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Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Local Holiday Shopping Guide 2015

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If you’re making a list and checking it twice, be sure to support local businesses this year. I always start my Christmas shopping at The Flea Off Market Holiday Bazaar, but if you can’t make it out this year, there are still plenty of great local gift options all over town:

  1. Dundee Candy Shop has more candy crammed into its tiny Bardstown Road store than I’ve ever seen in one place. This is the perfect place for small stocking stuffers and party treats! 
  2. The Parent Teacher Store has a lot more than just school supplies. This is my go-to place for all those science toys, board games, and puzzles. There’s a huge selection of arts and crafts projects as well. 
  3. Hyland Glass is a great spot to pick up a ready-made gift or to start your family’s tradition of blowing glass ornaments. Read our review here
  4. Climb Nulu and Suspend Louisville offer memberships and package deals for the fitness enthusiast or spirited child in your family- or for your whole family. What better way to spend quality time than by racing to the top of a rock wall? 
  5. Mama’s Hip offers parent-child activities, childbirth support groups, and all kinds of baby products you won’t find in a big box store. 
  6. Carmichael’s Bookstore not only supplies books from local authors, but also popular children’s books and autographed copies of popular books. 
  7. Brownsboro Hardware and Quest Outdoors have everything you need for the outdoorsy person on your list, from The Big Green Egg to camping gear. 
  8. The Earthy Browns make all manner of natural toiletries, including handmade fleur-de-lis shaped soaps. Black Dog Candle Co. makes all natural nontoxic candles, and a portion of the proceeds benefit local animal shelters. Moss Hill also makes beautiful handmade soaps and other toiletries and is sold at many local stores in addition to their own two Louisville locations. 
  9. Scout on Market is a one-stop-shop for unique locally handmade gifts and home d├ęcor. 
  10. Heine Brothers Coffee gift cards are my favorite teacher gift. Because let’s face it, they work hard and they need the caffeine. 
Barkstown Road has two Louisville locations and it the perfect place to find something special for your furry family member.

For more awesome Louisville stores, see our lists from 2014 http://www.louisvillefamilyfun.net/2014/12/top-10-locally-owned-stores-in.html and 2013 http://www.louisvillefamilyfun.net/2013/11/top-10-locally-owned-shopping-stores-in.html as well!

By Guest Contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Review of Disney's The Good Dinosaur

 photo 202124H1_zpszv6a18zs.jpgMy family and I attended a preview of The Good Dinosaur at Xscape Blankenbaker.  First, this new movie theater is really nice.  The reclining chairs were super comfortable and my children really liked that.  I loved that people can easily walk by without any need for folks to get up or scoot their legs.

As for the movie, I didn't know much about it going in. I thought it would be a cute little movie about a dinosaur and was pleasantly surprised that it was a deeper story-line and had quite a bit of action.  There were thrilling parts, comical parts and a good balance of happy and sad. What more could you ask for in a Disney film?     My children are 7&8 so they could handle some of the dramatic parts but there were a few scarier parts that I think parents should prepare for - nothing overwhelmingly scary, just moments that might take kids off-guard.  My kids actually liked those parts.   I did appreciate the overall theme of overcoming fears and coming into your own - that's definitely something that families talk about!

Here's the official movie description:
"What if the asteroid that forever changed life on Earth missed the planet completely and giant dinosaurs never became extinct? Pixar Animation Studios takes you on an epic journey into the world of dinosaurs where an Apatosaurus named Arlo (voice of Raymond Ochoa) makes an unlikely human friend. While traveling through a harsh and mysterious landscape, Arlo learns the power of confronting his fears and discovers what he is truly capable of."


Review of Idlewild Butterfly Farm

I like big bugs and I cannot lie! No really, I hate bugs! But my family and I still REALLY enjoyed our recent visit to Idlewild Butterfly Farm.

 photo 10241513482_zpsjesnsf59.jpgMy husband and I took our 2 and 4 year old daughters one Saturday morning in October. We went on a tour of all their ‘big bugs’. Our tour guide was very kind and knowledgeable. You could tell she had a real passion for the creatures. She went from one bug to the next, taking them out of their cage, talking about them, and letting us touch (sometimes hold) each one.

These bugs are not your typical bugs. Idlewild is a certified insect importer after recently being certified by the USDA. They have a quarantine room, or lab, where they house all the imported bugs. Many of the bugs we saw were imported from Malaysia. We saw bugs that you won’t find in the United States.

 photo 1024151331_zpsvuksdea1.jpgMy favorite bug was the Orchid Mantis. It was white, with a pink tint to her, like an Orchid flower. Watch a you tube video of her here. The Malaysian Walking Sticks were also pretty cool. They even have a bug that glows in the dark! My kids were in awe of all the interesting bugs!

After we explored the creatures in the lab we went outside to their House of Spiders. It was recently the butterfly flight house, but had been turned into a home for dozens of live spiders! They let people go in at night with flashlights and watch the spiders in action. We went during the daytime and loved seeing all the spiders and their webs. I hate spiders, but I enjoyed going through the House of Spiders. This was a temporary exhibit, so make sure to call ahead to see what your tour will include before you go.

My family can’t wait to visit again next spring and summer to see more bugs! We are also excited to see the butterflies and walk through the butterfly house! For more info, follow them on Facebook here. They also sell beautiful jewelry and other bug related items.

 photo 1024151333_zpsdtdicea5.jpg*They are setting up a mobile butterfly house inside their store over Thanksgiving weekend and possibly the weekend after! That would be a great time to visit!

Wednesday-Saturday, 11 am – 5 pm

1100 Logan Street in Louisville

$8/adults, $5/children

By Guest Contributor: Kimberly 

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week in Preview November 23rd-26th

Sponsored by:
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Take some time out to be thankful this week!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Visit the Louisville Bats on Monday, November 23rd to see their new look and enjoy lunch. At Louisville Slugger Field, with doors opening at Noon! Check it out here for more details!

Eat it: It's Thanksgiving, stuff yourself with some yummy foods this week!

Move it: Have some fun at Bluegrass Indoor Karting this week. For kids ages 7 and up Monday-Thursday. Check their website for more information and check our review here!

Learn it: Head over to the Iroquois Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library on Wednesday for preschool (10:15am) and toddler (11:15am) story time. Older children are welcome when school is out!

For more fun, check out our Holiday and Christmas Event List here!

By Guest Contributor: 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend: November 20,21,22

This post is sponsored by:
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HUGE Holiday events post - Click here

Brrrrrrrrrrrr!  Sounds like indoor fun is on the forecast.  Or, at least in the warm car.  Lights under Louisville at Louisville Mega Cavern starts this weekend. Click here for a variety of discount opportunities (some only available on weekdays).

Don't freeeeeeze, go somewhere for FREE! It's the Ali Center's 10th anniversary and they are having a big celebration which includes free admission for all.  Live music, family activities and more. It is a really great museum - check it out!

How about thinking about some holiday shopping - but for a family in need!  Are you interested in helping a local family - let's connect. We help one every year - click here to learn more.

Looking for a holiday bazaar?  St. Leonard on Zorn Ave is having their event on Sunday.  The Grinch will be there - you know you want to go.  Details here.

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Review of Family Fun Workshops at The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, IN

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana offers free Family Fun Workshops one Saturday a month from 10am to Noon. My kids and I headed up there this month, and we were thrilled by the whole experience!

 photo 20150912_095554_zpshqztrd0p.jpgThe Family Workshops are located in the basement of the Museum, with a big space and lots of table room. The Saturday we attended, my kids worked with clay. The materials were all free, and my kids got to keep what they made. The staff was very friendly, helpful, allowed the kids to do the work themselves, and they allowed the kids to be creative. There were a variety of age groups there, and the staff were very patient. It was a great experience.

 photo 20150912_101246_zpstafr35de.jpgThe Carnegie Center itself is a real treasure. They have temporary exhibits (about 10 weeks long) and three permanent exhibits including an exhibit of hand-made, moving dioramas that my kids loved looking at, an award-winning Underground Railroad exhibit, and an exhibit on the Life of Lucy Higgs Nichols (Lucy lived an interesting life before living out the rest of her days in New Albany). The exhibits have a LOT of reading and an hour long movie that my kids didn't care for, but I really enjoyed all of the exhibits and wish I had more time!
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While we were there, one of the temporary exhibits was an art exhibit of portraits. On the wall, there were 5 different color backpacks, each filled with art supplies for kids to create their own art. Then, the kids got to hang their own art up on the wall next to the exhibit - my kids thought that was amazing!

 photo 20150912_104642_zpsq9ixjhed.jpgThe staff member there was so friendly, knowledgeable, and really great with my kids. And did I mention the Carnegie Center is always free admission?! My kids enjoyed the whole morning, and we can't wait to go back for another free Family Fun Workshop soon!

By Guest Contributor: Caryn

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Review of Glass Blowing at Hyland Glass

 photo Hyland Pumpkins_zpssyj5yoe0.jpgWe’ve been visiting the hot shops of Louisville since my oldest son was barely walking. Together we’ve blown many Christmas ornaments and decorations over the years, to the point where our sad little artificial Christmas tree required a sturdier base to carry all the weight. Last Christmas we branched out to Christmas trees and snowmen instead of ornaments, but we decided after schlepping the heavy bins up to the attic we had enough Christmas glass. It was time to branch out to glass blowing for other Holidays.

So when I saw all the adorable glass pumpkins at the St. James Art Fair recently, I decided it was time to try our hand at those. We ended up at Hyland Glass on Washington Street in Butchertown, a newer shop we hadn’t yet visited. They offer multiple different blow your own opportunities throughout the year, so you are likely to be able to book a session any time you’d like.

 photo Hyland Collage_zpshszbktul.jpgWe arrived at our appointment early, so we watched the ladies ahead of us work on their pumpkins. This is one of the few times other than when they are playing video games that my kids are completely engrossed in what they are watching, so that alone makes it worth the $60 per kid. The artists were great with my kids and went out of their way to explain the process using kid-friendly language. My kids wanted pumpkins that were outside the typical color spectrum, and they were very accommodating of that.

The process for both kids took about 45 minutes. When you blow glass it has to cool slowly in a 900 degree kiln, so plan to pick your creation up a few days after you make it. We will probably be back in the spring for something else to add to our glass collection, such as a flower or Easter Egg.

By Guest Contributor: Maggie

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Week in Preview November 16th-19th

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It's getting cold outside, find some fun where it's warm!

Here are my picks for the week!

Live it: Have a special family night and take the kids to Derby Dinner Playhouse to see Irving Berlin's White Christmas. Click here for show information!

Eat it: Head to Moe's Southwest Grill on Wednesday for Kid's Eat Free! When you purchase an adult entree (valued at $5 or more) you receive a free kid's meal (which consists of an entree, drink & a cookie). Valid at Louisville, KY and Clarksville, IN locations. Children must be 12 and under.

Move it: Get some fitness in with your kiddo this week at Stroller Strides. Your first week is free, check it out here for more information!

Learn it: On Tuesday, November 17th, join the St. Matthew's Branch of the Louisville Free Public Library for Nutcracker Storytime with the Louisville Ballet at 6:30pm. 

For more fun, check out our Holiday and Christmas Event List here!

By Guest Contributor: 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Picks for Things to Do this Weekend: November 13,14,15

This post is sponsored by:
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HUGE Holiday events post - Click here

All Weekend:
Festival of Trees and Lights! This wonderful event benefits Kosair Children's Hospital and we are a supporting sponsor. We love supporting local families.  This runs for 3 days and will fill your heart with happiness.  See full details here.  It's very affordable and the children's activities are free with admission.

Need a night out?  All About Kids (Oldham location) has a slumber party on Friday night.  Late night pick-up also an option if your child doesn't want to stay over all night.  Just $25-$35 depending on pick-up time, register today (Thursday) to avoid the $5 day-of registration fee.  Kids have fun with swimming, movie, pizza, cookies and FUN!

Don't forget - from 6-8pm at Whet Your Palette, you can paint for half price and it's already affordable!  You know you want to paint something festive with the family.  Head out for ice cream when you are finished and BAM - awesome night for less!

Family fun meal prep.  Get the kids into the kitchen.  Create menus, set the table fancy, make cute place cards or place mats and cook together.  We have WEEKS of family-friendly, simple recipes to try.   

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Happy Places: Favorite Family Game to Play Together

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I asked the LouFamFun writers: What is your favorite game to play together as a family?

With some colder months, we thought you might need some ideas!

Also - there are great fun/educational games at The Parent-Teacher Store & Toys too!

Stephanie- Monopoly

Nicolle- X-Box 360. Usually Wipeout or Fruit Ninja. 

Jeanette- Wits and Wagers (Family Edition)

Kelly- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Action Battle Game (Card Game)

Caryn- Curious George Hide and Seek at the Zoo

Karen- Qwirkle & Rummikub

Kimberly- Candyland and puzzles

Lauren- Hide & Seek (no supplies necessary!!)

Brandy- Depends on who you ask at our house! Sorry, Hold Your Horses and Moose in the House are popular right now.

Maggie- Monopoly because somehow my five year old always wins.

Erin- Headbandz, Blurt, or Bubble Talk

Tami- Zingo or Spuzzle

Allison- Checkers or Where is Sock Monkey?

By Guest Contributor: Brandy