Believe it or not, September is just around the corner. Our new issue jumps headfirst into fall, with advice for top local high schoolers on how to make the most of the new school year, one-pot dinner recipes for busy weekdays, a talk with Oregon’s reigning teacher of the year and a guide to the most family-friendly u-pick apple orchards around.

September also brings our annual birthday issue – this year, two local mamas and birthday party veterans share the low-down on how to make the most of your kiddo’s special day.

Plus, navigating your way through the credit card economy, a fun and collaborative at-home art project from the makers at the Portland Children’s Museum and an ode to the lazy days of summer from our Daddy Issues columnist (because, according to the calendar, we’ve still got until September 21 before we have to say good-bye officially to summer 2015).

You can pick up the September edition of Metro Parent at any of these locations, read articles below, view the PDF online here.


Valedictorian-StMarys3Play Room
Words of wisdom from Oregon’s reigning Teacher of the Year, a bumper crop of baby carriers and back-to-school book picks.

Head of the Class
Some of the metro area’s top students look back at their high school career. By Cathie Ericson.

Party People
Two local mamas and party experts on how to throw a birthday bash your kiddo will always remember. By Julia Silverman.

MadScience1Balance Sheet
A family-friendly guide to navigating the complicated credit card economy. By Darcy Cronin and Miel Hendrickson.

Field Trip
An apple a day keeps the you-know-who away. And they taste even sweeter if you pick them yourselves. By Alison Wilkinson.

Moving To
Young families are discovering the Arbor Lodge neighborhood in NoPo. By Heather Lee Leap.

HandsOn-September2015-4Daddy Issues
Fighting the good fight against the hyper-scheduled summer. By Ryan White.

Hands On
Go big at home with a painting free-for-all project from the Portland Children’s Museum. By Jess Graff.

Family Supper
On Mondays, kids eat free at Hawthorne Fish House, plus other great spots to fill up the littles on the cheap. By Denise Castañon.

Recipe File
A healthy one-pot dinner recipe for the busy back-to-school season. By Christi Reed.

Time Out
Mini-makers, harvest festivals and the Orange Line cometh.

Last Look
Portland in pictures. By Sung Kokko.


Back to School

Birthday Party Guide

Editor’s note

Soaking up the last bits of summer on Lopez Island, Wash.
Soaking up the last bits of summer on Lopez Island, Wash.

The calendar says the new year starts in January, but us parents know better. It’s clearly September, when a new cycle of school gets underway in earnest. Last year at this time, I was — how to put this nicely? — kind of a wreck, with my twins breaking out of their sweet preschool’s cocoon and heading to kindergarten. This year? With some experience under our collective belts, I’m cool as a cucumber. (Or I’d like to think so, anyway.) My biggest tip: If time and work schedules allows, try to volunteer, whether in your kid’s classroom or on field trips, for special school events, or for the PTA. Our schools need the help, but I think I got even more back than I put in. Volunteering gives me a better understanding of the rhythm of Ben and Elly’s day and the dynamics of their classroom, and connected me to our broader community. With any luck, my kids will grow up to be at least a little like the honor roll local high-school grads we profile in our Head of the Class feature article, who generously share their advice about what it takes to succeed in school. Of course, ask a kid and they’ll tell you the new year starts whenever it’s their birthday, also known as the biggest and best holiday of the year. Plan a party they’ll never forget with the tips shared by local moms (and party experts) Lori Darnell and Elizabeth Sprague in our Party People feature. That’s the thing about parenting (and growing up); those milestones just keep coming, new year after new year.

— Julia Silverman

This Month’s Cover


On our cover: Super Portland photographer Posy Quarterman LOVES birthday parties. And what’s not to like? Especially when your subject is as cute as chubby-cheeked PDX baby Mavis, shown here contemplating her birthday cake in all it’s ooey-gooey deliciousness. PS: Mavis’ mom, Autumn, made that super-cute birthday banner and sells them at See more of Posy’s work at

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