Saturday, March 31, 2007

Free/Cheap Things to do in the Cities

Most of these are in the Cities, but some aren't. I started typing this for this mom forum I go on and then decided I should put it somewhere for myself. So, there may be editting going on as I add links and more things:

Free Admission:

Como Zoo
Minneapolis Institute of Arts
Walker Art Center (1st Saturday of the Month & Thursday 5-9pm)
Sculpture Garden
State Captiol Tours
(Free, but $2 for the self-guided brochure)
American Swedish Institue (1st Wednesday of the Month)
Bell Museum (Sundays)
MN Children's Museum ( 3rd Sunday of Month)
Musuem of American Art (Thursdays)
Science Musuem (for father's on Father's Day & Mother's on Mother's Day)
Weisman Art Center
Landscape Arboretum (all day Thursdays until April 26, After April after 4:30 on Thursday)
Schubert Club Musuem of Musical Instruments
Woodbury's Central Park (indoor park free, see below for Lookout Ridge Playground) (mommies w/ strollers, lead by an instructor, Tuesdays @ 9:30)
Icebreaker Music Event @ Minnesota Music Academy (end of September)
Summit Brewing Company
ACME Comedy Club (see local comedians free on Mondays)
Heart of the Beast (free puppet shows on Saturdays, check calendar, schedule runs Oct.-Mar.)
Home Depot Kid's Workshop (1st Saturday, ages 5-12, pre-register)
Lakeshore Learning Stores (free craft activites on Saturdays 11-3 anytime, SLP or Maplewood)
Creative Kidstuff (special events & storytimes)
Toddler Tuesdays at MOA (they also have meals free for kids that day too)

Speaking of free meals, I found a whole listing here: or here

Here is a listing of gardens and many say free admission:

Free Play Areas or Storytimes for Kids:
Tiny Town at Ridgedale
Saturday Live! at St. Paul Public Library
Storytime at St. Paul Public Library
Sovereign Grounds Coffee Shop
Forest Adventures at Brookdale Center (I guess it's inside Macy's)
ChooChoo Bob's (storytime at 10am on Wed. & Sat., see schedule)
Children's Soft Play Area at Eden Prairie Center
Hennepin County Library Storytimes
IKEA Smaland Play Area (free supervised play for potty-trained kids, & craft time on Saturday 1-3pm)
Children's Soft Play Area at Northtown Mall
Spring Sing Alongs @ Pottery Barn Kids (Check Schedule for locations & times)
Book Club @ Pottery Barn Kids (every Tuesday @ 10am)
Telephone Story Line (call 952-352-1350 anytime to have a story read, new stories start Sunday @ noon)

Free Admission (outside the Cities):
Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo (Byron)
River Bend Nature Center (Faribault)
SPAM Museum (Austin)
Cabela's (Owatonna, has huge animals displays and aquariums)
State School Orphanage (Owatonna)
Owatonna Arts Center (Owatonna)

St. Paul Fun Card
State Capitol Art Treasures Hunt (Fee: $2 for booklet)
Lookout Ridge Indoor Playground ($3.20-$5.33, depending upon day/time, parents free)
Imagination Saturdays @ Michaels Craft Stores (ages 5-12, $2 per craft, 30 min. session)
Ted Mann Concert Hall (you need to volunteer as an usher to get a ticket for free)
Thrify Hipster
Lake Harriet Bandshell (summer concerts may be free, but you have to pay to park)
Minneapolis Coupons
Bloomington Coupons
TC Tix

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Run, run as fast you can. You can't catch me I'm the gingerbread man.

See Gary, I do it all the time!

Andy made new friends on the trip. Who do you suppose has the biggest stories?

Alligator got your hand?

Jessica is feeling a little horny.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Andy - King of Spam? A Little Rock?

This was very much posed for. He wanted to be king of this rock, or maybe it was mini-golf (but I won this time) or maybe it is SPAM as his shirt so blatantly says.

SilverLeaf Villages (2 more pictures)

Here is a view of the mini-golf course without us in it. It is really nice looking and it's even better that it's free.

They do have laundry facilities here. It costs $1 to wash and $2 to dry. We brought half as many clothes as we needed and did laundry today. With needing to bring along a stroller & carseat and toys & stuff for the baby we wanted to have one less bag of luggage, we decided to wash stuff.

This is outside our condo. We had requested a ground level one if it was available, and it was. It is nicer to get around with the stroller with.

Anything I mentioned that people want to see a picture of before we leave in a few days?

Andy went down to the lake, but Isabel & I haven't been there yet. So, I am sure we'll get there and take some pictures as well.

Silver Leaf Villages

They didn't really have any pictures out there on the internet when I was searching and researching. So, I thought I would help out others trying to see pictures.

This is a picture of the pool area nearest our condo/apartment. It has a hot tub in the background. They have 3 pools here, although at the time this one is the only one open. I know one is closed because of construction near it for the waterpark (see below.)

This is the entrance to out little condo area.

This will be the future home of 2 sand volleyball courts and in the far back you can see cement areas, which will be the future home to 2 basketball courts. They are adding amenities left and right at this place. There is certainly a lot of things for people to do here. They just added the high speed internet on Friday when we arrived.

This is a picture of one of the playground areas. This one is by the activity center. There is also a smaller one by the pool closest to us, and I think there are 2 more playground area.

This sign details what will all be at the waterpark they are adding. I don't know if it will be free or if there will be a cost associated with it.

The things already free are the mini-golf, tennis, playgrounds, pool & hot tubs, fitness center & sauna, movie theater, paddle boats (to use on the lake), & archery.

For a fee, they have horse back riding, an arcade (pretty nice too), pool tables & air hockey, and boats.

I can't remember if I am missing anything.

Thursday, March 22, 2007


This is the website of a co-worker of mine. She is painting this fabulous mural on the wall in one of the special education rooms here at the high school. Today she was showing us her website. It is widely known at school that she makes beautiful jewelry. Most of the site showcases her jewelry that you can buy. She also has sculpture items on there. She was also showing us other murals she has painted, clay items, scrapbooking & stained glass items she has done, but I couldn't find it on her website. I'll have to ask her what her links are to those items, she is just so talented.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Peaceful Warrior

Go here to get free tickets to see Peaceful Warrior opening weekend for free. If you are in the Cities, it will be available to see in Eden Prairie, Brooklyn Center, and MOA Bloomington. If you are not from the cities you will have to enter your zip to see if there are any theatres near you showing it. The opening weekend for it is Friday, March 30th and Saturday, April 1st.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


Little girl passed on her virus to me. I have not been able to eat much today, nor do I have the appetitie. I feel all sorts of aches. My entire body aches! And I have not energy. I plan on going to bed shortly after she does tonight.

Friday, March 09, 2007

How Smart Is Your Computer?

Tonight's news had a story about daylight savings time being 3 weeks early and that some computers are not programed to recognize it. This guy at the U of M made this test so you can figure out whether or not your system is ready for the new DST time. It automatically tests your system when you go to the website. Our laptop is good to go, but I'll need to check the desktop yet. I guess if your system is not ready it will tell you where you can get a patch to fix it.

Just thought others might like to know about this.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Birthday Freebies

Well, my birthday is in a week (I turn 30 this year) and my email inbox is getting filled with birthday freebies. I will list what I got so far and add to it as I get more.

* Victoria's Secret - $10 off any purchase using my VS card (this I used already to buy some new undies, some no VPL kind; this actually came snail mail)
* Dairy Queen - BOGO free 16 oz. Blizzard (We'll use this one too.)
* Timberlodge - $10 off bill (I am sure we will use this, as one is near)
* Red Lobster - $5 off 2 adult entrees (this won't get used, we aren't close enough to one.)
* Joe's Crab Shack - Free appetizer with 2 adult entrees (again, not clsoe enough)
* Buca's - Free dessert for 2+ with purchase of entree (we'll use this because we are going to Buca's next weekend)

I guess we'll see what else comes in the mail/email.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


I donated nine formal dresses to the Steele County Clothesline, which is a program in our county that is set up to allow those in need of clothing that demonstarte a financial need the ability to obtain clothes for free.

Normally I just list my clothes on Freecycle, but there was an article in the student newspaper a couple months ago about donating old formal dresses there (or getting your own), so I thought that was a good way to get the dresses out there.

I asked our tax accountant what I was supposed to fill out on the reciept and she sent me this link that gives information about assigning a value to donated items.

So, I thought there might be other people out there interested in seeing this information was well.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Veggie Links

I want to check out these links a little more when I have time, so I thought I would put them here. I have a subscription to Vegetarian Times and these were things in their classifieds.

Herb Kits
Soy Kits
Wheat Grass Kits
Alternative Garden Supply
Fungi Perfecti
The Sprouthouse

I have bought from Ameriherb before, but they never had a website before. I don't know anything about the others. Anyone shop from any others?

Friday, March 02, 2007

Snowy Day Pictures

View of the Front Porch

One of the hills created by the neighbor plowing. The plow guy is supposed to show up here soon, then the hill will get bigger. I tried sliding down it with Isabel earlier - didn't work out so well. The snow was too squishy.

View looking off the front porch

Just thought this was a nice picture. I had to use the "snow" feature on my camera. I think it worked nicely.

The glider UNDER the carport. If it was outside the carport it would be covered a lot more. We still have a little snow coming down right now at 4:45pm.


Another snow day! Woohoo! Although our snow plow guy never came yesterday. Our neighbor plowed part of our driveway for us. If we had to go somewhere I would be annoyed that the plow guy didn't come, but we didn't. He is actually saving us money because the deal is he can come plow anytime after 2 inches. Since we are around a foot of snow he could have come 6 times already, which would be $150 for us. But, he has not come at all. The other times he plowed it was after the snow was done.

I saw an advertisement in the paper for Seattle Sutton's Healthy Eating, which is just opening in the city north of us. I was hoping it was a new restaurant, but it isn't. It's one of those places where you buy your meals from them, portion-controlled, calorie contolled and fat controlled. You have to buy a week at a time. It's nothing I am interested in, but I thought that since I never heard of it, you might not have either.

I decided to do some searching on Owatonna (city to the South of us) and post some links. Just posting some of the places I have something to say about.

Interested in Curling? Andy & I took lessons from them a few years back. It was neat. Andy was more interested in it than I was and he got on a team through the Owatonna Curling Club, but just for one year.

The Steele County Speedway is located at the Farigrounds. We have not gone there to see a race, but our neighbor used to race there before he retired from racing. Now he just works with his some on racing; he does go-kart racing. I guess he is really good at it.

We go to the Owatonna Library quite often (or at least I do, and sometimes I bring along Isabel). They called yesterday to say I won a drawing they have. I just happened to sign up on Wednesday as I was waiting to get checked out. I am not sure what I won. I am sure it was a book or something. But a free book is cool.

Andy took Infant/Child CPR class this fall through the Steele County Chapter of the American Red Cross. I am hoping to take it soon too.

My co-worker coaches a teach for Owatonna Youth Hockey.

We have no connection to the Owatonna Diving Club, except that the Natural Foods Co-op in Owatonna sharea a space with it and I will occasionally shop there. Mainly to buy local organic eggs. It's a very small place. They mainly sell stuff in bulk, but do have some prepackaged things, but they tend to cost more than if you shopped the natural food section of Cashwise. It looks like ODC had offered a free Scuba class earlier this month. It might be worth checking out some other time.

Here is Turtle Creek Nursery in Owatonna. This location has changed hands many times in the 5.5 years we have lived here. I have not checked it out since it becamse Turtle Creek, maybe this spring.

We have not been to the Famous Dave's near our house since it was built. I used to do secret shops at the in the Cities, but I got out of secret shopping several years ago. Anyways, I found this link to them that included a takeout menu with prices. I like that it includes prices, then I can call in an order and know exactly what I should expect to pay. Maybe we will get some food from them in the near future.

We have been to the Orphanage Museum. It's sad. It's pretty small. In fact - our house used to be the headmaster's house for the oprphange. Our house was sold and moved out of Owatonna to the current location in 1981. Several former orphans have written books about their stories. I have 3 of the books, but I guess there are a few more than were recently written. I read the last 3 on the list (I own them in case anyone wants to borrow them.) I think many are writing their story now because they elderly. Anyways, it was an orphanage for many years (until 1945) and then it because a state school for many years (until 1970) after that. I have seen the documentary several times and it is sad. It is all very interesting. Over the years we have met many people who told us stories about the orphanage and our house in particular. At the museum we have seen our house in a few pictures.

I actaully searched through many, many, many, many (you get the picture) pages on google to come across these links.

Thursday, March 01, 2007


When you get up at 6am and find out there is a snow day and you have the day off from work, it's hard to keep thoughts from spinning in your head and fall back asleep (especially when you know at any moment a baby could wake up.) So, if I can remember all the things I was thinking about I will try to type them.

So, I watch a lot of What Not To Wear and occasionally a few things sink in. I've gone out and bought new pants that fit my body rather than looking like a stuffed sausage in my old ones (maybe someday - pregnancy left me with a squishy pouch of a belly and pants don't fit right there anymore, they fit fine through the hips, just not the stomach.) I started using light /white shadows to highlight my eyes. I'ev been buying tailored jackets, which really do look better and work well with my nuring tanks. But my newest thing, which to some may seem like "duh!", is to apply my face powder with a brush rather than the sponge or pad that comes with it. It covers nicely and I feel so light. I never realized how heavy on my makeup felt. I also tried using a dark shadow to line my lashes. I noticed it blends better than using a pencil.

I got this email to get a $2 coupon of Johnson & Johnson Soothing Naturals. I have not tried it before. We have been having really good luck with Aveeno Baby lotion. I buy the unscented kind and her dry skin is no more.

I am happy we have a snow day. It's always nice to have a day off. Lots of staff (I think even more than the kids) were wishing and hoping we would have a snow day today (& tomorrow, let's cross our fingers.) We haven't actually gotten any real snow yesterday or toady, just a dusting. But I guess it's coming soon and we are supposed to get a lot of sleet and freezing rain in our part of the state rather than a bulk of snow. Although now that I check the weather it looks like we could hit with a foot of snow. Last time we were supposed to and we only got about 6 inches, but Winona got over 30 inches and the in-laws got 12 inches. You can check local school closings here.

Currently, I am reading Chew On This by Eric Schlosser. Last time I read a book by him, Fast Food Nation, I didn't eat at a McDonald's for 3 years. This is his newest book and it seems like a lot of stuff I read in the last book so fatr. Hopefully there is some new knowledge in there somewhere. I used to own FFN, but when I went to visit Jeni we were tlking about it and she wanted to read it, so I gave it to her and mailed her a package with it. No sense holding onto a book I will probably never read or erference again. I picked up COT at the library. Although, I do plan on pre-ordering the new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter & the Deathly Hallows, from Amazon. It doesn't come out until July 21st, so I have time. I am just waiting to order more diapers or anything else I need to buy so that I get my order over $25 for free shipping.

Baby crying - gotta go.