Holland Lake – Beyond Picturesque

The early September weather in Montana has been on the chilly side with several snowy nights on the mountains. However, we were lucky to find a break in the weather and sneak away for a few days to Holland Lake in the Swan Valley of northwest Montana. We were rewarded with sunny days and gorgeous scenery. Including a few snow-capped mountains.

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The national forest campground at Holland Lake is very popular, so we took a risk by showing up on a Friday afternoon with no reservation. However, we found a wonderful campsite with plenty of rooms for the kids to explore the forest and a sheltered spot to set up the tent.

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We were excited to find that the campground offers kayak rentals and spent our first day kayaking across the crystal clear lake. The kids are becoming proficient paddlers and it was so peaceful to be on the silent lake spotting turtles basking in the sun. The absence of motor boats was a huge treat as the kids worked on their paddling skills without extra waves.

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As soon as the sun set the temperatures quickly started to plummet into the 40’s, but thanks to the kids wonderful fire making abilities we had a blazing fire to sit around while stargazing.

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We spent our second day at Holland Lake hiking along the lake and up to a waterfall. We weren’t sure that this late in the season the waterfall would have an impressive flow. However, when we got to the end of the trail we were rewarded with a lovely spray of water. A few minutes sitting near the spay and we were cooled right down from the steep uphill climb.

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The rest of our time at Holland Lake was spent at the beach where the kids embraced the chilly water for what might have been their last swim of the season. Tearing ourselves away from this wonderful gem of Montana was extremely hard. If we could freeze time and make summer last just a bit longer Holland Lake is definitely where we would spend our time.

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Summer Snapshots

Gates of the Mountains (near Helena)
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Lewis and Clark Caverns (Whitehall)
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Missouri River Headwaters (Three Forks)
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Thrift Store Finds (Walkman and Paul Simon’s Graceland)
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An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival (Butte)
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Flathead Lake (Bigfork)
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Garden Delights (Delicious)
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We Bought a Giant Bear

by FiveofHearts

 

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As a young fashionista it is hard for me to find people willing to let me make outfits for them and dress them up. Until today. Costco happens to sell human sized bears for only thirty dollars. So after putting one in the cart a couple times we finally broke down and got one. We decided to name it Bruno.

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But before we bought Bruno we took into account his size. We figured that he was so big he could fit in human sized clothes. Then today on our way to Costco to by Bruno we made a quick stop at the thrift store. I helped Mom pick out five outfits for him:

  • A sports jersey for watching the Olympics and other sporting events.
  • A pair of boxer-shorts with polar bears on them for pajamas.
  • A business outfit complete vest, undershirt, tie, and hat.
  • A casual sweater vest for around the house.
  • And a green fleece vest for outdoor excursions.

As soon as we got home I rushed to put Bruno’s new clothes on him. After a little bit of a struggle we tried all the outfits on him. They all fit and I took a picture of him in every single one (which you can see above). As much as I was happy to have Bruno to play with, I was also happy because I finally had someone who never got tired of me dressing them up. I can’t wait till next time we go to the thrift store so I can pick out more outfits for Bruno!

 

 

Olympic Offset

Along with an estimated 3 billion people worldwide, we’re tuning into the Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As with previous Olympics, we have our reservations knowing the billions of dollars flowing into the host city do very little to benefit the people who actually live there. In Rio 77,206 people were displaced to make way for the roads, venues, and public transportation lines that the athletes and tourists will use over the 16 days of festivities.Real Rio Cost

We decided that since we would be watching, Rio would be the focus of our monthly Philanthropy on the Fifth. After some research on charities that make a difference in Rio, we were thoroughly impressed with the BrazilFoundation. Not only does it earn an amazing score of 96.46 from Charity Navigator (the highest we found for any charity with a focus on Brazil), but also donors can choose from a wide variety of projects that are part of their Team Rio campaign that aims “to help create a positive social legacy for the city.”

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We hope you’ll join us in choosing from one of the 35 projects helping those in the shadows of the Olympics have a better life once the world stops watching.