Thursday, January 13, 2011

End of an Era

Olaiya and I would like to use this space to thank all of our supporters over the years. We have made the difficult decision that 2010 was our last year of operation. We're proud to have made a large number of donations to Women for Women International as well as our largest gift ever to the Cura Orphanage in Kenya. We hope that those contributions will make a lasting impact in the lives of the recipients... that the world will be a little brighter for it. And we hope that everyone that's ever come to a Little Spark event knows that they fueled that light.

Since our infancy, the Little Spark project was designed to tap into a desire that we shared with many friends: To find small but meaningful ways to help repair some of the damage in this world. We had some energy and some ideas... but none of it would have meant anything if people hadn't turned out. I was constantly amazed and heartened to see friends and strangers show up to our events and gladly contribute money toward the cause. There were many times during the planning process when I thought we would never attract enough participants to make this fly. While I had hope, I also harbored doubts that human beings would care enough about each other to support a project like this. I was wrong. And I can't tell you how happy that makes me. You've helped me repair a bit of damage in my own heart. Thanks.

We hope that all of you will remain in contact as we find new and interesting projects to throw ourselves into. Cheers!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Dog Mountain Dinner a Smashing Success!

Last Saturday was wonderful. Forty people showed up to fill the picnic tables at Dog Mountain Farm and a fantastic crew of volunteers assisted Olaiya in dazzling their tastebuds. The tables were beautifully appointed, and the food sang with spice and color and Mediterranean bravado. All told, we raised over $2,500 for the Orphanage in Cura, making it one of the best Little Spark events ever! We are eternally grateful for everyone's support.

Prepping the Carrots

Kelsey Gathers Flowers for the Centerpieces

Quality Time with Shelby the Farm Dog

Judy and Hayden Set up the Picnic Tables

The Table Settings

Dog Mountain owners Cindy and David Share a Lighter Moment

Judy Returns with Freshly Picked Edible Flowers

Crostini Appetizer with Grilled Haloumi or Lamb

Hayden Takes a Minute to Talk about the Cura Orphanage

Olaiya Introduces the First Course and Wine Pairing

Soup is Served!

The Siel Party Enjoying Themselves

Alex Arranges Salads on the Staging Table

The Entree: Braised Pork with Polenta and Sweet and Hot Peppers

Meredith Smiling

Steve the Sommelier

Keena's Table Shares a Toast before the Main Course

Alex Pours for the Frenkel/Mullins Party

Molly's Table

Linette's Table

Volunteers Man the Dessert Assembly Line

Fennel Ice Cream with Grilled Apricot and Candied Pistachios

Dessert Didn't Last Long!

Unique Farm Dinner Experience: Carrying a Baby Goat

Saturday, May 8, 2010

2010 Summer Event Scheduled!

Little Spark is excited to announce its first official collaborative event with the Creative Visions Foundation. We're planning a July 31st dinner at the gorgeous Dog Mountain Farm to benefit the Cura Orphanage in Kenya.

Little Spark got involved with the Cura Orphanage (pronounced "shura") last year after being contacted by kindred soul Hayden Nichols. Hayden has been involved with the Cura Village orphanage project since its beginnings and convinced us that this was the sort of sustainable grassroots project we wanted to be involved with. Thanks to your support, Little Spark made a $700 donation last year to sponsor a young girl named Loise Wanjiku.

Loise, like all the home's fifty children, lost her parents to HIV/AIDS

Olaiya has served several times as the "guest chef" for Dog Mountain's series of summer dinners at the farm. These are wonderful five-course meals complete with a different wine pairing for each course. The menu is seasonal, and largely dictated by what's available at the farm itself, since the goal is to provide guests with a farm-to-table dinner experience.

Olaiya's peach and blueberry galette from a Little Spark in the Park event

Proprietors Cindy and David will also be on hand to give guests a tour of their organic farm and answer questions. They have also very generously lowered their farm rental rate for us. This will allow us to charge the same rate as a typical farm dinner this year ($100) and still manage to donate over 50% of the proceeds to Cura.

Tables set for a farm dinner last fall.

Here's Olaiya's preliminary menu, subject to seasonal availability:

lamb or roasted red pepper crostini with feta and almond-mint pesto
grilled haloumi crostini with lemon and dill

spicy chilled tomato soup with goat cheese croutons

moroccan-spiced carrot salad with avocado and citrus vinaigrette

braised pork with sweet and hot peppers, currants and almonds over creamy polenta
polenta terrine with sweet and hot peppers, currants, almonds and blue cheese

char-grilled baby broccoli with lemon and garlic

italian plum tart with homemade fennel ice cream

Hayden and her partner Greg are planning a trip to Kenya early this summer and will be in attendance with new photographs and stories about the village's efforts to create their own sustainable organic farms.

Please consider joining us for this wonderful event, or even becoming a table captain. As a table captain, you will host a table of six for the event... filling it with your friends, coworkers or family members as you see fit. You will be able to enjoy the event with loved ones, and receive recognition and a thank you gift from Little Spark for helping us.

July 31st
3:30 to 8:30 PM
Dog Mountain Farm
Carnation, WA
$100 per guest

If you are unable to attend our dinner, but still wish to make a donation we would be honored to accept your contribution. We will honor you at the event at our "virtual table" for our supporters that weren't able to join us. Contact John for more information.

Please be advised that this is a four-hour outdoor event in a farm environment. Your children are welcome to join us but we cannot make special accommodations regarding the seating, pricing or menu. We trust your judgment as a parent to determine if the conditions and dining environment are appropriate for your child.

Just a few of Cura Orphanage's beautiful children.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Whiskey a Go Go

Little Spark was proud to warm up the oven and our spirits with a Southern Comforts party last January. We came in out of the cold rain to enjoy whiskey-based cocktails, cornbread, baked ham, braised greens, buttermilk biscuits with marmalade and soft cheese, New Orleans spiced shrimp, and succotash. John played bartender, mixing up Old Fashioneds, Mint Juleps, Manhattans, Sazeracs, and the star of the evening: The Brier Patch.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oktoberfest Pictures!

The group sits down to an opening round of German lagers and Olaiya's pretzels

Judy sitting, Olaiya "mugging" with her Bavarian stein

Jenny and Steve looking adorable

Riley and Larry (the cocker spaniel) showing that youth is but a blur

Kristin, professional cake model

Judy and Christie discuss the upcoming Little Spark event!