Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Pearl Plays PDX #8 - Cinderella at the Keller Auditorium

Full Disclosure - I received two free tickets for this event as a media guest, but was not required to write about the show.  All opinions are my own.

Last night Pearl and I attended Rodgers + Hammerstein's Cinderella at the Keller Auditorium.  I knew the basic Cinderella story going into it and felt it would be decently suited for Pearl (at 3.5 years old) to enjoy.  She loves princesses, but I was a little nervous the stepmother character would be too mean and scare her.  Thankfully, the stepmother was more comically rude than evil.  The stepsisters were also great.  One was rude, but hilarious and the other sister was very sweet.  Pearl wasn't afraid at any point during the show.
Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella is a bit different than the story you might remember from your childhood.  There is a lot more comedy infused into the show which I appreciated.  They added in positive messages around kindness and caring for the poor.  It had more substance than the Disney version I grew up with.  Pearl especially loved Cinderella's magically quick costume changes and was in awe when the fairy godmother started to fly.
The show started at 7:30 and I wasn't sure how that was going to work out for us.  Pearl is usually in bed by 8:30 so I knew she would be up substantially later than normal.  Sometimes that results in a really cranky kid, but she was so entertained that it didn't seem to matter.  She almost fell asleep near the end, but really wanted to see the wedding and managed to stay awake.
Pearl did extremely well during the show.  It kept her entertained and in the moments when she would lose focus, she mostly started looking around for other kids in their princess dresses.  She never left her seat except to sit on my lap occasionally.  I was honestly a little afraid she would try to get up and wander around, but that never happened.
The Keller Auditorium caters to bringing small children pretty well.  They have booster seats that are available for rent for just $1.  I would highly recommend getting a booster seat if you take your toddler to a show.  I noticed kids as old as 7 or 8 using the booster seats as well.  
The one thing I wasn't prepared for was how much cash I would need to have.  I didn't even consider the need to bring extra cash, but it would have come in very handy.  We parked in a nearby garage so the two of us didn't have to walk far which was $6 cash only.  I knew we would need to buy water which was also a cash only purchase.  Then we paid $1 to use a booster seat.  After those purchases, the $10 I had in my purse was gone.  I would definitely take more cash next time.  I just assumed you could use a card for all purchases at the event, but that was not the case.
Another thing worth mentioning is that you are not allowed to take any photos at all once you are in the auditorium at Keller.  If you want pictures to remember the evening with your child, take them before you get to your seats.  They are sticklers about it and everyone who tried to take a photo near us was caught.  I was thankful we took a few photos at home to remember our evening before we left.  I should have gotten one of Pearl in front of the theater, but there were so many people by the time we arrived.
It was a special evening for Pearl and I as we don't usually get one-on-one time like that.  Pearl really thought it was magical and even the people around us kept commenting on how happy she looked to be there.  I can't wait for an opportunity to take her to another show in the future.
-Kira

TICKET AND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION

February 17 - 22, 2015  |  Keller Auditorium, SW 3rd & Clay

Tuesday  |  7:30pm
Wednesday  |  7:30pm
Thursday |  7:30pm
Friday |  7:30pm
Saturday  |  2:00pm & 7:30pm
Sunday   1:00pm & 6:30pm

Most shows have American Sign Language interpreted and
Open Captioned performances.  Please call the Portland Opera Box Office
for more information or email boxoffice@portlandopera.org
Ticket can be purchased:
www.BroadwayInPortland.com
Portland Opera Box Office: 503- 241-1802 or toll free at 866-739-6737
Portland’5 Box Office: 800-273-1530, All TicketsWest locations

Monday, February 9, 2015

Guest Bathroom Remodel

My amazing husband finished work on our bathroom this weekend.  Sometimes I feel like I won the lottery landing such a handy guy for a husband.  He remodeled our master bathroom when we first moved into the house, but this one is larger and a lot more work so we had to save up the funds for a few years.  This is our guest bathroom and the one our kids will use as they get older.  It was a source of embarrassment for me whenever people came over to our house for the first time.  Some features of the original room included old stained linoleum, chipped paint, and a water damaged door.  Here are some before photos:
The vanity cabinets were custom built at a local place because the size of the large one is not standard.  Jeremy stained them himself.  The porcelain tile, backsplash, and counter tops all came from Home Depot.

We went with mostly grayscale items.  Our shower curtain features a photo of Mt. Hood which is a mountain that can be easily seen from most parts of Portland.  We decided that a pop of color would be a nice accent to include in the hand towels and bathroom rug.  We went with yellow and found most of those accents at Target.
I made the Daniel Tiger print to put above the toilet and I also created the line artwork to mimic the shape of Mt. Hood from the shower curtain.  We also have a large framed photo of Multnomah Falls that was given to us as a wedding gift by a family friend.
I love that it's a room that we can easily change by updating our accents over time and I'm excited for all of our guests to use the restroom now.
-Kira

Monday, January 26, 2015

Daniel Tiger Potty Artwork Free Printable

We are working on a full remodel for our bathroom.  It should be done in the next couple of weeks so I have started thinking about decor for the space.  We are going with a grey scale color theme that is a bit sophisticated, but this will also be the bathroom that our kids will grow up using.  I wanted to insert a little fun into the room through artwork.  Since Daniel Tiger helped us so much while potty training Pearl, it seemed natural to use a quote from that magic potty training song.
People seemed to love the print when I posted a photo on Instagram over the weekend so I figured I would offer it on the blog as a free printable.  Click here to access a pdf of the print.  Please let me know if you use the print, I would love to see photos of it up at your home!
-Kira

*A few tips for using online printables - I have archival paper, but basic card stock will probably work for you.  There is a lot of black ink in this print so recycled printer paper is not ideal as it will get wavy.  To avoid any sort of streaking in the text, set your printer to a higher quality print as it is most likely on a standard printing setting.  The artwork will fit in an 8x10 frame.  You can easily print it on 8.5x11 and cut it down if needed.**If you need potty training assistance, the episode number is 111 and I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Bookshelf Remodel

Our living room had a major eyesore for a number of years.  We had a whole wall of built-in bookshelves that were just not pretty.  The shelves were useful since we have a ton of books, but there was nothing that could be done to that set-up to make it look nice.  The bottom 1/3 of our shelves were unusable because toddlers love pulling books off of shelves.  The ledge of the bookshelf extended out so much that it became a dumping ground for mail, keys, and any item that I didn't want the kids to reach.  Our living room always looked cluttered, messy, and not very well thought out because of those shelves.  It didn't matter how clean the room was.
BEFORE:
Thankfully, due to a recent freelance job, we had the funds to update them.  Jeremy had a vision and explained it to a carpenter friend of ours who executed the bookshelves perfectly.  We can fit all of our books on there in a more organized and decorative manner.  We also now have tons of storage at the bottom of the wall that the kids will not be able to access.  I'm incredibly excited about our shelves.  Jeremy clearly is too because he has been on a book buying frenzy recently.
AFTER:
-Kira

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

A Christmas Post in January

This Christmas season was really fun for our family.  Pearl was old enough to understand a lot more and both kids thoroughly enjoyed themselves.  Santa isn't a thing around here, but we also haven't made it a point to not do Santa which I think confused Pearl a little.  Santa is basically everywhere and she picks up on things pretty quickly.  We will need to have the talk with her next year.
We got to spend lots of time with extended family on both sides and Pearl was especially excited to see her Washington cousins.  She even had a sleepover with her cousin Maleah one night.
Presents are not a huge thing around here, but the kids did receive books, a toy Dyson replica vacuum (which Axel is obsessed with), and a couple Frozen dolls.  They were spoiled by extended family as usual and I don't think we will need to buy them any pajamas for a couple years.
My proudest moment of the season was when Pearl chose to give away a bunch of toys to our friends who just started their journey with foster care.  She was so excited that the kids would get to enjoy them.  After choosing to give away all of the toys I had set out as options, she went into the playroom to find more.
As usual, I made a silly gift tag for family presents.  I didn't have much time this year so Jeremy suggested I just do a Die Hard poster replacing Bruce Willis with Axel's face instead of Photoshopping the whole family.  Axel loved the tags and kept tearing them off of gifts.  By Christmas, I had to tape each one back on at least once.
We rang in the new year with a group of friends who also have kids.  We were in bed by ten.  It was perfect.  I'm excited and a little nervous to experience all that 2015 will bring which of course includes baby number three in March.
-Kira

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Pearl Plays PDX #7 - Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo

We went to ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo on Sunday night.  Honestly, the first time Jeremy and I attended ZooLights, it was miserable.  We didn't have kids at the time and went along with my sister and my niece.  There were so many people there that we had to park in a remote lot and be shuttled over, the line for the zoo train was hours long, and it was freezing cold.  That was about five years ago and I didn't ever want to go back to Zoolights after that night.
Pearl loves animals and all things Christmas-y so I knew she would think it was magical. We decided to give it another shot with our own kids this year.  I read the FAQ page on the Oregon Zoo website to find out tips on how to not relive that same experience.  I learned that it isn't as busy early in the season and weeknights are ideal if you have toddlers.  I also found out that although ZooLights technically "starts" at 5:00, they turn most of the lights on around 4:00.  You can buy ZooLights admission as early as 4:00 as well.
We decided to go on a Sunday night and arrived well before 5:00.  It was a really cold evening, but it was totally worth braving the weather.  The parking lot was barely half full.  We received our tickets (with no wait) and headed straight to the zoo train.  We only had to wait 15 minutes until we were on the train.  Both kids actually seemed to love the train experience.  I was a bit surprised by how quick the train ride was since I know people are willing to wait hours for it and you pay an extra $4 per person to take the train.  It was the highlight of the night for our kids though.
There are tons of booths where you can buy hot chocolate and other treats.  Carrying around a hot chocolate adds a bit to the magical experience and nearly everyone at the park had one in hand.
There are many more lights than I recall seeing five years ago as well.  The whole experience was much more fun seeing it through Pearl's eyes instead of our own grown up eyes the first time around.  I was also surprised by how many animals we were able to see because I don't recall any being out on our first visit.  Both kids enjoyed seeing the elephants.
We lasted for about an hour and a half.  We made it through the majority of the zoo and we stopped to see most of the animals that were available for viewing.  Axel was starting to get really upset about the cold weather though so we decided to call it a night.  On the way out of the park, one kid was crying because he was cold, and the other was crying because she was desperate to stay.  Pearl would have braved the weather for much longer to stick around if she could.  I bet Axel will enjoy it more next year, but we will definitely leave the baby with grandparents. 
Recommendations I have for those thinking of visiting ZooLights with toddlers include going as close to 4:00 as you can, not going on a Friday or Saturday night, attending early in December, and immediately getting in line for the train once you arrive.  I also strongly recommend over bundling yourself and your kids as the cold can get pretty difficult to overlook, especially for the youngest visitors. 
-Kira

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

DIY Christmas Card Wall Display

Every year I end up doing a few DIY Christmas related projects.  I can't help myself.  This year, I wanted to come up with at least one project the kids could actually help with.  I attended the DIY Fair put on by Imago Dei Community here in Portland to help with ideas.  This wasn't one of the projects, but someone had made snowflakes in a few configurations with craft sticks as decor for the event.  That got my wheels turning and I went out to purchase my supplies.
I don't know about you, but I struggle with how to display all of the Christmas cards we receive from family and friends throughout the Holiday season.  In past years, I have tacked a string to the wall and punched holes in the cards to create a banner with them.  I thought if I made a snowflake large enough, I could use it to display all of our cards.  Plus, it's basically just craft sticks and glue so if one filled up, it wouldn't cost anything extra to make another.
Supplies: 
I sat down with Pearl and Axel to glue the sticks together and make our snowflake.  The kids were over the project after about five minutes, but they loved playing with the craft sticks.  I ended up just letting them play while I finished the snowflake on my own.
I decided to paint the snowflake gold to match our Christmas cards from Tiny Prints.  I love how this liquid gold gilding looks on finished projects.  It's hard to tell from the photos, but it has a very pretty metallic look.  I applied it to the snowflake with a sponge brush in a well ventilated area because that stuff is strong.  Make sure you do the same.
After I put the snowflake on the wall, I started tucking my cards into the corners.  They stayed pretty well, but I decided to use paper clips to secure them as I know I will soon have many more cards to fit.
This was a super easy and cheap project, but it looks great in our living room and is a much more personal way of displaying cards than a banner on the wall.
-Kira