How do you say Happy Valentine’s Day to those you love? Flowers, candy, cards, or some even bigger display? Or do you prefer to do something special together? Or is it one of those days that just slips by? I saw a funny “quote” the other day. It was a photo from Star Wars and the caption was “I’ll be celebrating Valentine’s Day Han’s style….Solo!” Maybe that’s more you 🙂
We don’t make a super big hoohaw about Valentine’s Day, a few special things, like maybe chocolate or sometimes flowers. I’m usually in favor of homemade or home-printed Valentines. (OK, I admit sometimes I put way too much work into the “homemade” Valentines that the kids take to school. But this year, I put in 10 minutes of work on a printable, and then they are on their own, I’m just too tired,with a been there, done that kind of feeling). Anwyays, I came up with a brilliant idea that I think will make a memorable Valentine’s Day for us this year: The kids are in charge of making and serving supper for my husband and I. Sounds a tad dangerous, but I intend to enjoy it! We’ll see how it goes…
After having said that, I admit I did make a few Valentine’s cookies. I had the dough in the fridge and a few more M&Ms from the last couple of posts! 🙂 And I had these cute letter cookie cutters to try out! (A fun gift from a friend) So here goes a little tutorial for some fairly easy, but attention-getting cookies.
Ingredients: chocolate cookie dough and candy melts (I use Wilton brand) and letter cookie cutters (or just freehand it) and small heart cutters.Amor= love in Spanish 😉 Galletas=Cookies! Cut out letters and a bunch of small or medium hearts for bases.Bake and let cool…..cool!Melt up some red and white candy melts and get ready to pipe them out of baggies with only a tiny corner snipped off…Squeeze strings of candy melt out while moving back and forth over all the letters. Repeat with next color.Then pick up each letter and break off the extra bits of candy melt off the sides, this is really easy and works well.Line up the letters and the bases, some letters need two hearts for their bases.Use some more candy melt to attach the bases, I used dark cocoa candy melts (only took 3 melts)Holding the letters in place for about 5 seconds was mostly enough to balance the letters, but if necessary, prop them up for a bit…The candy melts set up quite quickly. Here’s the bird’s eye view:And there you go! The letters are quite sturdy and just so fun looking! Great for a Valentine’s Day centerpiece.Oh wait! Since you have the cookie dough out, and maybe a few extra cookies baked, go ahead and decorate some more for your centerpiece. Here’s how I did it with Nutella and M&Ms using the same idea from the other day’s post: The kids wanted to cut out some Os and Xs for hugs and kisses, so I used up the last of the red M&Ms on these:And here’s one for you from me (sorry it’s not edible but I’m all about digital stuff)
I’d love to hear from you if you try out some of my little cookie techniques! 🙂
And back to Narnia! We’ve been up to some more DIY (do it yourself) Narnia theme stuff. I’m still here with the Magician’s Nephew. I wanted to include a photo of the book cover from the books that I grew up reading, since they seem a little rare. These ones were published in 1983 and were new when we were given a boxed set of the 7 books. I remember that I wasn’t allowed to read them right away, I had to wait till I was older (10, I think) and I used to gaze in longing at the box…which looked like this:
The illustrations for the covers and box were by Stephen Lavis. Here’s the cover of the first book, and this is how I will always think of it. I loved these illustrations, and like that each book had one of the symbols from that story on the front cover. This one has the apple…And about that apple…..I made some (totally awesome) caramel apples for one of our Narnia treats. For the special apple that Digory picked, I used some edible silver spray paint to make it shine. That caramel was so so very good, I feel like being greedy and not sharing the recipe for it, but that doesn’t seem quite right….so you can find it here. If you really want. But you might not want to because it’s really full of calories and sugar and all that stuff. But just in case you really want to, I will share. Oh wait, I can’t find the link, too bad. If you reallllly want it, beg and I’ll look for the recipe!! 😉Here’s the apple and a quote from the end of the book after he gets the apple and takes it home….And now for some DIY ideas from our display. Start with some empty bottles…This the quote that I wanted to portray in this part of the display in our living room…We had the bottles, now for the candles. All candles now-a-days seem to be dripless. So these ones needed some help. Now, I’ve always been careful about letting my kids play with fire, but I figured they are quite old enough now, and when I remember all the fun stuff Henry and I did playing with fire when we were kids….(we did live in cement houses), it seemed like a good time….Using other candles, we dripped wax down the sides of candles in bottles. Then we melted crayons to add some different colors. Then we lit crayons as torches. I heard that one crayon can burn for 30 minutes. You never know when that fact might come in handy.And then parts of supper (garbanzo beans) were roasted over the candles…It was all fun, and made a great ambiance for our supper, and later, a perfect Narnia display. Oh, here’s something that didn’t make it into the display though I really wanted one…a guinea pig!I came up with another fun display or diorama thing, with Fledge the winged horse and Digory when he’s in the walled garden. If you look closely you can see the witch hiding behind the tree with an apple in her hand, and the sleepy-looking bird in the tree. The cutouts look really cool in the bonsai tree, but the coolness doesn’t show up the in the photos! The lighting is so terrible today, a grey cold winter day…so photographing the tree felt impossible….these are the best photos I could get…
And this is what the gate at the walled garden said:A few more quotes from The Magician’s Nephew. Can you tell I’m having fun with this theme??
The Magician’s Nephew is the first book in the Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis, and I’ve always thought that it’s my favorite. “It is a very important story because it shows how all the comings and goings between our own world and the land of Narnia first began.” (Though every time I start reading any book from the series, I think this one is my favorite!) Can you tell I’ve got Narnia on the brain? Let’s start at the very beginning….
When I first thought of having a Narnia theme around here, I thought: a display. Then I thought: baking. That’s how my brain works. How to display something edible with a theme. That’s what it’s all about, people!
So in today’s post I have our first display, for the first book, The Magician’s Nephew. The book starts out with two children named Polly and Digory exploring an old house, and accidentally ending up in Uncle Andrew’s study. He is a magician, or magician wanna-be and has supposedly found a way to travel to a different world. Or at least he thinks it’s possible, but has only tried it out on a guinea pig, who unfortunately can’t tell anything about his experiences in the other world! So Uncle Andrew needs someone else to try it out! But not himself, of course! He offers to let Polly have one of the lovely shiny yellow rings that are humming on a red wooden tray on his desk….
I love the image of the red wooden tray with the shiny green and yellow rings! I knew that it had to be a part of my display. I had already decided to start off with things that would remind me of Uncle Andrew’s study. I dug around in our basement and found some old-looking and even just large books. Some old candlesticks, an ancient globe, anything that looked old. (I wanted sealing wax and an old microscope, but didn’t have them on hand!) My old wooden “treasure chest” with safari animals on it was perfect, representing the secret box where Uncle Andrew first found the dust from another world, and the safari animals were perfect graphics for the animals who burst out of the ground in the new land of Narnia! There are a few other symbols in here that weren’t from the study, but just appeared in the rest of the book (like the golden apple, but more on that later!)
Back to the red tray….I thought a lot about it. How to do it? I didn’t want to buy anything for this project, (except the special plastic animals, in this case, the winged horse). A picture frame could work as a tray….yay, found one from an old school award. Next step: to paint. My son was happy to help me out with this project and painted the frame and a piece of cardboard red. After that, we added some wood-look lines and a few sprays of glimmery paint, then a bit of distressing with brown paint. I really really wanted to make handles for this tray, and spent a lot of brain power on it, but didn’t end up having the time. Assemble the frame without the glass, presto, a tray!
Next: the rings. That took a lot of thought, and it wasn’t till the last minute that I thought of making cookies. But how perfect (much better than another idea of cutting up paper rolls from toilet paper). Here are the cookies, step by step. Many of the photos were taken by my son, as those are my awkward-looking hands in the photos. For the cookies, I used the End-All for chocolate cookies recipe from Lilaloa, so yummmy, and melted Wilton candy melts for the icing.
Cut out small circles cookies. They are about 1 and 1/2 inch cookies.Melt up some black candy melts in a small baggie and snip off a corner. Outline 2 circles per cookie.(When I saw these photos I realized how strangely I hold the icing bags! ha! And don’t worry, that is fresh chocolate candy melt under my fingernail!)With yellow candy melts, snip off a bigger corner and fill in outlines that have already set. Then go for the green!Before the “icing” on each cookie had set, I added a small white line for a bit of a “shine” on one side of each ring. Then later when they were set and hardened, added a white asterisk to make it look like a sparkle. Can’t leave well enough alone, I wanted more shine. I painted on a bit of silver sparkle, too. It went faster than it sounds. Really.All that spiffing up and you can hardly notice…. ! Set out the rings in pairs of yellow and green on the red tray! We’re ready to travel to the Wood between the Worlds and on to Narnia…(My son was practicing some fancy photography techniques…) This is how Polly must have felt when she touched the yellow ring….“They were no bigger than ordinary rings, and no one could help noticing them because they were so bright. They were the most beautifully shiny little things you can imagine. If Polly had been a very little younger she would have wanted to put one in her mouth.” (I have always loved that description!)I think the “funnest” part about these ring cookies, was sending them to school in my kids’ lunches, then asking them if they had whisked off to Narnia during Math class!!! 😉