Parties & Holidays

Emoji Birthday Party

Emoji Birthday Party

We recently hosted a backyard birthday party for Jenna, who is completely obsessed with all things emoji right now. Luckily, this was a very easy theme to pull together, as there is no shortage of emoji accessories in the world today.

Here are a few of the activities and decorations included in the festivities:

Face Painting, Emoji-Style

Emoji Face Painting

We hired Fancy Faces by Veronica and had a wonderful artist who tailored her creations to the theme extremely well.

Emoji Mask-Making and Photo Booth

Emoji mask making and photo booth

For the photo booth props, I attached large yellow paper plates to large popsicle sticks and let the girls decorate the ‘faces’ with eyes, mouths and other accessories that I cut in advance. I also included plain paper, scissors and paper punches so they could create their own facial features. Once the mask props were complete, each of the girls posed for pictures:

Emoji Birthday Party with an emoji-themed photo booth.

Emoji Necklaces

Emoji birthday party with an emoji necklace-making activity

The girls also designed their own emoji pendant necklaces using these pendants along with a selection of beads.

Emoji Cake

Emoji-themed birthday cake.

For the cake, I purchased a plain white cake at a local grocery store, frosted the top in yellow frosting and used Wilton’s Sugar Sheets to cut out the emoji face details. The sugar sheets were super easy to use. The instructions said to use scissors, but I started with an exacto knife, thinking I could achieve a more precise design. In the end, scissors definitely won out. I purchased white and black sheets and brushed a little bit of red food coloring mixed with water onto the white sheet to achieve the light pink color.

Emoji Piñata

Emoji Piñata

I’m not sure why, but the highlight of every birthday party we’ve held is the piñata. This year’s variation was an adorable girly emoji found on Etsy. It was almost too cute to swing a bat at … almost. As usual, it took the girls about 3 tries each before it finally cracked, spilling handfuls of yellow bubble gum balls, emoji tattoot sets and emoji Pez dispensers. Did I mention how much emoji-themed stuff there is in the world?

For those of you planning a similar party theme, here are some of the additional items pictured above but not yet linked to: emoji mylar balloons, emoji birthday party set (gift bags, cups, paper plates), emoji pillows, yellow paper lanterns (decorated with paper cut-outs) and Jenna’s emoji party dress.

Happy Birthday, Jenna! 



A Spa Birthday Party and Printable Invitations

Hosting a Spa Party for Young Girls or Teens: Download Free Editable Invitations

We’ve reached the age where most children are begging to host their birthday parties at the local trampoline park, bowling alley or [insert latest craze]. My children – not so much. They still love having their parties at home, which I should take as a compliment since for the past 8 years I’ve invested so much planning and creativity into making their birthday celebrations extra awesome.

This year, however, I just haven’t been feeling it, and I was really looking forward to embracing the packaged party concept. Jenna held strong to her desire to throw a Disney Frozen party at our house … until I suggested the local girly spa. Spa party? She loved the idea. (more…)

Happy Easter


Happy Easter! Did anyone else dye Easter eggs yesterday? I waited until the last minute to buy supplies and showed up at the store surprised to find that all of the kits were sold out. I later came across this idea for using packets of Kool-aid to dye eggs and was completely won over by the notion of our kitchen smelling like a candy factory. One more trip to the grocery store resulted in only a couple of available Kool-aid colors: red, purple and purplish red.

In the end, watercolor paint saved the day. We mixed lots of colors and then painted the pigment onto the eggs. I’m not sure which was more fun, mixing or painting. Regardless, our watercolor eggs turned out awesome. (more…)

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. (more…)

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 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