Find A Festival Near You

carnivalFall is a great time for weekend festivals! The weather has cooled down and your kids need something on the weekend to get them out of the house and moving about your community. So do some research and find a fun and entertaining festival nearby where you live and go check it out! Festivals are usually cheap and usually even free, family outings that are active, enjoyable and educational for your whole family.

If you live in the Portland, OR area, here is a list of some great festivals going on this weekend.

-Green Sprouts Organic Baby & Family Fest-Saturday, September 26 (10am-5pm)

Green Sprouts Festival is a fun, festive and educational one-day event for the whole family that celebrates and promotes the nurturing of life through nature. From pregnancy to childhood, parents can learn about and explore eco-friendly, community-involved, natural, and healthy options to raising their families.

-17th Annual Portland Juggling Festival, September 25-27

The Portland Jugglers is a rich community of people from around the globe that use the Portland, Oregon area as a place to nurture juggling as a hobby and a lifestyle.
Once a year, we focus our collective energies to put on the biggest regional juggling festival in North America, which draws jugglers from around the world to come and see what is happening this year.

-27th Annual Grape Stomping Festival at St. Josef’s Winery, September 26 (12pm-6pm)

The Original NW Harvest Festival- complete with fun music, homemade food, casual & lively crowd- and of course stomping.  Owners Josef & Lilli started the festival to honor the ones they grew up with in Europe. Wine tasting of the reserve wines and new releases,  plus the ‘famous’ tours by the winemaker.

-2009 Oregon Flock and Fiber Festival, September 26-27

Activities for the whole family
The 2009 Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival is scheduled for Sept. 26-27th with workshops on the 25th. Next year’s featured breed will be Primitive sheep, including Icelandic, Jacob and Navjo Churro. Naturally, primitive sheep produce the perfect fiber for the featured handcraft — rug making.

Insomniacs Inquire Here

cant-sleep-transferLast night my wife and I had a wonderful evening back in our college town, enjoying one of our favorite restaurants and walking around campus. And, as a treat on our way out of town, around 7pm, we stopped and got some great $2 Tuesday Milky Way Blended Coffees at Dutch Brothers. Since it was $2 no matter what the size, I ordered the LARGE…and enjoyed every sip.

However, the enjoyment ceased when it was 3:30AM in the morning and I was as wide awake as a deer in the headlights. But, here are some advantages to my late night episode of insomnia:

1. I got A LOT of work down on various tasks that I had fallen behind on, and, not only could I not sleep, but the large blended coffee which was coarsing through my veins, create a hyper-speedy me.

2. I got caught up on all, and I mean ALL, of the late night shows, the late late night shows and the late late late night shows. I can now write a master’s thesis on the comparitive comedic techniques of Lettermen, Ferguson and Leno…(and yes, I intentionally left Jimmy Fallon out…he’s just not that funny…trust me, I have my masters in comedic techniques). Finally, at 5:10AM I decided to give sleep another try. I laid down for 37 minutes and 12 seconds and was just about to doze off when my wife’s phone rang for a substitute teaching job today. So, having what I deemed ‘sufficient’ amount of sleep for the night, I am sitting here telling you about my insomniatic, hyper-speedy, strangely productive, late-night-analyzing all-nighter.

3. The final advantage to this insomniac episode is that in three months time, my wife will be giving birth to twins, at which point I will not sleep for the rest of my life, making this night a moment of training for the future.

So here’s my question? What is it that keeps you up at night, aimlessly changing channels or wearing carpet into your floor by pacing up and down waiting for the tardy sandman to show up? Is it caffeine? Midnight snacks? Stress or anxiety? A desire to live like a racoon?

I know that this pattern is not healthy or one that I will continue (God-willing) but I’ve never got a post done this early in the day, so that’s got to count for something.

Join in the fun and let us know what keeps you up at night.

(The author of this post apologizes in advance for all random thoughts, comments and structure. Bolds and Italics were intentionally used to create a sporadic environment which is the current state of the author’s brain, inevitably resulting in a dramatic crash around 2pm this afternoon)

6 New Things To Try This Fall

1154833112559_autumn_sinvitationii2476flad001Today begins my favorite season of the entire year! There is nothing like the season of fall. The turn of leaves, the cool, crisp air, football games, costumes, Thanksgiving, and the list could go on and on. Autumn brings a renewed sense of focus and excitement, with school starting and the hot days of Summer disappearing. So here are some new things that you can try this fall to make it memorable and fun for you and your family.

1. Go for walks together-Get outside for winter hibernation and enjoy the changing colors of the trees.
2. Go see a football game-An essential American experience. Nothing beats the smell of hotdogs and BBQ, and the visual potpourri of a football game and all its excitement. A great family outing.
3. Paint pumpkins together-Go to a local store or pumpkin patch and pick out that perfect pumpkin. Take it home and enjoy carving or painting fun or scary faces for Halloween.
4. Play in the leaves-As the leaves fall and pile up in your yard, look at it not as a chore but a chance to have fun and play in the crisp, crunchy leaves.
5. Have Thanksgiving Dinner with family-Fall Holidays are a chance to reconnect with family. Don’t miss the opportunity to create memories and bonds around the Thanksgiving table.
6. Serve those who are homeless and cold-As you enjoy all of the wonderful parts to the fall season, don’t forget about those who are without a home or family. Bring the homeless hot chocolate or warm blankets to keep them warm through the winter.

Even if you’ve done this things before, all of these activities are great things to do in the season of fall. Enjoy the outdoors, the sights, sounds and smells, and connect with your family and help those in need.

Stay tuned on hackalife for some great fall projects and tips on how to save money and enjoy life to its fullest!

7 Ways to Cure Those Butterflies in Your Stomach

273179_6525Do you get nervous when you are going to do something new? Starting school, first day of work, or learning how to do a new task can all cause a persons stomach to become all tied in knots. If you are that kind of person who’s stomach seems to become its own personal barometer for what you are feeling and butterflies take up residence in your stomach more often than not – then here is some helpful ways to cure those butterflies.

  1. Deep Breaths – On your way to the meeting or new situation, breath deep, sit back, relax and clear your mind of anything that will take you away from your deep breathing and just breath. In and out, just breath.
  2. Eat Healthy – Keep your mind producing its own natural feel good chemicals by eating lots of fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grain foods, getting plenty of fresh air and sunshine and exercising regularly.
  3. Relax – Practicing relaxation techniques, meditation or even taking time for a regular walk on the beach can all help to reduce stress levels and facilitate a feeling of calm – helping us to wind down and relax.
  4. Try Herbs – These herbs might help to alleviate some of those anxious feelings: bugleweed, chamomile, feverfew, lemon balm, mullein and skullcap. These herbs will help to calm an upset stomach: catnip, chamomile, fennel, peppermint and willow bark.
  5. Be Prepared – There is no worse feeling than to know that you are not ready for your presentation. This is where the standard saying “Practice, Practice, Practice” comes in. Being prepared will help you recover better if you do make a mistake.
  6. Yoga – The asanas in yoga are what cleanses the neurons, which in turn allow the nervous system to react carefully to stress.
  7. Meditation – The benefits of meditation are manifold. When practicing meditation, your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood pressure normalizes, you use oxygen more efficiently, and you sweat less.

How to Save Money at the Bar – Drinking your way Through the Recession

860700_56793699Some days its nice to just get out with friends and enjoy conversation over a few drinks. And there is nothing wrong with going out to your local bar for a drink or two with your buddies, but if your not careful you can find yourself blowing your whole budget on one single night on the town. We all could use some help on saving money at the bar.

Here’s some helpful tips on how to drink like a king on a pauper’s budget:

  • Ask the Price – Bars do not show prices because they know if you realize how much you’re paying, you are much more likely to order less expensive drinks and order fewer drinks. Before ordering a drink, ask how much it’s going to be, and see if they have a price list available so you can get something that you can afford.
  • Don’t Buy a Round – In some social circles, it’s a custom for everyone to buy one round for the group. Just keep silent and don’t offer to buy a round.
  • Know Your Drinks – Get the most bang for your buck by ordering the drinks with the most alcohol. Long Island Ice Teas are your best bet.
  • Attend Happy Hour – Usually at happy hour you can get some beers and wines at cheaper prices than normal.
  • Avoid Cover Charges – Make sure you hit bars that do not have a cover charge.
  • Skip the Food – Unless they have a happy hour menu, otherwise the food at a bar is expensive for the small portions you get.

PVC Pipe Kids Sprinkler

diagram2There is still a month left of summer, and in some states August is the best month for good sunny weather or too hot to not have some sort of sprinkler or pool for the kids to play in. My friends made one of these fun sprinklers for their kids and they said it works great and the kids love it. From the Disney Family Fun online site, The Deluxe Kid Wash.

Craft Materials:

  • Eight 10-foot lengths of 3/4-inch PVC pipe
  • These 3/4-inch PVC fittings: 12 T’s, 2 crosses, 7 elbows, 4 caps, one 1-inch to 3/4-inch T, 1 straight fitting and 1 female hose adapter.
  • 1 pool noodle
  • Craft foam
  • Permanent markers
  • String
  • 3 large sponges
  • 40 feet of nylon lawn chair webbing
  • Paper
  • Fasteners
  • Adhesive-backed velcro

1. Cut the Pieces and Make the Waterholes
Using a hacksaw or PVC-pipe cutter, cut the pipe into the lengths shown below. Be sure to sweep or vacuum up the plastic dust. Use a 1/8-inch bit to drill waterholes as shown above: 12 holes each in crosspieces X and Y, spaced 2 to 3 inches apart; 3 holes, all on the same side, in each of the 2 side pieces shown, and 3 holes at the tops of 2 of the caps.

2. Assemble the Frame
Connect the fittings and pipe sections as shown in the diagram at the top of the page. Use a mallet to pound the pieces firmly together for extra stability.

Continue reading “PVC Pipe Kids Sprinkler”

6 Tips to Help You Save Money on Dry Cleaning

1000115_42973077Everyone is looking for ways to save money in this economy and if you work in an office, you probably have a hefty monthly dry cleaning bill. Here are some helpful tips on how to save money on dry cleaning.

  1. Apply Makeup, hair spray, and perfume before getting dressed. They can all stain fabrics. Allow these cosmetics to set for at least 5 minutes before getting dressed.
  2. Omit odors at home. If your sweaters are a bit stale(but not stained), use heat-activated dryer sheets, such as Dry Cleaner’s Secret.
  3. Spot-Clean. If you get a small stain, treat it immediately with a product like Oxiclean Spray-A-Way and save yourself an emergency trip.
  4. Check your local newspaper for coupons and deals. Cleaners generally offer discounts(10 to 33% off) in the spring and fall.
  5. Practice Moderation. Overcleaning can decrease clothings longevity, so dry-clean only when necessary. You might get away with cleaning a wool suit once or twice a year, and wool sweaters and skirts may be worn up to six times before you need to send them out.
  6. Wear a machine washable shell under your jacket to protect it from perspiration stains.

Easy Summer Cocktails

330110_9506Summer cocktails should bring instant gratification, but too many traditional recipes require an amazing amount of ingredients and an arsenal of bar tools, which most of us don’t own. Here are three easy and quick cocktail recipes that I found in the Real Simple Magazine. Each of the recipes serves 6-8 people.


  • Ingredients: Two 12 oz. Corona, 12 oz. Minute Maid frozen Limeade, 1 1/2 C. Tequila Blanco, Kosher Salt and a Lime.
  • Recipe: Rub the rims of glasses with limes slices and dip in course or kosher salt to coat. In a large pitcher, combine the Corona beer, Limeade concentrate, and tequila. Serve in glasses over ice. Garnish with lime slices if desired.


  • Ingredients: 1 pint Strawberry Sorbet, 1 1/4 C. Light Rum.
  • Recipe: In a blender, working in batches, puree the strawberry sorbet, light rum and 6 cups ice until smooth. Transfer to a large pitcher and stir to combine. (Add water if necessary to adjust the consistency.)


  • Ingredients: 1 bottle medium-bodied Red Wine, 3 C. Apple Juice and two thinly sliced Peaches.
  • Recipe: In a large pitcher, combine the red wine, apple juice and peaches. Serve over ice.

Four Things Every Workout Plan Needs

zoomBeaches and pools are driving people to athletic clubs so they can get in shape and feel good. Summer is a great time to start or restart a workout plan. But setting up a workout plan that has a chance for success can be difficult. What kinds of lifts and exercises should one do? How often should one exercise? Here are four components that every successful workout plan should have.

1. Consistency: Whatever plan you create, only a consistent and concentrated effort will produce results. Set a reasonable, consistent goal that can be achieved, whether that is the decision to work out for three days a week or four. The goal is to make your workout plan a habit of your weekly schedule. Consistency will provide the training that your body needs to begin adjusting to your new and healthy life.

2. Creativity: Your work out plan should have a variety of different lifts and exercises. You may have a few favorites that you enjoy doing each time you work out, but there are multiple ways to exercise the same muscles. Furthermore, the variations in exercises can work minor muscles that may be missed in other lifts. Creativity also provides a freshness to your workouts and prevents the feeling of being in a rut or stuck in the same routine.

3. Balance: Any time you’re lifting weights, balance should always be in the forefront of your mind. What I mean by balance is that if you spend 10 minutes working your chest, you should also spend 10 minutes working you upper back. 10 minutes on biceps, then 10 minutes on triceps. You get the idea. Balancing your workouts so that you work all of the necessary muscle groups for positive general health is important. Likewise, you should balance between Cardiovascular and Muscle toning exercises. For most people, a successful workout plan produces a balanced, healthy person, not a body builder with bulging biceps. Stay balanced in your workout.

4. Enjoyment: There may be days when going to the gym is that last thing on planet earth that you want to do, but the majority of the time you should enjoy your time at the gym. Exercise releases positive chemicals into your body and leaves you feeling energized and alive. Exercise with a buddy, take your iPod, do lifts and workouts that are enjoyable and make you feel good. You will work out on a more consistent basis if you enjoy your work outs.

Those are some basic tips to get you started on your workout plan. Summer is a great time to develop those healthy workout habits. Happy Exercising!

The Joy Of Buying Local

7e9362b702fcdea82bd7-lYesterday my colleague Deanna posted about ways to cut your grocery bill in half. I want to expand on number six and share with you my experience last week.

There’s a great little place called Highway 22 cafe near the city where I live. The have amazing food and even better milkshakes. Its an eat out favorite for all of our family and friends. So, for a special date with my wife last week, we went out to the Cafe to have a marionberry milkshake. I’m not sure what the special recipe is for their milkshakes, but I would pay a lot of money for it. After we enjoyed our milkshake, we walked around some of their other buildings outside of the restaurant and realized that the Highway 22 Cafe is much more than just a restaurant.

In their outlying buildings they have fresh produce and plants on sale for the public. We perused all of the fresh fruit and vegetables and picked up some marionberries, blueberries and other great berries and vegetables.

We then proceeded to take many attempts at producing our own amazing milkshakes. While we fell short, the point is this: we saved a bunch of money buying fresh, local, healthy produce from a local business that will last us a while and curb our ‘eating-out’ cravings.

So this summer, consider making your own homemade icecream or milkshakes, and other snacks that your family will enjoy. You’ll save money on eating out and create special summer memories together.