They may be growing up oh-so-fast, but our elementary-school aged kids are more than happy to get as messy as their toddler selves used to, especially when it’s all in good fun. Our tip: Every so often, it’s okay to get messy. So throw on the play clothes, hold your breath, and get ready for them to get head-to-toe covered in paint, mud, or whatever ooey, gooey substance you have on hand. If all this talk about messy play makes you feel a little squeamish, then remember that the nice weather of spring and summer make the perfect time to take that mess outside....Read More
Tag: party ideas
There was a time when Cinco de Mayo meant tequila, nachos, and, well, more tequila. But, now that we have kids, we’ve dialed back the drinking and dialed up the family-friendly fun so that we can all enjoy a Mexican fiesta on the fifth of May. If you feel like getting in on the action, check out these easy Cinco de Mayo party ideas—over 24 finds from decorations to activities, songs to recipes—to help make your day fun for all ages. Comida (Food) First and foremost, in my house, Cinco de Mayo means Mexican food. If it does in...Read More
We want our kids’ birthday cakes to be perfect. I mean, you only turn 5 (or 7 or 9 or 13) once, right? But it can be daunting trying to copy so much of the beautiful stuff online created by trained pastry chefs. See also: Cakewrecks. So on behalf of our birthday gift guide sponsor, the cool cakes in your grocery store bakery and freezer case, we tracked down some of the most creative cake decorating ideas that we could actually do ourselves. Hey, we’re busy! We’re all for saving time by buying an affordable but yummy store-bought cake then adding...Read More
Tips and tricks for throwing the best Oscar party, serving the best food and drinks, and making off with the Oscars pool.
Sunday night is Oscar Night! Or as so many of us think of it, Oscar party night. So I’ve scoured the web for some easy Oscars party tips and printables, because it’s the perfect excuse to get together with friends, dish on the dresses, talk through the technical categories, and tweet your favorite snarky comments. And of course, set up your Netflix and Amazon lists for the next few months. Because like so many parents, I’ve only seen a couple of the movies nominated. Except the animated category, of course. We’ve seen all those. Twice.. Related Post: Where to to see all...Read More
Whether you’ll be watching the Oscars with friends, snuggled up with family, or all by yourself, these 6 creative popcorn recipes are the perfect Oscars viewing snack. Or anything viewing snack, really. Move over fake butter topping, more fabulous dresses…uh, I mean, dressings, are in town. Surely these should help you answer the great question of the night, what are you eating? With these on your coffee table, we don’t expect any popcorn malfunctions whatsoever. Like a flawlessly fitted Calvin Klein on Jennifer Aniston, sometimes you’ve got to start with the basics. This easy homemade microwave popcorn recipe that we found on...Read More
It seems the days of simply announcing whether your baby is a boy or girl seem to be long gone. The latest trend in baby showers that shows no signs of waning is the gender reveal party — personalized, meticulously planned, sometimes messy events with executions that can be so time-consuming, we can only imagine that these ideas are conceived by parents who know they will never, ever have this much free time available to them ever again. On one hand, we have to say we’re wildly impressed with the creativity. On the other hand, you kind of have to ask yourself honestly whether there are actually more than...Read More
I admit it: I’m the cliche food person for whom the Super Bowl is all about food. I love anything with guacamole, nachos of all kinds, and even get excited about trying t make healthy game day recipes for our crew. But for me, the buck stops at beer. Or at least it used to; ever since I realized that even my wine snob husband opts for a cold bottle of brew on game day, I’ve been trying to keep an open mind, and these creative beer cocktail recipes are helping me. It’s just what it sounds like: Beer and liquor mixed into one...Read More
As we say goodbye to 2014 and remember to start typing 2015 on all our correspondence, we wanted to take one last look back at our posts. Specifically, the top posts written in 2014 that caught the attention and imagination of our readers–aside from our our very popular 2014 holiday gift guide and Mother’s Day gift guide. Some of these are surprising, some, not so much. Let’s just say you guys sure like to make things, you sure like to eat, and you sure like to party. Three traits we like in our friends! 10. 8 easy donut recipes so...Read More
If you ask me, the most important aspect of throwing any cocktail or dinner party host to know is how to make a cheese plate. And not just any cheese plate, but knowing how to put one together that looks fancy, even when it’s made with affordable supermarket ingredients. Because we don’t all happen to have Murray’s Cheese Shop in our hoods (mmm…) I’ve put together this simple primer on how to make an elegant, people-pleasing cheese platter without the help of a top cheesemonger and definitely without spending a ton of money. 1. Start with a variety of cheeses. As in, a...Read More
Holiday entertaining doesn’t have to be a blockbuster affair. In fact, some of the best holiday gatherings are small, impromptu get togethers and relaxed gatherings with easy cocktail party foods, festive snacks and, of course, seasonal drinks. During the holidays especially, I stock my pantry with these snack foods so that I can invite people over whenever the whim strikes. With these goodies on hand, I know my guests will be well fed—without any hard work. Lesley Stowe Crisps Crackers are a must at any gathering, and I’m not talking about everyday butter crackers. Don’t get me wrong, those...Read More
11 essential cleaning tips before your holiday party. Whether you’re a neat freak or a “hide everything in the closet” kind of person.
It’s that time of year when pretty much everyone is entertaining. And yeah, we all know how to run the vacuum and wield a toilet brush (or hire someone else to do it, if you’re lucky), but as the resident Cool Mom Picks neat freak, I’ve got a few pre-holiday party cleaning tips and tricks that I’ve picked up over the years to help you get the place in even better shape. Don’t worry — they’re simple, and they’ll actually make your job easier. [Editor’s note: We like that because uh, not all of us around here are neat freaks...Read More
NYC local cupcake shop Baked By Melissa has had us wrapped around their finger since they rolled into town with their delicious bite-sized cupcakes and clever ideas–remember the cupcake gumball machine and the Betsy Johnson cupcake? We even have their insanely good cookie dough cupcakes in our 2014 holiday gift guide, as an awesome BFF gift. Their latest creation is just as innovative as all of those: the Baked By Melissa online cupcake creator, ready for wannabe dessert artists to flex their design skill. You can choose from 16 flavors and turn a blank digital canvas into your own virtual artwork made up of anywhere from 100 to...Read More
The ultimate last-minute Halloween idea guide: Costumes, treats, recipes, printables, crafts, decor, pumpkins and more.
We have featured so many fun Halloween posts this year–and years past, too–featuring our favorite Halloween ideas of all kinds. Including the last minute ones. We’re talking dozens of recipes for treats both healthy and uh….well, you know. Plus costume ideas, printables, decor, pumpkin carving ideas, crafts, music and apps for kids, even cocktails just for you. Can you tell we like Halloween? Since we tend to be among those parents out there who always need last minute Halloween help–let’s call us busy, not procrastinators–we’ve put together the kind of list we’d like to find ourselves, featuring more than 50 helpful Halloween posts (whoa!) to...Read More
Candy may be the only Halloween treat that my kids are interested in, but with Halloween falling on a Friday night this year, I’m also looking forward to a fun Halloween cocktail to usher in the weekend. Whether you want a sweet sip, a serious drink, or a cocktail that can easily be adapted for kids and non-drinkers, one of these 8 Halloween cocktail recipes will surely do you right. My favorite thing about the Vampire Cocktail (above and top) from Self Proclaimed Foodie is that it’s interactive. I mean, who doesn’t want to squeeze fresh raspberry puree through a syringe to...Read More
When celebrating Halloween with little ones, there’s a fine line between fun creepy and scary creepy. Lucky for me—a firm believer that the creepier the better—my kids are finally old enough to handle scary Halloween. I’ve spent a lot of time perfecting the safe creepy Halloween thing, though, and my favorite theme is mad scientist. If you’re looking for a rated-G entree into Halloween spookiness, these mad scientist party recipes will set the perfect hair-raising mood. You know, in a ha-ha way. These monster guts (above and top) from Sugar and Cloth are a perfect safe-creepy specimen. They are also...Read More
Of all the throwback candies, candy corn reigns supreme. More than just nostalgic, it is among the most popular Halloween candies year after year. (Because it’s awesome, that’s why.) It’s also the inspiration for these fun, delicious candy corn recipes. When it comes to Halloween, I believe you can never have too much of a good thing. There are tons of Halloween cookie recipes that call for candy corn, but I love this simple, wholesome approach. With a little bit of food coloring (we love these all-natural food dyes), Jenna at PBS Food turns simple sugar cookies into Candy...Read More
Looking for last minute Halloween awesome? Follow our Pinterest boards for these 5 fun Halloween pins, plus lots more of our daily picks and more coolness from around the web. 1. Helpful tips for taking great Halloween photos of kids. 2. A huge round-up of free Halloween coloring pages that have been keeping our own kids busy. 3. DIY Halloween mummy juice boxes. So fun (and easy) for class parties! 4. Easy Halloween party recipes that are super simple and tasty. 5. Such a fun printable Halloween garland that the kids can decorate themselves....Read More
Last year I threw an awesome Halloween party for my kids. (Really! There’s video, complete with Halloween dinner recipes, to prove it.) It was a blast, but now my kids want to do it again. I’m game—anything to show off my rockin’ Cleopatra costume—but it has to be easy. So I’ve found these super fun, easy Halloween party recipes that are just right to keep your Halloween festive without too much hard work. Because Queen Cleopatra doesn’t do hard work, thank you very much. Three cheers for Halloween Candy Bark (above) from Just a Taste. Candy on candy: It’s the only way to go on...Read More
I typically think of gingerbread houses as a Christmas tradition, but my family is usually so slammed with other activities then that we don’t get around to it. So this year I’m thinking, why not build a candy house for the holiday that’s all about candy? As in Halloween. And now making said Halloween gingerbread house is super easy with the Haunted House Decorating Kit from our creative friends at Sweet Thrills Bakeshop. We were so happy with their edible menorah kits last year that we’re sure this Haunted House kit will be delicious too. It includes everything you need, from black gingerbread pieces to make...Read More
Halloween is coming soon, and it’s time to plan our parties. First up: invitations. And not just any Halloween invitations, but seriously impressive, over-the-top, creative Halloween party invitations this year. If you’re not up for the print-and-ship status quo, as cool as those can be, find inspiration from thee invitations that tell your guests this is one party not to be missed. Then make sure the party lives up to the promise. Note: we recommend sending these by owl post instead of regular old Muggle mail. There’s something that makes me feel a little uncertain about vintage medical supplies, and this amber apothecary...Read More