Zoo Themed Kid’s Birthday Party

We celebrated my son’s 4th birthday at Turtleback Zoo in West Orange, New Jersey. The tablescape set the tone with lions, and tigers and bears… oh my!

As favors, I included a zoo map, as well as an “adopted” stuffed animal for each child.

I also made these cute little animal cracker snacks for all of the “Party Animals” to enjoy as they strolled around the zoo.

I got a round chocolate cake made at local bakery, and added my own zoo animal figurines and live flowers and foliage to create the perfect scene!

Art Project for Kids: Spooky Halloween Masks

For me, Christmas and Easter are among my favorite holidays, by my son just LOVES Halloween! So to support his favorite holiday, I wanted to think of some fun ways to let him explore the idea of “dressing up” as different things.

I found these wooden masks at Michaels craft store. All you need is some washable paint and paintbrushes (…and maybe some newspaper to cover the table mess).

Mom joins in on the fun because I can’t help myself…

I encourage them to choose their own colors. If he selects orange for the pumpkin then cool, but if he were to select pink or blue, resist the urge to correct them, there are no right answers when being creative!

Even little ones can join in the project. A high chair tray, and wearing just a diaper, are perfect ways to limit the mess that is bound to happen!

Here is the proud pumpkin with his finished product!

Meow! (That’s Happy Halloween in Cat!)

Purple and Green Bridal Shower

Anyone who knows me knows that I am obsessed with flower arranging. Something about it makes me feel so expressive and in touch with nature at the same time. The textures, colors and patterns come together like a collage and it just brings me so much joy.

So of course I was happy to plan my sister’s bridal shower, and went with a purple and green color theme that felt fitting for the fall.

As a graphic designer, I also make paper products to match. It was a beautiful day!

Lobster Dinner at Home

Our New Years Day family tradition is to start the year off with a delicious meal – lobsters at home. January 1st is actually my Dad’s birthday, and this has always been what he wanted to do to celebrate.

When gathering and celebrating, a charcuterie of meats and cheeses is always a nice way to start.

 

Some tips for eating lobster at home:

  • See if your grocery store will steam the lobsters for you – saves time and you know it will be cooked to perfection.
  • Make sure you have the proper utensils: Kitchen shears, lobster cracker, and seafood fork.
  • Melted butter and a lemon wedge are a great accompaniment to lobster.
  • Have a big bowl on table for discarding the shells, and paper towels on hand for mess.

I served this meal with shrimp cocktail appetizer, as well as sides of mashed potatoes, corn and asparagus. Delicious!

Gingerbread Man Sugar Cookies

I love the idea of decorating gingerbread men during the holidays, but I don’t like the taste of gingerbread cookies! So, switching things up here and making “sugar cookie” gingerbread men in our house this year.

You will need:

  • Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
  • 2 eggs
  • Butter
  • Gingerbread man cookie cutter
  • Rolling pin
  • Decorating icing tubes, 3 colors of choice

I made these with my son. He loved rolling out the dough, and I loved showing him!

An even bigger hit was stamping out the gingerbread men.

He got a kick out of the fact that they look like little people.

Once they were baked, we laid them out to cool. Then we stored them in a large ziplock bag, setting them aside to decorate at our Christmas Eve party.

We decorated them with colored icing tubes after Christmas Eve dinner. Even Uncle Ian took a stab at it! A fun activity for both kids and adults.

Teaching Kids About Giving

I came up with this idea one night while talking to my son about Santa and presents and all the Christmas stuff he had been hearing. He just turned three years old, and this is the first Christmas he started to be curious with what was happening. He knew Santa was coming, and he had a sack of gifts (mostly learned all this from school and books and TV) but I wanted to be able to explain gift giving to him, not just receiving. So I decided I would take him Christmas shopping.

I went to Target and got a few packs of these brown kraft gift bags. We were having Christmas Eve at our house, and expecting ten family members, so I wrote each person’s name on the bags.

I brought my son to the Dollar Store, and brought the bags. I gave him a basket and explained to him that we were going to buy a special gift for each person, something that we thought would make them happy.

We walked through the store, I would name a person and give him the bag, and we would stroll through the aisles talking about things they liked, and what might make them smile.

He was having a blast. I was surprised he had an opinion about each person! I would suggest something, and sometimes he would say, “No, I want to give them this” and point to something else of his choice. How sweet!

When it was time to check out, I gave him a $20 bill, and explained that in order to buy our gifts, we will have to give the cashier money. He was armed with sunglasses for Daddy, a toy pony for his sister, a basketball and football for each of his Grandfathers, and Disney figurines for the Grandmas. Not to mention a set of bubbles for himself. I agreed that a gift for himself would be appropriate.

When we got home, we unloaded the gifts, put them in the appropriate bags, along with a handmade card for each person.