Seattle (January 7)

For our 10-year anniversary, Joe happened to notice that it was First Thursday in Seattle, and so he planned a whole day of free museum-hopping! We planned to get on the road early, pack lots of snacks, and have the kids bring their journals and pencils for on-the-go learning. I drew up a simple map for them to fill in on the drive down, to practice compasses and legends, and learn more about distances and how long it takes to get someplace. They busily marked miles and times to different cities along the map, and noted their sightings of trees, lakes, Red Tailed Hawks, Bald Eagles, etc.

The morning drive was beautiful, as the sun began to turn the clouds pink.

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And as the traffic slowed down with the morning rush to Seattle, we decided it was a good time for a pit stop! I was hoping for a doughnut place, since Spencer can now freely enjoy this treat with the rest of us. And we were in luck! In Marysville, we found a Dutch Bakery that turned out to be a wealth of delicious treats – Chocolate Raised and Maple Bars with juice and coffee, and Divinity Cookies and a loaf of fresh-baked sweet rye bread for the road…Yum! While I was distracted with chatting and eating my doughnut, Genevieve quietly polished off an entire Chocolate Raised, after which she sat back in great satisfaction! 

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Then she got out of her chair, walked over to the display cases, and started telling me about which one she wanted next 🙂 And as we munched, the baker told us the story of the bakery, which began in around 1920 and then was purchased by the current family who immigrated in the 1950s. It’s been in their family ever since. She told us the story of the owner, who was a baker to the palace in Holland, where he would complete the day’s baking and load it into his bicycle basket to take up to the castle each morning. His family is continuing to run it, and there’s interest from the grandkids, so it’s likely to stay in the family for another generation. She talked about the busy season, where family friends from the “Old World” would gather to help with the holiday baking – how none of them ever used a recipe or looked down at their work while they chatted and baked. It was a homeschooler’s dream-come-true, working all this real-world lesson time into our day!

Especially since our first stop was the Nordic Museum, which displayed the story and heritage of Nordic immigrants to the Pacific Northwest!

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Spencer led the way floor-by-floor as we learned about the emigrants’ journeys from their homelands, their heritage, and what they encountered upon arriving here…All good fun with lots of interesting wooden crafts to study.

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Joe’s itching to get back to some woodworking soon, and so this was wonderful inspiration!

The kids patiently trekked through 3 floors with their sketchbooks and Spencer’s camera, pointing out what they liked and were interested in, and we were off to a good start!

Next stop, Burke Museum. This particular museum is on the university campus, across from the observatory building, and is most known for its extensive collection of animal specimens, especially insects and bugs and reptiles. You can basically ask them for any critter and check it out to study under their microscope. We weren’t sure exactly what to expect as far as what would be on display, but it turned out that the exhibit was more like a natural history museum, with fossils and gemstones and large-scale mockups of wildlife and geology events.

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It was great! They also had a temporary display about Pacific Northwest native boat-building, where the kids enjoyed touching the dogfish skin that was used for sanding, and where Genevieve’s teeny little hands got to hold one of the knives used in the carving process. 

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And now it was lunchtime, and Joe took us to the Olympic Sculpture Park. It’s a great idea, an outdoor sculpture park created on a series of overpasses over the busy downtown streets along the bay. You follow the ramps in a zig-zag pattern, along green lawns and large sculptures and small gardens, with the bay on one side…

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And Seattle’s famous skyline on the other. It was a great spot for hot drinks from the coffee shop and a picnic lunch.

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With full bellies, the next stop was the biggest surprise for the kids – The Center for Wooden Boats…

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Where they got to participate in a toy boat-building class!

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It was a big success!

But the day wasn’t over yet…There was one final stop, as the light got low and evening set in…It was an ambitious stop after such a full day – but hey, when in Seattle on First Thursday, you just have to visit the Seattle Art Museum! To be honest, after such a full day, a fine arts museum could be a bit of a challenge for three little monkeys…But they were troopers, keeping up their good attitudes, and finding things to interest and inspire them.

Asher would like to be an artist like this someday 🙂

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(Photo courtesy of Spencer)

I like his ambition!

A paneled room inspired Spencer to take some creative pictures.

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(Photo courtesy of Spencer)


(Photo courtesy of Spencer)

And I found plenty of benches along the way where Genevieve and I could rest. We even came across a couple of play areas, also known as “places in the museum where you are actually allowed to touch something,” to give the kids a break 🙂

And so that was that! 10 years of marriage, a day-trip to Seattle, 1 family-owned Dutch Bakery, 12 Divinity Cookies, 1 outdoor sculpture park, 1 bayfront coffee shop, 4 free museums, 3 kids sleeping in the car, and a great night’s sleep for the Michalski family!!


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