Showing posts with label Party. Show all posts

A Preschool Valentine's Day Party

A few weeks ago I thought it would be really fun to throw a party at our house for all the preschool aged kids at church who weren't in school to exchange Valentine's with people. I was a little nervous because it was the first time since we've lived in our new house where I've really thrown myself out there and invited a lot of people over, and I was really hoping that it would be a success.

As it turns out, the party went over so well that there is talk about repeating it for St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and any  other holiday we can make up between now, and when school gets out in May. There were a total of eight moms and thirteen kids, and everything went seamlessly. When we threw Jay his birthday party over the summer, I didn't do a good job of leading the kids through the activities, so it was kind  of just chaos the entire time. 

This time I took charge from the beginning and directed the moms to the kitchen right when they got there so that their kids could decorate their Valentine's Day boxes. We had a wide spread of stickers, markers, and glue where kids could create their own designs, and when everyone was done, and their glue was dried, we headed into the living room to pass out cards and play some games.

I was originally going to do two games, but because things were going at a good pace, and I didn't feel like I needed to scramble to add more time, we just stuck with one, and then headed back into the kitchen to eat. While we were all playing games and passing out cards, Derek was in the kitchen cleaning up, and very carefully organizing all my craft supplies. I didn't even realize that until I went to reorganize everything the day after the party and everything was already perfectly back in it's place. Bless him for that, bless him.

I kept things really simple for the food. I bought three boxes of muffin mix the night before and whipped up three dozen muffins. I then dipped some pretzel rods in chocolate, and then in sprinkles, and called that good. Marshmallows also got the same dipped in chocolate and then in sprinkle treatment. I then took a Wilton Edible Food Marker and wrote cheesy Valentine's Day sayings all over a bag of clementines, and the food was complete. 

This really was such a fun way to get a big group of moms together to chat and have fun with one another, and bonus points that with 13 kids in the house, the only squabble to ever happen was when Jay got upset with someone for touching his balloon... which he proceeded to hold for the rest of  the party.

A Fun and Easy Halloween Tablescape

Halloween isn't one of my favorite holidays out there, so I don't necessarily plan on decorating my house for the occasion. There is something about having young children though that tends to pull the holiday Grinch out of me, and make me want to throw something together at the last minute for them. At Home stores reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to put together a fun Halloween tablescape for them, sharing with my readers how I pull together some fun Halloween decor with a $25 budget to use in their At Home Stores. I love saving money, and sharing with you guys how you can do awesome things like this on a tight budget, and so I jumped at the chance and went for it.

I got the base of my idea off of Janssen's Halloween table from last year, and then put my own spin on it with what I had available in my home, and what I could find in store. I'd also been planning on doing some sort of DIY Halloween decor post this year anyways, and figured now would be an awesome time to try out this masking tape spider web that I found on pinterest. I love how all the pieces came together for this post, and hope it gives you some inspiration for your Halloween decor this year. 

The first thing I did was set the table. Derek and I got these black plates as a wedding gift five years ago, and then I had these white dollar store plates from my fall tablescape post that I shared last year. The glasses were also from the dollar store, purchased for that same post, and the straws I picked up at the craft store. I've used this white tablecloth many times for past blog projects, and it's actually a curtain that I picked up for $2 when we lived in North Carolina. I pulled the small pumpkins from the mantle in our living room, and then tossed some candy corn on the plates, and the settings were complete.

I then moved onto the centerpiece which is mostly all my cheap finds from At Home. I got lucky when I was there that all the Halloween decor was on sale for 25% off, and should be up until the holiday gets here. I've always loved the look of ball ornaments in apothecary jars, so when I found this tall one in the clearance section for $5, it was a done deal. I then bought two packs of the orange and black balls for $3 each to fill the jar, and it made all my dreams come true.

The black bottles that I found were $2 each in the glass section, and then I painted them black, and added some purple glittered holly that I found at the craft store, and they brought a whole new dimension of color to an otherwise bland setup. 

On the way to the checkout,  I found these two black and gold spider candles that I thought would be good to balance out the center on each end, and picked them up for about $4 each. A few seconds later, I'd found the spooky lantern and thought it would be another great piece to balance out the height of the ornament jar, and it came home with me for another $9.75. All together, I went over budget by $7, but totally worth it for the final outcome.

Next, I swapped out our large picture that we had hanging on the dinning room wall, for this masking tape spider web, and loved how it turned out. I bought three rolls of the masking tape (I used masking tape instead of washi tape because it came in larger rolls for less money, and was more durable, but still gentle on my walls), from the craft store, and then came home and went to work. I started by making a large plus sign on the wall with the tape, and then did an "x" over the plus sign to make an asterisk shape on the wall. Then, Starting at the top of all the lines, I connected the lines together, and then gradually moved in toward the center to make the lines for the spider web. It was so simple, but really makes a fun impact in the room.

I've filmed a video where you can see how I put this dining room together from start to finish. I hope that it proves to be some great decor inspiration for you and your family as move barrel full speed ahead toward Halloween next week!

This post was created in partnership with At Home, all thoughts and opinions are my own. 

An Astronaut Themed Birthday Party

Jay turned four on Sunday, so a few days earlier, on Friday, I threw him one of those huge and elaborate Pinterest worthy parties that Non-Pinterest moms roll their eyes at. I'm there with the eye rolling too, especially since this was my first real, big party I've ever thrown. Fake parties that I've shown on the blog for sponsors don't count as real parties, that real people go to.

astronaut themed birthday party

This all started when two weeks before his birthday, Jay said, "All I want for my birthday is for my friends to come over and eat cake with me..." I obviously couldn't say no, especially since we'd just moved, and then I went crazy a blew everything out of proportion. 

The first thing I did was plan the party games. I went all out and planned four different activities for all the kids, and then as soon as everyone got there, they ran into our toy room and played with all the toys instead of the games. Note to self, don't go all out on party games for next party. We had a lot of fun things though, like a flying saucer bean bag toss, a spaceship cardboard cut out, pin the fire on the rocket, and a coloring station where you could color space themed coloring pages. I will admit the coloring pages got colored and used more than the other games.

Once the activities were planned, I was on to figuring out the table setup and the food. This meant I spent about an hour on Pinterest planning things out, and drawing it out on paper, and making all the ideas come to life. For the food I decided to keep things simple, and relatively healthy. I hate being the parent that get's everyone's kids completely hopped up on sugar, so while we did have cupcakes and cookies, I tried to balance it with grapes (for moon rocks), watermelon (cut in the shape of stars), cheddar cheese (cut into stars), and some strawberry and banana kabobs that looked like rocketships.

The cookies were made by my friend Tiffany who just opened up her own cookie shop, The Bakesmith. She does orders out of her house, and is amazing. I showed her a picture from Pinterest of the cookies that I wanted and she did an incredible job, making them look just like the picture! If you're local to the Marietta area, check her out! All of the parents couldn't get over how cute they were, and they were delicious.

For the backdrop, I used this sky background for the backdrop, and then cut the number four out from some cardboard and painted it. I then used these space stickers from Oriental Trading to fill in the rest of the space. For the taller cake stands,  I used these ones that I made two years ago for Jay's second birthday party. I also bought two of these white trays for the cookies and fruit. I bought this foam disc to go on top of one of the cake stands so the watermelon sticks could hold onto something. I then bought this foam ball, cut it in half, and then frosted it with gray frosting to make it look like a moon. Then I stuck one of these astronauts on top, and life was perfect. I also bought those three matching bowls at the dollar store.

I got all of my printables from this blog, and then had them printed at Staples. You could easily print them yourself, but I knew I would go through a couple ink cartridges doing that, and so at that point I decided to make it easier on myself and just get them printed. So much less work on my end too, and better quality.

Be sure to stay up-to-date on all of the latest things in our lives by following along in instagram @thehappyflammily!

Super Bowl Party Inspiration + Free Printables

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #SweetenTheSpread #CollectiveBias

Every year in high school I always went to my best friend's house to watch the Super Bowl. He was really into parties, and cooking, and so his parents typically left him in charge of making everything look great and appetizing for the evening. Now that I have my own family, and live a solid 16 hours from home, it's my turn to make the Super Bowl a fun and exciting event for my own family. 

As I've mentioned in posts before, if there is one kind of creative activity that really thrills me, it's decorating for parties and making tablescapes. I had so much fun planning this party out, scouring the internet for the best game day printables (linked to at the bottom of the post), and then heading to Target to pick up everything I needed to make it happen.

I was telling Derek that my favorite thing about this party setup was that it was all really simple. For the main food I just bought the fixings to make easy sandwiches, and then had root beer for the drink. There were cookies and chocolate covered pretzels for the dessert, and some Skittles and Starbursts for little goodie bags. This party was so easy, literally anyone could do it. 

I saw this cute idea on pinterest to adhere white duck tape on mason jars in the shape of football laces, and then fill them with a dark soda to make them look like footballs, and I just think they look so cute. Whoever came up with that idea is a pure genius. I then bought the cute straws in the party section at Target, and found the printables for the straws here. These glasses are a permanent staple for any football party from here on out,

For the sandwiches I just bought some turkey, ham, and cheese, and some lettuce and tomatoes, and arranged them on this platter I had in my house. I bought the small bowls for the condiments in the kitchen section at Target, and picked the rolls up while I was there too. I liked this idea because it meant everyone could make exactly what they wanted, and there was minimal effort on my end. 

I really loved all the cute printables that I was able to find for this party. I had this big chalkboard tackle backdrop made at an office supply store nearby and ordered one of the engineer size prints, and I love how it turned out. Since I was already there, I had them print all the other printables for me there too, and I was amazed at how much better the quality was then what I could have done with my own printer. Totally worth it. 

Since M&Ms, Skittles, and Starburst are official sponsors for Super Bowl 50, it was obvious that I had to represent some of my favorite candy in this spread. I made these Oatmeal M&M cookies and they're seriously amazing (recipe below)! I then went ahead and packaged some Skittles and Starburst into snack size baggies and stapled these fun Time Out Treats printables onto them and love how they turned out! To finish off the treats I made some chocolate covered pretzels and added some white sprinkles to give them that football vibe. 

Oatmeal M&M Cookies:
Recipe yields 28 cookies.
1/2 cup butter softened
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla
1 2/3 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 325°

Using an electric mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars. Then add the egg and the vanilla and mix together for two minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure everything is incorporated. Then add in the oats, flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, and mix until everything comes together. Fold in the M&Ms with a rubber spatula until everything is evenly distributed. 

Scoop and roll the dough into tablespoon size balls and then place them on your ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 minutes and then let cool on the baking sheet for two minutes before transferring to wax paper, or a cooling rack to finish cooling. 


How will you be Celebrating Super Bowl 50? Will you be incorporating some yummy Mars candy from Target? I know I will be!

A Holiday Pie Bar

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias Inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #ShareTheJoyOfPie #ad

Every year during the holidays I love to throw a party to celebrate my friends and all the people who have helped us out so much during the previous year. This is something that we've always done during our marriage, whether that meant actually throwing a Christmas Party, or having some form of Friendsgiving. We always want to make sure our friends know how special they are to us, and this has been the one way that we decided we've been able to show them that. 

This year, Marie Callender's® Dessert Pies and Reddi-Wip® have teamed up for the share the joy of pie campaign and I thought that throwing a pie and hot chocolate bar party for my closest friends would be the perfect way to spread that holiday cheer. 

I started off the tablescape with four dessert pies from Marie Callender's that I picked up at Walmart (along with all the other food I purchased for the party). I chose the peach, apple, pumpkin, and razzelberry flavors, but there are so many other great options and flavors for you to choose from as well. 

Because I wanted to give my guest a food, and beverage option, I thought that it would be fun to do a hot chocolate (recipe at the bottom of the post) and dessert bar so then the guest could have lots of fun topping their pies and hot chocolate with as many different toppings and syrups of their choice. My personal favorite was topping the apple pie with toffee, Reddi-Wip, and caramel sauce... I don't know if there will ever be a better way to  eat apple pie. 

I then added some fun festive details to the table like paper straws, cinnamon sticks, coffee cookies, and candy canes that could all be used to top off the hot chocolate, and to be a fun stirring stick. When it comes to holiday tablescapes, I always think the more color, and options, the better. The less is more rule usually never applies for me. 

For the decor I tried to keep things pretty simple and inexpensive. I made the cake stands using a plate and candle stick that I picked up at my local dollar store, and then made them using this tutorial I showed a couple years ago. I put all my toppings in small clear bowls that I use for basically every party because they're cheap, and they can be used for every season and occasion. Any of the tall stirring sticks went into mason jars that I already had on hand. I spray painted glass bottles white, and then stuck some holly berries in them for a fun Christmas touch. I then finished everything off by using some gold garland around the perimeter of the table, and then adding some on the walls as well, with some red bows. It all came together really fast, and I was impressed with the final result when I only had a couple hours to plan ad throw it all together. I also filled a large apothecary jar with Christmas bulbs and I thought it gave it the cutest touch ever. I threw this party while on vacation in Idaho last week and was sad that I couldn't bring it home with me. Luckily my sister-in-law had no problem taking this off my hands for me. 

Hot Chocolate Recipe
Yields two, eight ounce servings (double recipe as needed)
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tbsp white sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp vanilla
Reddi-Whip (for topping, not optional)

Combine water, cocoa, and sugar in a 16 ounce glass measuring cup and microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well to create chocolate syrup. Add the milk to the chocolate mixture and microwave on high for another minute, to a minute and a half. Add the vanilla and pour the drink into two 8oz mugs.

How are you going to share the joy of pie this holiday season? Are you going to be throwing a holiday party? Will Marie Callender's pies be making it's way to your holiday menu plan?  I'd love to hear all the details in the comments below!

A Thanksgiving Dessert Bar + Mini Pumpkin Pie Recipe

This post has been Compensated by Collective Bias inc, and it's advertiser. All thoughts and opinions are my own. #NestleHolidayBaking #CollectiveBias Thank you for supporting this blog which makes these opportunities possible. 

As I've mentioned before, interior design, home decorating, and party setups have all become a major passion of mine within the last year. I'm not a very artistic person, I don't sew well, and my husband has a list a mile long of Pinterest fails that I've tried over the years, but there is just something about interior design and  I that just click really well together. It's that one time for me where I can really feel my creative juices flowing, and when I step back and see the space, or table that I've created, I really feel proud of my work. It's a feeling of accomplishment that I've never had in a creative setting before, and it definitely motivates me to do it more in the future. 

Today I'm sharing a Thanksgiving Dessert Bar setup (and a recipe for mini pumpkin pies at the bottom of the post!). This definitely isn't something that you need to have to make your Thanksgiving dinner complete, but if you're eating in your formal dining room, and have a table in your kitchen that isn't doing anything else, I think this dessert bar would be a perfect use for it! There is a good chance that you already have a lot of these items in your home, and if your Thanksgiving guests bring a treat to share, it's a fun way to display everyone's creations. 

When I'm designing a tablescape, or a room in my house to decorate, the first thing that I do is sketch out the idea in my head on a piece of paper. That may sounds really weird, but it helps me to know exactly what I want to do, and then I can start digging around my house for pieces that will make it work, and then I can make a list of things that I can pick up at a craft store, or Walmart to fill in the gaps. 

Once I have everything together that I need, I start by putting the big things out on the table. I think a symmetrical table with varying heights always look great and so I setup all the big pieces first to create a good base, and then I can go in and fill the gaps with everything else.

After that, I hang my banner on the wall to fill in all the white space, and to give more texture and interest to the entire space. I was really excited when I found this paper banner at my local craft store and then I used black paint and stencils for the lettering. Also, lets talk about how lucky I was that there were ten triangles, and that "Give Thanks", has ten letters in it. 

When those first steps are finished I add all the food to the table. This will not only allow me to see how all the food looks, but it will give me a better idea of where the blank spaces are, and where I need to add things.

I made these cookies with regular semi-sweet chocolate chips, but if you swapped them out for the Nestle Tollhouse Pumpkin Spice Morsels, they would be another fabulous fall themed treat. 
All of these treats were incredibly easy to make. My favorite one was the mini pumpkin pies. Growing up  I remember making the Thanksgiving pumpkin pie with my grandmother and she always used the recipe off of the Libby's 100% Pure Pumpkin, 15oz can. It's a classic recipe that has been used by families (including my own), since 1950. I figured, if it's not broke, don't fix it, right? I love that the recipe only includes a few ingredients like sugar, spices, eggs, and one can Nestle Carnation Evaporated Milk, 15oz. There is nothing better then recipes where you just have to dump, stir, and bake. (I'll have the exact directions to how I made these mini pies at the bottom of the post).

In my initial drawing, I didn't have that much detail, and when I needed more things to fill in the gaps, I just pulled things together from around the house. Those gourds were purchased at the grocery store a few weeks ago for $.69 each and were just sitting in my office, so I threw those on. I needed something to add height for the desserts, so I used a basket we had in the living room. The sides of the basket seemed bare so I grabbed the pumpkin from my porch, and then a vase from our book shelf. They were all really simple additions that made a big impact.

Mini Pumpkin Pie Recipe
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 eggs
1 can Libby's 100% pure pumpkin, 15 oz
1 can Nestle Carnation Evaportated Milk, 15oz
1 unbaked deep dish pie crust (I did store bought)
whipped cream (optional)

Preheat oven to 425°. Mix together the sugar, cinnamon, salt, ginger, and cloves and set aside. In another bowl beat the eggs, then add the pumpkin and mix together. Slowly incorporate the evaporated milk.

Grease the inside of a standard muffin thin with cooking spray. Roll your dough out on the table and with the mouth of a glass, cut circles out into the dough. Press each circle cutout into one of the holes in the muffin tin, and then pour the pumpkin pie mixture into each pie shell.

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes. When the time is up, reduce the temperature to 350° and then bake for an additional 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool in the pan for five minutes. Carefully remove each pie from the muffin tin, and then cool on a wire rack for one hour.

How will you be celebrating Thanksgiving this year? Are you hostings? Or are you in charge of bringing dessert? If so, be sure to check out the Nestle Tollhouse Pinterest page for some great dessert inspiration!