Thursday, April 11, 2013

polar bear birthday!

 Claire's birthday party was actually back in February, but I'm just getting around to posting about it now. 
She insisted on a polar bear themed party. WHY can't she choose easy party themes??  Last years party was a giraffe themed one. Anyway, it doesn't really matter, I love planning parties. I had lots of fun thinking of polar bear things that we could do and decorate with.

I have no idea why it never occurred to me to string balloons on fishing line and then hang them up. That's what I did here, and it worked so well. Then Mom and I twisted lengths of streams to go behind the food table.
Our party was quite small, so I don't make too much food.

I had some Hershey's Kisses that I added a few stickers to the bottom of. I used the 4th of July ones found here. Obviously I just used the blue ones, and saved the rest of the sheet for another project. That I haven't created yet.
I made homemade timbits mostly so that we could play a game with them. I will post the recipe for these shortly- they are so good!

In an attempt to stick with the polar bear theme, I made an igloo using blue jello and some icing. I think that I used 4 packages of jello, and half of the required water (so that they were more like jello jigglers). Then my sister lovingly piped the white lines on the igloo.

I wrapped the juice packs that I picked up with a sheet of white paper. I added googly eyes, and a small heart that I had cut out with my heart punch from a piece of black paper. I used a black pen to draw the mouth, and then added the ears that I had punched using my circle punch.

I baked these graham crackers on sticks, because everything is so much more fun to eat on sticks!

And here's the cake. I was so excited to see that Martha Stewart had created a bear template for a cake. I have used Martha's template in the past to make Claire's giraffe cake. I used a board that I had in my house, leftover from a craft project. It wasn't quite long enough, so I did end up making the arms a little bit shorter so that they would fit on the board. I also used a butter cream recipe, so that I wouldn't have to try to refrigerate it.

My sister in law cut these polar bears out with her cricut. (I love my cricut, but I still have the old school one, so it only cuts 6x12 paper! She cut these ones to be much larger.) I taped a string along the back of them and hung them over the streamers.

This was my sad attempt at drawing a pin the mitten on the polar bear game. My sister and I drew it, and Claire decorated the bear. 

We also played another game, but I can't seem to find any pictures from it. I used my homemade timbits, and strung them on a long piece of string. My sister did this ten times, one for each party guest. When all of the timbits were on the strings, we hung them from a broom handle. The kids had to try to eat the timbits snowballs without using their hands. It's a fun game, the kids always love it. 

This was one of my favorite parts of the party. For the party hats (and doubling as the party favors) my Mom knit a polar bear hat for each child. Mom used the free pattern found here.

I can't believe that she's 5!! She starts school this year! Happy Birthday my little big Clairity Boo!

Friday, April 5, 2013

best oatmeal spice muffins

I found my new favorite muffin recipe!

My friend Hannah started a blog when she inherited a cookbook from her father in law. The cookbook (of all muffin recipes) belonged to his Mom. She began baking a new recipe each week, and then blogging about her experience. It's a delightful blog, chronicling classic muffin recipes. You can read along too: 67 Days in the Past.

I first baked these muffins on Wednesday, and they were so good. By Wednesday night there were just two left. I baked another batch Thursday morning, adding in the cinnamon and nutmeg, which really give these muffins an extra kick. Check Hannah's original post to see what she added to her muffins for extra flavor.

Oatmeal Spice Muffins
adapted from Oatmeal Muffins

1 cup boiling water
1 cup oatmeal (not quick cooking oats)
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
 cinnamon sugar

Mix together the water and oats, and set aside for 20 minutes or so.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the brown sugar and butter. Then stir in the eggs, and vanilla.  Add in the flour, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir just until combined. Gently stir in the oatmeal. Be careful not over mix. Spoon the batter into muffin cups, and fill the cups 3/4 of the way. Before baking, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with cinnamon sugar. Bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes.

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