Tag Archives: coloring

Serve Up A Smile

Rainbow layered cakes are all the rage these days.

Yes, they’re a little more time consuming {especially when you only have one pan and need to bake 4 separate cakes!}

But it’s all worth it when you cut into it and reveal this…

Your guests will “ooooh and ahhhhh”.

How can you not?


For this cake, I used two boxes of white cake mix. I prepared the first box and then took 2 cups of batter and put it into another bowl. I used food coloring {gels} rather than regular food coloring as they are more vibrant. First, I put about 15 drops of pink and yellow, mixed well and baked those off. Then I repeated the process with the second box of mix and used the same amount of food coloring for the green and blue cakes and baked them off. Let cool and then layer them together with just a bit of frosting. Frost the whole cake, decorate, sing and then serve up a smile.

Happy 6th Birthday, Elliott!

Thank you for all the {smiles} you bring to our family!

When my little cake grows up, it wants to be just like this!


{I found the Wilton gel food colors at Target {pink, yellow, green & blue}. You can also find them at Michael’s or Wal-mart in many different colors. These cakes are fun for holidays, graduations or sporting events. It’s fun to grab the school or team colors and bake up some spirited cupcakes or layered cake}

Flip Flop Fiestas ~ Activities & Favors

Happy Friday, floppers!


We’re getting closer and closer to putting together the perfect, budget-friendly birthday party…let’s chat about what we’re going to do at the party and what our friends will take home with them.

Part 5 ~ Activites & Favors

I think it’s important to keep the party flowing so that the guests don’t get bored. A good length for a party is 2 hours when the kids are 5 and under, I think. Having some simple games or crafts that go with the theme is fun and gives the little ones something to take home to remember the party. For preschoolers, just some coloring pages {that can be downloaded from the internet} and fat crayons displayed in a small tin bucket is enough. Pin the _________ on the _________ is a good old-fashioned party game. Grab some poster board and freehand a picture. Cut out the part that the kids will {pin on}. Use a bandana as a blindfold, spin them around and see who gets the closest. The older kids think this is fun! We have a small game of rubber horseshoes that I picked up at Home Goods for Elliott’s 2nd Western themed party. The little cowboys and cowgirls had a great time tossing! Bubble machines always provide hours of fun for the younger party goers, too!

I swore I would never do this, but we finally caved and rented a bounce house for Elliott’s 4th birthday. It had a basketball hoop inside so that added a new dimension for the older kids. I bought several small balls at the dollar store and threw them inside. Little Tikes makes a small jump house, too, that I borrowed from a friend. These are great because they fit in the garage if rain or cold weather decides to come to the party!

If you have a pirate party, you can do a treasure hunt and have small trinkets waiting in a treasure chest for the partygoers at the end of the hunt. If your little rockstar or girly girl is having a spa party, pick up a few fun nail polishes and have them soak their piggies in little plastic wash bins from the dollar store and do quick pedis. {you could embellish some inexpensive flip flops for them to put on after they’re all polished and those could be the favors. But we’ll get to favors in a minute.}

Bake some sugar cookies and have the kids frost and sprinkle them. Or do the same with cupcakes…this can be both an activity to fill time and their birthday treat! Put frosting and sprinkles in little bowls around the table and give each child a knife and let them go to town {remind them to not lick the knife until they’re done frosting ~ no double dipping! ;-)}

Pick up some pizza dough at your local pizzeria or even Trader Joe’s and separate it out into individual size balls. Let the kids roll out their dough, add sauce and toppings and watch it bake in the oven. Again, this will give them a little cooking lesson AND also be their lunch.

The Dollar Tree has some foam door hangers that are really cute. Pick up some {puffy paint} or foam stickers, Elmers glue and some glitter or glitter glue and have them create a personalized sign for their bedroom door.

If your fiesta is in the warmer months, pick up a slip and slide and you can be guaranteed lots of laughs, giggles and screams of delight. If you’re having a Hawaiian inspired luau, teach the little {keikis} to hula or have a contest to see who can hula hoop the longest.

I would say that one or two quick games and/or crafts is sufficient. You don’t want to pack too much into the party! Again, if you Google it, chances are that you can find oodles of ideas for games and activites to suite your theme.

I have found, too, that opening the gifts with all the guests there is overwhelming and can get out of control. I prefer to wait until all the guest have gone, take a breath and then tackle the gift pile. It makes it much easier to write down who gave what for the thank yous!


Last but definitely not least are the favors or goodie bags…

I LOVE putting together the favors. I wish I could send every kid home with an awesome schwag bag, but the budget steps in and brings me back down to reality! I like to pick up little things here and there when I see them on sale or clearance. Generally, I like to keep the favors useful…like a little t-shirt or hat. I keep my eyes peeled for clearance rack goodness at Target or Children’s Place. I’ve been known to give little swimsuits as favors, too! Hey, when they’re $2.48 at Target and they’re adorable, why not?

In the past I’ve gotten small colorful paper shopping bags at either Wal-mart or Michael’s, printed labels, stuffed them and had them serve as part of the decor!

I always include a little note to thank the guests for coming in the goodie bag.

Candy leis are the perfect favor for your luau party.

If you’re having a wide range of ages and both girls and boys attending your party, you may just want to skip goodie bags and do a {candy bar} instead. What kid wouldn’t love to select their own mixture of confections and take it home to enjoy for days {or weeks} after the party. Get some toothbrushes and tie a {thanks for coming} note around them to go with their sweet treats.

To save time and money on the bags, just display the trinkets in a glass vase or jar and have the guests take one as they leave.

Again, if you do a craft, that can easily serve as the party favor, too! If you have lots of balloons, tie one around their wrists as they walk out the door. Because a red balloon is a sure sign of a good time!


This is the final part of Flip Flop Fiestas…I hope you’ve enjoyed reading. I could look at party & wedding blogs all day! I love to pull inspiration from different places and see what I come up with. Get a composition book or journal and jot down ideas as you see them. If you see some cute decorations or favors somewhere and aren’t quite ready to buy them, scribble down the store so you can check back down the road ~ who knows, your items may even be on clearance. {insert *happy dance* here!}

Happy planning!

Almond Joy

I came across a recipe for almond bars on the back of the Market Pantry (Target brand) almond extract box. Random, huh?

Since I LOVE almond, this was a no-brainer.

I was going to make them yesterday, but forgot that I hard boiled the last 4 eggs in the fridge for dyeing last weekend.

Then I forgot to pick some up at the store.

Getting back to the hard boiled ones…we never got around to coloring them last weekend. Terrible, I know. Elliott has asked me a MILLION times if we can dye the Easter eggs! She doesn’t care that it’s almost a week later. We still had quite a bit going on this past week, so we FINALLY got around to coloring our 4 measly hard-boiled eggs this morning.

Dropping the eggs into the dye:


Still waiting:

The expression on her face = pure guilt for not doing this LAST weekend:

More guilt:

We did FOUR eggs people…can you imagine the excitement and glee a whole dozen would have created?

Next year, kids. Next year.

I really do love to dye eggs. Really. It’s just I need a controlled environment to do so. All that dye makes me a little nervous. But next year I am going to pick up my favorite cheap Paas dye, vinegar, a dozen and a half eggs and let them go to town.

OK, now getting back to the almond bars…

I’ve been dreaming about these since I discovered the recipe around Valentine’s Day. They really are very easy to make even though there are three steps: crust, filling and glaze.

Trust me, they are a hit. Imagine a light, crumbly shortbread crust married with a smooth, cheesecake filling only to be finished with crunchy toasted sliced almonds and a drizzle of sweet almond icing.

Sound like too much almond? Well, it’s not. They are perfection.

For the glaze, I mixed it up and transferred to a zip lock, snipped off the tip ever so slightly and drizzled over the uncut bars:

Perfection on a pedestal:

Here is what you need…..


1 1/2 cups flour

1 stick butter, softened

1/3 cup powdered sugar


1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

1/2 cup sugar

1 tsp. pure almond extract

3/4 cup sliced almonds


3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 tsp. pure almond extract

4-5 tsp. milk

Heat oven to 350*F.

Combine crust ingredients at low speed until crumbly. Press mixture in bottom of ungreased 13×9-inch pan. Bake 10-15 minutes or until slightly golden.

Meanwhile, beat filling ingredients, except almonds, until smooth. Pour over partially baked crust; sprinkle with almonds. Bake 15-2o minutes or until set. Cool.

Mix glaze ingredients; drizzle over bars.


Store in refrigerator. (If there are any leftover!)

I think these would also be delish with some apricot preserves spread in between the crust and the filling. Whatcha think?

Here are a couple more random snapshots from our Saturday morning:


Up tomorrow: Crock pot carnitas!