The Week Ahead: More Summer Deals and Free Programs

Pondhawk Nature Area

This week we have even more summer fun for you to check out!  Keeping Up With Kids is your best resource for summer fun!  I have listed below some more making  the list of our favorite summer deals and places even longer!  This is the way to do summer on a budget!

I realized I left off Libraries on last weeks list!

Boca Library Kids Programs
Boca Library Kids Programs

In case you are looking for cheap, cool, fun, and educational opportunities for the kids this summer, don’t forget about your local library! Most libraries throughout Palm Beach, Broward and Miami-Dade Counties have story times for young kids and even activities for tweens, teens and adults. Many of the Libraries offer shows by professional performers, these can include puppet show, magic shows, and storytellers among others.  Look up your local branch now and fill your calendar!  Even the smaller branches have shows and programs, so don’t miss out!

Think about it when you travel this summer too, we have been to free programs when we visit family out of town and never been disappointed.

Alvin Sherman Library at Nova Southeastern University in Davie is one of my favorites.  Their PK and toddler programs are developed with pre-reading in mind.  They often have information available for parents to help you develop reading skills in your kids.  They also have a great kids section in the library with comfortable places to sit and do puzzles, color and draw, or read with your kids.  Computers are available with great software games as well.

Oakland Park Library is a great place to spend some time.  It is a small library, but they have professional puppeteers come in over the summer to do shows for the kids as well as other presentations.

Imperial Point Library does story time for the little ones weekly and reading programs for school age kids.  I love this library, they are always so friendly and it just has a great vibe.

Wilton Manors Library is a great one too.  They have special presentations for kids as well as summer reading programs.

Palm Beach County Libraries have massive and multiple programs going on around the county!

Splash Pad Playground at Patch Reef Park in Boca Raton

Water Fun!  One of our favorites is Coconut Cove Water Park in Boca.  Most all the water parks in Broward and Palm Beach County open every day for the summer starting June 5th or 6th.


Castaway Island at TY toddler interactive pool
Castaway Island at TY Park is another favorite.  It is a bit cheaper and has a great fenced in kiddie splash pool, big kid slides, a rock waterfall and more!



Splash Pad A1A & Atlantic in Pompano Beach
Splash Pad A1a & Atlantic in Pompano Beach

Pompano Beach Splash Pad is another great day out!  Between the playground on the beach, the ocean and the splash pad, how can you go wrong?

You can find many more of our favorite Splash Pads and Water Parks under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Water Play.


Schoolhouse Museum Train

Indoor Museums are the best bet for those days that you just can’t face the heat or the summer storms are making outdoor play tough.  Boca Children’s Museum is a great one for the little ones (Preschool) or Schoolhouse Museum in Boynton Beach is perfect for younger school age kids!  You can find more of our favorite museums under the menu tab Events and Review, scroll down to Museums.


Movies!  Imagine you get up on a Tuesday or Wednesday morning and just don’t know what to do!  Here is your answer!









The South Florida location for Paragon Theaters is in Davie, please check here for more locations.

$1 Summer Movies at Regal Cinema’s

Click here for listing and movie times!

Kids Bowl Free Logo

Take the kids Bowling for free! If you sign up for free, your kids get to bowl (2 games a day) for free all summer long!


The Deals!
Need a good reason to visit a local (or not so local) museum this summer?  Here are several!

BOA Museums on US

Bank of America is offering it’s customers free admission to local museums all over the country.  It is usually the first full weekend of the month and you just have to present your bank card at the door.  We have been to Museum of Discovery and Science with the program.  Basically it means the adults are free (as long as you have a bank card for each person) and you just have to pay for the kids if they are over 2.

Click Here for the link to see other participating Museums in your area.

2014 Summer Savings Pass

The Summer Saving Pass!  We pick this Summer Saving Pass up every year. It is a great deal, you get unlimited admission to four different attractions.  The Museum of Discovery and Science, Lion Country Safari, Miami Seaquarium, and Miami Metro Zoo.



Adventure Pass
The Florida Summer Adventure Pass
is a new one this year!  It allows you to visit Everglades Alligator Farm, Flamingo Gardens, Jungle Island, Patricia & Phillip Frost Museum of Science, Perez Art Museum Miami, Sawgrass Recreation Park, and Young at Art Museum as often as you like from May 15 through September 30, 2015.

How you can help keep this site running.
If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page.  This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting, maybe even a cup of coffee as I sit at Panera searching for more free events.  Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site.  We really want this information to be free and available to all. Thanks for your support!

Click Here for the full list of upcoming mostly free events!

Special Thanks to our sponsors for making this site possible!

Things I Wish I Knew Before my First (4) Hurricane(s)

Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton
Palm Beach Zoo - Hurricane Frances
Palm Beach Zoo – Hurricane Frances

Hurricane season is right at our doorstep.  I wanted to compile some of the things we learned in 2004 & 2005.  I wish I knew these things before the storms.

I worked in West Palm Beach at the time and lived in Fort Lauderdale and as anyone who was down here during these hurricane seasons will tell you it was a trying time.

In  September 2004 we were hit by Hurricane Frances which according to FPL left 1,715,400 addresses out of power in 6 counties. Frances had an eye that was reported to be 70 miles wide.  Hurricane Jeanne visited a little more than 2 weeks later, this time leaving 2.6 million homes and businesses in the dark, some had not gotten power restored from Frances yet.   The following August Hurricane Katrina found us as a Category 1 and went onto become disastrous for the Gulf Coast.  Last and certainly not least was Wilma which arrived in late October 2005. This huge storm affected virtually all of South Florida.  I hope that you find this information helpful, for us this was BC (Before Child), but I think much of what we learned will be helpful for families.

Below you can find the list that the National Hurricane Center website recommends.  Everyone of them is important so make sure you have them.

  • Water, one gallon of water per person per day for at least three days, for drinking and sanitation
  • Food, at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food
  • Battery-powered or hand crank radio and a NOAA Weather Radio with tone alert and extra batteries for both
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Whistle to signal for help
  • Dust mask to help filter contaminated air and plastic sheeting and duct tape  Moist towelettes, garbage bags and plastic ties for personal sanitation
  • Wrench or pliers to turn off utilities
  • Manual can opener for food
  • Local maps
  • Cell phone with chargers, inverter or solar charger

Okay so here are some things that we didn’t think about before 2004.  For some of the storms I mentioned above we went many weeks without power or water.

Make sure you have plenty of cash.  No power means no ATM’s and certainly no stores can use plastic either. Many gas stations and Publix Stores have generators, but there will still be no way to use credit or debit cards.  I remember after one of the storms  a local Duffy’s managed to open.  It was the best meal I had ever had. (We just ate whatever they served us). Of course, cash was required!

Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton
Hurricane Wilma – Fort Lauderdale by LM Burton

A Bathtub full of water and a bucket.  Scrub your bathtub out as well as you can and fill it with water. I forgot to do this during Wilma and boy was I sorry!  We had no water for about 2 weeks.  No water, means no way to flush the toilette.  If you have this extra water you can pour a small bucket of water into the toilet bowl and force it to flush itself.  You can also carry buckets of this water to the kitchen sink to wash dishes or use it for sponge baths.

Paper plates, paper cups and plastic utensils. Normally, we wouldn’t use these items, however if your water is out, you won’t want to waste what precious water you do have on dishes.  Also remember that after a storm there are often boil water orders because of flooding and contaminated water, so even if do have water, you may not want to use it on anything you eat off of anyway.

Freeze as much water as you can.  I didn’t figure this out till much too late!  You can fill Tupperware containers, bottled water, and even gallon jugs with water and freeze it to keep coolers cold.  A couple of frozen 1 gallon jugs set inside your fridge can help keep food for a bit longer.  You can also drink it as it melts.  Friends of mine say they even use zip lock bags.  If you lay them flat they freeze flat and take up less room.  I remember being so hot when the ice ran out that I would have given anything for an ice cold drink of water.  Bags of ice cubes melt quicker than blocks of ice do.

I know the guides all say 1 gallon per person per day, however I know that when it is hot we get through more than that. Don’t forget you will need to brush your teeth with it too!  The more water the better.

Hurricane Katrina - Pompano Beach by R. Mackenberg
Hurricane Katrina – Pompano Beach by R. Mackenberg

You need bug spray and sun screen.  It is usually desperately hot with clear sky’s after these storms and you will probably rather be outside in the shade than inside.  All the water from the storm means that the mosquitoes will be in full force, so be ready to protect yourself.


Get a battery operated Carbon Monoxide detector.  Sadly, there are always cases of fatal and non fatal carbon monoxide poisoning after hurricanes caused by generator fumes.  Even if you don’t have a generator, your neighbors might, so be careful and take precautions. The National Center for Environmental Health published a paper on the numbers in Florida for the 2004 storms.  These detectors are very inexpensive and can save lives.  Foundation like the Caitlin Brondolo Foundation are great resources for more information on this topic.  It is one that hits pretty close to home for me and our family friends the Brondolo Family.

Get the right food.  We were so desperate for fresh food and cold drinks.  The usual hurricane fare will keep you alive, but it won’t make you happy!  Peanut butter, crackers, Easy Cheese, trail mix and water get old fast.  A Camping Stove or a Barbeque Grill can be used to boil water for Mac & Cheese or heat canned soup.

Don’t forget that the heat outside can dehydrate you quickly, especially if you are out cleaning up the neighborhood.  Juice boxes  (can also be frozen ahead of time) and work well in conjunction with water to provide electrolytes. I like the ones that have veggies in them, just for a little extra nutrition.

Individual fruit and applesauce cups don’t have to be refrigerated and though we don’t normally eat these, they are extremely welcome after a storm.  Individual sized box milk and things like Earth’s Best Organic Fruit Yogurt Smoothies  do not require refrigeration and freeze well before the storm too.  (Again, these can be frozen ahead of time, are you getting the idea that I like frozen stuff?) A big bag of apples and oranges seem to last longer in the heat than any other fresh fruit, so I now make sure that they are on my supply list.

Shop early. Many years ago, I remember waiting to the last moment to shop for hurricane supplies. The only cans left on grocery store shelves were some sort of Dinosaur spaghetti, they were disgusting. When the storm missed us we were faced with giving them away or eating them ourselves. If you shop early, then you are guaranteed to get the kinds of things your family will actually eat.  In addition you will also avoid major long lines and frustrated people in parking lots.

Hurricane Shutters and candles do not mix. advises to “Avoid using open flames (candles and kerosene lamps) as a source of light. Flashlights provide the safest emergency lighting source. Between 1984 and 1998, candle-related deaths from home fires following hurricanes were three times greater than the number of deaths related to the direct impact of the hurricane. Kerosene lamps require a great deal of ventilation and are not designed for indoor use.”  Remember to remove your hurricane shutters immediately following a storm because these shutters make emergency exit from home difficult, if not impossible.

Heat up water in your garden hose.  It sounds silly, but when it is so hot both outside and inside your house, the shower water (if you are lucky enough to have water) feels really cold and can be almost shocking. Coiling a water filled garden hose in the sun will give you enough water for a sponge bath that will still cool you off, but not give you the shivers.

Don’t expect to use the phone.  After both Francis and Wilma landlines did not work and cell towers were damaged so calling out was difficult at best.  What seemed to work best was to use text.  It sometimes took awhile, but texts seemed to get through eventually.

Fill it up.  Charge your phones, your laptops, Leap-Pads and Game Boy type devices, and well, anything you can before the storm. Make sure your cars are full of gas too.  After Francis and Jeanne gas was difficult to get, not because there wasn’t any, but because there was no power at the gas stations for the pumps to work.  We planned on recharging our phones with our cigarette lighter in the car, but as it turns out, our cigarette lighter port only works if the car is running (which uses up precious gas). Many gas stations have since put in generators, so hopefully that situation will be different in the future.

Fort Lauderdale-Hurricane Katrina - Lisa Magnes Burton
Fort Lauderdale – Hurricane Katrina – Lisa Magnes Burton

There may be a curfew.  After all the storms we had, driving was difficult and dangerous.  There were trees, poles and wires down everywhere.  Make sure that you do not drive over live wires, standing water (unless you are certain you know how deep it is) and be courteous to other drivers.  When lights at intersections don’t work they must be treated as 4 way stops.  All those lessons we had as preschoolers about taking turns really come into play in this situation.  Everyone is usually asked to stay off the streets after dark until the streets are completely cleared and power and lights are restored.

Backyard camping.  If you have a tent or a screen room, plan on sleeping outside in it.  With no fans or AC indoors, this is often the best way to get a good night’s sleep.  I talked to a few people who admitted to going and sleeping on the beach.  Not sure if I would recommend spending the whole night there, but the good news is when the lights are out all over the town, the stars are amazing!

Other things I like to have on hand:

    • A battery operated TV during the storm
    • Battery operated fans
    • Solar phone charger
  •  A couple of new games or toys to be strategically given to the kids during and after the storm.

For more information be sure to print out  your local Hurricane Guide and keep it with your supplies.

Printable Hurricane Guide: Broward County, Palm Beach County, Miami-Dade, Monroe County

The Be Red Cross Ready Power Outage Checklist is another great resource.


The Week Ahead for South Florida 10/15/14

Seriously Ugly Home Grown Carrots

Garden Plot

We have had a busy week, and it will only get busier over the next few weekends as we try to hit every possible Halloween and Pumpkin Patch/Fall Festival that we can find!

carrot from the garden
You should have seen the sheer amazement on her face when she pulled this out of the ground!


It is time for families in the south to put in a garden!  While our friends up north are hunkering down for winter, we are now looking forward to the season when our plants won’t drown or burn!  Have you ever wanted to plant a garden, but found the volume of information overwhelming?  No worries, I have you covered.

Follow my 5 Tips for Planting a Garden with Kids and see what happens!  The key is to treat it like an experiment and don’t over think it.  You can still plant things even if you live in a condo!  So come on, get dirty with us! No excuses here my friends!

How you can help keep this site running.  I will admit it, I need your help!  I know it’s a blatant plea for money, but you can help!

If you have found this site helpful and want to keep me writing please use the Donate Button on the right side of this page.  This helps us pay for our domain, ip address and hosting.  Some sites require membership fees in order to pay for their site.  We really want this information to be free and available to all.

If you go to our Events Calendar and click on the advanced setting you can search by category.  Choose Holiday to see all the fall festival and holiday activities that are coming up starting in October.

The Let me know if you have any Holiday events that need to go on the list!

Click Here for the full list!  It is extremely long!

Here is your short list:

Thanks for your support!



The Week Ahead for South Florida 1/15/14

Fern Forest

Good Morning!
Spanish River Sports Complex in Boca RatonI hope everyone has their puffy coats out this fine brisk day!  Just kidding, although not really!

The good news is, with the change in weather, it is time to take the family out for a hike!  Take advantage of the mosquito free days to enjoy the amazing hiking trails and parks we have down here.  Check out 5 Tips for Hiking with Kids and hit the trails.  You can bet that is what we will be doing this weekend!

There are some really neat things coming up in the next week.  One of my favorites is Music for Munchkins.  If you have not gone yet check it out this review of it.  It is an amazing opportunity for Fern Forest Board Walkkids to get up close, and wiggle around during the concert!

Thanks to our sponsors, please be sure to check them out! It would be a lovely weekend to Flamingo Gardens, and who doesn’t need an extra beautiful warm scarf from Stella & Dot?

Click Here for the complete list of upcoming events!

Thanks to our sponsors, please be sure to check them out!