Too Much Sweet Stuff? Sell Some Back at Local Candy Buy Back Spots!

If your kiddos end up with more candy than you want to see them goblin’, you might try talking them into selling some of it back.

Tomorrow, November 1st, all three locations of Molen Orthodontics will be offering their annual candy buy back event from 3-6:30 PM. The pay out rate is 2.00 a pound (not too shabby)! Kids may bring a maximum of 10lbs. and they’ll also score an extra dollar for coming in costume and one more buck for donating two or more cans of food. Molen has locations in Sumner, Auburn, and Enumclaw

If there isn’t a Molen office near you, you can also try looking for a candy buy back site at I saw sites in Port Orchard, Kent, and Renton. Do call before you head to one of these, as I haven’t verified the info.

I should note that I’ve never participated in one of these events before. I got the scoop on the Molen event from Nicole at the Sumner office, but you’re welcome to double check before you head out. If you know of another, do share!

I’d also love to hear your thoughts if your kiddos have participated in one of these. Were they glad to get the cash, or sad to lose their stash?  Do you have another strategy for dealing with the sweet stuff? Feel free to share that, too!

Honestly? My kids tend to come home and pig out for a couple days, and then it’s done. We do try to do some serious brushing!

What’s really spooky is thinking about how much money orthodontists must make. I’ve got two who are going to need braces……BOO!

New here? I write just about family events and activities for the South Puget Sound. I’d love to have you come back again. You can also use one of those cute ‘ola buttons in the top right to subscribe to my feed or reader or join us on the SFM Facebook page. It’s a great place to get quick ideas from parents near you!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween, friends! Looking for trick or treating spots or carnivals around the South Sound?

I’ve got a list right here.

Later today, I’ll have some more scoop for you on area candy buy back programs-just in case you get more than you can handle! Tomorrow, I’ll have your usual list of weekday fun.

If you’re new here-welcome! I write just about activities in the South Sound, and I try to keep them affordable. You’ll find something new here every day, and you’ll never have to wade through a list of stuff meant for our neighbors in Seattle. I hope you’ll come back again. You might also like to subscribe using one of those cute little buttons in the top right, or come hang out at the SFM Facebook page. We have a lot of fun there.

The Weekend List: South Sound Fun for Kids and Families in the South Puget Sound

Here it is….a great big list of weekend and Halloween fun for kids in Puyallup, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Lacey, Olympia, Auburn, Sumner, Fife, and Your area of the South Puget Sound! As you might suspect, it’s big on holiday happenings. If you need a hand finding something great, just drop me a line!

If you’re headed north or south, you’ll want to check out the fantastic list over at ThriftyNWmom compiled by super bargain sleuth Sia of Centsible in Seattle.

If you’d rather stick to family and kids’ events around the South Sound, I’ve got your list right here. You MIGHT be able to make cider at Terry’s Berries today-though no apple picking. Please call first if you’re interested. It’s going to run you about 10.00 a jug.

All Weekend

Pick your perfect pumpkin! Need a different patch? Find a new favorite in my list of South Sound Pumpkin Patches.

Haunted Theater at the Tacoma City Ballet Special back stage tours of specially decorated rooms.  Costumed dancers and a performance. Children are invited to wear costumes. The theater is Beautiful. Don’t be scared by the title-this is an event most children preschool age and up will enjoy. My friend Christy went last year with her 5 year old and said it was Amazing!  Tickets are 5.00 and performances are select Friday, Saturday, and Sundays from the 22nd-30th.

Old Time Harvest Fest at Miracle Ranch in Port Orchard Pony rides, petting zoo, rodeo games 10AM-6PM Today-Sunday; Free admission


South King County

Trick or Treating at the Landing in Renton

Tacoma/Pierce County

Haunted Theater at the Tacoma City Ballet See “All Weekend,”

A Night at the Movies Concert The Tacoma Youth Symphony will wear costumes and present music from popular movies including UP! and Star Wars. Family four packs available for 40.00 Two Show times

Day of the Dead celebrations at the Tacoma Art Museum Traditional Mexican art that celebrates the custom of honoring loved ones. Free community festival on the 30th, with face painting, crafts, and live entertainment

LeMay Museum Trunk or Treat Kids get to go from car to car at the auto museum getting treats from trunks! Free   2-4 Btw, I thought this was an indoor event, but CoreyAnn let me know over on the Facebook page that it’s outside. Wear a hood!

Fall Festival at Puyallup United Methodist Church
Photo booth, hayride, and more fun and games from 2-4 followed by trunk or treating from 4-5:30  For children up to 6th grade; costumes but no masks, please
Admission by food donation or monetary donation for UNICEF  Thanks, The Coupon Project

Haunted House and Trick or Treating at the Silver Creek Retirement Center in Puyallup  5-8PM today or 2-4 tomorrow   fun and games; safe trick or treating for kids


Old Time Harvest Fest at Miracle Ranch in Port Orchard Pony rides, petting zoo, rodeo games 10AM-6PM Today-Sunday; Free admission

Halloween Carnival at Mile High Gymnastics in Port Orchard


Looking for South Sound events on Halloween or places to trick or treat? See my list in the menu bar.

Know something fun I missed? Just let me know!

As always, I invite you to use one of those cute buttons in the top right to keep in touch with Sounds Fun Mom, so you don’t miss a thing. If you’re new here, you can read more about me in the About page. I have new ideas just for the South Sound every day, and I’d love to have you back! We also have all kind of fun over at the Facebook page. It’s a great place to get quick tips from fun loving parents near you.

Easy Halloween Crafts From Bloggers Around the Country!

I’m lucky enough to be part of a small collaborative group of hyperlocal bloggers. The hyper part means we all write about very specific regions-it’s not a personality thing-at least I don’t think so.

I don’t typically share a lot from their sites, because I assume you don’t really want to read about things going on in Illinois or Florida, but we decided to do a little bit of idea swapping for Halloween! I think you’ll agree with me that there is some serious cuteness going on here!

First up, check out these mummified lanterns. I know this looks very Martha, but it’s basically, “bandages,” applied with a two-step paste. You can get all the directions over at, where Laura Weisskopf Bleill and Amy Hatch write for moms in the Champaign-Urbana area of Illinois. This craft and the pic are from their contributor, Sarah Dexter.  Seriously, we’re making these today.

Or how about these ghosts? The “Secret ingredients,” will cost you about a buck. If you have little ones who like to get messy (and you can tolerate it), you’ll love this. This one is courtesy of  Annie Tandy who writes Kids List Activities for Little Kids in the La Grange, Hinsdale, and Western Springs area of Illinois. Check out her site for the directions for this easy craft.

Finally, here’s a bite size caramel apple! If you’ve ever watched your kids try to eat a whole caramel apple, you’ll agree with me that this is genius. Pure genius. Want to make your own? You’ll find easy, peasy directions over at Kids on the Grand where Melody writes for families near the Grand Rapids area. If you have family or friends in any of these areas, I hope you’ll hook them up with these great resources.

If you enjoyed these, don’t forget to check out Tuesday’s guest post on Paper Strip Pumpkins from Erin of Simply Frugal Mom.

Got Halloween fatigue? Scroll one down to read about new exhibits at the Foss Waterway Seaport, or take advantage of the sunshine to check out the new Playground on the Sound.

New Exhibits Worth Dropping Anchor For at the Foss Waterway

If you haven’t been to the museum at the Foss Waterway Seaport lately, I’ve got two big reasons for you to go.

First, you need to find your coats. The museum is in old warehouse space, and it’s on the waterfront, which means the main part is only a little warmer than outside.

I still don’t want you to wait until spring, though. Why not? First, because if you go now you can see the skeleton of the Arroyo whale. The body of the whale washed ashore a year ago last spring, and a team led by Russ Higley of Highline has been cleaning and assembling it-no small task. As you might imagine, the skeleton is behind protective fencing, but just seeing the whole thing stretched out is plenty amazing. My 8 year old is getting harder and harder to impress, but he gave it a big, “Whoah! Awesome!” You can sort of see it in the terrible picture I took below. My camera battery died right after we got here. Surprise, surprise.

The other new feature of note is part of the collection of the late Bill Sommers, who was an avid collector of anything related to the maritime Northwest. The exhibit features just part of his collection, but it’s very well done, with whistles and horns that kids can try out, a scavenger hunt, and a small, “Touch me,” section. Henry loved it.

The permanent exhibits in the museum are also interesting, though your kids will likely want to camp out in the Discovery Wharf area. It’s about half the size of the current Children’s Museum of Tacoma (maybe 3/4?) and features all kinds of hands-on exhibits for kids. The highlight is the Faith, a fishing boat that has been repurposed just for pint sized sailors.

I always suggest calling before you head to this one, as they do get occasional field trips that close down the Discovery Wharf. On our visit we were the only ones there, and the boys played and explored for a solid 90 minutes before anyone made a peep about leaving.

When you’re done, take a walk along the waterfront. Just keep your kiddos close to you; this would be a chilly time of year for a swim!

The museum doesn’t participate in any free programs, but the admission is quite reasonable-7.00 for adults and 4.00 for kids, or there is a family rate of 15.00. It’s closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. To get there, you head down Schuster parkway and then turn right to go down to the waterfront. It’s just past that Dock restaurant complex.

Meet Gig Harbor Academy

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably been imagining your child’s future from the time he or she was born. Henry is currently planning on having a skateboard shop and a house with eight hot tubs, but his dad and I know that may change!

We also know that no matter what paths our boys choose, education is the key to getting them there.

Today, I’m delighted to introduce my newest sponsor, Gig Harbor Academy, a private school for children in preschool-5th grade with decades of experience helping young children achieve their full potential. 110 children are enrolled at the school, which includes an outdoor classroom, a tree-filled playground, and even an archaeological dig site! The curriculum includes options you just don’t find at your typical school-including Spanish, music, technology, art and physical education,  for even the youngest students.

Students at Gig Harbor Academy learn about science and the outdoors.

The preschool uses an emergent curriculum, which means children are guided to learn by doing, with hands-on activities and tons of opportunities to express their unique personalities. The pre-K curriculum emphasizes the best practices to promote academic skills like reading and mathematics, as well as the development of your child’s best social and emotional self. Classes are available for children as young as three.

School wide, there is an emphasis on respect and service to others, and at every level children are encouraged to think critically and ask questions. Classes are small and teachers set unique goals for each child based on his or her strengths and needs. As the director says, “They’ll get lost in learning-not in the crowd.”  Love it!  The academy also uses the very latest in educational innovation-new this year are ipads for student use.

The school also offers a fully licensed childcare program with a similar emphasis on nurturing the whole child.

If this sounds like the kind of experience you’d like for your children, I’d encourage you to get in touch with the admissions director, Niki Vanderford. Niki can answer questions you have about admissions, tuition, and financial aid. She’ll also be glad to schedule a tour so you can see classes in action-the very best way to select a school.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The opinions are my own. Sponsors allow me to bring you Sounds Fun Mom, and I do hope you’ll consider thanking them with your business.

Free Career Day for Tweens and Teens at the Pt.Defiance Zoo

We interrupt all things Boo-related with a quick reminder about something Zoo-related!

November 12th is this year’s annual Career Day at the Point Defiance Zoo. It’s for students in 6th grade-high school. I know many of you have younger ones, but this would be a nice opportunity to pass on to parents of tweens and teens you know. The event is free and includes free zoo admission for the student, although those 16 and under must be accompanied by a paying adult. Activities run from 10-3 and students must check in at the window first, beginning at 9:30.

The zoo has other educational opportunities for all ages throughout the year, but they’ll run you a lot more.

I think this is a great idea for students contemplating animal or science related careers, and I’m sure there are kids out there who could use it to fulfill badge or school requirements.

Paper Strip Pumpkins: A Guest Post From Erin of Simply Frugal Mom

Update: Erin has retired from blogging, and no longer runs Simply Frugal Mom.

Paper Strip Pumpkins

You will need:


Pipe Cleaner


You can use either 12 X 12 or 8 ½ X 11 paper for this project. I think cardstock works best for this project. Construction paper is too flimsy to hold the shape of the pumpkin.

Step 1:

Cut your paper into even strips (mine are 1 ½ inches wide)

Step 2:

Using a hole punch, punch a hole into both sides of each strip.

Step 3:

Put the brad through the holes on one side of the strips and close. Fan out the strips into a circle.

Step 4:

Fold each strip up and attach to the 2nd brad. Alternate sides as you bring the strips up.

Step 5:

Bend the pipe cleaner around the brad and then close. Use a pen to create ringlets in your pipe cleaner.

And there you have it.

You can vary your pumpkins by using different sizes and colors of paper and by decorating the strips before you create your pumpkins. This project was obviously too advanced for my two year old, but he enjoyed coloring on the paper before I cut it into strips to create his pumpkin.


Bonfires, Beavers, and Boogeymen

I’ve got some insider scoop on another unique, seasonal event coming this weekend. It’s Bonfires, Beaver Pelts and Bogeymen at Ft. Nisqually. This is a special evening of old-fashioned ghost stories told around a campfire. The events begin with gentler stories, and there is a cookie break before the more intense tales begin. A volunteer will come out and invite children to, “Go home if you think your grown-ups might be too scared.” How cute is that?

I spoke with storyteller, Jerry, and he assured me that while the stories are intended to be scary, they aren’t bloody or gory. He thinks 2nd grade and up is probably the target age. He also asked me to remind you to dress warmly as this is an outside event, and he said a seat cushion is a good idea, too!

New this year: For the first time, you can buy tickets online (they’re 3.00-5.00). There is usually quite a line-up to get in, so I can’t suggest this strongly enough. When you get there, you can skip the line.  Just head on up to the front, waving your receipt prominently so no one thinks you’re cutting! Jerry also warned me that parking is even scarcer this year, due to some landscaping changes, so even if you have your tickets in hand, I’d plan on arriving early to secure your spot. Otherwise, the next closest is probably at the dog park, but that’s going to mean an uphill walk on a sort of scary road in the dark. Seating starts at 6:30 and the stories begin at 7.

If you have other questions, just give the friendly folks at Ft.Nisqually a call at (253) 591-5339.

If you’ve been to this event before, I’d love to have you tell us about it!

What Sounds Fun This Week: South Sound Fun for October 24th-28th!

Here are a few highlights for the week ahead!

The bouncy house list and the indoor playground list are all updated. You can find both, plus South Sound malls with play areas, under Rainy Day Play. I also have the 2011 pumpkin patch list in the menu bar, if you’re up for outdoor adventures. If you want to plan ahead for weekend fun, I have loads of ideas in my Halloween Events guide. I’ll be adding even more to it this week!

Remember: These are just highlights, but I’m always happy to list your family friendly event, or add something great you think I’ve overlooked. Just use that contact button up above and drop me a line!


Story time is back at all area libraries! Every day this week, there are multiple events for all ages. The PCL system also has many events for teens. Use the calendar that comes up on the left after clicking each link to change the date. Here are links:

Science Classes for Home Schoolers and other children resume at the Nature Center at Snake Lake


I see sunshine! Go visit your favorite patch while it’s not a madhouse, and get some pictures of your cuties! You can find a new favorite in my list above.


.25 cent admission to the Children’s Museum of Tacoma in celebration of the museum’s 25th birthday. Special themed activities. It’s not too late to join the Piggy Bank Brigade, if your kiddos would like a first crack at the brand new museum next year.

Car seat safety checks Free weekly check at Mary Bridge in Tacoma. Link has contact info. for fire stations and other sites for seat inspections.

It’s 1.00 day at the Starplex in Federal Way (tickets are just 2.00 other days). Kung Fu Panda and Mr.Popper’s Penguins look like your best bets right now.

Mom and baby class at Good Samaritan Two class times for moms and babies 0-12

Read With a Dog at the Puyallup public library Low pressure practice for young readers. Drop-in anytime between 3:30-4:30  Pepper is the patient canine today.

Read With a Dog Every Tuesday at the Graham Library, kids can practice their reading skills with a patient canine listener. Drop in program; 6:30-7:45


It’s free day at the Pt Defiance Zoo for Tacoma city residents; Bring photo id and proof of residency, such as a utility bill.

Fantastic Fall Fall: It’s Drop-in Lego Club at the South Hill library from 3-5PM Have you just found SFM recently? If you’ve got a Lego fan, make sure you’ve read about City Blocks.

Juice and Jammies Wednesday at Barnes and Noble in Olympia 7PM Also at the Kitsap Barnes and Noble

Read With a Dog Every Wednesday at the Summit Library, kids can practice their reading skills with a patient canine listener. Drop in program; 4-5PM

Scary Stories to Tell in The Dark Hear spooky stories at the Summit Library  7:30-8:30  Puppets and creepy folk tales; recommended for ages 5 and up; titles are available for preview at the library if you’re on the fence.


Fetch Club at the University Place Library Science program for 3rd-5th graders based on the popular television series. Registration required.

Horrogami at the South Hill library Halloween themed origami Two sessions: Register for the 4-5 event for grade schoolers or Register for the 6-7 event for teens.


Nature Alphabet Nature themed story time for children 3-6  W is for Wiggly  Registration required

Harvest Tea All ages celebration at the Swasey Library with refreshments; costumes optional

Haunted Pool – Federal Way at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center;  6:00pm – 7:30pm or 8:00pm – 9:30pm. Costume contest, world’s largest apple-bob, coin dive, haunted subterranean tunnel, canoe rides, diving, giant inflatable toy and open swimming. All ages, ages 5 and younger within arm’s reach of an adult. $5.  Thanks, Centsible in Seattle and ThriftyNWmom

Bonfires, Beaver Pelts, and Boogeymen Night time story telling event at Ft.Nisqually

Street of Screams at the Norpoint Community Center (Scroll down for this one) Free community event for kids 12 and under. Games, rock wall climbing, and more. Costumes invited

Monster Mash Bash at the South Park Community Center (Scroll down for this one) Free evening event for kids 3-12 with games, activities, and more. Wear your costume!

As always, I’ll have much more for your weekend on Friday, and more fun all the days in between.

Know something great I missed? Need help finding something? Just let me know! Whether you’re looking for things do with kids in Gig Harbor, Tacoma, Puyallup, Auburn, or whatever part of the South Sound you call home, I’d love to help. Just give me a holler.

We also share quick ideas and tips over at the Sounds Fun Mom Facebook page . Come on over and join a growing community of fun loving South Sound families.