lollipop & panda bear cookies

lollipop-panda-bear-cookies

My oldest son’s last day of preschool was this past Friday and I volunteered to provide the end of year treat. His class was loving called the Panda Bear class so I, naturally, wanted to make Panda Bear cookies. I had everything ready. I baked the lollipop cookies a day in advance and I had all my cookie decorations ready to go… or so I thought. Long story short, I fell asleep Thursday night while reading the boys a book and didn’t wake up until 12:30 a.m. {Oh yeah!}

After a large cup of coffee I pulled out all of my decorating supplies to find that the black icing I needed for my panda bear was in fact gel… it came out slimy! So plan B was quickly devised. I had just enough black icing to make one panda bear and the rest became lollipops. {This is precisely the reason you don’t promise anything specific when baking for these types of things!}

Okay, okay, so down to business. Both kinds of cookies started out the same way. I used the lollipop cookie pan from Wilton; just make sure your dough is only about half the size of the indention as the cookie will spread. And, make sure that your cookie is fairly thick so that your lollipop stick will hold the cookie up once it cools.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Can cream cheese or vanilla icing
  • Colorful sprinkles
  • Tube black writing icing (for the panda bear)
  • Mini Oreo cookies (for the panda bear ears)
  • Chocolate chips (one for each panda bear eye; use dairy free for kids with allergies)
  • Brown M&M (for the panda bear nose; use dollop of chocolate icing or leave off for kids with allergies)
  • Resealable (freezer weight) bag
  • #4 icing tip
  • Icing tip connectors (available in craft and baking stores)

And here are the easy steps:

  1. Snip the corner of your resealable bag, insert your connector and add on your icing tip.
  2. Place about two large spoonfuls of icing into the resealable bag and pipe an edge around each cookie. (Tip: Go slowly so that your icing clings to the edge of your cookie. Sometimes when they cool they’ll become concave.)
  3. Place about four large spoonfuls of icing in a microwave bowl and heat for 15-17 seconds. The icing will be a little soupy, but will pour easily into your cookie and will dry flat.
  4. Once your icing has set completely, at least one hour (less if refrigerated), you can decorate.
  5. For the lollipop, simply take your icing bag with the #4 connector and pipe a spiral on the top of your cookie. Immediately apply your crystal sprinkles.
  6. For the panda bear, pipe two dots and apply the Oreos as the ears. Next, using the black writing icing, draw the black eye area and the nose/mouth area (using the picture as a guide). Quickly apply the chocolate chip eyes and M&M nose.

As for packaging, make sure your cookies are allowed to dry for at least four to five hours before inserting them in clear cello bags and tying them with colorful ribbons.

My son’s class seemed to enjoy them and I hope you will too. Happy baking!

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creative pirate party ideas

pirate-birthday-party-invitations 

Aargh! If you’re looking for a modern twist on the ever so popular pirate party, you’ve come to the right place. Round up your crew and take a look at these:

The pirate ship invitations and pirate skull invitations are both our exclusive designs. And not only do we offer vibrant colors and personalization, we designed the back of our invitations too… plus we offer color envelopes all for as low as $22!  

The table décor is a blend of high quality paper product designers. We just loved the paper crepe placemats {I’ve used mine more than once!}, the red polka dot napkins, the red stripe plates and cups {running out of breath}… you get the picture! And of course we offer all of them in our shoppe.

The ship is a real wooden toy from Step 2, complete with five pirate figurines. {My sons love it and it’s quite sturdy.} And the pirate flag in the background can be created without sewing a stitch. Read our step-by-step instructions and watch a how to video!

And the pirate pop, well… that is my creation {blush}. Those who read me often know that my youngest son has severe food allergies. So when my oldest wanted a pirate party, I had to create something fun that didn’t have milk or egg in the recipe. The rice crispy treat is of course the perfect answer and then I just embellished it with my favorite cream cheese icing. Read all the details on how to pull this fabulous treat off for your little pirate.

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parenting.com cake contest

04-42abOkay ladies… those that read me often {I love you guys} know that I like to create new cake, cupcake and treat ideas and to share other peoples wonderful ideas too. {My only quirk is I want to tell you how to make them… I hate seeing something fun but not having the “how tos” to pull it off! Anyway, I digress.}

Well for you fellow bakers out there parenting.com is having a cake, and cupcakes are welcome too, contest. It ends next Thursday, June 7, so pull out all those old pictures from birthdays and parties gone by and send them in. You never know, they may love it and you may walk away with a $500 gift certificate from Kmart.

 And for those of you wondering, yes, I entered something you’ve never seen before. {giggle} I’ll post my creation soon. Can’t wait to share it with you!

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planning for a rainy day

rain-date-on-invitationIt’s the worst when you’ve planned your child’s birthday party or your girlfriend’s baby shower to be outside and it rains! You want to hang pom poms from your pergola, all the games require open spaces, your living room just can’t accommodate 15 running and jumping children… What do you do!?

Well it has become so common that almost 15% of the invitations we print have a “rain date.” Typically it’s the next day, but we’ve also seen some moms plan for the next weekend. Either way, we wanted to share this brilliant way to ensure the event you’ve so painstakingly planned for doesn’t get drenched.

Happy planning!

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birthday party all aflutter

butterfly-birthday-party-favors

Looking for a colorful way to celebrate a birthday or a new baby coming into this world? Think butterflies! Here are a few ideas to get your party planning started:

The custom polka dot butterfly invitation is ours {gush}.  The background is a pastel pink polka dot and the butterflies are blue, purple, orange and red polka dot. {Yep, I’m a polka dot fan!} Check out all the detail and even personalize it with your party details.

The table décor, a mix of pastel and fuchsia polka dot plates and cups, are also ours. And of course that is not all we have. We offer a beautiful paper (thick as cloth) tablecloth, cookie cutters and balloons.

The favor bags are from MarthaStewart.com. Read all the details on how to pull off these super fun goody gifts and then fill them with yummy candies or scented soaps.

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American flag cupcakes

We should all treasure our American holidays: Memorial Day, July 4, Veteran’s Day. I’m proud that as a country we celebrate those who serve to protect us and those who have fallen to save us. 

These cupcakes are my (small as it may be) way of saying thank you to those in my family who have served (my grandfather, several great uncles, my hubby, all of his brothers, his dad and our neice and nephew; the two youngest in Iraq). I hope you enjoy them and make them for your next American celebration!

Here’s what you’ll need to decorate your cupcakes:

  • Red, white and blue icing (remember that gel food coloring work best)
  • #46 icing tip
  • Lollipop sticks
  • 2 resealable plastic bags
  • 2 icing tip connectors

And here are the simple steps:

  1. Once cooled, ice your cupcakes with white icing {cream cheese is my fav!}.
  2. Color some white icing red and some blue. You’ll likely use several drops to get even a small amount of icing bright enough.
  3. Snip the corners of your resealable bags and insert your connectors.
  4. Spoon your red icing into one bag and your blue into another.
  5. Apply your #46 icing tip to your blue bag and using the flat side pipe three stripes (1/3 the length of your flag) and then another stripe from the top {see picture}.
  6. Take your icing tip off the blue bag, clean it out and apply it to the red bag. Pipe the red stripes starting at the top of the flag using your blue stripes as a guide to keep them even. Make sure you skip just below the blue as that should be a white stripe.
  7. Finally, cut a lollipop stick in half and apply it to the side of the flag for your pole.

Have a wonderful holiday and as always, I hope you’re inspired to craft, bake and create!

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 twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe

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bugs and butterflies birthday party

bugs-and-butterflies-party-theme

Our “bugs and butterflies” birthday party theme is all the buzz with dragonflies, bumble bees and butterflies.

And since the décor is a polka dot mix of yellows, blues, pinks and purples, it’s perfect for both girls and boys, especially when the guys are little. Hand them a bug net and set them free in the backyard. They will be all giggles as they search for that unsuspecting lady bug. {wink}

As for treats, there are so many super cute cake, cupcake and cookie ideas waiting for you in our bugs and butterflies archive.

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win $100 shopping spree

celebrationshoppe_hwtm

Starting today, May 20, and ending next Tuesday, May 27, at midnight you can enter to win a $100 shopping spree with us, The Celebration Shoppe.

Just browse our shoppe, pick out your favorite birthday party theme, bridal shower, baby shower, holiday or graduation idea, visit Hostess With The Mostess and enter a comment. One winner will be randomly selected and announced next Wednesday, May 27.

We love to hear what you think of our shoppe and our designs, as well as the ideas we share on our blog so don’t be shy! And please, share this fun opportunity with all of your girlfriends.

Good luck!

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cool summer treats

cool-summer-treatsCool down this summer with these fun treats:

Ice cream cone cupcakes – I love the thought of serving ice cream in the summer, but keeping it from melting is such a challenge. Well not with these adorable cupcake ice cream cones from BrightIdeas.com; there is actually no ice cream involved, but don’t they look cool!

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 box (18.25 oz.) yellow cake mix
  • 2 cups chopped SNICKERS® Bars
  • 2 cans (16 oz. each) vanilla frosting
  • 2 cups M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies
  • 24 ice cream sugar cones
  • Red food coloring
  • Sprinkles
  • 24 paper cupcake liners
  • 2 12-cup standard size muffin tins

And here are the easy steps:

  1. Prepare a yellow cake mix according to the package directions. Fold in SNICKERS® Bars before transferring the batter to cupcake paper-lined muffin tins. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes. Cool completely.
  2. Tint the frosting pink with a few drops of food coloring, set aside
  3. Fill each sugar cone with 1 tablespoon of M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies.
  4. Remove the paper liners from the cupcakes. Top the cones with the cupcakes, and cover with pink frosting. Decorate with M&M’S® Brand Chocolate Candies and sprinkles.

Life Preserver Cookies – I thought these were fun, especially if you’re planning a pool party. You can find them at sugarbowlcreations.com.

Snow cones – Okay, so this just made me think of summer when I was a kid {plus it’s from Southern Living Magazine… remember, I’m southern!}. You can read the complete article with recipes here.

Fruit popsicles – And last but not least, let’s keep it healthy when we can. Let’s face it, kids, especially when not given a choice, will love these popsicles made of real fruit just as much as they would a fudge pop. Read all the facts at rd.com.

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ocean birthday party ideas

ocean-party1I’m like a proud momma when it comes to our invitation designs and the décor we’ve chosen to coordinate with each. And just like a momma, I don’t have favorites… but I can have an “oh you’re just too cute today.” Right? {giggle}

So if you’re looking for some fishy fun, grab your snorkel and dive in to this bright and fun ocean birthday party theme. The invite is ours, of course. {wink} You can have a closer look at the invite, thank you, wave plates and more by visiting our “deep sea” birthday party theme in our shoppe.

The cupcakes are ours too. We simply tinted our icing an ocean blue and whipped it on with a spatula for a little wave effect. As for the embellishment, we cut out wave shapes from a blue cardstock to made a cupcake wrapper. As for the life preserver, we used a cirlce gum drop and piped on the stripes with the flat side of a #47 icing tip. Too cute huh!

And last but not least, the cake pan is from William-Sonoma. Love how they used Smarties as the suckers on the tentacles.

Happy planning.

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