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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Review of The Kentucky Horse Park

The video below is a nice array of photos that gives you an idea of what you will see at the Kentucky Horse Park.  We went this summer and had a wonderful day.  It's one for the record books folks. My husband said he actually wants to go back. He has very few places that he actually enjoys (he's a homebody) but he was so into this place!  It took us about an hour to get there; it's a very easy drive on I-64.

During peak months, admission is $16 for adults and $8 for kids (age 6 and under are free!).  You do pay to park ($3-$5).  During the winter months, it is still open but the prices drop to $10 for adults and $5 for kids (age 6 and under are free).  Check their website for full details on hours and seasonal calendar.   Our kids are under 6 so it's great to take advantage of these deals while we can!

We started with the trolley tour that comes with the admission. It leaves from right outside of the kids barn.  It has a guide that gives you a really nice history of the park and description of what you are seeing. I recommend doing this first because it's only about 10 minutes but it really gives you an idea of what you are going to see and you can plan your day.

After the tour, we started in the Kids Barn where our little ones went from stall to stall learning everything about horses from grooming to feeding.  There were many interactive mini-exhibits and even a calm barn cat.  My daughter, the horse lover, really could have spent all day in that barn.  But, we dragged her away and walked  around to visit some horses, the farrier and grab an ice cream treat.  They have concessions available or you can bring in your food and picnic.  It was very hot that day but we felt fine since there were lots of shady spots.

Next, we watched the Horses of the World show. Even in the heat, the seats are shaded so it was fine.  The show features many truly unique horses that I found so interesting. Some of the horses are very rare and although my young children didn't appreciate how special they were like my husband and I did, they were captivated by the tricks, costumed riders and the flow of the show.  After the show, we were able to get up close to the horses and pet them.  And, we took a break in a little room beside the ring for a coin-operated horse ride for the kids.

After that show, we toured some of the barns to look at the horses and the buggies old and new.  We made our way to the Hall of Champions to watch the show that features a few famous race horses.  During the show, they bring in one horse at time and tell you about their feats as a race horse.  You see the videos of their wins and these horses really like to flaunt their prestige!  You'll see in my video one horse sticking out his tongue and showing his teeth. It was a really well done, simple show.

There was a lot of the horse park that we did not see because we were not there for a full day.  They have a museum and more areas of the park to simply explore or enjoy for a picnic, even a playground.  I think this park should be visited by every Kentuckian!  Kentucky's horsing industry is so important to the economy and to the culture of this state and I think the Kentucky Horse Park does a fantastic job of teaching people about it and encouraging pride in our state and it's horses.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day Trip to Madison, Indiana

PhotobucketA couple of weekends ago my family and I decided to take a drive to historic Madison, Indiana. My husband and I have been there a couple of times, but we had not taken our kids with us before. It was a spur of the moment decision a few days before. We did not have a plan in mind; we were not going to hit any big festival or any organized children’s activities. Most of the time we spend the day doing just that. But on this lazy Sunday afternoon, we just wanted to enjoy the cool, beautiful fall weather and know that Madison is a great little town to do just so.

Madison is about 55 miles from Louisville. We follow US HWY 42 East through Prospect, Goshen, and into Henry and Trimble counties. The roads are sprawling with horse farms, fence lines and pastures, and landscapes strewn with breathtaking fall foliage. This is the time of year to take this drive! You will pass through the small town of Bedford, KY. This is another place we hope to check out soon; as we were driving we passed Bray Orchard and Roadside Market and totally wanted to stop! Look for a split in the road at a Marathon gas station. Turn left onto US HWY 421 North. Follow that to Milton, KY, where the road leads to the 421 North Bridge over the Ohio River to Madison, IN.

PhotobucketWhen we arrived we found a free public parking lot off of the main street that leads you into the downtown area. There is plenty of public parking in lots and on the curb. We started out by walking down Main Street and heading toward the Madison branch local library. I love to stop in small town libraries, being a children’s librarian on an extended sabbatical! We scoped it out and enjoyed the children’s area downstairs for a good 45 minutes. The day we went it was chilly and being indoors helped warm us up a little. We read some books, did a drop-in simple activity that was available on a table, and then headed back out for our walk.

Since we were there on a Sunday, many of the cafes, restaurants, and shops close earlier; actually a few are not open on Sundays. I knew about this from past experience and I had looked up the information online before leaving home. So we knew if we wanted to grab a bite to eat we needed to do that next. We window shopped a lot of little places and found The Downtowner, a busy little café full of flavor and good prices. Their soups, sandwiches, salads, and desserts are made fresh daily and it is Madison’s most recommended eatery. They have a kid’s menu where each item is $5 and includes a drink. Our daughter ordered the ½ cup of soup and garlic bread, which also came with chips. My husband and I both ordered sandwiches, a turkey melt with bacon and a BLT wrap, that came with chips and a pickle for $7 each.

PhotobucketAfter filling up on a yummy lunch, we headed back out and made our way down to the river. Madison has a nice area for walking right along the river and we enjoyed watching some boats and a barge go by on the scenic overlook. The cobblestone streets and tree lined sidewalks make this part of the walk very scenic. Over near this area is the Lanier Mansion which is a national historic landmark. There are many museums and historic places to see in Madison. And every summer, the city hosts the Madison Regatta and many spectators line the banks for the boat race.

We needed a little pick-me-up, so we headed back to Main Street and stopped at Madison Coffee & Tea where we got a frothy latte. Just the thing to balance the tiny chill in the air! Our drink came to just over $4. My husband and daughter have more of a sweet tooth and need chocolate to satisfy it, so we ventured over to a little candy place called Cocoa Safari Chocolates. They picked out some assorted chocolates including chocolate covered Oreos, turtles, and a chocolate covered marshmallow.

We continued down Main Street, stopping to look at store window displays and admiring all the fall decorations. My little boy must have seen 50 pumpkins that day and had to point at each one and tell us they were there! There was a cute little place called Princess Perry’s Cupcakes that we did not stop at but noted it for next time. If you want to do more of the shopping experience, you’ll probably want to go on a Saturday or during the week because by about 4pm there were very little stores still left open. That really was fine for our family because we mainly went this day for the walk, scenery, and lunch. We did stop in Village Lights Bookstore, a cute book shop that reminds me of what small towns are all about. My husband found a book he wanted for under $5 and my daughter enjoyed looking at the dollhouses that were set up around the store. It was pushing 5pm by this point, so we decided to head back to our car and make the lovely drive home.

PhotobucketNext time we hit up Madison, we talked about making it a longer day trip to visit Clifty Falls State Park and eat at the Key West Shrimp House that we passed right off the bridge on our way into town. I actually read the review of the state park here and that’s how I found it and stored it away for another day. Madison always seems to be hosting activities and festivals including a couple more for Halloween if you are interested. If you go during the holiday season, you can enjoy a Downtown Open House, the Madison Candlelight Tour of Homes and a Christmas Parade to name a few. Pack up your car with a wagon for loading some great finds in those small quaint shops, a picnic lunch to be enjoyed near the river banks, and your camera. Enjoy the brilliant burnt orange and cranberry colors before the next big rain blows the leaves off the trees!
By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, October 29, 2012

Craft and Holiday Fairs around Louisville

We will make a post for 2013 - stay tuned.

Recently, we asked the readers on our Facebook to tell us about local craft fairs and bazaars going on around town. Thanks for letting us know about them! Here's what you listed.  If you know of more, just email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net and let us know!

Holiday Craft Bazaar - Sponsored by Seneca HS Marine Corps JROTC Booster Club 11/03
3510 Goldsmith Lane, Louisville, KY

Saint Agnes Christmas Boutique 11/04 2012 St. Agnes School - Louisville, KY 40205
pictures with santa, advent workshop, cafe, gourmet, bake shoppe, raffles

Fern Creek High School Art and Craft Show 11/10 9am-4pm 9115 Fern Creek Road, Louisville, KY Promoter: FCTHS Athletic Association fcartandcraft@yahoo.com Activites: Kidz Zone with Santa

"A Very Pinteresting" Art & Craft Fair at Revolution Church.  12/7  6:30-9:30

Holiday Bazaar 12/08 2012 Jeffersontown High School - Louisville, KY 40299

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What do I need to know about entering Kindergarten in JCPS?

Tips for Transitioning to Jefferson County Public Schools-Updated October 2013

Look Out Kindergarten, Here We Come!

PhotobucketPhotobucketIf sending your five-year-old off to school on their own wasn’t daunting enough, trying to figure out how to understand the application process for JCPS is probably enough to send you over the edge. Here I will try to give you pointers, advice from a seasoned JCPS parent, and lots of connections to agencies that partner with JCPS and are there to serve you. Because after all the tears are shed after the first few days of school as a greenie kindergartner and proud parent, you know that happy days and fun memories are just around the corner. Clear out some space in one of your Rubbermaid totes; you’re going to need it for all those keepsakes!

* The application process for entering kindergartners new to Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) begins on November 18, 2013. Seems like you have some time, but the best thing to do is to get started now. That way when you go to the Showcase of Schools on November 16th, you can have your list of questions ready that you’ve been coming up with over the weeks that you spent working on applying.

* All students entering kindergarten in 2014-2015 school year will complete an online registration. See the JCPS website for updated information.

* Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, all applications must be submitted online. If parents do not have internet access at home, there will be 15 registration sites throughout the city with staff to help parents through the process.

* Two phrases or questions you are going to hear a lot is “What is your resides school?” and “What is your cluster?” Your resides school is determined by your home address. Most people can find this by going online here and typing in your street address. Since the year that my daughter entered JCPS, the application process has changed slightly. It used to be a paper form that was designed for your cluster and it was based on your home address. Parents had to rank from 1-4 their choices of schools that they wanted their child to be admitted to. Since the student assignment plan has changed over the past couple of years, the clusters have changed and are more aligned to areas of the city than they used to be. For instance, when my daughter entered JCPS in 2009 we were in cluster 4. We decided to choose as our number 1 choice a school different from our resides. This ended up being a great decision for us. Although the process still seems challenging, it does seem more streamlined to me now, since they have since changed the clusters. Once your kindergartener is admitted to a school in your cluster, he or she will remain there until middle school, so you only have to apply once. Each of the 13 clusters contains schools that are demographically close to the area you live in and you may apply to any school within your cluster, in addition to magnet schools and other options if you wish to pursue them. The application process to magnet schools is completely different.

* Look over the 2014-2015 CHOICES guide book for JCPS elementary schools here. You will find valuable information about school descriptions, clusters, applying to magnet schools and the NEW online application process.

* Families will be notified in March of their placement for a magnet school and April for their cluster assignment; your child will be placed in a school within your cluster that is determined by your resides school.

* If you work and need after school care for your child, I can recommend the YMCA Childcare Enrichment Program that is offered at many of the elementary schools in JCPS. They offer before school care from 7am until school starts; after school care goes until 6pm. My daughter had to attend childcare when I was still working and we had a great experience with CEP. It is affordable and they also offer tuition assistance to those who qualify. They offered many activities, including setting aside time daily to work on homework, actively getting the kids moving with fun games, and offered a healthy snack as well.

Where to go for more information:

The Parent Connection eNews is an online magazine for parents of JCPS students
Facebook Page – they seem to be updating regularly and answering questions in their post fields

PhotobucketCheck out your local branch library at Louisville Free Public Library. Grab some books about starting kindergarten and school. Get involved in the Kindergarten Countdown program!

4-Cs, Community Coordinated Childcare, is an advocacy group for parents! You can always call them with questions or concerns you have. Please do not rely solely on the information posted here! Contact your school for all the best and most direct answers pertaining to your child’s needs.

You can also contact the Parent Assistance Center at (502) 485-6250.

Remember, many school representatives will be present at the JCPS Showcase of Schools on Saturday, November 16th from 10am-3pm. It is held at the Kentucky International Convention Center in Hall 1AB. If you are interested in the very popular optional, magnet, or advance programs that JCPS offers, you will have a chance to speak to those individuals and even students who participate in the programs. The online application period for JCPS elementary schools is Mon., Nov. 18 2013, through Fri., Jan. 10, 2014. Information on the application process will be available at the showcases, and it will be available here during the application period.

By guest contributor: Erin

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Top 10 Ideas for Rainy / Snow Day Play! Activities for fun at home

Why be bummed on a rainy day? Louisville offers a variety of things to do indoors. However, if you’re just not feeling up for the trips in and out of the car or juggling the umbrellas and rain gear, swipe something from this nanny’s list of activities that can turn any icky day into a fun-fest.

1. Photo Shoot: (Take dress up to the next level)
- Pull out old Halloween Costumes and anything wearable and appropriate.
- Face Make up is always a fun edition.
- Get your camera, it’s going to be photo worthy
- Think of some random activity to do as they wear their garb like bake cookies, do a silly craft, play twister, etc…
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2. Movie in a Fort: This is always a favorite.

- Breakout the pillows and sheets and build a giant fort in front of the TV.
- Have a Fort Picnic. Make sure to be mindful when you pick your menu and choose things with minimal mess factor.
- Make a movie necklace
- Choose a fun movie
- Enjoy the snuggle time while they’re not bouncing off the walls of your house.

Photobucket3. Frozen Scavenger Hunt: A sure hit for your mini-archeologists. This requires a little planning ahead, but it’s so simple.

- Find a few waterproof toys they can live without. i/e. Toy Dino, cars, blocks
- Grab gallon zip lock bag or mold of your choice
- Fill with water and drop in the toys.
 - Find a safe out of the way place in your freezer and the next time you need a go-to project, you’re set.
- Use age appropriate tools to chisel away at the ice to reveal the frozen treasures. Salt works as well. Make sure to place your ice block in a pan to capture the mess as it melts.

Photobucket4. Play With Your Food: There’s always some sort of holiday on the horizon. Get creative and make something fun and festive together.
- Strap on an apron and break out the egg beaters. It’s time to pull up a chair and let your eager helper really help this time.
- Keep it simple. This is more about the process than the product.
- Don’t worry about the mess. It will be worth the cleanup time. You may even have a little help…maybe. ;)

5. Be a Rock Star: ok, this is not your ordinary dress up. Depending on the age of your child this activity could be taken very seriously. So watch the giggles!

Photobucket- Choose your Rock Star’s favorite jam and find it on “You Tube” for inspiration and a music track. I always search for the Kidz Bop version, since those are always worded appropriately and they usually have fun kid safe videos.
- Get real with the dress up. Hair, make-up, clothes, accessories, fake microphone, the whole sha-bang!
- Get the video button ready on your phone. You’re going to want to share this one. - Action! Play song, cue crazy dance moves and Have Fun!
- Play back the video for your Super Star and maybe even let them debut their video to the Parent or relatives that didn’t get to see it live. They will be beaming with confidence and pride.

6. Camp In: Grab all that camping gear out of the garage and put it to good use.

- Find an ideal spot in the house to “set up camp”
- My indoor camping list is always: Tent, sleeping bags, Glow Sticks or flash lights, pillows, and anything and everything they want to include on their adventure.
- Close the shades. Whatever your kiddos are comfortable with. My kids love playing with their glow sticks and flashlights. So they always say the darker the better.
- The little ones might enjoy adventure themes such as: a bug hunt, a dinosaur adventure or cowboys on a trail…anything goes with them. The older kids will usually do their own thing. Dolls or Legos, maybe initiate a board game you know they love.
- Serve lunch in the tent. It’s like an indoor picnic.
- Smores in the microwave. Delish!
- Wind down after lunch with some storytime by glow stick light. ;) The perfect time to snug with your bugs. Transition into naptime or keep up the momentum with some more fun. Take a break and pop in a movie. The options are endless at this rainy day campsite.

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7. Indoor Pool: That oversized tub you never used just found a new purpose. It’s now an indoor pool for your kids. Not really what you had in mind, was it? But it will save you from the rainy day blues.

- I love the shock on their face when I randomly tell them to go get their swimsuits on.
- Quietly fill up the tub and start to bring in the water safe toys, goggles, etc. That way you avoid the constant “Is it full yet?” over and over for a half hour. Because we all know those things take forever to fill up.
- Make sure to lay down the rules. There will be some serious excitement, but always make sure to keep water safety a #1 priority.
- Ice Cubes are fun to play with in the tub and you can always add more warm water to re-adjust the temp. - Sneak in and soap them up at the end and BAM! Clean kids! ;)

8. Be Mr. Wizard: Your kids will think you’re amazing when you bust out some super simple Science tricks. Many of these can be done with household items you may already have on hand. All of these projects are kid tested and Nanny approved!
- Homemade Lava 
- Slime
- Soap Clouds
- Cloud Dough 
- Color Bags
- Puffy Paint with flour 
- Blowing Balloons up with Gas

9. Celebrate a Birthday: Designate this rainy day for their favorite doll or toy’s birthday and celebrate. Everyone loves a good birthday party.

- Make Cards
- Bake a Cake
- Have a birthday dance party
- Decorate the house
- Wrap presents
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10. Sing in the Rain: You can’t control it, so make peace with it. Get your rain gear on and go splash around with your kids. Pack on the snow gear and dig into the fluffy white stuff! There’s nothing better for your kids than to see you act like a kid and have some fun. There’s so much pressure on kiddos these days to grow up fast and stand up straight, when really sometimes even the adults need to slow down and find excitement in the little things.  Dry off after a quick shower and warm up with some hot chocolate. The perfect ending to a rainy / snowy day.

By guest contributor: Whitney

Friday, October 26, 2012

Things to do this weekend around Louisville October 26,27,28

Here's a list, I like lists.

1) TruckTober Fest - It seems these days, things aren't cool unless there's food trucks involved. So, here's family fun with food trucks so it's got to be cool.

2) Bake something together. Why do I have to always highlight events? Sometimes we just stay home and bake....and then eat it. YUM.  Here's my recipe Pinterest Board.

3) Trick or Treat at Westport Village - Get the kids hyped up on candy and then set them dancing in the streets to live music.

4) Scratch #2. Don't bake anything. Eat salad.  There's going to be an influx of chocolate and sweets in the house next week and you must cleanse the body to prepare for the wonderful toxic sugars and high fructose corn syrup.

5) Party like it's 1799 at the 18th Century Market Fair at Locust Grove.  Be super sneaky and take the kids to this fun event and they won't even know it's educational.  Ooooo, you so sneeeeaky!

6) Say hootenanny 20 times fast.  Ok, that's impossible.  Maybe you should just go to the Mighty Kindness Harvest Hootenanny instead.  I head the Louisville Children's Museum folks will be there.

Ok, I think I am done with my list.....or it might get out of hand, I have to stop somewhere.  There's a BIG LIST in the calendar above, have a blast this weekend!


Thursday, October 25, 2012

Review of Green Apples frozen yogurt

I'm on a tour de froyo and recently hit Green Apples in Prospect. It was definitely the most different tasting of all of the froyo shops around. They have a ton of flavor options, at least 20 and the same wide variety of toppings as all of the other places. And, it's priced just the same as other comparable self-serve frozen yogurt shops and very clean. Not too many surprises there.

The decor was funky and fun. The kids really enjoyed the spherical chairs. We went through the frozen yogurt line with our big cups. The flavors featured some of the typical standards but there were fruity selections that I hadn't seen in other shops. So, if you like fruit flavored frozen yogurt, rather than one or two choices, you will have many choices here. I chose butter pecan and the kids chose their usual strawberry and chocolate. We topped it all out and our modest servings came to a total of about $12.

We sat to enjoy our frozen yogurt and there was surprise. The kids did not skip a beat and just ate their little topping-loving hearts out. I, however, immediately paused over the tartness of the frozen yogurt. This flavor is just not my speed. I am a sugar lover and this frozen yogurt was just too tart for me. The tart totally overwhelmed the butter pecan and I could barely tell it was supposed to be butter pecan. I tried my son's strawberry and it was much better. The chocolate was too tart for my taste as well. I think the fruit flavors lend themselves to the tartness more than the rich flavors.

We were satisfied with our afternoon treat and the kids did eat all of their frozen yogurt. But, since I have a major sweet tooth and didn't really enjoy the tart in my frozen yogurt, we'll probably stick to other frozen yogurt options in the future.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Review of Whet Your Palette (Anchorage)

During Fall Break the older kiddos and I decided to try a Mini-Master’s Class at Whet Your Palette in Anchorage. The classes are for ages 4-15 and depending on the group they may be divided by age and skill. I called to make reservations a day ahead, but walk-ins are welcome. It was $20 to paint a pumpkin and my own version of The Screamer, a famous creepy painting (which I assume relates to the Halloween Season). It is an option to drop your children off and pick them up at the end of the session which last 2 hours, but I wanted to paint too. I asked if I could participate in the class as well and I was welcomed. I way exceed the 15 year old age limit, but not by much. Ha!

The house was beautiful! We took a little look around and settled into our seats. The kids were ready to get messy. We took the Art Apron photo Op and got down to business. The pictures speak for themselves.
They provided refreshments and periodic breaks. My 9 year old boys had a blast and really enjoyed the fruits of their labor. My 7 year old girl grew a bit impatient. I believe it may have been due to the advanced level of painting we were doing. I noticed the other paintings for Mini Master Class’ were of cute little pumpkins and cartoonish type things. I’m think we would have had much more luck with that type of subject. Will we do it again? Absolutely!

This outing is not just for kids. Check out this link for a variety of classes, including the adult classes that allow you to bring your own adult beverages.

By guest contributor: Whitney 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Review of Upward Sports (Basketball)

For the past two winters, my daughter has been playing basketball on an UPWARD team. It has been such a wonderful, confidence building experience! We found UPWARD mainly through the school she attends. I had heard of teacher friends recommend it, and I had seen those car magnets and window clings for a couple of years. I went to their website and filled in my zip code to find a location near us. We ended up registering and playing at West Broadway Baptist Church (WBBC) on Six Mile Lane and have absolutely loved it!

The gracious people who run the UPWARD program at WBBC are super nice and love on every kid who walks through the doors. From the church leaders, to the coaches, to a wonderful program manager who oversees and manages all the teams, we have made some friends and met some great parents along the way.
UPWARD is a Christian-based sports program geared for elementary and middle school children in grades K-8. The primary focus of UPWARD is “to develop the WINNER in every child, not just a few.”

Time is set aside at the end of each practice for character development sharing with the coach and the team members. Kids talk about experiences they go through and how they can lean on God and the caring adults in their life to make good choices. The coaches take an interest in the kids on their team and really help them become better in life using basketball skills as the stepping stones.

During each game, every child is rotated in and every child gets a chance at making a basket. It’s definitely not a “who is the best shooter so let’s give them the ball every time” kind of deal. At the end of every game the team meets up and has a snack provided by parents each week and they are awarded colored stars which represent different character traits. The stars can then be ironed onto your child’s UPWARD t-shirt sleeve. Every kid gets a star, every kid gets praise, and every kid gets recognized for how they worked as a team player. Every kid feels special after each game!

My daughter is an active child but not necessarily a super-into-sports kid. She was a little bit hesitant at first when it came to playing basketball. My husband played all through his school years and we thought it would be fun for her. During the first year of evaluations when she was in second grade, she really had a hard time but we ventured on because we really wanted her to go through with it. Each week of practice and game playing, her skills improved. We could see her gaining confidence in the games. Her coach displayed the utmost in caring and encouragement. During one of her games in her first year she had been struggling and finally had an “AHA” moment. She made a foul shot and her coach picked her up and carried her to the sideline! There was joy spread all over her face that day.

Each week there is a one hour practice, on Monday and Tuesday evenings. For Kindergarten-3rd grade, practice runs from 7-8pm. 4th-8th graders practice from 8-9pm. The teams play one game per week on Saturdays for 8 weeks. There is a form that can be found online; print and bring it to your site. The brochure may also run through your child’s school so look for it in their backpack. The early registration fee is $65; after November 17 it is $75. (These dates and fees are associated with WBBC; each league sets their own.)
Evaluations for UPWARD teams in Louisville are usually held on the first three Saturdays in November from 10am-12pm. The evaluations are simple basketball drills that the coaches use to gauge at what level your child is playing. They also take a height check and measure kids for uniform sizes.

We attend West Broadway Baptist Church’s site. But there are over 20 sites around the whole city. In these coming winter months your kids can cheer or play basketball. In the spring and summer there is soccer and flag football as well. The season officially starts after the holidays around January 7 with practices that week.

After the first season, our daughter didn’t really want to play again. But she knew a lot of the friends she had made would be playing, so we tried it a second time. This will be our third year, and she can’t wait to start the season! She has improved a lot in terms of the sport, but more importantly she has been encouraged by having fun with other kids rather than focusing on how many of her baskets make it in.

By guest contributor: Erin

Review of Marengo Cave

I’m always looking for fun things to do with the kiddos on the weekend, and a recent conversation with a coworker reminded me of a place I’d been in my childhood- Marengo Cave. Marengo Cave is only 45 minutes from Louisville, so it’s a great way to kill a lazy afternoon. The tours are not scheduled, so you will be given a choice of two tours and departure times when you arrive to buy your tickets. We decided on the Dripstone Tour, mainly because the Crystal Palace tour was leaving as we were arriving. At about an hour, it was the perfect amount of time to captivate my three and five year-olds’ attention.

Marengo Cave is a wet cave, which means there are multitudes of stalactite, stalagmite, and other formations. This cave is what you think of when you think of caves: beautiful mineral formations as far as you can see. My kids loved all the formations, and the group was small enough that they felt comfortable asking questions whenever given the opportunity.

Marengo Cave is a National Landmark, though it is privately owned. The grounds are beautifully maintained. There is a great campsite and a beautiful shaded picnic area. The family restroom deserves a mention, as well, because in addition to being clean there is also a tiny toilet for your tots.

When you do plan a trip to this or any cave make sure you pack a light jacket, as the temperature inside the cave is 52.1 degrees year-round. Strollers and backpacks are not permitted, but my little ones had no trouble navigating the passages on their own. Tours are scheduled according to demand, so just show up whenever you can and you will not be likely to wait more than an hour. There are two tours to choose from, and the cost is $8 and $8.50 for kids, $14 and $ 15.50 for adults, and kids 3 and under are free. You can save $6-8 booking online and/or multiple tours. I highly recommend Marengo Cave as a way to squeeze in some family fun! See http://marengocave.com/ for more info.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review of Avery's Photography

PhotobucketIt had been a ridiculously long time since we had family portraits taken.  I had some taken at each child's first birthday and that was it.  Now that my littlest one is turning 4, I thought we needed an update. A reader told me about Avery's Photography and after months of searching for a time to make it work, we decided to go for it this fall and take advantage of the colors!  Considering my children were not very cooperative for the session, I am shocked at these photos.  She must have just been clicking away while I was my paranoid mommy self thinking there was no way she would get ANY.  But, she did and we really love them.  They will adorn our walls and will make us smile, that's perfect.

Here's a few that she took earlier this month!

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Avery was very responsive via email and prompt at both the session and with delivering the images.   A great experience all around. I highly recommend that if you are looking for a casual outdoor family shoot with a flexible photographer, Avery is a fantastic option.  She turned simple poses by a fence and under a tree into beautiful portraits!


Sunday, October 21, 2012

KidStuff Holiday Sale Event


The KidStuff Holiday Sale Event  provides a opportunity to consign on a smaller scale with KidStuff. At this smaller holiday sales KidStuff will focus on toys, books, infant items as well as holiday clothing, and party and church dress clothing for the holiday season.

KidStuff will also accept winter coats, boots and cold weather accessories such as hat, gloves, etc.

They offer three ways to move your unused toys and items:

1. Tag your own item and earn 70%
2. Use their TagForYou service and earn 50%
3. Or bring your toys to the venue during set up day and they will buy them from you.

PhotobucketAt their Clarksville event, they will also accept home décor items for every room of the house in additional to holiday décor. Visit www.ConsignhomeDecor.com for more information!

KidStuff is offering THREE FREE consignor spots at each of their two holiday events for NEW KidStuff Sellers. You have to have never sold with KidStuff Sale. Also, they are offering THREE 1/2 price registration fees ($5) for returning sellers! 

If you have never sold with KidStuff and want to claim a FREE consignor spot, email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net with subject "FREE KIDSTUFF" and the first three have got it!

If you have sold with KidStuff in the past and want a half price registration, email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net with subject "1/2 KIDSTUFF" and the first three have got it!

If you are the first three for either, you will get an email back.  If you don't get an email, you were not one of the first three!

And, yes, there's more! A $25 shopping card the week of each sale event so watch the contest page on LouFamFun.net over the next couple of weeks.

This is a sponsored post advertisement. Please consider patronizing this business.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

WINNER! Zoe's Kitchen contest

PhotobucketZoe's Kitchen offers a differ flare to casual dining.  There are 3 locations in Louisville and what do you know? We have 3 cards for free meals so you can head out there for a wonderful mediterranean inspired meal.

THE WINNER is...............


please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your prize!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Things to do this weekend around Louisville October 19,20,21

So, the weather is looking a little iffy for Friday but Saturday and Sunday look like they may be lovely fall days! I will make my recommendations accordingly......

Friday: (evening) This is the first day of the Bass Pro Shops Halloween events. This is a great rainy day option! Not that it isn't fun on a sunny day but I much prefer enjoying the fall scenery when it's 60 and sunny. Anyway, they have trick or treating, crafts, free photos and more. All of the information is HERE.

Saturday: The Mayor's Healthy Hometown Fall Hike. This event sounds great to me! A crisp morning aqt Jefferson Memorial Forest! According to the website, it will be: Saturday, October 20, 10 am - 2:00 pm. Join Mayor Greg Fischer for a family-friendly fall exploration of Jefferson Memorial Forest. Held near the Forest’s Environmental Education Center, the event will offer a wide variety of activities to showcase all the Forest has to offer. Forest staff and volunteers will be on hand to introduce visitors to our native plant gardens, animal exhibits and children’s activities at the Nature Explore area. Climb the 52-ft Alpine Tower or take advantage of a canoeing demonstration on Mitchell Hill Lake. Free pumpkins & pumpkin decorating (while quantities last) and hay rides. Shack in the Back BBQ will have breakfast and lunch items for sale. A portion of food sales go to benefit the Forest, so please come with an appetite! Meets in the Horine Reservation.

Sunday: Since the season for cruising on the Belle of Louisville is coming to a close for 2012, how about an afternoon outing on the Ohio. After all, she JUST celebrated her 98th birthday, we need to show her some love! The Sunday sightseeing cruise is the more affordable option. I would recommend eating at home and heading out for the cruise, which begins boarding at 12:30. That will save you some money rather than the big mid-day meal. But, if you want to do it all up, they do offer the buffet and it's full of serious down-home cooking.

Have a fabuLOUs weekend and enjoy the fall foliage! Also, it would be a wonderful weekend for Huber's, Gallrein Farms, Foxhollow Farm or Deere Farm.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Review of My Old Kentucky Home State Park - Day Trip

​On a recent drive through Bardstown, KY I noticed signs pointing to a place I hadn’t been since I was a child: My Old Kentucky Home State Park. Because it was such a beautiful day, we headed toward the park to check out the historic home and beautiful grounds.

​Nothing seemed familiar as we first approached the park’s visitor center, but once we purchased our tickets and headed toward the home things began looking familiar. We had a few minutes to explore the grounds before our tour began, so we headed down the limestone stairs to the replica of the law office. It was a tiny log cabin situated at the base of the hill and it contained antique furniture and books arranged as they would have been during the period.

​After we climbed the limestone stairs back up to the main grounds, we explored the kitchen, pumpkin patch, stables, and smokehouse. Then it was time for our tour to begin. A woman in period clothes guided us through the rooms, pointing out furniture and art that had been collected by many generations of the Rowan  Family. There is a portrait of Steven Collins Foster in the foyer, and he is referred to as the “famous cousin” who put Federal Hill on the map with his writing of My Old Kentucky Home.

​There is no wheelchair or stroller access inside the home, but there is plenty of space for your little ones to roam on the grounds. Visiting the park is free, but tours are $3.50 for children 6-12, $7.00 for 13.61 and $5.00 for seniors. There is a AAA discount, as well as military and group discounts. My kids (3 and 5) were just interested enough to make the tour worthwhile since kids under six are free. See the park’s website for more information.

By guest contributor:  Maggie