Ice Cream for Breakfast. Why not?

Here’s a short list of desserts I’ve served my kids for breakfast:

Cake. Pie. Milkshakes.

What’s the difference between those and a donut? Nothing that I can see. Just this morning in the Missoulian newsroom we were talking about wanting chocolate for breakfast. Not even on anything. Just … chocolate.

One thing I’ve never served for the morning meal is straight-up ice cream. I guess you could count the milkshake, but that had a banana in it, just so you know.

There’s an opportunity to cross ice cream off the list of non-breakfast foods coming up on Sunday, Feb. 2. That’s the day the Children’s Museum Missoula and Families First is hosting its fourth annual Ice Cream for Breakfast event, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Billed as a “community-wide family fun event for a celebration of all things Ice Cream,” those who turn out will get to enjoy not only an ice cream buffet stocked with sundae toppings, but pancakes and bacon besides.

The thoughtful folks at Families First understand that all that sugar intake has to be burned off somehow, so they’re bringing in Mismo to offer some gymnastics and the Whizpops to offer some live music to dance to.

Or, practice keeping quiet and still while watching a family friendly movie in the little theater.

Thanks to the generosity of a host of sponsors, the even is free and open to all families.

Those sponsors are: The Wilma Theatre, Rocky Mountain Development Group, ZillaState, Mismo Gymnastics, The Whizpops, Black Coffee Roasting Company, Scotty’s Table, and Big Dipper Ice Cream.

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Tickets go on sale today for Families First fundraiser

Starting today, families can buy tickets to an ultra-family-friendly summer concert coming up on August 20.

The concert will feature Aaron Nigel Smith – of PBS’s “Between the Lions” – and Missoula’s own special guests Tangled Tones and Friends.

If that’s not family-friendly enough for you, consider that the concert doubles as Families First‘s annual fundraiser. The Saturday event at the University Theater will kick off at 3:30 p.m. – but please note that the doors will open an hour earlier, at 2:30 p.m.

The slate of available activities includes beading, face painting, tie dying and more. Tangled Tones will warm up the stage at 4:45, and Aaron Nigel Smith will take over at 5:30, with the whole thing scheduled to wrap up at 6:30 p.m.

Tickets are free for kids under the age of 1. For kids 1-12 years old, tickets are $12 each, and anyone older than 12 will pay $15 for a ticket. Buy tickets at the official ticket outlet – the new MSO Hub Box Office located downtown at 140 N. Higgins Ave. Or, buy them at the Families First Children’s Museum – also located downtown – or by phone by calling 543-3300.

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Families First serving up burgers and arts classes

Things are always hopping over at Families First, which coordinates a full schedule of parenting programs while running the Children’s Museum in downtown Missoula. But the nonprofit is busier than ever as it plans to hold a community fundraiser while also opening a series of art classes for children in mid-March.

First, the community event: It’s a burger bonanza at Scotty’s Table (that’s the restaurant located on the bottom floor of the Wilma Building), with veggie alternatives available of course, plus french fries or salad and a local brew – all for $15.

Families First staff and board members will be talking about the organization, current programs and upcoming events while you eat. And since that sort of thing rarely holds the interest of kiddos, and since this is a family-friendly event, children’s activities will also be available.

Need more incentive? The 75th burger sold will win a prize, and the 150th burger sold will come with an iPod Shuffle.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Mark your calendar for January slate of free parenting classes

Families First continues its free series of parenting classes into the month of January with the following offerings.

Remember: These free classes are free. Freely free. And conveniently located in local schools and at Currents.

So if your New Year’s resolutions included a note to brush up on your parenting skills or finally figure out why your kid keeps doing that thing she does, here’s your opportunity.

Call (406) 721-7690 to register.

– MM

Girls & Cliques
Thursday, January 6th @ 6:30pm-8pm
Presented at MCPS Paxson
Join Families First Parent Educator Shannan Sproull to learn and talk about the cliques that are an inevitable part of your daughter’s life, whether as an “insider” or an “outsider”. Learn how to talk with girls to help them recognize their own roles within groups that most impact their lives while also affirming their self-esteem.

Big Brains, Bad Grades: Understanding Underachievment
Thursday, January 20th @ 6:30pm-8pm
Presented at MCPS Chief Charlo
In spite of accelerated learning abilities, some students have difficulty meeting their potential in the classroom. They are often bored with the school curriculum, find they are unable to take advantage of other educational resources, try the patience of parents and teachers, and in worst cases, drop out altogether. Learn the underlying causes, patterns, and strategies for assisting underachievers, and how to work with , rather than against, schools to maximize your child’s capabilities.

Pizza for Parents: What is Self-Esteem?
Friday, January 21st @ 11:30am-12:45pm
Presented at MCPS Lewis & Clark
Join parents and educators during the lunch hour for FREE pizza and helpful discussion. Many parents are aware that children who have healthy self-esteem, who feel accepted and appreciated, tend to approach life with optimism and confidence. This workshop will answer the questions; What is self-esteem? How do children “get” it and how do parents “give” it? Parents will leave with strategies to initiate with their children that foster self-esteem and responsibility.

Currents: What is Self Esteem?
Wednesday, January 26th @ 6:00-7:30 pm
Presented at Currents
Nurturing strong self-esteem is a cornerstone of healthy child development. Join us as we discuss ways parents can encourage and develop a child’s inner strength and resilience to weather the challenges they will face.

*Currents Families First Classes Special: Purchase one youth or student swim, and get one free. Splash in the children’s water playground or ride the ferociously fast water slides! Kids ages 7 and under must be accompanied by an adult.

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Missoula has good stuff for kids and community: A free swim, a phone call from Santa and more!

It’s a busy time of year, isn’t it, fellow parents? There are all these special school activities, holiday events and community campaigns. It’s fun, it’s meaningful – and after a while, it’s rather exhausting.

A fun way to take a break with the whole family is to pack up the swimming suits and towels and head on down to Currents. And lucky you, tomorrow – Friday, Dec. 10 – Currents is offering a free swim for all ages in honor of the fact that Missoula has once again been designated a Playful City USA. The free swim is open from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

AND, if you bring in a donation of a non-perishable food item for the Missoula Food Bank, you can enter a drawing to win a 10-swim punch card.

(Special note: The e-mail I got from Missoula Parks and Rec about the free swim had this statement in bold – “Kids ages 7 and under must be accompanied in the water by an adult.” I haven’t yet figured out how to add emphasis to statements on this blog, which I why I still use the dreaded ALL CAPS when I would prefer to use italics or boldface type. So just consider that statement bolded, ‘K?)

Know what else Missoula Parks and Rec does that is tons of fun? It runs this program called “Santa’s Calling.” You can sign up to have your child receive a phone call from “Santa” on Wednesday, Dec. 15 between the hours of 5 p.m.-8 p.m.

Click here to download a form. You can also pick one up at Currents, which is also where the form should be turned in – by Dec. 13 at the latest.

Santa’s Calling is completely free, but donations are appreciated. The money goes to fund youth recreation scholarships – yet another very worthy cause.

Next up: If you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, Missoula Parks and Rec says it has the perfect item. It’s the new Parks, Trails and Open Space map! You can download the very large electronic version of the map by clicking here. However, I recommend paying the $4 to get the full-color, high-quality 24×36-inch map in a form you can actually roll up and stuff into a stocking.

Here’s how Missoula Parks and Rec describes it: “The map details all of Missoula’s parks, streets and bicycle/pedestrian routes, PLUS hiking trails on Mount Jumbo, Mount Sentinel, the North Hills and all of Missoula’s other great recreation areas.  No other Missoula map covers both city streets and open space trails.  The information side of the map features a comprehensive map of the Riverfront Trail System, and complete directions to family hikes, visitor tours and even challenging treks to Sentinel and Jumbo’s summits.”

Sounds like a great present, right? If you’d like to buy one, you can do so at Currents, and with the knowledge that 50 cents of each sale will go to fund recreation grants for low-income families.

Last on my list of niceness provided by Missoula Parks and Rec is its teamwork with Families First to offer a parenting program/youth swim special. Parents can get tips from experts while their kids swim. The special part is that if you buy a swim for one kiddo, you get one free.

The next parenting workshop will be held on Jan. 26, so you have plenty of time to find out more. Contact Families First at 721-7690.

– MM

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Children’s Museum has awesome alphabet poster by Josh Quick

Quick alphabet

Looking for a cool but family-friendly gift idea? Check out this poster by Missoula artist Josh Quick.

Sweet, huh?

Quick designed the poster exclusively for the Children’s Museum in Missoula. Run by Families First, the museum is offering the poster for sale for $12 each – making it a fun and affordable Christmas gift idea for the kiddo on your list.

And if you want to up the ante a bit, the Children’s Museum is offering a membership special – family membership and a poster for just $75. The offer is good until Dec. 31, so you’ve got about a month to snag this deal.

Call the museum at 541-PLAY for more information.

– MM

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New grocery store exhibit coming to Children’s Museum

Families First!, the organization that runs the Children’s Museum in Missoula, has been hard at work planning a new exhibit for the museum: a kids’ grocery store! The new grocery play area will be located toward the front of the museum on West Front Street in downtown Missoula. It’s being sponsored by the Good Food Store, St. Patrick Hospital and the Gallagher Foundation.

To mark the opening of the new exhibit, the Children’s Museum will host a celebration on Sept. 16. More details about the upcoming event will be posted on Missoula Mom as they become available.

– MM

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