Monday, September 30, 2013

LEGO® KidsFest: Portland

Doesn't every kid love LEGO® bricks? Did you know there's an expo for LEGO fans travelling all across the country? Yeah - I was pretty excited when I found out too. Then, I heard from Jill of US Family Guide that I would get to attend the opening night with my family! 

The expo will be taking place at the Oregon Convention Center from October 11-13. There will be five different sessions you can buy tickets to, but each session will have the same exhibits and activities, so pick the time that works best for you and take advantage of all the fun. Tickets are $19 for kids and $21 for adults. 

Tickets have been selling out early at all the venues, so if you're interested, be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible! 

Are you still wondering what might be involved? Think, life-sized LEGO models and displays, games, group builds, live LEGO Master Builders, and more encompassing the space of approximately 3 acres! 

Be sure to check out to get all the details. I can't wait to see the reactions of my kids when we get there! 

Disclosure: I am receiving free admission to Lego KidsFest in return for promoting the event. 

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Family Week with eMeals

So I know I'm a bit late to the party with Family Week nearly ended, but shouldn't we take time every week to appreciate our families? The losses my family experienced this year has taught me that it is important to count our blessings each and every day. Even supposedly expected loss comes as a shock. So each day, it's important we take the time to cherish the little things.

Doesn't it seem like we most often take for granted the ones who are most important to us? Let's take a little time each day to give voice to our appreciation and adoration.

eMeals has provided a great schedule of activities and meal plans to help you. Take advantage - you could even spread these out and make a weekly family night! (click on images to enlarge, or download the PDF here)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

MommyCon: an interview with founder Alexzandra Higgins

You may or may not have heard of MommyCon, but it's coming to Portland THIS WEEKEND. Considered a boutique conference focused on natural parenting, its popularity is literally snowballing its way across the country. From the press release: 

“Natural parenting” is based on the desire to live and parent responsively as well as consciously.  It has increasingly become a hot topic for families in today's society and on Saturday, September 28, MommyCon will be coming to The Jupiter Hotel (800 E Burnside Street) to provide families with advice, inspiration, techniques, products and answers to all questions regarding "natural parenting. 

Portland's MommyCon's will include over a dozen workshops and seminars that cover everything from birthing, breastfeeding and babywear plus phenomenal speakers that range from birth professionals to inspirational parenting bloggers. 

I will be attending the conference, including VIP sessions this Friday, so be sure to follow along on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to get all my "behind the scenes" updates as I experience MommyCon for myself - in real time and before I post to the blog about the event. 

Monday, September 23, 2013

How to Catch a Fly

Back when we were packing up our house last year, we got the majority of our boxes from various grocery stores around town. If you can time it just right (ie. before they crush them to send off for recycling) you can get nice apple and banana boxes great for moving for cheap or even free. Unfortunately, all the boxes we filled our house with brought with them an unexpected problem. You guessed it (or you should have) - a fruit fly infestation. It was so gross, I still hate thinking about it. I picked up this simple tip for getting rid of them, and I very recently (as in, I still have these out right now) got to use this trick again. Yay. I'm just grateful I already had this up my sleeve, because it honestly works pretty quickly.
how to combat fruit flies

Friday, September 20, 2013

The Film Triathlon and Honeymoon Revisited

A few weekends ago (actually, immediately following The Color Run™), my husband packed up his car and left town for over a week. His destination? Astoria, Oregon for The Film Triathlon. If you've been following this blog for a while, you might remember my husband pays the bills with his multi-media production company Vivid Frame Media (VFM).

Honestly, I didn't even know these type of film competitions existed before. The teams checked in on a Saturday night for the opening ceremony where they were assigned a genre (VFM got "after school special"). Then, they were given 5 days to write, film, edit, and score an original short film.

I stayed home with the kids, but the following Friday, I left the kids home with my parents and made the drive out to attend the screening and awards ceremony.

Unfortunately, some last minute issues with a failing hard drive as well as (computer) difficulties rendering caused the team to submit their entry just 20 minutes past the deadline. This put them out of the running for the grand prize, but they were still eligible for categorical prizes. In the end, they took home Best Score, and some inspiration and motivation to participate in more film festivals. I should say here that I am immensely proud of my husband and the work they produced. I honestly believe they could have placed had they not been disqualified.

The competition ended on a Friday evening, but we had our hotel room at the Astoria Riverwalk Inn through the following Sunday. Being that this was only the second time we've stayed anywhere overnight without the kids, and the fact that we actually honeymooned in Astoria way back when... Voila! Romantic Weekend Getaway!

We really didn't do anything to exciting, except ALL THE THINGS WITHOUT KIDS. Don't get me wrong - I missed them, and it would have been so fun to include them, but that bike ride to the cannery? The two trips up the Astoria Column? And that misadventure on the tandem bike just because? Yeah, that probably wouldn't have happened.

Mostly, it was a weekend of enjoying each other's company, wandering around the little coastal town, laughing a lot, and not worrying so much about everything going on in our day-to-day lives back home. It was fun and refreshing. I wouldn't leave my kids every weekend, but I think it's so important to do things like this occasionally. It was a nice reminder to focus on our relationship instead of always putting the kids first (not that they don't deserve it sometimes!).

We're trying to make our marriage a greater priority. What are some things you do to strengthen your marriage and keep your relationship fresh? 

If you're interested in viewing all the submissions to The Film Triathlon 2013, you can check out their Vimeo page HERE. And if you just want to see the short film by my husband and his team, you can go directly HERE. You'll recognize my husband as Peter. 

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Megan and Liz at Macy's: how it went

So this last weekend, my husband and I loaded up the car with both kids and my cousin to see Megan and Liz perform at a local Macy's.
Megan and Liz #meganandlizontour

We arrived at the mall about an hour before the start of their appearance, and there was already a crowd forming. I may not have known about these girls a month ago, but I can guarantee the girls waiting around me had. By the time Megan and Liz came out, we were all packed pretty tight.

Seeing and hearing all the excitement for the show made things more fun and built my own excitement in anticipation. It was great listening in on different conversations about the show. I even got to witness a few girls who were meeting in person for the first time. They were just "Twitter friends" before, and knew each other because of Megan and Liz.

Being that we were there so early, my kids were pretty squirrelly. Seriously, they were dragging themselves around on the floor on their bellies. They're 5 and 2, so I couldn't really blame them for being impatient. As soon as the girls came out, though, they had everyone's complete attention. (Huge relief for me because then I could enjoy the show without worrying so much about my kids!) Megan and Liz are fun, personable, and talented. And it really added to the experience to see everyone in the audience singing along. I was honestly sad and disappointed they only did three songs for us. Apparently, I should have been at the Hawthorne the night before to catch their full act. Even my husband was impressed. And I was glad I thought to invite my 17 year old cousin. She drove in from out of town, and I think I can safely say she enjoyed the show.
The girls met with fans after the set - signing autographs and posing for pictures. You could tell they genuinely appreciate their fans. It's always fun to see that kind of interaction. Overall, I'm so glad I made it out for this.

If you're interested in learning more about Megan and Liz, be sure to check out their website: and look for their music on iTunes. I really love their song Release You, and G has been asking for In the Shadows Tonight. So much good stuff.

Thanks for the "Sassy Sunday" Megan and Liz!

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated by Everywhere for writing this post as well as taking part in the event. All views and opinions are my own. 

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Megan and Liz

Once upon a time, before having kids, I used to get out to concerts regularly. In fact, G attended 3 separate concerts in utero. That hasn't been happening so much lately... or the last several years, really. 

This coming weekend, Megan and Liz are coming to the Portland area. Macy's at Washington Square is hosting them this Sunday, September 15 at 2pm and I will be there. 

The girls will be performing an acoustic set with songs from their new album Look What You Started. I'll be honest, I hadn't even heard of these girls before maybe a week or so ago, but I like them. Here's a little taste of what they have to offer: 

I'll be attending their concert with my kids (okay, we'll wait until the last minute to see if I really bring N with me), and I'm bringing my 17 year old cousin with me. This is going to be fun. If you're in the area, be sure to join us! And if you can't make it, be sure to follow along on Instagram or Twitter using #MeganAndLizOnTour.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. I am being compensated by Everywhere for writing this post as well as taking part in the event. All views and opinions are my own. 
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Monday, September 9, 2013

The Color Run™ Portland: Date Morning

Remember when I said I'd be sharing more races with you? I honestly had no idea it would be this soon! Friday afternoon I lucked into some free registrations to The Color Run™ in Portland, sponsored by Chevrolet. The only "fun run" I've done before was a mud run/ obstacle course about 4 years ago. I did it by myself, and while I had a good time, I decided I would rather spend my money on "real" races in the future. They're a lot of money on my budget.

But when a local blogger, Ann, asked if anyone was interested, I jumped at the chance. My mother-in-law has actually done The Color Run™ two years in a row and loves it. I figured I could tag along with her. Then I found out I was actually getting three tickets! My mind started spinning with all the people I wanted to bring with me! Turns out, though, it's harder than you'd think to find two people to run a race with you with less than 24 hours notice. Even when it's going to be free.

In the end, my husband and his sister signed up to do the run with me. I was a little disappointed when my sister-in-law then backed out almost as quickly as I turned in her registration information, but it ended up being a good thing. We got ourselves a little "date morning" out of it.

My husband and I don't work out together ever. We tried it once or twice before having kids, and it did not work. At all. Maybe it was the distraction of everything else going on, but we actually had a great time together. It was fun running and just being goofy together. And now my husband wants to do things like this together more. Races and just running together. Personally, I hate running with people EXCEPT during races, so we'll see how this turns out. haha

A color run is great for participants of all fitness levels, seriously. And, I was pleasantly surprised to find how incredibly family friendly the whole event is. A big part of me really wished I would have brought G. We wouldn't have been able to run the whole time, but it would have been fun. Maybe next year? It was so cute to see the kids running along side their parents, and the smaller ones hoisted up on their mom's and dad's shoulders when they got too tired. I loved it.

Have you done The Color Run™? What out of the box family activities have you considered? 

I was given free registration for The Color Run™ in Portland, but I was not compensated in any way for writing this post. 

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Friday, September 6, 2013

Lessons Learned: New Year Goals

In the last week, I came across some blog posts that I found particularly inspiring that I wanted to share. They're both running related, but I honestly believe the ideas can be applied in a lot of ways.

So here are the posts: Jessica of runladylake shared her race recap from the Hood to Coast, and Amanda of The Lady Oakie shared her 2013 New Year's Resolutions Completed.

Reading Jessica's post really inspired me to work harder on my running. I love how she talks about trying new things and believing in yourself as much as others do. I definitely have trouble with that - I'm always second guessing.

And Amanda? Holy cow - It's barely September and she's finished all her resolutions for the year? How many of us finish even one in 12 months?

So this is what I say: Who needs to wait for January 1st to set some new goals?
set goals to achieve goals

1. Run an average 9min mile. Right now, I'm closer to 11. It will be pretty impressive to shave those two minutes off in the next 12 months. I was able to run a 7 min mile in high school, so I refuse to say it's impossible! Prepare yourself to hear about more races, because you know that's how I keep myself motivated. Also, I love running races.

2. Finally run my first half marathon. I had a plan to compete in a trail run in October, but it sold out within an hour. So now I'm in search of another. I try not to run on Sundays, and do you have any idea how difficult it is to find a half marathon on a Saturday? They aren't that rare, but there are far more that take place on Sundays.

3. Run the Hood to Coast. Since I was in high school, I've had friends running this race. Before becoming pregnant with N, I decided it was time to finally commit. So now I'm really, really ready to commit. I will find a team to join and run the Hood to Coast in 2014.

4. Reach my 40lbs weight loss goal. At this point, I'm only 18lbs away. I can do it. You didn't think all these goals would be specific to running, did you?

5. Write more. This isn't really a blogging goal, necessarily. I used to write all the time. Recently I came across a folder of writing from an English class I took in college. I've always enjoyed writing. Now the only writing I do is here. I guess I should look on the positive side - at least I'm doing some kind of writing. I just want to do more. I want to write stories and poems. And I know they aren't very good, but I still like it.

And, I think that's good for now. Maybe once I've crossed something off, I can add something. Or maybe the next time I read some really inspiring blogs. Either way, I want to be held more accountable than at other times that I've set goals for myself on this blog that have gotten lost along the way. I'm going to set up a tab above so I can keep track.

Do you set goals for yourself? Are you good about following through? Better than me, I hope! 

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013

PDX Book Club: Fitness Confidential review and a giveaway (closed)

A few weeks ago, I was invited to join a group of local bloggers for the first meeting of the PDX Book Club. It was fun to have something social just for me to look forward to. We met up at the Starbucks at Pioneer Courthouse Square (that's downtown Portland, if you're not familiar). We sat outside, enjoyed the warm weather, traded war stories about parenthood, and (of course) discussed the book.

Afterwards, my husband and I took advantage of the night out. We grabbed dinner from one of the awesome food carts nearby. If you don't know me well, that is my kind of food. Egyptian Food Cart falafel gyro... I already want to go back. So. Good.

Anyway, the book. I was sent a digital copy of Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich and Dean Lorey. If you're curious who Vinnie is - he also carries the title of "America's Angriest Trainer." He's essentially an awesome athlete who is also a gym teacher turned personal trainer, turned celebrity trainer. And Dean Lorey? Ever heard of a little show called Arrested Development? If you haven't, you can catch up on Netflix. My husband has all the episodes memorized. Lorey is a writer and producer for movies and television (AD included, obviously).
Fitness Confidential by Vinnie Tortorich: review