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Kids and Family Fun

In Kids and Family Fun, Uncategorized on
October 11, 2017

Jack Forman’s “Songs from the Monkey House”


Jack Forman - Songs from the Monkey House

Catching your seven year old humming a song while brushing his teeth – now that must be an ear worm! And Jack Forman’s newest album has plenty of them!

My kids and I have been listening to the fun songs since we received the early release album “Songs from the Monkey House”. We love the songs so much, they are on repeat in the car and the house.

Some of our favorites include “Yodeling Yoda” and the catchy “Watermelon” song that sticks in my head every time and I don’t mind it a bit! And of course, all the cheese songs are just as hilarious as they are perfect to dance and rock out to.
If you are not familiar with Jack Forman, or the local Recess Monkeys, it is time you get to know them!

Jack Forman, well known to thousands of kids around the country as host of the daily “Live from the Monkey House” call-in show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio and as lead singer of the GRAMMY nominated Seattle band Recess Monkey, released his first solo album, Songs from the Monkey House, exclusively to stream on Amazon Music Unlimited and Prime Music, as well as for physical and digital purchase on Amazon Music.

Jack likes to say that he is “at least 75 percent coffee,” and his high-energy hijinks are on display with these 12 new original songs. From “Watermelon” to “Yodeling Yoda,” “Candy Tour” to “Sportball Anthem,” the songs reflect Jack’s offbeat humor and eclectic musical tastes. These are not just songs for babies; families with older kids ages five and up will find worlds of fun and memorable melodies with Songs from the Monkey House.

Indeed, all of these self-produced songs are directly inspired by strange conversations with real kids.You’ll get a sense of Jack’s lyrical genius and unusual sensibilities in songs like “A Little Cheese,” “I Lost My Lunch,” and even the relentlessly bouncy track, “No Name.”

Jack played every instrument, wrote and sang every word, and drank a whole lot of coffee in the months it took to turn kids’ ideas into a reality.

A longtime elementary school teacher, Jack is trained in the art of listening to kid-driven ideas. On his radio show and in concert, Jack is just as likely to set youngsters up for the punch line as to take one of his own. Either way, there’s a pretty high likelihood of someone squirting milk out of their nose.

Jack shines in the firmament of family music makers today. He has produced 13 albums with his acclaimed band, Recess Monkey (including the GRAMMY nominated Amazon Original album, Novelties); played at least 1,000 highly-caffeinated shows for kids and their handlers; and has hosted his own nationally broadcast live daily call-in show on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live for the past five years.

Share some fun music made in Seattle with your family today and order Jack Forman’s album here (included in your Amazon prime membership)

Songs from the Monkey House - Jack Forman

In Events, Kids and Family Fun on
April 19, 2017

Jujubeet Opening in Bellevue

Jujubeet waffles

Something great is happening on Main Street in Bellevue, Washington and I have been impatiently waiting for the reveal.  Since the “Jujubeet Coming Soon” sign went up a few months back, I have been stalking the empty store front because I simply could not wait for a juice bar across from my local yoga studio. My prayers – and namaste’s – have been answered, but the newly opened Jujubeet Cafe is so much more than I could have ever dreamed of!

Jujubeet’s mission is to provide whole, unprocessed foods in a quick, and convenient way.  The lack thereof in the Seattle area is exactly why Bianca founded her first Jujubeet Juice bar three years ago.  She believes that food should be simple, delicious, and yet nutrient-rich.  The customers loved the concept of a healthy alternative to grab-n-go foods and soon Jujubeet expanded to 4 locations.

Responding to the many customers’ requests for a larger dining area, Bellevue’s new Jujubeet cafe was created with ample space for larger groups and families to enjoy a healthy meal. The newly renovated cafe was entirely designed by H2 Design + Build and invites you to sit down and enjoy the airy and bright space.

The menu underwent some major changes as well. Warm meals were added that are exclusive to the Bellevue location and are always freshly prepared in the cafe. The in-house dietitian and the Jujubeet team created these dishes together to offer guests meals that are equally healthy and delicious.  Jujubeet now also offers a healthy kids’ menu featuring delicious foods like a vegan and gluten-free nut butter and banana crepe, which I know my son will go gaga for.  And to top it all off, there is now an espresso bar with artisan, locally roasted coffee from Caffe Umbria and a delicious raw vegan dessert menu (think chickpea truffles and chocolate banana bites)! I can confidently say that Jujubeet checked off every single item on my list for a perfect Cafe!

I was lucky enough to interview co-founder Bianca Szyperski during the soft opening phase last week and sample some of the delicious new items on Jujubeet’s menu. The pecan Mushroom Pate Sandwich was absolutely delicious and, best of all, filled me up. This would be a great dish to share with some girlfriends after a work out! The Cinnamon Oat Waffle was as beautiful as it was yummy, and being vegan and gluten-free definitely did not take away from the glorious taste! I also tasted some of the house-made coconut yogurt and will definitely be back for more.

It would not be a Jujubeet without its famous juices, of which I sampled the “Happy Greens” and “Liver Purifier”. I can see why “Happy Greens” is a crowd favorite – it is refreshing and includes all the essential greens (spinach, kale, cucumber, celery) with a fun twist that is fennel. My favorite juice might have been the “Liver Purifier”, however. Don’t be intimidated by the beets in the juice and give it a try –  I highly recommend its delicious earthiness!  And of course, Jujubeet also offers juice cleanses, which are great for resetting your system and kick start healthier food habits.

Jujubeet is throwing a grand opening celebration which is scheduled for Thursday, April 14 from 3-8 pm! To celebrate the new Bellevue location, Jujubeet is offering a special 15% off all menu items during the party – and also 15% off cleanses by phone orders on Thursday, April 14! Here is the phone number to take advantage of that  awesome offer: (425) 454-0747

I know that I will be at Jujubeet eating to my heart’s content and I would love seeing you there doing the same 🙂

 

xoxo,

 

Olga

 

Jujubeet waffles

Cinnamon Oat Waffle

Jujubeet menuJujubeet wafflesJujubeet Bellevue

Pecan mushroom pate sandwich

Pecan Mushroom Pate Sandwich

Jujubeet chickpea crepes

Sweet Cardamom Chickpea Flour Crepe

Happy Greens Juice with fennel

Happy Greens Juice with fennel

The delicious leftovers with Happy Greens and Liver Purifier Juice

The delicious leftovers with Happy Greens and Liver Purifier Juice

Grab-and-go counter

Grab-and-go counter

Jujubeetjujubeet-cafe

Bianca, the Co-Founder of Jujubeet, and I

Bianca, the Co-Founder of Jujubeet, and I

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Events, Kids and Family Fun on
April 19, 2017

Easter Crafting

If you are a mom like me, you are always on the hunt for fun weekend activities that the kids will enjoy, but won’t break the bank. Luckily, I recently discovered Free Crafts for kids at Lakeshore Learning and want to share this gem with you!

Every Saturday from 11 am to 3 pm all Lakeshore Learning locations offer fun and creative crafts for kids ages 3 and up. All materials are free of charge and instructions are always offered by one of the nice sales people in store.

I showed my son the different crafts our Bellevue store offered beforehand, and he chose the Cheerful Chick Basket, just in time for Easter. So, last Saturday, we headed to our local Lakeshore Learning store to put our crafting skills to good use.

I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was for my 5 year old to create this cute little basket with only minimal assistance from me. And he was delighted at how nice his craft turned out.

My son and I had such a great experience, we will definitely be back for future Free Crafts Saturdays. The next craft projects are going to be a fun pencil pal, a cute sheep puppet and many more craft ideas.

Even though this Cheerful Chick basket is Easter themed, I can see using the template for a Thanksgiving themed turkey. And there is always next Easter, so pin and save the instructions to the Chick basket for your kids to enjoy!

By the way, Lakeshore Learning has a fantastic blog with educational tips, craft ideas and lesson plans that is a wealth of information for all parents.

See you at the Lakeshore Learning store and craft on!

 

So proud of his Cheerful Chick basket!

 

 

In Kids and Family Fun on
April 18, 2017

10 Tips for Hiking with Kids

1. This one is a no-brainer – lots and lots of encouragement and praise!

Try to make the first hike a positive experience for the kids which they would love to repeat. Even if the accomplishments are little and your first few hikes might not be more than a stroll on the neighborhood trails, celebrate them as if they just climbed Mt. Rainier! Positive reinforcement is what will make the little ones come back for more and eventually finish “real” hikes.

2. Entice, okay, bribe them!

Offer them a treat or an award if they make it all the way to the peak or your selected destination. The only condition is that the kids have to earn their treat by finishing the hike all by themselves. No cheating, or carrying, allowed. When my son gets tired, I remind him of the yummy candy he is so close to enjoying, and all of a sudden there comes a burst of energy from somewhere. Works every time!

3. Start a tradition!

Pick a good day for your family’s schedule and try your best to stick to it. Soon, prepping for a hike will be as natural as getting ready for school. Another great way of starting a hiking tradition is to give kids a patch or button after every accomplished hike that they can collect and display with pride. Stickers or print-outs of awards will do, too!  With time, you not only have an impressive collection of hiked trails, but also priceless memories of family time well spent.

4. Never, and I mean never, cave in and pick them up!

Instead, take a break and tell them how great they have been doing and how proud you are of your little hiker. Sticking to your guns the first few times will simplify your hiking experience in the future. Soon they won’t even ask any more because they know that being carried is a no-go for a “true” hiker.

5. Provide them with fun gear! 

Carrying their own backpack and wearing cool hiking boots does wonders for the confidence.  We, adults, know how new, shiny gear can spark excitement about hitting the trail.  It’s no surprise the same goes for our mini me’s.

6. Invite other kids (and their parents) along!

Not only is hiking more fun with friends, but it also makes the kids want to show off their new hiking skills. Also, they are less likely to whine and fuss in fear of embarrassing themselves in front of their friends. Killing 2 birds with one stone is what I call that.

7. Distract them with fun!

Make up songs, play games on the trail, tell jokes, or anything else you can come up with to distract them from the actual “work” of hiking. For instance, we came up with a silly marching song that we hum every time it gets a little too monotone on the trail. Anything will do to avoid nagging and whining. I’m sure you hear me on that one   😉

8. Stop and wonder!

Take in all the beauty around you that Mother Nature has to offer. And most importantly, see them through your kids’ eyes! It is too easy to pass by the little flowers on the side of the trail in anticipation of the big waterfall ahead of you. I get it…but it’s just as amazing to pause and enjoy the little beauties. Kids have an advantage on us when it comes to the little things, so we might actually learn a thing or two from them about enjoying the moment. There are plenty of new things to discover on the trail as long as you pay attention. Trust me.

9. Pack a nutritious lunch and call it a picnic!

Hiking can be an exhausting endeavor for little feet. Make sure to bring a lunch and snacks that provide lots of energy, such as a healthy sandwich and fresh fruit. And lots and lots of water! Find a nice sunny spot, preferably with a view, and get comfortable. And don’t forget to “leave no trace” behind and take your trash back with you. Even little hikers live by the motto “Pack it in, pack it out”.

10. And finally, take LOTS of breaks.     

We have a fun way of making sure everybody stays hydrated and energetic. Every time we see water, may it be a stream or a big puddle, we drink a sip of water. For the kids it is fun to spot the water and yell “water break”, and adults are just happy that everybody is hydrated. Any time you notice your little one slowing down to a mere snail crawl, I suggest to take a short break. Regenerate and energize with a quick snack and chances are the hike will be more enjoyable afterwards. After all, it’s about the journey, not the destination…