Labor Day

On Labor Day weekend Erin & Evan (siblings) flew to Minnesota so we kept their spouses, Caden & Kelsey, entertained :) Or you could say we just dragged them to all the things we were already planning on doing. Either way, it was a great weekend.

Friday we went to a root beer float party at a park on Lake Oswego + we got them to play Scrabble for the first time in their lives. Saturday we tasted and judged (what seemed like) a million grilled cheese sandwiches + went to Salt & Straw for ice cream. Sunday we ate pazookies (more dessert!) and played games. Monday we went to a church picnic (love free lunch!) + we shopped the Woodburn Outlet sales (I got a Fossil wallet for $20!) + Lucas and I bought a bed!

Monday morning before the picnic, Lucas and I went to 6 different stores looking for a new mattress. We figured Labor Day weekend was the best time to get a good deal but several of the stores didn’t seem to know or care that it was Labor Day. We didn’t find any amazing deals in the morning so we went on with our day and found one later. The store we found was going out of business and liquidating everything. There was a sign that said, “give us a reasonable offer and we’ll take it.” So we did and they did. Next thing you know we’re strapping a new mattress set to the top of our Mazda 3 hatchback. Classy. We know.

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Real friends help you test out mattresses and then help you secure one to the top of your little car when you buy one. Thanks Caden and Kelsey!

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We made it home safe thanks to back roads. I don’t even want to know what would have happened if we had to take this on the freeway!IMG_0838_1

Grilled Cheese

Last Saturday we had an unusual but entertaining dining experience. But I forgot my camera so these iPhone photos will have to do.

East Burn, a restaurant/bar in Portland, hosted the 1st annual Grilled Cheese Invitational, a golf-like competition between 9 different grilled-cheese-selling restaurants in the city where the proceeds go to the Portland Women’s Crisis Line. The event raised over $4000 for PWCL! Where did the idea for this random event come from? A disrespectful Yelp review.

Sometime in July a man left a 5 star Yelp review for East Burn praising their grilled cheese and joking about abortion. The restaurant owner commented on the review, reprimanding the man for his distasteful attitude towards women and said that because of this review East Burn would donate all proceeds from their grilled cheese sandwiches to the PWCL during the month of August. Someone posted a picture of the trashy review and owner’s response on Facebook and it spread like crazy (locally). As a result, East Burn sold far more grilled cheese sandwiches during August than usual. To take the fundraiser to the next level, 9 local restaurants that have a grilled cheese on their menu came together for a cook-off of sorts. We paid $20 to get in, $10 went to the PWCL and the other $10 paid for the food.

Kelsey and her sister (who was only in town for the weekend) came with us : )

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Some sandwiches had poached pears and cheese that I can’t pronounce while other had bacon or pulled pork. Each bite was a new adventure, that’s for sure. I’m surprised none of the restaurants used sourdough bread. Lucas and I always make our grilled cheese on sourdough : )

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The place filled up really fast so even though we arrived on time we were left with only one seating option, Swinging chairs. Just in case you’re wondering, swinging chairs make dinner exceptionally entertaining.

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The 1st Annual Grilled Cheese Invitational winner was The Cheese Plate! I think I remember there’s being really good but after 9 different samples it’s difficult to keep them all straight.

Oregon Symphony

Free concert in the park? You can count on us being there : ) To kick off Labor Day weekend, the Oregon Symphony held a free concert on the waterfront downtown. The program started at 2:30 pm with various performers all afternoon, but we didn’t arrive until 7 when the actual symphony played and of course we stayed until the end to see the fireworks!IMG_4547_1

IMG_4548_1I’m a little embarrassed to admit that we ate that plate of fries for dinner. They were yummy though : )

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IMG_4565_1I LOVE watching the bridge move up and down. The barge the bridge moved for is where all the fireworks were launched.

The mayor of Portland, Charlie Hales, was the guest conductor for “The Stars and Stripes.” Mom, listening to this song made me miss playing it with you!

IMG_4568_1Special performance by two of the best from the Oregon Ballet. It was beautiful. Even though we were so far away we could barely see them.

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Softball

I’m on a softball team. I never thought I’d be able to say that. Some people from Precoa started a team and we’re on it! I’m more of a part time team member, part time team photographer. My favorite part is the uniform, specifically the hat. I finally have my own baseball hat!

Back to softball. This has been so much fun! Our final game was last week and we placed 2nd in our division!

It’s amazing how much more time we have now that we don’t have a game or two per week. But it was great while it lasted!

Since I have 280+ pictures from throughout the season, here are some favorites : )

www.charlesevelyn.wordpress.com

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Here’s the only video I took.
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This was before we got our jerseys, obviously. But I love the picture!

IMG_3938_1Shalece (and Aubrey too) was a great score keeper!

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Sauvie Island

So… 14 of us went to Sauvie Island to a u-pick farm to find peaches. There were no peaches left. However, the farm is really fun to run around even if you don’t walk away with any produce : )
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Until this trip I had never heard of yellow raspberries. They are yummy! But not as good as regular raspberries. The farm’s berry bushes were really picked over so maybe I just got a poor sample…

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Just in case you want to know what kale looks like while it’s in the ground, here you go : )

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IMG_4514_1Lemon cucumbers? What?

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DIY Laundry Detergent

I’m not much of a cook because I don’t speak recipe. However, the recipe below it fool-proof so it’s my favorite : )

To make your own powder laundry detergent all you do is mix together the ingredients in this picture. Honestly you can make a detergent with only three of these items but I like my laundry super clean, stain free and smelling great so I use these 6 items. The mixture costs $27.87 and lasts 12 months, that includes 2 loads of laundry per week. I’ve heard people with similar recipes say they only use a tablespoon of detergent per load and can get 6 loads a week for whole year.  I prefer using the equivalent of 3 or 4 tablespoons per load, but I don’t have a reason why haha.

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Borax Laundry Booster- 76 oz: $3.97

OxiClean – 3 lbs: $7.52

Arm & Hammer Washing Soda – 55 oz: $3.24

Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda – 4 lbs (optional): $2.24

Fells-Naptha Laundry Soap – 2 bars: $0.97 x 2 = $1.94 (online you can only buy the bars in bulk but individually in the store they are 97 cents each)

Fabric Softener Crystals – 55 oz (optional): $8.96 (you can save $4 and get the smaller 28 oz container or save $9 and don’t include this ingredient)

Grand Total: $27.87

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Dump all of the ingredients into your mixing container of choice (I bought this at clear container at Walmart 2 years ago when I made my first batch. It cost less than $5 and works great!). Then add the grated Fels-Naptha bars. The bars can be chopped with a knife or shredded on a cheese grater. The goal is to turn the bars into tiny pieces so they work better in the washer. I think the small holed cheese grater is the best way to go.

Mixing the contents is the most difficult part because it’s hard to find a container large enough to allow for ferocious stirring. In this case, your hands are the best mixing tool because they minimize the amount of powder you’ll have to inhale and yield a more thorough mixture. Also this clear container allows me to see any neglected corners or edges that still need mixing.

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Although the mixture fills up a large container, for daily use it’s easier to use a smaller, refillable container of detergent. I prefer using the Purex Crystals pitcher-like container because I use the blue cap as a gauge of how much detergent to use in each load and it’s easy to pick up off of the shelf above my washer. The small Oxi Clean container is a great option as well.

photo 2_1All of the ingredients are on the same isle at Walmart! (I’m not usually a Walmart enthusiast but this is the only store I’ve found that has every ingredient I need, and cheap.) Everything you need is in this picture except the fabric softener crystals, which is about 8 feet to the left : )

Hillsboro Hops

Minor league baseball on a Friday night!

IMG_4435_1I was going to crop this picture and then I noticed the couple at the top and decided not to. I think she tried to photo bomb our picture and her friend/boyfriend tried to push her down the hill? Not sure haha but I think it’s funny!

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IMG_4445_1The only thing we didn’t account for was a chilly breeze. As soon as the sun went down we all froze. But it was still a fun game, we’re glad we went!

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Plant Family

Welcome to my plant family lavender, daileas and various succulents!

This is becoming an addiction.

Gardening has never really appealed to me, yet somehow I’ve accidentally fallen in love with potting small plants. They are easy to take care of and brighten my day every time I see them!

I wonder how many I can bring home before Lucas says we’ve reached our max plant capacity… : )

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I didn’t realize how worn my door mat was until I took this picture. Guess it’s time for a touch up. Anybody have some spare black paint? : )

P.S. Since summer is ending, most stores that carry fun pots have them on clearance. The little green pot on the left and the little white one on the right were about $2 each at Michael’s (70% off).