2017 Portland Modern Home Tour

Text modpdx to 31996 to win two FREE tickets!!!

If you are a fan of NW Natural’s annual Street of Dreams, you are going to love the 6th Annual 2017 Portland Modern Home Tour! Modern Architecture and Design Society’s 2017 Portland Modern Home Tour takes place on June 3, 2017, running from 11AM-5PM (for a discount on ticket prices, see below).  The architects, builders, designers, and home owners will be present to talk about the homes on tour. 7 homes will be featured on the Modern Homes Tour,  ranging in age and size, from a renovated Mid-Century Modern to a new LEED certified High Performance home. Of the 7 homes, 2 are for sale, including the JT Roth constructed home that is listed with me at Next Home Realty Connection. Check out a sneak peak of of this gorgeous $1.5 Million home in the Westlake area of Lake Oswego!





For the full virtual tour, click here

This 5 bedroom, 4.5 bath, 3 car garage luxury home is sure to impress with luxury amenities throughout. Home features: Gorgeous hardwoods, carpeted bedrooms. Gourmet kitchen includes stainless steel, gas appliances. There’s a very large FS Fridge, gas range, microwave, and dishwasher. Spacious pantry with a barn door feature with plenty of space for storage! Tile backsplash, stunning custom pendant lighting. Kitchen island with eat bar area and granite countertops, with an informal dining area off the kitchen that opens up to a covered balcony with a seating area that has tranquil views, a ceiling fan, and a gas fireplace for summer entertaining.  Carpeted bedrooms, ceiling fan, and large windows. French doors leading into the vaulted master bedroom. Master bath has unique, beautiful barn door entry, soak tub, dual sinks, built ins, and tile baseboard borders! The lower level is a must see! There is a wet bar for entertaining; but also a beautiful wine cellar, which also has built ins, particularly targeted for the wine connoisseur and collector!

This is a must see. Be sure to stop by for food and a chance to win a $200 raffle basket!

Tickets for the 6th Annual Portland Modern Home Tour are $35 in advance online , or $40 the day of the tour (Children 12 and under are free). To receive a $5 discount on ticket prices, use the code JTROTH at purchase!

What features are you looking forward to seeing at this year’s tour?




Bucket List

Summer Bucket List 2017

I’ve been fascinated with the concept of the bucket list since I saw the movie of the same name years ago. I think Jack Nicholson was in it? Anyway, I love the concept, though in a less morbid way. Not that one shouldn’t have a bucket bucket list. We all have things we want to do before we pass, I just happen to like to break mine down into a slightly more light hearted let’s- not -look -at -impending -death kind of way. I digress though. Have you made your bucket list of fun things to do for the summer?? I love doing this, and now that we are actually expecting a good stretch of weather in the Portland Metro Area, it feels like the perfect time to put one together. Here are a few of the events I have found to add to my list:

Portland Rose Festival

This may be an annual event, but it still would make my list every year. Every Oregonian knows that May kicks off Rose Festival season. There are so many fun activities for the family at the Waterfront to participate in, but my favorite part of the Rose Festival has to be the parades. In high school I had the privilege of marching in both the Starlight and the Rose Parades, and as an adult the magic of them does not wear off. This year, the Starlight Parade takes place on June 3rd, and the Grand Floral Parade is on June 10th. Both are free to watch, though you may end up camping out with many other PDX residents to get the best spots. For more information on the parades, waterfront activities, concerts, runs, etc. taking place during the festival, visit www.rosefestival.org




Visiting All the Beaches

As soon as the sun hits, it is like there is this gravitational pull to the Oregon Coast. If you don’t know what I mean, then maybe these upcoming events at the coast will help explain.

Cannon Beach Sand Castle Contest

If you haven’t had the chance to see this in action, it is so fun to watch! There is a great range of talent and complexity in the builds, which will be happening this year on June 17th from 8:30AM-1:30PM. To register to sculpt yourself, participate in the run, or just to see what else is going on in Cannon Beach, click here

Rockaway Beach Pirate Festival

I have never been to this festival before, but they had me at Pirate. Also at PDXYAR. Which I can’t do justice to in explanation. The pirate festival is running June 23rd-25th and you need to check it out at www.rockawaybeach.net/events/pirate-festival

Lincoln City Summer Kite Festival

Some of the largest kites I have ever seen have been at this festival, happening June 24th-25th this year. I love the Lincoln City area, from its gorgeous camping grounds, to casino, to outlets, to fine agate beach front. Take in the kites while searching the coastline for the glass floats constantly found, or head up to the outlets to see the latest deals! www.oregoncoast.org/lincoln-city-summer-kite-festival

Drink it In

For those who love the brew scene, PDX has a few events this summer that allow you to try new flavors while socializing. Cider Summit PDX takes place at the Fields Park in the Pearl June 16th and 17th (Tix $25-40 depending on what type and when purchased). Sip more than 80 independent craft beers at the Oregon Brewer’s Festival, celebrating its 30th year, seeing annually about 80,000 craft beer lovers. The festival runs July 26th-30th this year, so get those pint glasses ready!


brewer's festival

Tigard Festival of Balloons

Running June 23rd-25th this year, the Tigard Festival of Balloons provides gorgeous photographs if you are a photographer, and is so much fun to watch if you get up early enough to see them launch. In addition to the balloons, there is a carnival center, beer garden, festival of cars, etc. I have missed this festival the last few years and would love to go back to Cook Park to see it!

Sherwood Robin Hood Festival

Located in Historic Sherwood on July 14th and 15th, the Sherwood Robin Hood Festival is one of my kids’ favorite festivals to go to. Maybe it is the parade, the plays, the knighting ceremony, archery tournament, music, or just the presence of Robin Hood hats, but they always ask to go every year. Best part? Entrance is free!!


soap box 2

Portland Adult Soap Box Derby

The Portland Adult Soap Box Derby takes place on August 19th at Mt. Tabor Park from 9:30AM-4ish (their description) and makes my list because, seriously, who doesn’t want to watch grown adults come up with some kind of car to race in something that normally you see kids doing? I have to see this just to say I have.

County and State Fairs

Who doesn’t love fair food, and dogs flying into pools trying to catch Frisbees? In all serious, the Washington County Fair in Hillsboro and the Oregon State Fair in Salem will always make my summer bucket list. Besides that feeling of Americana, there is just something relaxing and fun about strolling through the myriad of booths eating a ginormous turkey leg and funnel cake then riding all the rides until you throw up or run out of money. These are the memories I pass down to my kids.


State fair

What is on your 2017 summer bucket list?? Are there events that make every year? What is a new bucket list item for this year?



Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother's day

Some people look forward to the flowers on Mother’s day, or the cute hand crafted cards from their kids. Yes, those are nice, but you know what is even better (except maybe the handwritten cards. I’m not a monster)? The FOOD. You know what I am talking about. Mother’s Day brunch. Buffets filled with everything that is delicious and brunchy. Here are some of the options in Hillsboro and a couple special ones in Portland this year.

McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse

A staple in Hillsboro, the Roadhouse is one of the select McMenamins offering a Mother’s Day brunch. It does require a reservation to attend, and runs from 9AM-3PM. Pricing is $31 for adults, $19 for kids ages 5-12, with ages 4 and under eating free. For an idea of what will be served, click here.


La Provence in Orenco

Who doesn’t love a taste of France? Or American French as it were. Whether you are craving French toast, patisserie offerings, or something more substantial, you can find it at La Provence in Orenco (close to Ava Roasteria for all you coffee lovers). Brunch offerings will be served until 3PM. For La Provence’s Mother’s Day menu, click here.

Top Golf


Top Golf

This one goes out to all of the mommas who enjoy going to the driving range, socialization, and maybe some good drinks. Now, this Mother’s Day option is definitely a little more spendy. Reservations are required for this adventure, and cost $180. For that price you receive one golf bay for 2 hours of Top Golf play and prepaid food and beverage in the amount of $80. Each bay accommodates 6 playing guests, with up to 8 guests per bay. For larger groups there are reservations available for two bays next to each other. Amount of play time is still the same, but the amount of prepaid food jumps up to $160. Though the site doesn’t specify that the reservation price doubles, I would assume it does.  To make a reservation at the Hillsboro Top Golf for Mother’s Day, click here.


Garden Vineyards

Ok, so this one isn’t a restaurant, but it deserves a mention. I actually tried Garden Vineyards a year or two ago after I purchased a Groupon for a basket from them. Located off of Dick Road in Hillsboro, the Vineyard has some beautiful scenic views, and the food is fantastic. I especially loved their freshly baked bread. This Mother’s Day they are offering special picnic baskets. The Vineyard requires 48 hour notice for purchase, and the cost is $25 per person. In addition to the basket, you receive fresh baked bread, cheese, basil pesto, fresh berries, bread pudding with rum soaked raisins, fresh flowers, and a choice between vegetarian quiche or steak and arugula salad. In my opinion, this sounds delicious! For more information about Garden Vineyards, click here.

Oregon Zoo

Who doesn’t love Mother’s Day at the zoo? It keeps the kids entertained, and there are so many fun animals to see. In fact, you could celebrate the new baby river otters that have recently begun to swim with their mama in the Great Northwest exhibit. Brunch at the zoo will be located in the Cascade Crest Banquet Center, and will run from 9:30AM-1PM. For more information about pricing and the menu, click here.


Obviously this does not capture all of the options that are out there for Mother’s Day, but it is a beginning for those who aren’t sure what is out there. Where do you enjoy eating on Mother’s Day? Do you go out, or do you cook? What are your favorite Mother’s Day activities to do?




Upcoming Events in Hillsboro for the Week of May 7-13th

Farmers Market

Here is a quick update for some fun Hillsboro happenings for this next week!


Sunday May 7th:

Orenco Farmer’s Market

Support our local farmers/vendors tomorrow in Orenco at the weekly Farmer’s Market located in the parking lot by the New Seasons and First American Title Company. Not only will you find beautiful flowers and gorgeous produce, but you can shop from vendors such as Decadent Creations, Great Harvest Bread Company, and Olympic Provisions. There will be a variety of food carts, and live music. This Sunday’s live music will be performed by Dan Abrahamson. The market runs from 10AM to 2PM.

Collector’s West Gun and Knife Show

The Collectors West Gun and Knife Show takes place May 6-7, 2017 in the Main Exhibit Hall-North at the Washington County Fairgrounds. It’s underway Sunday from 10 AM to 3 PM. Admission is $7.00 per person.

Oregon Guitar and Musical Instrument Expo

The Oregon Guitar and Musical Instrument Expo comes to the Main Exhibit Hall-South at the Washington County Fairgrounds on Sunday, May 7, from 10 AM to 4 PM.

This guitar show will feature over 8,000 square feet of vendors selling new and used, vintage and collectible acoustic and electric guitars, basses, amplifiers, keyboards, drums, and more! Come to buy, sell, or trade all instruments: Vintage, used, and new guitars, amps, pedals, drums, keyboards, mandolins, banjos, ukuleles, harmonicas, P.A.’s, and accessories.

You are welcome to bring your personal instruments with your paid admission to sell to dealers, and other show-goers!

Doors to the public open at 10 AM with a $10 admission charge.
Accepting CASH at the door ONLY.
Children ages 10 & under are admitted free with a paying adult.

For more information or to reserve a space, contact John Keaton at skyjohnk@gmail.com

Brookwood Library Happenings

All Day-Friends Book Sale

* 10:00 AM-Sewing certification session
* 10:40 AM-3D printing certification session
* 11:20 AM-Die cutting certification session
* 12:00 PM-Open lab
* 1:30 PM-Family Storytime
* 3:00 PM-Everyday English Conversation Group
* 4:00 PM-Bilingual Family Storytime / Cuentos Bilingües


Monday May 8th:

Ladd Acres Coffee Chat with the Principal

Library Happenings

Tuesday May 9th:

Library Happenings

* 9:00 AM-Summer Reading Program Training
* 10:00 AM-Fabric & fibers meet-up
* 10:15 AM-Fun for Ones
* 10:15 AM-Toddler Time
* 11:15 AM-Book Babies
* 11:15 AM-Toddler Time
* 12:00 PM-Open lab
* 5:30 PM-Homework Help/ Ayuda con Tareas
* 6:30 PM-Cuentos en español
* 6:30 PM-Family Storytime

School District Happenings

City Happenings

South Hillsboro Parks Master Plan Open House

Check out the updated park concepts on May 10 at the next open house. The meeting will be at Rosedale Elementary School in the Cafeteria at 6 pm. There will be a short presentation followed by time to look at the exhibits and provide feedback.

Visit here for more information: https://www.hillsboro-oregon.gov/our-city/departments/parks-recreation/planning-and-development/south-hillsboro-parks

Open Poetry

Every 2nd Tuesday of the month, readers and listeners of poetry are welcome to enjoy works by established or yet-to-be- discovered talent. Will be held at 7PM at the Walters Cultural Arts Center on East Main Street.




Wednesday May 10th

Library Happenings

Hillsboro School District

Reedville Kinder Orientation

South Meadows Incoming 7th Grade Visits

City Of Hillsboro Events

Click to view information for the Finance and Budget Meetings, Open studio at Walters, the Planning Commission, and the Landlord Forum.

Thursday May 11th

Library Events

Hillsboro School District

City of Hillsboro
6:30 PM: Family Art Night at Walters Cultural Center on E. Main Street

Bring your family and create something truly special with clay, paint, collage & more! Fun for all ages, everybody is welcome at Family Art Night! Join Walter’s instructor Alice Hill and work on engaging, hands-on art projects individually or team up as a family. Each Thursday offers a different project and material to work with. All supplies included.

Note: This is a facilitated art activity. Youth under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Parents are encouraged to assist young children.

Family Art Night takes place every Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 pm and is a drop-in program at the Walters. The cost is $5.00 per person. Children under the age of 3 are free.

No pre-registration, but there is a maximum of 20 participants. The number of participants may be reduced at our discretion due to changes in volunteer staff support.

Friday May 12th
Library Events



Hillsboro School District

Saturday May 13th
The Washington County Friends of the NRA are expanding their annual fundraising dinner and banquet this year into the Main Exhibit Hall-South at the Washington County Fairgrounds on Saturday, May 13. It starts at 5 PM. Single tickets are $40.00.
Proud to be HSD Festival

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Downtown Hillsboro 

in conjunction with the Downtown Hillsboro Farmers’ Market

Here’s what you can look forward to:

    • STE(A)M Pavilion.  Science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics activities will be showcased—from our after-school STEM programming and work taking place in our STEM Focus Schools, to our partnerships with the Right Brain Initiative. Meet our special guest—the Artosaur!
    • College and Career Pathways Area.  Students and teachers will talk about their programs and showcase student projects in each of the six college and career pathways. Learn what it takes to successfully move through your chosen path. Our Teen Marketplace entrepreneurs will also have booths for their businesses.
    • Athletics/Activities Area.  There will be fun athletic events and activities throughout the day, including the popular mascot showdown at 12:30 p.m.! Watch our school mascots challenge special guests Barley, from the Hillsboro Hops, Victor E. Viking, from Portland State University, and Benny the Beaver, from Oregon State University. And, we’ll have a special guest appearance from McGruff the Crime Dog, from the Washington County Sheriff’s office.
    • Art Walk – variety of downtown businesses.  Student art will be displayed in several locations for our festival visitors’ viewing pleasure as they stroll the downtown area. Participate in the scavenger hunt for prizes donated by local businesses!
  • Chess Challenge. Are you better than an elementary student? Members of Brookwood Elementary’s chess team will challenge all comers to test their skills against theirs. Novices to experts are welcome to join the fun.
  • Student Performances. We’ve lined up poetry recitation, singers, dancers and instrumentals to show off their talents in two performance areas.
  • School Pride Banners – throughout the festival area. Each school has created their own banners representing what makes them proud – we truly have talented artists in the District!
  • Community Partner Booths – throughout the festival area. Find out about the services our partners provide.

Festival program coming soon.

Downtown Hillsboro Farmer’s Market

8AM-1:30 PM located on Main Street between 1st and 3rd Avenue Come shop local vendors that provide arts and crafts, produce, floral. An abundance of food carts will be by the plaza, and the Proud to be HSD festival will begin at 8AM. There will be no live music this Saturday, but there will be a Mother’s Day give away at 9AM! Visit the information booth to sign your kids up for events that will earn them stickers. Gather enough stickers over the weeks and you earn tokens to spend at the market!

Library Events

There are so many events happening this week! What local events have you heard of that aren’t on the list? What type of events are you most interested in hearing about?


Stick Work

Old Orenco History and Modern Stickwork Art

Orenco Nature Park

This morning I went venturing to Orenco’s newest park to check out Patrick Dougherty’s stick work project. Dougherty is a North Carolina Native who not only has his M.A. in Hospital and Health Administration, but also studied art history and sculpture as well. Over the past 30 years, Dougherty has created over 250 sculptures using saplings and twigs as construction material. He is internationally acclaimed, his work being seen not only over all of the US, but also from Scotland, to Japan, to Brussels. This isn’t Dougherty’s first visit to Oregon. 2011 brought him to Oregon State University to create a sculpture entitled Pomp and Circumstance, and in 2014 he sculpted Big Master Twister for the Portland Children’s museum.

Stick Work


The sculptures in the Orenco Woods Nature Park truly are breath taking. There are so many beautiful aspects about them. Though Dougherty came up with his initial concept during his visit to the park in June 2016,  it wasn’t until this past month that it was finalized, after meeting with the local Orenco community and completing construction with over 100 local volunteers. The sculptures are crafted out of willow branches, which lend a gorgeous curvature to the abstract faces. All of the woven faces are integrated between the trees and hollow, creating an interactive experience for the public. It is this coming together of art, history, and community which truly makes this project special. Volunteers had taken time to fill Dougherty in about Orenco’s long history.

For those of you not familiar with the history of Orenco, its roots go all the way back to 1886. Squire Ebberts and his Native American wife  first homesteaded the area, which eventually became the Bennett donation land claim. After a group of Chinese men were hired to clear several of the wooded acres, the land was used as a pasture and a wheat field until it was scouted out for other use.

At the time, the Oregon Nursery Company was operating out of Salem, and was run by two Canadian Scots, Malcolm McDonald and Archibald McGill. They purchased the 1200 acres of land that would later become Orenco (name derived from the the combined letters of the nursery). On the land a wooden building that covered two acres was built, the largest of its kind in the US at the time. It was originally used as a packing shed, but also housed the Washington County Fairgrounds for awhile due to its size. In 1905 the nursery’s Salem plant was destroyed by fire, and the entire company moved to the Orenco location.



Orenco was a company town that provided services to the company’s workers and their families. Many of the workers for the the Oregon Nursery Company were Hungarian immigrants. Much of the housing that served this community was originally located on what is now Quatama Road.  The town was platted in 1908, but was not incorporated until 1913. The same year the town was platted, the Oregon Electric Railway finished its route that ran from Portland to Forest Grove, creating a stop in Orenco. According to railway records, the Orenco station averaged 1,000 passengers a month. Pretty impressive for a small town! The town grew to be the home of 500 people. It became large enough to have a city hall, fire house, a school with 169 children enrolled, a blacksmith shop, ice cream parlor, hardware store and lumber yard, two grocery stores, one church ( the Orenco Presbyterian Church), and even a printing press. It even boasted the “modern conveniences” of water, sewer, and electric lighting, things we sometimes take for granted today. Some of the old buildings still remain, and can be seen when you drive through old Orenco. When you walk in the nature park, you can see the McDonald house, constructed in 1910 by the Oregon Nursery Company’s president, Malcolm McDonald. The house is now listed as a historic place.Unfortunately the little town of Orenco was effected by the Great Depression. The nursery, plagued with financial troubles and mismanagement, closed down just before the Great Depression fully hit. After the nursery closed, a subsidiary of companies emerged from it, some that still exist today, such as A. McGill and Sons, Motz and Son, Pacific Coast Nursery, and Rich and Sons. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough to save the town. With the closing of the Oregon Nursery, the town was only able to hang on until 1938, when the remaining citizens dissolved the city government. After the urbanization of the post WWII era, Orenco remained a planned community with cul de sacs and single family homes now spread across the former nursery’s lands. It became absorbed by Hillsboro, choosing to remain unincorporated. When Trimet expanded Lightrail to Orenco in 1998, the community was back on the railway again.

Today, you can drive through Orenco and see so many different homes, from the towering apartment communities and condos that reside over businesses in Orenco Station, to single family homes, and town homes. I still love driving through Old Orenco, where you can still see some of that history present. If you want to experience a piece of the past, definitely stop by the new Orenco Woods Nature Park and imagine what the land was like as a nursery.


Visiting Longbottoms Coffee and Tea

I’m really bad about eating breakfast, both at home or on the go, but yesterday I dropped the kids off of school and thought, why not try something different? So I tried to remember great places to go eat breakfast in Hillsboro. I didn’t want to go to a chain restaurant (at least this time), but something a little more obscure. Then I remembered Longbottoms Coffee and Tea.

It has been a long time since I have been to Longbottoms. Partly, because I am bad about eating, and partly because I keep forgetting where it is. If you have never been there, Longbottoms is off of 235th in Hillsboro, not far away from Ron Tonkin Stadium. When you turn down 235th you may feel like you are in the wrong place because there are so many industrial buildings, but keep driving, because you are in the right. Longbottoms itself is an industrial building, as their coffee is roasted and based here in Hillsboro since 1981.

The outside may look industrial, but the interior of the café or restaurant is an inviting and intimate setting. You will find a healthy mixture of tables that seat 2-4 people, but you have the ability to push them together if in a larger group. Décor is of the landscape variety, with calming murals painted along one wall, where framed portraits of landscapes hang among others. There is also a display that boasts the varieties of their coffee and teas for sale. Orders are taken at a counter. Some of the menu items you can view on the large chalkboards that line the back wall. They also have laminated menus to peruse, and some items such as cookies or scones are visible in their display cases.



What impressed me is the variety of menu items, given that it is a smaller restaurant. If I want something small, I can grab a bagel, but there is everything from bagel sandwiches to quiche to strata, to omelettes, etc. They also have an impressive lunch selection for those looking to grab a quick bite.  For an in depth look at their menu, click here.  What I ended up settling on was a Belgian waffle a la cart, and their biggest hot chocolate with almond milk. While I felt like I should have eaten more, or healthier (I did at least pause to consider getting a side of fruit), I knew my stomach isn’t used to a big breakfast, so a Belgian waffle was decadent enough to me. It was fantastic! Wonderful flavoring, perfectly cooked, and I had my syrup boat ready to make sure every little square was filled. The hot chocolate was perfect temperature and chocolately enough for me (this is my official food network description. Seriously though, if you are a hot chocolate drinker you have to have the right chocolate balance). It even had a cute design on the foam that amazingly lasted until I finished. I  The other part that impressed me was the service. The servers were friendly, they were efficient, and I didn’t have to wait long for my food or drink. I also overheard them greet regulars (at least assuming they are regulars) by name, which provides a nice community feel. Empty plates did not sit long, and I was asked how everything was, so all in all a great experience. I left wondering what had taken me so long to go back, feeling like their menu had expanded, and knowing that I will definitely make a trip back sooner.


What are some of your favorite places to go for breakfast in Hillsboro? Do you prefer the chain restaurants, or the mom and pop shops? What is your favorite breakfast item to order?




The Study of Sweets

Study of Sweets

It is safe to say that this may have been one of my favorite assignments. Each week, I strive to bring you something wonderful from our growing town of Hillsboro. Sometimes it is upcoming events, and sometimes it is interesting places to visit. Now, I am a little ashamed that it took me two weeks after this store opened to go try it. Can I blame it on the responsibilities of adulating?


The Study of Sweets is located at 159 SE 2nd Avenue in Downtown Hillsboro, and experienced their official Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting ceremony on April 7th. They are conveniently located across the street from the US Bank and bordered on one side by the HART Theater. So if you need a pre/after theater snack or need to ugly cry over your bank balance, you have a place that has your back. For myself, I was in heavy need of chocolate, and this seemed like a great place to go. This was a fantastic decision!

My visit was a quiet one, but then I also went in the middle of a work day while the kids were in school (no sharing of the chocolate!). The shop has an inviting atmosphere, with ample room to sit down to relax and visit. Since I had to go get kids from school, I did not park myself on the generous sectional, but I did take my time to look around and admire the décor. The study theme was supported by the presence of owls, one of my inside joke favorites, but also known to be representative of wisdom. Wise is an apt word to describe these sweets, which are beautifully crafted and taste amazing!

In the interest of research (and my sweet tooth), I purchased several items, which included a chocolate covered and decorated pretzel, a peppermint patty type chocolate, chocolate covered butter toffee, a raspberry ganache/truffle (?) ball coated in white chocolate and rolled in vanilla cookie crumbs, a chocolate/pineapple combo, and a hot chocolate. The only negative I have to say about the selection, is that I wish there was a little more range, and I wish some baked goods like cookies or brownies were incorporated. Keep in mind that the store is only two weeks old, and the owner, David Gadlin, is still experimenting and continuing to add to the menu.  I do believe that the pros outweigh the cons.

Hot Chocolate


One of the things I loved about the chocolates were that there were a variety of cacao percentage, and there was a healthy balance between the light, dark, and white chocolates. The pretzel was wonderful, the butter toffee would be perfect with tea or coffee, I have never met a bad peppermint patty, am slow eating the white chocolate raspberry truffle because it is that good, and I haven’t dug into the pineapple combo yet because it is so pretty. It reminds me of all you University of Oregon fans in its vibrant green and gold combo, or like a pineapple. Which makes sense. Ooo, creamy. Had to take a bite to provide accurate feedback. If you are a hot chocolate lover, you will adore the hot chocolate made in the pan in front of you. As someone who prefers dairy substitutes, I was impressed to find that I had an option to substitute milk for coconut milk. It didn’t impact the flavor at all, this is a rich tasting dark sipping chocolate, and I loved that I had the option to have a flame roasted marshmallow on top of my drink. Decadent flavor served piping hot, so if ordering for kids, keep temperature in mind as you may want it a bit cooler. In addition to these offerings, the menu also includes, ltalian sodas, loose leaf tea, pre-bagged chocolates and rice treats, along with some jerky options from Dave’s meat and nuts.

If you are looking for a new place to fulfill your sweet tooth, The Study of Sweets is a great place to try new combinations. They are hosting Downtown Hillsboro’s Easter Egg hunt tomorrow from 11-4, so it is a great time to stop by and welcome a new face to the community!


What is your favorite truffle/sweet flavor combination to order? What is the worst flavor you have had?









Upcoming Easter Egg Hunts in Hillsboro

Eggs in grass

Easter is just two short weekends away! If you are looking for some great Easter egg hunts, but don’t want to travel far, here are a couple happening in the Hillsboro area.


KUIK’s Annual Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt

This event is probably one of the biggest egg hunts you will find in the Hillsboro area. Located at the Washington County Fairgrounds, this family event runs from 9AM-3PM, though the gates open at 8AM. Admission is $5 per family. While the egg hunts and photos with the Easter Bunny are free, there are some vendors and activities that may cost additional money. Expected at this hunt are planned egg hunts broken down into various ages (see the website for exact start times) ranging from toddler to 10 years old, candy, prizes, a fire truck, police car, pony rides, inflatable bounce houses (weather dependent), mechanical bull, games, arts and crafts, face painting, and pictures with the Easter Bunny. It sounds like it will be a fun filled day for the family!


Downtown Hillsboro Easter Egg Hunt

New to the Downtown Hillsboro area, The Study of Sweets (experiencing their official Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting April 7th at 11:30AM) has put together a business community event in Downtown Hillsboro from 11AM-4PM. Many of the local businesses (click the link for specific stores) will be hiding eggs within their businesses throughout the aforementioned hours. Each egg will contain a sticker which can then be brought to the Study of Sweets and exchanged for an Easter inspired chocolate. The great thing about this hunt is that there is so much to explore in the Downtown area, from the shops to the restaurants, that you can really make it an event. It is also nice to hear that this egg hunt is not a race, so you can start when you like and still be able to find eggs in the businesses.


Easter Eggs

Underwater Eggstravaganza

Sounds intriguing right? The Underwater Eggstravaganza will also be held on Saturday April 15th, located at the Shute Park Aquatic and Recreation Center. I didn’t get a lot of details on this particular hunt, but I do know that time wise it is running somewhere between 12:30-4PM. They are also still looking for volunteers for this activity, so click the link if you are interested in volunteering for a few hours. For more information, give the SHARC center a call at 503-681-6127.

Easter Play, Egg Hunt, and Cookout

For anyone looking for an evening event, Common Ground Community Church is hosting from 4-8PM on Saturday April 15th. They will be putting on an Easter play at 4PM and expect to begin the Easter Egg hunt arount 5:30PM. A cook out is to follow, so if you are looking for a fun egg hunt, food, and community, this may be the egg hunt for you.

basketCommunity Easter Egg Hunt

I found this one on Next Door, and thought it looked interesting. This Easter Egg hunt is being held on Sunday April 16th (AKA Easter Sunday) from 11AM-2PM at Rood Bridge Park. It is advertised as the first annual Easter Egg hunt, with raffle prizes to follow the egg hunt. It is being hosted by Whitney Grant and Cherelle Lind. Not too many other details were available, but they did put down contact information for anyone who has questions or would like to RSVP. If this sounds like something you may want to attend, you can call 503-679-5824 or email whitneygrant@bhhsnw.com

Any egg hunts I missed that you can tell me about? What was the best Easter egg hunt you have ever been to, and why?

Spring Break Staycation Hacks in Hillsboro



Love it or hate it, we are on day two of Spring Break here in Hillsboro. Show of hands, who is ready for their kids to be back in school? Just me? Well, I can’t see the hands, so I am going to assume that there are some of you out there like me who are trying to rack their brains as to how to keep these kids busy for the remainder of the week. As it is not always possible to hit the coast or another state for the week, here are some ideas I had for those of you on the staycation train who are looking to find fun activities around town that won’t break the bank.

Walk it Off!

Hillsboro has some pretty fantastic parks for kids of all ages. Some of my favorites to visit when I want the kids to get out as much energy as possible are:

Griffen Oaks Park out in NE Hillsboro, which has multiple playgrounds for various ages, the Tyson Rec center for anyone looking to host a party, undercover picnic benches, and a baseball field.

Magnolia Park which borders Tanesbourne, close to the Whole foods, the spa we can’t go to when we have the kids (shedding tears over that one), and multiple and much needed coffee shops. Magnolia park has reservable picnic shelter, tables and Barbeques. The playground  has a  spray feature (not turned on during this season), chess tables, a half-basketball court, a tennis court, and a central lawn offer a range of activity options.

53rd Avenue Park is on…well, I think the name spells that out. It is in southern Hillsboro by the Insomnia coffee shop and Coyote’s bar and grill. What I love about the 53rd Ave park is how open it is. The kids can run around while I sit in one spot and I can see them wherever they go. 53rd Ave has a good sized playground, tennis courts, a field used for soccer and lacrosse, a basketball court, and a large water feature (also not turned on during winter).

Rood Bridge Park is on Rood Bridge Road, also in Southern Hillsboro, close to Hillsboro High School. It boasts a good sized playground as well, covered picnic areas, one with a fire place, tennis courts, and my favorite, nature trails. Rood Bridge park is perfect to go walking in, as you get to experience that feeling of being in the woods while being close enough to a potty (can you tell I’m a mom?!) for the kids. It is also a beautiful background for family photos.

Rood Bridge


For those of you who are not familiar with geocaching, it is like a high tech scavenger hunt. There is a free app you can install on your phone, made by Groundspeak that you can install. There is also the $9.99 version, which allows you a greater access to caches and logging them as you find them. A friend of mine introduced me to geocaching five years ago, and what I love about it is that it gets you outdoors exploring. Some of the funniest experiences and best conversations I have had have been geocaching with my friends and seeing the excitement on my kids’ faces when they find a cache. The app will show you if there are caches close by, and you can use the navigate feature to track them down. Caches range in size from micro (think really mini bison tube) to the large (ammo cans) to the creative (caches hidden in wooden logs, bird houses, etc). In each cache is a log book where you can write your name (real or geocache moniker) and sometimes there are trackables and trinkets you can trade for. Yesterday the kids and I adventured out to the new Orenco Nature Park, and we found two of the letterboxes hidden by the Hillsboro Parks and recs department. It is a ton of fun that you can have pretty much for free.

Shute Park Aquatic and Recreation Center (SHARC)

SHARC is fantastic for letting kids swim at a reasonable fee. I think for two kids and myself I paid somewhere around $15 as a resident, and that may have included a towel rental as well. Honestly I can’t remember. SHARC offers 3 pools, including one with a water feature dedicated to the littles, a waterslide, diving boards, a sauna, and a hot tub. SHARC also has swim classes that go on as well as other activities that include spin classes and the like. Recreational swim is from 7-9pm on weekdays, and on the weekend it is from 1-5pm.


In Hillsboro, our public libraries are located on Brookwood Ave (Hillsboro Main Library) and on 10th (Shute Park Library). Both locations are offering a variety of activities this spring break, including a Stuffed Animal and Pajama story time, Duck Tape Crafts for Teens, a Magician, spring walk, art, and yarn crafts. The Main Library also has an indoor sesame donuts and small coffee shop, while outdoors you can roam the pathways and view the ducks along Dawson Creek, while at the Shute Park location you have a large playground and various picnic areas. It is also across the street from SHARC. Whichever way you go, there are lots of fun activities to keep the kids busy for free.

Hillsboro Main Library

Try a new Restaurant

Who doesn’t love food?? Hillsboro offers all kinds of restaurants, from American to Chinese, to Latino, to Hawaiian….well, you get the drift. If you want to try something a little upscale but doesn’t take too long (necessary as a parent), try visiting La Provence in Orenco, which boasts French cuisine, and a bakery. They also offer a Baracolat, which are sipping chocolates, a fancy word for hot chocolate. Not only do they offer a variety of sipping chocolates, but they offer a hot chocolate flight. A flight of chocolate people! How can that not make a spring break list? It’s a fun way to elevate the kids’ palates while on break.

What are you doing this spring break? What are some of the creative ways you are keeping your kids busy? I’d love to hear!!





School Board Candidates Vow to Support Equality and Diversity



school board elections

This May, 11 candidates are hoping to be elected for one of the four positions opening up on the Hillsboro School District Board. Not since 2007 have so many people run for a position on the board. Why? Well, many reasons. At the forum hosted this past Monday by the Hillsboro Chamber of Commerce, and moderated by the Youth Advisory Council, the candidates went into detail about what motivated them to run for election, and what they hope to bring to the table for the 2017-2018 school year.

All of the candidates have either children who are currently enrolled in the Hillsboro School District, or have had children who have graduated from HSD. That alone is a motivation to run, but they all have areas they want to tackle if elected, one of these areas being equality and diversity in the school district.

So what do I mean by that? The most common thought associated with those words have to do with incorporating other cultures into the school district, and yes, that is a part of it. Yet equality and diversity in learning encompasses so much more. It includes the way students who are a part of the AP or TAG (Advanced Placement and Talented and Gifted) programs are educated, the resources provided to students in need of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), and what kind of courses we are offering to keep students engaged. In short, how do we continue to close the achievement gap?

In regards to culture, there are several Hillsboro schools who have a dual language program in place, though I do not believe it is district wide. There was some discussion of expanding this, or at least making sure that it has the resources it needs to be successful. It was also mentioned by Erika Lopez, running for position 1, that she would love to see the school lunch program be more diverse in its offerings, so that kids from other cultures may have a chance to have the foods they have at home at school.  Alexander Flores (running for position 6) advocated fostering a culture of inclusiveness in the schools. The recent incident at Liberty High School, in which racial slurs were painted in graffiti format on the school was mentioned by a few candidates, who agreed that the schools need to be a safe place for students and faculty of all cultures, and that education needs to happen to foster this in the students.

Two of the candidates brought to light the struggle for parents who have had to advocate hard for their children who are in need of the IEP program. With the numerous budget cuts that have occurred in the past, and are likely to happen in the future as the district faces what is estimated to be a $12 million budget shortfall, resources such as staff for these programs, as well as the AP and TAG programs, are thin. As with the dual language program, adequate special education programs and the ability to take part in an advanced learning program are not offered district wide. Several of the candidates posed that this needs to be rectified so that every student has access to these programs.

So how does one overcome a less than ideal budget to find a way to make all of these programs successful? As expected, not many of the candidates wanted to speculate as to what they would cut or refuse to cut, claiming they couldn’t as the “hard numbers” haven’t come back. Incumbent candidates, such as Glenn Miller (running for position 2) claims it is looking to be closer to an $8 0r $9 million shortfall. Some thoughts from the candidates that did offer their thoughts said that they would like to partner with the community and businesses to up the involvement in donations and activities for students, educating the 70% of the community who does not have children enrolled in the district to where they feel it important for the students to have a great education, and a few suggested upping taxes, such as going from a 9% income tax to 10% tax, or slightly upping property taxes. As Hillsboro is a hub in the “silicon forest,” it was no surprise to hear that the candidates believe that more technology needs to brought in to every school so that every student has the ability to access the information they need.

This meeting was educational in not only learning more about the candidates, but in hearing what issues the community feels the Hillsboro school district faces. Both the school board and the community would like to partner in ensuring that every student has the opportunity to receive a stellar education by having equal access to resources, and diverse options in how and what they learn.