Archive - October 2013

Free First Saturday at the Walker – It’s What’s Happening This Month
Disney on Ice-Specia​l Ticket Offer from the City of St. Paul
Nokomis Urban Craft Fair – Saturday
Twin Cities Stables: Davenport Stables
Trick-or-Treat at Local Grocery Stores
Heartfelt: October Crafts Last Week
Current Exhibits at the Bell Museum of Natural History
Heartfelt’s SweetheART
Free Lists for October 25 through 27, 2013
The Choo Choo Bob Show Wins 3 Emmys!!!

Free First Saturday at the Walker – It’s What’s Happening This Month

Free First Saturday
Walker Art Center, 1750 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Saturday, November 2, 2013; 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

It seems like the months have been going by really fast and its been awhile since we hit a Free First Saturday at the Walker.  The weekend is shaping up to be a nice one, so it may be one of our last chances to grab some sunshine in the sculpture garden.  This month’s theme is “What’s Happening”, revolving around the exhibit, Claes Oldenburg: The Sixties.  As always, gallery admission is free on the first Saturday of hte month with kid-centric activities from 10 am to 3 pm.

Performance: Saturday Morning Submarine Adventure Show, 11 am and 1 pm

I wish I would have known about this a couple months ago.  The Saturday Morning Submarine Adventure Show  just wrapped up a 10-week run at Huge Improv Theatre.   As far as I can tell, Saturday will be their last performance for awhile.  However, we are following them now, so we’ll add new performances to our calendars if they happen.  Catch this improv comedy  show — created by improviser Molly Chase and puppetmaker Andy Kraft — at 11 am and 1 pm.  Maybe your kids will get to go on stage with one of their own jokes.

Activity: HIJACK, 11:30 am and 1:30 pm, Lecture Room

Dance team HIJACK will celebrate their 20-year anniversary by leading movement exercises inspired by Claes Oldenburg’s The Store—a space filled with objects he made, including sculptures of everyday items such as food, clothing, logos, and price tags.

Kristin Van Loon and Arwen Wilder (HIJACK) “Verbal Narratives” Research in 2011 from MANCC on Vimeo.

To learn more about Claes Oldenburg before or after your visit, you can watch the video below where you describes his work in his own words:


Disney on Ice-Specia​l Ticket Offer from the City of St. Paul

Here is another share. This one is via the City of St. Paul.

– The Xcel Energy Center is making this special ticket offer available for participants and fans of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation – Ticket reservations must be made by December 3, 2013 – If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Xcel Energy Center staff at 651.312.3486

To download a pdf of the flyer click here

Saint Paul Parks and Recreation

Nokomis Urban Craft Fair – Saturday

Yesterday I counted how many weekends we have left until Christmas.  We have EIGHT!!! That’s it.  Eight weekends to prepare for company.  Eight weekends to find the Christmas stuff that never really found a home last year (and less than that to figure out where we will fit a tree).  We also have eight weekends to shop.  Luckily, there are a lot of ways to shop locally and creatively and we’re going to try to feature some. 

I like craft fairs.  They are so much more fun than a shopping center.  I love the idea of taking my Christmas budget and spending it locally, getting something unique and having a good time while I shop.  So often the modern shopping experience is just exhausting.

Lake Nokomis Community Center invites you to start out your Christmas shopping at the Nokomis Urban Craft Fair on Saturday, between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Besides more than 30 vendors, there will also be baked goods for sale and FREE COFFEE!

Below are some of my favorite offerings:

tingameArty Didact has fun games and hand knit toys.  I love the idea of turning small tins into traveling toys.  Below are two of the offerings — a tin of small toys to spur imagination or story telling (this is for the older child who doesn’t mouth everything they see) and a dice game.  Both could fit in your purse for emergency boredom situations.

Dr. Who Scarf

I absolutely adore this Dr. Who scarf from It’s only $20.00.  Honestly, I see scarves at thrift stores for five dollars and similar scarves with no design run $15 at Target.  This is an awesome deal and a perfect Secret Santa gift for the office. Geekiana is also on Etsy.

gold_gingko_ear__1__71745.1312317957.386.513These gingko leaf earrings by Larissa Loden are another $20.00 offering. She has some beautiful jewelry, including vintage map lockets and earrings in the shape of cicadas and bees.  What are the chances that someone else will get your mom cicada earrings, too?

furry monsterWho doesn’t need a furry monster coin purse?  Trigo is another artist who will be selling crafts at the fair on Saturday.  They offer a whole line of monster purses.


Twin Cities Stables: Davenport Stables

DSCF8478Approximately 13 years ago, I met Cheryl Davenport who owns and runs Davenport Stables.  I was immediately impressed by her tenacity and kindness.  When I learned she ran a stable, that sealed the deal.  She passed my ultimate “cool” test!

Where is Davenport Stables?

If I told you the stables were about a mile from one of my best friends’ house, I can’t imagine that would be very helpful.  So I will tell you it’s in the far northwest suburb of Dayton.  It’s located on South Diamond Lake Road.  The Stable’s ten acres are adjacent to Elm Creek Park Reserve which has some beautiful horse trails.  Unfortunately, the horses don’t appreciate the bicycles on the parallel trail. 

DSCF8482Introducing Davenport Stables

Cheryl runs her operation with her husband, John, and a gaggle of wonderful volunteers who give her the elbow grease it takes to run a successful horse farm.  She has an assistant, Bryn, who has been a student of Cheryl’s for 10 years.  She is fifteen and has a few years before goes away to college or other pursuits.  Bryn and her mom take care of the Sunday morning feedings so that Cheryl can have one morning off, and Bryn also manages the lesson program.  

  At Davenport Stables, the mares are kept in one pasture and the geldings in another.  Both are set up w ith a track system that keeps the horses moving all day.  The system was developed in Europe to promote the horses’ health.  With the feed in one corner, the water on the far end, the shelter along the path, the horses must constantly move.  Thus, they are fighting obesity and other potential ailments. 

Cheryl’s horses are kept in the pasture all day and all night.  I know this may sound a little callous, but Cheryl has not had a sick horse since she has kept the horses living as they would if they were in their natural environment.

DSCF8483Davenport Stables Offers

Cheryl’s program is the  most unique one my research has led me to.  Let me begin with what is similar to other programs.   She offers lessons (she teaches 50 students each week) and camps in the summer.  She has an indoor and outdoor arena.  Your first lesson is always private, but she offers lessons in groups up to four.  The small groups make it possible for Cheryl to observe the connection between the horse and the rider. 

And this is where her program differs from any other. 

Cheryl doesn’t teach Western or English.  She tries to teach riders how to connect with their horse.  She uses the philosophy of  Mark Rashid and has trained personally with him three times. Also, she has hosted clinics with his assistant, Heather Burke, at Davenport Stables and has another horse clinic planned for this summer with her.

Mark Rashid encourages riders to somehow subconsciously move their horses.  To guide them gently into the direction or speed needed.

I know it seems crazy.   Trust me, I know. 

But Cheryl’s love and awe of these beautiful animals and her knowledge of them  individually made me a believer. 

Cheryl appreciates her lesson horses’ sacrifices, too.  She is adamant that a lesson horses’s life is not easy.  Being told to do one thing but then given the wrong command.  Then being blamed for bad manners….Not an easy way to live.

Cheryl sees the relationship between horse and rider to be a picture of man and God.  Like God takes care of us, assures us, protects us, provides for us, so too the rider does for the horse.  The horse needs to know the rider has everything under control.  And that’s what Cheryl wants to have happen during lessons.

DSCF8480First Impressions

  • This was the only stable where I was led out into the pasture right away and surrounded by the horses.  I was in heaven!  Pure heaven! 
  • I noticed that the mares were catty and feisty.  The geldings were polite and kind (basically because when they are gelded they lose all emotions) 
  • Cheryl is amazed by her horses whether by beauty or by personality.  She loves each horse.  In fact she has decided not to participate in horse sales because she becomes very attached to each.
  • Cheryl’s first priority is safety for the riders because “When I put someone’s child on the back of one of my horses, I’m putting their everything!”  As a mom, I couldn’t say it any better!
  • As of right now, Davenport Stables does not participate in shows/events.  The focus is on riding lessons and boarding.  Cheryl, however, is in the beginning processes of learning about Western Dressage competitions.



DSCF8477Davenport Stables
13351 South Diamond Lake Rd.
Dayton, MN
Phone: (612) 387-7551 – (763) 421-1853 home/barn






Trick-or-Treat at Local Grocery Stores

In the event that you’re looking for one more place your child can wear their Halloween costume (and, yes, collect some goodies), several local grocery stores are offering trick-or-treating and other activities this week:

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Byerly’s Boo Blast – 4 – 7pm at the following locations: Burnsville, Chanhassen, Eagan, Edina, Golden Valley and Ridgedale.

Lund’s Boo Blast – 4 – 7pm at the following locations: Lunds St. Paul (Ford Parkway), Minnetonka, Richfield (Penn Ave).

Kowalski’s Boo Bash – 4 – 7pm at all metro locations.

Any one of these could be a great alternative if you’ve got little ones that aren’t quite ready to head out after dark on Halloween night (and I can say, from experience, these stores offer some healthier alternatives to candy!).


Heartfelt: October Crafts Last Week

Heartfelt’s October Crafts are good for 4 more days! You really don’t want to miss out if you can help it.  These crafts are so cute that they would be fun gifts…who am I kidding.  You aren’t going to want to give these adorable crafts away!

flower witchWITCHES: TWO WAYSpeg witch

Choose between the Flower Witch and the Peg Witch.
Peg Witch for ages 5 to adult; younger with grown up help. $10. Flower Witch for ages 7 to adult, younger with grown up help. $20. 

Upcycle a cashmere sweater into a cute little kitty. This sewing project is suitable for ages 8 to adult. Allow 1 ½ hours. $28. 



Decorate a miniature house and yard, adding beeswax pumpkins, witches, and cat. Ages 7 to adult; younger with grown up help. $32.



Wet felt an acorn necklace using colorful fleece.  Top with a real acorn cap and hang on a coppery ball chain.  Ages 3 and up. $10.



Pirate Hat CompressedPIRATE HAT

Sew a pirate hate from wool felt.  Perfect answer for your Halloween costume.  Ages 6 to adult. $22. 



Leaf Lantern CompressedLEAF LANTERN
Decorate a glass globe lantern with real autumn leaves. Ages 5 to adult;  younger with grown up help.  $15




Make a pumpkin out of sheep’s wool by using the wet-felting technique. 
Ages 5 to adult; younger with grown up help. $15.


Lisa is always offering these crafts.  Both these options are super fun!   
Peg Doll Crafting: All ages  Prices vary.

Card Making: All ages. 
$2 or 3 for $5.



I have never once been disappointed visiting Heartfelt.  I don’t believe you will  be either.  Enjoy the tree house, the handmade toys, and try out a new craft project!  You will LOVE Heartfelt as much as we do.

Current Exhibits at the Bell Museum of Natural History

Sundays are always free at the Bell Museum of Natural History.  This weekend is a really good weekend to visit.  First because most of us will be watching football in the evening instead of mid-day.  Second because there are some really cool exhibits there right now.  Your younger kids won’t appreciate these exhibits as much, but they will love the Touch and See Discovery Room and the Permanent Exhibits.

You and your school-age children can play ornithologists for the weekend.  There are currently two bird-related exhibits on display. The first — Audubon and the Art of Birds —  is an exhibition of some of the works John James Audubon’s Birds of America.  I found this short documentary on YouTube about his life.  It is only half an hour, so you could preview it together the night before your visit and than go see the prints up close for yourself.

While you are there, visit Birds & DNA to  learn about the work of modern ornithologists as they study the biodiversity of birds in the Caucasus Mountains.  This was pretty fascinating to me, too.  This video explains the background of this exhibit and the research that is happening right now.  This video is only 7 minutes, but has a lot of big words.

Joy Peters is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.


Heartfelt’s SweetheART

Starting this Friday, October 25 and running through the next few Fridays,  Heartfelt is offering a crafting series for the Tween/Teen Girl in your life–ages 10-14–called SweetheART.  The sessions are being taught by Cindy Smedberg (of Minneapolis Community Education) and will introduce your girls to an array of mixed media.  This is where I jump for joy that Heartfelt exists.  How would I ever have been able to provide this for my girls if it were not for people in the area who are gifted with these talents?  

Let me hear an AMEN!

You can attend one session or all three sessions.  They do not build on each other.  If you miss out on a Friday for any particular reason, you won’t miss a step.  Let me point out that you will, however, miss out on that session (brilliant, aren’t I?).  And you really don’t want to miss out on these!

Sessions will be held from 4:30-6:00 pm and are $20 per session.  If you register for all three sessions, the total is $50.  Call Heartfelt to register at 612-877-8090.

image courtesy of cindy smedberg

image courtesy of cindy smedberg


Book Making Friday October 25th

Mixed Media Collage Friday November 8th

Photo Memory Board Friday November 15th







SweetheART is a bit advanced for my girls, so if anyone tries it out, please let us know what you thought. 

Free Lists for October 25 through 27, 2013

This is a great weekend for free family activities.  As much as I should be at home cleaning, repairing things that have broken and preparing for the fast approaching winter, I plan on playing all weekend.  I have a list of things I’ll be doing, plus a bunch of other things I would do if I had the time.  I might do some housework, too.  We’ll see.  There’s always next weekend.


Learn more about Dessa at

Learn more about Dessa at

Talk of the Stacks with Dessa
Minneapolis Central Library – Pohlad Hall
300 Nicollet Mall, Minneapolis
Friday, October 25, 2013; 7:00 pm

I did not put this on the calendar because it is probably not appropriate for smaller kids.  I think my 8-year-old could go and behave, but she wouldn’t have fun.  My preschoolers would create havoc.  So I’ve hired a babysitter for Friday night.  Still I’m putting this on the list, because if you have an older kid who enjoys the Twin Cities’ local music offerings, this could be enjoyable for both them and you.  It sounds like this will be more along the lines of a poetry reading than a concert, but Dessa sounds great whether she’s singing or reciting her poetry.  If you are unfamiliar with Dessa, you can hear her music below.


picture by ESO/S. Gillessen/MPE/Marc Schartmann via

picture by ESO/S. Gillessen/MPE/Marc Schartmann via

Friday Night Public Viewing: The Milky Way’s Black Hole Has a Feast
Tate Laboratory of Physics, University of Minnesota
116 Church Street Southeast Minneapolis, MN 55455
Friday, October 25, 2013; 8:00 pm

My husband looked at me like I was stupid when I said, “Did you know there is a giant black hole in the middle of the Milky Way?”  Apparently this is common knowledge.  At any rate, it is currently in the process of eating a giant cloud of gas.  I didn’t know any of this until I read up on it at the Society for Science News for Students.  I’d recommend sharing the article with your young astronomer before heading out to see it for yourself at the Friday Night Viewing.




Ballet Minnesota Fall Concert – Rite of Spring & Morning in Beijing
The O’Shaughnessy
St Catherine University, St Paul
Friday, October 25, 2013; 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 26, 2013; 2:00 p.m.
Saturday, October 26, 2013; 7:30 p.m.

We ordered our free tickets for this several weeks ago and my daugther and I have been waiting impatiently to go to our real live ballet performance.  This is another outing that I can’t imagine taking my preschool boys to, so my babysitter — who constantly tells me that I under-employ her — will get a twofer this weekend.  I just checked the website and it doesn’t look like the concert has sold out yet; it says tickets are available at the door.  I’d probably call to make sure at this point though.  651-690-6700.  If you want to make this outing extra special, you could pair it with When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky by local author Lauren Stringer.  The book gives a short history of the opening night of Rite of Spring.



Spooky Storytime at the Red Balloon Bookshop

Spooky Storytime and Magic Show with Matt Youngbauer at the Red Balloon Bookshop
Red Balloon Bookshop
891 Grand Ave., St. Paul, MN. 55105
Saturday, October 26, 2013; 10:30 a.m.

Join local children’s librarian, Matt Youngbauer, for a seasonally spooky storytime.  The fun will include less-than-scary stories, poems and magic tricks.



Free Family Fun Day: Unbeatable Bats
Carl Kroenig Interpretive Center
4900 Mississippi Court, Minneapolis, MN 55430
Sunday, October 23, 2013; 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
This week’s Free Family Fun Day at North Mississippi Regional Park is all about bats.  Perfect for a little science to go with the Halloween season.  As always this program is free and open to the public and is a drop in program any time between 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.  This is the perfect day for this because Green Bay and Minnesota play at 7:30 p.m., so you have the whole day to play.

Joy Peters is a co-founder of Family Fun Twin Cities.

The Choo Choo Bob Show Wins 3 Emmys!!!

The Choo Choo Bob Show is one of our all time favorites around here!  It airs on KSTC (Channel 45) on Saturdays at 2:30 pm.  It was created by Bob Medcraft who 8 years ago in 2005 opened his store called Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store.  Choo Choo Bob’s is only eight years old, but it is a well-known and loved destination for little train lovers and big train lovers alike.

Bob Medcraft used to produce music videos and TV commercials until one day he realized that the music video scene was dying.  That’s when he decided to open a retail store.  What a departure from the small screen.  Many of his colleagues thought he was crazy but knew that he liked tinkering with trains.

It wasn’t long after the store was opened that Bob was itching to be behind the camera again and created The Choo Choo Bob Show.   What could be better than a show for kids about trains?  Putting his two passions together–trains and film–was a perfect choice.

“It’s a fun show that’s really for the whole family,” he told me when he was just in the beginning stages.  With financial backing from Bob Vince (a train-lover and a pharmacy professor from the University of Minnesota who developed a drug to treat AIDS), The Choo Choo Bob Show was able to purchase a time slot on KSTC on Saturday mornings (it has since moved to Saturday afternoons) to entertain the local public. It started airing on June 2, 2012.

It has caused quite a stir in just over a year.  So much so that it was nominated for five or six emmys by the Upper Midwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.  On September 28, 2013, The Choo Choo Bob Show won THREE of them including Best Children’s Show for ages 12 and under.

If you’ve never heard of The Choo Choo Bob Show, let me introduce you.  Here are the Emmy-winning clips.

For Lighting (5 minutes)

For Writing (12 minutes)

For Best Children’s Show (25 minutes)

Choo Choo Bob plans to have a big ol’ party to celebrate and we will let you know the details when that happens.  There will be drawings, refreshments, a raffle, special one-day pricing, and of course storytime with Engineer Paul!

If you want to check out the store before the big party day, enjoy $5 off a purchase of $25 or more.  Don’t forget to print yourself a a coupon when you head down to Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store!  [coupon couponid=”986″ coupon_align=”cctor_alignright” name=”Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store”]

© 2016 Family Fun Twin Cities LLC. All Rights Reserved. 1786 Carroll Ave, Saint Paul, MN, 55104, USA