How to Do City Putt!

 

My boys and I went to City Putt in New Orleans City Park and despite a few hiccups, which had to do with heat, humidity and sibling rivalry, we had a ball (pun intended). The facility is clean and attractive and it’s a fun outing plus you and your kids can work on hand-eye coordination and math skills. You can buy beer and wine, (along with water, soft drinks and tea) at the concession cart, which could help to calm your nerves when your kids have no more game and they start calling each other names. You can also host a birthday party or corporate event there. Go – and heed these recommendations:

Play one course. There are two 18-hole courses at City Putt. One is the Louisiana Course with holes named for cities and regions in the state and the other is the New Orleans Course with holes named for streets and neighborhoods in the city. We played both but sometime after the 27th hole and after we took this shot with Mr. Bingle everyone fell apart. It was hot and humid (a point driven home by the fact that this giant snowman was sizzling to the touch), so both courses may be more doable when it’s cooler or at night.

 

Play the Louisiana Course. Both courses are good and similar but Louisiana seemed a little less crowded (maybe because it’s starting hole is hidden away on the left), a little more varied and a little more spread out. Having said that if you’re looking for a little more kitsch (ie boiling seafood pots, Louis Armstrong and Mr. Bingle) then the New Orleans course is your gig. Neither have swirling windmills or castles with moats but both have clean, challenging but doable holes with new turf and a range of obstacles. Both are scenic with streams, greenery, trees and sculptures. And both have misters on every hole and festive New Orleans-themed music piped in.

Older kids will like it more. My 10-year-old loved it and wanted to keep score and play for real. My 8- year-old liked it but had had enough half way through the second course. He also accidentally hit me in the nose with his putter when he put a little too much back swing into his putt after he couldn’t get a ball up and over a hill. (Nothing broken or seriously injured but it hurt! I cried. He cried. Then we all kept going). I spied a 3 or 4 year old out there with his dad, who was chasing down balls, hunting down left behind putters, and picking his child out of the water. I’m not sure if they had fun but it didn’t look like good times to me. Then again, I got hit in the face with a putter and had fun so I guess there is something to be said for just being outside spending time with your kids.

city putt collage

 

Go when it’s not crowded. Some outings are more fun when more people are around but I think this is probably a good one for an off-day. The day we went we didn’t have to wait for a hole and could take our time finishing out. If you felt rushed by the people behind you or if you were standing around waiting for your turn it might not be quite as much fun. Call the desk at (504) 483-9385 to get a reading on crowds.

Overall — A fun outing. Cost: $32 for 3 of us to play two courses plus $5 for water and ice tea.

Saints Junior Tee Retrievers, Saints Kids Club, Saints Camp in December and More News for Young Saints Fans!

JrTee Kickoff SMEASEL9-15_FEver wonder how the Saints Junior Tee Retrievers – the kids who run out to fetch the football tee at Saints games – get chosen?  Well, it turns out there is a whole event dedicated to picking these lucky Saints fans and it takes place this Saturday from 10 am to 12:30 pm at Copeland’s in Kenner (1319 West Esplanade Avenue)!

Parents can enter their child for a chance to be chosen as a Junior Tee Retriever – and if you win not only will you be watching your child run out on the field but you will also be watching the game from the sidelines!

On Saturday, kids can also participate in numerous drills and inflatable skill challenges like the Quarterback Challenge, Saints Obstacle Course, Touchdown Dive and the Wide Receiver Drill.

Kids Saints Club

Parents can also register their children for the Saints Kids Club and the Saints Kids Kit, which costs $25, and includes the following:

  • Saints Wall flag
  • Saints and Copeland’s Kids Club Drawstring Bag
  • Saints Arm sleeve
  • Saints Rally towel
  • Official Kids Club Lanyard
  • Official Kids Club Bracelet
  • Eyeblack
  • Saints Sticker
  • Saints Pencil
  • An Official Kids Club Membership card
  • Cameron Jordan Photo with Gold-Foiled Lithograph Signature!
  • Saints Waterbottle

If you’re not going to the Saints/Copelands event, you can still register for the Saints Kids Club online.

On Saturday kids meals are just $1.99 (dine-in only, kids 12 and under, Kenner location only).

And when your child get his/her Kids Club Card stamped five times by dining at any Copeland’s Restaurants he/she will be able to participate in a camp with Cameron Jordan at the Saints Practice Facility in Metairie in December.  (Info will be emailed to qualifying participants the middle of November).

Who knew?!?!  Have you ever gone to Copeland’s Saints Kids Event?  Are you planning to go?  Will you spend $25 to be a part of the Saints Kids Club?  Give us your thoughts and insights!

This is NOT a sponsored story.  We just found it interesting.  Have any other interesting tips, leads, upcoming events to share?  Email us here.

Summer Camps

Greetings, NOLA Parents! Hopefully Spring is treating you well and that this post about summer camp comes just in time. It seems odd that we have to start figuring out summer camp plans so early in the year. Although after spending so much “quality time” with the kids over Mardi Gras, making sure they have somewhere to go and something to do besides bicker with each other and destroy my house for weeks on end seems very, very timely.

But let’s face it, figuring out summer plans months in advance isn’t always easy, especially if you’re a procrastinator like me. And trying to accommodate multiple ages, interests and schedules makes it even more complicated.

Fortunately, the programs that you see listed here are the best of the best and there is something for everyone, whether your camper is an aspiring artist, athlete, veterinarian, engineer or lives a little outside the box.

Personally, I like to put the little ones in the same program over many weeks and sign my 8yo up for different week-long camps so she can be adventurous and explore things she may not otherwise be able to do during the school year.

At the end of the day, though, it has to work for the family… and when I say “family” I mean “me”.

Good luck and if you have any questions or need to reach me, shoot me a note at ashley@nolaparent.com!

xo ashley

Visit a complete list of Summer Camps here.

Let’s go to the Zoovies!

In case you haven’t heard, Audubon Zoo is hosting a series of family-friendly outdoor moving screenings of the summer’s most obsessed-over movies. They kicked off their Dinner and a Zoovie Nights series with Frozen, which is why the oak trees in Audubon Park were gently swaying in synchronicity that day to the sound of hundreds of tiny voices singing “Let it Go.”

This Saturday, July 13, 2014, is the The Lego Movie, which my entire family has only seen six times. But those don’t really count because they were all indoors. We have yet to see this hilariously entertaining movie outdoors on the big screen surrounded by lots of friends, neighbors… and zoo animals (but they’ll be sleeping because that’s what sleepy animals do at the Audubon Zoo).

And if you’re one of those people who obsesses over where your favorite food trucks will be at all times, please note that FRENCHEEZE and TACEAUX LOCEAUX will be at the Zoovies on Saturday, July 13, 2014, for your gastronomical pleasure.

Bring a blanket, bring the kids, maybe some environmentally friendly-biodegradable-sustainable-all natural bug spray, and let’s go to the Zoovies!

Be sure to purchase your tickets in advance so dad doesn’t have to stand in the long lines cursing the heat.

All shows are $5 per person (children under two years of age are free). Chairs and blankets are welcome. No glass containers, open candles or pets. And yes, a wine bottle is considered a “container.”

Shows will be outside at the Capital One Stage and Field inside Audubon Zoo.

See you there!

25 Summer Fun Ideas for Kids in New Orleans

As somewhat of a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-pants kinda gal/mom, I often come up with summer fun activities at the last minute. Here in the mommy-sphere, “summer fun” generally refers to blocks of time spent with children in the heat herding, buckling, unbuckling, counting heads and applying sunscreen. This isn’t exactly my version of fun, which is probably why I don’t plan ahead our summer days. I think I’m in denial. Not sure about what, but I’m pretty sure it’s denial. There may also be a little part of me that hopes the kids will wake up and say: “Mom, can we please just stay home all day and chill out on the couch while you sip on mommy juice and read your favorite magazines that have been piling up in the corner because we demand so much of your time and you never get to read anymore?”

Right.

As such, I like to turn to my Type A moms who don’t have to put their kids in camp because they’ve mapped out the entire summer with wonderful, refreshing, educational, fun-filled activities.

My friend Liv is one such mom. She is actually the one who inspired me not to “over-camp” my kids this summer because of there really are some fantastic things to do in New Orleans. It just takes few minutes to figure it out.

You don’t have to plan every day in advance. Just spend a few minutes before you go to bed and pick one or two things from this list of Summer Fun Activities To Do with Kids in New Orleans that Liv so generously shared with me.

Enjoy.

Liv’s Recommended Summer Fun in NOLA

Indoor:

New Orleans Public Library – There are tons of free children, teen and adult programs and events all over town through the New Orleans Public Library. Pretty impressive stuff: http://www.neworleanspubliclibrary.org/~nopl/programming/srp2014/kids_events.pdf

Monkey Room (Uptown)
Closed Tuesdays, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Check calendar b/c MR closes for parties: http://www.monkeyroom.net/index_files/Calendar.htm
Approximately $10/child

Palm Tree Playground (Metairie)
Open daily but hours vary. Check website: http://palmtreeplayground.com/
$8/child 4+
$6/child 6mos-3yrs
Free for adults and infants

Aquarium
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/aquarium
$22.50/adult; $16/child

Insectarium
Open daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/insectarium
$16.50/adult; $12/child

Entergy IMAX Theatre
There are some magnificent films scheduled for June. These films are in 3D so the little ones may not love it.
$5 for members (kids and adults included)
$8 for non-members 2-12
$10:50 for non members 13+
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/imax/now-showing

Kenya 3D: Animal Kingdom
Great White Shark 3D
Madagascar Island of Lemurs 3D

New Orleans Museum of Art
Tuesday through Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
Friday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.
$10/adult; $6/child; Wednesdays are free for LA residents
Storyquest: Saturday’s bi-monthly at 11:30 a.m.
http://noma.org/

Children’s Museum
Monday-Friday, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., opens Sunday at 12 noon
$8.50/person
http://lcm.org/

National WWII Museum
Open daily, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
$22/adult; $13/student
There’s lots to do here, but this seems most appropriate for kids, The Boeing Center:
http://www.nationalww2museum.org/us-freedom-pavilion-the-boeing-center/

Paint Pottery
The Posh Paint Pub, Metairie
Hours vary, so check the website
http://www.poshpaintpub.com/

Game Rooms
Party Planet Extreme in Harahan
http://www.partyplanetxtreme.com/

Roller Skating
Kenner:
Airline Skate Center: http://www.airlineskatecenternola.com/
Westbank:
Skate Country: http://www.skatecountrywb.com/

Movies
Prytania Theater
Movies at 10 a.m. on Friday and Saturday, $5.75/person
http://prytaniatheatreneworleans.com/Kids.html

Outdoor:

City Park
Sculpture Garden at City Park
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
http://noma.org/pages/detail/35/Background

Carousel Gardens Amusement Park at City Park
Tuesday-Thursday at 10 a.m.
$4/person; children 36” & under are free of charge
$17 unlimited rides or $3/ride
http://neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/carousel-gardens

Storyland at City Park
Open at 10 a.m., Closed Mondays
$4/person; children 36” and under are free of charge
http://neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/storyland

City Putt at City Park
Opens at 10 a.m., Closed Mondays
$8/person 13+; $6/child 6-12
http://neworleanscitypark.com/in-the-park/city-putt

Botanical Garden at City Park
10 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., Closed Mondays
$6/adult; $3. /child 5-12; free for children under 5
http://neworleanscitypark.com/botanical-garden

Lafreniere Park Splash Pad, Pond, Playground in Kenner
Open daily, 12 noon to 7:00 p.m.
$5/person cash only, change is not available
http://www.lafrenierepark.org/general/facilities.asp

Fontainebleau State Park in Mandeville
Great splash pad and picnic area!
http://www.fontainebleaustatepark.com

Zoo
Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
http://www.auduboninstitute.org/visit/zoo#ref=topnav
$17.50/adult; $12/child

Cool Zoo at Audubon Zoo
$8/non-member; $6/member

Global Wildlife Park in Folsom
http://www.globalwildlife.com/safari-tour
7 days a week, but check tour times
$17 Adults; $11 children

Parks!
Palmer Park has a shade cover over the playground.

Swamp Tour
There are lots of options. “Honey Island” gets good reviews on Trip Advisor.
http://www.neworleanskids.com/swamp.html

 

 

 

 

LOOK Boutique Ladies Night!

Hey, Ladies! Tonight is the LOOK Boutique Make-Up Party at the Walgreens Uptown from 6:30-8:30pm. Pick up that last minute teacher gift AND play with fancy make-up from Paris, Denmark, Canada and LA, so that you can get summer-ready!

We’ll get the scoop on some fabulous hair, skin and make-up lines, try some new nail colors (it’s all about orange this summer), and get tips on how to apply make-up so we can look like ladies instead of ladies of the night.

I met with our LOOK Boutique Beauty Advisors yesterday and they are SO excited about tonight. They’re a little nervous, too, because this is a first for them. They even gave me a sneak peak into some of the goody bags and, oh, everything is so beautiful.

I took some shots from the store, so please enjoy and I’ll see you tonight!

WalgreensCollage450

Oh, and pretty please let me know if you’re coming. Some of you have mentioned that you’re going to swing in and out (which is great!). We want to make sure we have enough thank you bags.

xxoo ashley

p.s. wine.

Should I take my kid to the Jazz Fest?

The question of whether or not to bring kid(s) to the Jazz Fest comes up every year. When asked, my first response is always a resounding “No,” because I’m selfish and I love the freedom of running around with my husband, checking out new bands, worshiping the old, and hopping around to visit friends, some of which I only see once a year… at the Jazz Fest. All of this is very difficult to do while dragging a little one around because, let’s face it, kids don’t like to walk.

JazzFest01

Having said ALL that, the real answer is Yes AND No.

Yes, you should take your kid to the Jazz Fest, but only for a few hours.

Identity

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is one of our city’s major cultural events. As a local, it’s important for our kids to be part of our community and appreciate the uniqueness that is New Orleans. The Jazz Fest is part of our city’s modern narrative, and anyone who lives here understands that there is a rhythm and flow to New Orleans life. Jazz Fest, in a way, marks the end of our celebratory season… which is about 6 months long. Exposing kids to their community’s cultural and musical traditions creates a shared identity and a sense of belonging to something bigger.

JazzFest03

Jazz Fest is as much New Orleans as New Orleans is Jazz Fest. Kids need to be exposed to the special parts of our city, even if it’s only for a few hours. Eventually, the sites, smells and feel of the Jazz Fest will sink into their bones and become part of who they are and where they come from. They will be glad you loved them enough to sacrifice your own enjoyment for the sake of their cultural and musical development.

Exposure

Jazz Fest is an opportunity to expose kids to live music. How many kids can say they’ve worshiped in a Gospel Tent or seen musical legends of their time? Even if they don’t appreciate it right now, they will thank you later. Also, music is the kind of stuff that makes kids interesting and smart. It’s important that kids get out of the bubble. Disney isn’t the only thing they should be looking forward to.

Strategy

As parents, we want our kids to experience this cultural bliss and appreciate it as much as we do. Alas, this is not always the case, which is why you really need an in-and-out strategy. Two to three hours is enough for the kids to hear some great music, eat some great food and rendezvous with some friends, so have a babysitter pick them up at the gate so the kids can marinate in their experience (at home) and you can be free to enjoy the adult time without the whining. It’s a win-win. If a babysitter (or some other arrangement) isn’t an option, then cut your losses and leave on a high note as a family. Yes, it is an expensive few hours. You’re either comfortable with that or you’re not.

JazzFest04

Lagniappe (this means “a little something extra… like a bonus)

Something awesome happened to us this Jazz Fest. A girlfriend of mine came up to me at carpool and asked me if Anson, my seven year old, would like to come to the Fest with her family for a few hours to see her son perform at the Kids Tent. Her husband would drop them off at the gate, they would stay for 2 hours and then her husband would pick them up at the gate and bring her home. Anson jumped in their car and headed to the Fest like a big girl. She had a great time. The lesson here is that if someone else wants to bring your kid to the Fest, say YES! There is nothing wrong with your kid experiencing cultural bliss with someone else. In fact, it’s a good thing.

Now for the other side of the coin.

No, you should not bring your kids to the Jazz Fest.

The reason you don’t see too many miserable parents lugging/wearing/strolling around their miserable kids at the Jazz Fest is because they had to leave. If it’s your one day to go to the Fest and you’ve paid a lot of money for tickets and/or travel and you don’t have the luxury of sending the kids home, you do not want to bring the kids. The Jazz Fest is an expensive, all-day endeavor. The odds are not in your favor that your kid is not going to rain on your parade.

But…

JazzFest02

Sometimes the stars align, you find the perfect spot, the kids have a little shade and space to dance and play in the grass, it’s not scathingly hot, there are no torrential downpours, and no one has to potty. If this is you, congratulations. There is something so sweet about having a great Jazz Fest with your kids. It’s one of those beautiful memories that you all will look back on and smile. And the only thing you should leave the Jazz Fest with is a smile.

JazzFest06

Kids Fest!

Feeling guilty because you can’t seem to bring yourself to treat yourself to a long, hot day of pushing strollers through the sand and managing meltdowns at The Jazz Fest? Well, don’t!

Fulton Alley, the fabulous and chic new bowling alley in the Warehouse District, invites children and their families to Kids Fest this Saturday, May 3rd, from 12-2, to enjoy one free game of bowling.

kidsfest-02

Fulton Alley just rolled out a new kid-friendly birthday party package and wants you to see and taste for yourself what a fun, kid-friendly option this is for Boo’s birthday celebration.

Personally, I attended an adult birthday party at Fulton Alley a few months ago. It was so fun and the food was so delicious, I couldn’t believe I was in a bowling alley. It’s just a great place to go for some good old fashion family fun that doesn’t smell like feet and ashtray.

Come bowl a free game with the family this Saturday at Kids Fest and be sure to add Fulton Alley to your list of awesome venues for the birthday party circuit!

DIY Mardi Gras Bead Crafts

Just about the time you finally get rid of all the leftover Mardi Gras beads and the dog chews the last plush toy, it’s Mardi Gras all over again. This year, I envision myself making wonderful crafts with my children out of Mardi Gras beads. And by “envision,” I mean “visualize not actualize.”  I did buy a glue gun for the last craft project I did not enjoy, and I am convinced that there is nothing one can’t do with glue gun. It’s like a good Sharpie. Everybody needs one.

Here are some of my favorite Mardi Gras bead craft ideas that I am envisioning. Most of these do not require instructions because I do not like to read instructions. I like to wing it.

MardiGras_vase

I love this Mardi Gras Bead Vase. All it requires is an empty wine bottle, of which I have/will have many, some spray paint (or not) and, of course, a glue gun.

beadsornament

Here in New Orleans, we turn our Christmas trees into Mardi Gras trees. I love the idea of the kids making an ornament to commemorate each year. Some clear ornaments, beads and some puffy paint. Holla!

beadframe6Who doesn’t love a shiny, chic frame? I have so many ugly frames screaming for a little bead and glue gun love.

mardigras_a

Now you know what to do with those wooden letters you always see in the isle at Michael’s.

beadletter10

All you need for this DIY Monogram Letter is some cardboard, beads and a glue gun… and maybe a different letter.

chandelier00For the first person to accomplish this beaded chandelier, drinks are on me.

votives.jpgThese DIY Beaded Candle Holders are simple and sweet.

For some more craft ideas using your leftover Mardi Gras Beads, hope on over to Pinterest.

 

 

A few fun Mardi Gras parades you may not know about but your kids might like.

If you’re looking to do something a little different for Mardi Gras this year, here are some parades worth checking out. Don’t be afraid to go outside the bubble. For a complete schedule, visit www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule.html and be sure to download WDSU’s Parade Tracker.

SAT, Feb 22

Canine Carnival Krewe. 10AM. Olde Towne Slidell. Marching parade with dogs. The mission for Canine Carnival Krewe is to bring awareness to pet rescue and adoption and donate proceeds of the parade to various shelters, rescues groups and animal-loving non-profit organizations.

Abita Springs Krewe of Push Mow Parade & Party. 11am. Abita Springs. Dozens of humorously themed homemade floats, many based on lawn equipment, take part in this rousing cruise through the heart of town. The parade follows a route beginning and ending at the Abita Springs Trailhead for a party with costume judging, live music, and food and drinks. Theme: Future Reality TV Shows (http://www.pushmow.com/)

‘tit Rəx (‘tit being a Cajun abbreviation of the word “petite”). 5pm. Marigny. The world’s first Mardi Gras microkrewe, ‘tit Rəx was founded in 2009 by a group of artists, teachers, businesspeople, workers, and bon vivants. Taking their cue from the generations-old, grade-school tradition of decorating shoeboxes to look like Mardi Gras floats, ‘tit Rəx members use shoeboxes as the foundation of their floats. Theme: Wee the the People (http://www.titrexparade.com)

The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. 8pm. Marigny. The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus is a Mardi Gras parade organization for the most revelrous of Star Wars Freaks, Trekkies, Whovians, Mega-Geeks, Gamers, Cosplayers, Circuit Benders, Cryptozooligists, UFO Conspiracy Theorists, Mad Scientists, and all the rest of Super Nerdom. Theme: The Wrath of Khan-Ival (http://www.chewbacchus.org/)

SUN, Feb 23

Krewe of Tchefuncte. 2pm. Madisonville. Organized in 1973, this boat parade cruises the Tchefuncte River in Madisonville, Louisiana every Mardi Gras. Boats will be decorated like tiki huts, tropical flowers, volcanoes, rain forests and other island themes. Theme: Sails to Tropical Paradise.

Sun, Mar 9

Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws. 2pm. Mandeville. Mardi Paws is a fun-filled family event that serves as a fundraiser for three Northshore non-profits which are comprised of all volunteers trying to make a difference in their community: Scott’s Wish aids people suffering from leukemia and other devastating illnesses; Have a Heart thru Art is made up of community leaders who provide access to the arts for underprivileged and disabled children; and The St. Tammany Spay & Neuter Program provides low cost spay/neutering services for rescues and low-income households. Theme: LIVE FROM THE RED CarPET (http://www.mardipaws.com/)

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