Mama Needs a Minute …

by | Jun 2024

Home and garden inspiration abounds at Sailer’s Greenhouse in Prior Lake.

Home and garden inspiration abounds at Sailer’s Greenhouse in Prior Lake. Photo: Chris Emeott

Our editor shares her favorite places to unwind and recharge.

When I’ve hit my breaking point as a caregiver, this is where you’ll find me. Whether I’m lucky enough to get an afternoon alone, a night out with friends, a date with my husband or I need to take a “break” while I’m still the parent on duty, I count on these places to refill my cup—sometimes literally!

By Herself

Rose Yarn Co.

I credit this shop for rekindling my love of knitting. I walked in to meet with owner Jennifer Murphree a little over a year ago and walked out with a kit for a cowl knit-along. I’ve barely put down my needles since—including the time I spent last fall knitting enough pumpkins to make a whole patch after attending a workshop at Rose Yarn.

But I’m definitely not the only one who’s found solace in this sweet little shop. Monthly classes regularly sell out in hours, and it’s developed a faithful following of local fiber artists. Murphree is an avid knitter, and she used the craft as a form of stress relief during the years she worked as a paramedic. Her caring nature, along with friendly and knowledgeable staff, creates a welcoming place.

The shop carries high-quality yarn, notions, storage bags and organizers as well as kits, making it a destination for crafters in the Metro and beyond.

17563 Glasgow Ave., Lakeville; 952.262.1554;

Facebook: Rose Yarn Co.
Instagram: @roseyarnco

Vendella Euro Boutique & Coffee Haus

It’s not uncommon to squeeze into a seat at this shop and observe everything from prayer circles to knitting circles and customers clicking away at laptops as friends gather to chit-chat. While the people watching is excellent, the coffee is even better. The shop brews a truly strong cup of cold press, and its specialty drinks are delicious.

To top it off, the space also doubles as a boutique filled with jewelry, apparel, candles and so much more. It’s a great place to shop for gifts or pick up something special for yourself.

1440 Duckwood Drive Suite 600, Eagan; 651.888.0119;

Facebook: VENDELLA
Instagram: @vendella_coffee_haus

Queen Bee’z Lawn & Garden and Sailer’s Greenhouse

It’s impossible to walk into Queen Bee’z Lawn & Garden or Sailer’s Greenhouse without finding instant inspiration for your garden. Since the shops are only about 4 miles apart in Prior Lake, I like to visit them both over the course of an afternoon.

Both shops offer a variety of houseplants, annuals, perennials, herbs, vegetables, shrubs and trees, while also having creatively designed patio pots and hanging baskets, along with lawn art and garden decor. Watch for the special seasonal events, too. You’ll find pop-up markets, DIY days and more.

Queen Bee’z Lawn & Garden, 17860 Panama Ave., Prior Lake; 952.440.8165;

Facebook: Queen Bee’z Lawn and Garden
Instagram: @queenbeezinc

Sailer’s Greenhouse, 1610 170th St. E., Shakopee; 952.403.0630;

Facebook: Sailer’s Greenhouse
Instagram: @sailersgreenhouse
Pinterest: Sailer’s Greenhouse

Galaxie Library

As an avid reader, it’s safe to say that the public library system has saved me a significant amount of money over the years. I still think it’s magic that I can browse for books online, request them and then pick them up at the library when they’re ready. If I get an hour or two to myself, it’s a treat to browse for books in person and read a page or two before I commit to checking them out. I also make sure to hit up the cookbook section for dinner inspiration.

14955 Galaxie Ave., Apple Valley; 952.891.7045;

With Other Adults

Kitchen and Rail

Part of the delight of Kitchen and Rail in Eagan is its unassuming location. We all know there are plenty of good restaurants in the suburbs, but we don’t necessarily expect to find well-mixed, inventive crafts cocktails and a memorable meal in a strip mall. Yet, that’s exactly what you’ll find at Kitchen and Rail. I meet friends from across the Metro here because I can say with confidence, “It’s worth the drive.” I convince my husband to take me here on date night, so I can enjoy a cocktail (or two) and a ride home.

3344 Promenade Ave., Eagan; 612.402.7380;

Facebook: Kitchen and Rail
Instagram: @kitchenandrail

Pizza Karma

If we’re short on time, Pizza Karma in Apple Valley is my pick for a fast-casual date night. We order online, and then pick up our food and take it to a local park. The restaurant specializes in tandoor-fired pizzas. It’s got a menu of inventive pizzas, made with freshly ground spices, like the Chicken Kebab and Lamb Meatball, and some fabulous appetizers, sandwiches and salads. I think the vegetarian/dairy-free options are delicious, and my husband (who eats meat and dairy) vouches for the rest of the menu.

15265 Galaxie Ave. # 200, Apple Valley; 952.800.4540;

Instagram: @pizzakarmamn

Murphy Hanrehan Park Reserve

When I’m feeling stressed or tired, there’s nothing better than lacing up a pair of running shoes and spending time out in nature logging miles, especially when the scenery is as varied and beautiful as it is in Murphy Hanrehan. Since I am a completely codependent runner, if I’m hitting the trails at Murphy, it’s with my husband or the Burnsville/Lakeville Moms on the Run.

The park, which borders Savage, Burnsville, Lakeville, Credit River and Prior Lake, has multiple entry points and offers miles of unpaved trails through forest and prairie on hilly terrain.

According to Three Rivers Park District, which operates the park with Scott County, Murphy Hanrehan is a great place for spotting woodland songbirds, and it’s been designated as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society. In addition to birds, I’ve seen coyotes romping across frozen lakes, and some of my fellow “mom” runners even spotted a large cat on one memorable morning run—these sightings have only reinforced my running codependency. Yet, I always finish my runs through Murphy feeling more relaxed and restored.

15501 Murphy Lake Road, Savage; 763.694.7777;

Rhino Wine Bar

Nestled right in downtown Prior Lake, Rhino Wine Bar makes a great destination for date night or girls night.

On date night, my husband and I like to settle in with a couple flights of wine and a snack to take a minute to unwind and decompress before making our way to a restaurant (two great date night spots: Perron’s Sul Lago and PLate on Main are nearby).

When I’m with friends, we love to catch up over a glass of wine before or after some retail therapy at the adorable boutiques within walking distance.

The wine bar feels upscale without being pretentious, and with a menu that changes monthly, it seems that there’s always something new to try.

16186 Main Ave. SE, Prior Lake;

Facebook: Rhino Wine Bar
Instagram: @rhinowinebar

With the Family

Minnesota Zoo

Although the Minnesota Zoo can be a bit overwhelming, if you do it strategically, it can actually be relaxing.

White-cheeked Gibbon on the Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo.

White-cheeked Gibbon on the Tropics Trail at the Minnesota Zoo. Photo: Minnesota Zoo

I like to start every trip to the zoo at one of the play-heavy exhibits: the penguins, Dino Hideout or Woodland Adventure playground. I sit on a bench and drink my coffee while the kiddos get some exercise. Once I’m sufficiently caffeinated, and the children have mellowed slightly, we pick one part of the zoo to explore.

In the winter, we usually stay warm on the Tropics Trail and do a quick loop through the Minnesota Trail. In the summer, we’ve really enjoyed the new TreeTop Trail or Grizzly Coast. After our first trail, we reassess.

If my husband is along on our outing, we will be visiting the World of Birds show. This is a good place to relax, as long as you don’t get too relaxed—those low-flying birds will definitely mess up your power nap.

At the first sign of meltdown, whining or “sore feet,” we start making our way to the exit because even when we get “good” parking, it’s still a walk. I’ve learned to let go of any expectations at the zoo. Some days we don’t make it past the Woodland Adventure, and that’s OK—as long as I get my cup of coffee, it’s a win.

13000 Zoo Blvd., Apple Valley; 952.431.9200;

Facebook: Minnesota Zoo
Instagram: @mnzoo
X: @mnzoo

Prior Lake Farmers Market

The Prior Lake Farmers Market is one of our family’s favorite destinations on a Saturday morning. I’m happy picking out fresh produce and bouquets of flowers while my kids only have eyes for the baked goods at Edelweiss Bakery, and my husband explores the breakfast offerings at the food trucks. There’s also live music, locally made food, crafts, bread, coffee, treats and more. With a couple of dozen vendors, this market is the perfect size for exploring and gets our weekend off to a great start.

Prior Lake Farmers Market


Pro tip: If you want to get donuts or pastries from Edelweiss (and yes, you definitely will want to get donuts and pastries from Edelweiss), order online ( at least 24 hours ahead of time. You’ll be able to pick up your baked goods in the back of the shop and skip the line that will inevitably be snaking out the front door.

8 a.m.–Noon Saturdays through October. 16228 Main Ave. SE, Prior Lake;

Instagram: @priorlakefarmersmarket

Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar

Whether we’re looking for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I always keep Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar in mind for dining out with the kiddos. It’s easy to relax at a restaurant with such an incredibly warm and welcoming staff and comfortable, yet stylish, atmosphere, but it’s the menu that makes it a real winner.

There are options for everyone in the family, which is no easy feat given my dietary restrictions (no meat, dairy or oats) and a picky eater who has to be cajoled to eat anything that’s not a hamburger or macaroni and cheese. Mason Jar clearly labels its vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options, and its 12 and under menu offers hamburgers, chicken fingers, pizza and mac and cheese. My husband enjoys the restaurant’s modern take on American (and Minnesotan) classics.

Plus, there’s really good dessert: cupcakes and Sebastian Joe’s ice cream. We often get cupcakes to-go after a filling meal—and it even offers vegan cupcakes, which means I can indulge, too.

1565 Cliff Road, Eagan; 651.340.7809;

Facebook: Mason Jar Kitchen & Bar
Instagram: @masonjarkitchenandbar

Lakeville Art Festival

Yes, this is a juried art festival with more than a hundred artists selling everything from jewelry to outdoor sculptures and fiber arts to photographs, but this annual two-day art festival is also a place to make art and watch art get made. My kids have loved participating in the community art project—festival go-ers of all ages are invited to contribute to an art piece that’s displayed somewhere in the community.

They’ve also enjoyed watching pottery demonstrations, listening to live music and getting treats at the food trucks. Meanwhile, I’ve been able to browse beautiful work from local artists. The event’s location, outdoors on the grounds of the Lakeville Art Center, helps create a very relaxed, welcoming vibe.

Third weekend in September. 20965 Holyoke Ave., Lakeville; 952.985.4640;

Facebook: Lakeville Art Festival
Instagram: @lakevilleartfestival


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