Tucannon Farms in Eastern WA-Our Farm to Your Table, Cruelty Free, Non-GMO

Brad McMasters, Economic Development, Port of Columbia, encourages small farmers to work together, not against each other. He is all about #communitynotcompetition. Read how Richard Heireren and Amanda Allred are helping to build a strong farming community in Eastern Washington by way of Tucannon Farms.


Richard Heieren and Amanda Allred are professional land surveyors, looking to leave the corporate rush behind to pursue their small farm dream. Amanda is a 5th generation farmer. Growing up, her parents owned a cattle ranch. Richard looked for twenty years for the perfect farm and it was actually Reece Hamm, Real Estate Agent of Kennewick WA that helped them purchase Tucannon Farms, a 40 acre farm located near the beautiful Tucannon River.

Tucannon Farms is home to Annie, a large momma pig. She is two years old and was bottle fed from the time she was a baby. She acts just like a dog and they even let her run wild with the cows. Annie has three piglets who Amanda refers to as “Boris and the boys.” You can follow Annie, Boris and the boys on Instagram @tucannonfarms. I love to check in on the pigs! Annie will have more piglets this year.

Amanda says that she never would have imagined raising pigs but that pastured pigs are quite different. First, they don’t smell because they have such a big area and nice fresh air and land to romp in. They eat grass and alfalfa and Amanda has been pleasantly surprised with how happy and tame they are. “They are so cute and just a joy to be around,” she says.

Tucannon Farms offers pasture raised beef, pork, chicken, duck, and heritage turkeys; as well as chicken eggs and duck eggs. The butcher comes directly to the farm to process the meat and from there, customers can arrange to pick up their share. The whole point is “farm to table” in the most cruel-free process.

We love these animals. The better they are treated and the more respectful and kind we are to them, they then give themselves to us to nourish and strengthen our bodies. It’s really beautiful.-Amanda Allred.


Developing plans for this upcoming season at Tucannon Farms include: Dayton Farmer’s Market, 1-2 days a week, opening the farm for a U-Pick, hosting the Heirloom Tomato Festival, and a Pumpkin Patch in the fall. Amanda says that she loves the spirit of community in Eastern Washington and the feeling of friendship among all the local farmers.

Another exciting opportunity for visitors to Tucannon Farms is whether you are picking up pasture raised products or just looking to get out in the country, you can reserve the Tucannon Farms Bunkhouse. Wild turkeys, deer and elk are often seen wandering the property as a sanctuary away from the hunters.

The farm is ten miles from the Blue Mountain Ski Area, right along the Lewis and Clark Historical Trail and there is bird watching and plenty of steelhead, salmon and trout for fishing. The State of Washington is currently encouraging fisherman to come up to this area where the Tucannon flows into the Snake.


It was such a pleasure talking with Amanda! I can truly feel of their love for their animals and their farm. I look forward to visiting soon! For more information about Tucannon Farms pasture raised meat or to reserve the Tucannon Bunkhouse, visit Tucannon Farms on Facebook and Instagram.

Tucannon Farms . Richard Heieren & Amanda Allred . (575)649.4724 or (509)382.2099

216 Tucannon Road, Dayton, WA 99328 . E-mail: tucannonfarms@gmail.com

Pastured meats . eggs . non-gmo produce



TucannonFarms2017 (1)

Additional Information

Tucannon Trail http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/tucannon-trail-3135

Blue Mountains/Last Chance Resort http://www.thelastresortrv.com/wpi/
The Tucannon Wind Farm starts at mile marker 8 on Tucannon Road.  These wind turbines are huge and very cool to see from the road. The Lewis and Clark monument is at mile marker 10.  They named the Tucannon River “Kimooenlm Creek” and it was later renamed to the Tucannon River.  This monument marks where they crossed the Tucannon before going into Pataha Creek.
Congratulations to @whitneymichelle86! You are our Luck of the Irish giveaway winner! Thank you everyone who participated! “May the luck of the Irish lead to happiest heights and the highway you travel be lined with green lights!”-Unknown. 

This brand new item is made of solid sterling silver and carries the .925 markings. The ring’s classic Claddagh design measures 3/8-inch wide. This item is available in whole sizes 3 through 13.

JIG is the remarkable story of the fortieth Irish Dancing World Championships, held in March 2010 in Glasgow. Three thousand dancers, their families and teachers from around the globe descend upon Glasgow for one drama filled week. Clad in wigs, make up, fake tan, diamantes and dresses costing thousands of pounds they compete for the coveted world titles.

Welcome to When in Tri-Cities! Eastern Washington lifestyle blog by Alicia Walters, contributor to Living TC Magazine in Tri-Cities, WA. Explore Eastern Washington’s shopping, talent and scenery. Tag to share @whenintricites #whenintricities. DM for feature: aliciawalters99@gmail.com. I am filling out my Spring/Summer feature schedule. Please contact me to reserve your spot (eastern Washington only). Follow along on Facebook and Instagram. 


Hands in for Hands On (HiHo)–nonprofit for building Children’s Museum in Tri-Cities, WA

If you clicked on this post, you would probably like to have a children’s museum in the Tri-Cities like the ones they have in Seattle, Olympia and Spokane. Please like and share this post on social media and tag everyone who would be interested in learning how they can help HiHo and its mission.


Hands In for Hands On (HiHo) Tri-Cities is a non-profit organization supported by the Three Rivers Community Foundation. HiHo is made possible through the generosity of donations from local individuals and businesses who believe in investing in our community’s children.

HiHo seeks to provide hands on exhibits with a STEAM focus. STEM, or Science-Technology-Engineering and Mathematics-related exhibits are currently available in the Tri-Cities at CBC’s Planetarium and The Reach Museum, but HiHo would include the Arts as well as making the museum specifically catered to galvanize children’s imaginations!

When President of HiHo, Lara Hastings would visit other children’s museums like the one in Olympia or Spokane with her family she asked her husband, “Why don’t we have something like this in the Tri-Cities?” He told her she could complain about it, or do something about it! That is how HiHo was born and it will succeed with community support!

There are three ways YOU can help HiHo build a permanent children’s museum in the Tri-Cities: 1) Donate on their website or become a regular sponsor, https://hihotc.org/donate/, 2) attend HiHo exhibits with your children, and 3) “Like” HiHo on Facebook, leave a positive review and share their posts!


HiHo’s next exhibit “Amusement Park Science” will be at the Gesa Carousel of Dreams this October-November and during Winter Break after Christmas. This exhibit was designed by the Illinois based Discovery Center Museum and will teach children kinetic energy by providing twenty play-centric interactives that demonstrate the physics behind amusement park rides.

HiHo will also hold a fundraiser June 3rd, 2017 at the Walter Clore Center in Prosser. The fundraiser will be for ages 21 and up and will be a fun, entertaining event, including: music, games and a performance by Seattle based group, “Wreckless Freeks.” Details and where to buy tickets will be posted on HiHo’s Facebook page soon!

Watch for HiHo’s “Name the Octopus Mascot” contest. The contest will be open to children. HiHo will choose its favorite four names and the public will get to vote! Details posted on their Facebook page soon!

HiHo is available to put on exhibits at schools and will be at the “Kids Engineering Day” March 18th @ 10 a.m. at Curie STEM Elementary in Pasco. If you would like to arrange for HiHo to come to your school, or would like to learn more about how you can donate or volunteer to help HiHo, contact:

Hands in for Hands On Tri-Cities

P.O. Box 3544 . Pasco, WA 99302

E-mail: hihotricities@charter.net

Lara Hastings, President . Stephanie Button, Vice President . Stephanie McCarl, Treasury . Elena Gavin, Fundraising

If your family would benefit from having a permanent, interactive children’s museum in the Tri-Cities, please share this post on social media and tag everyone who would be interested in learning how they can support this cause!

Thanks for reading whenintricities.com! When in Tri-Cities is written by Alicia Walters, Tri-Cities freelance writer and contributor to Living TC Magazine. Scroll down to subscribe and follow on Instagram @whenintricities.

Fascinating Desktop Illusions! Spin the holographic disk on the mirror. Does it speed up? Listen to its rhythmic sounds. Why does the humming get louder as the speed of the disk increases? This patented 3″ diameter chrome-plated steel disk creates a hypnotic display of light and sound as it rotates. Includes Euler’s Disk, 9″ concave mirror base and nine pieces of magnetized holographic foil. Complete with instructions and the scientific answers!


Weddings in the Mid-Columbia & Vendor Directory, Jenne Kissell Photography


Few events in life are better than falling in love.

     –Jay Pancost, Officiant at Charvat Wedding, 10.1.2016, Othello, WA.

Photography by Jenne Kissell of JK Photography. This article was originally published in Living TC Magazine, here.

There are very few milestones in life that compare with your wedding day, surrounded by family and friends on both sides of the aisle that have brought the two of you together at that point in time. When you look back on your wedding day, the memories that will stand out most are that of people, family and friends and the feeling that you shared that day.

It will be an extraordinary celebration and everything that goes into it will help to create the atmosphere, feelings and ultimately memories that will last your lifetime. Your wedding story will be one that you will want to tell again and again. The parts of the story that will matter are the comforting, familiar memories of having one of the most important events of your life unfold close to home, surrounded by your people.

These feelings result from hiring the right team to help your wedding celebration run smoothly. The Mid-Columbia is filled with great venues and wedding services that are ready to make your day memorable. The options available here are diverse to create the kind of wedding you are dreaming of.  Alexandra Roselee of White Glove Weddings is networked with local vendors and wedding services to design the styled wedding of your choice, take care of your guests and all within your budget here in the Mid-Columbia.

Hiring a wedding planner early on in the process can save you time and money. When you work with Alexandra, you are inviting a professional on your team who knows the wedding industry and can help you determine a reasonable budget to accomplish your priorities and meet your expectations. “I always ask what matters most such as the gown and food and beverage for the guests and work it into the budget,” she says, and when it comes to rehearsal, she says not to worry – she is there through every step.

The wedding industry prices are competitive in the Mid-Columbia with the national average. You can have a breathtaking wedding here for less than what you would pay elsewhere. “Desert Wind Winery [Prosser] is my favorite venue. They have such versatile space and so much can be done with their location,” Alexandra says. She also recommends working with Jose and Silvia Garcia of Artfetti Cakes, Kennewick and Chandra at Simplified Celebrations, Richland for stunning floral.

Wedding photographers here know too well how beautiful wedding photos look against the backdrop of sweeping desert landscapes with a panoramic sky that goes on and on. And in the summer, you can’t beat those Mid-Columbia sunsets. In addition, Jenne Kissell of JK Photography says she really tries to capture the emotion in a couple’s faces as they experience their wedding day together because that is what they will want to remember, later on. Jenne’s bridal photography tip is to wear false eyelashes to enhance your stunning eyes and add a little touch of drama.

“I recently shot a wedding at the newly redone Lionsgate in Kennewick. It was beautiful! A really gorgeous setting,” Jenne says. The venue includes an intimate chapel surrounded with elegantly manicured gardens and they have several packages to choose from on their website. One of the things that couples enjoy the most about Lionsgate is their helpful and friendly staff.

Anais Valdez Makeup, Pasco, strives to enhance the existing beauty within each of her clients. “I want my clients to look in the mirror and ooh and ahh, not because they don’t recognize themselves but because they recognize their own unique features beautifully enhanced,” Anais says. She consults with her brides first and does not pressure them to follow current makeup trends to create their desired look for their special day.

The choices are abundant in the Mid-Columbia to have a beautiful, dream wedding. One bride, Jordan Charvat, whose Mid-Columbia wedding was featured on The Ruffled Blog, http://ruffledblog.com/autumn-wedding-for-two-middle-school-sweethearts/, says, “Having our wedding close and being able to have our close friends and family there for the reception was a blast and we wouldn’t have been able to experience that at a farther destination.” Family and closest friends are what a proper wedding celebration is made of.

Jordan bought her dress at Amy’s Bridal in Richland. She was very pleased with their selection of dresses and jewelry and also mentions they were very accommodating with her schedule. Her husband Dyllan had her wedding ring and band custom made with family jewels at Brother’s Jewelers in Richland. They were very happy with the rings and also how efficient they were.

Tina Miller, Miller Media Films was Jordan and Dyllan’s videographer. Jordan says she’s watched the video about fifty times and it is exactly what she hoped for, saying, “It always brings me to tears; Tina captured our wedding and our love beautifully.” To book with Tina at Miller Media Films, visit http://www.millermediaandvideography.com or send E-mail tina509@gmail.com.

Local Wedding Vendors and Services


Airfield Estates Winery, Bella Fiori Gardens, Canyon Lakes Champions Room, Columbia Gorge Hotel, Desert Wind Winery, Events at Sunset, Foundry Vineyards, Gooseridge Winery, Lions Gate Chapel, Moore Mansion, Sandberg Event Center, Stoneridge Event Center, Tagaris Winery, Terra Blanca Winery, Tucannon Event Center


Ellen’s Chair Covers, Red Door Rental, S & S Rentals, Sandy’s U-Rent, Sash Wedding, SunRental


Stacey Miles, Uniquely I Do

 Dresses and Tuxedos

Amy’s Bridal, Dawson Richard’s Tux Shop, Fashion Corner, Men’s Wearhouse


Brother’s Jewelers, Chloe + Isabel Jewelry

 Hair and Makeup

Anais Valdez Makeup, Charlette Geffen, Gala Ursul, Studio One, Halo Couture Hair Extensions, Keene Edge Salon, Makeup by Ceilidh

Cakes and Sweets

Artfetti Cakes, Erin Waddell, Erin’s Creative Cakes, Frost Me Sweet, Sugar Rainbow Bakery, TSP Bakeshop


Anthony’s, Castle Event Catering, CG Public House, Columbia River Catering & Co., Country Gentleman Catering, Fat Olive’s, Pacific Pasta and Grill


Harper Road Floral, Heritage Floral, Just Roses Flowers and More, KRISanthemums, Lucky Flowers, Simplified Celebrations

Invitations & Illustrated Signs

Artful Virgo, Calligraphy, Olivia Berg, Black Space Tri-Cities, The Rustic Rosebud, Calligraphy


Abogabir Photography, Alex Lasota, Breshears Photography, Huffaker Photos and Films, Jenne Kissell, JKPhotography, Jordan Edens Photography, Kissing Grey photography, Melissa McFadden, Wiberg Photography

DJs and Lighting

DJ V Productions, Mod Jamz, Platinum Entertainment Mobile DJ Service, Sight and Sound Services, Trademark Entertainment


Firefly, Huffaker Photos and Films, JK Productions, Shotz MultiMedia, Tina Miller, Miller Media Films, UpAngle Weddings

WELLA Brilliance Shampoo & Conditioner Duo for Coarse, Colored Hair. Enhances brilliance of colored hair. This rich shampoo with Vitamin E enhances brilliance of coarse colored hair, leaving it smooth, soft and carefully protects keratin from free radicals. With diamond dust. For professional results: Apply to damp hair and massage gently into a lather. Rinse thoroughly. Moisturizes colored hair. This rich conditioner leaves coarse, colored hair full of vibrant shone and soft to the touch.

Thank you for reading When in Tri-Cities local shopping blog by Alicia Walters. If you would like to be featured, follow When in Tri-Cities on Facebook and on Instagram @whenintricities. Contact Alicia Walters, 509-572-0296 (text).




Photos by Mark Cornellison

Locally owned and operated, Stick and Stone opened in January of 2014. It is no wonder their pizza has an authentic, wood fired taste because their oven, which cooks your pizza in less than two minutes at a temperature of 900 degrees, was imported from Italy. This enhances the made-in-house, from scratch flavors of their dough, dressings and sauces!

Stick and Stone pizza dough is made from imported flour for a truly authentic taste and is made from only four ingredients: flour, water, yeast and real sea salt. They use San Marzano tomatoes for their exquisite sauce-and the sauce is what sold me-it is so sweet and delicious, I could drink it!

One of their most popular pizzas is the “Honey Badger.” If you love the meats, order the “Pig,” and if you like the classic cheese pizza, the “Margherita” is perfecto! Since their new menu was launched this January, more and more customers prefer to eat their pizza at Stick and Stone.

I particularly love the ambiance. The open space, tall ceilings and beautiful lighting all adjacent to a piping hot and beautiful open oven just makes me feel like I’m at a resort. The food is brought to the table quickly and it is definitely an experience the entire family can enjoy!

Stick and Stone gives back every week to our community by hosting “Tuesday Community Night.” They invite a non-profit or charity to come in and invite as many people as they can while 15% of all their sales are donated to their cause.

Read more about Stick and Stone pizza, here.

Stick and Stone

3027 Duportail St, Richland, WA



What I’m listening to this Valentine’s Day. Click on the image to sample tracks and purchase. Thank you!

Thank you for reading When in Tri-Cities! I appreciate my readers so much! Please consider using this link whenever you shop on Amazon.com to help support When in Tri-Cities blog! Happy Valentine’s Day and thanks for the support!


In case you forget, you can always come back to my blog and enter my Amazon shop through the Amazon gift card in the sidebar. Scroll down to subscribe to When in Tri-Cities and follow on Instagram and Facebook.

If you would like your Tri-Cities area business featured on When in Tri-Cities, text or E-mail! aliciawalters99@gmail.com, 509.572.0296. ~Alicia Walters


Marla Rogers, Tri-Cities Cookie Lady


Photos courtesy of Marla Rogers of Marla’s Cookie Co.

Marla Rogers, or “the cookie lady,” has been baking cookies from scratch since she was a young girl in her mother’s kitchen. Marla says, “I used to hover over her every move in the kitchen, wearing her oversized aprons.” In fact, she still bakes with her great grandmother’s rolling pin passed down to her grandmother. But baking soon took a backseat to attending school until a friend approached Marla while she was living in a studio apartment in California and asked her to bake her wedding cake and two hundred cupcakes.

She baked all night in an oven that was about half the size of a standard oven and arrived at the event with her cake and cupcakes and although she hadn’t slept and was completely exhausted, she said that her dad’s voice came to her mind, “Find what you love to do and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Marla says her dad (stepdad) was very influential in her life and raised her to be hardworking and self-sufficient. And from that moment, Marla knew she was a baker.

Marla’s Cookie Co. is a licensed Cottage Food Operation and a relatively new business to the Tri-Cities, WA. You will begin to see Marla’s cookies at the farmer’s markets this summer. Marla believes that anything can be turned into a cookie and loves a challenge and if you check out her portfolio, she delivers that belief. She offers both open and private cookie decorating classes for holidays, birthdays, girl’s night out or just because.

Marla’s cookies are made fresh to order. Every time. She doesn’t use shortcuts and she doesn’t freeze pre-made cookies or use pre-made mixes. And the fat? Pure butter. You just can’t replace that flavor. Pricing starts at $25 per dozen. Customers can choose to pickup cookies by the box, or have them delivered on a platter to their event. For additional cost, Marla will wrap cookies individually to give as party favors.

“When my clients call, I ask them to state what event they are having and if they have inspiration photos of what they are looking for. But I always take the idea in the photos and turn it into my own creation.” Marla also offers scheduled consultations for those significant events in life where everything needs to be just perfect. Customers can peruse her extensive portfolio on her Instagram page, @marlascookieco and she also has a hard copy of her portfolio to sit and discuss ideas, pricing, etc. She asks that customers give her at least three days notice for orders.

One of Marla’s signatures, aside from her meticulous lines and details is often she will include puns on her cookies and little jokes. “I’m actually not the funny one in my family, but life isn’t perfect and having a husband deployed through the holidays has been tough and humor is a way to laugh at life.” She hopes that when people see her cookies, they will smile and it will bring out their sense of humor. “I hope that anyone who is going through something will see my cookies and it will cheer her up.”

You can see more of Marla’s cookies by contacting her through her Instagram page, @marlascookieco, or visiting her Facebook page or website.

(209) 247-6769


Thank you for reading When in Tricities blog! Be sure to scroll down and subscribe for a first look at new posts and check out my menu, “When in Tri-Cities Picks” for past features. ~Alicia Walters, writer for When in Tri-Cities.

Super soft, kids’ robe with heart-shaped pockets! When in Tri-Cities is an Amazon Affliliate blog. By clicking the product links at the end of each post when you shop Amazon, you are supporting When in Tri-Cities blog!



Newborn Photographer Tiffany Parrish

Originally published on KSL, here.

After the birth of her youngest child, doctors informed Tiffany Parrish that she would be unable to have more children. This news was heartbreaking because she desired to have more children. It required considerable prayer for her to work through it, but eventually, her loss turned into love for babies and her ability to see them through the lens of what they truly are: absolute miracles from heaven. This gift has shaped Parrish’s photography hobby into something particularly special — she specializes in newborn photography that is unlike any you have seen before.

Parrish says these newborns that come into her photo studio are spiritual sons and daughters of God. And that during her three-hour session, posing and looking very closely at each infant, you can really feel that he or she comes with his or her unique spirit. “I feel the love from a Heavenly Father who created this tiny human and with every single breath, eyelash, finger, toe, cry and grin,” she said. “There is no doubt that he is real and he is a wonderful loving Father in Heaven who created all things.


The unique thing about Parrish’s clients is that each newborn has never existed before and there will never be another one like him or her ever again. Parrish has the privilege of capturing how they looked when they were newly born and it is as if each photograph is a celebration of their arrival.

She loves to interact with the parents at her photo sessions. She says that she can see the change in the parents’ eyes as they bring their baby into the studio. They are filled with so much love and joy for this tiny new person they now have as part of their family. The studio is filled with overwhelming love for the babies that Parrish cannot help but fall in love with them. She says it is this love that helps to fill the void of the grief that not being able to have more children gives her.


Most people do not realize how difficult it is to capture these stunning photographs of newborns. Posing newborns is huge because photographers want to be able to capture the natural posture of the baby while also composing a beautiful photograph showing the baby’s face. It requires a lot of patience.

Typically, Parrish uses a heater in the room so that the baby stays at a comfortable temperature. There is a lot of snuggling to help the baby feel secure and fall asleep. She uses a white noise app, and often the mother helps her to keep the baby calm. Although she says sometimes the fathers can be a little protective and that can get in the way of the session. “I’ve had dads literally pick up the baby during my posing technique. Dads are the hardest,” she said.

{ Visit Tiffany Parrish Photography }

If you would like to be featured on When in Tri-Cities, send E-mail to: aliciawalters99@gmail.com.



Happy Holiday Entertaining

This article was originally published in Living TC Winter issue, here.

Cakes by Concetta Gullini, Layered Sweet Boutique

And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One! ― Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol


For as long as I can remember, my parents have hosted an extended family Christmas party each year. For most of my childhood, the parties were held in our home. I can close my eyes and see my extended family members walking carefully up the path to our front door, wrapped in winter coats and scarves as beautiful as their smiles and the food and gifts they carried in their arms.

My parents put forth a lot of time and effort in planning the Christmas party, but they never seemed tired of it. My brother commented of them, “Indeed, they kept Christmas well.” One thing I learned from watching them is more important than any preparations you make for hosting, is the smile and kindness you show your guests.

In my experience, the best parties are those shared with loving family and dear friends. But especially during the holidays, it is worthwhile to reach outside of one’s usual group and include those who may be far away from home or just needing some holiday cheer.

One of the simplest ways to get your guests looking forward to your party is by sending paper invitations. In a digital age where it is more common to receive an Evite, your paper invitation will be a welcome change. I also love the idea of doing place cards at the table for your guests. Mix them up. Get people chatting with new friends.

My favorite way to save myself time and effort is to order an event cake for dessert. A beautiful cake is an immediate conversation piece. I have also used it as the centerpiece for the dinner table. Surround the cake with an evergreen garland, bright cheery pomegranates and vanilla candles for contrast and you have a beautiful, holiday tablescape. I have even tied stockings on the back of chairs with a Christmas ribbon.

Setting the table the night before can help with day of prep. If you have younger children in the home, even stacking the plates, including everything you’ll need to set the table in the center out of reach will save you time. Neutral plates paired with a textured or patterned placemat and/or cloth napkins can look visually striking.

About 15 minutes before my guests are to arrive, I walk through the entire house and set the lighting. Especially on a dark, winter evening, guests will love to walk up to a well-lit home. Take some of the evergreen garland, pinecones and holly and place it on the end tables under a lamp in your home. Tea lights are a great way to create a warm atmosphere. When it comes to tea lights, the more the merrier.

To help guests feel right at home, I like to have some easy listening Christmas music playing. I recommend Harry Connick Jr., Michael Buble, Diana Krall, etc.; something light that can be heard but fade away into the background during conversation. Serve Hors d’oeuvres. It’s traditional at Christmas to serve drinks and a cheese platter, but you could do something as easy as a few placed bowls of mixed nuts.

My favorite local cakes are made by Concetta Gullini of Layered Sweet Boutique. Her cakes are homemade, using fresh ingredients. She doesn’t take the usual shortcuts that commercial bakers do and customers taste the difference. For holiday entertaining, I particularly enjoy her Chocolate Candy Cane Cake and Gingery Gingerbread Cookies. For ordering, call or E-mail Concetta: Layeredsweetboutique@gmail.com or 509-820-3654.

Book of the Week

Captured by her enemies, married to a foreigner, and a mother at age sixteen, Sacajawea lived a life of turmoil and change. Then, in 1804, the mysterious young Shoshone woman met Meriwether Lewis and William Clark. Acting as interpreter, peacemaker, and guide, Sacajawea bravely embarked on an epic journey that altered history forever.

Many Waters is a testament to the beauty of an extraordinary place. From the Blue Mountains to the Columbia River, southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon, in particular the Walla Walla Valley, is a remarkable region, one that American Indians called Wallah Wallah, or Many Waters. And for good reason. It’s always been a bountiful place with its rich soils and streams teeming with fish. Included are more than 40 paintings by noted Northwest landscape artist Leslie Cain to illustrate the Walla Walla River, Mill Creek and the Touchet River as they make their way from the Blue Mountains through fertile valleys to the mighty Columbia River. Katrina Roberts and Janice King contributed six poems about the hills, farms, forests, flowers, water and rocks of the area.

Holiday Recommendations (click image for details)

Gingery Gingerbread Cookies, Courtesy of Layered Sweet Boutique

Makes 24 medium cookies.


  • 3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp ground ginger
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground allspice
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2/3 cup molasses
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350°F. Cream butter and sugar on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add egg, molasses, and vanilla and beat well. With mixer on low, gradually add dry ingredients and beat until just incorporated. Refrigerate wrapped dough for 1 hour. Roll chilled dough between two pieces of parchment paper until ¼ inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on parchment lined baking sheets. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges of cookies are just crisp.


State of Ag for Tri-City Herald

Book of the Week

In The Magic of Children at Christmas, edited by Alicia Walters, twenty women share their precious childhood Christmas memories in stories that are filled with all the sweetness of a magical childhood and hope in the true meaning of Christmas. A quick, endearing read for yourself or your holiday book club to set the mood for Christmas. 109 pages.


I love these beautifully illustrated Harry Potter books for children. I want to collect the whole series.

Apples Still #1 Commodity in Washington

This is a shortened version of an article that was originally published in the State of Ag insert for the Tri-City Herald on October 20th, 2016. You can pickup copies to read more about agriculture in the Mid-Columbia at the Tri-City Herald building, 333 W. Canal Street in Kennewick.

Washington state boasts 39 thousand farms spread over approximately 15 million acres and ranks first in the U.S. for production in 11 commodities (www.nasda.org/9383/States/WA.aspx), led by our own apple industry with 70 percent of U.S. apple production.  Washington is considered a major producer of apples as well as stone fruits such as: peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums and so forth. 2013 listed apples as the number one Washington commodity with a value of production of 2.18 billion U.S. dollars.

Mark Rowley of Rowley and Hawkins Fruit Farm, a 900 acre farm in Basin City and Othello, is of the opinion that some of the farm’s success relies on the weather but that “careful pruning and thinning” and management of the orchards on the part of the farmer lies at the heart of a good crop. Similar to last year, their crop was two weeks ahead of schedule, and 3-4 days ahead of 2014’s schedule; however there was no decrease in apple production.


Photo by Rachael Cutler, for Sheffield Cider / Empey Brothers Farms. Used with permission.

In fact, the cooler summer, including a cooler July made for better fruit as the young fruit was not subjected to sunburn; and then of course, a good harvest resulting from competent farm management. Rowley and Hawkins is a traditional farm, using integrated pest management. They keep their orchards clean and this year, were able to yield plentiful apples with minimal damage despite several storms.

Rowley and Hawkins apples are sorted into 4 X 4 bins and they report volume as “bins per acre.”  They grow twelve varieties of apples, with their Red Delicious doing particularly well this year at 85 bins per acre. The Gala apples produced 75 bins per acre—“a really good yield,” Mark says, and Golden at 45 bins per acre. The Honeycrisp did not have as many bins per acre.

Rowley and Hawkins fruit is made available to consumers in grocery stores, farmer’s markets and fruit stands.  They also produce delicious tart cherry juice from concentrate, dried cherries, and gourmet jams and jellies including: apricot, cherry and blackberry cherry jam. These products can be found here.

Washington orchardists have been in the organic growing business for decades due to consumer preference and environmental responsibility. The Organic Food Products Act was passed by the state of Washington in 1985 and certification is managed by the Washington State Department of Agriculture. You’re likely to notice that many of Washington’s apples are grown organically  such as the apples grown at Empey Brother’s Farms in Mesa, WA.

Organic farmers like Nolan Empey always have to find the balance between bugs, being a mostly organic farm and pesticide use. Obtaining a pesticide license is considered by some farmers to be more of an investment than obtaining a Washington driver’s license. You have to get 20 continuing education credits every 5 years.

These requirements for pesticide use are not unique to Washington state.  Actually, “The EPA reviews all chemicals and their proposed uses by commodity to set restrictions on how, when and in what amounts these products can be applied. Washington state’s role primary role is in licensing qualified and trained applicators to oversee the use of these products and enforcing EPA label instructions,” says Jon DeVaney, Washington State Tree Fruit Association. Cont…

Girl’s Coats

I love these bright colors and fun patterns, especially since it can be a little gray out during the winter.

Perhaps it is Washington farmer’s commitment to these standards that make their apples so great. Nolan Empey grows 14 varieties of commercial apples including: Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith. His apples are 93% certified organic and he also grows 40 cider apple varieties used to make Sheffield Cider. Empey Brother’s Farms send 44 million apples all over the world each year. Their 849 acre farm also produces: cherries, peaches, nectarines, apricots and apriums.

Nolan Empey of Empey Brother’s Farms says, “Mother Nature has been good to us. We haven’t had any problems—no hail [affecting our orchards], perfect cold nights, a short summer, etc. To be honest, it’s been pretty good for everyone.” Apple picking should continue until early November.  While it may not be a record breaking year for apples, it has certainly been a great year.

Laura Chapman, Legendary Water Solutions water softeners is giving away $20 Olive Garden gift cards to those wanting to learn more about their 100% Made in the USA water softeners – great tasting water, no slimey feel. Call Laura Chapman to schedule, 509-201-7967.

New World Distillery opening in Eden, Utah this December

I’m happy for my friends Chris and Ashley Cross, owners of New World Distillery opening in Eden, Utah this December. Read feature article by Ben Trentelman for Slug Magazine about environmentally conscious New World Distillery, here. And visit their website, newworlddistillery.com to learn about their products.


Boy’s Coats

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Rain at the Pumpkin Patch and Other Mishaps

Fall is my favorite season, and I especially love fall in the Tri-Cities. We get to enjoy the beautiful, fall leaves and atmosphere with relatively warm temperatures. I love to open the windows and let the outside air cool my house. And I especially love the streets lined with leaves showing off their vibrant hues.

So imagine my disappointment when the day for my son’s anticipated field trip to Bill’s Berry Farm came and the forecast was for rain and cold temperatures. Suddenly my perfectly imagined fall outing with my son turned cold and gray. I shouldn’t be surprised because my friend Murphy has a law that says, “If you’re a mom, you’re hosed.” #momlife. I wondered if we should stay home and skip it.

It turns out, that Bill’s Berry Farm is stunning even on a rainy day. In fact, I didn’t hear one complaint from any of the children about the weather. Sharing a hayride with strangers all bundled up together under our umbrellas headed toward the pumpkin patch made us instant friends. We laughed as our umbrellas awkwardly bumped into one another and the children ate up every moment of watching their parents goof up.


Book of the Week:

This week I was excited to learn of a beautiful brand new book, The Pacific Crest Trail. It includes photography from Washington photographer Aaron Doss. Aaron has been a landscape photographer here for the last decade. He captures Washington’s back country in stunning, contrasting images. I especially love how he captured “Sunset at Bateman Island, Columbia Basin.” His exceptional work is included among other photographers’ work in The Pacific Crest Trail.

When was the last time you read “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow?” While living in New York, my brother and his wife attended a party hosted by their friends every Halloween where they would read aloud “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.” It’s a fun short story and very imaginative. It takes about an hour and a half to read.

If you plan to host a Halloween party around “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” theme, take some time to look up the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery. One of the things I enjoy most about the story is that if you’ve ever been to the Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the story is written in the landscape very well. American soldiers and German soldiers are buried next to one another and sometimes, a 100 year old tree stump is crowded between them, splitting the burial markers. It’s a perfect setting for a haunting story.

I’ve been taking my children to Bill’s Berry Farm for several years now and I think this rainy day was the best time I’ve ever had. Bundled up on the hay ride in the crisp, fall air made me think of this quote from one of my favorite American novels, “To enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold, for there is no quality in this world that is not what it is…” ― Herman Melville, MobyDick; or, The Whale. There is no quality in this world that is not what it is.

I’m grateful for my children even if they come with Murphy’s Law. If everything were perfect all the time-house cleaned, everyone pressed and dressed, Pinterest inspired everything including enrichment activities and homemade meals, then as a mother, I would never know the beauty of a triumph. Because it would always be wonderful and as unbelievable as it sounds, even wonderful grows stale.

I read somewhere and can’t find the quote now that “Nothing says love like, ‘Let’s go on an adventure together.'” I love that. Being a parent is an adventure. It is both messy and mental. But in spite of the daily struggle, I’ve comes to terms with the adventure part of parenting. I’m on my children’s schedule. My priorities are their priorities and I’m happy with that. My house is usually a dump and more often that I’d like, I look like a wandering bum without a home. But my heart is happy and so full.

I’m glad that my children have changed my heart so that I don’t freak out if the closets are unorganized (usually). I’m glad that I don’t stress that everything is perfectly in place all the time. I used to, and the only good that did me was make me stressed out more. Sure there was a place for everything and everything in its place. But who wants to be a basket case sitting in a clean room not moving for fear of messing anything up? That’s no way to live.  Just remember to Keep Calm and Mess On.


Children’s Recommendations:

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“Ichabod Crane pursued by the Headless Horseman”,
by F. O. C. Darley, 1849

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow

Cotton Mather was an actual minister out of Boston who published a history of witchcraft in the late 1600s/early 1700s. “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” was published about 100 years later. So the thing is, these witchcraft histories were old enough to be cool but recent enough to still be well-known. And Irving uses them to his advantage.

So Ichabod has the histories and is well-versed in them because that’s his plan to impress the ladies. Seriously, he is not a handsome dude. His is a lurpy school teacher and the only way he’s figured out to impress the ladies is to rehearse what he knows about Mather’s history of witchcraft. But the problem is, he’s a total wimp and so as soon as the ladies go home for the evening and he is left alone to sleep, he has frightened himself to death! He tries to hang out with the grandmas in the town as they prepare meals for the next day but as they are cooking, they share ghost stories as well so his poor mind is completely saturated with these stories!

Of Crane Irving writes, “But if there was pleasure in all this, while snugly cuddling in the chimney corner of the chamber that was all of a ruddy glow from the crackling wood fire, and where, of course, no spectre dared to show its face, it was dearly purchased by the terrors of his subsequent walk homewards.” Remember that line when we encounter Ichabod Crane on the infamous bridge!

Alicia Walters Blog earns a 4% commission from purchases made through provided links. Thank you.


Manito Park and Botanical Gardens – Spokane, WA


The Back-to-School excitement wore off at our house prematurely this year due to what I’m calling “Walters Plague 2016.” Just two weeks into the school year, all six of us got sick with the flu or a cold. Then, those who had a cold traded with those who had a flu. Then I got a sinus infection, then an ear infection. Then the twins had back-to-back fevers. Now my husband and I are stuck with a lingering chest cold.

When you have kids, you sometimes feel like your family is playing a game of “hot potato” but the potato is a virus that you don’t want to catch but inevitably will anyway. For a brief few days, it seemed like everyone was on the mend and having a terrible case of cabin fever, we jumped in the van and took a quick, overnight trip to Couer d’Alene.

A good friend recommended that we stop in Spokane at Manito Park and Botanical Gardens. I have never been, but I love beautiful parks. I thought we would park and be in and out in half an hour but my family really enjoyed it there and we ended up staying well over an hour. We would have stayed longer but I didn’t pack a picnic for my hungry kids.

I want to go back up there when the fall foliage is at its peak. It would be a beautiful location for family photos. I didn’t know that before the Great Depression, Manito Park was a zoo, but it had to be shut down due to lack of funding. Now it is a beautiful, 90 acre public park including a duck pond on the lower end and a rose garden on the upper end. The name Manito apparently means “spirit of nature” in Algonquian. I was really amazed by the height and beauty of the hundred year old or more trees in the park.

On the upper side, before you get to the rose garden, there is a large grassy area with towering trees. My children loved to run through them and my two year old twins looked like little gnomes scampering between the large tree trunks. I love this park because of the wide, paved pathways.

It would be a great place for a family picnic and/or bike ride through the park. There is also a fun playground in the middle of the park. It was really fun for our family to visit there. I only wish we had packed bread to feed the ducks!

Book of the Week:

Children’s Recommendations:

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Gorgeous Blue Columbia River, Richland, WA


No filter today on this gorgeous blue Columbia River. Photos taken at Howard Amon Park in Richland, WA. The twins and I love to meet their daddy here on his lunch break. My boys love to watch their dad skip rocks and they like to toss handfuls of pebbles into the water. Then we go home and the twins watch Room on the Broom before their nap. I’m tired today so I hope they will sleep.


Best of All I Love the Fall

This article was originally published in Living TC Magazine.

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.” –Albert Camus

Of all my favorite fall traditions, what I like best is enjoying this beautiful season with my family.  As soon as I get a sense of the first crisp of fall in the early morning air, I want to put my summer clothes away and get out my long jeans and sweaters.  I light apple cinnamon candles, place a fall wreath on the door and stock my pantry with cans of Libby’s pumpkin for when I’m in the mood to bake sweets for my kids (and me, too).  This fall for my family, I’m going to prepare a “Caramel Apple Bar”: you take sliced apples and insert a lollipop stick, then dip them in caramel and use cupcake pans filled with different sprinkles, mini-marshmallows, chopped nuts and mini chocolate chips.  It’s a great way to get children involved.

Be sure to check out aliciawaltersblog on Instagram to explore more Washington family destinations.

Other fall family traditions can include: nature walking on Bateman Island in Kennewick through fall foliage, apple picking at Johnson Orchards in Yakima, pressing apple cider at Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview, roasting pumpkin seeds, visiting several regional pumpkin patches and going for a hay ride, playing in the hay maze in Walla Walla, carving pumpkins, decorating pumpkin-shaped sugar cookies, Trick-or-Treating in Historic Downtown Kennewick, attending Rocktober at The Living Room Church, watching a scary movie in the backyard, eating soup out of a pumpkin bowl, celebrating Thanksgiving and sharing dinner with family and neighbors and so much more.


My mother gave me this sugar cookie recipe from her friend.  It makes soft, fluffy, creamy sugar cookies whose aroma will bring even the most reclusive teenager into the kitchen to try them.  Each Halloween, my mom invites her grandchildren to her house and stacks up piles of pumpkin shaped sugar cookies, then surrounds them with bowls of orange frosting and all kinds of candy to decorate them with.  It is a favorite tradition among her grandchildren and rivals the fun of carving pumpkins! Everyone we share this recipe with loves it.

Becky’s Sugar Cookies

1 cup butter
2 eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp. baking powder
5 1/2 cups flour

Mix everything together and chill the batter in the fridge. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 8 minutes. Do not overbake.

Bill’s Berry Farm in Grandview is a one-stop fall, family experience.  They offer a pumpkin patch, a castle made of hay where children can climb and play, do it yourself fresh apple cider pressing, a hay ride through the orchard, a playground for the children with pony rides and a freshly baked pumpkin donut stand. $5 per vehicle and although admission is free, you’ll want to bring some cash to spend on some of the treats and activities available. First four weekends in October.

Job’s Nursery Pumpkin Patch in Pasco. Although it’s not a festival, our family loves to visit Job’s nursery in the fall and take in the beautiful autumn flora. They offer a U pick pumpkin patch and a nursery tour hayride through 36 acres of fall colors as well as a Tree Scavenger Hunt.  $2.60 per rider and children under two are free and $1 for the scavenger hunt.

Walla Walla Corn Maze. This is an activity for the whole family, although I recommend it for ages 5 and up.  Take a flashlight and be aware that there is poor cell phone reception.  Around mid-October, the Halloween Spooktacular begins. $7 admission. Open Thursdays – Sundays.

Shawn and Tony Gibson “Boys in Boo” Haunted House and Mad Scientist Lab in West Richland.  This team of spooky artists spend a year planning and preparing for their home grown haunted house.  They do not charge admission, but will accept a can of food to donate to the Tri-City Food Bank. Halloween night on the corner of Belmont Boulevard and Kona Avenue in West Richland. Scary, not for preschoolers.




I love to collect these Hand Painted Love Boxes mini treasure boxes painted by Tiffany, available on Etsy (not sponsored). My children love to stack them and display them on their desks.

More family favorites include: biking along the Sacajawea Heritage Trail in Columbia Park and taking in the beautiful autumn scenery, visiting Beaver Bark in Richland to see their dramatic Halloween displays, shopping the produce at the Country Mercantile in Pasco and Middleton’s Fall Festival in Pasco. My favorite resource to watch for family events throughout the Tri-Cities is Tricities Family Fun on Facebook. Family events are posted all the time and it is a great resource to stay up to date on what is currently available each season.  Visit www.facebook.com/Tricitiesfamilyfun or their website, www.tricitiesfamilyfun.wix.com/familyfunwa.

Fall is truly an abundant season.  My family has a tradition to also remember those who do not share in this abundance by cleaning out our pantry and our closet and donating food, coats, shoes, backpacks, school and hygiene supplies to local food banks and ministries.  In addition to donating supplies, we like to donate our time whether it be through a Day of Service with our church or raking leaves for a neighbor.  If your family is interested in making service part of your fall, family tradition, visit www.justserve.org, which lists local service opportunities for individual families and groups.

Halloween Books & Toys

Children, School

Summer is Gone, but It Will Come Back

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Columbia River, Kennewick, WA.

Summer announces its light on our calendar like the sun right before it begins to set. We put up our patio umbrellas and shades and feel quite “cool” in the sun’s warm glow. Things start to fall into place and we feel “Life is good” here. For a moment, I can picture my younger, more careless self cruising fast in my car with the windows down in one hundred degree heat. The CD player would be blasting Led Zeppelin to drown out the noise of the wind. But there would be other drivers on a five lane highway whose music was louder. It was like a drive-through party.

The further into summer we get, the brighter the colors of the summer sunset.  We know summer won’t last forever and so we try to make the most of each moment we have with it. Mothers with multiple children often hear, “I bet you can’t wait for school to start so your kids will get out of your hair!” There may be some who feel that way but that just isn’t me. Although I admit I said almost this exact thing to my friend Gayleen one day to make chit chat. She just looked at me and answered, “No. I don’t feel like we’ve done enough on our bucket list.”

I didn’t think anything of what she said until August came. August, with the dimmed light of the sun approaching the horizon reminding us that school will soon be in session and that means routines and responsibilities and less leisure time with our children. “Want to go to Leavenworth for the weekend?” I asked my husband. I didn’t even hear his response and I said, “We just have to go.” There wasn’t an option in my mind. Something having to do with sunsets and bucket lists.

The weekend was everything I hoped it would be: I watched each of my children smiling from ear to ear and not because I had just handed them a popsicle that would melt in thirty seconds and end as a stain on the cement (a reminder of red food dye and some article I read somewhere telling me I was a bad mom for letting my child eat it). Nope-these smiles were imprinting memories-the good kind that I know they will call out at some future point in their adult, mundane lives and relive again and again. Those are the kind of smiles I live for as a mother. Those are the smiles that get me out of bed in the morning. But weekends also have a sunset and it was time to go home.

Denial. No panic. No, it’s just denial. School starts next week and I find myself in total denial. I see memes in my social media feed with mothers drinking a toast to “Back-to-School” and I wonder, “Why don’t I feel that way?” Even my own mother is sure that I should. But summer with children is wonderful-yes, it is a physical feat to pack up four young children in a mini-van and chase them at the splash pad, it’s definitely not as chillaxing as cruisin’ down the road listening to Zeppelin. And the meal times seem to happen every five minutes (something about summer makes trips to the grocery store feel almost futile because children can graze similarly to cattle but a pasture doesn’t fit in my Kenmore). But there’s time not to rush and I think therein lies the beauty of summer.

It was Back-to-School night. I met their teachers. I read the disclosures and I signed my name fully understanding I was agreeing to far more than was outlined on the paper: the highs and lows that not only the academics bring but the social aspect as well, and the really annoying term project that feels like a contest of “Most Dedicated Parent.” I’m agreeing to not have complete say in every little experience, but I’m wishing that my darlings will have everything I want them to have and experience this year and none of the things I don’t want.  But it is pointless to hope that because I’m not in the driver’s seat anymore. I’m sending them out for a test drive to see how they do. I want them to hear music from the other driver’s and I want them to feel the exhilaration of the hum of the engine above their own feet.

Not for the whole day. That is for sure. After school, they are mine again and they better not come home crying. But I’m letting go of the driver’s seat for part of the day and hoping for the best.  But no one ever said, “When you have kids, every fall you will post porch pictures of them because it is your small way of capturing time in so many pixels.” No one said, “When you have kids, you will go to Back-to-School night and see the kids you went to school with who are now grown up like you and have three or four kids-but guess what? You won’t feel like you are grown up and you will wonder how this is all happening.”

I think what it comes down to for me is the constant frustration as a parent that my children will never really know how much I love them. And summer is supposed to be just that. It’s supposed to be parents and children reunited with a common purpose in frivolity and poolside slushies. But as my dad told me once at the end of a particularly enjoyable family vacation as I bemoaned and complained about having to go back to work, “What do you propose? We can’t just sit around and have a perpetual hug fest.”  Maybe love isn’t meant to be sipping slushies poolside.

For all these reasons above, that is why a formerly confident, childless teacher finds herself scrambling for inner peace at this seeming madness we like to call an elementary education.  I have to hold back when I introduce myself to the teachers. I want to announce first thing: “I was a teacher as well and so no wrong moves, Teach!” But I don’t. I remember I’m not driving-this is not all about me, it’s about my kid. I’m just a passenger (I prefer “driving coach”) and my children get to go out into the world for part of the day and succeed and fail and succeed.  It’s part of a classic education. But at this point, it’s not hard to tell who’s being schooled the most.

My sisters’ dear friend Circe posted a picture of her young child running through the summer grass with her friends and captioned it, “They don’t know summer’s leaving, and that when it returns, they’ll be entirely different girls. But I know. Ouch.” That’s the real clincher. And I can just hear my mother, “What a bunch of babies you all are! You need a hobby.” And that is why I love her. So buck up, no eternal hug fests here: summer is gone, but it will come back. Yes, Circe, they will be entirely different girls and actually dearie, so will you, and I can’t wait to see the beautiful colors you’ll paint together across the sky.

Travel, Uncategorized

Weekend in Leavenworth, WA

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We loved our weekend in Leavenworth, WA. Our family had not taken an immediate family vacation in four years. We have always wanted to travel with our extended family.  At first we didn’t quite know what to do with just us! So we took our three little boys to the river to throw rocks! I loved taking my daughter around the shops on Front Street. Some of my favorites include: Kris Kringl, Schocolat, and especially Gifts from Russia. I bought my twins a couple of cute, tin lunch boxes like these and we just really enjoyed ourselves taking in the beautiful mountain scenery and colorful hanging flower baskets. I cannot wait to go back!


Up Badger Mountain


About 220 miles southeast of Seattle, Washington is the Tri-Cities (Pasco, Kennewick and Richland).  But unlike the western part of the state, Eastern Washington is known for many things (excluding rain), including: baseball, boat races, biking golfing and especially sunshine.  In fact, the Tri-Cities boasts that it’s sunny 300 days out of the year.

Visitors to the Tri-Cities immediately notice the many paved bike trails and walking paths throughout the cities.  The departments of parks and recreation are very busy here.  Kennewick and Pasco share a 23 mile biking trail along both sides of the Columbia River called the Sacajawea Heritage Trail; this beautiful trail provides gorgeous views of the river and community parks and bikers can even ride across the blue bridge, a famous landmark in the Columbia Basin region.

If your family is into bikes, the Tri-Cities isn’t a bad place to be.  Jeff Wiberg, a father of four children, has always enjoyed the outdoors and has shared a love of adventure with his children and even served as a volunteer with youth in his church getting them off-screen and into the outdoors, whether it be riding bikes, hiking, camping and canoeing.  He’s taken several youth groups, including his children to hike Badger Mountain, which is the most popular hike in the Tri-Cities.

Jeff also rides a unicycle and has introduced his kids to the sport.  His daughter Whitney recently rode her unicycle in the dark with an obstacle course made from glow sticks for her talent show for her church group.  Jeff’s oldest son, Devon has really taken off in the sport of unicyling.

Devon, a student at Kamaikin HS in Kennewick, WA started unicycling about three years ago when his dad introduced him to the sport and it became a hobby that stuck with him.  Unlike riding a regular bicycle, he says, “the unicycle feels just like an extension of your body once you get enough practice.”  Any given day finds Devon whirling up and down the streets on his unicycle.  One of the things he enjoys most is the “double-takes, funny looks and thumbs ups” he gets while riding around.

Prior to becoming a proficient unicycler, Devon says he struggled to have conversations with his friends but unicyling has given him a way to connect and talk with friends easily because they want to watch and ask questions about it.  It is something he really enjoys and when you see Devon on his unicycle, he waves at you with a big smile on his face.  Indeed, there is a great benefit when students go off-screen and enjoy the fresh air – whether it be doing a hobby they love or just walking and talking with a friend face-to-face (something both his father and mother have encouraged their children to do).


When his dad thought Devon was ready, he challenged him to ride his unicycle up Badger Mountain.  It’s just a little over a mile one-way; however, with a total ascent of 836 feet, Badger would challenge the fittest riders on bicycles, let alone on a unicycle.  His father rode behind him and took photographs all along the way.

Devon wasn’t sure he would be able to do it, but when I asked him if he’d consider doing it again, he said he would.  As you make the ascent up Badger Mountain, the panoramic view of the entire Tri-Cities fills the skyline.  You can even see the Columbia River winding through the three cities.  Badger is pretty bare and so nothing blocks your view.  Devon says, “The sound of gravel crunching under your tire is really satisfying and on a night with a full moon, you don’t even have to bring flashlights and the view of the city at night as awesome.”


All photographs by Jeff Wiberg of Wiberg Photography.  Used with permission. 

Fathers like Jeff play an extraordinary role in helping their children to develop healthy habits that they will carry with them into adulthood.  Devon is very fortunate to have discovered a unique hobby and one that he thoroughly enjoys.  For boys and girls wanting to try out unicyling, Devon recommends practicing unicycling at the skate park and bike trails in Columbia Park.  His future plans include unicycling in Zintel Canyon and the state patrol bike trails.

{Visit Wiberg Photography}




Yucca Gloriosa

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I saw this pretty plant on the side of the road and had to take its picture. Yucca gloriosa sounds like a spell in the Harry Potter series, but this plant and I have a history. I had one for a couple of years at BYU until I gave it away when I moved. I did not have the gloriosa variety. The Yucca I had looked more like a miniature palm tree, and that’s kind of the family I thought it belonged in. The reason I say we had a history is because  every other plant I have owned has died.  Yuccas are very hearty and my Yucca at BYU grew tall and strong  despite  my neglect. Yuccas grow in the Southeastern part of the United States, in the more beachy climates. But they also grow beautifully in the Columbia Basin Desert. What is your favorite unusual plant?



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Saturday Portland Market: 2 SW Naito Pkwy, Portland, OR 97204. Park in garage close to Naito Pkway.  Food trucks for lunch. Plan $10.

Powell’s Books: 1005 W Burnside St · (503) 228-4651. Huge used and new bookstore.

Voodoo Donuts: 22 SW 3rd Ave. Open 24 hours. For treats to take home. $2-3

Portland Children’s Museum: 4015 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221. We’ll stay about an hour and a half.  $11.

Ride the Tram: 3303 SW Bond Ave, Portland, OR 97239. Parking is metered, just south of the tram. Open Saturday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Debit/credit only $5 per person round-trip.

Moonstruck Chocolate Café: 526 NW 23rd Ave. and/or stroll the eclectic shops at 23rd Ave.

Eat dinner at Mother’s Bistro and Bar(http://www.mothersbistro.com/menus/dinner/): 212 SW Stark St, Portland, OR 97204.  Plan $20

Explore Washington Park/Rose Garden: 4001 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221.

Bridgeport Village Shopping Center: Gorgeous outdoor mall.  Open until 8 p.m. 7455 SW Bridgeport Rd #215, Tigard, OR 97224.

Multnomah Falls is a beautiful place for the whole family.

My family had so much fun during our weekend trip to Portland. I love driving in the city. Flowers and trees and beautiful green bushes grow spontaneously on the side of the freeway and I love the bridges, they are so impressive.  Everybody has to eat at Voodoo Donuts once, but we’re on to their game. Here’s my review of Voodoo (I have since heard that Blue Star has the best donuts in Portland. They are three to four dollars apiece but I have heard they’re worth every penny):

Voodoo donuts are not delicious. I mean, being donuts, I’ll still eat them. But Voodoo donuts is living art -that’s the appeal-a creative, “rogue,” which is actually written in giant letters in their lobby, pierced, tattooed, donut hole in the ground where they put kids cereal on top of donuts and wear nose rings. Best part of Voodoo donuts is being a part of living art -that is why people go there in droves. After we got our box of donuts, we were approached by a couple of New Yorkers who were looking for a second market of Voodoo Donuts to avoid standing in an hour line. We didn’t sell our donuts. It didn’t feel right. Hey, if we are going to stand in line for an hour to get donuts, you are going to stand in line for an hour to get donuts. Also, my four-year-old touched every donut in our box already. Voodoo donuts proves that what people crave, even more than donuts, is creativity -Voodoo donuts provides a way to rebel without actually sticking it to anybody because in the end, it’s just deep fried dough. Brick wall sprayed with rainbow glitter? Yes, please. Fat donut with 9 cups of cream cheese frosting on top and a layer of Captain Crunch added to that? Definitely! Pink box with a picture of a skeleton sporting a tux and butterfly wings? I can’t think of anything cooler! Nothing says “eat your feelings” like donuts with a Voodoo doll for a mascot. Krispy Kremes has their vibe with the hats and electric sign, Dunkin Donuts has their wake up with Duncan energy as you dip your donut into a lousy cup of coffee. The grocery store has their lunch lady in a hair net vibe. If Voodoo were a music video, everyone in line for donuts would turn to face the camera with painted white faces to look like skulls and a bulging zombie eye look of death and then synchronized, take an exaggerated bite out of a cereal laden donut as Cocoa puffs fall onto the pavement below and cause it to crack. People are excited to get their donuts from a place with a “rock edge,” as that is how dessert should be both prepared and consumed.


Sacajawea Heritage Monument, Kennewick, WA

2016-06-18 21.58.042016-06-18 21.58.45These were taken standing between the Sacajawea Heritage Monument and the Bateman Island trailhead overlooking the Columbia River on the Kennewick, WA side. Across the river is Chiawana Park in Pasco. This marina in Columbia Park is a great place to park or ride and then jog or take your bike  along the 22 miles of riverfront views that make up the Sacagawea Heritage Trail.2016-06-18 21.55.05


Lawrence Scott Park in Kennewick, WA

2016-06-15 15.35.262016-06-15 15.33.432016-06-15 15.32.502016-06-15 15.36.58Lawrence Scott Park is one of my favorite places to take my children to ride their scooters. The park is named after  a former  mayor of Kennewick  who served as mayor from 1962 to 1967. The walking path is two-thirds of a mile long and it is just right for little feet. The park is beautiful and open. It is fun to go there in early June and see the rose garden. It is never crowded when I go there. There are always a few puppies and dogs playing fetch there because it is a great dog park. Lawrence Scott Park is a beautiful location for a family picnic on a Sunday afternoon.


Summer in the Garden

2016-06-11 20.57.132016-06-11 20.58.552016-06-11 21.01.542016-06-11 21.02.47All images copyright Alicia Walters. Photographs taken at Grange Park in Kennewick, Washington .2016-06-11 21.00.432016-06-11 21.00.02 2016-06-11 20.58.00I love to take my family to Grange Park in Kennewick, WA. The master gardeners there do such a beautiful job. It is always  an adventure taking our identical twin 2 year olds anywhere,  but they love to make us chase them through this park. I love that this park has a special Children’s Garden. And I love it when I go to this park and a large extended family is having a birthday party and has included a live band. It seems to happen frequently in the summer. If you have family or friends visiting the Tri-Cities, I would definitely plan an evening picnic at this park.

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Kidz Dig Rigz

Official details of Kidz Dig Rigz are posted on Facebook, here.

When: May 21st, 11 – 4:30 and May 22nd, 12 – 3:30 p.m. (Quiet hour for children with special needs 9 – 10:30 a.m.)

Where: Columbia Park in Kennewick

Cost: $5, children under 2 are free

This event has a special place in my heart.  All proceeds from this event go to help pediatric patients, their families, pediatric services and programs at Kadlec Regional Medical Center.  Local sponsors and countless volunteers put so much into making this a fun event for children.


Young children love this event.  They get to enjoy delicious food, bouncy houses, a clown, balloon animals, face painting and monster truck rides (additional $5).  They enjoy climbing into fire trucks and police cars and get to meet several local mascots and even some superheroes! It’s such a fun, family event for all ages in beautiful Columbia Park.


Tri-City Herald People’s Choice Awards 2016 is Out

The following was published in the People’s Choice Awards 2016 -eBook, here.

All photography by Alicia Walters

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Viera’s Bakery

430 W. Lewis St.

Pasco; 509-546-9726


Manuel and Esther Viera, Owners; Nono and Marisa Viera, Managers

Viera’s Bakery offers a huge selection of freshly baked goods that they display in large vintage-vibe cases with cherry wood frames and clear glass windows.  It’s fun to stop by and see the different pastries they have available or even just to grab a quick coffee and a churro.  Customer favorites include their 1,000 Layers Caramel, Empanada Bavarian Cream, Campechana in Assorted Flavors, and Mexican Cheesecake.  Children like to look through the glass and choose their favorite such as a colorful sugar cookie or a cherry-filled, pink empanada.

Manuel and Esther Viera, owners of Viera’s Bakery for over twenty years, maintain a tradition of excellence at their two locations.  Bakery opens at 4 a.m. at the Lewis St. location and 5 a.m. at the Burden Blvd. location and is open at both locations until 10 p.m.  “We start early and our ovens run twenty-four hours a day,” says Marisa Viera, manager of Viera’s Bakery.

They also make cakes for weddings and special occasions as well as fill special orders.  To order a custom cake or to request a special order for your occasion, visit either of their locations a speak with one of their bakers.

Beaver Bark

607 Aaron Dr.

Richland; 509-946-1000


Renae, Co-owner and founder.

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Beaver Bark Garden Center is a local treasure; having won Garden of the Year in 2010 and continuing their tradition of excellence. The local, family-owned gift and garden center provides customers with a visually stunning experience –with its spectacular hanging flower baskets, as well as comprehensive inventory of plants and garden products in over 10,000 square feet of store space.  Renae, co-owner and founder works with her highly knowledgeable and talented team, which includes nearly forty people to continually improve the aesthetics of the store layout.  Renae calls this a “labor of love.”

Located along I-82 in Richland, Beaver Bark is open year-round.  Stop by in October and you might be haunted by their selection of Halloween décor for the home and garden.  Families can come during the holiday season to pick out a tree, and get warm by an outdoor bonfire while children stay entertained with the live reindeer.  Bunnies and chicks seem to come alive all over in the spring and children are particularly interested in the “Fairy Garden” section of the store.

The Beaver Bark family grows much of its own plant products and work together to create an ever-evolving beautiful gift and garden store.  It is evident to customers in touring the Water Garden Department, including the Koi pond that Beaver Bark just keeps getting prettier.

Renae says, “Future plans are in the works, and ground will be broken this spring for an on-site warehouse for inventory efficiencies.”

Fairchild Cinemas

5020 Convention Dr.

Pasco; 509-544-0145


Chase Fairchild, Director of Theater Operations

Fairchild Cinemas is located in both Pasco and Richland.  The new Queensgate 12 has the same spacious auditoriums featuring comfortable seats and digital sound but there are a few upgrades to be aware of –most obvious are the plush leather, electric reclining seats. Select auditoriums are equipped with Dolby Atmos.  Chase Fairchild, Director of Theater Operations says, “The Atmos system lets film makers place sound elements in 3D space.  It allows for a more immersive movie experience.”

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Fairchild Cinemas seeks to make movie going enjoyable for diverse audiences.  For example, The Carson Kolzig Foundation sponsors a Sensory Friendly showing for families affected by Autism; during the showing, the lights are turned up and the sound is not as loud.  The ARC of Tri-Cities and Service Center of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing host an open caption showing that is open to the community.  Groups wanting to host a special showing may contact Toni Parmelee, 509-544-8993.

Soon at Queensgate 12, auditoriums adjacent to the new bar, which will feature an expanded menu, will be reserved for guests ages 21 and older to enjoy an appetizer and a drink during their movie.

Cedars Restaurant

355 N. Clover Island Dr.

Kennewick; 509-582-2143


Dave and Darci Mitcham, Owners

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Dave and Darci, husband-and-wife owners of Cedars Restaurant have been in business for forty years and their children have worked in the restaurant as well.  Darci says, “This business is our life.”

Cedars is a special landmark of the Tri-Cities, situated on Clover Island, surrounded by gorgeous views of the Columbia River. Darci goes on to say, “Many of our guests came here for their first prom, first dates, got engaged here and continue to come here for their wedding anniversaries.  We’ve come to think of many of them as friends.  We love our customers.’

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In addition to enjoying deliciously cooked steaks or refreshing cocktails on their heated outdoor terrace or beside their large rock fireplace in the lounge, you can even pull up in your boat in one of Cedars docking facilities.  Customers also appreciate that Cedars is one of the few remaining restaurants in town that include everything in one price: entrée, bread, soup or salad and fresh sides.

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Their lounge menu offers pub fare such as nachos, burgers, and fish and chips.  A well-known tradition at Cedars is when a customer turns twenty-one, they enjoy a Rum Barrel.  It is such a popular drink, Darci says, “In the summer, it’s not uncommon to see every patio table full with Ru Barrels.”  Lounge opens at 4 p.m., with the dining room open at 5 p.m. daily.

Big 5 Sporting Goods

812 W. Vineyard Dr.

Kennewick; 509-586-3793


Abel Orosco, Manager

Big 5 Sporting Goods is the number one destination for active families within the Tri-Cities.  Conveniently located in Kennewick and Richland, customers can choose from a great selection of athletic shoes and clothing, hunting, fishing, tennis, golf, snowboarding and in-line skating equipment.  Abel, manager of the Richland store says, “If you are looking for affordable quality, this is the place.”  The staff at Big 5 Sporting Goods greets you immediately when you walk into the store and is available to answer any questions you may have regarding the products they offer.

You can purchase firearms as well as camping knives and compasses at Big 5 Sporting Goods, but did you know they even carry metal detectors for those within in the community who like to enjoy geocaching with a metal detector?  “There’s something here for everyone, whatever the hobby,” Abel says.

The best way to stay alerted to sales and promotions at Big 5 Sporting Goods is to sign up for their E-Team by going to: http://www.big5sportinggoods.com/store/ways+to+save/E-Team+Sign+Up.  Choose between their weekly ad and/or their E-Team exclusive sales and offers.  Big 5 Sporting Goods also showcases a variety of designer sunglasses.

Texas Roadhouse

#C, 835 N. Columbia Center Blvd.

Kennewick; 509-783-1288


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Texas Roadhouse is well-known for its exceptional quality, casual atmosphere and friendly servers who will even entertain customers with a line dance or two.  Their hand cut steaks and delicious fresh rolls served with cinnamon butter melt in your mouth for a really delicious dining experience.  To top it off, customers are served peanuts by the bucketful and warming made from scratch sides.  In business since November 2011, Steven Dunn, manager of Texas Roadhouse in Kennewick says, “We love the Tri-Cities and are actively involved in the community, partnering with great organizations such as: Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, Junior Achievement and many others.”

If you are looking for a hearty meal, a good drink, or just a place to let your hair down, look no further than Texas Roadhouse in Kennewick.  Order a medallion steak with mushrooms and as one customer William Taylor of Kennewick says, “It is heaven on a plate!” Customers enjoy a great value and Texas Roadhouse offers several specials regularly throughout the week.

Here are some of the discounts Texas Roadhouse offers:

Monday – Thursday Early Dine from 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. offering 10 meals priced below $10.

Monday 30% discount for veterans, active duty military, police, fire and EMTs.

Tuesday 20% discount for educators

Wild West Wednesday purchase an 8 oz sirloin steak for $9.99 (includes two sides)

Thursday purchase any steak 16 oz or larger and get it smothered for free with mushrooms and onions

Did you know that although Texas Roadhouse doesn’t take reservations, they do offer call ahead seating?  Be sure to call ahead on busy weekends to get your party’s name on their list.  They’ll have a bucket of peanuts waiting for you.  Bartender is prompt and friendly, too if you just want to stop by for a drink.

2015-10-09 16.19.33 Alicia Walters, freelance writer in Tri-Cities, WA. Portfolio / Instagram.


Summer Family Fun in the Tri-Cities


Below are some of the events my family looks forward to each summer in the Tri-Cities.  All photos by Alicia Walters. Enjoy!

Recurring Events             

J & S Dreamland Express operates Saturday – Sunday 1 – 5:30 p.m. in Columbia Park through September. It leaves every 20 minutes from the ticket booth between the Family Fishing Pond and the Playground of Dreams.  Adult tickets $1 and children, .50 cents.                                        

Market at the Parkway June 3rd – October 28th (weather permitting).  Fridays 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. At the Parkway between Jadwin Ave. and George Washington Way in Richland, WA.  Farmer’s Market, food trucks, live music, fresh flowers, etc.

Thursdays June – July   

Live @ 5 is a free, outdoor concert series held at John Dam Plaza in Richland, WA. Beer and wine garden for those 21 and older and a children’s area with bouncy houses and games.  Bands are regional.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/TCLiveAt5/timeline for more information. Event Poster: Adam Lamberd.

June 10th                             

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

June 10th – 12th                

Sacajawea Bluegrass Festival & Dutch Oven Rendezvous held at Sacajawea State Park in Pasco.  A family friendly event for all ages, the festival includes “Square Dance Under the Stars,” lead by a caller (no experience necessary), food, music, and instrument sampling for all ages.  More information is available at http://www.mctama.org/.

June 16th                             

Hogs & Dogs Family Festival 4 – 10 p.m. at the Bombing Range Sports Complex in West Richland.  Motorcycle show, including a stunt rider, car show, live music, food and Kid Zone.  Admission is free.  Hogs & Dogs Logo copyright West Richland Area Chamber of Commerce.  Event poster: Michael Page.

June 19th                             

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Father’s Day – Dads ride free all day.

June 23rd – 26th                

Cool Desert Nights is a four day, family event held at 1355 George Washington Way in Richland.  In its 23rd year, it offers a Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Street Dance and Show N’ Shine car show.  For schedule of events, visit: http://www.cooldesertnights.com/schedule.

June 24th                             

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

June 25th                             

Gesa Carousel of Dreams 11 – 3 p.m. free first ride for kids signing up for the Mid-Columbia Library’s Summer Reading Program.


July 4th                                 

Annual River of Fire Festival in Columbia Park in Kennewick.  $8 carload donation.  Kids activities throughout the day as well as food and shopping booths set up throughout the park.  Live music begins at 5 p.m. and fireworks begin at 10 p.m.  Bring your own lawn chair.  No “personal” fireworks or alcohol permitted.  Questions, call 509-547-9791.

July 8th                                 

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

July 22nd                              

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

July 29th – 30th

66th Annual Art in the Park located in Howard Amon Park in Richland gathers an enormous variety of local and national artists, food and entertainment vendors.  It is the primary fundraiser for the Allied Arts Association.  Website: http://www.galleryatthepark.org/general-information/.


July 29th – 31st

Tri-City Water Follies annual event entertains families with hydros on display, hydro races and a jet demonstration team.  Schedule will be posted here: http://www.waterfollies.com/water-follies-experience/schedule-of-events/.

Aug 2nd                                

Gesa Carousel of Dreams National Night Out 5 – 7:30 p.m. $2 carousel rides for all attendees.  Giveaways, food trucks, games free hamburgers for first 1,000 people.

Aug 5th                                 

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

Aug 19th                              

Gesa Carousel of Dreams Sunset at Southridge 6-8 p.m. Live entertainment, food trucks, kids activities and play on splash pad behind carousel.

Aug 20th                              

Benton Franklin Grand Parade in Downtown Kennewick at 10 a.m. Theme this year is “The Best Week of Summer.”  Bring your own lawn chair and pick out your spot along the parade route next to Keewaydin Park (W. Kennewick Ave. and S. Auburn St.).

Aug 23rd – 27th

Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo at the Benton County Fairgrounds in Kennewick. Demolition derby, Mccurley Concert Series, rodeo, carnival rides, animal/livestock exhibits, and food galore!  Adult tickets are $13 at the door.  Seniors and children ages 6 and older are $5.  Children ages 6 and under are free.  For bus combo, season passes, demolition derby tickets and other pricing information, visit: http://www.bentonfranklinfair.com/p/info/325.

Sept 24th – 25th                 

Ye Merrie Greenwood Renaissance Faire will be in Columbia Park in Kennewick.  Ye Merrie Faire is a visit back in time to the Renaissance, with 90 live performances daily as well as 70 + period vendors.  It is fun for the entire family and a real unique experience.  Website: http://yemerriegreenwoodfaire.org/.


Read Excerpt from The Magic of Children at Christmas

In The Magic of Children at Christmas, twenty women share their precious childhood Christmas memories in stories that are filled with all the sweetness of a magical childhood and hope in the true meaning of Christmas.  A great read for yourself or your holiday book club to set the mood for Christmas.  I hope you enjoy reading these stories as much as I have. – Alicia

Purchase the paperback version of The Magic of Children at Christmas here.

Letter to Santa, by Alicia Walters

When I was a very little girl, my mother and father always had me open one Christmas present on Christmas Eve. Usually it was a new Lanz of Salzburg flannel nightgown. I loved changing into my soft, new nightgown and climbing up on the couch to listen to my father read The Teddy Bear’s Picnic in his big, deep voice that sounded like a bear’s. He would say, “This story again?” And I would tell him, “Yes. It is my favorite.” Then we would pull out the small record that came with the book and I would put my feet on my daddy’s feet and we would dance to the Teddy Bear’s Picnic song. I still have my Teddy Bear’s Picnic bear that you can wind up and a music box inside will play the tune. It is one of my treasures.

Thank you for reading.  Please follow Alicia Walters Blog on Facebook and Instagram.  Purchase the Kindle version of The Magic of Children at Christmas, here.

My dad spent most of his time at home downstairs in the library behind a large, oak desk. The library had several hundred books about history and religion, as well as multiple encyclopedias as well as literary classic collections. My dad was very organized and kept the bookshelves looking pristine, each book lined up with the binding outward and flush against the other. As a little girl, I liked to push all the books in against the back of the shelf, which caused my dad some anguish over his previously orderly library.

If I stood on my tippy toes, I could peer over the top of his desk and notice several stacks of organized papers, an ink well, a typewriter, and a large hole punch. I loved to throw open the desk drawer and see what treasures lay inside: some cufflinks, a large eraser, a tin of Altoid’s peppermints, and sometimes one of my drawings I had given him. He had framed pictures of my mother and their children displayed around his desk and his briefcase has hid initials on it.

But one of the items that always fascinated me was my dad’s Mont Blanc fountain pen. It seemed giant in my little hands and you had to unscrew the lid to see the most unusual pen a child has ever seen. My dad had told me not to ever use that pen, but how could I resist? I yanked some paper that had already been fed into the typewriter and began scratching out the letters of my name: “A – l – i – c – i – a.” I pretended I was signing an official declaration to the Queen. The fountain pen made thick, black letters in beautiful, fancy ink.

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That Christmas, I had been extra enamored with Santa and the thought of living in the North Pole. I remember thinking that if I could just visit Santa in the North Pole, he would let me make friends with a polar bear or even ride on the back of one of his magic reindeer. I loved Santa Claus and I wanted so much to be good. I was so excited to set out a plate of cookies for him and wanted him to know how happy I was that he would come to our house and leave presents for me.

I yanked another piece of paper from my dad’s typewriter and began writing a letter to Santa: “Dear Santa, I hope you like these cookies. Thank you for coming to my house and giving me presents. Are you real?” I asked, hoping that I would get a letter in reply confirming my belief and proving to my friends that Santa is indeed real. I set the letter next to a plate of cookies and a tall glass of cold milk.

That night, I lay wide awake in my Christmas nightgown. I looked outside my bedroom window at a clear, winter sky filled with stars that shone like Christmas lights laced throughout the entire universe. I hoped so much that Santa would see my letter and that he would write me back. It seemed like the only thing that occupied my thoughts that Christmas Eve night. I wanted Santa to be real.

Christmas morning came and I rushed downstairs to where the milk and cookies and letter had been. The milk glass was empty as well as the plate, with the exception of a few crumbs and in the place where my letter was I saw a new letter: Santa had written me back on red paper! “Dear Alicia, Thank you for your kind letter. Yes, I am real. I enjoyed the milk and cookies. You are a good girl. Merry Christmas, Santa.” It was written with beautiful, fancy ink in thick, black letters just like how my dad’s Mont Blanc fountain pen wrote.

Thank you for reading.  Please follow Alicia Walters Blog on Facebook and Instagram.  Purchase the Kindle version of The Magic of Children at Christmas, here.

“Dad,” I said, “Santa has a fountain pen just like yours!” “That’s because your dad and Santa have very good taste,” my father said. I was sure this must be true. Because I knew that Santa was wonderful, good mannered, well-read and kind to children just like my dad and so it made perfect sense that they would both prefer fancy fountain pens as opposed to subpar ball point ones. I think Santa’s letter to me was my favorite Christmas gift that year and it continues to be one that I always remember every Christmas.


Alicia Walters is a mother to four children, including identical twins. She is passionate about motherhood and believes that childhood can be filled with magical memories that can help carry them through their trials in life. Follow Alicia Walters Blog on Facebook and Instagram.


How to Get Your Kitchen and Home Thanksgiving Ready


If you are like me, you are probably expecting a houseful on Thanksgiving Day. While I love and appreciate taking a special day to remember our blessings and hold a family prayer of gratitude, Thanksgiving puts hostesses in high gear and sometimes, it is too much stress and I end up wanting to eat every pie. So rather than procrastinate until the day before, here are some simple steps you can do now to prepare for the big event.

Start Cleaning Now
Use all that pre-hosting Thanksgiving excitement/anxiety to your advantage and get your deep cleaning done the week before.
• Start and put away an extra load of laundry every day between now and Thanksgiving.
• Deep clean all the bathrooms (you can always touch up the guest bathroom the morning of)
• Find several cardboard boxes and fill them with toys, books and other gently used items you don’t need anymore and store them out of the way. You’ll love having these items ready to donate to holiday goodwill programs as well as having a decluttered home for your Thanksgiving day.
• Sweep and decorate your front porch to receive your guests. A clean porch and a simple wreath on the door, welcome mat and/or stockpile of fall pumpkins can really brighten the entry to your home.

Thank you for reading.  Please follow Alicia Walters Blog on Facebook and Instagram. 

Plan Your Thanksgiving Meal and Include Your Guests
You cannot do it all alone. Well, you can but why would you want to? Typically, if you are hosting Thanksgiving, you’ll want to be the one to cook the turkey and the trimmings that go along with it. You don’t want to ask your Grandmother to try and transport a hot turkey, including all the juices to your home for Thanksgiving. Do the turkey, delegate the rest. Your guests expect to bring something to Thanksgiving, but do not know what you need and so communicating with each guest and having them bring one thing can really help out. Here is a list of things that are easy to transport that your guests can bring:
• Rolls
• Sides like green beans or salads
• Yams or sweet potatoes
• Dressings for salads and cranberry sauce
• Drinks
• Pies and other desserts
• Also include your guests in planning activities such as games for the adults and coloring/crafts for the kids. You’ll have your hands full cooking turkey and setting the table (not to mention cleaning up afterward), so delegate the entertainment. If your guests feel included, it will make the day even more memorable for them. Just make sure you ask someone who is comfortable being in front of the group.

Shop the Week Before
There are some things that you’ll want to run to the store for last minute. But you don’t need to be standing in a long grocery line with a full, heavy cart and a bunch of curmudgeons anxious to get out of there the day before or even on Thanksgiving Day. Nothing will make you feel less gratitude than a bunch of frowny faces in the check-out line or embittered grocery store workers! Make your list and get your shopping done now. Just remember, it can take up to 3 days for a frozen turkey to thaw in the fridge so read the directions and plan accordingly. Some of the things you may want to pick up now are:
• Turkey, if you are purchasing frozen (I like to purchase a fresh, young turkey so I get mine at the last minute but frozen is fine as long as you allow time for it to thaw and frozen is often cheaper for a bigger turkey).
• Any paper goods you may need for your Thanksgiving table including your decorations.
• Cold medicine – it may sound unconventional, but just plan on someone in your family (hopefully not the hostess) getting sick right before you are ready to host Thanksgiving. Stock up on your medicine in advance so you’ll have it.
• Any other grocery items that can be stored in the pantry. Also make sure your house is well stocked with toilet paper, paper towels, hand soap for the guest bathroom, etc.

Get All Decorations Ready
Chances are, husbands and children who have the day off from school and work are not going to relate or understand why mom is so worked up and frazzled about hosting Thanksgiving. They’ll probably plop down on the sofa with their feet up just as you are wanting to vacuum the family room. Make sure you give yourself extra time for last minute cleaning and getting yourself and your family ready the morning of Thanksgiving. My favorite hosting tip is to get a big box and fill it with everything you will need for the table setting and decorations (except dishes of course, unless paper plates). Some of the things you may want to include in your box are:
• The tablecloth already ironed (if fabric). When you put it in the box, fold it in half lengthwise and roll it so it won’t crease. You can always touch up the middle crease but having the tablecloth ready to go will save you lots of time the day of Thanksgiving.
• Any paper goods if using them: plates, napkins, utensils, name cards ,etc.
• Any items for your centerpiece that aren’t fresh flowers such as pinecones, vases, autumn leaves, wood and candles, etc. Whatever you are using for decorations that can be stored in your hosting box, gather it in there now.
• Guest favors if using them or something for young children like candy or Thanksgiving themed coloring pages or small toys.
• I like to throw in there a tin of breath mints to set out if I am serving food.

The Night Before and Morning of Thanksgiving
After my children go to bed the night before I’m hosting an event, that is when I do all of the cleaning and decorating the table. That way, I can wake up in the morning, get ready and go to work in the kitchen. I can always touch up on the cleaning but having the majority of it done, really helps out. Also, having a designated children’s entertainer, a.k.a., my husband take the children out of the house to play outside or go to the mall playground in colder weather—just having them have an outlet to get some of their energy out without destroying all the work I’ve put into hosting is very helpful for an hour or two. Sometimes I even sent them to breakfast or out with sack lunches so they aren’t adding piles of dishes to the kitchen sink.

Thank you for reading.  Please follow Alicia Walters Blog on Facebook and Instagram. 

Have a movie planned when they return and some popcorn so they’ll want to lounge and stay out of the kitchen while you finish up. Lastly, enjoy hosting Thanksgiving. This is a rare opportunity to create a special memory for your loved ones and it is an honor to host. Here are my suggestions for making Thanksgiving pleasant for everyone.
• Designate someone in the household to stand watch at the door and answer and greet each guest.
• Have a place for coats, purses, shoes, etc. that is obvious to guests and is out of the way so no one will bother their personal belongings.
• If they are coming to your home for the first time, while welcoming them just point out, “the bathroom is over there if you should need it.”
• Make sure you have enough seating and designate a comfortable spot for elderly guests and keep that spot open for them.
• When in doubt, just keep smiling. This is something that is not natural for me because I have inherited a “thinking face.” It doesn’t mean I’m unhappy, but smiling is not something I first think of to do and so when I’m hosting, I have to continually remind myself to smile.
• Have fun and don’t forget to eat a slice of pie!
• And my favorite Thanksgiving hosting tip is for your guest who cannot think of anything to say except negative political commentary at Thanksgiving – give him or her a BIG job to do such as carving the turkey (maybe some of all that negative aggression can be taken out on Tom Turkey) or making sure the drinks are well stocked. You could even assign that relative to clear the tables and do the dishes to ready the tables for desserts or have them slice up all the pies and serve the ice cream. Just give that person a very important job and praise their hard work in helping out. *wink*


Alicia Walters is a busy mother of four children, including identical twins.  She loves planning and hosting get togethers and hopes you will enjoy reading some of these tips for hosting Thanksgiving.  Happy Thanksgiving!


Christmas Destinations: Wishing You a Merry Christmas from Leavenworth, Washington


Washington State is home to one of the nation’s most beloved Christmas destinations for families. Leavenworth, a Bavarian valley in the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountains, was named by Lifed.com as one of the Top Ten Places to Spend Your Christmas holiday. It offers families a European-style, Bavarian Christmas that leaves visitors feeling like they have jumped into a beautiful, snowy picture on the front of a Victorian Christmas card. Here are several reasons to make Leavenworth your family’s holiday destination:

Festivals and Events in Leavenworth
Leavenworth continually hosts exciting festivals and events throughout the year, with our family’s favorite events happening October through January. Leavenworth puts on one of the best Oktoberfests in the country, including three weekends every October of music, brats and celebration. Children can play and explore in their bouncy house maze and slide as well as climb the wall set up in Front Street Park.

Every Friday through Sunday the first three weekends of December, Leavenworth showcases a Christmas Lighting Festival that your entire family will love! Children will awe at the splendid display of over half a million lights lighting Leavenworth’s magical, Bavarian-style village. During the day, the Front Street Gazebo, which is next to a picturesque sledding hill, is bursting with music and carolers accompanied by caroling groups that parade Front Street.

Families can climb aboard a dressed up, horse-pulled Christmas sleigh jingling with bells and ride along Front Street as well as take pictures with Santa and Mrs. Claus, Father Christmas and more Christmas characters. Every Sunday during the Christmas Lighting Festival, children can participate in the “Cookie Crawl” and collect and taste free cookies, including gingerbread men. It is fun for the entire family.

Every Martin Luther King weekend each January, Leavenworth celebrates winter in their annual Bavarian Icefest. Live ice carving, snowmobile sled-pulls, snow sculpture garden, snowball toss and ice fishing are some of the sights and activities families can enjoy together during this festival as well as a nightly firework show! Search more Leavenworth events here:
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Nordic Skiing, including Night Skiing
Twenty-six kilometers make up the Leavenworth Nordic Trail System, which is comprised of varied skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing terrain in four different areas within Leavenworth, WA. If you haven’t experienced skiing the five kilometers at Ski Hill that are lighted for night skiing, you are missing out on a refreshing, festive run in Washington’s beautiful Cascades.

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You can also find Stevens Pass twenty seven miles east on U.S. Hwy 2 giving an additional twenty-eight kilometers of tracks and skating lanes. Visit the Nordic Center for trail passes, including lodging and lift passes. Full of outdoor, scenic, winter fun, Leavenworth winter recreation also includes: tubing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and even dog sledding.

For the thrill seeker in the family, visitors to Leavenworth can also experience Nordic ice climbing through the Northwest Mountain School. John and Olivia Race, IFMGA certified guides, offer rock climbing instructions as well as alpine climbing avalanche courses and back country skiing to Leavenworth visitors.

Where to Stay
Leavenworth offers an abundant variety of Bavarian-themed lodges, condos, and hotels for visitors to keep warm during their Nordic-style skiing adventure. Accommodations fill up quickly and additional options are located in Wenatchee, an approximate twenty-thirty minute drive from Leavenworth. Sleep in a cozy, Bavarian Bed and Breakfast or stay in one of the many comfortable Leavenworth hotels as well as options for RV’s and camping. For more information on lodging in Leavenworth, click here.

Sledding and Snowshoeing in Leavenworth’s Family Parks
Front Street Park
Downtown Leavenworth
A favorite location for families with young children experiencing their first trip down the slopes on a sled, Front Street Park in Leavenworth is beautifully outfitted with tall pines, all lit up for Christmas as well as a Victorian-style gazebo often filed with festively dressed carolers and musicians. Create magical family memories with your little ones as they throw snowballs and chase you down the hill in their newly broken-in sleds.

This park is a wonderful place to capture those Christmas photos as it sits on Front Street, which is lined on both sides with Bavarian shops whose owners really know what it means to “Deck the halls.” The shops look especially spectacular at night as half a million Christmas lights set the stage for an enchanted Christmas spree under the snowy Cascades. Leavenworth also has four ice skating rinks for skating enthusiasts or those who just enjoy watching the skaters with a cup of hot chocolate.

Waterfront Park
Next to downtown Leavenworth
If you are just looking for beautiful, winter scenery, Waterfront Park offers a paved trail along the winding, Wenatchee River and is a mere walk’s distance from downtown Leavenworth. Eagles, owls and birds of all varieties congregate in the trees surrounding this beautiful trail and during the winter, it is a great place for snowshoeing.

The Most Festive Christmas Shopping You’ll Ever Experience
If you enjoy Christmas shopping, look no further than the splendid shops along Leavenworth’s Front Street. These shops are unique in that their employees all seem to share in enthusiasm for Christmas and especially Christmas shoppers. Some of our family’s favorites include:

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Kris Kringl
907 Front St.
Welcome to Department 56 headquarters and a Christopher Radko ornaments supplier. Two-stories of ornaments, Christmas displays, including old-world handicrafts such as Christmas pyramids and hand-made ornaments galore! Children can take their picture next to a life-size Santa and reindeer display on the upper level as well as test out several sleigh bells and nutcrackers, lining the walls of Kris Kringl.

Employees at Kris Kringl dress like Santa’s helpers and are very knowledgeable about ornament designers and how to make your Christmas tree shine bright with unique treasures.


Gifts from Russia
900 Front St. #H, Leavenworth
Vera and Josh are the married owners of Gifts from Russia, a store that specializes in hand painted matryoshka nesting dolls and other traditional, hand-carved, Russian-made toys. The dolls and other gifts range in price from very affordable to very expensive, depending on the quality of the painting and craftsmanship. Nesting dolls of many varieties showcase a burst of color and Russian artistry and you’ll want to return again and again to look at all the beautiful dolls and toys in Gifts from Russia.

The Nutcracker Museum
735 Front St., Leavenworth
The Nutcracker Museum in downtown Leavenworth is a National Heritage Museum. This is a stop the entire family can enjoy together. A short video presentation gives the history of the nutcracker and the museum hosts nutcrackers as old as the 1400s!

Your family will see the various and creative designs used to crack a nut including nutcrackers made of porcelain, ivory, silver as well as the conventional, Christmas nutcracker made of wood.

The Gingerbread Factory
828 Commercial St. Leavenworth
You’ll feel like Hansel and Gretel walking into this life-size gingerbread house! This bakery offers a variety of meal options, including gluten-free options and showcases famous cookies including gingerbread cookies as well as beautiful decorated ginger bread houses. Outdoor seating offers a stunning view of the Cascade Mountains as you enjoy hot chocolate with your comfort food made at one of Trip Advisor’s Top Ten restaurants in Leavenworth.

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Schocolat Fine Handmade Chocolates
843 Front St. in Leavenworth, located inside Ganz Klasse, a home furnishings boutique
Don’t leave Leavenworth without trying their delectable, European style Belgian truffles, caramel sauces and confections. Their almond toffee is layered with premium chocolate that is made in small batches to ensure superior taste and freshness and their vanilla caramels melt quickly in your mouth for some of the softest, most delicious caramel you’ll ever experience. Also try their banana crème-filled truffles and their Bernadette, a caramel made with fresh roasted pecans. Their chocolatier also makes seasonal molded chocolate figurines that will delight children and you will want to try their hot chocolate mix.

Dining in Leavenworth, WA
Leavenworth restaurants cook up a splendid variety of brats, sausage, wood-fired pizzas and traditional Bavarian fare. Favorites include: Mountain Home Lodge Restaurant (a little pricey, upscale atmosphere with gorgeous view of the Cascades), Munchen Haus, Visconte’s Ristorante Italiano (delicious olives, chicken parmesan and lasagna), Idlewild Pizza (best pizza in Chelan County), and Icicle Brewing Company (family and pet friendly with a great selection of brats and German pretzels) to name a few.

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Front Street in Leavenworth is filled the smells of delicious food everywhere. I recommend trying some of their authentic brats as you walk along Front Street, taking in the Christmas lights. Visit Trip Advisor for reviews and menu recommendations.


I am so happy you would stop by to read my blog.  I love visiting Leavenworth, WA and hope that your family will, too!  Please share this post with your friends! 


Children Need to be Children


There seems to be so much pressure on young mothers to be constant providers of educational experiences for their children as well as getting their children to read and to write at an earlier and earlier age. Some public school districts across the country have or will soon offer full-day kindergarten and with that comes increased expectations for younger children and that includes their mothers. But is this really better for children?

Children Learn at Their Own Pace
It is easy to get caught up in assumed expectations of what milestones our children need to reach and when. Sometimes, we can be so focused on comparing what our child does to those his age that we can even be hard on ourselves and think, “What am I doing wrong?” In reality, children learn at their own pace, and the recommended milestones at such a young age often do not have anything to do with the kind of person one’s child is capable of becoming.

When asked, “How is your son doing with toilet training?” one mother, Tamara Parker replied, “Oh, I am in no hurry. There are some moms who can’t wait to toilet train but that is just not me.” Then she smiled, “It’s not like it’s a status symbol for me if my son is toilet trained earlier than he is ready to be.” I laughed and appreciated her honesty. Our children are not trophies and our unconditional love for our child speaks more highly of the kind of parents we are than our child’s achievements.

When Parents are Stressed, Children Will Feel Stressed Also
When my son was four months old, we tried to introduce baby food. It did not go well. He gagged and spit up and had a persistent aversion to anything other than formula from a bottle. This continued for months and caused me so much stress and worry. I remember talking to my dad when my son was about two and crying asked, “Is it too much to ask for my son to eat one raspberry?!” My dad wisely said, “Yes, it is, if he doesn’t want it.”

Our pediatrician confirmed to me that you cannot make a child eat. And actually, the more stressed you are and the more you try to make your child eat, the more likely meal times will turn into a battle of wills. I realized that if my son was going to try raspberries, it was going to be on his terms and on his timetable. He is now four and still will not eat raspberries but enjoys strawberries instead. The same is true for learning. You cannot make a child learn and children learn best in a supportive environment rather than a stressed one.

Preschoolers Need Free Play
Recently in the Washington Post, Valerie Strauss wrote an article to the effect that when young children are forced to sit still at a desk all day, they do not develop the core muscle strength they normally would when allowed to run, skip and play and as a result, they feel agitated and restless. Young children especially need to be allowed to exercise and play freely.

The first day of preschool for my son ended in a phone call from his teacher who said she did not feel like he was ready for preschool because he would not sit on his carpet square and listen to her lesson. At the time, I felt like my son was rejected and it was difficult for me. But, I took him out of preschool and kept him out the remainder of the school year. It ended up being the best thing for my son. That school year, he didn’t spend it sitting on a small carpet square; instead, he and I went to every park in my community and explored and played.

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Preschoolers Need Their Mothers
A nurturing mother can do more for her child than all day preschool or all day kindergarten ever can. An article published on livescience.com reports of a study that demonstrated that children who are loved and nurtured at an early age are likely to develop a larger hippocampus as well as experience less depression as an adult. Although the study was done on biological mothers and their children, the study points out that the effects would be the same with any primary caregiver who is consistently nurturing to the child.

Children need mothers and caregivers who can pick them up when they fall down and reassure them to get up and try again. They need to be told they are good. They need to be told often that they are loved. This not only reaffirms to them their sense of belonging, but it will increase their confidence as they grow. It goes without saying that children who are continuously loved and encouraged will have better self-esteem than children who are often criticized and neglected.

Childhood, Holidays

Harvest Time: Pumpkins, Hay Rides and Apple Cider


I love taking my family to the pumpkin patch.  It is an activity that the entire family can enjoy together.  Beyond just picking out a pumpkin, children get to experience a taste of the traditional Fall Harvest Festival.  If done well, the pumpkin patch can feel like an open Farmer’s market, displaying all the sights and smells of Autumn.  It is a feast for the senses and this is especially true for children.

black coat pumpkin patch pumpkins unnamed

When searching for a pumpkin patch, look for one that offers Pick-Your-Own Pumpkins, a hay ride and/or corn maze and freshly pressed apple cider or some kind of food specialty. What makes the pumpkin patch a great family fall tradition is that no matter the age of your children, they can enjoy the sights and sounds of fall.  Usually, the pumpkin patch is affordable for families, but plan to spend between $5-10 per person so your family can enjoy all that the pumpkin patch has to offer.

We have two pumpkin patches near our home that offer these and so much more.  I love going to the pumpkin patch and smelling pumpkin donuts frying, and seeing barrels of apples lined up for the press.  My children love to climb up on the hay and run around in the corn maze.  Sometimes, there are even caramel apples lined up covered in chocolate and candy pieces.  It is such a simple, yet fun way to enjoy quality family time.

Especially if you help to build their excitement by telling them in advance all the things they will see and do at the pumpkin patch, young children will look forward and anticipate this family tradition with great enthusiasm and it will be etched in their memories for life.  Whatever your family traditions, never underestimate the power of a tender childhood memory when adult life becomes overwhelming.

It’s easy to prepare for a family outing to the pumpkin patch.  Although, the weather can be tricky so it’s best to dress light, but bring along fall jackets.  You’ll probably want to take some pictures so dress in fall colors and for children especially, I like to dress them in colors that will look good with orange pumpkins!  The key is to pack light.  Remember, you’ll probably be hauling a bunch of pumpkins home so have some kind of transportation for those.


Pumpkin patches can be quite crowded on Saturdays.  And so if you can arrange to go as a family during the week, you’ll be happy you did so your children don’t have to wait in line.  If you do go on a Saturday, plan to go as early as possible after opening to avoid the crowd.  Although, it can be kind of fun crowding up on a hay ride all together.

Children today are not used to the freedom we used to have as kids as keeping them safe in a dangerous world grows increasingly difficult.  I love giving my children the opportunity to run free and explore new things whenever possible.  The pumpkin patch is a perfect place where children can do this.

Childhood is a magical time when even the simplest things like a pumpkin can stir the imagination and excitement of a young person.  This time goes by so fast.  Take advantage of all the special moments you can.  Take lots of pictures and enjoy it.  Happy Harvest!

You may enjoy these Halloween themed books for children, please click on the image for purchase, thank you,

Adorable pumpkin patch themed board books for very small children.

My mother got this Pumpkin Soup book for my children and it is so sweet.  The duck, cat and squirrel get into a fight over who gets to stir the soup and in the end, the three friends learn a valuable lesson about friendship.  It’s a great teaching book for young children about sharing and being kind to our friends.  The illustrations are beautiful and so sweet.

Dr. Seuss’s classic, What Was I Scared Of?  is a great way to talk to children about experiencing new situations and overcoming fears.  A great pairing with this book is Lemony Snicket’s The Dark.

A great book for middle school children, teenagers and grownups is Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book.  This book begins with a treacherous act, followed by a toddler narrowly escaping with his life and finding some compassionate ghosts who adopt him and raise him in the graveyard.  It is full of haunting imagery, humor and imaginative scenes.  It’s a page turner and if you haven’t read it, you are missing a great story!

Beauty, Makeup, Teenagers

How to Put Makeup in the Right Place: Talking to Your Teenager about Makeup


You have a daughter who thinks she’s ready to wear makeup, but you don’t want to send her to school looking like an eye shadow palette exploded on her face. Here are 5 points to consider when first talking to your teen about makeup.

Makeup Comes Second to Your Wellness
No amount of makeup can compensate for a happy girl with a beautiful smile. Keep makeup in its proper place. Make sure your daughter is getting enough positive love and attention that isn’t related to how she looks or what makeup she’s wearing. Proper rest, nutrition and exercise will do far more for her beauty and self-esteem than spending hours in front of a mirror analyzing her looks.

If wearing makeup causes you too much stress or too much excitement, you aren’t wearing it right. Mothers and daughter shouldn’t argue constantly about makeup or turn it into a power struggle. Give her the freedom to make her own choices in regard to how she wears her makeup as far as the style and colors. Take her shopping with you and have her choose her makeup and maybe she’ll be more willing to listen to your input on how to wear it best.

Makeup is a Fashion Accessory
Makeup is a big follower of fashion. Remember when everyone was all excited about peach? Or when cat eyeliner was trendy? Makeup fads go in and out very quickly. One of the best ways to get started using makeup is choosing a timeless look; nothing overly done and nothing trying to make a big statement.

Let’s just get started with the basics. There are several great “Makeup for Beginners” tutorials online and if you are still unsure where to start just begin with a little color on the eyelids, cheeks and lips. See how it looks and how she feels wearing it. The key to her feeling confident in her skin is to listen to her input. Don’t try to turn her into a mini you. Flip through magazines together and have her point out a specific look that inspires her and let her try it out.

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This is a great beginner brow kit.  The colors are light and neutral and the brushes are adequate to provide your teen with a little practice defining her brows.  Never over-tweeze!  Keep those brows looking natural.

Bobbi Brown’s Makeup Manual is a must-read for any makeup enthusiast.  She starts at the beginning and walks you through the steps to apply makeup like a pro.

Less is Not Always More
Now that you have a little color on your eyelids, cheeks and lips it’s time to assess if you are ready for a bolder look. Go ahead and experiment with bright colors as long as you put them in the right place and don’t “color outside the lines.”

This is where having a magazine cut out for inspiration can really come in handy. When mothers know the look their daughters are trying to recreate, it makes communicating about makeup that much easier. If she knows you are willing to let her experiment with different looks, she will be more willing to let you help her execute those looks in a way that is age appropriate and flattering.

This makeup trunk would make a fun gift for a young girl just getting into makeup because the makeup is light but it offers a variety of colors for her to experiment with.

Makeup is Not a Mask
Makeup should be used to enhance her natural beauty and never to cover up her beautiful face. It can be used to camouflage acne and scars. One of the best ways to show your daughter the mistakes people make with makeup is to recreate them for her on your own face and let her be the judge if the makeup enhances or distracts from your beauty.

Teaching your daughter can be as easy as the two of you standing in front of a mirror and demonstrating to her how ridiculous you look when you overdo the smoky eye or when you wear such a heavy lip that Ronald McDonald would be jealous. But this should never be in reaction to how she is wearing her makeup or a way to make her feel bad. Have fun and don’t make it about her.

I love this makeup trunk!

You Are Far More Important than Your Makeup
In all matters of fashion, but particularly with makeup, young girls cannot be told too often that they are far more important than their makeup, their clothes, their bodies, etc. Compliment her on the wonderful qualities and skills she has that are unrelated to her outer appearance.

This isn’t an excuse for the two of you to never change out of your pajamas or take your hair out of a messy bun, but reaffirm to her that you just enjoy the simplicity of the two of you spending time together. She’ll grow up so fast and grow into her own style of fashion and expression, whether or not you have spent time enjoying these teenage years. Remember to have fun and not take makeup too seriously.

This natural eye shadow palette is for young beginners who are just starting out, who just want a little color on their eye lids.  This Physicians Formula Happy Booster Glow and Mood Boosting Blush is great!  A nice berry/natural color with a hint of shimmer is perfect for your teen!