Coffee Shops & Restaurants

Driftwood Coffee

This week we met up with a friend and her son with plans to go to the park.  But as we are nothing without coffee, we decided to grab a cup first.  She suggested a coffee shop I had never been to before, Driftwood Coffee.  Trusting this particular friend to make such an important decision, I agreed.

Driftwood Coffee is off Vermont, not too far from Multnomah Village.  Unassuming from the outside, it is adorable and cozy on the inside.  The food and drinks were reasonably priced as well.  My vanilla latte was excellent, as were the bagel breakfast sandwiches we all ordered.  They also had baked goods from a couple of local bakeries.  We didn’t try any, but they all looked good!

They had an array of really cute merchandise for sale, the atmosphere was inviting, and I kind of want to remodel my bathroom to make it look like theirs.

Customers were friendly and there seemed to be a solid contingent of regulars.  The woman working was apparently one of the owners, and she was very nice and welcoming.

One of the things I really loved was a small children’s area with a small kitchen, some toys, and some books.  We didn’t take advantage of that today as the kids chose to play a rambunctious game of Uno as the grownups caffeinated, but I’m sure they will be all about it the next time we go.  And there will be a next time!


So, Driftwood Coffee

What it’s not… a large chain

What it is: a local small business run by friendly people, great coffee and food, kid friendly

Should you try it?  Most definitely!

You can find more info here:



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.


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.


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.


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.


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:


Day Trips, Spring and Summer Activities

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest holds a special place in my heart.  I grew up near the area and have many fond memories of going there with family and friends.  It’s just far enough from our current home to have made it difficult to go and work around everyone’s nap time, so this was the summer I finally got to introduce Enchanted Forest to my own kids.

After a lazy morning and a stop for coffee, we arrived around 10:30.  Although the park is just off I-5, it is easy to forget that fact as soon as you walk through the castle entrance.  True to its name, the entire space in nestled in the woods.  The abundance of trees creates ample shade, making it a perfect place to visit on a hot day.


After purchasing our tickets at the gate, we entered through the main castle into the world of fairy tales.  Statues of characters and plaques with the nursery rhymes are set just off the main walking path.  You can also enter some of the tales, such as Hansel and Gretel’s cottage and see the witch getting ready for her nap, go through the mine belonging to the Seven Dwarves, and check out the upstairs of the three bears house in search of Goldilocks.  You can take the slide belonging to the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe, visit the tipsy house belonging to the crooked man, and go through a maze just because.

After winding through fairy tale land, we found ourselves in an old Western town.  There are storefronts with amusing displays, shops, and shooting galleries.  There’s also a hidden slide Chicken and Nugget went down over and over and over and over.  And over and over again.

Just up the hill from the Western town, you will find the haunted house that my kids were too scared to go into.  Continuing past the haunted house will lead you to the fairy tale theater.  This year’s production is Little Red Riding Hood and it is hilarious.  While we watched from a small outdoor amphitheater setup, a cast of three puts on a show of the classic tale with a Brooklyn twist.  The characters and humor are over the top, with lots of pop culture references and physical humor.  There is plenty of audience interaction and there were plenty of giggling kids in the audience.  Cast members also came out to talk to the audience, shake hands, and take pictures after the show.  Nugget insisted we skip this part, primarily due to the Big Bad Wolf’s repeated mention of how much he enjoys eating small humans.  The show lasts about 15 or 20 minutes and runs several times per day, free of charge.

There is also a old English village, which is home to a costume shop, face painters, music shows, and little areas to explore.  One of the restaurants, the Jolly Inn, is home to a water show that the kids were very impressed with.  As with a lot of Enchanted Forest, children tend to see the experience through a magical filter.   As adults, we would do well to take their lead.

Enchanted Forest is also home to several rides.  There is an area for little kids rides- a small train, bumper boats, frog hopper, etc.  The big attractions are the log ride (think Splash Mountain at Disneyland but smaller), Challenge of Mondor, and an ice mountain roller coaster.  All of these rides and attractions, including the haunted house, require tickets purchased either individually or as part of a ride bracelet that are separate from park admission.

Admission and a ride bracelet can add up quickly, so we chose to buy a small number of single tickets and it was perfect for us.  Chicken and Nugget each had four tickets to use as they wanted.  They each chose to ride the carousel and to pan for gold two times.  The nice thing is, you don’t have to decide the moment you get there.  Yes, you can buy tickets/bracelets at the main entrance, but you can also purchase them at several locations around the park later on.  Unused single tickets are also refundable.

There are lots of food options throughout the park.  There are snack stands, an ice cream parlor, and small restaurants with BBQ, hamburgers, pizza, hotdogs, and the like.  Prices are reasonable for the setting.  One thing we loved was the variety of seating options.  There was more traditional restaurant seating, a lovely picnic area, and plenty of small seating areas tucked away throughout the park that are perfect for a snack break or just a rest.

Although there is a lot to do, the park is small.  I would estimate it takes about an hour to get through.  However, once you are in, you can stay as long as you would like.  We stay over five hours, visiting the fairy tale section again and again, and spending A LOT of time on the two main slides.

Interestingly,  we tend to be of the “be there early and beat the crowds” mindset.  That was not the case here.  When we arrived, there was a steady stream of people and going through the fairy tale part felt crowded and rushed.  There was a line for one of the slides that was 5 to 10 minutes long.  As the day went on however, the crowd dwindled significantly.  By the time we left, it felt as though we had the park to ourselves.  The kids were able to go down the slides and run straight back to the top to go again without waiting at all.  We went on a Friday, so I don’t know if this holds true for weekends, but a staff member did tell us that as a general rule, mornings tend to be busy and that the crowds are much lower in the afternoons.

I also have to say, the staff were exceptional.  I observed all staff to be incredibly patient and friendly with all children.  The staff member in charge of the gold panning station, who happened to be standing under the sign proclaiming only one scoop per person, told Nugget he hadn’t found enough treasure and told Nugget to scoop again. This time the staff helped, and made sure Nugget walked away with a haul.  Another staff member saw me trying to take a selfie with the kids and stopped and offered to take a picture of us together, noting “I bet you’re not in many of the pictures with them.”  Right, she was!

As we left, Chicken said “That was so fun!  We have to come back again right away!”  Nugget was in full agreement.  So was I!


What it’s not: cheap if you buy all the things, comparable to Disneyland

What it is: magical to kids (probably until age 10 or so), simple family fun, a great place to spend a hot day

Would we recommend it?  Totally!  Go it with realistic expectations, see the magic through your kids’ eyes, and have a great time!

Day Trips, Sports, Spring and Summer Activities

Providence Park Open House and Game Viewing

This week, for a variety of reasons, we have spent much more time at home than we typically do.  It was a great reminder of why we choose to stay so busy.  So when an event notice popped up on my Facebook feed indicating that there would be an open house and Timbers away game viewing party in the new section of Providence Park, it was like a life-preserver I just had to grab.

Not knowing what to expect, we donned our Timbers gear, colored Nugget’s hair, and showed up at the designated time and found a small crowd waiting to get in.  As we entered, we were offered free tickets for the T2 game following the Timbers away game.

We were directed to take the elevator to the top floor.  Upon arrival, we were allowed to sit anywhere in the Duracell Deck area (the top level of the new expanded park section).  Out on concourse, Timber Joey was there to meet people and food samples were available- Chicken couldn’t get enough of the noodles that reminded me on pancit and Nugget ate more than his fair share of hot dogs.  There were also a few vendors promoting and sampling goods.  Two concession stands were open as well as beer and wine stands with items for purchase.

The game itself was played on the giant new scoreboard as well as another video screen in the stadium.  The whole experience was very cool and laid back.  The crowd was small and mellow and definitely had a viewing party vibe as opposed to a game day vibe.


I happened to snap a picture while they were advertising the T2 game, but this is the screen the game was played on.  It’s huge!

Ironically, the Timbers game started late due to inclement weather where they were playing.  Then the T2 game was delayed due to the storm here in Portland.  This pushed things out later than expected, so we decided  to head home rather than stay and watch the T2 game.  This did not make me popular with Nugget.  As a side note  the Duracell Deck area is covered and we remained completely dry.  Yay!


What it’s not: even close to the energy level of a home game, engaging for kids who don’t enjoy soccer games on TV

What it is: free!, a fun way for kiddos to experience the stadium, a unique way to watch an away game

Do we recommend it?  Sure!  What’s not to enjoy about watching a game outside on a beautiful Portland day?  If the Timbers continue to host these events, we would encourage you to check one out!  And if weather cooperates, stay for the the T2 game.



Fun Gift Ideas, Volunteering

Craft + Boogie- Crafting for a cause

One of the kindest and most genuine people I know, Meghan, started an amazing business a couple of years ago- Craft and Boogie.  The idea is simple- selling craft kits for families to do together- but the impact has been huge.  For each craft kit purchased, Meghan donates a kit to children in foster care or agencies working with disadvantaged youth.

The kits themselves are adorable.  They include everything you need- from the special supplies to basics such as scissors and glue- so you can get started and successfully complete your project as soon as you open the box.  The crafts are very cute and children are able to do a lot of it independently.  The kits are a great way for kids to have fun, feel proud of their work, for you to make memories with your children, and support children in our communities.

Chicken and Nugget have done a variety of kits.  They particularly loved a 4th of July kit that used a toilet paper tube, a balloon, and decorative shredded paper (we used rice I colored with  food coloring when we ran out) to create a fun confetti popper.  We also tried out the airplane busy kit, which kept them engaged for quite a while on a past flight.  It contains several easter eggs with games, toys, or play ideas for children to open up and try out.  It’s been almost a year and they still fill up the easter eggs with ‘surprises’ for each other.  There are kits themed for holidays, birthdays, and events such as flights, weddings, camping, etc.

Another amazing aspect of Craft and Boogie is the involvement of the community in the business.  Meghan hosts incredibly fun events around the Portland area for kids and their families, complete with themed snacks and crafts.

She also invites others to help support her cause.  She hosts periodic packing parties to fill kits that will be donated.  Chicken’s Girl Scout troop volunteered earlier this year and the girls had a fantastic time.  Some of the girls even said it was their favorite thing we did as a troop this year.  Meghan made sure there were jobs that girls at each level could do successfully.

Earlier this week, I took Chicken and Nugget to another packing party.  This time the kits were to be donated to a local children’s hospital.   Meghan had a kids table set up for not only Chicken and Nugget, but other young children there as well.  She again did a great job providing them with developmentally appropriate tasks that were still useful and productive.  Adults worked to complete the rest of the tasks and we formed quite the assembly line to get all the kits filled!  Music played, snacks were eaten, crepe paper was rolled, papers were collated, and a good time was had by all.  While I would like to say that Chicken and Nugget were dedicated volunteers who awed and amazed all present with their incredible focus and work ethic, the truth is the completed a round or two of tasks and then took off playing with their friends.  And that was ok.


Craft and Boogie continues to grow, which means not only are families getting to do fun crafts together, but local children are learning that they are remembered and people care about them.  If that’s not a win-win, I don’t know what is!

You can find information about purchasing the kits, ways to get involved, and upcoming events here:

Coffee Shops & Restaurants, Day Trips, Spring and Summer Activities

Unger Farms- 2019

Unger Farms is one of our go-to places when we have nothing to do on a lazy summer day.  Tucked off of one of the back roads between Hillsboro and Forest Grove, I had no idea the treasures within despite the fact that I drove by nearly every day on my communute.  A friend suggested meeting there a few summers ago, and we were immediately hooked.

Ungers Farms is a family run farm focused on berries.  You have likely seen their delicious produce at any of a variety of local farmer’s markets.  I suppose most people make the trek to the farm for the u-pick experience, but funnily enough, we have never actually done that.

So why go to a u-pick berry farm if you’re not going to pick berries?  Excellent question.  There are several great reasons!  The location is beautiful and peaceful.  The grassy area, cafe, and simple playground are what has my kiddos begging to go there nearly every week.  We usually go on weekdays, which tend to be less crowded than the weekends.

Chicken and Nugget can spend hours swinging, playing tether ball, and meeting new friends.  The fresh air and calm environment is a great place to meet friends or just spend some time sipping lemonade and watching your kids run around in a safe outdoor space.  Ungers thoughtfully maintains a basket of balls and frisbees, as well as a small stash of blankets and quilts that are perfect for picnics.

All items on their menu incorporate their berries in some way, and we have enjoyed everything we have tried.  The berry lemonades/smoothies/popsicles are a huge hit on hot days!  You can enjoy your treats at the picnic tables by the play area, or sit at one of the tables overlooking the beautiful pond.

This is a family run farm and business, not a public playground, so we make sure to show our support by buying snacks, lunch, treats, or berries each time we go.  We encourage you to do the same.

What it’s not: a public park, fully shaded (though you can chase shade on the outskirts of the play area)

What it is:  beautiful, peaceful, yummy food, a great place to enjoy a gorgeous Oregon summer day

More information can be found here:


Into the Woods- Broadway Rose

When I told the kiddos were going to go see Into the Woods, they had no idea what I was talking about.  So I rattled off the fairy tale characters they would see in the play, and Nugget asked,  “so it’s a Disney movie?”  Um… not quite.

Today I loaded them into the car, still confused, and we headed to Broadway Rose.  If you’re not familiar with the story, a variety of characters from familiar fairy tales- Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, Jack (commonly associated with a beanstalk), princes, etc., come to life in all their flawed glory.  In the first act, they find their happily ever after.  In the second act, they face the consequences for their decisions and their actions.  While the first act is fun and silly and definitely fairy tale-esque, the second act is much darker.  And some of those happily ever afters start to unravel.  Just like poor Rapunzel’s mental health.

This show is simply amazing.  The set is simple but effective, the cast is beyond talented, and a single piano player plays the entire score by himself- on stage.  The props are delightfully and intentionally campy- a wooden harp that doesn’t play music, wooden farm animals wheeled around on wooden bases, etc.   There’s humor, intelligence, silliness, and life lessons all wrapped up in songs and music that will stick with you long after you leave the theater.

While I was probably the biggest fan of the three of us, Chicken and Nugget both enjoyed the show.  Chicken was frequently on the edge of her seat, and Nugget really loved the cow.  I know.  A lot of the humor was over their head, but they both giggled at different parts and remained engaged for the entire performance.

There are a few instances of sexual innuendo as well as implied violence.  However, most of the violence takes place off stage or is lightened in some way- like the use of long red ribbons to represent blood.  It could still be scary for young kids with active imaginations, though.  Poor Nugget really thought one of the step-sisters was getting a toe cut off each show.  He was relieved to have that cleared up!

The show runs about 3 hours, including an intermission.  The length of the show and the relative darkness of the second half may not make it the perfect introduction to theater for young children.  Older children (upper elementary school and above) will likely love it.


What it’s not: appropriate for young children who can’t sit for a 3 hour production or who may be traumatized by some of fairy tale characters meeting an unpleasant demise

What it is: funny, engaging, full of incredible acting and singing, a twist on classic stories and finding a new happily ever after

Do we recommend it?  For older children, definitely!  It’s a really fun and well done show and I’m very glad we went!

The show runs through June 30.  You can find tickets here:






Cultural Activities, Spring and Summer Activities

Summer Reading Programs 2019

Summer is almost here!  Yay!  Many of us are looking for ways to keep the kiddo’s reading skills fresh and stay in that reading routine over the summer.  Luckily, local libraries and bookstores are here to help us out.

Our favorite summer reading program is at Powell’s Books.  Kids fill out a bookmark listing the books they have read, and once they fill it up they can return it to either Powell’s location.  They get a small certificate of completion and a $5 gift certificate to use on anything in the store!  You also get to keep the bookmark.  If you fill out the bottom portion with basic contact info, you are also entered into a grand prize drawing- usually a larger gift certificate to the store.  The really cool part is that you can do this as many times as you want over the course of the summer.  Chicken stocked up on books last summer, and Nugget bought many a container of slime. As of May 26th, Powell’s staff said they did not know the exact start date, but said that it should start in mid-June.  Just in time for school getting out!

Barnes and Noble also does a summer reading program- and it has already started!.  You can pick up their reading log in store or download it off of their website.  Kids document the books the read and write a sentence or two about their favorite part.  Beginning August 1, you can turn in your reading log and select a free book from a given selection based on the child’s age.  There are a good variety of books and Chicken has always found ones of interest.  Nugget will finally be old enough to participate this year!

Click to access 123233A-01-bn-teacher-letter-cropped-edit.PDF

Sign-ups for the Washington County Library system start today! (June 1st)  Kids track their reading and can earn prizes.  When registering, you get a packet of passes and discounted tickets for activities such as free Benihana kids meals, discounted Oaks Park tickets, discounted State Fair entry, free ice cream, etc.  At the end of the summer you get to pick a free book if you have done all of your reading!

Multnomah County Library does a similar program.  Sign-ups start June 14th and is very similar to the Washington County program.  Their discounted passes include the symphony and Oregon Children’s Theatre!

Regardless of where you live in the Portland area, there is a summer reading program that can get your kids to keep reading over the summer!


Beauty and the Beast in Concert- Beaverton Civic Theatre

Chicken and Nugget LOVE Beauty and the Beast.  We have seen the animated version, the live action version, the incredible production at Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and the local Pixie Dust Productions Christmas show.  Even after all of this, Nugget still periodically asks when the show “is coming back to town.”  After nearly a year-and-a-half of surviving on the movie versions alone, he was finally in luck.

Beaverton Civic Theatre is doing an “in concert” adaptation.  I didn’t know what this meant at first, but it basically means they do the script and the songs without the props, staging, or other production elements.  The entire cast was dress in all black, used only simple movement, and otherwise relied entirely on their voices and acting.  When I tried to explain this to Chicken ahead of time, she said “I don’t need choreography.  I just need real acting.”  Diva.

The show was very well cast and it is one of the strongest shows we have seen at Beaverton Civic theater.  Because it is such a familiar story to so many, it is easy for your imagination to fill in the set around them.  The actors were very strong and there were some beautiful voices.  It was clear that the cast was having fun.  I think Nugget missed the glitz and glam that come along with fancy costumes and elaborate staging, but he still smiled and laughed.  Chicken and I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was very well done.  They did a lot with very little, and the end result was impressive.

It is the full-length version, meaning it is close to 2.5 hours long with an intermission, so keep that in mind when deciding whether or not to take your little.  Very young children may also miss the familiar costumes and sets, but older children will likely love it.


What it’s not- fancy staging and costumes, short

What it is- very well done, talented local cast, a great community theater to support, very reasonably priced ($10), a well acted rendition of a classic Disney favorite.







School of Rock the Musical

I love the movie School of Rock, but have never gotten around to showing it to my kids.  When I saw this on the schedule for Portland’s current Broadway Across America schedule, I figured it was a bit over the kiddos’ heads and figured it would be a good date night for me and the husband.  Then, of course, Chicken saw the ads and decided she had to see it.  When I asked her why she was so interested, she said “Mom.  It’s kids in a band.  Come on!  That’s awesome!”

So, being that the Easter Bunny who visits our family happens to be very supportive of the arts, tickets magically showed up in her Easter basket to a resounding “yes!!!” when the envelope was opened.

This weekend the day finally arrived.  I remained skeptical of our Easter Bunny’s judgement, but off we went.  To be quite honest, my expectations were pretty low.  It’s a fun movie, but could it really be translated to quality theater? I doubted it.

But it was so fun!  The story line was extremely close to the movie, and even though it’s been a while since I’ve watched the movie, some of the lines seemed very, very familiar.  If you haven’t seen the movie, a wanna-be rock star, Dewey Finn, pretends to be a teacher and takes over a class at an elite prep school.  Once he figures out the kids have musical talent, he scraps all academics and begins preparing them for a Battle of the Bands competition.  Over the course of the show, they all help each other grow and the kids feel more understood by their parents.  Awwwww.  The songs from the movie are in the play, as well as some additional songs.  I often don’t love songs that get added for the plays, but in this case I enjoyed them all.

The kids in the play were INCREDIBLY talented.  Like, above and beyond talented.  The kids were great singers and amazing musicians.  And the girl the played Tomika- holy cow!  That girl is going places!  The adult playing Dewey had played the role on the West End, and he was fantastic.  He did a good job keeping the character very consistent with the movie without it feeling like a copy of Jack Black.

The set was very dynamic with very frequent changes, moving us from the school, to an apartment, to a bar, to a music competition.  It’s all done quickly and seamlessly.  The transition from play to “concert” is fun, too.  The music and cast were so fantastic, it often did feel like a real concert.  You could feel the energy in the audience as they cheered a clapped along.

There is some swearing in the show, and there is rudeness from both adults and kids.  Nothing that I would say is worse than what is in the movie.

Overall the show was a hit with all of us.  Chicken walked out saying “I love that play!  I want to see it again.”  She’s been singing the songs and asking to watch the movie.

Clearly our Easter Bunny is a genius.  Can’t wait to see what she brings next year!


What it’s not: completely clean language (there’s a handful of profane words sprinkled throughout), perfect adult role models,

What it is: an incredibly talented cast, high energy, great music, fun, probably best for at least upper elementary school students and older, fast paced, loud, full of laugh-out-loud moments

The Portland showing wraps up at the Keller this weekend.  If you can fit it in to your holiday weekend, you can grab tickets here: