Get fired up about foster care with dinner and a documentary

The new documentary from Missoula producer Matt Anderson and Missoula filmmaker Paige Williams is a must-see. It’s called “From Place to Place.” I watched it last night and was incredibly moved by the stories of these young adults making their way in Missoula after aging out the foster care system.

Then I read Joe Nickell’s story about the documentary in this morning’s Entertainer and was moved again by the story of how this film came to be.

One of the things I really like about the documentary is that it ends with different people in the film directly telling us what we can do to help repair a badly broken situation: We can watch out for the kids in our neighborhood; we can check in on all our extended family members to make sure everyone’s accounted for; and, of course, we can become foster parents.

Whatever you do, you should watch this documentary. It is screening for the first time in Montana this upcoming Thursday, June 2, at 7 p.m. at the Wilma Theater. The doors will open at 6 p.m., and if you buy a ticket in advance (available through the website,, it’s only $5.

Here’s something else: For the past few years I have had the privilege of getting to know the fine folks at the Dan Fox Foster Care and Adoption Program, a part of Youth Homes Inc. I’ve seen first-hand just how much they care about these kids – and how hard they work to find them safe, loving, long-term families. I highly recommend that anyone interested in foster care or adoption check out their website or give them a call (721-2704 in Missoula).

And if you want to support Youth Homes, one fun way to do so is coming up on June 6. On that day, from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., if you buy a burger (or veggie burger) at Scotty’s Table, the proceeds will be donated to Youth Homes.

The burgers at Scotty’s are all locally produced, and for $15 you get a burger, fries and a local beer. The restaurant is located in the bottom unit of the Wilma Theater, at 131 S. Higgins Ave.

For more information about the burger benefit call 541-1642.

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Many moms to spend Mother’s Day reading at a restaurant?

With Mother’s Day fast approaching, there’s a ton of Mother’s Day trend stories out there. I came across one that says Mother’s Day is THE most popular day of the year to dine out – even ahead of Valentine’s Day.

And I came across another that predicts more people will be buying their moms a Mother’s Day gadget such as a smartphone or e-reader.

What do you get when you put these two trends together? I suspect more moms will be fiddling with their techno gadgets under the dinner table this Sunday.

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Debate over McDonald’s Happy Meal toys hits home

I promise not to turn this blog into my own personal confessional. Just bear with me while I post my second confession of the day.

Here it is: I sometimes take my daughter to McDonald’s and buy her a happy meal. I don’t even get the optional apple slices and milk; she gets chicken nuggets, french fries and a soda every time. And, of course, one of those toys that comes included with every meal. Since it usually relates to whatever children’s movie is currently playing in theaters, she usually has no idea what it’s about. But it’s a toy, so she wants it.

And me? I want her to burn off some energy on a crummy day, weather-wise. Thanks to McDonald’s Play Places and R Gyms, she gets to climb around and shriek at other children for an hour or so on days when it’s not possible to play outside without drowning or losing a finger to frostbite.

Read the rest of this entry »

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A teddy bear picnic at the pizza garden

A teddy bear picnic at a pizza garden? This isn’t some childhood fantasy – it’s real life.

Or at least, it will be at noon, when the Children’s Museum will host a group of kiddos (and their favorite teddy bears) at the Western Montana Fairgrounds’ pizza garden (located near the hockey rink). The pizza garden is a pizza-shaped garden filled with living plants that grow good toppings for pizza – plants like garlic, tomatoes and herbs.

It’s a gardening opportunity and a picnic opportunity. If you don’t have any lunch plans, pack up a sack lunch and the kids.

And if you happen to drive by the festivities – don’t worry, you’re not hallucinating.

– MM

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I’ll wear my pajamas wherever I want, thank you

Last night my family got dressed up, went out to a “fancy” dinner and then attended the musical “Annie,” all part of a Christmas present from my mom.

The play didn’t wrap up until after 10, so I’m dragging a little today. It’s one of those days when I wish I could wear pajamas to work.

And speaking of pajamas, you’re not going to believe this news article from the United Kingdom’s Daily Mail.

It reports that a school has taken the unprecedented step of “banning” mothers from wearing their sleepwear to drop their kids off at school. Apparently, up to 50 moms a day were coming in wearing slippers and bathrobes.

So what? It’s not like they are in nothing but negligees. So long as they’re not committing indecent exposure, give those tired moms a break.

For the record, I actually did come to work in my pajamas once. It was Halloween, and my costume was “Exhausted Mom.” I teased my hair all crazy and rubbed blue eyeshadow under my eyes. Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone noticed I was wearing a costume.

– MM

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The most family friendly restaurant in Missoula? Vote here.

My colleagues at the Missoulian recently introduced me to Speak Up Missoula! , which city government reporter Keila Szpaller over at Missoula Red Tape described as an “online coffee klatch for Missoula.” I like that.

The coffee klatch forum provides a way for reader to weigh in on an infinite variety of topics. It’s a particularly good way for those who have an opinion (and isn’t that everyone?), but who may feel a little shy about sharing it in public, to make their voices heard.

So give it a try. To start us off, I posted a question my family frequently confronts. We like to dine out every once in a while, but within the last couple of years some of our favorite family restaurants have shut down, and we have grown a little sick of our usual haunts. Charlie and I now find ourselves taking our little girl to bars, casinos and other places that don’t have crayons or kids menus.

So where’s your favorite place to dine out with the kids?

– Tyler Christensen

Click to vote or add a new answer!

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