Polka Dot Birthday Party

Something I’ve looked forward to my whole life is throwing birthday parties for my kids. My daughter just turned one year old, and I hosted a polka dot themed party for her! I wanted to keep the decor simple and whimsical with lots of handmade touches (as usual).

Polka Dot Birthday Party

I created several felt polka dot garlands using a rainbow assortment of felt scraps. I traced a craft paint bottle onto some card stock and cut it out to use as a template for the garland. I cut out a ton of circles (a great brainless activity while catching up on my favorite TV shows), and fed them through my sewing machine one after the other, just like I did with my felt leaf garland. I used transparent polyester thread for the garland so the thread blended in with the varied hues of felt.

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Another homemade decor item that I’m proud of is this banner of photos of Blair with party hats made from polka dotted scrapbook paper, washi tape from The Plaid Barn, and oversized sequins. I saw this idea on Pinterest, and knew I had to do it! I hung this display on the bird clothesline in my dining room (you can see other displays I’ve set up here and here).

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Speaking of the dining room, here is how I set up the food table. We served some basic kid-friendly snacks like veggies and dip, rainbow fruit skewers, and cheddar pinwheels. We had Funfetti cupcakes for dessert, dotted with sprinkles of course!

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Polka Dot Birthday Party

For the centerpiece, I filled my favorite polka dot teapot with fresh flowers from my Dad’s garden, and set it upon a cake stand which I purchased at a garage sale a few years ago. I love using my cake stands for parties as well as my seasonal decor for Halloween and Christmas.

Polka Dot Birthday Party

I made little labels for each snack with folded card stock and decorated them with polka dot washi tape and cupcake stickers.

Polka Dot Birthday Party

For a fun activity for the babies, I turned our playard into a ball pit! I found a set of 100 of these balls for under $20 on Amazon and couldn’t resist. I also picked up a few polka dotted balloons and set my colorful dotted picnic blanket on the rug where the babies were playing.

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Of course, no party would be complete without party favors! I wanted to make a wearable favor which tied into the polka dot theme (in case someone didn’t have anything dotted to wear). I made a bunch of bows from red and white polka dotted felt, and attached alligator clips to the back so the little boys could wear them as bow ties and the little girls could wear them as hair bows!

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Last but not least, I found Blair the perfect party dress at a local consignment shop for a mere $4! It couldn’t have fit into the party theme any better, and it will hopefully fit her through next spring. I will share my own polka dotted party outfit with you soon!

Polka Dot Birthday Party

Birthday Girl

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

Have you heard about Influenster yet? Influenster is a social media driven community where members share their opinions and experiences with a wide variety of products. Members are occasionally hooked up with exclusive discounts and/or products for review, and I was recently chosen to be a recipient of the Sargento Cheese VoxBox. Sargento is a brand that I was already quite familiar with, so I was pretty excited to participate!

Say Cheese!

I was sent a little package containing a voucher for a free Sargento cheese snack, a $1 off coupon, and a little cheese stick sized insulated pouch. I picked up two varieties using my voucher and coupon – mozzarella string cheese and some Colby-Jack sticks!

Say Cheese!

Say Cheese!

My daughter is almost one, and she LOVES cheese – just like her Mama! These cheese sticks are perfectly sized for little fingers, and they are an easy and healthy grab-and-go snack for both of us. Both varieties I picked up are quite tasty, and we’ve been enjoying eating them!

Say Cheese!

Disclosure – I received this product complimentary from Influenster for testing purposes, however all opinions shared are my own.

Fall Favorites From My Archives

Happy first official day of fall! I was recently browsing through my blog archives, reminiscing about the projects and recipes I enjoyed this season last year. I thought a few were worthy of another mention for my new readers – enjoy!

This is the time of year that I try incorporating pumpkin puree into all things possible (waffles, pancakes, french toast, soup, pizza dough, baked goods, you name it). These Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes were a huge hit for a coworker’s birthday last year. Plus, they made the whole house smell heavenly!

Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes

When I dragged out all of my seasonal fall decor a few weeks ago, I was reminded of these cute fabric pumpkins I stitched up from 100% re-purposed materials last year. While I gifted most of these little guys to my family last Thanksgiving, I did keep a few for myself!

Handmade Fabric Pumpkins

Handmade Fabric Pumpkins

I think the pumpkin delicacy I am most looking forward to recreating this year is this amazing pumpkin pasta sauce. It was seriously divine – my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

Creamy Pumpkin Pasta Sauce

My handmade felt leaf garland is currently infusing our dining room area with some autumn spirit! It is an easy project to put together and is a great way to use up felt scraps!

Felt Leaf Garland

What are some of your favorite projects or recipes to enjoy during the glorious fall season?

Tzatziki Chicken Salad

Now that I am home most afternoons, I’ve been trying to take advantage of the ability to make something tasty from scratch for lunch. I always packed my lunches for work, though most of the time they were dinner leftovers from the previous evening. When I was seeking out a traditional chicken salad alternative, I came across this recipe for Tzatziki Chicken Salad. This fresh and healthy dish uses Greek yogurt in lieu of mayonnaise, and incorporates other delicious and flavorful elements such as red onion, fresh dill, lemon juice, garlic, and shredded cucumber.

Tzatziki Chicken Salad

For my salad, I used shredded grilled chicken breast rather than the meat from a rotisserie chicken. I also used fat free yogurt rather than the recommended 2%, which I wouldn’t do next time. The 2% would have been a helpful thickening agent. I enjoyed my chicken salad as an open face sandwich on fresh bakery bread, but it would be equally as tasty on some toasted pita bread! I loved the cool, crunchy veggies which were plentiful in this chicken salad. It is a really great sandwich for a hot summer day!

Tzatziki Chicken Salad

Some other tasty things I’ve eaten for lunch recently were an Avocado & Egg Pizza, a Smashed White Bean & Avocado Club, and a Grilled Ham, Cheese, Pickle, & Potato Chip Sandwich. Each was super tasty and bound to be repeated! What are your favorite “from scratch” lunches? I’d love some suggestions for new things to try!

Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes

Isn’t it awesome to find a recipe which combines two things that you adore? When I came across a recipe for Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes in the cookbook The Illustrated Kitchen Bible (recipe found online here), I did a little jump for joy. Smoked salmon AND potatoes? What’s not to love? These savory cakes are made by combining shredded potatoes, chopped smoked salmon, scallions, lemon zest, a beaten egg, and parsley. After forming this mixture into patties, they are covered in breadcrumbs seasoned with dill and parsley, and pan fried. I served my salmon cakes with fresh baby spinach and some lemon wedges.

Smoked Salmon Potato Cakes

These salmon cakes were a real treat. I loved the contrast between the crispy potato exterior to the savory salmon throughout. The lemon zest helps to brighten up the flavor of the whole dish.  The original recipe includes a dill mayonnaise which I skipped (no raw eggs for me at the time being), but I think an herbed sour cream garnish would also be quite delectable! I even enjoyed eating a leftover salmon cake cold over a salad the next day. This one is a keeper. :)