A top ten list is always fun. But as I don’t always go with the flow (and since I really couldn’t choose which one thing to cut!) I added a bonus, and am bringing you a top eleven list today.
August has been a whirlwind of activity for me – it is my birthday month, Mom was in town from Florida for a couple of weeks and I took a week off to spend with the kids. I usually take some time off in the summer so that the boys and I can go camping, but because I had waited too long and my favorite camping spot was all booked, I decided on a Stay-cation instead.
Here’s what I did to celebrate my birthday and make the most of my summer stay-cation in Seattle. Maybe it will inspire you to get out and explore the great opportunities we have for fun around here!
1. Cupcakes! – To celebrate my birthday, my friends over at Cupcake Royale and I gave away a dozen cupcakes to one of my readers. Thank you to all my dedicated readers (and to all my new ones!) for such lovely comments about my blog and all the “sweet” birthday wishes. The winner of the dozen cupcakes is Angela Pearson! Congratulations Angela! I hope you enjoy your treats!
AND, very soon, even more people will be able to enjoy Cupcake Royale! Did you know that they are opening a new cafe – their seventh! – in the heart of Queen Anne? Yep! It’s slated to open in late September!
2. Berry Picking – I wanted to do a short day trip with the boys so I decided to take them berry picking out in the “country”. Bybee U-Pick Blueberry Farm in North Bend offers 6 varieties of fresh organic blueberries at only $1.95 a lb! (They don’t take cards though, so be sure to bring your checkbook or stop at the cash machine on the way!) Berries warmed by the sun and right off the bush are the freshest you can get, and the view here!
Oh the view! The farm is located at the base of Mt. Si and offers one of the best photo opps of the famous little mountain!
After working up an appetite picking berries stop by Twede’s Cafe in North Bend – the diner featured as a major shooting location from the ’90’s TV show, Twin Peaks. At Twede’s, almost everything is made from scratch and they still have “Twin Peaks” cherry pie and “A damn fine cup o’ coffee!”.
3. Concert in the Park & Picnic – While Mom was in town, she took me to a summer concert at Marymoor Park as her birthday gift to me. It turned out to be a bit of a crazy day with one dead car battery upon our departure (ugh!) and two out of our party of four (including our “chef” for the evening) cancelling last minute, leaving Mom and me needing to pull together a quick picnic on our own. We didn’t let any of it spoil our fun and it turned out to be very special mother-daughter time.
My wonderful husband gave my dead battery a jump, and on the way to the park, while I kept the car running, mom hopped into the grocery store and picked up a few picnic essentials. If you ever find yourself in this predicament (though I am sure you never leave your lights on and end up with a dead battery…) please know that even the most simple, thrown-together picnic meal can be a delight.
Some fresh summer fruit, a bag of baby carrots, local cheeses, salami and a fresh baked baguette is all you need for the most delicious picnic ever.
4. Pike Place Market Sunset Supper – Since I share a birthday with the Pike Place Market, what better way to celebrate my birthday than to attend their biggest fundraiser of the year? This event benefits the social organizations run and funded by the Market Foundation. The Market Foundation is a non-profit organization which supports housing and services for its low-income neighbors by fundraising, advocacy and community building. Here are a few of my favorite tastes from the evening.
Tarts from Macrina Bakery
Grilled Salmon with Tom Douglas Rub and Tomatoes from Prosser Farms
Pork Belly Rilletes from Dragon Fish Cafe
Find out how you you can support the Market Foundation and the agencies that provide vital services for more than 10,000 homeless, low-income and elderly residents of downtown Seattle each year, here.
5. Trampolining – On my birthday, we headed around the North end of the lake to Kirkland for a very special Birthday Party. Placeful and Birthday Dreams hosted an event at Skymania Trampolines to raise money to bring birthday celebrations to kids in need.
They raised over $2,000 for Birthday Dreams. And what a great place to have a birthday party!
6. Scandinavian Specialties – To honor our Scandinavian roots Mom and I took the boys to our favorite Ballard eatery and store.
They sell all kinds of Nordic gifts and food supplies (fresh, frozen and imported). Pea soup and wieners and lefse. Oh my!
Daim! it was good!
We then drove down to downtown Ballard and perused the cute little shops along Ballard Ave.
7. We Assembled – The boys and I gathered Mom and my brother for a mid-week excursion to the new Tom Douglas complex in Downtown Seattle to check out Assembly Hall for breakfast.
This 10,000 square foot space on the ground level of the new Via 6 Apartments houses a juice bar, deli, flower shop and the modern American Asian restaurant, TanakaSan, named after Tom Douglas’ business partner and corporate chef, Eric Tanaka.
8. The Great Wheel – Okay – to be honest, I had to get off after the first go around (maybe not the best choice for one with a height phobia), but not before snapping a few picturesque shots.
The boys however, who stayed on for the duration of the ride, gave it a glowing review! While we were there we also took the opportunity to ride the beautiful, nearby, vintage carousel on Pier 57- that was a bit more my speed.
9. I Cooked – The Desert King figs on my backyard tree were in full harvest mode and I made my annual grilled figs and pork tenderloin dish (recipe to come soon.) I also made this great lamb dish from Fine Cooking – Grilled Lamb, Tomato, and Halloumi Skewers with Orzo Salad – with my youngest son.
We don’t have lamb very often since my husband and older son don’t care for it, but I have to say I think this is probably one of the best things I have ever cooked!
10. Garage Sale-ing – My favorite things to add to a party table when I am entertaining are vintage items – flea markets, garage sales, thrift stores all are great sources for some of my many table treasures. I spent a day with the Mothers (my mother and mother-in-law) at the annual Mother of All Garage Sales in Everett picking up a few “new” beauties.
11. Burlesque – After taking a couple of Burlesque classes during my stay-cation at Miss Indigo Blue’s Academy of Burlesque, with instructor Inga Ingenue, it was fun for my good friend Bridget and I to take it full circle and see Inga perform in the show, Burlesco DiVino: Wine in Rome, presented by Lily Verlaine & Jasper McCann. Inspired by the great costume epics Quo Vadis and Satyricon, as well as mid-century visions of Rome such as La Dolce Vita and Roman Holiday, this show mixes classical music, jazz, and Italian go-go rock with the traditional music of ancient Rome. It runs through tomorrow night at the Triple Door. Information about available tickets can be found here.
Phew! I’m a bit tired from all this activity! I need a vacation after my vacation!
What did you do this summer?