A google search for “families in high-rises” will generate endless articles about the failures of public housing, urban poor in blighted neighborhoods, and yard-less, barren environments for children. It’s proof Google doesn’t know everything. Families love high-rises and flock to them across America – just not in the way you think they do. [Read more…] about High-Rises Are Great Places to Raise a Family
Two ideas have driven the final leg of my simplifying journey and made my small apartment not just work, but made it feel huge – like I could go even smaller. The nitty-gritty of a organizing a good closet, entryway, kitchen or bath can’t be explained without them.
- The Power of Patterns
- The Danger of Derivatives
The Power of Patterns
Let me first say what this isn’t. It is not adding wallpaper to ceilings or strategically placing striped area rugs to create illusions of space, or any number of things you could do or buy to decorate a space. Buzzfeed beautifully demonstrates a lot of bad small space advice here. So much advice for small spaces are suggestions to add something. It helps to sell products but the last thing most small spaces need is more stuff. [Read more…] about How to Use Patterns to Declutter and Create Serenity
We officially became a one car family over the weekend.
Here’s the research that helped us feel confident about giving up our 2nd car. We found 13 ways to be car free and smart technology makes it easy to use.
1. Shared Rides or Non-Traditional Taxis 2. Traditional Taxi Services 3. Car Sharing Companies 4. Public Transportation 5. Car Rentals from Traditional Services 6. Car Rentals Non-Traditional 7. Car Pooling 8. Van Pooling 9. Transit Link 10. Walking 11. Biking 12. Union Depot 13. Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport
Living downtown came with trade offs and reducing our square footage and giving up garage storage were by far the biggest. Even so, we still wanted to entertain, accommodate guests, have individual places to escape to and dedicated spaces for hobbies and interests. With stubborn conviction and lots of experimenting we found we can have it all in 900 sq. feet. What else would a mansion have other than more areas to clean and bigger bills? [Read more…] about How to Make Your Small Family Home Feel like a Mansion
Moving downtown with kids has been incredible. Staying at a hotel or coming for a day trip, you can repeat the day I’m about to tell you about with the itinerary at the end of the post.
On 12-12-2014, I swear on my grave we did the following (in no particular order):
- Walked 4 miles.
- Danced to a live rock band.
- Cheered on the MN Roller Girls at our first roller derby.
- Heard a bagpipe band, live.
- Watched a karate show, live.
- Hugged Santa.
- Got a face painting.
- Listened to folk songs and hokie-pokied with the live musicians, Ten Penny Tunes, demonstrating:
- the accordion, regular and mini bagpipes, ukulele, saxaphone, clarinet, and a penny whistle.
- Did some art.
- Brought home tons of library books and dvds.
We just had an evening in St. Paul that everyone must do when here. Rice Park and the Landmark Center are beautiful year round, but in December and January with the holiday lights and the ice skating rink next door, it is a magical, fairy, wonderland explosion–and it’s all free and open to the public.
It’s no mystery to me any longer that St. Paul was voted America’s most romantic getaway by USA Today readers. Your kids will love it and when they get older they’ll know the perfect spot to bring their first love on their first date. [Read more…] about Winter romance kids will appreciate
We love Tin Whiskers. It’s a brewery. They brew beer. In fact, that’s all they do. They don’t sell food, they aren’t an entertainment venue, I wouldn’t even call it a bar. It’s a whole new animal – one that wasn’t even legal a few years ago….but more on that later.
The fact that we can bring our own food, order pizza or bring take out from nearby restaurants is brilliant. Everybody gets what they want, spends what they want, and Tin Whiskers just makes really good beer. Sawatdee for Thai food is in the same building; Black Sheep Pizza, Keys Cafe and Lund’s Grocery with Cafe and Deli are just around the corner. [Read more…] about Family Picnics at the Local Brewery
Now that the snow is here, I no longer have to force my kids to go to the neighborhood park. Seriously, with the skyways and escalators as competition, I had a terrible time convincing them we ought to spend our first few months living in St. Paul–and the last few months of nice weather–outdoors. We are now enjoying the skyways with abandon and the kids LOVE it.
My six year old knows his way around best of all of us. I still hesitate at times disoriented by the indoor mazes and angled streets of St. Paul, then I realize my 6 year old is ahead of me confidently on task to our destination. I’m convinced getting lost in the skyways multiple times is a right of passage. Surely all the people who stopped to help us when we stood looking confused at intersections remembered their original failures. Thank goodness “Minnesota Nice” is alive and well in the skyways. [Read more…] about Taking Walks: Skyway vs. Suburbia
In the fall of 2014 we fled the comfort of our suburban home to raise our 6 and 3 year old in the more diverse, culturally rich and exceedingly walkable downtown of Saint Paul, MN.
It was a carefully calculated move. We were in a stage of our lives where we could move anywhere, but wanting to stay close to family, we narrowed it down to Southern MN. Rochester, Northfield, Edina, Excelsior, South Minneapolis, and Saint Paul’s Highland Park, Mac-Groveland, Hamline-Midway or Downtown/Lowertown all received special attention for their schools, employment, and walkability to places we wanted to go. In the end, it was the skyways (and it’s promising escape from the weather), the Chinese immersion program at Jie Ming in Saint Paul, and the cultural titans of the Science Museum and Children’s Museum that got us downtown Saint Paul.