knocking off the chill

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It’s just the thing to knock the chill off of a cold wintry day and I’m totally smitten! This beautiful Christmas Icon Dinnerware Collection and classic porcelain hot chocolate pot from William Sonoma are simply perfect additions to my kitchen. I can just envision my kiddos sitting around the kitchen island sipping hot chocolate brimming over with marshmallows and giggling while I bake gingerbread cookies. Ahhh! Is it Christmas yet?!

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visiting Disney for Halloween

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At the beginning of October my hubby and I took my boys to Disney for a long weekend and we attended the Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. We had the best time from the nighttime parade to the fireworks to the constant trick-or-treating around the park! And not only was the party itself lots of fun, but it wasn’t overcrowded. My two favorite times of year to go are early March, before all the schools let out for spring break (I know… I won’t be able to do that much longer since my oldest in now in Kindergarten) and fall (again, difficult with school age children, but worth all the homework you’ll have to make up!).

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The night of the party the boys were dressed up as swat team officers, but when we ran across the face painting Alex really wanted to be a pirate, and

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Cole really wanted to be a puppy… aka Goofy.

And not only did we go to the Halloween party we visited all the parks. I have over 500 images and I swear I could sell some to Disney for advertising they were so cute {proud mama}. I even turned around backwards (cart in front of the boys) on a few mini roller-coasters and took pictures of them screaming. The pics were great, but I was nauseous for 30 minutes afterwards! 

But instead of sharing those with you, I’d rather tell you what a fabulous company Disney is from the perspective of a family struck with food allergies. I’ve been on my soap box about this lately (with my allergy free Halloween treats and sorry, I can’t eat cow milk posts) and while I’m on the topic I want to share with any families who are waiting or debating about going to Disney because of the allergy (and I’ve talked to many moms and dads who are), go! I’ve taken Cole now twice and both times I’ve been overjoyed. Soy milk and fresh fruit choices are on every menu, a chef comes out at all the restaurants and a manager comes out at the “fast food” locations to discuss options with you and to prepare something special that doesn’t come in contact with other ingredients. And it doesn’t stop there, at the Magic Kingdom (and likely the others) there is a restaurant, the name is alluding me at the moment, that offers vegan (great for egg and dairy allergies) choices including treats! They even sell Divvies, a fabulous little company created by a mom, who like me, wanted her son to be able to enjoy the same foods that other kids do. Long story short, Disney is fabulous at Halloween and takes special care of food allergy families!

Happy Halloween everyone!

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“sorry, I can’t eat cow milk”

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I took lots of pictures of my boys last night (our neighborhood trick-or-treat), but this picture of my sweet little four year old boy trying to read the label on a candy package made my heart hurt this morning when I was looking through them. You see, he has severe milk allergies, not lactose intolerance, but immediate sickness, burning tongue and hives, severe allergy.

So at each house last night he would go to the door with huge smiles and say “trick-or-treat!” He would then peer into their candy bucket and either say “sorry, I can’t eat cow milk” and walk away, or he would squeal with joy and jump around because they had things like Twizzlers or Gummy Worms. Although he went through the entire night in good spirits and never once got sulky (my little trooper), it tore my heart out and I wanted to hug him each time he walked away empty handed.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I know there are many of you out there with little ones who suffer from food allergies, whether it be milk, egg, nut, or all three (see allergy free Halloween treat ideas). And since this time of year can be hard with holiday school parties and family gatherings I want to offer up some recipes and ideas so that our little ones can join in the fun too. And I promise, I’ll share things that are yummy for everyone so that by including the family member or child with food allergies, you’re not sacrificing taste.

And if you have a recipe (on a blog or not) or know of a resource that is allergy friendly, please share it with me here, by e-mailing us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com (“Food Allergy” in the title) or on facebook. {And Maura at 36×37, I’m coming for that fabulous allergy free chocolate chip cookie recipe of yours!}

Happy Friday everyone!

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celebrating with Mickey

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What are you going to do when you get a fabulous feature in Columbus Parent Magazine? Go to Disney World! Okay, it just worked out that way, but I’m still excited! I’m packing the kids up and we’re headed down to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party this weekend. I’m not sure who is happier, them or me! I’m a HUGE Disney fan and we’ve been several times, even before the kids were born, but never at Halloween! 

No worries though, I’ve arranged to have some wonderful bloggers keep you entertained in my absence! And although Bakerella isn’t here herself, these adorable Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse cake pops are. Hop over to her blog for all the details including pictorials!

Have a great weekend and I’ll chat with you next week!

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science party peek

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We had such a fabulous time this weekend with my son’s science birthday party! I got numerous hugs (we’re huggers) and “love you mom”s… it was great.

I have lots and lots of details to share, but I need a few days to organize it all. Until then, here’s a shot of the kids working with one of four experiments.

Happy Monday everyone!

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first day of kindergarten

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No party talk today. Just a picture of my sweet little boy’s first day of Kindergarten {sniff, sniff} and an introduction to my girlfriend Maura Bowen of the 36×37 blog. She’ll make you laugh out loud and candidly sometimes cry. She’s fabulous. Here’s an excerpt from her post “The Idiot Moves of a Kindergarten Mom” this morning:

It’s Tuesday, we’re on our way to H’s first day of kindergarten, and I’m about to make my biggest mom mistake yet. It will happen at exactly 12:05 PM, but at 11:55 AM, I’m still blissfully unaware. 

That’s why I’m smiling as I watch H through the rearview mirror. He sits stoically in his booster seat, slowly zipping and unzipping the front pocket of his flashing Buzz Lightyear backpack. “Shouldn’t we bring all my school suppwhys?” he asks. “What if I need my crayons or my cwipboard?” 

“You won’t need school supplies today, buddy,” I say lightly. “Mrs. M just wants to meet you and your classmates. She’ll also show you some pictures and ask you some questions, so just tell her what you’re thinking, ok? I’ll be right there with you. There’s nothing to worry about.”

I’ll be back on track tomorrow with a sneak peek of the new Harvest collection photo shoot!

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real parties: book club buzz

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Wow! It was a really long, but wonderful week. I’ve been part of a fabulous group of ladies, known as the Book Club Bettys for about seven years now (Sandy – I know you’ll tell me if I’m off… I just know it started pre-children. The rest is a little fuzzy!) and I hosted the gathering this month.

You can see a few of my wonderful friends, and oh yeah me, here (left to right: Amy, Sandy, me, me again, Jackie, me again, Amy again, and Raquel). There were several more in attendance, but a little camera shy.  

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So as you can tell, the theme of the evening was black and yellow (and no, amazingly enough I didn’t ask everyone to wear black; it just worked out that way). And just for the event we developed a few more printable collection items to add to our so very popular Buzz collection: beverage markers (also great as straw slips), cello bag toppers and placecards. All three additions will be in the shoppe later this week.

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There are two designs in the cello bag template: “Thank You” and our bumble bee. Perfect for shower or birthday party favors.

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Do you love the tissue paper pom poms? I of course couldn’t find black and yellow so I made these from the Martha Stewart tutorial. It was amazingly easy and they only cost me $2 for the set. Can’t beat that! And by the way, they are hung from clear fishing line, invisible and very strong.

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In the flurry I didn’t get the greatest shot of the entire table, so I thought you could appreciate a few close ups of the yummies. The yellow Peeps were perfect for my Spring theme. And for a little extra color I trimmed a piece of black and white polka dot scrapbook paper to the size of my cake plate inset. I also embellished my glass candy dishes with black and white polka dot ribbon and used Lemonhead candies as my fillers. The marshmallows and pretzel rods were dipped in yellow chocolate (you can find every color at your local craft store in the baking section) and then of course came the sprinkles. And as for the chocolate cupcakes with cream cheese icing in the background, the black and white filigree wrapper is part of the Buzz collection.

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And here are some more shots of my girlfriends (from left to right: Lauren, me yet again… I’m usually behind the camera but I think I must have jumped in front of it that night, Sandy, Raquel and Amy; Christine, Kandace, Julie, Karen, Kristen - next year I expect to be able to share you too!)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

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“S” is for snowman

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My oldest is in Pre-K 4 this year and every week they work on a new letter of the alphabet. And along with writing the letter and learning pronunciation, there is also a letter snack. Can you guess who is responsible this week? You got it, us.

And if it isn’t obvious by now, our letter of the week is “S” and we decided to make donut snowmen inspired by Very Heatherly (who I blogged about last year with our Snow Day collection). The only difference is that I used orange Starburst candies (melted in the microwave for 8 seconds and divided in half) instead of fondant, and I attached them with white icing (not easy to get it to stick to the powder).

And as you can see on the back of the letter S tags, I couldn’t let my little guy off without putting in a little extra effort. (Not to worry, he was paid in M&Ms… I know… learning is its own reward!) He wrote the word “Snow” on the back of each tag for his classmates.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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cookie decorating frenzy

Gingerbread houseWe hosted our annual cookie decorating party yesterday and I have to say it was a hit. Not only did the kids have fun with the sprinkles, but the moms got to catch up over a glass of wine. In the end I think Santa will be quite pleased with his assortment and the creativity that went into his goodies on Christmas Eve. Was wonderful seeing you girls!

And for those of you who are a little more serious when it comes to decorating for Santa, check out how to make a beautifully shaped cookie and flood it with icing.

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get out and vote!

Vote I took this picture of my oldest in early Fall and I thought he looked a little like he was running for office… although I would say much cuter than our choices. This is just a fun and friendly reminder to “get out and vote” today. Your opinion does matter.

 

 

 

 

 

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