A long weekend of celebrations

IMG_9451

As my 12-year-old son really wanted a sleepover, we opted for a Friday of a long weekend so that would give us enough time to recouperate. As it turned out it was a big night for Risk and playing the Nintendo Switch. Here are the boys eating pizza and taking over their countries and working out their “world peace” strategies. This game of Risk went on for around 3 hours until there were enough “peaceful takeovers” of the countries they cared about.

IMG_9449

We took a break for cake time and this year as I do not have a great deal of free time I made a chocolate mint pound cake and iced it with melted chocolate with sprinkles which tasted a treat as well!

Saturday was a huge celebration for our littlest neighbour who turned 1! My neighbours are right next door, and we have hardly seen each other as their little one was born with congenital Glioblastoma which is a Stage 4 brain tumour and they have spent most of the last year in the hospital with their little one. I was so happy to have been invited to their celebration as I have hardly seen them and their little one. It has been such an arduous journey for my neighbours to go through as it was so worrying, but it was such a beautiful experience to be spending time with them over the weekend and celebrating their little girls birthday.

IMG_9469

The theme for the party was ‘Super Girl’ as that was the costume for Halloween as well as being super for getting through such a stressful time. I love the superhero theme as it was so appropriate for what their little girl has been through – she is smiling, happy and super social just like her wonderful parents.

IMG_9448

And what has been happening in the classrooms of late – I have been volunteering Thursday mornings for Arts Focus, and we are in our 4th week this week. Last week we did fleece pillows, and I found one of the students embellishing hers with plenty of bows. I love it when the kids go that extra step and get creative with their pieces.

IMG_9441

And in the 2nd-grade classroom, one of the students has been working on pattern sudoku with shapes, and I was working with them to finally come up with the solution to their puzzle. It required a lot of examination and looking over and over at the shapes until we had finally solved it! This is how I like to see math in the classroom, hands-on and engaging.

A Piece a Week – A 6th Birthday – A Cat Tea Party

This week I have many pieces to the major piece I orchestrated on Sunday! It was my daughters 6th birthday party and the theme for the day was a cat birthday tea party. So I gathered lots of afternoon tea goodies such as madeleines, ginger snaps, chips, crackers and cheese, salsa and chips (as we are in California after all!) and an apple juice substitute for the tea. I did not think that actual tea would go down too well with 6 year olds.

The week started with baking the 4 cakes I used for the cat cake. It was a whole wheat chocolate, cherry pound cake. I have used it many times for birthdays from the King Arthur Flour Whole Wheat Baking book. And for the center of the double layer cake, I made a white chocolate ganache and I iced the cake with vienna cream. While the cake was baking I made yarn balloons as Holly had wanted these as decorations. I read a couple of tutorials on them and the best one was this. I made 9 of them and only 3 were a success, to me that is a craft fail – they take a long time to make and they are really messy this is all fine but the consistency of the glue and the water and the strength of the balloons plus the yarn all make a difference to the final product. I don’t think I will be doing that one again – yikes I put them on the tree outside and they are out hanging in the rain at the moment, not good at all (they are now piles of hanging yarn!) I really think they will make great centerpiece decos if I plan to use my yarn that way again?!?

The Cat Cake from my favorite cake book – The Australian Women’s Weekly Children’s Birthday Cake Book
Yarn balls in theme with a cat tea party but a complete craft fail, boo hoo!

Then it was onto getting the planning done for the crafts and Missy wanted crowns and masks. The idea was to wear them while we are having tea and cake. The crowns were a stained glass crown design from the Artful Parent and we die cut hearts out of magazines with a heart punch and had metallic markers for the stained glass with jewels for added decoration. The masks were easy though I had to thread the elastic on each of them and it was up to the kids to use the metallic pens to decorate them how they liked. All the girls and my son had a fun time with the masks on running around the park and being super heroes and such! Here is my pinterest board of the ideas we had for the cat party!

The Superhero – Mr Ash!

Coloring in action!

Mask in progress 

The story of the teacups was a last minute decision and I was hoping for the hunt for lovely china cups but then I thought well they may break on a concrete floor with a bunch of 6 year olds mucking about at the park. In the end I found these mid century melamine tea cups on ebay and thought just perfect – they will also come in handy for picnics and are fancy for drinking wine over the summer!

The table and teacups ready for crafting and some tea and cake 
And here is the birthday girl and her cat cake with her candles already blown out by her friend – hey we can blame it on the wind! I love the look of the crown with the picture through the ‘glass’. A very sweet end to the afternoon with some very tasty chocolate cake and a lovely glass of Australian Shiraz! And lot of fun with the girls and friends 🙂

The birthday girl blows out her candles – or tries to!