Speed-dating Meets Finding a Babysitter with Lullaby League Sitters; Trendy Japanese Kids Clothing Boutique Miki House Opens second U.S. Location—in Bellevue
In this gadget- and app-obsessed era, it’s fun to stumble upon cheap, low-tech ways of accomplishing parental tasks. Take capturing your baby’s age over the first year. All you need is a plain onesie, your camera and a pack of Picky Sticky milestone stickers. (Oh, and you’ll need the kiddo, too.) The 4-inch-diameter circle stickers—created by Sammamish mom Tisha Linn—cover months 1 to 12 (as well as the weeks of pregnancy and years 1 to 12) and come in a variety of whimsical designs. Apply them to a light-colored shirt and they look like an iron-on transfer (but they peel off). Then snap a pic of your angel and—voila!—history has been recorded. Set of 12 stickers, $14.99. pickysticky.com.
Love at first sight? It could easily happen at a mixer hosted by Lullaby League, a multicity sitter-finding service that’s now in the Seattle area. Lullaby League holds one-hour, speed-dating-style gatherings that serve as quickie meet-and-greets for busy parents and for college students seeking part-time work. Vancouver, B.C., mom Amy van Weelderen created the biz (lullabyleaguesitters.com) in 2008 after stressing about finding caregivers for her infant son through posted notices and classified ads. The no-brainer idea: Parents pay a $50 fee to meet 15 to 20 aspiring applicants (three-minute mini-interviews with each) and get The Lullaby List, a book of all the pertinent résumés. Seattle Lullaby League co-owner Deanna Powell says the interviews give both parties a chance to see if they’re a good fit. (And it’s way more cost- and time-effective than setting up multiple appointments.) After the mixer, parents (and sitters) are free to do background checks on their top choices and they get to take the list home. There are two no-nos in the process: You can’t bring kids to the mixers, and you can’t share names and info with friends (to protect everyone from unknown parties). The events sell out, so it’s best to sign up in advance. And don’t forget to bring your arsenal of parenting charm.
Any time a boutique cites New York City and Bellevue as its only U.S. locations, it must have some seriously exclusive finds. For beautifully made, fun-meets-funk kids’ clothing, Miki House (mikihouse-usa.com) doesn’t disappoint. The cheery, contemporary space on the first floor of the Belcarra condo complex (1032 106th Ave. NE) is the perfect home for this legendary chain of Japanese children’s fashions. Everything in the store (for ages newborn to 7 years) is designed and sourced in Japan with a sophisticated, functional, colorful aesthetic. Unlike other high-end lines, Miki House clothes seem to be made for kids rather than their fashionista parents. House brands Double B. and Hot Biscuits interpret trendy styles with a twist. Think denim cargos with plaid lining ($168), knit leggings ($78) with embroidered faux pockets and sturdy bibs that have a lip to catch food ($18). Off the charts: the color-infused line of sneaks ($104) that features flexible soles and lifted toes, designed to prevent stumbling. Owner Kate Kim opened the store in December, knowing area residents had the dough to splurge on such finds. “Seattle/Bellevue is the gateway city to the Pacific,” says Kim, “so it’s only fitting that Miki House has a presence here.”
Freaking out that you haven’t enrolled your kids in summer camp yet? ParentMap’s Campfair 2011 happened a few months ago, but you can still explore the dozens of participating organizations online: parentmap.com/campfair-camps.