CHATTER

CHEAP DATE NIGHT art-a-whirl
It’s the largest open studio and gallery tour in the U.S. showcasing more than 500 artists including potters, painters, sculptors, musicians, photographers, printmakers, and more. Whew. Trolleys move through the central area, should you need a lift between galleries. Grab your honey’s hand and head over to the Waterbury Building, where Surly is setting up its beer truck again both Friday night and Saturday, and the stage is filled with musical acts on Saturday afternoon. Or, stroll through the Northrup King Building on Friday night and sip wine while enjoying four floors full of talent. Visit nemaa.org for the full roster of buildings and events, all happening Friday night the 20th through Sunday the 22nd at 5 p.m.


green diaper service expands
Do Good Diaper Service is now offering a compostable diaper service. After several months of research and testing with commercial composting partners and state regulators, it will provide, deliver to, and collect from clients 100% compostable diapers and wipes. Because the composting process requires higher heat than backyard composting piles, Do Good teamed up with a state regulated industrial composting facility to compost the products, ensuring proper handling and composting. The result is a high-quality clean soil, and less impact on the landfills. For more information, visit dogooddiapers.com.


PARENT TESTED mixed reviews for lil rinser
We thought it was a great idea; a cap that would stay on firmly and channel water away from the face, but its one-size fits all flexibility wasn’t great for the two heads Lil Rinser was tested on. Our parent tester said that it was hard to hold it in place, keep her child’s hands down, and pour the water all at once, but on a positive note, her daughter thought it made a fun bath cap (see photo, right). See for yourself at lilrinser.com. About $10.


PARENT TESTED super hero in the bathroom!
Company Kids’ exclusive 100% cotton hooded towels are fun for little ones at the pool, beach, or after bath time. One generous size fits all and are available in a number of different styles for the inner pirate, fairy, bunny — even a lobster, though the logic on that one escapes us, you never know where a child’s imagination will land next. Visit companykids.com, about $30.


BOOK OF THE MONTH equally shared parenting
A family where both parents share not only breadwinning responsibilities, but also cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing tasks isn’t an impossible utopia with the Equally Shared Parenting concept. Marc and Amy Vachon write about their commitment to splitting tasks equally and gender-neutrally while raising two children. The model assigns duties to each parent and allows a budget of time for each parent to pursue other interests and hobbies, while showing how to split tasks accordingly. The book also accounts for the inevitable chaos and hiccups a family will experience (shared parenting or not) and how to bounce back in the most sanity-preserving way. 263 pages, $15.


lemonade mouth on the disney channel
Kids and tweens will be rockin’ out with Lemonade Mouth, the newest band hitting the Disney Channel. Five misfit students meet in detention and soon discover that fitting in with the jocks and cheerleaders doesn’t have to be the ultimate goal. The new band mates, played by Disney Channel alums Bridgit Mendler, Adam Hicks, and Hayley Kiyoko, among others, stand up against their rival band Mudslide Crush and earn the adoration of their classmates. The group sticks together through disagreements; pizza fights; and, of course, first crushes. Lemonade Mouth confronts issues like divorce and living in the shadow of older siblings in ways real kids can relate to, and no character is without flaw. Based on the novel of the same name by Mark Peter Hughes. Check Disney Channel for airdates/times.


great growing
Growing kits abound in the spring and Minnesota Parent began experimenting at home with three different kits: Growums, Miracle-Gro Kids, and Topsy Turvy, the upside down planter. Because teaching children to garden and learn about where their food comes from is an important tool in engaging them in a healthy lifestyle — we think these simple kits are a great way to get started. The Growums and Miracle-Gro kits set up quickly and are currently sitting near a window soaking up sun; the Topsy Turvy must wait for outdoor hanging … but the concept is certainly intriguing. Go to growums.com; scotts.com; or topsy-turvy.com for more information.


world war II re-enactment
Dakota City’s second annual World War II Historical Re-enactment event will take place Saturday, May 21, and Sunday, May 22 at Dakota City Heritage Village in Farmington. More than 20 living history organizations will portray American, British, Canadian, Russian and German soldiers. Throughout the weekend, the village will come to life with memories of the war years, both military and on the home front. Anyone who is a veteran, family of a veteran, history enthusiast, or who would like to learn more about the 1940s era is encouraged to attend. Visit dakotacity.org for more info.


bike safety
The brightly colored BikeGlow Safety Light will dramatically increase a bike’s side visibility when it’s wrapped around the frame. A 10-foot flexible light tube uses electroluminescent technology and features bright colors for increased visibility from the side. You can choose between steady, slow flashing, and fast flashing modes. A 3.5" x 1.25" power unit attaches to bike with included strap; unit weighs less than 2 oz. Wrap it around the frame tubing and secure it tightly with included attachment ties or tape. Runs on batteries. bikeglow.com, about $25.