03 March 2017

We wish you a Merry Christmas...

Around here, we love the December Holidays, and we devote a lot of time to reading Christmas and Hannukah stories, baking treats, helping others, and learning about how God loves us. We use the Jesse tree template for reading through the Biblical stories in December and have found it enriches the holiday season for us, helping us focus on what really matters.

 Things start with the search for the perfect tree. We love AMP trees in Bradford - You can't find a bad tree there.
 Each year, we attend the light show at the U of M College of Engineering. It's created by students and rocks.
 This year, our little guy sang in the Christmas program at Park Ave. United Methodist Church. Oh, those little kidlets are so precious.


Living nativity at Crosstown Covenant Church, complete with animals, crafts and hot cocoa. We love that it was inside on such a cold night!

The best Christmas light show in the neighborhood, one block south of Minnehaha Parkway on Nokomis.

 The thing we love most about shows at Stages Theater in Hopkins is how you can always chat with the performers and snap a photo. This year, the show was Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.

We had just enough snow for a (mostly) white hayride at Bunker Hills Stables.

The lights of Hannakuh brighten the dark nights of a Minnesota winter.

02 March 2017

CULTURE: Hungarian for an afternoon

Because we were rowing through "Hanna's Cold Winter," I went searching for a taste of Hungarian culture in the Twin Cities, and discovered that there's not only a Minnesota Hungarian group but that they have a holiday festival. And so we signed up and went!

December 6th is a special day in Hungary. Mikulas (St. Nicholas) is coming to town on this day.
On the evening of the 5th of December children polish their boots and put them in the window. During the night, Mikulás (St. Nicholas) will come and fill their boots with candy, fruit, chocolate Mikulas figures and small gifts. That is, if they have been good! Naughty children receive a bundle of twigs, usually with a krampusz-figure attached (Krampusz: is Mikulas' helper, a mean goblin who punishes bad children). Since no child is all good or all bad, most get the bundle of twiggs and the presents.





The event started off with presentations from students in their Hungarian language program, and concluded with a visit from Mikulas, who passed out treat bags and posed for photos. Then there was a potluck, and we got to taste Hungarian food. It was great to be surrounded as much as we could with Hungarian music, language, food, and people. What a fun thing to stumble upon!

01 March 2017

FIELD TRIP: Orchestra Hall and Macy's Santa

It's so wonderful to be able to attend child-friendly and pocket-book friendly shows at Orchestra Hall. Tickets for the Young People's Concerts are just $5 each. The conductor takes time out to explain the instruments and music, letting the kids know what to pay attention to. Plus there are dance and theatrical groups joining in to create a visual experience, as well.

This year's holiday show was Peter and the Wolf, and it was brought to life by actors from Theater de la Jeune Lune.

Young listeners will recognize the personality of each character within the music: sprightly strings for the adventurous Peter, a bassoon for his stern Grandfather, and other instruments for the bird, duck, cat, hunters and the stealthy wolf.


Since we were already downtown, the kids ran around Peavey Plaza until they got cold, and then we headed into the skyways to visit Macy's 8th Floor and Santa Claus -- a first for my kiddos.






28 February 2017

FIELD TRIP: Cinderella and a park

Pagentry and sparkles steal the show for Cinderella at the Children's Theater. This was our second time seeing this particular show at CTC. It was mostly the same, with a few jokes updated. The kids love the glamour and glitz. The Boy talked for a long time about poor Cinderalla - I hope the show taught them compassion for those who are in rough circumstances.

Afterwards, the day was nice so we ran around in the bowl in the park across the street from the MIA.






27 February 2017

FIELD TRIP: Ice Skating at Loring Park

Loring Park was a lovely place to celebrate our winter weather during the Holidazzle festivities. We were there at the tail end, but the ice was still good and the crisp air made us feel alive. We brought our own skates, but they had free rentals, courtesy of Wells Fargo, and a nice warming house -- important if you have kiddos!






26 February 2017

FIELD TRIP: The Hub Bike shop

We got a behind-the-scenes tour at The Hub Bike Shop in Minneapolis, the Twin Cities' only cooperatively owned bike shop, and, oh, was it interesting. There are so many bikes stored up in the ceiling in the back, and they kids got the opportunity to bring one down and up. Then they learned a bit about how to take care of their own bikes, including how to check their tire pressure and then fill it up. What a great neighborhood business!

 About the Hub:
The Hub is a worker-owned and democratically-run workplace focused on providing excellent bicycle products and services. All workers have opportunities to vote on different aspects of the business, and have equal access to informationThe Hub is firmly committed to donating labor, money, and merchandise in order to support various community initiatives throughout the year.  The business dedicated 5% of profits to supporting the cycling community, the community at large, and the environment.
  • In addition to new products, we also provide 2nd hand bikes at the 3020 Minnehaha location.
  • The Hub’s “People and the Planet Fund” donates a portion of profits to supporting the community and helping the environment.
 A Green Business:
  • We recycle tires and tubes leftover from our repairs and are now offering this service to you. We will take limited quantities of tires and tubes with any purchase
  • Metal is separated and taken to the scrap yard
  • Plastics are separated into 5 different types and recycled
  • We use and/or offer a selection of plant based chain lubes and bio-degradable grease
  • The vast majority of Hubsters bike daily all year round. This includes for work, for getting around town, and for fun
  • We use 100% post-consumer, recycled paper products

13 February 2017

Podcasts offer free audio stories for kids - check out Podcast Addicts today

When you have a concussion, there isn't much you can do. You can't watch television or read. You don't feel well enough to get up and run around. And so, you're left with audio books.

We were glad when a fellow homeschooling friend showed us Podcast Addict and helped us subscribe to a number of podcasts. Audio stories for free! That's the best.

And then Daddy gave up one of his monthly Audible books for us, and we spent hours listening to Anne of Green Gables, who went from one scrap to another. What a trial she was. And how much we love her!

If you're looking for some great podcasts for young kids, this is what we love:

Brains On!® is a science podcast for curious kids and adults from American Public Media. Co-hosted each week by kid scientists and reporters from public radio, we ask questions ranging from the science behind sneezing to how to translate the purr of cats, and go wherever the answers take us.

The Story Home Children's Audio Stories

A wonderful world of stories awaits you at The Story Home, read by a very special storyteller named Alan. Here you will find enchanting original children's tales that cannot be found anywhere else.
 

Story Pirates

Story Pirates is a group of world-class actors, comedians, improvisers and musicians who adapt stories written by kids into sketch comedy and musical theater.

Barefoot Books


 Discover a weekly selection of award-winning children's stories and songs from Barefoot Books. We are an independent publisher specializing in carefully crafted books, gifts and digital content for children that combine the best of the present with the best of the past to educate our children as the caretakers of tomorrow. These classic children’s stories, fairy tales, poems and songs tap into the wisdom of many cultures, while never forgetting that childhood is a time for fun.

Sparkle Stories

Sparkle Stories produces original audio stories for families around the world. Each week on the Sparkle Stories Podcast, we'll be sharing a Free Story from one of our Original Story Series.
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