Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Visiting Kauai with a Toddler

Honestly, I had planned to write to you guys while I was on vacation. But then it just didn’t happen. Then we got home and all had to get our first colds of the season. Please forgive my absence. I’m here for you now and ready to share some fun things about Kauai.

We tend to think of Kauai as our place. Yup, just for us. I know that’s not true, but it’s been a perfect vacation destination for us over the years.

  • First Trip: My first time there was way back in 2006 and I went with my back-then-boyfriend-now-husband. We were with my boyfriend’s parents who happened to have a house there. It was also on this trip, that my boyfriend decided he wanted to marry me (by the by, the proposal didn’t happen until 2008 - sheesh, what took so long?).

  • Second Trip: We went for our honeymoon in 2011. It was perfection. (ah, no in-laws on this trip)

  • Third Trip: We took Caleb in 2017 and stayed with my in-laws (they had since sold the house, sad) who were renting a condo there for the month.

  • Fourth Trip: This was our latest trip, so 2018. Again, we stayed with my in-laws who are living there for a year. This time I was pregnant with baby boy #2.

As you can see, it’s a special place for the Brown family! Given, I’ve gone so much, I want to share some of our joyful places from the island with you. I’m going to keep it kid-centric since that’s what I’m all about on this blog. Talk to me if you want no kid recommendations.

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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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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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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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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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Checking it Out: Antique Sandwich Co.

Checking it Out: Antique Sandwich Co.

Welcome to my series, "Checking it Out." I'm checking out places, so you don't have to.

...Unless you want to. That's cool, too. 

For moms, finding a restaurant or shop that is accommodating to kids is like finding the Holy Grail of places. We are always searching for the place where both mom and kid can be happy. These rare, but beautiful places are perfect for meeting friends or just getting a change of pace from the house. With the winters here in the Pacific Northwest, we need awesome indoor activities because there are only so many puddles to jump in (and so much patience a mom has in getting completely drenched). Or, you can have my kid that doesn't like being cold, but doesn't like to wear a jacket either. Ugh!

I often find myself searching online for this Holy Grail of a place--always hoping a new place has opened or maybe the search this time will uncover something new. Or, if I hear "mom talk" about a potential place, I want to see if it'll truly be great before I actually go. Why? Because getting out of the house is a CHORE. I know I'm preaching to the choir here, but you have to corral the kid from running around the house, put on socks and shoes, get them in the car seat, go back in the house to grab them a snack because you forgot, drive to the place often with a whining kid in the back, get out of the car, put socks and shoes back on (remind me, why did I put them on at home again?), and then get them inside. Given this, I like to do some research before I go. Sadly, though, you don't often find all the information you want. For instance, I want to see what food/drink options are available, what exactly is kid-friendly about this place, photos (hopefully of someone with a happy kid), cleanliness, and does it look like a fun place to chill for a bit.

Let me introduce you to, "Checking it Out." Yup, I'm going to do my best to give you the 4-1-1 all the hot kid spots (oh 4-1-1, did you ever used to use that number? Did I just age myself there?). The caveat: 99% of the time, I'm with my son, so the photos aren't perfection and my brain will be split between evaluating the place in the moment and keeping an eye on my son. 

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