I am ashamed to admit it, since my mom is a self taught children’s illustrator and my childhood was infused with imaginative afternoons spent in her studio, but sometimes I need guidance being creative myself. I often have the motivation and desire to pull off some sweet little craft venture with London but its in the execution of the project where I falter. By the time I gather up all the supplies, wrangle London to the table and attempt to guide him towards a semblance of creating the actual project at hand, I am worn out.
That’s the great thing about the Kirkland Arts Center drop-in toddler art class; they provide the materials, a room to contain the disaster that I won’t have to clean up later and a specific project for the day. Not bad for $10. All I had to do was throw a painting smock on London, sit him down & watch the creative juices flow!
The project the day we visited the art center was a self portrait. All the kids were given a mirror to stare intently into while they tried valiantly to replicate their smiling faces. London’s was a bit abstract but I think he got the round head shape down! They also made an art folder to take all their masterpieces home in. Class lasted an hour and there was plenty of free parking around the neighborhood.
Though I might not have personally pulled off a Pininterest worthy craft day with my toddler, he had fun being creative and I had fun watching him learn from someone else. And though creativity can and should get messy; today it wasn’t in my house which made me smile all the way home.
Kirkland Arts Center
620 Market Street
Kirkland, WA 98033
Toddler Drop-In Class
Ages 2-4 with Adult
Tuesdays 10am~2nd Floor Mezzanine Studio
Supplies included~$10 per kid/parent
Growing up in Washington, it was hard not to know at least one logging family. We’re surrounded by towering evergreens up here and the logging blood runs deep. It’s not easy work however and every year loggers become injured or even die while on the job~a sad reality of many labor intensive careers. Established in 1963, the Deming Logging Show is a non-profit event put on every 2nd full weekend in June for “the Benefit of Busted Up Loggers”. After watching some of the events put on during the show, such as pole falling or speed climbing, it’s really no wonder that loggers get “busted up”. That’s some hard-ass work and from the looks of it, can be are scary as hell.
London of course, being the red blooded boy that he is, loved all the logging truck demonstrations and the axe throwing event was pretty manly as well. He also dug all the vintage logging trucks set up outside the show, including some ancient beast of a machine that made me glad, at least for the modern day loggers, that they no longer had to utilize that metal monster.
Besides the competitive events and truck show, there was also a pretty tasty BBQ for purchase which included up to three different kinds of meat; a worthy calorie racking meal for all those axe swingin’ flanneled men. I had not been nearly that active and the giant plate of food put in front of me could have fed a small family yet that didn’t stop me from eating it all. I was at a logging show and I wasn’t about to lose my mountain creed over whether I needed a few 1000 measly calories. Besides, I was supporting those “busted up loggers” and eating my weight in baked potato & cornbread was the least that I could do.
Deming Logging Show
3295 Cedarville Road Bellingham, WA 98226
2nd full weekend in June
$7.00 for adults
$4.00 for kids 6-12
There’s few things finer on Earth than a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie. This being America and all, a land filled with cult status baked goods, finding one little amazing cookie should be a simple enough task but I assure you that it is not! I have taken a bite out of many subpar imitations on my quest to discover chocolate chip perfection and the road leading to my long sought perfect treat is littered with crumbled disappointment. However I have finally found the elusive perfectly made chocolate chip cookie and thankfully it is just east of the Mountains from me so I can’t eat them everyday which is good because I’d be fat as hell I’m sure. With crisp edges and a soft, almost under baked center; they are as close to circular perfection as one can really come. And when the one doing the baking happens to be your spunky little sister, well, all the better.
I’ve traveled back and forth over Hwy 2 all my life & Little Red’s is a welcome bright spot on the well traveled road. It plies its’ customers with tasty lattes and sumptuous baked goods concocted right there, in the itty bitty little oven. It is no small wonder that Aubrey, the owner and operator of Little Red’s, can pull it off, especially in the high mountain heat of a Leavenworth summer.
She uses locally roasted Cafe Ladro beans for her frothy lattes~a sophisticated choice often not available this far from urban dwelling. Aside from her caffeine quenching treats, there are daily baked specials such as banana nutella muffins (so good), homemade pop tarts, maple bacon bread and breakfast burritos. As if this wasn’t enough, Little Red’s also offers homemade sack lunches complete with made to order sandwiches, fruit and a cookie; perfect for taking on a hike or early morning road trip.
I won’t even mention my favorite thing that she bakes, an oatmeal & raisin something or other which defies my tastebuds every time and blows every other version out of the water. Completely. Seriously, it’s criminally good. It’s her sweet revenge on me for all those years I tortured her with my big sister antics when we where kids; she’s trying to make me fat.
It’s been amazing to watch Aubrey’s dreams come to fruition and though I may be a bit bias, she is my little sister after all, she really does encompass everything which most people want with their morning cup o’ joe. That is good coffee, a sweet treat and a radiant smile~which is not a bad way to start your day I’d say.
Little Red’s Bakery
15395 US HWY 2
Leavenworth, WA 98826
Hours: Mon-Wed 6am-4pm
My little man recently turned two and being the wild thing he is, we, of course, had a monster themed shindig; complete with a monster piñata, eyeball cookies, and one monsterifically messy cake. The highlight of the days festivities though was most definitely watching all the hordes of kids take their turn at the face painting table. Happy Faces Face Painting truly lives up to its name~face after face was transformed into hairy little beasts and the kids could not have been happier.
The magic behind the brush is Rebecca Dickinson, a children’s book author & illustrator who has extended her many talents into the world of face painting. Having spent a large part of her career in the kid teaching realm while simultaneously raising a small brood of her own, Rebecca is very comfortable around children. A skill which most definitely comes in handy with a posse of squirming, wiggly kids to paint.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness her work quite a few times, whether for a birthday party, a business’s grand opening or even just for some Seahawks game day spirit. It’s a fun, bright way to bring a little extra festive cheer to any event. At our monster party, while the kids jostled for a turn to be next, Happy Faces Face Painting delivered. Face after darling face, whether covered in delicate pink lines or bold green stripes, they all came away happy and truly monsteriffic.
Rates start @ $50 an hour for private party
$75 an hour for corporate events
I had a disastrously bad relationship in my early 20’s and as hellish as it was at least two good things came out of it; my hard earned resolve to demand better for myself and a newfound love for pupusas. Pupusas hail from El Salvador and were originally created by the Pipil tribe many centuries ago. It wasn’t until the 1980’s that they arrived here in el norte, carried in the hearts and stomachs of thousands of Salvadorans fleeing their tumultuous & civil war torn country. Since then, pupusarias have popped up all over the U.S. and are especially prevalent in LA, where this little gem resides.
Mi Carbonero Restaurant is similar to a lot of Latino owned restaurants around LA; every possible window surface is covered with flashy photo evidence of just how good their food looks, complete with a poster of international phone cards they also sell. You know, just in case you desperately need a phone card with lunch. The interior of Mi Carbonero is pleasantly cool, a dining requirement in the often stifling LA valley, where the temperatures can reach into the 90’s for days on end.
Pupusas are essentially stuffed tortillas, filled with all sorts of delectable combinations; my favorite being the tried & true Queso con Frijoles. That’s cheese and beans for my gringo friends. Once the pupusas are delivered to your table, you’ll get the traditional accompaniments, a cabbage slaw otherwise known as curtido and a tomato sauce. Now for all my pupusa eating novices out there, these two garnishes are as important to a great tasting pupusa as the pupusa itself and I dare anyone to argue otherwise. To find a pupuseria which produces both equally well is a perfect trinity, a trifecta of taste bud excellence and let me tell you, it can be damned hard to find. So I was pleasantly surprised when Mi Carbonero delivered just that. A tiny place in the sea of humanity that is LA, and I had found pupusa perfection. Now, if only I didn’t live 3 states away….
Mi Carbonero #1 Restaurant
11644 Victory Blvd.
North Hollywood, CA 91606
*Hours* Mon-Sun 8am-11pm
This past Valentine’s day, looking for a quick but not overly ambitious little day jaunt, we found ourselves pulling into the Breazeale Interpretive Center in the Padilla Bay Estuarine Reserve. After a curbside picnic in the warmth of the waning winter sun, we loaded up London in the hiking pack and headed down to the beach. The trail down is great, short & paved all the way, and it leads to a bird lookout above the beach before descending to the sand below via a spiral staircase.
Padilla Bay is a tidal bay which means that it floods during high tide and lies almost completely exposed during low tide. This allows the eelgrass which covers the bottom of the bay to grow unusually large, thus creating an ideal environment for many different marine animals and plants to thrive in. It is also an estuary, that murky no man’s land where fresh water and salt water meet. I’ve always liked estuary’s; a unique place where two worlds collide and somehow meld together to create a whole new environment. That and the mud. That silky, smooth, stinking mud which exists in estuaries the world over. I would have gladly let London cover himself head to toe in it had it not been high tide in February.
On our way back towards the car, London and I ducked into the Interpretive Center and were pleasantly surprised at all it had to offer. There are a few well done aquariums as well as a hands on learning room, with lots of things for kids to touch and explore all while learning about the local Padilla Bay environment. A little edification thrown into a Valentine’s day adventure? Now that’s my kind of romance.
Breazeale Interpretive Center
10441 Bayview Edison Road
Mt. Vernon, WA 98273
Open Wed~Sun 10am~5pm
My redneck mountain upbringing doesn’t readily lend itself to sampling exotic foods; it’s a failing I’ve tried to correct little by little over the years. I look with envy at others happily crunching away on octopus or salmon roe, seemingly oblivious to the fact that what they are eating is, infact, disgusting. Yet they look so fulfilled, so adventurous that somehow I can’t help but feel left out while staring down at my plate of familiar, predictably boring food. So this year, I’m determined to branch out my tastebuds and what better place to start than in the International District in Seattle.
As any adventurous eater can tell you, there are definite places to avoid while searching out ethnic food, so I always rely on a recommendation from someone who’s eaten at a specific place and survived. I friend of mine posted a photo of some succulent honey walnut shrimp from the Honey Court Seafood Restaurant awhile back and it intrigued me. I just couldn’t get that shrimp off my mind. So last Sunday, we headed down to the Honey Court for a taste of said shrimp and adventure.
The place was packed, which I took as a good sign and luckily the lobby has the requisite giant fish tank which seems to grace every Asian eatery from Seattle to China, so London had plenty of fish to stare at while we waited for a table. Keeping true to my vow of being a more adventurous eater, I ordered crispy prawns with green onions off the dim sum cart as soon as we were seated and they were straight up awesome. Fueled by my success in food cart pickings, Edgar chose a sticky rice packet which he said was great and I took his word for it. I couldn’t push my adventurous luck that far, at least not yet. We ordered more food, including that infamous honey walnut shrimp and as it piled high on our table, we realized that maybe we’d overestimated our eating abilities. Still, we wielded our chopsticks high and valiantly tried to finish our chow mien but in the end, we had to concede defeat. After all, we had to save some for dinner because who doesn’t love Chinese leftovers?
Honey Court Seafood Restaurant
516 Maynard Ave South
Seattle, WA 98104
Hours: Open 11am~2:30am Daily