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Entries from blogs tagged with “Sarah Henning”

Percolator plans to tell developers, “Please don’t take our sunshine away.”

If you read today's Town Talk by Chad Lawhorn, you know that next week the City Commission will hear discussion about whether a six-story hotel/apartment building should be allowed to be built the southeast corner of the intersection of Ninth and New Hampshire.

Among those concerned parties planning on being there at 6:35 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall (Sixth and Massachusetts streets) are the artists and arts lovers associated with the Lawrence Percolator. The arts incubator's entrance is situated in the alleyway behind the vacant lot where the proposed project would be built.

Thus, the Percolator is hosting a poster-making workshop ahead of the meeting so friends of the arts incubator, the neighboring Social Service League and the homes that would be left in the shadow can make a simple request: "Please don't take our sunshine away." The workshop is from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday at the Percolator, 913 R.I.

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Cookie sale aims to help fund Lawrence Arts Center Preschool

Taylor McCarthy, 4, left, and Estelle Bass, 4, work on the cookie line with residents at Meadowlark Estates to decorate Christmas cookies that will be sold as a fundraiser for the Lawrence Arts Center Preschool.

Taylor McCarthy, 4, left, and Estelle Bass, 4, work on the cookie line with residents at Meadowlark Estates to decorate Christmas cookies that will be sold as a fundraiser for the Lawrence Arts Center Preschool. by Kevin Anderson

Kids and cookies go together like Santa and his reindeer. And for some Lawrence kids, cookies are just what they need to help bring holiday cheer to their preschool.

The Lawrence Arts Center Preschool Cookie Sale begins at 9 a.m. Saturday as a fundraiser for the award-winning preschool, which teaches arts-based education. Cookies will be sold for $6 per pound and will be on sale within LAC's preschool classrooms at 940 N.H. until only crumbs are left says Linda Reimond, preschool director. Limited bagels and barbecue will also be served to those cookie shopping during breakfast and lunch.

In addition, individual cookies will be sold at the Gingerbread House Festival and Viewing beginning at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Building, 200 W. Ninth St.

The cookies are a combination of treats made by the kids, contributed by their families or donated and then decorated (both Munchers Bakery and Great Harvest Bread Co. both contributed undecorated cookies).

On Wednesday afternoon, preschool kids and their parents visited Meadowlark Estates in West Lawrence and decorated cookies with elderly residents. Reimond says about 10 dozen cookies were prepared by the kids and Meadowlark residents.

"I love the fact that there were grandparent-age (folks), and some of the moms were there, and then the kids. That was what was so special to me, that they were going to do it together," Reimond says before running through this year's treats. "You won't even believe all the cookies that will be here. There will be some decorated cookies, some holiday cookies, and one of the preschool classes made dog biscuits. So we can even have cookies for your pet."

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A concert with all that Jazz: KPR presents “A Big Band Christmas”

UPDATE: Phil Wilke of KPR notified Lawrence.com that Kevin Mahogany has been injured and cannot travel to Saturday's concert. Replacing him will be Kansas City jazz singer Ron Gutierrez. The concert will go on as planned.

Jazz lovers will get an early Christmas present again this year from Kansas Public Radio.

KPR presents "A Big Band Christmas" at 8 p.m. Dec. 10 at Liberty Hall, 644 Mass. It is the third annual jazz concert put on by KPR, and will feature vocalist Kevin Mahogany this year along with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra.

Mahogany is a Baker University grad and Kansas City native who has received praise from "Newsweek," "The New Yorker" and "The L.A. Times," among others.

"We wanted to make this concert a holiday tradition," says Janet Campbell, KPR's general manager. "This is our third year and we've had great listener and community support. The addition of Kevin to the concert will make it a special event for everyone who attends."

Tickets are $15.50 and available at the Liberty Hall box office or on ticketmaster.com.

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Keeping a lid on the party (an ode to Pinterest)

As a working mom, a lot of the time I'm pretty horrible at following through. I will get all excited about something and then not have enough time/energy/remaining braincells to actually do it.

I could give you examples, but honestly they're endless, just ask my friends and family. Anyway, this acquired trait is most definitely on display with the number of websites I join and then abandon. Google+, Goodreads, Red Lemonade, Tumblr ... the list goes on and on.

But, every now and again, I will find a site that I use every day. Twitter and DailyMile have become staples for me. They're interesting and more than that, they're useful, which means they get gold stars from working mommy me.

But my absolute new favorite is Pinterest. If you aren't familiar, it's a site where you can create "pin boards" of things you like on the web. Your ideas are organized, stay in one place so you can find them again, and others on the site can follow your boards and get ideas from you. And, of course, you can get ideas from them and their friends/followers.

Of course, I'm all about ideas from others because of the previously mentioned lack of time/energy/remaining braincells I have during most of my non-working life. Therefore, I've become an addict for Pinterest — checking it each night before I go to bed and repinning new ideas until my eyes glaze over and I think my watch is lying to me about how late it is.

One of the ideas I found that I thought was genius was this pin that showed up in my feed. It's an idea for a get together, where instead of having a drink bar, you pre-mix cocktails, pour them into mason jars, seal them and set them on ice. That way, the drinks are done, there aren't any spills and it makes for a pretty presentation, too. (Oh, and it's eco-friendly and cheap — double score!)

I absolutely loved that idea, but being the aforementioned working mom, I also have no delusions about how often I'd actually have enough people over to use such an ingenious idea. I.E. — once in a very blue moon, after the kiddo's bed time when the pretty presentation would be wasted.

So, when I realized we'd need drinks to go with the snacks I'd set out for my son's third birthday party this weekend, I knew exactly what I wanted to try. I grabbed the biggest bowl I had, ice and mason jars and set out not cocktails but apple cider and lemonade, as you see above.

The set up worked great, was fun for the kids and the adults and made for really easy clean up. I'll definitely do it again, and recommend it for any holiday parties you might have coming up (the kind where mason jars aren't too low-brow, of course).

As for the birthday boy, he enjoyed some apple cider from his cup, and got to have a chocolate cupcake. Though, he had to wait through the party for the cupcake (you can see him mooning over the cupcake pre-party below).

Don't worry, he ate the whole thing after opening his presents. See, I do follow through on the important things.

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Save some of that Black Friday cash for two specialty markets

Trying on a hat, Alison Roepe, Lawrence, shops on Black Friday at the Fair Trade Holiday Market at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, sponsored by the Lawrence Fair Trade Coalition. Shoppers found items at the market from all over the world.

Trying on a hat, Alison Roepe, Lawrence, shops on Black Friday at the Fair Trade Holiday Market at Ecumenical Christian Ministries, sponsored by the Lawrence Fair Trade Coalition. Shoppers found items at the market from all over the world. by Richard Gwin

If you plan on avoiding the big box stores like the plague on Black Friday, may we suggest instead checking out two Lawrence originals for gifts?

Each year, the Bizarre Bazaar and The Free Trade Holiday Market open their doors after Thanksgiving to shoppers looking to buy a locally made gift or something precious created by an artist in need half a world away.

The Bizarre Bazaar will be open as part of Final Fridays from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., then on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 N.H. The annual event features work by dozens of local artists selling everything from handbags to jewelry to dog sweaters.

The Fair Trade Holiday Market runs from Friday to Dec. 3 at the Ecumenical Christian Ministries Building, 1204 Oread Ave. The market features unique gifts from around the world, including jewelry, bags, textiles, home goods and more. The hours are: Nov. 25-27, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Nov. 28-Dec. 1, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Dec. 2, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Dec. 3, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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Show your support for the arts and young artists at Van Go’s “Adornment”

Winona Boado, 18, an apprentice artist at Van Go Mobile Arts Inc., paints some handmade wooden trees on Monday that will be in the annual Adornment Holiday Sale, Show and Party Saturday at 715 N.J. The sale, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will feature items made by the young artists who have been receiving job training at Van Go.

Winona Boado, 18, an apprentice artist at Van Go Mobile Arts Inc., paints some handmade wooden trees on Monday that will be in the annual Adornment Holiday Sale, Show and Party Saturday at 715 N.J. The sale, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., will feature items made by the young artists who have been receiving job training at Van Go. by Mike Yoder

If you think someone on your holiday gift list would love the idea of helping out a young artist while receiving something beautiful, look no further than Van Go's holiday show: "Adornment."

The show and fundraiser will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday at Van Go Mobile Arts' home base: 715 N.J. Prices start at just $2 and include everything from jewelry to hand-built signs to glass charms. Each item was created by one of 25 teens, each of whom have been learning art skills during the fall session at Van Go, which strives "to improve the lives of high-needs youth using art as the vehicle for self-expression, self-confidence and hope for the future."

"These art objects have personal stories and heart and soul behind them that commercial holiday shopping venues can't offer," says Lynne Green, Van Go's executive director. "Shopping at Adornment is a way to buy locally while supporting your community."

Can't make it? Van Go's gallery shop will be open 1 to 5 p.m. every day until Dec. 23.

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Are you a writer? The Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award deadline is Dec. 16

Like to write? How'd you like $500 for your words?

The Lawrence Arts Center and the Raven Book Store are calling for submissions to the 2012 Langston Hughes Creative Writing Award. The award is given to one poet and one fiction writer, and each winner receives $500.

To be eligible:

• Writer of poetry or fiction

• Writers currently living in Douglas County and who have lived here for one year prior to submission of materials

• 21 years old or older

• Writers who have published a book-length volume of poetry or fiction are not eligible. (Self-published works are exempted.)

• Previous winners not eligible

The application deadline for submissions is December 16. All manuscripts should be submitted electronically, via email. Information about submission guidelines can be found on the Lawrence Arts Center website, http://www.lawrenceartscenter.org/Storypages/2011/Langston-Hughes-Award.html

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Junk food logic: Congress makes pizza a vegetable, what to do?

Whole Foods' Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Pesto Pizzas.

Whole Foods' Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Pesto Pizzas.

I'm hoping most of you had the same reaction as I did when news came earlier this week that Congress had proposed to make pizza a vegetable within the confines of the school lunch program:

"Oh, that makes sense."

Not that I think it's right. And not that I believe pizza, or more accurately the tomato paste in the pizza sauce, is truly a vegetable. I think that's a bunch of junk. No, it was that I wasn't surprised in the least.

Why should we be surprised? Schools have to go through loopholes to get fresh, organic, local vegetables into their school kitchens. As a corollary to how hard local food leaders like Nancy O'Connor, Rick Martin, Linda Cottin and others have worked to get school gardens up and running and feeding children in Lawrence, it just makes sense that all of a sudden the bar for our children's food would be set lower. I mean, we are fat and getting fatter all the time. Why not keep our children — our future — in step?

Yes, pizza's sudden status as a vegetable is upsetting, stupid and disheartening. And though disgusted Americans can ship their kids off to school with lunch pails in hand, that might not keep children from eating crap. We can't control what children put in their mouths within school walls. French fries and pizza are just about as attractive to children as being just like everyone else. And if everyone else is eating pizza, it's not hard to imagine an allowance spent on "vegetables" and a sack lunch rotting in the trash.

So, what's a parent to do? Control what your child eats at home. Offer him or her fruits and vegetables at breakfast and dinner. Don't buy the unhealthy things he or she leans on for after-school snacks. Buy apples. Buy pears. Buy baby carrots. Stand your ground.

And if your children want pizza? Make them pizza.

Pizza isn't a vegetable, but it isn't a four-letter word either. Not so long as you lead by example. Make a pizza covered in vegetables. Serve it with a salad. And ask your kids if they want to help in the kitchen — let them learn the joy of making something for themselves.

For a few ideas on pizzas containing actual vegetables, try these:

Romesco Pizza With Caramelized Onions & Squash

Whole Grain Mini Pizzas

Grilled Heirloom Tomato and Pesto Pizzas (in the pic at the top of this blog)

Roasted Apple, Butternut Squash, and Caramelized Onion Pizza (my family's personal fave)

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KU music students to perform works written by KU professors, other composers

Love music? Love it even more if it's free? You'll want to be at Swarthout Recital Hall in Kansas University's Murphy Hall at 7:30 Friday night.

That's when the KU student musicians will perform original compositions from the university staff as well as American composer George Crumb. The event, called the "Helianthus Contemporary Ensemble Fall Concert," is free and open to the public and will include:

  • "Classical Suite," by James Barnes
  • "The Twelve Kisses," by Forrest Pierce
  • "An Idyll for the Misbegotten," by George Crumb
  • "Transparencies," by Kip Haaheim
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The bird and my dad’s word: Giving thanks for precision

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by Robert Linton

If you got your paper this morning or checked Lawrence.com yesterday (or even today), you may have seen that we revamped our Thanksgiving Survival Guide that debuted last year. Basically, our guide is meant to be a handy "Cliff's Notes" to get you through the trials and tribulations of holding Thanksgiving.

Now, what you don't know is where that idea came from. Not from any editorial meeting or reader call asking for help. No, it came from an email I typically get each year a few weeks before Thanksgiving. An email that contains not only a page-long grocery list, but a minute-by-minute account of just how the holiday should go down — starting with the fact that I need to defrost the turkey starting this Sunday.

I don't have a Thanksgiving fairy godmother, and I haven't signed up for some reminder service or anything like that. No, this email comes from the real king of Thanksgiving:

My dad.

My dad isn't a chef, though he probably could've made a lot of money off his cooking prowess. (I'm a baker at heart — I do not claim his talents.) In fact, he's trained as an engineer and that sort of anal-retentive mind goes perfectly with the dance known as "getting Thanksgiving dinner on the table on time."

His list and timing are precise, right up to the brands of food I need to buy ahead of time. For example:

— Pepperidge Farm Herb Bread stuffing (not cubed)

— 1 can Le Sueur Peas

— 10 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (not really a brand, but you get the point I'm making here).

My job is to buy everything ahead of time (yes, he pays me back), put the turkey out to defrost and then just get out of the way. Well, and I generally make rolls from scratch, but I tend to do that a day or two ahead.

I'm sure these sorts of marching orders might make others cringe or demand that they get to do it themselves. But it's really not a bad deal when you think about it — I get to have Thanksgiving in my own home and I don't have to do anything but set it up. Plus, I love watching my dad cook — as I said earlier, he's really talented, and I learn just by seeing what he does. Honestly, I wouldn't have Thanksgiving any other way.

How does your family do Thanksgiving?

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How much time do you spend preparing meals?

Wendy Green, assistant manager of food service at West Junior High School, holds a tray of vegetables that were picked from the school's garden. Cafeteria staff members will chop them up and put them on the food bar.

Wendy Green, assistant manager of food service at West Junior High School, holds a tray of vegetables that were picked from the school's garden. Cafeteria staff members will chop them up and put them on the food bar. by Kevin Anderson

The good folks over at the USDA have put together a report on how much time Americans spend on food. And the numbers are surprising — to me, at least.

I feel like half my life is spent in the kitchen — washing, chopping, whisking and cleaning —yet according to the Economic Research Service report, Americans 18 and over spend 33 minutes in food preparation on an average day, including cleanup. Women spent more time (47 minutes) than men (18 minutes) on food prep while college-age adults spent considerably less time (15 minutes) than senior citizens (42) minutes on meal prep.

How much time do you spend prepping and cleaning up meals?

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Wanna devour the competition? You can — if you don’t mind your chips black n’ blue

One of the perks of being a food writer: Generally, my mail includes food.

In this case, a giant box delivered Friday afternoon (an express shipment, no less), that was suspiciously light. So light, in fact, that I figured either I'd been shipped edible packing peanuts or some sort of kitsch fluff.

Kitsch, it was: Apparently, Mission Foods has developed KU- and Mizzou-themed tortilla chips ahead of what the company is calling the "NachoTron 3000" unveiling at the Border Showdown Nov. 26 at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. The KU chips are predictably crimson and blue and the Mizzou chips are gold (normal?) and black.

I'm not sure why the chips needed some serious express treatment, but at least the company has a sense of humor. An enclosed note explains: "As a proud Jayhawk, I thought you'd get a kick out of these! But in the spirit of journalistic impartiality, I've enclosed a bag of the MU chips, too." I thought it was clever little note, though the former sports copy editor in me wants to know if Mission has ever heard the phrase "No cheering in the press box" — even a Jayhawk isn't a Jayhawk when working for a newspaper in Lawrence.

Anyhow, the chips are available at Kansas City-area grocery stores for the next few weeks. So, even if KU's season hasn't been the best, Jayhawk fans can either support the team by chowing down on the red and blue chips, or just take to crushing the Tigers (with their incisors).

So, now the question is: Will NachoTron 300 stay with the Big 12 or hightail it to the SEC?

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Head to the Lawrence Farmers’ Market while you can — only two Saturday markets remain

Megan Paisley of Double J Farm in Fontana is proud that she's introduced her daughters, including Josie, second from left, to farming. Paisley sells produce, breads, canned items and soaps at the Saturday Lawrence Farmers' Market.

Megan Paisley of Double J Farm in Fontana is proud that she's introduced her daughters, including Josie, second from left, to farming. Paisley sells produce, breads, canned items and soaps at the Saturday Lawrence Farmers' Market. by Jon Goering

Saturday morning is set to be sunny, clear and crisp and just perfect for hitting up the Lawrence Farmers' Market. Good thing too, because after this Saturday there will be only one more outdoor market — Nov. 19.

So, if you want sweet potatoes, squash, honey and other goods get them now while the getting's easy. The market is open from 8 a.m. to noon in the parking lot in the 800 block of New Hampshire. You can find local seasonal goods at grocery stores around town, but there's nothing quite like buying it straight from the farmer. Plus, the farmer earns a better wage selling straight to you, so it's a great bonus for them if you buy as a direct customer.

Then, a few weeks after the outdoor market season ends, there will be one final chance to see some of the vendors before next spring — the group's Holiday Market will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 10 at The Holiday Inn, 200 McDonald Drive. The Holiday Market will feature crafts, foods, plants, textiles and other wares.

Also, it's not too late to become a "Friend of the Market" — for $10, you not only get the satisfaction of supporting the market, but also $2.00 in market tokens, a reusable shopping bag, a discount on some of the market merchandise plus a Farmers' Market decal and fridge magnet.

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Mr. Bacon walks into a bar…

For any new catering business, winning over potential clients can be a tough slog while word-of-mouth praise gathers.

But that Mr. Bacon is a clever one.

Mr. Bacon BBQ, a new catering group in Lawrence run by Jeff and Valery Frye, has teamed up with Conroy's Pub to get its food out there with occasional barbecue nights. The first night was Oct. 28 at the pub, 3115 W. Sixth St., where diners got an exclusive taste of Mr. Bacon's wares — smoked meats, desserts and various appetizers and desserts.

The second Mr. Bacon BBQ Night is this Friday (Nov. 11) with more dates to follow. The menu is available starting at 5 p.m. and lasting until the meat runs out or 9 p.m., whichever comes first.

For more information on Mr. Bacon, check out www.misterbaconbbq.com.

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My favorite homemade bread recipe

This batch of Blue-Ribbon Bread and rolls was made when the weather was about three times as hot as this morning (hence the ice cream maker in the background). It truly is a year-round treat, though it is really lovely to make on bright, cold days like this one.

This batch of Blue-Ribbon Bread and rolls was made when the weather was about three times as hot as this morning (hence the ice cream maker in the background). It truly is a year-round treat, though it is really lovely to make on bright, cold days like this one. by Sarah Henning

On days like this one — clear and sunny and way too chilly — I absolutely love to bake my own bread. There's something about the smell and feel of a loaf or a pan of rolls straight from the oven.

For a long time I was totally freaked out by the idea of making yeast breads. They seemed finicky and difficult and, of course, making them would mean I'd have to go to the store and buy special bread flour and yeast, rather than being able to stay at home, all safe and warm with my pantry of ingredients.

But, let me tell you, when I finally got around to trying to make my own bread, going to the store and buying those intimidating ingredients was well worth it. More than just filling my house with a lovely smell and my belly with a warm snack or meal, making my own bread also has allowed me to avoid dough conditioners, preservatives and ingredients only Google knows how to pronounce. Now, I usually tend to avoid that stuff altogether by buying loaves from Wheatfields or the Lawrence Farmers' Market, but sometimes I like to put on my apron and proudly make it myself.

When I do, this is the recipe I choose most of the time. It has great ingredients, many options and goes from ingredients to bread relatively no time (some bread takes days to make). Plus, it makes a TON. Many times, I will make 1 huge loaf (9.25 x 5.25 inches) and a bunch of rolls. I'll then slice up and freeze half the large loaf and all the rolls. That way, because there aren't any preservatives, I'm not sad because my loaf has dried out too quickly. But, if you aren't able to use the bread you have out, not to worry, this bread makes great bread crumbs in a food processor.

Blue-Ribbon Bread (adapted from this fabulous book from Jennifer McCann — makes 3 8.5-inch loaves, 2 loaves and nine dinner rolls, or 1 huge loaf and nine dinner rolls)

2 cups warm water

2 packets active dry yeast

1/2 cup canola oil

1/2 cup agave nectar or honey

1 tablespoon salt

2 cups cooked oatmeal

3 cups whole-wheat flour

4-5 cups bread flour

Pour the warm water into a very large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and stir well. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes to dissolve the yeast.

Add the canola oil, agave nectar, salt, cooked grains and the whole-wheat flour to the yeast water, stirring vigorously. Beat well with a large wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let the sponge rise in a warm, draft-free place for 1.5 hours.

Stir the sponge down and add 3 cups of the bread flour, stirring in about a 1/2 cup at a time until the mixture is firm enough to knead by hand. Turn the dough out onto a well-floured counter or pastry board and knead vigorously. Sprinkle more four on your hands and work surface as you kneed to keep the dough from sticking. You will need to add about 1.5 cups more flour this way, more if the grains you used were particularly moist. Knead for 20 minutes, until the dough is smooth and develops and inner firmness and springiness.

Shape the dough into a round and place it in a very large, well-oiled mixing bowl (the biggest you've got — I've had to dump out my large wooden fruit bowl for this), turning the round so the top of the dough gets coated with some of the oil. Cover with plastic and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Fatten out the dough with your hands, pressing out any air bubbles. Cut the dough into three equal pieces. Shape into three loaves and place in three 8.5x3.5-inch loaf pans that have been sprayed with nonstick spray. Or shape into two loaves and divide the rest of the dough into nine pieces and shape each piece into a round and space them evenly apart in a 9x9-inch baking pan that has been sprayed with nonstick spray. (I made one huge, 9.5 X 5-inch loaf and nine dinner rolls). Spray or brush the tops of the bread with olive oil, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let the bread rise one last time.

During the final rise, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. When the loaves and rolls have risen until not quite doubled, about 25 minutes, place in the oven. Bake until golden and hollow sounding when given a gentle thump, about 20 to 25 minutes for rolls, 25 to 40 minutes for loaves. Rotate the pans once during baking to ensure evenness.

Remove the bread and rolls from the pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.

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Get your geek on with “Nerd Nite 0”

Whether you're truly nerdy or just happen to have an affinity for the borderline geeky, tonight's the night for you.

The first "Nerd Nite — Lawrence" kicks off at 7:30 p.m. at Pachamama's, 800 N.H. The event is free, open to the first 50 people, and will be held monthly. The idea is for nerds and geeks of all stripes to get together to talk about all things nerdy. Each month, there will be speakers presenting on a common theme of geekiness. This month's theme is "Nerd Space" — billed as "Exploring how we nerdify the spaces around us and how we're affected by our environment."

Tonight's presentations:

  • “Animals and Zombies! Africa and the Media,” by Emily Fekete

  • “How I Learned to Start Worrying and Make a Map . . . of Bike Accidents,” by Germaine Halegoua

  • “Walden Pond, Speakeasies and Revenge of the Nerds: Temporary Autonomous Zones and Poetic Terrorism in American Life," by Michael Black

For more information, check out "Nerd Nite — Lawrence" on Facebook, or at the group's page on the national "Nerd Nite" site.

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Day of the Dead turns into night at The Percolator

Want to do something both festive and artsy tonight? Check out the Dia de los Muertos get together at the Lawrence Percolator.

The potluck dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. and a procession/invocation begins at 7:30. The Percolator is in the alleyway between the Lawrence Arts Center and the Social Service League. Look for the green awnings from the intersection of New Hampshire and Ninth streets.

For more information, go to www.LCAVA.org.

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Halloween candy roulette: Would you rather have too much or too little candy in the house?

Halloween Treats can be a dream come true for children and a nightmare for parents. Nutrition experts suggest limiting candy intake and maybe throwing it out when the kids are asleep.

Halloween Treats can be a dream come true for children and a nightmare for parents. Nutrition experts suggest limiting candy intake and maybe throwing it out when the kids are asleep.

This was the first year my kiddo actually went trick-or-treating. We didn't hit downtown, we just went to a few friends' houses and on a loop of the neighborhood. He was too shy to knock on doors, so for about two-thirds of our mile loop last night, his answer to my asking if he wanted to go up to this house or that house was, "No, we're on a walk." By the time he finally got up the courage to step up to a doorway and trick-or-treat, there were only a handful of houses left on our loop.

So, we came home with 10 pieces of candy ... and to an empty candy bowl. My husband had given away four bags-worth of candy and ended up having to appease latecomers by dipping into the leftover pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies I'd made for the kiddo's class party. Thus, he was really hoping that the kiddo and his Diego (of "Go, Diego, Go") costume would bring home enough loot that he could steal a few pieces after bedtime.

Um, no.

So, this year, I must say that we don't have an "oh my gosh, there's so much candy in this house" problem. Which is equal parts a bummer and a mercy because then we don't have to eat it all. (Oh man, I've done some damage in past years when we've had fewer trick-or-treaters than I have fingers.)

Which problem would you rather have?

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Haunted house hopes to scare up funds for the Lawrence Humane Society

If you're looking for a haunted house experience and like to be a bit charitable, consider stopping by the Sinister Cinema out front of 2829 Mo. Saturday night.

Guests can get a good scare by walking through a movie screen and into their very own horror show for just $3 a trip. And, when the fear dies away, they can feel all warm and fuzzy because their entry fee will be on its way to the Lawrence Humane Society as soon as possible.

The home's owners, Tim and Sherry Emerson, owners of Pet World, 711 W. 23rd, have held a haunted house for years, but this is the first time there's a designated fee and donation system. They also decided to have a night just for the kids, donations optional.

The haunted house is open to the public (i.e. adults) from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday night. The minimum donation is $3 and no alcohol is allowed. On Monday night, the haunted house will be open to trick-or-treaters ages 13 and under. On Monday, there will be no cost.

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A cowboy and an alien walk into a concert…

Let your kids test out their costumes and get an introduction to traditional musical instruments with a combined concert and costume contest put on by the KU Symphony Orchestra this Friday at the Lied Center.

The costume contest starts at 6:30 p.m., followed by the concert at 7:30. In addition, kids can participate in an "instrument petting zoo" and oogle at Baby Jay, one of the contest's judges. For the adults, there's the chance to geek out as the costumed orchestra performs Western or outer-space-themed music and film scores.

Tickets are $7 for adults and $5 for students and seniors. They can be purchased at the Lied Center Box Office, 864-2787, or at the door.

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