Free Fun in Austin: Date Night Edition (October 23-26, 2014)

 Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Fright Night at Jo's SoCo

With Halloween only a week away, you're running out of chances to catch a FREE movie at Jo's Coffee on South Congress! This week's screening will be The Beyond at sunset (7:30ish). Bring a chair and a friend; there will be FREE popcorn for sharing. "Boos" cost extra. (Jo's, 1300 South Congress Ave, Austin)

Mrs. Glass 100th Show at the Blackheart Party

To celebrate their long-running and wildly popular residency at the Blackheart, Mrs. Glass is having a "Live from the Blackheart" LP release party with the Blue Channel Blues Quartet at 5pm, Jimmy and the Mustangs at 8pm, Roxy Roca at 9pm, and finally they take the stage at 11pm. This is a FREE show. (The Blackheart, 86 Rainey Street, Austin)

FREE Improv Class at The New Movement

Want to break out of your comfort zone and live a little? The New Movement is hosting a FREE improv class from 6:30-7:15pm. Their witty instructors will give you a quick rundown of what makes their classes so awesome and you'll learn a few exercises to get you started. Ready, set, let the FREE fun begin! (The New Movement, 616 Lavaca St, Austin)

Juan of the Dead film screening at MonkeyWrench Books

Nothing says Halloween like an epic Cuban zombie flick. When strange things start to happen in his sleepy town, 40-year-old couch potato Juan sees a golden opportunity. He decides to start his own zombie killing business, "Juan of the Dead, we kill your beloved ones." Stop on over at 8pm for popcorn and of course a few good laughs. (MonkeyWrench Books, 110 E North Loop, Austin)

Friday, October 24, 2014

East End 4th Fridays

A street party hosted by the local businesses in the East End IBIZ District with sales, specials, extended hours, and more! FREE activities include complimentary style-outs and bang, neck, and beard trims at Darling Dry Cut Trailer along with "Hunch Punch" cocktails, mug shot photo booth, and best dressed contest. East End wines will be holding a FREE wine tasting 5-8pm and Eastside Yoga is offering FREE Yin Yoga 6-6:45pm. For more listings, visit here. (East End, 11th Street, Austin)

Stargazing at the Roughs

Explore the galaxy as an astronomer takes you on a visual tour of the Milky Way using their Dobsonian telescopes. Learn about the constellations while developing a whole new appreciation for the cosmos. The program begins at 9pm and you're encouraged to bring lawn chairs, blankets, and refreshments. In case of bad weather call 512-303-5073 to confirm the event's status. (McKinney Roughs, 1884 State Highway 71 W, Cedar Creek, TX)

Brand New Key Friday Night Porch Residency @ in.gredients

Who's up for "crunchy" organic fun to help end a stressful week on a laid back note? Head on over to in.gredients for Brand New Key. The trio boasts a wonderful folky, bluegrass sound with some porch stomping to boot. The event is 7-9pm and opening for them each week is singer/songwriter duo, Ethan and Jeff. (in.gredients, 2610 Manor Road, Austin)

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Texas Book Festival

With over 280 authors and a jam-packed schedule spanning two days, the Texas Book Festival is one of the largest book festivals around. There will also be musical acts, food vendors, activities, and book signings. A complete schedule of events can be found here. The event is FREE and seating is first come, first served. For a complete list of do's and don'ts and what to expect, visit the website before heading to the Capitol. Click here to read where to park for FREE. Texas Book Festival will take place on October 25 & 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (State Capitol, Congress Ave., 11th St. and Colorado St, Austin, TX)

Saturday Night Concert Series at Hill Country Galleria

Enjoy the cooler weather this weekend and head out to the Hill Country Galleria in Bee Cave to catch The Brewbirds play! This fun-loving, bluegrass band is the perfect soundtrack for relaxing under the stars. You're welcome to bring a blanket, chairs, and food will be available nearby. Saturday, from 7-9pm. FREE! (Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Galleria Blvd, Bee Cave) 

ROXY ROCA at Southpark Meadows

The "soul tiger" himself Taye Cannon and his band will be jazzing up the Meadows this Saturday with plenty of feel-good, booty-shaking music starting at 7pm. The band has been racking up music awards and accolades like crazy lately so be sure to catch them before they hit it big! FREE show. (Southpark Meadows, 9300 IH-35 South, Austin)

Austin Eastciders Grand Opening in East Austin

Join the EC crew for an evening of cider, music and fun, with complimentary Gold Top, Eastciders Original and numerous special releases. Get there at 6pm for an exclusive tapping of Small Batch No. 1 – a new limited-release cider from Austin Eastciders made with Texas Winesap apples – ahead of its public release on November 3rd in celebration of Austin Beer Week. You'll be the first to tour the brand new cidery and enjoy the beer garden and vintage railroad station tucked away off Springdale. This event is 21+. Must show ID to receive a wristband. The event is FREE with RSVPMusic from The Urban Achievers Band and house DJs. (Eastciders, 979 Springdale Rd, Austin)

SURE THING Comedy Show

SURE THING comedy show at the original Austin Java, 8pm. Headliners include performers seen on Comedy Central, Last Comic Standing, Letterman, and more, as well as the city's best comics on the rise, plus special out-of-town guests. Hosted by Duncan Carson and Brendan K. O'Grady. These events have been filling up quickly so be sure to get there early! Doors open at 7:30pm. FREE! (Austin Java Parkway, 1206 Parkway, Austin)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Rolling Sculpture Car Show

Classic cars and hot rods will line the streets at the Hill Country Galleria from 11am-3pm. The show is FREE to attend, but there is a fee for showing your car. For a sneak peek at the cars attending, visit the website here. All proceeds benefit the Bee Cave Public Library. (Hill Country Galleria, 12700 Hill Country Galleria Blvd, Bee Cave)

KUTX Austin FREE MUSIC SERIES at Uncle Billy's Brewery & BBQ
Sunday music series 2-6pm, with DJ Mixer Rogers spinning and live music by Honey Honey at 4pm. HoneyHoney is an alternative folk group based in Los Angeles, California. The band was formed in 2006 by musician Benjamin Jaffe and model/actress Suzanne Santo. The two met at a costume party and signed a record deal a year later. RSVP for FREE tickets. (Uncle Billy's Brewery, 1530 Barton Springs Road, Austin)

Austin's favorite first call jazz pianist and most prolific composer, Rich Harney,
takes up a Sunday residency at South Austin's WhipIn grocery and cafe. In trio with Masumi Jones, Daniel Durham or Richard Mikel trading off on double bass, this promises to be a real swingin' treat. Music from noon-2pm. (WhipIn, 1950 Interstate Hwy 35 S, Austin)

Jon Dee Graham and Dupree at Continental Club

Jon Dee Graham and the Fighting Cocks rock their 17 year residency at the Continental Club with this FREE show at 8:30pm. At 10:30 things heat up with Dupree, a swinging rock band with roots in swing, blues, '50s rock, and a little country. (Continental Club, 1315 S Congress Ave, Austin)

Movie Night at Toms on Congress

In the true spirit of Halloween, Toms on Congress will be screening Beetlejuice at 8pm with a costume contest, prizes, and cocktails. Come dressed for fun! You'll enjoy a few shenanigans and mostly likely an impromptu quote-a-long with this cult classic movie. Bring a chair or blanket to sit out in the back garden for the FREE screening.  (Toms Shoes, 1401 South Congress Ave., Austin)

Heather Schuck is the CEO of the children's lifestyle brand, Glamajama. When she's not scheming "glama" world domination or mentoring young designers, you can find her in her front yard chasing her three children with a garden hose. Connect with her at glamaLIFE or on Facebook.


Farmer's Market Roundup 2014

There’s nothing better than getting out in the fresh air and visiting some farmer's markets to buy fresh, local produce that's practically grown right in your own backyard. Here is a rundown of the farmer's markets in the greater Austin area. Unless otherwise noted, the markets recur weekly on the same days and times. 

Some markets adjust their hours seasonally. As always, please double check the event sites to make sure the info hasn't changed before heading out.


  • Barton Creek Farmer's Market - South - 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Treats from bakeries, fresh eggs and produce from local farms, pottery and more. 2323 S Lamar Blvd, Austin.
  • Bastrop Producer's Market - Noon - 5:00 p.m. Fresh local produce with an emphasis on local sustainable and organic food production. 977 Hwy 71 W (between FM 20 and Hwy 21), Bastrop.
  • HOPE Farmer's Market - 11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Fresh produce, art and live music, wellness workshops. Plaza Saltillo, East 5th & Comal, Austin.
  • Lone Star Farmer's Market - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Fresh produce, grass fed beef, handmade jewelry, live music and more. Lowe's parking lot in the Shops at the Galleria, 12611 Shops Pkwy, Bee Cave.
  • Mueller Farmer's Market - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Selling only local, sustainable, direct to consumer produce, meats, dairy and artisanal goods from over 40+ Texas producers. (Review here.) Browning Hangar, 4550 Mueller Blvd, Austin.
  • Bastrop 1832 Farmer's Market - 2-6:00 p.m. Fresh produce, prepared foods, and other handmade products. The market also features regular cooking demonstrations and provides info on how to prepare fresh foods. 1302 Chestnut St, Bastrop.
  • Bastrop Producer's Market - 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Fresh local produce with an emphasis on local sustainable and organic food production. 977 Hwy 71 W (between FM 20 and Hwy 21), Bastrop.
  • Georgetown Sun City Farmer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - Noon. Fresh produce, free range eggs, pasture raised beef, cheese, nuts, canned goods and artisan breads along with edible and ornamental plants. Sun City Social Center parking lot, 2 Texas Dr, Georgetown.
  • Pflugerville Pfarmer's Market - 3-7:00 p.m. May 6, 2014 - October 28, 2014. Green Red Barn, 901 Old Austin-Hutto Rd, Pflugerville. 
  • San Marcos Farmer's Market - 3-6:00 p.m. The Hitch parking lot, 312 E Hopkins St, San Marcos.
  • SFC Farmer's Market East - 3-7:00 p.m. Fruit and vegetables, meats, eggs, cheese, honey, plants, and breakfast/lunch food vendors for a quick coffee and scone, or healthy lunch. MLK Blvd & Miriam Ave, Austin
  • Bastrop Producer's Market - 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Fresh local produce with an emphasis on local sustainable and organic food production. 977 Hwy 71 W (between FM 20 and Hwy 21), Bastrop.
  • Boggy Creek Farm Market Days - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. USDA certified organic and freshly harvested vegetables, flowers, and herbs. (Review here.) 3414 Lyons Rd, Austin.
  • Downtown Manor Farmer's Market - 4-7:00 p.m. in the summer, spring and fall; 4 - 6 p.m. in winter. Shop for local sustainable agriculture & prepared foods, support regional artisans, enjoy sparkling conversation and stay for dinner at one of Manor’s many fine restaurants. Jennie Lane SmartPark, 104 E Rector St, Manor.
  • Dripping Springs Farmer's Market - 3-7:00 p.m. Local fresh produce and prepared foods. Hwy 290 & RR 12, Dripping Springs.
  • Market Days at Springdale Farm - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Sustainable urban farm in the heart of east Austin offering fresh seasonal veggies and farm fresh duck and chicken eggs at the indoor farm stand. Visit the crops and the Hen House while you are there. (Review here.) 755 Springdale Rd, Austin.
  • SFC Farmer's Market at The Triangle - 3-7:00 p.m. Fresh foods and produce from local farmers and food artisans. Triangle Park, W 46th St & N Lamar Blvd, Austin.
  • Bastrop Producer's Market - 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Fresh local produce with an emphasis on local sustainable and organic food production. 977 Hwy 71 W (between FM 20 and Hwy 21), Bastrop.
  • Georgetown Farmer's Market - 3:30-6:30 p.m. (‘til dark in winter). Fresh produce, free range eggs, pasture raised beef, cheese, nuts, canned goods and artisan breads along with edible and ornamental plants. Georgetown Church of Christ, 1525 W University Ave, Georgetown.
  • Barton Creek Farmers Market - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Treats from bakeries, fresh eggs and produce from local farms, pottery and more. Barton Creek Square Mall parking lot, 2901 S Capital of Texas Hwy, Austin.
  • Bastrop 1832 Farmer's Market - 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. Fresh produce, prepared foods, and other handmade products. The market also features regular cooking demonstrations and provides info on how to prepare fresh foods. 1302 Chestnut St, Bastrop.
  • Bastrop Producer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Fresh local produce with an emphasis on local sustainable and organic food production. 977 Hwy 71 W (between FM20 and Hwy 21), Bastrop.
  • Boggy Creek Farm Market - 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. USDA certified organic and freshly harvested vegetables, flowers, and herbs. (Review here.) 3414 Lyons Rd, Austin.
  • Cedar Park Farmers Market - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Enjoy seasonal, locally-grown, farm-fresh products and a kids' corner. Lakeline Mall parking lot, 11200 Lakeline Mall Dr, Cedar Park.
  • Downtown Buda Farmer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - noon, March - October. Local farmers, producers and artisans offer fresh agricultural and related products to generate a sense of local pride and further economic development of Downtown Buda, with a strong focus on sustainability. 121 N Main St, Buda.
  • Main Street Market - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Local growers, producers, & artisans offering the freshest organic produce, meats, baked goods, jellies, salsas and more, all from Caldwell County. Caldwell County Courthouse, 217 South Main St, Lockhart.
  • Market Days at Springdale Farm - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Sustainable urban farm in the heart of east Austin offering fresh seasonal veggies and farm fresh duck and chicken eggs at the indoor farm stand. Visit the crops and the Hen House while you are there. (Review here.) 755 Springdale Rd, Austin.
  • Round Rock Farmer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - Noon. Fresh produce, free range eggs, pasture raised beef, cheese, nuts, canned goods and artisan breads along with edible and ornamental plants. Scott & White Hospital parking lot, 300 University Blvd, Round Rock.
  • San Marcos Farmer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. San Antonio St, between LBJ & Guadalupe Sts, San Marcos.
  • SFC Farmer's Market at Republic Square Park - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Fresh foods and produce from local farmers and food artisans. 422 Guadalupe St, Austin.
  • SFC Sunset Valley Farmer's Market - 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Fresh foods and produce from local farmers and food artisans. Make sure to visit the neighboring Sunset Valley Artisan Market, as well. Toney Burger Center, 3200 Jones Rd, Austin.


Free Family Fun at the Texas Book Festival

For families, everything on offer at the Texas Book Festival looks, smells, and tastes like free fun—stories read by the actual authors of favorite picture books, DIY craft activities, a kids’ storybook fashion show, and more! The Festival always aims for the children’s programming to be as fun and energetic as possible, but the ultimate goal is more serious: to encourage kids to read more and to get excited about reading.

The 2014 Festival will feature some of the nation’s most entertaining children’s authors and books on October 25 and 26 at the State Capitol and surrounding areas.

Children’s book and author highlights include: Ziggy Marley, a Jamaican musician, the oldest son of reggae legend Bob Marley, and children’s book author, who will present his most recent book I Love You Too. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Jon Meacham’s new book Thomas Jefferson: President and Philosopher, is a special illustrated adaptation of his New York Times bestseller Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power that teaches young readers about the life and political philosophy of one of our Founding Fathers. Drawing from family history, Pat Mora and her daughter Libby Martinez tell the story of a girl named Libby, whose 80-year-old Mexican-born great-aunt, Lobo, becomes a U.S. citizen in their new children’s book I Pledge Allegiance.

The youngest readers will enjoy the Children’s Chapter, by presenting sponsor H-E-B, which includes the Children’s Read Me a Story Tent, the Children’s Entertainment Tent, and the Children’s Activity Tent.

New at the Festival this year: there will be a Where’s Waldo scavenger hunt, hosted by Candlewick Press. The scavenger hunt checklist entry forms can be picked up in the Children’s Activity Tent, and there will be several large Waldo cut-outs scattered throughout the Festival grounds for children to find, as well as a real-life Waldo making several appearances, popping in and out of venues. All participants get a sticker when they finish and will have their names entered to win a Waldo deluxe prize pack. Two lucky kiddos will win prize packs, and there will also be Where’s Waldo books available for purchase.



  • 10- 11 a.m.–Austin Dog Alliance: Meet the Bow Wow Reading Dogs
  • 11 a.m.- noon–Storybook Character Fashion Show: Come dressed as your favorite storybook character and walk the runway
  • 1- 2 p.m.–All Over the Alphabet: Fun with alphabet activities, crafts and stories with Rawson Saunders teachers
  • 2- 3 p.m.–TLA Presents 2x the Fun: Learn how to expand your child’s reading experiences with fun activities you can both share after reading award-winning Texas 2×2 books

  • 11 a.m.- noon–Create a Calavera! Get ready for Dia de los Muertos by coloring or crafting your own paper calavera
  • Noon- 3 p.m.–KLRU/PBS: Kids Transmedia Demonstration Station
  • 3:15- 3:45 p.m.–Made By You! Come by to create your own Texas Book Festival souvenirs



  • 10- 11 a.m.–Magician Ken Cummins puts on anunforgettble show that’s sure to entertain audence members of any age
  • 11 a.m.- noon–“I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly”: Presented by Thomas Hellman and Emilie Clepper
  • Noon- 1 p.m.–Lucas Miller, The Singing Zoologist
  • 1- 2 p.m.–Kathi Appelt presents Mogie: The Heart of the House
  • 2- 3 p.m.–Boitumelo: Songs and Stories of South Africa: Presented by Rochelle Raboui
  • 3- 4 p.m.–Joaquin Hancock and the Hancock Family Band with Chataqua
  • 4- 5 p.m.–Knights of Steel: A returning Festival favorite, the McCallum High School steel band entertains with its musical stylings
  • 11 a.m.- noon–Hand to Mouh Puppet Theatre: puppeteer, painter, graphic artist, costume designer, and book illustrator Ellen Turner Scott amazes with the art of puppetry
  • Noon- 1 p.m.–The Biscuit Brothers: the hosts of the EMMY Award-winning PBS kids’ music and education program will capture all that’s best about children’s music
  • 1- 2 p.m.–Joe McDermott: “the maestro of imagination”
  • 2- 3 p.m.–Mr. Will Dupuy

  • 10- 10:30 a.m.–Erzsi Deak reads Pumpkin Time
  • 10:30 – 11 a.m.–Pat Mora and Libby Martinez read from I Pledge Allegiance
  • 11- 11:30 a.m.–Aree Chung reads selections from Ninja!
  • 11:30- noon–Shannon and Dean Hale read from their book The Princess in Black
  • Noon- 12:30 p.m.–Mac Barnett reads from his book Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
  • 12:30- 1 p.m.–London Ladd reads from his book Under the Freedom Tree
  • 1- 1:30 p.m.–Bluebonnet Master List Announcement
  • 1:30- 2 p.m.–Monica Brown reads from Conoces a Pablo Picasso
  • 2- 2:30 p.m.–Tad Carpenter reads from Ninja, Ninja, Never Stop
  • 2:30- 3 p.m.–Andrea Beaty reads from Happy Birthday, Madame Chapeau
  • 3- 3:30 p.m.–Keith Graves reads from The Monsterator
  • 3:30 – 4 p.m.–Lorisse’s Dog Training
  • 4- 4:30 p.m.–John Rocco reads Blizzard
  • 4:30- 5 p.m.–Diane Gonzales Bertrand reads from Cecilia and Miguel are Best Friends/Cecilia y Miguel son majors amigos
  • 11- 11:30 a.m.–Barbara Renaud Gonzalez reads from The Boy Made of Lightning
  • 11:30-noon–Penguin Party: Molly Idle reads from her book, Flora and the Penguin
  • Noon- 12:30 p.m.–Penguin Party: Melissa Guion reads from her book, Baby Penguins Love Their Mama
  • 12:30 – 1 p.m.–Poetry Fun with Rawson Saunders: the Rawson Saunders Writer’s Workshop is an intensive writing program for middle and upper school students, and they will be reading selected works of their free verse poetry
  • 1- 1:30 p.m.–The Young Writers Award
  • 1:30 – 2 p.m.–Chris Barton reads from Attack! Boss! Cheat Code
  • 2- 2:30 p.m.–Ziggy Marley reads from his book I Love You Too
  • 2:30 – 3 p.m.–Carolyn Dee Flores and Rene Saldana, Jr. read from their book Dale, dle, dale: Una fiesta de numeros / Hit It, Hit It, Hit It: A Fiesta of Numbers
  • 3- 3:30 p.m.–Divya Srinivasan reads from her book, Little Owl’s Day
For more information, visit the Texas Book Festival website.

Shared with permission. Image credit: Texas Book Festival


2014 Halloween Candy Buy Back Program

If your children end up with too much candy this Halloween, and you want to swiftly remove it from the house, consider taking part in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program. Participating area dentists will buy back Halloween candy from neighborhood children, then send it to the troops overseas as part of Operation Gratitude.

Operation Gratitude annually sends more than 100,000 care packages, filled with snacks, toiletries, entertainment, hand-made items and letters of appreciation. The mission of Operation Gratitude is to lift the morale of and express appreciation for our military and their families.

Austin area dentists participating in the Halloween Candy Buy Back Program include:

Austin Laser Dentist

11615 Angus Rd, Ste 101
Austin, TX 78759
(512) 346-4690 

November 3 - 7, 2014 (Monday - Wednesday, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Thursday, from 7:30 a.m. - Noon; and Friday, from 8:00 a.m. - Noon). Kids can fill up a Halloween bucket with their candy and exchange it for $1 - $5.

Avery Ranch Dental
15004 Avery Ranch Blvd, Bldg A, Ste 100
Austin, TX 78717
(512) 246-7645

Monday, November 3, 2014, from 3-6:00 p.m. Each child will receive $1 for every pound they donate (up to 5 lbs.) and a goodie bag. Their names will also be entered into a drawing to win a kids Sonicare toothbrush.

Drs. Becher & Rangwala’s Office
4464 Frontier Trail
Austin, TX 78745
(512) 444-6057

November 3-6, 2014, (Monday and Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday from 7:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.) Kids are invited to sell their candy for $1/lb.

Family Tree Dental Group
5310 Burnet Rd, Ste 108
Austin, TX 78756
(512) 458-5999

Friday, October 31, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.; Monday, November 3, 2014, from Noon - 6:00 p.m; and Tuesday, November 4, 2014 from 8:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. Kids can sell candy for $1/lb, up to 5 lbs, or they can choose from prizes like spin brushes. There will be construction paper available for children to make cards for the troops.

Family Tree Dental Group (Round Rock)
200 N Red Bud Ln
Round Rock, TX 78664
(512) 310-5999

November 3-4, 2014, from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m and November 5-6, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Kids can sell candy for $1/lb, up to 5 lbs, or they can choose from prizes like spin brushes. There will be construction paper available for children to make cards for the troops.

Georgetown Pediatric Dentistry (Georgetown)
4507 Williams Dr
Georgetown, TX 78633
(512) 869-4100

November 3 - 6, 2014 (Monday & Wednesday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.; Tuesday & Thursday from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.). Kids can sell candy for $1/lb up to 5 lbs.

Hodgkins Orthodontics (Cedar Park)
2515 S Lakeline Blvd.
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 331-1419 

Monday, November 3, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Kids
 are invited to sell candy for $1/lb, up to 5 lbs.

Jensen Pediatric Dentistry
3801 Bee Cave Rd, Ste 120
Austin, TX 78746
(512) 433-6633

November 3-5, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Kids are invited to sell their candy for $1/lb.

Kids Dental Smiles (Cedar Park)
601 E Whitestone Blvd, Ste 400
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 259-2331

November 3-7, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Kids are invited to sell their unopened candy for $1/lb (maximum of 10 lbs).

Kids Dental Smiles (Pflugerville)
1512 Town Center Dr, #750
Pflugerville, TX 78660
(512) 251-9100

November 3-7, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Kids are invited to sell their unopened candy for $1/lb (maximum of 10 lbs).

Leander Pediatric Dentistry (Leander)
903 Old Bagdad Rd
Leander, TX 78641
(512) 337-6499

They will be participating, but they are still finalizing the details.

Little Hippos Pediatric Dentistry
409 W Front St, Ste 250
Hutto, TX 78634
(512) 642-6109

November 3-7, 2014, from 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Kids are invited to sell their unopened candy for $1/lb.

Sage Dentistry
11420 Bee Cave Rd, Ste B150
Austin, TX 78738
(512) 263-8500

Monday, November 3, 2014, from 2-4:00 p.m. Kids are invited to sell candy for $1/lb.

Tomasik Family Dental (Bee Cave)
13917 W Hwy 71
Bee Cave, TX 78738
(512) 402-1818

Monday, November 3, 2014, from 3-5:00 p.m. Kids 
are invited to sell candy for $1/lb, up to 5 lbs. There will be fun drawings and prizes for the adults too.

Vista Ridge Family Dentistry (Cedar Park)
920 N Vista Ridge Blvd #700
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 402-7885

Monday, November 3, 2014, from 4-6:00 p.m. Kids can sell candy for $2/lb, up to 5 lbs. There will be goodie bags, beverages, snacks, and an afternoon full of fun. Come dressed in your costumes.

For more information or to find a participating location near you, visit


Día de Los Muertos at the Mexican American Cultural Center

Celebrate Día de Los Muertos with a Day of the Dead festival at the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center (ESB-MACC) on Saturday, November 1, 2014, from 4-10 p.m. Admission is free.

Día de Los Muertos is an indigenous Mexican holiday that celebrates the life cycle through the building of temporary altars to commemorate loved ones who have passed. At this festival, you can enjoy:

  • Ofrendas (Altars) Exhibit
  • Artist Market
  • Live Music
  • Low Cost Family Activities
  • Sugar Skull Making
  • Classic Car Show
The event will be held in the Zócalo and Community Gallery. Please bring chairs! 

If you would like to participate by building an altar, download and complete the participation form here, and submit it the the ESB-MACC before October 27, 2014.

For more information, visit the event page, call (512) 974-3772 or email

Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center 
600 River St.
Austin, TX 78701

For more local celebrations of Día de los Muertos, click here!


Hill Country Carnival: Free Fun and Then Some

Every year the Dillos of Hill Elementary brush off their ring toss skills, dress up in their fall favorites, and head over to the school for the annual Hill Country Carnival. This year, the community is invited to join in the fun by attending the carnival on Saturday, October 25, 2014, from 11 a.m. - 3 p.m. Admission is free.

What I like best about this carnival is the way Hill involves neighboring schools in the production. From performances by the Anderson High School Belles to the opportunity for Murchison and Anderson students to earn community service hours by volunteering, the carnival is much more than a fall celebration - it's a celebration of an Austin community. 

Have a little one who'd like to play? Hill Country Carnival offers free "Tiny Dillo" wristbands for children 3 and under!  They will be available at the ticket table. Kids can use these wristbands to enjoy Hill Harbor games and the "Kiddiepillar" crawl maze!

Wristbands for older kids cost $25 through Thursday, October 23, 2014 at noon, and then $30 at the carnival. Wristbands are good for unlimited rides and attractions including face painting, hair spraying, petting zoo, rock wall, jousting, Big Wave Slide, Western Moonwalk, End Zone Obstacle Course and more! The Haunted House is something not to be missed. Created entirely by the Hill Fifth Graders, it's completely unique each year.

Tickets for food (including Casa Chapala, Pok-E-Joe's BBQ and Jim Jim's Water Ice) are also on sale now. Finally, purchase a raffle ticket for one of these great prizes: iPad mini, $200 shopping spree at Learning Express, birthday package for Main Event, winter soccer camp, and a date night package (I'm personally hoping for this one!).

To pre-order tickets (through Thursday), visit the Hill Elementary website. Pre-sale ends Thursday at noon, so purchase your tickets now!

P.S. For the Longhorn fans out there, I'm sure there will be a TV with the game on somewhere!

Cari is a mom of a Hill Elementary first grader. By day she manages Brand Communications at a local Austin software company, and by night she, well... sleeps. She is a mom after all!


Celebrate Halloween at The Dinosaur Park

 Tuesday, October 21, 2014

If it's been awhile since you've visited The Dinosaur Park in Cedar Creek, here are two ways to get in free:

Celebrate Halloween at The Dinosaur Park! Anyone in a DINOSAUR costume gets FREE admission, the weekend before Halloween and the weekend after Halloween! Any other proper costume receives a $1 discount on admission. 

In honor of National Reptile Awareness Day (today!), visitors who bring a non-venomous reptile to The Park on the weekend before or the weekend after Halloween will receive FREE admission. One free human admission per reptile visitor. 

Both of these offers are valid October 24-26 and October 31 - November 2, 2014

Visit for hours and directions. 

To read about Catherine's recent visit the The Dinosaur Park, head over here.

General Admission Rates:

  • Admission is $7.00 per person
  • Children under 24 months are FREE
  • FREE parking
The Dino Park
893 Union Chapel Road
Cedar Creek, Texas 78612


Baby Day at the Alamo Drafthouse

When my daughter, Pearl, was just a few days old, I remember thinking (actually, more like wailing in my head), A week ago right now, I was at the movies! It seemed impossible, and impossibly unfair, that so recently I'd been able to do something I loved — going to the movies — that was suddenly so far out of reach.

So you can imagine how excited I was to find out about Baby Day at the Alamo Drafthouse. No more waxing wistfully nostalgic about the incredible luxury of going to see a real movie at an actual theater; I could pack Pearl up on a Tuesday morning and go see a real, live, actual film at my favorite movie theater!

On our way to Baby Day!
I did this a handful of times with Pearl when she was younger, before she started preschool. Then, on a recent Tuesday morning, I took Zephyr for his very first Baby Day screening at the Alamo Slaughter, where we saw (most of) This Is Where I Leave You. (The movie was...decent. But I don't even care when the film doesn't wow me — I'm just so happy to be there!!)

Here's how Baby Day works: On Tuesdays (with the exception of national holidays or special screenings), parents can bring their little ones, for free, to either the Village, South Lamar, Lakeline or Slaughter Lane location, to see any film that starts before 2:00 PM. 

Here are some things you might be wondering about:

What age does my child have to be to come to a Baby Day screening? Infants on up to children age six years old are welcome at Baby Day film showings. Even if they sit in their own seat, they get in free!

But what if I want to go see an R-rated film — can I still bring my baby? Yes, you can. You can bring your little one to any film that is a Baby Day screening. You just have to use your own parental judgment about whether a particular film might be too much for your child to handle.

The Alamo website says the theater lights are a little brighter and the sound is a little quieter than at regular screenings, right? Yes — but in my experience, this isn't necessarily true. Or maybe it's just all relative. At the film Zeph and I went to see, the sound seemed pretty loud to me, and the lights pretty dim. This wasn't a problem for me, but it definitely didn't seem much different from any other film showing. If you know your baby is sensitive to loud noises, Baby Day screenings may not be quiet enough for you.

What if my baby cries the whole time, or wants to be walked up and down the aisle for an hour straight? That's okay! As the Alamo puts it, Baby Day screenings are a place where babies are allowed to be babies. You won't get kicked out of the theater for having a crying child. That being said, most people do seem to follow the usual baby/public space etiquette of taking their little one out to the hallway if they become too upset for too long. As for walking and bouncing your baby up and down the aisle — I've now done this through several Baby Day screenings, and no one seems to mind. Zeph is a pretty active 15-month-old toddler, and he was definitely doing his share of crawling around, pointing, talking a little bit... And it was fine. And then he napped in my arms for a while — whew!

I know the Alamo serves food, but can I bring my own snacks for the baby? I'm actually not sure about this. I've always just ordered food at the film and shared it with my little ones, rather than bringing my own. (And I always make sure to leave a good tip for the server!!) 

But I'm a film purist — I love hearing every word of dialogue and catching every nuanced expression on the actors' faces. that case, Baby Day may not be for you. If your own little one isn't distracting you, someone else's might. You're almost guaranteed to miss at least some bits of the film, or to have to leave early (as I did with Zeph, who just didn't want to stay once he woke up from his power nap). If you really want to see the whole film, you may be better off adding it to your Netflix queue and watching it at home.

I'm on the fence about whether to have more children. Could Baby Day help me decide? Okay, this is a joke question...sort of. I was surprised to find myself feeling really nostalgic at the Baby Day film Zeph and I went to see. There was a woman sitting near us with her newborn, and something about sitting in a dark room, holding my own not-so-little-anymore baby while hearing the infant nearby make grunting and mewling noises, really made me miss the newborn stage. However, if you don't get all googly-eyed over tiny humans who make lots of noise, I can also imagine that attending a Baby Day screening could firm up your decision never to have another child, ever, no way. (Ha!)

I love Baby Day at the Alamo. When Zeph and I went recently, the employee assured me that "there are basically no rules" for the children inside a Baby Day theater. They can climb around, cry, talk, get fussy, and it's all fine and acceptable (as long as they are with their parent/guardian, of course). It would probably be nice for lots of working parents if Baby Day screenings were available at other times than just on Tuesday mornings, but if you're home with your little one during the week, that's a really great time to go to the movies. Hardly anyone goes to early shows on Tuesdays, so you get rock star parking and your choice of seats. When Zeph and I went, we enjoyed the Bleu Cheese veggie burger and fries, and sat spellbound by the film. What could be better?

Austin has no shortage of fun things to do indoors with babies, by the way — here's a great list of everything from free classes to storytimes, toy stores and more.

Catherine A. Morris is a writer as well as a once-and-future teacher, musician, jogger and triathlete living in southwest Austin, Texas. Yes, many of her former passions and pastimes have given way, at least for now, to her current, main passion and pastime: caring for her two toddlers, Pearl and Zephyr. Pearl and Zeph make Catherine and her husband laugh (and cry) on a daily basis, and give Catherine plenty of good reasons to seek out free, fun activities to keep everyone alive, engaged and happy from one moment to the next.


Giveaway: Ladies' Night Out with the Dirty Easel

Fill in the blank: The last time I painted for my own enjoyment was ____________.

As a mom, I've attempted to paint numerous times in the past few years. Of course, the whole time I was doing it, I watched my daughter get paint in her hair and on the table, mopped water off the floor as she flung her brush around excitedly, and tried to keep my mouth shut spewing rules so I wouldn't stifle her creativity.

The Dirty Easel is the brainchild of Christiane Michaelis, resident Austinite, who says that most women don't make time to simply "create." We get mired in our daily routines and swamped by our responsibilities. When confronted with a blank canvas, most of us feel some trepidation, maybe even anxiety. The purpose of a Dirty Easel paint night is to remove the intimidation and have fun in a relaxed, social setting while creating your own unique piece of art.

At the start of the evening, Michaelis asked us when we last painted for our own enjoyment and stated that most kids stop between the ages of 7 and 12. Why? She paused to allow us to come to our own conclusions. Then she demystified the painting process by calling our attention to the tools we were going to use to create our masterpieces.

Michaelis uses acrylic paints because they are fast-drying and versatile. "Just begin," she said, "and, if you don't like it, paint over it." We each had brushes of varying thickness and shape at our disposal. On a separate table, Michaelis placed bins of found objects like a plastic cup, a scraper, pencils, and more so we could experiment with different shapes, lines, and textures. Next to the paints were bottles of glitter.

As the evening progressed, our paintings took shape, then reshaped, and, in some cases, ended up completely different from how they began. Some of us began with the end in mind, and some of us had no idea what we wanted to paint and just let the colors flow across the canvas.

I think I'm now addicted to the Dirty Easel method of painting! The fact that I was given the chance to creatively express myself in the company of new and old friends while drinking wine and eating the excellent cuisine from BlackFinn Ameripub only helped enhance the experience.

Paint Nights are scheduled about 3-4 per month at varying locations. See the schedule here. The cost is $40 per person.

Free Fun in Austin has two Paint Night spots to give away!  Enter to win a spot for you and a friend to enjoy a night of creative fun with the Dirty Easel. One winner will be selected using on Sunday, October 26, 2014 and contacted by email.  Sweepstakes Official Rules.

If you cannot see the form below, please visit the original post to enter.

The Dirty Easel LLC
(512) 553-6188

Dawn M. Ambuehl-Sadek is a work-at-home mom of two girls: Maya, age 5 and Lila, 7 months. She has been writing in various mediums since she was in elementary school, including poetry, short stories, newsletter articles, and business writing. She currently serves as a teaching artist with Badgerdog and authors a blog focused on parenting and poetry.


2014/15 Ballet Austin Studio Spotlights

Have you ever wanted to watch a professional dance company in action? Up-close, personal, and informal, Ballet Austin Studio Spotlights offer guests a free behind-the-scenes look at choreography and elements of an upcoming production, while it is still in the works. Dancers perform excerpts from the show while Artistic Director Stephen Mills and Associate Artistic Director Michelle Martin lead a brief lecture and Q&A. 

Time slots for Studio Spotlight are as follows:
  • The Nutcracker - Thursday, November 20, 2014 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Registration is open now
  • Belle Redux - Thursday, February 5, 2015 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Registration opens January 8.
  • Director's Choice - Thursday, March 12, 2015 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Registration opens February 23.
  • Swan Lake - Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. Registration opens April 6.
Admission is free, but registration is required. To sign up for a session and to find out more about parking around the theater, visit the Ballet Austin website.

Kids and families who love to dance can also join Ballet Austin for several fun Family Dance Workshops, where all ages and levels of dance experience can try out choreography from the latest Ballet Austin production. Recommended for ages 3 - 12 and their families, the cost is $10 per person (or $5 per person for Kid Series season ticket holders). Registration for all 2014/15 workshops is open now

Ballet Austin AustinVentures StudioTheater
501 W 3rd Street
Austin, TX 78701

Image credit: Ballet Austin


Pumpkin Sculpting Competition at Umlauf

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum will host a Pumpkin Sculpting Competition on Sunday, October 26, 2014, from 12-4 p.m.

Grab a pumpkin at the Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum and learn the tricks of the trade to carving a jack-o’-lantern from Professor Pumpkin. Win bragging rights and prizes by entering your masterpiece in the competition! 

Admission is free when you bring three healthy, nonperishable food items to donate to the Capital Area Food Bank.

For more information, visit the Umlauf Sculpture Garden website.

Umlauf Sculpture Garden & Museum
605 Robert E. Lee Road
Austin, TX 78704

You may also be interested in: Pumpkin Carving on the Dock at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center. 

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