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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Review of Premier Face Painting Birthday Parties

PhotobucketPhotobucketMy daughter turned three and we had a little birthday party for her at our home. What better than some really cool face painting to make a little girl happy at her party?!

PhotobucketPremier Face Painting - Kathy Oros came to our home and set up a small table and chairs with all of her supplies. She is very organized with the options all on laminated sheets and the kids just loved looking at all of them and choosing what they would get painted on their face or arms. She arrived on time, was dressed in a festive party shirt and got ready within minutes. The party was just about to get a little hectic until she arrived and the kids gathered to check out her stuff! Party saver!
Photobucket
PhotobucketEach child chose something different, there were so many choices and characters. Kathy is really skilled at using the sponges, stencils, brushes and various paints to make incredible little works of art on each child's face, hand or arm. The kids don't have to wait forever because although she is precise and take enough time to really do quality work, she is swift with the tools and keeps the line moving!

PhotobucketPhotobucketEach child was just amazed when they got to look in the mirror. It was hysterical too see their faces since some of them just stared in shock like "is that really me?" Others, like my son who was transformed into a snake, instantly started playing the role by going outside and hissing in the grass! Other just beamed when they looked in the mirror and so proudly posed for pictures. One of my daughter's little friends is usually timid and reserved when it comes to these things, clinging close to her mommy, and even she sat down excitedly to be made into a sparkling mermaid!

PhotobucketKathy painted 8 children's faces and my face. She was there for just under 1 hour and did a fabuLOUs job. I would absolutely recommend her work as a wonderful addition to your child's next party or even an adult gathering because I got a real kick out of my fancy design. My children have gotten their face painted so many times and the quality in her work is by far the best we have had!

PhotobucketAs for the paints, they were so light that it didn't bother me or my children all day. My son was so pleased to visit the bathroom mirror over and over all day and he was STILL a snake! The designs didn't rub off easily and when it did come time to get ready for bed, everything washed off so easily with a little soap and water.

All of the party details in terms of pricing and options are on the Premier Face Paiting website. They also offer body painting, pregnant belly painting, airbrushing and balloon twisting!

                                                                                                                 HISSSSSSS!



Just for LouFamFun readers: Mention this review and receive a $20.00 discount off any party package!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Winner! 2 tickets to Friday's Hollydays from Junior League of Louisville

PhotobucketShopping! Appetizers! Drinks! Swag Bags!  Sounds great and someone just won tickets.  It's KRISTEN DUNCAN!!!

email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize!

Visit the Junior League of Louisville Hollydays website for information about this event and tickets!

Second pick was Beth Spalding! And since I am in a giving kind of mood this holiday season, I am going to give Tara a free frozen yogurt from Sweet n Swirly and some other great coupons for local places!  Tara, email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize.

Review of Another Time Around Consignment

PhotobucketPhotobucketMoms on a budget don't have to sacrifice good quality, brand name clothing for themselves and their children. Buying and selling in a consignment shop is a wonderful option for anyone with any budget to take advantage of. Saving money this time of year is especially important- and when you can purchase brand name, beautiful clothing and accessories for yourself and your children and still save money, your budget will thank you!


PhotobucketPhotobucketOut of the many consignment shops in the Louisville area, 'Another Time Around' on Shelbyville Road is my absolute favorite place to shop. With the biggest children's and Maternity consignment selections in town- Another Time Around provides gently used, brand name items at very affordable prices! Providing boys and girls clothing up to size 20, a teen room, maternity room and huge selection of women's clothing/ shoes/ accessories and more- up to size 3x, the only person left out at this store is dear old dad!

PhotobucketThey are now accepting Christmas outfits and winter items/accessories, so gather up a few things to bring in as you come - and add some extra Christmas money to your pocket next month! Another Time Around offers a 50/50 consignment split- and 10% off any purchases made from your consignment account. You can even bring the kiddos with you- they have a play room for your children to explore while you're shopping!

Follow them on facebook for extra specials and savings!

www.facebook.com/AnotherTimeAroundKY


By guest contributor
Kara

Monday, November 28, 2011

Keep Louisville Weird - LIBA Holiday Passport Contest

Shop Local and You Could Win Big this Holiday Season!

Louisville Independent Businesses Launch Holiday Passport Contest
Encouraging Consumers to Buy Local

Studies have shown that for every $100 spent at a chain, only $15 remains in the local community, but spending $100 at a home town business keeps $45 in the local community.

PhotobucketBut shopping from independent retailers this holiday season will yield more than just that warm and fuzzy feeling of supporting the local economy for one lucky person. The Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA) has launched its annual Holiday Passport Contest, and this year it’s even easier to be eligible to win. The rules are easy: collect receipts from five member businesses by 1/6/12, mail in or present the receipts for review at one of the sponsor sites (Highland Cleaners or Feeders Supply), and you’ll be entered into the drawing to win $1000 in gift certificates to LIBA businesses. (Once receipts are verified, they are returned to the owner.) The winner will be drawn live on Wednesday, January 11, 2012 on WAVE-3’s “Listens Live” show at 11:00am, and they will get to choose from over 400 LIBA businesses where they wish to spend their $1,000. There will also be secondary prizes awarded, including gift certificates to Balance Therapeutic Massage, Beechmont Bombshells, eyedia, and Heine Brothers' Coffee.

By shopping local, consumers help to preserve the unique community character of the Metro Louisville area. Dollars spent at community-based merchants also create a multiplier effect in the local economy, and when you want to find a gift that’s truly unique, independent businesses are the place to go.

“The members of LIBA are about personal attention, a focus on customer service, the pleasure of shopping alongside friends and neighbors, and keeping local dollars within our community,” says Carol Besse of Carmichael’s Bookstore. “When we shop local, we all win.”

LIBA’s Holiday Passport Contest is generously sponsored by Highland Cleaners and Feeders Supply, with support from LEO Weekly, and TryItLocal.com.

Full contest details and a list of participating businesses are at http://www.keeplouisvilleweird.com/.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dining Discoveries and More - Vint Gift Card Giveaway!

PhotobucketThanks for tuning into Dining Discoveries and More!  As I mentioned, we are giving away a $25 Vint Coffee gift card with a great re-usable beverage cup.  I said a special code word on the show this morning. All you need to do is email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net and put that code word in the subject line.  All of those that email today (11/27/11) with the correct code word will be entered into the random drawing.

You will have to pick up the card and cup at Vint Nortfield and I will let the winner know via email when the card will be ready for pickup!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Things to do in and around Louisville for Christmas 2011


LOOKING FOR 2015 info?  CLICK HERE

This post is sponsored by:  Fuzziwig's Candy Factory






There are so many ways to get out and about in Louisville / Kentuckiana for the holidays.  This is a long list of events and I bet there's even more!

Light Up LaGrange for a great small town family experience.  December 2nd starting at 5pm.  So much to do during this event!
The Olde Tyme Christmas Celebration on Frankfort Ave. is December 3rd from 9am to 8pm including the Santa Spirit Stroll, live music, photos with Santa, free trolley and horse carriage rides (noon-5pm).

The Nature of Christmas in Goshen at the Creasey Mahan Nature Preserve: FREE!  Hayrides, Gift and Craft booths, free food and more. December 3rd from 12-3pm. Santa arrives at 1:30 and there's gifts for the first 250 kids. 

The Louisville Chorus performs A Family Christmas at St. Mary's Catholic Church in New Albanyat 2pm on December 3rd.  Student $6 Senior $15 General $18

Light up Jeffersonville and Light Up the Holidays parade. December 3rd starting at 5pm in downtown and the Light Up event is at Warder Park.

Nutcracker in a Nutshell: Dec. 3rd at 2 or 7pm  Enjoy a shorter, family friendly holiday classic at the Louisville Palace!

Christmas in Anchorage December 3rd, various activities all day from breakfast with Santa to home tours. 
December 3rd and 4th, the Old Louisville Holiday House Tour from noon-6pm.  Tickets are $25 the day of the tour or $20 in advance.

December 4th is the 1st annual Bright Lights of Brooklawn event from 5:30-7:30pm. There will be the lighting of the Brooklawn Christmas Tree, a visit from Santa Claus and a tour of the cottages, decorated by the children who reside at Brooklawn. Even holiday treats and food will be available to all guests.
Northeast Christian Church has FREE carriage rides on December 10th starting at 6:30pm complete with SNOW!  There will be a live nativity, free hot chocolate, Santa and more.

A Christmas Carol runs from December 6th-23rd at Actor's Theater.  It's good for ages 5 and up and tickets start at $24.

The Nutcracker ballet from the Louisville Ballet on various dates from December 10-23rd.  Even a Sugar Plum Party with the case on December 10th and 18th. 

Lights Under Louisville is open 7 days a week for a fun drive through festive experience of lights and holiday music!  You can always save and we tell you how! Just click HERE to get to our post about discounts.  Otherwise, it's $25 per car.

Take a sleigh ride with Santa for free at the Summit shopping center on the weekends from 12-5pm near Ulta.  Kids get a photo and a gift! We did this last year and it was great! 

Santa at the Zoo during the Louisville Zoo Santa Safari that takes place December 10th-11th and 17-18th at 10, noon and 2pm. Tickets are only available online.It's $7.50 for kids 2 and under $17.50 for people 3 and up ($5/$12 for members).  Refreshments, one-on-one animal interactions, photo, craft, meeting frosty the snowman and more.

Bass Pro Shop Christmas: A must do!  They offer so many activities, a free photo with Santa, games, crafts, freebies and more! It's through December 24th and check the times of different promotions by clicking HERE.

The lights at Toyland Christmas display are wonderful, set to music and you can make donations to benefit the Home of the Innocents.  It's through December 30th, Sunday - Thursday, 6pm - 10pm, Friday & Saturday  6pm - 11pm. I went last year and wrote a review, click HERE to read about it and see photos/video.  Santa is even there on some Friday and Saturday nights but their website doesn't indicated which dates just yet.  Here's the MAP on how to get there (6801 melon court, Louisville, KY).

Pictures with Santa at the malls
Mall St. Matthews
Oxmoor Center
Jefferson Mall
Green Tree Mall

Breakfast with Santa at Green Tree Mall on December 10th.  First 100 kids get free breakfast from Chil-fil-a. There's storytelling and crafts!

Breakfast with Santa at Oxmoor Center on December 10th.  Santa, Elves, games, decorate a gingerbread man.  $8, children under 2 are free.  Proceeds go to charity.

Cookies with Santa on December 10th from 1-4pm at Baptist Eastpoint.  Cookies, popcorn, coffee, juice, music, free photos with Santa, crafts and activities, holiday bazaar for shopping and prizes to win!

You can also have breakfast with Santa at Martini's at the Summit on December 10th at 9am. Games, photo,music, crafts and Santa, of course.  Tickets are $5.95 for kids and $14.95 for adults.

Ice skating with Santa in Jeffersonville on Sundays from 1-4pm through January 1st.  It's $8 per person (that includes skates, or it's $6 per person if you have a group of 10 or more). It's located where E. Market St. meets Spring St.

Velveteen Rabbit Christmas at Derby Dinner Playhouse is a great family option.  They have multiple show dates.  It's $16 for breakfast and $21 for lunch performances.

Make free holiday cards at the American Printing House for the Blind on Saturday Dec. 10th from 10-noon.  Good for all ages (and all holidays!).  Registration required (call 899-2213)

Drop-in ornament making at the Museum of Art and Craft on December 10th from 11-12:30 for $6 per person.  Good for all ages!

Stage One-The Best Christmas Pageant Ever: Good for ages 8 and up.  December 3, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m., December 10, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m., December 19, 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.. The Kentucky Center, Bomhard Theater.  Tickets are $12.75

Stage One-Madeline's Christmas: Good for agest 9 and up. December 11, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m., December 17, 11 a.m. & 2 p.m.  The Ogle Center, IUS, New Albany, IN   Tickets are $12.50

North Pole Express at Kentucky Dinner Train in Bardstown on December 4th, 11th and 18th at either 1pm or 5:30pm.  $40 for adults, $35 for kids up to the age of 12.  1.5 hr excursion, photos with Santa, meal and a surprise for each child!

The Santa Express at the Kentucky Railway Museum:  December 3,4 , 10,11, and 17,18.
Times are 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and 2 p.m. on Sunday
It's $20.00 for Adults and $15.00 for children ages 2-12, kids under the age of 2 are free.
90 minutes, Santa will visit, there's cookies and hot chocolate and kids wear PJs!

Nutcracker on Ice from the LSA on Saturday, December 17: 11:00 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.

Douglass Boulevard Christian Church has breakfast with Santa on the 17th at 9,10,11 or noon.  Pictures with Santa and fun!  $5 per person, kids 2 and under are free.
Sunday, December 18: 2:00 p.m. & 6:00 p.m. at Iceland Sports Complex.  $12 per person. 
You can have breakfast with Santa on the Spirit of Jefferson on Dec. 17th at 10am. 

The Louisville Christmas Show, huge shopping event if you love expo-style shopping.  Free admission and the first 500 kids each day get a free photo with Santa.  December 9,10,11th  Friday 11-8 / Saturday 10-8 / Sunday 11-5


I'll add more when/if I find more!

Stephanie

CONTEST ENDED! WINNER IS GINA B!  email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim!
If you read this entire list: SURPRISE!  You can comment on this page/post for a chance to win TWO Sweet n Swirly vouchers for FREE Frozen Yogurt.  Just comment with your first name and last initial and tell us which event interests you the most.  I will announce the winner on a random date the week of 11/28, so get your comment in now....you never know!

Friday, November 25, 2011

CONTEST! 2 Tickets to Holly Days Girls Night Out

The Junior League of Louisville is hosting the 6th Annual Holly Days Art and Gift Market at the Mellwood Art Center.  Friday night (December 2nd 6-9:30pm) is the Girls Night Out.  There's appetizers, drinks and SWAG bag full of coupons and little giveaways. The tickets are $10 for Friday night and we are giving away TWO.

Note: The Holly Days event is also on Sat/Sun and tickets are only $5.

From their site:
Friday Night is our annual Girls Night Out! We have such a fun filled evening planned! Your $10 ticket gives you access to two drink tickets where you can get choose wine from Chrisman Mill Vineyards, PAMA liquor, or Falls City Beer. We will also have appetizers from Martini’s and Jarfi’s, and a swag bag with coupons to many vendor booths, as well as to places all over town! We call it a girls night out, but guys are welcome too! Hollydays is a perfect place to get some serious shopping in!


Vicky Rogers and the crew from Lite 106.9 will be there doing a live radio show from our event!

The Silent Auction will be held in a heated outdoor tent to give everyone some extra shopping room this year! Come ready to bid, as we have a variety of great items to go after! Of note, we have 2 Southwest Airlines tickets, a vacation stay at a condo in Colorado, various signed sports memorabilia, Kate Spade sunglasses, and an overnight at the Galt House! Great deals for a great cause!



Louisville Family Fun Pass holders can email a photo of their fun pass to bonus@louisvillefamilyfun.net for 2 bonus entries!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Review of Choices Yogurt Bar

Photobucket
PhotobucketI recently took my little sweet out for a treat to Choices Yogurt Bar in the Holiday Manor shopping center (they also have one on Hurstbourne).  There are so many frozen yogurt places popping up in Louisville, I am taking on the challenge to try them all!

PhotobucketPhotobucketThis Choices location is a little tucked away on the opposite side of the parking lot from Kroger.  When we went in, it was cheerful and the employee greeted us.  She asked if we had been there before and I told her I had no but that we were familiar with what to do.  So, my daughter headed straight to the cups.  There were many options (10 I believe) from traditional flavors to more unique ones.  I chose the cookies and cream and my daughter got a swirl of chocolate and vanilla. 

PhotobucketPhotobucketThen, we headed to the toppings. They had five canisters of topping and then a bunch more in a buffet style. My daughter loves those twisty canisters so we spun the dial and she put some candy on her frozen yogurt.  Then, we scooped some more toppings.  They had everything from sprinkles to fruit to cookie dough chunks.  I let my daughter choose 3.  Then, I put some chocolate syrup on top. They had a few syrups to choose from - I debated on whether or not to go with the caramel.  They also have warmed toppings!

PhotobucketIt's 45 cents per ounce.  Mine weighed in to be just under $4.  Maggie's was a little bit less.  At the register, I also noticed that they offer birthday parties and have frequent buyer cards so you can earn some free yogurt!  And, they have some days when you can get double punches on your cards.

PhotobucketAs we ate, Maggie got really thirsty.  They did have drinks for purchase but I just need a little sip of some water for her.  They did not have a water fountain but when I asked the employee for water, she very nicely got some in a little cup from the back for my daughter.  My cookies and cream yogurt was really good. I thought it was very creamy and my favorite topping was the cookie dough chunks!    I wish they would have had more canisters because I think the kids really love those and it makes it a little different, but it's not like my daughter didn't enjoy her treat.  The place was very clean and the employee was constantly working to make sure everything was wiped down, tidy and full. 

Give it a try and tell them we sent you!
Stephanie

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Things to do in and around Louisville in December 2011


This post is sponsored by:

Vintage Couture - Larissa Brown




We will have a separate post for Christmas and holiday events!

Here's some general ideas for December:

Take the family to Jeffersonville for their outdoor ice rink! It runs through January 1.  It's $8 per person unless you have a group of 10 or more, then it's $6 per person.  There's more information about it on their Facebook page.
  • Tuesdays - Eat Local Night - Kids skate for $4 with Jeff restaurant receipt
  • Thursdays - Shop Local Night - Kids skate for $4 with locally-owned Jeff merchant receipt
  • Fridays - Teen Night - DJ from 7-10pm
  • Sundays - Skate with Santa Day from 1-4pm

You can also go to Iceland or Alpine Ice Arena for the indoor ice skating experience. The places usually have sizes small enough to fit 3 year olds and up!  Give it a try!
How about going to see The Best Christmas Pageant ever from Stage One?  It's 70 minutes long and for ages 3 and up, that sounds like family fun to me!  Tickets are $12.75 each
Dec. 3, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.    Dec. 10, 2 p.m. & 5 p.m.   Dec. 19, 10:30 a.m. & 12:30 p.m.
The Kentucky Center, Bomhard Theater

Or, the Second Saturday events at the Frazier Museum. This month it's December 10th and the theme is "Toys, Trees and Traditions."  Details about this event are on their site and it's FREE for kids club members. 
Check out the winter break camp options from the Louisville Science Center for when the kids are out of school. They have wonderful programs for pre-k and up. Cost is $40 for members, $45 They have half day and full day options depending on age.  They even have a mini-camp on Saturday the 10th from 1-5pm if you need some time to get some shopping done!

These are just some picks, there are many more options on the calendar! Always be sure to verify the events with the location because of the holidays!

Stephanie

Nutcracker in a Nutshell at the Louisville Palace

Join Clara and the Nutcracker Prince as they battle the Mouse King and travel to The Land of the Sweets in the holiday classic Nutcracker in a Nutshell. Designed to delight audiences of all ages, Nutcracker in a Nutshell is a shorter, child-friendly version of the traditional Nutcracker ballet. The ballet has something for everyone…a delightful party scene, an exciting battle between mice and soldiers and the wonderful fantasy of the Land of Sweets.

In what is becoming an annual holiday tradition for thousands, the MAGIC™ Dance Company is performing the 5th Anniversary production of Nutcracker in a Nutshell at the magnificent Louisville Palace Theater. With gorgeous costumes, beautiful set design and incredible dancing, the magic of the holidays opens up before your eyes through this wonderful production.

Nutcracker in a Nutshell performances are Saturday, December 3rd at 2:00 pm and 7:00 pm. Ticket prices for the production are $20.00 and $17.50. Information on the show, photo galleries from past productions and ticket information is available at either Nutcracker in a Nutshell website (http://www.nutcrackerinanutshell.com/) or through the Louisville Palace Theater (http://www.louisvillepalace.com/).


Short video about the show!


MAGIC Proudly Presents

Clara’s Tea Party

What: An opportunity to have tea with Clara and some of her friends from the ballet production of Nutcracker in a Nutshell and then attend the 2:00 pm performance!

When: Saturday, December 3rd – Tea is from 12:30-1:30 pm and the show is at 2:00 pm

Where: The tea will be held at the beautiful Brown Hotel and the show is at the historic Louisville Palace Theater

Cost: Tickets are $30.00 per person and include attendance at the tea and the ballet

The tea features finger sandwiches, crumpets, petit fours, cookies, fruit punch and tea.
Show tickets are included and distributed at the tea.

To purchase your ticket to this wonderful holiday event, simply go to http://www.nutcrackerinanutshell.com/ and look for the “Clara’s Tea Party” tab.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Hadley Pottery Holiday Open House

PhotobucketPhotobucketJoin locally made Hadley Pottery for an annual holiday event that combines the tradition and warmth of Hadley with the fun and excitement of holiday shopping.


Their Holiday Open House will take place from 9:00am to 4:00pm on Saturday, December 3rd, and will feature holiday refreshments, hourly door prizes, and savings on Hadley Pottery items for the holiday table, gift-giving, and festive holiday decorating.

  • Save 10% on your order of $100 or more in the Louisville factory store
  • Save 15% on your order of $150 or more in the Louisville factory store
  • Save 20% on your order of $200 or more in the Louisville factory store
PLUS the first 100 visitors to make a $25 purchase will receive a free 2011 collectors ornament!


PhotobucketPhotobucketFor those who can't make it to the Louisville store location on December 3rd, join them on Facebook from 9:00-4:00 that day for special offers and hourly prize giveaways.

We hope you'll join them in person or online for a great day of shopping and fun to support this local company and their wonderful products.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

WINNER! 4 Day Passes to Big Splash Adventure Water Park

PhotobucketThis winner of FOUR DAY PASSES TO BIG SPLASH ADVENTURE WATER PARK is Brooke Webb!

Email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize! Include your mailing address.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

A Country Christmas at Gaylord Opryland Resort Nashville, TN - Day 2 Review

We awoke well-rested and ready to see Shrek and his gang for breakfast at the ShrekFeast.  This reminds me that I didn't mention in the review I wrote for Day 1 that this luxury hotel has turn-down service! It's a nice touch as you return to your room in the evening and the first night, we had some chocolates on our bed and some soft music playing!

PhotobucketPhotobucketWe had tickets to the ShrekFeast and were greeted by the town crier.  We got a photo taken and the town crier gave the kids crayons and an activity sheet.  We then made an ogre oath to promise to be stinky!  The hostess escorted us to our seats where a member of the wait staff took our drink orders and then we headed to the buffet.  There are so many option, it is a very extensive menu for a breakfast buffet.  To add to the atmosphere, all of the items has quirky "Shrek-themed" names. We drank swamp juice and ate mud bacon!  They had an omelet station, assorted pastries, Shrek waffles, pancakes, sausage, fruit, breads for toasting, a wonderful oatmeal bar and to top it all off, a fountain of green chocolate for dripping all over many goodies.  While we ate, the staff was very attentive and Shrek, Princess Fiona and Puss in Boots came by many times to greet the kids, take photos and ask for some food!  My son thought it was all really funny.  I thought it was a really well done breakfast, the food was tasty, the entertainment was adorable and it was much more fun than grabbing a bowl of cereal or a bagel on the go!  And, the Shrek ears are loved by all and the kids get them after they eat!

Next, we went to the DreamWorks concierge in the Cascades lobby to pick up scavenger hunt cards.  We followed the clues all throughout the hotel to write down the numeric answers.  Then, you decode the numbers with a chart on the back to unlock the final clue and turn it in for a prize.  The hunt took us through the cascades, the gardens and back to the delta atrium where Shrek lives.  Unfortunately, not all of the items were where they were supposed to be.  We looked and looked for the coins by the lions head in the gardens, but found nothing.  It was the first day of these events and apparently, they didn't have it all set up.  Also, I had a stroller because my daughter was tired and the scavenger hunt is not completely stroller friendly; there are stairs and escalators to take so it's easier if you carry a younger child or they walk.  We headed back to the DreamWorks concierge in the hope that even though we could not complete the scavenger hunt because it wasn't all set up, they would honor our effort since we took over an hour to find the items.  I was disappointed that the woman at the desk told me to just go back and do it again!  My 4.5 year old son was excited to get his prize and he did all of the clues that were indeed set up and I just told him they didn't have the prizes yet.  I called the concierge for our media trip and let them know that the scavenger hunt was not fully ready and what had happened. They graciously offered us a complementary lunch for the next day and said they would talk to the events staff and alert them to the problem. I was pleased with this response.

We rested for a bit and headed to the Paisano's Italian restaurant to eat, it's one of their many eateries.  We had pizza, salad and drinks.  It was really good thin-crust pizza and we sat overlooking the little river and waterfalls.  It was a simple and quick lunch, great for families.  Then, we headed to fill out our character passport.  At 2pm, some of the characters were in their spots on the map but some were not.  If you choose to get wristbands for this activity, you can check with the information booths as they have the specific times when each character is available.  We did meet up with and get a stamp from Gingy (from the Shrek movie) and Shrek and Fiona at their swamp house. (Kids can also decorate a "Gingy" for a fee). It was fun for picture taking and it's always cute to see how the kids react to the characters. My son loves them, my daughter prefers that they "go back into the TV."  Hysterical!  While we were walking around to find characters, we also stopped in the shopping area, Treasures for the Holidays, in the exhibit halls where there are crafts as well as vendors selling various items and gifts.  My son picked up a little horse crystal necklace for his sister for her birthday! (Treasures for the holidays has free admission and is open during standard business hours)

We headed back to our room for a little nap and after resting, we went to hop on a horse-drawn carriage ride to see the lights.  We purchased tickets inside of the main hotel entrance and the horses were waiting outside.  Kids under 4 are free and it was $10 for me and $5 for my son.  For the unique experience and since my daughter loves horses, I thought it was worth it!  The ride was about 20 minutes and we completed a circle around the main entrance where all of the lights decorate the trees and the hotel.  It also took us by the Outdoor Nativity that has an audio rendition of the biblical story of the birth of Christ.  It runs nightly from 5-10pm. The kids loved the carriage ride and the driver was so friendly and let the kids pet the horse. He told them details about the horse like it's name (Soco) and my children just ate it up. (Carriage rides take place Sunday-Thursday from 5-10pm, Friday and Saturday from 5-11pm).

PhotobucketNext, yes....we just keep going, we caught a shuttle to take us to the General Jackson Showboat for dinner and a show along the Cumberland River.  This attraction is pricey but includes the ride, dinner with salad and dessert and an hour long show.  You also get a great view of downtown Nashville from the boat.  They served water, tea or coffee with the meal and it is a set menu.  We had salad, rolls, short ribs, twice baked potatoes, asparagus, shrimp, cabbage and a wonderful apple/cranberry strudel.  The food was very good.  They did offer a kids meal of chicken and french fries and I opted to get that for the kids. All portions were quite generous.  The ride started at about 7, we started eating at 7:15, turned around in downtown Nashville at 8:15, the show started at 8:30 and we were on the bus headed back to the hotel at 9:45.  The kids were tired, but they enjoyed it. The holiday musical show was wonderful, the singing talent was impressive! Mostly, my kids liked being on the boat and when we walked to the back to see the huge spinning paddle which totally fascinated them. (You can also choose the Louise Mandrell Christmas Dinner Party in the Tennessee Ballroom at the hotel which is $66 for adults and $36 for children 4-11, kids under 4 are free). 

Video from The General Jackson Showboat


We returned to our room to a surprise from our turn down service.  There were chocolates on the beds again but also a great little edible candy and cookie display.  It is a candy frame with a Madagascar print, adorned with holiday treats, cookies and peppermint bark.  You should have seen my kids' faces light up! Of course, they got to stay up even later because they just had to have a treat!

Again, a successful day of family fun here at Opryland Resort for A Country Christmas.  If you are considering going to this resort, I have noticed that most things are a la carte in terms of activities and it can get pricey. I would recommend researching their packages online and picking one instead of just coming here and paying as you go, I am sure it would save you money.  For example: The Christmassy DreamWorks package which includes a 2 night stay, tickets to ICE! featuring Merry Madagascar with early admission, a souvenir family photo, and the ShrekFeast.

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Stephanie

Friday, November 18, 2011

Discounts and Coupons for Lights Under Louisville

UPDATED FOR 2016

 photo megalights_zps829ce7a3.jpg This post was originally published in 2011 but has been updated to include discounts that I find for Lights Under Louisville for 2016!







Groupon: Save 33%!  Click here.
12/6 - Use code OFF to save $5



Lights Under Louisville at the Louisville Mega Caverns is $30 per vehicle! Cash/check only. Click here to see prices for vans/limos etc.

Click here for a $5 off coupon.  (M-Th only)


In the past, they have had coupons at Wendy's also.

 

A Country Christmas at The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, TN - Day 1 Review

PhotobucketPhotobucketInstead of the usual post for "what's happening this weekend" I am going to write over the next couple of days about an awesome family getaway spot just under 3 hours down I-65.  We arrived today at The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville and have been exploring and enjoying it non-stop since we arrived.  It's A Country Christmas down here and everything is fit for the holiday season.  I just feel like singing (but I won't)!

This all-in-one resort is so easy to get to from Louisville.  It is just a few turns off of I-65 and there are so many signs, you can't miss it.  It is so impressive and enormous!  I have been to the Gaylord Texan just outside of Dallas so I knew it would be substantial, but this hotel is incredible, it's a city!

PhotobucketWe found the check in, got our car set up for valet and a bellman brought our items to our room.  We stayed in the Cascades area of the hotel. There are multiple areas and they all have different names.  We were on the 5th floor with a wonderful view of the river that runs throughout this area of the hotel, the dangling holiday lights and the greenery.  Our room was very nicely decorated with lofty beds, a dresser and desk, flat screen TV and a bathroom with a separate vanity area.  The kids love the balcony looking into the atrium.

We got situated and headed to start knocking things off of the to-do list.  First, we simply explored.  We went all throughout the Cascades area-over the bridges, down by the water, browsed the shopping area and found the enormous decorated Christmas tree.  Many photo opportunities!

PhotobucketThe first official program that we attended was the Holly Jolly Town Square.  They had food and drinks for this preview event, but I am not sure if that is part of the typical admission.  They have recreated a town square in one of the conventional halls.  They had live music and lots of decorations.  There are themed Christmas trees to look at and many "shops" to go into like a cupcake shop, fudge shop, 50's soda fountain shop, Mrs. Claus' story time on the hour and more.  There's even a place to drop off letters to Santa.  Toward the back, there is a miniature train that the younger kids can ride and this was a huge hit with my two little ones. (Admission is $16.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 4-11, kids under 4 are free).

PhotobucketPhotobucketNext, we saw a preview of the Holiday Shrektacular. This show is in the hotel in an amphitheater style setting.  It's really up close and personal and interactive.  The dancers engaged the audience and some of the kids were able to get up on stage and dance.  There are characters from Shrek, Kung Fu Panda, Puss n Boots and Madagascar.  Anyone can see this show for free, but you get VIP seating if you purchase their DreamWorks package. During the show, they even made it snow!  My kids were in shock!

Video of the Shrektacular:


PhotobucketAfter that show, we shuffled outside because it was the official lighting of Opryland.  There were local TV/Radio personalities orchestrating the program featuring Point of Grace and Thompson Square.  The Mayor was there and a Make-A-Wish child was the official "illuminator" and helped countdown to light up the nearly 2 million dazzling lights outside the hotel.  There were fireworks and all of the Madagascar characters were there to celebrate.  We didn't get to see many of the lights yet because we quickly had to board a bus to get to the ICE! exhibit.

Video of Thompson Square performing:


Video of Tree Lighting:


PhotobucketThe ICE! exhibit is really close, even though we took a shuttle.  You could absolutely walk there with no problem.  The theme this year is Merry Madagascar and it's all about that movie. Before you enter, you get a large parka to put on because you are basically entering a huge freezer.  They have parkas in all different sizes. It is 2 million pounds of ice that is masterfully carved and dyed vibrant colors to create gorgeous sculptures.  I couldn't get over the precision and detail involved in each of these sculpture. It was by far one of the most impressive things I have ever seen.  The pieces are massive and beautiful at the same time.   In the middle of the display, you get to be a kid with your kids and slide down real ice sculpted slides.  Kids have to be 40 inches tall to slide the regular 20-foot-tall slides, otherwise they have a smaller toddler ice slide.  James (4.5) squealed and giggled the entire way down and Maggie (3) tried the toddler sized slide but decided half way to just stop and sit there!  It took 3 employees, a helper Dad and a long hook to get her off the slide!  It was comical! (ICE! is $24.95 for adults and $17.95 for kids 4-11, kids under 4 are free and is open until Janurary 3rd).

Video of James sliding down the ice:


PhotobucketFollowing the ICE! exhibit, we walked over to the Grand Ole Opry House to enjoy the Radio City Rockettes in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.  I grew up in New York and never saw the Rockettes and finally, at 33, I get to see them in Nashville.  We picked up some popcorn and candy and found our seats. The show started at 8pm and the kids were glued to the stage.  I didn't know how they would do with the dancing but it was mesmorizing to them. I really think the rhythm just kept their attention as did the show itself since the staged moved from Santa's toy shop, to the streets of NY city to dancing wooden soldiers and so on. There was a 15 minute intermission starting at 9pm and I left with my kids and walked back to the hotel to settle down for the night.  I wish we could have stayed for the entire show, but Shrek awaits us tomorrow for breakfast and we just had to get to bed! (Tickets range from $25 to $79 and the show runs until December 24, 2011)

What a wonderful day we had at the Opryland Resort and we have so much more to explore!

Slideshow:
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Stephanie

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How to Make a Family Thankful Tree

PhotobucketThis time of year we begin to reflect on all of our blessings and involving children in this process is so important.

Creating a 'thankful' tree as a visual reminder of the things we are most thankful for is wonderful for adults and children to be a part of creating together.

It can be a beautiful centerpiece at the upcoming family meals, and a wonderful conversation piece that will spark reflection from others as well.

Materials-
jar
dry tree limbs
scissors
construction paper


Start by gathering old limbs and arranging in a glass vase. I like the rustic look of putting my tree in an old mason jar- but any vase or glass will work.
Photobucket
Trace around hands, both big hands and little hands make the tree look adorable.

Cut out 'leaves' and on each, list something that you or your little one is thankful for.

Make a small slit somewhere on the leaf and poke a small branch through to add to the tree.

Viola! Instant heartfelt Thanksgiving centerpiece, and wonderful family time to sit down with your child and reflect on the most important things in life. At the end of the meal- the thankful tree makes a wonderful hostess gift, or a great treasure for Grandma and Grandpa to take home.

By guest contributor:
Kara