Today was the best of St. Louis summer (a cool morning thundershower) and the worst of St. Louis summer (the subsequent 100 percent humidity afternoon). It probably wouldn’t have felt so bad except that I was helping a friend move furniture. And a washer. And a dryer. From her basement to the second floor.

I avoided most of the heaviest lifting, thanks to the one man among three women who was determined not to be outdone by any two of us combined, but I still worked up quite a sweat. I cannot imagine having done that or any job outdoors today.

And yet after I read this post for the blog I help edit, St. Louis Kids Magazine’s SmartParenting, I was oh-so-tempted to give blueberry and blackberry picking a try.The farm she writes about, Huckleberry Hollow, is only about an hour southwest of St. Louis off I-44.  Some friends who picked blueberries a couple of weeks ago raved about the experience too, telling us it was magical to just hold out your hand and have blueberries practically fall into it.

I think what I have to do is imagine how good those frozen berries will taste come December …

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Just as teens are leaving the blogosphere for Twitter, I’m showing my age by becoming involved in another blog, over at St. Louis Kids Magazine. (Go check it out — and leave some comments, because it’ll be featured on Great Day St. Louis next week and I want it to look fabulous!)  I post there occasionally but edit daily, which is why this blog’s been getting short shrift lately. Plus we’ve been out and about to all the usual sports practices and school meetings and such. But we did find time for some springtime fun last week, planting seeds for the new community garden on Cherokee at Ohio. One of the garden’s sponsors, The Community Arts and Media Project, kindly allowed about a dozen of us to track potting soil all over the floor, and no one batted an eye when the bomb-making started off toward the back.

Seed bombs, that is — I’ve written about them before, the globs of dry clay and dirt and wildflower seeds with a little water to hold them all together. You make them, let them dry out a little, then toss them anywhere that needs a dose of color.  This time of year in St. Louis, it’s hard to remember a corner of the city that hasn’t always been gray and dreary!

Our guerilla gardening endeavor was such a hit with the boys that they’re all excited for the next event at CAMP. Poor M. would be disappointed to know that his choir concert will preclude the possibility of his attending CAMP’s bookmaking event on Sunday (Mar. 7) from 2 to 4 p.m.   So please, if you see him, don’t spill the beans. Ages 5 to 15 are welcome, and you can either bring a monetary donation or supplies of your own — anything that can be bound together. RSVPs are appreciated but not required, at lalarky@gmail.com or 314.773.1391.

Today’s a bit of a departure from my usual focus on free events — the boys really want to go to a waterpark this week, and sometimes, when it’s this hot, that much cool water sounds too good to pass up!

The current issue of St. Louis Kids Magazine contains an article I wrote on 51 family-friendly summer activities. Twenty-five of them are free, but they’re followed by some that are under $25 for a family of four and some that are “Worth the Splurge.” Thanks to the publisher of the magazine, I also wound up on KMOV’s Great Day St. Louis program on Monday to talk about the list.  Happily, they used plenty of footage from the venues we highlighted (five under $25 and five splurges) so it wasn’t five minutes solid of my face on camera!


In the past year or so I’ve cut down on the number of free publications I pick up. Instead, I’m receiving more of their feeds via e-mail.  This is a detriment to advertisers in the print version, and being a print person I want to support the medium, but having unread material in my inbox (currently the total is 36 e-newsletters alone) is a lot less messy than having it all over my desk!

But there’s no way I can pass up these publications entirely.  There’s just too much good under-the-radar info in them.  For example:  Both of today’s tips come from St. Louis Kids magazine.  The first is “On the Road in America: Big Truck Day” at the Kemp Auto Museum in Chesterfield.  It happens tomorrow (Aug. 2) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in conjunction with the museum’s ongoing exhibit of paintings and its permanent exhibition of 30 “historically significant” cars. I hadn’t checked the museum’s offerings lately, so I was pleasantly surprised to see what all’s happening there this summer — movie nights, music performances by kid-friendly bands, even a lock-in for ages 6 to 12.  Some of the activities have a nominal fee, but the big truck day is free.

The other tip is about two movie screenings sponsored by the magazine, American Teen (Aug. 5 at 7 p.m., ages 13 and above accompanied by parents only) and Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Aug. 9 at 10 a.m.).  For info on how to get passes for either screening, click on its title.