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Adults Only Night at the Minnesota Children’s Museum + Ticket Giveaway

{I am an ambassador for the Minnesota Children’s Museum, and I received two complimentary tickets to the event in addition to two complimentary tickets to share with one of you. All opinions about the museum are 100% my own. Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you!}

What was your favorite thing to play as a kid? When I watch my kids play in the backyard with their friends, I can’t help but feel nostalgic as I think back to my childhood days. I lived in a neighborhood that had five or six families with kids all around the same age on one block, so we would spend our weekends and evenings playing kickball in the street and running from one yard to the next. I remember some of those moments like it was yesterday. I can feel the warmth of the late-afternoon sun on my cheeks, the gravel in my knee after a trip and fall, and the stickiness of a Popsicle that had melted and dripped down my arm. I can taste the salt of my tears when I was upset that it was time to go inside for dinner. I can hear the steady squeaks of the neighbor’s swing set and a barking dog. I can see the faces of my childhood friends, their houses, and the chain-link fences that separated our yards. And now I watch my kids play with their friends outside, and I am thankful that they get to have this experience too because those years on Banfil Street with the neighbor kids were some of my favorite childhood days.

Do you still enjoy playing? Do you still make time to play? I think it’s safe to assume that we all work hard. Whether you have a job to support your family or you stay at home to support your family, we all work hard. We have many tasks on our to-do lists, and the lists never seem to get shorter. Our lives are scheduled. We have meetings, activities, drop-off and pick-up times, events, family gatherings, birthday parties, sports games, etc. It’s difficult to make time to play, and sometimes it feels like we have to try to pencil in playtime with our own kids. “Sorry kids, mom can’t play right now because she has to make dinner.” You know how it goes. Sometimes we stare at the clock while we are playing with our kids wondering how much longer we have until it’s time to switch the load of laundry from the washer to dryer. Even when we do have time to play, it’s not always easy to feel relaxed enough to play without worrying about all of our adult responsibilities.

Wouldn’t it be great to take a break from adulting to play for a whole evening? Wouldn’t it be fun to do this with your best friend, your spouse, or a group of friends? Play is important for kids, but it’s important for adults too. We can get so caught up in what we have to do and easily forget that we are not tethered to work. One reason why I love the Minnesota Children’s Museum so much is because the exhibits encourage parents to engage in a variety of playful activities with their kids. The museum gives adults a space to imagine, tinker, and create right alongside their children. And while I have always visited the museum with my children, I am super excited that the museum is offering an adults-only night coming up on September 28th!  Let me clarify, the event is 21+ because there will also be adult beverages available at the event!

The Adults@Play 21 + Museum Takeover event will feature a cash bar, interactive improve with The Theater of Public Policy, and make-and-take art projects with Can Can Wonderland. And of course, guests will get to explore the museum without having to keep track of their kids because the adults get to be the kids for the evening (just don’t forget your socks for the slide)! The event is coming up on Thursday, September 28 from 6 – 10 PM at the Minnesota Children’s Museum in St. Paul. Come and make a date night out of it, or get some friends together to relive some of your favorite childhood memories of playing without a care in the world!

You can purchase tickets for the event here. I am also giving away TWO FREE TICKETS to the event, so make sure you enter the giveaway below! I’m going with my college roommate, and we are so looking forward to a night out! I hope to see you there too!

 

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Creativity Jam: One of Many New Exhibits Opening at Minnesota Children’s Museum

The Minnesota Children’s Museum reopens this week in St. Paul after being closed for several months for a major remodel, and the kids and I are beyond excited! For real, my son was jumping up and down on the couch the other day when I shared the news with him. The museum has been a family-favorite destination ever since I left my desk job to be a stay-at-home mama four years ago. And after a long winter, we are in desperate need of our museum fix.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Minnesota Children’s Museum

{I received a family membership to the Minnesota Children’s Museum for sharing my family’s experiences at the museum with you. All opinions expressed in my posts are 100% my own.}

Why do we love MCM so much? Let me explain:

  1. Change of scenery. I think we can all agree that sometimes you just need to leave your house because the kids are going bonkers, and they are driving you bonkers. A trip to the museum gives us all a break from our normal routine and interactions, and it gives us an opportunity to explore new territory.
  2. Time to reconnect. I will admit that sometimes it is hard for me to play with my children. Dressing Barbie dolls in different outfits, and playing target practice with Nerf guns can get old real fast. I find myself making excuses like having laundry and dishes to do in order to get out of setting up Shopkins and studying how many points a Pokémon card is worth. When going to the museum, I am forced to play. And through play, I am able to relax and reconnect with my kids. There are no distractions of needing to get something done around the house, and there isn’t a Barbie in sight. It’s a win-win for mama and the kids.
  3. Space to learn. At the museum we have an amazing opportunity to play in an environment that is engaging, fun, and creative. The museum gives us access to many activities that we don’t have at home, and it gives us more space to enjoy playful activities together. What I love most about the Minnesota Children’s Museum is their emphasis on learning through play. Exhibits are thoughtfully designed to spark creativity, innovation, and critical thinking. Volunteers are stationed throughout exhibits to encourage children to explore ideas about how things work. And because there are many other families visiting the museum too, kids have a great opportunity to learn to communicate better and collaborate with each other as well.

The Minnesota Children’s Museum officially reopens on Wednesday, June 7th, but last week the baby and I got to take a sneak peek at some of the exhibits while the big kids were at school. The museum designed and built ten new amazing exhibits for kids of all ages, and one of the exhibits that I am especially looking forward to exploring often with my kiddos this summer is Creativity Jam.

Creativity Jam is an artistic space for families to create new projects and expand on projects that have been created by other museum-goers. The exhibit, which is like a giant canvas for the inner artist of each visitor, is located in the atrium near the new Sprouts exhibit and the cafe. It consists of a face-painting station (which has always been a favorite museum feature with my kiddos), a stop-motion video story station, a workspace for creating and building projects, and the big white room.

Play is such an important part of our children’s lives, and ours too as adults and parents. And part of play is allowing ourselves to create. Creativity Jam gives families opportunities to build with a variety of materials that the museum plans to change out here and there. The exhibit allows kids to put stickers and tape on walls and other objects (something they can’t do at home!). It gives children the freedom to use their imaginations and explore ideas with video storytelling. And kids and parents get a chance to loosen up with some fun face painting. The activities in Creativity Jam are engaging for kids, adults, and even toddlers. I didn’t think that my littlest one would be able to enjoy the activities, but she hopped up on a stool all by herself and started building with blocks and playing the piano. Creativity Jam is a great space for truly letting one’s imagination soar.

Do you need some inspiration to find more joy in playing with your kids? Are you looking for a new space you can escape to with your family when you are in need of an engaging experience? Be sure to add a visit to the museum on your summer bucket list. The museum also offers family memberships, which pay for themselves after only a few visits. There are so many new exhibits to explore and adventures to be had with your children at MCM. I know life gets busy, and there always seems to be something that needs to get done around the house or at work. However, play is important too. Play gives us the chance to connect, explore, learn, and create. It gives us the opportunity to feel free to be ourselves, and that’s an amazing feeling.

Please visit mcm.org for more information about the museum’s grand opening, the free block party later this month, family memberships, location, and hours. Let’s make play a priority in our community again!

This magical moment.

Noticing the simple, magical moments in our everyday lives.

ThisMagicMoment

I am a worrier. I worry about my kids when they are playing rough. I worry about my to-do list when it doesn’t seem like I am adding enough checkmarks. I worry about my husband encountering distracted drivers on his way to and from work. I worry, and when I worry, my view of what is in front of me becomes a little cloudy and grey—the world becomes a lot less magical.

In January, I decided that instead of making a New Year’s resolution I would choose one word to live by in 2015: magical. I needed to focus on worrying less, especially about what I have no control over. And I needed to learn how to see the world through the eyes of my children more often. Yes, so much of what goes on in the world is scary and heartbreaking, but every day there are magical moments happening right in front of us. When we put our fears and worries aside, when we take a moment to breathe and open our eyes, we let the magic in.

As I look back on these past seven months, or seven days, or even the past seven hours, I admit that there have been many moments that were not magical. There have been many moments when my eyes have been closed and my heart has felt heavy with worries. But I am learning. I am learning to worry less. I am learning to see how beautiful the most simple and ordinary moments can be. I am learning a lot of this from my kids.

A couple of weeks ago, the kids and I were invited to attend Princess Wednesdays at the Hard Rock Café at the Mall of America. For attending and writing about the event, the Hard Rock Café treated my family to lunch. I went to the event prepared to take notes about our experience watching the princesses from Tiny Diva Princess Party perform as well as the experience of having lunch with my kiddos somewhere other than the park or our home. However, I ended up spending most of my time paying attention to my kids’ reactions. I sipped on my water, ate my juicy and spicy Fiesta Burger, and I watched my children. While my son was having more fun drawing on his kid’s menu, my daughter was absolutely delighted by what was happening before her eyes.

While the kiddos and I ate our food, we watched Anna, Elsa and Kristoff perform some of our favorite songs from Frozen. We had a great seat by the stage, and to be honest, I had a fun time singing along. While my daughter stared at the Frozen Sisters, I couldn’t help but stare at her with a heart full of joy. It was such a simple moment, but for my daughter, it was a magical moment. At one point during the performance, Anna stepped down from the stage to sing and dance with the dozens of kids at the performance. I was about to tap my daughter on the shoulder to encourage her to join Anna and the other children, but for the first time (in forever), she didn’t need my encouragement. She took one more bite of her macaroni and cheese, she gently set her fork down and hopped down from her chair, and she marched over to Anna to hug her. It was such a sweet moment for my girl, and it was a proud moment for me. My daughter tends to be quite shy in these types of social settings, and while she was still a little meek, I saw her take a big, confident step all on her own. And for me, that moment was magical.

HRCMeetAndGreetwithFrozen

The Princess Wednesdays event was fun and we enjoyed our meals while watching the characters perform. Afterward, the kids all had a chance to meet and take pictures with Anna, Elsa and Kristoff. As a parent, it was so entertaining seeing all of the kids excited about singing at their tables, dancing with the Frozen Sisters and meeting some of their favorite characters. The event was free for dine-in guests, and it was a great way to spend an early afternoon with the family. Kids meals are reasonably priced, and we all ended up taking leftovers home. And to sweeten the deal, all Twin Cities Kids Club members who attended the event received $5 off of their purchase of $25 or more at the Hard Rock Café.

Twin Cities Kids Club is sponsoring two more Princess Wednesdays events at the Hard Rock Café during the month of August, and I would love to see you and your kiddos there. The events will be held on Wednesday, August 12th and Wednesday, August 26th starting at 11:00 a.m. at the Hard Rock Café in the Mall of America (located on the first floor near the LEGO® store and Nickelodeon Universe®). On Wednesday, August 12th, all are welcome to dress up in their favorite princess gowns and eat a royal lunch with the princesses of Tiny Diva Princess Party. On Wednesday, August 26th, all are welcome to enjoy a theatrical story time performance of Diva Ever After with the princesses while eating lunch. To learn more about the upcoming events and to make a reservation, please visit the Twin Cities Kids Club Events page on Facebook here.

While guests pay for their own lunch at the Princess Wednesdays events, the performances, and meet and greets with the princesses of Tiny Diva Princess Party are free. So don’t forget to bring your camera! Guests who are also members of Twin Cities Kids Club will get $5 off of their $25 purchase by showing their membership card. To learn more about purchasing a membership, please visit Twin Cities Kids Club.

HRCFunnyFace

{Disclaimer: I received a free lunch from the Hard Rock Café for sharing my experience of attending Princess Wednesdays. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. I am also a team member of Twin Cities Kids Club, and I am excited to share my adventures of working with a fun, small, local group of talented individuals.}

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