Local Love

The Midwest Outdoor Expo Is Now Open!

We came thru the South Entrance at Lucas Oil Stadium last night and… it was quiet. The lights were dimmed. Not the bustling activity we’re used to from weekends past during Colts games but vendors quietly coming in and out with trolleys, boxes and signs in tow.

And then we went up the ramp into the heart of the stadium and found it - the Midwest Outdoor Expo – with rows of RVs and boats, a tiny homes village, a rock wall and more. 


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The Ninjas Are In The Building (literally)


Are your kids obsessed with American Ninja Warrior? Do you find them taking precarious leaps off of your sofa, rearranging their bedroom furniture into an obstacle course, defying gravity on the monkey bars?

Mine, too.

And if you have had just about enough of your house doubling as a training arena, consider yourself lucky to be a just a short drive from a state-of-the-art, first of its kind The NinjaZone Academy. Because the ninjas are now quite literally in a building.





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At Long Last: Disney’s Beauty and the Beast Arrives in Theaters


Tale as old as time… true as it may be. Barely even friends, then somebody bends. Unnnnnnexpectedly.”

So, is the title track for Beauty and the Beast now in your head? GOOD. Because it’s been stuck in mine all week and now I can finally let it out.

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Circus Starring YOU


Circus Starring YOU...now open at The Children's Museum!

It's easy to forget how amazing our local Children's Museum is. We take for granted the permanent exhibits, the new experiences, and the events they host.

But as someone who travels across the country with her kids and visits museums geared toward kids often, I can say without a doubt we're spoiled by The Children's Museum of Indianapolis.

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Binge Worthy Shows

I found a new obsession.  Binging.  Binging on shows!  It happened while I was on maternity leave.  I would put on a show when I was nursing, and I soon became addicted to this “me” time.  But let’s be honest, when you are a working mother of 2 there isn’t usually a lot of time to dedicate to watching your favorite shows, let alone new ones!  

So thanks to Miss Olive, I found a new few binge-worthy shows worth checking out! Here’s my top 5 to get your started:


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Dare you Brave The Cursed Castle?


Oh fearless families… do you have what it takes to conquer the curse of the Castle at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis' (@TCMIndy) Haunted House? Proceed with caution, for Burnadette the Dragon guards her lair fiercely!

The Cursed Castle Haunted House is a fa”boo”lous activity for the whole family: there’s sufficient ‘scare’ for the thrill seekers among us, but it’s not going to leave your kiddos too scared to go to bed at night! 


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Calling All Scientists


As the owner of a ‘creative’ rather than ‘mathematical/logical’ brain, I was always quite overwhelmed by the information thrown at us during high school science classes. However, I doubt even my 14-year-old self would be baffled by the newly revamped Scienceworks at The Children's Museum of Indianapolis (#atTCM). Indeed, it could well transform me into a 40-something science nerd!

A sign adorning the wall of the new exhibit quotes Einstein: “The important thing is to never stop questioning.” It couldn't be more apt, as the exhibit will doubtlessly have every visitor through the door brimming with curiosity and a thirst for learning. It’s like an oasis of knowledge, all clearly laid out and ripe for the taking.


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Baby Rave at The Urban Chalkboard


Glow sticks, disco ball, music, bouncing babies, and dancing toddlers. Yes, it's as cute as it sounds. The Baby Rave at The Urban Chalkboard is a sensory overload and a fantastically fun experience for kids of all ages, zero to 100.

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Grilled Cheese Showdown at the State Fair


Last year the Indiana Dairy association had a contest: who makes the best mac and cheese? My husband tagged me in their post on twitter because we think I make some pretty sweet mac and cheese.  So, I entered the contest.  This was no easy thing because they wanted a recipe and I make food off of the top of my head most of the time. To make matters worse, hubby didn't think “any cheese without mold on it” was a suitable ingredient.  So, it was really hard and I was not optimistic.  For good reason, too. I lost. I wasn’t a finalist last year but I got 4 free tickets to the fair and a nice swag bag of consolation prizes.

Fast forward a year and the Indiana Dairy folks are at it again. Except this time its grilled cheese.  I am not known for my grilled cheese prowess, in fact I seldom make them because my oldest child hates american cheese.  But, our IN Dairy pizza cutter from last year’s swag had been left on the stove when it was hot so it melted and I thought to myself: “Self, we could spent $12 on a pizza cutter, or we could lose this contest and get one for free!”  Obviously, I opted to lose the contest again.  We have 4 kids and one income: $12 is a lot of money! 

Imagine my surprise when, instead of a package full of swag, I get an email telling me I’ve qualified as one of 8 finalists! Hey, wait a minute. I just needed a new pizza cutter here.  This is bananas.  Never in a million years did I suspect I would qualify. I saw some of those other grilled cheese’s on Instagram. One of them had pulled pork on it! Mine doesn't have pork! Mine is really very boring!  I’m toast! Cheesy grilled toast!  Its a lot of fun to tell people that you’re awesome and qualified for a grilled cheese contest, its another thing entirely to have to make 4 sandwiches in public and serve them to people to be judged.  


In the next few weeks the organizer of the event called me a few times to confirm the ingredients in my recipe.  By this point I’d already forgotten my “recipe” since I pretty much made it up.  So I'm reasonably sure that I overestimated the size of my slices and that this sandwich will have way too much cheese on it. She asked if I wanted particular brands of bread or cheese. My response of “I really just buy whatever is on sale…” seemed super lame.  She told me that one competitor wanted specific cheese that was made in Indiana, probably by artisans with access to magic cows who tap dance and sell chicken nuggets or something.  I can’t stress to this lady enough how much I think she should really disqualify me and send me packing.  I am not a chef.  I’m just a chick who likes to get swag in the mail and has a reasonable degree of culinary ability.  But, alas, she didn't disqualify me. 


Its 8:33 in the morning the day of the contest.  I haven't even gotten to the fair grounds yet and I have already imagined 500 ways I could embarrass myself and all of my ancestors.  God help me if anyone asks what I did to prepare for this thing because the answer will be that I took a sleeping pill so that I wouldn't be up all night imagining all the ways I could perish in a grilled cheese related incident.  I haven’t practiced my sandwich at all.  Because goodness knows that I’d end up burning myself, because that’s my level of competency.  I’m working on reminding myself that I’ve been saying and doing stupid things for 30+ years now and I’m still a relatively functional human being.  Worst case: I lose but I got my whole family into the fair for free.  *shrug* Thats not so bad, right?


…Uh oh… what if I don't get a consolation pizza cutter?! I’m going back to bed.

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Summer On A Schedule

School’s out! Now what?

If you’re anything like me, you may find yourself asking that question right about now. I have been blessed to be able to stay home with my kids since they were babies. This past school year was the first time all three of them were in school full-time, so I am really going to cherish our time together this Summer. However, it is a big adjustment having them home all day again, and I did not want to fall into the habit of letting them waste half the day staring at a screen. I am a very organized person who thrives on routine so I created a weekly summer schedule for us to follow. It ensures that we DO something every day and also lets us explore the greater Indianapolis area, a still new-to-us city.


Our weekly summer schedule looks like this:

Make Something Monday – This could be anything from crafts to cooking. One week my youngest son decided to create a Power Rangers costume out of cardboard and we all helped with it. This week we are making homemade lemonade. I love that we are starting out the week by getting our creative juices flowing!


Take a Hike Tuesday – So far we have literally gone hiking on Tuesdays, but this will also be our day to just take a quick day trip. One of the great things about living in Indiana, “The Crossroads of America,” is that there are so many fun places to visit on a tank of gas. So far we have explored Brown County State Park and the Nashville, IN area, as well as Eagle Creek Park. We plan to visit Chicago, Cincinnati and the Indiana Dunes as well.


Water Wednesday – Wednesdays we’ll do anything from swimming at the pool at the Y, to visiting the water park at the Monon Center, to just running around outside with water guns or playing on the slip n slide. Luckily, it’s been blazing hot this summer so Water Wednesday has been very welcome (say that 5 times fast!)

Thinking Thursday – Thursdays we visit the library to stock up on new books, and then we head to piano lessons. We plan to do some fun science experiments on Thinking Thursday as well. Requests so far are for the exploding watermelon and the Mentos/Coke experiment (I see an explosion theme here.)

Fun Friday – Fridays could be anything…just playing with friends outside or doing something fun in the Indy area. Last week we headed downtown and had lunch at Bazbeaux’s and then climbed to the top of the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument.


I recognize that we all need our down time (mama included), so I also set up some ground rules for access to screens. Every day, they have a checklist of tasks they must accomplish before they can have screen time. I wanted to be sure that they didn’t experience too much of that summer slide in knowledge, so I included things like reading, math worksheets, and musical instrument practice. They also have a daily small chore to do so that we stay on top of housework since having three boys at home all day can equal chaos.

I hope these ideas will help you organize a fun and fruitful summer with your kiddos. Make like Phineas and Ferb and find a good way to spend those 104-ish days of summer vacation, before school comes along to end it!

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