Sunday, August 28, 2011

Back To School (Sweet Treats) Idea Round-Up

Well, hurricane Irene forced us to head home a little bit earlier than planned. We are still enjoying our vacation time, only now we are enjoying it at home. With just a little over one week away from the start of school, I thought that I would share some of my favorite Back To School Sweet Treat Ideas with you:

Oreo Apple Pops:
What a fun way to brighten a teacher's day on the first day of school! Amanda of Shindig Parties To Go! created some fun, FREE Back to School printables as well a wonderful tutorial for these amazing Oreo Apple Pops and Pencil Vase. These would also be a great little treat for the kids to come home to after their first day back, don't you think?!? Thank you for sharing this, Amanda!

Image: Shindig Parties To Go!

Pencil Treats:
Adorable! Just grab some Rollos, scrapbook paper, foil, and a Hershey Kiss to create this fun little treat. I couldn't find the original source for this idea, but Everyday Celebrating offers a supply list and a few details, here. These would be cute for both teachers and students!

Back to School Apple:
One Charming Party is helping you send your kids back to school with a fun little lunchbox treat. Simply print out their bookworm printable, cut out and punch a hole into the apple, and string with a cereal "worm". You can get the printable and directions over at One Charming Party, here.

Image: One Charming Party

Rice Krispy Apple Treats:
Turn a traditional snacktime favorite into a Back to School treat! Gourmet Mom on-the-Go created these yummy Rice Krispy Apple Treats to celebrate the start of the school year. Click here for the recipe and directions.

Image: Gourmet Mom on-the-Go

Saturday, August 20, 2011

On Vacation!

I am off to enjoy some fun in the sun with my family before our summer comes to an end. Promise to return soon, though, relaxed and ready to share some fresh new ideas with you.

Friday, August 19, 2011

{Local Talent} With Love Photography

This past July, I had the honor of working with a wonderful new photographer in the Northern Virginia area, Kerri Gibbs of With Love Photography. Kerri was extremely easy to work with and the results were equally as pleasing (my 4th of July table design and Kerri's photos were featured over at The Tomkat Studio, here). With Love Photography uses Kerri's blended style of portrait and lifestyle photography to capture some of your family's most precious moments and preserve them in photos that will last a lifetime.

For a limited time, With Love Photography is offering a Portfolio Building Special. If you live locally, this is a great opportunity, whether updating your family portrait, capturing a special event, or getting an amazing stand-out photo for this year's holiday card. In addition to the special, With Love Photography will also be hosting fall mini-sessions on Saturday, October 1st. Visit With Love Photography, here, for all of the details and contact information.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

{Party Inspiration} Back To School Party

Can you believe that the summer has already slipped away? I am savoring the final two weeks before we have to jump back into the school year grind. Why not have a little fun celebrating while you help your kids (and yourself) make a happy, smooth transition back into the school routine? Host a Back To School Party! One Charming Party has once again put together a fabulous party-scape full of inspiration and tutorials to get you moving in the right direction. I love all of it and I am pretty sure that you will as well.

Brittany and Sara of One Charming Party created this faux dessert table using school supplies as both the decorations and party favors. Brilliant!

 Did you fall in love with the pencil cake as quickly as I did? Yep, head-over-heels impressed!  Lucky for us, Brittany and Sara have included a cake tutorial and many more fabulous ideas over at their blog, One Charming Party.

This one deserves an A+. Love it!

Monday, August 15, 2011

{Recycled} Bottle Beauties

Wondering what to do with all of those empty glass jars that are stashed away, waiting for a second chance to be useful again? Martha Stewart offers a great DIY tutorial for transforming your recyclables into Bottle Beauties with the help of enamel paint.

Any clean and empty glass jar or bottle will work for this fun project. For the jars pictured above, white enamel was used, which yielded different shades of green depending on the tint of the glass. You can used colored enamel, however, to achieve whichever color and look suits your fancy. Have fun with it!

Here are Martha's DIY instructions:

Enameled Bottle How-ToDishwasher-safe enamel paint is sold at most crafts stores. Wash the bottle inside and out with soapy water; let dry. Pour in a small amount of the paint's surface conditioner, which primes the glass for the enamel. Swirl to coat fully, then pour out excess. Stand bottle upright, and dry for an hour.

Pour in enough enamel to easily coat the inside. Swirl, and return excess to container for reuse. Dry bottle upside down on a paper towel for 48 hours, periodically wiping excess enamel from the rim with a damp cloth during the first hour.

Friday, August 12, 2011

A Candlelit Cake Stand Centerpiece

Here is a great way to put your cake stands to good use when they are not displaying your latest sweet treats: turn them into the foundation for a stunning Candlelit Cake Stand Centerpiece! I love this idea from Perpetually Engaged!

Not only will it light up your table, but it is super easy to create. Simply stack a small, medium, and large cake stand on top of one another and top each layer with glass votives. Now, light the votives, sit back, and enjoy your stunning centerpiece. So easy. Love it!

Monday, August 8, 2011

{Party Ideas} End of Summer Celebrations, Part 3

The third, and final, End of Summer Celebration idea that I wanted to share with you is a favorite that I have been saving for some time. Although I am quite sure that having two boys has something to do with its appeal to me, this celebration idea is perfect for any summer-themed party and it is inexpensive and easy to DIY.

Today's End of Summer Celebration Idea: Host A Bug Hunt Party!

Bug themed parties have been circulating for quite some time but I though that there was just something special about this one created by  I love the creativity involved in putting this simple little party together and the fact that it can easily be re-created at an extremely affordable price! What a fun way to celebrate the end of summer with your children and a few of their friends. Other than some kid-friendly munchies, you only really need a few other inexpensive extras to pull of this Summer Celebration.

Start with a Bug Hunt: Get the party started with a Bug Hunt! Buy a bulk bag of plastic bugs and scatter them around your yard before guests arrive. Provide each guest with their own magnifying glass and set them off on their hunt! So easy, so simple, and so fun! And, if it's too hot outside, the hunt can easily be done inside.

Image: Parents
The Snack Table: Don't underestimate the power of crepe paper! This wonderfully creative table skirt was created by layering different shades of green crepe paper streamers and gluing a few plastic bugs on here and there. This definitely isn't a 5 minute project, but I bet that your kids would love to help out with creating it. At least mine would! Cover the top of your table with a green tablecloth and attach the skirt using glue, staples, or heavy tape. Then, get creative with your buggy snacks.

Image: Parents
A Few Snack Ideas: I found a few buggy snack ideas to get your started. I tried to look for some healthy choices that the kids would be excited about and that the moms would appreciate.

Wormy Cheese Dip: Wormy cheese sticks make the perfect dipper for this Spider dip holder. You can find the details on how to make this, here.

Ladybug Crackers: A little more time consuming but so cute! Click here for the recipe.

Build-a-Bug Snack Station: I love this idea from Party Ideas from Mell and Sarah. They made an idea-starter display for the table and provided all the ingredients for guests to make their own!

Image: Party Ideas By Mell and Sarah
Dirt Cup Dessert: Kids will delight when dessert time rolls around. Who doesn't love a dirt cup full of chewy worms! Visit Family Focus Blog for the recipe and how-to.

Image: Family Focus Blog

Bug Jar Favors: Put your empty mayo and peanut butter jars to good use! By adding a little grass/moss and a stick or two, you can create Bug Jar favors for your guests to take home. How cute!

Image: Parents
Have fun with this one. This is definitely going on my favorites list!

Saturday, August 6, 2011

{Party Ideas} End of Summer Celebrations, Part 2

Today's Summer Celebration Idea: Host a Pink Lemonade Party For a Cause!

Image: Pinterest

Invite all of your girlfriends over for a Pink Lemonade Party to celebrate the summer as it comes to an end. Whether you make it a small, intimate affair or one for the entire street, keep it light and cheery, serving cool summer drinks and desserts to your guests. Much like the End of Summer Picnic party idea, this party allows you to prepare everything before your guests arrive so that you are able to enjoy the celebration, too!

Set-Up: Take full advantage of any shady spots that you have in your backyard to set-up your Pink Lemonade Party. Use items that you already have around your house to create an inviting area for you guests to gather and enjoy a cool drink and a sweet treat. Pen n' Paper Flowers created this lovely and inspiring setting for a lemonade party last year. LOvE iT!

Image: Pen n' Paper Flowers
For a Cause: Why not invite your guests to put on their best pink for your celebration and support a good cause as well. Instead of providing favors to your guests, a donation can be made to a national breast cancer organization, a local pink cause, or to support an event participant. You can even provide an area for guests to make their own donations if they wish to do so. I promise that this will make your Summer Celebration even sweeter.

Since you will all be wearing pink and celebrating summer for a good cause, a yummy pink dessert is a must!

Dessert: This easy to prepare and economical (only 85 cents per slice!) Pink Lemonade Cake from Ladies Home Journal is light, delicious, and sure to please. Click here for the recipe and instructions.

Drinks: Don't forget the Pink Lemondae!

Image: Pinterest

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

{Party Ideas} End of Summer Celebrations

With only a month left of summer vacation, this is the perfect time to start planning an End of Summer Celebration. Over the next few days, I will be sharing some fun, easy, and inexpensive ideas to help make your Summer Celebration a memorable one.

Today's Summer Celebration Idea: Host an End Of Summer Picnic


Throw down your best plaid blanket and get ready to celebrate! The relaxed style of a Summer Picnic will allow you and your guests to casually celebrate the summer as it comes to an end. Highlight some of the season's best, offering fresh salads, juicy watermelon, and some easy-to-prepare (and handle) wraps and sandwiches. Here are a few menu ideas to get you started on the right track: A Three Bean Salad, Mediterranean Layered Sandwich and a Sweet Chili Wrap, and Watermelon Sticks.

Help your guests cool down with some favorite warm-weather beverages. Whether serving lemonade, iced-tea, or fun chilled cocktails, be creative with your presentation while trying to stick with the relaxed, Summer Picnic theme. Mason jars or empty jelly jars, for example, are an inexpensive and fun way to serve beverages and are much more sheek than a paper cup!

Image: Mixing Bowl

Don't forget dessert! There are so many options for Summer Picnic themed desserts. Homemade ice cream, a fresh fruit cobbler, strawberry shortcake... or how about Chocolate Almond Ant Cupcakes?!?! I love this cupcake idea from What's New, Cupcake? , which I came across over at Hostess With the Mostess. Not only are they relatively easy to put together, but they go along with the picnicn theme and are sure to be a hit with young and old alike. To create, frost cupcakes with green icing and roll the edges in colored coconut (use food coloring). Use chocolate-covered almonds and dark chocolate frosting to create the ant toppers and accessorize a few with purchased watermelon candy fruit. Love it!

Image: Hostess With The Mostess

Remember to keep things simple and relaxed so that you are able to enjoy the party, too. And don't forget to have fun! 

Monday, August 1, 2011

I'm Back!

Sorry, once again, for my lack of post lately. My husband and I just returned from a much needed trip alone, without any kids, for the first time in almost 8 years. We explored Alaska for 10 days and loved every single minute of it! Now that I am back, I promise begin posting again on a more consistent basis.

Enjoy these last few weeks of summer is slipping away so quickly!