You want to know what amazes me every single day? The fact that my family expects to eat, each evening, right around 5:30, an entire and complete meal. This is AFTER I have fed them two other entire and complete meals each day, not to mention the numerous snack I provide to stave off any unwelcome bouts of the hangries.
Now, some weeks I really have my act together, and I have meal planned like a rockstar, and I have grocery shopped and prepped and just been altogether super impressive.
And then there are other weeks when I desperately throw open the fridge around 5:15 and shout into the barren emptiness "Make me a meal!" just in the hopes that the kitchen fairies will show up and do me a solid. In the event that they don't, I typically arrange some cheese slices, apple wedges, and salami artfully on a plate, dump some crackers in a bowl, and call it a night. (Seriously though, if you cut things into fancy shapes and give them whimsical names your people will eat them and be happy. You just have to sell it. It's all in the presentation.)
But some nights, and you know the nights, I just don't think I can handle preparing one. more. meal. On nights like that, I want to pay SOMEONE ELSE to do it. Please, for the love! Feed my people their supper! Recently I heard about a new place in Eugene called beergarden. So we went to check it out.
You know where Gray's Garden Center is on West 6th? Well beergarden shares a space with them. We ate there on a Wednesday night, and it was busy. We were still able to get a table right away (hooray for no wait!!) and after we claimed our space by leaving a high chair and a diaper bag at the table (an important step) we made a loop of the food trucks.
There were four (I think?) food trucks to choose from that night. This changes from time to time, but their current lineup is listed on their website. What's awesome about food trucks is that everyone can choose different stuff. There is literally something for everyone. My husband grabbed a burger and I went for a Costa Rican chicken dish. A few trucks even had menus for kiddos or smaller appetite plates. My four year old chose a plate of mini corn dogs and fries, and he ate every last bite. All of the food we ordered was really yummy.
While we were waiting for food we grabbed some drinks from the bar inside. They've got an extensive selection of beer and wine and cider on tap, including some non-alcoholic choices if you're looking for something fancy to impress your littles.
We really didn't wait long for our food at all, but here's where beergarden wins a ton of points: there is so much for kids to do while they're waiting. There is a concrete wall that you can draw on with chalk. There are a whole bunch of games and coloring books and puzzles inside. Plus, since if you sit outside...you're outside. I feel like there's just a different expectation for noise level and activity when you eat outside. Just a little more freedom and relaxation, amirite?
I seriously can't say enough good things about our family's experience there. We were celebrating a birthday, and everyone (both fellow customers and employees) were super friendly. They may have just been jealous of our festive party attire. Whatever. They were nice to my kids and that's all that matters.
Parking: A free lot as well as free street parkingResting Spots: Lots of tables
Food: Hooray for options!
Cost: Honestly, we found everything at beergarden to be pretty spendy. Their prices on pints of beer were more (sometimes considerably more, like a buck more) than other places in town. The food wasn't cheap either. So...keep that in mind.
Push/Wear: They had high chairs. Nice!
Time Frame: We were in and out in about an hour. If you have kids that can sit still longer, you could linger longer. I don't think you could eat and drink any faster than an hour.
a beergarden giveaway!
tell us what you love about outdoor dining with kids
& you're entered to win a $25 gift card to beergarden!
Washington Park! Have you been? Okay, I'm guessing that you have. But maybe you haven't. And if not - oh boy, do I have a treat for you.
Washington Park is fantastic. It's the biggest splash pad in the county (I think? Does someone out there know of a bigger one?) and it is super fun. Not only does it have a splash pad, but there's also a large playground, a fun hill, and an extra bonus cheese structure (yes I said cheese structure).
Now, you may be wondering why I am writing about the water feature of a park when it's nearly midway through August. Here's why: because we live in Oregon, and you know there are going to be at least a few days - maybe more - in the next few weeks (even into September!) when the heat climbs up into the uncomfortable region of the 90's. Because that's how Oregon rolls.
Here's what we love:
Here's what we don't love so much:
A few tips:
Parking: Plenty of free street parking
Resting Spots: A few short concrete walls, lots of grass, a bench by the park.
Food: Nada. Bring it, dudes.
Push/Wear: Neither. Let the crawlers crawl and the noncrawlers lie on a blanket! Freedom for all the babies! But a stroller will also work really well. :)
Restrooms: Yep - port-a-potties
Time Frame: At least an hour
What do you recommend for staying cool on these last few hot hot days?
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.
Ah, school clothes shopping!
You either read that sentence as a horrible threat or as an exciting & intriguing possibility.
If you're in the first camp, return to your Target/Amazon/oldnavy.com shopping.
This post is not for you.
There is no judgement.
As Amy Poehler says 'Good for her, not for me'.
Be well & enjoy brand spanking new clothing!
As for the rest of you:
Have I got a field trip planned for you!
My daughter loves to shop & I love to shop. I also love to save money & there is no place better to do this than getting thrifty. I know you have your own tips & tricks & I would love to hear them in the comments!
I make this a trip that's just the two of us. I'm sure it is possible to do with multiple kids (& I give you a giant standing ovation if that's what you do) but this is our little 'thing' so we make it a date.
Here's our back to school thrifty tradition, step by step:
Assess the closet situation.
You could do a big giant clean out or just take note of what your kiddo needs more of & what they need no more of.
This doesn't mean you will everything but at least you'll have it in mind.
If you are one of those Organized people (& sometimes I am) you could even make a list.
I know, so fancy!
Choose a thrift store. Preferably a big one with a large clothing selection. We pretty much always go to the Delta Goodwill (they don't call it Superstore for nothing). But we have also hit the St.Vincent de Paul on 13th, too. & Junction City just got a big giant St. Vinnies so add that to the list!
Grab a cart & Load it up, No Holds Barred!
I always let my daughter (a certified fashionista) put whatever she wants to in the cart as long as it's her size. This results in lots of stuff.
But it's really fun for her & all part of the deal :)
I add stuff, too, for sure.
Otherwise she would end up with 15 different jean jackets & no pants. Not the fashion statement we're going for in 4th grade.
Step Three & Four
Try It On! & Sort It Out
(they happen at the same time but I'll describe them separately so no one's head explodes)
She tries on, I sort.
Here she is trying on:
If you are lucky enough to get a big dressing room, you can sort in there.
Since we usually do it at Delta Goodwill I just take over the half wall that they have outside the dressing rooms.
(& yes, people look at me funny & think I work there (& sometimes I even know the answers to their questions) but it's all worth it when we get to the register.)
How I sort:
As she is getting settled in the dressing room I take every item off of its hanger (a huge time saver)
& then I make piles.
1 pile each for
Sports stuff (shorts, dry-fit shirts)
She tries on an outfit
Do you like it?
Does it fit?
How does it feel?
Are there any stains or tears?
As she changes out of the outfit she hands it to me
& I hand her a new outfit.
Then I start a KEEP pile.
If it's a No, I hang it on the Return rack.
As the Keep pile gets bigger I try to notice if there are too many of any one thing.
The thing with thrift stores is that you get what you get on the day you're there.
So if you already went through the racks & there were only 2 skirts that worked, that's how it is today.
If you're at a big place there's generally a good variety.
You just have to decide if it's a Must or an I-think-we'll-wait.
Sometimes even if something fits & she likes it I am just not that excited about her having it (Belly shirt with Hottie written in sequins for an 8-year-old anyone?) I discretely put (hide) it on the Return rack. I only recommend this to those who are okay with lying when they get home with their finds & their kid says 'Hey! Where's that skirt that stopped right below my bottom?'. My typical response? 'Must be the thrift store fairy! She always demands a fee when we get so many good deals!'.
This is the downside to letting her put anything she wants in the cart but if I'm on the ball I sort as we go & there are always so many great options that she often forgets about the crazy/not age appropriate stuff.
Every year I let her get something that I wouldn't typically be excited about (This all happens during the Sorting process). One year it was a crazy chicken printed dress (wish I could find a picture of it!), another a really really old fashioned blue velvet dress with lace collar. VERY Special Finds. It's just a funny little thing I like to do. She doesn't really even know about it (sheesh, I really have my pants on fire) & truth be told, often it ends up being really cute & she totally makes it work. Take that, mom! :)
Ring Up & Rejoice!
We usually budget $50 per kid for school clothes.
For $50 my son (who would never in a million years agree to an afternoon of the above. Unless I offered him the Lego Death Star. & even then he would groan & complain at every turn.) gets 2 pairs of jeans, 1 sarcastically ironic t-shirt from Target. This is usually around $50. (Once I have a good read on what size he's in, I am on the lookout for stuff for him at thrift stores but I have to be very sure. I have done the buy, take home, try on, take back & try again dance too many times & it's no Macarana.) He also isn't that interested in variety so he wouldn't even want a bunch of options. I also watch the clearance rack & sales at Target all year long so he rarely needs a giant shopping trip for school.
For $35 my daughter typically ends up with about 10 items, sometimes more if I'm eagle eyed (like Megan) on the half price tags. (The remaining $15 we spend on shoes which I am usually not up for looking at on this particular shopping day) Averaging $3.50 per item? Pretty great, right?
Can you spot her Special find last year?
It's a strawberry printed brown vest.
& it's actually pretty cute :)
Oh, yeah & we came home with a cute pram, too.
It's the chance you take when heading to the thrifties!
Have fun, friends!
Find those deals!
How do you school shop?
Give us the details!
Emily Gulka is the owner & founder of GoMomGo. She has two kiddos (a Lego obsessed boy & a fashion plate girl) who are on the Go with her lots of the time (mostly to their soccer/dance/jiu jitsu practices & then they all collapse at home & watch Netflix). She also has a business called old school eugene that offers drop in play, parties & classes for kids & adults. & every once in a while she writes a blog post :)
Folks, it's August. The end of summer is near. This is both good and bad. Good because school starts again (hello structure, we've missed you so), and scarves and boots and everything pumpkin. Bad because the water in the parks gets turned off and you're stuck inside more often (hello rain, we've missed you too), and some of us become football widows and after a while all the pumpkin everything starts to be a little bit gross.
However! It's not too late to take advantage of some summer fun. Today I want to share a super fun little afternoon activity that is an excellent "oh gosh what should we do today?" option.
So the Eugene Saturday Market has a much smaller market on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The location is the same - downtown in the park blocks near 8th and Oak, and it opens at 10:00 am. Here's what we've been doing: we park halfway between the market and the Eugene Public Library downtown branch, which is on 10th between Olive and Charnelton. Think Broadway, from about Charnelton to High. Once we've parked, we spend time at both places - the library and the market. It makes for a really lovely afternoon!
Tuesday mornings are the story time for two year olds at the downtown library. There are two chances to catch it: 10:15 and 11:00. If you've got a two year old (blessings unto you) that works perfectly! If not, the library still has lots of fun stuff to check out. - Thursdays are story times for one year olds. Same times as above. - Just for future reference, Wednesdays are for preschoolers and Fridays are for babies under one year old. :) - The Tuesday and Thursday markets don't run all year long. Be sure to check the website below for dates. - There have been several different food carts at the market when we've been there. These make for such a fun lunch! We've also gotten pizza at Sizzle Pie, which is a super affordable option. We've also packed a picnic lunch and eaten it on the grass at the market.- Next Tuesday, August 11th, is the downtown library's last summer reading program. Nearby Nature is presenting animal-inspired stories and hands on art. There are two chances to catch this: 1:00 and 3:00. Fine print: These programs fill up really fast. You can pick up free tickets starting 30 minutes before the event begins. Be sure to do that. Then be prepared to sit on the floor - the room is mostly floor space with a few rows of chairs in the back. The aisle is narrow and they want people to stay seated. This is not a great choice for wiggly toddlers. - Since the market is open on Saturdays too, this makes for an awesome family date. The library even has a family story time each Saturday at 10:15. Hit the story time, check out a new batch of books for the week, go have lunch at the Saturday Market, grab some veggies to try to entice your children to eat green things, and head home. Doesn't that sound lovely!? - If you're not in a rush, take your time to wander around on Broadway. My four year old loves to just walk up and down the street and look at the people, peek in the windows, and watch the cars and trucks drive by. Lots of wonderful conversation opportunities. - Bring your quarters. Parking on the streets downtown is metered.- Bring a book for yourself. If you're lucky, there will be other littles running around in the outdoor courtyard that's outside of the children's area at the library. The kids can play and you can read and thank your lucky stars that you picked up a latte on the way into the library because this is about as perfect as parenting gets.
Parking: I'd say shoot for Broadway on a weekday. On a Saturday? Try the parking garage near 8th and Park.
Cost: The library is free, and just walking around the market is free as well.
Food: Pack a picnic or plan on purchasing lunch or snacks. There are lots of options.
Restrooms: Portapotties at the market, flush toilets at the library
Resting/Nursing spots: Lots of benches
Push or Wear: Either one works
Time Frame: Two-ish hours
Here are the websites:
Is there anything else downtown that you like to do while you're in that area? Please share!
Megan Defferding is the mom to two super fun boys who love to find great stuff to do all around Lane County! Check out her blog series, Happy Adventuring, weekly on GoMomGo.
You guys. Summer is just around the corner. This full time teacher is READY. All that is standing in my way is a mountain of paperwork, a messy classroom, and (as I write this) 18 contract days. This is equal parts overwhelming and exciting. So I thought to celebrate the freedoms that summer brings, we would venture a little further out to the hike I hope to do first and one of my most favorites: Sweet Creek Falls.
I first stumbled upon this hike a few years ago with my nephews, and we have gone back each year. It is lush and green, and follows Sweet Creek the entirety of the hike. There are so many places you can veer off the trail and picnic or rest right by the water. Plus, it’s a perfect stop on the way to the beach.
How to Get There:
Take Hwy 126 west toward Florence. At (just before) the Siuslaw Bridge in Mapleton (46 miles from Eugene), leave Hwy 126 and drive south on Sweet Creek Rd for 11 miles to the Homestead Trailhead.
Hours: None specifically stated
Parking: Well marked parking lot
Passes Needed: NONE
Distance: 2.2 miles round trip
Elevation Gain: 350 ft
Bathrooms: Vault Toilet
Trail: Damp dirt trail, wooden bridges, canyon wall “cat-walk”
Cell Service: None
Potential Dangers: None (unless you wade in the water then the rocks could be slippery and the current could be quick – use caution if you go in the water.)
Safe to Hike Alone: YES
Animals: Dogs must be on a leash
Carrier: Deuter Kid Comfort II
Kid Shoes: Hikers or Keens
In the pack: Water & Snacks
This is an out and back (1.1 mile each way) trail and the perfect starter hike to take small children on if you are questioning what they can handle. Or the perfect trail for a Mama to try out how well she can hike while carrying a little. The trail is gentle and rolling, consisting of a few stairs, bridges, and catwalks! (If you are at all weirded out by heights – please note that there is a stretch of the trail where you are walking along a metal catwalk, which has been bolted to the side of the rock.) It is a serene and absolutely gorgeous hike with many small waterfalls that grace the trail.
I have only ever packed my little in the backpack. I’m sure the Ergo would do just fine, but the backpack always seemed more comfortable AND I was often the only adult, so this allowed me to carry her and have storage for my wallet, keys, snacks, waters, etc. This summer, my littlest will walk on her own.
What we love about this hike:
Grab a friend and go explore this trail. Leave a comment when you have gone - I would love to know what you guys thought of this hidden gem!
Jenna is mama to two awesome kids, a boy & a girl. They explore Lane County's hills & mountains on a regular basis. See all of Jenna's Hike Mom Hike posts here.
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