Tag Archives: family adventures

A Dam Good Day

I used to enjoy a good Super Bowl Commercial Party – my friends and I would mute the tv during all the cumbersome football, and watch the commercials and half time with glee. That’s “glee,” not “Glee,” BTW.  Brian is always occupied with his annual poker game during the super bowl, so I’m left to my own devices.

But once I had kids, the old Champagne-drinking commercial-watching party just wouldn’t do anymore.

Blessed with gorgeous weather today (seriously – is it really February in Oregon?), we headed eastward to meet up with Dayl and Zephyr for some outdoor play. Other than the snacks we brought and the fuel to get there, it was all FREE family fun!

We stopped first at Bonneville Dam. The visitor center was fairly empty, so the kids could run around a bit.

We didn’t want to be inside too much with the sun shining, but thought the fish ladders would be pretty cool to check out.

Now that is a giant turbine! I was surprised at how interested they were in this thing. They made me read the whole sign, and they had a lot of questions about how it worked.

This video was way over their heads, but they liked being able to push the buttons! Interactive = popular.

Fortunately nobody minded that they were running...

Unfortunately, the ladders were empty. I mean really empty. The guy manning the visitor center informed us that since the ladders were empty, we could see some baby fish in an aquarium, so we headed down to check it out.

No water, and certainly no fish!

Eric thinks he saw a fish in here. I'm not convinced!

After the visitor center, we made our way to the fish hatchery to feed some fish and visit with Herman the Sturgeon, the famous 70+ year-old sturgeon. The Fish Hatchery has beautiful grounds, with pretty ponds and old stone paths. I was a bit paranoid about one of the kids falling in to a pond, but it didn’t happen, and everyone had a great time.

The viewing house at Herman's pond

Herman, in the flesh

Dayl made a new friend, and named him Fred

We stopped for a snack, always a good idea with little ones. Herman's House was a great place for this, with built in benches and awesome fish to watch.

Bring quarters! Several fish-food dispensers are placed around the grounds, and the proceeds go to park maintenance. The fish get all jumpy and active when you feed them, which is fun for the kidlets. We won't talk about the accidental graham cracker feeding.

We had a great time at Bonneville Dam and the Fish Hatchery with Dayl and Zephyr. We had some great discussions about the fur trade, and carnivorous animals, got to play in nature, and spend time with our good friends.

We followed it up with a short hike on the Pacific Crest Trail from Cascade Locks, and then a late lunch at Charburger. Perfect for our non-Super Bowl Day!


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Filed under Family, Nature, Oregon, Travel

Swans at ZooLights @oregonzoo {Wordless Wednesday}


Filed under Family

Reflecting on the Year & Preserving Memories

I’m fairly crafty, but I just can’t get behind “scrapbooking.” For one thing, “scrapbook” is not a verb. I’m sorry – it’s just not!

Can you conjugate it? NO! So stop saying that!


I love the idea of preserving our memories, but refuse to do it in that way. It’s too labor intensive, often too cutesy, and most things I’ve seen look cluttery. Since I’m trying to streamline my home, the last thing I want ANYWHERE is more clutter.

So, how to capture the special times throughout the year and have a record to look back on, without being all cheesy/cutesy/cluttery?

I’ve found a few ideas over at TodaysMama.com, and I’m totally on board.

First, printable questionnaire to fill out with your kids. How cool is that? My kids are just old enough to both get in to this, and we can add the pages to the backs of their baby books – which haven’t been updated since each had their first birthday, by the way. I like the idea of sitting down with them and reflecting on the year, and they’ll remember different things than Brian and I will. You can download these printables over at Today’s Mama.

Next: Memory jar to keep throughout the year, seen on Today’s Mama, courtesy of The Steamy Kitchen:

Keep a jar and some notes nearby, and everyone in the family can add notes or memories or little treasures throughout the year. Then on New Year’s Eve, you can open up the jar and relive all your memories together. Pinterest has a ton of other memory jar ideas. I’m now kicking myself for putting those Pinkalicious theatre tickets in the recycling bin last week! I’ll have to come up with a way to manage this without it seeming like more clutter in my house… notice a theme, here?

Finally, we are taking pictures of the kids artwork and creating an online gallery. The idea is that I don’t have to save EVERY. PIECE. Anna in particular creates several pieces of art every day – it gets a little overwhelming. So we’re capturing them digitally, and recycling. Yes – I said it – I’M RECYCLING MY DAUGHTER’S PRECIOUS ARTWORK. Are you judging me? Admit it! There are some pieces that I just can’t bear to put in the recycling bin, so I’ve put those in a nearby plastic tub. Employing this new system has kept the giant piles of paper from accumulating in my dining room. We’re even taking pictures of all of her school work, and since they’re automatically date-stamped, we have a great record of the progress she’s making with her handwriting and spelling as she moves through Kindergarten. Awesome, right? I’m feeling so organized!

What ways do you keep track of your memories throughout the year?



Filed under Family, Home

ZooLights at Oregon Zoo {Wordless Wednesday}

ZooLights runs November 25 - January 1, closed December 24-25


Filed under Family, Travel