Tuesday, November 30, 2010

December Happenings

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Let It Snow!

The last time it snowed in Portland, I remember dragging Jasper outside for a stroll around our neighborhood.  I wanted him to soak in the winter wonderland that might not arrive again for a while.  But last night when it snowed, it was me being dragged all around the neighborhood.  Jasper had waited a long time for a chance to look at snow crystals through a magnifying lens.  A chance discovery at our local library, an audiobook about the life of W.A. Bentley, amazed him.  

W. A. Bentley grew up on a dairy farm in Vermont, and was homeschooled.   He loved learning about water.   He wondered how much water exactly was in each raindrop, so he set up an experiment to find out.  He would put a shallow pan of flour out in a rainstorm, and the individual rain droplets would soak up flour to make pellets that would later make it possible to measure their volume.  But what he loved most were snowflakes.   He spent countless hours trying to draw snowflakes that he saw through his microscope so that others could see the beauty in a snowflake that quickly melts away.  His parents truly wanted him to be able to pursue his passion, and eventually bought him a camera that would take photographs through great magnification.  It cost as much as ten dairy cows.  Through much trial and error, in 1885 at age 20 he finally succeeded in being the first person to ever photograph a snow crystal.  The scientific community began to take notice, and in 1931 a book of his snow crystals was published.  Unfortunately, that year he was to give a lecture on snow crystals when it began snowing.  He left abruptly to return home to his camera, walking 6 miles through a Vermont blizzard.  He caught pneumonia and did not recover.  

Snowflakes may be easier to photograph with today's technology, but the photographs of "Snowflake Bentley" definitely stand the test of time.  We have found two children's books on his life, and his original 1931 book is still readily available (see Amazon links below).  Another amazing resource to learn about snowflakes is the website of Dr. Kenneth Libbrecht, the Chairman of the Physics Dept. at Caltech (yeah, I know, snowflakes in southern California?).   He has published some amazing books as well, and his website has movies of snow crystals actually growing in laboratory conditions.  And of course it's good to know how to make accurate six sided paper snowflakes.  There are lots of instructions on the web, including here:  http://w3.cnm.edu/~cgulick/howtosnow.htm 


Saturday, November 20, 2010

Glass Fusing Workshop

Glass pendants our group made.  
I found out about Young Audiences from an artist giving a workshop at a library.  I was intrigued to discover that they bring over 200 fine and performing artists into classrooms.  I thought this sounded like an amazing resource for homeschoolers, and decided to give it a try.  Our homeschool group split the cost of a one hour workshop with glass artist Lisa Wilke.  We requested use of a community room at a Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue station.  They make the community rooms available free of charge to nonprofit organizations.  I found reserving a room on a weekday to be simple, and they were very friendly to deal with.  (Other potential spaces include community rooms at libraries, community centers, churches and other houses of faith.)

Lisa shows us a glass sponge skeleton.
Cutting glass
Lisa Wilke was amazing.  She began the workshop by telling the kids all about glass.  She showed them each of  the components that you need to make glass, and had examples of glass made by nature to show them, including obsidian (made by volcanoes), fulgurites (made by lightning strikes), and even the silica skeleton of the glass sponge!  Next she explained exactly how glass was first made and shaped by people, with examples to show us.  There were three activities for the kids to do in turns.  They had examples of fused glass to explore, to notice its transparency and opacity, and to judge how much heat it had been exposed to in fusing.  They had a chance to use a professional glass cutter, which was surprisingly fun.  And they got to assemble glass pieces into pendants, which Lisa brought home and fused.  She was very well organized, and the kids loved her.  

Young Audiences deserves more attention from homeschoolers.  They help create the kind of learning opportunities that many homeschoolers really want for their kids.  And  I would hate for them to remain such a well kept secret.   Check them out!  http://www.ya-or.org/

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


I took Jasper to the gorgeous Hollywood Theatre to see quite an interesting performance.  Two stunningly beautiful claymation films, "Rip Van Winkle", and "The Little Prince", were projected on their movie screen.  It was accompanied by local ensemble Filmusik's live music, live sound effects, and all of the original voice talent from "The Little Prince" yet living (this film was originally released in 1979).  The film soundtracks had literally come alive.  It was thoroughly mesmerizing.  Afterwards, the performers, many of the original artists, and Will Vinton, the mastermind behind both films,  shared stories and took questions from the audience.  It was actually kind of a strange juxtaposition of films.  Both contemplate the responsibilities and priorities of adulthood versus childhood, somewhat unevenly.  But the subtext was happily unimportant to Jasper, who thought both films were feasts for the eye. Filmusik performs their own scores to films live, and judging from their website, their taste usually runs to the very campy.  When asked what they have in store for us, dinosaurs were mentioned.  They also have been working with Film Action Oregon at the Hollywood Theatre to create stop motion animation workshops for kids 7-10.  Yet another amazing local resource!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Newt Day

A rambunctious bullfrog.
Every year, the Tualatin Hills Nature Park hosts Newt Day, which is not to be missed.  For just $1 per person or a donation of two cans of food, you can see all kinds of reptiles and amphibians that inhabit the nature park up close and personal.  Knowledgeable people are there to tell you all about them.  This year, they had folks there with a handheld electronic microscope that utterly fascinated Jasper.  He went outside to bring in some fern spores to see them up close.  There was also a table where kids were doing leaf rubbings with crayons, an activity that Jasper just couldn't get enough of.  As soon as we got home, he insisted that we walk all around the neighborhood to find as many interesting leaves as possible so he could do even more.  
A rough-skinned newt.
Slugs and snails never lose their charm.
The newts that are the honored guests at the festivities, are not particularly shy.  They are the only local salamanders that are not nocturnal, and they walk around in broad daylight with a cocky attitude.  How can they get away with this sort of behavior, without being a snack for every predator in sight?  When they are scared, first they flash their orange bellies as a warning.  Then they start secreting a milky substance from their backs, which is the most powerful natural neurotoxin on the continent.  Eating a newt is certain death for anyone...except for garter snakes.  They developed a resistance, which seems to in turn have made the newts try being more poisonous, which in turn made the snakes more resistant...  Some people say that just touching this toxin causes skin irritation.  But one of the park rangers at Newt Day last year told me that she was holding one once while giving a talk, and did not observe that it had begun to secrete its toxin.  The next thing she knew, half of her body was paralyzed for several hours.  She just had to wait for it to wear off.  This is why I never let my child pick them up himself! 
Baby garter snakes.
The Tualatin Hills Nature Park is a wonderful green oasis in the middle of Beaverton, one of the few places you can get to by Max if you want to go for a walk in the woods.  The sheer concentration of wildlife here is pretty amazing.  Parts of the park are off limits to people to provide habitat for the most shy creatures, but if you frequent this park, you are sure to see many of them.  There are quite a lot of nature programs available, most of which have higher rates for those who live out of district.  But Newt Day is open to all.


Jasper really wanted to celebrate Diwali this year.  He's taking Hindi classes from the amazing Reshma Basu (she offers classes for adults and kids of all ages), and she gave the kids the fun job of making some diyas.  Diyas are little clay lamps that are traditionally placed outside homes at Diwali.  Jasper loved making one diya and wanted to make more!  We got some air dry clay, some fancy "jewels", and some little tea lights.  Jasper set to work, and soon we had 20 little lights.  They started out a fairly traditional shape, and quickly became more and more "artistic".  Diyas are meant to cast light into the darkness, and they certainly do bring good cheer.  Next year perhaps we will try using ghee and a cotton wick to light our diyas the usual way, instead of candles.  But then, I'm afraid they would have to be a little less "artistic".

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Leach Botanical Garden

A mom in our homeschool group recently invited the gang along for a ramble at the Leach Botanical Garden.  Jasper and I had been there before, but had somehow missed the extensive trails that wind along the banks of Johnson Creek. There are all sorts of places to explore.  Above the manor house is a compost bin demonstration area.  If you are thinking about getting a compost bin, this is a perfect place to check them out.  They have several build-it-yourself bins, as well as many fancier bins, and helpful comparisons of the pros and cons of each. But for me the best thing about the Leach Botanical Garden is that it's a perfect place to run around in drizzly weather.  There are lots of sheltering trees, and you can really see quite a lot without being deep in the woods when a deluge begins.  It's fun for both toddlers that aren't ready for long hikes, and older kids that want to climb and jump.  They offer preschool nature walks on Wednesdays from 10-11AM ($2 per child, no preregistration required).  They are definitely one of Portland's hidden gems.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Newport Excursion

Bull kelp, which Jasper had only seen before washed up on the beach. 
A mom in our homeschool group invited everyone to join their family at the Oregon Coast Aquarium for  a special day for homeschoolers.  We took up the challenge of the very long drive, armed with some pretty great audio books, a big bag of popcorn,  and lots and lots of things to draw with.  The special events they had planned for homeschoolers which we did catch, did not actually knock our socks off.  But the rest of the aquarium always does that, every time.  They had some amazing people volunteering at the touch pool when we visited.  They went out of their way to show Jasper dozens of amazing creatures, and to tell him all about them.  He got to play with little tube worms, feel sea anemones tug at his fingers, and watch them feed the tidepool creatures.  This is just about his most favorite thing in the world.  He reluctantly agreed to see some of their other exhibits, but came back to the  touch pool over and over.  He only agreed to leave when I explained that if we didn't go, we would miss dropping by the nearby Hatfield Marine Science Center, which is definitely not to be missed.  They have a touch pool, a giant pacific octopus in a tank that gives visitors good odds of seeing it up close, and some pretty cool interactive exhibits.  
An abalone.

Starfish have amazing feet!
The touch pool at Hatfield.
Finally, we headed for the beach.  Nearby Yaquina Head offered a really spooky beach walk.  After arriving on the beach, we found ourselves in a mist that left everything gray.  We could hear the ocean but not see it.  We set out in search of it.  We had planned our arrival for low tide.  The beach must be very flat there, because it had a faint wetness that looked as if the tide had just receded about a quarter mile out all at once.  The further toward the ocean we walked, the more complete the gray landscape was, and our feet left no prints in the  sand.  It was like walking into a roll of seamless paper.  Jasper was completely fascinated with the shells and strange kelp he found occasionally breaking up the endless gray.  He filled his pockets with these treasures, and brought a little of the sea home with him.  
Yaquina Head 

Halloween Goodies

On Halloween we headed to Lake Oswego to check out their Harvest Festival and see the awesome Dragon Theater Puppets perform "Rapunzel Redeems Rumpelstiltskin".  Their shows are always goofy fun, and for a grand finale, Jason Ropp, the chief puppeteer, tells the kids all about how he makes the puppets and sets all by hand and how he creates the voices.  

Next we went to Lone Fir Cemetery, for their Tour of Untimely Departures.  Actors dressed as many of the historical figures buried at Lone Fir, popped out from behind their tombstones to greet us and tell us all about the circumstances of their "untimely departures".  It turned out to be more fascinating history than thrills and chills.  Jasper actually told me it wasn't spooky enough, but quickly declined my offer to take him to Fright Town.  Apparently Lone Fir for years faced vandalism on Halloween, so instead of trying to keep people out, they started this fun tradition of educating the public about this amazing place.  Lone Fir was the first public cemetery in Portland, and many of the city founders, both the famous and infamous, rest there.  They offer a monthly historical tour which, unlike the Tour of Untimely Departures, is billed as truly suitable for all ages.  (The next one is tomorrow, Sat. Nov. 13.) After our ghoulish tour, we were given the opportunity to ask questions of local historians, and to see a real live spotted owl, brought there for the occasion by the Audubon Society. (They are fond of Lone Fir, and have counted 92 species of birds on cemetery grounds).  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

More Events This Weekend

Yes, I have not been doing my usual posts about all the fun things I've been doing with Jasper.  This is because I have been working very hard on our homeschool group's first annual yearbook, which is now completed and soon to be in the hands of our printer!  Life will be going back to "normal" soon, hopefully.  In the meantime, here are some wonderful things going on this weekend.

"Warehouse Cafe Grand Opening",  Saturday, November 13, 12-6PM, 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave, Pdx.  "We are newly moved in to the old bakery space at 3434 SE Milwaukie Ave. and would like the neighborhood to know about all the cool things we are doing to revitalize the space including a cafe, a children's resale shop, be academy (a learning community for home schoolers), an organic food co-op, event space for things like messy art classes and workshops for home schoolers, and more!
Live Music
Performance by Mr. Ben
Shadow Puppetry
Food & Drink
Arts & crafts for the kids
Meet our farmers
Door prizes & Giveaways
Beer & wine cash bar."
An article about this awesome new enterprise can be found here:  http://portlandtribune.com/sustainable/story.php?story_id=128924872639176000

"Peter Yarrow", Saturday, November 13, 4PM, at Powell's at Cedar Hills Crossing, 3415 SW Cedar Hills Blvd, Beaverton, OR.  "One of America's most beloved singers, Peter Yarrow brings the joy of folk music to a new generation in Songs for Little Folks, an anthology of 12 songs designed especially for very young children who are just discovering the pleasures of singing along."  http://www.powells.com/calendar/

"The Little Prince & Rip Van Winkle",  Friday, Nov. 12 at 7PM and Sunday, November 14 at 2PM,  at the Hollywood Theatre, 4122 NE Sandy Blvd, Pdx.  Adults $12, seniors, students, and kids 2-12, $10. Two claymation films with live musical accompanyment! "Made in 1979 by Will Vinton Studios, claymation innovator and creator of the California Raisins. Filmusik brings together the original artists including the voices of the Little Prince, Michele Mariana, the voice of the Geographer; Russ Fast, the Snake; Tod Oleson, and the Businessman; John Morrison. With a live original score performed live in the theatre by Filmusik's own chamber ensemble and live sound effects and Foley by sound artists David Ian and Dino De Aelfweald, these claymation stories are on the big screen again in a new way, brought to life by many of the same artists who created them in the 1970′s.  Special Q&A with Will Vinton and the artists behind the film after Sunday's performance. Stick around and hear about the origins of claymation, an artform pioneered in Portland, and talk-back with the Filmusik artists and live performers after the concert."  https://robot.boxofficetickets.com/800-494-TIXS/WebObjects/BOTx2005.woa/26/wo/FVMIm9vEl9oN2xsCaGnO2M/

"Northwest Indian Storyteller's Festival", November 12-14, Lewis & Clark College, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, 615 SW Palatine Hill Rd., Pdx.  Donations requested.   More information and a complete schedule of events on their website:  http://www.wisdomoftheelders.org/

"IGNORE THE RISK – TRY LUTEFISK!!",  Sunday, November 14, Norse Hall, 111 NE 11th Ave, Pdx. $20 for adults and $10 for kids 12 and under. (Yes, this one is pricey, but I'm including it anyway because it's cool.)  "The historic Grieg Lodge Lutefisk & Meatball Dinner is a family affair and unforgettable banquet of Nordic specialties found nowhere else in Portland. Are you Viking enough? Here’s your chance to find out.  MENU: Lutefisk, meatballs, boiled potatoes and cream gravy, coleslaw, homemade lefse, flatbrød, fresh cranberry relish, prune pudding, coffee, tea
Reserved Seatings at: 12:00, 2:00, 4:00, 6:00.  503-236-3401.  http://www.norsehall.org/events.htm  Norse Hall is a lovely place, brimming with good cheer and good cooks.

"Lighting of Maddax Woods Benefit Sale,"  Saturday, November 13, 12 p.m. - 6 p.m, 5785 River St., West Linn, OR. "Enjoy a magical walk down a lighted, accessible path through the Woods and to the viewing platform on the Willamette River.  There will be conifers with lights, nature related gifts and live native plants for sale. All proceeds go towards the preservation of Maddax Woods. Enjoy free hot chocolate while staying warm next to the fire pit.  The paths will be lit every night from 4 p.m. - 9 p.m. until the New Year."  A great completely non-denominational way to enjoy the beauty of nature and lots of little twinkling lights. http://westlinnoregon.gov/parksrec/lighting-maddax-woods-0 

Friday, November 5, 2010


It's the time of year again that train lovers big and small celebrate with all kinds of special events.   The enthusiasm many kids have for trains can be a wonderful opening to learn all kinds of things about history, mechanical science, and even music (our library systems have dozens of compilations of traditional songs about trains in many genres).  I've done my best to compile a list of upcoming events just for train lovers.

Every weekend in November, the Columbia Gorge Model Railroad Club at 2505 N. Vancouver Ave., Pdx, will once again be opening their doors from 10AM- 5PM to show off their truly spectacular layout!  Adults are $6, kids 3-11 are $2, and special VIP behind-the-scenes tours are available for $10 by advanced reservation.  If you like model railroads, you will love this one.

The Mount Hood Model Engineers will be having an open house on Saturday, November 6, and Saturday, November 13,  12-5PM at 5500 SE Belmont St., Pdx.  They do not charge admission but request a donation.  This is a truly special display!

The Aloha and Western Oregon Lines  will be hosting an open house Saturday November 13 and Sunday November 14, from 10AM-4PM, at 12755 SW Beaverdam Road, Beaverton, OR.  

The Mt. Hood Railroad will begin their special "Polar Express" trains November 19 through December 23 for some special Christmas magic.

Beginning the final Sunday in November, the Chelatchie Prairie Railroad in Yacolt, WA will start their awesome "Christmas Tree Trains."  The trains travel through breathtaking scenery and a spooky tunnel, to arrive at a station where Santa waits with gifts for every child.  There you can select a Christmas tree, which will be carefully tagged and brought back in a special train car, sip hot cider and hot chocolate, and nibble on Christmas cookies.  They make this really special.  Tree purchases are optional.  Definitely worth the drive.

The Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation will be running the "Holiday Express" down at Oaks Park December 3-12, running some amazing, historic locomotives.  This annual event is beloved by many.

The Staver Locomotive Holiday "steam-up" is planned for Friday, December 3, 5:30-8PM.  They are located at 2537 NW 29th Ave, Pdx,  in a large industrial building, and operate model "live steamers" that mimic real steam locomotives.  "Admission is free, however, Staver Locomotive invites you to make a donation (check, cash, or gift cards) that will support clients of Friendly House’s Services for Seniors and Homeless Famillies. Help us help the most vulnerable in our community this season. Train lovers young and old will be delighted by the model steam engine trains, decorated for the holidays, charging up and down the custom-built tracks, and over bridges and trestles.  Live music, from Boy & Bean (a popular local trio that brings fresh sounds to the music of the 20s, 30s and 40s).  A local artist collective will offer train inspired pieces for sale, with proceeds benefitting Friendly House. Warm beverages and snacks, plus an art activity for children." This event is not to be missed!

The Portland Area N-Track Model Railroad Club  will be hosting an open house on the first three Sundays in December, the 6th, 12th, and 19th, from 1PM-5PM at their clubhouse at Alpenrose Dairy, 6149 SW Shattuck Rd., Portland, OR.  We've found their club members to be very friendly and enthusiastic about showing off their layout to kids.  

The Wilamette Shore Trolley, which has traditionally run special excursions just to see the lovely Christmas Ships to best advantage, is not running until further notice due to mechanical problems.  I really hope they can get those resolved in time!