Sunday, October 31, 2010

November Happenings

This is a list I create monthly of free and low cost events all around the greater Portland area. I look for events that have some educational or cultural value.   I create this list for the homeschool group I belong to, which has kids 8 and under, but most of the events have wider appeal.  Please doublecheck any event you plan on attending because mistakes and typos do happen!  I keep my ear to the ground for more events throughout the month and post them on this blog when I find them.

This is the time of year that is excellent for planting trees. SOLV is an organization that coordinates year-round volunteer opportunities to help the environment, and they have many tree planting events scheduled in the next few months. It is best to doublecheck with them when registering to make sure a specific event is kid-friendly, as some are more than others. More information here:

"Professor Banjo”, “Every Monday at 11am - Start your week off right! Professor Banjo plays at Milagros Boutique (5433 NE 30th Ave.) Just $3 per person (no charge for "babes in arms")”  He’s awesome! 

Cosmos 30th Anniversary Screening”, Tuesdays at 6PM November 2, 16, 23, 30, and December 7, Intel Hawthorn Farm Campus, Auditorium is in HF3, 5200 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Hillsboro, OR. Presented by the Portland Center for Inquiry. “Come celebrate the 30th anniversary of COSMOS by attending this seven-week screening of Carl Sagan’s breakthrough science show. Thirty years ago today, millions of Americans sat down in their living room and watched a revolution in television programming: the first episode of Carl Sagan’s masterpiece, COSMOS. Written by Sagan, Ann Druyan, and Steven Soter, the 13-part series won an Emmy and a Peabody Award, and was the most watched PBS series in the U.S. for 20 years. Since then, COSMOS has gone on to reach almost a billion viewers in over 60 countries, and it’s still the most widely-watched PBS series in the world. The series transformed our understanding of ourselves and our place in the cosmos. It taught us some physics, some history, some chemistry and biology, and lots of astronomy, but it’s greatest gift was teaching us—us Earthlings sitting at home watching television—how to feel at home in the cosmos.” RSVP on the Portland CFI Meetup Calendar.

Presto the Magician”, Wednesday, November 3, 4PM at Hillsdale Library (free tickets for seating will be available 30 minutes prior to the program), and Thursday, November 11, 4PM at Midland Library. “Intrigue and wonder await. Presto The Magician brings magic, comedy, and lots of audience participation to your library!”

More Than A Slave”, Wednesday, November 3, 7-8PM, Forest Grove Library. “Presentation by Hannah Hurdle-Toomey featuring her recently published book, More than a Slave, a biography about her father who was born into slavery and emancipated in 1865. The presentation will focus on the Rev. Andrew Jackson Toomey's journey from enslavement to freedom and fulfillment of his aspirations.” This is a program for adults, but could be such an amazing learning opportunity for kids who can listen quietly, that I wanted to mention it. Apparently Ms. Hurdle-Toomey was born when her father was 87, and now resides in Forest Grove.

Hands On Science For Homeschoolers”, Thursday, November 4 and Thursday, November 18, 1:30PM, Ledding Library in Milwaukie. They are recommending these for kids 5 and up, but younger kids may enjoy them as well.

"Tommie Twimble and Leapin' Louie", November 5 and 6 at 7:30PM and November 7th at 2PM, doors open 1/2 hour before show, Hip Bone Studio, 1847 E, Burnside, $12 adults and $7 kids.  "Local circus characters perform their solo acts mixing classic physical comedy with the “new vaudeville”. Thomas Schroyer plays his silent Chaplinesque character, Tommy Twimble in his new one man show “Tommy Twimble Gets a Job”.  David Lichtenstein performs his cowboy comedy show a mix of his new material and Leapin’ Louie classics.  Please RSVP in advance by emailing: Include your name & how many in your party. Tickets will be purchased at the door but your reservation will be held."   More here:

Zip Zap Zoom!”, November 5,6,12, and 13, A-WOL Dance Collective, 2303 N Randolph. Pdx. Tickets start at $15 for adults and kids under 12 pay their age. “The idea: From a local student’s imagination – Zip Zap Zoom – right to the stage (and flying through the air above)! Portland’s performance treasure, A-WOL Dance Collective, is about to dazzle local audiences with a high-flying performance straight from the pictures in a comic book and inspired by a local 5th grader’s contest submission! Visualize Cirque Du Soleil meets Cat-Woman and Bat-Girl – staged in an intimate warehouse setting mirroring the blueprints of Gotham City!

The characters: “Zip,” “Zap,” and “Zoom” are three sisters who find themselves caught in a battle of good versus evil. They are joined by 10 other fantastic female superheroes and villains: “Ice” and “Fire,” Tornado Girl,” “Out of this World-Girl,” “Raven,” “Elasti-Woman,” and many others – in their debut appearance but destined for comic world fame! A-WOL’s performers bring the characters to life while flying through the air, battling on the ground, and combining dance and artistry with storytelling and an incredible lightshow.

The performance: will catch you up in a world of fantasy. The all-ages show is exciting, affordable, edgy, and sure to please kids and adults with professional stunts and an unintimidating atmosphere.” A-WOL is amazing and they offer classes for children.

Northstar Native American Dance Company”, Friday, November 5, 4:30PM, at Midland Library, and Saturday, November 13, 12PM at North Portland Library. “Northstar Dance Company is an organization that honors Native American culture by building awareness of traditional and contemporary musical expressions. They present Native American music, song, composition and dance, showcasing artistic collaboration between native and non-native performers. This performance offers an exciting combination of dance, movement, music and storytelling, while educating the audience about the rich Native American traditions.”

Multnomah Arts Center Fall Open House”, Friday, November 5, 5- 8:30PM, Multnomah Arts Center, 7688 SW Capitol Hwy, Pdx. “Please join us for this annual community event. Enjoy performances, art demonstrations, and hands-on art activities for all ages. See what’s new at the Multnomah Arts Center, and celebrate our arts community. 5 - 7 pm: MAC Instructors’ Show Artists’ Reception, 
5 - 7 pm: Hands-on art activities and demos, 
6 - 8:30 pm: Family Clay Night, 
7:15 - 8:30 pm: Faculty Music Recital. 
Events and activities are FREE and open to the public.”

Yvonne’s Gumbo of Stories”, Saturday, November 6, 10:30AM, Sellwood-Moreland Library. “Through interactive songs, stories and folktales combined with American Sign Language and native Cajun French, Yvonne transforms the world into a magical stage. Join Yvonne and her Teeny Tiny Storytime Theatre as she shares folktales from the bayous of Louisiana and around the world. This program will activate imagination and creativity, encourage social development through teamwork, enrich language and literacy, and introduce diversity and cultural awareness.”

Art In Action- A Program For All Ages”, Saturday, November 6, 1PM-5PM, Tigard Public Library-Community Room. “Watch watercolors, acrylics, beads and more transform into works of art. Tigard artists will answer your questions as they fashion new creations and display recent works. A Make Your Own Masterpiece station will be available for younger artists.”

Come Fall For Rats,” Saturday, November 6, 11AM- 5PM, Washington County Fairgrounds in Hillsboro, Cloverleaf Building. Adults, $5, kids 3 and up $3, under 3 are free. “"Come Fall For Rats" Rat Show is today from 11:00am to 5:00pm in the Cloverleaf Building. Meet breeders and rescues, purchase and adopt rats. Rat merchandise also for sale for rats and their people. Many rat fanciers with years of experience in rat care will be on hand to answer questions. Learn about the general care of rats, the club standards, and have fun with pet classes such as the kissiest rat, best costume, and longest tailed rat.”

Newt Day”, Saturday, November 6, 12PM-4PM, Tualatin Hills Nature Park Interprative Center, 15655 SW Millikan Way, Beaverton. Admission is $1 or two cans of food per person. “Celebrate autumn at Newt Day in November, a family-friendly event that provides educational and experiential opportunities for participants to learn about the autumnal changes in nature! Discover some of the amazing natural events that happen in the forest during the fall months. Activities and other offerings provide motivation for participants of all ages to explore nature and to discover the wonders of fall in the out-of-doors.” This is a not to be missed opportunity to see many reclusive salamanders up close!

Green Walk at Hoyt Arboretum”, Saturday, November 6, 10AM at 4000 SW Fairview Blvd, Pdx. “Enjoy the last of the fall color with the yellows of ginkgos and larch. These leisurely walks last 1 to 1.5 hours and are appropriate for adults and families. No preregistration is required.”

Portland Orchid Society Show and Sale”, Saturday, November 6, 10AM-5PM, and Sunday, November 7, 10AM-4PM, Doubletree Lloyd Center Exhibit Hall, 1000 NE Multnomah St., Pdx. Admission $5 for ages 12 and up, $4 for seniors, and kids under 12 free. A $2 off adult admission coupon is here: “The show will include the Pacific Northwest Marketplace, featuring a great selection of local garden, food, beverage and craft vendors.” 

American Indian Symbols and Mask Making”, Sunday, November 7, 1:30-3:30PM, at Capitol Hill Library. “Learn about Northwest Coast Native American culture through masks. Handcrafted masks were used by tribes for various purposes; masks were worn during ceremonies, given as gifts or used for medicinal purposes. Participants will create their own mask while artist Maranee Sanders tells stories and shares symbolism.” Registration required; call 503-988-5385.

Scrap Heap Puppet Laboratory”, Sunday, November 7, 1:30-3PM, Rockwood Library, and Thursday, November 11, 3-4:30PM, at Holgate Library. “Join the Mudeye Puppet Company in their never-ending mission to make puppets out of salvaged materials! In this workshop you will bring your own creatures to life from cardboard boxes, toilet paper rolls and bike tubes. Make them walk, talk and fly under the master tutelage of Mudeye Director Bruce Orr. All materials provided.”

Go, Dog. Go!”, Monday, November 8, 12PM, Portland Center for the Performing Arts, Antoinette Hatfield Hall Rotunda Lobby, 1111 SW Broadway, Pdx, free. Seating is limited, so I’d advise you to get there early. “Northwest Children’s Theatre presents excerpts from its award-winning musical,_ Go, Dog. Go! It’s a fun-filled world of doggy delight with crooning canines that dance and drive. Like a popup book that comes to life, these dogs delve in with gusto! A talented actor and some “howling” tunes make this performance a tail-wagging good time. There may be some extra delights to surprise you! Most enjoyed by ages 4 and up.”

Art Works!”, Tuesday, November 9, 3:30-5PM, Tualatin Public Library. “Have you ever wondered how picture book artists make their artwork? This program offers an introduction to art techniques using some of literature's most beloved picture book authors. Each session will introduce kids to an art concept, a story that demonstrate it, and art supplies that will allow kids to explore their creativity. This month lean about lines: thin lines, thick lines, curved lines, and much more!” Suggested for kids 5-10.

Holocaust Remembrance”, Tuesday, November 9, 7-8:30PM, Tigard Public Library-Community Room. “On the 73rd anniversary of Kristallnacht, the first nationwide Nazi pogrom against the Jews of Germany, the Tigard Library will host local Holocaust survivors who will speak about their experiences under Nazi persecution.” This is another program intended for adults that could be an amazing learning opportunity for kids who can listen quietly, if you feel they are ready to learn about this part of our history, while firsthand witnesses are still around to tell about it.

Sacred Tibetan Art: The Sand Mandala Project”, November 9-29, The Collins Gallery at the Central Library in downtown Portland. This has been rescheduled for the second time, apparently due to visa issues. I am really hoping it will actually happen this time, because it sounds really interesting. More information about the lama artists and their sand mandalas can be found here: and the library has information on the schedule of events here:

Once There Was…”, Wednesday, November 10, 4PM, Fairview-Columbia Library, Saturday, November 13, 11AM, Albina Library, and Saturday, November 13, 2:30PM, Capitol Hill Library (free tickets for this performance will be available at 2PM). “And so the stories begin! Join Anne-Louise, accompanied by her able assistant Prince Bob, as she spins tales and sings songs that will leave you exhilarated, joyful, and raring to go home and tell stories yourself! Add in guitar, ukulele, nose flute, accordion and yodeling and you will be part of a unique and unforgettable experience.” Anne-Louise Sterry is a beloved local storyteller extraordinaire. More about her here:

Singing In The Harvest”, Wednesday, November 10, 4PM at Kenton Library ,Thursday, November 11, 10:30AM at the Central Library, and Thursday, November 11, 4PM at Hollywood Library. Please note that all three of these shows have limited seating and they will be giving out free tickets 30 minutes prior to the start of the show, so be sure to get there early! “Equipped with some hula hoops, a ukulele, and a suitcase full of simple props, the Harmonica Pocket will celebrate the harvest. This interactive performance gets young and old alike singing American folk tunes including Over the River and Through the Woods, Turkey in the Straw, and She'll Be Coming Round the Mountain. Dance, finger plays, a waltz with a pumpkin and zany skits tie this program up into a thoughtful, playful package.” Harmonica Pocket is a Seattle-based kid’s music band that makes good music. I think you’ll like them.

Native American Storytelling”, Wednesday, November 10, 6:30PM, Gregory Heights Library. “Ed Edmo, a Native American with Shoshone-Bannock-Nez Perce tribal affiliation, is an acclaimed poet, performer, traditional storyteller and lecturer on Northwest tribal culture. Linda Meanus, an elder of the Warm Springs Tribe, is a traditional dancer, accomplished regalia designer, seamstress and beader. They will share tales that are based on the geography, history and culture of the area around Celilo Falls in the Columbia River Gorge.” Learn more about Mr. Edmo here:

Tall Trees and Toadstools”, Thursday, November 11, 9AM -12PM. Hikes are free for members of the Forest Park Conservancy. If you are not a current member, please join FPC or renew your membership today. Non-members are encouraged to join (only $35/year), but are also welcome to participate at a cost of $10 per person per hike. You can submit registration fees online, or bring cash or check to the hike. This is a hike through and ancient old growth forest which is owned by the Forest Park Conservatory and is not part of the publicly owned Forest Park. It’s a three mile hike, and the first and last mile are over an old logging road to access the old growth forest. Along the way, you will learn all about forest ecology and see lots of mushrooms.” Register online:

November 11 is Veterans’ Day! An exhaustive list of festivities across Oregon honoring our nation’s veterans can be found at:

A Tribute To Veterans”, Saturday, November 7, 3PM, Portland’s Memorial Coliseum, Free admission and free parking. A Tribute to Veterans is an appreciation event of Remembering America’s Heroes and the celebration of the Memorial Coliseum’s 50th Anniversary at the Memorial Coliseum Sunday, November 7, 2010. The night will feature “America's Got Talent” magician US Army Medic Scott Anderson (Iraq & Afghanistan) and The Hotshots Tap Dancers. Also featured are some of Portland's best talents including The Brown Sisters, Pastor Richard Probasco, the Dennis Mitchell Band with “The Kingsmen” , and many others. Two famous WWII Veterans will be honored and recognized during the show:

 90 year old Tuskegee Airman Alex Jefferson (last living Ex-POW). There are only 93 Tuskegee Airmen living and only a handful still travel. Alex is flying in from Detroit, Michigan for the show.
 Leo Champagne , WWII, Marines, is the Last Living Flag Raiser on Iwo Jima (1st Flag). A 42 Marine platoon assaulted Mt. Suribachi. Leo's commanding officer ordered him to carry the American Flag in his pack and to raise it when Mt Suribachi was secured. He dug up a flag pole with a Japanese Flag on it and attached the American Flag. He and 3 other Marines raised it. A commanding officer ordered a 2nd larger flag to be raised. The 2nd flag raising photo became very famous as did the 6 flag raisers. Out of the 42 Marines who assaulted the Mountain, only 11 made it off the island and he is the last one living. Lee is flying in from Orlando, Florida.

 The Blackfeet Veterans Honor Guard will present the colors. They wear Blackfeet war bonnets and uniforms and are the most requested color guard in the US. They presented the colors at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier in Washington DC on Memorial Day. They are driving down from Browning, Montana. Other Performers in the show include the Mt Hood Community College Jazz Band, Kells Pipes & Drums , 500 choir students from several local high schools, OSU's The Meistersingers, Canby High's Marching Band , 11 year old singer Hailey Kilgore, John English “The voice”, Dennis Marcellino of “The Tokens”, Two Sisters & a Mr. , The Taptations & Malinda Buckles, Paul & Gerrutha Greenidge, Leanne Miller , and MC Ken Buckles. 
Let’s pack the Memorial Coliseum to prove to businesses and corporations how important it is to Honor Veterans and current Military personnel. Please attend. Bring the Family.”

Estacada ‘Proud to be an American’ Veterans Day Celebration
” “Official Veterans Day Breakfast at Estacada High School 6am-11am, Annual 'Proud to Be an American Motorcycle Ride' in honor of all US 
Veterans and Fallen Heroes. The 2010 ride will be especially dedicated in 
the honor of our Fallen Patriot Guard Rider and Veteran Fred Brehony. Parade 11:00 am. All American Lunch Following the parade. Veterans eat FREE! Estacada Veterans Day Ceremony Begins at 12 Noon (Includes USAF Flyover). Annual Veterans Day Country Music Fest and ‘Tribute to the Troops 
Dance’ Featuring the Concrete Cowboys! Spaghetti Dinner.” More info here:

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

Mudeye Puppets Presents: Bike Trike Spoketacular”, Saturday, November 13, 11AM at St. Johns Library, and Saturday, November 13, 4PM, at Holgate Library. “Air-Rick, the inflatable car salesman, dreams of a Spoketacular bicycle that can take him far away from his dreary drudgery. Unfortunately, bikes these days do not quite fit his plastic body! Therefore, he embarks on a perilous quest to seek Bikey Spikey, the bike-building, half unicorn, half pegasus Unisus! Join Air-Rick on his mission as he meets a cast of colorful characters in this interactive, all ages musical puppet performance. The story includes important lessons about creative reuse and bicycling. Stick around after the show to meet Air-Rick, Bikey Spikey and many other Mudeye Puppet Company characters, all of which are made entirely out of recycled materials.” Mudeye rocks.

"Weekend Nature Workshop:  Bark Up A Tree!",  Saturday, November 13, 10AM-12PM, Leach Botanical Garden Manor House, 6704 SE 122 Ave., Pdx.  "Exploring a different theme each month, participants discover some of nature's secrets and take home a related craft project. Second Saturday of the month. Ages 7 - 12. Bark up a tree! With the leaves gone, discover all the different kinds of beautiful bark in the garden and learn why bark is important to the health of the tree and the critters of the forest. $8 ($5 for members of Leach Garden Friends.)"  Preregister on their website:

Mushroom ID Clinic”, Saturday, November 13, 12PM-2PM, Estacada Public Library, Free. “Need help identifying mushrooms found on your hunt? Bring your catch and ask the expert. Hosted by Jake Hurlbert, MS, Pacific Northwest Mycological Society.”

Brick Builders”, Saturday, November 13, 10:30-11:30PM, Beaverton City Library Storytime Room. “Come and make a connection as we create, build and challenge with all things LEGO. Registration is required. Please phone (503)350-3600 to register or sign-up in person at the Children's Desk on the first floor of the library. Registration for each session begins one month before the program.” Suggested for grades 1-5.

"Portland Youth Philharmonic Presents Prelude Concert", Sunday, November 14, 4PM, Skyview high School, 1300 NW 139th St.,  Vancouver, WA.   $10 adults and $8 seniors and students.  "Features the Conservatory Orchestra and Wind Ensemble conducted by Larry Johnson and the Young String Ensemble conducted by Carol Sindell. Highlights include: WAGNER Prelude to Act I from Lohengrin • DEBUSSY Prelude to Afternoon of a Faun."

Oregon's Greatest Natural Disasters”, Wednesday, November 17, 7-8PM, Tigard Public Library-Community Room. “Local author and hiker extraordinaire William Sullivan tells the dramatic story of the floods, earthquakes, forest fires, eruptions and tsunamis that have shaped Oregon and impacted its people over the past 13,000 years. Sullivan also will discuss the impact that we are having on the planet and what might be in store for Oregon.” This program is intended for adults, but might have your child completely riveted.

A Taste of Asia: Stories From The Far East”, Thursday, November 18, 4PM, Belmont Library. “Travel to far off Asia and visit Japan, Korea, China and Singapore through stories told by professional teller Alton Chung. Experience these diverse lands through their folktales, stories and legends. Find out what happens when stories are stuffed into a small bag for too long, discover the magic in a pear tree, and experience the majesty of the great Dragon King of the Eastern Sea. These traditional and sometimes humorous tales are appropriate for children age 5 and up.”

Gem Faire”, Friday, November 19, 12-PM-7PM, Saturday, November 20, 10AM-6PM, and Sunday, November 21, 10AM-5PM, Oregon Convention Center, Exhibit Hall E, 777 NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Admission good for reentry all three days is $7, children under 12 are free. This is both a sale for the bead and jewelry trade, and for rocks and minerals. Local rock and gem clubs will be among their over 100 exhibitors.

Tapestry of Tales”, Saturday, November 20, Multnomah County Library is hosting 7 of these events featuring nationally famous storytellers. Bil Lepp will perform 11AM at the Central Library (free tickets will be given out beginning at 10:30), and again at 2PM at Kenton Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM). “An award-winning storyteller, author and recording artist, Bil is a National Parenting Publications Awards Honors Winner and has received a Parents’ Choice Approved award. Recommended for ages 5 and up.” More here: Antonio Rocha will perform at 11AM the Midland Library (free tickets will be given out at 10:30), and again at 2PM at Troutdale Library. “Antonio's unique solo shows of stories and mime have been performed from Singapore to Hawaii and many places in between. Recommended for ages 5 and up.” More here: Charlotte Blake Alston will perform at the North Portland Library at 11AM (free tickets will be given out at 10:30) and again at 2PM at Woodstock Library (free tickets will be given out at 1:30PM). “The recipient of numerous honors, including the prestigious Pew Fellowship In The Arts, Charlotte breathes life into traditional and contemporary stories from the African and African American oral and cultural traditions. Recommended for ages 5 and up.” More here: Finally there will be a “Tellabration and Finale”, 7-9:30PM, at the First Unitarian Church, 1011 S.W. 12th Ave., Pdx. This will feature all three performers. “Communities around the world gather on the same day to celebrate the art of storytelling. Recommended for ages 8 and up. Admission is free. This performance will have sign language interpreters. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.” More information about all these events here:

Pretty Little Folded Paper Trinkets”, Saturday, November 20, 1-3PM, St. Johns Library (registration required, call 503-988-5397) and Saturday, November 27, 11AM-1PM, North Portland Library. “Make your own gifts this year with artist Colleen Cavin. Using decorative papers, this program will allow you to create crafts including German-bell paper ornaments, origami boxes, small secret envelopes, woven paper hearts, and other small projects that will make perfect presents.” Colleen Cavin is amazing, and her workshops are highly recommended.

Mz. Pearl’s Variety Show”, Saturday, November 20, 2-3PM, Gregory Heights Library. “Stilt walker, juggler, clown, and magician, the multi-talented Heather Pearl fills any stage and illuminates every event. Join Mz. Pearl as she weaves her skills together by performing a solo clown show filled with physical comedy, dance and word play. The audience is REALLY involved in Mz. Pearl’s show; in their seats, as volunteers, and in a mini-workshop at the end.”

"Holly Jolly Hullabaloo", November 26- December 19th, Fridays at 7PM, Saturdays and Sundays at 2PM and 4PM, Theater!Theatre!  3430 SE Belmont St., Pdx., Free!  "The Holly Jolly Hullabaloo! is based on the grand tradition of British Panto. This year JANE offers our version of "Hansel and Gretel". "With Hansel and Gretel hungry and lost in the forest, they search for the path back home, but they're not the only "lost" people looking for a way out. With silly songs and sillier dances - a lot happens in an hour!  Nationally known, PAMPTA award winning songwriter Greg Paul applies his talent to clever lyrics and catchy tunes the audience will be singing all year long! The book by local writer Kim Bogus incorporates jokes for kids, jokes for adults and swirls various children's, adventure and horror stories together into a fun and frivelous tale."

Raven Steals the Sun”, Sunday, November 21, 1PM at Holgate Library, Saturday, November 27, 1:30PM and again at 3PM at Woodstock Library (they are planning to give out free tickets to both performances beginning at 1PM). “The world was dark and cold because the sun, moon and stars were locked in a box. Based on a Native American tale, this play tells how Raven the trickster brought light and warmth to the world. Created and performed by Emily Alexander of Tears of Joy Theatre. After the show, the instructors will lead an audience participant play titled Coyote Gets Fire.”

Kids in Nature: Getting Ready for Winter”, Sunday, November 21, 10AM-11:30AM, Tryon Creek State Park. $10 per child. “Animals and plants are both getting ready for winter. Explore the park to learn about some of the special adaptations of our winter residents and make a habitat map to help you remember what you discovered. Kids in Nature is a year round monthly program for children ages 4 – 7 accompanied by an adult. Activities include age appropriate science lessons, stories and hand-on creations.” Preregistration is required:

Thanksgiving Walk At Oxbow”, Sunday, November 21, 10:30AM- 12:30PM, boat ramp at Oxbow Regional Park, free with park entry fee of $5 per vehicle. Take time to enjoy and celebrate the simple gifts of nature at Oxbow Regional Park with Metro naturalist Dan Daly, Terry Kem from Deerdance School, Elisabeth Neely and others. Open your senses while walking along the Sandy River and notice how wildlife respond to the changing season. Then gather around the campfire as naturalists share the Thanksgiving address passed down by the Iroquois Nation. This is a simple and moving way to express appreciation for our connections to nature. Hot drinks provided. Advance registration required; call 503- 797-1650 option 2 or register online at

Decorative Decoupage Boxes”, Saturday, November 27, 11AM-4PM, Gresham Library. “Artist Shanon Schollian will show you how to decorate small boxes using decoupage, an art or craft form that entails gluing paper cutouts onto an object. Schollian creates art with the notion that if something is unsightly it should be covered, and if something is unimportant it should be made fancy. The finished boxes are great for keepsakes or gift giving.”

LEGO® Construction Zone”, Sunday, November 28, 1:30 PM to 3:30 PM, Tigard Public Library - Puett Room. “Drop in to work on your creations with other LEGO® fans. We'll supply the building blocks; you bring your creativity.” Suggested for ages 5 and up.

"National Danish Performance Team" The National Danish Performance Team (NDPT) will visit Portland from Sunday, November 21 through Sunday November 28, 2010. 
Throughout the week, they will give workshops at various locations in Portland. The full performance, open to the public, will be Sunday, 11/28/2010, at 2pm at Lakeridge High School, Lake Oswego. Adults $10/, Students & Children $5, Family Admission (2 adults and 2 or more children) $25.  
For more information and for tickets to the Portland performance, call Aase at 503 977-0275.[a28136].aspx

Open Studio Build Night at Mudeye Puppets”, Tuesday, November 30, 5:30-7:30PM, free. They will teach you how to make rad puppets out of trash! “Come be Mudeye masters! Wear clothes you don’t mind getting messy and we’ll teach you some tricks of the trade. Open Studio Night is Free. Please RSVP if you plan on coming. Email or call 503-805-0291. Children and friends are welcome! Our address is: 6635 N. Baltimore Ave, Suite 237 Portland, OR 97203 It's tricky to navigate the building. Please call if you get lost!” Kids can help make puppets, sets or props to be used in their productions.

Jewish Stories and Folktales”, Tuesday, November 30, 4PM, Hillsdale Library. Free tickets will be given out beginning at 3:30. “Combining puppets, storytelling and lots of laughter, master storyteller and dramatic arts instructor Devorah Spilman shares traditional cultural stories. These wild, whimsical and uplifting tales from the Jewish tradition are brought to life in this inspirational and educational program.”

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lake View Farms

Today our homeschool group took a trip to Lake View Farms, where soggy weather did not deter our kids from having a blast.  They have a wonderful train ride to the pumpkin patch, where the kids had as much fun racing around with wheelbarrows as picking out pumpkins.  The return trip was by boat.  The boat ride was not all smooth sailing, however, as our boat was attacked by a sea serpent and a giant shark!  West siders love this place and make sure to come every fall.  

More Events This Weekend

"Banks Trailhead Opening", Friday, October 29, 11AM, Sunset Park, on Main St. (Route 47) just south of Route 26 and just north of Route 6.  "Join us for a free public event in the town of Banks (western Washington County). The final trailhead and trail section is finished, making the Banks-Vernonia State Trail complete from here to the Columbia County town of Vernonia, 21 miles northwest.
10 a.m. -- Event parking opens at Sunset Park in Banks.
11 a.m. -- Speakers, ribbon-cutting, snacks at trailhead.
Event is free, but please bring a canned food donation for the Columbia and Washington County food banks."

"Dia De Los Muertos", Friday, October 29, 5:45PM- 8:45PM, Vernon Elementary School, 2044 NE Killingsworth, Pdx. Free admission. "Honor Mexican tradition and celebrate community with bi-lingual performances by Tears of Joy Puppet Theatre (“When Animals Were People” and “Onion Skin Soup”). Music by Nuestro Canto. Plus food, art activities, and student dance performances. All ages."

"Society of American Magicians Presents:  A Bewitching Night of Magic", Friday, October 29, 7:30PM, Friendship Masonic Lodge, 5626 NE Alameda St.  (at NE Sandy Blvd and NE 57th Ave.), Adults $7, Kids under 12 $5, Family $20.  "A stellar lineup of local magicians with an evening of Magical Mysteries."

"Mudeye Puppet Company Halloween Special Show and Creature Making Workshop", Sunday, October 31, 10AM- 1PM, 6635 N Baltimore Ave, Pdx. $5 kids, $8 adults. "Gourdy Pumpernickel's Harvest Surprise,  followed by a creature making workshop and music from the Red Yarn Puppet Band. It's harvest season and time to go pick pumpkins with Gourdy! In this show, we wrestle with rapping weeds, rock out with an all vegetable band, and build the amazing scraptractorcycle. Learn about gardening, composting and battling banana slugs with songs and jokes to boot! Come in costume! Appropriate for all ages. "

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hand Made Noodles

Making noodles is one of Jasper's favorite things to help with in the kitchen!  We make a simple dough without measuring, roughly two eggs for each three cups of flour, a little salt, and just enough water for the dough to come together.  It must be kneaded thoroughly so that the dough springs back when you poke it, and  then left to rest for about 20 minutes.  Then it's ready to crank!  (There are endless possible variations, including using whole wheat flour, herbs, a little lemon zest, maybe some squid ink if your child is learning about marine biology...)  We started doing this together when it occurred to me one day that the pasta machine reminded me of some of Jasper's playdough toys.  Noodles can also be made the way my grandma did, by rolling the dough flat with a rolling pin, and cutting the noodles with a knife or pizza wheel.  We like to throw the noodles into a pig pot of chicken soup.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Clackamette Gem and Rock Show

Cracking open a geode.
One of Jasper's homeschooling friends has recently become very interested in rocks and minerals, and this seems to have inspired Jasper to become super excited about them as well.  I knew I had to take him to the Clackamette Gem and Rock Show happening this weekend in Canby.  A very enthusiastic crowd was gathered there.  It's easy to see how so many people could become  passionate about seeking out the beauty in nature by becoming rock collectors.  The Clackamette Mineral and Gem Club, sponsors of the show, invite rockhounds of all ages to join them and participate in rock hunting field trips.  Several of their member displays were put together by kids who are rockhounds.

Jasper's favorite vendor by far was The 3rd Rock, a Gaston OR business specializing in minerals and fossils.  DeWayne Lundmark, one of the owners, helped Jasper crack open his own geode.  He took the time to tell Jasper all about the small rocks that Jasper had picked out to add to his collection, and wrote down for him the name of each one and its origin.  

If you attend, you should not miss the fluorescent rock show!  A generous rockhound has put his astonishing collection on display in a room that has been specially prepared to block out white light when the lights are turned off.  He gives a wonderful talk explaining how fluorescence and phosphorescence works and where it can be found in nature.  It was fascinating to see how rocks that look perfectly ordinary in regular light can become dramatically colorful under short or long wave ultraviolet lights. He showed us examples of other things that he found to contain fluorescent minerals, including seashells and his son's baby teeth!   

Thursday, October 21, 2010

More Fun This Weekend

Do your kids love children's author and illustrator Jan Brett?  Meet her on Friday, October 22, from 5-7PM, at the Fred Meyer in Tualatin (of all places!) 19200 SW Martinazzi.  "This fall I'll be visiting 23 cities and towns on tour for "The Three Little Dassies".  I'll be giving a book talk and an illustration at each signing.  I  hope that you can come I would love to meet you and tell you a few more tidbits about my new book."

"Clackamette Mineral and Gem's 46th Annual Gem and Rock Show",  Saturday October 23, 9AM-6PM, and Sunday, October 24, 10AM- 5PM, Clackamas County Fairgrounds, 694 NE 4th Ave, Canby, OR.  Free admission. "Door Prizes, Display Cases, Dealers, Demonstrations, Silent Auction, Slabs, Fluorescent Show, Kid's Korner, Bargain Rocks, Snack Bar, and MORE!!"

"Heirloom Apple Celebration", Saturday, October 23, and Sunday, October 24, on the Hood River County  Fruit Loop, a 35 mile drive through beautiful Oregon farmland with 32 farms along the way.  If you've never tasted heirloom apples before, you are truly in for a treat!

"West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta", Saturday, October 23, 8AM- 4PM, at the lake of the Tualatin Commons, 8325 SW Nyberg Street, Tualatin, OR. "The 11th Annual Terminator Weigh-off has joined the West Coast Giant Pumpkin Regatta. Come experience a lively competition of giant proportions! A variety of giant vegetables will compete for prize money. The weigh-off begins bright and early at 8am.  The 5k Regatta Run starts at 9am.  General entertainment begins at 10am and includes strolling entertainment, costume contest, live music, pumpkin carving and more! The showstopper, the Regatta Races, begin at 2pm. Come cheer on costumed racers in a series of wacky heats."

Best Playground in the Portland Area

You've just got to see it to believe it!  Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm has put together an amazing Pumplin Fest.  They must have had a great time thinking about how to make it the most spectacular fall festival around.  Our homeschool group gathered there today.  We pretty much had the whole place to ourselves, perhaps because of the combination of it being a school day, and and one of those funny Portland days when it looks like it might rain but never actually does.  This is also their very first year of hosting a Pumpkin Fest, and word must not have gotten around about it.  We were treated like royalty!  They have a great hay maze inside a fortress, a wonderful corn maze, and a smaller hay maze to be navigated on tricycles.  You can get to all three in your choice of a hay wagon or a cow train.  The cow train route actually includes a wild ride through the cornfield!  Their playground includes the very popular rubber duckie water pump races, a hay playground with slides that our kids discovered is perfect for hide and seek, tire swings fashioned into horses, a slide which has rollers all along its length (grownups shouldn't miss this one!), toy calves to lasso, and some amazing paintball and potato guns.  Our kids had a really wonderful time.  And I was thrilled to discover that they sell their bulbs individually inside their gift shop, just in time for fall planting!  I'm always wanting a nice variety of bulbs even though I have a small space for planting, but keep finding them for sale in bulk quantities only.  This was my chance to actually pick out a dozen different colors, that will surprise us by blooming at different times.  This definitely gets my vote for Best Playground!  I only wish it wasn't just once a year.  Check it out before it's over:

The Southern Washington Coast

Dead Man's Cove
A Bald Eagle at Cape Disappointment
A friend in our homeschool group generously invited the other families to visit their beach house, and we were really excited to check out this spectacular area.  Jasper spent a lot of time just playing with his friends and wandering the beach in search of seashells, but I did return with a few pictures to share.
North Head Lighthouse
Jasper was amazed by the Bull Kelp.
 We went to Cape Disappointment, which was named by Captain John Meares, when he missed crossing the Columbia River Bar and ended up there instead.  The bar is a treacherous place where the Columbia opens into the ocean, and is still notoriously difficult to navigate.  (These days ships can hire a bar pilot to arrive via helicopter and assist with the maneuvers).  The very first lighthouse in the Pacific Northwest,  and the oldest still working on the West Coast, is the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.  We discovered that the Coast Guard still maintains an observation point there.  This lighthouse cannot be seen from the north, so the North Head Lighthouse was built nearby.  There is a fascinating museum at Cape Disappointment, the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, which tells the story of their epic journey and their arrival at long last at the Pacific Ocean.

Checking out the bunkbeds at Fort Clatsop.

We visited Fort Clatsop to see the reconstructed fort where the Lewis and Clark Expedition lived during the winter of 1805-06.  They took only two weeks to build the original fort. In stark contrast to Fort Vancouver,  so few traces of the original fort remained that archaeologists are uncertain exactly where it was. Nevertheless, the reconstruction was really amazing to see, and the museum has many cool things to look at.

From inside the Power Room at Ft. Columbia
We also had a chance to visit Fort Columbia, which was built between 1896 and 1904, and the original buildings are still there.    This is a lovely spot to explore.

Fort Columbia

The beautiful Washington Coast.
The breathtaking Astoria-Megler bridge, the longest continuous truss bridge in North America.  

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Apple Festivals This Weekend

"Apple Tasting", Friday, October 15th- Sunday, October 17th, 10AM-5PM, Portland Nursery, at 5050 SE Stark.   "Apples and Pears to taste. Live music, cooking demos, cider press, canned food drive to benefit Portland Impact, a variety of vendors, and fun for the whole family!"  A gigantic list of apple varieties that will be available for tasting and purchase is on their site:

"Heirloom Apple Festival", Saturday, October 16- Sunday, October 17, 12-4PM, Smith Berry Barn, 24500 SW Scholls Ferry Road, Hillsboro, OR.   "We'll be offering  an array of heirloom  & modern varieties of apples and pears, picked fresh from our orchard and ripe for the tasting!  Varieties include classics such as Macintosh, Jonagold  and Gala  as well as some lesser known varieties including Spitzenberg, Newtown Pippin, Cox Orange Pippin and many, many more!  Kids and adults alike love to taste the amazing difference in flavors of all of our fresh-picked apples.  Enjoy freshly dipped caramel apples, hot apple cider and  home-made apple pie, made from an assortment of different varieties!  "  There will also be live music,  hot chicken apple sausage, alpacas, hay maze and pyramid, and fresh cider pressing.  They normally do not offer pick-your-own apples, but will for this event only.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Flower Farmer

Bizarre "Soviet Style" soda for sale.

We visited The Flower Farmer  in Canby to check out their pumpkin festival.  They offer a train ride which goes through three tunnels and winds its way to their awesome hay pyramid.  What makes this hay pyramid so crazy, is that at its bottom level,  doors lead into a hay maze that must be navigated in total darkness!  Jasper and I went through together, occasionally using the flash from our camera to light the way.  After that, he felt comfortable running through it with groups of screaming and giggling kids.  (They do have an emergency lighting system installed, just in case.) Nearer to the top of the pyramid is another, smaller maze that must be negotiated on hands and knees, and does not have (much) total darkness inside.  The pyramid itself is really tall, and kid after kid felt the need to stand at the top with arms outstretched, shouting, "I'm the king of the world!", sometimes in a foreign accent.  Word must have gotten out about this place!

About a mile away is the Molalla River State Park.  The parking area leads first to a large grassy area, then to a big open meadow, but if you continue to follow the path by the river, you will soon come to a delightful trail through woods.  The woods are lovely this time of year.

A word of warning- if you have small children, you should know that there is a popular off-leash dog area here, and not everyone is willing to obey the leash law outside of the enclosure.  We encountered  several of these, enough to think it wasn't a fluke.  Jasper was approached by a growling dog, so I immediately picked him up.  The owners (who had a toddler with them) were offended, and insisted that I put Jasper down because their dog was "friendly".  I declined.  I unfortunately know two moms whose lack of caution lead their children to be mauled by "friendly" dogs, and don't care to follow their example.   I'm especially wary of off-leash dogs that accompany families with small children, because this does not automatically mean they are "good with kids".  Some dogs are instinctively protective of the little ones in the family and can be surprisingly aggressive.  I see breaking the leash law, and reacting rudely to a mother who picks up her child without comment, as the height of incivility!  It seems unwise to trust such strangers with the safety of my child.  Can you tell this made me pig-bitin' mad?!?

No visit to Canby is complete without a ride on the Canby Ferry, which only costs $2 per car, and whisks passengers across the Willamette. Passengers are welcome to get out of their cars and enjoy the view from an observation deck.   It's a stone's throw from the Molalla River State Park.  

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Portland Open Studios

 Nancy Prior lets Jasper help create an etching.
Portland Open Studios is an amazing opportunity to visit working artists and watch them create art.   It's happening this weekend and next, with 100 artists on their roster opening their doors from 10AM- 5PM. We took on the challenge of visiting some of the ones that intrigued us the most.  I chose diverse mediums and looked for artists that produce artwork that I thought would thoroughly engage Jasper.   These are grownups that have not forgotten how to play!  Every artist we visited, without exception, was extraordinarily kind and generous, showing Jasper exactly how they create art, and sharing their enthusiasm.  He had a blast, and I was so grateful that my son and I were the recipients of so much good will.  

A mosaic and painting by Christine Zachary.
Christine Zachary makes spectacular mosaic pieces that are often layered over her oil paintings.  Photographs really cannot do justice to her works because there is so much to look at in terms of depth, shades of transparency and opacity, texture and reflectivity.  When she creates a glass mosaic over an oil painting, often the oil painting can be glimpsed beneath the more transparent tiles, creating a marvelous effect.  She also creates reverse paintings on glass, which she suggested would be a fun thing for a child to experiment with.  I agree.  She took the time to show us many of her creations, tell us the stories behind them, and explain how they were made. 

The finished etching.
We have been experimenting a little with block printing, and I knew Jasper would love to see a professional printmaking studio.  Nancy Prior actually let Jasper help her make an etching, showing him the entire process and letting him pick out the printing plate and add a collage element.  He was thrilled!  She even gave him an exquisite drawing of a car to take home. 

Jill Torberson makes sculptures out of metal salvage, cutting and welding playful shapes together.  She showed Jasper the tools she uses and explained how she creates her designs.  Many of them were the perfect size for Jasper to see at his own eye level, and he was delighted with them.  

Gregory Hanson is a glass artist who uses lampworking to make exquisite jewel-like creations.  In lampworking, borosilicate glass is used, which is very strong.  It requires very high temperatures to soften to a working consistency, a single torch or "lamp" is used, and the work is often small and highly detailed.  Jasper has a fondness for the very small, and was instantly smitten.  Mr. Hanson could not have been kinder, showing Jasper his process and his materials, and even giving him a small treasure, a small and devastatingly lovely button.  Jasper, not surprisingly, is now insisting on taking it with him wherever he goes.

Gregory Hanson at his work table.

Heather Fields with a first gather of glass on her pipe.
Heather and John Fields own a glassblowing studio in North Portland.  Glassblowing is very difficult to master, but glassblowers know there is nothing like it.   These artists have reached a level of skill where they can not only make jaw-dropping work, but have been making a living doing so for many years.  When we arrived, Heather began a complete demonstration of how to take a gooey glob of molten glass and turn it into a lovely vessel.  Her finesse is marvelous to behold.  Jasper was thoroughly riveted.

They take pieces that don't turn out to their satisfaction, break them into pieces, and make lovely pendants with them.  Jasper just wouldn't leave without a souvenir, so he picked out his favorite, and asked me to photograph some of the others he also loved.  

The highlight of the day, undoubtably, was our visit to the studio of Martin Waugh.  Mr. Waugh is a physicist who began taking pictures of water droplets, and ultimately constructed one of the most amazing contraptions you can ever imagine, which takes high speed pictures of liquids dripping and splashing.  He can minutely control nearly every aspect of the setup, including the water pressure, lighting, reflections, and number of drops that fall in sequence. Photographs appear instantly on his computer screen as they are taken.  He experiments with different temperatures and liquids to create different levels of surface tension.  The result is breathtaking.  Mr. Waugh actually let Jasper push the button to take pictures, printed one of the results, and let Jasper take it home.   Jasper was completely overjoyed, and spent the rest of the day looking at water droplets with his magnifying lens every time we got out of the car.  

Plumper Pumpkin Patch

Jasper rides the Cow Train.

Jasper with a pumpkin from "our" row.
Our homeschool group had a fantastic spring field trip to Plumper Pumpkin Patch.  This time we didn't have a special field trip, we just met there to join in the fun.  Jasper was really excited about seeing the row of pumpkins our group planted together.    He also really enjoyed their inventive slides, hay and corn mazes, rubber ducky races with water toughs and hand pumps, hay rides, the pumpkin cannon, and of course the cow train.  Cow trains have cars painted white with black cow spots, and the kids sit inside for a bumpy ride pulled by a tractor.  The hay maze is short enough for the grownups to see over and a perfect place for a great game of hide and seek.  It's a delightful place to linger and enjoy the beautiful fall.   

Hiding in the corn maze.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Young Audiences

Artist Karie Oakes helps kids explore clay.
Young Audiences is an organization homeschoolers should know about.  Their mission is "to enhance student learning with creative resources from the arts community."  That means our students too!    They provide a way to connect to many fine and performing artists who can bring workshops and performances to homeschool groups.  Most of the workshops they offer are surprisingly affordable.  We attended their recent open house, which showcased a wide variety of their artists, and it was an eye opening experience.  

Obo Aday can fill a room with African drums and show kids how to play them together, while sharing stories about the culture of Ghana.  Rick Meyers can show the kids how to do amazing traditional string figures.  Peggy Ross can teach them weaving with all sorts of materials.  Anne Rutherford can inspire them to find their storytelling voice.  Ed Drury can show kids how to make a didjeridu while using math skills, and help them learn to play.  Carlos Reyes can inspire them to write poetry.  They have a roster of over 200 artists, and you are bound to find something terrific.  You can see them on their website, or call them at 503-225-5900 to request a  handy printed guide.  

Ed Drury explains the didjeridu.
Why should we take advantage of this?  One of my many reasons for homeschooling is the state public schools have been left in, due to budget cuts.  And it keeps getting worse every school year.  (This, I have found, is a great way to explain why we are homeschooling to skeptical acquaintances.  Everyone relates to that!)  Of course, the first thing on the chopping block are the arts, because many people tend to regard them as superfluous.  Yes, we want our kids to read and do math.  And that may be all they have funding left for.  But I would argue that the only skill we can be positive the next generation will need, is creativity.  We will solve none of the world's problems without creativity.  It will be required in all fields.  It needs to be taken seriously. 

I had no idea this organization existed, until an artist who was giving a workshop at a library told me about it.  I generally keep my ear to the ground about learning opportunities for homeschoolers, but I had never heard of them.  I asked them why they haven't gotten the word out to homeschoolers.  They explained that they weren't aware of any organization that would help them find homeschoolers.  Also, when explaining what they have to offer, often homeschoolers react by objecting that they have no idea how to find a group, and a space to facilitate a workshop.  If you are wondering that yourself, I have some ideas.  

Jasper with a crazy thing he made, weaving with Peggy Ross.
Finding a group is the easiest part.  If you don't already belong to a homeschool group with enough interested families, once you set up a workshop, you can announce it on a local Yahoo group such as GPH or HIP list.  Finding a space requires more creativity, but it shouldn't be difficult.  Community rooms at libraries, fire houses, community centers, and faith communities are great places to start.  The Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue offers free use of community rooms to nonprofits.  Community centers tend to have amazingly reasonable rates for nonprofits.  Library policies vary quite a bit, as do faith communities. The Beaverton City Library has a lovely auditorium which is available for rental for performances.  Rarely, some facilities will require legal proof of nonprofit status, which will entitle you to free or greatly reduced rates.  Young Audiences can help with that.     
So what are you waiting for?  Check them out: