Summer Foraging Recipe: Elderberry-Blueberry Jam with Chia Seeds

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In the woodland valleys of Central California, Elderflower trees have been in bloom all spring with their prolific, lacy white blossoms.  I've enjoyed making Elderflower syrup, candied elderflowers and sweet Elderflower Tempura.  A few days ago, I noticed that some of the trees are starting to bear fruit -- diminutive, tart little berries, deep purplish-blue growing in heavy clusters.  

Inspired by a love of biscuits and jam, foraging, and adapted from a recipe from Simply Beyond Herbs, I whipped up a simple and delicious jam made from the foraged Elderberries, fresh blueberries and using chia seeds for a perfect jammy consistency.

Enjoy and Happy Foraging!
PrintWith ImageWithout Image Elderberry-Blueberry Chia JamYield: One half-pint jarAuthor: Jenn Erickson Prep time: 10 MCook time: 10 MTotal time: 20 M An easy and delicious sweet-tart jam to make from foraged Elderberries. Ingredients:1 1/2 cups elderberries, rinsedPinch of salt1 cup blueberries, rinsed2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds1/2 Tabl…

10 Ideas for the Ultimate Minecraft Birthday Party

This post was sponsored by One Way Novelties -- a great online source for party supplies!  


Are your kids crazy for Minecraft?  Mine were a bit late to join the frenzy, but are now firmly entrenched in the pixelated world of building and adventure.  In the past two months, the girls have each attended Minecraft parties.  I was really impressed by the way my friends captured the spirit the game in every minute detail of their parties.  They've very generously offered to share some photos and tips on how they made their parties a success.

TREAT BAGS: With personalized skins
Minecraft players customize their character by creating a custom "skin".  So, to personalize the goody bags, my friend Krista collected images of each of the guests' skins.  She printed them out on paper and glue-sticked them to green paper bags.  She found the bags at Party City.

Favors:  Freshly "Mined" Treats
Using Minecraft images she found online, Krista created tags to fold over cello bags filled with candy treats.  For the emeralds, she used apple Jolly Ranchers.  For the gold, she used Hershey's Pot o' Gold.  For the diamonds she used the blue Jolly Rancher candies.  Krista purchased a PDF of the the food tent cards HERE.  

Licorice Dynamite
Dynamite, an important tool in the game, was represented here by Red Vines, bundled with a Minecraft tag.


Character Decorations:  Pig Balloons
One of my favorite decorations were the pig balloons.  Krista used pink balloons and glued on pixelated pig faces.  Krista got this ideas (and the printable pig face) from Frugal Family Times.

Mincraft themed menu
Krista printed out signs for each of the snacks on the Minecraft snack table.  Each food represented a tool or resource from the game.

This Creeper backdrop is a keeper!
Krista had a custom quilt made for her son.  What a great surprise for the birthday boy!  It's one-of-a-kind, practical, will be long-lasting and doubles as a backdrop for the party.


Minecraft Cake
Krista and I worked together on this one.  For the cake, Krista baked several layers of cake in a 10x10 pan.  It was first frosted with a layer of plain chocolate frosting.  After chilling the cake, she added a coating of chocolate frosting with crushed peanut-butter Oreos mixed in.  This created a rocky effect.  For the grassy top, Krista piped green frosting through a small round pastry tip.  For the Creeper, Steve and the Pig, I used Wilton gumpaste.  To get the pixilated look, I used Wilton edible markers.





Minecraft Punch

The Potion of Weakness was made of Raspberry Lemonade and Ginger Ale.

Enderman Pinata
My friend Michael put together this Enderman Pinata at the very last minute.  I was so impressed!  He taped two cardboard boxes together and spraypainted them black. Then, he pasted on white paper for the eyes, and drew on the purple pupils with marker.  For the long, flowy arms and legs, he attached black streamers.  It was perfect!

Favors:  Custom Minecraft T-shirts
As guests arrived, Krista's husband Stan sat down with each guest and allowed them to design their own image for their shirt.  In advance, he had downloaded screen shots from his son's Mincraft server as well as some images he found online.  This gave the guests a whole collection of images to choose from.  Then, he printed the images on iron-on transfer paper and ironed the customized images on to each shirt.  As you can see from the smiles above, the boys were ecstatic!


I LOVE creative party favors that kids can really use -- long after the party has ended.  These custom Minecraft t-shirts fit the bill!

Here are some great sites where you can find even more Minecraft Party ideas:

You can find the Minecraft font HERE

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