Sweet Home Sioux Falls

Providing knowledge about real estate and all things Sioux Falls.

Month: June 2017

GO Camp On Aqua! 1,2,3, Let’s Go Ski!

I am finally feeling refreshed after directing a week-long summer camp for 8-13 year olds at Catfishbay last week. Even though the combination of heat, sun, 96 children and supervising an overnight can have you a little delirious after day five, it is one of my favorite weeks of the year and I find myself wondering what my campers are doing each day since the camp has ended.

Camp on Aqua has been teaching kids to waterski since 2000. In recent years the camp has sold out by early spring, prompting changes to allow a record number of campers to get up on the water. There are always one or two kids that are too afraid to try skiing, despite our best efforts, but this year every child that tried skiing either got up on the boom (see below for pictures) or behind the boat. In my opinion, I want to say this was the most successful skiing year yet. Kids also enjoyed fishing, tubing at Wall Lake, canoeing, a water safety class and more. To see everything the camp has to offer, click here.


[The founders of Catfishbay and Camp on Aqua, Michelle and Jim Bruns posing for a picture at the beginning of the week. The volunteer opportunities, fun times for kids and second family these two have created deserve all the recognition in the world and are blessings to our Sioux Falls community.]  


[Billy Bruns, an experienced skier, running the ski board on “the boom”. The skis are attached to each other and also attached to the boom by rope. This ensures the skis are always facing forward and more stable than free standing skis.]


[Once the child is stable, Billy can let go of the skis and control how tight they are held to the boom.]


[Catfishbay’s invention ‘the ski bar’ being used by skiers Tanner and Tony. This eliminates the hassle and time of tangled ropes.]


[Two side-skiers accompanying a camper. Each group of kids had two 2 1/2 hour session of skiing during the week.]


[Kids enjoying the water mat while skiing is going on in the background. With 8 groups of kids, multiple activities were always going on at once.]


CatfishBay, the Greatest Show on H2O, started shows on Memorial Day and will continue every Friday night at 7 p.m. through Labor Day. For more information about the show, click here. 

If you or your child would like to learn how to waterski, find me on Facebook or shoot me a text [261.8396].  I would LOVE to share my passion with you and see you having fun on the water. Catfishbay is a special and unique place in Sioux Falls. If you would like to know how to get involved or discount tickets, please contact me.


This post is dedicated to the mother of Catfishbay, Eloa Bruns, who passed away during camp week. I hope I treated the campers with half the love and care she gave to all of us skiers over the years.  <3

Mom’s Garden Bed Tutorial

In South Dakota, you can expect the unexpected when it comes to weather. Many plants and vegetables did not make it through the May cold spell and gardeners were forced to replant. Below is a short tutorial of my mom re-planting the okra in one of her three garden beds. She also has vegetables growing along side the house, the fence and in pots. For a standard sized back yard in the city limits of Sioux Falls, she has an impressive inventory.

Mom’s Garden

  • Potatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Tomatoes
  • Okra
  • Zucchini
  • Green Pepper
  • Eggplant
  • Peas
  • Beets
  • Wax Beans
  • Cherry Tomatoes
  • Herbs



Tips for the Beginning Gardener

  1. Space young plants and seedlings so they have room to grow.
  2. Have a nice pair of gardening gloves.
  3. Work in the morning and early evening to avoid the sun and heat of the day. 



[Last year’s basil crop]



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[Garden beds will soon look like this again]


After spending two summers in the Lewis Drug garden shop, I have learned a lot about vegetables and taking care of plants, but I don’t hold a candle to the knowledge and experience my mom has in the garden. If you have questions about anything green, shoot them my way. I have endless resources to help keep your garden healthy and happy this summer!


Remembering Tom Ellwein

Thirty years ago today my grandfather passed away from cancer. Two years and ten days before I was born. Even though I did not have the chance to meet Tom Ellwein, he comes up in conversation and I feel like I know the type of man he was. A caring teacher, family man and friend, he was on the quiet side with a calm temperament, but also had a great sense of humor.  And as you can see from the pictures, he was very easy on the eyes.

Talent is another quality my grandpa possessed and shared with the world. Soon after graduating high school, he and my grandma moved to Washington DC so he could play trombone with the marine band, also known as the president’s band. They played for inaugurations and other events at the white house, and also went on tour. What an honor and incredible life experience. After 20 years with the band, my grandparents moved home to Sioux Falls with their two children, my mom and uncle. He continued his passion for music by teaching lessons, and helped his kids with their instrument of choice, trombone and piano. He even made my mom practice with a broken wrist!

[A man in uniform]

[August 1940 in Bridgewater, South Dakota & wedding day November 6th, 1944]


While my talent with a musical instrument was mediocre ( I played the flute for 8 years), I loved being a part of the Lincoln High School Marching Band as a “flag girl” because music has been an important part of our family for generations. A good thing, because I met my own dreamy brass player of a husband while in the band.

When Jaime and my mom played an impromtu duet of a few Christmas songs this last year, I felt close to the man I never had the opportunity to meet, imagining when he and my mom would play duets together years ago. His memory will always live on through music.

[Jaime on trumpet, mom on piano playing The Christmas Song]


I hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial  Day weekend with family and friends and remembered those that have served our country in every capacity, and especially those that gave the ultimate sacrifice. May we serve those around us with the same giving and grateful heart.