No tax on clothes!

Who can resist an automatic 7% savings? Not our family!

For the past few years, we've gotten into the routine of stopping at the Mall of America on our way up to the lake. With great summer sales and no sales tax on clothing in Minnesota, our true "Dutchness" comes out, and we run around for about 6 or 7 hours looking for deals. Tom & I met Seth & Maddie at the REI store first, and then after running back to the hotel to check out of our room, we met up with the girls at the mall.

Today was Leah's "real" birthday, and she turned 18! Although her clothing needs don't compare to fashionista sister Chloe, she was able to find a few tops, a new bathing suit and some new tennis shoes (something I realized she needed when she could hardly walk by mid-afternoon in her old shoes!).

Tom & I are beginning to enjoy our time at the mall a little more each year, since the kids become more independent shoppers and don't care so much about the amusement park rides in the center of the mall. It used to be quite a challenge to get any shopping done for ourselves as we corralled kids from one corner of this huge place to another. We've also begun to learn where our favorite stores are located, so we are not spending as much time looking at maps and lost.

The girls joined Seth & Maddie in their car and we all left Minneapolis between 5:00 and 5:30 p.m. Tom & I stopped in Baxter at the 371 Cafe for a quick supper, and then made our big grocery run at Cub Foods. After a beautiful day of sunshine and blue skies, the rain started as we exited the store, which made getting all the bags into our already crammed car that much more challenging. We finally managed to close the doors and get back on the road. We found several stow-away mosquitoes that had managed to join us our final leg of the journey.

We arrived at our cabin at Birch Villa at 11:30 p.m., and got busy unpacking and settling in. The big improvement to the cabin this year is an air conditioner!! We've had many hot, sweaty days in this cabin, so it is a welcome improvement. However, I immediately began to question its worth as the kids were already arguing about whether it was too hot or too cold in the cabin. Ahhh...first world problems for sure.