Wednesday, August 31, 2011

{Featured Parties} Superhero Baby Shower

A few weeks ago, I happened upon this absolutely adorable Superhero Themed baby shower from Sarah at The Thriftress.  I immediately fell in love the way she was able to create an eye-popping party completely with budget elements! 

As guests entered, they were greeted with this adorable wreath

Super cute and super Sarah put it "Ribbon, card stock and a foam wreath form is all it took to whip it up."

Are you surprised to find out that this bunting was created for as little as $1?  Sarah scored comic books on Freecycle and added them to ribbon from the Dollar Store for a simple and amazing bunting banner!

Aren't these onesies adorable?  She made all of them using her printer and transfer paper! Put up against a simple crepe paper backdrop, this marries the superhero and baby shower theme perfectly.

I had to save my favorite picture for last.  Most of you have probably already seen the amazing cardboard backdrop created by Anders Ruff.  Sarah's backdrop has the same exact feel to it...but with so much less work!  Can you believe that the backdrop is actually a shower curtain from Target?  Genius!  I especially like it paired with the black chevron peeping out from behind.  

The Thriftress Blog is filled to the brim with creative budget ideas.  Head on over now to check out more!  Want to throw a Superhero party of your own?  I've got a giveaway going right now where you could win a $25 shop credit to Kid Kapers in addition to other prizes!  What a fantastic way to make a birthday girl or boy stand out for their party!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Classic Barbecue Recipes

Go ahead and thank hurricane Irene for this post.  As we were eating dinner outside for a gorgeous post-hurricane, no-electricity, salvage whatever food you can on the grill dinner, I got to thinking about the fact that Labor Day is this weekend.  This weekend!

Thankfully the electricity came back on not long after putting the little one to bed.  And while the husband and I listened to cheers from our neighbors as the joy of modern-day living came back again; I opened up my laptop and started to look for some barbecue recipes.  Because what is Labor Day weekend without a barbecue?

I'm thinking we could put one of these recipes into play:

I've never thought of using Root Beer in making baked beans, but this recipe from Southern Living has me just curious enough to try it out!

Though I'm still not over the smoked tomatoes I made a couple weeks ago, but this Corn, Cucumber and Tomato Salad from Eat, Love, Drink seems like it could be the perfect way to relish the last bits of the summer harvest.

This Chipotle Maple Barbecue Beef Brisket from Leite's Culinaria isn't really a classic Brisket recipe...but it definitely has me intrigued.  The smokiness of the chipotle and the sweetness of the maple could be a fantastic combination!

What will you be grilling this weekend?

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's Another Birthday and a Giveaway! Closed

This giveaway is now closed.  Thanks to everyone for entering!

No, it's not my's the birthday of this blog! As of Saturday it's been one year since I looked at my husband, said I wanted to start a blog, and did it!  I had no clue what I was getting myself into, but I'm hooked.  I've met so many great bloggers, and can't wait to meet even more.

Anyway, what's a birthday without presents?!  In the spirit of celebrating everyone that's joined my journey I'm giving back to one lucky reader a fantastic set of prizes!

So let's get down to the good stuff.  This awesome giveaway includes:

1. A $25 store credit from Kid Kapers (Etsy).  Annie makes amazing double-sided, custom superhero capes and accessories.  I found Kid Kapers last Christmas, when I purchased custom superhero capes and masks for my niece and nephew.  Not only are the capes beautiful, they are well made and come with the most adorable certificate.  My nephew even loves his so much that he wore it to T's birthday party earlier this month! 

2. A $10 store credit to Fusion Sweets.  Fusion Sweets makes all kinds of sweet treats from marshmallows and salted caramels to lollipops, berlingots and tea cookies.  Add to it the fantastic flavor varieties from rose to lychee and even fluffernutter, and you will certainly have some sweets to impress! Anybody who's been reading this blog for a while knows that I have a crazy sweet tooth, so it's no surprise that I purchased some salted caramels from their shop back around Mother's Day.  They.were.amazing.  The lavender and dark chocolate were to die for! 
Lavender Infused Marshmallows?  Yes, please!
...and now for a couple items directly from me to you!

3. Martha Stewart Glitter Glue Variety Pack. It's always the little things that count.  This pack includes 24 different colors of small glitter glue tubes.  These are the perfect size to add embellishments to your projects for the upcoming holiday season, and are sure to match any color scheme!
Actual colors may vary. Image via Love Maegan
4. A copy of the book What's New Cupcake?  Cupcakes are the perennial favorite for kids parties...and you know I'm all about the kids!  This cookbook follows up What's Up Cupcake with insanely creative cupcake decorations! 

image via
So there you have it...practically all you need to put together a whole party in ONE giveaway!  Here are three ways to enter

           1. Become a Follower of Pampers, Play Dates & Parties and let me know in the comments section!  If you're already a follower, go ahead and leave a comment.
           2. Take a look over at Kid Kapers and leave a comment here telling me which is your favorite design.
           2. Go over to Fusion Sweets and come back with a comment on what confection you're most interested in sampling!

You can leave up to three entries, just please make sure you enter a separate comment for each entry.  You have until 8p.m. EST Monday, September 5th to enter.  Winner will be picked via and announced Tuesday, September 5th.  Unfortunately, due to shipping charges, this giveaway is limited to continental U.S. residents.  

I just want to thank each and every one of you for all of the care and support you've provided over the last year.  If it weren't for you, I could have never kept up!

Friday, August 26, 2011

{Roundup} Free Back to School Printables

I know a lot of students have already gone back to school.  Even T's daycare started their "school year" last Monday.  Nonetheless, I wanted to share and record the great free printables I've seen for back-to-school over the last several weeks.  (Besides, who says you have to have only one back to school party?)

Sources: (top left to bottom right)
School Rocks - Party Starters
Green Chevron - Shindig Parties to Go   
September Subway Art - While He Was Napping
Blue Apple Party Set - Clickable Party via Catch My Party
Green Stripe - Crafting Mom
Grade Printables - I Heart Naptime
Vintage ABC - Sweet Coconut Lime
Name/Luggage Tag - Anders Ruff 
Lunch Box Notes - Happy Home Fairy

Thursday, August 25, 2011

{Featured Follower} Party Starters

It's time to showcase another Featured Follower!  Today, I'm sharing more about Pam from Party Starters.  Pam is an Etsy shop owner, blogger, and amazing party stylist.  She designs the most adorable and unique favor boxes and printables; her designs have been featured on sites such as Amy Atlas, Martha Stewart and Hostess with the Mostess.  Pam and I connected when I was a newbie to blogging and entered her Create My Party Challenge.  She provided the printables for my Christmas Cookies & Milk party and was the sponsor for my first ever giveaway (pssst...there's another giveaway coming up very soon!) and has been a supportive friend ever since.

Image via Party Starters Etsy Shop
1. Tell us a little about yourself
I am a happily married 30+ year old  stay at home mom with 3 kids, ages 6, 12 & 14. I am the force behind all things Party Starters. I create custom partyware, and focus mainly on mini sized favor boxes. I am truly living my dream!
Image Via Party Starters Etsy Shop

2. Where are you located? (i.e. East Coast, Midwest, Canada, Australia)
I am currently living in colorful Colorado, kinda in the middle?? 

3. What inspired you to start blogging?
I started blogging 7 years ago. My blog was a serious creative outlet for me which ended up getting me on the road to where I am today. 

4. Of all your posts, which is your favorite?
I think my favorite post would have to be "On my way to the big apple". I was invited to go to Martha Stewart's Blogger's Night Out party and with the help of many many friends I was able to make the trip. Going to New York for the very first time, all by myself and meeting Martha was a dream come true. The best part was meeting and making so many blogging friends.
image via PartyStarters
5. Describe your dream job
I am truly blessed and living my dream job! I am a stay at home Mom that gets to play with paper, ink and scissors all day. I love it!! 

6. What is your favorite party trend at the moment?
OH my...that is hard because I am inspired by so many different party trends right now. If I had to pick one I guess I would say "story book" themed parties. I have seen so many creative parties taking inspiration from books I read when I was little.
image via PartyStarters

7. What is your go-to party item? (i.e. food, craft or whatever) 
While I should say favor boxes, the truth is...cupcakes. I am pretty sure you can fit a cupcake into just about any party theme. Gotta have cupcakes! 

8. Do you read? What's your hot read right now?
I hate to say it, but I rarely have time to read. I am lucky if I can get to my favorite blogs and read an entire post. 

9. Spread the love! What are your top five favorite blogs right now?
Oh that is too hard! I have SO many blogs that I love. Luckily for me I catch random blogs everyday via network blogs on Facebook. However If I am in need of some quick party inspiration I always go to my top three choice:

1. Hostess With the Mostess

Party Starters on HWTM
 2. Pizzazzerie
3. Amy Atlas Events
Party Starters on Amy Atlas

10. Is there anything else you want to add?
While I don't always have time to check out other blogs, I SO appreciate all of those who post comments and visit my blog daily. (Thanks Leslie!!)


Thanks, Pam for being a great blogging friend and for sharing your amazing talent with everyone! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

{Nearly Wordless Wednesday} Summer 2011

From a family picnic in July
Family drama is cutting into blog writing, so you're just getting this photo today.  I'll be back tomorrow with another Featured Follower!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

{Trend Spotting} Push Pop Cupcakes!

I really can't claim this as a total trend spotting post.  I'm sure you've seen these little push pop containers all over the place lately.  When I first saw them last winter, the containers were nearly impossible to find.  Now you can find them all over the place.  (Seriously, check them out here, here or here.  I purchased mine here)

I would have used the cake shooters for T's birthday party, but it just didn't seem festive enough.  You know that the family wants to see her try to blow out the candles.  So I took the opportunity to make them last week for T's school celebration.

They are a bit time consuming, but very simple: (sorry I didn't get tutorial style pictures)

1. Prepare cake mix according to package or recipe directions (I cheat and use the box).
2. Separate batter into three bowls and mix with the colors of your choice.
3. Bake as directed and then cool several hours or overnight
4. Use one of the push pop containers to cut out circles in your cooled cakes.
5. Layer the cakes and frosting (be sure to put a good bit of frosting in between each layer) and enjoy!
6. Use the leftover batter to make messy cake balls!

Of course the kids loved the cake shooters, and I got lots of comments from the staff that they'd never seen them before.  What do you think?  Are cake shooters just a fleeting trend, or are they here to stay?

This will be shared at the following parties:
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

A Marvelous Mess
Anything Related Tip Junkie handmade projects homework
Nap-Time Creations

lil luna link party button BCD 125

Somewhat Simple
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating

Monday, August 22, 2011

{Recipes} The Best Picnic Sandwich...Ever

Years ago, the Husband and I made a pressed picnic sandwich that just blew our minds.  And when I decided to have T's birthday party as a picnic, I just knew I needed to find the recipe.  All I remembered is that it was from Martha Stewart (of course).  After searching and searching, I finally found the original recipe, here. (it's also posted to the Pinboard for T's birthday party).

Since it was so hard for me to find, and there is no picture on the original recipe site, I figured it was time to revive this fantastic recipe, and post it here.  I do actually make a few slight changes, such as using olive tapenade instead of black olive paste and using jarred roasted red peppers (it's all about picking your battles).  Definitely make the vinaigrette, it's divine!

Ingredients (as listed in the original recipe, I needed far less):

1.5 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp warm water
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Large loaf rustic Italian bread, such as ciabatta (I used about 5 sandwich sized loaves)
1/2 cup prepared black olive paste (or use store-bought olive tapenade)

3 medium red bell peppers, roasted and cut into strips
8 oz. fresh goat cheese
8 oz. marinated artichoke hearts
6 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced (I chopped it up to allow the marinade to sink in)
1/4 lb peppered salami, thinly sliced (I also chopped this up)
2 1/4 cups loosely packed, mixed fresh herbs such as basil, cilantro or parsley

To make the vinagrette: 
In a medium bowl, combine mustard and vinegar. Gradually whisk in olive oil. Whisk in 2 tablespoons warm water. Whisk in salt and pepper to taste, and set the vinaigrette aside.

To Assemble the Sandwich:

When all of that is done, use a sharp bread knife to slice the sandwich and you will have the most amazing picnic treat.  I hope you get to make one soon and enjoy it as much as I we all did!

In action at T's birthday
Linky Party Love:
Sumo's Sweet Stuff

A Marvelous Mess
Anything Related Tip Junkie handmade projects homework
Nap-Time Creations

lil luna link party button BCD 125

Somewhat Simple
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating