Parties & Holidays

Spring Garden Cookie Basket

Create this adorable gardening-themed cookie basket for Easter.

It’s almost Easter, and we kicked off our celebrations this weekend by creating garden-themed cookie baskets to give as gifts to teachers and neighbors. Planting seeds in the spring is something I’ve done with Jason and Jenna every year since they were toddlers, and this year was no exception. When I saw these adorable garden mini cookies from Shari’s Berries, I immediately thought about creating garden-themed gift baskets for Easter.

easter-garden-cookies-watering-can1

 I started with the following supplies:

  • Small watering cans (I purchased ours at Target in the dollar bin)
  • Small clay pots
  • Acrylic paint and paint dauber
  • Seed packets
  • Shredded paper or other Easter basket grass filler
  • Cookies (I used these mini garden cookies and mini Easter cookies)
  • Plastic bags  (I purchased pretzel stick bag from Michael’s)
  • Ribbon

First we decorated the clay pots:

easter-garden-cookies-painted-pots

There are lots of great ways to personalize plant containers. We used small paint daubers to create a polka dot pattern, but you could also create drawings with oil-based Sharpie markers, apply paper with decoupage glue or accent with washi tape to easily update basic pots.

Assembling the Baskets

easter-garden-cookies-pots

Once our pots were dry, I filled each one with Easter basket paper filler and packets of seeds.

easter-garden-cookies-detail3

Next, it was time to assemble the cookies. I found narrow plastic bags (which are intended for pretzel sticks) at Michael’s and the size worked perfectly for stacking mini cookies. I placed a bag of cookies inside the pot along with the seeds and then placed the pot inside the watering can.

easter-garden-cookies-detail4

Here is the final garden ‘basket:’

Create this adorable gardening-themed cookie basket for Easter.

Our gifts turned out adorable, but according to my kids, the best part is eating the cookies:

easter-garden-cookies-eating

 

Disclosure: Shari’s Berries graciously provided the cookies for this post.

 

Flower Box Centerpiece for Spring

Create a flower box centerpiece for spring with an easy  Easter-theme transition.

Happy Spring! Now that Easter is right around the corner, I decided to add a little Spring-time update to our dining room. Like other rooms in our house, we’ve decorated in a modern rustic style with simple furniture, a muted color palette and lots of houseplants for accents. To add a few simple Easter touches, I designed a flower box centerpiece for our table and added this customizable bunting banner from Minted’s spring collection to our wall. (more…)

8 Ideas for Non-Candy Easter Egg Filler

8 awesome ideas for non-candy easter egg and basket filler.Easter egg hunts are an annual tradition at our house. Last year, we held two: one night-time glow-in-the-dark easter egg hunt and one traditional hunt on Easter morning. With so much egg-hunting on the horizon, I’m starting to gather filler materials early. Here are a few ideas on my list:

  1. Temporary tattoos from Tattly are always a huge hit at our house. I especially love Red Kicks Bunny and Good Bunny.
  2. Last year the Easter bunny packed our eggs with quite a few gorgeous rocks and minerals, which our children still refer to as “treasure.” You can buy individual stones or purchase as a set.
  3. Dinosaur eggs! I’ve already purchased this 72-mini-dinosaur set and it’s just a matter of time before J+J discover little dinosaur babies hatching out of eggs in our yard.
  4. My daughter is all about her nails lately. These butterfly nail stickers are sure to be a hit.
  5. Glow-in-the-dark stars for our glow-in-the-dark Easter egg hunt. A perfect pairing.
  6. Crayon rings, because you can never have enough art supplies.
  7. Finger flashlights, which are probably best handed out just before the evening egg hunt to help spot those especially well-hidden eggs.
  8. The Perler Bead craze hasn’t hit our household yet, but something about Lego-style building combined with a Minecraft pixel aesthetic seems right up this family’s alley.

Happy Hunting!

Disclosure: post contains affiliate links.

 

Easter Printables

Download free Easter printables to label candies, cookies and other holiday goodies.  Two sheets of designs.

St. Patrick’s Day has never been a big holiday at our house, which is surprising given our love of gold-wrapped chocolates. Instead, we move quickly from Valentine’s Day to Easter. In fact, last weekend we raided the storage closet and found our Easter holiday storage bins. Once the baskets and masses of plastic eggs were freed, we immediately started started playing ‘Easter Egg hunt.’ Let’s just consider it practice for the big day. (more…)

Lego Valentine’s: Free Printables

Lego Valentines: Free Printables for Classroom Valentine Cards

Last year at this time I hadn’t even started on the classroom Valentines until a couple of days before the parties, which resulted in a mad dash to cut, fold and stuff 20 Minecraft boxes on February 13th. This year, I’m way ahead of the game. Jason’s Lego-themed Valentines are complete, which might have something to do with my much simpler approach this time.

Jenna helped me write the phrases for the cards. “Never Lego My Heart” – that’s all her. “We Click” – that one’s mine, and Jenna assures me that it won’t make any sense to 2nd-graders. Oh well, I went with it anyway. (more…)

A Pokemon Party

A Pokemon Birthday Party: Great Ideas for Party Activities and non-sugary foods to serve.

Last weekend we hosted Jason’s Pokemon Birthday Party. Prior to planning this party, I knew very little about Pokemon, but I think my research paid off and I pulled together the theme pretty well. Based solely on the fact that my daughter is now requesting a Pokemon party for her next birthday, I’m concluding that the party was a success by the kids’ measures as well. But that might have been the pinata envy talking. (more…)

Pokemon Trading Card Invitation Templates

Create Pokemon Trading Card birthday invitations for your child's birthday. These templates (front and back) are fully editable in Photoshop so you can incorporate your own text and images.

Jason requested a Pokemon-themed birthday party this year. It’s a hard theme for me to get excited about, mostly because I know very little about the game and even after watching an episode of the cartoon series, I still feel largely uninformed and uninspired. I’m trying to roll with it though, and so far, he seems pretty happy with our party planning.

Last week, I finished the invitations which are based on the design of the character trading cards. (more…)

Camp Cinderella: Part 2

Camp Cinderella: Activities for a Cinderella-Inspired Camping Party for Children

When Jenna first suggested a camping and Cinderella themed party, I immediately loved the idea. I wasn’t exactly sure how to pull it off, but I knew it would be fun to try. Jenna had a few requests – like wanting to dress up like princesses and wanting to make necklaces - so that was my starting point and I added on from there.

Here’s what a day at Camp Cinderella turned out to be:
Camp Cinderella activities
When guests arrived, they entered into the ‘costume area where they could gear up with all of the necessary clothing and equipment for the day (capes, tutus, sunglasses, tiaras, etc.).
Camp Cinderella: Activities for a Cinderella-Inspired Camping Party for Children
After getting dressed up, the guests moved out to the backyard where they could choose from our ‘camp activities.’

Camp Cinderella Activities

Camp activities included:

  • Archery – we had a couple of sets of the Brave archery bow and arrows and a hula hoop hanging from a tree to serve as the target.
  • Horse Riding – it doesn’t get much better than a pink pony with lots of sparkles galloping through your yard.
  • Necklace-Making
  • Sword Fighting
  • S’mores – see Part 1 for the camp menu
  • Tent “Clean-Up” – I purchased these castle tents and then decided at the last minute to add a few toy brooms so that the kids could clean their castles, just as Cinderella was required to do before going to the ball.
  • Camp Photos - I purchased a frame at Michaels, spray painted it Cinderella blue and suspended it from the ceiling using pink tulle. I added some tulle along the wall behind it for an easy photo opp set-up.

I think the highlight, at least for Jenna, was definitely the horse. There’s something pretty magical about a sparkly pink pony wandering around in your yard.

camp-horse

Camp Cinderella - Pink Horse

 

 

For details about the camp food, see Camp Cinderella: Part 1.

 

Camp Cinderella: Part 1

Camp Cinderella: A Princess-Inspired Camping Birthday Party

My daughter requested a “Cinderella and Camping” party to celebrate her 6th birthday. It was an interesting mix of princess girliness with outdoorsy fun, and Jenna and I had a great time thinking up ways to combine the themes. In the end, our backyard was filled with girls in tutus, boys wielding swords, a bonfire and a glittery pink horse. I’m hoping we look back on this one as the year mom nailed it! Happy Birthday, Jenna!

Today I’m sharing our camp menu:

Enchanted Trail Mix
Camp Cinderella: A Princess-Inspired Camping Party

We set up a create-your-own-trail-mix bar for party guests to assemble their own camping snack. The bar included:

  • Popcorn
  • Pretzels
  • Granola
  • Chocolate-covered almonds
  • Cranberries
  • Pumpkin Seeds
  • Cashews
  • Pink, blue and white M&Ms
Cinderella S’mores
Camp Cinderella: A Princess-Inspired Camping Party

No camping adventure would be complete without s’mores! Despite 80 degrees temperatures, all of our campers were up for sitting around a camp fire, roasting pink and white marshmallows and making traditional s’mores. I purchased these extra long roasting skewers to keep everyone a good distance from the heat.

Cake and Princess Punch

Camp Cinderella: A Princess-Inspired Camping Party

After making a practice cake a few weeks ago and experimenting with marshmallow fondant and natural dyes, I ended up purchasing two cakes and decorating them myself with pre-made fondant. For drinks, we served strawberry lemonade (aka Princess Punch).

For more party details, see Camp Cinderella: Part 2

 

Birthday Inspiration: Camp Cinderella

 

Birthday Party inspiration for my daughter's "Cinderella Camping" themed party.

Jenna loves planning her birthday parties, and this year’s celebration of turning 6 is no exception. She suggested a “Cinderella Camping” party, and I’ve had a great time thinking up ways to merge two seemingly opposite ends of the party theme spectrum. I won’t go into detail now but the mood board above gives quite a few clues. Will there be a pink-maned horse? Yes, yes there will. More pics after the party!

Image sources: Garland / Toy binoculars / Tiara / Pink Bow and Arrow Set / Castle Tent / Tutu

Happy Easter

Despite lots of sickness in our family, we had a very nice holiday weekend. It was our first Easter in the new house, and the yard proved to be the perfect site for an egg hunt. Most years, Jason and Jenna quickly snatch up the eggs and count their bounty to see who won. This year, victory definitely went to the Easter bunny. J+J gave up after an extensive search of both the front and back yards, leaving at least 3 or 4 eggs to be found later in the day.

Here are a few more highlights from our weekend:

happy easter

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt: Tips for Hosting a Night-Time Easter Egg Hunt with Glowing Eggs

Last night we held our very first nighttime Easter egg hunt using glow-in-the-dark eggs, an idea shared by my aunt in her comments to something I posted last week. Genius! I knew we definitely had to try it out.

Glow-in-the-Dark Easter Egg Hunt: Tips for Hosting a Night-Time Easter Egg Hunt with Glowing Eggs

The concept is extremely simple – glow sticks inside of eggs – so I think I underestimated the amount of prep work involved. If you’re considering a night-time Easter egg hunt, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

Proportion: Consider the size of your glow sticks in relation to the size of your plastic eggs. I purchased bracelet-sized glow sticks and tried to use the mix of small and large plastic eggs I had on hand. The sticks were nearly impossible to cram into the 2-inch eggs, but fit easily into the larger 3-in eggs. I recommend using all large eggs or purchasing these mini glow sticks (wish I had seen these at the craft store yesterday). As a last resort, tape is your friend.

Material: Similar to the size issue, I had a mix of transparent/textured eggs and the more traditional solid color eggs. Not surprisingly, the solid color eggs were better at giving off a “glow” in the landscape than the transparent eggs.

Timing: Since you have to “turn on” the glow sticks, there isn’t a lot of opportunity to prep this activity in advance. It took my husband and me almost an hour to place glow sticks into approximately 36 eggs and hide them in the backyard. I had planned on having our hunt just after dusk so that there would still be a bit of natural light for photos. But the prep took longer than expected and we ended up taking the kids out just past their usual bedtime, in full-on darkness. If you’re going for optimum glow effect, however, this is the perfect time for your egg hunt. Seeing the eggs glowing around the yard was definitely a very cool sight!

 

All-Natural Gradient Cake

Make a gradient cake using fondant with all-natural dyes.

Jenna has requested a “Cinderella Camping” themed birthday party this year. That one loves to challenge her mama with theme mash-ups. Last year’s Hello Kitty Rainbow Flower party seems easy in comparison to this year’s combo. Luckily, I enjoy a good challenge.

In preparation for the upcoming festivities, I decided to experiment with natural food dyes to see if I could achieve a good ‘Cinderella blue.’ And while I clearly need more practice working with fondant, I was pretty happy with the colors resulting from my experimentation this weekend.

Make a gradient cake using fondant with all-natural food coloring

I used this recipe for marshmallow fondant. Dye-free marshmallows are surprisingly hard to come by, but I’ve discovered that Walmart brand marshmallows don’t contain the artificial blue dye found in most other brands. For the coloring, I used this all-natural blue food dye. The results are more muted than artificial dyes, but work well for the Cinderella palette I was going for.

Make a gradient cake using fondant with all-natural food coloring

Minecraft Valentines

minecraft valentines

Just a few more boxes to go and then I can finally call this year’s Valentines complete. Jason is obsessed with Minecraft, so he’s pretty excited about handing out these little treasure boxes to his classmates. I used this template from PiX FiZ and filled the boxes with red tissue paper and gold half-dollar coins.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Update: This year I’ve made Lego Valentine’s for Jason. Check out the designs and free downloads.