Friday, July 30, 2010

Oregon Shadow Theatre's Puss In Boots

The Oregon Shadow Theatre presented an astonishing version of Puss In Boots yesterday.  It's set in New Orleans and stars a young man whose grandest dream is to be in King Calypso's Krewe in the Mardi Gras Parade, and of course his ally, the talking, boot wearing Puss.  The puppeteer, Deb Chase, makes devastatingly gorgeous puppets, and operates them from behind the backlit screen.   Mick Dougherty provides many additional character voices, music, and crazy sound effects.  Their stories are visually lush and filled with joyful humor.  The kids adored this show, and afterwards were treated to a chance to see exactly how the puppets were made and how the many sound effects were created.      Oregon Shadow Theatre is based in Portland, but doesn't often perform here.  When they do, we make sure to go.  The magic of their shows is impossible to translate here, but I can share some of the pictures I took.  More about the Oregon Shadow Theatre is here:

August Adventures

This month there is another monster sized event listing!  I compile this list of free and low-cost events  with educational or cultural value for the homeschool group I belong to, which includes children 7 and under.   So these are events I hope will be of interest to that age group, although many have wider appeal.  Please note that mistakes do happen and things can also change, so do make sure to double check any event you'd like to attend.  I continue to look for events throughout the month and post occasional updates on this blog.

Portland Festival Symphony will be offering 6 free outdoor summer concerts. The program varies at each concert, but each one ends with Haydn’s “Toy Symphony”, in which children in the audience will have a chance to perform with the orchestra. 
• Saturday, July 31, 2010, Cathedral Park - 6 PM 
• Sunday, August 1, 2010, Peninsula Park - 6 PM
• Saturday, August 7, 2010, Laurelhurst Park (37th and Oak) - 6 PM
• Sunday, August 8, 2010, Washington Park - 6 PM
• Sunday, August 15, 2010, U.S. Grant Park - 6 PM 
• Sunday, September 5, 2010, Foothills Park - 4 PM 
“If any of our concerts are canceled due to rain, we will add another performance at Washington Park on Monday, August 16th at 6:00pm.” “MYSfits, young string ensemble of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony will perform before the Portland Festival Symphony concerts.”

Portland Parks and Recreation will continue to offer free concerts and movies in the parks, and additionally the Washington Park Summer Festival is on between August 5-14. All concerts begin at 6PM. In particular this caught my eye for Friday August 13: “DO JUMP! Under the creative direction of founder Robin Lane, the Do Jump "actorbats" offer up a unique blend of extremely physical theatre, dance, acrobatics, dynamic visuals, and live music by Klezmocracy - a trio with its own following that always wows their audience.” It's fabulous to have a chance to see them for free! More info here:

Free Shakespeare in the park continues! In August, the Portland Actor’s Ensemble will be performing “The Comedy of Errors”. and the Original Practice Shakespeare Festival will have one more show, “Much Adoe About Nothing”, August 15 in Laurelhurst Park.

"Sundae in the Park", August 1, Sellwood Park. “All afternoon, it’s the Sellwood and Westmoreland neighborhoods’ famed annual live-music-and-ice-cream event, “Sundae In The Park” at Sellwood Park on S.E. 7th near Miller Street. It starts with an all-comers pick-up softball game, Heibergs vs. Hainleys, at 10 am, with the live entertainment starting at noon. That’s when Southeast Portland Rotary starts scooping cheap ice cream cones and sundaes – 50 cents apiece – with all proceeds to Loaves and Fishes, which also will be fundraising with inexpensive and tasty food items. Food and coffee carts will be there too, and their proceeds will benefit Loaves and Fishes as well. Plus, several live bands perform. Then, after 5, the entertainment continues with The Working Stiffs, The River City Band, and the Portland Teen Idols, as a preparation for a Portland Parks Bureau free “Movie in the Park” – this year featuring “Avatar” – to end the day, starting at dusk. The entertainment is free, the food, ice cream, and drinks are cheap, and it’s a fun day for a good cause. Sponsored by the Sellwood-Westmoreland Improvement League (SMILE) neighborhood association.” At 1PM, Mad Science will be there with their “Spin, Pop, Boom!” show.

“Simple Bookmaking- Paper Crafts for All Ages With Artist Colleen Cavin” Sunday, August 1, 1-4PM in the US Bank Room at the Central Library in downtown Portland. “Join us for some papercrafting fun this summer — and learn a little bit of history, too! John Adams had a great library, as did Thomas Jefferson and other prominent people of colonial America. The books were handbound, from the book binder in the village or town or city. In this workshop, we will make two types of books...a sewn pamphlet–style and a concertina–style book.”

“Kids Taste the Place with The Merry Kitchen” Sunday, August 1, 2010, 10am – 12pm, at the King Farmer’s Market, NE Wygant St & NE 7th Ave. “Drop in cooking classes with instruction by Julie Merry of The Merry Kitchen, a children’s cooking school in northeast Portland. Free of charge and all ages welcome.”

Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre presents “Little Red Riding Hood”, Tuesday, August 2, 10:30 AM, Cedar Mill Community Library (Tickets are required and will be distributed in person at the Youth Services Desk starting Monday, July 26. Limit of 4 tickets per family.) Thursday, August 5, 10:30AM at Hillsboro Main Library, Thursday, August 5, 2PM at Ledding Library in Milwaukie, and also Thursday, August 5, at 6:30PM at Canby Public Library. “Eulenspiegel Puppet Theatre Company, all the way from West Liberty, Iowa, present their adaptation of Little Red Riding Hood using delightfully crafted miniature Bohemian marionettes.”

"Deepsy Diver, A New Show By The Mudeye Puppet Company", Tuesday, August 3, 4PM, Midland Library, Sunday, August 8, 3PM, at Holgate Library, Tuesday, August 17, 3PM, at Northwest Library, and Wednesday, August 18, 3:30PM in Fairfiew (Hosted at the Fairview Park bandstand at the south end of N.E. Village St. near City Hall. Prepare for the weather; event held rain or shine.) “The Mudeye Puppet Company presents an all new show for 2010 featuring the adventures of underwater heroine, Deepsy Diver. Join Deepsy and a colorful cast of aquatic characters as she journeys from the darkest depths of the oceans to the wondrous Willamette river. Interactive games and music abound in this educational tale of how we can protect and preserve our local watershed. Stick around after the show to meet Deepsy, Wesley Water Strider and many other marine puppets, all of which are made entirely out of recycled materials.”

Oregon Coast Aquarium presents “Sharks”, Tuesday, August 3, 10:30AM at Beaverton City Library Meeting Rooms A & B, and Tuesday, August 3, 2PM, at Ledding Library in Milwaukie. “With the help of a puppet and a song, an inflatable shark, slides, and shark skin, teeth and jaws, students will find out how sharks use their fins, senses and other amazing adaptations for survival in the vast ocean environment.” 

"Curtis Carlyle Seriously Funny Juggling", Tuesday, August 3, 7PM at Tualatin Lake Commons, 8325 SW Nyberg St in Tualatin, Tuesday, August 10, 12PM at Jessie Mays Community Center, 30975 NW Hillcrest St., North Plains. “Fusing world class juggling skills, side-splitting comedy, and audience participation, Curt Carlyle offers a stunning performance that is perfect for the entire family.”

"Jugglemania! with Rhys Thomas", Tuesday, August 3, in two shows at 4PM and 6PM at West Linn Library, Thursday, August 5, 12:30PM in Meinig Park in Sandy. "Surf's up with this one-man variety act, combining comedy, juggling, & magic!"

"ZAP (Zoo Animal Presenters)". Wednesday, August 4, 2PM, Fairview, OR. (Hosted at the Fairview Park bandstand at the south end of N.E. Village St. near City Hall. Prepare for the weather; event held rain or shine. ) and Saturday, August 21, 2PM, Midland Library. “Teen interns with the Oregon Zoo will bring creatures and small animals for the children to enjoy. The ZAP kids learn all about their charges so they can answer our questions."

"Bethany Lego-Rama!" “Join us for fun and Legos! Participants will compete in building challenges and create individual and group projects. The library will provide all the Legos. Registration is required and begins Thursday, July 1. Participants are asked to register for only one program.This program will be held at the Terrace Plaza Community Room located at 15220 NW Laidlaw Road, Portland, Oregon 97229 at the following times: 
• Wednesday, August 4: 1:00 to 2:30 pm for kids ages 6 to 8 
• Wednesday, August 4: 3:00 to 4:30 pm for kids ages 9 to 11 
• Wednesday, August 18: 1:00 to 2:30 pm for kids ages 6 to 8 
Maps to the Terrace Plaza Community Room will be available at the Bethany Branch Circulation Desk.To register: Please stop by the Circulation Desk at the Cedar Mill Community Library @ Bethany, or call (503)617-7323.” 

"Watermelon Feed and Seed Spit!" Wednesday, August 4, 3PM, at Cornelius Public Library. “Join us for our traditional watermelon seed spittin' contest. Have a fun time with a little friendly competition and a lot of juicy watermelon!” 

"Larry Wilder and the Stumptown Stars", Wednesday, August 4, 7PM, Beaverton City Library on the Lawn in Front of the Library. “Join Larry Wilder and the Stumptown Stars for cowboy tunes at our End of Summer Reading outdoor concert. Come in your finest cowboy attire and sing-along to some Americana roots music. Please bring blankets or sand chairs for added comfort. Please, no lawn chairs.” They will perform there again Sunday, August 8, 2PM in the Beaverton City Library Auditorium. “Hot bluegrass, cowboy, folk, roots music featuring fancy and harmony yodelling! The Stumptown Stars of Portland, OR have won awards with their solid, tasty and lightning acoustic instrumentals on guitar, banjo, harmonica, fiddle, and bass. They will have some children's songs and sing some interactive Americana songs.” 

"Violinist Aaron Meyer, From Classical to Progressive Rock", Wednesday, August 4, 7PM, Tigard Public Library. “Enjoy an evening of cutting edge music bridging world, contemporary progressive rock and classical genres with concert rock violinist Aaron Meyer.” 

"Brave Frogs and Bashful Dragons", Wednesday, August 4, 10:30AM, at the Central Library (Space at this program is limited. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.), and Tuesday, August 10, 6PM at Troutdale Library. “Storyteller Anne Rutherford will share tales of unlikely heroes. Howl, croak and cackle along as Anne brings to life characters from folktales around the world and from within the imagination." 

“The Lucky Teakettle”, Wednesday, August 4, 4PM, Kenton Library, Wednesday, August 11, 11AM and again at 1PM, Gresham Library, Tuesday, August 17, 2010 2PM, Capitol Hill Library (Space at this program is limited. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program.) and Thursday, August 26, 4PM,Belmont Library (Space at this program is limited. Free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program). “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.” 

“Create Your Own Comic Book”, Thursday, August 5, 3:30PM, Belmont Library. “We all have seen them, we have all read them, but not all of us have created one! This workshop will take your knowledge of cartoon creation to the next level! You’ll learn about the different parts of a comic book, how to write it, how to plan it out, and how to bring it all together! It is time to see your characters and stories come to life on the action filled pages of a comic book. Ideal for kids 6-12.” 

“Oxbow Adventures: Animal detectives”, Tuesday, Aug 3 , 10:30 am - 12:00 pm Explore the forest like an animal detective with Metro naturalists, in search of clues left behind by mysterious wild animals. Handle plaster casts of real footprints and examine bones, bird nests and other items up close. This program is one of five nature programs on Tuesdays led by a Metro naturalist at Oxbow Regional Park. Meet at the Alder Shelter (group picnic area A); arrive at the park entrance by 10:15 a.m. to get to the area on time. $2 per participating child, payable at time of program for families (no charge for adults and infant siblings). For childcare centers and other organized groups, payment is required in advance. $5 park entry fee per car, or $7 per bus or 15-passenger vehicle. Suitable for ages 5 to 10. Advance registration required; call 503-797-1650 option 2. Wheelchair accessible by arrangement. Register online here: 

Every Wednesday in August, at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, 1111 SW Broadway, will be Summer Arts on Main, 10AM- 2PM, and Music on Main Street, 5-7PM. “Summer Arts on Main returns for its eighth year with visual arts, crafts, music, and free hands-on arts activities for children in the heart of Portland's Cultural District. Running concurrently with the Portland Farmer's Market in the Park Blocks, Summer Arts on Main hosts artisans from Handmade NW with a variety of handmade crafts available to purchase. Stop by PCPA on Wednesdays for a family event that everyone will enjoy. The free entertainment also returns with the PCPA Noontime Showcases running from noon to 1 p.m. on the Main Street stage (weather permitting). Each week will feature a different performance group. Noontime Showcase is a PCPA Volunteer coordinated event.” Learn more here:

Anne-Louise Sterry presents "Under the Boardwalk: Songs & Stories from the Beach",  Wednesday, August 4, at 11:30AM, Oregon City Library. Jasper absolutely loves her offbeat, touching, and very funny original stories that we’ve listened to on her cds. Here’s a chance to experience her magic in person! 

A-WOL Dance Collective presents “Art In The Dark”, World Trade Center Atrium, 121 SW Salmon Street, Pdx, 8-10PM on August 5,6,7,  and Mary S. Young State Park, West Linn, August 27, 28, and 29, adult tickets $15 and kids under 12 pay their age. “Prepare yourself for a magical aerial experience that will STOP you in your tracks and START your imagination soaring! Dangling from the trees and suspended from the ceiling, A-WOL Dance Collective is precariously traversing the border of dream and reality yet again with their highly-anticipated, annual, signature performance of “Art in the Dark.” In an event that’s Oregonian to its core; unique, rustic, and entirely local – audience members are transported to a fantastical world full of wonder, awe, and unbelievable atmosphere!” You can also see them swinging from the trees for free at the Arts Festival in the Forest August 14-15.

The Clark County Fair will be August 6-15 at the Clark County Fairgrounds, 17402 Northeast Delfel Road, Ridgefield, WA. There will be a jousting tournament, a demolition derby, a wild west show, a rodeo, monster trucks, and daredevil pigs. Yes, really. Read this and see if you agree this should be worth the price of admission: “VALENTINE'S PERFORMING PIGS Go Hogwild! Valentine’s Performing Pigs is a unique, fast paced show that consists of mini-pigs doing tricks and incredible athletic feats that will leave you spellbound! The shows feature Nellie, touted as the world’s smartest pig by Ripley’s Believe It Or Not staff. These dazzling porkers dance, jump through hoops, roll barrels and roar across the stage on scooters and skateboards! Nellie has been featured on Animal Planet, The Late Show with David Letterman, Good Morning America and National Geographic Channel’s “Hog Genius” special. Shows daily at 1:00pm, 3:00pm, and 5:00pm. Pig meet and greet following each show!”

“Obonfest”, Saturday, August 7, 3-9PM, Oregon Buddhist Temple, 3720 S.E. 34th Ave, Pdx, Free. “The annual ‘Celebration of Joy’ is a time to honor ancestors, sample ethnic foods and learn about Buddhism. Obon dancing (with dancers wearing the ‘yukata’ or other traditional costumes), martial arts demos and a performance by Portland Taiko are also featured.” More info call: 503-234-9456. 

"Sand Castle Contest", Saturday, August 7, Taft Beach at the end of SW 51st. St., Lincoln City, “Registration begins at 10 a.m. on the dock in the Taft area. (next to Mo's). Food donations will again be accepted for the Lincoln City Food Bank.” You need a nonperishable food donation as your entry fee to participate, and it’s free to watch.

"Make a Splash With Bend Magic’s Bill Mitchell", Saturday, August 7, 12PM at Rockwood Library, Sunday, August 8, 2:30PM at Troutdale Library, and Saturday, August 21, 3PM at Gregory Heights Library. “Exciting, engaging, fast-paced and interactive, this show is the perfect blend of comedy, magic and, of course, books. Stories and characters are woven into an interactive magic show designed for children of all ages.” 

"Three Frogs, One Troll, and the Big Splash with Pink Pig Puppet Theatre", Wednesday, August 4, 12:30 PM at Lake Oswego Library, Wed, August 11, 11:30am at Oregon City Library. “In this amphibious twist on “The Three Billy Goats Gruff,” three frogs try to negotiate their way past a grumpy troll to get to a new pond. Puppeteer Steven Engelfried has been telling stories with puppets for over 16 years. He also works as a children’s librarian at the Wilsonville Public Library. Engelfried’s shows include a Little Pink Pig puppet that acts as the Master of Ceremonies and tends to get his facts mixed up in humorous ways.” 

Mad Science, “What Do You Know About H2o?”, August 4 at 3PM, Hillsdale Library, August 5 at 2PM, Hollywood Library, August 11 at 4PM, Kenton Library, August 12 at 9:30AM, Gladstone Library, August 17 at 4PM, Midland Library, and August 19 at 7PM in the park behind the Scappoose Public Library, preceded by “Super Structures Science Discovery Station” from 6-7PM. This event is part of their Summer Reading BBQ which starts at 6PM.

The fabulous Kids in Nature program at Tryon Creek is expanded this summer to include not only the third Sunday of the month, but also each Thursday. Programs run from 10AM-11:30AM, are aimed at kids 4-7, and cost $10/child (money very well spent, if you ask me.) August 5- Squirrels, August 12-Banana Slugs, August 15- Meadow Dwellers, August 19- Rabbits, August 26- Salamanders. Preregistration is required (they often fill up, and need to be sure they have enough materials for each child). More here:

“A walk in the old growth”, Forest Park, Thursday, Aug 5, 9:00 am - 12:00 pm. “Join Stephen Hatfield, Forest Park Conservancy stewardship director, for a hike through a grove of old growth forest. Learn about the natural history of the area and the old growth ecosystem. You might even spot one of the bald eagles nesting on the property. $10 per adult; free for conservancy members. Advance registration required. For more information, call 503-223-5449.”

"Twilight sit", Thursday, Aug 5, 8:00 pm - 10:00 pm.   Sorry, no vampires...“Experience the beauty of the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge during one of the most active times of day. Learn about the diurnal animals that call the refuge home during a brief presentation, then take a walk along the seasonal trail where there will be a chance to sit, watch, listen and experience the shift from day to night. Free. Advance registration required; contact Jenna at or 503-625-5944.

"Iranian Festival", Saturday, August 7, 10AM -5 PM, South Park Blocks, Portland State University. “Come join us for this fun and family-oriented celebration of peace and friendship. Our festival has been a tradition in Portland for 10 years offering authentic and homemade Persian food and desserts, ice cream, tea, and dance. Live Iranian music performs all day, as do our youth dance groups. This festival hosts several thousand visitors every year and plays a pivotal role in driving cultural awareness and encourages closer relationship between Iranian Americans and the rest of the Portland community. Free and Open to All!”

“What's Up With the Weather?”, Saturday, August 7, 1:30PM, Tigard Public Library. “Learn all about the weather in this fun, interactive class led by a National Weather Service meteorologist.” 

Living History Village”, August 7 and 8, 12-5PM, 73370 East Buggy Trail Drive, Rhododendron, OR. “Take a journey back into time with Cascade Geographic Society in their special living history village known as the Oregon Country Settlement. Here, on beautiful Mount Hood and located along the Oregon Trail, the sights, sounds, and smells of frontier life can be revisited once more as interpreters in period clothing take you on a unique journey of history and wonderment. Amongst this cluster of protected historic buildings and wilderness shelters, the 1840’s is alive and well. View life as it once was as you visit the “Wilderness House”, the “Trading Post”, the “Blacksmith Shop”, the “Wash House”, the “Spirits House”, the “Parlor”, the “Community House” (school and church), the “Cook’s Shack”, the “Pantry Building”, the “Mess Hall”, the “Carpenter’s Shop”, the “Stables”, the “Hermit’s Shack”, the “Tyee Bear Lodge”, the “Smoke House”, the “Bell Tower”, the “Native American Storytelling Lodge”, and other unique structures. Purchase pioneer foods like Oregon Trail Buffalo Stew and Frontier Biscuits, fire-brewed Barlow Trail Coffee, and hot Mount Hood Apple Cider, listen to great old-time music and storytelling, try your skill at throwing knives and tomahawks, and take advantage of our gift shop where Huckleberry Jam and other goodies awaits you along with history and nature books, nickel postcards, and a whole lot more. A great family experience!” At their website, click on “Living History Village”:

“Underwater Adventure”, Dragon Theatre Puppets, Tuesday, August 10, in two shows, at 2PM and 4PM, at the West Linn Public Library. Dragon Theatre Puppets are awesome and this show is particularly cool! They had an aquarium custom built so that they could put the puppets inside!

“Tom Question: Juggler Extraordinaire”, Tuesday, August 10, 2PM, Sherwood Public Library. “Who can tell a joke and juggle fire at the same time? Tom Question! He combines big stunts, tall stilts and juggling for a fun and entertaining afternoon.” 

“Lego-Rama!” “Join us for fun and Legos! Participants will compete in building challenges and create individual and group projects. The library will provide all the Legos. Registration is required and begins Thursday, July 1. Participants are asked to register for only one program. Programs at the Cedar Mill Community Library will be held: 
Monday, August 9: 1:00 to 2:30 pm for kids ages 6 to 8 
Monday, August 9: 3:00 to 4:30 pm for kids ages 6 to 8 
To register: please stop by the Cedar Mill Youth Services Reference Desk or call (503) 644-0043 ext 112.
 Held upstairs in the Meeting Room.” 

“Oxbow Adventures: Ancient forest adventure”, Tuesday, Aug 10,10:30 am - 12:00 pm. “Naturalist guides lead small teams through the deep, shady forest on a fun scavenger hunt. But beware: the others may be sneaking up on you! This program is one of five nature programs on Tuesdays led by a Metro naturalist at Oxbow Regional Park. Meet at the Alder Shelter (group picnic area A); arrive at the park entrance by 10:15 a.m. to get to the area on time. $2 per participating child, payable at time of program for families (no charge for adults and infant siblings). For childcare centers and other organized groups, payment is required in advance. $5 park entry fee per car, or $7 per bus or 15-passenger vehicle. Suitable for ages 5 to 10. Advance registration required; call 503-797-1650 option 2. Wheelchair accessible by arrangement."

“Water Science Fun”, Tuesday, August 10, 2PM at Ledding Library in Milwaukie. “Try some hands-on water science experiments.” Suggested for ages 4 and up. 

“Creature Feature” with Steve Lattanzi, Tuesday, August 10, 2PM at Capitol Hill Library, Tuesday, August 10, 7PM at Tualatin Lake Commons, 8325 SW Nyberg St in Tualatin, Wednesday, August 18, 11:30 AM, Oregon City Library, and Sunday, August 22, 2PM at Troutdale Library. This is an awesome reptile show! Get there early! 

“Sacred Tibetan Art: The Sand Mandala Project”. August 10–14, Central Library in downtown Portland. (I just learned this was postponed from July.) “Be a part of the mystical experience of the creation of a Tibetan Sand Mandala, a project from the Drepung Loseling monks from South India. Watch as they construct an intricate blueprint in brightly colored sand, invoking the Buddha of Compassion. The monks will be working in the third floor Collins Gallery of Central Library from August 10 to 14, 2010. All ages are welcome to join and to observe, ask questions, meditate, or share this experience with family and friends. Opening Ceremony, Tuesday, August 10, noon–1 p.m. The monks of Drepung Loseling Monastery begin work on their sand mandala with a consecration ceremony of music and multiphonic chanting. Public Talk, Tuesday, August 10, 6:30–7:30 p.m. What is a Sand Mandala? Learn about the purpose, history and philosophy behind this sacred Tibetan art. Closing Ceremony, Saturday, August 14, 3–4 p.m. The sand mandala is blessed by the monks, and then destroyed as the sands are swept to the center. Some sand will be available to audience members. Music, chanting and prayer will accompany the destruction. The remaining sand will be carried in a procession to the Willamette River.” 

"Bubble Painting"
, Wednesday, August 11, 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Central Library, Tuesday, August 17, 3-4:30 p.m. at the Gregory Heights Library, Saturday, August 21, 2010 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. at Albina Library, and Saturday, August 21, 2010 1-2:30 p.m. at Rockwood 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 children 4–8 years.” This is like a kid’s open watercolor studio, and it’s quite fun. 

"Ventriloquist and magician Steve Taylor", Thursday, August 12, 2pm, Ledding Library of Milwaukie.

"Mz. Pearl’s Underwater Revue", Thursday, August 12, 3:30PM at Midland Library (Registration required; call 503.988.5392) and Thursday, August 26, 2PM at the St. John’s Library. “Heather Pearl presents a clown show filled with physical comedy, juggling, magic, dance, and word play. Pearl has performed with Clown Conspiracy, Women Women Walking Tall, Make*A*Circus, the SF Women’s Circus, the Prescott Clowns, Do Jump!, and more recently, Clowns Without Borders and Nomadic Theatre Co. Pearl is “forever grateful” for making an acquaintance with the “red nose” of clowning and all the joy it brings her and her audiences.” 

"Star Party", Thursday, August 12, at Rooster Rock and Stub Stewart State Parks. Every year the Perseid Meteor Shower generally peaks on August 12, so it’s the perfect day for 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.

“Central Library Block Party”, Saturday, August 14, 12-3PM, On S.W. Taylor Street, between S.W. 10th and 11th avenues. “It’s our neighborhood and it’s summer, so we’re having a block party! Come on down to Central Library for an afternoon of fun stuff outdoors. Lions of Batucada (Brazilian style marching samba ensemble) 
Silk and Stone Henna craft 
Bug Petting with Oregon Zoo 
LEGO Store mini-build activity 
Art Media communal art project 
Crafts with The Oregonian Face Painting
Seussical Bouquet crafts with Kathy Karbo
 WE CARE circus skills
AMF Pro 300 Bowling
Altered T-shirt craft: Bring an old Summer Reading T-shirt

“Food Art!”, Saturday, August 14, 11AM-1PM, North Portland Library. “Create characters and whole worlds out of food! Author and Illustrator Saxton Freymann introduced food as the newest art medium with many appetizing children’s books, including: “How Are You Peeling?” and “Food for Thought.” Using Freymann's books for inspiration, we will cut and paste our own distinctive characters out of fun fruits, vegetables and other edibles. Good for parents and children! Taught by author and artist Addie Boswell.” (Only in America, …) 

“Brick Buddies”, Saturday, August 14, 10:30 AM at Beaverton City Library Storytime Room. “Come and make a monthly connection as we create, build and challenge with all things LEGO. Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign-up in person at the Children's Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration begins three weeks before each session.” Suggested for grades one through five.

Not a kid’s program, but many kids would enjoy this: “Catching the Brass Ring-The History of Carousels”, Saturday, August 14, 2PM, Tigard Public Library-Community Room. “Take a trip down memory land as Capital Community Television (CCTV) community producer Darrell Jabin shares his video, "Did you know about Oregon Carousels?". He will talk about the history of carousels and the process of creating these beautiful and historic amusement rides.” 

"2010 Portland Adult Soapbox Derby", Saturday, August 14, 10AM. Mt. Tabor Park Crater Amphitheatre, Mt. Tabor Park, SE 60th and Salmon, Portland. "Watching the race is free!"  And I bet it's a hoot.

"Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery historic tour", Saturday, Aug 14, 10:00 am - 12:00 am. “Embark on a unique history lesson while enjoying the beauty and tranquility of Metro’s Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery. The tour highlights Portland’s founders, early pioneers and nationally recognized figures, as well as interesting headstones and monuments. Explore 30 acres of mature trees and a very special rose garden. Suitable for all ages. Meet at the soldiers’ monument. Suggested donation of $10 goes to headstone restoration and educational programs. Registration not required."

“Big Truck Day”, Saturday, Aug. 14, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Conestoga Recreation Center, 9985 SW 125th Ave., Beaverton, OR, Free. “It's a great hands-on experience for the entire family. Come and admire many types of trucks and vehicles up close. Learn about safety, win prizes, hang out with Geoffrey the Toys’R”Us mascot, and the Chuck E. Cheese mascot, and dance to Victor Johnson's 
music celebration. Many vendors will participate! Parking for this special event is located at Southridge High School or Conestoga Middle School.” Even though the Chuck E. Cheese mascot gives me the heebie-jeebies, this event still sounds pretty cool!

“Arts Festival In The Forest”, August 14 and 15,, 10AM-5PM, Mary S. Young Park, West Linn (located on Highway 43 just two miles from I-205 exit 8), free. “Join us for the eighth annual arts festival in West Linn’s heavily forested park, featuring visual and performing arts. Browse the creative works of professional artists displayed in booths lining forest paths; view a variety of entertaining performers in the cool shade of a fir grove, including the acrobatic A-WOL tree dancers; and feast on fine picnic fare and beverages. It will be centered in the 128-acre park’s picnic area. Parking is plentiful.” Both days at 11AM there is a nature hike with an Oregon State Park Ranger, and the A-WOL Dance Collective will be performing “Aerial Tree Dancing” Saturday at 1:30PM and 4:30PM, and Sunday at 2PM and 4:30PM. Both days there will also be a children’s art station.

“Portland India Festival”, Sunday, August 15, 11AM-9PM, Pioneer Courthouse Square. “India Festival is filled with tastes, sounds and sights of India. ICA will host India Festival on August 15th, 2010 at Pioneer Square. Please be there with your family and friends to get a taste of Indian culture for FREE and get a glimpse of this growing, warm and welcoming community. This year we are celebrating India Festival on the same day as India’s Independence and we expect to surpass previous years’ attendance. Don’t miss out on a memorable event that draws crowds from all over the West Coast!” The sponsors have yet to post a schedule of performances, but there are always dancers, singers, and musicians, as well as food available for purchase from many fabulous restaurants.

“Justin Roberts and the Not Ready For Naptime Players”, Sunday, August 15, 11AM at Mississippi Studios, 3939 N. Mississippi Avenue, Pdx. Tickets: $10; $35 family 4-pack. Justin Roberts is in town playing music from his 7th children’s album, “Jungle Gym”, and as usual it’s consistently good. He’s from Chicago, so I suspect he doesn’t come to Portland often. If your children are fans, they won’t want to miss this chance to see him in person! Ticket information:

“Professor Banjo” "Beginning August 16th – “Start your week off right! Professor Banjo plays at Milagros Boutique (5433 NE 30th Ave., Pdx) every Monday at 11am. Just $3 per walking human.” Professor Banjo plays wonderful old time banjo music. I highly recommend his shows. And he’s an advisor at the Village Free School!

“Nature Detectives”, Monday, August 16, 3:30PM, Hillsboro Main Library. “How can you tell whether animals have been around if you don't actually see them? Look for clues! Become a Nature Detective! Learn which clues to look for and find them on a walk outside. Registration is required.” Suggested for grades 1 through 3. 503-615-6500

"Family Nature Camp – Critters", Tuesday, August 17, 6:30pm - 8:30pm at Tryon Creek State Park. “Find critters in the creek, sing some fun camp tunes, and enjoy the campfire with s'mores for dessert.” All ages with adults. $10/ child, and preregistration is required. 

Slightly Illusional presents “Set Sail”, Tuesday, August 17, 7PM at Tigard Public Library. “Set sail for a high-seas adventure in search of treasure! Join along with Captain Curt and friends as they explore the world of books, magic tricks, puppets, story-telling, and music.” Washington County Libraries booked this show for nearly every branch for their summer reading program. It’s obvious why, because it’s a perfect fit- a show to encourage reading!

“Spiders”, Tuesday, August 17, 6:30PM at Hillsboro Main Library. “Yes, indeed, it is spider season. Their webs are everywhere and they are busily catching thousands of insects. Spiders have some of the most amazing adaptations found in the animal kingdom. Come and learn more about these fascinating creatures.” This is listed as an adult program, but it’s only an hour, it’s free, and chances are many kids would be fascinated without getting dumbed-down material. 

"Clackamas County Fair and Rodeo", August 17-22, in Canby, OR. More here:

"Border Collies International", Wednesday, August 18, 11 a.m and again at 1PM, Gresham Library, Thursday, August 19, 2PM, at St. Johns Library, and Tuesday, August 24, 4PM at Midland Library. “All ages. Greg and his amazing troupe of trained Border Collies perform stunts and sports tricks in this engaging and educational program. Dog lovers of all shapes and sizes will enjoy this high-energy performance.” 

“Cinderella”, a Broadway Rose Theatre children’s production by kids 8-11, will be performed at the Deb Fennel Auditorium in Tigard, August 18-21 at 11AM. All tickets are $8. “A modern twist on a familiar fable. Watch Cinderella and her mischievous fairy godmother outwit two hilarious stepsisters, Repulsa and Obnoxia. Complete with audience interaction, singing, and dancing!”

“Leapin' Louie, juggler, rope tricks and FUNNY”, Thursday, August 19, 9:30am, Gladstone Public Library. “Enjoy famous "Leapin' Louie" whose juggling and rope tricks are only a part of the entertainment.” “The most explosive Lithuanian Jewish Cowboy Juggling Comedian to ever come out of Oregon. Leapin' Louie performs a high energy comedy show featuring cowboy tricks, juggling, acrobatics, music and what-not. He inflames audiences to laughter and wild applause everywhere he plays and that's a lot of wheres because he has appeared at corporate events, festivals, fairs, schools, etc., in twenty-one different nations.” 

"River Fest", August 19-22, Tom McCall Waterfront Park,  just north of the Hawthorne Bridge, free.  “This free, family-friendly festival celebrates life on the river with music, attractions and fun activities. Popular attractions from last year return, including The Freshwater Trust Portland Triathlon, Portland Audubon events, the Festival at South Waterfront, Kayak Tours, and the SOLV Cleanup. We have also added many new and exciting events for the whole family to enjoy. Join us this summer to celebrate the river on the river."

“Glendi Greek Festival”, Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21, 11AM- 10PM, St. John the Baptist Greek Orthodox Church, 14485 SW Walker Road, Beaverton, OR. “Glendi is Greek for celebration! The Glendi is a celebration of ethnic cultures from around the world, right here in Beaverton, Oregon. We want to share our heritages (Greek, Middle Eastern, Russian and Ethiopian), music, traditions, customs and culinary skills with you, our neighbors, families, friends. Get ready to experience mouth-watering ethnic food from around the world, as well as entertainment and children’s activities in an outdoor festival atmosphere. Take a deep breath and enjoy what it means to celebrate “Ethnic Style” with a cup of Mediterranean coffee or frosty frappĂ© at the “Kafenion” (Greek cafĂ©). Savor a delicious pastry or sample imported cheeses, olives and other ethnic foods in our bustling indoor marketplace. Your attendance is warmly welcomed and gives pleasure to the many members of our community who have worked diligently to prepare this 2-day special event for you. Come to the Glendi and partake of these fine foods, pastries, and activities…and you’ll see why you will want to come back year after year.” Mad Science will be there Friday at 2PM performing “Spin, Pop, Boom!”, and there will be pony rides both days from 12-4.

“The Hood River County Fruit Loop Gravenstein Apple Celebration”, August 21-22, Hood River Fruit Loop, “Gravenstein apples are considered "the best" by many for pies, applesauce, desserts, and more. But their season is early and short--Fruit Loop members don't want Northwest residents to miss them! Along with the apples available also find barbecue, lavender and lavender products, cute alpacas and much more. Many farms have picnic areas, too.” 

“Oregon International Air Show”, August 20, 21, and 22, at the Hillsboro Airport. This is a fantastic air show! Even little kids are impressed. I highly recommend it. The Friday night show ends with a special pyrotechnics and fireworks show. A few tips: there are typically very long lines to buy tickets at the gate (which isn’t a total loss- you can certainly still watch the air show) but it’s definitely best to buy tickets in advance. The Max Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport stop is very close. And since you are going to be spending a lot of time staring up into the sky, sun hats or visors are pretty useful, along with sunscreen.

“Beaverton Modular Railroad Club”, Saturday, August 21, 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, and Sunday, August 22, 1PM-5PM. Beaverton City Library Meeting Rooms A & B. “Plan to drop by this weekend and visit with members of the Beaverton Modular Railroad Club. The club will have models set up for viewing and be available to answer questions about this fascinating hobby” 

"Portland Audubon's Birds of Prey", Aug 24, 2010 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm at Leach Botanical Garden, 6704 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, free. “Get up close and personal with birds of prey from Audubon’s Wildlife Care Center. Learn about the unique adaptations that make birds of prey such awesome predators - like what makes a falcon so fast and an owl such a good night hunter. Discover which raptor species make the Portland area their home. You’ll meet the birds up close and learn the roles birds like them have in the wild, and the role the Audubon Society of Portland plays in their survival.”

“Cooper Mountain sunset sit” Thursday, Aug 26, 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm.  “Immerse yourself in the twilight, a time when wildlife is very active. Learn simple but profound techniques to get the most out of a short time spent in nature. Participants gain a bird's-eye perspective of the landscape, seeing more animals and their interactions than any one person can normally see. Suitable for all ages. Meet at nature house. Free.

Festa Italiana Portland, August 26-28, at Pioneer Courthouse Square downtown, free admission. “Festa Italiana celebrates Italian culture and heritage of Italian-Americans in the Portland Metropolitan area. Local Italian-American organizations have united their efforts to produce this unique event with a special invitation to friends of Italy (wannabes) of the local community to share in this celebration. Nearly 300 volunteers, along with several generous sponsors, provide this "labor of love" and contribute to the success of this outstanding celebration.” Highlights include Thursday and Friday at 3PM and Saturday at 11AM, The Carter Family Marionettes from Seattle present “Amore Delle Tre Arance” (Love for Three Oranges). Thursday at 7PM, PSU opera students sing Italian opera and songs. Friday at 1:40, Grape Stomp Competition. Friday at 2:30, Pizza Toss with Felix of Pizzicato Pizza. See the complete schedule here:

August 27-September 6 is the Oregon State Fair! Naturally it will be at the fairgrounds in Salem. Advance tickets in particular are very affordable. It looks like it will be a truly amazing fair, with little chance a child wouldn’t have fun and actually learn something. More here:

“Annual Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival and Barlow Trail Days”, August 27, 28, and 29, Mt. Hood Village, 65000 East US Highway 26, near Brightwood, OR, free. The Mount Hood Huckleberry Festival & Barlow Trail Days celebrates 
the rich bounty of natural resources found in the Northwest and on Mt. Hood. 
It is also a celebration of Native American and Oregon Trail history. The festivities include free historical tours of the Oregon Trail, original and traditional Folk music, arts and crafts, antiques and collectables, historical and natural resource exhibits, and more. One of the highlights is the “World’s Record-Breaking Watermelon Launch” (Saturday afternoon), where catapults and other uniquely designed contraptions launch watermelons and other produce into outer space. There are lots of delicious Huckleberry Pies and Tarts, Huckleberry jams and sauces and a selection of other Wild Berry jams, even fresh Huckleberries. There's a Native American Salmon bake, Native American storytelling, a “Huckleberry Ceremony”, and much, much more including “Great Northwest Music” featuring incredible singer-songwriters all day long, with a “Huckleberry Friday Evening Concert” between 7 p.m. and 10 p.m., a “Huckleberry Saturday Evening Concert” between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. followed by a “Huckleberry Jam (Session)” on between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. There will be something for the whole family! This three-day event is always held during the month of August the weekend before Labor Day Weekend.” Lots of details here:

“The Wizard of Oz”, a nonmusical version, Theatre in the Grove, 2028 Pacific Avenue, Forest Grove, OR, Friday, August 27 at 7PM, Saturday, August 28, at 7PM, Sunday, August 29, at 2:30PM, and Wednesday, September 1, at 7PM. This is an hour long show, and most of the talent on stage and off is provided by children. Tickets only $3. “A clever, entertaining and fast paced dramatization based upon the timeless and exciting L. Frank Baum classic adventure story of young Dorothy who finds herself lost in the strange and magical Land of Oz. Follow Dorothy and her dog Toto as they meet up with the Scarecrow, the Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on their way to see the great and terrible Oz. Adventure, self-discovery, and community are all part of the story.” The Wednesday show takes place during the Forest Grove Farmer’s Market, which is 4-8PM on Main Street between 21st Avenue & Pacific Avenue.

“10th Annual Bug Fest”, Saturday, Aug 28, 11:00 am - 4:00 pm., Tualatin Hills Nature Park, Beaverton. “Bug Fest is a celebration of invertebrates and the important roles they play in our environment. It aspires to challenge preconceived images and engage local citizens in a fun summer event focused on insects and other invertebrates - changing the typical reaction from “oh, gross” to “wow, cool!” Bug Fest combines interactive discovery stations, craft tables and games with a range of activities that help attendees experience these boneless/spineless creatures that make the world go round.  A Bug Lab will focus on dragonflies. This year’s event will also have more live bugs then ever before at numerous discovery stations. In addition to the live bugs at Catch-a-Bug, where you can catch a bug and learn about it before setting it free, you’ll also be able to get up close and personal with bugs at stations that include: Backyard Bugs, Aquatic Invertebrates, ZAP Team (Zoo Animal Presenters), and Metamorphosis Mania. There’s a lot more fun to be had in the Ladybug Meadow where kids can learn more about bugs through buggy games. Around the Interpretive Center, let your creativity run free at spider-themed craft stations and an interactive entertainment stage. We'll have a Bug I.D. Station where an expert will identify a bug you bring from home. (Please note: You must take bugs back home. Please don’t release them in the park!) Parking is available in the Nature Park parking lot and at the overflow lot east of the Nature Park (the northwest corner of 154th and Millikan). The Caterpillar Shuttle will run every 5-10 minutes from the overflow lot to the festivities.”

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Hawthorne

Lighting a birthday candle for the Hawthorne Bridge.
Bohemian Storytelling Tours is offering a new tour, "Happy Birthday Hawthorne",  in honor of the Hawthorne Bridge's 100th birthday.  We found it an eclectic mix of prose poem, history, and engineering insights, with music, theatre, and the occasional sing-along.  I was a little concerned that it wouldn't be appropriate for wiggly young children, but Jasper thoroughly enjoyed it!   There were quite a few other young children on the tour, and they must have enjoyed it too, because none of them were disruptive either.  They still have some kinks to work out  for a large group with their sound system, and I suppose the singer/guitarist could channel his inner diva and try to overcome a lack of adequate amplification.  So  in the meantime it's best to stick close to your guides to catch what they have to share.  But as they doubtless intended, the bridge was the real star of the show.  How often do we take the time to walk across our pedestrian friendly bridges?  To do so is to fall in love.   The Hawthorne Bridge is the oldest vertical lift bridge in operation in the country (the second oldest is the Steel Bridge) and Portland's oldest bridge as well.  So it is indeed a momentous occasion! The tour met at the  Eastbank Esplanade (west of SE Madison and SE Water St.) which is a perfectly delightful park at the east end of the Hawthorne.  It features a couple of places to get down to the water (which some folks on stand up paddle boards out on the Willamette may have taken advantage of), a gorgeous floor map of the entire Willamette, some rocks to climb on, and a lovely Benson Bubbler.  Bohemian Storytelling Tours are definitely worth experiencing!  Occasionally they offer pay-what-you-wish tours. 

The map of the Willamette.
The Hawthorne Bridge being raised for a large boat, earlier this week.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Jasper's print is a prickly pear and a saguaro cactus under the moon and sun.
Artist Colleen Cavin (who recently lead a Paper Marbling workshop) came back to the Central Library to lead a Printmaking workshop.  Once again she figured out how to take an art form that might seem intimidating to approach for the first time, and make it simple enough for young children to do.  But it also gets  professional looking results that would hook any grownup.  She started with a very inexpensive material known as "Scratch-Foam", thin sheets of foam which you might be familiar with from the bottom of meat trays.    For convenience she had small squares of it taped to slightly larger paper with double sided tape.  With a pencil you can simply draw on  the Scratch-Foam to make a printing plate.  Then you roll a brayer in water based block printing ink, roll the brayer onto your printing plate, and you're ready to print.  You take a square of paper, put it on top of the printing plate, and press the side of a pencil over it to transfer the ink.  Then you peel the paper off the plate.  You can print on most any kind of paper. Very simple!   Jasper really wants to do this again.  I was able to find everything used in the workshop at Dick Blick:  Scratch-Foam, Speedball ink, and the same inexpensive brayers (I'm trying the soft ones).  I Googled for a coupon code and saved a little more.  Ms. Cavin will be returning to the Central Library US Bank room on Sunday August 1,  from 1-4PM, for a Bookmaking workshop, to demonstrate how to make a sewn pamphlet–style book and a concertina–style book.  More here:

Enchanted Forest

We have just got to visit the Enchanted Forest every summer, until the sad day Jasper outgrows it.  Our homeschool group visited yesterday.   Even though it's in Salem, it's very much like the city of Portland: a little bit freaky but truly very wholesome.  The founder, Roger Tofte, started construction in 1964, and today there are three generations of his family running the park.  Mr. Tofte himself can often be found around the park, attending to details.  I find it quite impressive that he started such a successful family business based on his own creative genius.  
There are so many wonderful and crazy things about this place, it's hard to know where to begin. It's actually built into the side of a hill in a forest, so most of the park is quite shady.  They really understand that kids like to climb and explore, and there are lots of tunnels, caves,  magical buildings, and wild slides to discover.  Many of the rides are unique.  Admission and ride tickets are comparatively modest, and they gladly buy back unused tickets.  We went last year, and this year I was surprised how many little details we'd missed on our first visit.  Allow yourself lots of time to linger!

In the dwarf's mine.
Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater and Wife
Rip Van Winkle
Part of the completely over the top water and light show!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Great Oregon Steam Up

The Great Oregon Steam Up is this weekend and next! (July 24-25 and July 31- Aug. 1.)  It's very cool.  Especially if you like gizmos or history. There is a cluster of museums here which of course are all open:  the Pacific NW Truck Museum; the Brooks Historical Society; the Oregon Fire Service Museum, Memorial and Learning Center; the Antique Caterpillar Machinery Museum; the Northwest Vintage Car & Motorcycle Museum;   the Pacific Northwest Logging Museum, operating a steam powered sawmill; and the Northwest Blacksmith Association, demonstrating blacksmithing.  Also there is the Willow Creek Railroad, which is a miniature railroad that offers  rides over a mile of track,  the and the Oregon Electric Railway Historical Society Museum, which operates a trolley ride with a stop at their shed.  If you get out there, you will be treated to a fascinating guided tour of their far-flung trolley collection, with streetcars from as far away as Hong Kong, Ireland, and Portugal. (You may be familiar with this organization  as the operators of the Willamette Shore Trolley, between Portland and Lake Oswego.)

Being at the Steam Up is quite an experience.  The lawn is crowded with stationery antique engines, and the steam powered ones are all making different rhythmic "ptooee" noises accompanied by smoke rings.   The steam whistle on the sawmill occasionally lets out a cheerful whistle.  Together it's quite interesting music. At 1:30 each day, there is a parade of mobile antique machinery.  I imagine that if a parent and child decide to make a project together of restoring an old tractor, and they live anywhere in the northwestern states and provinces,  this would definitely be the place to  show it off!  It tends to be hot at the Steam Up, but they actually open at 7AM if you want to beat the heat!  More info here:   

Watch out for  those snowcones!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Knights Of Veritas

We caught the Knights of Veritas today, and it was a really interesting show.  Their director, Eric Slyter, is incredibly passionate and knowledgeable about western style martial arts, as they were really practiced in Europe in the middle ages.  His presentation included a very thorough introduction to historically accurate fighting techniques and armor.  After the presentation, kids were given the opportunity to try on some of the armor and handle a sword.   Pop culture depictions of knights and armor turn out to be much less fascinating than the reality!  They have one more area performance for the summer, Saturday July 24, 2PM in the Community Room at Tigard Public Library.

First Tomato!

Jasper picked his first tomato from his garden today!  If you garden, you understand what a landmark event this is.  It was only a tiny sungold cherry tomato, but Jasper was ecstatic!  He actually ate it.  His first tomato ever!  I'm positive that growing it himself, and understanding what a tomato is and where it comes from, really helped him decide it wasn't too weird to taste.  

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bonny Slope Blueberries

Bonny Slope Blueberries is one of those unique hidden gems every Portland neighborhood seems to have.  A mom in our homeschool group invited us here last summer, and I think it's becoming a summer ritual.  It's definitely hidden very well, tucked away just 6 miles from the center of Beaverton down a residential street you'd probably never notice.  It's pure blueberry joy!  Right now the picking is fantastic and the berries are $2 a pound.  If the owners are there, you're in luck- they're nice people you'd like to meet.  If not, they ask people to weigh their berries and pay on the honor system. How often does that happen in this day and age?   More info here:

Monday, July 19, 2010

Captain Bogg & Salty Free Concert!

Captain Bogg and Salty are doing a free concert this Sunday, July 25, at 6PM in Sellwood Park.  How awesome is that?!?  Oh no, don't tell me you don't know who they are?  They're only the coolest pirate musicians ever!   Their music is definitely for kids, and it's very funny, well crafted, and can be surprisingly educational.  (Yes, pirates are nasty, violent criminals, and they leave that part out!  But the customary government on a pirate ship may have been the world's first example of a true democracy, where each man, and occasionally woman, really had an equal voice.  Definitely a worthy topic for a history lesson!)    After listening to all of their four albums, naturally we wanted to fill our lives with yet more pirate music.  (Yes, this is an actual genre!)  And guess what?  After Captain Bogg and Salty, all the rest are tragically disappointing.  Last year I thought they were clearly the best thing about the Portland Pirate Festival, for which I forked over a hefty admission.  What could be better than a free outdoor show?  If you can't make it, be sure to check out their albums, especially "Bedtime Stories for Pirates" and "Pegleg Tango".

Paper Marbling

Jasper got a chance to try paper marbling at the Central Library with artist Colleen Cavin.  It was great fun, and surprisingly easy!  Inks are dripped carefully onto the surface of the water and then swirled.  A clean sheet of paper is placed on top of the inks,  left there briefly to absorb them, then lifted off.  The paper is blotted dry with a paper towel, then hung to dry.  Both adults and children who stopped by had a marvelous time with this mesmerizing process. 

 The same simple paper marbling kits are available at local Art Media stores here.  In contrast to other marbling kits I've seen, this one is water-based, and no other chemicals are needed beyond the inks themselves.  A little ink goes a long, long way.  Ms. Cavin is a delightful woman who clearly is passionate about paper arts.  She will be back for a Printmaking workshop on July 25 and a Simple Book Making workshop on August 1.  More info here:

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Columbia County Fair

That exhilarating top of the ferris wheel feeling!  That's what a perfect Portland summer day gives you.  The day you find you're finally tall enough to ride in the bumper cars!  Today we checked out the Columbia County Fair.  It was just big enough to be delightful and just small enough to never feel crowded.
From the ferris wheel we could look down and see the bulls and wild horses waiting for their turns in the rodeo.  We also got to see "The Reluctant Dragon" by Dragon Theatre Puppets (always awesome)
We watched the fire department in a training exercise, putting out a car fire, and answering questions from small aspiring firefighters.  They made sure to say "firefighters" and not "firemen" because two of them were women.  
We checked out the demonstration gardens (a big favorite with Jasper and surprisingly good) and the livestock. He took a bazillion picures of bunnies and chickens.  Mostly blurry bunny butts!   Our favorite critters were the tiny chicks.
And of course we rode the giant slide!