© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

School lunch box ideas from the farmers market

 

Our twins started kindergarten this month. It’s a fun time to be a mom and to see their world expanding. Change is good.

One of the ways I wanted to stay involved in my kids’ school day is to pack a school lunch for them. Like many moms, I want to offer my kids nutritious food but I also want them to eat it. For us, we have food sensitivities and I’ll also admit that I like the idea of my kids having food from home, prepared by mom.

It’s already been a challenge to figure out what to pack. I see us getting stuck in a food routine, partly by the limitations of making food that will hold up in their lunch boxes, and partly because like most kids, mine like what they like.

I thought I’d get some inspiration from our local farmers market. My twins both seek out and enjoy vegetables and fruit, and already at 5 years old they know that food “from the farmer” tastes better, and it’s a lot more fun to shop for.

So it was a sunny September Saturday when we popped in to the Arlington Farmers Market. My daughter was with me, and as she’ll remind you, she’s completely grown, so she had her own shopping basket of course. There was also a local art fair and music happening that day.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

It’s so nice to see friends and people you recognize at the market. It had been too long since we visited, but it was like stepping back into a familiar routine, a kind of relaxed food experience that reminds me of that closer connection I felt to food as a child in Asia and as a young adult in Europe. When you buy something knowing you’re going to eat it that day or the next, choosing the ingredients becomes part of the meal, too.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

We found plums, peaches, and our favorite tomatoes at Garden Treasures Nursery & Organic Farm. From Arial at Misty Mountains Farm we got gluten-free cookies and bread we ate right away, as well as a pizza crust and, um, more cookies.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

I learned about cheese making from Golden Glen Creamery. We even got some homemade dog treats from Happy Tails Dog Treats, and my daughter got a bouquet of flowers just because.

© twin-mom.com. School lunch ideas from the Arlington Farmers Market.

I’m still working on those school lunches. My daughter just announced that she wants to try the hot lunch at school, too. With two kindergarteners, I know I have a lot of change in my future, with food and everything else.

*The Arlington Farmers Market is open for two more Saturdays this year. Check them out! Local Harvest and Puget Sound Fresh have searchable lists of farmers markets options.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

 

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier with kids: wildflowers and mountain air in Paradise

 

So much of the reason I love where we live has to do with the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. For my twins, going outside and seeing snow-capped mountains is part of their daily lives, but we hadn’t yet made the trip up to Mount Rainier.

It was a three-hour drive for us. How do we do road trips with kids? The tricks that work for me are to spend a lot of time building interest in the destination, try to keep the kids occupied en route, and feed everyone well. Bringing your patience is helpful, too. #speakingfromexperience

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

We entered Mount Rainier National Park along with a lot of other people on a sunny, crisp, almost-fall Sunday. I decided on the Paradise Inn area as our stopping point because I knew there were easy paved trails there and I wanted to check out the Paradise Jackson Visitor Center.

The road from the Nisqually Entrance winds around a bit, and there were a lot of cars stopped to check out the waterfalls and trails.  I was glad we took our smaller car to maneuver around, because we had just a few hours before we were due back in Elbe to catch the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park, Paradise Inn

Paradise Inn

We found the Paradise Inn along with, yes, a lot of other people. It was crowded in the parking lot and visitor center area but as soon as we freshened up from the car ride, we headed for the trails.

And oh my glorious.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park
© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

So all I have to say is go. Go while the sun is shining or your weather app tells you it’s whatever your version of a “good day” looks like. Be adventurous, be patient, be prepared, and get ready to walk. The quiet views, the wildflowers, and the fresh mountain air (away from the crowds) are worth every bit of road trip angst you might ever have.

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park © twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

© twin-mom.com. Mount Rainier National Park

Alpine Aster

Visit Rainier has good information to plan a visit to Mount Rainier National Park and the surrounding communities, and I could spend a good chunk of an otherwise productive day looking at the National Park Service’s informative website, too.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

 

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

twin-mom.com Washington State restaurants

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Our first trip to the Olympic Peninsula: camping at Dosewallips State Park

 

We arrived late after a gorgeous sunset ride on the Edmonds to Kingston ferry, driving through the Olympic National Forest to get to Dosewallips State Park in Brinnon, Washington. We’re a Bigfoot family – not seriously, but ok kind of seriously – and my husband pronounced the forest very “Squatchy.” We drove along Highway 101, looking for hulking shadows or glowing eyes around every turn. So cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Riding the Washington State Ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Selfie!

 

We set up our tent in the dark and settled in. Even with the late night and the big change from our routine, my twins did very well and went right to sleep. In the morning, it was full-on campground fun time. The bike and scooter came out, horseshoes and lawn bowling set up, and plenty of neighbors to wave at.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Playing horseshoes at the campground.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A kid-friendly campground. Check out the Airstream in the background – so cool.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

They crack themselves up.

Was this deep woods quiet reflection? No. It was car camping, social camping, “get to know where everyone’s from” camping. My kids love the campground atmosphere, and my husband and I are becoming fans, too. It helps to see your kids so happy.

We did get out to explore. They tried play-fishing with toy rods in the Dosewallips River – note to mom, get real rods! We walked the trail over to Hood Canal, stepping over thousands of oyster and clam shells, and getting to see some live ones, too. My daughter and I hiked some of the Maple Valley Trail, walking quietly through the other-worldly green of the forest.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Play-fishing on the Dosewallips River.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

A natural!

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

Pitching rocks on Hood Canal.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park. Maple Valley Trail

The Maple Valley Trail.

© twin-mom.com. Olympic Peninsula, Dosewallips State Park.

It rained after dinner. Having some cozy time in the tent.

 

If you’re a family who hasn’t tried camping yet, I’d say go for it. Just expect that if you’re a mom who does a lot of work to care for everyone at home, that won’t change. Travel isn’t about luxury and pampering all of the time. Sometimes, it’s a game of horseshoes, washing little faces outside, and sleeping in a cozy tent.

And the feeling that you did it together.

 

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some time just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Everett Herald, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

twin-mom.com’s header photo is by Jon Anderson of Jon and Rach Photography.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

The goat trick: planning a memorable summer and a visit to Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze in Arlington, WA

 

We’re so close.

The end of the preschool year is in full swing here. We have end of year parties, concerts, and lots of reshuffling of the family routine. Big plans and changes are coming as we head to kindergarten in the fall, but for now, I have two four year olds and a whole summer just at the end of our fingertips.

The other day we were having one of those sunny, it’s-almost-summer vacation mornings when I got a very hot tip from Facebook that BlackJack, the famous goat from our local Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze, was coming out for the summer. Who is BlackJack? Well, first, say it right. If you’re four years old, it’s “BlackJaaaaaack!!!” He’s a rather famous goat who does this amazing trick – he trots up to the second story of a fun little goat structure and hoists cans of food up for himself. He’s not shy about it, either. Go BlackJack.

The kids had a great time. We’ve been coming to Foster’s since they were barely waddlers and I don’t remember them taking on so much responsibility as to the feeding of dear BlackJack. They took the reins, cleared mama’s wallet of every quarter to feed him, and spread the love with carrots for the goats Gus and Annie, a soon-to-be-named sheep, and a rabbit we met only briefly. I can’t believe how big they’ve gotten.

So I may be trying to rush away the end of this school year, but I love free time like this and can’t wait for more. Mostly, I just want to savor this last summer with preschoolers. We’ll do local things like go see BlackJack again, and far-off things like tag along on mama’s writing trips. We’ve made it a long way and there’s still plenty more fun. Bring on summer.

 

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

Image © twin-mom.com. Foster's Produce and Corn Maze, Arlington, WA.

*See BlackJack at Foster’s Produce and Corn Maze and please visit the other great businesses and summer events in the Arlington, Oso, and Darrington communities. We’re a fun place for families and those who like to be outside. Our local businesses would appreciate your support. #OsoStrong

 

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

twin-mom.com’s header photo is by Jon Anderson of Jon and Rach Photography.


					
© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

Our first trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Mount Vernon, WA

 

I love to spend time in Skagit County with my family. It’s a wonderful area to get the kids outdoors. Mount Vernon is a vibrant, historic town with fun people. When I met my husband, he was living in Mount Vernon and I was living in Seattle. At first I wondered if this guy was the real deal, but obviously after eight years and two kids, the Skagit Valley was good to me!

Years ago, one of our first dates was the Mount Vernon Street Fair that’s part of the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. I remember my husband driving me the long way through the tulip fields, trying to impress me, I’m sure. It worked. I’m not saying that the tulips will get you a partner for life but they sure didn’t hurt the effort in my husband’s case.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

Fast forward a few years. The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival happens every spring. Each year, I think we’re going to get our twins dressed in their cute mud boots and out for that vibrant picture standing in front of the tulips.

But somehow this is the first year our twins have ever seen the tulips. They’re nearly five years old. The tulips aren’t that far from us. It’s a shame, I know. The lost photos alone!

We went to Tulip Town, a great option for families. It wasn’t a good start for us, though. I tried for the photos. But one of us couldn’t shake the grumpy and I ended up carrying a kid for a while.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

I decided to let it go and just let them direct what we would see. My son was mesmerized by the rows of colorful flowers, in his own quiet way.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

It turns out they loved the indoor area with the murals and the tulip arrangements.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

They also liked the reflecting ponds in memory of fallen heroes. That made me proud. And all was well after we got a cookie from the espresso stand.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

I read a lot of “how to plan your trip” tips and visitor information. My most practical tips would be to bring cash – although it wasn’t an expensive morning for us at $12 for our family of four, including the cookie. I’d also bring mud boots for everyone. And do everything you can to get there early.

But my most useful tip would be to bring your most positive self. I think that for moms, outings like the tulip fields are about that desire we have to break from routine a little bit, to nurture our kids with experiences. It’s love that gets families out in the mud and the traffic. And as I was reminded, it’s mom’s willingness to let go that can often carry the day.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

© twin-mom.com. Tulip Town. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Mount Vernon, WA.

About twin-mom.com and Linda Jenkins:

twin-mom.com Linda Jenkinstwin-mom.com is a blog about family life and travels in the Pacific Northwest, with some wish list finds just for moms, too. Follow Linda and her busy family as they enjoy close-to-home and accessible family fun.

Former attorney Linda Jenkins is a Pacific Northwest travel, food & wine, and lifestyle writer. Her work has appeared in magazines and newspapers including 425 Magazine, South Sound Magazine, NWLawyer, The Seattle Times, and The Tacoma News Tribune. Read more…

Follow twin-mom.com on:

Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Bloglovin

 

Visit Top Mommy Blogs To Vote For Me!

twin-mom.com Washington State restaurants