Jun 162015
 

On Saturday we met up with some friends at the Sandy River Delta park. I’ve seen it on our drives out to the Gorge to hike but we’ve never been there before. It’s a humongous dog park! 1400 acres of trails and off-leash dog fun! If you live in the Portland area and have a dog, definitely check it out.

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It’s a big park and it looks like all the trails connect. It’s really flat so more of a nature walk than a hike. We saw so many different breeds of dogs out there. It was pretty cool. One was a Pharaoh Hound, which I’d never seen or heard of before but it was a neat looking dog. We walked along the trail with our friends who had a 2.5 year old daughter and a dog and their friends with a dog joined us. The troop went down to the river to let the dogs go nuts.

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Bella is such a water baby! And it was a hot day (hotter than was expected) so the dogs were super happy to splash around and cool off. It was fun just watching them spaz out in the water. Bella was hopping in the water and having a blast. I took a short video you can see it on my Instagram.

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Bella was having a grand old time playing with her new friends. Getting filthy dirty and covered in sand. She was one ripe puppy! We spent a few hours with them at the park and then it was obvious the dogs were tiring out so we left. I went to the gym for a quick workout and then home to clean up. Then our friends invited us over to their place for dinner.

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We sat outside on their lovely patio in the nice summer evening. They had some really tasty sushi as an appetizer (I think it had mango, tofu and something else in it). It was really good!

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Dinner was grilled Korean short ribs (which we’ve never had before and loved!), brown rice and grilled broccolini with kimchi. Everything tasted so great. I wonder if Korean short ribs are easy to do? I kind of want to experiment on our own after trying them.

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It was such a lovely evening and we talked late into the night until it was dark and time to head home (after grilled peaches for dessert). I love late summer nights!

Sunday

On Sunday we had just enough time to do a quick hike in town before some friends were going to come over for dinner. I chose Marquam Trail to Council Crest Hike. We’d done part of this hike before and started at a different trailhead last time.  This time I think we picked up the trail about half way up Council Crest.

The trail was a bit steep in places and got my heart pounding. Bella was practically running up the trail when we first started out! We set a fast pace and in no time we were at the top, which I think was Council Crest Park. I’ve never been there before and it was a cute little park with fantastic views of the city in all directions!

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We stopped in the shade underneath a tree for lunch and to give Bella some water. Lunch for me was some curry chicken salad and broccoli salad. Michael had a sandwich. It was a really nice park. And it was only around a mile to hike up to it from where we parked.

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I didn’t realize how short the trail was (since we didn’t start at the beginning of it), so after lunch we decided to hike back down and then turn around and do it again. We saw a ton of other hikers, hikers with dogs and a fair amount of trail runners. It was a really popular trail and it connected to the Wildwood Trail, which is part of Washington Park.

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It was nice for a hot day because a lot of it was shaded and it felt cooler than it really was. We stopped a lot for water breaks for Bella. We ended up hiking just under 4 miles. I burned 609 calories.

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Sunday afternoon our friends Stu and Christi came over for dinner. She brought this gorgeous salad–strawberries, blueberries, hazelnuts and bleu cheese. It was a fantastic Oregon summer salad. I need to make this sometime. So light and refreshing.

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For dinner I made this recipe, PALEO BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN STRIPS. It was pretty good but of course mine didn’t look like the picture! Next time I made this I will broil it for a few minutes at the end. I also made a cucumber salad.

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We sat outside on the deck with some music and the fairy lights. Christi brought some tasty wine and a bottle of champagne. She also had this liqueur. A little splash of it in the champagne was really good! Not too sweet. But darn it, it was dangerous!

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We ended up playing Cards Against Humanity until it was so dark we could barely read the cards and the mosquitoes were starting to eat us. Then it was time to call it a night. But I can’t remember the last time I laughed so hard! It was such a fun night and the kind of evening where you feel like summer will never end.

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Apr 072015
 

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SURPRISE!

I knew I wanted to plan a surprise party for Michael’s 40th birthday. It’s a big date! I wanted him to be surprised and I wanted it to be special. I started thinking about it a few months before his birthday and was feeling a little overwhelmed. I’ve never thrown a surprise party before. I did throw a “sort of” surprise party for Michael’s 35th birthday where I took him to his favorite pizza place and surprised him with a bunch of his friends also being there. That was a lot easier to plan.

But this time around there were more details to coordinate. I was throwing it at the house and at first I thought the kitchen remodel would be done beforehand but then some unforeseen scheduling things happened and I realized it wouldn’t be. Bummer. Oh well, going forward I still wanted it at the house. It’s cheaper than renting a location and easier to plan than trying to coordinate it at a restaurant (and I didn’t want people to be expected to go out to eat).

The hardest part was trying to figure out how to get Michael out of the house so I could get everything ready and everyone could arrive. Michael’s friend Jeremy came down from Seattle and he helped get him out of the house while I cleaned and set everything up!

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I wanted to have a Star Wars themed party because that’s Michael’s thing (and I hate Star Wars and it makes him crazy that I won’t watch the movies). It was actually surprisingly hard to find Star Wars themed party stuff. I went to a bunch of different party stores and ended up getting a few items on Amazon. Then I discovered that Michael had a bunch of old Star Wars posters in the garage. Perfect! 😉

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I had a Star Wars table cloth, plastic cups and plates. Then I got a Star Wars cupcake tower that I used for the donuts. I used the posters for decorations. I attached old photos of Michael as a child to the balloons and put them all over the house. I liked that idea (also from pinterest) and people seemed to enjoy seeing goofy pictures of Michael as a kid. 😀

I knew I wanted to get Michael’s favorite foods: pizza (of course), donuts from Krispy Kreme (his favorite), and other munchie things. Michael’s mom made her amazing blue cheese dip and a veggie tray.

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I saw something on Pinterest that I wanted to make for the party: a PunchBox. It was pretty simple to make but it took a LONG time to do. I ended up doing it when I was in Seattle visiting family. My mom helped me do it and it turned out great. I got a bunch of fun and goofy items and then we went to Archie McPhee’s to get a few more items. Basically a PunchBox was for party favors but a fun way to do it instead of making party favor bags. It was fun to make and I got a bunch of crazy things! Several toy unicorns, a blow-up unicorn horn for cats, a Big Foot air freshener, some various candy and mini booze bottles. I think there was a pirate eye patch in there and some other kid toys that I thought would be funny for adults to play with. So I made it in Seattle and then had to sneak it into the house when I got back and hide it from Michael.

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Everyone seemed to have a fun time with the game, so that made me happy! Thankfully the weather was nice so the kiddos could run around outside and play. They all got hopped up on sugar from soda, candy and the donuts. Sorry parents….!

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Mmmm Krispy Kreme!

Most importantly Michael was SURPRISED and he had a great time and I’m so glad so many of his friends and family were able to come out for it. Our house is pretty small, but somehow we managed to fit in about 21 people. The birthday boy:

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We did presents and some of the people had to leave but a bunch hung around for awhile longer and we hung out outside while the kiddos played with a ball until it got dark.

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I would call the party a success! Happy birthday babe!

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