Getting Away with Alcohol!

It’s always good to get away.  No matter how much I like living in Portland, it’s just fun to do something different and get away from the humdrum of my day-to-day existence.  So Daniel said to get the kids ready; get Galvin set to drop off at the kennels and we would take a nice drive somewhere that included a bit of alcohol (in the form of sophisticated wine-tasting of course) that would also be kid-friendly.  It sounded absolutely perfect so I enthusiastically packed all our bags without any complaining.

A little more than an hour after we set off, with Ethan sleeping peacefully in the back and Jayden watching Blues Clues on the iPad fixed to the back of my head rest, we arrived at Pheasant Valley’s Bed & Breakfast and Winery.  It was absolutely stunning.  I couldn’t have chosen anything better if I would have planned it myself.  I was truly delighted and thrilled with Daniel’s choice.  Right smack bang in the middle of Columbia River Gorge, the atmospheric air was wonderful for the kids too and I immediately put a smile on my face.

On Friday night after a delicious wholesome, hearty home-cooked meal, we got a babysitter and went walking.  I love window-shopping so we did a lot of that and then just enjoyed the scenery.  We got back at around 9 and took in an early night so we could be up full of energy for the active day ahead.

We started with kayaking (the boys LOVED it), then Daniel took Jayden fishing (he was a little bit interested!) while I put Ethan in the baby-carrier and went walking.  Later on Daniel went river-rafting and the kids and I enjoyed a bowl of French onion soup.  Both kids passed out for around 2 hours Saturday afternoon, leaving Daniel and me free to enjoy a tasting of some of the most excellent wines to have ever graced my palette.

Thankfully we had used the online booking facility to reserve our spot at the Indian Creek Golf Course which Jayden got a real kick out of watching.  He even “helped” Daniel putt a few holes and really had a good time.  I was just busy chasing Ethan around the gorgeous greenery.  Later that night we took the kids to a restaurant in Hood RiverRiverside, located on E. Marina Way, which was a little pricey, but we felt worth it – especially as the kids had a blast.

We drove back this morning and now the kids are settled in their room playing with their toys.  They had a great time for sure, but I think they are pleased to be back.  As I always say, there’s simply no place like home.  Now I just have to brace myself for the working week ahead.

Ethan and The Dog

One thing I’ve forgotten to mention so far in this blog (and don’t tell Daniel – he won’t be pleased) is our dog Galvin.  The reason Daniel will be less-than-happy is because he sees him as “the first born.”  And, in a sense, he’s right.  Galvin was a rescue dog we found as a puppy when we were engaged (he was sooo cute; “he still is,” I hear Daniel yelling in the background) and he’s been with us ever since.

Anyway, sometimes I do feel a bit bad about my neglect of Galvin since having the kids.  He used to blink and I would think he was a genius.  Now I hardly even notice if he’s thrown up a hairball! So yesterday I decided that first Ehtan, Galvin and I would take a long walk (yes, Ethan still fits in the Ergo Baby Carrier – knowing he’s my last kid I just can’t seem to give it up yet).  I left Jayden in Daniel’s office to watch Toy Story 3 so the three of us could bond. It was a beautiful, sunny – somewhat crisp – d y as well.

After a while it looked like Galvin was getting a bit tired from the walk so we got home and went into the car to buy Galvin a toy.  I figured he deserved something nice.  The kids are always getting new stuff.  So I checked the Internet for local dog stores and went along to All For Paws.  I chose some really cool stuff for him there – actually, it was him who chose the stuff; he went over to the toys and treats he liked and stayed in place for a while so I picked them up for him. 

Now I don’t need to feel bad for putting him in the kennels when we go to Daniel’s parents for the weekend. Besides, they look sort of nice to me from the site – maybe he’ll even have a good time and feel more spoiled there!

Here’s to a grand weekend for us all! 


New Toys for Jayden


So yeah it’s coming up to Christmas and of course, we have to spoil our kids (who doesn’t around the holiday season?)  Truthfully, we only need to get one toy as Ethan could care less if he’s playing with a broken block or a stone from the street, and, he has all of Jayden’s old toys. But we want to get Jayden something he’ll not only really enjoy, but also get creative with as he’s a pretty imaginative kid and loves to play on his own which is certainly great for me!

He’s been using his Lego a lot recently.  Indeed, every morning before we leave for preschool he needs at least 10 minutes to build “another spaceship.”  So that’s great.  But then when I was at Kayla’s house I saw these Clic Toys and he was having a blast with them. He was making all sorts of things – hardly playing with her kid (his best friend, Matthew), at all.  So I think we’re going to get them – probably the smallest box of 175 pieces, because at his age, that will probably be more than adequate.

There’s also something I saw online: Color Mixing Toys.  Since mom and dad want to get the kids something for Christmas too, I may suggest these.  They’re just for fun and don’t really require so much imagination but it’s just for a good time and, really, isn’t that what grandma and grandparent presents are meant to be about?  According to the promo though, as well as being fun, they are educational.  You put them on and see magic!  You can switch the lenses pretty easily and see the world like a bug does or how it would like through a kaleidoscope.  So I guess that’s educational and it’s definitely something different…certainly wasn’t around in my day Indeed, it gives kids a way of changing the entire world…now, in my life that would be really amazing; just think of all the endless possibilities…hmmm, well, it’s sure something nice to dream about for a not-so-sunny Wednesday!

Have a great day and if you get a few moments to yourself, curl up with a nice hot cup of tea and dream about what you would do if you could change your view of the world into a reality.

Getting Great Service in Portland

I love living in Portland.  We moved just before we had the kids.  Before that we were living in Connecticut where I’d grown up so I was really reluctant to relocate, but anyway we didn’t have a choice as Daniel got a new job.  Anyway, since we’ve come here, I am more and more pleased we were forced into it, almost on a day-to-day basis.

One of the places I discovered very early on – probably because we needed a decent supply of groceries in our home pretty immediately – was Zupan’s Markets.  Located in three convenient areas in the city (Belmont, Burnside and Macadam), the produce sold there is so fresh I cannot work out how they do it. I also like the idea of a family-run business and this is really the feel you get at Zupans – like, I even felt a personal loss a few months ago when the founder and owner of the store – John Zupan – passed away.

Another early discovery I made in the city was the restaurant, the Old Wives’ Tales.  Being a vegetarian veering on the edge of veganism (don’t tell Daniel, he’ll divorce me – he’s SUCH a carnivore), this was a great find.  As well as having a great play area for Jayden (and Ethan is happy as he can just glare lovingly as his big brother and hero plays), it has a huge vegan/veggie menu with some great meat options so I don’t get a sour look from the big man. Sometimes, I even find myself dreaming about the salad bar as I run to pick the kids up from daycare to take them there for a treat…when really I know it’s actually my treat; great food and fun for the kids!

So I’m constantly discovering new and awesome things to do in Portland.  It really does seem that every time I turn around there is something else great about this city.  Apart from missing my parents who are still in Connecticut, I love living in Portland!  They are actually coming to stay over Christmas so I have that to look forward to as well.  And I’ll sure be showing them around my great city that I’m ever so proud of!

So, until next time…have a great Tuesday and try to find something you love about your city!

Making Us Rich!

So, last night I decided it was time to really try to get my head around Asia finance.  Daniel had taken Jayden to the library for story-time and Ethan had passed out from crying, so I actually had some real, undisturbed time – quite a rarity in my house! 

Here’s how this all started.  My brother Jack and I have – for as long as I can remember – been discussing easy ways to make money.  Nothing has ever really come of it – from selling hairdryers door-to-door to online data entry jobs; trying to navigate different site advice on the best ways to make money online or even selling specially-made cookies to neighbors.  Unfortunately, all that we have gleaned from these efforts are a big headache while making a few measly extra bucks on the side – hardly worth it. 

So a few weeks ago Jack told me that with the inheritance we still have since our nana’s passing, he was sure he had a foolproof way of making it make us rich, being, Asia finance.  His buddy Dick had been playing around in this field for the last six months or so, he said, and it had really done a lot for his bank balance.  I told him that I’d first have to do my own research and then get back to him.

Asia Finance: 101

This is what I found out, in a nutshell (or, as close to a nutshell as one can get on this somewhat expansive topic).  First, it seems that it’s very popular, because even after there was some crash in Asia’s economy back in the 1990s, it remained a pretty sure thing and people weren’t exactly running away from it.  That immediately gave me initial confidence and somewhat more interest in finding out more about this.

Second, it seems I already know a lot more than I thought – big electronic companies like Sony are Asia-owned and since I am confident in that market (who isn’t?), it could be a good one to start with.  However, what I wasn’t so aware of was that many of these companies have high profiles in the US market.  But if Sony releases some new game console, making an investment in its stock will be a direct Asian investment and a pretty good, safe option.  I’m very into safe.  Jack is too, but perhaps not quite as much as me, but I think he’ll listen to me when it comes to nana’s inheritance.

So that’s Japan taken care of.  Then I looked into what China might be able to offer and it seems that it’s a good idea to put some eggs in a smaller basket there, at least initially.  For example, not-so-large oil companies such as PetroChina have some pretty impressive options for investors.  And then it occurred to me, ooh, I may be becoming an “investor” and I thought that sounded pretty cool!

I also discovered that putting capital into companies was probably a safer bet than actually dealing with the whole Asian stock market as that appears to be a bit too unpredictable and complicated for my limited talents to date.  Maybe in the future, but we’re just not quite there yet. And it’s the same for hedge funds too. 

I was just about to look a bit further on this topic, when I heard the sweet dulcet tones of Jayden screaming, “mommy, mommy, we heard all about the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and it was cool,” and I knew my night of research had reached its natural end!