4456ab62684ae17244d576b2248ea70ce95c1b08c858edf677 Not Just A Mommy: 03/01/2009 - 04/01/2009
DEAR READERS AND NEW VISITORS....MY BLOG IS HAVING A FEW TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES,THE TRIANGLE WHERE A PHOTO SHOULD BE. I AM SLOWLY GOING BACK RELOADING THEM!

3.31.2009

Tuesday (Threefer) Tip - Milk and Cookies Applique, Design Mom and Snuggle Creme coupon

Milk and Cookies felt appliquesAw, a super cute milk and cookie felt patch tutorial at Chic Cookies, too sweet to pass up. And it's a no-sew, that's my kind of embellishment!Peek clothing collageAnd since I know you all love the freebies, I have two for you today. Design Mom is feeling inspired this week with a $300 shopping spree to Peek, Aren't You Curious. I'm all ready for spring; I've already picked out two outfits for the boys, although we are no where near shorts weather out here in the Seattle area.

Check out my left-hand column. I have a new widget from the people at Snuggle; a two dollar coupon for Snuggle Creme fabric softener. It is a new product that adds two luxurious aromas to laundry time while softening your clothes. If anyone tries it out, let me know. I can't use anything with scent in our wash; between my son's allergies and my husband's mystery skin problems they are a dermatologist's dream.

Tuesday Trend - Home Entertaining

More people are staying home and inviting guests over for an evening of fun. With a little planning, any budget can be accommodated.

Game Night
Remember those days of sitting around a board game with a few friends and munchies? There are so many new games you could actually start your own Game Night and take turn hosting. Have guests bring their favorite treat to share, and you provide drinks and ambiance. Check out my posts on a Scrabble game night and a poker themed party.

Spa Night
You can still budget in beauty...I myself would rather go hungry than miss my hair appointment and give up my Dermalogica Bar, but that's just me. Why not have a girls' only spa night with homemade treatments? Everyone can bring their favorite polish and flip-flops for a fun night in. Check out my spa shower post for more ideas.

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner?
Hosting a small dinner is also fun and gives you a way to show off your creative side and flair for entertaining. It does not matter what the menu is, what matters is the presentation and company. Potlucks have become the rage; go with a fun theme like Mexican Fiesta or an easy-to-set up buffet like a Baked-Potato Bar, and delegate dishes to each guest.

Interesting place settings and centerpieces are excellent ways to give your dinner party a fun or impressive look without spending a lot of money. Break out the fine china and stemware; even pudding with Cool Whip looks decadent in a martini glass.

Who Needs Dinner?
Have a dessert party. You can make them yourself or ask each guest to bring a sweet – the choice is yours. (Just make sure to find out what everyone is bringing, or you will have 10 trays of chocolate chip cookies). Then, add in a pot of coffee, and you've got the perfect frugal get-together.

My dessert party inspired a friend to do the same...super-simple (read: less ingredients, less money) recipes are the key.

3.30.2009

Last Day of My Giveaway

Tonight at 11:59 p.m. will be the deadline for my Quaker Oats party pack giveaway. Did I mention it was free?

3.29.2009

Drink Of The Week - Easter Bunny

A great after-dinner/dessert cocktail; in the original post, I couldn't find a picture of it, but my reader Jennifer gave me a heads up, thanks! And due to my obsessive nature, I had to change this post and add the pict.

Recipe courtesy of Drink Of The Week.com, image courtesy of Drink Swap.com.

1 1/2 oz. dark creme de cacao
1/2 oz. vodka
1 tsp. chocolate syrup
1 tsp. cherry brandy

1. Shake creme de cacao and vodka with ice.
2. Strain over ice in an old-fashioned glass.
3. Top with a float of chocolate syrup and cherry brandy.

3.28.2009

My Personal Artist

Michelle Mospens collageI love, love, love when my wanderings around the web bring me to new discoveries. Especially when it comes to invitations. This week's gerbera daisy post features an amazing site for original hand-illustrated invitation designs by Michelle Mospens.

Check out her beautiful work; she's featured in all the favorite mags like Better Homes & Gardens, Modern Bride and The Knot publications. And thank you for the mention on your blog Michelle, I'm honored!

3.27.2009

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Down On The Farm 1st Birthday Party

Down On The FarmThere is nothing like a first birthday party. You are thinking, wasn't I just pregnant? Plus, this party completed the circle...I did his baby shower and she graciously let me do this party. She and I keep saying, "You just did my shower!!" When I'm planning his graduation party, that's when it will really be crazy.
Down On The Farm photo opThe perfect photo op: a handmade banner tops
a giant barn surrounded by flowers and a riding horse prop.
Down On The Farm vests Decorating paper-bag vests....
A group of bandits....
Down On The Farm cakeDown On The Farm foodNo, I ordered the barn cake, but I did make the cow cupcakes....Down On The Farm favorsFavors included these plastic barns and foam hats, along with bandanas.Down On The Farm tableWhat is everyone looking at....???
Down On The Farm cakeDown On The Farm cake demolitionThey are watching the birthday boy and his cake! Big sister is so proud!
Thanks R for letting me make this day super special.

3.25.2009

Color Wedding - Driving Miss Daisy

I love gerbera daisies; I can't wait until they are in season, then I make sure that I always have fresh ones around. So of course, I think they are perfect for a spring wedding shower or reception.

Get The Party Started
Invite your guests with this original watercolor artwork printed on coverstock with vellum. And check out this die-cut pink and yellow daisy invite.

The Table's The Thing
Lovin' this eye-popping tabletop of fuschia and orange. I am in love with these apple box centerpieces! Simple and genius; multicolored gerbera daisies in square vases. Big impact with little effort; a simple vase of daises on top of bright colored ribbons that have been woven together.

Bridesmaids carry vibrant bouquets of pink and orange gerbera daisies hand-tied with orange ribbon.

Have Your Cake....
Of course I had to show some cupcakes; fabulousness a la Pink Cake Box. Simple adornments are classic on this perfect white cake.

Send Them Home With A Smile
The packaging is as special as your gift with these favor boxes.

3.24.2009

Tuesday Tip - Invitation Consultants Giveaway

Invitation Consultants invitesSo the party diva that is Little Shindigs is hosting a giveaway from Invitation Consultants. Two winners can pick any 25 children’s invitations from the IC site! And with a year to use the credit, you'll have plenty of time to plan a party around the invitation...what, you don't do that? You mean you actually ask your child what theme they want for their birthday?

Contest ends this Friday the 27th at 11:59 p.m., so hurry, hurry, hurry over to her blog and enter! My vote is for the So Sweet Sixteen; my step-daughter will be so this fall, plus I love interactive invitations!

3.23.2009

Quaker Oats Volunteer Party Kit Giveaway

Quaker Oats Volunteer Party KitSo, in honor of the many folks visiting for the Ultimate Blog Party 2009, and shamelessly get more people to check me out, I'm having my first giveaway!

If you haven't heard about the free volunteer party kit from Quaker Oats, it's awesome! Their Birthday Party with a Purpose Kits were developed in partnership with Kids Care Clubs, and have everything you need for the perfect themed party with a volunteer activity.

You can send off for your own kit OR you can save yourself the work and enter my giveaway!

Prize package includes:
How-To-Guide: Step-by-step instructions for planning and hosting your child’s party.
"Kids Doing Good!" T-Shirt gift for the birthday boy or girl.
Goodness Bags (qty 10), including "Kids Doing Good!" wristbands, temporary tattoos and activity booklets.
Achievement Certificates (qty 10).

Plus, you can print FREE themed party materials, such as invitations, thank you notes and more from the Quaker Oats website.

3 ways to enter....
1. Leave a comment to this post, and if you don't have a blog your email address please. This is one entry.
2. Let me know if you are already one of my stalkers or start following me. Please make sure to mention this in your comment. This counts for a second entry.
3. Shamelessly blog about this giveaway and make sure to mention this in your comment, and link back to me. This counts for a third entry.

Deadline will be next Monday, March 30 at 11:59 p.m. and the winner will be announced sometime on Tuesday. Maybe Wednesday. It will be Spring Break, and I will have a houseful of kids.

3.22.2009

There's A Party Goin' On Right He-ya

A special welcome to my fellow bloggers who have come over for the Ultimate Blog Party 2009! No fancy video or music, don't have the skills for that. However, I do have a little about myself and my blog, which is about all things event planning, lifestyle, and whatever tickles my fancy. Here's a quick rundown of my main goodies....

I have regular features each week; D.O.W. (Drink of the Week) Sunday where I find amazing drink recipes and share with ya'll, some for my lushes, some for my teetotalers. Tuesday Tip/Trend is a helpful tip or fabulous trend you just must know about. Fiesta Friday is an inspiration piece that helps to create an awesome soiree.

As an event planner, I'm always on the lookout for my next party inspiration, and of course I must share them with you. My Real Parties/Weddings are about fab celebrations that I've thrown, been to, or wish I was there. My Color Parties/Weddings are great inspiration boards centered on a color/combo.

Check out my blogroll, talk about getting the party job done...I sit at their feet! And The Gospels are my event planner bibles, I own most of them, and highly recommend them all! Psst...check them out from the library if you are a little cash-strapped...I've found all of mine there first.

I love to find unique products, or if someone/thing is just too cool for school, you'll find an entire post about them under Shameless Promotion. Or something amazing that I'm tooting my own horn about. Yes, I'm that shameless.

Ok, enough yammering....here's the good stuff...a plethora of my favorite parties for you to peruse and enjoy...starting with my own of course! P.S. come back for this week's Fiesta Friday, I'll have a wrapup of my Down On The Farm Party for H's 1st birthday!

My Mad Scientist's Lab Halloween Party
My Totally Awesome 80's Party
My Once Upon A Time baby shower
My Tutus and Twirls Party
PartTea Hardy party post
Monsters Vs. Aliens party post
Bling shower post

Drink Of The Week - Kiwi Smartini

Kiwi SmartiniHow yummy (and healthy) does this sound? This recipe makes about 10 drinks, courtesy of Rachel Ray Magazine.

2 cups ice cubes
8 kiwis, coarsely chopped, plus 1 kiwi, sliced, for garnish
1 1/4 cups fresh lemon juice (about 6 lemons)
1 cup sugar
1. Using a blender, mix the ice cubes, kiwis, lemon juice, sugar and 2 cups water until smooth.
2. Pour into martini glasses; garnish with the kiwi slices.

3.20.2009

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Tutus and Twirls

Last weekend, we had the ballerina party for my client's 5 year old, K. Mama got all her money's worth, because I could hardly snap any pictures, I was so busy! After all, it was a rainy day and keeping 12 kids ranging from 3 to 8 years old busy is hard work! Tutus and Twirls craft tableHere is the first set up for the crafts; you can't see them, but hanging over head a row of Martha's fancy paper flowers in red and pink.

My signature - a craft at the beginning of any party! I don't care how old my guests are, they will be making something. I painted wooden star wands gold and wrapped the dowels with ribbon for the girls, and foam crowns for the boys. Guests were free to decorate with sequins, foamies, stickers, the works! Then I tied the ribbons of her choice on the wands. I've discovered the more options you give kids, they have more fun, and keeps them more engaged. Oh, another tip, I poured glue into the plates and they used Q-tips to glue on their designs. Genius? Oh yes, it was perfect.
Tutus and Twirls wand decoratingThe first guests have arrived....

Tutus and Twirls crown decorating An extra guest works on a crown instead; which is why I always plan a few extras of everything.

While they waited for their wands/crows to dry, they played a rousing game of Duck Duck Goose, while I changed over the table and put up the ballerina centerpiece, (yes, she is an artist's Mannekin), I made her a little tutu with ribbon and pink tulle, and a sequin tiara. At each setting was a napkin tied with their initial, and their clay pot prince/ballerina. And man, were they sturdy! The little ones kept clanking them on the table, and I was just waiting for the inevitable head flying off. But nothing moved, not a pom-pom, and not one sequin came off! Go hot glue!!

They came back, found their seats and we moved on to making edible bracelets from raspberry licorice, Fruit Loops and assorted gummy rings. They LOVED it, and couldn't wait to eat them.Tutus and Twirls candy braceletsNo sooner were they done with that, it was on to decorating cupcakes. Another tip, set out bowls of frosting, sprinkles, and candies, wooden craft sticks to spread the frosting and let them at 'em. Once again, another way to keep them engaged, although the traffic pile-up at the counter was a little hectic. Organized chaos is what I like to call it.
Before you know it, we were singing Happy Birthday, opening presents and dispensing goody bags. Mama found really cute ballerina-slipper ornaments to tie the bags with, and she filled them with ballerina stickers and other goodies.Tutus and Twirls decorating cupcakesIt was a perfect party, and K loved every minute of it, and isn't that what it's all about?

3.19.2009

Chic Cookies

Chic Cookie kit collageLove the look of decorated, designer cookies, but not the designer prices? (Oh, I feel an infomercial coming on...) Check out Chic Cookies, who simplifies the art of cookie decorating by confining all the hard-to-find supplies in one box.

Their kits offer simple, step-by-step instructions. Each full-sized kit contains 2 to 3 themed cookie cutters, 6 frosting bags, 6 decorating tips, 6 couplers, 6 rubber bands, 1 cookie scraper and 5 bottles of chef's quality gel paste coloring. Not only that, they include printed materials: "the guidebook" (a guide with recipes, tips on making frosting colors and bags, a color chart and decorating techniques), "the specifics" (one-page photograph cards with instructions for decorating your themed cookies), and "the short version: an at-a-glance guide" (a one-page summary card).

Wouldn't the Don't Bug Me or Coming Up Daises kits be perfect for your next springtime event? Whip up a batch and wow guests with your culinary expertise. Set out unfrosted cookies and let kids go wild with decorating them. Create a cookie as a placecard/party favor for your soiree. With lots of fun themes to choose from, all I can say is Sham-WOW...oh sorry, drifted into another commercial.

3.17.2009

Tuesday Tip - Gluten-Free Recipes from Martha

Martha Stewart Living April 2009I have several friends who have gluten allergies, so imagine her delight when one of them brought to my attention the gluten-free recipes in the April edition of Martha Stewart Living. I haven't even had time to look at my magazine, so I'm excited to share this find with you all.

Written by Shauna James Ahern, the author of Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back...And How You Can Too, she shares 3 wonderful recipes with the mag: chocolate layer cake, hazelnut-vanilla shortbread, and polenta "french toast". Plus she has a few tips to finding foods that are gluten-free in their natural state, like country ham with maple glaze and shrimp with homemade cocktail sauce. Yum-o!

3.16.2009

Tampon Crafts

The title says it all....Tampon shooter

3.15.2009

Drink of the Week - Cucumber Cocktail

One more green cocktail to inspire you for St. Paddy's Day. It has cucumber and limes, so it must be good for you! This recipe from Yumsugar serves 6, but can be modified to make a pitcher's worth.

6 limes, rinsed
1 cup packed mint leaves, no stems, plus 6 sprigs for garnish
3 unwaxed cucumbers
½ cup sugar
2 cups vodka or gin
Sparkling wine

1. Thinly slice 3 limes and place in a pitcher. Juice the rest and add juice to pitcher. Add mint leaves.
2. Slice 2 cucumbers and add, then add sugar.
3. Muddle ingredients.
4. Add vodka or gin.
5. Place in refrigerator to steep 30 minutes or longer.
6. Cut remaining cucumber into super thick rounds.
7. Fill cocktail shaker with ice and top with mixture.
8. Shake and strain into a martini glass. Top with a splash of sparkling wine, garnish each glass with a cucumber round, and serve.

3.13.2009

Fiesta Friday - Under My Umbrella, 'ella, 'ella

umbrella party decorToday's post is inspired by this invitation. I love this invitation. I'm inspired by this invitation. Tiny Prints has done it again, or is it Wedding Paper Divas. Are they one and the same? Arg, focus!

The first thing that popped into my mind was this baby shower from Amy at Stem Parties; the colors are perfect!

The second thing was the absolutely over-the-top birthday party outlined in The Gospel According To Big Birthdays: The Party Planner Celebrates Life's Milestonesby David Tutera. Ahh...David.

Then the synaptic nerves starting firing...make Martha's (store-bought! GASP!) parasol seating cards, aisle decoration, hang with lanterns from Luna Bazaar, on mint tin favors, a coordinating candy buffet table, strung up lanterns over a fab tabletop. Whew, I'm done! umbrella party decor 2umbrella decor 3Mindy Weiss umbrella decorOk, one more; Mindy Weiss's beautiful umbrella decor. Yes, I know, not any of the colors, but they are umbrellas. And gorgeous. So there!

3.12.2009

Invitation McLovin'

I like paper. I love paper invites. I love these....Jane Press's cheeky invitations....check her out for more goodies.

Ok, you know you want them; martini shaker, palm tree, VIP pass and folded chair invitation by Checkerboard via Fine Stationery.

3.10.2009

Tuesday Tip - A Freebie from Party Bluprints 2

Sorry, just squeezing in one more for today, I'm done, I promise!!!

I can't have a party without a serious plan, I mean, I'm obsessing over an event and the details, and I have two party notebooks to keep track of stuff, so next time I know better.

Partybluprints is my kind of people, they do all the planning for you. They deliver all the details and step-by-step instructions, and everything you need to host the perfect party.

A shrinking economy shouldn't mean an end to your social life. Keep the party going with their FREE ideas for entertaining at home. Right now, they have two downloads available, "Dinner Party" and "Cocktail Party" with "Ladies' Night" coming soon!

Tuesday (Threefer) Tip - FamilyFun's Birthday Budget, Moustache Tutorial, and Operation Shower

March FamilyFun magazineSo I finally had the chance to sit down and read through my March FamilyFun magazine, and came across an amazing article called "The Birthday Budget" by Pauline Childs. She offers a great solution to curb a serious case of the birthday "gimmes", especially when you are trying to compete with the elaborate store-bought cakes, ponys, and bouncy houses at friends' parties.

With her daughter's upcoming birthday, she decided to give her child a party budget and let her decide how to spend it. With a $100 budget, her daughter became a savvy shopper, and was able to make more compromises.

And of course, it keeps mama from looking like the bad guy when you can't (won't) spend an obnoxious amount of money on, let's say a extreme Hannah Montana party pack for $279.99.

felt moustacheSpeaking of saving some cha-ching, check out this super, super cute felt moustache tutorial from Little Birdie Secrets. Wouldn't it be a perfect party favor for a Wild West or Magnum P.I. party?

Operation ShowerAnd lastly, the creative diva that is Amy Stem from Stem Parties is on the Board as the Chief Event Planner for Operation Shower, a non-profit organization that recognizes and honors the sacrifices military families make by producing and coordinating baby showers for pregnant and expecting military personnel and their families. If you are in the St. Louis area they would LOVE to have you attend their Spring Fundraiser.

As a military spouse, I'm so thrilled to see such an amazing endeavor. It's hard to move to a new duty station and make new friends, or to have a deployed partner when you are expecting. Who is going to throw you a shower? I remember when I was pregnant with my first child and we were stationed in North Carolina, I didn't know the women of my husband's unit, yet they banded together and threw me an amazing shower. I wish I could be in the area to help, so kudos to Amy and Operation Shower!

3.09.2009

Another Fiesta Friday (On A Monday) - Monsters Vs. Aliens

Monsters vs Aliens Party packI just received an email from R looking for party ideas for a Monsters Vs. Aliens movie-viewing party for her 9 year old twins. She's skipping renting out the theater's party room and is opting to have cake and ice-cream at their home, plus it would guarantee everyone would be getting to the theatre at the same time.

With the party planned for the 28th (opening weekend), she thinks she doesn't have alot of time. Ha! That's decades in party-planning years, right? So R, I hope this helps...

Setting The Mood
Take a party cue from Birthday Express's table; set the tone and save a little cash by mixing and matching print and solid-color table decor, i.e. if you order the plates, use solid-color cups and spoons.

Hang lots of neon balloons upside down from the ceiling, with tons of streamers and you're set!

OTC monster pillowWhat To Do
I'm in love with these monster pillows from Oriental Trading! They can stuff their own pillow and squeeze it through the movie.

Check out these alien invasion masks from FamilyFun. Wouldn't they be a hoot glowing in the dark theatre?alien invasion masks

Have the kids make their own blue slime, in honor of B.O.B., a gelatinous character from the movie. Check out our version from our Mad Scientist party.

Speaking of which, you could steal a couple of other ideas like the petri-dish Jello and brain cupcakes; after all, there is an mad scientist with the head of a cockroach...eww...

Monster/Alien party treatsThe Munchies
Set up a make-your-own-monster sundae bar, like the one featured in this monster party.

Check out these alien cupcakes from The Gospel According to Hello, Cupcake!

Send Them Off With A Smile
Build more excitement as you head out to the movie. Create alien goody bags; lime-green paper bags with black paper ovals for eyes. Fill the bag with their slime, Pop-Rocks, glow sticks and monster head suckers.

Need more inspiration? Check out my previous post, Monster Mash.

I'm especially glad I could do this post since we won tickets to an advance IMAX showing on the 21st (yah!), but I have a party far, far away, and had to give the tickets away (boo!). Once again, my pain is your gain!

Fiesta Friday (On a Monday) - From Russia, With Love

Feeling slightly better now...either I'm sick or I have allergies. The boy's itchy eyes and runny nose kicked up right on schedule; he's allergic to 6 different trees and grasses, go spring!Matryoshka Doll PartyBut I digress...after viewing this amazing matryoshka doll party from Stephmodo (guests made matryoshka doll notecards!), it got the old noggin' a thinkin', what else could I find to inspire a similar party?
matryoshka collage1. A Russian doll card from Present & Correct; 4 dolls in total, all linked together and folding into the main mother doll. 2. Stimulate some one else's economy - these blank wooden nesting dolls are imported by traders who work directly with talented Russian artisans from the former Soviet republics. 3. Wrapping paper from Etsy's enna. 4. Thomas Paul dessert plates at Fred Flare.

Purchase matryoskha stickers at Shopkawaii.com, and learn more about matryoskha with this collection of books from Amazon.com.

3.08.2009

Drink Of The Week - Stout Float





Check out Martha's cocktail version of a root beer float: vanilla ice cream topped with Irish stout. Scoop ice cream into a pint glass, and pour in enough stout to fill it. One pint of ice cream and one 12-ounce bottle of beer will yield 2 servings.

Here are the directions on the swizzle stick.

3.06.2009

Fiesta Friday - St. Paddy's Day Party

So, yeah, I already posted about last year's St. Paddy's Party but hey, it never hurts to mention it again, right? Plus, I'm having a lazy day today so this is the best I could do. I'll do better next time, I promise.

3.05.2009

St. Paddy's Day Cookie (And A Cupcake) McLovin'

Too pretty to eat....wafer paper designs from Fancy Flours.Yummy goodness from Eleni's Cookies.
Check out these dipped fortune cookies from Red Riding Hood Edibles Deliciousness from Pink Cake Box.