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Friday 30 September 2016

Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle

Ok... so when I started writing this post it was Thursday, and National Coffee Day, the holiest of all the food holidays - expect for maybe National Donut Day which is filled of holes. Ha! See what I did there?

Anyway, National Coffee Day seemed like the perfect day to share our visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery. Or at least, it would have been had I finished writing this post on the actual day. Of course, now it's no longer Thursday, so National Coffee Day is sadly a thing of the past, but hey, I'm only a few hours late so let's just pretend!

Today it's National Coffee Day (shh... we're pretending, remember?) so what better day to share our visit to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery in Seattle over Summer. I know, I know... a post about a Starbucks store doesn't sound all that interesting, but trust me; this isn't your regular Starbucks. This is swanky Starbucks. The fancy Starbucks. A Starbucks for true lovers of coffee. Scroll through the photos below and you'll see that not only does this Starbucks look nothing like a regular Starbucks, there's something different about the people too. Not a single person is sitting in front of a computer - well, apart from the guy controlling the coffee roasting machine, but we're not counting him. The customers are engaging in conversation. They're taking time to enjoy their coffee. They're watching the roasting and brewing processes. This is not a Starbucks to grab a paper cup of coffee in order to make use of the free wifi for hours - don't get me started on how much that very American practice still drives me crazy. This Starbucks is a destination. Oh, and look at the cups... they're ceramic. They're glass. They're not paper and they don't have names spelled strangely on the side in Sharpie. Of course, they do have paper cups for take out though, but they're fancier paper cups!

Thursday 29 September 2016

Monterey County for Families

Monterey and the Big Sur Coastline is one of my favorite places for a weekend getaway from the Bay Area. It's a relatively short drive down the coast, yet it feels a world away from home.

The world class Monterey Bay Aquarium is definitely the biggest draw card for our family of sea life loving kiddos, but the beaches and the stunning coastal views are enough to make Monterey County a great destination on their own.

Here's a look at some of our favorite destinations in Monterey County for families...

Monday 19 September 2016

Roadworks Festival 2016

This weekend Mathilde and I spent an afternoon in the city at one of our favorite annual festivals.

Each year, San Francisco Center for the Book hosts the Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival. It's a fun day full of printing and book binding activities with a market place for local print makers to sell their artwork. The highlight of the festival is the steamroller printing. A vintage steamroller rolls over a carefully place linoleum block, paper and layer of blankets to produce amazing prints. It's such a fun and novel way to produce prints.

This year, there was not one steamroller at the festival like previous years, but two. Double the steamroller fun! One steamroller was used to produce the large 3' x 3' prints as per usual, and another was used to print smaller prints to order, four at a time. This meant that there was twice as much steamroller action, something that Mathilde was pretty excited about.

Saturday 17 September 2016

Better Things + A Giveaway!


Parenting can be pretty hard at times.

Diaper blow outs. Potty training disasters. Fussy kids refusing to eat. Fussy kids refusing to eat off anything other than the pink plate. Toddlers discovering that they can literally flush money down the toilet. Meltdowns when someone else presses the elevator button. Two year old tantrums in the middle of the supermarket. Three year old tantrums in the middle of the supermarket. Four year old... ok, you get the picture!

There are so many times throughout a parent's day when being the adult just feels like it's too hard - especially when you've got multiple kids who seem to be ganging up on you. Not my kids, of course - no, never! Ha... totally my kids! But despite how bad a lot of these little parenting dramas seem at the time, many of them are actually kind of funny in hindsight. That toddler flushing money down the toilet thing that I mentioned above? Yep, that happened in our home last weekend when Mathilde discovered that "pennies" (or rather, a pile of quarters that she stole out of my purse) are fun to flush down the toilet. It was pretty stressful at the time as I worried about what else she might be flushing away, but when I look back on it now, I have to admit that it makes me laugh. Until, of course, I discover that she has flushed something important, which, fingers crossed, she hasn't.

One thing that helps with feeling stressed about these sorts of little parenting dramas, is knowing just how many other parents are experiencing the same sorts of things. Chatting with other parents, in real life or online, about the crazy things that our kids do is a great help. Hearing other parent's stories and knowing that they are there with you in solidarity helps. And sometimes, we can all get a chuckle about of the crazy things our kids have done - even if it didn't seem so funny at the time.

Sometimes, it's not real people that help us get through the craziness of parenting. Sometimes it's TV shows and movies that show us that we're not alone. Better Things, the new comedy from Pamela Adlon and Louis C.K., is one such show. Airing on FX, Better Things shares the story of single mom Sam Fox and her trials of parenting her three daughters. It's a funny take on real life parenting dramas and it's a refreshing break from the typical family sitcom mold.

The kids on the show may be older than mine, and their dramas may be a little more grown up than diaper blow outs and toddlers flushing money down the toilet, but they're still something that I, and many parents can relate to and laugh about. In fact, the opening scene of the first episode really resonated with me, and I'm sure it's one that many parents would be familiar with. Sam sits on a bench in a mall while her youngest daughter stands next to her crying. An older lady also sitting on the bench starts to stare at Sam, like really, glaring at her. Sam asks the older lady "Do you want to buy her the $6 earrings? Because that's what she's crying about". I just had to laugh, because it's definitely a scenario I've found myself in with my girls when they're playing up in public, and strangers begin to judge. We've all been there, right?

I know that I'm not alone when it comes to crazy kid antics that drive us up the wall, and this is where my give away comes in. Yay!

Simply check out Better Things here then share one of your craziest parenting moments in the comments below and you're in the running to win!

So what's the prize? To celebrate the launch of Better Things, FX have put together a goodie bag filled with parenting must haves to help when those crazy moments get a little too much. Here's what's inside...
  • Ray-Ban sunglasses
  • Chipolo bluetooth keyring
  • Baggu leather clutch
  • Emergency beauty kit
  • Hypoallergenic travel pillow with ultra soft pillow protector
  • Essential oils blend mini
  • Skinny lip balm
  • "Credit Card" mints

What a great prize!

This give away is open to US readers only and closes September 29th at 11:59pm PST. The winner will be selected at random and contacted by email.

Make sure to check out Better Things on FX Thursday at 10pm. 

Thursday 15 September 2016

My Favorite Lemon Chicken Recipe

When I think of comfort food from my childhood there is one particular dish that always springs to mind: my Mum's Lemon Chicken. The sauce is so tangy and delicious with its combination of lemon, garlic and soy sauce. It's the one dish that I find myself literally licking the plate clean afterwards! I just can't get enough of that sauce! Not only is it super tasty, but it's a dish that brings back memories every time I eat it. Lemon chicken was always my favorite dish when I was a kid and even after I moved out of home, my Mum would make sure to serve it up for dinner when I visited - with lemon meringue pie for dessert. Can't just stop at one lemon dish for dinner!

I've been meaning to share my Mum's Lemon Chicken recipe here on Little Hiccups for quite some time, so when the opportunity to work together with Foster Farms came up, I knew it was the perfect time to share. Locally grown chicken, raised with no antibiotics ever, baked in my favorite tangy lemon sauce? The perfect combination!

Tuesday 13 September 2016

Baby Wearing Mathilde

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by The Baby Cubby.

When people find out that our family of five has been living car free for almost five years now, they're almost always surprised. With three young kids surely it must be a struggle, right? Of course, there are times when owning a car would come in super handy, like when we decide at the last minute that we want to take a day trip and all of the local Zipcars are already reserved, but in our regular day to day life we get by without a car just fine.

Where we live is definitely the biggest factor in how easily we are able to live car free. We live downtown in a fairly bike and pedestrian friendly city where most places we need to go are within a ten to twenty minute walk. School is a ten minute walk away. Karate class is a ten minute walk away. Swim team is a twenty minute walk away. The supermarket is in the bottom of our apartment building. Ok, that last one definitely helps a lot! Pretty much anywhere else we need to go (including Kim's work) can be reached pretty easily by BART (the Bay Area's train system) or bus - both of which are within a ten minute walk of our building.

We're lucky that the public transport here is pretty good, but no matter how good a public transport system is, it's always a little trickier to take with small kids in tow. Lugging a stroller up and down bus stairs isn't fun. Neither is folding it up and holding everything, baby/toddler included, when you get a driver who sticks to the (ludicrous!) rules about strollers on buses. Just as bad are the dirty looks from other passengers on busy trains when the stroller takes up a little extra space. And don't get me started on the horrible state of the BART elevators that seem to be commonly mistaken for public restrooms! So, to get around these relatively minor, but still irksome, hassles I try to baby wear as much as possible. This makes it much easier to get on and off buses, we take up less room than we would with a stroller, and, my favorite, we can avoid taking those stinky BART elevators!

When it comes to choosing the right baby carrier for your needs it can be a little overwhelming. There are so many different options to choose from and a lot of products on the market. And so many questions... Should you go with a wrap, a sling, or a structured carrier? How do you want to wear your little one? On your front, on your back, forward facing...? Do you need something for extended use into toddlerhood or just for that first year? It can all be pretty daunting, especially when you're a new parent. The Baby Cubby, an online (and bricks and mortar) store and resource for all things baby, have an informative baby carrier buying guide that makes finding the right product for your needs easier. You can find this super helpful guide here.

Below are my personal experiences with baby wearing and the various carriers that I've used with Mathilde...

Tuesday 6 September 2016

Dinner Hacks with Gobble

The kids have been back at school and their regular activities for a week now. While that means I have a little extra time during the school day to get things done, it also means that I am much busier after school. Between karate class and swim team/swim classes, we've got after school activities five days a week. That's five days a week that we're not home before 5:30pm at the very earliest, which means that's five days a week that I find myself scrambling to get something made for dinner. 

As we live on top of a Trader Joe's supermarket, our dinner often comes in the form of their ready meals. It's quick and easy, and most of them are pretty tasty. However, they're not always the healthiest option and I miss the satisfaction of knowing that I made dinner from scratch.

I'm always looking for new quick and easy options for dinner so when I heard about Gobble dinner kits I was excited to give them a try. Imagine this... a healthy and tasty home made meal cooked from scratch in just ten minutes! No peeling, no chopping, no measuring amounts... None of that time consuming stuff that stops me from making home cooked meals. Just fresh, ready chopped ingredients, perfectly portioned and ready to cook in just one pan. Oh, and less clean up too! Perfect!

We gave Gobble a try last week and made two super tasty meals: Chicken Tikka Masala with Rice and Naan, and Miso Glazed Salmon with Soba Noodles and Edamame. Both were so easy to make that the kids were able to help out which was great. They love being helpers in the kitchen but with their busy after school schedule we don't always have time. 

Saturday 3 September 2016

Seattle & Canada Trip

Summer break is over and my big girls are back at school. I can't believe how quickly the Summer flew by. Part of me feels like we didn't really do much or hardly go anywhere this Summer, but then I remember, hey, we just came back from Canada! Ha!

If you're following Little Hiccups on Instagram then you will have been seeing photos from our recent trip to Seattle and Canada over the past few weeks. I have so much to share with you from our trip as we went to so many amazing places - and as always, I took a gazillion photos! For now I thought I'd share an overview of our trip with a few highlights from each place we visited.

So here's a look at our trip to Seattle, Vancouver and Victoria...

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