Friday, October 18, 2013

Little Women, Good Wives, Little Men, Jo's Boys

Classic novels by Louisa May Alcott

I am the type of Mom that reads out loud to my girls at meal times. I also read out loud while we are driving, as I am the only one who can do so without suffering the queasy consequences. I'm not exactly sure when that habit formed, but it has.  Most often it's those meals when Daddy is not at home and to be honest, when I am finished eating and my mind is turning to things other than what is sitting before me.  So, I started to read books of their choice out loud.

The latest book is "Good Wives" by Louisa May Alcott.  We had read "Little Women" and then watched the movie version with Winona actually covers the Good Wives book as well.  We were a little confused and had thought they made up a different ending.  So now we are reading the rest of the books and always have fun comparing the movie to the book.  These are books that my older girls could easily read on their own, but we do enjoy reading together.  This way, when more classic terminology comes up, it can be easily explained.

Most often we don't watch the movie version until we've had the pleasure of reading the book and forming our own mental pictures beforehand.  We love the freedom to imagine each character as we like.

As always, if you click to Amazon through the above links, we receive a small percentage which we pass along to adopting families in Manitoba.  Thank you!

Birthday Party Games and Fun

Mei's 10th Birthday Party theme was "Crazy Weirdo Dress Up" and "Fancy Dress Up Dinner"

Pin the Fin on the Beluga

 Some participants were lead astray in the games ~ all for the amusement of the rest
 The great apple on a spoon race

 This friend won the prize for the wackiest outfit!

The Sparkler Surprise!

 After their Fancy Dress Up Pizza dinner, they decided to run around the garden park for a bit

The last photo makes me think of how quickly the years fly past us...all my children have entered the "double digits" now.  How sweet that first phase of parenthood was and how sweet is this promise of the next ones to come!

Mei's Birthday Party Part 2 ~ Decorating and a Fondant Cake

The best part about parties is doing the decorating.  Inviting a friend over to help you makes it even better.

 Thrift Note: Michael's craft store in Manitoba often has big bins outside marked $0.50...we found everything we needed for decorating with a theme from invitations to party favors there.
 Slipped this photo in of the birthday girl getting her breakfast in bed...and yes, her night shirt was hinting to the same!
 She insisted on a store bought cake mix, so her cake would be very tiny.  Not a bad thing, then you don't have to eat leftover cake for days on end.  I added some raspberry jam in between the 2 layers to help it stick together and to give it a bit more flavor.
 Made up a simple butter cream frosting to apply all over the cake before the fondant.  I used this recipe and you can easily half or double the recipe Butter Cream Frosting Recipe
 We had never made a fondant icing before and our cake baking friend was not available.  Another friend told us about Marshmallow fondant.  Sounded pretty good, so we used this Marshmallow Fondant Recipe
 The only thing we did a little mess up on was the amount of marshmallows.  The grams/oz are not the same, so in Canada, we need about 1 1/2 bags of mini marshmallows.  It was obvious when we started to mix it ~ it was still crumbly.  I simply warmed up more marshmallows and added them in.  Great results and it rolls out so nicely.  I sprayed a little oil on the table and that was it!
 Used our pizza cutter to trim the fondant around the bottom, then used our fingertips to shape the rest.
We thought it looked like a little hat
Our first Marshmallow Fondant Icing Cake

Mei's 10th Birthday Celebration Pinata fun!

"I've always dreamed of having a Pinata at my Birthday ~ well, ever since I knew of Pinata's" ~ Mei

 So we blew up the biggest and heaviest balloon we had (Thank you Dollar Store for the helium quality balloon) and proceeded with applying the mixture of flour and water ( 1 cup water to 1/2 cup flour) and strips of newspaper.  We let it dry, so applied 3 more layers before doing plain white paper.
THRIFT NOTE:  Cost approx $1 to make, but you still need to fill with your choice of candy, etc.

 Leave a hole around the balloon tie so that you can pop it and also fill it up with goodies!  We would have liked to have done a few more layers, but we ran out of time.
 Get the older sister to climb her reading tree and tie up the Pinata
 Let everyone get a crack at it once if you like to be fair
 The one that did it in ~
 The best part is the scramble for the goodies afterwards!

We just glued on some leftover streamers on the Pinata.  We thought of painting it, but again, time was a'wasting away on us.  We filled it with candies and balloons.

I've decided to break up this Birthday post a bit, so will leave you with thoughts of sugar junk :)
Below is a link to a great cookbook that our girls have used for their party planning.  I have posted before on the wonderful Meringues on the front cover.  Naturally Gluten Free too!  We haven't regretted purchasing this book at all.  Recipes for Hummus, Potato Wedges, Bruschetta, Couscous, Salads, Spring Rolls, Skewers, Burgers, Butternut Squash Soup, Mango Pops, Fondants, Shortbreads, Cordials, etc etc.  They have wonderful photos and step by step instructions as well.  Not your average childrens cookbook!
All proceeds from Amazon sales through my blog go to helping adopting families in Manitoba...Click below for more info on the cookbook, or to browse Amazon.