Category Archives: Out and About

A Visit to Blue Gentian Farms

Living in the “city” we rarely get the opportunity to expose Dieter to the places where his food comes from. In an attempt to teach him the value of food and where it comes from I planted a garden last summer and loved it so much we’ll be planting a bigger one this year. I want him to help out this year and I know that he’ll really enjoy it. Dirt, worms, plants…what’s not to love?

Obviously when it comes to locally-sourced meats it’s not quite as easy as looking to the backyard. Until now I really haven’t pursued buying good-quality meat. I guess I just hadn’t reached that point in my food journey even though I knew there were better options than what I was buying. After hearing about some friends successes in buying direct from the farmer I decided we needed to make that commitment. If I was going to feed my family meat I wanted to know that it was from animals that had been treated humanely and weren’t pumped full of steroids, growth hormones, and antibiotics. That’s when I heard about Blue Gentian Farms in New Richmond, WI. I corresponded via e-mail with Darryl, the owner, and ended up buying a whole cow from him (which we split up between several families). He encouraged me to come visit the farm whenever I got the chance. So we took him up on the offer! It was a chilly but beautiful, sunny morning. We learned so much about the farm, cattle and other animals he raises. Darryl loves showing people around his farm and sharing his passion.  That’s definitely something I want to support!







If you have ever considered buying from the source check out Blue Gentian Farms.

Out and About: Lil’ Explorers at Como Zoo

Oh what fun we had at Como this Thursday!  They had a wonderful set-up in the visitor’s center that was all about birds.  They have a new theme every Thursday and all of the activities are based on that theme.  There were several tables and they had everything from little bird figurines to play with to matching pictures of male and female birds.  They had sensory tables set up that Dieter of course loved.  One had water and ducks and the other had birdseed.  This would be a great place for a wide variety of ages.  We had the pleasure of hanging out with our friends Jenny, Aiden and Sage.  Aiden and Dieter both kept very busy playing together and doing their own thing.  Here are a few other activities they had.

Playing on a rug with some duckies.

Making nests for the birds.

Painting with feathers.

Aiden’s Masterpiece

Story time with “Turkey” the parrot.  He even said “gobble gobble.”

Probably should have taken a picture at the beginning of the morning.  Dieter is looking a little dazed.

Thank you Jenny and kiddos for joining us!  We had so much fun!

Out and About: Adventure Park

Tuesday morning we spent some time at Adventure Park in Ham Lake with some mamas and their kiddos from church.  I had never been there before but I immediately knew upon walking through the door that Dieter was going to have a blast.  It was $6 for Dieter to play (parents are free) and before I could get his shoes off he was off and exploring.  The space is divided up into a toddler area and a bigger playground area.  Dieter loved both but being the crazy climber he is we were navigating the big tunnels, slides, and ladders for a good portion of the time.  He definitely moved more easily than I did, maybe next time I’ll wear knee pads like one dad was doing, haha!  This is one activity that he won’t be outgrowing anytime soon and I’m sure we’ll be back.  Of course I forgot to bring my camera, grr.

So the pros: good atmosphere, friendly staff, The cons: I was so busy chasing Dieter I didn’t have much time to catch up with the other mamas.

Toddler Area

At the top of the “big kid” area.  He loved looking down!

“Playing” in the arcade…they still don’t have to know that money goes in there to make it really work.

And to top it all off we met Daddy at BK (yuck) for dinner before he had class (YAY!).  A fantastic day!

Out and About: Sovereign Grounds

On Saturday I spent two hours at Sovereign Grounds with Dieter, my mom and future SIL, Laura.  I don’t know if you caught the TWO HOURS part so I’ll repeat it.  Have you ever spent two hours at a coffee shop with a toddler?  I don’t think it’s even possible…unless you hit up a place with some serious entertainment for the little one.  Sovereign grounds is located in South Minneapolis (around the corner from Turtle Bread Company if you know where that is).  It really reminds me of a neighborhood hangout since it seemed like almost everyone new each other.  One half of the shop is furnished with tables and chairs and the other half resembles a living room where kids have completely taken over.  There are large couches and TONS of toys…and a little turtle sitting in his aquarium.  Dieter had a lot of fun and didn’t want to leave because another little guy had just joined him.  I had a great time too because I could chat away without worrying too much what the munchkin was getting into.  And to top things off a large coffee was only $1.45!

So, yes, I would definitely recommend Sovereign Grounds.  Good atmosphere, kid-friendly, and good coffee (and treats).

Someday my pictures will improve 😦

Out and About Winter Edition

Dieter is getting to the age where the more steam he can run off the better off we ALL are.  So with that in mind I am creating a list of activities to do in the Twin Cities area.  Some of it is free and some costs a little money but all are toddler-friendly and are indoors.  My goal is to do all of these and write about our experiences (including pictures which will be the harder part!).  If you have experienced any of the activities let me know how it went for you and if you haven’t, well we always love to have friends along!

Skyzone  Plymouth, Minnesota

Every Tuesday and Friday is Toddler Time at Skyzone, an indoor trampoline park.  Jumping is from 9:30-11:30 for ages 5 and under.  It’s a little pricey (starts at $8.00 for 30 minutes) but you can order your tickets online to guarantee a spot on the day of your choosing.  They say to call ahead to make sure there are no cancellations or time changes.

Como Zoo Lil’ Explorers Thursdays  St. Paul, Minnesota

Through April little ones can meet animals and plants, see story time, and take part in other activities.  There is a different theme every week and they are listed on the website.  The best part is it’s free!  The fun starts at 10 and goes until noon in the visitor’s center.

Choo Choo Bob’s  St. Paul, Minnesota

Many of my friends with toddlers rave about Choo Choo Bob’s and their story time.  Story time is on Saturdays and Tuesdays at 10 am.  They also have train tables that kids are welcome to play at with no obligation to spend money.  Since Dieter loves his friend’s train tables I have a feeling this place will be a hit with him.

Wild Rumpus Minneapolis, Minnesota

I have the fondest memories of this little bookstore.  My mom would take the three of us there when we were little and we could pick out a book from their used bookshelf (I think she got away with a pretty cheap outing).  They have animals roaming the aisles and cages of other furry friends.  There are even some critters peeking out of the floor!  Story time is every Monday at 10:30 am.

Midtown Gobal Market’s Wee Wednesday  Minneapolis, Minnesota

There is an indoor play area at Midtown Global Market with weekly kid-friendly activities.  A quick glance at the calendar showed a variety of events including some kid-friendly bands as well as a cooking class (for the older kiddos).  Wee Wednesday takes place from 10:30-lunchtime and if you do stay for lunch you can get a free lunch for the kiddo with purchase of an adult lunch.

Adventure Park  Ham Lake, Minnesota

The most appealing thing about Adventure Park is that it’s so close to home!  It’s an indoor playground that is family-run and looks like a really great place to blow off some steam.  It costs $6 per child and they don’t accept credit cards or checks so bring cash or use their ATM.  There is also a coupon tab on their homepage but no coupons at this time but I would check before you go, you never know!

Minnesota Children’s Museum  St. Paul, Minnesota

I think this is one of the places that you would want to invest in a membership.  Everyone pays $8.95 (unless you’re under one) and memberships start at $89.  But either way this place is interactive, stimulating, and educational.  Dieter will love it and I can’t believe I have never taken him there!  Every 3rd Sunday is free but they don’t recommend bringing strollers in so you can just picture how crazy it gets!

Underwater Adventures at MOA  Bloomington, Minnesota

The last time I was at Underwater World was in 4th grade for a field trip and I remember thinking it was the coolest thing.  So if a 4th grader is impressed I’m guessing an 18 month-old will be too.  Buy your tickets online for a weekday discount ($12.99 for adults, $9.99 kids 3-12,  kids under 3 are free).  There are touchpools too where you can touch a starfish or hold a crab.

Library Passes

Did you know that the local library has free passes for tons of museums and other attractions around the city?  I check these every once in awhile when we’re at the library and they change fairly regularly.

Toddler Tuesday at MOA  Bloomington, Minnesota

Every Tuesday there are a variety of special character appearances, arts and crafts, story time and more from 10 until noon.  They have a calendar you can look at to find out what is going on any particular Tuesday including “Llama, Llama, Red Pajama” (2/7) and Dancercise Kids (2/14).  A huge number of restaurants also offer free toddler lunch with the purchase of an adult lunch.

Sovereign Grounds  Minneapolis, Minnesota

I have to admit this one is so appealing!  I am a huge coffee lover and am always disappointed when I take Dieter to Caribou.  Their play areas are pitiful at best and disgusting at worst.  Sovereign Grounds serves up Turkish coffee (roasted in-house) and has a nice big play area for the little ones.  Bring a friend who has a babe of her own and you could settle in for a nice cup of java while the kiddos play.  It has great reviews so my hopes are high.

In the Heart of the Beast  Minneapolis, Minnesota

This is a puppet and mask theater that has Saturday morning puppet shows for kids.  They suggest a $2 donation if you live in the neighborhood or $4 if you don’t.  There are also make-and-take puppet workshops after the shows based on that day’s performance for an extra cost.  The season runs October through March.  This is a great opportunity to support a local theater.