DSM Social Club-Culinary Loft

4d8798b1-a361-4988-8e82-85fb67a122cb 1a81678b-f762-4fe6-a410-28b65b1ecf3cWe had a great time last week checking out our first class at the new(ish) Culinary Loft at the Des Moines Social Club.  The Culinary loft was specifically designed with the intention of hosting cooking classes and other food related workshops on the second floor of the Des Moines Social club.

The particular class we chose to attend was was a”South of The Border” class, and it was delicious! It was focused more on the fun of cooking a recipe together with your new friends (the other class attendees) and then sharing a meal together, then leaning about certain cooking techniques.  So it definitely helped break the ice when they broke out the endless wine right away.

9c62248a-8e20-4da5-bb72-ef881d33991f7873bf32-085f-4ada-b5aa-9e05efe3ec53After getting acquainted, we broke into groups and each group followed a recipe to prepare a course of the meal, and then we all got together to chow down.  Our class instructor came around to help with questions and give us tips. Some of the items we prepared were flank steak, beef stew, empanadas, and dulce de leche cookies.  Everything was delicious and a little more special because it was prepared with love…awwww.

They offer adult and children’s cooking classes at the loft in addition to all of the other great programing at the social club.  If you’re looking for something new and fun to try to spice up your date-nights or a new activity for you or your 4a484dd6-002d-4db7-82ed-80395abfd2ddkid to do, check out the programing at the social club (including 73770f0d-a8c4-4607-b374-ee4ee3cc991bcooking classes at the loft)!


Vines to Wines


Seven Oaks

After an extended fall it looks like our typical 6 month Iowa winter may be commuted to 5 months this year! I can’t say I love winter, but if we have to have it, we might as well get outside and enjoy it. Seven Oaks near Boone can help your family do just that. This post is my experience from last year, but now that the snow is flying I hope to get back there soon.

Kindermusik at Pied Piper Studios!

logo_1200dpiDid you know that one of the top rated Kindermusik programs in the world is located right here in Des Moines?  Yes! Jenn Horak-Hult (Miss Jenn) opened Pied Piper Studios in 2008 and Kindermusik has been a huge part of many local families’ lives since.

School is starting up again, so while that makes now a great time to think about enrolling your kids, they have ongoing enrollment so you can join at any time!

You might remember our post about them last year, and in that time a lot has happened with the Locations~~element49program!  They’ve moved to a new and fabulous location (3892 N.W. Urbandale Drive, Urbandale 50322) and have added lots of class options like art classes, yoga and drama!

I’ll include my experience sitting in on a class so you can get an idea of how a class goes, but we encourage you to try out a Kindermusik class for free!  Just visit their website to sign up!

I got to sit in a “laugh and learn” pre-school class and I was thoroughly impressed.  This isn’t your traditional music class.  Kids are encouraged to be themselves and you can tell that they love being there.  Administrative Assistant Staci explains that “there is no right or wrong way to participate in Kindermusik”.  Some kids happily comply with every recommendation of the teacher during class.  Some kids just do their own thing and absorb.  Some pre-school kids prefer parents to attend the class with them and Staci says “It’s all ok”.   In the short half hour I was there, Miss Jenn went through activities from dancing and singing to stories and instruments and bringing out a special bear visitor.  If a child wasn’t into one activity, it was ok, because the class kept evolving from one lesson to the next and there was something for everyone.

The kids adore Miss Jenn (and all of the instructors)! I think they all would have chosen to sit on her lap if there was enough space.  One little girl couldn’t wait to show Miss Jenn her ponytail and there was excitement in their eyes as they leaned in to hear what Miss Jenn was going to teach them next.  The most amazing part was the silence that filled the room as Miss Jenn would sing to transition from one activity to another.  She has a voice you could listen to all day and the kids definitely agree.

I had a chance to talk to some parents and I think the Kindermusik community extends far beyond what is taught in the classroom. Every single parent told me that one of things they love most about kindermusik, is the personal connections they have made.  One Kindermusik mom said, “These teachers and the other parents genuinely care about our kids and it kind of starts to feel like family.” Miss Jenn hand-picks and trains each Kindermusik instructor herself and they are all fabulous.  Miss Rebecca, Miss Anne and Miss Karin all love what they do and are so great with the kiddos.

The Kindermusik curriculum includes classes for newborns up to age 7. They also offers voice and SIMPLY MUSIC piano lessons for older kids. Your child can even have a Kindermusik birthday party!  How fun!

And give them a “like on Facebook for updates and invited to fun (free and open to the public) events like pop-up playdates!

2015 SCI Fundraiser & Auction

IMG_6350Remember our friend Jessie The Cow that Josh spent a whole evening bidding on last year?  Well, on August 28th, 2015, we’ll be at the annual Science Center of Iowa Fundraiser and Auction again hoping to bid on a friend for Jessie and we hope you will be too!  Well, we hope you’ll be at the event, not necessarily outbidding Josh on paintings.

IMG_6331That’s right, one of our favorite events of the summer is coming up on August 28th and I got to sit down with Marla, one of the event coordinators this week and get the inside scoop.  This year sounds bigger and better than ever and features a “Space” theme, complete with a real, live astronaut!  Astronaut Clayton Anderson will be at the event signing books and answering all of your “spacey” questions!

IMG_6336They are keeping some of the favorites from past years, such as the Moscow Mule bar, delicious food vendors like Hy-vee, Gateway Market, Christiani’s and Creme, but adding more decor, more themed foods (like fruit “rockets” get it? Space Theme? Rockets? I love it!), more seating and more locally made auction items in a dedicated “Make Section” in the silent auction.  Some of the hand-made auction items include local food, furniture and more.  I’m very excited about seeing lots of IMG_6345locally produced wares and of course bidding on them!  Don’t worry, you can still bid on plenty of local event packages, foodie packages, vacations and even unique packages like a trip to see Wheel of Fortune or a chance to attend the Mercedes-Benz Driving School in Germany.   I know!  Cool!

IMG_6334For more information and to buy tickets, visit:

and make sure to RSVP on Facebook at:


See you there

Summer Tasting Events at Vom Fass

get-attachment.aspxWe are so excited to share this Summer Indulgence calendar with you (just click here for a larger version)! These events are hosted by our newest sponsor, Vom Fass!

If you haven’t stopped in to this awesome store in the heart of The Shops at Roosevelt, you are missing out.  Can I just say that I’d never had a cocktail with vinegar in it until I came here, and now I’m hooked!  There are so many more uses to oil and vinegar than just salad dressing!

You might remember our blog post last February about the Brandy class we took, if not, you can read about it here.  It was awesome.

That’s why I’m so excited about these Summer Indulgence events coming up at Vom Fass in July.  An Italian Ice Cream Social, Spanish Wines and Tapas, Brunch and Bubbles!!  Oh yeah…and most of them are free! Check it out….

get-attachment-11.aspxAnd while you’re marking your calendar for these events, take a sec and show them some love by liking them on Facebook and checking out their website.

Aspen Martial Arts

IMG_5316So as you may have noticed, we came out with our 2015 Summer Camp List  this week.  There are lots of great choices for summer activities in the Des Moines area, which is awesome!

IMG_5038An addition to this year’s list is Martial Arts at Aspen Athletics on Hickman Road in Clive.  You may not realize that these cool classes are open to everyone and not just Aspen Athletic Gym members.

I had the opportunity to visit a class this week and I was so impressed! IMG_5241 Classes are led by Master Jack.  Master Jack has 20 years experience of practicing Martial Arts and holds a B.S. in Kinesiology with a Youth Sports concentration from Iowa State.  He was so great with the students.  The atmosphere was relaxed, but these guys were concentrating and working hard!  Most importantly, they were all having a blast!  In the short time I watched them, they did everything from core exercises to kickboxing to self-defense.  Talk about extensive training!

IMG_5069There are classes for adults and teens as well as kids and families and for every level.  I’m especially excited about the three weeks of summer camp they are offering this year in June.  The themes include: Ultimate Ninja Warrior Camp, Extreme Action Movie Camp and Epic Samurai Skills Camp.  I wish I could do this!  And if you register for two weeks, you get a third week free!  Hurry up though, because they are filling fast. ( Camps are geared toward ages 7 and up and start at 8:30am and pick up is between 4 and 4:30pm.

FullSizeRender-1 Summer-Camps-Web-e1427671346879If you’ve been thinking about checking out a Martial Arts program for your kids (or yourself) I encourage you to check out Aspen Martial Arts.  Master Jack is super friendly and would be happy to answer any questions you have.  You can even attend a free trial class!  Especially check out the camps they are offering this summer!  You can register right on their website.

Soul Food Festival – Des Moines

IMG_3793 IMG_3804Guys…I think I was meant to live in the south because some of my favorite food is this stuff right here.  Ok, maybe most of you can relate to my love of fried chicken, gumbo, dirty rice and sweet potato pie.  OMG, this sweet potato pie!

I’m talking about the annual Soul Food Festival that they hold at the Forest Ave. library.  It’s the first Saturday of March every year, and its awesome.

Basically they set up a feast of the most delicious food and you pay per item and enjoy.  Items are between $.75 and $1.00 so it’s

IMG_3794 IMG_3801the best deal in town.  And the best part is that the money raised supports the friends of the Forest Avenue library.

If you missed this year’s festival, mark it on your calendar for next year!  Like I said, it’s the 1st Saturday in March, you won’t be sorry.

You can peruse the menu above, but my faves were the red beans and rice and sweet potato pie, it was hands down the best I’ve ever had.  I’m going to go dream about it now.

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Happy Lunar New Year!

IMG_3302 IMG_3311Happy year of the sheep! This is the third year in a row we’ve had the pleasure of attending the Lunar New Year celebration hosted by the Korean Cultural Center of Des Moines.  It has been held at the Westminster Presbyterian Church in Beaverdale each year and is a great, low key way to introduce your family to a different culture for a day. Here is our post with some photos from last year: .


IMG_3333IMG_3378I’ll of course remind you on our Facebook page when the event is coming up again next year, but go ahead and follow them to learn about other events coming up (like CelebrAsian).


IMG_3320 IMG_3317We had fun learning how to roll Kimbap, watching the program, playing games and doing crafts and I most definitely look forward to enjoying the Bulgogi with rice, noodles, kimchi and soup (they even offer gluten-free) every year!  And the best part is that all of this is free!  The suggested donation is $5 per plate for the food, but it is all worth so much more.


ps. Thanks to Kristine from the Cultural Center for snapping this family photo of us!


Cooking with George

IMG_2965-e1424446685390-225x300IMG_2977-e1424446780190-225x300We had the pleasure of attending a cooking class at Malo at the Des Moines Social Club last weekend, lead by Chef George Formaro.  It was a great experience and if you have to opportunity to sign up for one of the remaining classes in the series coming up, do!  There is one March 7th and one April 10th.  E-mail: to sign up.



IMG_2990IMG_2998-e1424446660732-225x300The first hour, Chef Formaro demonstrated the recipes giving his hints and tips along the way.  We got to munch on chips and salsa and sip margaritas during the presentation.  Then we got to indulge in the 4 course meal with wine pairings.  A great date-night for $65 per guest.



IMG_3004-e1424446709800-225x300You even get print-outs of the recipes to try at home.  Of course Chef George claims the “secret is in the technique” so maybe we’ll just stick to letting him cook these wonderful dishes for us =)  They are able to accommodate food allergies if requested too.  Check it out.