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Monday, March 31, 2014

CONTEST! Frisch's Big Boy Gift Card

 photo Haddock_zps07d3e43d.jpgFrisch’s Big Boy is serving up something special with the new Haddock & Chips through the April 17 - perfect for a Lenten meal. The limited-time Haddock & Chips compliments Frisch’s ever-popular fish sandwich – a meatless favorite served with Frisch’s famous tartar sauce.

 photo FishSandwich_zpsbc13e93c.jpgStop in or drive-thru to experience the battered and golden fried haddock that’s definitely worthy of Frisch’s signature tartar sauce.  Make sure to enjoy them all including the Butterfly Shrimp Dinner, whitefish dinner, fish sandwich, tuna melts, macaroni and cheese, and the always popular grilled cheese sandwich on Frisch’s homemade Texas toast.
Frisch’s Big Boy. Now that’s Fresh!

We have a $50 gift card to give away to a lucky reader - that will go far at Frisch's thanks to their affordable menu. Good luck!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Review of Fit Me Studio's Zumba and Insanity Classes in Louisville, KY

 photo fitme_zpsad9af7b4.jpgTo help you on your healthier lifestyle journey, I recently had a chance to check-out FitMe Studio’s Zumba and Insanity Classes. The studio is located off of Bayberry and Wesport, right next to Jennifer's Academy of Dance.

As I entered FitMe Studio for the first time with all my nervousness and anxiousness, I was greeted by the very friendly and energetic, Jennifer O’Brien, the owner and teacher for the Zumba class. I asked where a good place for the newbies to stand, and she suggested in the middle, so there I waited for the start of the class. Fortunately, a fellow student, Laura, and a few others greeted me and calmed my nerves about the workout and my 2 left feet for Zumba.

 photo fitme1_zpsadf6e03e.jpgBefore long, Jennifer started up the music and we were off. Jennifer mentioned at the beginning to water breaks often, modify the moves as needed (which she showed throughout the class), and to have fun. Zumba is a total body workout completed in an easy to follow dance routine. Jennifer's Zumba is more fitness based (we did BURPBEES!), but with plenty of dancing. I enjoyed how there was a dance routine for each song. I can see how if you become a regular, you can be comfortable with the choreograph and push yourself a little harder. Jennifer did a fantastic job leading the dance workout to know the next step coming. I was able to watch a few of the regulars too, to stay with the group with the moves. Jennifer was also very enthusiast throughout the whole workout encouraging us to keep pushing ourselves. Before, I knew it, the lights were turned off for the cool-down songs.

The other class I checked out was Insanity. Wikipedia describes Insanity as "a method of exercising during which one works out strenuously for 3–4 minutes and then rests or "cools down" for approximately 30 seconds before starting the whole process over again." In this class, taught by Heath, we did 4 segments, repeating each of the segment 3 times. Each segment had about 4 exercises or movements. The last segment was my favorite. There were 6 stations in which you stayed there for 60 seconds. You can do anything for 60 seconds, right?

 photo fitme2_zpsb0f10668.jpgHeath, the instructor, is what I will lovingly refer to as Insanity's Energizer Bunny. He was everywhere! With the music starting, Heath started the class off telling us to move at your own pace, do not worry about what your neighbor is doing (which who had time to even look around?), and drink water as needed. He did a fantastic job of showing how to do each exercise and the modified version proving that this class is for EVERYONE! If you are new to working out, each time you come, you push yourself a little more, and eventually you will be seeing yourself doing less modified versions. If you are more fit, Heath will push to get your knees higher than you thought possible in high knees. (I had no idea that knees could go that high, Heath!) Heath moved around while doing the exercises so everyone could see how to do them and encouraged us by name. We listened to the horn in the music to know when to switch exercises so it was easy to follow, especially with Heath constantly demonstrating the moves. I highly recommend wearing a tech wicking shirt versus a cotton one with the amount of sweat produced in this class- not even my sweaty band could stay in place.

Zumba and Insanity is for EVERYONE - every fitness level, male, female, and all sizes. I definitely feel like I got a great workout from both classes. It was great cross training from my normal jogs. On the FitMe website, it describes itself as a fun and laidback atmosphere. I definitely got this feel when I was there for the first time. It was almost like a Cheers feeling where everyone knew your name. Having a fitness family, I think, is a key to be successful in your fitness journey. Having the instructors know who you are and the other students in the class knowing you are pushing yourself encourages them to work hard too.

What I love about FitMe Studio is there are NO distractions. They have a bathroom, towels to wipe your sweat, and a drinking fountain. For about an hour, you are focused on working out. No phones, computers, or kids to interrupt your workout for 60 minutes - which is not easy to find at home! The classes are very affordable with drop-in class for only $8 , buy a 5 class pass for $30, or a monthly pass for $45 - even discounts for students and military. There is also a Black Light Zumba class that is offered once a month for only $3! FitMe Studio also offers R.I.P.P.E.D. and W.I.C.K.E.D. Follow FitMe Studio on Facebook to stay up to date on classes and reminded about the Black Light Zumba.

And if anyone wants to meet up there to try it out, let me know and I will join you! Jennifer also owns Jennifer's Academy of Dance. On Mondays - Wednesdays evenings, your kids can take a dance class while you take a class next door at FitMe Studio. Now that is using your time wisely!

By guest contributor: Jeanette

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - March 27,28,29

This post is sponsored by:        
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March is on it's way out.  I know we are ALL into the MADNESS right now - big, HUGE game on Friday, dare I even offer an alternative?  Sure, the game is super late, you can squeeze in some family fun before tip off.

First, save the date for May 17th. It's our next Louisville Family Fun Experience Series Event.  Tickets will go on sale in late April.

Here are my picks for the weekend:

All Weekend:  The Louisville Cardinals Baseball team is in town and has three home games.  Family fun and America's favorite pastime.  Sign me up! Oh wait, there's no need to sign up - it's free!

Saturday:  How cool is this? Traditional Native American Storytelling at The Farnsley-Moremen Landingfrom 1:00 to 2:00 PM It's an entertaining and educational storytelling presentation by Anthony Redfeather Nava. I'm a total sucker for educational/fun stuff. It's FREE but RSVP because seating is limited. Call 935-6809 or email info@riverside-landing.org

 photo dinetodonatebbbs_zps03502963.jpgSunday: Dine to Donate at The Village Anchor for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kentuckiana. It's one of the best restaurants in Louisville, no excuses- get out there and eat well and help a deserving cause.

Remember, there are even more events to choose from in our calendar at the top of our website - get out and have some fun!


Review of Zen Garden in Louisville, KY

Zen Garden on Frankfort Avenue is one of my favorite places to go for a family meal.  All the food is vegetarian or vegan, and they have everything from sushi rolls to steamed dumplings to my favorite orange tofu. 

My family isn’t strictly vegetarian, but we enjoy a wide variety of foods.  We often take the kids to restaurants that don’t have a kids menu because I’m tired of offering them the same five choices every time we dine out.  During our most recent visit to Zen Garden, my boys both had the spring rolls and noodles.  Any time they get a chance to slurp noodles they are happy!

I stuck with my old trusty, the orange tofu.  The tofu is crispy, the vegetables are cooked perfectly, and the orange sauce is sweet and tangy.  My husband, a conformed carnivore, enjoyed the sesame soy bean curd. 

If you’re feeling adventurous, get out and try something new for dinner.  If your kids need a little coaxing to try something different, remind them that Homemade Ice Cream and Pie Kitchen is right next door.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review of Old School NY Pizza in Louisville, KY

 photo 474770ff-780c-4d77-ab0b-60e620fec38b_zpsabf18aef.jpg photo e7096b6e-da1b-483c-825c-b582a3c00c1c_zps029d3787.jpgOld School NY Pizza is a new pizzeria near the Kroger shopping plaza on LaGrange Road in northeast Louisville. Tuesday nights are kid's nights with Make Your Own Pizza night. For $3, the kids got a fresh, moist pizza crust to add sauce, cheese, and toppings. Then you give it back to the counter, and they bake it and return it with the rest of your meal.

 photo 0324ef99-e1f9-45ea-b93f-342454aba242_zps641b6ba2.jpgI got the $6 special (all day, every day) of 2 slices of pizza and a fountain drink (free refills!), my husband got a calzone and slice of pizza. They have pizza coloring sheets and crayons they let the kids hang on the wall when they were done, and the sheet kept the kids busy until the food was ready.

 photo d11ef684-aa14-4a67-99d0-ed6a017609c4_zpsa650c492.jpgMy husband was born and raised in New York, and said this pizza was actually the most authentic NY style pizza he's had outside of NY. Thin crust, perfect sauce (not too sweet or tomatoey), and a good ratio of cheese to crust to topping. It was delicious, and my husband talked about it for hours!

 photo 4f3974d5-ae42-401a-8b0f-955adbe1212e_zpsfdad3372.jpgIt's one of the few places that sells pizza by the slice all day long, it's delicious, and the workers (and owner) were very friendly. The atmosphere was nice. They had oldies music playing overhead, news on the tv, and classic photos and posters on the walls. We loved the food, atmosphere, and friendliness of Old School NY Pizza, and we can't wait to go back!

By guest contributor: Caryn

Monday, March 24, 2014

Top 10 Places for Spring Farm Family Fun & Berry Picking near Louisville

We are all so excited for Spring and it's just as fun in spring to head to the local farms as it is in the fall.  It's a different set of crops but the same family fun!  I also encourage you to check out the Kentucky Farms are Fun website - good stuff.

Tune in to hear more:

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Times/prices are subject to change
This post is dated from 2014 but still accurate

10) Day trip!  Evans Orchard in Georgetown, KY.  It's "bushels of family fun" - that says it all.  Picking starts at around May 1 and there's lots to choose from. They have a play area and barnyard that's $8.00 for kids. (Children under 2 and adults are free with a paid children's admission).  Love when places don't charge the parents!

9) Mulberry Orchard is great for spring to fall fun, check their website for when they open up for the season.  They have a small yet wonderful farm store, make fantastic donuts, have a play area for the kids (free) and you definitely want to be there to get their freshly picked peaches when they are in season.

8) Day trip!  Boyd Orchards in Versailles.  Families can enjoy delicious baked goods, a fun play area, strawberry picking come May and more.  It's an easy drive east on 64.

7) Spring is strawberry time at Gallrein Farms in Shelbyville, head out there for juicy sweet ones and some new flowers for your garden. They also have a petting zoo and great farm store - an all around nice place to spend a day!

6) Foxhollow Farm - They have a sunset concert series so it's not always about picking fruit at the farm each spring. Sometimes, you can just go and hang out at a farm like Foxhollow and enjoy some good music, friends and country atmosphere.

5) Hinton's Orchard in Hodgenville, KY opens in mid-April for spring fun with fruits and veggies to enjoy or plants to bring home to your garden. They can accommodate groups and will bake up items for you to gobble up and send the kids out to play in the farmland play space.

4) Berry Best Farm in Naab, IN has an impressive list of "in season" items for options starting April through October. In spring, you can grab some fresh rhubarb, u-pick snap peas, spinach and more....and of course, berries.  Bring your own containers for u-pick.

3) Joe Huber's Family Farm & Restaurant  in IN is a perfect spot to grab a home-cooking meal, spend the day in the fields picking strawberries and sit back and relax with an ice cream while the kids play in the barnyard area.  The soda shop area is really cute and they often have live music and other events!

2) Bryant's Blueberries in New Salisbury, IN - watch their website or sign up for their email alerts, they'll let you know when the berries are perfect for picking.  Click here for our past review to get all of the tips for heading over there.

1) Huber's Orchard & Winery  is a full day of family fun.  Not too far from downtown Louisville, in Starlight, IN, this place offers something for everyone. We once took Grandma & Grandpa with us and they sat in the sunshine and indulged in wine & cheese while we ran around with the kids - nice for them, huh?!  Kidding!  We always have a good time. There's gem mining, a large play area, animals to feed, homemade ice cream, endless goodies in the market, wine (of course) and u-pick options!  Click here for a fall review, it's just as fun in the spring.


Winner! Blue Manatee Box

Baby Unplugged Books: In Tune With Tots 

Last week we had a contest for an awesome box of books!

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It's a 9 book set of Blue Manatee Press titles in a Baby Unplugged Blue Manatee box. These boxes are a way to order a set of books for babies or young children. The idea is that children don't need an iPad when they have books and can use their imagination, play with a box, and make it anything they want it to be. 

The winner is
Lisa Niehaus

To claim, please email us at info@louisvillefamilyfun.net using the email address with which you entered the contest! Congrats!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mother/Daughter Things to Do around Louisville, KY and Southern Indiana

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Ideas for special Mommy and Me Dates

While making this list, my daughter (8), asked me what I was doing and I explained. She said, “OOH! Can I add some things?” DUH! How could I not think to ask my daughter what her favorite Mommy and Me dates are? The answers were quite eye opening. You see, in today’s day and age we're always on the go. So, we think mommy and me dates need to be somewhere new and that’s not to say they’re not. We have a lot of cool stuff going on around these parts, but what really matters, is the quality of time you spend with your date.

1. Cooking Together- Every year she gets a little more independent. Partner that with learning measurements at school and you have the perfect recipe for quality time! We started out planning weekly menus with themes: Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday, Fun Food Friday then we sat down and picked out the recipes together on Pinterest. Last month, we added one Friday a month where we prepare and donate food to Exit 0 Ministries. It’s fun and rewarding!

 2. Spa/Tea Day-Everyone needs time to relax and we run our kids just as ragged as we run ourselves. We love heading to Strandz and Threadz and spending some QT just the two of us! The mani/pedi room only has two seats, so it really is just us. Sister's Tea Parlor is another awesome place to go for some mommy/me time.

 3. The Library-Talk about budget friendly! KG & I like to curl up in a corner together with a good book just as much as we like to go and learn about the history of our area and participate in the fun classes.

 4. Sewing Classes-This was something I taught myself to do but didn’t have the patience to teach her. So, classes it is! I’m learning things I didn’t know to teach myself and someone with a lot more patience than me is helping her but we’re still together. Check out Dandy Lion or Sew Much Fun KY.

 5. Parks- We LOVE parks. Be it local community parks, Atlantis Water Park, the skate park, we just love to be outside doing things. And who can’t use some extra Vitamin D?

6. Shows-Movies, Derby Dinner, Kentucky Center for the Arts, if it’s theatre my daughter and I are in! We love the children’s theatre at Derby Dinner and Stage One. But those are treats. We try to support the local theatres in our community as much as possible by also attending high school and college productions. New Albany, Jeffersonville, and Floyd Central High Schools all have nationally recognized theatre programs. Inexpensive exposure to the arts and So IN has an amazing food scene! Makes for an excellent date night. New Albany H.S. (NAHS) is doing Little Shop of Horrors for their spring musical…

7. Cleaning with Pandora-my daughter loves helping out around the house, but she also loves singing at the top of her lungs while at the same time. Guess what?!? So DO I! So, we crank the Pandora, and belt out whatever genre of music floats our boats that day dancing and cleaning and sharing lots of laughs.

8. Local History-The other day I was informed she “hated” Social Studies - it’s sooooo boring. We have been to the Scribner House, Culbertson Mansion, Squire Boone Caverns, Locust Grove, Farmington, Slugger Museum, Howard Steamboat Museum, Old State Capital in Corydon…shall I go on? And every time we go we learn about our rich local history and you have a blast.

9. Festivals-We love a good festival! From Harvest Homecoming to Strawberry Festival to 4H to whatever. Throw some craft booths and yummy food into the mix and we’re there!

10. Every Day Matters-I don’t know about you, but I work all the time. I’m in a role where I’m never off work. I network everywhere I go. I’m always talking business. My daughter can talk my business. The other night she looked at me and said, “Mom, can you please turn off the laptop, iPad, and your phone and just play with me for an hour?” How do I say no to that. So, every day we have Mommy and Me time. Every day, for an hour, I turn off the outside world. We play Rummy, Life, Clue, we draw, make dream boards, laugh, name her kids and my grandkids, we talk and connect. It is the best part of my day hands down. Now that we’re entering our busy season between my work and her athletics, it’s going to be harder to fit in that hour. So, maybe we do 30 minutes, but I know how important that time is. No matter how busy our lives are, you don’t have to go out to get in quality time. We have just as much fun staying in as we do going out. When I reflect on the best memories of my childhood it was always time I had with the adults in my family spending time with me. Hand sewing Christmas ornaments, cooking brownies, baking cookies, painting, playing cards, singing, playing piano. And you know what’s crazy? When I need some downtime and time to decompress, I ALWAYS before anything else, go back to those comforts. Cooking, baking, sewing. Those things are where the heart is. My point being, it’s the quantity, it’s by far, the quality.

By guest contributor: Heather

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - March 21,22,23

This post is sponsored by:          
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I presume that this weekend, there will be a lot of you watching basketball. That will most certainly be happening at my house - brackets in hand to monitor my progress (or lack of progress).  I wish my kids would watch, that certainly would make my husband very happy!

What else is going on?

Here are my picks for the weekend!

Shop the St. John's Kids Kloset - my family so appreciates this wonderful church and would love to see lots of you head there and help them raise a lot of money through this sale. It's open 9am-7pm on Friday and also on Saturday from 9am-1pm for half price day!

The Turners Circus is still going on. Check out our recent review.  Our Jeanette said that her kids were entertained the entire time.

Check out this cool place we hear about, Good Garbage.  They have kids (and adult) workshop during which you can turn trash into a treasure.  This weekend, they have a paper bag kite workshop for kids at 10:30am.  It is geared toward 5-10 year olds, registration required, donations accepted, parents must stay.

 photo bricksandminifigsgrandopeningforFB_zps6e96b81f.png It's the GRAND OPENING of Bricks & Minifigs in Middletown!  From 10am-7pm, head over there and pick a brick to save up to 50% off your purchase and be entered to win a birthday party.  Definitely heading there this weekend, my son is counting the days (hours really).

In the evening, take the family to see the Louisville Leopard Percussionists at The Brown Theatre for their Big Gig.  What an awesome night out supporting this fantastic group of local kids.  $15.

 photo mardisgrasrauch_zps04034453.jpgHead to the Planetarium and join LouFamFun for their Mardi Gras AFTER Party - this event was previously schedule for 3/2 but the weather interrupted it!

Kids get to make masks, UV bead necklaces and shakers and enjoy the awesome festive sound of the University of Louisville School of Music's Steel Drum Band. Perfect Little Planet will show hourly beginning at 1:30 PM, with the last show beginning at 4:30 PM. Every family will receive a BOGO coupon for a future visit to the planetarium. But wait, there's more, Comfy Cow "free single scoop" coupons will be given to kids while supplies last. Cost: $5/person (no free admits) Help support the planetarium!

Have a fabuLOUs weekend,

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Review of Louisville Turners' Circus Show: 'Shipwrecked' in Louisville, KY

 photo IMG_2499_zps254247d0.jpgLadies and gentlemen and kids of all ages found themselves watching flips, turns, jumps, fire, tricks, music, and laughter while enjoying Turners’ Circus 2014 - Shipwrecked. My 6 and 3 year old sons had a blast watching the performers (aged from 2 to 86) at American Turners located at 3125 River Road in Louisville. They have over 200 performers, 100 volunteers, and hundreds of costumes to put on the show that is a fundraiser for them.

We arrived about 15 minutes early to get a good seat. The gym was probably half full by then, but still able to get some seats on the wooden bleachers facing the front. Drunk and Sailor entertained the crowd while we waited for the circus to start.

 photo IMG_2479_zps9ef98178.jpgThis was my sons' first circus experience. My youngest liked the magic trick with the banana the best. My oldest loved one of the first acts where the pirate cleared a table filled with cups and bowls with a boy aa a uccaneer. The young performers were jumping from a mini-trampoline onto the table teasing the pirate and doing some tricks. My favorite was the ladders and trapeze act, but I enjoyed it all. The storyline with Captain Black Bart Bartemaeus looking for his buried treasure was great and easy to follow from scene to scene.

 photo IMG_2494_zps94e5cc49.jpgThe circus has 2 acts. The intermission was about 20 minutes. During that time, you can get some concessions or just stand up and stretch your legs. The whole program lasted about two-and-half hours. The show entertained my boys the whole time! They enjoyed seeing kids their age performing and seeing some sword fighting, juggling, and unicycles. It is a very family friendly show. My kids and I give the show 2 thumbs up all around!

Turners offers classes so you and your kids can give it a try too! The next class session starts March 24.

Shipwrecked has shows through March 23. Advance tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for kids or at the door - $15 and $10.

By guest contributor: Jeanette

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Review of Wine and Canvas in Louisville, KY

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Allison's take: I had the opportunity to go and give Wine and Canvas a try when they were doing an event at the Hometown Pizza in LaGrange. The wine and painting experience is really gaining a ton of popularity in our area and I was excited to go participate!

I arrived at Hometown Pizza after a long day with my kiddos excited for some adult conversation and a glass of wine! Brandy, another LFF writer also joined me, it was very nice to get to know her a little bit during the evening! I had participated in a class with another company previously, so I came into the class knowing the basics of what to expect.
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Upon arrival at Hometown Pizza, I was greeted with a blank canvas and a palate of paints. The restaurant itself wasn’t offering any specific food specials but did have $4 glasses of select wines available.  We were seated at a long table in the middle of the restaurant, there were 30 of us total participating in the class. Wine and Canvas will come to your location of choice as long as you have a minimum of 10 people participating. I was told that there have been as many as 96(!) people in one class before. Honestly for me it was a bit cramped. There wasn’t a lot of extra space for food, wine or elbow room, but that is a simple fix of splitting up the tables or eating before you come.  

Our teacher Allie is a local artist and she walked us through step by step how to make certain colors and taught us how to turn our blank canvas into a work of art. There is something daunting about starting to paint on a totally blank canvas. The class started at 6:30 and we left there at close to 10:30. The website said that it would be over at 9:30, I was lucky that I had a husband at home and not a babysitter otherwise it might have been an issue.

 photo wc4_zps1f5aa251.jpgWine and Canvas also offers classes called Cookies and Canvas for Kids which would be fun to do with your older children! All and all it was a fun night and now I have a gift that I can give a bourbon enthusiast in my life. 

Brandy's take:
I recently had the rare opportunity for a weeknight outing. With my husband in charge of the kids, I drove to Hometown Pizza in LaGrange. Hometown has some pretty tasty pizza, but I didn’t go there to eat. I went there to paint. 

Wine and Canvas is a national company that offers a unique mobile art studio experience. The Louisville/Elizabethtown franchise opened about a year ago and currently offers painting “classes” in several different restaurants from Elizabethtown to LaGrange and everywhere in between. The restaurant provides the space and drink/food service and Wine and Canvas provides the canvases, easels, brushes, paint and aprons. Most importantly, there is an artist there to talk each guest through the painting, step-by-step. 

This was my first painting class since grade school, so needless to say, I was quite intimidated by the blank canvas on the easel in front of me. To get the full Wine and Canvas experience, I decided to order a glass of my favorite wine before we started. We had a Hometown Pizza server attending to our table, so ordering was easy. The challenge was finding a place to put my glass. The painting event was sold out, and there wasn’t really any extra space on the table. I was barely able to squeeze my arm between my canvas and my neighbor’s canvas to set down my glass. When my friend and I decided to split an order of cheese bread, it became even more cumbersome. I’d definitely recommend eating before the event begins, either at home or at restaurant. Lesson learned! 

The painting began promptly. The artist started by instructing us to measure and mark various points on the canvas. These dots were later used as reference points. This technique seemed to work pretty well. I was only a little bit off on placement, and was able to work around my minor miscalculation. I found the step-by-step instructions to be fairly simple to follow. The most challenging part was hearing and seeing what the artist was doing. I did not arrive as early as suggested, so I ended up near the far end of the long table. I couldn’t always see what was happening, however, the artist did walk around to give us a closer look as needed. I also glanced at my neighbor’s canvas to make sure I was doing it right. Between many of the painting steps, we had to mix colors on our paper plate palette. I think the biggest challenge for me was getting the colors just right. 

 photo w6_zpsaf4c899e.jpgWhile we painted, we were treated to a wide variety of upbeat music. Some of us sang along at times and that helped to keep the mood light and fun. There was a fair amount of background noise from the restaurant. This wasn’t terribly bothersome for me, but I could see it being a little overstimulating for some people. Fortunately, Wine and Canvas will be opening a studio soon, which may be more appealing for those who have a hard time with distractions. They will also bring their mobile art studio to your home or business party for a more personal experience. 

 photo w5_zpse8aa7d72.jpgWe painted for about 3 hours with a break in the middle. At the end of the evening, I was pleased with the results and excited that I got to take my art home with me upon completion. Wine and Canvas is a unique, fun experience that I’d gladly participate in again. However, I do not think I would go to an event by myself due to the tight quarters.  In my opinion, it’s the type of thing you definitely want to attend with a friend or group. The painting classes range in price from $35 - $45. See the calendar on their website for upcoming events. They also have a Facebook page. On a side note, they also offer classes for children under the heading “Cookies and Canvas.” 

By guest contributors: Allison and Brandy

Monday, March 17, 2014

Contest - Blue Manatee Press Book Set

Baby Unplugged Books: In Tune With Tots 

Designed by a pediatrician, Dr. John S. Hutton of Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, Baby Unplugged™ celebrates childhood experiences and icons, rooted in how developing brains work. Kids need and learn best through real experiences, real people, and exploring the real world—simple joys these provide. Technology can wait. Unplug, tune in, and have fun! 

 photo babyunplugged2_zps59ba59b8.png photo babyunplugged_zps8c4f10f7.pngThese books highlight topics like: Blanket, Books, Yard, Pets, Box, Ball, Beach, Blocks and Water (new!).  Simple things that kids love and can play with for hours without being plugged in.

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We have a 9 book set of Blue Manatee Press titles in a Baby Unplugged Blue Manatee box. These boxes are a way to order a set of books for babies or young children. The idea is that children don't need an iPad when they have books and can use their imagination, play with a box, and make it anything they want it to be. 

The 9 book box is an $80 value! 

Enter to win!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

LouFamFun Early Literacy Ideas for the Spring

Spring Has Sprung!

Books to share: Wake up it's spring by Lisa Ernst, Splish splash spring by Jan Carr, Cold little duck duck duck by Lisa Peters, Are you spring by Caroline Pitcher, Spring song by Barbara Seuling

Rhymes: Butterfly, Butterfly
Butterfly, butterfly
Dancing all around
Butterfly, butterfly
Now you’re on the ground
In a tree so hard to see
Now you’ve flown away
Butterfly, oh butterfly
Please come back some day (from childfun.com)

Spring Colors (make the pieces to the story together into a flannelboard story or magnetic story on your refrigerator)
See the yellow sun up in the sky
See the bluebird flying by
See the green grass under my feet
See the red flowers that smell so sweet
See the yellow ducks in the pond below
See the red ladybugs lined up in a row
See the green frogs hopping as they go
See the green caterpillars lined up in a row
See the brown tree that grows straight and tall
See the pink blossoms just starting to fall
See the busy bees buzzing by
See the beautiful butterfly, floating through the sky

Recipe: Take cut up veggies and make cute springtime flowers on your child's plate. In this picture we used cut up cucumbers, carrots, celery sticks, broccoli, cherry tomato, and a couple of baby spinach leaves. Make a rainbow of colors with strawberries, blueberries, bananas, pieces of kiwi, raspberries, etc.

 photo cutiecounting_zps82fd764d.jpgPlay Literacy Idea: Recently my oldest child wanted to get a bag of those tiny mandarin/tangerine oranges at the grocery: cuties! When we brought them in the house, my toddler was immediately drawn to them and started counting them! We always take simple ideas like this and turn them into a little lesson. We have also really been into drawing with chalk lately. I made a simple chalkboard out of chalk paint and an old large framed picture. I simply painted the chalk onto the picture (that I picked up at a Goodwill store so it was really cheap!) It's my toddler's favorite thing right now! Another fun idea for spring and playing with literacy is to read the book It Looked Like Spilt Milk. Then go outside and lay on a blanket in the yard. Look up at the clouds and think about the shapes of the clouds (similar to the blots of milk in the story). What shapes can you make together from the clouds? Enjoy the outdoors finally after this long winter!

Louisville Local Spot for Learning and Literacy: This month, I'll highlight the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft as a great family-friendly place to go explore art together in a new, unique setting. KMAC recently revamped their MakerSpace; read our recent review here. This new creative space in this art gallery is a perfect spot for families to make art together and really delve into several kinds of mediums.

Head to your favorite branch of the Louisville Free Public Library for the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten preschool reading program. The Library is challenging parents and families to read aloud 1000 books to their pre-kindergartener with the intent that by the time they enter kindergarten, they'll have 1000 books shared and read to them. What an awesome opportunity to make reading together even more fun and the children will love the challenge of filling up their 1000 books tracking card. Kids will receive prizes for different levels that they reach along the way. Pick one up at the library today!

Listen to our Louisville.am podcast about the program!

By guest contributor: Erin

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Things to do this weekend around Louisville - March 14,15,16

This post is sponsored by:            
 photo LMQ_zpsb9e8f632.jpg         Hey!  Is it Spring yet? Nope. Soon, very soon.

First, we want to highlight some super cool posts we've made lately:

Kentucky Derby Festival Events for Families
Top 10 Day Trips from Louisville
Spring Festivals
Easter Events

Also, check out our latest podcast featuring KaZoing! Party & Play.....listen to the end, there's a contest for open play passes!. Our podcast is sponsored by Learning Rx.

What's happening this weekend?

Check out the Louisville Turner's Circus SHIPWRECKED! at 7pm (also going on throughout the weekend).
Advanced tickets: $10 adults, $5 children 12 and under, available at www.turnerscircus.org
At the door: $15 adults, $10 children 12 and under

 photo stpatricksdayparade_zps7423eacd.jpgCheck out Raptor Rehab about Blackacre at 10:00 am It's $5/person; $10/family for members or $8/person $15/family for non-members. You'll meet some of Eileen Wicker's feathered friends and learn more about raptors.  I love fun learning opportunities for families!

In the afternoon, head to the St. Patrick's Day Parade.  Here's a past review we wrote about it. It's along Baxter Ave. from Broadway to Bardstown Rd.  The parade starts at 3pm.

How about a sporting event?  At 1pm, the UofL Baseball team has a game, these are FREE.  And, Sundays are Family Fun days - $1 hot dogs, special fun for the kids.
Or, at 4pm, you can see the Kentucky Xtreme arena football game at Freedom Hall.  Ticket info on their website.

Those are my picks! Have a fabuLOUs weekend,

Review of Kashmir Indian Restaurant in Louisville, KY

My kids are fairly adventurous eaters, so one of my favorite things to do on family night is to try a new type of cuisine. Recently we went to Kashmir Indian Restaurant on Bardstown Road for a large family gathering, and even the picky eaters among our group were able to find something they liked.

 Kashmir is located across the street from the Mid City Mall, so it is fairly easy to find. It is in an old house with an adorable front porch and patio seating for when the weather cooperates. We basically had an entire room to ourselves, which was great when the cousins decided to start playing after dinner.

 We started off with vegetable Samosas, which were little pastries filled with veggies and spices, served with tamarind sauce and onion chutney. I wanted to drink the tamarind sauce! We ordered several different vegetable dishes and a basket of Naan to scoop it up with. My favorite was the Baingan Bhartha, a roasted eggplant dish. The kids really loved their Chicken Tikka, which was marinated in spices and yogurt and grilled to perfection.

 Kashmir Indian Restaurant is located at 1285 Bardstown Road. Be sure to check the website for their hours, because they are closed between lunch and dinner.

By guest contributor: Maggie

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Review of Wiggles and Giggles Playroom at the Griffin Center in New Albany, Indiana

 photo 5aa8ce99-e630-4e17-9494-ec8dafc44a83_zps82e1a1f8.jpg
New Albany Parks and Recreation has just opened their new indoor playroom designed for children ages 5 and younger. My two-year old daughter and I went to their grand opening celebration where Rainbow Puppets performed a great puppet show that captured the attention of the little ones. They also celebrated the opening by offering snacks and even had a book giveaway for each child as they left. 

 photo aae37863-21d8-4794-8b4b-b28b8b18474a_zps9f335313.jpg photo 82600a6c-c4e9-4e18-8805-56d841c0ea58_zps542e4666.jpgThere are two areas available for the children to play in: the Wiggles & Giggles Playroom and the gymnasium. All of their equipment and toys are brand new. In the gymnasium, there was lots of space to run and they had lots of ride-on toys, a jumpy castle, tunnels, blocks, cars, hula-hoops and more. Inside the Wiggles & Giggles carpeted playroom, there were lots of imaginative play toys, a small climbing frame, books, a felt board, chalkboard and lots of foam-shape climbers.

My little one had a great time and cried when we had to leave. My 4-year-old son is requesting to go now, so we will be heading back soon!

 photo 05dc73f9-f11e-4d10-9aa4-93cf71a65f54_zpsffbce305.jpgThe playroom is open every Monday from 10am-12pm and every Thursday the playroom and gymnasium is open from 10am-12pm. It’s located inside the Griffin Recreation Center at 1140 Griffin Street, New Albany.  It’s a 5-minute drive off of the 64 bridge. Both areas are unsupervised and you are responsible for your children.

Oh, did I mention this is FREE?!   

The New Albany Parks & Recreation Department has a lot happening right now. Head over to their website to see it all-Mommy & Me fitness classes, kids art and nature classes, splash pads and pools! For more information, call 812-949-PARK. 

By guest contributor: Jennifer

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Exploring Kentucky Bourbon Trail: A Family Perspective

 photo 43fbe9be-120a-42f7-a7f2-8f2ef47b8c51_zps02f0405f.jpg
Mayor Greg Fischer recently declared he wanted Louisville to become the bourbon tourism capital of the world. Bourbon is Kentucky’s native spirit and our bourbon heritage is rich, but is it family-friendly? Can you really take your kids to a distillery?

 photo d30c6980-e721-47db-b05d-03e577a10476_zpsa14564ec.jpg photo 2df96100-056b-44b0-9237-c744456ee1b4_zpsd74991b8.jpgThe answer is absolutely yes. There is so much more to Kentucky’s Native spirit than Manhattans and Mint Juleps. For starters, early settlers started making bourbon so their crops wouldn’t spoil during the long and arduous transport through the mountains of Appalachia. It was a way to preserve the harvest more than anything. And Kentucky’s natural limestone deposits, also responsible for our world-famous bluegrass, are the main reason Kentucky bourbon is the gold standard.

 photo a5255c2d-026f-4285-9dcd-0d842a62858b_zpsdc83ed87.jpgBardstown, KY is a great place to start learning about Kentucky’s history, both bourbon and non-bourbon related. In addition to Bardstown’s historic Main Street and My Old Kentucky Home State Park, Bardstown is also home to a high concentration of bourbon heritage. Visit Heaven Hill’s Bourbon Heritage Center and take your kids on a trolley ride tour of the distillery and downtown Bardstown while you learn about local history. Visit the Oscar Getz Whiskey Museum and view bourbon artifacts and historic documents such as Abraham Lincoln’s liquor license.

Another great destination for families is Buffalo Trace Distillery in Frankfort. At only an hour from Louisville this is a totally easy day trip for most of us. Their Trace Tour lasts an hour and is open to all ages. In addition to these awesome tours, Buffalo Trace also hosts numerous family-friendly events throughout the year.  There’s an Easter Egg Hunt, a 5k, and Disturbia at the Distillery for Halloween, among many others.

 photo 259957ad-3a33-4927-9e00-40af33311f51_zps1d5687ee.jpgI recently attended a panel discussion in which Freddie Johnson of Buffalo Trace talked about taking groups of 4H kids on distillery tours.  They get to see the crops their parents grow turned into a premium product, while learning about the science and business that go into bourbon.

 photo IMG_2321_zps8f15bc2e.jpg photo IMG_2317_zps9f99c189.jpgDistillery tours are fun for all ages. I’ve taken kids in strollers to the Maker’s Mark Distillery, where we learned about bourbon production from start to finish, visited a rack house full of bourbon barrels, and learned about the angel’s share. Check the Kentucky Bourbon Trail’s website for all eight member distilleries. Each distillery may have different rules about kids, so be sure to check before you plan your visit.

By guest contributor: Maggie