March 16, 2014

Camouflage Party

We are still struggling with our younger son around here. Last year, in the midst of everything with Abigail, he was diagnosed with ADHD. He has manic moments and has a really hard time in group settings. After a few weeks in kindergarten, the school suggested I move him to a Special Ed class. Whew - that was a hard one and while I was in the middle of chemo appointments! Still, once I got over myself (cause really it was only hard for me to swallow) I saw how the class was a much better place for Andrew. I adore his teachers and the sweet (only six) kids he is in class with. When his birthday rolled around, he wanted to invite "the boys only" to his birthday party. I came up with the idea of having a Camo Party and decided this one would be pretty low key. I mean, after all, this is the kid that doesn't do well with crowds or chaos! :)
Everything was outside, including the food. We set out real army facepaint and said anyone could use it (I think only Andrew and his Daddy did). I had some MRE's for decoration - pretty gross to actually eat. We had some army flak jackets for the kids to try on - they are soooo heavy.

After they dressed out, we had lunch. It was tang, sloppy joes, mac and cheese, Frito's, asparagus spears and clementines.

 After lunch my husband set up an obstacle course for the kids and just let them run wild. I think they all had a great time and were definitely exhausted when they left.

 For the camo cake, I tried a new technique. I made the colors of icing and crumb coated the cake. then I squeezed blobs of icing in random shapes with a large hole tip. I let that set up and then used a high density foam roller to "meld" the colors together. I was not happy with this technique. It often picked up the icing or smooshed it too hard even when I being gentle. I finally gave up and went back to the trusty paper towel method. It's not a smooth finish when you look up close, but it's good enough for me.


March 12, 2014

Mad Scientist Birthday Party

Preserved Brain Cake...just what everyone needs at a Mad Scientist party. 

As promised, I am posting photos of birthday parties. I'm not doing much other posting, but if you join me on Facebook, I am posting my weekly dinner menus. Tonight was steak with a Greek barley salad and edamame. I'm hoping you will come over there and tell me what YOU had for dinner too.

When Banana Girl said she wanted a Mad Scientist Birthday party WITH her best friend - I (of course) said, "yes!". It was a riot. I did the food and the other Mommy did the awesome science experiments. the girls had a super fun time. And they actually learned a few things along the way.

Don't you love the backdrop and the labcoats?? Donated by the Grandma and perfect for the occasion!
Please excuse the photos - they were taken in a garage at night. With all of these experiments we felt like the garage was the best place to set up.

We made slime - easy and a BIG hit. We packaged a little bit up in petri dishes for them to take home as part of their goodie bag.
We made "elephant toothpaste". This was pretty cool until the kids wanted to start playing with it. What a mess!
We made "milk fireworks", learning about oil and water in techicolor.
The dry ice was a big hit around the punch bowl. Notice the double helix cheese sticks?? We also served: Dissected chicken (whole roasted chickens), Amoeba Porridge (corn pudding), Radioactive Mush (orange colored mashed potatoes), DNA strands (green beans), and Cultured Worms (jello with gummie worms in petri dishes). I made little cards with the names on them and some test tube graphics.

We also served (the famous ever used) chip and dip tray filled with little goodies so the kids could make their own molecules. There were things like: mini marshmallows, grape tomatoes, grapes, dates, gumdrops and toothpicks to set it all up. I was really impressed at what some kids created!

Details of the cake, if you ever need to make BRAINS!!  This would be a great cake for Halloween or a doctor.

The key with brains is to not cross the middle line and keep them moving in swirls.


January 31, 2014

Cancer Free!!!!!! (oh and, Jeweled Black Bean Dip)

Thank you for all of your prayers, cards and virtual flowers. We have made it through cancer and out to the other side. Abigail is doing well and is gaining back weight. She is officially cancer free! She will have three years of follow up, but we couldn't have asked for a better result. I am so grateful to God, the doctors and all of our friends and family who supported us. It really DID take a village. I wish I could thank all of you who helped us, I couldn't have done it without you. Each of you said, "Oh it's nothing", but added up it was a HUGE something!

I am going to be posting very little for this year of 2014 since I have decided to enjoy the last year of my preschooling time, but I do want to record fun birthday parties and a few special recipes - mostly to keep in one place for myself!! ;)

During the dark days of chemo, so many people brought us great meals. I! I won't ever be able to thank those of you who helped us enough. It was so amazing to be cared for.

There were meals that we received that I've made over and over. This recipe was one of them and it has become an often requested one (thank you sweet Katie). In fact, I will be making it AGAIN on Sunday for the ten year old's Super Bowl party. (YES! - we ARE back into full fledged party mode and love being able to have people over.)

Jeweled Black Bean Dip

2 minced cloves of garlic
3 tbsp minced onion
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 c olive oil
6 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 c chopped fresh cilantro
30 oz of black beans (rinsed and drained if you are using canned)
1 1/2 c of corn, fresh or frozen thawed
2 diced red bell peppers
1 pomegranate, seeded
2 avocados, rough chopped (do not use overripe ones)

Combine first 9 ingredients in a glass jar and shake OR put all except oil in a bowl and then slowly whisk in the oil to the rest of ingredients.

Combine beans, corn, peppers, and pomegranate seeds in a bowl and pour dressing over top. You can let this sit for a few hours or overnight. Then right before you serve it, chop the avocados and stir in gently.

Serve with tortilla chips.


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