Cookie Catch Up Post (Texture and Guilt!)

I’m not even talking blog guilt. I had a patient yesterday ask me if I still had my blog and I had to think about it for a minute. What blog? I’m just kidding. I love my hobby and I love sharing pictures with you. I hate that over the past year, I have been doing 99 percent of my cookie decorating at night so any pictures I could take would be completely useless. Most times, I am finishing cookies at night and running them out the door first thing in the morning so all I can usually manage is a quick picture on my phone. But things are going to change come next September. And this brings me to my guilt.

Since having Ben, four and a half years ago, I have only worked two days a week. Thirteen hours to be exact. He goes to preschool three days, which means he is home with me the rest of the week. Next year everything is going to change. Bryan will be finishing school next month and (hopefully) working full time soon after that (angels singing!)!! But this means that he will no longer be able to be home on the two days I work. This means if Ben were to go to kindergarden half day next year, no one would be home to get him on the bus. So, even though I’m only working thirteen hours a week, we are probably going to pay to send him to full day kindergarden. This makes me really sad. So this year I have over compensated a bit.

Wait, let me share a cookie picture so you don’t get bored and leave me….Halloween Cookies 2014 (Ellie;s Bites)

Yes. I am aware it’s a Halloween picture. Yes, I am aware it’s the third week of November.

Anyway…. Overcompensating. My kids, between the two of them, have an activity every single day of the week. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. When one activity ends for the season, another one starts. I’m having a blast spending so much quality time with them driving back and forth from activity to activity. And believe me, my kids like to be active. They don’t complain at all and they are tireless. It’s not affecting school work at all, if anything, it’s helped Ellie adjust to the demands of third grade by forcing her to manage her time.

Wait, another picture? OK…. Wedding Couple Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

But I am definitely sacrificing the “me” time. Fortunately I enjoy making cookies. That won’t stop anytime soon, I hope. And I’m trying to let go of some of this guilt that I feel, knowing I’ll have three days next year that I am home while the kids are at school. For one thing, I’ll have all of those daylight hours to work and even take some step by step photos.

Oh, another picture? Sure. Wedding Dress Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

I plan on spending the next few months brainstorming ideas to help Ellie’s Bites grow. In order to do that, I’d love to hear your ideas. Is there anything you’d like to see? I know there are a lot of cookie blogs out there now. This is a wonderful community and nothing can replace the friends I have made through this shared hobby. I definitely have no intention of stopping cookies. But would you like to see other things? Other recipes? Not just desserts but anything goes? How about crafts? Maybe some posts that are just ramblings about the really funny things my kids do? Would you stop visiting my site if you showed up to see a cookie, and instead found a post about how my son now goes through approximately three rolls of duct tape a week just building things? (He’s seriously like the MacGyver of four year olds with duct tape.) I appreciate any and all feed back. I want to make this a fun place to share and learn and maybe even just laugh. (In the interest of full disclosure, I do not make any money off of this blog. I am on a wordpress hosted site and do not make money from advertisements or endorsements. If I could devote more time and energy to this space, I would like to potentially own my own site and make a little extra money. Not from you, I would never ever charge you. But from allowing advertisements. Anyway…. that’s just a thought in the future.)

And I’ll leave you with one last picture. Blue and Orange Cookies (Ellie's Bites)

I have a lot of cookies I haven’t shared yet sitting on my computer. I thought I would break them down into several posts. Today’s post was obviously about my newest obsession. Using stencils and royal icing to create texture on cookies. I just purchased some fondant molds recently and I can’t wait for the opportunity to start playing around with those!

Look for more soon, (hopefully lol). And thank you for putting up with my rambling!

A Cookie Platter That Is All About Children

A few months ago, I was approached by a teacher at Ben’s daycare. She asked if I’d be willing to make a platter of cookies to donate to the basket raffle the daycare was running to benefit Alex’s Lemonade Stand. Of course, I said yes. I planned to make some lemons and other citrusy themed cookies.

As the time approached to actually make the cookies, I started rethinking the theme. The proceeds were to go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand: a charity started by a child to benefit children. The children of the daycare center would be spending the day raising money by assisting with the lemonade stand and selling basket raffle tickets. A new school year was starting.

I’ve never had the chance to make back-to-school cookies in the past, so I decided to make this platter back-to-school themed with a twist. I wanted to make the cookie all about celebrating children.

Back To School Platter 2014 I searched the web for quotes that celebrate children.  (Especially Bill Watterson- I could spend all day reading Calvin and Hobbes and not find a single comic that doesn’t remind me of my kids! Maybe I should have made an entire Calvin and Hobbes platter!) While decorating, I decided I wanted to make the cookies look childish, like a child sketched them, by roughly outlining the cookies with a black food color marker. I’m really happy with the way this set turned out.

Here’s a close up of the quote cookies:Back To School quotes cookies (Ellie's Bites)(The pictures aren’t all that great, sorry!)

I’m thrilled that I could be a part of this special fundraiser and so happy to have people who actually bid on my cookies!

 

I’m linking this post up to Party In Your Pjs at Simply Sweets By Honeybee and The Cookie Puzzle.

Harry Potter Birthday Party

At last! The day I have been planning for almost eight years has finally come! I finally got to throw a Harry Potter party!

The first thing I did was promise my husband I wouldn’t go overboard. The second thing I did was immediately go overboard. Come on, I mean it will be at least a few years before I get to throw another one, right? I’ve only just started reading the series to Ben.

We decided to have this party a few weeks early because Ellie’s cousins were visiting from Indiana and it’s been a while since they have been able to attend each other’s parties. Since it was still during the school year, I told her to go ahead and invite her class. Having a summer birthday, we usually only invite a few Girl Scout friends and some friends from camp. After narrowing down the list as much as possible, we wound up with a guest list of 36. ACK! So you can imagine I was thrilled that only 25 were able to come. 25 eight year olds in my house? Crazy you say?

Well, first let me tell you how the party went.

Invitations were sent out (via owl post, of course…. meaning I stamped the envelope with a rubber stamp image of an owl) informing students that they were invited, in honor of Ellie’s birthday, to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry for one day only. They were to arrive at Platform 9 3/4 (aka… my house) at 10:30am.

From 10:30-10:45 students received their wands.

how to harry potter wand (add gems)(Stay tuned for a tutorial!) (Update- Here’s the tutorial!)

Since we all know that a wand chooses the wizard, and not the other way around, I had the students sit in a circle on the floor. I held up a wand and my very generous and helpful cousin spun a bowling pin in the middle of the circle. When it stopped, the student it was pointing at took the wand I was holding.

From 10:45 until about 10:50, the students were sorted into their houses. I purchased plastic rings with the house crests and a sorting hat from Amazon. I placed all of the rings into the sorting hat and each student picked one out of the hat. (We had a small “pest” outbreak earlier in the school year, so I chose NOT to have each student place the same hat on their heads… just in case.)

Now that each student had a wand and a house, they gathered around the dessert table where Ellie led them in a round of the Hogwarts school song. Before the song, Ellie announced that Mr. Filch wanted the students to know that anyone caught waving their wand in another student’s face would have their wand removed until the end of the party. Sadly, Ben was the only one to have his wand removed. Harry Potter Party Dessert Table (Ellie's Bites)After the song, they proceeded to the dungeon  basement for potions and transfiguration classes.

I found this amazing site called madscience.org and they had a party package for “young wizards”. I called them, they were available, and I told them to take my money.

It was the best thing ever!

mad science show (ellie's bites)That right there, ladies and gentlemen, is 25 kids in my basement. Completely enthralled and hanging on their professor’s every word. (I almost wanted to call their muggle teacher and tell her how proud she should be!)

Mad Science Dry Ice (Ellie's Bites)There was ice!

Mad Science (Ellie's Bites)There was fire!

And during the demonstration where he showed the kids how to make fireworks different colors and then had to explain that he couldn’t make ACTUAL fireworks without setting my basement on fire, he politely resisted the chants of “do it! do it!”.

After classes, the students were dismissed to the dining room for pizza and cake.Harry Potter Party Cake (Ellie's Bites)And cookies. Harry Potter Party Cookies (Ellie's Bites)The next planned activity was balloon Quidditch, but at this point I lost them. So I dismissed the students back to the dungeon to play with the birthday girl’s (and her brother’s) toys until their parents came to escort them back to the Hogwarts express. A few kids stayed to play Quidditch, but the snitch was quickly found and everyone was happy.

Along with the wands and rings, students took home an assortment of favors from Hogsmeade Village. Harry Potter party favor bags (Ellie's Bites)They took home Chocolate Frogs (filled with Oreo truffle) and Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans from Honeydukes. Honeydukes (Ellie's Bites)And an owl from Eeylops. (I KNOW, I KNOW Eeylops is in Diagon Alley, not Hogsmeade!)Hedwig Cookie Favors (Ellie's Bites)

 

 

Hedwig Cookie Favors Wrapped (Ellie's Bites)

Throughout the party, I asked the kids to make funny faces while I snapped pictures. I used the pictures to make thank you notes for Ellie.Ben

I will have a tutorial for the wands soon. If you are interested in the boxes I used for the chocolate frogs and Bertie Botts Beans, I found templates through a Google search. I’m sorry I can’t share them, I’m sure I’m not supposed to. But with a little search, I know you’ll find what you’re looking for.

I hope the kids had as much fun as I did! And I hope you had fun reading about the party!

This post is linked up at:

Inspiration Challenge {Paris}

Inspiration Challenge {Paris} (Ellie's Bites)

Imagine all of the beautiful sights, flowers, landmarks, artists, or landscapes I could have drawn inspiration from for this challenge. And I go and get inspired by… a rat. Can you honestly blame me? Seriously, we’ve got the landmark, we’ve … Continue reading

Inspiration Challenge {Down The Rabbit Hole}

Inspiration Challenge {Down The Rabbit Hole} (Ellie's Bites)

It’s always a good idea to have friends whose minds work a little differently than yours. It helps you to stretch your imagination. I came up with this month’s theme: down the rabbit hole. But it was Melissa’s (Simply Sweets … Continue reading

Yet Another Cookie Catchup Post Sports Birthday Edition

Basketballs (Ellie's Bites)

In honor of Ben’s All Sports Theme Fourth Birthday Party Extravaganza this weekend, I felt that all of the lonely, already edited, sports related pictures sitting on my computer deserved a post of their own. I have been waiting MY. … Continue reading

Yet Another Cookie Catchup Post

Yellow and Grey Baby Shower (Ellie's Bites)

Words can’t even express how embarrassed I am at the amount of pictures sitting (edited already mind you!) on my computer doing nothing. It’s too eerily similar to the action in my 401K from my last full time job, but … Continue reading

Baby Bottles Make Great Rolling Pins

Baby Bottle Rolling Pins (Ellie's Bites)

If you ask anyone who decorates cookies to name the cookie decorator who has influenced them and taught them more than any other cookie decorator on the web, I’d guess at least 97% would answer “Sugarbelle!” Callye is synonymous with … Continue reading

Valentine, You Make My Heart Go Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Another year, another Valentines day! This year, the kids don’t actually have school on the 14th so Ellie’s class was planning to exchange Valentines on Thursday the 13th, instead. Of course, like all of our best plans this year, the sky is planning to dump anywhere from 3 inches to 3 feet of snow on us tomorrow. And that’s why I was up until 1AM last night finishing and wrapping Valentines cookies!

I’m not sure if I have mentioned here that Ellie, age 7 1/2, has been working her way through the Harry Potter series. She’s just about half way through book seven already. Can you believe it? I’m not sure I’m ready for her to finish. Well, anyway, she insisted on Harry Potter Valentines and I was really excited to show her these printables created by Darla at Bakingdom. Then we were even more excited when we got a note from her teacher telling us that since she is planning on sending Valentines home with the kids she was OK with us including sweets. Yay! (This is unusual at our school.) So, I made her these:

Harry Potter Valentines

 

I wish I had had time to finish these today instead of last night so I could have made a tutorial. They were super simple.

  1. Bake and cool heart shape cookies and mini tie shaped cookies.
  2. Base coat the hearts in white and allow to dry completely.
  3. Cut a triangle out of sturdy stencil plastic. Hold the triangle on to the heart and airbrush over it with black. Admire your trendy dip dyed fingertips (ala Lorde) and remind yourself to pick up some gloves for airbrushing,
  4. Pipe the red Gryffindor color along the edges of the triangle with a 20 second icing. (This is a mix of maroon and red)
  5. Pipe and immediately fill the red part of the tie. Allow to dry for about 20-30 minutes.
  6. Fill the remaining spaces of the tie with gold (this is Americolor gold and egg yellow).
  7. Allow the tie to dry then attach it to the heart cookie with icing.

I had wanted to attach a tag that said “I Gryffin-adore you, Hog’warts’ and all”. But Ellie insisted on using the valentines from Bakingdom. Feel free to use mine if you want! Or don’t whatever.

For Ben and his three to four year old friends, I made something a little more Preschooler friendly. These cookies are based on the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Valentine

 

The coconut trees were really easy.

  1. Bake and cool palm tree shaped cookies.
  2. Mix 20 second icing in brown, lighter green, and darker green.
  3. Pipe and immediately fill the tree trunk in brown.
  4. Pipe and fill spiky leaves with the light green and allow to dry for 20 minutes or so.
  5. On top of the light green, pipe and fill darker green spiky leaves.
  6. Let dry.

And look! Since I have proven these can be made at the last minute, I figured out how to share the printable tag I made to go with the cookies! Just click below where it says “download”!!

Download

Then, whatever you do, don’t do what I did and drop them all while locking the front door. Because that would just be ridiculous.

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