Alphabet Adventures

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Richfield Monopoly

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Great Christmas Gift!

As soon as the Mall of America publishes it's 2015 coupon book I will update Twin Cities Family Fun Guide. Meanwhile, Alphabet Adventures: A to Z Activities, Crafts, & Recipes is only $10.80 on and would make the perfect Christmas gift for kids, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, daycare providers, Big Brothers/Big Sisters!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

beARTrageous Event: Sunday, November 23, 3 PM

There are so many cool places around town to do fun things and one of the best is beARTrageous, a super cool arts and crafting store and community in the Kenwood neighborhood of Minneapolis.

2121 W. 21st St, Minneapolis, MN 55405

On Sunday, November 23 at 3 PM, I'll be hosting a Thanksgiving-inspired arts and craft project and selling my books.  There will be refreshments and a door prize!

Please join us for some fun!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Princess Party Planned by a Pauper

Once upon a time, there was a little princess who delighted in all things fairy tale. Sadly, she was born into the home of a pauper. That pauper shopped at her local dollar store and hosted an amazing Royal Ball fit for the demanding princess. Come, see, and use the ideas the pauper is about to share:

1. The birthday guests were invited by hand made scrolls. Using brown paper lunch bags, the pauper carefully (and sometimes with curse words as it jammed a bit) printed invitations in the Blackadder ITC font: By order of Her Royal Highness Princess (her name) of (city/neighborhood), you are formally requested to attend a Royal Ball to celebrate her fifth birthday.  The festivities will commence at 2 o'clock on the afternoon of Sunday, October 26 at the Royal Palace (address).  Please come dressed as your favorite princess. There will be crafts, games, tea time, dancing, cake, and a special guest (or two).  All subjects are requested to send word of their reply by messenger on or before Saturday, October 25 at (phone number/email). Using thick 12 inch dowels (purchased at Joann Fabric) painted with golden paint, the servants glued the invitation to two dowels on the top and bottom and tied pretty soft white ribbon around them before they were hand delivered to each princess in the surrounding neighborhood.

2. The wee princess guests were greeted with three signs that were printed on paper grocery bags and glued to long sticks (purchased at Michael's) and with tied golden ribbons (purchased at Joann Fabric).  The first sign said: Once upon a time~in a land far far away, the second sign said: there lived a beautiful princess who was invited to a royal ball, and the third sign said: Welcome to the Royal Ball princess!  The Nutracker Suite's March played as each maiden entered the castle's courtyard.

3. As the guests entered the castle, they were pulled through "The Princess Portal" that brought them back in time and space to the enchanted land of fairy tales and all things commercialized Disney Princess (Lord help us all).  The pauper swore she would never stoop so low as to commercialize a birthday party but the pleading of the young and eloquent princess squelched all resistance.  Alas she has promised to speak on the importance of healthy relationships and issues pertaining to feminism at the future Girl Scout troop of this and the other princesses to redeem herself properly.

4.  The little royals played in the table fort castle made with fleece and plastic windows inspired by other Pinterest-obsessed paupers.

6. Much merriment was had playing princess-insired games such as: tape the kiss to the frog,

they were each given a princess passport (with a picture of each princess and a check box) and went on a scavenger hunt to find each and every princess (Disney princess images printed off of the internet on card stock and taped around the castle): Tiana is next to the frog (see above), Snow White in a bowl of apples, Cinderella near the fireplace, Belle on the bookshelf, Aurora on the bed frame, Rapunzel on the wall leading to the second story, Pocahotas on the sliding glass door (looks like she's standing in the backyard), Jasmin on the spice cabinet door, Merida near the Celtic cross, Ariel on the fish tank, Mulan on the China cabinet, Elsa (who is a queen and not a princess as the pauper was constantly told) and Anna on the freezer (of course!). The passport also had a list of all of the activities for the day that they could check off.


Dollar store cups with images of the Evil Queen from Snow White (image printed from internet) were stacked up and the princess practiced their pitches by throwing poisoned apples at the queen turned witch.


A game of Princess Bingo was played using Hershey's Kisses. Each (and every) Bingo winner won a special crown made from dollar store birthday hats.  The pauper ran out of her OCD medication and painted each hat with four coats of pink paint, printed off a tiara with each of their names, pulled the original elastic and put stronger elastic from Joann Fabric on each hat and carefully pulled a piece of shiny, glittery pink fabric through the top of each hat. Then she called her shrink and got a refill on her Rx.

7. Each of the guests were led into the coronation room to receive their crown and have their royal portrait taken with Belle!


On their way out, they had their picture taken in the magical mirror:

8. Each princess created magic by turning a pumpkin into a carriage.  Each child was given a golden pumpkin, two wheels, a door, and picture of Cinderella to color and glue to her pumpkin.

9. Cake was had and according to tradition, the first two cakes landed in the dung heap. Star-shaped brownies were served instead. True Love's Kisses hoarded during aforementioned bingo game satiated the sweet tooth of most of the attendees and the pauper decided to Let it Go!
10. Gifts were chaotically received and opened. The pauper couldn't keep track of who gave what but did make an honest attempt. Unfortunately the court scribe was in the lavatory.  She was quite excited that her daughter received several hand-me-down/re-gifted gifts.  As paupers she advocates the re-se of such items, the princesses who get tired of games seem to enjoy giving them away and the pauper enjoys knowing that when their princess tires of the games and toys, they can pass them on to other princes and princesses.

 11. Rapunzel made a guest-appearance and shocked the young ones with her Crystal Gayle length hair, then a golden wiener dog tape dispenser was presented to the lovely Rapunzel as a gift of gratitude because it just seemed appropriate or not.

12. The little ladies then kicked off their glass slippers and danced to a mix of princess songs:
Aladdin's A Whole New WorldBeauty and the Beast
Beauty and the Beast

Cinderella's Where Did I Put that Thing/Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo
Little Mermaid's Kiss the Girl
Tangled's When Will My Life BeginPocahontas' Colors of the Wind
The Princess and the Frog's Dig a Little Deeper
Snow White and the Seven Dwarf's Whistle While You Work

13. Each princess was presented with a special gift on their way back to the enchanted forest:

Many items were purchased at the dollar store: Bibbidi-Bobbidi-Boo bubbles, Disney princess Kleenex package, Elsa's melted ice water bottle, Ariel's Goldfish snacks in little baggies from the dollar store, True Love's kisses a tiny tiara, Aurora's sleeping mask

Friday, September 12, 2014

Science in the Kitchen

Yesterday I was surprised with an early Christmas gift, a big white envelope with local Minnesota scientist and mom Liz Heinecke's brand new book Kitchen Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments Around the house. I enjoyed meeting Liz on the Twin Cities Live set back in June and loved her easy to make experiments and nature studies featured during her segment.

As soon as I ripped open the envelope and started reading the book I knew the 52 experiments designed to be easy enough for a 2 year-old to help and interesting enough for a teen to learn would be incorporated a weekly science day into our alphabet-obsessed lives. 

Liz has pulled together manageable and yet totally fun experiments including chemical reactions, physics, life science, polymers, botany, microbiology, electricity, and even rocket science.  This book would make a perfect birthday or even teacher gift.

Liz is a former research scientist who has turned her love of science into a source of inspiration for not only her children and their friends but for readers of her Kitchen Pantry Scientist blog, her KidScience appKARE 11 Sunrise News (she was on this morning!), and even served as an Earth Ambassador for NASA.

I highly recommend purchasing this book for your family.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Uncommon Gardens

It's an unusual place for a garden, right smack in the middle of Lyndale, 58th Street and right off of the crazy Crosstown Hwy 62, you'll find Uncommon Gardens. A beautiful gardening store with everything you're looking for on the edge of South Minneapolis. 

The best part of this store...they have a Gardening Elves club that meets once a month in the summer to do fun crafts for the little people who flock our gardens every summer (ummm, pixies, fairies, gnomes...all those creatures you have to have the heart of a child to see and believe. This Saturday, I'm excited to be hosting my first event at Uncommon Gardens...a hammock and raft.   Call
(612) 866-3033 or just show up at 11 AM.  The event is my favorite kind, free!  If you can't make this one, be sure to join the mailing list here to learn about upcoming events.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

FREE & Frugal Family Fun June 13 - 18

All listings are free unless price is noted. Be sure to read the Disclaimer before you go to these events.

Friday, June 13
Stone Arch Bridge Festival

Sand Castle Day, Round Lake Park, Eden Prairie, ages 6 and under, 10 AM – 2 PM

The Princess Bride, Lake Harriet Bandshell, 15 minutes after sunset

Saturday, June 14
National Get Outdoors Day, FREE admission to all Minnesota State Parks

National Outdoor Day Hike: From Fish Creek to Prairie, ages 8+, 9:30 – 11:30 AM

Family Flicks, Theatres of Mall of America, 10 AM, Hugo

Minnesota PlayCleanGo, Richardson Nature Center, 11 AM – 3 PM

Canoe and Kayak Demos, Cedar Lake Farm Regional Park, 12 – 2 PM, ages 5+

Father’s Day Card Craft, American Girl, 2 PM, ages 8+

Deutsche Tage Weekend Celebration, St. Paul

Father’s Day Lunch and Outdoor Activities, Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, 12 – 3 PM, $8 – 12

Pa and Ma Day, The Landing, 12 – 5 PM, $3 – 5

Father’s Day Card Craft, American Girl, 1 PM, ages 8+

Feeding Frenzy, Eastman Nature Center, 1 – 3 PM

Pond Dipping, Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, 1 – 3 PM

Raptors in the Yard, Lowry Nature Center, 2 – 4 PM

Amazing Father’s in Nature, Richardson Nature Center, 3 – 4 PM

Walk with an Entomologist, Silverwood Park, 5 – 6 PM

Family Archery, Baker Near-Wilderness Settlement, 6 – 8 PM, ages 8+

Monday, June 16
Cafesjian’s Carousel, Como Zoo & Conservatory, 11 AM – 4 PM, FREE rides!

Noodles has extended their  free kid's mac and cheese meal with an adult meal through June. Click here for additional kids eat free deals around the Twin Cities.

Tuesday, June 17

Wonder Pets!
Mall of America's Toddler Tuesdays, 10 AM – 12 PM, Rotunda

Wonder Pets, Toddler Flicks, Mall of America, 11:30 AM

Wednesday, June 18
Groovin’ in the Garden, Como Zoo Conservatory, 6 – 8 PM

Ongoing Programs
Barnes & Noble Storytime
Brickmania Toyworks Open House, Minneapolis, Saturdays 10 AM – 4 PM, Sundays 12 – 4 PM, first Thursdays 5 – 9 PM
Children’s Theatre, Shrek the Musical (until 6/15) and The Cat in the Hat (until 7/20),  Minneapolis, cost varies
Como Zoo (suggested donation) $3 adult/$2 child
Crafts for Kids, Lakeshore Learning, Maplewood and St. Louis Park, Saturdays, 11 AM – 3 PM
ExploraDome Show, Bell Natural History Museum, Minneapolis,$4 - 6
Family Fridays, Midtown Global Market, Minneapolis, 5 - 8 PM
Family Fun Tuesdays, Caponi Art Park, 10 - 11 AM, $4 suggested donation
Fraconia Guided Tours, Sundays, 2 PM, FREE!
Free Tuesday Nights, Minnesota History Center, 5 - 8 PM
Gammalgarden Museum Tours, Scandia, Fridays & Saturdays, 1 & 2:30 PM, $7 adults, kids free
Hennepin County Library Storytime, Book Clubs, and Events

Historic Train Depot Open Day, St. Louis Park, Saturdays (through 9/13) 1 – 4 PM, Wednesdays  July 2, Aug 6, and Sep 3, 7 - 8:30 PM
Kids Bowl Free   Mastermind, Mold, and Make:Creativity Jam, Children's Museum, St. Paul, 9 AM - 8 PM, $9.95/ticket or buy a membership (exhibit closes 9/7)
Kiddywampus Open Studio, Hopkins, Mondays – Saturdays, 10 AM – 4:30 PM, $8, ages 18 months – 10
Maplewood Nature Center
Midtown Global Market Neighborhood Night, Thursdays, 5 - 8 PM
Minnesota Historical Society, full listing of events
Mommy & Me Music Class, Teeny Bee Boutique, Thursdays, 3:30 - 4:15 PM, birth - 3
Open Eye Driveway Tours – Summer 2014 Schedule
Play Date Wednesday, Teeny Bee Boutique, St. Paul, 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Pottery Barn Kids Summer Reading Challenge (through 7/17)

Saturday Morning on the Gale Woods Farm
, Minnetrista, 9:30 AM – 12 PM, all ages, $5 
State Capital LEGO Model Display, State Capitol, St. Paul, 8:30 - 5 PM
Summit Avenue Walking Tours, James J. Hill House, St. Paul, 11 AM & 2 PM, $8 kids, $12 adults, discount for members
Sunday Guided Tour of Fraconia, 2 - 3 PM
Tail Time,
Wild Rumpus, Mondays, 10:30 AM
St. Paul Public Libraries, events and classes
St. Paul Music in the Parks
Toys of the 50s, 60s, & 70s, Minnesota History Center, St. Paul, 10 AM-5 PM, $6 kids/$11 adults or buy a membershipHistoric Fort Snelling, Opening Weekend, Veterans receive free entrance on Memorial Day, 10 AM-5 PM, kids $6, adults $11 or buy a membership
Twin City Model Railroad Museum and Toy Train Division, St. Paul, 10 AM – 3 PM, $6
Ultimate Dinosaurs, Science Museum of Minnesota, (runs until 8/24)
Walker Art Center, Target Free Thursday Nights, 5 - 9 PM
Walking Tours, St. Paul, 1st, 3rd, and 4th Wednesday, 10 AM
Wee Wednesdays, Midtown Global Market, 10 AM - 1 PM

Family Fun Twin Cities 
highlights several free family-friendly activities going on this weekend and also provides an on-going free calendar of activities each day.
Macaroni Kid
 is a great resource for finding kid-friendly events in your area.
MELSA Library Calendar
 makes it easy to find events at your local library (and they have much more than just reading-based activities)
PhenoMNal Twin Cities
 lists freebies and discounts for adults in the Twin Cities and maintains an events calendar, as well.
Thrifty Minnesota
 has an “events” category highlighting free and discounted activities for Minnesota folks.
Twin Cities Frugal Mom
 cherry-picks a wide variety of family-friendly events with her Deals & Events calendar.