Hamburger Cupcakes and Books

Thursday, April 28, 2011

We made these fun hamburger cupcakes for my daughter's Sock Hop Birthday Party.
Items Needed:
Yellow cake mix
Brownie cake mix
White frosting in a can (vanilla or cream cheese)
Yellow food coloring
Red frosting (buy this at the store, too hard to make this color at home)
Shredded Coconut
Green Food coloring
Sesame Seeds (found near the spice jars at the store)

How to make Hamburger Cupcakes: 
  1. Use yellow cake mix to bake cupcakes in liners as directed by box mix. Once cool, remove from wrapper then cut just under the muffin top to create 2 separate pieces of the hamburger buns. (If cupcakes are tall you may wish to remove 1/4 to 1/2 inch of the middle.)
  2. Make brownies from a box mix, once cool cut into 2 inch squares and round edges to look like hamburger patty. Place on the bottom portion of the cupcake.
  3. Use the can of white frosting. Add 4-6 drops of yellow food coloring and mix with spoon to change color. Spoon 5 Tbsp into a zip plastic bag and cut a small tip off one bottom corner.  Squeeze the frosting slowly and pipe it in waves around the edges of the brownie.
  4. Pipe the Red frosting in waves around the edges of the brownie.
  5. Place 3/4 cup of shredded coconut into a zip plastic bag and 3 drops of food coloring inside.  Zip bag then shake until coconut turns green. Sprinkle around edges of brownie.
  6. Place the top of the cupcake/bun. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top as desired.

Hamburger Stories:

The Best story to read when you make these treats is The Old Lady Who Swallowed a Burger.
See the whole story/poem and printable on Marcia's Lesson Plans. Open the file for a word document.
Check out this cute interactive flannel board set on etsy.
You can also see someone do a video of the story on YouTube.

City of Hamburgers by Mike Reiss (a writer/producer of 'The Simpsons')

Description: "Jeffery is tired of the same old fairy tales and wants to hear about Grandma's life growing up in the old country as a Hamburger. Imagination, as well as ketchup and mustard, flow through this delightfully quirky book."
This book uses humor to share a story about multicultural differences. Fun for children and adults to read together and discuss.
Here are more books about Hamburgers:

I shared this idea at these great blogs, visit them for more creative ideas:
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Girl's Sock Hop 50's Birthday Party

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

This Sock Hop 50's birthday party was a blast for my 7-year-old daughter.  It incorporated all of her favorite things:
Hula hoops, jump ropes, hopscotch, dancing, books, American Girl dolls, and our home diner.  It made sense to do a Sock Hop to pull it all together.

Sock Hop Birthday with Hula Hoops, DIY Poodle Skirts for girl and doll
Inspired by her current favorite book and movie, Molly, The American Girl who grew up in the 1940's/50's war era.  My daughter was so excited to have a 50's themed party.
Here are some pics from our Sock Hop.

Yes, our kitchen is a diner. We can seat 16 people including our bar. (I'll be posting pics of it and a tutorial for the long indoor awning I just made for the window in May.)

Birthday Banner printed on cardstock using Horseshoes and Lemonade font (get it free here).  Then I used mini clothes pins to attach each letter to a red ribbon and hang across the window.

 You make me want to SHOUT!
The girls loved signing the Graffiti Wall. We nailed up a thin board and had guests sign it. We decided to keep the board all the time and let anyone who visits our diner sign it. Once the board gets full we will keep it and put up another one. We love having this visual reminder of our favorite friends and family.
I also enjoy the vintage sign that reads "Best buns on the beach."

Graffiti wall in our home diner, used as a guest book.

Girls in 1st grade love jumping rope.

There were so many options for 50's games that these girls loved.  Jump roping, hula hooping, dancing to the Juke Box, Limbo, hopscotch and hand jive. 
It was raining when the party started so we quickly made a hop scotch with blue painters tape down our hallway.  Every time the girls went back and forth they hopped on the squares. Then they'd go through the hanging record door I found at a local party shop.

Limbo (using a curtain rod) was a hit. Dad and brother were soda jerks.

My mom had the Elvis cut-out so we put him on the front door to greet the girls as they arrived.
We also made an adjustable, no-sew, poodle skirt for each girl. (DIY Tutorial here.)

Cat Eye sun glasses from the Target dollar bins. Jump ropes and hula hoops from the dollar store. (All of these items are best found in the summer, harder during cold months.) Popcorn favor boxes were 2 for $1.00 at the Dollar store (I've seen them at Target's dollar bin too).
The mini Coke glasses were at the dollar store 2 for $1.00. The straw holder came from our local grocery store in their cookware isle.
The Diner silly bands happened to be at the Family Dollar Store.
I made the no-sew felt poodle skirts for $6 each. See how here.
I happened to catch this great pic of my daughter that looked similar to my mom's from the 50's.

MENU: You have to use diner slang.

1. Soda Jerk Hat, hat from party supply store, we printed the words then glued onto hat.
2. Mini Menu so we could teach kids diner slang.
3. Hot Dogs in diner baskets. 4 for $1 at Target Dollar section. I've had mine for a year for our diner but I've seen them off and on at Target.
4. Coke glasses from the dollar store
5. Ice cream cone and hamburger cupcakes. See Hamburger Cupcake Tutorial Here.

* Update, May 16. I just found another 50's party online. See Kim's Kandy Kreations 50's desert table and record banner. And a behind the scenes treats here. Great ideas here for table decoration, juke box candy bouquet, hanging music notes. Printable 50's BINGO game.
And this adorable 50's Sock Hop at Busy Me, Busy with Three has great 50's ideas.

The girls kept asking for refills on root beer floats in mini coke glasses.
We listened to 50's Music on the CD Juke Box.
I found a cute cake topper of Mickey and Minnie Mouse sipping soda at a diner. I just put it on top of a bunt cake to have a cake with candles to blow out. The guests ate the ice cream and hamburger cupcakes.

50's MUSIC
It can't be a Sock Hop without music.  Below is the playlist I put together for the party.
Their favorite was the new version of Lollipop by Sophie Green. They played the first 2 songs over and over. We used the limbo song during that game.
We had the rest on in the background while we ate and opened presents.

All dressed up 50's style. Auntie, Birthday Girl, Mom, Elvis, Grandma. My mom borrowed the adult skirts from her neighbor.

50's Invitation
I mixed and matched quite a few graphics to create this invitation. You can add your own fonts in a photo program. I wanted the girl to be blonde to match my daughter's hair.

Free Printable 50's Invitation

Sweet Craft Cakes has some awesome 50's Free printables for teacher appreciation.
Some tags are blank that you could adapt for signs or labels at a 50's party. Go to Sweet Craft Cakes for the Free download.

Here are some great American Girl books to help your child learn about the 50's.

Additional Pictures of this party can be seen at Catch My Party
See more great parties and crafts:
Today's Creative: Get Your Craft On
Tip Junkie handmade projects

Library Tips for Visiting with Children

Sunday, April 10, 2011

"At the moment that we persuade a child, any child, to cross that threshold, that magic threshold into a library, we change their lives forever, for the better." --Barack Obama


Libraries offer free books, magazines, CDs and DVDs:

You can't afford to pass up such an amazing resource.  Every week we stop by our local library to check out (borrow) books, movies and music. The kids love finding new adventures.


Library Tips:
  • Before visiting the library, search for parent books online and place a 'hold' on them. They will be ready to pick up at check-out so the kids don't get impatient browsing the grown-up section.
  • Have a regular routine. Pick the same day each week (or every other week) to stop by. This way your books won't be late and your kids know "Tuesdays are library days".
  • Sign up to get reminder emails when items are due. Remember to renew books online.
  • Pick a short picture book to sit and read to your kids while you are there. Teach them about using their quiet voice.
  • Give kids a tour of the library. Show them where the picture books are, the chapter books, the non-fiction books, the magazines, the movies, the music/book on CD. Then show them the reading spots and teach them proper behavior in the library.
  • Set a number of books and videos to check out so you can keep track of them easier at home. We normally let our kids pick out 5 books and 2 movies each.
  • Bring your own library bag. Keep your books in the bag at home or on a special shelf so you know where they are. You could let each kid have their own bag.
  • Make getting a library card for your child a special event.  As soon as your kids express a desire to have their own card you can let them get one. You can still keep track of the card. When our kids turned five (and can sign their own name) they are excited to get their own card. They love to do self-check out (with a little help) and learn that they are responsible for taking care of the items they check out.
  • Attend storytimes or special events hosted at your library. Get to know your librarians and other families in your neighborhood.
  • Ask about special children's events or services. I just recently found our library offers Literacy Kit bags.  These are great for preschool kids. I got a bag about numbers and it had several books, a DVD, a music CD and some numbered bean bags. I could check it out for a month and use it for co-op preschool or just with my child.
  • Find out if your library has a book sale and be sure to attend for great book bargins.
Our city library hosts a huge book sale twice a year.  We have found so many deals.  This is the stack of children's chapter books we bought at the last book sale they had.  We got all these books for 50 cents each.


Utah Libraries offer FREE State Park Pass
 CHECK IT OUT! is an amazing program from Utah libraries and the Utah State Parks.  You can actually check out an anual pass from your library to get in free to the state parks.  See the Utah State Park Blog for more details.

Cool Kid Library Programs
We are very fortunate to live within 10 minutes of three amazing libraries.  We visit our smaller libraries each week but every other month we head to the large Salt Lake City Library.  The kids love their children's area with play forts, reading areas and a glass elevator.  They also just got a new fancy website
Our entire city library system has an amazing kids' program.
Marc Brown, the author of the popular children's book series "Arthur," will be visiting a local library later this month. They also have Dog Day afternoons where children can practice reading to dogs.  They have a variety of storytime options and a variety of seasonal events. We love the Summer Book Program with prizes for tracking the books they've read. See their site for examples.

We recently took Flat Stanley to visit the library.


What special things does your library do for children? Do you have any library tips?


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