Under Construction

What do you serve at a construction themed birthday party? Why dirt & construction cones of course! What a fun spin on pudding with crushed chocolate cookies and candy corns. Put your noggin to work and think about what you can call your treats that would fit your theme. Nuts & bolts = peanuts & pretzel sticks. I love the fun little signs for the food too. Some of the food was even served right out of the back of a dump truck. And of course every birthday party needs a cake and this one didn’t disappoint. A chocolate construction cake complete with “dirt” and little trucks.

Everything had its own little special touch – it was fun just to look around and see all the little details that really brought this party together into a 3 year olds dream birthday. The water bottles had fun little labels, the sign on the door letting us know we were entering a construction area, and the personalized napkins and balloons from Balloons Tomorrow really made this into a fun event.

Nothing was overlooked in the planning, look at this – real construction plans covering the tables! A brilliant idea! And what better way to anchor your balloons to the table than a handful of tools (cheap & easy). Toy construction trucks also adorned the tables but it didn’t take long for the little ones to realize this and soon many of them were being zoomed around the floor by laughing boys & girls.

Stay tuned to hear more about the fun activities that were planned for the little ones (& big ones) at the party.

Construction Zone Ahead

My family was recently invited to the birthday party of little 3 year old who is very much into everything “boy” these days. What better way than to celebrate his birthday than with construction equipment and much yellow & black decorations?!

I was aware of some of the details of the party prior to our arrival but I was so anxious to see how everything came together and let me tell you – I was blown away! Everything looked fabulous and a little boy’s dream (or in some cases a big boy’s dream too)! The party took place in the perfect “man cave” – a large shed that was loaded with tools & equipment which was a great backdrop for the event. Signs & flags noted the “construction area” and were a great way to keep the kids somewhat corralled and out of most of the real equipment though the kids had a blast playing on the Gator & skid loader!

Balloons Tomorrow did a wonderful job on this large banner and I hear the birthday boy really liked it! It turned out to be the perfect backdrop at the food station which was loaded (pun intended) with toy construction trucks – diggers & dump trucks galore. Balloons Tomorrow also was the source of the black & yellow plates and cups and they printed up some super cute napkins with bulldozers on them. Black utensils were placed in a toolbox (how cute?!) which was a perfect fit – it’s little details like this that really build a successful event. Yellow & black balloons were everywhere and were the perfect touch to the large party space and of course there were enough for child to take home a couple when they left.

I am just going to whet your appetite with this post  – stay tuned for part two to hear what kind of yummy foods were served that suited both young & old and to see the fun activities that were planned for the kiddos (though I caught a few moms & dads having some fun too!).

Halloween Snacks

A Halloween post in November?! Yep, that’s right. I am a planner but you know, some things just happen very last minute around our house. Early in October I had decided I wanted to make some fun treats for my son’s Halloween party then I thought “nah, I’ll just forget it” well then the night before Halloween I decided “what the heck”. Luckily these 2 treats were super fast & very easy to whip up and of course the end product was too cute. Both of these treats are perfect for goodie bags – kids AND adults will love them (trust me)!

 

Peanut Butter Ghosts

Ingredients: peanut shaped peanut butter sandwich cookies, white almond bark, & mini chocolate chips

Directions: melt the almond bark (I did mine in the microwave), dip 2/3 of the cookies into the melted almond bark, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, add 2 chocolate chips for eyes.

Peanut Butter Ghosts

Clem-O-Lanterns

Ingredients: bag of clementines

Directions: draw fun, scary, or goofy faces on the clementines with a permanent marker

Clem-O-Lanterns

 

And as a bonus why not feed your kids spiders! That is what my husband thought anyway. He cleverly put dried spaghetti through a sliced up hot dog and boiled them – spaghetti spiders – only to have our 2 year old respond “me no like spiders”.

spaghetti spiders

 

Up, Up and Away

A handful of years ago I went to my cousins wedding and witnessed a balloon release for the first time. It was so neat and unique. It was only until recently that I learned that balloon releases are for more than just weddings and that there is quite a bit to learn about the balloon releasing process.

Did you know that latex balloons are 100% biodegradable? It’s true. What this means is that when a balloon is released and it falls back to earth it will decompose around the same rate as an oak leaf. And ideally balloon releases are done with no ribbon, strings, or the sort attached to the balloon since many of these do not decompose and may pose harm to animals when they return to the ground. Now I know not everyone would care about this aspect of balloon releases so it is recommended if you want a tie on your balloon that you go with a cotton string or raffia. Another important thing to consider is if there are any laws in your area regarding balloon releases, this is especially important if you plan on releasing a large amount of balloons or if you will be doing your release near an airport.

Balloon releases can be done for a wide variety of reasons. Celebrations such as a wedding is an obvious one but balloon releases are also frequently done at a memorial for a loved one. And more recently they have become a popular way for couples to reveal the gender of their baby. For whatever reason you chose to do a balloon release I encourage you to take a little extra time to read this document and  consider the end result of this beautiful event.

photo taken by Denise White

Holidays: Ghostly Goodness

Like many others my mind is in full orange & black mode this month – I can’t stop thinking about Halloween! More specifically I am thinking about how I can decorate our house for those little ghosts & goblins that will be visiting at the end of the month. When I stumbled upon this ghostly project I knew that it would be perfect for our house adding a little touch of the holiday here and there.

Supplies:

  • Cheese cloth
  • Liquid starch (found in the detergent aisle) or starch paste (corn starch + water)
  • Styrofoam balls or balloons
  • Something to balance the balls on – I used glasses of various sizes
  • Plastic sheeting (to protect your work surface)

    supplies – corn starch paste vs. liquid starch

I tried 2 different methods* of this project – one using liquid starch and one using a paste I made. If you choose to make your own paste you will need to mix approximately 2 ¼ cups (give or take) of water with 1 cup of corn starch, mix, & microwave for about 2 minutes stirring frequently until it is like a thick pudding. If using liquid starch just pour it into a bowl.

Plan out the height of your ghosts by placing your Styrofoam balls on tops of glasses – I found it helpful to stack some glasses for my larger ghosts. Cut the cheese cloth to the desired length – drape over the forms to find out house much to use.

my ghost forms (go Twins!)

Submerge the cheese cloth into the starch working the starch into the cloth. Take out of the starch and open the cheese cloth (the cloth is delicate at this point and may tear – be gentle). Drape over your forms and adjust the cloth to your liking. I did 2 layers of cloth per ghost for a little more dimension. Let sit over night or until firm (if you made your own starch this may take closer to 24 hours for everything the dry).

Take off your form and you are done! Yay!

ghost family

You can feel free to add eyes made out of felt or construction paper if you wish. These are so fun to place around the house. I will be putting my 2 large ones outside on Halloween but right now we are enjoying them indoors. You may even consider making some mini ones and stringing them into a garland or how about hanging them from the ceiling with fishing line to give the impression that they are floating in the air?! Or how about putting a glow stick or little flameless candle under them?! These would be a great addition to any Halloween party as decorations or as a party favor. Let me know if you try these out – I would love to see how you spook up your party!

 

*I found the liquid starch to be much easier to work with! Though the homemade starch seemed to set a lot firmer than the liquid.

 

 

 

Birthdays: Ice Cream Cone Cupcakes

Two years ago my son came into this world and changed my life forever. I love him more than I ever thought possible. One of my (many) goals as a mother is to make sure that he has an enjoyable birthday (whether he remembers it or not). I spent quite a bit of time planning his first birthday but this September was much busier and I didn’t have quite as much free time to prepare AND we decided not to do a big birthday party but instead would celebrate as a small family and would help B celebrate at daycare as well.

We decided that the perfect treat for those at his small daycare would be ice cream cone cupcakes. I vaguely remember having these as a child either at my own party or someone else’s. They are super easy to make, would be something we could make a couple of days beforehand and they were also easy enough for a 2 year old to help with. B enjoyed dumping in the ingredients as well as licking the spoon and what little kid doesn’t like dumping sprinkles onto a cake?!

Thinking about the steps in making these cupcakes there are a couple of challenges to work around. We opted for the standard size of ice cream cones and thought B would enjoy a funfetti cake mix. We filled the cones 2/3 full of cake batter and then placed the cones on a mini muffin tin – they fit perfectly. CAREFULLY I put the pan into the oven and let them bake for about 20 minutes. Taking them out of the oven was almost more of a challenge than putting them in – but the made it out safely. After cooling I frosted them and let little B put sprinkles on each one.

And you are done! OH WAIT! How am I going to transport these?!?! Not an easy thing if you think about it.  A simple Google search will result in a plethora of ideas told by those that have braved these ice cream cone cupcakes in the past. We chose to transport these via a tin foil lasagna pan which was the perfect size for 12 cupcakes. Originally I had planned on cutting circles out of the bottom of the pan the size of the bottoms of the cones but that proved to be more difficult that I wanted it to be. So instead I cut a simple “X” for each cone and folded back the tabs – super easy. The cones fit in there great without wiggling around. The kids at daycare gave them rave reviews and somehow none of the extras made it home.

These were definitely fun & quick to make for a busy mom like myself. They didn’t take too much time and too much planning and you could definitely decorate them as simple or extravagant as you like – oh and did I mention how fun they are to eat?! Enjoy!

Components:

  • Ice cream cones
  • Cake mix
  • Frosting
  • Sprinkles
  • Mini muffin tin
  • Tin foil lasagna pan

 

Directions:

  • Mix up your cake batter.
  • Spoon batter into the cones until they are 2/3 full.
  • Bake at 350 for approximately 20 minutes.
  • Cool completely before decorating.

A Simple Celebration

The month of birthday celebrations have begun here at our house. Since we all have our birthdays within a month of each other it is a bit fun for me to decorate our house with birthday items that aren’t too obnoxious to leave out for that whole month. Just a couple of hints of “birthday” here and there – they were super easy to do and anyone (creative or not – young or old) will have no problem adding these birthday touches to their home.

Subway art is an easy way to adorn your living room for an upcoming holiday. There are many websites that offer these for you to print yourself, some are free and some you have to pay for. My favorite for these free printable is Eighteen25 – you will find many here for whatever season or holiday you may need and they usually have a few color combinations to pick from as well. I downloaded the image and had it printed at our local Target but you could easily print them out on your home computer as well.

Birthday subway art

Many of you may be aware of the trend of the DIY wreath – make a wreath for any occasion out of things you may have around your house. When I was looking for a birthday wreath I discovered many styles but I decided on a balloon wreath which was super easy to make – so easy you could get your kids to help you! We hang this wreath on our door every year so that passers by know that there is a celebration going on inside. It’s fun and special for the one celebrating.

Balloon wreath

Enjoy these simple ways to celebrate and remember to high-five those celebrating and wish them the very best for the following year.

Full of Hot Air

Within the next 4 weeks we will be celebrating my birthday, my husband’s birthday, and my son’s birthday (as well as a wedding and an anniversary) so needless to say I have “party brain” lately. My husband & I don’t typically go all out for our birthday’s but we do like to make sure our son’s birthday is special even though I doubt he will remember any of it at this age.

A birthday isn’t complete without balloons in my opinion. Of course little B’s favorite balloons come in the shape of Elmo or Mickey Mouse these days but balloons can be so much more than a character balloon or a balloon bouquet. Think about how fun balloon pillars might look on your patio at a party or floating against your ceiling with all their ribbons dangling down.

p.s. Don’t forget our very own Balloons Tomorrow in your one stop shop for your customized balloons – which would look pretty sweet with these ideas.

balloon garland – via agirlandaboy

 

hanging balloons – via igoyougo

 

birthday balloons filled with a little surprise – via she’s crafty

Bridal Shower part 1

After quite some time planning I was able to finally see how everything would come together for the dual bridal shower this past weekend. This shower honored my future sister-in-law and my cousin’s fiancée – both who will be joining our family this fall.

I chose to go with a navy blue and light lemon yellow color scheme. The colors were fitting for a fun summer gathering and added a little bit of elegance as well. Whatever color scheme you choose it can act as a perfect spring board for the other aspects of your shower.

pineapple & blueberries

A simple way to utilize your colors is by incorporating them into the food that your serve but be sure to not go overboard. Since this shower was held mid morning we chose to serve food that was light and that leaned toward brunch fare. Fruit is an easy item to serve and it gives you quite a bit of color choices. One of my favorite combinations for the party was a bowl of fresh pineapple & blueberries – yum! We also served mini blueberry muffins, cinnamon rolls, and krimp bread with an egg salad spread. As for beverages bottles of water are an excellent choice. They are easy for guests to grab as they are mingling and you typically don’t have to worry as much about spillage either. And if you are feeling creative you can even make personalized labels to adhere to the bottles. We did have some bottles of water as well as coffee but most guests opted for a fabulous pineapple lemonade punch my grandmother made. I found the recipe on Pinterest and want to share the recipe with you.

pineapple lemonade punch

Pineapple Lemonade Punch

1 cup Countrytime Lemonade mix (or similar)

2 cups of cold water

1 can of chilled pineapple juice (46oz.)

2 cans chilled Sprite (or similar)

Mix together and add lemon slices!

 

Stay tuned for part 2 of this series coming next week!

Bridal Shower Teaser

This weekend I will be co-hosting a bridal shower for my future sister-in-law and my cousin’s fiancée – a dual shower. I have spent a good amount of time planning the event from afar but have had wonderful help from the other hostesses. I am so excited to share the details of the party with you next week. We came up with a navy blue and yellow color scheme – one that I find elegant and fresh for a summer shower. And as mentioned in a previous post the chevron pattern will be making an appearance as well as a delicious lemonade-punch perfect for a mid-morning party. And no shower would be complete without games. Many people I know are not fond of shower games but my aim is to make them enjoyable for everyone and since we will be honoring two brides at this shower why not let the guests have a break and put the brides to work?! Yes, the brides will be the ones participating in the shower games, not the guests!

I will leave you with some ruffled streamers left over from a past event and which will be making an appearance this weekend!

ruffled streamers – photo courtesy of Benzie Design