Friday, November 20, 2015

Hot Cocoa Challenge

After our Kitty and Cocoa party the kids wanted to do a Hot Cocoa challenge.  They love food challenges so this was the "purrfect" chance for them to take some mystery ingredients and mix it into their hot cocoa. Yummy!

If you'd like to do your own cocoa challenge at home all you need is:
paper bags for your mystery ingredients
a collection of 10-15 mystery ingredients
mugs for hot cocoa
hot cocoa
hot water
spoons for mixing
scrap paper for numbers
a bowl to put the mystery numbers in

To start things off I placed 15 mystery ingredients in paper bags and then numbered the bags.  Then I wrote numbers 1-15 on scrap pieces of paper and placed them in a bowl.  I had the kids sit down with a mug and draw numbers from the bowl and then place the corresponding ingredient from their paper bag into their mug.  Once all the bags were gone we put hot cocoa powder in their mugs with hot water and mixed it all together. Then the kids tasted their cocoa.  It was interesting to see how hard it was to taste some of the ingredients and how much other ingredients stood out. There really is no winner or looser with this challenge.  It's just fun to see what concoctions they can come up and listen to all the giggles. 

Marina: Panda Luvy
Video: Sunny Duran
Kitty ears: Sunny Duran
Cat pet food dishes: Zazzle
Cat Tshirt: Zazzle

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Kitty and Cocoa Pawty

We recently adopted a kitten named Charlotte from Frederick County Animal Control. She has brought us so much joy that we wanted to celebrate her first Christmas with us with a Kitty and Cocoa pawty. 

My kids have begged for a cat or dog for years.  I've always loved animals and I grew up with many different pets as a child. I had cats, a rabbit, a mouse, a goldfish, parakeets, and dogs.  Not all at the same time thankfully or my mother would have gone nuts. So naturally I've always wanted to give my children the experience of having a pet. Years ago when the kids where younger we tried hamsters and they didn't work out.  They were more interested in biting than letting little hands touch or hold them.  

I knew that when the time was right I wanted to adopt a pet from our local shelter.  It's such a great way to give a sweet animal a forever home. We started by visiting our local Animal Control Center which is the only shelter in Frederick county.  They had cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, birds and a chinchilla. Which made it fun to just go and look around at all the animals (and dream about adopting every single one). We quickly found out that they have a large number of cats and kittens that come into their facility daily.  Thankfully they also have a large number of people who adopt so the turn around is pretty good. When you see that many cute, adorable, soft kittens it's hard to not keep your composure. The hardest part was choosing just one.  Very often the kitten we picked was already chosen by another family so we went back to the shelter several times. 

Charlotte kind of chose us.  She walked up to the edge of her cage and sniffed and meowed and purred at me all tiny and cute. With a shortened stubby tail that we later found out she was born with. So we brought her home and it's been a wild ride having a kitten.  She keeps us laughing and giggling and on our toes.  She has a lot of energy and gets into everything.  She's always close by or under our feet.  She loves to attack our ankles and stalk us.  But when she sleeps all curled up in a ball or laid out flat on her back she's the sweetest softest thing and you can't help but pet her. 

This cute ball of fur inspired me to design a line of kitty themed products for my Zazzle shop.  I love designing and giving Zazzle gifts because they can be customized for each person. We noticed early on that the cat just eats, plays and sleeps so that became the design for some new kitty shirts and kitty food bowls . The girls are wearing their Zazzle "eat, play, sleep, repeat" shirts which they got as an early Christmas gift. I was also able to order Flannel pajama pants through Zazzle to match their shirts. 


I used our sweet new kitty food dishes to display our Oreo yarn balls and snowflake sugar cookies.  We didn't let the cat eat any of the desserts but we did let her sniff around a bit and play with the real yarn balls. After our party I washed the dishes and now we're using them for her food and water. 

Since it is her first Christmas we thought she needed a kitties first Christmas ornament for our tree. So I designed a Santa Kitty ornament just for Charlotte with her name and date on the back. 


Charlotte's favorite part was trying to eat and hide under the tree.  She knocked it down about ten times.  I'm not looking forward to putting up our full sized tree with this mischievous kitty in the house. 

After we let Charlotte roam around the table we rewarded our guest of honor with a kitty treat.  But since this was a hot cocoa party we put it in one of the cocoa mugs. The girls had a blast watching her try to get the treat out of the mug. We might have done this several times.  It wasn't easy but she managed.  She's a very resourceful kitty. 

For the kids I made kitty donuts by dipping store bought donuts in melted chocolate and used Laffy Taffy for ears then drew a kitty face on with melted chocolate. I love these because they use store bought ingredients, they're fairly easy to make, they're versatile and they're delicious. 

For the hot cocoa I made kitty paw marshmallows.  I got the idea from a store in Japan called Yawahada Mashmallow Shop that sells adorable kitty and paw shaped marshmallows but they were sold out. So I did the next best thing and created my own. Homemade marshmallows are always delicious and they're even more delicious in the shape of a kitty paw. 

Ah, kitties and cocoa. It doesn't get much better than that. 

Happy first Christmas to our sweet and sassy Charlotte or Char Char as Marina calls her.

I received compensation from Zazzle for this post and it contains affiliate links. The Humane Society did not endorse this post in anyway, I am just sharing our own personal experiences with the pet adoption process. As always all opinions are my own and were not influenced in any way. 

Sweets and Baked goods: Sunny Duran
Party Styling: Sunny Duran
Photography: Sunny Duran
Short haired grey tabby cat: Frederick County Humane Society
Cat pet food dishes: Zazzle
Cat Tshirt: Zazzle
Flannel Pajama pants: Zazzle
Porcelain Christmas ornament: Zazzle