Valentine’s day with the Kids

29 01 2010

I have never been a fan of Valentine’s day…well, I did always look forward to those little red hot Valetine’s heart candies.  The ones that make your tongue tingle and scream “CINAMMON” in your mouth.  Then there was the year abroad in college in the UK when I discovered they had candy hearts with mean sayings on them.  I had fun taping them to my friends’ doors.  All in love and with the true British sarcastic spirit.

So here we are and Valentine’s day is approaching somewhere between shuttling the children to and from classes and school, and working on projects, I guess I should consider what our plan is.  Do I buy/make cards from the children for family members? just my husband? no one?  I think I’ll do whatever I have time to do and whatever we feel like between now and then.  That’s got to be good enough. Then, if it strikes our fancy, everyone is healthy, we have it in our budget (money or time), perhaps we’ll do something around town.

For places to go and eat with the kids in tow at either breakfast, lunch, or dinner here are a few suggestions.  If it is chocolate that you’re after, either for your loved ones or for yourself, then here’s a full but not absolute list of where you can find everything from Cadbury chocolate to some exquisite hand-made chocolates.

Our slightly less local than it was toy store, Henry Bear’s Park, is having a chocolate lollipop workshop at each of their locations.  I am not sure how hands on the workshop will be, but it is free and when you call to reserve your spot you can get all the details.  Arlington’s workshop is on Saturday February 6th from 11:00 -1:00, Brookline’s is on Wednesday February 3rd from 3:30 to 5:30 and Cambridge’s is Friday February 5th from 4:30 to 6:30.  The recommended age from the Candy Factory Kit is ages 10 and up, but for the workshop (or using the kit with help) younger children will be fascinated as well.

You can’t eat it, but you can definitely cook in it and eat from it, if you made it at Made By Me.  Made By Me has some of the nicest options for pottery pieces to paint.   It turns out, on Monday February 1st you can eat it.  Made By Me is celebrating it’s 10th anniversary with cake and goodies.  There will be surprise specials for all painters (make something for the grandparents for Valentine’s day or plan way ahead for Mother’s day.)  If you can’t make it on Monday, then throughout the month of February, Monday through Friday will be Ten Dollar Days when some of the special, more expensive items will be offered for $10 while supplies last for any given item.  Items will vary throughout the month.

On Valentine’s Day proper, Sunday, February 14, paint with someone you love.  You each buy your item but the painting time will be two for the price of one.  Made by Me will provide the music, ambience, flowers, and even chocolates.  You are on your own for the creativity and affection.  We do enjoy eating our cereal or ice cream out of the hand-painted dishes the children have made at Made by Me.  I expect when they’re in college we’ll appreciate them even more.


Last Minute Gift Ideas: Forgot the Butcher, The Baker, The Candlestick Maker

19 12 2008

I can say it is officially crunch time.  As we walk to the car around the puddles, there are little tiny ridges of crunchy white snowy ice.  School is having it’s all-school sing and pot-luck.  In a couple days the children will be home for the holidays whatever they may be in your home.  Some people have already started there travels and it sends off a domino effect of families hopping in trains, airplanes, cars, and bicycles traveling to a party somewhere.  Others are pulling their blankets up around them and staying put.

If you’re not a naturally gifted shopper or you’ve had a busy year then perhaps you’re not quite where you’d like to be on the shopping and/or making gift front.  Perhaps you forgot about your favourite librarian, the man who serves you coffee every day, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker.  So here is a quick list of last minute gifts.

Get a gift certificate to a favourite restaurant.  Some suggestions might be:  Rialto, Chez Henri, Oleanna, the Blue Room, Ole, Craigie on Main, Upstairs on the Square, Small Plates, T. W. Food, EVOO, the Elephant Walk among many others.  If you want some guidance you can check out chowhound, ask someone at your favourite foodie market or store.  You may be able to get some great deals on restaurant gift certificates at  You don’t have to go to the restaurant, as mentioned in this thread on Chowhound, you can often call the restaurant and have the certificate mailed to you or to the recipient.

You can also get gift certificates to boutique foodie stores such as Formaggio Kitchen, Savenor’s, even local little stores.  Just make sure that it’s not a drag for the recipient to go to said store and that they actually would use the certificate otherwise it is not much of a gift.

If you’re feeling creative, you can put together a gift basket.  I purchased some baskets from China Fair this week and my daughter’s classmates all contributed something special to put in it store bought, home-made, hand-sewn and hand-written.  I think this would be a perfect gift from any group.  If you don’t feel like making your own, Wilson’s farm makes some great food baskets, as do Winston Flowers, and Pemberton Farms

Finally, for the chocolate lovers you can’t beat the offerings at local chocolaterie L.A. Burdick.

For more info:, Formaggio Kitchen
Petsi PiesWilson’s Farm ,  Winston FlowersSavenor’s MarketBakers’ BestFlour BakeryVicki Lee’s,
Verill FarmPemberton FarmsCardullo’s L.A. Burdick Chocolate

Weekly Holiday Bump: Cupcakes, Latkes, Giving, and Santa Claus

16 12 2008

Kickass Cupcakes is holding a cupcake cocktail tastings all week.
December 15th, 16th & 17th from 5pm-7pm
Free tastings of mini cupcakes with cocktail inspired flavors

On Sunday December 21st from 1pm-5pm they will host a Kids holiday cupcake decorating day.  The cost is $5 and includes 2 plain cupcakes and all the frosting, sprinkles and sugars one could possibly dream of.   They even offer a child-friendly “nickname” for themselves by suggestingj, “You can tell your wee ones we’re kick stars cupcakes!”

The Blue Room in Kendall Square will be hosting it’s 5th Annual Lynn Shelter Lunch on Thursday, December 18th from 12 – 2 p.m.  100% of the $35 donation goes to help the children at the shelter have a warm bed, a good meal and a present under the tree on Christmas morning!.

Latkes. The Second Annual Everyone Loves Latkes Party is Saturday, December 20th from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m..  There will be Latke donations and cooking demonstrations provided by some of the restaurants in Harvard Square.  There will also be storytelling and music for the whole family.  The party will be in Winthrop Park (corner of JFK and Mt. Auburn Street.)

Breakfast with Santa.   From 11:00am to 12:00pm Santa Claus will lead everyone on a Holiday Parade, which will arrive at the Harvard Square Welcome Tent in the center of Harvard Square.

Breakfast is at the Atrium Living Room at the Inn at Harvard and is additionally priced at $14.95 for adults and $8.95 for children.

Breakfast with Santa Menu:

Seasonal Sliced Fruit & Berries, French Toast & Waffles, Scrambled Eggs, Bacon & Sausage, Breakfast Potatoes, Homemade Muffins, Danish, Pastries, Breads & Croissants, Bagels with Smoked Salmon, Cream Cheese Spread, Vine Ripened Tomatoes, Onions & Capers.  Omelet Station (Made to Order with only the Freshest Ingredients to Include: Sautéed Mushroom, Fresh Herbs, Cheese, and Julienne of Ham, Red & Green Peppers, Diced Tomatoes, Spinach and Onions). Holiday Cookies Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice & Grapefruit Juice, Coffee, Decaffeinated Coffee, and Tea

Wilson’s Farm.  Just in case you were wondering, Wilson’s farm has some great gift baskets and prepared foods for the holidays.  They are open on Tuesdays this month.

For more info: Kickass CupcakesThe Blue Room Lynne Shelter LunchEveryone Loves Latkes Party, Sparklefest in Harvard Square

Sofra: The Details

6 12 2008

My favourite new coffee spot and bakery/cafe is Sofra and I’ve written about it briefly, but now you can get the details.  The bakery is a great place to stop for breakfast as an alternative to a large chain.  The quality of the coffee and food and in particular the flavours are hard to come by even in a foodie cities like Cambridge and Boston.  Corby Kummer of Boston Magazine recently wrote a great article about Sofra with a side of scrumptious pictures.

I invite you to read the article and if that doesn’t tempt you then it just might be hopeless.

We had Sofra’s spreads and dips as peripheral meals for Thanksgiving and everything was tasty, new, and exclamation worthy.  There were many requests for second and questions as to ingredients and flavours.  We had a couple of the meze:  goat cheese spread, a muhammara, a parsnip puree and a cheese Börek.

If you usally have sufganiyot for Chanukah and you want to round out the treats by adding a couple of things…
If it is always Pannetone for Christmas morning…

…then I would highly recommend picking up some morning buns or other treats just to add a little spice and variety to your holiday feast.  I’m all for traditions, but I like a good Smörgåsbord too and can’t turn down trying new things.

Bon appetit.  ttyl your BFF (Boston Family Foodie)

For more info: Soframore from Boston Magazine