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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off to meet Martha Stewart

The day is finally here! Today I am traveling to the Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia headquarters to attend a two-day Dreamers Into Doers event. I was honored as a Martha Stewart Doer back in November and have been eagerly awaiting this trip ever since.

Day one will be filled with meeting many of the Martha Stewart editors in various business related workshops and day two will be filled with attending a Martha Stewart Show taping and a few more business sessions. And on top of the fabulous agenda for the two-day event (thanks Caitlin!), I get to meet a number of smart and talented women business owners from around the country. I can’t express my excitement in words!

Stay tuned later this week for all the details of my trip here, on facebook and on twitter. Happy Monday everyone!

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half birthday cupcakes

I mentioned a few days ago that my little guy, who is a June birthday, would be celebrating his “half” birthday at preschool this week since all the winter birthday kiddos get to bring in snacks and celebrate during the school year. I think it’s really a nice gesture on his teacher’s part (thanks Mrs. England!). So although I found some wonderful allergy-free ideas (my little guy has a severe dairy allergy), I decided to go with what I knew his friends would like… cupcakes.

But then I was at a loss. I kept asking what “theme” he might want on his cupcakes and he just wasn’t excited about anything (something we’ll have to work hard on by his next birthday since I’m not sure what will beat his dino-roar party in the eyes of this dinosaur loving boy!). So at the end of the day I got silly. {wink}

He and all his little buddies got a cupcake and a half, or better a cupcake and a mini cupcake. His cupcake had the number four in his favorite color, blue (ooohhhh, these cupcake wrappers would go great with our deep blue sea collection too), on the large cupcake and his small cupcake was the half symbol (it still makes me smile!). And all his little friends got two cupcakes too. I’m sure the moms were loving me that afternoon!

The dots and the numbers were just fondant and I promise if you can use a cookie cutter you can make these yourself. You can find white fondant in the baking section of your craft store and I recommend gel food coloring if you want to tint it (it stains your hands so use a resealable plastic bag over your hands to massage in the food coloring). Just tint, roll it out like cookie dough, cut out your shapes and ta-da you have adorable cupcakes! By the way, for dairy free cupcakes, I used Classic Yellow Duncan Hines cake mix (with apple sauce in place of oil… just my preference) and Pillsbury’s chocolate and dark chocolate icing (that’s right, no dairy!).

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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allergy-free AND yummy

Do you remember the kids in school that were lucky enough to be born in the summer so they got to have pool parties and outdoor adventures? Well I wasn’t one of those kids. My birthday is in February and although I grew up in the South, it was still too cold for any extended amount of time outdoors. That said, my boys are those lucky kids! But being born in the summer does have its disadvantages. You miss out on the classroom party that all the winter kids get. I know… I would much rather have the pool party in the summer too!

To make a really long story short, my youngest is celebrating his “half birthday” in preschool this week. Yep, half birthday. Sooooo, I’m on the hunt for some yummy allergy free goodies (my son suffers from a severe dairy allergy, plus he can’t have nuts for now either) to make. I may go with the good ole cupcake, but we’ll see. In the meantime, these are a few of the fabulous things I found!

And although I might not make them for the big “half birthday,” these nut-free granola bars posted by Brooklyn Supper for Babble’s Family Kitchen will be a yummy snack for the everyday!

If you have little ones who suffer and have a wonderful recipe to share I’d love to hear about it. You can find me on facebook and twitter!

As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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introducing Tree House

We created and shot our new Tree House collection (a look at the storyboard) back in late October. With beautiful Ohio foliage as a backdrop and a crisp cool breeze, there was no need to ask the kids to play together. It just happened so naturally and the day turned into a real playdate. I think they barely noticed us.

They picked wild flowers, giggled into tin can phones, snacked on goodies and played hide-and-seek. They truly had a good time, which of course made our jobs so much easier.

This collection offers invitations, thank you cards, as well as all the coordinating printable party supplies for a fabulous birthday party, or even a playdate. Who says playdates can’t be dressed up a bit, especially when your little one’s birthday is in the winter and they never get outdoor parties?! I was born in February so I know what I’m talking about! {wink}

I think the thing I love best about this collection is our tag message, “Come out and play.” It cuts across genders and age ranges and offers a theme, but with endless possibilities. It’s so perfect for a backyard bash AND for jazzing up those boring blank rooms that the indoor playhouse companies give you to serve cake to your guests (which by the way was a friend’s original request that brought this collection into being). 

The gable box lunches help make the hostess’ life a bit easier too. Pack individual lunches (mini PB&J bagel sandwiches, apple slices, mini water bottle and maybe a cookie) for each guest and arrange them on a small table. Food is taken care of! If you have a large group in the outdoors consider telling everyone to bring a picnic blanket or set out a few of your own in a basket for guests to select from. (Note: The gable box wrappers are the only items in the collection that require 11×14 paper, but you could print just the center on 8.5×11 and apply only to the front of your gable box.)

To complement the lunch box we designed beverage wrappers (two designs, kite and tree house) that also doubled as our wrappers for the tin can crayon holder, but are also perfect as large flat napkin rings. Other printable items include dessert/food labels, favor tags (shown below), banner, as well as large die cuts of the kite, clouds and “kids only” sign. Plus, those mini-flags are actually our straw slips. They’re perfect for embellishing sandwiches and wrapping around straws to help little guests remember which cup is theirs.

I’m really proud of our cupcake wrappers and picks. I added a tail to my kite cupcakes using a bit of white floral wire (for stiffness) and tiny bow tie shapes cut from the straw slips. In addition to cupcakes we also made no-bake cookies, calling them “mud pies,” and Reese’s Cup s ‘mores. Oh my they were good!

 

And for favors, the collection offers tree house cello toppers and kite favor tags, plus fabulous cookies from our partners at Sweet Tooth Cottage bakery. What better way to send your guests home than with a yummy, and beautiful, cookie to remember you by! The collection offers cutouts (tree houses, kites and “kids only” planks) and sugar paper rounds (tree house in green and kite in blue) baked and shipped directly from the bakery. And if your kiddos have food allergies or you just like to bake, you can buy the printed sugar paper sheets and make your own.  

You can find the entire Tree House collection, including the cookies, in our shoppe. And I just want to thank Amy Atlas Events for sharing the first images of this new collection in her post on Friday. As always, I hope you’re inspired!

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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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