Scheduling Summer Camps/Classes in Seattle

Each Jan/Feb many Seattle parents start the hunt for summer camps. Finding the camps can sometimes be fun, but filling out the plethora of applications for multiple kids (20 applications for 10 weeks for 2 kids) for educational/fun childcare is inefficient. I had quickly sketched out (on Balsamiq Cloud -a fantastic program to draft new ideas) a potential system that could search for all camps in a parents radius, complete one application for one kid, and pay all at once. I was so excited I pitched it to a friend of mine at dinner last night. Halfway through, she mentioned 6Crickets – a startup here in Seattle that had the same idea to help parents schedule their summer camp programs and classes. It also has the ability to view/schedule with friends. Since I had two spots left out of our 10 weeks of summer, I thought I’d try it. It worked! Not all camps/classes are listed but over 5000+ are. I was quite happy to use 6Crickets and bench my idea.

If you’re still looking to schedule your summer camps in Seattle, click here to register and to notify 6Crickets you received this referral from me.

Happy Scheduling!

Paula

 

Amazing! Starbucks Reserve & Princi – The Seattle Roastery.

So good!

I love pastries! My favorite hobby is sourcing pastries. For a number of years my favorite pastry shop in Seattle was Crumble and Flake. Today, they have slid down to number 5. But I’m not writing to tell you about their fall, I’m writing to tell you about Starbucks Reserve & Princi at the Seattle Roastery on Pike St. If you haven’t been there – it’s definitely a place to go. Not only for the various tastings of their higher grade coffee, or their modern wood decor but for their pastries and breads!

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Prosciutto & Cheese Croissant!

I ordered a prosciutto and cheese croissant to eat while I was taking in the ambiance of the Roastery (I think the prosciutto is from Rainshadow Meats – which is another great meat source for steaks and shaved ham). The pastry was served on a wooden tray which connects to the modern wood design of the place. As you can see from the featured picture – it was devoured. I also ordered a chocolate croissant and a loaf of multi-grain bread to take home. When the  twins came home from school they completed a taste test of chocolate croissants from Princi, Crumble and Flake and Bakery Nouveau. The winner…Princi! Note: Bakery Nouveau still wins its category for double baked almond croissants!

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Top left – Princi, Top Right – Crumble & Flake, Bottom: Bakery Nouveau

Today, I toasted the multi-grain bread for breakfast with homemade peanut butter and then made chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. Even though the bread was dense it was delightful with it’s respective combinations. Now on to the coffee.

I am not a regular Starbucks connoisseur. I prefer the local coffee shops – Cafe Rococo , Diva Expresso,  Caffe Vita, Expressovivace. While I was at the Roastery, I had a non-fat latte. But it wasn’t with their regular blend they offer in their regular Starbucks. Unfortunately, I didn’t pay a attention to which exact reserve blend it was but I think it was their Guatemalan blend. The latte was AMAZING! I didn’t need to add sugar or anything else.

If you have in visitors, or need a spot for a breakfast meeting, a coffee date or just want to learn more about coffee – be sure to visit The Seattle Roastery you won’t be disappointed.

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Brioche – interior completely filled with custard!

 

Last minute holiday gift ideas!

HatPile1--e1452815122982A few last minute holiday gift ideas that are a bit unique. If you’re looking for a hat for warmth or for style, visit Goorin Bros on 1st ave in Seattle. They do have a few female hats but predominantly they have hats for men.  The hats are authentic, distinguished looking and the staff are friendly and knowledgeable.

While reading through Geekwire 200, I came across a startup called Glowforge. It’s a 3D laser printer that can be used in your home or business. It’s affordable, easy to use and you can even create exact chocolate desserts, a cardboard globe, a leather wallet, a unique skin for your laptop or iPad. Very cool for that techie or creative genius in your life.

A friend of mine wrote the cookbook: The Everyday Ketogenic Kitchen: With More than 150 Inspirational Low-Carb, High-Fat Recipes to Maximize Your Health. The cookbook is not only for diabetics, people looking for low carbohydrate recipes, but also for people (like me) who like to try new yummy recipes. Due to this book, I’ve purchased a spiralizer in which one of my daughters is now a huge fan of zucchini noodles, and we have added 5 new recipes to our rotational meal plans. The recipes are easy and quick to make after a long day at work.  Check it out!

The last idea, is more of a hostess or work colleague gift for that someone who loves eclairs. The store Choukette on Western Ave in Seattle makes very unique eclairs. I had to try 4. They are a bit pricey $5/eclair but they are a work of art.

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Eclairs!

As the holidays quickly approach, hostess and teacher gifts come to mind. Instead of giving scented candles, or wine try these amazing artisan pickles http://www.seattlepickleco.com/. The fresh dill pickles and green beans are fantastic. Not into pickles?

This strawberry freezer jam is outstanding home_cta_freezerveshttp://sunfreshjams.com/ . We recently stayed at Sun Mountain Lodge and were served this yummy jam with toast. After one bite, I lathered my half piece of toast with this jam and asked for more. I do make jam, but not in these flavors. The staff at Sun Mountain Lodge nicely told me their jam secret. So, I bought a case! The jams can be thaw and then be refrozen, thus you’re able to bring them to a holiday party. These items are great for teacher, boss, colleague gifts.

Enjoy!  you won’t be disappointed.

Paula

*Update: if you buy 4 jars of pickles online = FREE shipping. Otherwise if you can find them via the store locator on their site.

Wardrobe Change…Personal Shopper

Need a fabulous personal shopper/stylist contact Cheryl O’Connor!  Cheryl Anne Styling

After 6 years of a variety of jobs – owner of Barkz where I wore a Barkz shirt, jeans, and running shoes, to pregnant mom of twins – XXL t-shirt and lululemon yoga pants, to a new mom – t-shirt with puke on the shoulder and sweatpants to a stay at home mom who wore Banana Republic long sleeve black shirts, Hudson Jeans (because you can fit so many things in your butt pockets, and the black shirt didn’t show stains) and running shoes, to now… a job in a professional business setting – I needed help.

A friend of mine gave me Cheryl’s contact information and she has been fabulous. She came and looked at my closet of jeans, the odd nice shirt for date nights and said “I’ll meet you at Nordstrom on Tuesday!” I gave her a budget, and on the Tuesday I walked in, was escorted to a dressing room and shown a variety of outfits. I walked out with an entirely new wardrobe. Cheryl, not only listens to what you need, chooses clothes that fit your body type, colors that suit, undergarments that make everything look smooth and sleek and of course helps you match shoes to your new wardrobe.

She saved me money. I didn’t spend hours looking through racks trying to find my size, questioning myself on the new styles, figuring out what would match with what and I didn’t have to go back and spend time returning items that didn’t fit. However I do love Nordstrom for that fact – that you can return something even after a year.

If you’re in need of a wardrobe lift for the new season, contact Cheryl!

Labeling Kids Clothes – Back to School

Four years ago my fabulous sister-in-law gave me labels for the girls. At first I thought what am I going to do with all these? The girls are only 2 weeks old. Why do I need labels?

Daycare’s and schools require names on everything from extra underwear to water bottles. So back to school for me is pretty easy when it comes to labeling clothes, because my SIL gave me labels from Mabel’s Labels. I just have to stick the labels on and I’m done. (They don’t come off in the wash nor the in dishwasher.)

It takes me 5 minutes to label two sets of: clothes, backpacks, thermos, lunch containers, shoes etc. I have yet to purchase any from the site as I’m still working through the gift. Thanks so much CH!

Enjoy labeling.

Kids camps!

Fantastic Summer Camps in Seattle!

The girls were in camps most of the summer. I put them in the morning sessions so we could hWP_20150829_14_35_30_Proead to the beach, park or just hang out in the afternoons.

(I couldn’t source camps in Seattle until my kids actually went to them.)

Here is our list for 4.5 year olds:

Best to Worst

  1. Aerospace Camp – Museum of Flight (the girls loved the songs, the water rockets, learning about planets and more) There isn’t much around the museum for parents while the kids are in camp, but they do have free WiFi and if you’re okay with driving 20 minutes – the largest Costco and Southcenter are close by.
  2. Seattle Children’s Theatre – Treasure Trunk (worth the drive to the Seattle Center. The Armory has great bagels, coffee and free WiFi for parents while you wait)
  3. Elizabeth’s Dance Dimensions – Frozen Dance Camp (need I say more?)
  4. Mummy Camp – I was beat out by Aerospace Camp. This is a week in which we only do things with Mummy – Ferris wheels, aquariums, carousels, lunches out etc.
  5. Tennis Camp- This was at the Pro Club in Bellevue. Even though it was only one hour in duration – it was just enough to get the kids into tennis.
  6. Bellevue Studio – Art Camp! This is an amazing program. The enclosed pictures were completely done WP_20150829_14_35_15_Proby the girls. They start them off with three separate sections i.e. for the flower – draw a circle and a straight line. Then draw circles around the big circle, then draw a line for the grass. Shade and smooth. If I was taught this way I may have drawn more than triangular mountains and V shaped birds!
  7. Engineering For Kids this was disappointing because the description in the handbook says they’re outside and building bridges and towers.
  8. Pedal Heads Many of my friends loved this camp but we did not have the best experience during the camp session. However the manager did give us 2 free private lessons, which were excellent. Only one of my twins enjoys biking, the other prefers kayaking.

Good luck with the Back to School rush!

Gardening? Try planting only edibles.

1431552893885 Two years ago I read an article that stated if your kids help you plant seeds, watch a vegetable grow then they’ll eat the vegetables. Issue #1 when we planted the carrot seeds – nothing appeared. Issue #2 I had no idea how, what and where to plant things. Issue #3 when something did grow, it was infested with bugs. At that point I brought in the professionals – Seattle Urban Farm Company

WP_20150514_16_33_07_ProThey built a 2’x14′ planter out the front with a cold frame for winter planting, changed the soil in the back vegetable patch, planted seedlings, fertilized and maintained the vegetable gardens. At the same time they educated me in urban gardening. I learned what to plant, how to plant and when to harvest. For example, how to thin out carrots, where to place your tomatoes so you don’t shadow your other vegetable plants, top your snap peas, and how to deal with the bugs and crows! I can’t say enough great  things about this company. Throughout this past winter – I never needed to buy broccoli or kale because I could harvest it from December until March. I’m also growing garlic and it will be harvested in July  (I’ll have enough until Christmas)! As soon as Spring arrived here in Seattle – the urban farmer was out – planting snap peas, bok choy, new broccoli, kale, carrots, beets, potatoes, spinach, lettuce and cabbage. Recently the tomatoes went in. The company has a variety of maintenance and assistance programs. If you’re in the Seattle area I highly recommend you call for an estimate. If you’re out of the area – they have written a fabulous book Food Grown Right in Your Backyard
It’s very informative and easy to digest. After reading it, I was able to decrease the maintenance plan and harvest the vegetables timely and correctly to encourage new growth to have a second and third harvest of that plant.

Last spring, I tried planting only edible plants, since my girls eat us out of fruit within a day of buying it. It was a success! I was able to use all of my herbs throughout the year and my blueberries and strawberries all came back. I had my first strawberry harvest today. If you’re in the USA,  Dutch Gardens has a fabulous online catalog and offers unique fruit planting. I have strawberries that are designed for hanging baskets and blueberries for pots. They do have a variety of other perennials which you won’t find at your local nursery. A secret with Basil – put it indoors in a glass of water and it will grow throughout the year. You can have fresh basil all year round.

Another little secret is copper Slug and Snail Tape.
You can also use copper pennies (Canadians can use the old penny) throughout your pots, but the tape is great if you have a large box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

The slug tape stuck to the vegetable box.

Happy gardening.

The questions about dying asked by toddlers and preschoolers

There is a beginning and an ending for everything that is alive. In between is living.” Pat Thomas

In her book I Miss You: A First Look at Death Ms. Thomas begins “Every day someone is born…and every day someone dies.”
She then also states “Death is a natural part of life. All living things grow, change and eventually dies.” This is a great picture book to help toddlers and preschoolers understand that all living things die, and we are living things. It’s an opener for us to first talk about what living things are and what non living things are. Then we can bring in examples such as bugs, plants, animals and their life cycle, which will then lead you into ours. When you’re inundated with the questions you will have a base to work from.

Where do you go when you die? What is a cemetery? Are you going to be buried? What happens?  Where is your mummy? Why did she die? How did she die? You must miss her.

We went through a phase – the never-ending questions about death, dying and how it happens. It started at 2.5 years and we’re still in it. I found some books about dying that talk about it, in a non religious way. We all have various beliefs, but these books are wonderful ways of talking about death in a way young children can process. How I introduced it? I bought all the books listed below and put them on their bookshelves. When the girls saw them we just read them, the way we read books of Fancy Nancy, Curious George etc. My girls ask loads of questions when reading these books, so I just handled the books that talked about dying the same way. For example in the book The Tenth Good Thing About Barney by Judith Viorst, Barney is buried in the ground and my girls ask – whether I’ll be buried in the ground. I clearly and factually say no, I want to be cremated. Then the next question is “what is cremation?” So I just tell them. I do say that I want to be scattered in the PNW where the whales are and then my husband proceeds to announce, under his breath, that I want to be fish food, but the questions are answered honestly, simply and factually.

When my children ask if I’m going to die, my response is Yes, someday… but not soon, because I’m not done living yet”.  When my children say “I don’t want to die” – I reply You will die sometime but not yet because you have loads more living to do.”

Here are the books that we have on our shelves. I hope they provide some comfort when needed and help answer some questions. As always if you have a suggestion please let me know.

The Tenth Good Thing About Barney

Lifetimes: The Beautiful Way to Explain Death to Children

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs (Picture Puffins)