Along with many holidays throughout the year this one always sneaks up me. It makes me realize that 1/3 of summer is already over…yikes! However, it is a great time to celebrate America, get together with others, and really get down to what summer is all about!
I like making ‘Martini Stations’. You can premake a large amount of a certain martini and keep it in a pitcher at room temperature. Then guests can pour the amount they want into a cocktail shaker, add ice, and have a great drink without the hassle of making martinis one by one.
What’s a great way to show your patriotism? Make a flag shaped fruit ‘pizza’ of course.
What you need:
- 1 refrigerated package of sugar cookie dough
- 2/3 of a package of light cream cheese, room temperature
- 2/3 of a container of light Cool Whip, thawed
- Blueberries and strawberries, rinsed and dried
Evenly spread the cookie dough into a rectangle (it may not turn out exact, so just trim the baked cookie as necessary to create a rectangle). Let it cool. Mix the cream cheese and Cool Whip together and spread evenly over the cookie crust. Add your fruit and enjoy!
I love making colorful layered cakes (for a gray ombre example Click Here). Making multiple and different colored layers does add a little time to making a cake, but not much and it really adds a lot to the festivities! You will want to use a white cake mix and make it with egg whites, not whole eggs (this keeps the color more pure). Separate the cake in 2 equal parts, add red food color to half and add blue food color to the other half. I only have 2 round cake pans, so I have to bake the red layers first and then once they cool I can bake the blue layers. Use white (not vanilla…it’s actually yellowy) frosting and decorate it as you wish!
I love me some glitter! I buy the inexpensive box of 12 of unscented ‘poured glass votive candles’, add some glitter, and you have cheap decorations!
What’s screams summer and America more than a Bomb Pop treat? You can relive those icecream truck memories, but with an adult friendly twist. Below are two different ways to make this festive cocktail:
Option One: Lemonade, Mike’s Hard Cranberry, UV Vodka Blue (the left half of the below photo)
Option Two: Smirnoff Ice, Blue Curacao, Cranberry Juice (the right half of the below photo)
Fill your glass with ice. Pour your blue liquid in (down the side so the color doesn’t stick to the ice), carefully pour in your ‘white’ liquid, and then the red. The colors blend quickly, so drink up!
Enjoy your cocktails in some patriotic washable glittered glasses. To learn how to make some sparkly glassware Click Here .
We decided to have a ‘spring fling’ again this year and when looking at the calendar we realized the first Saturday of May fell on Cinco de Mayo….a great excuse to have a fiesta! This inspired me to make some new decorations and perfect some much loved recipes from the past. I set up a burrito bar with some amazing meats, made gallons of beergaritas, and displayed some festive themed treats (all recipes will be up soon, so check back).
I spray painted numerous wine and beer bottles with an array of colors for inexpensive table decor, but after all that I took a break to play my new addiction, Bingo! I had recently taken a trip to Mexico, so I picked up a bunch small sombreros and 10 maracas to place around the party. The Mexican flag was purchased online for less than $5 (with free shipping). The large drink dispenser is full of beergaritas and the beverage tub has an assortment of Jarritos soda.
The burrito bar was set up on a back kitchen counter. I taped up some colorful fabric and decorated with Hispanic canned foods, flowers and maracas.
To save time I used a boxed sugar cookie mix, but added cinnamon to give more flavor. A little white frosting, sprinkles, and gumdrops make these cute sombrero cookies.
I cheated on this dessert as well and used a box cake mix…it’s the decoration that matters when it comes to something like this. I just used a little food coloring and black frosting gel to make the Mexican flag.
I like to cover the TV when having parties….why not make everything more festive?!?
We strung colorful banner across the kitchen and placed Mexican pots and statues above the cabinetry.
Nothing says ’fiesta’ like our dog, Greta (who is intently waiting for pepperoni in this shot…it’s the only way we can keep her still).
‘Texas Caviar’ is always a hit. For the recipe Click Here
Why not decorate the back of your toilet?
Make colorful and cheap streamers by coloring doilies, cutting them in half, and taping them across with string.
I can’t help myself when it comes to theme parties….I’m a sucker for a few cheesy elements!
Maybe I went a little overboard on spray painting sticks, but I get obsessed sometimes and have to have every color of something.
Now that summer is here throw yourself a little fiesta!
A few years ago some friends and I started a book club….a dirty book club. We have read a handful of R-rated books, such as Some Girls, Sugar Babe, Candy Girl and more. However, we also switch it up with ‘normal’ books…Shanghai Girls, The Shack, The Other Boleyn Girl, etc.
We get together every couple months, a different person takes a turn hosting, and we all bring different bottles of wine to share. This month’s read was 50 Shades of Grey and I hosted. Below are some ideas for you to decorate with a gray theme, whether it’s for a similar book club or just because you like the color!
Of course, I had to glitter something for the night. Below are some wine glasses that I made to help identify our beverages. Learn how to make these: Click Here
This cake was fun to make. I used boxed cake mix (make sure you buy a white cake and use only egg whites, so the food coloring stays true…same goes for the frosting. Get white cake and frosting, not vanilla – as it’s creamy in color). I separated the cake mix in 4 equal parts and added varied amounts of black food dye. I then separated the frosting in 3 equal parts, added varied amounts of color and then blended them together up the side and top of the cake.
These are medium sized doilies that I painted various shades of gray, cut in half, and taped to string. I also made the gray tissue poms. For directions on how to make them Click Here
I bought a 12 pack of glass votives at the craft store and decorated them with different materials. Some are wrapped with different gray ribbons, lace, glitter, and scrapbook paper.
I love spray painting sticks. It’s an inexpensive way to make a large centerpiece with a bold statement. I painted a bunch glossy white and held them in place in the vase with gray toned rocks.
I made these bookmarks for the girls (but forgot to pass them out that night!). I printed them on a silver linen paper, glued that to a cardstock weighted scrapbook paper, and finished them with a ribbon.
Look in the center…I even found gray M&Ms at the party supply store.
I used paint cans to vary the height the decor.
I love to create festive tables for entertaining. A nice way to add interest is to raise the center of the table (or the back of a buffet) by using paint cans (or upside-down pots, soup cans, etc). Place a tablecloth over the cans to hide them and you can spotlight a cake, floral arrangement, or any decor that adds to the event.
I spray painted wine bottles different colors to create an inexpensive and colorful table for a fiesta.
I had used 3 paint cans and a round tray to display a baby shower cake (that was in the shape of a stroller).
During parties I wonder if I spend more time talking to others or trying to figure out which glass is mine. Here is a simple, cute, and cheap way to identify which glass is which….we certainly don’t want to mix up Mommy’s ‘grape juice’ with the kid’s.
I have a quart of chalkboard paint left over and have been painting all sorts of items (“20 things to do with chalkboard paint” will be coming soon!) Below I used clear plastic glasses, but you can do this same DIY project to any glassware you want….wine, martini, pint glasses, coffee cups, etc — making a set is a great gift idea!
Spring is awesome. I am thrilled to have my windows open, hear the birds chirping, and see Cadbury Mini-eggs on the grocery shelves. The only downfalls to this season are my dog tracks in mass amounts of mud and I realize I have limited time to attempt my annual summer weight loss plan (dang Cadbury!). However, the budding trees and blooming flowers inspire me to make colorful Easter decor and treats. Here are a few that are easy to make!
I think glitter is the most fun. Unfortunately, it also can make the biggest mess….after my daughter crawls around on the floor tomorrow she is going to be full of glitter! Take your time to set out paper or plastic to work on (I should take my own advice). See “DIY & Craft Projects” for directions.
Stained Glass Hardboiled Eggs:
Easy and cool….with or without the shell. Hardboil eggs and then crack them up, but don’t peel the shell. Set them in water with a fair amount of food coloring added.
Once you take them out of the dye they will look like this:
Or you can peel them to get this effect:
Stained Glass Potato Salad: See the “Recipes” page or type ‘easy low-fat potato salad’ in “Search This Site” at the top of this website.
Easter Bunny Cake:
This is actually super easy! Make 1 round cake (1/2 of a boxed cake mix). Cut it in half and ‘glue’ it together with a little frosting. Use a Snow Ball for the tail and spaghetti for whiskers. Decorate with candy and paper ears.
Flowers in Candy: Wrap the stems of flowers with wet paper towel, cover it with a plastic sandwich bag, and tie or tape it shut. This will keep enough water on the flowers to last a day or so (enough time to use this idea for an Easter meal centerpiece). Place the flowers and candy in a vase! ***you can do this at other holidays too
Bird’s Next Treats:
- Melt 1 bag of milk chocolate chips and 1/2 cup peanut butter. Mix in 4 cups of chow mein noodles (or a combo of these and Cheerios). Form them into little nests.
- Place shredded coconut in a bag with green food coloring and shake it up. Add it to the center of the ‘nests’.
- Fill with candy
Easter Cake Pops:
My daughter turned one in February and we had a medium sized get-together at our home. Immediate family and friends with children came to help celebrate. I made kid-friendly food (see Recipes) and my mom made the cakes (one for everyone and a mini cake for Lauren). Click on images to enlarge.
I took a picture of her every month of her 1st year. I liked to put her in an outfit that was extra cute or special, to also document the insane wardrobe this baby had (better than mine). I displayed them across the room during her party. It’s fun to see how a baby changes so much!
Knowing there would be numerous kids around I removed frames and other breakables from the sofa table and set up a candy bar (including suckers that said ‘Lauren’s 1st Birthday’ from Oriental Trading Company) and bags of party favors.
I think making tissue poms/flowers is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to really make a room look festive! Look in the ‘DIY & Craft Projects page’ or type in “Tissue Paper” in the ‘search this site’ tab at the top of this website for directions on how to make them.
I wanted Lauren to have a special little cake, so I found mini cake tins at the craft store (about 3-4 inches in diameter) and my mom, who makes the best cake ever, made an adorable 2 layer mini cake.
I covered the TV with some fabric and cut a ’1′ out of some pretty paper. This way Lauren was the center of attention and there wasn’t a way for anyone to turn on the tv (in my opinion the worst thing to have on during a party). The party was a great success and we have many wonderful memories of this very special day!