Saturday, June 23, 2012

Daily Adventures June 25-30, 2012

Monday, June 25
It's Monday, so let's Do Something.  Use the Action Finder on this website to peruse volunteer opportunities in and outside of your community.  You can search by the cause you'd like to help out (animals, troops, etc.), whether you'd like to volunteer with a group or by yourselves, if you'd like to serve in your community or online, and you can even choose your time commitment, ranging from one minute to one year.  This is a great opportunity to have a conversation with your kids about philanthropy that will undoubtedly digress into stories from your Phi Kappa Lambda days.  If you slip up and talk about "shots," maybe they'll think you used to be a Clone Trooper.

Tuesday, June 26
I mentioned last week that there's treasure to be found on our county library site, Kid Links.  We will be attending one of the "Art Out of the Box" sessions found there this afternoon.  The description says that kids will "investigate form and fiction found in sculpture from the Minneapolis Institute of Arts."  I get the form part, but I'm a little foggier on the fiction.  Anyway, then they get to "sculpt characters to tell their own stories," so we'll be well on our way to making our own "Wallace and Gromit" movie.

Wednesday, June 27
Speaking of your days at Phi Kappa Lambda, here's your chance to head down to the University of Minnesota.  Alison Scott will be performing for free as part of the Summer Music Festival on Northrop Plaza from noon to 1 pm today.  Find a bike route to get there at Ride the City MSP.  Alison is described as having an organic, soulful sound and has opened for the likes of Bon Jovi and Marc Cohn.  And, if that isn't enough reason for you to go, maybe the free Vitamin Water will change your mind.  Yeah, I thought so.

Thursday, June 28
The Twin Cities River Rats put on the best water skiing show I've ever seen, and they do it for free every Thursday at 7 pm.  Bring a lawn chair or blanket and prepare to be entertained.  These folks can ski on two skis, one ski, bare feet, other peoples bare feet (?), on their backs, on shoulders and off jumps.  I bet if you gave them a couple of ipads, they could ski on those, too.  The applications for ipads just never end, do they?

Friday, June 29
We have decided to implement the Share, Save, Spend, or Three Jars, program with our kids.  Using this philosophy, kids put a percentage of their allowance towards savings and charitable causes while the rest is available to spend as they choose.  This eliminates much of the frustration that bubbles up, for all involved parties, when the adults make all the purchasing decisions.  Instead, children learn to manage their own money.  While they will make spending decisions we don't always approve of, they're still saving money and putting some to good use for others.  So today, we're going to the bank to set up savings accounts for our boys, complete with electronic transfers from our bank account.  Now, if you find a program that helps adults put money into their savings accounts, let me know.  Please.

Saturday, June 30 
We are going to get a Museum Adventure Pass for a train ride from Osceola to Dresser, WI run by the Minnesota Transportation Museum.  There are three departure times available, but we're opting for the 1:15 pm train because it's a 50 minute round trip.  You can also travel from Osceola to St. Croix Falls, but that takes 90 minutes and I'm afraid the charm might wear off.  For me.  Osceola is a nice little town founded in 1844, so save some time to stroll around after your trip.  I think we'll wear our cowboy hats and pretend we're pioneers.

Enjoy your adventures!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Daily Adventures June 18-23, 2012

Hello, Regal Guardians!

I have to admit there are times when I can get cynical.  I trust at least some of you can commiserate?  Even so, I have to share this experience from my sons' baseball game last week.  As you can imagine, baseball for third-graders is filled with lots of strike-outs and dropped balls.  The nice part is that very few of the players seem to let it bother them.  The parents can be a different story.  We tend to feel every missed swing and overthrown ball quite sharply.

I think it was the bottom of the second inning when "The Catch" occurred.  Our team was in the field and several uneventful pitches had already been thrown.  The pitcher wound up and delivered another fastball to the plate.  This time the batter swung and the ball traveled in a high, smooth arc towards right field.  The crowd held its collective breath.

As soon as the ball left the bat our right fielder had his glove in the air.  He took a couple steps to the right, then left.  He backed up a little, I think he spun around, took one more step to his left, started to fall down and then . . . he caught it.

His dad was sitting in a lawn chair a short distance to my right.  He leaped to his feet with both hands clenched and thrust straight into the air.  I'm sure he was shouting but I couldn't hear him because every parent there was cheering like crazy, even those from the other team.  The smile on the boy's face lit up the field as he threw the ball back to the pitcher. 

I'm an elementary school teacher so I know tears when I see them.  I know I saw tears in his dad's eyes.  For a long while.  A scene like that makes it kinda hard to be cynical, at least for a few timeless moments.

Monday, June 18
When you're talking free family activities in the Twin Cities, it's had not to mention the Como Zoo in St. Paul.  But today is extra special.  Free on free, if you will.  Because while Como Zoo is always gratis, today you can get a complimentary ride on Cafesjian's Carousel and save yourself $1.50 per person!  For a family of four that's like . . . $5!  (School's out for summer, remember.)  The 98-year-old carousel was saved from auction in 1988, thanks largely to Gerard L. Cafesjian and his $600,000 donation.  Combine that with "a six-year-old's gift of a quarter, two dimes and a nickel to 'save my favorite horse,'" among others, and the result is a free pony ride for you.  Almost makes you want to donate yourself, doesn't it?

Tuesday, June 19
I have good news and bad news.  The good news is that libraries in the eight-county metro area offer free Museum Adventure Passes to 17 locations around town.  The bad news?  The program ends this year, so my goal is to visit all of the places I have missed over the past five years.  Today I think we'll start with the Landing in Shakopee.  This park recreates life along the Minnesota River Valley during the mid 1800's.  Since we're getting in for free (two of us anyway) I might spring for the guided tour.  If not, I'll just go around asking the "costumed interpreters" why they do everything the hard way.

Wednesday, June 20
Muller Family Theaters are offering free movies on Wednesdays at 10 am (July 4th excepted) through August 15.  This week you can see Mr. Popper's Penguins in Lakeville, Kung Fu Panda in Monticello, Aliens in the Attic in White Bear Township, or Night at the Museum 2 in Rogers.  The Waconia, Delano, East Bethel, and Willow Creek theaters haven't listed their option yet.  It's first come, first sit so you might want to go early.  Doors open at 9:30 am.  And bring a little pocket change because I'm sure the Dots aren't free.

Thursday, June 21
There seems to be a number of free bowling programs out there, but the option I chose is called "AMF Summer Unplugged" and it promises to be as huge as MTV's Unplugged!  OK, maybe not, but when we put the bumpers up on the alley, the sparks really start to fly!  When you register, your kids 15 and under get two free games of bowling every day until September 3.  For a one-time fee of $30, up to four adults can join in the fun.  You don't even need to have kids to get this deal!  But you will have to pay for shoes unless, like me, you own your own.  Yes, I own my own bowling shoes.

Friday, June 22
The Hennepin County Library has so many cool things going on this summer I'm a twitter.  No, not a tweeter, I gave that up.  At your local library you'll find book making programs called "Paint it Green," acting workshops ("Act Out!") with Guthrie teaching artists, magnet experiments with a Bakken Museum educator, sculpture making and storytelling in the "Art Out of the Box" series conducted by the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and the Brodini Comedy and Magic Show with magician Graylyn Morris.  This is in addition to the Girls Read, Guys Read, Kids Read, and child-parent book clubs available.  Dates and times vary by location, and some activities require registration.  You'll have to dig a little at Kid Links to find the best options for you, but I'm confident you'll uncover some real treasure!

Saturday, June 23
This just in!  There is a Kidical Mass bike ride today from 9-11:30 am.  This ride is sponsored by Bike Walk Move Twin Cities.  Meet at Venture North Bike Walk Center located at 1830 Glenwood Ave. N. in Minneapolis.  From there you'll travel along Wirth and Bassett's Creek Parkways on your way to the Sculpture Garden at the Walker.  It's about a three-mile ride reaching speeds of up to 6 mph, so helmets are required.  Harley chaps, however, are not.  

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Daily Adventures June 14-17, 2012

Woohoo!  School's out for summer!  Life finally slows down for this teacher.  I won't have 29 students rolling into my classroom (sometimes literally) at 9:20 am anymore.  I only have to worry about my own kids for the next 10 weeks.

Ah, yes, nothing but time on our hands.  Endless hours of sunshine with no schedule.  Endless requests for something to eat.  Endless shouts of, "Dad! Look!" as they demonstrate, respectively, that water splashed on one's face does kinda look like sweat and that you can throw a ball in the air and almost catch it four out of five times!

I need something to do.  Now.  And so do you.

That's where "What Do I Do Now?" comes in.  The Twin Cities have a lot of free, or at least cheap, things to do on most days.  My mission is to find one "Adventure" for my family to tackle every weekday this summer.  I'll list them here on "What Do I Do Now?" so that you can tackle them too, when it works out.

And if you know of cool things that I miss, please share them in the comment section!

Alright, so What Do I Do Now?!

Thursday, June 14, 2012
The Landmark Center in downtown St. Paul is hosting a free dance instruction series on Thursdays this summer.  You can test your toes at eight different styles including Tango, Salsa, and Ballroom dancing, just to name a few.  Today the plaza will pulse with West African Dance while the New Primitives lay down the groove.  Food is available at 5:30 pm, instruction begins at 6, and music starts at 7:15.  Click here for the schedule, or call 651-292-3225 for the event hotline.  If you go to all the dates, you might be able to audition for So You Think You Can Dance!

Friday, June 15-17, 2012
The Stone Arch Bridge Festival runs Friday to Sunday.  This is kind of a big deal with over 200 artists, from Abbott to Zhang, displaying their stuff.  There's also over 50 bands playing on three stages.  I haven't heard of any of them, but I hadn't heard of CAKE the first time I wandered into the Cabooze to see them, and that turned out OK.  There's a kids activity area with a rock-climbing wall and Radio Disney jams.  Visit the Nice Ride booth under the Central Ave. Bridge, complete the scavenger hunt, and you will receive a free bike helmet!  You can also enter your car into a car show on Saturday or Sunday, if it's older than 1976.  Oh, yeah, you can eat there too.  I bet you could find something that's fried.

Enjoy your weekend!  See you next week!