Tuesday Trend - Parfaits

Before we jump into today's Trend, I would like to send thank you shout-outs to ...
...Catch My Party who liked my Back To School Bash enough to included it in a fab roundup, and made it Party Of The Day!And to the party goddess that is Stem Parties...I should totally make a button that says 'Queen Of Fun Finds, Ask Me How'
OK, moving right along...I love parfaits. I'm currently obsessed with granola, strawberries, bananas and yogurt. I eat it almost every morning. Over the years we found some ideas like this fun breakfast recipe, our Lucky Leaf parfaits and who can forget our 4th of July one?

I think they are going to be the new trend on the dessert bar. Clear glassware will showcase the finished parfait layers fabulously, so pull out your fancy sundae dishes and stemware like large wine or martini glasses.

Arrange your ingredients by layers, with all the cakey items together, next the fillings and fruits, and finally the toppings. Case in point, check out this gem from Nesting Newbies, jarfaits; layering different treats in a mason jar for easy transport!

They suggest starting with a base trifecta of treats - cakey (pound cake, macaroons) + creamy (ice cream, frosting) + gooey (liqueur syrup, marshmellows) and perhaps a fun topping or garnish. Mix and match to your heart's content, the possibilities are endless!

Check out some of their inspiring recipes...

Scarlet O'My - red velvet cake, strawberry cream cheese mousse, strawberry jam, white chocolate shavings.

Dulce De Tres Leche - tres leche cake, caramel pudding, dulce de leche caramel, banana slices, whipped cream

Wholly Cannoli - ricotta mascarpone cream, chocolate chips, chopped pistachio, amaretti cookie crumbs

Real Cupcakes - Grillcakes

Sorry, I've been lax on sharing my 'designer' cupcakes, half the time I forget to take pictures. Since it's coming up on Labor Day weekend, I thought these grillcakes would be perfect!

Get full directions at FamilyFun. I used gumdrops instead of the fruit slices since I couldn't find them. The frosting is tube icing, way easier to use when you attach a piping tip. And I couldn't find the caramels they talk about, so I used saltwater taffy.

Bag It Up! Back To School 2010

Everyone knows the backpack and lunchbox are the most crucial elements of your BTS wardrobe. I think my boys chew on their bags because every year, I'm getting new ones. I'm breaking the character bag habit because the shiny plastic is always getting ripped off.

The boy has his Jansport backpack from last year (it's checkered so it's 'skater boy', thus acceptable) and the little one is sporting a new camo one from Gymboree. We are really working on being greener this year, more containers for lunch and drinks, meaning less bags and drink boxes. Although we've been using systems like Laptop Lunches, we've used drink boxes, little cups of pudding, applesauce, etc.

So in my meanderings around looking for inspiration, I've found some great products to send them baggin' in style!

Frecklebox is going old-school with personalized metal lunch boxes. I didn't even know they still made metal ones! I remember my Strawberry Shortcake one with fond memories. Until it rusted. Thanks to a lovely giveaway, the little one is sporting one in camo to match his backpack. I like the chalkboard feature for sending messages. Which will save a little paper on the lunchbox notes I like to send. Notice the water bottle? No, it didn't come with the lunchbox. We are going to (attempt) see how well it works for non-water liquids.
How cool is the PlanetBox system? The box is made from stainless steel and held in a carry bag with the ability to hold a water bottle.
Gymboree's skull & crossbones can be attached to a matching backpack with the plastic side clips or carry by the top loop.
Skip Hop Zoo lunchies, found at retailers like Layla Grace, are insulated lunch bags with an interior mesh pocket that is perfect for utensils or lunch money.
Sarah + Abraham's aluminum water bottles are durable and will stand out in the crowd.
Just saw this messenger bag at The Children's Place, and the boy thought it was cool, and I agree. It's all canvas and the hardware feels pretty sturdy.
Each Go Green Lunch Box set comes with an insulated fabric carrier, an erasable white board for sending messages, a five-compartment food container, and a bottle that will hold over nine ounces of water or your child’s favorite drink – all leach- and lead-free.
Pottery Barn Kids never disappoints; they have a full range of lunch gear and backpacks galore.
The Goodbyn lunch box has to be by far my favorite; it comes with a drink bottle and dishwasher safe stickers to personalize your kids lunchbox.

Real Party/Fiesta Friday (On A Saturday) - Back To School Bash 2010

Back To School Bash tableIt came, it went, it was awesome. Our last hurrah for the summer, our annual Back To School Bash. It's really just a glorified playdate with friends we didn't get a chance to spend alot of time with. My boys are apparently in high demand and should quit school altogether and just be socialites.

I couldn't wait to share the pictures, it was so much fun to put together. I have a Favorites folder full of inspiration and I wanted to use them all, but alas there was just no room.

Back To School Bash utensilsMust every party include paper straws? That's a big 10-4 good buddy! And what, you say, is that runner made of? Why yes, it is real chalkboard cloth. No one believed me that it was, but I found it at Jo-Ann's, it comes on a bolt just like any cloth. I've had it for awhile with big dreams of putting a ribbon edging on it and make it an 'official' runner, but eh.

And since we all know the trick to an appealing table is having different heights, I figured nothing would be more appropriate than using some of our favorites books.
Back To School Bash apple cupcakes
Shout-out to Bower Power's apple cupcakes; they were a big hit!

Fiesta Friday - Labor Day Fiesta

Ready for an end-of summer blowout? Labor Day is coming up fast and Hot 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 an instant classic.

Now, I'm all about not reinventing the wheel, so I decided to take a post I did last year and refresh with some new ideas. Plus, all this cuteness just had to be brought back!

Labor Day invite collageGet 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. If you have desktop publishing skills, check out this reception invite Design*Sponge; create your artwork, and then cut out into your popsicle shape.

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.
Labor Day table collagSetting 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 a 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, to keep everything orderly and adding a little more color to your spread. Just make sure that the rims don't have any jagged edges.

Forget your usual array of condiment bottles. How much do I love Martha's suggestion in her Good Things For Kids Summer 2007 issue, to put a paper liner in each cup of a muffin tin and fill with your favorite toppings.

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.

Looking for easy summer centerpieces? Take a cue or two from Phyllis Hoffman Celebrate: Summer; fill sand buckets with water and your favorite flower. Place one, two, or more buckets down your table's center, add small shovels and you're done.

Want a more fragrant arrangement? How about daisies and lemons? Trim the bottoms so the lemons sit flat. Cut a slice off the tops to expose the fruit, trim the stems and remove the leaves from the flowers. Insert one flower into each lemon and arrange the lemons on your plate.
Labor Day lemonade standWhat 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.
Labor Day BBQ collageThe Munchies
Yes, hot dogs and hamburgers are a given, but take standard fare to another level. 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.

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, it will guarantee kids will eat their fruit. Use Popsicle sticks for little ones, older kids and adults can use regular skewers.

This hourglass beverage jar from Sur La Table has a 2-gallon capacity that is perfect for lemonade, sangria and more. Serve your drinks up in small drinking jars; decorate them by tying on strips of gingham, or by adding a striped candy stirrer or paper straw.

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.
Labor Day favor collageSend Them Home With A Smile
Back at Maggie's Dinner Dates, she bought BBQ oven mitts (a score at Michael's, but I bet your local dollar store can fit the bill), rolled them up tightly and tied with a thick ribbon. Placed in the tin buckets on the table they do double duty as perfect centerpieces.

Send them home with a souvenir of their evening's treats...a pretty jar with a label of your homemade secret sauce or a s'more-making kit is a great way to keep the summer memories going.

Blog With Substance Award Shout-Outs

A huge shout-out thank you to A Girl And A Glue Gun for sending me a Blog With Substance award; I would love to paysie backsie with the same one, because not only does she have some amazing projects that make me dream to one day make, she shamelessly uses a glue gun for projects, which is my criteria for project-making.

The fine print....
1. Thank the blogger who awarded it to you.
2. Sum up your blogging philosophy, motivation, and experience using five (5) words.
3. Pass it on to 10 other blogs which you feel have real substance.

So #1, check.
#2 - OK, that was 9.
#3 - I chose these sites because whenever I have a party mental block and need inspiration, or just need somewhere to waste lots of time, they are the best places to be. So in no particular order, well, I guess alphabetical...

Drink Of The Week - Ice Cream Bar

Sigh.From Sweet Table, another twist on the dessert spread; saw this over at Celebrations At Home and it was too sweet not to share. Their sophisticated ice-cream treats included chocolate malt on the rocks (rock candy, that is), sweet lime mint mojito, and creamy coconut with hot fudge shots.

Tuesday Tutorial (On A Saturday) - Giant Tissue Lollipops/Engagement Ring

Yeah, yeah, some of you have been sweatin' me about the tutorial I promised on the giant tissue lollipops that reader Adriana did for her Sweet One Party. Well, not only does this mama have her own blog now (yeah!) she has graciously done a tutorial sharing how she made them, over at her new diggs. So now you can all leave me alone.
And speaking of creative people I know, my friend Christy was inspired by my '...Then You Should Have Put A Ring On It' (uh oh oh, oh oh oh, oh oh...arg, FOCUS!!) post for decorating her sister's bridal shower with the giant engagement rings. Aren't they fab?

They are easy to recreate but you will be using a power tool, so you shouldn't be drinking when making these.

seven- and ten-inch embroidery hoops
a clear faucet handle
a size #8-32 X 2-inch screw and nut
silver spray paint
wood glue
spray primer paint
fishing line

1. The hoops have two components; (1) an outer hoop with a small opening and (2) an inner hoop that is solid. Drill a hole in the inner hoop and line the hole up with the opening of the outer hoop.
2. Glue these two hoops together with some wood glue, then spray the entire hoop with some primer, followed by silver metallic paint.
3. To attach the faucet handle to the hoop with the screw and a corresponding nut. Flip off the 'hot' or 'cold' lid of the faucet handle, slide the screw inside, and pass it through the hole in the embroidery hoop.
4. Fasten the screw with the nut and replace the lid of the faucet. Tie fishing line to the ring to hang. Voila!

Fiesta Friday - Back To School 2010 Edition

There are so many interesting directions to take your Back To School party's theme; normally it's about using school supplies and such for a more generic feel. But no one said you couldn't focus on an aspect of school like a school bus or your child's favorite subject. Here are a few inspiration boards to...inspire you. And the beauty of it all, you can mix and match to your heart's delight.
Back to school apple collageApple
This icon never goes out of style. Candy apple cupcakes from Women's World; apple yarn favors from Make and Takes; teacher themed baby shower from Bower and Power.
School Bus
Check out this awesome inspiration board from Divine Party Concepts; how perfect would this be for a Get On The Bus theme for first-time riders, a.k.a. Kindergartners.
Back to school chalk collageChalk/chalkboard
Seating labels from PubSub; chalkboard tabletop from Martha Stewart Weddings; Fancy Flours' cupcake picks; sidewalk chalk favors from Mighty Girl ; a fun photo op like this speech bubble photo booth from Junebug Weddings.
Back to school art collageArt/Crayons
Art party inspiration board from The Party Dress; paint bucket decor from Maddycakes Muse; Picasso party from BHG; Lizard N Ladybugs' pretzel crayons.
Test tube favors from Following Phubie; Cookie Mag's radioactive wrap; science experiments at The Celebration Shoppe; Living Locurto's mad scientist invites.
Letter chandelier from Blonde Design; initial party from Martha Stewart; One Charming Party's flower centerpiece; the Hostess Blog's alphabet baby shower; alphabet invite from City Cradle.
Back to school book collageReading/Books
Books can be for decor or serve as the theme. This book party from Ashley Ann asked guest to bring books to donate to children at a local hospital; Food For Thought's storybook baby shower; Curious George inspired birthday party at the Hostess Blog; a pretty centerpiece from Martha Stewart Weddings; Pat The Bunny baby shower at The Smith Family.
Check out my post on a 'Where In The World' themed party; A. Party Style's party place setting; Cookie Mag's globe cake.
Breakfast/Snack Time
What's more quintessentially 'school' than milk & cookies for snack? Plan a whole party around it; check out my post on cookie buffets.
How in love am I with The Purple Pug's breakfast bar; it makes a perfect neighborhood Back To School party. Wanting to do something simplier? Donuts, juice and milk are always appreciated, but take your donuts to a classy level by displaying them on a nice stand. Or personalize individual packages with a fun logo like this one from Got 2 Have Faith.

Back To School 2010 - Printables

Normally it's We Go Wednesday but because I've been off the grid for so long, I'm doing things a little different this week. Sadly, some of you have already started school, and some, like us, don't start until Labor Day, so we'll be starting my BTS series today; I'll be sharing lots of fun gear, lunch tips and lots of great ideas to getting the kids off of summer and back into school mode.

There are so many great places with printables if you are planning a back to school bash like we are, but many of them can be used for school party treats, teacher gifts or just as a little love to put into a lunch or backpack.
Tweedle Design back to school printable
Tweedle Dee Designs' shares her back to school party punchables that will become part of a larger collection coming soon!
Paper & Cake back to school printableWe will be using Paper & Cake's printables at our party; I love the cheery colors, so non-traditional and fun!
Bird Crafts back to school printableLuvin' Bird Crafts' collection; I just love the gingham and how versatile her pieces are.
backpack snack printableExecutive Homemakers' backpack snack toppers are just the cutest, and perfect for easing first day jitters!
TomKat Studios back to school printableTomKat Studios' lovely collection is chockful of great pieces and is 50% now through Friday the 20th.
Alpha Mom fruit tagsI love using Alpha Mom's lunch box notes, you can personalize them to send any special message you want! Even more clever, her fruit labels. Yes, I've blogged about them many a time, but they are just too awesome.
Parties by Hardie back to school printableparties by hardie 2 back to school printableYou know Parties By Hardie would have a collection, and how cute are her flashcard invites? She also has a pretzel crayon wrapper download, I can't wait to make them for our party!
Glitter back to school printableHello, cuteness! Over at Paper Glitter, she has a plethora of school-themed downloads, both for purchase and for free.
No more lunch box mysteries with these clever lunch box menus from Classic Play!

My boys are going to flip when they see these Star Wars tags and 'Property Of' labels from Living Locurto.
I heart Eighteen25 so, they have so many great printables and I now own a 3" puncher because of them. How cute are their lunch box notes? And it doesn't have to be just for lunch, it's perfect for anytime you want to send some a special note.
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