Disclaimer: Please excuse my pics! I was rushed by the short notice of my inspiration to create this post and did not “stage” them like the Muggles do.

Because I’m a lesbian and half of my family disowned me for such, I have to spend time with my remaining family members at different times for holidays. I have two adorable nieces that remain, so I try to plan things for them that are fun and memorable. (Mostly because I love them, but partly because I know they’ll go back and talk about it to my evil mother and it will drive her mad!)

When my daughter turned 16, she asked for a Harry Potter party, so I decided to put together a feast that included a house sorting ceremony and a visit to Ollivander’s Wand Shoppe. I wanted to be able to give her a great party while still having money in the budget for gifts after buying her a car, so I hit up Pinterest posts for inspiration.

There are so many different posts, which is why I decided to combine mine for the feast here.

Also, it was such a great success that I did it again this year for my niece’s who have just gotten into the series. This one was very last minute and thrown together, but they still loved it! My sister informed me a week later that it’s all they’ve been talking about.

  1. First, I constructed an invitation. I used some card stock paper and a calligraphy pen. Then, I burned the edges on the stove for a little extra authenticity. Be careful not to actually burn the paper. (Don’t be a Weasley!) Just singe it a little for the black edges. For my daughter’s party I actually printed invitations with downloaded authentic fonts, but for this one, I didn’t have time for all that! I even simply drew a crest-mark on the back rather than melting hot wax. When they received the letter in the mail, they excitedly reported to their mom that they had been invited to Hogwarts and inquired at what age she received her letter!

2. Next, I made the wands for the visit to Ollivander’s. I bought these Wilton Bamboo Dowel Rods becauseĀ IĀ didn’t have time to go eat sushi and ask for extra chopsticks! Plus, I plan to use the extras for other projects.

I took hot glue and made the designs. This was a little tricky at first, but once I got the hang of it, it was easy.

TIP: Go thick on the end with the glue and let it dry on each side before adding more. This will help form actual shapes rather than giant blobs on one side.

After the glue dried, I painted the wands with acrylic paint. I made a sign and put the wands in a jar with a battery operated light. (Like I said, please excuse the pic!)

The girls really enjoyed this part!

They immediately went around casting spells and charms.

3. I also made floating candles using toilet paper rolls and tea light candles. These add a little ambiance and a nice touch to the atmosphere.

Feast with floating candles
LED Tealight Candles

To make these, I used Celebrate! Tealight Candles from Wal-mart, hot glue, and white paint. I glued the candles into the toilet paper roll and then made “drippings” down the sides of the rolls.

I hung them using thumbtacks and fishing pole string.

4. Of course you have to have sweets from Honeydukes!

Chocolate Frogs & Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans

I picked up these chocolate frogs & Bertie Bott’s Every Flavour Beans at Party City, but for my daughter’s party, I ordered a mold on Amazon.

5. And, a Platform 9 3/4! I used a sponge, a Dollar Tree table cloth, and brick red colored acrylic paint ($.50). I also used a round piece of cardboard to make the sign. This got torn down before I could take a picture.

6. For the Sorting Ceremony, I found a YouTube video that asked questions and sorted the girls into their proper houses. I did it too and ended up in Slithering!

7. Finally, the feast!

This cost me around $25 altogether. I picked up a whole roasted chicken at Wal-Mart, egg noodles, a jar of Alfredo sauce, cheese, canned croissant rolls, & brussels sprouts. I knew the egg noodles would be a hit with the young ones. They didn’t touch the green stuff!

Although it was thrown together and last minute, I think it turned out rather nice!


Universal Studios, Orlando, Florida“The most important thing is to enjoy your life – to be happy – it’s all that matters.”–Audrey Hepburn

<<<Taylor, Preston, Perry and I soaking up the stardom of one of my favorite actresses…loved her in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!

Last summer, we loaded up the Nissan and headed off for Orlando–me, my kids (Taylor and Preston) and one of my favorite people in the world…Perry Jones. Being the huge Harry Potter fans that we are, we were craving some theme park experience of the wizarding world. The eight hour drive took us from our small town in Alabama through Tallahassee straight down the Turnpike into Orlando. Nothing really interesting happened on our way although we did go to Starbucks to promote gay marriage and we boycotted Chik Fil A all day due to the rage against gay marriage that they had started at the time. We were also tempted by Club Risque–a nude restaurant advertised for by at least 13 signs, but we decided that it wouldn’t be a good idea with the kids and all.

Our hotel, the Holiday Inn Express, was only one and a half miles from the park. Right after we checked in, we went down to enjoy some $6 big girl drinks and let the kids take a dip in the pool before heading out to Emeril’s in Downtown Universal. Emeril’s had the hugest wine rack I’ve ever seen, so we of course had some to pair with our delicious pizza. A little walk around, and we were exhausted.

The next morning we all headed out bright and early to Harry Potter Wizarding World at the Islands of Adventure. Little did we know that everyone else had the same idea. It was so crowded, we could barely move! However, it was still awesome! Walking into HogsMeade with the theme music playing made me feel like we were walking into the movie! My favorite ride was Hogwarts: Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey where you walk through the castle and then get into a flying cart and follow Ron, Harry and Hermione through an adventure. We also went and ate at the Three Broomsticks and drank Butterbeer–fun, fun. We waited at Ollivander’s for our wands for an hour, and we were disappointed to find that the choosing was only for one lucky person in the crowd. After we’d had our fill of the crowd, we ventured out into the rest of the park to find more thrilling roller coasters such as The Hulk and Jurassic Park’s Adventure Ride. Once again, we were exhausted by the end of the day and went back and crashed in our room.

Luckily, we’d paid the extra bucks for the park hopper passes and we had the choice to go back to Harry Potter Wizarding World after our tour of Universal Studios. Our favorite ride hands down was the Mummy. We rode it at least five times. Perry and I were amused at the test seats at the beginning of the rides–don’t ride if you are at risk of getting stuck, but just in case you don’t use your common sense, here’s a seat to test before you get stuck and cause everyone else to have to wait. The kids liked the Hollywood Rip Ride Rock It, but it jerked my neck around too much. Perry and I waited forever on them to ride it, and I thought they’d been kidnapped until they finally came running out. My theme park experience is never complete until I lose a kid or two!

We ended up back at HogsMeade for dinner and shopping that night. I spent $75 on candy–chocolate frogs, every flavor jelly bean, tongue tongue toffee–totally worth it. Preston got Dumbledore’s wand, and Taylor and I bought tee-shirts. Of course you can’t spend a summer’s day in South Florida without a torrential downpour, which we got stuck in for a good hour while we were trying to make our way to the gate.

Unfortunately, all vacations must end. On our way home we stopped at a truck stop to purchase one of the best travel necessities I’ve ever found…the Pastor Brown series of mysteries on audio CD. (Complete sarcasm)

This will definitely be a revisit when they complete the rumored renovations to Harry Potter Wizarding World.