Sin now open to the public

Sin now open to the public

Sin, known for it’s amazingly delicious and unusually creative cakes and deserts, located at 200 Allens Avenue in Providence,  has expanded their custom cake shop to include a retail outlet. Sin, is now offering coffee, morning pastries, small items and ready made cakes to pick up or to enjoy in their newly renovated space. We can’t wait to check it out person.

Jennifer Luxmoore, owner, said,“We’d been having a bunch of people stop in over the course of the last year, thinking that we were a traditional bakery, since we were only custom order, we didn’t have anything to give them. I hate to send people away without treats! So we started looking for a retail space, but didn’t find the right space. Everything was too big, too small or too expensive. Then late in 2011, I learned that the gallery space next to me was going to be open.”

Luxmoore remodeled the space to include seating, displays of their custom cakes, a coffee station, “We’re starting out small–a few items and a few flavors of each item–and we’ll expand as we get busier. We have a great Cheddar and Bacon Scone and Blueberry Muffin, Chocolate Chip Cookies baked fresh every morning, plus a different cookie every week. We started out with our favorite Chipotle Peanut Butter! Plus we have Whoopie Pies, cupcakes and brownies, and of course Coffee and Iced Coffee,” Luxmoore said”. The area also will serve as a tasting venue for wedding clients.

The Details:
Sin’s café
200 Allens Avenue (in the Conley Wharf building), Providence
Monday thru Friday 7-4
Saturdays 10-4

Family Matters: Easy DIY Birthday Cakes – just add toys

Family Matters: Easy DIY Birthday Cakes – just add toys

Here is one from the Kidoinfo archives:

I consider myself an artist but NOT when it comes to baking or cake decorating. And I will leave decorating with fondant to my friend Kristin who out-Marthas Martha every year with her kid’s birthday cake masterpieces. I used pre-made sheets of fondant to cover my sons’ pirate cakes one year (see below) and although they looked fine, everyone had to peel the icing off because it was so sugary sweet.

Since I like to get creative with my boys’ cakes, I have developed my own special style and have found that adding a few favorite toys that go along with the party theme (if there is one) can really wow a crowd. Then again, if you put a chocolate cake in front of most kids, they tend to go wild anyway. Some years I raid the boys’ toy collection when they are not looking for cake toppers, and sometimes the decorations are new and become part of their birthday present. Note: Always wash toys first.

List of past birthday party themes and accompanying cakes:

Birthday #4

Party Theme: Come in costume and put on a show
Cakes 1 & 2: Blue and Green (not shown) Pirate Ships
Toys: Disney and Pixar figures from the boys’ collection

irthday #5
Party Theme: Dress as your favorite Superhero (or make up your own)
Cake1: Batman
Cake 2: Robin
Toys: Classic Batman and Robin figures from eBay

Birthday #6

Party Theme: Musketeers and Maidens
Cake 1: Robin Hood & Little John
Cake 2: The Three Musketeers (not pictured)
Toys: Papo figures

Birthday #7

Party Theme: Science
Cake1: Star Wars IV: A New Hope (Scene: In the Cantina)
Cake 2: Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back (Scene: Yoda trains Luke to be a Jedi)
Toys: Various Star Wars figures from Benny’s, Toys-R-Us, and boys’ collection

Read more on GoLocalProv. Every week I share tips on how families can make the most of their family time – including helpful hints that make parenting easier and connecting you to great local happenings.

Today’s Home Work: Eric Bulmer, “Science Guy”, Owner and Program Director of Pow!Science!

Today’s Home Work: Eric Bulmer, “Science Guy”, Owner and Program Director of Pow!Science!

We love getting to know parents in our community. In our Home Work series, we ask moms and dads how they juggle their work while raising kids, hoping to get some insight on how to better balance our own work/playtime while being introduced to our neighbors and their cool businesses.  Today Elyse Major interviewed Eric Bulmer. Meet the “Science Guy.” He is the Owner and Program Director of Pow!Science! a leading provider of Elementary Science enrichment programs in Rhode Island and Southern Massachusetts with two locations that are part toy-store and part-workshop/party space.

Kidoinfo: What inspired you to start your business?
Eric Bulmer (EB): A couple of things. Although I loved classroom teaching, I was not enjoying the administrative aspects of the job and felt I was being held back. Teaching to a test has never been my style. Also, during my last year as a classroom teacher, I began performing science birthday parties and workshops for another company and saw the potential to take science “performance” a lot further. When Keith Michael Johnson, one of RI’s top enrichment performers, told me I “had the stuff” to go it on my own, I believed him.

Kidoinfo: How did you start your business?
EB: Well, opportunities with the company I was doing enrichment for came to an abrupt end with the untimely death of its then-owner. It was time to decide–scurry back to my comfort zone (the classroom) or give it a shot as a full time freelance Science Guy! I talked it over with my wife and we decided to give it a go. Most people that come to the toy stores don’t realize that Pow!Science! started out strictly as a birthday party venue and school program provider–the toys came much later.

Kidoinfo: How do you balance work and family?
EB: Admittedly not very well–I work far too much, and only take a few days off per year. Luckily, my business partner is my wife, and so we spend a lot of our day together. Working for ourselves also allows us to leave work to pick up our daughter and spend time with her after school and essentially whenever we want to–and she also attends many of our workshops!

Kidoinfo: Do you have any time-saving tricks that you could share?
EB: Plan ahead, and make lists. And plan ahead.

Kidoinfo: If you could give your past self (pre-kids or pre-business) any advice, what would it be?
EB: Not really … sometimes I wish I’d started Pow!Science! earlier in life, but then would things have turned out as they have? Who knows. Second guessing the past is dicey. Of course, “Plan ahead” would be good advice from past Eric to current Eric.

Kidoinfo: Where do you find inspiration?
EB: For work, I find inspiration from the toys and the way kids play with them. When I see a toy, the science applications and potential for use in a school or program ideas pop into my head almost right away and then playing with the kids helps me modify my ideas to make them even better. And although I’m often called “Mr. Wizard,” a more appropriate inspiration for me personally is Bill Nye.

Kidoinfo: What is the one kid or parent product that you could not live without?
EB: Eh, I don’t know. We do without a lot, so I’m pretty sure there’s nothing we couldn’t live without.

Kidoinfo: What is your favorite children’s book or music CD?
EB: My favorite children’s book is called I, Doko: The Tale of a Basket. “Doko” means “basket” in Nepali. Ed Young adapted and illustrated it, and it brought tears to my eyes the first time I read it. It’s an incredibly powerful story.

Kidoinfo: What do you do with your kids on a rainy day?
EB: Well, we have the resources of a very cool toy store at our disposal, so the options are fairly diverse. We do go to matinees sometimes though!

Kidoinfo: What is the last great non-kid book or film that you loved? What made it so great?
EB: Well, I really enjoyed World War Z recently. Thinly veiled, fairly scathing social commentary and satire with lots of Zombies. What could be better?

Kidoinfo: Do you have a guilty pleasure?
EB: I walk ALL around through Toys R Us a couple of times a year. The displays that they’re able to get from the Toy Companies are just so cool. That and whoopie pies are pretty much it.

Kidoinfo: If you had an extra hour each day, what would you do with it?
EB: Work on getting my book of experiments for kids published.

Kidoinfo: Can you share a story or anecdote that is symbolic of your dual life as a business owner and parent?
EB: I over heard my daughter and some other kids talking about their parents once, in a restaurant. My daughter said “My dad is a scientist” and all the other kids said “Coooool!!” While not technically accurate (I’m not a “scientist” strictly speaking, but a “science guy”), it was still a pretty nifty moment.

Kidoinfo: How has the experience and on the job training of being a mom/dad prepared or changed you in business?
EB: I wasn’t a dad when I started Pow!Science! and parents would often ask me during parties and presentations if I had kids because I work well with them. I had a “canned” response that went something like, “I’ve got plenty to do working with other people’s kids for now!” Having a child of my own has put me even more in tune with my peeps, and I take a different tack with managing kids and groups of kids than I did in my early days as an Enrichment provider.

Kidoinfo: What is next for you and your business?
EB: We’re always coming up with new experiments and ideas for programs. This year was the first time we’ve been in a position to donate a program a month to Rhode Island schools and that’s something we’re hoping to expand and turn into a tradition. You can also look forward to a wider variety of physics and engineering based programs, hosted at Pow!Science rather than in the schools. The U.S. needs engineers and we’d like to keep helping kids build a solid foundation in math and the sciences. After all, they’ll be designing the cool stuff that will comfort us in our old age, right?

Featured in the Providence Journal: Roll up your sleeves for a unique, homemade costume

Featured in the Providence Journal: Roll up your sleeves for a unique, homemade costume

Making costumes is easier than you think.

Rather than buying pre-made costumes, my family prefers making our own. My children are part of the creative process, often selecting characters from their favorite storybook or film.

Over the years, I have shared some of our simple costume creations on Kidoinfo showing how you do not have to be a master seamstress or spend a lot of time or money to put together a clever kids costume.

I want to thank writer, Lisa Vernon-Sparks for profiling my family’s passion for making our own costumes and photographer, Kris Craig for making the photo shoot a blast and sharing his family’s handmade costume tradition. Read the complete article here on the Providence Journal website. And watch Lisa talk more about Halloween costume ideas on The Rhode Show: Creative Halloween costume tips & ideas.

Family Matters: Summer Family Parties + More

Family Matters: Summer Family Parties + More

With the big excitement of the Fourth of July behind us, let’s get down to some old-fashioned summer fun, family style.

Kido Tip 1. Plan a farm meal

Visit a local farm or farmers market and plan a meal or picnic around the bounty. We love visiting the farmers market at Lippitt Park on Saturday mornings. This year my family has a community garden plot and although my kids do not like or eat all the vegetables out of the garden or from the market, they are learning to appreciate what it takes to grow our own food, try new foods and better understand different ways food gets to our table.

Kido Tip 2. Take a (day) trip

Plan to spend a day exploring somewhere new. Think city mouse and country mouse. If you live in Providence, take a hike in one Audubons’ 11 wildlife refuges or head to a beach you have never been to before. If you live in a rural part of the state, plan a trip to the city to visit a museum, stroll Thayer Street or hang out at Burnside Park in downtown Providence.

Kido Tip 3. Play with mud

Erin Barrett Goodman of exhale. return to center and Kidoinfo contributor, recently wrote about attending a Mud Party. This celebration demonstrates how a few simple ideas centered around a theme can result in a whole lot of kid fun!

The hostess offered a simple snack of bananas with almond butter on wooden sticks and invited the kids to make “mud party crowns.” Watering cans were available so kids could make their own mud puddles and to paint with. At the end of the party, clean off with a romp through the sprinkler or the hose.

Read more on GoLocalProv. Every week I share tips on how families can make the most of their family time – including helpful hints that make parenting easier and connecting you to great local happenings.

Photo Credit: Erin Barrett Goodman

The Birthday Party

The Birthday Party

We recently celebrated our son’s first birthday party, in honor of his fifth birthday. Yes, you read that correctly — fifth birthday, first birthday party.

Unlike his extremely outgoing older sister, our son does not like being the center of attention and until this year has declined a birthday party that included anyone beyond our family. So you can imagine my excitement when he announced that he would like to celebrate turning five by having a party with friends.

We are a family that strives to keep things simple with limited media exposure, more creativity than consumerism, and lots of unstructured time in nature. It is my hope to create holiday (and everyday) memories for my children that are sweet, simple and special; rich with experience and loving presence, with high-glitz, battery-operated, instant-gratification kept to a minimum.

“I’ve decided I’d like to have my birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese,” my son informed me one afternoon as his birthday approached. “And I’d like to go on a submarine. And I’d like to invite four friends.”

“Oh. Ummm…okay. That sounds fun. How about I talk to Papa and see what he thinks?” (My current “defer and maybe they will forget” strategy, since my kids have totally caught on to, “We’ll see…”)

“Let’s do it!” my husband declared without hesitation later that night. “It’s his first birthday party and it’s what he wants. It will be fun.”

The next day I sent various forms of electronic communication to the parents of the four invited friends: Thursday afternoon after school. Submarine museum in Groton. Pizza and play time at Chuck E. Cheese in New London.

One at a time the responses came back. Everyone was in and the road-trip birthday party was on.

On the day of the birthday party, my husband and I both took the day off from work and carefully plotted out the expedition, which included booster seat collections, bus stop meetings, after school snacks and an extended discussion about who would ride in which car and how we should time our visit to Chuck E. Cheese to minimize the craziness factor?

“I still can’t believe we’re doing this,” I muttered, shaking my head as my husband and I jokingly activated our Wonder Twin powers before heading out the door.

“It will be fun,” he promised me, again.

With Dan Zanes on my iPod and a car full of Whoopee-cushion-induced silliness, I hopped on Route 95 feeling ready, and even a little excited, for the afternoon’s adventures.

“So, who’s excited to tour a submarine?” I asked in my best cheery, camp counselor voice.

A chorus of Me! Me! Me! rang out behind me.

“And who loves Chuck E. Cheese?” I continued.

“I do! I do!” my daughter and her friend shouted from the third row.

“I’ve never been,” announced one of the boys in front of them. “My mom hates Chuck E. Cheese.”

“My dad calls it Chuck Up Cheese,” the boy to his left added. “Because it’s so gross and there are so many germs that you chuck up cheese after you go there.”

I thought of my friends’ Facebook messages earlier in the day as the boys laughed and made throw-up noises.

You are so brave.

I imagine hell is like Chuck E. Cheese.

Our first stop was the submarine museum, which aside from a few challenging questions about missiles and nuclear weapons, was smooth sailing. The tour, which is free, took about 10 minutes and the kids absolutely loved it.

From there it was on to the main event, the “party” at Chuck E. Cheese.

We opted not to have an official party, but my husband did call the manager to make sure it was okay to show up with six children and some cupcakes and call it a birthday party. Not only was it okay, the manager went out of his way to welcome us, giving our son a special birthday sticker and a stack of free tokens.

There was only one other family there when we arrived at four o’clock and we had a blast playing Skeeball and air hockey, shooting baskets, riding virtual roller coasters and tossing footballs before breaking for pizza, water and “dirt” cupcakes with gummy worms. The kid-size Habitrail that runs along the ceiling was also a major hit for the six and under crowd!

The drive home was a mix of goodie bag excitement and long-afternoon exhaustion. Dan Zanes gave way to the soothing voice of Jim Dale reading James Herriot’s Treasury for Children and as I delivered the last child home, I could honestly say that a good time was had by all — including the birthday boy’s very skeptical mother.

The Details:

The Submarine Force Museum and Historic Ship Nautilus are located in Groton, CT. Parking and admission are free. Both are open daily, except Tuesday.