Browsing Tag

dessert

shark week playdate - free banner printable, chumming for sharks yogurt recipe, shark bait recipe, link to popcorn bucket printable and tons of other shark week ideas

Shark Week Playdate and Free Printables

We had our friends over for a playdate during shark week, so I of course used it as an excuse to have a fun, shark themed get together. I love little events like this because it allows me to be crafty and creative without all the work and stress of a full-blown party. I didn’t start making stuff or preparing until Monday (our friends came over on Wednesday) so this is totally do-able for busy or last-minute moms. 🙂

DECORATIONS

I started out like I always do, searching Pinterest for ideas and free printables. I found some really cute stuff to use as well as some fun ideas. I didn’t see anything I could use for a banner though, so I made one myself. I think it turned out really cute and I always feel like a banner makes the table look complete. You can download the free banner printable by clicking HERE. Just cut it out, punch holes in the corners and run string through it. Lately I have been using blue painters tape to hang up my banners then covering the tape up with cute washi.

shark week letterboard idea

I also used my letterboard for the occasion. It was a bit of a challenge creating the shark fin, but I love how it turned out.

SNACKS

Chumming for Sharks Yogurt

chumming for sharks yogurt - perfect healthy snack or breakfast for shark week or a shark birthday

I wanted to have a few snacks with at least one healthy option, but most of the ideas on Pinterest were not very healthy. Usually I am all about desserts, but we have been making an effort to eat healthier lately so I came up with my own snack idea by combining a few ideas from Pinterest. We ended up making chumming for sharks yogurt. The kids helped me make these, which was a lot of fun. To make these you will need the following:

  • Granola (optional)
  • Greek Yogurt (we used vanilla)
  • Blue food coloring (you only need a few drops)
  • Frozen Strawberries in Sugar (we bought this from the frozen section of the grocery store)
  • Plastic Cups
  • Mini spoons
  • Grey construction paper (to make shark fins)
  • Glue gun

We added a little bit of granola to the bottom of the cups, put a few drops of blue food coloring into the yogurt, scooped the yogurt into the cup, then topped it with the chum (the frozen strawberries). I explained to the boys that chum is what they dump in the water to attract sharks and then what do you know, a few sharks showed up and jumped right into our bowls. 😉 The kids loved it! I free hand cut out shark fins out of grey construction paper and glued them onto mini spoons. I also used a few sharks left over from the adorable popcorn buckets I made using a printable from My Printly.

Shark Bait

shark bait popcorn snack is easy, delicious, and perfect for shark week or a shark party

Of course, I had to do one sweet treat, so I made shark bait. It was so delicious and all the little sharks ate it up super fast! I spent Tuesday night driving from store to store searching for shark gummies. I feel like I always see them until the time I need them, then they vanished. I found gummy bears, worms, snakes, octopus, frogs, dinosaurs, alligators and lions! Literally every gummy animal ever made except sharks! Then I thought, why would sharks want to eat sharks, and decided that putting them in my shark bait didn’t make sense anyways. That is when I came up with the goldfish idea. Sharks love eating fish, especially delicious sweet ones. They have so many fun flavors now too that you could use, but I must say, the s’mores goldfish were perfect in this recipe. To make the shark bait you will need the following:

  • Sea Salt Air Popped Popcorn
  • Ghiradelli White Chocolate Chips
  • Blue M&Ms
  • S’mores Goldfish Crackers

I put wax paper on a cookie sheet, spread out my popcorn, sprinkled in goldfish and m&ms, then drizzled the melted white chocolate over it. I put it in the fridge until it cooled then broke it apart and put it in the cutest popcorn buckets from My Printly. These were so perfect for our playdate and I have been refilling the containers with shark bait all week so the boys can munch on it while watching Shark Week.

Ocean Water

ocean water - blue gatorade with a swedish fish makes an easy and fun drink for shark week or a shark party

For drinks, I kept it simple with blue Gatorade and a swedish fish on each straw.

ACTIVITIES

Shark Sensory Bin

shark sensory bin

I set up a shark sensory bin. What I love most about sensory bins is that they don’t always have to be fancy. I didn’t have time to buy anything (and to be honest didn’t really want to spend a bunch of money) so I just used what we already had. A bag of glass circle vase fillers, water and plastic sharks. That’s it! And you know what, the kids loved it and played with it for quite a while. Sometimes, I think we as moms get caught up in making everything Pinterest worthy, but kids don’t need much to have fun. They were getting so creative and having the best time! When you give kids water activities, you usually can’t go wrong.

Shark Slime

shark slime - perfect activity for shark week

We also made shark slime. For our first attempt, the day before the playdate, we tried to use a non-borax recipe, but the slime was so sticky. I watched a bunch of you tube videos and started adding everything they recommended for sticky slime, but nothing helped. So my hubby bought borax and like magic our sticky bowl of blue goop turned into slime. When our friends came over, we made a second batch using the borax recipe and it worked great. The kids loved playing with their sharks in the slime! I used this recipe to make the slime.

Shark Play Doh Mats

shark week playdoh mats free printables

I also had a little play doh station with our shark week playdoh mats, some playdoh and some cutters. My boys had already done this activity earlier in the week and the kids were all having so much fun with the other activities that we didn’t get to this. You can check the play doh mats out here.

Shark Cutting and Tracing Activity

free printable - shark cutting and tracing practice

I also made a fun little printable for Hudson. I printed one out and had it laminated so it could be used as a tracing exercise. Both boys had fun with that. Then I printed one out on regular paper so Hudson could also use it for cutting. Hudson loves cutting so this was perfect for him. You can get the printable HERE. *Graphics were purchased from Prettygrafik Design.

CRAFTS

I had a few crafts to do that I found on Pinterest, but we didn’t get to those either. Good thing shark week lasts an entire week so we can fit in all the fun we planned.

Clothespin Sharks

clothespin shark craft for shark week

I let each of the kids select one craft from Pinterest. Hudson chose clothespin sharks from Kix. This wasn’t an ideal craft for my kids’ ages so I pretty much ended up making these, but the kids did love playing with them.

Toilet Paper Roll Sharks and Paper Towel Roll Hammerhead Sharks

Luc chose to make paper toilet roll sharks. The one he selected was a regular shark, but his favorite shark is the hammerhead so I got really excited when I found a paper towel roll hammerhead shark on Pinterest. We are planning to make both, but so far have only completed phase one. I will update this once we finish the project.

Shark Hats

shark hats perfect for shark week

I was also planning to make shark hats, but the hats we selected required an obscure paper size in numerous colors that was not readily available (please tell me I am not the only one who spends tons of time driving from store to store looking for seemingly basic craft supplies that are actually impossible to find). Luckily, one of my friends, Danielle, from Mama Life Inspiration, who is an awesome blogger, posted an adorable shark hat idea. So we ended up making those instead and the boys had tons of fun finger painting their shark fins and tails. Of course they also loved running around in their shark hats. For more details on the hats and for the link to the shark fin hat template click here. Danielle also has a bunch of other fun shark week ideas on her blog so be sure to take a look.

As you can see, we squeezed a whole lot of Shark Fun into one week. My boys just love sharks so much that I couldn’t help myself and went a little overboard. You could easily pick just a few of these ideas to make your shark week a bit more fun.

I hope you have a fin-tastic Shark Week!!

allergy friendly fruity pebble treats - use a plastic egg to mold them into an egg shape for Easter

Allergy Friendly Fruity Pebble Treats

My oldest son has food allergies and both of my boys had food sensitivities while nursing so we have done our fair share of elimination/allergy friendly diets. Since I have a major sweet tooth, I spent a good chunk of time trying to come up with “safe” versions of desserts. Rice Krispy treats were one of my go to’s, but for Easter, I put a fun little twist on them and used Fruity Pebbles instead. I also stuck the treats into a plastic Easter egg to mold them into egg shapes. I placed them in an empty egg carton left over from our confetti eggs and the kids loved them (I’ve also seen empty egg cartons in the Dollar Section at Target). If you know someone, especially a kid, who has food allergies, you know how amazing it is when they don’t feel left out of holidays and celebrations. I hope this dessert brings some joy to your family this Easter.

Allergy Friendly Fruity Pebble Treats

Easy allergy-friendly treat (Wheat, Dairy, Egg and Nut Free). For Easter use a plastic egg to mold them into an egg shape.


Copycatable Rating:?????

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 4 cups marshmallows
  • 5 cups Fruity Pebbles Cereal
  • Dash of vanilla (optional)

Directions

  1. Microwave oil and marshmallows in large bowl for 1 minute 30 seconds or until marshmallows are completely melted and mixture is well blended. (keep in mind that the oil will not blend in as well as butter does)
  2. Add a dash of vanilla (optional) and stir.
  3. Add cereal and mix well.
  4. If making into eggs, press into greased plastic egg, then set aside to cool.
  5. *I only roughly follow the measurements above – just add cereal until the treats are to your preferred cereal to marshmallow ratio 😉 I also usually double the recipe – especially when making these for parties*

    *As with any allergies, I recommend double checking labels. What is tolerated by one person may not be tolerated by another so use caution when trying ingredients for the first time.*

Green velvet cupcakes with white chocolate mint cream cheese frosting - perfect for St. Patrick's Day

Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes

Green Velvet Mint Cupcakes

  • Servings: 18-24 cupcakes
  • Print

A fun twist on our favorite cupcakes from the Cake Mix Doctor that are perfect for St. Patrick's Day


Copycatable Rating:?????

Ingredients

  • 24 paper liners for cupcake pans
  • 1 package plain German chocolate cake mix
  • 1 package vanilla instant pudding mix
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 bottle (1 ounce) green food coloring *I only use enough to reach desired green color, about 1/4-1/2 the bottle*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 cup Andes creme de menthe baking chips
  • For White Chocolate Mint Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 6 ounces Ghiradelli white chocolate chips
  • 4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  • 2 to 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F. Line 24 cupcakes with paper liners.
  2. Blend cake mix, pudding mix, sour cream, water, oil, food coloring and eggs in large mixing bowl for 30 seconds using an electric mixer on low-speed. Increase mixer speed and beat 2 minutes more, scraping down the sides as needed. Fold in the Andes baking chips. Scoop into lined cupcake cups, filling each three-quarters of the way full. Place in oven.
  3. Bake 18 to 20 minutes, until cupcakes spring back when lightly pressed with your finger. Remove from oven and set on wire rack to cool for 5 minutes.
  4. To make frosting, place the white chocolate chips in a small glass bowl in the microwave oven. Cook on 50% power for 30 seconds, then add 15 seconds more if needed. Stir until smooth.
  5. Beat cream cheese and butter in large mixing bowl on low-speed until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add melted white chocolate and blend until just combined, about 30 seconds. Add the mint extract and 2 cups of confectioners’ sugar and blend on low until the sugar is incorporated, 30 seconds more. Increase the mixer and beat until the frosting is fluffy, about 1 minute more, adding up to 1/2 cup more sugar if needed to make a spreadable consistency.
  6. Place a heaping tablespoon of frosting on each cupcake and swirl to spread using a short metal spatula.
  7. Store the cupcakes in the refrigerator.

For more St. Patrick’s Day fun check out this post. 🙂

Finding Dory Birthday Party

tons of fun ideas for a finding dory, finding nemo, little mermaid or ocean themed party

My boys are very into ocean animals and love the Disney movie Finding Nemo so when they saw Finding Dory this summer and loved it, I knew we had found the perfect birthday party theme. Since my boys’ birthdays are two weeks apart we decided to do a combined party this year, which worked out great. I promised myself I was going to keep things low key, then after weeks of restraint,  I gave in and went crazy buying and making as many things as possible.

Once the boys had nailed down that they wanted a bounce house in the backyard, I started off my party planning like I always do-with a search on pinterest. There were tons of cute ideas, many of which I ended up copying at the last minute.I ordered very cute invitations from Party Door. I also ordered t-shirts for myself (Amazon), Hudson (Shop Disney Parks) and Luc (CrazyCorgiLadyDesign). My hubby, who is very helpful when it comes to parties and puts up with all my over the top party planning, draws the line at wearing party theme t-shirts.

family photo nemo dory birthday party

I absolutely love desserts and tend to make that the focal point of parties I throw, so let me start by showing you that. For kid parties, I am a huge fan of cupcakes instead of cake. For one, I can make them myself, which saves a lot of money. They are also so much easier during the party. No cutting, no wasting (am I the only one who dreads cutting cakes because they are always too pretty to eat?) and they can still be themed and cute. I bought these adorable cupcake wrappers from EasyPeasybyAlison on etsy and love how they turned out.

nemo bailey destiny hank dory marlin cupcake wrappers

I make rice krispy treats for every party because they are easy and I have a recipe that makes this one of few desserts my oldest son, who has food allergies to dairy, eggs and nuts, can eat.  At about 11pm the night before the party, a lightbulb went off and I quickly sprung into action. I turned my rice crispy treats into starfish. I was so happy with how they turned out and the best part is they were so easy to make. You can find my allergy-friendly rice crispy recipe here along with details on how to make the starfish rice crispy treats.

starfish-crispy-cereal-treats

I saw this great idea from Oh my! Creative and knew I had to copy it. My oldest son is obsessed with sharks and by leaving the cool whip off a few he was able to have a second dessert option. They didn’t have grey foam at any of my local craft stores so I just used grey cardstock and it worked great. You just make blue jello in clear cups according to packaging instructions. Cut out shark fins from grey paper and glue onto mini spoons. *Check the height so the shark fins are start at the top of the cups. Place spoons into cups. Then add whipped cream or cool whip.

shark jello cups

Bucket of sand was one of my favorite desserts to make as a child so I made some mini sand parfaits and stuck umbrellas in the top. Sadly, I couldn’t find the recipe I used as a child and did’t love the way these tasted so I won’t share a link, but I’m sure if you look on pinterest tons of recipes will show up. They look so cute and you could even keep it super simple by alternating vanilla pudding and crushed up nilla wafers.

sand parfait

I always make oreo truffles, but in my attempt to simplify this year I decided to skip them. That is until midnight, when I realized that a few of my friend’s husbands come solely for those and I’m a people pleaser, so I got to work making fish bowl pops. I always make oreo truffles using this recipe from Bakerella because they are way quicker than cake pops, oreos are my favorite and I love the way these taste. Cake pops are a pretty long and tedious process as it is, so if you can cut the time down and focus more on the decorating you will be happy you did. Anyways, I got to the part where I needed to adhere my fish sprinkles and they were too heavy and kept sliding off. 🙁 I then tried fish candies from the pinata candy bag with no luck before settling on hand drawn fish using edible markers. When the markers started acting up two pops in I decided to call it quits and head to bed (it was extremely late at this point and my brain was shutting down). I was disappointed that my pops didn’t turn out how I envisioned, but everyone else thought they were adorable and loved them. After the party ended, I remembered that I had bought two boxes of Dory cereal specifically for the cake pops. Of course, the marshmallows worked perfectly.

fish bowl oreo truffle

One of Hudson’s favorite parts of the dessert bar was the Goldfish Bar. We filled fish bowls with different flavors of pepperidge farms goldfish, filled a glass with swedish fish and another with candy worms. This was a big hit!

nemo goldfish bar

Another highlight of the dessert bar was a last minute impulse buy from Amazon. I had been searching for a coffee pot similar to the one in the Finding Dory movie and by luck a few nights before the party I came across this toy coffee pot with a swimming dory. Thanks to Amazon Prime, it arrived just in time for the party and was so cute! We still have it out and treat Dory like a real fish.

I normally make party banners myself, but again, in my quest to simplify, I outsourced and I am so glad I did. The details on this banner from TwoEarlyBirds were beautiful and from experience I know I saved myself a lot of time (and maybe even a bit of money) by ordering one instead.

We also set up a drink table. I made a few jellyfish to hang from the ceiling. The jellyfish were made loosely following these instructions from Party City. I bought a few of those white crates they sell at craft stores before Hudson’s first birthday and tweaked one by adding a “shelf”. I also bought a few boxes of mason jars. I use this display at every party and just tie different colored ribbons around them depending on my theme.

dory party drink table

I also always offer beer and mimosas. People don’t drink a ton at kiddie parties in the middle of the day, but they always appreciate the option and seem to enjoy a little indulgence. This time around I kept my mimosa bar simple by just offering Freixnet and orange juice.

bubbles-mimosas

I put blue Hawaiian punch in a dispenser that I transformed into Dory using these instructions. This was really easy to make and everyone loved it! Both boys shouted DORY! as soon as they saw it. 🙂

dory drink dispenser

Last year, we got jamba juice for Hudson’s birthday party and it was such a huge success that we got them again. They are such a great allergy friendly option, they are easy for kids to drink, perfect on a hot day, and lets face it, who doesn’t love fruit smoothies?

squirt strawberry whirl smoothie

As a few final touches, I added a fish bowl with a bath toy in it and another fish bowl filled with blue m&ms and a few goldfish crackers.

For food, we had subway “submarine” sandwiches with some fun and festive sides. My husband carved an awesome shark out of a watermelon for Bruce’s fruit salad. Both of our boys went crazy over it! For directions, check out Popsugar Food’s You Tube video.

bruce shark watermelon fruit bowl

I made our go to pasta salad using shell pasta.

pearls pasta salad

We had veggies and ranch dip with Hank as the centerpiece. We also had submarine sandwiches from Subway. I made the food labels and whenever possible I stuck a matching bath squirter character by the label.

hank veggie dip

For favors, I bought Finding Dory bath squirters from Walmart. Both of my boys are obsessed with these. I filled our popcorn buckets from the movie with the favors and made a thank you sign to go with it.

dory bath squirter party favors

In addition to the bounce house, we had a pinata. I made bags using an idea and printable from Any Tots. We filled the pinata with a Dory Pinata Candy Mix from Walmart.

dory pinata treats

The photobooth has become a signature at all of our parties. It is so much fun and the best part is we always end up with photos of all our guests. I bought the cutest downloadable photobooth props from SimplyMadeWithSam. You can check out all our diy photobooth recommendations here.

dory party themed photo booth

The party was a blast! I just love the whole experience with my boys. The planning, the build-up of excitement, and the joy on their faces the day of. Hudson ran to the door every time someone arrived to welcome them to his birthday party. Then he excitedly showed them all the fun details. It was so rewarding to see how much he loved and appreciated all my hard work. Luc, showed his appreciation in his own way, with excited shrieks of “Dory” “Marlin” and “Bailey” I know they both had such an amazing day!