Simple Halloween Ghost Cookies

Halloween (or any holiday) is an excellent time to start new traditions. Whether you are staying close to home due to the pandemic or avoiding the cold weather, making simple Halloween ghost cookies is a great way to celebrate. Anyways, who doesn’t like warm, gooey marshmallow cookies?

Grocery List

  • Cookie dough or the ingredients to your favorite cookie recipe.
  • Marshmallow shaped ghosts
  • Halloween sprinkles (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven.
  • Bake cookies as directed.
  • Remove at the proper time.
  • Place the ghost marshmallows and sprinkles on to the warm cookies. The marshmallow begins to melt from the heat.
  • Serve warm.
  • Enjoy the extra sweet, gooey goodness of simple Halloween ghost cookies.

These simple but tasty Halloween ghost cookies are a perfect snack for family movie night.

Family Fun Month: Camping

Celebrate Family Fun Month by getting outdoors and going camping. View the stars while sitting around a cozy campfire. Even with the current health crisis, you and your family can enjoy camping.

Tips for Camping During the Current Health Crisis

With planning and social distancing, camping is a low-risk activity for you and your family. Plus many campsite allow pets, you can bring your favorite four-legged companion along to enjoy the fun.

Plan Your Trip

Before heading out, check your state or local park guidelines for camping during a pandemic. If you are heading to a campground, register ahead of time to secure your camping space. When picking your area, try to get a campsite further away from others.

Over Pack

Generally, road trips mean a lot of stops, fast food, and more. But due to the pandemic, purchase as much as possible before going to the campground. Minimize the number of stops to and from the camping area.

Along with food, drinks, a tent, and other necessary camping equipment, consider the following.

  • Hand Sanitizer: Pack ample amounts of hand sanitizer and wipes. If you are not near the public restrooms or outdoor facet areas to wash your hands, hand sanitizer is an excellent alternative.
  • Masks: Even though you are outdoors, specific areas inside the campground may require a mask. Be respectful. Follow the guidelines.
  • First Aid Kit: Bring your own fully stocked first aid kit to handle minor cuts and scraps. Do not forget to pack extra band-aids, anti-itch medication, and other supplies. A well-packed first aid kit allows you to treat your minor ailments right at your campsite.
  • Trash Container: Create a designated area for your trash. Put all your trash into a bag or other container. Empty your trash in the proper area. Never leave your trash behind.

Have Fun

Now the packing and the basics are out of the way—time to have fun. Yes, you will still need to practice social distancing with others outside your family. But enjoy your time together.

  • Swim
  • Go paddleboarding or kayaking
  • Walk the designated trails
  • Make S’mores
  • Tell stories around the campfire
  • Stargaze
  • Photograph nature

Or simply relax and enjoy the great outdoors while sitting around a campfire.

Happy 40th Birthday, Harry Potter!

Today, July 31st, 2020, is J. K. Rowling’s character, Harry Potter’s 40th birthday. If you do not know by now, J.K. Rowling’s birthday is also today. So, here is wishing a Happy 40th Birthday to Harry Potter, “the boy who lived” and the author who brought magic alive for millions of fans.

Why celebrate? Well, the real question is, “why not celebrate.” Stay at home orders, social distancing, and other restrictions lead to canceled plans for you, your friends, or your family. Finding little things to celebrate is a great way to make memories during this current health crisis.

Ways to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday

Are you looking for simple ways to celebrate? Well, binge-watching the Harry Potter series is one of the best ways to celebrate. For extra fun, make popcorn, order pizza, or host a watch party online.

For the love of a fandom

Other ways to celebrate include:

  • Read: The new illustrated editions draw you right into the Wizarding World.
  • Join a Group: Social media hosts numerous groups, including Adult Fans of Harry Potter. Connecting with other Harry Potter fans is a beautiful way to chat about the growing fandom.
  • Subscribe: GeekGear and other monthly subscription boxes brings your love of the Wizarding World right to your doorstep.
  • Listen to a Podcast: Finding a new podcast or listening to an old favorite provides insight into the world of Harry Potter.
  • Do Crafts: Let your creativity shine.
  • Make Food: Pinterest has thousands of recipes relating to the Wizarding World. Maybe you can discover your inner chef.
  • Host a Zoom Session: Invite friends to chat with you about Harry Potter.
  • Write Fan Fiction: Put your pen to paper or start typing to write a story about the Wizarding World, Hogwarts, or the characters in the books.
  • Join a Cause: The Harry Potter Alliance advocates different worthy causes. Learn different ways to transform your love for Harry Potter to real life situations.

Celebrate July 31st; small occasions can quickly turn into lasting memories for you and your family.  For millions of fans, the day is just the beginning of Harry Potter’s magical tale.

10 Days of Harry Potter: Owl Craft 2

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, owls are useful for sending letters, packages, and more. If you were attending Hogwart’s, wouldn’t you want an owl?

Now think about your owl:

  • What is the color of your owl?
  • What color eyes does your owl have?
  • What is your owl’s name?
  • Who would be the first person you sent a letter to via your owl?

Materials Needed:

  • A ceramic owl (Wal-Mart sells ceramic owls for under $4).
  • Paint in the colors of your choice
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Put newspaper or other protective material down for painting.
  2. Paint your owl.
  3. Allow your owl to dry.
  4. Display your owl, proudly.

Write a story about your owl. Enjoy the entire creative process of making your owl.

 

10 Days of Harry Potter: Chocolate Frogs, Coins, and More

In J.K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter series, large feasts, parties, sneaking down to the kitchens, or devouring Molly’s home cooking, food is a common theme. Who wouldn’t want to eat their way through a Hogwart’s start of term feast or the extravagant Halloween festivities?

Are you wondering how to celebrate Harry Potter with special treats? Consider the following ideas.

Chocolate Frogs and Chocolate Coins

Materials Needed:

  • Frog and coin molds
    Silicone Frog Mold

  • Dipping chocolate

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. When ready, carefully spoon the chocolate into the molds.
  4. Allow hardening.
  5. Serve.

Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean 

Pick up a box of Bertie Botts Every Flavor Bean. Try and guess each flavor without looking at the guide.

Added Fun

When having a fun-filled Harry Potter food night, try something new. Many novelty stores or specialty shops sell edible insects. Make memories by trying something completely new. Who is the brave one in your family?

 

 

10 Days of Harry Potter: Chocolate Frog Craft

On the Hogwarts Express in J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the readers first learn about Chocolate Frogs. Our beloved characters Ron Weasley and Harry Potter, are sharing treats off from the trolley.

“Oh, of course, you wouldn’t know — Chocolate Frogs have cards inside of them, you know, to collect — famous witches and wizards. I’ve got about five hundred, but I haven’t got Agrippa or Ptolemy” (Rowling, 1998).

Well, you cannot make your frog jump. But you can create Chocolate Frogs out of plaster to paint. Use the plaster Chocolate frogs on different projects, including Christmas tree ornaments or wreaths. Or simply have you Chocolate Frog sitting on your desk.

How to Make Plaster Chocolate Frogs

Materials Needed:

  • Chocolate frog molds (Silicone or plastic, both molds provide excellent results when working with plaster.)
    Plastic Frog Mold

    Silicone Frog Mold
  • Plaster
  • Throw away containers for mixing plaster. (Remember not to pour remaining plaster down the sink.)
  • Water
  • Paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Place newspapers or other protective materials on your counter.
  2. Mix plaster as directed. Always add the plaster mixture to the water for a smooth and consistent mixture. (Keep in mind, the plaster hardens quickly. You need to have your molds ready to go. You can add a little extra water to provide a bit more time).
  3. Fill the molds completely.
  4. Place hangers into your mold if you want to use them as ornaments or decorative pieces on wreaths. (Paper clips or pop can tab work great for an instant, inexpensive hangers).
  5. Allow your ornaments to dry.
  6. Gently remove the frogs from the molds. You may need to tap on the mold to loosen the frog.
  7. Paint the frog.

Now you are ready to display your very own Chocolate Frog.

 

Reference

Rowling, J. K., author. (1998). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books,

10 Days of Harry Potter: Fan Art

If you type “Harry Potter fan art” into your search engine, amazing and talented results will appear. J.K. Rowling’s Wizarding World is an inspiration for artists of all levels. Making art is one of the best ways to celebrate 10 Days of Harry Potter. Whether you make graphic art or simply draw with a pencil, relax and enjoy making fan art.

Basic Art Supply List

Are you looking for a materials list? Check out the following for a basic supply list for making art.

  • Drawing pencils
  • Colored pencils
  • Markers
  • Ink
  • Chalk (Use chalk on paper or draw on the sidewalk to share your art)
  • Charcoal
  • Crayons
  • Paint
  • Watercolors
  • Drawing paper
  • Construction paper (Dark paper is great in combination with chalk)
  • Poster board
  • Glass frames (works well with ink and paint)

When you have a tight budget, purchase basic drawing materials at your local dollar store.

Use Your Imagination

  • What animal will you take to Hogwarts?
  • Draw your wand.
  • Create one of Hagrid’s magical creatures.
  • Draw the castle.
  • Paint your house colors on a poster board.
  • Draw yourself in the classroom. What would be your favorite subject at Hogwarts?
  • Draw a potion. What does the potion do?
  • Grab your sketch pad and find a perfect tree to sit under. Now, pretend you are at the Forest of Dean from the film Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. What do you see?

There are no right or wrong ways to create fan art. Take your time, listen to Harry Potter on audio, and allow your imagination flow.

 

 

References

Rowling, J. K., author. (1998). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books,

Yates, D., Heyman, D., Barron, D., Rowling, J. K., Wigram, L., Kloves, S., Serra, E., … Warner Home Video (Firm),. (2011). Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

 

 

 

Christmas in July: Making Ornaments

How is your Christmas in July celebrations going? Are you still looking for family-friendly activities to keep kids busy? Consider making ornaments from plaster. One of the best aspects of making ornaments now, you can save them to hang on your Christmas tree in December.

Materials Needed:

  • Christmas themed molds or pans (The plaster does not harm them, just wash thoroughly after use.)
  • Plaster
  • Throw away containers for mixing plaster. (Remember not to pour remaining plaster down the sink.)
  • Water
  • Paint in various colors
  • Paintbrushes

Instructions:

  1. Place newspapers or other protective materials on your counter.
  2. Mix plaster as directed. Always add the plaster mixture to the water for a smooth and consistent mixture. (Keep in mind, the plaster hardens quickly. You need to have your molds ready to go. You can add a little extra water to provide a bit more time).
  3. Fill molds.
  4. Place hangers into your mold. (Paper clips or pop can tab work great for an instant, inexpensive hook).
  5. Allow your ornaments to dry.
  6. Gently remove the ornaments from the molds. You may need to tap on the mold to loosen the ornament.
  7. Paint the ornaments.

Even younger children can help with the painting process. Just do not forget to add the date on the back. The ornaments can quickly turn into a lasting treasure.

Christmas in July: Pretzel Treats

Are you celebrating Christmas in July? Are you watching your favorite Christmas show? Do you need a quick and easy snack with a Christmas theme? Pretzel treats are a fun way to celebrate Christmas in July.

Materials Needed:

  • Dipping chocolate
  • Pretzels of any style
  • Sprinkles or other types of toppings (You can use anything to decorate the pretzels. Other toppings include nuts, miniature marshmallows, chocolate chips, etc.)

Instructions:

  1. Melt dipping chocolate as directed. You can melt the chocolate in the microwave or use a double boiler pan.
  2. Melt chocolate to desired consistency.
  3. Dip pretzels in chocolate.
  4. Add sprinkles. For extra fun, allow your children to help decorate with the sprinkles. Creating their own snacks is a great way to get everyone involved.
  5. Allow the chocolate to harden.

10 Days of Harry Potter

In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, the main character, Harry Potter, was born on July 31, 1980. As of this year, 2020, Harry Potter turns 40 years old. Since most people are staying close to home, celebrating 10 Days of Harry Potter is a fun way to pass the time.

Ways to Celebrate Harry Potter’s Birthday

Thousands of people around the globe are part of the Wizarding World fandom. Are you wondering how to celebrate the incredible Wizarding World? Check out the following ideas below:

  • Read the Books: Whether you are reading the series for the first time or the 15th, find a secluded area and immerse yourself into the Wizarding World.
  • Listen to the Audiobooks: If you are a multi-tasker, listen to the audiobooks of the Harry Potter series. The narrators do a fantastic job of making the characters come alive.
  • Watch the Movies: From watching the movies over a week to binge-watching the whole series, enjoy watching the film from the beginning. Watching the Harry Potter series is a great family night activity.
  • Play Games: Board games, video games, or made-up games can provide entertainment while celebrating Harry Potter’s birthday.
  • Do Crafts: On a rainy afternoon, do crafts inspired Harry Potter themed crafts. From drawing to sculpting, making Wizarding World crafts is a wonderful way to celebrate the “boy who lived.” (Rowling, 1998).
  • Food: As Remus Lupin’s character states, “Eat, you’ll feel better.” (Rowling, 2010). Of course, Lupin was offering chocolate after a dementor attack. But still, the idea is the same. Yorkshire Pudding, Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Bean, Pumpkin Pasties,  and the entire Hogwarts feast are an easy inspiration for trying themed Wizarding World recipes.
  • Host a Birthday Party: With social distancing, celebrating with friends or family may be difficult. But you can still host a birthday party for Harry Potter with your immediate family. Even if your baking skills are not the best, bake a cake, like Hagrid’s. “Anyway – Harry,” said the giant, turning his back on the Dursleys, “a very happy birthday to yeh. Got summat fer yeh here – I mighta sat on it at some point, but it’ll taste all right.”(Rowling, 1998).
  • Photo Session: Whether you have an entire cosplay outfit or your favorite Harry Potter t-shirt, set up a photo session. Use wands and other props. Recreate scenes. Take a lot of photos, print them, and make a scrapbook.

Having fun is the best way to celebrate the wonderful fictional character, Harry Potter’s birthday.

 

References:

Rowling, J. K. (1998). Harry Potter and the sorcerer’s stone. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books

Rowling, J. K. (2010). Harry Potter and the prisoner of Azkaban. London: Bloomsbury