Oregon Trip- Cannon Beach

Part 1 of our Oregon trip can be found here

Day 3: We arrived in Cannon Beach too early to check in at our hotel and quickly discovered that most restaurants in town are closed on Tuesdays.  None of the places we’d bookmarked to try were open so we ended up at Local Grill and Scoop.  It was okay but nothing to write home about. After we drove up to Ecola State Park and walked around at Ecola Point.  We drove over to Indian Beach but decided we’d come back later when we had more time to explore it.


We came back to town and shopped at the farmers market for picnic food: salami, hummus and pita bread, and fresh peaches.  It was finally time to check in so we got settled in our room (with a killer view!) at the Hallmark Resort and Spa and then walked down to Haystack Rock to explore the beach and the tidal pools.

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We went back to Ecola State Park and enjoyed our picnic at Indian Beach and watched the surfers and the sunset.  This was a highlight of the trip for both of us.

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Day 4: We had breakfast at the Lazy Susan Cafe.  They take only cash but fortunately there was an ATM across the street! This place is tiny and has less than 10 tables.  The food is GREAT.  I had waffles and bacon and Tyler had…something. I was hungry and dove right in and paid no attention, lol.


After breakfast we drove a little over an hour south to Cape Meares.  Sadly it was enveloped in fog, so we couldn’t see the ocean.  This was a bummer but still made for some good pictures and we saw the mysterious octopus tree so that was fun.

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We decided to part ways for the afternoon and Tyler hiked at Ecola State Park and I shopped and explored in downtown Cannon Beach.  I picked up food and wine for another picnic at Provisions 124 and I got a nutella crepe from Crepe Neptune that was divine.

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When Tyler returned we drove down to Hug Point and explored the rock formations, waterfall, and cave.

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We ate dinner in our room and then went down to the beach and enjoyed the sunset.  The hotel had free beach blankets so that was a nice amenity.  Originally we were hoping to have a campfire and smores on the beach (hotel provides everything for this) but due to the drought and a fire ban this was a no-go.  The sunset was beautiful and after the sun went down we watched as the stars came out one by one until we got too chilly.

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Day 5: After checking out we ate breakfast at The Wayfarer.  Excellent views of Haystack Rock but the food was mediocre at best.  Then it was on to Portland….

Oregon Trip- Columbia River Gorge

Tyler and I decided to head to Oregon to celebrate our 10 year wedding anniversary a few months early.  Fall seemed like a good time to go and my in laws were happy to come stay with Gretchen for a week.  The first two days of our trip were spent in Hood River, Oregon.

Day 1: Flew into PDX on Southwest Airlines (no fee for checked bags, woo!  C boarding group, boo!)  Picked up our rental car from Alamo (got a great deal through Costco) and drove up towards Hood River. It was 50 degrees and raining lightly so our plan to visit some scenic stops along the way were postponed. We did hike down to Bridal Veil Falls though, not realizing the trail was very steep and pretty treacherous while wet.  Also I was wearing a maxi dress and flip flops so not the best hiking gear!  Fortunately I had my rain jacket and a husband to hold my hand and keep me from falling!  The falls were worth the hike, so beautiful!


Drove on to Hood River where it was not raining, just cool.  Still it wasn’t too cool to eat outside so we did just that at 6th Street Bistro.  The food and beer were good, nothing out of this world but it was a good meal.  After dinner we walked around down by the river and watched the sunset.  We got some amazing strawberry and hazelnut gelato from a little gelato stand that used only local and organic ingredients.


Day 2: Delicious breakfast at our B&B, the Villa Columbia, before we left to drive the “fruit loop.”  We stopped at several places along the route, including Gorge White House, Apple Valley Country Store, Packer Orchard and Bakery, and some scenic stops along the highway where we got pictures of Mt. Hood.  We ate lunch at Solstice and had a delicious cherry and chorizo pizza and salad with local pears, goat cheese, and hazelnuts.  In the afternoon we wanted some downtime so we sat on the balcony at the B&B and read books we’d brought along.  260


In the evening we went back to Gorge White House for dinner (pear quesadillas, YUM!) and wine/cider tasting.  Without the sun directly overhead we were able to walk through the orchard and the flower fields and really take it all in.  This place is beautiful.  A million thanks to my friend Stacy for telling us about it!  It closes at 7 so we went back to the river front park and watched the kite boarders and the sunset.



Day 3: Tyler did a 12 mile run this morning along the closed portion of the scenic highway. We had breakfast at the B&B and checked out and then headed towards the ocean.  Along the way we stopped at Horsetail Falls, Multnomah Falls, and Vista House at Crown Point.  It was a beautiful morning and not crowded since the holiday weekend wa s over.




Fall Fun List


image credit

Fall Fun List:

Visit the pumpkin patch
Go apple picking
Eat cider donuts
Go on a hike
Maple Leaf Festival
Midwest Balloon Fest
Night of the living farm at Deanna Rose
Pumpkin hollow at Deanna Rose
Make applesauce
Fall craft
Decorate pumpkins
Make pumpkin pancakes
Host a Halloween party
Roast pumpkin seeds
Go trick or treating
Make a pumpkin recipe
Drink hot cider
Have a cider slush
Make an apple pie
Get family photos taken
Turkey craft for Thanksgiving

Summer Fun Wrap Up

You can see my entire summer fun list here.

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Make popcicles– we used our awesome Zoku popcicle maker for the first time during potty training weekend.

Go to a Royals game– we went for free thanks to tickets from Tyler’s work.  Gretchen’s favorite part was watching them warm up, she still talks about it!

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Weekly visits to Deanna Rose Farmstead– we often went as a family during the evening hours on Tues/Thurs but also each took her on our own at various points.  We had so much fun there this summer!  We haven’t missed a week since they opened in April!  Gretchen loves visiting her favorite goat, Benjamin.  Most memorable trip was when Tyler got attacked by a rooster.

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Berry picking– we picked Strawberries at Wohletz U-Pick in Lawrence and blueberries at The Berry Patch in Cleveland, MO.

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Visit a new park: we did this many times this summer, but our favorite new park is probably Little Mill Creek North.

Feed the ducks: another fun activity at Deanna Rose.  When Gretchen’s 5 cousins were in town we took them there one night and the kids enjoyed feeding the ducks together.

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Have a picnic in a park/go to an outdoor concert: two birds with one stone!  We had a fabulous picnic while listening to a blues band at one of the Overland Park Sunday evening concerts.  Joined by two of my favorite Oklahomans :)

Visit a new pool: we went to Splash Cove several times this summer, Gretchen loved the water slides and the little wave pool.

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Visit Beanstalk Children’s Garden: This was a HOT summer day and my kid was a crankypants.  Nonetheless, it was a fun outing with one of our mom’s groups.  Gretchen ate a ton of cherry tomatoes right off the plant. Want to visit again next year before it gets crazy hot!

Visit Storyland at Crown Center: We made it out twice this summer, once right after it opened and again right before it closed. This was a fun exhibit, can’t wait for the next free exhibit in the winter!

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Visit a farm: I organized a tour of Shatto Dairy Farm back in June.  It was a bit of a hot mess between collecting money from over 50 other families and then a torrential horrible downpour during the 90 minute drive to the farm.  Wish we could have a do-over!  Gretchen loved sampling all the different flavors of milk but her favorite part was probably the barn kittens.

3 year photos: My friend Brooke German took Gretchen’s 3 year photos and they turned out great!  Can’t wait to get family photos done with her this fall!

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Wash a car: this was a fun activity on a hot summer night. She loved soaping up the car and quickly moved on to helping us wash our real car!

Ride an outdoor carousel: she got to do this a few times this summer.  At the Omaha Zoo, the K, and the KC Zoo.

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Go to a zoo: Memorial Day weekend we took a trip to Omaha and visited their amazing zoo.

Visit a museum: Also stopped at the Omaha Children’s Museum on our trip.

Other things I don’t have pictures of:

make lemonade
plant flowers
visit the farmers market
do a fun summer craft
Frozen on Ice

Not accomplished:

ice cream truck-  Dude. I don’t know what it is about our cul de sac but the ice cream truck never came by :(  We would hear him in the nearby neighborhoods but he passed us over.  Maybe next summer!


It is hard to believe it but Gretchen started preschool last week!  On Wednesday we had a meet the teacher event where she got to visit her classroom and check out all of the toys. She loved it.


Gretchen’s friend Grace is in her class so she has one friendly face among the sea of 3 year olds.  They did get in a disagreement already about how it’s possible for both of their names to start with the letter G.


What Gretchen packed for her first day of preschool.  Note the rolling pin and butter.  I sneakily re-packed it with her supplies and spare sets of clothes.


her official “first day of preschool” picture


and the many outtakes before I got the official picture!

Gretchen had SO MUCH FUN!  She was the second one in the door and didn’t even look back.  She refused to answer my questions about what they actually did at preschool but she did say she wants to go back.  Most memorable quote of the week was “I’m going to learn EVERYTHING at preschool!”

We went last night to play on their playground so she could explore all it has to offer without all the other little kids around.  The tire swing is BY FAR her favorite.


So fun (and bittersweet) to watch her hit this big milestone!

JoCo Park Tour Summary and Best Of

We were able to visit 13 parks on our tour of Johnson County parks from April-August.  It was a really rainy spring and summer so some of the parks we had to visit as a family as our Friday morning playdates got rained out.  We didn’t make it to Porter Park or Osage Park but I hope to visit them sometime in the future and add them to the list.  Also can’t wait to check out the new playground and splash pad going in where the old Roe Pool was in Overland Park.  It is supposed to open in the spring of 2016. Here is the full list of parks we visited as well as some “best of” list.





Prairie Village

Best parks for a hot day: Franklin Park, Blackhoof Park, Gezer Park.  All three have streams for the kids to play in and the first two are significantly shaded by trees.

Best parks for pretend play: Blackbob Park (castle theme), Frontier Park (pirate ship), and Antioch Park (dodge town)

Best parks for big kids: Little Mill Creek North, Blackhoof Park

Best parks for little kids: Antioch Park, Franklin Park, Blackhoof Park

Best parks for kids that love slides: Little Mill Creek North Park, Sar Ko Par Park, Ironwoods Park, Blackhoof Park, Gezer Park.

Best parks for kids that love to climb: Little Mill Creek North Park, Electric Park, Sar Ko Par Park

Best parks for a kids that like digging in the sand: Franklin Park, Gezer Park, Blackhoof Park

JoCo Park Tour: Electric Park

This was the last stop on our official tour of Johnson County parks, although I hope to add a few more from our own family outings in the future.  Full disclosure: my child was a hot mess this morning.  Cranky and uncooperative so we didn’t get to spend as much time at the park as I would have liked and my pictures are not fantastic, however you’ll get the gist!

Electric Park

9299 Loiret Blvd Lenexa KS 66219


What we love about Electric Park:  The shaded play structure is awesome!  It was HOT this morning but the shade made this part of the playground enjoyable.  We all eventually migrated over there to play in the shade.  Bonus: the playground equipment did not bake in the sun!  This is a newer playground and another one designed by Landscape Structures.  There is a large covered play area, a robe climbing structure, four swings, and a smaller play structure for younger children, also under a canopy.  My daughter loved the little monkey bars on the smaller structure, just her size!  There is a shelter with several picnic tables here as well as bathrooms nearby.


Other things to know about Electric Park:

– there is a huge community garden right next to it, we didn’t get a chance to go check it out but it would be fun to explore.

– this park is right off of 435 and 95th street.  Very accessible to eastern Johnson County.

– also available at this park are volleyball, basketball, and horseshoes and there is a large open field great for ultimate frisbee (do people still play that?) or soccer.