Refresh and renew with indoor plants

  • Written by Molbak’s
January is all about fresh starts and what better way to refresh and renew your home than with indoor plants?  Molbak’s will offer a series of free Saturday seminars focusing on indoor plants during the month of January. Molbak’s kicks off the series with a seminar and demonstration, Eye-catching Indoor Container Gardens, on January 12, 10-11 a.m., with Jodi Burkland, a Molbak’s custom design services designer, who will share her favorite indoor plant combinations and demonstrate how to balance color, blooms and texture when designing indoor containers.

Burkland is followed at noon by Bastyr University’s naturopathic doctor and author, Jenn Dazey who will focus on the many health benefits of indoor plants.

January 19, 10-11a.m. will feature Molbak’s indoor plant expert Robert Allan.  Allan will discuss his top 10 hard-to-kill and easy-to-love indoor plants and inspire confidence in those new to indoor plants, as well as those who have been unsuccessful in the past.

Burkland will return on February 2, with an on-floor demonstration entitled  Inspired Terrarium Designs.These miniature landscapes bring the natural world indoors and require surprisingly little care. Burkland will show examples of stunning terrariums, demonstrate how to create a terrarium and provide design tips.

Visit for more information on Molbak’s seminars and workshops.

Recycling, donating or disposing of your ‘stuff’ can help with moving stress

  • Written by Karin Hopper

from King County Department of Natural Resources and Parks

Moving into a new home, closing a loved one’s home or making room for family members at your place can create an overwhelming amount of unwanted stuff.

A new website and brochure from the Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County offers an excellent place to start dealing with the mountain of extra belongings.

The website is at

“We see a lot of relatives who are trying to help someone relocate in a time crunch, researching options for dealing with all of their household items,” said Julie Mitchell, manager of the Wastemobile household hazardous waste collection service in King County.

“Our information offers people easy options for disposing or recycling what the family does not want.”

“We talk with some caregivers who find it a struggle to downsize from a large home into a smaller apartment or long-term care setting,” said Tanya McGee with Senior Services, a non-profit organization based in Seattle. “A large number of our calls are related to hoarding. And instead of down-sizing, many seniors put their items into storage sheds, which can be expensive and puts off the problem.”

For help planning a move or tackling a family member’s hoarding, call the Senior Information and Assistance Line at (206) 448-3110.

Much of a home’s belongings can be recycled or donated and support a reuse economy and local charities that help provide services to seniors and disabled communities.

However, many caregivers and families have not dealt with the hazardous materials that stack up under sinks, in garages or sheds.

“When people are cleaning out their homes or their parent’s home, they could often find items that have been around for years, such as old hobby chemistry sets that can have some pretty nasty chemicals,” Mitchell said. “It is also common to see a lot of old oil-based paints, plus pesticides, solvents and other items that the owners never got rid of or didn’t know how to properly dispose of them.”

Old chemicals can be dangerous to handle.

These include banned pesticides such as DDT, or picric acid and ethyl ether, which should not be moved because they can be too unstable. If you are uncertain about chemicals you come across, or for copies of the brochure, please call the Household Hazards Line(206) 296-4692 or 1-888-TOXIC ED before moving them.

The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program is a partnership of local governments including Seattle, King County, the suburban and other cities in King County, working together to manage hazardous wastes and protect health and the environment.

Visit us at

Unique programs distinguish martial arts school

  • Written by Deborah Stone
adventuresLittle did Daniel McCarter know that when he started doing martial arts back in 1996, he would make it a lifelong passion and profession.

He says, “I was working out at a gym for about six months and soon reached boredom. I figured I might as well learn something while I’m getting in shape. I searched around and realized that martial arts was the best way to get into shape and learn how to defend myself at the same time.”

The local man took to the discipline and after three years of training, he received his Black Belt, instructor training and title.

“Becoming a Black Belt and going through the intense instructor program was the biggest challenge I had ever faced,” he comments. “At that time, only 2-3 percent of students made it to Black Belt due to the amount of knowledge and training that was required. In other words, out of 100 of us who started training as a white belt, only two or three of us actually made it all the way to Black Belt. It was a very rigorous training program, to say the least.”

McCarter eventually opened his own martial arts school in Woodinville with his wife Rachel, who is also involved in the practice.

That was 15 years ago. Today, the business is thriving and expanding, with classes for all levels and ages, weapons training, outdoor activities, a demonstration team and a Kids After School program. The couple developed their own unique blend of different martial arts styles, rooted in Tae Kwon Do.

One part of the blend, hand and foot defense, for example, teaches striking and joint locks taken from Tae Kwon Do, Hapkido and American Kenpo.

The other part is a weapon-based system that McCarter says is drawn from many traditional weapon-based arts.

He notes that his students begin to learn weapon application and defense right away at the beginner level.

“Weapons are very popular with the students,” comments McCarter. “They are fun and exciting and provide that ‘flashy’ aspect of martial arts training that so many enjoy.”

The outdoor classes, another unique aspect of the school, include desert and mountain training, paintball war games, all day training and all night training sessions.

McCarter emphasizes that outdoor training provides challenges, team building opportunities and basic survival skills that can’t be taught inside the four walls of the academy.

He says, “These adventures are very popular and give students the chance to train with outdoor weapons, challenge their endurance and mental fortitude, learn survival skills such as water retrieval, camouflage, shelter building and how to make a fire for warmth and cooking.”

Typically the desert training is held south of Moses Lake in July and mountain training takes place in August in the wooded areas of the Skykomish River Valley.

McCarter adds, “The survival skills camps were one of the main reasons I joined the martial arts in 1996. The academy I joined offered survival training as one of its extra-curricular activities that I found very appealing. I enjoyed them so much that I wanted to keep those skills alive, build on them even more and pass them on to students.”

The school’s demonstration team gives those students who can meet the challenge an avenue to increase their skill level beyond the basics of martial arts. And the Kids After School program gives working parents a great convenience. “It’s the perfect way for their kids to be transported from school, learn martial arts, get into shape, learn discipline and respect and get homework done before their parents pick them up,” elaborates McCarter.

He notes that the program, which is in its second school year, has grown considerably and currently includes Wellington, Bear Creek and Hollywood Hill elementary schools.

He adds, “Parents and kids are becoming familiar with seeing our van at the schools and around town. Our goal is to get a second van for the 2013-2014 school year so we can increase our available routes.”

The couple finds teaching martial arts a deeply satisfying experience. The most rewarding aspect for them is being able to watch their students grow and develop confidence and leadership skills.

They enjoy hearing stories about the positive impact they have on their students’ lives.

“It’s also rewarding to watch the physical benefits that our students achieve,” says McCarter. “We’ve watched students of all fitness levels achieve strength, flexibility and agility, as well as increase their overall coordination with amazing results.”

McCarter emphasizes that the couple’s passion is not only to teach martial arts to their students, but to give the community a future full of leaders who are confident, disciplined, humble and considerate.

He adds, “Every day is an opportunity for our students to learn about themselves and what they can achieve when they set their mind to it.”

To McCarter, martial arts is not a seasonable sport, but rather a way of life, which requires time, focus, training, desire and commitment to practice and improve every day.

He adds, “It doesn’t end at Black Belt, nor does it end at becoming an instructor. It is truly a life-long journey in learning about one’s self, staying physically fit and setting and achieving new goals.”

Woodinville Martial Arts’ success, which McCarter attributes to the school’s reputation and longevity, prompted the need for the school to move to a new space.

He says, “Our business was expanding and particularly with the addition of our Kids After School program, we found that we outgrew our location at the Woodinville Plaza and it was time to find a new home.”

The academy will soon take over the building that formerly occupied Big Daddy’s, which will double its existing space, provide a larger training floor and ample room for the Kids After School program.

Additional classes, such as women’s self-defense sessions, which Rachel McCarter will teach, will also be offered on a more frequent basis.

“This is my specialty,” she acknowledges. “We have 3-4 specialized classes per year for women, ranging from 12 years old and up; both students and non-students are welcomed.

“The focus of the class is primarily on prevention, but the women are also taught easy-to-learn and easy-to-remember physical techniques that give them a fighting chance in the event of an attack.

“Once we’re in our new location, we will offer four-week programs so the women can train and practice the techniques they learn.”

A grand opening ceremony and celebration is planned at the new facility in late March, with drawings, prizes, food, demonstrations and more.

For more information about Woodinville Martial Arts: (425) 486-0900 or

‘The White Birds of Winter’ are here!

  • Written by Woodinville Weekly Staff

GPlowman flight of 4 CRO_0176 lr
Courtesy Photo Trumpeter and tundra swans are now feeding in the Washington farm fields.
Thousands of trumpeter and tundra swans and snow geese have migrated from Alaska and Canada to feed in the farm fields of Washington.  On Thursday, January 24, at 7 p.m., the Trumpeter Swan Society’s Martha Jordan will be presenting a lecture and a spectacular slide show about these magnificent birds at the Adopt A Stream Foundation’s Northwest Steam Center in Snohomish County’s McCollum Park (600 – 128th Street SE, Everett, WA 98208).  Registration is required by calling (425) 316-8592; cost is $5 for Adopt A Stream Foundation members, $7 for non-members.

Jordan, a well known biologist, will explain the myths and share the facts about these beautiful birds.  During this Streamkeeper Academy event, which is geared to middle school students to adults, you will learn about swan and snow geese life history, biology, and some identification tips. You will also learn the best places to view them now in Washington state. Jordan will also shed some light on the problems  and controversies (including lead poisoning and habitat destruction) migratory birds face on their Washington state wintering grounds.  Through her beautiful photographs, Jordan will teach you how to tell these birds apart and where you can go to see them now.  At this event, you will also be able to pick up a swan identification pamphlet that will be useful on your next local bird watching excursion.

Martha Jordan chairs the Washington Swan Stewards, an affiliate of the Trumpeter Swan Society – a non-profit organization dedicated to assuring the vitality and welfare of wild swan populations.

She also often serves as a surrogate “mom” to baby trumpeter swans  and has several entertaining tales to tell about that experience.

Streamkeeper Academy events are conducted by the Adopt A Stream Foundation in partnership with Snohomish County Parks and Recreation.  Also, teachers who attend this event can earn clock hours from the Washington Science Teachers Association.

For driving directions to the Northwest Stream Center,  go to the contact section of the Adopt A Stream Foundation’s website:; or call (425) 316-8592.

Village Wines launches new coffeehouse

  • Written by Deborah Stone
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Village Wines, the “Cheers” of Woodinville, is located at 14450 Woodinville-Redmond Road.
Village Wines is commonly known around town as the “Cheers” of Woodinville.

Originally a wine shop, the place metamorphosed into a wine bar and soon became a gathering spot for locals.

And now, it’s also a coffeehouse.

“We’ve launched “The Place To Gather” at Village Wines with the aim of becoming the premier coffeehouse of Woodinville, serving the greater Eastside,” says owner Tim Bowen.

The local man, who started Village Wines with his wife and co-owner, Lisa Bowen, explains that a longtime customer suggested a while back that the place would make an ideal coffeehouse, as Tullly’s was closing its doors across the road.

“We dismissed the idea at first,” says Bowen, “because we’d already found our niche. But, then we considered it more seriously and saw that it could be a great opportunity for us. We had built our business and this was a logical next step. It would be silly not to go ahead and do it.”

Village Wines 005
Staff Photo/Deborah Stone Sarah Overland is making coffee.
Bowen explains that the focus of the new endeavor is on offering the best artisan coffee, which is why the couple decided to go with Stumptown Coffee Roasters.

“It’s a local Northwest company, practically a legend in the area,” he comments. “They’re passionate about coffee and committed to sourcing and roasting the best coffees in the world.”

He notes that Stumptown partners with local growers and establishes relationships between grower and roaster, while practicing direct sourcing.”

He adds, “They visit each of their growing locations and hand pick the beans. The beans spend no more than 10 days from their time of roasting until they make it to your cup.”

Bowen emphasizes that there’s a whole art and science to Stumptown’s process, which results in amazing coffee.

In addition to coffee, Village will also offer Seattle’s Choice Organic Teas and a variety of gourmet breakfast foods made fresh to order.

Currently on the menu are bagels with lox and caper cream cheese, cinnamon rolls, banana nut bread, quiche and other homemade goodies.

In time, more items will be added, but for now, the couple wanted to keep things simple and as Lisa Bowen says, “do it right.”

There are no plans to offer espresso drinks, as the Bowens feel that there are plenty of places in the area where people can get their latte fix.

“It’s really about coffee,” reiterates Lisa. “Good coffee in a relaxing, comfortable place, where you don’t have to stand in line with other impatient people waiting for your morning cup to go.” Tim adds, “We’re already known as a gathering spot in the late afternoons and evening hours. Now, we want the community to know that we’ve added a morning component to the mix.”

Village Wines in Woodinville is now open seven days a week beginning at 7 a.m.

For more information: (425) 485-3536 or