real parties: end of summer fun

cheeky-kitchens-old-fashioned-back-to-school-lunch-totes

When I was browsing the web to find just the right images to pull together yesterday’s back to school party post, I stumbled across Brooke at Cheeky Kitchen and Jaimee at Sophistimom, two talented women who are also moms and friends. I was instantly inspired by their posts about an end of summer picnic they had with their children last year. The photography is beautiful, the recipes are yummy and their writing style is engaging. If you’ve not met them yet, you must meet them now!

sophistimoms-old-fashioned-back-to-school-lunch-totes

I’m absolutely in love with Brooke’s unique lunch pail (the kind of buckets you get when you go to your local orchard) idea. They’re simple and yet make such a statement in her beautiful photography. In Jaimee’s words “Within each basket was nestled a sandwich to satisfy the most ravenous sweet tooth, a vintage book, confetti corn, and a root beer.

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Don’t you just wish you had been invited along on this adventure?!

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And the food looks amazing! (There are many more photos that you must hop over and see on both blogs.)

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As you likely are, I’m inspired to plan a end of summer/back to school picnic for my boys. I hope we have as much fun as it appears these two families had! Happy Wednesday everyone!

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real parties: indoor campout

bashfulevents_campoutparty

The lovely Shannon over at Creative Party Placehas asked that I be a guest hostess this Friday and next Friday. Yippee! So while browsing her blog this afternoon I ran across this indoor campout party submitted by b.a.s.h.ful events. I love the simplicity. A little cocoa, a few s’mores, some “kid-friendly” ghost stories and a faux fire pit… what more do you need, right?! I would say not much, but this mom went above and beyond with campfire songs, pet rock crafts and much more. Check out all the details in her original blog post.

And if you’re interested in hosting your own campout or sleepover, hop into the shoppe and check out our campout collection and great outdoors collection. Oh, and you can’t miss our campout cupcakes! I created them for my boys last summer and they were a huge hit. I mean, who can resist a Hershey chocolate bar tent? {wink}

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campout cupcake

camping-out-cupcakes-with-smores-and-tent1

I designed these fun camp cupcakes a few weeks ago for my beautiful little boys and of course they go perfectly with our “campout“ birthday party theme too!

My boys love tents, roasting marshmallows and fishing, so I needed to incorporate each element. If you’ve not noticed yet, there is also a little sleeping bag in the tent {giggle}. I couldn’t resist piping one since my boys love to use theirs on their beds sometimes! Oh, and by the way, these are the cupcakes I entered in the parenting.com cake and cupcake contest that I mentioned last week.

Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your white cupcakes (use egg whites only to preserve the color of your cupcake wrappers):

  • Hershey bars (2 3/4 pieces per tent)
  • Mini goldfish crackers
  • Fiber one cereal (campfire logs)
  • Cream cheese icing
  • Blue, green and red gel food coloring
  • Toothpicks
  • #46 tip (flat side for sleeping bag)
  • #107 tip (campfire flame)
  • #233 tip (grass)
  • white bakers wire (could use floral wire with non-edible items)

And here are the easy steps:

  1. Using the grass tip, ice your cupcakes. (TIP: You’ll want to add all of your decorations before the icing sets too much so that the grass will act as adhesive to keep the items in place.)
  2. Build your tents next. Take two full blocks of chocolate and trim the third, the base, to 2/3 its normal size. On the base pipe your sleeping bag, a short strip for the pillow and a long strip for the bag.
  3. Melt a block or two of chocolate in the microwave to use as adhesive for assembling your tent. Apply the chocolate with a toothpick and hold your tent in place for a few seconds to allow it to set. Place it on your cupcake.
  4. Using Fiber One cereal as your campfire logs {I know… but they look just like little sticks!}, set them up in a pyramid shape and then pipe a dollop of icing on top for the flame.
  5. Finally we create our fishing pole with a toothpick, I used colored ones, a mini goldfish and bakers wire. Simply wrap the wire around your fish and wind it around your toothpick pole. I placed it so that it is over the edge and then embellished the cupcake with a paper wave design as if they were on an island.

I hope you enjoy my little creation, my boys really did! As always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake, create and celebrate!

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slumber party campout

slumber-party-campout What girl wouldn’t love not only a slumber party, but a campout slumber party {and who says it has to be outdoors}!

These s’mores are a modern twist on the classic from the book S’mores: Gourmet Treats for Every Occasion (image from Point Click Home.com). Chocolate chip cookies instead of graham crackers and… what is that in the middle… peanut butter. {yum}

The brownie cake with Twix candy bars as sticks, tissue paper for the flame and Peanut M&M and marshmallows for added effect, is from BrightIdeas.com. They have some of the coolest kid party ideas. {You’ll see them here often.}

The super cute favor, a pajama teddy bear, is from the Party Wishes blog. I love that the guest gets to enjoy the favor at the party and has a keepsake {that will last for slumber parties to come} to take home.

The invite is ours of course. You can personalize your campout sleepover party invitation here. And if you’re looking for décor that is a little more slumber party{ish} check out our multi color polka dot décor and our pink polka dot décor.

And last but not least, these modernly adorable tents are from habitat.com. I first saw them on KimVallee’s blog. {She’s worth the trip.}

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introducing “great outdoors”

great-outdoors-frontimage Similar to our new “butterflies” theme, we had great success with our “campout” theme too and thought it a good idea to develop a new invitation and thank you card for the ever popular campout sleepover party.

So, without further commentary, introducing “great outdoors!”

Check our new design out, and as always, we would love your feedback on this invitation design as well as any of our others.

Plus, if you have a theme design you’re searching for and can’t find, we want to know that too! You can e-mail us at ideas@celebrationshoppe.com or post a comment here.

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camp in with your kids

campin Finding things to entertain your children through the long winter months, especially those that are very active outdoors when it’s warm, can be challenging. So why not think inside your box and have a camp in. I’ve not met a kid yet that cared if their s’ mores was made over a campfire or in an oven.

Here are a few ideas on how to set the stage and enjoy some family time:

  • Campfire – most of us have one built right in; it’s called a fireplace.
  • Sleeping arrangements- for young kids, pitch a tent in the living room, the kind that pop to life. For everyone else, arrange sleeping bags on the floor.
  • Ghost stories -leave the television off for a night and tell ghost stories to each other. And if you just must have the television, make it a movie night without cell phones or computers.
  • Goodies – serve all the same things you would if you were outside: hotdogs, marshmallows, hot chocolate, popcorn.
  • Night sky - pick up those peel-n-stick stars that glow in the dark. I know what you’re thinking, “I’m not putting those on my living room ceiling.” Don’t peel off the backing, instead use some double sided tape or a hot glue gun to attach them to the ceiling and they’ll pull right off with no damage in the morning.
  • Breakfast – don’t let the fun end as soon as the sun rises. Have breakfast together and leave the outside world at bay as long as you all can resist.

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night owl cookies

owl-cookies

These are sooo fun and could be perfect for a campout party.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 roll (18 oz.) refrigerated sugar cookie dough
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 20 whole cashews
  • 1/2 cup chocolate frosting
  • 1 cup M&M’s Peanut Chocolate Candies
  • 2 cookie sheet pans
  • Plastic wrap paper
  • Resealable plastic bag

And here’s how you make them:

  1. Divide the sugar cookie dough in three pieces. Knead the flour into one piece of cookie dough until smooth, set aside. Combine the remaining two pieces of cookie dough and knead in the cocoa powder until smooth, set aside.
  2. Roll the lighter colored cookie dough into a 1-inch round log about 10 inches long, and move it off to the side. Roll out the chocolate cookie dough on a lightly floured surface to a 10 x 4-inch rectangle. Place the light colored log of cookie dough on top of the chocolate rectangle. Wrap the chocolate cookie dough completely around the lighter colored log. Pinch edges to seal and roll the log smooth. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut the cookie log into 1/4-inch slices. Place 2 slices, side by side, on sheet pans. Press a cashew into cookie at the point the slices touch. Repeat with remaining cookie slices. Bake for approximately 8-11 minutes, or until cookies are just beginning to golden. Remove from the oven and transfer to a wire rack to cool.
  4. Spoon the chocolate frosting into a resealable bag and snip a small corner from bag. Using the photograph as guide, pipe eyelashes and a dot to secure candies. Add the M&M’s for eyes.

Thanks brightideas.com!

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owl cupcakes

Owl cupcakes These owls were so much fun to make and easy enough for little helpers. Here’s what you need:

  • Brownie mix (we used puree apricots in the place of egg and filled the cups ¾ full)
  • Oreo cookies
  • M&Ms (replace with Skittles for egg and dairy free)
  • Cashews
  • Chocolate sprinkles
  • Cream cheese icing

While your brownie cupcakes are cooling, tint your cream cheese icing orange and divide your Oreo cookies (we removed the white filling, but you could leave it). Next, ice each cupcake, apply your cookies face up, sprinkle the top of the cupcake with chocolate sprinkles to resemble feathers and add the cashew as the hooked nose. Finally, using a toothpick, place a small amount of icing on the back of the M&Ms and apply as the owls eyes.

(Tip: Oreos tend to get soggy when not kept in airtight containers. Plan to ice and decorate within an hour or two of serving.)

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