peek at our newest collection

I’m so excited to be announcing a new collection this afternoon. It was originally concepted and designed for a friend, Natalie Klein of Hot Moms Club. She has two toddlers, a boy and a girl, and wanted to throw a joint birthday party at a popular indoor playhouse. Immediately you can see the challenge. Hosting a party that both of her babes would love without the use of pink tutus or racecars. Well at the end of the day I feel we came up with the perfect solution with our new Tree House collection.

Stay tuned for tons of fun photography of a “real” playdate at a magical tree house. Here’s a peek at the storyboard of the invitation and the printables while you wait! And as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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make it a game night

We’ve had “movie night” in our home now for over a year and it’s a huge hit. The boys get so excited and really look forward to it each week planning snacks and selecting just the right film (usually from the library during our weekly visit). Well starting this year we’re now also having “game night.” We kicked it off last night with a game of Jr. Monopoly. The boys always want to play our “big boy” games and then get frustrated because they just aren’t suited for their age. Well I’m here to tell you that Jr. Monopoly is just perfect for their age group (six and four). The rules and the game time are both much shorter, plus they get to practice basic counting and math skills all while giggling like crazy. And not that I’m against the occasional game of Wii, I mean it is fun, but an old fashioned board game gets your family engaging one another face to face. We had a blast! 

That is my youngest on the left just after he had to pay his dad $4 for landing on his carnival ticket booth. Despite his face, which looks like mine sometimes after being in the office all day, he had a wonderful time! I just hope he still speaks to me in his teen years for publishing it. {wink} 

And what is a family game night without some oh so yummy snacks. First of all, these are not my snacks from last night, but they’re going to be next week! For the friend chicken biscuit sandwiches I’ll likely bake the biscuits from a can… or maybe I’ll just go to KFC for the whole thing! At any rate don’t they look so yummy! I found them on Mango & Tomato (image via  GastronomyBlog) in a post where she got to bounce around DC for a staycation enjoying so much yummy food!

Then there is the DIY microwave popcorn from Maize in Montana (found via Dollar Store Crafts). How super smart is this AND you can involve the kiddos. Just a bag of popcorn kernels and brown paper bags. Get the details from Maize and pop a few this weekend!

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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customer: princess Nicole is 4

A very good friend of mine hosted a prince & princess party for her beautiful little girl a few months ago with the decor, printables and custom cookies from my princess collections: prince and princess and princess castle. We even created a few new printables just for the occasion, including

bottle wrappers (this printable includes this castle design and our white crown on hot pink dots, not shown),

favor tags,

cello toppers,

and dessert labels.

Back to the party, the little prince charmings went home with castle cookies and these sword/ax combos (my boys of course used them on each other!) and Nicole’s royal court went home with crown cookies, tiaras and some darling tulle wands (seen in the first image) that her mommy, Raquel, whipped up.

And I just had to share a few pics of the birthday girl having way too much fun dressed in a beautiful little tutu and bouncing in her castle. Oh yes, there was a castle and so much more! {Thanks for letting me share some of your pictures Raquel!}

If you’ve invited guests with our invitations or styled your party with table decor or printable items from The Celebration Shoppe, we would love to see! Send a link or pictures to customercare@celebrationshoppe.com. (By submitting information and/or images you are giving us the right to publish your events details with the appropriate credits.)

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customer: moo, Layla’s 2!

I went to my facebook page yesterday to find a lovely comment from a very talented mom and customer, Shanna Kreza of Shanna Kreza photography. She recently hosted a barnyard bash for her beautiful little girl using some of our On the Farm collection printables (beverage wrappers, tags and napkin rings).

Here are a few shots of the beautiful birthday girl!

And what a lovely barnyard spread. Those cupcake toppers from Cupcakesion are just too cute!

Last but never least, are the activities. Layla’s little guests enjoyed face painting and cookie decorating (one of my personal favorites!).

Hop on over to Shanna’s photography blog to see even more images of the big day and if you’re in the Orange County area to check out her amazing talents. {Thanks so much for letting us share Shanna!} And hop to the shoppe to purchase our Farm Birthday Party Supplies.

If you’ve invited guests with our invitations or styled your party with table decor or printable items from The Celebration Shoppe, we would love to see! Send a link or pictures to customercare@celebrationshoppe.com. (By submitting information and/or images you are giving us the right to publish your events details with the appropriate credits.)

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!), follow us on twitter, pinterest and on instagram at @thecelebrationshoppe. And don’t forget to shop our birthday, baby shower and holiday party supplies!

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thank your royal guests

We’re working on a number of new projects and one is for our popular princess collections: prince and princess and princess castle. This new favor tag is just a little peek at the new printable designs to come later this week (and yes, these fabulous cookies from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage are available in the shoppe now! E-mail us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com with any questions).

Happy Tuesday everyone! And as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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sparkle this New Year’s Eve

I’m still reeling from a fabulous Christmas with my family so when I sat down this morning and realized that Monday was here I of course immediately thought of next weekend. Just like every other Monday, right?! Well this coming weekend is a little bigger than most, because this Friday will be New Year’s Eve. I’m honestly astonished that the year is almost over, but over the top excited about what is coming in 2011.

But I digress… so although I’m not personally throwing a New Year’s Eve party, I thought this Pistachio Cake with White Chocolate Frosting from Better Homes and Gardens was just beautiful! Then when I went in search of other sparkling star table ideas I ran across this 3-D Star Streamer Centerpiece from Martha Stewart Weddings, which led me to the rest of these images. They are all so lovely and they’re just the beginning. I love how simple several of them are. Hop over to see all the details.

As always, I hope you’re inspired and I hope you have a warm and happy Monday (snowing… again… here)!

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kid craft: hot plate artwork

I just want to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas and share with you my first gift of the holiday season {proud mom moment}. My kindergartner surprised me on Tuesday with a hand-painted tile. He explained it to be a hot plate, but I’ll never put anything hot near it (and my hubby better not either!). It’s just too lovely. Plus, the back has an outline of his little hand and his signature!

He explained to me the process and the tools you’ll need:

  • smooth white glossy tile from the home improvement store
  • Sharpie markers
  • spray sealent (Update per his teacher: Krylon Crystal Clear Acrylic Coating)
  • marbles for the feet
  • wood glue (Update per his teacher: she attached the marbles with regular wood glue)

How tos as explained by my six-year-old. {wink}

  1. Draw your favorite picture with Sharpies {I of course am in love with his snowman and snowflakes}
  2. Spray the picture (with sealant) and let it dry
  3. Attach marbles for the feet
  4. Write your name on the back (and outline their little hand so you can always remember how small they are)

And now you have a precious keepsake! I have to write his teacher a sweet note because this is one of those things I’ll have in my “happy box” and proudly diplay every year for the rest of my life, much to his chagrin in his teen years I’m sure. {giggle}

Merry Christmas to you and yours! Talk with you all next week and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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baby Jesus’ birthday cake

My boys schools celebrated Jesus’ birthday in the last few days before the Christmas break and I signed up to bring the cake for my youngest son’s class party. After I signed up then it hit me what a tall order it was going to be: it had to have meaning to the kids and I couldn’t use anything fancy because let’s face it… what four year old is going to eat a fondant cake… plus that seemed a little over the top for a preschool class. 

So in the end I iced a normal homemade cake and adorned it with the manger scene. I tried to keep it simple so I chose to make the stable from graham crackers with a party mix roof and pretzel posts, the manger from pretzel sticks, the lamb from marshmallows (four for the body and one for the head) and coconut (I wish you could see the coconut ears better!) and the beautiful baby Jesus was made of Cheerios. My son liked that part best!

And of course there had to be a star, so I swiped another ornament from their playroom tree (it’s going to be bald soon if I don’t stop crafting) and I tied it to a piece of floral wire and a lollipop stick, which I stuck in the cake behind the stable, so that it could hang in the sky. Last, but not least, I wanted the little lamb to be looking up in awe of the glorious glow (his little face was drawn on; you can find food dye pens at your craft store or bakery supply shop).

For the stable, cut the back graham cracker on a slant with a serrated knife. If you use a sawing motion they won’t break. Then bond the pieces with icing, allowing dry time before finally assembly. All other items can be assembled with icing as well, just allow dry time. I would recommend 30 minutes just to be confident they won’t break when you pick them up. If you need the process to be quicker, refrigerate.

I hope you’re having a very Merry Christmas season and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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“allergy-free” Santa pops

I love weekends when I just get to play in the kitchen and the craft room without any looming deadlines. This weekend was a bit of half-and-half, but I still managed to watch a few Christmas movies and make a few goodies with my boys. And for those of you with little ones like mine, that suffer from severe food allergies, this goody is for you. It’s easy, fun and completely dairy and egg allergy-free.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Double Stuff Oreo cookies (Vanilla is best when you’re using light colored icing and Double Stuff makes it much easier to apply the lollipop stick without the cookie breaking)
  • Pillsbury white icing
  • red Starburst candies for the hat
  • sugar crystals/sprinkles for the trim
  • red and blue mini icing tubes (not gels) for the eyes and mouth
  • resealable plastic bag
  • lollipop sticks
  • wax paper
  • cooling rack (very helpful if you have one)
  • optional: #46  icing tip, connector for mustache (or you can just slit the resealable bag)
  • optional: 4″ cello bags for gifting

Here’s how you make the pops:

  1. Open your Oreo cookies and place a lollipop stick, longways, into the filling. Press down so that the lollipop stick is even with the filling.
  2. Place white icing in a small bowl, a heaping tablespoon full for each cookie you plan to dip (I recommend no more than two to three at a time), and microwave it for no more than eight seconds. Remove from the microwave and stir. It should be completely melted. (Don’t overdo it or the icing will dry with a crystallized look and won’t be as yummy.)
  3. Using a spoon, place a small amount of warm icing on the cookie over the lollipop stick and put the top back on. Allow the icing to set for at least 30 seconds.
  4. Tilt your bowl on its side and dip each pop. Again, I recommend only doing two to three at a time because you don’t want your icing to cool and you don’t want to have to reheat it.
  5. Place the cookies on the cooling rack with a piece of wax paper underneath for easy cleanup.
  6. Quickly spoon another tablespoon full of icing over each cookie. If the icing is still warm enough it will coat, drip and dry flat.

Embellishments:

  1. On a sheet of wax paper, gather your goodies: Starburst, sprinkles, tube icing, and a small amount of white icing in a resealable bag. I used the flat side of a #46 icing tip with a connector for the mustache, but you could slit your resealable bag in a straight line. You’ll just want to play with it on the wax paper a few times before applying to the cookie to make sure you have the cut correct.
  2. Heat one red Starburst on a small piece of wax paper in the microwave for eight to 10 seconds. Each one will make one Santa hat. While warm, careful not to burn your fingers, mold the Starburst into a triangle. You can dampen your fingers if you need to work with it a bit.
  3. To apply the sprinkles, lightly dampen the bottom rim and the top point of your triangle with your finger. Add the sprinkles, pushing any that landed on the center section back into place before they dry. 
  4. Pipe on a few drops of red icing for the mouth.
  5. Pipe on the mustache with the resealable bag (if using the icing tip: cut corner of bag, insert connector, attach tip to outside of bag with closure and fill with white icing).
  6. Attach your hat with a small amount of icing. (Tip: Use a flat spatula or butter knife to lift it off the wax paper so the candy doesn’t stretch.)
  7. Pipe on eyes.
  8. Allow Santa to completely dry for at least three hours before inserting into cello bags.

If you’re not up for the Santa pops, my boys loved the simple snowflake sprinkle ones just the same. Just add your sprinkles before your icing dries and you’re all set.

I’m so excited to be able to serve my youngest, who as most of you know has a severe milk allergy, a super fun treat that all the kids will want. Please share with any other moms who have little ones stricken with food allergies and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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prepping for Santa

We likely all spend little time mulling over what we leave out for the big guy on Christmas Eve. So this year with my little boys in tow and their blue eyes bright, we gave it some thought. After some debate we agreed on a woodland theme and started wandering the house looking for natural items that we could use. Our first find was several huge pine cones the boys had been given by their uncle over the summer. We strung popcorn for the garland, and then we hot glued on the candy ornaments and the tiny star that we plucked from their playroom Christmas tree.

Taking the popcorn string one more step, we added chewy cherry sour balls and threaded it with green cross-stitch thread. (Tip: I recommend cleaning your needle between each candy chew with a moist paper towel.) Admittedly there was much more eating than threading on the kids’ part, but there were lots of giggles. My very favorite sound!

My oldest loves powdered donuts so we skewered a few on a lollipop stick (he of course had to test one out for his dessert that night) and tied it with a pretty red ribbon. We also chose some sugared tea cookies and a butter snowflake cookie from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage.

 

And what better beverage for Santa placesetting than a bottle of Coca-Cola (since, after all, our modern day Santa is based off of the image they presented in their advertising from decades ago)?! We embellished the bottle with a lovely snowflake ornament and it was all set!

 

Next we made this yarn pom pom Rudolph-the-red-nosed-reindeer. I’m just in love with how he turned out, especially his acorn nose. The boys were so giggly while he was coming together. Admittedly a few pom poms ran off during the process, but he finally came together. Here’s a quick tutorial on how you can make him too.

Last, but never least, the Christmas list must be very prominent near the plate. We wouldn’t want Santa to miss it! {wink} Merry Christmas everyone and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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