Spring

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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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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Making Mini Greenhouses

I love me some gardening. It’s in my genes (my grandparents grew award-winning roses, and I’m nerdy enough to love that). And since I come from a long line of gardeners, I’m doing my best to convince my kids that they like to work in the yard too.

This spring I decided to show them a cool way to grow seeds (because seed-growing is COOL, right girls??).

I give you… the mini greenhouse:

A Good Gray: Making Mini GreenhousesWant to learn how to make one too? It’s easy.

1. Gather the following:
– Plastic container with lid, remove top labels (we used spinach containers)
– Egg carton (we used cardboard 18-egg cartons)
– Potting soil
– Seeds
– Labels and markers
A Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses2. Cut the lid off your egg carton and then trim the bottom to fit into your plastic container. Invite your child to design a label and then attach it to your container (apparently this is best done when wearing a paper crown).

A Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses3. Help your child fill the egg carton with potting soil, and then plant 2 or 3 seeds in each space in your carton. (Just plan on a mess and you’ll be less irritated.)
A Good Gray: Making Mini GreenhousesA Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses4. Place the carton in the plastic container. Carefully drop just a few drops of water in each space. Like 2 drops per seed. (Do NOT overwater or there will be too much moisture in your greenhouse. Think: MILDEW. Gag! So really hold back.)
A Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses5. Close the lid and make sure it’s sealed. Place it in a sunny spot and leave it alone! You don’t need to water it or anything because the water will condense inside and rewater. Just give it a week or two, and you’ll start to see some action.
A Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses6. When it’s warm enough outside, carefully move your seedlings to a garden bed or flower pot. And while you’re out there, have your kids pull some weeds. Viva the green thumb!

A Good Gray: Making Mini Greenhouses

My daughter thoughtfully pondering the parts of a plant and the cycle of life

P.S. Looking for one more way to teach your kids about growing plants? Seal a bean seed in a Ziploc bag with a damp paper towel. Tape it to a window that gets a lot of sun, and it will sprout in just a few days!

Easter Fun on Portland’s West Side

A Good Gray: Easter 2015When we moved to Oregon and had our first rainy Easter, I thought, “Welp, I guess all the egg hunts will be canceled!”

Oh dear, sweet, innocent me… I quickly learned that Pacific Northwest egg hunts are always rain or shine. Wearing an Easter dress with rain gear and boots is just part of the gig.

A Good Gray: Easter 2015So what’s hoppin’ for Easter this year, come sunny skies or gray? Check out this list of ways to celebrate in Portland’s west side:

APRIL 4 (SATURDAY)
Annual Great Westside Easter Egg Hunt (Hillsboro): Head to the WA County Fair Complex for tons of fun (think fire trucks, pony rides, bounce houses, games, arts & crafts, and more). Rain or shine, 8:00 am to 3:00 pm. Only $5/family!

SHARC Underwater EGGstravaganza (Hillsboro): Dive in for this hunt from 1:30 to 4:00 pm. $10/child, ages 1 to 12, pre-register.

Orenco Station Easter Hop (Orenco): Head shop to shop with the Easter Bunny for this egg hunt. 12:00 to 2:00 pm.

Spring Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast (Cedar Hills): Enjoy breakfast at the rec center with the Easter Bunny at 9:00 am, and then head out for the egg hunts at 10:00 or 11:00 am. $7/child, pre-register.

Spring Egg Hunt at Garden Home Recreation Center (Portland): Rain or shine, come hunt for eggs and surprises at 11:00 am. $7/child, ages 1 to 10.

Rabbit Romp at the Oregon Zoo (Portland): A candy hunt, petting farm, crafts and games from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Up to age 10, free with regular zoo admission.

Alpenrose Dairy Annual Easter Egg Hunt (Portland): Come for this free traditional hunt starting at 10:30 am. Ages 3 to 8.

8 U-Pick Berry Farms in WA County

It’s berry season and I couldn’t be happier! But consider yourself warned: once you try freshly picked Oregon berries, no other berry will do.

You really won’t regret bringing your family out berry picking this summer. They’ll love the fruits of their labors, and your child might finally understand that strawberries don’t grow in a plastic container in the store. (That was a big “aha” moment for my daughter.)

A Good Gray: Berry Picking

Here are 8 u-pick farms in Washington County that are worth visiting. Before you head out, it’s always recommended to call or check Facebook to see if berries are available.

1. West Union Gardens: Hillsboro
Raspberries, blackberries, tayberries, and loganberries. Pick berries June to September. The berries here are big and juicy, and West Union does a great job of keeping paths clear and minimizing thorns.

2. Smith Berry Barn: Hillsboro
Strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, and more. This the Cadillac of berry picking—they have a cafe and gift shop too. Check out their berry festival on the 4th of July.

3. Groveland Acres is now Helvetia Strawberries: Hillsboro
Shuksan strawberries. Pick in June. This is a simple set-up, but the berries are priced well and de-li-cious. And they have great views!

4. Hoffman Farms: Beaverton
Strawberries and raspberries. Pick in June and July. They sell other produce and bakery items too.

5. Rowell Brothers: Hillsboro
Raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, marionberries, boysenberries, and loganberries. Pick June to August. Great prices and another simple set-up (no store).

6. Unger Farm: Cornelius
Strawberries. Pick berries May to June. They have more than one variety (including the coveted Hoods). They have u-cut options if you’re interested too.

7. Callaghan’s Blueberry Field: Hillsboro
Blueberries. “Sweet little place and the kids aren’t a muddy mess afterwards.”

8. Baggenstos: Sherwood
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, marionberries.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Updated March 2015
What: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
Where: Iverson Family Farms, 33814 S. Meridian Road, Woodburn
Who: All ages
When: the Tulip Festival lasts March 20 to May 3, 9 am to 6 pm daily
Why: It’s an explosion of beauty that’s catered to families
Cost: Admission/parking is $20 per car load, $5 per bike/motorcycle

A Good Gray: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OR45 minutes south of Portland is a treasure known as the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm. It’s 40 acres of pure tulip goodness. There are a million bulbs busting out every spring, and it is GORGEOUS. Mt. Hood sits showing off in the distance on a clear day, and it’s fantastically beautiful.

A Good Gray: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, ORThere are two main sections. The front section by the main building holds the gift shop, tulip market, food court, and the Children’s Play Area (duck races, slides, tire swings, etc.). It also has a large parking lot. The back section is where you’ll find the tulip fields, crisscrossed with walking trails, benches, viewpoints, and tractors for the kids to climb on. There’s a second large parking lot here as well.

You can either walk or take a free hayride between the two sections. I recommend hitting the field first, and then heading back up for food and activities. There are a few paid rides through the fields that are reasonably priced. We chose the cow train on a clear day, and it was hilariously (and painfully?) dusty and bumpy, but the kids somehow loved it.

There are plenty of restrooms around, and dogs are welcome on a leash. Wear good walking shoes and for goodness sake bring your camera! It’d be wise to check out their field report before you head down, just to know what conditions are like and if the flowers are still blooming.

Weekends have the most special activities and events, so obviously that’s when the festival is busiest. Expect congestion and some frustration. But there are only a few weeks left in the 2014 festival, I’d hate for you to miss out!

This farm also hosts a pumpkin farm and Halloween hauntings in October, so come back in the fall.

A Good Gray: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OR IMG_7623A Good Gray: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OR A Good Gray: Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn, OR

Our 6 Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring

Folks, it’s spring.

[cue the chorus of angels]

That means the flowers are blooming, the skies are blue, and we have enough dry days to make it worth it to go to the playground. Booya!

A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring

Hillsboro has a plethora of parks, but here are our top 6 for the spring:

1. Shute Park750 SE 8th Avenue
A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring
This souped-up playground is pretty sweet. It includes a toddler play structure, HUGE big-kid play structure, swings, seesaws, and sandbox. We love it! It’s also right next to the brand new Shute Library.

2. Noble Woods Park475 SE Century Blvd. (South Entrance), 23480 W Baseline Road (North Entrance)
A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for SpringA Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring
MAN this place is beautiful! The playground you’ll find here is nature-made. Our girls love to hunt for bugs and leaves on the trails and bridges. This is a great way to get safely lost with your kids in the incredibly interesting Oregon woods. The pavilion and field are by the south entrance.

3. Magnolia Park1810 NW 192nd Avenue
A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring

This Tanasbourne park has a play structure for toddlers as well as older kids (which includes what we call “the gigantic slide”). You’ll also find a covered pavilion and easy, road-side parking. And come summer? There are play fountains.

4. Orchard Park20900 NW Amberwood Drive
A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring
I admit the playground is tiny, but the cool climbing boulders (big and small) go a long way. There are also great trails for spying wildlife, and a disc golf course that’s hoppin’ during lunch hour.

5. Frances Street Park6205 SE Frances Street
A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring
Nestled in a neighborhood, this cute ship-themed play structure is on turf (no bark chips in the shoes!). There are basketball courts right down the hill from the playground, and lots of fields to run on.

6. 53rd Avenue Community Park300 NE 53rd Avenue

A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring A Good Gray: Go-To Hillsboro Parks for Spring
The playground is best for older kids, but even our littlest has a fun time here. Besides the play structure, there’s a sandbox, hill with a great view, turf fields, basketball courts, and tennis courts. There’s no shade, so once it’s hotter come for the cool fountains instead of the playground.

So once you see those clouds part this spring, start running to the park! (But maybe bring a towel to dry off the slides.)