I have been holding in some exciting news and it is finally official!
Midwest Mom & Wife now owns Des Moines Parent. Have you ever checked out Des Moines Parent? It is an awesome blog that was created and developed by Thomas Brogan, to keep parents up to date with fun events and activities in Central Iowa. I am so excited I get to take over and continue to do the same!
Midwest Mom & Wife will continue to have awesome information about pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, babywearing, natural parenting, and more! While, Des Moines Parent will have all the fun events and activities to do an see in Central Iowa. There is an event calendar of Des Moines Parent, which is an awesome resource, that lists dates and times of fun things to do. Check it out!
During this transition and I learn to juggle TWO blogs … blog posts may slow down a bit for the next couple of weeks. Do NOT worry though, I will return with awesome posts and information for you.
Make sure you visit and subscribe to Des Moines Parent and also “like” Des Moines Parent on Facebook.
Our favorite activity was the puppet stand! There were tons of different puppets available, the kids could pick from and use. The kids enjoyed using their imaginations and creating their own stories using the puppets.
They had a fun lego table, puzzles available to play with, train table and a computer area available. The computers were specially programmed for the children with games and other educational activities.
Of course, there was story time with Mr. Nate. The kids really enjoyed Mr. Nate and had a lot of fun. Last weeks theme was trains and they had fun hearing stories, singing songs, and playing fun instruments to go along with the theme.
Last weeks story time was held in their large conference room, but they also have a designated story area in the children’s area.
There are also TONS of books available to check out!
Unlike the Urbandale Public Library, the West Des Moines Public Library requires pre-registration for a lot of their kid events and story times. They do offer drop-in story time also!
Drop-in Oliver’s Tales – Every Wednesday at 9:30 am
Drop-in story time – Every Friday at 10:30 am
Take a look at their event calendar for other drop-in events and programs they have through the month or to check to see if any other event or program is full.
One Starry Night is not just a live nativity scene, but it’s a journey you take through Bethlehem and end at a live nativity scene. The whole church is set-up like Bethlehem, everyone is dressed up accordingly and there are live animals! Monte enjoyed the real life experience. The entire time, he was completely engaged in what was going on.
When you enter the church you register your family at the census table and receive your denarii, in a little cloth bag. Monte made sure to hold on to the denari and paid whenever he needed to. Then you walk into the worship area where you get to take a family picture!
Of course, Monte wouldn’t look at the camera!
As you wait in the worship area, waiting to start your trip through Bethlehem, you can snack on cookies and hot cocoa. There is a large screen with a Mickey Mouse Christmas movie playing to keep the kiddos entertained for a bit. There was also three young ladies who sang some Christmas songs, while we waited.
Then you get to enter the town of Bethlehem! Your first stop is to pay taxes. Monte had to pay one denari! Then we ventured outside where we looked at the stars with the shepherds and angels appeared to deliver the good news.
We then saw King Herod receive the news from the Magis. We traveled with the Magis through Bethlehem and even looked for a place to stay the night, but there was no room at the Inn.
We traveled back outside and saw baby Jesus and the live nativity scene!
After our travels, Monte spent the rest of his denari on animal crackers, making a clay pot, a Christmas bracelet, an ornament and a scarf !
I loved every moment of One Starry Night. Not only did Monte learn about baby Jesus, but he also learned the value of giving his denari to be able to go on the journey, do a craft, or eat some food. Oh yeah … and the entire thing was FREE!
This will definitely become a new tradition for our family in years to come. Unfortunately, One Starry Night is finished for the season, but I highly recommend putting it on your list to check out in 2015!
Have you and your family been to One Starry Night before?
Playground for Kids is such an awesome place, located in Ankeny. It is full of so many activities. We went on a Monday and for the first hour we were there, we were the only ones playing!
You know when you go to carnivals and other kid events, they have the bouncy houses and inflatable slides? AND your children have to wait in line for their turn to go?! Well, we had none of that! Monte was so excited to go up and down the slides, over and over again. No one telling him to WAIT!
There was also a large tree house you could climb up and there were tunnels up above, that you could crawl around and slide down the many, many slides available to get down.
There was also a fun bouncy house that had a large “hoop” that you could throw balls into!
Admission into The Playground for Kids is $8.50 for 2-12 year old. Walker up to 23 months are $5.50. They also offer a $50 punch card for 10 plays, which saves you $3.50 each time you visit. I highly recommend purchasing this now, because this is a place where you will WANT to take your children to burn some energy this winter.
It SNOWED this week! The first snow has really put me into the holiday spirit now. That’s probably a good thing, since a bunch of holiday events are already starting THIS WEEKEND!!
Since it was snowy and cold, we decided to check out the Urbandale Public Library. I am so happy we did, I have REALLY been missing out. We had a blast!
The main reason we went is for the Toddler Story Time! Every Monday, Tuesday and Friday they offer a special Toddler Story Time. Each week is a different theme. This week was Eric Carle where we read, sang and played different activities incorporating all of Eric Carle’s famous books including The Very Hungry Caterpillar. There is also story time offered Wednesday and Thursday’s, they are not toddler specific. They also offer story time for babies too! Check out the schedule here!
The Story Room is such a cute and fun area. There are windows with cute little loft areas where the kids can climb up into. There are large doors that are closed when story time begins, which I like because Monte sure does like to run sometimes! My favorite part was the cute, wooden chair that the story teller sits in 🙂
We showed up a bit early, which is okay, because there is so much more then story time that is offered! We played on the computers for awhile, which were awesome! The computers are programmed for a certain age range. They have one computer specifically programed for ages 0-36 months! You can wear headphones, listen, and play along. Some of the screens are even touch-screen.
There are also building blocks, magna tiles, puppets, a coloring station and tons of books of course!
The Urbandale Library not only offers the fun story room, toys, books, DVD’s, CD’s, Chapter’s cafe, free wi-fi … they also offer some fun classes.
Mothers & Others (great opportunity to meet some other mothers!)
Tuesday Night Movie
Teen Book Club
All of these things are FREE and most do not require registration, but make sure to check the calendar for details!
What is your favorite thing to do at the Urbandale Public Library?
I thought I would share a new thing I am doing with Monte. Since I have been home full time and watching other kiddos, I have been trying to find an easy way to have different activities out to play with daily. I usually keep puzzles, paints, playdough, busy bag items, etc. out of reach, for obvious reasons.
I decided each day, I will place 2-3 trays out with different activities in them. That way Monte and the other kiddos can choose what they would like to play with and everything is in one spot. It makes for easy clean up also!
This was last week. I had our “sewing” busy bag in one tray and matching cards in another tray. I also had Monte’s favorite hippo game out! It was nice because he would run around and play, then stop, sit and work on one of his trays. It’s hard for Monte to sit still for a length of time, if he is not in the mood. This way, when he is ready, he can play!
I picked up the two trays above at Target. They are actually just letter trays and were about $6 a piece.
I already had this red plastic one which is very sturdy. I use it for crafts such as paint, glitter, glue, etc. like when we decorated our witch’s hat!
The trays are also easy to carry things outside like when we did the Erupting Sidewalk Chalk.
What tricks do you do to make kids activities for you and the kids?
I learned about the Valley Community Center from my favorite Facebook group, Des Moines Beyond 4 Walls! This place has so much to offer for FREE and/or not very much money! Not only for children, but for adults also!
Our favorite thing is the kids play area. It is a great place to take your kiddos when the weather is icky and cold. Monte can spend hours running around, playing on the equipment and meeting new friends. Oh, and it’s FREE! Score! 🙂
There is free Wi-Fi and a small little cafe, Maplenol Cafe, where you can order espresso, coffee, smoothies, and small snacks. There is also a fire place in this area with big comfy couches. You should always be supervising your child while they are in the play area, but there are large glass windows so you can sit in the cafe, sip coffee and watch!
The Valley Community Center also offers classes for a small fee for children and adults. Right now they are offering …
Creative Dance for Kids
Zumba Fitness for Kids
Zumba Fitness for Adults
Kids in Motion
These classes are between $3-$5 a class. You can buy a punch card and save some money! Some of these classes and other classes, I have not listed, may require pre-registration. Check out here for an entire list and calendar!
The Valley Community Center is only open during the week, but you can reserve certain areas during the week and/or weekends. I think this would be an awesome place to reserve out for a winter birthday party! Check out here for more information and prices.
What is your favorite thing to do at the Valley Community Center?
I wish I could take credit for all the fun events and activities we go to, but I cannot. Des Moines Beyond 4 Walls is an open Facebook group ran by two great ladies. They spend a lot of time and work creating documents for each season, holiday, etc. of things going on in the Des Moines area.
Each week a thread is started for events going on for that specific week and a thread for events going on for that specific weekend coming up. It’s great because not only do the administrators put what they have found on the thread, anyone who is a member of the group can add an event and/or activity they would like others to know about.
This group is also a great place to announce anywhere you have been and that you have enjoyed, such as a park. You can also announce if you really love a place your child is taking gymnastics or violin lessons. It’s a great place to get recommendations from people who may be involved in something, you are looking into!
We checked out a new pumpkin patch and orchard this past weekend and LOVED it! We usually go to Center Grove Orchard every year, because they are awesome! We did make a trip this year, but decided to try out a new place also.
Deal’s Orchard is about an hour drive, depending where you are coming from. It’s located in Jefferson, Iowa. Saturday was the perfect fall day to make the drive. Not only was the weather perfect, but it was also their Fall Festival!
It was very busy because it was Fall Festival, but parking was not a problem. They had hayrack rides that picked you up and your parking area and drove you right to the entrance.
There was SOOOO much to do, we did not get a chance to do it all or see it all. A lot of things were going on specifically for the festival, but they had a lot of things that are available all season long such as:
Goats & Donkey!
Wiggle Cars (which Monte loved!)
Hamster roll (for the bigger kiddos)
The area where all these fun activities were located is called Apple Acres. It’s $6 for adults to enter and $4 for kids. Children 2 years and younger are free!
There were so many other fun activities specifically for the Fall Festival, such as:
Spook Cave – A haunted house put on by the Boy Scouts
Spin Art and Sand Art
Balloons and Face Painting
Lots of food (I think this is all season long!)
Train Rides (Not sure if this was just for Fall Festival or not)
Picket Fence Creamery had a stand
Samples of their own Hard Cider
Delish Hard Cider!
There is also a cute little shop with gifts, pies, already picked apples, pumpkins, there own honey, apple cider, and so much more!
Of course, there is a pumpkin patch to pick your own pumpkins! And an apple orchard to pick your own apples!
We really enjoyed our time at Deal’s Orchard! Next year, we will definitely make an entire day out of it so we make sure to see and do everything!
Have you been to Deal’s Orchard? What is your favorite thing to do?
In my previous post, I mentioned how I started my own business. Midwest Mom & Wife is no longer just a blog, but a business also! I have many hopes and goals for this business, and I have started offering child care.
I have started accepting part-time and/or drop-in daycare and I am so excited!
Cloth diaper friendly
Love to plan activities, but also allow free play
Enjoy fun trips and activities in the Des Moines area
Knowledgable with breast milk and breastfeeding
Love to baby wear (it’s a life saver)
Everywhere you turn, in our home, we have something kid-friendly and fun to do!
Upstairs, we have our reading and art “nook”. I have an easel set-up, a small rocking chair, and a basket of books. There is no TV in this area, so it’s a nice place to come and focus on reading, writing, drawing, painting, etc.
The kitchen is where all the messiness happens! This little area is where I keep our paints, play dough, markers, glue, etc. Usually, when we have a particularly messy project, we set-up here.
Downstairs is our “living area”. Off this area, is the play room. The play room is LOADED with lots of toys, train table, an enormous amount of books, puzzles, etc.
Outside! I like to spend as much time outside as possible, because once winter sets in, we don’t get out very often. I have been very blessed with a LARGE backyard. There are two fun areas to our yard …
This is the “natural scape”. There are tree stumps to climb on, a large tire full of sand and sand toys, and a plastic pool that I fill up with water for fun activities.
This area is our swing set and plastic slide area. As you can see, the whole thing is not covered with gravel, yet, so it’s easy to ride around on the tons of trucks and 4-wheeler toys we have.
I have so much to offer for your little ones and am very flexible on days and times.
Also, look for the Child Care tab at the top of the page to keep track of what I am accepting and adding!
Please contact me here for questions, more information, and pricing.