Thursday, January 12, 2012

New Location, Same Mission!

Children. Books. Coffee and snacks. Same concept, different space...


It's red. It's historic. It's charming. It's centrally located - a hop, skip and jump off the Oak Leaf Trail and the beautiful Menomonee River Parkway - calling all nature lovers, bicyclists, train enthusiasts, and local historians!

"As the only remaining building in the original Wauwatosa Village settlement, spared by the 1895 village fire because of its location south of the river," it was first a dwelling and then a general store, at one time a post office, a train station, a harness shop, and even a library. But this year, on every FIRST TUESDAY of the month, it becomes our official new meeting space!

After much support and interest from so many, I am looking forward to a return to Tuesdays in a place we can call our own, at least one Tuesday a month for a year!

Here are the details...

Instead of weekly, we'll meet monthly.
Previously we ment every TUESDAY AT TEN. Just tack on a FIRST in front of it and you get FIRST TUESDAYS AT TEN. I strive to keep it easy to remember. This quaint, convenient (with easy free municipal parking directly behind it and a ramp that makes stroller access a breeze) spot is booked every FIRST Tuesday of the month for the remainder of 2012. We have a year to continue the fun that began at the Parkway Cafe and continued on at Cranky Al's. How I see it, the Little Red Store is Chapter 3. When one door closes...

Another one opens, and in this case there are two doors that will open! One in the front of the building, and one in the back. Both will open at 9:30, so come early and get settled in. Storytime will begin at 10am, but the place is ours for 2 whole hours! As before, we'll have 30 minutes of whole group time and then free time to read, or snack and socialize. Whatever you choose to do, you are free to stay until 11:30, at which time Ken, the wonderful volunteer with the Historical Society, comes to move things back to their original spot; he rearranges things in a special way with the safety of the kiddos in mind. I like Ken!

And I also like the continued efforts of the Wauwatosa Historical Society. Do you know a student that's had the privilege of attending their Schoolhouse program? I do, and she came home talking about it for weeks. Which is another something special about the Little Red Store, it has history and a story to tell.

A quick story I'd like to share is how much I've personally struggled with the decision to PAY for a space. Tuesday mornings were always free, and I really wanted to keep it that way. However, because the Little Red Store has so much to offer and is such a unique space (designated one of Wisconsin's Top Ten endangered historic places in 2005), and because our rental funds will help support the on going efforts of the Wauwatosa Historical Society, I've decided to take a leap of faith by renting this special space and asking adults to pay a small fee to cover our costs. At year's end, proceeds will be donated as books to the Wauwatosa Children's Library - a good way to share the love of books with other children in our community (if you have any other questions about the adult registration fee or process, please feel free to contact me at

Now that we've covered that, here are the rest of the details...

As always, kids are free! There will never be a charge for children to attend. However, an adult $5 fee will be asked off all grown ups in attendance. This is how we will cover the rental of the space as well as refreshments and supplies. Feel free to come that day and pay at the door (as long as we haven't reached maximum capacity - you are in!), or you may reserve your spot now by registering online with the adult registration link in the upper left hand corner.

What your $5.00 Adult Registration Includes:

2 hrs (9:30-11:30am) of playtime and learning in a clean, comfortable space of our own for as many children as you bring with you. Themed storytimes which include books, movement activities, rhymes, fingerplays, feltboard stories and song, with special appearances by Nancy. Alterra Coffee. Sweet home baked snacks by Sarah; she'll teach us some Spanish too! Simple, easy clean-up crafts. Special time connecting with others who love children and books.

So please join us! Make a morning of it. Invite a friend. Make a friend. Support local services. Read. Sing. Socialize. So many great reasons to share a First Tuesday together.

There are eleven more opportunities in 2012. I'm looking forward to them!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

TURTLE Tuesday

T is for Tuesday and Turtle...

After a year's hiatus from Tuesday mornings - and being on holiday break from Zoo classes with some extra time on my hands - I realized that there was a one-time opportunity to come together for the "First Tuesday of 2012."

Before I knew it, I had called and rented the Little Red Store (not to be confused with the Little READ Book Store, which is not far from there and another great place I highly recommend going!).

Nancy and I have done a handful of Saturdays outside the Little Red Store during Tosa Farmers Market, but never INSIDE before!

Because the plans were very last minute, I asked Cassandra to schedule a meetup on the Milwaukee Happy Mama Meetup calendar (a group that faithfully had Tuesday mornings on their calendar throughout the Cranky Al days, thanks ladies!). Because many mamas signed up so quickly (and because the name of the place does have "little" in it) we decided to keep it intimate for the trial run in a brand new space. And it was GREAT!!!

A warm, sunny morning and we had the whole place to ourselves! Nancy brought her guitar and playlist, and Sarah brought the coffee and the sweet treats.

And since T is for Tuesday and T is also for Turtles (I have an abundance of inspiration from teaching Turtle Class to 2 year olds at the Zoo this past December and have been looking for an opportunity to use my turtle puppet and to tell a feltboard story about where turtles go in winter, "Turtle, Where are you???"), we decided to celebrate TURTLES!

I find that talking about turtles is also a great opportunity to practice opposites...


UP/DOWN ("When the weather changes, Turtle must swim down, down, down to the bottom of the pond and dig into the mud to sleep for the winter... Turtle, where are you????")


We slowly and leisurely enjoyed our turtle time together. We sang some songs, read some books, did the Hokey Pokey, drank some coffee and chatted. And then everyone went on their way....

It was a wonderful Tuesday morning! One that reminded me so much of ones from long ago. A bit dramatic to say I know since it's only been a year since we've met on a Tuesday, but I am pretty nostalgic about all the wonderful friends both old and new that I've met on Tuesday mornings.

Stay tuned for more details coming soon about future meetings of First Tuesdays at Ten at the Little Red Store!