Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Star Wars Valentines Pinned and Did

These are the valentines I made for my oldest's class.  We used glow bracelets that are sold at Michaels for $1 for 10.  I found the font by googling "Star Wars fonts."  The pinspration was from this site.  I used a lego Starwars sticker rather than a scan of an actual lego.  Darth Vader's lightsaber is visible when you remove the glow stick.
After we made these, I found this Yoda design which I think is adorable.
Both of the links have the file to print out- just in time for Valentine's day!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Another Kit Kat Cake

After I made the first kit kat cake, my oldest told me that was what she wanted for her birthday so I got another chance to try out this cake.  This time I used a smaller diameter pan and only needed one box of cake.  It ended up a little shorter than I wanted so I sliced the cake in two and made a filling out of a box of chocolate pudding (box of pudding, just enough milk to make it that consistency).  I used blue vanilla frosting because that's what my daughter wanted.  I got some photos of the process this time
pudding filling held in with frosting

 The kit kats happened to be pretty warm.  I had to be very careful getting them out of the wrappers, but their meltiness helped keep them stuck on better.  I didn't end up needing to tie a ribbon around the cake.  The blue frosting went well with the colorful m&ms and it ended up being less rich with a vanilla frosting.  This time I used mini m&ms instead of regular sized one.  The coverage was better with the minis.  I ended up using one and 3/4 bags of the mini m&ms to fill in the top space.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pinned and Did

Here are two things that I did recently that I first saw on Pinterest.

The kitkat and m&m cake.  This cake looked so good!  I thought I'd never have a reason to make it but then I volunteered to make a cake for a church event with a birthday theme.  It was to be centerpiece and dessert.  I should have taken a few pictures while putting it together.  I intended to make a two layer cake, but the two layers didn't turn out very big.  I ended up using two boxes of cake mix, making three layers (a small, a medium, and a large).  Next time (of course when the kids saw it, they wanted me to make that cake for their birthdays) I'll probably use a smaller dimension pan to get taller cake with one box.  The cake was a big hit.

before: this horse was headed for the trash can
after: all the ponies wanted a visit to the doll salon

Crazy tangle doll hair gets tamed with water and fabric softener.  The funny thing is that I had a mostly empty bottle of fabric softener collecting dust and I wondered what I could do with it.

Friday, November 16, 2012

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Party

Have you seen the new My Little Pony cartoons?  They're so much less annoying than the 80's version!  My girls have recently gotten into My Little Pony Friendship is Magic.  They found videos online and now we have a couple of DVDs as well.   My youngest daughter chose My Little Pony as the theme for her fifth birthday party.  The neat thing about the new version is that it is an entertaining show for girls and boys.  I wasn't sure if everyone would be familiar with the show, but most of the kids were.

Every party starts with some research- I talked with my resident experts about the new MLP.  Who are the ponies?  What are their personalities and what they do?  I watched some MLPFIM with the girls.  I tried looking up ideas on the internet but there is not too much is out there yet.

Party Food- I decided to serve lunch.  We had a tray with apple slices and carrot sticks (because ponies like carrots and apples!)  I did make your own mini pizzas, not really pony related, but fun nonetheless.  I decided to roll out pizza dough, cut it into circles with a biscuit cutter, and partially bake them in advance.  They got pretty puffy so we ended up slicing them in half. I let the kids add whatever toppings and then we baked them until the cheese was all melted.  They turned out so good!  I will definitely do pizzas like this again in the future.  I set up a topping bar on our kitchen island.  I covered the island with brown paper (we got a huge roll of it from Home Depot, great for making birthday banners and other fun).
Only photo we got of the pizza
topping bar, me getting out
bacon to chop up

I wrote on the paper what all the toppings were (thanks Better Homes and Gardens).  We had cheese, mini pepperoni, mushrooms, bacon, and green peppers.  I used parchment paper over the pans so we could write names next to the pizzas to keep track of whose they were.

Instead of birthday cake we had "Pinky Pies"  mini pies made with vanilla pudding dyed pink.  I used store bought mini graham cracker crusts.  After pizza time we recovered the island with new paper for the dessert toppings.  I let the kids top their pies with their choice of mini m&ms, mini chocolate chips, crushed oreos, sprinkles, and mini marshmallows.  The top choice by far seemed to be "all of the above."  I also had a can of whipped cream and a jar of cherries which I forgot to put out.  I don't think the kids missed out.

Decorations- I printed out color pictures of the ponies and their dragon friend Spike.  I found a free MLP font online, it's called "equestria."  I used that to make a happy birthday banner and to make signs for some of the different activities.  I also printed out some MLP coloring pages and had the girls color them.  Having your birthday 8 days after halloween makes it handy to buy cheap leftover halloween stuff to use for your party.  I bought two discounted bales of hay from the craft store to use for decoration.  One sat on the table under the apple and carrot tray.  The other served as a step ladder for "apple picking."  More on that in a bit.

The birthday girl got a pink apron,
everybody else got white or cream
Activities- I wanted to do something with cutie marks.  I had considered making t-shirts, but after deciding to do make your own pizza lunch, I thought decorating little aprons would be fun.  The kids started out by designing their own cutie mark on a child size apron.  I bought these at Michael's with a coupon.  Michael's was the only place I could find multi-packs of child sized aprons.  These were a little nicer than I was looking for, but I couldn't any cheaper ones in the time I had.  The kids used fabric markers I already had.  After the kids decorated their aprons, they could go make their pizza.

I can't believe this is the only picture we got of this!
You can see our wonky door next to sliding door combo.
The other activity that took most of my thought and budget was Spike's buried treasure.  I filled up a little kiddie pool with play sand (just happened to have some in the garage we've never done anything with) and then had the girls bury the "treasures" I picked up in the dollar section of the craft store.  This was a huge hit!  We had lots of plastic bracelets (including some very discounted glow in the dark bracelets from halloween), gold and silver bead necklaces, and plastic gems.  The other activities we did were Rainbow Dash's Rainbow Dash, Pin the tail on the Pony, and Earth Pony/Pegasus/Unicorn.  Rainbow Dash's Rainbow Dash was basically a relay race that I didn't fully think through.  I put some masking tape lines on the floor in the basement and let the kids race around.  They liked running around even despite the lack of clear goals in the game.  Pin the tail on the Pony is pretty self explanatory.  I found a picture of a Pinky Pie pin the tail on the pony board online and just printed it out over four sheets of paper.  I had the girls make tails out of construction paper.  Delegation!  Earth Pony/Pegasus/Unicorn was a game based on a game called fruit salad.  It was a little beyond some of the kids in our group.  The kids sat in a circle.  Each kid is assigned to be either an earth pony, a pegasus, or unicorn.  The person in the middle calls out one of those groups, two of those groups, or calls out "all the ponies" and the kids who've been called have to get up and find a new seat.  The person in the middle tries to take a seat and whoever is left without a seat is the new person in the middle.  This game has no real winner, but the 8-11 year old girls I work with at church really enjoy playing the game it's based off of.  We didn't end up playing for too long since some of the kids were having a hard time with it.  We also watched an episode of the show while waiting for the pizzas to be done.

An apple tree with multiple colored apples as
opposed to the "rainbow apple trees"
Take Home- In addition to the aprons, everyone got to take home a goody bag.  Right before everyone went home we had each kid "pick an apple" from Apple Jack's apple orchard.  I painted two trees on some of that brown paper roll and hung it up near the front door.    We put a little leftover halloween candy (a ring pop and some tootsie rolls) in a sandwich bag and then wrapped half a sheet of tissue paper around it, making it look like an apple.  I tied the tissue paper with a bit of green yarn.  I wasn't sure how we'd attach the apples to the tree, but my husband came up with the clever solution.  He stuck them up with pushpins.  I didn't mind putting 20 little holes in the wall.  You can't even see them unless you look hard, and I could fill them up (possibly just with paint) if I really wanted to.  Of course we had to help the kids take the apples down and make sure to collect all the push pins, but they each got to stand on the hay bale and choose their apple.

I think it turned out pretty well.  We had a pretty big group and I have to thank my husband for all he did, our baby for napping during the party :D and the parents who stayed and helped out with some of the activities.  We had a very happy birthday girl!

Monday, October 15, 2012

A Day at Hogwarts Birthday Party Activities

I was really excited to plan Hogwarts class activities.  I did a lot of searching online and saw a lot of cute ideas.  I took some inspiration from some of those ideas and did some tweaking.  Some of the ideas I came up with on my own as I thought about the age group we'd have at the party and after consulting with my daughter (she was my Harry Potter expert for books 1-5 anyway).  It was fun to brainstorm ideas for different classes.

Our class schedule:
Divination (for the 2nd years ie the kids able to read) / Pin the Sock on Dobby (for the 1st years)
Defense Against the Dark Arts
and after the feast we had a movie (Harry Potter 1) presented by the History of Magic department


For Transfiguration we gave all of the kids a lump of model magic clay to transfigure into an animal or other item of their choice.

 Potions class was held in the Dungeon (the basement).  Our potions master, my husband, demonstrated some "potions magic" with a wizard science kit from the craft store.

the Divination Tower
For Divination, I prepared a madlib fortune activity.  We even held that class up in the "tower" (the landing at the top of the stairs).   The kids ended up needing a lot of help with this activity.  It would have been fun to read all of the fortunes to everyone, but we ran out of time.
This activity took a lot longer than the activity for the younger kids, unfortunately.

For the younger kids that I didn't think would be able to do the madlib activity, I printed out a large picture of Dobby the house elf for a pin the sock on Dobby game.  The baby socks were cute and I didn't have to make them!

My original plan for Defense against the Dark Arts class was to have a pinata.  I tried to make one, but ran out of time for it to dry, so I improvised.  We practiced "defensive spells" instead.  The kids loved practicing "expelliarmus" and disarming me.  I had them line up and take turns, and when they said, "expelliarmus!" I'd make my wand go flying out of my hand.

A few of the kids were interested in watching the movie at the end of the party.  The rest preferred to play with toys.  We obviously didn't get through the whole movie.

Other class ideas I thought could have been fun included:
Care of Magical creatures- either finding dragon eggs, or trying to "hatch" dragon eggs- ice in the shape of an egg with a small toy dragon frozen inside.  Kind of like the baby shower game where the first plastic baby to be "born" (out of melted ice) wins.
Herbology- planting a seed to take home
Quiddich practice- trying to throw balls through hula hoops while "flying" brooms, and/or find the hidden snitch
Muggle studies- trying to come up with funny ideas of uses for mundane "muggle" items

party prep
foods post

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Magical Foods

You can't have a Harry Potter themed party without Harry Potter themed foods!  The internet is full of ideas inspired by the foods mentioned in the books.

What I did
This was our menu for snacks at the party, our "feast" in the "Great Hall"
huffle puffs aka purchased cream puffs
pretzel wands aka pretzel rods
dragoned eggs aka deviled eggs
herbology tray aka veggie tray
pumpkin pasties
cauldron cakes

We did some research several weeks earlier, testing out different butterbeer recipes.  One recipe we made had sweetened condensed milk in it.  It was very tasty, but it got gross after sitting out a few minutes.  We wanted something that would hold up and this recipe was it.

2 liters cream soda
add butterscotch sauce (icecream topping) to taste
ice (optional)

My dear mother in law made the pumpkin pasties.  She made pie crusts and made mini semi circle pies with pumpkin pie filling.

The cauldron cakes were our birthday cake.  I made mini cupcakes and stuck them inside the plastic cauldrons.  Two mini cupcakes fill them well.  I made some vanilla buttercream frosting and used a pampered chef frosting tool to put a little frosting between the cupcakes and on the top.

No Harry Potter party would be complete without the snack trolley and it's magical sweets!  I bought small white paper bags to use as goody bags and created a Honeydukes label for them.  I found this font online, googling for "retro fonts."

Our snack trolley had
Bertie Botts every flavor beans aka Jelly bellies
licorice wands aka twizzlers
exploding candies aka Pop Rocks
jellied bugs aka gummy bugs
chocolate frogs

My mother in law and sister in law made the chocolate frogs the night before the party.  They decided to give them a marshmallow fluff  (dyed green) filling and they were delicious!

What I'd do differently
I would probably buy some frosting to save time.  The homemade frosting got a bit hard as well.  I really wanted to have the snack trolley set up all cute like, but it was a little too tempting for some of the kids who got into the treats we wanted them to take home.  I did end up packing the goody bags instead of letting the kids do it themselves.  I'd also get a different flavor of twizzlers, most kids don't like the black licorice.

plastic cauldrons, pop rocks, gummy bugs- Oriental Trading Company
frog mold- Amazon
chocolate melts- Michael's

party prep
Hogwarts activities post

Harry Potter Party PreparationsI

My oldest loves Harry Potter and she was so excited to have a day at Hogwarts themed birthday party.  I did a lot of looking online for ideas. An entire blog could be devoted to just Harry Potter party ideas.  I found a lot of cute ideas for invitations, activities, and food.  I'll share what we did  for food and activities in separate posts.

Planning the party~
Invites: With some input from my daughter, I decided to buy some cute Harry Potter clipart on etsy to use to make invitations.  Buying just the clipart and designing my own invitations was less expensive than buying a set of invites/decorations.  I liked having more control over it as well.   It took a little bit of time, but I think it came out pretty well.  Buying the clipart also gave me the freedom to use the images for other things like the food tags and goody bag logos.  The back side of the invites said "Come spend a day at Hogwarts to celebrate Jaide's 8th birthday (date, time, address)  After classes, we will celebrate with a feast of treats in the great hall.  We await your owl by no later than July 14th or RSVP by muggle phone or email (our phone number and email)"

Wands: A long time ago, I read online the idea of making wands filled with glitter.  I bought some cute paper straws in a few of the Hogwarts' house colors.  It would have been cooler if I could have found red and gold striped straws, but these ones worked just fine.  I had some special helpers, three of my sister in laws, to assemble the wands the night before the party.  The method we came up with for making the wands was to wad up a small piece of tissue paper, dip it in mod podge and stuff it in one end of the straw.  Once that dried, we used a piece of paper rolled up like a funnel to fill them up with glitter.  When the kids chose their wands, they gave it a shake and out came the glitter!  We had some fun testing it out the night before.

Decorations: I bought sheets of felt in the house colors (red and gold, blue and silver, gold and black, and green and silver).  I planned to make some kind of decoration out of the felt, but ran out of time.  My dear mother in law stepped in and made some adorable bunting.  She measured out triangles on the felt, cut them out and then sewed them on to some string alternating colors, making one bunting for each house.  She used a zig zag stitch.  The bunting looked so good, I still have it up. Eventually it will go up in Jaide's room. I made several class schedules to hang in the various rooms we'd be using and I made signs so people knew what rooms they were (the Great Hall, the Dungeon, and the Divination Tower for example).

What I'd do differently
I should have done more in advance (we were a bit busy with the family reunion right before).  Most of the preparations got left until the night before or morning before.  I was very lucky to have family here to help.  If I'd had a little more time, I might have made a few more decorations.

striped paper straws-
clip art- etsy
free harry potter fonts

food post
Hogwarts activities