swim party favors

Sponsored by © Monedelez International Group. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

I’ve got two summer birthdays right in a row with Raleigh’s in June and Cal in July! We tend to have at least one of their parties at the pool and this year is no different. SWEDISH FISH and SOUR PATCH KIDS candies created the perfect pool-themed treats just in time!

Pool Party Favor Ideas

Heads or Tails, you get a new flavor! SOUR PATCH KIDS HEADS and SWEDISH FISH TAILS combine two flavors into one candy, and they were the perfect addition to our Swim Party-themed favors. I grabbed mine at Dollar General and right now, they’re buy 1 SOUR PATCH KIDS Heads, get 1 SWEDISH FISH Tails FREE (8 oz.; max. value $2.00) – Click here for the deal! All these other favor ideas are easily sourced online with 2-day shipping, too! Of course, Dollar General has so many fun options for summer treats and party ideas, too!Pool Party Favor Ideas

I love giving party favors that actually benefit the party-goers while at the pool and something fun to take home, too. Pool Party Favor Ideas

Sunglasses…cute photo-op alert! // A floatie is a pool must-have, and these small soda can holder ones are inexpensive to buy for a crowd and not too bulky to bring home! // A limited-edition candy that they’ve never tried is sure to get kids excited. SWEDISH FISH candies are Cal’s favorite (the raspberry mango flavor is bomb!) and SOUR PATCH KIDS are Hayes’ (he loves anything sour!), so we’ve got our bases covered! // Stick these sea creatures in water and kids can watch them grow when they get home. // Goggles are a must (buy them in bulk online!) because someone always forgets theirs and it seems to cause contention. Goggles for all! // No matter what the age, bubbles are a hit. These smaller tubes come in bulk as well and are just enough fun for the afternoon. // Packing a few other snack options for them to eat is sure to keep everyone happy and away from the concession stand.

Swim Party Favor Ideas

Cal is getting so big, and this year is a big birthday for him and our family! He has done so amazing this past year, making new friends and being brave, and it will be fun to have them all to the pool to celebrate!

Pool Party Favor Ideas

Did I miss any pool favor ideas you love? Be sure and try out these Sour Patch Kids Heads and Swedish Fish Tails and tell me what you and your kids think!

Swim Party Favor Ideas

CLICK HERE FOR THE COUPON!

st. patrick’s day treats

Listen up! Next gas station run grab yourself some Xtreme Sour Airhead Ropes! Take them out of the package to get a little bit crusty. Then you’ll be all set for a slew of festive St. Patrick’s Day treats. With a little toothpick action you’ve got yourself a rainbow on whatever your kids are eating. Toast? Check. A cup of water? Check. A chocolate filled sno-ball? Why not. (Rainbow paper is from Thimblepress!)St. Patrick's Day Treat Ideas This smoothie is something my dad used to make me and it’s so yummy! You just need club soda, vanilla ice cream and sherbet. Lime for St. Patrick’s Day but any other flavor for whatever other reason you need. Equal parts ice cream and sherbet (about a cup!) and half a cup of club soda. It’s like this creamy italian soda dreamsicle. We all love it!St. Patrick's Day Treat IdeasRainbow pizza! With a cauliflower crust even!St. Patricks Day Treat Ideas Cloud donuts!St. Patricks Day Treat Ideas Spruce up your Lucky Charms with this printable!St. Patricks Day Treat Ideas Rainbow cupcakes!St. Patricks Day Treat Ideas Quintessential Irish Dinner on a stick!St. Patricks Day Treat Ideas Rainbow popcorn two ways! HERE.St. Patricks Day Treat IdeasAnd HERE.St. Patricks Day Treat IdeasRainbow fruit parfait!St. Patricks Day Treat IdeasAny ideas to add? I know I always see green pancakes and green eggs and green milk. Hopefully these help spark some new ideas! xo

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be kind and cozy

We have had so many amazing acts of kindness from the people in our new town it really has blown me away! Even my kids can’t help but notice which made me realize we really haven’t done much to be kind and helpful others in awhile! We were so turned inward trying to get our own tasks taken care of we lost that service oriented element! As we get closer to the holidays I really want to shift our focus off of ourselves and give back! Whether it’s raking leaves, taking trash cans back for neighbors, shoveling snowy walkways, or my kids favorite: delivering treats! Abercrombie Kids was on board with our mission and they got them all decked out for our outing so they could Be Kind and Cozy! Their site is 40% off today (50% for jeans and adults!) so don’t miss those awesome deals!

Hayes: Essential Puffer // Softest Flannel Shirt // Raglan $10 // Stretch Denim //

Cal: Hooded Varsity Jacket // Tee // Chino // Hat

We’ve posted so many favorite treats over the years – pick your favorite! No fail chocolate chip cookies, Banana Bread, Holiday Beignets, Swig Cookie Dupes, Kitchen Sink Cookies, Magnolia Banana Pudding, Cranberry Bundt Cake, Mini Pumpkin Pie, or more healthy options like Oat Power Balls.They love them all and they love helping because they get to sneak ingredients.

I love asking them who has been kind to them with our move. Sometimes I am not even there for these interactions and its so sweet to hear what stays with them!Don’t let baking stop you from this fun! Store bought is just as effective and with a pretty plate they might not even be able to tell. We love these pretzels and they look pretty homemade to me!

Shop with 40% off here!

I know these colors aren’t screaming Fall or Halloween BUT fun nonetheless to make our own monster cookies! I used this set of edible facial features!Monster Cookies

I made the cookies from scratch and bought the frosting. Typically would have bought ALL of them because Macey’s bakery is so dirt cheap but I was in a rush. (You can order frosting from most bakeries in whatever colors you want! It was $8 for all three of these!)Monster Cookies I also love a frosting spatula because it makes it SO much easier to smooth and control.

Monster CookiesNot so scary but still delicious!Monster Cookies

MORE HALLOWEEN!

Costumes + Trick or Treating: All our costume ideas from the last 6 years! // DIY Candy Tote

Food: Best Halloween Snack Ideas HERE // Healthy Halloween Lunch //

Modern Decor Ideas: Graveyard Wall // Best Ideas from Around the Web // Garland Ideas 

Party Ideas:  Spooky Party Hat Printable // 3D Balloons 

magnolia banana pudding

Everyone once and awhile I have the craziest craving for Magnolia Bakery’s Banana Pudding. I’ve had it a number of times in their New York City bakeries, but luckily for all of us they released their recipe so we can make it anytime we want!Magnolia Banana PuddingMy son Cal loves this dessert and requested it for his birthday party, I figured I better come up with a few swaps to make it a little more kid-party friendly and maybe a little easier to make?I teamed up with Food Club on this zero hesitation because they have a Double Your Money Back Guarantee. If you don’t like any of the products you buy from them, they’ll refund your money and then pay you that same amount from their pocket. WHAT?! These types of guarantees are nearly extinct in 2018 so I was super intrigued to give the brand a try and they’ve been around since 1945 so you can rest easy that can back it all up! You can find a participating store near you with this link!

I swapped out several of the ingredients for Food Club products but here is the recipe from Magnolia’s recipe book!

  • 1 small can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/2 cups cold water
  • 1 small box vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 3 cups heavy cream (I swapped mine out for Food Club’s Ready Made whipped cream
  • 4 cups sliced ripe bananas
  • 1 box of Food Club Vanilla Wafers

If you want to see what it looks like plated in a trifle and not for a 7-year-olds birthday, look no further than my friend Christy! Is this not gorgeous??

Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding

But like I said we’re making it easier, less time intensive for a birthday party full of kiddos who likely prefer store bought whipped cream, so let’s do it! Food Club Double Money Back Guarantee

Pudding:

Beat the Sweetened Condensed Milk with the ice cold water for about a minute. Add the pudding mix powder and continue to beat for about 2 minutes. Put saran wrap flat on the surface of the pudding so it doesn’t harden on the top and refrigerate overnight or minimum of a few hours.

Assembly:

Alternating layers of the Vanilla Cookies, Sliced Bananas, Whipped Cream, Pudding until you fill your desired pan. I love a trifle but for Cal’s birthday I thought it could be fun to spoon the mixture into waffle cones! ! Easier for kids to manage and (fingers crossed) less mess than serving it with plates and forks. He digs it so I guess that’s all that really matters, right?Magnolia Banana Pudding Top with a banana, whipped cream, a Vanilla cookie or all three!Magnolia Banana Pudding

Thanks to Food Club for sponsoring today’s post!

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hi-chew halloween

So excited to partner up with HI-CHEW today to share our family Halloween Costumes!! Since we moved to our rental we’re in walking distance from a corner store and every time without fail my kids pick HI-CHEWs. It’s their favorite so as far as dream partnerships, this one might be it for them. 😉 HI-CHEW has these Original Mix gusset bags filled with  multiple flavors perfect for treat bags or pinatas, they’re perfect little bites! Hi Chew HalloweenThese sticks are what we’re handing out for trick-or-treaters! You can buy all of these candies at Wal-Mart, Target or Amazon!Hi Chew HalloweenI have wanted to use this theme for my family most of my adult life. My kids knew that this was important to me and I think they caught on to my passion… OR they had a plethora of HI-CHEWs on hand and basically free reign to eat them while we got our photos. You be the judge.Rock and Roll Family CostumeThese boys don’t agree on much but Strawberry is both of their favorite flavor HI-CHEW. Cheers to that! Mine is Kiwi, Russ loves Green Apple. Which is your favorite?Rock and Roll Family CostumeYou already know my love for closet costumes and my tip for big group theme costumes is to find your inspiration images and then try and divvy the costumes out based on what each person already has in their closet! So Freddie Mercury in a singlet? Raleigh wears one basically everyday. Done.Rock and Roll Family CostumeEach holiday I like to get my boys a suit for the next year and so I strategically worked these suits into the costume ideas. Why not find multiple uses, right?Rock and Roll Family CostumeThe only thing I had to source for my costume was the top hat! I am sort of obsessed with it now.Stevie Nicks Costume

Russ could care less about Halloween but he’s always a good sport so if anyone would be cool with a full face of make-up it was him! Since it’s just an iconic look I didn’t worry too much about what he wore on bottom which I am sure he was grateful for because Bowie loved him some spandex.HiChew HalloweenThanks to HI-CHEW for making this dream a reality, a family band is all I ever wanted.

 

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mummy donut holes

Lucky for us we have the Six Sisters here today sharing their Mummy Donut Hole recipe from their new book Celebrate Every Season! So cute and EASY for your Halloween celebrating!

This recipe is taken from their new book Celebrate Every Season which has easy, tasty recipes to help you make the most out of the seasons changing, produce in season, and of course all your celebrating! I’m excited really delve into this book as now some of my very favorite holidays are coming! Celebrate Every SeasonHere’s the recipe for the Mummy Donut Holes!

Mummy Donut Holes

Serves: 24 | Prep time: 20 minutes | Cook time: n/a | Total time: 20 minutes

1 (1-pound) package white chocolate candy coating or almond bark, divided

24 donut holes

Black gel frosting

Melt ¾ of the white chocolate candy coating in a bowl according to package directions.

Dip each donut hole in the chocolate, making sure to cover entire donut hole with chocolate. Remove from chocolate using two forks, letting excess chocolate drip back into the bowl.

Place donut hole on baking sheet covered with parchment paper and let sit for 30 minutes to an hour so that the chocolate can harden (if desired, you can put them in the fridge and they will set up faster).

Melt remaining white chocolate and, using a spoon, drizzle “mummy lines” on each donut hole, leaving a little room for the eyes. Let harden for about 30 minutes.

Place two black gel dots on each donut hole for eyes and serve.

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snack hacks

Sponsored by Stonyfield Yokids.

Hayes has been in school for about a week and Cal starts his first day tomorrow, but I already feel infinitely more “with it.” Owning the day instead of letting it own me, you know? I just had to get myself set up for success and here are two easy ways to help kids get not only a healthy snack, but also independently so!Fridge Snack BoxGrab + Go Snack Boxes. I have these in the pantry and also the fridge where they’re pre-portioned, bagged, and easy to spot. They can grab whatever snack looks good to them even if I am detained, or if we’re in a rush. I do the Stonyfield Yokids pouches, smoothies or squeezers, prepackaged hummus and guacamole with veggies, string cheese, and pouches. It changes each week but these are usually always there because my kids love it all!snackboxI love the pouches for this because there’s no mess, no spoons or even the torn off top of the tube to pick up later. The Stonyfield YoKids pouches are the jam!stonyfieldI want ALL my kids to be able to eat more independently, including the baby! I love the pouches for him and I freeze all our yogurt squeezers for his nonstop teething, poor guy. He’s getting a few more teeth and his molars and he loves to gnaw on the squeezers. Since they’re frozen, he’s learning to eat a bit more cleanly too since he has a little bit more control over how much comes out and spills just don’t happen! Also the frozen squeezer is great for packing in lunches to keep other items chilled, too! Still nice and cold by lunch.frozenpops

Earlier this Summer we made the switch to Stonyfield Yokids yogurts (anyone else’s shopping habits dictated by what Coscto is carrying?) and my boys all LOVE them. I feel like it’s this secret Mom Win since it’s 20-40% less sugar and healthier ingredients and organic. Because Stonyfield YoKids yogurts are certified organic, that means each cup is always made without the use of toxic persistent pesticides, artificial hormones, antibiotics. You can read more about their Organic qualities here! Less sugar obviously didn’t change how delicious it is or deter them in the slightest, they love them just as well as the higher sugar ones we used to buy! You all know how picky Callum is- he’s got the nose of a bloodhound and a creature of habit and he made the switch no problem as well! He likes the smoothie cups the best, another great on the go option! Something he can drink on the way to school even! Stonyfield

I get mine at Costco, but they have so many great product as you can see! Don’t forget their classic yogurt cups, too. You’ll also notice Stonyfield Yokids has animals on each of their products! They sponsor the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and also SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) and they’re giving away a trip for a family to go to South Africa and see them all up close and personal! YES please!!

6th Birthday Cake

I bought this pan months ago thinking I would have our local bakery whip something up for me, but then it turns out that’s a health code violation SO I had to make the cake. In my heart of hearts I am the type of mother who makes from scratch cakes and kills it, so why not start now? This cake was delicious, its SO thick and dense but somehow lighter than air. Like almost a pound cake but so yummy. Its that buttermilk and 5 eggs no doubt.

I used this recipe and followed it to a T making small additions for my altitude – 4.6k feet!My one hack was that I bought the frosting from a bakery. I didn’t trust myself and wanted to be sure I could get the consistency needed right off the bat. So we went wild with the colors and did an “easy” color-blocking. Even still it was a freaking feat for me.Colorblock Cake Baking a cake is a lot like parenting. You see it done all around you, and people are making it look so easy and then you try and you’re like, wow I suck at this. But you focus and measure everything so carefully and then you taste it and it’s amazing and your kids love it. But most importantly, you are proud of it. And maybe the corner is burnt, but the middle is great. And maybe the frosting is a mess, but it does the job and the cake knows it’s got it’s back. Maybe that’s a stretch. But this cake was definitely an act of love and I hope to get better at it. Baking and parenting, that is.

lemonade bar!

As promised here is the mixology for the lemonade bar I posted yesterday! This is such a fun one to have while hostessing. Its early enough in the party that I always welcome the distraction for guests while I get last things prepared.Lemonade Bar=PEACH RASPBERRY – Screams summer doesn’t it? Just mash peach puree and raspberry puree and add a heaping teaspoon or less of each (this is for a 6 ounce cup.)Lemonade Bar Lemonade BarBLUEBERRY MINT – Blueberry always has that minty, herby taste to it so i think these compliment each other well! Just muddle the mint by crushing the leaves to release the oils. I like leaving the blueberries whole it makes it for a fun pop of flavor.Lemonade BarBASIL + WATERMELON. This is one of my favorite Summer combos as a side dish or in a jar of lemonade. So good!Lemonade BarLastly, CHERRY + LIME. I’d add grenadine for a more classic taste but lime with a stemmed cherry garnish is the cutest.Lemonade BarOf course guests can make up their own combos and you can have loads more mix-ins but these four are so Summery and fresh and are sure to please!LEMONADE BARAlso, YES to ice, it was making it hard to see the ingredients for these photos but ice is a must and ball ice is even better since its about the same size as all the ingredients I cut up for the drinks. I buy mine in bags from Sonic! Or you can get yourself a pebble ice maker. They’re $3000 usually OR I am excited to buy this Opal version for the new house at only $500, anyone have one?