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The Crayola Experience - Mall of America

Dear Diary,

Armed with a Groupon, we got in for half price and embarked on a creative adventure to color the cloudy weather outside with a little spontaneity.

And go Sweden!

(How about America's Olympic medal tally, eh?)

I've seen these popping up across the country, and our curiosity was piqued when one moved in at the Mall. There were plenty of hands-on activities for the kids, like creating your own crayon label (Maddie's were Licker and Pinkie, and Landen labeled his crayons Awesome and Dude) and adding a picture of yourself to a coloring sheet.

There was dancing, and interactive displays, and painting. We made our own puzzles, and there was a playground inside (Nick and I joked it was the most expensive playground we've been to). Some of it was a little too young for 'too-cool' Landen, but no one can resist a little coloring.

Yes, even Daddy can attest to that.

The Color Wall, with Crayola swatches.

They did a good job breaking down the history of Crayola for a child to read and understand, and Landen was surprised to learn these iconic crayons were first created in the late 1800s. We were surrounded by old print ads from the 50s, 60s and 70s. And now, the crayons are staples of school supply lists and our own coloring cabinet.

This exhibit was adorable - we made paper fairies (held up by binder clips) and when music was played, the fairies seemed to dance to the beat!

 Making spin art from melted crayons ...

I can smell the crayons in the background in this picture, and it smells like childhood.

 Favorite picture of the day!

Madelyn's spin art

Landen's spin art, and he was getting annoyed with my picture-taking.

Madelyn was melting crayons into a mold, and was mesmerized by the process, as you can see by the pose! She chose a diamond ring mold, so to freak out Nick I told him she got engaged.

Now for a little truth serum - without the Groupon, the Experience for the 4 of us would have been an $80 admission fee. We went through the entire Experience within 3 hours, and though it was fun, I don't think it would have been worth the original price. If you're interested (and I do recommend), definitely wait for the half-price Groupon!

In conclusion, The Crayola Experience - CONQUERED.

Lacrosse: The End of the Season

Dear Diary,

Participation in lacrosse is on the upswing in Minnesota, and sitting sideline for my son's games have been some of the most fun, tense, rewarding, stressful and of course, proud moments of my life.

{The Thunder Brothers}

And until Landen starting playing, I had very little exposure beyond the first American Pie movie to the sport. I didn't know anything about how the game was played, let alone that our garden shed would house a regulation net plus more equipment than what is stocked at some sporting goods stores.

The concept is very similar to hockey, but has roots in the cultural traditions of the Iroquois people who called the East Coast home. This is why it was regarded as a "northeast" sport for so long, but has since grown beyond the region.

The sport was speculated to have started in 1100 AD, but was well-established by the seventeenth century. Over time, it has evolved to what it is today.

Lacrosse is a full contact sport, at least it is for males. Played between two teams using a small rubber ball (that hurts if it hits you) and the easily-recognizable lacrosse stick. The objective is to evade the defense's checks, slashes and sticks through cradling, then throw it past the goalie and into the net for a point.

See? Like hockey, but with balls.

Landen has since wrapped up his 2016 season with an impressive (16-1) record and a 3rd place finish at his tournament. Until next season ...