BCA Wednesday - Paper & Cake Pink Party

Paper & Cake Party Pink tableI can't believe it's already October, which means it is time again to celebrate the triumphs and tribulations of Breast Cancer Awareness month. Once again, every Wednesday this month (and maybe a few other days) I will showcase products, websites, parties and events that bring information and a few dollars towards helping the fight against breast cancer.

One of my favorite sites, Paper & Cake have a special party download called Pink Party; 50% of the proceeds from each Pink Party download sold go straight to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation. The PDF file has everything you need, from invitations to the pennant banner, all kinds of toppers, even a handbag style favor box.
Paper & Cake Party Pink invite
Paper & Cake Party Pink pins

Tuesday Tutorial - Pumpkin Bags and Candy Corn Jell-O

Looking for a few easy projects for your harvest or Halloween party? I'll share two ideas done for a recent harvest party.

I've always loved Martha's pumpkin treat bags. They've been recreated many a time, and this is one classic never goes out of style. However, when I tried with the floral tape, I must have had the wrong type, because it was double-sided sticky but kept unraveling. So, the enterprising gal that I am took a trip to her local hardware store and scored on green painter's tape. With orange craft bags from my local craft store filled with chocolate animal crackers (hence the grease spots, sorry!), a perfect favor. Feel free to fill with treats of your own choice.paper pumpkin treat bags
Another fun idea we had were Candy Corn Jell-O cups. Yes, purists, I mixed up the orange and yellow layers. I used 7 oz tumbler cups, 2 small boxes each of orange and lemon gelatin, and spray-can whipped topping. I didn't really measure, just divvied up among all the cups for the bottom (orange) layer. Let chill for a few hours, then add the top (lemon) layer. Serve with a nice dollop of whipped topping. With four boxes of prepared gelatin, I made 12 tumbler cups. Feeling fancy? Top off with orange or yellow sprinkles. Candy corn Jello

Tuesday Tip - PaPaYa Art And Bug & Goose Giveaways

Today is a day of giveaway love! The genius that is TomKat Studio is hosting a giveaway with PaPaYa Art, a creative paper, gift & home decor company. The giveaway includes a selection of cards and gift cards, along with these fabulous file folders, notepads & journal from the Lotus Garden Collection.... Papaya file folders notepads well as this pretty wall hanging.Papaya wall hanging
There are 5 ways to enter, so go to the TomKat Studio blog for full details, deadline is Wednesday night 11:00 p.m. (MST).

Bug & Goose shirt collageAnother fave site, Thoughtfully Simple, is also hosting a giveaway from Bug & Goose; one lucky reader will get the chance to win a personalized t-shirt! I'm aiming for the baseball raglan for the little one. He would love to see a gianormous "J" on his shirt. Contest ends October 2 which is Friday, so hop on over. And as a consolation prize (or if you want more goodies) Bug & Goose is offering a 10% discount. Simply use promo code “TS10″ now through Friday to save!

Shush Ovaries...No Babies For You

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that I would knock myself up tomorrow if I could guarantee a girl. I know I would end up with another boy. I know it. But then I see these...
Bee Bops bee costumeBee Bops pig costume...over at Bee Bops and Lollipops. Thus, today's title. Sigh. I wonder if the boys...nah.

Drink Of The Week - Jack-o'-Lantern

Phyllis Hoffman Jack O Lantern cocktailAnother over-the-top and too yummy beverage from Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate: Halloween. I just LOVE the almond stem, wouldn't your guests get a kick out of this?

Make it a kid-friendly punch without the alcohol and slivered almond. I would suggest 2 parts orange juice to 1 part orange soda; serve in orange cups with glued-on google eyes as a Jack-o'-lantern face.

Garnish: lime juice, sanding sugar
4 ounces fresh orange juice
2 ounces carbonated orange soda
1 1/2 ounces orange-flavored liqueur
1 1/4 ounces spice rum
Garnish: orange slice, green slivered almond

1. For garnish, dip the rim of a cocktail glass into lime juice, then into sanding sugar to coat.
2. Mix 1/8 teaspoon green food coloring into 1 tablespoon water. Soak almonds in colored water for 1 hour. Remove, and drain on paper towels until dry.
3. Fill a shaker halfway with ice. Add orange juice, orange soda, orange liqueur, and rum.
4. Shake vigorously for 5 to 10 seconds. Strain into desired glass. Float orange slice with a green slivered almond stuck in the middle. Serve immediately.

Setting The Halloween Scene

Time to get the house in spooky order...fall has officially begun. Whether you are throwing a party or just getting into the festive spirit, here are a few fun and unique ways to add a little spook to your haunt.
Eyeball soapOut of sight - the eyeballs in these handcrafted glycerin soap move!

Witch lanternBright idea - Cast menacing shadows from your windowsill or mantel with a Halloween lanterns. Choose this witch or buy the complete cast of characters to really spook it to 'em.

Skull platesStop skull-king about - Sit and dine off these night-black glass appetizer plates.

Who stole the cookie from Target's ceramic crown skull cookie jar?

Voodoo knife standA slice above - The Ex Voodoo Knife Block is definitely your kitchen's conversation starter.

Ikea Hulda RugIkea's Hulda Vilse rug looks very much like bloodpour. Did they mean to do that?

Fiesta Friday (On A Thursday) - A Slashin' Dinner Bash

Looking for a unique way to thrill your guests for Halloween? Feast your eyes on this entire macabre dining room created by Amy Lau, inspired by Showtime's Dexter. Set in Miami, the series centers on Dexter Morgan, a covert serial killer governed by a strict moral code (his victims must be unrepentant killers themselves and he must have defining proof of their crimes) who actually works for the Miami Metro Police Department as a blood splatter analyst.Dexter dinner table

The room features a table ready for a sit down dinner of twelve. No detail is left unturned with stark white, blood red accents and various tongue-in-cheek nods to the character. I could just die (no pun intended) for the dining chairs with the embroidered blood splatter.

Dexter is meticulous about keeping his workspace clean when he carves up his victims, which is interpreted in the clean, protective plastic tablecloth in white. Mimic this look with white chair covers with red splashes of fabric paint.

Dexter dinner table centerpieceHow in love are you with the the blood vial centerpieces for red wine refills? An online science supply store can readily help you create your own version.

Inexpensive wine glasses with a dribble of red glass paint down the stem makes a perfect substitute. And the plates? A splash or two of red paint on unfired bisque at your local paint-your-own pottery store ought to do the trick. Once fired, you will have a white plate with it's own blood spatter. And don't fear, your plates and glasses will make an annual Halloween appearance or out for your next murder mystery party.
Dexter wineglass chandelierRepurposed wine glasses dipped in white latex, then strung amidst wood, cables, light bulbs, wires, wax rope and ribbon create this elaborate chandelier. Want your own? A quick online search of "wineglass chandelier" will reveal many a project to fill your Martha need. If you have the ducets, the Dexter chairs, as well as bloody dinner plates and dismembered flatware from the collection, are available.

Tuesday Tip (On A Wednesday) - Fancy Flours Giveaway

If you haven't been to Fancy Flours, you are in for a real treat (pun intended)! I love to get their seasonal catalogs. They are a cake and cookie decorating supply site, full of ingenious ideas even for those who are not fond of the baking, such as myself. I am so ordering these mini Halloween faces to dress up my cookie treats. And if you need more incentive, look what I found in my inbox this on the photo to take you to signup. I already have his awe-inspiring Entertaining Simple, and I would LOVE to get my hands on this one!Fancy Flours/Matthew Mead giveaway

We Go Wednesday - Haunted Happenings Pt. 2

Last week's W.G.W. was all about adult fun. Today's post is all about ghoulishly good times for the entire family!

La Jolla, CA
Enjoy an evening of oceanographic oddities at the Birch Aquarium at Scripps; enjoy two nights of science gone awry as you encounter creeps from the deep and experiments with wacky, mad scientists.

Shawnee, OK
During the city's 10thannual Boo on Bell Street, organized by the nonprofit group Safe Events For Families, families can participate in a plethora of activities like A Bark In The Park and Frankenmutt Howl-o-ween Pet Costume Contest, pumpkin-pie and hot-dog eating contests, and trick-or-treating at participating downtown merchants.

Oregon City, OR
Take a spooky stroll through the Wenzel Family Farm's 1,000-foot wooded fantasy trail for a perfect family outing through a tunnel, maze and crooked house and suspension bridge.

St. Louis
At Grant's Farm, the 281-acre ancestral home of the Busch family (as in Anheuser-Busch, Inc.), families can truly celebrate Halloween among the creatures--about a thousand of them--representing more than a hundred different species from six continents.

Cooperstown, NY
Pumpkinfest 2009 kicks off this weekend with a weigh-in for giant veggies. Other events include the Pumpkin Regatta, where sponsors and growers gut the oversize pumpkins and float them in a race on Otsego Lake.

Flintstone, GA
Up for a Halloween challenge? Try finding your way out of the 10-acre cornfield Enchanted Maize by Rock City near Chattanooga. Kids can also enjoy all the usuals like hayrides and a kiddie maze, while later in the evening, the grown-ups can check out The Voodoo Bayou & Forest of Fear.

Tuesday Tutorial - Pieces of Broomstick Flair and a Bottle Of Rum

Broomstick drink stirrersSome days, I come across something so ridiculously easy, cute and clever, that I can plan a whole party around it in my head, and drool deliriously once I can unleash it upon the world. Thus is the case with these ridiculously easy, cute and clever broomsticks from Hello My Name Is Heather, who graciously shares the tutorial.

Created for a Harry Potter soiree, and perfect for Halloween as a drink-stirrer/skewer-of-hors d'oeuvres/party-favor tag/gift-topper/top-hostess billing once your friends discover you made them yourself.

Michael's pirate costume ideas collageAnd speaking of ridiculously easy, cute and clever...this weekend brought out the Black Diamond Pirates to our children's museum, and of course we had to get into the spirit...

Since neither boy is going as a pirate for Halloween, I decided to make a few outfits myself, courtesy of my local Michael's. They have a Pirate Party flyer that shows you how to make the pirate costume my oldest is wearing, from a couple of T-shirts and fabric paint. The little one's is just a Jerzees ® with an velvet iron-on. Both are perfect no-sew projects, especially if you are looking for an easy Halloween costume.

Pirate Costume
Jerzees ® T-shirts in red and white
Tulip® fabric paint; black, gold glitter
paintbrush (I used a foam brush)
paper towels
paper plate
foam dauber (optional)

1. Using the white shirt first, make slits about 1" apart at cuffs of sleeves for the fringed look. I also trimmed off the hemmed edges of the cuffs.
2. Cut collar from shirt and the hem from the bottom of the shirt to look ragged.
3. For the vest, cut the sleeves off the red shirt, lay the shirt flat and cut up the center, then cut the sides into a v-shape. Cut the hem from the bottom of the shirt as well.
4. Using black fabric paint, paint lines about 2" apart down the front of the red vest to create stripes.
5. Use dauber and gold paint to make buttons down the front. You can use a regular paint brush as well.
Note - follow the paint manufacturer's directions for care of your painted item.

Tuesday Tip - Adorable Picture Invite

The social butterfly that is my little one received his first party invite of the new school year, and how cute is this?photo inviteFor those of you not savvy with photo editing programs, just take your file to a photo kiosk like Kodak Picture Maker to add text and print. Simple and perfect, and how psyched was I when we received this invite? It's definitely a keeper, unlike those horrible generic write-in character invites. No slight to those who use them, but aren't you curious to see what else mom has up her sleeve for this party?

Drink Of The Week - Skeleton Shake

Skeleton Shake cocktailAnother fun drink from Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate: Halloween, made more funner if you add 1 1/2 ounce coffee-flavored liqueur. Recipe serves 1.

1 cup chocolate ice cream
3 tablespoons prepared chocolate syrup
1/3 cup chocolate milk
Garnish: hazelnut pirouline cookies

1. Chill a tall glass for 15 minutes in the freezer.
2. Remove from freezer and squirt desired amount of chocolate syrup into the bottom of glass; return to freezer.
3. In a blender, combine ice-cream, syrup and milk, blend until smooth.
4. Serve immediately in chilled glass.

Fiesta Friday - Invite Fright

DIY Halloween invitation collageFrom the invitation to the goody bags, we're covering all things Halloween for the next few Fiesta Fridays! I had so much fun with last year's series (go back for a peek at a few), this year is even funner! Sunday's D.O.W. and Wednesday's We Go already kicked things off, so we'll backtrack a bit to your tone-setters; the invite.

For those of you with the DIY spirit, Martha never fails in delivering clever invitations, and this year's workshop is no exception, complete with instructions.

Download these invitations as part of complete party packs from The TomKat Studio and Paper & Cake.

Store-bought Halloween invitation collageFor those of you more inclined to point and click; Paper Orchid Stationery's elegant skull invitation sets the tone for an elegant yet spooky event.

tiny*prints' Spooky Web and Witch invitation.

Paper Style's tarantula (my personal fave) and creepy door invitations have coordinating mailing and treat labels.

Monkey See Boutique

Monkey See Boutique collagePerusing one of my favorite blogs brought my attention to a super-cute online shop, Monkey See Boutique.

They have a little of everything, from accessories to entertainment, even auto trash bags. I wish, I wish I knew about them sooner, I am in LOVE with the Oh Boy sock set, look at the bottom of them!

They have lots of items that can be made uniquely yours; for example, the custom antique oval tub can be personalized for any occasion with a variety of fonts, ribbons, and vinyl colors like this Halloween version.

We Go Wednesday - Haunted Happenings

For those who are not-faint-of heart and like to plan ahead for your Halloween festivities, check out Haunted It's pretty comprehensive, covering everything from haunted attractions and tours, corn mazes and everything in between. You can do a state search and find a spot near you.

More specifically if you live in these cities, check out their haunted tours. It's a little earlier in the season for some, so check back with them as it gets closer to Halloween. Next week we'll showcase family-friendly happenings.

With stops that include Fort Sumter, City Jail and other eerie locations, take the Sandlapper Tours Haunted Harbor Ghost Tour for a new perspective on the city's haunted lore.

New Orleans
Named by the International Society for Paranormal Research as America's most haunted city, try the New Orleans Spirit Tours, the Garden District and the city's infamous above ground cemeteries.

Portsmouth, NH
Join your guides on various excursions like the Haunted Pubs tour or the Seacoast Haunted Lighthouses tour where you might relish the reassuring sensation said to be given by the Ghost of the Isles of Shoals waiting for her famous pirate -- Black Beard.

Synonymous with the infamous witch trials, you know it has to be full of bad mojo. Try the Haunted Footsteps Ghost Tours or the Vampire & Ghost Hunt Tour.

St. Louis
Home of the infamous St. Louis Exorcism of 1949 on which the movie The Exorcist is based. Ghostride Tours hosts several tours like the Haunted Historical Tour.

Atchison, KS
Take this hour-long narrated bus tour and it's easy to see why Atchison is called the most haunted town in Kansas. There is also a walking tour for a more up-close-and-personal looked at some of the haunted homes and their neighborhoods.

Private Eye On Seattle tours get you in on the action with murder mystery tours as well as ghost tours that boasts visits to Kurt Cobain, Bruce Lee, Jimi Hendrix and Ted Bundy

St. Augustine, FL
Explore the 500-year history of America's oldest city at the knowledgeable hand of a professional storyteller, and appreciate this ancient town's legendary tales on the Ghost Tours of St. Augustine.

Tuesday Tutorial - Halloween Pumpkin Cupcakes

pumpkin cupcake collageToday's post is for those of you who believe that cupcakes from a mix is sacrilege and spit on the floor.

An amazing cupcake recipe from October's Bon Appétit, discovered while sitting in a recent visit to the chiropractor's. It took a iron will not to rip it out of the magazine and shove it into my purse. Steer clear of these if you are trying to keep the beach body going; it's chockful of cream cheese, sour cream and pumpkin....mmm...

And how about these gems from Williams-Sonoma that you can substitute chopped crystallized ginger and dried cranberries for the walnuts and raisins for a more grown-up version.

Tuesday Tip - Free Website For Creating Comics

Make Beliefs Comix strip
For all you aspiring cartoonists, at, you can create and print out strips with just a few clicks of your mouse. Choose from 15 predrawn characters, select their moods, then add word or thought balloons to complete your tale. My 8-year old is addicted to it, plus it is teaching him to type faster. Yeah, there's learning in there somewhere!

My Milkshake Brings All The Boys To The Yard

Sorry, couldn't resist the title, after all, this post is about milkshakes. You know I love my themed buffets and have done just about every kind. I've done ice-cream buffets, but how about taking it to the next level with a milkshake bar at your next party?

Borrow a couple of blenders and ice creams scoops from friends. You want to be able to blend multiple shakes at a time otherwise you will have some very irritated guests!

Purchase vanilla and chocolate ice cream or frozen yogurt for the base of the milkshakes. With multiple flavors of add-ins, keep the bases of the shakes simple.milkshake tumblers

Set the scene by purchasing colorful or clear cups with lids like these from The Paper Cup Company, festive napkins for those milkshake mustaches, crazy straws and tons of bowls and spoons for all the toppings and sauces.

Your add-ins are limited only by the imagination and your budget....
Chocolate candy - Snickers, Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, toffee, chocolate chips, etc.
Cookies - chocolate chip, brownies, vanilla wafers, etc.
Candy - jelly beans, marshmallows, gummies, Nerds, etc.
Cereal - Fruit Loops, Cocoa Puffs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, etc.
Sauces - chocolate, hot fudge, caramel, strawberry, honey, etc.
Healthy options - almonds, raisins, peanut butter, etc.

Don't forget whipped cream and fruit like strawberries, blueberries and cherries to top off your creations! Shaved chocolate, grated coconut, crumbled cookies and candy bits are all fab toppers as well. I could go on all day, but I think you get the picture.

Drink Of The Week - Limy Lizard

Limy Lizard cocktailSometimes in my adoration of Martha and Sandra Lee, I have blinders on and miss out on their fast-approaching competition.

For those of you who know about the Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate magazines, my bad. I've somehow missed her entire line of seasonal celebratory tomes, and her new Halloween one is out, with a stunner of a chocolate and pistachio-layered cake with ganache icing on the cover.

A quick peruse allowed me to justify paying the $7.99 cover price (and that the purchase goes towards my gas rewards), and I would advise you to do the same. It's chock full of pictures, recipes and all things needed to planning the ultimate spooky bash this year.

Her article devoted to creative and easy drinks helps to start off my Halloween D.O.W. series. Recipe serves 1.

1/2 cup lime sherbet
1/2 cup uncarbonated sweetened lime drink
3/4 cup lemon-lime soda

1. Place sherbet into a chilled glass, our lime drink over sherbet, and top with lemon-lime soda. Serve immediately.

Note - 1 1/4 ounce of lime-flavored rum may be added to this drink if desired

Fiesta Friday (On A Saturday) - A Little Monkey Business

Little monkey maskIt's nice to hear that some of my crazy ideas and energy rubs off on someone out in the blogosphere. First birthdays are major milestone parties, and I love to see how moms channel their first year of ups and downs into a fabulous "It was worth every moment" soiree.

One of my followers, proud mama Shayna over at Our Life With Our Monkey recently created an adorable monkey party for her...way for it...little monkey. Somehow she managed to squeeze in party planning with working full time and work as a mompreneur. Here are a few lovely shots, and definitely head over to her blog for tons more. Thanks for sharing and I'm so glad I could be of assistance! :)

Little monkey party invite
Little monkey party table
Little monkey party wall
Little Monkey cupcakes

A moment of silence

We Go Wednesday - Barbie Workshop

Take your dream girl, ages 3 and up, to your local Pottery Barn Kids this weekend for the Barbie TM Dream Room Crafting Workshop. It's a fun, free activity celebrating her 50th anniversary! RSVP is required, so get on the list ASAP!

Drink Of The Week - Gremlins Rule!

Gremlins Rule!Finally! What better way to kick off the end of summer by getting ready for Halloween? I know I'm already counting down, and here's the first of several great recipes to try out. Courtesy of BHG.

Margarita mix (Tequila optional) or lemonade (optional)
1 each Kiwi, lemon, lime, orange
Maraschino cherry with stem

1. Serve chilled margarita mix on the rocks and add a splash of grenadine.

2. Skewer a slice of kiwi for the face. Cut a cherry in half and attach with pieces of toothpick for eyes.

3. Slip the skewer into the beverage glass. Add the cherry stem for a smile and twists of lemon, lime, and orange peel for hair.

Fiesta Friday - Macho, Macho Man

Since I have no girls, my parties consist of trucks, police and firemen, superheros etc. I've let it princess parties with glitter wands and sequins. No tulle ribbon and tiaras. No Strawberry Shortcake or My Little Pony or lady bugs or tea parties or fairies or makeup parties. OK, I'm done., I'm done.

These parties have taken it one step further beyond the usual themes, and made "macho man" the jump-off point.
Mr. Man party collageThis mom of twin girls and triplet boys found the time to put together this absolutely creative party complete with tie decorations and chocolate mustaches. She just moved up my hero list! But then again, I can't whine about my two driving me up a wall when they fight over who gets to play with the Playmobil motorcycle, despite living in a house that is wall-to-wall Playmobil.
Indiana Jones partyWho is more manly than Indiana Jones? Check out Four Little Monkeys' creative nod to the explorer in us all, go check out the details, delicious down to the mail-crate piñata.
Sandra Lee Harley partySandra Lee's Harley® Party, is complete with game piece decor, a macho menu of steak and ribs and a motorcycle as guest of honor.

We Eat Wednesday - Zao Noodle Bar

***UPDATE - THIS ESTABLISHMENT IS NO LONGER IN BUSINESS*** If you have the distinct pleasure of living near a Zao Noodle Bar, make haste. Tired of eating chicken and French fries on our latest excursion to the U Village, we stopped in for a try, and I am in love.

It offers an assortment of Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese noodle dishes made fresh-to-order. Beautifully served, and gianormous portions, I loved the Dan Dan Noodles with Chicken. The kids' menu is simple; brocolli and beef with rice and noodles, were what my boys had. No complicated veggies so they ate it all up. Plus, they love trying to eat with chopsticks, watching the cooks at the open oven, and trying to read the back of the waitstaff's shirts kept them busy. Each one was wearing a different phrase. And the prices are extremly reasonable! My big bowl of noodles was $10 and the kids' meals were $3.50. Healthy and cheap...that's my kind of eatin'!

Tuesday Trend - Hello, Doily!

The humble yet intricate doily is making a serious comeback! No longer relegated to adorning grandmas' endtables and china cabinets, rescue your finds and repurpose them into modern art.

Make a starched doily basket by soaking a doily in liquid starch, squeezing out excess, and placing an inverted glass bowl covered in waxed paper. Once it's dry, in about one to three days, use for a beautiful centerpiece; take a cue from Martha Stewart, as she filled with eggs for a Easter tabletop.

Check out the how-to's for the doily-wrapped vase and bowl, deceptively simple and perfectly elegant.
And you thought paper doilies were just for snowflakes and Valentine's Day. Don't you feel horrible for not thinking of this yourself, right? Wall art genius with orange thumbtacks, from flickr's CityPix.

Pom poms from petunia are fun to make and work for any occasion.

Lovely lace tabletop decor and bouquet holders form a delicate wreath.

Check out how David Starks helps turn a plain white vase and yellow carnations into a beautiful display with a paper doily.
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