If you haven't been to the Midtown Global Market on Lake Street in Minneapolis, you really should make a point of stopping. Just a few blocks off of 35W is all the authentic global food you can eat. Parking is free, it's a great place for photos and you really feel a part of the city.
I recently learned that on Wednesdays they host a kid party called Wee Wednesdays and provide child friendly entertainment from 10:30 until 1. Today there was a lovely little duo by the name of Skunk Hollow (great talent) and Oliver was digging it!
We met a few friends there – and while our older kids weren't as into it as we thought, the "wee ones" were all about it. Every Wednesday it's something different, puppets, music, magic – you never know what you might see.
Like most other things we do around here...it's absolutely FREE...you can even bring your own lunch as there are plenty of open seats!
Ollie was told to "shake that egg shaker." He brought the house down...for once not with his whining.
"Dad, we went to a bookstore where there was a chicken. It pecked me...like hard. But then I found this cat and brought it to the chicken and the chicken just turned the other way."
"Axel, where was this bookstore?"
Maybe I should have talked to Jahred about the Wild Rumpus before he went in to tuck Axel into bed. It does sound a bit bizarre coming from a 5-year-old. But truthfully, this book store is OFF THE CHAIN. (If I'm cool enough to use that phrase...let alone use it correctly.)
It is the bookstore of my dreams. It is abstract, has pets (yes a chicken and a cat), the workers walk around barefoot, there is a canoe on the ceiling (ok...I'm a bit partial to those), there was a tiny adirondack that Oliver couldn't get enough of.
How do you enter such a dream world you may ask? Well, through a door that is just your size...pick one.
You can find the Wild Rumpus on West 43rd in South Minneapolis, the coffee and tea place next door offers free smelling and you won't want to miss the $2 street car rides along lake Harriet just a few blocks away. Bring a stroller (or a scooter) and stay awhile.
Seriously, $2 for a 20-minute street car ride. Axel was in heaven.
Not all weekends are this way, but in the last two days we have celebrated the life of Jahred's grandfather, Don, as he made his voyage to heaven last week and today we celebrated Oliver's first birthday.
So far this year I'm minus two (Jayne and Don) and plus two (Ian and Evelyn). Today as my "plus twos" were both here at our house and my "minus twos" were both missing it became quite obvious how life is cyclical. Always coming, always going.
To sum up a one-year-old birthday I will just say this: big truck, little naughty/little nice (not the kid you would expect), yummy food, a clean cake plate and a hard crash at 8:00pm (not the kids as you would suspect).
I'm so grateful for all who came, all who couldn't make it, all those that were flexible on the date change, all those who brought food, all those who thought about us today, this weekend and always.
A special shout out to Alice. You are never alone...especially when you have facetime. Thanks for rallying for Ollie's big day.
Yesterday was my birthday. What started out as a morning cleaning the garage ended in a night at the Walker. It was the perfect beginning to my next decade.
When I started this blog I was 25. What seems like only three blinks has brought me here – a little wiser. Where will I be in another 5? The world is my oyster at this point – a future focused less on reproduction and more on productivity. My crystal ball won't allow me to look much past today's breakfast, so I guess I'll just decide to get on the ride and see where it takes me.
Below: From the Walker.
Below: Walker sculpture garden from the footbridge leading to Loring Park.
Below: Found this printing press along Loring Park. Super chic and sassy. See more HERE.
Below: I'm a lucky girl. This Pandora is beautiful.
What a beautiful Minnesota night. The four of us couldn't resist walking the stone arch bridge. We took in the breeze, live music, St. Anthony Falls and of course the Mpls skyline. Call me unusual, but there's something just as inspiring about a city as there is a mountain range. It just makes me happy...and I don't miss the stars.
I was recently connected with a really cool educational source called Power My Learning and they have offered to sponsor a post on my blog to get the "buzz" going about this awesome "summer saver/child educator."
As the parent of a now school-aged child, educational standards have become more important to me and I find myself wondering (especially during the summer) if Axel is doing enough to be ready for that next grade.
Power My Learning is a FREE online tool for kids in grades K - 12 that is a one-stop-shop for age/level appropriate learning games/activities. Axel and I have been playing around with it lately and it's a really neat system that can be integrated between parents, students and educators.
I knew there were educational games at places like PBSkids and a few others, but it's hard to tell what skills are being targeted and what grade level the games are designed for. At Power My Learning it's very simple to target what your child needs to work on (without them knowing) and you can create a curriculum based on that.
What's really nice about PML is that you can set your child on grade-level activities, ones they can master and watch as they become more confident in them, and you can also set them above grade level where you can help them to learn a new concept in an environment that isn't overwhelming or "too much at once."
Axel really liked this game from BBC (again...all sources available on 1 website)!
Wanna know the best thing about Power My Learning? It can save a ton of money on those "workbooks" that I'm always buying from Barnes and Noble. Seriously, Axel could blow through one of those a day and this website offers the same types of challenges.
CLICK HERE to try it out for your kiddos this summer or during the school year. It may just help you get a meal prepared without too much "help" in the kitchen.
Ever wake up and think, "I just need to tear something apart?" Happens to me all the time. Perhaps it's the 5 year itch, 5 years of my quazi-retirement, 5 years of pent up work, 5 years of toy cars and Dr. Seuss...but today I saw this corner of my bedroom and knew what my next victim would be.
By the time Axel crawled out of bed this morning his only greeting was, "We're gonna need the pry-bar."
"It's called a Wonder Bar, Mom."
Here's what happened before noon today.
Because I'm all about turning a "honey do" list into a "honey I'll do it" list, I've decided to let you in on the five P's of carpet removal.
Pull - Grab the carpet in on corner and literally pull it back. Start a roll along one wall and it is literally like making a Swiss Cake Roll.
Peel - Like peeling a scab, it feels so good to roll up both the carpet and the pad, revealing what you hope is an undamaged floor.
Pinch - There will be staples on the edges of the carpet pad, pinch them with a vertical pliers and pull straight up.
Pry - You will be left with nasty tack strips all around the edges. Find a place to start – where you see a nail (going down into the floor) use your Wonder Bar + hammer. (Notice my leather addition to the hammer...making it more nap-friendly...every good homemaker knows that you get "MORE DONE with LESS HELP.")
Polish - Although I cannot specifically recommend you do this (for liability reasons), use a bit of Pledge on your floors, especially the molding. While it does create an incredibly slippery surface (no socks allowed), it will give a nice shine for your big reveal.
"Do you think Dad will be mad?"
"No way. Let's just do it."
This my friends is why my husband is a little afraid to go to work each day. My projects don't always go this well. In fact, there's often about 70% of the project to finish when he gets home. Today he's lucky. We succeeded, we've checked something off the list, all before noon...did I mention I was wearing a dress?
Are you a "chain-relocator" like myself? Are you interested in finding music lessons for your kiddos? Do you live in a region where there aren't many music tutors? I have found the most magnificent "lesson finder." It's awesome and I have already discovered Axel's new piano teacher through this service.
They offer deals, "Buy 12, get one FREE," and include over 30 different musical instruments including voice. Also, they offer Skype classes for students in a remote area, or busy moms who don't have time for the commute.
When I was talking with Carrie, one of Take Lessons staffers, I mentioned that I was a blogger and she said, "Awesome, we need word of mouth advertising." I'm on board and said I'd add a link to my blog:
Take Lessons doesn't require long-term commitments, you can take a few or settle in for a career. You can switch your instrument or instructor at any time.
If you're interested in lessons for your kiddos, or FOR YOURSELF (like me being such a guitar poser), you can use this coupon code for 20% off, "SUMMERMUSIC19". You can book online or you can call them on the phone. 619.618.7941
Below is a video, giving you the basics on buying that first guitar. Check them out, try a lesson and learn something new for "Back to School."
Best Craigslist find ever. This McBouncer comes with jumping area, slide and ball pit. Something to please even the pickiest of lads. The best feature? The SUPER VELCRO door that literally cannot be opened (especially by Oliver) from the inside. Can we say play-pen? This sucker is so safe even Axel can't get hurt on it. KNOCK ON WOOD.
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