Thursday, August 11, 2011

Harry Potter Party for a Week--August 2011

     You're going to read this and think I've been hit by a Confundus Curse. But I haven't. Since reading each and every one of the 4,175 pages out loud to our four oldest children, my literary love-affair with the Harry Potter series has spread like a wonderful, wordy contagion in our family.
I started on page one of Book One, inwardly tittering with glee as I read with an American accent for the description and then spiced up the dialogue with an English accent. I thought it would be entertaining if not terribly cute. By page two, I was inwardly praising my talent, but Ethan cleared his throat in an Umbridge-y fashion and said with clear distaste, “Ummm, Mom? Please don’t do that.”
     The rest of the 4, 173 pages were read with a decidedly boring Utah-American accent, except when the kids so graciously allowed me to read Fleur and Madame Maxime’s lines with my French accent (Merci, mes enfants!).
     More often than not, as we got sucked into the magical world each night and one chapter would turn into two (or three), Eric would appear in the doorway of the boys’ room warning, “Sarah. . . do you know what time it is? You’ve been reading for an hour-an-a-half!” Whoops.
    The kids and I were linked together by words and images so tightly that it was like an invisible thread had been cut and we were plopped back into reality, finding ourselves leaning forward on the edge of the beds, as if we could somehow lean in closer to Harry and his happenings. They always begged me to read “Just one more chapter, Mom. Please?” Could I deny them their educational right? I didn’t think so.
     The door we opened to that nightly bubble of fiction made us forget the petty cares of the day as we entered the ever-gratifying world of wizards. By the end of Book Seven I couldn't read it out loud without blubbering. (Like I ever do anything without blubbering anymore!) Harry’s rite of passage will always be connected to those years in our lives and we’re better for it.
     Nostalgia aside, Rowling’s wizarding world is jammed with sensory detail that lends itself to planning a darn good party! The food, the games, and the culture beg to be part of a long “To do” list, especially when you’ve got seven kids and a blissfully empty-calendared summer in which to plan and play.
     For Camp d'Evegnee, last week (the WHOLE thing) was dedicated to all things Harry Potter. We immersed ourselves in it wholeheartedly to the point that were positively drunk with whimsy and Butterbeer.
     Each day for a FULL week, we had a Potter-esque dinner, dessert, activity and a movie so we could revisit all of them before the grande finale at the theater. (I am exhausted! But, as with life, the mess was worth the memories.)
First, the food. Since we are currently sans house elf, we had to do all the cooking and the resulting piles of dishes. . . oh, so many dishes. To see ALL of the recipes and tips for creating them, please go to our Recipe Blog HERE

That tart may look tantalizingly innocuous enough, but she BURNS! SHE BURNS!!!

We took a Tour through Hogsmeade:
SWEET Visit to Honeydukes:
We had Butter Beer at the Three Broomsticks

And. . . We visited The Shrieking Shack (after we somehow packed all that sugar into our fragile, magical systems)
For ALL of the recipes we used to make our concoctions, please go to my Recipe Party Blog found HERE

I feel a little like I drank a full batch of Polyjuice Potion when I think of all of the food, drink, and sweets we consumed. I’m going to be Yaxleying any minute now (oh boy).
Luckily we worked off some of the calories by making freezer paper stencil t-shirts (which took two days because we painted both the front and the back of our t-shirts). For a complete tutorial about how to make your own t-shirt, go here. We also decorated dollar store brooms and played a little non-flying Quidditch (aka broom hockey).

Who knew Quidditch was so exhausting?
(It looks like it swept Marie off her feet! Merlin’s pants, I’m tired!)

For the grand finale, we smuggled bottles of Butterbeer and hot mini meat pies and pumpkin pasties into the movie theater to watch the second part of the Deathly Hallows. Holden and Ethan cried nearly as much as I did and I could hear them sniffing in tandem with me throughout the show.

You’d think after a week of Harry Potter being crammed down their throats, they’d all want to perform some killing curses on themselves if I made them do one more magical thing, but I caught them in the backyard performing spells as they jumped on the trampoline. You just need to hear Marie squealing, "Expelliarmus" once and you'll want to have Potter Party of your own.

Harry Potter Freezer Paper Stencil T-shirts in 4 "Easy" Steps

The first time I tried this method, I was skeptical. I had tried painting t-shirts before and they always looked like I had painted them myself and only possessed marginal craft-ability. That frustrated me because (in my opinion at least) I'm not so shabby at crafty stuff.

Then I gave the freezer paper stencils a whirl because I refused to shell out fifty bucks for a t-shirt at chasing fireflies. Honestly. It was like magic! I wanted to make about thirty shirts a day and give them away for birthdays, graduation, and Ground Hog's Day. If you play your crafty cards right, you can make a quality shirt for about $1.50. AWESOME, yes? YES! (Okay, I'll go take a break for a minute and calm myself.)

Now that I'm back, I won't lie to you. It does take a little bit of patience. That being said though, if my kids can do it, other kids (and adults) can do it too!

What you'll need:
*Freezer Paper
(NOT wax paper) You can buy this at the grocery store right by the aluminum foil, plastic wrap etc. It costs about 5 bucks (in muggle money) for a whole box of many, many feet of the stuff.
We bought ours for the kids at the dollar store. Most craft stores (and Walgreens) have t-shirts for 2-3 dollars.
*Fabric Paint
NOT acrylic paint. For these to really look sharp you need to buy fabric paint. It costs about $2 a bottle and you can do several shirts with one bottle.
Personally I recommend buying the knock-off knives for about one-third the price.
*Sponge paint brushes
These cost about a dollar for five of them.
Now you're ready to get going. Here are the 4 steps:
Print out or draw your design and then put it under the freezer paper so that you can trace it. Make sure you trace it on the NON-shiny side.
2) CUT
With an exact-o-knife (or a cheaper knock-off for about one-third the price), carefully cut out the INSIDE of the design. We just cut out pieces of cardboard from old boxes to put under the paper so we didn't ruin the dining room table. This is the part that takes the most patience. I showed the kids how to do their first letter and then they took off. (For kids under 5, you'll probably want to do this part for them.) Now you've got a stencil.
Carefully center the stencil on the t-shirt with the SHINY side down. Don't use any steam. Hold the iron over each spot for a good ten seconds.
This is the best part because ALL of the kids (except the baby) could do it. You can paint away to your heart's delight and you don't have to worry about smudges or sloppiness. Go ahead and slop away. Just make sure you get all of the corners of the stencils so that it looks sharp. Put a piece of cardboard inside the shirt so the paint stays on the side you're painting.

Now all you have to do is wait for the paint to dry. A lot of people will tell you that you need to sit and wait for 24 hours, but that is a bunch of bologna (baloney? How do people spell that nowadays?). My poor kids were keeping a fidgety vigil by their t-shirts and there was no way I was going to make them wait that long. They really do dry in 3-4 hours, so unless you need to use it as leverage to make them get some chores done, let them rip the stencil off after a few hours. Really.

Then just put a light cotton cloth over the design and iron it to make sure the paint has set. Then you can wash it and dry it just like a normal store-bought t-shirt. (But this is so much better because your kids made it themselves!)

We made up the designs ourselves, but you have to be familiar with the books to "get" some of them. (We are NOT nerds. Stop being rude.)
(You are free to do any non-nerdy things with your own t-shirts at your leisure.)

I don't have a picture of Eric or me in our t-shirts that you can see very well, but his said, "What's Your Patronus?" and mine said, "Not my daughter, you *itch!" (Heh, heh, heh. We put a lightening bolt instead of the asterisk. You have to know the book to appreciate that one, but that part seriously made me cry because I loved the power it gave to motherhood. You think I'm kidding, but I'm totally NOT.)

*If you'd like to use our designs, I can e-mail you a pdf file. I can't for the life of me figure out how to post the designs here.

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