Monday, February 20, 2017

Day Trip: Nashville Public Library

Although we don't live there anymore, we love spending time in Nashville, Tennessee! It's a family friendly place with lots of free and inexpensive things to see and do, many of which we easily incorporate into our homeschooling week when we have the pleasure of visiting.

If you've been thinking about taking your kiddos to spend a day in Music City, perhaps you'll find this helpful.

If you have elementary aged children and younger, start at the Nashville Public Library's Main Branch, on Church Street. Know in advance that there's an affordable parking deck attached to the library, and they will validate your pass at the circulation desk to reduce your parking fee further.

Go on a Tuesday or Wednesday, and here's why: most weeks on those days, there's an amazing story hour at 9:30, 10:30, and 11:30, with a craft time immediately following. There is no admission charge for either. Check their website or call the library before you go to make sure story hour is happening on the day you plan to visit.

Their story hour is a major production. It involves recurring characters--so don't be surprised that the "regulars" around you know The Professor, Mary Mary, Library Pete, and all of the puppet friends--songs, games, and stories. I have been many times, but I get a little emotional every time they invite all the children to join them onstage at the end to sing "What a Wonderful World" together, so be prepared for that precious sight.

After craft time, enjoy the amazing renovations recently completed in the children's department. Besides the plethora of books to explore and read together while you're there--because I'm assuming you do not have a Nashville Public Library card with which to take things home--there's so much more! You'll find all kinds of learning centers, like Tinker Toys and building blocks, as well as an indoor play structure, a puppet theater, and a small climbing wall. There's an area dedicated to teens where they can play ping pong or video games, and sometimes even experiment with a 3D printer.

If you packed a lunch and the weather is good, you can enjoy it right in the courtyard of the library, directly linked to the children's department. There are nice restrooms inside the children's area, with ample room for baby changing, and you'll also find water fountains that make refilling your water bottles a breeze.

If you'd rather pick something up, there are fast food places like Subway, Burger King, Sonic, and so on within a few minutes' drive from the library; heading south on 8th Street gives easy access to some of these options.

Wondering what to do after lunch? Watch for the second part of this short series!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Pip's Pizza Bites

Sometimes we need a quick snack or meal. It needs to be gluten free and it needs to be tasty. Bonus points if it's warm (is it just me, or does warm food seem more filling?). Extra bonus points if you can integrate a lesson on fractions into your creation.

With those goals in mind, Pip and I experimented with pizza bites this week. They take two minutes and they are yummy! Here are the first four steps:

1. Crackers (we used Glutino brand)
2. Pizza sauce (we used Mezzetta; it's certified GF)
3. Shredded mozzarella (we used store brand)
4. Pepperoni (we used store brand--just make sure it's certified GF)

When they're assembled, pop them in the microwave for approximately 5 seconds per cracker.

You can spice them up with Italian herbs, you can make them without the meat, you can add a little mushroom slice or banana pepper; just like pizza, the possibilities are endless! And you can individualize for each member of your family, all in the same batch.

I guess we've really missed pizza, since we've now enjoyed these three times this week already. What's your favorite go-to snack?