Holiday Activities for the Kids. No Cabin Fever Here.

So between now and the end of the year – the kids are out of school for the better part of THREE WEEKS.  Wow.  That could make even Mother Teresa go a little nuts.

 However, there are so many options of activities to do with the lil’ darlins (and even a camp where you can drop them off!).  And if you have family in town – (or worse – IN LAWS…just kidding – I know I love mine), never fear – this list is family friendly and sure to entertain even Aunt Edna. 

And as always – you can catch Baby J and me on Fox23Daybreak on Monday mornings

 Free Activities:

  Red Bud Valley – for you lovers of the great outdoors – this is a hidden treasure in the Tulsa area.  Red Bud Valley is a nature preserve east of Tulsa that has kid-friendly hiking trails, caves to explore and much more.  Open daily. And it’s free!  Let those kids burn off all that sugar…

holiday activities for families

The fam at Red Bud Valley. Tristan looks like he is about to have a seizure. But he's having fun. Promise.0

  Turkey Mountain is another outdoor treasure for Tulsans.  This urban wilderness area has several trails from half a mile to a four mile loop that overlooks the Arkansas River.  It is especially pretty this time of year.  Trust me – I know. Just don’t ask me to be your guide.  (you can read why here…)

 Christmas Lights Extravaganza at Rhema Bible Church – This amazing city of lights is a favorite of ours – and it is one of the biggest light displays in the country! You can either drive through or park and walk through the dazzling displays throughout Rhema’s campus.  It’s free – but donations are accepted. November 23 – January 1, 2012. 

Holiday actvities for kids

My little elves at Rhema...

  Lights on the Hill at Chandler Park – Another free light display – and it’s a drive through (yay to those of us with wayward toddlers!).  West of the River, Chandler Park winds up a hill filled with light displays.  They’ve made a lot of improvements over the years – it is definitely worth the trip.  Again, it is free to the public, but they accept donations.  November 25-December 25 (Friday, Saturday and Sundays only). 

   Deco District Holiday Pop Up Shops (downtown) – I think I am the most excited about this new addition to the holidays!  Opening the Monday after Thanksgiving – over 10 retailers will open up “Pop Up” shops in downtown Tulsa on Boston Avenue.  Images of old fashioned Christmas window shopping, carolers, hot chocolate run through my head –  this is how Christmas Shopping should be! Avoid the mall and head downtown.  Grand opening is Nov. 30 with Santa, the lighting of a  200 foot light tunnel over Boston Avenue, food, drink carolers, and of course – shopping!  Nov. 30- Dec. 30.  Shops open daily except Sundays and open late Wednesday evenings. 

One of the retailers setting up her window display...YAY!!

 Other Activities:

Arvest Winterfest presented with the Lobeck Taylor Family Foundation returns to Downtown Tulsa from November 25, 2011-January 2, 2012. The month-long celebration will include outdoor ice skating, photographs with “Segway Santa,” a towering Christmas Tree, horse and carriage rides, delicious concessions, and free holiday entertainment on the ONEOK Stage. New enhancements for 2011 include the expansion of the holiday market, a new climate-controlled seating and hospitality tent, and additional charity skating promotions.  *Tip.  Don’t try and take three small children to skate when you are pregnant.  Not a good idea

 Woolaroc Wonderland of Lights – A wonderful holiday tradition returns again this year at Woolaroc Museum & Wildlife Preserve with their Wonderland of Lights spectacular.   The grounds and buildings of Woolaroc will be covered with over 650,000 lights as the historic ranch transforms itself into a magical winter wonderland!   The lights will be turned on Friday, November 25th and will be on every Friday, Saturday and Sunday through December 24th.   Admission to Wonderland of Lights is $4 for adults and $1 for children 11 and under. The hours for Wonderland of Lights is 5-9 pm.

Woolaroc Wonderland of Lights

Just a short little drive from Tulsa - I love this place!

 Shopping for Angels – What a better way to spend time with family than by helping those less fortunate.  Our family adopts a family every year.  We let each child shop for their “angel”.  They love to pick out the gifts and help wrap them.  It is a great way to teach your children about giving back.  And there are so many programs that can use help.  Salvation Army angel tree, Youth Services of Tulsa, Family and Children Services just to name a few. 

 Camps:

 Loughridge Winter Camp – This place is amazing in the summer – so I can only imagine what it is like in winter!  For those parents who have to work during the two week break (or just need a break from the kiddos)– no worries – Camp Loughridge can keep them entertained!  Dec. 19th -23rd and only $50 a day!  Seriously – that is cheaper than a baby-sitter and they will have so much more fun (and you can do one day at a time, or the entire week.).  Activities include snow forts, snowfamily building, archery, arts & crafts, canoeing, challenge and ropes events, chapel, court sports and games, dance, and nature hikes. Just like summer camp, your fee covers a hot lunch and regular snacks.

So there you have it.  That’s enough stuff to keep the kids from driving you crazy.  Well, maybe not…but it will help.  Happy Holidays!

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Better in Theory. Or How Turkey Mountain Kicked My Butt.

I am honestly almost embarrassed to write this (obviously not TOO embarrassed)…however, I am writing this from a supine position because I can’t sit up.

No, it wasn’t Mount Rainier, the Grand Tetons or any other mountain I’ve climbed that put me in this pain.  It was Turkey Mountain.  In Tulsa Oklahoma.  Elevation 900 ft. (or something ridiculous like that).

Pretty intimidating - huh?

So my friend Shelley and I (actually, it was HER idea), decided to take a beautiful fall hike through TUrkey Mountain a couple of days ago.  Usually our friend Missy comes along on our walks too – but she had the foresight to “have an appointment” and not be able to meet us.  Missy’s smart like that. 

So it’s a four mile loop around Turkey Mountain (which for you non Tulsan’s – Turkey Mountain is an urban wilderness area just west of the river).  Piece of cake.  We’ve got this.

Yeah.  Famous last words. 

I was forgetting a few things.  1.  Baby J for starters (who is now a very heavy 25 pound toddler) that I had to strap to my back. 

2.  I am now over 40 and have pushed out a baby since my last mountain trek.

3.  STrolling around the midtown neighborhoods pushing a stroller is not the same as climbing rocks and trying to balance with a baby on your back.

4.  It might be a good idea to bring some water and something to eat.  Even if it is only 4 miles.

My husband will be so ashamed of me (I haven’t told him the deets).  I broke every rule my  survivor-man, ninja, martial arts, weapon loving husband taught me.  Like tell someone where you are going.  (Come ON, it’s only Turkey Mountain – I can see downtown from the top).  Or perhaps carry a compass.  And maybe bring some water?

Oh no.  Because we are tough women.  We don’t need anything to eat or drink.  Nor does Baby J. 

So, even though the trails are well-marked (thank you River Parks!) we still managed to get lost.  Shelley is every bit as directionally challenged as I am.  Needless to say, she won’t be my pick on a survivor outing (I love you Shelley, you have other strengths…). 

About twenty minutes into the killer trek up the very steep mountain – I was starting to get light-headed.  And Baby J was getting VERY heavy.  Seriously?  Did I really not bring snacks?  We scoured through the backpack and found a Lord knows how old granola bar.  That was pretty stale.  And I had to share half of it with Baby J.

wilderness adventure

Where is Survivor Man Shane when you need him? He's carrying Baby J from now on.

So with the newfound energy of half a stale granola bar – we trekked on to conquer the mountain.  Survivor Man has nothing on us. 

About an hour and a half later – everything is starting to look the same.  Was this the yellow trail?  Or did we accidentally wander to the blue trail?  Baby J is starting to not have such a good time.  Shelley offered to carry her for a bit.  I gladly gave my skinny 90 pound friend my backpack with a baby attached and watched her wobble over the rocks.  If my back hadn’t been hurting so much – I would have felt pretty guilty.

We heard a helicopter overhead.  Were they searching for us?  Should we do a smoke signal?  And if it couldn’t get any worse – Baby J has had enough.  And let’s us all know it.

Two and a half hours later (yes, pathetic I know), we stumbled upon our car.  I was about to eat my arm I was so hungry.  Good thing there was a Chick-fil-a within a mile of our wilderness adventure…

So as my friend Shelley said as we hoisted our weary bodies into the car – “Some things are better in theory…”

Really?  This seems to be a running theme…along with hindsight.

Let’s Get Physical…

Hmmm.  That could have a few different connotations. 

HOWEVER, I mean it in the sweaty, heart rate raising, wearing cute workout clothes kind of way. (I guess you could take that a few different ways too – get your mind out of the gutter people). 

Let's get physical, work out, sky fitness, gym memberships giveaways

I heart Olivia...

So, I have decided to be proactive (don’t fall out of your chair, Shane) and start a workout regime BEFORE the holidays instead of waiting until January.  Maybe I’ll ward off the inevitable weight gain.  Aren’t ya’ll impressed?  I know I am. 

So – since it is tough for me to self-motivate, I decided to join a gym.  Not just any gym, but the creme de la creme of all gyms in the Tulsa area – Sky Fitness (located at 101st and Sheridan).  Holy Spandex Batman, this place is pretty impressive.

The Front Desk at Sky and one of the super nice people that work here!

AND – for all you Tulsa area peeps that read my blog – you are gonna get a chance to win a six month membership to this amazing place (BONUS – it also includes child care!).  Just comment on my blog before next Wednesday (Nov. 16) and my handy – dandy lil helper Nicholas will draw a winner. 

So, I’ve been going for a couple of weeks now and am starting to get in a groove.  They have got about every kind of class known to mankind.  And about every piece of workout equipment to boot.  Oh, and when you finish with your workout?  They’ve got saunas, steam rooms and a full service spa.  Seriously people, no need to come out with gym hair – shower, cut, style and walk out the door looking like a million bucks.  Oh – and they also have a cafe.  Seriously, you could live in this place.  Got kids?  Not a problem.  For ONLY $15 a month you can drop off your brood anytime.  Josie LOVES the kids area.  She pretty much just walks in herself and doesn’t look back. 

This is the circuit training area. Twenty-five minutes for a full body workout. And I'm not lying - it's a WORKOUT. Trust.

And – if it couldn’t just get any better – they are getting ready to open up a location in MIDTOWN (41st and Yale).  So, no matter what part of Tulsa County I am schlepping kids – I have a place to work out.  I no longer have any excuses.

work out gym getting into shap

Can't Wait!

In fact – Sky Fitness is going to offer FREE (that’s right – I said FREE) classes on November 12th across from the new midtown location.  So pick out some cute new work out clothes and join us!  (or you can just come in what you woke up in too – that works for me…).

ALl you have to do is show up at 41st and Yale (The Schusterman Center Lawn) at 9:30 a.m. on November 12.  You can try out several different classes including Body Pump, Rhythm Ride, PowerPOP Pilates, Yoga and TRX Demos.  Plus they will have activities for the little ones too.  Sky will be giving away free memberships and will have lots of other goodies as well. 

Yoga on the Lawn. And it is FREE. Just doesn't get any better.

So join me on the fitness bandwagon!  This place truly is amazing.  And for everything you get – the price is great!  $59 a month for single and $89 for dual.  Prices and class information are listed here!

TRX Workout at Sky Fitness

TRX. This is Navy Seal stuff.

(FYI – The PowerPOP Pilates and PI-Yo classes are amazing.  Pi-Yo is a combo of Pilates and yoga.  Since I have done both for years – I thought – NO SWEAT, PIECE OF CAKE.  Ummm – yeah.  Two weeks later and my butt is STILL sore.  This ain’t your mama’s yoga class).

Yeah - I'll be rocking Pi-Yo in no time. Just as soon as I can feel my butt again.

And don’t forget!  Comment on my blog and you could win a six month membership to SkyFitness!

See ya on Saturday.  I’ll be the one still in the clothes I slept in…