Friday, December 31, 2010

January Joy

This list of free and low cost events for January 2011 is relatively short, but there are still quite a few amazing things going on around Portland this month.  I compile this list for my homeschool group, which includes kids 8 and under, but most events have much broader appeal.  I look for events that will have educational or cultural value.   As always, mistakes and typos happen, so please double check anything you'd like to attend.

Christmas Bird Count”, Sunday, January 2. “The Christmas Bird Count is a great way for birders of all levels to enjoy a day in the field and sharpen their birding skills. You will also have the opportunity to meet others who share your interest in birds and to discover some good local spots to find birds. And you will contribute to scientific knowledge. In fact, the Christmas Bird Count is one of the best ways for the amateur birder to advance ornithology: the data are sent to the Laboratory of Ornithology at Cornell University, where over the years Christmas Bird Count records have been used to study changes in bird populations and wintering ranges. A recent study of CBC data shows that most birds are wintering farther north now than they did 40 years ago, perhaps the result of global warming. National Audubon Society info on using CBC data to plot wintering range changes.” Learn more about the Christmas Bird Count and easy ways you can participate here: http://audubonportland.org/about/events/cbc2010

Mister Ben” Don’t you want to know why he’s so popular? This month he has a series of library shows: Saturday, January 8, 10:30AM at Albina Library; Wednesday, January 12, 10:30AM at Hollywood Library (free tickets will be available beginning at 10AM); Thursday, January 13, 11AM at Troutdale Library; Saturday, January 15, 12PM at Gregory Heights Library; Saturday, January 15, 2:30PM at Gresham Library; Saturday, January 22, 12PM at Hillsdale Library (free tickets will be available beginning at 11:30AM); and Saturday, January 22, 2PM at the Central Library. He also has regular gigs around town. They are on Mondays at 10AM at Posie’s, 8208 N. Denver Avenue, Pdx, as well as Tuesdays at 10:30AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Pdx, $3 per walking human, Wednesdays at 10AM (except the 12th this month) at Eco Baby Gear, 2122 SE Division Street, Pdx, $5 suggested donation, and Fridays at 10AM at Branch and Birdie, 8021 SE Stark St., Pdx. He introduces playing the ukulele to kids as young as 3. “Though most people know me as a performer, I think of myself first and foremost as an educator. Music education is the real motivation for why I do what I do. I believe that music should be and can be more accessible to all people. My primary goal is to eradicate the myth that some people are simply “non-musical.” We are all musical, and anybody can learn to play music. Yes, even you.” http://mrbenmusic.com/

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Professor Banjo", Beginning January 5, now every Wednesday at 1PM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave., Pdx. $3 per walking human. "Paul Silveria performs for families as the banjo-slinging, old-time singing "Professor Banjo" entertaining children with sing-a-longs, dancing games, and stories, all accompanied by lively old-time music that parents can enjoy, too! Professor Banjo's shows are fun for a wide range of ages - from toddlers to tweens who still like to get up and dance around!" Professor Banjo is awesome! http://www.squaredancepaul.com/

Mo Philips
”, Thursday, January 20, 11:45 at Garden Home Community Library. “ Join musician Mo Phillips for lots of awesome songs and the chance to form a supercrazy onetime band that will write, perform and record a couple of tunes in about an hour. Don't think we can pull it off? Check out the music page at rocknrollkindy.com and listen to some of the crazy cuts from past Rock-N-Roll Kindy shows!” Mo also has regular gigs every Tuesday at 10AM at Posie’s Café, 8208 N. Denver Avenue, Pdx., and every Thursday (except presumably on the 20th) at 10:30AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave, Pdx., $3 per walking human. “Mo performs interactive shows that respect the intelligence of young people with wit and irreverence, without being strictly scatological. This is music built for kids and parents alike! Mo does not dumb down lyrics or melodies for kids to "understand", and therefore sings about things whole families can appreciate. A fine, distilled blend of Americana, Soul and Blues, while not being afraid of a poppy hook or straight rockin' out.” http://www.mophillips.com/

Symphony Storytime”, every Wednesday in January at 1PM, Sherwood Public Library. “Storytimes feature musicians from the Oregon Symphony performing music that enhances and deepens the storytelling experience. Each storytime features one of the four families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. A craft session where children make their own instruments out of common household items and an instrument petting zoo follow the storytimes. Children and their parents also receive a specially made bookmark with suggested reading and recommended CD's featuring the storytime instruments.” http://www.orsymphony.org/edu/storytimes.aspx

Tie Dye And Dip Dye”, Wednesday, January 5, 10:15-11:45AM, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15, suggested for ages 4 and up. “Bring t-shirts or other blank clothing, sweaters, sheets, pillow cases, curtains, etc. for this dying extravaganza! Make sure fabrics are cotton or wool, and white or light solid colors for best results. Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form.” http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Timberline Nature Walk With Bruno!”, throughout the winter, Friday through Sunday at 10AM. Meet at the US Forest Service Desk inside Timberline Lodge, on Highway 26 at Mt. Hood. Free, donations appreciated. “Join a Ranger and the 150 pound mascot of Timberline Lodge — the St. Bernard Bruno for some fun on Mount Hood! Depart from Timberline Lodge and stroll through the high country with Bruno on this short 1-2 mile walk (depending on weather) while learning about the winter ecology of Mount Hood. Once the snow flies, be sure to bring your winter gear and an appetite for adventure! For additional information, please call 503-622-2033 or visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/.” http://www.timberlinelodge.com/tours-activities/

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Tom Waldrop, Magician", Saturday, January 8, 11AM, Lake Oswego Public Library. "Waldrop received a magic set when he was 12 and that was the start of his lifelong passion for sleight of hand. He began performing at age 14 after joining the Portland Society of Magicians. By the time he was 17, he was winning magic contest prizes. Waldrop continued doing magic shows through college, his military career, and beyond. He’s also a teacher of magic and has won numerous prizes for his magic shows."

Creature Collage
”, Saturday, January 8, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out beginning at 10AM), and Saturday, January 22, 3:30PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “Children’s book author and illustrator Eric Carle creates insects and animal collages from hand-painted tissue paper. Under the supervision of artist Addie Boswell, use Eric’s technique to cut and paste your own creatures similar to those in the books "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" and "The Grouchy Ladybug." You may also make a rainbow set of painted paper to take home so that you can collage all year round!” 

Winter Creature Craft”, Saturday, January 8, 11AM, North Portland Library. “Local artist Dawn Grunwald will teach you how to reuse wool sweaters to create tiny stuffed snowmen, penguins, polar bears and winter hares. Creatures will be embellished with fabric scraps, buttons and beads. All materials provided. Bring a pair of sharp sewing scissors if you have them.” Registration required- Register at http://events.multcolib.org/events/cfml/index.cfm?action=1102&EventID=37895&EventDateBegin=01%2F08%2F2011&LanguageID=1

Brick Builders”, Saturday, January 8, 10:30AM at Beaverton City Library Storytime Room. “Come and make a connection as we create, build and challenge with all things LEGO. Registration is required. Please phone (503) 350-3600 to register or sign-up in person at the Children's Desk on the first floor of the library.” 

Theatre Games For Kids”, Saturday, January 8, 2:30, Hillsboro Main Library, suggested for grades K-6 and limited to the first 30 in attendance. “Join directors from the Northwest Youth Theatre who'll lead young, aspiring actors in an interactive program of acting techniques, pantomime, theatre games and songs.” 

Johnson Creek Brass”, Saturday, January 8, 2PM, Ledding Library of Milwaukie. “A typical Johnson Creek Brass program includes a wide range of music, from early classical (Renaissance and Baroque) to Rossini and Debussy; from Joplin rags to Dixieland. The band has been known to play contemporary jazz, musical theater and works by the great John Phillip Souza. Concertgoers will also enjoy the band as members talk about the music, the instruments and themselves. Johnson Creek’s lineup is Dennis Crabtree on trumpet, Gary Michael on trumpet and flugelhorn, Carrie Baysinger on horn, Chuck Ford on trombone and Steve Jachim on tuba.” 

Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour”, Saturday, January 8, 10AM-12PM, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation. “Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland’s founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers’ monument.” Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history. http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org/events.html

Slavic New Year Celebration”, Sunday, January 9, 12-4PM, Midland Library. “Celebrate Slavic New Year by joining us for music, dancing, traditional costumes, crafts and a short performance based on Russian fairy tales.” 

La Musica Es Magica”, Sunday, January 9, 2PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “This spirited, bilingual sing-along program celebrates the magic of music with songs in Spanish, English and sign language. Named 2009 National Young Audiences Artist of the Year, songwriter Greta Pedersen will captivate audiences as she plays guitar and shares her wonderful collection of percussion instruments with members of the audience.” 

The Chinook Winds”, Monday, January 10, 12PM, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx. Free. A woodwind trio. “Noontime Showcase is a once a month program featuring different performances every month and are family friendly. Noontime Showcase is presented by the volunteers of PCPA and is our way of saying thank you to the community for supporting the arts! This is a free event and tickets are not needed.” 

Shabava”, Monday, January 10, 6:30PM, West Linn Public Library. “Shabava is a trio with members trained in Iran, Morocco and India. They combine their backgrounds in classical Persian, Arabic and Hindustani music to deliver fresh presentations of traditional pieces and create original compositions with a unique voice.” http://www.shabava.com/

Top Secret With Slightly Illusional”, Tuesday, January 11, 7PM. Tigard Public Library Community Room. All ages. “Join magician and educator Curt Nelson as he takes a fascinating subject - secret agents and spy gadgets - and combines it with magic, puppets and a cute bunny rabbit. Shhh...don't tell anyone how captivating this show is sure to be!” 

Book Making”, Wednesday, January 12, 10:15-11:45AM, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15. Suggested for ages 6 and up. “In this class we will be assembling and decorating our own handmade books. There will be a few different types to chose from, ranging in difficulty level. Kids can focus on one project or try their hand at multiple styles. Perhaps it will be a scroll-book, a comic book, a journal, or a photo album? A mis-matched body flipbook? Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form. http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Project Learning Tree Teacher Workshop- The Young Years”, Wednesday, January 12, 9AM- 4:30PM, Tryon Creek State Park. $13 registration fee. This is an adult workshop for environmental education aimed at classroom teachers, but may well be of interest to homeschoolers. “This all day workshop will focus on the Pre-Kindergarten to 1st grade educator. Learn how to incorporate natural sciences and multi-sensory activities into your early learner curriculum. We will focus on how to teach using multiple learning styles. Enjoy classroom activities and field experiences alike. Dress to engage in discovery outside. Bring your lunch and a notebook. Register online at:  http://wwwdata.forestry.oregonstate.edu/ofep/workshopdetail.aspx?WID=424

Cooperative Games and Activities”, Thursday, January 13, 10:30AM, Capitol Hill Library. “Children learn when they can play and interact freely without fear of judgment or consequence. When playing without competition, children can bolster their creativity, imagination, self-esteem and interpersonal relationships. Explore ways to interact with children without rewards, punishment or competition and learn specific games and activities you can try at your home or daycare center. Kristen McKee, of Insideout Schoolhouse, has assisted learners in groups for the past 25 years in both English and Spanish. Participants of all ages are welcome and will be playing cooperative games together.” 

Decorative Decoupage Boxes”, Thursday, January 13, 4:30PM, Belmont Library. “Artist Shanon Schollian will show you how to decorate small boxes using decoupage, an art or craft form that entails gluing paper cutouts onto an object. Schollian creates art with the notion that if something is unsightly it should be covered, and if something is unimportant it should be made fancy. The finished boxes are great for keepsakes or gift giving.” 

Homeschoolers New Year’s Reception”, Friday, January 14, 2PM-4PM, Beaverton City Library Meeting Room A. “Drop in for light snacks, networking and a display of hand-picked resources to meet the needs of homeschoolers. Children are welcome to attend alongside their parents. No registration required. For kindergarten to grade five (or equivalent) and accompanying adult.”

Prowling for Owls”, Friday, January 14, 7-9PM, Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, Sherwood, OR. Free. “Whooooo goes there? Join us at the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge to find out about the owls that make the refuge their home. During a night hike, learn about the mysterious lives of our nocturnal neighbors, discover their habitat and learn about their amazing adaptations for life at night. Wear sturdy shoes, dress for the weather and bring a flashlight. Free. Meet in the Riparian Room of the Wildlife Center. Advance registration required, e-mail sarah_gray@fws.gov with your name, phone number and number of participants.”

"Family Day at the Oregon Historical Society", Saturday, January 15, 11AM-3PM, 1200 SW Park Avenue, Pdx. On family day, two children are admitted free with one paid adult admission. Regular admission for adults is $11, students over 18 and seniors $9, kids 6-18 $5, kids under 6 are free. "Come and visit the Oregon History Museum’s newest exhibit Perseverance: Black Pioneers in Early Oregon. Visit with costumed interpreters from the Oregon Northwest Black Pioneers Association. Learn 10 facts about Oregon’s Black Pioneers, then put your knowledge of Oregon history to the test with puzzles and activities. Enjoy a special showing of Oregon Experience: Local Color, and celebrate the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by adding your dreams to our “I Have a Dream” Wall." http://www.ohs.org/

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Graffiti Style Fine Art", Saturday, January 15, 10:30AM-1:30PM, Albina Library. On one hand, the library categorized this as "grades 6-8, teens", and it is a three hour workshop. On the other hand, the description says the presentation portion is brief and all ages are encouraged to participate. If you have a younger kid and think they might love this, it could be worth checking out. "During this 3-hour workshop, DeAngelo Raines, artist and founder of the nonprofit organization Art Not Crime, will give a short presentation demonstrating the positive and creative aspects of legal street art. Participants will then use these new techniques to create a small graffiti project. All ages are encouraged to participate in this hands-on introduction to graffiti style fine art."

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Annual JRR Tolkien Birthday Bash", Saturday, January 15, Kennedy School, 5736 N.E. 33rd Ave., Pdx. Free, all ages welcome. Begins at 11AM, and at 7PM there will be music from the Garcia Birthday Band (playing the music of Jerry Garcia and the Grateful Dead). Their website advises that a full schedule of the day's activities is to be posted. "Elves, wizards, ents, orcs and all others are welcome to join us for this celebration of one of the 20th century's most influential authors. We'll have kids' fun, live music, performances by Willamette Radio Workshop, the entire "Lord of the Rings" trilogy in the Theater, Hobbit-inspired food specials and more! Come in costume to compete for prizes." http://www.mcmenamins.com/events/84705-Annual-JRR-Tolkien-Birthday-Bash

Talk About Trees Paper Workshop
”, Saturday, January 15, 1:30PM, Tigard Public Library Puett Room. Suggested for ages 5 and up. “Learn the history of paper, its many uses and the importance of recycling. Use recycled paper products, craft materials and your imagination, design a unique sheet of writing paper to take home.” 

Living Worlds”, Saturday, January 15, 11AM-12PM, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15. Suggested for ages 6 and up. “Come create a miniature living world. Using pots, soil, small plants, easy to grow succulents, herbs and mosses, we will create a living mini-scape of our imagination! Experiment with natural materials to create your landscape. A meandering garden path? A rock wall? A pool of water? There will be materials for making miniature structures as well - a hut, a teepee, a fairy house? Take your living world home and watch it continue to grow! Please contact Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form.” 

Oregon Trail Trio”, Saturday, January 15, 2:30PM, Canby Public Library. “Trail Band members Mick Doherty, Gayle Neuman and Phil Neuman will perform a fun and historically informative program of music from the heyday of the Oregon trail up to the early 20th century, singing and playing instruments of the time. They choose from a wide variety of familiar and rare instruments including hammer dulcimer, violin, guitar, banjo, flageolet, tuba, tenor horn, walking stick recorder, pennywhistle, ocarina, serpent and others. They will also share stories about the music and instruments they're playing. “ Mick Doherty is also half the talent behind Oregon Shadow Theatre. 

Knights of Veritas”, Saturday, January 15, 4PM, Kenton Library. Saturday, January 29, 11AM, St. Johns Library. “Knights of Veritas is an organization specializing in interactive educational demonstrations of medieval arms, armor, combat, knighthood and chivalry. Through thrilling demonstrations of historical combat techniques, they will introduce the code of chivalry and demystify common fanciful misrepresentations of the Middle Ages. The program includes authentically weighted and detailed steel swords and armor to provide an eye-opening experience for the audience. Exciting hands-on sharing allows participants the rare opportunity to handle the weapons and try on the armor!” This is a really spectacular show. Both libraries have small community rooms, so although they do not currently show that they are limiting admission with free tickets, I highly recommend arriving early.  http://www.knightsofveritas.org/

Guided Nature Walks”, Saturdays, January 15, 22, and 29, 10:AM- 11:30AM. Tryon Creek State Park. Free. January 15- Winter Twig Identification, January 22- Conifers of the Creek, January 29- Magnificent Moss and Lovely Lichen. Join a park ranger for a free, guided nature hike to explore the forest and stream ecosystems and natural history at Tryon Creek State Natural Area. Topics will vary from week to week but will be appropriate for all ages. Parents must accompany kids on all hikes. 

Kids' Day Drawing Party with Alex Beard”, Saturday, January 15, 2PM, Powell’s Books at Cedar Hills, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR. “With Monkey See, Monkey Draw (Abrams), artist Alex Beard brings to life his love of exploration and painting. Set in the African savannah, the book offers lessons in conservation, overcoming fears, and unleashing your inner artist. Join us for this special drawing party.” http://www.powells.com/calendar.html?start=2011-01

Squirrel Survivors”, Sunday, January 16, 10AM- 11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park, $10. Preregistration required. “Spend the morning exploring the park to learn about the squirrels that call Tryon Creek home. We will examine the features of squirrels as well as their fascinating behaviors through fun, hands-on activities.” http://www.tryonfriends.org/programs/calendar-listings/icalrepeat.detail/2011/01/16/393/-/kids-in-nature-sundays-squirrel-survivors.html

Winter Crafts For Kids”, Sunday January 16, 1-3PM, Gregory Heights Library. “The Gregory Heights Library Teen Council will host an afternoon of crafts for kids ages 4-10. Teens will help kids make snow globes, dazzling pipe-cleaner snowflakes with beads, clay sculptures and paper snowflakes. Join us for the fun!” 

Mudeye Puppets Open Build Night”, Tuesday, January 18, 5:30PM- 7:30PM, 6635 N. Baltimore Ave., Ste 237, Pdx. “Come be Mudeye masters! Wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy and we’ll teach you some tricks of the trade. Open Build Night is Free. Please RSVP if you plan on coming. Email info@mudeyepuppets.org or call 503-805-0291. Children and friends are welcome!” We checked this out a couple of months ago, and they had a big group of people helping make props and sets for shows. Refreshments were served, and everyone had a great time! http://www.mudeyepuppets.org/

Book Celebration Featuring Author Eric Kimmel”, Wednesday January 19, 4:30PM, Barnes and Noble, Clackamas Town Center Mall, 12000 SE 82nd Avenue, Pdx. “Join us with our partner, Portland Reading Council, for an event featuring author Eric Kimmel. Nominees for the Patricia Gallagher Children's Choice Picture Book Award will be showcased including Kimmel's Anansi's Party Time. Enter to win door prizes!”   http://store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/event/3077387

Recycled Jewelry”, Wednesday, January 19, 10:15-11:45AM, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15. Suggested for ages 6 and up. “Did you know you could make jewelry out of paper? Metal washers? This class will cover a few different techniques using recycled materials, including rolled paper beads, metal washer pendants and more. Kids will get to take home multiple pieces of handmade recycled jewelry.” Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form. http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Water Into Electricity”, Thursday, January 20, 6-7PM, Tryon Creek State Park. Free, no preregistration required. This is a program aimed at adults, but some kids may find it fascinating. “Join us in the nature center for a fun evening learning about the environment around you! This will kick off our new adult lecture series with watershed themed talks. Pat Barry, Supervisory Park Ranger with Bonneville Lock and Dam Visitor Center will uncover the mystery behind turning water into electricity! A pretty complicated process that will be broken down in a way that anyone will be able to understand and share with their friends and family. Don’t miss this interactive program and opportunity to visit Tryon Creek after work to learn more about how the watery world around us works.” http://www.tryonfriends.org/programs/calendar-listings/icalrepeat.detail/2011/01/20/387/-/thursday-environmental-talks-water-into-electricity.html


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Portland Metro Reptile Expo", Saturday, January 22, 10AM-4PM, Holiday Inn, 25425 SW 95th Ave., Wilsonville, OR. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for kids 6-12, and free for ages 5 and under. There is a $1 off coupon available on their website:  http://www.pdxreptileexpo.com/htm/coupons.html We have been to this reptile expo just to look, and it's truly fascinating. Your child is absolutely guaranteed to get a more closeup view of a dazzling array of reptiles and amphibians than can be found at many zoos.

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Model Trains with the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club", Saturday, January 22, 10AM-6PM and Sunday, January 23, 1PM-6PM, Lake Oswego Public Library. "Trains in the Library? You bet! Members of the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club are providing two sets of model trains and tracks to the Library; one set will be on the main floor and the other set in the children’s room. People of all ages are invited to view the trains, ask questions, and “drive” the trains. Kids can even bring their own trains to run on the tracks if they are HO. There will be train books available for check out to extend the learning and fun."

Gem Faire
”, Friday, January 21, 12PM- 7PM, Saturday, January 22, 10AM- 6PM, and Sunday, January 23, 10AM-5PM, Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro, OR. Admission $7 for a weekend pass, free for children under 12. “You'll find gems, jewelry, beads, classes, demonstrations, hourly door prizes, fossils, minerals, and more!” While this gem faire is focused on beads, there are generally quite a few delightful finds for the discerning young rock hound. http://www.gemfaire.com/locations/index.php?location=82

Easy Snowflake Making”, Sunday, January 23, 2:30-4PM, Holgate Library. “Drop in and make simple snowflakes with the help of Holgate Library's Teen Council. All materials provided.” 

Lego Construction Zone”, Sunday, January 23, 1:30PM, Tigard Public Library Puett Room. Suggested for ages 5 and up. “Drop in to work on your creations with other LEGO® fans. We'll supply the building blocks; you bring your creativity.” 

Winter Wild Walk”, Monday, January 24, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. For grades 1-3. We'll bundle up and take a winter walk on the wild side to discover how plants and animals handle shorter days and colder weather. Wear warm clothes and comfortable walking shoes. (Registration required at the library or online  here.

Oregon Shadow Theatre presents, “Anansi the Spider”, Tuesday, January 25, 7PM, Forest Grove City Library. “Anansi the spider is clever, witty, foolish and greedy. He loves to eat and he hates to work. Anansi plays tricks on everyone and gets into a lot of trouble. In this story Anansi meets a River Goblin, fights a Chimpanzee, and plays a trick on his whole village.” The Oregon Shadow Theatre is really amazing and not to be missed. http://www.oregonshadowtheatre.com/

Northwest Ag Show”, Tuesday, January 25. 10AM-6PM, Wednesday, January 26, 10AM- 9PM, and Thursday, January 27, 10AM -5PM, Portland Expo Center, 2060 n. Marine Drive, Pdx. Admission is $8 for adults, $6 for seniors, and free to children 12 and under. Parking is free. The Max Yellow Line stops here. “The NW Ag Show is the second largest agricultural show on the West Coast… It attracts over 200 exhibitors from the Northwest, across the country, and around the world. It's planned for the second day of our three day show at the Portland Expo Center, January 26th. We'll feature a family ticket for $15, making it exceptionally affordable for the whole family, a craft area for children, along with kid, and family-friendly meals that will be available at our food court." This is a must-see if your kid loves big trucks and tractors, or if you want your child to gain insight into the technology of modern agriculture. Last year we saw some really crazy machines! http://www.nwagshow.com/

Metal Sculpture”, Wednesday, January 26, 10:15-11:45AM, he Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15. Suggested for ages 4 and up. ““It went tick when it moved, and tock when it stopped and Whirrrrrr when it stood still. I never knew just what it was, and I guess I never will!” 
In this 3-D sculpture class we will use glue, hot glue (for those age appropriate), wire and more to sculpt fantastic machines. What will you make? A robot? A time machine? A gadget that will make you chocolate waffles in the morning? Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form.” http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events?start=10

Lunar New Year Celebration”, Saturday, January 29, 1-3PM, Gregory Heights Library. “Celebrate the Lunar New Year customs of China and Vietnam and welcome the Year of the Rabbit at the library. Enjoy activities including a Vietnamese spelling bee and writing contest, traditional dress pageant, a lion dance performance, crafts and food!” From 1-1:30PM: Lion Dance: “Decorate red accordion fans with origami paper, Chinese character rubber stamps, glitter and other materials. The fan is a traditional Chinese symbol and red paper is used to symbolize good luck and happiness throughout the year. Artist Cindy Lommasson brings back this popular craft for the new year.” From 2-3PM: Red Fans for a Lunar New Year: “Decorate red accordion fans with origami paper, Chinese character rubber stamps, glitter and other materials. The fan is a traditional Chinese symbol and red paper is used to symbolize good luck and happiness throughout the year. Artist Cindy Lommasson brings back this popular craft for the new year.” 

Copper Wire Hearts”, Saturday, January 29, 2-5PM, Gresham Library. “Artist Kathleen Karbo will show you how to create a one-of-a-kind valentine using copper wire, pipe cleaners, and colorful beads and ornaments. Gain experience with hammers, anvils and needle-nose pliers. Fun for all ages!” 

Family Valentines”, Saturday, January 29, 2-4PM, Woodstock Library. “Join artist Lisa Kagan in creating valentines for your whole family through a combination of collage, personal photographs, drawing and creative writing. Participants will be encouraged to explore what love means to them as they create their own customized valentines. This project is a great activity for the whole family. Optional: Bring family photographs to incorporate into your project.” Registration required: http://events.multcolib.org/events/cfml/index.cfm?action=1102&EventID=37578&EventDateBegin=01%2F29%2F2011&LanguageID=1

"OMSI Portable Planetarium", Saturday, January 29, Estacada Public Library, Flora Community Room.  11AM is a program suggested for kids K-3, and at 11:45 is a program suggested for grades 4 and up. "Discover how stars are formed and self-destruct, in our vast and amazing universe.Travel in time by learning star stories about queens, heroes, and mythical monsters while viewing the constellations that inspired the legends of ancient cultures."

Speaking of OMSI, they aren't either free or low cost, but their exhibit "Lost Egypt: Ancient Secrets, Modern Science" opens January 29. (That's probably the worst time to plan a visit- it doesn't close until May 1 so you will have plenty of time to see it without the crowds.) Ancient Egypt is one of the more intriguing topics in history studies, but here in Portland it's rather difficult to learn about it close up. Here's a chance. http://www.omsi.edu/lostegypt

Mochitsuki 2011” Japanese New Year Celebration, Sunday, January 30th, 11am-4pm, Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison Street, Pdx. Tickets $7 for adults, $5 for seniors (62 years and up) and students, $3 for children ages 2-12, children 2 and under are free. This year tickets are required for admission to Mochitsuki, however they include admission to one of the stage performances and all of the activities. There are three different stage performances scheduled and you must indicate which show you will attend at the time of ticket purchase. The Japanese American community begins 2011 with a celebration of Japanese New Year traditions. “Mochitsuki,” or the making of mochi, a sticky rice cake, has taken place in Oregon since the first immigrants arrived in the late 19th century. Coming together to pound steamed rice into hearty cakes gathered people from far-flung railroad and lumber camps, farms and towns. Beginning the year with mochi symbolized both the strength of community and starting the year with a full belly. The Portland area Japanese Americans invite the public to join in its lively annual celebration at a large and historical location this year. In the Scottish Rite Center, Mochitsuki is a program of dynamic taiko drumming, Japanese folk dance, and storytelling that brings Oregon’s Japanese history to life. The concurrent Cultural Fair features a community stage, displays and hands-on activities for all ages. Come hungry for culture and great treats from the Pacific Rim. Show Schedule: 
Noon Show: Alton Chung, Minidoka Swing Band 
2:00pm Show: Hippoh Dance, Lewis/Clark, Mitsuki Dazai (koto), Portland Taiko, Sahomi Tachibana Dancers (traditional Japanese dance), Utsuki-kai (mochi-pounding) 
4:00pm Show: Emcee: Robert Kikuchi; Epworth Break Dance, Fujinami-kai (traditional Japanese dance), Nanda (acrobaticalists), Portland Taiko, Robert Kikuchi-Yngojo (story-telling), Tanuki Taiko, Utsuki-kai.  http://www.jetaaportland.com/community-events/mochitsuki-2011/

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Lunar Eclipse

Just in case you hadn't heard, Monday December 20 at 10:33PM Pacific Standard Time, a total lunar eclipse will begin.  Lunar eclipses are not that rare, but this one will be clearly visible for the entire length of the eclipse from all of North America.  Lunar eclipses are completely safe to view with the naked eye, and although star gazing is rather difficult this time of year, our chances of seeing the moon through the clouds are much greater.  From NASA: "At that time, Earth's shadow will appear as a dark-red bite at the edge of the lunar disk. It takes about an hour for the "bite" to expand and swallow the entire Moon. Totality commences at 02:41 am EST (11:41 pm PST) and lasts for 72 minutes. If you're planning to dash out for only one quick look - it is December, after all - choose this moment: 03:17 am EST (17 minutes past midnight PST). That's when the Moon will be in deepest shadow, displaying the most fantastic shades of coppery red. Why red? A quick trip to the Moon provides the answer: Imagine yourself standing on a dusty lunar plain looking up at the sky. Overhead hangs Earth, nightside down, completely hiding the sun behind it. The eclipse is underway. You might expect Earth seen in this way to be utterly dark, but it's not. The rim of the planet is on fire! As you scan your eye around Earth's circumference, you're seeing every sunrise and every sunset in the world, all of them, all at once. This incredible light beams into the heart of Earth's shadow, filling it with a coppery glow and transforming the Moon into a great red orb." http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2010/17dec_solsticeeclipse/  The Rose City Astronomers will be outside at OMSI with telescopes for free viewing from 9:30PM to 1AM.  (Binoculars also enhance viewing).   More here:  http://www.omsi.edu/events

Christmas Tree Train

Going in the tunnel...
Our favorite local train excursion by far is the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad, not too far off in Yacolt, WA.  All year long, this train ride is a treat.   The scenery is gorgeous, the train ride is just the right length, and the people who run it could not be friendlier.  Also you get to go through a spooky tunnel!   The cool seats are in the cupola of the cabooses (they know this- there were two cabooses this year).  Passengers take turns with these special seats.  The trains stop at Moulton Falls, a dramatically lovely spot.  This time of year, they run Christmas Tree Trains.  When the train stops at the Moulton Falls station, you can pick out a tree, which is carried back to the Yacolt station for you on the return train ride.  (Purchasing a tree is optional.)  Santa is at the station, with presents for every child, and hot chocolate, hot cider, and cookies for all.  Jasper encounters Santas all over the place, but he saves his Christmas wishes just for this particular Santa.  This year, two very sincere elves rode down in our car, getting everyone to sing Christmas carols.  Any time of year, it's definitely worth a drive!
A view from the cupola of the caboose.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Tualatin Hills Nature Park

Even in December, it's good to meander through some woods just to see what you can see.  We saw plenty, on a recent soggy day at the Tualatin Hills Nature Park.  This nature park has the distinction of being one of the few places to walk in the woods that is next to a stop on the Max.  There's a tremendous concentration of nature here, in the heart of the western suburbs.  It's kind of a last refuge for many creatures. Some of the trails are paved and stay pretty mud free all year. In the spring, the tadpole pond teems with millions of tadpoles and newt larvae.   In the summer, it's one of the most reliable places to see (harmless) garter snakes, and huge bullfrogs.  This time of year, it's a great place to see rough-skinned newts, lichen, moss, fungi, nests no longer hidden in the trees, and slime mold.  It's quite an oasis.  Here's some pictures of some of the marvels of our nature walk.







Monday, December 13, 2010

Corner Crest Natural Farm


Rain or no rain, it was time to get our Christmas tree.  It's easy to find one already cut, but it's so much more fun to visit one of the many local tree farms and cut our own.  For us, the obvious choice was Corner Crest Natural Farm.  The trees have only natural beauty, with no pruning or spraying.  I expected our tree might be a little wild, but surprisingly we seem to have ended up with a real symmetrical beauty, here and there dotted with lovely lichen.  It's got to be our best tree ever!   And Corner Crest is owned by a lovely family that homeschools, so the trees come with especially good karma!

Yes, it's true that Oregon is the nation's top grower of Christmas trees, and it's a great sustainable business we love to support.  And yes, it's also true that artificial trees can pose a hidden lead hazard.  But I must admit, we just love the delicious way  a real tree scents the air.     

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Do Jump

Do Jump was offering discounted tickets to several homeschool groups to a performance, and we jumped at the chance to check them out!  We were treated to what turned out to be the public debut of the second half of their amazing holiday show, followed by an awesome question and answer session that I'm betting will not be included in the official program.  The last piece, which completely fascinated the audience, involved a large screen stretched the entire length of the stage.  Above it were the torsos of the performers, and below, at a strange distance, their legs.  Their legs definitely had minds of their own.  At times, they seemed to grow discontented with their upper halves, and drifted off or found other torsos to hang out under.


After the performance, in response to a question from a child in the audience, they performed the end of the piece without the screen.  The kids really loved seeing how they created this illusion.   Do Jump offers some cool classes for homeschoolers:  "Sign up as individuals or groups for a day time class in trapeze, acrobatics, creative movement and physical theater. Classes focus on building strength, confidence and creative expression in a safe and non-competitive atmosphere. Ages 4 - 12."  For more on their amazing holiday show or their classes, check out their website:  http://www.dojump.org/index.shtml

Thursday, December 9, 2010

More Events This Weekend

Timberline Nature Walk With Bruno!”, Throughout the winter, Friday through Sunday at 10AM. Meet at the US Forest Service Desk inside Timberline Lodge, on Highway 26 at Mt. Hood. Free, donations appreciated. “Join a Ranger and the 150 pound mascot of Timberline Lodge — the St. Bernard Bruno for some fun on Mount Hood! Depart from Timberline Lodge and stroll through the high country with Bruno on this short 1-2 mile walk (depending on weather) while learning about the winter ecology of Mount Hood. Once the snow flies, be sure to bring your winter gear and an appetite for adventure! For additional information, please call 503-622-2033 or visit http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/mthood/.” http://www.timberlinelodge.com/tours-activities/ 

"Open Studios at TaborSpace", Saturday December 11 and Saturday December 18, 10AM -1PM,  TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont, Pdx., $5 per child.  "Young artists from 3-18yrs. will have fun exploring a variety of art materials and have the opportunity to work on a community mosaic as well. Drop in cost is $5/child. Drop your child off for an art class and enjoy a cup of coffee or tea downstairs in the TaborSpace coffee shop."  Artist Leslie Tucker will also be taking registrations for her regular classes, beginning in January, in painting, collage, mixed media, mosaic, and open studio.  More info here:  http://www.vibeofportland.com/?page_id=236

Dennis’ 7 Dees Hosts Reindeer Magic!”, Friday December 10, 10 am to 5 pm at their Lake Oswego Garden Center, 1090 McVey Ave., Lake Oswego, OR, and Saturday, December 11, 10 am to 5 pm, Cedar Hills Garden Center, 10455 SW Butner Rd., Portland. “For the second year, we will have Santa's reindeer help us kick off the holiday season. Enjoy some apple cider and cookies while visiting the live reindeer. Frosty will bring his pal and children can have their picture taken with the reindeer for free!” http://www.dennis7dees.com/garden-centers/calendar.php?Reindeer%20Magic! 

22nd Annual Origami Workshop”, Sunday, December 12, 1-3PM, World Trade Center, Mezzanine Level, SW 1st Ave between Salmon and Taylor Streets, Free. “At the 22nd Annual Origami Workshop, volunteers from the local community will teach participants “Origami” - the Japanese art of paper folding. Everyone is welcome! Cranes, Roses, Animal Faces, Basket, Origami Wreath and more! Sponsored by Consulate-General of Japan in Portland."   http://www.jetaaportland.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/11/Origami-Workshop.pdf 

Mad Science "Fire & Ice"


Mad Science did a show this week called "Fire & Ice".  Jasper and I both love Mad Science shows, so there was no way we were going to miss this one. I'm not sure if there was truly any unifying  scientific principle for all these experiments, but that doesn't mean that we didn't both learn a lot.  And of course it was thoroughly enthralling.  The lady doing this presentation was beyond fantastic.  

Changes in air pressure caused by a hair dryer allow three pingpong balls at once to float in the air!

The fire inside the flask consumed oxygen, lowering the air pressure.  The shelled, hard boiled egg on top, suddenly popped in!

Dry ice mixed with water can be used to make some pretty cool soap bubbles!
And lastly, a video of our Mad Scientist handing out more  dry ice soap bubbles!
video

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Wonderful World of Amazon

Are you, like me, caught like a deer in the headlights as Christmas fast approaches with devastating swiftness?  Never fear!  Amazon is here!  I know, you probably use it mostly for the excellent product reviews, which help you pick out which resources to get for free from the library.  But those product reviews can point you in the direction of some truly amazing items.  Just in time to save Christmas!  Check out the links below:

Three Wolf Moon T-Shirt, Tuscan Whole MilkLatest Word in Self-PublishingSteering Wheel Desk TrayUranium OreFresh Whole RabbitUFO Detector

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Champoeg Holiday Gathering


We decided to see what the festivities were like at the Champoeg Holiday Gathering. Champoeg State Heritage Area is an amazing place to go to learn about pioneer era history.  The holiday gathering was focused on pioneer era crafts for children.  Their events are free (although a $5 parking fee per vehicle is required at this state park).  A storyteller was there telling wintery tales, and musicians played lively folk tunes.  I was spellbound by the four ladies who had gathered there  to make lace.  This was a dying art when my mother was young, and I'm amazed they actually found four people who were available to come there at the same time, who actually know this astonishing art.  The lady whose lace appears in the photograph, told me that so far she'd invested about 200 hours in this piece.  Kids were making pomander balls from clementines and cloves, lavender sachets with real raw wool, and cup and ball games. (An acorn is attached to a wooden cup with a string.  The object is to flip the acorn into the cup- pretty tricky!)  There were also cookies to decorate, swags to be made from evergreen branches, bows, and holly, and more.  Jasper got very excited about weaving God's eyes, one of those pleasures of childhood I'd all but forgotten.  We went out and bought a bunch of yarn, and he's been weaving more and more at home.  I suspect they may end up all over our Christmas tree!  A volunteer struck up a conversation with Jasper about beaver trapping.  He showed Jasper the beaver traps they have on display.  He explained that they liked to bait traps with a beaver scent gland, and that different sized traps were needed because beavers could reach sizes of up to 120 lbs, or 5 feet from snout to tail!  Champoeg has a wonderful pioneer garden that Jasper loves.  He insisted on visiting it, despite the fact that little grows in the garden in December.  In fact it was hard to drag him away.  He can't wait until he's old enough to volunteer to help grow it.  If you are looking for a way to get your child intrigued with history, or if they already are, Champoeg is a great place to visit.  


Sunday, December 5, 2010

ScanFair


This weekend we headed over to PSU to check out ScanFair.  For 26 years, the Scandinavian Heritage Foundation has been hosting his festival, and it has grown to be really over the top.  I learned that it's best to get there early if you want a seat, because the dancing is fantastic.   (Homeschoolers are represented in these folk dancing groups!)  Also, it's best not to eat before you get there, because the food is outrageous.  They were serving up Swedish pancakes and meatballs with lingonberries, hot Danish aeblekive, which are perfectly round balls of apple pancake/popover goodness baked in a special cast-iron pan, more baked goods than I've seen in one place at one time in many years, and more.  Of course they have all manner of Scandinavian gifts, including clothing, jewelry, books and cookbooks, and handicrafts, and Scandinavian language schools were also there.  They even had a room where Scandinavian films were screening.  Nearly every aspect of Scandinavian culture was represented.  

Jasper was enthralled with their kid's craft room.   He made a Lucia crown for himself, and was really proud of the little wooden Santa he made.  They offered several others as well, including a cool Viking ship.  He had a blast, and actually learned something about Scandinavian culture at the same time.  I think we're going to have to make it an annual event!




Thursday, December 2, 2010

Columbia Gorge Model Railroad


Every November, the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club in North Portland open their doors for a special open house, delighting model railroad fans big and small.  Of all the local clubs that offer an open house, they seem to have the most amazing and complete layout, and we never miss a chance to marvel at its complexity and detail.  It's in HO scale.  From their website:  "The layout...is designed to represent the rail lines between Portland and Wishram, Washington plus the rail line up the Deschutes River to Bend, Oregon. Points of interest that have been specifically modeled on this new layout includes Portland's Union Station and the Steele Bridge, Multnomah Falls, Crown Point, Portland's Trolley Lines, The Deschutes River Canyon, Wishram's Railroad Yard, and many interesting points between." The club not only owns the building, they had it built just for their layout.  Inside the club, they also have a room where they offer refreshments, souvenirs, a big Lego train layout, and a layout with four train cars that kids can control themselves. It's great fun!  Many kids love trains, and it can be a wonderful way to learn about all sorts of other things, especially history and music, and to introduce some of the principles behind engines.  (There's just an amazing number of songs in dozens of genres written about trains.  The libraries have lots of compilations).




Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Happenings

Are you worried about the high cost of heating your home through the winter?  Here is part of my strategy- getting out of the house as much as possible!  Coincidentally this is also a good cure for the winter blahs!  (But not so good if our cats' water bowl freezes over...)  Here is my monthly list of free and low cost family events around the greater Portland area. I compile this list for my homeschool group, which includes families with kids 8 and under, but many of these events have broader appeal.   I look for events that have some educational or cultural value.  (This month I should make a special note that I don't generally include high dollar holiday shows or photo ops with Santa.  A good resource for finding both will be Metro Parent.)  Please doublecheck any event you plan to attend in case of mistakes and typos!

Mister Ben”. Y’all should know about Mr. Ben. Over the past year, he’s become a complete kid’s music sensation here in Portland. He started out with regular gigs at Posie’s Café in Kenton, North Portland. Now he’s performing regularly, 5 or 6 days a week, and has regular gigs on Mondays at 10AM at Posie’s, 8208 N. Denver Avenue, Pdx, as well as Tuesdays at 10:30AM at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Avenue, Pdx, $3 per walking human, Wednesdays at 10AM at Eco Baby Gear, 2122 SE Division Street, Pdx, $5 suggested donation, Fridays at 10AM at Branch and Birdie, 8021 SE Stark St., Pdx, and Saturdays at 10AM at The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., Pdx, $5 suggested donation, (in December they have him on their calendar for Saturday December 4 and 11 only). He introduces playing the ukulele to kids as young as 3. “Though most people know me as a performer, I think of myself first and foremost as an educator. Music education is the real motivation for why I do what I do. I believe that music should be and can be more accessible to all people. My primary goal is to eradicate the myth that some people are simply “non-musical.” We are all musical, and anybody can learn to play music. Yes, even you.” Pretty cool, huh? http://mrbenmusic.com/

Living Worlds”, Wednesday December 1st, 10:30-11:45, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. $15., ages 6 and up. “Come create a miniature living world. Using pots, soil, small plants, easy to grow succulents, herbs and mosses, we will create a
living mini-scape of our imagination! Experiment with natural materials to create your landscape. A meandering garden path? A rock wall? A pool of water? There will be materials for making miniature structures as well - a hut, a teepee, a fairy house? Take your living world home and watch it continue to grow! “ Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form. http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Symphony Storytime”, Wednesday December 1, 8, 15, and 22 at 4PM at Woodstock Library. “Storytimes feature musicians from the Oregon Symphony performing music that enhances and deepens the storytelling experience. Each storytime features one of the four families of musical instruments: strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion. A craft session where children make their own instruments out of common household items and an instrument petting zoo follow the storytimes. Children and their parents also receive a specially made bookmark with suggested reading and recommended CD's featuring the storytime instruments.”  http://www.orsymphony.org/edu/storytimes.aspx

Apolo Ohno”, Wednesday, December 1, 8PM, Borders Books, 2605 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR. Not an event specifically for kids, but could be very interesting! “Gold medal-winning Olympic speed skater Apolo Ohno shares his inspiring personal story and life lessons learned through training and competition.” Apolo Ohno is the most decorated American in the Winter Olympics, and is touring in support of his new book, “No Regrets”. 

Chanukah Menorah Lighting”, Wednesday, December 1, 5:30-6:30PM, Director Park, located between SW Park and SW 9th to the east and west, and SW Taylor and SW Yamhill to the south and north. “Join Chabad of Oregon for a wonderful family event with the lighting of the Menorah. Free latkes and dreidels for attendees!” Menorah lighting will also take place on Thursday, December 2 at 5:30PM, Friday, December 3 at 3PM, Saturday, December 4 at 6:15PM, and December 5-8 at 5:30PM. http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?c=52454

Hands On Science for Homeschoolers”, Thursday, December 2, and Thursday, December 16, 1:30PM, Ledding Library, Milwaukie, OR. Intended for kids 5 and up, but younger kids may enjoy it as well. 

Scrap Heap Puppet Laboratory”, Thursday, December 2, 3:30PM at Fairview-Columbia Library; Saturday, December 11, 3PM at Troutdale Library, and Tuesday, December 28, 2PM at Gresham Library. “Join the Mudeye Puppet Company in their never-ending mission to make puppets out of salvaged materials! In this workshop you will bring your own creatures to life from cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls and bike tubes. Make them walk, talk and fly under the master tutelage of Mudeye Director Bruce Orr. All materials provided.” http://www.mudeyepuppets.org/

Family Clay Night”, Fridays through December 10, 6PM- 8:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW CAPITOL HWY, Pdx. “Come as a family and play with clay! $10/hr per adult and child pair. $4/hr for each additional child. Includes glazes, firings and 5lbs of clay. Not for solo participants. This is an adult and child activity. Use of the potter’s wheel by instructor approval only. Pay at MAC office.” (Out of district families are welcome without additional fees at drop in activities.) http://www.multnomahartscenter.org/

Staver Locomotive Holiday Train Event”, Friday, December 3, 5:30PM-8PM, 2537 NW 29th Ave, Pdx., free. “Free viewing of live model steam locomotives, Opportunity to donate to Friendly House, Live Music - Boy & Bean, Raffle, art sale & kid play/craft area.” The building is unheated so dress warmly. This is a really fun event. http://www.staverlocomotive.com/ 

"Holly Jolly Hullabaloo", December 3- December 19th, Fridays at 7PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM and 4PM, Theater!Theatre! 3430 SE Belmont St., Pdx., Free! "The Holly Jolly Hullabaloo! is based on the grand tradition of British Panto. This year JANE offers our version of "Hansel and Gretel". "With Hansel and Gretel hungry and lost in the forest, they search for the path back home, but they're not the only "lost" people looking for a way out. With silly songs and sillier dances - a lot happens in an hour! Nationally known, PAMPTA award winning songwriter Greg Paul applies his talent to clever lyrics and catchy tunes the audience will be singing all year long! The book by local writer Kim Bogus incorporates jokes for kids, jokes for adults and swirls various children's, adventure and horror stories together into a fun and frivelous tale." http://www.jane-a-theater-company.org/

The Christmas Revels”, December 3-12, Scottish Rite Center, 1512 SW Morrison St, Pdx, ticket prices vary. Not really low cost, but sounds very cool. “The Christmas Revels offers fun for all ages in a colorfully costumed audience-interactive pageant full of Spanish history and traditions. The show begins on a chill winter's night. Three wise sages take sky readings and confirm the longest night has come. In an ancient and forgotten chamber of Spanish treasure, figures from the rich past of Iberia appear to sing the winter songs and to dance the seasonal dances of Arab Andalusians, Sephardic Jews and Medieval and Renaissance Christians. Suddenly a quirky treasure hunter stumbles in - an old and rusted knight accompanied by a squire obsessed and blinded by the glitter of gold. Can this hapless pair see and hear the music and dance, and learn an important message from the multicultural historic ghosts so as to make a VERY important choice? You'll have to see the show to find out!” http://www.portlandrevels.org/revels.php?page=this-year%60s-show 

Mudeye Puppet Company Open House”, Saturday, December 4th, 10AM-2PM, Cathedral Park Place, 6635 N Baltimore St., Pdx. “The Mudeye Puppet Company will be having a Open House from 10am to 2pm in conjunction with the Cathedral Park Place Holiday Sale, which is 10AM-6PM. Join the Mudeye Puppet Company for a free art making, meeting the puppets and even some surprises! Cathedral Park Place houses over 100 tenants, many will open up their doors for our first annual Cathedral Park Place Holiday Sale and Open House. Artists and companies will have their studios open, guests will be able to explore open houses and holiday sales. Many will host food and beverages. There is also a cafe on site.” If you’ve ever been to a Mudeye open studio and wondered what else was going on in the building, now is your chance. It’s full of people who make a living making things. http://www.mudeyepuppets.org/

Native American Storytelling”, Saturday, December 4, 11AM at Sellwood-Moreland Library. “Ed Edmo, a Native American with Shoshone-Bannock-Nez Perce tribal affiliation, is an acclaimed poet, performer, traditional storyteller and lecturer on Northwest tribal culture. Linda Meanus, an elder of the Warm Springs Tribe, is a traditional dancer, accomplished regalia designer, seamstress and beader. They will share tales that are based on the geography, history and culture of the area around Celilo Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.”  http://ededmo.tripod.com/

Champoeg Holiday Gathering”, Saturday, December 4, 1PM-4PM, Champoeg State Heritage Area, $5 parking per vehicle. “Join costumed volunteers make sugar plums, decorate gingerbread, play 19th century games and create holiday decorations. Heartstrings, a local musical duet will play songs on a hammer dulcimer accompanied by stand-up bass.”   http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_113.php

A Nutcracker Tea”, Saturday, December 4, 11AM, at Tualatin Public Library. “NW Dance Theatre makes a special appearance with excerpts from "A Nutcracker Tea", a family-friendly adaptation of the Nutcracker ballet. The Sugar Plum Fairy dressed in her tutu and tiara will be reading the Nutcracker story. Following the story some of the dancers will perform excerpts from the Nutcracker for the audience.” 

Pretty Little Folded Paper Trinkets”, Saturday, December 4, 2-4PM at Albina Library, Thursday, December9, 3:30PM-5:30PM at Hollywood Library, Saturday, December 11, 1:30-3:30PM at Capitol Hill Library (free tickets will be given out beginning at 1PM), and Tuesday, December 14, 4-5:30PM at Gregory Heights Library. “Make your own gifts this year with artist Colleen Cavin. Using decorative papers, this program will allow you to create crafts including German-bell paper ornaments, origami boxes, small secret envelopes, woven paper hearts, and other small projects that will make perfect presents.” Anything with Colleen Cavin is highly recommended. 

Allen Say reads, ‘The Boy In The Garden’,” Saturday, December 4, 2PM, A Children’s Place Bookstore, 4807 NE Fremont Street. Pdx. “You won't want to miss the talented and charming Allen Say as he returns to A Children's Place to present The Boy in the Garden. Say is at the height of his artistic achievement in this tale of a little boy named Jiro and the powerful impact that a story has on him. It opens with a retelling of a Japanese folk tale, The Crane Wife, with a heading telling readers that this is “the story that Mama read to Jiro.” A series of dreamlike paintings done in the Caldecott winner’s customarily precise and beautifully lit watercolors blurs the lines between reality and fantasy and as Jiro seems to enter the story that bonds him to his mother, only to awaken to his father’s voice telling him it is time to return home. This is a beautiful, moving, quietly mysterious read, ripe with possibilities for interpretation and contemplation.” http://www.achildrensplacebookstore.com/index.html More about the author/illustrator here: http://www.houghtonmifflinbooks.com/authors/allensay/bookshelf.shtml

26th Annual Scanfair”, Saturday, December 4 10AM-5PM with dancing 7PM-10PM , and Sunday, December 5, 10AM-4PM, Portland State University, Smith Memorial Center Ballroom, 3rd Floor, 1825 SW Broadway, Pdx. $6 adults, $5 seniors and students, children under 12 are free. “ScanFair is the only event in Portland where all the beautiful Scandinavian traditional and modern arts and crafts come together in one place for a two-day festival and marketplace. THE PIPPI LONGSTOCKING ROOM: Children have a special room where they can make traditional Scandinavian Christmas crafts, including Danish Hjerte or woven hearts and Swedish Julgranskaramel (poppers) to decorate the Christmas tree. SCANDINAVIAN FILM: One of the popular features of ScanFair is the video room. Sit for a few minutes or an afternoon and enjoy a Danish, Finnish, Icelandic, Swedish or Norwegian film. SCANDINAVIAN DELICACIES: Eat food on the spot or take baked goods home. Enjoy Danish aebleskiver (apple pancake balls), Norwegian lefse & krum kake, Swedish meatballs with lingonberries, pickled herring and flat bread, rice pudding and fruit soup, Vorm Korv (hot dogs) and lots of coffee. CULTURAL EXPLORATIONS: Purchase books, meet authors, research your family's roots with the Scandinavian Genealogical Society, check out Scandinavian language schools.” http://www.scanheritage.org/c-50-scanfair.aspx 

Celtic Harpist David Helfand”, Saturday, December 4, 2-3:30PM at Hillsboro Main Library. “Harpist David Helfand will perform accompanied by violinist Chad Marks-Fife.” http://www.davidhelfand.com/

Wreath Making Party at the Old Venersborg School House”, Sunday, December 5, 1PM-5PM, 24205 NE 209th St., Battle Ground, WA. Free. “Warm your hands at the antique - but very functional - wood stove. Enjoy time with friends and family while making your own wreath or swag. We'll have grapevine wreath and swag foundations, greenery,and some ribbons. We will show you how to make it! Supplies may be limited this year, all we have comes from donations, so if you can bring your own wreath foundation and wired ribbon, please do. If you have extra decorations to share, bring them along. If you don't have any, come anyway, we'll share what we have and everything is FREE. Many of us have old ornaments collecting dust. If you have any of these on hand, please bring them to share: Holiday decorations, ornaments, pine cones, lichen, moss, greenery, silk or dried flowers, seedpods, baskets with floral foam, anything decorative. Who knows how it will inspire someone's creativity! Many beautiful wreaths and swags were created last year. We're eager to see what yours comes out looking like. Free Door prizes too! Snacks, cocoa, teas, apple cider or treats to share are also welcome. Raffle tickets sold all afternoon. Through the event we'll keep drawing tickets for prizes during the party.” http://venersborg.blogspot.com/2010_11_01_archive.html#1137459366910417798

Terra Tempo: Ice Age Cataclysm! Book Launch Pizza Party!”, Sunday, December 5, 4-7PM, Mississippi Pizza, 3552 N. Mississippi Ave, PDX. “This is the first in a series of graphic novels based on real geological events. David Shapiro, Erica Melville and Christopher Herndon worked together to create this colorful 143-page graphic novel. Join in the adventure as Ari, Jenna and Caleb unlock the secret of time travel and journey back 15,000 years to witness the great Missoula Floods, the largest floods to have ever washed over the face of the earth. Experience the world of the not-so-distant past when giant mammoths and saber-toothed cats roamed the Pacific Northwest. Ride along with the kids as they tour the changing landscapes from the back of the mythic Thunderbird and work together to survive the dangers of the Ice Age Cataclysm! To view a sample from the book and interact with the map and characters visit www.missoulafloodstory.com. We have some great activities for the kids, the Atlantis Lounge for the adults and we’ll be showing off the NEW Terra Tempo Animated Trailer too! All the creators of the book will be there and are looking forward to meeting all the fans for book signing opportunities.
We are limited to the number of people who can attend this party so please RSVP before Dec. 3rd in order to secure your seats. Send your contact info, number of people in your group/family, and the ages of any children to contact@craigmorecreations.com. Hope to see you all there!” 

A Taste of Asia: Stories From The Far East”, Sunday, December 5, 2PM, Rockwood Library. “Travel to far off Asia and visit Japan, Korea, China and Singapore through stories told by professional teller Alton Chung. Experience these diverse lands through their folktales, stories and legends. Find out what happens when stories are stuffed into a small bag for too long, discover the magic in a pear tree, and experience the majesty of the great Dragon King of the Eastern Sea. These traditional and sometimes humorous tales are appropriate for children age 5 and up.” 

Liedertafel Harmonie”, Sunday, December 5, 12PM, Director Park, SW Park and SW 9th to the east and west, and SW Taylor and SW Yamhill to the south and north, Free, and also performing Sunday, December 12, 3:00pm – 5:30pm at Zion Lutheran Church, 1015 Southwest 18th Ave., Pdx, with Encore Brass, $7.00 adults, $5.00 students, children under 12 free, Traditional German Christmas treats and coffee after this concert. “Performance by the German Singing Society, a 60-member a capella choir that has been a tradition in Portland since 1923. A vital link in Portland's German community, keeping German culture alive through concerts, dances, picnics, singing at Oktoberfests, and much more.” http://www.germanamerican.org/lieder.htm

Book Release Party for ‘The Book of Maps’,” Sunday, December 5, 2-4PM, Central Library US Bank Room. “Come to the national release party for David Michael Slater's "The Book of Maps, Sacred Books Volume III." Join the author for a reading from the new book followed by a Q & A. Signed copies of all his works will be given away as prizes!” http://www.davidmichaelslater.com/

Scenes from American Operas”, Sunday, December 5, 1PM, in the Collins Gallery of the Central Library. “PSU Opera Workshop, which is part of the Portland State University's Voice/Choral Department, will prepare scenes from favorite American operas.” A free, family friendly way to introduce your child to opera. 

Hannukkah Celebration at Borders”, Sunday, December 5, 3PM, Borders Beaverton, 2605 SW Cedar Hills Blvd., Beaverton, OR, and Borders Vancouver, 811 S.E. 160th Avenue, Vancouver, WA., and Borders Tigard, 7227 SW Bridgeport Road, Tigard, OR, and Borders Gresham, 687 NW 12th Street, Gresham, OR. “Kids ages 3 to 8 are invited to celebrate Hannukkah with holiday stories, games, songs and more.” 

Lego Swap Meet”, Sunday, December 5, 10AM-3PM, Reniassance Ballroom Dance Studios, 610 McLoughlin Blvd., Oregon City, OR. $2 for adults and $1 for kids 5-12. “Meet other Lego collectors at our monthly swap meet. It is our goal to bring the Northwest Lego community together to buy, sell, trade, and consign Legos in a first class setting. This is a perfect opportunity to get new and pre-owned Legos in person, as they are becoming harder to find and Internet bidding wars are increasing. We started NW Lego Users Group to provide Lego fans a chance to find used Legos in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.” http://www.nwlug.com/

Professor Banjo”, Every Monday at 11am at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave.,, Pdx, $3 per person (not including babes in arms), and now Every Wednesday at the Warehouse Café, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave., Pdx., $5 suggested donation per person. “Kids and parents alike enjoy his unique brand of interactive old-time music.” Professor Banjo is fantastic! http://www.squaredancepaul.com/

DIY Wreath Making Workshop”, Monday, December 6th 2010 5 pm – 7 pm, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx, $15. “Here is a chance to learn together! We will source and provide all the materials: a wire wreath ring; wire; fir, holly and other seasonally available foliage; pine cones; and red satin ribbon. You bring your own ornaments, balls, or whatever other glittery fancy items you want to use (or share with others) from home. RSVP: Please RSVP to rebecca@portlandgreenparenting.com if you want to participate by Friday 12/3rd so we know how much material we need.” http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Mo Philips”, Every Tuesday at 10AM at Posie’s Café, 8208 N. Denver Avenue, Pdx., Every Thursday at Milagros Boutique, 5433 NE 30th Ave, Pdx., $3 per walking human. “Mo performs interactive shows that respect the intelligence of young people with wit and irreverence, without being being strictly scatological. This is music built for kids and parents alike! Mo does not dumb down lyrics or melodies for kids to "understand", and therefore sings about things whole families can appreciate. A fine, distilled blend of Americana, Soul and Blues, while not being afraid of a poppy hook or straight rockin' out.” http://www.mophillips.com/

Wooden Train Playtime”, Wednesday, December 8, 10AM at Gresham Library. “Children ages 2 and up (with a favorite adult) who enjoy trains can put together and run wooden trains in the library. This fun-filled program connects junior train fans with creative and imaginative play activities.” More wooden train track than you can shake a Y-connector at, and lots of happy children. Recommended. 

Mad Science- Fire and Ice”, Wednesday, December 8, 4PM at Kenton Library. Free tickets will be given out at 3:30PM. “The land of Fire and Ice is filled with dazzling demonstrations using fire, bubbling potions, and carbon dioxide gas frozen to 109°F below zero. Experience exciting, educational, high energy science magic! Come and see just how HOT & COOL science can be!” http://www.madscience.org/locations/portland/ 

Holiday Concert With Concert Violinist George Shiolas”, Wednesday, December 8, 6:30PM, Molalla Public Library Conference Room. “Get in the mood for the holidays. The library welcomes violinist George Shiolas for one show tonight. Free. Light refreshments will be served.” 

Build Your Own Geo Board”, Wednesday Dec 8th, 10:30-11:45, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. Ages 6 and up. $15. “In this basic building class we will use real tools, including hand
saws, small hammers and sandpaper. Come design and build your own geo-board. Paint and decorate it after-wards if you like and try out your design with rubber-bands. This class will emphasize motor control and teach some basic tool safety while letting kids design their own geometric toy to take home. The class is simple enough that children can build their project independently from start to finish. A fun class for all, especially those who love tools and shapes!” Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form. http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

Once There Was…” Friday, December 10, 10:30AM at Woodstock Library. Free tickets will be given out beginning at 10AM. “And so the stories begin! Join Anne-Louise, accompanied by her able assistant Prince Bob, as she spins tales and sings songs that will leave you exhilarated, joyful, and raring to go home and tell stories yourself! Add in guitar, ukulele, nose flute, accordion and yodeling and you will be part of a unique and unforgettable experience.”   http://www.anne-louise.com/wp/

The Nutcracker and the Rat King”, Friday, December 10, 7PM, and Saturday, December11, 2PM. Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW CAPITOL HWY, Pdx. Free. “This classic story by E.T.A. Hoffmann was adapted for the stage by MAC instructor Timothy Scarrott. The Studio Theatre Performance class, ages 8 - 16, will perform the original dramatic tale of a toy come to life who battles an evil rat king and leads a young girl to a magical kingdom populated by dolls. Performed in the MAC Auditorium.” 

Christmas in the Country at Philip Foster Farm”, Saturday, December 11 and Sunday, December 12, 11AM-4PM both days, 29912 SE Hwy. 211 Eagle Creek, OR. Admission $5.00 per person, $20.00 per family. “Come join us for a Victorian pioneer Christmas. Santa's in the parlor for pictures, hot cider in the kitchen, live music, Christmas trees, toys and books are for sale.” http://www.philipfosterfarm.com/index.html

The Reptile Man”, Saturday, December 11, 2:30PM at Hillsboro Main Library, and Tuesday, December 14, 7PM at Tigard Public Library Community Room. Come early for this show, which is very popular, and deservedly so. Kids will have a chance to see a truly amazing array of animals up close, and learn all about them. http://www.oregonreptileman.com/

Eric Kimmel Reads, ‘The Spider’s Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story”. Saturday, December 11, 2PM, at A Children’s Place Bookstore, 4807 NE Fremont Street, Pdx. “Eric Kimmel makes a special holiday appearance to present his latest work, The Spider’s Gift: A Ukrainian Christmas Story. While Christmas and spiders may seem an unlikely match, the charmingly retold text works well with painterly illustrations by Ukrainian native Katya Krenina (who collaborated with Kimmel on the award winning The Mysterious Guests: A Sukkot Story.) The opening line — “‘No Christmas?’” — will immediately grab kids’ attention; the rest of the story combines traditional elements with an unexpected miraculous gift from spiders nesting in the family’s Christmas tree. An unusual and appealing holiday fable presented with panache by perennial Portland penman Eric Kimmel.” http://www.achildrensplacebookstore.com/index.html More about the author here: http://ericakimmel.com/

Brazilian Guitar with Ronnie Robins”, Saturday, December 11, 2PM, Woodstock Library. “Guitarist Ronnie Robins performs spirited music fueled by bossa nova and samba rhythms.” http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/ronnierobins

Silver Falls Holiday Festival”, Saturday, December 11, and Sunday, December 12, 11AM-12PM. “Make a wreath, a gingerbread house, cards & ornaments. Learn how the park changes during the winter. Enjoy storytelling for kids and live music. Special appearances by JR Beaver and Santa. http://www.oregonstateparks.org/park_211.php?eventid=3345&md=event

Lone Fir Cemetery Guided Walking Tour”, Saturday, December 11, 10AM-12PM, entrance at SE 26th Street between Stark and Morrison Sts, Pdx. $10 suggested donation. “Come for an informal history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery in SE Portland. Friends of Lone Fir Cemetery conducts monthly tours, highlighting Portland’s founders, pioneers, its famous and infamous alike, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Come visit this hidden jewel! Explore 30 acres of mature trees, a very special rose garden and fascinating architecture in this unique place, the only cemetery in Portland listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Suitable for all ages. No advance registration required. Meet in the center of the cemetery, at the soldiers’ monument.” Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and a tour is a must for anyone learning about local history. http://www.friendsoflonefircemetery.org/events.html

Children's Norwegian American Christmas Party”, Saturday, December 11, 1:00PM-4:00PM, Norse Hall, 111 N.E. 11th Ave, Pdx. Free.
 Giant Christmas tree, holiday songs (in Norwegian and English) endless homemade Norwegian cookies and a visit with Julenisse (Santa) – it’s a perfect child’s Christmas at Norse Hall – magical for grown-ups, too! http://www.norsehall.org/events.htm

Posada Milagro”, Sunday, December 12, 1PM at El Centro Milagro, 525 S.E. Stark St., Pdx. “This community celebration filled with Latin American traditions reflects upon the journey of Mary and Joseph in their search for refuge and is day of fun for the whole family! The afternoon’s entertainment will also feature live music, dance presentations, arts and crafts workshops, bilingual storytelling for children under 5 years old, piñata- breaking for all ages and, of course, traditional pan dulce (sweet bread) and tamales! This year’s celebration will once again feature two Spanish-language performances with a unique recognition of the feast of the Virgen de Guadalupe (2 p.m. and 4 p.m.). Admission to the event is free, but performances are limited to ticket-holders only. Free tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at the theater beginning at 1 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 12. Guests are encouraged to bring donations of canned food for the Oregon Food Bank.” http://www.milagro.org/1-Performance-Presentacion/BellasArtes/posada.htm

Portland Origami Paper Shapers (POPS)”, Sunday, December 12, 2-4PM, Belmont Library. “Enjoy origami-paper folding for fun, relaxation and stretching your brain. Learn a new origami project each month with various local origami instructors. Adults and teens welcome, children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult.” 

Sally Harmon and Frank Gruner”, Monday, December 13, 12PM, Antionette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx. Free. “Gifted local pianist and composer Sally Harmon and talented bass player Frank Gruner return to Noontime Showcase in a special program of seasonal music. Enjoy holiday favorites as well as recent works destined to become classics. Sally and Frank’s intimate, organic sound is influenced by styles ranging from classical to jazz to pop. This is a delightful treat you shouldn’t miss. Appropriate for all ages.” Noontime Showcase is generally very popular, so it’s a good idea to get there early for seats. http://www.pcpa.com/

Gingerbread Houses”, Wednesday Dec 15th, 10:30-11:45, The Warehouse, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx. Ages 4-teen, “The holidays are here! Come decorate a gingerbread house (and garden/yard) with all kinds of tasty (and healthy) fixin's, including dried fruit, pretzels and nuts. The houses will be already assembled and ready to go, as the drying can take several hours. Kids will go home with their decorated house, as well as some dough to take home and continue the fun! Perhaps some gingerbread inhabitants for the house? 
(Please let me know of any nut allergies.)” Please email Rinehart.Becky@gmail.com for a registration form. http://portlandgreenparenting.com/index.php/events

A-WOL Dance Collective Presents: Imaginarium”, Friday, December 17, 7PM, and Saturday, December 18 at 2PM and 7PM, 2303 N Randolph St., Pdx. Adults, $15, students and seniors, $12, kids under 12 pay their age. “Join us for our holiday show: Imanginarium: Solstice. You’ll find the show delightful as you experience a whimsical world full of aerial dance, colorful costumes, music and more. Featuring the A-WOL AEROS.

The AEROS
The A-WOL Aeros pre-professional training program is for the serious dancer, age 14-20 who is interested in maturing their personal voice as an artist. It is intended to serve as a training ground for future professional endeavors. This is a competitive program and we accept dancers who work by their own initiative and aren’t afraid to learn something new!” http://www.awoldance.org/

The Mudeye Puppet Company and Professor Banjo Present a Solstice Party for Families!”, Saturday, December 18th 4pm-6PM, Taborspace Coffee House (SE 55th and Belmont), $8 for adults, $6 for kids. “As Solstice approaches it's a perfect time to get cozy and have some fun! Two engaging Portland performers team up to share a wonderful interactive evening with kids and families. There will be pre-show coloring sheets, a puppet performance by the Mudeye Puppet Company, and interactive music and dance by Professor Banjo followed by a “Meet and Greet” to see the Mudeye Puppets and Professor Banjo's instruments up close and personal. This all takes place in the comfy-cozy Taborspace community coffee house! Bruce Orr is the founder and director of The Mudeye Puppet Company and has been performing original puppet shows for 8 years. All his creations are made entirely out of reused materials. Paul Silveria performs for families as the banjo-slinging, old-time singing ‘Professor Banjo’ entertaining children with sing-a-longs, dancing games, and stories, all accompanied by lively old-time music that parents can enjoy too! Paul has been actively involved in Portland's thriving traditional music community since 2002.” Tickets at the door and online: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/138115

Fun Stories To Take Home And Tell”, Thursday, December 16, 4PM, Troutdale Library. “Have fun learning lively stories and story-games to share with friends and family. Master storyteller Anne Rutherford will lead this interactive workshop and performance that will give participants a taste of how fun it is to be a storyteller. This program is great for spicing up holiday gatherings of all ages!” Ms. Rutherford really knows how to inspire kids to create their own wild stories. Check her out! http://www.annerutherford.com/

Pearson Sisters Harp Recital”, Thursday, December 16 at 7:00 p.m, Oregon City Public Library. “Hear the sweet sounds of the Pearson Sisters as they play their heavenly harps. There's no better way to ease holiday stress!” 

The Toy Trains”, Saturday, December 18, 10:30AM, Central Library. Free tickets will be given out beginning at 10AM. “A rock band for children and adults. Hear the music of Dan Zanes coupled with covers by Tom Waits, The Beatles, Jack Johnson, Lisa Loeb, and REM. The band currently has 7 members and features: drums, stand-up bass, harmonica, accordion, violin, mandolin, banjo, and electric and acoustic guitars. It’s a great opportunity for your family to experience a wide variety of musical instruments, sounds and songs.” http://toytrainsband.com/

Joni Lawrence”, Saturday, December 18, 1PM at the US Bank room of the Central Library. “Overwhelmed by the hustle of the holiday season? Join singer-songwriter Joni Laurence for a brief respite as she performs songs of reflection and humor. ‘Laurence's melodies are instantly memorable, and her lyrics show a faith in reconciliation and resurrection. Her voice displays a range and depth with complexity.’ (Sauce Magazine)" http://www.jonilaurence.com/

Mini Pinatas”, Saturday, December 18, 3PM, at Troutdale Library. “Make an adorable mini-piñata with the guidance of our artist-in-residence, Laura Bradshaw. Learn about the origins and symbolism of this traditional craft. Presented in English and Spanish.” 

Christmas Ships and Bonfire”, Saturday, December 18, 4:30pm - 6:30pm, Jefferson Street Boat Ramp, Jefferson St. to the west of McLoughlin Blvd., Milwaukie, OR. “Come View The Christmas Ships around 5:30 p.m. Purchase Hot Cocoa, Coffee, Hot Dogs & Desserts from the Lewelling neighborhood association, Listen To the Dickens Carolers sing Holiday favorites, Warm By The Bonfire. Due to parking restraints, please park on the east side of McLoughlin and walk to the event.” This is a wonderful vantage point to watch the Christmas Ships. Plan on bringing a thermos of hot chocolate and snacks, to avoid the long lines at the vendor booths. http://www.ci.milwaukie.or.us/communityservices/christmas-ships-winter-solstice-bonfire

Full Moon Hike On The Winter Solstice”, Tuesday, December 21, 6PM, Whitaker Ponds Natural Area, $2 per person or $5 per family.. “Join a Portland Parks & Recreation Environmental Education naturalist for a full moon hike on the Winter Solstice! Discover the animals and birds whoooo are active after dark and what makes them so unique. Whooooo should come? Anyone interested in learning about nature at night! Family friendly (babies in backpacks okay & children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult). PARTICIPANTS MUST REGISTER PRIOR TO THE EVENT! Course #340951 Call 503.823.2525 to register.” http://www.portlandonline.com/parks/index.cfm?event_id=51650&cal=DisplayEvent&c=38307&modefrom=month&month=12&year=2010

Winter Whale Migration, December 26- January 1, at the Oregon Coast. Volunteers who are part of the “Whale Watching Spoken Here” program will be stationed at 26 prime whale watching sites along the coast from 10AM-1PM to greet visitors and tell you all about the whales and their epic migration. More info here: http://www.whalespoken.org/ During the winter migration, the whales may be present in great numbers, but the whales do not come particularly close to the shore. Consider checking out a boat tour for an up close view. I haven’t done this myself, but they look surprisingly affordable. 

Kwanzaa Celebration”, Tuesday, December 28, 5:30-7:30PM, North Portland Library. “Kwanzaa is an African American celebration centered around the seven principles, the Nguzo Saba. We are celebrating the third principle, Ujima: collective work and responsibility. During Kwanzaa, the community is encouraged to consider these principles and find ways to apply them throughout the new year. Come join the celebration!” 

All Ages Animanga”, Thursday, December 30, 4PM- 6PM, Tigard Public Library Community Room. “Bring your whole family to watch an anime film, sample some tasty Japanese treats, and enjoy making crafts and playing traditional Japanese New Year's games.” 

New Year’s Eve Sock Hop”, Friday, December 31, 11:30AM-12:30PM, Fairview-Columbia Library. “Grab your dancing buddies, dress to impress, and head over to the library! We'll have great music, games, refreshments, lots of dancing plus a New Year's Eve countdown at noon! Fun outfits and party dress encouraged. For children 6 years and younger with adult.”