Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Frozen Party: Decorations

I noticed the quality of my images on the last post was lacking so I updated the pictures. 
This is post number 2 out of 3. To view the games we played see here. To see the party invite see here

The color scheme I went with was light blue, purple, white, turquoise, white, and silver. Some of the decor items included:

  • Plastic table cloths. I found these at Walmart. I have used plastic table cloths for pretty much every party I've thrown in the past few years. They can be used in so many ways! This year I used them on the deck swooped as well as on the table. 
  • I used paper poofs on the deck and on the backdrop behind the cupcakes. Both years we have lived at this house and had PB's parties here I have used the window in our breakfast area. It's hard to photograph though because it has so much back light.
  • I put signs with cute quotes everywhere. 
  • I made a Love Experts corner. I wish I had more time to make this area. I was going to fill balloons and use them as water pinatas but it was one thing I had to let go. I used gray balloon, paper, and a sharpie to make this cutie. ("I'm going to keep [him]" -yes, we watch it too much)
  • I made these snowflakes
  • For the backdrop I used the puffs mentioned above, a silver "P" from Walmart, turquoise tulle, and purple streamers.

Through a little bit of research (yes, this is the way over the top I should have majorly toned it down part) I discovered that the decorations on all of the clothing, buildings, and pretty much everything in the movie is called rosemaling. I tried to replicate that on some of the posters. 

Only one more post to go! Stay tuned for the party food and favors! 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Fun and Easy Baby Shower Game: Baby Bingo!

I think this is the best baby shower game ever. Why? It's low key, people can still visit while it's happening, the honoree gets to open presents and it gives people something to do while opening presents. I like watching the honoree open presents but it can sometimes be a little long or awkward...Am I the only one who feels this way?

So at the shower I helped with the day before I gave birth (humblebrag) we played this game and it was a hit! Not everyone played but those who did had a good time. Those who don't like games just visited and it was great. The only downside is that you wouldn't want to play this game at a small shower: the honoree needs to get a lot of gifts!

Here's how to play: Guests fill in the blanks with different gifts you think the mom-to-be will receive at the shower. Ideas: Bibs, socks, books, stuffed animal, diapers, etc. Each board will be different! As the mom-to-be opens gifts, the guests mark off the corresponding box. Once a guest gets 5 gifts in a row it's a BINGO!

Download the Word Document Here!

Don't forget to pick up a few prizes! I just bought some candy bars and wrapped them in scrapbook paper and twine. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

5-minute necklace refashion

I don't know why, but I've really been wanting an infinity necklace. However, I didn't want it to be horizontal, and I wanted the infinity sign to be silver, BIG and bold. The biggest I found on Etsy was about 1.25", and I went ahead and ordered it. I thin it's gorgeous, but it really wasn't as big as I wanted.

When I was shopping for my writers' conference in April, I happened to check the jewelry rack, and there was a big, bold, silver infinity! Of course, it wasn't quite what I wanted, so I had to redo it a bit. Because two shoe refashions the busiest week of my year weren't enough!

The original chunky chain wasn't what I was looking for, and it was oriented horizontally. Both of those things were easy to solve! I used two pairs of pliers to twist open the jump rings connecting the pendant to the chain. (NEVER pull a jump ring open! It loses its spring.)

That freed the necklace from its chain, but there were still little loops soldered onto the ends of the infinity sign that connected it to the necklace. I used the wire nipper part of the pliers to cut those loops right off! (The picture above was taken after I'd done this).

After I cut them off, of course, I realized that ∞ sideways is really an 8 . . . . Oy.

This left a little bit of an edge and a burr, but I think a metal file should smooth them out pretty well. I kept one of the jump rings since it fit on the body of the infinity sign. Then I just had to find a chain. I tried it on with a few silver chains I had around and took pictures to help me decide. I picked this one:

And here it is the night of!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Frozen Party: Games

So I'm breaking up PB's third birthday party into three posts. It was a huge amount of work that I should have started at least a week before I did.  So I'm pretty sure every girl child in the US (and many other parts of the world) is still drooling over Frozen. Since PB has a summer birthday we decided to have a Frozen Melted party. See invite here.

Today I'm going to tell you about the games that we did. I had everyone come straight to the backyard and I had a bunch of stations set up with different activities. There were five altogether
  1. Throw melted snowballs (water balloons) at Hans

  2. Ship building in the melted Fjord

  3. Melt Anna's heart and Elsa's hands
    I used different sized tupperware, a heart cake pan, and a glove to make the ice cubes. I used food coloring, glitter, necklaces, and coins in the ice. These were great!

  4. Arendelle water park
    We had a crazy sprayer, slip and slide, and a spraying ring

  5. Melted snowball bombs (sponge bombs): I had these in a bucket and they can be seen in the picture of the fjord
I made signs from Frozen images I found online. I would share them but I didn't keep track of where I got the images. I put them inside of taped up page protectors to keep the water out. 

Check back next week for the food and decorations for the party! Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jaime's Favorite Trader Joe's Products

Do you have a Trader Joe's? We got one in my area last fall. At first, Trader Joe's can be very overwhelming: they have tons of products, but what should you get? Here are my recommendations from a newbie Trader Joe's lover.

1. Speculoos Cookie Butter. I finished the whole thing, by myself, in record time. I refuse to buy it again because I cannot control myself around it. But you simply must try it. Spread it on just about anything. Or eat it straight out of the jar with no shame.

2. Trader Ming's Mandarin Orange Chicken. Tastes like your favorite take out place, maybe even better! It's cheaper than and a super easy dinner. We have eaten it at least 7 times, including last night. And I thought to myself, "This is better than Panda Express"

3. Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Covered Peppermint Joe-Joe's. SUPER rich and tasty. Sadly only available around Christmas. The dark chocolate and peppermint make these to die for! I'm not, however, a big fan of regular Joe-Joe's. I think I'd rather have Oreos.

4. Trader Joe's Tortellini with Pesto Filling. This is a super fast dinner we love to have on hand. One bag feeds us both twice!

5.  Trader Joe's Flank Steak Pinwheels. Made me realize I actually liked feta cheese. My husband and I both liked them so much, I made my own version for Valentine's Day. 

Honorable mentions (things I keep buying at TJ's): bagged baby spinach, salted creamy peanut butter, dried cranberries (my husband loves the orange flavored ones), hummus salad dressing, Kung Pao chicken (my husband's favorite), and pizza. Their candies are really, really good too. 

What's YOUR favorite product from Trader Joe's? 

Monday, June 16, 2014

What works for me: 5 favorite cookbooks

I do a lot of menu planning through the Internet, but I always need my cookbooks! I collect these things, and I have a hard time saying no to a new one, no matter how full my recipe cabinet is getting. Handed down, printed out and other loose recipes are staples in my kitchen, but I always find myself turning to these cookbooks to find something new to eat! (Disclosure: affiliate links.)

How to Cook Without a Book: Recipes and Techniques Every Cook Should Know by Heart by Pam Anderson

I can't remember how I came across this one, but it went right on my wishlist! My wonderful sister-in-law got it for me.

The book teaches you a bunch of different dishes and methods to make meals from what you've got on hand. It's designed to help you memorize the methods, and I haven't quite gotten to that point, but I remember enough that I can wing most of it for several of the dishes I've made most.

How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman

This cookbook showed up in an apartment in college. None of my roommates said it was theirs, and I was the last to move out, so it became mine.

Although sometimes I could take or leave the author's attitude (I'm sorry, you shouldn't make pecan pie with corn syrup because corn syrup by itself isn't delectable?? Do we sit around eating flour or butter or sugar plain??), this book has a ton of reference material. It's especially useful if you're doing a produce co-op and end up with a mystery vegetable or two. It also explains dozens of techniques with useful illustrations. I don't often plan menus from here, but when I need to look something up (in a book), this is my top choice.

Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book

This one is a family tradition. Growing up, we saw Mom make many a recipe from her ring-bound BHG cookbook. As my generation of Wayward Girls grew up and got married, we received our own copies.

Not only is the binding the best adapted to the kitchen of any of the books listed here, but the recipes have every standby you could want. This is one of my top go-tos for regular menu planning. It also has lots of great techniques, tips and tricks in the sidebars.

EatingWell 500-Calorie Dinners Cookbook by Jessie Price, Nicci Micco & the Eating Well editors
I came across Eating Well magazine via Pinterest. A pin led me to their list of 500-calorie meals. Since my husband was dieting at the time, I worked every one that looked good into our menu plan. Most of them were fantastic! I knew I needed a hard copy.

The most awesome thing about this cookbook actually isn't that it's full of tasty, filling, low-calorie meals. It's that each meal isn't just an entree. In the sidebar, each entree is paired with options for side dishes or even desserts, making a complete meal—still under 500 calories! I love this thing!

Something new!
I use these standbys so much that I always have to keep room in my cabinet for something new. Here are the latest cookbooks I've got my eye on.

Another useful tip: get a cookbook stand! I use the acrylic one because it helps to keep my pages clean, but there are so many options out there, you're sure to find one for you!

What cookbooks do you use over and over again??

Photo of cookbooks by Tom Taker

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