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KIDS PARTIES

St. Patricks Day Tablescape

Posted in DECOR, FAMILY PARTIES, HOLIDAYS, KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES, TABLETOP
on March 6, 2017

Are you looking for timeless, inexpensive table settings and other home decor ideas for St. Patricks Day? If you are, you’ve come to the right place!

This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience

My friend Meg of Green with Decor invited me to participate in the St. Patrick’s Day Home Tours(thanks, Meg!). Before you go, be sure to check out the other ideas from the other talented and fabulous blogs listed at the bottom of this post. But for now, let me show you what I came up with and share oodles of table setting pretty picture goodness with you!

According to Wikipedia, “table setting or place setting refers to the way to set a table with tableware—such as eating utensils and for serving and eating. The arrangement for a single diner is called a place setting. The practice of dictating the precise arrangement of tableware has varied across cultures and historical periods.” This definition is followed by 13 –  thirteen – photos of the different courses and service settings throughout a formal meal. It’s dizzying.  And if that weren’t enough to attest to the seriousness of table-scaping, Y’all, Amazon has a book on the “Art of Table Setting.” I’m not all about that. I’m honestly excited if I can put the utensils in the right place (fork on the left), and about using what’s around the house – well, save for a few gold and green coins that I picked up!

I do like to put together a beautiful table, especially for parties – my family loved the settings we put together for Halloween and our Spring Tea Party – and St. Patrick’s Day is no exception.

Clearly color played a huge part in this table setting. For a table runner, I pieced together three fat quarters of quilting fabric in coordinating colors and patterns.

The centerpiece is a combination of spring flowers and plants in yellows, whites and a shot of plum. I used two potted shamrock plants, one in purple, one in green – you can find them at most grocery stores at this time of year – daffodils from my yard, as well as a bouquet of Shasta daisies, green pincushion flowers, and freesia, all displayed together in a large basket. Like the table, it’s loose and informal.

The gold chargers are ones I’ve used for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The plates and silverware are those we use for every day – it’s so fun to dress up ordinary things for a holiday. No matter what you serve it looks fantastic!

The napkins are folded into a clover shape and topped with a gold coin embellished St. Patrick’s Day ribbon.

A few other inexpensive, festive touches make this table fit for any leprechaun who might want to leave his pot o’ gold!


While it’s likely this table setting will not end up on Wikipedia my family so enjoyed it, and I hope I was able to provide you with a few ideas for your table this St. Patrick’s Day!

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Huge thanks again to Meg for including me in this home tour.. it’s been so much fun! Please, be sure to visit the other links for more St. Patrick’s Day decorating inspiration!


Egg-Allergy Friendly Samoa Cupcakes

Posted in FOOD, KIDS PARTIES
on February 12, 2017

How many of you realize that some ice cream cakes contain eggs? I didn’t know that either until I nearly poisoned my son at his birthday party. Although there have been more than a few non-super mom moments in my life, that event rated right up there with one of the worst. I still cringe thinking of the look on his 8-year old little face as we frantically left his party to grab some Benadryl before his reaction got out of control. Yes. I had changed purses and didn’t have any Benadryl either! Ugh! #Badmomsunite #Alwayscheckthelabel

Before I had a child with food allergies, I had no idea how difficult it would be managing events like birthday parties or other such social events. It became glaringly obvious early on that homemade was the only way to go. It’s no small wonder that I’ve been trying to make up for that birthday party and that cake ever since!

Everybody around here LOVES Samoa Girl Scout cookies, but nobody adores them more than my oldest son. There was a time when he had what we called his “stash” drawer, filled to the brim with candy wrappers, marshmallow containers, and yep, you guessed it, Samoa boxes. (Much to my envy, the boy burns calories just breathing). So, when his birthday came around this year, it was a no-brainer as to what flavors he’d be looking for, but with nary a Samoa in sight, I had to improvise a little bit.

Over the years I’ve tested dozens and dozens of recipes, and I’ve had great success with two methods. In the first method, Ener-G Egg Replacer acts as an egg substitute. The second method uses a depression cake recipe, which is a cake that uses no eggs, butter or other dairy ingredients. These cupcakes fall into the latter camp.

Incidentally, depression cakes have been around since – yes, you guessed it – the Great Depression, when ingredients such as milk and eggs were scarce. These recipes are often passed down through families and are so, so simple to make. As well, surprisingly, they produce a moist, well-crumbed cake that, lucky for me, is perfect for allergy sufferers. This cake is dairy free as well and produces a delicious dark chocolate cupcake.

But, the chocolate cupcake is only the first chapter of this story. After all, what gives a Samoa it’s yummy goodness? Is it the crisp, vanilla cookie? The smooth chocolate? The gooey, sweet caramel? The flaked coconut? Of course, it’s all of that!

But, how do you put all of that into a cupcake?

For me, you start with the chocolate cupcake and use a simple trick to fill the cupcake liners.

First, prepare your muffin tins by filling each cup with a liner. Set aside. To evenly fill your liners, you will need a large Ziploc bag and a large-mouthed cup or jar. Place your Ziploc bag into the cup or jar and fold the opened edge over the lip. Set aside and prepare your batter. Spoon your prepared batter into the Ziploc bag, lifting carefully to fill completely. The bag will be approximately half full. Carefully lift out of your cup or jar, press the air out of the bag and close. To fill, carefully clip one corner of the Ziploc bag and carefully pipe the batter into the liner by squeezing through the hole. To stop the flow, pinch the hole closed and tip the filled bag backward before moving on to the next cup. Repeat for the remaining cups and until all batter has been used. To clean up, just discard the Ziploc bag. Voila! These chocolate cupcakes were made using this recipe from Savory Sweet Life without any tweaks and made one dozen cupcakes, baked for 16 -18 minutes.

Then, you add caramel. If you’re going to have caramel go ahead and use homemade caramel – it’s much easier to make than it seems. You’ll never regret it. I used this fabulous recipe from Add a Pinch. Easy-peasy and Oh so good!

Buttercream frosting is where I shine, and I’ve shared the recipe for that below. A simple vanilla buttercream frosting flavored with dollops of caramel takes care of the vanilla layer, save for the crunch aspect.

For coconut use toasted, flaked coconut to get back some of that crunch, along with the unmistakeable flavor of coconut. I like to toast coconut in a pan over medium-high heat, tossing it gently to prevent burning. Remove the pan when the coconut is nicely browned.

Now, put it all together – decadent chocolate cupcake, topped with whipped salted caramel buttercream, topped with toasted flaked coconut, drizzled with sweet, gooey caramel and velvety chocolate – and my friend, you’ve got yourself the ultimate Samoa cupcake. And if you’re a better momma than I, and left out the eggs – or at least brought the Benadryl, you’ll also be wearing your Supermom cape.


My son has grown into an impressive young man. Lucky for me, I got the honor of watching that happen – with or without my cape. Maybe someday I’ll forgive myself for what was certainly the worst party he ever had, but for now, I’m so glad I FINALLY got it together in the birthday baking department for him.

Caramel Buttercream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter (softened to room temperature)
2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/3 cup cooled caramel sauce
1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla
Beat butter until light and fluffy. Add caramel, vanilla, and half the cream. Beat well. Slowly, add sugar, beating on low until well combined. Add additional cream until you reach your desired consistency. You want your frosting to be soft but able to hold it’s shaped. Place frosting in a piping bag (I like to use Ziploc bags!), or spread onto cooled cupcakes.

 

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Bollywood Inspired Party

Posted in KIDS PARTIES, PARTIES, TABLETOP
on June 17, 2015

No, there isn’t a glitch in your system, I am writing a blog post. I know you’ve been hearing the crickets chirping instead of my fingers flying on the keyboard!

I’d bore you with the details of the past few weeks, and the reasons why my beloved blog has had to take a bit of a backseat, but let’s just summarize, shall we? Here’s the skinny:

  • End of school
  • Fifth-grade graduation – is that even a thing?
  • Dance recitals
  • Adult children are moving in. And repeat.
  • The 21 Day Fix – I’m eating out of containers.
  • Autism, autism, autism
  • Mandatory (and much needed) family time
  • Three parties! 

Are you exhausted yet because I know I am? The show must go on. Today, I clawed my way back to share one of the three parties with you! If you know me, you know I love a party!

Our lovely girl, Bekah, was turning 12, and the celebration was at our house this year. We threw a fun party for family and friends, followed by a movie/sleepover for eight tweens-bordering-on-teens. The theme – Bollywood!

Inspiration comes from the most unlikely of places – in this case, a mini-card stock book that I can’t for the life of me even remember when or why I picked up. Add to that Bekah’s love for her favorite reigning Disney princess.. Jasmine, of course.. It was a unique theme that was easy to execute. Bright colors, mixed patterns and an over-abundance of a glittery gold set just the right mood and tone.

Here are a few of the highlights.

Invites created with Picmonkey. My inspiration came from here and here.

The party starts at the front door. For the entry way, I used various pieces from around my home, and from different projects. Click the links below to see how I’ve used some of these items in the past!

Mirror draping – Walmart party table cloths, the most versatile party decor! Check here and here for other purposes.
Peacock feathers – Peacock Halloween costume.
Gold beads – Christmas decor.
Table covers – Mine, drapes, curtains and a scarf embellished with gold washi tape. 
I like to start the party with an interactive activity – it’s perfect for that time in between the first guest arriving and the last and it’s a fantastic icebreaker. This embellished bud vase craft was inexpensive and simple enough for even the littlest guests. Gold puffy paint works it’s magic while homemade glass paint adds just a hint of color on what seems a personal genie bottle. You can find a full tutorial at Creme de la Craft.  
Dinner (Pizza – I wasn’t up for authentic cuisine cooking!) was on the floor! We made the table using our Ping Pong table top and 6-7 milk cartons in a row. 
When decorating for a Moroccan/Indian theme, think layers of color. We laid down thick golden-colored drapes as the base, followed by an orange cotton sheet as a runner. Layers of quilting fabric, fat-quarter size, in various jewel tones layered on top. A roll of gold organza ribbon lay down the middle. 
The table sat 12 comfortably – if sitting on the floor is your idea of comfortable!

Houndstooth Pillows
Plates – Party City.
Chargers – Find them at Walmart during the holiday season for cheap. See here for other uses.

Dessert, of course, included cake – coconut is Bekah’s favorite and her request every year – as well as a selection of other yummy sweets and treats. The decor was made up of various items from around the house, as well as a no-sew simple table runner, gold spray-painted elephant toys and my favorite go-to, vinyl tablecloths. 
Best OMG Cheater Coconut Cake
Other no-sew table runner ideas
Gold Votives – Target Dollar Aisle

The key to a successful sleepover is keeping everyone busy! Other activities we enjoyed included DIY Mendhi tattoos using paint brushes dipped in gel food coloring. 

The faux henna recipe:

  • 2 drops orange gel food coloring
  • 1 drop green orange gel food coloring
  • 1/2 cup water
Design printables – Yoga DoodleArt 

Another favorite activity – Photo booth fun with our new Fuji Instax Mini! We love, love this thing!

DIY Photo Booth with props and a Fuji Instax Mini 8

Props by The Quirky Quail

There might have also been a bit of belly dancing, movie-watching and snack-eating going on.. but I promised not to post ALL of the photos. All in all, I think everyone had a nice time!

The next morning, each sleepy lady received a gift bag full of the following:

  • Gold bangle bracelets – Target Dollar Aisle
  • Bead ring – Pier 1 Imports – check them out for clearance items for this theme! 
  • Beaded Mirror – Pier 1 Imports
  • Finger cymbals (these might have come out for belly dancing!)  – Amazon.com
  • Tamborine – Amazon.com
  • Candy – Rollos rock! 

I hope you’ve found some interesting and useful ideas for your own Bollywood/Moroccan themed party, and I hope you’ll come back and visit us soon! 

For more ideas on incorporating a Bollywood/Moroccan theme, check out my Pinterest board.

Looking for more party fun? You might also enjoy: 

Thanks so much for stopping by! 

Pin for later – Bollywood Party Ideas

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