Our family made a quick beach-run a few weeks ago. It was a good way to beat the summer heat of the Valley. Here's a map that shows you a few of our favorite spots in Newport:
Each year, as we prepare for the new school year, my boys and I have a tradition. We go school shopping one-on-one. A rare chance to be alone with Mom, my boys choose their supplies and then have the rare treat of 'going out for a doughnut'.
I'd like to say they love the one-on-one part, but I'm pretty sure it's the doughnut part that they find most exciting. Either way, we get a chance to talk about the year ahead; their concerns, their hopes and expectations.
We started this tradition in preschool and I've cherished it every year. As the years pass, the crayons have been replaced with a compass and protractor, but the marking of another year gets me every time.
My oldest son studied Peru during the past school year. As part of an 'International Festival' he and his classmates chose nations from South America to research. For weeks, my son brought home books and filled pages and page of notes. When the unit was over, he had produced this audio book to share with his peers:
As an extension of this project, I decided we should enjoy a meal at a local Peruvian restaurant. A search of the web led me to Las Primas Peruvian Kitchen. In a bike friendly section of north Portland, this restaurant has a variety of moderately-priced items our family could sink our teeth into. Family friendly and great service - we'll be back to enjoy more soon!
Here are the highlights of our meal:
Rushing from one event on a busy day, I needed to find a kid friendly place to feed my boys as we passed through downtown Salem. After ticking off all the possibilities in my head, I realized how the term "kid-friendly" dramatically changes as your children grow. Our stop:
While the high, backless stools might be a danger zone for toddlers; the quick service, yummy pizza and newspapers hanging on the wall were a huge hit with my boys. Good eaters and good readers! As long as the pizza, comics, and sports sections kept coming - they were as happy as could be!
All the neighbors met at Minto-Brown Island Park this weekend for a long bike ride and plans for lunch. Fourteen of us in all, we snaked through the twists and turns of the trails, enjoying the beautiful weather.
Here's our general route:
Approx. 10 miles RT
It's strawberry shortcake time at E.Z. Orchards.
Yep... the Shortcake Stand is selling a bit of early summer heaven. Half an order was plenty for my eight year old and I to share. Just like the classic apple cider donuts, it makes for a yummy family snack.
After eating our fill, my family went into the Farm Market to get a few items. I like looking through this market as much as I like purchasing items. Somewhere between the strawberries and the celery, my oldest son spotted at Dragon Fruit. This was the first time we'd ever seen this food item and so immediately added it to our basket.
Returning home, I searched the internet to find out how to serve this fruit. Then, before slicing the fruit open, I asked each boy to predict what it would look like inside. Both boys were surprised when I unveiled the true center.
I scooped the fruit out and sliced it up for tasting. Close to a kiwi/per combo, I wouldn't say that this is a new favorite, but we were all glad we had tried it. Thank you to EZ Orchards for expanding our culinary world!
My Mother’s Day was pure delight.
We enjoyed the first 2012 Sunday Parkway in Portland and discovered a wonderfully delicious breakfast spot in NE Portland.
Helser’s on Alberta first came to my attention when watching Breakfast Special on OPB. After a glowing recommendation, I was eager to try the fare of this local café.
Mother (and children) weren’t disappointed.
Think English muffins,
but better than anything you’ve had from the store shelf.
Smoked Salmon Hash.
The true sign of
a northwest chef
behind the griddle.
Potato Cakes and a Scotch Egg.
A hard boiled egg,
wrapped in sausage,
rolled in panko bread crumbs,
and deep fried = Genius!
Occasionally I see a "Think Global, Act Local" bumper sticker, and wonder: 'Does that mean I'm doing my part when I eat locally?' I hope so. Social consciousness tastes so good.
Because our LEGO Robotics Team has chosen to research cheese for the project presentation in the 2011 FLL Food Factor challenge, I began searching the web for a local cheesemaker willing to explain their trade. To my good fortune, I hit the dairy-product jackpot when I found Ochoa's Queseria in Albany, Oregon.
Cheesemaker Extraordinaire Fransisco Ochoa explained how cheese is made; gave a tour of his great facility, and offered a delicious taste of the final product. The families who visited praised this "local gem" and vowed to return again.
A huge thank you to Fransisco for helping the youth,
the stomachs, and the taste-buds of our local community!
After a recent family trip to OMSI, our family headed over to what is quickly becoming our favorite Portland neighborhood. The Belmont District is equal part urban-hip AND family-friendly: just our speed.
On this stop, we ate dinner at Laughing Planet, picked up dessert at Saint Cupcake, and then walked the aisles of Zupan's on a search for the new and delicious. It created a trio of delicious delights.
While the menu listings were the deciding factor in our "where to eat dinner" quandary. The atmosphere of the Laughing Planet was a huge bonus. Atop each table sits a pair of dinosaurs and although my boys are getting older, they did indulge in the obligatory my-dinosaur-is-trying-to-eat-your-dinosaur rumble required of all brothers. This tussle may have continued for even longer, but our fruit smoothie arrived quickly and attention was suddenly turned to the magic that is called: Banana Colada. Yum!
My husband read the paper, my youngest investigated the toys on display, my oldest spied all "the cool old movie posters," I basked in the glory of neither cooking nor cleaning, and a hot, delicious dinner arrived at our table. The boys shared a chicken quesadilla; I enjoyed a bowl of mashed potatoes with vegetables; my husband ate something with pesto (...always with pesto...). In a word (again), Yum!
As we left the restaurant, several families were entering Laughing Planet and a long line had formed on the sidewalk for the burger-joint next door. In fact, there was a buzz of activity up and down both sides of the block. Looks like we're not the only ones to have discovered this gem of a neighborhood. When will you stop by to enjoy the beauty of Belmont?
It's blueberry picking time....
We're in the thick of picking berries to freeze
so that we can enjoy them with cold cereal - all winter long.
Here's a great way to find a berry patch near you:
On the Go