Alphabet Adventures

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

ADDITIONAL FAMILY FUN RESOURCES
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.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Q is for Q. Cumbers



We're kicking off our 4th Alphabet Summer next week and we're starting with one of the toughest letters of the alphabet - the letter Q! 

Starting at 6 PM on Monday, June 9, the Alphabet Adventures gang and I will be selling Free & Frugal Family Fun books for $10 at Q. Cumbers in Edina and providing a fun and easy craft for kids

Q.Cumbers is one of the 53 restaurants with 113 locations listed in the book that has kids eat cheap or free nights.  

Every Monday from 4 PM to close up to two children ages 12 and under eat for 99¢ with one adult meal.  Q. Cumbers is one of the best buffet style restaurants in the Twin Cities with the biggest and best salad bar.  

10% of book sales are donated to Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota

Q. Cumbers is located at 7465 France Avenue South in Edina. If the weather is good, make it a family night with a stroll around Centennial Lakes, a paddle boat ride, or a little putting golf. If you're lucky, there'll be some model boats on the lake.  Hope you can join us!







Sunday, June 1, 2014

FREE! & Frugal Family Fun June 6 - 12



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

Friday, June 6
Kiddywampus Open Studio, Hopkins, 10 AM – 4:30 PM, $8, ages 18 months – 10

Edina Art Fair, 10 AM – 7 PM

Gammalgarden Museum Tours, Scandia, 1 & 2:30 PM, $7 adults, kids free

ExploraDome Show, Bell Natural History Museum, Minneapolis, 2 – 3 PM, $4 - 6
Saturday, June 7
Birding by Ear, Carl Kroening Interpretive Center, Minneapolis, 7 – 9 AM, $5, ages 12+

Home Depot Free Kids Workshops, Build a Riding Lawnmower, 9 AM – 12 PM

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

Twin City Model Railroad Museum and Toy Train Division, St. Paul, 10 AM – 3 PM, $6

Edina Art Fair, 10 AM – 7 PM

Snakes Alive and Dad’s Day Ties, Eastman Nature Center, Dayton, 10:30 AM – 12 PM, $7

Raptors in the Amphitheater, Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington, 11 AM – 12 PM

Crafts for Kids, Lakeshore Learning, Maplewood and St. Louis Park, 11 AM
Time Capsule for Kids, Alexander Ramsey House, 12 PM, 1 PM, $7 – 10

Family Archery, Cleary Lake Regional Park, Prior Lake, 1 – 3 PM, $7

Grimm Farmhouse Open House, Victoria, 1 – 4 PM
Sunday, June 8
Parade of (Model) Boats, Centennial Lakes Park, Edina, 10 AM

Edina Art Fair, 10 AM – 5 PM

Author Phyllis Root, Plant a Pocket of Prairie, Red Balloon Bookshop, 10:30 AM

Summer Author Tour: Meet Megan McDonald,  American Girl, 11 AM - 1 PM, ages 8+

Tuesday, June 10

KiddieKarnival
, Mall of America's Toddler Tuesdays, 10 AM – 12 PM, Rotunda

Princess Bitty Baby Story Time, American Girl, 11 AM – 1 PM, ages 3+

Walking with Dinosaurs, Toddler Flicks, Mall of America, 11:30 AM
Summer Reading Bookmark Craft, American Girl, 2 – 4 PM, ages 8+

Thursday, June 12
Summer Flower Anklet Craft, American Girl, 2 – 4 PM, ages 8+

Authors Geoff & Jeff, Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders, Red Balloon Bookshop, 7 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
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
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)
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
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

ADDITIONAL FAMILY FUN RESOURCES
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.