Marnie’s Mommy Moment on Fox23- Cheap Summertime Fun! And win free zoo tickets!

Hey guys.  Baby J once again steals the show.

CHeck out my latest Mommy Moment on Fox23.

And remember to post a comment on my last blog post to win zoo tickets!  Drawing is tomorrow. 

My little fairy (had too much fun at Disneyland) NIcholas wishes you all luck.

summertime fun for kids

Nicholas hopes you win the zoo tickets!


More Summertime Fun and More Giveaways…Yes, I Rock.

Ha.  Just kidding about the rock part.  But NOT kidding about the giveaways.  I’ve got TWO for ya this time.  You lucky duck readers will get a chance to win two family four-packs to the Tulsa Zoo.  And all you have to do is leave me a comment..  I love comments.  And I love my readers.

So, now back to the blog. 

Summertime is funtime, but like I mentioned in my last post – it can get REALLY old for the parents.  Like in about two weeks.

SUmmertime Fun

Baby J is already bored.

So, I have this awesome resource for you all in the Tulsa area.  It is called my friend Anna America.  Not only is she on the Executive Director of Up WIth Trees, on the school board AND married to our favorite recycle guy – MIchael Patton…in her spare time she manages to put together this super awesome list of cheap things to do with the kids this summer. 

THis is AMAZING, people.  THis list would take me years to compile – so she has graciously allowed me to plagurize.  Parents – thank Anna for saving your sanity – AND your pocketbooks. 

Summer activities for kids

This is what could happen if you don't have a plan.

 Anna’s 2011 List of Cheap or Free Family Fun in Tulsa


 Tulsa Library summer reading program, “One World. Many Stories.” Go into any library and sign up, and then get prizes and coupons for free things for reading certain number of books over the summer (younger children can be read to). We have done it since age 2, and they have programs up through teens. Kickoff is Saturday, May 21st, with a special party at the Tulsa Zoo. Children and teens that come to the Tulsa Zoo and sign-up for Summer Reading between 9 am and 12pm that day will receive free admission. There are also TONS of other library activities going on this summer – too many to list, but you can find more info about the Summer reading program here

 Storytime in the ParkThursday May 26; June 2, 9, 16, 23, at  10 a.m, at QuikTrip Plaza at River Parks,  41st and Riverside. Join the free Reading Roadshow for stories, songs and activities in the park. Please bring a blanket or lawn chair. The series will kick off May 26 with a guest performance by the Sugar Free Allstars.

Free Reading Reward Program – Barnes & Noble, grades 1-6

Fun and easy way for kids to earn free books. They simply read any eight books — library books, books borrowed from friends or books bought at Barnes & Noble — track them in the downloadable “passport” and bring in the passport to a Barnes & Noble bookstore to get a free book.


 Cinemark Theater Summer Movie Club

Wednesdays at 10 am at Cinemark, 6808 S. Memorial.

*All 10 movies can be purchased in advance for $5.00, or can be purchased separately at the box office for $1.00 per show. For more info

2011 Schedule

June 8             How to Train Your Dragon

June 15           Charlotte’s Web

June 22           Megamind

June 29           The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything

July 6               Descpicable Me

July 13             Tales of Desperaux

July 20             Marmaduke

July 27             Ramona & Beezus

Aug. 3             Yogi Bear

Aug. 10           Leader of the Guardians


Starlight Concerts

Free concerts held Tuesday nights outside at the River Parks Festival Amphitheater, 2100 S. Jackson. All concerts begin at 8 p.m.

June 14           Concert Band “Midsummer Night’s Medley”

June 21           Concert Band “Americana Night”

June 28           Big Band “Going to Kansas City”

July 12             Concert Band “Movie Night”

July 19             Concert Band “Night at the Museum”

July 26             Big Band “Woody, Stan & The Royals”

Additional concerts:

July 1             Pryor, Whitaker Park, time TBA

July 3             Kiefer, Kiefer Municipal Park, 8pm

 Broken Arrow Tuesdays in Central Park Outdoor concerts

All concerts are held starting at 7 p.m. at Central Park, 1500 South Main, in downtown Broken Arrow.  The concerts are free and open to the public.

 June 7             Salt Creek –Gospel

June 14           Midlife Crisis-Rock

June 21           CJ Greco-Country

June 28           Spectrum and Starr fisher-Jazz

 Summer’s 5th Night at Utica Square

Every Thursday through August, 7-9 pm. Utica Square’s summer concert series serves up everything from jazz to rock to country. There’s something different every Thursday and best of all, it’s free! Pack a picnic or dine at one of our great restaurants as you unwind to your favorite local bands. Put on your dancing shoes, catch up with family and friends and win great prizes like Utica Square gift certificates and merchandise from Utica Square merchants.

May 19            Light Opera Oklahoma (Musical Theater)

May 26            Bradio (Beatles Night)

June 2             Mid-Life Crisis (Classic Rock)

June 9             Admiral Twin (Rock)

June 16           Mary Cogan (Rhythm & Blues)

June 23           Spectrum Band (Jazz)

June 30           Jenny Labow (Rock)

July 7               The Red Dirt Rangers (Country)

July 14             Usual Suspects (Rock)

July 21             Pandemic (variety Rock)

July 28             4Going Gravity (Classic Rock)

Aug. 4             Wallstreet Band (Rhythm & Blues)

Aug. 11           Sean Adair & Okie Island  (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 18           Beacon Drive (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 25           Grady Nichols (Pop Rock/Jazz)

 First Friday Concert Series – LaFortune Park

Free. Bring your favorite lawn chair or blanket and sit back and relax while local bands present family friendly music from all genres. Located in the Gardens of LaFortune Park (off 51st Street, just west of Hudson),  7-9 pm.  

June 3             Three Hour Tour (60’s & 70’s Classic Rock)

July 1               Beacon Drive (Rock & Roll)

Aug. 5             Travis Kidd (Country)

Sept. 2             The Wanda Watson Band (Blues/Rock)

 Chandler Park Sunset Concert Series

Free. Bring your favorite lawn chair or blanket and sit back and relax while local bands present family friendly music from all genres. Located at Chandler Park 6500 W. 21st Street.,  7-9 pm.   

May 27            Mid Life Crisis Band (Classic Rock)

June 24           The David Dover Band

July 29            The Wanda Watson Band (Blues/Rock)

RiverWalk Summer  Concert Series

Free, at the RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks.  8-11 pm.

May 14            Admiral Twin

May 15            Scott Ellison

May 21            Stars Go Dim

May 22            Paul Benjamin Band

May 28            Red Dirt Rangers

May 29            Rebecca Ungerman

 Gilcrease Third Tuesday Jazz 

Visit Gilcrease Museum and hear local legends perform America’s Music.  Live Jazz in the Vista Room from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with museum galleries remaining open until 8:00 p.m. Free with admission. A buffet dinner is available from The Restaurant at Gilcrease for an additional $5 per person.

May 17            The Frank Brown Trio with Olivia Duhon

June  21          Sonny Gray


 Unless otherwise noted, call 596-PARK (7275) for information or to register.


Admission fees and hours vary. The 5 pools scheduled to open this summer are:

Lacy ($1),  2134 N. Madison Pl. Open Tues.-Sun, noon-6pm

McClure ($2), 7440 E. 7th St. Open Tues.-Sun, noon-6pm.

Reed ($1), 4233 S. Yukon  Ave. Open Tues.-Sat,  1pm-7pm.

Berry (Free), 5002 N. Wheeling. Open Mon.-Sat., noon-6 pm.

Whiteside-junior pool for age 14 and younger (Free), 4009 S. Pittsburg Ave. Open Mon.-Sat., noon-6 pm.

 Beach Bash  — official pool opening. June 4, noon-3pm, at McClure Park Pool (7440 E. 7th St.) Kick off the Summer Pool season with music, pool games and more. Admission is free!

 Summer Day Camps 

June 6th-August 12th. Registration has already begun. Ages 6-11. At various Community Centers. Rates vary. Includes traditional day camps and art and other specialty camps.  For more information:–recreation/tulsa-parks/community-centers/day-camps.aspx.

 Other Tulsa Park events include classes in Martial Arts, Soccer, T-Ball, Gymnastics, Volleyball, Aerobics, Yoga, Pilates, Swim Lessons, and Dance. Visit for more info.

 Oxley Nature Center

In Mohawk Park – free.  One of my favorite places in Tulsa! (Note you will have to pay a $2 parking fee for Mohawk on weekends if you aren’t a Zoo Friends member.)

With more than 9 miles of trails covering 804 acres, the Mary K. Oxley Nature Center at Mohawk Park is one of Tulsa’s treasures. The gates open daily (except City holidays) at 8 a.m. and close at 5 p.m., although the trails are open as early as 7 a.m. or as late as 9 p.m. to hikers who park outside the gates.

Visitors may pick up maps and trail information at the Oxley-Yetter Interpretive Building 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Mon.-Sat. and 12 noon-4:30 p.m. on Sunday. The Interpretive Building houses inter-active, hands-on exhibits explaining the local natural history. Gift shop, restrooms, drinking water and a classroom are also available. For more information, call 669-6644.

 Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

More wild that Oxley, but wonderful spot for a hike! Free. Natural diversity is protected at Redbud Valley Nature Preserve. Located on North 161st East Avenue about 3.8 miles north of I-44, Redbud Valley Nature Preserve protects 220+ acres of unique plant and animal life. The rugged one-mile trail is open to hikers only when the gates are open: Wed.-Sun., 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Barclay Visitor Center is open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Pets are not permitted. The Preserve is closed every Monday and Tuesday, and most holidays. For more information, call 669-6460.

 Tulsa County Parks also has swimming pools, summer camps  and other programming at LaFortune (51st & Yale);O’Brien, 6149 N. Lewis Ave.,  and Chandler, 6500 West 21st St


Second Saturday at RiverWalk Crossing in Jenks, starting May 14

Free, 1 pm-10 am. Local artisans and live entertainment/music. Second Saturday of the month – May 14, June 11, July 19, Aug. 13

 Art Rocks Riverside, Starting May 15

1-10 pm. Art Rocks Riverside is a free local art festival two Sundays a month from May through October 2011. Hosted by the Blue Rose Cafe & Elwoods at 19th and Riverside. Come and enjoy local art, great music, and good vibes! First event is May 15—check their facebook page for upcoming dates:

  7th Annual Tulsa ArtCar Weekend,  May 26-29

You’ve probably seen the very cool, funky cars driving around town when this festival is in town, but head on down to Brady Arts District to see them all in one place. Sponsored by Living Arts of Tulsa, Tulsa ArtCar weekend is a 4-day event that invites local and national artists to create their own drivable artwork and share it with the Tulsa Community. There is usually a parade, but they don’t have the time listed on their website—check for details.

Gilcrease  Museum-KIDS DIG BOOKS: Wilderness Adventure

FREE. Fridays, noon-1 pm.  June 3, 10, 17 & 21;  July 1, 8, 15, 22 & 29, For ages  3–6, accompanied by caregiver.

Set in the Kids’ Site among the trappings of mountain men, join us as we listen to stories of wilderness adventures, hiking, canoeing, making trails, and building a log cabin. Also, kids will learn about animals that live in the wild. Afterwards, they will create their own work of art based on the stories they have heard. Presented in collaboration with the Tulsa City-County Library Children’s Department.  Advanced registration is required. For info, call 596-2774, or email

Gilcrease-MINI MASTERS: Art Parts II- What Makes Up Art (in May) and Patterns in Art and Artifacts (in June & July)

FREE. 10-11 am.  May 12, 13, 19 & 20;  June 3, 7, 10, 14, 17, 21, 24 & 28; July 1, 5, 8 & 12, 15, 19, 22, 26 & 29, For ages  3–6, accompanied by caregiver.

Continue the investigation in the different elements that make up art. Learn about line, shape, color, texture, form, contrast and more. Children will look at a variety of art techniques as they explore the galleries learning what makes art. They will apply what they have learned to make their own work of art. Space is limited. Reservations are required. For reservations and information, call 596-2774, or email

Gilcrease-Art Encounters

Saturdays, June 4 & 18; July 2 & 16, 1 pm

Free. For ages 7-12, who must be accompanied by an adult. Have fun making friends with a work of art. It takes time to get to know someone; the same is true for artwork. Each session will last half an hour in the galleries, concentrating on one piece which will include sketching activities. Families will learn how to get acquainted with a work of art and learn ways to “make friends” with other artwork they see. Afterwards, families will create their own work of art that relates to the new “friend” they just made. The featured art piece will be introduced at the beginning of each class. Art Encounters is a program for children and adults to participate in together. Space is limited and advanced registration is encouraged. To register, call (918) 596-2774, or e-mail

Gilcrease-Open Studio for Adult Artists

This one is for adults – but we need our creative time, too! Local artists are invited to attend a new studio initiative at the museum. Louise Higgs, consulting artist, will be on hand to oversee a directed experience of either plein air painting or studio work, dependent on the weather and group interest of those attending. Participants should bring their own supplies. 4-7 pm on May 17 and 9:30 am-12:30 pm on  June 4 & 25 and July 16 &  30. For additional information, please call (918) 596-2737, or e-mail

Also at Gilcrease, if you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend the Creative Learning Center:  It’s a free art center with all kinds of activities available to the kids. They can make and take projects using painting, clay, weaving, etc.  And of course the grounds are gorgeous and always worth a stroll!

Gilcrease offers free admission to all visitors on the first Tuesday of each month (“TU TUesday”).

Philbrook Museum-Free 2nd Saturday

Every 2nd Saturday of the month is Free Family Day.  Drop in anytime from 10:30 am – 4 pm. Experiment with fun materials to make hands-on art projects, go on a scavenger hunt, take a family-friendly tour of the museum, and so much more on this day specifically for families.

Thanks to Heyman Family Adventures in Art. This program has made my 8-year-old daughter hyper-aware of the calendar – I am amazed that she ALWAYS knows when it is the 2nd Saturday.

Brady Arts District First Friday Art Crawl

On the first Friday evening of each month, head on down to the Brady Arts District just north of downtown.  Starting at around 5:30, galleries open their doors for exhibits, new shows, art demonstrations, and more. The demonstrations are especially interesting to kids – what kid doesn’t see glassblowers at the Tulsa Glassblowing Studio and start imagining what she could do with a blowtorch? 

               FARMERS MARKET

A variety of local Farmers Markets offer fresh local produce, crafts, plants, herbs and more. Most Markets run May through October. Great place to wander around with the kids, and one of the few where you can actually buy them a healthy snack! I listed some popular ones below, but the Tulsa World compiled a list of even more here:

Cherry Street Farmers Market

15th Street between Quaker & Rockford, Saturdays, 7 am-11 am.

Brookside Farmers Market

41st & Peoria, Wednesdays, 8 am-noon.

Pearl District Farmers Market

6th Street and Peoria Avenue, Thursdays, 4-7 pm

 Downtown Tulsa Farmers’ Market

3rd & Boston, Williams Green, Tuesdays, 10:30 am -2 pm

North Tulsa Farmers Market

2620 E. 56th St. North, Saturdays, 8:30am-12:30pm, starts first week of June.

Owasso Farmers Market

Owasso YMCA, 8300 Owasso Expressway, in Owasso just off U.S. 169, Wednesdays, 7 am-11 am & Saturdays, 8 am-noon.

Broken Arrow Farmers Market

418 South Main St., Tuesdays, 4:30-8 pm, Saturdays, 8 am-1 pm.




Bartlesville’s SunFest, June 3-5

“Oklahoma’s Biggest Outdoor Picnic” returns for a long weekend with its trademark combination of: A relaxed, family picnic atmosphere, quality, cost-free entertainment, a diverse range of arts and crafts, creative, supervised activities for children, terrific food in abundant variety, and an eye-popping car show. This free premier arts & entertainment festival – now in its 29th year – is held in Sooner Park located at Madison Boulevard and Tuxedo Avenue in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. Parking is available in several lots near the park. For information:

Asian-American Festival, June 4

FREE. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 5, at Martin Regional Library, 2601 S. Garnett Road. Celebrate and learn about the customs and traditions of Asian-Americans . Explore the colorful cultures of China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and other countries in Asia. The festival kicks off at 10:45 a.m. with a vibrant Dragon Dance, and includes a kite demonstration by the Tulsa Wind Riders Kite Club, martial arts demonstrations, traditional dance presentations, bamboo flute music, a Japanese tea ceremony, origami and children’s activities. Local martial arts instructors and their students will demonstrate kung fu, karate, tae kwon do and other traditional Asian disciplines throughout the day under a big tent outside in the back of the library. Students from Ten Tigers Kung Fu, Tulsa Arnis Club and Shikara Ashi Te Ryu are scheduled to perform.

Numerous activities and presentations are scheduled indoors throughout the festival, including interactive educational booths featuring crafts for kids, temporary tattoos, name translation, henna painting and origami instruction. The festival also features authentic arts and crafts booths. Food concession is provided by India Palace.  More info:

Tulsa Tough, June 10-12

A three-day cycling festival designed to promote fitness and healthy lifestyles while showcasing the beautiful city of Tulsa. Tulsa Tough offers events and spectating opportunities for everyone with professional-level races, recreational and tour rides, kids and youth activities, live music and vendors in one action packed weekend. For more information, go to

Glenpool Black Gold Days, June 16-18

This annual festival celebrates the discovery of the Glenn Pool oil field in 1905. Food, crafts, music, games and activities and more.  For more information, call 322-3505 or visit

Bixby Green Corn Festival, June 23-25

Charley Young Park in downtown Bixby (southeast of `15st and Memorial). A kick back to the good old fashioned family oriented picnics. The annual festival (held on the 4th Thursday, Friday and Saturday of June) features great music, arts and crafts, food, bingo, carnival and great games and contests for the young and young at heart. A talent show to highlight area youth is held on Friday at the Community Center and the annual Green Corn Parade entertains the masses on Saturday morning. 

 Blue Bell Broken Arrow Ice Cream Plant- Taste of Summer, June 25

8201 E. Hwy 51, Broken Arrow, 9 am–3 pm. Love ice cream? You gotta go! The annual Community Open House hosted by one of Broken Arrow’s favorite and best-known businesses. ALL the ice cream you can eat. Jupiter Jump for the kids, ice cream eating contest, live entertainment, plant tours and much more. $5 admission; 6 and under are freeCall 258-5100 for information. (Blue Bell also does tours year-round, with free ice cream tasting—it’s a fun way to cool off for a few hours with the kids—call for more info.)

Woolaroc Kidsfest, June 25-26

One of my favorite kid festivals. 10 am-5 pm — Regular Woolaroc admission (adults $8, over 65 $6 and children 11 and under are FREE) at the great family museum/wildlife sanctuary/ranch southwest of Bartlesville.

Kidsfest features events, games, crafts and entertainment presented on the Woolaroc grounds where visitors can enjoy all of the activities in the rustic outdoor environment, along with the natural beauty of the Osage Hills, the historic art and artifacts in the Woolaroc Museum and the animals on the Wildlife Preserve.  Kids can participate in a variety of activities, such as pony rides, wagon rides, treasure dig, face painting, Carpenter’s corner, tattoos, beaded necklaces, Indian head bands, native sand art, rock painting, bean bag games, and lots of nature crafts. Our living history booths will include horseshoeing, saddle & boot makers, bridle, bit and spur makers, woodcarvers, silversmiths, flint knapping, rope making, black-smithing, old west re-enactors and lots more. More info and directions to Woolaroc at:

ONEOK FreedomFest ’11, July 4

Annual July 4th celebration held at the River West Festival Park, 19th & Riverside Drive, and Veterans Park featuring fireworks, entertainment, activities, food & beverages. Fireworks are shot from the 21st Street Bridge at approximately  9:30 p.m. 

Contact River Parks at (918) 596-2001 for more details 

 Porter Peach Festival, July  14-16

Mmmmmm!  It’s a bit of a drive, but c’mon, for fresh Porter peaches and ice cream, it’s worth it! Downtown Porter. Rodeo, music, arts, 5k run, carnival rides, free peaches and cream!

For more information, or 694-9314.

Free Family Fishing Clinics

The Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation hosts free family fishing clinics at the Zebco casting pond, located adjacent to the Oklahoma Aquarium in Jenks.  The two-hour clinics begin at 6:30 p.m. and conclude with fishing in the small pond, which is regularly stocked with good-sized channel catfish, which the novice anglers can even take home for the dinner table. Equipment and bait is provided. Clinics are open to all ages, not just children, but kids 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult. 

Here’s the schedule for this year:  May 23, 24, 25 & 26; June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, 9, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 28, 29, 30; July 12, 14, 19, 21, 26, 28; Aug. 2, 4, 11. Pre-registration is required — to register call the Wildlife Department’s Jenks office at (918) 299-2334 or go to .  


 Tulsa Drillers baseball

The national pasttime and a good way to spend a few summer hours. If you haven’t been to the downtown ONEOK field yet, take yourself out to the ball park! ! It is awesome, and SO much more fun than the old venue. There is a playground for younger kids, as well as activities like a big slide and inflatables for older kids. Tickets are cheap and there are always specials and giveaways. For a list of various promotions, go here:

A couple of promotion highlights: Tuesdays are Two Dollar Tuesdays ($2 lawn tickets and various $2 concessions). On Sundays, the first 500 kids 12 & under get a free meal and can go on the field for a free clinic.

And even if you don’t feel like watching the game, be sure to check the list for one of the Friday night home games that will feature fireworks after the games – they put on really impressive shows (better than many 4th of July shows) and you can join the hundreds of people who congregate in the nearby area to watch. And I will say it again — fireworks are WAY cooler with the downtown skyline in the background!

Blue Hole swimming hole, east of Salina

For a lot of our (let’s admit it, a little bit pampered) kids, this will make them feel like they have stepped into a Mark Twain novel.  Old-fashioned family-operated swimming hole fed by 3 springs of VERY cold, clear water. $5 per car entry. Bring a picnic or get food from the concession stand. Kids can float and swim, catch minnows, or, for the more bold, jump off the “cliff” into the deepest part.  They also have campsites and cabins, but I’ve only gone for the day. No alcohol. Warning – no “real” bathrooms (port-a-Johns only) so if you are squeamish, come prepared with wipes, sanitizer, and easy to change clothes for the drive home. It’s about an hour drive from Tulsa. To get there, take 412 East from Tulsa to Highway 69, go North on 69 to Chouteau and then to Pryor. At the stop light for Highway 20 in Pryor, go right (East) to Salina. In Salina, go to the 4 way stop sign and go straight for 7 miles. Blue Hole is on the right. For information, call  918-434-5507 or visit

Pick Your Own Produce

Since the kids will be feeling like real Okies after spending some time at the Blue Hole, it’s time to take them berry pickin’. (Make sure to get them a straw hat and cut offs for the full effect.)  There are a bunch of pick-your-own berry farms in the Green Country area, where kids can pick (and maybe eat a few along the way) blueberries, blackberries, and other produce. Many of them also have activities like petting zoos or hayrides. Harvest times will vary with the weather each year, so call ahead to any place you are thinking of visiting. Here is a link to a bunch of farms:, plus a good Tulsa World story from last year:

 Bartlesville Kiddie Park

A fun and cheap park for younger kids (probably best up to age 7 or 8). Some of the rides are so mild that even very young toddlers can ride them safely. No admission charge and ride tickets are 25 cents — almost all rides are just one ticket, so you can have a lot of fun for only a few bucks. Last time I went, concessions were good “fair fare” and cheap — $1 cotton candy, 75 cent snowcones, etc. A few things adults could ride, plus there are plenty of benches to sit on and watch the kids. There also were wandering clowns, face painting, etc. Good old-fashioned summer fun!

It’s open through the summer, only in the evening:  Fridays and Saturday evenings through May, then open Tues-Thurs 7:00 pm – 9:30 pm; Fri-Sat 7:00 pm -10:00 pm. Closed Sundays, Mondays & the 4th of July. If you want to make it the quintessential summer date — go early enough to stop at the Bartlesville Sonic on the way — you pass it on your way to the Park, and it’s the only Sonic I’ve seen with a big outdoor playground.

It is located at 215 N. Cherokee Ave. in Johnstone Park. For info or directions, go to .

Oklahoma Aquarium

Get a free admission for a child for going to the dentist…print out the form here and get dentist to sign.

Kaleidoscope Kids Museum

Located on the corner of 62nd and Sheridan, at the back of the parking lot on the lower level. I’ve never gone, so I am basing this on their webpage. They say:  “Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum features a pint-size Kid’s City where your child can be a waitress, a barber, a doctor, a postal worker, or even a rescue hero at the fireman’s pole!  You won’t want to miss a chance to race your children on our 2 GIANT rock walls! Be careful though…you may be thrown in our kid size jail! If you’re a spectacular detective, you may be able to use our magnifying glasses to find some of the many items that are hidden all throughout the museum!  Check out our many features, where kids will find unending excitement in our 13,000-square feet of fun!”  Home page says admission is $6 (and includes pizza?!) although info is different on other pages–so I’d suggest calling ahead. For more info, call  918-340-5252  or go to

 Free Bowling

Kids can bowl free all summer long at several Tulsa –area bowling alleys. Go to the website and register each child, and get coupons emailed for 2 free games every day all summer long!

Andy Bs, 8711 S Lewis Ave.

Broken Arrow Lanes, 4701 S. Elm Place:

For Teens – Youth Services of Tulsa Coffee House

Coffee House is a place to hang out, visit with friends and enjoy being a teen.  Come on by any Saturday, bring your friends and relax at the YST Coffee House. Same time, same place: Every Saturday night, 7-11 pm, 311 S. Madison (1/2 mile West of Peoria on 3rd St). The YST Coffee House has Wi-Fi! So, bring your personal connection devices and etc. 

with you to the Coffee House while you enjoy your free coffee and cappuccino donated by Quik Trip.

Free Kids Workshops – Home Depot.

This is at 9 am on the first Saturday of the month…they can build all kinds of cool projects, with all supplies provided free. They also get a little apron and goggles. For ages 5-12. At all Home Depots.  See upcoming projects here:

Free Kids Workshop at Lowes

Just like Home Depot except at Lowes — Saturdays at 10 am. Both stores do this year-round.

River Parks -Wednesday Night Bike Rides

Each Wednesday during daylight savings time, upwards of 300 cyclists converge at 23rd and S. Jackson on the west side of the Arkansas River. This unsponsored, social ride attracts cyclists of all skill levels. Some ride a 16-mile route that includes the Sand Springs “Katy” Trail. Others ride more than 30 miles. Participants may park at the River West Festival Park (site of Oktoberfest). Public restrooms at the amphitheatre will be open from 4:30 p.m. to approx. 9:30 p.m. Groups form as early as 4:30 p.m. The largest group leaves around 5:30 p.m. See you there! Contact River Parks at 596-2001 for more details

Kids Eat Free

After all this fun, you’ll probably be too tired out to cook. Just about every day there’s SOME place that will feed your kids for free. Several different websites keep up with the changing restaurant deals, including which eatery has deals for kids each day. Here are three different sites, which overlap some, but each seems to have at least a few unique listings: Tulsa Restaurant Deals,; Kids Eat Free in Tulsa,; and My Kids Eat Free, (The latter two you can plug in different locations to find cheap eats when on the road, too.)

               OTHER LINKS

 A great reference if you are looking for a summer camp, the Tulsa Kids Summer Camp and Activities Guide:

And Tasha Does Tulsa offers not only listings of what’s going on each week in Tulsa, but fun commentary.

And a few good sites for summer activities, games, crafts, etc.:


 Stuck at home and kids are bored? (The second part of that equation is pretty much a given after the first few weeks.) Here are a few summertime crafts you can do at home with things you probably have around the house.

Kool-Aid Play Dough

2- 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup salt

2 pkg. unsweetened Kool-Aid

2 cups boiling water

3 tablespoons vegetable oil 

Mix all dry ingredients together. Add water and oil and stir. Knead with hands when mixture is cool. Store in air-tight container. This recipe lasts for several months.

“I Spy” water bottles

Use rice, birdseed or sand to fill the water bottle about 3/4 of the way up and add a bunch of small trickets (buttons, doll shoe, jingle bell, coins, earring, etc.) Super glue the top on to keep it from opening up. Make a label of everything included and attach it to the bottle neck with a ribbon – kids can spend hours looking for all the items. I had little label to tie to the top with everything they neede to find. 

Dyed Pasta

(use for crafts, to make necklaces, glue on paper for designs)

1. Pour 1/8 cup of rubbing alcohol (or ¼  cup vinegar) into a plastic resealable bag

2. Add a few drops of food coloring to the plastic bag

3. Add ½ lb of dry pasta to the plastic bag

4. Seal the bag and shake, making sure that the past gets coated with coloring

5. Set out sheets of wax paper

6. Put on rubber gloves

7. Remove the past from the plastic bags and place on the wax paper to dry

8. Repeat steps 1 through 7 for each color

9. Make sure pasta is completely dry befor storing in containers/plastic bags

Sidewalk paint

1part corn starch 1 part water  , few drops of food coloring (more if you want brighter colors)… I use the platic cups we get at resturaunts to  mix it in.  the paint brushes you get to paint on walls work better (get 1” and 1/2″ ones)  When the paint dries it looks really cool… but when you are tired of it just sweep it away.  If it leaves a slight stain don’t worry the sun will fade it away in a day.   It also comes off clothes easy.  My kids can paint for hrs… let them paint rocks, flower pots, even the house. You can put the paint in shallow pans to let them dip their feet in and make foot prints… really cute

Salt Dough

1 cup flour

1/2 cup salt

1/2 cup water

1 tablespoon cooking oil (optional)

This is the most basic and time tested dough mixture. First mix all the ingredients together. Next knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. The kneading will make the dough smooth and shiny. Floor your hand to prevent the dough from sticking. This dough can be baked in a low (250 degree) oven and then painted. Spray with a varnish for added shine.

Bubble recipe

11 cups of water

4 cups Ajax Anti-Bacterial dish soap

1 cup corn syrup

Will fill a gallon milk jug and will store indefinitely if kept cool.

Okay!  THis list should keep you all busy without going bankrupt. 

Summer activities for kids

Happy Summer From the Fernandez Family!

How to Do Disney. Or I’d Rather Eat a Mouse.

I can’t take credit for that title.  That is all my friend Missy.  You’ve heard me talk about her – she is the one who helped me during my underwear crisis.  So Missy took her family to DisneyWorld earlier this year and sent me that text.  I laughed so hard I made her write me a story to share with you all.  SHe’s got some great tips to share.

As you all know – our family just got back from vacay in California (blog post coming shortly).  Our travel trips are legendary – so much so that we even had a camera crew follow us around at the airport in case of any travel disasters.  Which this time, there were none (well, that is a relative term – we did have some sickness, poop explosions, the occasional meltdown and my son making out with the airline seat…).  Travel Gods decided to give us a much-needed break.  We also spent one day at Disney.  Wow is all I have to say.  I’m still trying to recover.  For those of you that make it an entire week – I am in awe.  There needs to be a club for you brave families…

But I am digressing.  My friend Missy has two darling boys – Noah, age 5 and Eli, age 4.  And she is married to Dr. Bruns.  (who has stitched up our kiddos a time or two).  And here is their Disney story.  (with italicized commentary and occasional photos from moi).

Take your kids to Disney.  Go on.  I dare you! – By Missy Bruns


Bruns Boys with Mickey

As soon as we announced that we had a booked a last-minute trip to Disney over President’s Weekend, we were flooded with advice from all of our Disney friends.  At that time I did not yet realize that there are two kinds of people: Disney People and Non-Disney People. (Missy – the Fernandez Fam belongs in the latter category).  I think we had two weeks to plan our trip.  I now know that people plan these trips for months, even years.  Even before we left I was a little concerned that we might not be getting the full experience because locations and dinning options would be sold out. 

All of our Disney friends strongly encouraged us to read books.  They all had their favorites.  Some even offered to buy them for us.  One of my normally level-headed friends, Jason, recommended The Disney Guide.  I read it cover to cover in about two days.  Lets pause right here.  I don’t normally read anything above the Pre-K level these days.  So there was already Disney Magic at play.

Still in Tulsa-

We decided to do the Disney Deluxe meal plan for our family.  They were offering a ‘special’ and our kids ate for ‘free’.  Believe me, there is nothing free in the Magic Kingdom.  If you are on a real budget- stop right here.  Book a trip to Silver Dollar City and call it good.  I will tell you right now, we could have taken our kids to Europe for what this trip cost.  The Disney resorts and parks allow you to make meal reservations months ahead.  The online system is easy to use or you can elect to (after being on hold for 30 or so minutes) speak with a reservation specialist.  I actually tried both, and would recommend the online resource.  Before we left Tulsa we had at least two meals a day pre-planned. 

In planning ahead I did a few things on the front side that saved us some money.

I pre-bought some Disney toys and packed them for our trip.  Thinking that we could have Mickey leave them in the room each day- to avoid having to buy high-priced ‘junk’ at the parks.  I mean, you must have room in your bag to take them with you- why not buy it before you go and save some cash and stress at the park.  Just tell your kids that we have our Disney surprise come to our room!  (Missy – this is genius). 

I had our travel agent pre-book a town car to pick us up from the airport.  We did not ride the FREE Disney bus to or from the resort.  And here is why.  I knew that after travel with two young boys, we would be more than ready to get there.  I knew that they would not tolerate multiple stops along the bus route, dropping off at multiple resorts, before arriving to our location.  We also like to be able to call our own shots when it comes to bathroom stops, if you know what I mean.  But even more importantly, we wanted to be able to make a quick stop at the grocery store to pick some essentials: PB&J, frozen pancakes, milk, beer, wine….you know the family basics. (Yes, Missy – wine being the MOST important).  The towncar company actually had the 30 minute shopping trip built into the cost of the service.  I did not do the math, but it feels like we almost paid for the town car by avoiding buying wine on property.

Where to stay:

We knew we wanted to stay ON PROPERTY.  The Disney empire is vast.  It is far more expensive to stay on property, but the ease in getting our family to and from our park adventures was made easier.  Disney offers different levels and plenty of on site options.  We knew we wanted to stay at one of the premier luxury resorts.  But even under that umbrella of level, there were still choices to be made. 

We have two young boys, neither are good sleepers.  So we were hoping to avoid a standard hotel room with two queen size beds.  We opted for a two bedroom villa at the Old Key West.  Our room exceeded my expectations.  We had a large master suite and the kids had a great room with their own private bath.  We also enjoyed having a full kitchen that was open to the living and dinning nook.  The room also had a nice balcony.  So we had a place for the kids to play and watch TV- and a refrigerator to ice down Mommy’s wine. (MIssy’s got her priorities straight). 

The travel book that I had read had rated all of the Disney resorts.  You just need to predetermine what is important to you and your family before selecting a property.  Things to seriously consider in selecting a resort:

Proximity to the Disney Parks

Mona-rail Access


Resort dinning options

Pool or other resort play options

Getting Around the Magic Kingdom

I will say that the Disney fleet of buses runs tirelessly from dawn to well into the night.  If you miss a bus, there will be another one in 30 minutes.  The buses were all clean.  There were not bathrooms on the buses- a pre-boarding bathroom stop is a good idea.  It can easily take and hour (or more) to get from one theme park to a resort.  It can take as little as 30 minutes, depending where you are going.  But plan for the hour transfer time.  Mom, have some bottle water handy and a snack.  The transfer times can be good snuggle time if manage your little passengers.  But we saw some ugly melt downs happening all around us.  While on the bus rides, I would get my travel book out to show the boys photos of the park that we were about to tour. 

Lines, Lines, Lines…and more lines…

Magic Kingdom - tips for kids

The Magic Kingdom. And the Empty Wallets.

The first day we were there we waited two hours in a line so that the boys could do the Buzz Lightyear ride at Hollywood Studio.  The ride lasted 10 minutes.  And is was OK fun.  From that point on we vowed not to stand in lines again.  And for the most part that plan worked. They have a FASTPASS system at the Disney parks.  Allowing guests to make reservations to do a ride.  Most of the main rides have a FASTPASS option.  (There are catches to the FASTPASS option…we tried it and it did not work for our fam).

Tips for Dinsney

Baby J loves her Mickey Balloon. (She better, it cost us 15 bucks).

If your child wants to meet the characters well, good luck to ya.  Pack a flask. Because you will be needing a drink.  I am so thankful that the Bruns boys did not seem the least bit interested in meeting the characters.  The lines to meet them were re-dic-u-lous! We took the boys to a breakfast where we knew the main characters would be doing meet and greets at the tables.  HIGHLY recommend this as an option for you and your family.  If you have a child with their heart set on meeting a princess, book a character meal or get to the park early and hope for a good spot in line.  Some cellular phones have Disney Aps that will help guests track wait times in lines and even where to spot famous Disney characters in the park. (Disney Apps??  I have now heard it all).

I did not have anyone interested in meeting a princess, but we did have two padwons desperate to go through Jedi Training.  Hollywood Studios is home to the Star Wars ride and Jedi Training.  This activity was the highlight of our trip.  As soon as the park opens Jedi Training is booked first come first serve.  If you aren’t there right when they open- well, may the force be with you.  They book all of the Jedi classes first thing in the morning.  So we were there bright and early, got our spots, and then headed to a different park for the morning.  We returned later that afternoon for the class (which was only 30 or so minutes.).  Our boys are still talking about doing battle with Darth Vader himself.  I think this must be comparable to being invited to have a tea party at the Magic Kingdom castle with a princess.  I will say, the look of disappointment on the faces of the kids that did not get to be in the Jedi class was heartbreaking.  Call ahead and make sure your child meets the age requirements/ limits.  And don’t forget, get there early with your younglings (children must be present to sign up).

Overall, I would say the live entertainment is what makes Disney a unique experience for guests of all ages.  When a performance would start on the steps of the Magic Kingdom Castle  it was magical.  When pirates jumped on stage and started to recruit my boys to become pirates, it was out of this world.  Something that none of us will forget.   

Worst Nightmare

We lost our son at the Hollywood Studios Honey I Shrank the Kids play park.  The idea for the park is that kids can run and play inside of a dark, small, tunnel system.  Noah jetted into an opening and dashed out of sight before we could grab him.  I got a phone call from my husband saying that he could not find Noah.  I ran FULL OUT a city block to get to the park to help look for Noah.  There were kids everywhere.  I immediately grabbed one of the Disney workers and had her assist in the search.  Longest 10 minutes of my life.  We found him inside one of the tunnels.  Needless to say, I would not recommend taking young children to this attraction. 

I would recommend taking a black Sharpy marker and writing your cell phone on your child’s arm.  MOM’S CELL- written BIG.  Always be aware of what your child is wearing. 

The parks are unbelievably busy and crowded.  It is loud.  Play it safe and never take your eyes off of your kid.  I was yelling at the top of my lungs and he could not hear me. 

The Food:

We found our reservations to be both limiting and necessary.  The parks are so full that you need to have a plan on where you will eat.  Or the children will be crashing and you have to wait an hour or more to get into a restaurant,  

Plan where you want to tour.  And pre-book a meal at that them park.  We chose to eat breakfast at our lodging property each morning before we left.  We always ate lunch at the theme park.  And at night we would go back out for a meal at a different theme park.  That got old pretty quick.  By the end, we just wanted to go back to the Old Keys Resort for our dinner meal.  We found that the meal plan provided our family with wayyyyyyy too much food.  We could have done with having one big meal a day.  By the end of the week we were skipping meals because we weren’t even hungry. 

Handicap Children

I could not help but notice the number of handicapped children and their families at the park.  I was so touched at how the Disney staff assisted these families.  It appeared to me that every effort was made to make sure that these families feel the Disney Magic.  If you have a special needs child, I think this has to be one of the best places in the world to take your family. 

At the end of the week I wasn’t sure if we would ever return to the Magic Kingdom.  I am still not sure I am in the MICKEY MOUSE club.  There is a long list of things that people told us that we HAD TO DO that we chose to skip.  We had two young boys that were worn out.  When they started to fade, we would head back to the resort to swim (in a Mickey Mouse shaped slide and pool), go for boat rides, play games…   Maybe we will get to complete the list on our next trip.  Which I am not planning, just yet.

Disney Trip for Families

The Fernandez Family at Disneyland in California

Hello Mother-Hello Father…It’s Summer Camp Time. And a Chance to Win a Week at Camp Loughridge!

Summer time.  Those blissful 90 days between the school year full of sun and fun. 

Unless you are a parent.

Then those 90 days can get VERY long. 

So  as a mom of four – I have been checking out  things to do with the kids so we don’t go crazy or have to quit our jobs to entertain the lil’ darlins.

And I must say – I did have quite a bit of fun researching one place in particular.  Camp Loughridge.  Which is now my new favorite place.

Located on 200 acres west of Tulsa, this haven for kids is not only beautiful, but chock full of fun for the kids, guaranteed to wear them out on a daily basis.  Camp Loughridge is a Christian based summer camp where kids ages 6-16 can enjoy all the outdoor activies they love in a safe environment. 

My friends Michelle Linn (anchor of Tulsa’s Fox23 Daybreak) and April Sailsbury (fellow mommy blogger and marketing pro) went with me to check it out.  And of course, my permanent accessory, Baby J. 

SUmmer Fun at Camp Loughridge

Yes, those are hard hats. You really want them on. Promise.

And guess what?  One of you lucky ducks will win a week for your kiddo to this fabulous place.  All you have to do is leave me a comment.  Thank you to Vince and crew at Camp Loughridge.  They are truly some of the neatest people I have ever met.  Baby J loves them too. 

Did I mention they have a 50 foot swing?  Ummm – yes.  It is pretty freaking cool.  And a little bit scary.  

SUmmer Camp for kids

Getting harnessed for the 50 foot swing. Yes I was nervous as heck. 1

 And a few blood curdling screams…

Summer Fun for Kids

Yes, that is REALLY REALLY high. I think that is Michelle.They call me Spiderman...

 Yes – I am getting all fancy and swinging upside down.

Summer Camp for kids at Camp Loughridge

Holy Cow!

And a ZIP LINE!  I used to have one of these in my backyard.  However, it was only five feet off the ground and not FIFTY.  Yes, it is a little nerve racking to climb the pole.  But Holy Cow, what a ride!  I’m going to make Shane build us one in the back yard.

Zip Line at Camp Loughridge

Brave Michelle is climbing the 50 foot pole to the zip line. I am sweating bullets as I take the photo.


Summer Fun at Camp

See those little dots up there? Yep, that is us getting ready to jump off. Seriously. Don't worry, Baby J is not up there.

In addition to the thrilling rides, Camp Loughridge offers a million activities.  Arts and crafts, canoeing (I used to teach this by the way…laughable I know), archery (my weapon loving son is SO excited about this one), dancing, hiking and swimming in their Olympic sized pool. 

More pictures from the challenge course…

Plus the older kids (ages 11-13) get to spend a night at the camp (that equals date night parents!)…AND the 14-16 year olds get to go on a three day backpacking trip (hey, that equals a  mini- vacay)! 

And even better?  You don’t have to pack a lunch for the kids. YAY!  Camp Loughridge serves a hot and healthy meal every day for lunch (and snacks too!).  It’s included in the price. And that’s not all!  Also included is a super cool T-shirt, water bottle, backpack and camp group photo. I’m tellin you – I love this place so much I am trying to figure out a way for them to hire me.  But I just blew my cover on my canoeing skills…

Parents – this camp fills up FAST.  The first three sessions are almost sold out.  BUT, the last sessions are still available and they even go through the first week in August, when most camps and activities stop.   Sessions go June 6-August 5, Monday-Friday from 9-5.  This  is money well spent, fellow parents. 

Remember to post a comment on my blog and win a FREE WEEK TO CAMP!  That is a $234 value.  Actually – the memories your kids create – priceless.

We will do the drawing on Friday, May 13. 

And the Fernandez Fam will see you at Camp Loughridge!  I’ll be on the zip line- not teaching your kids how to canoe.  Promise.

Sex on the Beach – Stranded in Mexico.

I know.  Worse places to be stranded.  Yada Yada Yada.  But for those that know us for less than five minutes know our less than stellar luck with air travel.  Or any travel for that matter.  Why we keep putting ourselves in this situation is just beyond me.  I obviously was desperate for some umbrella drinks and cabana boys.

Vacation without the kiddos

Ahh...the beach.

And no, mom and dad, we didn’t have sex on the beach.  It’s a drink.  Promise.

So hubby wanted to whisk me away to the beaches of Playa Del Carmen to lessen the pain of turning 40.  He’s a pretty sweet guy.

And I was rarin’ to go and do absolutely nothing but eat, drink and sleep.  And sleep.

But first, we had to get there.  Easier said than done. 

For a quick recap of our epic travel disasters…here’s a few oldies but goodies.

And before I could get to that sleep part – we had to catch a 6 a.m. flight.  And for my overly anal husband, that means get to the airport at 4.  Which means we get up at 3.  And because I was so paranoid about oversleeping so I could get to the beach and sleep some more – I didn’t sleep.  At all.

Headed to the airport without much of a hitch.  Until we got to the ticket gate. 

Apparently, there were no planes.  At all.  Really?  This is an airport, people…what do you mean there are no planes?

It’s my birthday and I need to get to the beach STAT.

Apparently, American Airlines didn’t care about my birthday.  Because there were still no planes.  Until noon.  Which means we wouldn’t get to Playa until that night which cut an entire day out of my plan to sleep.  Yes, I had a breakdown.  In front of the ticketing agent.  (In my defense, I was going off 1 hour of sleep AND it was that time of the month…Happy Birthday to Me). 

Fast forward – we finally got on a plane.  After being harassed at the airport, a long shuttle ride and an hour wait in line to check in our resort – we were FINALLY in our room.  We threw the suitcases down, grabbed our suits and were bound and determined to at least have one umbrella drink and catch the sunset on the beach.

Not so fast.  I walk out the bathroom and notice a huge puddle of water.  That was getting bigger.  I walk into our living room – and it is FLOODED.  I am so not kidding.  I JUST WANTED TO GO TO THE BEACH.  AND SLEEP. AND HAVE A DAMN PINA COLADA.  Yes, our neighbor fell asleep in his jacuzzi tub.  And forgot to turn it off.  His room was far worse than ours…think undies floating down the hall…and they weren’t cute ones either.

By this time, it is evening.  We’ve missed the entire day and are so sleepy we can hardly stand up.  But we still head to the pool for a quick drink.  And a not so quick trip to the bathroom.  I somehow got lost.  And our resort is huge – like bigger than my hometown.  It took me 30 minutes to find Shane again.  And he was NOT happy – as he has decided I’ve been kidnapped by the natives and is on his way to call security.  Let’s just say it was time to call it a night.

The rest of our trip was blissfully uneventful.  I read three books, slept and drank.  That is all.

beach vacation

The crash of the ocean waves...sounds just like Baby J's noise machine...

beach vacation

Yes, that is my hiney. Thanks, Shane.

Beach vacation

One of the few moments we were not lying in lounge chairs.


Then it was time to come home. 

Okay.  This is just not even funny anymore.  So I’ll just give you the highlights. 

Arrive at airport 3 hours early.  Yay us!

Flight is delayed, which is a good thing, because it took us 2 hours to get through the ticketing line.

Go through Immigration and Customs….sit down to eat dinner….FLIGHT IS CANCELLED.  Until the next day.  And our phones don’t work in Mexico.

Go BACK through Immigration and Customs…spend $100 in phone calls to the army taking care of our children…another $100 trying to get back to the resort (after being at the airport for 7 hours).  Airlines tell us to call to rebook our flight.  Are you kidding me?  Another $100 in calls to the airlines.  Another long shuttle ride back to the resort to our room which is now being inhabited by my brother and sis-in-law.  SURPRISE!  So much for their romantic night.  Sleep on the couch.  STart all over the next day.

Made it to Dallas – YAY!  Again, not so fast.  Plane delayed again.  And again. And again.  By this time we are almost postal.  Good thing Shane had the foresight to take my brass knuckles off my key chain – because I think I would have used them.

Then that would be a whole ‘nother story.  Mexican prison. Would probably make for a good reality TV show.