Category : Holidays & Parties

Camping with kids

Camping with kids doesn’t have to involve renting an extra vehicle to haul your gear. Do a camping test run in your backyard to see if your kids are ready for a weekend away. Pitch a tent, create a backyard scavenger hunt and invite a few friends to camp out without leaving your neighborhood.

camping with kids

The benefits of camping at home

A camping test run will help you and your kids feel more comfortable planning a weekend or week-long camping trip. There’s nothing worse than loading up cars and unpacking tents and then realizing there’s no way your kids are ready to spend a weekend outside with the sound of crickets, wind and the unruly college campers at the campsite across from yours. At home, you have control over the amount of time you spend “camping.” Kids can use their own bathroom, and any real fears of sleeping outside can be addressed by returning to a bedroom inside the house.

Backyard camping supplies
  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag/air mattress
  • Water bottles
  • Small cooler with snacks
  • S’mores maker — unless you have a backyard fire pit (Plow & Hearth, $25)
  • Scavenger hunt (Etsy, $7)
  • Play doh
  • Fun sprinkler
  • Bathing suits
  • Sunscreen
  • Change of clothes & pajamas

camping with kids

Don’t stress about the campout

The more fun you can make the camping dry run, the more fun camping with kids can actually be when you do it for real. Try to emphasize that the campout is like a sleepover outside. If you have close family friends or cousins who might want to try camping, too, invite them to share your backyard! Let kids help with their packing, and remember not to overdo it — really, everything you need is only a few feet from your tent.

Focus on the fun

Kids can hold tent stakes or “direct” tent building, but if their attention span wanes, try a little distraction so they don’t wander back inside. Play doh is the perfect camping toy — it’s the one time you don’t have to worry about getting it stuck on your floors! Set up the sprinkler for a while, and guide them in a scavenger hunt around the backyard — create your own or turn to the printable experts at Etsy. At the end of the evening, huddle around a fire pit or set up a s’mores maker for sweet treats and campfire stories — and hopefully start planning a weekend camping trip!

Do you go camping with kids?
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Thinking about throwing a circus-themed party for your big top loving tot? Check out these applause-worthy treats that will leave your crowd wanting more.

Walking the tight rope

This easy DIY cake topper is perfect for any circus themed party — whether it’s for kids or adults. Let the colors pop against the backdrop of vanilla bean frosting. It’s all in the details with this one. Yum!
Photo courtesy of


Clown cupcakes

Gummy worm smiles, fruit cereal hair and licorice eyes. You can’t get any more sweet (or cute) than that. These clown cupcakes are the perfect treat for any circus-loving kid.
Photo courtesy of

Circus peanuts

Peanuts! Get your peanuts here! With all the food allergies out there, it’s probably best to stay away from actual peanuts, so these candy substitutes are just the right choice.
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Dumb bell pops

Chocolate-dipped marshmallows and candy straws make up these strongman dumbbells. Use piped frosting to mark each one with its weight.
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Personalized animal crackers

Animal crackers. These perfectly portable packs of cookies are too cute not to include in a circus-themed spread. What could make them better? Personalizing them with the name of the birthday boy or girl.
Photo courtesy of

Colorful cotton candy

What circus would be complete without cotton candy? Cute striped boxes are filled with colorful spun sugar. Finish each one off with an “admit one” ticket for the full affect.
Photo courtesy of

Pretty pachyderms

The big top wouldn’t be the same without elephants. Bring these majestic animals — only smaller — to life at your party. Chocolate molds, melting chocolate and lollipop sticks are all you need.
Photo courtesy of Rosebud Chocolates on

Polka dot cookies

While we’re on the elephant tip, let’s get a little crazy with the polka dot kind. These bite-sized cookies are so pretty, they serve as great decorations as well.
Photo courtesy of  Sugar Me Desserterie on

SocialCircus LeaderboardThis is a sponsored post in conjunction with the online #SocialCircus Event

Moms, what treats would you serve up at a circus party?
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Circus birthday party

Hosting an adorable circus-themed first birthday party for your child is a definite way to ensure that fun will be had by all! For us moms (and dads!) hosting birthday parties and choosing the right theme can be stressful, but a circus-inspired party can be so simple to pull off. From carnival treats and snacks to colourful banners and cupcake wrappers, I’ve found the perfect items for your little one’s first birthday bash.

I’m always a fan of easy-to-throw-together parties. Anything that’s easy on the parents and exciting for the kids gets a big giant A in my book. Putting together a circus-themed party with the sweet-as-candy supplies I’ve featured will be not only easy but will be guaranteed fun for your little one and his/her friends. What child doesn’t love fun, vibrant decorations and delicious food?

The invites

Circus-themed invitations

I love all of these fun invitations. They are bright and unique, as well as gender-neutral, which is a plus.

1. Blaze birthday party invitations 2. Ticket invitation 3. Vintage circus invitation 4. Circus birthday invitation

The decor

Circus party decor


All you need for foolproof big-top decor is vibrant colours, great printables and some other odds and ends that can create that carnival feel. Try serving drinks in old glass milk bottles, and drape festive banners around the party space to add circus appeal to every corner of the room!

1. Circus high chair decorations  2. Picture props 3. Carnival birthday party 4. Cupcake wrappers 5. Polka dot balloons 6. Circus decoration ideas

The menu

Circus party food ideas


The food for your party should be simple and fun for the little ones. Believe it or not this can be done! Ice the cake in whimsical colours. Lollipops and popcorn are easy no-brainers, and using old apothecary jars filled with candy and treats are easy ways to add to the effect.

1. Circus-themed party food 2. Retro popcorn boxes 3. Snacks and treats 4. Circus treats and decor 5. Popcorn-shaped marshmallows

What do you think of the circus theme for a first birthday party? How would you incorporate the circus into your little one’s big day?



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Bagels, eggs, champagne, bacon. We’ve all seen these staples at Easter morning brunch. But where’s the punch? Where’s the fun? These recipes are sure to amp up appetites and kick Easter brunch up a notch — from fun to fantastic.

Banana Almond Croissant Bread Pudding

I love all these words. Love them. How could you go wrong? The only way it could be better, maybe, is with chocolate. But why mess with perfection. This recipe is easy to follow, but it will look like you spent hours in the kitchen.

Photo courtesy of

Updated Eggs in a Basket

Eggs in a hole are so old school, but this recipe takes them to a new place. Whether you wrap your eggs in philo dough or in a popover, these savory treats will go fast.

Photo courtesy of


It’s the Bees Knees

Tired of mimosas? Looking for something a little…stronger? Yep, us too. This cocktail is full of springtime flavor with fresh juices, honey and gold rum. Who’s ready for another round?

Photo and recipe courtesy of
Bunny Bottom Pancakes Recipe

And Something for the Kids

These bunny bottom pancakes will make kids squeal with delight. The added dollop of whipped cream and fresh berries may have them asking for seconds.

Photo courtesy of


French Toast Shots

French toast can be messy, especially when you are serving things up family style. These cute French toast sticks are nestled in their own shot glass of syrup. They’re dunkable and totally delicious.

Photo courtesy of


Bacon Pancakes

Everything is better with bacon. That includes these pancakes. You can make these ahead of schedule and warm in the oven right before serving time. Once you have one, you’ll want another so make plenty.

Photo courtesy of


Moms, what are you serving for Sunday brunch?
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Easter table
Spread out to the kids’ table

Large holiday gatherings often mean creative seating options — like kids’ tables. Just because you don’t want your smallest guests eating from your special occasion china doesn’t mean they can’t have a fancy table, too. Designing a fun Easter table for kids will let them know how special you think they are.

Elements of an Easter table

Table elements can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like, but a few pieces really work together for a cohesive look.

  • A centerpiece
  • Place cards
  • Festive plates
  • Napkins
  • A little treat
Easter table
Start with a centerpiece

A centerpiece helps ground the table. Once you choose your Easter centerpiece, you can find other pieces that complement it. The Easter Peeps Centerpiece is an adorable choice for a kids’ table (Taste of Home). The rest of the elements on the table can draw from either the colors in the centerpiece — pinks and yellows in this case — or the design elements of the Peep bunnies.

Easter table

Use place cards to stop arguments

Kids’ feelings can be easily hurt by a favorite cousin choosing a seat across the table. Place cards are an easy way to focus attention on their personal seat and not on who is sitting next to them. The Easter Egg Place Card Holder set is a simple and colorful way to incorporate the egg design from the centerpiece (Etsy, Table and Wreath Lady, $6 for 4).

Easter table

Find festive plates

Stores are filled with adorable Easter-themed paper plates, but if you host holidays frequently, melamine is another option. Plastic plates mean you don’t need to worry about china breaking at the hands of your littlest guests, but you can use the plates year after year. Touchstone has adorable Pastel Melamine Plates with a sweet ruffled edge that mimics the look of traditional picnic plates in the durability of melamine (Touchstone, $29 for 4). The polka-dots are a fun touch, and the colors make them appropriate for a wide variety of occasions.

Easter table

Don’t scrimp on napkins

When it comes to kids and napkins, it’s always useful to have extra on hand. From spilled drinks to smeared butter, all sorts of messes happen at the kids’ table. Buy more paper napkins than you expect to need — you can use them for the next month if you don’t need them all. The Easter Egg Buffet Napkins boast beautifully decorated eggs in coordinating colors (Pier One, $6).

Easter table

Add a little treat

Holiday menus always include something sweet, and the kids’ table shouldn’t be exempt from a bit of sugary sweetness. If you worry the kids will fill up on candy or cookies before eating their meals, keep the treats out of sight in the kitchen until they’ve eaten a sufficient amount of real food. When they’re ready for treats, try the Scalloped Bucket Treat Containers (Pottery Barn Kids, $17 for 4). If their Easter baskets were already filled with candy, try personalized Easter Egg Sugar Cookies instead (Etsy, Lovin Oven Cookies, $38 for 12).

For more adorable Easter ideas, follow Easter.Chicks.Bunnies from Savvy Sassy Moms on Pinterest.
Does your family do a kids’ table at holidays?
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Strawberry acai smoothie for kids.Smoothies are big in our family. We can’t get enough of them. But I have always disliked how my blender often leaves big chunks of the frozen fruit we use. Those chunks seem to be too much for my regular old blender to handle… which is why I am ecstatic over my new Ninja blender. Those blades are no joke (just ask my thumb that almost required stitches on my first attempt using it…total user error, by the way, I do not blame the blender) and there is so much power in this machine. Smooth smoothies. What a novel idea.

Strawberries and acai makes a smoothie kids will love.Strawberry acai

I have been in love with acai lately. If you haven’t had it, acai reminds me of a citrusy berry. These acai packets are awesome because they come in the freezer and are in single serve pouches. They are super easy to use with no measuring required. Mix that with some fresh fruit and a little yogurt and you’ve got a smoothie my kids freak out about.

These Ninja Blender blades are sharp and make great smoothies.Use frozen fruit — it’s always fresh!

It is really hard to keep fresh fruit in the house, especially strawberries. They seem to go bad so quickly. But you can always find a bag of frozen berries in our freezer. These crazy awesome extra blades (removable so you only use them when you need to) make getting through harder chunks (like frozen berries or ice cubes) a breeze.

The Ninja Blender is awesome for making smoothies and other recipes.Since I was using fresh berries and my acai packet was pretty thawed, I didn’t need to use the extra blade in the Ninja for this smoothie.

Kid's love these strawberry and acai smoothies.I was super impressed with the power this blender has. It made the smoothie so fast and even with out the extra blades, got the smoothie really silky. And while I have always been partial to glass blenders, this Ninja blender jar makes me feel like I work in a juice shop.  It feels indestructable and I absolutely loved it.

The Ninja Blender can create individual sized smoothies.Ninja has cool accessories

The other cool part about this blender is that it came with three individual-sized smoothie mugs and the blade attachment to use with them. So great, right? Especially since my kids usually like their smoothies made with different ingredients (one prefers orange juice in theirs the other likes apple).

LOVE that the Ninja Blender comes with to-go smoothie cups.Once the smoothie is made you just pop on the to-go lid and you can drink the smoothie right from this cup. Genius! I can tell you with 100 percent certainty that I will be getting rid of my old blender. This Ninja now sits on the kitchen counter next to my coffee maker so we can easily make smoothies for breakfast or snacks. I bet this thing would even make a great little shake for dessert. I’m going to have to try some out…

Strawberry Acai Smoothie Recipe

1/2 cup strawberries

1 banana

1/4 cup plain yogurt

1 frozen acai packet (sold in the freezer section of most stores — these are great to buy from Costco)

1 cup ice (skip the ice if you are using frozen berries)

Add all ingredients to the Ninja blender. Follow the directions sent along with the Ninja blender to ensure optimal blending and running of the machine (ie. start on a low speed and gradually move to a higher speed). Blend to desired consistency.


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kids' snack mixA make-your-own kids’ snack mix bar is the perfect solution to boring snacks. This is perfect to set out for a play date or any other snack time. It helps get your kids involved in what they are eating and is a great way to start helping them learn about foods and a healthier diet. 

Grab some yummy and healthy options and let your kids make them in to a snack mixSnack mixes can be sweet or savory

Simply set out some of your kid’s favorite snacks and mix in some healthier options too. They are free to pick and choose and create a mix that is specific to their likes. While some cereals are super sugary, others have more health benefits. Mixing them in with things like dark chocolate and  dried fruits helps them to be more appealing to the kids. Don’t forget to add in some salty snacks too.  Pretzels and seeds add great crunch and bring a savory counterpart to the sweeter options.

The possibilities for these snack mixes are virtually endless. Cutting up fresh fruit and mixing it with dark chocolate and seeds would be a super yummy way to get your child to eat more fresh fruit.  Looking to get your kid to stop eating gummy snacks? Dried fruit is naturally sweet and chewy without all the chemicals. These are also a great way to introduce newer tastes to your kids, like coconut.

Let kids mix up their own snack mixes for after school or any time.Get kids involved in food prep

This doesn’t take much effort on your part and it gets the kids involved in snack time. I have found that when my kids help to make their snack, they are more likely to actually eat it.  You can have the kids make their snack one snack at a time or make a bunch and keep it in  a labeled mason jar for several snacks.

DIY kid's snack mix they can make themselves.Trust me, kids love to make their own snack mixes.  This is also a great food idea for your next kid’s party!

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Red Velvet has become a national favorite, hasn’t it?  I think most kids still aren’t familiar with it, however.  These Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies are the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.  Made from a boxed cake mix, the cookies couldn’t be easier to make.  And with a little jazzing up by some holiday themed sprinkles, your kids will have a special treat they won’t soon forget.

Grab your favorite Red Velvet boxed cake mix.  The recipe is modified just a little to make them more like cookies.  You do not want an over moist cookie when you are making it in to a sandwich.

mix-cake-mix-and-butter-for-red-velvet-cookiesMix the ingredients together.  And note that red velvet gets its coloring from food coloring…which means when your kids eat these, their tongues and sometimes teeth will turn red.  They will freak out about this.  In a good way.

Make Red Velvet cookies from a cake mixThere really is no good way to show a log of cookie dough, is there?  Once you make the dough, you roll it in a piece of waxed paper and then again in plastic wrap.  Put it in the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour but overnight works too if you want to make the dough ahead of time.  When ready, unwrap the dough and cut in to even slices, approximately 1/4″ thick.

Red Velvet cookies from a cake mixLet the cookies cool completely.

Create sandwich cookies for a fun treatAnd then you are ready to make the cookies in to sandwiches.  Use store bought frosting in your favorite flavor.  I used a cream cheese flavored frosting because that is typically what is served with red velvet.  But I have no doubt that vanilla would work too.

Make sandwich cookies from a boxed mixPlace frosting on the bottom side of your first cookie.

Red Velvet sandwich cookiesAdd your second cookie and squeeze gently.  You want to make sure the cookies stick together but also that there is a little bit of frosting “overhang” so the sprinkles will stick.

red velvet sandwich cookies with cream cheese frostingThese cookies are super easy to make, totally delicious and will make your kid’s eyes light up.

red velvet cake mix cookie sandwichesOf course you can make these any time of year but these Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies are the perfect treat for Valentine’s Day.

Red Velvet Sandwich Cookies

1 Box Red Velvet Cake Mix (I used Duncan Hines)

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup butter (melted)

1 can store-bought frosting (flavor is up to you)


Melt the 1/2 cup of butter and then let sit to cool for a few minutes.  Place mix, egg, cooled melted butter and vanilla in a mixing bowl.  Mix by hand until well blended.  Form the dough in to a 12″ log on waxed paper.  Do your best to make sure the log is even from end to end.  Wrap with waxed paper and then wrap again in plastic wrap.  Put the log in the refrigerator for at least an hour or overnight.

When ready to bake the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Take the dough out of the refrigerator and unwrap.  Slice the dough evenly in approximately 1/4″ sections.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet about 2″ apart from each other.  Bake in the center of the oven for about 10 – 12 minutes.  Let cool on baking sheet for about 1 minute and then move to wire racks to cool completely.

Once cookies are cooled, spread some frosting on the bottom of one cookie, making sure it reaches to the edge.  Add a second cookie and squeeze gently.  Dip edges with exposed frosting in the sprinkles.

Eat and enjoy.


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Easy wire heart craft for kidsFun heart craft for kids!

Hearts are great all year long but they are the best at Valentine’s Day. This easy heart kid craft is the perfect thing for you to make with your family this holiday. These do require a small amount of adult help making it a great family bonding experience. My family likes to craft with a little music on in the background so put together a love themed playlist and get crafting!

Supplies for wire and straw heartsDirections

Grab a package of colorful straws (this package was from Ikea and very inexpensive), adult and kid-sized scissors and some craft or floral wire. You will also need string if you decide you want to hang these hearts.

Cut straws for easy heart kid craftStart by having your child cut straws in to small pieces. I found that if I held the straw, it was a bit easier for him to cut through with his kid scissors. But be warned: The straw pieces like to fly once the blade cuts through the second side. It causes giggles from kids AND adults. You can cut all different sizes of the straws to vary the look (just make sure they aren’t too long or they won’t be able to make the curve shape of the top of the heart).

Cut wire to shape in to heartCut a piece of wire that will be shaped in to the heart. I tried these out with various thicknesses of wire. A thin craft wire works just fine. It will hold its shape and be easy to work with. It is easy to find at the craft stores and comes in a lot of different colors.

Shape wire in to heart shape for kid craftShape the wire in to a heart and pinch the bottom to form the “v.”  I found this helped to space the straws. It also helps to keep the straw pieces from sliding right off the other side.

Sting cut straws on to wire to add colorHave your kids thread the cut straw pieces on to the wire. This is fun because they can group like colors or create their own patterns.

Add cut straws for a colorful heartKeep adding the straws until almost all of the wire is full. You want to leave about 1 inch on each side of the top of the heart in order to close the heart and make an easy place to attach string to.

twist wire to close straw heartsTwist the wire from each side of the heart together. Twist it a few times to make sure it stays together. I left some extra to attach string to but you can easily trim it down if you don’t want to see the wire as much. Finish shaping the wire to make it look like a heart.

Easy wire hearts for Valentine's DayAnd there you have it. Super easy wire straw hearts for your kid’s to make for Valentine’s Day. You can use these as decor around the house or even as a super cute place setting for your holiday meals. If you made them smaller, they could be cute toppers for cupcakes or would make an excellent napkin ring.

Happy crafting!


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super bowl game day bites

Who says you have to like football to enjoy game day? A game is the perfect excuse to entertain, hang out with friends and eat yummy foods. I’ve rounded up 10 recipes for game day bites perfect for the Super Bowl or any old game day. What I love about most of these is that they are a twist on an original idea. And I had to share one of my own recipes as well because I have never seen them served anywhere and everyone always freaks out over them when I make them. Guess what else — they are super easy. There are treats here for all skill levels but one thing is for sure, all of them will delight your taste buds.

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1. Baked Chili Cheese Fritos from The Minimalist Baker
2. Dried Beef Rolls by Cupcakes and Cutlery
3. Buffalo Chicken Pizza Sticks by Inspired Taste
4. Honey and Butter Glazed Pretzel Bites with Roasted Garlic by Feast on the Cheap
5. Jalapeno Popper Dip by Chocolate Moosey
6. Blue Cheese and Balsamic Topped Kettle Chip Nachos by Celebrations at Home
7. Loaded Mashed Potato Cups from I Wash You Dry
8. Philly Cheesesteak Sliders by Delightfully Dowling
9. Sausage and Pepper Jack Stuffed Mushrooms by Horses and Heels
10. Sticky Siracha Chicken Wings by CrunchyGooey

Check out these blogger’s Pinterest boards for more yummy inspiration:

Minimalist Baker, I Wash You Dry, Cupcakes and Cutlery, Horses and Heels, Chocolate Moosey, Inspired Taste, Celebrations at Home, Feast on the Cheap, CrunchGooey, Delightfully Dowling


Do you have a Game Day favorite recipe?
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