Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Sunday Outing on the Historic Columbia River Highway

Last Sunday we took a beautiful drive up the Historic Columbia River Highway, and made stops along the way to take in the beautiful views, visit some of the falls, and play in the water. 

Our first stop was the Vista House, this wonderful round, stone building is fun to look through, and has a great spot to view up and down the gorge. I love taking drives up to this part of Oregon, not only are there great views along the way, there are plenty of fun places to stop.

There were a ton of people all along the highway at all of the different falls and stops, definitely a popular destination for tourists as well as locals, especially during the summer! I had fun trying out my new camera along the way and got lots of great pictures of the kids.

This plane looked like it was on a fun scenic flight!

After The Vista House we made our way to some of the different falls along the way, I love this little waterfall at Shepperd's Dell, it is just a tiny little trail along a mossy stone wall, and leads to such a beautiful little spot. You can walk right up to the falls and feel the water mist.

Here I was practicing the macro setting on this little fern, but realized I had it in another setting, and I wish I could figure out which setting it was because I loved the way it turned out, when I tried again, in the actual macro setting, it didn't turn out like this, definitely a learning curve with all the new settings and a touch screen that I keep forgetting is there, definitely need to play with my camera more out in the garden! :)

Everyone loved Shepperd's Dell.

Perfect spot for a cute couple photo of Joseph and his girlfriend Lorene. :)

After we were done taking in the beauty of our first water fall of the day it was on to number two, Wahkeena Falls. I have been wanting to visit this waterfall for quite some time now, Courtney at Barefoot in Blue Jeans Blog and daughter of my best childhood friend, has blogged many times about how it is one of her favorite spots, here is one of her Wahkeena Falls posts, so I really wanted to be sure and stop by on our drive and check it out.

We all really enjoyed this stop, we had fun playing in the water near the picnic area, which was perfect in all this heat!

The water was nice and cool and the whole area is just beautiful.

Then we went across the street to see Wahkeena Falls, it was beautiful! We were starting to run out of time, so we couldn't take the hike to get up closer to the falls, but we all want to go back with a picnic and explore some more. Wonderful place!!

We saw more Falls along the way that we all agree we need to go back and check out, but we wanted to have time to stop by Multnomah Falls before it was time to head home.

Of course Multnomah Falls is always so amazing to see, the place was so busy with tourists from all over, we even saw a school group from Texas! I actually don't mind big crowds, at least when they are as friendly as everyone here was, and it is interesting to people watch in such a diverse group of people, lots of families, along with some very cute dogs, it was fun!

I wanted to get a picture of the family up on the bridge so they walked up first and I stayed below to get a picture, then I headed on up.

It is a short and easy hike to the bridge, and the view is one of my favorites, beautiful lush green everywhere, it just looks magical!

We enjoyed the view from the bridge, and then made our way back down. We all decided to cool down in the water one last time before making the trip back home.

Definitely a beautiful way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

In other news, the garden is doing great, and I am hoping to do a garden update post here very soon, we had a nice harvest of blueberries, as well as a wonderful bunch of garlic, and now the peppers and zucchini and green beans are getting ready, looking forward to all the garden fresh dinners! I hope everyone is having a nice summer!

You may also enjoy reading about our trip to Multnomah Falls back in 2012.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

July's Wanderings- Bagpipes, Farmer's Market, Burger's, and Antiques

July has been full of fun activities, I thought that I would share them all in one post, our July Wanderings.

In my birthday post I talked about a new antique store here in town that we went to visit on my birthday, it is called Hoffman House Antiques. Hoffman House Antiques is located in a historic building right here in Molalla, it is like a fun treasure hunt walking through the many little rooms of this shop, lots of very interesting antiques and vintage items, it was very fun walking through looking at everything, the whole family really enjoyed it. If you live locally it is definitely worth a visit! :)

I was excited to find a matching set of vintage turquoise candy dishes, I purchased one exactly the same as the large dish a few years back at an antique store in a small town twenty minutes from here on a Mother's day outing. I love the color, I had no idea it had a lid, so when I found one with a lid I knew I had to have it, then I also found a tiny matching one, turquoise is one of my favorite colors so these candy dishes were a real treat to find! It was a very hot day, and by the time we were done treasure hunting we were all ready for a cold drink, luckily they have a coffee drive through right on the property so we all got sparkling limeade, and it was the perfect ending to our Antique shop outing!

Last Sunday the kids wanted to hang out with some of the kids from their youth group at a comic book shop in Milwaukie, Oregon, lucky for Gary and I there was a perfect place in walking distance to hang out while the kids had their fun. The Milwaukie Farmer's Market, I have been wanting to get there for some time now, but it runs on Sunday so we are usually at church, we got there just in time to catch the end of it. I really enjoyed walking through and seeing all the produce, and artisan foods and crafts, it smelled delicious! We brought home some local hamburger (which was delicious) and some colorful, bright green cauliflower and purple potatoes, and a nice big fresh bag of kettle corn, Gary's favorite! Downtown Milwaukie is such a nice place to walk around, I saw quite a few shops that I would love to go back and explore!

Long time reader's of my blog may remember last summer and the very horrible car accident my daughter Sarah was in, you can read about it in Sarah's Accident post. It was the scariest day of my life without a doubt, fortunately Sarah is healing wonderfully. She did sustain a serious head injury which requires trips into the city to visit her various health care providers who are making sure she is healing up well. We have been getting to know the area pretty well. Last week we were up for a couple of appointments and had some time in between, we decided to walk around and find somewhere fun for lunch and came across a wonderful burger joint, called Little Big Burger. The menu is simple, burgers with a few choices of gourmet cheeses, fries, and truffle oil fries, and drinks. The burger was amazing and on a delicious bun, and the fries were wonderful. I got regular fries but tried Gary's truffle fries also -yum! But my favorite thing was the locally made Camden's Ketchup, delicious with the fries and has a little kick. I was so happy to see that they sold it, and brought a bottle of ketchup home, definitely my new favorite, I may have to stock up! Little Big Burger is fun and edgy, the staff is friendly, the restaurant was designed with an industrial look with funky art. There was very loud rock music playing, which would be annoying for sound sensitive individuals, but we enjoyed it, it definitely created a fun and funky environment to enjoy some awesome burgers and fries, we will definitely be back! There are locations all through Portland, I would highly recommend it!

The buildings around the Health and Healing center are really interesting, and very modern, the round and oval shapes are really neat architecturally speaking, the views from the upper floors of the center provide excellent views of the city, we have been watching the new bridge progress over the year, as well as a ship being built, we have watched it literally built from the ground up. Doctor's visits are not always the funnest, but we have always looked for ways to make it enjoyable. :) We finished our visit last week with one of our favorite drinks- Bubble Tea, Bubble tea is tea with large tapioca pearls added to it, as well as flavorful jellies, Sarah likes Apple flavored jellies and tapioca pearls, Joe likes Rainbow jellies, and I like classic Milk Tea with tapioca pearls, they are fun to drink and the texture is interesting. I was talking to one of the girls at the bubble tea shop and she recommended an Asian market where I can buy the tapioca pearls so that I can make it at home, sounds like another outing is in order! :)

The highlight of our week was the Portland Scottish Highland Games, this has been a yearly tradition for our family to attend for more than two decades now, and we really love it and look forward to it every year.

The games always begin with an opening ceremony and the Kilted Mile Run, which is always fun to watch.

Of course we have to get our yearly Scottish Meat Pies and Bangers, they are so delicious!

Everyone enjoys watching the sheep herding dogs, this year one of the sheep/dog handlers had her little one in a back carrier along for the sheep herding, it was cute to watch, now if I can just train my crazy labs like that! :)

There is highland dancing to watch, this year we brought my son's girlfriend and her little sister along, and it was really fun to introduce them to all of our favorite events.

The girls stopped by a hair braiding booth and got their hair done up, they all found hair cords that matched their outfits, their hair turned out really neat looking!

The day finished up with a very exciting caber toss, last year the caber was not turned, this year it was turned twice and everyone cheered, it is amazing the strength of the athletes that can lift that much weight!

Then it was time for the mass bands, where all of the different bagpipe groups get together for one huge group in the center of the field, they played Amazing Grace and Scotland the Brave, it is always very moving.

This year was really special for us, last year with Sarah's accident, we were still able to attend, a fact that we all found to be a huge huge answer to prayers and a blessing, since last year it was only a short time after she was even out of the hospital. We only went for a couple of hours last year, and Sarah couldn't even walk without assistance, and it was pretty overwhelming, Highland Games is very important to Sarah, she loves it and was so happy she didn't miss a year. We received encouragement from another attendee who had had a similar injury. This year Sarah was able to participate like normal, and although she still struggles with fatigue that comes along with healing, she has come a long way and it was really nice to celebrate with this family tradition. :)

So those were some of our July Wanderings, and we have a lot more outings planned that I am really looking forward to! I hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

You might also like to read about our previous year's Highland Games - in 2011, and 2012.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

My Paddington Bear Birthday Treasure Hunt

We have been so busy these past couple of weeks enjoying the summer. I am looking forward to sharing about all of our fun outings and activities this week on my blog. This past week was my birthday, and my kids, my son's girlfriend and her sister, and my dear hubby planned such a nice day for me I am excited to share about it.

The morning of my birthday I was told to stay in my bedroom and enjoy a quiet morning with a nice cup of coffee and watch an episode or two of one of my current favorite Netflix shows, Murder She Wrote, while everyone worked on brunch and secret birthday plans.  When everything was ready I was called out to a lovely brunch of bacon and cheesy eggs and my favorite cornmeal pancakes, and a house all decked out in pretty orange and yellow streamers. When brunch was over, I was directed to open a gift sitting next to me and begin my birthday treasure hunt. The first gift was a glow stick princess wand, and I was made queen of the day. :)

Then came the treasure hunt, my family knows I love sleuthing type mysteries, and I LOVE Paddington Bear, so they made the treasure hunt Paddington Bear themed! They found this cute Paddington Bear craft on Pinterest, and used each Paddington Bear to hold a clue. They even made a Paddington Facebook page with a message that was one of the clues! I was very impressed with how creative this was, and I had a very fun time figuring out the clues and following each clue to another destination, each location had a fun present to open and another clue.

Such cute Paddington's!

There were all sorts of goodies, scrapbooking stickers, bubbles, Paddington's favorite- and mine - Marmalade Jam, a fun old western style cap gun (I had been telling them all about the cap guns I used to play with as a kid every summer), some immensely cute miniature dinosaurs, a new flower for my garden, all sorts of fun little goodies, and a very nice birthday card with a special note from all the kids.

A beautiful new orchid for my collection from Gary, and a nice birthday note as well, and then the last clue led me to a very exciting gift- the new camera I had been eyeing! That took some real planning, they had to find the camera on my Amazon account, then use my daughter's Amazon account to order it, and somehow intercept the delivery man without my knowing, and trust me, my two labs make such a fuss when Mr. UPS man arrives that that is pretty tricky, they managed to pull it off, I had no idea, it was quite a surprise. :)

Here's the Amazon link to my new camera, I love the vintage brown color of the camera, and am excited to upgrade my very very old point and shoot to this new one with a lot more features, I look forward to learning how to use all of the new settings.

I had a few other birthday treats as well, a new fox cookie jar that I spotted at Target a couple of weekends ago, and completely fell in love with.

I also went on a pre-birthday shopping trip to stock up on some new drawing supplies to go with a fun new book series called Illustration School, so far there are four books in the series, Illustration School: Let's Draw Happy People, also one of cute animals, then one on plants and small animals, and one about using color. I am very excited to go through these books and work on my drawing a bit.

After my very exciting and fun treasure hunt, we had a fun day enjoying some family movies, croissant sandwiches for lunch, and a trip to a new antique store in town which I will share about in another post, then a nice dinner and a delicious birthday cake with lemon filling- yum! I was really quite pampered, and had an amazing day! To my hubby and all the kids - thank you very much!! What a very special and memorable day!


Monday, July 14, 2014

A Birthday Outing to Powell's Book Store

Now that my children are older, we celebrate their birthday's by letting them pick a location for a fun outing. My daughter celebrated her birthday earlier this month, and since she absolutely loves books, she decided her birthday outing would be a trip to Powell's City of Books in downtown Portland.

Sarah had been to Powell's before when they went on a tour of downtown Portland for a school field trip, I had only ever been to Powell's smaller locations. I had heard that this bookstore was huge, and we were all looking forward to spending the day exploring. When we arrived I was amazed at the size of this place, it is huge, there are so many rooms of books that we had to use a map, "City of Books" is right! I made sure that the kid's stuck together, and that they could text me what room they were currently in so we could find each other if needed, the rooms have color names, like the Rose Room, or Gold Room, which was very helpful.

The interesting thing about this bookstore, is that it not only sells new books, but also used books, so there are really great bargains on some gently used books, as well as plenty of new books to look through as well. I had fun browsing through some of the older books, and the kids had fun finding many books that were on their want lists, as well as books they hadn't seen before, they both bought a good supply to keep them busy for the rest of the summer. :)

The most interesting room there though had to be the Rare Book Room, what a treat that was! We were able to see some very old books, including books from clear back in the mid 1500's and 1600's, of course those were behind glass with price tags that were just as fascinating (rare books can be incredibly spendy!!). Some of the rare books could be looked through carefully, and we read a few excerpts from some interesting books from the early 1900's, as well as flipped through some old leaflets, and textbooks, and even some vintage coloring books. It was a wonderful treat since we are all book people.

We spent a few hours exploring and then headed to the checkout with a large stack of books. Such a fun place to explore!

I tend to get a little overwhelmed with that many choices, so I took pictures of the books I wanted to consider for later, and only bought two, one was a little Basher's Book for our collection that was on clearance for under $4.00 which I thought was a great find, and the other is a book called Wildwood: The Wildwood Chronicles, Book I, this book takes place in a magical place just on the outskirts of Portland. I was intrigued by this book because of it's local connection, as well as the fact that it takes place in a magical world with talking animals, not unlike Narnia, as well as being similar to books like The Series of Unfortunate Events and The Spiderwick Chronicles, which I really enjoyed reading with my kids when they were younger. I am about a third of the way through and am really enjoying it, the art work in the book is also very well done and really enjoyable. I already ordered the next two books in the series, and am looking forward to reading through this series throughout the summer.

We all had a wonderful time visiting Powell's City of Books, it is definitely a place I would enjoy visiting again. We spent the rest of Sarah's birthday celebration playing games together, and I made her an angel food birthday cake with some vanilla pudding cream and blueberries, topped with some very cute mustache candies that I found, overall a fun celebration. :) Happy Birthday Sarah!!