Things to do:

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Picks for things to do this weekend - August 1, 2, 3

This post is proudly sponsored by:    

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Have you heard the news?!?!  We have a new app and it's available for Android (coming soon for iPhone) - it's free!  Click here.  Discount offers!

Check out our podcast about Falls of the Ohio - a great day before back to school!

Oh my goodness, it's August! I have seen some friends posting photos of their children going back to school already.  Wowzers Louisville!  Picks for things to do.....still have to have fun.....

Friday: Have you been to an outdoor summer concert yet?  How about walking over the Big 4 Bridge to Jeffersonville and taking in a concert!!??  Details here.

Saturday:  You deserve a night out!  Louisville Gymnastics is offering Parents Night Out on August 2nd - it's a sign that you need to drop the kids off for fun and check out that new restaurant you have been wanting to try (Mussel & Burger Bar for me).    During the day - head to Parent-Teacher Store & Toys too for back to school shopping - shop local!

Sunday:  The first Kids Festival at KFC Yum! Center is taking place from 2-5pm.  Head downtown for free fun outside - face painting, activities, stilt walkers and more.

Have a fabuLOUs weekend!
Stephanie


Review of Polly's Freeze in Georgetown, Indiana

 photo pollys2_zps5c15d9b6.jpgPolly’s Freeze is an icon for southern Indiana, opening in 1952.  Just off I-64 at the Georgetown exit, it isn’t a far drive from downtown Louisville, and is definitely worth the short drive!  They’re only open about half the year, so my family always takes advantage of beautiful summer weather and makes a couple trips each year.  Last year, we went blueberry picking at Bryant’s Farm first, and this year went to Mount St. Francis for a nice hike before heading to Polly’s for lunch!

 photo pollys_zps58e59d27.jpgAt this restaurant, you place your order at a window, wait for your number to be called, and eat at any of their wooden or concrete picnic tables around their property.  I have never met an unfriendly employee in my many visits.  Even with my daughter’s nut allergy, they are good at making sure we make the right choices.  They have a wide range of menu items, like hamburgers, chicken fingers and sandwiches, hot dogs, French fries, onion rings, etc.  Many people get their “Pollyburger,” which is just a larger version of their regular hamburger.  Here is their menu, which is posted in front on their walls. 

We always order food first (always a corn dog for me and a pollyburger for the rest of my family!).  When we’re close to finished, we will decide what type of ice cream treat to get!  They have such a wide range of ice cream and dessert treats that it is hard to choose!  I got their brownie bliss flurry last time and it was fantastic!  They also have a baby ice cream cone for kids which is adorable!

Polly’s is a great, fun adventure that you have to go on!  My family loves it and we always make sure we make it up there each year!  The food is good, the atmosphere is fun, and we always have a great time!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

LouFamFun Early Literacy Ideas - Summer Fun!

It's the Dog Days of Summer - Are we in them or what? Isn't that the saying for August??! School seems to be starting a lot earlier this year, or is it just me? You have a couple of weeks left to do some fun things with the kids this summer. See our Summer Fun Links for all of our great ideas!

 photo book_zps6492602c.jpgBooks to Share: Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Lee, ABCers by Carole Schaefer, Veo el Verano: I See Summer by Charles Ghigna, Back to School Tortoise by Lucy M. George

Rhyme: Five Busy Honey Bees
Five busy honey bees were resting in the sun
The first one said, "Let us have some fun."
The second one said, "Where shall it be?"
The third one said, "In the honey tree."
The fourth one said, "Let's make some honey sweet."
The fifth one said, "With pollen on our feet."
The five little busy bees sang their buzzing tune,
As they worked in the beehive all that afternoon.
Bzzzz! Bzzzz! Bzzzz! Bzzzz! (from dltk-teach.com)

Recipe: Campfire Cones

Fun Printable: Summer Scavenger Hunt Challenge

 photo literacy_zps0bf81d15.jpgPlay Literacy Idea: I saw this great idea at the Library's How To Festival this past summer. Take one of those baby/toddler size plastic swimming pools and fill it with shredded paper. Hide different things in the paper. They had hidden velcro-backed items to match on a board on the wall behind the pool. You could hide your swimming toys, bath toys, and let your kids find them! A fun idea!

Louisville Local Spot for Learning and Literacy: I'd like to highlight the Asia Institute - Crane House that is a stop on the Cultural Pass program from Vision Louisville. My kids and I are planning a visit to this educational place for the first time with our cultural passes. I think what I love the most about the Cultural Pass is having all of these great places that we may or may not have visited yet, all in one place to remind us that they are there and to act sort of like a bucket list to see how many you can check off! Look for my review about our experience to come soon!

The Crane House has limited hours, and it is actually free to enter. They are open Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday from 9:30am-4:30pm; they are closed on Wednesdays and weekends. They are located at 1244 S. 3rd Street, with parking on the street. Did you know Louisville will be hosting a Dragon Boat Festival in September down at the waterfront? Learn more about it on their website. When you're done visiting Crane House, make a stop at Dizzy Whiz (Stephanie's Happy Place Restaurant) afterwards!

By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, July 28, 2014

Review of Good Garbage in the Portland Neighborhood, Louisville, KY

 photo 20140712_140019_zps392f35fd.jpgHave you heard of Good Garbage? It’s a “Creative Re-use Center” in the Portland neighborhood. What that means is they accept donations for all kinds of materials- everything from toilet paper tubes and egg cartons to bottle caps and fabric scraps. (Here’s the list of what she will and won’t accept.) She uses these materials to do craft projects for kids and adults alike, both in her shop and out in the community. In addition, she will be opening her store to educators in the fall so they can get classroom materials for free.

I recently interviewed Lynn, the owner, for the LouFamFun podcast. I wasn’t sure what her business was all about, but it sounded interesting. After interviewing her, I knew I had to get down there and check it out. My kids eat, sleep, and breathe arts and crafts, so this place sounded perfect for us.

The store is currently only open Saturdays from 10-3, though she also offers birthday parties, craft nights, workshops, and appointments. We happened in on a Saturday afternoon a little after noon. Lynn showed us to the back of the store, where there were tables and chairs and multiple shelving units full of materials. The best part was that the only rule is that she doesn’t want kids to feel like they can’t make a mess. This is definitely our kind of place.

 photo 20140712_130343_zps7f2ff45b.jpgMy kids ended up each doing two crafts. One craft was turning a tin can into a robot. The kids dug through baskets and bags of bottle caps, buttons, game pieces, plastic utensils, rubber spacers, pipe cleaners, and punched out paper pieces to make their unique creations. Then they used CD cases to create “mail art” with various materials. They were ecstatic they got to use the hot glue gun, which is something that is off limits at home.

There was a group of women at the table next to us who were turning plastic shopping bags into yarn and crocheting them into sleeping mats for the homeless. My kids enjoyed hearing about their project and watching the process of crocheting.

My kids crafted for two hours straight, and we had to coax them out with the promise that we would return soon. We’re going to start keeping a “Good Garbage” box next to the recycling bin where we will put all our toilet paper tubes, yogurt cups, tissue boxes, and anything else we think might benefit this business. Then when the box is full we will take it to donate and have another craft day.

There is also a retail store where you can buy everything from wine corks for your Pinterest projects to old sewing patterns. I found a package of cocktail napkins with a map of Rome. You just don’t know what you will find.

 photo 20140712_130706_zpsbc3ac2f9.jpgThe free crafting area is by donation, so I offered $5 per kid. I based that figure on the workshop she’d had the previous night for the same price. It’s a very affordable, unique, and environmentally friendly experience for the whole family.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Picks for Things to do this Weekend - July 25,26,27

This post is proudly sponsored by:    

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Have you heard the news?!?!  We have a new app and it's available for Android (coming soon for iPhone) - it's free!  Click here.

So much on our calendar but what's going on this weekend that's fun and free, those will be my picks - let's see:

Friday
Quest Outdoors is having a canoe, kayak and SUP demo day - see details here.  Dress accordingly to be out in the water.  They said they do have life vests for kids if you want to pop them into a canoe with you and try it out!  It's from 4-8pm at Long Run Park.  FREE!

Saturday
West Louisville Appreciation Day at Shawneed Park.  Full of activities and it's all free from 1-5pm.
See details here.  Climbing wall, fishing, archery....sign me up! (oh, and the kids too). FREE!

Sunday
Head to the Parklands of Floyds Fork for a day of fun exploring and enjoying two events - they have a new Farmer's Market that opens at 11am and then from 2-4pm you can hang with the Louisville Astronomical Society and learn about the sun....I mean, it IS SUNday. FREE!

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,
Stephanie

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Short Getaway to Cincinnati - Sawyer Point Park, Radisson Hotel, Coney Island Amusement Park

I was given admission to Coney Island Amusement Park for purpose of review.

I had two days off and thought about where I could go with the kids for a quick getaway from Louisville and not break the bank.  We headed right up I71 to Cincinnati to explore.  I found a deal on Priceline.com for $67 at the Radisson on the Riverfront.  It is a cool circular hotel and I knew the kids would love it - indoor pool too...BONUS!



LouFamFun's Cincinnati album on Photobucket

The Radisson was so easy to get to, right off of the highway. We checked in easily at 3pm and they even accommodated a room change since I wanted two beds and Priceline assigned me 1 king. They have parking under the hotel with access right to the elevators. It was really hot that day so it was nice to be able to park in a covered area. The kids LOVED that they hotel was round and the view from the balcony. The room was clean and had a little fridge and microwave - perfect for our instant oatmeal that I brought for breakfast the next day to save some money and be able to hang out in bed instead of running off to a restaurant.  Before the trip, I referenced a post by Family Friendly Cincinnati for ideas, see it by clicking here!

We quickly changed and used my phone's GPS to find Sawyer Point Park.  It took less than 10 minutes from the hotel. We parked on the street for no cost not far from the tennis courts on the eastern side of the park.  Sawyer Point Park runs a long distance along the Ohio River on the Cincinnati side.  We brought just a few items for the splash area so we could walk around with out the burden of too much stuff. It is a very nice park. There were many people out exercising, playing and sight seeing.  We stumbled upon an outdoor theater, a few playgrounds, a sand volleyball court and a place to rent surrey carts or bicycles - just like we have in Louisville.  We spent most of the our time playing at the super cool playground under the bridge. It was faux wood, like a big boat and totally in the shade.  Fantastic playground.  We kept walking west to find the spray area on the western side of the park.  It was such a fun urban sprayground and a relief from the heat.  After we played, we walked back to our car along the river.  All in all - we spent about 2 hours at the park and could have easily spent more time there. This was all free!

For dinner, we went back across the river to Newport on the Levee because someone told me that I had to have Dewey's Pizza.  You know, there's a pedestrian bridge that you can walk if you didn't want to drive!  Anyway, we parked in the garage (under $5) and walked around a bit and made our way to the top floor inside to the restaurant.  There was a modest wait but the kids didn't mind because they have windows to the kitchen and they kids watched the staff make pizza close up.  We were seated and chose outside seating.  The service was prompt and polite.  We all shared a pizza and I had a wonderful seasonal salad.  With beverages and tip, it was all just over $30.  The pizza was really good but the kids did notice that the sauce was a tad spicier than we were used to - but I actually really like that about it.  I gladly took a few pieces back to the hotel for pizza for breakfast the next morning (naughty me).    After dinner, we explored Newport on the Levee and got a few sweets for back at the hotel spending under $5.

The next morning, we got up and out to get to Coney Island Amusement Park by 10am when the pool opened.  It was so easy to find with GPS and took just about 15 minutes from the Radisson.  Parking ($8) was close and there were virtually no lines to get in.  We went to the pool and found chairs and a shady spot to call our own for the day.  There are lockers for valuables that you can rent for the day ( $7) and a large locker room for changing or showers. For food, you can bring a cooler and leave it in the picnic area, lots of people do this.  That saves a lot of money.  Since I was coming from a hotel - we purchased food to compliment some of the snacks I brought with me, spending about $30 for the day. Pool + rides are $19.95 per person 5 and up and $9.95 for kids 2-4.  We swam, played ping pong, went on slides, floated around, dove off the diving boards, went to see shows in the amusement park area, ate, swam more, went on rides and had an all around great time. You can bring floats and pool toys - there are spot to inflate them! I think the pool is definitely the highlight and you can make a day of it just at the pool without the rides (you can still see shows at no cost) and the pool admission is $11.95 for 5 and up, $4.50 for kids 2-4. Great price!  We stayed at the pool until almost 7pm and drove back to Louisville.  My kids are dying to go back - the pool is HUGE, one of a kind fun.

We had a great 1.5 day trip on less than 1 tank of gas and I think if done savvy, you can have a little getaway on a really tight budget that is busting with awesome memories.

Stephanie

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Review of The Cafe Restaurant in Louisville, KY

I recently enjoyed a nice sit down lunch at the very well known to Louisvillians, The Cafe, near Louisville Stoneware. It was such a nice lunch because I was alone, without my children, having lunch with two very near and dear ladies, and just having some catch up adult time in this eclectic Louisville staple to the dining scene.

 photo IMG_2642_zps20b56924.jpgWhen I posted a picture of the old overpass with the date engraved onto it, readers on Facebook knew right away where I was! Just from this picture! They know their restaurants, and the beloved Cafe is just that: very loved and very family-oriented.

I scoured the menu and literally wanted to try everything listed! I ended up getting one of the Combination options: 1/2 chicken salad sandwich with a cup of the tomato soup and a side of pasta salad. It also came with a cookie. I had coffee to drink. My two aunts-in-law had tea with their meals; one had the Louis XIV-their famous chicken salad and the other had the Roasted Chicken Breast Sandwich.

 photo IMG_2641_zpsba01d2ec.jpgI also indulged in one of the decadent desserts-I had the raspberry filled yellow cupcake, and my aunts had the Italian creme cake. I tasted it and it was divine!

The Cafe is open Monday-Saturday from 7am-4pm; they are closed on Sundays. They are really known for their weekend brunch. The place is full of ambience and history and is a hopping place. They do carry-out and that was just as busy as the dining area of the restaurant. They also made our Top 10 Places to Dine Al Fresco! You can also pair a lunch outing here with a paint your own pottery setting at Louisville Stoneware which is just across the street. If you're new to Louisville (or have been here for 25 years like me and hadn't been here yet!), you must check them out! The Cafe is located at 712 Brent Street; 502-589-9191. Follow them on Facebook as well-their photos will definitely have your mouth watering!

By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, July 21, 2014

What's Your Happy Place? Family Restaurants

We are starting a new "Happy Place" feature.  Different places around town that just make your family HAPPY, written by the LouFamFun team.

Recently, I asked the LouFamFun writers :

Write a sentence or two in a comment about your happy place restaurant for your family and why it makes you so darn happy.


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Jackie: our family "happy place" restaurant is Beef O'Brady's. Yummy food, grownup atmosphere, and very family friendly. Kids eat free on the night we go, and there are games to play when dinner's over! Win, win, and win.

Maggie: We love Fiesta Time and Cafe Mimosa. Both places have vast menus so there's something for everyone, and the atmosphere is casual and fun.

Allison: Chuy's is for sure a happy place for my family. My oldest son (5) asks to go to Chuy's quite often, the part that makes it the happy place is that I don't have to constantly tell everyone to eat.

Christine: Wild Eggs because we all love breakfast but different things for breakfast. My 88 yo Grandpa all the way to my 2 yo nephew love it.

Dana: We love B-dubs - we can usually get in and out, simple yummy food, and the kids love the games they can bring to the table.

Nicolle: Shogun! My kids are entertained by the cooking and fire show in front of them and everyone can find something delicious on the menu! And there's usually left overs!

Erin: Ours is El Toro. It's our happy place because they are great with kids, have a fab outdoor patio, Mariachi band on Sat nights. We love the price. Seriously THE place we go when we just want to chill together somewhere for dinner, and we've been going there long enough that many of the servers and the owner know us!

Lauren: Anything pasta is our happy place, but Fazolis has definitely become a go to for us - cheap food, pretty tasty, and I get a great deal being a teacher. And all the bread sticks you can eat!

Caryn: Our happy place to eat is iHop. My kids love breakfast food at any time of day, they love to decorate the kids pancake, and my husband and I love the large selection and friendly service.

Brandy: Our happy place is Salsarita's. We frequent the Middletown location, which is always clean and has a Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, which we all enjoy. The entrees and chips are yummy, we get freebies with our loyalty card and never have to wait long to order.

Karen: McAlister's on Bardstown Rd in Fern Creek --- kids eat (a pretty decent sized meal) for free, and we generally go with half our neighborhood, and also run into many others. It's VERY FAMILY FRIENDLY, and everyone is always satisfied. **Doesn't hurt that my family of four, with a $3 off coupon from the previous receipt, can all eat for under $10!!!

Tami: Annie May's Sweet Cafe- no worries about food allergies here! We dine peanut and tree nut free. Great Saturday morning breakfast spot for our family!

Stephanie:  Our happy place is Dizzy Whiz. I love being in Old Louisville and there's nothing better than a complete dive serving up America standards at a low low price. Someone get me a milkshake!

What is your Happy Place Family Restaurant? 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

July Family Book Review and the Importance of Summer Reading

The summer slide--heard of it? I'm sure you have as I have seen it mentioned all over the place in regards to school ending, summer starting, and kids falling out of their routines and learning opportunities that are more prevalent when school is in session. Hopefully you haven't let the summer slide happen at your house this summer! With so many fun things to do around Louisville -- see our Summer Fun Links -- you and your family have been busy!

I've had the privilege of being granted this really neat book to review for Louisville Family Fun. We have some to give away as well to some lucky readers! It's called A Simple Idea to Empower Kids written by Kathleen Boucher (KSB Promotions). There are three secrets in the book that the author wants to share with the readers, children. 1. You are a very special person exactly as you are right now. 2. The second greatest force on Earth is the power to choose. 3. Believe you can do it. The author writes a very special message to her readers that inspires them to be themselves, let hurtful words or actions roll off, choose their own thoughts and how they want to be in the world, and believe in themselves. This is a great story with a super strong encouragement to remind children to be these things. The author wanted her own children to be happy and confident, so she wrote down her message to share with children everywhere. Learn more at www.greatkids.me.

One last word about the importance of all that summer reading your kids (and hopefully you!) have been doing all summer long. Sure, the prizes are great, but as a children's librarian I love sharing with parents and kids the value of why we want them to read. According to Summer Reading First Facts from Scholastic.com, research shows "that kids who never crack a book during their summer break fall behind in reading while kids who do, maintain their reading skills and even excel. The best predictor of summer loss or summer gain is whether or not a child reads during the summer. And the best predictor of whether a child reads is whether or not he or she has access to books. And, regardless of ethnicity, socioeconomic level, or previous achievement, children who read four or more books over the summer fare better on reading-comprehension tests in the fall than their peers who read one or no books over the summer."

As I love to say, Happy Reading and see you at the Library!

By guest contributor: Erin

Review of Disney’s “Planes: Fire and Rescue” in 3D at the Regal 16 Theaters in New Albany, Indiana

Jackie was given free movie tickets for purpose of review.

 photo WP_201407161_zpsf5b9b1b4.jpgMy boys (ages “almost” 5 and 2 ½) were so excited to get the opportunity to see “Planes: Fire and Rescue” at the screening we attended Wednesday night at the Regal 16 Theaters. This wasn’t just any movie for us. It was the first time for both my boys to go to a movie in a theatre! Our family was ready to go, and we were not disappointed.

If your family is anything like ours, we have watched Cars, Cars2, and Planes too many times to count. We love planes, cars, trucks, trains, and construction equipment. We were in luck! This movie had a lot of things that we thought were missing from the first Planes movie. The dramatic action begins when Dusty Crophopper, that superstar of racing, discovers a problem with his gearbox that spells the end of his racing career.  A series of events leads to Dusty being trained as a fire rescue plane, to save Propwash Junction’s airport from being shut down. 

 photo WP_20140716_zpsa2cfc4f1.jpgDusty’s journey in his fire training reminded us of the first Cars movie.  We were quickly introduced to new characters, and their personalities endeared them to us very quickly. The action picks up, and the story line was really enjoyable. The few moments where characters were in danger or injured, were resolved in a gentle way. This was good for us, because our boys are pretty young and my oldest son tends to be more sensitive.


 I would recommend this movie!  If you enjoyed Cars, and have wished (like we have) for another movie with the same charm and wit, this is it. All 4 of us had a very enjoyable time, and I look forward to adding “Planes: Fire and Rescue” to our library!

By guest contributor: Jackie