Last summer we gave our oldest a fun backyard birthday party. He picked a Transformers theme and we had a lot of fun with it.
My husband has become quite the pinata maker. The year before, he made a Dr. Octopus pinata for a Spiderman themed birthday party and then he made this amazing Soundwave pinata for the Transformers birthday party. He used balsa wood to construct a frame and covered it in paper mache. He put so much detail into making this pinata. He even made a "cassette tape" and "tape deck" that opened. Finally, he painted the pinata to look like Soundwave. Well done, Honey!
Who's ready for some pinata action? I don't know much about Transformers, but apparently Soundwave is a Deceptacon which means that he is a bad guy so he is a perfect candidate for a pinata (since pinatas get beat up).
I was trying to be clever here, but I am not educated in the language arts of Transformers. Also, I didn't realize at the time that I put a Deceptacon (bad guy) image on the container. It was however, a nice way to distribute loot bags and make sure that names were on the bags. I bought solid color bags at Dollar Tree and glued on a transformer image that I found online. The bags were sold in 10 packs for $1.
I was really proud of my Transformer wrapping job and then found out that I unknowingly glued a Deceptacon on the package instead of an Autobot. Oh well, the colors are really pretty together.
My cousin loaned us this awesome bounce house for the party. The kids loved it and played for hours.
And lastly the menu... I don't have any fabulous food pictures to share. To simplify things, I combined a few homemade dishes with some easy store bought snacks. I used paper products form Oriental Trading Co. Another fun blog post if you haven't read it already. Oriental Trading Co. sent me some great Transformers products to review. They have a nice selection and my son was thrilled.
Chips and Dip
Vegetables and Hummus
Cheese and Cracker tray
Honey Chicken Kabobs
Pigs in a Blanket
Hot Ham Sandwiches
Corn and Black Bean Salad
I went really easy with the cake for this party. I made chocolate cupcakes and frosted them with vanilla bean icing and sprinkles in the party theme colors. The link to the recipe is for a chocolate cake, so if you bake the recipe as cupcakes, bake for a lot less time. I think these took around 20 minutes.
We also made an Angel Food cake in a 10" square pan. This is two Angel Food Cakes stacked together to get the desired height. My sister-in-law actually frosted this for me (It's nice having help on party day.) with chocolate frosting. I cut the autobot symbol out of a black sugar sheet I purchased at Walmart. I used a print-out as a stencil and cut the design out with an exacto knife on a cutting board.
Sugar sheets come in this packaging and are usually sold one sheet to a package. I have seen them in craft stores, Walmart, and Meijer. They are versatile, edible, and come in handy when cake decorating.
Disclosure: I was not compensated for anything in this post. All opinions are honest and are my own.
Linking up here: Monday linky: Boogieboard Cottage, Twelve0eight Craft-O-Maniac, DIY Home Sweet Home, Deceptively Educational
Tuesday Linky: One Perfect Day
Did you know that you can buy a whole ham at the grocery store for a fraction of the cost of buying ham sliced in the deli? Your store may even slice it for you while you shop (for free!). You can save significantly and freeze the meat to have it on hand when you need it.
I selected my ham and took it over to the nice man at the deli counter and asked him to slice 1/3 of it thicker (1/2" for soups and casseroles) and 2/3 of it thin (for sandwiches).
As you can see I paid a lot less than I would have paid per pound for ham at the deli counter. I had a coupon for $1 off Kretschmar ham from coupons.com too so I actually paid $19.99 for 10.55 lbs. of ham.
I packaged the ham in quart freezer bags and then put the quart bags into gallon freezer bags to keep them organized in the deep freezer.
I don't buy much in bulk, but I do buy a few things that can be frozen or have a long shelf life. I bought raspberries when they were on sale and in season and froze them. I buy meat when it's on sale and freeze it. I also purchase bulk rice and yeast at Sam's Club. What do you buy in bulk?
I love chicken pot pie. It is one of my favorite comfort foods. I adapted this recipe from one a friend gave me years ago when she brought us a chicken pot pie after we had our second child. (Thank you Malorie. It was wonderful.) This recipe is great for when you want to take a meal to someone because it is easily portable.
This pie crust recipe is my new favorite. The first couple of times I made it, I made it by hand using a pastry blender which worked fine, but it is so much easier to make in a food processor.
The picture above was taken right after it came out of the oven. If you let it sit and rest for a few minutes it will set up more. Also, I cut the chicken a little large in the pictured pie. I prefer it cut smaller and more uniform.
This really is a perfect Pie Crust
All Butter Crust for Sweet and Savory Pies
Make the first recipe in the post.
Ingredients for filling:
1/3 cup butter (5 1/3 Tbsp.)
1/3 cup diced onion
1/3 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 3/4 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
2 chicken breasts, cubed
2 cup frozen mixed vegetables or peas and carrots
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Saute chicken in small amount of olive oil or butter until cooked through. Set aside.
3. Saute onion in butter about 2 minutes.
4. Stir in flour, salt and pepper until well blended.
5. Stir in milk and broth. Cook and stir until bubbly and thick.
6. Stir in chicken and vegetables.
7. Spoon filling into crust lined pie pan.
8. Cut slits in top crust. I find this easier to do when the crust is rolled out on the counter. (You can use small cookie cutters like I did or just cut it with a butter knife.) Top pie with second crust.
9. Seal and crimp edges of pie crust.
10. Bake for 35-40 minutes. During last 20 minutes of baking, cover crust edges with strips of foil to prevent burning.
11. Let pie rest for at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven before serving. It will be too hot to eat right away and will thicken up more as it rests.
We had all of the supplies to make a gingerbread house and just did not have time to get to it before Christmas. So this afternoon after my kindergartener got home from school, the boys made a gingerbread house. They worked together (with Daddy's help) and had the best time. They each had their own sections to work on. My husband even said tonight that the gingerbread house was a great idea. The boys were so engaged. Great cold weather indoor activity.
So if you didn't have time to decorate a gingerbread house before Christmas, there is no time like the present. Everything is on sale now too so you should be able to get supplies for next to nothing. If you have freezer space, freeze clearance priced supplies for next year, since no one is eating the gingerbread house anyway.
This afternoon my kindergartener came home from school in a cheerful mood. When I asked him how his day went, he said "good". Then he said, "Want to know why it was good?" I said yes and he proceeded to tell me that he was complimented by two teachers today and that the bus monitor smiled at him. He determined that all of this happened because he was "good".
Out of all of the things that happened today at school, the kindness of his teachers and bus monitor made the biggest impression. I hope that when I was teaching impressionable young adolescents that I was such a positive influence in their daily lives and now I am reminded of how important a smile and kind word is to a young child. I have three adorable little boys who need to hear how much I love them, daily. They need to see me smile and laugh more. The disciplining and redirecting has to occur, but each day should be filled with positive words and hugs and kisses too.
I posted this recipe years ago, but wanted to repost with a few updates including a new photograph. This cake is quick, easy, and delicious with a little homemade whipped cream.
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup milk or semi-sweet chocolate chips*
2/3 cup brown sugar
5 large eggs, cold
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Generously butter a 9-inch round cake pan with 2 inch high sides and dust with flour.
2. Melt the butter and chocolate chips in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Off heat, whisk in the sugar and eggs one by one. Stir vigorously two or three times, then gently whisk in the flour and salt. Pour batter into the pan and rap pan once against the counter.
3. Bake about 20 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Run a knife around the edge of the pan, cool 10 minutes, then unmold and cool right side up on a rack. (The cake puffs up when it comes out of the oven, then settles down as it cools.)
*Semi-sweet chocolate chips will give the cake a darker chocolate flavor than milk chocolate chips.
This cake is fabulous and so quick and easy. I have made this cake with gluten free flour when serving to someone on a gluten-free diet. No need to frost this cake. It is rich and flavorful on its own, but I do like to whip a little cream to serve with it.
Welcome to Home Ec @ Home
Hi, I'm Faith, a former Family and Consumer Science teacher turned work at home Mom blogger. I love God, my family, and food. You can usually find me in the kitchen preparing family friendly, homemade recipes and taking lots of pictures.
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