Archive - October 2015

Governor Dayton Invites Trick-or-Treaters to Governor’s Residence this Saturday
Twin Cities Weekend Free Family Events for Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2015
Read Aloud Wednesday– ‘A Dog is a Dog’ by Stephen Shaskan October 2015
We Can Give Back Month is Almost HERE! And Announcing The Great Give Back Challenge
Bookflix – A New Way to Read Together
Disc Golf in the Twin Cities
Mischief Comes to St. Paul – Grand Opening Celebration Saturday, October 24th
The Jungle Book at Children’s Theatre Company
Family Fun: Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, Minnesota

Governor Dayton Invites Trick-or-Treaters to Governor’s Residence this Saturday

This is a share of a Press Release from Governor Mark Dayton:

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Governor Dayton Invites Trick-or-Treaters to Governor’s Residence this Saturday

Halloween 2014 Governor's Residence

Governor Mark Dayton is calling all ghosts, ghouls, and goblins to celebrate Halloween at the Governor’s Residence this Saturday, October 31st – if they dare (1006 Summit Avenue, St. Paul). The gates of the Governor’s Residence will be open from 5:00–7:00pm.

Pearson’s Candy Company will donate over 1,000 candy bars, Mars, Inc. will donate 1,000 bags of Peanut M&Ms, Annie B’s Popcorn & Caramels will be donating caramels, and B.T. McElrath Chocolatier will donate chocolates to be handed out to trick-or-treaters. The Crow River Sustainable Farming Association will be donating mini-pumpkins painted by local schoolchildren. There will also hot apple cider donated by the Pine Tree Apple Orchard in White Bear Lake, and locally grown apples from Whistling Well Orchard, Apples Junction, and Carpenter Nature Center in Hastings, as well as Apple Tree-O in Delano. Reflective treat bags will be provided by SafeKids Minnesota through the Minnesota Safety Council to help promote safe trick-or-treating. 1006 Summit Avenue Society will also be donating glow sticks, necklaces, and candy.

The festive outdoor décor for the front entry way of the Governor’s Residence will be supplied by Heidi’s Lifestyle Gardens and the 1006 Summit Avenue Society.

Please also consider bringing a non-perishable food item or donation for Second Harvest Heartland, as the Governor’s Residence is a drop-off location.

Office of Governor Mark Dayton & Lt. Governor Tina Smith
116 Veterans Service Building
20 West 12th Street, Saint Paul, MN 55155


Twin Cities Weekend Free Family Events for Oct. 31 – Nov. 1, 2015

Saturday is packed full of of FREE Halloween events, most designed for the ones who want only the mildest of spooks and thrills. Read on for more details, and be sure to check our Family Fun Calendar for additional Halloween fun and beyond.


Free Ink Day: Dia de los Muertos
@ Highpoint Center for Printmaking

912 W Lake St., Minneapolis 55408

Time: 12-4pm
Details: All ages are welcome
to take part in this free Highpoint tradition. Learn how to carve relief blocks by hand and make prints to take home, this month’s theme celebrating Dia de los Muertos. Young children will enjoy the activity, but will need close participation from adults.

HOBT-22x28-Halloween-BLEED-1a[1]Monster Mash Sing Along with Heart of the Beast Puppet Theater
@ Calhoun Square
3001 Hennepin Ave. S. Minneapolis 55408

Time: 10 & 11:30am
Details: Heart of the Beast will take center stage in the first floor atrium with their first show at 10:00am. Afterwards, children will have the opportunity to “create and take” a puppet. The second show will begin at 11:30 am. Come in costume and go trick-or-treating at Calhoun Square after the show!

BareBones Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza
@ Hidden Falls Regional Park
1313 Hidden Falls Drive, Saint Paul, 55116

Time: 7-8pm
Details: Since 1993, BareBones Productions has presented The Annual Halloween Outdoor Puppet Extravaganza, a community-created spectacle pageant of larger-than-life puppetry, drama, stilting, dance, fire, song, and music that honors the circle of life by celebrating its seasonal arc of death in the Fall.

Halloween Events at Minneapolis Parks: Joy has rounded up a great list of 9 Halloween events (all of which are free save one) going on around Minneapolis Parks. Click the above link for the list.

Trick-or-Treating at Twin Cities Shopping Malls: Tons of not-so-spooky FREE events going on at Twin Cities-area shopping centers on Halloween! A handful include Rosedale Mall’s Spooktacular, Mall of America’s Howl-o-Ween, and Halloween on the Mall at Eden Prairie Center. For a complete list, click the above link.

Trick-or-Treating at Twin Cities Grocery Stores & Markets: Activities going on the day of Halloween include Boo Blast at Lunds/Byerly’s Wayzata and the Fall Festival at the Plymouth location (both 11am-3pm), and Halloween activities at the St. Paul Farmers Market.


It’s You & Me, Kid
@ Lowry Nature Center, Carver Park
7025 Victoria Drive, Victoria, 55386

Time: 2:30-4pm
Details: Unplug with your child in nature. Enjoy crafts, games, puzzles, coloring, nature artifacts, bird watching, and live animals. Go on a hike before or after the program.

Free Family Fun Days at Three Rivers Parks
Turkey Talk @ Richardson Nature Center, 3-4pm
Skulls @ Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, 1-3pm

Read Aloud Wednesday– ‘A Dog is a Dog’ by Stephen Shaskan October 2015

Family Fun at Home

Sometimes you want a quick and fun read with your kids. And this month’s suggestion is one of my favorites.  This month’s Read Aloud Wednesday Book Recommendation is  A Dog Is A Dog by Stephen Shaskan.

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We Can Give Back Month is Almost HERE! And Announcing The Great Give Back Challenge


Our Feed My Starving Children Crew




November is around the corner which means “We Can Give Back Month” is almost here!  Woohoo! Read More

Bookflix – A New Way to Read Together

We love reading at FFTC; and we love finding new ways to get our kids excited The last week or so, I’ve been fighting a head cold. The last thing I wanted to do was read out loud. Luckily, I had just discovered Bookflix through my Library. So, I had another option for reading time.

Bookflix is a program created by Scholastic books that pairs a child’s fiction book with a non-fiction book. So far all the fiction books we’ve tried have been animated books by Weston Woods and the corresponding non-fiction was a turn-the-page style e-book. My kid’s love these. I have the option of turning on or off the narrator, so I can read, or not read, depending on the day. Afterwards, we play three games: a vocabulary game, a fiction/non-fiction game, and a sequence game.  If we still want more, we can learn about the author, or Bookflix has suggestions for websites on the topic, or I can even read over the accompanying lesson plan that is included with each pairing. You can find the full book list HERE.

First Next Last

We like to project the screen onto our wall to make it a family thing, but I think it would also work really nicely cuddled on the couch with an iPad or laptop.  Either way, it adds the personal touch back into e-reading with kids. These books are aimed at pre-readers to early readers. My 5th Grader likes it to the extent that she gets to play teacher with the younger siblings.

The best part of Bookflix is that it is free with your library card. I’ve verified that St. Paul, Ramsey County, Hennepin County, Anoka County and Washington County Libraries all have subscriptions. My guess is that most libraries in the MELSA system do. To access Bookflix, grab your library card, log on to your library’s website and search “Bookflix”.  St. Paul Library was nice enough to make a video tutorial, but you can probably do this one on your own.

Disc Golf in the Twin Cities

disc golf

Todd Miltenberger (the mastermind behind our beautiful logo on FFTC) has a great suggestion for your summer fun that he and his family like to do together: Disc Golf.

This post contains affiliate links at no cost to you. 

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Mischief Comes to St. Paul – Grand Opening Celebration Saturday, October 24th

mischief toy store grand openingWe were all a little sad when Peapods Natural Toys and Baby Care closed its doors last spring. It had become a staple of Twin Cities parenting. But, Millie Adelsheim and Dan Marshall had run Peapods for 16 years and their babies had grown up with the store. We are so happy they have decided to stick around and make some Mischief. Mischief Toy Store that is.

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Mischief Toys opened October 1st, and they are throwing a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, October 24th from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Here is some of what you can expect: Read More

The Jungle Book at Children’s Theatre Company

Jungle Book SetChildren’s Theatre Company recommends The Jungle Book for kindergarten and up. I took my kindergartner as my date based on this recommendation even knowing it had an hour and 45 minute run time. He has a spotty record for making it through anything over 45 minutes, but we made it through and he loved it. Read More

Family Fun: Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, Minnesota

Forget that the name “Wyoming” conjures up a landscape hundreds of miles from the Twin Cities. Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming, Minnesota, is a fairly quick and easy day trip from most Metro locations because it sits right along a major freeway and just off the cusp of the northern suburbs. I took my bunch (ages ranging from 3 to 9) to Pinehaven today because of MEA break (also because it was forecast to be the last 70-degree day this year), but it would make a super fun family weekend outing as well.

I like the convenience of paying an admission charge upfront at a place that offers lots of activities. Pinehaven Farm’s got a plethora of activities to choose from and the entrance fee covers nearly all of them, including these highlights:


  • children’s playgrounds – most of the play equipment is appropriate for young children. The tot lot has a wonderful collection of corncrib slides, pony tire swings, junior pedal tractors, and a gravel box to play in. Send the older kids over to the two-story tube slides instead.

  • multiple mazes – including a tiny straw bale maze, a short hay bale maze, and a slightly more challenging one for school-aged kids.
  • tractor wagon and hay rides – kids up to 12 can ride the wagon train, but the short loops are geared for preschoolers. Entire families can take a hay ride into the fields to search for the perfect pumpkin (priced at 41¢ per lb.)

  • jumping pillow – kids can bounce to their heart’s content – if they don’t mind waiting in line (weekends will draw a crowd).
  • pedal trike track – the sturdy trikes appealed to my older kids; for the youngest in the bunch there is a small pedal tractor loop in the tot lot.
  • large petting farm – including goats, cows, emus, turkeys and more. Bring quarters for feed if your kids are interested in feeding the animals.
  • special weekend events – such as the pumpkin-eating dragon show (my kids LOVED this when they saw it a few years ago). Magic shows, a Halloween party and other special events are held select weekend dates. See the complete calendar here.

Extras not included in the admission fee: Bring cash if you think you might be interested in firing the corncob cannon ($1), purchasing a rubber duck for the duck derby races ($1), picking pumpkins (41¢ per lb.) or other produce, buying snacks or purchasing more substantial concessions (weekends only).

Other things to consider: Keep in mind that weekends, particularly temperate ones, are going to be crowded. If it’s an option for you, consider going during the week. Pinehaven Farm is open weekdays from noon – 6:30pm and admission is discounted $2.00 (to $6.50 per person) Monday – Wednesday. A coupon good for $1 off daytime admission throughout the week can be found here. Teens and/or adults might be interested in the darker side of Pinehaven Farm – the Dead End Hayride runs through Halloween.

Location: Pinehaven Farm is located at 28186 Kettle River Blvd., Wyoming, MN 55092 (conveniently along Interstate 35). It’s a little over a half hour’s drive from the middle of the Metro in good traffic.
Hours: Open weekdays noon – 6:30pm and weekends 10am – 6:30pm through October 31, 2014.
Admission: $8.50/pp Thursday – Sunday, $6.50/pp Monday – Wednesday, kids under 3 are free. Print and bring along this coupon for $1 off/pp.



Charles M. SchulzIn celebration of the November 6, 2015 release of The Peanuts Movie & St. Paul’s beloved “son” Charles M. Schulz, Saint Paul Mayor Chris Coleman will proclaim October 20, 2015 “Charles M. Schulz Day” and present Charles’ son Craig Schulz (writer/producer of THE PEANUTS MOVIE) with the proclamation.

Craig Schulz will be joined by Director Steve Martino, Snoopy and THE PEANUTS MOVIE cast including Francesca Capaldi (voice of Little Red Haired Girl), Noah Schapp (voice of Charlie Brown), Mar Mar (voice of Franklin) & Hadley Belle Miller (voice of Lucy) for the special ceremony!

Charles Schulz died in 2000 and for five years following his death, local artists honored him with peanuts statues all over the cities.  It could be fun to have an MEA weekend scavenger hunt for Peanuts statues to prepare your kids for this event.  The City of St. Paul offers a map of all public art – including Peanuts statutes.

If your kids are a little young to know who all the Peanuts characters are, Peanuts.Com can help you introduce them to the characters. Maybe it will become a family favorite.


-First 300 kids will receive a Halloween bag
-Face Painting
-Pumpkins from Tom’s Pumpkins
-Balloon Twists
-Photos with Snoopy
-Food Trucks: TOT BOSSNatedogsValleyfairFree Indeed Food
-Bergmann’s Kettle Corn


Tuesday, October 20, 2015
4 p.m.-8 p.m.
Landmark Plaza, St. Paul



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