Seven Things to Do on Rainy Days in the Twin Cities

I love me some hot, summer sunshine. The sunnier the better for pool days and parks and walks through the neighborhood but sometimes the weather and me aren’t on the same page. Rain happens. Heat advisories strike. Sometimes it’s just plain yucky. It’s good to have a plan when these things happen and you just need to get out!

Here’s seven things to do on rainy days in the Twin Cities:

  1. ONE: Indoor Movies

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Have a Muller Theater nearby? Every Wednesday and Thursday they do FREE films for kids. FREE! Load up the kids and get there early, all shows start at 10 a.m. Buy a giant tub of popcorn {extra butter, please} and enjoy two hours of PEACE and QUIET. Did I mention for FREE?

JUNE 22 & 23 —– Penguins of Madagascar
JUNE 29 & 30 —– Lego Movie
JULY 6 & 7 —– Hotel Transylvania 2
JULY 13 & 14 —– Home
JULY 20 & 21 —– Pan
JULY 27 & 28 —– Peanuts Movie
AUG 3 & 4 —– Norm of the North
AUG 10 & 11 —– Nut Job
AUG 17 & 18 —– Paddington
AUG 24 & 25 —– How To Train Your Dragon 2

  1. TWO: Go on a Donut Crawl

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Minnemama Adventures has compiled a list of the top 7 donut shops in the Twin Cities. I’m a tad bit biased because the bakery formerly owned by my in-laws made the list. But how fun would it be to just plan a morning of donut tasting? I think yes! You can read her list right here. 

  1. THREE: Jump!
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We invested in a trampoline this spring and love it. There’s something about some good jumpin’ to get that energy out but if they can’t jump outside, inside places work too!

When the weather is bad and kids are cooped out sometimes they just need to jump! One of our favorite jump spots is Jump City in Otsego. Several jumpers in a large space but not so large that you’re going to be chasing them around. They also have a parent viewing area, free wi-fi and snacks for sale. {But you can totally bring your own.} Check their hours before they go. Open jump is $4.95/jumper.

Other local jump spots: Pump in Up- each location holds their own open jump times and charge $6.95/jumper. Check the schedule for your nearest location here.

  1. FOUR: Library

My kids love the library and the summer reading programs are always fun for them to have some motivation to get reading. In our house, once our kids can write their name, they get their own library card and let me tell you, this is a HUGE deal. They love picking new books to read.

  1. FIVE: Minnesota Children’s Museum St. Paul or Mall of America

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It’s no secret, we’re huge fans of the Minnesota Children’s Museum. YES, there’s construction going on and YES, some of your favorite rooms might be closed or different. But good things are on their way. Members get free admission at both the St. Paul and Mall of America locations, otherwise admission is $9.95/person ages 1-101. If you’re a family of four and plan on going 3x a year, it’s paid for so memberships just make sense. Also, it helps support the great mission of kids and play.

Thinking your older kids won’t enjoy the museum? Think again. There’s an all new DigiPlay exhibit. My younger three {ages 3, 7 and 10} visited a few weeks back and ALL THREE were entertained and engaged in the exhibit. Learn more about DigiPlay here.

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  1. SIX: Chik Fil A

I know, I know. It’s fast food. Buuuut it’s Chik Fil A and we love Chik Fil A. Also, I LOVE what they do for moms. I so could have used this a few years ago. Go through the drive thru, order and pay. Let them know you and your kids are coming in to dine and they’ll set up your food at your table so you’re ready to go when you get inside. Not every store is participating {for instance, Bloomington is out.} But every single Chik Fil A has a play place.

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{PS They have an entire page of family activities you can do with your kids. Date night questionnaires, fun sheets. It’s good stuff.}

  1. SEVEN: Indoor Parks

There may be other indoor parks in the Twin Cities but I know of three really good ones.

Maple Maze

Edinborough Park

Good Times Park

Not quite a park BUT Maplewood Mall has a really fun carousel and play place that’s worth a drive, too.

 

What do you do when the weather’s bad with your kids?

 

 

Twin Cities Road Trippin’ to Zimmerman

There are so many cute little towns to explore in and around the Twin Cities that I’ve decided to start a new series of adventures, Twin Cities Road Trippin’. I’d love to hear from you about your favorite little towns, what there is to do and eat and see. And is it fun for kids? Because a lot of us like to adventure with kids.

First up was Albert Lea.

Now we’re moving on to Zimmerman.

Last week, I, as well as several other Twin Cities bloggers had the opportunity to explore and discover the secret that is Zimmerman.

Being that we live in the northwest suburbs, we’re really only about 20 minutes away from this cute little town. Zimmerman is about 40 miles north on 169 from Minneapolis.

Prior to Thursday evening, I’d only seen the infamous Ramshackled Treasures shop. The shop lives in the oldest house in Zimmerman and is stock full of reclaimed, repurposed goodies. It’s treasure upon treasure. It’s hard to walk away empty handed.

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Stacey McDevitt runs the store with the help of various local vendors who all take turns working in the shop in exchange for selling their product in store. Stacey is an upbeat, creative soul with a knack for decorating. She even teaches painting classes so if you’re interested in painting and refinishing furniture, she’s your gal. {Also, you’ll find her and her goodies at Junk Bonanza twice a year!}

Here’s her blog post about Thursday night’s event.

Ramshackled Treasures isn’t the only shop you’ll find in town. There’s several right in a row that all over fun gifts, home decor and ideas to take home.

The Shoppes on Fremont:

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highlights- it’s two floors chock FULL of ever changing merchandise from vendors. Right now, they have a ton of patriotic decor, anchors {#swoon!} and letters.

Sassy Bean Boutique:

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hightlights- another shop inside of an old house, lots of goodies and signs. There are classes you can sign up for to learn how to make signs or other crafts.

Zimmerman Floral and Gifts also includes not just fresh flowers and arrangements but candy bar bouquets:

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Zimmerman is also home to the infamous ZoChic Boutique. I’ve heard of their home parties before but had never gone. They have a standalone shop in Zimmerman in addition to their traveling truck. Their shop, clothes, accessories are all adorable and at a just right price point. Because their inventory is always changing, each shopping experience is different, every single time.
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One of my favorite stops on our trek through Zimmerman was to The Tattooed Lady. I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Is it a shop? A tattoo parlor? An art gallery?

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How about all three?

I’ve never really had “get a tattoo” on my bucket list buuuut if that ever changes, THIS is where I’d get it.

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Sonia is an amazing artist. She has her MFA from Moorhead State and in addition to being a very talented tattoo artist {she’s got a 3 month+ wait list} her shop is an art gallery displaying her beautiful charcoal artwork and other local art.

In addition to all the fun shops and home decor stores was Ashley Taylor Salon, a full service salon that makes you feel like you’re the only client there with their private cabin decor. {Appointments are always recommended but they do offer consults and other mini-freebies on Ladies on the Loose days.}

Finally, I loved seeing and learning about Nelson Nursery. Who knew that 25,000 wreaths were made right here in Zimmerman, MN. They have family celebrations for each holiday, including a fun fall festival that I can’t wait to check out next fall. We’re always looking for the best places to jump in the corn or get lost in a maze.

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As for eats, Zimmerman has some good ones. We tried both The Whistling Pickle and ZBG last week and let’s just say I had to go back to The Whistling Pickle the very next day.

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Pro tip: Order the pickle poppers with a side of ranch and upgrade to the pickle fries. Yum-O!

Of course, there’s coffee {Dunn Bros} and fast food right around the corner too. Don’t miss all the cute shops on your way up 169 though, turn LEFT on Fremont for a fun little adventure.

Did you know the shops of Zimmerman host a Ladies on the Loose six times a year? The next one is July 9 and the theme is Rustic and Whimsical. Come shop with your friends, enjoy exclusive discounts and be entered to win some giveaways and goodie bags.

Future Ladies on the Loose events are: September 10 and November 5. More info on Facebook.

Have you ever visited Zimmerman? What are your favorite things to do, see and eat?

 

Twin Cities Road Trippin’ to Albert Lea.

There are so many cute little towns to explore in and around the Twin Cities that I’ve decided to start a new series of adventures, Twin Cities Road Trippin’. I’d love to hear from you about your favorite little towns, what there is to do and eat and see. And is it fun for kids? Because a lot of us like to adventure with kids.

First up, this past week, two of my girls and I adventured to Albert Lea.

It’s nearly a two hour trip from our northwest suburban home and we passed a lot, A LOT, of farmland but it was a fun little day trip.

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We’d been invited by a southern Minnesota blogger, Robin Russell, along with several other bloggers from around the area to check it out. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t even sure where Albert Lea was in relation to the Twin Cities but it’s on your way to Iowa, so if you too are directionally challenged, now you know.

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First up, we enjoyed a fun pontoon ride compliments of Pelican Breeze. Captain Joe and his wife were the sweetest.

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Captain Joe even gave each of the kids on board a chance to drive the boat.

Miss F was not messing around on that one.

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The boat ride was a little over two hours long all throughout the peaceful Albert Lea Lake. I’m not sure if it was quiet because it was a weekday or if it was quiet because it’s just a quiet lake but I didn’t see any other boats out that day.

We did see quite a few birds though. Including some pelicans looking for some lunch.

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Pelican Breeze offers a variety of different boat cruises on Albert Lea Lake including a Friday night pizza cruise and also is available to rent for parties such as bridal showers and the like.

After our boat cruise, we trekked a few miles down the road to downtown Albert Lea for Wind Down Wednesdays.

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Three times each summer the downtown area of Albert Lea turns into a fun {and FREE} family festival. From food vendors {which does cost money} to bounce houses, to a pop up splash pad and lots of deals at the local shops. It’s clear the whole town comes down to participate. Wind Down Wednesdays take place from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There are two remaining this summer: July 20 and August 17.

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We really enjoyed our walk through town and had to grab a few cupcakes before we headed home.

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Because look at these sweet treats:

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A few things we noticed but didn’t get to check out:

The Albert Lea Aquatic Center:

Includes a zero depth splash pool with interactive play features for children including tumble buckets, deck sprays, a mushroom waterfall, bubblers, and a five arm water fountain. Also includes a GIANT waterslide and two diving boards.

The best part: Admission for 3 and up is just $3.50. Now THAT is a deal for a pool day.

Albert Lea Parks:

So MANY parks and playgrounds and things to explore. Full list right here.

Have you been to Albert Lea? What’s your favorite treasure in town?

 

 

Crayola Experience at Mall of America: NOW OPEN!

The all new Crayola Experience is NOW open at Mall of America!

My little girls and I visited last week before everyone got out of school and it was a lot of fun.
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The entire space is 64,000 square feet and includes a variety of fun activities for kids of all ages. I brought my 3 and 7 year old and there was plenty for both of them to do and enjoy.
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The Crayola Experience at the Mall of America is the third location. There are locations in Easton, PA and Orlando, FL as well.
Attractions include:
Name and Wrap your own crayon.
4-D Movie about crayon production
Model Magic Station
Playplace
Make your own coloring sheets {starring YOU!}
Crayon melting
Drip art
Honestly, we didn’t even get through everything in the store while we were there.
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What to expect:
When you arrive, each paid guest receives two tokens. Tokens are good for the model magic and the Name/Wrap your own crayon station. You can purchase more tokens for $0.50 each.
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There is a lot of interactive activities that the kids can really be a part of the action.
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There are a ton of things to do and take home which I thought was really fun because there are a lot of attractions/museums/exhibits that don’t have take home stuff. {You also get a plastic Crayola bag to carry all your goodies.}
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That said, there’s also lots of add ons and things you can buy too. I try to avoid that stuff but there are lots of options of personalizing t-shirts and other goodies, sand art, a cafe with snacks and of course, a gift shop.
My little girls really loved making the coloring sheets and printed lots to bring home.
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Admission is $24.99 for ages 2 and up but you can use my discount link below to save $8! {I’m the first to admit that the high admission cost at first detoured me BUT after seeing it I do think that you get your money’s worth when you visit. They also sell memberships if you live nearby and want to visit often.}
$18.99 admission {Code: ECON523}
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Have you visited the Crayola Experience yet? What’s your favorite part?
Disclosure: I was invited to visit the Crayola Experience free of charge for review purposes. My discount link shared is an affiliate link meaning if you buy tickets via my link a small portion of the sale will go to me. All photos and opinions expressed are mine.

5th Annual Theater of Dreams at Stages for St. Jude

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It’s the 5th annual St. Jude Theatre of Dreams at Stages Theatre Company this June.

Join us for the fifth annual St. Jude Theatre of Dreams! Families will enjoy food from selected food trucks, family-friendly activities and Stages Theatre Company’s premier performance of ANNIE JR.

This family fundraising event will celebrate families, the theatre and the lifesaving mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Because the majority of St. Jude funding comes from individual contributors,
St. Jude has the freedom to  focus on what matters most — saving kids regardless of their financial situation.

Over the last several years, our family has been able to help support St. Jude at their various events and learn more about the way they help families who are going through the unimaginable.

The 5th Annual St. Jude Theatre of Dreams is taking place Thursday, June 23 at Stages Theatre Company.

Tickets are $25 for children and $50 for adults and you can purchase them right here.

DIY Teacher Gift with Bachman’s

With six teachers between Miss E and Miss F, I’ve been trying to think of something special yet affordable for all of their teachers. Miss F will be switching to Miss E’s school next year but Miss E will have her same three teachers the next two years.

Sunday afternoon it finally came to me. We’d get decorative planters, small potted plants and add some personal touches to make it something meaningful, just a stitch cheesy enough, but also something that everyone can use.

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Here’s what you need:

*Decorative planters {I chose watering can planters that are available at Bachman’s but there’s tons of options ranging in price. The ones I got were about $10 each.)

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*Six to eight inch potted plants {FLOWERS!} that will fit inside the decorative planters {Every single flower you can think of available at Bachman’s $8-10 each, you could even choose perennials that might be cheaper}
*Permanent paint {$3-4 at your local craft store}
*Potting soil {$5-7 for a large bag}

Step one:

I got the pots ready by writing who they were for and then I let Miss E sign her name. {I signed for Miss F.}

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Step two:

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Handprints on the pots

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Step three:

Let them dry. Important: Make sure you use permanent paint and a permanent marker so that when they get wet they won’t get wiped away.

Step four:

Add potting soil and your flowers.

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Ta-Da!

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I’m super happy with how they turned out and considering each one was a little less than $20 each, I feel like it was an economical gift, too.

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What do you have planned for teacher gifts this year?

Bachman’s has six convenient locations throughout the Twin Cities and they’ve got all sorts of items that make great gifts for teachers {dads and grads, too!}. Bachman’s would like to give one of my readers a $25 gift card.

You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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Pin this post on Pinterest here

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Bachman’s. All words, opinions, photos and crafting mishaps are mine alone.

Disney’s Live Action Beauty and the Beast Teaser Trailer

Beauty and the Beast is one of the very first Disney movies I have recollection of seeing in the theater. We also ended up owning it on VHS and it was a well loved and well played story. Just as I type this “Tale as Old as Time” is playing in my mind.

I’m pretty excited to see how Disney transforms the beloved cartoon fairy tale into live action on the screen and they’ve just released their first teaser trailer.

Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast” is a live-action re-telling of the studio’s animated classic which refashions the classic characters from the tale as old as time for a contemporary audience, staying true to the original music while updating the score with several new songs.

Follow along and #BeOurGuest when it opens in theaters on March 17, 2017–>
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/DisneyBeautyAndTheBeast
Twitter – https://twitter.com/beourguest
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/beautyandthebeast

VIVAROSES: Shipped Direct from Ecuador

I am a huge fan of fresh flowers. There is something about having a clean house and vases full of flowers that makes me feel happy and no matter the day I am having, the world looks a little bit brighter.

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READ MORE here.

VIVAROSES: Fresh From Ecuador, Shipped Directly to Your Front Door

What started as a love story has transformed to a family business with volcanic roses shipped direct to your door.

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I am a huge fan of fresh flowers. There is something about having a clean house and vases full of flowers that makes me feel happy and no matter the day I am having, the world looks a little bit brighter.

Some weeks I’m good at finding a bunch at the store here and there or other times J will bring a bunch home and surprise me. It really is a day brightener.

That’s why when VIVAROSES contacted me, I jumped at the opportunity to work with them. Fresh flowers delivered to my doorstep freshly grown on a volcano? Yes, please.

I chose the “In Perfect Harmony” medium sized bunch because I truly couldn’t decide on one color.

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I LOVE them.

First of all, FOUR dozen roses is A LOT of roses.

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But I loved setting them up throughout my house.

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Three things to know about VIVAROSES:

  1. They are grown at a small family farm in Cotopaxi, Ecuador.
  2. They are guaranteed fresh. When you open that box up and get them ready to display, you can smell the freshness. The roses were shipped and packaged in a way that made sure they were fresh upon arrival
  3. They ship free. Anytime and all the time.

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My roses from VIVAROSES arrived five days ago now and still look just as amazing as they did when they arrived.

And my house? SMELLS amazing!

VIVAROSES has invited my readers to try them out with a 15% discount. Use code: SUBURBS-15 to save right here. 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All opinions and photos are mine.

The Finest Hours on Blu-Ray/DVD!

Disney’s The Finest Hours is coming out to Blu-Ray/DVD!

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This heroic action-thriller is based on the extraordinary true story of the greatest small-boat rescue in Coast Guard history. In 1952, a massive winter storm strikes off the coast of Cape Cod, ripping a T-2 oil tanker in half and trapping more than 30 sailors inside its rapidly sinking stern. When word of the disaster reaches the U.S. Coast Guard, four men led by Captain Bernie Webber (Chris Pine) set out in a 12-seat boat on a daring mission to rescue the stranded men, braving freezing cold, 60-foot waves and hurricane-force winds, and guided by Webber’s vow that “We all live, or we all die.” Packed with thrilling, larger-than-life action and anchored in a belief in the strength of the human spirit, The Finest Hours is a triumph.

For more info: http://movies.disney.com/THE-FINEST-HOURS

Review: My 10 year old and I saw this movie this past winter when it was in theaters and we loved it. It’s full of action and suspense but there is also a very real human interest story between Miriam and Bernie {some would call it love, but not 10 year old boys!}.

The movie is based on a true story, which was super interesting to us and really gave me a greater appreciation for the US Coast Guard and what they do for us. I also ended up buying the book the movie was based on for my 10 year old.

As far as recommendations: I could see some younger kids being scared because there is quite a bit of peril but I think it’s a perfect movie for older elementary and above.

It’s rated PG-13 and comes out on Blu-Ray/DVD May 24!

The Blu-Ray/DVD combo comes with some special features including a behind the scenes look at who Bernie Webber was and his close knit small town, cast members reflect on the difficult and adventurous scenes and some Coast Guard inspiration.

Did you see The Finest Hours in theaters? Plans on seeing it on Blu-Ray/DVD?

Disclosure: Disney and Allied sent my family our own copy of the Blu-Ray/DVD. All opinions expressed are mine alone and no compensation was exchanged.