Gingerbread Adventures

Recently the family and I visited OMSI (Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) for two different exhibits taking place. The big featured exhibit was Exquisite Creatures and the second was Gingerbread Adventures. Gingerbread adventures was more than a gingerbread building contest, it was also a look at the science behind gingerbread houses and other creations. Using the current Exquisites Creatures exhibits as inspiration four local teams of expert bakers, architects, designers, and construction firms worked together to make these holiday treats. Except for the bases and structural supports, each sculpture was built with edible materials.

Let’s dive in to the competitors entries. The entrants will be reviewed in the order they were presented.

First up is Holiday on the Bayou by SFA Design and Safeway. The birds, snakes, frogs, turtles, and dragonflies are excited to share their holiday cheer. The alligator is covered in pear jellybeans. Little Beatles work to decorate their home on the Bayou. I enjoyed the detail given to the bugs and amphibians that live in the bayou.

Second up is Life in Contrast by WRK Engineers, Ankrom Moisa Architects and Zest Bakery. A veiled chameleon attempts to bring down a dragonfly for dinner. Butterflies rise from light to dark. I was drawn to the colorful chameleon covered in sweet tarts and skittles. It’s tongue is made from sour stripes. I then saw the massive dragonfly followed by the butterflies.

Third up is Jingle in the Jungle by Scott Edwards Architecture and Sugar Cubed Cakes. Gillian Gecko is throwing a party and were all invited. Detail is everywhere in this display. From the animals, bugs, lizards, and frogs, to the furniture and landscaping. There is even an Exquisite Creatures gallery in a log with mini artwork. Absolutely amazing.

Fourth and final entrant is Arborvitae by LRS Architects and New Seasons Market. The tree of life. From gingerbread sand to lofty branches this tree gives life and protection to the animals that depend on it.

After viewing all four displays we were invited to vote for our favorite. I voted for Jingle in the Jungle. There was so much to look at from every angle. While voting I opted in for an email to tell me the winner of the contest. We’ll find out the winner at the beginning of January. Good luck to all the entrants.

This exhibit runs until January 2nd, 2020.

Follow me on Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for more of my daily adventures.

Until next time.

How All the Construction Began

We’ve been in full construction mode since July but the process started way before that.

First was the decision to actually do the construction. My dad had asked us to move in with him in December 2018. My mom had passed away in July of that year. He was lonely in the house with just the dog. The dog isn’t much of a conversationalist. We discussed him moving in with us, but he didn’t like that idea. Then we looked at a few houses in his current area that may have worked. It came down to his neighborhood was a perfect place for us to be. There was already a network established with the neighbors. We practically already lived there. We were over all the time and my parents had taken care of the boys while we worked. We participated in all the street activities for holidays so it just made sense for us to move in there.

Adding on to the house was the only option. The existing house had three bedrooms and two baths. It wasn’t enough room for three adults and two teenagers. My dad and husband both wanted their own office space and we needed rooms for the boys. But how were we going to add on was a big question.

In January we met with a contractor and designer. The original idea was to go up into the attic and above the garage. That was a no go structurally. We then went through a whole range of detached, simi attached, ADU (assessors dwelling unit) how can we attach it to be seamless with the rest of the house? It was stressful.

View of the back of the house where the addition would attach.

A design was finally proposed where we would attach the addition to the back of the house where the slider door was. With that we had to enclose our master bedroom windows and relocate them to another wall. That meant losing my walk in closet, taking down a wall and creating a new closet. There were several submissions to the county for approval and reworks to make the design code compliant. But we finally got it.

My master wndows that needed to be removed.
My new master bedroom windows

This process took six and a half months. During that time we had to remove our shed, and a tree. We moved in in March. The boys moved into the formal livingroom for the short term. It ened up being long term due to construction issues.

In July the excavation began and the construction started in full force. That in a nut shell is how we came to building the addition on to the house.

Check out my Instagram @beinglaurakmarshall for more pictures of the work done on the house.

Until next time.

My husband in the excavator. He did not do the excavating.
In the hole the excavator created.
The boys in the excavator

Wild West History, Guns and Gruncles

The boys got a real treat learning about Wild West weapons, specifically handguns and riffles. My uncle, their gruncle (great uncle), is an expert on Wild West history and weapons. My husband and father were also swept up in to the learning adventure. My aunts and I were having a blast watching this group of men so excited and animated over all these guns.

The boys learned about gun safety, how to handle a gun and the history of the guns and gun maker. My uncle let them put on leather gun belts with holsters and try his array of cowboy hats. They were over the moon. My oldest, Parker, loves guns and is fascinated by how they work. He was smiling ear to ear the entire time.

My uncle has, along with his gun and riffle collection, an extensive western wear and mementos collection. The guys tried on all types of cowboy hats and vests. My dad was in on the action and found a nice hat that fit perfectly. They were all having so much fun. My dad wore the hat all day. In the evening when we were about to head out for dinner my uncle gifted the hat to my dad. My dad felt very honored by that.

The whole experience was fun to watch and experience, but more than that, the boys were able to connect with a part of our family on a much deeper level. That to me is a priceless experience that we’ll all treasure.

That’s all for our family adventure for now. Follow me on Instagram for more.

The guys looking very Wild West
Aiden with a riffle
Aiden’s ready for anything
They’re ready for action
Parker grinning ear to ear
Parker, Grandpa, and Aiden
Uncle Ron teaching them a few things