Oregon Sand Dunes…It’s About Time!

This past Saturday, I checked off #9 from my 101 in 1001 list, ride on the Oregon sand dunes. We have been in Oregon for 17 years and had yet to experience riding across the sand dunes.  I originally had planned to make this part of our summer road trip but as I got planning I found other things I wanted to do, so I decided this needed to happen on it’s own.

I made a reservation earlier in the week with Sandland Adventures for a 1 hour ride.  We were all feeling really excited about it and Taelin and I would be lying if we said we weren’t also a wee bit worried as well. I know myself (and Taelin) well enough that we both took Dramamine before we went and I am SO glad we did.  I have no doubt we would have been feeling gross 10 minutes in and it would have not been nearly as fun. Here we are before going:

Our driver’s name was Kyle and he was so great! He made sure everyone was having a good time and stopped several times to tell us what we were looking at or to describe something about the dunes.  There were 3 other kids on the ride and he was constantly checking in to make sure they were doing ok.  He was also a bit of a crazy driver which, if I had to guess, is a bit of a requirement! There wasn’t anytime during the entire trip though that I felt unsafe. We were so strapped in, we weren’t going anywhere! I did have a moment of panic at the beginning where Joe looked at me with some worry because I didn’t look so good but I just employed some deep breathing and then was fine.

The hour went by so quickly.  Most of the time was on the sand dunes but we did get to go down to the beach which was very cool.

Even though we were bundled up pretty well, Taelin got really cold.  She didn’t complain at all but I think it made the last part of the ride a little less fun for her. She is so dang tiny that it doesn’t take much for her to get cold.  An extra pair of socks and some gloves would have made a big difference for her.

When we were done, we had so much sand everywhere…in our hair, ears, clothes. I had three shirts on and I still found some in my more unmentionable parts. It is hard to believe that there is enough sand left for how much it seems everyone must take with them.

I am so glad we finally did this. We had a lot of fun and have declared that we need to do it again, this time taking a certain favorite family of ours with us. It is truly a beautiful part of this state and one that shouldn’t be missed!

The Glorious Heresies by Lisa McInerney

The title and cover of this book grabbed my attention and I am glad it did. Just the idea of something being a glorious heresy is even to get my interest piqued. I am not ruined anything by telling you this book starts out with a murder.

Maureen, who ended up being by far my favorite character, kills an intruder in her home and calls her criminally savvy son, Jimmy, to help clean things up.  We also meet a fifteen year old boy named Ryan who deals drugs and his share of family issues.  Georgie, a prostitute turned born-again Christian (kind of) is another character we follow from the beginning. And I would say, the Catholic Church is a bit of a “character” so to speak takes more than a few hits in this book, as you might guess from the title.

McInerney is an Irish author and the story is set in Cork, Ireland which honestly made the book a bit tricky for me to read. There were more than a few times that I had to figure out some of the slang included in the book and sometimes the dialogue was hard for me to read because it just didn’t seem natural. I enjoyed the story but it was a little long in some parts and there were a couple of times that the characters just happened upon one another that felt a little forced.  I wasn’t sure where the story was going but in the end I enjoyed it well enough. I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my review.


Pickle Jinx

A few weeks ago we sitting at the table eating dinner and talking when all of the sudden Taelin yelled, “Potato jinx!!!”

She looked rather proud of herself.  Joe and I mostly looked at her strangely because while she and Joe did say something at the exact same time, it had nothing to do with potatoes.  I asked her what she was talking about and she just kept staring at Joe until finally he said, “There is no such thing as potato jinx.”

To which Taelin said like she was meeting Joe for the first time, “Hello, there is no such thing as potato jinx!” which was followed by a fit of giggles.


We finally got the explanation that Potato Jinx is a game that they play at school.  There is no owing anyone any kind of carbonated beverage in this version of jinx.  A potato jinx is called when two people say the same thing at the same time.  Then the person who called potato jinx listens for the next thing the non-potato jinx calling person says.  And then that becomes their name.

Joe declared it dumb right off the bat but it didn’t stop him from trying to be the first one the next time he and Taelin said the same thing. There were varying degrees of success for the potato jinx caller to have something hilarious to call the other person. I apparently am slow because I always seemed to be the one with someone staring back at me waiting for me to say something. After a few times, I figured out to just say my name and then was dubbed a party pooper for not playing along.

Then last week, I was driving Taelin somewhere (probably to dance) and we were talking and to my surprise I was able to shout, “Potato jinx!!” (It is a bit funny to me that I can’t remember what we were talking about but can remember after.)

Taelin looked at me with a flat expression and said, “It isn’t potato jinx.  I was wrong.  It is actually pickle jinx.”

So I responded, “Hi, it isn’t potato jinx I was wrong it is actually pickle jinx.”

I got nothing back. Just a “mom, you aren’t pulling it off so just stop trying” look.

Taelin went on to tell me that she was wrong the first time she told us about it.  That it wasn’t actually ‘potato jinx’ but ‘pickle jinx’. I am fairly suspicious that just when I finally was able to be the one on top, all of the sudden the rules change. I informed Joe the next time we were eating and he too was suspicious but rolled with it because that is what you do when your eight year old comes home claiming to be the expert of a game she plays at school.

So, if you find yourself talking to one of us and we by chance say the same thing at the same time, don’t be alarmed if we scream “Pickle Jinx!” at you.  And then, think of something really clever to make us repeat back to you.

Here is a picture of Taelin at school dressed like a fish.  I shouldn’t be surprised that she comes home with games about fermented vegetables.

Project 52: Week 20-Stairs

Here we are at week 20 and I am glad that I picked this challenge back up.  This week’s word was ‘stairs’ and while I found a lot of stairs pretty much everywhere I went, it wasn’t until I went to the library with Taelin that I found the stairs I wanted to take picture of.

Reading has not come easy for Taelin.  She has always love to listen to books and has always blown people away with her vocabulary. But, breaking the code for her continues to be a challenge.  In the last few months, she has made a breakthrough. The all-elusive chapter books are feeling more accessible and today Taelin bound up these stairs, eager to find a new Cam Jansen and the next book in the Critter Club series. It is still hard and will probably be for awhile. But she has turned a corner and these stairs will lead her to all sorts of amazing things.

If you have a picture for Week 20, please post it in the comments!


Instant Pot Macaroni and Cheese

I feel like I need to say upfront that I am not a food blogger. I don’t take beautiful pictures of food all throughout making it nor do I claim to come up with any of this stuff on my own.  To be honest, I don’t really love to cook.  I cook because my family needs to eat and if I didn’t do it we would eat a lot of pizza, hot dogs and french toast.

I wrote earlier about my new love for my Instant Pot and my quest for some new recipes.  This last week I tried a recipe I had found awhile ago for macaroni and cheese and it was really good!  You can find the original recipe here. I did change a few things just because of what I had (or more precisely, didn’t have) on hand.   Continue Reading

The Signs of Summer

After today, Taelin has 14 more days of school until summer officially starts! I love our life but I am most certainly ready for some slower days.  Here are a few more signs that summer is coming.

We have a few plans for the summer but for the most part it is unscheduled time.  I am so grateful that we will have the time off together.  Usually, we make a list of things we want to make sure we do over the summer but we haven’t started making that yet.

Summer is coming!

Project 52: Week 19-eyes

I was trying to find Taelin the other day and could not figure out where in the world she was.  I finally called her named and heard a response from a pile of pillows on the couch.  Sure enough, there she was all hunkered down underneath the pillows.  She had built her little fortress and was watching something on the iPad.  What is it about building little places to hide in that kids love so much!?!

She humored me for about 30 seconds while I snapped a quick picture with my phone before she pulled the dark brown pillow back over her head.  

Is anyone still with me in the challenge?  If you are, post your Week 19 picture in the comments!


If the ocean can calm itself, so can you. We are both salt water mixed with air. ~meditation, Nayyirah Waheed

A few years ago I took a class on meditation.  I had been feeling anxious about a lot of things and thought, “What could it hurt?!?”  About three minutes in, I knew I had made a good decision and I walked away from the class knowing that meditation needed to be a part of my life.

I read a few books and some things online but it wasn’t until I came across the website calm that I felt like I had what I needed to meditate at home.  There is an app that I absolutely love and it what I use for the most part, although I have the website up in the background right now and I think it is going to be up in the background while I am writing from now on! Continue Reading

A night of painting

Earlier this month, I signed up for a class at Young at Art that was different than others they had offered in the past.  It was a party celebrating a local author and her first published book.  One of my best friends and I decided to sign up and we had a great evening.  We got to meet the author and get her new book autographed, paint a canvas inspired by the cover of the book and got to sample some yummy wine!  It was a bit out of the ordinary for a weeknight but that is part of what made it so fun!

Here is my canvas at the beginning of the night.  When I looked at the finished product I was a little worried about how I was going to get there but with great instruction and a glass of wine, it turned out not half bad!

I might have made a bit of a mess of myself.

I already read the book we got and will include that in my month wrap-up.  I will say I didn’t love it.  I feel a bit bad saying that but it’s true.

One of my favorite finds of the evening was the wine that I sampled.  I am not a huge wine fan and don’t know a lot about it so I always feel a bit weird when put in a situation like wine tasting but the lady doing the serving was really quite laid back.  I actually enjoyed the wine so much that I bought a bottle to bring home and it made a lovely addition to a steak dinner we had later that week.

 All in all it was a fun night. A little uncomfortable at times, but fun.  All day before the class, I was feeling like I didn’t want to go.  There were all kinds of reasons I was thinking up about why I should stay home instead but I sucked it up and went.  And I am glad I did!

I like your face.

Being a mom is by the far the toughest job.  Many things have been written about how hard motherhood is and an equal amount has probably been written on how much moms love being moms.  I am raising my hand to be counted.

Taelin has always been a funny kid when it has come to turning a year older.  Every year, sometimes on her actually birthday, she makes some kind of declaration about what is going to be different now that she is turning a year older.  It started when she was 3 and she decided that she wasn’t going to wait for me to get out of bed but that she could just get up when she wanted to.  We didn’t have any kind of rule about that, waiting in bed, but before that she would always call “Mama…Mama…” until I got myself out of bed and went to her room. The change at 3 ended up resulting in a few terrifying instances of waking up by being poked in the eye or with her lurking over my face but she had decided and made it so. Continue Reading