Friday, June 29, 2012

BAKE 52: Week 26


This is my first experience with a black and white cookie, and I gotta say, it was love at first sight.  I love the way they look!  I love the way they taste!  And it was big.  I love that too!  The cake flour gives it a super soft texture and there is a hint of lemon to it which I thought was really good.  I want to try these with my sugar cookie frosting; they are begging to be made into sugar cookies.  Halloween sugar cookies with orange frosting and the candy corns on top, yes?  I think the black and white got me thinking Halloween, so back to the black and white.  Just super good.  Loved both frostings.  It was fun to watch my kids eat them, some alternating their nibbles, while others favored the chocolate (because if you're going to favor one...) and then went back to the white.  This made my must try list.  Thanks Janet for choosing such a great recipe!  You can get the recipe at her blog HERE.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

BAKE 52: WEEK 24

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

This was a simple bread that looked fancy (in the cookbook), tasted great, and smell fabulous baking (what's better than the aroma of cinnamon and baking bread, seriously!?).  However, I was way disappointed when I cut into mine and found that the bread had pulled away from the cinnamon swirl!  I followed the instructions, paying special attention to the tip about spraying with water so this problem does NOT happen.  Hmm, not sure about that tip.  I'll be making cinnamon rolls this weekend for Father's Day and maybe I'll give the spray bottle one more try.  Anyway, once again, a great-tasting recipe and you can get it from our host, Rebekah, HERE.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Samuel's 6th Birthday!

Samuel's into Kung-Fu, Karate, light sabers, swords, guns--any weapon much to choose a birthday theme from, but when he started making wands out of anything and everything (sticks, pvc pipe, wooden dowels, water noodles, toilet paper rolls, chopsticks) I knew he HAD to have a Harry Potter birthday party.  I've been wanting one myself for years!  Thanks to Pinterest and Google I found tons of ideas but I had to narrow it down to fit my budget.  I was pleasantly surprised with how much I could do with just a little.


First, I researched lots of homemade wands and found the cheapest and easiest and best-looking wands to make.  You simply roll paper tighter at one end than the other, smearing glue in the center and end.  The I rubbed a layer of Mod Podge on the end product and let it dry.  Swirl some hot glue on it to decorate, then paint.  I used metallic acrylic paints (just to see, I used spray paint on one and it worked great and was easier--just the wrong color for what I wanted.) and did a few coats.  Then I smeared a little black paint on some and wiped it off to give them that older look.  That was it. You would never know they were made from paper!


For the invites I bought white helium balloons and drew owls on them.  I am no artist but look how cute they somehow turned out!  I used a Harry Potter font and some of the same wording of Harry's original invite to Hogwarts for the invitation, then printed it on brown paper and rolled it like a scroll and tied it to the end of the balloon.  Samuel had a lot fun delivering the owls.  He would sit it on their doorstep, then ding-dong ditch them.

To start the party, as the kids arrived, we gave them SNAPS to throw and make magic with.  When they were all here, I gathered them for the choosing of wands.  Individually them came up and I would pick a wand for them and have them give it a little swish.  After trying a few different wands, the lights would flicker (thanks to Austin standing next to the light switch around the corner--the kids never suspected!) and let us know when the right wand had been chosen.  The kids lu-uved the wands!


We went back outside and they each got to cast some spells on smoke bombs (that Austin lit) which made different colors of smoke.  They ran around crazy in their magic smoke.


Then we had a Quidditch game.  I had tapped some dollar store water noodles into circles and then stuck them on some wooden sticks we had in the garage.  I stuck those in the grass and we had our game of 
Quidditch!  Braxton played the Beater as the party kids tried to throw Quaffles (water balloons) into the rings.  I think they had more fun hitting Braxton with water balloons than anything.  After the water balloons were gone, they tried tossing bean bags into the rings (Braxton retired as Beater by then).


Next, we went inside for potions.  
This was my favorite part.  
Each kid got a little glass jar with a cork.  
They filled their jars with different magical 
powders (Gatorade, Kool-Aid, Fun-Stix) 
and topped it off with a pinch of dried 
unicorn blood (POP ROCK candy).
Then they corked it and shook it and 
dumped it into their water.  Poof! It changed colors and crackled and popped and fizzled and they downed it!  
I had enough left to have them fill their jars again to take home.


 The party would not be complete without Golden Snitches, so each cupcake was topped with a golden snitch.  For this I used Ferrero Rocher Chocolates since they look like golden balls.
  Then I bought a sheet of golden transparent paper and cut wings out of them.  Using some scrap booking db sided tape I attached the wings on top.  They were super cute!


For their take-home bag, I had them going shopping at HoneyDukes where they scored marshmallow wands, pixie dust, glow-in-the-dark straws, Bertie's Every Flavor Jelly Beans, and of course, chocolate frogs!

The party was a great success and the biggest hit with the kids was the wands.  They ran around casting spells on each other until the parents came to pick them up.  I hope Samuel had as much fun with his party as I did!