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Leo, 3, Minneapolis

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CONTENTS

VOLUME 30

ISSUE 6

38 Play in your own backyard

Don’t have the energy, time or money to take a big outdoor trip this summer? No problem. Turn your yard into a haven for unbridled nature play with 25 nearly-free ideas from outdoor experts.

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Fun family Single moms camping trips by choice Our outdoors guru spotlights six spots — near and far — to inspire you and the kids to explore local lakes, rivers and streams.

These five inspiring local women didn’t wait for marriage to start their families. And they’re finding a world of love they might otherwise never have experienced.

48

Date night! No kids allowed — finally! But now, how do you figure out where to go? Check out our Top 10 grown-up ideas for your next night — or day — out on the town.

54 Be a storytelling star

Want to end bedtime battles? Put away the picture books, turn off the lights and start making up stories. We’ll show you how.

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June 2015 • mnparent.com


VOLUME 30

CONTENTS

16 BABY ON BOARD

22 TEENS AND TWEENS

Exploring nature with an infant should be fun, not an educational mandate.

Where have my kids’ simple, free-play days of summer gone?

Outdoor baby? 18 TODDLER TIME

Summer redefined 24 GROWS ON TREES

Toddler activities your way

Spend or splurge

You don’t have to sign your little one up for gymnastics, music, swimming or dance, but there are some cool benefits.

Camping in Minnesota is an inexpensive way to build memories as family.

26 ASK THE PEDIATRICIAN

Tantrum triage

20 SCHOOL DAYS

Cutting back on screen time

ISSUE 6

Don’t give in to your own emotions when meltdowns strike. Here’s how.

28 IN THE KITCHEN

Grill it up!

Marinated and grilled pineapple is fun, easy and tasty as a side dish or dessert.

It’s really hard, but we have to set limits when it comes to our kids and their many electronic gadgets.

30 BOOKSHELF

Embrace the wild, child

Explore the world of local and exotic animals. Go stargazing. Plant a seed.

59

Out & About

About our cover kid Name: Leo

City: Minneapolis

Age: 3

Parents: Sarah and Matt Karnas

Siblings: Baby Brother is due in July! Personality: Sweet, silly and sensitive Favorite toy: All things ocean- or dinosaur-related Favorite book: Some Bugs by Angela DiTerlizzi Favorite activities: Jigsaw puzzles, nature walks, animation “robot” dance moves Favorite food: Cheese Photos by Jen Meneghin Photography / jenmeneghinphotography.com

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FROM THE EDITOR

Ready to explore? W

hen I was pregnant, my husband and I talked a lot about how we’d take our baby

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hiking. Living in Seattle at the time, we were big into outdoorsy stuff — backcountry camping, epic day hikes and 40-mile bike rides. Maybe we’ll get one of those bike trailer things, we thought. And we’d definitely need a backpack baby carrier. Well, it turned out that even though we thought we were hardcore outdoorsy, we weren’t all that hardcore once we had a child. Feeling deprived of sleep — and definitely more risk-averse than we thought we’d be — our ideas about our new life changed quickly. Sure, you can throw your baby on your back for a 7-mile hike. But who knows what’s going on in that diaper? And, sure, you can bring an infant 30 miles into the woods and set up a tent and a campfire, but there’s a risk involved: What if he gets hurt? As our boy grew older, it didn’t get any easier. Oh, great: Now he’s walking. Let’s take him up a craggy peak so he can fall off a mountain. To top it all off, he can have a tantrum at 5,000 feet. Alas, I’m not here to discourage you. Having kids doesn’t mean you can’t explore the outdoors. It just means it won’t be quite the same as when you were a duo. You just have to really want it. In fact, many of my friends have put me to shame by bringing their babies and toddlers outdoors without a second thought. They just get out there and do it — diapers and all, come what may, any season. That wasn’t us, though. We took time off during our son’s earlier years — focusing more on gardening and backyard adventures. Now, however, we’re gradually getting back into the swing of things. Last summer, we took our son, age 6 at the time, camping for two nights. He loved it. I was sure he’d be afraid to sleep in his own tent, but he owned it and even slept like a champ. The next day, we canoed all around the lake, played in the sand and swam in the lake, too. This summer, I hope the exploring continues. With this issue — our annual Outdoors edition — we have tons of ideas to inspire you to get outdoors this summer, whether that’s in your yard for an hour or all the way up to the Boundary Waters for a week. I’ll be somewhere in between, I hope, camping out!

www.mnspeech.com kelly@mnspeech.com

Sarah Dorison, Editor

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MN Speech Specialists MNP 0615 V4.indd 1

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mnparent.com

CO-PUBLISHERS Janis Hall jhall@mnparent.com

www.dakotacounty.us/parks, search Take a Kid Fishing

Terry Gahan tgahan@mnparent.com

Equipment provided. Fishing license not required.

EDITOR Sarah Dorison • 612-436-4385 editor@mnparent.com CONTRIBUTORS Eric Braun, Dr. Gigi Chawla, Kelly Cunningham, Megan Devine, Shannon Keough, John Olive, Claudine Pepin, Jodie Tweed, Ashley Wagner, Jen Wittes, Jennifer Wizbowski CREATIVE DIRECTOR Dana Croatt dcroatt@mnparent.com SENIOR GRAPHIC DESIGNER Valerie Moe GRAPHIC DESIGNER Amanda Wadeson CLIENT SERVICES Zoe Gahan zgahan@mnpubs.com • 612 436-4375 Mattie Eslinger meslinger@mnpubs.com • 612-436-4386 Lauren Walker lwalker@mnpubs.com • 612-436-4383 CIRCULATION Marlo Johnson • mnparent.com/find-a-copy 612-436-4388 • distribution@mnparent.com ADVERTISING 612-825-9205 • sales@mnparent.com 55,000 copies of Minnesota Parent are printed monthly, available at news stands statewide. Get Minnesota Parent mailed to your home for just $12 a year. Call 612-825-9205 for more information.

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Are you currently pregnant or had a baby during the previous month and interested in participating in a telephone-based health and wellness program? The University of Minnesota is seeking women who are currently pregnant or less than 6 weeks postpartum to participate in a research study examining the effect of exercise and wellness on mood following childbirth • Participants receive a motivational exercise program or a health and wellness program, which begins after the birth of your baby (participants can sign up for the program during pregnancy) • Program delivered to you via the mail and phone

Minnesota Parent (ISSN 0740 3437) is published monthly by Minnesota Premier Publications. POSTMASTER send address changes to: MINNESOTA PARENT, 1115 Hennepin Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55403.

• Must be 18 years of age or older; must not currently exercise regularly • Must not take antidepressants • Must have a history of depression • You will receive $100 for your time

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mnparent.com • June 2015

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CHATTER

↑↑Brains On! host Molly Bloom works in the MPR News studio in St. Paul while 10-year-old Sierra Haro co-hosts from the KPCC studio in Pasadena, Calif.

A SCIENCE PODCAST FOR KIDS! Looking for a fresh way to bring science to life? Brains On! — a new podcast for kids — answers a variety of listener questions. Each episode is about 25 minutes long and is hosted by a different kid. Find out: How and why do jellyfish sting? What makes paint stick? How do volcanoes erupt? Does video game music affect you? In a world in which STEM education (Science, Engineering, Technology and Math) is taking off, this show offers yet another venue for harnessing the natural curiosity of kids. Minnesota Public Radio host Molly Bloom and producer Marc Sanchez co-created the podcast with a colleague from Southern California Public Radio. Learn more at brainson.org.

Rock out with the Teddy Bear Band This year marks the Teddy Bear Band’s 30th anniversary. To celebrate, Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton and the state of Minnesota have proclaimed June 28 Teddy Bear Band Day in honor of the group’s decades of early childhood music education for young kids, including 8,000 concerts to date! You can stomp and clap with the band twice this month for free: First come to Kid Fest, Minnesota Parent’s second-annual family-summerfun kickoff event from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. June 20, with the headliners performing at noon

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June 2015 • mnparent.com

Rainy day fun at the Lake Harriet Bandshell. Then help the Teddy Bear Band celebrate their big day with a free anniversary concert at 6:30 p.m. June 28

at Roseville’s Central Park on Lexington Avenue. It’s BYOTB (Bring Your Own Teddy Bear). Learn more at teddybearband.com.

Not every summer day is sunny. Thunderstorms often chase us indoors. But you don’t have to stay cooped up at home, thanks to nearly 30 Minnesota bowling alleys offering FREE bowling for kids, all summer long. See kidsbowlfree.com for details.


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Baby meets the great outdoors M

y in-laws live in rural Maine, and this means ample opportunities for outdoor fun when we visit. One time, when my daughter was about 2½ and my son was around 8 months old, we decided to take them on a hike. We read about a relatively easy trail that meandered through a forest before ending with the great reveal of a magnificent waterfall. Surely the kids would have their socks knocked off! We packed Lydia into her “queen chair” (our hiking-friendly backpack carrier) and Felix into the Ergo. We trekked through the woods and finally arrived, sweaty and triumphant, at the waterfall. Then we checked on the kids — both asleep. Eventually Lydia woke up, an event my husband remembers: “She was all groggy, and complained that the sun was in her eyes when I tried to get her to look at the waterfall. I asked if she thought it was beautiful and she nodded unconvincingly. She freaked out when I tried to bring her closer to the waterfall because she was afraid of a dog that was prancing around and barking. Then she started whining for snacks and water (which we had hardly any of). We just started back down at that point.”

⊲⊲Maintain perspective Venturing into the great outdoors with your baby can be a magical thing. If you’re like me and had your baby (or babies) in the fall or winter, the beginning of warm weather can seem like the herald of utopia. After months spent pacing your dimly lit rooms, there are suddenly so many sunny options — splashing around in Lake Calhoun! Visiting the dandelion fountain in Loring Park! Flopping around on a blanket near the Lyndale Park Rose Garden! But there’s also the potential for new pressures. “I must take my baby outside in order to expose her to nature and support her cognitive development!” you might find yourself thinking. This perspective is widely backed by Early Childhood Google Education authorities.

Call me contrary, but all of this focus on the edifying aspects of outdoor time can really suck the fun out of a casual walk down by the river.

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June 2015 • mnparent.com


For example, one article — Why Outdoor Play Boosts Your Baby’s and Toddler’s Brain Cells and More — promises that outdoor play will result in a child who “shares better,” has a “more pleasant personality,” is “worldly” and destined to become a “great thinker.”

⊲⊲Focus on fun Call me contrary, but all of this focus on the enriching aspects of outdoor time can really suck the fun out of a casual walk down by the river. “Look at her there, all passive and miserable!” I’d think to myself. “She should be rolling around in the grass, improving her chances in life through direct contact with the earth.” Elizabeth McLister of Minneapolis — mother to Wolf, age 3, plus a second child on the way in August — recently bemoaned modern parenting’s obsession with finding “educational” benefit in every activity. “I love spending time with my little one every single day, but I remember feeling put-upon to maximize my son’s enrichment at the expense of my own well-being during the first year of his life,” she said. “I assumed that a surfeit of undivided attention and structured, child-centered activities equated to better parenting.”

⊲⊲Keep it simple So what should you do? Of course it’s completely up to you, but I’d like to offer the reminder that your baby’s very portable and he doesn’t talk back. So get outside this summer for sure, but keep a strong focus on your own enjoyment. That might mean a trip to the patio at Bauhaus Brew Labs takes precedence over a trip to gaze upon the lemurs at the Minnesota Zoo. Remember, you’ve got the rest of your life to visit the “Wells Fargo Family Farm.” Shannon Keough lives in Minneapolis with her husband and two children. Write her at skeough@mnparent.com.


Toddler activities your way On a limited budget, what activities will give you the most bang for your buck?

T

ake a browse through the local parks-and-rec or community ed brochures and you’ll be amazed, if not completely overwhelmed. Our wonderful Twin Cities and surrounding suburbs offer an extensive array of enrichment opportunities for the whole family. Talk to your neighbors and you’ll hear many parents breathlessly list off team sports and voice lessons, ice time and recycled art — all of the classes and events and workshops they’ve signed their brood up for — and now struggle to cram into already-full days. As a parent just coming out of the When will you sleep through the night? baby fog and into the wacky world of toddlerhood, the lifestyles of those overscheduled school-aged kids might seem completely nuts. As you move a little deeper into the toddler experience, you realize that it’s not just big kids taking after-school classes and juggling different sports and activities. The toddler crowd is going all-in with extracurricular experiences, too.

⊲⊲Do you need this? Maybe! Interested, but perhaps a little wary, you investigate your options and immediately start spinning through many questions: Do we need this? Does my child want this? Is he ready? What can we afford? On a limited budget, what activities will give us the most bang for our buck? Barring early intervention issues such as speech, sight or physical therapy, toddlers do not need to go to any sort of group, activity or class. Rest assured that your child’s chances for

lifelong success and happiness will not be bolstered or hindered by the decision to spend Wednesday mornings at The Little Gym. That said, my daughter benefited greatly from both Little Gym and Gymboree programs because she had issues with binocular vision. Balance activities and games — which relied on primordial reflexes, crossing the midline and gross-motor skills — actually aided in her visual development. But that’s our story. You have to evaluate your own child’s situation.

⊲⊲Getting the wiggles out A hyper child might get the chance to release excess energy with a high-octane dance class. Your little introvert, meanwhile, might do better with a small art class — working as an individual while slowly getting a feel for being a part of a group. Your animal enthusiast might not need the parent-child programs at the zoo, but he’ll likely think they’re pretty amazing. When my son was 2, we signed him up for a martial arts class through the local community center. At that age, most of the time was spent literally running in circles to Who Let the Dogs Out? But it was cheap and got his many, many wiggles out, so I viewed it as a success. Really, what most parents look for in an enrichment program is something to do — a way to break up the day. If the enjoyment and accessibility is mutually rewarding for both parent and child, I say go for it — keeping in mind individual readiness and willingness to participate.

⊲⊲3 top picks Beyond individual needs and preferences, I do have three favorite picks for parents who want to get their toddler into something but aren’t sure where to start: Parent-child music class: Music Together, Musikgarten and Kindermusik are just three examples. Kids love music and these classes give the grown-ups a TON of new material to use around the house. Though your child won’t bomb the SAT without a toddler music class,

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research suggests that early exposure to music education does boost brain activity in specific ways. Low-pressure gymnastics or dance: Especially through the winter months, these classes offer priceless opportunities to run, jump, squirm and play. I say “low-pressure” because I believe that at this age, more is gained from free exploration of movement than diligently practicing the same routine. Swim lessons: In my opinion, it’s never too early to practice water readiness. This is a safety skill and an enjoyable form of exercise that will serve your child forever. Most kids love the water and if they don’t, becoming acquainted with the pool at an early age — with Mom or Dad there for security — can prevent fear from turning into phobia. Jen Wittes lives in St. Paul and is a mother of two. Write her at jwittes@mnparent.com.

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⊲⊲Be aware It’s our responsibility as parents to educate ourselves and to monitor and screen our children’s exposure to electronic media. Common Sense Media (commonsensemedia.org) is an excellent resource designed for kids, parents and schools. On this website (and app) you can search movies, games, TV, books, apps, websites and music. You’ll find information and advice to help your family make responsible choices.  

⊲⊲Take inventory What are your kids doing right now? Bonus points to you if your kids are outside playing or engrossed in imaginative, open-ended play. Even if they are, screens can be like magnets: Kids are soon drawn back into some kind of screen. Start paying attention to how much screen time your kids really do have in a day. While you’re at it, reflect on your own experiences. Your family may be spending more time in front of screens than you think, or would like to admit.

Limiting screen time T

he American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children younger than 2 and recommends limiting older children’s screen time to no more than one or two hours a day. Despite that advice, screens time is second only to sleep as the thing our kids spend the most time doing, according to a study conducted by the National Institute on Media and Family. I think most of us can agree: Advances in technology have made our world pretty amazing. But, with all the technology that’s available, there’s also the potential to go overboard. One Mayo Clinic article showed that over-exposure to screen time can lead to a variety of problems, including obesity, irregular sleep patterns, behavioral problems, impaired academic performance and violence. Excessive amounts of screen time can affect children’s social, emotional and even physical development. It’s important to set some limits.

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⊲⊲Set limits

If your 8-year-old is watching you text when you’re having dinner, you’re likely going to have a hard time discouraging that same behavior when she has her own cell phone.

It’s OK for kids to hear the word “no.” Set limits, and most important, follow through. You may want to experiment with parental controls — features that are sometimes included with digital TV services, computer and video-gaming devices, tablets and phones. Parental controls can help you limit access to age-inappropriate content, set time limits and even track and monitor activity. Note: Some devices allow you to disable all in-app purchases. Check under “Settings.” Kids may find it hard to accept limits at first, but with fairness, consistency and dialog with your child — sharing the reasoning behind the limits we impose — your kids can develop crucial self-regulation and self-discipline strategies that will contribute to healthy habits as they grow and mature.

⊲⊲Be a role model Our kids are watching us and cuing into our behaviors, choices and actions. If we’re modeling appropriate and responsible uses of technology, children are likely to follow our lead. If we don’t, we’re setting ourselves up for a challenge.   Let your child see you setting boundaries for yourself. If your 8-year-old is watching you text when you’re having dinner, you’re likely going to have a


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hard time discouraging that same behavior when she has her own cell phone. The same goes for technology use in the car, in public settings and around your home. Set some time to unplug during the day as a family and as individuals. Detach from your smartphone, email, Facebook and Twitter. Focus your energy and attention on the individuals in your presence, or maybe even have some quiet moments of solitude (without posting your status)! If we’re smart about our own technology use and if we’re proactive in our efforts to teach, guide and model responsible habits, we’ll be helping our young children as they grow and learn in our technology-driven world. Megan Devine is a mother of four. She lives in Northeastern Minnesota. Write her at mdevine@mnparent.com.

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The organic nature of summers past has become stiff with sports schedules and practices. I no longer dictate the framework of our summer months.

Summer redefined F

or many years, the mention of summer brought to my mind images of my kids spending far too long in their jammies. I can picture them still holding onto the coziness of their sleep with untamed bedheads and quiet play in their rooms. A new day meant a new opportunity to linger at an undiscovered park or pool, and endless places to picnic. On the days that got long, I arranged play with friends or age-appropriate outings. There was always a week of two of specialty camps thrown in to break up their summer, too.

⊲⊲Where did playtime go? The organic nature of summers past has become stiff with sports schedules and practices for my teen and tween. I no longer dictate the framework of our summer months. I’m not sure they notice it, but as I write this, I feel as though I’ve lost a bit of their childhood somewhere along the way. As I guide them through these middle years, I want to teach them how to carry the playtime of youth into their adult years, too. It isn’t easy with academic pressures. We’ve all heard the statistics about students losing a portion of what they learned — known as the dreaded “summer slide” — during their three months off for summer vacation.

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And on top of that — with the number of years remaining for my son until college now numbered on a single hand — summer school and college-test preparation might be unavoidable realities, too. So I’m trying to incorporate inventive ways to keep my kids’ skills sharp without sacrificing their precious summer down time. Some classes require summer reading for high school. I encourage my kids to get away from the couch and find a place outdoors to do that same work. Though I may get an eye roll or two when I mention this idea, I believe such mandatory summer reading should surely feel more like relaxing while lying in a hammock or floating in a kayak.

⊲⊲SAT / ACT pressures There’s also the threat of pre-SAT/ACT testing lurking around the corner. I hear of a lot of parents spending loads of time and money shuffling their kids around to focus on it in the summer months. While there are great local businesses that offer test-prep courses, I’ve discovered some online opportunities I’m hoping will keep us from spending more time running around in the car. Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) is a FREE online resource that offers virtual learning options, including brushing up on various skills, plus college-test prep work “created in partnership with the


authors of the test themselves,” said Elizabeth Slavitt, a representative with the nonprofit program for all ages.

⊲⊲Embracing a hobby While my tween daughter still finds joy perfecting her back flips on the trampoline, my older son has forsaken that pastime for the delight he finds in hours of video games playing. The notion and intrigue of “play” seems immature to him. Fortunately, alongside of their sports, they both love for music. While they’ve both had years of music lessons, they find the most joy in writing their own songs or downloading songs they can teach themselves. Hearing my downstairs come alive with all the noise of music and creativity gives me hope that kind of play isn’t going away anytime soon.

⊲⊲Social growth My tween is increasingly replacing play with socializing. For my teen, meanwhile, socializing is play. They do play — it just looks a little different. I’ve realized that, for them, summer days with busy sports schedules aren’t rat races, they’re a celebration of playtime teen/tween style, complete with stops for frozen yogurt on the way home. They’re finding their summers — not grown up exactly, but not childish either. I see the peace on their faces after they’ve spent an hour resting and reading in the sun. I hear the music of their hearts sing out in my home. And I think, OK, I may not be setting the schedule, but I see summer all around me. And then I sigh, and all of a sudden it seems more like summer. Time to go grab the bug spray and play. Jennifer Wizbowski lives in Excelsior with her husband, and daughter and son, ages 11 and 14. Write her at jwizbowski@mnparent.com. mnparent.com • June 2015

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Camping: Splurge or save? W

hen friends visit from out of state during the winter and complain about the weather, I don’t try to convince them they’re wrong. Minnesotans know winter here can be more than tolerable if you embrace it by getting outside and skiing, running or even fat-tire biking. But it’s a rare outsider who can be convinced of that while staring out the window at a sleet storm. It’s hard enough convincing ourselves. Instead, I admit to them that winter sucks. “But,” I say, “the summer in Minnesota is what people write poems about.” Which is true. Summers here are stupendous. Which is why it’s so important to get outside and enjoy it. For me, one of the best things about summer — besides the reduced complaining from visitors — is camping with my kids. Here’s where to splurge and where to save when it comes to family camping. (By the way, I’m talking about simple family camping trips — car camping — and not the Boundary Waters.)

⊲⊲Save Tarp and tent: You’re not taking the kids into the Yukon — it’s a fun family weekend — so you don’t need to buy expensive stuff. Look for used items on Craigslist or in the clearance section at REI. Sierra Trading Post is another good option. Borrowing is even better. If you can, get a nice big tent — if there are three of you, get a four-person tent. If there are four of you, consider a six-person model. Bedding: It’s hot in Minnesota in the summer, so your daughter’s Disney Frozen sleeping bag will suffice, or just take blankets and sheets from the beds. You’ll definitely want some thick blankets or mattress pads for under the sleeping bags for cush and comfort.

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Pots and pans: If you have a camp stove, you can bring your cookware from home. But if you’re planning to cook over open flames in a fire pit, you’ll want to buy a cheap cook kit because the bottoms of pots and pans will get blackened. A large cast-iron skillet is heavy, but a good, cheap bet for open-fire cooking. Food: It’s economical and a lot easier to keep food simple and, as much as possible, pre-made. Make chili ahead of time and warm it up on the stove. Hot dogs and brats roasted over the fire are fun and don’t require any plates. Bring bread, peanut butter, and jelly for lunch, or cold cuts. Premix a box of pancake batter, and all you have to do is pour it on a hot skillet. Location: Hey, that’s what camping is all about — avoiding ridiculous hotel prices. There are lots of cool places to camp in Minnesota for free. Go to freecampsites.net to explore some options. The state-park system in Minnesota is top-notch, and you can camp in most state parks for about $25 a night. Choose a park that’s relatively close to home to keep the commute to a minimum, and you’re saving on gas, too. Entertainment: Pick a park that has special attractions like a playground, a swimming beach, a ranger program or some easy hikes.


⊲⊲Splurge Flashlights: Actually, this one is save and splurge. You’re spending because you want to have a flashlight for every member of the family, so the kids don’t argue over them. But you can get cheap ones. Kids are going to be walking with you to the bathroom, not cutting through the jungle. You can get cheap lanterns, too — no need to buy the fancy ones that burn kerosene. They’re messy and expensive. Cooler: We use coolers all the time, not for just camping. A good one will last decades. Disposable plates: Use paper as much as possible — it’s cheaper than buying camping dishes, and when you consider how much water you use washing “real” dishes, the impact on the environment is about the same. Safety and medical supplies: You won’t want to be without a useful first-aid kit, ample sunscreen or effective bug spray. Firewood: The campfire is pretty much the centerpiece of a good camping experience, and you don’t want to run out of wood too early just because you were trying to save a few bucks. Stock up at the ranger station, start burning before dinner, and keep it stoked until bedtime. The kids’ll love it, and it’ll discourage the mosquitoes. That’s more “save” than “slurge,” which makes camping an inexpensive way to build memories to last you through the next cold winter. What will you do with all the money you save? Put it in a college fund. Eric Braun is a Minneapolis-based writer, editor and dad of two boys. He’s currently working on a financial literacy book for young readers. Learn more about his other published works at heyericbraun.com.

You can get there. We can help.

Visit www.MN529today.com or call Chris McLeod 952-830-3127


Dealing with tantrums Our 3-year-old is having tantrums that last more than 30 minutes. What is going on? Imagine being too small to see what you’re looking for, dependent on others to offer you something to eat or drink and too uncoordinated to perform the skills you think you’re capable of. You have no choice in your wardrobe, daily agenda or food selection; you’re wearing urine- and stool-stained underpants and you feel voiceless when you try to alter your environment. I’ve always wondered why toddlers don’t have more tantrums. Tantrums are the normal result of a toddler trying to impact his or her surroundings and feeling frustrated when it’s not successful. Sometimes a series of unnoticed annoyances a toddler experiences through the day culminate with “the last straw” — a seemingly harmless event like a sandwich cut the “wrong way” — and results in a volcanic eruption of tears. It’s just like when a grown-up endures a series of irritating events at work and experiences the last straw on the drive home by being cut off by another driver. Toddlers and grown-ups want control over their lives and to be successful in their endeavors. When you’re dealing with your 3-year-old in the middle of a tantrum, take a slow, deep breath and mentally channel your internal Zen. In addition to your toddler’s emotions, you have your own — frustration, helplessness, anger, impatience and embarrassment — with which to deal. If you don’t get your own emotions in check first, your child will use your emotions to fuel his or her tantrum like gasoline on a fire.

If your toddler is potentially unsafe during the tantrum — near stairs, water or moving vehicles — move your child to a safer location. Otherwise, do your best not to engage in the tantrum; speak in a calm voice; walk around the tantrum scene and carry out the rest of your activities, seemingly uninterested in the tantrum, but remain watchful. Subtly offer distractions — like a toddler-appropriate book you’re reading, a snack you’re eating or a game or puzzle that might require your child’s assistance — to encourage your tearful toddler to focus on something else. Remember to praise your toddler for being done with the tantrum and thank him or her for joining you and your activity. Most importantly, try not to give in to the demands that started the tantrum. Rewarding the tantrum behavior by acquiescing to the demand just reinforces tantrums to continue. When you’re not in the middle of dealing with a tantrum, offer your toddler words of praise or high-fives for his or her small accomplishments throughout the day to ensure your child feels successful. Ensure your toddler is well rested. Offer him or her as much control as you’re able to allow at the moment: “Do you want your grapes in a cup or in a bowl?” “Do you want grapes or blueberries?” or “Do you want a snack now or later?” Increased control or autonomy can play a role in reducing tantrums.

How important is it to trim our son’s toenails? He’s too ticklish and/or fussy to let us near his feet. This is a perfect example of “choose your battles.” Toes are wiggly and feet are ticklish. Cooperation in this situation can be negligible, but distraction is an excellent strategy. Try doing the task while your child is eating (while in a highchair) or watching his favorite movie. If you can capitalize on distraction after a bath has softened his toenails, he may not even notice the trimming or filing. An alternative strategy is waiting for your toddler to fall asleep. Some toddlers sleep so soundly that trimming or filing toenails is easy. Trim or file toenails straight across to avoid ingrown nails. And choose shoes that aren’t too small or pushing on toenails. If neither distraction nor sleep permits toenail care, however, toenails generally are soft and will wear away on their own.

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Can infants suffer from seasonal allergies? Allergies often are inherited, so observing for symptoms is important. When the immune system repeatedly is presented with a substance (allergen), the body can erroneously begin to recognize it as foreign and set off a cascade of cell activities similar to those triggered by an infection. Antibodies are created and bind to those allergens. Unfortunately, this triggers some cells to release a chemical, called histamine, which acts on the body’s own mucous membranes of the eyes, nose and respiratory tree to cause congestion, itching and profuse, watery discharge. A body’s allergic response, however, typically requires repeated exposures to the allergen over time to develop those antibodies. Often substances that are present year-round are the first to evolve into allergens. Foods, dust mites or pet dander are examples of substances that may cause difficulties for infants because of year-round exposure. Seasonal allergens like pollen, meanwhile, often take a few years of exposure (due to their seasonality) before the body begins recognizing the substances as allergens. It would be quite uncommon for a child younger than 1 to develop seasonal allergy symptoms, though it could occur by 18 months. Allergy symptoms such as congestion, sneezing and a clear runny nose may look virtually identical to a viral upper respiratory tract infection or “cold.” It’s not surprising that parents are concerned that their infants may have seasonal allergies, but, unfortunately, viral illness is far more likely at a young age. Dr. Gigi Chawla is a board-certified pediatrician and the senior medical director of primary care at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota.


IN THE KITCHEN

Grilled pineapple

½ of a pineapple, cut into spears ½ cup brown sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine brown sugar and cinnamon in a large zipper-seal plastic bag. Add the pineapple spears, close the bag tightly, and shake it so that the cinnamon and brown sugar coat the spears. Place the pineapple in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Heat a grill to medium, about 350 to 400 degrees. Put the pineapple spears on the grill and turn them every few minutes until all sides are grilled.

Inspired b y the grilled pin eapple sid e dish served at Brazilian st eakhouses, these tasty spears pair grilled chic well with ken or ste ak. You co serve them uld also with cinna mon-suga vanilla ice r-sprinkled cream and call it dess camping? ert. Going Pineapple travels we you go, pla ll. Before ce the dry ingredients plastic bag in a large , prep the p ineapple (b pre-packe uy fresh d spears if you’re in a hurry) and you’re all set. Also , this recipe dou bles easily .

Ashley Wagner is a home-cook blogger who specializes in quick and convenient recipes at centercutcook.com. Check out her recipe for campfire cones — ice-cream cones filled with s’mores ingredients that can be cooked on the grill, in the oven or over a campfire. See centercutcook.com/campfire-cones.

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This baked French dessert (kla-foo-TEE) features fruit, traditionally black cherries, arranged in a buttered dish and covered with a thick, flan-like batter.

CHERRY CLAFOUTIS
 1 tablespoon unsalted butter 2 eggs 2 egg yolks ½ cup all-purpose flour 4 tablespoons sugar ½ teaspoon kosher salt 1 ½ cups heavy cream 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 8 ounces cherries, pitted (fresh or frozen) Serves 8 Preheat the oven to 375. Coat a 9-inch glass pie dish with the butter. Beat together the eggs and egg yolks as you would for an omelet. Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a medium mixing bowl. Add about half the cream to the dry mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the remaining cream and mix. Stir in the eggs, yolks and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Pour the batter into the buttered pie dish and arrange the cherries evenly in the batter. Place the pie dish on an ovenproof tray and bake for about 40 minutes until puffy and golden brown on the edges. Kids Cook French (Quarry Books, 2015) by Claudine Pepin (daughter of worldrenowned chef, Jacques Pepin) teaches kids and adults simple French cooking.


BOOKSHELF

Explore outdoors! By Sarah Dorison

Kids love to explore the natural world. Get them in the mood with these delightful books for a look at wildlife (day and night, local and exotic), backcountry camping, stargazing and gardening!

Little Owl’s Day In this sequel to Little Owl’s Night, our wide-eyed little friend wakes up in broad daylight and discovers a forest he’s never seen, full of sunlight and daytime activities. He sees backward-flying dragonflies, wolf pups and his first rainbow. Then it’s his turn to show off. He keeps Bear up late, just long enough to see a full moon. By Divya Srinivasan Ages 3–5 $16.99

Luke & the Little Seed

Rhoda’s Rock Hunt

Luke the little mouse gets so many cool presents for his birthday that when his grandfather gives him a bag of seeds, he’s rather underwhelmed. But, after some urging, he plants one of the seeds, hoping to see a grand show the next morning. But he must wait. Seeds require patience. And waiting’s dull. But, in time, he finds the magic of the seed and sees — thanks to perseverance — his grandfather had given him the best gift of all.

On a backpacking trip in the north woods with her aunt and uncle, Rhoda discovers one of the benefits of roughing it: She finds rocks (her favorite!) in all shapes and patterns. When they finally arrive at Big Lake, she finds even more rocks! Heaven. When it’s time to go, will Rhoda give up her great finds (and enjoy a shower, a hot meal and a soft bed) or will she stay on the beach with her beloved (but way-too-heavy) collection?

By Giuliano Ferri Ages 3–5

By Molly Beth Griffin

$17.99

Illustrated by Jennifer A. Bell Ages 3–7 $16.95

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Henry’s Stars It’s a beautiful evening on the farm, and Henry finds himself staring up at the night sky. As he glances from star to star, he sees a picture forming in the darkness — The Great Pig! He runs quickly to tell his friends the news, but they see something else! By David Elliot Ages 5–8 $16.99

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Did you know that your child should see the Dentist for the first time at age 1 or within 6 months of their 1st tooth coming in?

Soyeon Kim Ages 4 and older $18.95 550 W. Burnsville Parkway, Suite 200, Burnsville, MN 952-890-2791 www.heartofthecitydental.com Like us on Facebook Heart of the City Dental MNP 0415 S3.indd 1

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June 2015 • mnparent.com


SHORE! By Kelly Cunningham

SPLASH, PLAY AND EXPLORE THIS SUMMER AT ONE OF THESE SIX FAMILY-FRIENDLY, WATER-FOCUSED CAMPING DESTINATIONS It starts in early spring when the snow’s still falling: We dream of weekends filled with warm breezes, walks in the woods, wildflowers, cool lakes and babbling brooks rushing with life (instead of ice chunks). We wish for family camping trips. Well, it’s time for the wishful thinking to be over — because it’s finally here. That’s right, it’s camping time! If you’re just starting to camp with your family or if you’re looking for a new and interesting place to pitch a tent, we’re happy to share six favorite shoreline vacations to inspire you to get out there this summer!

mnparent.com • June 2015

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FOR SHORE!

BOUNDARY WATERS CANOE AREA Why go: Wilderness What: Leave your electronics at home and breathe in the fresh air. People travel across the globe to experience Minnesota’s BWCA, a 1 million-acre wilderness. You can plan a simple camping trip or an extreme adventure. The beauty of camping in the wilderness is that priceless feeling of being removed from the daily grind and having nothing but stunning views surrounding you on all sides. Bonus: Moose sightings are highly typical for campers in the northern region of the BWCA. Where: Superior National Forest, Grand Marais, five hours north of the Twin Cities Information: 218-626-4300, tinyurl.com/bwca-mn

WILLOW RIVER STATE PARK Why go: Waterfall What: Willow River State Park features campsites within a peaceful prairie setting as well as sites uniquely carved out of a forest for more adventuresome folks. The natural playground underneath the waterfall is what brings most travelers this way. It’s a bit of a hike to get to the falls (about a mile from most camp sites). However, it’s well worth the journey. Where: 1034 County Highway A, Hudson, Wis., an hour east of the Twin Cities Information: 715-386-5931, tinyurl.com/willow-river-wi

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ITASCA STATE PARK Why go: Headwaters What: This bucket-list state park is bursting with tall pine trees, lakes, beaches and wildlife. Itasca also offers many opportunities for outdoor recreation such as canoeing, kayaking, fishing or climbing around the rocks at the Mississippi’s headwaters. Boulders mark the point where the river moves out of Lake Itasca and starts its 2,318mile journey to the Gulf of Mexico. Where: 36750 Main Park Drive, Park Rapids, four hours north of the Twin Cities Information: 218-699-7251, tinyurl.com/itasca-mn

Photo by Kelly Cunningham

READER FAVORITES!

We asked and you answered — on Facebook. Here are some of your favorite campsites in Minnesota and beyond!

Bunker Hills Campground in Coon Rapids. It has great walking trails, the best wave pool around and great camp areas.

Thumper Pond, Ottertail

— Phanta Bhoelai, St. Louis Park

— Jen Ingersoll, Minnetonka

Lebanon Hills Regional Park Campground, Eagan

Independence Lake cabins and campgrounds (Baker Park Reserve), Maple Plain

— Trina Greene, Farmington

— Pam Martinson Detroit Lakes

Jay Cooke State Park, Carleton

— Sabrina Klooz, St. Paul

Myre Big Island State Park, Albert Lea — Sara Rice, Mendota Heights

Banning State Park, Sandstone — Kelsey Quiring, Chanhassen

Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, Two Harbors — Libby Marx, Minneapolis

Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, Ely. I just love it up there and the stars are so bright.

Gooseberry Falls State Park, Two Harbors

— Bobbi Pillar, St. Paul

— Rachel Tupy, Lonsdale

I love Lake Bemidji State Park.

Interstate Park, St. Croix Falls, Wis.

— Beth Goers, Robbinsdale

— Kim Baham, Eden Prairie

White Tail Woods Regional Park, Farmington

Sherwood Forest Campground, Gilbert

— Jennie Rutter, Farmington

— Angela Hennessy, Mound

Judge Magney State Park, Grand Marais

Nerstrand-Big Woods State Park, Faribault

The walk-in cabins at Tettegouche State Park, Silver Bay

Whitewater State Park, Altura

— Heather Breyer, Kenyon

— Danielle Magnuson, Hopkins

— Angela Gieseke, Prior Lake

Frontenac State Park, Frontenac — Sarah Valentine, Woodbury

Beaver Trails Jellystone Park, Austin — Angel Sandriepe, Minneapolis

— Meredith Salmi-Bydalek, St. Louis Park

mnparent.com • June 2015

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FOR SHORE!

LOG CABIN RESORT & CAMPGROUND Why go: Cabins What: If sleeping in a tent doesn’t sound like an ideal vacation for your family, the Log Cabin Resort & Campground in western Wisconsin offers the cutest log cabins for their guests. Located on the Namekagon River, these cabins aren’t the only reason so many love this location. The resort features an inflatable waterpark for the kids — the coolest addition to camping! Canoes, kayaks and tubes are available to rent for trips down the river. Where: Log Cabin Drive, Trego, Wis., two and half hours northeast of the Twin Cities Information: 715-635-2959, logcabin-resort.com

BEAR HEAD LAKE STATE PARK Why go: Explore What: Like the BWCA, this park is also in a wilderness area, but the luxuries of everyday life are close by. Winner of Coca-Cola’s America’s Favorite Park campaign in 2010, Bear Head Lake boasts 600-plus acres of crystal-clear water. It’s an angler’s paradise. Bonus: Chances of seeing a black bear are good. Where: 9301 Bear Head State Park Road, Ely, four hours north of the Twin Cities Information: 218-365-7229, tinyurl.com/bear-head-mn

Kelly Cunningham and her husband, Ryan, live in Maple Grove with their five children. Follow their adventures at LifeInMinnesota.com and BeyondTheTent.com.

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PLUM CREEK PARK Why go: Education What: Famous Minnesota writer Laura Ingalls Wilder spent some of her childhood here and has shared her stories in the book, On The Banks of Plum Creek. Plum Creek Park is the perfect place to begin reading her book series. You’ll make story time come to life. Enjoy the rest of the day splashing around in the creek! Where: County Road 78, Walnut Grove, two and a half hours southwest of the Twin Cities Information: 888-528-7268, tinyurl.com/plum-creek-mn


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Great get-outside ideas

Y

ou look outside. It’s a beautiful Saturday morning. Sunlight is pouring into the house. But your kids don’t like the sunlight, they say: It’s causing screen glare and interrupting their cartoon videos, their Clash of Clans, their Monster Legends, their Minecraft. This is your cue. Send them outside. (No, you won’t be playing with them. No, they can’t take their screens.) They’ll be on their own, except you’ve laid the groundwork to make it a bit easier — not with a trampoline, a giant playhouse or a painstaking assembled obstacle course — but with some of the following creative “nature play” ideas (yes, outdoor play needed an official name), courtesy of Minnesota’s DNR Division of Forestry and the Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood. Go! 38

June 2015 • mnparent.com

1

4

OPEN THE DOOR: REGULARLY ENCOURAGE OUTDOOR PLAY IN ALL SAFE WEATHER CONDITIONS (NOT JUST WHEN IT’S SUNNY AND WARM).

2 3

Water: Provide water from a hose, aucet, sprinkler, rotating sprayer, rain barrel, hand pump or spray bottles. Water transport: Part of the fun of water play is moving water around. Use watering cans, buckets, hollow bamboo poles, plastic pipes, pots and pans, recycled milk jugs and more.

Digging pit: Create an area for your kids to dig down with kid-sized shovels. Have boots handy when it rains and the dirt turns to mud.

5

Dirt pile: Build a dirt pile. The larger the pile, the more fun — and creative play — your kids will find.


6. Leaf pile Rake fallen leaves into giant piles with your kids and let them have at them.

7 8 9

11

SAND

CONTAIN IT — LOTS OF IT — WITH SHRUBS, LANDSCAPE TIMBERS, OLD TIRES USED AS PLANTERS OR BOARDWALKS. PROVIDE WATER AND WATCH THE CREATIVITY FLOW.

12

Butterfly garden Plant a jumbled selection of insect-attracting flowers, both annuals and perennials. Consult your local garden center or see tinyurl.com/ butterfly-mn for ideas.

Plants: Grow them in beds, giant pots, window boxes and old tires. Let them vine up trellises and trees. Let your kids plant and care for them. Learn more at extension.umn.edu/garden.

Vegetable garden: Grow vegetables with your kids. Choose veggies that will ripen at different times during the growing season. Use planting beds, giant pots or a fenced in garden. See mnparent.com/gardening-with-kids. Pumpkin patch: Pumpkins are unique enough to merit their own category. They’re not hard to grow either. Plant seeds in June, watch them grow all summer and pick ripe pumpkins in the fall. See tinyurl.com/pumpkins-mn.

10 Rough ground Set aside part of your backyard where your kids can dig, build, hide and plant. Write a simple lease that gives them ownership of the spot and hold a “signing ceremony” to make it official.

13. MILKWEED AND MONARCHS: MILKWEED (A HARDY GARDEN PERENNIAL) ATTRACTS MONARCH BUTTERFLY CATERPILLARS. PLANT MILKWEED, COLLECT CATERPILLARS FROM THE PLANTS, PLACE THEM A SCREENED BOX AND SUPPLY THEM WITH FRESH MILKWEED LEAVES UNTIL THEY BECOME ENCLOSED IN A COCOON AND, FINALLY, EMERGE AS BUTTERFLIES. SEE XERCES.ORG/MILKWEED-SEED-FINDER AND TINYURL.COM/MILKWEED-MN.

14 Logs

Lay one or more large logs on the ground for balancing, sitting and hiding. Stake them in place or partially bury them, so they can’t roll unexpectedly.

mnparent.com • June 2015

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25 Great get-outside ideas

15

Tools and toys: Insect nets, bug houses, magnifiers, binoculars, scoops and old colanders can help your kids explore and play with nature. See magiccabin.com.

17. Rocks and boulders: Let your kids build with rocks that are small enough to carry around, but too large to throw. Be sure to choose their permanent locations in advance. 18. Play stream: Create a small, inches-deep stream that flows only when you turn on the water. Dig a very shallow, sloping streambed and fit it with a heavy pond liner. Cover with gravel and larger cobblestones that kids can use to create dams and channels with water from a hose.

16

SHRUBS: THEY GROW FASTER THAN TREES AND CAN QUICKLY TOWER OVER LITTLE KIDS. PLANT THEM IN GROUPS TO CREATE NOOKS AND NICHES OR IN A ROW ALONG A NARROW PATHWAY TO CREATE A MAZE. See tinyurl.com/shrubs-mn.

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19. Hills and berms: Children love small, grassy hills they can roll down, charge up, sled on, hide behind or use to play “king of the mountain.” Plant them with tough, hardy turf grass and keep them clear for uninhibited play. 20. Adventure paths: Create very narrow, meandering routes through tall grass and between boulders. If a path leads to a secret nook, it’s all the better.

21

Seating: Place benches, bench swings, kid-sized Adirondack chairs, hammocks, hammock chairs, rockers, boulders, stumps and logs in shady spots in your back yard. Encourage your kids to sit, talk with friends, look at books, daydream and rest.


22

Birdhouses

Kids like to watch nestbuilding activity and then see and hear what happens inside. Build or buy a birdhouse so your kids can listen and watch for baby birds. See audubon.org.

23. Discovery board: Lay a piece of scrap plywood, 2 feet square, on the ground in a quiet vegetated corner of your play area and see what bugs, ants, slugs and other minibeasts move in underneath it. 24. Loose parts for outdoor construction play: Provide a collection of small logs, large wooden blocks, boards, branches, sticks, milk crates, blankets and more for your kids to create an outdoor structure. 25. Trees to climb: Kids have always climbed trees. If you have a strong, spreading tree, hang a rope ladder from its lowest limb so your kids can climb. (See tinyurl.com/ropeladder-triple for a $50 triple rope ladder on Amazon.) Deep mulch at the base will help cushion any slips.

Explore Twin Cities nature centers, too! Minnesota is home to a stunning selection of nature centers that offer programming for even the youngest of kids — as well as older explorers and would-be naturalists. Below are some highlights. Find more at exploreminnesota.com.

Dodge Nature Center, West St. Paul, dodgenaturecenter.org Eastman Nature Center, Dayton, tinyurl.com/eastman-nature-mn Harriet Alexander Nature Center, Roseville, tinyurl.com/harriet-nature Lowry Nature Center, Victoria, tinyurl.com/lowry-nature Maplewood Nature Center, Maplewood, tinyurl.com/maplewood-nature Richardson Nature Center, Bloomington, tinyurl.com/richardson-nature Springbrook Nature Center, Fridley, springbrooknaturecenter.org Tamarack Nature Center, White Bear Township, tinyurl.com/tamarack-nature Wargo Nature Center, Hugo, tinyurl.com/wargo-nature Westwood Hills Nature Center, St. Louis Park, westwoodhillsnaturecenter.org Wood Lake Nature Center, Richfield, woodlakenaturecenter.org

Source: The Minnesota DNR Division of Forestry (dnr.state.mn.us) and the Green Hearts Institute for Nature in Childhood (greenheartsinc.org) mnparent.com • June 2015

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THESE FIVE LOCAL WOMEN DIDN’T WAIT FOR MARRIAGE TO START THEIR FAMILIES. AND THEY’RE FINDING A WORLD OF LOVE THEY MIGHT OTHERWISE NEVER HAVE EXPERIENCED. BY JODIE TWEED

SINGLE MOMS BY CHOICE


Annie Strupeck, a Twin Cities high school teacher, was 35 when she gave birth to her son, Franklin, in 2011. She gave birth to her second son, George, two years later.

Photo by Rebecca Healy Photography

mnparent.com • June 2015

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SINGLE MOMS BY CHOICE

I

“It’s just you,” her niece said. “It really hit home,” Starr said. “After that, I woke up one morning and felt I had to do something.” Starr had ordered a few books on single mothers by choice a couple years earlier, but had never opened them. She pulled them out and started reading. “I am educated. I have family and friends. I can do this,” Starr told herself at the time. “For me, it was like a light bulb went on. I just had to beyond — there’s an make it happen.” comes before mother-

n American culture — and expectation that marriage hood. //// There’s also a stereotype that single mothers are the result of unwanted or unintended pregnancies or the product of absent fathers. //// But a fast-growing group of women are shattering both longheld expectations and stereotypes by becoming SMCs — single mothers by choice. //// These unmarried women, usually in their 30s and 40s, often undergo fertility treatments. Many use sperm donors to become pregnant. Others choose adoption or surrogacy. //// In the Twin Cities, the rarely discussed movement has created a growing network of women with strong support groups — online and in person. //// Their friends and families often help them choose suitable sperm donors by reading their online profiles or attending donor parties to pick the best match. //// Single parenthood might not have been their first choice. But life without a child to call their own? Unthinkable. Here are some of their stories.

YEARNING FOR MOTHERHOOD Becca Starr always knew she would one day become a mom. The Twin Cities native loved children. Starr even had professional expertise in early childhood education, thanks to her work as a researcher at the Midwest office of Maryland-based Child Trends, a national nonprofit nonpartisan center that studies children at all stages of development. But at 39, after achieving most everything she had set out to do — including earning her Ph.D. in child psychology and traveling the globe — something remained missing. “The one thing I really wanted to do was to be a mom, but I kept getting older and older, and I never thought I could do it,” Starr said. A turning point came during Christmas 2010 as she read a children’s story to her 5-year-old niece, who pointed out that Starr didn’t have her own family in her house.

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A LONG ROAD TO … TWINS! It didn’t happen quickly. Two years and two months after Starr’s first doctor’s appointment, she finally learned she was pregnant — with twins. In between, she had unsuccessfully tried a few unmedicated intrauterine insemination cycles (IUI), four medicated IUI cycles and two rounds of in vitro fertilization (IVF) — at $17,000 a pop. Next she had surgery for fibroids, and then another round of IVF. She finallhy became pregnant in March 2013. On Nov. 13, 2013, Starr gave birth to her sons, Jacob and Will. She was 42. For the first three months of their lives, Starr left the house only to take her twins

to the doctor. She slept in 45-minute intervals. Each day was all about survival. She moved in with her parents, who lived 10 minutes away, for seven months. Friends and family would help out by bringing meals, running errands or watching babies while she slept. “The first six months, I can’t even explain them,” Starr said with a laugh. “It was insane. I like to say I was hibernating, but without sleep. But then, it gets easier — and then there are new challenges.” Her life is completely different now. “It’s nonstop, much harder and physically demanding,” she said. “But I’m so much more content. I’m just so much happier and I love being with my boys.” Starr wishes she were 10 years younger. “When I wake up, my back hurts and I have to pick up two 20-pound boys,” she said. “But it’s all good.”


←←Becca Starr of Robbinsdale, a single mom by choice, gave birth to her sons, Jacob and Will, when she was 42.

STARTING EARLY, HAPPILY Alicia Allen, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, embarked on a two-week yoga retreat to Belize in January 2014 to clear her mind so she could decide whether she should try to become pregnant on her own. Her trip affirmed her belief that she was on the right path. She researched prospective donors, and created a private Facebook page so her close friends and family could discuss and debate her donor candidates. At 33, Allen was younger than most single moms by choice (SMCs), but she couldn’t see the point of waiting any longer. “For me, I knew this feeling wasn’t going to change,” Allen said. “I have a lot I can give to a child and that wasn’t going to change, so why not go after the dream?” Allen joined the Twin Cities SMC Facebook group. Reading about other moms’ experiences gave her an insider’s view on issues affecting those who were thinking, trying and mothering. She also talked over her decision with family, friends and coworkers, who were supportive. She got pregnant on her second round of IUI. The successful donor was 6-foot-5, educated and into sports and music. He seemed like someone she would want to date. After two days in labor, Allen gave birth in January via C-section to her son, Lochlan. Allen has no regrets: “Each day I fall deeper and deeper in love with him,” she said. “He is, by far, the best decision I’ve ever made.”

Medicine in Minneapolis to start the fertility process. Her coworkers helped her choose her donor. “I saw a photo of the donor as a young boy. He was probably 3 or 4 years old and had the sweetest smile,” Jaros said. The donor was an open-identity anonymous donor, which means he’s willing to be contacted when his offspring reach adulthood. That was an added bonus for Jaros. Jaros’ fourth IUI attempt was a success. (Her daughter is nearly 7 now.) Her the decision to use a donor wasn’t an easy one. “I felt a little guilty. I wondered if I was being selfish and depriving her of a father,” Jaros said. “But I also felt — in this day and age — phenomenal kids come from single moms and from married moms, and people will always have an opinion one way or the other, and I had to toughen up against it.” Jaros and her husband — yes, she’s technically no longer an SMC — met through a mutual friend when her daughter was 4. They married 1 1/2 years later. They had a second child in March, a son conceived using her husband’s sperm and a donor egg because her eggs “were not up to par.”

FEAR OF A FATHERLESS PATH Mary Jaros was 36 when she walked across the street from her job at Abbott Northwestern Hospital to the Center for Reproductive

↑↑Alicia Allen, an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota, decided to become a single mom by choice when she was 33. She gave birth to her son, Lochlan, in January. mnparent.com • June 2015

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SINGLE MOMS BY CHOICE

BOOKS

characteristics. She gave birth to her second son, George, two years later. “Being outnumbered has definitely been challenging, but I don’t regret having two at all,” Strupeck said, of her boys, now ages 4 and 2. When she’s sick and the kids are sick, too, it’s tough. “You are the only ↑↑Single mom by choice Suzanne Monical caretaker all the of Pequot Lakes adores her 3-year-old time,” she said. son, Remy. She’s found support and even “You’re 100 percent donor siblings — who share the same birth responsible for these father as her son — through other local and national SMCs. kids all the time and it can feel overwhelming sometimes. Having a great support network is really important.” Strupeck doesn’t have immediate family living nearby. Her mom lives in Chicago. Locally, she has extended family and friends who help out a lot. Strupeck was surprised to discover she already knew other SMCs working in her boys’ school district and living in their neighborhood. “I think it’s much more common than some people might think,” she said. “I go through different phases of different worries about having a nontraditional family, but if you normalize it from the very beginning, and have open communication with your children, the worries and concerns go away. I think being part of the SMC group and meeting other families like ours is important, too, so my kids know we’re not alone in this family structure, that there are a lot of families like us.”

• Single Mothers by Choice: A Guidebook for Single Women Who Are Considering or Have Chosen Motherhood by Jane Mattes

DONOR SIBLING GROUPS

SIBLINGS, SICKNESS, SURPRISES It can take a village to raise a child, and sometimes it takes a village to conceive one, too. Annie Strupeck, a Twin Cities high school teacher, was in the “thinking” stage of becoming a single mother when she discovered the Minnesota Single Mothers by Choice group online. She went to an SMC conference and connected with a few other “thinkers.” It took time for her to process the concept of becoming pregnant alone. Strupeck was 35 when she gave birth to her son, Franklin, in 2011. She knew she wanted to give Franklin a sibling, and she had purchased an extra vial of the donor’s sperm to help her when the time was right. Unfortunately, she didn’t become pregnant and there were no longer any vials left. She could have sought out other families who had used the same donor to see if they’d sell a vial or two to her, but ultimately, she decided to choose another open-ID anonymous donor with similar

RESOURCES SITES Single Mothers by Choice: Contact the national organization at singlemothersbychoice.org to be referred to the Minnesota SMC group and its private Facebook group. Choice Moms: Started by Minneapolis journalist Mikki Morrissette, a Choice Mom herself, this site (choicemoms.org) offers resources, connections and support for SMCs.

• Choosing Single Motherhood: The Thinking Woman’s Guide by Mikki Morrissette • Single by Chance, Mothers by Choice: How Women Are Choosing Parenthood Without Marriage and Creating the New American Family by Rosanna Hertz • Knock Yourself Up: No Man? No Problem: A Tell-All Guide to Becoming a Single Mom by Louise Sloan • The Family Book by Todd Parr is geared toward preschoolers to second-graders and celebrates family diversity.

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Suzanne Monical moved last year from Maple Grove to her hometown of Pequot Lakes, near Brainerd, to be closer to family after she had her son, Remy, 3. She worries that in a small town he could be treated differently because he doesn’t have a father. However, at her first doctor’s visit up north she learned from her son’s new pediatrician that his patients include children of other SMCs. Monical remains connected to the Twin Cities SMC group, which


she became involved with when she was thinking about becoming pregnant. Not long after her son was born, Monical found several of her son’s donor siblings — there are now at least 18 families with 20 donor siblings and three more on the way — and the families have had two reunions so far. Many live in the Twin Cities, but they’re also spread throughout the U.S. She belongs to a private Facebook page where they share photos and updates on their children, who all seem to share the same, distinctive forehead. “I really appreciate the donor-sibling group,” Monical said. “I didn’t go into this searching for donor siblings, but when one of my SMC friends and I discovered we have donor siblings and we connected with the larger group, I realized how positive that’s been, especially since I only have one child. They’re part of our extended family.”

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There are few studies on the outcomes of children of SMCs. Starr has proposed a research study on SMCs and is working to find funding for the study. “It’s an entirely different demographic,” she said. “There definitely has to be more research on how this group is different and how the outcomes might be different.” Starr’s advice for women thinking about becoming SMCs is to start early. Do the research, talk to other SMCs. Don’t stall because the prospect of doing it alone seems scary. “You can so do this by yourself,” Starr said. “The reason you think you can’t is because society has put constraints on you. Don’t be afraid of what other people are going to think. People are most likely going to be more supportive than you expect. There are so many people who love my children. It’s an incredible experience.” Jodie Tweed is a freelance writer who lives in Pequot Lakes. mnparent.com • June 2015

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Top 10 DateNights By Jen Wittes

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eing a good parent is about more than baking brownies, playing soccer, reading Harry Potter and helping with homework. Sometimes, in order to put our best parenting foot forward, we need to engage in a little self-care. Care for the romantic relationship, in particular, is often overlooked and goes a long way in terms of refreshing parental energy and creating a family environment that’s both happy and connected. Here are 10 Twin Cities date-night ideas to inspire you to get out more — as a couple — this summer!

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Paddleboard & picnic Several city lakes offer various recreation rentals — paddleboats, paddleboards, kayaks and even bicycles built for two (wheelfunrentals.com)! Plan for an afternoon of light exercise and exploration followed by a sunset picnic sans bunny crackers and juice boxes.

Psycho Suzi’s Motor Lounge Continuing with the theme of “staycation because we can’t manage the real thing,” Psycho Suzi’s gives you a taste of a wild and bizarre tropical island — overlooking the good old Mississippi. Stiff drinks in Tiki idols, fruity virgin counterparts and kitschy Minnesota appetizers like cheese curds, little smokies and those amazing pickle-and-deli-meat pinwheel sandwiches. It’s church potluck meets Polynesia, if you will. This is an ideal place to go for a double or triple date night with pals you haven’t chatted with outside of the playground for far too long.

Saint Anthony Main You just can’t go wrong spending time along the historic Minneapolis riverfront. Walk the Stone Arch Bridge, hike down the old wooden steps through Father Hennepin Park and feel the mist of the mighty Mississippi. Romantic restaurants with a river view include Wilde Roast, Aster Café and Pracna, to name a view. Take in a film at the old theater or catch a live band on a hot summer night. Look for bigger crowds and bigger fun during summer events like the Stone Arch Bridge Festival, the Fourth of July and the annual Aquatennial.

mnparent.com • June 2015

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Date Nights

Minnehaha Falls Did the kids miraculously end up engaged in simultaneous play dates / birthday parties / long hockey practices? Ignore the lure of laundry and lawn mowing and spend some time together! Head to Minnehaha Falls for an afternoon of Frisbee golf and mild hiking (in the spring you can creep behind the frozen water fall for a stolen kiss) followed by oysters and local beer at Sea Salt Eatery (tinyurl.com/minnehaha-park-falls).

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Bryant Lake Bowl Fun, whimsical and historical any day of the week, this bowling alley / music venue / comedy club / restaurant caters to couples on Monday nights. For only $28 per couple, you get two entrees, a bottle of wine and a game of bowling. Score!


Minnesota Sword Play Fencing develops stamina, quick reactions, speed, accuracy of movement and excellent coordination. Sign up for summer camps now!

Romantic getaway to London not in the budget this year? Head to Brit’s for authentic British tavern food and a lively rooftop complete with lawn bowling green. Noteworthy events include Bend it at Brit’s — perhaps the city’s largest yoga class, and the only one where a pint of beer replaces the typical bottle of water next to your mat. Summer fun on the roof doesn’t stop there. Check out the summer movie series or Shakespeare on the lawn. For the traditionalist, Brit’s features an afternoon tea Monday through Friday.

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Stoke the super sleep-deprived embers with the heat of competition — work together to come up with a nerdy team name and try to win the big prize (usually a gift certificate toward your bar tab). The cost to play is free besides what you eat and drink — inexpensive for a night of entertainment. There are many venues providing this service and a handful of trivia companies with heavily attended regular nights. The hometown favorite, however, is by far Trivia Mafia with venues all around the Twin Cities (triviamafia.com).

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mnparent.com • June 2015

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Date Nights

W.A. Frost &Company Arguably the prettiest patio in the Twin Cities, a leisurely date night dining al fresco at this historic St. Paul restaurant will slow your busy selves down. Whether for cocktails, dessert or a full dinner, the low-lit lush garden effortlessly sets the stage for romance.

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Rockthe Garden Coming up June 20–21 is the annual music festival hosted by two Twin Cities cultural icons: MPR’s The Current and the Walker Art Center. Taking place on the back lawn of the Walker’s sculpture garden, this isn’t your teenager’s rock festival. With craft beers, gourmet burgers and a line-up that draws from various genres and eras, this is a grown-up good time to invigorate your youthful spirits. Even if you take the kids, it will still feel like a date reminiscent of your early courtship (thecurrent.org/ rock-the-garden).

Kid play your way Ride the craziest coasters at Nickelodeon Universe, stroll leisurely through the zoo — reading every sign — without the burden of your diaper bag, or do the State Fair your way (think wine tasting, shopping the bazaar and skipping the Midway all together). Shhhh — don’t tell the kids.

Jen Wittes lives in St. Paul and is a mother of two. Send your favorite Minnesota date-night ideas to jwittes@mnparent.com.

mnparent.com • June 2015

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! t s i w at

Story time with

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live, a John O father s i l o p a Minne urging s i , r o th and au is new h n i s— im parent — to d k o o b n how-to ie dow l , s t h the lig your p u e k a and m ories. t s n w o BY J O HN O L IVE

It’s bedtime

plus 30 minutes, and the Essence of Sweetness, the Center of the Known Universe — for now, let’s call her Natalie — is drawing a line in the proverbial sand: “I’m not tired. It isn’t even dark. I can hear kids playing outside. No fair!” “Natalie, you should have been in bed a half hour ago.” “I’m not going to bed.” She faces you, wearing her patented make-me smile. “No way, José.” You groan inwardly. Not again. Ah, but this time you have a card to play, and it’s an ace. “Natalie,” you say in your patented calm-but-stern voice, “if you put your jammies on, brush your teeth and get into bed like a good girl, I’ll tell you a story in the dark.” “OK!”

DARK, BUT NOT SCARY And off she rushes, quickly donning PJs, brushing teeth and leaping into bed. You enter Natalie’s room. She’s in bed, but the light’s still on. It’s one of those dreadful overhead units, bright and garish. The place feels like an operating theater. You turn off the light. Boom. The room changes. What had been familiar and dull is now charged with possibility, with imagination.

New shapes appear. Moon-driven shadows emerge. Strange, moving wedges of light from passing cars cross the walls. It’s not scary, though. Not really. Why? Because you are there. So, yes, the room bristles with potential, but not with demons and scream-producing monsters. Your presence makes it safe. You settle yourself in. Perhaps you sit on the floor or pull a chair up close. Or maybe you get into the bed. Get comfortable. “Tell me a story.” “Shhhhhhhh.” You pause for effect. This is it. Storytime.

NERVOUS? WHO CARES? You’re a touch nervous. Who wouldn’t be? You have a basic story in mind — maybe you’ve recently read a book or seen a movie that you want to share, or perhaps you’ve read Tell Me a Story in the Dark (bless you), and you’ve found a story you want to try out. But you certainly haven’t memorized the story. A lot of it will be semi-improvised. It’s even possible that you have no idea at all what you’re going to say. Natalie grows impatient. She starts shifting around in the bed, adjusting her blanket and stuffed animals. Not to worry. You and Natalie have experience with stories in the dark. (That’s why she’s suddenly so cooperative; she loves these bedtime tales.) You know what a piece of cake this is going to be. You know that as soon as you install yourself in the dark bedroom, next to your child, the story will flow. mnparent.com • June 2015

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Bedtime: Solved Next time you’re camping and the kids won’t go to sleep, tell them a story in the dark.

Easy. Easy? Really? Well, OK, I can’t absolutely guarantee this. I can’t offer you your money back. But I’ll bet you a nickel — heck, I’ll bet you a whole quarter — that with a little practice and a lot of love, you’ll become a maestro of the bedtime story. Inside everyone lurks a master teller of bedtime tales.

IT EVEN WORKS ON 2-YEAR-OLDS

Tell Me a Story in the Dark: A Guide to Creating Magical Bedtime Stories for Children by John Olive (Familius, $18.95) is available from Amazon, Familius.com and other major book retailers.

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I remember the first time I told my son, Michael, a story in the dark. It was a sticky-hot night in the middle of a brutal Minnesota heat wave. We lived in an apartment without air conditioning before we moved to our current home with (ahhhhhhhh) central air. Michael (who was 2 1/2 years old) was suffering — tossing and turning, sweating and moaning. I stood in the bedroom door, listening to the rattling window fan and my unhappy son, wondering what to do. Then, without really thinking about it, I went in and knelt down next to his crib.


HOW TO TELL AN IMPROVISED STORY By John Olive Nonsense stories can be entirely improvised. One sure-fire option is to let your child decide what the story will be about. For example: Teller: Give me three items, and I’ll make up a story featuring all of them. Three things. (Note: When you’re improvising stories, focusing on three things can be extremely helpful. It automatically provides structure and build.) Tellee: Okay. A . . . cloud. A watch. And a . . . school. Teller: A cloud, a watch and a school. Okay. One day, Harriet the Cloud was zipping through the sky. Back and forth, back and forth. The other older clouds said, “Harriet, why do you behave like that? Can’t you see we’re all moving in the same direction? C’mon, stop messing around.” “I just gotta be me!” So, one day, Harriet was flitting through the sky — bored, probably. She happened to look down. Below her was a school. And there, in the school parking lot, was a ... Harriet squinted. She couldn’t quite see it. “What is that thing? Is that a …?” Can you guess? Tellee: It’s a watch. Teller: How did you know? You’re amazing. It’s a watch. And you know what else? Tellee: What? Teller: It’s a magic watch. Of course it’s magic! Again, how else can you come up with story material from three small objects? Does this watch stop time? Give its wearer the power to disappear? Make people do whatever he wants them to (small children would adore this idea)? Become older? And here (if you’ll permit me a brief aside), we’re borrowing freely from a certain very popular movie from the 1980s, starring a prominent actor, in which a 12-year-old becomes very grown up. Don’t be ashamed (or afraid) to borrow (make that “steal”) material like this. It makes the telling easier. And one of the grand aspects of this form is that material that feels old-hat to you is fresh and original to your young tellee(s). Besides, those nasty movie studio attorneys can’t reach all the way into your kid’s bedroom. At least, not yet. Indeed, it might be possible to come up with a generic story to fit almost any combination of objects. Here are some ideas: • Make sure that one of the objects enjoys the magical power to fly. • Let another object be running away from home. • Maybe the third object is evil, trying to make the runaway object believe he can live on his own. • Fashion a chase. • The flying object stops the runaway and exposes the evil object as a fraud. • Mr. Runaway goes home, where he is greeted with joy and love. Finally, be sure to watch your child closely. If he seems to be drifting off to sleep, allow the narrative to resolve itself, and leave your child to his dreams.

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Bedtime: Solved

“On a hot night like this, Micky … ” He jumped. The loud fan had prevented him from hearing my approach. “ … what we need is a ghost story to send shivers up and down our spines.” He listened. I’ll never forget it: He lay on his tummy, bediapered butt sticking up, eyes round pools of wonder. This story happens in one of those modern housing developments at the very edge of the city. You know: cheap houses and no trees. Parks where nobody goes. At the edge of the development is a cornfield. Beyond that, a valley, filled with trees. And an old rundown house. This story’s about a guy named . . . Chuck. Chuck? Sure, why not? Chuck. And one day, Chuck leaves his air-conditioned house and heads out across the cornfield.

YOU CAN DO IT, TOO Thus began the story that became known as Ralph, The Sad, Sad Ghost. I ahemed and stumbled, took lots of lengthy pauses, and made up the story in situ, not at all sure of where it was going. I had only one clear idea: a ghost. Apart from that, I was working with, telling from, whole cloth. I told myself that there was no way the little dude would remember my story. He’s only 2 1/2. He has the attention span of a grasshopper. But the next morning, as I served Michael his nutritious cereal, I asked him if he had any memory of the previous night’s story.

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“Ralph the ghost,” he said, eyes shining. And thus, with Michael to lead the way, I became a master of what I now believe is a unique (and ancient) art form: the story in the dark. I’ve created dozens of stories (yes, they’re in my book). I’m planning to teach a seminar: Tell Me a Story in the Dark. I am bedtime stories. Bedtime Stories “R” Me. And bedtime stories are you, too. You can, I’m convinced, become a master, too. This story is an excerpt from John Olive’s new book — Tell Me A Story In The Dark: A Guide to Creating Magical Bedtime Stories for Children — which teaches parents how to tell stories, including how to adapt classic tales especially for their children, and how to make up their own exciting narratives. Learn more at familius.com or johnolive.net.

John Olive is a widely produced, awardwinning playwright, screenwriter, novelist and creative-writing teacher. He’s written plays for young audiences that have been featured at children’s theaters around the country, including Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Jason and the Golden Fleece and Johnny Tremain. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife, Mary, and their son, Michael.


Out & About

JUNE

mnparent.com/calendar

Photo by Dan Norman

Peter Pan: The Musical ⊲⊲Breathtaking sets, joyful choreography and infectious songs — including I Won’t Grow Up — are just a few of the highlights of this all-ages musical production. When: Through June 21 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis

JUNE 7

Summer Concert for Kids ⊲⊲The Bunny Clogs, Clementown and the Roe Family Singers will perform at this new all-ages benefit show for Southside Family Nurturing Center. Other attractions include face painting, balloon animals and a silent auction. Proceeds will go to the nurturing center and its work serving young children and families who are living in poverty or at risk for abuse or neglect.

Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

When: 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. June 7 Where: Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis Cost: $16 for adults, $10 for ages 3 to 12, free for ages 2 and younger Info: thecedar.org and ssfnc.org

Grand Old Day ⊲⊲This one-day block party — one of the largest of its kind in the Midwest — features a parade, live music, a beer bash and a Minnesota-artists’ showcase, all in addition to bustle of the 350 businesses that line Grand Avenue.

When: 9:30 a.m.–6 p.m. June 7 Where: Grand Avenue between Wheeler Avenue and Dale Street, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: grandave.com

10,000 Lakes Concours d’Elegnace ⊲⊲The third-annual Competition of Excellence, presented by Jaguar and Land Rover, will feature more than 150 juried, historical and “superbly-conditioned” mnparent.com • June 2015

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Out & About

festival with his uplifting and engaging documentary, It’s Raining, So What: The Story of Joe Stone. When: June 11–14 Where: Union Depot, St. Paul, MacPhail, Minneapolis, Doubletree Hotel, St. Louis Park and Cinema Grill, New Hope Cost: Some screenings are free. Tickets to most films are $10. Info: minneapolis.reelabilities.org

STARTING JUNE 17

Groovin’ in the Garden ⊲⊲This six-concert series lets grownups get their groove on with some of the Twin Cities’ best bands while the kids are entertained by a climbing wall, bouncy house and lawn games, all outdoors. When: June 17, 24, July 8, 15, 22 and Aug. 5 Where: Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: comozooconservatory.org

Edina Art Fair ⊲⊲More than 300 fine artists and crafters from around Minnesota, the U.S. and Canada will share and sell their work alongside local and regional musicians, fashion shows, cooking and lifestyle demonstrations, food and a kids-art zone. When: June 5–7 Where: 50th & France neighborhood, Edina

cars and boats on the shores of Lake Minnetonka, along with live music, a retail village and food and beverage vendors. Proceeds will benefit the ICA Food Shelf. When: 10 a.m.–4 p.m. June 7 Where: Excelsior Commons, Excelsior Cost: $35; ages 12 and younger can attend for free. Info: 10000lakesconcours.com

JUNE 8–SEPT. 18

Sounds of Summer ⊲⊲Maple Grove’s summer concert and movie series features kid-friendly music, activities and moonlight films.

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Cost: FREE Info: edinaartfair.com

When: June 8–Sept. 18 Where: Town Green, Maple Grove Cost: FREE Info: facebook.com/ TownGreenMapleGrove

JUNE 11–14

ReelAbilities Film Festival ⊲⊲The ReelAbilities Minneapolis-St. Paul Disabilities Film Festival (RFF) aims to change perspectives about people with disabilities with more than 20 thoughtprovoking films, many produced by local cinematographers. Minneapolis filmmaker Kevin May will kick off the

JUNE 18–21

St. Louis Park Parktacular ⊲⊲Kick off summer with a weekend of events for all ages, including a parade, a family day (Kidtacular on June 20) with free pony rides, free canoe and kayak rides, a climbing wall, family-friendly bingo, an obstacle course and a petting zoo, plus 10 inflatable water slides. When: June 18–21 Where: Venues around St. Louis Park Cost: Most events are free. Water slide wristbands are $15 for the day. Info: parktacular.org

JUNE 19–21

GermanFest ⊲⊲Celebrate German culture through food, music, dance, art, education


and other traditional activities at this second-annual family-friendly event — not a stereotypical Oktoberfest event. Highlights include bingo, a strongman competition, human foosball with St. Paul Firefighters, German lessons, brewery tours, German star making, wiener-dog races and more. When: June 19–21 Where: Historic Schmidt Brewery, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: germanfestmn.org

JUNE 19–21

Back to the Fifties Weekend ⊲⊲More than 12,000 custom, classic and restored cars — all dated 1964 and earlier — will cover the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, along with entertainment, live music, games, food, crafts and more as part of the Minnesota Street Rod Association’s 42nd-annual event. When: June 19–21. Kids’ World will be from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 20 in the grandstand infield. Where: Minnesota State Fairgrounds, St. Paul Cost: $10; one child (age 12 and younger) can attend for free with each paid adult. Info: msra.com

OPENING JUNE 20

Big Back Yard ⊲⊲This seasonal, hands-on exhibit — and nine-hole miniature golf course — illustrates landscape evolution, river dynamics and biodiversity. It also features a prairie maze, gardens, a camera obscura and a solar-powered building. When: Opening June 20 Where: Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul Cost: Free with museum admission ($13 for adults, $10 for ages 4–12) Info: smm.org/bigbackyard

Introduce your kids to the fun and magic of live theater! Charlotte’s Web

June 23–August 14 Tue/Wed/Thur/Fri/Sun Matinées

TO PURCHASE TICKETS:

952-474-5951 or OldLog.com Old Log Theatre MNP 0615 H4.indd 2

5/21/15 3:29 PM

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Out & About

JUNE 20

Kid Fest 2015 ⊲⊲Join Minnesota Parent for its second-annual summer kick-off event. Enjoy live music from the Teddy Bear Band, kids’ art activities, face painting, children’s yoga and more. Plus, we’ll be giving away our hot-off-the-press annual Family Directory — your go-to guide for local family-friendly events, destinations and activities throughout the Twin Cities. When: 10 a.m.–1 p.m. June 20 Where: Lake Harriet Bandshell, Minneapolis

JUNE 20–21

Stone Arch Bridge Festival ⊲⊲This popular Father’s Day-weekend event features art and music from 250 artists on three performance stages, plus family art activities, a car show and a motorcycle gallery, all on the Mississippi riverfront. When: Free riverfront concerts June 17–20 overlap with the festival, held June 20–21. Where: Northeast Minneapolis

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Cost: FREE Info: mnparent.com/kidfest

Cost: FREE Info: stonearchbridgefestival.com

JUNE 24–28

James and the Giant Peach ⊲⊲See Roald Dahl’s story come to life in this E-Rhapsody summer youth production — with a runtime of about one hour — including shadow puppets, song, live soundscapes and audience participation. When: June 24–28

Where: Open Window Theatre, Metropolis Minneapolis Building, Minneapolis Cost: $6–$12 in advance or $8–$14 at the door Info: openwindowtheatre.org

JUNE 25–27

Twin Cities Jazz Festival ⊲⊲One of the largest civic jazz festivals in the Midwest, this popular event brings


more than 30,000 people out to hear the vibrant, joyful sounds of jazz. When: June 25–27 Where: Mears Park, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: hotsummerjazz.com

OPENING JUNE 26

The Little Mermaid Jr. ⊲⊲Join Ariel, King Triton, Prince Eric, Sebastian, Scuttle, Flounder, Grimsby and, of course, the villainous Ursula, in this all-ages production of one of Disney’s most beloved stories. Songs will include Under the Sea, Kiss the Girl, Part of Your World and more. When: June 26–Aug. 2 Where: Stages Theatre Company, Hopkins Cost: $16 Info: stagestheatre.org or 952-979-1111

JUNE 28

Teddy Bear Band Day ⊲⊲Celebrate 30 years of Minnesota’s favorite kid band with a special BYOTB (Bring Your Own Teddy Bear) anniversary concert. When: 6:30 p.m. June 28 Where: Roseville’s Central Park on Lexington Avenue Cost: FREE Info: teddybearband.com

JULY 3–4

Red, White and Boom ⊲⊲Celebrate Independence Day at a two-day celebration hosted by the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board. More than 60,000 people come to the downtown Minneapolis riverfront for a kids’ run, 5K, half marathon, a movie, live music, food, family-friendly activities and — the grand finale — fireworks on July 4. When: July 3–4 Where: Downtown and Northeast mnparent.com • June 2015

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Out & About

When: July 7–Aug. 16 Where: Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis Cost: Tickets start at $10. Info: childrenstheatre.org or 612-874-0400

Minneapolis Cost: FREE. Fees apply for some events. Info: mplsredwhiteboom.com

JULY 17–19

Highland Fest

OPENING JULY 7

⊲⊲Explore a wide variety family-friendly activities, including live music and art, a petting zoo, wiener-dog races, inflatable rides, games, a 5K, a beer tent and food and beverage vendors, plus a pancake breakfast, a community picnic, Zumba in the park, wine tasting, a movie in the park, a Cross Fit competition, a book mobile, a yoga class and the inaugural All Ford Car and Truck Show, honoring

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ⊲⊲Join an immersive quest to find Captain Nemo as you’re led through the theater company’s corridors and corners, which will be transformed into a submarine (recommended for grades 3–8).

86 years of the Twin Cities Ford Assembly Plant in cooperation with Ford Motor Company. When: July 17–19 Where: Highland Park neighborhood, St. Paul Cost: FREE Info: highlandfest.com

MORE ONLINE! ⊲⊲Want to learn about even more local events? Check out Minnesota Parent’s Out&About calendar at mnparent. com/calendar. Click on any day of the month and find things to do! ⊲⊲Have a cool family-friendly event coming up? Send all the details (plus photos) to calendar@mnparent.com at least six weeks in advance.

CHILDCARE/EDUCATION

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Celebrating Over 40 Musical Years in Minnesota! Schools in Edina & Roseville

Call 952-935-5588 and schedule a tour! www.misamigosimmersion.com

Locations in Hopkins, Minnetonka, St. Paul, and St. Paul Park

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AT THE LAKE HARRIET BANDSHELL

Saturday, June 20, 2015 • 10am–1pm Music from the Teddy Bear Band, facepainting and many other activities!

FREE!

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FROM OUR READERS WHERE’S THE BEST PLACE TO SWIM? Splash pad at the Minnesota Zoo — Lisa Finley, Mpls

Elm Creek Swimming Pond (Maple Grove) — Rachel Grahek, Maple Grove

Medicine Lake (Plymouth) — Bri Hvidsten, Plymouth

Square Lake (Stillwater) — Ann Maloney, Shoreview

Temperance River (North Shore) — Michael Larsen, Apple Valley

Wading pool at Wabun Park (Minneapolis) — Nathan Hierlmaier, St. Paul

↑↑Eli and Emma Lu Venem (6 months and 3 years) of St. Louis Park pose for family pictures. Photo by Brandon Wittnebel

St. Louis Park Aquatic Center — Celeste Hill, Minnetonka

Lake Minnetonka Regional Park — Jessica Barilla-Thorsen, Mound

Cascade Bay (Eagan) — Katie Klingberg, Eagan

Maple Grove Community Center — Amy Reichel, Blaine

↑↑Kaden and Leeana Winge enjoy a treat at Nadia Cakes in Woodbury. ←←Sydney Rosati, 7 months, basks in the sun at Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.

Fort Snelling — Kevin Chamberlin, West St. Paul

Oak Hill Splash Pad (St. Louis Park) — Danielle Magnuson, Hopkins

Bunker Beach Water Park (Coon Rapids) — Rashad Nash, Coon Rapids

↑↑Ahara Treichel, 16 months, plays at Summit Lookout Park in St. Paul. Want to see your kid on this page? Send photos with your child’s first/last name, age and city to editor@mnparent.com.

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Walgreens App

Summer Care

Convenience is becoming a big factor in the Walgreens app. Link your Balance Rewards and set up digital coupons, make photo orders, and chat with the pharmacist to see if your prescription is ready.

Summer is here, and that means the sun will be, too. Take advantage of our great prices on sunscreen and water toys for the little ones!

Photos

Be Well

Walgreens offers many different photo services that you may not know! Through the website or app you can link to your Instagram and get pictures printed from there!

In the Walgreens app, link up your steps to earn more Balance Rewards points! Link up your card to FitBit!

1-800-WALGREENS (1-800-925-4733) • WALGREENS.COM


Start w as littl ith e as

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You can get there. We can help.

Visit www.MN529today.com or call Chris McLeod 952-830-3127

June 2015  
June 2015