“sorry, I can’t eat cow milk”

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I took lots of pictures of my boys last night (our neighborhood trick-or-treat), but this picture of my sweet little four year old boy trying to read the label on a candy package made my heart hurt this morning when I was looking through them. You see, he has severe milk allergies, not lactose intolerance, but immediate sickness, burning tongue and hives, severe allergy.

So at each house last night he would go to the door with huge smiles and say “trick-or-treat!” He would then peer into their candy bucket and either say “sorry, I can’t eat cow milk” and walk away, or he would squeal with joy and jump around because they had things like Twizzlers or Gummy Worms. Although he went through the entire night in good spirits and never once got sulky (my little trooper), it tore my heart out and I wanted to hug him each time he walked away empty handed.

The reason I’m telling you this is because I know there are many of you out there with little ones who suffer from food allergies, whether it be milk, egg, nut, or all three (see allergy free Halloween treat ideas). And since this time of year can be hard with holiday school parties and family gatherings I want to offer up some recipes and ideas so that our little ones can join in the fun too. And I promise, I’ll share things that are yummy for everyone so that by including the family member or child with food allergies, you’re not sacrificing taste.

And if you have a recipe (on a blog or not) or know of a resource that is allergy friendly, please share it with me here, by e-mailing us at customercare@celebrationshoppe.com (“Food Allergy” in the title) or on facebook. {And Maura at 36×37, I’m coming for that fabulous allergy free chocolate chip cookie recipe of yours!}

Happy Friday everyone!

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sneak peek: mod candy cane

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This is my favorite time of year, celebration after celebration! Now that Halloween is almost here it’s time to start pulling out the new Christmas collections! My modern twist on the candy cane has been on the inspiration board for months now and can be perfect for a cocktail party, a family open house, a whimsy kid cookie decorating party and even a winter birthday or baby shower (the cupcake picks come with a sheet of Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and a sheet of solid snowflakes)!

I’m so excited to say that the invitation is already available in the shoppe as of this morning! And with the photo shoot for the entire collection including the printables scheduled for next Thursday, November 4, the rest won’t be far behind!

This storyboard only shows you snippets of what mod candy cane will offer: cupcake picks, cupcake wrappers, dessert table tags, whimsy dessert table beverage mat, cello toppers, favor tags, welcome door sign, beverage wrappers and so much more! I can’t wait to share it all with you! Join us on facebook and twitter for regular updates and a few sneak peeks of the photo shoot along the way!

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allergy free Halloween treats

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Each year we get together with all of our neighbors and I host our annual Halloween block party. The premise is that everyone brings their favorite Halloween or fall treat and we all reminisce about the summer and tell any plans for the upcoming winter (besides hibernation of course!).

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This year I used my Candy Corn collection and gave it a little lighter twist from how I styled it in August for the shoppe.

And since I couldn’t control the desserts, or their ingredients, I made mostly dairy and nut free goodies. As many of you know my youngest has severe food allergies and I can’t stand for him to feel left out! There is nothing worse than that little face looking at me with sad eyes and asking me “Mommy, is that my kind?” His “kind” meaning made with soy milk or vegan butter. Of course unless I made it myself the answer is typically “I’m so sorry baby…” And any mother with a child who suffers from food allergies can attest that it breaks your heart!

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All of my desserts that night were inspired by the yummy candy corn and the first on my list was a cupcake… imagine that! By the way, Brach’s candy corn has milk in it, but the Kroger brand is dairy free (has egg though)!

So using a Duncan Hines Butter cake mix and Smart Balance Light vegan butter (be careful that you get the light; the others have dairy in them) I whipped up these cupcakes. My only advice on the butter is to use a little less than the recipe calls for because it has a very buttery taste.

And if your little one also has an egg allergy, which my little guy did for the first three years of his life, try making your cupcakes out of a brownie mix instead. Just make according to the recipe and fill your cupcake liners higher than normal. I would also suggest that you either use the tin/silver liners or you use cupcake wrappers, like we create for our collections, to hide the wrapper as brownies have oil in them and will discolor your wrappers.

For the icing I simply used Pillsbury Cream Cheese icing and tinted it using gel food coloring (liquid food coloring  thins your icing). Using resealable bags with a slit corner (for easy cleanup) I just piped one layer at a time. It was as simple as that!

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Next I made rice krispie treats, a dessert every kid… and let’s face it, every adult loves! These were gone in a flash! I used the normal ingredients, but in the place of butter I used Smart Balance Light vegan butter again.

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  1. While the treats are still warm mold them into triangles and insert lollipop sticks. Do this before you ice them or your could crack your icing, plus you want to form the treat back around the stick so that there aren’t too many pockets of air. 
  2. Gently push down, don’t crush the cereal, on the top of your treats. You’ll want a flat surface, or as flat as you can get it, for icing.
  3. Using a #7 tip, a connector and a resealable bag, outline your treats with white icing, leaving no gaps or your icing will run.
  4. Melt a small bowl of white, yellow and orange icing (one at a time) in eight second intervals. Carefully spoon the icing into the sections and pull icing to the corners with a toothpick. You want your icing warm, but not too hot and soupy or it will remelt your marshmallows. 
  5. Allow treats to dry completely before inserting them into cello bags.

I also served dairy free licorice, candy corn inspired pretzels sticks (made with tinted “real” milk chocolate so I’ll share those in a separate post) and my little guy’s favorite, gummy worms. My oldest will eat anything sweet so I knew he was covered! {wink}

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As for decorations, instead of using my cupcake picks in the actual cupcakes, I hung them from tree branches to create a dramatic and tall centerpiece (you all know how much I love height on a table!).

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And filled the glass apothecary jar, turned vase, with what else… candy corn!  You’ll notice that candy corn was also the fillers for the rice krispie treat bowl and the pretzel jar. Inexpensive and bright, just my style!

I can’t let you go without pointing out the crepe trim on the cake plate (shown in the first and third images). I just made tiny folds back and forth to give it a ruffled look and then attached it to my square cake plate with just a drop of hot glue here and there. It looked lovely, only took minutes and came right off with a light tug.

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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free Halloween printable!

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 I’m very excited to announce that I’m giving away a little Halloween fun today!

My sinister sister printables collection offers four face choices (smiling & snarling), two hat choices and two cupcake wrappers. I personally love these and hope you will too by allowing them to grace your dessert tables, school functions or just be part of some family fun!  (By the way, I attached the hats with a small foam adhesive square for a little 3-D effect!)

If you think these are fun I would love for you to leave me a comment, join me on facebook and/or twitter! I’ve got much more holiday inspiration planned and even a few freebies along the way and I don’t want you to miss out! Now, download your free printable and since nothing lasts forever, go tell everyone! These girls go back into the shoppe Monday, November 1, for next year! And if you get the chance to use them, please send me photos. I would love to see your creativity and may even feature a few here! 

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Plus, the entire Candy Corn Halloween printable collection is 50% off through Halloween! Happy Friday everyone!

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DIY fabric fall wreath

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It doesn’t get any easier than this: a DIY no-sew fabric wreath. All you need are two to three fabrics of your choice cut into 3″x3″ squares, a straw wreath (available at any craft store) and a screw driver.

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And if you want, a little quick embellishment!

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This is how you do it. Just place your fabric square, right side out, on the tip of a screwdriver (a flathead would be best so that it doesn’t puncture your material) and push it gently into your wreath. It’s that simple. And this idea isn’t just great for holidays, it could be perfect for birthday parties, baby showers, any occasion that brings guests to your front door.

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And maybe even punch up the entry way with a coordinating, but not matchy matchy throw pillow. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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simple spray painted pumpkins

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This weekend was beautiful and we packed each day with baking new Halloween treats (some dairy free for us moms who deal with food allergies), decorating pumpkins (the super easy way) and spending time with some great friends. 

I’ll share the treats soon, but I wanted to start with the pumpkins. I’ve never been much for cleaning out pumpkins. It’s messy and in Ohio some years it can just be down right cold. Long story short, I look for alternatives. This year we thought we would go the super easy route and just spray paint the pumpkins so that the kids could help (at least a little; it’s too toxic for them without a mask and taking breaks every 30 seconds or so).

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I started by going to Better Homes and Gardens and letting the boys select their own template. My oldest chose a Frankenstein stencil and my youngest chose a spooky skeleton stencil. (We also made a “Enter if you DARE” stencil with a cricut and circle punch.) Next we cut out the stencils and attached them to the pumpkins. For the Frankenstein pumpkin and Enter if you DARE pumpkins we wanted a menacing effect so we just attached the stencils with hot glue, leaving the edges up so that some of the paint would get in around the stencil. For the spooky pumpkin we wanted harder lines so we covered the area with painters tape, attached the template and then I trimmed it out with a straight edge.

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Using a piece of burlap to protect the grass, we lightly sprayed both pumpkins with a constant back-and-forth motion, allowed them to dry and then peeled off the stencils.

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The entire process took about an hour and the boys were thrilled with the outcome!

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new farmers market printables

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My “on the farm” birthday party collection continues to be one of my personal favorites (I know some of you likely think I say that about all of them, and to some degree you’d be right, but this one is really close to the top of the list!) so when we started talking about adding to some collections, I knew that I wanted to create the printables to style a farmers market dessert table.

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With our new collection you can set the stage for your little farmer with our farmers market mat. I framed it in a simple rustic wooden frame I found at Target for $2 and then hot glued a wide piece of yellow ribbon to the back to hang it from. It could easily hang on the fence or on the back of a fun red wagon. Next we strung our red and yellow gingham animal banner on twine from the home improvement store (a touch of hot glue and you’re done).

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Once you’ve selected all the goodies your little farmer and all his farm hands might love, gather up some rustic containers, like garden gathering baskets, galvanized containers and mason jars, from around the house and print your treats out on our dessert table tags. The printable comes with two sheets of pre filled candy names and one blank sheet. The first pre filled sheet includes: cow tails, kettle korn, milk duds,

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peanuts, and

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oink! moo! baa! for our new on the farm butter cookie collection that brings our paper designs to life in sugar. (Baked, hand iced and shipped via our fabulous partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage.)

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In addition to the yummy cutouts, we’re also going to offer cookie rounds topped with our fun animal characters printed onto edible sugar paper. Trust me, they are iced with buttercream and they are delish!

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 Okay I’m going to tell my age here, but when I was really young {wink} my grandmother’s pharmacy still had a malt shop counter in it. There was of course tons of candy and these little sugar sticks fit right in. So for this new collection we created a “olde fashion stick candy” mat (perfect fit for a 4×6 frame) and displayed it on a mini unfinished wood easel.

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The second prefilled dessert tag sheet that I mentioned above has common flavor names like blueberry, tuti-fruity, cotton candy, root beer,  raspberry, watermelon, licorice and lemonade (great names for putting the real thing on your dessert table too!).

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These little guys are part of the current collection, along with the custom print invitation, table decor, printable napkin rings and printable “thanks y’all” tags, but they were too cute not to share again.

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But these cello toppers are new and a perfect way to wrap up favors to go.

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And what is a farmers market without lemonade?!

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So we created a lemonade mat and

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straw slips in five designs.

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We also created “moo!” tags so you can promote healthy drinks like chocolate and strawberry milk {twitch of the mouth}.

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Actually, the sheet does include a generic “moo” milk that you could use for white milk and an orange juice tag too.  {We do try!}

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Or you could just serve up a little “well water.” Good farms must have a natural water source nearby!

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No natural spring on the property, no worries. We created two additional wrappers to go with the beverage printable set (all three for $3.50), a generic animal wrapper and a larger “moo milk” wrapper.

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And I couldn’t resist creating a photo mat for all you moms that might want to show off your little farmer on his or her big day. I have the perfect picture of my youngest: cowboy hat and a serious “I’m a big boy!” expression.

Shop all of these items, the invitation and thank you notes in the shoppe!

And 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!), 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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customer: princess Ava

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Little Ava turned four a few weeks ago and her mom, Suzy, made sure she was treated like a princess!

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Don’t you just love the DIY ribbon topiary? Suzy made two of them! And did you notice the “A” and the “4” woven into each?

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The color palette didn’t stop at the dessert table. Suzy adorned her guest tables with pink and green polka dot table decor from my princess collection, edible centerpieces and tulle chair wraps. Just lovely!

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Here’s another look at this beautiful table showing off the fun crown favors.

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Thanks for allowing us to share your little one’s party Suzy! And thanks to Amy & Bri of Savvy Moms Guide, good friends of Suzy’s, for blogging about the big day and sending it our way!

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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apple pie pops

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As all of you know, I’m a huge Better Homes & Gardens fan. Well when Dina from the Buttercream blog posted this beautiful pictorial (and this is only half of it) of the smart and yummy treat shown in the September 2010 issue of BHG (page 28 with recipe on page 212), I just knew I had to share.  

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These beauties, along with my “harvest” collection, will grace my Thanksgiving kids table this year, but likely as the BHG leaf version since I already own that cookie cutter. {wink} Happy Monday everyone!

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real parties: a fairy tea

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Elizabeth from Stix n Pops shared her daughter’s fairy princess tea party with us a few weeks ago. These are only a few of the fabulous details. Elizabeth is a talented baker (she made the cake and the Stix n Pops above, of course), plus she’s a crafter.

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 I love the detailing on this cake,  

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just look at the mushrooms, tiny flowers, leaves… and on and on. Fabulous job Elizabeth!

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Not only was this party full of beautiful food, there were fairy costume favors and these little jars of fairy dust (so clever!)

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And have a look at this beautiful birthday girl! Just darling! Make sure and hop over to Stix n Pops for all the details (and about 30 more pics) of the big day.

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