Elegantly Eleven

Five of Heart’s turned eleven yesterday, but chose to celebrate her birthday today. This year she decided she wanted to get dressed up and visit one of the many wonderful restaurants in Portland. The first part of her birthday present came earlier last week when we paid a special visit to our local thrift store to search through the eclectic collection of clothes, shoes, and accessories for a fabulous new outfit. She ended up leaving the store with enough clothes for several outfits (thrift store prices are the best!) plus one extra fancy ensemble for her special day.

Five of Hearts then spent several hours doing research online to select the perfect birthday restaurant. With so many vegan friendly restaurants in the area it was a daunting task (they all sound so good). However, after reading hundreds of reviews and perusing several menus Five of Hearts selected KaTi Portland.

It turns out that all that research paid off big time as we had a fabulous lunch at KaTi Portland. The atmosphere was perfect and the food was amazing. Five of Hearts ordered her first curry and handled the spicy flavor like a champ.

After enjoying some of the best Thai food that we have had in years we headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) to check out the Gingerbread Adventures exhibit. Like seasoned food judges we had a blast viewing the five gigantic gingerbread sculptures with a critical eye and then voting on our favorite.

After a delicious outing it was time to return home for our turn at making food magic. We watched Vegan Cupcake Wars and then made vegan coconut raspberry cupcakes with coconut whipped frosting. Five of Hearts paired the cupcakes with one of her favorite movies, Trolls, and we ended the day dancing and feeling like “the world is all cupcakes and rainbows”.


To The Nines

Five Ball’s birthday was “to the nines”, or as near to perfect as any 9th birthday could be. The birthday boy decided to spend most of the day at his favorite game store. If you are a fan of board games, role playing games, or card games then Guardian Games is definitely a place that you want to check out when in the Northwest. They have a massive selection of games, gaming supplies, and a huge space for game play. Five Ball first fell in love with this store last April and was completely thrilled to spend his birthday there today.

One of the best parts about Guardian Games is that they let you try out games from their well stocked collection at one of the many tables that they have set up in store. This is a great way to try out new games, or check out a game before buying your own copy. Today we chose to play Ghostbusters: The Board Game. This adventure game allows four players to fight Slimer, The Marshmellow Man, and other spirits in a variety of scenarios. The kids had a great time getting slimmed, firing proton streams, and banishing spirits.

Before leaving Guardian Games Five Ball picked out his birthday present. Being a huge Dungeons and Dragons fan he knew he wanted a present that included rogues, wizards, and lots of monsters. He wasn’t disappointed with his choice of the game Dungeon! created by Wizards of the Coast. As soon as we returned home the game was opened and taken out for a lengthy test spin. It was quickly decided that this is a fabulous board game for D&D fans and it made our birthday boy fantastically happy.

After battling ghosts and monsters all day we had all worked up an impressive appetite and were ready to sit down for a birthday meal. Five Ball had just enough energy left to blow out his candles with amazing force and polish off a sizable piece of raspberry chocolate mouse pie. We couldn’t have wished for a more perfect day for our rogue at heart (he has definitely stolen all of our heart’s).


Blast Off to Seven

High Five turned seven years old today and what better way to celebrate then with an outer space themed party. Since he was a toddler High Five has been fascinated by stars, planets, and the general unknown of our universe. He always has a book on outer space checked out from the library and he has a special love for Pluto.

After starting the day out with homemade planet pancakes and a space movie we headed to the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to take advantage of their wonderful planetarium. High Five chose tickets for the show Perfect Little Planet, which he first saw when he was two and is a family favorite.

Following the planetarium show we headed over to the OMSI Motion Simulator to try out the simulated ride experience Space Chase. The simulator is akin to a ride that you would experience at Disney and had us feeling like we were flying through outer space. It was twisty and turny and the perfect fun for a seven year old would be space explorer.

Before heading home for homemade Pluto pizza and astronaut ice cream cake we stopped by the museum gift shop to pick the birthday boy out his gift. He wisely chose a Lego 3-in-1 Space Shuttle creator set. All in all it was a truly amazing, out of this world birthday!

A Delightful Decade

Five of Hearts turned 10 on Christmas Day! As her parents it has been without contest the best decade of our lives. We have felt so privileged to watch our little Christmas baby grow, learn, and create while bringing compassion and joy to the lives of those around her. Every year our family feels so fortunate to be infused with her enthusiasm for the Holiday Season. Our decorations shine brighter, our cookies taste sweeter, and our carols sound spectacular thanks to her vast holiday spirit.


Last year Five of Hearts celebrated her birthday with a very refined tea party the day after Christmas. This year she was feeling a bit bonkers and decided to have a Mad Hatter Tea Party, which we all agree is much more fun! To start the day we created five very zany hats to help us get into character.

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It didn’t take long to get into the spirit of the party and soon the hysterical laughter and insane jokes were flying around the room. Luckily that was all that went flying and we managed to keep from flinging tea cups at the walls and each other in imitation of the beloved March Hare.


Throughout the party we feasted on hot cocoa, vegan fondue with an assortment of lovely treats to dip, and for the grand finale a coconut cream pie. Five of Hearts was delighted to find that she liked the newest movie remake of Alice Through the Looking Glass and we were all happy to relax by the fire and cuddle up with our favorite 10 year-old.



This past Sunday we had a totally tubular party to celebrate Five Ball’s 8th birthday. Thanks to the fact that he decided on a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle theme we all got to wear masks, fight off invisible bad guys, and yell COWABUNGA a lot. Of course pizza featured quite highly in the day as well.


The party started out with some heavy duty crafting as we made masks, concocted toxic green goo, and learned the secrets of folding an origami ninja star. The origami ninja stars were a huge hit, but left Five String with a slight migraine and several paper cuts. Luckily after several unsuccessful folding attempts we came across a great YouTube video that made the process bearable.


For this particular “turtle party” we decided to go old school and present the kids with the Teenage Mutant Ninja turtles that we grew up with. We watched the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie from 1990 and found a copy of their live special “Coming Out of their Shells” on YouTube. It was hysterical to listen to Five String sing along with the old songs and the kids got a kick out of being introduced to relics from their mom and dad’s past.


Five Ball’s presents were also blasts from the past as he received marbles and an Aerobie ring. Some might accuse us of vicariously reliving our childhood through our kids:) While that might be a bit true we have found that the old toys are so much cooler than most of the stuff being sold today.


After getting our fill of Ninja Turtle catch phrases, marble games, and pizza it was finally time to blow out the candles. It was so much fun to watch Five Ball in his element all day long – jumping, throwing, rolling around and taking a few breaks to scarf down pizza. While not exactly practical we wouldn’t mind seeing our wonderful guy get to spend each and everyday in a similar fashion.