Oreo Olympic medal treats

The Olympics opening ceremonies are only a few days away, July 27! Do you have any fun planned at your house for that evening or for a particular game? Well with a runner, two swimmers, a soccer player, two baseball players, two basketball players, four golfers and football player in the house… yep that’s right I only have two kids… needless to say we will be watching the opening ceremonies and a ton of events. {grin}

And one of the treats I’ll be serving on opening night are these super clever Oreo Olympic Medal treats from Deanna of Mirabella Creations.

For these all you need are Golden Oreos and Fruit by the Foot. They’re simple {love that}, creative {love that too} and best of all, they’re dairy, nut and egg free!

For anyone that spends any time with me on the blog, you know that my youngest son has severe food allergies and I’m always looking for ways that we can all share treats… not him have something and the rest of us have something else… the entire family having the same treat! It’s important to him! That sweet little face “Mommy, have one of my cookies! or Mommy, try my milk!” Because you see, he so often has to have his own special something… it breaks my heart! {Thanks Deanna for submitting your ideas for feature!}

I’ll be sharing more of Deanna’s Olympic ideas later today, but for those of you that just can’t wait, hop over right now and see all her creations and maybe a freebie or two!

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

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summer journaling tips

 This collage of images taken with my iPhone and edited in Camera+, PicFix and PicFrame

At the beginning of the summer I took the boys to Target and let them pick out any notebook they wanted to journal their summer. My oldest chose a leather bound notebook, a real… traditional journal, and of course his little brother followed his lead choosing the same book in another color. They were super excited and my oldest even picked up a mini pocket version to take hiking and on other outdoor adventures. (It’s now full of math, pressed leaves and other goodies… although I hope no mushed bugs!)

I was thrilled! I really wanted it to start with the first day of summer and help them capture each day. My primary goal for the project was to keep my oldest from slipping in his writing skills over the summer and to boost my soon to be Kindergartener’s letter formation and spelling before the fall. But as a mom, I really wanted all those sweet little thoughts on paper too!

This collage is from a few weeks ago. My youngest, hat on backwards, hard at work. My oldest on the other hand created a tin can robot to do his journaling that day… {smirk} My little genius only wishes! Ha!

A few tips I’ve found helpful for our summer journaling adventure:

  • Topic – let them choose their favorite part of the day to talk about.
  • Visual – we often start with drawing a picture of what they’re going to talk about. It incorrporates a bit of art, plus it gets their creative juices flowing.
  • Length cooresponds to age - for my oldest, I expect 3-4 sentences and descriptive words. For my youngest, one sentence is acceptable.

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

Oh, and if you’d rather photojournal your summer, you can read my post and follow our adventures on Instagram at TheCelebrationShoppe.

Happy Friday everyone!

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DIY fairy garden

Remember my super-talented art teacher friend, Becky? The one that created the patriotic monogram wreath. Well, she has a creative daughter and she put together this bright and cheerful fairy garden perfect for imaginary play this summer!

Since I’m always looking for ways to engage my daughters in my own garden, I thought this was brilliant! What a delightful way to get the girls playing in the dirt and still keep things “girly!”

Round up her fairy dolls, some simple items from your garage (old pots, maybe a toad abode) or take a trip to your local hardware store, and maybe steal a few stones from your fish tank, then let her work her magic making her own Pixie Hollow!

You can find our fairy birthday party supplies in the shoppe.

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

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how to photojournal your summer

My time with my boys is so very precious and they’re always doing funny things or wonderful things that I wish I could remember forever. I do journal (the traditional way) about them. Mostly the highlights of big days, funny little things they say and those {gasp} “they’re growing up too fast” moments. But I also want to grab and save those crazy smiles too.

So this summer I’m photojournaling our entire summer break. But instead of lugging my DSLR around and spending hours in Photoshop, I’m using my iPhone and some really fun and easy apps.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my DSLR. I use it all the time when there are planned outings or when I really want to get those close-up shots, but it’s not always with me and let’s face it, it’s a bit bulky… not to mention they know when mom is taking pictures when I have it with me. With my iPhone I can be sneaky {giggle} and capture them when they’re not expecting it.

I started this project because of my L-O-V-E for Instagram (you can find me at @thecelebrationshoppe). I’m constantly sharing what we’re up to or peeks at my latest craft projects. And by following and reading others I’ve found these fun frame and text overlay apps.

But you don’t have to be on Instragram. You can just create the collages and save them to your phone or e-mail them to yourself. (TIP: If you e-mail the image/collage to yourself from the  picframe app, it will be a higher resolution than if you save it to your phone and then e-mail it to yourself. Some of mine are as large as 4MB).

So here are the apps that I use and why:

  • Camera + – I never take pictures with my regular camera phone anymore. With Camera + I can take pics and edit or delete them before saving to my phone.
  • Picfx – this app is full of textures. So once I’ve done my basic editing in Camera +, sometimes I go to Picfx to add textures. Light is my favorite texture, but there are over 50 to choose from.
  • PicFrame – I have a few frame apps, some with and without text overlay, but this one is my favorite and the one I used to do all of the collages in this post.  

A few tips to creating great collages AND memories:

  • capture multiple angles,
  • get close up,
  • gain perspective (shoot high and shoot low), and
  • photograph parts of the story (e.g., water balloons) individually. Alone it might not make much sense, but in a collage they make a real impact.

And if you do start a little project like this of your own AND you’re on Instagram, please follow me at @thecelebrationshoppe and comment so I can find you. You can also tag your post with #photojournaling because I’ll be checking. {grin}

As always, I hope you’re inspired!  And I hope you’re enjoying your summer!

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10 summer boredom busters

Hi everyone, it’s Bridget! School is almost out and I’ve been frantically collecting fabulous ideas to keep my kiddos entertained this summer. My search uncovered some amazingly simple concepts sure to bring hours of fun.  I personally can’t wait to try the science experiment!

And last but not least, my favorite thing to do every summer… singing and dancing in the rain! My kids LOVE to enjoy a warm summer rain by throwing on old clothes or swimsuits and heading out to play.

As always, we hope you’re inspired!

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science experiment activities

Those who stop in know that my oldest is a scientist (his birthday party last year). What this means is that I have read too many bug books, collected too many live… and dead… oh yes… specimens, dug up too many worms, bought too many science kits and gadgets… but at the end of the day it’s all honestly wonderful because he is so very curious… and he takes his little brother and I along for the ride. My youngest, by the way, is into dinosaurs (his party last year)… so we have to go fossil hunting a lot too. {wink}

So yesterday I shared a customer’s science birthday party (find our printable invitation and science party supplies in the shoppe) and it got me thinking about a fabulous gift my son received at his robot birthday party (details coming soon!) a few weeks ago, a book called 365 Science Experiments (written and tested by teachers is all is says for the author). It’s full of simple science projects, most of which can be completed in 15 minutes or less, perfect for busy families. I do wish it had a bit more detail on what you’re learning (again, because my son wants to know everything), but all in all, it’s a wonderful buy especially if your child is just getting interested in hands on science. Or, if you’re looking for simple experiments for your science birthday party!

So last night my sons and I created a pond in a jar for a school project. And so I thought I would capture it with my camera for his teacher, as well as for you.  This is my guy (with me holding on to his shirt) digging up mud for the bottom of our pond.

And this is a shot of our mud, and a small snail, plus who know what else… the girly in me was coming out… something I constantly have to fight back as a mom of two adventurous boys.

And this… well this is the algea that was growing on the top of the neighborhood pond. We just HAD to have some of that. Right?

This is my son using a very scientific tool (aka: a stick) to put some in the jar. We also had to collect a few live pond plants and plant them in the mud before carefully adding pond water to the side of the jar as to not completely disturb our new habitat.

The goal of the project is for the kids in his class to observe the living things in pond water over the next week. And the plants are for those things that don’t stay in water all the time. {skin crawling}

But no worries if messy science isn’t for you. There are hundreds of experiments that just require typical household items. As a matter of fact, the book is broken into biology, chemistry, physics, astronomy, geology and weather.

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. And don’t forget to shop our birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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homemade lollipops

Aren’t these homemade lollipops from Better Homes and Gardens just fun?! I ran across them while looking for art birthday party ideas (see some of my art party crafts and treat ideas and our invitations and decor collection), but these could be great for any celebration. I’m thinking of my annual Christmas cookie decorating party. I mean, maybe Santa would like for us to mix it up this year and leave him a lollipop too!

Hop over to BHG for all the easy how-to steps and the recipe.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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take a hike

I have a million things to do, but it’s a lovely day and I’m taking the afternoon with my boys. This was us on a hike yesterday afternoon in a beautiful forest near our home. We had so much fun, I want a repeat. And with the end of summer creeping up on us, I’m just not willing to wait. 

I hope you all have a beautiful and blessed weekend. See you back here Monday with a ton of new ideas and the biggest FREEBIE I’ve ever given away!

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good ole water balloon fight

Who doesn’t love a water balloon fight?! And it makes a great party game for a pool party or summer gathering!

When styling our new Splash Bash collection and additions to our Deep Blue Sea collection, my sons got into a huge water balloon fight in our front yard with the neighbor kids (okay… and my husband) and so we said why not have one at the party shoot too. It gets the kids giggling and makes for a great time.

These are a few of my favorite shots that Angie of Angie Arthur Photography captured!

Gathering ammo.

Catching some air!

The war face. I LOVE this one. These two are brother and sister. Can you tell?!

More intensity. These kids meant business!

The bounce. Some of the water balloons just refused to burst. You can see the one in midair that just bounced right off her side. Trust me, it wasn’t because he wasn’t throwing hard!

And when all the balloons were gone, there was “the drench.” I just love how Angie captured the water in this one!

In the end, cookies, from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage, and cupcakes embellished with our crab and SPLASH cupcake picks, brought them all back together. It’s funny how sugar can do that! {wink}

You can find all of my pool party supplies in the party store!

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

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art party photo op

As you can imagine, I just love taking pictures of my kids (and their friends… and desserts… and really all things pretty or interesting). So when we were planning our new art party collection, we of course had to have a photo op for the kids.

My best advice:

  • use a neutral background, clear of all clutter. If you know the party area is going to be hectic, hang a piece of coordinating fabric (stay away from wild patterns; it will only take focus away from those lovely faces that you’re trying to capture)
  • offer props that coordinate with your theme, the sillier the better so you can get them giggling
  • get in close. Full body shots are fine and sometimes adorable, but get creative with tight shots and odd angles.

For our prop, Bridget, my fabulous assistant, looked high and low for a whimsy purple frame (that she wanted to use at her daughter’s real party a few days after our shoot). The only one she found was $88. Ouch! So being the creative and crafty gal she is, she bought an unfinished $8 frame at a craft store, spray painted it purple and then embellished it with a double layer crepe rosette with a gumball center! When I posted the rosette we made for the graduation collection (how to details post), I told you that you’d likely see it again. {wink}

For more art party details, check out our party collection in the shoppe and my posts on the art party dessert table, a creative Crayola crayon craft idea, and how to create an art gallery complete with 3-D cupcake art. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

Photography by Angie Arthur Photography. Clothing by  Sew Jewell on Etsy. Like us on facebook and follow us on twitter.

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