Asha Dornfest, founder and publisher of Parent Hacks and one of Portland’s Top Mom Bloggers , shared her favorite local family spots and of course some parenting hacks in 5 quick questions!

1.  What’s your favorite “escape hatch”—a way to put in some “me” time to recharge?

My new hobby is crochet. I taught myself to crochet precisely because my attention span has suffered since I had kids. What I didn’t expect: how satisfying and profoundly relaxing it is. Unlike reading, I can crochet for 10 minutes and feel refreshed. A bonus: I end up with a nifty handmade something for my trouble!

2.  What is your favorite pearl of wisdom for a frazzled new mom to find her happiness?

Call your friends. Leave the kids with your partner or a sitter and take yourself out to dinner. Take care of yourself. I know you’ve heard it before, but if you’re like me, you’ll brush off this advice for a little too long. Parenting is intense work. Give yourself some
time off, in whatever way feels good for you.

3. What are your family’s favorite trails and bike paths?

We love both the Japanese and Classical Chinese Gardens. When it comes to outings, we often find ourselves wading around near waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge.

4.  What are a few of your favorite parks & places to visit with kids and around town?

OMSI, of course. They are continually coming up with new ways to engage kids and adults alike. The Avalon Theater on SE Belmont, with its nickel arcade games and prizes, is always fun on a rainy day. My favorite garden is Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden in SE Portland. In May it’s a riot of color, but it’s lovely any time of year. Good spot for kids to jump over stepping stones and appreciate the birds in
the pond.

5.  Where do you like to catch a bite with the little one in tow?

Slappy Cakes (also on SE Belmont) is fun for brunch…make your own pancakes at a tabletop griddle! (Not great for grabby toddlers, but fun for older kids.) Favorite Chinese food: Shandong in NE Portland. And then there’s Potato Champion, one of the food carts on SE Hawthorne. Best fries ever.