Monday, May 24, 2010

Cake Explosion

I've always liked to bake. During Louie's first year I never really thought about whether to make or buy his birthday cakes. My cake experience involved the cake staying in the pan and me spreading frosting on top of it. So when my hubby's Aunt Jo volunteered to help me make Louie's first cake (a replica of the cake she made for James' first birthday) I was excited. Since then Louie has had a couple store bought cakes, but the majority have been done by me. This year he wanted a volcano. Dum Dum Dummmmm (scary suspenseful sound inserted here.)!

I started with three round cakes (chocolate was his choice this year). I left one whole and gradually made each other one smaller. I used leftovers for the top and fourth level. I frosted each with chocolate frosting and frosted in between layers.

Now it was time to add the cascading lava. For this I used some extra strawberry frosting I had on hand. I added no-taste red food coloring. I loved this cake in that you couldn't mess it up, because volcanoes are already a mess!
A good exploding mountain needs rocks and boulders. I used CoCo Puffs for rocks and chocolate donuts for boulders.
Finally I needed something to explode out the top. I Googled homemade lollipop recipes and found one that wasn't too hard. Sugar, light corn syrup and water. I added red food coloring to half and yellow to the other. Then, instead of filling a candy mold, I drizzled it on top of greased wax paper. I only burned myself once (and in the process I learned that a meat thermometer is NOT the same as a candy thermometer)! It hardened overnight and was ready to insert into the top of the volcano (or Mt. Wanna-Hawka-Loogie as I fondly think of it) the next morning.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Party Games

As I mentioned in my last post we decided to let Louie celebrate his 7th Birthday with only a few friends. We were supposed to have his party at the park with a few organized activities, pizza for dinner and the rest of the time spent running and climbing on the park equipment. Wind, rain & ridiculously cold May temps had us re-plan and have the party at our house instead! So I had to come up with a few quick ideas to keep six 7-year-old boys entertained!

As the boys came we let them just run around and play. Louie gave them the grand tour of his room and introduced everyone to Hammy the Hamster. When everyone was here we sat down and had pizza for dinner. I had two party games planned and let the boys vote on which one to do first.

The "Human Knot" won. I remember playing this in grade school. The boys sat in a circle and then reached into the center. Everyone grabbed someone else's hand. Then we "cut" the string in one place and the boys had to un-tangle themselves to form a line. Here they are in the midst of un-tangling.

The other game was "Pin the Saber on the Jedi". I got the idea for this game here. This is a poster from Louie's room. I made these (highly unrealistic) light sabers out of construction paper. We blindfolded the boys and had them sticky tack their saber to the poster. Not bad!

Then we had them sit down and to the Marshmallow Shooter craft that I detailed in my previous post. The boys LOVED creating their own versions. They sat still and quietly working for almost half an hour! Then they raced downstairs to attack our wall with marshmallows!

Next it was cake time! If you couldn't already tell, Louie is a Star Wars fan. His "cake" was a light saber made up of cupcakes. I got the idea here .

We did presents and then wrapped up with a Darth Vader Pinata. We found the kind with strings and the anticipation the boys had each time someone pulled the string was hilarious. This way the pinata wasn't ruined and Louie has a Vader hanging above his bed.

So even though we were excited about having a Park Party, the boys had a fun time. Their excitement level and energy was great to see! Louie told us it was his "best birthday EVER!" And, "I knew, Mom. I knew that being seven would be awesome."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Marshmallow Shooter Party Favors

Oh my Goodness! It's been awhile. I'd like to say that I haven't blogged for so long because I've been crazy busy doing projects, cleaning the house & gardening like a mad woman...but that would only be about half right! We've been crazy busy 50% of the time with school, activities and a FEW projects. The other 50% of the time has been taken over by laziness: napping with J and Kat, cuddling with James and the DVR , reading fluffy novels & becoming addicted to The Secret Life of the American Teenager (sad. but true.)!

So we have since celebrated Louie's 7th Birthday. I can't believe that the 10 lb 4 oz bundle of cuddle is already a seven year old! Anyway, every year we have a whopping big family party and this year we told him he could only invite a few of his class-mates to a small "friend" party. This was an agonizing process, because the boys in Louie's class are very close and all get along well with each other. So do us Moms!

A couple of weeks before Louie's big day we were at a craft fair and saw these Marshmallow Shooters made out of PVC pipes. "We could make those!" is a common thing you hear me say at craft fairs. James agreed and we did a Google search for homemade Marshmallow Shooters. Here's what we did:

Louie & James cutting the PVC pipe. We bought two lengths of PVC from Lowes and bags of T joints, elbow joints & end caps (forgive me if these aren't the correct terms). After cutting, we sanded down all the edges.

Here is what each boy got in a zip lock bag. The long piece is 7 inches. The shorter pieces are three inches. Each boy also got a baggy of mini marshmallows.

This is what the gun was SUPPOSED to look like. During the party, though, to stretch the time out James had the boys experiment and design their own guns. Each boy had a different way to put all their pieces together and each design worked!
Here was Louie's design. The boys then headed downstairs to our family room to open fire on the wall (no shooting each other). They had SO much fun and didn't really want to stop for cake and presents! Our basement floor looked like it was covered with marshmallow snow!

Linking Up HERE!


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Getting Older

This coming Friday our oldest is turning seven. In a month our youngest will be one. It's making me wonder where all the time has gone! Just in the past month, all three kids are changing.

Louie is entering that weird-looking stage. It seems that he is constantly growing (I have the receipts from all the shoes & pants he's gone through this year to prove that!), but not in any type of proportionate way. One week his nose seems to big for his face. The next week his feet and hands seem to big for his body. Everything fits for a few days and then his ears go up a couple of sizes! Add the missing and wiggly teeth and it's not always a pretty picture. But he's so grown up and he's so smart. And he's always handsome with is bright blond hair and his sky blue eyes. He can be so serious at times with his worrying about every possible outcome of his actions and prayers for people who need God's help. Yet he can be so totally carefree with writing his own jokes and dancing around like a goof to make us all laugh.

J stopped looking like a toddler and looks like a pre-schooler. I think getting his mop of hair buzzed helped with that. He is our moody little man. He really works the expression, "poor middle child". But he makes my heart smile when he comes out of nowhere with a hug and a kiss and an, "I love you!" He puts as much passion into being loving as he does into being angry.

Last we have Lil' Miss. She was our great surprise, but she fits our family so well that I have a hard time remembering that she wasn't in our original plan. She's crawling now and so much more determined that the boys ever were. Maybe those of you who have girls are nodding your heads right now? Kat knows what she wants and does not take no for an answer. She keeps trying and trying with a calm determination. It almost seems like she is laughing at herself and saying, "Keep going Kat. You'll get it!" She is so dainty from the way she talks to the way she moves yet when her boys are wrestling she wants to be right in the middle of it.

So I better finish up. We've got Louie sneaking cookies for breakfast. We've got J crying in time-out. And Kat has disappeared somewhere into the living room. What I was trying to say is thank you, God, for our beautiful & quirky children. And if Louie could say in size 8 for awhile, that'd be great. Amen.