gumball birthday party ideas

My  friend Kara, of Kara Party Ideas, features a party every day on her popular blog. So when I saw this fabulous gumball party that she styled for HGTV a few months ago, I knew that I wanted to return the favor she’s paid me many times.

I think my favorite detail of this party are these DIY gumball machines. So very clever! At first look I thought they were real, but Kara created them. She’s planning to post the DIY details soon, but maybe a flower pot, glass candy bowl and wooden circle from the craft store? Hmmm… we’ll just have to wait and see, but I’ll update my post when she shares. 

And here’s a look at the dessert table she created with cookies from Batches and cupcakes made by Dippidee {she added red gumballs to the tops to resemble cherries}, with cupcake liners from Hey YoYo

I love this old candy store game idea. And check out these gumball cake pops Kara made!  Enjoy the eye candy {wink} and then hop over to Kara’s for even more images and more resources. Photography by Lyndsey Fagerlund

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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GIVEAWAY: children’s clothing from Sew Jewell

Today is a pretty special day all the way around. First, I’ve had the opportunity of late to work with a very talented photographer, Angie Arthur of Angie Arthur Photography and co-founder of I Heart Faces. We met at BlissDom this year and we just clicked. We immediately began to plan a pretty intense schedule for this summer and these pictures are just a peek at our very first collaborationAll the details, plus a brand new birthday collection, will be revealed early next week.

And the second thing that makes this day and this post extra special is that Sew Jewell (what she loves to do + her last name) is my mom’s brand new (as of this morning!) Etsy shop. She’s always made things for me for photo shoots and for my son’s real parties, remember those lab coats for Alex’s science birthday party, yep, that was her. Well now her talents are going to be available to you and I couldn’t be more excited for her!

This morning you’ll find most of the dresses she made for this shoot, but in the coming days you’ll find monogrammed children clothing, baby bibs, baby blankets and so much more! Plus, last night, Angie picked up a custom order for the I Heart Faces photography workshop in Texas this weekend. I can’t wait for you to see what Sew Jewell whipped up for them! {Photographers: If you need custom clothing for an upcoming shoot, convo her on Etsy!}


So today, Sew Jewell is giving away two of the dresses, (the other two sold that day!), that Angie and I used for our first collaborative shoot. Here on my blog you can enter to win this beautiful hot pink and orange Aubrey dress, size 6, that was worn by one of our adorable little models from our model search back in March. Don’t you just love those piggy tails! 

And you can enter to win the Victoria peasant dress, size 7, and headband, second little girl in aqua polka dots, at Angie Arthur Photography.


Visit Sew Jewell’s new shop to see more details about these dresses (and remember, many more are coming in the next few days), then return here and leave a comment letting me know which one you like best OR which one of Angie Arthur Photography’s beatutiful images you like best. 

Additional entries:

Deadline to Enter is Monday, May 23. Winner will be announced here on Tuesday, May 24. UPDATE: Congrats #2 Katy! (winner was selected by and will be contacted by e-mail)

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host a luau with DIY totems

I love clever and I love crafts, so when I saw these DIY totem poles  from All You magazine I had to build an entire inspiration board around them! These are one of those crafts that I wish I had thought of. So very simple and inexpensive, trademarks of the All You brand. Hop over to All You for all the DIY details and how tos.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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the other s’ more

You know when you really want a s’ more… but you don’t have any chocolate… and then you realize you don’t have any graham crackers either? Well let me introduce you to the OTHER s ‘more!

When I was a kid these were actually the preferred snack when I went to my grandmother’s house, unless of course she was baking. And now my oldest LOVES them. 

So instead of graham crackers we used soup crackers. Mine are Keebler’s Zesta crackers, the same brand my grandmother always bought (and they’re dairy free so my youngest can have them too.) And instead of chocolate we used peanut butter.

See that iron skillet? She gave me that, among other things, when I got married. If you don’t have one, get one. They’re a must have for every kitchen, but especially every southern kitchen. Admittedly she used hers every day to bake homemade biscuits and I use mine to bake fish sticks and fries… but either way they’re very handy. 

As always, I hope you’re inspired! And stop over at for more of my Kellogg’s treat ideas.

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encourage reading with the very hungry rolo-pillar

As a mom of two boys (and statistics show that boys read less as they get older), I’ve made reading a bit of a fun requirement around our house. As a matter of fact, my boys see it as a punishment if we don’t get a bedtime story or two… or three. Honestly, it’s a bit of a disappointment for me too so I think it might have happened once in the past six years!

And now that my oldest is six, I encourage him to read to me. I love it. I love hearing him sound out the words and make mistakes. It’s adorable. My youngest, age four, loves a good book too and snuggles up with me every chance we get.

So as summer is approaching we’ve already started to plan what day we’ll move our regular library trips to (since we can go in the middle of the day then, yay!), and I’ve started thinking about fun ways to celebrate books for our summer reading program.

This is my first idea for an old classic, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. The treat is just Rolos topped with M&Ms, served on a tissue paper leaf with jimmies for antenna (and don’t forget to trim out some teeth marks!). It took me all of 2 minutes and the boys were ecstatic. And this idea goes perfectly with the library playdate idea from Family Fun magazine that I blogged about a few weeks ago!

Happy Monday everyone and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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Participating in the following “link” parties: Skip to My Lou’s Made By You Mondays & Tip Junkie’s Tip Me Tuesday.

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casual Mother’s Day brunch

Since becoming a mom I’ve honestly struggled a bit with how do I enjoy Mother’s Day myself while making sure that my mom (and a few years ago, my grandmother) also feels special. In prior years we’ve always ordered from a restaurant and had a picnic at a local park. No cooking, no clean-up and no pre-cleaning the house. It was a win, win. But this spring, the weather here in Ohio has been in one word… wet.  And it’s due to rain again this Sunday.

So this year my mom and I are going to work together to host a late brunchyes, typically that would be lunch… except we’re still serving brunch foods. Stay with me! {wink} And don’t you love that casual tabletop?! It’s completely lovely, yet completely uncomplicated.

So here’s what I’ve come up with: bacon, egg and toast cups (our protein), french toast kabobs (my kids love anything on a stick, plus there is a bit of fruit!), fast raspberry scones (these just look too yummy and it has the word “fast” in the title), and for dessert peanut butter candy bar brownies (I mean, the name alone! I just couldn’t resist!)

I hope you have a beautiful, stress-free and fun-filled Mother’s Day and as always, I hope you’re inspired!

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ice cream cupcake inspiration

I’m working on a new project and I have ice cream on the brain, specifically ice cream cupcakes. Here are a few beautiful and interesting ideas that I found around the web.

Chocylit’s traditional ice cream cone cupcake (via flickr) – these may be the simple version, but this image is just too perfect, right down to the broken cone.

Tweedle Dee Designs’ ice cream sundae waffle cone cupcake – I love how realistic these look! {Great job Brandi!}

Hello Naomi’s made to look like ice cream cupcake – if you’ve not met Naomi, a robot computer programming engineer turned baker, you’re really missing out. Her creations are almost too lovely to eat. 

So now that I’m inspired by these talented ladies, I need to get back to planning. More to come soon!

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“done-ut” graduation cupcakes

If you have a graduate who’s finally “done it” {I know… the title is totally corny} then these are the donut cupcakes for you!!

Recently we launched a new graduation collection (invitations, printables, damask table decor) and I got busy in the kitchen to create a fun new twist on the mortarboard graduation cupcake. I came up with two ideas. The first, a mini cupcake with Hershey’s Bliss mortarboard and twistie tassle, was a bit more traditional and I posted it a few week’s ago. 

This is the second, and in my opinion a bit more fun, using a chocolate covered donut as the graduate’s head {hee hee}. It’s super simple, here’s what you’ll need:

  • small chocolate covered donut
  • Keebler Deluxe Graham cookie
  • fruit chews (match to school colors)
  • white icing

And here’s how you assemble:

  1. Cut two pieces of fruit chew. One for the scroll (roll and set aside) and one for the tassle (cut a 1.5 x 1.5 inch square; using a straight edge knife cut individual threads leaving the top .5 inch attached; roll)
  2. Ice your cupcake
  3. Set one donut in the center of the cupcake and insert the scroll (do this while your icing is fresh so that it will hold)
  4. Using a small dolup of icing, attach the Keebler Deluxe Graham cookie to the top of the donut and allow it to set for a few minutes
  5. Place a very small dot of icing on the cookie (aka mortarboard) and attach your tassle

As always, I hope you’re inspired! And stop over at for more of my Kellogg’s treats ideas.

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my Cinco de Mayo plan

Wow, what a week! It started with a heavy project workload, then there was the terrible tornado in Tuscaloosa and Birmingham where I still have tons of family (I spent hours staring at The Weather Channel and getting down on my knees. Thank God no one from my family was injured, just debris filled yards and mild roof damage), then there was the class field trip to the zoo (cold and terribly breezy) and now I’m sick… Ugh! Nevertheless, I couldn’t leave you all without a little inspiration for next week.

Although I’m not planning a full Cinco de Mayo party with guests, I am planning a fun family dinner. These are just a few of the things I’m considering:

  • Jalapeno poppers via Kraft Foods – my husband and my dad LOVE super hot foods, but I can even eat these since the cheese cools them down a bit.
  • Watermelon margaritas via Food Network – I thought these just sounded refreshing and very “summery.”
  • Sweet Pork Enchiladas with Roasted Green Chile Tomatillo from Cordon Pink – I’m really excited about these. They look so delicious plus she offers a fabulous “how to” pictorial and you know how I love a pictorial!
  • Cheese Flautas with Cilantro Pesto via Martha Stewart – I’m a sucker for pesto.
  • Churros via Cherry Patter NYC – And finally, the churro dessert. When I saw this picture it made me actually feel the cinnamon and sugar on my fingertips. YUM! Can’t wait!

By the way, thank you for all of your love and support in the Top 50 Mom Craft Blog List on Babble. I was up to #39 this afternoon. Thank you, thank you! And if you’ve not voted yet, and if you want to of course {big smile}, you can click here and scroll until you see ”The Celebration Shoppe” and then give us your thumbs up. Thanks!

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

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summer camp must haves

With summer drawing near I’ve been thinking about summer activities and away camps. Honestly I’m not ready for away camp… I’m having a hard time with my oldest going to full day school next year… I know, I know. I don’t have to tell you moms how hard it is to let go.

Anyway, it still got me to thinking about all the fabulous things I would get them “IF” I were sending them away this year, and here are a few things that made my short list:

  • Pottery Barn Kids toiletry bags – how cool is this?! Let’s face it, the cabins don’t often have bathrooms/showers in them. You have to walk a few hundred yards and this keeps your shampoo, toothbrush, towel, etc. handy!  Plus, you can have it personalized so there is no question who it belongs to.
  • Mabel’s Labels’ Camp Edition – I’m all for labeling everything, even toothbrushes! {wink}
  • Personalization Mall “road trip” lap desk - this would be perfect for my kiddos to write letters home on. I know I will personally want a letter every single day… not that I’ll get it, but at least this little lap desk makes one less excuse they can give me.
  • Pottery Barn hooded beach towels – my oldest has a ton of curly hair so the hood would be super helpful.
  • Carson HU-530 Hawk kid bonoculars on Amazon – you can’t bird watch without them.
  • Tiny Prints summer camp personalized journal – and if my kiddos don’t write every day, maybe they’ll at least write down a little about their daily adventures so I can catch up when they get back home.

By the way, thank you for all of your love and support in the Top 50 Mom Craft Blog List on Babble. I was up to #53 this morning and it just warms my heart that so many of you like what I do here. Thank you, thank you! And if you’ve not voted yet, and if you want to of course, you can click here and scroll until you see ”The Celebration Shoppe” and then give us your thumbs up. Thanks!

 As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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