Spend a Couple Hours »Salon at Kids Club

skc2630 NE University Village St, Seattle

Well. Sigh. The day had to come. We always promised we’d get Van his first haircut once he wanted it. I love his long locks, but it was starting to really annoy him getting in his eyes and mouth all the time. So I mentally prepared for a week or so and gave the local Salon at Kids Club a call.

With car seats, boxes of toys and murals, they do their best to make it a fun environment for kids. From what I could see, some hairstylists were better and more friendly than others and we lucked out with  who not managed a squirmy two year old with ease, but adored his long hair (not even once mistaking him for a girl!) and had no desire to buzz it – which was my nightmare scenario.

Van likes the new do a lot and I get a keepsake lock of hair along with a pleasant if bittersweet memory instead of a heartbreaking one.

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Posted on June 18, 2013

Movies,TV Shows »The Wallace and Gromit Collection

WallaceGromitby Nick Park

It’s no secret that most stuff made for children is garbage. Real gems, like the Nick Park Wallace and Gromit shorts and films are the exception and I am so thrilled that Van is a huge fan. The contraptions and inventions of the hapless Wallace and his best pal pup Gromit are mesmerizing for a little boy obsessed with machines, pipes and wheels.

The first set of shorts include the noirs A Close Shave and The Wrong Trousers as well as the moon adventure A Grand Day Out. They were followed by the feature Curse of the Wererabbit. The hand sculpted characters are not only charming – what they are able to achieve with the painstaking technique is remarkable.

If the first movies represent the pinnacle art of stop motion claymation, the later short A Matter of Loaf and Death shows that old techniques don’t have to be abandoned for new, that computers, which were used can actually inhance the animation and make for quicker production. I’m hoping that eventually means more Wallace and Gromit some day even though most of the original claymation figures and sets were destroyed in a fire years ago (sob).

Beyond the meticulous designs and techniques, these films are well written and as entertaining for adults as they are for children without being crass or stuffed with pop culture references.

I know I am very lucky that my son has taken such an interest in such a great series. I’d gladly chat about what happens in Curse of the Wererabbit a thousand times than have to sit through one Barney. You can find them on Netflix instant with the exception of Curse of the Wererabbit, available for purchase on iTunes.


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Posted on June 7, 2013

Places to Visit,Spend a Couple Hours »Pacific Science Center

pscfinal200 2nd Ave N, Seattle

Gears, wires, pipes, machines – these are my son’s passion. Naturally the Pacific Science Center, a hands on kids science museum was totally up his alley. We could have spent all day in the lobby room with its pulleys, gears, wacky mirrors and levers and he would have left satisfied.

Fortunately, though, the exhibits offered even more excitement including a tots area with water play and toys to climb, animatronic dinosaurs, a petting area with sea creatures, and a butterfly pavilion.

Mimi had a nice time too with plenty to look at and even a quiet nursing room!

Some reviews online complain that exhibits are sometimes old but they are missing the point. Kids love this place dated animatronics, duct tape and all.

When we decided to move to Seattle, the wealth of child friendly activities appealed to us. Not that NYC doesn’t offer them, but here, everything is easier to accomplish. In fact, we hadn’t even set out to go to the museum, but a morning drive happened to bring us there and it was a lovely spontaneous family fun day.

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Posted on April 21, 2013

Books,Style Icons: Female »The Cat at Night, Dahlov Ipcar

catatnight350by Dahlov Ipcar (1969)

I always relish in discovering a beautiful children’s book and Dahlov Ipcar‘s The Cat at Night is exceptionally lovely.

Her colorful illustrations are truly inspiring as is her multi facited career. Im intregued with every new piece of information I read about the Maine native: She had a solo exhibit at the museum of modern art when she was just 21. Her other children’s books look as amazing as the cat at night and she’s even written some sci-fi/fantasy with intriguing titles like The Queen of Spells and The Warlock of Night.

Thanks Meghan for the gift of this book which has introduced me to such an interesting talent.


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Posted on February 5, 2013

Spend a Couple Minutes »Toca Boca Games

tocaGreat Apps for Kids

I’ve been meaning to recommend the catalog of charming, well designed and fun toddler apps from Toca Boca for some time since they are an invaluable resource for parents.

I’ve downloaded all of them and find each one delightful but am personally partial to Toca Tailor (where you makes clothes for quirky characters). Van’s interests rotate but he has always loved Robot Lab and playing Toca Kitchen Monsters with his dad.

Some games like Toca Doctor and Toca House have objectives, while others like Toca Salon are more open ended.

I never feel guilty about letting Van play with these games for a bit, in fact, I usually join in the fun. With so much junk targeted at kids it’s nice to find a company that seems to actually think of and enjoy children when designing for them.

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Posted on January 31, 2013

Books »Chas Addams Mother Goose

charlesaddamsmothergoose1by Chas Addams (1967)

Alright, alright so this Christmas gift was for me much more than Van but I couldn’t resist The Chas Addams Mother Goose.

Addams’ clever and ghoulish illustrations lend humor and bite to classic rhymes. One of my favorites is Mary quite contrary (pictured).

Worth noting that the book is currently for sale on Amazon used for $75 up to $900! We paid no where near that (maybe $12) so don’t get suckered into buying at such insane prices.

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Posted on January 27, 2013

Laughs »Bad Kids Jokes

bkjAwesome Tumblr

Anyone that says they can’t stand kids obviously hasn’t spent any time actually talking to them, because they are full of awesome nonsensical stuff to say.

Case in point: Bad Kid Jokes, a tumblr of jokes made up by kids. Some examples:

Why did the barn cross the road?

Because all the other animals were pooping on the other side


I have a butt

Sir we all have butts

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Posted on January 8, 2013

Books »What Do People Do All Day

by Richard Scarry (1968)

I have fond but vague memories of Richard Scarry books, but revisiting What Do People Do All Day? with Van has shown his work to be even better than I recalled. There’s nothing better than cut away illustrations of how things work. Personally, I’m fond of the cityscapes of Busytown that show all the people in their offices and homes. Meanwhile Van, a gadget man, is enthralled with the bisections of boats and houses.

We forget sometimes, that little ones are just starting to figure out how the world works (why else is a remote control infinitely more interesting than a plastic light up toy?) and this book is absolutely perfect for curious minds.

My only complaint is that only an abridged version is readily available (unless you can find it used) and it ends rather abruptly making us wish for more.

The drawings are quite charming too – that little worm in the Peter Pan hat particularly tugs at my sentimental-about-childhood heart strings.

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Posted on August 4, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Pint Sized Painters

at Frolic!

I’ve been to a few kid classes in my relatively brief  time as a parent but have learned there’s a delicate  balance to making one completely successful.

Sometimes the teacher is great with kids but really awkward with the parents, other times they are too impatient for the age group they teach. Sometimes the activities are a little beyond the kids’ abilities and the focus is too much on a finished activity or project than just having fun.

Pint Sized Painters manages to balance everything really well, thanks in large part to Z, the instructor who also works as an art director.

She’s at ease with kids and parents alike, keeps instructions and slide shows short and sweet (managing to catch toddler’s interest with the work of Hurst (who taught Van the word “dots!” and Rauschenberg!) and the projects are manageable – kids get to dive in as much as they want, but if distracted, can get involved just by pointing to where they want a color, or helping her squeeze paint.

In the end, we end up with awesome art to take home, that you never feel that you created more than your child.

This is the first class I’ve taken at Frolic! and while it’s pricier than many, I’ve loved it and the take home projects are priceless -as is seeing Van swimming in a giant smock.

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Posted on July 12, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Fabric Marker Onesies


Disappointed with art fair onesies, both in price and style, I was inspired to buy some crayola fabric markers and have at it myself.

It was most fun to turn it into an art project with Van, who loves the letter “V” and bulls (the animal, not the sports team) – so I was able to customize with appropriate imagery. Bull onesies aren’t exactly easy to come by in this world. And to be honest, simple quirky dots, stars, stripes and other simple prints are hard to come by too without costing a lot more than I’m willing to spend.

The pens were a little harder to control that I expected (detail isnt really an option) but once my grandiose plans were leveled with realty, it was lots of fun.

While the colors are not super vibrant, they are nice and will only fade slightly in the wash so long as you iron each side for the recommended four minutes.

It’s cool to see your kid running around in something you made.

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Posted on July 11, 2012

Songs »Daddy, What If

by Shel Silverstein

While a song like “Daddy, What If”, about the love between a father and son can easily bring me to tears in this heightened emotional (pregnant) state, a song with a squeaky “child” voice is unlikely to make any sort of favorable impression on me.

But such is the magic of Shel Silverstein. Tears were falling before I knew it.

Enjoy this clip from the Johnny Cash show.

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Posted on July 8, 2012

Spend a Couple Minutes »Livie and Luca Shoes

“Adorable Shoes for Adorable Feet”

Van needed sandals. I asked my moms’ group for suggestions and read online reviews. In the end, I am almost ashamed to admit, I was swayed by cuteness.

Rocket ships! And such an adorable design!

Lucky for us, the maker Livie and Luca is also globally conscious and the shoes are completely comfortable and fit perfectly.

Hooray for form and function!

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Posted on June 14, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »East River State Park

Kent Ave. between N. 7th and N. 10th

Not everyone will agree with me because it’s over grown, is adjacent to construction, and frankly, rather odd, but I find the playground at the East River State Park charming and strangely dreamy.

It’s like a faraway, mixed up childhood memory: abandoned tracks lead to a wooden child sized train, ancient looking ruins from jut up beside pint sized hidden bridges.

It’s especially special on overcast mornings when no one else is around and as for the construction, well, nothing could make a playground visit cooler to Van than the view of a real live digger.

As it’s nestled among a larger park, I didn’t even know about it until fairly recently. It’s a neighborhood gem and, selfishly, one I hope stays a bit hidden.

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Posted on June 13, 2012

Books »Taro Gomi Box Set

by Taro Gomi

There’s a lot of junky stuff made for kids but for every poorly written and illustrated book, there’s one as charming as the work of Taro Gomi.

I found this adorable box set browsing the children’s section at Word and fell in love. Van and I adore the simple, quirky, colorful watercolors and short stories.

His personal favorite of the three, which includes Spring is Here and My Friends, is Bus Stops.

This is a most fabulous gift to new parents and likely one they won’t already have.

Gomi is a prolific Japanese children’s book illustrator best known in the states for his classic Everybody Poops, which I will be getting once potty training begins.

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Posted on June 10, 2012

Places to Visit »Magic Forest

Us Route 9  Lake George, NY

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Magic Forest is a magical place. Now that we have a baby to take – even more so.

A creepy awesome place that’s a must on any Lake George visit.

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Posted on June 3, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Free Children’s Concert at McGolrick Park

Music, Puppets, and Sidewalk Chalk

As is in evidence in the above photo, the seeds of Van’s rock and roll dreams made have been planted thanks to one Mike Messer of The Dirty Sock Funtime Band.

Today’s Free Concert for Kids at McGolrick Park featured the singer as well as puppets and chalk drawing.

The park and the Open Space Alliance are making great efforts to make the lovely park more involved in the community and especially the local kids and hope to have more events like this in the future.

A similar show is scheduled at Cooper Park June 15th.

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Posted on May 18, 2012

Spend a Couple Hours »Kick and Play

20120510-113119.jpgat The School Settlement Association

Kick and Play..

Well, Van loves the “play” element and the wide safe open space for him to run around in is worth the price of this class alone.

Kick? That he hasn’t quite gotten the concept of yet and doesn’t seem terribly interested in figuring it out.

There’s too much fun to be had running, giggling and throwing the balls. Guess he gets his athletic prowess from me.

Seriously though, once your little one is up and running, this is a great active class for them with patient teachers and even a couple singing puppets.


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Posted on May 13, 2012