Thursday, April 29, 2010

May Fun

I am dedicating this monthy event list to my dear friend Deepali.  She graciously allowed me to reconstruct this list on her home computer, relying mostly on memory,  when my own computer died a dismal death one day before I needed to post it. (Do you have a friend like that, who helps you out when you're in trouble?  Well, please stop reading this right now and let them know how wonderful they are!) Given the obstacles, this list is not going to be as complete, as proofreaad, or as nicely formatted as usual, unfortunately, but I'm doing my best!  I will be posting updates as frequently as I can.  As usual, please double check the details of any event you'd like to attend as mistakes can happen!

Marquam Bridge Peregrine Watch, every Saturday in May 1PM-3PM. "Come see the fastest bird on the planet nesting and raising young right in the middle of downtown Portland. Peregrine falcons have nested on the Marquam Bridge since 2007. The Springwater Trail which runs between OMSI and the River is a great place to watch the falcons go through their annual nesting cycle. In fact, it is possible to look directly into their nest and see the young as they grow. Audubon naturalists will be out at this site on Saturday afternoons throughout the spring to show you the falcons and explain about their nesting behaviors and their amazing recovery from the brink of extinction. We will have spotting scopes, binoculars and information on the falcons. Stop by anytime between 1-3 pm and stay as long as you like. Park at OMSI and walk west to the river. The Peregrine Watch observation point will be apparent."

From May 1 to May 5, 2010, Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association (PGSCA) will present the twenty-sixth annual Cinco de Mayo Fiesta, at Tom McCall Waterfront Park.  Admission is Adults: $6.00 13 and older, Child: $3.00 6 years to 12 years, Children under 6 years old FREE, Seniors 62 and Older: $4:00, Carnival Ride Ticket Information: $.75 cents each ticket (Rides take more than 1 ticket). There will be a special ballet performance May 1st, 2nd, and 5th at 2:00 PM and 7:00 PM.  "El Grupo Folklorico de Guadalajara con Mariachi will be performing several times daily at the cinco de mayo Fiesta at Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park. This group of approximately forty young dancers in traditional dress, singers and musicians will share the authentic culture of Mexico through regional dances, songs, and the music of the lively Mariachi band. Their regional dances and music reflect three thousand years of indigenous Spanish and Afro-American influences."


A secular, all day singing event on May 1!  "Join Portland Sacred Harp at the historic Lincoln Street Church (SE 52nd Ave & Lincoln St.) on Saturday, May 1, 2010 from 9:30am to 3:00pm to sing all day and partake of a glorious potluck lunch at Noon. (Bring a dish to share, if you are able.) This is a free event (donations accepted) and is open to all. No experience necessary ... really!  Sacred Harp shape note singing is a community musical & social activity, emphasizing participation, not performance. Everyone is invited to come and sing (or just listen), regardless of musical experience or ability. We sing six or seven times a month in four-part, unaccompanied (a capella) harmony from an early American songbook called The Sacred Harp, which has been continuously in print and in use since 1844. It's old... It's spirited... It's hauntingly beautiful... And it's loud! Come sing for yourself!"

OMSI starts their annual 8 week  IMAX film festival on May 4.  IMAX movies may be a good way to introduce a young one to the movie theatre.  They have short run times, all stadium seating, and really engaging content.  Check out the complete lineup at

This is just too unique not to list- "Handkerchiefs: The Artful Little Squares History" Garden Home Recreation Center, 7475 SW Oleson Rd, Portland, Tuesday, May 04, 6:30 PM to 8:00 PM.  "The handkerchief, though small, is a textile rich in history, in needlework techniques, in graphic design. It features prominently in literature and daily life, providing livelihood to innumberable individuals from flax, coton and silkworm growers, to spinners and weavers, to lace-makers and embroiderers, to salesmen and salesgirls of the erstwhile handkerchief counters of the once glamorous departments stores. Collector Terese Blanding will show off her collection of more than 1,000 handkerchiefs and their stories, as well as explore the wide-ranging adventures of this versatile artifact from Shakespeare's "Othello" in which a demure, strawberry-embroidered hanky leads to murder to Louise Erdrich's short story "The Painted Drum" in which the discovery of a stash of handkerchiefs evokes an unexpected reaction. The presentation includes an amazing visual display of Blanding's collection from 3-inch squares to a 36-inch square, featuring both types from the old adage "some are for show and some are for blow".  Not to be missed!"

Nature after Hours: Birds and Babies at Tryon Creek State Park (This isn't specifically a kid's event, but it's too cool not to include!)  Friday, May 07 2010, 5:30pm - 7:30pm Join the Friends of Tryon Creek for our quarterly TGIF event. Hidden all over the park are nests filled with baby birds. Our local naturalists have scouted out the secret locations and will share some of their discoveries with you. Learn about how the nests are hidden, and the special behaviors birds use to avoid detection. A real insiders look at what is happening in the park. Complimentary beverages and appetizers will be served. This is a free event but donations are appreciated.

Bubble Painting, Saturday, May 8, 2010 2-3:30 p.m. at Albina Library, Saturday, May 15, 2010 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at Sellwood-Moreland Library, Tuesday, May 18, 2010 4-5:30 p.m. at  Midland Library, and Saturday, May 29, 2010 1-2 p.m. at St. Johns Library. "Bubble, sprinkle, splatter! Learn strange new painting techniques to create your own underwater pictures with artist Addie Boswell. Draw with water-soluble crayons and pencils and try blowing bubbles, rolling marbles, and shaking salt for different effects. These washable experiments are perfect for ages 4-8. "

Underwater Creatures in Origami, Saturday, May 8, 2010 2-3 p.m. Central Library,  and Saturday, May 22, 2010 3-4 p.m. at Kenton Library. "Instructor Yuki Martin will teach you how to make various kinds of fish, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, clams, seahorses, whales, or sharks. Add a paper clip to your folded creatures and catch them with a fishing pole made from a chopstick and magnet."

Celebrate Spring with Birds at the Hillsboro Main Library, Saturday, May 08, 2010, 2:30 PM to 3:30 PM "Eat like a bird using your beak, see nests and eggs close up, touch feathers and bones and learn about bird habitats and behaviors. Experts from the Jackson Bottom Wetlands will provide plenty of information and hands on fun. After the program, everyone's invited to go on a bird tour of the library's back yard".

Festival of the Birds  May 08, 2010 from 09:00 am to 03:00 pm
Join Audubon Society of Portland, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the City of Portland for a Celebration of Migratory Birds at Sellwood Park, just south of Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge.  "Join U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the City of Portland and Portland Audubon for a Celebration of Migratory Birds. Oaks Bottom and other natural areas in Portland are important to migrating birds for nesting, wintering, resting and re-fueling. Come and see birds hailing from as far away as Argentina in Oaks Bottom Wildlife Refuge, the City of Portland’s first designated Migratory Bird Park. This is a free festival for the whole family to celebrate International Migratory Bird Day. No registration is required (except for the early bird walk).
Early Bird Walk at 7:30am, registration required. Call Portland Parks at 503-823-2525 or on line at using class number #317309.
Guided Bird Walks on the ½ hour from 9 am – 2 pm. Compare this year’s sightings with bird appearances in earlier years.
Family Activities, make bird feeders for your mother’s garden, run as fast as birds fly in Bird Olympics, create bird pictures using forms from NW Native American art, send a bird postcard to schools along the Pacific Flyway, or choose from a myriad of other activities.
Storytelling and Live Music by local storytellers and musicians. Come hear songs and stories about migratory birds in the Portland area.
Education Birds from Audubon Society of Portland’s Wildlife Care Center. See up close a Peregrine Falcon, Great Horned Owl, Northern Spotted Owl, American Kestrel, Turkey Vulture and Common Raven.
Our Partners. Visit with local partners of the Migratory Bird Treaty Program and learn about other locations to visit and enjoy birds.
Mother’s Day at Tryon Creek State Park, Sunday, May 09 2010, 2:00pm - 4:00pm "Bring your mother to the park for the opportunity to take a guided wild flower walk. We will also be decorating pots with reused materials for starting seeds to help us eat locally and seasonally.  Free event, no pre-registration necessary."

Mother’s Day Wildflower and Birding Festival at Silver Falls State Park, Saturday and Sunday May 8 and 9, 2010, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm.,  South Falls Lodge and surrounding day use area. Learn about the many native wildflowers that call Silver Falls home, and about the many birds that stop at Silver Falls during their migrations. Participate in hands-on displays and activities, birding & plant walks, photography hikes, and presentations. View plant displays and take home your own native plants during our plant sales. Co-sponsored by Friends of Silver Falls and Silver Falls State Park. $5.00 per vehicle day use parking fee, otherwise there is no charge. For more information, call 503-873-8735 or 503-873-8681 ext. 21.

The Boogie Woogie Puppet Show with Penny's Puppets, Tuesday, May 11, 2010 3-4 p.m. at Northwest Library, and Thursday, May 13, 2010 11-11:45 a.m. at Gresham Library.  "Get ready to stomp, sing and dance like you have ants in your pants. The puppets are putting on a rocking, sing-along dance party for your pleasure and they want you to join the fun. Fun for everyone with Penny’s Puppet Productions!"

The Lucky Teakettle, Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:30-11 a.m.,at  Hollywood Library, and Thursday, May 20, 2010 11-11:30 a.m. at Fairview-Columbia Library. "Imagine that you are taking a walk through the woods and you come upon a poor little badger caught in a trap. You take pity on him and set him free. The little badger is so grateful that he turns himself into a beautiful teakettle just for you. What possibilities unfold. This lucky teakettle becomes the star of a circus where a wondrous teakettle magically dances with parasols and even walks a tightrope!"  Using a dynamic combination of puppetry and storytelling, Tears of Joy Theatre’s master puppeteer Brian Keith will perform a new version of this old tale from Japan. He will also invite children from the audience to join him in the performance of Momotaro, the Peach Boy. Brian joined Tears of Joy Theatre in 2001, and has toured extensively with several productions including Little One-Inch, Coyote Tales, Toad Prince and The Reluctant Dragon. Brian is also the theatre’s Technical Director. Space at this program is limited. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.

11th ANNUAL UFO FESTIVAL Friday, May 14 and  Saturday, May 15, 2010 "UFO Speakers · Costume Parade · Live Music · Kids’ Fun and more!  McMENAMINS HOTEL OREGON McMinnville, OR On Friday evening, our presenter is James Clarkson, a military policeman and Washington police/criminal investigator now known as the "UFO Cop." In 1987, he began using his investigative skills/experience to study the UFO phenomenon and advocate for fellow officers. Clarkson is also the director for MUFON in Washington. His UFO Festival presentation will be about June Crain, an employee at Wright Patterson Air Force Base who handled some of the pieces from Roswell and had heard of at least three other UFO crash retrievals. Hear how her story collaborates the UFO cover-ups by the government (Learn more at The Crain story has also been featured on the SyFy Channel's "The Secret." On Saturday evening, we will feature Colin Andrews, a preeminent crop circles expert and recent expat from the UK to the United States. Andrews was an advisor for Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher's cabinet on the largest crop circle surveillance project, codenamed "Operation Blackbird." See Andrews' website at On Saturday morning, we are thrilled to welcome Travis Walton, a UFO witness and abductee on whom the book and Hollywood film “Fire in the Sky” was based.  In addition to the serious side of this festival, we will also present the annual costume parade, live music, food and drink specials, handcrafted Alienator Ale on tap, a gift shop for t-shirts, books, videos and more. And don't forget the Alien Costume Ball at Hotel Oregon, a night full of great tunes, dress-up contests and conga lines that continues to grow every year. Free! No registration required; simply show up."

On Saturday, May 15 10-6PM there will be a free Beltane Festival in Lloyd Knox Park in Springfield, Oregon, and the public is invited to bring a picnic lunch and enjoy the festivities.  There will be a Maypole, Ritual, Music, Workshops, and Readings.  More info here

Migratory Songbird Festival , Saturday, May 15th, 10:00am-2:30pm, "Come to Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge at 19255 SW Pacific Hwy in Sherwood. All ages are invited, rain or shine, for a day of outdoor activities, guided nature walks, live bird education show, native plant sale, hands-on educational crafts for kids, exhibits, presentations, entertainment, food, fun and more. The event and parking are free."

Saturday, May 15 from dusk to 11:30PM at Stub Stewart State Park and Rooster Rock State Park is a Star Party, and the focus this time is on the planets. "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. Come and observe your favorite objects and spend a wonderful evening with friends, and friends you haven't met yet." If you are planning to go, be sure to call 503-797-4610 #2 after 3PM on the day of the Star Party to make sure they've determined that the skies are clear enough for this event to happen.

It’s a Blast: Volcano Science in Your Backyard, May 15, 2010, at the Johnston Ridge Observatory at Mt. St. Helens.  "Exploring a volcano is easy when you’re accompanied by world-class researchers, teachers and experts on volcanic and biologic processes. All ages will enjoy a full day of hands-on exploration, science discoveries, guided hikes, a kids’ science area, food and lots of fun. The day begins at 10:00 am. Tickets are $10.00 per person (kids under 5 free). Tickets will be available at the door but to ensure your space, register online."

Fabulous Fables! Puppet Show at Hillsboro Main Library, Saturday, May 15, 11:00 AM to 11:45 AM "To celebrate National Children's Book Week, Steven Engelfried's Pink Pig Puppet Theater will present Fabulous Fables with two classic fables from Aesop told with animal puppets and plenty of silliness. Come to see what happens in "The Lion and the Mouse" and "The Tortoise and the Hare." Suggested for ages 4 through 10".  Steven Engelfried is a children's librarian of note, serving on the Newbery Awards Committe.

Paper Workshop at Tigard Public Library - Puett Room. Saturday, May 15, 2010 1:30 PM to 2:30, Ages 5 and up. "Ever wonder how to make paper? Here's your chance to learn. Use recycled paper products, craft materials and your imagination to design your own unique sheet of writing paper."

Presto the Magician, Beaverton City Library Meeting Rooms A & B, Saturday, May 15, 2010, 11:00 AM to 11:45.  "We're celebrating Children's Book Week with a special performer, Presto, and his magic show. The whole family is welcome to watch this funny and amazing show. No registration required."  Presto has lively, funny tricks and a great rapport with kids.  A winner!

What Makes a Bird a Bird? Monday, May 17, 2010 3:30 PM to 4:30 PM, Hillsboro Main Library.  "We'll take a close look at feathers, bones, eggs, and nests to learn more about birds and how they are able to live in so many different habitats. Then we'll go for a bird walk outside using binoculars for an up-close look at these amazing creatures. Registration is required. Grades 1 through 3"

NW Children's Theatre Kid's Co. Presents "Wonderful PlacesTualatin Public Library Tuesday, May 18, 7:00 "You're on vacation, at the beach's raining! What to do? Bookworms Bo and Calvin will take you on a musical trip to Far-A-Way Places, with songs like London is London, April in Paris, a bevy of melodies about New York and of course....Oklahoma? Fasten those imaginary seatbelts for a very funny and tuneful holiday with the local theatre troupe, Kid's Company NW. Kid's Co. is an advanced performance workshop that teaches professional skills, flexibility, and self-confidence. These talented performers take musical reviews to festivals, events, retirement homes, schools, and more. It's an important arts training ground for intermediate and advanced students, an opportunity to work closely with theater professionals, and a very special ensemble that provides a close-knit, supportive peer group for cast members. Performers range in age from eight to fourteen years. Four performing troupes are selected each season, two for the holidays and two for the spring. Formed in 1993, NWCT is a healthy nonprofit and one of the largest children's theatre companies on the west coast." 

Painted turtle walks Saturday, May 22, 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm. "Oregon's turtles are rare, shy and hard to find but Smith and Bybee Wetlands Natural Area is home to one of the largest populations of Western painted turtles in Oregon. See these beautiful reptiles with the help of Metro naturalist James Davis, who will have small telescopes for a close look. Learn about the natural history of painted turtles and why they are so rare. Suitable for adults and children age 5 and older. Meet in the parking area on North Marine Drive. Free. Advance registration required; call 503-797-1650 option 2. Hosted by Metro"  Or register online at

Lock Fest 2010 "A family-friendly history festival, celebrating the 2010 reopening of our 137-year-old Willamette Falls Navigation Canal and Locks and the 95th year of Corps of Engineers stewardship and operations of the canal. Willamette Falls Locks Park, Mill Street, West Linn, Oregon  Saturday, May 15, Breakfast at 7 a.m. Booths open 9 to 4 p.m. Parking: Willamette Drive and Mill Street, West Linn, overflow lot at West Linn High School, two blocks away, and a free Lock Fest bus shuttle that runs from 8 to 6 between Historic Willamette district and Lock Fest. Come and enjoy our local heritage displays and demonstrations; sign up for a mill and power plant tour; watch the flotilla; and share in fun activities for all ages. The festival is free, with a requested $1 donation per person to support this year's event.
***Register early at the PGE Tours Booth for a chance to see how high-quality coated papers are made at our historic West Linn Paper Company Mill and how power has been generated at the T.W. Sullivan Hydropower plant on Willamette Falls since 1895.***Tours begin promptly each hour, beginning at 9 a.m., with the last tour leaving at 3 p.m. Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. If you are not at the booth 15 minutes before the hour of your assigned tour your place on the tour will have to be forfeited if others are present and ready to go. We will have a waiting list in case of no-shows.
The Tour Booth is a green canopy at the south end of the Locks Park. Sign up for a free tour, guided by WLPC and PGE managers, during which you will see an operating paper machine, see historic turbines in action and get a glimpse of Willamette Falls from the mill's private island.

There will be a Pioneer Family Festival in Oregon City May 14-16, with a trolley running to the West Linn Lockfest on Saturday.  This is what they have to say about their history area: "May 14th, 2p.m.-10p.m., May 15th, 11a.m.-10p.m., May 16th, 11a.m.-7p.m. If history is your thing then don't miss the History Area at the Pioneer Family Festival. In the History Area you will find Living History Interpretors displaying historical artifacts and reproductions. These interpretors will educate visitors on the history of Oregon, Clackamas County, The Oregon Trail, Oregon City and the Civil War."  More information here:

Kids in Nature: Bees and Bugs at Tryon Creek State Park, Sunday, May 16 2010, 10:00am - 11:30am "Bees and other insects are import pollinators. Join us to explore the ways bees and bugs help our flowers grow. We will learn the bee dance, make pollinator pockets, and explore the forest for bees and bugs at work." For children ages 4 – 7 accompanied by an adult, Cost: $10/child (non-member) $8.50/child (member). Pre-registration required, which can be done online here:

May 17 Norway celebrates its independence from Sweden, and the Sons of Norway have some special festivities planned this month at Norse Hall, 111 N.E. 11th, Portland, OR 97232.  From their website: "MAY 9, SUNDAY – MOTHER’S DAY PANCAKE BREAKFAST Bergen Waterfront Banquet Hall 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. $6 Adults, $3 Children 5-12, No charge for children under 5. This is our very popular monthly Viking Breakfast with a special treat and program for mom. All moms may start their breakfast with a Mimosa and at both 9:30 and 11:30 we’ll present a short Bunad Fashion Show accompanied by Norwegian music. Models will parade through the dining room while you enjoy our all-you-can-eat pancakes, served with sides of link sausages, scrambled eggs, fruit compote, orange juice and bottomless coffee and tea. Join us and make this a very memorable day for mom.
MAY 15 & 16 –NORDIC ARTS & CRAFTS FAIR. Lodge Room 1-5 p.m Sunday & 4-9pm Monday, no charge. Local artists/artisans of all things Norwegian & Nordic will have booths and demonstrations of both fine arts and traditional/contemporary crafts. One of the highlights of this 2-day arts and crafts fair will be “Bunad Village”, a display of materials used in the construction of bunads and ancient costuming, everything from fabrics to jewelry. Experts in the history and making of bunads will be on hand. You may even find the inspiration to make your own!. We’ll even have a special area where lodge members will be invited to share their own family memorabilia. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce your friends and neighbors to the richness of Norwegian culture.
MAY 17, MONDAY – SYTTENDE MAI 2010 – NORWEGIAN INDEPENDENCE DAY Doors open at 4 p.m. Parade starts at 6 p.m. No Charge Our month of festivities culminates with the traditional all-lodge parade from Norse Hall through the Lloyd District and back. The Benson High School Band will lead this grand flag parade, with nationally-costumed lodge members, classic/antique autos and fjord horses behind. This patriotic, colorful extravaganza has been sponsored by Grieg Lodge for generations and is for all the community to enjoy. Before the parade traditional Norwegian foods and beverages will be available to purchase. At 7 p.m. Portland Mayor Sam Adams will be on hand to personally read a proclamation from his office, followed by a “Lapskaus Cabaret,” a lively stew of Norwegian theater, music, comedy and dance. Performing in our cabaret will be local Norwegians with traditional and specially commissioned pieces, including: acclaimed choreographer Lane Hunter; award-winning playwright William S. Gregory; noted actor and former host of OPB’s radio morning newscast Gray Eubank; and choreographer and multi-disciplined performing artist Virginia Belt. We’ll conclude the evening with the installation of a time capsule."  More info here

Does your little one love motorcycles? Thunder in The Garden 2nd Annual Motorcycle Show will take place at the Oregon Garden in Silverton on Saturday May 22nd, 2010 - 10am - 4pm.  The show is included with the price of admission, free for members, $10 non-members, $9 seniors, $8 students, kids under 7 are free.

This is a program for adults, but it sounds really excellent for homeschooling parents.  Sunday, May 23, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm, at Oxbow Regional Park, $8. Connecting our children to the wild. "If you are a parent, mentor or teacher who understands how important a vibrant connection to the natural world is for the healthy development of young people, join Metro naturalist Dan Daly for this important and lively conversation. As school, work, consumer culture and the disappearance of wild areas continue to draw children's time and attention away from the natural world, spring is a great time to learn and remember how to bring nature alive in families, neighborhoods and schools once again. This program shares both resources and techniques that outdoor-oriented adults can draw from in order to support the young people they care about by unfolding the adventure of a lifetime. Childcare for children age 5 and older is available free of charge during the program. This class held at Oxbow Regional Park. Registration and a fee of $8 per person required in advance. There is a $5 per vehicle entry fee payable at the park. To register, call 503-797-1650 option 42. Hosted by Metro."  You can register online at

The fabulous Portland Rose Festival starts May 28. There are far too many details to list here.  Check their website  And also remember that it's a great time to visit one of Portland's amazing rose gardens!

Ladybugology at Tigard Public Library - Puett Room Saturday, May 29, 2010 1:30 PM to 2:30 PM Suggested for Ages 5 and up. "Learn about our hardworking, cute backyard buddies. Enjoy some spotty activities and create a ladybug lodge to house your very own beetle buddy."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Reasons to Celebrate

I am having a small celebration tonight- my blog has just reached 2000 page impressions!  Yippee!  Thank you!

This evening, my homeschool group ventured out to see Dragon Theater Puppets in "Home Grown Heroes".  Here you can see the evil supervillain the "Bad Idea" (with the ominous lightbulb head) attempting to cast the Rocket Hamster into the Hamster Wheel of Doom, so he can harness the energy to power an evil idea stealing ray gun.  In the end, does a heroine come from out of the blue to save the day?  YES!  So we all have reason to celebrate! 
We are big fans of Dragon Theater Puppets.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Oregon AgFest

The Oregon AgFest was a delight!  They had an incubator where baby chicks were hatching right before our eyes, and some chicks that hatched yesterday were out for the kids to touch.  

Another unexpected delight was meeting Mr. Seely and his son Warren, of Seely Family Farm.  The family grows 450 acres of mint, and distill peppermint oil.  And Warren makes working models of their farm equipment out of Legos.  The models are to scale and very beautiful.  And they aren't simply toys.  Warren, who is 17, is the family member who knows how each piece of equipment works and can make complicated repairs, and the models help him grasp how each part works together.  Homeschooling has given him the chance to pursue his interests.  I found a fascinating article about the family farm here (which made me realize I have to get myself some of their peppermint oil because it sounds astonishingly useful)  as well as two articles about Warren and his Lego models here and here.
This was definitely Jasper's favorite part of the AgFest and made the whole trip worthwhile.  I found meeting Warren and his father to be really inspirational.  

And then there was Bunnyzilla, as Jasper named this startlingly large rabbit!  I don't know how much of it was fur, but it appeared to be about six times the size of the other bunnies.  Jasper just couldn't believe his eyes.  He wanted to bring it home to see if it would terrify the cats.
I was excited to find the Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation, which has a lot to offer.  Here's their website If you click on "SAI Lesson Plans" there are some agriculture related science lesson plans for kids K-12, and if you click on "Activities" there are some really cool science projects.  

The Oregon AgFest is always the last weekend in April, in Salem at the State Fairgrounds.

Friday, April 23, 2010

More Events This Weekend

The City of Gresham is having a special free Earth Day celebration this Saturday, April 24,  10AM- 2PM at Gresham City Hall, 1333 NW Eastman Parkway.  In addition to a recycling event for city residents, the festivities will include "booths featuring recycled art, native plants, earth-friendly practices such as local outdoor recreation opportunities, birding, hiking, healthy living options, products that don’t harm the environment and more. Ride a bike to the event and park it in the secure Bicycle Valet Parking area; prize raffle for people who take alternative transportation. The City Hall MAX stop is at the event’s doorstep."  Event highlights:

  • Mad Science show “What do you Know About H2O?” 10:30 a.m.
  • Mudeye Puppet Company show “Deepsy Diver” 11 a.m.
  • African dance, drumming and song with Chata Addy, noon to 1:30 p.m.
  • Significant Tree Walk, noon to 2 p.m.
  • GREAT Businesses “Pledge to be GREAT” 2 p.m.
  • Burgerville Nomad restaurant on wheels
  • Coffee’s On espresso and drinks
  • Bike and skateboard helmet sale, $5
  • Native plant giveaway and sale
  • Compost bin sale, $35
  • Recycled art sale
  • Used Crayon collection and sale
  • Used children’s books collection
  • Free children’s arts and crafts
  • Bird house building 

There will be a free Earth Day Family Fun Fair Saturday, April 24, 12:00PM-5PM, on the grounds of the Unitarian Universalist Community Church of Washington County, 22785 NW Birch St, Hillsboro.  "The fair will include a native plant sale, children's craft activities, informational booths on gardening, community supported agriculture farms, a regional cannery, a raffle and a free garden seedling for each child.  Maypole dance starts at 12:30 led by the church's pagan group, followed by music from the Cat House Band.  Master Recyclers will be onsite to accept hard to recycle items that don't go in curb recycle bins-  computers and accessories, printers, miscellaneous electronics, tvs, cell phones, batteries, flourescent bulbs, clean white block styrophoam, and old child car seats.  A panel discussion begins at 2PM on 'Growing and Thriving: Local Food Success Stories'.  Guest speakers include a community supported agriculture farmer, the owner of a fruit and vegetable cannery, and a regional food market produce buyer."  More information here:

If your child is old enough to enjoy a good ghost story, they might get a kick out of this! The Mount Hood Ghost Conference is taking place this weekend, beginning Friday evening with ghost stories,  and continuing Saturday and Sunday, at the Mt. Hood Village Resort, Welches, OR.   "The paranormal, history, folklore, and science blends together in this very unique Spring conference that is suitable for the entire family.  This is the only gathering of this sort reportedly known to take place on Mount Hood, and this should prove to be an educational and entertaining experience.  This conference features speakers on the paranormal, and investigations about a variety of sites said to be haunted, including the Shanghai Tunnels.  The conference will also focus on the use of sensitives or psychics in investigations, ghost hunting on the cheap, and what EVPs (Electronic Voice Phenomena) reveal.  Updates will be provided on Cascade Geographic Society's 'Project Ghost.'"

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


We decided to be brave this spring and try raising tadpoles.  Since we have now had them for over a month with zero casualties, and they are every day getting bigger and fatter, I guess we must be doing something right.  We seem to always be learning something as we watch them grow.  For instance, today I learned that it is quite difficult to get a picture of a child interacting with a tadpole!  

When we started this adventure, I called around to a few pond stores to see if tadpoles could be purchased.  I was concerned about the legality of gathering them from the wild.  No one sold them. But I did get to speak to a knowledgeable guy who explained that in Oregon it is illegal to sell tadpoles, but legal to catch and keep them from private land.  I was pleased with our law because this means that it's highly likely our tadpoles are native species that can be safely released back where we found them once they have grown.   We have about two dozen in a large acrylic tub.  They don't need filtered, aerated water, like fish, but do need their water changed frequently.  We change the water completely every two days (for now, but as they grow they may need daily changes). As soon as the water is changed, I fill up my water containers with cold water again, and add chlorine neutralizer (as we use for our fish), and let the water sit until the next water change.  Tadpoles are said to be so sensitive to chlorine that it is recommended to use a chlorine neutralizer and also let the water sit for a couple of days, preferably in the sun.  That way, any remaining chlorine will likely dissipate, and the  new water is the same temperature as the old water.  I found tadpole food at a local pet store; however, I don't think my tadpoles like it.  What they eat is previously frozen salad greens.  Freezing makes them mushy enough for the tadpoles to eat without destroying nutrients.  I keep some lettuce, spinach, and kale in my freezer, and chop up a little for them each day.  It's remarkably little maintenance for such interesting critters.  As they grow legs, they will need to be able to climb out of the water, so we will be looking for some tree bark and rocks to construct a platform for them.  Here are three websites with basic information on tadpole care:

One of the very best things about this experiment was getting Jasper to dip a clear plastic pitcher into a pond, and gazing with him in amazement at all the life in just a quart or so of water.  He found a galaxy of little plants, water bugs, tadpoles and newt larvae.  From the surface looking down, we never would have guessed there was so much going on under the surface. 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Google Is Ignoring Bloggers! AAAARGGGHHH!

I tried to post a video of Jasper blowing out his birthday candles last month, and my post just shows a big black box where the video thumbnail ought to be.  In another post, I wrote about Rick Meyer's Old Time Music show, and posted two videos, which also resulted in two ugly black boxes on my blog.  Tacky!  I tried Blogger's help, to see what on earth I was doing wrong, and couldn't find the answer.  I was directed to a "forum", where, for the past couple of months, users of Blogger have been talking to each other about the problem.  With increasing levels of frustration.  Google, who owns Blogger, is not supporting it.  What's up with that?   Another blogger posted about it on their blog, and is asking others to do so as well.  Here's their post, complete with a quote from me:   I don't use videos often, but I find the fact that Google doesn't actually give us a way to contact them directly, nor any assurance they will ever address the issue, rather disturbing.  What happens when the next issue comes up?  I've put a lot of work into creating and promoting this blog, but the damage would still be minimized if I moved it ASAP to another blog service.   

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

Yesterday our homeschool group had a field trip to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm for their Tulip Fest.  Since I am fairly new to Oregon, I had never been there before, but several families told me they make it an annual tradition to go.  It was even better than I hoped.  They had wonderful activities for kids, with a long "cow train" ride, inventive play equipment, and an ingenious setup of rain gutters, water pumps, and rubber duckies to play with.  They had antique farm equipment that the kids were welcome to climb on. They even had above average festival food.  And the tulip fields were outrageous!  They told us that it is a family business, mostly selling to the cut flower trade.  They of course carefully plant different varieties so that they have a very long bloom season, but confided that the flowers really peaked the first week in April.  I found it a bit hard to believe that they were past their peak!  We went on a weekday, for which I was grateful, because it was still quite crowded.  However they do have even more activities on the weekends, so if you go on a weekend, you might want to get there when they open!   There are many tulip farms in Oregon, but this is the only one I have found which is open to the public.   Definitely worth a drive!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Brody Theater

The Brody Theatre was at the Banks Public Library today for Washington County Library's "Hearing Voices" storytelling festival.  Jasper and I got to see them.  They presented "Tales of the Unprepared" in which they did lots of interesting improvisations based on suggestions from the audience.  Some of them were simple.  They picked an audience member, a very enthusiastic kid, to help, and they told a story where each person added just one word at a time to each sentence.  This would be a fun game to play with a group of children and adults together.  There were also more complicated improvisations.  At an audience suggestion they told "Jack and the Beanstalk", taking turns.  Each of four performers told the story from a unique point of view suggested by the audience (different literary and film genres).  It was really funny, and both the performers and the audience had a great time!  And I was delighted to learn that they offer classes in improv.  They aren't specifically for kids, so I'm assuming they would work for teens or adults.  They have a theater in downtown Portland where there are frequent, inexpensive, all ages performances.  They will have one final performance for the storytelling festival,   together with other storytellers at the finale show at Tigard Public Library at 7PM Saturday.

Willy Claflin

Yesterday we went to see Willy Claflin at the West Slope Community Library with some folks from our homeschool group.  Willy Claflin is a San Francisco based storyteller extraordinaire.  He's in town this week to participate in Washington County Library's "Hearing Voices" storytelling festival.  It was the first of many shows he will do at different locations, and each show will be different.  For adults, he's even having a special show (this evening) and a storytelling workshop (Sunday).   The schedule can be found here: Jasper and I have treasured his CDs for years and it was wonderful to see him in person.    Jasper was delighted to see Maynard Moose and Gorf the Frog,  and to hear Gorf play the trash can drum with his flyswatter.  But he was completely overjoyed when Mr. Claflin performed, "Hush Little Moosie Don't Bite And Kick", a touching bedtime lullaby we have played over and over and over which Jasper loves to quote.  As I suspected, a CD doesn't fully capture Mr. Claflin's warmth and humor or the giggle fits he gives children, so don't miss your chance to see him in person!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Oregon Shadow Theatre

My homeschool group went to see the Oregon Shadow Theatre yesterday at the Forest Grove City Library.  The show was Thumbelina, and it was spellbinding!  They had a big screen, and the puppeteer Deb Chase worked behind and beneath it, manipulating some gorgeous puppets!  Imagine my joy when I saw a stag beetle join the cast!  Mike Doherty sat beside the screen, giving voice to all the characters and adding music and mind boggling sound effects.  Occasionally he would turn a light on himself and launch into a few bars of a song while strumming a guitar.  The stunningly gorgeous puppets lead me to expect a serious interpretation of the story.  In fact, it was nonstop silliness.  They incorporated the lyrics of '60s classic songs into much of the dialogue, which had the grownups and the children of us older parents giggling.  Afterwards, they invited the kids to come see the puppets up close and answered questions.  This is something I dearly value in a performance, because it gives the kids a chance to connect with the creative minds behind that they just saw and really be inspired.  Jasper was positively mesmerized by this show.  When we got home he absolutely insisted that I read him the original story (translated, of course, from the Danish). Boy was he disappointed!  (Hans Christian Anderson is not particularly goofy.  At least not intentionally.)  I told him he should definitely take note of how it's possible to take something someone else has created and use it as a starting point to make something magical of your own.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Trashcan Joe

These guys play instruments made out of trash cans!  What's not to love?  Okay, so technically this was not specifically a kid's show.  They played old time jazz,  jug band music, and other lively classics today at the Central Library downtown.  And their version of Oscar the Grouch's "I Love Trash" brought down the house!  If you've been to Symphony Storytimes (every Wednesday this month at Holgate Library and every Wednesday in May at Hillsboro Main Library) than your child may already be a fan of making their own instruments.  There are a ton of instructions for instrument crafts  here (as well as a mind boggling array of other crafts) and instructions for older kids or adults who want to make their own trash can upright bass here.  Trashcan Joe (banjo + trash can =trashcanjo)  is a local band and definitely inspiring!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Reptile Man

Today my homeschool group went to see Richard Ritchey, The Reptile Man, at the Hillsboro Main Library.  He is amazing!  He brought 17 reptiles for the kids to see up close, told them many fascinating things about them, and made it very, very interactive.  We saw him last fall, and ever since I've been a big fan.  He lists his upcoming shows on his website  and can be hired for performances too. His show has to be the best performance we've seen at a library. I took a lot of pictures!  I can't resist sharing some here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Symphony Storytime

Jasper and I checked out the Symphony Storytime today, and it was marvelous.  This is a program that was developed by the Oregon Symphony and Multnomah County Libraries, and now Washington County Libraries are hosting it as well.  They have a separate presentation for each instrument family:  strings, woodwinds, brass, and percussion.  Today a violinist accompanied a librarian as she read several stories to the children, showing the kids how the instrument could make an amazing array of sounds to go with the narration.  Fans of "Peter and the Wolf" would have found it very cool.  The kids were shown how to make a "violin" from a shoebox and rubber bands, and any child who wanted to was given a chance to actually play the violin properly with a bow.  The violin she brought was a child sized instrument.  They had lots of library books and CDs to show us that would help us to learn more.  It was everything I most value in a learning experience- it was engaging, hands on, and fun. This month it's Wednesdays at 1:30 at the Holgate Library and next month it moves to the Hillsboro Main Library.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Portland Mounted Police Unit Tour

This was a really fun field trip!  We were shown all around the Portland Mounted Police Unit stables, and given the complete inside scoop on how they take care of the horses.  Only a very special horse has the right stuff to be a police horse.  I imagine they must have some of the same kind of training that warriors of old gave their battle horses, to be able to lead them into danger.  We learned that normal horse shoes are dangerously slippery on pavement, so the horses often wear special horse "sneakers". They aim to wean them out of shoes altogether so that the callouses that naturally form on their feet will protect them instead.  They have wonderful inside exercise equipment, which was very expensive and partially funded by drug busts!  (I've always wondered just what happens to such money when it's no longer needed as evidence.  I'm really pleased some of it ends up being used for the public good.)  They showed us everything from how they bathe the horses to all their special equipment including rain gear and riot gear.  The children really seemed to love this, especially all the chances they were given to pet the horses. 

My most favorite moment-  I always find it charming when very young children raise their hand and when their teacher calls on them, they say, "I have a question..." and actually they don't have a question at all, instead they have something they really want to tell the teacher.  A really adorable little girl did that, and when the stable hand who was leading the tour asked her what her question was, she said, "I ride a rocking horse!"  The stable hand replied, "Well, that's a great start!"

I just learned today from a fellow homeschooler that the Portland Mounted Police Unit is in trouble.  They are slated to be shut down due to budget cuts.   There's an article about the effort to save the unit here

In the meantime, don't lose out on your opportunity for a really unique tour!  They are given only on Thursdays at 11AM by advance reservation.  Call them at 503-823-2100.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Step One: Daydreaming of Creatures

A big shipment of new shirts arrived, and I said, "Aha! I can do blog posts about my process!"  The shirts will eventually end up here on Etsy, but it will take a while.  I have found that the shirts are nicer if I paint them first, and then dye them, because that way I can let the design go whatever direction it wants to, and pick out the best shirt color to match the finished design.  And it doesn't make much sense to dye one shirt at a time.  So they will be finished in batches.  

The first step is the most complicated for me- dreaming up new creatures to paint.   I like to paint shirts for my son first, to see how they look, and his interests have always been my biggest source of inspiration.  His big passion right now is Legos, so naturally he wants me to  paint them on his shirts, but I have to leave anything with lots of straight lines up to his father!  I like to start with a drawing with some flowing lines.  I draw right on the shirts with pencil, because the lines will either be painted over completely or washed off.  So here's an initial sketch.  It's a trilobite!  If you are thinking, "Of course! Every child should have a trilobite shirt!", I beg to differ.  If that were the case, the children wearing trilobite shirts would be denied the joy of hearing, "OH MY GOSH! What the heck is that?!?", a reaction a real trilobite would certainly deserve.  

April Happenings

Wow, are there a lot of events this April!  This is a selective list of events from all over the greater Portland area which are free or low cost and have some educational or cultural value.  I am gathering them from a lot of different sources, and mistakes can happen, so please doublecheck any event before attending.  Enjoy!

Saturday, April 3, at the Ledding Library in Milwaukie at 2PM, bluegrass wonder band Lee Highway will perform.

Also Saturday, April 3, at the Tigard Library,  at 1:30PM,  Professor Banjo will perform a wonderful kid's show. Highly recommended (and previously reviewed on this blog).

Tadpole Tales, a story followed by a guided nature walk, take place every Wednesday at 10AM.  They are at a new location this month, this time at the Columbia Slough Water Quality Facility, 19595 NE Sandy, Portland.  Here is their schedule of topics: Wed., April 7- Birds.   Wed., April 14- Spring Changes.   Wed., April 21- Pond Life  Wed., April 28- Dirt, Worms, and Water Bugs.    Preregistration is required by emailing or calling 503-281-1132.   The cost is $3 per child.

Wednesdays in April, 1:30-2:30 p.m.  will be Symphony Storytime at the Holgate Library.  "The Oregon Symphony is on the road  for interactive, musical storytimes.  An innovative partnership between the Oregon Symphony and the Multnomah County Library System brings music and literature together during library storytelling times for pre-schoolers and their parents. 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."   Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.

Rick Meyer's Old Time Music Show will be showing up again at a free library event this month.  Saturday, April 10, at 11:00 a.m.  at Lake Oswego Library.  "Proving that American folk music is alive and well, Meyers treats his audience to a fun-filled presentation of folk music, songs, and historical narration.  The show includes familiar folk instruments, such as the banjo, guitar, and autoharp.  As a bonus, Meyers spices up the show with a variety of unusual instruments, such as the spoons, saw, nose whistle, washboard, and limberjack.  Known for his versatility and talent as a folk musician, Meyers has performed across the U.S. and Canada, and he has appeared on television.  In addition to his musical career, Meyers teaches American Folkdance, is a dance caller, and collects and writes children’s folk songs and dances."  Previously reviewed on this blog.)

Tryon Creek State Park will be having their annual Trillium Festival April 10, 9:30-4 and  April 11,  10-4.  "Spring is near and we are ready to welcome it with our Annual Trillium Festival! Each year the Friends of Tryon Creek State Park and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department are thrilled to share the beauty of our awakening forest with visitors as they enjoy this wonderful community event. Visitors may enjoy a native plant sale, guided nature hikes, children's crafts and activities, local craft and edibles vendors, live music performances and more at the only all-urban state park in Oregon! This exciting event supports the education and restoration programs of the Friends of Tryon Creek State Park, and is a great place to find all the native plants you'll need for your yard this Spring. Hope we'll see you there!  New this year - Trillium Festival Shuttle Service! This year, the Friends will be able to shuttle visitors back and forth from the Riverdale High School parking lot with 15 seat passenger vans. Take advantage of this FREE service and spend more time at the festival and less time looking for parking."

April 11-18 Washington County Libraries are having a major event, the "Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival".  There will be 14 performances in 8 days.  I'm going to list some highlights individually.  Please note that some of their events are specifically for adults and look pretty cool (check their website).

Saturday, April 10 2:30-3:30PM at the Hillsboro Main Library will be the Reptile Man.  He has a simply jaw dropping presentation with oodles of critters for your up close inspection.  I ask you, what could be better?

Sunday, April 11, 2PM at the Central Library downtown, in the Collins Gallery, Trashcan Joe is performing. "Cap'n James Cook needed an outlet for all the old-time jazz and folk songs he'd learned over the years, so he rustled up some friends willing to take on this oddball assignment. A typical live show consists of these original tunes, classic standards from early jazz and blues, movie theme songs, and swing, all played with drive and finesse."  Check out the instruments they use here:  

Sunday April 11 at 2PM at the Beaverton City Library, and Monday April 12 at 7PM at the Forest Grove City Library, the Oregon Shadow Theatre will present "Thumbelina",  If you have never seen a shadow puppet show, you are in for a treat!  "Thumbelina is one of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen's most delightful characters, a miniature girl born from a flower who has to find her own way in the world of nature. In this production, Thumbelina journeys to discover her home in the land of the flower fairies. She has adventures with frogs, flying beetles, a swallow, a mouse, and a mole in his underground home. While the play's plot follows Andersen's story, the script supports a comic subtext linking music of the 1960's and '70s to Thumbelina's desire to find her home in a land of flowers. The live music is performed on hammer dulcimer, electric guitar, and an assortment of percussion and sound effects devices."

Monday, April 12th, at 12:00 the Portland Center for the Performing Arts will have their monthly, free, family performance in the lobby of the Antionette Hatfield Hall, at 1111 SW Broadway, Portland OR.  This month they are featuring pianist Sally Harmon and guitarist Frank Gruner, playing popular tunes.

Willy Clafin will be making five appearances for the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival.  I will list the ones intended for children. (He does have an adult show and a storytelling workshop for ages 10-adult).   I learned about Mr. Clafin from finding a CD of one of his performances at a library years ago.  He's from New Hampsire and often tells stories related to that locale, but lives the Bay Area of California now.  Jasper thinks he's hilarious. But since his CDs hint at all sorts of sight gags we are missing, I can't wait to see a live show!
Wednesday April 14, 6:30PM at the West Slope Community Library -Willy Claflin presents The Uglified Ducky "Folk tales, tall tales and childhood misadventures. With special guest and Parent’s Choice Gold Award winner Maynard Moose."
Friday, April 16, 7PM at the Cedar Mill Community Library- "Willy Claflin presents Rapunzel and the Seven Dwarfs "Folk tales, tall tales, story-songs and rubber rats! Special guests Maynard Moose and Gorf the Frog, world-renowned flyswatter percussionist."
Saturday, April 17, 10:30AM at Sherwood Public Library, "Willy Claflin presents The Wolf Who Cried Sheep "Folk tales, tall tales and story-songs. Special guests Maynard Moose and Gorf the Frog."
Also Saturday, April 17, at 7PM at Tigard Public Library, "Storytelling Finale Concert Featuring Willy Claflin, Nuestro Canto and The Brody Theater"

Brody Theatre will also be performing for the Hearing Voices Storytelling Festival.  They will be doing a show called "Tales of the Unprepared", in which up to four cast members will improvise stories based on audience suggestions.  They will be performing this twice  (and will also be appearing in the Finale Concert April 17.) Wednesday, April 14, 7:00 pm at the Hillsboro Main Library, and Thursday, April 15, 7:00 pm at the Banks Public Library.

Hood River Valley Blossom Festival 4/17/2010 to 4/18/2010  "Celebrate the arrival of Spring in the Hood River Valley! Our 56th year! Over 15,000 acres of orchards explode into bloom - carpeting the entire Valley in pearly white and pink blossoms. The entire Valley welcomes you to join us in the celebrations, including the Blossom Quilt Show, the Blossom Craft Show, and much more! Stop by the Hood River County Visitors Center at 720 E. Port Marina Drive (Exit #64) for your map and brochure -- or just ask the volunteers stationed at Exits #62 and #64! For details, call 1-800-366-3530."  I called them to ask what else is going on, and they said that farms all along the "Fruit Loop" will be open for the public to enjoy the dazzling blossoms.  A map of the Fruit Loop can be downloaded at

Sunday, April 18 at 10AM is Tryon Creek's Kids In Nature program and the topic this month is "Seeds to Flowers".  Preregistration is required, which can be done here and the cost is $10.  These  are excellent programs with a very wide age range appeal. I love these because not only do Jasper and I both really learn a lot every time, but Stephanie Wagner, their Director of Education who presents each of these, is simply an amazing teacher.  I'm always taking note of the way she can take seemingly any subject and make it fascinating, add more hands-on learning opportunities than I would ever have imagined, and illustrate often complex concepts in a simple way even young children can grasp.  I don't consider $10 for an hour and a half program to be low cost, but I really love these.

Thursday, April 22, Clark College in Vancouver will have a special, free  Cherry Blossom Festival and celebration of Japanese Culture 1:30-4PM, with music, performances, and demonstrations, and a chance to enjoy their 100 cherry trees in full bloom.

Friday, April 23- Sunday April 25, McMenamins in Forest Grove is hosting a Reniassance Faire. "Step back in time for a day of revels at the Faire In The Grove! McMenamins Grand Lodge and the Society for Creative Anachronism invite you to experience the Middle Ages and the Renaissance! You will be transported back to Fairegrove, a medieval village. Enjoy armored combat, rapier, dance, music, story telling, merchants, merchants, merchants, juggling, food and textile demos, book binding, leather working, arrow making and more! Times: Friday, 3 p.m. ‘til dusk, Saturday, 11 a.m. ‘til dusk, Sunday, 11 a.m. ‘til 3 p.m.

Saturday, April 24, "Mhembero"  Zimbabwean marimba bands from 15 local schools will play a free concert 10AM- 4:30PM, with a special guest appearance from the Maru a Pula Band all the way from Botswana, at the Catlin Gabel School Theatre, 8825 SW Barnes Rd, 503-233-4372.

"Be a friend to the environment by attending Sherwood Green Day, set for 1-5 p.m. Saturday April 24 in Old Town Sherwood, 22560 SW Pine Street.  There will be environmental movies, organic clothing, recyclable arts and crafts, music, a cycling zone, an animal trivia show, a scavenger hunt and more. The price of admission? Your recyclables."

Sunday, April 25, 1:30 – 3 p.m. at the Tigard Library Community Room, there will be a Legos Party for Ages 5 and up.  "We’ll bring the LEGO®s…you bring your imagination! Kids and their grownups, come enter the creative construction zone." 

Tuesday April 27, at 6:30pm the West Linn Public Library will host Dragon Theatre Puppets. "Home Grown Heroes" -- A band of superheroes vs. the villainous "Bad Idea".  This is definitely worth a drive. Not only does this guy tell a rip roaring tale, he ends his shows with a question and answer session where he tells the kids everything they want to know about how he makes the puppets and their sets from scratch and creates all the character's voices. If there's any chance your child could be interested in puppetry or live theatre, or just likes to make things, they will find it inspirational. (Previously reviewed on this blog.)

The Oregon Ag Fest will be held Saturday April 24 8:30 am - 5 pm, and Sunday April 25 10 am - 5 pm at the  Oregon State Fairgrounds, Salem, OR.  Ages 12 and Under FREE Adults $7.50, Parking:  Free "Always the last weekend in April, Oregon Ag Fest is an activity-filled festival where kids (and grown ups too!) can touch, taste and experience life on the farm. Agriculture affects us all, though many of us don’t know much more than where to buy the products we need. At Ag Fest, learn where our food and fiber comes from, how livestock is raised, the importance of forests for our ecology and survival, plus much more. Plant a seedling, ride a pony, watch chicks hatch, pet a rabbit, dig for potatoes and much more.  Over 17,000 people attend Ag Fest each year to learn about Oregon’s largest industry.  Come join us!"  If you went to the OHEN convention, you many have received a free admission "educator pass" in your vendor packet.

Saturday, April 24 from dusk to 11:30PM at Stub Stewart State Park and Rooster Rock State Park is a Star Party. "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. Come and observe your favorite objects and spend a wonderful evening with friends, and friends you haven't met yet." If you are planning to go, be sure to call 503-797-4610 #2 after 3PM on the day of the Star Party to make sure they've determined that the skies are clear enough for this event to happen.

Sunday, April 25 2-4PM Tryon Creek will be hosting "Celebrate the Earth" "Bring the whole family to learn more about bobcats through arts and crafts, games, stories and more. Come dressed as your favorite animal for an afternoon parade.  Hear the winners of our Tall Tale Contest tell their stories about “How Bobcats Tail Was Bobbed”. Refreshments will be served. Free event, no pre-registration necessary."

Thu., April 29, 2-5 p.m.  the Northwest Library will be hosting Truck Town Party.   "Calling all truckers for the second annual Truck Town Storytime and Party. Come pet big trucks, hear stories at 2:30 p.m. or 4 p.m., and participate in crafts and activities. Celebrate the Month of the Young Child at the Con-way parking lot, N.W. 23rd Ave. and Savier St." 

Mutlnomah County Libraries are having a special "Month of the Young Child" celebration in April.  Most of the activites seem to be geared towards toddlers, so I'm not listing them here, but you can find out more at