"Nature Discovery Christian School is proud to be the kind of school that students don’t want to come home from! Because of the way we approach education, our students LOVE learning and naturally thrive in their academics without it feeling like a chore."
“One of our favorite things about the school is how the kids have so many opportunities to learn through play and outdoor activities opposed to our children only sitting behind a desk all day long. The school grounds are beautiful and peaceful, and the staff is fantastic!” – Murphy Gumaer
There's a new game in town!
One of our favorite bloggers, Megan of Sweet Pea Littles & her kiddos played Puppy Trek, a game created & produced in Eugene, & she's sharing her thoughts with us today!
We were recently offered a copy of the fresh-off-the-press, designed and produced in Eugene board game called Puppy Trek. As we are a big board game-ing family, we were thrilled to check it out!
My kiddos are 8, nearly 5, and 2.5, so this game, which is marketed for ages 5 and up, seemed perfect for our crowd. The littlest obviously needed some help - really he was just on my team - but he still could be involved and feel like he was positively participating.
At least, that’s how I think he felt. It’s hard to tell, with a toddler. Ha!
Anywho. The game comes with a board, some puppies to move around the board, some resource cards, a few dice, and some bonus puppy cards (my kids were thrilled about these). The object of the game is to move your puppy along the board and be the first to reach home. Along the way, you can use your resource cards to move bonus spaces ahead, or to send other players backwards. The path has several animal habitats you can visit, and deciding which ones to visit/if you’ll visit them works kiddos’ strategy building skills. The resource cards give tasks such as doing jumping jacks, imitating an animal, or spelling a word. It’s not necessary for kiddos to read independently because the cards don’t have to be kept secret.
I think the best part of this game is how pretty it is, and also how it also sneaks little bits of learning about nature. My kids think it’s fun, and it’s simple enough that we don’t have to refer back to the directions every time we play. Also, the game includes some bonus puppy cards, which don’t relate to the game at all, but that my children love. They’re basically like dog trading cards - they list facts about different breeds of dogs.
On the other hand, it doesn’t really have a clear objective, other than being the first to make it home. It’s a pretty straight forward “move from start to finish” sort of game. It’s also not cooperative at all - which is totally fine and great! But be aware of the competitive aspect if you’ve got kiddos who need practice with that sort of thing. ;)
The game doesn’t teach much of substance - not nearly enough to qualify it as educational at all. But it does seem like it teaches the values of adventure and friendship, and those are obviously valuable qualities.
Board games are so great for both family time as well as one on one play time. This game is great for groups as well as just a pair. Teaching kiddos a new game can be a bit of a chore, but the patience, sportsmanship, and other skills that kiddos work on through games are truly so important.
I would recommend this game to any animal loving kid and their family!
Megan Defferding runs Sweet Pea Littles, an awesome kids consignment clothing site & she is the mom to three super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County!
Puppy Trek is available to order on the Puppy Trek website & at The Elephant's Trunk at 5th Street Market or Valley River Center.
New leadership, fun classes & a major giveaway!
Let's meet The Dance Factory's new director, Chrissa Dockendorf!
What is The Dance Factory?
Dance Factory is local dance studio that has been in Eugene for 15 years. This year we are seeing big changes as the current director, Roshny Martuscelli is stepping down and our new director, Chrissa Dockendorf ( that's me!) is taking over.
What are some of the changes parents can expect to see?
Well first thing is, we're moving locations! We'll be located at 1840 Willamette St Suite 208. We are also changing the structure of our classes; a new location means more flexibility in our schedule. We'll have classes for ages 2-19 in ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop, contemporary, lyrical and tumbling. We will also be adjusting our competition dance company to offer more levels including a Mini Company for ages 5 & 6!
What can parents expect their kids to learn at your camps?
We have 2 kiddo camps, one for ages 4-6 and one for 6-8. Those camps will run from 9am-1pm and include ballet, jazz & hip hop classes as well as fun arts and crafts. It's a great way for your kiddos to try different genres of dance!
For the older kiddos we have 2 dance intensives, ages 7-12 and 13-19. The intensives runs from 9-4 for the younger set and 9-6 for the older kiddos. Each day will include ballet, jazz, hip hop, contemporary and a daily elective which could be Tahitian Dance, Yoga, How to Audition, Body Positivity, Improv- so many options! The older kiddos will also get daily technique classes. The intensives are great for dancers and non-dancers looking to stay active while also learning new things
We also have 2 special 1 day camps coming up, a Gender Creative Day of Dance for kiddos who are trans, non-binary, lgbtq+, etc. & a Wicked workshop. With Wicked coming to town this summer some of their cast members are going to come teach a workshop. It's very exciting!
How are your camps different than other camps & classes in the area?
There are 3 things that I am very passionate about when it comes to dance:
-dance is for everyone regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, race, identity, ability or body type
-dance injury prevention should start as early as 2 years old & be built into everything we teach
-strong technique is important for all dancers, recreational or competitive
We build these tenets into everything we do and every class we teach. Each student is special in their own way and we want to celebrate that and show them how to celebrate it in themselves as well.
Tell us about what each day looks like.
For the camps, kiddos will come in get settled and start with a pre-ballet/ballet class then move into jazz dance, snacktime, arts and crafts, then end the day with hip hop and lunch. Making Friends and getting messy while enjoying movement- it's going to be so much fun!
The intensives will be jam packed with dance! Ballet, Jazz, Contemporary, Hip Hop, Elective then depending on age, technique class. They will have a break for lunch. At the end of each intensive week the kiddos will put on a small showcase and then have a community potluck with our students, teachers and their parents or guardians.
Sometimes the cost of camps can be restrictive for families, do you have anything to help?
We do offer a sibling discount, we also offer 50% off for kiddos in the BEST Program at their schools, unhoused and foster kiddos can take classes for free and we have a lending closet with clothes and shoes for kiddos in need.
Older kiddos can also help out with younger kiddo camps or intensives to earn tuition credit. But like I said before, I truly believe dance is for everyone so if cost is prohibitive reach out, let's see what we can do.
What are some things that kids learn from dancing that transfer to their outside world?
Oh so many things! Team work, agility and flexibility- not just their bodies but their minds. Understanding how to listen to their bodies, confidence in themselves, self-expression- this list is endless!
What are you most excited about teaching the campers?
ALL THE THINGS! I am so excited about being the new Director and running these camps for the first time. I'm excited for them to learn about inclusivity & team work, finding their confidence and loving themselves and understanding that they are special just the way they are.
The Dance Factory is giving away one free week of camp or dance intensive!!
Have a kiddo ages 4-8?
Win a FREE week of dance camp!
Includes a day filled with dance: ballet, jazz, hip hop and a craft.
Have a kiddo ages 7-19?
Win a FREE week of dance intensives!
Includes ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip hop, technique and a daily elective.
Lots of ways to enter:
Comment here with the camp you would love to win! Check out the list here.
Comment on our Facebook post
Comment on our Instagram post
Like all the posts!
Tag friends (one tag per post, one entry for every tag)
We will draw the winner on Thursday June 6 at 9pm.
Name of the place you visited
Splatter Box at Albany Art Studio
How did you hear about it?
I saw a photo on Facebook & really needed to know more :)
What exactly is it?
You go to this big awesome industrial building, buy cups of paint & splatter it all over the place. You can do a 'paint battle' with teams or just splatter & paint each other for as long as the paint lasts.
What made you want to check it out?
A big place where you're free to get as messy as you want & the mess is PAINT? I was all in!
Best things about it
Just complete fun! Kids with freedom to get messy, be crazy & play together.
Not so great things about it
The pricing was a little confusing on the site. Once we got there it was easy to understand. (more on this in the pricing section below)
We all loved it, but if you or a kiddo really has a hard time with getting messy. It might not be a good match. There is pretty much no way to leave without at least a little bit of paint on you.
I'd totally tell anyone! to go here.
So worth the drive from Lane County.
Here's what I really think:
This is one of the funnest things we've done as a group (cousins, grandparents & parent). We decided to do a paint battle, boys against girls. Each team had a color & we counted down & went at it. Seriously so amazingly fun. There's almost no way for someone to get hurt. They have a very strict no running rule & everyone must wear eye protection (provided). They also offer a Poncho, head cap, shoe covers for $5. My teenage daughter wore a shower cap (hey, she spends a lot of time getting her hair just right) & she was the only one who didn't have paint in her hair at the end. You just can't beat having the chance to go at your loved one with a brush full of neon paint!
You can buy canvases on site to splatter & make really fun art. That is the way someone who didn't want to get super messy themselves could experience it.
Specifics about bathrooms below. The paint is egg based & washable & has come off of every surface & body part. I even got some on the side of my car as I was leaning on it & it wiped right off. Most of us didn't cover our shoes & most of us are going to leave them splattery because it is so fun. Also, the owner told us that if you want to keep the splatter look on your clothes, you just wash them in white vinegar & it will stay. Super fun souvenir!
There is no time limit. The website says "We measure fun in happiness, not time." As long as you have paint, you can stay & play! Booking reservations is required. We booked ours the day we went. I'm not sure if that's the norm. We were there for about an hour total. Our Splatter Battle lasted about 30 minutes. Prep, choosing brushes & planning what we wanted to do was 15 minutes before, clean up was about 15 minutes after.
It is in a quieter part of downtown Albany with street parking.
Bathrooms: Yes! Also a washing room, where you can wipe & wash paint off of you. They have a huge roll of industrial grade paper towels to help. It is not intended for complete body cleaning, so you will go home with paint on you. One of the kids brought a change of clothes & put his painted clothes in a plastic bag, which was super smart! They also provide plastic to put on the seats of your car to get you home. We were able to get paint off of every body part with basic showers once we got home.
Yes! The Splatter room is upstairs & the whole first floor is a spacious party room. You do your snacks & presents at the start (so you don't have to eat with painty fingers. So smart!) & then all go up to Splatter away! the first floor has one whole wall covered in some sort of clear plexiglass for kids to draw all over as they are waiting for things to start. The building is 125 years old (the oldest industrial building in Albany!) & really cool!
Cost: Entry fee is $1 per person, paid when you book your time. When you get there you choose the size & quantity of paint you want to buy. Cups are small $2, medium $6, large $12. You can buy them individually or there are also packages with multiple containers. We had 8 people & bought the $49 package. It included 9 medium cups of paint. That package plus our entry fees came to $57 or $7.13 per person.
Any & all! We had ages 6 - 68 & everyone had a total blast.
Indoor or Outdoor?
They also have Adult Only times where you can bring your own drinks & splatter away! Lots of different party options & the day we went the owner said that the night before they had a Moms Night Out group there. Such a fun idea!
Splatter Box at Albany Art Studio
131 NE Montgomery St
Albany, OR 97321
"What would you do at 3am with no problem at all?"
This is what Jalynn Steele's dad asked when she was trying to decide the career path to pursue & lucky for us that path will lead her to The Hult Center on June 30 in The Lightning Thief. I got to talk to Jalynn & if her enthusiasm over the phone is any indication, this is something we all need our kids to see: someone doing what they love & putting everything into it.
Did you perform when you were young? How did that start?
Yes, the first time I sang was in church. I was 6 and I sang the song from the movie with the little mouse? An American Tale! Somewhere Out There, yes! I sang at church, my mom was a music teacher and I was in Little Shop of Horrors in high school.
Did you do theater in college?
Yes, I majored in musical theater. I performed on cruise ships and I auditioned for Fosse while I was in college. I got that role and toured. After the tour I went back to school.
Were you a fan of Percy Jackson before you got this role?
I knew nothing about the books, actually so I looked them up and found out all about the fandom. After callbacks and getting the role, I read all five books.
This is a question about playing Percy's mom from my nephews who are reading the books now:
How does it feel to be the only character who doesn't have powers?
Well, I actually play 7 different people in the production so I do have powers personally, but that's true, Sally doesn't. But you know, she has a great hold on and love for her son. Keeping him grounded and comforting him is a huge power that she has. And Sally does get to fight a minotaur!
So you play 7 different characters? That is amazing. How does it work?
Yes! There are 7 people in the show and we all play multiple characters. There are a lot of costume changes, one of the actors, Sarah Beth has 19 costume changes in the show. It's exciting! We get to know the different dressers in each city, they do a lot of work to help us go from role to role. It's fast paced and really fun.
What is your favorite scene in the production?
There is one where we play a giant game of Capture the Flag that I love. And I also sing a song called "DOA" that I really enjoy.
Is the production scary at all?
You know, I was worried about that before we started but we had a show in Detroit and in the front row was a little girl who was 4 or 5. I was concerned that it might be too much for her and that she might be scared but she sat and was enthralled the whole time. She may have napped a bit during act two, but most of the show she sat and watched. It was really great feedback to see her reactions.
I saw that you were on an episode of Sesame Street!
Yes! Oh, that was fun. it was a real New York moment. I worked for Lush selling bath and body products and we a party where I wore these fun pigtails. At the party a lady came up to me and said, "You should do Sesame Street!" She worked there and I did one episode with Telly and the Triangle Lovers Club. It was such a fun out-of-nowhere experience. I have tried to find that episode in the past but never have. I need to try again!
Jalynn was so fun to talk to! She mentioned that she plays 7 different roles including Selena, K-Ron, I love the idea of just a few people in the production doing multiple roles & can't wait to see if I can spot them.
Thanks so much for chatting, Jalynn! I can't wait to see you fight the minotaur!
We are giving away TWO sets of 2 tickets to see The Lightning Thief at the Hult Center Tuesday April 30 at 7:30!
Comment here with the power that you wish you had as a parent or the power that you wish your kids had.
You can also tag a friend on our Facebook and Instagram pages for more entries!
The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical
Silva Concert Hall, The Hult Center
Tuesday, April 30, 2019
I grew up going to church & my closest friends from those days are still my closest friends now. I went to public school & had friends but my church friends were always the strongest bonds. Something about faith holds us together & helps us give each other support. You see it on sports teams & people who share the same hobby: believing together ties you together. Also, could be the fact that we went to church at least three times a week so we all saw each other a lot, which also helps the bonds grow.
My husband & I don't go to church now (we still love Jesus, we just aren't sure how we feel about church) but our daughter does. She has a group of friends who go to Sunday service together, they do sleepovers, go to camp, help with the little kids. Watching those bonds strengthen & grow brings back so many great memories & makes me excited to see what their friendship will look like when they are older.
The faith of friendship is laughing until you cry & crying until you laugh, & knowing you can count on each other.
There is a TV series running right now about Jesus & the friendships he had. Each episode is about a different person who was close to him in life. Doesn't it make you want to do your own series about your own life? Each person shares a different perspective about you? & you get to do it for them, too? So great! Back to this Jesus series, here is the synopsis & a video:
“Jesus: His Life” explores the story of Jesus Christ through a unique lens: the people in his life who were closest to him. Each of the eight chapters is told from the perspective of different biblical figures, all of whom played a pivotal role in Jesus’ life including Joseph, John the Baptist, Mary Mother of Jesus, Caiaphas, Judas Iscariot, Pontius Pilate, Mary Magdalene and Peter.
Each figure takes a turn guiding viewers through the emotional and epic story of the most famous man in history, through his birth, death and resurrection, all conveyed through a combination of scripted drama and interviews with prominent religious and historical experts. Utilizing some of the world’s most respected Biblical scholars, historians, faith leaders and theologians, the series weaves together the canonical Gospels, historical sources and cultural context to create a complete portrait of Jesus – the man and the Messiah. The series finale airs this Monday, April 15 on The History Channel at 8pm ET/PT.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Boys and Girls, Children of all ages!
Welcome to the fantastic, the spectacular, the incredible Moms of the Circus!
Step right up!
Prepare to choose!
Prepare to relate!
Prepare to be amazed!
You've got it all under control, the schedule, the crowd. This IS your circus & these ARE your monkeys. You bring it all together & make it fabulous, even when things go off course (stubborn elephant? cranky zebra?). Because there's one thing you know for sure: The show must go on.
Your toddler is melting down & you distract them with a silly face, your tween in on the edge & you make a fart joke. You've got the sense of humor that knows how to defuse a situation & all of the other moms are super jealous. Plus they always want to sit by you at PTO meetings because your snark has more muscles than the strong man. That's you: Seriously funny.
You fly through the air with the greatest of ease (great style, cute house, polite kids), at least that's how it looks to everyone around you. They don't see the hard work & dedication that goes on behind the scenes. & the arm days. Dear lord, the arm days. But the effort is worth it for how amazing it feels to step off the ledge, let go & soar through the day knowing that you are prepared.
Animal Trainer Mom
The connection you have with your kids is undeniable. You are committed to knowing them & communicating with them, right where they are. You've got treats when things go well. & when things don't go exactly as planned you break away from that circus model & handle it with patience & understanding. Or you just roar like a lion & everyone gives you a little space. Bottom line: You know your animals & you don't mind cleaning up the poop.
The truth is you might lean more heavily toward one of these Circus Mom descriptions but we all have a little bit of each one making up our own personal circus. On with the show!
One of the very sweetest depictions of a mom in the circus is, of course, Dumbo's mom.
Is it even possible to have dry eyes after hearing Baby, Mine?
The new Dumbo comes out this weekend & we are super excited to tell you about it & show you the beautiful trailer.
From Disney and visionary director Tim Burton, “Dumbo” expands on the beloved classic story where differences are celebrated, family is cherished and dreams take flight. Circus owner Max Medici (Danny DeVito) enlists former star Holt Farrier (Colin Farrell) and his children Milly (Nico Parker) and Joe (Finley Hobbins) to care for a newborn elephant whose oversized ears make him a laughingstock in an already struggling circus. But when they discover that Dumbo can fly, the circus makes an incredible comeback, attracting persuasive entrepreneur V.A. Vandevere (Michael Keaton), who recruits the peculiar pachyderm for his newest, larger-than-life entertainment venture, Dreamland. Dumbo soars to new heights alongside a charming and spectacular aerial artist, Colette Marchant (Eva Green), until Holt learns that beneath its shiny veneer, Dreamland is full of dark secrets. “Dumbo” soars into theaters on March 29.
Winter weather has already started settling in. Each winter, cold weather presents issues
for even the healthiest eyes. Take a look at the 3 most common winter eye health issues and how to prevent them.
Common Winter Eye Health Issue #1:
Damaging UV Rays
During the summer, most people understand the importance of protecting their skin and eyes from the sun's damaging
rays, but too often these risks are overlooked during the winter months. UV light can increase the risk of skin cancer,
cataracts, macular degeneration, and even snow blindness. Winter weather conditions are important to consider when
choosing proper eye protection for skiing or participating in other winter sports. Protect your eyes against dangerous UV
rays coming from the sun and the snow by wearing sunglasses or protective sport goggles during the winter weather.
Common Winter Eye Health Issue #2:
Dry eyes are the most common issue experienced during the colder winter months. Indoor heating, along with winter
weather conditions, cause the humidity levels to drop. The lack of humidity in the air is what causes dry, itchy and burning
eyes. Most of the time, moisturizing drops will relieve dry eye irritation, but your optometrist may provide over-the-counter
moisture drops from mind cases and write a prescription for more severe cases of dry eye.
Common Winter Eye Health Issue #3:
Figuring out your benefits
Winter also means that your benefits will be expiring soon, and you’ll have new benefits in the coming year. There are two
types of health benefits packages – insurance benefits from your employer, and a flexible spending account (FSA). It’s
important to note that, for most employer’s benefit packages, both expire at the end of the year. The good news is that
both plans cover the cost of an annual comprehensive eye exam and either contact lenses, glasses or prescription
Before winter weather is in full force, evaluate your vision benefits and think about protecting your eyes, especially if
you're an outdoor enthusiast and plan to be active this winter.
Get a Free Vision Screening and Receive Passes to a Private Screening of Robin Hood at Regal Valley River Cinema!
Join Visionworks at its new retail location to celebrate the grand reopening of its Eugene store.
All week long, Visionworks will offer a “Screening-for-a-Screening” where customers who visit the new location and receive a free vision screening will also receive a pass to enjoy a private, early screening of Robin Hood, December 1st at Regal Valley River Cinema while supplies last.*
Through Saturday, December 1st Visionworks will be awarding free passes to customers who get a free vision screening in-store
Saturday, December 1st, Visionworks will host those customers for an exclusive screening of Robin Hood at the Regal Cinema in Valley River Center from 2:00pm - 4:00pm.
Valley River Center
265 Valley River Center,
Eugene Call to make your appointment: (541) 345-6988
Sure there have been Christmas decorations up in some stores since September and lots of people apparently listen to Christmas carols in July but everybody knows that the day after Thanksgiving is when the Christmas season really starts. We have the most fun way for you to kick off the season: The Village Green Christmas Market!
Picture this: A lovely drive down I-5 (just a 20 minute drive from Eugene), kids are snuggled up in the back, excitement in the air. As you round the corner to buy tickets, your whole group stops to stare. The biggest Christmas tree this side of Rockefeller Center is right there to greet you! Presents taller than most grown men! A giant rocking horse!
& that is only the beginning!
My high school son and I got to go for the preview and I am not exaggerating when I tell you that he was completely taken over by how cool the lights are. It is almost indescribable.
The designers have done such an amazing job displaying half a million lights. Seriously, 500,000 lights!
The lights are amazing but they have also created the sweetest little German Holiday Village. There are little booths where you can make things and buy cute stuff. Plenty of warm snacks like cinnamon rolls & pretzels. They also have hot drinks. Hot chocolate & coffee, & special adult shots to add some merriment to your coffee. I had a lovely hot chocolate with peppermint Schnapps & it was a delight. Plus live music &, of course, Santa!
They also have the cutest little three sided canvas tents with hay bales to sit on & a rustic stump to put your drinks and food. They have blankets for you to snuggle up with & they are all near some kind of a bonfire. So cozy!
The atmosphere is just electric & fun!
I cannot say enough good things about it.
I'm so grateful that The Village Green has created this wonderful experience for Lane County.
We needed something like this!
I did get to go to the preview but I’m planning on taking my whole family again plus my parents & any younger kiddos I can round up. There is truly no age limit for enjoying this!
I know I am gushing but I can't help it.
I loved it!
Hooray for Lane County, a new Christmas tradition has been born!
One extra cool thing is that the Christmas Market is dog friendly, so bring your furry friend if you think they would enjoy it!
The Village Green Christmas Market
Nov 23 – Dec 23 2018
Open Most Dates
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Admission $5 in advance, $7 at the door
Parking: Plenty of free parking
Food: Snacks & Drinks
Resting Spots: Lots of tables, benches & hay bales to take a break
Push/Wear: Both! The entire Village is paved for easy strollering
Time Frame: At least an hour