Thursday, January 30, 2014

Somethings In Life Just Aren't Meant To Be

Things like preparing a blog post. Just not meant to be. 
And thank goodness it was only something little.

Nothing like sitting down, thinking about what to do for a daily blog post, and spilling cinnamon coconut flakes all over. EV-ERY-WHERE! A giant mess. And I didn't even know where
to start cleaning it all up, so I ate a few off my pants before having to throw them away. 
Honestly, it's exactly what I did.

I can still see bits and pieces in the computer keys and it won't surprise me if I find them in the couch three months from now. So rather than picking up any new tip on Whole30, a new recipe, some sort of workout, or anything I normally write get a blog post on how I ended up not blogging about any of the above. Let's just say, sometimes things in life are just not meant to be. 
Pick up the pieces (literally) and move on.

My life lesson...don't eat on the couch. Eat at a real freaking dinner table like all other humans do. 
It makes for an easier clean up!

Cheers to (still) learning simple life things at age 27!


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Wrapping Up Whole30 +Another Crave Buster

We've got 2 whole days left of this Whole30 business. That's all! I feel like it was yesterday that I was that cranky person wanting brownies and chips. Probably because I was that cranky person wanting brownies yesterday. It's just that I've had my grandma's brownies and my mom's paleo treats sitting in our freezer I have to look at every time I pull something out of the freezer. It was a 30 day reminder that I couldn't have them. Talk about man power, I sure learned to resist!

Ty on the other hand deserves a million gold stars (or maybe just that one blizzard he craved during these 29 days). There were very few times he craved some random things, but didn't even try to minimize them with other food. Unlike me, I was bound and determined to find something. What a difference I can even tell in his hot bod. Yes, I just said hot bod. Part of the reason I married him ;-) 

So, to wrap up this Whole30...Are you all curious what we've learned? Probably not. And that's cool, but I'm going to put it out there anyway.

1) Headaches. Prepare yourself for the first few days, they will happen. Then you'll wake up and they'll be gone.
2) Cravings. They last about 2 weeks, then they'll start to subside. Don't be upset if they linger as long as 3. You'll find things that work to shove the thoughts out of your mind. Well, we hope.
3) Hunger. You may be hungry throughout the day or even before bed. Obviously you're not eating enough, however, once you start getting use to what you can and can't have your belly won't be hungry any longer!
4) Food obsessions. Trust me, everybody has weird obsessions. The way we think about food, eat food, etc. You start to realize it when you go grocery shopping. 3 weeks in, you'll start to notice that only one part of the store exists during this challenge and it sure isn't the freezer or cereal aisles. Food doesn't become your main thought because your body feels satisfied with all the good stuff you're putting in it.
5) You'll have lots of free time. When you realize there's no need to go back to the cupboards (since you can't have any of that junk anyway), that you don't need to do your "emotional" eating, and you recognize that you're actually cuts down on the time you're in your kitchen or on the couch wasting precious time in life you could be doing other things. Why not get that cleaning done rather than sitting at the computer snacking on chips? Why not organize that closet you wanted to fix up instead of having dessert? Catch my drift...
6) And by the very end, you'll realize that there's no real good reason (other than the very occasional times) to eat anything besides these types of foods. Because not only are you eating great things, but you feel amazing! What's better than the two of those things?!

Until then, I've got another little crave buster I whipped up tonight for all those out there still tackling the 30 days. It's all I could come up with considering we had very few things left to eat in our house...

*Banana Bread Mash*
1 small coffee cup
1 banana
5 filberts, chopped
handful of unsweetened coconut flakes
dash of salt

1) cut your banana in half, mash half of it into your coffee cup.
2) take the other half and cut it into small pieces and place on top of the moosh.
3) at this point you can either place this in the freezer for a chill factor or head straight to #4
4) heat a skillet on medium, dump a handful or two of unsweetened coconut flakes, a couple dashes of cinnamon, and a dash of salt. Mix in pan and continue to flip your flakes around until they get light brown and crunchy
5) sprinkle your filberts on top of your banana mash and pieces, then top it with your homemade 
salted-cinnamon coconut flakes
6) Enjoy!

So here's to some paleo treats and grandma's gluten free brownies on Friday...even possibly in the morning, only because we can! Thanks for the ride Whole30!

♡The Stanleys

Monday, January 27, 2014

The "Little Leftovers" Hat Sale

I've drowned myself in knitted hats and love them all! But what to do with the little amount leftover of each color? Make more little people hats!

We've loved all the support from those who have purchased hats, but it's time to do some clean up...
We are tired of looking at yarn all over our couch and piles of hat orders. 
So now is the time to take these little guys off our hands!

1) Cobalt blue. Size 0-6 months. $10
2) Beaver Babe. 1+ years old. $15
3) Natural Gray with hints of black and tan. 6mo+. $10.
4) Solid Gray, no pom pom. Can add mini pom pom like #5 if interested. Newborn. $10
5) Simple cream, coral pom pom (loosely tied, can take on and off as you so wish). 1+ years old. $10.
6) Pretty, Pretty, Purple. Newborn. $10.
7) Oatmeal. 0-6months+ (depending on head size). $10
8) Mini Beaver Babe. Can add pom pom to top or bottom corner. Newborn-6mo. $10
9) Mr. Green Guy. 0-6mo+. $10.

10) Oatmeal. 4/5 years+. $15

So here's the deal. We've got all these hats, we want each one to be sold ASAP. Like I said, take them off our hands. Actually, take them off our couch. Please. Free up some sitting areas for us. If you
live local, you are required to come get them from me. If you live elsewhere, shipping is $5.
Holler at this old knitting granny if you're interested before they're gone!

I'll be waiting patiently to hear from all you interested.


Sunday, January 26, 2014

5 Quick Things

Ty wanted me to call this blog "Freak Out." Because 1, Freak died. Hence where "freak comes from." 2, he says my back freaked out on me. 3, I freaked out that I had to call in sick. 4, we freaking love Fouresse and got after the moving sale today. 5, I freaking overdid the whole hat thing but hopefully with good outcomes of selling what we have left! And trust me, I know how to count but I didn't have a picture for #3.

More details below...

1) We woke up to a dead fish yesterday. He (Freak, named because we got him on Halloween) lived to be 1.5 years. Whatever that equates to in fish years, I'm not sure. I used him somewhat as decor on a shelf so it's time I find something new to decorate with apparently. It was the only thing we were responsible for besides ourselves and the easiest pet ever. RIP Freak.

2) Spinal injections are interesting to say the least. The idea of a giant needles going into my back didn't make me nervous by any means. I somehow trusted a man I knew for a whole 3 minutes to insert something like that into my spine with a slight risk of who knows what. What was weird was the pressure in my spine, a feeling where I wasn't sure if there was going to be room for all that fluid in there. My feet went slightly cold, whether that was the position I was in or not, I'm not sure. All my back pain symptoms seem to come abdomen was uncomfortable, my groins had an increase in pressure from within, my low back had small pains here and there, and my mid-low back made me feel like I couldn't bend or twist from the fluid that remained in the spine. By the afternoon I was unable to sit or lay on my back comfortably, so it was standing to knit or laying on my side. Here's to praying this works within the next 2 weeks!

3) Yesterday was the first time I have ever called in sick in my life. Not kidding. I didn't even do it last minute...I tried to see if there was any chance I could do some sort of light duty just to fill in my hours. I've feared the day I'd have to take my first "sick day." I was pretty much forced to do so considering the discharge instructions said NO BENDING, TWISTING, PULLING, LIFTING, etc. for at least 3 days. Figured the job wasn't going to provide that whatsoever. I will say that I kept myself busy with knitting, so at least the day didn't go to waste! 

4) Our favorite little olive oil and vinegar shop had their last "moving day" sale today. We stocked up on a some fun flavors and so happy we did! Dinner tonight was so tasty and still Whole30 approved! They've decide to go primarily online, although they will do local deliveries for free. Plus they will have some of their items at the Vancouver Coop sometime next month. Thank goodness they aren't disappearing on us! If you ever get interested, check out Fouresse online and put in an order.

5) With a few more hats to go from all the leftover yarn, we plan on having a mini sale with what's left. The goal is to sale ten to twelve newborn up to 4-5 year old beanies. There will be a mix of sizes and colors. More details, more photos, and soon to have more hats made!


Friday, January 24, 2014

Whole30 Breakfast

Breakfast has been a time for us to get creative with all the different ways to serve eggs during this whole30 challenge. We decided from the get go that we didn't want to rely on the applesauce and almond butter and instead, limit the intake of both of those unless we're cooking with them. We were left to lots of eggs for breakfast and of course, leaving our strawberry egg "french toast" for special occasions.

One of our quick go-to breakfasts has been this lovely scramble...
not sure what I'd do without this or the fact that Ty makes breakfast every morning.
Probably A) starve and B) have to get up earlier to cook.

A quick dicing of an organic chicken apple sausage, chopped up mushrooms, add some
diced peppers if you so wish, cook them all together, add your 4-5 eggs (serving for 2 people) and 
top it with some slices of avocado. Bam, boom, bang. You're done. Eat up!

Have a happy day!

♡The Stanleys

Thursday, January 23, 2014

She's Got Some T12-L1 Problems

There are some days I'm not sure if my back is ever going to give up. There are some days that all I want to do is give up. The physical, mental, emotional side to chronic pain is so wearing. Wearing enough to finally break down last fall. I thought for sure our trip would give it enough rest, get some thai massages, and heal up...whatever it was that was causing the pain. I was wrong.

It's all been going on since my early 20s, but per my usual I just continued down the painful path. No sense in paying for another doctor's visit, having diagnostic tests, and more visits when I could just go on with the pain. Again, that pain just never gave up. To the point that I'd only get a day or two of "feeling better" (I use that term loosely) every couple weeks. My breaking point came in October when I found myself having to sleep on the couch often, heating and reheating heat packs to give me just the slightest relief. I do not take any medications, but I did attempt ibuprofen a few times. Didn't cut it.

I finally found myself sitting in at my PCP's office where she ran some tests, testing positive for a gene related to ankylosing spondylitis. So for 4 weeks, that's all I could think of...I have another autoimmune disease, another chronic illness, and I eventually could become fused in my hip and low back region, leading up my spine. In all honesty, I'm pretty sure I become slightly depressed. It was an awful feeling not knowing and having to wait to see a specialist. After x-rays, MRIs, and a million lab tests...prayers were answered and I DO NOT have AS! I cannot imagine what it's like for those of you diagnosed with cancer. The concern, the waiting, more tests, more waiting, treatment, waiting to see if treatment works, more treatments, and so on. I just can't imagine. I have become that much more empathic in my nursing career from that period of my life.

So what is wrong with me? Well I still have problems sitting up straight without my low back hurting and my coccyx feeling like it could explode if I roll out on a foam roller. I can't do long car rides as I get so stiff that at times I look like I'm grossly pregnant trying to get out of the car. I use a mattress heating pad I can control on just my side of the bed to help with the aches and pains getting out of the bed in the morning, which it's hit or miss when I even feel all that great morning after morning. On occasion, I can't take deep breaths in the morning when I'm extremely stiff. Then there's times I can't bend over without spasms and cramps making me want to keel over...that instead, I have to squat to get anything off the ground. The examples of my symptoms can go on and on, but you get the gist of it. The bizarre thing is that my symptoms don't necessarily correlate to one specific spot. That's where the spine specialists came into play.

They found narrowing in my spinal canal and osteophytes near T12-L1 causing my nerve roots to be displaced in the wrong direction. Most symptoms with this area of our spine include bladder and bowl incontinence. Praise the Lord I haven't reached that point! They believe this has been going on long enough that it's caused inflammation down my spinal canal. Bummer deal. Next trial is injecting a steroid into my spinal canal on Friday. Rather than being sedated, I've chosen the route of just a little numbing around the injection site and going for it. They hope that this injection dose will provide a way of decreasing the inflammation in the canal and in turn, relieving my symptoms.

So yes, I'm super happy to not have to walk down the path of another disease like AS. Bummer deal is requiring steroids injections that can lead to osteoporosis. And I'll tell you what, the more I lose in my bones, the shorter I get. I definitely don't have much height to lose! Lots of thoughts and prayers this takes, pain improves, and on we go with life. Thank you all who have been praying and helping us get through the last 4 months...not sure what I'd do without Ty especially! He is the true nurse!


Monday, January 20, 2014

Hello, Punchbowl!

Eagle Creek, Punchbowl Falls, High Bridge. You've all heard the names and I'm sure many of you have been there. Nothing off the radar or new to anybody, especially since I'm pretty sure it's one of the most visited hikes in the area. But what was new for us...this place on a nice January day. Oh my heaven, I seriously thought I was in heaven! We thought for sure we were in the wrong month. That there was no way it was that great in January. All the bright green moss on majority of the trees, the runoff scattered throughout the trail, and then there's those steep drop offs...I could've done without those, but I guess there's no changing that.

We took two of our small, basic cameras to see who could capture a better round of photos
along the entire hike. I'm sure, not to any of your surprise, that we turned it into a little competition. Your vote, who wins?

My Photos:

Ty's Photos:

I'll be honest...I think Ty wins. He had the most variety of photos, angles, and subjects. 
Not bad for having the older, smaller camera. Props to you my husband. I love
seeing how you view this world through a camera!

If any of you have a little time, some energy, and land it all on a decent day, head to
Eagle Creek. You can take the short hike to Punchbowl or continue on to high bridge. 
Dress warm and enjoy yourselves!


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dexter Problems + A Whole30 Crave Buster

You know what's wrong with me? I've been watching too much Dexter. Seriously. I was running yesterday morning, jogged right by what seemed like a sweet man and nodded, and my first thought thereafter was that he probably had a knife and/or gun. As soon as I'd run by he'd get me! Awful thought and not even a legitimate thought whatsoever, but apparently that's what happens after far too many episodes of Dexter. Anybody else have that problem?

My other issue...I've been wondering if anybody has been watching/stalking me. It's creepy. I never even had those thoughts when I traveled to South Africa alone, like completely solo, never been out of the country, type alone. But here, give me a little Dexter in my life and all of a sudden I've got stalkers and people hunting me. Really dumb. I may take up self defense. And I'm not joking.

On the topic of Whole30 (not that we were even on that topic), I've been contemplating what it's like to give up. Like seriously, give in, give up, stop the challenge, forfeit, etc. You get the gist. And the only reason why...I just wanted some dark chocolate while I watched Dexter. That's it. I would've been satisfied with a square or two or 8. Any would've been just fine. Ty on the other hand, he wanted a large blizzard. I think that was stretching Whole30 a bit too time maybe he could come up with something a little closer to paleo like settling for some coconut ice cream instead. Maybe.

Don't get me wrong, this challenge has been great on all levels. Some of you probably wonder why deprive yourself of a blizzard. Or I guess, mainly my dad thinks we deprive ourselves. But because it's our nature to challenge ourselves we took the challenge and we don't give up. Although, part of me wishes I had a little bit of giving up in me. But because we don't, this is how we've solved our problem. And trust me, it's a wonderful substitution minus the cost.

However, I will pay that price every day to get those seeds out of the pomegranate if I had to.
Man, does it ever pay for itself. Costco two pack = 2 desserts. Buy 3 of the packs.
Trust us. They won't disappoint.


Saturday, January 18, 2014

Just Another Friday, Posted On A Saturday

I had to disappear from the blogging world for a few days as I had to become absorbed into the knitting world. I have a few different worlds at the moment:

-Blogging, duh. 
-Knitting, which was just made more obvious. Hence all those hats. 
-Bible 365, once a day. I'm trying to enhance my bible knowledge. 
-Dexter. No, not the cartoon. The real deal. Our small addiction at the moment.
-And then there's the working world. The world of nursing, AKA the hospital. And trust 
me, it is a WHOLE different world. Almost like for 12 hours, there is nothing else that 
exists. All you nurses would agree with me, I'm sure of it.

Speaking of work, I had this not-so-awesome moment yet made me laugh in my head all at the same time. All I could think of was...did that just happen, did my arm just touch that? All you nurses out there would understand. You know, those moments when you reach over to help a patient grab something on their tray table but en route you end up rubbing your bare arm over the top of their urinal...yes, the part of the urinal where anything and everything touches. And you wonder how 
quick you'll be able to wash your entire body even though it only touched your arm.

That was only the start to the day...which led into stepping in some you know what. It was all dried on the floor, but better that than the full meal deal if you know what I mean. We've all been there a time a two. And for some of us, we've come in contact with more bodily fluids than we'd like. 

So the next time you spill your coffee at your desk or food at the picnic lunch spills on your sure to think of all your favorite nurses out there who take one for the team. Whether it be absorbing that vomit on their scrub top, poo on the shoe, or a urinal rubbing across their thankful for those who continue to tackle that job.

On a completely different note, can I just tell you how quick the kiddos are growing up? We had a
date night with them last night...a good ol' walk to ICR, which just happens to be the best ice cream shop in Vancouver, and lots of play time in the basement playing who knows what. It's amazing how a head lamp can make the night. Simple treasures! Anyway, I wish we would've snapped some more photos of them heading to Main St. and eating their ice cream so you could see how much they've grown since the last post. But because I didn't, this is all we have to work with for now...

After we dropped the kids off, Ty said to me "that was a fun night, I had a good time" as though we went on a date or to a party...funny how we get old, that simple nights like those are now "fun."
And I couldn't agree with him any more when he said "we are so fortunate to be so close with those
kids." We are so grateful for them, but also their parents who let us steal them and feed them a lot
of sugar at all sorts of times during the day!

Try getting out for a mini hike this weekend or taking your kids to a new ice cream shop in Vancouver or Portland. Time to test out a new place and enjoy the PNW.
Happy weekend!

♡The Stanleys

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The 25 Hat Goal!

For all you readers out there...

a) need a hat yourself
b) is a mom of a young babe wanting matching mom and babe hats
b) knows somebody with a birthday coming up that loves homemade gifts
c) is going to a baby shower and needs a unique gift idea
d) just wants to support my hat making obsession...

We've got a goal to reach and need all of you! Whatever the case may be, the goal is to sell 25 
adult hats along with as many young babe hats that comes along with the 25!

The first 7 people to order from out of state will get free shipping and all you locals will get
a special hand delivered hat from the Stanleys! Here's a list of what we currently have made for 
those of you interested and wanting the hat ASAP:

*1 large sized dark gray with whisps of light gray in the yarn
*2 regular sized green
*1 regular sized oatmeal
*1 regular sized blue (super fun color to have!)
*1 regular sized mustard yellow/gold
*1 mustard yellow/gold in a size for babes around age 6 months
*1 oatmeal in a size for babes around age 6 months

Of course, there are other color options as long as the yarn is in stock and they can be made
as the orders come through! And for those who have already started supporting the hat
goal...thank you, thank you, thank you! Love to you all!

♡The Stanleys

Monday, January 13, 2014

Managing A Sweet Tooth On Whole30

Drinking full on canned coconut milk is like a ticket to ride straight to the bathroom. Whether it be drinking it, eating it as coconut ice cream, or making chia seed pudding with sure there's
an open toilet somewhere nearby. Don't take that loosely either. I give you props if coconut milk doesn't have that effect on you.

It's one thing if you have a little full fat coconut milk made into coconut whip for desserts. That's manageable. Definitely not enough for the later effects. It's a whole different ball game if you tackle the can, whole, and in a larger quantity. There's a good reason I haven't posted coconut milk chia seed me.

That full on coconut milk can really take a tole on the bod. Mainly the gut, let's be honest. That stuff is a laxative. No joke. Next time you've skipped a few bathroom appointments...have some canned coconut milk. It will, no doubt, do the trick.

Anyway, we're on this Whole30 challenge thing, right? I get these moments that I want something sweet and for those of you that have done Whole30 you know that there's no such thing unless you want fruit...something we all should be eating instead of dessert anyway. But besides the fact, I was desperate to find something. And from past experiences, I knew that coconut milk was not my best match. With enough digging around in the kitchen, I came across this guy...

And happy to say, there was no issues thereafter. What a find!

To sum this up for you all....
*drink coconut milk if you need a natural laxative 
*eat a tablespoon or two of coconut butter while on the Whole30 challenge. 
It will buy you some time until you crave another sweet treat.

Hope it all works out for ya, whichever way you decide to take it all in!


Saturday, January 11, 2014

DIY Saints Wreath For A Little Extra Stanley Cheer!

For all those football fans out there...dem Saints pulled off a great game last weekend to put them into the playoffs today against Seattle! We are super pumped for the win and now wishing we had some tickets to go watch them up north! Instead, I will watch it from my patient's room at work (not quite as cool as being there) while Ty gets to enjoy the game on a new, giant sized screen at his parent's house.

Anyway, I had a little spare time the other morning to whip out this gem. I figured we needed to have a little extra spirit for the day...and hey, maybe even a good luck charm hanging on our front door!

(You can use the same theme for any team you cheer for, just switch up the colored fabric)

wire wreath
burlap, 1/2-3/4 yard
1-2 colors of fabric, 1/2 yard of each
2 long strands of jute
fleur de lis (or other team symbol)

1) cut strips of burlap 2-3'' x 8-8 1/2''
2) cut strips of the colored fabric 2-3''x 8-8 1/2''

3) loop & swoop tie (just once), one piece of colored fabric for every two pieces of burlap
4) continue to do this in the pattern of your choice until you've filled the entire wreath
(you may have to cut more fabric depending on how full you want it to be)

5) tie a piece of jute to your NFL symbol or a small chalkboard and attach to top center of your wreath
6) tie your other piece of jute to the top center of your wreath at a length
that is suitable for hanging on a wall or door.

Big thanks to our good friends, the McCarty's, for having us over for dinner and sharing your TV last weekend! Glad we had a good game, good company, and a great win. Here's to playing hard
and coming out with a win today!


♥Your Big Saints Fans, T&C

Friday, January 10, 2014

Grandma Nu & Our Date Night Guest

Normally it's just Grandma Nu and myself for our dates. We've done afternoon dates at cafes, antique stores, lunch at Grandma's, or just kickin' back at her house. But today was different in two, we had a date night. And two, we had a special one and only! Ty joined us for a neat show at the church put on by a group called Asante, which means 'thank you' in Swahili.

These children are awesome. Not kidding whatsoever. They have been through more than any of us ever have or will, they can jam like nobody's business, and have voices we all pretend we have while we're alone. And they all come from afar: Rwanda and Uganda. The group is called Asante in which a man started with a vision helping one child and lead into what is now 3,000 children. Check these special kids out! God willing, maybe you'll find a child you can sponsor!

I apologize ahead of time...for some reason I can get the videos to upload correctly, so for the
time being you get to just watch. Consider yourself half lucky today.

Their last show is tonight out at a church in Banks. So if you live in that direction,
we suggest this short concert. You'll be amazed with their moves and in awe with their little voices. They warmed our hearts, that's for sure! And nothing like sharing our time with Grandma Nu.
Secretly, Ty and I wanted to take them home with us. Maybe next time! ;-)

♡The Stanleys

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Gettin' Organized

Did I ever tell you that one of the things on my Christmas list this year was storage containers? While most are asking for the new xbox system, I wanted storage containers. I've decided it's one of those "when you get older" type of things that you'll understand when you 'get older.' And because I already let you in on my OCD of organizing my scrubs, I've decided to let you know how we organized the storage in the basement. We have my parents to thank for getting the ball rolling on this whole organizing thing...because guess who gave me storage containers for Christmas?! Look who's rollin' in deep of storage containers!

Getting organized can go one of two ways for me....simple or over-the-top OCD. Thank goodness the storage containers they gave me made that decision for me: simple! So rather than the OCD version of having small, medium, large, lots of drawers, segments, etc to storage containers, I got large colored containers and small clear containers. 

-Step one: decide how you want your belongings stored. 
I broke it down like this:

*Colored containers for regular home decor, party decor, & special holiday decor

*Clear containers for memorabilia, party supplies, gift wrap/bags, frequently used items
(i.e. table settings/trendy napkins)

*Tall drawer container for sewing necessities (material, thread, patterns, etc.)

*Soon-to-be containers (I need to go get more!) for small, loose craft supplies

-Step two: make labels.
Currently we have used sticky notes with a title and then a list of what belongs in the storage
container. At this point, I like that if we wanted to change things around the sticky note is easy to
change. However, one day when there's more time on our hands we just may make it look
more official!

If you already thought I was wacky with my scrubs, I may have just confirmed it even more.
I will say there is something about being extremely organized that makes life extremely easy.
Just think of us & organizing when you're trying to find the holiday decor "you knew you had last year", but just can't seem to find. You may think twice about becoming a little OCD!
But why not just start now?

♥The Stanleys

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Portland Easy Day Hike: Council Crest

We like to spend our time in the Gorge. I'm pretty sure you are all very well aware of that. In fact, we've hit majority of all the big hikes in the Gorge including Mt. Defiance (the largest peak in the Gorge). There are still many to tackle as the list for hikes out that way is ginormous!

We've decided to start this year off differently than our norm and take to all of Portland's easy day hikes rather than the Gorge. And why not? The days are shorter, which makes it tough to get some of those big hikes in. These hikes take little time, which allows you to start and end the hike all while there's still daylight. Drives to Portland and areas nearby take so little time, which saves more time for other things on your weekend to-do list (or extend time in that area at a new coffee shop or restaurant). And best yet, you get to see the beautiful views of downtown Portland, all the mountains from afar, and everything in between (maybe even your house)!

So...Day 1:

Marquam Nature Park to Council Crest
Distance: 3.2 miles
Estimated time: 1-2 hours
Animals: leashed dogs allowed
View: downtown P-town, Mt. Hood, Mount St. Helens, Mt. Adams, 
Mt. Rainer, and if you walk west of the ring at the top you can see Mt. Jefferson

If you're interested in extending the day, head to downtown Portland for a great cup of joe,
a river view, or for those of you on a budget, some window shopping in NW!