Monthly Archives: July 2014

Candle Birthday Party

We recently celebrated my dad’s birthday.  When our two year old found out that his big day was coming up, she declared that she would be getting him a candle for a present.  So that became the theme for his birthday party.  It turned out to be one of the cutest birthday party themes we’ve ever had.  My mom found darling candle plates and napkins at Target.  Then she made candles to decorate the table by wrapping colorful paper around toilet paper tubes, making wicks with black pipe cleaners, and adding construction paper flames.

Candle Centerpiece

Candle Centerpiece

The table looked so nice – especially with my mom’s collection of goblets in every color that we use for special occasions.  They went perfectly with the brightly colored candles.

Candle Birthday Table

Candle Birthday Table

And of course we were sure to add in the toy candles that our two year old was so adamant about bringing from her toy box to give to her best friend for his birthday.

Toy Candles

Toy Candles

A Year of Paper Plates

In my opinion, a party just isn’t a party without paper plates.  I have felt this way since I was very little.  Because of this, I am always looking for cute seasonal paper plates and napkins throughout the year.  I love setting a festive table with paper plates and napkins even for the smallest of holidays.  They don’t go to waste either because I save the extras after their designated holidays are over.  I keep them all organized in a cupboard in order of the holidays throughout the year.  It may be the most unusual filing system ever, but it works for me!  It’s fun to have them all at my fingertips and be able to turn a regular dinner or dessert into a mini party just by pulling festive plates and napkins out of my cabinet.  It may be a small thing, but it makes me so happy!

Happy Birthday Blog!

This week my blog turns one!  It’s hard to believe I’ve been doing this once a week for a whole year already.  I decided to start this blog because I had left my full time teaching job to have more time (and by more time I mean any time at all!) with our daughter, and I wanted a fun new weekly project to fill up all my newly available “free time.”  I also, of course, wanted to become the next Martha Stewart and make millions.  A year later, I’m cherishing my time with our amazing little girl, loving my part time teaching job as a Jr. Kindergarten teacher where I get to be creative and watch kids make discoveries every day, frantically hunting for all that free time I expected to find but that hasn’t shown up as of yet, and still waiting for Martha to give me a call with my million dollar book deal.  But I have managed to do a blog entry each week, and I’ve really enjoyed getting to share the fun things my family and I do all year long.  I’m excited to keep it up for another year.

If you ask me, the everyone needs some cheering up these days.  The way I see it, the world is a pretty gloomy place at the moment.  Violence and crime are out of control.  All of the joy (and learning for that matter) has been meticulously removed from public schools for both kids and teachers.  Everyone seems frustrated with the state of politics and is very busy hating the side opposite from their own with all their might.  And for lack of a better way to say it, people are just acting mean about all of the above instead of trying to do anything to help improve any of it.  So this blog is my small attempt to make the world a better place by sharing how we celebrate the joy in life all year long and hopefully spreading some festive cheer along the way.

Madeline Party… or Bastille Day???

When I was little, I loved the book Madeline.  I would always check it out at the library.  As I got older, I started collecting Madeline stuff – dolls, lunch boxes, figurines…  I also loved learning French in high school.  I even considered becoming a French teacher but decided against it because my accent is HORRIBLE.  So when it came time to plan our daughter’s birthday this year, I chose Madeline for a theme with French food for the treats.  It ended up being a great theme for a birthday.  If you don’t have any birthdays coming up it would also be a great theme for a Bastille Day Party – why not???  Even if it’s not a holiday here in America, it doesn’t mean we can’t celebrate when it comes up on July 14th!

For the decorations I found darling Madeline plates, napkins, cups, tablecloths, etc. online.  You should be able to find them if you Google “Madeline party supplies” or look it up on Pinterest.  I also put little yellow hats like Madeline’s on everything.  I even got a hat with a bow to use as a centerpiece on one table.

Madeline Party Decorations

Madeline Party Decorations

I found some Eiffel Tower decorations at Sur La Table and other various places.  I even had some French cafe plates from Williams Sonoma that I got years ago but never really had a chance to use before.  I also put the dolls, etc. from my own Madeline collection around here and there.  One of my favorite decorations was a rabbit drawn on tissue paper with a Sharpie and taped to the ceiling – because in Madeline’s hospital room there was “a crack in the ceiling that had the habit of sometimes looking like a rabbit.”

Madeline Party Rabbit

Madeline Party Rabbit

The food was so much fun to make.  For the birthday dinner we served croque monsieur sandwiches, fruit, and several kinds of cheese.  The desserts were all part of “Madeline’s Patisserie.”

Madeline Party Treats

Madeline Party Treats

I got an Eiffel Tower cookie cutter from Sur La Table to make cut out cookies.  I also made cupcakes topped with little French toothpick decorations from Sur La Table as well.  We had macaroons, eclairs, and cream puffs.  And of course, the birthday cake was in the shape of Madeline’s yellow hat with a black fondant bow.

Madeline Party Hat Cake

Madeline Party Hat Cake

I had so much fun with this Madeline/French theme.  I hope our little one and her little girlfriends enjoyed it as much as I did!  Whether you are planning a small birthday celebration with a few friends and family like we had or a big Bastille Day extravaganza, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it too!

Star Spangled Waffles

My family always has a big cookout on the evening of the 4th of July – hamburgers, hot dogs, potato salad, pink lemonade, chips, baked beans, deviled eggs, homemade ice cream… Yum!!!  We really stuff ourselves!  It’s enough food to make you want to save room for it all the whole day leading up to the dinner.  So as an attempt to eliminate a meal before the cookout, we started having a waffle brunch on the 4th of July, and it is becoming a tradition we look forward to almost as much as the cookout.

4th of July Waffles

4th of July Waffles

Our menu includes waffles, blueberries, strawberries, cherries, raspberries, and whipped cream.  That’s it!

More 4th of July Waffles

More 4th of July Waffles

The berries and cream make it a pretty red, white, and blue meal that is delicious and helps us get through the day without spoiling our appetites so that we can pig out to our hearts’ content at our evening cookout – as is patriotic and American!  Happy 4th of July!

Star Spangled Waffles

Star Spangled Waffles