If your little ones have had their fill of frosty outdoor fun, here’s a fun Valentine’s Day project to keep them busy for an hour or two, and get them excited for the next holiday in the calendar.
Caroline of Armelle: The Blog wanted to create a candy-free Valentine her son could give his classmates. She paired small, inexpensive containers of bubbles – usually found in the wedding section of craft stores – with a free printable card and coordinating stickers for a fresh and fun alternative to standard Valentines.
Get the full DIY and free printables on her blog.
+ Free Bubble Valentine Printable via Armelle: The Blog
+ Wedding Bubble Bottles, $4.95 USD, Amazon.com
Since last week, it really feels like winter here. Finally, the soil is well covered with snow. After I saw this nordic family picnic, I can’t wait for a warm winter day so we could go at the park and eat outside with Zack. To be safe, do not forget to bring some firewood to keep you warm.
I am in awe with this sight. What not to love with a setup made of the fur rugs, wool blanket and a vintage sleigh table?
Hosting an awesome outdoor skating party could be the perfect occasion to play outside and do a little exercise with friends and family. I absolutely love the way Kate from Beautiful Days designed her winter skating party in her backyard.
Here, she went for easy to eat, crowd-pleasing food. Since a skating party is usually held in the middle of afternoon, snacks are all you need to serve.
An idea to steal are the tubs full of skates. This way, nobody has an excuse for not skating.
Even of there is no snow where you live, you could still throw a fun winter picnic. Simply load a big red cart with the essentials for a beach party in freezing temps. And do not forget to nicely pack the lunch boxes of your guests.
You can find more inspirations by looking at the winter picnic photo shots featured at Intimate Weddings.
+ Winter picnic for the family at FrancisKas Vaskre Verden
+ Winter Skating Party at The Sweetest Occasion
+ Winter picnic and beach bonfire party at Design Sponge
It is funny that I found in a South African magazine one of the most inspiring pictures that capture the spirit of french alfresco dining. The French are not afraid to mix formal, classic pieces with rustic elements. That dining table is the perfect example with Napoleon III bronze candelabra being used for casual outdoor dining.
This kitchen illustrates one of the most important elements of stylish, stress-free entertaining: do not neglect the preparation. Create a butler station by putting on a surface the glassware, the water bottles or pitchers, the wines and the bread that you will need for the night. This way, it is easy to delegate this task during the party, if you want to. Even if you do it yourself, you will see that this technique simplifies your life.
+ photos by Elsa Young for House and Leisure – August 2011 issue
There are just a few short weeks left until the final school bell of the year. And you know what that means: time to start planning activities to stave off seasonal whines of “I’m bored!” in between costly day trip adventures and weekend getaways.
Think of this simple yet effective DIY as an event planner in a box. Choose a (preferably portable) container like this vintage lunch box and get the whole family to fill it with cool ideas to keep the dog days of summer from becoming a hot mess of bickering and boredom.
Oh and the jar of candy? That’s just to sweeten the deal.
Get full DIY instructions plus free printables over at Positively Splendid.
+ All photos from from Positively Splendid
Your kids dream of a backyard camping party for their birthday but camping is not your thing. There is no need to worry if you live in an area served by the husband and wife team behind Suburban Camping Co. Chris and Kelly MacPhee saw a niche in the market and provide a turn-key service for people who wish to live a superb camping party experience in the comfort of their backyard.
They created several camping scenarios from romantic tent for 2 up to the popular kids parties, girls night out or movies under the star event. Their services include the camping equipment, the props, kits for some activities, party favors and the installation. It is perfect for stress-free entertaining. Click here to see their packages.
I think that they had a great concept. I wish Chris and Kelly good luck with their business.
+ Suburban Camping Co.
If you plan to host a baby shower or a kids birthday party, you will want to bookmark this recipe. The homemade Oreos are prettier that the store-bought version and a bit healthier since you can control what you put in. My only concern with this recipe is that the filling contains vegetable shortening. I can’t tell you how to adapt the recipe since I am not a baker. But if you know how, please share how to adapt the recipe with butter or oil in a comment.
This homemade Oreo recipe is really easy to make. It doesn’t require any special skills. I bet that it would be a hit at your next cookie bake sale. Take a look at the recipe from Emma of The Marion House Book and Smitten Kitchen‘s adaptation of the recipe from the cookbook Retro Desserts by Wayne Brachman.
+ Homemade Oreo Cookie Recipe at Sweet Potato Chronicles
+ Homemade Oreos from Smitten Kitchen
DIY photo booths are a popular, budget-savvy solution for weddings and parties. They provide both an ice-breaker and entertainment for guests, while capturing the special and hilarious moments from the event.
Many families use the holidays as an opportunity to update families photos, so why not consider staging a DIY photo booth as a smart alternative for the overdone, and often embarrassing, traditional portrait.
The printable holiday photobooth accessories from Paper & Cake include Santa’s hat and beard, Mrs. Claus’ glasses, reindeer antlers, Rudolph’s red nose and other backdrop decorations. They’re sure to guarantee smiles for the photo and for the photo’s recipient.
+ Printable Holiday Photo Booth Accessories by Paper & Cake $9.95 USD on Etsy
+ via Hostess with the Mostess
When I decided to write a post about cute holiday bakeware for families with young children, I head to my top 3 shopping destinations for inspirations. And I found plenty. Each one has its own style.
Display the Railway Cake Pan and the Snowy Village Cakelet Pan on a footed cake plate or a large rectangular tray. Cover the floor with icing sugar. It will simulate a nice floppy snow.
The most tempting molds for me were the 3D Christmas tree molds available in two sizes. Use them to make your own chocolate Christmas trees. The assembly is so simple to do that it can be done by a young child. They will be easy to demold since they are made of non-stick, 100% platinum silicone.
For fans of the gingerbread house, I have 3 suggestions. A gingerbread man cakelet would be a fabulous treat for Santa. When you have time to relax between Christmas and New Year Eve, bake with the kids your own gingerbread house. I suggest that time because many parents are too busy before Christmas to spend one afternoon baking a gingerbread house. Here are the recipes by Wilton to make a Christmas Chocolate Candy House and the traditional Grand Gingerbread House.
A simpler project would be to bake a big gingerbread man cake. It would be a hit on your Christmas dessert table. The only drawback is that, for reasons that I cannot explain, almost no retailers carry Lékué’s Celebrate collection in North America.
+ Railway Cake Pan $36 USD at Williams-Sonoma
+ Snowy Village Cakelet Pan $36 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Gingerbread Man Cakelet Pan $19.95 at Williams-Sonoma
+ Big 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Small 3D xmas tree by Lékué 18.56 EUR / about $23.34 USD
+ Gingerman by Lékué 22.80 EUR / about $28.68 USD
+ Gingerbread House Pan $24.95 at Crate & Barrel
There is no need to be a master baker to create fun desserts and treats for Halloween. Spreading candy corns around simply decorated Candy corn cupcakes is enough to create the right mood.
Get more ideas on how to use candy corn for your Halloween baking at LATimes.com and at Amy Atlas. And for last minute inspirations, look at how you can dress up a candy table with store-bought candies.
+ Candy corn cupcakes at The Curvy Carrot
+ Candy Corn and Peanut Cookies at Pionneer Woman
+ Candy Corn Shortbread cookies at Sweetspot.ca
Is there anything chalkboard paint can’t make more fun? I love this clever pumpkin project from Zakka Life. Not only is it easier than carving a pumpkin, the matte black paint finish is pretty chic all on it’s own.
Kids can draw a new jack-o-lantern face every day leading up to Halloween. Try using glow-in-the-dark chalk for an extra-eerie touch!
If you haven’t found the perfect pumpkin style yet, don’t miss Kim’s round-up of creative carving ideas.
+ photo: Zakka Life
The Canadian Thanksgiving is this Monday. I scoured recipes on the Web to compose a tasty, family-friendly menu to celebrate the fall harvesting season.
+ For the welcome cocktail hour, you can’t go wrong with this Roasted Vegetable Spread or Dip by Dara at Cookin’ Canuck. Serve it with an assortment of pita breads cut in triangular pieces, slice of whole wheat baguette and homemade croutons. Provide a second choice to your guests with my 2-Minute Smoked Salmon Mousse Recipe.
+ Start the sit-down dinner meal with a Fantastic Fall Beet Salad. For this recipe, Lauren of Chat N’ Chow served roasted beet layers with radicchio, endive and crumbles of Gorgonzola. Yum!
+ Why not make a Chipotle Mashed Sweet Potatoes as one of your side dishes? For the second side dish, opt for something lighter like yellow and green beans. Kim of Liv Life adapted a recipe from Cooking Light.
+ If you dare to not roast a turkey, give a try to the Amaretto Chicken recipe by Cathy of Lolfoodie. Her recipe blends the flavor of goat cheese, prosciutto, mushrooms and Amaretto liquor in a wrapped chicken breast. It’s elegant!
+ For dessert, I suggest either the individual Caramel Apple Crostata by Evan at swEEts or the
Apple and Pear Galette by Erin at Naturally Ella. Another option would be the Pear and Dried Apricot Tart at Real Simple.