Category Archives: Bellingham Bucket List

bellingFAM’s Guide to School Playgrounds in Bellingham

Bellingham School Playgrounds

Welcome to bellingFAM’s Guide to School Playgrounds in Bellingham!

We love playing at the school playgrounds on the weekends and during the summer — they are some of our favorites. Here are all of the need-to-know details about the elementary school playgrounds in Bellingham.

There are 15 elementary school playgrounds in Bellingham (including Larrabee!) and we’ll add them as we visit… including other school playgrounds in Whatcom County (we hear Ferndale has some great ones!).

Get out there and play!

Geneva Bellingham

Happy Valley Playground

Larrabee Bellingham

Silver Beach Bellingham

Carl Cozier
Northern Heights
Wade King


Bellingham Bucket List #24: The Lynden Fair

Lynden Fair

Who else has kids with a Lynden Fair hangover?

We had such a great time at the Fair this year, even despite the rain, and mud. Last year, we’d just moved to town, so we weren’t up to going, but I’m so glad that we’ve added this back to our summer traditions in Bellingham!

Every year is such a difference experience, especially as our kids get older. It won’t be long before Janie is off with her friends, exploring the Fair on her own, so I’m soaking up these years together, while I still can.

Can’t wait to hear your favorites…

10 Favorites from the Lynden Fair

1. Mini donuts: This is the first thing on our list. Always. And, we get them as soon as we get in the gates. Everyone got their own bag this year, because, really, Josh and I didn’t want to share. Yum.

2. Baby pigs: Watching those cute little baby pigs fighting with each other was pretty much the best thing ever. I was tempted to YouTube it. That’s how insanely cute it was.

3. Watching Meg freak out about the horses: She was giddy with excitement about seeing the horses. We hardly had a heart to tell her that the one she fell in love with was actually a donkey.

4. People eat those huge turkey legs: In the rain. With a hood on. I mean, it must take a full hour to finish that thing, right?

5. Running into old friends: So many great run-ins at the Fair this year and so many faces that I spotted from afar that made me smile. It was also fun to spot a lot of kiddos of friends… who are now old enough to roam the Fair by themselves. Yikes. I remember doing that. Wasn’t it just yesterday?

6. Avoiding the rides: My kids haven’t caught on to the fact that there are rides at the Fair. I mean, they see the big ones, in the distance, but they haven’t been to the spot with the kiddie rides. And, that makes me insanely happy. Think I can get away with it for one more year?

7.  Swooning over the tractors: I mean, I had no idea I wanted a tractor so badly until I saw how shiny and pretty they are. Do people actually buy tractors at the Fair? Tell me. Ditto with hot tubs.

8. The sweet volunteers: Everyone helping at the Fair is just so darn sweet. I love that it’s a community event… and it feels like it.

9. The demos: I was this close to buying that shower cleaner that only costs 10 cents a bottle to make. Did you see that stuff? My kids were obsessed with the booth with all of the stuffies — Meg came home with a pink dolphin and Ev with a very creepy bunny.

10. The little animal barns: I think my absolute favorite barns are the ones with the bunnies and chickens. I could spend all day giggling at the bunnies with the big, fluffy ears and trying to figure out why that one chicken got first place.

What was your favorite part of the Fair this year?

bellingFAM Bucket List Widget

Bellingham Bucket List: Strawberry picking

Strawberry Picking

Strawberry season is in full swing, so we took advantage of a quiet morning (and because we needed to bring dessert to a family dinner that evening!) and headed out to Boxx Berry Farm to do some picking.

This is the first time we’d been berry picking — for both the kids and I — so we didn’t really know what to expect. Here’s what we learned:

1. Don’t wear flip-flops: Janie and I both did and even though the dirt was dry, our feet were filthy by the time we were done.

2. Go first thing in the morning: It was cool and overcast when we got there at about 10 a.m., making for perfect picking. There was only one other person picking when we got there, but as we were leaving, at least six more cars arrived.

3. Don’t wear white: Or anything that you care about getting strawberry stains on. Your kids will wipe their hands on their clothes as they pick. You might too. Just make it easy and dress in dark clothes or clothes you don’t care much about.

4. Drive all the way out to the fields: We made the mistake of parking in the little parking lot behind the shop, up front, but quickly realized that the u-pick fields were way out there. You can drive back there (slowly) and it’s fun to catch a glimpse of what else is growing along the drive.

5. It doesn’t take forever: We picked for about 30-minutes and had enough strawberries to make a huge batch of strawberry shortcake for dessert that night. I think about six-pounds. Unless you’re really going for it, intending to pick buckets and buckets of berries, I’d consider this a morning or afternoon activity, rather than an all-day affair.

6. Learn to pick the right berries: The gal running the stand gave us a few pointers, including that the dark strawberries were probably too mushy to pick (she was right) and that the strawberries that came off with their stem should be eaten today.

7. Get in there for the best berries: You really have to dig into the plants to get the best berries. The ones along the border of the plants were often yucky, with the gems tucked away under the protective leaves. Don’t be afraid to get in there… and to let your kids get in there. I didn’t seem like you could hurt them very easily.

8. Make plans: Our plan was to make shortcake with our berries, but if we hadn’t, we still would have needed to eat or freeze the berries that we picked, pretty quickly, as I don’t think they would have lasted more than a couple of days on their own.

9. Head straight home: We made the mistake of running a couple of errands after we picked our strawberries and I think that they were pretty ripe by the time we got home!

10. Wash as you eat: Did you know that you shouldn’t pre-wash strawberries? It makes them go bad quicker. Wash them as you’re eating them, in smaller batches, to prevent gross, squishy strawberries.

Strawberry Picking

Like I said, we picked our strawberries at Boxx Berry Farm (6211 Northwest Road, Ferndale) and we loved it there. They were nice and helpful and the strawberries were gorgeous. For that half-full crate of strawberries, it was about $10, FYI.

Autumn of Playing House Full Time suggested we check out Barbie’s Berries (7655 Melody Lane, Ferndale). She said she appreciates their spray practices and that their berries are delicious, as well. I think we’ll give them a try! (Thanks for the tip, Autumn!)

Any berry picking tips to share?
What’s your favorite u-pick strawberry farm in Whatcom County?

Bellingham Bucket List

The spray parks are open (and they’re cold!)

spray park

I thought we’d hit the jackpot when I realized that the spray parks opened on the first day of summer vacation.

The weather wasn’t great when we got to Fairhaven Park, but it wasn’t cold either. We could sense the rain hovering in the thick clouds overhead, but it was otherwise calm, and nearly balmy.

The kids ran right into the water… and lasted about 10-minutes before they all ran back to us with chattering teeth and goosebumps. We tried to convince them that if they stayed in the water, they’d be warmer, but the damage was already done.

Eventually, Ev did head back into the water… in his fleece and swim trunks. And, of course I didn’t bring an extra pair of clothes with us, so he rode home in his underwear. It was basically his dream come true.

Long story short, the spray parks are open for (chilly) summer fun at both Fairhaven Park and Cornwall Park. The water is on from 1-7 p.m. daily through Labor Day.

And, as they make very clear on the Parks Department website, the water used in the spray parks is not recycled, but fresh. Which is great, because sometimes your kid is the kid who pees. Not that I’d know anything about that.

Did you brave the spray parks yesterday?

bellingFAM Bucket List Widget

Revisiting the Bellingham Bucket List for summer

bellingFAM Bellingham Bucket List Logo

It’s here… summer.

I’m not sure that I’m ready, in all honesty. I was certainly ready for school to be over (we all were!), but I haven’t done as much pre-summer prep as I’d like, especially after dealing with a bit of a plumbing disaster this week (we still don’t have water at home, eek!).

But, it’s summer, nonetheless, and after spending a morning recovering from the hustle and bustle of the last two weeks of school, my kids are itching for adventures and fun.

I’ve revisited the Bellingham Bucket List for summer, make notes and adding links to the things that are on our to-do list. Plus, I’ve decided that Bellingham Bucket List posts will be shorter and sweeter, rather than full of detail. I’m certain that you don’t have time to read a novel of a post for each adventure, so I think a new format will be lovely… for all of us!

What’s on your summer bucket list in Bellingham and Whatcom County? I know I’m still missing some great adventures on our list and I’d love more ideas… keep them coming, friends!

Weekend plans: Back2Bellingham at WWU

Back2Bellingham Image

image via Back2Bellingham

If you don’t have kids who are racing in the Junior Ski to Sea race this weekend, put Back2Bellingham on your calendar!

Oddly enough, despite not being Western alumni, I’d heard about this event when we lived in Seattle. There was a huge billboard near our home and I giggled every time I drove by it, imaging all of these people flocking to Bellingham for the weekend. I didn’t realize that it was a WWU event at the time… I just thought it was some awesome marketing for all of the Bellingham kids, turned Seattlites, begging them to make the inevitable trek back home. (Likely sponsored by all of their mothers.)

Back2Bellingham, which is this weekend, May 16-18, 2014, is actually an alumni reunion weekend at Western. However, you don’t have to be an alum to attend… they won’t quiz you on your Western knowledge to gain entrance. I promise.

We’ll be attending on Saturday to check out all of the super fun kid-friendly events (bouncy houses! zip line through campus! food! music! stuff that will wear our kids out so that they’ll go to bed early!), despite not being alumni ourselves. We do have a close tie to the university and look forward to exploring what’s sure to be a cool community event.

You can read more about Back2Bellingham on their website.
There is a full list dedicated to all of the kid-friendly events as well.

Tickets are required and can be purchased in advance online. Click the big green REGISTER NOW button. Adults are $13 each and kids are FREE. (hooray!)

Remember to check out our favorite spots to visit on the Western Washington University Campus on the Bellingham Bucket List. We’ll be sure to do a full post about Back2Bellingham weekend next week, so that you can add it to your own Bellingham to-do list for next year!

Have you been to Back2Bellingham weekend at WWU? Tell us about it!
Are you going this year?

Bellingham Bucket List #44: Spend a rainy afternoon at CreativiTea

You can find the entire Bellingham Bucket List on bellingFAM.


While it wasn’t technically a rainy day when we visited, CreativiTea is perfect for tucking in your back pocket for when the skies have opened up… and you need to get out of your house with your kids.

While my kids had been to pottery painting places in the past, this was my first time and I confess that I loved it far more than I thought I would.

When you get to the studio, you pick your pottery piece from the huge selection. There are animals and bowls and plates and cars and pretty much anything else you can think of. Once you have your pieces, you wait for a table. We didn’t have to wait long, even though they seemed busy.

At your table, they give you a little tutorial about where to find things and how to get the best results with your paint. Then, you get creating!

We were there for about two-hours. I reminded my girls (Everett didn’t join us for bull in a china shop reasons) that they should take their time and that they only got to paint one piece. I loved how they took their time with what they chose and how careful they were with the paint and supplies. I think that, for them, the processes was just as interesting and fun as the painting itself — getting to pick their own colors and brushes from the station, and even helping to clean up.

The girls adored it here and I did too. It was such a treat and while it’s not somewhere that we will visit weekly (my home can only handle so many painted pigs…), it’s a fun place to add to our list of outings, especially when we’re looking for a place to sit and visit and connect, with some creativity sprinkled in. We already have plans to go back to make some gifts for loved ones!



There are no studio fees for painting at CreativiTea. All you pay for is your creation, which you pick when you arrive to the studio. From what we saw, most of the kid-favorites were around $16, with smaller and larger pieces available.


You don’t need to bring anything except your imagination and creativity for a visit to CreativiTea. I would recommend wearing clothes that you don’t mind getting a little paint on. My kids did okay, but I can see how it could get messy, quickly. Picking short-sleeves would be a smart choice, too.


Leave anything extra at home, as there isn’t a lot of storage and when it’s busy, there can be a lot of people milling around, grabbing their paints and brushes. They even have water at little stations around the studio.

What we would leave at home? Or, who we would leave at home? The littlest ones. Unless you are going to be one-on-one with your toddler or young preschooler, we’d recommend keeping this outing to the school-aged/pre-k crowd.



While it’s not necessary to order something to eat or drink while you’re at CreativiTea, it certainly adds to the fun! They have menus at the table and you can order traditional tea sandwiches and pots of tea to be shared (there are kid-friendly, caffeine-free kinds too!). The prices are reasonable and the food is tasty. The only tricky part about ordering food while you’re visiting CreativiTea is balancing eating and painting — consider waiting until you’re close to being done painting before ordering food. We ordered a large pot of tea for our table, which gave each of the five of us a mug, and it was around $6.


CreativiTea Pottery Painting Studio and Tea Bar
1312 11th St.
Bellingham, WA 98225
Phone: 360.752.1724

Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sunday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
No reservations necessary


There is a large parking lot, just past CreativiTea, where there were a ton of open spaces on a Sunday afternoon. And, as usual in Fairhaven, there is metered street parking, if you have the patience to drive around the block a few times searching for a spot.



You can visit the CreativiTea website for more details, including information about summer camps and birthday parties.

CreativiTea is also on Facebook and Pinterest.

Have you taken your kids to CreativiTea? What’s your best tip for other parents?

bellingFAM Bellingham Bucket List