Arts & Crafts Birthday Party - St. Nickolaus Day

For The Destroyer’s 3rd Birthday, we threw him an Arts & Crafts party since he is our little Arteest!  He loves to color and draw.  Painting (and getting messy with paint) is also a favorite.  Since we invited kids of all ages (ages 1 - 7) we offered a variety of crafts, most of which came from Oriental Trading.  We again used our church fellowship hall for the party and placed a craft on each table.  Upon arriving, the first craft the kids did was to make a Craft Bag in which they could take home all of their crafts.  We used small, plain brown gift bags with handles.  I would have preferred white, but the white ones on Oriental Trading had such horrible reviews.  We let the kids decorate them with stickers, crayons, markers and stamps.  I purchased some nice foam stamps from Oriental Trading that were much larger than I expected.  However, the little kids had a blast with these and were able to handle them well.  The second craft they did was a Decorate Your Own Straw Cup.  Oriental Trading sells plastic cups with various color tops that include a paper insert which can be decorated.  Again, we let the kids decorate with crayons, markers and stickers.  The third craft was a “Decorate Your Own Winter Sticker Scene”.  Oriental Trading sells various sticker scene sets that come with a large paper scene and a set of stickers to decorate with.  Ours was a winter scene that could be decorated with snowmen, kids sledding and animals frolicking in the snow.  The fourth craft was a “Decorate Your Own Wooden Car” - again from Oriental Trading.  I also bought the wood markers from Oriental Trading as I wasn’t sure if normal markers would bleed or smudge off.  The kids could just color the wooden cars.  The great thing about these cars is that they fit on the Thomas the train wooden tracks.  My boys love playing with them AND their trains on the train table. 

Wooden Cars Craft

As you can see in the back of this picture, we decorated with some very inexpensive inflatable crayons that I found on Amazon.  Post-party these made great “swords”.  The last craft was a self adhesive foam frame that was a blue base with snowflake and snowmen face decorations (also from Oriental Trading).  This was a big hit with the adults, but also simple enough for the kids to do as all of the pieces were self-adhesive.  They even came with magnets, so you could make them into a nice holiday gift.  We also offered 2 free play tables.  One was a playdough table.  I scored a sweet deal on a 24 pack of playdough on Black Friday ($5.97 - Thank you TARGET!).  We put out several canisters of playdough and all of our playdough tools from the 25th anniversary tub.  The other free play table was a doodle table.  Using a doodle paper roll that I found at the Christmas Tree Shop, we covered a long table and let the kids run wild with crayons.  This was great for the younger set who loved scribbling with all of the colors.

Playdough Table

For the cake, I made an artist’s palette cake.  This was the first of 2 birthday cakes where I fully believe that Betty Crocker was out to get me.  I baked 2 9-inch round cakes.  I stacked and filled them with the Philadelphia Ready Made Cream Cheese Filling and fresh strawberries.  When I went to frost them, THIS disaster happened.  I never cut the domes off the cakes (BIG MISTAKE) and the weight of the frosting caused my cake to crack down the middle (I couldn’t get it to do this if I tried - though the more I thought, I think this would be awesome for a dinosaur cake to mimic the volcanic and seismic activity of the time periods).

Not Cutting off the Dome of your cake makes this happen!

With some quick assistance from my husband and A LOT of frosting, I managed to fill the cake crater and decorate it as an Artist’s Palette.  The brush is a chocolate Twizzler that I frayed at the end with scissors.  I also made cupcakes and topped them with crayon cupcake picks also found on Amazon.

Artist Palette Cake

The food for this party was nothing special.  I had the usual pretzel tray, sandwiches, chips, veggie tray, cake & cupcakes.  Unfortunately, there was only a small turn out due to the early December holiday frenzy.  But, even with only a few guests, this party was still a big hit!  Incidentally, The Destroyer is born on St. Nickolaus Day and being German, I LOVE THAT.  Every year, when he wakes up on his birthday, he finds some extra treats in his shoes!!!  Look at what he pulled out first this year - a chocolate Santa!

St. Nickolaus Day

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Melted Snowman Cookies

I read a lot of food blogs.  I’m always looking for fabulous recipes that are quick and simple.  This winter, I saw the most adorable melted snowman cookies on several blogs, however, they were all the make it from scratch type blogs.  I’m more of a semi-homemade girl myself.  So, I simplified the “recipe” and made the cookies to take to a playdate.

Oh No! I'm Melting!

My simplified version of this cookie starts with a Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix.  Bake the cookies as you normally would following the directions on the package.  Then, I covered them in white Betty Crocker Cookie Icing - which by the way is the best tasting on the market cookie icing I’ve tried yet.  Take your regular sized marshmallows and put them on a plate in the microwave for about 15-20 seconds.  Watch them carefully and do NOT let them puff up.  This will give them that sort of melted look as the marshmallows ever so slightly cave in.  Watch your fingers as you remove these little suckers because they are hot - but then go ahead and dab a little bit of the cookie icing onto the Marshmallowand place it in the center top of the cookie.  Now let them dry for a bit - say a half hour or so.  The Betty Crocker Cookie Icing dries pretty quickly.  Then decorate as you wish using cookie or cake gel icing.  My scarves were done with Wilton Cookie Icing.  The rest of the decorating was done with those small cake gel tubes that you can find in the baking aisle of the grocery store.  Below is a pic of some of the decoration variations I used.

Melted Snowman Cookie Variations

I really like the ones with the scarves versus no scarves.  And my favorite is the one up front with the “Oh No” look on his face.  These were simple and easy to make and were a HUGE hit at the playdate.  These will definitely be added to my annual holiday cookie recipe file and may even be my next cookie swap cookie!

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Back in the Saddle

Well, folks….it has been a while, hasn’t it.  Our computer is finally up and running again, though, I’m convinced that I am the source of its demise, as I sat at it again for the first time the other day to download pictures and the brand new hard drive crashed on me…..twice.  Our new roof has finally stopped leaking and I’m just at the tale end of my upper respiratory plague.  This weekend is CheezWaster’s 5th Birthday Party and it is LEGO themed.  Once I’m past his birthday, I will be back in the saddle here again…..with lots of good stuff to post.

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A Not So Triumphant Return

Well - I made it through vacation - without a major disaster happening.  Phew!  The computer is still in the crapper and I suspect that since my husband works on computers all day and it is Thanksgiving this week, there will be no computer repair any time soon.  Therefore, until I can get my Disney pictures uploaded and tell you of my vacation tales, go and make some pie dough cookies with your kids….or your spouse…..or just by yourself.  They are simple….and tasty…and quick.  They also make a really nice addition to Thanksgiving dessert tables or can be used as Thanksgiving place card holders.

I’ve got lots of good stuff coming.  SERIOUSLY.  I PROMISE.  As soon as I’m no longer working on a crappy, at full capacity old-ass laptop.  Bear with me friends and thanks for hanging in there!

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I’m afraid to touch anything

Well friends, I would like to apologize for my lack of posts as of late.  Firstly, our computer has bit the big one.  And when I say bit it, I mean bit it, as in fried, right down to the core.  Of course, this all had to happen right while we are getting ready for vacation, so we are going to worry about that problem later.  We have a crappy old laptop that allows us to access the internet and do minor things, so that is allowing us to get by for now.  Secondly, the kids are sick with bad colds, my husband is starting to feel sick, and I’m sure I will start to feel sick the moment our vacation begins.  Murphy’s law.  Thirdly, the guy who was supposed to be the entertainment at my son’s bday party was just arrested.  Shocked?  Yes.  Annoyed?  Yes.  Freaking?  Yes.  Thinking that it is the best thing in the world that it happened BEFORE my son’s party?  YES!  Needless to say I’m a little afraid to touch anything this week.  It seems like everything is going to hell.  However, they say bad things come in threes and my three have now been accounted for, so please, dear Lord, do not let anything else bad happen.  I am after all getting on a plane.

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