Change the World

Snozzcumbers and Whizzpoppers! A Roald Dahl Party

Many people have their favorite Roald Dahl story, and I am no different — The Twits! Not only because I think this may have been the first chapter book I read completely on my own, but because of all the horrible and ghastly tricks they devise upon one another! I remember thinking: do adults really behave like this? And, in Roald Dahl's books most adults do! But it isn't always the adults who behave dreadfully; the children can be unforgivable too. Who else thought that Veruca Salt got what was coming to her, even if it was a little extreme?

From the deplorably awful parents of Matilda to the BFG's glee at his own whizzpoppers, Roald Dahl's books appeal to both children and adults. It is his fantastical imagination and delightfully mischievous, and sometimes wicked, sense of humor that has captured the hearts of his audience.

So, if it's your child's birthday party, and they (or you) are a fan of Roald Dahl, this is a birthday party that might almost literally knock people's socks off. All the recipes below are very easy to do and can be slightly altered to suit tastes, but they will all take time. See if you can enlist the help of other family members, giving them the role of chief snozzcumber sandwich maker or creator of the Roald Dahl menu signs.

Snozzcumber Sandwiches

loaf of whole grain bread

1 cucumber

butter (at room temperature)

cream cheese (at room temperature)

If there are no nut allergies, I think a little pesto would also work well in this sandwich.

Slice the cucumber lengthwise, either with a mandolin or a regular peeler. With your first attempts the cucumber strips may not appear perfect but perhaps a little patchy – these are to be layered in a sandwich so nobody will notice!

Spread both slices with a little butter, then the cream cheese. If you're using pesto, add a teaspoon now to one side with the cream cheese and spread. Layer the strips of cucumber lengthwise, and then again to add another layer in a different direction. Place the other slice of bread on top, and with a sharp knife cut vertically and horizontally, into four small square sandwiches. It's up to you whether to leave the crusts on or not. Repeat for how many sandwiches you need per party guest. I'd suggest two small sandwiches per guest and be prepared that you may be enjoying snozzcumber sandwiches later with your post-party, possibly Irish, cup of tea.

Mr Twit's Hairy Scary Beard cups

90g of puffed rice (Rice Krispies cereal)

100g of milk or dark chocolate

50g of butter

3 Tbsp of agave nectar (use Lyle's Golden Syrup if that's what you have in your kitchen cabinet).

20 medium sized cupcake cases


chocolate, orange and green sprinkles

packet of gummy worms, cut into two.

Place the Rice Krispies into a large bowl. Melt the chocolate, agave nectar and butter in a small saucepan over a low heat. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes, and then pour over Rice Krispies and stir till combined.

Spread cupcake cases onto a tray, or place in muffin trays so they keep their shape. Scoop Rice Krispies mixture into the cupcake cases, roughly making them the same size. Push in two or three gummy worm halves that the head of the worm is seemingly squirming out of the rice bubbles. Sprinkle with all three different colored sprinkles. Put trays in fridge to set. Once they are set, transfer to containers. These will keep for two or three days, so you can easily make these the day before.

George's Marvelous Medicine

1 red Jell-O packet

1 orange Jell-O packet

1 green Jell-O packet

1 yellow Jell-O packet

16 mini preferably clear cups.

You can make easily more than 16 as there will be a lot of Jell-O liquid left over. Adjust cup number for the amount of children attending the party.

Follow the directions of the red Jell-O packet, and if you are only making 16 mini cups, only use half the packet, therefore halving the water quantity. After making the red Jell-O, pour a layer into the mini cups. Remember, there has to be four different color layers so make sure three more Jell-O layers of the same size will be able to fit into each cup. Place these cups into the fridge and allow at least two hours to set. Repeat for each layer.

The trick with this recipe is time. If your child's party is on Saturday and if you work during the week, I suggest you make the first layer on Thursday evening. The second layer can be done before work if you have time; the third and fourth Friday evening. Jell-O is ridiculously easy to make; the only problematic part of this recipe is making the layers, and having enough time for them to set. If you place all the cups on a tray that you can easily take out and put back into your fridge at once, rather than cup by cup.

Serve with a little spoon!

Oompa-Loompa Fruit Kebabs

green grapes

1-2 oranges

large marshmallows

¼ cup dark or milk chocolate chips

kebab sticks

Melt chocolate chips in a mug in 20 second increments to ensure it doesn't burn. Once melted, using a spoon, scoop the melted chocolate into a small plastic sandwich bag and cut a very small hole in the corner to squeeze out the chocolate. This bit is a little fiddly but after a couple of goes, I'm sure you'll get the hang of it. Holding the marshmallow with the tip of your index finger and thumb, squeeze the chocolate into vertical lines along the marshmallow, giving it an appearance of stripes. Place back on tray to dry, sitting it on one of the sides that was not decorated.

Peel and cut the orange into pieces big enough to skewer. Once the marshmallows are dry, you're ready to begin assembling. Pierce a green grape first, then an orange, marshmallow, orange and lastly another grape. Voilà – Oompa-Loompa fruit kebabs!

Matilda's Edible Books

small wholewheat tortillas

deli meat

slices of cheese

a little butter

edible pens (Wilton brand available online)

To explain how to make these edible books, I think I'd best show diagrams. It's super easy, as demonstrated by the pictures.

You can add ham or any other deli meat or vegetable to the sandwiches, just make sure to cut them to the same size as the cheese so they appear like pages in the sandwich book.

Get creative with the names of the books! Think of your own favourite classics, or let your children decorate them.

Fantastic Mr Fox Food Buckets

Super easy, and an attempt at a healthier food option – a little cup of fruit or vegetable sticks. I used carrot and cucumber sticks, and cherry tomatoes. But, it could also be strawberries, raw broccoli, and capsicum sticks. Let the birthday child choose, so they can have a little control over the healthy option for their party.

The Willy Wonka Chocolate Birthday Cake

I chose this recipe as it's SUPER easy, and when you're doing the food for a child's birthday party, you need to be able to cut corners where you can. With this cake you can, and the taste doesn't suffer. It's Nigella's Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake, and it can be done in a food processor!

You will need TWO of everything as the birthday cake requires two cakes.

Per cake (makes two sandwich cakes):

1 ½ cup of plain flour

1 cup of sugar

1 tsp of baking powder

½ tsp of baking soda

⅓ cup of best quality cocoa

¾ cup of soft unsalted butter

2 large eggs

2 tsp of vanilla extract

⅔ cup of sour cream


1 ½ cups of butter (or ¾ cup of shortening, ¾ cup of butter)

1 ½ teaspoon clear vanilla extract

¾ teaspoon clear almond extract

6 cups sifted icing sugar

1 cup of dark chocolate chips

green food coloring


2 8in cake tins

piping bag

icing head 233 (I use the Wilton brand)


You can be inventive with this: a giant multi coloured lollipop, gummy bears, regular lollipops, the more candy the better! You are creating Willy Wonka's chocolate factory, it needs to be colourful, festive and delicious!

Multi coloured packet of ready to roll fondant.

I made these cakes the morning before the birthday party and put them in a container to keep them fresh. If they have to be layered to fit, use a little baking spray on both sides of clear wrap to place in between each cake so they won't stick together.

Take out all chilled ingredients and allow time for them to reach room temperature before beginning to make the cake.

Preheat oven to 350C and butter two 8inch cake tins. Put all the above ingredients into a food processor, and whizz till completely mixed through, forming a smooth chocolaty batter.

Divide evenly into the two cake tins, use a spatula to scrape out every last morsel of batter. Bake in oven for 25-35 minutes. This timeframe depends on whether the oven is large enough oven to bake the cakes side-by-side. By testing with a knife (that when removed comes away clean) whether they were cooked, my cakes only took 25 minutes. If they are baking on separate shelves, swap their placement halfway through, and they may take longer but still start checking at 25 minutes. Beautiful icing cannot masquerade a burnt, dry cake. Allow to cool for ten minutes before removing to a rack.

Repeat all steps for your second cake.

For the icing, this is my mother-in-law's secret weapon for morish cakes.

Cream butter with electric mixer, then add extracts. Gradually add one cup of icing sugar at a time, beating well on medium speed. Make sure all icing sugar is being mixed by scraping the bottom and sides of bowl often. When all the sugar has been mixed in, divide into 2 bowls; remove about a quarter of the icing mixture into another smaller bowl, leaving around three quarters behind. Use the green food coloring to color the icing in the smaller bowl. Add a little at a time till the desired color green is reached – a bright, grassy green. Cover and set aside.

Melt the dark chocolate chips in a bowl, zapping at 20 second increments as to not burn the chocolate. Stir after each time. Once completely melted, add to the large bowl of icing mixture and cream together till fully mixed.

Lay one chocolate cake half on a board and with a sharp knife, cut about 1-1 ½ inch off around the edge, still keeping a circular shape. Place the smaller cake on top of the other half, and cut the bottom cake to the same size, using the top cake as a size guide. Use some of the chocolate icing to sandwich the two layers together (for a delicious chocolatey moist centre), and do the same for the two uncut cake layers. Place the smaller sandwiched cake on top of the larger cake, making a two tiered cake. Cover entire cake with the chocolate icing. Dip a knife or icing spatula in a cup of hot water to help you spread the icing evenly.

For the grass, assemble the icing head (233) with the piping bag and fill the bag about half way with the green icing. Holding the bag at 90 degrees practice a few times on the scrap edges of the cake, squeezing the bag gently, moving it slightly side-to-side to give the “grass" and authentic look, stop squeezing and pull away to leave little tasty blades of grass. When it comes to decorating the cake, go around the base of the cake, making a ring of grass around the edge. Cover the top of the bottom cake entirely with grass, remembering to place the grass as closely together to hide the chocolate icing beneath. You can be creative with the top tier, making two or three irregular shape grass patches.

Roll out the different color fondant to about 1/10 of an inch and cut out the letters for “Happy Birthday" with a sharp knife; stick along the tiers of the cake. The fondant will dry out quickly so do one colour at a time, and if any is leftover, put in a ziplock bag.

Get creative when it comes to decorating the cake with the candy and lollipops. You can use the picture of our cake for ideas, but you really can put anything anywhere! Remember, you are creating Willy Wonka's “world of pure imagination…"

Enjoy your expertly created, imaginatively delicious, Roald Dahl themed child's birthday party. Make sure the parents get a chance to “oo" and “aah" at your magnificence, and then sit down and enjoy some frobscottle drink!


To let the guest know what they're enjoying, and for those who are not familiar with Roald Dahl, make little signs for each platter. I did this by simply Googling images to match the names of the dishes, and then enlisted my husband's talent for fancy font. Sticking them on colorful paper adds to the rainbow effect. See my examples below.

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World's First Sperm Bank Opens for HIV Positive Donors

Sperm Positive, started by three non-profits in New Zealand, hopes to end stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood

"Our donors have so much to give," say the promotional materials of a new sperm bank. "But they can't give you HIV."

The new sperm bank, Sperm Positive, launched on World Aids Day this year by three non-profits as a way to fight stigma surrounding HIV and parenthood. For years, scientists have known that those living with an undetectable level of HIV in their blood thanks to antiretroviral treatments can't transmit the virus through sex or childbirth. Yet discrimination and stigma persists.

The sperm bank exists online only, but will connect donors and those seeking donations with fertility banks once a connection is made on their site. Sperm Positive was started by three New Zealand non-profits — Body Positive, the New Zealand Aids Foundation and Positive Women Inc. — who hope the project will help disseminate science-backed education and information about HIV and parenthood.

Already, three HIV positive men have signed up to serve as donors, including Damien Rule-Neal who spoke to the NZ Herald about his reasons for getting involved in the project. "I want people to know life doesn't stop after being diagnosed with HIV and that it is safe to have children if you're on treatment," he told the Herald. "I've experienced a lot of stigma living with HIV, both at work and in my personal life that has come from people being misinformed about the virus."

We applaud the effort all around! To read more about our own efforts to end the stigma surround HIV and parenthood, check out our recent round-up of family profiles, resources, and expert advice that celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV here.

Change the World

'Homosexuality is Wrong' Utah Teacher Tells Boy Who Gave Thanks for His Two Adoptive Dads

The substitute teacher went on to say two men living together is "sinful." She was fired shortly after.

To anyone with a heart, the moment should have done nothing more than bring a tear to the eye. Last week, just before the Thanksgiving break, a substitute teacher in a fifth grade class in Cedar Hills, Utah — just south of Salt Lake City — asked her students to name something they were thankful for this holiday season.

"I'm thankful for finally being adopted by my two dads," said Daniel, one of the boys, when it was his turn.

Rather than grab a tissue to dab her eyes, or ask the classroom to join her in a hearty round of applause to celebrate Daniel finding his forever family, the teacher took it upon herself to impart her personal religious beliefs onto the young boy. "Homosexuality is wrong," the teacher said in front of the class, adding that it was "sinful" for two men to live together.

The teacher, fortunately, was fired from Kelly Services, the substitute staffing company that employed her, quickly after the incident, but the moment is nonetheless receiving widespread attention in the press — no doubt in part because one of the boy's dads, Louis van Amstel of "Dancing With the Stars," posted a video clip to his 76,000 Twitter followers with the title: "Our child was bullied."

"It shouldn't matter if you're gay, straight, bisexual, black and white," he said to the New York Times in a follow up interview. "If you're adopting a child and if that child goes to a public school, that teacher should not share her opinion about what she thinks we do in our private life."

Louis also revealed that the moment may not have come to light were it not for three of his son's classmates, who told the principal about the teacher's bigoted comments. His son, Daniel, didn't want to report the incident for fear of getting the teacher into trouble.

Louis expressed thanks that the staffing company responded as quickly as it did following the incident — and also stressed that his neighbors and community have rallied behind he and his family in the days afterward, offering support. He wanted to dispel stereotypes that Utah, because of its social conservatism and religiosity, was somehow inherently prejudiced.

"It doesn't mean that all of Utah is now bad," he told the Times. "This is one person."

It's also true that this type of prejudice is in no way limited to so-called red states, and incidents like these happen daily. LGBTQ parents and our children are subjected to homophobic and transphobic comments in schools, hospitals, stores, airlines and elsewhere as we simply go about living our lives. These moments so often fly under the radar — many classmates don't have the courage, as they fortunately did in this case, to report wrongdoing. Some administrators are far less responsive than they were here — and most of us don't have 76,000 Twitter followers to help make these moments of homophobia a national story.

All that aside, let's also get back to what should have been nothing more than a heartwarming moment — Daniel, a fifth grade boy, giving thanks to finally being legally adopted into a loving family.

Change the World

9 Stories That Celebrate the Experience of Gay Fathers Living with HIV

This World AIDS Day, we dug into our archives to find 9 stories that bring awareness to and celebrate the experience of gay dads living with HIV

December 1st is World AIDS Day — a day to unite in our collective fight to end the epidemic, remember those we've lost, and bring much needed attention and money to support those who continue to live with HIV and AIDS. For us at Gays With Kids, it's also a time to lift up and celebrate the experiences of fathers, so many of who never thought they'd see the day where they would be able to start families.

Towards that end, we've rounded up nine stories, family features and articles from our archives that celebrate the experience of gay fathers living with HIV — the struggles, triumphs and everything in between.

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Personal Essays by Gay Dads

How This Dad 'Redesigned' the Holidays After Coming Out of the Closet

Rick Clemons describes how he made the holidays work for him and his family again after coming out of the closet

What I'm about to describe to you, is something I am deeply ashamed of in hindsight. I was a jerk, still in a state of shock and confusion, and "in love" with a handsome Brit I'd only spent less than 24 hours with.

I was standing in the Ontario, California airport watching my wife walk with my two daughters to a different gate than mine. They were headed to my parents in the Napa Valley for Thanksgiving. I was headed to spend my Thanksgiving with the Brit in San Francisco. It was less than one month after I had come out of the closet and I was so caught up in my own freedom and new life that I didn't realize until everything went kaput with the Brit on New Year's Eve, that if I was ever going to manage the holidays with dignity and respect for me, my kids, and their Mom, I was going to have to kick myself in the pants and stop acting like a kid in the candy store when it came to men. Ok, nothing wrong with acting that way since I never got to date guys in high school and college because I was raised to believe – gay no way, was the way. But that's another article all together.

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What to Buy

Shop with a Purpose with Our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide

Want to find amazing gift ideas while *also* supporting LGBTQ-owned and allied businesses? Look no further than our 2019 holiday gift guide!

'Tis the season to show loved ones you care. And what better way to show you care, by also supported our LGBTQ+ community and allies whilst doing it! Shop (LGBTQ+) smart with these great suggestions below.

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Diary of a Newly Out Gay Dad

A Newly Out Gay Dad Feels 'Demoted' After Divorce

Cameron Call showed up to his first family Thanksgiving since coming out and getting a divorce — and struggles to find himself "stuck with the singles."

Cameron Call, who came out in summer 2019, has generously agreed to chronicle his coming out journey for Gays With Kids over the next several months — the highs, lows and everything in between. Read his first article here.

Denial is an interesting thing. It's easy to think you're potentially above it, avoiding it, assume it doesn't apply to you because you'd NEVER do that, or maybe you're just simply avoiding it altogether. After finally coming out, I liked to think that I was done denying anything from now on. But unfortunately that's not the case.

And this fact became very clear to me over Thanksgiving.

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New Report Details the 'Price of Parenthood' for LGBTQ People

A new report by the Family Equality Council takes a deep dive into the current state of cost for becoming a parent as an LGBTQ person

Parenthood is expensive. But parenthood while queer is still prohibitively costly for so many segments of the LGBTQ community interested in pursuing a family, according to a new repot by the Family Equality Council, titled, "Building LGBTQ+ Families: The Price of Parenthood."

Among the more interesting findings was this one: the cost of family planning is relatively similar for all LGBTQ people, regardless of income level. This shows "that the desire to have children exists regardless of financial security," the report's authors conclude.

Research for the report was conducted through an online survey of 500 LGBTQ adults over the age of 18, and was conducted between July 11-18, 2018. For comparison, the survey also included 1,004 adults who did not identify as LGBTQ.

Other interesting findings of the report include:

  • 29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, and error associated with question-wording and response options.29% of all LGBTQ+ respondents reported an annual household income under $25,000 compared to 22% of non-LGBTQ+ respondents.
  • 33% of black LGBTQ+ respondents, 32% of female-identified LGBTQ+ respondents, and 31% of trans/gender non-conforming LGBTQ+ respondents reported annual household incomes below $25,000.
  • Regardless of annual household income, 45-53% of LGBTQ+ millennials are planning to become parents for the first time or add another child to their family. Those making less than $25,000 a year are considering becoming parents at very similar rates as those making over $100,000.
  • Data from the Family Building Survey reveals that LGBTQ+ households making over $100,000 annually are considering the full range of paths to parenthood, from surrogacy and private adoption to foster care and IVF. The most popular options under consideration in this income bracket are private adoption (74% are considering), foster care (42%), and IVF or reciprocal IVF (21%). At the other end of the economic spectrum, for LGBTQ+ individuals in households making less than $25,000 annually, the most commonly considered paths to parenthood are intercourse (35% are considering), foster care (30%), and adoption (23%).

Fatherhood, the gay way

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