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How to Throw the Ultimate Election Party

Published September 27, 2016        by Matt

how to plan an election night partyTurn Election Night into Party Night

November is coming, and that means the opportunity to throw an Election Night Party! Invite friends over and make it a night to celebrate democracy and patriotism. With these easy election night party ideas on decor, food, and games, you can make your party a night to remember, no matter who wins the vote!

Election Party Decoration

No matter who you are voting for, you cannot go wrong with red, white, and blue for your election night party.

Balloons are by far the easiest way to add a little color to your party. Stagger the balloons at different heights in sets of three for an appealing arrangement. Tie some to your mailbox or outdoor light to let others find your house easier. Pull out your holiday lights if they are the right color and make your yard shine!

Personalized Napkins - Get Red and Blue napkins to get everyone excited for the big show

Election Party Napkins

Donkey and elephant motifs are great for decorating, and you could take this opportunity to clip political cartoons out of the paper and incorporate them by hanging or scattering on the table. Hang up your 4th of July flags again - but do not forget to put them away before winter weather sets in! As you will likely be watching election coverage on TV, put out some red, white, and blue blankets on the couch for your guests if you have them.

Props for those Instagram photos

71w0FDi%2BghL. SL1000  How to Throw the Ultimate Election Party

Candles do a great job at dressing up a room, and they look wonderful if you use multiple heights flanking the television or on the coffee table or kitchen table. If you choose to buy some election party favors, they can also add to the decor, by scattering them about, or gathering them in a vase, or stacking them in a pyramid. You can find many other easy decorations by shopping for 4th of July decorations, which may be discounted during the off season as well!

Election Night Food Ideas

Finger food is most appropriate for this type of party. You can carry the red, white, and blue theme through the food as well. A fruit platter with blueberries, strawberries, and dried coconut is great starter.

You could also choose foods that represent each candidates home state. Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both from New York, so New York style pizza would fit right in. You could also serve American classics to show patriotism, such as hot dogs and burgers. Both are easy to throw on the grill for your guests.

You can double on decor and food by serving a delicious patriotic cookie bouquet like this one - Patriotic Cookie Bouquet, or some great red, white and blue cake pops like these: Patriotic Cake Pops.

Election Night Activities

While the television coverage is sure to have interesting points, it is a good idea to have other activities planned as well so that your guests do not get bored. If your guests enjoy alcohol, you could do drinking games. If you have younger guests, plan for more child friendly choices. Whatever you choose, this is a great opportunity to distribute election party favors as prizes. Particularly if you are careful to make sure everyone have a chance to get something. You could do this easily with team games. If your guests are passionate about opposing candidates, be careful with your games so that they do not start any passionate arguments. A little bantering is wonderful, but remember, you have already voted, arguing now will not change anything but your mood.

Try out some these election night party ideas, or create some of your own for a memorable night! It is a perfect night to celebrate and treat yourself for taking a stand and voting for your country, and a great way to get friends and family involved as well. All you need is a bit of decor, some well thought out food, and some activities and your night will surely start a new tradition. After all, this occasion only comes once every four years, so take advantage while you can!

How Much Money To Give As A Baptism Gift

Published September 06, 2016        by Sarah

Photo Credit: Kyle James at Flickr
Photo Credit: Kyle James at Flickr

When a Baptism invitation comes in the mail, thoughts quickly turn to the gift. What should you give? Should you give cash? Should you give a present at all? What’s appropriate? While there are no rules set in stone, there are some guidelines you can follow so you can relax about your gift.

How Close is Your Relationship

Think about how close you are to the family. Is the baby your niece, nephew, Godchild or grandchild? If you’re part of the inner circle of family or very close friends, you’ll want to give a little more than other guests typically do. But, that being said, times might be tough right now. The bottom line is to give what you can comfortably afford. $50 is a very nice gift for a Baptism. So use that as your benchmark. If you can afford to make ends meet while giving $50 or more, go for it. But if you’re going to have to go without groceries for the week, you may want to rethink your gift.

Gift Ideas Other Than Cash

There is no rule that says you have to give cash for a Baptism. If you can’t afford to give as nice an amount as you’d like, it’s perfectly acceptable to give a Baptism gift in another form. You can purchase a savings bond for baby at any bank. You’ll pay a fraction of the dollar amount on the certificate and as baby grows, the bond matures. She’ll have money to cash in when she’s older and you won’t have invested beyond your budget.

Another option is to give a present appropriate for baby instead of cash. You can give a silver rattle or keepsake such as a cross or angel that costs only a small amount but looks more upscale.

Consider also how many people from your immediate family are included on the gift. If you are bringing a family of five to a restaurant dinner, you may want to try to give more than $100. Keep in mind, however, that the gift is for baby and is not meant as an offering to cover the costs of your dinners. It is however, customary that if you have more people in your party, you should give a bit more of a gift.

It’s perfectly appropriate to show up with a card with a check or cash in it. That’s also where you’d include a savings bond. But what if you’re just tapped out and can’t give the gift you’d like to? There are options. You can make something special for the baby. Even a small frame decorated well will look nice. Include a photo of baby in it. Look online for inexpensive things you can make your own version of.

Can’t afford a designer china place setting for baby? Why not head down to the Paint Your Own Pottery studio (they’re everywhere) and paint a nice set of dishware that includes a small mug, bowl, and plate. You can personalize with baby’s name and the colors you choose. It’s very thoughtful and will come out looking lovely once the studio fires it and presents it to you finished.

Other Ideas

Parents love services. What about a gift certificate to a local child haircut shop, for when that special day comes.  Maybe spurge on a set of meals to be delivered. This is a celebration of the baby's baptism, but you can also celebrate the family as well.

Religious Gifts

If you're religiously inclined, a book teaching the child about his or her faith. Something the parents would be relieved to have, and probably won't go out of their way to purchase. There are plenty of cute stories of Noah's Ark or the Parables (for Christians). Other faiths may have books on their respective religions.  Perhaps even a Children's Bible.

If you’re thinking of not showing up at a Baptism because you don’t have a great gift, rethink. Your presence is what’s expected, not a present. So, go anyway. Even a heartfelt card is a fine idea if you can’t afford anything else right now.

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Creative Housewarming Gift Ideas for a New Neighbor

Published September 01, 2016        by Sarah

creative housewarming gift ideasThere's someone new on the block, will you welcome them with a creative housewarming gift? At some point in your life, you’re going to want to welcome a new neighbor to your block or even to the home next door. Wondering what the best housewarming gift might be? Here are a few ideas that may help.

Baked Treats

This is easily one of the most classic new neighbor gifts. Whether you’re famous for your chocolate cake, your delicious gooey brownies, or your spicy snickerdoodles, head to the kitchen and do some baking for those new neighbors. Package your cookie gift in a pretty way, for the ultimate presentation. Spend a bit of time at it, and you’ll get the reward you want – a connection to the neighbors you’re likely to value again and again.

Breakfast in a Box

No one wants to cook for weeks after the move, and building a cute breakfast box can help your new neighbors avoid this chore. You can either include homemade items in the box or store-bought ones. The key here, though, is to offer everything your new neighbors might need for breakfast. Add in homemade scones, biscuits, coffee mugs, tea bags, honey, jam, and whatever else you can think of for a quick, perfect breakfast your new neighbors will really appreciate.

Dinner Gift Cards

Cooking may not be an option for some time, but the money is typically very tight when moving is involved. Gift cards to nearby local favorite restaurants can be a great idea, especially if those places happen to deliver. Include one or two gift cards to your favorite spots, and if delivery is an option, be sure to note that with the delivery phone number.  Everyone loves taking a break from moving in and knowing that the local BBQ place is the best spot to catch a tri-tip sandwich or basket of fries

A Local Box

If your neighbors are new to the area, this is the perfect time to introduce them to all things local. Include brochures about the area, important phone numbers, treats from the local bakery, a gift card to the nearest grocery store or gas station, and anything else you can think of. This is the perfect way to let them know what’s nearby and truly make them feel welcome in the area.

Snack Pack

Moving is seriously hard work, especially if your new neighbors have kids involved. A snack pack is a great relief for everyone. If there are little ones, pack it with fruit snacks, juice, cookies, candy, and other great treats. If there aren’t any children, consider two liters of soda, paper cups, granola bars, some donuts, and other indulgences that will keep your new neighbors up on their feet through the next few days. Need something a little healthier? Don’t hesitate to go with fresh fruits, bagels, or even organic fruit. The goal here is to give them a bit of refreshment

A plant

Moving can take a toll on plants, and what better way to decorate a new living room with a local plant that'll remind them of the wonderful flora they're surrounded with?  Hopefully they won't kill it off!

Subscription Magazines

You probably have a favorite magazine: Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Sports Illustrated for the kids.  You can quickly go online and have a 12-month subscription sent for about $20!  A wonderful gift that keeps on giving.  Bring over a copy of this month's with a card and let them know that's your welcome gift.  Or maybe even a subscription to the local paper for a month! They usually have these amazing 8-week or 4-week new subscriber deals that are cheap for you, but something your neighbor will be grateful for so they can get the lay of the land.

Gifts for new neighbors are the perfect way to say hello and welcome to the neighborhood. Just be sure to put a bit of effort into it so they know you really care.

10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

Published August 28, 2016        by Matt

Updated in Aug 2016!

Well we finished our first Theme Baby Shower Cake post and we had so many more great photos and ideas that we had to do another one. So here it is... 10 more of our favorite baby shower cakes by theme. We've tried to include links to the instructions for the creations and give photo credit where appropriate. People are truly amazing when it comes to creating spectacular edible desserts (as well as baby diaper cakes, but I'm focusing on the edible ones here) and their creativity never ceases to amaze me.

We hope you find some inspiration when you are planning your next baby shower! And if you happen to use any of these ideas, have a piece of cake for us too!

#1) Moon & Stars Cake Ideas

Moon & Star Baby Shower Cakes
Photo Credit: The Cook Duke

Sometimes it can be difficult to find moon and star themed items for baby showers online, but as you can see by the photo above, I've found a great resource. Just following this link for Moon and Stars Baby Shower Supplies. They have everything from tableware including plates, napkins, cups and more with a moon/star theme to party favors such as moon shaped soaps to baby shower gifts such as a moon and stars newborn baby layette set.

#2) Jungle & Safari Cake Ideas

In the last six months, we've seen a big jump in jungle or safari animal themes.  If you crate a cake with just one animal, like a lion and then have a bunch of other animals on the cupcakes, we think that would be a hit.  Here are some other fun ideas we've seen and 1-2 that you can do yourself!

Jungle & Safari Shower Cakes
Photo Credit: Just A Bite by Vivi

From cakes to brownies to cupcakes, find detailed instructions on how to make and decorate lions and tigers and bears - OH MY! Just click here for Wilton's huge list of jungle themed ideas.

Wilton Jungle Cake Ideas 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

How To Make and Decorate a Wildlife Safari Cake

This fully coordinated Funfari jungle animal theme is the perfect addition to a safari shower (see the Funfari invitation on the first cake). You'll find tableware, invitations, favors, and decorations that are all color coordinated. Whether you decide to use this pattern or another as inspiration for your shower, be sure to coordinate your cake color scheme to the pattern of the tableware!

Find Jungle Baby Shower Supplies like those discussed above at All About Gifts & Baskets. Beside shower invitations, they carry baby shower gifts that also carry a jungle or animal theme. Plus find lots of baby shower party favors such as chocolate bars, giraffe shaped soaps, mint tins and even animal shaped candle favors.

#3) Baby Block Cakes

Baby block cakes are fairly easy to create yourself because you can just use standard 8" or 9" square pans and create a square layer cake. Cut it into 4 smaller squares to make 4 small pieces that can be easily decorated to look like blocks.  Another idea is to make one gigantic block by making 5 layers of cake in 9" x 9" x 2" pans.

Blocks Baby Shower Cake
Photo Credit: B Cake NY

Baby Block Example Video

#4)  Barnyard & Farm Animal Cakes

Create some designs that even Old Mac Donald would be proud to serve at a baby shower for his son!  Here are some fun ideas!

Barnyard Baby Shower Cake
Photo Credit: Cake Central

 

Find instructions for making the examples below plus lots more Barnyard baby shower cakes at Wilton.com. They have ideas for cupcakes and desserts in just about every barnyard animal shape and farm implement that you can think of. Lots of great ideas!

Wilton Farm Cakes 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

Barnyard Farm Video

#5) Baby Carriage/Pram/Buggy Examples

What I LOVE about baby carriage cakes is that you can often make them yourself because the shape lends itself perfectly to round cake pans.  Here are some ideas from Betty Crocker and Wilton for cakes that you can bake and decorate on your own.

Baby Buggy Cake
Photo Credit: Betty Crocker

Whether you call it a baby carriage, a pram or a baby buggy, the Wilton cake idea team has got you covered. They include all the instructions, icing tints, and products you'll need to create each of the items shown below if you click here.

Wilton Carriage Cakes 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

How To Decorate A Baby Carriage Cake Video

Need Baby Stroller Themed Shower Supplies?

You can find stroller themed supplies at Shindigz - one of my favorite party supply shops. The green, yellow and black color scheme is perfect whether you are having a boy or a girl. Find invitations, balloons, plates, napkins and more all with the black carriage or stroller theme.

Find baby gift baskets packed in baby strollers, baby carriage themed invitations and thank you cards, and even crystal carriage party favors for your guests at this online baby shop. See all of their Baby Carriage Shower Supplies shown in the above photo plus a lot more.

 

#6) Cupcake Ideas For Baby Rattle Themes

Rattles are another fun DIY opportunity because they too have a round shape.  We love this pull-apart cake!

Rattle Baby Shower Cake
Photo Credit: Wendy's Party Treats

Round cupcakes and even large round cakes lend themselves well to the creation of a baby rattle. At Wilton, you can find numerous ideas on how to bake, create and decorate the perfect rattle dessert for your baby shower.

Wilton Rattle Ideas 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

#7) Baby Face Creative Cupcake Idea

Here are some adorable cupcakes that are easy to make especially if you follow the step-by-step instructions from Wilton. The also have a Cry Baby creation that you can find by simply doing a keyword search on their website. They have lots of cute dessert ideas for just about any baby shower theme.

They make that cute little pacifier by using some sort of little yellow candy melts.

Baby Face Cupcake
Image by Wilton.com

Need Supplies For A Baby Faces Themed Shower?

All About Gifts &  Baskets has a wide array of baby faced theme supplies for both Caucasian and African American babies. From gifts to tableware to baby shower favors, they have you covered. Just click on this link to see our full line of baby shower supplies. You'll find all kinds of unique products like a Daddy Boutonniere, Mommy Corsage and so much more!

#8) Teddy Bear Baby Shower Cakes

Babies and teddy bears simply go well together so what better way to theme your entire baby shower than with teddy bears.

Teddy Bear Baby Shower Cakes
Photo Credit: Inspired by Michelle

The teddy bear themed cakes and cupcakes shown below were put together by the team at Wilton. You can get Baby Bear cake instructions and many other ideas at Wilton.com

Wilton Teddy Bear Cakes 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

How To Decorate A Teddy Bear Cake Video

#9) Wilton Baby Bottle Cakes

Wilton decorators seem to have a never-ending supply of great baby shower ideas and baby bottles are no exception. Here, you can find the instructions for how to make the above desserts plus links to the forums where baby shower planners are asking questions and commenting on how to make their own baby bottle creations.

Wilton Baby Bottle Ideas 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

 

Need Baby Bottle Shower Favors?

Again, just visit Baby Gifts & Gift Baskets and do a search for 'baby bottle' to get a list with photos of all the awesome favors that they offer. They have tons of stuff shaped like baby bottles including candles, cookie cutters, gourmet cookie favors and more. Click on this link to visit them and see their new baby gifts too.

#10) Stork Baby Shower Cakes

Stork Baby Shower Cake
Photo Credit: Party Cakes

Storks lend themselves well to baby shower themes and many planners choose either a pink or blue stork theme to carry through the entire baby shower. Here are several stork cake ideas from Wilton. You can also find stork lollipops and stork mousse recipes and instructions on the same page.

Wilton Stork Cakes 10 More Fun Baby Shower Cakes

Need Stork Shower Supplies?

Simply visit the baby section on our website and do a search for 'stork' to find all kinds of stork baby shower supplies. We have some really fun blue or pink stork invitations as well as a couple stork themed party favors that would be perfect to thank your shower guests.

Healthy Gift Ideas for Diabetics

Published April 12, 2016        by Matt

Healthy Gifts for Diabetics

There are so many holidays and celebrations that diabetics who have to watch their sugar simply miss out on.  Think about all the Valentine’s Day chocolate, the Easter candy or the Christmas cookies that many with diabetes simply have to pass on, not to mention the birthdays, graduations, retirement parties and other office celebrations where the sweet stuff comes out.  When watching your sugar matters, here are some thoughtful ways to give a gift or basket that counts to someone that's diabetic.

Perhaps you haven’t realized that people are actually passing up the gift baskets you are sending on.  If you work closely with a team of people, you likely know when someone has diabetes.  But what if you are gifting treats to a whole sales team, for instance?  What if you are sending something to a prospective client, only to discover later that the client cannot actually eat what you spent a lot of money on to impress him with?  That is a little more than a faux pas.  In situations where you aren’t actually clear as to whether people can eat sugary treats, it is probably better to go with a basket or an edible gift that is diabetic-friendly and sugar free.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Sugar-Free Brownies or Brownie Mix
  2. A gardening gift basket (to grow their own food! Of Course!)
  3. Sugar-free snack box or basket like that have a combination of savory and sweet and includes things like Pretzels, Popchips, Sugar-free candy, Peanuts and Sugar-free wafers.
  4. Olive Oil - Yep! Healthy Olive Oil!  Buy a bottle and fill it, or buy a speciality bottle from a store!
  5. Gift box full of nuts - Nuts can be delicious and healthy. Dad's love 'em!

 

But first, let’s just be very clear – diabetics are very tired of getting fruit in place of sweets!  It may seem like the obvious answer to helping someone with a sugar issue, but in fact, quite a few people with diabetes also have to be careful of the amount of natural sugars they are eating as well.  And fruit is loaded with natural sugars.  So before you shrug and order that fruit basket, consider that you may not actually be solving the problem.

But diabetics don't want to suffer through yet another tasteless sugar-free cookie.  After all, we have all had our share of those, and they are nothing to write home about!  The problem goes beyond the taste.  Sometimes even the packaging can turn people away from the gift-basket, because so many sugar-free treats are so unattractively packaged.

There is a stigma around sugar-free foods that has developed primarily because of packaging and taste.  So what is the solution for a gift basket?  A thoughtful mix of snacks and sweets that are deliciously friendly to folks with diabetes.

Who says that gift baskets have to just include candy or fruit?  There are plenty of delicious treats that can be arranged in an attractive basket that friendly – and tasty – to those with sugar issues.  Sugar-laden snack baskets can include popcorn, pretzels, fruit trail mix, veggies sticks, delicious apple butter and more.  Still, people will want candy.  But ensuring it is a high quality and attractive sweet treat means even people without diabetes will be dying to try it.

Imagine jelly beans and fudgy rolls – all sugar free.  There is no reason to feel left out!  And these are certainly not your grandfather’s sugar free treats.  A delicious mix of tasty, savory and sweet means everyone, including people with diabetes, can enjoy a great treat.

The next time you want to send a sugar-free gift basket, particularly if you aren’t sure about the needs of the people you are gifting, why not try a sugar-free basket?  There are lots of attractive options that are tasty and show people with diabetes how grateful you are!