what’s in the box?!

I just got back home from a three-day trip to New York City for a fabulous Martha Stewart Dreamers Into Doers conference. I’m still reeling from all the super talented women I had the great fortune to meet and spend time with. I’ll share much more in a few days, but for now I want to tell you about the surprise I received when I got home. I’m used to boxes, lots of boxes, passing through my office but most are not that interesting. Inventory, a new vendor catalog, you know the drill. But this time it was something just for me from the fabulous sponsors of next week’s Blissdom conference in Nashville.

I was like a kid opening a candy bar… or maybe like my normal self opening a candy bar… anyway there were several wonderful surprises inside from vendors like Con Agra, Intel, Freschetta and Hallmark. The recipe binder from Con Agra has such yummy looking recipes, the pizza cutter, which I’ll likely use tonight for family movie night, from Freschetta was fun, but my absolute favorite item in that box was the Recordable Storybook from Hallmark. Coming off of a trip where I missed my boys terribly (one of the main reasons I left corporate life) this was the perfect gift to hedge my anxiety about leaving them again next week. My boys were so ecstatic about the book too. They love books in general, but when they found out that I could still read them a story each night before they went to bed (2-3 a night is a tradition around here) they were beyond thrilled. I loved watching their little faces light up. Thank you Hallmark for the All The Ways I Love You book by Theresa Trinder! It is truly perfect for all of us moms. By the way, whoever on your marketing team thought this up needs a raise! Absolutely perfect!

And for those of you that don’t know about Blissdom, a fabulous blogger conference, it might be too late for you to plan to attend this year, but there is always next year!

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real parties: scientist part II

science-is-cool

As I mentioned in the part I scientist party post, my son loves science (I mean check out that face!) and he spends a lot of time reading (or having me read) science books. So when it came time to pick experiments he already had some ideas about what he wanted to do. I did have to remind him that we would have to have supplies times 10, so in the end we compromised. We chose three experiments for the kids and a grand finale.

scan-to-enter-sign

But before we get into the experiments, let me set the stage by giving you a tour of our laboratory. The kid’s were greeted at the gate by a “Scan to Enter” sign that my son felt was a must, especially since this is a top secret area!

science-party-lab-banner1

As they rounded the corner, the pergola was labeled with a large LAB banner,

science-party-lab-table

and nestled underneath were two long tables covered in green tablecloths and topped with all the supplies needed to complete our experiments.

science-party-ind-experimen

Each child’s experiment station was anchored by a sheet of solid orange scrapbook cardstock with an experiment card to the left and topped with a placecard from our new science birthday party supplies collection.

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Here’s a better look at the placecard tied to a test tube filled with candies!

science-party-lab-coats

But before the kids could enter, they had to gear up with monogrammed lab coats (available through our partner at Sew Jewell). Alex wanted his to have this cute little worm performing an experiment on his pocket, as well as the bubbling test tubes coming out of the pocket, like all of his guests.

science-party-favor-tag

The kids also received goggles embellished with the collection’s “Thanks for bubbling over!” favor tags.

science-party-color-test

Now on to the experiments. First I have to tell you that one of the best decisions I made while planning this party was to recruit two of my best girlfriends, Tammy and Maura. Maura is a fabulous blogger at 36×37 (and not just because she wrote about me; her perception of me is heavily clouded by our friendship!) and a corporate editor and Tammy is an entrepreneur and a TEACHER. That’s right, I pulled out the big guns!

I organized the lab into two tables, big kids (5-6 year olds plus little brother) and little kids (3-4 year olds). Maura took on helping to keep the little ones focused while Tammy taught the big kids. That’s right, I said taught. She totally wowed me. She came prepared with a little lesson for each experiment: primary colors, weather and buoyancy. She kept them completely engaged the entire time and it was obvious that the kids were really enjoying themselves. Not only did I have a professional actually teaching the kids something, I was able to sit back with the other parents and enjoy watching the little light bulbs go off over their heads. It was wonderful! (Thank you ladies both again!)

science-party-color-test-w-oil1

For the first experiment, the primary color test, we set up six cups (short clear plastic cups, $2.50 for 40 from Kroger) per child, three empty and three filled 1/3 way with water. Then we dropped three fizzing tablets (100 tablets for $4.99 from http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/), red/blue/yellow, into the water. Next we had the children mix the colors into the empty cups to make orange, green and purple. Finally we let them pour in a small amount of oil so they could see how the water and oil won’t mix.

science-party-snow-experime1

For the second experiment, a weather experiment, we placed a scoop of insta-snow in large test tubes and let the kids mix the contents with water. The snow grows so fast that it pops out the top. Tammy explained how real snow was formed and then let them add the water and watch the magic. The product is Insta-snow and it is perfectly safe for kids to handle. (Insta-snow was $4.95 and the test tubes were $5.95 for six with a rack, both from www.stevespanglerscience.com)

science-party-bouyancy-exp

For third experiment, Alex’s favorite, we chose buoyancy (upward force that allows large objects to float). For each child we set up:

  • bowls filled half way with water (Rubbermaid bowls from the dollar store, 2 for $1),
  • two equal size pieces of aluminum (roll for $1 from the Dollar Store), and
  • 20 paper clips (pkg of 200 for $1 from the Dollar Store).

The kids put 10 paperclips on one piece of aluminum foil, balled it up and dropped it in. It sank. Then they folded the edges of the second piece of aluminum foil to make a small boat. They floated it on the top of the water and added 10 paperclips (one at a time or slowly). The lesson teaches that with more surface area the same weighted objects can float, just like large ships do on the sea.

And for the grand finale, a Mentos and Diet Coke geyser which was set off by my husband Steve while the rest of us stood far away! The reaction is instant and our geyser was about 20 feet in the air. (Mentos geyser tube from http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/ for $4.95). The kids loved it, but unfortunately I didn’t get a great picture of it because of all the commotion!

science-party-kim-boys

As I outlined in the part I post, I’ll share all the crafts, as well as our feature in Columbus Parent Magazine (now up!) shortly. Plus all of these items will be in the shoppe along with the invitations shortly. Thanks everyone for the lovely comments on the part I post too. I appreciate all the encouraging and sweet words more than you know!

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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easy favor bags

the-celebration-shoppe_luau-favor-bag

If you’re in need of a quick and easy favor bag and you don’t want to forgo style, pick up some colored lunch bags. It’s really easy to find red and white ones this time of year. I used these white lunch bags for our new luau collection.

I punched two holes, equal distances from the top and sides, and threaded them with hot pink ribbon. Next, I criscrossed the ribbon, touched it with a little glue to hold it in place and snipped the ends. Finally I attached my favor tags with another touch of glue. You could also cut small straight lines in your tag and thread your ribbon through the top and bottom for easy opening.

More to come on the new luau collection tomorrow!

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luau cookie placecards

the-celebration-shoppe_palm-tree-surf-board-cookie-placecard

We shot our new luau collection yesterday. As usual it was a lot of fun and a lot of work. And for those of you who follow me on Twitter or “like” the shoppe on Facebook (links in upper left corner) you know we had a few cookie catastrophes yesterday. This beautiful palm tree cookie on the left took a nose dive off the table just after this shot. I admit that I mourned it for a few seconds before I could move on. And the surf board on the right suffered an attack from my 3 year old. At least that happened after the shoot was over. {Who could really blame him, right?}

This collection is truly beautiful and will be perfect whether for a child’s birthday, an adult summer get together or a destination wedding engagement party. I’m really excited to share all the details with you early next week. Until then, I thought I would share my luau placecard and favor idea. 

I picked up some tin pails at the local craft store (washed them really well) and filled them with brown sugar for my sand. I then iced these fun cookies and piped the guests’ names on. Not only are these a great way to mark your placesettings, but they’re also wonderful as a favor for your guests to leave with. I’ll post a pictorial on how to ice them in a few days with some tips on how to make them stand. (The cookie cutters will be part of the new collection coming to the shoppe early next week.)

Have a great weekend everyone!

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dino-roar favor ideas plus

dinosaur-party-favor-ideas

I mentioned when we launched our dinosaur birthday party collection that my youngest has already claimed it for his upcoming birthday party. With that in mind, I went in search of favor ideas over the weekend.

I really like the dinosaur dig ideas (upper left from Toys To Grow On, lower left from eBay) for the activity. Our guests will be in the 3-5 age range so we’ll likely go with the sand version and then let them take their finds home. But for older kids, the Tricerotops excavation is very cool.

If I didn’t already have foam puzzle dinosaurs in primary colors to match the table decor, this Knex Dino Pal (upper right) would possibly be worked into the decor (maybe at the beverage station). As is, it may still end up as a gift for my little one. {wink}

Oh, and we must have the dino masks. I found these at Oriental Trading, but you may be able to score some at your local craft store.

dinosaur-cupcake-idea

And I ran across a few more cake/cupcake  ideas I liked too. This very fun fondant dinosaur cupcake is from Nevie Pie Cakes on Flikr. For those of you who’ve never used fondant, don’t let it intimidate you. You can tint and mold it into anything you like. Just make a tasty cupcake, because the fondant won’t be (at least in my opinion). And the cake is from Pink Apron on Flikr. I really like the layered effect with the child’s name spelled out in cookies. Hmmm… we’ll see. I’m still undecided.

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a royal birthday

thecelebrationshoppe_princessbirthdaypartyideas

We launched a fabulous, if I do say so, Prince & Princess birthday party invitation last year. It’s fairytale castle and fire breathing dragon make it perfect whether you have a little prince, a little princess or both. And this year, we launched a slightly girlier version, Princess Castle, focusing more on the castle and a whimsical gated entryway. I’m not sure which I like more.

So with our new design we also wanted to style a new table. Don’t you just love this fuchsia and white polka dot plate and napkin set with lime green rim!?

thecelebrationshoppe_princessplates

To this we added favors including enchanted carriage boxes:

 thecelebrationshoppe_princesscarriagefavor

Princess crowns for the special girl:

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Royal court tiaras for all of her guests:

thecelebrationshoppe_princesscourttiarafavor1

And of course we had to create some new printables to go with our already popular pink polka dot cupcake wrappers and princess crown and castle picks:

 thecelebrationshoppe_princesscupcake1

Like crown embellished napkin rings:

 thecelebrationshoppe_princessnapkinrings

And princess straw slips:

 thecelebrationshoppe_princessstrawslips

Stop in our shoppe to check out all the details and more. I hope we’ve inspired you for your next celebration! 

thecelebrationshoppe_princesscrownwandcookiecutters 

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oink & moo treats

pig-and-cow-cupcakes

I ran across these little oinkers at the grocery store. They were on the cover of a Taste of Home kid-friendly recipies book.  You can read more about how to make these little cuties on the Taste of Home website.

And the other images are from a Stay-At-Home mommy blogger named Deanna. She did a wonderful job of making cow cupcakes, they look similar to the pig design, and fun barn favors in honor of her third child turning 3. You can read more and see more pics on her blog Just Deanna.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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beach bash favors

For my big guy’s fifth birthday party, a deep blue sea bash at the local Splash Pad, we gave monogrammed beach towels sporting crabs, whales, seahorses, octopus and fish to all his little guests as fun favors.

beach-towel-favors

They’re from Sew Jewell on Etsy and they were a big hit!

The other idea I wanted to share before the recap was how we used a toy sand wagon to display our chips. Be creative, not everything has to be served on a platter! {grin}

wagon-turns-chip-basket1

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!), connect with Kim on twitter, pinterest and on instagram. And don’t forget to shop the party store for birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies. Oh, and now you can follow the blog with Bloglovin too! Hope to see you around!

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creative cookie favors

deep-sea-beach-cookies

I just recently ran across the Flour Pot. They offer a wide array of beautifully decorated cookies for birthday parties, baby showers and bridal showers. These caught my eye since I’m in the process of planning a deep sea splash bash for my oldest.

save-the-date-cookies

And these are such a beautiful way to ask wedding guests to save the date or to ask someone to be your bridesmaid. They even offer beautiful little boxes and ship them direct.

The other thing I like about these images is that if you are a baker you can get lots of inspiration from their sugar work. Enjoy!

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pearls of wisdom

clam-pearl-cookies

We just shot our deep blue sea birthday party decor on Saturday and yesterday this month’s issue of Family Fun comes in the mail. (I’ve said this before, but if you’re not a subscriber and you love this kind of stuff you really should be.) To my happy surprise it was chalked full of brilliant under water party ideas.

The clam shell cookie idea is a pearl of wisdom. {wink} All you’ll need are some round wafer cookies, pink tinted icing, yogurt covered peanuts or raisens and then a dab of white icing and black food coloring for the eyes.

ocean-party-favor-idea

Next check out this very fun craft idea. All the kids will love making these during your bash. You’ll need (for one):

  • 18 ounce beverage container
  • 10 shells per container
  • 1/4 cup sand
  • Green and blue food coloring
  • Silver glitter
  • Water
  • Mineral or baby oil
  • Hot glue gun

 And here are the super simple steps:

  1. Pour sand and shells into clean bottle.
  2. Mix a drop of blue and green food coloring into 6 cups of water, then fill the bottle halfway.
  3. Add a pinch of glitter.
  4. Fill the rest of the bottle with oil, leaving a little air space at the top.
  5. Run a bead of hot glue around the bottle opening and screw the lid on quickly.

Love this idea!! Leave it to Disney to come up with a cool magazine full of ideas all dedicated to making our kids smile.

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