Iced tea isn’t hard to make, but this summer, I wanted to experiment with making iced tea in the instant pot. It turned out so well, I plan on experimenting with different flavors and types of tea.
If you are looking for a simple, make ahead dessert then this sous vide white chocolate cream is perfect. I'm so excited that the recipe has been featured on Jason Logsdons blog, one of the top blogs about sous vide cooking at home!
Watch me make this simple zucchini bread during a Facebook live video!
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With the first birthday of my little one fast approaching, the options for where to host his birthday party were not lacking.
There's the party room at the local park that has a carousel and train rides for the kids. Chuck e cheese or chik-fil-a were options, but I vetoed them because I didn't think he was old enough to enjoy the games they had to offer.
We have relatives that live in a community where they have room rentals available but they are in the next county over and we wanted to be in a more centralized location. Renting the party room also meant that we would (I would) have to schlep food all over the beltway and I just wasn't feeling it.
Having the party at our place was the most logical option for an event that baby boy probably won't even remember. Here are my top tips for throwing a party for a one year old at home.
Tip #1- Pick a decor theme
I searched pinterest for party decor ideas and a bunch of stuff came up, but I wasn't able to narrow it down.
I saw a pin about themed party printables, so I typed that search term into etsy. After browsing several shops, I chose this one. It came down to the lego theme or the sesame street theme. In the end, I picked sesame street theme and I'm glad I did because I ended up finding some free extras that were perfect at the last minute.
The free extras came from the Sesame Street website. I printed out some coloring sheets and clipped them to boards for the kids to draw on. I also printed out their themed growth chart. There are other items to choose from that you can include in your party, but I just stuck with these two.
I got a free poster from shutterfly where I just had to pay for the shipping, so I used that as decor for the party. I popped the poster into a thrifted frame and accented it with some patterned paper that was included in the printable party pack. I also used that same patterned paper and laminated it to use as place mats for the kids, but my lamination machine conked out on me after the first one :(
tip#2- Pick a food theme
This was easy for me because Cinco de Mayo was that week. Food with Mexican flavors is so easy to execute. I also like this theme for food because a lot of the stuff, like guacamole and salsa, can be purchased prepared. In the end, I only had to cook three things.
If you have a Harris Teeter in your area look for their free smashcake program. The website says the program ended in 2007, but I got my cake in 2016 for free!
tip#3- have a designated party box
I got this tip from this blog where Jackie has a whole cabinet filled with reusable party supplies. I don't need a whole cabinet full of stuff, so I just used a 30 gallon plastic storage box with lid.
All of the banners and things that I cut in advance like water labels, treat bags and food signs went into plastic bags, then got stored in the party box. All the candy for the pinata went in the box as well as the plastic cutlery and paper plates.
Now that the party is over, my up-cycled bottles, leftover treat bags, and unused cups and plates are stored in the box. I was also able to flatten the paper lanterns I bought so I can use them again. I also stored the felt birthday banner I purchased, so I 'll be using that a couple times a year, for the next few years.
I also got the bottle idea from Jackie, and you will find lots of ideas for the starbucks frap bottles on pinterest. I got my bottles from someone on freecycle, but you can buy these on ebay. I have also seen a set of four bottles with reuseable straws at five below. Dollar tree sells these bottles too, but I don't like that they have a raised pattern on them.
Since there were only a handful of kids coming to the party, I filled some treat bags with candy in advance and printed out the treat bag toppers with each child's name. Once the bags were stapled shut, I put them in the pinata with the rest of the loose candy. When all the pinata candy fell the floor, each child found the bag with their name on it.
The pinata, and the pre-filled treat bags were stored in the party box until I needed them.
tip#4- Start executing well in advance
All of the decorative things that had to be cut and assembled were done a month in advance. This included the custom labels for the water bottles, and the paper circles that had to be punched out. I ended up using the paper circles for the straws as well as the cupcake toppers.
I used this circle punch to cut out the circles. If you don't have have one, you'll have to cut them by hand, which can get old fast.
For the water bottle labels, I used this cutter that I purchased when I was doing some craft projects for our wedding.
In the weeks leading up to the party, I cut the letters for the banner, cupcake wrappers and more stuff that I'm forgetting. The point is, don't wait until the last minute to do all your crafting and cutting!
Everyone had fun and so many people complimented me on the theme! Going the extra mile to make this birthday party special was totally worth it.