September 27, 2017

Harry Potter Party

This party took place in 2012, so this post has been a long time coming! Nowadays there are thousands of Harry Potter party posts and ideas, but hopefully you will find something worth taking a look at in my post. This was probably the most time-consuming party I have done. I made 2 invitations, costume pieces, decorations, potions, food, decorations, treat boxes, and wrote scripts for all of the activities we had!  But my kids and I think this was also the most fun party we have done. We are huge Harry Potter fans, so it was easy to get pulled into the fun themes. I'll try to be as descriptive as possible, but it's been 5 1/2 years! Haha. Feel free to ask questions in the comments and I'll do my best to answer.


We actually had 2 invitations, which seems ridiculous, but we wanted a specific number of students for our activities (and Quidditch) and were willing to invite other friends to make the right number! All of the boys we invited were super excited to come, and we got a unanimous YES on all of the pre-invites. Noah was also very excited for this party - you only turn 11 once! And it happened to be his Golden Birthday also. (11 years old on the 11th.)
"It is real, isn't it? It's not a joke? Petunia says you're lying to me. Petunia says there isn't a Hogwarts.
It is real, isn't it?" ~ Lily Evans
You can find the printables for them on justsweetandsimple blog. (Check out all of her Harry Potter posts for some great ideas and printables!) In Microsoft Publisher I put the front and back on the same page, which when folded in fourths created the outside look of the envelope, and the inside information onto one sheet of paper for each. I printed them on parchment paper and then taped them shut. These would be great for a main invitation also for a party, but for ours, the boys were going to receive their official Hogwarts acceptance letters.

"It's real for us, not for her. But we'll get the letter, you and me." ~ Severus Snape
We formatted the letter after Harry's in the book (and hundreds of ideas online), and even had a pretty convincing signature from Professor McGonagall (find it on a Pinterest search). A ticket to board the Hogwarts Express was included in each invitation. All were printed on parchment paper and antiqued with an ink pad. Since our last name starts with H, it was an easy decision to invest in wax and a seal that I purchased at Michael's craft store. My son had been to all of his friend's homes, so I asked him where their bedrooms were located and we put that location on each envelope. We had originally planned on doing white helium balloons with owls drawn on them, but I just didn't want to spend the time to draw 12 owls on balloons!  Plus, some invitations were easier sent to school, and all weren't going to be delivered on the same day. So we opted for a printed white owl on card stock to be delivered with each invitation.


"Don't talk rubbish. There is no platform nine and three-quarters." ~ Muggle Vernon Dursley
I borrowed some decor items from a friend who had a Harry Potter party for her son, and the rest I made, like the Hogwarts Express sign and the brick wall. For the wall, I bought an inexpensive twin-sized sheet and a large foam grout sponge and dipped the sponge in acrylic paint and then across the sheet. Afterward I cut an opening up the middle for the kids to go through. We had to remember to keep the front door open though in case any of them decided to run to get through!

"Gringotts, the wizard bank! Ain't no safer place. Not one. Except perhaps Hogwarts." ~ Rubeus Hagrid
I made a handled bag for each boy to keep all of their supplies in, and we wrote their names on the golden cups on each bag. I found the cup die cuts at the local dollar store in the teacher section. The House Cup trophies and gold coins were purchased at Zurcher's party store, and I taped white feathers to black pens for their quills.

For a copy of the textbooks click here. Print, stack in the proper order and staple in the middle and they should line up in the correct order according to topic.

Fortius Quo Fidelius. "Strength through loyalty." ~ Gringotts motto

I think I tried a little too hard to make my son Noah's cake look messy. The result is that Hagrid's cake decorating skills in the movie look better than mine! Haha! And the cake box I found was huge, so the result was quite comical, but it tasted good and my son was happy. :)  We had this cake on his actual birthday and I made gluten-free cupcakes (from a mix) for his party so one of the boys coming would finally be able to have one along with the rest of the kids. None of the other boys even noticed, but that boy was so excited he ate 4 and his mom cried because he was actually accommodated for! We had a list of safe items for him to eat with the rest of the meal also.

"Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you." ~ Albus Dumbledore
Here's our re-creation of the Great Hall banquet tables. I put clear plastic plates on gold chargers and the fancy silverware is actually plastic and purchased at the dollar store, as were the clear goblets. The house elves served chicken fingers, French fries, pumpkin juice (orange soda), butter beer (search online for a recipe - ours was just okay), a fruit platter, and fruit pasties. Don't laugh at my cupcakes please! They were supposed to be cauldron cakes, but I saved them for the last minute, so they didn't get their handles and were just a mess. Boys don't care! You can see the House Cup trophies on the shelf in the photo, and I made the drippy candles by dripping hot wax onto the edge of large pillar candles.


"Curious...very curious..." ~ Ollivander

"Not Slytherin, not Slytherin." ~ Harry Potter
After picking up their supplies from Gringotts Bank (shown in decor photo) and their textbooks from Flourish and Blotts, and wands from Ollivander's wand shoppe, the students proceeded to the sorting ceremony. My friend dressed as Professor McGonagall and proceeded to place the Sorting Hat on the heads of each child to be sorting into either Gryffindor or Ravenclaw by drawing a patch from a bucket. They then pinned on their patches (printed on card stock) and received their house scarves. I made the scarves from fleece, so they were quick and easy to sew together.

"You're saying it wrong. It's Wing-gar-dium Levi-o-sa, make the "gar" nice and long." ~ Hermione Granger
My daughter and her friend were the teachers for one house for Charms, Ancient Runes and Transfiguration classes while my husband and I taught Potions class upstairs to the other house, and then we switched. Downstairs they worked on proper spell pronunciation and wand movements in Charms class and tried to levitate a feather. Then in Transfiguration lessons they attempted, without success, to turn a rat into a chalice. For their O.W.L.'s tests they used their quills to properly identify the people of the world of Harry Potter, deciphered ancient runes, and tried to answer trivia. I've included the scripts the teachers used for their classes.

Font for photos is named: Harry Potter and the Dingbats

"I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper in death..." ~ Professor Snape
Some of the potions I had made previously to use as Halloween decorations, but we started saving up small glass bottles, and purchased a few new ones to make many, many more ingredients for potions. All of the ingredients were edible since the boys would be using them to create their own concoctions to drink. I'll list some of the foods/spices for ideas. Don't use anything that will make them sick, and make sure they don't have any allergies!!! Some (or all) of the combinations of ingredients sound pretty gross, but in small amounts they were all safe to be eaten. Encourage the kids to use no more than a small amount of each to avoid an explosion!

Liquids to use as a base: olive oil, pomegranate juice, sweetened colored water, karo syrup, colored water, fruit juice, vinegar, and pickle juice. Flaky things: shredded coconut, quick rolled oats, onion skins, dill weed, dried apples, dried carrots, dried peppers, dried minced onion, edible glitter. Chunky stuff: cocktail onions, candy sprinkles, caraway seeds, black licorice, decorating candies, poppy seeds, sea salt, and coarse sugar. Powders: cinnamon, decorators sugar, powdered sugar, baking soda, and all sorts of spices.

"Ooh, you look much tastier than Crabbe and Goyle, Harry," said Hermione.
And even though it was entirely up to them, every single boy decided to drink the potion they made!
Look in the handbooks (linked above) or click to go to the Harry Potter Wiki page to learn what to name your ingredients for cool potions to create, like Polyjuice Potion!

"There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class." ~ Professor Snape
Stirring sticks and black bowls (salsa bowls) to mix our potions in were purchased at the dollar store.  The glass bottles with corks were purchased at Michael's craft store. The colorful vials were found at a party store.

"Brutal, but no one's died in years." ~ Fred Weasley
I purchased hula hoops from the dollar store and we hooked them to pieces of re-bar on opposite ends for our Quidditch goal posts. The two houses played against each other, so this is where the scarves were important to identify the team members. We had different sized balls for the Quaffle, and Bludgers. I don't remember exactly how we played because it's been too long, but I do know that someone was the Golden Snitch, and I believe it was my oldest son because he's really hard to catch! You can look up rules for how to play Quidditch and create your own game.

"Oh, of course, you wouldn't know - Chocolate Frogs have cards inside of them, you know, to collect..." ~ Ron Weasley

I found a free printable for the chocolate frogs box here. In Photoshop I made them a little more blue instead of the purple the printable had because that's how they looked to me in the movie. I found a printable for a Dumbledore Wizard Trading card,and then made one for Harry and Voldemort in Photoshop for a little more variety. This website has some great trading card ideas. My friend had a chocolate mold for the frogs and made them for me with melting chocolate. The boxes took quite a while to assemble, but they turned out looking great.

Here's the link for the Bertie Bott's boxes. I printed them on white cardstock and used baker's twine to tie up the tops. Let's face it. Gross flavored jelly beans are just - gross!  But we did want to have some in the boxes. So I bought a few boxes of the the gross ones and mixed about 5 of them in each of the boxes which had placed Jelly Belly jelly beans in bags.

For the Golden Snitches I used Ferrero Rocher chocolates and cut wings out of vellum paper to give them a semi-transparent quality.

Here are a few of the sweets signs I made for the party.

Under construction...

October 1, 2015

Broken Photo Links

Update: I've fixed all of the posts now, but let me know if you find any problems. Now that that's done I can work on new posts!

I may not have posted in quite a while, but I do try to keep this blog active. My old photo system had to be changed, and I have to update each and every post, but I also have a job and a very busy life so it's not happening as quickly as I would like it to.

Many photos are on Pinterest and I'm sure that's what is bringing most of you to this site, but if there are photos or blog posts you really would like to see the entirety of, comment below and I will try to get those fixed first!!!

July 20, 2014

Lego Party

My son is a HUGE Lego fanatic.  Our whole family is actually - probably me most of all!  So the LEGO theme party was one we have been thinking of for years.  With the release of the LEGO MOVIE this year, it was sure to be AWESOME!  A huge bonus is that there are TONS of Lego-themed birthday parties out there for inspiration.  I used many of them for my son's party.  I'll include the links below with whatever I can, but take a peek at my LEGO board on Pinterest for even more ideas - or simply do a search.  One of the biggest problems I found with many of the other Lego Party ideas was that they were planned for much younger kids.  My son was turning 11, and didn't want "baby games".  :)

We used a pre-designed freebie from this website for the invitation with the font IMPACT for the words.  It's adorable, free, and fit well with the "building" theme that we had planned for the party.  We got them printed as 4x6 photos.

My daughter worked at a movie theater and got a LEGO MOVIE poster that we had framed for Evan.  It will go in his new Lego-themed bedroom, but we used it as decor for the party first.

Top right-clockwise: Giant Lego boxes wrapped with colored butcher paper. Pin the Head on the Lego Man board. Framed Lego Movie poster. Small Lego boxes and Lego Valentine's box.

Thanks to my AWESOME friend who had just had a Lego party for her son, I didn't make ANY of this decor!!  She had wrapped large boxes with colored butcher paper that we propped against the wall at one end of the dining room.  I don't know how long it took her to put all of those circles onto the green poster board with foam dots!  Really, that is something not even I would do ;)  But is super cute for a PIN THE HEAD ON THE LEGO MAN GAME.  She had also made about 10 heads to use, but my son thought this game was too young for his party, so we used it as a decoration instead.  For the food table I used my son's locker shelf to support the LEGO VALENTINE'S BOX that we made in this post out of a Red Vines licorice container.  She also made about 15 of the small Lego blocks out of Capri-Sun boxes.  We stacked them all around the food table.  After this party we used all of these decorations at my work for a party and then to a friend for parties for her two sons.  So they've been used for 5 parties and counting!!  Her hard work is MUCH appreciated!  Oh, and did you notice the Tt?  Only REAL Lego fans will understand.

The LEGO MOVIE soundtrack of course!  I think I downloaded it off Amazon for about $5.  And I think you get 4 different versions of the EVERYTHING IS AWESOME song!!!  Just what you wanted - right?  Well, these boys wanted to hear the full version of the BATMAN song - and yes, it's on there.

This is where we struggled to find games appealing to 11 year-olds.  But what we came up with was SUPER FUN!

Guess How Many Legos:
Each boy got to put his name and #guess on a paper.  At the end when we gave out the awards we gave the ESTIMATOR AWARD to the boy with the closest guess.

Lego People Race:
This game, as far as I know, is my original idea, and it turned out really well.The prep for this game was really fun for my son.  I had him build 50 Lego people with random hair, clothing, accessories.  Anything he wanted to build, any character. Yes, 50!  We have a lot of Legos so this wasn't a problem.  But if you didn't have that many, you could build simple objects also and play the game the same way.

My daughter took individual photos of each of them, then we pulled them all apart.  We didn't remove hands and arms - that's just cruel.  I took the photos and printed out 9/page like this on thick photo paper.
Lego People Race game cards. No Printable here. You have to make your own to match your Legos!

Then we cut them apart to make game cards.  I had my son decide how many points each character was worth depending on how many accessories they had, or things like how detailed their clothing was.  I didn't take the time to print them on the cards, we just wrote the points in the upper corner with a Sharpie pen.  They varied from 2 to 5 points.  I handed each boy a card face down and on my count they turned their card over and started assembling.  As soon as they completed one person they could move on to the next until all the cards were taken.
It was a mad grab for parts to assemble their Lego people.
Construction Games:
We filled Lego Grab Bags full of random Legos for each boy.  After picking one they got a large plate to keep them on and we started a series of timed individual building activities.  They got to use the people they built in the previous game as part of their building parts.
The Lego grab bags to build with.

They were given an object to build and about 3 minutes to do each one using only the Legos from their bag.  We did BEST HOUSE, TALLEST TOWER, and LONGEST BRIDGE.
The boys showing off their bridge building skills.

Working on their "Amusement Parks" for the group build.

Then they were paired in two teams for some group scene building on a base plate.  The first challenge was to build an AMUSEMENT PARK and describe it to me, and after mixing up teams a little, the next scene was to build a CASTLE.  The boys got about 7 minutes to start with, but kept asking for more time so I think on each one we spent around 12 minutes.

The last construction game we did was a ROCKET SHIP.  But after each boy had about 1 minute to start building, then they had to pass it to the left, build on the next one, and pass it after about 30 seconds.  The boys got really goofy with this one, so they were very interesting rockets, but they had a great time.

Memory Game:
We had also prepared a base plate with 20 random Legos with distinct names on it for a MEMORY GAME, but we had it hidden in the other room so they wouldn't see it so we forgot about it!  Oh well.  But they would have had 1 minute to study the Legos, then have to write down as many items as they could remember.

Square pizza with pepperoni (that didn't quite look like the photo on the website - shocker!), colored Jello in cups, juice boxes, and a fruit tray.  The juice boxes were made from a printable I found here.

My friend loaned me her Lego silicon molds to make the Legos and Lego men for these cupcakes.  I had never done melting chocolate before - and it was pretty fun!  In some ways easy, but a little tricky to get precise.  My best tool to fill in details was a plastic chopstick!  And even though I pushed chocolate down into each Lego bump, they still didn't come out perfect.  But were still super cute!  The faces were drawn with edible markers.

As the boys played the construction games I wrote down who I was going to give what award to.  The awards were bags of freezer pops, candy bars and Lego pencil sharpeners that I got from Dollar Tree.  The awards we gave were for ESTIMATOR, DESIGN, SPEED, CREATIVITY, RESOURCEFUL, ENGINEER, ARCHITECT, STRUCTURAL, and CARPENTER.  But you could come up with whatever fit your party.  The fonts I used for the tags were called Lego Thick, and Lego Brix - both downloaded online for free.

We also gave them a bag of Lego candies that I bought in the bulk candy section of WinCo grocery store.

The Lego Movie wasn't released on DVD yet when we had my son's party, or we would have made it a little longer and watched the movie at the end.  The boys had a great time, and my son thought EVERYTHING WAS AWESOME!

March 30, 2014

Spa Party

This is a bit of a flashback here - nearly 5 years to be exact!  In my determination to get all of my previous parties finally posted, I've been going through photos, and found these nearly ready to post.  My daughter was turning 13 and will be 18 this fall!  So I'd say it's about time!

DISCLAIMER:  This was another early-blogging party (done before I really got into this blog thing), so my photos are lacking proper backdrops and there is a surprising lack of detail - and designer cupcakes! :)  It may not be up to my current party standards, but we all start somewhere, right?

We picked a theme that any new teen would love - pampering herself!  I have to admit that having only one daughter, any chance to get all girly-girl is fun for me also.

No freebie here - sorry!  I saw this idea online.  This was my pre-Adobe Illustrator years too folks, so don't judge ;)
There are many cute Spa Party invites you can purchase online.
Finger foods were on the menu!  Small sandwiches, ham roll-ups, mini pizza bites, fresh fruits, chocolate covered strawberries, and eclairs.  Then instead of a cake or cupcakes, we had a yummy fruit pizza!

WELCOME TO THE OOH LA LA SPA!  My daughter drew the activity list on the whiteboard.  The lips across the top were actually our first activity.  As the girls showed up we gave them a bright lipstick and an index card to lay a big smooch on for WHO'S LIPS ARE THEY?  The cards were numbered, then they had a list of all of the girls' names and they wrote the number of their guess next to the names.
The whiteboard shows the list of activities, and we had candies available for leisurely snacking.
The goody bags:  Held nail files, manicure kits, toe separators, candy, and gave them a place to put all of the other goodies we made throughout the night.  I got the cute little bags at Target, and the nail kits from Dollar Tree.

To start with, I had purchased several lotion-making and lip balm-making kits from JoAnn's Fabrics.  I made several trips there so I could use 40% off coupons for them all.  This saved me a lot of money on this activity.  Any craft store probably carries them.  Making LUXURIOUS LOTIONS and LIP BALMS mostly just involved mixing in scents and coloring then pouring them into individual bottles.  The lip balms were a little messier because it involved heating the wax also, but was a good project for that age group.  Each girl got to mix and make their own for each lotion, and worked in groups of 4 for the lip balm mixing, but then filled their containers themselves.

Our FABULOUS FACIALS starting with letting the girls pick a cute colored headband to hold back their hair.  They were also given a washcloth and a small towel.  We had the charts (below) at each station so they would know the steps to follow.  I mostly used my favorite beauty essentials, but I suggest you use very mild products since this was the first time almost all of these girls had ever used anything on their faces.  Great age to learn though!
Girls, you look fabulous!
MAGNIFICENT MANICURES and PERFECT PEDICURES pretty much followed the same steps.  Four girls to each station kept it manageable.  I picked up the soaking tubs from Dollar Tree and we added warm water and Epsom Salts to make a nice soak.  Then we gave them a sugar scrub to exfoliate.  After rinsing that off we washed out the tubs really good and got clean fresh water for the next girl to use.  Those doing hands went to feet, and vice versa.  While it was their turn to soak their feet, we had the girls file and buff their nails from the kits in their bags.  When they were all done with feet and hands we did all of the polish and decals at once. The girls helped each other a little on the polish, so that really helped out.
Show off those manicures girls!
We had planned a MARVELOUS MOVIE at the end until parents picked up their kids, but actually didn't have time for it.  Any young teen movie would be fun, but we wanted to watch Doris Day's Pajama Game.

I had soft spa-like music playing in the background.  My Mom is really into that, so I had some of her CD's of piano and new age music with waterfall/nature sounds in it.

This party kept me on my toes :) with so many activities needing me to assist the girls.  Luckily my sister stayed and helped me out.  Lifesaver!!!  It was fun to pamper my daughter and was a great girly party for her and her friends.

February 20, 2014

Valentine's Hugs and Kisses

My oldest son just left on an LDS mission for our church a week before Christmas!  He will be serving in Helsinki Finland for 2 years.  While he was in training in the Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah I sent Valentine's treats for him and some other missionaries in classes with him.

So to understand the meaning behind this label, you have to understand missions.  Missionaries for our church put aside dating, and anything associated with it for 2 years while they serve.  No girls, no hugging, and especially no kissing!  ;)  XOXO  But to make sure they still feel loved on Valentine's Day, I made this label:
Click on images, then right-click and save image as:

Click on images, then right-click and save image as:
 And if you don't have a missionary, but want to send a care package to someone, or just give a treat to someone special, I created one for you also! (above)

To send them, I printed a bunch of them about 5 1/4" wide on photo paper, cut them out, and put the tag inside a snack-sized baggie with Hershey's Hugs and Kisses chocolates.
And here's what else went into the package:
Front and back.

I have to give credit for the rest of the package ideas to my friend Cherylann and her blog Missionary Mail.  This is a GREAT blog to go to for ideas for sending any type of care packages.  I got the Pringles container idea and the conversation hearts printable there.  Be sure to check it out!

I love being a missionary mom, and will surely be posting more missionary ideas!

March 9, 2013

Photo Problems

I'm so sorry about the photo problems.  Pinterest is killing my free bandwidth allowance right now.  It went over the top in February with, believe it or not, the Minion Valentine's box.  My kids even had other children in their classes make Minion valentine's boxes from my post.  They thought it was pretty funny!

It should reset on the 4th of each month.  The only way they are currently giving me to permanently fix it is to pay a monthly fee.  I'm not too excited about that and my husband REALLY isn't.

So in the meantime, hang in there and check back soon as I try to find a way to fix this problem caused by my photos being pinned to Pinterest.

E-mail me if you have any questions or if you can give me another solution!  Please!

UPDATE: Bandwidth is used up again.  Please check back after the 4th of each month if this problem is current as you view.  I will continue to find a permanent solution without paying a monthly fee.  Thanks!

I have free files for the Spy Party, Mad Scientist Party and Angry Birds Party I can send if you e-mail me.