Friday, November 02, 2018

Rayquaza Birthday Cake

Thinking of making a Pokemon birthday cake for one of your kids? This Rayquaza Pokemon cake tutorial is super easy. Find out how to make a Rayquaza birthday cake below.

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that this Rayquaza birthday cake was one of the hardest cakes I have made over the years. I could say some of my first few cakes were hard, but that's simply because I didn't really have any experience making complex cakes yet.

Oh wait...maybe J's 5th birthday cake where it had an actual number 5 embedded in the middle of each slice of cake was one of the most difficult. But that one was easy to decorate at least...

Annnnnyway, my oldest had his heart set on a Rayquaza cake for his 9th birthday and I was determined to make it happen.

And happen it did.

I mean look at this BEAST.

This cake may not look super pretty up close, but whatever, I love how it turned out. And so did J. He absolutely loved it!

Rayquaza birthday cake tutorial: How to make a Pokemon birthday cake

What You'll Need to Make this Rayquaza Pokemon Cake

When my son J requested a Rayquaza cake for his 9th birthday, I wasn't entirely sure how I was going to make it a reality. I figured that I could start with a snake shape and then hope for the best. So that's what I did. Here's what you'll need to make this Pokemon birthday cake:

Bake the cake as the recipe calls for. You will need to make two 9-inch round cakes. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.

Here's what we're going to make:

Pokemon cake tutorial for Rayquaza

How to Make a Rayquaza Birthday Cake

1. After the two cakes have cooled, transfer to a cutting board or somewhere to cut the cake. Do not place the cakes on the tray you'll be serving it on yet. We need to do some major cutting first!

2. Using a round object smaller than the cake pan, cut out the centers of both cakes. These inside pieces will become the hands, arms, ears, and chin whisker thingies. Set the inside pieces aside.

3. Cut the outside circular pieces into smaller pieces and start assembling a snake shape on a serving tray lined with parchment paper (we need to line it as some of the details will be iced on the parchment to give some dimension and depth to the cake). The cut pieces don't need to fit together perfectly. That's what icing is for, right? *wink wink*

4. Cut a mouth at one end of your snake shape.

5. Once you have your basic snake shape assembled, start cutting and hacking away on those inside pieces you set aside in step 2. Use a google image of Rayquaza to help you figure out the basic shapes you need. It's basically two slender triangles for his ears and two more smaller ones for his chin whiskers. His arms are a small curvy bit and you'll need two three pronged blobs for his hands. Assemble these pieces to the cake on the serving tray. <-- Good descriptions or what, right? I mean, I'm not striving for perfection here. Just a cool looking cake.

6. Make your icing (skip if using store bought). Split into three portions (one portion should be about 90%, one 8%, and one 2%).

7. Add a copious amount of drops of green food coloring to the largest portion of icing and mix until the color is evenly distributed. Repeat for the yellow using the medium portion. Leave the remaining small portion white.
8. Add a generous layer of green icing to the entire shape of the cake and along all edges. I'm serious...be generous, especially if your cake has some gaps here and there like mine did.

9. Chill the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

10. Add an additional layer of green icing if needed. Otherwise, run a butter knife or cake knife over the entire cake to smooth the icing as best as you can. Be sure to save some green icing for other details.

11. Use the leftover green icing from step 10 to draw some of Rayquaza's fins onto the parchment paper.

12. Use the red icing tube to draw lips and outline the green fins you made in step 11.

13. Use the black icing tube to draw an eye and some body sections. Use your inspiration image as a guide or my photos here. Note: I did a terrible job of counting the number of sections for his body, but did anyone notice? Nope!

14. Use a piping bag filled with yellow icing to draw some of the details along Rayquaza's back and body. Again, use your inspiration image or the photos here as a guide. Be sure to put a yellow dot inside his eye too!

15. Use a piping bag filled with the white icing to draw claws onto Rayquaza's hands.

16. Chill until serving time.

Here are some closer up shots of some of his details. You'll notice I did put a bit of pink inside Rayquaza's mouth. That's because I was also working on this Patrick birthday cake at the same time and had some leftover pink icing.

Pokemon cake tutorial for Rayquaza

Pokemon cake tutorial for Rayquaza

Other Pokemon Birthday Cake Ideas You'll Love




Rayquaza birthday cake tutorial: How to make a Pokemon birthday cake

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Patrick from SpongeBob Birthday Cake

Looking for SpongeBob cake ideas? Here's how to make a SpongeBob birthday cake inspired by his friend Patrick!

- Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?

- SpongeBob SquarePants!

Yep, we've entered the SpongeBob phase...

My kids love the show and the ridiculous antics of the characters so much that my youngest requested a Patrick cake for his 7th birthday. It's not the first time I've made him a cake that is primarily pink in color. A few years ago I made him a Kirby cake. He just likes pink shaped characters I guess!

I knew this Patrick cake was going to be much easier than the task of making a Rayquaza Pokemon cake for my other son on the same day.

And as you can see, it's far from perfect...

The icing is sloppy.

The black icing bled.

There's weird discolored spots because something dripped on it in the fridge.

BUT...

When it comes to making birthday cakes for my kids, it's not about how perfect they look. It's about making my kids' faces light up when they see the finished product for the first time. It's about seeing the pure joy on their faces as they dig into their cakes.

Plus, it did turn out awesome, in my opinion.

How to make a SpongeBob Patrick cake

What You'll Need to Make this SpongeBob Patrick Cake

This Patrick birthday cake is pretty straight forward and was made from one 9 x 13 cake. Here's what you'll need to make this SpongeBob inspired cake:

Bake the cake as the recipe calls for. You will need to make one 9 x 13 cake. Let it cool completely before assembling the cake. Here's what we're going to make:

SpongeBob cake ideas: Patrick

How to Make a Patrick SpongeBob Cake

1. After the cake has cooled, place the cake on the tray that you will be serving the cake on.

2. Next, you'll have to design the template for cutting. You'll need a large sheet of parchment paper, a permanent marker, and an image of the design you want to use (I usually pull up an image from google on my iPad). So this step is all about finding the inspiration image!

3. Draw the design you want on the parchment paper using the permanent marker. You just need the outline of the body and not the details like eyes and whatnot. My husband has drawn his fair share of SpongeBob characters for the boys on their whiteboards, so I enlisted his help for this step.

4. Place the finished template on top of the cake and use toothpicks to secure the template to the cake.

5. Use a sharp knife and start cutting the cake, following the parchment paper template.

6. Remove the template and toothpicks.

7. Make your icing (skip if using store bought). Split it into four portions (save 75% or so for the pink, 20% for the lime green, 3% for the purple, and 1% for the white eyeballs).

8. Add some drops of red food coloring to your icing and mix until the color is evenly distributed. Repeat for the lime green and the purple you will need for Patrick's shorts.

9. Add a generous layer of pink icing and lime green icing (following your inspiration image or the cake photos in this post as a guide as to where to put the pink and where to put the pink) to the entire shape of the cake and along all edges. This will become your crumb coat (i.e., hide the cake as best as you can).

10. Chill the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

11. Add an additional layer of pink and lime green icing if needed to make sure the cake is mostly covered. Otherwise, run a butter knife or cake knife over the entire cake to smooth the icing as best as you can. Tip: wet the knife with a splash of water to help smooth the icing. Be sure to save a little bit of pink icing for Patrick's tongue in a later step.

12. Chill the cake again for another 20 minutes or so.

13. Use a toothpick to lightly draw the eyes, eyebrows, mouth, belly button, and flowers for the shorts.

14. Use a piping bag to draw Patrick's eyeballs using the white icing you saved in step 7.

15. Use a piping bag to draw purple flowers on Patrick's shorts using the purple icing you made in steps 7 and 8.

16. Add black and red details using the decorating icing tubes. Tip: if you aren't serving this cake immediately, the black and red icing will bleed. You may want to decorate these details closer to serving time. <-- I made this mistake again this year. Hence, the black and red bleeding.

17. Chill until serving time.
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Monday, October 29, 2018

Togepi Pokemon Birthday Cake

Thinking of making a Pokemon birthday cake for one of your kids? This Togepi Pokemon cake tutorial is super easy. Find out how to make a Pokemon birthday cake below.

Since my oldest was a baby, I vowed to make my kids' birthday cakes every year. Not something plain or boring. I wanted it to be something cool and dare I say, epic?

I am not a professional cake maker as you can tell, but my skills have certainly improved over the years. I do have a lot of fun making these homemade birthday cakes for my boys and they love seeing their favorite things come to life in cake form.

For my youngest's 6th birthday, he wanted a Togepi Pokemon birthday cake. I knew this would be one of the easiest cakes I have made yet because it all started with a simple round cake. So I'm pretty sure I made this cake in record time.

Ready to find out how to make this Pokemon birthday cake? Let's dig into that tutorial then!

How to make a Togepi Pokemon birthday cake

What You'll Need to Make this Togepi Pokemon Cake

This is probably one of the easiest birthday cakes I have made over the years. And it's certainly easier to make than the other Pokemon birthday cakes that I have made.

Here's what you'll need to make this Pokemon birthday cake:

Bake the cake as the recipe calls for. You will only need to make one 9-inch round cake. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.

Here's what we're going to make!

Togepi Pokemon birthday cake ideas

How to Make a Togepi Pokemon Birthday Cake

1. After the cake has cooled, place it on the tray that you will be serving the cake on.

2. Using an image of Togepi from Google or the photos in this post as a guide, cut the cake into the shape of Togepi's pointy head. That's the only cuts you'll need to make (at least, until serving time!).

3. Make your icing (skip if using store bought). Split into three portions (one portion should be about 55%, one 40%, and one 5%).

4. Add some drops of yellow food coloring to the medium portion of icing and mix until the color is evenly distributed. Repeat with the blue food coloring to the smallest portion of icing. Leave the largest portion white.

5. Add a generous layer of white and yellow icing to the entire shape of the cake and along all edges. Use the photos below or your inspiration image from Google as a guide to know what parts will be white and what will be yellow.

6. Chill the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

7. Add an additional layer of white and yellow icing if needed. Otherwise, run a butter knife or cake knife over the entire cake to smooth the icing as best as you can.

8. Use a toothpick to mark the red and blue details onto the white part of the cake. Then draw eyes and the smile on the yellow part using the toothpick.

9. Add black and red details using the decorating icing tubes. Tip: if you aren't serving this cake immediately, the black and red icing will bleed. You may want to decorate these details closer to serving time. <-- I need to remind myself of this tip every year!!

10. Use a piping bag with the blue icing to decorate the remaining details.

11. Chill until serving time.
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Leafeon Pokemon Birthday Cake

Looking for Pokemon birthday cake ideas? This Leafeon Pokemon cake is easier than you think to make. Let's find out how to make a Pokemon birthday cake with this tutorial.

Every year I make and design epic birthday cakes for my boys.

Since their birthdays are just five days apart, that means I spend one entire day per year baking, designing, decorating, and consuming too much icing as I make these birthday cakes.

For my oldest's 8th birthday, he requested a Leafeon cake as it was his favorite Pokemon character at the time. In my head, it seemed straightforward to make and design and honestly, it was.

This Pokemon birthday cake is surprisingly simple to make, even if you don't think you are creative. Trust me, YOU can do this and your kid will love it!

Leafeon birthday cake - how to make a Pokemon birthday cake

What You'll Need to Make This Leafeon Pokemon Birthday Cake

Like all my birthday cake tutorials, I forgot to take step-by-step photos. It's hard enough to bake and decorate two full birthday cakes in one day...There's just no way my brain can remember to take photos along the way too!

Here's what you'll need to make this Pokemon birthday cake:

Bake the cake as the recipe calls for. You will need to make one 9 x 13 cake. Let cool completely before assembling the cake.

Leafeon Pokemon birthday cake ideas

How to Make a Leafeon Pokemon Birthday Cake

1. After the cake has cooled, place the cake on the tray that you will be serving the cake on.

2. Next, you'll have to design the template for cutting. You'll need a large sheet of parchment paper, a permanent marker, and an image of the design you want to use (I usually pull up an image from google on my iPad). So this step is all about finding the inspiration image! I just went with Leafeon's head, obviously. Keeping it simple, right?

3. Draw the design you want on the parchment paper using the permanent marker. You just need the outline of the entire head, not the details of the eyes and whatnot.

4. Place the finished template on top of the cake and use toothpicks to secure the template to the cake.

5. Use a sharp knife and start cutting the cake, following the parchment paper template.

6. Remove the template and toothpicks.

7. Make your icing (skip if using store bought). Split it into three portions (save 50% or so for the yellow, 35% for the green, and 15% for the chocolate).

8. Add some drops of yellow food coloring to your icing and mix until the color is evenly distributed. Repeat for the green. Add cocoa powder to the vanilla icing to make the chocolate icing, if you are making homemade.

9. Add a generous layer of yellow icing and green icing (following your inspiration image or the cake photos in this post as a guide as to where to put the green and where to put the yellow) to the entire shape of the cake and along all edges. This will become your crumb coat (i.e., hide the cake as best as you can).

Leafeon Pokemon birthday cake ideas

10. Chill the cake in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

11. Add an additional layer of yellow and green icing if needed to make sure the cake is mostly covered. Otherwise, run a butter knife or cake knife over the entire cake to smooth the icing as best as you can. Tip: wet the knife with a splash of water to help smooth the icing. Be sure to save a teeny tiny amount of green icing to finish off the eyes in step 15.

12. Chill the cake again for another 20 minutes or so.

13. Use a toothpick to lightly draw the eyes, nose, and inside of the ears.

Leafeon Pokemon birthday cake ideas

14. Use a piping bag full of chocolate icing to draw the eyes, nose, and inside of the ears using your toothpick marks as a guide.

15. Use a piping bag of green icing to pipe a dot for each eye.

Leafeon Pokemon birthday cake ideas

16. Chill until serving time.

Then be sure to celebrate on a job well done. You did it!

Other Pokemon Birthday Cake Ideas & Party Ideas




Leafeon birthday cake - how to make a Pokemon birthday cake
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Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The One Place You Don't Expect to Have to Advocate (But Often Have To)

Advocacy tips for parents, specifically in situations that you wouldn't expect to have to advocate for your child.

How to advocate for your child when and where you least expect it

There was an incident that occurred recently that brought up memories of one Christmas. I can't recall if it was last Christmas or the year before, but it was a Christmas that left me angry. I was angry for what was said and what had happened.

However, I was so proud of my husband for being the one to step up, unprompted, to advocate for our oldest's needs. I was proud of him for having to have the difficult conversation about what needed to change.

I don't really remember the specifics any more of what happened that Christmas, but the memories of the anger I felt are still there.

Fast forward to present day, where the memories of a couple weekends ago are still fresh and painful. 

My youngest had just completed his first day of basketball practice. He received his very own basketball that he could keep too. He was obviously excited about it all and wanted to share his excitement with someone later that day. 

With a large grin on his face, he began to tell this person about how he scored a basket in the game and how much fun he had, but instead, was cut off mid-sentence by this person. This person literally turned her back, walked away mid-sentence, and started a conversation with someone else.

I was furious.

Like seriously, what the hell?

Then an hour or two later, my niece made a comment about something that was obviously important to her and frankly, I agreed with her comment 100%. It was something she obviously had wanted, but ended on a sour note when she was shut down by this very same person. 

I couldn't read my niece's expression at that point so I couldn't tell how she felt about the response. But I do know how I felt.

I was taken aback yet again.

I was frustrated that my son's need to share his passion with someone was practically ignored. Then I was further frustrated by the way my niece's desires were dismissed, as if her needs and opinions were not important.

I get that they are just kids, but come on, their needs are just as important as ours.

It was that weekend where I had an advocacy epiphany of sorts, I guess you could say.

I realized something important that weekend. Two important things really.

The weekend made me question whether or not I was doing everything I could to advocate for my youngest's son's needs. Yeah, I know I was already doing everything I could to advocate for my oldest, but was I truly giving my youngest the support he needed? 

After all, every child deserves to have their needs advocated for

Yes, every single child. 

Not just the ones with special needs. 

Every child.

Sure, my youngest doesn't have special needs or require special accommodations like my oldest does, but he still has needs that should be fulfilled.

Every child deserves to have their voice heard. They deserve respect. They deserve to be shown that they are important and valued.

So by dismissing comments and turning your back while my son is excitedly describing his day, what are you telling him?

But I think the thing that really got me that weekend, was the fact that I was reminded that there is one place you often have to advocate for your child that is often overlooked. It's a place you don't expect to have to advocate, and really you shouldn't have to. But the reality is, it happens more than we think.

See the common thread between that one weekend and that one Christmas is family.

Yes, family.

You wouldn't think you would have to advocate for your child's needs within your own frigging family, but the thing is, we do.

I often get emails and see comments in support groups about how a spouse or a certain family member isn't on board with getting a child diagnosed or is struggling to get their support. It really shouldn't be that way. I mean they are our family. If anyone should be on board with supporting and understanding our children, it should be our family you would think.

But obviously, it isn't always the case.

Sometimes the place that you need to advocate the hardest is within your own family.

I know it's not easy, but you have to.

You have to stand up for your child - every child - within your family.

So What's Next? Advocacy Tips

It's one thing to know you need to advocate, but it's another to know how to do so. Here are a few tips:

  1. Stay calm and collected when bringing up your concerns with your family
  2. Educate your family about your child's diagnosis (if applicable), their needs, and their interests
  3. Teach your child how to advocate for themselves
  4. Talk to your child and ask questions so you can understand how to best advocate for them within your family
  5. Set firm rules and boundaries, if needed (e.g., a family member's friend was given specific instructions not to be over when we were visiting that family member due to one of the Christmas incidents mentioned at the beginning of this post)
  6. Limit or reduce visits with problematic family members, if needed (see example above)
Here is a great post geared towards grandparents of special needs grandchildren from Every Star is Different.

Other Advocacy Resources You'll Love

10 Things to Remember When Advocating

If Only Advocating Wasn't so Darn Exhausting & Uncomfortable

School Advocacy Tips

How to advocate for your child when and where you least expect it
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Wednesday, October 03, 2018

Free Social Stories About No Hitting

A collection of free social stories about hitting others and why it's not okay, including some free printable social stories for kids.

Does your child hit others when they are angry, upset, or frustrated?

Does your child need a reminder that hands are not for hitting others?

Or maybe you are a teacher who has a child who's constantly hitting other students...

If yes, then these free social stories about no hitting are going to be super useful for you and your child. They explain why it's not okay to hit others and offer suggestions of what to do instead when upset or angry.

Free social stories about hitting and why it's not okay to hit, including no hitting free printable social stories

Free No Hitting Social Stories

The following social stories include some free printable social stories about not hitting others. Some of the stories are text only and are meant to be examples of ones you could write in case you choose to write your own social story. Also, please note that these stories focus solely on hitting and do not necessarily include kicking, biting, or similar aggressive behaviors.

Social Story for Hitting from Stephanie Harrington on Teachers Pay Teachers

Hitting Social Story from Beyond Words Speech and Language Therapy on Teachers Pay Teachers

Gentle Hands - No Hitting Social Story from Rachel M on Teachers Pay Teachers

I Can Have a Safe & Calm Body - Social Story About Unsafe Behaviors from The "Feelings Teacher" on Teachers Pay Teachers

Hitting Social Story Examples from Happy Learners

Free Video Social Stories About How It's Not Okay to Hit

If video social stories are more your thing, here are a few social stories that talk about why it's not okay to hit others. I hope you find them useful.






Other Social Story Resources You'll Love




Free social stories about hitting and why it's not okay to hit, including no hitting free printable social stories
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Monday, October 01, 2018

Free Social Stories About Getting a Haircut

A collection of free social stories about getting a haircut including some free printable social stories for kids.

Getting a hair cut is a big deal to kids with autism or sensory issues. Many families struggle to find a hair stylist who is understanding and patient. One who can understand the sensory sensitivities that go along with getting one's hair cut.

We personally cut our boys' home ourselves at home, but I remember how difficult those first few hair cuts were when J was a toddler and a preschooler. We would have to cut for a little bit, pause, and repeat over and over. It's a lot easier now, but there are still challenges we face when cutting his hair.

Repeating the steps over and over to J is helpful and tells him how much longer I will be cutting his hair for.

Basically, we are using a verbal social story these days with him. However, below you will find lots of free social stories about getting a haircut that will hopefully make the whole process easier for your child and your family.

Free printable haircut social stories for kids including a video social story about getting a haircut

Free Haircut Social Stories

Whether you want to write your own social story or you want to save time and print one, these free haircut social stories are a great starting point for helping your kids with getting their hair cut. These stories will walk your child through what to expect when getting a haircut, why they need to get a haircut, and what to do during a haircut. I hope you can find one that is helpful for your child!

I'm Getting a Haircut Social Story from Kids' Hair

Getting a Haircut Social Story for Special Education & Autism from Special Education and Autism Resources for You on Teachers Pay Teachers

Getting a Haircut Social Story from SpeechThink on Teachers Pay Teachers

Happy Haircuts Simplified Social Story from Your Kids OT

Example Text Only Haircut Social Story from Raising Children - There are lots of great tips here as well!

Video Social Story About Getting a Haircut

Would you prefer a video version of a haircut social story? Here's a great one to check out:


Other Social Story Resources You'll Love




Free printable haircut social stories for kids including a video social story about getting a haircut
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