Brian Mittge Commentary: Cheers to the Enterprising Moms of ‘Kiddin’ Around’


As someone who collects news of local family-friendly activities like a child collects pretty rocks on the beach, I was surprised and delighted a few weeks ago to stumble upon a new source of activities for kids and their parents. 

I was even more pleased to get the full story on this group, which calls itself “Kiddin’ Around,” in a feature story this week by Isabel Vander Stoep. 

She profiled Naomi Snell and MacKenzie McGee, two moms who created a Centralia-based nonprofit to put on children’s events and promote other activities around the Lewis and south Thurston County area. 

Their first big event was “Kiddin’ Around Downtown,” held last August at the Pine Street Plaza, held in conjunction with the Centralia Downtown Association. 

They hosted 250 kids for scavenger hunts, prizes, face-painting and a business passport encouraging kiddos and their families to visit local downtown businesses. 

“We really, really had an excellent time and the community spirit of it and everything,” Snell said. “We’re a sucker for that.”

Naomi, I know the feeling. 

Those who want to jump on the bandwagon can join them March 26 for their first event of this year, a fun run-walk-or-roll at Fort Borst Park in Centralia from 10 a.m. to noon. They’re inviting kids to dress up as superheroes as they travel the half-mile loop.

They’re planning an Earth Day activity on April 23, a kid’s art market in May, a summer movie picnic in June and more. 

“We want to make it easier to get involved,” Snell said. “Once you’re in it, you see the warmth and the connectedness of the community.”

This is a recipe for success. Thank you to MacKenzie and Naomi for sensing the need and stepping up with creativity and verve.

I’m so happy to see the energy and imagination of this group and all those who work to help parents and families have healthy, fun ways to get together as we come out of the pandemic and rebuild a strong community life after a long, hard two years.

Christmas in March

For Lewis County book lovers, one of the biggest holidays of the year is coming. 

The local chapter of the American Association of University Women is holding its annual Used Book Sale this week, starting Thursday and ending Saturday. Proceeds from the book sale go to support scholarships to help women attend college or university. 

It’s an event I put on my calendar and look forward to each spring. 

The good ladies of the AAUW collect books throughout the year. By the time March rolls around, they have thousands of books on every subject under the sun. I love the biographies and histories. There is always a huge selection of novels. And the children’s section is truly tremendous. 

Imagine a whole library’s worth of shelves, but laid out on folding tables in the Lewis County Mall, and all for sale at prices that keep getting better throughout the sale. 

Come Thursday for the best selection. Come Saturday to walk out with books by the box for just a few bucks.

I’ll see you there — probably a few times. 

Dad Joke of the Week

I’m a proud papa today, as this week’s Dad Joke comes from my very own son, Benjamin, a few weeks ago. 

Q: What do you call something delicious but totally useless?

A: An apple fritter.

(To which I might add, “What could you do to occupy yourself while frittering away your time that way? Draw an apple strudel doodle all the day.”)


Brian Mittge enjoys the occasional apple pastry and other simple treats. Contact him at