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. ūüôā Have fun!

Camps and Classes, Fun Gift Ideas

Nic and Figs- a crafting store in Lake Oswego

Lately it felt as if I wasn’t getting quite enough one-on-one time with Nugget, so I began looking for something fun for us to do together.¬† Enter Nic and Figs to the rescue!

Nic and Figs is an amazing little shop in Lake Oswego.  Tucked inside an unassuming little store front, you enter to find an adorable selection of fantastic fabrics, crafting supplies, jewelry, and home decor.

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While they have a selection of great products, it is really their classes and camps that set them apart.  Their calendar is full of unique crafting and cooking classes for both kids and adults.  From kids classes on sewing your own pajamas, to sewing Harry Potter pillows and baking poop emoji cookies, there is something for everyone.

We have taken advantage of their offerings on several occasions.  Chicken took a class on making pajama bottoms and had a great time.  She also took a class on hand sewing  small stuffies, and was more than thrilled with the little mouse she created.

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As an adult, a friend and I took a freezer meal class and we walked home with fully prepared meals, instructions on how to store and cook them, as well as recipes to make them again.  That class was definitely a win.

A couple of Easters ago, Chicken and I took a mommy and me class and made Hot Cross Buns.  They were so good!  Chicken was so proud to deliver them to her great grandmother, and she beamed at the praise she received.

So when I started looking for something for Nugget and I to do together, Nic and Figs was one of the places I checked.  Lo and behold, the had a grown-up-and-me pavlova class.  Perfect!  Having gone before, I knew we would have fun, the instructor would be great, and the end product would be delicious.  And I was right!

Beside us, there were two other parent/child pairs.  Our instructor, Erika, was very nice and welcoming.  She walked us through separating the eggs as well as the ingredients and timing needed to make the pavlovas.  She showed us how to form the wells in the centers of the pavlovas to be filled later.  As the pavlovas baked, we began making lime curd from scratch.

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Making the lime curd was the highlight of the class for Nugget.¬† He zested the limes with enthusiasm (until¬† his hands got sticky.¬† Then he was out).¬† And then there was the citrus juicer.¬† He was dying to use it.¬† He juiced and juiced and juiced, producing much more than the needed amount.¬† Once he had wrung the poor limes dry, he practiced pouring his excess juice from one container to another.¬† He wasn’t super excited about the amount of stirring required to make lime curd, but he was definitely a fan of throwing in the chunks of butter and watching them melt.

Once the cooking was done, it was time to eat!¬† Erika put out the pavlovas, whipped cream, lime curd, and a selection of fresh berries and let us load up our treats.¬† They were delicious!¬† I may be forgoing all other food and subsisting solely off of lime curd.¬† That’s not a problem, right?¬† Erika helped us pack up left over components and we were sent home with cute jars of curd.¬† Nugget was so excited to take the results of our work home for Chicken and his dad to try.

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Throughout our shenanigans, Erika remained in good spirits.  The class was calm, laid back, and we did not feel rushed at all.  Erika was knowledgeable and was able to provide information about each step of the process and was able to answer all questions asked of her.

Overall, Nugget and I had a great time and it was a wonderful morning together.¬† I’m so glad we chose to do it!

So, Nic and Figs….

What it’s not: inexpensive

What it is: creative, fun, educational, quality instructors, kid friendly, something you and your kids can do- together or separately- to learn something new in a fun environment

Do we recommend it?  Absolutely!  Check out their ever changing calendar and sign up to try something new!

Their class calendar can be found here:  http://www.nicandfigs.com/classes

 

Camps and Classes, Holiday, Theater

Mary Poppins at North West Children’s Theater

This weekend we had the pleasure of meeting some friends at Northwest Children’s Theater for their holiday show- Mary Poppins! The day was fantastic for many reasons.

Chicken participated in their Girl Scouts workshop before the show. It was such a fun experience for her! There were four teachers, some of whom she recognized from other shows we have gone to. I mean, she got to hang out with Donkey from Shrek the Musical! That alone made her day. They played acting games, saw backstage, and explored the costume area. They even learned one of the songs and a bit of the choreography. She had so many things to share with us when it was over.

While she did that, Nugget and I headed to Starbucks to meet some special people in our lives and play Uno. A win for all! Well, me. I crushed him. No mercy, mamas! Then it was time to wander back over to the theater.

The look on his face when he saw his little buddy and the hug they gave each other made my eyes fill with tears. They were so excited to see each other and to see the play!

The opening set was beautiful. Light was used to portray smoke rising from chimneys, which fascinated both boys. All of the sets were beautiful and changed frequently. The kid actors were adorable and Mary Poppins herself was spot on. All of classic songs are there, along with some not found in the movie. Mary Poppins did her flying with an umbrella thing, which was a huge highlight for all the kids. Choreography seemed like it was in slow motion, but the kids seemed to like it because it made it easier for them to mimic later. Actors frequently used the aisle, and Nugget did not ask even once if they were there to eat him.

As we left the show, our little 5-year-old buddy said “that was awesome!” as Nugget proudly sached down the aisle singing Let’s Go Fly a Kite. The girls were a little deeper in their thoughts and had lots of good things to say.

As always, the kids had fun getting their programs signed and their pictures taken. As usual, Nugget refused to go near any of the girls. He is so weird.

Once we got home, they played the soundtrack on our Alexa and Nugget even put on a penguin costume to act out the penguin scene from the movie (the song is in the play but is sadly penguin free).

So….

What it is: a fun family holiday show, full of music and beautiful sets, engaging, perfectly time for those dying to see the upcoming Mary Poppins Returns movie (me! me!), a great date afternoon for the family.

What it is not: Short! It ran about 3 hours with the intermission so may not be the best choice for very young children who aren’t used to theater

Would we recommend it? Yes! Completely! It is running through January 6th and tickets, or what is left of them, can be found here:

https://nwcts.org/

Camps and Classes, Theater

Beaverton Civic Theater Children’s Classes

Chicken took her first class through Beaverton Civic Theater this week.¬† It was the third in a series of 3 (the first two didn’t fit in our schedule).¬† One two-hour class cost $15, and I believe you could take all three for $30.

Chicken’s class focused on ‘acting a scene.’¬† While I did not stay for the whole class, Chicken and the teacher both indicated they did acting warm ups, played games, and practiced two short skits.¬† The first involved the kids acting as a box of crayons that did not get along, but in the end they learned that working together can create something beautiful.¬† The theme of their crayon color included working together to make a drawing that was incorporated into the skit.¬† The second skit was Halloween themed and adorable.

I did arrive a few minutes early to watch their final practice and to watch them ‘perform.’¬† The teacher was positive and encouraging.¬† The girls (they all happened to be girls, much to Nugget’s chagrin), were clearly having fun and proud of what they did.

In speaking to the teacher and other BCT staff after the class, it appears more classes will likely be held in January.

What it is: Reasonably priced, fun intro to theater skills, developmentally appropriate, positive

What it is not: targeted to students with a lot of theater experience

Would we recommend it:  Yes!  Chicken had a great time, walked away feeling proud of herself and connected to a fun group of girls, and it is a manageable time commitment