Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Family Friendly New Year's Eve Events in New Orleans

New Orleans has been voted one of the top New Years Eve celebration destinations, but if any of you have been in the thick of it downtown, you know how family UN-friendly it can get! Luckily there are a few family-centric New Year's Eve events to take part in.

On both Wednesday and Thursday from noon until 8pm, head down to the Jax Brewery parking lot to participate in the Allstate Sugar Bowl Fan Fest. Try your football-throwing skills, enjoy food from the Hard Rock Cafe, take a picture with the Sugar Bowl trophy, and dance to the Gin Blossoms (Wednesday) and Lady Antebellum (Thursday). Admission is free, and there will be pep rallies for both Sugar Bowl teams (Cincy and Florida this year, in case you didn't know!).

On Thursday from 10:30am until 12:30pm, join Radio Disney at the Audubon Zoo to celebrate "Noon Year's Eve". Hugo the Hornets mascot will be there with the Honeybees and Junior Stingers, and the kids can create some arts and crafts and have their faces painted. Ring in noon with your kids with a Pepsi-sponsored non-alcoholic toast!

On the other side of town from 9:30am to 2:30pm, you can celebrate another countdown to noon at the Louisiana Children's Museum. This celebration is $10 general admission or $2 for members and includes music by Bruce "Sunpie" Barnes and the Louisiana Sunspots, and a balloon drop at noon.

Regardless of how you celebrate the new year, be safe and have fun!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Santa at Lakeside Mall

Santa has been on a 25-city tour since appearing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade, and will make his last stop at Macy's in Lakeside Mall on Tuesday at 2pm. He'll only be there for an hour before heading back up to the North Pole to get ready for his trip on Christmas Eve, so get there while you can! Enjoy Christmas music and a reading of The Night Before Christmas, and take a picture with Santa before its too late!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Here are a few things to work into your schedule this weekend:

On Saturday morning at 10am, the Luling Planetarium will host "George and Oatmeal Save Santa" - a Christmas show for little ones. A second showing is scheduled for 2pm, followed by another holiday show called "Season of Light". Both events are free.

Saturday night the Saints will be (hopefully) beating the Cowboys in the Superdome. If you don't have tickets to the game and want to watch it in a unique setting, head over to Celebration in the Oaks at City Park. They'll have the big screens set up, and if you wear your black and gold, you get $1 off the $7 admission price.

On Sunday 12/20 there will be free admission to the Louisiana Children's Museum courtesy of Target.

Enjoy free, beautiful Christmas music with your family on Sunday evening at St. Louis Cathedral's annual Christmas concert - part of the Cathedral Concert Series. The final event in this series will be a gospel performance on Monday at 6pm.

Enjoy the beautiful weekend!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

More New Orleans-area events for this weekend!

If you're still looking for things to do this weekend, check out the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival Saturday and Sunday at the Jazz and Heritage Center on N. Rampart. They've moved the events inside the center, so the rain will not put a damper on the great musical performances (Kermit Ruffins, Trombone Shorty), but will make for perfect gumbo-eating weather!

If rolling on the river is more your style, head over to the Steamboat Natchez at Toulouse Street and the river for a cruise with Santa on Saturday morning. Bring 2 non-perishable food items to donate to the Second Harvest Food Bank and receive a free ticket! The boat sets sail at 11:30am and the ticket office will begin accepting donations at 10:30am.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

There are only 2 more weekends before Christmas, and no shortage of ways to celebrate! On Saturday, take the family down to Canal Street for their Kids on Canal Street events. Radio Disney, the Calliope Puppets, and Santa will all be on hand at various Canal Street locations to entertain.

If music is your thing, head to St. Louis Cathedral and check out one (or more) of the Cathedral Concerts. See Philip Manuel on Thursday, Ellis Marsalis, on Sunday, or any of the other 6 concerts scheduled in the next week. All are free and open to the public.

Celebrate the beginning of Hanukkah with the lighting of a 12-foot menorah on Sunday at Chanukah at Riverwalk. Enjoy dancing, music, and food from 4-6pm.

If you haven't yet made it out to Miracle on Fulton Street, this weekend you can watch the Christmas movie Elf on the big screen, or enjoy music from the Topcats (Friday), Cullen Landry and Midnight Streetcar (Saturday), and the Yat Pack (Sunday).

Keep your fingers crossed for good weather, and get out and enjoy the holiday season in New Orleans!

Friday, December 4, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Christmas lights EVERYWHERE! At 5:30pm Friday, the famous Al Copeland Christmas lights will be turned on at Lafreniere Park. Running from 5:30pm to 10pm nightly until January 6th, the lighting ceremony will include performances and carolers.

What would a holiday season be without a parade? Saturday morning at 11am head to Canal Street downtown to see the Krewe of Kringle in the Canal Street Christmas Parade. Stick around afterwards for a free concert at Elk Place and enjoy the sounds of Jeremy Davenport, Kermit Ruffins, and others.

While downtown, why not make a day of it and head over to Miracle on Fulton? My 4 year old is annoyed at the fact that we likely won't see snow this season, so maybe I'll placate him with the fake snowfall on Fulton....

Also on Saturday is the next installment of the Kids Culinary Camp sponsored by the Junior League of New Orleans at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

If your kids are more of the crafty type, head to your nearest Lowe's Build and Grow clinic to make a gingerbread house, or to your nearest Michael's to make Christmas present crafts for the family!

Have a great weekend enjoying the spirit of Christmas!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Christmas in New Orleans

Tonight is opening night for Celebration in the Oaks at City Park. Enjoy lights, rides, a laser show, and a narration of the Cajun Night Before Christmas - one of my favorite holiday tales. In fact, I still have the copy of the book that my Mamere gave to me MANY years ago, and read it to my own children! The celebration is open this weekend, closed Monday through Thursday, then begins its nightly run on December 4th until December 30th. Admission is $7 per person, and children 3 and under are free (rides extra).

Also opening tonight and running through January 3rd is Harrah's Casino's Miracle on Fulton Street. This is a free event and family-friendly. Enjoy Christmas lights, live music, visit Santa Claus, and if you're there at the right time, it just may snow!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Christmas season is upon us!

It's official: the Christmas season is upon us in the New Orleans area! As if the holiday decorations that have been popping up all over town haven't put you in the Christmas spirit, tonight at 5:30pm the Christmas lights on Canal Street downtown will be switched on! Santa Claus will arrive on one of the red streetcars (how else would he arrive in New Orleans?) and will flip the switch to light the Christmas tree and lights on Canal Street. Stick around and listen to the McDonough 35 choir, and head over to Fulton Street to check out a preview of Harrah's Miracle on Fulton Street events.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

On Saturday, officially kick off the holiday season (as if the displays of Christmas decorations that have been up in stores since the beginning of October hadn't already clued you in) by welcoming Santa as he arrives at Lakeside Mall. Santa is scheduled to arrive at 9:30am, and where else but in southern Louisiana would you greet him and Mrs. Claus with a second line parade?

Also on Saturday, celebrate Fiesta Latina at Zephyr Stadium from 10:30am until 9:30pm. Festival admission is free and parking is $5 per vehicle. Enjoy food, music, dancing, and art that celebrates different Latin cultures!

Want to be a part of a community art project? Head over to the Green Room at The Green Project in Faubourg Marigny to participate in the 4th annual Draw-A-Thon. The Draw-A-Thon begins at 6:30am Saturday and runs 24 hours ending with a pancake breakfast Sunday at 6:30am. Different workshops featuring various techniques will be held throughout the 24 hour event, including drawing with a sewing machine and drawing on film. Adults and kids are encouraged to visit this paper-covered room and channel their artistic sides!

On Sunday, head on over to Oak Street and stuff yourself silly with a huge array of the area's best po-boys at the 2009 New Orleans Po-Boy Preservation Festival. Enjoy great local tunes while munching on delicious po-boys. Just reading the list of vendors and their wares has my mouth watering - I just have to try Emeril's bacon, lettuce, and fried green tomato shrimp remoulade po-boy (would that be a "BLFGTSR"?).

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Another weekend full of free and frugal things to do in the New Orleans area. If your social calendar is open this weekend, check out a few of these events to keep you busy:
  • The weather should be great for the Gator Luau at Holy Name of Jesus school in New Orleans. It runs Friday through Sunday and includes food, drink, rides, music, and both the LSU and Saints games will be shown so you won't have to miss a play!
  • If you're in the mood to shop for Christmas presents, check out the St. Edward the Confessor Craft Fair on Saturday from 9am to 5pm at 4921 W. Metairie Avenue. With more than 100 exhibitors, you should be able to find something for everyone on your list!
  • Also on Saturday will be the next installment of the Kids Culinary Camp for second through fourth graders at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, sponsored by the Junior League of New Orleans.
  • If you're the handy type, head over to Lowe's for their Build and Grow clinic on Saturday from 10-11am. The kids will get to create a "garage" for the Lowe's NASCAR vehicle.
  • On Sunday, head over to the Louisiana Children's Museum for free admission courtesy of Target.
  • If music is your thing, check out the craft and food vendors and enjoy the music at the free third annual Congo Square Rhythms Festival on Sunday from 11am until 6:30pm.
  • Also on Sunday is the grand opening of the "Dreams Come True" Disney art exhibit at the New Orleans Museum of Art. This exhibit will be on display until March 14, 2010, so if you can't make it out this weekend, you'll have plenty of time to do so.
Have a wonderful weekend and get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

If you're looking for a free or frugal way to spend time with your family this weekend, check out some of these local events:
  • Pass a good time at the Swamp Fest at the Audubon Zoo. Enjoy some great cajun food and authentic cajun music while experiencing our wonderful Audubon Zoo.
  • The Disney movie series winds down with the Beauty and the Beast screening at the New Orleans Museum of Art (for members only). Or head to the museum on Sunday from 10am to 4pm for Japan Fest - all free for Louisiana residents, and all outdoor exhibits and demonstrations free for everyone.
  • If you're in Metairie, why not check out the St. Benilde Fall Festival? They will have great music and food, and rides for the kids all weekend long.
  • If you're into bicycling, on Saturday morning join the Tour de Jefferson for a unique view of the parish, and to encourage safe biking routes in the area.
  • If jazz music is more your style, check out the New Orleans Helsinki Connection at the New Orleans Jazz Historical Park. The free concert starts at 2pm.
It looks like it will be another beautiful weekend in the New Orleans area - there's no excuse to not get out and enjoy it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Halloween Weekend Safety

Hopefully everyone will be out haunting their neighborhoods Saturday night and hauling home lots of candy. We received a reminder today from school that we should be vigilant and check the sex offender registry before trick-or-treating with the kids. It is good practice to be aware of your surroundings always, so do yourself a favor and arm yourself (and your children) with some knowledge by checking out these websites:

Halloween Safety Tips

Louisiana State Police sex offender registry

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children

You can also check out this previous post for a link to an article that shares some staggering statistics.

And while we're on the subject of safety, when you turn your clocks back Saturday night, be sure to change the batteries in your smoke detectors!

Have a happy and safe Halloween!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Looks like it will be another busy and beautiful weekend here in the New Orleans area. If you're looking for something to do, check out these events:

Tonight, head to City Park for "Ghosts in the Oaks". Its not free, but the price of admission ($15) includes all rides, treats, crafts, face painting, and hayrides.

Also tonight, and continuing through Sunday, head over to Lafreniere Park in Metairie for their "Park-A-Boo" Halloween celebration. Adult admission is $7, children 3-12 are $5, and children under age 3 are free. Kids will be able to trick-or-treat, enter a costume contest, enjoy face painting, and navigate a slightly-scary maze as part of the Park-A-Boo celebration!

On Saturday, your chef-in-training can head over to another installment of the free Kids' Culinary Camp at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum.

If you're in the mood for some seafood (and who isn't?) check out the Bucktown Seafood Festival this weekend. Great food, games, and bands, including one of our favorites, the Bucktown Allstars (of course!) on Sunday afternoon.

And it wouldn't be New Orleans if we didn't have a parade for Halloween! On Saturday night, throw on your costume and head down to the Krewe of Boo parade and catch some beads! Mr. Mardi Gras Blaine Kern says this will be a family-friendly parade, but use your own judgement with your children, as it is an evening parade in New Orleans...

Have a great weekend, and get out and enjoy the beautiful fall weather!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday: Things to do in the New Orleans area on Make a Difference Day


"Make a Difference Day" is this Saturday, October 24th. Here is a list of 10 organizations that have volunteer opportunities so you can "Make a Difference":

1. This Saturday and every Saturday morning, the City Park Mow-Rons meet in front of the New Orleans Museum of Art to clean up City Park. After Katrina, City Park did not have the funds to pay full-time gardeners and landscape workers, so the Mow-Rons came to the rescue.

2. Do you or a loved one enjoy playing on community playgrounds? If so, KaBOOM! Build Days will be occurring throughout the next several months and are still looking for volunteers and donations.

3. The United Saints 1st Street Recovery Project helps clean up the community and rebuild homes for disadvantaged residents of Central City.

4. If gardening is your thing, One Book, One New Orleans will be creating a community garden in St. Bernard parish.

5. Or head to the lower 9th ward to help start a community garden by building fences and creating raised planting beds with Americorps volunteers.

6. Are you a carpenter (or do you play one on tv)? If so, maybe you can put your skills to good use by helping to build wheelchair ramps for some local residents on Saturday with Trinity Christian Community and Phoenix New Orleans.

7. Habitat for Humanity has 46 homes in progress in the greater New Orleans area right now - maybe you can put your skills to work to help put someone in their own home?

8. Check out the HandsOn New Orleans website for opportunities to volunteer at the New Orleans Mission and with other organizations.

9. Pet lovers can donate their time and resources to the LASPCA or Animal Rescue New Orleans.

10. Finally, remember that not everyone is blessed with an abundance of food, especially in these economic times. Consider volunteering with the Second Harvest Food Bank network - you never know when you may be in need as well.

If you won't be in the New Orleans area on Make a Difference Day, go here to check out projects in your area!

And while you're at it, head over to OhAmanda for more Top 10 Tuesday!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

More New Orleans-area events for this weekend!

If you didn't already have enough entertainment choices for this weekend, here are a few others you may want to check out:

If you're in the mood for a short trip north, head to Lacombe for the Wild Things! Wildlife Refuges festival. Its free and features boat tours, hayrides, live music, and exibitions by conservationists.

Whole Foods Market in Metairie will be teaching those interested in creating holiday crafts from recyclables today from 10-2. Head uptown to their Magazine Street location to learn about green decorating, and how to make Halloween costumes and treats today from 1-3pm.

In addition to the Cochon de Lait at St. Edwards, the following schools/parishes are also holding fall fairs:
Rockin' Cajun Festival at St. Bonaventure in Avondale

With all these choices there is no excuse to sit around this weekend - get out and have fun!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Our first real taste of fall weather will make it a great time to get outside and enjoy the area this weekend - and it looks to be a busy one!

Head out to Lafayette Square this evening from 5pm to 7pm to catch the Rebirth Brass Band at the Harvest the Music fall concert series. Admission is free, and all proceeds from the food and drink ticket sales go to benefit the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Friday through Sunday, head to Metairie to enjoy the St. Edward the Confessor Cochon de Lait. The theme this year is "Pigs Ahoy!" There will be rides, food (including the locally-famous cochon on Sunday), and musical entertainment all weekend long.

The Crescent City Blues & BBQ Festival is being held all day Saturday and Sunday at Lafayette Square Park. This free festival boasts an incredible lineup of jazz musicians, and arts and crafts vendor area, and of course some kickin' barbeque to enjoy!

If you're near the LaPlace area this weekend, stop by the Andouille Festival. Adult admission is $3 and children 12 and under are $1. Kids can enjoy free face painting, pony rides, a petting zoo, and demonstrations by the LaPlace fire department. A gumbo cook-off, apron contest, and andouille toss are also scheduled.

For the train enthusiasts out there, the 4th annual Louisiana Steam Train Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday behind the zoo at Audubon Park. Admission is $10 per person, or buy a family membership for $35 that will grant you admission to all of LASTA's events for a year. The kids can take a rubber-tired train ride, check out the model train display, bounce on inflatables, and play conductor in a real caboose! Listen to some great bluegrass music while learning about the history of the steam locomotive.

There's something for everyone this weekend - get out and enjoy it!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Special New Orleans-area event on Tuesday morning

There will be a special event for all you early birds on Tuesday morning. The USS New York is a new Navy vessel that was manufactured with 7.5 tons of steel from the World Trade Center. She will be leaving the Northrop Grumman shipyards in Avondale around 7am Tuesday and heading down the Mississippi river on her journey to New York City where she will be commissioned by the US Navy. If all goes as planned, she should be passing the French Quarter around 8am. Join us and (hopefully) thousands of others on the levee to wish her well on her voyage before you head to work or school on Tuesday.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

More New Orleans-area events for this weekend!

Here are a couple more events happening in the area this weekend:
If you like gumbo (and who doesn't?) check out the Bridge City Gumbo Festival. They'll have over 2000 gallons of seafood and chicken & sausage gumbo on hand, as well as other typical festival fare. They will have live music to entertain you and a fais-do-do area for you to show off your dance moves! Admission is only $1 and parking is free, so head out to Bridge City to sample the best from the "Gumbo Capital of the World"!

The second annual Gentilly Fest is Saturday and Sunday at Pontchartrain Park. Admission is free and there will be a TON of kids' activities, including pony rides, fire trucks on display, and the Louisiana Children's Museum will be on hand with bubbles and free 30-day membership passes! 80% of the proceeds from Gentilly Fest will be donated to area police and fire departments, as well as to Gentilly EMS and children's music camps, so head out there and have a great time while supporting local causes.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Free New Orleans Events this Weekend

Here are a few fun and free events happening in the area this weekend:

St. Matthew the Apostle in Harahan is holding their fall fair this weekend, with great local food and music, and rides for the kids.

If you are looking to take a short road trip, head down to Houma and check out the Voice of the Wetlands festival. Festival admission is free, and the proceeds from food and beverage sales go to help save our Louisiana wetlands. Sundays lineup reads like a "Who's Who" of local music: Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Jumpin' Johnny Sansone, Anders Osborne, Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville, Stanton Moore, and Waylon Thibodeaux - and they're just the ones playing together as the Voice of the Wetlands Allstars! Where else but in Louisiana can you get such a treat for free?

Finally, Lowe's is again having their Build and Grow clinic for kids. Tomorrow's project is a ball toss - just in time for tailgating!

Have a great weekend and enjoy it with your family!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday: Things I should be doing instead


As I was thinking about what to write for Top 10 Tuesday, all I could think about were the OTHER things I should be doing! So, here is my top 10 things I should be doing instead of writing this post right now:
  1. Not letting my younger son nap - he'll end up not wanting to sleep tonight!
  2. Finding a great sugar cookie recipe - for the aforementioned younger son's birthday party favors
  3. Speaking of that party, I need to figure out how I'm going to put together his "Wow, Wow Wubbzy" cake
  4. And again regarding his birthday, I need to figure out a present to get him!
  5. Since my mom and aunt are coming into town for his birthday, I really should straighten up the guest room (but they won't be here until Sunday - I've got time!)
  6. On the subject of straightening up, I really do need to get down and dust the baseboards.
  7. I should be folding the sheets that are still sitting in my dryer
  8. Or figuring out what to make for dinner (I usually have it all planned out!)
  9. I have 4 birthdays on my calendar for next week - guess how many cards I've sent (or better yet, purchased)? That's right - ZERO!
  10. I should walk Jake, my big, fat (I say that with the utmost love) yellow lab, and get out and enjoy the 90 degree temps. But how can I do that when baby boy is napping??? ;)

Head on over to OhAmanda for some more Top 10 Tuesday!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Jumpstart's Read for the Record

On Thursday, October 8th, please join me and thousands of others to help set a world record for reading. Go to the Jumpstart website and pledge to read Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar to be counted in the record attempt. If you create and register an event through the site by October 7th (even if its just reading in your home to your own children), you will be entered into a drawing to win a set of Eric Carle animal flashcards for your little ones!
You're already reading to your kids (aren't you???) and you may already have the Eric Carle classic in your home library, so what are you waiting for? Sign up today and show the children in your life how important reading is.

Friday, October 2, 2009

This weekend's fairs and festivals...

The New Orleans-area fair and festival season is in full swing! The big one this weekend is the Gretna Heritage Festival. This one is free for children 12 and under, and $10 for all others (per day - a $25 weekend pass is also available). Judging by the musical talent scheduled to appear on seven different stages (including Soul Asylum, Clarence Carter, and Chicago), the admission fee is a real bargain! The festival gates open at 4pm today, and they'll wrap up Sunday night.

Two of the local Catholic schools are having their fall festivals this weekend as well. St. Ann Church and School in Metairie is presenting "St. Ann and All That Jazz" tonight through Sunday. Dragos will be there tonight preparing their to-die-for chargrilled oysters...
St. Mary Magdalen, also in Metairie, is having their Seafood Festival starting tonight and running through Sunday. Scheduled tonight is their seafood platter dinner in the cafeteria, and a wide array of food will be served in the back field all weekend (everything from smoked turkey legs to gumbo to crawfish cakes and much more). This is NOT the weekend to be on a diet!

Intro to the arts

There are a couple of interesting events happening this weekend in New Orleans that are a good introduction to the arts for your little ones.

On Saturday at 10am at the Newcomb Art Gallery at Tulane University, there will be a free, all-ages print making workshop that corresponds with the Hatch Show Print exhibit. The workshop is free, but you do need to RSVP by emailing or by calling 504-865-5361.

On Sunday, the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra is performing a children's concert at Benjamin Franklin High School (2001 Leon C. Simon Blvd., New Orleans). The concert begins at 3pm, but there will be a "petting zoo" in the lobby starting at 2:15pm where the children can see many of the instruments up close and personal. Afterwards, the children will be treated to cookies and juice, also in the lobby. Admission is free for children younger than 12, and $10 for all others.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

For your budding foodie...

Unfortunately my "sous chef" is too young, but if you happen to have a budding foodie in grades 2 through 4, then check out the free class at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum on Saturday from 9:30am to 11:30am. Sponsored by the Junior League of New Orleans, this installation of the Kids in the Kitchen culinary camp will teach your children to make healthy food choices and will give them the opportunity to make pasta from scratch. The camp is free, but does require pre-registration by calling 504-569-0405.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Disney Movies at NOMA

If you happen to be a member of the New Orleans Museum of Art, then this series of events is for you! The museum is presenting a 5-weekend Disney movie series to get you ready for the upcoming Dreams Come True exhibit that opens in mid-November. Here is a list of the movies that will be shown:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs October 3 &4, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm

Cinderella October 10 & 11, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm

Sleeping Beauty October 17 & 18, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm

The Little Mermaid October 24 & 25, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm

Beauty and the Beast November 6, 5pm and 7pm; and November 7, 11am, 1pm, and 3pm

Remember, these screenings are for members only, though if you're not a member, you can still enjoy the museum's exhibits for free as a Louisiana resident (thanks to the generosity of the Helis Foundation).

Wordless Wednesday: Time passes quickly...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

More New Orleans-area events for this weekend!

You know fall is upon us when the festival calendar starts filling up! In addition to the Alligator Festival, there are several other events to keep you busy and having fun this weekend:

Beginning with a fish fry on Friday night and continuing through Sunday evening is the St. Angela Merici Church and School Fair: "St. Angela Merici on the Bayou" is this year's theme. Check it out for family fun and games, good food, and great music!

If you're looking to do some early Christmas shopping, head on over to the Archbishop Chappelle High School annual craft fair on Saturday from 9am to 5pm. With over 170 vendors, you're sure to find something for everyone on your "nice" list!

Also on Saturday from 9am until 2pm, the Jefferson Parish Human Services Authority will be celebrating its 20th year at Lafreniere Park in Metairie. Starting off the festivities will be a walk to raise money for The Extra Mile. At 11am, look for face painting, games, music, and other family-friendly events for you to enjoy.

If that's not enough, you can always head downtown to the 3rd annual New Orleans Seafood Festival at Fulton Square. Check out the list of food vendors - its making my mouth water just reading it! If we head out to this festival, you can bet I'll be grabbing at least a dozen chargrilled oysters.... so good! And since both the LSU and Saints games will be broadcast, you can multitask: eat some delicious food, dance to some great music, cheer on your team, all the while supporting the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. Sounds like a win-win-win-win situation to me!

Alligator Festival!

Tonight is the opening of the Alligator Festival in St. Charles Parish (just west of New Orleans). The festival opens tonight (just the rides) and continues until Sunday evening. In addition to the rides, at the festival there will be live music from local bands and vendors serving all kinds of foods made with alligator meat. My younger son ate his way through the festival last year - he just couldn't get enough gator (and he was not quite a year old!). This year, we plan to bring a little more cash so that we're prepared for his overzealous taste of alligator! I personally am looking forward to the gator sauce piquant and the Bucktown Allstars!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday: Fall Favorites!


In honor of Top 10 Tuesday and the first day of fall, here is my list of the top 10 things I love about fall:

  1. school and community fairs

  2. FOOTBALL!!!! Geaux Tigers and Saints!

  3. the colors when the leaves change (of course that doesn't happen much here - makes me miss living further north - just a little!)

  4. sleeping with the windows open - thanks to the cooler temps and lower humidity

  5. oyster season!

  6. wearing comfy sweatshirts and sweaters (not yet, though - its still hot today!)

  7. preparing for Thanksgiving and Christmas

  8. finding the perfect pumpkin

  9. my baby boy's birthday!

  10. finding the perfect Halloween costumes

Head on over to OhAmanda for more Top 10 Tuesday!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Walk for Peace

"Peace" - sometimes that is a foreign concept in New Orleans (just read the daily Times-Picayune!). Monday September 21st is International Peace Day, and to commemorate that here in New Orleans, Sandy Blum (co-owner of Spa Aria) and Laurel Savoie (of the Louisiana Green Scene Magazine) are co-hosting the second annual Walk for Peace Sunday at 11am. The walk will begin in front of the Hotel Monteleone and will end in Jackson Square. The Carousel Bar will be providing mimosas (yummy!) for the grown ups, but the whole family can head out and promote peace in our fair city. So, wear your white t-shirts (decorated with peace signs if you like) and show your penchant for peace in Sunday morning's Walk for Peace!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday: Halloween Costumes!


I know its only mid-September, but my 4 year old is already making plans for his Halloween costume. Its the first year we've let him decide how he'll dress, mainly because we don't already have a hand-me-down costume in our arsenal that fits him! So, in honor of Top 10 Tuesday, here are the top 10 costumes that he wants:

  1. Spider-man ("the good one, NOT the bad one," he says)

  2. Wolverine (from X-Men)

  3. A bulldozer

  4. A crane "like at Pawpaw's work"

  5. Batman

  6. A pirate (Captain Jack Sparrow, of course!)

  7. Buzz Lightyear

  8. A monster

  9. Iron Man

  10. "The scary guy from Star Wars" (Darth Vader - I'm not sure how he knows him, since I'm fairly certain he's never seen the movies...)

The best part is that he wants to be ALL of these things, for THIS Halloween! The list gets longer each time a catalog arrives with costumes for sale...

Head on over to OhAmanda for more Top 10 Tuesday lists!

Friday, September 11, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Hopefully this weekend won't be a complete washout, but this weather is not what I'd ask for on the weekend! If you want to venture out despite the weather, here are a few free and family-friendly events happening in the area:

Take Time for Lunch on Saturday 9/12, 11am to 1pm at the Edible Schoolyard at Samuel J. Green Charter School (2319 Valence, New Orleans). Visit informational booths, tour the edible schoolyard garden, and the kids can participate in activities just for them.

Along similar lines, the Young Leadership Council is holding a Community Revitalization Day on Saturday from 9am to 12 noon at their headquarters (1840 Euterpe Street, New Orleans). If you're looking for service hours (or rather if your children need them!), come help plant a community garden and paint the YLC meeting room's walls.

Also on Saturday, you can visit the Sankofa Marketplace in the lower 9th ward from 1pm - 4pm. Kids visiting the marketplace can receive a free book courtesy of the New Orleans Public Library Martin Luther King branch bookmobile. Stop by this or any of the other area farmers markets and support our local farmers and fishermen.

On Sunday at 1pm you can celebrate author Roald Dahl's birthday at Octavia Books. Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is one of my older son's FAVORITE stories, so maybe I'll surprise him with a trip Uptown!

Enjoy your weekend and remember, GEAUX SAINTS GEAUX!!!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Fun Friday Event for the New Orleans area!

Are you ready for some football???? On Friday, September 11, from 5-8pm, join some of the Saints players, Saintsations, and team mascots at the Saints at the Square Kickoff Rally! Held at Lafayette Square, the rally will include music from Benny Grunch and the Bunch, and, one of my local favorites, The Iguanas! The event is free, and food and beverage will be available for sale, benefiting the Young Leadership Council. Although this weekend's weather leaves little to be desired, this event will happen rain or shine, so bring the family and cheer on our New Orleans Saints!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Jumping In!

The little guy has started jumping in the water just like his big brother!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Labor Day weekend is a big weekend in New Orleans, but not a big family-friendly weekend thanks to the Southern Decadence festival. Here are a few family-friendly events I found that might keep you busy this weekend:
  • The Morgan City Shrimp & Petroleum Festival starts Thursday and runs through Monday. Live music each night, a hands-on Children's Village (Saturday through Monday), and fireworks Sunday night are a few of the festival's highlights. Free admission.

  • Kids can make their own beanbag toss at the Home Depot kids workshop. Saturday from 9am to 12noon - check with your local Home Depot store for details.

Check out farm fresh produce at one of the area farmers' markets:

We're getting into festival season, so look for more family (and budget) friendly events in the coming week! Have a happy and safe Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless Wednesday: Climbing Tree

This was taken last year at the Audubon Zoo. I have pictures of me and my siblings on this same tree when we were young!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday: Snoball Flavors!


After making last week's top 10 list, I got to thinking about snoballs. A real New Orleans treat, snoballs are made with the finest shaved ice and their frozen sweetness just melts in your mouth! Here are my top 10 snoball flavors (though they are subject to change with my mood!):

  1. Blackberry with condensed milk
  2. Wedding cake
  3. Spearmint
  4. Ice cream
  5. Chocolate with condensed milk
  6. Nectar cream
  7. Orchid cream vanilla
  8. Wild cherry
  9. Coconut cream
  10. Margarita

Head on over to Oh Amanda for more great Top 10 Tuesday lists!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Our Katrina Story

Today is the fourth anniversary of the day that hurricane Katrina hit our area. Four years ago today was one of the most frightening days of my life. We did not evacuate in advance of Katrina - we stayed at our home in Jefferson Parish just west of the city of New Orleans. Most people in our neighborhood left, as did all of our extended family members living in the area. Katrina hit early on a Monday morning. On the Saturday before, we hadn't even committed to boarding up our windows! You see, we were used to the weather people saying the storm was going to hit nearby, only to have the storm change direction at the last minute, sparing our city. At the time, we were very short on money, and evacuation would have meant taking both vehicles (one for me and the baby - 5 months old at the time, and one for my husband and the 4 dogs), and finding and paying for a hotel room (or rooms) that would accept dogs. To be blunt, evacuating is a real pain in the butt, and even more so when you have family pets. Although they've instituted contraflow traffic patterns (where all interstate lanes head out of town), traffic still gets backed up and it can sometimes take HOURS to get where you are moving at a reasonable speed. Let me put this in perspective: while evacuating, a friend of ours took 18 hours to drive from New Orleans 80 miles west to Baton Rouge. I did not want to be in that boat!
We watched the news and listened to the radio reports all weekend. About 11pm Saturday night, we decided it was probably best to board up our windows. The local hardware stores were closed, so my husband went out at 6am Sunday to get plywood. Home Depot had only a skeleton crew, so they were only letting 5 customers in at a time to get supplies. He came home and worked on the windows, while I took the baby out to go look for ice and propane, neither of which were to be found. While driving, I was listening to the local news radio station when a man being interviewed said that this was not going to be a search and rescue after the storm - it was going to be a recovery effort of bodies, and that they had ordered many body bags that would likely be needed. Hearing that made my heart sink and my eyes well up with tears. What the hell were we doing staying through this one - it was the big one that everyone always feared! I got home and cried to my husband, but we both knew full well that it was too late to change plans. Traffic was at a standstill in all directions heading out, and if we left there'd be a chance we'd be stuck in the hurricane in our vehicles. A friend of ours also had plans to stay, so we invited him to ride it out with us at our house instead of at his apartment by the lake.
The winds began picking up on Sunday afternoon, and the hurricane force winds began overnight. The eye of Katrina made landfall Monday morning near Buras, LA, southeast of us. The house we were living in was L-shaped, and when the winds were coming from the west, I was actually able to stand outside and watch the debris fly down the street. We saw neighbors' roof shingles peel off, and wooden fence posts and furniture fly away. It was scary seeing the street flood with the rainwater, and I just kept praying that it would stop and subside. It didn't. Even after the rain stopped and the weather cleared up, the water kept rising. We did not know at the time that there had been a levee breach. We had no power or phone service, so we were cut off from everyone. My husband had borrowed an inflatable boat from a neighbor, so he took off to take a look around. There were a few neighbors that had stayed behind, but there were also looters. Smashed car windows alluded to that. One of our neighbors was a sheriff's deputy and a gun collector and had given my husband the keys to his house and gun cabinet so that we could protect ourselves and our property against looters. Luckily it didn't come to that.
After the storm was long gone, there was an eerie silence. The weather was beautiful, but we were stuck in our house and on our porch - we were completely surrounded by water. We spent both Monday and Tuesday nights listening to the local news by radio (a battery-powered one from a neighbor). The people calling into the radio show were telling of their own horrors: elderly people stuck inside a nursing home facility running out of food and medicine, people saying they were trying to walk out of town on foot only to be turned around by authorities. It was hell out there and I was scared for them, and for us.
The water didn't recede until Wednesday morning. Once it did, we grabbed all that we could and left town. Since we didn't prepare as we should have, we had less than $3 cash on us! Thankfully, we were able to make it far enough away on the gas we had to be able to use our credit and debit cards. My car was flooded and ruined, so all 7 of us (me, my husband, the baby, and the 4 dogs) all crammed into my husband's pick up truck, and threw the belongings we could grab into the bed. On the way out of town, we had to dodge downed trees, electrical lines, and debris, and we happened upon a couple walking with a dog and a grocery cart. We stopped and had them climb in the back of the truck, and took them where they needed to go.
We made it to somewhere in Alabama where my sister and mother had found and reserved 2 rooms for us. There were so many people looking for shelter, so I gave up one of our rooms to a crew heading down to help out. In fact, along the way, the caravans of utility workers headed south were mind-blowing. I want to thank each and every one of those people who gave of themselves to help those of us affected by the storm.
The next morning, we left Alabama and headed towards my parents' house in West Virginia. My mom met us in Tennessee, and to be honest, when she saw me I didn't know if she was going to hug me or kill me for putting her through all that worry! (In case anyone is wondering, she hugged me, but I certainly did hear about it from her!) We stayed at my parents' house for a couple of weeks, and then bought a house of our own up near where my company was opening a new office. In October, once the moving van was allowed in to get our belongings, my mom and husband went back to the old house. I did not go. In November, we sold our house in Louisiana.
We were among the very lucky ones. We did not lose all of our belongings, and none of our family members lost their lives. But we came closer than I ever want to again.
We're back in Louisiana and hurricane season is upon us, so I relive our Katrina experience often. Now we have 2 kids, and the same 4 dogs, so evacuating is still a major expense and decision for us.
If you're still here, thanks for reading. Its cathartic for me to get this out. In closing, please pray for all those who did lose everything four years ago. I am.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Free New Orleans Events this Weekend

Saturday is the 4th anniversary of when hurricane Katrina hit our area. There are many local events commemorating the day and remembering those who lost their lives during this catastrophe. Here are a few that I think would be good bets for families:
  • On Saturday from 11am to 3pm, families can take part in a community art project at the New Orleans Museum of Art. No art experience is necessary, and you'll get to make a keepsake box to take home with you. At 11am, the names of the people who died during Katrina will also be read, and the Spike Lee documentary When the Levees Broke:A Requiem in Four Acts will be screened. Museum admission is free to Louisiana residents.
  • On Sunday at 3pm, the Marine Forces Reserve Band is giving a free concert at St. Louis Cathedral. Their theme is "New Orleans: The Spirit of Rebirth." I think this one will fill up quickly and seating is limited to the capacity of the cathedral, so if you're interested, you might want to get there early.
  • If you really want to get your hands dirty and show your support for rebuilding, 4NOLA is having a 24-hour build-a-thon in St. Bernard and Orleans parishes from 4pm Friday until 4pm Saturday. They will have volunteers working on two different homes in 3 shifts for the 24 hour period. Obviously this would be for grown ups and older kids. Visit their site,, for more details or to sign up.

At the very least, on Saturday please pray for those who lost during Katrina: lost their lives, their loved ones, their homes, their pets, their livelihoods, their sense of security. Many things can be and have been replaced, but there's still so much to be done. Let's not forget those who may still be struggling.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Top 10 Tuesday


Check out Amanda's blog, Oh Amanda, for hers and other's Top 10 lists, but before you do that, check out mine!

Top 10 Reasons I love living in New Orleans:

  1. The food! I've lived other places, and had some good dishes elsewhere, but no other cuisine compares to the flavors you can find in our food!

  2. No snow. Like I said, I've lived other places (namely Delaware, Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia) and they've ALL had snowy winters. I've had my share and I'm done - y'all can keep it!

  3. Mardi Gras. I've done the over-the-top drink-all-day-and-all-night Mardi Gras, but now that I have kids, its changed - for the better! I absolutely LOVE watching my sons at the parades, sitting in their ladder seat, giddy with anticipation for the next float to come by and beam them with scores of plastic beads. Can't forget the yummy king cakes, either.

  4. Jazz Fest. If you've never heard of or been to Jazz Fest, you must check it out! It's the last weekend in April and first weekend in May every year. There are HUNDREDS of musical acts, tons of arts and crafts for sale, and you can eat yourself silly through the grounds.

  5. Snoballs. Real New Orleans snoballs. Not "snow cones" or "ices". A real snoball has the finest, fluffiest ice that I've yet to find anywhere else.

  6. The architecture. I love driving through some of the local neighborhoods to gaze at the intricate details found on so many homes, and to imagine what many of them were like in their prime. And where else will you find the crazy colors you find on some of these "painted ladies"???

  7. Magnolia trees. In May and June when the magnolias bloom, I just can't get enough of their scent wafting through the (humid and sticky) air.

  8. Crawfish boils. It's hard to beat a spring afternoon with a sack of crawfish and veggies boiling in the backyard. Mmmmm... boiled mushrooms and artichokes... can't wait for spring to come back around!

  9. Parades for anything and everything! If there's something to celebrate, there's probably going to be a parade: Twelfth Night, carnival, Mardi Gras day, St. Joseph's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Labor Day, Halloween... you name it, you can probably find a local parade - with elaborate floats and throws! (Hey! It's Tuesday. How about we parade?")

  10. Je ne sais quoi - there's just something about New Orleans that captivates you and makes you keep coming back. Come visit and see for yourself!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Protect Your Children

Some people would tell you I'm an overprotective parent. Although we live in a pretty nice area, when we first moved into the neighborhood, I registered online with the sheriff's office to notify me of any sexual predators within a one-mile radius of our home. My older son is not allowed to walk 2 doors down to his friend's house without either me or my husband to walk with him - just in case.
I just read, with tears welling in my eyes, this very important article by Leslie Mayorga R.N. BSN, regarding child safety. The statistics mentioned are staggering and heartbreaking. Reading this article just reinforces my actions, and I think its important as parents that we all take a look at the tips here and share them with our children. We can't always be with them, but we can teach them how to protect themselves when we are unable to be there. Please take the time to read Leslie's article, and share it with other parents you know. It could make a difference in the life of a child.
Thanks to Leslie for writing the article, and to Pat from Here & There for brining it to my attention!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

New Orleans Area Free and Frugal Events this Weekend

Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we can get out and enjoy the upcoming weekend, but if not, there are a few great indoor events happening this weekend, too:

Friday 8/21 from 6-10pm, the Danny Alexander Blues Band will be performing a free concert at Lagniappe at the Market (Westwego Farmers & Fisheries Market, 484 Sala Ave. at 4th Street, Westwego). Bring your chairs and blankets, but leave the coolers and outside food at home - they'll have food and beverage vendors on hand starting at 5pm to feed you!

On Saturday 8/22, the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 925 Camp Street, is hosting a Family Fair and offering free admission from 10am until 4pm. At the fair you can find interactive arts and crafts, an art scavenger hunt, live performances, and local food vendors. If you haven't checked out the Ogden Museum, now's your (free) chance!

Friday through Sunday at the Convention Center, you can find the Louisiana Tailgate & BBQ Festival. This event is not free, but they have different levels of tickets available, including free general admission for kids 12 and under! Looks like they have plenty of live music scheduled to go along with the BBQ and a football experience. I haven't yet told my husband about the BBQ eating contest on Friday night... that coupled with a football experience makes for not a pretty sight!

Lowe's is having another Build & Grow clinic for kids Saturday morning from 10-11am. This time, they get to make a wooden school bus! We've taken our boys to these clinics a few times and they've really enjoyed them (they've especially liked using the little hammers!).

Get out there, have fun, and enjoy a great summer weekend!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Support our Military!

American flag against blue sky

One of my husband's younger cousins enlisted in the Navy and is leaving for basic training in the morning. We are so proud of him for choosing this path in his life, and know that it will lead to great things for him. With him embarking on this journey, I got to thinking about our military and ways that we can help others who dedicate their lives to keeping us safe and free. In my search, I stumbled across the group Guardian Soldiers. This non-profit organization was formed in memory of MSG Davy Weaver who was killed in action in Afghanistan on May 18, 2008, after 21 years of service to our country. MSG Weaver left behind three children, including a son with special needs. Guardian Soldiers employs special needs citizens as volunteers to fill the boxes that are sent to our soldiers. Please check out the Guardian Soldiers website to see how you can help both the soldiers and the special needs people who are helping them.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Photo deals at Walgreens

Looks like Walgreens is having a photo promotion each day this week, starting with a free 8x10 print today. Go to the Walgreens website, create an account if you don't already have one, upload your photo(s), and order your free print (today's discount code is 8x10). If you pick up in store, there is no charge at all.

Click here each day this week to get the day's promotion code.

Now I'll finally have a family photo of all four of us to hang on the wall - proof the baby exists!

A big thanks to Mom Saves Money and Freebies 4 Mom for the heads up!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Really useful giveaway!

We've had a heck of a time getting the boys to calm down and go to bed at a reasonable hour this summer, so I'm always looking for anything that would help me get just a little more "me" time. Now that school is fast approaching, I'm dreading transitioning over from summer nights to school nights. Life with 5 monkies and 1 ape is hosting a Yoga Buddies bedtime stories DVD review and giveaway - this just might be the missing piece of our bedtime struggle routine!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Some free and frugal events this weekend

There's a school supply giveaway being held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church (1823 Washington Avenue - at Dryades, New Orleans) on Saturday from 10am to 1pm. If you're still in need of school supplies, head on over!

If you have musically-inclined children, bring them and their instruments down to the New Orleans Jazz Historical Park on Saturday from 11am to noon. There they will be able to play with the New Wave Brass Band! I wonder if they'd enjoy my one year old's harmonica skills?

There are several local farmers' markets that are open on Saturday. These are great venues for teaching your children about where their food comes from and for encouraging healthy eating. You can purchase beautiful, fresh produce that is oftentimes less expensive than buying from the grocery store chains, and support local growers at the same time! Here are a few to check out:
  • Crescent City Farmers' Market: 8am to 12 noon (corner of Magazine & Girod, New Orleans)

  • Westwego Farmers and Fisheries Market: 8:30am to 2pm (484 Sala Ave. at 4th St., Westwego)

  • Upper Ninth Ward Farmers' Market: 1pm to 4pm (Holy Angels Church, 3500 St. Claude Avenue, New Orleans)

For your artists-in-training, see the Bywater Art Market at Mickey Markey Park (Royal & Piety, New Orleans). This market is held the third Saturday of each month from 9am to 4pm, and there are often demonstrations by the artists of their crafts to pique your little ones' interests.

The Knack at Michael's is hosting a kids' craft event on Saturday from 10am until 1pm. Bring your children (ages 5 and up) to your local Michael's to create a personalized metal pencil tin.

Whatever you decide to do this weekend, just get out and enjoy it!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Mid-Week in Mid-City

If you're looking for something frugal and artsy to do on Wednesday nights, consider taking the family to the New Orleans Museum of Art at City Park. Each Wednesday, the museum has extended hours until 8pm for their "Mid-Week in Mid-City" event, and thanks to a very generous donation from The Helis Foundation, admission is free for Louisiana residents (with proper ID).

Currently, there are a couple of exhibits that look like they might be particularly interesting for the older little ones, especially those with an interest in visual arts. Floatulents is an installation of photographic images by Martin von Haselberg. According to the NOMA website, the images are printed on glassine, stitched together, and inflated like bubbles. The Mind's Eye: Without Subject Matter, What Does the Artist See? is an exhibit of abstract prints and drawings, some of which remind me of my 4 year old's portfolio - in a good way!

Floatulents is on exhibit until September 6th, and you have until October 11th to enjoy the abstract display.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Another great giveaway - this one ends tonight!

Check out Jolly Mom and sign up for your chance to win an adorable toddler bed from Delta Children's Products. I love the Cars bed for my boys, but if I had my own little princess, I'm sure I'd choose the Fairies bed - they're both so cute! Hurry, because this one ends tonight - good luck!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Cool giveaway!

If your kids are anything like mine, Crayola is a familiar household staple. Head over to 3 Kids and Us and enter to win a HUGE Crayola gift pack! Hurry, though, because the winner will be announced on Tuesday 8/11.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

For a Good Cause

For those of you who are local, on Sunday August 9th from noon until 5pm Locks of Love will be holding their 10th annual Cut-A-Thon at Lakeside Shopping Center. If anyone is not familiar with the Locks of Love organization, they collect donated hair and create wigs for children who suffer from hair loss. At the Cut-A-Thon there will be two ways to help out: donate your own hair (it has to be at least 10 inches long and not bleached or highlighted), or get your hair cut by one of the participating stylists for a $15 donation.
For more information on the organization, please visit their website
So, if you are in need of a hair cut, go Sunday and support a great cause at the same time!

Review of the Disney Train Tour

Yesterday we took the kids to The Fly at Audubon Park in New Orleans to see the Disney train promoting their upcoming version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol". Despite the heat, humidity, and hour-long wait to board the train, we had a wonderful time. While we were waiting in line, Christmas carolers sang, and stilt-walking and unicycle-riding jugglers entertained us! The exhibit is top-notch (what else would you expect from Disney?) and we all enjoyed seeing the movie preview in the air conditioned inflatable theater!

Due to today's rains, word is that they've canceled the festivities for today, but will open back tomorrow morning. If you haven't yet had a chance to see the display, do try to make it out tomorrow before the train leaves for Houston.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A few free area events this weekend

On Thursday and Friday, the New Orleans Saints will hold their practices on the outdoor field at their Metairie training facility on Airline Drive Thursday's practice is from 3:20pm to 5:45pm, and on Friday it's from 8:50am to 11am. From past experience, if you want a good view of the action, get there early. Players and coaches may be available after practice for autographs... good luck!

On August 7-9, Disney's A Christmas Carol Train Tour will be stopping at Riverview in Audubon Park This is a free event that showcases Disney's upcoming movie "A Christmas Carol" directed by Robert Zemeckis, and has been traveling across the country since Memorial Day. According to the media kit for the train tour, each stop will include a train station with Christmas decorations, Christmas carolers, and snow! I can't wait to see how they pull THAT off in August in New Orleans!

Also this weekend is the Pennington Balloon Championship in Baton Rouge This is a hot air balloon competition and exhibition that will feature a children's village, live entertainment, the US Army Black Daggers parachute team, and of course hot air balloons!

Get out there and have (free) fun before school starts!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Road Trip

We're traveling this week to visit my parents 16 hours away. Yes, 16 hours - with 2 young boys, AND a dog we can't trust to stay home with the other 3! Let me say that I was both looking forward to and dreading this trip at the same time. I decided to find some ways to make it happen more smoothly and more frugally. Enter the dollar store. Before we left town, my husband and I took the boys to the dollar store to grab up some treats and drinks for the road. Anyone who's taken a road trip can attest to how fast those snacks, drinks, and meals on the road can add up - this is what I was trying to avoid. So, we trekked through the aisles of the dollar store and grabbed a few treats to take with us. Our 4 year old was thrilled that he got to help plan part of the trip, and the one year old was just along for the ride. After filling up the basket with cookies, gum (for me), rice krispie treats (chocolate-drizzled, no less), drinks, and a gallon of water for the dog, we went home to pack the car. Add to those items some turkey, ham, cheese, and a loaf of bread, and we were set for the ride! We made it the whole way from Louisiana to West Virginia without having to stop for food or drinks. My family didn't feel shorted, either, since they were a part of the planning. Now, let's see if we can be so lucky going home...

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Yearly Family Memberships... A Good Deal?

    We are fortunate to live in an area with such an array of family-friendly attractions, but admission prices to those attractions can add up! Often when you figure the cost for a family of four to visit one of these wonderful places, the cost heads upwards of $50. I don't know about you, but $50 or more for one day of learning and entertainment is a bit steep on most days for our family! Enter the wonder that is the annual family membership! If you and your family like to visit an attraction (or several), consider spending a little more up front so that you can enjoy them "free" year round.

    One big benefit I've found from having a membership is that I no longer feel "guilty" if we have to leave shortly after arriving (due to a meltdown or temper tantrum, say) because I know we're not wasting any hard-earned money!

    Here is a list of some of the wonderful local attractions that offer family memberships. And don't worry - even if you don't live here, it may make financial sense for you to purchase a membership, too, if you plan on another trip to the area before the membership would expire. They're great presents to give, and receive, too (hint, hint)!

  • The Audubon Zoo (closed Mondays)

  • The Audubon Aquarium of the Americas (closed Mondays)

Friday, July 24, 2009


Welcome to Big Easy Mom. Here I hope to share with you frugal and fun tips, events, and activities, let you know about great products and websites, and provide a site that you can count on to help you plan family-friendly things to do while living in or visiting the Big Easy. I'm a stay at home mom of 2, and like many of you, our budget is TIGHT! Because of this, I've learned to scout out fun, free (or nearly-free) things to do to keep my family active and entertained. I hope you enjoy this site and take advantage of some of these ideas for your own family!