Mall of America tourists on the cheap.

It’s almost back to school time around here. Meagan and her friend wanted to go to the Mall of America so todaywe drove up to cities so they could shop their little hearts out. While they shopped, Annie and I hung out doing all the things that Annie wanted to do. Basically, the entire day was up to her. She walked when she wanted to walk, rode in the stroller when she wanted to ride. We went in the stores she wanted to look in and spent a lot more time than we usually do looking at and playing with toys.

We dropped the girls off at the mall and headed across the street to IKEA. Annie is finally tall enough to go into the kids play area. Parents can drop their kids off for 45 minutes while they shop and the kids play at no charge. I looked around the store while Annie played. I’m so glad she can finally use the play area – IKEA is a tough place to shop with a 3 year old. Or maybe it’s just hard to shop there with my kid. She likes to touch everything and wander all over. Playland=perfect for my on the go, nonstop kid.

After her 45 minutes had ended we headed upstairs to the cafe and grabbed a quick lunch before heading back across the street to the mall. Annie made sure that we were able to sit at the high top tables. Kids eat free at IKEA right now, so Annie turned out to be a really cheap lunch date. We were in and out of IKEA for less than $5. That doesn’t happen often.

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Do you shop ahead for Christmas and other holidays? I try, but it never seems to work out for me. Case in point – December 2009 I came across an online discount for the Build a Bear website. I ordered a deeply discounted unstuffed bunny with the thought that I would put it away until Easter and we would then take a little day trip to the Build a Bear store and it would be perfect. Well, I totally forgot about the rabbit. It sat in a box in Annie’s closet until….um….today. So, we hit Build a Bear to stuff a bunny. Annie picked out a Mn Twins t-shirt for the bunny. She had fun and has no idea that I forgot about that stupid rabbit for almost 2 years. Cost of this trip? $2 for the clearance MN Twins shirt that she picked out. (I do realize that I did pay for the rabbit and should add in that cost. Like I mentioned, I bought it with a code 2 years ago. The receipt says I paid $7.63 in December 2009) Today the store was having a promotion of any animal, any outfit, and any shoes for $29.99. I’m thinking I got the better deal. Annie doesn’t really seem to care that much about the outfits yet and was perfectly happy with the $2 baseball shirt she picked out.

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The Disney Store

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She could spend hours here. There are princess dresses and a fitting room. Give the opportunity, she would try on every dress in the store. We looked around and played for a bit.

The American Eagle Kids store had a mini drum set displayed at the door entrance. They were encouraging the kids to stop and play. Of course my loud kid was all over that idea.

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We walked through Nickelodeon Universe looking for Annie’s favorite characters.

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Kai-Lan and Jimmy Neutron were the only two we came across but only got a picture with Kai-Lan. Annie was totally fine with that.

Dance Party! This group is a lot of fun. They set up in different areas through out the park and dace and play little sing-song games with the kids. She loved it.
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The last stop was the American Girl Doll store to look around and pick out of the things she wishes she had. Annie has a Bitty Baby and wasted no time in showing me all of the things she wants for her baby at home. She pointed out what she wanted for her birthday, what she wanted for Christmas, and what she was going to buy Meagan while we were there. Annie recently found Meagan’s old stash of American Girl Dolls and is now convinced that she still plays with them.

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We hit the cafe for a little snack. They do such a cute job with the kids there. They give the kids an American Girl doll to borrow if they haven’t brought their own and set them up at the table.

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While you wait for your order the kids are brought lemonade and dessert to share with their doll.

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We ordered a veggie plate and cookies and milk. Cost: $10. Even though $ 2 cookies, a glass of milk and a handful of veggies is not a deal for $10 – the total experience was definitely worth the cost in my opinion.

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It was a long day, but Annie had a blast. She told me several times that she was having “so much fun”! Sometimes it’s fun to turn the itinerary over to the little ones and let them dictate with the day has in store. I was surprised that she didn’t ask to “do” and “buy” more. She was perfectly happy to look around in stores without buying. When all was said and done this kid was worn out. It was a good day.

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