Category Archives: Hands-On Activity

Day 328: Volunteer at the Portland Rescue Mission

Last Thursday, I had the pleasure of accompanying a few co-workers to the Portland Rescue Mission for some early morning volunteering. There, we served breakfast to nearly 200 guests as they got out of the cold, and enjoyed a helping of pancakes, oatmeal, fruit, and coffee.  It was a truly humbling and amazing experience, and one that I can hardly wait to do again!

The Portland Rescue Mission is more than just an assumed “soup kitchen”. What their organization does reaches people in need on multiple levels- getting them the help they need to get off the streets and improve their lives. The Mission provides emergency shelter for up to 175 individuals, food and clothing services, and recovery help, in hopes to break the cycle of homelessness.  Overnight guests are provided a shower, a clean bed, and even the opportunity to exchange torn and weathered garments with clean, warm ones.  

For those of us Portlanders that are fortunate enough to have secure shelters, clothing, employment, and families, we have the opportunity, and ability, to show our appreciation by getting involved and giving back to a community of people who don’t have these luxuries.  My suggestion to you all: give back, volunteer, pay it forward.

I can’t say enough about how much fun my team and I had during our visit to the Portland Rescue Mission.  The folks we came in contact with were extremely gracious and thankful for our time. Just the simplicity of helping start their day off with a smile, seemed to make a difference.  

The Rescue Mission serves more than 230,000 meals each year and are always in need of great people to volunteer their time to reach out to the population of hurting people.  I promise you that a couple of hours at the Mission will pay you back more than you will ever imagine.  When we were there, we learned that the thing lacking with most of the homeless population, is the bond formed from relationships.  Volunteering is a great way to help these people feel any sort of connection to others; something that most of them have lacked most or all of their lives.

Volunteering is a great way to get your children involved in giving back to their community, too! And the Rescue Mission will allow children as young as 8 years old to volunteer as long as they are accompanied by an adult 18 years or older.

There are multiple ways one can volunteer at the Mission. Whether it’s sorting through donated clothes, serving food (either breakfast or dinner), answering phones, or training residents  – the choice is yours, and all are equally appreciated!

Give back to our amazing community, lend a helping hand, and spend some time volunteering with The Portland Rescue Mission.  

Neighborhood: Northwest Portland
111 W Burnside 
Portland, OR 97209
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Day 243: Ice Skate at Lloyd Center

You know it’s Christmas time when your life has a 24 hour Christmas soundtrack, your house smells like cinnamon, you watch back to back Christmas movies, you’ve already made a gingerbread house, and you always have hot cocoa with little marshmallows in your mug…OR maybe that’s just me? If you’re not in holiday spirit overload like I am, try one of the best ways to get excited- bundle up and get your skate on at Lloyd Center Mall’s indoor ice skate rink.  

I’ve always been jealous of the Christmas movies where it’s snowing and people are ice skating in Central Park and the Rockefeller Center. But, Portlanders, I have to admit, skating inside the mall with the decorations and the hustle and bustle of holiday shoppers is just as festive in my book.  Whether you’re a pro, or never been ice skating before, the Lloyd Center ice rink is a fun place to do it! Ice skating is a fun idea for a first date, or even a family outing! In fact, why not take the kids to see Santa after and make it a whole day filled with Christmas cheer.  

Admission is $6 with a $3 skate rental and special rates for Friday and Saturday nights.  Never skated and are too nervous to try your luck on the ice?  Why not take a lesson or two?  A seven week session is only $69 and makes for a great gift for that aspiring skater in your life.

Enjoy Portland’s Ice Skating Tradition, and try it!

This Sunday, December 5th, is the Portland Police Bureau Sunshine Division Skate event.  Bring 8 cans of fruit and get free admission and skate rental.  

Happy skating!

953 Lloyd Center
Portland, OR 97232
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Day 242: Quail Creek Ranch Christmas Tree Farm

Welcome back from a great Holiday weekend!  I don’t know about you but, I personally seized the weekend.  I was blessed to spend time with friends and family, and to top it all off, I was able to tear it up on the mountain!  Fellow snow bunnies out there- it’s going to be a great year on the slopes!

Now that Thanksgiving is over, the clock starts ticking…there are only 27 days until Christmas! So, like many Portlanders out there, I am on the search for the perfect Christmas tree. And the sooner the better! No worries, I have found the perfect place- Quail Creek Ranch located off of Northwest Kaiser Road.

Quail Creek’s Christmas tree lot has over 10,000 trees complete with the large variety of 6 different types of trees to choose from!  You’ll be sure get the perfect size and style that you’re looking for.

Enjoy free candy canes and hot chocolate that’ll warm you up as you sit by their outdoor covered fireplace.  

Feeling brave this year and want to cut your own tree?  They have plenty of saws for you to give it a go, otherwise, they are more than happy to assist you with cutting one down. Or, if you prefer the simple route, Quail Creek lot attendants can help you select from one of their many freshly cut trees, making for a quick stop, and off you go!  

I’ve always said that Christmas begins when the tree, so head to Quail Creek Ranch Christmas Tree Farm and start your holiday season off right!

Neighborhood: Northwest Portland
9949 NW Kaiser Rd
Portland, OR 97231
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Day 241: Enjoy a Christmas Bazar

After a long holiday weekend, it’s time to get back to work and finish the year out strong.    Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?  Whether you’re looking for a great gift to give someone special or merely tying up some loose christmas shopping ends, be sure to check out America’s Larges Christmas Bazar at the Portland Expo Center.

There’s only one weekend left, December 3rd-5th.  Admission is $6.50 for adults and $3.25 for kids over the age of 12.  But here’s a tip, if you bring two cans of food on December 3rd, admission is FREE.

This year marks the 28th anniversary of this infamous Portland Bazar and it’s going to be better than ever.  There are over 1000 booths providing inexpensive gifts and food that will surely meet the criteria of everyone on your list.  A lot of the booths are filled with handcrafted items.

Doors are open Friday-Saturday from 10am-6pm and Sunday from 10am-5pm.

Happy shopping Portland!

Neighborhood: North Portland
2060 North Marine Dr
Portland, OR 97217
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Day 240: Jingle Bell Run/Walk

How was your Turkey Day Portland?  I hope it was filled with lots of friends, family, and FOOD!!  I stuffed myself silly and woke up this morning feeling as if maybe I took one too many bites of pumpkin pie and in need of some major calorie bringing.  Lucky for us the Jingle Bell Run/Walk is just around the corner.

The event is going on in just a few short days so don’t wait to register.  Enjoy some holiday spirit as you join thousands of runners and walkers to help benefit the Arthritis Foundation.  It’s a win-win situation.

The route is a 5K starting at the World Trade Center.  Entry fees are $25 and include a long sleeved event T-Shirt and Jingle Bells.

Do something fun, help those in need of your support, and burn off those Thanksgiving calories.

Neighborhood: Southwest Portland
121 SW Salmon St
Portland, OR 97204


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Day 239: Volunteer

Happy Thanksgiving, Portland!  What are you thankful for?  Personally, I’m thankful to have such an amazing city and great people to share all of my wonderful adventures with – thank you all for your support through this 365 day journey. 

Today, its important to not only recognize how blessed we are and the many things we have to be thankful for, but also to remember that, as W. J. Cameron stated, “Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action”.

This holiday season, set aside some time to get involved and support the local organizations that give people who are less fortunate a reason to be thankful year-round.

Below are 3 local organizations and their information links where you can learn how to get involved and help these places out! Many programs have group volunteer opportunities so grab a few friends and you can all volunteer together!

Portland Rescue Mission: 

Portland’s outreach program in hopes to end homelessness.

Loaves and Fishes:

Providing meal assistance for seniors.

Oregon Food Bank:

Distributes food to agencies that feed people who struggle with hunger.

So, in the spirit of giving thanks, remember not only to be thankful, but to give back as well!

I hope you have a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

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Day 234: In Good Taste Couples Class


This one is for all my male friends out there.  Guy, are you trying to find the perfect gift for that special lady in your life this holiday season?  Step outside the box and give your lady a date night she will be raving to her friends about – Date Night at In Good Taste.
In Good Taste is a one of a kind cooking experience right in the heart of Portland’s Pearl District.  It’s an evening exclusive to couples enjoying delicious bites prepared right in front of you.  Various culinary experts will share with you the secrets behind various recipes, cooking techniques, and more.
The evening begins with a delicious cocktail and pre-meal snack.  Then you and your date will be pampered through the remaining three courses.  It’s the perfect way to spend time with your loved ones and learn a thing or two in the meantime.  The best part is the cooking is entirely hands on.  I promise it will be one of the most thoughtful presents she ever gets.
Cost for the class/evening is $95 per person and gift certificates are available through their site (link below).
If you’re looking for a pre-Christmas experience, check out the class scheduled for December 4th.  YOu will win extra brownie points for taking your special someone out of the kitchen for a relaxing evening before the holidays really get underway.
Neighborhood: Northwest Portland – Pearl District
231 NW 11th Ave
Portland, OR 07209



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