Sea Life Aquarium MN

This week our family got a chance to visit Sea Life Aquarium at the Mall of America. They sent us some complimentary tickets a couple weeks ago, and Husband took the day off work so we could all go together.

IMG_4160

They just closed their octopus exhibit and are gearing up for a crab exhibit called Claws! It opens in June and includes Giant Japanese Spider Crabs. Those things are HUGE!

IMG_4163

My personal favorite creature was the garden eel. I could’ve watched those little guys for half an hour. Husband said they reminded him of Slimey. They fed them while we were there, and all these little snails appeared out of nowhere (I think they crawled up out of the sand) and started eating, too.

One other funny moment was when Husband was holding Markus in the Ocean Tunnel (where the creatures swim right over/around you), and I pointed and said, “Look!” Markus turned around and there was a huge stingray right in his face. He panicked and dug his little face into Husband’s neck.

IMG_4174

If you are looking for something fun to do in the Twin Cities and are short on time, check out Sea Life. Kids of ALL ages will enjoy it!

IMG_4182

They also have tours for school groups and even a special week for homeschools.

(Out to lunch afterward)

IMG_4186

IMG_4187

Spring 2014 Fun List

Every season, we make a “Fun List.” They’re probably similar to the “bucket lists” you see on Pinterest, but we strive to keep our lists relatively short (10-20 items per season) and attainable. And though we live in MN, we use them for the actual 3-month seasons, so often our fall and spring fun lists need to include snow activities. Here are a few lists from past years as well as a list of what we have on our current list:

IMG_0004

IMG_1659

1. Go eye-balling

2. Go swimming at the gym

3. Sprinkler/water table fun

4. Make an Easter craft

5. Hike at a local park

6. Family bike ride

7. Eat at our favorite local diner

8. Fly kites

9. Play at the park

10. Go to Dakota Heritage Village

11. Rides at the Mall of America

12. Special surprise for Daddy

13. Plant a garden

14. Draw flowers on the sliding door with dry erase markers

15. Pick strawberries

We keep this list posted in the kitchen so that we can revisit it every week or so, crossing off things we’ve done or planning when to try something else on it. As you can see, the items vary widely in the amount of prep/$/time involved. And I try to steer the kids toward things that we already have on the calendar. So far, spring cleaning hasn’t made the list. 🙂

Good Reads for Kids – May 2014

Since we’re on a reading kick this month, I thought I might start a monthly feature about what kids’ books we’ve recently enjoyed. My kids are both avid readers and have both loved books from a young age (I sure hope that continues!). As they have gotten older, I’ve gotten more choosy about which books we have in the house. I want them to enjoy reading, but I also want them consuming decent literature.

Over the past couple of months we’ve done quite a few chapter books. Here are the kids’ favorites:

1. The Cricket in Times Square

cricket in times square

2. The Boxcar Children

boxcar children

3. The Mouse and the Motorcycle

mouse and the motorcycle

4. Henry Huggins

henry huggins

5. Ralph S. Mouse

ralphsmouse

6. The Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport (first in a series)

bobbsey twins of lakeport

7. Redwall

redwall

I read all these books as a kid (except Redwall, which Husband introduced to me in college), so it was great fun for me to re-read them with my own children. I was surprised that Markus could keep up with the plots, but even in Redwall he seemed to pay great attention and remember tiny details. If it’s helpful to reference my kids’ ages, they are 4 and 6 1/2. I wouldn’t say any child could handle Redwall, but my son loves battles of any kind, and my husband did a good job of editing anything inappropriate as he read.

What are your favorite chapter books for littles? I’m always on a quest for recommended titles. Some that are on our list for this spring and summer are Martin’s Mice, Betsy-Tacy, and In Grandma’s Attic.

The Post Alpha-Bits Little Free Library is up!

We’ve had quite the weather this April, from continued snow to a couple days of sun back to super-cold and then a week of rain. All that to say my lovely friend Maggie was finally able to get the Post Alpha-Bits Little Free Library up and ready for use this weekend!

Alpha Bits Little Free Library 005

Alpha Bits Little Free Library 004

It is located at 15858 Harwell Avenue in Apple Valley, with a cute little path leading to it from the sidewalk. We would love to have you stop by and check out a book! Now that it’s finally outdoor weather, come out for a walk with the family, or bring your grandkids. If you have a book you/your kids have outgrown and would like to share it with the neighborhood, drop it off! It really is a community endeavor. We all win when kids have easy access to age-appropriate books, and we can all contribute to each other’s learning and access to great literature! And you can’t miss it–it has the Super Why? characters on the side. 🙂

Anja and I stopped by today, and she checked out a Berenstain Bears book and left a little note in Maggie’s notebook. She was very excited!

Alpha Bits Little Free Library 003

Alpha Bits Little Free Library 002

Alpha Bits Little Free Library 001

Do you live too far away to stop by our LFL? There is probably one in your neighborhood, too! Check out this map.

We are so thankful to Post Alpha Bits for the opportunity to share all the literacy fun with our community. My son continues to love Alpha Bits as a snack in the afternoons, plus there’s the added fun of picking out the letters and spelling his name with his snack! Here are some recipe ideas using Alpha Bits. Click here for more information on Alpha-Bits cereal.

To learn more about Little Free Library and how you can get involved, find them on Facebook and Twitter.

——–

I was not financially compensated for this post. I received a sample for review purposes. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.