Coming Soon: Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day trips for curious families

CBend Daycations_FINAL copy lo resoming soon! Stay tuned for a release later this month.

Announcing Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day trips for curious families, by Oregon author Kim Cooper Findling.

Today is perfect for a daycation. Calling all Bend, Oregon visitors, new residents and anyone who is curious about the exciting destinations that surround this beautiful city. Bend, Oregon Daycations is your source for fun one-day travel narratives for families. Learn what to take, where to go, and what not to miss on 19 Oregon day trips within a two-hour radius of Bend.

Follow easy itineraries packed with information to explore these places and more:

The Painted Hills: Take a hike, learn about Oregon’s geologic history and eat homemade pie.

Newberry Crater: Explore an obsidian flow, dip your toes in the lake and see a waterfall.

The McKenzie River: Gaze at the famous Blue Pool, learn about the river’s unique hydrology and walk on a lava flow.

Crater Lake: Take a boat ride in a volcano, eat in a 100-year-old lodge and contemplate the United States’ deepest lake in Oregon’s only national park.

Camp Sherman: See a river spring from the ground, eat ice cream at a country store, and feed salmon their lunch.

What people are saying:

“Kim’s first-hand knowledge and love of the area combined with her knack for candid reflection and laugh-out-loud storytelling results in a delightfully fresh, engaging, witty and personal guide of wanderlust-inspiring travel destinations. For adventure seekers and families eager to explore the scenic beauty of Central Oregon (and where to get a beer along the way) this travel guide is a must-read.” ––Mariah Wilson, local writer and regional expert

Kim Cooper Findling is an award-winning Oregon travel writer and editor. She is the editor of Cascade Journal, the author of Day Trips From Portland: Getaway Ideas for the Local Traveler and Chance of Sun: An Oregon Memoir and the Central Oregon ambassador for Travel Oregon. Kim grew up on the Oregon Coast and has lived in Bend, Oregon for over 20 years. See

Bend, Oregon Daycations: Day trips for curious families. $12.95. ISBN-13: 978-1536853391.

Available at,, at local bookstores and through book distributors.


What Happens in Hawaii Stays in Hawaii

libbyelihawaiiEver go on vacation and wish you’d be someone else for the week? Just really get away from it all, including yourself? Last year, my oldest daughter spent our Hawaiian vacation being a boy.”

That’s the first paragraph of my essay “What Happens in Hawaii Stays in Hawaii,” which is on Brain, Child Magazine.

I wrote it a couple of years ago, so fun to see it see the light! And a great reminder that my chickens are not only awesome humans but the source of really great material. You can’t make this stuff up! Thanks, babies. Keep it up.

Cooking With Children, The Graphic Novel, Part II

fireCooking With Children, The Graphic Novel

Part II: Fire!

(See yesterday’s post for Part I)

Little leapt on top of me at six a.m. “Mom! Let’s make the chili! Chili! Chili! Chili!”

“Urghh,” I responded. I hauled myself out of bed and poured a cup of coffee, completely aware that I was not awake at all. But what did that have to do with anything? Dinner party tonight. Chili to be made. Excited culinary intern ready and willing to help.

I positioned Little over the crockpot on a chair next to the stove with instructions to spoon beans into the pot while I began ineptly doing six things at once. Chop onions, unwrap sausage, broil chicken, peel garlic, get the ugly pies out of the way so they don’t end up uglier or on the floor.

I lit the burner, pulled a skillet out of the cupboard and threw it on the stove.

When I turned back from the onions a moment later, flames were shooting from the skillet. Nice, healthy flames, maybe eight inches high, licking skywards a foot or so from my baby’s perfect self.

Now, as y’all know, I’m married to a fireman. And though I hadn’t actually seen him yet on this particular morning, I knew he was on the premises somewhere. Thirteen years ago, when I set fire to my grandmother’s kitchen on the day of her funeral (another story), my instant reaction was to holler his name at the top of my lungs.

But this time, I just sort of decided to leave him out of it. I mean, of course I’d started a kitchen fire at six a.m. After the antics of ugly pie day, this was hardly a shocker. How many people really needed to be involved in my little start-of-day drama?

So without saying a word, I turned off the burner, grabbed the skillet, threw it in the sink, flipped burning pieces of rubber in the opposite direction of my baby using the knife I still had in my hand (yes that makes perfect sense) while blowing out the flames.

“Wow,” said Little. “Cool!”

A few minutes later, roused by the exotic stench of burning rubber emanating from his kitchen, Captain Daddy appeared.

“Can I help?” he asked calmly, which in my experience typically means, ‘can I show up after you’ve solved whatever problem you created and point out all of the mistakes you made to create said problem?’.

“We’re fine,” I said.

“Mommy started a fire,” said Little, still perched over the crockpot.

Chicken Noodle wandered in and took in the scene.

“Little and I are going to write a book,” I said, waving my knife in the general direction of the half-chopped onion, the raw sausage and the pile of smoking burned up stuff. “It’s called Cooking with Children.”

Little shot me a look. “This was all your fault, Mom.”

“True story,” I admitted.

Noodle, who (like me) hates to cook but (like me) is the resident writer and illustrator in the family, knew material when she saw it. She struck a pose and spoke dramatically. “Cooking with Children: The Graphic Novel.”

Look for that one to come out sometime next year. But don’t expect the publication to be celebrated with a dinner party. At least not hosted by me.


P.S. In case you are wondering, Captain Daddy insists we put these rubber mat thingys between our pots and pans in the cupboard to protect them. One stuck to the bottom when I pulled the pan out threw it on the stove. Voila! Instant kitchen fire. Try it! It’s fun.



Cooking with Children, The Graphic Novel, In Two Parts


Cooking with Children, The Graphic Novel

Part I: Ugly Pie


Those who know me know I hate to cook. I say it’s because I have better things to do, but it might just be that I suck at it.

My sister can cook a gorgeous Christmas dinner for 12 in heels, diamonds and a crisp apron that never seems to get soiled. I can cook chili in my pajamas and still ruin it and nearly burn the kitchen down.

Still, I come by kitchen ineptitude honestly. When I was a child, and my mother had to cook, which was as infrequently as humanly possible, she would throw an illogical collection of food objects into a crock pot as quickly as possible and yet still end up screaming and collapsing in a chair with a glass of wine within minutes.

My birthday is next week. What I want more than anything is a personal chef for life. But since I haven’t been gifted one yet, I’ve been making attempts to grow my own.

Chicken Little was born with a good dose of Martha Stewart in her, something she must’ve inherited from my sister (can that happen?). That kid loves to cook and clean. So of course I enlisted her to help me tidy the house and cook two pies a few days ago for this dinner party I was throwing (Book club. Apparently I’m only willing to cook when there’s a literary payoff).

She loves this entertaining stuff, but she’s still also six years old. Henceforth, antics ensue. A few scenes from pie making day:

“Mom, let’s make the pie! Mom, let’s make the pie! Mom, let’s make the pie!” (She boings around the kitchen like Tigger as I haul ingredients out of long forgotten crannies of my kitchen, trying to remember how in the hell one exactly makes a pie).

“Mom, I’m just going to eat a little tiny bit more” (She stuffs berries in her mouth).

“Mom, I can totally do that” (Sugar hits the floor).

“Mom, you’re not letting me do anything!” (She grabs the fork from my hand and makes “patterns” all over the top of the pie).

“It’s cooking with children!” (She says, repeating something I’d just mumbled. Then  she laughs maniacally and throws a fistful of flour in the air before landing two perfect white hand prints on the front of my shirt).

Two hours later, Little and I had indeed produced two pies, albeit the ugliest pies ever created. The kitchen was covered flour, sugar, pie dough and strawberry juice.

I spent an hour cleaning up and decided to leave the rest of the party prep for the next day. One can only do so much, I self-consoled, and poured myself a large glass of wine.

I can only hope that all of this experimental theatre will mean that one day Little will have far superseded my culinary skills, and yet will think fondly back on those long-ago days when I was willing to ‘teach’ her to cook, and therefore will prepare me meals on a regular basis.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s installation of Cooking With Children, The Graphic Novel, in which mommy sets fire to the kitchen.

Hell Yes

This one is even better because it came from my mother. hellyes

Helpful Hints for Housewives!

housewivesI came across this little gem lately. Helfpul Hints for Housewives! A Treasury of Tips for the Model Homemaker.

It’s full of all kinds of useful information, from “Even dishwashing needn’t be dull!” to “Kitchen Economics” to “Wine is Fun!” (I already noticed that).

My favorite page so far:


What kind of a husband have YOU?

Read his character here

Is he eager to get ahead?   Y  N

Does he think faster than others?  Y  N

Does he find it hard to get the day’s problems out of his mind at night?   Y  N

Is he continually dissatisfied with himself?   Y  N

Is he a light sleeper?   Y  N

Does he like to be on the go?   Y  N

If the answers to most of these questions are “no” you are married to a calm, reserved rather phlegmatic person. If most of your answers are “yes” your husband is the energetic, “race-horse” type. Like the race-horse he is quick, high-strung, eager to win. Like the race-horse he is excitable, nervous, sensitive. One thing may stand in the way of his success–his nerves.


Hmm. Identifying my own husband’s character was easy. Had there been a “hell yes” answer category, Captain Daddy would’ve aced it.

Incidentally, the book doesn’t say, after you’ve been enlightened about the man you married, what exactly you are supposed to do with this information.

Perhaps I should send my little racehorse off to the races, where he can win us some big bucks with his quick, high-strung nature and eagerness to win.

I’d miss him, though, and his energetic fast thinking and sleepless nights.

Ladies? Advice?



I Don’t Know Either

dontknowChicken Noodle has a musical soul and a wicked sense of humor, which means it’s comedic show tunes around here pretty regularly.

She’s writing her own songs now, which are delivered at full volume in the living room, often with the advantage of the karaoke machine microphone.

Here’s the latest installment in her Broadway-ready repertoire.

It’s titled “I Don’t Know” (“by You Know Who,” she wrote).

You’ll have to just imagine the tune: dramatic, full of tension and emotion.  


I don’t know whether the ocean is flowing right or left

I don’t know where the birds are chirping now,

Maybe in the treetops, high above the ground

I don’t know where the fire chief is turning red, as red as a red thing

A very, very red thing!

I don’t know why you really care about what you care about

I don’t know why you really care about what you care about


And before!


For some reason, I feel as if these lyrics were inspired by conversations between Captain Daddy and me. But that might be paranoid.

This is not Noodle’s first foray into song writing, incidentally. See Number Two for a hilarious lyrical romp of three years ago.

Future Risk-takers, Unite!


The other night after some Central Oregon brewery suppertime fun, I pulled out of my downtown diagonal parking spot and proceeded to circle the block to head for home.

Chicken Little: That was crazy, Mom! Why did you go all the way around the block instead of just turn around back there?

Me: Because it’s illegal. You can’t back up and turn around in the street like that.

Chicken Little: Well, what would happen if you did?

Me: If I got caught by a policeman, I’d get in trouble. I’d get a ticket.

Chicken Little: (scoffs) Police aren’t everywhere, Mom. They can’t be all places at once. Next time just do it!

The Family Jewels

boxTwo-and-a-half years ago, on a trip to New York City for my 40th birthday, I lost my diamond earrings.

There was no great lightning bolt of awareness about this event, no ‘I dropped my jewels off the balcony’ or some such drama. In fact, I couldn’t really pinpoint exactly when the lovely little gems went missing.

Had I in fact packed them for the big city in the first place? Did I remember seeing them in the hotel room during our stay? Had someone, god forbid, stolen them? When had I worn them last, anyway? Was this what happened at 40—instantly—one’s memory went to heck and one began absentmindedly leaving precious priceless belongings all over the United States?

Whatever the answer, I was mortified. I came home and began hunting. To no avail.

And I kind of decided not to tell Captain Daddy, well, not until he noticed, because he did purchase them for me in the first place, and would undoubtedly be unimpressed with the added expense of our already expensive trip east.

Two years passed. Every now and again, my sis said, “Did you ever find those diamond earrings?”


Last month, Chicken Little and I were wrapping Christmas gifts. She asked for a box in which to place a gift for her best friend, Julia. I grabbed a small cardboard box from the top shelf of my office closet, handed it to her, and left the room.

“Mom, there are earrings in here!” she called.

Which precise earrings she meant never crossed my mind. She stuck the box under my nose and I stared, dumbfounded, before uttering a few choice (albeit happy) words one probably shouldn’t share with one’s five year old.

Okay, so, apparently, I’d tucked those earrings into the box for safekeeping on our journey to the Big Apple. They were safe, all right. For two years in my closet. Did they ever make it to NYC? Who knows. I’m over 40—I can’t even seem to piece together what I did last week.

I gave Little 105 kisses and fed her chocolate for breakfast.

Then I told Capt. Daddy, who, indeed, had never noticed the missing diamonds. And who instantly forgave me for the omission, the temporary misplacement, and for being over 40.

Imagine what six-year-old Julia would have thought of THAT gift.



P.S. I have a friend who lost for several years a four-carat diamond ring that had belonged to her grandmother. It was in the pocket of an obscure coat she’d once worn out for New Year’s Eve. I’m not sure what the moral of these stories is, except that probably one ought not leave the house wearing anything that costs over $25.



Damn Elves


The first sign that I had trouble with my elves came by way of a text message.

“Thanks for thinking of us with a Christmas card, but the envelope we received was empty.”

Nice one, I chided myself, recalling the frantic 6 a.m. addressing-and-stuffing spree of a few days earlier. Chicken Little and I, not actually locating any elves on the premises, had tackled the job ourselves. Apparently at least one of us hadn’t had enough coffee.

Thank goodness we’d only missed one.

But then came an email. “My dad says he got an empty envelope from you. Were you sampling too many Christmas cocktails or were the kids helping?”

Both. The answer is both. 6 a.m. cocktails are my favorite.

But now I was alarmed. I’d sent humbugs to two households that I knew of. How could I know there weren’t more? I held my breath and waited for additional notification of failed mail.

It came from the post office.

A bundle of seven bent and smashed up envelopes, bearing a blunt inked message: “no contents.” Apparently the sorting machines had caught ahold of these unsealed gems and punted them back to me.

Little and I had a little chortle at that one. Oh, we’re such silly-heads! Silly silly silly-heads!

By now I’d noticed a pattern. Anyone with last names in the F-H section of the alphabet on my master list was potentially a victim. So when Captain Daddy texted the news that his high school girlfriend (last name: G) had received an empty envelope, I replied, “Saw that coming.”

I readdressed, stamped, and this time, stuffed, envelopes, trying to be grateful that the fallout from my overwhelmed holiday multitasking was only a little humiliation instead of, oh, I don’t know, accidentally leaving the kids at the mall.

At least not yet.

Before I stuck the cards in the mail, I inked a short message on the back: “Damn elves.”










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