DIY Independence Day Party: How To

Photo by: M.D. Creekmore

Happy Independence Day everyone! Well, almost. With July 4th quickly approaching, we’re all getting ready for some good food and awesome fireworks. So if you’re planning a last minute party for friends or family, we’ve got some simple and budget-friendly party ideas just for you!

 

While decorations may not be the most important item on your list of party planning to-dos, many can be made from things you already have around the house, making them practically free! Architectureartdesigns has forty awesome decoration ideas for your home, whether you’re planning a party or just want to show off your American pride!

Photo by: Kerrie Kelly

Architecture Art Designs is a website dedicated to bringing you fresh inspiration on Architecture, Design, and Art. Featuring inspiration for both indoors and out, as well as DIY projects, Architecture Art Designs is your one stop shop for everything creative. For more information, visit:
architectureartdesigns.com.

 

As we all know, some holiday party foods can be quite expensive. Fortunately, Independence Day is one of those holidays where BBQ or the classic hamburgers and hotdogs makes the perfect party meal. Get the grill master of the house to cook up some great food, and set up a quick table with all of the fixin’s. For some easy side dishes, check out epicurious.com. Below we have a simple recipe for some awesome Gazpacho Salsa from Jill Silverman Hough, a great compliment to any 4th of July party.

Photo by: Nigel Cox

Featuring recipe databases, message boards, and a variety of culinary-themed articles, Epicurious is the perfect website for food enthusiasts. Owned by Condé Nast Publications, Epicurious’ recipes are chosen from professional chefs, home cooks, and back issues of the Condé Nast magazines. For more information, visit: epicurious.com.

 

Gazpacho Salsa

Yield: 5 cups

Ingredients: 

6 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 Tablespoons Sherry wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 Tablespoon smoked paprika
1 1/2 tablespoons coarse kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 medium tomatoes, cored, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1 small cucumber, peeled, seeded, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pitted Kalamata olives
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley

Directions: 

Whisk oil, vinegar, garlic, paprika, coarse salt, and pepper in large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients and toss to coat. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chill. Toss to blend before serving.

 

Are you looking for the perfect summertime drink that also makes the perfect Independence Day party beverage? Rollingout.com has compiled the five top cocktails for the 4th of July! Featuring beautiful reds, whites, and blues, any of these top five drinks is sure to be a hit with all of your guests.

Photo by: Danielle Canada

Rolling Out brings you the latest in black news, entertainment, celebrity videos and more. Rolling Out has the scoop on everyone and everything you need to know. For more information, visit: rollingout.com.

Obviously you’ll need some entertainment for the kids, especially if you have several younger children running about. When the sparklers run out, surfnetkids has some simple 4th of July party games that are perfect for all ages from the youngest children to adults.

Photo by: SurfNetKids

SurfNetKids was created by Barbara J. Feldman who loves receiving and sharing the best educational tools and activities for kids of all ages. For more information, visit: surfnetkids.com.

 

Send your guests home in style with one of our seeded star favors! Get the set of red, white, and blue (pictured below) as the perfect Independence Day party compliment. Our seeded favors are eco-friendly, and they actually sprout and grow! Get yours here.

 

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A Nature-Themed Birthday Bash

Photo by: The Carrie Murray Nature Center

Are you planning a special birthday? Why not try an outdoor or nature-themed party? Easy to do on a budget (you can repurpose things from around the house or outdoors), nature-themed birthdays are perfect for children of all ages. We’ve pulled together some decorations, games, food, and even party favor ideas to make your party extra special!

Decorations for a nature-themed party are easy and usually pretty cost-friendly. This wooden cupcake stand idea from Parents.com was created from paper-covered soup cans and wood rounds. The rest of the table was decorated with twigs and leaves from the backyard. The mushroom cupcakes in the picture below are also featured on the Parents.com website.

Photo by: Amanda Kingloff and Taryn Mohrman

 

Parents.com is the home website of Parents Magazine, parentsAmerican Baby, and FamilyFun brands. Parents.com is focused on bringing young mothers and families the information they need to live fun and healthy lives. For more information, visit: Parents.com.

 

Nature-themed parties provide built-in games and activities. Send your party guests on scavenger hunts, or ask them to go outside and draw the things they see in the backyard for their “nature book.” Hostess with the Mostess has several nature-themed party ideas, with food, decoration ideas, games, and more. At the party featured on the Hostess with the Mostess website, party guests planted their own nature gardens.

Photo by: Jen CYK Photography

 

Hostess with the Mostess is a website that is hostessfocused on bringing readers modern ideas through a daily blog and online community. Hostess with the Mostess brings you DIY projects, tips for hosting parties, and party planning tips. For more information, visit: HWTM.com.

 

Another fun idea at a nature-themed party is to set up a trail mix station. Party guests are given bowls, brown paper sacks, or anything else you have around your home and make their own trail mix. This idea is especially perfect in the case of food allergies. No one has to do without, because they can hand pick what they want to eat. Kojo Designs features step-by-step instructions on creating a trail mix buffet with helpful tips and pictures.

Photo by: Kojo Designs

Kojo Designs was created by sisters Kirstin and Jordan. Kojo Designs provides DIY projects for everyday, not just special occasions. For more information about Kojo Designs or Kirstin and Jordan, visit: Kojodesigns.com.

Don’t forget to send your party guests home with fun and memorable party favors! Here at Nature Favors, we have the perfect party favors for any nature-themed birthday party. Pictured below are our seeded party favors. Our seeded favors actually grow and come with pots, soil, and personalized favor tags.

Photo by: Nature Favors

How to Plan a Bridal Shower: Food, Games, and More!

 

Photo by: crosscards.com

Summer is coming, and so is the largest wedding season of the year. Since most weddings occur from May through August, many soon-to-be brides will be needing a bridal shower. We’ve pulled together some fun ideas for a summertime bridal shower with food, drinks, games, and even party favors.


Nothing says summer like a big scoop of ice cream. Add a little festivity to your summer bridal shower with these Ice Cream Cups from Martha Stewart. All you need is a pizzelle iron and a few household ingredients for this simple, fun treat.

Photo by: Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart online hosts more than twenty years of recipes, crafts, articles and videos. For more information about Martha Stewart or for more bridal shower recipes, visit: MarthaStewart.com.

 

 

Yield: 48 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray, for iron
  • 2 pints ice cream or sorbet, for serving

Directions:

  1. Whisk egg whites in a large bowl until soft peaks form. Add salt and 1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar, and whisk until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in vanilla and remaining 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Fold in flour and butter until well combined.

  2. Heat a pizzelle iron according to manufacturer’s instructions. Coat with cooking spray, place 1 teaspoon batter on the iron, and close cover. Cook until steam subsides and wafer is golden brown, about 1 minute. Remove wafer with an offset spatula. Working quickly, place the wafer in a mini muffin tin and gently push down the center to form a cup. (The wafer will cool and harden almost immediately.) Repeat with remaining batter. Let cool completely. (Wafers can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

  3. Fill wafers with 1-inch scoops of ice cream or sorbet, and serve immediately.


Tea is the perfect summertime drink and traditionally, women toast the bride-to-be with some sort of alcoholic beverage. So treat your guests to this Cherry-Blossom Tea and Pink Lemonade cocktail from Martha Stewart and give them the best of both worlds.

Photo by: Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart online hosts more than twenty years of recipes, crafts, article and videos from Martha Stewart. For more information about Martha Stewart or for more bridal shower drink recipes, visit: MarthaStewart.com.

 

 

Yield: 4 1/2 cups

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon cherry-blossom tea or any floral white tea
  • 3/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Simple Syrup
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons grenadine

Directions:

  1. Heat the water in a medium pan over medium heat until it begins to simmer. Remove from heat, add tea, and let sit 2 minutes. Strain immediately, and refrigerate liquid right away until cold, about 1 hour.

  2. Combine tea, lemon juice, simple syrup, and grenadine. Pour over ice when ready to serve.


Every bridal shower needs a few games or activities to keep the guests entertained. We found three websites with numerous bridal shower games and activities for you to choose from. Some may be a little cheesy, but that’s what makes them fun.

  • Wedding Party – lists 5 classic bridal shower games
  • How Stuff Works – counts down the top 10 bridal shower games of all time
  • The Knot – lists 21 fun bridal shower games that are a hit for all crowds

Photo by: Style Me Pretty

Founded by Abby and her husband Tait, Style Me Pretty features content from vendors and flowers to photographers and invitations. For more information about Abby or Style Me Pretty, visit: stylemepretty.com.

 


The last thing on our bridal shower list is party favors for your guests. Our Blooming Garden Party favor sets are a great gift for all of your friends and family. In your choice of 13 colors, each of our Blooming Garden Party favor sets includes an Earthbloom ball, which is made from our unique blend of soils and flower seeds, soil, a pot, and a personalized tag. Get yours today!

Photo by: Nature Favors

Cinco de Mayo Party Planning Tips

Cinco de Mayo is almost here!

Photo by: dreamstime.com

A Little History
Cinco de Mayo is a day set aside each year to celebrate the Mexican heritage and to commemorate the Battle of Puebla, in which the Mexican army defeated the French in the Franco-Mexican war.

Cinco de Mayo is celebrated predominantly in the United States and regionally in Mexico on May 5th.

Source: CVSFlags.com

To help you celebrate Cinco de Mayo in style, we’ve compiled some of the best food, drinks, decorations, and even party favors.

First, the food. Great food makes any party shine, and Recipe Girl has some great tips and recipes to plan the perfect Cinco de Mayo party.

Photo by: Recipe Girl

Lori Lange, founder of RecipeGirl.com is a former elementary school teacher. Recipe Girl hosts over 2,700 original and adapted recipes. For more information, visit: recipegirl.com.

 

You can’t have a party without something sweet, and what’s better than M&M filled mini cookie piñatas? We found this fun, and simple, sugar cookie recipe at SheKnows.com.

Photo by: Sandra Denneler

 

 

 

Sandra Denneler, a SheKnows Expert, is an art director at Wichita State University. She creates edible art, and she and her husband, Eric, have two children, Gus and Bea. For more information about Sandra and She Knows, visit: SheKnows.com.

 

 

 

 

Next, the drinks. Anyone who mixes drinks could tell you that you have to find the right combination of juices and alcohol to make a drink shine. Too much of one or the other and you’ll end up with a hot mess.

The Invitation Shop has recipes for six popular Cinco de Mayo cocktails with the proper mixing directions.

Photo by: The Invitation Shop

 

The Invitation Shop specializes in creating custom party invitations, as well as favor boxes, decoration tips, and general party planning help. They have invitations and party planning tips for weddings, graduation, Christmas, 4th of July, and more. For more information, visit: theinvitationshop.com.

 

 

 

No Cinco de Mayo is truly festive unless you have some awesome decor. MarthaStewart.com has an easy DIY tissue-paper decoration project.

Photo by: MarthaStewart.com

 

 

MarthaStewart.com hosts more than 20 years of recipes, articles, videos, and crafts. For more information, visit: MarthaStewart.com.

 

 

Once your party is over, you’ll need something to give your guests to remind them of the fun they had. Our Blooming Garden Party Favors double as table decorations and as favors for your guests. They come in several colors, but we recommend green, red, or white to commemorate the Mexican Flag.

Photo by: Nature Favors

An Outdoor Easter Party for Kids

Easter is just around the corner, and we’re here to help you plan the perfect child’s party. We’ve searched Pinterest and party stores to bring you some of the best snacks, decorations, crafts, and even party favors.

First things first, we need food. For our outdoor party, we’re sticking to bright colors that are perfect for both boys and girls. We also chose chocolate-free or peanut butter-free recipes, in case you’re trying to plan around allergies.

Land O’ Lakes Inc. has a fun and simple sugar cookie recipe. These Mint Blossoms call for mint meltaways. We found some chocolate-free mini meltaway mints via Hickory Farms at Wal-Mart.

Mint Blossoms

                     Mint Blossoms                         Photo by: Land O’ Lakes Inc.

Land O’ Lakes Inc. is a member-owned cooperative based in Saint Paul, MN. Member-owned and operated since 1921, Land O’ Lakes Inc. is the second largest national corporation with more than 9,000 employees. For more information, visit landolakesinc.com

 

 

Kellogg’s Robin Nest Egg Treats are another fun Easter snack for kids. You’ll need Rice Krispies, marshmallows, coconut, food coloring, and either jelly beans or WHOPPER’s chocolate robin eggs.

Robin Nest Egg Treats

          Kellogg’s Robin Nest Egg Treats         Photo by: Kellogg’s

Kellogg’s was  founded by W.K. Kellogg more than 100 years ago. Based in Battle Creek, MI, Kellogg’s produces cereal and other convenience foods. For more information about Kellogg’s, visit kelloggcompany.com.

We also found these fun multicolored Jell-O cups by Eighty MPH Mom. Simply make different flavors of Jell-O – we recommend Lemon, Lime, Orange, Strawberry, and Blueberry – and spoon portions into these 2 oz. plastic portion cups. (Wal-Mart sells a 50 ct. for less than $5.00).

Jell-O Cups

                            Jell-O Cups                               Photo by: Eighty MPH Mom

Eighty MPH Mom was created by Jennifer, a native of the San Francisco Bay area.  Jennifer is the mother of two children and four cats and has been blogging for three years. For more information about Eighty MPH Mom, visit eightymphmom.com.

Now, if you’re a little concerned by the amount of sugar at our party, we’ve got you covered. Parents.com has a quick and easy fruit snack to combat those sugar rushes.

Petal Pushers

           Petal Pushers             Photo by: Frances Janisch

 

Parents.com is a monthly magazine published by the Meredith Corporation. It was first published in 1926, and its main focus is on helping parents raise their children. For more from Parents, visit parents.com.

 

Another fun treat for the kids are these Easter Carrots. You could use them for a cute Easter Bunny-themed centerpiece or give them as a treat for the kids to take home. You’ll need disposable icing bags, goldfish crackers, and some ribbon to tie the ends.

Easter Carrots

             Easter Carrots             Photo by: The Moody Fashionista

The Moody Fashionista is run by Brandy, a mother from California. She has been blogging since 2009 and loves planning parties with bright colors. For more information, visit themoodyfashionista.blogspot.com.

 

We found a fun blue lemonade that is simple to make. We also found some inexpensive water bottle labels if you decide to serve water for your little party-goers.

This Turquoise Lemonade is quick and easy to make. Just combine Blue Raspberry Kool-Aid with Country Time Lemonade and sugar.

Turquoise Lemonade

           Turquoise Lemonade            Photo by: hello-naomi

 

Hello Naomi is run by Naomi a Robot Programming Computer Engineer turned ‘cake girl’ from Newcastle, Australia. She began blogging in 2006, and is the proud owner of a small cake shop that services the Sydney, the Central coast, and Hunter Valley areas. For more information about Hello Naomi, visit hello-naomi.blogspot.com

 

Pair the lemonade with white straws and these adorable bunny Peeps and you’ve got a cool drink the kids are sure to love. To make the Bunny Peep straws, simply stick the straw right through the middle of the Peep.

Bunny Peep Straws

           DIY Bunny Peep Straws              Photo by: uncommondesignsonline

Uncommon Designs is run by sisters-in-law, Trish and Bonnie. They began blogging in 2010 and enjoy recreating crafts they find online. For more information, visit their blog at uncommondesignsonline.com.

 

You may also want to have water, especially if you have an Easter Egg Hunt. We found these adorable water bottle labels on etsy.com that you can use to make normal water bottles tons of fun. For $5, you can print as many as you need.

Water Bottle Labels

Printable Water Bottle Labels
Photo by: Jessica Weible/JW Illustrations

Jessica Weible, owner of JW Illustrations, has a degree in Graphic Design from Woodwood College. She has been digitally illustrating since 2006. Jessica, her husband, and their four children currently live in Virginia Beach, VA. For more from JW Illustrations, visit jessicaweible.com.

 

We found three fun decorations for our outdoor party, sock bunnies, an egg garland, and even a DIY yarn wreath.

These sock bunnies would be perfect for a table centerpiece. They fit in perfectly with our outdoor theme, and they can be made in any color. If you decide to have an egg hunt, you could use them as prizes for kids that find “special” eggs.

Sock Bunny

             Sock Bunny               Photo by: a Pumpkin & a Princess

 

Crystal Owens, creator of a Pumpkin & a Princess, is a mom, wife, and blogger from California. She enjoys sharing DIY projects, inexpensive crafts, and home decor. For information about a Pumpkin & a Princess, visit apumpkinandaprincess.com.

 

 

Do you have leftover plastic eggs from last year? We found this great idea from Family Chic. Simply open the the plastic eggs and close them over yarn or ribbon for a fun egg garland.

Plastic Egg Garland

Plastic Egg Garland
Photo by: Camilla Fabri

 

Camilla Fabri, stay-at-home mother of two, is the creator and author of Family Chic, a blog about creating a fun and creative familial atmosphere using things you already have, or can buy cheaply. Camilla began Family Chic in 2009 and has been interviewed on Design Mom, Mom Filter, and Country Woman Magazine. For more information about Camilla or Family Chic, visit cfabbridesigns.com.

 

This Spring Wreath from Love & Sugar Kisses would be a fun addition to our outdoor party. You could hang it on your front door to get your guests in a creative mood before they even come in, or use it as a table decoration. What you’ll need: a wreath, burlap or fabric to cover, yarn, felt, and buttons.

DIY Spring Wreath

DIY Spring Wreath
Photo by: Maria

Maria, the creator of Love & Sugar Kisses, is a wife and mother of two who loves to bake, decorate cakes, and craft. Her goal is to make things special without breaking the bank. For more information, visit loveandsugarkisses.com.  

 

We actually found two different Easter party invitations we wanted to show you. One is a younger child, while the other would be fine for an upper-elementary student.

The first, an invitation for young children, is from Tiny Prints and is a flat, non-folding card that features an adorable bunny and chick.

Easter Party Invitations

Easter Party Invitation
Photo by: Tiny Prints

Nancy Kubo, designer for Tiny Prints, is a stationery designer from California. She is inspired by magazines, design blogs, and current fashion trends. She has designed thank you cards, party invitations, and holiday cards. For more information, visit tinyprints.com.

 

The second invitation option is from Etsy and features a bunny and several fun colors.

Easter Party Invitations

Easter Invitation
Photo by: Just a little Sparkle

 

Just a little Sparkle joined Etsy.com in 2011 and is based in California. Just a little Sparkle designs signs, invitations, and other paper products. For more information, visit justalittlesparkle.com.

 

 

We found these adorable bunny whiskers that would be a fun addition to our outdoor, Easter Bunny themed party. All you’ll need is white pipe cleaners, popsicle sticks, and pink pom poms. This is a super easy craft for kids to do while you hide Easter eggs.

Bunny Whiskers

 Bunny Whiskers                  Photo by: Kailo Chic

 

 

Kailo Chic, creator of  Ramblings of  a Handbag Designer, began blogging in 2010. She is a handbag and accessory designer from Austin, TX and mother to a baby girl. For more information, visit kailochic.com.

 

 

 

Nature Favors has the perfect favors for our outdoor Easter party. Favors are sold by the dozen and come with peat-filled pots, seeded rabbits, blank tags with planting instructions on the back. Flower seeds inside the earth friendly bunnies will begin sprouting within a few days.

Seeded Bunny Favors

Seeded Bunny Favors
Photo by: Nature Favors

Nature Favors, formally known as Blessed Wings, was founded in 2002 by Shari Gray. Nature Favors is operated near Reilly Springs, TX and specializes in creating handmade, nature-inspired favors for eco friendly weddings and green events. For more information, visit naturefavors.com.