21 Best Birthday Party Ideas for Children

Looking for birthday ideas for children? We’ve rounded up 21 of the best birthday ideas all in one place! And #13 is our favorite, hands down.

If you are looking for some amazing Birthday Party Ideas for Children, I have good news. I’ve gathered up some of the top party ideas for children of every age, gender or interest. With tops tips, tricks, recipes and decor ideas, you won’t have to strain your brain to come up with some wonderful party plans of your own! Jump right in and find the idea that’s right for you!

1. Disney Brave Birthday Party Ideas – All Things Thrifty

This fun birthday party post includes templates and printables to help you plan your very own Disney Brave-themed birthday party. Perfect for little girls OR boys!

2. Planning a Chuck E Cheese Party – Living Mi Vida Loca

Everything you need to know about food, decor and party favors to help you create the best experience at your kids’ favorite pizza place!

3. Ultimate Sports Party – The Joys of Boys

If your kids are the athletic types, it makes sense to give them a super fun sports-themed party. Here you’ll find recipe ideas, sporty games to play and awesome sporty decor, too!

4. Minnie Mouse Summer Party – Simmworks Family Blog

Too often, Mickey Mouse gets all the attention. But if your little one is Minnie Crazy, then you need to feast your eyes on this Minnie Mouse-themed party that features creative decor, food and treats that the whole family and all your friends will love.

5. Butterfly Garden Birthday Party – Lydi Out Loud

For your favorite little girl or boy who loves nature and the outdoors, here is a fun and beautiful party idea.

6. Pirate Birthday Party – Baking with Blondie

Ahoy mateys! It’s a pirate party, and this one has it all. Seafood and other pirate-themed foods, easy decorations and even costumes. Your kids will love it!

7. Pirate Halloween Birthday Party – It’s A Mother Thing

Another fun take on a pirate theme, this one has a Halloween twist! Perfect for your little one’s birthday, OR as a themed Halloween party!

8. Root Beer Float Party – Simmworks Family Blog

While a traditional barbecue may not appeal to some kids, renaming it into a Root Beer Float Party will surely get them excited! And happy bonus for the grownups – you can totally still have the barbecue! This one features healthier options, as well as the star of the show – Root Beer Floats!

9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar Birthday Party – Baking with Blondie

I don’t know a single child that doesn’t love The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and the theme lends itself so well to a young one’s party. It’s an especially good one for those with allergies or health concerns, as it is the perfect party to load up on fruit!

10. Frozen Birthday Party – Dinner at the Zoo

I can’t say enough about the thought that went into this Frozen-themed party. Any child would be delighted to host or attend such a fabulous party, and this will give you a load of ideas on how to throw your own for your little Elsa or Olaf.

11. Angry Birds Birthday Party Part 1 and Part 2 – The Joys of Boys

This two part party post features amazing food and games to help you throw an incredible Angry Birds-themed party that your little ones will be talking about for ages!

12. Fabulous and Fancy Party – The Crafty Chicks

Have you got the girliest girl who loves to feel fancy? Then check out this adorable party plan that just screams fabulous!

13. Reptile Birthday Party – Simmworks Family Blog

Does your child love all things creepy and crawly? They will love this reptile theme! Featuring creative naming of traditional food and drink (Swamp Water? Gecko Grapes??) and ideas of entertainment and decor, this one is perfect for your slithery snake lovers!

14. Under the Sea Birthday Party – Dinner at the Zoo

This super adorable party plan will make your little one feel like The Little Mermaid on their special day.

15. Ghostbusters Birthday Party – Living Mi Vida Loca

This party is perfect for your own little Ghostbuster. With themed games, including a huge pinata, and some fun printable coloring pages, tshirt transfers and Slimer tattoo station, this is one party that will have you saying, “I ain’t afraid of no ghosts!”

16. Princess Birthday Party – The Girl Creative

This is one awesome Princess party plan with some free printables to help you make it easy to throw your own!

17. Farm-Themed Birthday Party – The Joy of Boys

If your kids love animals and the outdoors, you must consider the fun that comes with planning a farm-themed birthday party!

18. The Ultimate Minion Movie Birthday Party – Third Stop on the Right

If your kids are as Minions-obsessed as most, they’re going to LOVE this party idea. Find out how to make an amazing layered minion cake and other fun projects for your party.

19. Easy Cars Party – The Joys of Boys

If you want simple and classic, you can’t go wrong with this fun Cars-themed party. It doesn’t get any easier than chocolate donuts posing as car tires!

20. Star Wars Party – Pretty Providence

I have two words for you: Wookie Cookies. Your kids will love the amazing food ideas from this Star Wars themed party!

21. Princess Tea Party – Dinner at the Zoo

Cuteness cannot be contained when you throw your little one this delightful Princess Tea Party. Edible DIY necklaces, magic wands and fabulous flowers and food are going to wow the adults as much as the children!

With all of these birthday party ideas for children, you are sure to be able to come up with your own take to make your next party amazing. 

What is your favorite birthday party theme for kids?

How to Create a Wishing Star Wand + Pinnochio on DVD

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My daughter is obsessed with all things wands, swards, and sticks. Anything she can swing around and bop people on the head with (gently of course), she loves. And with our recent obsession with Pinocchio since it came out on Blu-Ray, it was the perfect way to commemorate the movie.

As we were planning for a family movie night, I decided to let the kids make their own wands customized to their likes and needs. It really was a simple craft and the kids had a great time doing it! With the help of mom and a glue gun to finish everything off.

So if you’re little princess loves wands as much as mine do, I highly suggest trying your hand at making a wishing star wand. It’s simple, easy, and takes less than 5 minutes!

How to Create a Wishing Star Wand

What you’ll need:

  • wooden dowels, cut to size (we purchased 48″ dowels and cut them in thirds)
  • felt, any color
  • ribbon, any color
  • glue gun

What you do: 

1. Cut out felt into the size and shape you want for the top of your wand. Cut out coordinating ribbon in the amount and length you prefer.

2. Do a dry run before gluing everything together to make sure the felt pieces fit together on the top of the wand.

3. Tie the ribbon onto the top of the stick and secure with the hot glue.

3a. Make sure to go all around the dowel so that the ribbon doesn’t slip down.

4. Now it’s time to glue down the felt pieces. Start with a small dab on one side of the dowel and adhere the first felt piece.

5. Then add a few dabs of hot glue to the other end of the dowel and the felt piece already adhered. Place the second felt piece on top covering the top of the dowel completely and sandwiching the ribbon in between the two felt pieces.

 
6. Hand the wand over to your favorite princess and watch them play! 

See how easy that was?

What type of wand would you make?

Disney’s timeless tale Pinocchio, considered one of the greatest animated films ever made with two Academy Awards, joins the Walt Disney Signature Collection. Now it will delight a whole new generation of dreamers with its masterful animation, unforgettable characters and award-winning music.

The movie which inspired the world to wish upon a star, arrives for the first time on Digital HD and Disney Movies Anywhere on Jan. 10, and on Blu-ray™ and DVD on Jan. 31 with hours of new and classic bonus features.

Robot Valentine Snack Idea

Looking for a great Valentine’s Day treat? How cute is this robot valentine snack idea! And so easy to make!

Robot Valentine Snack Idea - a simple and easy snack for any valentines party

Today I’m sharing how to make a cute robot valentine snack that’s perfect for a classroom Valentine’s Day party! Not only is it candy-free but it’s also something fun for the kids.

With a few simple supplies you can pick up from the store, and 30 minutes to assemble, these snacks are sure to be a hit. We’ll be pairing them with chocolate covered strawberries and fruit for my son’s class party on Valentine’s Day.

I was able to pick up just about everything at Target and assembled them all within 1/2 an hour. I printed out a simple valentine message and punched out a heart around the message. If you’re passing these out as valentines you can simply add your child’s name to the bottom of the message. The kids are sure to love these treats on Valentine’s Day.

Robot Valentine Snack

What you need:

  • juice boxes
  • mini raisins (I opted for the yogurt covered raisins and regular)
  • fruit rope
  • applesauce
  • glue dots or adhesive roller
  • plastic spoons
  • washi tape
  • sharpie
  • valentines (optional)

What you’ll do:

1. Using the glue dots, secure two raisin boxes to the bottom of the juice box. The raisins will be the feet and the juice box is the body.

2. Place the applesauce cup upside down onto the top of the juice box and secure with glue dots and/or washi tape (whatever allows it to stay on top). This will be the robot’s head.

3. Add a fruit rope to either side to create the arms

3. Add a fruit rope to either side with glue dots to create the arms.

4. Tape a plastic spoon to the back of the robot body with washi tape.

5. Draw a face on the applesauce to add a little character to your robot valentine snack. Or glue on googly eyes and draw on a mouth.

Enjoy!

What’s your favorite Valentine’s Day treat?

This post was originally featured on Keep Kids Busy on February 2, 2015. 

Want to make your own valentines? Design them in PicMonkey by using this tutorial

Pinterest Inspiration

Aloha Hawaiian Baby Shower: Ideas for A Hawaiian Baby Shower

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My sister welcomed her 4th bundle of joy into the world about a month ago and we are so happy to have another niece! But before her arrival we started to celebrate her (and her momma) by hosting this Aloha Hawaiian themed baby shower. My sister’s husband is of Hawaiian and Mexican descent so it was only fitting to bring some flavors of his heritage into their celebration. And who doesn’t love some kalua pig or mac salad? 

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The Decor

I used simple colors and decor when planning things and based everything on the invitation that I created in Canva using a template. I used that template to then make the other signs for the party including a welcome sign, lei sign, and food signs. 

The leis were perfect for the leg crossing game – whoever sees another guest crossing their leg gets to take their lei. Normally it’s played with safety pins but this was more fitting for our theme. 

We also played a baby word scramble and a word search.  Since it was guys and gals I didn’t want it to be too girly. The guys, however, did score the least amount in both games but I’m not naming any names! 

Looking for more baby shower games? Check out the Disney baby shower games here

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The Desserts

When I called up my sister and asked what kind of cake she wanted she said vanilla or chocolate. And I had to laugh. Really? I’m getting you a cake and you want plain vanilla or chocolate? So she jokingly said she wanted haupia cake, a Hawaiian cake. I then surprised her by ordering not only a beautiful ombre chocolate cake but haupia cupcakes. I suggested this recipe to a local baker and she ran with it! 

Here’s everything I ordered for the decor: 

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The Menu

Like my decor, I wanted to keep things simple with the menu. And I wanted to feed a large crowd without being left with tons of food at the end of the party. So I paired it down to two main courses – teriyaki skewers and kalua pig in the pressure cooker, rice in the rice cooker, mac salad, a green salad, and Hawaiian rolls. Because who doesn’t love Hawaiian rolls? 

The kalua pig recipe I found was one that everyone in the instant pot community raves about. And now I know why! It’s so good. Like melt in your mouth good. And the Hawaiian red alaea sea salt totally is worth it. 

By cooking the kalua pig in in the pressure cooker, skewers on the barbecue, and the rice in our rice cooker, we didn’t have anything cooking in the oven or on the stove. And I was able to make the mac salad recipe the night before so it could soak up all of the flavors. It really was the most simple menu to date at an event I’ve hosted. But so good! 

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The party took about an hour to set up beforehand and everything was prepped the night before for easy set up. Simple and pretty was my goal and I succeeded! Everyone had a great time and left home stuffed (I even sent home leftovers with my sister!). Definitely the sign of a great party! And now we get to love on our new niece. 

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Want a sneak peek at one of the newborn photos I took of her? 

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Awwww! 

What’s your favorite Hawaiian food? 

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Simple Football Party Snack Ideas: Savory and Sweet Dips

This shop featuring simple football party snack ideas has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #GameDayGreats #CollectiveBias

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Do you have that one family member who’s just crazy about football? Loves the game and everything it means? That person in our family was my Grammy. She would have us over for the big game every year and without fail she’d know all of the players, who to look for, and could always call the winner. It was like her talent. Sadly my grammy passed away this year and this is a hard season for us to get through. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t do the one thing she was always able to do every year: Bring our family together to watch the game. 

So I put together a delicious spread of savory and sweet dips along with some Coca-Cola slushes to enjoy with my family this past Sunday. What’s great about the spread is it’s versatility. You can make so many different sweet and savory dips and the touchdown toppings make everything a bit more fun. And as we’ve mentioned before, we’re huge RITZ fans. This time instead of topping our RITZ, we’re dipping them! 

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Football Party Snack Ideas

One of my favorite things about game day at Grammy’s was the appetizers. She’d always have the best spreads including this amazing green chile topping she put on a sliced baguette and baked until bubbly. The taste was out of this world! But it took forever to keep making (because everyone wanted more) so I decided to take her toppings and turn them into a dip for easy eatability (is that a word?). 

Dips are a great way to serve the masses as well as provide variety. I like to use small ramekins to serve multiple dips instead of one large dip in one dish. And with a good cracker selection like my favorite RITZ, Wheat Thins and TRISCUIT crackers we can mix up savory and sweet dips. Have you had a pie made with a RITZ based crust? So good! 

And to wash down the dips, we’ve served up our favorite Coca-Cola slushes. These are so popular over here and versatile as well. We can switch up the flavors and even add a splash of cream to make the flavor similar to a float. I, of course, prefer my drink of choice, Coke Zero, when making my slush. But the husband? He’s a Coca-Cola fan through and through. 

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Savory Dips: Grammy’s Green Chile Dip with Jack Cheese

As I mentioned before, I took one of my favorite appetizers from my Grammy and turned it into a dip. This dip is absolutely delicious on it’s own but would also be great mixed with some chopped chicken for a heartier dip. And TRISCUIT crackers and Wheat Thins are the perfect thing to enjoy it with. 

  • 1 pack 8oz cream cheese
  • 1 can diced green chiles
  • 1/4-1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1 package 16 ounce shredded jack cheese

Preheat oven to 400 degrees 

Soften cream cheese. Grab a mixing bowl and mix softened cream cheese and diced green chiles together until combined. Add sour cream and fold in. Then fold in 3/4 of the bag of jack cheese. 

Place dip in a few ramekins, top with remaining cheese. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until cheese and dip are bubbling. 

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Sweet Dips with Touchdown Toppings

While I always have a savory dip at any party we host, I’m just starting to find a love for sweet dips as well. Instead of baking for hours, I can throw together some sweet ingredients and serve it with some RITZ crackers. Add some touchdown toppings like bananas, strawberries, mini chocolate chips, shredded coconut, etc and you have yourself a great portable dessert! 

The saltiness of the RITZ crackers pairs perfectly with this chocolate pudding dip. Yup… you read that right! And don’t knock it till you try it. You can use store bought or homemade chocolate pudding and fold in some fresh whipped cream. Then serve with a variety of toppings. This party we went with sliced strawberries and bananas. 

Need more sweet dip ideas to pair with your RITZ crackers? Check these out: 

 

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To feature our game day greats snacks, I used our large chalkboard as the background. I love having this large chalkboard as it’s so versatile and can be decorated in many different ways. It lets the food take the front stage in this set up. 

Along with the chalkboard, I put together a super easy football goal post made out of 2 paper straws. I simply took one straw and cut it into three pieces then super glued it together. I added the second straw to the goal post and the placed it into a holder. 

Another easy way to great a great football spread even better are these football bottle covers. Simply print on sticker paper or cardstock and cut out to wrap around your cups or bottles.  

Download a FREE Football Bottle Wrapper here

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You can find all of the Coca-Cola and Mondelez products featured in this post at your local Ralph’s along with everything else you need for the perfect football party spread! 

With great dips, delicious drinks, and a simple party set up, you can serve up some game day greats to your guests with these simple football party snack ideas during the next game. 

What’s your favorite game day snack? 

A Colorful Affair: Adult Coloring Party

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Sometimes you just need to sit down with your girlfriends, mimosa in hand, and color! And that’s just what I did last week at the adult coloring party I hosted with the help of our sponsor, Prismacolor Premier®. Read on to see how easy it is to host an adult coloring party with your friends!

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party

Over the past few months, the only thing I’ve heard a handful of my friends talk about is adult coloring. No, not adults coloring. But adult coloring books with beautiful intricate designs and themes for grown-ups to sit down and color with. With this craze comes a little bit of sanity for those who hop on board. It’s been confirmed that those who sit down to enjoy a few minutes of coloring each day have actually found that they’re less stressed!

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party coloring books and pensA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party coloring pens and pencils

Since so many of my girlfriends have expressed an interest in adult coloring books, I was pleased to host this adult coloring party for a few local blogger friends with the help of Prismacolor Premier® products last week. It was a wonderful morning filled with great conversation, good food, and relaxing coloring for all. I don’t remember the last time I sat down to color but I’ll be doing it a lot more frequently now that I’m hooked!

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party food spreadA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party with brunch foodA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party fruit and cheese tree

Tips for Hosting An Adult Coloring Party

1. Fun and Easy Food

Egg Bake + Cinnamon Pecan Pullapart Bread + Fruit and Cheese Tree

When I host get-togethers for the girls I always have one homemade item, and then the rest store bought. Not only does it make things easier on me as I get ready for things but it also allows me to focus more on the guests the day of because I’m not running around trying to finish up making this or that.

For this event, I chose to make a delicious egg bake with bacon, cheddar, and broccoli. I picked up a cinnamon pecan pull apart bread from the store and made a festive fruit and cheese tree with cubed cheese and grapes. The tree was very easy to make. I added two mandarin oranges to the top as a tree topper and the bottom as a tree stump and then added pretzel crisps to the last layer to use with the cheese for snacking.

The egg bake and pull apart bread were served on the main buffet spread and the fruit and cheese tree was set out on the dining room table so we could munch as we colored. Who doesn’t love to munch along as they color and visit?

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party mimosa barA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party with mimosasA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party mimosa bar name tagsA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party mimosas

2. Drink Options

Mimosa Bar

Mimosa bars are perfect for morning get-togethers! They pair perfectly with the breakfast foods I was serving and guests can choose to either pour a mimosa or just drink the juice. For this simple mimosa bar, I grabbed a few glass juice carafes and some champagne glasses.

I paired together orange juice and cranberry juice to bring more color to the spread. As for the champagne, I grabbed my favorite local almond champagne. And some non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice for the non-drinkers.

Grab a few gift tags and Prismacolor Premier markers to make name tags for the drinks!

Hot Cocoa Bar

Another great addition to any brunch or evening event during the winter months is a hot cocoa bar. It adds a little sweetness and some warmth to the event. Plus there are so many fun additions and toppings one can add to their hot cocoa to make it personalized to their taste. Grab a pot of coffee to add to the mix so guests can make mochas too!

I chose to use my single serve coffee machine and some hot cocoa cups I had, however, I’ve also made a delicious batch of slow cooker hot chocolate in the past with this recipe for a little adult fun.  I’ve also passed out these cute hot cocoa snowmen as gifts and favors at parties before.

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party hot cocoa barA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party hot cocoa bar toppingsA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party hot cocoa bar and coffee station

3. Adult Coloring Books + Colored Pencils

And, of course, for the star of the event, adult coloring books are a must! Each guest should have either a few adult coloring print-outs or a coloring book of their own to enjoy during the event. Pair with Prismacolor Premier coloring pencils and you have the perfect outlet for moms to relax, de-stress and re-energize during the often-stressful holiday season.

In the living room and the dining room table I put a few coloring books out with packs of Prismacolor Premier colored pencils. I also used a roll of butcher paper as table runners for both the coffee table and dining room table so guests could doodle and find out what colors they wanted to use.

Coloring together allows friends, families and co-workers an opportunity to take a moment together to reflect and reenergize, sparking creativity and inducing productivity. It’s a relaxing way to reconnect with each other. We enjoyed chatting around the table about work, life, and everything else in between.

A Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party coloring with prismacolor pencilsA Colorful Affair Adult Coloring Party coloring in the lines

What do you love to do when you get together with your girlfriends?

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Prismacolor Premier®.

Thanksgiving Tips and Tricks: Party Like A Pro

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ahhh… turkey day is nearly upon us and, if you’re like me, you’re about to lose your mind due to the long list of things you need to get done before the big day. Not to mention Christmas right around the corner! Well, in an effort to ease my mind and give myself a bit of time to prep I decided to head out to Sam’s Club® and search for great tips and tricks for planning the perfect Thanksgiving party.

Holiday entertaining can be the ultimate challenge.  But with affordable, gourmet selections from Sam’s Club®, you’ll be party planning like a pro for the best holiday season ever.  Get started at FoodNetwork.com/party, your one-stop source for great tips, recipes and behind the-scenes videos with Sam’s Club® Members.

You can also get tips directly from the pros! Check out Chef Robert Irvine, host of Food Network’s Restaurant: Impossible Ambush as he ambushes an unsuspecting Sam’s Club member to help solve problems and party plan like a pro.  In this video, Robert provides his ideas for the perfect center plate protein to make sure your next dinner party is a smash!

In addition to great food from Sam’s Club, I’ve also asked bloggers what their favorite ways to help save them time (and sometimes money!) when hosting or attending a Thanksgiving party. If you’re like me and need a game plan to keep your mind at ease, read along to find out all of the great tips I discovered.

Thanksgiving Checklist
1. Create a checklist

One of the easiest ways for me to stay on track with big meals or events is to have a checklist. A place I can put everything I need to do and have the satisfaction of checking off each little box as I go along. Luckily, Tonya Staab wrote a Thanksgiving checklist featured on Blissfully Domestic that should help each of us prep and plan for this Thanksgiving.

2. Prep ahead

One of the easiest things to do when prepping for Thanksgiving is to do things in advance. Rachael Nash Wunderlich of Adventures in Wunderland suggests to make pies and put together casseroles the day before, then on thanksgiving day you just rotate the casseroles in to bake and all you really have to worry about is the turkey and potatoes.

Need help on those potatoes? Check out these mashed potato tips from Dish over Dinner. Or do what I do and make a twice baked potato casserole (recipe coming soon!) that you can prep in advance.

Prepping doesn’t stop with food. Consider setting up the buffet with dishes and decor while placing post its and labels to indicate where dishes should go on the big day. Put out anything you can in advance so you aren’t rushing to put things together on the day of the party. We also set the table a few days before too.

chocolate espresso pecan pie3. Keep drinks and dessert simple

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is to keep it simple. Delegate some items so that you aren’t burdened with many different dishes. One tip Joann Wooley of Sign4Baby thinks helps a lot is to have your guests be in charge of dessert and beverages.

Now if you really love to bake and that’s your thing then consider delegating out some side dishes instead. Consider this chocolate espresso pecan pie from Baby Birds Farm for your main dessert and then have guests bring other pies to add to the mix. That way you can spend more time on other aspects of the meal.

And drinks can be kept super easy. Ask guests to bring their favorite bottle of wine and then for the kids make this easy crock pot apple caramel cider featured on Catching Up With Kate.

4. Remember food allergies

Its important to remember that not all guests can eat everything on the table. Try to accommodate guests food allergies says Melonie Gallegos. It may be a small change you make to  a recipe or simply preparing a dish without one ingredient but your guests will sure appreciate it!

Know of a guest who’s gluten or dairy free? Try this delicious pumpkin pie I made with coconut milk. Cook it up in a dairy-free, gluten-free crust and you have an allergy friendly dessert!

green bean casserole

5. Make sure to think of the leftovers

No one wants to miss out on the delicious left overs so consider buying 2 turkeys if you are hosting a big family gathering suggests Joann Wooley. Or plan to make a double batch of that favorite casserole everyone loves. And make sure to pick up plenty of goodie bags and dishes from Sam’s Club so you can send leftovers home with your guest. The one thing I always regret each year is not taking enough leftovers home!

7. Don’t Overcook the Bird!

Now I’ve only cooked two turkeys in my life. One with a brine, the other without. And the only thing I was concerned about was dry turkey. So I did a bit of research and found that cooking the turkey with it’s breast down for half of the cooking time allows the bird to cook evenly without overcooking the white meat. By flipping it back over 1/2 way through I can still get that gorgeous golden brown crisp skin everyone loves.

8. Keep it Simple

I had to laugh when a fellow blogger suggested to simply purchase everything already made. Heather Delaney Reese of It’s A Lovely Life mentioned that her best Thanksgiving ever was the year they bought everything at Sam’s Club (and split the cost with friends). Sam’s Club has a truly impressive array of holiday foods from the entire meal-in-a-frozen-box to just the sides (fresh or frozen) to just the ingredients for a homemade feast. Now I’m all about home cooking 99% of the time but when it comes to these giant meals for parties keeping it simple just makes it easier on everyone.

9. Entertain your Guests

There really can be too many cooks in the kitchen when it comes to prepping Thanksgiving parties. So make sure you have something for your guests to do (or eat) while you’re finishing up.

Make sure there’s a ball game on for the guys and the black Friday ads out for those who shop early. Some bloggers may have mentioned getting into arguments with their mother-in-law. Jillian Warner of Mommy Testers tip is one we should keep at heart – keep your mother-in-law out of the kitchen! Or simply give her all of the salad fixings and set her at the table to get to work.

Thanksgiving Kiddie Table

10. Enjoy yourself!

With all of the prep and work that goes into a Thanksgiving meal, remember to enjoy yourself and the time you have with your family. Don’t sweat it if something goes wrong. Because you’re with people who you care about and just want to have a good time. Plus… if dinner is a huge disaster there’s always dessert!

How do you keep Thanksgiving stress-free?

Don’t forget to enter the “Holiday Party Planning” sweepstakes running from 10/22 – 12/31/15 and make the holidays just a little brighter! The Grand Prize winner will receive a $500 gift card and 1 year Plus membership ($100 value). 5 1st Place winners will receive a 1 year Prime membership ($100 value). 5 2nd Place winners will receive a Wolfgang Puck 10 piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl Set ($29.99 value). And 10 3rd Place winners will receive a Kitchen Aid 3pc Chef Knife Set ($15.98 value). 

NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.  Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., 21 years or older.  Ends 12/31/15.  To enter and for complete details and odds, visitwww.foodnetwork.com/party. 

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Sam’s Club. The opinions and text are all mine.

Fall Harvest Party Ideas

We love to travel. And we love to entertain. So we’re sharing our Fall harvest party ideas along with two regional recipes featuring our sponsor, Ritz. Read ahead to find out how to marry your favorite destinations all on one tablescape!

Fall Harvest Party Ideas - a simple spread perfect for any holiday get together

Hosting our family for a fun party is always a fun way to celebrate the holidays. And I do enjoy hosting people over at my home. With the weather changing and the leaves starting to fall, I almost get a glimpse of seasons changing. Living in San Diego, I have to travel to another part of the country to truly see seasonal changes. I don’t mind it. I love living in San Diego and love travel so it’s a win-win for me!

One place that definitely sees the change of seasons, and somewhere I haven’t been yet, is Atlanta. Now I don’t know why but I’ve never visited the south. Not that it isn’t on my list of places to go! I would love to do a little tour of the southern states one day with my family. At our fall harvest party I created a delicious dish to remind me of where I’m from and a dish to represent a place that I want to visit. And with such great rates on airfare from Southwest Airlines, I’m sure I’ll visit soon!

Fall Harvest Party Ideas - street taco on a ritz bar

In celebration of fall, I created a fall harvest tablescape incorporating the colors and seasonal decor of fall. I was inspired by the squash and pumpkins we had left over from Halloween and used them to create the colorscape for our table. I love being able to use various items over and over again throughout the season. And the cinderella style pumpkin was the perfect way to raise my serving platter.  

I tried to keep the food simple but delicious. I always have some sort of fruit for the kids so I went with some tangerines and placed them in a pumpkin basket I had. Since the tangerines look very similar to pumpkins the kids got a kick out of them. To make serving a group of people easier, I also made a street taco (on a Ritz) bar instead of making up individual carnitas bites. That way the guest can choose what type of meat they use and what toppings they want to enjoy. 

Fall Harvest Party Ideas - mini pecan pie bites and drinksFall Harvest Party Ideas - street taco bites
Now I know that street tacos don’t scream fall, but in San Diego mexican food makes it’s way into just about any celebration. But one thing that does scream fall is pecan pie. After having it for the first time a few years ago, I’ve come to love the flavors in a pecan pie. So these pecan pie bites not only remind me of the upcoming holiday, they’re also the perfect dessert for parties because they’re easy to eat and simple to make.

This whole spread was absolutely delicious and pleased a variety of palettes including the kids. And if you’re a parent you know how hard that is! You can find the recipes for my carnitas bites and mini pecan pie bites here. And voting is now open for the best travel-inspired Ritz creation! You can vote for either of my recipes at LuvRitz.com.

Fall Harvest Party Ideas - Mini Pecan Pie BitesFall Harvest Party Ideas - the spread

What are your favorite flavors of fall?
Fall Harvest Party Ideas

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth At Your Next Event

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth - using a smartphone to print photos
Photobooths are very popular right now. Kids love them, adults love them, and they make great momentos from events attended. And there are a lot of things you can do to change a photobooth up to make it relevant for the event you’re at or the group you’re with. From including fun props to changing up the backgrounds to match the theme or season,

After joining the PTG I started to realize that a photobooth was a great way to document the special events we host every year. From our Fall Festival to our Junior High dances, having an easy way for parents and kids to make memories is a big plus. Photo booths are also very simple to set up nowadays and fairly inexpensive with the use of technology.

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth - printer and props

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth

1. Find A Good Location –

Make sure to find a spot at the event with the best lighting. If your event is at night, consider additional lighting to light up the photo booth area. Because you’ll be having guests use their phones to snap photos you don’t want them to have to worry if their flash will be enough light.

2. Set Up The Printer

At the dance I had a whole table for props and another table for the printer and photo paper. You’ll want to choose a location that has a good WiFi connection so that you’ll be able to set up the printer and so that you can connect the phones to the printer as well on the WiFi connection. We made sure to test out our printer during set up when we first arrived so we could confirm that everything worked before guests started showing up. 

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth - props

3. Provide Lots Of Props

A quick visit to the dollar store can provide very helpful with props. I was able to find huge glasses, silly masks, signs, and more in the aisles of the dollar store. I also made a few signs on my own through PicMonkey and laminated them so they wouldn’t get ruined after multiple uses.

4. Use The HP Social Media Snapshots App

We had a few signs around with instructions on how to download the HP Social Media Snapshots app and use the app to print out photos from the event. We shared how easy it was to write new captions if they were using photos from their social media accounts and how to print photos from their galleries that they took that night. The kids loved being able to get with their friends and customize their photos.

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth - use Social Media Snapshots

5. Print Memories Easily Onto HP Social Media Snapshots

I cannot say how much I love HP Social Media Snapshots! Not only are they awesome for printing out Instagram and social media photos, they’re also awesome to have for parties and events at a photo booth. Not only can you take photos at the photo booth and have them print out, but you can capture photos all over the event and print them out. Simply select your favorite images straight from social media, print them out onto the 4×5 paper, and stick them anywhere.

HP Social Media Snapshots are available now at Staples and they’re BOGO free until 11/30. Grab a few packs for your next party or event!

Tips For Hosting A Photobooth - thinking outside the booth

What events do you have coming up?


Tips For Hosting A Photobooth

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape

Tracking Pixel

Today we’re sharing our tips on creating the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape. Insight for this post was provided by GE Café™ Series.

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape

With Thanksgiving around the corner, I’m starting to plan out our Thanksgiving table. I love being able to create a festive tablescape for the holidays even if we don’t host Thanksgiving at our home. It keeps things fun for dinnertime. Why leave all the fun to my mother-in-law, right? And why not keep the house festive all month long? Plus if we get unexpected guests we can entertain easily without worrying about decor.

I haven’t talked much about our new home but one of the things that frustrates me is the fact that we don’t have enough room in our home, nor do we have an adequate kitchen, to host a holiday meal… yet. Luckily we have plans to remodel our kitchen and dining room so that we have the space, and appliances, to accomodate entertaining along with our every day meals.

So for now I focus on what I can control – the decor and festive tablescapes!

Last year we went with a simple centerpiece to decorate the table so this year we’ve continued with the simple approach. By using pumpkins and squash we picked up at the pumpkin patch right before Halloween, I was able to repurpose a few of our fall decor into a nice tablescape that was festive and coordinated with everything else I had.

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape - fall foliage and squash

Keep The Center Simple

Since we typically keep a buffet of food in the kitchen, the center of the table is for decorative pieces to keep things festive. By utilizing some gourds and squash and placing them along with some leaves on top of a burlap runner, I can create the look of Fall without too many pieces.  I was able to utilize the orange leaf print table cloth that I use for Halloween again for our Thanksgiving tablescape. I’ve also used a cinderella pumpkin here to serve not only as a centerpiece, but as a place to put the pie for dessert at the end of the meal.

When you want to keep conversation flowing, keep the centerpiece low. That allows guests to converse across the table. If there are a few taller pieces, make sure they’re seperated out so there are spaces between to make eye contact. Also, if you’re using candles, make sure they’re unscented. There’s nothing that’ll ruin a dinner more than a scented candle when you’re trying to eat food. 

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape - place settings

Have Fun With Place Settings

I love creating fun place settings for my guests to enjoy. This year we found some party poppers from our most recent trip to one of our favorite cooking sho that had a festive turkey theme. These are great conversation starters when guests sit down because they want to open them and discuss what they got inside. Sure they’re normally at the kiddy table but why can’t the adults have fun too? I’ve also created fun place cards and napkin rings to keep the table fun and entertaining for everyone.

While I do keep our plates and silverware near the food at the buffet, I leave a bowl for the guests to take to the buffet with them for their salads so they have room on their plate for other foods. Don’t you hate when you put the salad on your place first and it takes up a ton of room? No? Just me? I also like to leave a napkin at each place setting. I’m always that person who gets to the table after getting her food, sits down, and has to get back up to grab a napkin because I forgot it or didn’t have any hands free.

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape - centerpiece

Keep Versatile Pieces

It’s a great idea to have some key pieces from your tablescape to utilize from one holiday to the next. Consider investing in some timeless colors or colors that work with various seasons. Green can work for the fall and winter seasons depending on what you pair it with. Orange works for Halloween and Thanksgiving. And red can work from Christmas to Valentines Day to patriotic hoidays. I also keep a few basic colors of place mats as well on hand to switch it up. Cream, green, and blue are in my current rotation. 

Creating The Perfect Thanksgiving Tablescape - a simple, easy idea for Thanksgiving dinner

Now that I’ve taken care of our tablescape, I can focus on testing out a few of our favorite recipes to contribute to our holiday meals. And next year I’m hoping that I’ll be preparing a holiday meal in our new kitchen. With the research I’ve done on appliances, I’m starting to narrow down exactly what I want. And first things first, out with the electric stove and in with a gas stove!

Since I love to cook, I am aiming to purchase appliances that will last a while and keep up with my passion in the kitchen. I also have to keep in mind my husband’s love of baking. Luckily I can “Take Food Further” through the power of GE Café™ appliances. These appliances bring the expertise of the restaurant, home, during holiday timing.

With the GE Café™ Series I’ll be able to get the details designed to help the meals I make become masterpieces. From slow roasts to quick sears, from soups to sauces, the advanced cooking technology and intuitive design of our ranges can take every meal further. And boy do I need that! With each burner specialized for precise boiling, simmering and searing I won’t have to put up with the frustration that I feel with our current kitchen.

How do you simplify the holidays?

Disclosure: Insight for this post was provided by GE Café™ Series.



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