Creative Kidstuff Grows with Goodness

We love Creative Kidstuff! It’s been a favorite store of ours since my oldest (now 12) was young. They have an amazing assortment of educational games, books & toys. Earlier this summer, my girls and I stopped in to the Linden Hills location on a day of fun as part of our Summer Bucket List. Did you know that Linden Hills is actually the first Creative Kidstuff retail location & has been open since 1982? So when Samara asked if I’d like to go to their Grow with Goodness Event at the St. Paul location on her behalf, my youngest (age 8) and I were excited.
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Grow with Goodness is Creative Kidstuff’s current showcase of in-store items they sell that support the idea of the farm to table initiative. It was an adorable display just inside the front doors so you & your kids will definitely be drawn to it upon entering! From corn shaped pens to recipe books, it really does a nice job of highlighting what farm to table is and how kids can be a part of this movement. They even have kits available where you can grow your own carrots, onions & radishes!
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I also learned that Creative Kidstuff has an ongoing charitable commitment called Buy a Toy, Give a Toy. As described on their website:

Creative Kidstuff, in partnership with Sensational Beginnings, GreaterGood and Soles4Souls facilitates the donation and distribution of product surplus to children worldwide who otherwise would not be able to enjoy high quality toys and benefit from the power of play. Every purchase made at Creative Kidstuff contributes to this initiative through the Buy a Toy, Give a Toy program.

During the months of August-September they have another amazing opportunity to give back. Donations are being collected and will be used to purchase chickens, supplies, as well as provide the training for raising the chickens, to a remote Haitian village where the food supply is dangerously scarce.

Also present at the Grow with Goodness Event was Mama’s Happy, a boutique that offers upcycled and vintage merchandise. They currently have 3 locations (St. Paul, St. Louis Park and Independence). A display of various fall decorations had been created from items found only in thrift shops and were great ideas for how you and your kids can make beautiful decorations for the home. Pretty sure that even this uncrafty mom could even handle some of the projects we saw and I loved the tip about looking in thrift shops for craft supplies!
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And how can you really talk about farm to table unless food is involved?! Lakewinds Food Co-op in Richfield provided delicious treats for the evening. Crudité with vegetable, hummus or spinach dip for those craving a healthier bite and pumpkin bread along with the most amazing coconut confections with or without dark chocolate (um, with please!) definitely found a spot on my little ones plate! Lakewinds is committed to offering natural and organic foods, locally sourced whenever possible, to their members. You can find them in Richfield, Chanhassen and Minnetonka.

 

Insta-Lately.

Two weeks in the books and I can’t say the mornings have gotten any easier.

Each morning my alarm goes off and I instantly miss summer and pretty much pout and whine my way out of bed but within three hours time when everyone but Miss F is at school and the day has begun I’m singing, “I love school!”

The start of the year has been a good one. The kids are slowly finding their groove of before school and after school and bedtime is a breeze.

I am loving my days with Miss F. Seriously, one kid, E.A.SY. That said, it’s all in perspective. I’ve joked more than once when it was just H when T and M were at school I’m sure I thought it was hard to get things done and make dinner and clean and all of that jazz but now after juggling many, many days with kids going here and there and everywhere, this one kid business has been totally do-able and pretty much delightful. I love that I get to spend so much individual time with Miss F right now and really see her personality.
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This pretty much sums up 16 month F. Loves babies and THE STAIRS.

My friend Stacey and I attended the St. Jude Fall Festival of Hope at The Depot on Wednesday night. It was a great event that raised $319,000 for St. Jude.

Over the weekend, we attended a picnic at Como which ended with rides at Como Town. The fact that I gave birth to children who enjoy this ride, shocks me.

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Found on the driveway this week.

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{Earlier this week at the Children’s Museum, you can still enter to win two free passes.}

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Elsewhere on the web, I wrote about homework and sleepovers on the Star Tribune this week.

We went from shorts and sleeveless tops to sweatshirts and jeans this week, fall is here and I think we’re ready. While I love me some summer, I do really love all that fall has to offer.

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As you plan out your weekend, don’t miss The Day of the Dozers tomorrow in Elk River. Kids can ride and drive construction equipment for $5 with all the proceeds going to Children’s Hospitals and Clinics.

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There is a Free Family Fun day at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

Don’t miss the two Children’s Theatre Company opportunities to see some characters and a workshop from Busytown.

And finally, check out the fun family events at Macy’s Ridgedale tomorrow.

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Two last things-

If you haven’t already checked out Bouqs, you need to. My bouquet that arrived 10 days ago is STILL alive, healthy and looks fantastic. If you love fresh flowers, give them a try.

If you have a blog or website, Gymboree is now accepting new affiliates and you can apply right here.

Happy Friday! Happy weekend!

My Perspective on Education: On Parent Signatures

Today’s guest post is from Heather Shumaker, author of the book, It’s OK NOT to Share… and Other Renegade Rules for Raising Competent and Compassionate Kids. This post originally appeared on her blog and was submitted and shared here with her permission. For more information on the series or to submit your own perspective on education, click here.

It used to be that parents signed their names for two things: field trip permission slips and report cards.

Now instead of feeling like a parent supporting my child’s education, I feel like a jailer. Everything must be signed to prove the kid did it: reading lists, spelling lists, daily planner entries (record of what you did in school that day), music practice minutes. The consequence if a child doesn’t obtain parent signatures? Skipped recess.

This constant signing creates a disturbing culture of distrust. It tells the child: We don’t trust you. We don’t think you care about your own learning. We certainly don’t think you can take responsibility for your own learning.

Teachers tell me the purpose of asking for a parent signature is not really about the child. Instead it’s a method of making sure that parents are involved in the child’s school life. The signature step shows the teacher that parents see what the child is doing and might even ask questions about school. A parent-child communication tool? This is wishful thinking. In some households, the bridge between home and school will never be crossed. A signature line, signed or not, unfortunately cannot change that. In other homes, there is already strong support and interest in education. The signature line is an annoying inconvenience and casts the parent into the role of police officer.

Parent signatures bother me for several reasons:

- It strips responsibility from the child. Any school work responsibilities should not be the parent’s job, it needs to rest firmly with the child. Requiring parent signatures on homework or other school tasks sets up an unhealthy relationship between parent-child. The signature mentality sends this message: “It’s my parents’ job to see I do my work.” This leads to the next bad habit: “I will only work when someone (teacher/parent/ boss) is watching.” or “I will only do my work when nagged.”

- It creates an aura of distrust and disrespect. Disrespect for family culture and relationships. Distrust and disrespect to children. The message comes loudly and clearly: “We do not trust you. Your word doesn’t matter.” Of course, children’s versions of the truth are not always accurate, but neither are adults’. It is more important to me that children learn the importance placed on mutual trust and honesty. This is partly learned by making mistakes. It is definitely learned by having a chance to practice.

- It reduces learning to minimum results. A child asked to get a signature for 15 minutes of music practice will toodle around on her instrument for the minimum time required. Quality of playing, genuine learning and internal motivation are out the window. The focus becomes: meet the minute guideline, get signature, be done.

- Inappropriate punishment. Most consequences for not obtaining parent signatures are inappropriate. A typical example: “If you miss 3 parent signatures you don’t get recess.” This is penalizing the child for adult inaction. It is unrelated to the task. Depriving a child of recess for any reason is abusive.

Children should never be deprived of recess for any reason, academic or behavioral. This is the official stance of the American Academy of Pediatricians and many others.

A signature should not be a tool against our children. We can do better creating a culture of trust and responsibility.

What is your take on parent signatures? Do you face a constant stream of signature demands? How can we do better?

 Like Heather Shumaker and Simplicity in the Suburbs on Facebook.

Just Between Friends Sale Eagan Kicks off this Weekend!

Now that’s school in session, the temps are dropping and you’re really seeing what your kids might be needing this fall and winter. Just in time for the Just Between Friends Sale in Eagan.

The sale kicks off Friday and runs through Monday.

This is your time to save big and stock up on all those sweatshirts and winter gear and shoes and even toys you might be needing around your house.

This year’s sale is expected to be the BEST in the South Metro with nearly 500 moms consigning. FIVE HUNDRED!!

Never been to a JBF Sale? Here’s four tips for a newbie:

1. If you plan on going on day one, bring a coupon and admission is FREE.
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{Admission is $2 on Friday and FREE Saturday, Sunday and Monday.}

2. If you don’t bring your kids along, write down all of their current sizes on an index card and bring it along with you to eliminate the guesswork.

3. Bring grandma or grandpa on Sunday and they will save 25% on their entire purchase. {Does not include items marked with a star.}

4. Go back on Monday for 50% off day. Everything without a star will be half off. Use this opportunity to grab the next size in that sweatshirt or snow pants or maybe some extra boots to leave at school.

If you go:

JBF Sale Eagan takes place at High Performance Academy 2950 Lexington Ave. S., Eagan

Sale starts Friday at 10 a.m. and runs until 7 p.m. and admission on Friday only is $2 {unless you bring the coupon!} Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and those three days are FREE, no coupon required.

JBF Sale Eagan accepts cash, Visa and Mastercard.

Do you consignment shop for your kids? What has been your best find?

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

 

Minnesota Children’s Museum Back to School GIVEAWAY

With school back in session, I can’t be the only mom excited about spending a little more time with my youngest. I’m headed to the Children’s Museum with Miss F and some friends today and excited to take a look at things from Miss F’s perspective. {You can follow along on instagram as I’m sure to post a photo or two there.}

Creativity Jam just closed on Sunday but the Thomas and Friends exhibit is still open through September 21. Of course, I have a feeling Miss F’s favorite room will likely be the same as E’s, World Works. The water of course.

We are big supporters of the Minnesota Children’s Museum and their mission. We are also big believers in the importance of play which is a huge reason we love and make it a point to go to the Children’s Museum whenever we can.

mcmDid you know that every single detail of the exhibits is intended to teach children? Whether it is learning how to sort colors and shapes or to be creative in Creativity Jam to learning how the water current moves and changes the direction of the boats and balls in World Works. Each piece is carefully thought out and your child is learning while doing and playing at the museum.

When H was little my favorite part of taking him to the Children’s Museum was seeing him accomplish things. Where one visit he couldn’t quite muster the strength or courage to go inside the ant hill in Earth World to the next visit where he didn’t want to leave. Figuring out how to use the controls to move blocks in World Works and learning patience to have a turn driving the bus in Our World. I loved seeing him master skills whether those were more physical, social or even mental.
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Wondering what your child might learn in the Thomas exhibit? You can take a look here and learn more about STEM and just what your child is learning as they play with Thomas and Sir Topham Hat in this exhibit.

Some examples:

  • Taking initiative, and creating and carrying out a plan to repair Percy’s wheels (Confidence and Critical Thinking).

  • Navigating differences of opinion and working with others to get Percy’s engine going (Collaboration and Control).

  • Seeing and experimenting with a multitude of routes on the one-of-a-kind train table (Creative Thinking).

  • Sharing thoughts and ideas with others while figuring out how to fit the luggage and cargo onto the train cars (Communication).

  • Developing eye-hand coordination and strengthening small muscles by opening doors, turning knobs, and sliding trains down the track in the special Tot Spot (Coordination).

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Did you know that this month Grandparents get FREE admission to the museum with the purchase of a child admission? Also, all Grandparents memberships are $10 off.

Also, if you don’t have a membership and want one, you can enter this super, secret giveaway. Only Children’s Museum ambassadors have the link and access to share this one. You can enter to win a FREE Deluxe Membership and a Choo Choo Bob DVD set.

And finally, I’m giving ONE lucky reader a set of TWO free passes to visit the museum. You can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway right here.
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Disclosure: I am serving as a Minnesota Children’s Museum Smart Play Ambassador. All opinions expressed are mine.

Macy’s Ridgedale Remodel Celebration!!

Macy’s Ridgedale is ready to reveal a new and improved store and shopping experience. The grand opening celebration kicks off this Wednesday {September 10} with a gift card giveaway.

The first 300 customers to enter through the West doors adjacent to the Lake Shore Grill will receive a $10 promotional gift card. Two lucky contestants will receive a $500 Macy’s gift card. The celebration continues inside with a shopping party featuring the latest styles and more chances to win special prizes and gifts with purchases.

Then on Saturday {September 13}, bring the family back for some shopping and family fun.

1PM – Culinary Demonstration with Macy’s Chef Susan Johnson - Stop on the first floor for a cooking demonstration by Macy’s Chef Susan Johnson, as she whips up items and complimentary samples from the Taste Bar Café and Lakeshore Grill. While there, customers can enter to win a dinner for two at the Lakeshore Grill.
2PM – Macy’s Ridgedale Shopping Party – Visit the first floor in the women’s department and check out the Fashion Closet showcasing the hottest looks for fall. Make sure to stop in the women’s shoe department on the second floor and enjoy fun sips and sweets, music by a local DJ and don’t forget to take a turn at the prize wheel!
2PM – Macy’s Ridgedale Family Fun Day – There’s more great fun for the whole family. Visit the Kids’ Department on the second floor for face painting, balloon twisting, costume characters, Radio Disney and more.

If you’ve ever shopped at the Macy’s Ridgedale you know that their store used to be separate. Mens and Home on one end of the mall and Women and Children on the other. Their newly remodeled store is ONE complete store including a brand new Lakeshore Grill, Taste Bar Cafe, Candy Kitchen, Mens, Women’s, Children, Home, Shoes ALL in ONE HUGE {2900+ square feet} space.

Do you shop at Macy’s? Do you plan on stopping in for any of the grand opening events?

 

There’s Something About Fresh Flowers. {The Bouqs Review.}

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I LOVE having fresh flowers in my house. There is just something about walking in and seeing a vase of fresh, beautiful flowers that makes me happy.

Which is why I was super excited to see an email in my inbox from The Bouqs Company and that they wanted to work with me.

Because, flowers!

They let me choose a bouq of my choosing from their massive website, they went out to the South American volcano, cut the flowers and had them to my door just days later.
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Their flowers are shipped straight from the farm to your doorstep within 1-2 days after being cut. Did you know most flowers you see at local stores or can order are already 14 days old by the time you receive them? Not these.

The more I’ve read about The Bouqs Company, the more I love them.

They are a socially responsible company. I love that they care for the land and the people who work for them.

We source from partners that respect and care for the environment and their employees.

Our farms practice sustainable, eco-friendly farming, and we cut only what we sell – so we don’t waste 1 out of every 3 stems like others.

Our partners offer competitive, living wages and services like on-site child and healthcare, and adult education.

And it’s just a neat product and service. Ordering is a breeze and they even have an app or a concierge service. Let’s say you know you want a fresh bouq once a month, you can set it up to auto deliver. And you will not be disappointed.

For instance, this bouq is now SIX days old and still looks AMAZING!

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You can try The Bouqs Company yourself and by using this link you can get $10 off your first order.

How often do you purchase fresh flowers? Have you ever tried ordering from The Bouqs Company?

Disclosure: The Bouqs Company sent me a bouquet of my choosing in exchange for my honest review and invited me to become an affiliate. All words and pictures are mine. Affiliate links are used above.

 

$10 Tickets at Children’s Theatre Company

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The Children’s Theatre Company has made some exciting changes to their $10 ticket program and I think you’re going to like it.

Where the old program used to require calling in the Sunday ahead to request tickets for that week’s show, you can now order your $10 tickets online ANYTIME.

No more waiting on hold on the phone or calling over and over and over again to get the deal.

But please note a few things- there is a $2.50 service charge on all phone and internet orders so that means the tickets are really more like $12.50 each {which is STILL a great deal!} There is also a limit of 9 tickets per order per show and you can NOT get the $10 tickets for special presentations.

All $10 ticket sales are non-refundable and also can not be exchanged for other dates or performances so choose your dates carefully. You can buy your tickets online RIGHT NOW! 

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Busytown is the first show of the Children’s Theatre Company 2014-15 season this year and looks to be a really fun, musical production. It opens September 16 and runs through mid-October.

There will be two creative dynamics workshops put on my Children’s Theatre Company the weekend before the show opens on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Red Balloon bookshop in St. Paul at 10:30 a.m. and Sunday, Sept. 14 at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts Family Fun Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

What shows do you plan on seeing this year?

Moms’ Night Out DVD Giveaway!!

OK Moms, you made it through the first week {or for some of you, weeks} of school! It’s time for a back to school giveaway JUST for MOMs!

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Moms’ Night Out came out on DVD on Tuesday, September 2 and if you missed this one in the theater you are missing out.

I LOVED this movie. {You can read my entire review from April right here.}

This movie has an all star cast including: Sarah Drew {Grey’s Anatomy}, Sean Astin {Goonies}, Patricia Heaton {Everbody Loves Raymond} and Trace Adkins. Also starring in the movie included various actors from Courageous. It’s relatable and funny, spirit filled and true. It is a message every mom needs to hear. Over and over and over again.

Your job is important.

You can enter the rafflecopter giveaway right here.

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The World of Eric Carle and Gymboree

Everybody knows {and loves} Eric Carle and his beautiful, colorful and imaginative books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Brown Bear, Brown Bear are two of his well loved books that are in regular rotation on our bookshelf.

Gymboree is proud to announce their newest line of play wear and sleep wear featuring the art work of Eric Carle. Now children can wear their favorite art from their favorite books.


To celebrate the launch of this new line, all Gymboree stores nationwide are hosting a special Eric Carle event on Friday, September 5 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. There will be caterpillar crafts and a very special story time. Find a store near you.

Can’t make it? No problem, you can print your own coloring and activity sheets right here.


Eric Carle is the beloved illustrator of such children’s classics as Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See and The Very Hungry Caterpillar. The partnership brings two iconic, parent-trusted brands together and builds on Gymboree’s rich heritage in colorful, quality sleepwear that parents love and children never want to change out of.

What Eric Carle book is you or your child’s favorite? Please comment and share.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I am an affiliate of Gymboree.