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Thursday, January 31, 2013

The $10 LouFamFun Challenge - January - Crafting & Giving

PhotobucketLouFamFun set the challenge for the writers: Take a $10 bill and turn it into a fun, local activity for kids, spending as close to $10 as possible without going over (not including gas). Challenge accepted!

PhotobucketI wanted to do something different. Something creative. Something fun. Something I could do in any weather. But I wanted it to be healthy for my kids as well. Then it hit me - I wanted to teach my kids to focus on others instead of themselves. I didn't want them to think about what they could get for $10, I wanted them to think of what they could give for $10. We took our $10 bill and headed to our local dollar store. We bought colored paper, stickers, stamps, and markers. Then we headed home to use our creativity, coloring, stamping, and writing skills to make dozens of cards. Since we are approaching Valentine's Day, we used a lot of hearts, sayings of love and well wishes.

PhotobucketPhotobucketNext, I called a local nursing home and talked with the activities department. We set up a good time for my kids to hand out the cards. When we arrived, they gave us information on the most recommended residents to give our cards to. It was fun for my kids to make, fun for the residents to receive, taught my kids some valuable life lessons (respecting and caring for elders, doing things for others, and using their creativity), and it was all for under $10. This activity works great around any holidays, or simply "thinking of you" cards at any time of year. It's a great way for your kids to have fun, focus on others, and brighten somebody's day. We even gave a card to each of the nursing stations, because nurses need encouragement too! I recommend you to bring in cards to your local nursing home sometime this year for a cheap activity that provides a valuable experience!

By guest contributor: Caryn

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Review of Explorium (Children's Museum) in Lexington, KY

PhotobucketPhotobucketMy kids and I had the privilege of joining Stephanie and her kids at the Explorium in Lexington. I haven't spent a lot of time in Lexington, so I enjoyed being in the heart of the city. The Explorium is located in Victorian Square, which is a building that holds restaurants, shops, galleries, and more. There was a covered walkway from the 3rd floor of the parking garage ($8 to park but the Explorium will validate for the Victorian Square garage) which connected both sides of the street. It was rainy and cold out, so we really appreciated never having to be out of cover from the car, to the Explorium, to the pizza restaurant we ate at across the street and back again.

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PhotobucketPhotobucketThe Explorium is one of the oldest children's museums in the country, and while it doesn't look old, it is a smaller children's museum than I'm used to. You enter and leave through a hallway that holds their "gift shop" and purchase your admission stickers for $8 each. I did think this was a little pricey for the size of the museum, however, I do think the $90 annual family membership would be a good deal if you live in, or frequently visit Lexington. Inside, the museum boasts nine different discovery zones. Appropriate for Lexington, it opens with a horse exhibit, as well as many other areas including a large area for 3 and under that looked great for little ones . On the second floor there are areas with dinosaurs, Adobe Indian dwellings, space activities, insects, and other areas. The pirate exhibit was a lot of reading with little interest for my little ones, while the bubble room held their interest for a long time. Unfortunately, the water table area was under construction when we went, and the kids were not able to check it out.

PhotobucketThe Explorium has some other perks, including the Open Art Studio (open 1:00 - 5:00pm daily) just outside the museum that is included in the admission fee. The kids stopped to color life-sized outlines of themselves and enjoyed being able to add glitter to the pictures. There is also a Lil bookworm Club for Pre-K through 1st grade on Tuesdays from 10:30 to 11:15am in a room just outside the museum entrance. And the Explorium hosts several great events on their calendar including Mother's Day Out and Parent's Night Out.

PhotobucketWhat I did like was the freedom to come and go from the Explorium as we pleased as long as we were wearing our stickers. We left to get pizza at LA Gourmet Pizza. For a large pizza and drinks for all 6 of us, the bill came to under $20 and it was very good. We also stopped by "The Sweet Spot" and got some chocolate covered peanut butter Ritz crackers for each of us for just 50 cents a piece- delicious!  You can pack lunch and eat at tables within Victorian Square.

PhotobucketPhotobucketI feel like the Explorium would be best for kids under the age of 8, although there were some puzzle activities even I couldn't figure out.  They do have an area that is just for little ones under 3 with a small water table and cushioned play area.  While I feel some families may be able to make a whole day out of the Explorium (like Stephanie's), I think others would be done in a couple hours. It would be a fun stop to include in a day trip to Lexington, but I would have some other events ready in case your little ones want to fly through it as fast as mine would.

Written by: Caryn
Photos by: Stephanie

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Geocaching in Louisville

My family loves exploring the outdoors year-round, and geocaching, or what we like to call ‘treasure hunting,’ is a family favorite. It often dictates the location of our next expedition.

PhotobucketGeocaching is quite simple and you probably already have everything you need: internet and a gps device. The website, www.geocaching.com, has everything you could possibly ever want to know about geocaching - even a two minute video of it.

PhotobucketFrom the geocaching.com website, you can sign-up for a free account or upgrade to premium. I just have the free account and have plenty of caches aka treasures to find. On the homepage of the website you can search by address, name, or coordinates. Once the page uploads your location, click on ‘Map this Location’ on the right to get a better idea of where the treasures are located. By clicking on the ammobox looking icons, you can read the description of the cache - difficulty, terrain, size of it, get the coordinates - even get a hint to decode if needed. There are also comments which can be helpful to know when it was last found or if you have trouble finding one you can post to get some hints. There is a lot more you can do and learn on the website such as keep track of your finds, send coordinates to your phone, learn about trackables, or even make your own cache..

So here’s our typical outing: We pack lunches, a pen to write in the logbooks, pick our destination to explore, and have the boys find trinkets they want to trade. We usually just pick the macro caches to find, since they have the treasures versus the micro caches where you just sign a log. My husband sends the geocaches to his phone and I typically type them in my GPS that I use for my car since there is a walking mode on it. We get to our destination and start hiking towards our first treasure. The coordinates get you fairly close, but you still got to do some seeking in and under things. If my husband or I spot one before the kids we play hot or cold or ask our kids, “would this be a good place to hide one?” The boys get so excited when they find one, pick out a trinket, and leave one of theirs there. We sign the logbook, return the cache the way we found it, and then hike some more to find the next treasure. While geocaching you want to make sure you do not get caught by the ‘muggles’ or non-geocachers which is fun in itself as well to do with the kids.

PhotobucketThere are so many things about geocaching that are great! You get to explore the outdoors with your family and friends while getting some exercise anywhere you live or go on vacation. It is fun for all ages. My kids 5 and 2 love it and our 4 month old loves being carried so it works out beautifully. As they grow, we can do more difficult caches and multi-caches where you find one or more caches with a hint at the middle ones. It is great in all seasons - even a little easier in winter if you catch a warm day since there is less growth to trample through.

So what are you waiting for? Go see if you can find the treasure!

By guest contributor: Jeanette

Monday, January 28, 2013

CONTEST! I'm cleaning out my drawers

I have a drawer where I usually plop my laptop when I work at our kitchen table.  But, I have since declared that I need to stop doing this because kitchen tables are for eating and not for conducting my business and I moved some things around in my house and I am cleaning out that drawer. It's my prize drawer. Seriously good stuff has been in this drawer.  I thought there were just business cards left that needed some organizing but by golly oh molly- I found some admission tickets to the Kentucky Science Center (formerly Louisville Science Center but they underwent a name change.  Same great museum, slightly different name. I have 4 to give away.

Then, I don't know, I just kept digging.  Indeed, I found more McDonald's freebies. I feel like I have enough McDonald's freebie cards to giveaway 5 a day for a year but no, I just have a few more, the drawer is not that big.  I mostly have McCafe beverage cards, so I will send you 4 of those if you win so you can all get a bev before you go learn about Science.

Then, I have to mail said items so I figure I will send them along with a nice fridge magnet to help you do your LouFamFun planning and pin up endless amounts of kid-art and a LouFamFun Pass because without it,  your wallet is just crying for the friend it's never met.

Good luck - be fabuLOUs!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

WINNER! Sky Zone Louisville Passes

PhotobucketIf you haven't been to  Sky Zone in Louisville's Jeffersontown area, you should try it!  We've had fun each time we've been there.   You can read more in our past review or watch our YouTube video (volume down low!).

We have a package for one lucky reader of SIX 1-hr jump passes.  And the winner is.........

Kelly Dettlinger

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

Friday, January 25, 2013

Things to do this weekend in and around Louisville - January 25,26,27

It's the last weekend in January - 2013 is moving right along and the post-holiday lull is starting to fade and events are picking up.  I have a bunch of options for you that I recommend but of course, there's more options on our calendar if you don't like my picks (HOW DARE YOU!)

It is the last weekend to get outside and enjoy some giggles while skating at the Jeffersonville Outdoor Ice Rink.  It's $8 and a ton of fun.  You can come and go so you can skate, go get something to eat and then come back and skate more - they mark your hand and you just check in once.  Wonderful!

Also, the Louisville Free Public Library has a fabuLOUs family event planned for Saturday from 10-12. It's free, of course, and it's called Wheelapalooza. It's to celebrate the by Cyclocross event that will be taking place next week in Louisville (it's a BIG deal).  Froggy from Froggy Rides a Bike will be there, StageOne will be performing and the Speed Art Museum is providing a crafting opportunity.  Fair warning, these tend to get busy so get there early and plan for a lot of company.

Sunday, oh Sunday.  There are two great options. First, let's highlight the Artist in You fundraiser for the Louisville Children's Museum. Paint something for a loved one and help the museum endeavor. Full details HERE- it's from 3:30-5:30.  Also, you can head to the Kentucky Center at 5pm for the Keeper of the Dream event to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  This is totally free and features a presentation by the Mayor, Greg Fischer, as well as many performances by local musicians and groups.

Be fabuLOUs!


Thursday, January 24, 2013

January Book Review - The Big Bat

PhotobucketThis month’s book feature is The Big Bat, written by Anne Jewell and illustrated by Tony Waters. Local author Anne Jewell, who also happens to be the Executive Director of the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory, takes kids on a journey with the big bat located outside the main entrance of the Slugger Museum in downtown Louisville.

We are all familiar with the enormously large baseball bat that towers above the rooftop of the Slugger Museum. But do you know just how big it is? You will discover that by reading The Big Bat. Kids will love how the story is catered to them because the girl in the story wants a photo of the bat, but it is so large that it will not fit in her camera’s view finder. The story goes on to tell the reader just how heavy and tall the bat is – did you know it’s as tall as SEVEN giraffes and that it is hollow? Use your own imagination to determine how you would fill it up!

Finally at the end of the book, the girl gets her photograph. I love how the story relates to kids and how very local it is. And during the new year, you might be venturing downtown to visit the Louisville SluggerMuseum. Now when you get your picture with the big bat, you can appreciate it just a little bit more.

My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Big Bat, learning about the mathematical dimensions of the bat, and can’t wait to spend some time downtown exploring the museum and factory since we haven’t done that in a while. I love the local feel that this book brings to mind and how it inspires us to celebrate our city and all its fabuLOUs offerings! Click here for a link to the publisher where you can purchase The Big Bat and support a local author.

By guest contributor: Erin

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Review of Pay n Play (Open Play) at Awesome Outdoor Products (Rainbow Play Sets) in Louisville

PhotobucketPhotobucketOn a recent cold & rainy day, I was in the mood to try something new with the kids. It's difficult for me to find something new, we've done it all!  Then, I remembered a ValPak coupon I saw for Awesome Outdoor Products in East Louisville ( 13720 Aiken Road, Louisville, Kentucky 40245). They have Pay n Play so we headed to give it a try. You can bring your kids to play during their normal business hours ( Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm, Sat - Sun: 10:00 am - 2:00 pm according to their Facebook page).

PhotobucketPhotobucketYou check in at the front window and if you use SpotOn, you can get a spot.  It's $6 per child on weekdays and $10 on weekends (which are busier because they also host birthday parties- starting at $89).  My kids ran off to play. I explored the indoor showroom, they have a bunch of Rainbow Play sets for the kids to climb.  Note: the monkey bars are off limits.  They also have some basketball hoops, puzzles laying out on tables, a little ball pit, stick horses to gallop with and some boxes of little toy cars and trains to play with.  We played hide and seek all over with many hiding spots to choose from, we made up an obstacle course path out of the different structures and toys and I even got to sit down and read a magazine while the kids played with each other.

PhotobucketPhotobucketIt was very quiet with just one other mother and child playing.  I noticed they had a coffee machine too, it is not complimentary but it is there in case you need a pick-me-up.  But, at $2.00 a cup for a k-cup with powder creamer, I wouldn't get one. However, I have noticed on their Facebook page deals for free coffee! They do have kids drinks for 50cents - budget-friendly price point.  They also have snacks for purchase.  I peeked into the party area and it was small but nicely set up with picnic tables, very colorful.

PhotobucketPhotobucketOverall, we had a nice time and I would take my children back.  It was clean (the restrooms too) and when your kids just have to get energy out and you need a change of scenery, it was refreshing to take them to someplace big enough to keep them stimulated with the feel like they were at a playground - especially during the winter months.  They do run ValPak coupons from time to time, so check the website  for a buy-one-get-one-free coupon in case there's a current coupon. Also, you can sign up for SpotOn rewards on a smart phone and earn free admission.  It's definitely an awesome value with a coupon if you have 2 or more kids.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Review of the Louisville Slugger Museum

PhotobucketA while back, my family spent the whole day downtown. It was a drizzly morning so we were glad we already planned to start with a visit to Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. We always bring out of town guests to take a snapshot in front of the iconic world’s largest bat and had popped into the gift shop, but this was our first time checking out the museum and taking a tour of the factory. Parking nearby at the lots behind museum row is typically $5 for the day and you’ll need cash for most, though I did swipe a credit card at one recently. Walking there from the parking lots is fun, as this part of downtown has so much to see and do. When you enter Louisville Slugger Museum, there is an information booth, but you pass that and go to the left to buy your entry tickets. There is a lot you can see inside the building without buying admission to the museum and tour, but we were so glad we went through that pay to enter part.

PhotobucketInside the main museum, there are numerous interactive displays where you can learn more about not just the history of the Louisville Slugger bat, but a great deal about baseball in general too. My son loved putting on the gloves and posing for a picture with the official bat, and also really liked going around the exhibits where he could touch, pull, listen, or watch different things. He was so involved in the interactive parts that after I read him the few lines at each he had the preschooler attention to listen to, I could then read almost every word, which was great!

Your entry ticket includes the time for your tour, as thankfully they limit how many people go through on each one, and they announce where to meet inside the museum a few minutes before your scheduled time. We had just the right amount of time to explore the museum before our tour time, but you can always go back in afterwards if not. At the gathering spot, we watched a short film about the Slugger’s history, met our guide, and heard the rules for being inside the factory. One of which is no cameras or video, so I only have photos inside the exhibits.

I was surprised at how much each of us thoroughly enjoyed this portion of our visit. I figured the machinery would be neat to see, and it was, but the guide’s enthusiasm was contagious. All of the employees we encountered were equally pleasant and helpful. Watching the way they used to make the bats and how they do it now was really interesting and the pride and care of those who do really shines through. We loved all of the trivia the guide threw in too. My appreciation for bats and baseball were greatly increased largely due to the tour and also because of the museum in general. A few of us were allowed to take a keepsake “nub” that is left over during the process and at the end of the tour every person gets their own souvenir mini-bat to keep. My son loved the tour, was fascinated by the machinery, and cherishes his keepsake mini-bat and “nub.” I should note that they mentioned the bats cannot be carried onto planes, so if you bring company that is flying elsewhere, they’ll need to pack it in checked luggage or pay a small fee to have them shipped.
PhotobucketAfter the tour we watched the short movie across the hall about the history of baseball, which was like taking a tour through time. Then, we went to the other areas which we had seen before but appreciated so much more now, like the vault that holds the model of each player’s bat which is designed according to their exact specifications and are all unique and quite varied. You can also see the wall of their signatures which are used on the bats, pay to have a personalized bat created, take a photo by- or in!- the giant glove sculpture, enjoy the great little kid’s play area, or try your hand in the reasonably pieced indoor batting cages. The well-stocked gift shop is always fun and, along with a lot of fun bat themed merchandise, you can buy a variety of mini-bats there too, varying in color and representing different teams or players.

Admission is $11 for ages 13-59, $10 for those over 60, $6 for kids 6-12, and 5 and under are free. AAA members can save 50 cents and you might be able to find other discounts, so look before you head over. Check their website for hours, which do change slightly seasonally and other details. They are located at 800 West Main St. in downtown Louisville and you can also reach them at 1-877-7-SLUGGER.

PhotobucketWhile there, be sure to take photos in front of the giant 120 foot tall bat outside, which makes this place a snap to find, as well as the fun Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame, featuring home plates with names and career highlights of select players and their bronzed bats. You can also peek inside the windows to watch some of what happens inside the factory, but I really recommend paying to take the tour as you get to see so much more and the guides are so informative and entertaining! Remember they are part of Museum Row, so make a day of it and visit another museum while there. Each will take $1 off your admission if you show paid admission to another. You can pack a lunch to save money and there is a lot to see just walking through downtown too, like the Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame, statues, all sorts of street art, and other places that are free to check out. Click here for a virtual tour of the museum and scroll to the bottom for a coupon that saves you 10% off in the store!

By guest contributor: Angela

Monday, January 21, 2013

Service Projects for Families in and around Louisville - Where can families volunteer?

PhotobucketDoing things together makes service more meaningful.  Not only do families benefit from the time spent together but children get to witness a project from start to finish with a reward at the end that isn't material - it's pride, empathy, satisfaction from what they have done - it's more than the usual tangible reward.

Here are some ideas for families around Kentuckiana.  What can you do together in service to our community to help other families, other citizens?

Even if these ideas don't directly take you to your next service project, I hope that they will inspire you to talk with your children about what they would like to do for others and you can all develop your service project together and get started.

  • Catholic Charities of Louisville is always looking for volunteers to help with refugee services.  You can volunteer your skills, time to help people feel welcome and learn about our culture or items that they need.
  • The West End School always has a wish-list posted and needs volunteers for cooking or tutoring.  Or, if you have another idea, I am sure they are open to hearing about how you want to help.
  • Your family can plan and run your own donation drive for Maryhurst or for Boys and Girls Haven. They are constantly in need of items to help serve the children and families in their programs.  Coordinate a small (or large) event targeting a theme on their wish lists. 
  • Volunteer in your child's school.  There are children in need right in your community. Contact your school counselors and see what your school needs.  They may need help with the facilities like painting or may need help with mentoring or tutoring.
  • During the holidays, we tend to think a lot about places like Salvation Army and food drives.  But, these organizations need help year round to service families.  The Salvation Army has families that live at their facility and they also host transient people in need of help.  Your family can help in so many ways from helping to decorate their short-term living areas, hosting a drive, dining with the families and  hosting an activity for the families.    Year-round, consider Dare to Care Food Bank (volunteer in a Kids Cafe), Kentucky Harvest and Blessings in a Backpack.  By helping these organizations, your impact is wide-spread because they cover a large area.  
  • There are countless senior care centers and your presence at these places brings these wonderful folks such joy.  There are far to many to list but you can do a little research about your area of town and find one and see what there needs are and develop a project.  Maybe you can plan an activity with them, make cards for a holiday and deliver them to the residents or entertain them during a meal.
  • The Family and Children's Place has an extensive list of volunteer opportunities for people of all ages and things that families can do together.  
  • St. Joseph Children's Home can use volunteers for projects around their facility and working in their thrift store. Or, your family can get crafty and take on a sewing project and make things for the children and learn to quilt at the same time! 
  • Research these organizations and see if they have big annual events.  For example - Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana has Bowl for Kids Sake (offering opportunities in Louisville and surrounding counties). Families can form a team and set fundraising goals, come up with innovative ideas for raising the money, challenge each other and then have a fun day bowling to celebrate what they have done for the kids that this organization serves.  There are many groups that do something similar!
  • At a loss for coming up with your own idea?  The Metro United Way has a search option and you can review their projects and choose on that gets your family motivated to help.  Search HERE.

Whatever it is, if you do it together it will strengthen your family bond and help the community in a big way.  Your children will see the impact of their actions and be challenged to better themselves and their community.

Give of your time and be fabuLOUs!


CONTEST! Sky Zone Louisville Passes

PhotobucketWe've told you about the Sky Zone in Louisville's Jeffersontown area, we've had an event there enjoyed by many and now we have a giveaway.  If you haven't heard about it, you can read more in our past review or watch our YouTube video (watch the volume!).

We have a package for one lucky reader of SIX 1-hr jump passes.  That's a lot of high-flying fun.

Good luck and be fabuLOUs!

(And, this is a joint post - the winners of the Louisville Boat, RV and Sportshow tickets at Kim Obryan (4), David Moor (4) and Rebecca Kirtland (2)  Please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net before Tuesday at noon with your mailing address so I can mail off the tickets ASAP)

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The Artist in You Fundraiser for the Louisville Children's Museum


Come and support the Louisville Children's Museum effort by painting something (maybe for your valentine?) at The Artist in You!  A portion of the proceeds from sales during this time period will help support the museum endeavor.  

PhotobucketPhotobucket Also available are Louisville Children's Museum shirts available in kids' sizes to create and wear to help spread the word!  They are $10  (cash, check, CC)

Follow on Facebook  and Twitter ( @LouChildrensMus) for more information. See you there.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - January 18,19,20

It is my pleasure to give you my opinion today and every Friday.  Here's my take on what you should do this weekend. Whether or not you listen, that's up to you. But if you don't listen to what I say RIGHT NOW, I am sending you to time out.

Go out with some friends or on a date night and treat yourself to some adult fun on Friday night.  No childcare you say?  Not a problem (well, if your kids are 5 and up, it helps. If your kids are under 5, sorry...this doesn't help - watch a Disney movie and you can go out when they turn 5).    SIGS has a "Kids Night Out" from 6-10pm and it's just $20. They will have a blast and you will get a break.  LouFamFun pick for the WIN!

Then, after being refreshed and happy to see your cutie, wake up the next morning and take them to the OrKIDstra concert put on by the Louisville Orchestra.  They have these from time to time and it's a super special event.  It's $15 per person and it starts at 11am at the Brown Theater but you should get there early and take advantage of the activities that they have in the lobby before the show.  The theme for this show is "Enchanted" and they encourage your little ones (and you if you are parent of the year) in dress-up.

Finally- since it's a long weekend - some people get this buzz about them like they need to take a day trip. You know who you are.  Did you know that the Newport Aquarium (a nice 1.5ish hour drive up 71) has a promotion going on now and you can get 2 kids in free with each adult ticket purchased? They are doing this through February 28th.  Sweet!

Take a little time (or a lot because he's worth it) to teach your kids about Martin Luther King Jr. Here's a Pinterest Board that has a ton of ideas to help them appreciate this man and his legacy.

Be fabuLOUs, Stephanie

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review of Brownsboro Eatery in Crestwood

PhotobucketMy family and I went to check out the recently reopened Brownsboro Eatery. We noticed this cute general store/eatery when we first moved to the area and were disappointed it had been closed for some time, so we were excited to read about it being brought back to life. The new owners spent months clearing out rubbish and meticulously cleaning every inch of this place, which is inside a barn style building built in the mid-1950s. More than just a restaurant, this eatery also features numerous antiques and memorabilia, as well as arts and crafts by local artists, and the conveniences of a corner store with their small but good selection of drinks, snacks, and the like.

When you walk in, you are greeted by a small area with a couple of benches and several toys, which is always a welcome sight when looking for family friendly places to eat. The menu is simple yet full of interesting items and just the right size to help you make a quick decision, another plus with young kids in tow! It is casual with seat-yourself dining.

PhotobucketWe enjoyed sandwiches off their lunch menu, which come with your choice of chips, fruit, or cottage cheese, for between $6.50 for the smaller ones like old-fashioned chicken salad and up to $9.50 for more filling hot open face choices. The Kid’s Menu consists of four childhood favorites in appropriate portions and includes chips or fruit and a small drink. There were other choices, like soup or salad for lunch and all your typical selections for breakfasts, including eggs any way or omelets made to order, pancakes, biscuits & gravy, and bacon, sausage, ham, biscuit, or toast, all very reasonably priced and easy to customize with their simple pricing structure. Dinner, which is served only Thursday-Sunday when they stay open later, has some great options too, like pork tenderloin, salmon, bbq chicken, meatloaf, philly steak, pork chop, chicken breast, or a hot brown, with nothing more than $10.50 and a nice basic selection of sides and breads. Drinks are all just $1.50 each and include refills.

My husband really loved his Open Face Roast Beef Sandwich, my daughter devoured her Club Sub, my son ate every bite of his Grilled Cheese, which was made with Provolone, and I thoroughly enjoyed my Toasted Ham Sandwich, which was made on a great Ciabatta bread. In fact, we all dove in so fast that we only have photos of half a serving, with the exception of my husband who showed more restraint. We each tried Gripper’s BBQ chips and found they have a great kick to them.

PhotobucketAfter smelling the wonderful aroma from the waffle cone maker, which are all made fresh, we just had to try some of their hand-dipped ice cream too. Cake cones are $1.50 each or $1.25 for a kid’s scoop, but we splurged for the waffle cones, which are $2.50 for one scoop or $3.25 for two. It was indeed a delicious treat and we noticed we could try others, like milkshakes for $2.50, banana split for $4.50, a sundae for $2.25, or what I plan to try next time, a waffle bowl sundae for $3.25.

To get there, it is just a short drive out on 71 to Crestwood. Brownsboro Eatery is not far from the exit, but just enough to make you feel like you are out in the country some. They are located at 7511 Highway 329 in Crestwood, Kentucky. Don’t go on a Monday though, as I saw on their facebook page.  We will definitely be back to this fun, affordable, and different local eatery. There are so many things to look at, and we loved the quaint old-timey atmosphere and great food. Everyone working there was super friendly and polite and it felt very warm and welcoming. We read that their manager has “about a million concepts (he’d) like to try out,” and look forward to whatever he comes up with next, although in our book, this place was just about picture perfect as it is.

By guest contributor: Angela

From Stephanie:  We pass this place all of the time to go to the YMCA in Buckner and we finally decided to stop and try it.  My family dined there, with tip and leaving very full and happy, for under $20.  My kids were able to get their favorite breakfast selections and my husband and I enjoyed homemade soup and fresh sandwiches.  It was wonderful to have the little toy area near the entry because once the kids were finished, we let them play and we sat peacefully to finish our lunch.  Also, I went back to get donuts on a Saturday morning. I had one at a local church one morning that came from their store and it was one of the best donuts I have had in a long time.  And, they are so well priced at 50 cents per donut or $5.50 for a dozen!  Get there early for the donuts, since it's a small local place, they sell out quickly if someone like me pops in to buy a bunch. I have a feeling this will be a family favorite.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Top Ten Locally Owned Restaurants for Families on a Budget

10. Shiraz Mediterranean Grill has three locations in Louisville. This is a great place to take the family for a healthy fast food alternative. My whole family can eat here for around $30, and my kids love the chicken kabobs. Click here for locations and menu.

9. Clifton’s is a pizza joint with a laid-back atmosphere that makes it perfect for a family dinner. Their pizza is some of the best in town and they have a big space upstairs that makes kids feel less confined. Click here for coupons and more info.

8. WW Cousins is a longtime family favorite. My kids love being able to pick what they want on their burgers from the huge selection on the dressing bar, and the salad bar is pretty good as well. This is another place we can usually dine for under $30, and my kids really enjoy the huge tree in the middle of the restaurant and they offer Kids Eat Free on Tuesday evenings. Click here for more info.

7. Thai Café in Holiday Manor is a your spot for noodles and Chicken Stays. There are lots of options for everyone in the family. They close between lunch and dinner and are closed on Sunday. Click here for more info.

6. Bearno’s is a notable neighborhood pizza place, and with 13 Louisville locations there is bound to be one near you. Pizza is the ultimate dining-on-a-budget cuisine, and my family usually eats at Bearno’s for around $25-30. Click here for locations and menu.

5. Vietnam Kitchen has an extensive menu of noodles, dumplings, soups, and other great Vietnamese dishes. The most expensive thing on the menu is under $14, with most being under $10. Click here for more info.

4. Kingfish on River Road gives the opportunity for inexpensive family dinners along with some inexpensive family fun in the summer. You can dine in the restaurant for around $30-35 (even less if you go on Tuesdays for Kids Eat Free), or you can go to the carryout window and take your food to the picnic tables by the river. After dinner there is playground equipment for the kids and mini golf for the whole family. Thursday night is family night in the summer and all mini golf games are discounted. Click here for more info.

3. Goose Creek Diner is a wonderful location to take the family for country-style cuisine, including chicken pot pie, country fried steak, and excellent fried chicken. Dining on a budget here is certainly doable but challenging since you have to walk by the dessert carousel on your way in. They sometimes have a balloon artist at dinnertime but their Sunday brunch is the best deal since kids 5 and under are free and Dining Discoveries offers a discount so you can save even more.  Click here for more info.

2. BBC in St. Matthews is for the whole family. The food is really good and it’s usually loud enough that no one notices my rambunctious kids. The pizzas are great to share if you’re on a budget. Click here for more info.

Photobucket1. Fiesta Time is by far my family’s favorite place to go to dinner, budget or not. They have coupons in the ValPak (click to print!) all the time, which makes it even more affordable. Even when we go buck wild and order anything and everything we want, we never spend more than $40. Most visits are under $30. My oldest son loves the beef burrito and my youngest loves a plain cheese quesadilla. The staff are always friendly and the service is great. Fiesta Time is located at 11320 Maple Brook Drive. Call (502) 425-9144 for more info.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

2014 Bucket List of the Best Activities for Louisville Families

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Follow us on Facebook - we are always full of ideas!

- Ice skating at Jeffersonville Ice Rink - ends January 26th

- It's not Derby time, but it's probably not as crowded either. Winter is a great time to explore Louisville's museums, and the
Kentucky Derby Museum is not to be missed.

- Start off the New Year visiting an historic landmark that's chock full of education and learning - the
Thomas Edison House in the Butchertown neighborhood. Or check out Portland Museum to learn about that unique area of Louisville.

- Head to the
Muhammad Ali Center in celebration of Black History Month. (A tip from previous years-visit this museum and many others on Museum Row during February when they have the $5 admission!)

- February is chilly around here, so stay warm indoors at the
Derby Dinner Playhouse. They offer great children's shows at breakfast and lunch times and showcases two great shows this season: The Jungle Book and Princess Penelope's Dragon. We love this place for family-friendly children's theater shows and how great they are for younger children as well!

- Check out the season of children's theater at
Stage One Family Theatre at the Kentucky Center for the Arts. The 2014 schedule includes the shows The Glorious Adventures of the Mighty Robin Hood and Diary of a Worm, a Spider, and a Fly.


- On the days when spring is trying to break free from winter's grip, head to Waterfront Park to fly a kite in the breezy days of March. Walk around the riverfront and play at the playground. Grab a bite to eat at Joe's Crab Shack and sit at a picnic table outside and watch the river traffic. Check out our review here. Rent a bike, or bring your own, and explore paths along the river

- Spend some time checking out the park system in Louisville.

- Walk
Museum Row and spend some time downtown on Main Street, Louisville. Visit the Kentucky Science Center, Louisville Slugger Museum, Frazier History Museum, and pop into 21C Museum Hotel just to look around. Visit in February to take advantage of their $5 admission. (Participating attractions: Frazier Museum, KentuckyShow!, Louisville Slugger Museum, & Ali Center).

-Most school breaks around here occur during the first or second week of April. If you're not heading out of town, take a staycation here. Remember, Lonely Planet awarded Louisville one of the Top Ten Tourist Destinations in 2013 and 'Best of World' by Traveler MagazineSee why! 

-Enjoy the many family-friendly events that take place during the Kentucky Derby Festival

- The
Kentucky Reggae Festival is a fun time for families, during the day time hours of the festival. It occurs Memorial Day weekend every year. The music, Jamaican fare and flair, and handmade arts and crafts are worth checking out. It's held on the grounds of the historic Water Tower on the river.

- Springtime is a gorgeous time in Louisville - check out the grounds of historic
Locust Grove during this beautiful time. A friend of mine recently told me about exploring the river by starting at Riverside Farnsley-Moremen Landing as well!

Renaissance Family Fun Park is a great place to head in the evenings or weekends when the kids are itching to get out of school for summer break. Check them out if you haven't yet, there is a lot to entertain your crew for a wide span of ages.

-Each May, the city of Louisville puts on a Hometown Tourist Celebration! Check out the deals you can typically seize here.

Go to Henry's Ark and feed the animals! It's located in Prospect and is the only petting zoo in the area. It's free to enter but they do appreciate donations. Read their Facebook page about what to feed and NOT to feed to the animals!

- Louisville Free Public Library SummerReading Program - and all of the programming that goes along with it. There is almost something to do any given day in the summer at almost every library so don't miss out!

- Head to the
spray ground at the Beckley Creek Park, of the Parklands of Floyds Fork - this is a must for outdoor spray time and fun in the sun.

- My family and I discovered lots of outdoor, family, FREE movies this past summer - most start in early summer. We especially enjoyed the
Cards Under the Stars series.

-Take a walking tour downtown on one of the city's PossibiliTours, review here.

- Go trolley style this summer. If you haven't taken your family on a ride on one of the trolley hops, they are fun. The evenings are great for this, as you can beat the heat of the day and make frequent stops inside A/C filled shops and restaurants. There are two that run monthly:
First Friday Trolley Hop in downtown and F.A.T. Friday Hop in the Clifton, Crescent Hill, and Butchertown neighborhoods.

- Check out the outdoor music series that occur all over Louisville and Southern Indiana. Two highlights on this list: Westport
Village and Jeffersonville's River Stage.

-Experience the oldest, free Shakespeare festival in the U.S. in Central Park, Old Louisville: Kentucky Shakespeare presents “Shakespeare in the Park.”

- Sometime through the summer, visit this cool place from another reader's tip! "It's pretty low key, just a big open field, a picnic table, and a caboose to climb on, but my kids LOVED it. It's called Buechel Depot, just off of the Buechel Bypass. (The old train station has been turned in to an event hall, apparently, but it wasn't opened when we went by for a picnic.)"

- It's just not August unless you head to the
Kentucky State Fair!

- The
St. Joseph Orphans’ Picnic is a staple in Louisville - go check out the family fun during the daytime hours of this legendary family-style picnic complete with games, prizes, fried chicken, and raffles.

- Summer isn't complete without singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" at a Louisville Bats game at Louisville Slugger Field.

-Explore The Falls of the Ohio in Clarksville before the kids head back to school


- Head out to the Iroquois Amphitheater for a play, free movie, or music festival in the outdoor seating arena, sightsee around the south end, then take a walk through Iroquois Park for the day before settling down for some evening entertainment.

- Check out
Blackacre State Nature Preserve at some point this fall. Often on Saturday mornings, your family can help feed the animals early in the morning, then stick around for a walk through the trails; pack a picnic lunch to be enjoyed anywhere on the vast property - no spot will be disappointing.

- Check out a cruise on the Ohio River aboard the historic steamboat, the
Belle of Louisville.

- You can't spend fall in Louisville and Southern Indiana without heading to
Joe Huber's Family Farm to pick apples or pumpkins. This place speaks to families; check out Huber's Orchard & Winery for a less crowded experience as well.

- Trek through
Old Louisville this fall. There are many awesome photo opps to be had, and kids love the old cobblestone sidewalks and alley ways. Check out St. James Court Art Show during the first weekend. Grab a bite to eat at Dizzy Whizz; enjoy a 50s style burger and milkshake. 

- Can you swing a date day or parents day out? Check out the Louisville Food Tour in the Nulu district. It's fantastic, read our review here.

- Check out a laser show or stargazers delight at
the Gheens Planetarium on UofL’s campus. They have many holiday themed light shows this time of year and are a great option if you have older kids.

- Take your family on an unforgettable learning tour at the
Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind.

- Thinking about getting some shopping done for the holidays? Check out our Top 10 locally owned stores in Louisville here.

- There are so many holiday activities to attend during this season in Louisville. Check out
Christmas at the Galt House, which has so many options you will not get bored as a family. Spend time downtown and pretend you're in the movie Miracle on 34th Street...window shop, adore the decorations, catch a horse-drawn carriage ride, explore the Galt House Hotel's lobbies and elevators, walk the Belvedere, head to 4th Street Live for ice skating, and grab a bite to eat at so many places to choose from.

- Do not miss
Toyland Christmas for the enormous light display. It will get you in the spirit of the season.

- A fabuLOUs tip from a reader: Go to Schimpff's Confectionery candy store in Jeffersonville. "It's great any time of year, but we also have a family tradition to go the Friday after Thanksgiving. That is when they make their holiday ribbon candy & the Saturday after Thanksgiving they make candy canes."

By guest contributor: Erin

Monday, January 14, 2013

CONTEST! Louisville Boat, RV and Sportshow

What screams JANUARY more than a Boat & RV show? The Progressive Insurance Louisville Boat,RV and Sportshow is at the Kentucky Exposition Center January 23-27th.  They will showcase boats, recreational vehicles, fishing and hunting exhibits as well as travel and marine accessories.  There's a demo pool with test rides, an interactive learning center, a trampoline wall, catch and release pond for the kids and even Dora the Explorer will be there on Saturday and Sunday.  There will be TV stars from Swamp People and more shows.

We have tickets for you! We have 2 packs of 4 tickets and 1 pack of 2 tickets.  Enter to win below!
Good luck

Friday, January 11, 2013

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - January 11,12,13

PhotobucketWow, do you see this weather forecast?  If anything motivates you to sit around and do absolutely nothing, this forecast does. BUT, do not dismay! We are here for you to survive this depressing forecast and make this weekend a fabuLOUs one after all.

There's a birthday party and you are all invited. It's at the American Printing House for the Blind to celebrate Mary Ingalls' birthday.  Its Saturday from 10:30 - 12:30 and is free but they do ask you to register in advance.  Details HERE.

Painting is always fun and at since it's going to rain, I thought this name was appropriate. Whet Your Palette. Saturdays are family days. They have painting from.......well, I am slightly confused by their website.  One place it says  it's all starting at 10am and then another place says they start painting at noon. Despite my confusion, I am still posting this as a pick for the weekend because it's $10 and for that price you can do something really old fashioned and pick up the phone and call them to see what the deal is.  What? You want me to pick up the phone and call them? No way, I am a website, I don't do phone calls. 502.438.8865 go for it.

Lastly, did you know that the Jewish Community Center of Louisville has a theater and great shows? I know!  You learn all sorts of things on this website.  They have many showtimes listed HERE and it would be a super date night or outing with an older child that's interested in theater.  Who doesn't like a good live show?

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

WINNER! Yo Gabba Gabba Tickets!


Te show is this weekend and KIM POLLOCK won 4 tickets to the 5pm show!

Yo Gabba Gabba LIVE! is coming to the Louisville Palace in THIS WEEKEND.  Tickets are still available, just click on the logo for more information!

Kim, please email info@louisvillefamilyfun.net to claim your tickets!

Review of special events at Sisters Tea Parlor

I recently had the opportunity to attend "A Dickens' Christmas High Tea" at Sisters Tea Parlor & Boutique. This is one of their specialty teas held several times a year. Special event teas are themed-productions that include a transformation of their three tea rooms and costumed servers. Reservations are required for special teas and they can sell out quickly. Sister's Tea is not yet requiring a paid reservation, just an email or phone message to hold your table. I left an email with my name and number of people in my party, and they responded to my email the very next day to let me know our reservations were being held.

The tea started at 6:30pm, but I arrived a little early to have time to look around their boutique and find a nice hat to wear during the tea. Shortly after 6:30, they started seating parties one at a time at designated tables depending on your party size. My friend and I enjoyed having our own table for two all to ourselves. The table looked wonderful, and included a menu of all we would be eating and drinking that evening, as well as a satchel with a take home sample of tea, and an ornament to keep. The tea included two bottomless pots of tea, a soup, and a three-tiered tea tray full of goodies. We enjoyed everything we tasted, and enjoyed the leisurely time to chat and sample all of the savories, scones, and sweets.

The tea was for enjoying the tastes and company of the night, not for being overly entertained. It was very low key and relaxing. I would recommend attending specialty teas in the future to spend time relaxing, catching up with friends, and trying new tastes. Although we only noticed one man there, it would definitely be an enjoyable date night! Children two and older are invited to any of these special event teas, however, these high tea events are designed primarily for adults. They do have special teas designed specifically for younger kids as well several times a year which would be better suited for younger kids. The specialty teas cost $28 per person (including tax and 15% tip) as of December 2012. The next specialty tea is "Alice in Wonderland High Tea" coming in January. Definitely check it out!