Eli's Lego Birthday

Monday, January 28, 2013

In December, our little man turned 5, and his sweet baby cousin Louis turned the big 1. So a big celebration was in order.

Since Eli is obsessed with Lego, and Louis was cool to tag along with that theme, we went all-out for the party. I found lots of inspiration on pinterest, and used all of my favourites to plan the special day.

Baby food jars are the perfect shape for a lego mini-figure head, so they were the base of a lot of the decorations. I drew faces on with permanent marker, and we used them for drinking glasses.

I found some lego juice box templates here, and used this template for the kids to design their own Mini-Figure.

For the straw-holders, I saw some pencil holders on Handmade Charlotte and couldn't resist. I painted the inside of the jars with yellow acrylic paint, and then drew the faces on the outside. Eli asked to keep them on his bedside shelf to hold his "treasures".

I loved the simple decoration of lego bricks in the bathroom soap dispenser. It was fun and inspired a new level of hygiene in the house. For the treat bags I made crayons using a lego mold I bought on Etsy. I used the template from Delia Creates for the boxes and printed out a little colouring book I found online here. We, of course, had to include some brick candies in the treat bags.

The utensil caddy was definitely one of my favourite decorations. Eli helped me build it from our imaginations. I used the same mold to make little chocolate lego guys as the crayons. We filled the body sections with red, and then piped yellow melting chocolate into the cavities for the hands and head.

I filled large mason jars with lego, not only were they a great decoration, but we used them for a few of our lego-themed games: Guess how many lego pieces are in the jar, how many pieces can you collect with only a straw, and which team can build the tallest freestanding tower in 5 minutes.

One of my favorite games was pin the head on the lego man. I just drew it out on some card stock and taped it all together. (see the image at the top)

I saw this cake on pinterest with a great tutorial that made me feel like I wanted to attempt my first fondant cake. Looking for a simpler first-time recipe, I found a marshmallow fondant that was incredibly easy.

I baked my cake in my Pampered Chef Classic Batter Bowl, the shape wasn't exactly how I wanted it, but overall I was pleased. I didn't want to waste too much cake by shaving it off to create a perfect cylinder, so I just iced it as it came out of the bowl. I drew the face on with a gel icing tube that I also used for the faces on the marshmallow pops.

Planning birthdays are a lot of fun, and something to look forward to during cold days. And seeing how much it's appreciated by the kids makes it more than worthwhile. 

Happy Birthday Eli and Louis!

True Comfort Food

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

When you have three kids and a six-and-a-half foot tall husband, you need a pretty wide repertoire of recipes to keep everyone fed and happy. We're always looking for meals that can expand it, and thumbing through Ashley English's new book added a new favourite-chicken pot pie.

I was pretty excited to make her chicken pot pie for a couple reasons. First, it just looks delicious, and second, I had some leaf lard, not just regular lard, but the classic, specific kind that makes the best crust on earth.

We replaced the shortening with our lard in Ashley's crust recipe which was mixed with butter. The lard makes it flakey while the butter just tastes great. It's mixed into flour, and we used light spelt flour. I loved the idea of rolling celery seed right into the crust.

The filling was creamy and full of flavour with white wine, cream, butter and tons of vegetables. Since we have lots of sweet corn in the freezer from the farm, we didn't think it would hurt to add some in.

It's so nice to make a meal that includes vegetables we've preserved, and remnants from other meals. The chicken stock in the filling didn't come from a box or cube, it came from the chicken we ate a few days before. The lard came from one pig, not a factory, and worse yet, not from a vat containing the lard of a thousand other pigs. And the flour was milled about ten minutes away.

Meals like this are on their own level when it comes to calling them "comfort food".

We wondered why the recipe said it fed 6, when it looked like it could feed an army. But by the time we had seconds, and in one particular person's case, thirds, we knew this wasn't a dish that was going to give us too many leftovers.