All we need is love

All we need is love
All we need is love

Monday, April 30, 2012


So.... we rented our bounce house from Sir Bounce A lot... a company that we have used many times before. They have great specials and deliver to us for free since we are so close to them. They usually leave the bounce overnight for us since our parties last so long. This time they left it an extra day for whatever reason, so we decided to make that extra day count.

We had fun!!!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

COLOR-ful Jello cups

Another sweet treat that we set out for Aria's party were these COLOR-ful Jello cups. I found these little cocktail spoons at Party City in a multi pack of different colors. I attached them to the side of the cups with a tiny dab of low-temp hot glue. 
Aren't they just so stinkin' cute?!?

The recipe for this yumma Jello treat can be found on a previous post titled,  "My favorite dessert.... next to Creme Brûlée of course."

Friday, April 27, 2012

COLOR-ful Caramel Corn

I made a few batches of caramel corn, knowing that I could easily add food coloring to it to create another COLOR-ful food element for my girl's party. It takes an hour and 15 minute time commitment to make this sweet and salty goodness, but you'll see that it's worth every minute when you take your first bite of this crunchy snack. I must warn you though.... it is addicting stuff!

Caramel corn

1 stick of butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup of corn syrup
1 teaspoon of salt

Place all of these ingredients in a sauce pan and cook on medium high heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add food coloring if you like and then pour over a very large bowl filled with 8 cups of plain popcorn. Working quickly, mix together until the popcorn is mostly covered with the syrup mixture and then pour this into a large greased pan (or 2), spreading it out evenly. Put this pan into an oven heated to 300 degrees F and bake for an hour, mixing and turning every 15 minutes. Once you remove it from the oven, stir it for a short while longer, breaking up the clumps of caramel corn. Let it cool and then store it in a container for up to one month.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A COLOR-full party wreath

I wanted to create a wreath to welcome our guests to the party that went along with the theme. If Crayons don't say, "COLOR", well then I don't know what does! 
I bought a 96-pack of Crayola Crayons at the store that was in the clearance section for $2.00. (What a bargain!) Then I hot-glued them onto two thin, concentric rings that I had cut with an Exact-o knife from scrap cardboard. I painted these with glitter paint before applying the Crayons. Of course there is a length of black grosgrain ribbon looped through it for hanging. 
The "10" is cut from adhesive-backed glitter paper and placed on a circular piece of card stock that was glued onto a long strip of pink card stock that was folded accordion style and made into a circle. 

I just love the way it turned out!

Homemade Glitter Candy Buttons

I made a bunch of Candy Buttons last night with the intention of wrapping them around the each plasticware setting for a pop of color and fun. The candy was a success, but I don't think I'll be able to successfully wrap them around the plasticware..... they want to fall off the paper. But, all is not lost- I will just put them out for the guests to enjoy.

They are pretty easy to make- just a little time consuming. Just mix up a batch of Royal Icing (my recipe to follow) divide it up into equal portions, tint each one a different color, and squeeze them onto strips of printer paper. Then you can sprinkle them with a little edible Disco Dust for fun if you like.

Here's how you do it:

Squeeze a small amount of the icing onto the center of the location you want it. It should resemble a Hershey's Kiss.

Once you have made a dozen, take a moistened finger and touch the top of the icing to remove the point and smooth it out. Once you have done this a few times, you will get a hang of  how much water should be on your finger. You want to have enough to prevent your finger from sticking to the icing, but not too much that you create a puddle of water around the candy button.

This is what it should look like when you are done.

Once you have filled a sheet of alternating colored buttons, shake some Disco Dust over them all and tap off the excess. Let them dry for 24 hours.

Royal Icing

2 Tablespoons of Merengue Powder or 2 egg whites
1 pound of powdered sugar
6 Tablespoons of warm water
1 Tablespoon of clear extract of your choosing

Place all ingredients into your mixer bowl and beat on medium high for 10 minutes. Add a very small amount of water if needed. Your end product should hold a Hershey's Kiss peak like in the picture above. Make sure to cover this icing with plastic wrap immediately, because it will form a crust and ruin your silky mixture within minutes.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Another fun party game

 I made these colored pieces in preparation for another game I have planned for the party on Saturday. This game will be a variation on one we did in 2009 for a Super Mario birthday party we had for Cole. 

These little plastic pieces (made from Shrinky-Dink paper) are placed individually inside of balloons blown up with air that the kids must take turns popping, in relay fashion, in order to find the piece. The original premise was to be the team to collect the most pieces once the balloons were all gone. With the Mario theme, the coins and mushrooms represented points, just like in the video game and the collection of a bad guy meant the deduction of points. 
The kids had a blast with this game because everyone was familiar with the Mario Bros. game and it needed little explanation. Grab a balloon, run to the other side of the yard, pop the balloon, collect the piece and place it in the jar, run back to the start and tag the next person to take a turn. Everyone knew which pieces were good and which ones were not. The exciting part was not knowing which pieces you got until it was popped and it had to count- no matter what!

Here are a few pictures of the Mario party game. These pieces took a little longer to make that the squares and circles for the COLOR part, BUT, it wasn't so bad and I'll tell you why.

#1- Shrinky-dink paper is transparent so you can use a picture, trace it and color it in.
#2- The repetition of drawing the pictures over and over makes the process faster with each one.
#3- Most kids love to draw and color and are great helpers for this type of project.
(I had 6 kids helping me make these one Sunday, we knocked them out in to time 
and had fun doing it!)

I like to have a glass jar for collecting the pieces in.

Here I am counting the bounty!

This time, the game has a COLOR spin to it. Since I have made a number of circles and squares in 6 different colors, the team that collects a full set of one shape with each color represented, wins! Of course the rainbow shapes will replace any given color if they obtain one. Games like this one get the kids running and burning off a ton of the sugar I give them at these parties! LOL! 

So, here's how I went about making the plastic pieces for the COLOR party. (Same technique as the Mario party, just with a simpler design.)

First I colored strips of Shrinky-dink paper with colored pencils. I scribbled on the color quickly on the rough side of the paper. (Neatness and perfection are not essential as the color will condense when they shrink up.) Then I cut them into 2 different shapes and placed them, rough side UP, on a piece of cardboard.

Next, I placed them in the oven that was preheated to 325 degrees F, and we watched in anticipation for 2-3 minutes as they curled and shrank into a much smaller version of their original state.

Once they flattened out, I immediately removed them from the oven to cool on the counter for a couple of minutes. Here is how small they became.

Now they are hard little colored shapes... small enough to shove into the opening of a balloon, but not so small that they cannot easily be seen the in the grass once the balloon is popped.

Here's a slightly different perspective of the size they need to be.

It's definitely worth the time to add this personalized touch to your party. This game is a guaranteed HIT!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Pretty paper garland

In keeping with the theme of COLOR for Aria's party, I wanted to create a decoration that would add lots of color and fun to the event. I saw this garland on a party blog and thought it would be perfect for this theme. All you need is scissors, paper, thread and a sewing machine to put it all together. Of course, it helps to have a paper cutter to make the preparation a little easier.
Here's what I did.

I used 14 different colors of glitter cardstock paper (white isn't shown here) and cut them into 1" x 15" strips. Then I lined them up in the pattern shown and sewed them straight down the center, without leaving a space between each strip. 

 The resulting effect is this beautiful stream of color that spins and twirls as it hangs. I probably took 30 pictures trying to capture how pretty the effect of this paper garland was, and I just couln't do it justice. I hung most of them like this, but there were others that I swagged across entryways which was just as pretty but didn't spin as much.
Here is a grouping of 7 strands of garland in front of an Arcadia door window.

It takes a little patience to cut out all of the paper strips and put these together... but aside from that- no real skill is required. At first, I was really exact in my process... making sure I cut them out the exact same size... sewing as close to down the center of each strip as I could..... then I realized that even when I got a little sloppy, the end result came out just the same.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Motorcycle Mouth

Okay.... so maybe that doesn't sound like the nicest nickname to call your son who just got braces on.... but he's not bothered by it, so it's allright! We refer to it as "Motorcycle Mouth" because Daddy sold his Harley so Coley could have pretty teeth! Awe! I know- the sacrifices we make as parents for our children. (I cried.)
Well, he was a trooper. He hasn't complained once... and I think he still looks pretty handsome! oxox

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My girl is officially 10!!

On Sunday, after FIVE whole days of being sick, my sweet girl awoke, fever-free, to celebrate her big 10th birthday with her family! What a gift! 
We started out the day with breakfast at her favorite bagel spot, then home to open a few gifts before we were off for a manicure and pedicure -- just me and her!

The new thing now is to have all of your nails painted one color except for your ring finger... which is what she did. I really like the ones she chose... she has a flare for color!

Later that day, after a movie, we went to Aunt Jo-Jo's house to play with the cousins and have pizza and strawberry icecream cake. It was a fun, low-key day in honor of our precious girl.

Friday, April 20, 2012

A colorful party game project

When we have birthday parties around here, we like to have a number of games that get the kids running around, playing together and maybe even getting a little wet. We have water balloon games every year (which never gets old) and a variety of other relay races pitting one team against another. 
We are always trying to think of a way to change things up and tie our game into the party theme, so... when I saw these sponge water bombs on Pinterest, I had a great idea. If  you add a rubber band to it, you'll have a water bomb slingshot! 
Aria and I spend a couple minutes making these yesterday. They were pretty easy and inexpensive. After all was said and done, each one cost about $1 a piece. 

Here's what we did.

We used 6 different colored sponges, since Aria's party theme is COLOR, and cut each one in half length-wise and then in half again making 4 strips per sponge. Then we took 2 of each color (12 total strips) and lined them up like this.

We used a little team work on the next part. One of us twisted the sponge strips together, like we were wringing out a rag, and the other took a piece of dental floss looped into a long rubber band and tied it around the center of the sponges multiple times. We spread out the colored pieces and then.....

The kids had fun playing around with them while they were dry, but we plan on using them soaking wet for the party game. 
Here's our idea for a game. 

You have 2 teams lined up on one side of the yard armed with a few water bombs and a bucket of water. On the opposite side of the yard is a table with 2 glass cylinders- one for each team- each with a pre-marked fill line.
The teams must have one member run to the glass cylinder, while another member launches a wet water bomb across the yard for his teammate to catch, and them wring out the remaining water into the glass container. The next two teammates repeat the drill, and so on, until one team reaches the fill line. 

It sounds like a lot of crazy, wet fun!
I can't wait. It's gonna be a hit!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

A party in the making

So, my girl is turning 10 and that means another fun party to plan! The past few years, Aria's themes have not been your typical party theme. She forces me to use my creativity with themes like the one she came up with this year- COLOR. 

Let me just clarify, in case you are wondering.... this is NOT a "rainbow" party. (She corrects me every time I say it!)  :O)

So, first thing's first- the invitation. I am a sucker for pretty paper and I LOVE to send and receive cards via snail mail. I think the perfect invitation sets the mood for the event. 

Most of the time I make the invitations, but this year I decided to buy them. One of my favorite places to e-window shop for pretty papers is a site called
There I found these gorgeous invites that incorporate my new favorite pattern obsession- chevron- with vibrant color and a beautiful pic of my favorite little girl taken by the amazingly talented Diana Rothery.
These invites are of incredibly high quality, in postcard fashion, and came with great envelopes (a detail that is usually not seen from other companies). The backs of the cards had the same color-chevron design, and I even got a deal on some coordinating address labels to make the mailing process easier and stylish to boot!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Opening Day

This Saturday was as very exciting day- it was Opening Day for Camelback Little League. Cole's team, the St. Louis Cardinals, played their first game. Although they didn't win, they played hard and had fun, braving through the nasty wind and cold.

It's amazing to see how far he's come in such a short time in this sport. I am so proud!


Friday, April 13, 2012

Our last trip to Huntington Beach, CA

 Greg and I went to Cali this weekend for his best friend's 50th Birthday celebration. Since it was a short trip, and there was adult fun to be had, we didn't bring the kids. This was sad, especially after looking back at our last trip out to Huntington Beach and recalled the amazing time we had. There were sooo many great photos from that trip. These aren't even the best.... but they paint a nice picture just the same.


Angel made fast friends with Aria and Cole. They even had code names. Angel was "Cake", Aria was "Cupcake" and Cole was "Pie". They had a lot of fun together!

We spent some time at the fire pit and made groumet smores!

The next day.....


We left our friends, but there was still fun to be had!