I discovered the joys of IKEA in January when my family and I traveled to the big city for a museum exhibit. The exhibit was fabulous, but I fell in love with IKEA.
[PICTURED: Trofast storage system and hanging storage baskets.]
The first time we went, we were there 4 hours. The second time, a trip made in February, we were there for 5 hours - that is NOT an exaggeration. Between all of the furniture displays, the shopping store area, and the warehouse, there are so many things to see. There is also a small grocery area, a cafe (with Swedish meatballs that are so good, Casey was begging for them for a snack!), and - here's the best part - FREE babysitting!
Yes, free babysitting... of course, there is a bit of a catch. The babysitting is only for one hour, the children have to be potty-trained, and the children have to meet certain height restrictions. When you drop your kids off at SmalLand, you fill out a form for each child, they take your kids' shoes and put them in a bin, and they give you a pager (one of the restaurant coaster pagers that flash red lights in a circle and vibrate) to remind you to get your kids. Occasionally, you can hear parents being paged over the intercom system - I suppose they forgot their children because they're having so much fun shopping. I can see how that could happen!! Ha!
And, about the cafe... Swedish Meatballs, with a side (macaroni, applesauce, yogurt, rice, or mashed potatoes with gravy) and a drink (milk or juice) for kids: $2.49! The adult-sized portions are reasonably priced, too - and so good! During our last IKEA trip, we wound up talking to another family about homeschooling as we dined in the cafe.
[PICTURED: Children's dishes - they're the same ones those GREAT kids' meals are served on at the store.]
Whenever we return home from an IKEA outing, Richard starts drawing and measuring and exploring how we can reorganize our lives. I just stare at the IKEA catalog and wait for our next trip!
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