Checking it Out: Brewers Row

Checking it Out: Brewers Row

The motivation for my Red Elm and the Antique Sandwich Co. reviews was that they were known in my "mom circles" as places for kids. Brewer's Row, however, isn't widely talked about as a place for kids. However, my experience there with my son, Caleb, have been great. It's casual and fast which make for a fun place to grab a bite to eat if you have little ones. Let's taco (I mean talk) about it. 

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Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Tacoma Take-Out Favorites

Before having Caleb, Josh and I loved to dine out. Not always fancy, but just for some good grub on the weekends. I guess you could call us foodies. I really do enjoy cooking and baking at home, but I also really enjoy eating out. It is a nice break from the kitchen, it's fun to eat delicious foods (especially things you can't/don't make at home), and it can often inspire your inner chef. A good mix of eating out and eating in would be our style...pre-kids. 

However, now that we have a kid, eating out is way, way, way less frequent. It's hard to work it in with naps and bedtime and can be tough to keep the kiddo entertained and quiet while you eat. I often find myself overly involved with the kid and not really paying attention to what I am eating. This sort of defeats the purpose for me in some ways. I like to savor and enjoy my food. We could take turns, Josh and I, with one managing Caleb while the other chows down; however, then you're not really eating together.  

We still attempted to keep our eating out style while Caleb was a baby, and it worked until he was about five months old, then it just stopped working. He stopped sleeping on-to-go as much and eating out became a challenge. We had to adjust our eating out lifestyle. So, we turned to take-out. I cook all week, so our little treat is to get take-out Friday and/or Saturday. We put Caleb down for bed, and then we enjoy our take-out meal together. Not quite the same, but still enjoyable. 

Top 11 (why stop at 10?) Tacoma Take-out Restaurants…

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Summer Sales! Nordstrom Anniversary

Summer Sales! Nordstrom Anniversary

Another sale! If you didn't have much luck with Amazon Prime Day, then this one is for you. Every year Nordstroms has its Anniversary Sale. Many of the items on sale are for the fall, but you can find some summer stuff in the mix as well. From July 12th to 19th the sale was limited to cardholds, but as of Friday, July 20th the sale runs for everyone. The sale ends and prices go back up August 5th, but things do sell out so act quickly on the popular items!

I already bought the DockATot and anticipating buying something else for myself...but which to pick! If I had all the money in the world, these are the things I would probably purchase. 

What do you have your eye on? 

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Summer Sales! Amazon Prime Sale

Summer Sales! Amazon Prime Sale

I'm a sucker for sales. If I have two shirts in front of me and one is on sale but I like the full-priced shirt better, I feel this odd compulsion to buy the one on sale even when I prefer the other shirt. My logical side knows I should get the one I like best because I'll likely wear it more and get more use out of it. However, the other one is on sale. Then you go through a, "I should just buy both" moment. Then my budget minds reminds me that's a bad idea. 

Sales almost get me anxious and I get some serious FOMO. Is this weird? If I don't buy something, I'm missing out on the greatest deal of my lifetime. Sigh. Life is tough. 

There are two sales happening right now: Amazon Prime and Nordstrom Anniversary. I'm separating them out into two posts since the Amazon Prime Sale is happening right now whereas Nordstrom Anniversary still has some time. 

The Amazon Prime Sale goes from today through Wednesday night.

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Stitch Fix Maternity Box Cuteness

Stitch Fix Maternity Box Cuteness

Fashion, turn to the left
Fashion, turn to the right
Ooh fashion

Does a word ever trigger a song in your head? Well, I often find this happening. And I'm singing the above lyrics to myself. If you don't know what I'm talking about, then check out this David Bowie's Fashion song. The only funny thing is that I only know these three phrases of the song, so those just repeat in my head. Anyhoo....

I want to talk a little bit about fashion with you guys today. I'm by no means a fashionista, and it's for this reason I often find myself seeking help from others who I think are more fashionable. In this case, it's the folks at Stitch Fix

I've gotten Stitch Fix boxes before - probably about six or seven boxes total. My first box was all the way back in April 2014. The first few boxes I received were great, but then I started to see a decline. I think they got popular, and grew too fast, and may have lost some quality control. However, I think it might be back under control since the past two boxes have been better. And more interestingly, the best boxes I've received have been maternity. 

You probably saw my exciting news about a new member of our family that's on his way. I'm currently 19 weeks along and the bump is starting to show. I've been pulling out my maternity wear from last pregnancy, but I needed a few more summery pieces. Maternity clothes that are both cute and affordable can be tough to find, and all stores seem only to sell maternity online these days. I was happy with my previous Stitch Fix maternity box, so I thought I'd give it a whirl again.  

Good news: I was happy with this maternity box as well. Woohoo! 

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Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Screaming for Ice Cream: Tacoma Ice Cream & Froyo

Hey Summer! Welcome to Tacoma! We're happy you're here. Although I have to admit, even if it's not summer, I still eat my ice cream and frozen yogurt (aka froyo). I just eat more of it! It's no joke that I have been nicknamed, "the Froyo Queen" by friends. I can't help it, I love the stuff. 

Whether for good or bad, Caleb has also picked up on my love for frozen goodness. A fine example is how he ate just the strip of ice cream out of the ice cream birthday cake at a friend's birthday the other weekend. While the sugar high aftermath can be crazy, I do enjoy sharing a treat with my little guy. 

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Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

Birthday Parties and Where to Have Them

June is my birthday month and it got me thinking about birthdays. In some ways, I wish my son's birthday was in the summer since you could bring the party outdoors. His birthday is at the beginning of January and outdoors is just not an option. I spent a lot of time trying to find a place to have his 2nd birthday party. I didn't want it at the house since I just had family over for all the holidays. Having more people in the house and more cleaning just didn't sound like something I wanted to do. So I surfed the internet and racked my brain to come up with some alternatives. We ended up at the Children's Museum of Tacoma. It was great fun!

However, summer birthday friends, I got your back. June birthdays can be hit or miss with the weather. Summer really doesn't seem to hit the Pacific Northwest until July 4th. Yes, that specific. Then in the summer months, it can be uber hot and practically none of us have air conditioning. So, I hear you when you say I don't want it at the house. Or maybe, you'd just like to avoid toddlers destroying every square inch in your house. I get it. This list is also for you.

In fact, this birthday list an everyone and any time of year list of places to have a kid's birthday in and around the Tacoma area. It's indoor and outdoor places. It's places with packages or just places to go. It's for young kids and for older kids. I'm sure there is more out there. I tried to stick mostly to Tacoma although admittedly there are a few outliers (like Gig Harbor and Puyallup). Please comment if you have even more and better ideas! 

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Summer 2018 Books Recommendations

Summer 2018 Books Recommendations

In my mind, summer reading is light and airy fiction that you breeze through while sipping a drink on the beach. My book recommendations are really not that. You'll usually find me picking up a historical fiction or fantasy book instead. That's just how I roll. If you rather have other recommendations, then check out these book recommendations: here, here, or here

One thought that crossed my mind as I considered sharing summer reading was whether I should share books I'm interested in reading or ones that I've read and enjoyed. I landed with the latter. This way I know what I'm recommending is good. However, in order to give you books I would totally recommend reading, I had to go back to some I read a while ago - not like forever ago, but like last year or so.

Plus giving you one I want to read is hard. I generally don't know what I'm going to read next until I'm done with the book I'm currently reading. It's at that point, I go through an antagonizing time of scrolling through Goodreads to see what I want to read. It generally takes me about a week to make a decision. Life is tough. 

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Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Big News! Coming Soon: Family of Four

Many of you already found out about our big news from my personal blog. Now, it's time to share the news here with my Raising Tacoma friends. You probably already pick up the big news from the title, but to make it an official: Soon there will be FOUR Browns in this family!

We are looking forward to a little boy joining our family! Baby Boy Brown #2 is expected sometime late November or early December -- the official due date is December 2nd, 2018 (we'll see!).

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 2

Did you miss my first LOL and not sure what this is all about? Go check it out! 

What do you think of that donut? This is how Caleb decided to eat this donut over the weekend. We missed getting donuts on National Donut Day (Friday, 6/1), but we enjoyed them on Sunday instead. To no surprise to any mom out there, my son chose the donut with sprinkles. #nationaldonutday

My favorite local magazines, South Sound Magazine, put out it's annual Best of the South Sound last month. I love checking out what people like and seeing if matches my likes. Some did, some didn't. Here's the article and then here's what I had to say about it. And why do I always want to type Sound Sound? Ugh. 

OMG OMG, summer is almost here…..

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Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

Park Love: Puget Park in Proctor

The first day of summer is June 21st. That's not too far away! Plus, we've been lucky with some summer-like weather already. We've already started adding the playground back into our daily routine (not that it was totally out, but the terrible winter weather made it less appealing). One of my favorite parks is Puget Park in the Proctor area. Maybe it's because it's close to our home, but there are some other great reasons as well. 

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Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

Toddler Flight Survival: Tips and Tricks

We are headed to Chicago in just a few short weeks to visit family and go to my cousin's wedding. We're really looking forward to it, except for one thing, the flight. Dun dun dun. Actually, knock on wood, but the last flight with Caleb went pretty smoothly. With more attention span, it seems there are more ways to entertain. More ways to entertain mean a better flight. Can I get an amen?! 

Growing up my mom had a severe fear of flying. In fact, she had to go to a fear of flying class just like Meg Ryan in French Kiss (my family loves this movie). A few weeks before we traveled, my mom always got nervous and weird. In a way, I have a fear of flying like my mom but for a different reason. It's a fear of flying with a toddler. I picture a manic toddler screaming the whole way and me crying. Just like my mom, I get all weird a few weeks before our flights trying to come up with some magical trick that will keep Caleb happy. 

When I get nervous, I tend to go overboard on research. I scour the internet for ideas, I ask friends, and over think as I'm trying to fall asleep. I hope I'm not the only one like this...please tell me I'm not the only one like this.

Luckily, I'm feeling much more confident this time around as I've acquired quite a few tips from all our previous flights. I figured I ought to share! 

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Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

Toddler Hair Cuts: Wild Child Salon

I was worried about how Caleb's first haircut would go down. He's a very active kid and doesn't like to sit still for long, so I pictured myself wrangling an almost-two-year-old for 20 minutes while a desperate haircutter tried to trim his hair. The reality was far different from this nightmarish vision I had conjured up. In fact, the complete opposite. He enjoyed the haircut and he enjoyed it so much that he didn't even want to leave. Yup, you heard me right, he didn't want to leave. Imagine that.  

Caleb was 22 months when he had his first haircut. I tried to wait until he was two, but his hair was just too crazy and wild. I was also delaying it because I was "mom sad" about his first haircut. Those baby curls are just too sweet. However, the ladies at Wild Child made it a wonderful experience for Caleb and me. 

At 28 months, Caleb just had his third haircut at Wild Child. As I was leaving with a smile, I thought I ought to share this experience. So here I am, sharing my positive experience!

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Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

Must Go: Children's Museum of Tacoma

I'd be remiss if I didn't have a post about the Children's Museum of Tacoma. Seriously, what kind of Tacoma children's blog would this be without it? I'll tell you, not a very good one. This was one of the first posts I planned to write here on Raising Tacoma. I'm ashamed to say it's been over three months and I'm just getting to it now. Better late than never, right?

We go to the museum at least once a week. We love the programs and the open museum play space. It's even where we had Caleb's second birthday. I am so grateful we have the Children's Museum here; it's definitely saved my sanity more times than one. If you haven't been, then you need to drop everything and go. Okay, that's hasty, you probably have questions. I always have questions. Let's tackle some of those questions.

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Best of the South Sound: Raising Tacoma Picks

Best of the South Sound: Raising Tacoma Picks

Have you seen South Sound Magazine has the Best of the South Sound 2018 edition out? I appreciate the magazine put this out every year as I enjoy seeing the places that are considered the best from the community. When the time comes that I need an auto detail or florist (or whatnot), I often check out what is listed in Best of the Sound South. It at least gives me a starting place to what might be a good option. Usually, I take it a step further and go to Yelp and ask friends, too. 

Although I don't know if I love admitting it, I am a foodie as well. Is there a bad rep for foodies? I hope now. I'm a nice foodie. Anyway, it's true so I must admit it. And I am always on the lookout for new, cool restaurants. I even follow Sue Kidd TNT Diner on Facebook and get all the latest on what's coming and going with restaurants. But here's the funny yet sad catch to my foodie life: I'm a foodie that doesn't get out to eat much (hello, toddler). Ha! But we do take-out and date-nights, so there's that at least.

When I started thinking about doing this blog. I originally wanted to focus on how Tacoma is growing and check out all the new places and write my thoughts on them. Then reality hit that doing all that with a toddler isn't going to be so easy. I like where I took this blog instead, but now you know I have a love of food. 

Given all this, of course, I have my own opinion on the restaurants. I agreed with some but shook my head at some others. I thought you might like to hear what some of my favorites are instead. I'm sticking to the restaurant list only. Here goes nothing.

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LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 1

LOL: Lots of Links - Volume 1

Gotcha,  you saw LOL and thought "laughing out loud." Psych! 

When I first saw the LOL acronym I totally thought it meant lots of love. It was a brief misunderstanding and was quickly identified (probably by my loving husband). But since I'm in the game of taking the wrong meaning of acronyms, I'm going ahead and making my own meaning for LOL. Yup, lots of links. 

I am a link hoarder, which is probably why I love Pinterest. Pinterest speaks to me. Another quirk of mine, I will leave a link up as a page on Safari on my iPhone until I get a chance to read it. Anyway, I figured you might be curious in some of the more intersting links I come across. Thus the creation of LOL.  

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5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

5 Easy Week Night Meals in a Bowl

The age-old question: What's for dinner? It's a tough one. It was hard when I worked and didn't have a child, and it's hard when I don't work but have a child. I think everyone can relate to the challenge of getting a delicious, healthy meal on the table in a timely manner during the week. If you find it easy, then by all means comment and let us know your secret. ;) 

Also, you may be wondering, why in a bowl? I ask you this, why not in a bowl? Josh and I were talking about it, and we eat the majority of our meals from a bowl. It's just so handy - everything goes one dish, it's easy to scoop up the food, and each bite is exciting. Forever we used small bowls and realized it just wasn't big enough. We're hungry people! We got these bowls from Cost Plus World Market, and they are perfect. 

I have my meal planning method that I'll share some time with you. For now, in short, I plan everything over the weekend, grocery shop on Sunday, make most of the meal during nap time each day and finish up (or heat up) the dinner in the evening. It makes nap time busy, but it's worth it at the end of the day for me. 

For today, I've collected five favorite bowl meals that I make regularly. And five meals will get you through one work week (yay for math)! I do enjoy cooking, but I haven't mastered creating recipes. However, I do feel as though I'm good at finding recipes. I am mostly a true-to-recipe follower, but I do make adjustments based on ease of ingredients, my own likes/dislikes, and whatnot. I've shared what I do differently in case you'd like to try it my way.

Oh, and I get like 98% of my recipes from bloggers. Check out the sources for my recipes - I love all these blogs. Ready? Let's go.

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What we’re Reading: 27 Months

What we’re Reading: 27 Months

One of my favorite things to do is read. According to my mom, I wasn’t always this way. It’s a funny story actually. I was in fourth grade, and it was the first year I had ever earned straight A’s (not that there were letter grades before the fourth grade, but work with me). My mom was a fourth-grade teacher at my school, and her friend was my teacher. When my teacher told my mom about my grades, my mom told her to give me a B in reading knowing that doing so would encourage me to read more at home. I didn’t find out about this until years later. It did work, so my mom knew what she was doing. But really…I deserved that A! 

I like to remind myself of this story because Caleb isn’t the type of kid to sit and “read.” I put quotations there because he’s not a genius toddler that is already reading, but he won’t sit and look at a picture book on his own or have me read to him unless it’s right before a nap or bedtime. While this isn't a lot of reading time, I consider it a win because it took forever to even get to this level. I sometimes would sit there and read to him before bed while he ran around his room. I think it took persistence, finding the right book, and some growing up to get where we are today. 

Finding the right books is key. Once I was able to find topics that interested him, I could get books on that topic. It takes a lot of trial and error. Sometimes I pick a book I think he’ll totally dig, only to see it tossed aside. Luckily, I’m not buying piles of books to figure it out. The public library is heaven sent. I don’t know how we’d discover so many books if we didn’t have the library.

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Checking it Out: Red Elm

Checking it Out: Red Elm

I’m back with another "Checking it Out" post where I go to restaurants and tell you about my experience. In case you missed it, my first one, it was on the Antique Sandwich Company. This time we headed to Red Elm. I feel like this place did a good job marketing to families because most of my mom friends associate this place as a kid-friendly cafe. It opened in spring 2017, and we’ve been a couple of times. I would say our last visit when we went so I could write this post, was our best experience yet. Here are the deets. 

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Shaken, Not Stirred, Rice Colored Easter Eggs

Shaken, Not Stirred, Rice Colored Easter Eggs


I know I said I was going to do Kool-aid dyed eggs this year, but I lied. I didn’t know I was lying, but I did. I was surprised to find the markets all lacking in Kool-aid flavors in the small packets. I wasn’t about to purchase a big thing of Kool-aid powder nor was I ready to go on a crusade to different stores to find it. I went to two different Safeways and Target, but nothing. Sure, I could have gone to Fred Meyers or Walmart, but I decided it wasn’t meant to be. 

I also think the Kool-aid idea went down in favor ever since I came across this rice idea. The rice seemed like a less-mess and more kid-friendly craft. Kool-aid can be a terrible stain to get out. And I imagine Caleb would want to keep trying to grab the eggs in the cups. So I swapped ideas last minute. 

Overall, I felt like this craft a mom win moment. Caleb was intrigued by the whole process and wanted to touch and do all. the. things. I don’t think he would have been able to be as involved in the Kool-aid, or regular dye projects. He’s too hands-on — a curious fellow, I tell you. He wanted to put the egg into the container and then back out when the coloring process was over. He loved shaking the containers, although I did have to get him to go easy on the shaking a few times. When we took them out after shaking, he said, “wow!” Ahh, too cute. He even straightened the egg’s position in the crate. 

The whole activity only took like 30 minutes, or so. We did it outside so clean-up was easy and no worries about too much mess (and thank goodness for no rain!) 

Here’s how we did it…

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