Category : Holidays & Parties

This post is sponsored by Universal Pictures, but all thoughts, opinions, and general villainous fun are our own.

Minons- In Theaters July 10

“Ba-nan-a!” They’re back! The lovable yellow mini villains from the Despicable Me movie series are back with a movie of their own premiering July 10th. Kevin, Stuart and Bob bring us all back to where the Minions began their fun loving, but evil, journey, and we could not be more excited.

All about the movie

The story of Universal Pictures and Illumination Entertainment’s Minions begins at the dawn of time. Starting as single-celled yellow organisms, Minions evolve through the ages, perpetually serving the most despicable of masters. Continuously unsuccessful at keeping these masters — from T. Rex to Napoleon — the Minions find themselves without someone to serve and fall into a deep depression.

But one Minion named Kevin has a plan, and he — alongside teenage rebel Stuart and lovable little Bob — ventures out into the world to find a new evil boss for his brethren to follow.

The trio embarks upon a thrilling journey that ultimately leads them to their next potential master, Scarlet Overkill (Academy Award® winner Sandra Bullock), the world’s first-ever female super-villain. They travel from frigid Antarctica to 1960s New York City, ending in mod London, where they must face their biggest challenge to date: saving all of Minionkind…from annihilation.

Celebrating with a Minions Backyard Bash

How to throw a Minons party

Our children are so excited to see the new movie and we couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate the premier than to throw a party! We decided to hold a fun Minions Backyard Bash to share our excitement with our friends and family. We had a blast planning this Minions themed party, and were so excited to see all the fun themed party decor currently available to help make the party perfectly Minion in every way.

How to throw a Despicable Me Minons party

With temperatures soaring over 100-degrees the day of our party, we knew the challenge was on to provide our guests with refreshing themed beverages and snacks. Bob’s Brew and the Minions Munch were party favorites (see below for recipes), and it didn’t hurt that we had a ton of fun water activities planned for the guests to keep everyone cool for the duration of the Backyard Bash.

Throwing a Minons Party: What you Need

The Minions Backyard Bash really came to life when we found these fun beach balls and Minions beach towels for our guests. Not to mention our excitement when we learned Havaianas makes these super adorable Minions flip flops!

How to throw a Minons party: Scavenger Hunt

The children were so excited to learn that Kevin, Stuart and Bob left them some special treats. Those sneaky Minions didn’t make it easy on them though. The villainous trio left clues for the children around the backyard leading them to their goodie bag treasures.

Minons Crafts using Pool Noodles

The kids loved figuring out each clue together, and were so excited when they found the Minion leading them to the next hint.

Minons Party Theme: Goodie Bags

The final clue lead them to their treasure and those Minions did not disappoint. The goodie bags were Minions shopper totes filled with Minions themed beach ball, towel, sunglasses, and Playdough set.

How to throw a Minons Party

The children were over the moon excited about their new Minions swag, and wasted no time putting it to good use.

The rest of the party, everyone played with the shrink rays the Minions must have left behind during their goodie bag hiding, and throwing water balloons at one another (and an unfortunate mommy or two).

Ultimately the Minions Backyard Bash was a huge success, and everyone could not be more excited to see the movie July 10th.

How to throw a Minons party

Minons recipes to kick-off your party

With the Minions movie premiering this week there is plenty of time to celebrate in the excitement with your little one and your own backyard bash, play date or special afternoon snack. These recipes and craft are easy and help bring a little bit of yellow villain fun to your little one’s day.

How to make Minion Munch

Minion Munch

– Rice Chex cereal
– Pretzels
– Mini marshmallows
– Yellow and blue M&M’s
– Minion Honey Maid Grahams

-Mix all ingredients in large bowl and serve.

Bob’s Brew

– One container of lemonade
– One container of pineapple juice
– 1 cup of water
– 2 tablespoons of lime juice
– 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
– Ice cubes

– Combine all ingredients in large pitcher or punch bowl
– Test and add sugar as needed.
– Add ice cubes to chill and serve.

Make your own Minion

Minon Craft Ideas

– 1 Yellow pool noodle (makes three total Minions)
– 1-1/2 inch blue painters tape
– Black pipe cleaners
– Minion eye printable
– Double sided tape
– Scissors

How to make a Minion from a pool noodle

– Cut pool noodle in six equal sections
– Use roll of painters tape to secure two sections of pool noodle together.
– Cut out desired Minion eye(s).
– Attach one side of Minion eyes to pipe cleaner with double sided tape.
– Wrap pipe cleaner around the pool noodle and attach with double sided tape to the untapped side of eyes.
– Use pipe cleaner to attach hair if desire. Fold and adhere with tape.

How to throw a Minions party

Will you be taking your children to see the Minions Movie premiering July 10th?
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Festive food makes every holiday more fun and these easy 4th of July treats are perfect for the moms that don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen. In fact, these are tasty treats that even your kids will have fun helping you make. Using one simple method, you can create an entire red, white, and blue dessert spread for your holiday gatherings.

Easy 4th of July Treats

Easy 4th of July treat ideas

Lollipop sticks and/or paper straws combined with Rice Crispy Treats and marshmallows make for a super fun dessert and an easy 4th of July treat. Kids love eating food on a stick, so turning these goodies into pops was as simple as 1-2-3 and a no brainier when it came to less-mess eating. Happy kids and minimal clean-up is what we call a win-win!

How to Make Easy Treats for 4th of July

– Colored candy melts
– Sprinkles
– Lollipop sticks and/or paper straws
– Rice Crispy Treats (or other items to dip)

– Melt colored candy melts in the microwave according to directions on the package.
– Immediately, dip the rice crispy treats and add sprinkles.
– Place on waxed paper to cool and harden (approximately 20 mins.).
– Push lollipop sticks or paper straws in one end to create pops.4th of July Treats

Dipped 4th of July Rice Crispy Treats

Get dippin’

With some supplies left over, we also dipped large marshmallows, pretzel rods, ice cream cones, and Oreos to round out our themed dessert offerings. The possibilities are endless though! You could dip and sprinkle just about anything to create easy 4th of July treats.

4th of July Treat Ideas: Dipped Pretzel Sticks

Kid-Friendly Recipes: 4th of July Sweets and Treats

Whether you will spend your Independence Day at the pool, the beach or just at a backyard BBQ, these fun and festive treats are sure to add some fire-cracking fun to your day.

What’s your go-to July 4th treat?
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The countdown to Valentine’s Day is on!

Valentine’s Day is just a couple of weeks away now and between the class parties, the dozens of cards that your kids need to make for their classmates, and trying to book a babysitter so that you can actually celebrate Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart, adding Valentine’s Day gifts for the kids into the mix can end up being the candy heart that breaks the mother’s back.

!0 Valentine's Day Gifts for Kids Under $25

These ten Valentine’s Day gifts for kids are all under $25. You can still order most of them online and they’re sure to make your little valentines smile.

10 Valentine’s Day gifts for kids under $25

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Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Green Toys Pink Race Car
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Green Toys Red Race Care
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Hello Apparel Tee
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Land of Nod Pink Heart Pillow
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Land of Nod Ribbon Twirler
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Pottery Barn Teen Makeup Bag
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Seedlings Pirate Kit
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Stickee Bellies
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Stuck on You Notebooks
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Umbrella
Valentines Day Gifts for Kids- Uncommon Goods Plush Heart

1. Red Race Car & Pink Race Car, Green Toys, $9 each
2. Cupid’s Arrows Tee, Hello Apparel, $22 (adult sizes available too!)
3. Bonjour Throw Pillow, Land of Nod, $19
4. Ribbon Twirler, Land of Nod, $9
5. Sparkle Sequin Beauty Pouch, Pottery Barn Teen, $19
6. Ahoy Mini Pirates Peg People Kit, Seedling, $10
7. Happiest Holidays: Baby’s First Holiday Stickers, Sticky Bellies, $14
8. Monogram Journal, Stuck on You, $25
9. Totes Kids’ Bubble Umbrella, Amazon, $15 (on sale!)
10. Plush Heart, Uncommon Goods, $18

Do you get Valentine’s Day gifts for your kids?
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Create a winter wonderland for your child

First birthday parties are major celebrations, and a winter wonderland party — or Winter ONEderland, if you prefer a play on words — is a fabulous way to celebrate your little one’s first full year. From sparkly snowflakes to cuddly winter animals, winter birthday parties are fun, exciting ways to celebrate with friends and family.

1st birthday party ideas
1st birthday party ideas start with a theme — and invitation

Let people know they’ll be walking into a winter wonderland from the minute they receive their invitation. Whether you plan on creating a sweet and sparkly party or a colorful, festive wonderland, you can find an invitation that sets the mood for the party — and lets everyone know you’ll be celebrating the sweetest snowflake around. We love the faux-chalkboard finish on the Winter ONEderland Invitation, available for personalization (Etsy, $16).

1st birthday party ideas

Dressing for a Winter ONEderland

Photo opportunities abound at a first birthday party, and there’s nothing cuter than a personalized outfit on the birthday boy or girl. The Boys’ First Birthday Outfit is the perfect thing to wear if you plan on doing a smash cake — adorable and machine-washable (Etsy, $27). The Personalized ONEderland Tutu outfit can be worn for cake smashing as well, but the tutu is photogenic enough that you might not want to change the birthday girl (Etsy, $83).

1st birthday party ideas

Make it a pajama party

When the temperature drops, nothing sounds cozier than a warm pair of pajamas — and there’s nothing cuter than babies in their jammies. Brandi, who you can like at Brandi Thompson Photography, invited guests to come in their pajamas and slippers for her daughter’s first birthday party. The Penguins and Pajamas party featured a gorgeous dessert table and snowflakes galore. Be sure to visit her blog to see all of her ideas, including the wording for the pajama party!

1st birthday party ideas

Make snowflakes sparkle with pretty pastels

The sparkle and glitter of snowflakes lends itself to a beautiful, pastel wonderland. The Winter Wonderland 1st Birthday at Kara’s Party Ideas is a gorgeous party filled with delicate details — and several of them are available in her party shop. The shimmering snowflake cookies and hot cocoa cup cozies are just two of the special 1st birthday party ideas. Be sure to follow Kara’s Party Ideas on Pinterest for some of the most inspiring party boards we’ve seen.

1st birthday party ideas

Winter animals make adorable first birthday guests

Mariah at Giggles Galore put cuddly, winter animals on center stage at her Penguins and Polar Bears Winter ONEderland Birthday Party. If you’re planning a first birthday party that includes kids of all ages, you need to check out the party games she incorporated into the theme of the party — we love the upcycled bowling game! The blue and white color scheme is bright and cheerful, and each of her details are photogenic and fun — follow her on Instagram for more great ideas.

Do you have a favorite party theme?
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December is coming… are you ready?

For families who do Advent calendars, December 1st should be circled on your calendars, in red permanent marker, because that is the day when the fun begins! Hopefully you already have the Advent calendar itself ready-to-go and all you need to do is shop for little gifts to stuff it, but in reality, we know that you’ll be out shopping for your Advent calendar after the kiddos are tucked into bed on November 30th. Here’s 50 ideas to kick-off your Advent calendar gift shopping… and they are all candy-free!

Looking for more great ideas? Take a peek at these Cool gift ideas for girls

50 Ideas for candy-free Advent calendar gifts

Advent Calendar Gifts

Depending on the size of spaces, pockets or envelopes on your Advent calendar, you may need to get creative to make some of these ideas fit well! And, while these ideas are all candy-free, we’re certainly not opposed to grabbing a bag of holiday candy to fill a few days in your Advent calendar — it will help keep your costs down and your kids certainly won’t object!

1. Temporary tattoos (Tattly, $15 for a set of eight)
2. Gold dollar coins (real ones, not chocolate!)
3. Washi tape (Etsy, $3)
4. Kid-friendly lip balm (Poppy Drops, $4)
5. Bouncy balls (Land of Nod, $2)
6. Earrings or stick-on earrings
7. Toothbrushes (the cool ones with characters that you never let them buy)
8. Matchbook cars
9. Puzzle pieces (divide the pieces of a puzzle up so they get a few each day!)
10. Mini-Lego figurines
11. Hairbands and clips
12. Balloons… un-inflated, of course!
13. Flower seed packets
14. Cool glitter pens
15. Bundles of fresh crayons
16. Gift cards with small amounts of money
17. Bandaids
18. Blow-up beach balls
19. Mini-stuffed animals (Cost Plus, $20 for a set of three)
20. DIY coupons for upcoming holiday activities, like making gingerbread houses or going ice skating
21. Disposable cameras (try the underwater versions for the bathtub!)
22. Mini-Christmas light necklaces
23. Holiday cookie cutters
24. Pieces to a LEGO kit (give them a few pieces each day!)
25. Friendship bracelets
26. Christmas postcards
27. Silly Bands
28. Polished rocks
29. Card games, like Go Fish or Old Maid (Land of Nod, $13 for a set of five)
30. Bath tablets that expand into sponges
31. Jacks (Land of Nod, $5)
32. Mini-squirt guns
33. Rainbow Loom bands in holiday colors
34. Tennis balls
35. Kid-friendly nail polishes (PiggyPaint, $9)
36. Personalized pencils (Lillian Vernon, $12)
37. Clues to find a surprise hidden in the house
38. Funky shoelaces (J.Crew Crewcuts, $4)
39. Games for their Nintendo DS
40. Holiday socks
41. Invisible ink pens
42. Fake mustaches (Amazon, $4)
43. Sprinkles for decorating Christmas cookies
44. Coupons for getting out of a chore/bath/vegetable at dinner (Etsy, $5 for the printable file)
45. Paintbrushes
46. Ornaments for the Christmas tree
47. Hot chocolate packets
48. Goodies from the travel-size bins
49. Yo-yos
50. Cash (hey, a dollar bill rolled up with a ribbon goes a pretty long way with kids!)

What are your favorite Advent calendar gifts?
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Choose your Advent calendar style

December 1st is creeping up quickly and that means it’s time to start prepping your advent calendar! No matter how you use it and no matter what your craft-skill level, there’s an advent calendar for you in this bunch — from the extreme DIYs to kits that you can buy from Etsy to pre-made, ready-to-go Advent calendars. Take a peek at the best advent calendars for 2014!

12 Best Advent calendars

Best Advent Calendars

From the top left, going clockwise:

DIY Advent Calendar with Clothespins from Visual Heart 
Higher on the DIY-difficulty scale, this Advent calendar is a holiday project that you’re likely to already  have the supplies around your home! Visual Heart includes a free printable for those sweet little numbers, too.

Little Polar Bears Printable Advent Calendar from French Melody on Etsy
These cute polar bears caught our eye on Etsy and when we discovered that they’re actually a printable that you easily fold into their shape, adding a few Advent goodies as you go, we fell head-over-paws. ($4 to download the printables)

DIY Advent Calendar with Plastic Animals from A Bubbly Life
This is a semi-DIY Advent calendar that will hit two birds with one stone — you’ll end up with a cute and fun Advent calendar for your kids and you’ll use up all of those little animal toys that are filling up their toy bins!

Peace on Earth Advent Calendar from Land of Nod
For an Advent calendar that is ready-to-go, we love this pick from Land of Nod. It’s a great size to hang on the wall and to stuff with little gifts and at $49, you could even pick one up for each kiddo to avoid Advent calendar morning fights about whose turn it is to get the present. We all know those exist!

DIY Customizable Christmas Advent Calendar Kit from Renee Parker Design on Etsy
For moms who are all about the DIY, but who don’t have a spare minute to collect the supplies, grab this Advent calendar kit. It comes with all of the parts and pieces you’ll need, but you can take it from there to create the Advent calendar of your Pinterest dreams. Just be sure to order this kit ASAP… it ships from Australia! ($35 for the kit, plus shipping)

Advent Calendar Kit with Paper Bags from Renna Deluxe on Etsy
Here’s another easy and fun DIY Advent calendar that you can purchase or let inspire you for December. Be sure to get creative with how you arrange your paper bags — try taping them to your wall in the shape of a Christmas tree or hang them from the mantle with ribbon! ($24 for the kid, plus shipping)

Advent Calendar with Coffee Cups from Fishly News
Well, it’s official. We’re obsessed with this DIY Advent calendar made entirely from disposable coffee cups. While this does take some serious crafting time, the results are seriously awesome and those cups are the perfect size for stashing Advent goodies for multiple kiddos. Plus, pretty sure we can drink that many lattes this week alone… you know, for the sake of the project!

Make Your Own Advent Calendar from Crafts Unleashed
This super-sweet Advent calendar will take some time to put together this year, but you’ll be able to use it for holidays to come!

Home Advent Calendar from The Paper Mama
You would never know that this intricate Advent calendar is simply made from paper bags and printables! Grab some lunch bags from your kitchen, print out these pretty (free!) printables and you’re ready to start. (Psst! Don’t miss her entire 50 DIY Days of Holiday Crafts!)

Advent Calendar Kit from Lemon Drop Shop on Etsy
Sometimes, simple is best… especially during the holidays. Each kid includes the striped bags, baker’s twine and labels for an Advent calendar that won’t take you much time to put together, but will still thrill your kids on December 1st.

Rustic Christmas Advent Calendar Kit from Katarina’s Paperie on Etsy
Another Advent calendar kit that’s a little bit pre-made and a little bit DIY, so you can customize your Advent calendar, but without needing to spend a ton of time shopping for supplies.

DIY Toilet Paper Roll Christmas Calendar from Morning Creativity
We spotting this Advent calendar on Etsy, over and over again, and were thrilled to finally track down a link that took us to the original post! Check out the full instructions… you’ll need them!

What’s your Advent calendar style?
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Kid Birthday Party Tips

Real moms share about easy kid birthday parties

If throwing kid birthday parties makes your head spin, this is for you. We’ve chatted with our favorite moms who make party throwing seem effortless and they’ve shared their tips for easy kid birthday parties.

1. Kristin: “Weather permitting, get them outside. One of the best parties we’ve had was a scavenger hunts in our neighborhood business district.”

2. Melissa: “When throwing a birthday bash where there will be babies and toddlers, I like to have a few baby-friendly foods on hand. A basket full of food pouches or apple sauce, a container of puffy cereal, and a fruit cut into tiny bite-sized pieces are all good options.”

3. Shannon: “Blow up a ton of balloons, throw them out in an open area and crank up the music. The kids will do the rest!”

4. Carilyn: “If you’re having the party at your home, try to include an activity that has a start and a finish. Ideally, one in which guests can take their project home. It can double as their party favor!”

5. Margot: “Use an online invitation website, like Evite. The kids can easily see who was (and wasn’t) invited to the party, to avoid hurt feelings. And, moms can easily coordinate carpools!”

6. Jessica: “My tip for easy kid birthday parties is to make sure you never host one in your home… always rent a space!”

7. Christina: “We make paint chip garlands for decorations! They are free (home improvement stores don’t mind if you take a bunch… I’ve asked!) and you can use whatever colors you want. Use a straight line on the sewing machine and you’re ready!”

8. Melissa: “Keep the party short and sweet. And, don’t be afraid to ask parents to stay and help with their own child.”

9. Rachel: “My favorite parties to throw for young kids are early morning, say 10 a.m., serving donuts and orange juice. Easy peasy!”

10. Leora: “Only invite their closest friends to make it more affordable and meaningful. If they all happen to know each other, even better. This way, nobody feels like the third wheel.”

11. Autumn: “Ask a friend to take photos. You will be so busy tending to guests and making sure your kids aren’t handing out gift bags and pouring out bubbles that you won’t get a single snap!”

12. Connie: “Pay for extra teenage helpers!”

13. Angela: “Outsource! A fun day at a gymnastics or crafts studio is the perfect way to let your littles celebrate with something they love… and you can focus on enjoying the day with them.”

14: Lani: “Ditch the party bags filled with little trinkets in exchange for one thing that’s age appropriate and more meaningful. You’ll end up spending the same!”

15. Robin: “Our tip for easy kid birthday parties? Have them during the week, like after school or during the day, if your kids are little.”

16. Allie: “We always open gifts after all of the guest have left. It’s much less stress on the birthday kid, especially if they’re little and don’t understand why they can’t just play with the first gift they open.”

17. Ashley: “Pick a time of day that doesn’t involve a meal. Cake and ice cream are much easier!”

18. Megan: “Don’t spend a ton of time cleaning your house before the party. It’s just going to get dirty again. Quick vacuum, quick bathroom wipe down, put away anything that will break and call it good.”

19. Holly: “Ask parents about kid food allergies when they RSVP, then plan dessert accordingly. It’s much easier than realizing, mid-party, that half of the guests can’t eat the cupcakes you made.”

20. Robyn: “Our best tip for birthday parties is for the parents. Get a keg of the good stuff.”

What’s your best tip for easy kid birthday parties?
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My daughter is currently very much into horses so I knew she would love a horse-themed party for her birthday this year. In all my years of planning birthday parties for my kids I have come to realize that the essentials for planning a party are pretty easy. Here is a list of things you will need for your party:

  • Invitations
  • Party supplies
  • Activity for kids
  • Cake
  • Favors (optional)

Simple, right? So this year I planned her horse birthday party at a horse stable where they teach lessons and have summer camps and are glad to host parties as well.


From Tickled Pink Invitations

If you cannot host your horse-themed party at a horse stables, that is okay too. You can still have fun with other activities such as “Pin the Tail on the Horse” or the coloring pages with horses, along with the super easy craft we did, as seen below.

Fortunately we had a beautiful day for my daughter’s party!

Here are the party supplies she insisted on having since white horses are her favorite!


 From Birthday Direct

I have a friend who is a wonderful baker and cake decorator so I asked her to make this cake. I just adore how it turned out!



While the children waited their turn to ride, I had them decorate their own cowboy or cowgirl hats. I found these at the dollar store and bought some stick-on gems at the craft store. Everyone also left with their decorated hat as their party favor!


If your little one likes horses they will love this theme for their party. Thankfully it is easy to find horse-themed supplies and you could even order some of these inflatable stick horses and have the kids “ride” around on them in the backyard — how fun would that be?

SSM CollageBirthday


Hope you have a great time at your horse party too!


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Fall birthday ideas include apples, hay and tons of fun

Apple orchards and cider mills can be lovely, seasonal locations for fall birthday ideas, but there are some drawbacks. Stay away from cider-seeking bees and long lines by recreating the cider mill experience at home. With the right menu, adorable decor, and games for your fall birthday child, your at-home apple orchard will come to life.

fall birthday party ideas

Welcome guests with a themed banner

Paper products can truly tie together your entire theme, and Etsy is one of the best places to find what you need for your fall birthday party. The Party Pack Special includes a birthday banner, door sign and cupcake toppers (Dream Party Paperie, $50). Personalized décor can truly turn your living room — or backyard, if you live in an area of the country where you’re not yet tempting the weather — into your own version of a fall family favorite outing.

Bob for apples without the germs

Bobbing for apples is a quintessential Halloween party game, but many parents will give pause to a game that involves a bunch of young children diving open-mouthed into a bucket of water to try to clamp the same apple selection between their teeth. Change the game, just a little, and have all the fun without all the cross-contamination. Add magnets to plastic display apples, add them to a cute tin beverage container, and use the poles from a magnetic fishing game to let kids take turns pulling the apples from the bucket. Mark each apple with different numbers to correspond to prize bags.
fall birthday ideas

Go beyond cider and donuts

Even an at-home cider mill should be well-stocked with cider and cider donuts. If possible, purchase the donuts the morning of the party, so the soft, cake-like donuts are as fresh as possible. Popping them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving will offer your guests the authentic feel of fresh cider donuts. For an alternative dessert, try our fabulous Creamy Caramel Apple Pie Parfaits.
fall birthday ideas

Create a photo backdrop

One of the really lovely things about a trip to an orchard are the fantastic photo opportunities. Create a photo backdrop at your at-home orchard, and offer to snap shots of all of your guests. Let parents know they’re welcome to use the backdrop for their own photos as well. Depending on your budget and annual photo needs, there are two ways you can arrange a photo backdrop: purchase a professional one or create your own.

fall photo backdrop

The Hay Stack Halloween Professional Photo Backdrop is a vinyl backdrop printed with baby-safe Latex ink (Etsy, $57). The backdrop can be used indoors or outdoors, so it’s a practical option if you plan on having annual fall parties and want to photograph your kids — and your friends’ kids — with the same backdrop each year.

If you’re not planning to reuse the backdrop for later parties, creating your own simply takes a little bit of planning. Find a solid wall on which to stage your photos, whether it’s a neutral painted wall or the wooden wall of a shed. Purchase a few bales of hay at a landscaping store, opening one and creating a floor of scattered hay while stacking the others. Purchase a few pumpkins and one additional fall accessory. The professional backdrop includes a rope, but other fun fall ideas are a bushel of apples, pot of mums or a favorite stuffed animal. While there will be imperfections with the homemade backdrop, you can get a wider variety of photos by letting kids climb on the hay and interacting with the rest of the display.

For more fall photo ideas, check out our 12 Fall photo props for baby.

Do you prefer to have your birthday parties at home or at another location?


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It’s that time of year again… time to delight your littlest ghosts and goblins with all things Halloween! And what better way to do that than to invite their friends over for a Halloween cupcake decorating party?

With a bit of prep, you can set up this fun, festive playdate that your kids won’t soon forget.

Halloween party


  • Cupcakes (Homemade or store-bought. We’re pretty sure that your kids won’t care either way.)
  • Dark chocolate frosting
  • Orange frosting
  • Sprinkles (We love the multipacks from Wilton. Because kids love options!)
  • Giant-size Hershey Bar (to be broken into squares and used as tombstones
  • A variety of candy Halloween decorations. Look for skeletons, ghosts, pumpkins, etc.
  • Candy corn
  • Marshmallow ghosts (We used Jet Puffed “Ghost Mallows.”)
  • Cupcake travel boxes (one per child)
  • Paper plates
  • Napkins
  • Creative kids

Aside from shopping for supplies and baking the cupcakes (if you go that route), this party is super easy to pull together.

Halloween cupcake decorating party

For our party, I chose to frost the cupcakes before the kids arrived so they could get straight to the good stuff.

Halloween cupcake decorating party

Hershey chocolate

Jet Puffed Ghost Mallows

Set up the plates and frosted cupcakes at one end of your cupcake decorating space and invite the kids to take a cupcake and work their way down the line, decorating as they go.

(If you can get the kids to decorate their cupcakes ON the paper plates as they go along, you’re more likely to contain some of those rogue, messy sprinkles.)

Halloween cupcakes

Halloween cupcake decorating party

See what I mean about those sprinkles? Imagine the mess without a plate!


Halloween cupcakes

Place the cupcake decorating boxes at the other end of the table, so that when the kids make their way to the end, the box is waiting for them. They can deposit their cupcake in their box and go back to the beginning and continue decorating until they’ve filled their to-go boxes!

cupcake box

And it wouldn’t be a party if they couldn’t taste their creations, so keep the napkins handy at the end of the table so they can get right down to the cupcake eating!

Halloween cupcakes

Halloween cupcakes


And once the kids have had one of their cupcakes? Watch out for those chocolately hugs of gratitude!

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