Pokémon Go Party – Part 2

Today’s party post will be a bit of a mismatch of ideas and photos – but all relating to the Pokémon Go party we held on the weekend for our 11 year old son…

As I’ve said in previous party posts, we begin thinking about the party in that quiet time after Christmas. I start a new Pinterest board, in this case Pokémon Party, and I usually start a word doc where I list any ideas that come up. This year I caught up with the times, and started a Google doc! It makes it easier to keep random thoughts together, until it comes time to start party planning proper 🙂

And the first thing that needs creating is the invitation.

I decided to model the invitations on the screen when a Pokemon has been caught, in the game Pokémon Go. I remembered there had been a special release of ‘party Pikachus’ on the game’s anniversary, so I searched for that image to use. Can’t get much more appropriate than that! I pinned it here. Continue reading

Advertisements

Harry Potter-inspired Birthday Party (Part 5, birthday cake and party bags!)

Here we are at the final Harry Potter party post! If you are a fan, I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our party 🙂

Obviously, I’ve left the most important bits until last…

The cake: Well, it wasn’t a huge success decoration-wise. But it still tasted pretty good 😉 There are lots of cake ideas on Pinterest….but they are mostly very complicated. So we put on our thinking caps to come up with our own idea:

Harry Potter birthday cake

I started with a chocolate cake cooked in a square tin.

For the decoration, I followed a tutorial I found at Moey’s Heart and Hearth. I used this technique a couple of years ago, and I have a few tips for you if you want to try this.

Tip 1 – Practice before the ‘big day’. The more you practice, the better you will get. That’s just common sense! As you can see, I thought I had learnt enough doing it once a couple of years ago. I had not!

Tip 2 – Moey does stress that the top of your cake must be flat. So make sure the top of your cake is flat! That was one lesson I learnt from last time, and I did better this year.

Tip 3 – Try and get your icing to go on smoothly. It’s very hard to see if you have any air bubbles, as you can see in mine.

Tip 4 – Place the decoration very carefully on top of your cake, as you can’t move it once it has been placed. Then peel off the paper as quickly and carefully as you can.

I had iced the cake roughly to represent brickwork. As you can see, I put the sign on the wrong way, and the ‘bricks’ go vertically instead of horizontally 😦 And I didn’t put it on straight.

The sign had been in the freezer while I iced the top of the cake, for at least 15 minutes as Moey suggests. I think to be safe, it should be in the freezer for a lot longer than you expect. As I peeled off the backing paper, the icing started to thaw and stuck to the paper. Thank goodness it was the top of the design where there was not much detail. I would have cried for real if it had been the bottom of the design that stuck.

So, I think the technique is fairly straightforward and certainly effective. But you do need to practice it!

To go with the birthday cake, I served Butterbeer. Apparently, Butterbeer tastes “a little bit like less-sickly butterscotch”. We had tested a couple of variations prior to the party, but the ‘recipe’ we liked best was caramel sauce, lemonade, and whipped cream.  I couldn’t find any butterscotch sauce, so went with caramel. We used squirty cream in a can since we were in a park and it was much more convenient than dealing with fresh whipped cream. The boys didn’t leave any behind, so I’m thinking they enjoyed it!

HP Butterbeer

Can you spy Hedwig peeking over the top of the cups? Pardon the blurry photo, it was taken quickly on my phone.

As the party ended and the guests left, they received their party bags. I was sure I had taken a photo of the actual bag, but it seems not. Here are the contents:

Harry Potter party bags

The bags contained:

A wand and water bottle

The mythical creatures they found from one of the games.

Quidditch word search

Bookmark

Chocolate coins from Gringotts Bank (label made on PicMonkey)

Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans (label made on PicMonkey)

Golden Snitch (Ferrero Rocher chocolate with wings cut from paper) See another photo of them on my Instagram.

They also got to take home an Invisibility Cloak

HP Invisibility cloaks

It was very important that we included some of Bertie Bott’s beans. My research showed that you can buy them (they are made by Jelly Belly), but they are not cheap. Even ordinary Jelly Bellys are not cheap. I was very lucky to come across Belly Flops at the Reject Shop. They are irregular Jelly Belly beans. This bag cost me $6, and was perfect for what we wanted!

HP Bertie Botts substitutes

The actual party bags were simply brown paper bags. On the back I printed ‘Thank you for celebrating Luke’s 10th birthday’. On the front I wanted to put a fun Harry Potter quote. The birthday boy chose:

Study like Granger

Protect like Weasley

Live like Potter

Party like Holder!

See what he did there?? He loves this personalised quote!

So, there you have it – a Harry Potter birthday party for our 10 year old son. If there is anything I haven’t mentioned, please comment below and I will answer 🙂

Linking up with:

Average But Inspired – DIY Collective, 21 Rosemary Lane – Share Your Style, Posed Perfection – Creative Ways, Have a Daily Cup of Mrs Olson – Share Your Cup, Lamberts Lately – Create it Thursday, Domesblissity – Thriving on Thursdays, Wondermom Wannabe – This is How we Roll, Mainly Homemade – The Mommy Club, Twin Dragonfly Designs – The Handmade Hangout, Architecture of a Mom – A Little Bird Told Me, Love Bakes Good Cakes – Freedom Fridays, The Pin Junkie, Life With Lorelei – Home Matters, Shoestring Elegance – What to do Weekends, A Tray of Bliss – Five Star Frou Frou, Tatertots and Jello – Link Party Palooza, Raising Fairies and Knights – Bloggers Spotlight, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Friday Features, 24 Cottonwood Lane – Best of the Weekend, My Suburban Kitchen – Pinworthy Projects, Strawberry Butterscotch – Saturday Shuffle, The Pinterested Parent – Sunday’s Best, The Interior Frugalista – DIY Sunday Showcase, Nifty Thrifty Things, Love of Home – Sundays at Home, My Husband Has Too Many Hobbies – Snickerdoodle Sunday, That Recipe – Happiness is Homemade, Plucky’s Second Thought – Cooking and Crafting with J&J, My Pinterventures – Merry Monday, Claire Justine – Creative Mondays, Create With Joy – Inspire Me Monday, I Should be Mopping the Floor – Inspiration Monday, Yesterday on Tuesday – Project Inspired, Pastels and Macarons – The Creative Corner, Lou Lou Girls, Kathe With an E – You’re Gonna Love it Our Home Away From Home – Tuesdays at Our Home, Cozy Little House – Tweak it Tuesday, Ramblings of a (Bad) Domestic Goddess – Turn it up Tuesdays, The Dedicated House – Make it Pretty, Cedar Hill Farmhouse – The Scoop, The DIY Dreamer – From Dream to Reality, Oh My Heartsie Girl – Wonderful Wednesday, Savvy Southern Style – Wow us Wednesdays, Simply Made Fun – The Wednesday Roundup,

How to Train Your Dragon Party – The Cake!

I think the birthday cake’s design is much more important to the mum creating it than the birthday child. Well, it is in our case 😉  While the kids appreciate a good-looking cake, really once you’ve sung ‘Happy Birthday’, blown out the candles and made a wish, the cake gets cut up and eaten. All that work destroyed in a matter of moments!

My son told me he was very impressed with the cake I made, but he says that every year, and I think he would say it whatever I made. I am a lucky mum!

However, I am still prepared to put in an appropriate amount of thought and effort. And he gets to look through Pinterest at examples and see what takes his fancy, so he is happy.

We narrowed it down to three examples, which we then combined. The first one is reasonably simple, and I thought we could replicate it by using a Toothless toy on top of the cake. (Link to pin here.) The second one had a great idea for candles (check out Life is a Party for that one).

But the third idea came to me as we were watching How To Train Your Dragon 2 (for about the 763rd time!). Hiccup’s mother Valka lives on an island, which she shares with the snowy Bewilderbeast. Together they provide a safe haven for other dragons Valka rescues. It seems the Bewilderbeast has provided camouflage and protection for the island by creating ice caves and glaciers.

Here are some images from the movie to give you a bit of an idea. The images are saved on my How to Train Your Dragon Party Pinterest board, which you can check for individual links.

Collection of images from Pinterest

These images reminded me of the beautiful sugar shards which other mums were using to decorate their daughters’ Frozen cakes. Check out Pinterest for many, many examples of those! In fact, one of my friends had done one for her daughter.  So I combined the tips she gave me with some research of my own.

Most recipes for sugar shards call for corn syrup which is not a common ingredient here in Australia. I found an English website which substituted golden syrup, but not wanting a final product as golden as that, I continued looking. Since it is only toffee, surely it could be done with just sugar and water. That’s when I came across Martha Stewart’s ‘Broken Glass Cupcakes’ which uses clear shards as decoration on the cupcakes.

I used her recipe, remembering my friend’s tips as well, and I had success first time! I was very excited 🙂 Martha’s recipe is:

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

3/4 cup water

Bring granulated sugar and water to a boil in a small high-sided saucepan, stirring, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat to medium-high, and cook until mixture just starts to turn pale gold around edges. Remove from heat, and immediately pour caramel onto a rimmed baking sheet. Working quickly, tilt pan to spread caramel to edges to make a very thin layer. Let cool to harden.

In Australia granulated sugar is normal white sugar, the stuff you may use in your coffee or on your cereal. Instead, I used caster sugar, which is finer and dissolves a little quicker.

What I did: stirred my caster sugar and water over high heat until the sugar dissolved, then I turned the heat down and let it bubble away without stirring. I wasn’t sure I would see it start to turn gold at the edges so I went with the tip of getting it to ‘hard crack’ stage. This is when dripped into a glass of cold water the toffee is hard and cracks. It doesn’t squish at all, it goes totally hard and snaps when you bend it. It also goes all squiggly when you drip it in the cold water, which is quite cool! I kept my glass of water in the fridge so it stayed nice and cold between testing. For me, getting to hard crack stage took around 10 minutes.

I was so excited when it got to the definite hard crack stage, that I quickly ran to get my phone to take a picture. Of course the rest had gone quite golden in the 30 seconds or so that took!

Hard crack stage of making toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

But that was ok, I stirred in some blue food colouring and poured it on my baking paper-lined trays and watched it set. It was beautiful! I divided the toffee between 2 baking trays so the shards would be nice and thin, and that worked well with this amount. I didn’t have to wait long to see that it was hard, and I couldn’t help myself, I had to snap it. It was indeed like broken glass.

HTTYD cake 1 sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Being that my first attempt had turned golden, adding the blue food colouring made the toffee green. I had read this was a common complaint from mums making these for Frozen cakes, but for this cake it didn’t bother me at all. What I intended to do was make several batches of varying colours. You can see the ice caves and glaciers are colours of blue through to green, so whatever I got would work. I even kept some clear/white. The batches that were beautifully clear until I added the food colouring ended up crystallising. That would generally be considered a failure, but it added to the colour and textures so I didn’t mind a bit!

Crystallised blue sugar toffee sawitdidit.wordpress.com

This crystallised toffee crumbled a bit when I broke it up, but I used those crumbled bits as decoration on the cupcakes that went in to school, and it also went on the actual cake

HTTYD cake sawitdidit.wordpress.com

So you can see all 3 ideas were combined to create this cake. A plastic Toothless figurine atop a square vanilla cake with blue icing, with the various colours and textures of the sugar shards forming the backdrop. I also used the curly candles to represent Toothless’ plasma blast. To save accidents, I added the decoration to the cake at the park, just before it was served. So taking photos of it were not my priority. Special thanks to my friend Melissa for taking these. She was also the one who gave me sugar shard making tips, so she was a great help throughout this process!

Here it is with the candles lit:

HTTYD cake with candles sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Yes, a certain birthday boy couldn’t help but add some extra decoration around the edge of the cake!

Strangely enough, many of the boys asked if the ‘glaciers’ were edible, and declared them delicious when they were allowed to taste. See the big plate of fruit next to the cake? I made whoever come back wanting seconds have some fruit before they could have more cake 😉

HTTYD cake...sawitdidit.wordpress.com

Linking up with:

The Pin Junkie