Carnival Party – Part 2: Cake, Cookies and More….

What’s a carnival party without a big top tent cake and some animal cookies???

I wanted a themed cake for M’s party and knew I had to enlist the help of my friend, Jill.  For the cake display, I wanted something fun and different so I made this cake stand by wrapping some admission tickets around a 12″ round styrofoam disk.  It ended up being the perfect platform for Jill’s awesome cake! Here she is adding on the finishing touches….

Jill also made these adorable lions and elephants for M, who was just completely ecstatic and had to use great restraint to keep from having one before the party started!   I just love how she used sprinkles for the elephant saddles — too cute!

I kept the snacks really simple and TRIED to limit the amount of junk food but in the end, gave into the donuts and popcorn and peanuts….hard to make it healthy when you’re trying to stick to a carnival theme!

I’m a big fan of grab-and-go snack/lunch boxes for kids, especially at parties when you have a bunch of hungry little ones crowding around the table, all wanting their food and drinks at the same time!  For these grab-and-go boxes, I decorated some french fry boxes with ribbon and coordinating circular tags and filled them with grapes, string cheese, and Annie’s Bunny crackers and pretzels.

One of my favorite things about this party was the photo booth.  I set out some fun and colorful accessories and asked everyone to strike a pose.

Here are just some of the fabulous photos…

So cute!!  I thought these photos would make great keepsakes for our guests and included them with the thank you cards.

Fish Shaped Fruit Skewers

I made these skewers back in June for a preschool class party, but thought I would share them with you as an idea for school.  Wouldn’t these be a fun treat for kids to find in their lunch boxes?  I’m not talking about making these everyday, but maybe for special occasions or holidays? Or even if your child is having an off week, surprising them with a little something special and out of the ordinary could help to brighten their day.

Mini cookie cutters are perfect for cutting out fun, bite sized shapes for kids.   If you don’t own any yet and would like to get some, start off with some basic shapes — stars, circles, hearts, flowers…. I use these shapes all the time for cutting fruits, cheese, sandwiches and of course, cookies.   If you’re looking for a variety of different shapes, you can get some really cute ones online from Foose Cookie Cutters or from Fox Run (Amazon.com).  Have fun with it and get the kids involved — kids tend to enjoy their snacks much more if they’ve taken part in creating it.

Too bad it’s almost time to say “good-bye” to summer…..

A Mix of Emotions

My oldest child will be starting full-day kindergarten in September.  With that comes a mix of emotions for me — EXCITEMENT, as I’m thrilled she’ll be off to start a new chapter in her young life… SADNESS, as I sit and wonder where the time has gone…and DREAD,  as I think about the inevitable morning chaos and the daily lunches I’ll have to pack!

I can’t offer any advice on how to make it through the mornings without turning into Cruella De Vil (I’m still trying to figure that one out myself), but I might be able to provide you with some lunch box ideas that will hopefully inspire you, or at least make you and your child smile.

PS  My girls couldn’t wait to eat up these fun faces I made using Babybels and seaweed.  I’m pretty sure they’ll be seeing more of these in their lunch boxes this fall….

(Inspiration source: Family Fun Magazine.)

Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream

If you don’t have an ice cream maker (or don’t want the extra chore of pulling one out), then this will be perfect for you!  It only requires that you have a food processor or blender, and that you have frozen strawberries and some heavy cream on hand.  The best part? It only takes 5 minutes to make (maybe 10 minutes if you include clean up time)!  How great is that????

I printed this recipe from the internet a year or two ago and just tried it for the very first time the other day.   I wish I’d tried it earlier because it was bursting with strawberry flavor and was delicious, not to mention it was a breeze to make.

5 Minute Strawberry Ice Cream

10 oz frozen strawberries

2/3 C heavy cream

1/4 C sugar*

Directions:  Add the sugar, half  the cream and half the strawberries into the blender or processor and process until it’s roughly chopped.  Add the remaining strawberries and cream and continue to process until it’s smooth.  You can enjoy it immediately or pop it into the freezer for a bit (that is, if you have the discipline to wait).

* The original recipe called for 1/2 C sugar, but I find that most recipes are too sweet and always end up reducing the sugar when I’m making it for my family.

My daughters love helping me make this and can barely wait to eat it all up afterwards!  Hope you’ll enjoy it as much as they do!

Recipe adapted from Pamela Euless-Barker

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

Since summer officially started last week, I thought I would share a recipe for a nice and refreshing summer drink with you.  What I like about this drink is that it’s not too sweet (unlike most other juices) and because watermelon is full of water,  it actually quenches your thirst.  I typically don’t like juices, but this blended watermelon drink is one I definitely enjoy having on a hot summer day.

Watermelon Aqua Fresca

5 cups watermelon, cubed

1 cup strawberries, hulled

juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 cup water

1 TBSP agave or honey  (optional)

Put everything into a blender and process until smooth.  For the most refreshing taste, make sure it is well chilled before you serve it.

This is a great drink for kids and adults and is perfect for any luncheon, party or barbecue.

Fun Fruit Cones

I finally got up the courage to click the “publish” button so here it is, my first official post!  As my friends and family know,  I love all things fun and cute in the crafts, baking and fashion world and am always looking for an excuse to  get my hands on a pair of scissors or a whisk!     For my first post,  I thought I would share this fun fruit presentation with you.  I made it for my daughter’s year-end class party and it was a hit with both kids and parents.

I’ve seen fruit salad placed in sugar cookie bowls and ice cream cones before, but I wanted to up the cuteness factor a bit.  I wanted smaller serving sizes as well so I purchased the smaller sugar cones, wrapped them up in fun colored napkins, cut out some star shaped cantaloupe and put the fruit on some picks.

These fruit cones are easy to make, fun, simple and healthy, and they’d be great for any party!

I look forward to sharing more fun and crafty ideas with you and would love to hear any comments or suggestions you may have for me!