For every kid who wants to be an engineer, architect, builder, construction manager, etc. when he/she grows up, here are some of the coolest ideas for a construction themed party.
When the party is quite close to the 4th of May, one can easily get tempted to celebrate a la “May the 4th be with you”. So for hubby’s latest birthday celebration, Star Wars theme it was. Because the very first Star Wars film came out exactly 40 years ago this month, all the more reason it was to have that theme.
If you get your inspiration from the very first Star Wars film, you will find that you are dealing with a retro-ish kind of futuristic/space-age theme. Nevertheless, we just decided to have fun inserting a bit of Star Wars themed something here and there.
Upon entering the party venue, the guests were greeted with these sign posts. So, which Star Wars place do you want to go?
This is how the buffet table looked like before the guests arrived. Since it was the last month before winter, we kept the rest of the foods in the kitchen so that they would still be hot when the guests arrive and they’re ready to eat.
One helpful tip – if you have a number of tried and tested recipes that you can incorporate into the theme, use them! That means lesser stress, because you’re more confident of how to make them and how they would turn out, having made them several times before.
Sometimes, you can also just tweak the recipe a bit so that the dish would suit the theme. This Bantha Milk Punch, for example, is a tweaked version of the pink fruit salad cooler (beverage) that I have made before. Normally, red and green gelatin chunks are used, but for this party, I used blue gelatin chunks, to make this fancy beverage look more Bantha-milk-ish and Star Wars-ish. Unfortunately, the blue gelatin chunks, tapioca pearls, and shredded coconut all sank to the bottom (as they normally do anyway), so you don’t really get to behold this lovely beverage in all its glory.
You don’t even have to come up with all original ideas for your party. Your guests will most certainly forgive you if you pinch a few good ideas from other similarly themed parties shared online, such as the Yoda Soda.
Many cake makers would surely have that special decorating tip that creates icing that looks like grass or hair (very thick strands, that is). I do have that…except that at the last minute, it decided to not work properly. Boo! A little bamboo toothpick to the rescue! Using a clean toothpick, I tried to recreate the hairy Wookiee look on these Wookiee Cupcakes.
Hubby made this milk flan, a.k.a Princess Leia Flan. Normally, I wouldn’t serve it in a baking pan. However, since the industrial look of the pan worked well with the theme, I decided to send it straight to the buffet table.
Thankfully somebody invented the blue food colouring! A few drops of that into the milk panna cotta that I’ve made a number of times and, voila! We got ourselves a nice plate of Bantha Milk Pudding. I just added a bit of chocolate syrup and a couple of Oreos on the top, for contrast.
Organizing a party can be stressful and if you’re not careful, you can end up with so much to do in so little time. I would have loved a detailed R2D2 cake, but that would have been terribly time consuming. Instead, I opted to create a Galaxy Cake – blue butter cake base with buttercream icing and glazing in various shades of dark blues and purples, with silver sprinkles here and there.
A funny behind-the-scenes story on this cake – In the early stages of glazing the cake, I didn’t quite achieve the midnight-ish blue that I wanted. So the first batch of glaze that went on the cake was more of a Cookie Monster kind of a blue. Hubby passed by the kitchen table and after I whined how I can’t seem to get the colour right, I jokingly told him, “How about we change the party theme into ‘Sesame Street’ instead of Star Wars?” He looked horrified! Lol!!! Thankfully, I managed to get the colours right in the end.
May the forks be with you…and the spoons and knives as well.
And because photo props are just so popular in this era of selfies, Facebook, Instagram…and selfies.
Just before the guests started arriving, I started playing the first Star Wars film DVD, showing it on the lounge TV, on low volume, so it’s more like a background feature.
After much of the eating and chatting, we played a few rounds of the “Storm Trooper Snatching Game”, as I’d like to call it. To play, you will need:
– A box of styrofoam pellets/packing peanuts (imagine that they are stormtroopers)
– A few big, lightweight bowls
– A pair of chopsticks for each bowl
– A timer (your mobile phone clock timer will do)
Each player gets a bowl and a pair of chopsticks. Set the timer to 30 seconds. When the timer starts, each player uses only his chopsticks to snatch as many ‘stormtroopers’ as he can, from the box and into his own bowl. No scooping is allowed. At the end of 30 seconds, whoever has the most number of ‘stormtroopers’ in his bowl wins the round.
Tip: If you have time to prepare beforehand, paint each chopstick so that they’d look like lightsabers. I know snatching a ‘stormtrooper’ with a couple of ‘lightsabers’ does not look quite logical, but it’s just an added fun Star Wars detail. 😀
To produce golden snitches in food form for hubby’s Harry Potter party, I didn’t want to do what others have done, which was to create round cakes (cake pops) and cover the snitches with artificially coloured icing to make them look like snitches. Besides, I had too much on my plate then to bother intricately decorating each cake pop. I just wanted something that was relatively easy to make.
Then I recalled a homemade sweet called Yema. I knew a few people whose mums used to make these sweets and get them to sell these to other kids at school. The brightness or dullness of this dish’s natural yellow colour depends on the ingredients you use and their proportions. Some can be quite pale, while others darker and almost brownish. In addition, you can also coat the yema balls with raw sugar or glaze them with caramelized sugar (which is a bit more tricky).
For the duration of hubby’s Harry Potter party, I called them not yema, but Golden Snitches. Here’s the recipe I used:
10 egg yolks
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice, or zest
Raw sugar for coating
In a non-stick pan, combine egg yolks, condensed milk and lemon until well blended. Place pan on stove, over low heat, and stir constantly until thick enough to be formed into small balls. It is important to keep on stirring and scraping the sides and bottom of the pan while cooking to avoid burning parts of it.
Remove from heat and let the mixture cool. When cool enough to handle, shape them into small balls, about an inch in diameter, which seems to be just a good size for a snitch. Roll each ball in raw sugar.
Arrange in a serving tray with enough spaces in between the snitches so they don’t look too crowded when you add the wings.
I made the wings days in advance so they’re ready to add to the golden snitches on the day of the party. I used toothpicks, aluminum foil and double-sided tape to make them, while seated on the couch, also watching an action movie with the hubby. 🙂
Perhaps the TV station GO must have heard of hubby’s Harry Potter themed birthday celebration. Because a few weeks later, this station decided to show the Harry Potter films every Friday evening. On the first Friday evening, I was wearing the Gryffindor gray pullover sweater vest, Gryffindor scarf, and a witch’s hat, and munched on the remaining jelly beans and chocolate frogs while watching the movie. I’m not really a super fanatic of HP, but since I had all the props lying around, I thought I might as well have fun with them! Hahaha.
Speaking of Harry Potter, today I’m sharing with you some of the amazing Harry Potter themed cakes I came across while researching for hubby’s party weeks ago. I’m linking each photo and caption to their sources. They might come in handy in case you’re planning an HP party of your own, so here they go…
It’s that time of the year again – yup, hubby’s birthday. You know him – he just lets me do whatever for the celebration, as long as he’s allowed to cook his favourite dishes.
This year, I was a bit torn. How can you top a Middle Earth themed party? Hold a minions themed party because he seemed to have been enjoying the Despicable Me films recently shown on the telly? Yeah, that’s a funny idea, but he just might kill me. Hahaha.
We’ve also been enjoying the Harry Potter films lately. Yeah, I know, those films have been out for, like, forever. But just a while ago, one TV station was showing one HP film each week. Of course, we’ve seen them before, but it was nice to view them again and review the forgotten parts. Besides, when you go browsing the net for HP themed parties and see all the details that others have prepared for their parties, how can you not hold one?
So, Harry Potter theme it was, and after what seemed to be a millennium of research, here’s what we had at hubby’s birthday party:
This is what greeted the guests at the entrance – Hogwarts houses banners, and HP related stuff on the table, including a few HP books, some wands, photo booth props (neckties in HP house colours), chess pieces, some potion bottles, a chess board, Hogwarts Express signage, and a letter from the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
On the side wall, we had a huge rectangular mirror that’s normally stays there, so I decided to pretend it was the Mirror of Erised and labelled it accordingly.
As you step into the lounge area, you’ll see that I had stuck some ‘wanted’ posters on the wall….
…while on the other side, I had shelves of various potion ingredients.
I placed some battery-operated tea lights behind some of the glass bottles to show off the coloured liquids inside the bottles. Otherwise, it would have been too dark in the lower shelves for people to notice somebody fun in there.
Hubby had recently finished this painting of a rather gloomy looking lake with the universe reflected on its waters. I incorporated it into the theme by telling people it’s the lake at Hogwarts, the one with the scary mermaids, where they held one of the events in the TriWizard tournament in the Goblet of Fire.
Just beside the painting, I also had some fake “wooden” arrow signs bearing names of some of the places in the HP world. The “Ministry of Magic” arrow sign was somewhere else in the house, pointing the direction to the ‘portal’ of the “Ministry of Magic”, in case some of the guests needed to go there for you know what.
Here’s an early shot of the buffet table. Don’t ask me for a later shot of it when hubby started crowding it with all the foods, because I don’t have a presentable one. 😀 Hubby prepared most of the foods, which made him tired but really happy and proud of his accomplishment. I prepared the sweets, bread and the salads.
I made him a very simple birthday cake. I didn’t want to make him Hagrid’s cake, simply because Hagrid’s style just isn’t my style. Instead, I just created a little bunting featuring the Hogwarts house colours and added a golden snitch in the middle of the cake. Simple, but super-yum…and I kid you not.
Of course you know that no HP themed party is complete without Bertie Botts’ Every Flavour Beans. They’re just the ordinary jelly beans I found at Coles, but that little striped box I painstakingly cut and assembled just nailed the illusion.
I am ever so glad Australia’s got Freddos – our very own chocolate frogs. Gave me the perfect excuse to take this lazy option, instead of having to search and shop for a frog mold and make chocolate frogs from scratch.
Finally, one of my most favourite HP-related item in the party – the golden snitches! They’re actually just egg yolks and condensed milk, cooked and shaped into balls. Days before the party, I spent one evening preparing all these snitches wings while watching Avengers on the telly.
I love how they turned out, even though I was a few wings short in the end. Hahaha. But still, admit it, they are pretty and look like they’re ready to fly away. The guests were very amused with this dish, and they weren’t disappointed ‘coz the yellow balls were tasty too.
Get my Harry Potter themed party supplies here:
Near the end of my senior year in high school, a good friend of mine invited me to her birthday party. Actually, she invited probably half of the whole class, which was probably around 25 kids or so. At her party, I came across this super delicious milk and chocolate dessert. For me at that time, it was just about the most delicious dessert I’ve ever tasted. Right there and then, I asked her for the recipe of the dessert, which was prepared by either a family member or a friend of hers. The next week, she gave it to me.
Unfortunately, at 16, I was really more of the eating type and not the cooking type of a person. So even though I was honestly very impressed with the dessert and genuinely wanted a copy of the recipe, also like a real non-cooker, I kept the recipe but never tried making it. An embarrassing admission, I know.
Recently, while being best friends with Mr. Google, I came across an image of that very dessert. Now that I and my husband share an almost similar passion for cooking, I just have to make this dish. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be quite a success and tasted just as amazing as that dessert at my friend’s birthday party. A few friends of mine felt a bit bad that I did not invite them over to have some.
After tweaking the recipe enough to make it mine without deviating too much from the flavour, I’m sharing it with you so you too might enjoy it. My high school friend had called it by an odd name which, nowadays, might be misunderstood as offensive. For that reason, I’ll go with the basics and call this dish Milk Chocolate Panna Cotta.
MILK CHOCOLATE PANNA COTTA
2 packs unflavoured gelatin
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup hot water
1 can evaporated milk
1 cup raw sugar
(White Milk Layer)
1 cup cold water
2 packs unflavoured gelatin
1 can condensed milk
2 1/2 cups cream
In a small bowl, melt 2 packs of gelatin in half cup of cold water. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix cocoa powder and 1/2 cup hot water thoroughly. Set aside. Heat evaporated milk in a saucepan on low heat and stir in sugar until well dissolved. Blend in the melted cocoa. Add the gelatin mixture and stir well until dissolved. Let this mixture cool by stirring continuously, before transferring to a deep tray. Refrigerate for at least two hours to make sure it has completely set.
Prepare the white milk layer while the chocolate layer sets in the fridge. To make the white milk layer, melt 2 packs of gelatin in half cup cold water. Set aside. Mix cream and condensed milk in a saucepan and cook over low heat until hot. Add the melted gelatin and stir until well blended (approx. 10 minutes). Remove from the stove and continue stirring to cool down the mixture. (It is very important that this mixture has completely cooled down before adding it to the chocolate layer, or else you’ll run the risk of melting and destroying the chocolate layer.)
Take the tray of chocolate layer out of the fridge. Using a ladle or a cup, gradually and carefully transfer the white milk mixture over the solid chocolate layer on the tray. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.
To serve, turn the panna cotta upside down on a serving platter. If you like, you can also drizzle chocolate syrup and sprinkle chocolate shavings on top.
Instead of chocolate shavings, you can also garnish with strawberry slices, just like these two that I made for a friend’s baby shower party.
My little girl (uhm…the one I’m sponsoring…) recently turned 12 (not so little anymore, I know), so we celebrated her special day with a pink cowgirl themed party.
I would have loved a few good looking succulents to decorate with, but summers in Victoria are not that good to even the poor succulents (unless you take them indoors perhaps), so we contented ourselves with a few cutouts of cactus pictures in the background, plus loads of pink gingham and paisley prints, of course!
Here was our menu for the party:
The decorations were a combination of rustic and girly, but we made sure there was a good amount of gingham and paisley buntings and pink balloons to make the atmosphere quite festive. Rustic touches included wooden furniture, a few tin buckets, burlap bags with chocolate gold coins, shredded cream/yellowish paper as hay (a good substitute in case you’ve got guests who are allergic to real hay), wicker baskets to hold items such as cutlery, serviettes, or munchies.
The man in the house turned a year older recently, and of course, he just had to have a creative celebration. Hip! Hip! Hooray!
Last year, I designed a Naruto themed dinner party for him. Somehow, I thought it would be challenging to top that, since he’s a huge fan of Naruto and nothing else. I had asked him how he wanted his birthday celebration to be, but he decided to leave everything to me. What to do? What to do?
Oh well, if you don’t want it your way, then let’s have it my way. (Yay!) Thankfully, I do love a bunch of action/adventure stuff, and because the Lord of The Rings books and films are right at the top of the list (or somewhere there), then that’s what it shall be. (It would have been fun to dress up as Arwen…but with busy weeks/days leading to the celebration, I couldn’t do that).
And so, weeks before, the planning started. There was no question about having a banner similar to Bilbo’s in the first LOTR film – we just have to have that! But because of limited space and cold climate, we couldn’t have a big outdoor evening party with all the dancing, eating and fireworks. Besides, Gandalf was probably too busy playing chess at the park with Charles Xavier.
I suppose it’s time to let the pictures do much of the talking, eh? So, let’s bring them in…
This DIY project was probably my favourite – printable signs that look like wooden arrows! After seeing a few wooden arrows on Etsy bearing names of beloved fictional places, I thought, why not design a printable version for those on smaller budgets or those who aren’t confident enough with their carpentry skills to pull it off? These printable ‘wooden’ arrows are so easy to cut and assemble and perfect as temporary/short-term decors… which is just the case with parties. Even hubby, who’s an amazing artist himself, was quite impressed with these arrow signs ‘coz “they looked much like real wood”, he said.
Moving on, we’ve got the buffet table:
I tried to imagine what sort of food containers they would use in the hobbits’ Shire – rustic baskets, wooden boards/bowls/plates, maybe some ceramic containers too. Then, to keep in with the rustic character, neutral and earth colours should be in abundance. I just had to add a leafy/flowery vine at the back, because we’ve seen how lovely the fields and the gardens are at The Shire in the LOTR films.
The menu for the evening composed of:
And finally, to keep the guests out of the nearby kitchen, this has to be:
If you are planning to hold a Middle Earth themed party, here are some other awesome ideas you might want to include:
When Carina turned 1, we just had to celebrate by throwing a small Sound of Music themed party because, who doesn’t love the Sound of Music?
Remember the scene where Fraulein Maria wondered what to do with the fact that the Von Trapp children didn’t have play clothes…until she saw the green damask drapes in her bedroom and recalled that they were going to get new drapes for her bedroom windows. What happened then to the old drapes that were still in good condition? They were magically and overnight turned by Maria into 7 play clothes for the kids!
And what do you think happened to the off cuts of the drapes? Well, I turned them into decors for the Sound of Music themed party, of course!
For the food, I wanted it to have a very Sound of Music feel, so I listed the foods that were mentioned in the film, plus made up some.
Do you remember the “Tea! A drink with jam and bread” line in Do-Re-Mi?
Of course, My Favourite Things told us of
“Cream-colored ponies and crisp apple strudels,
Doorbells and sleigh bells,
And schnitzel with noodles ,”
Then there were the other foods we made up.
And we just had to have berries because of that scene…
“Friedrich told you, Father. We were berry picking.”
“I forgot! You were berry picking.”
“Yes, we love berry picking.”
“We picked thousands.”
Get the Sound of Music themed printable party decors via these links:
Here are other ideas to help you plan your Sound of Music themed party:
PARTY VENUE IDEAS
PARTY FAVOUR IDEAS
A few days to go and the new SpongeBob Squarepants movie will be out in the cinemas! Hurray!
Speaking of SpongeBob (which is one of my nephews’ most favorite shows), I’d like to share one of my nephews’ birthday celebration last year. Because they were so into SpongeBob at that time, I suggested a SpongeBob themed celebration. Boy, we were so excited to try to create a Krabby Patty!
The white net (it’s really a net for protecting fruit trees from birds) added that under-the-sea/beach effect to the presentation.
In the weeks prior to the birthday, I did some research as to the names of foods that were served at one time or another in Krusty Krabb – the ever famous restaurant where SpongeBob works. Then I had to get my imagination to work and come up as to what can play as what kind of food. Here’s what I had come up with so far….
And finally….Krabby Patties!!! (with fresh greens from the backyard garden)
…and some more!
I had stuck a piece of paper on the door at the last minute. Here’s that piece of paper, as captured by my phone’s camera:
Well, yup, the little kiddos loved the theme and the celebration. Wish I could recreate this in celebration of the new SpongeBob movie. 🙂