Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Gemstone Party Food

I'm currently in full-swing planning mode for Garland's Space party, and have no clue what food we'll be serving.  We had a last minute theme change (back to Plan A), which makes things easier in a bunch of ways, but I still haven't come up with a menu yet.  Planning the table spread can be the most fun, an opportunity to be full-scale silly and inventive, but I'm really drawing blanks. 

I set out to make Eleanor's party treats on my own-some this time.  I was super pregnant and grumpy (cool combination!), so there were some angry times in the kitchen #believeit.  There were some EPIC kitchen fails.  Epic.  It was... ugly.  Luckily a beloved friend stepped in on day 2 and things started to go smoothly from there.  We made:

Geode Cookies - These were just vanilla cookies (store-bought), iced and decorated with rock candy and gold chocolate rocks from Crazy Candies.  Easy and a crowd pleaser.  In fact, these were unplanned accident, but in a surprise twist of fate, the good kind.

Geode Cake Pops - These tricky numbers were the cause of many sad face emojis in my party kitchen.  Suffice to say, cake pops in general (amongst other things) aren't my forte, but cake icing is like the bandaid of baking so we got there in the end.  Tutorial found here.

Gem Jellies -  Another idea borrowed from the internet.  They didn't look half as pretty as I wanted, but they were easy, problem free and Garland has requested a repeat for his party.  Galaxy Jellies it is!  Tutorial found here.

Crystal Pops -  I actually thought this would be the idea that didn't work out, but it was okay.  I took the idea from those stained glass window cookies that were trendy when I was a kid.  The lollipop sticks were purchased from Kiwi Cakes and can not be placed in the oven, fyi.  The instructions said as much, but I also double-checked just to make sure, and yes, the instructions are definitely correct. 😬

Keen to DIY your own lollipops?  You'll just need some hardboiled lollies, lollipop sticks (kebab sticks would work fine) and some waxed baking paper.

Use a rolling pin to crush the sweets, then mound them on the baking paper, mixing the colours to your preference.  Melt for just a few minutes  and then remove them from the oven.  The candy will totally spread to at least double the size it started so bear that in mind.  As soon as they're out of the oven, place lollipop sticks into the candies and allow them to harden.  I added a little edible glitter to mine too!

There's no way that I can think of to be precise with these.  They are messy and fun and kids will think you are a magician for making your own lollipops.  We are soooo making galaxy ones.  Which means that over the course of writing this post I'm already halfway there with my food planning.  2 Birds = killed.
That sounded way darker than I thought it would.

The rest of our food was either storebought, or crazy simple to make (gem shaped fairy bread + white chocolate gems, using a silicon mould).  Melody made the adorable gem cookies from scratch, too cute!  I wouldn't even trust myself to bake cookies, so thank goodness for her...

I did bake and decorate the cake myself, and as you can see I relied on all the props...

I'll put the party printables up as soon as I've put all the files together, which might not be that soon, but fingers crossed!  Now I'm gonna go print some NASA badges off and get real prepped for a Space party yo!

Source list:
Rock candy
Chocolate rocks
Pink fondant
Lollipop sticks
Edible glitter
Gem handled forks

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Book Review :: The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

The Light Fantastic - Sarah Combs

"Seven tightly interwoven narratives. Three harrowing hours. One fateful day that changes everything."

It's been a little while since I read some YA Contemporary and I was so ready for this.  The Light Fantastic promised a rich narrative with some punch, so I didn't waste any time starting.  I'm gonna bullet point this one because it's that kinda book.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Gemstone Party

Eleanor's Gemstone party was an unashamed sugar-fest, making me both the most popular and the least popular, depending who you asked.  Just as we did for her 6th birthday, we invited two of her besties over for dessert and indulged in all the treats.  No child complained.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Glittery Party Favour Bags

Waaaay back in October we held a Gemstone theme party for Eleanor's 7th.  It was super fun to plan for, all the glitter and gems in the world!  I decided to gift the kiddos some gemstone soaps - tutorial found here.  Definitely the most labour-intensive element of the party planning.  Also the most fun, once I got the hang of it.  I purchased some simple cotton bags from Pop Roc Parties to hold the soaps, but couldn't just leave them plain.  So.  Glitter.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review :: Dog on a Digger by Kate Prendergast

Dog on a Digger - By Kate Prendergast

"Dog is helping his master on the building site when his tiny dog friend goes missing. Plucky Dog takes charge and cleverly brings the digger to the rescue."

And our ongoing love for text-less picture books is rewarded with another gem.  Just look at the illustrations!  Just loooooook!  So pretty....

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Just Now

December!  You are melting away like mid summer butter.  Our days have been blurry-edged.  Messes and napping and feeding and visits.  We've hidden inside, and occasionally ventured out (more than we probably needed too, but it's that season).  We've been so lovestruck that Christmassy traditions have fallen by the wayside and no one has minded.  We've had some bummer days, but looking back these past four weeks still seem perfect.  Our guy is here, and he's perfect.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Book Review :: Penguin Problems - Jory John and Lane Smith

Penguin Problems - Written by Jory John and illustrated by Lane Smith

"Little Penguin has problems: his beak is cold; there s snow everywhere; the water smells salty; he waddles; he looks the same as everybody else. No it s not easy being a Penguin!"

Clever and cute, Penguin Problems is also super relevant.  It's the children's book equivalent to #firstworldproblems, with little penguin guy complaining about literally everything.  He's the modern day equivalent of Eeyore, but somebody is about to set him straight!  Because Penguin Dude, life is so good!

Book Review :: The Hamster Book by Silvia Borando

The Hamster Book - Silvia Borando

"If you have always wanted a pet, but your parents have never let you ... this is the book for you. Because, inside the pages of this book, your new hamster awaits. Isn’t she cute?" 

What an adorable little book this is!  I think interactive books are so much fun (Help, The Wolf is Coming is another fave), and The Hampster Book is especially cute.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book Review :: My Lady Jane

"A comical, fantastical and witty re-imagining of the Tudor world, perfect for fans of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Lady Jane Grey, sixteen, is about to be married to a total stranger - and caught up in an insidious plot to rob her cousin, King Edward, of his throne. But that's the least of Jane's problems. She's about to become Queen of England. Like that could go wrong."

I was super eager to read/review this book following a recommendation by this bookish gal (who has never yet led me astray).  It exceeded my expectations!  I saved it up, and I savoured it.  In fact, I was so dreading finishing, that I put off doing so for several weeks.  I wanted, needed to know what would happen but I couldn't bear seeing so few pages left, didn't want that empty #bookfinished feeling to arrive (at least until I had adequate back up).  I considered whether starting over again right away would help, but this book was such a delightful (and I rarely use that word) surprise, I need time and distance before my first reread, that it may delightfully surprise me all over again.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Book Review :: Barefoot on the Wind by Zoë Marriott

Barefoot on the Wind - by Zoë Marriott

"A feminist reworking of Beauty and the Beast from a talented fantasy writer."

Well, you had me at that byline.  Fairytale retellings are fun (see also - Jane Austen retellings *hearteyes*), and there's always room for a feminist spin, imho.  I also looked forward to reading a Beauty and the Beast retelling, not being familiar with the story at all (I know, what can I say?!), so I was pretty much 'come at me with this book!'.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Book Review :: Pandora by Victoria Turnbull

Pandora - Written and illustrated by Victoria Turnbull

"A great picture story book with an environmental message.  This is a stunning fable of hope and regeneration from critically acclaimed artist Victoria Turnbull."

Pandora is a beautiful, sad and ultimately hopeful story.  The title character lives alone, surrounded by broken things with which she builds her little life.  When an injured bird appears, Pandora finally has a friend, and a purpose.  Eventually the bird leaves, but the gifts of seeds and hope left behind, transform Pandora's grey world into one that is beautiful.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Steiner School Fair

The Michael Park School Fair was a big deal when we were kids and I knew our guys would have such a great time there. We've been trying to make it there for a few years now, but the timing has never worked.  All good, because it felt perfect taking them this year.  The ideal way to round off our first year of Waldorf (inspired) homeschooling, and put aside some specially focused time with them before the bubba arrives.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book Review :: Angel Star

"Angel Star written by Chris Sanders symbolises a new era of Children’s storybook writing using adult contemporary music inter-twined with simple beautiful lyrics that will resonate in the heart of every child.Modern day nursery rhymes that all the family will enjoy singing and reading today and for generations to come."

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Book Review :: When We Go Camping by Sally Sutton and Cat Chapman

When We Go Camping - Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Cat Chapman

"From two of New Zealand's favourites - Sally Sutton and Cat Chapman - a rollicking romp through a day on a family camping trip!"

Homeschool Field Notes

We had another homeschool field trip a few weeks ago, while it was still cool enough to wear woolens.  We were supposed to be observing 'pond life', but all we came across was a spider.
Def no beavers or snakes #Americancurriculum.  Speaking of curriculum, we've been checking out next year's syllabus (2nd Grade) and it looks fun!  I've been looking at the Kindergarten one too which looks utterly adorable!  Super tempted...

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Book Review :: An Artist's Alphabet by Norman Messenger

"A surreal and gorgeous alphabet book from exceptional artist Norman Messenger."

If you're looking for a book that's a little out of the ordinary, I've totally found it for you.  An Artist's Alphabet is perrrrfect for fans of the surreal, and anyone looking for an un-cutesy alphabet book. The unconventional subject matter is refreshing, no 'B is for Ball' here, peeps!  This is definitely the type of book kids will sit and pore over in front of the fire, with so many exquisite details and unexpected letter pairings.  

Friday, September 30, 2016

Book Review :: My Dad Used to Be so Cool by Keith Negley

"Did your dad used to be cool? Wondering what happened to his rock band playing, skateboarding days?"

First and foremost, I LOVE the illustrations for this book!  I'd have any of them as wall prints in my house.  The repeat pattern guitars are 👌.  It's a beautiful book no doubt about it, with thick, matte pages boasting these bold, retro illustrations.   I'm a big fan of the muted primaries colour scheme, and intend to steal it for an upcoming kiddo birthday party, yuss!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Russell, Northland

These Spring holidays have been dreamy!  So much for that grim weather forecast, it's all blue skies y'all.  Today definitely feels like the kind of day that we should fill with an adventure, but in reality I will be cleaning out my car (overdue) and sorting through the kiddo clothing.  Is it normal that I'm looking forward to both of these tasks?!  

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Doll Ergobaby

I've been thinking about making a couple of doll-sized ergobaby carriers forever.  It felt so good finally to whip this one up!  I'm sure there are a bunch of online tutorials available, but that's not really my style.  Instead I gathered supplies, did a bit of guessing and pinning and cutting, and came up with this one.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Adventures in Spring

I'm gonna admit it right now, homeschooling is the best decision we ever made. Which is not to say that we will never reassess, particularly if we find ourselves in the right schooling situation, but this year has been (mostly) SO much fun for all of us.