October 7, 2019

Moana Theme Snack Buffet

I got to help plan a fun Moana party for a group of young women at my church. All of the adults pitched in to make the adorable food and decor. I thought I'd share in case you need some tropical inspiration for your own!

Top photo: The palm tree trunks are hanging brown streamers with brown balloon coconuts. Each of the new girls coming into the program had a spotlight coconut poster to introduce her.
Middle photo: Our food table with tropical decor and Moana movie figurines.
Bottom photo: Crepe paper seaweed with coral made from from spray insulating foam and painted in fun colors.

Ocean Water of Te Fiti
Kakamora fruit Kabobs.
Montunui Fish and Chips with pineapple salsa.
Sail Across the Sea Jello Cups. Blue Jello with crushed cookie sand and chocolate wafer cookie boats.
HeiHei Donuts. Mini coconut donuts from Walmart with toppers cut on my Silhouette machine.

February 17, 2019

Captain America Party

We are big Marvel fans, and lucky that the movies always seem to release near my two youngest son's birthdays! Movie parties are great for teens because it's not as hard to keep track of a group of kids at that age. And even if friends have already seen the movie, they most likely won't mind seeing an action-packed hero movie again!

I searched for movie poster images on the internet for images for the invites, especially the famous shield icon that so many other elements of our party were based on. Under the text details I used a photo with texture to age the background and used metallic colors for the text.

Captain America's shield was the inspiration for the party food. I made a fruit tray with strawberries, blackberries and bananas on a round tray from the dollar store. The fruit dip was placed in a glass star dish also from Dollar Tree. Here's a link to the recipe for the yummy fruit dip!

The pizzas were on a homemade crust with cheese and rings of pepperoni and a center of sliced olives. I used a star shaped cookie cutter to cut a slice of white cheese for the center.
I kept the decor simple since we weren't going to be home longer than just to eat. So in April I pulled out a bit of my red, white and blue 4th of July items for a centerpiece.

I used a red velvet cake mix for the two red layers and a white cake mix divided for one white layer and one blue layer tinted with food coloring. After a base coat of the white icing I use different plates, lids and a star cookie cutter to make lines on the top of the cake before I filled in with a star tip in a piping bag. I used our favorite Duncan Heinz cream cheese canned icing so the white wasn't a bright white, but it tasted great!
I love the fact that this was a theme party, but without a lot of expense or fuss. By just using three colors and the shield for inspiration it all tied together to make a fun party for a new teen!

Oh, and Captain America is my favorite Marvel hero, so I really enjoyed this party too. ;)

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, like this Hogwarts Banner, 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 free 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

"That’s what Hermione does," said Ron, shrugging. "When in doubt, go to the library."

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 bought from our local grocery store bakery 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.
I recommend at least 10ml to 20ml bottles to make the potions in, but I wouldn't go bigger than 20ml because you don't want them drinking enough to make them sick if they load it with grossness! I think that these Glass Bottles with Corks are a great size because they have a wider mouth opening for adding ingredients, especially chunky ones like the cocktail onions.
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.

For Harry Potter fans, the excitement will always be worth the effort. Have fun planning!

"He'll be famous — a legend — I wouldn't be surprised if today was known as Harry Potter day in the future — there will be books written about Harry — every child in our world will know his name!"—Professor McGonagall