A super-cute Easter cookie buffet; take the same idea for other animals...a jungle theme filled with monkeys and elephants? Down on the farm with cows and pigs...you get the idea.
Repurposing shot glasses and cake platters, sheer genius at this wedding.
Over at Toast and Tables, a beautiful spread where they served milk out of vintage glass containers.
Another inspired spread from Rebecca Thuss; I love the personalized cookie envelopes.
b.a.s.h.ful Events put together a lovely spread for a baptism, check out the labels on the bags and the cookie tags.
A beautiful buffet at Gourmet.com took the place of the wedding cake at this ceremony.
Yes, I can't get enough of this baby shower spread at Most Likely Late, this is the second time I've blogged about it.
Check out your local Home Depot for upcoming projects; the first Saturday of every month is devoted to this special family time. Think of how proud your kids will be as they amass great projects and an apron full of pins. Oh yeah, all FREE!
Did you know that hundreds of bowling alleys participate in the summer-long Kids Bowl Free program, where 2 kids can play two free games? I know, right?
Betcha didn't know that by flashing your Bank Of America debit, credit or ATM card at participating museums will admit you and your kids for free the first full weekend of every month? And FYI, a lot of museums have free admission days.
And of course you already know about the Regal Cinemas free film festival? And of course, you are all over The Knack, with free craft projects at Michaels? And you know all about the free Apple Camp for your computer-savvy kid? Of course you did. Tried to sign the boy up for both Apple stores we live near. Yeah, been waitlisted since like, forever.
This pretty pitcher from from The Party Dress showcases strawberries, lemon, limes and mint leaves.
Check out Love To Know for a few great infusion recipes like watermelon basil and pineapple chipotle mint that are sure to be crowd-pleasers.
Get The Party Started
Have the kids cut Popsicle shapes from colored construction paper, then glue the cutouts to Popsicle sticks after you've written in the barbecue details.
How about this perfect print-and-mail template from Real Simple, it even has a line for what guests can bring to round out the refreshments.
Cleverness at Maggie's Dinner Dates who used condiment bottles to invite friends to their bash.
Setting The Scene
Take a tip from Instructables and turn kettle grills into planters. Fill the grill to the top with soil, and add whichever flower or plant of your choice just as you would in a regular flower pot. Don't cover with the lid, instead prop it against the bottom of the grill.
Skip the cooler and fill a child's wagon with ice and stock it with sodas, beer, and bottled water. Plus, the wagon can be rolled around for a bit of curbside service!
Take another tip from the party planning gurus in the Gospel According to Real Simple:Celebrations; set out utensils and napkins in rinsed Campbell's soup cans, keeping everything orderly and adding a little more color to your spread. Just make sure that the rims don't have any jagged edges.
Bypass the checkered tablecloth and paper plates. A long sheet of white butcher paper is the ultimate table covering. Set out cups of crayons like they do at the restaurants and let guests add to the decor. These retro serving baskets lined with parchment paper make fun and reusable serving plates. I've purchased mine at our local Party City. If you insist on paper plates, nestle them into an upturned Frisbee for a sturdier surface and a fun take-home favor.
This hourglass beverage jar from Sur La Table has a 2-gallon capacity that is perfect for lemonade, sangria and more.
What To Do
Sorry, y'all, not everyone wants to just sit around, especially with kids involved. Another great idea outlined in Real Simple: Celebrations, keep the kids occupied by setting up a lemonade stand. Place a few dishes of quarters around so adults can patronize the stand as often as they like.
The classics never go out of style. Set up lawn games like croquet and badminton, and nothing beats water balloons and sidewalk chalk.
Yes, hot dogs and hamburgers are a given, but take standard fare to another level. Set up a flavored butter bar for your corn on the cob. Check out BHG's slide show of exotic ways to jazz up your ears with blends like curry powder and nuts.
I love food stations; less work for me and another way to keep guests engaged. Have a fruit kabob station; guarantee kids will eat their fruit. Use Popsicle sticks for little ones, older kids and adults can use regular skewers.
Have a S'more station with a twist; indulge in toppings that allow guest to top off with one more goody. Before sandwiching with the second graham-cracker square, Sunset.com recommends to try sliced strawberries, bananas, peanut butter, and even caramel.
Send Them Home With A Smile
Back at Maggie's Dinner Dates, she bought BBQ oven mitts(a score at Michael's), rolled them up tightly and tied with a thick ribbon. Placed in the tin buckets on the table they make perfect centerpieces.
An internet search for "piano bar" will yield a world of results with ranges from sophiscated to sing-along friendly to the aforementioned dueling pianos, which was awesome, since they were playing top 40 songs. You haven't lived until you've heard "Pour Some Suger On Me" on the piano.
I don't know why these excite me so, maybe because I love topiaries, and I've seen some really nice ones...hmm, I feel a future post coming on. Anyways, head over to craft stylish for the full details.
And speaking of parties, I finally was able to sit down and read my August Cookie mag, and discovered an ad for School Year's Eve; a new national holiday with the magazine and PTA. On August 30th (or whenever your school year is starting) families everywhere will be celebrating heading back to school with a New Year's style party. Visit the site to download decorations, invitations, tips and more for your party.
They are all out of the party starter kits but you can register for a chance to win $1000 for your school. I know, is it time to start thinking back to school already???
Country Time Lemonade Flavor Drink Mix
4 cups cold orange juice
6 cups cold water
1 bottle (28 fl. oz.) ginger ale, chilled
1 qt. orange sherbet
2 cups sliced strawberries
1. Measure drink mix into cap to 2-quart line.
2. Place drink mix, orange juice and water in large plastic or glass pitcher. Stir until drink mix is dissolved.
3. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
4. Pour orange juice mixture into large punch bowl when ready to serve. Stir in ginger ale and top with small scoops of sherbet and the strawberries.
A blank canvas of white for a 50th birthday dinner party, courtesy of David Tutera's Big Birthdays.
My heart stopped when I saw Colin Cowie's Barbie's 50th birthday party showcased at the Hostess Blog.
A navy and fuchsia party inspired by the party girl's dress over at Lemiga.
Crimson inspiration at Creative Legs for her daughter's party
Back at the Hostess Blog, her orange and chocolate tabletop is inspiring.
A two-year old's yellow birthday party via Simply Radiant.
Here over at Pioneer Woman Cooks is an absolutely fab tutorial on the more elegant version of dirt cups with clay pots. I'm definitely adding this to my to-do list!
Blackberry Crush (serves 1)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1 1/4 ounce vodka
1. In a glass, combine lemon juice, simple syrup and berries. Slightly crush berries to release their juice.
2. Add ice and vodka, top with seltzer and stir to combine.
3. Garnish with a mint sprig.
Salty Dog (serves 1)
1 1/4 ounce vodka
juice of 1/2 yellow grapefruit
2 teaspoons simple syrup
coarse salt and yellow grapefruit wedge for rimming
1. Spread coarse salt on a small plate; wet rim of a glass with the grapefruit wedge and dip rim in salt.
2. Add ice to glass and combine vodka, grapefruit juice and simple syrup and pour into glass.
Citrus Mule (serves 6)
1 lime and 1 small orange, both thinly sliced then quarter slices
1/4 to 1/2 cup simple syrup
32 ounces dry ginger ale or ginger beer
6 large mint springs
1. In a pitcher, combine all ingredients with ice and stir.
Whistler Village was just steps out the back door, and fab shopping was to be had. It's a pedestrian-only plaza, absolutely beautiful all covered in snow. There were tents set up at major intersections with heaters and hot cocoa, which the boys couldn't get enough of. I can't wait to go back again in the summer, I hear it's amazing. Of course with the Winter Olympics in Vancouver next year, it will probably be a little busy.