Chocolate Grissini Wands

choc grissini wandsMy two sisters and I all have birthdays within a few weeks of each other and when I was growing up birthday time was my favourite time of year! My mother always involved us in all aspects of party prep. We’d choose a theme, design the decor, decorate party hats, set up our favourite games and help with the cooking.

For me, all of these things helped build the magic and excitement of the big day.  I have continued this much loved tradition with my own three children, although thankfully their birthdays are more evenly spread throughout the year!

One of the easiest ways to involve kids in the preparation for their birthday parties is in the kitchen.  Something that is a staple at all of our birthday parties, always a hit and easy for kids to make are chocolate grissini wands.

Chocolate grissini wands

You will need
  • Small grissini bread sticks
  • Chocolate melts
  • Sprinkles
  • Spoon
  • Bowls
  • Mug or glass
How to

1. Melt the chocolate by putting it into a bowl in the microwave and heating for 30 second increments until melted.  Alternatively, you could use a double saucepan on the stove top to melt your chocolate.

2. Wait a few minutes so that the chocolate is not too runny and then spoon the chocolate over the top third of the grissini stick, twisting as you go so that the chocolate spreads as evenly as possible.

3.  Over a bowl, sprinkle the sprinkles over the chocolate.

4.  Pop your choc covered grissini stick into a mug or glass until the chocolate hardens.

Tip: If the chocolate starts to drip down the grissini stick at this stage, then your chocolate is too warm and you need to wait a few minutes for the chocolate to cool down a little before continuing.

You might like to measure the length of your mug so that the chocolate doesn’t stick to the mug as it dries.  You can do this by simply holding the grissini stick up against the mug, like my 6 year old son is doing in the pic below.

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and then keeping your finger there as you put the melted chocolate onto the grissini stick making sure that the chocolate always stays above that line.

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5. Once the chocolate has set, place your chocolate grissini wands in an airtight container until party time.  They’ll last for weeks so you can make them well in advance which is always a winner!

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It might get a little messy and they may not look absolutely perfect, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because they’ll still taste delicious. Besides, you just can’t beat that look of pride and satisfaction on your kids’ faces from having made something all by themselves!

Believe me, if you start them young, they’ll be running their own parties in no time!

How much do you involve your children in party prep?  

Do you have any tried and true recipes to share that are great to do with kids?

more-party-ideas

emma

A version of this post first appeared on kidspot.com.au in August 2013

Real Parties: Tips & Tricks from everyday Mums 1


Welcome to the first in the Frog Goose and Bear Real Parties series where we’ll be taking the ‘daunting’ out of at-home parties by interviewing fellow everyday Mums for their party planning tips and tricks.  The first cab off the rank is my friend Jane who lives in Hungary (how cool is that?!) and blogs at Mama Pea Pod.  Jane is Mum to two girls aged 4 and almost 7.  I have been following Jane’s blog for years and she’s a creative, party loving Mum who always inspires!

Jane – Mama Pea Pod

How far in advance do you start planning a party?

This will sound crazy, but I usually start thinking about them at least 6 months in advance! That’s because it is difficult for us to get many party supplies here in Hungary, so I have to order items through Amazon and often have to have them delivered to a friend or family member (since Amazon is usually not able to send them here), and then wait until they visit and bring them to us. This takes months of planning ahead to be sure I’ll have them in time for birthdays. Then I keep an eye out for anything I spot around town that might fit our theme and pick things up when I see them, and start collecting cool theme ideas on Pinterest. (Right now my nearly 7 year old has not made a final decision on the theme for her birthday coming up in 2 months and it’s really stressing me out because I need to place my orders now!)

mamapeapod1

What are your top 5 party planning tips?

1. Lists! I keep a notebook just for party planning and have a separate page each to plan for food/drink, games/activities, guest list/invitations, goody bags, decorations, shopping list, things to make, thank you notes, etc. so as not to forget anything.

2. Classic party games are always fun and we always include at least a couple – pass the parcel, musical statues, egg-and-spoon races, etc.

3. If you have prizes, make sure everyone wins one by the end of the party, especially for little kids. I always gauge a party’s success by the amount of tears shed – no tears = a successful party!

4. Plan some unstructured play time (preferably outside – even better if you can hold the entire party outdoors!) into the schedule as well as the organised games. For younger children (up to 4-5 years of age), play ‘stations’ set up that kids can wander freely among are better than organised games.

5. Send kids home with a fun goody bag – if they leave happy, they remember the party as a great time!

mamapeapod2

Out of all of the parties you’ve planned, which one was your favourite and why?

Oh gosh, that’s hard to choose! Our Mermaid Party (for my daughter’s 5th birthday) was lots of fun and laughs, and we had great fun with the games in particular! Our most recent party, a Dinosaur Party (for my other daughter’s 4th birthday), was really easy to prepare and run and the kids loved it. And one of our earliest parties, a Rainbow Party (for my elder daughter’s 3rd birthday), was so fun to plan and so pretty because it was so colourful!

mamapeapod3

Where do you draw your party inspiration from?

I collect pins on my Parties board on Pinterest throughout the year on various themes that look fun. My favourite party blog, of course, is FGB! But really my kids pick their themes from their own imaginations and then I use those as my inspiration source, creating or seeking out food and activities, etc. that fit with that theme and that I know they’ll appreciate. So really my kids are my main inspiration.

mamapeapod4

What is the next party that you are planning at your house?

Well, it’s looking like it will be some kind of science fairy party – whatever that might be! – for my daughter’s 7th in June. She likes to challenge my creativity, I think!

Thanks so much for being a part of this series Jane!

You can find more pictures of Jane’s parties here on her blog. She also ran a wonderful series on her blog entitledABC’s of Kids Party Ideas which showcased lots of different party themes from DIY party bloggers all over the world which you might be interested in if you are having trouble coming up with a theme.  Another thing that Jane does that I think is just gorgeous is that she interviews her kids each year on their birthday to capture what their thoughts on life at each age. As well as her blog, you can also find Jane on facebook, twitter pinterestinstagram .

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Every fortnight on a Friday morning I’ll be asking a different party loving Mum the same five questions and sharing their party pics.  In the alternate weeks I’ll be sharing photos and details from parties that I’ve been involved in recently. If you’d like to share your party tips & tricks and be interviewed as part of this series, I’d love to hear from you too!

I also know that lots of you out there have some awesome diy party ideas yourselves so, as a way of continuing to inspire each other, we’ve started posting DIY party pics on facebook and instagram under the hashtag #diypartyfun.  You are welcome to re-tag older party pics on instagram or to post pics to my facebook wall and if you are not on either of those platforms and you’d still like to be involved, you can email me your diy party pics if you like.  Every Monday morning, here on the blog, I’ll be posting my favourite pics that you (my lovely readers) have shared!

more-party-ideas

A Baking Birthday Party

Last week Goose invited four of her favourite friends to come over to help her celebrate her tenth birthday with a baking party.  They had lots of fun baking and decorating and making a big mess in our kitchen!
Here is a little run down of what we did …


1. Decorated Chef’s hats.

I picked up these cute little hats at a garage sale during the year and the girls decorated them with fabric markers.

2. Made shortbread cookies.
Using this fail-safe recipe I pre-made the shortbread and the girls just rolled and cut into shape with the plethora of cookie cutters we seem to have collected over the years.

My best ever and most faithful party helper – my Mum – couldn’t do it without her!

3. Melted chocolate.
We dipped everything into that chocolate!

Strawberries dipped in chocolate.  They were lucky to make it to the tray!

Our favourite chocolate dipped grissini wands.

Chocolate dipped Oreo pops.

(which I totally forgot to get out of the fridge!)

4. Decorated cupcakes 
Goose and I pre-made the cupcakes and gave the girls a bag of white icing and a multitude of coloured sprinkles of varied shapes and sizes to decorate their cupcakes.  They got to keep their first one to take home in a special cake box and the rest went on the dessert table for later.


For something different we baked the cupcakes with edible confetti* inside!  

Decorate the birthday cake!!!
Just like the cupcakes Goose and I baked this the day before the party and added sprinkles to it, but we used the regular hundreds and thousands for the cake which, although was fun, did not have quite the same awesome confetti affect as the cupcakes.


I was all prepared to have to bite my tongue and turn a blind eye to an icing and sprinkle explosion all over the cake when five ten year olds were let loose on it, but I was pleasantly surprised!  


They were each given an icing bag containing a different colour and they all squeezed their colour onto the cake while I quickly smoothed it out with a knife, which created a mixed colour affect which was pretty cool and a blank canvas for them to decorate.  The girls, then worked together as a team to design the rest.  I was quite impressed with their result.




The sides of the cake were covered in popping candy which kept exploding at various intervals throughout the day much to the delight of the girls.


I had an area already set up for them to display their delicious goodies where they were on display until after dinner.

The gorgeous bakers.  Although there were only five of them – the sugar, colouring and party high they were on certainly made a LOT of noise!

Then when Goose’s 2 younger siblings, 4 younger cousins, 3 aunts, 3 uncles and her other Grandma arrived we made pizzas

and played party games …

Pin the cherry on the cupcake
(made by the birthday girl)



Click on the link above for details of how to play.

This game was such a hit that all they wanted to do was stick their face in the flour.  Usually when we play it, they all want to avoid it, but possibly the excess of food colouring and sugar went to their heads this time ;)

To finish it off, we ate cake !!!
(and all of the other delicious goodies the girls had made)

Drinks
water bottles (something had to counteract the sugar!) and lemon cordial.


The girls also tried dipping these glass bottles (below) in chocolate – you can see them at the bottom right in some of the dessert table pics above.

After the extended family left, Goose’s four lovely friends stayed for a sleepover where they painted their nails, watched a movie and stayed up all night talking!
As the party guests left, depending on age, they were given 
Cookies in a jar‘, a cookie cutter and a party bag** as well as a cupcake they had decorated, the shortbread they had made and their chef’s hat.


I quite like this party format that we have going for Goose now that she is older.  We did the same thing last year.  A small number of friends for a few hours while her younger siblings go to their cousins for a play and then extended family (and siblings return) come over for dinner which includes birthday cake and party games (so the younger siblings & cousins don’t think they’ve missed out on the party) and then the friends stay for a sleepover (which for Goose is apparently not negotiable).  Helps having your birthday during the summer holidays!  It probably sounds like a loooooong party, but we made sure dinner was simple and mostly pre-prepared and in this case – the girls spent their time together actually making most of the party food!!  I think we’ll be using the same format again as it saves having two separate parties to accommodate friends and family and allows Goose some time with just her friends her own age.

Pics of the invites that we made for this party can be found here.
To see more of Goose’s (and her siblings) birthday parties 
you can click on the drawing of the cake below …

http://www.froggooseandbear.blogspot.com.au/p/party-ideas.html

* purchased at Spotlight.
** The party bag was small and simply contained some lollies, cupcake stickers and some cupcake shaped lipgloss.

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