Holidays

Easter 2017: what’s hoppin’ on Portland’s West Side

Easter is almost here! There are plenty of fun activities for you and your fam… hop to it!

Easter 2017

APRIL 7 (FRIDAY)
Underwater Egg Hunt (Beaverton): Hunt for eggs in the pool and other fun Easter activities at the Conestoga Recreation and Aquatic Center. Preregister now! $7, 5:30 to 8:30 pm.

APRIL 8 (SATURDAY)
Peter Rabbit Pancake Breakfast and Carnival (West Linn): In its 41st year, this event at West Linn High School is a treat. From 8:00 am to noon, pay a small fee for breakfast, games, auction, and a visit with Peter Rabbit.
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Bridgeport Village (Tigard): For $10 a ticket you can enjoy breakfast, crafts, music, prizes, and visits with the Easter Bunny and Mother Goose.
Egg Hunt for Hope (Sherwood): This fundraising egg hunt begins at 1:00 pm.

APRIL 15 (SATURDAY)
Underwater EGGstravaganza at SHARC (Hillsboro): Bring your kids to hunt for eggs and prizes, and even visit with the Easter Bunny. $10/resident, $15/non-resident.
Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): Free with zoo admission, children 10 and under can hunt for candy eggs every 15 minutes from 9:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl District (Portland): Come to the Pearl for fun activities, treats, and a hug and picture with the Easter Bunny. 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Spring Egg Hunt (Portland): This egg hunt—rain or shine—will have candy and prize eggs, as well as hot chocolate and donuts at Garden Home Recreation Center. Register online, $7, 11:00 am to noon.
Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): At the Washington County Fair Complex you can enjoy egg hunts and visits with the Easter Bunny. (Additional activities are available for an extra fee.) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, $5/family.
Egg Hunt at Lee Farms (Tualatin): Each child 12 and under gets to hunt for eggs, decorate a cookie, see the Easter Bunny, and make crafts. 10:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets are $6 and are selling out fast.
Alpenrose Dairy Egg-stravaganza (Portland): Come for egg hunts (with prizes!), the Easter Bunny, and more, starting at 10:30 am.
Egg Hunt at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): Bring your little ones to hunt at one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Come early for the hunts at 10:00 am and noon.

APRIL 16 (SUNDAY)
Sunrise Easter Service at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): What a beautiful place to start Easter Sunday! This 7:00 am Sunrise Easter Service in the tulip fields will be run by WAMA, Woodburn Area Ministerial Association.
Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!

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‘Tis the Week Before Christmas: Portland’s West Side 2016

christmas-2016

‘Tis the week before Christmas,
And the kids are out of school
They’re overflowing with seasonal cheer
And you juuust might lose your cool

But thank your lucky stars!
Portland is full of holiday fun
Check out the list below

And start with your favorite one

Bundle up your sweet family
And go make some memories
Merry Christmas to all

And to all, the happiest holidees!


CHRISTMAS LIGHTS
Christmas Ships (Portland, through Dec. 18, 7 to 8 pm): Since 1954 Portlanders have paraded down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers with their boats and ships blinged out for Christmas. Find a spot on the waterfront and enjoy the fun.
Winter Wonderland at Portland International Raceway (Portland, evenings Nov. 25 to Dec. 25, $20/car): Stay cozy in the car and drive through this spectacular light display.
ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, 5 to 9 pm): The zoo dazzles with a million and a half lights. Prices vary, members are free. It gets busy, so plan for a crowd.
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights (Portland, through Dec. 30, 5 to 9:30 pm): Walk through the impressive light displays at the Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden. There are half a million lights, holiday concerts, and outdoor caroling. Adults $11, children (3-12) $6, children 2 and under FREE.
Christmas Fantasy Trail at Wenzel Farm (Oregon City, Dec. 2 to 30, 6-9 pm): Take a walk surrounded by thousands of Christmas lights, including a castle and tunnel. Adults $6, Children 12 and under $5.
Peacock Lane Christmas Lights (Portland, Dec. 15 to 31, 7 to 10 pm): These neighbors have a long gone all out providing beautiful Christmas displays. FREE. It gets busy, so it’s best to park far and walk more.
Lighting of Maddox Woods (West Linn, Nov. 19 to Dec. 31, 4-9 pm): Enjoy a magical walk down a lighted, accessible path through the woods to a viewing platform on the Willamette River.

INDOOR EVENTS
Pittock Mansion Christmas Exhibit (Portland, Nov. 21 to Dec. 31, 11 am to 4 pm): Their annual holiday exhibit doesn’t disappoint. Enjoy each room’s “Symbols of the Season” while local musicians play. Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-18) $8, Children under 6 FREE.
24 Days of Music at the Portland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Lake Oswego, Dec. 1 to 24, 7 pm): Come to the visitor center for nightly choirs and performances. Admission is free, but seating is limited.
The Nutcracker Ballet (Keller Auditorium, Portland, Dec. 10 to 26, 2:00 pm/7:30 pm): Share the magic of the Nutcracker ballet with your child. Performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
“A Christmas Carol” at Portland Playhouse (Portland, Nov. 30 to Dec. 30, 2:00 pm/7:00 pm): Introduce your children to this Christmas classic with a live performance.

OUTDOOR EVENTS
Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy  (Portland, through Dec. 18, times vary): This charming little Portland-area tradition includes carols, cool decor, and Santa.  Admission is free.
The Holiday Express by the OR Rail Heritage Foundation (From Oaks Park Station, various dates and times until Dec. 18): Join Santa and his elves on this vintage train as you wind through both the wilderness and the city. Tickets sell out fast, but you might get lucky!
The Polar Express by the Mt. Hood Railroad (Hood River, various dates and times until Dec. 28): Join Santa on this magical train ride based on the popular book and movie “The Polar Express.” You’ll get treated to hot cocoa, music, and a special gift. Buy tickets in advance!
Winter Village at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, Dec. 2 to Jan. 2, 10 am to 10 pm): This holiday tradition in its 2nd year and brings the only open-air ice skating rink to the area. Adults $12, Kids 4-9 $9, Kids 3 and under FREE, plus skate rental.

SINGLE DAY EVENTS
Song Circle Holiday Edition at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 19, 6:30 pm)
Gingerbread Houses at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 19, 4 pm): Registration required
Jingle Babies at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 20, 10:30 am): For children 0 to 6.
Life-Sized Candyland Game at Brookwood Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 20, 2:30 pm)
Family Holiday Movie at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 21, 2-4:00 pm)
Winter Crafts at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 21, 2-3:30 pm)
Holiday Storytime at Beaverton Library (Beaverton, Dec. 22, 1:00 pm): Ages 2-6
Holiday Movie Marathon at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 22, 2:30-5:30 pm)
Winter Wonderland at Brookwood Library (Hillsboro, Dec. 23, times vary): Christmas movies, Family Holiday Sing-Alongs, Storytimes

Anything I missed? What would you add?

GUEST POST: CHRISTMAS STORIES UNDER THE TREE

When my super-mom friend, Janel, told me about this Christmas tradition of hers last year, I knew I wanted to share it with each of you. I hope you feel inspired!
a-good-gray-christmas-stories-under-the-tree-a-family-tradition

My favorite tradition is reading a Christmas story under the Christmas tree each night. I wrap and number them, and the kids think it’s the best that they get to open a present each night. I LOVE it and so do they! When my oldest (now 8 years old) was a baby I started collecting Christmas books. I have always loved children’s lit, and knew it was something I wanted to make part of our Christmas. I love how it makes our home feel!

At first, I checked them out at the library, and slowly each year I have added to the collection. I also keep them with my Christmas decorations and the books only come out at Christmas time.

Here are some of our very, very favorites:

1. Santa Claus: This one my kids spend hours looking through. It tells about Santa’s workshop and has really fascinating details.

2. I Believe in Santa Claus: About Santa and Christ and their similarities.

3. Christmas Day in the Morning: This is our very favorite! You know it’s good when it makes my husband tear up.

4. Merry Christmas Mom and Dad (A Golden Look-Look Book): Gotta love Mercer Mayer.

5.The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale: Three trees grow up to be just what they always dreamed, but in a completely different way then they pictured. All centered around parts of Christ’s life.

6. Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree: I love how this tree provides holiday cheer for so many. First published in 1963, this story has been a favorite for generations. The illustrations are fun and cheerful.

7. The Polar Express: This is a must with little boys.

8. Bear Stays Up for Christmas: We love the Bear books and this one does not disappoint. Cute story and rhymes, and colorful pages.

9. The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey: Perfect for anybody who has lost somebody, and also perfect for anybody else as a Christmas story. Beautiful illustrations.

10. The Mansion: Beautiful message in this one.

11. Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas: It’s fun to add authors your kids are already familiar with.

12. The Empty Stocking: This story is about a pair of twins, one nice and one naughty, who are a little nervous about Christmas morning.

13. Olivia Claus: We love Olivia, and she’s done it again!

14. The Gingerbread Man: I love this version of the gingerbread man, it really comes to life.

15. Frosty the Snowman: My kids ask for this one a lot, probably because they love the song.

16. The Gift of the Magi: This timeless story of love and sacrifice of a young couple is made even more wonderful by the detailed illustrations.

17. C is for Christmas: Full of color and fantastic detail, this is a wonderful version of the classic story.

18. Let it Snow: The darling Toot and Puddle are back in this Christmas story about the gift of friendship

19. The Year of the Perfect Christmas TreeThis unforgettable tale, a seasonal classic, is a touching and joyful story about courage and the power of family.

20. The Mitten: Full of color and fantastic detail, this is a wonderful version of the classic story.

21. The Berenstain Bears and the Joy of Giving: The bear cubs learn a valuable lesson about sharing with one another.

22. Walk this World at Christmastime: This is a journey through the world at Christmastime. It has flaps for children to look through and beautiful pictures.

23. How the Grinch Stole Christmas: This one is a must and a classic.

24. The Night Before Christmas: We always read this Christmas Eve, and I love the Clement C. Moore version.

I’m so grateful for great books to bring in the Christmas spirit.

Janel is someone I admire greatly. She loves her family and delights in her children, and she’s one of the most beautiful, happy, determined people I know! She lives in Portland’s west side with her husband and four children.

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Thanksgiving Play 2016

It’s Thanksgiving again! Somehow! (Is it seriously almost 2017?? WHAT IS HAPPENING?!) Whether you’re planning a family run or looking to kick off the Christmas season, there’s plenty going on this week on Portland’s west side.

November 23 (WEDNESDAY)

Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk + Kids Trot (Portland International Raceway, 5:30 pm): Register to run through the raceway’s holiday lights. Dogs welcome.
Harvest Month (Portland Children’s Museum, November): Participate in different harvest-related activities with your kids all November long.

November 24 (THURSDAY)
Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 8:00 to 9:45 am): This 4-mile fun run or walk winds through Washington Park and ends at the zoo. Children events included, and jogging strollers welcome. Register today.
Bridgeport Village Turkeython (Tigard, 8:30 am): This fun morning includes a 5k, 10k, and Kidathon. Register online.
Give ‘n’ Gobble (Sherwood High School, 9:00 am): This 5k walk or 10k run with a food drive is a Thanksgiving tradition. This race sells out, so register in advance.

November 25 (FRIDAY )
My Macy’s Portland Holiday Parade (Portland, 9:00 am): Kick off the holidays with Portland’s own Macy’s parade. Geared towards children.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Square (Portland, 5:30 to 6:30 pm): Witness the lighting of the 75-foot Christmas tree with holiday music and festivities.
Holiday Express Train Ride (Portland, weekends Nov. 25 to Dec. 18): Take a 1-hour ride along the beautiful Willamette with Santa on this holiday-decorated train. Made possible by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show (Portland International Raceway, Nov. 25 to Dec. 25, 5:00 pm): Drive through one of the largest light shows in the country. $20/car.
Zoo Lights (Portland, Nov. 25 to Jan. 1, 5:00 pm): Come see your favorite zoo all lit up for Christmas.
Christmas Festival of Lights (Grotto, Nov. 25 to Dec. 30, 5:00 to 9:30 pm): This family-oriented tradition includes dozens of choirs and hundreds of lights.

November 26 (SATURDAY )
Hillsboro Holly Days (Downtown Hillsboro, 1:00 to 6:00 pm): A Christmas extravaganza featuring Santa from 2:00 to 4:00 pm, live reindeer, train rides, the tree lighting at 5:30 pm, shopping, music, activities, and more.
Cinnamon Bear Cruise on the Spirit (Portland, weekends Nov. 26 to Dec. 27): Take a 2-hour ride on the Portland Spirit with Cinnamon Bear and friends. Enjoy snacks, drinks, and holiday activities.

Eek! It’s Halloween 2016

Halloween 2016Get the spooky scoop on all of Portland’s westside activities this Halloween.

OCTOBER 21 (FRIDAY)
Great Pumpkin Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland, 6 to 8 pm, $10): Come for games, crafts, a bouncy house, and bring a flashlight and hunt for pumpkins out back

OCTOBER 22 (SATURDAY)
Monster Mash at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 9:00 to 10:30 am): California Pizza Kitchen is hosting a fun morning for kids. Registration required.
Villains in the Village at Bridgeport Village (Tigard, 10:30 am to noon): Wear your costume and come fight villains at this fun, free event

OCTOBER 26 (WEDNESDAY)
Safe Trick-or-Treat at Pacific University (Forest Grove, 4 to 7 pm): This 18th annual event has free treats and activities for all
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this free event

OCTOBER 27 (THURSDAY)
Night-time Walkabout at Jackson Bottom Wetlands (Hillsboro, 6 to 8 pm, ages 8 and up): Register for this FREE event

OCTOBER 28 (FRIDAY)
Squishing of the Squash (Oregon Zoo, 10:30 to 11:30 am, FREE with zoo admission): Some of the world’s largest animals squish some of the area’s largest pumpkins
Spooky Dance Party at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 6:30 to 8 pm): Dress in costume and come shake it to spooky (but not scary) music
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.

OCTOBER 29 (SATURDAY)
Enchanted Trail and Haunted Trail at Mary S. Young Park (West Linn, 7 to 10 pm, various prices): Bring kids 8 and younger to the charming storybook-themed Enchanted Trail, or wait later to bring the big kids to the freaky Haunted Trail.
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Dia de los Muertos Crafts (Beaverton Library, 11 am to noon)
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too
Halloween Carnival (Beaverton Library, 3 to 4 pm, grades 1 to 5)

OCTOBER 30 (SUNDAY)
Howloween at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 10 am to 3 pm, FREE with zoo admission): Dress in costume and participate in this fun but educational scavenger hunt at the zoo, collecting treats and prizes.
Not-So-Scary Halloween (Portland Children’s Museum, 10 am to 3 pm): Trick-or-treating, crafts, and games
Oaks Park Halloween Spooktacular (Portland, 1 pm and 7 pm): Skate in costume to Halloween music–games and costume parade too

OCTOBER 31 (MONDAY)
Spooky Babies (Beaverton Library, 10:30 to 11:15 am, up to age 6): Bring your little ones in costume for a parade and fun.
Halloween Dance-o-Rama (Tualatin Public Library, 11 am to noon, ages 6 and under)
Harvest on Main (Hillsboro, 5 to 9 pm): Downtown Hillsboro’s former “Safe n’ Sane” event is now Harvest on Main, and includes more activities and longer hours. You can still bring kids for trick or treating at local businesses as well as fun activities.
Trick-or-Treat at the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 3 pm, ages 12 and under)
Halloween at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, 3:30 to 5:30 pm): Trick-or-treat in Orenco Station, and enjoy games and crafts with Fancy That and the Dentists at Orenco Station
Spooky Storytime (Beaverton Library, 4 to 5 pm)
Trick-or-Treating at McMenamins’s Grand Lodge (Forest Grove, 4:30 to 6:30 pm, all ages)
Mall-o-ween at Cedar Hills Crossing (Beaverton, 6 to 7 pm): Trick-or-treat at participating stores

Anything I missed? Please comment below!

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Easter 2016: Portland & the West Side

What’s hoppin’ this Easter? Get some ideas on how to have some eggstra fun with your family this year.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Peter Rabbit Pancake Breakfast and Carnival (West Linn): This 40-year tradition at West Linn High School is a treat. From 8:00 to 11:00 am, pay a small fee for breakfast, games, auction, and a visit with Peter Rabbit.
Egg Hunt for Hope (Sherwood): This fundraising egg hunt begins at 1:00 pm.

MARCH 18 (FRIDAY)
Underwater Egg Hunt (Beaverton): Hunt for eggs in the pool and other fun Easter activities at the Conestoga Recreation and Aquatic Center. $7, 6:00 to 8:30 pm.

MARCH 19 (SATURDAY)
Breakfast with the Easter Bunny at Bridgeport Village (Tigard): For $10 a ticket you can enjoy breakfast, crafts, music, prizes, and visits with the Easter Bunny and Mother Goose.
Extreme Egg Hunt for Teens (Beaverton): This is part egg hunt, part scavenger hunt, and all fun for anyone 13-17 years old at the Tualatin Hills Athletic Center. $20, 5:00 to 7:00 pm.

MARCH 26 (SATURDAY)
Underwater EGGstravaganza at SHARC (Hillsboro): Bring your kids to hunt for eggs and prizes, and even visit with the Easter Bunny. $10/resident, $15/non-resident.
Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): Free with zoo admission, children 10 and under can hunt for candy eggs every 15 minutes from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Hippity Hop Bunny Hop Through the Pearl District (Portland): Come to the Pearl for fun activities, treats, and a hug and picture with the Easter Bunny. 10:30 am to 3:00 pm.
Spring Egg Hunt (Portland): This egg hunt—rain or shine—will have candy and prize eggs, as well as hot chocolate and donuts at Garden Home Recreation Center. $7, 11:00 am to noon.
Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): At the Washington County Fair Complex you can enjoy egg hunts and visits with the Easter Bunny. (Additional activities are available for an extra fee.) 9:00 am to 3:00 pm, $5/family.
Egg Hunt at Lee Farms (Tualatin): Each child 12 and under gets to hunt for eggs, decorate a cookie, see the Easter Bunny, and make crafts. 9:00 am to 12:30 pm. Tickets are $6 and are selling out fast.
Alpenrose Dairy Egg-stravaganza (Portland): Come for egg hunts (with prizes!), the Easter Bunny, and more, starting at 10:30 am.
Egg Hunt at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): Bring your little ones to hunt at one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Come early for the hunts at 10:00 am and noon.

MARCH 27 (SUNDAY)
Sunrise Easter Service at Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (Woodburn): What a beautiful place to start Easter Sunday! This 7:00 am Sunrise Easter Service in the tulip fields will be run by WAMA, Woodburn Area Ministerial Association.

Anything I missed? Please let me know in the comments below!

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St. Patrick’s 2016: Portland & the West Side

Whether you’re Irish to the core or just for the day, there’s plenty o’ fun for your family in our area this week.

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MARCH 12 (SATURDAY)
Murphy’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade (Hillsboro): Participate in this beloved 40-year tradition—parade, food, and children’s activities. Parade at 11:00 am, lunch at noon.
St. Agatha’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival (Portland): This Catholic school’s yearly celebration features a parade, carnival, 5k fun run, and live entertainment, all starting at 11:00 am.
Luckython (Aloha): Bring the whole family to the Reserve Vineyards and Golf Club for fun runs for kids, competitive races for adults, and a potato bar for all.

MARCH 13 (SUNDAY)
Shamrock Run (Portland): With all sorts of races, ranging from stroller-friendly runs to a half marathon, this event has something for everybody.

MARCH 17 (THURSDAY)
Paddy’s St. Patrick’s Celebration (Portland): This tented street party is family-friendly from 11:00 am to 9:30 pm. Come for a Irish feast and exciting entertainment—bagpipes, dancers, bands, and more.
St. Patrick’s Day Celebration by the Oregon Irish Club (Portland): From 4:00 to 9:00 pm at the Ambridge Event Center you can see Irish dancers and bands, visit the children’s area, and enjoy Irish food. See site for admission prices.
McMenamins (several locations): This Portland chain invites all ages to come for delicious food and special Irish entertainment.
St. Patrick’s Day Dinner (Hillsboro): Enjoy corn beef and cabbage, boiled potatoes, and more at the senior center. $6/person.

 

Anything I missed?? Let me know and I’ll add it to the list!

Christmas 2015: Festive Family Fun in Portland’s West Side

Festive 2015

There are so many ways to make merry this holiday season! Try out some of these Portland-area activities with your family.

Long-Running Festivities:
Pittock Mansion Christmas Exhibit (Portland, Nov. 23 to Jan. 2, 11 am to 4 pm): Their annual holiday exhibit doesn’t disappoint. Walk through “The Magic of Wintertime” while local musicians play. Adults $11, Youth (ages 6-18) $8, Children under 6 FREE.
ZooLights at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 5 to 9 pm): The zoo dazzles with a million and a half lights. Prices vary, members are free. It gets busy, so plan for a crowd.
The Grotto’s Christmas Festival of Lights (Portland, Nov. 27 to Dec. 20, 5 to 9:30 pm): Walk through the impressive light displays at the Grotto, a 62-acre Catholic Shrine and botanical garden. There are half a million lights, holiday concerts, and outdoor caroling.
Christmas Ships (Portland, Dec. 4 to 20, 7 to 8 pm): Since 1954 Portlanders have paraded down the Willamette and Columbia Rivers with their boats and ships blinged out for Christmas. Find a spot on the waterfront and enjoy the fun.
Christmas in Dairyville and Storybook Lane at Alpenrose Dairy  (Portland, weekends until Christmas, times vary): This charming little Portland-area tradition runs throughout the Christmas season. Admission is free.
The Nutcracker Ballet (Keller Auditorium, Portland, Dec. 12 to 26, 7:30 pm): Share the magic of the Nutcracker ballet with your child. Performed by the Oregon Ballet Theatre.
Peacock Lane Christmas Lights (Portland, Dec. 15 to 31, 7 to 10 pm): These neighbors have a long gone all out providing beautiful Christmas displays. FREE. It gets busy, so it’s best to park far and walk more.
The Polar Express by the Mt. Hood Railroad (Hood River, various dates and times until Dec. 27): Join Santa on this magical train ride based on the popular book and movie “The Polar Express.” You’ll get treated to hot cocoa, music, and a special gift. Buy tickets in advance!
24 Days of Music at the Portland Temple of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Lake Oswego, Dec. 1 to 24, 7 pm): Come to the visitor center for nightly choirs and performances. Admission is free, but seating is limited.
Winter Village at Orenco Station (Hillsboro, Dec. 18 to Jan. 3): This brand new holiday tradition brings the only open-air ice skating rink to the area.

December 4 (Friday)
Holiday Open House & Tree Lighting (Beaverton, 4:30 to 7 pm): Come to the city library to see Santa and celebrate the season.
Festival of Trees (Portland, 10:30 am to 8 pm): At the Oregon Convention Center you can catch this annual tradition. Come see 25 themed trees, visit with Santa, and enjoy the entire winter wonderland.
Starry Nights and Holiday Lights (Tualatin, 5 to 8:30 pm): At the Lake of the Commons you can catch the tree lighting, Santa, and holiday choirs.
Downtown Tigard Tree Lighting (Tigard, 6:45 to 9 pm): Santa, local choirs, and the tree lighting, of course!

December 5 (Saturday)
Festival of Trees (Portland, 10:30 am to 8 pm): At the Oregon Convention Center you can catch this annual tradition. Come see 25 festively decorated trees, visit with Santa, and enjoy other holiday entertainment.
Holiday in the Grove (Forest Grove, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm): Enjoy holiday fun all day long, including Santa, a holiday market, wagon rides, music, and more.
The Nutcracker by Ballet Forest Grove (Forest Grove, 1 and 6 pm)
Sherwood Winter Festival (Sherwood, 4 pm): Community parade, holiday music, Santa, and the tree lighting.

December 6 (Sunday)
The Nutcracker by Ballet Forest Grove (Forest Grove, 1 and 6 pm)

December 10 (Thursday)
– Snow Globe Craft (Hillsboro, 3 to 4 pm): Come craft with your kids at Shute Park Branch Library.

December 12 (Saturday)
Santa Visits the Streets of Tanasbourne (Hillsboro, 1 to 4 pm): Santa will arrive by horse-drawn carriage and then start visiting with little friends. Enjoy hot chocolate and carriage rides.

December 26 (Saturday)
– Origami for the New Year (Hillsboro, 2:30 to 3:30 pm): Come to the Main Library for this fun activity for all ages.

8 Picture Books for Christmas

Ready to start celebrating the season? Looking for a new book to put under the tree? Share these Christmas stories with your little loved ones.

A Good Gray: 8 Picture Books for Christmas

1. “Room for a Little One: A Christmas Tale” by Martin Waddell
With gorgeous illustrations and the help of the stable animals, Waddell tells the story of Christ’s birth.cvr9781416961772_9781416961772_lg

2. “Snowmen at Christmas” by Caralyn Buehner
Learn how snowmen celebrate Christmas is this charming holiday book. The illustrations are half the fun!
Snowmen at Christmas

3. “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg
This Caldecott winner was one of my childhood favorites. The illustrations and the creative story make you a believer.
1986_Polar_Express

4. “The Jolly Christmas Postman” by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
My girls don’t get tired of this one! Open each character’s Christmas mail as you follow this charming little holiday tale.JOLLY POSTMAN

5. “The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey” by Susan Wojciechowski
This is a longy, but it’s a very sweet story. It’s uplifting, focuses on the goodness of Christmas, and makes you feel all the feels.96-The-Christmas-Miracle-of-Jonathan-Toomey

6. “Little Critter’s The Night Before Christmas” by Mercer Mayer
My girls love reading this one at Grandma’s. Mayer gives Little Critter’s take on this Christmas Eve tradition.

Little-Critter-s-the-Night-Before-Christmas-9780679873525

7. “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss
A classic, right? Remind your family of just what’s important this holiday season with this Dr. Seuss masterpiece.how-the-grinch-stole-christmas

8. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry
This is also a long story, but so worth it. O. Henry’s poignant tale is beautifully matched with Lisbeth’s Zwerger’s illustrations.

Magi

What are some of your favorites? Comment below with your suggestions!

Thanksgiving Play 2015

I’m grateful (get it?) that Thanksgiving is one of the simplest holidays. It gives you lots of family time and often lots of free time. Winning!

So if you’re looking to get out and kick off the holiday season in Portland’s west side, check out my list of fun Thanksgiving activities below. image_1

November 23 (MONDAY)
– Thankful Crafts at Shute Park Library (Hillsboro, 6:00 to 7:00 pm): Come make some free crafts with your friends at the library.
Gratitude Month (Portland Children’s Museum, November): Participate in different gratitude activities with your kids all November long.
The Magic of Wintertime (Pittock Mansion, Nov. 23 to Jan. 2): Enjoy the annual holiday exhibit at Pittock Mansion with local musicians. Children welcome.

November 24 (TUESDAY)
20th Annual Hillsboro Youth Turkey Trot (Hare Field, 3:30 pm): A FREE fun run for youth up to the 8th grade. Come rain or shine!

November 25 (WEDNESDAY)
Turkey Trot 5k Run/Walk + Kids Trot (Portland International Raceway, 6:45 to 10:00 pm): Come run through the raceway’s holiday lights. Dogs welcome.

November 26 (THURSDAY)
Turkey Trot at the Oregon Zoo (Portland, 8:00 to 9:45 am): This 4-mile fun run or walk winds through Washington Park and ends at the zoo. Children events included, and jogging strollers welcome. Register today.
Give ‘n’ Gobble (Sherwood High School, 9:00 am): This 5k walk or 10k run with a food drive is a Thanksgiving tradition. This race sells out, so register in advance.
Winter Wonderland Holiday Light Show (Portland International Raceway, Nov. 26 to Dec. 27, 5:00 pm): Drive through one of the largest light shows in the country. $20/car.

November 27 (FRIDAY )
My Macy’s Portland Holiday Parade (Portland, 9:00 am): Kick off the holidays with Portland’s own Macy’s parade. Geared towards children.
Tree Lighting Ceremony at Pioneer Square (Portland, 5:30 to 6:30 pm): Witness the lighting of the 75-foot Christmas tree with holiday music and festivities.
Holiday Express Train Ride (Portland, weekends Nov. 27 to Dec. 20): Take a 1-hour ride along the beautiful Willamette with Santa on this holiday-decorated train. Made possible by the Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation.
Zoo Lights (Portland, Nov. 27 to Jan. 3, 5:00 pm): Come see your favorite zoo all lit up for Christmas.
Christmas Festival of Lights (Grotto, Nov. 27 to Dec. 30, 5:00 to 9:30 pm): This family-oriented tradition includes dozens of choirs and hundreds of lights.

November 28 (SATURDAY )
Hillsboro Holly Days (Downtown Hillsboro, 1:00 to 6:00 pm): A Christmas extravaganza featuring Santa, live reindeer, train rides, the tree lighting, shopping, music, activities, and more.
Cinnamon Bear Cruise on the Spirit (Portland, weekends Nov. 28 to Dec. 27): Take a 2-hour ride on the Portland Spirit with Cinnamon Bear and friends. Enjoy snacks, drinks, and holiday activities.