On The Road Again

So, I've been in Vegas for the last week, and I had planned posts ahead, but since we came in late on Thursday and had lots of things to do Friday before we are off again, so I'll have lots of new stuff to share...and just a tidbit, if you ever get the chance to see Wayne Brady, you know, the black guy from "Who's Line Is It Anyways", his show is hilarious!! We caught his show, and my sides were hurting.

Fiesta Friday - I Wanna Cookie!

First it was candy, then popcorn, now it's cookies!!! Today's Fiesta Friday is about another great way to personalize your event and who could resist a milk-and-cookie send-off? And note all the different ways the confections are displayed, from apothecary jars to buckets, just make it special with labels, ribbons, the possibilities are endless.

Easter cookie buffetA 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 get the idea.

shot glasses on a cookie trayRepurposing shot glasses and cake platters, sheer genius at this wedding.

Toast and Tables cookie buffetOver at Toast and Tables, a beautiful spread where they served milk out of vintage glass containers.

Rebecca Thuss cookie buffetAnother inspired spread from Rebecca Thuss; I love the personalized cookie envelopes.

b.a.s.h.ful Events cookie buffetb.a.s.h.ful Events put together a lovely spread for a baptism, check out the labels on the bags and the cookie tags.

Cookie buffet instead of a wedding cakeA beautiful buffet at took the place of the wedding cake at this ceremony.

Milk and cookies baby showerYes, I can't get enough of this baby shower spread at Most Likely Late, this is the second time I've blogged about it.

We Go Wednesday - Cinebarre

Eat.Drink. Watch Movies. That is the tagline behind the genius of Cinebarre.

Tuesday Tip - Free Summer Fun

We had the pleasure of attending a wonderful workshop at our local library that introduced us the the wonder we have been missing that is the Home Depot Kids' Workshop. I have heard about it, but never really looked into it, and for sure we will be there. Check out the awesome caddy each boy made! The kits come pre-packaged and everything pre-cut and pre-drilled. My boys nailed, sandpapered, and glued everything together (with a little help). We'll paint them once they are dry. They even get to keep the apron and get a project pin to add to 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.

Drink Of The Week - Infused Water

fruit infused pitcher of waterInfusing fruit, veggies and herbs into water is the best way to keep cool and hydrated this summer. To create agua frescas, as they are often called, simply slice up some fruit (or veggies or herbs – but more on that later), place in a pitcher of cold water and chill for a few hours.

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.

Fiesta Friday - Summer Backyard Barbecues

summer bbq collageHot BBQ + cold drinks = a good time! For laid-back, no-fuss entertaining, it's hard to beat a backyard barbecue. With easy, fun dishes and activities for both kids and adults, your party is destined to become and instant classic.

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.

The Munchies
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, 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.

We Go Wednesday - Piano Bars

Looking for a fun evening of talented piano players duking it out for your dollar bills? Check out a local piano bar! The local du jour I've been to is Chopstix...let's just say it was as raunchy as a club and twice as bright. There was a girl draped across the piano à la Michelle Pfeiffer in The Fabulous Baker Boys. However, she was neither pretty or talented. But very drunk. And hilarity ensues!

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.

Tuesday Tutorial/Tip - Drink Umbrella Topiary/School Year's Eve

And you thought they were just for drinks! You know you want to make one of these; I'm SOOOOOOOOOOO going to make these. They have those topiaries and clay pots at Michael's, or any craft store, and Party City carries those parasols, I've seen them there.

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, School Year's EveI 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???


Thanks to a post by one of my stalkers, babalisme, I discovered fab Etsy site TastySuite, who carries delicious high-quality, self-adhesive vinyl designs. Each design is available in 18 colors, and they’re even water-resistant. So, use them in the bathroom, use them on your car, just use your imagination. And how! I'm in love with her silhouettes and clever designs like the scissors cutting on the dotted line. Alas, some designs are sold out, but keep an eye out, they may come back soon!

Drink Of The Week - Lemony Orange Cooler Punch

Lemony Orange Cooler PunchOne of my favorite recipes, except I like to use frozen lemonade, couldn't tell you the exact amount, I just mix and taste...I have a bad sweet tooth! Recipe courtesy of Kraft Foods, serves 20 1-cup servings.

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.

Color Party/Fiesta Friday - Colorific Parties

Why reinvent the wheel? I usually create color boards for party inspiration, but I've come across some amazing color-themed parties from around the blogosphere....
white partyA blank canvas of white for a 50th birthday dinner party, courtesy of David Tutera's Big Birthdays.

Barbie 50th birthday partyMy heart stopped when I saw Colin Cowie's Barbie's 50th birthday party showcased at the Hostess Blog.

Fuschia navy party

A navy and fuchsia party inspired by the party girl's dress over at Lemiga.

red birthday party

Crimson inspiration at Creative Legs for her daughter's party

Hostess Blog orange party

Back at the Hostess Blog, her orange and chocolate tabletop is inspiring.

yellow birthday party

A two-year old's yellow birthday party via Simply Radiant.

Aqua wedding table

Lollipop Event's & Design's aqua take for a wedding.

Star Trek premiere partyOut-of-this-world inspiredness at the Star Trek premiere party. You have to check out the slideshow!

We Go Wednesday - Mars 2112

While watching one of my most favoritest shows, Tori & Dean - Home Sweet Hollywood (don't judge, I'm not ashamed, I love them!), they took their kids to an amazing restaurant in New York called Mars 2112. It's a space themed restaurant located in the heart of the Times Square district; a spectacular environment that catapults travelers to a completely new world. Well, the world of Mars. On Earth. It works though!

Tuesday Tutorial - Flower Pot Dessert

dirt cup collageDuring a recent garden party, we enjoyed a treat called "dirt cups"; I had young guests layer brownie, chocolate pudding, and crushed Oreo cookies, and topped them off with gummy critters like worms and bugs. The kids went crazy for them.

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!

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

Remember Part I's delicious libations? Here are a few more...and I'm so making each and every one of them. Plus, they all have fruit, so that makes them "healthy". See the Part I post for the simple syrup recipe.

Blackberry Crush (serves 1)
4 blackberries
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.

Fiesta Friday/Real Party - Wii Are Havin' A Party!

The world's most low-key party occured for my son's 8th birthday last weekend, also a joint party with his friend C at our local arcade...If you recall the invitations and this banner, a delightful pdf find over at Pumpkin Petunia were the most labour intensive parts.

They were all fabulous at taking turns at the Wii, XBOX and pool table stations as well as....
Mario Mushroom magnet
Make a Mii bookmark
Pokemon bags for their crafts also included a Wii remote candy dispenser, glow sticks, gold gum coins and other candy.

Wii thank you postcardThe best part of the day he said was seeing and playing with friends. And I agree, parties don't always have to be over-the-top to be successful...wait, did I just say that?

We Go Wednesday - Whistler, BC

A few years ago, we had the pleasure of attending a beautiful December wedding in the awesomeness that is Whistler. The reception and accommodations were at the Hilton Whistler Resort. I heart this place so much and totally recommend it if you can swing's très pricey, but the bride works in the hotel industry and we got hooked up. With a packed weekend of rehearsal dinners, site seeing, dealing with 2 small children, plus the 6 hour trek from our home, we didn't do the skiing that they are world famous for. Just having the boy try to walk through snow that was up to his chest was adventure enough!

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.
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