things to do

Get Out The Games!

One of our favorite things to do at the cabin is pull out the board games. We can spend all afternoon and into the evening sitting around the table, trying to outplay each other. Depending on whether we’ve got kids, couples or families playing, we’ve got a list of favorites.

For the kids:

Sometimes it’s fun to play against each other and sometimes the kiddos do better if we’re playing as a team against the game. One of our favorite cooperative games for the little ones is Hoot Owl Hoot. It’s for two to four players ages four-and-up. The goal is to work as a team to get everyone’s owls back to the nest before the sun rises. The graphics are cute and the kids love “hooting” for the owls. Peaceable Kingdom has other cooperative games, too. We also love Race To the Treasure.

Spot-It is another family favorite and even the little ones can play. It comes in a round tin and is super easy to take on the go. There are several variations so you can change it up if the kids start to get bored. The goal is to match symbols on the cards. Usually the kids do better than the grown-ups on this one.

For the family:

If you’ve got a good sized group of six-to-eight people, it’s fun to test everyone’s artistic skills with Telestrations. It’s like playing “telephone” but with pictures. Each person has a card and has to draw a picture of what’s on their card. The next person has to write a guess and pass it on. The next person has to draw what the guess was. By the time the original tablet gets back to the person who started it, the group may have consistently guessed correctly or they may have veered completely off course.

Tapple is fast-paced fun. Someone draws a card with a category and then everyone takes turns trying to name something that starts with a different letter of the alphabet before the time runs out. The catch is, you can only use each letter once. We’ve been known to get rather creative with this one!

King Of Tokyo is a go-to family favorite. It took a few rounds for the kids to master it and they still fight over who gets to be the Meka Dragon, but we always have a good time.

I could go on and on. Can you tell we’re a big gaming family? Some of our other family favorites are Sushi Go, Headbandz, Wits & Wagers, Scrambled States, Blokus… and too many more to name!

For the more serious gamers:

We bought the game Ticket To Ride a few years ago and have really enjoyed it. The goal is to build your trains between your destination tickets before you run out or someone has the gall to block you. Bonus, the kids learn a bit about geography since they have to figure out where their destination tickets are.

Codenames is a new favorite we received as a gift. A clue giver tries to prompt his or her teammate(s) to guess their words on the board without choosing the code word. We became addicted to this one last summer and played over and over until the kids finally made the adults wrap it up and get dinner going!

Some of our other more challenging games are Seven Wonders, Settlers of Catan, & Pandemic.

We have plenty of games at the cabins if you forget to bring your own. Other ideas…

  • Pack a deck of cards and teach the kids how to play good old-fashioned solitaire with real cards.
  • Jot down a bunch of ideas on slips of paper and start an impromptu game of Charades.
  • Start up a round of Would You Rather.
  • Engage the kiddos in a few turns of 20 Questions.
  • Pick a puzzle and try to finish it up before vacation ends.

What are some of your family’s favorite games? Have you played any of the ones on our list?

Sweet as Syrup!

You know those gorgeous maple trees that turn yellow, orange and red in the fall? They're beautiful in spring and summer too. But they're best in the late winter because that's when they start storing up all of their sugary goodness for syrup season!

If you’re staying at Cabin on Blake or Cabin on Blake “Too” this spring you’ve got to check out the local maple syrup scene. Our area features several maple syrup operations and you can even get in on the action and learn how to tap a tree of your own. There’s nothing like the taste of pure maple syrup. Once you’ve topped your french toast with the real thing or poured some on your pancakes, you won’t settle for the fake stuff any more!

Here in Wisconsin, maple syrup is collected in the spring when it’s still below freezing at night but the temperature consistently rises above freezing during the day. Once the conditions are right, the trees need to be tapped right away. The whole season can last just a few weeks. It used to be you could see buckets hanging from the tapped trees but most big producers have gone high tech and use tubing to get the sap into the cooking pots as quickly as possible.


It can take up to 30 or 40 gallons of sap to make just one gallon of pure maple syrup. So much work but such a sweet reward!

Maple syrup can be used in cooking and as a natural sweetener. We’ve heard of people using it not only on waffles, but also on ice cream, grilling meats, mixing cocktails and baking. Just search the internet and you’ll be amazed at all of the options.

If you’re not convinced to stock up on local syrup yet, be sure to visit Glenna Farms, just up the road in Amery. They’ll host MapleFest during the first weekend in April with free pancakes, a free “sap” to “syrup” farm tour and free prize drawings. More info on their website.

For other maple syrup producers in the area, try one of the Wisconsin syrup producers below:

Roth’s Maple Syrup - Cumberland, WI
Morley’s Maple Syrup - Luck, WI
Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup - Cumberland, WI
Maple Rewards - Cumberland, WI
Simpsons Rocky Ridge - Rice Lake, WI

For more information on maple syrup:
Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers
Recipes, info and more