Portland Tourists

Finally! My last post about our trip to Portland over a month ago. Life has been super crazy lately and now that the kids and I are back in Utah I haven’t seemed to have much time to write.

Our final two days were spent being tourists and we loved it!

First stop: VooDoo Doughnut! If you haven’t been you NEED to. They have so many delicious and unique doughnuts to choose from. Like sprinkles,(which Memphis chose) to the famous “cock n balls” for those who like a good laugh and have a huge appetite (it’s enormous!). The line was about a ten minute wait, but from what I hear that’s short! We enjoyed every delicious bite! Memphis like I said got sprinkles, Shay got an iconic VooDoo guy, Calvin got a VooDoo Bubble which tasted like bubblegum, and Jess got a Portland Creme. I had a great time taking nibbles off of all of them.

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The rest of the day we spent perusing the famous “Saturday Market” which is Saturday and Sunday mornings. I didn’t take any photos of the market because I was too excited looking at all the amazing booths! I did manage to get a picture of the famous “Mr. Statue”.

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On our final morning and afternoon we once again drove into the gorgeous Columbia Gorge. But this time we went along the historic scenic highway. It was much curvier but had such beautiful views! Our first stop was the Vista House. It sits atop the Gorge and has absolutely breathtaking views. The building itself is historic and had a museum in the basement but it was so unbearably hot that day and there was literally no airflow down there so we decided to skip it. Usually it’s quite windy up there so we lucked out that day!

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From there we made our way to Multnomah Falls. It’s one of the most photographed and well known waterfalls of the Columbia Gorge.  It was super crowded so we only hiked up to the first bridge instead of going all the way up.

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Our last stop was Horsetail Falls. It was much less crowded so we stayed here for a while and the kids had fun tossing rocks into the water.

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With that, we had to say goodbye to Rick and Sherri and head back to Boise. It was such a fun trip! The Pacific Northwest is absolutely gorgeous and so cannot wait to plan another trip!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Idaho State Capitol| Boise, Idaho

The Capitol building in Boise was on the top of my list for our Boise bucket list. When our final week in Idaho came, I was getting a little anxious. Packing up and getting organized to leave took a great deal more time than I had anticipated. I swear, the small amount of stuff we brought from home multiplied by 3 by the time we left! Crazy how that happens – especially with kids!

I had wanted to schedule a full tour, which you can do here , but was not able to as you need at least two weeks notice. So, I opted to just walk in, which anyone can do during their business hours, and we gave ourselves a personalized tour. The website has tons of information, so I was ready to give my kids as best a tour as I could just by myself. There are also informational videos you can watch, as well as a printable scavenger hunt that you and your kids can do! It’s a very well done website.

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The gardens surrounding the Capitol were gorgeous!

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Memphis knocked but Butch was not there

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All the Governors of Idaho

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I loved this statue of Washington on the 3rd floor

There is so much to see! It’s best to start on the bottom floor. Inside there is a small museum about Idaho history, a gift shop (which I avoided at all costs with my kids. I didn’t want to hear “Can I have this? Can I have this?!”) , and some informational videos that you can view.

Since my children’s attention spans are about as big as a goldfish, we didn’t spent much time in the museum area. Instead, we went up one floor to the rotunda. This was my favorite floor! Why you ask? Because you had the complete view to the top of the dome. It’s gorgeous!

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There are 43 stars inside the faux oculus. Why? because Idaho is the 43rd state!

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The above photo was taken while I was laying flat on my back in the center of the rotunda. My kids ended up laying down with me, and this group of older women just thought it was hilarious. They all ended up laying down with us too and we gazed up at the dome together for a few minutes. I wish we could have gotten a selfie with all of us laying there. Ah well.

It really is a gorgeous building. It was built in 1905, and was recently rennovated and rededicated in 2010.

We had a great time exploring the House and Senate rooms. Thankfully neither was in session the day we went, so we were able to go inside. The kids were really excited about the soft chairs they could sit in.

 

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One of my favorite things about the building itself was the replica of the Liberty Bell outside of it! It made this Philly girl’s heart sing! The bell even works, (we tried with permission of the security guard who also snapped our photo).

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If you’re in the neighborhood and have some free time the Capitol building is definitely a must see!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

 

 

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Table Rock | Boise, Idaho

Perhaps one of the most iconic spots in the Boise area is that of Table Rock. It’s easy to see why once you’re standing at the top with a beautiful panoramic view of Treasure Valley,  as well as the Owyhee Mountain range. The 60 foot high white cross that adorns the summit of the butte is equally loved and hated by native Boiseans. The area itself is sacred ground of the Northern Shoshone tribe, who apparently used the butte and surrounding caves for ceremonial purposes. Apparently, it’s a sore spot why nothing is there to preserve or respect the Shoshone tribe, and instead the white cross stands tall.  IMG_4693IMG_4697IMG_4694

The cross actually stands on private land, owned by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, (Jaycees), who purchased the land in a very shady auction which the general public was not even made aware of. So, the cross itself has a pretty turbulent and controversial history. BUT, controversy aside, it still is extremely cool to hike to the top and explore the surrounding caves. It’s become quite the graffiti mecca, and there is always new artwork to admire.

You can either start from the bottom where the trail starts by the old Idaho State Penitentiary, (which is also highly recommended to go and see!) The littles and I started at the bottom of the trail, but only made it about half a mile and had to turn back. It didn’t help that it was 96 degrees out when we started. So, we got back in the car and decided to drive to the top of the bluff instead. It ended up working out much better for us, and we were able to explore all the little caves and crevices.

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clearly, they were thrilled to hike up. You can see the cross that’s blurry in the top right corner. We had a ways to go.

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Even the artwork on the electrical buildings on the hike up from the parking lot are impressive! The details on them are phenomenal.

Once we sat on the summit for a few minutes and took in the gorgeous panoramic views, we hiked down to the caves right below that encircle the entire bluff. Memphis is really into Batman right now, so he kept exclaiming “I found a Batman cave Momma!” Too cute.

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Table Rock is a must see on my list of things to do in Boise! If you’re in the area, definitely go! Me and my littles had a great time exploring it and maybe one day we can go back and actually hike up to the top instead of drive.

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XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Oregon Round 2

Life has gotten so busy and I am really behind on keeping up with our adventures this summer! Here is day two of our amazing trip to Portland, Oregon a few weeks ago.

We spent the entire day on Saturday at the coast. I have seen the beaches in California but never up in the PNW. It was breathtaking! The drive itself was beautiful, and windy, (thankfully my very carsick prone children did not throw up!).

Once we arrived at our first stop of the day, Oswald West State Park, we hiked down to the beach. The hike down was yet another iconic greenest green forest. I could have just sat in that little patch of forest all day and been just fine. But, the beach was calling! The pathway was filled with natural tree houses and little caves which the kids, particularly Memphis, loved exploring. The beach we hiked to is called Smugglers Cove.

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So, in an epically bad move on my part, I left our swimsuits at Sherri and Rick’s home back in Vancouver. Oops! We ended up lucking out and coming on a super warm day too, so it was even worse. Thankfully, I had on a tank top so I was okay, and the kiddos are still small enough to not be embarrassed so they stripped down to their undies and had fun regardless!

Jess, my sister Missy, and her boyfriend Nate surfed for about 3 hours. It was fun to watch them out there. The water was extremely cold so they needed wetsuits, but all three of them had a great time. It has been quite a few years since Jess has surfed, but he seemed to just pick it right back up.

Meanwhile,  Sherri, Rick, and I braved the high winds and watched the kiddos play endlessly in the sand and water. Rick even found a whole dead crab which Memphis played with non-stop for an hour. He kept sadly saying “Mommy when will it wake up?”. I finally could no longer handle the awful rotting smell of the crab meat and we threw it in the ocean.

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After we were done with that beach, we went and ate dinner at a lovely little seaside cafe in Manzanita called the Big Wave Cafe . It was delicious, and everything is fresh. The Chef, Brian Williams, even came and chatted with us for a moment and when we commented how delicious the crab was, he said they had been crawling around the kitchen just a few hours before! If you’re ever in the area, check this place out!

Sherri and Rick headed home after dinner, but the rest of us wanted to see Cannon Beach, so we headed back up north to see the iconic rocks. As soon as I saw them, I couldn’t help myself and had to let out a “Hey you guyyyysssss!”. Please tell me you all have seen ‘The Goonies’??

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Driving home that night Memphis fell asleep and barely even noticed when we removed him from the car, got him changed and put him to bed. It was such a good, long, and fun day for everyone.

The pacific northwest coast is something I will dream about until I see it again.

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

A Kitschy Surprise in Melba, Idaho

When I packed the kids in the van and drove over to Melba, Idaho a few weeks ago I was under the impression that we were going to a “fairy” trail. Shay my daughter is obsessed with all things fairy and magical so I was sure she would love it. When we pulled in to Cleo’s Ferry Museum and Nature Trail I was a little confused but pleasantly surprised to find it was in fact a “ferry” museum which was a nod to the still standing 150-year-old buildings which at one time housed the ferry services across the Snake River. What I soon discovered was that a man by the name of Dr. Samuel “Pappy” Swayne and his wife Cleo purchased this land and constructed buildings to house his medical practice and for them to reside in. When Pappy passed away in 1976, Cleo decided to turn their property into a religious nature trail.

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The sign that we passed as we entered says it’s a “faith adventure”. Anyone could see as you start your journey walking the trail that it is heavily influenced by Christian religious beliefs whether the various decorations are subtle or not so subtle. Cleo put up bird houses along the trail which all have included signs with whimsical and religious quotes on them about life, love, and family. Judging just by looking, there must be thousands of houses so that feat was amazing in itself to achieve! This part of the trail also houses a cemetery which is the final resting place of the beloved Pappy Swayne and various other family members.

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There’s also a kitschy side of this trail. Mixed amongst the Christian decor are spectacularly kooky lawn decorations including life-sized African safari animals, a full Hansel and Gretel set, a random rocket ship housing an alien with included “Take me to your leader” sign, and a collection of bronze sculptures including historical figures. I took a photo with William Shakespeare because I recently discovered he is a distant cousin of mine! (And by distant I mean like 14th cousin twice removed or something crazy like that!) The dichotomy of different worlds just kind of makes you cock your head and say “Huh.”. But it’s also a very interesting contrast and just makes you feel like you’re in a giant attic of your favorite grandma. Despite it being almost 100 degrees that day, we enjoyed our nature walk. There are also chickens roaming free, and there is a muster of peacocks which the kids had a phenomenal time feeding, and we loved seeing the babies!

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If you’re in the neighborhood, head on over to Cleo’s Ferry Museum and Nature Walk. It was a very unique discovery for us, and whether you’re religious or not you can appreciate all the time and work that went into this beautiful space.

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

 

Wahclella Falls and the Fish Hatchery at Bonneville Dam in Oregon

What a weekend! We drove up to Portland to visit my family and we definitely packed as much as we could in the 4 days we had up there. I wish we could have stayed longer, but it’s just a good reason to go back! We took two days to explore the breathtaking Columbia Gorge. There’s so many hikes and waterfalls- it would literally take a week maybe two to see it all! Because we have littles and little legs we needed to pick holes that were kid friendly.

The first day we went to the gorge, we hiked Wahclella Falls. It was not a flat or easy hike, and Memphis protested and demanded to be held several times, but we survived. Us out of towners were pretty cold at first and all had our layers on, but by the time we reached the falls I was sweating! The weather here is so unpredictable but we got really lucky and it ended up being sunny and pretty warm.

 

 

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The hike itself was gorgeous. I still cannot get over the moss covered trees! My kids called them “fuzzy trees”. My stepdad Rick was a fountain of knowledge pointing out every plant we passed and telling us what it was stinging nettle, and Poison Oak which thankfully no one walked through or touched! We even picked some delicious wild raspberries along the trail, but also saw salmon berries,Oregon Grapes, and huckleberries! We saw a few garter snakes and Rick picked it up while the littles squealed with delight.

The Falls were quite impressive. The greenery surrounding Wahclella makes it seem like you should be in Ireland instead of Oregon. It was quite magical really. We made our way to the water which was too cold to swim in, but the littles had a good time throwing rocks in the water for a long time. Okay, the adults threw some rocks too! The kids explored a cool dripping cave, and then we headed back down the trail to the cars.

That same day, we visited the Fish Hatchery which is across the road from the Wahclella Trailhead at the Bonneville Dam.

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We saw lots of fish, and even Bigfoot! It was worth driving over to see the hatchery.I had never been to one before, so it was very interesting to walk by all the huge tanks holding the baby fish in them. Tons of tiny fish were leaping out of the water which the kids enjoyed watching. We moved on to the Rainbow Trout which were so vividly colored, and the kids liked throwing in fish food and watching a giant writhing pile of rainbow fish fight over it.

From there, we moved to the sturgeon viewing areas. Man, were these prehistoric fish impressive! They even had a viewing window under their pond so you could watch them swimming underwater. The largest one they had must have been at least 10-15 feet long! Memphis loved looking at their eyes, and Calvin loved to point at the pieces of dead fish along the bottom of their tank. Shay just couldn’t wrap her head around the fact that they are as old as dinosaurs.

Once we were done watching them, we drove up to the actual dam. Inside, we took the elevator down so we were underneath it, and they had these viewing windows where you could watch the fish swimming up the ladder from under the water. We maybe saw one fish from under there, but were much more interested in the alien-like Lamprey which were suctioned to the windows! Their alarmingly sharp little teeth made it look like a horror film! Honestly, I could have watched them all day. I never knew that they are basically leeches and suck the fluids out of the fish they attach to! Calvin started talking to a group of people and told them that “They are basically related to Dracula!” which made us all laugh! He’s such a good tour guide!

We walked outside to watch the fish leap up the ladder from the top of the water. Sadly, we saw plenty of fish but none of them were jumping so we didn’t stay long. We got a good view of the dam from up there, and then called it a day.

It was such a jam-packed day of fun and we really lucked out with the weather being so nice and sunny! I snapped this photo of Memphis when we pulled into my birth mom Sherri’s house.

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You know it was a good day when he’s asleep in the car (which he never does anymore) AND covered in dirt!

XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette

Fourth of July

We spent the 3rd and 4th of July with my husband’s company Envi Pest and Lawn in Nampa, Idaho. Our Fourth of July was renting a boat and taking on Lake Lowell. It’s besutiful and the water level is so high this year that it covered some of the trees which made it look kind of magical. There is also plenty of shade which was a major plus.  We took turns tubing, wake surfing, and wakeboarding for two days and had a great time.

Our two days were FULL and fun days! We were all exhausted when we got home which just meant we had the time of our lives! We rented a boat and took turns riding the tubes, wake boarding, and wake surfing. When we weren’t in the boat we played in the water, played various games and ate LOTS of food! I’ll be honest though, the kids had a few meltdowns. And by kids, I mean Memphis, and by a few, I meant a lot! He was playing so hard and so long that both days he just completely fell apart. Poor kid! It’s so hard being 3!

We also had an extremely intoxicated man literally fall to the ground and start violently puking by our food table. My older kids asked me why that man was throwing up. So, that was cool. Way to keep it classy in front of the kids buddy! But despite all of that we had a great time.

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If you need Pest control or lawn service and live in the Boise, or Twin Falls areas make sure to check out Envi Pest and Lawn ! Also, we ended our day watching some local fireworks and doing sparklers- what could be better right?

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XoXo,

Heather

The Raw Brunette