Archive - September 2016

Bookhounds Review – One North Star
Family Fun: Deardorff Orchards, Waconia
BookHounds Invites: Belinda Jensen

Bookhounds Review – One North Star

One North Star is a delightful book that pleasantly exceeded my expectations. The illustrations by Beckie Prange and Betsy Bowen are beautiful and engaging; and Phyllis Root manages to pack a great deal of information into lyrical prose.

One North Star

I first sat down to read the book with my math-loving preschooler, assuming he would enjoy any counting book. However, within a couple pages, my first-grader was wedged in by us, playing along as we read. By the end, I had three of them engaged (ages 4-11).

This is the kind of book that can be read repeatedly but with a different focus each time. It can be read as:

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Family Fun: Deardorff Orchards, Waconia

tm deardroff orchards

Fall cannot officially commence for our family until we’ve taken a trip out to an apple orchard. The kids look forward to this tradition as soon as the State Fair wraps, school is back in session, and the weekends take on a twinge of crisp in the air. Having maintained for a few years an orchard directory of sorts for Family Fun Twin Cities, I feel like I’ve got a pretty good handle on the crop of apple farms to choose from in the metro. And yet, every fall an orchard pops up on my radar that I hadn’t considered before. Deardorff Orchards in Waconia was this year’s new find.

Our visit had nothing to do with blogging or business, it was simply an afternoon meant to be spent with friends — picking apples, taking a tractor hayride, munching absolutely delicious wood-fired pizza on a picnic blanket, and in the kids’ case, building log shelters and throwing themselves heedlessly off hay bales.

PicMonkey Collage deardorff orchards

The pickings weren’t as superior as we’ve found at other orchards in the west metro and be prepared to pay $20-$30 for your pecks, but we appreciated that there was no admission charge or nickel-and-diming for any of the simple activities. Our kids found plenty to do clambering on logs, getting up close to the horses, touring the orchard by tractor ride, and enjoying the fresh air.

Had we the time and/or inclination, there’s the onsite Parley Lake Winery, located adjacent to the classic white apple barn. Long after the last apples have fallen from the trees, the tasting room is still open Friday-Sunday until Dec 20.

BookHounds Invites: Belinda Jensen


I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I was a little star-struck when I first met Belinda Jensen.  But she admits herself that she is a science nerd–and has always been one.

As a meterologist, Belinda gets to meet with second-graders and has learned first hand about their anxiety over the weather.  This is where being a mom herself collides with being a science nerd.

The Mayo Clinic has done research about how to help kids.  Bel took that information from Mayo and applied it.  She could do something to help kids.

That’s how Bel the Weather Girl  was born.

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