Geocaching In Point Defiance

Have you ever gone Geocaching? It’s a real life treasure hunt you do with the GPS built right into your phone.

You can be Geocaching in minutes, and there are tons of caches hidden around the South Sound, including many in Tacoma. It’s FREE, and it’s one of those rare family adventures that appeals to little and big kids. Perfect, in other words!

First, a few basics:

A Geocache is a small container. It contains a note so you can log the date when you found it before you put it back for the next searchers. Sometimes, caches also contain small trinkets, and you can take them and put in some of your own. Make sure to bring a few small things if you want to do this (think matchbox cars, marbles….some caches are just medicine bottle sized, so nothing large/extravagant).  Really, though, the thrill is in the hunting and the  finding.  Henry made it his mission to check out every hole in every tree/stump/log. I’m not going to lie-some members of our group thought he made the progress a little slow!

Looking

Looking

You can find Geocaches to hunt for at a number of sites. We used Geocaching.com. It has a one minute video that would be perfect to show your kids, as well as lots of other information. You can get one version for free, but we ended up paying 10.00 for the app my husband downloaded to his phone.  Opencaching.com is another good site, and it’s always free.

Once you’ve found a cache you want to find, you follow the GPS coordinates to the location. As you get closer, you’ll see a line on the map on your phone letting you know about how far you have left to go. Sometimes the hider has also left clues.

It sounds simple, but some Geocaches can be downright tricky to find. On our recent adventure, we went to Point Defiance. Lot of caches are hidden in parks, and I think it’s a smart idea to choose a destination that will be fun for your kids even if you don’t ultimately find the cache. At Point Defiance there are quite a few hidden in and around the trails in the middle of the park and running along its edge. It’s a great way to explore an area that tends to get overlooked.

Finding!

Finding!

We were almost right on top of the first one before my clever husband spied it. We never did find the second one, and boy, did we look! The clue told us to look near a log-turns out that wasn’t much help in the woods! Sometimes caches do disappear-someone who isn’t a geocacher stumbles on it and takes it (You need to try to be a little sneaky when you’re hiding if other folks are around), or an animal carries it off. We knew this one had been found recently because it had been logged online. Try as we might we couldn’t find it, but we still had fun searching, and it took us on park trails we hasn’t visited in a while.

Logging our visit before returning it for the next seekers!

Logging our visit before returning it for the next seekers!

We might go have another try next weekend. Geocaching is addictive! A few things to know before you go!  [Read more…]

Kindergarten Readiness Week!

This year’s kindergarten readiness series was underwritten by our friends with the GET program-Washington’s 529 prepaid college tuition plan. Check out their website for all your college planning questions, or  Visit them on Facebook

Get guaranteed Education Tuition

Is someone at your house going off to, “Big school,” next year?

It’s hard to believe, but most area districts are registering next year’s kindergarten class now or soon.

school-readiness

If you’re wondering if your child is ready, I think you’ll love this mini series of posts I did with local experts who know all about area schools.

If you’ve been thinking about having a child with a summer birthday wait a year, you’ll want to read it. It has lots of thoughtful pointers, and readers have left some great comments, too.  [Read more…]

South Sound Weekend Kids’ Calendar: Family Fun And Things To Do February 20th-22nd

Looking for things to do with the family in Tacoma, Olympia, or Gig Harbor this weekend?

You’re in the right place for a whole list of kid friendly ideas.

Welcome to our guide to free and affordable family fun in the South Puget Sound!  We have one just like it up every Friday! Headed elsewhere? There is always lots more to explore  at ThriftyNWmom  thanks to frugal fun finder, Annaliese, of Grays Harbor Deals!

Lunar New Year Celebrations Are Among the Fun Choices This Weekend!

Lunar New Year Celebrations Are Among the Fun Choices This Weekend!

Friday

Bounce Play in Gig Harbor  Free inflatable time for preschoolers and social time for parents hosted by Harbor Christian Church

Indoor Park at Pen-Met Indoor Soccer Center in Gig Harbor  Every Friday from 11:15-12:30; toys usually left up longer  2.00/child They also have a time on Tuesday mornings-9:45, I believe. Reader, Andrea, wrote in to say how much fun this was for her and her little guy.

Play all day with our friends at WiggleWorks at the South Hill Mall 7.00 come and go admission every weekday!  New hours starting soon. See their fb page for details. You can also download a pdf of their event calendar to keep up with all the fun.

The Monster Under the Bed opens at Olympia Family Theater   Not-so-scary show for the whole family

Kids’ Night Out at Pump it Up! in Tacoma  Call for your spot! Tell ‘em we sent you.

Father/Daughter dance in Auburn; also Saturday-check for ticket availability before you go. [Read more…]

Monkeyshines Are Out!

Yes, Tacoma, Monkeyshines are out!

monkeyshines 2015

I’ve seen reports of finds in Proctor, the Lincoln neighborhood, and 6th avenue.

No clue what I’m talking about? Head here for all you need to know about this unique to Tacoma, real life treasure hunt! 

Happy hunting!

PS I have a round up of other Chinese or Lunar New Year Events here.

Save The Date For The South Sound Sustainability Expo!

Hey, Tacoma, here’s a fun and informative event you’ll want to put on your calendars. Oh, it’s FREE, too!

The South Sound Sustainability Expo will be on Saturday, March 7th this year from 10AM-3PM at the Tacoma Convention and Trade Center (Yes, I will remind you).

2015_Expo_Swap (1)

I know it sounds fancy, but I promise there will be lots of down to earth and good for the earth fun and information for all.  I invited the organizers to send over some highlights. You’ll be able to

·         Explore resources for sustainable living including local food and gardening, community building, transportation choices, energy conservation, green construction and more

·         Bring goods to exchange at a free Book-Movie-Music Swap  How great is that?

·         Shop at a mini Farmers’ Market

·         Visit the Kids’ Corner for activities including a scavenger hunt, reuse crafting, and more with the Tacoma Nature Center

·         Participate in workshops, including a family friendly session called Save Our Salmon

·         Bring unwanted items to be collected by Goodwill

That’s a lot of great fun and learning for FREE! I know many of you try to make choices that are good for the environment and the community already. If you’ve been looking to incorporate more earth friendly living in your daily routine, you’ll definitely want to check this event out.  Do be sure to mark your calendars for March 7th, and tell a friend.  You can get more information about this event here.

 

A Kid Friendly Kings Cake for Mardi Gras!

A kid friendly Mardi Gras? You bet! Make this too-easy King’s Cake with your kiddos, and you’ll have a Fat Tuesday celebration the whole family will enjoy. I know I’m late getting this up, but trust me-you can pull this off in minutes.

Kings-Cake w text

It’s supposed to resemble the glittery crown of a king. Wikipedia has an entry on king cake if you want to know more.

This recipe is from my cyber friend Jennifer, of Pensacola, Florida’s favorite family blog, Pensacola for Kids, and you can see the whole recipe at her site. Hint: The base is premade cinnamon rolls. Clever, huh?

Many times a small trinket is hidden inside of the cake, and the finder gets special privileges for the day. Jennifer didn’t do this because she was concerned about chocking hazard potential. I’ll let  you decide if you can think of a way around that.

Btw, I know I’m mish-mashing religious and secular customs here, but if by any chance you’re giving up Facebook for Lent, do make sure you’re following SFM some other way! I suggest bookmarking the site and checking it eleventeenhundred times a day, but the emails are also good!

Happy President’s Day!

Happy President’s Day, friends.

presidents-day-graphics_14225778011

If you need something fun to do with your kiddos today, I have a list of ideas right here! 

South Sound Weekend Kids Calendar: Family Fun And Things To Do February 13th-16th!

Looking for things to do with the family in Tacoma, Olympia, or Gig Harbor for President’s weekend?

You’re in the right place for a whole list of kid friendly ideas.

Welcome to our guide to free and affordable family fun in the South Puget Sound!  We have one just like it up every Friday! Headed elsewhere? There is always lots more to explore  at ThriftyNWmom  thanks to frugal fun finder, Annaliese, of Grays Harbor Deals!

Kids can read with our real life royalty at area libraries this weekend.

Kids can read with our real life royalty at area libraries this weekend.

Friday

Play all day with our friends at WiggleWorks at the South Hill Mall 7.00 come and go admission every weekday! Kids Takeover Tonight!! Drop off the kids and have a date night. Call or drop-in to reserve your spot today, and tell them we sent you!

Hilltop Healthy Kids And Family Carnival  free t-shirts, games, and prizes, plus free dental screenings for children and blood pressure checks for adults. 4-7PM a the People’s Community Center

The Monster Under the Bed opens at Olympia Family Theater   Not-so-scary show for the whole family

Kids’ Night Out at Pump it Up! in Tacoma  Call for your spot! Tell ‘em we sent you. There is another kids’ night out tomorrow if you want a date night on actual Valentine’s Day. Woot! [Read more…]

Frozen On Ice Coming To Kent In November-Tickets On Sale Now!

Frozen On Ice (Is that the same thing twice??) is coming to Kent!

O.K…….the show isn’t until November (!), but tickets are already on sale, and I thought I’d mention it because they’re going fast!

Here’s a little more about the show straight from our friends with Feld Entertainment,

In our more than 30 years of producing Disney On Ice shows, Feld Entertainment has been waiting for a film like this,” says producer Nicole Feld.  “While it might seem obvious that Frozen is well suited for the ice, this Disney On Ice production will touch audiences emotionally through innovative show elements and world-class skating.”

Elsa

The directors promise the set design and state-of-the art special effects will draw you into the story in a whole new way. Don’t worry-you’ll still see the same heartwarming story, and there will be plenty of chances to sing along with your favorite Frozen songs!  If someone at your house just can’t, “Let It Go,” I’m sure she’ll love it!

The bad news? Sales are already so strong that our contacts tell us there won’t be any discounts. Bummer-but at least now you know. Of course, if that changes, I’ll let you know.

Show days and times are below. There will also be dates in Everett.

KENT SHOW SCHEDULE:

Wednesday, November 11             7:00 PM

Thursday, November 12                 7:00 PM

Friday, November 13                       7:00 PM

Saturday, November 14                  11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM

Sunday, November 15                    11:30 AM, 3:30 PM & 7:00 PM

Monday, November 16                    7:00 PM 

Tickets will range from $30 – $85 for each venue – Tickets for the show at ShoWare Center (Kent) can be purchased online at ShoWareCenter.com, charged by phone at 866-973-9613 or purchased in person at the ShoWare Center Box Office.

 

Chromebooks Now At Select Pierce County Library Branches!

I’ve got exciting news about another amazing, FREE resource from the  Pierce County Library system. Chromebooks! Yep, you can now check out Chromebooks for FREE use at the Sumner and South Hill branches.

You can check ‘em out all day long as long as they’re used in the library.

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And-you asked, they listened-you now have access to printing, mice, and free cloud applications such as Google Docs and Office Online.

It’s all FREE with your Pierce County Library Card! Don’t have one? Just stop by your nearest branch. I can practically guarantee you’re eligible!

This would be a great way to try out the Chromebook or read your favorite sites (‘ahem….) from a comfy chair. It would also be an easy way to stop in and get some work done on the fly without having to haul your laptop everywhere.

I used to do a lot of the work on this site from the library, and this sure would have made it simpler.

Remember: Chromebooks are only available at the South Hill and Sumner branches right now, but the more of you who stop in and use them, the better the chances that we’ll see them at the rest of the PCL branches soon. Oh, and PS-Don’t forget to check out all the other happenings at your libraries. There are lots of Valentine’s events for the kids this month, and there is Always something great going on!

Disclosure: We are SUPER proud to have a sponsorship/publicity relationship with the Pierce County Library system. Woot!