a new hike in the city : Lower Macleay Park

We wanted to take a new hike the other day.  We didn’t want to drive too far.  We just wanted to get out.  It was a rainy day, you know… it’s Portland!  You just need to get good shoes and a coat if you feel like you need one.  My Lucas likes to get wet, and he’s never really cold, so he goes how he feels comfortable.  I guess he is our true Oregonian!

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This hike is in Forest Park.  Lower Macleay Park.  We’ve never been.  We ended up at the Audubon Society of Portland.  It coincides with the Wildwood Trail.  When we started it was cloudy and sprinkling some.  By the time we were coming down from the Audubon Society, it was pouring, but under the canopy of the trees we didn’t feel it too bad.  Besides it is much nicer when you have a little someone telling you how much they enjoy the rain and getting wet.  It’s all on how you see it, right?

DSC_0040-small DSC_0038-smallIndian plum.

DSC_0045-small DSC_0053-small DSC_0044-smallBalch Creek.  Named after the man who owned this land and the stone house (pictured down below.)  But also known as the first man legal execution in Oregon in 1859.  He had nine children and after one of his daughters left with one of his hired man from Vancouver (Washington) he shot him “by accident” one day he had come to the city for goods. (Read more of his story here.)


Wild Rose.

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The largest tree in the park is this Douglas Fir, over 240 feet tall.

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Then we found this stone house.

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It is a great hike I recommend you visit, if you are in town.  I think during a hot summer day, this would be a great way to get cooled off under the shade of these giants.

Happy Earth Day to you, today.

Posted in family, locals, Oregon, outdoors, spring | Leave a comment

spring cleaning


Every spring, the first few sunny days, brings me the energy for cleaning and de-cluttering, and fixing and getting rid of what we don’t use or need anymore.

DSC_0151-smallBy then, we’ve been inside for many months, cleaning and using every little corner of our home inside.  Finally, in those fresh spring days, I get to breathe a little longer, breathe new air.  Spring air.  I feel the need to bring that air inside too.  Making room for new things, but mostly, taking out what we don’t need anymore.


Though this shelf might look still a little cluttered… you should have seen it before this photo!


And this shelf, looks like I can actually find what I am looking for, now. 


We cleaned books throughout the house.  Returned those we are not reading anymore to the library.  Made a pile of those we don’t want anymore.  Changed some of the blankets for those a little lighter and less hot.  Cleaned the floors.  Took the Christmas cards down from the wall and left the space for new ones.  We like looking at our friends’ photos and reading their greetings, even though it is not Christmas anymore… But oh… it feels so good to be cleaned up a little more.  Like a new beginning.

I know some of our cleaning won’t last very long.  We will have piles of new books on the floor.  Our new interests, our new plans, our new intentions, takes us to the library once more.  We’ll also have new games and more cards and new drawings to hang.  But this is what life is all about.  This is what our home is all about.  Living and learning.




Outside was cleaned too. Old toys were given away.  Broken chairs and non-working anything were taken away too.  Oh… it feels good.  Here and there, a little at a time.



We put new bark chips in our paths, and it makes it look so beautiful.  I know it smells good, it’s cedar.  This is one of the smells I wish I could smell, but I can almost imagine it. I think I’d like it.

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We are looking for a new wooden table and chairs to put out here.  Ours is broken and can barely last few more gatherings.  They’ve done their job being part of our days for over 8 years.  I’ll keep looking.  


Now, with these new bark chips, some weeding and trimming done, we are ready for the next months ahead of us, where we mostly spend our days out here.  Sometimes by ourselves, sometimes two, three or the four of us.  Many times with friends.

Playing, talking, sharing, learning, gardening, napping, camping, knitting, reading, sitting by the fire, watching movies, hanging out with friends, resting, creating, planning, or having breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Spring, summer and fall.  We are here together.  It’s home. 

Posted in family, friends, gardening, home, organize, spring | Leave a comment

geometry 2 : 3D shapes


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Another bag we got from the library was the 3D geometric shapes.

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It came with this set of clear plastic geometric shapes, and you can add colored pictures to resemble daily items.

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We made these containers be whatever we wanted for a while.  Then, we traced the paper pictures, to see how these shapes look flat.  And how these turn into 3D shapes when folded.


These bags also come with a couple of books.


It also came with a set of wooden colored cubes.  We used them to count, but mostly we followed the patterns that came with the set, in the bag.

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They had lots of fun with that.

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After practicing all the shapes they gave us I asked them each to write a three letter word.

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Yup! They wrote the same word.



Posted in homeschooling, locals, math | 2 Comments

snowing apples + blog anniversary

Well you probably know, that it can’t actually snow apples.  I know.  But it is snowing apple blossoms, though!  Though both of our bee hives disappeared during the winter (we are very sad about that) it seems as though the apple trees have gone bananas with their flowers this year again.

Both apple trees have been beautiful, so filled with blossoms since we’ve had the bees, 3 years ago. I think these little insects have done their amazing job.

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The blooms just opening was the sight of few weeks ago.  And look at them now.

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The trees, filled, so filled with blossoms.  So, so very beautiful.

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It looks like snow on the ground.  That’s what I was saying…

As I am typing this, the computer reminded me that today, on my 912th post, it is my blog anniversary.  Three years ago, I started writing in here.  I know I tried another blogging spot for few posts, but then I quickly moved to wordpress, which has been really easy to use.

Most importantly, it reminded me that I started this blog to share with family and friends our trip to India, we were about to adventure to. It was the perfect reason to get me started, and have enjoyed every part of it.  Writing and learning about blogging as we were getting ready for our trip.   Writing and sharing while in India.  Writing and continuing after our return.

My parents are still far away, no matter if we’ve been to India or here in Oregon. So it is a way for them to see what we are up to.  Also, it has been a means to meet new people, and still share with our friends and families.  And of course, as the time passes, we can see how much the kids have grown, what we’ve studied, what we’ve made, what we’ve done.  A real online journal that lets us share it with you.

Thank you for stopping by.  Thank you for leaving comments and suggestions.  Thank you for introducing yourselves.  Thank you for spending part of your days here.  I feel honored.   My sincere thank you.

Have a beautiful weekend.

Posted in bees, gardening, outdoors, spring | 3 Comments

a kids’ swap

Last February I participated in my first blogger’s swap.  I had so much fun and I wrote about it a couple times already.  I am still enjoying my presents as they decorate our tables around the house.

After looking around blogland for any kid handmade swapping I emailed with Amanda (from Sweet Potato Claire) and she inspired me to organize one.  We invited the moms in her list and we got 9 families with 14 kiddos wanting to swap and make something for a new friend across few states.  I first thought we can have an age group, but then, everyone was so excited to participate and we had 19 month old little girl through 12 years old.  How can you say no to that request! Right?


So a kid swap was born.  I partnered everyone with someone I thought would be best.  We had boys swapping packages.  We had little ones of about the same age, being helped by their mamas to create a little package to swap.  I’ve heard from most mamas and I think it worked out great.  I’ve received lots of exciting emails.

Siena had an eight year old friend, Maia from Wisconsin to make and send something to.  She had so much fun thinking what to make for her.  I asked the moms to send me few ideas of what their kids liked, so the kids could all have an idea what their partners liked. I also included the mom’s blog, which made it easier, at least for us, to read what the family and their new friend likes to do.

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Siena made a little package and it was fun all the way.  From the making, to thinking of her, to packaging it, to mailing it.


Siena’s new friend likes blue and purple.  Siena was excited to pick those special fabrics for her little chick she made for her.  And she also made her a parachute cord bracelet that she was nervous if it would fit her.  She also made beeswax candles and sent her some dried nettle for tea, that we picked few weeks ago.


Who doesn’t love getting a fun package like these? I didn’t get a picture of the final package with all its goodies, but Shana did!  It was such a fun surprise to see it in her blog! (Shana, thank you for sharing.  Siena was so happy to see Maia with her handmade presents!)

And please look at all the making!  You can actually go see everyone else who participated here in this list, with a group of fun mom bloggers and their crafty kids!

I’ll keep you posted for the next time.

Posted in Art, friends, Handmade | Leave a comment

this week in my kitchen :: blog hop

I’m playing along with Heather from Beauty That Moves sharing photos of our kitchen this week.

“A weekly collection of photos from the center of my home.”

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DSC_0187-smallMy not so fancy recipe book where the keepers and tested (and scored by my family!) are saved.  I like to keep all those scored 8, 9 and 10 (10 being the top of course!) for trying later.  Our do it again binder.  A fun family game.

DSC_0017-smallNettle tea from the nettle we picked just few days ago.  Hot or cold any time.  

DSC_0016-smallLeft over lunch.  Someone tired of apple sauce but eaten an hour later with granola.



week of April 14-smallThis week’s menu.

DSC_0009-small DSC_0011-smallSmitten Kitchen’s baked kale chips.  They were really good.  We’ve made them a couple times already.  And also added it to popcorn.  Delicious snack!


Join in if you’d like.  Have a beautiful Thursday!

Posted in Food, home, right now | 26 Comments

readying the garden


It has been mostly Siena and Mark who have gotten the garden ready, with help from some of us at times.

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Getting the hose rolled up (should we have done this before winter?), setting up the green house, getting the garden shed cleaned up to find the seed packets spread in different boxes and bags.  They’ve done all of that.


They have more than 300 little (recycled) pots with seeds.  


We’ve had this pot maker for many years (8 or more?) and it works great.  It uses newspaper, so we’ve been able to recycle and plant directly into the grounds all those little seeds they carefully grow each spring.

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Some of these are the gourd seeds Tracey from Clover (my swapper partner from last February’s exchange of goodies) sent us to try.  Thank you Tracey!  We are excited to see if the plants do well.


Siena put carrots and radishes seeds in this root view thingy we’ve had for years.  And we’ve been able to see how long the roots of the radishes are so far.  Carrots have just started to appear, after 2 weeks of planting.  A view of them you don’t get to see often.


Because Mark and Siena planted all of our raised beds with potatoes this year, the strawberries (that were not doing very well in the current spot anyways) got moved and have a new home in these boxes they made.


They are in our front porch now, getting lots of sunshine throughout the day, and maybe getting more water than in the side beds where we don’t remember them so much.

I like to garden, but I don’t seem to have much luck with seeds or plants.  I don’t have that green thumb Siena has.  I am not as careful in the details, as these two gardeners we have.  So I’ve left them alone, and just watch how they enjoy being together and working along side each other.  Listening to their plans for building and planting.

They are working hard every free time they have.  Getting beds ready, making pots, planting new seeds, getting compost turned into the garden, making planting boxes.  They are doing a great job.  Thank you you two beautiful people of mine!  We are all going to enjoy your hard work later in the season.

Posted in Food, gardening, outdoors, spring | 4 Comments