Monday, January 18, 2010

Winter Olympics Party

The Winter Olympic Games are coming to Vancouver in February 2010, and everyone is gearing up for the fun. Instead of just sitting in front of the television and passively watching, why not make it a fun family and friends event? Here are some ideas for party foods, games and decorations to make your Winter Olympic Games party a gold medal winner.

Making invitations can be a fun craft for kids, and helps to build the anticipation. A simple invitation can be made from gold or silver paper (craft or scrapbook supplies). Use a large glass to trace a circle and cut out the 'medal'. On the back, write the date, time and party info and your 'Olympic Village' location. You can staple ribbons onto the medals so guests can wear them around their necks. You can also cut out rings or draw 5 colored rings to look like Olympic rings.

Themes: Guests can come dressed representing an Olympic Winter Games event or a participating country. An alternative is to put country names in a hat and have everyone draw a name as they come in.

If you have lots of winter sports equipment, spread around some skis, hang some skates and hockey jerseys, etc. You can also make your own decorations (kids love this) by making flags for each country. This fun yet educational art project can be done inexpensively, with large sheets of papers, and markers or poster paint. Finished flags can be displayed on the walls, or participants can put their flags on a stick and march in a 'parade of nations' to Olympic music. If someone is good at face painting, you can also paint small flags on guests' cheeks, or pictures of skis, skates, medals, etc. Guests can also make event passbooks, and record each event with the winner's name, country and time.

Food: Since the Olympics are multi-national, you can have foods from the different countries: German pretzels, Swedish meatballs, French pastries; Swiss fondue; New Zealand kiwis; Italian pizzas, etc. An international cheese tray is also fun, especially if you cut everything in cubes and get the decorative toothpicks with international flags to put on the respective cheeses, sausages,olives, etc.. For dessert, you can make cupcakes and ice them in the Olympic ring colors, and lay them out like Olympic rings on the tray.

Games: You can organize an Olympic outdoor party - involving skating, sledding or races in the snow. Make a fun obstacle course, an endurance challenge or silly Olympics. Have extra (craft) medals and podium presentations for the winners. (To be sure everyone has a good time, try to ensure that everyone goes home with at least one medal - even if it is a team sport or an honorary medal).

Other fun indoor games are Olympic trivia or charades. You can also have a 'fun bet' sheet were participants make their guesses for medal counts for each country, or pre-event questions like: who will have best outfits; who will finish last; who will fall, etc.

The Winter Olympics only come around every four years. Use it as a great excuse to get into the spirit and spend some quality time with family and friends.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Twilight Party - New Moon Birthday Party

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer has become a huge phenomenon with teens, tweens and their moms. With New Moon soon to be released, the trend shows no sign of slowing. Twilight or New Moon themed birthday parties are all the rage, and easy to do with some planning and imagination.

You can make your own Twilight party invitations by printing pictures off the net. You can make the invitation in a style written by Bella, Edward or Jacob.
You will need food that invokes the feel of Forks, WA, vampires and werewolves.

Music can be from the soundtrack or any preprepared cd or ipod track. Clear a space for dancing - a fog machine would work great. Replace the lights in the room with black lights - everyones teeth will look much brighter. Guests can also learn some cool hip hop -vampire style dance moves.

Make posters and decorations invoking your favourite characters and locations from the books: La Forks, WA; Forks High School; La Push; Esme Island, etc. Guests can also be divided into teams - vampires and werewolves or Team Edward vs. Team Jacob. If it is an outdoor party, you can have a baseball game. For an indoor party, you can play Twilight Trivia - just click here for free Twilight Trivia question cards. The same link will bring you to a page full of other cool ideas to bring the Twilight -New Moon series to life, including having guests act out their favourite scenes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Fun Website For Girls - Sleepover Party Ideas

Always looking for a fun website for girls (and boys) with ideas for parties, games and food for kids? There is a new, safe site that is geared for kids 7-17, full of great ideas. If you have teens or tweens, you will want to visit Fit For A Feast. It is video based, so you can watch videos with dance lessons, cooking ideas, talented kids, games, etc. There are also tons of party ideas. Check out some of their sleepover party ideas for girls.

Sleepovers are more fun if you plan them out. Sleepovers are best if they start just before dinner and end just after breakfast the next day. Make sure you check for food allergies before you get all the stuff! Just invite friends you know will get along and not more than you have room for - 8 is usually max anyways. Don't forget to tell the girls to bring their pillows, sleeping bags, pyjamas, clothes for the next day and wash-up stuff. Let everyone know if there is a theme, so they come prepared.

To avoid sleep-next-to fights, have everyone sleep in a circle with their heads towards the middle. Just make sure their heads are not too close so they do not bang them together! Make sure they know all the house rules too. Explain that you will not tolerate any ganging up, crank or non-emergency calls, no leaving without telling them, no fights, etc.
Set a time for lights out so everyone knows it ahead of time. Usually, it takes a half hour or longer for the chatting to stop afterwards, but hey - that's half the fun! Make sure everyone knows where the bathroom is (leave a night light on - if possible) and it's not a bad idea for them to bring their water canteens or water bottles with them when they go to bed - just in case they get thirsty in the night. You might want to set out the rules for first up. Should that girl wake everyone? Wait quietly? Go into the living room? Kids will feel more comfortable if they know what to do and what to expect.

A fun last game before lights out is guessing who is in the sleeping bag. Either send someone out of the room (like the birthday girl) or play this on the last person to go wash up. Everyone picks a sleeping bag and climbs in so they can't be seen. The person coming back in has to guess which guest is in which bag by asking questions. They are NOT allowed to ask names! Players are allowed to disguise their voices. Once she guesses correctly, that person can come out of their bag. The game continues till the last person is left.

More party ideas, including party game ideas like Truth or Dare with printable cards are available on the Fit For A Feast website. There is a section for parents in addition to the hundreds and hundreds of pages for kids. Check it out!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fun Halloween Website for Kids

Halloween is just around the corner and the kids are already excited. You are probably looking for ideas for food, crafts, parties, etc. A fun Halloween website for kids is on Fit For A

You will find craft and Halloween baking ideas, great tips for trick or treat bags, food and party ideas.

If your kids are interested in trying a Thrilller style Halloween hip hop dance, then check out the dance lessons in their dance section. There are a few cool moves they can learn to dance to Disturbia, Michael Jackson, the movie Fame, etc. The site is video based and is hosted by two tween girls. It is a safe site that kids love because it features dance, fitness, games, cooking, grooming, going green, comedy, gymnastics, cheerleading, martial arts, current topics, parties, crafts, etc. It is also a safe site with screened content, so you can feel comfortable letting your kids on there.

Parents are not left out. There is a parent section with articles and advice on nutrition, fitness, parenting tips and taking time for you. I am not surprised if you haven't heard of it - it only came out in August - but there seems to be somewhere between 800-1000 pages of fun stuff. Check it out - I can't get my kids off of it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

How to Make Salted, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

October is here and pumpkins are all around us. As you prepare to do your carvings or make your pies, you are probably searching out ideas and recipes. Pumpkin seeds are really delicious and nutrious - and they make a great (safe) snack for school.

Since pumpkin seeds are full of minerals and vitamins, I indulge myself all year round. They are easy to make and you add all kinds of toppings or combinations: sea salt, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, honey, red pepper flakes, etc. Click on the video link to watch a quick 3 minute video on preparing the seeds and making a salted, roasted version.

It is a little disappointing how few seeds you get from one pumpkin and how fast they get eaten. You can buy pumpkin seeds online - raw, roasted, seasoned, etc. That way, all year round, you can indulge in a yummy snack that helps lower cholesterol, fight cancer and boosts brain function. I will be posting pumpkin carving ideas soon.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Best Pumpkin Seed Recipes

Pumpkin Seeds Organic Dry Roasted & Salted - 15 Lb Organic Pumpkin Seed Dr/S: GR Pumpkin seeds are so delicious and so good for you, don't just eat them in the fall. They make great snacks for kids or parties since they rarely trigger allergies and are packed full of vitamins and minerals. The best pumpkin seed recipes are the easy ones - think of popcorn and some great toppings will aready come to mind.

Add popcorn seasonings, like Barbeque or dill pickle, to your seeds before you roast them. You can also try savoury toppings, like garlic powder, onion salt, Italian seasonings, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce or herb blends. Like spicy? Add on black, red or cayenne pepper, chillie powder, hot sauce or cajun seasonings. Prefer sweet? Add on some honey, cinnamon sugar, maple sugar, raw or brown sugar.

The best recipe is your own with your favourite combination of flavours: Try soy sauce, garlic powder, ginger and sea salt. Another good combination is cheese topping or parmesean cheese, garlic powder, sea salt and itaian seasonings. Throw on some crushed red pepper if you prefer spicy.

To roast the pumpkin seeds, spread them out in 1 layer on a baking pan. If you are adding a dry spice mix, then toss the seeds with a couple of teaspoons of canola or olive oil so the spices will stick. This is not necessary if you are using a sauce or liquid in your seasoning mix (like maple syrup or soy sauce). Bake at 200 (low heat to preserve the essential oils) for about 45 minutes, or until golden and crisp. Toss seeds every 15 minutes.

Put seeds in a bowl and watch them disappear! You can keep pumpkin seeds in an air tight container in the fridge for up to a month. To buy pumpkin seeds online, click the link & enjoy them all year round!

Party Foods for Halloween

If you are having a halloween party, you will want some fun party foods. You can go with a theme like orange and black foods or creepy food displays, or just decorate the table around the food.

Black and Orange theme: If you are going with this theme, keep it going for everything in the party room: decorations, streamers, table cloths, cups, balloons, etc. Serving bowls for orange foods should be black (or white), while serving bowls for black foods should be orange. Mix and max them on the table, intersperced with some mini pumpkins, black plastic spiders and bats. Plastic pumpkins or hollowed out real pumpkins (lined with plastic bags) can be used as serving bowls.

Orange food suggestions: Cubes of cheddar cheese; Cheetos; oranges - cut into wedges; any mayonnaise or cream cheese dip colored with orange food coloring; orange crackers or goldfish; deviled eggs with a little orange food coloring in the yolk mixture; wraps made with orange flatbreads, pumpkin cupcakes, etc.

Black foods: Chocolate fondue fountain; chocolate cookies/brownies/cupcakes; cream cheese dips made with black food coloring; pumpernickle bread (good hollowed out with spinach dip); blackended chicken or fish; etc.

Spooky foods: Mountain Dew will glow in the dark if you have black lights. You can also freeze it in ice cube trays and use to put in other drinks. You can get plastic hands (from party stores) to come out of punch bowls or serving trays. Use little halloween spider picks or other creepy toothpicks to put in cheese cubes or appetizers. Decorate cupcakes with crumbled chocolate cookie crumbs (dirt) and gummy worms. Make a batch of cooked shrimp with a red shrimp glaze, put those on a stick and call them 'pierced ears". Roll asparagus up in ham and call it 'alien fingers'. Tapioca pudding always looks strange - through in a couple of plastic eye balls and call it 'quicksand'.

Sometimes it is not the food as much as the label you give it. Have fun thinking up your own!