Moving Notice

I’m back from my blogging vacation and decided to find it a new home. Come visit!

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Cool Places for Hot Days

Heat wave?! Are you serious? Good grief! Oregonians do not know how to handle this above 100 degrees stuff 🙂  So, if you’ve got kids and are bored with staying indoors in the air conditioning, I do have a few recommendations…

Murase Plaza at Memorial Park in Wilsonville: One of my favorite places to take the kids for some water fun is the “waterwall” in Wilsonville.  It’s also one of my favorite places to get great pics. Major photo op. There are mini-fountains in one area and a block-long rock wall with waterfalls and a concrete stream running in front. I recommend parking at the library across the street. The park parking is a bother of a walk on hot days and more appropriate if you want to play on the slides and such, but the library lines up nicely with the water. There is a public restroom…yay…but very little shade…boo. So, bring an umbrella if you are one of those parents that doesn’t want to join in the fun.

Wilson Pool: I make the trek out to Wilson Pool at least once a summer. Why don’t we have any outdoor public pools out near Sherwood/Tualatin/Newberg/Wilsonvillle/Tigard I have no idea?  My friends and I complain about it every year.  That said, Wilson Pool is worth the drive. It’s got a great slide, a diving board and the lazy river into the crazy, spinning whirlpool. So fun. It’s always busy, but we all seem to make our way through the crowds with ease.  Tuesdays are 2-for-1 which is great, but it’s extra crowded on those days.

Tualatin Commons Fountain and Salmon Street Springs: These are fun, too. Not as exciting, but a great stop on a hot day if you are nearby.  We had the kids run through Salmon Street Springs after visiting Saturday Market and the Brew Fest.  Tualatin Commons is very convenient for us after soccer practice.

Portland Fountains Next on My List: Lovejoy Fountain Park and Keller Fountain.

Dave Mathews Band – Big Whiskey and GrooGrux King

Dave Mathews Band moves me. Whether the lyrics bring emotion or the music behind them gets me dancing…I’m moved. With their latest release, Big Whiskey and the GrooGrux King, they did it again. I can’t get enough of “Funny the Way it is” or “You and Me” or “Grux” and my kids love “Alligator Pie.”   I wasn’t sure what to expect with this release, but is a wonderful tribute to their fallen band mate, Leroi Moore.  We were at one of the first concerts they played after he died (in fact, we were worried they’d cancel the show at the Gorge because they had cancelled several before that). It was an amazing show. They played their hearts out.  I’m disappointed to not be making the trek to the Gorge this year. I would love to hear the new stuff live. But, we go every other year to their annual 3-day stop for Labor Day Weekend and this isn’t the year to go. It’s such a good time. One of the best parties you’ll ever go to.  Just make sure you plan to camp in the big field, get to the show in time for an amazing sunset, and be ready to stay up all night 🙂  Here are a few pics to give you an idea of the setting.

Coldplay Concert

Imagine the stress of having Coldplay tickets in your hand, but not knowing if you can actually make it the concert…  Two of my boys were in district play-off baseball games Friday night and were putting our night out at serious risk. We even tried to sell the tickets, but luckily no one took us up on that spectacular opportunity.  And, luckily, both boys won their games in timely fashion and we were off to the concert.

We are big Coldplay fans. We have all of their CDs. We know all of their songs (and probably all of the words).  The concert was fantastic. Coldplay puts on an excellent, very engaging show. Lots of audience interaction, including a fantastic acoustic set where they came out and visited us poor folks in the general admission lawn seating.  That set included a tribute to Michael Jackson with a cover of Billy Jean.  Very well done. Chris Martin can hit those high notes 🙂  Not sure what my favorite song was. I have too many. Their closing set included “The Scientist” which I LOVE!!!

So, being such huge fans, the concert couldn’t disappoint. That being said, I think the Clark County Amphitheater is my absolute least favorite place to see a concert. We’ve had stellar seats in the reserved section before and it that was pretty good, but then why be in an amphitheater when you are under a cover and can’t see beyond the stage. Sitting in the lawn is a totally lame experience. The sounds is not good, not loud enough, and you can’t see a dang thing. We couldn’t even see the big screens until it got really dark and you could easily hold a conversation during the conert. That’s just wrong! I joked with my friend that if you took the binoculars and focused on the big screen, it was like you were really at a concert.  I’ll never be excited to go that venue, but now I know that I will absolutely not sit in the lawn. Pay the money, honey.  You’ve either gotta be close or not go.  It’s such a different experience than the Gorge Amphitheater. That one rocks no matter wear you sit.

Garden Update – June 27

I’m just giddy at how well my garden is doing!  It’s almost like cheating to have brand new raised beds and fresh blended topsoil.  So far we’re eating all of the lettuce varieties and I’m very impressed with the curly red-leaf variety from Al’s and, of course, the Romaine is always a favorite. Not sure about the Chinese cabbage though. It’s enormous and almost too much of a good thing. I’m thinking it’s too aggressive for a raised-bed space. Ben’s also chowing on his favorite Nasturtiums. He loves the spicy stuff.

We’ve also been taking advantage of the basil and cilantro.  You just cannot beat fresh pesto.  And, while I was shopping for some new cilantro plants for a little succession planting, I discovered a red leaf basil at Al’s. It smells absolutely wonderful and I can’t wait to make some purple pesto. Love it!

More garden news:

– Curly green lettuce (from seed) is ready for cutting

– I’ve got my first zucchini 🙂

– The ever-bearing strawberries have been a real treat (for me and the deer*)

– Lots of green tomatoes and peppers

– Sweet snap peas are climbing high on the “tomato” cages with peas almost ready for eating. My planting secret: Dig 1/2 inch deep, 1 ft diameter circle, throw in 10-12 pea seeds, cover with dirt and plop a tomato cage in the middle. It works fantastic. The deer* have found my peas as well this  year, but so far have only nibbled the tops off of one cage (I have 4).

– Bean plants and lemon cucumbers are looking good, but no fruit yet.

– Onions are tasty and growing great. I planted a lot so I could use some as babies and some as full-size later.

– Pumpkin plants are growing big, but no flowers

– Potatoes are proving hard to keep up with. I think I’m done mounding on the dirt for this year

*Deer: We do not have a deer fence this year, since we had to move the garden. It’s a risky game we’re playing, but so far the damage has been very minimal. I’ve received a lot of advice and here are my favorites: have the boys pee around the garden, hang nylon socks full of human hair around the garden and scatter dog poop around the garden.  I think I’ll try the hair since the other options will make me want to stay away too!

Summer Celebration: Black Butte 2009

Our second annual “let’s get summer started” trip to Black Butte was fun, fun, fun.  The 4 families got along great and the house we rent is just awesome. Next year I have to remember to take pictures of it.  Go check out the pics.

Sam Pitches His First Game

Sam got his shot to be pitcher last night. Still can’t believe they are having 1st graders pitch! He did great. I posted a whole new crop of pictures on my photo website. You just gotta love the intense expressions on their faces while pitching.  Go take a look 🙂

Thai Noodle Salad

Is your garden cilantro taking off like mine? Cilantro can bloom out quick, so start harvesting. I plan on purchasing another start this week so I’ll have some to add to my tomatoes, onions and peppers later this summer. Bring on the salsa! But, until then, Jennifer turned me on to a great recipe for your cilantro, Thai Noodle Salad.  

The salad is refreshing and has quickly become a favorite make-ahead meal for baseball nights. I was chowing down the other night and another spectator said, “Oh my. Look at her salad. It’s so pretty!” I couldn’t stop laughing. Maybe I’ll bring her a bowl to the next game!

You can use shrimp or chicken (rotisserie chicken works great as does baked and shredded chicken breast). It keeps well in the fridge for that night and the next. And, it’s pretty healthy. Yu-um. I’ve made it strict to the recipe and with some change ups as noted in (_). Both are fantastic.

Ingredients

12 oz to 1lb package angel hair (or thin spaghetti) pasta

3 cups shredded napa cabbage (or hearts of romaine)

4 large carrots, shredded (or broccoli slaw)

1 small green bell pepper, chopped (or just 3 reds)

1 small red bell pepper, chopped

1 small yellow bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped

1 bunch fresh green onions, chopped

1/2 cup chopped peanuts

2 tablespoons toasted black sesame seeds (skipped these)

8 ounces frozen cooked shrimp, thawed and

drained (or shredded, cooked chicken)

 

1/4 cup peanut butter

2 tablespoons tahini

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup sweet chili sauce

5 tablespoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

1 teaspoon brown sugar

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

 

DIRECTIONS:

1.

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Break pasta into small pieces (thirds) and add to boiling water; cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain. In a large bowl, toss together the pasta, cabbage, carrots, green, red and yellow bell peppers, cilantro, onions, and shrimp.

2.

In a small bowl, stir together the peanut butter, tahini, rice wine vinegar and sweet chile sauce. Season with soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Ten minutes before serving, toss the sauce with the cabbage mixture until evenly coated. Garnish with black sesame seeds.

Outdoor School

It is amazing to me that I have a kid old enough for Outdoor School. Ben took off this morning for his first overnight camp. He’s ready. That feels good. He’s almost a 7th grader. That’s just crazy talk 🙂  Can’t quite wrap my brain around it.  I’m sure every mother hits this wall of reality (probably many times).  My babies really are going to grow up and leave the nest.

El Burro Loco – Review

It could be said that after 7 hours of hiking and exploring the Ramona Falls area, any hot meal would taste phenomenal. However, I truly think I had my 2nd best Mexican meal ever at El Burro Loco in Welches this Memorial Day weekend.  The atmosphere was great, the food was awesome and it’s a lot more convenient than my #1 Mexican restaurant, Red Mesa, in Florida 🙂

I highly recommend the enchiladas. We tried both the chicken and the pork with green sauce. My favorite was the chicken…amazing.  Pretty spicy, so if you are a weenie better get something else. The salsa was super (we went through 3 batches). Joe had the shredded beef tacos.  Brian sampled them and declared them the best tacos he’d ever had. He also enjoyed the fish tacos.  And, most importantly after a long day of hiking, they had a great selection of microbrews on tap. We enjoyed the “double IPA.”

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