little slice of paradise. We went to Wisconsin Dells for the weekend. Waterpark capitol of world apparently.  Some of you may have heard of it.  (While on our NDSD Roadtrip last summer… We ran into people from Canada who came to Wisconsin because of Wisconsin Dells.  Crazy!) My inlaws take the whole Fam there every year for Christmas. Its our Christmas present.  While there we do a fun gift exchange battle. (Remember the homemade gifts? ) The kiddos also do a cousins gift exchange as well. The rest of the weekend we swim,  have awesome waterpark fun,  and just hang out.  Quality family time if you ask me. 

We always start Friday night with some immediate waterpark fun to the kiddos out before doing our gift exchange….

imageimageAs usual,  it worked we were soon on our to homemade lovelies.  Apparently,  I absentmindedly forgot to take photos of any of the exchange or the gifts.  (Boooo..I stink)  We did have quite creative collection this year.  The only rules were…1) It had to be homemade AND 2) It had to fit in the price range.

We had:
1) My homemade Kahlua, peppermint schnapps, and creamer
2) Hubby’s homemade rock candy & chocolates
3) homemade grape juice and grape vodka
4) A family photo modgepodge collage sign
5) A family birthday board
6) Wisconsin shaped “drink locally” bottle opener sign
7) pallet board wine rack with homemade wine & glasses
8) handstiched Christmas picture
9) cashew butter and cashew crackers
10) Framed flower art that a niece drew.
11) Beersbie game (Game where you put empty beer bottles on these PVC pipe poles and throw a Frisbie at it to try and knock them off. )
12) venison (deer meat) ring balonga

Obviously,  we had quite a variety of things to pick from. We turn it into a game.  We pick cards (you could also use numbers 1-however many people you have on small pieces folded paper) and whoever has the Ace starts.  They pick a gift from the pile.  The next person picks a gift from the pile OR can steal what someone else has.  You go down the number line doing this.  If a gift is stolen from you,  you can pick another gift from the pile or steal from someone else.  WE don’t allow immediate steal backs. We also put a limit on how many times a gift be stolen.  We Usually say 2 steals. (So if I start and someone steals from me that’s one steal.  If someone else steals.. that’s 2 is what we call “dead”.) If someone steals from me,  I can’t steal it back right away.  BUT… If I pick something new and someone steals THAT from me,  then I can steal my first item back… unless more people already did and it’s dead.

It really is a lot fun!! This year there was a lot of stealing going on. In fact, all but 2-3 gifts were stolen until they were dead! It was GREAT! If you’ve never tried this kind of gift exchange…I recommend it! It adds some extra fun to boring old gift exchanges!

After the exchange, we played a game. It’s called “Telestrations” it’s awesome. We played till midnight. The evening was full of fun and laughter! But… With a day full of water park fun… bedtime was needed!


We had a relaxing Saturday morning! Perfect start to the day! The kiddos were all snuggled up watching some cartoons together! Look at all that serious cuteness! CamMan is the oldest of 7 cousins! (We 7 kiddos ages 7, 6, 5, 5, 4, 3, and 2.) My sisnlaw JK’s boyfriend’s son was there too. He’s the oldest of them all. I believe he is 9. I love how close they all are. They are all eachother’ s best buddies! Love them all!

We had a wonderful delicious breakfast! Then… was it off for some more water park swimming fun!


Grandpa keeping an eye on the Grandkids



We came back midday for a delish clam (but mainly shrimp) chowder ala mom n law. I don’t normally like chowder, but this stuff was soooo good! So soooo good!!!


Lunch and a little downtime was just what the doctor ordered! A little nap for BeanBoy, some rest time for CamMan, and some quiet time for the adults! With the cabin we stay in for the weekend… It would be hard to not enjoy our time there. Check out these views from our porch!



It’s our own little slice winter paradise! It’s also the cabin big enough to hold the entire family. After all… When you get together his mom, step dad, all their kids, and the grandkids… We have 19 people in our immediate family! WOWZA!

That night curled around the fireplace for the kiddos gift exchange. It’s always cute watching kids opening presents! Their excitement is contagious!!

Hubby rocked his awesome Santa beard! While none the kids believed he was Santa… They got a kick out of him in the hat. Good times! Good times!

We ended the night with more Telestrations and some Cards against Humanity. Things got out of hand and non kid friendly in no time. While the kids are away (or in this case in bed) the parents will play. It was hilarious! I don’t think I’ve laughed that hard in a loooong time. CrazyBestie was in the area and stopped by for some fun too! It turned into a late night full of awesome fun! It may be one of those moments where a story isn’t good enough and you “just HADto be there.image

Next thing you know… its 2am and my eyelids are practically being held open by toothpicks! The fact that I have to be up in a few hours just kills me. So… groaning a little inside because our fun is ending because the whole responsible adult and parent inside us kicks in… We head to bed. Boooo to the responsible adult inside!


A great blackmail folder for when they are older


The next day was a quick clean up and pack up because we to check out. It was so sad to say goodbye to our Cabin.

imageimageYes… They are wearing swim trunks when there is snow on the ground! It was in the 30s in Wisconsin…. This time of the year.. In this state… It is swimsuit weather! Even I was rocking the swimwear in the snow!


Photo Taken by CamMan


Photo Taken by CamMan

Apparently I have my “I’m a bad @$$ face” on in that photo.

Once all that packing crap was done, we head out to the water park for one more afternoon of fun and great times! We did some water slides and hung out in the hot tub. We ran and played and had a GRAND ole time! Following the waterpark, we some fun times at their indoor playground.




As you can see… even the adults had a good time. We were the only adults cool enough to actually play in the play area with our kids instead of just watching them from a nearby table. I was amazed by the number of parents just putzing on their phones and pretty much ignoring their kids.

Plus… It was so much fun!! The kids were shooting balls at us. We were running around and throwing them at the kids and eachother. It was soooo GREAT!!

It was a wonderful weekend!

Why can’t every day be this awesome?!?!


2 thoughts on “Christmas at the Wilderness

  1. Haylee says:

    What a fabulous idea for Christmas presents (I also love that you’re still celebrating!) We have a tradition, started by my granddad, where every gift must have a cryptic clue on it. You’re not allowed to open it until you’ve worked it out. It’s quite hard coming up with them but naturally every year we try to come up with ones that are more obscure and outwit everyone! Just makes the opening more interesting šŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

    • OneBusyMama says:

      Cryptic gift. Hmmm…very interesting! I love “odd” family Christmas traditions. We always celebrate with my inlaws in January. Otherwise it’s too chaotic right around Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

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