Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Avengers Birthday Cake

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This is my new favorite way to decorate cakes, the possibilities are ENDLESS!!
First off, I just want to let you all know how much this cake cost to make...
Just over $5.00!!!  Yes, you read that right!
All I had to pay for was the two boxes of cake mix (on sale for 99 cents each), and two tubs of
frosting, ($1.50 each). 
So, my two previous posts were how to make a Captain America Shield Pinata, and how to make Avengers masks, add this awesome birthday cake, and you've got a super sweet Avengers themed birthday party!!
I was SOOO excited to do this post!
I love to bake and decorate, but I'm still learning, so when I saw this idea on Pinterest, and knew I had to tackle it.  
I picked out a coloring page that had my son's 4 favorite Avengers, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America.  I didn't know how long this process would take, the party was on a Wednesday, so I started Monday night.  I worked on it for 1 hour, put it in the fridge so it wouldn't get ruined, and then another 1 1/2 on Tuesday night, and that was it!  I had a lot of fun making this cake. 
What you'll need:
the coloring page you want for the final design
wax paper
tape
a piece of glass large enough to tape the paper on to
food coloring
frosting (I just purchased the  Betty Crocker frosting, the one in the small tub)
sandwich bag (I only used 1 sandwich bag!  See how below) or (frosting bag with tips)

Tape your picture underneath the glass so you can see it.

Then tape the wax paper on top of the glass

I don't have any frosting bags, so after tinting the frosting black, I spooned it into the bag, and then I cut off the tiniest corner.  Can you see it??  After I had used all the black I rinsed and dried out the bag and then filled it with the next color.  This way it was re-usable and I didn't waste a lot of bags.
Start by doing any outlining...
Since Hulk's hair and Thor's shirt were all black I filled in those areas as well.  I chose to do white next, 
My next color was a creamy skin like color for Thor and Captain America.  The food coloring I got came with a brown, so I put in the tiniest amount, mixed it in, and kept adding small amounts until it reached the right shade.  I then added even more brown coloring to that same batch for the handle of the hammer.  Notice how you can't see Thor's face anymore?  I call it the background color, the black detailing of Thor's face is underneath the cream color, so when we flip it over at the end the facial features will be on the other side...
I then did the blue and yellow, again, going over the black outlining...it doesn't matter if it looks messy on this side, no one is going to see it! 
Next was red...
and to finish it off, grey, purple, and green.  This is what it looked like, from the backside, finished.
At this point I put it in the fridge, and left it overnight.  It would have been better to put it in the freezer for a shorter period of time, but since I did it that far in advance I didn't want it to shatter when I flipped it over.
Wednesday morning, the day of the party, I baked the cakes.  I wanted to do two layers, and these are the flavors my son picked out.  I had already done enough work on everything else, so I decided to not make the cake from scratch, and give myself a little break ;)
After letting the layers cool I sliced some off the top to make it level.
As you can see, I put frosting between the layers, and then went around the edges with a sharp knife to make it look 'cleaner'.  I obviously didn't finish before I took this picture though :)
I did a thin layer of frosting around the whole thing to keep all the crumbs in, 
after adding more frosting, I took the 'picture' out of the fridge and peeled the tape off of the glass, then flipped it over onto the cake. 
Note: make sure the picture is centered before you flip it over on to the cake, it's kind of a pain in the butt to try and move it after, trust me ;)  My husband took these pictures for me, he took like 20, he was just more curious to see if it actually worked!
GENTLY peel back the wax paper and marvel at your masterpiece!!  Do not do any decorative frosting around the edges, because as you can see, the wax paper peeled off some of the white frosting as well.
Yay!!  After (literally) jumping around the kitchen for joy for about 10 minutes, I touched up the white parts on the cake, and went around the bottom edges with a red design.
I forgot to take a picture of the completely completed cake, luckily I found this one which was taken right before we stuck the candles in, sorry it's upside down, I tried to flip the picture, but it just looked weird.  You get the point, right? :)
P.S. did you notice Hulk's hand at the top?  Yeah, that's what happens when a small part of the frosting isn't completely hardened, and you don't peel it off slowly enough.  Lesson learned!  Not too shabby for my first attempt.  
What do you think??
Also check out our DIY Avengers masks that we used for the party favors for the kids,
and our DIY Captain America shield pinata to complete your Avengers themed party!

Update: I've since used this technique again, and this time I made Star Wars cupcakes and Princess cupcakes. You can check out that post here.

Idea for the cake adapted from here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

DIY Avengers Masks

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Ok, here is my second post from my son's Avengers birthday party.  See my previous post on how to make your own Captain America shield pinata if you missed that one, 'cause it's freaking awesome!
I saw these on Pinterest like a month ago and pinned them immediately.  I had this genius idea, instead of doing little goody bags for the kids, (because my son really never plays with the little toys he gets in there, and they would get enough candy and treats from the pinata), so I would make a mask for each of them.  This way they could also run around with the masks at the party and be little super heroes!
I started these a couple of weeks in advance, mostly so I could just work on them at night while my son was sleeping, and also because I didn't know how long it would take to make all 18 of them! 

Supplies you'll need
sheets of felt in the colors you will need Iron Man (red and yellow), Captain America (blue and white), Hulk (green and black), and Thor (a creamish, skin color, and grey).  (They were 29 cents per sheet at Michael;s, I've heard since you can get them at Wal-mart for 23 cents, saving you money folks!)
scissors
white stretchy elastic
FREE template of the masks found at Cutesy Crafts (this lady did a great job making these templates!  She also has a few other super heroes, and princess crown templates)

black and see-through thread
*Update, I did have someone email me, she said she didn't have a sewing machine, and was wondering if these could be made with a hot glue gun instead.
I whipped up a mask using ONLY a hot glue gun, and it does work just as well! 
I got 4 sheets of each color to use as the base of the mask, then 1 sheet for the colors which are the details on the masks.
For the base of the mask (the main color), use 2 sheets on top of each other, pin the mask and cut out the shape.
I was able to get 4 masks (8 pieces total) out of each set of sheets.  On the Captain America mask I cut out the eye holes a little bigger than the template, because when I put it up to my son's face, they looked a little small.
Cut out the details from the template in their color (for the Hulk hair, I didn't use the template, I just cut it the black the same length as the green part of the mask it was going over, and I cut round and jagged edges along the bottom to give it the 'hair' look.
I took a lot more pictures while I was sewing and putting them together, but now I can't find them :(.  I'll just try and explain the best I can.  I used a clear/see-through thread on all of the masks, that way I didn't have to keep switching colors.  All you need to do is pin the top and bottom pieces of felt for the base of the mask and sew them together.  As you sew (or glue) around the edges, remember to stick the elastic between the the two pieces of felt and sew it in.  I may have forgotten that step multiple times...you'd think I'd learn...nope!  Also, sew around the eye holes.  Once you are done with that, sew on your details, again with the clear/see-through thread.  On the Thor mask I then went back and used black thread to make the little lines on the grey 'helmet' part.  That's it!
We did a water party and after letting the kids play in the water and run around for a bit, I said "Avengers assemble" (which is my son's favorite thing to say), and had all the kids come and pick out a mask.  I then told them to arm themselves with water guns, water balloons, whatever they wanted, and be on the look-out for any bad guys.  We then had my husband a.k.a. 'The Bad Guy' (he was wearing a beanie pulled down over his face with eye holes cut out), run out and throw water balloons at the kids.   They all chased him around and soaked him.  They loved it!
Stay tuned for my next post, it will be about the cake!

UPDATE: Since this post, I have had the chance to make more masks!
If you'd like to check out a Wolverine mask, click here.
If you'd like to check out a Spiderman mask, click here.
If you'd like to check out a Batman or Catwoman mask, click here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DIY Captain America Shield Pinata

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I am so so so excited about the next couple of posts coming up!  Follow my blog so you can see what's coming!  (Just a little teaser, they are related to Avengers birthday party ideas!) 
First of all, I am very happy to have my camera back :).  Note to self: do not leave an expensive camera on top of papers on the edge of the table, because when a toddler wants to grab those papers, everything comes crashing down.  Totally my fault.  I am guilty.  
Anyways, my son's birthday isn't until November, but since we are moving in two weeks (AHHHH!!!), we decided to do an early birthday party for him so he could celebrate with friends and family one last time, and the party was yesterday!  I have been SO excited about this party.  I love planning things like this, and I love to be able to use my crafty skills :)  If you've been following my blog, you may remember I did a post about letting your little ones make their own Captain America Shield, well, after making that shield, and playing super heroes, I think it might have just kept the super hero obsession burning bright :), because my son requested an Avengers party!
Warning:  There are lots of pictures ahead!  I really did miss my camera...Also, guess how much it cost me to make this pinata...anyone?  Nothing!  0!  Zilch!  What made me really happy was I had all these supplies at my house already, (except the cardboard box, I had to find that, but it was free!)
Supplies you'll need:
  • cardboard box
  • a thinner box, ex: cereal, pop can, etc.
  • duct tape
  • scissors
  • glue
  • tissue paper
I thought this was going to take forever, so I started it a few days in advance.  It only took like an hour and a half TOTAL, and that was with 'my little helper' helping me.
Ok, here we go:
First cut out 2 identical shapes of what  you want your pinata to be.  (As you can see my box has black paint all over it, that's because I've been redoing furniture, I will post that later!)
 Then cut your thinner box into strips.  This is what will go between the shapes, so cut them as wide as you want.  Don't cut off the flaps on the box, you will need those in a minute.
Using the duct tape place the thinner box around the edges of your shaped box and tape together.  Don't tape down the flap part, and make sure you have two flaps that overlap (pictured below).
 Then tape the top on...
 Here are the two flaps...
I like to keep gift bags and tissue paper that we receive, so I was glad I did, because I had all the colors on hand that I needed.  I thought it would take a lot of tissue paper, so I did the back of the pinata in this periwinkle color...little did I know, I think I used a total of 4 sheets of tissue paper for the whole pinata...yep, true story!
Here's my little helper showing the back for us...
I forgot to take a picture of how I did the tissue paper, so I remembered to take one while I was doing the front.  Open your tissue paper, then fold it 'hot dog' or the long way
Cut off about two inches, then do small snips along the bottom to give it a 'frayed' look.
Glue it onto your pinata starting on the outside, (or bottom if you are doing a shape with a distinct top and bottom), and layer inward, (or upward).
 The white layer was see-through...
 So I placed another layer of white on top of the first.
Another red layer...
So I was going to keep doing the strips for the blue part, and then my husband came up with this, cut out a circle just a little bigger than what you'll need.
Fold it 4 times and snip along the edge to get the frayed look...
and glue it on.
Since the white is see-through I folded the paper over three times and then cut out a star shape

 Glue the stars on top of each other, and the front is done!
For the sides I just used the same periwinkle color, with the same technique.
We filled it with assorted candy, but the best find was the Avengers fruit snacks, and from the Target dollar bins I got Avengers pencils and erasers.
To close the top, we kind of waited until the last minute, my husband stapled the flaps together so the rope could just go through the hole. 
Ok, tip here...there was so much candy in the pinata that the rope did rip up through the box, not through the staples, but right beside it.  I figured out two ways to prevent that from happening:
1. Put duct tape around the edge of the thinner box, then the rope can't rip through, or
2. cut a small hole through the front and back of the thicker cardboard box, and run the rope through there.
Then let the little ones have at it :)
Update:
Since the pinata only ripped a little through the top, we used the pinata again a few days after my son's party for another party for one of his little friends.
So I just recovered the top with leftover cardboard, but this time I put the rope through one side, laced it twice through two holes I cut in the top, and then through the other side.  I then put on the blue tissue paper to cover up the new part.
 This time it held up :)

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken

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This recipe is an end-of-Summer must!  With only 5 ingredients and around 200 calories...yeah...easy and healthy!  I found this on Pinterest a while ago, back when we were living in our old house, and had our veggie garden...I know, I need to get over not having a garden anymore...Anyways, I loved this because when I had first found this recipe my kitchen counter was overrun with fresh tomatoes.  It was a nice way to use some of them up.

Ingredients:
  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breats sliced open to make them thinner (this will give you 4 pieces of chicken)
  • 1/2 c. Italian salad dressing (it originally calls for sun-dried tomato salad dressing, but every time I've made this recipe, I've only had the Italian on hand)
  • 2 tomatoes finely chopped
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • salt
If you remember, which I never do, sprinkle the chicken with a little salt, then place chicken and salad dressing in a Zip-lock bag and marinate in the fridge for as long as you've got time for.  As you can see in the picture below, I just sprinkle the salt, and then brush on the dressing.
Turn your grill on to medium, and once it's ready put the chicken on.  Leave it until it's cooked about half-way through, and THEN you can turn it over.  Combine the chopped tomatoes, basil, and shredded cheese in a small bowl, and then top the cooked side of the chicken with the mixture.  Finish cooking the chicken on that side...
Then remove from the grill and serve!
This time I cut the recipe in half since my husband was at work, I was only making it for my son and myself, so that's just 1 chicken breast I used...can you tell which one is his and which is mine?  :)
Recipe from The Girl Who Ate Everything
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