Circus Sensations and Sing-a-longs at Teatro ZinZanni’s King’s Wish!

Congo lines, a genie in a bottle, Eleanor the Elegant Elephant and a dancing bear? Combine that with kindie sensation Caspar Babypants plus the magic of Teatro ZinZanni, and you’ve got a pretty fabulous morning! King’s Wish is Teatro ZinZanni’s all-new, family production and is sure to entertain both kiddos and adults alike! We were lucky enough to check it out this past Saturday, and recommend it to any family looking for an hour and fifteen minutes of solid entertainment. The show is both unique and interactive, featuring ZinZanni circus performers (an awe-inspiring acrobat, a young juggling prodigy and a rope aerialist extraordinaire) and the loveable jams of Caspar Babypants. Kids are welcome to crowd around the small stage toddler mosh-pit-style, and get an up-close view of the performers’ flawless acts. Sing-alongs, audience participation and a superbly crafted show make for an exciting and memorable treat for families.

*Snacks and drinks are available for purchase, or just bring your own.

*Photography is not allowed during the performance, so I unfortunately couldn’t provide any photos. (More reason to check it out for yourself!).

 

King’s Wish runs on weekends June 1 through 30 at Teatro ZinZanni. 222 Mercer St. in Seattle. Tickets range in price from $19 to $24. Reserve tickets by calling the box office at 206-802-0015 or by visiting www.dreams.zinzanni.org

kings wish

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Date Night: 8 Ways to Find Romance At Home

We all love (and fondly remember) those romantic candlelit dinners and nights out on the town, but these days, date nights are few and far between, leaving you longing for some serious one-on-one time (and I don’t mean with your toddler)! If you can’t snag a sitter, no worries! I’ve got a few creative (and romantic) tricks up my sleeve to give you and your hubby the date night you deserve…at home!

Classic Candlelight

You can’t go wrong with this classic. Dust off your finest silverware and linens (no plastic forks or placemats here!), turn down the lights and switch on your flameless candles to set the mood. Conversation is the key here. As hard as it is, refrain from bringing up hot topics like kids, work, schedules, etc. Stick to stuff you’d talk about when you were first dating. (Can’t remember? Try travel, goals, fave movies/books/shows, the crazy outfit your neighbor was wearing…whatever!).  Notice I didn’t mention the menu. Fancy steaks and fine wine are fabulous, but your candlelit dinner can be just as romance-inspiring with mac and cheese or Chinese take-out.

 date nite4

Bring on the Board Games

They may conjure up images of cheesy family nights or trendy coffee shops, but board games still made our list! Spice up Monopoly or go deep with a question game. No grown-up games in the house? Candy Land and Mouse Trap can work just as well. Or for an awesome selection of adult games, from simple to sexy, check out Nookii.com. Game on!

date nite1

Italian Night (Parisian Night, Islands Night, etc.)

It’s the classic candlelit dinner, Italian-style (or any country of your choosing). Transform your home into a Spanish vineyard, Italian pizzeria or a beach cabana. Create your menu around that theme and pick a movie to go along with it. Examples: Italy: Homemade pizza, Chianti & gelato followed by classic Italian movie. France: Baguettes, cheeses, fruit and dessert crepes, followed by a French movie (I love Amelie).  Mexico or the Caribbean: Fish tacos and pina colodas (don’t forget the cheesy paper umbrellas).

Parisian Picnic

Parisian Picnic

Spa Night

You don’t have to book a couples massage to enjoy the spa together. Pamper (and get pampered) at your in-house oasis. Replace tub toys with bath salts, candles and flowers. Add fresh berries or pineapple to a glass of chilled champagne, soak, and enjoy! Now is the time to dust off those massage oils. Don’t have any? Make your own (recipes here). Top your night off with some chocolate dipped strawberries and lavender-scented sheets.

 

Sports Night

Your man will love this one. DVR a game (preferably of a sport you both enjoy), throw together a meal of nachos (complete with Velveeta cheese), hot dogs and cold beer, and get comfy on the couch. Root for your team together or make things interesting with a few bets.  It’s cheap, it’s simple, and it’ll have you both cheering for more at-home date nights.

 

Fort Campout

As a mom, you’ve probably made your share of pillow forts for the kiddos. Put your expertise to work and help you hubby construct an adults-only fort in your living room. Spruce up your cozy castle with twinkle lights or candles, turn on some mood music and grab your coziest pj’s. Set up a picnic and make S’mores for dessert (recipe here). Talk, scheme, giggle…make it a slumber party for you and your man! No kids allowed!

date nite2

Scavenger Hunt

These aren’t just for summer camps and birthday parties! Keep your partner guessing with a scavenger hunt, a la date night. Hide clues around the house, each one containing a piece of the date. Can be anything from popcorn-and-movie date to one of the date nights listed here!

 

DIY Date Night

Date nights don’t need to be all high heels and romance. Show your handy side and tackle a household project that’s been on the back burner for weeks (or years).  Much needed paint touch-up in the living room? Always wanted to distress that coffee table or bookcase? Roll up your sleeves, get the paint brushes out, turn on some tunes and have some fun. Hey, one more thing to cross off your to-do list!

date nite5

 

What are some of your favorite at-home date night ideas?

What’s on This Weekend?

Many of us are looking forward to a 3-day weekend!  With (a little) sun in the forecast, there may be a chance to get outdoors and enjoy this winter weather!  From nature walks and fun runs to a model railroad show and concerts, here are a few options for your weekend:

weekend

 

Outdoor Fun

Tails & Trails Little Tykes

Nature-loving tots: this is for you!  Start your morning off with a story at the Seward Park Audubon Center, then head outdoors to explore the trails of Seward Park!  Walks are easy and less than one mile in length.

Seward Park Audubon Center  /  Saturday, Jan. 19 @ 10am-11am.

Ages 1-3  /  $2/person

seward

 

MLK Weekend Run @ Magnuson Park

Get the whole family out for a jog at this Saturday’s MLK Run!   5k, 10k, 15k or 400 meter Kids Dash!  Register online.

Magnuson Park  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 10:30am

$3-$28

 

Ranger Program: Wetland Birds

Take your little bird-lovers to the Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center this Sunday and learn about our feathered friends that inhabit wetland ecosystems.

Mercer Slough Environmental Education Center  /  Sunday, Jan 20 @ 2-2:30pm

Ages 5 and up  /  FREE

 

Indoor Fun

Hawaii in Your Own Backyard (Seattle Aquarium)

Get a dose of the tropics this weekend at the Seattle Aquarium!  Discover and explore some of the unique sea life native to the Hawaiian Islands.  As with any event, the Aquarium will feature hands-on activities and special diver shows!

Seattle Aquarium  /  Jan 19-21 @10:30am-3pm

Free with admission

otter

 

Model Railroad Show

Calling all conductors!  Bring your little train enthusiasts to the Pacific Science Center this weekend for the 39th Annual Model Railroad Show.  One of the Center’s most-loved programs, the show will feature dozens of model railroad displays and layouts, crafts & activities galore, and –of course– trains for kids and tots to ride!   Reference here for specific train times.

Pacific Science Center  /  Jan 19-21 @ 9:45am -6pm

Free with admission

railroad

 

Music / Concerts

Caspar Babypants Concert

Caspar Babypants is making his way to West Seattle this Saturday for some musical fun!

High Point Community Center  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 10:30am

$3 advance tickets, $5 day-of ($20 max for families)

 

Eats & Beats: Eric Ode

KidsQuest Museum’s popular Eats & Beats program welcomes the much-loved Eric Ode this Saturday evening!  Come for music, stories, puppets and pizza!

KidsQuest Children’s Museum  /  Saturday, Jan 19 @ 5:30pm-8pm

$8-$12 / $3 Jet City Pizza & lemonade

 

Here’s to a great weekend!  For more indoor play areas check out my previous post featuring indoor hot spots!

O Christmas Lights, O Christmas Lights

Christmas is right around the corner, but there’s still time to squeeze some more holiday spirit out of the season.  Christmas light viewing is right up there on the list with cookie baking and Christmas tree hunting.  There’s not much that beats bundling up with mittens and hot cocoa and setting off through the neighborhoods in search of the best Christmas light displays.  And Seattle can definitely do Christmas lights.

Looking for a quintessential Christmas village, 10-foot candy canes and all? There’s a display for that.  A few grandiose nativity scenes?  There’s a display for that.  Lighted trains and inflatables?  There’s a display for that.  If neighborhood spectacles aren’t enough for your little elves, there are plenty of more options on a grander scheme, from Woodland Park’s WildLights to Bellevue’s Garden d’Lights.  And the best part?  It doesn’t cost a thing!  Except perhaps a couple of cocoas.

whistler cocoa

Olympic Manor

Numero Uno on my list for best light displays in Seattle is Olympic Manor, near Greenwood.  Like Candy Cane Lane, their homeowners association “encourages” each house to decorate for Christmas, and from what I could tell, each house went above and beyond a string of lights.  Plus, it’s much bigger than Candy Cane Lane, so there’s no traffic jams (and more lights!)

Start at Northwest 85th Street and 23rd Avenue Northwest

xmas lites  olympic manor

Candy Cane Lane

Of course I still love one of Seattle’s longest running display of lights!  The charming neighborhood of Park Road in Ravenna has been lighting up Christmas since 1941.  I still remember driving past the beautifully decorated Tudor homes with my grandma and brothers over 20 years ago.

Dec 15 – Jan 1, 4pm-11pm (midnight on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve).

Northeast Park Road, off Ravenna Boulevard

xmas lites candy cane lane

Greenlake Christmas

Head to Greenlake for a music & lights show!  When you arrive, tune your radio to 102.1 FM, and watch as the magic happens!  30,000+ lights are synchronized to music.

Greenlake, 5pm-11pm daily

xmas lites greenlake

Keener’s Christmas

For over a decade, Bothell resident and Christmas enthusiast, Jeff Keener, has been spreading holiday cheer through over 100,000 lights.  Visitors are welcome to drive through the huge circular driveway while admiring 1.5 acres of light displays.

Daily 6pm-10pm (11pm on Weekends)

16504 112 Place, Bothell

Kerry Park Viewpoint 

Kerry Park isn’t just great for sunsets; it also boasts one of the best views of Seattle’s Christmas lights.  From the gorgeously decorated homes of Queen Anne HIll to the tree topping the Space Needle, the views are like a postcard from the North Pole.

211 W. Highland Dr.

***For more light displays (plus other holiday happenings, check out MyNorthwest.com

***And please add your favorite light displays!!

Weekend Holiday Events on Seattle’s Eastside

More Holiday Happenings around Seattle’s Eastside…check it out!

SEE…

…A timeless classic!  The hour-long adaptation of Dickens’ beloved A Christmas Carol is a colorful, musical and exciting ensemble, sure to please both young and old.

Second Story Repertory Children’s Theater, Redmond

Saturday, December 8 @ 1pm and 3pm

christmas-carol-112712[1] (2)

 

…A whole ‘lotta gingerbread houses!  Come and vote for your favorite at the Bellevue Hilton’s Gingerbread Lane

Bellevue Hilton Hotel

Saturday, December 8 @ 11:30am

MAKE…

…A holiday canvas painting while enjoying tasty treats and cocoa at the Canvas and Cocoa Workshop!  The workshop includes all materials, a Smart with Art instructor and gift wrapping for your kiddo’s masterpiece!

Bellevue Arts Museum

Saturday, December 8 @ 2:30-4:30pm

$39

cocoa[1] (2)canvas cocoa

 
  •  

…A watercolor collage at Bellevue Art & Frame’s Holiday Make and Take!  Paintings will be gift wrapped and will go home in a 5×7 glass picture frame.

Bellevue Art & Frame

Saturday, December 8 @ 10am-1pm drop-in

$8 (cash or check)

EAT…

Breakfast with Santa!  The whole family can enjoy breakfast with the Big Guy and his elves.  Photo opportunities too!  Call 275.7609 to reserve your spot.

Mercer Island Community and Event Center

Saturday, December 8 @ 10am-noon

 $9 for Adults / $7 per child (18 and under)

 
…Tea with Santa!  The Woodmark Hotel is hosting the 4th Annual Santa Tea, full of sweet holiday treats and scrumptious sweets!  Live music, a cookie-decorating station and photos with Santa!

The Woodmark Hotel

Sunday, December 9 @ 1pm-3pm

Cost: Adults $45 / Kids (12 and under) $20

santa tea

A Chocolate Lover’s Dream

When else can you combine a chocolate buffet, a loveable canine and a swanky downtown hotel?  Bring the kids along to A Chocolate Holiday Buffet, hosted at the Four Season’s ART restaurant.  Larry, from the beautifully illustrated children’s book, Larry get’s Lost in Seattle, will be there, along with his creator John Skewes.  Dine on decadent chocolate croquenbouche, triple chocolate mousse cake, white chocolate milkshakes (and much more) while listening to a storytime about how, exactly, Larry got lost.  Kids can get a signed book, personalized “Larry” artwork and a Larry stuffed toy.  For reservations, call 206-749-7070

Sundays, December 2, 9, 16, 23 at 3pm-5pm

Adults: $20; Children, ages 6 to 12: $12

“Larry Gets Lost in Seattle” Signed Book: $20; Larry Stuffed Toy: $12

art chocolate

art chocolate2

art choc

Say Cheese! Santa Photos Around Seattle

Long lines?  Stuffy malls?  Crying kids?  Expensive photo packages?  Bring it on!  It just wouldn’t be Christmas without the infamous Santa photo!  Though it can be a hassle, it’s a beloved tradition for families all around, and so cool to collect the photos from over the years (yes, even the scowling, screaming ones). 

santa photo

The Classic Santa

Despite long lines and expensive photo packages, these Santa venues deliver a hefty dose of holiday spirit and remain a beloved tradition for many families. 

Downtown Nordstrom

Awesome displays, the magic of Downtown Seattle at Christmas, and Elves who hand out cookies and hot cider…it couldn’t be anywhere but the Downtown Nordstrom.  The line will most likely be long, but get this– Nordstrom will take your name and page you when it’s your turn to see Santa!  There are eight rotating Santas on the schedule, including an African-American Santa and an Asian Santa. There’s even a Santa that knows ASL (American Sign Language). For special needs kids or large groups, Santa can meet you in a smaller room, away from the crowds.  Call Santa Lane at 206-628-1000 for more details.  **All photos are in film, available for pick up (or delivery) in about 5 days.

Nordstrom-Seattle-Downtown[1]

 

Macy’s

Santa Claus will be settling in on the 6th floor this year, along with his elves and reindeer.  Have your kids write Santa a letter to mail in his own personal mailbox.   

macys santa

 

Bellevue Square

Santa’s Workshop is in full gear at Bell Square.  The line wanders through Santa’s shop, and kiddos can get a sneak peek of what the elves have been up to.   Santa’s life-size sleigh (reindeer and all) soar above the shoppers, and outside, Snowflake Lane celebrates nightly at 7pm.  As with all large mall venues, it’s best if you can rally a grandparent to switch off standing in the line, so you can take your antsy kiddos to play on the 3rd floor boats. 

Alderwood Mall

This Santa has a reputation of being one of the most realistic, long beard and all.  He’s been around for nearly a decade, and has gained quite a following. 

Northgate

Redmond Town Center

Southcenter

 

Forget-the-Mall Santa

Here are a few photo venues that are a step outside the box , or rather, mall.

University Village

Well, it’s an open-air mall at least.  Fittingly situated across from Fran’s Chocolates, Santa’s little cabin is cozy and perfect for one-on-one discussions of toys and wish lists. Don’t miss the covered play area and Santa’s sleigh near Ben Bridge.  **Every Monday Santa takes photos with pets and a portion of sales from pet photos is donated to the Seattle Humane Society.

village santa

 

Lake Forest Park

Bring back memories from your childhood while you make memories with your own kiddos.  The Town Center at Lake Forest Park has the original Santa set from Downtown Seattle’s Frederick & Nelson. 

Space Needle

After visiting Santa in his ultra-cool “workship,” kiddos are invited to the cookie decoration station on the Observation Deck where they can decorate a complimentary Christmas cookie.

Molbak’s

You won’t find Santa sitting around here.  He’ll be up and about every weekend, mingling with shoppers, stopping to pose for photos.  The entirety of Molbak’s is like a shrine to Christmas.  Always gorgeously decorated, moms will enjoy shopping while kiddos get a kick out of the Christmas villages and Santa himself.  Be sure to bring your camera! 

Beautiful Poinsettia Christmas Tree

Beautiful Poinsettia Christmas Tree

Swanson’s Reindeer Festival

See Dasher and Blitzen during the Reindeer Festival, and take photos with Santa in this neighborhood gem.

Issaquah Reindeer Festival

Visit Santa’s Reindeer team and stop by Santa’s personal post office to mail a letter on your way to his workshop for a photo.  There is a ton of holiday excitement going on at the Reindeer Festival @ Cougar Mountain Zoo!

reindeer issaquah santa

 

Santa Paws

Don’t forget your furry friends when it comes to Santa photos!  Here are a few venues that cater to your four-legged little ones. 

santa pet

Home 4 the Holidays & Santa Paws at Seattle Humane Society
December 7-9

The Seattle Humane Society will offer adoption discounts, festive carolers, pet pics with Santa and more at Seattle Humane’s Home for the Holidays Extravaganza!  For three days only, adopt one kitten for $50 or two for $90. On Saturday, Dec. 8, have your pet’s photo taken with Santa Paws from 11 am – 2 pm ($20 suggested donation for digital download).

Adoption fees are waived on all cats 1 year and up and all critters through December.

Woodinville PetSmart

Bring in your pet for a photo with Santa for only $9.95 with Pet Perks®. Plus, $5 from every purchase will be donated to the local animal-welfare organization participating that day!

Santa Paws at the Alexis Hotel

It’s time again for a fun annual holiday tradition. Bring your pets to the pet-friendly Alexis Hotel in downtown Seattle the weekend of December 8-9 to have their photo taken with Santa Paws! With a $15 donation, you’ll be sent a wonderful keepsake digital photo, ideal for printing and framing. All proceeds benefit the Seattle Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) and our efforts to help enrich the lives of shelter animals.

The event takes place Saturday and Sunday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m

Happy Santa Photos!!

santa photo

What’s Happening This Weekend…Christmas Favorites


We’re not yet into December, but Christmas has sprung up all around us nonetheless!  Twinkling lights and decorations are beginning to make their annual appearances, shops are bedazzled (yes, I used that word) with toys and tinsel, and the cozy, mouth-watering smell of cookies and cocoa are wafting out of household kitchens.  And, of course, holiday happenings are going on all around Seattle and the Eastside.  Here are a handful of my favorites:

 

Wild Lights at the Woodland Park Zoo

The Woodland Park Zoo is de”lighted” to present Seattle’s first ever winter lights festival!  WildLights features thousands of dazzling LED lights throughout the zoo grounds, creating a wild and winter wonderland for all.  See Santa’s reindeer, ride the carousel and have a “snowball” fight in the winterized Zoomazium!  Oh, and there are lots of delicious goodies to choose from, including cocoa, marshmallows and hot caramel corn. 

 

Santa Train

A Northwest tradition since 1969, the Santa Train instills in children the kind of Christmas joy we all remember from our childhood.  Departing hourly from the North Bend Depot, the 20-minute journey brings passengers to the Snoqualmie Depot, where kids can visit Santa and enjoy holiday treats in the museum’s restored railway kitchen and coal stoves.  Visit Snoqualmie’s local shops and tree farms before boarding the train for the ride back to North Bend.   

 

 

Garden d’Lights

Watch as the Bellevue Botanical Gardens blossom into a winter wonderland!  The impressive festival boasts over 1/2 million lights, transforming the gardens into a 3-dimensional fantasy of flowers and animals.  Bypass lines and purchase tickets online.

 

Snowflake Lane

 Every year the streets of The Bellevue Collection transform into the magical, snowy world of toy soldiers and winter delight.  The nightly show of dazzling light and holiday music lasts through December 31.

 

Gingerbread Lane

Get sweetly inspired!  Bring the family to Bellevue’s Hilton Hotel to view some of the coolest, wackiest, most imaginative gingerbread houses you’ve seen!  Local businesses and bakeries partner with KidsQuest Children’s Museum to create these custom cookie homes.

 

‘Twas the Night

Watch as this beloved holiday poen comes to live as ‘Twas the Night lights up Kirkland’s Studio East Theater.  This charmingly hilarious show is sure to please even the scroogiest of theatergoers.  Purchase tickets online.

 

Reindeer Festival @ Cougar Mountain Zoo

Nothing gets kids in the Christmas mood quite like a Reindeer Festival!  And Cougar Mountain Zoo knows how to throw a good one!  Meet Santa and his Reindeer team, wander through Magic Forest, sit in Santa’s sleigh, or write him a letter (and put it in his own personal mailbox)!  Elf storytime, face painting, Santa photos and candy-cane makers are sure to bring a big Christmas smile to your little ones.  An event not to be missed! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s Happening This Weekend?

Another weekend is on the horizon!  Here’s my post for 425 Mom.  Look what’s happening this weekend on the Eastside!  (Plus one event at the Zoo).

Turkey Toss at the Woodland Park Zoo

It’s turkey-tossing time at the Woodland Park Zoo!  Following the same idea as last month’s Pumpkin Bash, kids can watch how the Zoo’s most beloved carnivores nosh on their Thanksgiving dinners.  And like the Pumpkin Bash, the Turkey Toss is part of the Zoo’s exceptional care program, designed to enrich the lives of the animals through mental and physical stimulation as well as the promotion of natural animal behavior.  So come and wish the animals a Happy Thanksgiving and watch them chow down!

Saturday November 17, 10am-2:30pm

Free with admission or membership

Didn’t know these guys ate turkey.

Hopelink’s 12th Annual Turkey Trot

It wouldn’t be Thanksgiving on the Eastside without the annual Turkey Trot!  Grab your running shoes, jogging stroller and the family and head over to Marina Park for this 5K walk/run.  All proceeds go to Hopelink.  Participants will enjoy door prizes, music and goodies from participating vendors!

Sunday, November 18

Registration 10am; Run/walk 11am

$35 to register

Karl Johnson Portrait Silhouettes

This beautiful (and now rare) form of portraiture is still being practiced by renowned artist Karl Johnson.  Johnson cuts each silhouette freehand, catching the likeness of his subject, either live or from a photograph. Past clients include Tom Hanks and Katie Holmes, and his work has been featured in O Magazine, among others.  Visit Johnson in Bellevue this Friday and watch art in the making!  Perfect for a keepsake gift.

Friday, November 17

10am-6pm

Peek Aren’t You Curious @ Bellevue Square

Call 425-533-2104 to reserve your 5-minute appointment.

$25/piece

**Other places: Saturday/Bainbridge Island & Sunday/University Village

Reindeer Sightings at Swanson’s Nursery

Get in the Christmas spirit and take your kiddos to visit Santa’s Reindeer!  Dasher and Blitzen (very much alive!) will be making their home at Swanson’s Nursery every day until Christmas Eve, when they will be dashing away on their very important job.  Curely the Curious Camel will be joining them as well.  Daily feedings at 10am and 4pm.  Come wish the Reindeer a Merry Christmas!

Tim Noah’s Eats & Beats Concert

Emmy award-winning songwriter, singer and performer Tim Noah is stopping by KidQuest this Saturday for a rockin’ good time!  Sing, dance and hear some fantastic storytelling while you chow down on Jet City pizza and sip lemonade.  Kids and adults alike will enjoy this Eats and Beats event!

Saturday, November 17

5:30-8pm

KidsQuest Museum, Factoria

Advance Tickets: $8 members/$10 non-members

At the Door: $10 members / $12 non-members
$3 Jet City pizza & lemonade

Pre-registration recommended; call 425-637-8100 to order pizza.

Emmy-award winning Tim Noah

What’s On This Weekend…425 Mom Style

Another weekend on the horizon, and with it comes the question, “What are we going to do?”  If you haven’t already got your days filled, check out my weekend post at 425 Mom.  There are some great options on Seattle’s Eastside, from an interactive musical and toy swap to a Fresh Beat Band concert and Holiday photo sessions.  Oh, and a great cooking class for a girls’ night out. 

Here are a couple of my favorites:

StoryBook Theater presents 3 Pigs, a wacky and interactive rendition of the classic fairy tale; sure to be a hit with little theatergoers.

Grab a girlfriend and head over to Sur La Table in Kirkland for a Girls’ Night Out Wine Country Feast, where you’ll learn delicious tips from the pros.