Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Harry Potter Kids Party: Invitations (#1)

Harry Potter Party for Kids

I love planning my birthday kids parties. The decorations, games, cake, food, and loot bags all get detailed attention. See our son's Plants vs Zombies party as one example and our daughter's Hawaiian party as another example of fun times! This year my daughter is turning 11 and she is also a huge Harry Potter fan. As any Harry Potter fan knows, Harry was 11 when he received his acceptance letter to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She was desperately hoping for the same! All I could do was give her a HP birthday party and hope that would be enough!

I fully admit I go overboard with planning my kids parties. Take my advice and plan exactly what you will need...that way you won't end up with enough candy to open a real Honeydukes or wonder what you're gonna do with thirteen 'quidditch' brooms lol. Now, I'm not saying everything I do for the party was totally authentic by any means but everything was in the spirit of Harry Potter.

When planning a Harry Potter party my advice is to use what's already out there! Lots of people have had great parties and are willing to share what worked and what didn't. You can easily find Harry Potter inspired invitations, decorations, food and other ideas on the Internet.

Over my next few posts, I'll take you through some of the things we did including:

We'll start at the beginning with our invites.


There are many great invites made by other party planners out there. I borrowed ideas, words and ideas from a few and came up with ours. I printed them on blank cards from Michael's that came with envelopes.

Here's the invite wording:

Dear Miss (name here),

We are pleased to inform you that you have been invited to attend the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, where we will be having a special birthday celebration for (birthday name here).

Term begins (insert time). Please make your way to (address here) in a Muggle mode of transportation and in Muggle attire to avoid suspicion. You will find your ticket attached. Please present it at time of boarding. 

We await your owl post response by no later than (insert date)

If you have trouble acquiring an owl, you may respond by Muggle phone or email.


Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress

P.S. Term will end at approximately (insert time here).

You can find Minerva's signature here.

Inserted into each envelope was a ticket for the Hogwarts Express. You can find them here.

Originally, we were going to deliver them attached to owl balloons but we ran out of time. Instead we placed a puffy owl sticker on each one.

The kids loved the invitations and most even remembered to bring their tickets!

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Peach Cinnamon Ginger Freezer jam

I'm on a bit of a freezer jam kick! When I think of homemade jam I think of berries - raspberry, blueberry and strawberry. But every once in awhile I crave something different, like this peach freezer jam with cinnamon and ginger.
Chop the peaches quite small but don't completely puree - you can use your food processor for this or a knife.

My kids love this with yogurt for breakfast and with ice cream for dessert!


4 cups well chopped peaches (about 6 large peaches)
1 package freezer pectin
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1-1/2 cups sugar


In a large bowl, whisk sugar, zest and pectin.
Add pureed peaches and stir for 3 minutes.
Divide among five 1-cup jars.
Let sit for thirty minutes to thicken.
Cover and refrigerate (3 weeks) or freeze (up to a year).

Here are some of my favorite freezer jams you can find on Within the Kitchen:

And my most popular jam recipe:

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Strawberry Freezer Jam

Homemade freezer jam is so easy. More importantly, it tastes so much better than store bought jam. The zest in this jam really brightens the strawberries. It's great with peanut butter sandwiches, or fresh buttermilk biscuits. It also makes a fantastic ice cream sundae topping!!


2 lbs strawberries
1 package freezer pectin
zest of one large lemon
1-1/2 cups sugar


Rinse and hull strawberries.
Place in food processor and pulse until crushed.
In another bowl, whisk sugar, zest and pectin.
Add strawberries and stir for 3 minutes.
Divide among five 1-cup jars.
Let sit for thirty minutes to thicken.
Cover and refrigerate or freeze.

Here are some of my favorite freezer jams you can find on Within the Kitchen:
Strawberry Rhubarb Freezer Jam
Strawberry Vanilla Freezer jam

And my most popular jam recipe:
Raspberry Lime Freezer jam