Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Mint Chocolate Frog Ice Cream and a Harry Potter Birthday Party


Note: This post contains affiliate links.

Cyrus turned 11 last week, and requested a Harry Potter birthday.

This is the second time I've had a Harry Potter birthday for him, and I've had one for Ezrom as well. With 7 children, I doubt it will be the last time we have a Harry Potter birthday party; in fact, Liberty has already requested a Harry Potter birthday for her birthday in September. With that in mind, I decided to invest a bit of time, as well as money, for items that we can reuse every time a child requests a Harry Potter birthday (as a bonus, a few of these items will be useful to make gifts the next time one of my children is invited to a Harry Potter birthday party for a friend!)



Using fabric scraps that I already had, I sewed a bunting in the colors of the Hogwarts houses. I had every color but yellow in my fabric scraps. I used a bit of yellow fabric dye that I had leftover from another project to dye some cotton muslin. I sewed the whole thing onto black grosgrain ribbon that I purchased by the spool at Michael's.



I swapped out our family pictures for some Hogwarts travel art. I purchased these on a half-price sale on Etsy from here, using money I earned from taking surveys. I had them printed at Sam's Club for $2.87 each (they are 11" by 14" each). I can use these again for future parties, and since the art is a download, I can print more as gifts for friends in the future, should I desire.



Since Cyrus turned 11, Winter made a Hogwarts acceptance letter for Cyrus (using a free font from here), which she put in the window with the snowy owl that I bought for him years ago. I sealed the letter with sealing wax I've had since I was a teenager, and this Hogwarts School Badge Wax Seal Stamp (which was $16 when I purchased it).



She included a Hogwarts train ticket that we found here.


Ezrom folded purple paper airplanes from construction paper and hung them above Cyrus' bed for some Ministry of Magic inter-office mail first thing in the morning.

Ezrom also made a howler that he hung from the ceiling with fishing wire over Cyrus' place at the table, but unfortunately I didn't get a photo of it. He did a fantastic job.




I used the seal on some white fondant, that I used to top several small cheesecakes and one medium cheesecake for him. My original plan was to put these on cupcakes, but he wanted cheesecake, so I made some adjustments. I brushed the white fondant with edible gold dust powder. I would love to do this for a future party with a darker color fondant, but I purchased the white as it was the least expensive. I have plenty left over to use for another birthday or some other treats. I purchased the fondant and edible gold powder from Michael's with coupons.

For the homemade cheesecake, I made graham crackers for the crust.




I also used Amazon credit to purchase this chocolate frog candy mold. I already had this larger chocolate frog mold that I had purchased years ago to make chocolate frogs for Cyrus' last Harry Potter birthday. I made him a large frog as a birthday gift, but I needed the smaller frogs to make some mint chocolate frog ice cream. I also used them to surround his cake.



The ice cream was made with mint from the garden. The chocolate was purchased a couple of years ago on after-Christmas clearance at Sam's Club, but you can also find it on Amazon, here.



You can find the ice cream recipe on my website in the desserts section.



His gifts included a Harry Potter Wand Pen that I purchased with Amazon credit, and a water color set. I also gave him a set of Harry Potter Uno cards that I found at a garage sale for $1 earlier this year! Winter gave him the last Harry Potter book, which she found hardcover at the thrift store for $3 (wrapped with a Flourish and Blotts label that I made). He now has his own set of the books, all of which were purchased used over a couple of years. Wren gave him some candy, which we wrapped with brown paper and a Honeydukes candy shop label that I made. Winter made the Ollivander's paper, cutting some brown paper the right size to send through the printer. We used the Hogwarts seal on some of the gifts.

I printed some Hogwarts bookplates for him, and made him a large chocolate frog. I printed out the Harry Potter prequel for him (the one that J. K. Rowling wrote on a napkin). He didn't know about that, so that was a fun surprise.



For fun, the children played a couple of Harry Potter games that I also purchased at a garage sale earlier this year for $1 each (they are each worth over $100 on Amazon right now, as they are no longer being made!)

I had several other ideas in mind that we didn't get to do, but that's okay--I've got another Harry Potter birthday to throw in September, and it will be fun to have some new things then!





If you're looking for more Harry Potter gift ideas, check out some of the other Harry Potter themed gifts I've given him in the past:

Harry Potter pillow

London and Medieval Bookmarks

I've also made a Harry Potter Party board over on Pinterest with links to several ideas Winter and I found while planning his party. Some are ones I used and some I'll be using in the future.

39 comments:

  1. I always love seeing the parties you throw for your kids. I don't know much about Harry Potter, but I just adore all the sweet details you put into your son's party. Such a great idea to repurpose the wax seal for the fondant. It looks like everyone had a great time! Your kids are so blessed to have a mom that enjoys going all out on their birthday. You're giving them such great birthday memories. When they're older and realize all the effort and love you put into making these days extra special they'll feel loved all over again. You did a lovely job!

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    1. Oh, Analisa, from my point of view as parent, librarian and avid reader I would recommend you try the series. The writing is imaginative and intelligent. It is definitely true that it brought many youth to reading and back to reading. We do not carry them in our church/school library but we do not ban the reading of it. My children all have collected their own sets over the years; we even have a couple in German.

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  2. What an amazingly fun birthday party! My son would have loved it when he was younger.

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  3. Ditto everything Analisa said! I love how much thought you put into every event. One idea for you - a friend of mine threw her daughter a Harry Potter party. She knitted or crocheted a scarf with the house colors as a gift. I thought that was a great idea and the girl loved it.

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  4. This is absolutely (pardon the pun) magical. I'm 27 and *I* would be delighted to have such a great Harry Potter party with so many fabulous details.

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  5. I think you've outdone yourself this time!

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  6. this is such a lovely party! How wonderful special! I love all the care of everything wrapped in brown paper!

    My daughter would love this for her birthday! (She will be 19 in January :) ) Harry Potter never gets old!
    She has actually started collecting a second set of the books in hardcover. We look for them whenever we are out at garage sales and thrift stores.

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  7. Wow, what an amazing birthday party! His smile says it all :)

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  8. Does every child get a birthday party every year? My mother gave us a birthday party every other year when I was growing up because it was just too much to be always planning a party. Loved reading about the details of this party.

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    1. We have parties with just family (siblings and grandparents) so I'm not spending a bunch of money on things for friends to do, eat, or take home. We eat on real plates, so I don't buy partyware. Having a party at home is not real costly; I usually spend much less than this. This time, however, I can reuse several things for future parties, so I decided to do more.

      So, yes, there is a party every year. It's dessert with the grandparents and opening presents. (This time we had a game to play, but that's not usually the case). I decorate for the birthday (the night before) and the child picks his favorite meals for the day. The more resusable banners that I have, the easier it gets; I just pull one out and pin it up. Now I have three! If I have flowers in the garden those usually go on the table too. I make a dessert of the child's choice.

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  9. Such impressive attention to deal, and everything is beautiful as always. And that ice cream looks so delicious!

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  10. What a great party! I in awe of all your details and the cheesecakes look amazing! Your children are lucky to have such a talented, resourceful mother. I hope Cyrus had a wonderful day!

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  11. my sister and I both would have loved this party! .. great find on the game! .. I love how frugal and yet extravagant everything is!! .. cheesecake would have been my pick too :). I'm off to check out the ice cream recipe!!

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  12. Judging by the look on Cyrus's face, I think he had a spectacular birthday! You amaze me with all you do to make birthdays really special for your children.

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  13. It is all so Beautiful!
    Thank you for making me feel young again (vicariously)!

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  14. How lovely! I'm going to borrow your idea for the gift wrap for my granddaughter. I know she'll love it. Thank you!

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  15. I am blown away. What a very nice birthday party for a BOY. I have seen many nice birthday parties for girls and little boys, but this party would have been great for a child older than 11. So nice that each child has a special day every year on their birthday. My birthday is Christmas Eve. Until I was 30 and married to my husband I never ever had a birthday party. More times than not I got 1 gift and was told "this is your Christmas gift and your birthday" etc. My oldest son's birthday is Dec. 18. I always made sure he had a birthday party and NO CHRISTMAS paper on his birthday gifts.
    You amaze me with the ideas you come up with for the children's birthday. So happy to see these ideas. Wish I had more ideas years ago when my sons were little. I will use a couple of these ideas for my grandsons. Gavin and Evan are invited to many birthday parties. I am sure that I will need a Harry Potter birthday gift soon.
    Oh, one more thing, that Harry Potter pillow is amazing. I know it is a one of a kind gift and will be a treasure for years to come.
    I have an ice cream maker too. We make ice cream several times a week. I will have to try your mint ice cream. My husband will love it.

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    1. My little boy's birthday is on Christmas Eve and so far not one person has ever given him a present saying "this is for your birthday and Christmas" - and if they did, I would definitely take them to task! When he's older, if he wants something very expensive and is okay with the idea, then we'll consider it (just as my parents used to do with me and my siblings, none of whom have December birthdays) but until then, his birthday and Christmas are two totally different things. My rule is that we don't do any Christmas prep on his birthday because it's his birthday. I try not to even acknowledge Christmas until after bedtime, when we read the Nativity story and put out a piece of birthday cake for Santa (he does get tired of all those cookies after all). When we have a huge party with friends I schedule it a few weeks early (very few people are available on Christmas Eve). When he was born everyone said how horrible it'd be; but you know, he was born at exactly the right time - there was some family politics crap that had pretty much ruined Christmas for me; but holding this wee little newborn babe in my arms on Christmas Eve really put things in perspective for me. Plus he's given me a "get out of family Christmas crap for life" card which I do not hesitate to play. ("Oh, we'd love to spend Christmas with you, but we can't because then we'd have to travel on his birthday, sorry.") As far as I'm concerned this kid is getting anything he wants for his birthday, for always, because he healed my heart and gave me the perfect built-in excuse!

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    2. "after bedtime" should be "at bedtime" - We read the Nativity story as a family and then put out cake for Santa and then go up to bed. But I try to make that my only mention of Christmas; I want him to feel that his birthday is unique and special.

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    3. You are doing everything right for your son. I always felt 'special' in my heart that my birthday was Christmas Eve. I just did not come from a religious family, or a family who even acknowledged WHY we had Christmas. As a child I went to church very little. I went in the summer when I would visit my grandmother. That was it till I was an adult. There were 5 of us and I am the oldest.
      For my son, I wanted him to know HIS birthday was special. He was a week before Christmas but it was close enough that his gifts were sometimes wrapped in Christmas paper and no one came to his parties. It was not as bad as my experience, but it was far from great.
      One thing I do have that makes me feel a little special, I was given a Smokey the Bear teddy bear by my father for Christmas the day after I was born. I am 62 now and I still have that bear. I think it was the only Christmas gift I got that was not a birthday gift too. (Now, my one grandmother did give me birthday gifts, usually still in the bag from the store, but on my birthday so I could wear it Christmas morning. She always gave me a new dress. She was my special angel. She and my grandfather kept me sane in a family that was 'warped' to say the least. They sent me to college, they took me on wonderful trips, and they were my salvation when I was a kid.
      I am very glad your son has YOU for a mother and that his birthday will always be his day.

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    4. I think I'm lucky to have him as my son, and my daughter as my daughter - Hopefully they're glad I'm their mom; but I really lucked out with these great kids! I'm sorry your birthdays were so uneventful growing up. Kids deserve to have a fuss made over them every now and then; I'm sorry you missed out on that. That Christmas I spent in hospital with my son was the best I've ever had. I'm sure your parents felt the same way too.

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  16. Dear Miss Brandy and your lovely children,

    What a wonderful post and what a thoughtful gift, the party, is to your son as well as the other thoughtful gifts. Your children are so kind to each other and so considerate of the birthday boy (or girl). They are a credit to the love and spiritual guidance you and your husband have provided.

    Happy Birthday to Cyrus. I am sure he will grown into a wonderful teenager and young man.

    Best wishes to all your family,

    Anna

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  17. I loved everything about it! I am glad you shared. Thanks for posting the ice cream recipe.

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  18. What great ideas! You are so clever - what a gift. I have a question on your last post, if you don't mind. Beautiful embroidery! Did you make your handkerchief that you embroidered on?

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    1. Yes I did. It's just a simple square of cotton shirting fabric.

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  19. Just lovely, oh how the world needs more mothers like you. Your blog is such a blessing.

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  20. I love your birthday posts! This is magical. I hope you share the printables you made for the various Diagon Alley shops.

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  21. What a wonderful party, and some wonderful bargains!

    I read the Harry Potter series and loved it, and saw the first two movies. I confess I loved the first book or two the most, as they had more of the wonderful stuff about the differences between wizzards and muggles, and less of the scary stuff. I loved the portrayal of the wizard world in the first book.

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  22. How fun, and very sweet that his siblings got involved. Looks like a lovely party!

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  23. Both of my young girls read this blog and loved it! They couldn't believe all the small details you added to make it wonderful. It takes time and love to put this together. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  24. Is most or all of this special cooking and decorating done as a surprise for the child? I'm wondering how you manage that, given the demands of a large family, and the children being there all day? Are you able to keep everything secret from the birthday child, and if so, how? With the other children helping with some of the things, it just seems to me it must be difficult to work around the about-to-be-honored birthday boy. I have a bedroom door with a lock on it, but you are dealing with much younger children who have to be watched more closely, and I doubt you can slip away for long.

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    1. They sometimes see things, but I am able to do a number of surprises. I made the banner during naptimes and after bedtime in my sewing room. Some of the parts of the cake were made when he was working in another room. All of the present wrapping was a surprise. The children who helped did a lot of it in my room with the door closed. They are old enough (9 and 12) to work on things without my supervision.

      The birthday cake was a request and he knew about that (he picked cheesecake). Often the birthday child wants to help make his/her cake, so that happens sometimes, too.

      The ice cream was made while the children were watching a movie :)

      I changed out the pictures the night before while the birthday boy was sleeping and I hung the banner then, too.

      If they see some of it, it's not a huge deal, but if I manage to pull off a few surprises, that's fun, too.

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  25. Oh how wonderful! What a party! Too bad I'm too far away and too old!!! What a great job you did! Fantastic!
    All my best and thank you so much for your nice visit! Wonderful to have you around!
    Elisabeth

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  26. You created a wonderful birthday party for him. You were so detailed with everything. I am sure he loved it all. I l know I just loved reading about it.

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  27. Brandy, how do you deal with (for lack of a better word) equality amongst your children? Do you try to spend the same amount of money on them, or to give them the same number of presents, or do you figure it'll all work itself out in the end? I'm a wee bit OCD when it comes to this - you should see my spreadsheets, and that's not a joke, I do actually have spreadsheets tracking gifts to the penny. I think I might need to lighten up here, but I'm not quite sure how to start. I'd welcome your tips!

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  28. This party was so magical! I would love a party like this and I am a grown up....but never too grown up for Harry Potter!!! I loved the Harry Potter travel art! I looked on etsy and found a set for my daughter for her October birthday...so excited!! Thank you for sharing all the magical ideas. What a wonderful Mom...your son and his brothers and sisters will always remember this special day!! xoxoxo

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  29. I'm so impressed with all the thought and detail you and your family did for you son! It looks like the makings for a great birthday =)

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  30. Beautiful decorations, food, ideas. I can always count on getting super inspired when I visit your blog.

    I'm loving the cheesecakes! I didn't see a recipe for this cheesecake on your site, Would you mind sharing the recipe? I love how the cheese part of the little cheesekcakes puffs up. And is the chocolate on top frosting or a chocolate sauce?

    What beautiful presentation for everything!

    Also loving the banner. It seems much more special than decorating with bought streamers than then have to be thrown away. I love anything that can be reused, with a purpose, and not just extra fluff that you save that never gets used.

    Thanks again for the inspiration! Whenever I feel extra tight on money, I know I can visit your blog and leave with fun and delicious ideas to use what I have on hand.

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