Winner: The Nest
Looking to finish your weekly grocery trip in record time? Or maybe there’s a “mom only” pedicure appointment that’s calling your name. Whatever reason you may have behind needing a short break, Woodinville’s The Nest has got you covered. With the option of participating in daily structured activities or cruising through each activity station on their own, kids get the opportunity to have a whole lot of hands-on fun while mom slips away for some weekday “me” time. Desperately need a date night? The Nest even offers a Saturday Parents' Night Out. Drop off your kids, ages 2-9, for art projects, G-rated movies, games, Wii and snacks while you and your partner in crime rekindle your romance.
With two Seattle locations (on Mercer Street in South Lake Union and another next to University Village), Whirlwinds is a great place to breeze in and drop off your kids with its “friendly staff” and “good price.”
Another Seattle favorite, Blossoming Buds Cottage in Wedgwood is praised by parents for its caring staff and clean space (it also offers twice-a-month date nights).
Adventure Kids Playcare in Issaquah also gets plenty of nominations, with one voter saying, “I can drop my kids off and know they will have a great time — and it is so affordable!” And here’s a bonus: They’re open for late nights and on weekends.
Seattle’s Trettin Drop In Preschool in Seattle’s University District offers a structured environment where kids can play freely when parents are in need of a short break. Available for ages 2 through 5, Trettin allows tots to stay for up to four hours throughout the day. As one voter puts it, “My child loves it, they have great teachers, and it's super convenient!”
Dizzy’s Bus Stop, located in Bellevue, features a Drop & Go program where kids ages 2 through 6 can “tumble, jump, imagine, and learn” while Mom takes the afternoon off. Voters love Dizzy’s for its easy services, and, most importantly, because it’s “great fun” for the kids.
Nanny or Babysitting Service
Winner: A Nanny for U
When you need a new nanny, finding the perfect fit can be a real challenge. A Nanny for U allows you to skip past all of the résumés and interviews by pairing your family with the best candidate for your child. But that’s not all; it also offers temporary child care, housekeepers, doulas and more — perfect for when you just need a little help, yet don’t know where to turn. And although voters have plenty to say about A Nanny for U’s speedy service and nanny-matching wisdom, they also comment on the fact that the staff is “trustworthy,” “always helpful and friendly” and that they’re “extremely professional and affordable.”
Annie’s Nannies Household Staffing put up a great fight in this category and is clearly a favorite among parents, with one voter saying, “They always find someone, even in a pinch, and we've got newborn twins. Not an easy task! They also placed two overnight nannies with us, whom we love!”
SeekingSitters gets praise for its “great service” and “overly qualified sitters.”
The Seattle Nanny Network is noted as having “reliable, trustworthy nannies at competitive rates.”
Step By Step Daycare in Seattle offers an bilingual environment where kids up to 11 years old can create, explore and play – all while possibly picking up a little Spanish in the process. Voters rave about Step By Step, saying that it is a “clean, loving and nurturing environment” with an “excellent staffing ratio” and a “good price.”
Care.com, an online resource covering an array of options from childcare to housekeeping, allows parents to post their childcare needs, view babysitters in the area and much more. Overall, voters give it thumbs up because it’s “easy to use and trustworthy.”
Parent Education Class or Program
Winner: Hop to Signaroo
With more than 20 years of teaching and signing experience, Hop to Signaroo founder Nancy Hanauer has seen more than 1,800 babies graduate from her sign language classes for hearing families. Offering a variety of parent/child classes throughout the Seattle area, Hop to Signaroo teaches infants as young as 5 months how to communicate by using simple, everyday sign language for common necessities, food, comfort levels and more. Voters gush about the long-term positive effects that Hop to Signaroo has had on their children, and add that their classes are “practical and well organized,” that they offer a “great opportunity for meeting other families in the area,” and that Hanauer teaches just the “right amount of signing to make it doable at home.”
Well-known for its various community and new-parent services in both Seattle and Bellevue, Wellspring Family Services was applauded by one voter for its “expert advice” when it was most needed.
Seattle-area Mommy Matters classes were another favorite, with one voter commenting that it offers a “life-changing course that has absolutely made me a better parent.”
Another top winner and finalist in a variety of other categories, Bellevue’s KidsQuest Children’s Museum is a top pick for voters when it comes to parenting education as it offers “free classes and child care by the museum staff and volunteers.”
Woodinville Family Preschool (also a finalist in our categories for Parent Support and Infant/Toddler Programs), is a favorite among voters for “knowledgeable parent educators” that teach “valuable parenting skills” and beyond.
With various locations throughout Seattle and the Eastside, Swedish Medical Center provides parents with plenty of hands-on education, advice and lifelong skills.
Parent Support Program
Winner: Program for Early Parent Support (PEPS)
For almost three decades, PEPS (Program for Early Parent Support) has been offering new parents the guidance, support and community that many long for as they take their first steps into parenthood. Serving more than 1,900 families each year, PEPS helps makes formal connections between neighbors with newborns, older infants and families that have both an infant and a toddler. Voters had plenty to say about their ongoing appreciation for PEPS, including that it offers “invaluable support” when it is needed most and that they “were able to make life-long family friends in the area” that they still see years later.
Woodinville Family Preschool was a top choice for parent support, with one voter declaring that she “made new friends and enriched [her] parenting community by being a part of this co-op preschool.”
Ann Keppler’s Seattle First Weeks class (located at Birth & Beyond in Madison Valley) was another fan favorite for parents, with one voter commenting that it “kept me safe and gave me knowledge, confidence and camaraderie.”
Seattle parenting consultant Rebecca Michi was also a top pick for parent support for her “accessible, affordable” and “supportive” services.
Mommy Matters, offering classes in the Seattle area, earns votes for its “great instructors,” “down to earth support” and for allowing parents “to meet awesome moms doing their best with toddlers.”
With an expert team of early emotional development therapists on hand for guidance, it’s no wonder that Wellspring Family Services’ new parent services were a hit among voters. One fan writes, “Caring staff and a great resource during the most personally challenging time of my life - learning how to be a good parent!”
Parenting Online Support Program
Winner: Green Lake Moms
As a new Seattleite with an infant, Green Lake mama Melissa Benaroya was longing for the comfort and support of fellow new mothers in the area. Soon after, she started the well-known Yahoo group, Green Lake Moms – and you’ve chosen it for this year’s very best in online support. Now featuring over 1,800 active members, Green Lake Moms offers community and connection for fellow parents living within two miles of the Green Lake Community Center. Voters have plenty to say about this popular group, including that they love the “thoughtful questions and ideas shared,” how “moms take the time to compile useful information” and that there is “no judging or attacking, which can be found in other groups.”
Known for its excellent online community and wisdom, Baby Center ranks as a top finalist among voters for its “great articles and advice,” “weekly emails on developmental issues and milestones” and for its online forums where the community at large can interact.
Going strong with 1,400 members, the Ballard Moms Yahoo group gets plenty of love from voters, with Ballard neighborhood parents saying that it’s “always useful and helpful” and "super active, supportive and friendly.”
Another Seattle neighborhood Yahoo group, Magnolia Moms & Dads, provides an active community with support for over 600 members and as one parent puts it: “You can find recommendations and referrals for everything!”
Yahoo group N.E. Seattle Moms was also a favorite online parent support group among Seattle voters and with over 1,600 active community members, it’s easy to see why.
Seattle Families of Multiples unites parents in the community through a variety of events, programs and gatherings. As one voter puts it, “The world of multiples can be panic inducing and there’s lots of collaborative efforts here.”
Doula/Midwifery Service or Provider
Winner: Wendy Dean
If you’ve used a doula or a midwife during a past pregnancy, you know how meaningful the job is. Voters commend Wendy Dean for her work with families-to-be, saying that she is “very experienced” and that she offers “amazing knowledge and support.” Dean is also known for her work as an early parenting, lactation and childbirth educator, and prides herself on assisting new parents throughout the birthing process and helping them make the best decisions for their growing families.
Voters share plenty of love for A Nanny for U, providing doula services throughout the Seattle area, saying that the organization is “professional and helpful,” and that the doulas are supportive, rather than judgmental and pushy.
Helping new parents and growing families in the Seattle area, Down to Earth Doulas ranks among the top of the finalists, with one voter saying that “they’re very calm and helpful.”
Eastside Birth Center, located in Bellevue, is dedicated to providing parents with a supportive, yet professional midwife experience throughout the pregnancy and during postpartum.
Certified doula Megan Davis helps new families in the Seattle area with postpartum support, education and personal care.
Sally Avenson, a certified nurse midwife through Seattle Swedish Medical Center, specializes in low-risk childbirth and as one voter said, “she has a great demeanor.”
Winner: Moms Alive
Some days after putting your little one down for a nap, it’s hard not to thank your lucky stars for mom bloggers who think like you do, such as the wonderful ladies on Moms Alive. By far the top pick for the best mom blog, Moms Alive offers up plenty of tips and tricks for navigating the ever-changing waters of motherhood with a “Just for you” section, great family travel tips, personal birthing stories and more. And to put it lightly, these experienced mamas seem to be doing a darned good job; voters said that they read Moms Alive daily for their “serious topics with a nice, light touch,” “inspirational and well-researched stories” and because they make even the largest of parenting emergencies seem absolutely normal.
With expert tips, wit and charm, Dr. Wendy Sue Swanson’s Seattle Mama Doc is a top finalist for favorite mom bloggers, with one voter noting that she appreciates the “honest conversation about the safety and health of children” without the “pushy advice.”
Another favorite, Hip Travel Mama has “fantastic trip ideas for families.”
Voters also nominated The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, who describes herself as “a moderately agoraphobic ranch wife and mother of four.” One voter calls her “down to earth, humorous and just plain amazing!”
Since its inception in 2009, Rants from Mommyland has been a sensation for its laugh-out-loud humor and down-to-earth appeal. When these two moms aren’t blogging about all things related to parenthood and families, they’re busy changing dirty diapers, folding laundry and making sure the dishes are done.
Local favorite Postcards from Seattle gets two big thumbs up from voters for being a “great resource to find out about fun activities around Seattle” and its ideas for exploring, cooking, living, learning and creating.
Winner: Single Dad Laughing
Author and single dad blogger extraordinaire Dan Pearce never expected the overwhelming popularity that his blog, Single Dad Laughing (SDL) would gain when he first began in 2010. But then again, he never expected his marriage to end after dozens of counseling sessions… Or that he would take on the role of “single dad” to his now four-year-old son, Noah. Known for being one of the fastest growing blogs in history, it’s easy to see why you’ve chosen SDL as your top pick for dad blogs. And strangely enough, it’s not just the single dads out there that are visiting SDL for their daily parenting relief and humor. Pearce says that women actually make up the majority of his readers. One voter said that they love visiting SDL regularly because Pearce “touches on the important stuff,” while still being “so funny.” And really, as a single parent, sometimes you just need a little laughter, along with that reminder that there are plenty of others out there who know exactly how you feel.
Author and writer for the popular blog, Matt, Liz and Madeline, Matt Logelin never expected to become a single father. Yet after his wife passed away from a pulmonary embolism only moments before seeing their baby girl for the first time, that’s exactly what happened.
MetroDad, self-described as “poppy cock from a cocky pop,” is the brainchild of a “jaded Manhattanite,” who hoped to chronicle his journey into new-found fatherhood. Voters find MetroDad to be “hilarious!”
The Laid-Off Dad, written by single father Douglas French, is well known by voters as being “funny, smart and real.” French always seems to find the bright side and comedy in any given situation.
Photo credit: Single Dad Laughing
Write-In Category: "Most Delicious Support for Breastfeeding Moms"
We asked you to write in categories that we might have missed, and boy, did you respond. You love Milkmakers, a local mom-owned business that sells thick, chewy “lactation cookies” that help increase a nursing mama’s milk supply. The all-natural, preservative-free oatmeal chocolate chip and no-dairy raisin chocolate chip cookies are packed with oats, brewer’s yeast and flaxseed — high-nutrient ingredients that are said to promote lactation. And they taste good: You called them “delish.” Buy the cookies online, and they’ll be delivered in bags of 10 that you can store in the freezer and pull out as needed. “They are not only delicious, but they really work — and my family loves them, too,” writes one satisfied voter.