Feb 19

Planes, Parties, and Piñatas

by Hannah Holt »


My five-year-old flies around the house at an alarming rate. This is the child who jumped off the back of the couch, glanced off a window, and chipped his tooth on the entryway tile. But nothing keeps him down for long.

He wants to be a pilot when he grows up, so I wasn’t surprised when he requested an airplane party for his birthday.

papermache airplanes

We started with a crash-landing snack (rice krispy airplanes in chocolate pudding cups) because I think he likes crashing almost as much as flying:

IMG_7201Crashlanding Airplane snack

We decorated the room with yellow streamers and origami paper airplanes.

paper airplanes

Of course for one of our activities we made and decorated paper airplanes. [Note: the five-year-olds needed a little help with this, while the seven-year-olds had this skill mastered.]

paper airplanes2

We tested our airplanes for accuracy and distance.

I couldn’t think of a cute way to shape a cake into an airplane and all of the ones I found online looked like too much work. I opted for a sheet cake with an airplane design.

birthday cake

But my most ambitious birthday project the paper-mache airplane piñata. You’ll need to start this project at least three days before the party.

Here’s how we did it…

You’ll need:

  • newspaper (torn into strips)
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • a balloon
  • cardboard cut-out wings, tail, and propeller
  • paint
  • tissue paper or a party streamer

 1. In a small bowl, mix the water and flour until there are no lumps. Blow up the balloon, and tie it off.

2. Dip the newspaper strips into the flour paste and then run the newspaper between two fingers to remove the excess glue. Press the wet newspaper onto the balloon. I recommend placing the strips in a variety of directions to improve the strength of the final piñata.


3. Let the balloon dry for one to three days (this will depend on how many layers of paper you apply. The more layers you apply the longer the drying time). I only did one layer, so mine was dry after 24 hours. Even so, one of my children stabbed the piñata with a steak knife after eight hours and the balloon popped. I ended up with a flat bottomed airplane. Not the effect that I was going for but we made it work.


4. Since I already had a hole in my piñata, I filled it with the prizes. (Tip: it’s a good idea to fill your balloon before you decorate it anyway.) I wrapped the gaping hole with painters tape before decorating.

5. We glued a yellow streamer around and around the balloon to create a feathered look.


6. Then we painted the wings and propeller to match the streamers.


After the paint dried, we hot glued the extra accessories to the piñata. Ta da!

paper mache 4


Feb 06

Hedgehog Snack

by Hannah Holt »


Today, I have a snack you can whip up in less than a minute. It’s the Peanut Butter Hedgehog Snack:

What you’ll need:

  • A tablespoon of peanut butter
  • A handful of stick pretzels
  • Three raisins

Place a dollop of peanut butter on a plate. Balance a few pretzels in the peanut butter (you might want to break the pretzels in half). Don’t forget to put two pretzels along the sides for legs. Use raisins to form the eyes and nose. Ta da! You’re done. Consider serving it with a side of sliced apples for added healthy deliciousness.

In the next few weeks, I have a bunch of upcoming posts that I’m super excited about, including:

  • Another round of paper dolls
  • Ideas for an aviation themed birthday party
  • A post that’s so top secret I can’t tell you about it…

Don’t want to miss a post? Follow along on Facebook or Pinterest.

Jan 28

Snatching the Moon

by Hannah Holt »


Yesterday evening felt like spring. The kids and I played in the backyard until the moon came up.

Just before I called everyone inside, my son wanted me to watch him pinch the moon. I caught this picture:

It inspired me to write this…


Last night I stole the moon

and hid it in my pocket.

I found the pathway leading home

and did my best to walk it.


But night was thick about my face.

I stumbled with each try.

So I returned my pocket-moon

to light me from the sky.


Have you ever caught the moon?

Jan 21

Yin Yang Cake

by Hannah Holt »


Two years ago, twin girls joined our family.

Now my wee girls are busy toddlers.

On the outside, my girls are mirror copies of each other. They look so much alike that they still don’t “know” their own names (People are always mixing them up, so they get a lot of name confusion.)

However, they don’t need to know their names to know who they are. They’ve always had distinct personalities. One of my twins likes to walk around the house with me, chatting away in her half-speak. My other girl prefers to sit and look at the pictures in books. Give her a chunky puzzle and she’ll be entertained for most the morning. Of course both my girls love being read to, played with, and taken on walks. But watch them for more than thirty seconds, and it’s not difficult to figure out who is who.

If having twins has taught me anything, it’s this– genes may shape a person, but they don’t make one.

So for their second birthday, I couldn’t decide if I wanted to make them separate cakes or one cake. I mean, two cakes is a lot of cake! In the end, I decided to make two separate but connected cakes. I call it the yin yang cake:

1. I took this recipe for marble cake, but instead of marbling it, I poured the chocolate and vanilla batter into separate nine-inch cake pans. I also adjusted the baking time from 50 minutes to 25 minutes.

2. After the cakes cooled on a wire rack, I cut each cake into the yin-yang shape. I did this by tracing the bottom of the cake pan onto paper, folding the paper in half, and making sure my yin and yang signs were well balanced.

3. I made one batch of vanilla butter cream frosting, divided it into two bowls, and mixed 1/2 cup of unsweetened cocoa into one bowl of frosting. I ended up with one bowl of vanilla frosting and one bowl of chocolate frosting. I stacked and frosted each side of the cake separately.

4. Then I brought the two cakes together (using spatulas) to have one yin yang cake.

It’s a cake with something for everyone. You could have a slice of vanilla cake or a slice of chocolate cake… or a little of both!



Jan 14

DIY: Ring Toss Game

by Hannah Holt »


Birthday season in our house has just begun. Three of my children have birthdays in the next three weeks. So while I usually try to write up healthy snacks on this blog, the next few weeks will probably have a lot of cake and games.

Speaking of games, today I’ll show you how to make your own ring toss:

To make the ring toss you will need…

  • 18 wooden popsicle (craft) sticks
  • three wooden dowels
  • a big box
  • masking tape
  • a craft glue (like Tacky)

1. First, make three rings by gluing the popsicle sticks into hexagons. Each “ring” will have six sides and needs six sticks, like this:

Let the glue dry overnight. Note: We tried making rings with pipe cleaners first, but the fuzzy rings didn’t have enough momentum for longer throws.

2. Have an adult use a sharp knife to punch three 1/4 inch slits into the top of the box. Wedge the dowels into the slits and secure them with the masking tape.

Note: If you want to decorate the box, it’s a good idea to do this before securing the dowels.

3. Create a masking tape line on the ground a few paces behind the box. Line up behind it for a chance to throw.

Other optional activities with this game:

  • Decorate the rings and/or the box
  • Assign different point values to each of the three dowels
  • Cut the dowels into different heights for an added ring toss challenge