Playtime: Free meals, tree recycling, park adventure, library resources

The memory jar

Throughout 2013 we added little pieces of paper into an old spaghetti sauce jar with fun or special events or accomplishments written on them with the plan to open the jar on New Year’s Eve. This might have been the only year we were able to fill the Memory Jar, an exercise in gratitude mixed in with a way to celebrate the end of the year, as remembering and convincing the kids to stop whatever they were doing to add the moment got harder. We have since abandoned the jar, well it’s possibly still on the counter, but not the overall idea. Now instead of keeping track all year, we make a list on NYE of what we can remember with an assist by my Instagram feed and, while I’m not sure it’s achieving its full intended goal for the kids, I appreciate the chance to hear some of what we enjoyed together. This is all really to say that this process made me think of the resources and local options we’ve covered during quarantine. Since so many are still available, or were always available, I thought now would be a great time to go over them again!

First, I wanted to share the Edmonds Grab and Go meal information and some local Boy Scout Christmas Tree collection options! Edmonds School District Grab and Go meal sites “are essential activities for our community and will continue during Gov. Inslee’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order for all of Washington state.” The meal kits include seven days of FREE breakfast and lunch and are available to any child, 1 to 18, at any site and children do not need to be present for their meals to be picked up. You can head to Edmonds.Wednet.Edu to find the locations and times or to request assistance getting meals delivered.

The Boy Scouts are offering a lot of local options to dispose of your tree! Troop 319 and 312 will be at the QFC on the corner of 196th Street Southwest and 76th Avenue West and Edmonds United Methodist Church on Caspers Jan. 2, 3, 9 and 10 from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. These trees will be chipped so they can’t accept flocked trees or trees with leftover tinsel. Troop 300 will be at St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, near Five Corners the first two weekends in January as well, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Sundays. Troop 49 will have pickup at the Alderwood Boys and Girls Club in Lynnwood Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 2 and 3, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Donations, which are appreciated but not required, can be made HERE. Troop 304 mostly does private tree pick ups to those in Lynnwood, but will have a drop-off site across from the Lynnwood Rec Center, 188th Street Southwest and 44th Avenue West, on Jan. 9 and 10 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Early in quarantine, access to otherwise unavailable options showed up. There were concerts via Instagram, early cheesy holiday movies, and in-home stories and instruction from artists. While trying to get some kid facetime that wasn’t screen time negotiation, we all enjoyed offerings from children’s authors Mo Willems and Dav Pilkey. Lunch Doodles with Mo Willems included Willems telling us about his studio, his writing and illustrating process, or his dog and then a drawing activity. He covered our favorite characters and we all drew Elephant and Piggy or made trees out of toilet paper rolls. His Lunchtime Doodles videos are still available at

The author of Captain Underpants and Dog Man offered Dav Pilkey at home where he read some of his stories and, like Willems, showed us how to draw some of his characters. These stories and videos are also available. When we were just about all drawn out, I found that there was a similar Pete the Cat experience where creator and illustrator James Dean offers what Willems and Pilkey have. You can find these videos under the IGTV tab on

The treehouse at Southwest County Park. (File photo by Jennifer Marx)

This was the first year we really explored Southwest County Park in Edmonds and Boeing Creek Park in Shoreline. In July, I spoke to Snohomish County Parks and Recreation Communications Specialist Rose Smith, who told me that Southwest County Park is the “largest single parcel of open space within the Edmonds city limits.” There are many different ways to enjoy the park from the loop trail south of Olympic View Drive to the many different options north of the roadway – we’ve seen a tire swing, ropes to help climb the steeper sections and a small treehouse. You can find more information on Southwest County Park, Boeing Creek Park, plus Discovery Park in Seattle here.

Sno-Isle Libraries offers movies, documentaries, books, and even comics online, you can find links and some instructions HERE. We used Hoopla to read New Kid by Jerry Craft, we’ve since bought it and given it as a gift multiple times because it’s so good, and were able to find many of the other titles we were looking for. As time went on, the library has offered more and more resources, they moved Storytime online — they start back next week — and everything from Trivia to Reading with Rover.We did a Harry Potter Family Trivia that was a nice way to be together without anyone having to sit perfectly still and also “How to be an Anti-Racist Family” by Kenesha Lewin of Lewin Education & Consulting which we are really grateful for. The events link on, which you can find here, currently has Storytimes, Book Clubs, Online Craft and Chats, and Silver Kite Online Workshops.

The library now offers tutoring through Brainfuse. If you go to you can access many homework-related resources including Brainfuse HelpNow, which offers “online tutors in every subject, writing help and more” seven days a week from 1 to 11 p.m. They also offer contact-free pickup, which I’ve done multiple times with lots of distance from others, to pick up audiobook versions of assigned titles or sometimes a copy for myself to read. They also offer remote printing and have the option to mail you books as well! Visit for more information on any of these options or you can always call them for help at 425-771-1933.

— By Jennifer Marx

Jen Marx, an Edmonds mom of two boys, is always looking for a fun place to take the kids that makes them tired enough to go to bed on time.


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