Happy Kids, Inc
Thursday, June 18, 2020

What is Essential During the Pandemic

We are three months into the COVID-19 pandemic and the quarantine orders set by the state of Oregon. It was a shock to us all: schools closed for the rest of the year, we were told to shelter-in-place and social distance, and most businesses were forced to close (many with dire outcomes) until further notice. Only essential businesses and services were allowed to still operate. 

The state was so quick to put a proverbial bandage on the pandemic, leaders took little time or care to thoughtfully decide what an essential business was. It was issued more as a somewhat backless statement. Grocery stores and gas stations, select city services and hospitals ... they were all considered "essential." It made sense as we reeled from the shock of the situation. But as we settled into our quarantined lives, working remotely and basically homeschooling our kids, many of us didn't settle in. In fact, it has regrettably been some of the most stressful times for many of us. 

What is Essential During the COVID-19 Pandemic

It begs the question, "Where do we draw the line on what qualifies as an essential business?" Unfortunately, our state and federal leaders reacted in such a careless way, it didn't even occur to them that they indeed were mandating the closure of essential businesses. Let me explain what I mean. 

To our leaders, "essential" is defined as just those businesses that basically keep us alive, providing the bare minimum on what we need to get by. What they failed to see were many of the businesses that had to shut their doors were essential to those business owners. The cafes, mom and pop shops, salons .... many with little equity, relied on the income of their businesses to feed themselves, their family, to get by. They were stripped of their livelihood in a matter of days.

That's 11 million restaurant workers alone nationwide without work, and an additional 5 million support vendors to those businesses affected.

Although not a business, public school is in some cases essential to the livelihood of many students. I heard a story on NPR shortly after school closures were announced of a student that relied on many services provided by schools because he lived in his car: education, the one-on-one time with teachers, sports, even something as simple as power to charge his school-issued iPad to do schoolwork. That student is now in a very challenging situation.

What about members of the community who rely on the support of their church or other support groups? Aren't these essential? If we are exercising our rights to hold vigils and protests, is it not also our right to exercise our freedom of religion and to gather in a similar fashion?

I want our state and federal leaders to stop patching holes and strategize real solutions. Find the fix. Let us get back to our lives, however different they will be. Do your job. 

Friday, April 6, 2018

Crystal By Cirque Du Soleil Debuts In Portland

By Meg Hodson

It's rare that I get a chance for a fun weeknight outing that doesn't conflict with sports practices or other kid activities. But it happened last night when I headed with my boys to the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon to witness and enjoy Cirque Du Soleil's newest production, Crystal.

Crystal by Cirque Du Soleil had it's opening night Wednesday, April 5, 2018 in Portland. It had been awhile since I had gotten the chance to see a Cirque Du Soleil performance (my last one was the Beatles Love in Las Vegas). Plus, I was bringing my two young sons and I knew they would love it. 

Crystal, as the name suggests, takes place on ice. Knowing the dynamic and daring acrobatics that usually take place at a Cirque Du Soleil show, I was definitely intrigued to see what Crystal had in store. 

Crystal Cirque Du Soleil

The first thing that stood out and that I loved was the intricate, carefully planned light show on the ice. It created special effects and the performers integrated the displays into their ice skating movements. It was really cool and honestly, I couldn't pull my eyes away.

While I thought the show got off to a somewhat slow start in regards to feeling "Cirque-like", it definitely caught up when the hockey players took to the ice. Performing acrobatic moves on ramps, what felt like a skateboard show left me awestruck knowing this was on ice!

Crystal Cirque Du Soleil hockey players

Intermission soon followed, with the most daring acrobatics taking place in the second half of the show. In quintessential Cirque Du Soleil form, performers came out with long poles and did a series of tricks and flying stunts on them. All the while, dynamic ice skaters circled them with entertaining moves. 

Crystal Cirque Du Soleil

My favorite part of the show was the aerial performance to the song Halo. Absolutely mesmerizing! I'll have the video on YouTube just as soon as I can (the app is being glitchy and won't let me upload; sad face!).

Crystal by Cirque Du Soleil runs at the Moda Center in Portland through April 8th, 2018. You can read more and get tickets here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Keeping Kids Active With Groupon

I was compensated for my post on Groupon. All opinions and ideas remain 100% my own.

Summer is almost over....or is it?! If you're like most Moms, it feels, as it always does, that summer has flown by. But I paused for a moment the other day and tried to get that mindset out of my head. There was still a lot of summer left (after all, August is one of the longest months of the year!) And even when school begins again in September, you still want to make sure your kids are keeping up an active, healthy lifestyle. 

But that can be hard. It's fun to have activities you can do as a family....or they can do by themselves....on the weekends or a warm, summer day to stay active. That's where Groupon comes in. As a budget-conscious family, I am constantly on the lookout for good deals for activities that my family loves to do. So, I recently went to Groupon to see what might pop up. 

Groupon Portland Oregon G6 Airpark family deals
I didn't have to look far for my first great deal. I have taken my kids to G6 Airpark before, but as is the case with most trampoline parks, they can get expensive. I found passes for each child for just $8 for two hours of jump time. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy afterwards and you've got a perfect play day. 

My kids LOVE shaved ice in the summer. Not snow cones, but true shaved ice. It's hard to find sometimes, not to mention each one can be $5+. I found a great Groupon that reduced each to a little over $3. It's a day trip into Portland, so we'll add on a fun visit to a splash pad or playground.

Groupon Portland deals shaved ice
The last great deal I found on Groupon was for miniature golf. But this wasn't the kind of miniature golf at an amusement park or playground. This was on an actual golf course! I scored a round of golf for up to 4 people for just $12. My ten year old son, who loves to play, is going to love playing on a golf course for the "big kids". 

Groupon Portland deals miniature golf

I cannot wait to take in some of these last few summer activities!

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