Monday, June 30, 2014

Pokemon Birthday Party

A long time ago we got a McDonalds kids meal with a Pokemon toy inside.  My soon-to-be 7-year-old daughter had no idea what it was, and at home it was thrown into a box of small random toys and forgotten.  Forgotten until the day when she found Pokemon TV shows on Netflix that is.  Then she suddenly remembered her little Tepig toy, and fell in love.  She carries little Tepig everywhere!  When her birthday party was coming, and I asked her what kind of party she wanted, she of course said 

"I want a Pokemon party, Mom!"

And inwardly I sighed.  Because you can't just go to WalMart and buy pokemon party stuff anymore.  They have the cards, but that's about it.  So off to google I went, and found
 this awesome Pokemon Party at Craft, Interrupted
Awesome.  Really.  If you're looking for inspiration start there.  We used their hat and gift bag idea.

After lots of googling, this is what I came up with for my daughter's 7th birthday.

We had a Pin the Tail on Tepig
(printed off an online Tepig coloring page and stuck on 33 cent poster board)

Gotta Catch 'Em All Balloon Game
The game involves little pokemon pictures I found with a google image search.  I laminated them because I know my daughter will want to play with them later, and I stuffed them into balloons that they had to pop by sitting on.  They thought it was fun, but loud.  Maybe this would be better outside.

We had an Easter-egg-style Pokeball Hunt in the yard.  Inexpensive fishing bobbers look a lot like Pokeballs if you just take a thin strip of electrical tape and stick it around the middle.  I didn't pull them apart and put things inside, but I bet you could if you wanted to.  We just hunted for them as-is and put them into their gift bags (sling bags from Craft, Interrupted).

Once a few months ago my daughter woke up in the middle of the night crying and when I went in to check on her, she said all she wanted in the world was a pinata for her birthday.  That must have been an interesting dream.  So I made her a Pokeball Pinata.   Why pokeball?  Because it's the easiest pokemon shape to make.  There was no way I could pull off a tepig pinata. I used this youtube video to get the basic idea.  I dipped the strips instead of using a paintbrush.  I just used a 12 inch balloon and made it with flour and water and newspaper strips.  There are three coats of strips on the pinata, each took 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of flour.  Three layers seemed to be just sturdy enough for the kids to each have a couple of turns.

We couldn't find our bat anywhere, so a broom handle worked in a pinch.

And of course we had Pokeball Cake and ice cream. 
I'm not a cake decorator, obviously.  I kept debating about just buying one at the store and having them make it look like a pokeball, but I forgot the picture every time I went to the store, so I ended up making it myself with a Rainbow Duff Cake mix.  The inside was kinda cool.

And to fill up time at the end, the kids played the Pokemon Card Game.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Camping Foods- Smoreos, Orange Cinnamon Rolls, and Tortilla Pizzas

We took our three kids on a camping vacation this summer that involved 4 days and three nights camping. It was time to try some of the camping foods that looked fun on Pinterest.

Switching up the S'mores:

We tried two different takes on the S'more this year- S'mOreos and using chocolate covered graham crackers.

S'mOreos:  You just roast a marshmallow and instead of graham crackers you open up an Oreo cookie and put the marshmallow inside.   They're still messy, but you don't have the melted chocolate factor.  I personally wasn't a huge fan.  They're just ok.  They were a hit with my daughter.  Man, camping is messy...

The chocolate covered graham crackers on the other hand are genius.  I don't know about you, but it seems like whenever I make a traditional S'more the chocolate bar never fully melts.  Maybe it's because I'm too impatient to get a really fully roasted marshmallow.   The chocolate covered graham crackers (bought at Walmart) were perfect.  They're still a mess, and I'd keep them in your camping cooler so they don't melt in the heat, but they really eliminate the hassle of putting a s'more together. 

The next night we tried something from this pin, Orange Cinnamon Rolls:

I think I burned them a tiny bit, but overall they turned out pretty well.  They were easy to make.  I didn't really love the cooked orange flavor on the outside of the roll.  They were easier than making a cake in an orange for sure.  

And on the last day for dinner we didn't want to deal with a fire, so we cooked Tortilla Pizzas on our camp stove.  My kids devoured these, and they're easy to eat with their hands.  Just bring the toppings you like on a pizza, spray a frying pan, and make a little pizza pocket with a tortilla instead of pizza crust.

Other camping foods I've tried before:

Red Hot Apples:
Core an apple.  Put a marshmallow plug in one end.  Fill with red hot candies and plug the other end with another marshmallow.  Wrap in foil and cook in the fire until tender.

Banana Boats:
Peel just one side of a banana and cut a slit into the fruit all the way down.  Stuff with mini marshmallows and chocolate chips.  Replace the peel side, wrap in foil and cook in the fire.

Tin foil dinners:
This is really a camping staple for our family.  I've seen a lot of variations, but this is what we do.
On a long piece of aluminum foil, layer 1/4 lb ground beef, peeled carrots, peeled and cubed potatoes, sliced onions and 1/2-3/4 of a can of cream of mushroom soup.  Really just mix it all in there.  Optionally, sprinkle a packet of Lipton Onion Soup mix on top and salt and pepper.  Wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil and cook on campfire coals about 40 minutes, or until carrots are done and meat is cooked through.  Serve with ketchup.

Orange cakes:
Cut an orange in half and eat the flesh inside so you're left with two little orange bowls.  Fill one with prepared cake mix from a box (any flavor is fine, but I have only tried a yellow cake).  Place the top of the orange back on, wrap in foil, and cook in the camp fire.  We did this for my birthday one year.