Thanksgiving Dinner Party

Crisp Autumn air, warm and richly colored fall decor, friends, family and Thanksgiving. What’s not to love about November?
This year I hosted an intimate gathering of close friends to share our thanksgivings over a warm meal and sparkling drinks.Fall Dinner Party-3

Natural branches and sparkling colors to greet guests at the door. Hosting an event always inspires me to break out the festive pieces I’ve created over the years.
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And yes, tis’ mid-November and the afternoons are still warm enough to leave the front door open for a while…

Trust me, I would very much love to be lighting a fire and dawning layers of scarves, but alas – this is Phoenix.

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Grapevine wreaths make for a simple seasonal decor, and we just added a touch of felt acorns and bronze colored “berries.” I think I’ll just add some boughs of holly in a day or two, and my Christmas decor will be well underway!

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As always, vines make for great additions to any season.

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Cocktail garnish and Pinterest recipes to follow. Fall Dinner Party-10

Autumn-themed appetizers and dinner menu made for a particularly delightful dinner.Fall Dinner Party-8

Fresh-baked homemade bread.Fall Dinner Party-12

And a delicious apple pumpkin bunt cake for dessert.Fall Dinner Party-20

The simple yet elegant table spread featured our favorite linen tablecloth and my grandma’s vintage silverware.

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A fresh Persimmon atop each plate added the rich orange glow that we are so fond of this time of year.Fall Dinner Party-16

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with Joy. Psalm 126:3


A Children’s Culinary Institute Un-Birthday

Have you heard of CCI?
It’s an amazing program where kids can learn about cooking, nutrition, math, & science all through a weekly hands on experience in the kitchen. My kids have participated in the preschool classes and loooove it. Awesome parent perks? They now beg to help me fix dinner, and they can do much more to help than I ever thought they could. They grate, chop, measure, dump, & stir. I love that they’ve become more adventurous in tasting food when they’ve helped prepare it. I love the healthy relationship they are developing with food. I love how much fun they have cooking!
CCI is the best :)
Oh!
And they also do parties.
And since that’s our thiiiing at here at To Entertain, you’re about to see one fabulously fun food themed party. Hold on to your chef hats and get ready for a children’s birthday party–Children’s Culinary Institute style.
12235551_939268516120246_167237703_oBrilliant food is often the focus of a good party, but at this event, the miniature guests not only enjoyed it by tasting, but also helped prep, cook, and decorate it. What a blast! Each little chef had their own cooking tools, apron, & tiny toque. Each contributed to each aspect of the meal…entree, side & beverage. Each left with huge smiles on their faces and happy bellies.
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The theme was “Mad Hatter Tea Party”.
First up on the menu? “Painting the Roses Red Rolls”.
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These were made by slicing strips of dough, then rolling them right up & baking them. Eager eyes (& bellies!) watched as the rolls “blossomed” in the oven. Then the kids got to paint them with red food paint. What fun!
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Later those rolls were sliced and transformed into cucumber sandwiches.
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The cucumbers were sliced, spread applied, and assembled, all by the kiddos. They beautifully plated their little morsels accompanied by “Cheshire Smiles”, & “Smash Berry Juice” in tiny tea cups. The little guests practiced their manners as they poured each other juice from “Mad Hatter” tea pots.

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The little ones each got a closed baggy full of berries that they smushed and mushed for punch perfection. Each one got a turn mixing their berries into the punch.
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Simple super cute decorations helped create the Wonderland atmosphere with touches from the famous story.
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A playing card banner, pictures of characters, “A Very Merry Un-Birthday” sign, bright fun colors, a White Rabbit’s clock, personalized chef hats & playing card place settings…the kids had SO much fun! In fact, at a typical birthday party, feeding miniature guests usually “eats up” a small portion of the party time, but these kid were entertained every minute as they learned, cooked, chopped, & ate at their deliciously Mad Tea Party!
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More of those parent perks?
The CCI instructor that coordinated the party, set it up, ran the party in a completely organized and kid-friendly fashion, aaaaaand cleaned the whole thing up. Hallelujah!! That’s my kind of party :) The birthday participants left the party with goody bags full of simple little kitchen tools (provided by the birthday Momma), happy tummies, & instilled with new skills and confidence. What a great way to celebrate!

If you are interested in hosting a Children’s Culinary Institute Birthday Party of your own, click here to find an instructor who does birthday parties, or to find a location near you for class enrollment! If you can’t find a location near you…start one! CCI is accepting instructors who are passionate about teaching little ones to cook! If you’re interested in turning your kitchen into a fun-loving learning environment, visit Childrensculinaryinstitute.com

For more information on birthday parties & play dates, click here!  


Sunshine and Sprinkles BaBy-Q

We bid the summer adieu with a Sunshine and Sprinkles BaBy-Q!
Yes, it’s still hot and summery here in Phoenix, even in the middle of October–and trust me, we’d all appreciate some “fall” weather! But for this occasion, the bright yellow sun followed by a fiery red sunset was the perfect backdrop.

And for the perfect invitation? We turned to VintageLeeCrafted where Amanda personalized her beautiful yellow-and-grey invitation to meet our request. I particularly love her wine labels – what a great idea for making announcements or a personal request. With the winter holidays fast approaching, check out my favorite label.
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Guests were greeted at the door with this sweet and simple request. I love the idea of using a classic children’s book for the guest book! It’ll be read throughout the years and always remind him of everyone’s love.

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Prizes for the diaper raffle were sent to us from Sendabox.

What a brilliant idea this is–sending a “box of sunshine” as a gift, a get-well present, to welcome a baby, or just because. For this occasion I split the contents of the original box into two prize boxes for the winners.  Jen is currently working on opening her own business website, I will post the link when it is launched, for now you can send your requests directly to her at: 2jenhansen@gmail.com

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A bite to eat while dinner was being grilled…
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And refreshments served in mason jars with paper straws.
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The littl’ns played in the grass… then moved on to our playful photo booth!IMG_7489P1050366IMG_7557

Dinner was preluded with a chalkboard menu and BBQ sauce party favors!

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These adorable little bottles and custom labels were created by SouthernStickers. I’ve had my eye on these for some time now, and was thrilled to be able to feature them before the summer’s end. IMG_7440 IMG_7458

Our Sunshine and Sprinkles theme came to its height at the buffet table, with tissue paper pompoms as the sun, sky and clouds. I added some raindrops from my previous sprinkle shower.

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Welcome Baby Jude! IMG_7613You are much loved. IMG_8519


Halloween: Flying Bats

October, and time to break out the bats again! Though the weather forecast calls for upper 90’s all next week, these past few days have been our first true taste of fall, with the slight chill in the air and beautiful Phoenix rain.

I spread out the bats a bit more this time around, since I have plans to add more black bats to the “cloud” this year, but I kind of like the simplicity of the colony I have now, so we’ll see :)

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I’m still totally in love with this chalkboard pumpkin which was contributed for last year’s holiday card. Check out the past post here: Chalkboard pumpkinIMG_7347 IMG_7350

Aren’t they pretty?!?! Below is the original post and full tutorial, including a printable link!IMG_7351 IMG_7352 IMG_7354 IMG_7355 IMG_7358

(Fall 2015)

It’s official. I’ve fallen in love with shimmery golden bats this year.

With my love for fun decor and affinity for elegance, I simply couldn’t help myself!

I was inspired by the many “bat walls” I’d seen on Pinterest this Halloween season, but I wanted something slightly more chic: a smatter of beauty added to the cuteness of bats – yes, I think they’re simply adorable.

So I hunted down some bat-making tutorials. I copied,  pasted, flipped, rotated, printed, cut, traced, and repeated until I’d created my very own colony of gold and black bats.

I started by printing my edited bat page onto regular paper, and then copied it onto a thick piece of cardboard. This allowed me to save it for future bat creations. I then traced as many bats as I could onto 4 sheets of card stock and cut them out.

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To achieve 4 sizes of bats (I’m sure you could as many sizes as you want) I just cut the smallest bat both inside the sharpie lines and outside.

Here is my PDF of the pattern: bat’s printable

Frightful Fact: a group of bats is called a Colony.

And here is the original link from Martha Stewart to print a half bat: Half Bat Print out


Tiffany’s & Bubbles Birthday Celebration

The second party to our weekend celebration featured the elegant Tiffany Blue theme and the fun Rising Bubbles theme.

Jessica, the owner of WeddingTreatsandMore, contributed this lovely cake pop creation! Blue chocolate-dipped doughnut holes, topped with roses and garnished with ribbons and jewels. She even sought out a mini-chandelier to complete the true “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” atmosphere.

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wedding-treats-and-more has just launched a new website with everything wedding related, check it out!

 

Cozette was ecstatic to have two sweet blue treats… Yum!
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The ombre blue backdrop and clear “Rising Bubbles” balloons are a feature of the PinkPoodlesofParis. A small tank* rented from a local shop filled about 100 balloons. I’m such a fan of balloons at a party–they’re a classic piece that makes a big impression. IMG_6744 IMG_6743 IMG_6724 IMG_6719 IMG_6714IMG_6798IMG_6795

We enjoyed the rare pleasure of an overcast sky and ushered in the first day of fall as we celebrated the joy of good friends and a great party.

If you haven’t already, be sure to take a peek at our “Bubbles and Tiffany’s” party post!

 

*The tank was about 50 cubic feet (that’s how they measure the helium). After calling around, I found the best price from a helium distributor as opposed to a party rental shop. They turned out to be the biggest distributor on this side of town, supplying helium for grocery stores, dollar stores, etc. I’m definitely going there again.


Bubbles & Tiffany’s Birthday Party

Cozette turned three this September, and three things this little girl absolutely loves include Bubbles, Blue and Sweets.

With that in mind I aimed to throw a party that was both fun & classy. Enter Bubbles & Tiffany’s!

Unfortunately a key package was delayed due to a slip up at the post office. This created a major setback in the aesthetic aspect of my party, as well as all my plans…

After a lot of stressing over the weekend, I finally came up with a wonderful solution: We split the party into two events! First we enjoyed a backyard Bubble Bash. Then two days later, once the missing items were finally delivered, we all relaxed with a Porch-Top Tiffany Soiree. Both were fabulous parties with double the fun. It just goes to show that even if your dream party appears to be evaporating before your eyes, the party is truly for the guests. Their simple presence, along with the infectious joy and laughter that comes with children running around and having fun, makes even the simplest party a fabulous celebration!

That said, I’m honored to be featuring the contributors for Cozette’s third birthday celebration that made the party such a success!

Gorgeous scripted “Happy Birthday Cozette” topper and Tiffany boxes were sent to us from ChiqueDesign. They added such an elegant touch to the party.

IMG_4326IMG_4321IMG_4320Since the party was a late brunch, I opted out of a traditional birthday dessert. Breakfast sweets and plentiful fruit made for a light yet satisfying meal.
IMG_4165IMG_4166IMG_4121IMG_3977 (2)We filled the little Tiffany Boxes with adorable tiaras and necklaces. Even after a long morning of chasing bubbles and sitting in sandboxes these little girls still looked classy and fabulous.

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Sweets! Glassy blue lollipops made by SherrieCoreDesigns, beautiful to look at and tasty to eat!

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Cosette can’t get enough of this sugary goodness ;)

VirtuousWomenShop provided bottles of homemade sweet aroma-filled bubble bath. Cozette’s love of bubbles  began with her very first bubble bath. Ever since her party, she yells,  “Blue bubbles!” every time she takes a bath!

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BUBBLES! Little bubbles, giant bubbles, body-sized bubbles…Oh my!IMG_4243IMG_4000 (2)IMG_3955 (2)IMG_3962 (2)IMG_3964 (2)

Tiffany blue bubble wands by BiggerBetterBubbles1 included a secret recipe for these amazing giant bubbles! Check out their shop and help support 9-year-old Riley’s summer camp fund :)

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Even the little ones gave it a shot. Like father, like son.
IMG_4397Thank goodness the Dads were there! They kept the kids entertained for hours with their slick bubble-making skills, while the Mamas and Little Ones relaxed in the shade and took it all in.
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I finally did it! Saved up enough plastic square bottles to make kids’ cups for the party. I drilled a hole in the cap and collected enough blue straws to match. They were perfect, a real party favorite, and cost practically nothing.

The amazing, giant confetti-filled balloon, complete with a color-themed tassel, was sent to us by PinkPoodlesofParis, a shop stocked full of balloons, confetti and more. You’ll see more of her balloons in the Tiffany & Bubbles party post!
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Durable and oh-so-mesmerizing.IMG_4356IMG_4357

Trailing the giant balloon along as you run looks like a blast! After one child discovered this delightful entertainment, several others decided to give it a whirl. IMG_4361IMG_4364IMG_4368IMG_4371IMG_4375IMG_4386IMG_4270

A delicious spread, complete with coffee, milk and a sparkling punch.

 

Don’t forget to check out the second half of this “Tiffany’s & Bubbles” birthday soiree!

 


Woodland Nature Baby Shower

In honor of my dear sister’s pregnancy I decided to “go all out” with a woodland-themed baby shower. The mossy forest floor full of richly-colored mushrooms and fungus was the inspiration. It may seem strange to some but she has such an appreciation for the unusual beauty of mushrooms. I say “all out” because it really was a phenomenal party and to some seemed over the top, but I’m just beginning to reach the level of perfection that I so admire in the artistic beauty I’ve seen other party planners create.

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Greenery from Hobby Lobby. It’s three pieces total, I bought them in separate trips to get the discount, and rearranged the length to make sure they tiered proportionally. The one on the left is two vines wired together.IMG_5514I bought a replacement valve on Amazon for this jar and it is difficult to close, ugh, hence the note.IMG_5512 We bought a jar of Chameleon Concentrated Coffee and included a pitcher of milk and a pitcher of flavored creamer. We like to mix it with 1/3 of the cup coffee, a splash of flavored creamer and the rest milk.  It’s kind of like an chilled latte imo. IMG_5511Just enough protein and mixture of veggies, I learned early on to make sure there’s always a protein option at a baby shower, because there’s usually at least one hungry mama! For this shower we went with chicken salad sandwiches, and evidently they were delicious. In hindsight though, we should have provided double the chicken salad.IMG_5527We felt a little snazzy eating this gourmet cheese pinecone! My lovely assistant Aliyah created this masterpiece.IMG_5389IMG_5394

And my favorite… the desserts! Moss, mushrooms, and butterflies – Oh My!
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Sugar Robot supplied us with a plethora of bright and realistic wafer butterflies. We sprinkled them throughout the dessert and dining tables.IMG_5414A fruit tower adds height and dimension, creating an element of awe and pizazz to any beautiful party.IMG_5429IMG_5427IMG_5420IMG_5423 Delicate moss cookie. Green-colored sugar cookies, with a sprinkle of cookie crumbs on top. They look like pretty delicious moss if I don’t say so myself.IMG_5424IMG_5430Baskets of Eatable Cookie Dough, Coco powder-dusted Merengue Mushrooms and Candy Melts topped chocolate cupcakes. A nice variety and delicious spread.IMG_5431 IMG_5438 IMG_5437 I took the opportunity to try my luck at string art. This first one, an inverted tree, took a bit of time but wrapping the string was actually quite relaxing. IMG_5435As you know, I love detail, so with tiny nails and wrapping string, yes I enjoyed it. IMG_5386Beautiful butterflies. The little boys in particular enjoyed eating the butterflies more than looking at them. IMG_5736A quirky mushroom shower wouldn’t be complete without a bit of Kombucha. We had three beautiful pitchers with fresh flavors.IMG_5481If you recall my own baby shower you can tell I particularly love serving caprese salad, its so classy!IMG_5488Party Prizes included baskets of fresh fruit…IMG_5444Bright green sweet potato vines…IMG_5276Delicious vegetables…
IMG_5449A variety of dried mushrooms…
And of course a most fitting  jar of  Komucha with a scoby.  IMG_5451I love the gifts, and when they’re this adorable they don’t even need to be wrapped! They’re an artistic display in themselves.  IMG_5325Petal and Twig Felt hand-sewed this adorable fox onesie. The crisp orange and subtle grey look fabulous against the bright green foliage.IMG_5306IMG_5307 IMG_5316

Inspired by Petal & Twig’s  fox onesie I also fashioned a little fox string art.IMG_5375In keeping with the mushroom theme Organic Quilt Company  provided this adorable organic reversible bib and knotty hat set.

IMG_5299 IMG_5297 IMG_5296Wonderfully soft and lovely colors I fully anticipate the new arrival to be wearing these in no time.
IMG_5293 IMG_5291 IMG_5286Sure the shower is for a little boy but we couldn’t resist breaking out the flower crowns, we created these crowns for a flower crown mini shoot with some of my photographer friends.  Additionally an array of dainty crowns had been provided by a local shop ShopBleuGardens she also creates fresh babies breath crowns which I absolutely love.IMG_5282IMG_5459IMG_5541IMG_5545IMG_5565IMG_5592IMG_5593Table settings, another one of my fascinations, though it does take a bit to safely store I particularly love using real glass dinner wear and fabulous cloth napkins, my next project will to be purchase my own linen from a fabric store and fray an entire collection of gorgeous napkins. IMG_5231 A sprig of rosemary and twigs, spice up any party for this shower it was especially fitting. IMG_5227 IMG_5226Scavenged branches from the latest monsoon we strung it to the ceiling, and fresh branches leaning in the corner freshened up the room and created a mood of foresty elegance IMG_5530IMG_5551IMG_5632The Rusted Nut, just look at that master piece!IMG_5335With a special note from the creator this delicate mushroom forest was a highlight for sure, we read this little note aloud while guests admired the work.
IMG_5331IMG_5340IMG_5342IMG_5346IMG_5347IMG_5232Got a little carried away with my Hand Made Wood Art, but for my newest nephew’s nursery, it was worth it.
IMG_5363I wanted to create a mobil that doubled as a chime, I spent a good several minutes in the accessories isle of Hobby Lobby clanking a handful of pieces together trying to find some that made the perfect chime, walking away with a decent selection but not quite satisfied, I just happened to hear someone jingling about in the chimes section! Didn’t even realize they had one… but rushed over to find the perfect piece. Repurposing it with a few additions of my own I’m quite satisfied with the outcome. IMG_5360IMG_5356The terrarium table. As party favors we created an entire table worth of DIY Moss Terrarium kits. Guests were given basic instructions and allowed to try their creative touch at creating their own mini terrarium with real live moss foraged by Teresa all the way from Arkansa! IMG_5495IMG_5684IMG_5719IMG_5716IMG_5710IMG_5704IMG_5696IMG_5751A full tutorial can be found here in our latest blog DIY Moss TerrariumIMG_5746Delicate Mood and Carpet moss was sent to us from teresab123 in addition to their delicate greenery and wild nature, they had such a fresh soil smell, reminding me of the beautiful forest, ah.

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It was a wonderful woodland baby shower, full of gorgeous green moss and deep brown wood, with delicious food and games which filled the room with laughter. It was most certainly a fabulous time and a beautiful event, till next time, good day & good night.


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