Archive - May 2014

The Free List – Top Five Free Family Events This Weekend
Finding Fun in St. Paul: Grand Old Day, WaterFest & tpt Family Fun Day at Como (May 31 – June 1)
“Kids Bowl Free” All Summer Long
Discover Aviation Days at Anoka County Airport
Tracing Fault Lines – Final Weekend – Thursday Pay What You Are Able
Family Fun Tuesdays and Open House at Caponi Art Park
Pictures from This Weekend.
Bedlam Lowertown Grand Opening Party
I Have Today
Sparky Returns For The 58th Year!

The Free List – Top Five Free Family Events This Weekend

Oh, it is summer, finally!  I took Gianna’s advice on her 5-Step Summer Planning this year, and my family’s dance card is full from now until school starts.  It’s amazing how much the Twin Cities and greater Minnesota have to offer.  I would like to do everything on the Free List this weekend, but we have to be reasonable.  We’re going to the Cat In The Hat on Friday night (see my review next week) and a school party on Saturday.  If we get to Flint Hills on Sunday, we won’t leave time for errand running or (God forbid) housework.  Not that I’m complaining.  If you don’t have a plan for the weekend, below are five great options and there is plenty more on The Calendar. Read More

Finding Fun in St. Paul: Grand Old Day, WaterFest & tpt Family Fun Day at Como (May 31 – June 1)

Real quick: three ways to entertain the family this weekend, May 31 – June 1, in St. Paul — and on a budget!

Grand Old Day
Grand Avenue between Dale Street & Wheeler Avenue (map)
Sunday, June 1 • 8am – 6pm
Free to attend, extra cost for some children’s activities

Parking can be a hassle and, in our opinion, the activities in the Family Fun District can be a drain on the wallet, but there will be free live music on the Family Stage and interactive games in the Sports District. Free Metro Transit bus passes can be downloaded here. Get more details at the Grand Old Day website.

Phalen Lake Park, north of Phalen Drive & Wheelock Pkwy
Saturday, May 31 • 11am – 4pm
Free to attend

The fun, and completely free, activities at WaterFest (minus the food, natch) will keep you busy for hours. There are watercraft rides and fishing lessons on Lake Phalen, booths of hands-on exhibits, the Park & Rec portable climbing wall, archery, and lots more. Those are my kids, at right, learning about life down in the sewers from the Ramsey-Washington Metro Watershed District.

tpt Family Fun Day
Como Town & Como Park Zoo
Saturday, May 31 • 10am – 4pm
Free to attend, Como Town wristbands discounted

Join tpt for their annual Family Fun Day at Como. Special activities include: songwriting for kids with Steven Sanders of Snapdragon Seeds (take it from me – this can be a fun keepsake), TV character appearances on the Sparky Stage, and discounted Como Town ride wristbands ($12/tpt member, $14/non-member).

“Kids Bowl Free” All Summer Long

kids bowl free mnKids Bowl Free*
34 locations in Minnesota
Now – Labor Day, 2015 (may vary by site)
*Kids bowl up to 2 games free, shoe rental fees apply for all ages!
Note: This article was originally published on FFTC in 2013 and has been updated for 2015.

Yes, it’s budget entertainment and a fun way to keep cool in the summer, but before you register the children for Kids Bowl Free know that the name of the program is a bit misleading. The two-games-per-day-per-kid deal is definitely free. But, at least according to the lanes I went to last summer, shoe rental is required for each bowler (this included my under-three-year-old). I was aware of the conditions when I registered, so I was prepared to pay the $3 shoe rental fee – which made the outing certainly not free, but nevertheless a relatively budget outing for under $10.

kids bowl free mnThe kids had a great time, too. Bumpers popped up at the touch of a button. Computerized scoring helped this math-challenged mom. There was even a ramp to help the youngest start her ball down the right track – but still let her feel independent. Two games provided just the right amount of fun before weariness and whining for snacks set in.

Registering for the program is simple. This handy link will help you find the closest of 30 bowling locales in Minnesota. Once you’ve found it, fill out the online form and your weekly vouchers will arrive via email. Print vouchers ahead of time and bring them only to the location you’ve registered for (it is possible to register at more than one alley, but separate accounts are required for each).

Have fun hitting the lanes this summer!

Discover Aviation Days at Anoka County Airport

We don’t live far from the Anoka County Airport, and one of our favorite weekends to be outside is the first weekend in June when we get to see (and hear) B-52 Bombers buzz through the sky .   Read More

Tracing Fault Lines – Final Weekend – Thursday Pay What You Are Able

Photos from Tracing Fault Lines (via In The Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre’s Press Release)

Tracing Fault Lines
In the Heart of the Beast Puppet Theatre, 1500 E Lake St, Minneapolis
Thursday, May 29, 8PM (Pay-what-you-can)
Friday, May 30, 8PM(Audio Described) ($15)
Saturday, May 31, 3PM(ASL Interpreted) & 8PM ($15)

Mad Munchkin Productions is in its second and final week of Tracing Fault Lines.  This family-friendly (recommended for ages 8 and up) puppetry, mask and movement production features original music and explores natural disasters, such as volcanoes; man-made disasters, like agriculture gone rogue; and interpersonal tragedies.  Tomorrow night (Thursday) is a Pay-As-Able Performance.  Pay at the door on a first-come-first-served basis. Otherwise, you can get $15 tickets for all performances HERE.

Family Fun Tuesdays and Open House at Caponi Art Park

caponi art park

Family Fun Tuesdays at Caponi Art Park
1220 Diffley Road, Eagan, MN
Tuesdays June 3 – August 26, 2014 • 10 – 11am
Admission is free with suggested $4 donation per person

I jotted down a few notes after I visited Caponi Art Park with two of my girls for the first time last summer: “It was not the kind of park my 4-year-old daughter imagined we’d be going to when we set out that morning, but she was singing its praises by the time we were on our way out. The importance of creativity and nature in play is not lost on her.”

caponi art parkWe had gone with the purpose of checking out Caponi’s Family Fun Tuesdays, a program that will rev up again next week (June 3, to be exact) for it’s 16th season. The series makes a variety of cultural – and educational – performers accessible to families in an environment that inspires imagination. At right, my girls are taking in a West African folk tale by storyteller Jerry Blue.

You can find the full Family Fun Tuesdays lineup here. Plan to spend time afterwards exploring some of the 60 acres that make up this woodland sculpture garden. Art pops up in unexpected places, down meandering paths, and begs for interpretation!

Saturday, May 31, Caponi Art Park will host its annual Spring Open House from 1 – 4pm. Live music and a children’s art activity will promote Caponi’s September Bluegrass Festival.

Pictures from This Weekend.

Sometimes we don’t do any of the things we previewed.  Whether you chose to hang out in your backyard, hit one of the great activities around the twin cities or travel further out into the world, we hope you had a great Memorial Day Weekend.  We did.  We’ve shared pictures of our weekend below. Read More

Bedlam Lowertown Grand Opening Party

Bedlam QuoteBedlam Theatre Lowertown Grand Opening Party
Bedlam Lowertown, 213 East Fourth St., St. Paul, MN 55101
Saturday, May 31st, 12:00 p.m. – 2:00.a.m.
Bedlam Theatre is inviting the public to help celebrate the grand opening of their Lowertown venue.

Read More

I Have Today

I am a mama.  I live with my husband and four children in a tiny house.  And I’m tired.  If I could get through just one day without an emotional breakdown over socks, I would be thrilled.  My children are  tempermental.  They  are ACTIVE and exhausting, constantly testing their boundaries.

I don’t want to admit how often I become Mommyzilla trashing all the “treasures” in my house.  I roar unnecessarily at the bystanders and scare them into their rooms.  Mommy can’t stand hearing her name ONE. MORE. TIME.  They really shouldn’t need me like this.

Yet they do, and they keep needing me.

And if one more person tells me to enjoy this time because it’s over before you know it, so help me!

My goal each morning is to make it through until I can put them to bed.  I may even try to get the dishes done.

After doing the dishes for a 1/2 hour, I can see this clean dishes

And then I turn my head and see this

dirty dishes


It is all-consuming work–this parenting thing.  It’s thankless and messy.  It’s an anxiety attack on steriods.  There’s not a night where I don’t fall into bed thinking about everything I did wrong during the 3 seconds it takes me to fall asleep.

But then in the morning I wake up, and somehow I do it all again with  renewed strength.  Because I am a parent–a completely imperfect parent that screws things up more than I do things right. That’s why parents are strong. Though we keep getting knocked down, each day we get back up and start again.

Because I have today and only today– with opportunities to roar and hug, feed and clean, fold laundry and giggle, defend and discipline, apologize and cry. And I’m going to embrace it all.


Sparky Returns For The 58th Year!

This is a share from my email.  Another sign of Summer is that Sparky the Sea Lion will be back outside starting Saturday.  I’m assuming Sparky isn’t actually 58 years old.  Does anyone know how many Sparky incarnations there have been?  I’d like to know.

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