Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Portland Food Tour (Spring Break Visit)

It was so fun to have Erin with us for her spring break.  The kids were really excited to see her



If there was any one theme as far as our activities were concerned, it was definitely food.  We ate.  A lot.  We went to La Provence, a French bistro, and the kids got fancy meringue creations (Henry got a ladybug, and Claire got a Unicorn).



Erin and Harper became fast friends.


Harper told Erin stuff.


We ventured out to the art museum.  A visit to Portland wouldn't be complete without the rain.



Good thing I love the rain!  The park blocks looked lovely.


There was quite literally a bull in the china shop.  This exhibit with a contemporary porcelain artist freaked me out with Henry on the loose.  I was almost certain that I would be leaving the art museum with a lifetime ban and a huge bill for destroyed artwork.  Erin came prepared though.  She was covertly handing Henry gummy bears as a bribe to keep him in his seat.


We especially liked the Impressionist art.


Henry liked this one because it was red.


Mulling over Monet.


After art, we needed donuts. Being such a foodie city, there are so many restaurants that I want to try.  Every time a new list of  "best places to eat" comes out, I add another eating establishment to the list.  Erin graciously agreed to help me knock a few off my list. We headed to Blue Star Donuts, which has made all the foodie lists as of late (because I guess Voodoo Donuts, the long-time, well known donut shop isn't fancy enough for those with refined palates).  


We tried Mexican hot chocolate (spicy!), Passion fruit with coca nibs (the flavor of passion fruit, which neither of us liked, was really strong), Chocolate almond ganache (pretty good), and Meyer lemon with lime curd (this one was by far my favorite), and a few simple cake donuts for the kids.


They were good, but I don't know if I would consider them better than Voodoo.  They're just different.  The flavors were very strong and definitely appeal to adults rather than little people.  (This photo is Henry, trying to calm his tongue after trying the Mexican hot chocolate.)


All three kids loved having Buddy time.



We ventured downtown for a second time, this time with Adam.  First up:  Ken's Artisan Bakery.  Our brother, Mark, has a bread cookbook that was authored by the Ken of Ken's Artisan Bakery, and Mark insisted that we check this place out.   I am so glad we did!




We shared a delicious ham and cheese croissant, a croque monsieur sandwich, and macaroons, and we took home a loaf of bread and a lovely blood orange tart.  Everything was wonderful!   


You know the food is good when Henry Man gobbles it up.



After the bakery, we headed to Little Big Burger to share a burger and truffle fries.  (And before you think we were total pigs, we split most of the food 3 ways, so we were really only getting a couple of bites of any one thing.)



We got the window seat, a first for us!  


It really was a beautiful day to be walking around PDX!



Next stop:  The Saturday Market.  Erin wanted to find a bit of artwork for her wall, so we thought we would try out the market.  


We didn't find anything that quite fit the bill, but we had a nice half hour walking around, just the two of us, while Adam drove around with the kids.


After the market, we hit up our favorite pod of food carts.  Here is Claire, making her first-ever food cart order at the Grilled Cheese Grill.  Since she's six, she ordered a simple, classic grilled cheese.  But it was delicious.  It was so hard to wait! 



Then we walked over to a nearby park to eat and watch the group of skateboarders trying out tricks in the park.  Dinner and a show!



The very last stop of our Portland food day was the Cheese Bar.  We wanted to take home a cheese plate to eat with our loaf of bread from the bakery, but unsure what we wanted, we enlisted the help of the resident cheese monger, who let us try a bunch of things before we made our final selections.  It was so fun!  We got one that was nutty, one that was non-cow (per Adam's request), and one semi-soft cheese.


Too full to eat it that night, we made a light lunch of our cheese and artisan bread the next day before Erin needed to get to the airport, and enjoyed the blood orange tart for dessert.  Everything was delicious!


It was so fun to eat and explore and eat some more while Erin was here.  Five days just never seems to be enough!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

New Classes

There are some moms out there who are great at getting their kids signed up for various activities.  I don't consider myself one of those.  Whether because of having a new baby or simply forgetting the registration date, I have been terrible about it.  This spring however, I really wanted to get the kids signed up for things, and I actually remembered the morning of registration.  I planned ahead, figured out what classes I wanted for the kids, and was ready to go.  But by the time I got Henry added on to our family account with the park and rec department, the sports class I wanted for Henry was already full.  So I signed him up for beginning tumbling.  He likes to jump, climb through stuff, do somersaults, etc., so I figured it would be an acceptable alternative, and would adequately allow him to get out his seemingly endless energy.  

I was wrong.  As we walked into the class, passing the desired sports class as we entered, Henry asked, "where are all the balls, Mom?"  The age range on the class discription was 2 years to 3 years 11 months.  Henry fell nicely in the middle of that range, but as we walked into class, it was quickly aparent that he was the oldest kid in class, a good head-and-shoulders above all the other kids.  Class opened with mat time, with kid music playing in the background, and the teacher passing out scarves for the kids to balance on their heads.  Henry was having none of that.  For the first 15 minutes of a 30 minute class, we sat on the sidelines.  Finally, there were some actual physical activities, and Henry finally agreed to participate.  First up, a balance-the-egg-on-a-spoon race.


Henry was kind of a cheater.


There was the obstacle course, which Henry loved, although he was a little frustrated at how slow the littler kids were.


Then there was the egg hunt.  Henry loved this too.


I love how Henry runs!  


We've had similar results as we've returned to class:  he sits out the first little bit, reluctant to participate.  And then the past few weeks, he hasn't wanted to attend at all.  So beginning tumbling was a bust for Henry.  Hopefully we'll have better luck with classes this summer.

I finally got Claire into swimming.  She is thrilled about it.


Claire loves being in the water.


She has a smile on her face pretty much through each entire class.


  It's fun to see her improve, overcome her fears, and enjoy her class.  Every week, Claire thanks me for signing her up for swimming.


Easter Activities

We kicked off this year's Easter activities with an egg hunt at the church.  



 The kids were excited!





Since General Conference fell on Easter weekend this year, we wore our Easter outfits the Sunday before the holiday. 







In between Conference sessions, we had a visit from the Easter bunny, who left treats around the back yard.  This little one will be in on the action next year, I'm sure.



And they're off!






We had a simple, quiet Easter, lots of candy, and best of all, lots of family time.  

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