Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Cookies

It's New Year's Eve! The last day of 2012.

How do you spend New Year's Eve?  I usually curl up on my couch and watch "When Harry Met Sally" and go to bed by 10.  But this year, I'm going to attempt to stay up ALL NIGHT with the teens from my church.  I made these cookies for their party.  Maybe the bright colors will keep me awake.  Or maybe the sugar will.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skylanders Tenth Birthday Party

My son had some friends over to celebrate his 10th birthday Skylander-style!
When the boys arrived, they started out by making their own bag clips using shrink plastic.  We set out some Skylander books and posters for them to trace, or they could design their own.

The boys really got into this activity!  After the charms were shrunk, we added the carabiners so they could be used as bag clips on the boys' backpacks.  I think they turned out super cute!
The bag clips went into their favor bags.  I found blue lunch sacks and stuck a label on them to make the favor bags.  The label says "Skylanders: Aaron's Adventure" which matched the invitations and the banner.  The bags also contained some gold coin candy, a pencil, a bouncy ball and some Starburst candies. (To see my post about making the birthday banner, click here.)

The boys then went downstairs to play some games.  I didn't get many pictures of the games but I'll try to describe them.

1. Wrecking Ball's Tongue - I purchased some Skylander's trading cards and some sticky hands party favors at Target.  We scattered the cards on the floor and the boys tried to pick them up using the sticky hands.  They got to keep the cards as party favors.

2.  Trigger Happy's Target Practice - We lined up some stuffed balls and the boys took turns shooting at them with a nerf gun.

3.  SkyStones - We made our own version of the Sky Stones mini game in the Skylanders video game.  My husband cut some wood blocks and drew arrows on them with a sharpie.  He drew a grid on some paper for the playing surface and they used different colored chips to indicate which stones they had won.

After the games, it was time for cake!

Of course, I had to attempt a Portal of Power cake since it was a Skylanders party.  I personally think fondant tastes terrible, so I used buttercreme icing  and made a cake that was more "suggestive" of a Portal of Power rather than an exact representation.  The boys knew what it was and it tasted good!

To see my post on Skylander sheep cupcakes, click here.
 To see my post on Skylanders Elements sugar cookies, click here.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

That Crazy Elf - part 2

Our Elf on the Shelf *usually* remembered to do something silly each night.  Here's where we found him on the days leading up to Christmas.
On the ceiling fan
Having a spa day in the shower
Swinging on the tree on a SPI-belt (Spencer's insulin pump pack)
In the nut bowl with a sign that says "I'm nuts!"
Packing Spencer's lunch box with an onion, olives, bouillon, and spicy sauce
Roasting a mini marshmallow on the mantle
Riding Toothless the dragon outside
Then on Christmas Eve, he was sitting by our nativity set reading the account of Jesus' birth from Luke 2.

The Elf is fun, but the reason we celebrate Christmas is to remember Christ's birth.  You may notice there's no baby Jesus in the manger in the above photo.  That's because he's wrapped in a gift box.  The first present our kids open on Christmas morning is the one containing the baby Jesus figurine.  We like to take a moment to remember that He's the best gift of all.
(To see what else the Elf has been up to this year, click here.)

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Sheep Cupcakes for Skylander Party

One of the funny parts of the Skylanders video game is the sheep.  They get in your way and you can squash them or torch them or whatever you feel like.  So for Aaron's Skylander-themed birthday, I thought it would be cute to make sheep cupcakes for the family.
They came together quite quickly.  Here's what you need: white (or yellow) cupcakes, white buttercream frosting, and chocolate cake balls.  I had some chocolate cupcakes leftover from something in my freezer, so I mashed up 4 of them with some chocolate canned frosting to make the cake balls that would become the sheep heads.  (1 chocolate cupcake made 3 heads.) Then I made a dozen white cupcakes from my favorite box mix. (We're gluten-free here so I used Betty Crocker's gluten free yellow cake mix.)  I use the buttercream frosting recipe from Wilton.

Step 1: Load the frosting in a piping bag with a #7 tip and pipe small dots around the rim of the cupcake.
Step 2:  Form the cake ball into an oblong shape and stick it on top the cupcake.
Step 3:  Pipe some more small dots around the head to help it stay in place.
Step 4:  Finish piping dots to fill in the rest of the sheep.  Then pipe two dots on the head for eyes.
(I tried to buy the frosting eyes from Michaels, but they were all out.)

Here's the birthday boy with a sheep cupcake!
To view my post on Skylander Elements cookies and party decorations, click here.
To see my post on Skylander Portal of Power cake plus party games & activities, click here.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

That Crazy Elf

Here is what our Elf has been up to so far this year.
Watching his favorite movie
Decorating the antlers to look like a reindeer
Hiding in a glass in the cupboard
Riding the chicken on top the kitchen cupboards
Playing with baby cousin's toys
Sleeping in the Kleenex box in the bathroom
Trying to look like Santa Claus
What has your elf been doing?
(To see what else our Elf has done this year, click here.)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Skylanders Elements Cookies Plus a Birthday Banner

My ten-year-old requested a Skylanders-themed birthday this year.  I made him some sugar cookies to take to school for his class birthday treat.

The designs on the cookies show each of the 8 elements in the Skylanders universe: Life, Undead, Earth, Tech, Magic, Water, Fire, and Air. 
To make the cookies, I outlined each circle with black royal icing using a pastry bag with a #3 tip. Then I filled it in with a dark blue flood icing from a squeeze bottle.  (To make the dark blue, I mixed some black icing into my royal blue icing.)  I drew the designs using a light blue icing. (I only used a little bit of the royal blue food coloring to get that shade) using a pastry bag with a #3 tip.  The consistency of the light blue icing was somewhere in between outline and flood consistencies.  Some people call it "20 second icing".  It's thick enough that you don't need to outline first, but thin enough that it spreads a little.
I also made a birthday banner to match the Skylander's theme:

The ends of the banner are a cloud shape I cut on my Cricut (Artiste cartridge from Close To My Heart).  I modified the Skylander's logo to say "Aaron's Adventure" instead of Spyro's and glued that logo to the clouds.  The banner's circles and letters I also cut with my Cricut (Art Philosophy cartridge from Close To My Heart).  In between the words, I put a picture of Zap -- one of my son's favorite characters from the Skylander's game.
Since turning 10 is a big deal, I wanted to add some more 10's to the banner.  I cut out some more clouds, circles and numbers and hung them with baker's twine to make these little accents.  Then I hung a Skylanders character poster on the wall.  This poster comes with the game for Wii, or you can do like I did, and print it from
Our Elf On The Shelf wanted to get into the birthday action, too, so he decorated Aaron's door with a "10" made out of crepe paper and then draped some more crepe paper on the stairs!  You can see his little red hat sitting on the stairs in this photo.
I'm busy planning a Skylander's party for a few of Aaron's friends and I'll post more Skylander's fun soon!