4.17.2014

Spring Cleaning

It's quickly creeping up on that time of year when one does Spring cleaning.  What excites me most about this time of year is the wardrobe rotation and the purging of all the stuff we no longer need or want.  Normally we donate all the stuff we no longer want in our home but i'm thinking if we can round up enough stuff why not have a garage sale.  We shall see.  I have a list of things to tackle and I need to organize it in the most manageable way possible.

Here's my list:

Closets/Dressers (for 5 people)

  • sort clothes into piles 1) no longer fits 2)pack up for next fall/winter 3)crossover item keep in dresser/closet for spring 4)needs mending or good cleaning before packing 5) ruined or to stained = trash/rags
  • wipe interior of drawers
  • rotate in spring/summer clothes
  • do the same as above with shoes
Toys & Books
  • sort through toy bins throwing out broken and unfixable toys, create a pile of toys that are no longer played with
  • sort through books creating a pile of books kids have outgrown, if books can be handed down to little sis, so be it other wise donate 
  • create either a donate box and/or a box of toys to store to rotate back in at a later date when the kids have forgotten about them
  • dust and clean big toys
  • dust toy bins and bookshelves
  • put toys & books back
Bedrooms
  • Clean windows
  • flip mattresses
  • wipe down walls and baseboards
  • make sure if cobwebs exist on ceiling they are cleaned up
  • vacuum 
  • Rearrange furniture if necessary
Bathrooms
  • Clean usual suspects
  • empty drawers and cabinets and wipe down interiors
  • sort through medicines and throw out everything that has expired and take note of what needs to be replenished
  • clean exterior of cabinets & drawers
  • sweep and clean floor
  • wipe down and disinfect walls
Kitchen
  • Empty each drawer and cabinet and clean interiors and any utensil holders
  • Clean exterior of drawers and cabinets
  • Scrub interior of fridge and clean exterior
  • scrub oven and stove top, clean exterior of oven
  • run a clean/disinfect cycle on dishwasher, clean exterior of dishwasher
  • scrub sink and run a disinfectant through garbage disposal
  • scrub countertops and clean tile grout in necessary
  • clean windows
  • dust tops of hung cabinets
  • scrub walls and base boards
  • scrub and mop floors
Living Rooms, Dining Room and Office
  • Dusting of all items/shelves in room
  • scrub down of walls and base boards and eliminating any cobwebs on ceiling 
  • clean windows
  • roll up rugs and mop all floors
  • vacuum rugs and use upholstery vacuum on couches
  • scrub out any stains on white dining furniture
  • rearrange furniture if necessary
Laundry Room
  • clean washing machine 
  • scrub laundry room sink
  • clean out dryer especially lint trap
  • move dryer and clean out vent
  • clean under and around washer and dryer
  • scrub walls
  • mop floors
Storage & Garage
  • sort through boxes creating piles for 1)broken/throw away 2)donate 3) seasonal rotating winter boxes to rear
  • inventory items in the garaged freezer throwing out any item past their prime
  • organize boxes/bins
Area around house
  • sweep and clean up front porch
  • add any new plantings on porch if necessary
  • dust off and bring out patio furniture and outdoor toys
I think this may be everything but I could totally be wrong but this is a great starting off point!  





Sartorial Thursday: Spring Dreaming

Give a Seattlite a few sunny days that hover around 60 degrees and dreams of less layers swirl in our heads.


Spring Dreaming


Spring Dreaming by seattlemom featuring red heart shaped glasses

Of course these dreams extends to my little girl as well.

Little Girls - Ready for Spring

4.15.2014

Field Trips: Seward Park

We had a beautiful weekend.  Saturday was spent exploring Discovery Park (again) and Sunday was a new day for another urban adventure, this time Seward Park.  

Seward Park is on a peninsula south of Downtown Seattle.  It sits at the south end of Lake Washington and this park is full service!  There are interior hiking trails which are totally forested, a perimeter trail around the park allowing you to take in the beautiful lake and the city views, lots of green space, covered and uncovered picnic areas, playground and a beach!  There are rest room facilities which are very clean for a public park.

Our plan for the day was to get in some interior hiking, playground time, which for the boys meant going nuts with their remote control cars, a picnic lunch and some kite flying (weather permitting!).   The park wasn't to crowded, we found parking at the lower lot near the clay studio and started our day.  The day was beautiful and the park looked like a dream with all the cherry blossoms in bloom; the pink coupled with the bright green grass was magical.

The main interior trails are paved which is perfect for kids of all ages and should you need to use a stroller for your child.  There were many leashed dogs on the trail which was fun. There are also unpaved, dirt trails that are slightly ditched out so you know where you are going but be careful since there are loose rocks and big roots that pop out here and there. This wasn't anything my 4-year old couldn't handle so these unpaved trails were totally doable for my family. 
One note, the interior trails are 100% bike free and there are many posted signs saying "no bikes."  This is great since there is no issue of getting run over by a bike.  Sometimes I find it frustrating on shared trails when you are constantly getting bells rung at you or being told "on your left" so you get all startled and end up in the way of the bike rider.  However it must also be noted that the perimeter trail of Seward Park does allow for bikes and walkers/runners so its best to stay on your right and keep your eyes and ears open for bikes.  

We ended up taking a trail that let us out onto the perimeter along Lake Washington.  The lake was beautiful and the pebbled shore was a nice break spot to teach the kids to skip stones.
We finished our hike, probably got in about 2 miles which felt great.  The kids spent about an hour on the playground then we found a spot on the big grassy lawn for lunch.
As luck would have it there was enough of a breeze out on Sunday so we were able to fly our kites.  The kids were so excited!!!  We were recently in Washington DC and were all set to participate in their big kite festival but it was cancelled due to crappy weather.  
This was a perfect Sunday and I know we'll spend many sunny days at Seward Park!

*It is important to point out that there is poison oak at Seward Park and there are signs pointing it out.  Much of the poison oak are in areas you may not normally be walking through since it is slightly above the perimeter trail but there is poison oak along the side of the playground.  There is a sign pointing this out but please be sure to let your little ones know to stay within the playground boundary and keep away from the plants.

Seward Park is located here.




4.13.2014

Field Trips: Discovery Park II


Discovery Park is a beautiful slice of  heaven located in the city of Seattle in a wonderful neighborhood called Magnolia (which just so happens to be my neighborhood).  Discovery Park is over 500 acres of meadows, trails, forest, waterfront and also home to what was Fort Lawton.  You can visit Discovery Park monthly and always find a new trail to hike.  Personally I like the Loop Trail especially when I can follow it down to South Beach.

There are various entrances into Discovery Park and I believe most visitors enter from Government Way.  However the side entrances off of Emerson within the Magnolia neighborhood is the way to go.  The South parking lot is located off of Emerson and 44th (I believe), its actually marked as "the last entrance into Discovery Park," and it connects with the Loop Trail.  With my kids in tow, this is my favorite starting point.

It's a short walk through some lightly wooded area which quickly opens up to the west end of Fort Lawton and its large meadows which is fantastic for running around and kite flying.  The view of the park land and the expansiveness of the sound is really breathtaking. There is a wide, paved trail along the edge of the fields as well as some unpaved trails cutting directly through the fields.  We opt for the latter since it feels more adventurous.  

After a short walk, with breathtaking views there is a giant "sand box" on a little bluff over looking the sound.  This area is a favorite for all the kids hiking.  The sand is amazingly soft and reminds me of the sand at Kailua beach in Hawaii.  The kids love this spot, and T and I just find a nice spot to sit and watch them have fun digging in the sand.
After a good 30-min of playing in the sand we continued our journey through the Loop Trail until we could detour off to South Beach.  Just over a mile later we found ourselves at the beach and we were excited it was the start of low tide and much of the water was pulled back revealing the bottom of the bay and we could explore the tide pools, exposed rocks covered in barnacles and all the exposed anemones that were squirting water up in the air at their whim. It was so beautiful!  The beach has a lot of driftwood and without fail there are always numerous driftwood structures built, typically teepees.  It's an amazing site!  Also located at South Beach is the West Point Lighthouse, and lighthouses are always so pretty to look at.

My kids love exploring at the beach.  Everything from looking for shells, crabs, tide pools, walking out to the edge of the bay, playing in the teepee's and even continuing to add to the structures.  It's always a fun time and for me seeing them so happy and playing outside always puts a smile on my face.  
There are so many trails that on our return back to the park area we took a new trail back from the beach that joined with the main loop trail once atop the bluff.
All in all we walked about 3 miles maybe a little more, maybe a little less, this was the perfect, preplanned for our family.  Not to little, for T and I who wanted to actually get some exercise in and not to much for the 3 pairs of little legs that were with us.  Having the beautiful vistas to stop and admire, the giant sandbox and the amazing beach was the perfect amount of distraction for our kids.  
We feel so lucky to have this right in our neighborhood and on nice days its an easy field trip for us to take whether for an hour or three!

Insider Tip:
Although you may see cars driving down to the beach you are not allowed to drive down there and park without permission, and yes you will receive a ticket.
That being said, if you have a small child, elderly person or a disabled individual with you, you can stop into the Visitor Center and request a beach parking permit.  These permits are good for 4 hours and you can park at the little lot located steps from the beach.  These permits go fast so if you are planning a trip to the beach I'd suggest stopping in early to pick up your permit.
I believe there is even a shuttle that leaves the visitor center to the beach and return regularly.  Unfortunately I do not have the details.

Discovery Park is located at:
3801 Discovery Park Blvd, Seattle, WA 98199

4.11.2014

Field Trip: Oxbow Park

Over the course of the last year I've seen so many photos of these giant cowboy boots and cowboy hat located in Seattle.  They are giant and kitschy and epitomizes all those crazy roadside attractions scattered throughout the United States.  But this bit of kitsch was located in Seattle and I felt the burning desire to find out where it was located because I NEEDED to see it!

I recently found out these bits of Americana are conveniently located right in Georgetown here in Seattle, at a park called Oxbow Park, a mere 10-15 minutes from Pike Place Market.  Yesterday my little Crash and I headed to Oxbow Park and I promised my little that she was going to say "Whoa" the minute we pulled up.  And "Whoa" she did!!!

Oxbow Park is a little patch of cuteness right off Corson Ave in Georgetown.  Besides the giant orange hat and blue boots there is a nice amount of manicured green lawn and a new but modest play structure with all the necessities (slide, steering wheel, climbing sections and spiral poles). There is a nice meandering, graveled pathway, benches, picnic tables and bike rack.  At the far end of the park is a great community P-Patch that is well used and well loved.  


We lucked out yesterday, the sun was shining bright and high in the sky and the weather was cozy and warm and we just soaked it all in.  I had a great time watching her run and play around the boots and enjoying the time at the play structure but the best part was watching her sitting in a patch of sun on the grass picking dandelions!  

It was a great Thursday!

Oxbow Park is located at:
6430 Corson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134

4.10.2014

Sartorial Thursday

This week is my first "Sartorial Thursday."  This week is my Urban Adventure board, something I would wear while exploring my fine city in the lovely Pacific Northwest.  Enjoy!


Weekend Exploring

4.09.2014

Crafty: Easter Tree


My daughter and I were looking up Easter decorating ideas and stumbled upon the Easter Tree.  The Easter Tree is a Swedish tradition and something I haven't even heard of in passing.  These trees, well really feather decorated sticks/twigs, are so beautiful and colorful and if it isn't already obvious from some of the other crafts my kids work on, we love our feathers.  

Since we were going to construct our own Easter Tree I thought it would be best to do a little research on what this is all about.  From Watching the Swedes:  

"In Sweden, they don't only have Christmas trees, they also have Easter trees. The Easter tree is a handful of twigs and sticks (usually birch)in a vase with coloured feathers attached to the ends. Some people hang eggs. Some people hang chickens. 
The Easter tree, or 'påsk ris', can be seen all over the country this time of year. Outside shop entrances, in peoples' living rooms, outdoors in the neighbours' gardens. 
The Easter tree is an interesting cultural phenomena. In fact, all products of a society are. This is because they originate somewhere and, often, we have forgotten the origin but still maintain the product or behaviour. 
What's the origin and symbolism of the Easter tree then? 
Well, some Swedes say that it symbolises the wiping away the winter. The twigs represent a broom and the feathers get caught in the broom as we sweep. 
Others say that it represents witchcraft. The twigs represent a witch's broomstick and the feathers indicate flight. This could also be why Swedish kids dress up as witches at Easter and do a kind of 'trick or treating' for Easter eggs. 
But, apparently the Easter tree has a completely different origin and symbolism. It comes from the 1600's. Swedish people in the 1600's used to take twigs and sticks and beat each other with them on Good Friday to commemorate the suffering of Jesus. In the 1800's and 1900's, they started to be decorated and became a symbolic decoration for Easter. "


My four year old daughter and I decided to make our tree and we were both pretty excited about this quick and simple craft.  We walked around our yard to look for some medium length sticks but couldn't find any laying on the ground so we snipped a few branches from our plum tree, maybe 6-7 branches.  We snipped off any live ends and my daughter peeled off any leaves and flowers.  With that we began.  Once the branches were cleaned up we used a little dab of hot glue on each branch end we wanted to add a feather to.  Of course I did all the hot gluing and my daughter had a great time picking out all the feathers for me.  With the feathers attached we arranged the branches into the vase until it was just to our liking then I added the eggs.  Luckily I had some plastic easter eggs with little pinholes at the top point so it was pretty easy to thread some thin metallic sewing thread through. We hung the eggs and we were done.  

We placed the Easter tree in the center of our dining table and it looks great!

Supplies:
branches/sticks/twigs at your desired length
hot glue
feathers
plastic eggs
thread (I would recommend a white, or even a silver metallic, something that isn't so visible)
vase (we used an old mason jar)


3.15.2014

Friendships

Through everyone's life friends come and go. 

I'd like to hope that most people have long time friends that have seen you through the good, the bad and the ugly.  I have a couple of these friends and I cherish them more then they even know.  These are the friends that don't need to be pampered, handled with kid gloves or even spoken to on a regular basis.  Time can go by but when you don't speak or see each other but when you do you are able to pick up where you last left off.  And that is so awesome!

Making friends as an adult is rough.  If you work in a great social work environment you make work friends that you can hopefully leverage to real life friends and it becomes more about the friendship then it is about you working together.  The friendships I built through work have been great and I am grateful for them.  Some of these friendships were successfully leveraged to real life friendships.  As a result of the success, I still have these friendships even though I don't work with the individuals any longer.

As a parent, making friends with people who have kids is very hard.  If you don't have friends with kids or are about to have kids, in close proximity to age with your children it is tough to meet people.  Sure your kid makes friends and you plan play dates but whether or not you become friends with the parent is another story.  When your kids are toddlers/preschoolers this is the hardest.  You meet parents in various classes, or daycare, or at the park.  Maybe you get along but only on the level of being parents and talking about parental/kid issues.  More then likely you don't have any other common ground, if there is, consider yourself extremely lucky!  I've tried the forced friendship thing with co-workers who had kids just a few months before me and that went down into a big ball of awkwardness.  I vowed never to force friendships because we all have the common denominator of same-aged children.  NEVER AGAIN.  I tend to suss out the adult and then the kids getting along naturally falls into place.

The other type of friendships are the ones that sneak up on you, out of the blue.  These friendships are pretty great.  I've recently had one of these enter my life (the second one of the sort that i've had the opportunity to embrace) and am so grateful for it.  For example, these friendships may blossom with people you've known for years but never really grew a fruitful friendship with them.  Maybe because the opportunity was not there at the time or maybe there were different priorities in each persons life, you know, the timing was just not right on your first go around.  Then life happens and these people reenter each others life at a point in time when the timing is right.  The individuals get along like crazy.  You can have different interests but you only inspire, encourage, lean on, support  each other.  You have fun, shit like individual interest doesn't matter nor do you even bother to let BS into your friendship.  There is no judgement just love.  These friendships are like gold!  My friendships like this are fantastic and i'm super grateful for it and it came into my life at the perfect time, I know i've made true friends for life.

The saddest friendships are the ones you've had since, well, forever and you thought would last.  People you've known for a long time and you thought would fall into that first category but it doesn't.  I know i've talked about his ad nauseum in past posts which I won't even bother linking to.  I have one person like this.  She's been a point of contention for me for a while.  I don't want to get passive aggressive about it with this person and I feel like it may come to this.  Maybe I should confront them?  Maybe I should just write them off and wash my hands of it?  It's hard though when its a person you've know for so long, invested time with them, to just throw it all away is a struggle.  But I feel like i've given and given and tried to stay in touch but always get excuses in return.  "sorry, can't text making dinner."  "sorry can't talk when the kids are home"  "sorry" "sorry" "sorry"  I can be accommodating.  I can even understand about things like family time, or time to just sit quietly with a glass of wine, i get it, we all need this from time to time.  But when this happens so often I call bullshit and just call it what it is an EXCUSE.  When you can't make time for a friend who is clearly trying to make time for you then you sort of suck.  When you constantly post on a social network about other things with other friends about phone calls, texts, plans I totally call BS.  I always make time for friends and I have 3 kids.  Sure, I have friends that may try to get ahold of me when its inconvenient but I offer a time when it is convenient and always try to make it work.  Why?  Because I love my friends and they mean something to me.

I recently read a quote:
Forget those who forget you.

I want to make this my new motto.  I no longer want to dwell on these failed friendships.  Mostly the ones that have failed by issues surrounding the other persons failure as a friend.  It's not a good thing when you know in your heart of hearts that you no longer want to try because clearly they are not trying.  So sad. 

Friendships.  Yeah, they come and go.  The ones who stick around, in my book, they are my family!