It's Not Everyday Your Young Lady Turns 11

So it took me months to get this party together and I thought I had WAY more pictures of me making stuff :(  I am SUPER glad Isa let me know in February that she had been looking forward to turning 11 for years so she could have her Hogwarts party. Needless to say it was so much work! At the last minute before our move I came up with a great idea!  Why not make scarves for each house and have the kids randomly choose them to sort them into houses?  Great idea right? Not so much.  I spent basically every free second I had and quite a few that I did not making 16 scarves.  

It involved me having nightmares of doing this for hours on end. But they came together.

Isa was torn about whether to have the party in Texas or NC since her very best friend lives in Texas but her larger group of good friends was in NC.  I caved and did both but the Texas one was on a MUCH smaller scale.

A few mid morning curses.

They just couldn't remember what they'd forgotten.

 Cauldron of sweets

 This is one stuffed suitcase of Harry Potter goodness.  There was also another box...

Of course to start the whole process you need some awesome invites! I started with the template here.  I ended up changing the wording a bit to better suit Isa and our party.  I then bought a cheap "H" wax seal on amazon and used my good old 40% coupon at Hobby Lobby to get the sealing wax.  I also got a cute owl stamp to stamp on the outside of the envelopes.  For added fun I asked each parent were their child's bedroom was located in the house so I could address it like Harry's (ie cupboard under the stairs).

 Here is a terribly shadowed shot of our acceptance letters/invites.

Any acceptance letter worth it's salt would arrive by owl post.  For this I got plain white balloons and drew a very rough owl on it and tied it to the invitations.  The students got a real kick out of it.

The first thing we did was have the students choose a bag.  They used this bag to keep all their supplies together.  I had already randomly placed the house scarves in the bags so as they chose bags they were sorted into houses.  Funny enough nobody ended up in Slytherin.  I made sure they didn't cheat and peek to avoid it. I got the bags $4.99 per dozen at Hobby Lobby and then used my trusty coupon. I just googled Hogwarts crest and printed those on card stock.

We had Eeylops Owl Emporium where everyone got to choose and decorate their own owl.  I got the owls here from Oriental Trading. I had them use washable markers because that is what I had on hand.  You could use paints but that would take longer to dry.

I think Isa's was the coolest.  She added paint.

 Every witch and wizard needs a wand!  Ollivander's was a lot of fun to create.  Isa made and painted all the wands and did an amazing job.  This was the second favorite shop of the day for sure.  I have posted about making these wands in the past here.  I also made special wand boxes for the kids.  I used this template and the site also had cool labels and wand numbers to print for free.  Isa picked out a sage colored satin that I used to make a pillow for each wand to go on in the box.  They turned out really cute and I wish I had taken a good picture of them.  

Each student was blindfolded and then had to choose their wand.  They thought this was really fun and tried hard to remember each part of the wand they wanted so they could feel it out.

Even though there was no shop for them we decided to make Remembralls which turned out pretty well. I got the idea here.  It's basically glass ball ornaments, red ribbon, gold ribbon and hot glue.  Super easy but really fun. I glued the gold ribbon on before hand to avoid needing to use the hot glue during the party.

Students can't start term without their Standard Book of Spells so of course we had Flourish and Blotts!  Josh was a huge lifesaver with these and got them all formatted for me.  We started with this site and adapted for our needs. I couldn't find any cheapish 4x6 albums so I opted to print them out, glue them front to back, hole punch them, and sew them into a felt cover with ribbon.  It was WAY more work than I thought it would be but we had a blast with them.  I got a  bunch of puff paint and glitter glue so they could personalize their books.


Isa's was my favorite.

While we were letting some books dry we went out in the driveway for a duel.  I was honestly trying to kill some time because the students blew through the first craft rotation, but it was a HUGE hit!  We were out their for at least 30 minutes.

The students really strategized with what spells they were going to use.  I was very impressed.  I got some cute videos but I don't post videos of other people's kids on the interweb so...

So when I say Ollivander's was second favorite it is because we had this.  Honeydukes Sweet Shop.  
This totally stole the show.  The reason they blew through the first part was because I told them the sweet shop would be last so I guess they figured they would do the other stuff really fast.  

Cockroach Clusters (almonds and milk chocolate)

These were the bane of my existence.  It seemed easy, this mold with melted chocolate in it.  How hard could it be? Do you see the flaw in my thinking with this whole party?  Well, the frogs themselves were pretty easy, but the boxes however, were not.  We started with this free template ( this is also where I go the template for our Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans and the idea for the golden snitches).  It was easy to assemble but a pain to cut out.  Then I found these witch/wizard cards with a different template but it wasn't nearly as cool as the first so I used the cards from the second with the boxes from the first.  Genius right?  Well, it would have been if I had checked to make sure the cards fit in the boxes I wanted, but I didn't. Side note there is a typo on the Voldemort card and Dumbledore card from the website.  I wasn't super thrilled with what this particular site chose for the info either.  Some of it was lame and not their most interesting accomplishments but beggars can't be choosers. In the end my AMAZING formatting guy (Josh) fixed everything for me (including the typos) and got the cards to fit the boxes.  This added a whole new game for the students and they couldn't wait to see which witch or wizard was on their cards and then do some trading if need be.  

These little babies cost me several burnt fingertips but ended up really cool.  Ferrero Rocher and vellum.

 My mom wrote out some beautiful name cards for each candy.

 Another full shot. All in all we had, Peppermint Toads (used the chocolate frog molds with white chocolate and peppermint extract) Gold Galleons, Licorice Wands, Canary Cremes (Peeps), Unicorn Horns (twisted lollipops), regular Lollipops, Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans (you can get actual ones but they are expensive and gross.  We used Jelly Bellys), Golden Snitches, Chocolate Frogs and Cockroach Clusters. I got some small jewelry bags with a zip lock seal for the Chocolate frogs and Jelly Beans and I just put those out for the students to put their candy in if the wanted it separate. Oh, and Popcorn Broomsticks.  Those were inspired by this.  Really easy. I got some little black pails (cauldrons) for them to put all their sweets in.

 I tried to do a panoramic shot but of course it's really tiny.

 Anyone who knows Isa knows she can be, particular, about her birthday cakes.  This year I was planning to make her a huge fondant Hedwig cakes with a modeling chocolate scarf and wand.  She instead chose this.  Hagrid's cake.  I really hit the jack pot this year!   

Of course it wasn't all easy. She wanted the inside to look like this. 

Which I was kind of able to do.

 Either way, my Mom made super yummy butter cream for me and it was delicious.

I think she liked it.  I did tell her that the next time I put this much time into a party for her it would be her wedding :)


In Less Than A Heartbeat

My internet/Facebook perusing occasionally comes across and article or post about the parent of a child who has special needs.  In quite a few of these articles I notice the phrase "I wouldn't have it any other way".  On the face of it it seems cool.  That the parent would actually choose this and that they wouldn't want something different.
Here's the thing.  I would change it.  I would make my daughter's DNA normal.  I would wish these trials away from her.  Faster than you could blink.  Her life is hard.  Much, much harder than it should be.  She has been through more then most people could even imagine and she is only 5.  She hasn't even gotten to the normal hard stuff yet.  I would let her ear.  I would let her run.  I would let her be able to balance so she can play like an average 5 year old.  I would let her speak with ease.   I would let her do this and so much more.
Some might say that I don't love my daughter for who she is.  On the contrary, I don't think my daughter's disability has anything to do with who she is.  She would be amazing either way.  Whether she had CHARGE or CP has no affect on that. She's Emmeline plain and simple.  I just wish...