Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Jackson Bottom Wetlands

This time of year, when the cold and damp are still lingering, but warm, sunny days are so close you can just about taste them, I get really impatient. Our homeschool group is sooo ready for a park day. But if you can't beat the cold and damp, sometimes you have to join it! Jasper and I headed to Jackson Bottom Wetlands Preserve. Their nature center is an outstanding place to visit, and they have a marvelous collection of bird's nests including a bald eagle nest that is truly impressive! They also have several displays, beloved by children, where you can push a button next to a picture of a bird to hear its song. I love browsing their gift shop because they have a great collection of nature guides for this region. We took a muddy walk to see what we could see. We saw many wildflowers, including purple trilliums, adder's tongues or trout lilies, Oregon tall grape (the state flower), and some lovely flowering trees whose name I do not know.  http://www.jacksonbottom.org/index.php/

Monday, March 29, 2010

"Increasing Number of Parents Opting To Have Children School-Homed"

I just love this article in The Onion.  Favorite quote:  "It's really a matter of who has more experience in dealing with my child," Cincinnati- resident Kevin Dufrense said of his decision to have his 10-year-old son Jake, who suffers from ADHD and dyslexia, school-homed. "These teachers are dealing with upwards of 40 students in their classrooms at a time, so obviously they know a lot more about children than someone like me, who only has one son and doesn't know where he is half the time anyway."  http://www.theonion.com/articles/increasing-number-of-parents-opting-to-have-childr,17159/

Friday, March 26, 2010

Creature Feature

Our homeschool group went to see Steve Lattanzi's "Creature Feature" today. I love it when my son is able to learn about something from a person who is really passionate about it, and reptiles are Steve's life. Here he is telling the kids how his gecko uses its positive charge to stick to negatively charged objects, something NASA is researching. Steve himself is a really positively charged kinda guy! He had many amazing critters to show the kids. The library was packed, but he was really excited about making sure each child had a chance to pet two snakes and a crocodile. He obviously wants kids to learn to respect animals and not to fear them, and he's got an amazing presentation. I don't believe he's got a website, but can be reached for booking purposes at 503-901-1798. Here's another picture of Mr. Lattanzi, with Hannah the hooded cobra, and a picture of Jasper reaching out to pet a beautiful milk snake.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dragon Theater Puppets

We went to the Dragon Theater Puppets show today, and it was the best rootin' tootin' puppet show we ever did see!  After seeing at least a dozen different puppets,  each with their own silly voices, in about a dozen different sets, tell a wild and woolly tale of piracy on the high seas, we were thrilled.   When the puppeteer, Mr. Jason Ropp,  came out a the end of the show and had a question and answer session, we were amazed. First of all I found it hard to believe it was just one person behind it all.  He'd made all the puppets, sets, and props himself totally from scratch, and did all the voices.   He explained not only how he made the puppets but even demonstrated how he did all the voices! He showed the kids how, throughout the show,  the audience was squirted with a squirt gun whenever there was fierce water battle (for instance when the crazy French shark was chasing someone).  Also the pirate ship had cannons that fired menacingly (with the aid of hidden turkey basters full of baby powder).  It was quite an amazing show, full of humor and warmth.  He obviously loves children and really connects with their funny bones.  The show had a huge age range appeal.  And his question and answer session changed it from being just entertainment to being really inspirational, especially for older kids with a do-it-yourself streak.  His next local appearance that I know of is at the West Linn library next month, 4/27 at 6:30PM.  A must see!  http://www.dragontheater.com/  Here's another picture of the boy hero meeting up with an eccentric pair of pirate hunters and their parrot.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Mad Science!

Mad Science came to the Oregon City Library today for a show on the properties of gas.  I don't think I've ever seen such an entertaining science demonstration before!  Jasper and I both learned a lot.  Many complex concepts were explained in very simple terms and demonstrated, rather dramatically, right before our eyes.  To explain how our bodies can handle what sounds like tremendous amount of atmospheric pressure, he had a child crush a Dixie cup.  Then he placed about a dozen Dixie cups under a thin wooden circle, and had first one child, then two, then himself stand on it without crushing any.  The kids were astounded.  He explained that the pressure on the Dixie cups was being spread out, just like atmospheric pressure is spread out over our bodies.  There were many cool demonstrations,  using fire and small explosions to good effect. For the finale he used a leaf blower to unroll toilet paper all over the children's section.  The crowd went wild!  They offer programs at their own facility and they will travel.  Check them out at http://www.madscience.org/locations/portland/

Good Cents Optical

Just in case this tip helps someone out...  Did you ever hear the old saying, "Cheap, fast, or good quality...pick any two.  Cheap and fast, it won't be quality.  Fast and good quality, it won't be cheap..."  You get the idea.  Good Cents Optical turns out to be a small miracle of a place.  They have excellent quality glasses, at astonishingly low prices.  But fast, they're not.  You may have to wait three or four weeks for your glasses.  That's really the only catch.  I found them almost by accident when my husband remarked that he needed new glasses, and one of my contacts inexplicably cracked.  So we went to an eye doctor and got prescriptions.  Now what?  He needed progressive lenses, and they advised the lenses and frames would likely run about $275, of which insurance was going to pay precious little.  I got my contacts, but felt sad once again that insurance will never pay for both contacts and a backup pair of glasses at the same time, and my glasses were 9 years old.  We heard about this place in downtown Hillsboro, and decided we had little to lose by checking them out.  I was particular about my frames, and my glasses were $41 (they start at $28).  My husband got some classic, unfussy frames and his progressive lenses for $95.  And we did have to wait for them, which was much better than not being able to get them at all!  They struck us as really good guys.  They do not take appointments and are only open 10-6 on Saturdays at 230 E. Main St. in Hillsboro, and their number is 503-430-8825.  They only do eye exams and glasses, and if you leave them a message they will return it on a Saturday.  There's an article about them here. 

**UPDATE**  I heard from one of the owners, who says they now have a website http://www.goodcentsoptical.com/  And he adds some good news:  "We are getting ready for a big move, to the front of the building where the bodybuilding supplement place was. People may actually be able to find us! :) And, we will be open from 10-5, Tuesday through Saturday. We are excitied to say the least. Thank you for your support as our advertising consists only of happy people telling others. -Charlie"

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Random Notes From The OHEN Convention

Here are some random notes I took at the Oregon Home Education Network Convention.

"The average length of time that a child is homeschooled is 3 years". When the keynote speaker made this statement, it caused an audible gasp from the audience. There are probably almost as many reasons to homeschool as there are homeschoolers, and as many reasons to stop.  I wonder if the deterioration of public school funding will cause a big rise in the number of homeschoolers. 

The libraries offer lots of cool services of which I was unaware. I have cards for Clackamas, Multmomah, and Washington counties, because I can. If you have one, the other library systems will let you have theirs. Both Clackamas and Multnumah Counties offer special "Educator" cards which will enable you to get higher limits on the number of materials you can check out at one time, or, often more importantly, how many items you can put on hold. Multnumah County requires a Letter of Acknowledgment from your ESD (obtainable when your child is 7) and Clackamas County will simply take your word for it. I've been very frustrated with Multnomah County's 15 item hold limit, which I'm unable to do anything about with a 5 year old child, but Washington County is the place to go if you have a research project that needs lots of materials. They have a 50 item hold limit and a 100 item check out limit which is open to everyone with a regular card.

Try this: go to Multnomah County's online catalog, type in "Bucket of books", and see what you will get! Today I see 45 results, which are each a bin full of books on the same study subject, relevant for a particular age range, with a teacher's guide. They are not stored in any library, they are in a central storage location. If you request one, you can check it out as if it were one item. Multnumah county has a homeschool liason, a delightful woman named Karen McElravy, who can be reached at 503-988-5540 or karenmm@multcolib.org.  If your local reference librarian doesn't connect you with the resources you need, you can call on her superpowers.

Clackamas County has specialized encyclopedia sets, which are available in full sets for check out. An example would be a set on American history. That sounds mighty useful to me!

Ledding Library in Milwaukie has homeschool programs for kids 5 and up. They do them for three months in the fall and spring, on the first and third Thursdays at 1:30PM, on a variety of topics. This is what's going on now: "Homeschoolers Make Music: Thursdays at 1:30pm, April 1 and 15. Homeschoolers make musical instruments from around the world." http://www.milwaukie.lib.or.us/kids1.htm

The Oregon Coast Aquarium has Marine Science Kits which are amazing trunks full of wonderful stuff to help young kids learn.  The  trunks each cover one of four topics: sharks, whales, rocky shore invertebrates, or seals, sea lions and sea otters.  "Each kit includes books, videos, touchable items such as real shark jaws and whale tooth models, plush animal models and a booklet of information and activities for the K-5 classroom.  Kits are available from select Educational Service Districts (ESD's) throughout the state.  Schools served by the following ESD's can check out a loan kit at no charge:  Lane Education Service District, Malheur Education Service District, North West Regional Education Service District, South Coast Education Service District, Southern Oregon Education Service District, Douglas Education Service District, Multnomah Education Service District, Lincoln County (through the Oregon Coast Aquarium)."  They explained that homeschool parents can contact their ESD and ask to borrow the kits for 2 week loans.  You should expect it to be free, to reserve it as far in advance as possible, and to pick up and drop off the kit yourself.   http://www.aquarium.org/edTeacherResources.asp?sid=4

One of my workshops was taught by a Rita Petherbridge, who is a language therapist.  She explained that she was a homeschool mom who was at the end of her rope when she found her 11 year old daughter unable to learn to read.  Heartbreakingly, she was trying to brainstorm what kind of occupations might be open to an illiterate person, when she met an Orton Gillingham teacher by chance who urged her to investigate this method of teaching reading.  She found it was more economical to take the teacher training herself than to pay for tutoring for her daughter.  Three years later her severely dyslexic daughter was taking college level courses.  Bravo!  And Ms. Petherbridge herself is working for the  Blosser Center, a nonprofit that provides tutoring http://www.theblossercenter.org/home/  and she also recommended  Language Skills Therapy, Inc. http://www.languageskillstherapy.org/.  She says that if reading is difficult for a child using phonics and literature based methods, methods that are successful for dyslexic children are likely to be very helpful, whether the problem is dyslexia or not.

Ms. Petherbridge urged homeschoolers to be careful about a child who is significantly below grade level with reading, because in these uncertain economic times, families can find themselves suddenly unable to homeschool.  She has seen personally too many cases of children who are singled out and made fun of in classrooms, by their classmates and often by the teachers themselves who are ill informed about learning disabilities and frustrated when confronted with them.  This can be devastating to the child.  I can attest to this, because my mother is currently tutoring someone who is learning to read as an adult.  Her student describes their illiteracy as their "deepest, darkest shame". 

Ms. Petherbridge mentioned that in her extensive experience that signs of trouble include being slow to name the word that corresponds with an object or picture, not being able to answer correctly, for example, if asked to say "cat" without the "tttt" sound,  and being unable to play rhyming games.  But mostly she gave us lots of tips and tons of resources for learning more.  I have noticed that most phonics based reading programs start with three letter words, with short vowels, and this is a method that has stood the test of time.  She says that when demonstrating to kids how to sound out words, that it's good to show them how to take their right hands and raise a finger for each sound, (a finger for "C", a finger for "A", and a finger for "T"), or to touch first their left wrist, then their left elbow, then their left shoulder for each sound.  She said teaching cursive is often helpful, because it can become confusing for kids to end one letter and begin another instead of making the letters blend together as the sounds do.  She praised tactile methods like spelling with fridge magnets or writing in sand, and she suggested asking kids to write on white boards and then wipe the letters off by tracing them again with a cloth, so that they would be making the shape of the letter twice.  And she loves the idea of using songs to teach math concepts like times tables.  There are CDs out there, or you can make them up.  

The convention itself was wonderful, and I have nothing but good things to say about the organizers.  They knocked themselves out to make it worthwhile.  I personally had some complaints about some of the folks leading the workshops.  Those who didn't bother to show up at all, forcing the organizers to cancel workshops at the last minute, deserve a big raspberry!  Also I have never appreciated it when vendors lead workshops and don't make it clear that the workshop is a sales pitch for their particular product.  I have no issue with those who make it clear that they are offering the workshop to share what their product has to offer.  But when it is described as being about a parenting topic or a particular educational method, that's not fair.  This convention is definitely something worth supporting. I'm really glad I went!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hindi Nature

I keep looking for practical vocabulary to teach Jasper so that we can use it often. With the beautiful weather we have been having lately, I decided to teach Jasper some Hindi words for things we might look for on a nature walk. He really loves this idea, but is trying to go over more words each day than he can really absorb. I'm so pleased with his enthusiasm!

Monday, March 15, 2010


I was thrilled that I was finally able to get a picture of one of our visiting hummingbirds!  They have been our daily companions for some time now, and have completely charmed Jasper.  Not everyone knows that Anna's hummingbirds live in Portland all year long.  The males are especially dazzling, with   iridescent hot pink patches.  It is very easy and inexpensive to bring hummingbirds into your family's life.  It takes a while for them to find your feeder, but if you are patient and keep the syrup fresh, they will become fervently loyal.  Hummingbirds are very territorial, and we gave watched them many times fiercely defending the feeder against invaders.   Then, after a few weeks or months, someone new moves in.  They are quite brave for their size.  When Portland had its winter cold snap last year, they really appreciated the feeder, and would dive at us nearly every time we left the house because they felt we were getting too close! We found our library has many wonderful books for children, both fiction and nonfiction, describing these amazing birds.  They are the only birds that can hover and fly backward. The Backyard Bird Shop has all kinds of information on their website about Anna's hummingbirds and how to make them happy. Here's one:  http://backyardbirdshop.com/index.php/site/article/keep_these_facts_in_mind_when_feeding_hummingbirds/

Persian New Year at PSU

I have tracked down a local celebration of the Persian New Year, being held on Saturday evening, March 27 from 7:30 to 11:30PM at PSU's Smith Building Ballroom.  The program includes "the traditional anthems, disco and rhythmic music, new year gifts for children, perso-american dance contest, raffle drawing, & pastry fruit, tea, and soft drinks."  There is a suggested donation of $5 per person.  http://persia.pdx.edu/Nawruz_2010_Flyer.pdf  It was originally a Zoroastrian holiday but it has become secularized, and is celebrated by Farsi people of many lands.  It's a wonderful celebration.  More information about how spring is welcomed according to this tradition can be found here http://www.art-arena.com/tradition.htm and an educator's guide to sharing the holiday with children can be found here http://cmes.hmdc.harvard.edu/files/NowruzCurriculumText.pdf .  Coloring eggs and sprouting wheat are among the traditional kid's activities. If you are incorporating world religious studies into your homeschooling, or just enjoy reading about philosophy and theology, Zoroastrianism is a world religion you might want to include.  It impacted Judaism and Christianity in thought provoking ways and contributes many unique ideas,  particularly concerning theodicy (in a nutshell- the study of why bad things happen to good people).  An interesting article about their unique perspective can be found here http://www.vohuman.org/Article/Zarathushtrian%20Theodicy.htm

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Happy Birthday Jasper!

My little one is 5 today! I can hardly believe it. Some time in the next year or so, he'll be a third of the way to when he's likely to be all grown up and leaving home. Watching him grow is the very best thing that ever happened to us.

Google appears to be having a problem with video uploads that they do not show a thumbnail image and instead the square is black. But all is well when you press play. This is a video of Jasper blowing out his candles.


Rick Meyers' Old Time Music Show

We went to see Rick Meyers at the Hillsboro Library today.  He's a local musician who performs with many instruments that would have been familiar to the pioneers.  I found his CD at the library a few days ago, and while the music is certainly very good, it did not at all prepare me for how fantastic he was in person.  He thoroughly captivated the children (as well as all the adults present).  This is his website but he unfortunately does not have his 2010 show dates updated at present:  http://www.rickmeyersmusic.com/index.html I highly recommend seeing him if you get the chance.  I'll share two brief videos with you, one of him playing the "limberjack", a percussion instrument that looks just like a little guy dancing, and another of him playing "On Top Of Spaghetti" on the saw!



Friday, March 12, 2010

My First Etsy Sale!

I'm so excited that I finally made my first Etsy sale!  It was a Spirited Squid, which is a huge favorite of mine.  The picture is another I have for sale with the same design.  I really hope the child who receives it will enjoy it!  I made one for Jasper several years ago that he wore to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, and he got lots of compliments.  Of course, it was the kind of crowd that appreciates sea creatures.  Sea creatures are cool!

Portland Police Museum

Today my homeschool group visited the Portland Police Museum.  It's a really interesting small museum which is totally free.  Did you know that the Portland Police Department was the first in the nation to have a woman police officer?  I didn't!  I didn't even know that our current police chief is a woman.  There are all kinds of wonderful artifacts on display, including archaic technology your child might never have seen like a telephone switch board, manual typewriters used for police reports, and a real ball and chain, as well as a real holding cell you can walk into, police uniforms children are welcome to try on, and  this splendid motorcycle and sidecar they are invited to climb on.  The Portland Police Museum is one of only a handful in the country, and they are housed in a downtown building which is also the Portland Police headquarters, and the Multnomah County Jail.  The very kind man staffing the museum explained that they are not affiliated with either agency.  Every visitor over 18 is required to provide a photo ID to security, who will give you a pass for the 16th floor where the museum is located.  There is plenty to engage children big and small, and questions are welcomed.  http://www.portlandpolicemuseum.com/

Thursday, March 11, 2010

More Upcoming Events this Weekend!

Maher's Pub in Lake Oswego will be having a family friendly St. Patrick's Day Festival Friday March 12, Sat. 13th, Sun. 14th, and Wednesday the 17th.  Admission is free before 7PM and Saturday and Sunday are special family days with "Portland Jugglers, Irish wolfhounds, a Lego Building Contest, Free Irish Dance lessons,  face painting, Irish Cheese Tasting (Sat 2-4),  & Wine Tasting". And that's in addition to live music and Irish food, of course.  Check it out http://www.maherspub.com/index.html .

Your child may not learn much about Nordic culture at this event, but this sounds like so much fun I thought I'd list it.  The Nordic House in NE PDX is having an all you can eat Viking Pancake Breakfast on Sunday, March 14. "What better way to start the day than with a plate of delicious, all-you-can pancakes? Our popular breakfast also includes sides of eggs, sausages, fresh fruit, applesauce, orange juice, tea and bottomless coffee - all served up with Norwegian charm from 8:30 am to 1:00pm Adults: $6. Children 5-12: $3 (under 5: free). Children's Nordic story time in the library from 10-11am. "  http://www.norsehall.org/events.htm 

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Signs of Spring

As the weather has been warming, we have been delighted to spend more and more time outside!  This is a picture of Jasper climbing a tree at Tryon Creek State Park.  They will be having their annual Trillium Festival on April 10 & 11 http://www.tryonfriends.org/trillium-festival.html but the trilliums are already beginning to bloom.

Speaking of amazing urban parks, we visited the Audubon Society of Portland's Sanctuary for the first time yesterday.  It's absolutely gorgeous!  I was very surprised to see how well maintained the trails are, and there is a wooden pavilion and many wooden bridges and boardwalks to keep you out of the mud.  Many of the trees and wildflowers are identified.  And it's such a joy to have a place you can take even a very short walk and really experience nature with your children.  The Wildlife Care Center has some outdoor aviaries where you can see a raven and a vulture, both of which imprinted on humans at a young age and are now unable to feed themselves in the wild, but otherwise seem to be perfectly healthy birds.  They are both large birds and really impressive to see up close!  It will be exciting when my son is old enough to enjoy the stealth that is required to go on one of their many guided birding expeditions.  http://audubonportland.org/

Hindi Varnamala

No matter how crooked and awkward, don't we all want to save our child's first writing?  So here is Jasper's first writing in Hindi!  My letters (in blue chalk) are also pretty awkward.  We are now slowly teaching him the alphabet, or varnamala, at his insistence.   We are naturally using alphabetical order, so we started with the first vowel.  But he also insisted on learning the first consonant because he thinks it looks beautiful.  (And since we need a consonant to teach dependent vowels, which come next,  it worked out well.)  We have Hindi fridge magnets we got here.  They are coming in handy!  (They  have lots and lots of resources for teaching many other languages as well).  The fridge magnets are also available here and this website is oriented towards Indian languages. *Update:  I found yet another source for Hindi magnets because they placed a Google ad on my blog:  Discoverbee toys, http://www.discoverbee.org/wp/products-page/toy-category/hindi-learning-varnamala-magnet-set/  I have no direct experience with these, but they look good.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Zenger Farm

We had a field trip today to Zenger Farm in SE Portland. Zenger Farm was once a family farm, and is now publicly owned land; a farm with an educational mission.  There are chickens, bees, a worm bin, composting, and lots of large scale gardening projects going on there.  It is a resource to learn about any of these activities.  You might suspect that there wouldn't be much to show us this time of year, but there was!  In addition to seeing the creatures, we saw baby carrots just beginning to grow in their greenhouse, and the kids got to sample collard greens, leeks, purple broccoli, and turnips straight from the field.  The children got to swing on rope and tire swings.  There are also wetlands on the property, and they took the time to show us something amazing in the water- a frog egg sac!

Volcanoes Change the World and So Can You!

Yes, that's the actual title of this event, an evening with Bill Nye, the Science Guy!  I have to admit, I have never seen Bill Nye.  We're not exactly tv enthusiasts.  But this I gotta see.  Here's the description:  "March 11, 2010, 7:00 pm, First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park, Portland.  Join the Mount St. Helens Institute and Bill Nye the Science Guy as he makes science discovery fun!  Bill will share his thoughts on Mount St. Helens 30 years after the catastrophic 1980 eruption and will connect the scientific discoveries made at Mount St. Helens to Mars and other places around the solar system.  Expect some fun and entertaining experiments as well as a spirited question and answer session.  In advance, tickets at $15.00 for adults, $5.00 for students (under 5 is free).  Tickets at the door will be $25.00 for adults and $10.00 for students."  You can purchase tickets here: http://billnyethescienceguy.eventbrite.com/ The Mt. St. Helens Institute is sponsoring this event.  They have all kinds of interesting classes and climbs going on there this summer. http://mshinstitute.org/

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Body Parts in Hindi

Last week I redid my Hindi charts I've been using for learning vocabulary with my family.  I decided to ditch the Greco-Roman alphabet!  I thought using both alphablets would make it easier to give Jasper new vocabulary smoothly.  But in fact it was just helping me to maintain lousy pronunciation.  (Hindi transliterates rather haphazardly into Greco-Roman, if you ask me.) And when the charts suddenly appeared in Devanagari, it had an unexpected result.  Jasper immediately decided he needs to learn the new alphabet!  For those of you who are struggling to explain the sometimes tenuous connection between English spelling and pronunciation, Devanagari is a joy!  It's a completely phonetic alphabet.  Imagine, a one to one correspondence between sounds and letters.  
We are building on our colors and numbers, and now we are learning body parts.  The chart is really just for my reference.  Jasper watches while I say each word while pointing to its  meaning (eyes, ears, arms, etc.).  Then I say a word (eyes) and ask him to show it to me (by pointing to his eyes).  The goal is to learn to associate the word directly with its meaning, with no English involved.  He has learned body parts remarkably quickly.  I'm guessing this is because it's tactile and kinetic learning, instead of mainly visual. 
I wondered how it would work out for us to learn something together, every day, that wasn't  originally his idea.  He quickly decided he loves our games, and he enjoys practicing vocabulary all the time (he'll yell out a Hindi color from the back seat when a car of that color whizzes by).  We're both having lots of fun and we're both learning.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Glamorous Goldfish

Just in time for spring!  I just added some vivid new shirts to my Etsy store with goldfish frolicking on them.  (See them here.)When Jasper was just tiny, I made him a goldfish shirt that he really loved.  It reminded me of warm, sunny days.  Of course, he wore it so often,  chocolate milk and mud stains forced me to bleach it and redye it several times and become well versed in the motherly lore of stain removal!

Here's a picture of Jasper in his goldfish shirt on just such a warm, sunny day.

March Events

This is a loooong list this month.  I know no one is going to want to read this twice!  So get out your calendar right now and pencil in anything that sounds good!  There are three major events this month- the vernal equinox (March 20), St. Patrick's Day (March 17), and Nowruz, the Persian New Year (March 20).  I did uncover events for the first two, but suspect there may be more.  And as for Nowruz, I believe there will be at least two family friendly observances, but the organizers have yet to release details.  So I will be posting more later!

Multnomah County Libraries will be having a special tribute to Dr. Seuss in March (his birthday is March 2).  "Horton-The magical words of Dr. Seuss will come to life through Emily Alexander of Tears of Joy Theatre. Emily gives voice and body to Horton, the elephant who was faithful 100 percent, and that good for nothing bird, runaway Mazie. This story also includes an inventive circus with monkeys and a tightrope walker."  This is a short program, but it sounds really spectacular, so look for it at a library near you!
Tuesday, March 2, 7–7:30 p.m. Fairview-Columbia Library
Wednesday, March 3, 12:15–12:45 p.m. Rockwood Library
Saturday, March 6, 2–2:30 p.m.Central Library, U.S. Bank Room
Tuesday, March 16, 3:30–4 p.m. and 4:30–5 p.m. Woodstock Library. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.
Wednesday, March 17, 4–4:30 p.m.Hillsdale Library. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.
Tuesday, March 23, 4–4:30 p.m. Midland Library. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.
Wednesday, March 24, 11–11:30 a.m.Gresham Library
Saturday, March 27, noon–12:30 p.m. Gregory Heights Library

The Garden Home Community Library in SW will celebrate on March 2. "Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Tuesday, March 2nd @ 11am in Room 10. Celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday with stories, activities and CAKE! Feel free to dress like your favorite Dr. Seuss character (but please, no live elephants!) All Ages welcome!"

Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood is doing a fun program in March called Puddle Stompers.  Here's their description: Wednesdays, March 3rd, 17th & 31st, 10:00am-11:30am  Do you have a little one who enjoys being outdoors? Wondering what you can do outside for some rainy day fun? Bring your pre-kindergarten naturalists to the Refuge to stomp in puddles and appreciate the wet weather that makes western Oregon so green! Bring your raingear, rubber boots, and be prepared to get wet and wild. Please register with Jenna Mendenhall (503) 625-5944 x222. This program is free. Limited space available. http://www.fws.gov/tualatinriver/specialevents.html

This is a grownup event, but it seemed so useful for homeschoolers I thought I'd include it.  Friday March 5 at 7PM at the Hillsboro Main Library, local author James Davis will be giving a talk.  His books include "The Northwest Nature Guide:  Where to Go and What to See Month by Month in Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia" and "Wild In The City: A Guide to Portland's Natural Areas".  Even if you can't make it, these are great books to know about.

Every Saturday in March from 2-3PM, a member of the Oregon Symphony will be at the Tigard 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."  In April, they will be at Holgate Library in SE and in May at the Hillsboro Main Library. http://www.orsymphony.org/edu/storytimes.aspx

Saturday March 6 at 2:00PM at the Ledding Library is a concert of Japanese koto music by Mitsuki Dazai.  "The standard koto is a thirteen-stringed zither with a moveable bridge under each string. It was introduced to Japan from China and Korea in the 7th century. Today, the koto has developed as a solo instrument with a wide repertoire and varied playing techniques. Ms. Dazai’s musical background is both diverse as a performer and innovator, playing koto music in different styles. Her performances often incorporate western pop and improvisational elements."

Saturday evening, March 6  from 4-7PM, Tryon Creek State Park is having an Owl Fest.  "Portland is teeming with owl activity in the springtime months. If you love owls, come out to Tryon Creek State Natural Area for an evening of owl celebration. Activities for the entire family including owl pellet dissection, book reading and signing by local authors, snacks, guided hikes and up close encounters with the Audubon education owls - Hazel and Julio. Appropriate for all ages. Advance registration not required but guided hikes are on a first come, first served basis. Sign up when you check in."http://www.tryonfriends.org/

I was so surprised to find orchids are common wildflowers here in Oregon.  Orchids are fascinating, and it's easy to see how they have earned a devoted following.  Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7 is the Oregon Orchid Show and Sale, being held at the Lloyd Center Doubletree, 1000 Multnomah Blvd.  Admission is $7 and there is a $2 off coupon on their website.  http://www.oregonorchidsociety.org/2010_show.php

Also Saturday March 6 and Sunday March 7 is the annual SE Area Art Walk. This event is free to the public- just download the map athttp://snackword.netfirms.com/seportlandartwalk.com/default.htm .
Many of the artists will be opening their studios to the public, so if your child would be interested in meeting working artists and seeing how art is made, this is a marvelous opportunity.

On Tuesday, March 9 from 7-8PM at the Tigard Public Library, ZOMBA! -Alberta Rider's Marimba Ensemble will be performing.  "Back by popular demand, students from Alberta Rider Elementary will once again share their talent and passion for rhythm.  Music will include folk songs form the U.S.A. to Zimbabwe."

Friday, March 12- Wed. March 17 St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated in style at Kells Restaurant.  There will be pipers, dancers, livemusic galore and of course Irish food.  On Saturday and Sunday, kids and family events are free all day.  Lots of details on their website http://www.kellsirish.com/portland/festival.html

On Saturday, March 13 is the Urban Iditarod, a bunch of wackos pretending to be husky dogs pulling shopping cart sleds through the streets of Portland.  "In the Alaskan Iditarod, more than sixty dog sled teams race across the frozen tundra from Anchorage to Nome. In our urban version, teams of ‘dogs’ lead by a musher will pull their sleds (shopping carts) through some of Portland’s most scenic areas. These teams of barking humans must negotiate through the unrelenting and unforgiving dangers of Portland’s urban frontier."  Doesn't that sound like fun to watch?  The website says spectator information will be available on their website the day before.  http://www.keepportlandweird.org/urbaniditarod/page2.html

March 13 is also the grand opening of the new Kenton library in North Portland!  (It's first day open will actually be March 8, but you have to wait a few days for the festivities). "Jazz and coffee, 10 a.m.–noon Sip coffee from Posies Café while listening to guitarist Anson Wright and bassist Tim Gilson in the lounge. Dedication ceremony, 2 p.m. Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke, Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler, Multnomah County Commissioner Jeff Cogen, Hennebery Eddy Architects' David Wark and Kenton Neighborhood Association President Angela Moos will speak. Cupcakes and lemonade, 2:30 p.m. Provided by Posies Café.  Dr. Seuss celebration, 2:30 p.m. & 3:15 p.m. A bilingual performance of One Fish, Two Fish and a special retelling of The Lorax.  Truffula trees craft, 4–5 p.m. Twist chenille stems, beads, and colorful wire to create your own silly tree. Cat in the Hat character greeting, 4–5 p.m. Say a special hello to everyone’s favorite Dr. Seuss character."

On Saturday, March 13 10-11AM the Mudeye Puppet Company of North Portland will be in St. John's performing Jooblejumblejam! an all ages puppet show.  At Cafe Under the Bridge, in Cathedral Park Place (the old Columbia Sportswear Building), $5 adults, $3 kids, 6635 N Baltimore Ave. Portland, OR 97203 http://www.mudeyepuppets.org/

Murphy's Furniture in Cornelius is sponsoring a St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday, March 13.  The parade starts at 11AM and is followed by a corned beef and cabbage meal.

Also March 13, at 2:30PM at the Hillsboro Main Library, will be the Rick Meyer's Music Show.  He will be playing "Pioneer music" on the saw, limberjack, banjo, spoons, noseflute, washboard and ukelele. This show is intended for kids 5 -12.

Saturday evening, March 13 the Portland Storyteller's Guild is having a special event, "Tales about Tails, a night of story’s and songs appropriate for the whole family staring: Sam Butler, Ruth Ann Holman, Terry Jordan and Penny Walter." (Penny is the puppeteer of "Penny's Puppets".)  Suggested donation - $5/adult $10/family Kennedy School Community Room, 5736 NE 33rd Ave. PDX.

If you are marking your calendar right now, don't forget this: On Sunday, March 14, 2010 at 2 a.m., Daylight Saving Time begins in the United States.

Sunday, March 14 is Tryon Creek State Park's excellent Kids in Nature program, and the topic is Busy Beavers.  10:00 - 11:30am "Join us for a fun morning exploring the lives of beavers living in Tryon Creek. We’ll learn about their special adaptation, build a dam, and take a walk to see look for beaver activity in the creek. For children ages 4 – 7 accompanied by an adult.  Cost: $10/child Pre-registration
required. Phone (503.636.4398)" http://www.tryonfriends.org/

Sunday, March 14 2-3PM at the Central Library downtown is a classical Indian music concert.  Possibly a chance to share some totally new sounds with your child!  "The Swaranjali Academy of Indian Music will perform different forms of north Indian classical music, including sargam, lakshangeet, tarana and dhrupad. Come listen to a beautiful blend of voices, sitar and tabla. In the Collins Gallery."

McMenamins will also be having family friendly festivities early in the evening of St. Patrick's Day at several of their locations.  One of the most promising is the Kennedy School in NE, which will be having a bagpiper, and Irish singer, and Irish dancers all at 5:30, free for all ages.  More details can be found on their website http://www.mcmenamins.com/

Also, the All-Ireland Cultural Society will have a big shindig on the 17th.  "69th annual St. Patrick’s Day FestivalWednesday, March 17, 2010, 4-9pm, Ambridge Event Center, 376 NE Clackamas Street, Portland, OR  $10, $5 students 12-20, free 11 & under with paying adult The All-Ireland Cultural Society of Oregon presents their 69th Annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Enjoy continuous entertainment by local Irish dance schools, céilí dancers, bagpipe music and traditional music by one of Portland’s Premier Irish Ceili Bands from when doors open at 4 p.m. until closing at 9:00 p.m.
Schedule of Activities and Performers:
4:00   Doors Open
4:30 - 7:00 Children’s Activity Area, Face Painting
4:45   Grand Opening with the TVF&R Pipe and Drums Band
5:30   Tír Eoghain Céilí Entertainers
6:00 - 7:00 Parrots-4-Show, live parrot show
6:30   Irish Traditional Band with Mikey Beglan, Dave Cory & Danny O’Hanlon
8:15   Molly Malone Irish Dancers
A corned beef and cabbage dinner is served from 4 to 7:30 and tickets may be purchased at the door.   Cold sandwiches, snacks, and drinks are also available."http://www.oregonirishclub.org/stpatricksdayfestival.html

Thursday, March 18, 2-2:45 PM at the Gresham Library, is a special family program "Living History-The Portland Rose Festival Foundation presents an award-winning living history program featuring visits by Georgiana Pittock and Mayor Harry Lane! Learn more about the City of Roses through an interactive presentation."

Friday March 19- Sun March 21 is a Gem Faire at Washington County Fairgrounds.  Gems and minerals will be on display and for sale. Admission is $5 for a weekend pass, and kids under 12 are free. Combine it with a trip to the nearby Rice NW Museum of Rocks and Minerals!   http://www.gemfaire.com/index.php

Saturday, March 20 is opening day for the big Portland Farmer's Market at PSU!  This is one of the earliest to open.

Saturday, March 20 is also the OHEN convention.  http://www.ohen.org/convention

Saturday, March 20th the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood is having a wildflower identification class.  Unlike a birding expedition, the wildflowers can't run away from wild kids! "What's Growing?---Guided Plant Walk Saturday, March 20th, 9:00am-11:00am  Join Refuge Volunteer Botanist, Ginny Maffitt for spring and summer plant walks. Discover what’s blooming and how native plants are vital to healthy wildlife habitats. Be prepared to be outside. We encourage you to bring cameras, plant identification guides if you have them, and nature journals if you like. Binoculars
are always handy for those “watchable wildlife” moments. Meet at Wildlife Center. For more information call Sarah at 503-625-5944 x 234."

Beginning Monday, March 22, Oregon City Public Library will be hosting a series of great activities in honor of spring break. Mon, March 22 - 1:00 pm - Mad Science presents "Up Up and Away" "Let our Mad Scientist teach you about the many uses of that much misunderstood state of matter, gas.  Enjoy a Mad Science magic trick and get ready to be dazzled by a series of experiments that feature the awesome power of gas: Air, hot air, air pressure, moving air, smoke and suction are all up for demonstration.  Come and let science 'float your boat!' " 
Tue, March 23 - 1:00 pm - Storyteller Will Hornyak http://www.willhornyak.com/
Wed, March 24 - 1:00 pm - Penny's Puppets presents "The Princess and the Peanut" (Penny is very good, particularly for younger kids).
Fri, March 26 - 1:00 pm - Steve Lattanzi presents "Creature Feature" (He has a traveling reptile show!)

Monday, March 22 at 12PM is the Portland Center for the Performing Arts' Noontime Showcase, a free, family friendly, monthly event.  This month the Portland Opera will be presenting "Building Blocks" an opera for kids.  Shows are in the lobby of the Antionette Hatfield Hall at 1111 SW Broadway downtown.  Seating is on a first-come, first-served basis.

The Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge in Sherwood is having special kid activities Tuesday-Friday, March 23rd-26th, 1:00pm-3:00pm "Spring Break Exploration Days---Touch, See, Smell, Ask Questions, Explore.  Need a Spring Break adventure?  Come discover the natural wonders of wildlife of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. This family-oriented event will feature hands-on nature activities for kids. Activities are free.  Meet at the Wildlife Center.  For more information call  Jenna at 503-625-5944 x 222."

Tuesday, March 23, 5-5:45PM at the brand new Kenton Library, "Music in Action!/¡Música en acción! A freewheeling fiesta of songs, creative movement, comedy and audience participation led by the  irrepressible (and bilingual) Rich Glauber.  Using guitar, accordion and his joyful personality, he turns every show into a community celebration."

Wednesday, March 24 at 2pm at the Ledding Library in Milwaukie:  Dragon Theater Puppets Presents "The Pirate & His Pet".  "A heroic boy named Joey is on a quest to find his parents, having lost his belongings to one banker's greedy ways. On his journey he meets swash buckling pirates, a courageous mermaid and a timid sea serpent. This brave boy will not settle until his parents are found."  http://www.dragontheater.com/default.htm

On Wednesday, March 24 at 11AM the Tualatin Public Library will have storyteller Rick Huddle.  "Hailing from a long line of teachers and Southern preachers (and a very short line of one clown), Rick has storytelling in his blood. For the last 10 years, he has been sharing his love of storytelling with children and adults at schools, libraries, festivals, and coffee shops all over the country. With exuberance, and sometimes a guitar sing-a-long, Rick tells humorous and inspiring stories about princesses who slay dragons, monsters that play kickball, and cows that dance. Occasionally, he will even tell a story that lets him sit down."

March 25- April 25 is a Tulip Festival at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, Or. This looks really beautiful. http://www.woodenshoe.com/springshow.html

Saturday, March 27, Rose City Astronomers and OMSI will be hosting Star Parties at Rooster Rock and Stub Stewart State Parks to celebrate the vernal equinox,  from dusk until 11:30PM.  "From beginners to experts of all ages, here's your opportunity to view the stars and other celestial objects up close and personal through telescopes. Viewing highlights may include planets, deep sky objects, and more. Sometimes we can even view the International Space Station passing overhead. There is no formal registration for the event itself, just show up and enjoy the evening. You don't even need a telescope to participate; other members are enthusiastic to share their views. This is a good opportunity for beginners to get acquainted."  Please note that these state parks require day use passes for parking.  Call (503) 797-4610 #2 after 3PM on the night of the Star Party to confirm it's still on- it's obviously dependent on clear skies.  More info here:  http://www.rca-omsi.org/sp/index.htm

There will be magic on Wednesday, March 31, 4-4:45PM at the Hillsdale Library. "Magician Bob Eaton performs amazing, magical feats. Expect to participate!"

Please note that April is "The Month of the Young Child"  and Multnomah County Libraries have a lot of special free programs geared towards toddlers, some of which begin in March. (I won't be listing them here, since this list is really geared towards kids a little older.)  Check them out here: http://www.multcolib.org/events/youngchild.html