Tuesday, July 27, 2010
I found bumblebee wings for she and her older sister at the Dollar Store... scored sweet knit butterfly clippies for a next to nothing sale off Etsy... found ADORABLE butterfly visors as favors for 15 CENTS a piece at The Children's Place (for the girls) along with grow bug capsules out of the Target Dollar Spot (for the boys)... made bug catchers from throw away tupperware on the cheap (just stuck some moss in the bottoms) and sent the littles on their way to look for scads of bugs collected from Michaels and Target dollar aisles.
It's all just part of the fun, which is exactly what I had when decorating the main table for the birthday girl and 17 small guests!
We were at your standard picnic shelter, so I simply pulled two long tables to the middle. My "tablecloth" was nothing more than a roll of wrapping paper ($2.99 at Target), which just so happened to match the invites (dressed up blank note cards from Target as well). I secured the paper with black duct tape, which we definitely needed on what turned out to be an atypical breezy July morning.
The centerpieces were glass jars straight out of my recycling bin! The party's main colors were black and white accented by lots of primary colors, so I found the perfect buggy paper at the Hobby Lobby.
I wrapped the paper around each glass jar and hot glued it in place. There was a gap between the paper and the jar's opening, so I filled it with more black and white tissue paper ($1.99 from, you guessed it, Target). I stuffed these great bug pinwheels ($1.50 at the Family Dollar) in the two taller ones and some fake gerbera daisies (from home) in the others.
They still needed a little something extra so I stamped "M's" on paper and used tiny clothespins to keep them in place. I have one of these letter stamps for each of the girls, which I found at a scrapbook discount store, and I can't tell you how many times I use them for a cheap way to personalize stationary and the like.
Lately I've been in the mood to "invest" in some essentials that can be used party after party like the red hamburger baskets found here ($1.00 for four from the Target Dollar Spot).
A little more of the tissue paper allowed me to fill them with snacks of the buggiest variety! :) Some coconut dyed green for grass, an oreo and pretzel spider, butterfly and flower crackers, fruit salad, ants on a log, and fruit leather. Some lemonade "nectar" with twirly straws ($1.00 for twelve at the Target Dollar Spot) finished off the set-up along with some primary colored napkins (right now 50% off at Target making them like 75 cents).
Once the guests arrived they went to play at the park next to our shelter. It was fun to call them over and have each little place all set up and ready to go as they climbed up to the tables. I did the same thing once they finished the bug hunt with their "dirt cup" desserts. The cups with lids were another "investment" at $1.50 for four from Big Lots... I'll for sure use these for parties, playdates, and all kinds of other gatherings.
Simply layer chocolate pudding, then crushed Oreos, then a gummy worm on top... easy and fun to eat!
Best of all, this bug-loving birthday girl had a blast.
And I admit that I did too, even if it means she really is (sigh) TWO years old already!
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Details to come,
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
And one of my favorite summer experiments so far has been a combination of watermelon and lime. An unbeatable duo.
8 cups cubed watermelon (seeds removed) or 1 qt. watermelon juice
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 cup sugar
Put half of the watermelon cubes in a blender and pulse until smooth. Strain through a mesh sieve over a large bowl and get rid of the solid stuff. Keep going until you have finished all the cubes. Add lime juice and sugar and stir until all the sugar is dissolved. You may need to add more sugar to taste. Best when nice and chilled.
Which means that it's good for drinking...
And good for homemade popsicles, especially after a long evening walk...
I'm going to miss these watermelon days when they're gone!
Friday, July 16, 2010
With all the fresh berries in season this time of year-- blueberries, blackberries, strawberries-- I went on a hunt for the perfect, easy muffin recipe. I tweaked a little here and added a little there until... mmm. I think I've made these just about every week.
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp. aluminum free baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup canola oil
1/2 cup milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla
And the stars...
1 1/2 cups fresh berries
Mix all ingredients together... gently folding in the berries last. Bake at 350 degrees in a greased muffin tin for about 20 minutes (make approximately 1 dozen muffins). For a little something extra, sprinkle a pinch of extra sugar on the tops BEFORE baking... Sugar in the Raw works great for this!
Don't be surprised if those Strawberry Shortcake loving girls turn princess on you and decide the muffins make the perfect main course for a picnic/tea party/lunch.
Yep... berry good. :)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Well, wanna know what is NOT adorable? When it gets stained by one of those poop-up-the-back numbers. Nope, not cute at all!
For all those who may not know this sunshiny trick, have I got some glorious news for you! To get out poop stains simply rinse the soiled garment in water and then put it in the sun to dry. Somehow miraculously Mother Nature gets rid of the stain better than any commercial brand stuff ever thought about.
Don't forget to enter the giveaway below for your whatta cuteness. I know you'll love the sweet baby line as much as I do!
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
*1 large Granny Smith apple, cored and cut into 1/8ths
*2 kiwis, peeled
*10-12 strawberries, hulled
*1 tsp. apple jelly
*1 tsp. strawberry jelly
*Graham crackers, for serving
(I always make this recipe with my Tupperware Quick Chef. If you don't own that product or something like it, you can create this dish in a food processor.)
1. Chop apple in Tupperware Quick Chef.
2. Add strawberries and kiwis; chop.
3. Add jellies; mix well.
4. Serve with graham crackers.
That's some sweet summery goodness, right there!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
*1 container basil and tomato feta cheese
*1 can black beans, drained
*1 can yellow corn, drained
*1 red onion, chopped
*1 green onion, chopped
*Tostito Scoops, for serving
*1/2 cup EVOO
*1/2 cup white vinegar
*1/2 cup Splenda
1. Mix dressing ingredients in small sauce pan; heat to boil, then set aside to cool.
2. Mix salsa ingredients in large bowl.
3. Pour cooled dressing over salsa.
4. Serve with Tostito Scoops.
Want a salsa of a sweeter variety? Check back later this week for a super easy Fruit Salsa!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
We talked a little about our country and one thing we learned was that our colors are you know... red, white, and blue. What better way to imprint this forever in little brains than with marshmallow pops!
Simply insert a popsicle or lollipop sticks into a marshmallow... heat about a 1/4 cup chocolate chips in the microwave until soft and able to be stirred... dip the pop in the chocolate and then in some patriotic sprinkles (got ours out of the Target dollar bin!) A messy success...
When they woke up from naps one afternoon they were quite excited to see another red, white, and blue display... sliced strawberries, blueberries, and some whipped cream. They were free to make any kind of "art" they wanted with the supplies. Told you... EASY!
Hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend filled with family, friends, sparklers, good food, and all things... red, white, and blue!