Tuesday Tip - Shamelessly Borrowed

So sorry my dear readers....where have I been? Well, my husband returned last week from a 6 month deployment to Africa, so we've been a little busy getting ready for his return and knee-deep in quality time. Plus, my oldest's party was 3 days after Dad came home, so I'm finally coming up for air. Super Dad banner

Speaking of which, I had to share a few pix of our very happy homecoming, and some cleverness I shamelessly borrowed. When I saw this Superman post over at Kara's Party Ideas I had to do it, since we missed Father's Day by a few days. The boys wore the T-shirts to the airport when we picked him up; all sorts of people were commenting and luvin' the shirts, and the boys were so proud to announce their dad was coming home!

We came home to the banner and balloons and he loved it all! It was perfect, and he knew how much we loved and missed him, and are so proud of him. So, please swing by Parties by Hardie, where you can find this download and many others for purchase, lots of cleverness indeed.

We Go Wednesday - Balboa Park

Back when we were stationed at Camp Pendleton, CA we were frequent visitors to Balboa Park in San Diego, our nation's largest urban cultural park. Home to 15 major museums, renowned performing arts venues, beautiful gardens and the San Diego Zoo. Here we are, when my oldest was just a small fry at the beautiful koi pond, oh he loved him some fish.

Then, just a jaunt over to Old Town, our favoritest place to have a beautiful dinner. Definitely add them to your "Must-See" list.

Tuesday Trend/Color Party - Stars and Stripes

Bikini USA invitationYikes! Fourth of July is zooming up fast!! Nothing screams independance like this invitation from Fine Stationery, to get your party started, and inspiring today's board.

Keep your cool with patriotic fans.

These festive lanterns are perfect for keeping little hands busy. BTW, we've made these before, super fun and easy, and you can change the colors for any season.Stars and Stripes collage

Let your table be the star...a super-easy centerpiece from HWTM; tablesettings can include these napkin rings and heavy weight dinner plates.

The perfect signature cocktail? Celebrations' Berry Breeze.

And of course, I had to throw in my super-cute Jello parfaits from last year.

Drink Of The Week - Cosmo Bites

Yes, technically they aren't drinks, but they LOOK like drinks and are too clever to pass up; after all they are the cuter cousins of Jell-O shots.

1 1/2 cups boiling cranberry juice cocktail
3 pkg. (4-serving size) raspberry flavor Jell-O
1/2 cup vodka or water
1/4 cup lime juice
lollipop sticks

1. Stir boiling juice into gelatin mix in large bowl until completely dissolved.
2. Add vodka and lime juice; mix well.
3. Pour into 8-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray. Refrigerate 4 hours or until set.
4. Cut into 24 pieces; store in refrigerator. Insert sticks when ready to serve.

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Stop, Drop & Roll!!

Stop Drop and Roll party doorLast week was the little one's 5th birthday party, and he is all about firefighters. Previous party obsessions included Blue's Clues, Spiderman and Thomas The Tank Engine, so I was a little relieved we went non-commercial this time around. First stop, a tour of one of our fire stations, Number 66.

They were able to see where the firefighters hang out when they are not putting out fires, the cool call center and the best part, a close-up of a fire truck. Our guide completely suited up so the kids could see even though he was in all his gear, he's still a firefighter and there to station tour 1fire station tour 2fire station tour 3Next, back to our house for more you can see, the front door got the party started!!firefighter party painting truck funfire truck paintingfirefighter party painting toy truckWhile I put lunch together, the kids played for a little, watched "Rescue Heroes" and painted wooden fire trucks, a score from Michael's, only a buck apiece!Firefighter party window backdropFirefighter party windowfirefighter party cupcakesfiretruck party cupcakesfirefighter party table toysfirefighter party cupsWe had a chili dog bar and BBQ chips, along with watermelon, red grapes, carrots and fruit and orange food of course.firetruck party lunchAfter lunch, we had a firefighters' training course; all the kids suited up and went through four stations - putting out a "fire", Stop Drop and Roll, agility test through the tires, and safely crawling through a "fire".Firefighter party junior firefighterFirefighter party relay 1Firefighter party relay 2Firefighter party relay 3Firefighter party relay 4After the relay, it was time for cupcakes and chocolate chip ice-cream (looks like a Dalmatian, right?). And talk about the loot! The fire station gave them each a plastic firefighter helmet, and a bag full of fire safety stuff and a calendar to color.Firefighter party treat boxI sent them home with these cute fire truck boxes with a fire extinguisher pencil sharpener, a sticker sheet, firefighters, a firefighter cow, Dalmatian sucker, and they got another plastic firefighter helmet with their name written on it. Plus, they took home a balloon and the fire truck they painted. And of course, the memories.

I also have a cute foam fire truck kit that I'll be making thank you cards out of, I'll get those done and up sometime soon! Thanks to all our friends who came and made it such an awesome day!!!

Stache Bash

Intrigued by this delightful party from Twig & Thistle, I discovered a whole new world of party people...the disenfranchised group known as Mustached Americans. Don't believe me? Do a search on "stache bash".

Still A Blog Newlywed And Giveaway Winner!

Our fabulous Stirrings Giveaway winner is #5 "i love the post about the 80s party-i've been hoping to have an 80s party soon." by danaj! A fabulous gift pack of a Stirrings Mixer, matching rimmer, 6 drink charms and some other fab party essentials will be winging its way soon as soon as I get her details! Congrats!!!! Sorry, I still can't figure out how to show that "5" won, but it did when I did the post....see, I should have just drawn out the bowl again.

Oh, and IT'S MY BLOGOVERSARY!!! Looking forward to another year of fun festiveness...and don't forget to come back Fiesta Friday, for our Stop, Drop & Roll party.

Tuesday Tip - Hello? Free Stuff!

Ok, so I thought that my giveaway would spark a feeding frenzy of comments from my devoted last chance, it ends tonight!!!!

Real Party Sneak Peek - Video Arcade Party

So the social butterfly that is my soon-to-be 8-year old is having his party at a local arcade. I haven't had a party for him at our house since he was 4, and became hot-stuff on the preschool circuit. He has too many friends, thus parties that are everywhere but our house. So, since I can only do so much in decor, I'm really going to focus on the details; here's a peek at our invites....and yes, they do look like XBOX controllers...I did that on purpose.:)Arcade party inviteArcade party invite 2
We'll be rotating through 4 stations; XBOX, Wii, computers and the token craft, a Make-A-Mii bookmark...Arcade party bookmarkYup, scored the kit from Michael's. We'll also be doing a second craft, something with the 1-Up mushrooms from Mario. I'm also inspired to make some kind of Pokemon power balls (Pokeballs to the hip), and got my hands on the Wii Remote candy dispensers. Arg! Sharing too much, you'll have to just keep an eye out for the full write-up...

Drink Of The Week - Martha's Summer Beverages Part I

In her latest Everyday Food for July/August, Martha Stewart has a bevy of surprisingly easy drinks to let you raise a glass with. The key to them all, a simple sugar syrup. I'll be sharing a few of them over the next few D.O.W. posts. All recipes serve 1.

Simple SyrupPink Gin Fizz
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

1. In a saucepan, boil both over medium-high until sugar has dissolved.
2. Remove from heat and let cool completely before using. Can be stored, refrigerated for up to 2 months.

Pink Gin Fizz
2 ounces orange juice
1 1/4 ounces gin
1 tablespoon simple syrup
4 ounces fresh pink grapefruit juice

1. In a glass, pour the orange juice over ice.
2. Combine the gin, syrup and grapefruit juice, and slowly pour over orange juice.

Whiskey Lemonade
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons whiskey
2 tablespoons simple syrupWhiskey Lemonade and Campari & Orange

1. In a glass, combine all ingredients over ice. Garnish with lemon zest. Add a splash of water if desired.

Campari & Orange
2 tablespoons simple syrup
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
1 ounce Campari

1. In a glass, combine all ingredients over ice and top with seltzer.

Hallmark's Other Evil Twin

Remember my post on Hallmark's evil twin? Well, much like in the soaps, there is always ANOTHER waiting to be discovered, and here it is...Any Horrible Occasion believes in celebrating all the awful moments in life by using great works of art and making them a little bit more relevant. Hmm...twisted, dark and funny....I like you AHO, you are my kind of people. Check out a few cards and inscriptions....

Any Horrible Occasion divorce card've instantly lost over 200 pounds of ugly fat!

Any Horrible Occasion death card

How much do you get?

Any Horrible Occassion tax card

Mi cardboard box es su cardboard box.

Fiesta Friday/Real Parties - Martini and Firefighter Birthday Parties

Martini party tableLast weekend we celebrated C's 30th birthday in true lush style when I had one of my "famous" martini parties for her. She is gluten-intolerant but the beauty of it is, she can still drink alcohol, so it worked out perfectly! :)

Sorry about the paper chains, Daddy is coming home soon and it's our way of counting down by removing a link each day. I decided to use my oversized martini glasses to hold fruit this time around. I purchased a fondue pot from Jo-Ann's (40% coupon of course) because my cursed chocolate fountain acted up at the last party and I didn't want to risk it. I could do a whole post ranting about that piece of @#% fountain, but I'm a lady and I won't name names. Unless someone asks, I'll be more than happy to do so.

Take a closer look at the martini glass charms. I did a post on the beer-band version, and when I saw the stemed-glass version, I had to have them. Mine are similar to these, except they say cooler stuff like "Tipsy" and "More Please". Plus, I'll be adding a set to my Stirrings giveaway. (See how I worked that in again?) Hey, notice the Stirrings mixers and rimmers? Wouldn't it be awesome if they sent me a fab box of samples to try or maybe give away, so I could stop mentioning them every chance I get? That would be cool.

Every girl needs her own martini glass, so my gift to her is the cool stemless one she is holding .

A martini virgin hard at work, while the more experienced look on. She even did some muddling!
Firefighter party treat boxesMy littlest one turns 5(!!!) on Fourth of July, and we had his birthday party on Wednesday. We had a fire station tour then back to our house. I couldn't have a gaggle of kids there (or at my house, my head would explode), so siblings were not an option, which would be the case with a weekday party with school getting out next week. I've always had his parties during the week since he's been a preschooler, but that will all end next birthday since he starts KINDERGARTEN!!!! in the fall.

So, here is a sneak peek of the treat boxes, I scored pretty much all the party stuff on clearance at Party City, and I'll have a full party write-up next week. Yes, the extinguisher is a pencil sharpener, and I scored the Dalmatian suckers and firefighter cows from Oriental Trading.

Where Has The Time Gone?


It just dawned on me that my blogoversary has crept up on me next Wednesday!!!! It's been a crazy year of parties, celebrity ranting and my continuing resentment of Wal-mart, Crocs and bad manners. And somewhere in there, I still held on to my not-just-a-mommy status....barely, since I STILL have to announce myself as "Dawn, Jaden's mommy...from preschool?"

Nope, don't have the time to make up some fancy button, shamelessly announcing my blog's birth for all the world to see. Instead, I've figured out another way to make it all about me. How? By giving away something cool in return for your adoration, especially for those of you who are my dear and loyal followers and tune in faithfully to see what craziness pops out of my head next. Notice the hint about followers...more on that later.

I've decided in the spirit of partying to give away a "Party In A Box" that will include a Stirrings mixer and a matching rimmer. What flavor? Um, don't know yet. What else is in the party pack? Errr...not sure what all will be in there, but check back on Friday, I'll be mentioning one of the other items that will be included. But rest assured, it will have fab essentials no party can do without. You're getting a box of free stuff, isn't that enough?

So, in order to enter, you'll need to peek around this past fabulous year of over 355 posts (don't worry, you have a week, plenty of time) and comment here on your fave. Maybe one of my real parties, or perhaps an inspirational board? My obsession with Trophy Cupcakes, or the lunacy of celebrities? Perhaps a D.O.W. that you just had to try?

Now here's the kicker; this is open only to folks in the U.S. (sorry y'all, overseas shipping will bankrupt me!) and you have to be one of my followers. Hint, can become a follower and then make a comment. Giveaway will end next Tuesday the 16th at 11:59 p.m. which will give me plenty of time to figure out how to use that random comment generator thingy...winner will be announced on my blogoversary.

Tuesday Tip - Sandbox Box/Fresh Air Fund Part II

STOP!!! Before you go out and purchase a fancy-schmancy sandbox or some overpriced sand/water table, (who wants to see all the sand in the water section? Been there, done that.) here's a tip I stole from my friend C, and my kids couldn't be happier. Long, flat storage bin from Wal-mart, $7. Bag of play sand from Wal-mart, $3. Enduring Wal-mart to have kids play for hours and give me some peace of mind, priceless.

According to my other friend R, she says it's ghetto. Go ahead, cough up $50 for the green turtle sandbox, and what are you going to do with it once they outgrow it? Watch it die a slow death (along with your grass) in the backyard? Ha! Not moi. I'll have one more bin to add to the thousands that line my garage and Tuffshed.

And speaking of the outdoors, remember The Fresh Air Fund I blogged about a few months ago? Right now, any gift you make will be matched dollar for dollar by a group of generous donors. If you can give $25, that means $50 for inner-city children. But you must make your donation by June 30th to take advantage of this wonderful opportunity. Come on y'all, it's for the children!

Drink Of The Week - Taste The Rainbow

Food Network drink collageA lovely rainbow array of drinks perfect for the summer heat; all are courtesy of Food Network.

Carribbean Sorrel Cocktail
Long Island Green Tea
Crazy Coconut Lemonade
Pineapple Mojito Gelatin Shot
Fish Bowl
Ultimate Ketel One Pomegranate Martini

Fiesta Friday - Bueller?...Bueller?...Bueller?

If you recognize the title, you are a child of the 80's. Don't fight it, it is 2009 but who says you can't party like it's 1989? From 80's Prom Night to Heavy Metal, there are scads of ways to focus your party....
80s invite collageGet The Party Started
Our invites were black square cards with colored squares on the front to resemble a Rubix Cube face. I couldn't find enough cassette tapes because I TOTALLY wanted to make invitations like this! And how awesome is this record invitation?

And don't forget to get your guests psyched to show up. Have them come as their favorite 80's TV or movie star, music icon, bad prom dresses or whatever you've chosen as your party's theme.

Setting The Scene80s party decor
Limited only by your imagination...Kara's Totally Awesome 80's Party had painted and hung cassette tapes, while large Pac-Man cutouts left no doubt what kind of party was happening at Entertain Exchange.

But your guests' outfits may be all the party decor you need! In This Wonderful Life has tons of awesome guest photos from Bret Michaels to Prince.

Set up a photo op area and take Polaroids for guests to take home. We had a prom photo wall with cheesy gold stars, but you can make a paint-splattered-and-graffiti wall backdrop from a large piece of plywood or white sheets.

The Munchies
The 80's was all about food fads and junk. However, you'd be surprised at what is still out there...they still make Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers and TAB soda! Follow your 80's Prom may call for a little more "formal" food like jalapeno poppers and artichoke dip served in a bread bowl. Perhaps it will be all about fads like frozen yogurt and mini frozen pizzas? And no '80s party is complete without having your classic candy like Nerds, Fun Dip, Pop Rocks, Ring Pops and Charleston Chews. Your local Dollar Store probably has a plethora of old-school candy.

What To Do
Karaoke is a must. Have inflatable guitars for all your rock-star-wannabes. Don't worry, all the Jello shots you've been serving will loosen up inhibitions. Definitely have yourself a costume contest; fun entries can include "Best Use Of Aqua Net" "Best Celebrity Impression" "Prom King And Queen". Clear out the furniture for a Break Dance-Off, but be prepared for destruction, whether it's your belongings or someone's back.

Send Them Home With A Smile
Glitter makeup, eye liner, plastic jelly bracelets, bubble gum and cheap sunglasses are perfect favors that can be left on a table for guests to pick up and use immediately to enhance their costumes.

And if you would like to see awesome digital scrapbook pages of our Totally Awesome 80s party, check out my home skillet's blog...she sooooooooooooooooo talented. Holla!80s party digital scrapbook page

We Go Wednesday - Great Wolf Lodge

On our summer to-do list, the latest in the series at Grand Mound, WA, and one of the largest indoor water parks in the U.S....

Great Wolf Lodge tech centerGreat Wolf Lodge tornadoGreat Wolf Lodge Fort MackenzieThey have the whole family covered, from the animatronic forest creatures of the Great Clock Tower that come to life for storytime, to a tech center with computers with teen-conscious Internet access, docking stations for Ipods and MP3 players, as well as multiple gaming stations with Wiis and XBox360s. Plus a full spa and salon? Not to mention full family suites! You know where I'll be. And with 11 other locations, maybe we know where you'll be!
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