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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Review: Hwang's Martial Arts Kickin' It for Kids event

PhotobucketLast weekend, I had the privilege of being a special guest at the Hwang's Martial Arts Kickin' It for Kids event at the Kentucky International Convention Center.  I helped to sponsor this event, a fundraiser for Kosair Children's Hospital.

It was a wonderfully different event.  It opened with some business sponsors displaying their information and the kids warming up.  They also had a great silent auction of prizes and as people came in, they visited all of these.  During this time, I sold some 50/50 prize raffles to help raise money for the charity.

PhotobucketThe event was really well organized with 2 emcees keeping everyone informed of what was going on.  At the beginning, all of the kids came in and lined up on the mats and the dragons dances around.  The emcees introduced all of the sponsors and important guests, like Mayor Fischer.  Grandmaster Jung Oh Hwang  invited Mayor Fischer to come to the mat and break some boards.  Mayor Fischer rolled up his sleeve and with some instruction, successfully broke the boards and the crowd roared. It was very entertaining.

During the event, adults and children alike took to the mats to do their serious to playful martial arts performances.  Some of the more experienced members showed of their years of training with intense moves with swords and then, my favorite part, the children from different locations of Hwang's Martial Arts schools showed off their well-planned performances.  These were groups of kids of all ages with adults too.  They acted out scenes to music to show the skills they have learned and entertain the crowd.  The little ones especially got my attention because I know how hard it is to get a 3 year old to follow directions and these groups incorporated these young children with ease. It was wonderful!

PhotobucketEarly in the event, we also got to see Grandmaster Jung Oh Hwang perform with some other very talented students and instructors.  He wowed the crowd with his technique and got everyone's attention when he cut the top off of a Jim Beam bottle with his hand.  Did I mention this bottle was on the top of someone's head?!?! Very cool!

Hwang's Martial Arts put on an entertaining family event and through it all, raised $40,000 for Kosair Children's Hospital.  They are teaching awesome skills to their students and training them to be fantastic citizens as they show them that it is also important to give back to the community.


Friday, March 30, 2012

Things to do this weekend in and around Louisville March 30,31, April 1

This weekend is chock-full of Easter activities.  Click the Logo for things to do! There's so many Easter egg hunts!

And, there is a little basketball game this weekend that you can get just a tad excited about!  Get the entire family into it! 
  • The kids can paint their faces to support UofL or UK
  • Make cookies and let them decorate them for half time treats
  • Have the kids help make some munchies like pigs in a blanket or seven layer dip. Maybe jello treats in the team colors!
  • Make lots of "3" signs that the kids can hang up with your team sinks a three pointer, just like people do at the games!
  • Or, the library has a BUNCH of wonderful DVDs you can borrow and the kiddos can have a movie marathon in another room  *wink wink*
Let the best team win!

As for other activities- dare I mention other activities?-  It's Primate Awareness Day on Sunday at the Louisville Zoo.  They will be teaching the kids about the woolly monkeys, gorillas and more. And, Curious George will be there too! It's Sunday from 12-4pm.


Thursday, March 29, 2012

Review of the Lego KidsFest in Cincinnati

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Lego KidsFest 2012

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Last weekend, we went to the Lego KidsFest in Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Center.  We entered at 3pm, 1 hour early, for a VIK "very important kid" event.  My son and daughter had  quick little session with some Lego masters and then were some of the first kids to add their tiles to the big U.S. map. My son made a Fort Knox building full of gold bars!

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Before we arrived, we saw the floor of the exhibit from some windows up above in the convention center. It was so big! I couldn't believe how much they had.  My kids were ready to dive into the piles of Legos. I was curious about the programming at each area.

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After the VIK event, they let everyone in at 4pm with a big greeting and count down. All of the families were screaming and excited.  Then, thousands of people poured into the Lego KidsFest.  There was plenty of room for everyone since the layout was great and they chose such a large space.  First, my children chose to play with the duplo bricks and my son made a train on some tracks and my daughter hoarded all of the horses in the princess set and built them a barn.

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Then, we explored other areas.  There were staff members at each area helping and keeping things tidy.  They managed the people and the toys.  And, at many areas, they were engaging families with competitive games and everyone was interacting and enjoying themselves.  Usually when I got to "kid" festivals, the parents are checking the time and milling around and the kids are having fun.  At Lego KidsFest, EVERYONE was having fun.  There were areas for families to challenge each other in a timed build, race to vacuum up Legos or play Lego games together. It was truly a family event. And, in the areas where kids tend to just hang out and build, there was plenty of seating for parents to take a break.

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We spent a lot of time in the race car ramp area, the Lego Friends area and making a tile for the art wall.  My daughter loved walking around and looking at the larger than life Lego figures and in the encased Lego displays.

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We at at the concession area, which I felt was reasonably priced with kids meals less than $5.  And, while we ate, there was a large screen playing Lego cartoons.  The kids enjoyed those for some down time.  While my kids were eating, I went to the shopping area to see if I could get them a surprise. Being the frugal mom that I am, I totally expected to get them something tiny because the items would be over-priced. Thanks to some quick checking on my iPhone with a barcode app, I found that the prices were really great. I got 2 larger sets for my kids for about 40% off of what I found online for those same sets!  They also gave me two free t-shirts with my purchase.  The kids were thrilled to cap the day with a new Lego set after a full four hours of creating, building and family fun.

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I cannot wait for the Lego KidsFest to come around again. I would travel up to 4 hours or so to take my kids to this event. It was fantastic and extremely well done.

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This photo says it all!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Review of Craft Events at Toyland at Oxmoor Center

PhotobucketLast Saturday, I took my 5 year-old daughter to Toyland for their craft event. Toyland, located at the Oxmoor Center is a toy store, which offers different craft events every month. This month event was “Decorate your own Wooden Train, Race Car, Princess or Ballerina Doll”. The cost of the event was $5, which covered the cost of the materials.

We arrived at Toyland a little before the event started around 1pm. We were greeted by one of the store associates and were asked to choose a wooden toy to decorate. Claire who is into princesses obviously chose to paint a princess! All the wooden toys that kids could paint on that day were made by Melissa & Doug, one of our favorite brands!

The store associate took us to their craft table and showed us all the supplies Claire could use to decorate her princess: paint, stickers, crayons, glitter glue…
She started painting her toy along with about 7 other kids who were between 1 and 6. She took her time and after 30 minutes she had completed her task. She really enjoyed the craft and it was fun to do something fun just the two of us. We gave her doll to the store associate to let it dry and walked around the store to shop for a birthday gift for her little sister.

 On that day, they had a 25% off special on all Melissa & Doug toys, so we bought a few arts supplies.

I have to admit that I am one of those moms who does most of her shopping and especially toys online but after walking around the store with Claire I was pleasantly surprised to see the kind of toys they sell. They have a Lego section, Barbies, a lot of wooden toys, Melissa & Doug and a lot of our favorite brands. Their prices are very competitive too.

I also liked the fact that they had toys displayed in their store for the kids to play with. The staff was very helpful and nice. I would definitely go back to Woodland to shop and take the girls to their craft events.

Unfortunately, Toyland doesn’t have a website but they do have a twitter account. To receive updates on sales and Events you can follow them on twitter @ToylandOxmoor

Here is a list of the upcoming events:
April 17th: Decorate your own Breyer Derby Horse (1pm-3pm; $15)
May TBD: Learn tricks of the trade- Magic Secrets (Price TBD)
June 9th: Make your own Mosaic (1pm-2pm)
July 14th: Make your own Sand Art (1pm-2pm)
August TBD: Puppet Theater Presents (price TBD)
September 15th: Make your own Meteor (1pm-2pm)
October 13th: Make your own Bracelet (1pm-2: 30pm)
November 17th: Make your own ornament (1pm: 2:30pm)
December TBD: Night Before Christmas Story Time with Santa (price TBD)

Pre-registration is required for all events by calling 502-329-5703. Walk-ins will be accepted if space is available.

By guest contributor: Isabelle

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

WINNER! Early Shopping for KidStuff Sale + $10 to spend!

The winner of this great prize is Amanda Whitmire!
Please email us at info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize! 

 Readers: don't forget about shopping the East KidStuff Sale, it's going to be a big one!


CONTEST! Chick-fil-A Birthday Party

PhotobucketPhotobucketWhen asked, so many of you expressed that Chick-fil-A is one of your "go-to" family places to dine.  We have a fun and unique prize for you!  Chick-fil-A does not typically offer birthday parties, but for one of our lucky readers, they want to do something special.  This prize is for a birthday party for your child at either the Springhurst or St. Matthews (across from mall) restaurants.  10 Kids will enjoy kids meals with the Chick-fil-A Cow and get a special area of the restaurant set up just for the party.  As you know, Chick-fil-A is all about customer service, so they will take great care of you during the party to make it a wonderful celebration!

Your child can invite either Big COW or Little  Girl or Boy COW and the party comes with  25 coupons for FREE Kids Meal  to be given to party guests. It will be one they will never forget with a one hour visit from the Chick-fil-A COW!

Special instructions:  The one hour party visit expires 12/31/2012 and needs to be scheduled on a Saturday between 2:30 and 4:30

Good Luck!

Thunder Over Louisville and The Louisville Bats

PhotobucketOne of the derby events we most looked forward to last year was attending the Louisville Bats game during the airshow and staying in the stadium to view the fireworks from the field.  We purchased our tickets from the Louisville Bats site and marked the date on our calendar with great anticipation.

When the day came, the weather was rainy, cold and overall miserable.  We decided to go to the game anyway and see if the weather would pass. We found street parking 5 blocks away, the game starts before most people were heading to find their spot on the river for the events so parking wasn't too difficult to find.  We sat in section 124 on the third base side.  Due to the chilly weather there were empty seats and our 18 month old could wander around the rows. The game was fun for us to watch and the crowd cheerful and family friendly.  There was plenty of options for food and drink, but hot chocolate did sell out by the 7th inning.  We were able to see some of the airshow overhead during the game, had been a clear day we would have been able to see more planes. After the game was over, the events crew started transforming the field to put up a stage and provide areas for people to watch the concert and the fireworks.  There was about  3 hours of time between the end of the game and the anticipated start of fireworks.  (You are able to leave the stadium and return if need be.)  We tried to wait but it started to rain and get even colder so we left to go home and let our son go to bed.  We were disappointed to not stay for the music and fireworks.  This year we have already decided to go back and try to make it the whole time, weather permitting. 

2012 Schedule of Events (subject to change)
12:00 - Louisville Slugger Field Opens
2:05 - Louisville Bats vs. Indianapolis Indians Game
3:00 - Air Show Schedule to Begin (continuous fly-bys from 3:00 - 9:30)
9:30 - Thunder Over Louisville Fireworks Show

New for 2012! The Family Tent - Groups  now have the ability to purchase tickets for the all new Family Tent located inside of Thunder Town. The Family Tent is a private tent including an all-you-can-eat buffet, VIP restroom trailer, live music, inflatables for kids and more. The Family tent is a shared tent by all groups who purchase tickets. Groups must purchase a minimum of 10 tickets to have access to the Family Tent. Tickets for the Family tent are $60 each

By guest contributor: Tanya

Sunday, March 25, 2012

CONTEST! KidStuff Sale Early Shopping and $10 FREE

We have another great prize for a reader from the KidStuff Sale and our last weekend contest of this kind.

You can enter to win an Early PreSale Shopping Pass and $10 in free merchandise at the East Louisville KidStuff Sale Spring/Summer!  That's right, you get to shop before everyone else and get free stuff!

Shopping these sales saves you 80-90% off retail when you buy the gently used children's items!


I encourage you to Follow the KidStuff Sale on Facebook and Twitter. This way, you can stay up to date on deadlines for registrations, shopping dates and special deals!

Good Luck!

Review of the Embassy Suites in Blue Ash, OH

PhotobucketPhotobucketWe just got back from the Lego KidsFest in Cincinnati and a visit to the Cincinnati Museum Center.  We wanted to make it an overnight getaway to have time for both so we stayed overnight at the Embassy Suites in Blue Ash.  This hotel is not downtown, but we decided that the amenities and suite-style room would be worth the short drive. It was very easy to find off of I-71 just north of Cincinnati, just about 15 minutes from downtown.

There was a special rate during the Lego KidsFest for the hotel stay but even without, the rates are reasonable and on a recent search, I found rates for under $100!  You do not have to pay to park like at typical downtown hotels, a great hot breakfast is included as well as a nightly manager's reception from 5:30-7:30 that includes complimentary beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) and snacks.  All of this is in your rate plus a nice pool and some cool fish and turtles.

PhotobucketPhotobucketThe staff was really cordial when we arrived and check-in was quick.  They gave me a nice list of restaurants in the area since we were headed out to dinner soon.  Our room was clean and modest.  The last thing I need is a room decked out with things my kids can break! It was just what a family needs with a door separating the bedroom from the den area so that when the kids go to bed, we could go watch some TV.  Perfect since it is March Madness time and we *needed* to watch basketball.  The room also had a microwave and a mini-fridge, great additions for families.

PhotobucketWe enjoyed a drink from the manager's reception and popcorn for the kids before heading out to dinner in the quaint town center of Montgomery.  When we returned, we went for a quick swim in the indoor pool which is open from 5am-11pm. There are towels there so you don't have to bring separate ones and bathrooms conveniently in the pool area!  There's a heated pool with a water fall and a hot tub.  The kids had a blast!

PhotobucketIn the morning, we opted to lounge in our pajamas so I just went down to the breakfast area and brought food back to the room. We kept it casual so we didn't have to chase them around the dining area, since they are a rambunctious pair at 3 and 5.  The hotel had trays, so it made it easy for me to get food for everyone, including a made to order omelet, in just two trips. They had everything from eggs, to yogurt, to muffins, to breakfast meats and more. Pretty much anything you would want! Plus, an assortment of beverages.

PhotobucketWe were very comfortable in the suite set-up.  It was much better than the last few overnight stays we have had in standard hotels rooms which were very nice but more compact.  Days are long and tiring when you are doing fun activities out of town, having a little separation in a suite set-up, that's nice!

PhotobucketCheck out was super fast and easy and we stopped by the streams running through the hotel to watch the turtles and fish swim around.  The kids really liked as we watched a turtle slowly make it's way to the water and dive in.

If you take a weekend trip to Cincinnati, I would seriously consider staying at the Embassy Suites in Blue Ash.  And, in other locations, see if there is one available! It's an ideal set-up for families!