Welcome and About

Welcome!

Thank you for visiting!  I am new to the world of blogging, so we shall see how this goes!  I am excited about learning and sharing some of the adventures I have with Chicken and Nugget.

Chicken is my 9-year-old daughter and Nugget is my 6-year-old son.  Although if asked, they will both say they are Nugget.  While I would love to say that we go out and about on a regular basis due to my amazing organization and creativity, it’s really just a survival strategy.  We all do better when we are out doing something, learning together, and kept busy (that’s mom code for the kids fight less if we have something to do).  I started taking them places when they were pretty young, and I am lucky that they are now relatively easy to take out in public and know the behavior drill for the fun things we do.  They also know I will not hesitate to end the activity and head home if they don’t hold up their end of the deal.

Because I am a huge fan of survival, over the years we have found some favorite places and activities, and continue to seek out new adventures.  I often get asked “how do you find all these things?”  Since I don’t have a good or coherent answer, I thought I would start to share the places we go and opinions of them so that maybe you will be inspired to try something new with your kids.

My goal is to provide you with the basic info- where is it, how much does it cost, etc., as well as our perspective.  The good, the not great, if we recommend it.  As we get started, I will share things we are currently doing as well as fun activities from the past.  And yes, we go to a lot of theater.  Like, A LOT of theater. We all love a good musical!

We are doing this completely independently and do not receive any money or perks for our reviews.

All that said, thank you again for taking the time to look at our blog!  We hope hope you find inspiration for things to do with your own chickens and nuggets!

Find us on Facebook at @adventureswithchickenandnugget

-Erica

Fun Gift Ideas, Games, Things to do during COVID closures

Dominoes!

During quarantine, we all repeatedly heard how it was a great time to find a new hobby or develop a new skill. Well, Nugget listened and has taken it to an extreme. He found the world of toppling dominoes and I’m not sure he will ever leave.

I had stumbled across a cool video by Lily Hevesh and spontaneously showed it to Nugget and he was hooked. Much to their dismay, Chicken and Nugget are not allowed to cruise around YouTube, but I did give him permission to watch Lily Hevesh’s videos because not only are they amazing, but she seems like a truly delightful and inspirational human being.

After several videos, he begged and pleaded for dominoes for his birthday, and so dominoes he was given. He has never been a Lego or building kind of kid, so I was skeptical and pretty sure nothing much was going to come of this. So, I found a relatively inexpensive set of wooden dominoes and he was off! He was building towers and walls and all kinds of cool things. About a month later, I got him a book with colored photos of how to build even more domino tricks and he was in heaven.

And then Lily Hevesh came out with her own line of dominoes, H5 Domino Creations. And of course he had to have those. I drug my feet, because how different could they be from the ones he already had, right? But I eventually caved and I have to say, they are significantly better. I’ll save you the nitty gritty details of the differences, but in general they are much more stable and it really has made a difference in the success of his building and he now uses them exclusively, shunning his wooden ones to they toy bin and pulling them out only in times of desperation.

Nugget now spends hours each day building things and knocking them down. He has so much fun and I love seeing his skill, confidence, and creativity grow. He now incorporates other elements, making his own chain reaction machines. We have dominoes lines winding throughout the house and down the stairs. Heaven help you if you knock it down by accident. He even started his own domino YouTube channel (all videos have to be approved by me first), and he loves it. Dominoes go with him to the park, to daycare, on picnics- pretty much anywhere he goes that has a flat surface.

He’s surprisingly patient and persistent when structures fall before they are supposed to, usually only getting upset if he’s hungry or right before bed time. I could see it being a source of frustration for some kids, though.

For us, dominoes have been a great way to keep Nugget busy while building fine motor skills, being creative, learning indirectly about physics and engineering, increasing patience and persistence, and just plain old having fun.

If you think dominoes might be for your kid, give them a try! There are lots of inexpensive plastic and wooden domino sets that come with a large number of dominoes. If you are more convinced your kiddo will be REALLY into dominoes, I highly recommend the H5 Domino Creation sets. They are more of a money investment, as the price is higher and they come with fewer dominoes, but the building experience really is better.

So… dominoes…

What the are: fun, educational, easy to store and easy to take places, creative, a great way to fill time and learn new things

What they’re not: for kids with low frustration tolerance

Do we recommend them? For a kid with a building mind and determination, 1000%!

Coffee Shops & Restaurants

1927 S’Mores Company

First off, let me tell you I am a little miffed that no one bothered to mention this Portland gem to me. How have they been in Portland since 2015 and no one told us?!?

Deep breath and moving on. As vaccines become more available and restrictions have been lifting, we have slowly been venturing out into the world again. 1927 S’Mores popped up on one of my social media accounts, and it seemed like a yummy place to start.

Tucked into a small storefront off of 12th and Alder in downtown Portland, it’s truly a fun experience. The space is small, but they have done a wonderful job transforming it into an urban campground. From stone walls, to maps, and even a canoe, it is charming and adorable.

Inspired by the Girl Scouts s’mores tradition, they have taken the treat to a whole new level. They make their own graham crackers (my favorite part, to be honest) as well as their own marshmallows. You can choose from the traditional s’mores, seasonal flavors, or other fun flavor combinations seemingly inspired by the famous Girl Scout cookies. We tried the traditional s’mores as well as one with caramel, chocolate and coconut (think Samoas). They were all fantastic!

Once you have made your choice, a staff member carefully builds your s’more as you watch. And then it gets toasted with a small torch! How fun is that?!? Chicken and Nugget were both quite impressed and lots of excited commentary took place.

And did I mention there is hot chocolate? While the hot chocolate itself is pretty standard, getting to choose between a homemade vanilla or chocolate marshmallow to go on top along with whipped cream, candy bits, sprinkles, and nuts made it a special treat. And very rich!

Because the space is small and we are still living in the land of covid, expect to wait outside if other customers are present as only a few people are allowed inside at a time, and know you will need to take your treat to go. If you’re wondering how you eat a s’more on the go, never fear! They thoughtfully include a wet wipe with each treat. Once you are inside, we found the staff to be friendly, patient, and kind. We mentioned Chicken is a Girl Scout, and the staff member excitedly chatted about Girl Scouts and its connection to their business.

If you’re not sure you want to eat a s’mores on the go, they also sell kits with their homemade graham crackers, gourmet marshmallows, and chocolate that you can take with you on your next camping adventure, or make them in your back yard!

What it is: delicious, rich, unique

What it’s not: budget s’mores, a sit down cafe

Do we recommend it? Sure! It’s very fun novelty treat

To find out more, visit their website here: https://www.1927smores.com/visit

Theater, Things to do during COVID closures

SpongeBob the Musical- Broadway Across America

SpongeBob. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an episode. And if my kids have, it wasn’t at our house. But when Chicken and Nugget learned that the SpongeBob musical would be passing through our state- not our town, our state- they just HAD to go.

And because I am a complete sucker, I bought tickets. Actually, it’s because I’m date challenged. Tickets were going to go in their Easter baskets, only for me to realize after the fact that the show was over a month before Easter. Oops.

When the day a month before Easter rolled around,before we were all asked to remain in our homes and maintain social distancing, we loaded up on coffee (me), hot chocolate (them), and snacks (all of us), and loaded up for the 2 hour drive. Two hours. Each way. But I digress.

Thanks to some serious traffic issues, we arrived with just enough time to check out the lobby, use the restroom, and get in line for the door to open slightly late. Having not been at the particular venue in yeeeeeeears, it was a pleasant surprise when we entered. It was lovely!

The first cool element of the show began as soon as you walked in. Lighting was used to create the impression of rippling water, giving the illusion that you are entering the sea to visit SpongeBob and friends. A couple cast members were already on stage, casually playing ukulele and bongo drums. Other cast members slowly joined in until they had quite the little band going, playing island style music. Ushers were all over the place holding signs tell you not to take pictures or videos, but as the formal announcement was made at the beginning of the show, a pirate came waltzing down the aisles, dragging luggage and holding a sign stating he was president of the SpongeBob fan club. He snapped pictures and walked onto the stage only to be confronted and run off by “security.” He made another appearance at the end of intermission and again at the end of the show. They were some of our favorite moments.

Overall, the show was kind of like being in the middle of a neon rainbow that exploded. It was colorful, over the top, high energy, and pure fun and silliness. My favorite character by far was Sheldon, the resident villain. He was portrayed by a fantastic actor who “accidentally graduated a year early” from college. How does that happen? Chicken loved Squidward and Nugget was a fan of SpongeBob himself. The women portraying Sandy and Pearl were off the charts amazing in their singing abilities. The end of the show was also a lot of fun, with cast members forming another band, streamers shooting into the audience, and beach balls tossed out for the audience to play with.

For me, it was a fun show, but not something I need to see again. For my kids, it has been their daily obsession for almost two months now. They sing the songs all day, want to listen to them in the car, and quote lines from the show at random times. The LOVED it.

For better or worse, you are also able to purchase the show from Amazon for $9.99. Ever the sucker, I did. It was odd watching it back in our current circumstances. The characters are on quarantine, waiting for scientists to save them, living under questionably competent leadership, and fear turns them against those who are not like them. I never thought like my life would be so accurately reflected by the citizens of Bikini Bottom, but here we are.

So…

What it’s not: my favorite show ever, a serious life altering show, scary, inappropriate for kids

What it is: funny, good music, colorful, fast paced, surprisingly relevant to our current situation, kid-friendly

Would we recommend it? My kids totally would. I would recommend it to huge fans of Spongebob, or to a family looking to entertain their kids over themselves. But for $9.99, it’s also a fun way to entertain the kids at home and likely get them singing, dancing, and giggling.

Camps and Classes, Cooking for Kids

Cake Decorating Class with Jam Cakes

We have admired the work of Jam Cakes from afar (aka Facebook and Instagram) for a while now, and were excited to learn that the owner, Kimmie Hutchins, also offers cake decorating classes for kids and adults! As Jam Cakes is a special order bakery without a storefront, classes are offered at other bakeries around the Portland area. Much to Chicken’s delight, a class to make a cake inspired by Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch was being offered right down the street from our house!

Much like Hamilton tickets, your ability to get a “ticket” is based on how closely you stalk the internet and how fast you can click. Just kidding. It’s not quite that bad. But the classes are super popular and by nature require a small group, so they do tend to fill up really fast. We actually missed out when this class was first made available, but were able to snag a spot due to cancellations.

Kimmie has the cakes baked and the base frosting applied when the kids arrive. The students gather around the table, where each student has a container of tools and supplies. Since this is a drop off class, the rest of the information is based on Chicken’s review.

Apparently Kimmie is “super nice. Like really nice,” as well as a “really good teacher. And her fondant tastes like marshmallows. Did you know you make black fondant with tons of purple food coloring?” I heard a lot about that fondant and how good it tasted. Not what you usually hear about fondant. I’m kind of surprised she had a enough left to decorate the cake based on how excited she was about eating it. As Chicken was very proud of her work and did not want me to mutilate poor Stitch, I was not allowed to actually taste it myself when she brought the cake home. But I did taste the cake she brought home and it was really good!

Anyway, Chicken had a great time. She said Kimmie showed them how to form the different elements and had a sample for the kids to work from. But Chicken loved that they were also given the opportunity to personalize Stitch the way they saw fit.

Overall, she had a great experience and can’t wait to go back. In fact, our family’s Easter Bunny is hoping another class will be offered soon so a voucher can make its way into her Easter basket.

In her pride, Chicken insisted on photographing her cake herself, so here ya go. Professional cake decorated she may not be, but she was very happy with her first attempt and that’s what matters!

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The class was $40 and lasted about an hour. You can find Jam Cakes on Facebook and Instagram, including registration for upcoming classes and pictures of what the cake should have looked like. 🙂 Have fun!

Cultural Activities, Theater

The Journal of Ben Uchida- Oregon Children’s Theatre

This past weekend was super busy and fun and we completely wore ourselves out- in the best way possible. Right in the middle of everything, we had the opportunity to see the opening show of The Journal of Ben Uchida at Oregon Children’s Theatre.

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The Journal of Ben Uchida was originally a book, and the story has been adapted for the stage. It tells the story of 12-year-old Ben and his family. Ben, his sister, and his father are Japanese Americans who were born in the United States while his mother was born in Japan. The play begins with introducing us to the family, their interests, their relationships, and their family business. We see their routines, their lives, and their connection to each other and their community.

And then things change. Pearl Harbor is bombed, and Japanese Americans are given an order to pack one suitcase, leave their homes, and report to an internment camp. We see and hear the media messages about Japanese Americans and see the changes in how the family is treated by their community members. We then travel by train with the family to their assigned internment camp and witness their life in the camp.

The Journal of Ben Uchida is definitely deeper and heavier than any show we have previously seen there. It is beautifully designed and acted, and it touches on many topics relevant to today. We are provided with moments to witness the impact of being repeatedly exposed to hate, racism, and hurtful words. Issues related to media messaging, institutionalized racism, discriminatory government policies and actions, suicide, and family stress are all addressed in an hour. It’s a lot to take in.

Oregon Children’s Theatre typically has a scavenger hunt or other activities prior to the show. This show has an impactful art installation that includes informative panels containing historically accurate information as well has thousands of tags with the names and ID numbers of individuals placed in the internment camps. I found it very interesting, and Chicken was interested in the name tags. Nugget was not particularly engaged. The installation is definitely worth seeing, but you do not need to allocate as much time as you would for their typical activities.

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Oregon Children’s Theatre recommended this show for ages 10 and up. Chicken is just a few months shy of that age, but is in one of the grade levels they are targeting for school matinees. Nugget is younger, and I knew going in that a lot of it would go over his head. And it did.

I would actually recommend this show for middle school and up. Both Chicken and Nugget easily sat through the hour-long show, and there was nothing I felt uncomfortable with them seeing. However, I felt like Chicken did not grasp all of the subtleties of the show. Middle and high school students would be more likely to have the background knowledge and cultural awareness to get more out of the show.

This show is definitely not just for kids. We saw several adults in the audience, and I think adults would get just as much from seeing the show (if not more), than students.

So….

What it’s not: for young children, a graphic depiction of suicide (I don’t think Chicken or Nugget put together that’s what happened, and it even took me a minute to figure it out)

What it is: beautifully done, timely, relevant, an important conversation starter, great for middle school students and older

Do we recommend it: If you are looking for a conversation starter about race and discrimination, this is a fantastic stepping stone- especially for older children who are able to explore at a deeper level

The show is running until March 22, 2020 and tickets can be purchased here: https://www.octc.org/#index

Cultural Activities, Theater

The Jungle Book- Northwest Children’s Theater

This Saturday was a doozy. We headed downtown to Northwest Children’s Theater (NWCTS) for their current production- The Jungle Book. This show happened to have a Girl Scouts workshop associated with it, and Chicken was excited to participate.

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Chicken has attended a few of the Girl Scout workshops and has always had a fabulous time. For $22, the kids get to participate in an hour long workshop, a supervised lunch break, and watch the show together. In this case, the girls worked together to develop and perform dances related to the show. They also often get to see backstage or visit the costume or prop area. Chicken is always excited to share some new secret insider information with us. We definitely recommend them to any Girl Scouts out there!

But back to the show. After dropping Chicken off, Nugget thoroughly beat me at a game of chess while we waited for his best buddy to arrive and watch the show with us. We timed it perfectly, settling into our seats minutes before the show started.

The Jungle Book is another of Northwest Children’s Theater’s collaborations with the Anita Menon of the Anjali School of Dance. They work together to retell classic stories through dance, music, and theater.

The Jungle Book is a familiar story to many, and this collaboration provides some fun new twists. Mowgli and Bagheera are both played by females. Each animal group has its own distinctive style of dance and costuming, and the snake Kaa performs some pretty incredible aerial stunts. Shere Khan is portrayed by Andres Alcala, one of our absolute favorite NWCTS actors, and he was definitely the star of this show. And as an added treat, mango lassis and samosas are sold during intermission. Yum!

As we have always seen with these collaborative productions, the music, dancing, and costumes are above and beyond. The boys (Chicken was off with the Girl Scouts) excitedly whispered and giggled throughout the show, intrigued by the dances and finding humor in Shere Khan. The production is very dance heavy, and while it is beautiful, there were times that the time between action or dialogue seemed to lose some of the younger audience members.

After the show, we took some time to meet the cast, get pictures, and have our programs signed. The cast always makes this such a fun experience. I saw cast members taking the time to show dance moves to young audience members, ask questions, and take time to chat with each child. This is always a highlight of our NWCTS experience.

The Jungle Book:

What it’s not: a fast moving pace throughout the whole show, as funny as some of the shows we have seen there

What it is: colorful, full of amazing music and dance, a unique blend of theater and traditional Indian dance, a manageable length for most school aged children

Do we recommend it? Yes! While it was not our favorite show we have seen at NWCTS, it is a fun and unique show that is worth seeing.

The run time for this show is about 2 hours, with an intermission half way through. Try some of the special snacks! They were delicious!

The show runs through March 7th and tickets can be purchased here:

The Jungle Book

Theater

Dear Evan Hansen- Broadway Across America

Oh my heavens. This is one powerful show. I had my suspicions from what I knew about Dear Evan Hansen may be too mature for my kiddos, so my husband and I left them in the hands of their grandparents and had an evening sans children. And that was the right decision for our family.

Evan Hansen is a high school student struggling with severe anxiety. When a letter he wrote as part of his therapy homework is found in the possession of a peer who committed suicide, a series of events is set into motion.

This show is visually stunning. The set pieces are simple but effective, while lighting and the incorporation of technology is used to perfection. The cast we saw was amazingly talented and each did an exceptional job capturing the essence as well as the subtleties of their characters. They are also, of course, fantastic actors and singers.

There are many moments of humor and levity, which are timed wonderfully to break up the heartbreak that is key to the show. It is a beautiful story that highlights how people are not all good or all bad- we all have moments of both.

As much as I loved this show, I am glad we did not bring the children. There is foul language, although since they go to public school and professional sporting events, I doubt there would be much they hadn’t heard before. The themes are pretty grown up and intense. Mental health, suicide, marital conflict, the pros and cons of social media, and dishonesty all make significant showings. I’m just not sure our Chicken and Nugget would have been old enough to understand all of what was happening and have a context for processing what they saw.

That being said, there is plenty of fodder for communication with older children. Their experiences with social media, how they cope with feelings of distress, their navigation of relationships, concerns they may have for the wellbeing of friends or peers, and just what it means to be a friend. If you are open to the themes and conversations, it is an amazing show to experience.

What it’s not: for young children, light hearted

What it is: incredibly powerful, beautiful, important, timely, potentially triggering for many people, full of mature themes

Do we recommend it? For older children or a date night, yes. It is truly one of the most powerful shows I have seen and it is extremely well done. Maybe just wait until the kids are a bit older to take them.

Cultural Activities, Theater

What My Kids Get Out of Going to Live Theatre

We recently went to a production that wasn’t a huge hit will all three of us (Nugget like it more than Chicken and I did). It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t one that all of us loved. It was a very busy weekend and theatre tickets aren’t the cheapest, and I momentarily questioned why we had bothered.

I was specifically able to answer that question with these experiences from a show we didn’t even love.

1) Nugget got to spend an hour giggling and dancing with his best friend while they shared this imaginary world brought to life

2) During the backstage tour that we did, Chicken got to have a discussion about the importance of details in an imaginary world and what can be beneficial about doing something good/creative even if others don’t notice

3) An adult male that Nugget admires complimented his choice of nail polish color (shimmery purple). FYI- that’s not always the response he gets

4) When asked by an actor about his favorite part of the show, Nugget said that it was hearing Spanish on stage. Not only did it make my heart happy and bring a smile to the actor’s face, he got to have a conversation with that actor in Spanish that seemed to please them both.

All of a sudden I felt better about attending the show and appreciated the experience more. Then I broadened my thought process. We go to A LOT of theatre. That’s a lot of time and money that we could spend on other things. Why do we keep doing it? My list of reasons grew even longer.

1) It has helped them learn to sit and pay attention, a skill that serves those early school years well

2) It has fostered discussions related to diversity, racism, gender equality, history, and many other topics that I don’t know we would have talked about otherwise

3) It has helped them think critically and form opinions about all kinds of things. They ask good questions about what they have heard and seen, and incorporate that into their own thoughts and beliefs

4) Talking with actors and getting their programs signed at the local children’s theaters has given them practice sharing their thoughts with others and giving honest and specific compliments to others

5) It has fostered their own creativity outside of the shows. Whether it be recreating their own version of the show, drawing posters for the shows and taping them to our walls, making/wearing costumes related to the show, choosing to read books about a topic introduced to them through a show, rearranging our furniture to mimic a set they have seen, or spending their time singing and dancing to their new favorite tune, it has engaged them in creative activities

6) It has expanded their vocabulary. Sure, I had to explain the term polygamy to my five year old, but we’ve also gotten to talk about lots of other words and idioms

7) They learn and apply knowledge to new situations. When a peer asked Chicken when you become and adult, she responded “18. Because in 21 Chump Street it says that since Justin was over 18, he was charged as an adult.” Perhaps not the best or most age appropriate example, but she was able to immediately retrieve that information because she had context for it. Nugget often bursts into specific song lyrics related to a topic he or others are talking about. He could also probably win the Jeopardy category “Early America Presidents” at this point thanks to Hamilton and all the additional reading we have done related to the figures in the show

8) It has taught them to pay attention to detail. They notice costume elements that I don’t catch. They think about why a specific prop was used or why a certain staging choice was made. They talk about lighting and the impact it made. Is it nerdy? Yes. Is noticing detail and thinking about what it means a skill that will serve them well? Yes.

9) It has broadened their horizons outside of theatre. Chicken decided to audition for a play herself, and being on stage brought her confidence and connection with others that made me so happy for her. Nugget has finally gotten to live his dream of doing backstage and technical work with a local community theater, and it has been fantastic to seem him take his job so seriously and take pride in the work he is doing. They have both found topics to explore further through books, songs, and lessons.

10). It’s fun. It provides a way for us to spend an afternoon together sharing a fun experience and sharing our thoughts and opinions with each other.

Is going to theater a privilege I am lucky enough to share with my kids because of our life circumstances? Absolutely. Would everyone find it as enjoyable and impactful? Probably not. But it has given a lot to our family and I see the benefits playing out in my children. And that means we will keep going.

Volunteering

Volunteering with Burrito Brigade

Chicken is a Girl Scout, and one of the things Girl Scouts encourages is service to the community. One of our leaders came across Burrito Brigade and worked with them to provide a service opportunity for our girls.

Burrito Brigade has groups in both Portland and Eugene, Oregon. It is a non-profit organization focused on helping to feel the homeless through- you guessed it- burritos. Volunteers come together to prepare and wrap burritos. Once that process has been completed, groups of volunteers are assigned specific areas to distribute burritos.

We appreciated the variety of experience. Due to the age range of our troupe, we decided to forego the preparation portion of things and focus on wrapping and distributing. You are able to do that- volunteer for certain time frames related to the specific tasks.

Our older girls helped to fill and wrap the burritos, while our younger girls helped count them and place them into various containers for distribution. Over 400 burritos were made on the day we were there!

Once all the burritos were packed up, along with water bottles and small kits containing cough drops, tissues, and hand warmers, we were assigned areas for distribution. Our group was assigned the Chinatown area in Portland. I loved the agencies approach to giving. There were no limitations or conditions. If people want a burrito, give them a burrito. If they want another for themselves or someone else, give them another one. Keep giving until it’s all gone.

It was a great experience for our troupe. Members of the Burrito Brigade organization were friendly and helpful, the assigned tasks were age appropriate, and it opened the eyes of some of our girls to poverty issues in Portland. All of the girls I talked to said they enjoyed the experience and would do it again.

In general, you are able to just show up on a day that works for you (make sure to check their schedule). They do ask that larger groups contact them ahead of time so they can ensure they will be able to accommodate everyone

What it is: an accessible, fun volunteer activity for a variety of ages, service to local homeless communities

Would we recommend it? I think it’s a great way to introduce kids to volunteering. I like that you are able to sign up for the shift that fits your schedule, interests, and comfort level

You can find out more about the organization and volunteering here: https://burritobrigade.org/portland-burrito-brigade/

Their Facebook page (just search for Burrito Brigade) is probably the easiest way to find their schedule and upcoming opportunities. They were also very responsive to us through the messenger feature.

Theater

Dragons Love Tacos- Oregon Children’s Theatre

If you are like us, the book Dragons Love Tacos has been read many, many times in your household. So we were quite excited to see it come to life on Oregon Children’s Theatre’s stage this past weekend!

For those not familiar with the story, a boy is home alone while his mother steps out for a moment and dragons arrive and set forth with planning a taco party- because dragons love tacos! It is critically important to make sure all toppings are mild as spicy foods lead to unfortunate tummy symptoms in dragons. When they fail to read the fine print on the jar of mild salsa which states that it now contains spicy jalapenos, chaos and destruction ensue. Luckily, they all work together to put everything back together before mom gets home. Phew!

We were lucky to be able to participate in a back stage tour before the show started. Chicken and Nugget have done this before and love it, while it was a new experience for Nugget’s friend that we brought along with us. All three of them asked questions and had fun seeing the costumes and set up close.

As we settled in to get ready for the show to start, you could hear the excitement in the audience. This is a story many kids are familiar with, especially the pre-school and kindergarten crowd, and children in this age range filled the auditorium.

The story is facilitated by a VERY energetic narrator, who arrives through the family’s television as part of a 24 part documentary about dragons. The book does not include character dialog, and the play is consistent with this. While the boy in the story has a couple of lines at the very end, the narrator otherwise provides the only talking during the show.

The costumes were really the star of this production. They are colorful, oversized structures that cover the full body of the actors while still allowing the actors to move freely. The red and yellow dragons in particular got pleased gasps from the audience as they were introduced on stage. The fire caused by the dragon’s tummy trouble was also a cool moment technically on stage.

As is typical of shows targeted toward the youngest theatre goers, the audience remained rather noisy throughout the show. While the production attempted to embrace this by creating moments for audience participation by encouraging the shouting out of answers to questions, I always have to remind myself to be understanding of the lack of typical theater behavior. Take a chill pill, mom.

There is some fun music in the show, and Nugget and his friend were dancing in their seats on more than one occasion. I caught each of them smiling and giggling at various points in the show. There is some Spanish used at the beginning of the show, and as all three kiddos go to a Spanish immersion school, they were all excited to hear this.

Overall, it was an enjoyable experience, although not necessarily my favorite. Chicken summed it up perfectly by saying “I’m glad we went but I don’t need to see it again,” To which Nugget promptly replied “What are you talking about? I would go again. Mom, can we go again?”

So…..

What it’s not: a favorite of mine or Chicken’s, a quiet audience experience, a typical play in terms of division of dialogue

What it is: enjoyable, familiar and exciting to young audiences, fantastic costumes, fun to see a family favorite brought to life

Would we recommend it? I wouldn’t NOT recommend it. While it wasn’t a favorite, it’s well done and the littles around us seemed to get a kick out of it.