Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Goofin' at Laumeier

We don't visit Laumeier Sculpture Park very often so when we do go it's always a great adventure for us. We like finding our old favorite sculptures and love sizing up any new ones. Most recently, we went on a cold, rainy day.....obviously not the best weather for an outdoor activity but it was super fun nonetheless.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tilles Park Winter Wonderland

As a kid, I remember one of the holiday season's annual highlights was going to the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville to look at all the holiday lights and visit the live nativity (a.k.a. petting zoo). Yes. Good times, good times. But, alas, those youthful memories went to the ol' storage unit in my head until this year when my own kid became old enough to be fully aware of all things Christmas, including holiday lights. So, in the spirit of the season, we drove out to Tilles Park to see the annual Winter Wonderland holiday light display.

I had anticipated hoping on Highway 40, pulling into the park, and driving slowly around the park without the company of a crowd. Boy, did I ever totally underestimated the interest in this kind of thing! We waited in line just to get into the park for at least 30 minutes. Once we entered the park, we drove around, looking at the light displays, for about 30 minutes - probably even less. Then it was all over. We paid our $9 and left for home. Disappointment? Yes, a little. But, for Willa, the lights were a huge source of entertainment and amazement. In fact, Willa enjoyed it so much that she cried almost all the way home while, between sobs, plotting the ways that she would get back there. And that made it all worthwhile.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Sweet Art

Willa's 5th birthday is December 8th but we celebrated this past weekend. What I've learned about kids' birthday celebrations is that they are no small order, especially when it comes to baked goods. Last year, I drove out to Clayton's Bakery & Deli for the birthday goodies - 2 dozen cookies for school, 2 dozen cupcakes for the friends birthday party, and a cake to feed 15+ for the party with the relatives. Although the goodies were quite tasty I just couldn't bring myself to make the drive out to Des Peres again this year. I considered ordering from The Cakery again ~ they made our very tasty Wizard of Oz cupcakes and cake two years ago ~ but opted, instead, to order everything from Sweet Art on S. 39th Street. I had never tried it but had read some good things about the place so I figured, why not? Plus, it's in the neighborhood.

So, let's talk about why I like Sweet Art and why you should go there. First, the ingredients -- organic & local whenever possible. Love, love the commitment to unadulterated ingredients! Second, the baked goods are very, very good. We ordered 2 dozen frosted, flower-shaped sugar cookies, a dozen vanilla cupcakes with pink butter cream frosting, a dozen chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, and, finally, a "Best of Both Worlds" cake - a cake with alternate layers of chocolate and vanilla held together and topped with chocolate butter cream frosting. Yes, yes, yes! All very tasty, very delightful, made from scratch products. Third, the place has an awesome vibe. It's the kind of place that, from the moment you walk in, it envelops and you become part of the surroundings - the warmth, the sounds, the sights, the smells. Very nice. Very chill. Very telling.

The bad news? The service was just okay. The staff offered no assistance in helping me to plan my order for the party (Fortunately, I had a vague idea of what I wanted when I went in ~ they do have a great website ~ but having had some additional suggestions would have been nice) and the counter service was super, super slow (I'm not expecting drive-thru service but jeez! The owner just stood there, seemingly irritated & disinterested in my situation as I waited and waited, and did nothing to assist the lost person at the counter waiting on me). Bottom line: If I had come in to buy a $3.00 cupcake, I would have lived with $3.00 customer service. But, because I spent some time making the decision to buy here and I spent a lot of my hard-earned money shopping here, I guess I expected a little more effort on their part.