healthy party snack ideas

Healthy party snacks

As a mom that owns a party planning company, you might think my kids live on cupcakes and candy bars. Honestly it’s quite the opposite. My kiddos are a bit desensitized to all the snacks that make their way through our kitchen and the studio. Thank goodness!

And as a mom constantly taking snacks to school, hosting holiday parties and play dates, I’m always on the lookout for healthy party snacks. Yummy treats that the kids will enjoy and we moms can still feel good about. That’s why when offered to share Green Giants new Veggie Chips I was all in.

My oldest LOVES anything cheese, so the Green Giant™ Roasted Veggie Tortilla Chips were in his tummy before I could blink. I actually had to stop him from eating from the bag so I’d have enough to share a picture with you!

And my youngest, as many of you know, has severe food allergies. So he and I were both excited for him to try the Green Giant™ Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips – Sea Salt Flavor. He gobbled them up too!

Healthy party snacks

And by the way, both are made with real veggies and sweet potatoes! The Green Giant Multigrain Sweet Potato Chips even have 40 percent less fat than regular potato chips. I not only want this for my child, I want it for me! The best part, the kids don’t even realize they’re veggie snacking. And when I told mine, it didn’t change a thing. They still gobbled on!

Want to try them?! Here’s an 85 cents off Veggie Snack Chips coupon!

And for a bit of fun, check out the surprise talents the Green Giant has unearthed. Plus, show the Giant your surprise talent on their Facebook page or see even more surprise talents on the Green Giant YouTube channel!

Happy Monday everyone and happy healthy snacking!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

Thank you to The Green Giant™ for being a sponsor. Show the Giant your surprise talent at www.facebook.com/greengiant

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raise a reader + $50 LeapFrog giveaway!

Raising A Reader with LeapFrog

I’m a reader. I have boys. I want them to be readers… And we all know that boys are less likely to keep reading (when not forced) than girls. That is why I started from the moment they were born. Reading together every night for at least 20 minutes in our house is not only a family tradition/habit, but also a reward.

I actually hate to admit this… but I’m going to just so you can get a feel for how much my boys love to read. If they’re jumping on the bed… not brushing their teeth… giggling so much they can’t breath… I simply threaten “okay, no book tonight!” and they immediately and I do honestly mean immediately, straighten up. And I don’t have toddlers anymore {sad smile}, my oldest is eight! And he reads at a 6th grade level (AR 6.2). Yep. I’m a proud momma.

Now just so you know, not everything we read is a great tale. Nope. I’ve read more science books (even parts of my old college Biology textbook to them… don’t get me started!) about creepy crawly slithery critters, space and electronics, African animals, weather, etc. than I care to name. But they loved it. And… I learned a thing or two right along with them. {grin}

Raise A Reader

My youngest has a particular fascination with dinosaurs, and he has since he was two. (Ever seen his 4th birthday Dinosaur Party? It was featured in Parents magazine!)

Raise A Reader

My point is, read what THEY like. It will keep them interested and eager. My oldest actually got grumpy with me recently when his little brother and I went to the library before we picked him up from school… he told me that just wasn’t fair! {grin}

At this point I feel I have to also tell you that both of my boys are big into sports too. They are energetic and social… and readers! They play baseball, soccer, basketball, tennis, golf and they swim. Yes… I know… we’re honing it down to our favorite sports. I only allow one sport at a time, unless it’s summer, and that is becoming more difficult the older they get. {smirk}

LeapFrog Learning System

Okay, so if you didn’t start reading to your little people from day one. No worries and no shame. OR, if you did and your kiddos are doing great, but you’re looking for something interesting to keep them going (I’m always on the look out for something new to keep them engaged).

Either way, you really should look at the LeapFrog systems to help your children grow as readers. I’m a lover of the hardback book… my kids are growing up in the age of technology… LeapFrog offers a melding of the two complete with reading, spelling, games, science, and more. My son, as you can see, was mesmerized by the Leap and the Lost Dinosaur book and the games inside, especially the Dinosaur Jungle Survivor Game that comes complete with a set of dinosaur fact cards. By the way, did I mention he’s a dinosaur lover. I should have taken a picture of his playroom for you… we have every dinosaur toy sold. Literally.

Raise a Reader with LeapFrog

Did you know it’s Reading Month?! Hop… or leap… over to LeapFrog.com for more details about why reading to kids for at least 20 minutes a day is not only a good idea, but is literally linked to test scores (plus, it’s great snuggle time!). You can also get a $3 off LeapFrog coupon code!

LeapFrog would also love for you to take the LeapFrog Reading Month pledge! Leap over to their Facebook page and help them donate books to America’s schools!

Wanna win a LeapFrog Tag to help you get started?!  So simple! Just tell us about your reading habits in the comments!

Prize items include (depending on your child’s age): Tag Leap and the Lost Dinosaur, Tag Get Ready for Kindergarten, Tag Junior Toddler Milestones, Tag Junior Animals Around the World. Approximate value of prize pack items is $50.

We’re using Rafflecopter and you can login with either your e-mail account (which no one will gain access to for any other purpose than to alert you of your prize) or facebook. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy weekend everyone!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

I was selected for this opportunity by Clever Girls Collective but content and opinions expressed here are my own. You guys know I would have it no other way! To take the LeapFrog Reading Month pledge, please visit their Facebook page. #LFReadingMonth #spon

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easy southern potato salad recipe

Easy Southern Potato Salad

This Easter I’ll be making my mom’s Southern potato salad for Easter brunch. The recipe is amazing (a real family favorite that everyone requests!) and super easy!

I’m sharing our family recipe for easy Southern potato salad (remember, I’m from Alabama!) and a few more fun Easter brunch ideas in my latest post with Kellogg’s Snackpicks.com.

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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kid crafted Easter bunny photo props

How to make Easter bunny photo props

Easter pictures at my house are a given.

Posed pics of the family in their Sunday best.

LOVE them!

This year, we’ll not only be taking the family photographs and the shots of the kids running in the grass gathering eggs, but my boys and some family will get creative and make their own easy Easter bunny photo prop craft for our Easter brunch!

Hop over {I’m a riot, I know…) to my most recent post on Kellogg’s Snackpicks.com for all the DIY details to make your own Easter bunny photo props!

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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easy Easter carrot cake & cupcakes

Easter carrot cake

If you’re hosting an Easter celebration this year, I’ve got an easy carrot cake and carrot cake cupcake idea for you!

I’m over at Red Barn this morning sharing all the details: cake + decorating and styling tips. Hop {grin} on over for all the details and tons more pictures! And if you want some fabulous carrot cake recipes, here are six of my favorites!

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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the after party + a chance to win

So the Game Day party is over and it’s time to pack up all those yummy left overs. I personally have used these Rubbermaid food storage containers for over a year. I tossed every other plastic bowl (most without a matching lid because the dishwasher ate it) in the cabinet.

I love that these Rubbermaid bowls all match (I can’t help it… I feel more organized when things match), are leak-proof because of this fantastic seal on the inside rim (which has saved my kitchen floor more times than I can count), and have lids that snap to the bottom of the bowl so I don’t lose them (and yes… they stay better organized). Plus, the way they stack gives me extra space in the cabinet. 

Okay, to summarize: pretty, organized and leak-proof. What’s not to love?!

So for my after parties… the “clean-up” after the party that is… I use Rubbermaid.

My little guy and I just ran out last week and picked up a few new Rubbermaid pieces at Target for our upcoming party using coupons from Target.com.

Log on and get some Rubbermaid coupons for yourself! Just visit Target at coupons.target.com/rubbermaid-coupons and print. It’s that easy!

And guess what!! Rubbermaid is hosting a Game Day Party Sweepstakes!  They are offering the chance to win an Easy Find Lids Party Pack, a 48Qt Cooler and $100 VISA gift card! Enter at Rubbermaid.com right now!  

You can also find Rubbermaid on:

Happy Monday everyone! And make sure you enter to win Rubbermaid’s fabulous Game Day Party Sweepstakes!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebooksign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitterpinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe.

This project is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but as you ladies know, all my opinions are always my own. I would have it no other way! http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

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8 party ideas for the Big Game + win!

The Big Game AND your party are only a few short weeks away! And I’ve got your back ladies! This morning I’m sharing 8 fun, easy and stylish ideas to make your football party table more than just the halftime show. Yep, no flag on the field here! {grin}

Let’s start with the football party snack table set-up. I grabbed many of these fun football party supplies at World Market, a store you can always count on for gourmet foods and beverages with unique flavors and origins.

My absolute favorite find for this football party is my backdrop, a weathered map of the United States. It will be perfect not only for the Big Game, but for all my football parties (or any sport for that matter) throughout the year.

I made this little pennant banner that I can move between states as different teams play! By the way, the pennant colors will be updated for this year’s Big Game once the final teams are announced. More details below! And if you want to make your own pennant, I’m going to post the easy how tos later this week.

My hubby thought the Beers of the World were a must!

And of course I had to have a cupcake or two… well I mean, of course right! You can download my free Game Day cupcake templates in 2013 colors here.

The boys had to have their pick too. Football shaped pretzels and Artichoke and Spinach Chips. And yes, kids do love them!

Want to recreate part or all of this table for your football party? Here are my resources:

  • Backdrop – map of the United States from World Market
  • Tablecloth – green indoor outdoor carpeting from your local hardware store
  • Serving items – blue lunch bags from your local grocery, popcorn containers from World Market
  • Pre-made snacks – UTZ football shaped pretzels and Jensen’s Orchard Spinach and Artichoke Chips from World Market
  • Beverages – Beers of the World from World Market
  • Serving dishes - 3-tier cupcake and mini pizza display from World Market
  • Food labels – chalkboard placecards and food labels from World Market
  • Free printable party supplies – cupcake wrappers, cupcake picks and pennant banner are my designs, The Celebration Shoppe, and the colors have been updated for the 2013 Big Game (updated each year). Download your Game Day templates now. Don’t want to miss any free templates, sign up for our e-mails.

I also made a few recipes for my Big Game party table. The first, and likely my favorite food item on the table, is Chocolate Bacon Popcorn. Yep, you read me right. World Market sells Bacon Salt and it gave me this inspiration for this little sweet and salty treat. Your guests, especially the guys, will love it!

To make Chocolate Bacon Popcorn you’ll need:

  • 6 cups of air popped popcorn
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate melts (available at your local grocery or craft store with a baking section)
  • J&D’s Bacon Salt
  • Wax paper

And the simple steps for Chocolate Bacon Popcorn:

  • Spread your popcorn on the wax paper (you’ll likely need to do this in 2-3 batches)
  • Place your chocolate melts in a resealable plastic bag (snipped on one end) or in a small glass bowl and heat in the microwave in 8 second intervals, three times, or until melted
  • Drizzle chocolate over popcorn
  • Before chocolate cools, shake on J&D’s Bacon Salt to your desired taste.

I also made mini pizzas, a favorite of our family since I was a kid. We typically use pumpernickel bread, but I found these yummy Minigrill Mini Toasts at World Market and they turned out perfectly.

To make Mini Toast Party Pizzas you’ll need:

  • Ground beef, cooked and strained
  • Ground sausage, cooked and strained
  • Original pizza sauce
  • Cheddar, Sharp and Mozzarella and Provolone blended
  • Minigrill Mini Toasts from World Market

And the simple how to steps for Mini Toast Party Pizza:

  • Blend your cooked meats and pizza sauce in a pan and bring to a simmer
  • Add a small amount of your cheese mixture allowing it to melt
  • Top mini toasts with mixture
  • Drizzle remaining cheese on top

Would you be interested in winning the Ultimate Football Viewing Party?! Well World Market wants to give you that chance with a $500 gift card! Just join World Market on facebook and fill out a quick entry form for a chance to win one of ten $500 gift cards. Contest runs through January 25, 2013. Join Cost Plus World Market on facebook now!

By the way, World Market isn’t just great for celebrations. They have a wonderful array of ideas and products for decorating your home. I personally want some of their whimsical white wall frames for my studio makeover, but they have furniture, including chairs and sofas (there was one gray number that would be beautiful in my living room!), end tables, and on and on. If you’re looking to freshen up your home for the new year, you should absolutely give World Market a browse!

Rather have me walk you through the table ideas and details? Watch my video:

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

 Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebooksign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitterpinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe.

This party table design is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but as you ladies know, all my opinions are always my own. http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

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handprint Christmas ornament with PBK

Since my kids were itty bitty I’ve shopped at Pottery Barn Kids each Christmas for keepsake ornaments for our tree. And now it’s covered in red oval and square picture frame ornaments and the happy little faces of my babies. And this year I’m adding this lovely white handprint ornament!

I’m a bit obsessed with their feet and hands. Since they’re now six and eight, I guess I just feel my time is running out and I have to capture them every chance I get. (This is our Christmas tree footprint art from last year and I have plans for their feet this year too!)

So this marshmallow clay handprint ornament from Pottery Barn Kids was perfect to add to my ever growing collection of keepsake ornaments!

And the best part, since my children are older they could help make the ornament from beginning to end, making it even more special. Plus, it’s a mess-free craft. No plaster powder to mix and if you mess up you just roll the clay again until you get it perfect.

The Pottery Barn Kids Keepsake Handprint Ornament kit comes with pure white marshmallow clay, a rolling pin, two sizes of round mold cutters (hand and foot… I used the foot size for my boys’ hands), a hole punch and a ribbon.

And with the left over marshmallow clay, we got creative. He made a snowman…

and then we broke out the Sharpies, so I could write the year on his print, and he could draw a picture on his clay. It started as a sun and turned into a sunflower. As a mommy, I thought it was adorable. Even the dots of black permanent pen he got on his nose and lip while drawing… {grin}.

You can find keepsake ornaments, perfect for baby shower gifts too, at Pottery Barn Kids ~ find a PBK store or shop PBK ornaments online.

As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebooksign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (never miss an idea, giveaway or free printable!), follow us on twitterpinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe

Disclosure: This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™, but as you ladies know, all my opinions are always my own.  http://cmp.ly/3/KqtZiE

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5 Christmas cookie packaging ideas

I bake… a lot… especially during the holidays and I’m always trying to be unique yet practical with my Christmas cookie packaging. For my most recent post with Kellogg’s Snackpicks.com I crafted five ways to package your Christmas cookies this holiday season based on the size and shape of your goodies! These gift wrap ideas are perfect for cookie exchange parties too!

Hop over to Kellogg’s Snackpicks.com to see all five cookie packaging ideas!

But before you go, I’m giving away my crimson red, Tiffany blue and white striped Christmas gift tags, plus a pattern sheet that we used in one of the packaging ideas.

Download your “Eat More Cookies” tags and blank Christmas tags, personalize them with your family name, print and give some yummy Keebler Elf goodness this holiday season!

And as always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

Join The Celebration Shoppe on facebook, sign-up for the daily ideas to come right to your inbox (a box in the right-side navigation bar), follow us on twitterpinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe.

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gingerbread cookie coffee… mmm!


I’m a coffee lover… big time. For me, sipping a great cup of steaming coffee is relaxing. And honestly it’s often my “sweet” treat to myself. In my business I’m often surrounded by goodies and I’d be as big as a house if I indulged in all of them. So instead of nibbling, I sip. {wink}

And now that the holidays are here I’m revelling in the yummy flavors available from Duncan Donuts at my local grocery. See, when I want a cup of coffee while I pour {pun intended} over a new design or I’m in my studio styling a new craft idea, I might not be able to run out to the Duncan Donuts retail location (like 15 minutes away), but I do have time to stop at my kitchen coffee maker! YUM!

I say, tis the season to treat yourself, and you can find all these delish flavors at your local grocery store:

  • Pumpkin Spice: You’ll fall for this warm holiday flavor again and again.
  • Mocha Mint: Satisfy that chocolate craving with a warm cup of this minty winter treat.
  • Gingerbread Cookie: Catch this perfect combination of sugar and spice if you can.

 As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake (with a cup of coffee in your hand), create and celebrate! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

As you might expect, all opinions expressed here are my own. I would have it no other way. And a huge thank you to Dunkin’ Donuts® packaged coffee (available at your local grocery for anyone that wants to run right and grab some) for being my sponsor. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective.

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