Monday, June 1, 2015

WI State parks free this weekend

Free Fun Weekend is next weekend! Saturday, June 6and Sunday, June 7, enjoy free Wisconsin State Park admission, free Wisconsin State Trails, free fishing and free ATV trails. Gear up for an awesome weekend outside by joining our online chat on Tuesday, June 2 at noon. Staff will be on hand to answer questions you have about fishing, ATV, state parks or state trails.

Thursday, April 23, 2015


Brick's is my favorite pizza place!  This picture of a kid's pizza does not do it justice.  Their pizzas are made with quality ingredients, fresh mozzarella from Italy, prosciutto, fresh basil, crushed tomatoes.  It is definitely not American pizza.  After loving pizza in Italy, this place is the closest thing to flying there for good pizza.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Brickhouse Music in River Falls

The humidity controlled guitar room is beautiful! We have a great music store in River Falls. My kids take music lessons at UWRF and we frequently stop at Brickhouse. They have everything we have ever needed for band instruments and stringed instruments. They carry just about everything and if you don't see what you want, just ask.  They probably have a dozen in the back.  The staff is very knowledgeable, friendly and happy to help. They can quickly order in any music you may want.  My kids spent hours combined playing every ukulele in the store before finally making a purchase and the staff was very kind and patient. We always have a good time at Brickhouse. We may stop for one thing but there is so much to explore by the time we leave my kids have added multiple items to their "things I'm saving up for" lists.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Hudson Library

 There are so many benefits we enjoy from our library. This picture was taken at a casual piano recital when students played songs in the main area. Behind him you can see some of the movies available for checkout, and there are of course a lot of great books upstairs, and beautiful views of the St. Croix. If the library doesn't have the book you want it can be requested through the Moore association of libraries, which seems to have nearly every book I've looked for. Free of charge you can request books be sent from other libraries for checkout.  Library Elf is a handy email service that keeps you up to date on what is checked out, due, and on its way.  Renewal online, and fee paying is easy. The library also offers a full range of activities, from kids story time, to teen and adult book clubs.  Right now there is a friends of the library book sale, and year round there are books available to purchase upstairs. Look also for tech help sessions, craft projects, and an antique appraiser coming soon.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Freedom Park in Prescott

This park is an overlook to where the Mississippi and St. Croix converge.  It was beautiful, but now I really want to go back in the summer when it is all greened up.  The visitor's center is nice, and has good info on Eagles.  Inside there is an Eagle's nest display, and a helpful ranger.  If you have the time they also have cute junior ranger books for the kids to work on.  The ranger also said a good place to see an eagle's nest is at the Carpenter Nature Center just across the river, we just didn't have the time to check it out on this trip.  

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Papa Tronnio's in Prescott

This pizza place was highly recommended by a long time resident of Prescott. They serve made from scratch pizza. Located right on Broad street in the middle of Prescott, my favorite part was the dining room. It's in an old brick building with dinning upstairs and down. It was good pizza. I would recommend this place to those that prefer traditional pizza.  For those that prefer brick oven pizza, I would recommend Brick's, San Pedro's, or Punch Pizza.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Mercord Mill Park

This park in Prescott is the perfect spot to see the St. Croix flow into the Mississippi.  The train bridge on the right is where the St Croix is, and right above his head in the picture is the Mississipp

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Harvey opens this weekend

Hudson High is known for putting on high quality performances, and this is going to be a great show! Jimmy Stewart played the lead in the 1950 production, and Jake Searle is playing the part of Dowd in this performance. Dowd is a lighthearted wealthy man who sees a 9 foot rabbit named Harvey. His sister tries to have him committed and in the process admits that she sometimes sees Harvy also. 

Tickets for Harvey, showing at Hudson High School, go on sale today 3:00-5:00. The show plays two weekends in April, this weekend and next. Tickets are $10 for adults, and $5 for students. 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Williams Park

This cute park is at 11th and Laurel in Hudson.  It has two different play spaces for the kids.  There is a sand area with diggers and a traditional merry-go-round.  A small bathroom facility is on site too.  I like also that the original old playground is still in the back of the park.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Craft Kitchen & Bar

The lobster pot pie is amazing!  Made with pure cream and topped with puffed pastry, there was no leftovers. My husband's ribs were fall off the bone delicious. I can't remember what we are other times there but it is always good. The only thing I would skip is the cheesecake everything else is great and the atmosphere is fun.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Ellsworth Creamery

I always thought that my favorite part of a stop in Ellsworth was picking up fresh cheese curds.  After my last stop my mind was changed to picking up a fresh shake from the creamery.  Don't get me wrong, they are both delicious and my cheese curds were amazing and even still warm.  The curds are made fresh daily and come in many different seasonings. The shakes, or actually I prefer a malt, are so creamy and fresh.  It was definitely the best malt I have ever had, and it's only a thirty minute drive from home.  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Bread Art Bakery

Are you headed into Stillwater? Bread Art is a great little stop in Bayport.  They have all kinds of baked goodies from pastries and breads to cakes and pies.  Their pastries are the best!  The pie was OK, but I was disappointed that I didn't choose a pastry like usual because they are alway so fresh and delicious.  As you are driving in Bayport it is on the left right next to the Holiday gas station.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Lion's Easter Egg Hunt and Carnival

This free Easter egg hunt and carnival is held at the River Falls High School this Saturday March 28, 2015 at 11:30 AM.  There will be 25 different carnival games and the hunt.  It is also a chance to donate rood or money to the River Falls Food Pantry, or to donate used eye glasses and cell phones.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Hudson Bowling

If it's been a few years since  you have been to the Hudson bowling alley, you will enjoy the changes! It is no longer a smokey dark old beat up place.  They have electronic score keeping, bumper bowling, and it is a clean and updated place.  It's close and a cheap fun night with the kids.  They also have leagues for the more serious players, and party reservations.  They seem to always have open lanes, but it is always a good idea to call ahead to make sure they aren't hosting leagues.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Annie the Musical

Annie is coming to the Orpheum, a beautiful historic theater in Minneapolis.  Tickets are on sale now for shows March 31-April 5.  Tickets are $29-$99.  On their website when you are choosing your tickets they have a great option to see the view from your seat, which is especially helpful when buying cheap tickets for kids.   This is the original award winning production, which I would enjoy and I'm sure the kids would too.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Mill City Museum

This museum was created from an old flour mill.  The mill went through an explosion and a fire before becoming a museum and the effects of the fire can still be seen in the ruins and half standing walls in the courtyard.  The highlight of the museum is an elevator tour called the flour tower.  In the presentation the history of the mill is told as you ride up and down in an elevator viewing the different levels of the mill.  There is also a nice video called Minneapolis in 19 minutes flat.  The whole museum trip will take less than two hours.  It is great done as a field trip, or I would recommend going as part of a tour.  This photo was taken from the top of the museum where, after the elevator tour you can stop to enjoy the beautiful view.  Tickets are $11 $9 and $6, or free with a historical society museum pass which includes the history museum, Hill house, and other locations.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cheesecake Factory

I think watching the Big Bang Theory contributed to my family's excitement for the cheesecake factory, but there are so many options for great cheesecake it's hard not to like it.   Known for their very large menu and great desserts.  The cheesecake factory is a great stop in Edina, (which is just a short hop from the MOA).  The outdoor seating is great in the summer and there is something for everyone on their menu.  Warning, the pieces of cheesecake are probably a sharable size.  We all ordered our own and no one was able to finish theirs, but then again no one ever complained about having leftovers.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

MN History Center

The history museum is really a lot more fun than it sounds.  This picture was taken in the WW2 section where you set the timer and see how many bullets you can assemble.  They also have an airplane simulator that recreates what it would have been like to be in the war.  I remember the look of fear in my son's eyes as the plane got hit.  It's a pretty real way to experience the realities of war.  They also have an old pinball machine, so I try to remember to bring a pocket of change in case it is working.  I think it takes nickels. They have a tornado simulator, and a grainland exhibit where the kids can climb and slide.  Their open house exhibit is an actual house from St. Paul that you can walk through as it tells the interesting stories of the different people that have lived there.  It is interesting for the  adults, and there is hopscotch in the backyard and activities for the kids.  In the Minnesota history section they have a tipi and a boxcar and the emergency exit door from the school bus that was in the I-35 bridge collapse.  This museum does an excellent job of making history come alive.

Tickets are $11, $9, or $6 depending on age, and admission is free on Tuesdays from 5-8PM.  Also on free Tuesdays they often have special events or free music.  One Tuesday they had free segway rides. Stop by, there is always something fun there.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pinz Arcade

Pinz is the closest arcade to Hudson.  It is just off of 694 in Oakdale by their Target.  In this picture the kids were playing doodle jump.  They do a good job of keeping new and fun games out, and they have a lazer maze, where you have to step around and duck lazers in order to get money from a safe while you are being timed.  They also have bowling, and lazer tag on site.

Monday, March 16, 2015

MOA Aquarium

Another great Mall of America attraction, the Aquarium has 9 foot sharks, jelly fish, sea horses, and all kinds of sea life.  There are two ocean tunnels to walk through and enjoy, and a touch pool, which will have sting rays coming in spring 2015.  Tickets are $25 and $17 at the door or $19 and $16 if purchased online.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

The Orchard Restaurant, Baldwin

This restaurant is inside a beautifully restored old barn.  The atmosphere is fun and the apple characters did a very nice job of embarrassing the birthday guest.  The food was good, but not memorable for me.  It is a fun new place to meet friends when you are tired of always driving west.  On their website they have pictures of weddings in their banquet room, and a full menu to look over before your visit. The Orchard is in Baldwin, so 15-20 minutes east of Hudson.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

MOA Ropes Course

Dutchman's Deck Adventure Course is the official name.  There are many ways to climb and explore safely connected to a rope and harness.  Ringing the bell at the highest point is a highlight.  It climbs to 56 feet above Nickelodeon Universe.  The minimum height is 48" or 42" with a paying chaperone.  It is $11 or $9 with a wristband for an unlimited time of exploring.

There is also a spiral slide attached to the ropes course that kids 40" or taller can slide on.  It is $3 for a one time slide.

After a long day of exploring MOA, I enjoy sitting in the lower lounge and chatting with friends as the kids explore the ropes course.  It's a great adventure only 30 minutes from home.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Minnesota Children's Museum

A great place to spend the day playing with your kids.  The museum is great for about ages 10 and under. This picture is from Earth World.  Another favorite exhibit is Our World, complete with a grocery store, post office, and entire mini town they can play grown up in.  The rooftop has art they can play with outside on beautiful days.  The basement has water play and bubbles.  It's a whole day full of fun with the little ones.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Minnesota Zoo

There are two reasons I like going to the Zoo.  I enjoy watching the animals, and I enjoy watching the kids having fun at the zoo.  The MN Zoo is the perfect place for both.  There are tigers, bears, penguins, sharks, farm animals, and a lot of others too.  My kids also love the play park at the Zoo.  I even went with a middle school field trip and the playground was still well used.  Admission is $12 or $18, and the Zoo is open 365 days a year, a thirty minute drive from Hudson.

When you first get to the Zoo, remember to check out the schedule to see the different animal feedings and the bird show.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hudson Soccer

Spring recreation registration is now open.  The deadline to register is April 1st.  The season runs from May 4th to June 29th.  The games are on weeknights and I love that the the date and time for each age group is listed on their website in advance.  The fees are as follows:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Dining in the Dark

At this event you can eat a meal blindfolded and explore activities to better understand the life of the visually impaired.  They will have guide dogs in training, long white canes to try out, a silent auction and prizes to win.  Tickets are $12 for adults/students, and $6 for kids four and under.  This is a fundraiser, and to raise awareness about the visually impaired kids in our school district. The event is at Willow River Elementary this Wednesday, March 11th, at 5:30.  For more information see the link below.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Boosters Baseball

With the warm spring weather here, so is baseball season!  The boosters sent out their reminder emails about registration.  Saturday March 14th is Boys Traveling Trouts for 10-14 yr olds
Saturday march 21st is Girls Traveling Tryouts for 10-18 yr olds

The in-house programs will start in May.  The Deadline for in-house registration is April 15th.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Wilderness, Wisconsin Dells

The Wilderness is a waterpark hotel in the Wisconsin Dells.  The best part is their wave pool ceiling.  It lets the sun in for year round sun bathing.  It was amazing on a sunny day in the winter.  On a cloudy day it is about 10 degrees colder.  They have 4 indoor waterparks at the hotel and a bunch outside too.  Other activities include, arcades, ropes course, indoor playground, indoor or outdoor go carts, lazer tag, indoor/outdoor mini golf, indoor maze, kids pottery painting, golf, and a zip line.

The best tip I got prior to going was that the food is expensive and not good.  Luckily we booked a room with a kitchen and brought our own food to enjoy. They don't use chlorine in their pools, which was nice not to have the chlorine smell, but there were also big signs warning that the chemicals can cause an itchy rash, which one of my sons unfortunately got.

Over all it was a fun get away that is only a three hour drive.  It was huge, but as long as you stay in one of the hotels that is connected it doesn't matter because there are covered walkways connecting everything indoor.   The arcade also has a giant claw machine that was easy to win at.  There were kids all over the resort bouncing their prizes up and down the hallways, and yes my son did win on his first try so he was super excited.

Friday, March 6, 2015

Let's Play Hockey Expo

Today and tomorrow 10-6 is the Expo at the Rivercentre (which is part of the Excel energy center).  At the Excel today is also the high school hockey finals for Minnesota so the place is packed.  Tickets to the expo are free.  Tickets to the games are $17 for adults $11 for students, and preschoolers are free. 

Giveaways and celebrity appearances

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Outlets at the Dells

Every trip to the Dells is better with a stop at the outlets.  It is an outdoor mall so dress accordingly.  They offer a VIP savings card that you can pick up for free at customer service.  I just use the website  I type the store name in at checkout and a lot of times they have a code for a discount. On my last trip they had a 20% off code for the Banana Republic factory store.  Below is a link to a list of all of the stores.  They are located right next to the Great Wolf Lodge, which is a block away from the Wilderness.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Uno Pizza

On our way out of town we stopped at Unos and enjoyed their deep dish Chicago style pizza.  It was excellent!  Their 9 grain pizza crust was also great.  Pizzas were about $18 that fed 2-3 people.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Great Wolf Lodge, Wisconsin Dells

With Hudson's spring break coming up next week, it may be time to highlight Wisconsin Dells.  The waterpark capitol of America.  It's only a three hour drive to a nice warm get-away.

Great Wolf, is a smaller waterpark by the dells standards.  Which means everything is close by, and there are not crowds of people to contend with.  They have all kinds of slides, from their howling' tornado to their kiddie play areas.  This four person side was one of my kids' favorites because they loved to race over and over.  Like other hotels in the dells, the waterpark is included in the price of the hotel room, and their standard room sleeps six and is pretty spacious, created obviously with the family in mind.  If you are on their email list, they frequently have good deals and are very reasonable.  I love the GWL because it is clean, smaller, and a perfect combination of thrilling and relaxing.  Rates start at $104 per night, and when you stay you can enjoy the waterpark before you check in and after you check out.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Aladdin Jr. at The Phipps

This weekend is the last chance to see Aladdin Jr.!  Tickets are $21, $19 & $16 for Adults, Students, and Children.  There are shows this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  My son saw the show and said it was really well done.  It is performed by high school age kids in the community that have been rehearsing for months.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Audrey's Painting Classes

Taking a painting class with Audrey is a fun night out in Hudson.  She teaches at Urban Olive and Vine, and also at Pitchfork Brewery.  For $45 she provides all of the materials, and works with the class through every step of the painting.  It's amazing how great they all turn out and it doesn't require any painting experience.  She keeps her classes small so she can go around and personally help people.  The best way to hear about upcoming classes is to get on her email list, or follow her on Facebook.  Urban Olive does have an events calendar so you can see when her classes are but you will need to email her to see what the painting is for the class.   I will put her next couple of classes (both the adult, and kids' classes) up on my upcoming events page.

If these dates don't work for you she also does private painting classes for groups at your requested time and place.  This way you can pick the painting you want and the company!  Either way she is a fun, great teacher, and I would highly recommend trying out one of her classes.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Minneapolis Institute of Arts

A nice Van Gogh from the museum.  

I love this bottom picture.  My son was taking pictures of things that he liked at the museum (which was quite a few pictures!) and he noticed his reflection in a mirror, so of course he had to make a funny face.  The visit was a lot of fun and a lot of time was spent with his brothers pointing out cool things that he should take a picture of.

Admission is $14 for adults and kids 18 and under are free.  The gallery is free admission every Thursday night from 5-9.  Admission is also free on the first Saturday of the month from 10-3.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Giant Gerbil Cage

Living in Wisconsin and Minnesota we have learned how to enjoy the cold winters.  One of the ways we have adapted is by building skyways from each building.  According to Wikipedia there are 8 miles of skyways just in Minneapolis.   This link will take you to an impressive map of the skyways in St. Paul.  Combined with a visit to Target headquarters it's a fun trip where the kids can imagine they are locked in a giant gerbil cage, trying to get to various buildings.  My nephew lives in a small town and he was especially impressed.  So get out there and enjoy the cities, there is no need to be cold in the winter, we have built our own intricate system of heated walkways!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Nadia Cakes-Cupcake Shop

These cupcakes were voted the best cupcakes in Minnesota, and was a winner on the food network's show cupcake wars.  Judging from the line that wraps around the store today, this is something that I must try soon!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Minnesota State Capitol

The Capitol building is beautiful both inside and out. It is open weekdays 8:30-5:00, Saturdays 10-3 and Sundays 1-4. It's a public building, so you can take a self guided tour anytime it is open. There is an information desk on the first floor on the main (south) entrance.  The historical society has brochures for the self guided tour, our you can take a cell phone guided tour, also on the weekends there are hourly guided tours with a $5 suggested donation.

It is a good tour to pair with the nearby St. Paul Cathedral or Hill house   The history museum is also close by.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Dave and busters

Dave and Busters is the best local arcade. I have one son who frequently likes to pick it as his destination on his birthday. It is a 45 minute drive so it has to be a special occasion for me to make the drive, but it is always fun. They do have a lot of fun new games and the old classics too.

Wednesdays games are half price all day, and weekdays 3-6 is their "power hours" where you can pay $10 to play unlimited games. This doesn't include the games that give tickets but it is a lot of games, and nice to tell the kids it is unlimited for an hour. Also if you sign up to receive their emails they will send you a coupon.

Dave and Busters Maple Grove

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Sky Zone

Skyzone is an indoor trampoline park in Oakdale. It's a fun place to burn off energy or have a birthday party. There is a jumping section, an area to play dodge ball on trampolines, and two pits to jump into. 

It is $8 for 30 minutes, $12 for an hour and $16 for an hour and a half. Special "jump socks" are required and are $2 to purchase. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Target Headquarters

Target Headquarters is in the heart of Minneapolis. Next to headquarters is a two story store that the kids thought was fun loading the cart up the escalator. It isn't worth the drive to only go to Target but the next time you are in Minneapolis with kids, it's a great place to stop and pick up a few things so the kids can imagine what it would be like to live in the middle of a big city. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Como Conservatory

The Como Conservatory - part of the como zoo.  Is a beautiful place to enjoy fresh flowers.  This picture is of course from the spring.  The link below will show you the winter flowers on display right now. Another great reason to stop by is the baby Orangutan born January 23rd.

YouTube link to video of the winter flower show

The zoo and conservatory are technically free, but they encourage a $3 per adult and $2 per child donation.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

MSP Airport

One great benefit of living in Hudson is being so close to an international airport.  Living in Hudson I have learned to vacation in the winter.  I don't want to leave in the summer when it is so beautiful, so every winter we try to schedule a warm vacation.  I love that the airport is big, making the schedules much better and the prices lower.  I use  to get alerts about cities I  love to visit.  After a long trip the site of home, especially during a beautiful sunset, is a welcome site.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Trollhaugen Ski Resort

This is a screen shot from their live camera.  I love that you can see the snow condition life before making the drive up there.  Here is the link to their camera.

Trollhaugen has 7 lifts and is about an hour drive from Hudson.  Tickets are $45 for adults, and $35 for children, but if you buy online before you go (or on the way) the tickets are about $5 less.  They are a farther drive than Afton Alps, but they are a little bit less expensive for your first lift ticket.  Trollhaugen also has great ticket prices for weekday spring skiing.