Friday, January 16, 2015

Temple Run Party!


Clark wanted to celebrate his birthday with friends this year, and he wanted it to be a Temple Run party! Temple Run themed party supplies are not easy to find, so we had to get creative.


I found a tiny selection of luau decor between the party and dollar store, including these cool tiki napkins, table and hanging decorations. I thought it was reminiscent enough of the jungle scenery and idol imagery from the game. Burlap and raffia were used as accents. 


I used half the burlap for a table runner and sewed the other half into goodie bags ...


... which included finger lights, magnets, and of course a treasure bag of gold. (Actually, better than gold ... chocolate!)



We usually do smaller parties for Clark because he gets so easily overwhelmed, but happily his social circle has been expanding and he wanted to invite a few more kids this year.



Jeff did another series of backyard games like he did for Theo's party, because they were such a hit! This time, we had cold weather to deal with, though the kids did not seem to mind. The games included throwing different size balls into a bucket, flinging bananas through a spinning hoop, running an obstacle course, and finishing up with taking a bite of a donut on a string!



Clark did GREAT and had a good time. Present opening was a little crazy, and he wasn't thrilled with the volume level of his "Happy Birthday" song, but everything went well and it was a fun way to celebrate!


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Minecraft Party!



Here are some pics from Theo's party back in the fall. We did a very low-key have some friends over for movies and pizza kind of evening. There are soooo many cool ideas for Minecraft parties, but since I put this one together in about 24 hours, we went very simple!


I started out by downloading a Minecraft font for the sign and bookmarks, using green, brown, and black as the color palette for everything. The bags were for loot from the ...


... creeper piñata! I made my first piñata out of two cereal boxes taped together. It worked pretty well except I made the mistake of using packing tape instead of paper tape, thinking that a mess of 11-year-old boys would be able to beat through it pretty quickly. I was wrong! It was indestructible! One of the dads ended up ripping the thing apart and tossing candy out to the crowd. Theo made the candy selection: Butterfingers, Nestle Crunch and Warheads (mistake #2: overestimating how many Warheads to buy, thinking all the kids would be as crazy for super sour candy as my kid. We had a ton leftover!) 


And Theo continues his tradition of requesting birthday cookie cake! I was pretty proud of my creeper face. 

Mr. Hotcakes smartly planned some Minute to Win It type games for the backyard. The boys split into four teams of two and were scored on their speed. At the end, we were racing against the sun, finishing out the last few games in the dark! The winning team from each event got Dollar Store prizes. One hour of organized activity was ideal ... things started to break down after 30 minutes of unstructured play after dessert. (Time to turn on a movie! Aren't your parents here yet?) 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Baking Monday – Mint Chocolate Thumbprints



More cookies from December's Month of Mint! The recipe came from Cookies for Christmas, a book I like because it's full of pictures (and apparently you can get for $1 through Amazon!)



The cookies start with a basic dough to which melted chocolate is added. These cuties then got a topping of mint buttercream icing and a sprinkle of crushed peppermint candy canes.



Then I ran out of buttercream and used up some chocolate frosting from the fridge, to which I added a bit of peppermint as well.



(What? Doesn't everyone have backup chocolate frosting in the fridge?)


Also cute, also yummy!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Baking Monday – Brown Sugar Shortbread


Today's cookie comes from the Mrs. Fields recipe book, which is full of great sweets. The original recipe has these dipped in chocolate. I'm usually all about the extra chocolate, but these looked so simple and delicious all on their own, they didn't need any extra dressing up. The brown sugar adds a different twist to shortbread, a flavor that's not immediately identifiable. These are a simple crispy-chewy treat.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Baking Monday – Mint Chip Sugar Cookies



It's December ... time for all things minty! These mint sugar cookies are super yummy. I had in my mind that pink cookies would be more festive than green, but didn't go quite pink enough, so they ended up a weird salmon-y tint instead (of course, they'd be perfectly fine without the dye, but I think it's good to give some kind of visual indication that they're not plain chocolate chip cookies. Expecting one and getting the other could be an unpleasant surprise!) They'd probably be good rolled in sanding sugar, too. Happy December!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Baking Monday – Double Chocolate Cookie Bars



Today's dessert was experimental. I mixed up these favorite drop cookies but was running a wee tight on time for baking. I wondered if they would be just as good in bar shape?



Verdict: They were still good, but not great, and I think it was because of the texture. They looked very brownie like, but maintained their cookie texture. Which works for a chocolate chip cookie cake, because the taster knows what to expect. But when you're thinking "brownie," but it tastes and feels "cookie," maybe that takes away from the desserting experience? Hmm. Anyhow, they were still good, but I'll take the extra time to mini scoop them from now on! 

Monday, November 24, 2014

Baking Monday – Candy Bar Blondies



This isn't my first time recycling Halloween candy into baked goodies, but it is a new recipe. These bars had a mix of Baby Ruth and Butterfinger bars.


Easy to make, disappeared quickly!