• artsy fartsy,  how-to's,  party party

    Galaxy Hot Chocolate in Galaxy Mugs!


    I’m about to blog Bug’s amazing, 11th-birthday, galaxy-themed party but I have a few galaxy things I want to share first individually and I’m thinking a bunch of posts is better than one crazy long one. Or maybe not. Who knows.

    First up is Galaxy Hot Chocolate in galaxy-painted mugs. Amazing right? I was inspired by this super-over-loaded sugar-blitzed-unicorn hot chocolate. (Thank you Plumeriacat for the heads up on that one!) We tried to visit the store that makes these. They are local but the line was out the door and around the corner so we made do with our imagination.


    Basically, we made hot chocolate in a crock pot using this recipe.  This was a great idea because it could sit on the counter slowly-warming for two hours without me having to worry about it.  We tried to add purple food coloring to the mix to make it more majestic but the coloring didn’t stick. The brown of the cocoa was too powerful. I think I could have made it with white chocolate but I’m not a fan of white chocolate. (blech!) In the end, the hot chocolate was a light purple-brown color but that didn’t really matter because Bug’s birthday party was outside at night and you couldn’t really see the hot chocolate under layers and layers of whipped cream anyway. We topped the towering whipped cream with these sprinkles which are so so so so cool, by the way. Totally worth splurging on. I wish I had made some homemade star marshmallows and bought a whipped cream dispenser and maybe colored the whipped cream lavender but I had to cut my losses by that point. You can’t do everything all the time I’ve learned.


    What I heard at the party was that the hot chocolate was DELICIOUS! “Like a candy bar melted in a cup!” said Annalie.  I wish I would have doubled the recipe though because we ran out! Every kid got one cup but they would have gone back for more if there had been any. I also poured it into a thermos dispenser so that the kids could serve themselves without slopping sticky hot chocolate all over the place with a ladle. This worked well until the pump got sticky and refused to pump anymore. Now that I understand how the pump works I could easily clean the seal and get it working again but out in the dark, during the party I had no such wisdom. So we popped the top off the thermos and poured it the old fashioned way for the last two kids waiting.


    Now you are probably wondering how we made the galaxy mugs. It’s not a perfect craft but it was pretty fun.

    First, we bought a bunch of cheap, dark gray mugs from Ikea. I would have preferred black but no such cups existed in my price range. Gray was fine. Then I bought special made-for-glass enamel paint. There are a lot of porcelain paints that you can buy online but unfortunately I had a deadline and couldn’t wait for the premium brands to get to me in the mail. I had to sort it out at Michaels, my worst favorite place in the world, but I was lucky and found the one friendly employee who let me in on some folk art secrets. If there is a wine glass symbol on the lid you can paint this on glass! Who knew! Probably everyone. But this really helped me. The cool thing about this particular paint is that you can bake it on and it holds up to regular hand-washing. I wouldn’t trust a dishwasher (though they say you can) but it can take quite a few washings. I tested.

    So where was I? Right, paint. After you are sure you have food-safe, non-toxic, made-for-glass-and-ceramic paint, you begin the process. First clean any fingerprints or sticker residue off the mug with rubbing alcohol. Then smudge on some black paint with a foamy sponge. I even used my fingers and it seemed to work well too. Then dab on some lighter colors like purple or teal, but use the colors sparingly. Smudge and smear and squint your eyes so that if everything is blurry your smudges sort of remind you of a nebula. This part is tricky and you will convince yourself that it all looks like crap but don’t worry! This is part of the process and when you add the white splatter stars it will all come together! Just trust me.


    Smudge, smudge, smudge and then! Load up a toothbrush (one that you don’t care about obviously) with white enamel paint and gently flick on some stars. I don’t have a magic method to this. You want small atmospheric white dots and not big oblong splatters so you’ll have to experiment with how you flick the toothbrush and distance you flick paint from the mug a bit until you get it just right. If you don’t get it just right, don’t worry. Just tell everyone the splatters with tails are comets. Like I said it’s not a perfect craft. But it’s fun!


    It’s spacey, right? No? Squint more.

    After we smudged our way through eleven galaxies, we painted each guest’s name on the other side of the mug so we could use the mugs as party favors and table name place markers at the same time. Then we popped the mugs (all together on a cookies sheet) into a cold oven and heated it up to 350. We baked them for 30 minutes and then turned the oven off and let them cool. I actually just left the mugs in the oven overnight because I wasn’t going to bake anything that night anyway and took them out the next morning.  It’s important not to check on the mugs when they are cooling or take them out of the oven because if the ceramic cools down too fast the cups can crack. Better to be safe than sorry.


    Then on the day of the party we set each person’s mug at their place at the table. Everyone loved taking home a mug. Of course, I had to mad-dash hand wash everyone’s sticky mug while they were playing games in the other room but I didn’t mind because by that point I needed some peace and quite in the kitchen for a few minutes anyway. I’m one of those weirdos who finds doing chores soothing and kids screaming about Pusheen not so much.


    All in all, it was really fun and I’d definitely recommend this hot chocolate and making a galaxy mug to anyone planning a galaxy party. I’m not sure everyone needs more mugs in their house (we don’t!) but that’s their problem, right? Heh.

    Next up: Galaxy Pancakes!

  • Bad Mom,  BIG news,  Bug,  crazy stuff,  Newsbreaking Hair News,  spilling my guts

    Bug turns ELEVEN! (and gets blue hair!)


    Can you believe Bug is ELEVEN?!!! Of course you can’t. Neither can I. It was like yesterday when she was born. I get heart palpitations every time I take a picture of her and she looks like a teenager already. But I can’t stop time and I can’t stop her. This girl is a powerhouse and she just keeps growing up every day!


    Bug has wanted to dye her hair blue for about two years. Her cousins constant chameleon hair-change-ups might have something to do with it and her obsession with anime and changing her minecraft skins etc… If you know Bug you know how she is about color. Color is her thing and she has strong opinions.

    Of course I told her that dying her hair was a silly idea and gave her about a thousand lectures on how pretty her hair was naturally. But as you can see she wore me down. And wore me down some more. Because I love my crazy girl and I really wanted to give her a present that would make her really really happy. I caved!


    Off to the salon we went! Bug has a favorite salon and a favorite stylist. She’s way more loyal to her stylist than I ever have been. It might have something to do with her stylist being 24 and a really cool surfer dude but he always does a really good job with her hair and we make a special treat out of it when we go. You know, macarons at Lette, hotdog from the hotdog stand. It’s our bi-annual thing.

    At first, when we started to take the hair-coloring subject seriously, I thought we’d go to a beauty college and save some $$$ but then I got worried that I might fry her hair and I’d ruin her (red flag number 1). So we opted to ask her stylist for a recommendation and he recommended Ally.

    We set the appointment and waited for the day with great anticipation. It was crazy how excited we were. Then the day came and the bleaching began. BLEACHING. Oh-my-goodness. I bleached my daughter’s beautiful long healthy honey-blonde hair?!!! Who am I? This so wrong on so many levels. (Red flag number 2.)


    The plan was to lighten Bug’s hair to a white blonde and then apply a blue-indigo ombre effect to that white blonde. It was a great plan. But then as Ally started blow-drying out the blonde, Bug and I both gasped at how pretty it was. It was this amazing out-of-the-bottle blonde color that every Californian aspires to. We thought, maybe we should keep the blonde and just apply the dark ombre indigo-teal color to the underneath in a cool peek-a-boo effect. In fact, that idea sat with me even better because the blonde was more natural, right? (Red flag number 3 with blinking lights and a siren!)

    But then as she finished blow-drying and I saw the blonde getting brassy all the way up to Bug’s eyes, I started to feel anxious. I couldn’t ignore the sirens going off in my head any more. My kid should not look like this. This is the kind of blonde ombre effect grown women on Real Housewives of Orange County have. I started to feel sick to my stomach. But Bug loved it and was over the moon! Ally curled it all pretty and Bug felt like a golden princess. I was a ball of mixed feelings with alarms going off in my head.

    By the time we got to her Dad’s house (she was at his house that week) I was experiencing a full panic attack over her hair. Sweating, my heart hurt… How could I have done this to my child! She looked like Iris from Taxi Driver and it was just wrong. Poor Bug had no idea why I was getting so upset. She started crying and I was crying.  It’s amazing I could even drive. We were a mess.

    Thankfully, Toby didn’t lose his marbles over my mistake when we got to the door and I exploded all of my worries and concerns. He agreed it didn’t look right for an eleven-year-old and we all decided we’d go back to the salon to fix it as soon as possible and stick to the original blue plan.


    But Bug loved her blonde hair. It was such a mixed bag of emotions. On the morning of her next appointment Bug and I took an early morning walk with the dogs. She wore her rollerblades (her favorite accessory these days) and I took a few photos (with the dogs pulling me this way and that)  just so we could remember how pretty it was. We put her hair up in tight Princess Lea buns so the swirls of blue showed through. It didn’t seem quite so offensive. I wanted to take more photos but we ran out of time. I’m glad we have these though.

    It was such an emotional experience for both Bug and I, I know we will remember it for years. Someday we’ll laugh about it.Bug-turns-11-blue-hair-5

    Back to the salon we went. This time with strict instructions to be pastel blue, indigo blue, and teal blue and nothing else. Everyone at the salon totally understood our concerns and they happily fixed her up into the prettiest mermaid princess you have ever seen. Bug was sad to see her golden locks wash down the drain in a puddle of purple but it was best. And we know the blue will wash out over time and the blonde will come back slowly and not so shockingly. AND best of all it’s just hair. It will grow back to her pretty honey blonde someday. And no she’s not getting another hair-dye-job as a birthday present ever again.


    The blue turned out to be so much cooler in the end. I feel like I have my eleven-year-old back again. My crazy, cool, color-obsessed eleven-year-old. This is just so Bug.


    I love you to pieces, you big blue smurf-head. Which Bug is quick to correct and let me know that smurfs have blue skin NOT blue hair. (eye roll)

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© Brenda Ponnay