Under The Sea Themed Birthday Party

My daughter recently turned one and we had an ‘under the sea’ birthday party for her. This party was lots of fun and I am going to share with you how we decorated the house and what food we served.

I wanted to make this party visually appealing so that there was lots to look at and to make the theme come to life.

We had lots of decorations hanging from the ceiling including shiny coils with fish characters on and we also hung string across the rooms and draped with pieces of crepe paper to create seaweed, coral and sea.

We also decorated the lamp shade to make it look like a large jellyfish hanging from the ceiling!

I made some salt dough fish characters and painted them, these were used to decorate windows.

For the table, I bought a set of mermaid tableware which included tablecloths, napkins, cups, plates, bowls, party hats and party blowers. It also came with bunting which we hung up in the rooms.

I made some shaker bottles for the children to play with. These had water that was coloured blue in them with glitter and seashells.

I made up simple party bags for the children. Each child had two small tubes of bubbles and a party blower. The under ones got a fish soft toy and the older children got two packets of under the sea themed stickers. Each guest also took home some birthday cake.

For the food, everything we made fitted to the theme. We had fish shaped pizza, sea creature shaped potato, sweet potato and butternut squash chips and a coral reef vegetable tray.

The pizza dough was all homemade and covered with a variety of colourful toppings. The recipe for this pizza was from one of my old recipe books that is based on Bible stories.

For the chips, we bought some metal cutters in the shape of a seahorse, shell and starfish. Once the vegetables were cut they were then coated in a little oil and baked. These were cut the night before and left in water.

I found the coral reef idea online but made it up using different vegetables to those I had seen to create my own version of a vegetable coral reef.

For dessert we had blue jelly with fruit shaped fish in, a turtle watermelon with fruit salad and banana dolphins. We also had fish shaped biscuits.

The birthday cake was a turtle on the sand. This was a madeira cake decorated with buttercream and fondant icing.

I hope you have enjoyed looking through the photos of the party food and decorations and hope that I have provided you with some inspiration to throw your own ‘under the sea’ party!

A Year of Activities for Baby/Toddler – Jar Idea

My daughter is rapidly approaching her 1st birthday and is at the age where she needs a variety of activities and things to do to keep her occupied and help her to learn new things.

I decided to come up with quite a few different themes for us to do focussed activities. Each theme will last 2 weeks, except for Christmas which will last the whole month of December.

My idea is to put the different themes into a jar and pull out a new theme every 2 weeks. The exception to this being Christmas and Easter – which I will do in the lead up to these. I have enough themes for this to last for a year.

The plan is to go to the library and borrow books relating to the theme and have those to read for the 2 weeks. I will also plan focussed activities such as making play dough and using shaped cutters that match the theme. Singing songs and watching videos that link in. We could also have visits out that relate to the theme. I am hoping to do painting and other crafts as well. I will also have toys out for playing with that match to the theme.

This way my daughter is learning about new things and is constantly being stimulated by the variety of activities. It will also help me to be more creative with activity planning and to come up with new ideas.

I am hoping to start this next month.

I am really enjoying using jars as a way to be more proactive and motivated to do new things.

A New Recipe A Week – Jar Idea

Amongst my collection of books I have a large amount of recipe books. I really love recipe books and could easily keep adding to my collection. I could spend hours just flicking through the recipes looking at all the lovely pictures which inspire me to cook.

I am always keen to try new recipes but often don’t get round to choosing a recipe before we do our food shop so I don’t normally have the right ingredients available.

I have decided to choose 52 recipes from my books and write them down on a piece of paper. I will cut these out and put them into a jar. Each week before our food shop I will choose a recipe at random out of the jar and that will be the new meal we will try that week.

This way we are getting to try something new each week and also build up our collection of ingredients as we buy what is required for each recipe.

I am hoping this is a good way of finally getting round to cooking and eating all of those tasty looking meals!

This will not be my only recipe jar. I also intend to do the same with desserts and also cakes and biscuits. I hope to blog about those soon and also more jar ideas that aren’t food related.

What has Been Cooking in the Kitchen this Week?

I wanted to share with you some of my home cooking over the last week.

I made two different cakes – an orange syrup cake. I actually used satsumas instead of oranges. The recipe required the oranges (or in my case satsumas) to be coarsely chopped, boiled, drained and then blended in a food processor. This was then added to the cake mixture. I thought this was a very good way to get the citrus flavour throughout the cake. On the top was a sugar syrup flavoured with satsuma rind. The cake also had semolina in it which gave it a lovely texture. Definitely a recipe I would repeat.

The other cake I made was a Lemon Yoghurt cake. This was a very light cake made up with whipped egg whites to give the light texture. It also had a lot of yoghurt in which gave it a lovely flavour. I made this cake in a bundt tin – unfortunately it didn’t come out of the tin too well but I managed to patch it up! I had enough mixture left to make small cupcakes as well.

For our Monday night dinner I made turkey meatballs. These contained leeks, courgette, turkey mince, oregano, paprika, black pepper and tomato puree. I mixed these ingredients together and then rolled into balls and baked in the oven. I then made up a simple tomato sauce and added in the meatballs.

The turkey meatballs were light and soft and had a great flavour.

For lunch time I made a roasted squash soup. The roasted squash was blended with leeks, stock, herbs and a little chilli powder. A simple home made soup.

The squash roasted really well. When baked, I scooped out the seeds and then scooped the flesh from the skin and chopped into chunks.

Another successful meal I made was a Parsnip Quiche. Unfortunately I have no pictures of this as it was all eaten up rather quickly! The filling consisted of caremilised leeks with a little brown sugar and then topped with sliced parsnips and an egg and milk mixture with cheddar cheese. For a final touch I added sliced goats cheese on the top and then baked. This was all encased in a homemade shortcrust pastry.

I enjoy trying new recipes and making my own recipes up and I get pleasure from seeing loved ones enjoying the food I have prepared for them.