Blogging and Blogging Goodies

You know those online surveys that you come accross on Facebook? They ask things like what's your favorite smell? What's your favorite color? If your life story became the last show you watched on TV what would that story be? You get the idea right? I love answering those when I'm time wasting. I don't always read my friends answers to be honest, but the other day I did... My sisters. A question there has really gotten to me! It said, if you could do anything for work that you wanted to do, what would that be.. or something like that. . . 

Her answer blew me away. 

My sister said she'd like to be a kickass blogger with a kick ass blog. What?! I had no idea my sister, who would be the most FANTASTIC blogger in the world by the way had any inclination to even have a blog. Let me tell you, she's nothing like me. She totally 'moms'. She does cool stuff like.. pull the poop sack out of crawfish so they're edible. Most of the great places I visit on this blog and tell you about, totally her idea. She's adorable too, 'but in this I'm not even trying.. I just think life's a buncha fun'.. kinda way.  This girl cooks. OMG can she cook. She camps, she fishes, she gets boojee. Okay, you get it, she'd be a fantastic frakkin blogger.  To be honest, she could go through her facebook and create her first 100 posts from pictures and posts in there. 

To add to that, I have another blog. I more personal blog. One where I share it ALLLLL!! Childhood, secrets, other people's secrets, etc. So I was introducing the key players in my life, and I said "I am the writer". This is how I see life. Let me just say, this is not how my best friend see's life. It's not how either of my sisters see life either. I am a writer. But, they are writers as well, they just don't do as much writing as I do. But it's in them... 

So that big phat enabler that lives in my soul totally wants to make everyone blogs. I'll just create all these blogs, send them their log-ins, and a then we'll do fun blog events where we all blog the same topic once a month, and before you know it, I'll finally get my kids blogging, and their men, and all their friends, and we'll all just blog and blog, and put flowers in our hair and stuff. Right? Yeah, no. Totally wouldn't work.  First, how the hell would I choose the name of their blogs? Am I paying for these names they may not even like? They won't see them as their blogs, they'll see them as mine, and I'm a control freak, so as soon as I see something they could do better, or think they've decided not to blog, I'll be butting right in, doing it for them. 

Seriously, you can blog  everyday, three times a day, or once a year. I have a ton of blogs, some more neglected than others, and that's another thing, maybe they'll want 10 blogs each, how should I know. Maybe, they'll read this 'how to start your blog' tutorial I'm a bout to write for them, and they'll think it's a great idea, and they'll never do a darn thing with it... and that's fine too right? 

So sisters, best friend.. you're all smart, internet savvy women together, we can build our blogs by doing some linked posts, we can make each other stronger and get some free tickets to some neato stuff. Or, you can do whatever you like. There are a million ways to start a blog, and design it, and all that neato stuff, so I'm just going to share with you some of the ways that I do it, and the tools that I use, and I'm posting it here because I bet you're not the only ones. 

 

Love you guys, and without further ado.. Ladies, lets get you a blog built! Cristina, Amber, Becca, you ladies have life changing stories to tell! I can't wait to read them! If I can help you, comment here, email me, message me, text me, and I'll answer on the blog here somewhere, and let's all build a blog. I appreciate it if you use the links in the article, as I do get a commission from some of them. Absolutely none of the suggestions here are here because of the commission. 

 

Domain Name and Hosting

The first thing you're going to need is a domain name and a hosting company. I personally get my domain names at Godaddy and my hosting at Hostgator. This is habit, if I were you, I'd probably just use this handy Hostgator link and grab both in one shot, keeping things nice and simple. Hostgator's fantastic, I've been with them 10 years at least. I think that link gets you the domain name and site for $3 per month. IF you are thinking you may want more than one blog, you want to get your guy or your kids blogging as well, just grab the smallest unlimited package they offer, that'll work fine for starting out. It's called shared hosting.

I use Hostgator

Getting into Cpanel

Now the next steps are super easy, but it'll seem like everything is in a different language and it will be so frustrating, this is largely why I said to just use Hostgator, if you get your domain name from Godaddy like I do you're going to have to change the nameservers which is easy enough, but there's really just no point in it. In fact, now that I'm writing this, well .. see ya Godaddy! You're going to get a couple of very important emails. One of those emails requires you to click a link and verify your website. MAKE SURE YOU DO THAT. If not, they're going to later suspend your website, and it's going to be a big ole pain in the ass. 

You're also going to get an email that tells you how to sign into your cpanel. Important stuff right there, you can always reset the username and password, but it's kind of a pain, so it'll save you some troubles if you just don't lose them. Now...  once your new site is 'live' meaning that the internet magical trolls know that you own it, and that people typing it into their phone or pc should see it,  (this is called being propagated) you'll go to your cpanel. The url to get there will be in that cpanel email. it'll be www. whateveryoursietis.com/cpanel. You'll put your username and password in there, and then you'll be in your cpanel. 

 

Login Screen

Hostgator Cpanel Login Image

Setting up WordPress

Setting up WordPress is free. There will be some offers in your Cpanel to pay a pro to do it for you. It takes like 1 minute. I'll do it for you for free, however, if you want to pay a pro to do it, I'll send you my PayPal address post-haste. Let me know if you need a hand, but here are some pretty easy to follow directions. First, click on the WordPress 1-Click installation button. I put a picture of the button to the right of the page here for example. 

1 Click Installation

Instal WordPress Button

Select Domain For Installation

The next step you come to will say "Select Domain For Installation" if you only bought one name, it'll be the only one there, if you bought more than one, pick the one you're planning on working with right now.  If you bought more than one there will be some weird options, pick the simplest looking one, without extra words and dots in it.  The next box will say "directory" leave that blank.

An example of what to put in the boxes

Okay, You're on your own!

Since I'm not actually setting up a new website today, that's as far as I can walk you through the process. So I found you another tutorial that looks pretty easy to follow :). If you have any questions though, give me a call, come by, bring coffee, heck, let's meet at the coffee shop, you can buy! :D.  IMPORTANT - Once you get to where this tutorial says

Steps to do after installing WordPress:..  

 

Stop. Don't do that crap, we'll be doing some of it, but you can just pick up here for that. 

 

Choosing a Theme

Okay, the theme I usually use in called Vantage. Actually it's the theme I ALWAYS use, its amazing, and its free, unless you would like to donate. Let me know if you do, I've always wanted to get the unlimited site option, maybe we could all chip in. Anyway, so... you're all done with Cpanel now. If you've screenshotted or somehow else saved your wp-admin login info, you can go ahead and close that until the next time you need to set up a website. 

Before you install plugins or make any changes other than adding pages and posts, make sure you install the vantage theme as installing a theme will wipe out a lot of those changes.  So... I'm getting sleepy. If anyone, my sisters or the general public begins this process, please let me know and I'll continue from here. With your them and your site set up though, you're good to start creating pages and posts. Most things will be posts. Like.. a visit to a tourist attraction or a page with a video of you cooking me yummy food, those are posts. A page would be something that's forever. Like a review of a place might be a page, or a page that links to lots of posts.. 

An example of what to put in the boxes

Bloggers and Vloggers – Get more Followers, Shares Likes, Comments, and Motivation!

I’ve only recently learned of some pretty cool blogging tools, and as always I couldn’t wait to post about them here on my blog. There are several groups on Facebook that offer so many neato motivational tools.

One of the simplest ways in my opinion to build your readership is to, read other blogs and show lots of love! If you run a Vlog, mention other bloggers on your blog. If you run a blog like this one, give shout outs to other blogs, link to them and comment on their stuff.

That’s a great start, then, choose say 10 blogs that are on the same topic as your blog. Bookmark them in a folder, and then subscribe to them. Visit their blogs, leave comments, like their Facebook pages, and just be active, on those pages. This is a great way to get their attention and a great way to become a solid part of the Facebook Community.

There are also the Facebook Groups I mentioned above that offer some really neato resources!

Link Parties 

A link party is where a group of bloggers all decide to blog, Vlog on the same topic and then link to each others articles, that way when someone comes a long and reads one article, they’re treated to a group of articles on the same topic. It’s also not a bad way to make sure your articles have a ton of relevant links pointing to them!

Share for Share – Comment for Comment – Like for Like 

These exchanges are done in many fashions. Some groups let someone just pop in and post their page, YouTube Site, Facebook page, blog post, etc, and ask for likes/shares/comments, the person then promises to return in kind. In other groups, thins are a bit more organized, and you either reciprocate with the person above and below you, or everyone in a specific group, etc.

There are just a ton of these groups available on Facebook and they’re fantastic for getting comments on your pages, getting faithful followers and building blogging relationships.

I just, today, started one of these groups, I started it because I want to be a part of a SUPER active group, with daily activities. I wasn’t able to find one, so I’m creating one. You can find it HERE.

Helpful Blogging Groups

Helpful Blogging Groups

Big Family – Together at Evergreen Wings and Waves

The greatest day ever was had this day at Evergreen Wings and Waves in McMinnville Oregon! All of my five kids, their significant others, my sister, nephew and granddaughter were in the same place at the same time in the middle of summer having a blast!

Before I tell you all about our visit to Wings and Waves, I must say that this post was sponsored by Wings and Waves, my words thoughts and opinions however are still my own.

If you’re heading to the Oregon Coast on Highway 18 on your way to Spirit Mountain, Chinook Winds, Lincoln City, or anywhere else on the Central or Northern Coast you’re probably going to drive right past the Wings and Waves located at the Evergreen Aviation Air Museum there in McMinnville. I’ve been driving by it, meaning to stop for years. Trust me. Head to my booking engine, book a room in McMinnville, and spend the whole freaking day swimming at Evergreen Wings and Waves, and touring the aviation museum on the way. 

 

Address: 460 NE Captain Michael King Smith Way, McMinnville, OR 97128

Summer Hours: 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM ~ daily
Winter Hours: Click Here
Admission: $30 over 42″ tall, $25 under 42″ tall, $10 for non-swimmers, Free for 3 & under
Life Jackets: Provided free of charge
Food: For $8 you can buy a refillable beverage for the entire day. There’s also a cafe available with burgers/fries, and other usual cafe fare.
Towels: Bring your own
Bathrooms: Large, clean, plentiful.
Lockers: Available for about $5.
In & Out Privileges: You can come and go all day as you please with a wristband.


I’m a big girl. I’m a big big girl, and I had a BLAST at this waterpark! The slides also scared the bejeezus out of me, but the fear was worth the fun. See when you’re my size, you can’t ride most amusement park rides, so I’m not used to all these G-Forces! There are weight restrictions on the slides, but keep reading and I'll be sure to spell those out for you in plain English. Please check out the YouTube video's for each slide as well! The video's weren't created by Coastal Cathy, so please be sure to show them some love, like them, share them, and/or subscribe, because they are super helpful!

The Water Park itself has a 747 on the roof. Well it’s not actually ON the roof, because although it’s sitting there, right on the roof, you walk through it to get into signs, so it’s really just all intertwined and wrapped right into the water park!

There’s also the entire Evergreen Aviation Museum there on the same property, with neat planes to see both inside and out, in fact there were people climbing on tanks and taking photo’s. Even if you don’t opt for the entire waterpark experience, there’s something to be said for getting your picture taken atop a World War II tank right?

My family wandered about the grounds after our water-park adventure and had a blast during out little impromptu photo shoot, those photo’s, priceless. They’re memories that will last a lifetime, of the whole family as a family.

Back to that plane ON the building… That’s neat in and of itself right? But get this, as I mentioned above.. the water slides are actually IN the plane. So you climb up these steps that lead to the slide you want to visit, make it to the top, and you’re standing inside of a 747 with different slide shoots inside of it!

 

Life Needs Water - Evergreen Wings and Waves

At Evergreen Wings & Waves, children and adults will learn why “life needs water” through experience, inspiration and education.

The waterpark is next to the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, one of the greatest collections of aircraft and space artifacts in the world.

Both the waterpark and the museum distinguish McMinnville as a premier location for learning about the power of science.

- Evergreen Wings and Waves

Evergreen Wings and Waves Fun Facts


The waterpark is a whopping   71,350-square-feet which is about the size of one and one quarter football fields! The pools kept at  84 degrees and is powered by six natural gas heaters did you know that that's enough power  to heat 794,000 bowls of soup! That's a lot of soup!

  • 10 waterslides equaling more than 2,000 feet of slide surface with four waterslides coming from the
    retired Evergreen International Airlines Boeing 747 aircraft positioned on the roof of the waterpark.
  • The Wave pool at Evergreen Wings and Waves holds more than 91,000 gallons of water.
  • Play structure that includes a 300 gallon splash bucket and helicopter.
  • Toddler area with bubblers, fountains and two slides.
  • Leisure pool with spa
  • Children’s museum designed to teach visitors about the
    philosophy, “H20: life needs water.”
  • “Starcade” gaming center for on-land fun.
  • Concession area to keep swimmers energized.
  • Private rooms available to reserve for birthday parties or other celebrations.
  • Family-style locker rooms.

Evergreen Wings and Waves Waterslides

The Yellow Water Slide: The Sonic Boom

The yellow slide is neat because you can see out of it, in most places the top of the slide is either transparent or open. Most of our group felt as though this was also the fastest slide. The water park’s website says it’s one of the slowest and best for beginners. Perhaps it feels faster because you can see outside?

The Blue Slide – The Tail Spin

This slide is known for fast drops and ‘figure eights’.

The Green Slide – The Nose Dive
This is totally my favorite. First, my breath was absolutely knocked out of me as I FLEW down the slide. OMG it was so fast. Then I was in this tub that the kids called the toilet bowl doing much slower circles, praying to God and catching my breath, and then… I swirled closer and closer to the drain.

Once down the drain I was at the bottom before you knew it, and ready for a stiff drink. This is if it’s not obvious the first slide I went down. My sister and daughter followed not to far behind me, and brought with them fabulous tales of my ultra-loud prayers and wails for help. What would I do without those giggling hyenas?

 

The Orange Slide – Mach 1

There are quite a few different slides. The orange slide is the only slide you go down without an inner tube, the inner tubes are free by the way, with the cost of admission. The weight limit on that slide is 300 lbs.

 

Tips for Traveling to Evergreen Wings and Waves

– – The earlier you visit the better. If you get there just as they open you might just have the place to yourself. Either way, the crowds are super small in the earlier open hours. Right around noon, the place starts filling up.

– – Bring cash for food, or bring lunch. With your bracelet you can come and go as you please, so it’s absolutely acceptable to have a picnic out on the lawns. If you decide to eat on site, just remember this is a tourist location and you’re going to be paying for tourist fare. A burger with fries is about $8 bucks. You can get a beverage with that, or just by an all-day refillable cup. I sprung for the cup, and I was glad that I did.

While I was googling today, I found another similar review. Interested: Click HERE. The author suggests a trip to the town of Carlton, complete with an outdoor pool. I will certainly have to look into adding that into our next year’s itinerary!

Cape Lookout South Trail

Malachai and I decided to take a new route on Cape Lookout yesterday! Usually we hike the Cape Trail, which is the easiest trail, and offers some really great views! Yesterday though, we thought we’d try something different, challenge ourselves a bit. So we opted for the South Trail. This is the trail that leads to the beach, and he love love loves to swim in the ocean!

We got ready by packing up a backpack with a bluetooth speaker so we could hear some music along the way, a couple bottles of Powerade, some nuts, and cranberries, and a bag of Fiber Trail Mix. James suggested we take some of the Fiji water we recently bought, and so we did.

The trail was a lot trickier than the Cape Trail as it’s a lot thinner, and there are a lot of roots growing in it. You often have to hug a tree while climbing over it’s roots as it’s kind of taken over the trail. There’s also a place where a couple trees have fallen over the trail, so be prepared to climb over that..

All of that being said, it wasn’t a hard walk at all. It was a bit challenging, and you had to watch where you were going more than you would on the Cape Trail. This trail is also pretty steep, headed down, so the way up should be a killer for us big folks! I was ready to brave it! Besides, it’d be a great trip for Malachai right?! I was winded all the way down. He really wasn’t without trying to beef up his workout.

We had a great time though. We listened to music from my phone using a bluetooth speaker so we could be listen. I’d brought headphones, but Malachai did not love that idea.

We saw mushrooms, and pretty flowers, and some ocean peaks and were really enjoying ourselves! About 1.4 miles in, we saw one of the most beautiful sites we’ve ever seen on a hike, a bench! It was kind of neat because my feet didn’t touch the ground from my spot on the bench which isn’t something I’ve been able to say probably since I was 10 or so. The view from that bench is amazing as well.

A few people passed as we sat and enjoyed some dried cranberries, some trail mix and peanuts. We drank some powerade and water, and eventually, we carried on. It was just passed that bench that our trip got a bit scary.

I felt something bite or sting my belly. Just as I was investigating what it was, Malachai screamed and I felt something sting my arm. I yelled to Malachai to run, and I followed.

We both took on and ran about a loop the bees in tow. Id been stung a few times already. After we stopped I was stung again. I realized one of the bees was in my shirts.. that’s two shirts then one bee. I told Malachai to turn around as I was ripping my shirts off. Lucky him, he turned in time.

Overall I was stung 8 times. Malachai just the once thank God, on his index finger. When I was a kid and I’d get stung in the foot my entire calf would swell, so I wasn’t sure if I was allergic or not. We kept an eye on both our stings, Mine swelled a teeny bit, and his didn’t swell so that was good, everyone was breathing anyway. The bees had been very aggressive through and actually chased us when we ran so we decided to call 911 just in case and let them know about the issue. They were glad we did and reached out to the forestry service so by the time you’re reading this, it might not be a problem any longer, but.. just in case, it’s something to be aware of. In fact, when we reached the beach we talked to someone else that had a similar experience. A camp group leader took a group on a hike the day before and 7 out of 12 of his group were stung.

Since we ran down the hill when the bees attacked instead of up the hill, we went ahead and continued on to the beach. What a neat place to swim! It was gorgeous! Firstly, the ocean itself was that beautiful green/blue color that you usually only see in winter and fall (due to increased seaweed). It does butt up to that cliff so maybe that has something to do with it? There were also very few people down there on the beach, which makes sense since you really have to work to get there. We played first in a warm tide pool, and then in the ocean for awhile.

Then it was time to discuss our route home. We opted not to go back the way we came and get stung even more, so our plan was to walk the beach until we came to a path, or public beach, or some other way out and back into civilization. Even if we had to walk an hour or two, we’d have to walk back up the mountain for an a couple hours to get back to our car anyway. So we walked, and walked, and walked. Malachai doesn’t really take pain to well, so it was a challenge keeping his mind off of his sting, which I can totally relate to, mine didn’t feel to dandy either!

We finally came upon a group of campers. They were staying at a private camp, but we could have cut through there they said. They said it was about a 3 mile hike back to any road of any kind. We decided to venture forth and see if we could do better. We could see HayStack Rock so if all else failed, there was Pacific City Right.. right?

Along the way we honestly enjoyed ourselves despite being exhausted. We swam in an inlet at one point. We stopped for lots of breaks, lots. We snacked on the treats we’d brought and drank water and powerade. We talked and talked.

So we walked until we came upon a large group of ATV’ers. They let us know the best place to cross up towards Sand Lake. At this point we’d been walking about 6 hours. It took about another hour to get to Sand Lake. We walked to the place where we were supposed to cut up to Sand Lake, we were exhausted though, and Malachai had a headache. I’d had one earlier, and I knew they were exhaustion headaches, so we took another break on the sand by the beach. I took a nap.

Just as the RV’s, ATV’s trucks, cars, and all of that became visible we realized, there’s no cell signal in Sand Lake. How was I going to call James to get us if there’s no cell service.

Was hitch-hiking with my son a good idea? I think no. Was leaving him at the camp-ground a good plan while I hitch-hiked a good idea? Imagine how worried he’d be knowing his mommy was in a strangers car. What if no one at the camp was even willing to drive me to Cape Lookout where my car was?

We finally walked up to the first available place to sit down and a camper there struck up a conversation telling us how brave we were to embark on that walk (He’s thinking we walked to the beach from the campground and back) so we told him about our little ordeal. He had a phone, and low and behold it worked! Just as I thought I would, as soon as I got James on the phone, I started out n out balling, and asked him to come n get us. I always do that. I’m as strong as can be in any situation, until I talk to him, then I’m a hot mess balling my eyes out.

While we waited for James Malachai played on some playground equipment, telling all the kids and moms of our adventure. I found a nice shady spot to take a break. Funny thing, Malachai and I were discussing doing a marathon together by next year at the start of our walk. I guess we’ve got the endurance part figured out :D.

So, today, I’m taking it super easy. Parts of my body have that good “I used these muscles” pain, and other parts like my calves that are seriously sunburned are screaming.

By the way, shout-out to my sunscreen! Malachai and I sprayed it on before leaving the house, but didn’t take it with us. Only places that we didn’t spray got burned, our calves for instance, which were subjected to the reflection of the sun from walking in the ocean. I’ll have to grab the can later on and give them proper props.

Right now, I’d kill for a Ribeye, and some sunburn spray.

Hiking Cape Lookout – Tillamook Oregon

Cape Lookout is by far my favorite hike and I am afraid that it may have spoiled me for all others. The views on this hike are just absolutely amazing! The hike begins at the Cape Lookout Trailhead where you’ll be able to park your car, RV, bicycle, etc, in the parking lot.  There are then three trails to choose from. The easiest trail is straight ahead. I am a big woman, and I can traverse this trail pretty easily.

What It’s Like

Pros

The trail is slightly downhill, and it’s a one-way trail. You’ve heard the saying that what goes up must come down. Well when it comes to hiking, what goes down, must hike back up.

There are some spots that get muddy, so be prepared for dirty shoes.

 

Cons

 

What about lunch?

 

 

Where to Stay

 

Getting there

 

 

Nearest Store

Along the trail you’ll be treated to both living and fallen amazing old growth trees and spectacular ocean views. This is a great place for whale watching when their in season as well, as a matter of fact, it’s about as close to being in the actual ocean itself as you’re going to get without boarding a boat. After you’ve done a bit of walking, there will be viewpoints where you can actually look back on the ocean waves hitting the shore. I took the photo to the right from that viewpoint. It’s absolutely breathtaking.

This particular hike is about 3 miles long round trip. The trail is narrow in some places, and there’s no protection from falling into the ocean from very far above it, so it might not be the best hike for small children, strollers, etc. It isn’t a terrible hike though for moderately active people. There was a limb across the road the last time I visited, and it is a bit uphill on the way back to your car. Plan to give yourself a few hours to get to the end and back so that you’re not caught in the dark.

There are no bathrooms on the trail, so make use of that parking lot porta-potty, after that it’s nature all the way!

My goal, since I stopped working with Vacasa was simple. Just have an amazing summer, spend every minute with my family while looking for a new company to share my fabulousness with! Well somewhere along the line my wires must have gotten crossed, because I keep going out and trying to kill myself! Okay, not really. But hiking is darn hard work!

We didn’t really have a lot of cash a few weeks ago, in fact, in the time it took for my unemployment claim to get approved my car got repossessed, and man, the feast was over and we were on to the famin! Malachai and I decided to start hiking! Actually, not just Malachai and I.. My sister Becca, and a lifetime friend Andrea and Anthony and I took the kiddo’s for the first ‘hike’. We all walked along Kilchis Point Reserve which is a fantastic, stroller and wheelchair friendly walk that ends up on the beautiful Tillamook Bay. ??Sadly, you can’t get right down to the Bay in a chair, but you can get to the Gazebo, which I THINK is accessible, and provides a very nice view.

Anyway that officially kicked off hiking season. A few days later Malachai and the trail to Munson Falls, or what’s available of the trail. I really wish they’d fix whatever has it closed, because from the short walk we were able to tell, I just know it’d be an amazing hike with a rewarding ending! Rich and I decided to go around the closure a few days later, but .. it got dark, and wet and we retreated!

Next, Malachai and I took a day trip up to Cape Lookout, with dang near no gas. If you head up there from Tillamook by the way, make sure you have quarters with you, there’s a neat little fish hatchery where you can buy food and feed the HUGE trout along the way, you’ll want to stop there.

Anyway, Malachai and I went to Cape Lookout and hiked for the first time. We took the Cape Trail We hiked a good hour or so each way. It’s hard work but that first half of the Cape Trail is pretty decent. It’s not as easy as the Kilchis trail but it’s pretty easy. So easy that you probably won’t notice that you’re heading downhill ever so slightly on the way in.

The views, OMG you can’t capture views like that in a photograph! It was gorgeous, you’re basically hiking out onto a cliff, so you’re walking away from the shore, 200 feet or so above it. Your looking down to where the ocean is calm, and you’re able to look back at the wake. It was simply breathtaking. It wasn’t much of a workout for Malachai, who if you haven’t read a lot of posts here is my 11 year old son. He opted to jog part of it, and do some football sprints to keep his heart rate up.

There are lots of good places for photo’s and a few places where you can feasibly sit and rest.

As with all highly trafficked public parking places in rural areas, don’t leave your valuables in the car. Thieves can easily watch the trails for oncomers and pretty much have freerien in the meantime.

 

Tillamook County Forest Center

The drive from Portland to Tillamook can be pretty monotonous, I for one recommend always taking the long route, and either stopping at a casino along the way, or having a blast at the Wings and Waves Waterpark in McMinnville. If you insist however on taking Highway 6, first be careful, there are idiots everywhere, especially there. Second.. I Stopped by the Tillamook Forest Center on my way home from a Portland trip to see old friends with Malachai just recently and I’m of course going to tell you all about it, and all about the Tillamook Forest Center. The Portland trip went alright. Okay it had its ups and downs.

I went to town to see an old friend and to go to court with my sister. I was actually late to my sister’s court appearance. I don’t know if that made a difference in the deal she made, but I sure do know that it couldn’t have gone worse. In fact, say a quick prayer for her before you read on if you wouldn’t mind.

Despite some of the icky stuff that went down during this particular Pacific Northwest excursion, I did get to check out a new little spot in Portland! I almost totally forgot to share that part! It’s a cute little dive bar next door to the 7-11 on 112th and Powell. I think it’s called the Daily Planet. I’ll double-check that. My sister and a friend of hers like to pop in there from time to time.

The bar wasn’t full of people on a Wednesday, but there were a few people milling about,, especially in the video poker room where there was a line for a game.

The bartender carded my friend as soon as she saw us, so bring that ID! As a side note, knowing I didn’t have my ID with me, my friend just kept right on talking about this kind of whiskey and that, and we never did have to show ID. So, the bartender is sidetrackable, should you forget your identity in Tillamook. Turns out it was in the car all a long actually, but that’s beside the point right?

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll add a full review of our Daily Planet experience on YELP so I’ll let you read about that there.

After that, I took everyone home, and headed to my daughter’s house for bed. Bless her and her boyfriends amazing and trendy hearts for always putting up with me, and putting me up. I’d tell you about the BEST ever text messages I got from the bf after the last visit, but.. some stuff just isn’t meant for the net. Anyway, he’s a sweetheart, not as sweet as my Deedlebug, but pretty damn sweet.

The next ‘morning’ Malachai and I were able to spend some time in the pool at Deidre’s too. It was so peaceful! It was great really! On days like that, I cannot believe that the pool wasn’t overflowing with people! For the first while it was just Malachai and I, later a little family of three kids joined us.

Deidre left blankets out for us the first night and provided Malachai with the worlds biggest bean bag bed. Deidre and Don are always AWESOME hosts! We tootled around Tigard for a few hours before it was time to pick Deidre up from work after our swim. Then picked her up from work, at her 1st of two jobs. This crazy girl works two jobs, and serves her country in the Army National Guard.

For dinner we grabbed some Taco Bell, I really do like those Doritos Taco’s, the cheesy ones, not the Ranch. I’d usually go somewhere a bit more healthy, but we were workin’ with a budget here, and 12 bucks to feed 4 people really aint bad. Don had already eaten though, even if he didn’t say so ;). He just quietly put his taco’s in the fridge, what a peach :D.

We were lucky enough to drive home on 7-11 Free Slurpee Day (wooot wooot!), We stopped by two 7-11’s for Free Slurpee’s. Malachai really loved that. Actually, the Tigard store was having lots of other promo’s too, we got a 1/4lb dog for a buck each, making lunch 2 bucks! WINNING!

Well it felt like winning, until highway 6, when my tummy reminded me that $2 lunches can feel great on the taste buds, but might not be exactly made for easy digestion.

Tillamook Forestry Center
That’s what brought us to the Tillamook Forestry Center. Isn’t it crazy that we’ve never stopped there before? Anyway, as you walk toward the door there’s a firewatch tower of old. Malachai climbed alllllll the waaaay to the top, which by the way is more than 70 stairs. . He took a few pictures from up there, a couple of which were of me.

He really enjoyed the Forestry Center! I love how much he loves things! Hes totally into robotics and technology, so I really didn’t know how much he’d enjoy the history based exhibits, but he did! In fact, we had a fantastic time. We played with a map that shows the history of Forest Fires in the Tillamook County Forest, and watched a movie about that same history and the people who were affected by the fires, including those who helped put them out.

We walked through a museum that included ways of life back then. We played surveyor for a minute, and really enjoyed how interactive the entire museum is! We opened trees, and drawers, and did all sorts of things in just a few feet. There was an old style telephone there too, the kind with the little horn looking piece attached to a string that you pick up and hold next to your ear, while speaking into the stationary piece on the wall. Then we ventured outside across a suspension bridge, where we played umbrella swords with the complimentary umbrellas. My shy side totally tried to bubble to the surface! I totally wanted to pass on the sword game. I’m really glad I didn’t!

While I was there, I picked up several publications, like 101 things to do in Oregon! Let the adventures begin! In fact, if you want to see more of this particular adventure, and less of my personal story, check out my review on Yelp! While we’re on the topic of events tough, check out the Forest Center’s website for future events, like the Return from the Burn annual celebration.

Peninsula Park

Surely if you’re from Portland, you’re familiar with Peninsula Park, if you’re not, just stop reading this review, and go experience it for yourself. Peninsula is often called the Rose Garden, or Peninsula Rose Garden or something like that. This is one of the absolute best parks in Portland. I’ve been going since I was a kid, and it’s only gotten better.

The park is probably 5 square blocks. I don’t know and I’m bad at measuring, but that’s my guess. It’s a nice little stroll for me.

There’s a beautiful Rose Garden with a great big fountain centerpiece. A gazebo where I once performed a 2nd grade choir concert with St. Andrew’s in Portland, all the normal playground equipment, a splash pad, a baseball field, a pool, and restrooms, and free lunches and activities every day for kids! All of this is housed underneath a forest of beautiful old trees!

I’ve actually started visiting the park pretty often because my dad lives in the neighborhood and it’s just a great place to meet up with him and visit. I don’t have a phone plan currently, which really cuts down on my Yelp check-ins! There’s no wi-fi available at the park. My first visit with him there was with my sister Becca and my nephew Marcus. We put our feet into the fountain and visited with Dad while Marcus enjoyed the pristine blue water of the fountain, emphatically.

During my next few visits, I noticed that the water is getting dirtier and dirtier. We can still smell the chlorine, but we can no longer see the bottom. This led us to wondering if you really are allowed to swim in the fountain, and … that would be a no.

Really the parks department should look at the fact that there’s always a dozen or so people in the fountain and clean the water, it’s gross. Also, they should officially allow wading.

This last weekend we started at the fountain and made our way to the splash pad. We didn’t buy an ice cream from the pedler on a bicycle that sells them, but we have in the past, and he’s a pretty cool kid.

Honestly I don’t know what makes the water at the Splash Pad come one, but it seems to have to do with rubbing your hand in circles on top of the green sprinkler pole. At any rate, Malachai loves to run through the water! I love to run through it with him, because I always want him to remember running through that with his momma. I want him to run through it with his own kids!

We haven’t ever been there for the activities, but we did see signage for a tie dye event It wasn’t free though, I think it was .50 and a tee-shirt.