Painting wall
Painting wall

So, it turns out renovating a house is exhausting. It’s been a long and hectic week: knocking down walls, moving furniture, mowing a rowdy lawn, ripping out light fixtures, and painting, painting, painting. Even the dog got in on the painting (Thanks for the mess, Jolene). We have fallen asleep with the lights on more than once since we closed on our home.

But we aren’t doing this alone. Friends and family brought along whatever we needed: mowers, food, muscle, ideas, experience. Without them I’m sure the whole dream would have collapsed. And in between the hours of sweat and chaos, there were these really beautiful moments to take a break. Standing in the half-painted kitchen having pizza with family. Discovering century old names and dates in the poured concrete. Sitting on the sunny front step eating a peach.

There is no giver, no receiver, no gift – it’s all just the universe rearranging itself. Jon Kabat-Zinn

Sometimes accepting help is hard to do. We can feel unworthy, or spoiled, or strangely protective of our problems. Giving can also be hard: knowing when, how much, how to go about giving without intruding. This dance of give and take is what bonds us all together. Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “There is no giver, no receiver, no gift – it’s all just the universe rearranging itself.” This weekend explore the balance of give and take.


In a most literal gesture of giving, you can give blood at the America Red Cross Blood Drive from noon to 5:00 pm this Friday at the River Hills Mall. You can register to donate here.

Then take in some tunes: we’ve got live music from pop to country to vintage deep tracks.

Elsa Lee will be at Javen’s Family Vineyard and Winery from 5:00-8:00 pm. Indian Island Winery has Mark and Vanessa Ross playing upbeat tunes from 6:00-8:30 pm, and Trent Shaw, a piano/acoustic duo, will be at Chankaska Creek Winery from 6:00-9:00 pm.

The Mankato Brewery will host Chris Schoenstedt from 6:00-9:00 pm. Chris will be playing all original music, including a song about the late cat, Jelly Bean. “I don’t take myself too seriously,” said Chris. “I really want to make music that makes a person feel something when they hear it, and hopefully that feeling isn’t boredom…my music could be considered a mix of alternative, folk, folk-rock, Indy, and punk.”

Chris says he and his music wouldn’t be the same without the inspiration of other local artists including Bee Balm Fields, Ocho, Pete Klug, Poor Lemuel, The Only, Good Night Gold Dust, Forrest Kunkel, Irie Minds and his former leader guitarist, Joe Stuewe. “Unless I break my several strings, I’ll be playing 36 songs this Friday.”


Give it a go! Atlantis Hobby is hosting an Open Play at their new shop from noon to 4:00 pm. This event means everything is on the table, with board and card games free to play for everyone. Kids and kids-at-heart are welcome!

Take home a book: the Bookmobile will once again be available at the St. Peter Famer’s Market from 8:30 to noon. If you don’t have a library card, you can apply for one then and there!

Then, give it a good look, with not one but two scavenger hunts this weekend. From 11:00 am to 4:00 pm, the Autofest Scavenger Hunt is on, beginning and ending at Searles Bar & Grill in New Ulm. Bring a sharp eye and any make and model to the Autofest. From 1:00-2:30 pm Saturday Shenanigans are on at the Lake Washington Regional Park & Campground. Instructions for this self-guided event will be available at the Campground Picnic Shelter.

Take me out to the ballgame: get to Franklin Rogers Park at 6:30 pm to see the Mankato Moondogs take on the Willmar Stingers.


Take a seat and enjoy Forever Plaid by the Mankato Playhouse. Lunch seating begins at 12:15 pm with the show at 2:00 pm. Reviewers are calling it a fun and elevated, so don’t miss out!

Give it a rest and give back. Sometimes between a busy weekend and a looming Monday, it’s nice to take it easy. There are incredibly easy ways to give back from the comfort of your couch. Plant the Peace and Free Rice are two resources to give back by playing games. Plant the Peace plants a tree every time you answer ten trivia questions correctly. Free Rice purchases food and funds projects around the world with their ad revenue. Simply play their word games and give back. There are even donate playlists on YouTube. These are playlists where all the ad revenue goes to support a cause. Simply pick a playlist and watch, or even mute and let it play in the background. Philanthropy has never been so easy!


The most precious thing we can give, or take, is our time. Just a little can go a long way. Whether it’s a phone call, a video chat, or over a cup of coffee, take a little time this weekend to be uninterrupted and totally present with someone who deserves it. Enjoy that moment as a gift.


Weekend High Notes is a regular feature by Molly Butler. Molly covers weekend events, live music, and culture in the Greater Mankato Area. Suggestions are welcome using the MankatoLIFE contact form.

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