"I feel like everyone should know about Beijing Tai Tai... it's the
Eat Pray Love
for mothers." - author Dee White

Saturday, 25 February 2012

lego party!


Lego is the coolest toy, but it also makes the coolest birthday theme. As Riley is now officially Lego obsessed, we simply had no other choice but to make his ninth birthday totally Lego Lego Lego.

First it was the invitation,which you can learn more about here.


Then it was the cake. I just had to do Lego bricks - I think they make the most charming Lego cake; and my only worry was making the icing colours deep enough (woe betide we have pastel Lego in this house!). So, I invested in Wilton's icing gels, and they are brilliant for getting that deep colour with minimal fuss.


All about easy, I tinted Betty Crocker frosting and slathered it over three cakes - one made in a loaf tin, one a square tin, one a rectangular tin. I sliced off the top of each cake to make it flat, then inverted it and covered it in icing. If you do this, you will minimise the need for a crumb coat.

For the connector dots, I simply iced around the edge of Oreo cookies, then plonked them on top of the cake and iced the top of each cookie. Easy peasy.

I used a large pizza stone for the cake and it still wasn't quite big enough! Filling the slab with M&Ms and decorating the edging with cardboard makes it all look a little more glam.


For decorations, again I went the easy route and cut {my eternal favourite} bunting from yellow card, sewing it together on my machine with red thread. I printed some letters in royal blue and cut them out, gluing them to the bunting. I sourced the Lego font for free online. Just google it.


I then scavenged and borrowed some Lego-y items. Props maestro Jennie McClelland lent me a stack of her kids' Duplo and I also used two parts of the three-part lunch box she gave me for my birthday. I filled tall glass jars with large Lego pieces, and a Lego stationery carousel was the perfect container for some delicious treats.

The cardboard Lego is SO easy to do. Simply cut card to your desired size then add circles cut from the same card, but glued on with padded double-sided tape or sticky foam dots that raise the circles up. If you don't have these, you could use a few layers of card underneath so the dots appear risen.



After present opening, the boys got busy with some Lego challenges. I first challenged them all to build the tallest tower in one minute. They loved it. Then I challenged them to make a crocodile out the pieces they had been given. The results were incredible.



Next was a series of houses, which again - were so utterly creative. I was very impressed, and the boys had so much fun . . . but then it was time for some serious rough and tumble in the backyard. Thanks, Paula, for the slide - the boys loved it!



Then it was inside for some well-earned food.


This was my first ever cake pops effort. Sheesh. They're not as easy as one would presume! I think I got a little over confident and initially made them without official instruction. Silly me. These little darlings ended up taking me half a day in the end, as I redid and redid them. What a shemozzle.

Here's how to do it [right]: bake a cake; I used orange poppyseed. Break it in half and rub the inside edges together over a bowl until you have a mass of crumbs. Discard outer coating. Add enough buttery frosting to make things sticky, but not gluggy. Roll tablespoons into balls, press a round flat lolly onto each ball, place on a lined baking tray and freeze, preferably overnight.

 
Melt your chocolate in a heatproof bowl in the microwave, adding any colouring gel before you start melting, and a few tablespoons of butter or vegetable shortening to loosen it all a little. Take your frozen cake balls from the freezer, dip a lollipop stick 1cm into the melted chocolate and insert it into a ball. Place it back on the tray. Refreeze briefly.

Now it's time to get dipping. Take each ball and insert it into the melted chocolate til completely submerged. Remove and let excess drip off. Using a clean finger dampened with a little water, drag it around the lolly at the top of the ball, to show the lolly indent at the top. This forms the connector on the Lego head.

Stand in floral foam and refrigerate. When completely cold, remove pops one at a time and use a food marker to draw on the face. In hindsight, I would freeze before writing on them. The oils in the chocolate clogged up the marker and, as you can see, made a real mess of the faces, as it wouldn't draw fluidly. Luckily, the kids didn't seem to mind.

Warning: now, this is what NO one tells you about cake pops. When you dip cake balls into melted chocolate, moisture of some kind invariably gets into the chocolate. And what happens then? You know it. The chocolate begins to seize.

Now, most will tell you to chuck seized chocolate, and that's it not unseizable. Not so! You CAN make it runny again. Simple add a splosh of hot water and mix. It will curdle. It will go weird. It will go slimy. But keep on stirring, and adding more hot water, if needed, and eventually, the chocolate will go glossy and smooth again. It does work! You'll also find that subsequent pop-dipping will be less of a seizing experience.


Other food included fresh grapes, cherry toms, baby cucumbers and pretzels, and of course - the essential {ugh, how do they drink it??} fizzy drink.


I stuck little felt men on the cups and used the paper straws I found at the $2 shop. Yippee!


These cookies were my favourite thing ever. And SO easy. Just roll sugar cookie dough between two sheets of baking paper. Refrigerate. Cut into varying sized rectangles and squares with a large knife. Bake and cool.

I made my icing with pure icing sugar and fresh lime juice, colouring with my Wilton's icing gels. I then smeared the icing on with a knife and added coordinating M&Ms. I LOVE how they turned out.



I also made jellies - again, so simple. Serve in plastic glasses so you can enjoy the jewel-like colours.


In keeping with the theme, I also served mini frankfurters, twisties and rectangular pizzas with slices of tomato and pineapple where the Lego connector dots should go.


The boys are just at that glorious age where everything is so easy. They just entertain themselves, kick the football, play hide and seek, jump on the Wii for a spot of go-kart racing. Eat. Laugh.





I can hardly believe my wee man is nine. Happy birthday, darling Riley. We love you.




5 comments:

Sugar Pop Cafe said...

Wow! Impressive! Well done!

Posie Patchwork said...

Oh wow, that looks like so much fun & i haven't attempted cake pops yet, not sure i ever would, alone!!
Always thrilled to help with props. Everything looks delicoius & so clever, to get primary coloured icing like that, wow, well done!!
The boys looked like they had a blast, you do such an awesome fun party, love Posie

Anonymous said...

The colours look amazing. You've always had the knack of putting everything together so well. Shirl

Cate said...

Totally amazing... it looks like the boys had a wonderful time and it will be something for Riley to remember forever. He is so lucky to have such a creative Mum.

tiarastantrums said...

another smashing success of a party! Those blasted cake pops are so hard to make!! I have reverted to purchasing them! My brain can't take the stress! And please, my dear, when did little Riley grow up??

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