Monday, December 10, 2012

Lights, lights, lights!

I have a theory that the more warm weekends there are between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the more houses you'll see with Christmas lights that year. This year has been a warm one, and driving home last night it was obvious that many more people had decided to put up a display.

I've always loved Christmas lights, and while I'm not a fan of random "throw every ornatment in the world on your lawn" displays, I do enjoy seeing the kids' faces light up when they see an inflatable Santa or snowman.

I've compliled a list of some good places to see lights in Ithaca at the Holiday Lights page. If you know of any houses with nice displays or areas with a more than usual amount of lights in Tompkins County, please let me know! I'm lucky enough to live in Eastern Heights, where most houses have lights, and several have LOTS. If you take the trip up the hill, maybe you'll see my yard twinkling in the dark!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Up Ornament...?

When I saw this fabulous idea from Little Gray Fox...

My first thought was "OH SO CUTE" and my second thought was, "That looks like the balloon cluster from UP!"

Forgive my terrible photoshopping, but Am I Right?  I'm thinking someday, I'll have to create this ornament for Finn, my little balloon enthusiast.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cancer Sucks

Hug your kiddlettes close and be thankful for their health. My friend's cousin just lost her 4 year-old to cancer. If you or a family you know is facing a childhood cancer diagnosis, please direct them to Mira's Movement, a local organization whose mission is to provide informational and emotional support to families of a child diagnosed with cancer; dvocate for increased public and private funding for childhood cancer research and family support; and raise awareness of the prevalence and the impact of the disease.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

BoatYard Grill's "Fill The Truck" donations to Hurricane Sandy victims Sunday

Looking for a way to help Sandy victims? One of the easiest ways is to text REDCROSS to 90999 to give $10 to American Red Cross Disaster Relief, which helps people affected.

But maybe you're like me and are also thinking, "I have have stuff here that I don't need that could help people so close but so far away." Well, the BoatYard and Ciao are helping with this.

Donation Drive!

The BoatYard Grill & Ciao will be hosting a donation drive to assist those affected in NY/ NJ by Hurricane Sandy.

Sunday November 4, 2012 from 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM.
Donations Collected at The BoatYard Grill
525 Taughannock Blvd. Ithaca NY 14850.

The following is a list of the requested donations:

• Warm Clothing all sizes (children’s clothing is in high demand)
• New Toiletries
• Blankets
• New Unopened Baby Formula
• Bottled Water
• Canned Food

(If you choose we will be accepting cash donations to be distributed to Island Harvest and Save The Children)

And here's another way so help while getting something back!

On Sunday 11/11 and Sunday 11/18, Ithaca Community Acupuncture will open its doors to provide community acupuncture treatments for DONATION only. 100% if the proceeds will go to the disaster relief effort. Check out the website for details to come.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween activites everywhere!

Check out the calendar and the holiday tab to plan all your family's Halloween activities in the next week! Happy Halloween!

Please note that the Wegmans Costume Parade time was originally entered incorrectly. The parade is Thursday, Oct 25 from 4-8.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Project Orange at Cayuga Nature Center

Have you heard of Mira's Movement? It's a wonderful local organization providing informational and emotional support to families of a child diagnosed with cancer, advocating for increased public and private funding for childhood cancer research and family support, and raising awareness of the prevalence and the impact of the disease. This Saturday marks the 5 annual Mira's Movement fundraiser and awareness celebration, Project Orange! My family has attended Project Orange several times, and it's always a very fun event. Here are the details:

The 5th Annual Project Orange!
~ A Day of Fall Fun to Celebrate Families! ~

Saturday, October 20, 11AM-2PM
at Cayuga Nature Center, Ithaca, NY

Join in a beautiful fall day at Cayuga Nature Center!

Activities include: carving and painting pumpkins, face painting, a "pol nailish" station, games, apple pressing, arts & crafts, and all the Cayuga Nature Center has to offer, including hikes, animal interactions, and Treetops treehouse!

Admission is $20 per family and includes a pumpkin for every child!
All activities are free with admission.

Also available for purchase:
Delicious food from Three Herons (Trumansburg)--pulled pork, black beans, and mac & cheese!!!

SPONSORED BY: Cayuga Medical Center

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Free Playgroup in Brooktondale

The cold weather is blowing in and more and more people are looking for indoor places to play. The good news is, there's a new free option! A playgroup has started meeting every Tuesday and Thurdsay from 10am to noon at the Brooktondale Community Center. The playgroup is free and open to everyone. If you haven't been to the Brooktondale Community Center before, it's located on Valley Road in downtown Brooktondale which is off of highway 79, just a few miles past the Six Mile Creek Winery. There is a nice outdoor playground, and inside, there's a kitchen and a big open community room with a play structure, trikes and push toys, etc. Many parents bring their own bikes and toys as well. For more infomation on the group, contact Kate at, or just show up!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Share Your Parenting Stories

How many times have you heard the words, “Enjoy it! It goes by so fast?”  A new Ithaca based theatre group, The Civic Ensemble, wants to hear your stories!

"Whether  you  are  the mother of a two-year old or the grandfather of a 10 year-old you know you can't stop time. They just keep growing and changing. You also have an abundance of stories to tell.  The  Civic  Ensemble’s  first  annual community-based  play  will  be  developed  from  the  stories  of  Ithaca area parents. No  theatre  or  acting  experience  is  necessary  and  everyone  welcome."

*Is an opportunity for parents to come together and tell stories about
the childrearing experience from birth to college to grandkids. 

* Is a three-phase project that involves storytelling, collaborative play
development and the rehearsal and performance of an original play
open to parents in the Ithaca community.

*Welcomes any parent (meaning parents, foster parents, step-parents, and grandparents.
Anyone who has taken responsibility for raising a child) who is interested in the project whether they
have theatre experience or not!

*Will  be performed at  the Kitchen Theatre Company in  the Spring
of 2013

For more information, contact Sarah at 237-1797 or 

Parent stories sessions will be at Kitchen Theatre rehearsal space (not the theatre itself but a studio a few doors down) unless otherwise indicated. If you are thinking of coming, it may be best to contact Sarah to doublecheck location.

The dates of the sessions are as follows:
Sunday, September 30 1pm-3pm
Sunday, October 14 1pm-3pm
Sunday, November 4 1pm-3pm
Sunday, November 18 1pm-3pm
Sunday, December 2 1pm-3pm

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Free YMCA membership to First Graders!!

From the YMCA:

Calling all First Graders:
The YMCA of Ithaca & Tompkins County is spearheading an amazing initiative. One of the Y’s goals is to develop strong and healthy communities...but where to begin? What is the best way to create a Y community buzz? For starters: we want every 1st grader in the Tompkins and surrounding counties to be a member at the Ithaca Y. What is the best way to accomplish that, you ask? Give them a FREE membership! That’s right, any first grader who comes to the YMCA of Ithaca will receive a FREE Youth Membership, which won’t expire until August 2013 (WOW - that’s a $100 value!!). If you have any questions, please contact the Y at 607-257-0101 or email See You Soon!

**Please note, in their message, there is a coupon mentioned, but not attached to the message. I highly recommend contacting the Y to get the complete information before heading in to get your first grader's membership.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Back to School and Ellis Hollow Fair

Area schools begins this week! Be sure to drive safely and be on the look out for buses and pedestrians. Hope everyone has a great school year.

A wonderful way to celebrate your first week back is by spending Saturday afternoon at the Ellis Hollow Fair! This year marks the 60th annual fair, an old fashion country fair full of kids games, a white elephant sale, music, pie and a quilt raffle. It's super fun and admission is free! Saturday, September 8, from 12-5. See you there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

YES Banana Festival this Saturday, August 11, noon to 5 on the commons

I've asked Mike Smith from the city of Ithaca to fill us all in on the upcoming 2nd Annual Banana Festival, and here's what he says!

Come go bananas at the YES Banana Festival on Saturday, August 11th
from Noon to 5pm on the Downtown Ithaca Commons.  There will be food,
games and live entertainment for the whole family to enjoy.

The food will include Banana Milk Shakes, Bananas Foster, Fried
Plantains, Cotton Candy, Frozen Chocolate Dipped Bananas and so much

Have more fun then a barrel full of monkeys and win great prizes in our
games area. You can dunk a teen in the dunk tank, test your skills at
the beanana bag toss or slingshot monkey games.  Other games include
bowling for bananas, water balloon toss and nerf target practice.

Be sure to stop by the Banana Haven and get yourself done up with face
painting, tattoos and hair coloring.  While there, discover interesting
banana facts (did you know that bananas don’t grow on trees) and learn
why you should buy organic and free trade bananas.

The Main Stage will feature performances by Vitamin L, Running to
Places and other fabulous youth entertainers.  There will also be
gorillas and monkeys (don’t worry they are teens in costume) for photo
opportunities, plus balloon twisters and amazing jugglers.
Oh and don’t forget to enter our Banana Cream Pie Eating contest for
your chance to become the Top Banana.

Banana Festival is designed organized and run by youth in the Youth
Employment Service program of the Ithaca Youth Bureau.  All proceeds go
to provide jobs and job training opportunities for youth in and around
the Ithaca area.

YES Banana Festival
Saturday, August 11th
Noon to 5pm
Downtown Ithaca Commons

Thursday, July 5, 2012

It's free live music season!

I am nearly giddy with excitement, because free outdoor concert season is here.  I have loved listening to live music since I was a little girl listening to my uncles jamming folk tunes around the campfire in my small town in Minnesota. As a teen, I'd drive an hour to see my cousins wailing out the 60s rock in their band Lost Weekend. In college, I was all about Brenda Weiler and Steward Davis any other midwestern singer songwriter who would make the trek to play at my small liberal arts university. As newlyweds, we'd stay out late on Tuesday nights to hear my cousin's band The Kung Fu Hippies. And in California, I lived the rock start dreams by singing in a church band that also played secular music for local gigs.

Now that I'm a mom, I love to taking my kids to hear live music. It's such a treat to see them engaged with the musicians, making the connections of sound to instrument, beats to drums and lyrics to voice.  Some days we love to dance and twirl, or some days just sit and soak it in. Whether it's folk, rock, pop, hippie jams, or zydeco; you'll see us out and about filling out ears and hearts many evenings this month.

My personal favorite concerts are at the Ellis Hollow community center on Tuesday nights. They start early (6pm), parking is easy, and the atmosphere is very laid back. The fabulous lineup of music downtown on Thursdays also starts at 6, though the concrete ground makes it less comfy for those not dancing. The the fun on Saturday nights at Taughannock State Park is infectious, with hundreds of people enjoying the tunes. I still haven't made it to a concert at Meyers Park or at the Cornell Arts Quad, but I've heard they are great, and both series start THIS WEEK! I'll update the blog with details once I get there!

You can find details on local concerts at the Ithaca Family Fun Fairs, Festivals and Concerts tab, or the Community Calendar.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


It's that time of year! The 4th of July is near, and love them or hate them, the fireworks are about to start. Here's the info on fireworks displays I've heard about in the area. If you know of others, please post them in the comments and/or send them to me!

Sunday, July 1:

The Lansing Community Council will be holding a fireworks celebration on July 1, 2012 starting at 6pm in Myers Park in Lansing, NY. The event will feature Technicolor trailer Park at 6pm and The Dixie Kats at 8:30pm, and hamburgers, hot dogs, and sausage will be available. Dave Hatfield and the Lansing Community Council will be providing food for the evening. A portion of the procedes will support the Community Council. Fireworks at dark!

This event is free and open to the public though donations are accepted at the event.
There will be limited parking in the park. Please use the free shuttles from the Lansing School parking lots. Rain Date: July 7th.

Monday, July 2:
The City of Ithaca will be hosting the Community Fireworks Celebration at Stewart Park on Monday, July 2nd. The celebration will run from 6 to 10pm with the fireworks being launched at 9:45pm. Live music and other entertainment will start at 6pm on the Ballpark Field at Stewart Park. Entertainment for the kids will include a bounce house, face painting, balloon animals, plus games and prizes. All are welcome to join in the picnic fun which is free and open to the public.
Parking will be available at the Park and at the nearby schools. Donations can be received at these locations or in buckets located throughout the celebration. Viewing will be best from Stewart Park, however the fireworks may also be seen from Cass Park and other locations throughout the City.

Candor Indepenence Day Celebrations July 1-7:
Don’t miss Candor’s annual July 4th celebration featuring a parade, carnival, fireworks, special music, barbecue, special music and displays. Festivities begin Sunday, July 1 with the Little Mr. & Miss Candor Contest beginning at 4 p.m. at the Candor Fire Station followed by the Candor Community Chorus Concert at the Candor High School at 7 p.m.

Candor’s Fourth of July Parade, July 4, 10 a.m. This year’s theme is commercials of the 1950s. Chicken BBQ follows at the Candor Ballfield.

Kiddie Parade, July 5th, 6 p.m. (line up at 5:30 p.m.) Theme: Favorite TV show.

Carnival, July 5, 6, & 7 at the Candor Ballfield

Fireworks, July 6, beginning at dusk.

Friday, June 8, 2012

It's Strawberry Picking time!

Several local U-Pick Strawberry places are now open for the season! Although I'm unaware of all the places around, I know that Indian Creek Farm on the way to Trumansburg, Silver Queen Farm between Trumansburg and Mecklenburg and Brookside Berry Farm in Freeville are ready for picking! Grisamore Farms north of Lansing should be ready by June 15th. For more information on picking your own food, visit the Farms and Food Tab of Ithaca Family Fun. As always, if you know of places I don't have here or on the website, email me or post them in the comments! Have fun picking!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Midwest Parades vs. Ithaca Parades

Last year after we went to Ithaca Festival parade, my friend and I were comparing notes on Ithaca Festival parades vs. parades in the Midwest. I grew up in a small time in Minnesota and she lived in Madison, Wisconsin for a while. She now lives right on the parade Ithaca Festival Parade Route, which makes for a great way to hang out with friends and score some sweet parking.

Our #1 observation was the shocking lack of clowns in Ithaca. Not a one in the parade last year. Here are others.

Midwest Parade: Lots of floats, usually driven by lawnmowers or nice cars loaned from the dealership.
Ithaca Parade: Mostly people walking, some in costumes, many with dogs.

Midwest Parade: Shriners driving little cars in choreographed movement.
Ithaca Parade: Volvo ballet (Volvos driven in choreographed movement)!

Midwest Parade: Clowns!
Ithaca Parade: A guy covered in plastic grocery bags shouting "Buy everything! Max out your credit cards"

Midwest Parade: "Princesses" from all the neighboring town lookin like Cinderella in there prom gowns
Ithaca Parade: Belly dancers looking a little more like Princess Jasmin

Midwest Parade: Tractors, horses, bands and firetrucks!
Ithaca Parade: Tractors, horses, bands and firetrucks!

Midwest Parade: Leave with tons of candy
Ithaca Parade: Leave with one piece of candy and a beaded necklace.

Take home message: Parades are awesome no matter where you are.
See you all at the parade on Thursday evening!!! 

Monday, April 16, 2012

Summer Camp Guide

Did you know that Tompkins County Youth Services puts out a comprehensive yearly Summer Camp guide?  The camp guide can be found in the Ithaca Times, as well as online, where you can search by age, camp type, or by using keywords. Day camp, sleep away camp, sports, outdoors, arts, nature, religeous, whatever! The camp guide is a great way to find a fabulous camp for your child! Find the Tompkins County Youth Services Camp Guide at

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Easter Egg project!

It's only 2 weeks until Easter, and I'm sure many of you are thinking about dying eggs. I love to get creative with my eggs, so I asked my friend Stacy if I could repost her ingenious egg decorating entry from her blog, Enjoying Motherhood.

Silk Tie-dyed Easter Eggs Tutorial

Few things scream "EASTER" as much as dyeing Easter eggs....let's face it...what other time in the year do you care what color the outside of an egg is?!?! In the event that you want to mix up your dyeing process this year (or you're like me and don't want to have to run out to get colored tablets) try this fun way to spruce up your eggs.

You'll need some pretty simple things:

Eggs, silk pieces (ours are an old tie that we cut up), twist ties or short pieces of wire, and plain cotton simply has to be undyed.  You also need a pot of water with 3 tbps vinegar added.


Next you take your silk piece and wrap the egg with it. Secure the ends with the twist ties.



Do the same thing with the cotton pieces, placing over the silk piece.  Place the eggs into the pot of water/vinegar.

 Then place on the stove. Bring to boiling.



Once you hit boiling turn it down to simmer. Let simmer for 40 can go longer if you want.  Then use the scraps to play. :)

 When they've been in the allotted time unwrap and enjoy!


 Rub with vegetable oil to get them to shine!

Thanks to Stacy for this Fabulous project! Happy Easter everyone!

About Stacy: Stacy is a stay at home mom living in Minnesota on her 4th year of formal homeschooling (she says, "But let's face it...ALL families homeschool to some degree, right?") who started her blog because I wanted to ENJOY, rather than SURVIVE motherhood. "The blog was a way to keep myself accountable to that goal while encouraging other Mommies (and Daddies!) to do the same." Stacy's is raising her children in a Christian life to "KNOW that they loved by their Savior and live out His love to others" through values such as creativity, honesty, humility, servant-mindness and love for others.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

A Colorful Life

I grew up with white walls. And, for some people, there's nothing wrong with white walls. But I am not a white wall person. I LOVES me some color.  So, like I was saying, my first 18 years were spent with white walls. Then I lived in dorms or apartments with more white walls, where painting was not allowed. Twenty-nine years of my life, I lived with white walls. But Then we moved to Ithaca and bought a house.....and I went a little crazy.

My favorite color is orange.  I'd dreamed of having an orange kitchen.  That was the first room we painted. I heard somewhere that if you want to make sure contrasting colors will look good together, find colors that go together in nature. Like, if you look at a flower or a piece of fruit, it will have many different colors in it. I took this and ran with it. 

The next big room I tackled was about 2 years later when the nesting urges came with baby number 2.  This was the family room.  This room is a large open space that acts as our play room, as well as one of the main entrances to our house.  I wanted a fun but classy feel to the room. After thinking about the color for what seemed like forever, I kept coming back to our daughter's play table and how much I loved the lime green color. I found the EXACT same color in Lowe's Olympic Premium low VOC paint and figured it must be a sign.  Our family room has some beams that I didn't want to get paint on, so I created a white boarder all along the top of the room.  I taped out "frames" to keep white and hand painted the murals. I painted some of our mismatched furniture off white to match the couch and chair.

We had these beautiful couches and after much contemplation, we decided to paint the living room and dining room red and tan.  This is the only room I can find before pictures of. What a difference some color makes! If only we'd known to use a tinted primer.  That red took over 5 coats.

Finally, I wanted our entry way to be warm and inviting and flow with the living room and the family room.  I found this color combo on a piece of clearance fabric I had purchased a year earlier. If you look closely at the pillow on the living room couch and the top of the shelf in the entryway, you'll see the fabric. It contains the red, the green and this entryway coral color.

By the way, I used that Olympic Premium low VOC paint in every room except the kitchen (and also in rooms not pictured). Its fabulous color has held up well.  The green gets visible scratches and prints more than the other colors, but I'm very happy overall. 

Looking at these pictures made me laugh at how bare all the rooms feel.  They were taken soon after the painting, and before the rooms had been well lived in.  I doubt my house will ever be that clean again, but that's okay. Our rooms are filled with toys and papers and shoes and clothes and messes; but most of all, they are filled with love and happy memories.  And that's what makes a house a home. 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Kindergarten Registration time

I recently received an email from a friend with Ithaca School District Kindergarten registration information.  I've copied it below.  I'm looking into registration for other area school districts and will post them as soon as I have that info.  If you have information on Lansing, Dryden, Newfield, Trumansburg or other area schools, please post it in the comments section. Thanks!

Parents/guardians living in the Ithaca City School District who plan to send their children to kindergarten in September must register them in the schools to which they are assigned:

Belle Sherman (274-2206):  April 25, May 10 and May 11
Beverly J. Martin (274-2209):  April 23, May 3 and May 10
Caroline (539-7155):  April 26, May 15
Cayuga Heights (257-8557): May 31, June 1 and June 4
Enfield (274-2221):  May 11 and May 18 (11 am to 2pm)
Fall Creek (274-2214):  May 8, May 9
Northeast (257-2121):  May 1 and May 3
South Hill (274-2129):  April 17 and April 19

Parents/guardians who have not already been contacted by the school should call their school immediately to set up an APPOINTMENT to register their child for kindergarten.  If you are not sure which school is your home school, call 274-2201.  Parents/guardians should have the following information at the time they register their child for kindergarten:
- Proof of residency (lease, utility bill, bank statement)
-Proof of birth (birth certificate or passport)
-Proof of required immunizations including a copy of the most recent routine physical examination
-Relevant health and development history
-Other important information related to previous pre-kindergarten schooling

Parents/guardians who are open enrolling their kindergartners:  Since open enrollment decisions will not be made until after kindergarten registration (early summer), you must register your child in your home school.  You may call 274-2201 to learn which elementary school your child is assigned by residence.  If your child currently attends pre-K in the ICSD, he/she is already registered and you do not have to make an appointment

Monday, March 5, 2012

Best Purchase Ever

Perhaps the best $20 I have ever spent in my life was used this January, when I purchased a Dirt Devil Versa Power Stick Vacuum.

Nora is now nearly 4 ½ and the preschool drive for “a place for everything and everything in its place” is especially strong at this age. She’d been tossing her jacket and boots right where everyone walks in from the door, but the second I hung hooks at her level and designated a shelf for her boots, she’s been putting them away ever since. I’ve taken advantage of her love of “grown-up jobs” by giving her special chores around the house. She is hopeless at sweeping, but enjoys folding washcloths and small towels, matching socks, putting away her clothes, etc.

This being said, I’m an inconsistent cleaner and thereby inconsistent with designating tasks. And picking up toys must be considered a “kid job” because it is far less appealing to Nora than setting the table. Every corner and spare countertop in my house is covered with my piles of papers, and toys and crafts and books often live on the floor instead of their designated shelves and bins. To make matters worse, even when the floors are free of debris, both kids think that the vacuum is too loud and scary and flee to the farthest corner of the house should I think to turn it on.

One day I was grumbling over popcorn crumbs all over the floor of the just-cleaned-yesterday living room, Nora suggested she vacuum them up with our older-than-dirt-can’t-hold-a-charge dust buster. She and Finn then proceeded to vie for turns with the silly little thing until it wouldn’t run anymore (approximately 3 minutes). They then took turns pretending to vacuum with their toy Dust Buster vacuum that I had purchased 3 years ago for 5 bucks on after Christmas clearance. I thought to myself, probably for about the hundredth time, “Gee, I wish I had a real vacuum that Nora could use, because then all that pushing would actually also clean my house.”

Well, that day I decided it was enough. I was ready to stop wishing and take action. After some internet searching, I decided on this little Dirt Devil, as it got decent reviews and only cost 20 bucks. (Twenty, by the way, was also the pre-sale price of our toy vacuum). I was hesitant at first because it wasn’t cordless, but thinking about my useless cordless dust buster that hasn’t held a charge since the first 6 months I owned it, and seeing how much more expensive the cordless options were, I decided to give it a shot.


Since buying this vacuum just over a month ago, Nora has pushed it around various rooms in our house at least 20 separate times. She asks me if she can vacuum. She picks blankets and books and toys off the floor and puts them away…so that she can use her vacuum. Have I mentioned yet, that I love this vacuum?

Now, I’m not claiming this is perfect. My house is still often messy. And the Dirt Devil is really just a small hand vacuum on a stick, so I still need to get out the REAL vacuum too. This said, my son doesn’t run screaming out of the room when we pull the little red one out. I look forward to the day when he too will want to use it for more than the minute at a time he is currently investing (he is only 2). Between Nora and Finn, I’m pretty sure mommy will be getting years of help around the house though. Like I said, best $20 I’ve ever spent.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

My Favorite: Soccer Shots

I'm excited for spring, because this year I plan to have Nora play some soccer!  She's never participated in a sport other than our goofing around in the backyard. I hope she'll really have a lot of fun with it, and it feels like she will, because I've only heard good things about Soccer Shots. Soccer Shots - 'Introduction to soccer' sessions for 3-5 year olds and 6-9 year olds have been professionally designed and are led by trained Soccer Shots instructors, like Coach Eddie. Each 30-40 minute session is held at your daycare, school site, or local park. I asked Coach Eddie of Soccer Shots to tell me a little bit about it.  Here's what he says:

"The primary objective of each session is to creatively introduce your child to the sport of soccer. Character development, physical skills, and fun are guaranteed in this exciting program.
Each Soccer Shots session incorporates the following: Basic soccer skills, exclusive Soccer Shots games, word of the day, use of imagination, fun fitness activities and exercises, coordination, balance, and agility development.

By enrolling your child in Soccer Shots, you can expect the following: Increased psychomotor development through fun fitness activities, introduction to team dynamics, character formation (lessons in honesty, sharing, helping, respect, self-control, attitude), development of active lifestyle habits."

And my favorite part? No gear is needed! All soccer equipment is provided to program participants.

You can check out the Soccer Shots website to see what sessions are going on near you and of course, to to reserve your child's spot!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Want to be my friend?

Have you "liked" the Ithaca Family Fun webpage on Facebook yet?  It's a great way find out when important updates have been made to the website.  I plan to use the Facebook page to run contests & giveaways as well, starting with this one! The 50th person to "like" the Ithaca Family Fun page on Facebook will win a $25 gift certificate to Northeast Pizza & Scalehouse Brewpub!  Tell your friends!

Click here to like the page!

p.s. Check out the calendar for updates for this winter break week!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

My Favorite: The Tot Spot

Last week we made it over to the Tot Spot for only the second time this year.  I wish we could make it more often, as the kids always have a great time when we are there.  If you are unfamiliar with the Tot Spot, it's a wonderful indoor play area at the Ithaca Youth Bureau for children 5 and under. The Tot Spot isn't a drop-off place, parents and care providers stay with their kids.

The Tot Spot has slides, ride on toys, balls, small toys, books, a kitchen and more. What's more, the Tot Spot employees usually bring out the parachute, and sometimes large pieces of paper and markers. It's a great place to escape the winter blues!  Plus, all the toys are sanitized before they're put away each day. 

The Tot Spot has new hours as of this January.  They are no longer open Sunday afternoons, but they are open Mondays now. 

The Tot Spot
Located at the Ithaca Youth Bureau
1 James L. Gibbs Drive, Ithaca (near Stewart Park)

Open Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9:30-11:30 am

Children 5-12 months old $2; 13 months - 5 years $4.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Favorite: Parent's Night Out!

So, I'm not sure if I can technically call this "My Favorite" if I've never really done it, but I LOVE the idea of doing a parent's night out with one of our great local groups.  I've seen that the Cornell Daycare does this, as does the Coddington Community Center and other places.  Most recently, I read about the one coming up at Finger Lakes Gymnastics next Saturday night.  Finn and Nora LOVE this place!  We haven't done their classes, but we've gone to their unstructured play time several times, as well as a birthday party.  For those interested, here are the details!  They do this every month too!

Nora...blurry, but having fun!

"Give your child a super fun experience on a Saturday night while you go out and have a fun time of your own! Reservation is required and space is limited.

Open to children ages 4 and up, they will enjoy gymnastics fun, games, group activities, music, arts & crafts, Pizza and a short movie.

Saturday Jan 21, 6pm – 10pm, $20 member / $25 non-members

Contact the office 607-273-5187 or email to reserve your space!"

*Update! Just read about a Parents Night Out at the Cornell Daycare too!  

Please note that your child does not need to be enrolled at the center to attend this event.
State mandated forms will need to be completed for all non-enrolled children. You can find
these forms on our websites homepage titled “back up care packet”

What are your plans for Valentine’s Day?  Cornell Child Care Center is hosting a Parent’s Night Out
Friday, February 10, 2012, 6:30pm-10:00pm
Your children can enjoy a pizza party at the center while you enjoy an evening out!
Pizza, applesauce, juice/milk will be served at 6:45pm
Children will be changed into pajamas after dinner
A rated ‘G’ movie will be available at 7:30pm for those children who are interested
Children will have opportunities to play with manipulative toys, read books, paint and more….
The cost of this event is $30.00 per child.
Space is limited so please make your reservation by contacting the center at 607-255-1010 or at

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Making Snow

It’s the 11th of January and it’s nearly 50 degrees out, and we’ve barely had an inch of snow all winter. What’s a mom with snowman starved children to do?

It’s time to make snow! Using a recipe I saw on Pinterest, I whipped up a small batch of “cloud dough.” For those familiar with Moon Dough & Moon Sand, this is like the homemade version. It’s soft like flour, but sticks together, so it’s perfect for packing into balls or pressing into a mold to make a “sandcastle.”

The kids sat out in the sunshine and played with their “snow” for nearly half an hour. Nora liked packing it into our little bowls and making “cake,” while Finn preferred to smash the little castles we made.

8 cups flour
1 cup baby oil

 (I made a half recipe. Also, I needed to add a bit more oil)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

It's Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Party! (part 2 - Piñata Tutorial)

Nora had expressed interest in having a piñata for her birthday party. I had been thinking for a while that making a piñata would be sort of fun. We had made Finn a paper mache' hot air balloon a year earlier, so I thought, how much harder could a rainbow shaped piñata be? hahahaha....

Well, to anyone else thinking of attempting to do this project with their child, I have a little advice:

1. This is a project for those who love to make their own stuff, or those who have more time than money.  If this is not you, I highly recommend buying a rainbow piñata instead.

2. If your child is under 6, you will likely be making 90% of the piñata by yourself.  My daughter is anti-gooey hands, too young to properly cut with scissors, and barely able to fold paper.  Not sure why I thought this would be a good project for her.

3. Give your self plenty of time. Piñatas need a lot of time to dry in their various stages. We started ours about 3 weeks before the party and this worked well. We were (read: I was) able to work on it on and off in spare time, which made it more fun.

4. Consider less paper, more paint. Folding, cutting, and gluing the paper was the most time consuming part of the project. Especially for young children, painting would be an easier way to get them to more actively participate and they will be just as pleased with the result.

That being said, here's the steps for the Rainbow Piñata for Nora's Rainbow Unicorn birthday party!

Blow up twist "animal" balloons and tape together in a bowed shape. I would recommend a tape like blue painters tape. I think it would work better than the scotch tape I used. I'd recommend 5 balloons.

To maintain the bowed shape, attach pipe cleaners at each end of the rainbow and twist them together at your preferred distance.

Paper-mâché your rainbow, taking care to fully wrap the rainbow. I used a water/flour mixture, but you can use whatever adhesive you prefer.

Find a nice spot where the piñata can dry for a few days. I'd recommend putting paper or plastic down, as it will drip, and covering the spot on the wall it will lean against.

Once the paper mache is FULLY dry inside and out, you can pop the balloons and shake out any excess crud from the inside.

Attach a hanger. I used curling ribbon attached with duct tape and that was strong enough.

I used 2 methods for the paper. Both used strips, but one I fan folded and the other I just folded in on itself. I found the second worked much better. I folded the strips of tissue paper about 5 times, at around an inch and a half wide. I then cut lots of little slits into the paper. After the strip is attached and fully dried, you can fan out the little slits to make the piñata appear fuller. There were also areas where I needed to add small sections of various colors to fully cover the paper mâché. I tired of this process and used large strips of blue to cover the bottom of our rainbow.

Once the covering is fully dry, flip your rainbow upside down and add candy, small toys, fruit snacks, whatever you want.

Cover the ends with duct tape. Flip upside down several times and test that they are sealed.

Finally, I hot glued cotton balls onto the bottom of our rainbow.

Sad to see all that time and energy whacked at and destroyed by a stick, but the kids LOVED it. Plus, we were lucky enough that about 2/3 of the rainbow was not wrecked. I closed off the end and used it as a decoration in Nora's room.