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10 Magical Harry Potter Gift Ideas

I think the entire wizarding world will celebrate the birth of Harry Potter tomorrow.  In honor of his birthday and the mark he's made upon muggle society, I wanted to share 10 magical Harry Potter gift ideas for the Harry Potter fan.

Harry Potter Marauder's Map Tapestry Throw

This Way To The Ministry of Magic Vinyl Sticker

Magic Wand Remote Control

Don't miss out on our Dementor Knock Down game printable, lots of party ideas, and free party printables.

Blackberry Lemonade Popsicles

When I was a child, we would spend the summers visiting my grandparents on their California ranch.  The huge ranch had wild blackberries lining every fence, bush, and stream on the grounds.  I can remember wandering the fields while eating blackberries right off the vine.

So, I can't imagine anything that screams summer to me more than homemade Blackberry Lemonade Popsicles.  Luckily, Melinda from Home.Made.Interest shared her recipe at our Saturday Dare to Share Linky party last week.

Here's what she wrote:

"My kids have been on a popsicle kick lately and the store bought brands are convenient but full of things I can’t even pronounce.  I was at HomeGoods the other day and happened to see a popsicle kit for only $6.  I figured, what the heck, I’ll give it a try.  My youngest, Harper, has been really enjoying blackberries so I figured I would go with that.

I decided to add lemonade since, well it’s summer and doesn’t blackberry lemonade sound delicious? Turns out blackberry lemonade popsicles are even better!"
Go check out the complete recipe on how to make your own Blackberry Lemonade Popsicles and enjoy a little bit of summer before it's all gone and we're on the bus back to school.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks

I don't know why it is but I HATE to make dinner in the summer.  I'm not sure if it's because we've been playing all day and then I have to actually work...or maybe it's the heat that saps all my energy and my willpower to do anything...or maybe it's just cooking the same things over and over that kills my desire to do it again.

Who knows?
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe by Kandy Kreations

I'm so glad to have my slow cooker to save me on days like that.  It's so nice to be able to throw everything into the cooker early in the day when I still have my energy and not worry about it again until it's just about ready to eat.  Plus, the lack of having to turn the oven on to heat my house up even more is an extra bonus that I love.

In case you're like me and dragging yourself into the remaining days of summer, here's an easy slow cooker recipe that tastes great and will have your kids sliding up to the table to eat on the first "dinner" call.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks Chicken

Start with one small frozen chicken breast per person.  (Since Mini Me and Dardevil don't eat that much, I only put one in for the two of them to share.) Throw your chicken into the slow cooker.

Depending upon how much work you want to do, you can either use canned Chicken gravy or make your own.  I like to make mine since it's not that much extra work and is ALOT cheaper than the canned stuff.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks Gravy

If you're making your own, I used McCormick Premium Poultry Gravy and make 5 servings worth of gravy for 6 chicken breasts.  If you're making less for a smaller family, then adjust accordingly.

Add your water and gravy mix to a sauce pan, mix well and heat to boiling.  Once boiling, lower your heat and simmer for 5-8 minutes.  I did about five minutes since it would be simmering in the slow cooker all day anyway.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks Chicken and Gravy

Dump your gravy mix on top of the frozen chicken breasts.  You'll want the chicken to be mostly covered by the gravy mix. Cook on low for 6 hours.

When you are about ready for dinner, cook enough rice to feed your family.  (Ours eats about three cups at a meal.)

Slower Cooker Hawaiian Chicken Shredding Chicken

Uncover your chicken and use a sharp spatula to shred your chicken into pieces.  You really won't be able to see your chicken at first, so just start chopping that spatula into the gravy (but be careful because it's hot!)  As you shred the chicken, you'll be able to mix it and see the larger pieces that need to be chopped a little more.
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks Toppings

Once your chicken and rice are ready, assemble any other ingredients that you might enjoy in your meal.  One of the great things about this dinner is that it is versitile and each person can make the meal to their own tastes.  Our basic ingredients are usually chunk pineapple, chinese noodles, olives, green onions, shredded cheese, and coconut.  You can add whatever you like, however you like it.

To make your meal, start adding your ingredients to your plate.  The meal gets it's name from the building of the ingredients upwards into a haystack shape.  I like to have the chinese noodles, alot of rice, shredded cheese, and then chicken on top.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks

Daredevil likes his with olives, while Mini Me likes his with just rice and chicken.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks

I Dear Hubby adds everything except the kitchen sink.  So feel free to get experimental and enjoy.

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Haystacks

Craftsy Summer Clearance Sale and Dare to Share

Why is there always so much to do when you get back home from vacation? I feel like I've been doing laundry, cleaning house, and trying to get reorganized for days now.  So not fun.

But, at least I am finally home again and I just got my new computer up and running yesterday after the big crash.  Now I have to repurchase and download all the programs again.  Why can't anyone figure out a way to transfer programs when you purchase a new computer?  UGH! Just one more thing to try and get organized again.

We did have a little bit of fun this week with Mini Me's tenth birthday.  I love that he still finds the little things so wonderful and kissing girls so "gross".  With his brothers into girls already, I love that I don't have to worry about him yet.  I just wish he'd stay little a little bit longer.

Thanks to our vacation return, we didn't have a big party for him.  We just had family and a few friends enjoying dinner, Tie Dye cupcakes, and swimming together.  It was nice to just take a few minutes and celebrate him.

I admit that I can't wait to get back to crafting this week.  But after a summer of trying to keep the kids busy, I need to do some craft supply restocking first.  Are you finding that's the case for you too?

 Craftsy Summer Clearance Sale

If so, it's a good thing that the Craftsy's Summer Supplies Clearance is happening NOW.

Shop and enjoy up to 75% off yarn, fabric and project kits before they sell out. Take advantage of some of the biggest savings of the year! Hurry, offer expires Monday, July 28 at Midnight (Mountain Time). 

I know I need to go get some yarn for my Christmas projects this year.  I can't beleive Christmas is right around the corner already and I need to get busy.  Maybe I need to get over to Craftsy and find some fun Christmas crafts to make this year.

Have you started Christmas projects yet?  What are you working on now?  I can't wait to see!


Frozen Inspired Worth Melting For Collection

Do you love the movie Frozen?

I am so excited that Disney came out with a great movie with a sisterly love story.  After all, we may not all find our True Love in this lifetime, but we all have a sister that's worth risking everything for, either biologically or one of the heart.

If you have a little girl who is planning a Frozen birthday party or just loves "warm hugs" from Olaf and friends, here is a GroopDealz collection you'll be excited over.  But you need to go check it out NOW because some of the cutest parts of the collection are selling out FAST!

Worth Melting for Collection - Frozen Inspired at GroopDealz

Tie Dye Cupcakes

We went shopping last week for a birthday cake for Mini Me's big day yesterday.  He originally wanted a yellow cake with Funfetti frosting.  Then he decided he wanted a chocolate cake with a yellow layer of cake on top.  But when we got to the store, he saw the new Duff Goldman's Tie-Dye Cake Mix, and decided that was, for sure this time, what he wanted.

The cake was a pretty cool design, but I just couldn't swallow paying $4.00 for a box of cake mix.  That's crazy.  Instead, we purchase a white cake and decided to DIY our own Tie Dye Cupcakes.

White Cake Mix used for Tie Dye Cupcakes from Kandy Kreations

We started by making a white cake mix using the egg whites to keep the white color pure for dying.  I'm not sure what would happen if we used a yellow cake or used the whole cake recipe on the white mix.  I may give it a try sometime, but we didn't here.

Dyeing Cake Mix colors for Tie Dye Cupcakes from Kandy Kreations

After the cake was mixed, we separated the batter into several different bowls.  I let Mini Me play with the food coloring to dye to batter any color he wanted.  He ended up making 8 different colors.

Tie Dye Cupcakes from Kandy Kreations

We lined the cupcake tins and proceeded to start adding blobs and dots and layers of colored batter to the cupcakes.  I think this was Mini Me's favorite part.  We had a lot of fun mixing the different colors.

Tie Dye Cupcakes from Kandy Kreations

Once the cupcakes were about 3/4 of the way full (we only got 18 cupcakes doing it this way), we cooked them as directed on the box mix.

They turned out so cool!

Happy Birthday Plate Tradition

Tomorrow is Mini Me's tenth birthday.  I can't believe it.

My oldest is planning to leave the house soon to go off to school and my youngest is a whole decade old.  I don't even want to think about how old that makes me.

As we are prepping for the "big day", I wanted to share one of our fun, and easy, birthday traditions.

After all the "Bake at 350" plate and cup projects that I've shared with you, you knew I'd need to do one for my kiddo's birthday right?

For this project I bought a boring round circle plate from Dollar Tree and used the Sharpie Oil-Based Paint Marker.  I wanted to see if the results were better than using the regular sharpie markers.

Every year Mini Me asks for a big cupcake cake for his birthday, so drawing a cupcake on his birthday plate was a no brainer for me.  But you can draw anything you want...candles, cake, balloons, streamers, the sky's the limit.

When you are done drawing, bake your plate at 350 degrees for 30 minutes to set the paint.

I have to admit, I like the Paint Markers better than regular sharpies.  The colors baked on so much brighter.  But that's just me.  Have you tried both ways?  Which way do you like better?