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.