Friday, July 15, 2011

Harry Potter Party!

OK…it’s not really a party.  It’s just me and my boys.  Tonight we went to see the final Harry Potter movie and we LOVED it!  I cried like a baby through the whole thing!

We left the girls with a babysitter, and took the boys out to dinner and to see the movie.  After visiting Hogwarts/Hogsmeade last week, we are REALLY head over heels in HP mode at the moment!  The boys brought their wands to the theater and had a blast!

After the movie we came home and I surprised the boys with the 2000+ piece Diagon Alley Lego's set.  They were just a tiny bit excited.

And we decided to make our own butterbeer!  It was really easy and turned out great.  I thought I would share the recipe for any other Harry Potter geeks out there who want to try it.  I found several recipes online, and sort of combined them to make what I think tastes closest to what we had at the park (which was approved by JK Rowling herself).  Many recipes I came across were complicated and involved boiling brown sugar, adding rum extract…yikes!  So here is a super simple version:

First, make your “froth” for the top.  Don’t cheat with whipped cream…it needs to be the real stuff!

1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
1/3 cup, plus 1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons powdered sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla

Whip with high speed mixer until nice and thick.

In your glass (or stein!) pour in 1 cup of IBC Cream Soda

Add about 1/4 cup of butterscotch syrup (ice cream topping) and stir until completely mixed.  You can add a little more or less according to taste.  I like a little less...the boys liked about 1/3 cup of the butterscotch.

 Spoon your yummy cream onto the top and enjoy!

I added some shaved ice from our snow cone maker because the cream soda wasn't cold.  It made it a bit like the frozen version.  I can't wait to try it steaming warm in the winter!

I remember reading the first four books (censoring the end of Goblet of Fire) to Aiden when he was four years old.  We wanted to instill a love of Potter at an early age :)  Apparently it worked.  He finished the "darker" books on his own when he got older, and turned in to an HP geek like his parents.

Butterbeer, the final HP movie, and the coolest HP lego set ever.  Oh, and the babysitter had the girls in bed when we got home.  It's a good night!  We just sat around talking about the movie, how it was different from the book, and our favorite parts.  Love those boys!

Did anyone else do anything fun to celebrate the last Harry Potter flick?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vacation of a Lifetime! Day one- Harry Potter

Our family recently spent a fun filled week in Orlando.  It was amazing and magical and perfect and expensive...but I am so glad we did it!

It was the three younger kids first time on a plane (and Aiden's first that he remembers) and they were as excited about the flight as the vacation its self.  And I was pretty excited too...a two hour direct flight or an 18 hour drive.  Nice!

 They were amazed to be flying ABOVE the clouds!

Our fun began at Universal's Islands of Adventure...The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.    We are all huge HP fans, and visiting Hogwarts and Hogsmeade was a dream come true.  The boys thought we went for them, but the truth and dad have been fans WAAY longer than they have!  Ha!  We were all giddy as we entered and were immediately greeted by the Hogwarts Express.

Hogwart's was truly breathtaking.  They did an amazing job.  I think it is even better than Cinderella's castle! 

A couple of really excited boys!

 Our first stop was Ollivander's Wand shop.'s pretty excited too!

They take a group into the shop and Ollivander chooses one person for wand selection.  The wand chooses the wizard, you know.  To our surprise and delight...Aiden was chosen!
 He was given a few wands to try out.  The spells didn't go too well with the first few wands.  Made a mess :)

But finally, this wand chose Aiden.  Alder wood, with a phoenix feather core.  Perfect!

 I think this was my favorite part of our whole trip!  He will never, ever forget that experience.  And the really cool part is that Aiden is eleven...the age that Harry (and every other wizard) gets his first wand.

And the shop was so awesome too!  The walls were lined with dusty wand boxes.

Abbott didn't have a wand choose him, so he chose a wand :)

 Notice the owl droppings...that's attention to detail!

The Monster Book of Monsters...don't want to get too close to that book...yikes!

Zonko's Joke shop was super fun!

Top to bottom packed with wizarding gadgets, toys, and pranks.

Love the Extendable Ears!

Adeline purchased a Pygmy Puff.  They do a really cute naming ceremony and she chose the name Chilly (or maybe Chili?)  We aren't really sure where she came up with that.

And this was the only way she would let me photograph Chilly.

HoneyDukes Sweetshop was, well, sweet!  

U No Poo (not to be confused with "you know who")...the constipation sensation!

 Aiden bought a chocolate frog and got Godric Gryffindor's card.  He was so excited!

Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans.  The kids just ate these today and tasted some interesting flavors like soap, earwax, pepper, and bogeys.  Surprisingly, they liked grass.

These Cauldron cakes were adorable!  I can't wait to try to make them!

 Hogwarts Frog Choir

 We got our picture taken with the babes from Beauxbatons and dudes from Durmstrang.

Pumpkin Juice wasn't as yummy as we thought it would be.  It was kind of like cider and I think I might like it in the fall.  It wasn't very thirst quenching in the July heat.  The bottle is super cute though :)

The Marauder's Map...actually had little moving footprints!

Lunch at the Three Broomsticks!

Here are my kiddos chillin' in a booth at the Three Broomsticks...drinking Butterbeer.  I'm so excited just remembering how cool it was!

 We didn't try the Hog's Head Brew :)

We ordered the "Great Feast".  It was ribs, rotisserie chicken, roasted vegetables, potatoes, corn on the cob, and salad.  Can I get a yum?

We were all incredibly excited to taste Butterbeer.  They have regular and frozen, so we tried both of course!  I think everyone preferred the frozen variety, but they were both delicious!  It was similar to cream soda, but with a really creamy, frothy head.

 And, of course, the building was amazing!

Annoying little mandrake...remember them from Chamber of Secrets?  

I was so in awe of all the the Gringott's ATM.

Anna didn't buy her wand in Ollivander's because she was holding out for a replica of Ginny's wand.  Here the girls are trying out replica wands belonging to all of the HP Characters.   

My little witch and wizards showing of some magic.

In case you can't tell...we really, really loved our time spent in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter.  I honestly could have flown home without spending a day day at Disney and I would have gone home happy.  It was THAT great!

However, the girls couldn't ride the HP rides, and didn't really appreciate the shops and such as they haven't read the books and aren't allowed to watch most of the movies.  So...we headed over to Seuss Landing to have a bit of fun with them.

It's no HP...but it was pretty stinkin' cute.

And this little girl was in heaven!

However, even on the Cat in the Hat ride, I am longingly taking a picture of Hogwarts in the distance!

 Sassy little Thing 1 and Thing 2!

It was a spectacular day.  It did, however, leave us dying to go back!  They are refurbishing in 2012.  Rumor has it that they underestimated the popularity of the place and are going to expand by adding Diagon Alley in order to accommodate more people at a time.  The shops are really neat, but in order to keep it authentic, they are tiny!  An expansion is definitely we have vowed to return to check it out :) 

No better way to end a day than with a wizard duel with your brother.