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Summer Update!

Oh. My. Word.

 

How did the summer get by so quickly!?

 

I figured the best way to update on all the stuff going on was a big, long, chock-full of info blog post.

 

IMG_7341SO…..school! the past few weeks were being spent getting this guy ready and sent off to another year of school.  But of course in between were many nights of Pokemon-ing, working the day job, radio show-ing and visiting fun places and restaurants in the metro, and as far as the Bahamas!

 

First, I started utilizing my skillz at this most amazing Social Media Strategy Company called Think Digital.  If you’re reading this blog and have a business.  You definitelty want to check us out:  ThinkDigital.co.  There’s even a most awesome bio section where you can read about…me!  So, that’s been filling my days…..

 

IMG_6858Let’s go back a bit….  My Bostonian family visited from….Boston.  Of course we hit the Des Moines staples like The Machine Shed/Living History Farms and The IMG_6953Science Center and what’s a visit to Iowa without some Iowa Beef? Our restaurant of choice this visit was Rubes Waukee for some cook-your-own. Annnnnddd……We took them to the fair.  Rick had his first egg-on-a-stick!  I know!  Who has lived their whole life in Iowa and has never eaten an egg on a stick?!  We hit the Adel Sweet Corn Festival of course too!

 

 

 

Anyway…

IMG_6786IMG_6814We also celebrated Rick’s B-day with a Justice League Birthday Party! Can you imagine living forty-something years of life without ever having a super hero birthday party?!  My birthday was a surprise on one of Des Moines’ most romantic…Baru 66…..<hearts>.  He’s a keeper. Oh and my first visit to Juniper Moon!  If you haven’t checked it out yet…https://www.facebook.com/JuniperMoonDM/

 

IMG_7390Now, some new places we’ve visited!  5 Borough’s Bagel http://www.5boroughbagels.com/.  This is a little pice of New York right down the street in Clive. GREAT bagels and unique cream cheese flavors.  Check em out near the Club Car (Which is a Pokestop BTW).

 

 

 

We got to the Grand Opening of IMG_7402Black Cat Ice Cream!  This is a little Hole in The IMG_7411Wall where…well The Hole in the Wall restaurant used to be, right next to The Gas Lamp (also a Pokestop) and a fantastic move to open up right near the Sculpture Park mid-Pokemon craze. https://www.facebook.com/desmoinesicecream/

 

IMG_6981IIMG_7150n between all this we went on a cruise.  If you ever need cruise advice, I’m your girl….the highlight of this cruise was swimming with the stingrays. This was my 10th Royal Caribbean Cruise Cruise Line. But, I have to say, a Disney cruise is in our
IMG_7107future for the next.  Hit up my awesome friend Angie from Kingdom Konsultant Travel if you ever want to book one.  She’s the Disney expert (e-mail her at Angie@KingdomKonsultants.com).  https://www.facebook.com/KingdomKonsultantTravel/?pnref=lhc

 

IMG_7397Ok….So all of this eating….I neeeeed to workout.  But who has time!?  I started the most incredible workout regimen.  It’s called The Exercise Coach.  It’s in West Des Moines right by Mahalo’s Coffee.  I know…It takes all of my strength to walk by…BUT, if you’re pressed for time…try The Exercise Coach.  You get the results of an hour workout in just 20 minutes.  Yes! No joke, these machines work your muscles in just two, 20 minute sessions a week!  IMG_7382That’s it, an actual workout you can get done on your lunch break!  I’m not kidding. Why did I sweat it out at the gym for hours a week when I can do this?  Your first four sessions are free! So tell them I sent you and go in today! https://www.facebook.com/The-Exercise-Coach-West-Des-Moines-411103179036885/
OK, more restaurants…..We tried out Gilroy’s finally!  http://gilroyskitchen.com/. Good stuff, great happy hour. IMG_6774Check them IMG_6775out. This may be the restaurant that stays in the spot where other restaurants have gone to die!

 

 

 

IMG_7279Alrighty…So, now that I’ve taken a break from driving the family around to collect fake creatures, I gave you all an update! Yay!  We haven’t just been playing Pokemon.  We’ve been DOMINATING Pokemon Go. I just hit level 31. Yes. I know. I’m ridiculous.  So ridiculous that we were just interviewed for Clive Living Magazine.  Look for our interview and photos in the next edition!

 

 

IMG_6762And you can probably find us at Pokemon League or a tournament at the happiest place on earth, Mayhem Comics, or sporting our Pokemon hats, made by local knitter (who happens to me by mom), Kritter Knits and More.

 

IMG_7420https://www.facebook.com/KritterKnitsMore/ Message or e-mail to order one!

 

OK!  I think that’s enough updating for today!

 

I’ll be back!

Summer Tasting Events at Vom Fass

get-attachment.aspxWe are so excited to share this Summer Indulgence calendar with you (just click here for a larger version)! These events are hosted by our newest sponsor, Vom Fass!

If you haven’t stopped in to this awesome store in the heart of The Shops at Roosevelt, you are missing out.  Can I just say that I’d never had a cocktail with vinegar in it until I came here, and now I’m hooked!  There are so many more uses to oil and vinegar than just salad dressing!

You might remember our blog post last February about the Brandy class we took, if not, you can read about it here.  It was awesome.

That’s why I’m so excited about these Summer Indulgence events coming up at Vom Fass in July.  An Italian Ice Cream Social, Spanish Wines and Tapas, Brunch and Bubbles!!  Oh yeah…and most of them are free! Check it out….

get-attachment-11.aspxAnd while you’re marking your calendar for these events, take a sec and show them some love by liking them on Facebook and checking out their website.

http://dsm.vomfassusa.com

https://www.facebook.com/vomfassdsm?fref=ts

Happy Lunar New Year!

IMG_3302 IMG_3311Happy year of the sheep! This is the third year in a row we’ve had the pleasure of attending the Lunar New Year celebration hosted by the Korean Cultural Center of Des Moines.  It has been held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverdale each year and is a great, low key way to introduce your family to a different culture for a day. Here is our post with some photos from last year: http://eatplaylovedesmoines.com/2014/01/happy-lunar-new-year.html .

 

IMG_3333IMG_3378I’ll of course remind you on our Facebook page when the event is coming up again next year, but go ahead and follow them to learn about other events coming up (like CelebrAsian). https://www.facebook.com/pages/Korean-Cultural-Center/194912157188790?fref=ts

 

IMG_3320 IMG_3317We had fun learning how to roll Kimbap, watching the program, playing games and doing crafts and I most definitely look forward to enjoying the Bulgogi with rice, noodles, kimchi and soup (they even offer gluten-free) every year!  And the best part is that all of this is free!  The suggested donation is $5 per plate for the food, but it is all worth so much more.

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ps. Thanks to Kristine from the Cultural Center for snapping this family photo of us!

 

KidsFest 2015 – Giveaway

2012KF_Color_Veridian_forwebWe have a family 4-pack of tickets to this year’s KidsFest to give away!  Just leave a comment on this blog post to be entered to win and make sure you leave your e-mail address in the comment or follow us on Facebook or Twitter so we can contact you if you win.  We’ll announce winners on February 21st!  Here are the Details of the event:

March 6 – 8, 2015
Iowa State Fairgrounds
Varied Industries Building

IMG_3021Friday, March 6: 6-9 p.m.
Saturday, March 7: 9 a.m.-6 p.m.
Sunday, March 8: 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Cost: $7.50 per person (kids under age 2 are free)
Tickets are available at the door

Discount coupons available at local Fareway Stores and Veridian Credit Unions.

Fun for the Whole Family!
Children & Families of Iowa’s Kidsfest is about families, fun and lending a helping hand. Kidsfest is a kid-centered festival full of fun activities, games and entertainment for kids and their families. This exciting event promises to thrill families and children of all ages.

Kids Helping Kids
The greatest thing about Kidsfest is that it is truly an event where kids can help kids. While you and your family are having fun at all of the great attractions, you are helping at-risk families and children in Iowa.

IMG_9325Snow Queen and Ice Princess Private Party: the first 100 individuals in line at the SE entrance Friday at 6 p.m. will receive free tickets, with the purchase of general admission, to the private Snow Queen and Ice Princess Party at 6 p.m. Attendees will enjoy special treats, interact with the queen and princess and have a photo opportunity at the end. Tickets will only be handed out to individuals in line.

Superhero Private Party: the first 100 individuals in line at the SE entrance Sunday at 10 a.m will receive free tickets, with the purchase of general admission, to the private Superhero party at 10 a.m. Attendees will enjoy special treats, interact with the Iowa League of Heroes and have a photo opportunity at the end. Tickets will only be handed out to individuals in line.

Hollywood in the Heartland

get-attachment-33.aspx get-attachment-26.aspxWe were lucky enough to be able to attend the opening celebration of the new Hollywood in the Heartland exhibit at the State Historical Museum.  Fortunately, this exhibit is going to be here for at least a few years,  because you’re going to want to check it out.  Basically this exhibit showcases Iowa’s film history.  Anything you’ve seen on the big screen that has roots in Iowa, will probably be represented here.  From highly recognizable films actors that stand out like, Field of Dreams, State fair or Ashton Kutcher  to little-known actors and films, you are going to learn something at this exhibit.  It’s totally family friendly and the museum is of course always free to the public.  Make a day of it and explore the rest of the museum and have lunch at Cafe Baratta’s  also located inside the museum.

get-attachment-28.aspx get-attachment-27.aspxAlong with the display they are offering:

“Matinees at the Museum” Film Series

The movies all have ties to Iowa and will be presented at the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. Showtime is 1:15 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.
July 5: “Field of Dreams”
Aug. 2: “State Fair”
Sept. 6: “The Music Man” (1962)
Oct. 4: “Cold Turkey”
Nov. 1: “They Were Expendable”
Dec. 6: “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “From Here to Eternity” (Double Feature)

get-attachment-29.aspx get-attachment-32.aspxState Historical Museum Hours

9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday – Saturday
Noon – 4:30 p.m. Sunday
Closed official state holidays
Admission is free

The Italian Heritage Festival

We always have a great time at the Italian Heritage Festival in Des Moines.  The 2014 event will be held on July 25th & 26th, 2014.  2013 was a great year for the event, it was the largest one yet and 2014 looks to be shaping up to be even better.  Lots of great food vendors, free inflatables, crafts, face painting and balloon animals for the kids, live music and lots of fun contests like pasta-eating and bocce ball tournaments.  The festival is free

 

from opening until 5pm when there is a $5 cover charge to get in.  Children 12 and under are always free to get in.


Of course we sampled everything from pizzelles to meatballs to Italian Nachos (which I highly recommend) to gelato and fresh squeezed lemonade.

 
The highlight (food-wise) was the Italian Nachos that were topped with beef and sausage, tomato sauce and mozzarella.  There was a topping bar of peppers as well.  So good!  My sons favorite was the Italian cookies.

While kids spent most of the time bouncing on the inflatables (I also really appreciated that they had boxes full of socks available for kids since in the middle of July a lot of kids wear sandals and sock are required for the bounce houses.) and doing crafts, they seemed to really enjoy the entertainment that we caught that day too which included a bagpipe player and dancers.

If you missed this year’s event, mark your calendar for next year!  A great, free (during the day) family outing or a great inexpensive date-night!  Alway wonderful to be able to learn a little about Italian heritage, have some great food and have some fun.

 

80/35

get-attachment-25.aspxget-attachment-12.aspxI admit it, even though this year marked The 80/35 music festival‘s 7th festival, it’s the first year I attended.  Yup.  It may have been Cake (the bad, not the dessert) that enticed me enough to come out for the fest.  Even though I have a degree in music, sitting and watching music for long periods of time just isn’t my thing.  I thought I might be bored, so I never went.  Boy was I wrong!  I’m kicking myself for not coming to this event sooner.

get-attachment-13.aspx get-attachment-14.aspxThe event takes place in Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park and while you have to pay admission for the main stage, their is lots of free fun to be had too.  It’s so much more than just bands (on three separate stages) playing all day.  There are lots of food vendors and art merchants, a kids play area and beer gardens.  Access to everything but the main stage is free.

Man, this was so fun, even my almost 7 year old had a great time and he even liked Cake as much as I did (in the 90’s at least =)!

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Things to bring that made this two-day festival a great experience for us were ear plugs and cash (lots of vendors didn’t take credit) and our friends came equipped with lawn chairs, a blanket and glow sticks so we had everything we needed to have a comfortable spot to relax and enjoy and had a base to return to when we were off enjoying the vendors.  I can’t wait til next year now! What a cool July 4th weekend tradition.

National Balloon Classic – Indianola

One of my very favorite festivals of the summer is the National Balloon Classic in Indianola.  The 2014 festival runs July 25th to August 2nd.  Activities for the week include a 5k walk/run, morning balloon flights that are free, evening balloons flights that are $5 per person admission (children under 12 are free). Entrance includes the nightly entertainment, the ability to watch the night glows, which are really cool where you can go right onto the field, all of the balloons light up in the dark and it’s fun to watch. And there are food vendors and kids games there nightly as well.  You can even camp at the field for $5 per night.
On Saturday the 26th at 11:00am there will be the annual Balloon Classic Parade in Indianola City Aqaure.  You can schedule a Balloon ride in advance by contacting the official balloon ride operation for the event “On the Fly” at 1-800-690-1287.
The weekday evenings are usually less busy, plan some time to get there as there is often a line to get in to park.
Here is the 2014 Schedule on the National Balloon Classic Website.

Trivia at Blue Moon with Super Moms!

So basically, today’s post is about Tuesday Trivia Night at Blue Moon Dueling Piano Bar with some really awesome friends. BUT, there is so much more to tell you about.

get-attachment-58.aspx First, let me introduce these lovely ladies…They are the Des Moines Area Super Moms, well, just a few of them.  There are about 32 of them in all right now, and I’ve been a part of this fab group of moms since my son was 4 months old.  My son is now almost 7, so I’ve known a lot of these gals for quite a long time.  They organize their get-togethers on a website called Meetup.com.  get-attachment-59.aspxThey have a great message board where they discuss anything and everything and get together frequently for play dates with kids or the occasional Moms Night Out (like tonight).  The best part, it’s open for all DSM (and surrounding) area moms to join!  These ladies have been a HUGE support system for me during the years when I didn’t know when to introduce new foods to my kid, what the line etiquette was at school pick-up or even why there was green stuff coming out of my kid. Most importantly they are there for each other through those days that seem to last forever at the time, but really go by so fast when you look back.  Anyway, if you are a new mom, or just looking for some great mom friends who “get it”, check out the Des Moines Area Super Moms on Meetup.com.  Membership is $6/year and the value is priceless!

get-attachment-62.aspx get-attachment-61.aspxBack to beer and trivia! Trivia Night at Blue Moon Piano Bar in West Glen Town Center was a blast!  My first tip would be to get there early to get seats for your team.  You can have as many people as you want on your team, but they limit the prizes (i.e. a round of drinks) to 8 per team. And the prizes were great for a free event!  Our team, aptly called “The Super Moms” won round two and got to share this delicious free order of chicken nachos as our prize! Woot!  Another prize for winning a round was a round of shots and there were prizes for the top three overall teams as well!  The big prize was a $50 gift card.  Like I said, pretty awesome prizes for a game that’s free to play!  Plus, they had $3 beer and ciders all evening, so this was a pretty cheap night out!  Our table had pizza, chicken fingers and nachos and everyone enjoyed all the food.  They also offer sandwiches, soups and salads if you prefer.  Our server Ivan was awesome!  Even though he informed us that’s not his real name, and was shocked our group won round two, we still think he was pretty cool!

get-attachment-63.aspxThis would be fun for adults of any age, and the age range here was all over the board.  Host Andy “Dj Cubbie” Powell from Select Entertainement (known for his former role as Cubbie Bear for the ICubs) did a great job challenging teams to 6 rounds of trivia in just under two hours and keeping it good, clean fun with categories that challenge, but don’t make you feel too dumb.  DJ Cubbie says he aims to have people be able to answer 7 out of 10 questions correctly  in each of the 6 rounds.  Unfortunately, our group of moms failed miserably in the sports category or we would have taken home one of the top three prizes!  Next week for sure!

get-attachment-64.aspxAnyway, if cheep beer and free fun didn’t convince you to try Trivia at Blue Moon on Tuesday nights.  Go to support Dj Cubbie’s efforts with the Children’s Cancer Connection’s Oncology Camp.  Through trivia at Blue Moon he raised money to send kids to camp this past week AND volunteers his own time each year Dj-ing the dance at the camp and hosting games for the kids at the camp.  What an awesome guy!  You can find him at other bars in the area hosting trivia or beer bingo!  You can find trivia hosted by Select Entertainment at Claxons in Altoona, Champps in Jordan Creek, Wellmans Pub (both locations) and more!  Check out their fb page for the most current places to find them.  Or contact DJ Cubbie directly at andy@selectentertainmentiowa.com to find our which games he’s hosting.  Fun times!

 

FREE Kids Cooking Classes at The Machine Shed

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get-attachment-18.aspxget-attachment-19.aspxWe attended the latest Kids Cooking Class at The Machine Shed in Urbandale this week and for a free program, they did a great job with the kids!

Above is the 2014 schedule. The classes are scheduled for 4 Tuesdays during the year and start at 6pm.  Each class differs in length based on what they make in the class.  This class lasted about an hour and a half.  This time we made biscuits and they started the class by bringing the kids out to the garden to pick fresh herbs to use.  Each kid got a bowl and was able do every step of the process from measuring to mixing and rolling and then they got a tour of the kitchen and got to watch the biscuits cook.  They even had lots of toppings for the kids to eat with their biscuits like cinnamon butter, peanut butter and cherries.

get-attachment.aspxget-attachment-11.aspxJust for an idea of other things they make, they told us they made meatballs last time, and the Chef holding the class for the evening decides what to make.

I would recommend this class for kids over 5.  My 6-year-old loved it.  They allowed the parents to stay and watch, or you were able to leave your child and run errands or take a walk.  There was a younger child there and it just did not hold his attention.  Think about how it is cooking at home with a three-year old, it’s fun for a minute and then they are over it.  Even though there is no age restriction to the class and you can help your child, I think it’s definitely geared for 5 and up.

get-attachment-16.aspxget-attachment-17.aspxAs soon as the class ended my son was asking if we could come back for the next one.  Oh, and each kid got to take home a certificate of completion and a coupon for a free kids meal.  Can’t beat it for a free class and I maybe would have even paid a fee for the quality of the class =)

I’m also excited to check out the adult cooking classes that are also listed on the flier!  A $20 fee includes a three course meal while you sit back and watch a Chef teach you how to prepare a meal. Fun!