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Review: Happy Cat Cafe - Sip Coffee, Save Cats!

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When Kati Palmurkar reached out over email last month I had to do a double take at her introduction: Hi, I'm Kati, owner of Happy Cat Cafe, GR's first ever cat cafe!" Cat cafe?! This being my first exposure to the concept I immediately got on my google machine and guess what, this is a thing. Cat cafes are all over the globe mostly finding homes in larger cities like New York and Tokyo. And the trend doesn't stop there... I found listings for all kinds of cafes: bunnies, puppies, you name it. Like, if there's a snake cafe out there I'm going to lose it. 

Kati is a self described 'crazy cat lady' and opened Happy Cat Cafe in Fall of 2017 after a successful Kickstarter campaign that raised over $27,000 for starting the business. By opening the cat cafe she was able to mesh two very important things: 1. provide the opportunity to place cats in welcoming homes through adoption and 2. provide for her family. Her husband and business partner, Adarsh, have one very happy baby boy and call Grand Rapids home.

When we arrived at Happy Cat Cafe on a Saturday morning for our 11am reservation we were greeted by Adarsh who often works out of the cafe - he's an independent contractor who also helps run the cafe. On that particular Saturday morning it was especially chilly outside so the warmth of the cozy faux fireplace was noticed and appreciated. Adarsh checked us in using the iPad register and gave us a quick rundown of the space: the cost of your hourly rate ($10/hour) includes a beverage and a free snack if you share your experience on social media (i.e. Instagram post). They have K-Cups for coffee lovers, tea and soda, and snacks include the basics: granola bars, fruit and more. 

The cafe space is separate from the room where you can hang out with the kitties, but you're welcome to bring in your beverage as you visit. That morning the space was hoping with 3 other reservations besides ours. When Natalie saw the cats she squealed with delight - the kid loves animals! I think her excitement scared most of the felines but she was able to pet a few of them and teased them with toys on string. She could have stayed there for hours if we would have let her. 

The space was very clean which made this neat freak feel right at home. For housing that many cats (between 8-10 on a normal day depending on adoption rate) I would have thought it would be more difficult to keep a tidy space. The room was staffed with a volunteer who pointed out which cats might be good for Natalie to pet, told us their names and even what breed they were. She was very helpful. 

So far the Cat Cafe has placed 44 cats in happy homes around Grand Rapids. I asked Kati if there was one adoption story in particular that stood out to her and she shared the story of Fredricka. Before the cafe, Fredricka had been in a shelter for over 5 years and had been through multiple failed adoption attempts. But the folks at the shelter saw an opportunity in Happy Cat Cafe and through constant reassuring love and patience, they were able to find Lady Fred a home. 

Happy Cat Cafe also offers special events including Cat Yoga - come to the cafe and practice yoga with cats roaming around you! Kathy Reed, who teaches the cat yoga is fantastic! I've taken a few of her team taught classes at Roots Coffee Shop. They also offer Cats and Canvas - you like cats and painting (and wine), this event is for you. 

The cafe has easy access parking in the back of their building (making it easy with kids) and you can find their open hours here

 

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Kladder Update: Happy New Year!

Caberfea Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan. 

Caberfea Peaks in Cadillac, Michigan. 

Happy New Year my friends! Twenty-seventeen was so-so good to us and we are confident that twenty-eighteen will be equally as great. Last year, as far as resolutions go, we focused on three things: 

  1. Less TV, more reading.
  2. More faith practices. 
  3. Getting rid of useless stuff. 

All in all, we did a pretty stellar job. We joined a new house church with friends in our neighborhood, Jeff participated in a weekly mens prayer group, we broke lots of bread with friends around our dinner table, we tried Vesper Services through our church and we continued to fill those grey chairs at Mars Hill each Sunday morning with our kids in tow. Our house continues to be a landing zone for all things 'kid' (especially after this holiday season) but I've been very diligent about keeping the clutter to a minimum. If we don't use it, we lose it. If I don't wear it, I sell it. And I'm a repeat offender of the Goodwill drop off drive through. Where we found room for improvement is with less TV and more reading - something we found extremely hard to do with there are so many good shows on Netflix and Amazon. I think I read two books in 2017? Pretty terrible showing. 

Looking ahead, here's what we're planning for 2018 Resolutions: 

  1. More golf. We've heard that the couple that 'plays together, stays together'... or something like that, so in 2018 we are putting a priority on golf. I've been given the green light for a new set of sticks this year which means I am motivated to lower my handicap. Golf is something we hope to continue doing together well into our old age and so our future on the course together begins this year. 
  2. More passport stamps. Borrowing a resolution from 2014, this year we hope to add a few more stamps to our passports. 
  3. More patience. This resolution is a personal one rather than for us Kladders as a whole. Patience has always been something I've struggled with and in 2018 I'm going to focus on slowing my roll. I'm extremely type A and I'm very good at managing and organizing things. I can multitask the poo out of life and it takes a lot to get me off balance. I work quickly (sometime too quickly if I'm admitting my faults here) and understanding and respecting that not everyone works the way or at the pace that I do is where I could do better. 
  4. More compliments. You guys are super pretty and I really like your outfit... and I need to tell you more. I notice things. I pay attention to details and when I have a positive reaction to something I need to say the words out load. Furthermore, verbalizing our gratitude. Saying 'thank you' for making dinner or taking out the trash.  

To ring in the New Year we had a weekend of fun activities... 

On Friday we ditched the kids for dinner plans and Star Wars. We left the theatre as a house divided: Jeff thought it was fantastic while I was left wanting more. Without ruining the movie for you, there were some parts that I just found completely unnecessary. But more than anything, I was disappointed that certain scenes didn't take themselves more seriously. I appreciated the new found humor this movie took, but really missed the 'importance' that the old style placed on certain aspects of the story. Overall, I was entertained and remain a Star Wars fan. 

Saturday morning bright and early my Mom came up to stay with the kids and we headed north with friends for a day of skiing at Caberfea Peaks. It was a small victory getting Jeff to agree to the outing since his vow to 'never ski in Michigan' again after a disappointing experience at Crystal Mountain a few years back - Jeff believes the hills in Michigan pale in comparison to the mountains out west. But despite his still valid opinion, we all had a really great time. I hadn't been on skis since high school so I was pretty thrilled about my balance on the slopes which I likely owe to my many years of figure skating. 

And on the Eve of the New Year Jeff and I played hosts and planned a night of fun with friends. We began with happy hour at Rockwells followed by The Ruse Escape Rooms, a recent addition to downtown Grand Rapids. The escape room was a blast! We booked both rooms, split into two groups and competed against one another and while both made it out in time (60 minutes) Jeff and I were on the losing team. We were crushed. But not for long because food and drink immediately followed our defeat at The Wheelhouse where they had a fantastic atmosphere complete with live music and dancing! After dinner the group retreated back to our house for the ball drop. The champagne and midnight smooching were plentiful! A big shout out to my in-laws for taking our kiddos overnight. 

And with the Christmas tree fresh on the curb ready for pick up, we look ahead with excitement for all the good things to come in 2018. 

POSTSCRIPT... stuff we're into lately! 

  • Vikings on Amazon Prime - We are hooked. 
  • Crio Bru - 100% ground cacao beans. Super bitter chocolate taste but great for taming my sweet tooth at night. 
Our very happy 9-month-old Thomas Kladder. 

Our very happy 9-month-old Thomas Kladder. 

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Kladder Update: Christmas Parties, Dragons & Sugar Cookies

Christmas East GR.jpg

We're posting ahead of our bimonthly schedule but we've got a lot to catch up on so lets jump right into it... 

Last week Wednesday the women I golf with at Watermark hosted our first Holiday Party. As a member of the board this year I can share that one of our goals for 2018 is to grow and strengthen our membership. We aim to do this by continuing to build our female golf community which includes things like hosting Holiday Parties. I will also share that part of our motivation for growing our numbers could maybe, possibly be (you didn't hear it from me) that if we had more women golfing on Wednesday nights that we could justify staffing a beverage cart. Mostly a joke, but also totally true. The party was a lot of fun and my favorite part (which is my favorite part about league altogether) is the range of women that make up our group. The game of golf (and the socialization that comes with it) has no age barrier and I love that. As Watermark continues to be part of our social lives, I look forward to improving my golf game and relationships in 2018. 

And with the shopping and wrapping and baking and packing all checked off my to-do list in the days leading up to Christmas, it allowed us to spent quite a lot of time with friends and family. On Tuesday we hit up one of our favorite local spots for $5 pizza night with neighbors who were first timers. They moved onto our block late this past summer and we were happy to share in their inaugural Harmony dining experience. PS - anyone know what Harmony's plans are for the new space (formerly Subway) that's currently under construction? I can't find any new news coverage on it. Super curious. 

On Friday evening we met up with my in-laws at the Grand Rapids Public Museum for the Dragons, Unicorns & Mermaids exhibit showing now through May 20. I'd say the exhibit is good for kids but less impressive for adults. There are lots of large pieces (a giant dragon, unicorn and eagle) that are show stoppers for the little ones, but the content and detail behind the mythology are lacking. All in all, Natalie really liked the exhibit and enjoyed the carousel even more. Afterward we ate dinner at The Wheelhouse which continues to impress me. It was our first time there with kids and they were super accommodating (great kids menu, crayons, sat us in a booth where Natalie could shift a bit). We'll be back at Wheelhouse for NYE dinner and I'm looking forward to it. 

On Saturday Natalie got to decorate cookies with her pal Maxi which was a huge hit until we put the kibosh on eating heaping spoonfuls of icing. Pretty grateful the event was hosted at Maxi's house where there is a dog who can help with the massive amount of sprinkles that did not make it onto the cookies. 

This past weekend was a marathon of fun spending back to back over-nighters with both sides of our families. On Christmas Eve, we kicked off the celebrations with extended family in Vicksburg at my Grandparents house. This year my Grandpa made Natalie a wooden music box which she fell in love with - she insisted on sleeping with it last night. That same afternoon we met up with friends at the local American Legion for Christmas Cocktails - something that should probably be officially named as an annual tradition since it's happened so many years in a row now. 

Then it was back to my parents house for Christmas Eve dinner with the family. My Dad always prepares something extravagant - this year it was surf and turf. And per usual my Mom attempted to convince everyone that we should open our gifts early because she couldn't contain her excitement. She failed outside of our usual ornament tradition and pajamas for the kids. The next morning we opened stockings and drank Bloody Marys by the fire. Natalie was much more into opening gifts this year which made Christmas morning doubly exciting. 

Around noon we headed north to Rockford for more celebration with the Kladder Family. The roads were awful! Thank heavens Jeff is an excellent driver and extremely confident driving on less than ideal road conditions, but despite my trust in his capabilities, I was sick to my stomach the whole way. We arrived in Rockford safe and sound but it took me a good 30 mins to wind down to the point where I could finally eat lunch. And by lunch I mean mimosa. 

Together we opened stockings, played games and ate Christmas dinner. The entire day was a lot of fun but the highlight was certainly the moment we all unwrapped our Mickey Mouse ears and Grandma and Grandpa announced our Family Disney Trip for 2018. Sure, the kids were excited but I have never been to Disney World so I'm feeling a little bit like a kid myself with my excitement level. 

We're back at home and reorganized from the goodies we accumulated over the weekend. There are still items in boxes that require a screw driver, some patience and a few beers... but we'll save that till next month. This weekend we look forward to ringing in the new year with friends on the 31st and kicking off 2018 with a bang. See you all next year! 

POSTSCRIPT - Stuff we're into lately... 

  • Wheelhouse - Who were extremely accommodating for dinner out with the kids last weekend: great (affordable/realistic) kids menu, crayons for coloring, high chairs, changing station in restroom). 
  • These Kitchen Sink Blondies from Boston Girl Bakes Blog - Because we got ALL kinds of candy in our Christmas Stockings and it's been recycled (and used up before I eat it all myself) into dessert for dinner with friends this week. I tossed in everything besides the Lifesaver Books! 
  • All of your beautiful Christmas and Holiday cards! Goodness I love them. They'll be up on our lockers through the new year! 

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