South Sound Weekend Kids’ Calendar: Family Fun And Things To Do November 21st-23rd!

Looking for something kid friendly to do this weekend?

Here’s our weekly guide to South Sound area fun with activities for Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, and Your South Sound home!

You’ll find a list just like this-just for the South Sound-every Friday morning!

Headed elsewhere? There is always lots more to explore  at ThriftyNWmom  thanks to frugal fun finder, Annaliese, of Grays Harbor Deals!

Friday night is family science night at the Science Dome at Pierce College, or go Saturday for one of their regular, weekly films on the science dome screen.

Friday night is family science night at the Science Dome at Pierce College, or go Saturday for one of their regular, weekly films on the science dome screen.

Friday

 Dynamic Earth with Hands-On Activities at the Science Dome  Hands-on science stations beginning at 6PM (one pg. says 5:30-you might want to split the difference and try 5:45)!  followed by a half hour astronomy presentation and a 25 minute movie on the domed screen. The movie is 3.00, and you’ll want to get tickets in advance. The activities are free, drop-ins. Events here are always Great! If you have a child with an interest in science, you should go!

Kids’ Night Out at Pump It Up in Tacoma  Every Friday  Registration and fees required-kids enjoy jumping and pizza, while you get some grown-up time!

Saturday

All Over

Booksgiving Day At Half-Price Books  Free storytime at 1PM and every child who attends gets a free book.

Kids’ Club at Michael’s Michael’s offers 30 minute craft sessions for kids for 2.00 from 10-12:oo.  It’s a DIY felt stocking today.

South King County

Visit the HCC Mast Center  at Redondo   The center and its touch tanks of sea critters are free and open to the public every Saturday from 10-2

 Tree Lighting at the Landing in Renton

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Northwest Santa: The Santa That Comes To You!

 

NW Santa

Have you heard of the Santa that will come to your house for FREE? I know it sounds too good to be true, but I promise it isn’t! Northwest Santa is in its 5th year of sending St.Nick out for personal visits. Santa will come for a home visit with children under 10 or children with special needs of any age. This year his sleigh is making stops December 20th-24th  in Puyallup, Orting, Sumner, Bonney Lake, and JBLM. His visits are absolutely free, though he is glad to accept donations for the food bank.

Can you imagine what a thrill this would be for your little one? I think it’s a particularly great opportunity if you have a child with special needs or sensory issues who can’t handle the, “Busy,” of a traditional Santa visit, but it is open to absolutely any child on Santa’s route, and I can’t think of any who wouldn’t be thrilled!  You can get much more information and answers to any questions you might have about the Santa visits right here.

Now, the sign up is different this year. It opens Thanksgiving, and you’ll want to check back here. I do think spots will go fast, so you might want to make a plan to carve out some time on turkey day to sign up if you want to bring St. Nick to your place. If you would like to help bring this magic to more children, this is an all volunteer group, and yes-they would love the help!  They need wrappers, drivers, donations of toys, money, and time! Get all that information on their Facebook page.

Reader Olive has had Santa to her home several years and tipped me off to this great program originally. If you had Santa come to your house last year, leave a comment. I’d love to read your reviews!

Keep Your Pets Healthy And Happy With Royal Canin

 

I thought it was about time I introduced you to the baby of the family!

Cisco for post

I know……isn’t he the most handsome thing ever?

Now, I know this is a site about kids’ activities, but I also know that many of you consider your four-legged friends every bit a member of the family. As you can tell, we do here. Henry is the dog’s favorite playmate-here they are heading home from one of our adventures.

Henry and Cisco

Like all young boys, our dog has gotten into his share of mischief, especially as a puppy. Naturally, when Royal Canin explained they were looking for dog owners whose pets had had tummy upsets, we raised our paws hands.

You see, our handsome boy came to us as a rescue. He was well cared for by his previous owners, but they just didn’t have time to keep up with the demands of an energetic, young field lab. He had learned some bad habits while he was, “Entertaining,” himself, including standing up on his tall back legs (He’s kind of like a lab on stilts) and getting everything he could off the counter top and tables.

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I’m happy to report he’s now a very well mannered dog, but during the first months he was home, I lost track of the number of times I found myself frantically Googling something he had ingested. [Read more...]

Tickets On Sale For Santa Breakfasts-Plus A Sneak Peek At Our Holiday Events Guide!

A quick note to let you know that we’ve updated our list of

Breakfast with Santa around the South Sound

Santa Breakfasts, and (drumroll, please….)

our great, big list of South Sound holiday events. There are still a few happenings we’re working on adding, but there is definitely plenty to look over and mark on your calendar!

If you do want in on one of the breakfasts, those are all on sale now, and many of them sell out, so don’t wait long.

Personally, I’m a big believer in making choices and creating memories this time of year. If you try to do it all, you’ll just go crazy, but if you select a manageable number of  special outings you’ll have time to really enjoy yourself!

What area events are must-dos for your family?

Free Jumping, Pizza, and Birthday Cake When You Help Film A New Ad Tuesday At Pump It Up!

Tacoma Bounce House Place

 

Hey, Tacoma area friends-looking for something to do tomorrow? Our fabulous sponsors at, Pump It Up  are filming a new commercial on Tuesday November 18th from 12:45-2:45,  and if you’re willing to have your kiddos be in it, they can jump for FREE and have FREE pizza and birthday cake!

Sounds like a ton of fun to me!

If you’d like in, call the staff to RSVP. Let them know your names, how many of you to expect, and, of course, feel free to say you saw it on Sounds Fun Mom!  The front desk is (253) 254-7971. 

 

South Sound Nutcracker Performances

Updated for 2014

Here is my round up of South Sound Nutcracker Performances for 2013. I will have at least one Nutcracker giveaway later in the season, and we may see more performances pop up on daily deal sites. I’ll leave it up to you as to whether you want to wait and take your chances or make plans with your sugar plums now! This is a complete list, whether you’re looking for a fancy, big city production, or a more affordable show.

Feel free to forward this list to little ballet lovers you know, and do let me know if you hear of a show you missed, or want to weigh in on your fav!

Nutcracker ballets in the South Puget Sound

 

First, A Few Words on The Big One in Seattle:

The most recognized area Nutcracker is the production put on by the Pacific Northwest Ballet in Seattle. It features gorgeous Maurice Sendak sets, and the dancing of nationally recognized ballerinas. I’m not going to dance around it:  This is one spendy show. However, I know many moms who will say it’s worth it. Here’s my sister in law, Cindy, on the subject:

“Even though Pacific Northwest Ballet production is spendy, I think it is worth it. I have seen several lower cost productions in the area over the years. The exta bonuses you get with PNB 1) they have booster seats so you little ones can actually see the stage. They were nice, clean and cozy last time we needed one. 2) They have lovey props in the lobby. Large nutcracker and toy soldier statues and a stage replica. These are great for killing time before the show or great backdrops for your Christmas or Holiday cards. My girls loved dancing on the stage. 3) You can preoreder your cookie treat for intermission. No standing in line. Who wants that with kids. Some ticket packages come with cookies too. 4) The Sendak backdrops will remind you and your kids of their favorite stories and you can recall those fun memories when you read together later. 5) You can’t beat the special effects at PNB. No one has the awe of the growing tree and the lighting and the spectacular costumes. 6) It is more money but way more magic.”

You should also know that this is the last year they’re going to be putting on this version of The Nutcracker at the PNB, so if it’s one of those things you’ve always wanted to do…..this is your year. They Will have The Nutcracker in future years, it just won’t be the one with the Maurice Sendak sets.

If you do want to invest in the PNB production, you may want to check out the discount tickets to the Nutcracker on Goldstar.

If you’re not sold on PNB, or you just don’t have that much jingle in your wallet, there are many fabulous, South Sound performances to choose from.

South Puget Sound Nutcracker Performances 2014

Auburn/Renton-Evergreen City Ballet  Performances at Renton Ikea Center the 20th and 21st.  Tickets are 15.00-34.00.  My friend Christy went to this one last year and raved about it. She thought the sets and performers were very professional, and the ballerinas came out after the show to mingle and pose for pictures.. Last year, we also saw this one on Groupon.  and, YES, I will be hosting a giveaway to this one again this year. Stay tuned for that in the coming weeks.

Enumclaw-Plauteau Ballet Repretory Theater/The Dance Workshop Presents The Nutcracker December 12th-21st Tickets are 10.00 for seniors. 12.00 for children, and 14.00 for adults   Matinee and evening shows, performances at the high school

Fife  Auburn Children’s Dance Theater will present a performance in Fife Tickets can be purchased online here 13.00 in advance or 17.00 at the door. December 19th at 7PM and December 2oth at 2PM and 7″30. The afternoon show on Saturday has an arts and crafts time. Bring cameras for photo ops. with the dancers.

Tacoma-Tacoma City Ballet  Performances at the Pantages weekends beginning December 13th and running through the 23rd Tickets are 20.00-69.00. This year’s production is the world premiere of the whole story, “The Nutcracker and the Tale of the Hard Nut.”   If you haven’t been, the Pantages is beautiful. Leah Taff, of TCB wrote in with this plug last year.  “Our Nutcracker is the only one in the area to be performed in a performing arts theater to live orchestral music”    

There are still more to choose from….keep reading!
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Reviews By Henry: We Check Out Petz Beach-A Great New Family Title from Ubisoft!

I know many of you find it challenging to find family friendly video games. We’re picky about what we let the boys play, so I’m always pleased to find a new one I can recommend.

We’ve  been big fans of the positive, fun  Petz games from Ubisoft for a while, and I was particularly excited to let Henry try out new Petz Beach on his Nintendo 3DS.

Petz Beach game cover

He immediately snatched it and got to work, “Reviewing.”

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Here’s a little bit of how it went:

Me: “Henry, what do you think of it?”

Henry: “It’s AWESOME.”

Me: “That’s great. What do you like about it?”

Henry: “Hello? DOGS?”

Me: “Don’t be sassy. I know you love dogs, but what do you love about the game?”

Henry: “I already told you. DOGS.”

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Soooo0o…….there you have it.

For those of you who like a bit more detail, I’ll also mention that in addition to DOGS the game includes over fifty animals from dogs and cats to dolphins and whales. You can see in the pic above that Henry is using the stylus to walk his dog on an adventure. Yes, he has super big hands-I’m sure he’ll be eating us out of house and home as the rest of him catches up with his big ‘ol mitts.

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The game changes with the seasons and expands as kids play and, “Meet,” other neighbors and pets and explore different scenes.  What’s really great about this is that it’s never really the same game twice, so you’re getting tons of play value.  The game also rewards players for completing fun quests and helping others (How great is that)?? Oh, and thanks to a partnership  with Encyclopaedia Britannica, Petz Beach incorporates learning along the way. As kids care for their pets and complete missions, they’ll learn facts about animals, plants and insects!

But, seriously, we had you at, “Dogs,” right?

If you love the  Petz games like we do, you’ll be excited to know that Petz Countryside launches the same day as Petz Beach. It offers the same fun, interactive game in a different setting. You can check out more about Petz Beach here, or check out  Petz Beach for Nintendo 3DS over on Amazon! I truly think it’s a title you can feel good about putting under the tree. I’d love to hear how your kids review it!

 

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

South Sound Weekend Kids’ Calendar: Family Fun And Things To Do November 14th-16th!

Looking for something kid friendly to do this weekend?

Here’s our weekly guide to South Sound area fun with activities for Tacoma, Puyallup, Olympia, and Your South Sound home!

You’ll find a list just like this-just for the South Sound-every Friday morning!

Headed elsewhere? There is always lots more to explore  at ThriftyNWmom  thanks to frugal fun finder, Annaliese, of Grays Harbor Deals!

All Weekend

Just Between Friends Kids’ Consignment Sale event in Renton

Friday

Firefighter storytime at the Swasey Library 10:30  Special preschool story time with the Tacoma fire department

Kids’ Night Out at Pump It Up in Tacoma  Every Friday  Registration and fees required-kids enjoy jumping and pizza, while you get some grown-up time!

Disney On Ice at the Showare Center in Kent  This post has more info. on the show and available discounts, which are limited.

Saturday

All Over

Kids’ Club at Michael’s Michael’s offers 30 minute craft sessions for kids for 2.00 from 10-12:oo.  It’s a reindeer canvas painting.

  Story time at Barnes and Noble   Many Barnes and Noble locations host free, weekly story time events at 11AM.  Thanksgiving stories and paper turkey making today.  Olympia and Lakewood seem to participate regularly; I’ve had several readers disappointed by the Federal Way store. I always encourage you to call your store to confirm participation, as it is really inconsistent in this chain.

South King County

Visit the HCC Mast Center  at Redondo   The center and its touch tanks of sea critters are free and open to the public every Saturday from 10-2

Just Between Friends Kids’ Consignment Sale event in Renton

Disney On Ice at the Showare Center in Kent  This post has more info. on the show and available discounts, which are limited.

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Enroll In GET Now and Save Big On College Later!

One of the first things we invested in  for our boys-not long after we bought the strollers, the bouncy thing, and all their other, “Must haves,” was a GET  account. What’s a GET account? GET stands for, “Guaranteed Education Tuition,” and it’s a program that lets you buy college units now, at today’s prices, to be used when your child is ready._95A2001I know it seems like a funny thing to think about when your kiddos are little, but that’s Exactly the time you want to do it. You see, college tuition prices are going up (and up and up and up) just about every year. When you become a GET family you’re locking in today’s prices. It’s easy to imagine how you’ll save big compared to what the rates will be in 18 years or so!  Wouldn’t it be great if you could lock in today’s price on milk or gas or bread?

I can tell you it has given us the best rate of return of Any investment we have made, and we are so thrilled to know that our boys will be able to go to college without being saddled with a huge pile of debt (Did you know student loan debt in this country has passed One Trillion dollars)? Gulp!

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Do I sometimes wonder what we’re thinking when I watch Henry walk by with a box on his head? ‘Um….yeah. But, I know his GET account can be used at nearly any public or private college, university, or technical school, so he has lots of options. He currently wants to work for Lego, run a skateboard shop, and help elephants, so he may need to go somewhere where he can design his own major!

Now, you’ll probably have lots of questions about the program, and every once in a while misinformation goes around. Know that the folks running the program are glad to help answer any questions you have; in fact, they’ve likely already covered them on the website!

GET Started - GET PPT

 

You should also know that this isn’t a new program-infact, this is its 17th year, and since 1999, 39,000 Washington students have been able to use more than a half a billion dollars towards their higher education expenses. Awesome, right? The GET program is currently funded at 106% and has an A rating. You can’t get much better than that!

Now, I want to make it clear that I’m not a financial expert (You knew that, right?), but I can tell you that saving any amount is a smart idea.  Don’t be overwhelmed thinking of the total cost, or because you can only afford to set aside a little. When it comes to saving for college, time really is on your side if you start when your kiddos are small. Even a modest amount will give you a huge savings when they’re ready. GET is only open for enrollment at certain times of the year. It just opened again November 1st.  You can learn lots more about the program at their website, and it’s super easy to enroll online! 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The opinions are my own. The responsibility for decisions about your finances is Yours! I am always grateful when you mention the site to the sponsors who make it possible!

Fantasy Lights 2014-Register Now To Walk; Plus Half-Off Nights And Your Coupon Link!

 

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If Christmas light display are one of your favorite holiday things, you may want to walk or drive through the light show at  at Fantasty Lights in Spanaway. Here’s all you need to know about this year’s event, including the Fantasy Lights walk, and how to save half off or get the coupon to save on the drive through option.

Fantasy Lights  is a two mile, drive- through light show around Spanaway Lake. It’s put on by the Pierce County Parks department, and it’s a bit like zoo lights, except that the light displays aren’t animal themed. As you drive through, you can tune to a special station to hear area high school groups play holiday music.  It’s half tacky, half sweeet-100% family fun.

Staff will usually warn you that waits on Saturday nights can be up to an hour. Honestly, we’ve always gone on Sunday nights and had no wait at all. Personally, I wouldn’t wait an hour for this, but I’m impatient! You should also know that this year there are special nights when you can get in for half-off! You can get the scoop on that, and the 3.00 coupon right here. Note that the coupon can’t be used on the half-off night.

You can also walk through Fantasy Lights on Sunday, November 23rd  from 5-7. This is a one day only option. Preregister by the 19th, and your walkers will pay just 3.00 or each or 9.00 for a family of four. Wheelchairs and strollers are welcome, and you’re reminded to dress for the weather! Service animals only. Now, I’ll tell you I’ve heard mixed things about this outing. I think the main thing to keep in mind is the distance. If you have a wagon for the kids, and a thermos of hot chocolate, I think it could be a lot of fun. It’s also much more affordable than the area’s other big light events. On the other hand, I’ve heard from friends and readers whose kids started weeping from the cold and the walk at half a block in-I’ll let you decide if it would be a good fit for your family!

The drive through option runs November 27-January 1st. including Christmas and New Years. Day.  Admission is 14.00 per car (See above for links to info. on half off nights and the coupon). Do note that it’s a slow drive, and there isn’t any turn around option. If you have children with sensory issues, this may not be the outing for you!

Photo from Flickr used under a Creative Commons license