Saturday, April 20, 2013

I made a funny

Ok, so I hope this doesn't offend anyone and I do have a lot of friends that like Twilight, but I just couldn't resist making this:

Twilight shelved in the Comedy section - it made me laugh x)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brave Birthday Party Part 2

Yay! Now we can get to the party! There's a ton of photos and I'll try to write about each one and while it may seem like I did a ton, there's actually a ton more I wanted to do and wasn't able to get to. Of course it was just the right amount really for the kids. I went to my pinterest board where I kept all my ideas  so I could get some of the links for you to go and get the how to info if you wanted to do it yourself and I saw a bunch of things I had wanted to do but didn't get to - someday I will make kid type bagpipes though! (Have I mentioned how I can get a bit extreme with parties?) :)

Enough chit chatter! With the party happening early February I knew we couldn't go outside but I wanted to have some kind of archery thing since that's such a big part of Brave. I found instructions for these amazing mini bows made out of popsicle sticks at The Brooding Hen. The instructions are pretty basic, carve some dents into the popsicle stick, soak in water, then tie floss around. I found I needed to soak the sticks longer than they said or they cracked when I bent them. The arrows are made out of qtips, and The Brooding Hen directions say to cut off one end but for mine I just twisted and pulled the cotton off one end so they were longer and worked better. I didn't have a lot of regular skinny popsicle sticks but I did have a huge box of wide sticks so I made a bunch of both.
Lucky for me, since we are big into medieval stuff as well as celtic stuff, we already had lots of fun stuff to use for decorations on hand; for example we have a couple of celtic tapestries we have bought at various places that we used for tablecloths and to hang around. I had lots of tartan fabric so I made strips the kids could pin around themselves and I also made a tartan garland from the scraps, got the idea from Catch my party.
My super handsome hubby in his kilt for the party - you can see the tartan garland above him
Here's how I looked for the party all dressed up in my Queen Elinor costume with my little triplet doll I got for Christmas
I tried to get a lot prepared before the party but there were a few things I was getting together the day of and it was nice to get help. My step-mom came over to help and she made the Wisp we had coming up the walkway to the door. We used blue wrapping paper which we wrapped around metal stakes that were in the dirt. (They were still there from the Jack Skeleton heads)

Some of the guest coming to the party had never been to our place so I made sure to make a sign for the door. It wasn't super fancy, just a poster board with some wall stickers like you can get here and marker.
When the kids came in we had them pick the tartan sash they wanted and then we did "Woad," I used blue acrylic paint and they could get it on their cheek or arm or hand if they wanted. (Eli, the birthday boy, wanted a bunch on his face but really freaked out at the sensation so we washed it off right away and did some fun stuff on his arm instead)
The invitation had said "costumes welcome" since we were going to all be dressed up - I loved this "Scottish Pirate"
For each of the activities I made a little sign :) Here's the Woad station
Woad swirl on arm

Here's the birthday girl with some Woad on her cheek

More fun woad

Here's a cutie - her costume was a bear, specifically the queen when she turns into a bear, so I let her wear my crown for a bit and she was so happy in it!

The kids then could do various activities we had, the archery, coloring Brave coloring pages, or making a bear claw necklace.
The boys really liked the archery - we made a target on poster board and while they were supposed to be a bit back my little birthday guy wanted to be front and center :p

coloring some fun pages

Making bear claw necklaces - we found plastic bear claws at the craft store and we also used plastic pony beads

The sign I made for the bear claw necklaces had a picture of the witch from the movie - she was so fun!
It was fun seeing what the kids wanted to do, some kids wanted to do everything and some wanted to focus on just activity. It was a bit crazy as there were around 14 kids the whole time! (we had 17 total as a few came for just a bit at the beginning and a few didn't make it until the end)

Then we opened presents and ate lunch. It was lots of fun coming up with food for the theme - I wanted to have something substantial, not just snacks, since it was lunchtime so we did chicken legs (with a picture of King Fergus and his big piled up plate of meat) and fish sticks (to go with when the bear is eating fish) We also had cheese "arrows" made by putting cheese cubes on toothpicks and a veggie tray.

I wanted to do the sweet buns that the triplets are constantly eating in the movie and there's a lot of different ideas and interpretations out there but I really liked this one since it gave the same look.
I got the recipe at this site, the site is in french and there is an english version at the very bottom but I'm including it here too:
Scottish Sweet Buns
3 cups flour
3/4 cup white sugar
1 stick real butter (soft, room temp.)
1/4 cup milk
3 eggs
2 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 pinch of salt

2 cups powdered sugar
4 1/2 Tbsp milk (I can't remember if I added more milk than this or not, the original recipe calls for water but milk makes it much better, but anyway, my icing was too thin. It still worked but I really wanted the sweet buns to look like the ones Sweeten Your Day had done and next time I'll try doing less liquid.)
Cherry sour candies

Cream butter and sugar, then add milk, eggs and vanilla. Mix in flour, baking powder and pinch of salt. Stir well. Refrigerate for 30 min. and preheat oven to 350°F. Drop scoops of dough on baking sheet lined with parchment or cooking spray (if you have an ice cream scoop that works great) the cookies spread so make sure to have a lot of space between. Bake 7 to 8 minutes, or until bottom is golden. Let cool before icing. Icing should be thin enough to pour on top but not too thin. Then you place a cherry sour candy on top! (The original recipe uses red hot candies and there's a lot of recipes that use maraschino cherries but I didn't think the kids would eat either and I preferred the look that the cherry candy gave as I was going mostly for something that looked like the movie.)

Honestly the cookie sweet buns were really yummy and I want to make them again!

For the birthday cake I wanted to do something really fun. I have a variety of shaped cake pans and one of them is a wilton 3D animal cake pan (apparently it's considered vintage since it came out in 1974)
You can see the blue eyes in this picture
The directions show how to make a tiger, puppy or lion. I came up with the idea to make it a bear so it would look like the little bear cubs the triplets turn into.  I worked at a bakery in college but I haven't done a ton of star work with icing before so all in all I was happy with how it turned out. The major tragedy with it is I got it all iced and it fell over during the night - thankfully it fell backwards and I was able to save it by putting it on a plate, but at least I got a picture of it right after I iced it! x)
Cute bear birthday cake!

You can see from this side view that it wasn't very thick at the bottom, more top heavy thus why it wasn't stable

Alas all that time spent doing these hundreds of black icing stars on the back for no on to see since it fell over - but I got the picture!
So this is how it was for the party - it still looked great!

Great enough that this is all that was left!
Here's the kids all sitting down to eat

here they're enjoying the cake and ice cream
After all the food, we had a bit of time left so we turned the movie Brave on and got the goodie bags ready while we waited for parents to come pick up kids. The goodie bags had their bows and arrows, the necklaces they had made, a will o the wisp sucker, and chocolate teddy graham cookies. My kids helped me make the goodie bags by stamping celtic knotwork on brown paper sacks.
The kids were super happy to sit and watch the movie, it was fun listening to them sing along to the songs and get exited at the different parts, a lot of them were sad if they had to leave before it was over.

That's all! If you made it all the way through I'm super happy but I can understand if some don't, I think this is the largest post I've done so far, and this was the second half of a 2 part! I'm so excited to share this but I didn't realize it would be so much to blog about it. I'm hoping I can get a better hang of blogging so I can share other fun parties and stuff I've done.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

General Conference Poke Pages

It's 11pm Saturday night and I'm up. Not only am I up but I'm making a blog post! :p

So why am I doing this? Today and tomorrow is General Conference, a special time every 6 months in my church where we get to listen to our Prophet and other leaders...for 8 hours at home, on the TV or over the radio or on the computer, etc. etc. It may seem daunting and extreme but it can be very spiritually enlightening also. Feel free to follow this link and check it out for yourself/learn more!
Come listen to living prophets
While this can be a lot easier than trying to convince my kids to get into nice clothes and go to church and sit still in front of everyone else and go to class without me, it can still be a struggle to get them to be quiet enough for me to listen and for them to gain something, anything, out of the conference for themselves. True it's done in 2 hour spurts but 8 hours is A LOT of time for kids to listen to adults talking, and talking, and talking. And so it is that each conference I find myself (almost always the night before) scrounging around for activities and things for my kids to do that will 1. keep them quieter (a 6 year old and a 4 year old will not be "quiet" unless you say to them "be noisy" like today in between conference sessions when I asked them to go outside and be loud and noisy and that's when they decided to sit quietly, LOL) and 2. tie them in to conference in some way

Thankfully there's tons of resources out there - one has just to put "conference packet" or "general conference kids" in google or pinterest and a plethora of stuff comes up. I have found with my kids that some of the stuff shared works great and some of it doesn't really work at all. My 6 year old daughter will color but my boy... not so much. Honestly he's not into much of anything that requires sitting still. So I pick a bit here and there, print off a few pages from this packet, another from this other blog. Today I found a great activity for my boy - shaped scissors (the ones for scrapbooking and crafts and such) a stack of paper and a bowl - I had him cut the paper into the bowl (to help the mess be somewhat contained) and he was as happy as a clam sitting and trying out all the many scissors I have.
Wahoo Craft Scissors to the rescue (Image from
But the main reason I'm making this post is 6 months ago I found a really great idea that BOTH of my kids really loved - Poke Pages! I got the idea from moms have questions too. Basically, you have a large letter that the kids can poke with a thumbtack, needle, sharp pencil, whatever you're comfortable with them using kind of thing. You lay the paper on the floor and let them poke away. My boy especially LOVED these! So naturally I remembered them and wanted to do more - but the other blog only had a few pages, so I made some of my own! And I really wanted to share because I know for me it's been so nice to have multiple options and ideas - especially since in my experience you prepare tons and tons and tons of activities so the kids will be occupied for a good long time and they do everything in the first 20 minutes and then - panic! what to do now? Hence I am up late the night before printing of a good stack of activity pages and making poke pages and then sharing them on my blog. (first time sharing a PDF so we'll see if it works) So I hope you enjoy and to all the people who will be watching conference with little kids - I wish you Good Luck!
P.S. I'm including some of my favorite places to get conference packets, coloring pages, etc. etc. at the very bottom too!

Some of my favorite sources for conference activities:
Conference packets (they've made a few over the years and I pull from different years and from nursery and primary, but they also have some for older kids and even adults!)
Amazing coloring pages (and not just for conference) -
Armor of God coloring page for girls! - practicalpages
Stick puzzle (this idea is for a church bag, and any of those kind of things can be great to pull out for conference, but these are really fun) -
Conference Trains (did these last time and kids really liked it)- katiesblogness