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Growing A Volunteering Family
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6 Big-Hearted Ways to Practice Gratitude Year Round By: Sarah Aadland
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Twin Cities Free Weekend Events for November 21-23
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5 Ways to Give Back to Those in Need
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5 Ways to Give Back to Community
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Sneak Peek of the Christmas Basket Giveaway
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Review & GIVEAWAY: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company
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5 Ways to Give Back to Teachers
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Experiencing Feed My Starving Children
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Give Back With Random Acts of Kindness
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The Weekend Free List – Free Twin Cities Events, November 15-16, 2014
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Family Fun Twin Cities Basket of Christmas Giveaway

Growing A Volunteering Family

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6 Big-Hearted Ways to Practice Gratitude Year Round By: Sarah Aadland

We are happy to partner with Doing Good Together for our We Can Give Back Campaign.  Family volunteering and giving back starts at home in the heart.  Sarah Aadland –a primary force of Doing Good Together’s Big-hearted Families– has some great ideas for your family to foster that mindset. 

And don’t forget to leave a comment in our Growing a Volunteering Family Post about how you have served your community as a family.  When you enter a comment, you will be entered to win a Christmas Basket. Read More

Twin Cities Free Weekend Events for November 21-23

To get you started this weekend, here are 4 FREE Twin Cities events going on that we (and many of our kids!) have given the stamp of approval. For a complete listing of weekend events both free and paid, be sure to check out our Family Fun Calendar!

Doing Good Together’s Family Service Fair
at Midtown Global Market
920 E Lake St., Minneapolis, MN 55407

Date: Friday, November 21 • 5 – 8pm
Cost: FREE event, free parking (1.5 hrs w/ vendor validation)
Appropriate for: All ages can participate in the service projects.
Details: A fun, low-commitment way to get out and volunteer with the whole family! Twin Cities-based nonprofits set up tables with service projects kids will enjoy doing right on the spot. (Photo at left is my son decorating lunch bags for recipients of Meals on Wheels.) This is a great opportunity to have conversations with your kids about the importance of giving back.

Math & Science Family Fun Fair
at the University of Minnesota – Minneapolis campus
Coffman Memorial Union Building
300 Washington Ave. S.E., Minneapolis, MN 55455

Date: Saturday, November. 22 • 10am – 4pm
Cost: FREE; find parking ramp rates here.
Appropriate for: All ages, but preschoolers on up will get the most out of it.
Details: It’s a day jam-packed with hands-on STEM fun. (And this is coming from a mom who didn’t appreciate math and science until she had her own kids!) Highlights include free ExploraDome shows, playing with robots, and really cool exhibits that truly get kids excited about chemistry, engineering, physics and much more. Get the complete schedule here and note that the special “Physics Force” and “Energy and U” shows require (free) tickets that are picked up at the event check-in. My own kids had a blast at this event; plan to spend several hours.

Bachman’s Holiday Open House
at Bachman’s on Lyndale
6010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55419

Dates: Saturday, Nov. 22 & Sunday, Nov. 23
Cost: FREE
Appropriate for: All ages
Details: Don’t miss Santa and his right-hand elf, Albert, arriving by sleigh (Saturday only) at 10:30am! Crafts for kids, treats, and demonstrations follow inside the festive store. Bachman’s traditional holiday play (this year’s title is “Santa’s Top Secret Toys”) is a real kid-pleaser and will be performed at 11am, 12:30pm, and 2pm weekends through December 21. Grab a seat early for the play; they fill up fast.

Free Family Fun Day: River of Thanks
at Karl Kroening Interpretive Center, North Mississippi Regional Park
4900 Mississippi Court
Minneapolis, MN 55430

Date: Sunday, November 23 • 1 – 3pm
Cost: FREE
Appropriate for: All ages
Details: Drop in and explore a different topic each week through hands-on activities. Most are science and nature-based. Got a preschooler? They’ll probably enjoy the interpretive center’s exhibits geared towards the youngest visitors: set up a pretend farmer’s market, build in a make-believe brickyard, put together puzzles, and curl up with a good book.

 

Enjoy your weekend wherever it may take you!


5 Ways to Give Back to Those in Need

Saturday, November 22 is National Family Volunteering Day!  Doing Good Together has organized a Family Service Fair at Midtown Global Market from 5:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.  Go, learn about some useful organizations, and devote some time to helping others.

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5 Ways to Give Back to Community

Death and Taxes–that’s what we can be sure of.  But we can’t be sure that the taxes we pay with help our community, so that’s up to us.  If we want to live in a community that is thriving, it’s up to us to care about each other and give back to the community. Read More

Sneak Peek of the Christmas Basket Giveaway

And here you have it, the Christmas Basket Giveaway!

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Review & GIVEAWAY: Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company

credit: Dan Norman

Regardless of whether or not you read the following review, you’re going to want to enter our GIVEAWAY to win a family 4-pack of tickets to see Children’s Theatre Company’s production of Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas. For one thing, the show would make a wonderful no-clutter gift for the kids in your life. (No need to tell them you won a drawing to get them.) And for another, a chance to see this classic tale come to life was the perfect way to get me in the holiday spirit — I’d imagine it would be a great start to your season as well. Find the link to enter our giveaway below.

Of course, the Grinch (when we first encounter him, that is) would rather we leave the theater scorning everything about Christmas. That’s precisely what he’s been doing from his icy mountaintop cave for more than half a century. His only companion is his poor pooch Max, a closet Christmas fan and forced accomplice when the Grinch decides he’s going to rob the holiday from his neighbors in Whoville.

You’ve likely read of the Whos, a people with a passion for Christmas, in the pages of Dr. Seuss’ story. My favorite part of the show was watching these characters pop out of the story and onto the stage — in bright candy colors, singing, dancing, shopping frenetically for last-minute gifts. There are gentler moments among the Whos as well, proving that despite what the Grinch mistakenly believes, these families know the true meaning of Christmas.

credit: Dan Norman

 

Many kids are familiar with the story of the Grinch, and this works to the stage show’s advantage. (I recommend reading the book with younger children ahead of time to introduce them to the characters). Instead of being concerned with keeping children’s attention on the plot, the characters get to shine! The Grinch (Reed Sigmund) is awesomely over the top with his sickly green shag coat and passionate hostility toward Christmas (he might even frighten a toddler or two). We loved the tale’s twist of having an elderly Max (the dog) narrate the story as though it happened to his master many years ago. And Cindy-Lou Who — the tiny Who daughter — is a stand-out with her angelic voice and message of what Christmas is truly about.

credit: Dan Norman

Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas
is playing at the Children’s Theatre Company now through January 4, 2015.

Recommended for: all ages. The performance lasts just under two hours including a short intermission.

Tickets: $25-$80/pp depending on age and show date. Learn about CTC ticket prices and policies here. Lap passes for children 3 years and under are available for $5. Groups of 10 or more receive a 25% discount (phone reservations only at 612.874.0400).

Directions & Parking: Children’s Theatre Company is located at 2400 3rd Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404
. Parking is available in the adjacent Minneapolis Institute of Arts ramp for $6/5 hrs. There is also free street parking within a block of the theater.


*** GIVEAWAY! ***

To be entered into our drawing for a family 4-pack of tickets to see Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas at Children’s Theatre Company, leave a comment on this post sharing one of your family’s favorite holiday stories (book, film, stage, etc.). We will draw a winner on Monday, November 24 at 9pm. The winner will be notified by e-mail. Good luck!


5 Ways to Give Back to Teachers

I am not a teacher in the formal sense of the word.  Trust me when I say that.  For example, once I tried to explain an American wedding to a bunch of very attentive Mongolian students.  I became so tongue-tied that I defered to my husband who is a teacher. Because of my own inability to teach, I am forever grateful to those in my life who have shouldered the task to teach my children.  Read More

Experiencing Feed My Starving Children

I have always wanted to go, and it was my goal this summer to get there with my girls because they wanted to take care of the people who were hungry in Haiti.  We didn’t make it there this summer, but since it is We Can Give Back Month here at Family Fun Twin Cities and they had a day off of school, I made the journey there with one of my daughters.

Feed My Starving Children Read More

Give Back With Random Acts of Kindness

As part of We Can Give Back Month, I am sharing this Random Acts of Kindness for Kids printout.  It was created by Sara from Happiness is Here and shared on Childhood 101 blog. You could use it now or save it for December as a Christmas Countdown!

Click on this Link for the original post and printing instructions.

 

The Weekend Free List – Free Twin Cities Events, November 15-16, 2014

As we continue on with “We Can Give Back” Month, I have a couple of suggestions for fun, free Twin Cities events and activities for giving. There are also some early Christmas events starting to happen. (For more early Christmas Events, see Anne’s article).   And if you are not ready to start thinking about Christmas, I have a Childish Films event, free Sunday museum admissions, and a class to learn more about training your family dog.  (We really need that event in our house).

  • America Recylces
  • Family Photo2
  • Image Courtesy of Hennepin County Library
  • Diesel & Simon
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Family Fun Twin Cities Basket of Christmas Giveaway

We have reached out to our favorite authors, businesses, and organizations to compile an incredible  (let me say it again–INCREDIBLE) Basket of Christmas for one lucky reader to be personally delivered* by me and my children. We are waiting to reveal contents of the Basket of Christmas giveaway until we have all the items collected.  A couple more are on their way, so just hold tight.  You’ll be glad you did!

All you have to do to enter is leave a message here for each Giving Back activity you have participated in with your family. 

It can be shoveling your neighbor’s driveway, writing a note to your child’s teacher, giving money during Give to the Max Day, straightening books at the library….anything that gives back to someone else. 

And stay tuned for more of our Basket of Christmas giveaway! 

 

 

*Disclaimer: This is open to anyone, but I can only deliver to a winner if he/she is in the Twin Cities.

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