Thursday, July 7, 2011

Geeking out Harry Potter style (no kids allowed!)

I have been a huge fan of JK Rowling's Harry Potter series since reading the first book more than a decade ago after my mother-in-law, who was then teaching fifth grade, recommended it.  I eagerly read each new book as they were published and once even attended a midnight release party.  Running Man also enjoyed the books and he mostly listened to them as books on tape/CD while traveling or, on one memorable trip from Virginia to upstate New York and back with an infant E2B in the backseat, with me reading aloud.  Running Man and I have also gone to see each of the movies in the theater.

More recently E2B and I have been working our way through the first three books as read alouds at bedtime and I honestly don't know who has been enjoying that experience or him.  E2B went back and re-read the first two books after we finished them and even read the third book on his own despite the fact that we're only about halfway through it together.  It thrills me that he still wants me to continue reading it to him despite already knowing what is coming.  We will stop after the third book for a few years because I feel that the themes and action become too mature for him after that point.  (Does anyone out there have any suggestions for what to read with a soon-to-be eight year old who loves the world of Harry Potter?)  After finishing each of the first two books, we also watched the movies together...yes, I'm one of those parents who insists that my kids read the book before seeing the movie.  I find it magical (pun intended) that a whole generation of children has grown up with these books and that stories abound about kids who don't normally read for pleasure quite simply devouring Harry's adventures.

But enough about kids and Harry Potter...what about us adults?  Several of my neighbors are also big HP fans and with the release of the final movie - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 - coming up next week, we decided to hold our own viewing party of the previous movie (HP and the Deathly Hallows part 1).  It was ridiculously difficult to find a night that would work for everyone between vacation schedules, our partners' travel schedules, children's activities, our own commitments, etcetera - such is the life of the mothers of young children, right?  As a result we ended up on a weeknight with a smaller crew than we initially anticipated, but the level of fun - and Harry Potter love geekiness - remained high.  Interestingly, but I suppose not surprisingly, each of us had at least one child who struggled to understand why mom was going to watch Harry Potter and they were not invited.

But onto the big night.  What would a movie viewing be without some refreshments?  First up, some yummy golden snitches.  The inspiration for these fun treats was snazzify over on Squidoo - check out the amazing candy and baked goods she made for her Harry Potter event (if mine had been a party for kids, I would have made that dragon snot punch, for sure).

As an added benefit to making these snitches, they made great treats to take home to everyone's children (my kids were also very excited to help make them).

Next up - and certainly quicker to serve up than the golden snitches - were Bertie Bott's Every Flavor Beans.  I opted for regular ol' jelly beans because, really, who wants to worry about biting into something flavored like ear wax, vomit, or dragon bogies?  I leave that to younger fans!

I added some of my favorite British cheese to the menu and then whipped up some cold butterbeer.  There are a slew of butterbeer recipes available on the Internet and many of them are to be served warm.  Some are non-alcoholic and some are for adults only.  I chose this recipe because it was a) cold - perfect for a hot summer night and b) super easy to make.  I didn't want to make a large batch, but preferred to make one drink at a time so I adapted the recipe a very little bit.  I found that one can of cream soda mixed with 1/4 cup butterscotch schnapps was just right.  We worried that it might turn out to be too sweet, but it was surprisingly delicious and the sweetness was not overwhelming.

A quick, easy, and fun spread for celebrating some Harry Potter love.

I am getting ready to re-read the seventh, and last, book in the Harry Potter series before seeing the final movie.  This week's get together was a great way to get the proverbial party started in preparation for next weekend.  In the meantime, I'll ride the wave of my post-HP geek out and get reading.

"He couldn't know that at this very moment, people meeting in secret all over the country were holding up their glasses and saying in hushed voices: 'To Harry Potter - the boy who lived!'"  ~from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone


  1. Try the Lightning Thief books by Rick Riordan. They're similar to HP but a bit less intense. My daughter was gaga over them; in fact she's stood in line twice to meet the author. But, she read all the HP books at your son's age and loved them; I was prepared to help her through the intense parts but she took them in stride. Maybe your boy would too.

    I envy you your HP party. The snitches are particularly charming. Personally, I think I'd enjoy the occasional HP discussion group. There must be some blog out there devoted to discussing the books. Do you know of any?

  2. Hey! it was so great to see all of you on the weekend - hope to do it again soon! I will chime in with Sharyn to say that the Lightning Thief books were really enjoyable - I read them all and there is a movie for the first book (PG). I need to get caught up on all the HP movies, I don't think I've seen any of them after the third one - I know, I know, what am I waiting for, right? It's summer now, so I might have time!
    -Susan (just realized that I'm not signed in or anything, so I should add my name) :)