Craft Activities with the Kids

I wanted some downtime with the kids after the weekend, but Jayden seemed to be too full of energy to just sit and chill.  So I decided on a compromise and told him we’d make some nature stuff.  I found a really cool recipe for Treasure Rocks using coffee grounds, sand, salt, flour and water.  Of course, I had to make Daniel run out and get some sand from one of the local play areas as that’s not exactly something we keep in the house so much!  Jayden mixed all the ingredients together and of course – leaving him alone for less than a minute – Ethan started trying to eat it!  They both certainly enjoyed being covered in the mucky goo we ended up creating so I was glad for that.

Our next assignment was to create a rainbow.  I happened to have a ton of food colors as Daniel had bought them to make my “surprise” birthday cake next week with Jayden.  Jayden was so delighted with his creation that he asked me to take a picture of it with him standing next to it (which is pretty impressive for him as he usually hates having his picture taken).  So that was how we spent our afternoon.  I was glad that I had agreed to do something creative with them as it really was a lot of fun for all of us in the end.

Weekend Plans

We have had a great weekend so far.  Early Friday evening, I took the kids to The Devil and the Deep and they loved it!  It was a totally cool aquatic/nautical art show.  I wasn’t sure if it would be age-appropriate for them (well for sure it was for Ethan but he just loves being around his brother and seeing action so I knew he would be fine) but surprisingly, Jayden really got into all the art. 

After that I took the kids home and Daniel and I went to Salt & Straw Ice Cream, which, in retrospect, the kids would have enjoyed too. But then I may have had to give some of my ice cream to them!    The event was to celebrate Elvis Presley’s birthday.  I didn’t try the new special flavor as, truthfully, it sounded gross to me – banana with bacon-infused peanut butter – but Daniel kept trying to convince me as he said he loved it!

Saturday Jayden had a playdate with a friend so Daniel and I took a long walk with Ethan.  I enjoyed it a lot.  When we go walking, it’s one of the only times Daniel doesn’t play Angry Birds on his phone so we really get to talk!

Cycling in the City

I’ve been debating when would be a good age to teach Jayden to ride a bike. I wouldn’t be teaching him as I never learned myself. Apparently my parents’ first attempt with my brother was so disastrous, they didn’t even bother trying with me.  Still, it’s for sure something I feel like I missed out on so I’m hoping Daniel will take in the reins with Jayden and teach him at some point.

Anyway, coincidentally, just as I was thinking about this, I read about cycling in Portland and what a good city it is for it. It was reported to be “one of the most cycle friendly places in the United States.”  That made me even more enthusiastic about getting Jayden on wheels. But then the story went on to warn all those enthusiastic Portland-cyclers that because of this fact, it could ultimately be more dangerous for them since the friendliness of the roads makes them less focused on being careful.

Still, Portland is such a stunning city and the weather is often so perfect for cycling (in the right clothing of course since it can get pretty cold).  I have therefore come to the decision that Jayden should start learning right away and initially he’ll just ride a bike in our yard.  But ultimately he should be able to enjoy cycling in places like the Cycle Path and really get a feel for the beauty of our city.  Still, I’ll wait a few years for that.  I want to keep him as close to home as possible for as long as I can.

Window Shopping in Portland

It really does get to the point where it’s been too much food, TV, wine and just vegging around. I didn’t even want to shop (which Daniel says is a first for me) so I decided to take a hike with Ethan and go window shopping (I can always enjoy some browsing without buying).

It was so lovely to get out in the fresh air and the weather was just perfect – cold, brisk, but great for a workout-walk.  Ethan loved being out too; Jayden was building something with his Lego at home with his dad but I think they were going to venture out for a bit later on in the day too.

So we walked all the way to the Lloyd Center.  I saw some cute stuff in Nordstrom and they were having a really good sale on menswear but I avoided temptation and didn’t get anything.  Besides, Daniel hates when I get him clothes. I did get a Jumba Juice for me and Ethan to share – he loves banana and date – and we sat down for a bit and drank it.

Well, I’m glad we got out for a bit.  It was good to exercise my legs and take Ethan out into the fresh air after all this eating and drinking.

Christmas is Happening!


Portland is such a great place to be over the holiday season.  I mean, it’s always a fabulous town, but I particularly love it over Christmas.  As well, he lights seem even brighter this year.  Indeed, I read somewhere that there were around 500,000 lights outside the Grotto’s chapel, adorned with a whole slew of Christmas trees and bushes.

I’m not such a religious person, but I do feel Christmas should be a little bit about Christ, and, given that the chapel looked so inviting from the outside (and I do want my kids to have a little infusion of Christianity), we all ventured inside.

I was happy I did.  “Whoa,” announced Jayden in shock and delight as I saw a smile spread across his cute face.  It was the sound.  A bunch of people were signing beautiful Christmas songs and it was a true joy for us all; very tranquil too.

I knew that the Grotto was a great place to go.  My neighbor told me she’d been there last week for some of the local school Christmas concerts there.  It’s large too – around 600 seats – and she said there wasn’t an empty seat to be found.

Visiting the chapel always makes me think that I really should come on a more regular basis and bring the kids like every couple of Sundays for prayers.  Maybe that will just have to be one of my many New Year’s resolutions.  We’ll see.  For now, I just want to enjoy it and enjoy the kids’ reactions to it.