DIY Moss Terrarium

As an extra-special party favor for our Woodland-themed baby shower, (post coming soon!) we provided supplies for each guest to create their own little moss terrarium.


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After scouring Pinterest for all of the best information on how to create and care for a moss terrarium, I decided to put together my own DIY to share with you all of my findings.

So here goes!

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Supplies:

1: Clear glass container, with or without a lid. We visited Goodwill on their 50% off day and loaded up on adorable jars and glasses for as little as $.50 each!

2: Pebbles. The sizes can vary; it really depends on the size of the container and how you want it to look. It is preferable that your pebbles are clean so as not to introduce any unwanted elements (such as other plant life or bacteria that may grow mold)

3: Potting soil. I read that it should be potting soil, not gardening, so I took their word for it.

4: Activated charcoal or carbon. It’s the same thing often found in the aquarium care section, and helps purify the water to avoid mold.

5: Fresh live moss! We got ours from teresab123 on Etsy. She provides lots of supplies as well as ready-made terrariums.

6: Accessories. Look in the miniature section of craft stores or gather up your own natural elements. Try to find things that will withstand frequent watering.

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Carpet Moss

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Mood Moss

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Moss = teresab123

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Assembly:

Start with a layer of pebbles. I like to be able to see them in the bottom of my glass so I used a generous amount. The height of the container will also determine how much you use so keep an eye on that.
Next sprinkle a layer of charcoal over the rocks. It doesn’t need to be thick, just a little bit over the entire surface area to filter the water.
Now add the soil. I patted it down to make enough room for my moss and accessories. Make it thick enough to allow roots to grow and let the dirt retain some water so that the moss stays damp. You don’t want the soil so thick that the water doesn’t eventually pass through to the pebbles. Soil that is constantly wet will encourage mold.
Although moss can grow tiny roots, it isn’t necessary to dig a spot for it in the soil; just lay the moss gently on top and press lightly so that the moss roots are touching the soil.
Mist the moss to start the dampening process and keep it alive. I’d suggest a gentle spray bottle since we don’t want standing water at the bottom. I think I’ll keep an eye out for a cute little copper mister to replace my re-purposed Windex one… 🙂
*Note, use filtered water, as tap water can burn the moss.
Then add your accessories!IMG_9889

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Care:

Keep in a moderately lit area, not direct summer sunlight or windowsills as the bright sun (especially here in Phoenix) will most certainly burn the moss.

Mist lightly and frequently. Open terrariums need to be watered every couple of days as their water tends to evaporate quickly. Just keep an eye on the level of moisture, it should stay slightly moist but not so much so that water gathers at the bottom. If you notice this just lighten up on the amount of water you give it but don’t leave it completely.
Closed terrariums can go a week or two between waterings since they have created their own little ecosystem. If you notice too much condensation building on the sides of the glass remove the lid and let it dry out a little before sealing it again.

If mold does begin to grow, try using a bit of paper towel and a pick (like a skewer) to gently dab out the mold, so it won’t affect the rest of the moss.


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Some of my favorite terrarium tutorials can be found on our Woodland Nature Baby Shower board on Pinterest.

DIY moss terrarium


Airplane First Birthday

My son is now one year old…crazy how fast time flies, and how a sweet little baby can grow into a spirited and happy boy. He has been such a pleasure to get to know over this past year, as I watch him interact with his papa, copy everything his big sister does and smother me with loving wrestles. He picks up on things quickly, so even though the inspiration for an aviator-themed birthday party was entirely my own, he didn’t hesitate in flying his new wooden airplane, bearing with me for a few seconds as we tried to snap a picture of his new sunglasses (while laughing with us in his little join-in-any-laughter way), and especially digging into his delicious slice of smash cake.

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Guests were greeted at the door with a clothespin airplane and a snazzy new pair of sunglasses, personalized by StickyImages “affirmative” and “ready for take off.” Each little guest will carry these happy memories with them through the bright summer years. The long lasting detail on these glasses is amazing–we chose the shiny silver to contrast the black and were extremely pleased with the results. The glasses are also very sturdy and a great fit for a wide age range.
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Little post party sunglasses detail. Love it!IMG_3100IMG_3092Clothespin airplane tutorials found on our Pinterest page:
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I’ve always loved the order and beauty in the somewhat chaotic art of watercolor. Perfectly captured in PDF form, Blixa6Studios provided us with an astounding array of colorful blue splats, shapes, lines, and swaths. With a bit of effort and a lot of patience, I unbound this adorable Kraft brag book I picked up on clearance at Hobby Lobby, then easily printed my creative choice of watercolor marks on the pages. Once I get the photos (that I requested guests take in front of the backdrop) printed I will add them to the book and continue to add to this personalized book at his next and future birthdays.

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“Happy Birthday little chubby ballon.” Admittedly I’ve called him this a once or twice since reading these touching words from his eldest cousin.

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Fabulous string art custom made by CraftedOnThePlains. I love to hear the excitement in other artists (even if it is only an email, I can hear the excitement in my head). When I presented her with the question of creating a biwinged airplane for this special party she excitedly obliged. I didn’t specify any more, leaving the creative genius to her, and this piece of art really blew me away when I received it in the mail. I couldn’t have asked for more perfect colors or detail!

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That’s my boy! Dresden’s “favorite things” chalkboard detailed with skill by ADEprints. I, having terrible handwriting myself, am always awed and impressed by the immense skill of those who can create pieces such as this, hand painted and designed with care. I’ll treasure it forever.

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Yummy and extremely practical (thanks to a good friend, sister, and nearby Costco), we fed the entire crowd with extra to send home with the helpers. Pizza, fruit, veggies and dip, pasta salad, chips and salsa, cheese and crackers, and pickles…because my kids like pickles.
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Inspired by Pinterest, I wouldn’t let go of my vision for a watercolor backdrop, so unable to spend an arm and a leg for a custom print I experimented and created my own! Starting with a 6×9 canvas drop cloth from Home Depot (for only $11!), I then spent some time pacing the paint isle at Hobby Lobby. After much deliberation (I wanted to be able to water it down to create the “watercolor” affect, and it must be flexible with the material) and a tiny suggestion from the employee near by, I purchased a bottle of blue ink ($6). She had suggested using a spray bottle which I tried but didn’t love (it had too much of a “drop cloth” look instead of a “backdrop”). I rushed back to HD to try again, this time I used a ramekins to slowly water down the ink a few droppers at a time. I went to work with a cheap paintbrush. Looking back at the inspiration (from Pinterest on my phone) from time to time, the paint’s abstract shape began to be revealed, and through some additional trial and error…voila!

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Tips: if possible, try to save a little paint at the end. I thought I had it perfect, but after it dried and I brought it inside and hung it for inspection, I discovered some color inconsistencies I didn’t really like. Back to the front yard it went. I had to use a different color which I wouldn’t have preferred, but thankfully was content with the outcome.
Secondly, make sure the sprinklers are turned off…while rinsing out my ramekin and paintbrush, the garden hose water over sprayed ever so slightly onto the freshly “painted” cloth, leaving tiny little water spots. Uh-oh…I rushed over with my hose knob on mist and got the entire piece damp, and was able to smoothly ease out the spots. When the sprinklers when on that night I almost had a heart attack. Thankfully, I had washed my initial experiment piece, and I discovered that when fully soaked, the colors simply fade slightly. Once I realized that was what happened, I could breath again, sorry for kinda freaking out hubby.

BALLOON ARCH!!  When you’re on Pinterest all the time, it can be funny to see what original photos inspire the creativity. A bright pink flamingo arch was the most beautiful I’d ever seen, and once I got into my head the thought of an “abstract balloon cloud,” I had to try it!

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Already having a hundred pearly white balloons, I set out to look for some hints of blue, grey, silver and patterned balloons. Being sorely perturbed at the discovery that the Party City near my house had been closed, I popped into Hobby Lobby again, Target, and a couple different dollar stores (apparently most grocery stores don’t have any sort of a non-helium balloon variety available). I found the polka dot ones at Hobby Lobby, the white at Target and a variety of blues and grey at dollar stores. I wasn’t a fan of the dollar store balloons–they were thin, took on strange shapes as you inflated them and the colors were hardly true to the original expectation. Unable to find clear balloons anywhere I experimented with filling the white balloons with pale blue tissue paper confetti  (too faint to show up through the white) and shimmery blue mylar paper which I loved! It truly static-ed to the balloon, unlike the tissue paper, and its vibrant nature was so unique.

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(More tips and a DIY video to follow! For a one-stop tutorial on all I have learned about balloons through this experience, stay tuned!)

Now on to these important and really spectacular balloons. 5″ balloons provided by the Luft Balloon Store are double stuffed, and colors are custom created to match your vision. Elain was a delight to work with and such an inspiration, I sent her a few abstract watercolor images from Pinterest and she replied with perfectly-matched balloons from her shop! Their brilliant color and glossy sheen amazed me and the small size made them the important and final factor in making the balloon arch full and complete.

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This gorgeous table cloth is pure linen made by LinenMe in Lithuania. The texture and beautiful natural color is absolutely perfect for any occasion! Machine washable and ironable–I’ll definitely be bringing this lovely piece with me to more parties, so keep an eye out for it in future posts!

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“Let them eat cake!” I wanted to provide variety and versatility for dessert. In addition to a couple different flavors we included a gluten free cake to ensure all our guests could enjoy this joyous moment. A simple, powder sugar frosting and a covering of plastic wrap kept our cakes nice and moist for 24 hours, allowing us to bake the day before and save me a bit of pre-party stress.

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A little wooden airplane, gifted by his awesome aunt, made the perfect cake topper. I used a large flat head screw driver to scrape the red trim from this simple 1 candle from Big Lots, (since a plain white candle is like impossible to find).

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Happy girl in her new sunglasses…She’s gotten used to wearing them over this summer since, in her words, the sun is “hot” (she means bright)…But she didn’t seem to mind wearing them the entire evening indoors either. 🙂

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Child-sized aviators provided by StashClothingxo are very reasonably priced and ridiculously adorable, stop in the shop and see for yourself! Such a little stud, he has no idea how seriously cute he is… but now I have these darling pictures to brag about with for a long time to come.

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And adorable kiddos sporting their pairs.  Absolutely Radical, the birthday boy showing off his aeroplane-themed aviator glasses, it doesn’t get much cuter than this… Ok maybe a cute cousin in addition with cool sunglasses makes it a tie. 😉

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A play area especially for the kids. Naturally they didn’t all stay here for too long, but it was a fun constant to come back to and play at. The mini balloon cloud turned out to be a fantastic play piece for all, as they rallied together and tore most of it down, running around the house with a dozen balloons. Surprisingly (and thankfully!) not many popped. The Lufa balloons held up especially well.

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I decided to create a “runway” for the little toy airplanes. With chalkboard paper from our last baby shower and Google images, it wasn’t too difficult to create a simple piece to inspire creative play.IMG_3305 The highlight was the natural wooden blocks cut and created by vermontbranchcompany. They made this imagination area complete and drew the attention to a more focused and calmer state of play. Ah, truly a reprieve for the parents, I absolutely love Montessori style toys and these beautiful smooth blocks where a huge hit. Vermont branch company creates so much, from weddings and parties to home and office, such natural elegance and beauty.

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Pre-birthday cake, he flew his new airplane around his head making a sort of small growling sound.

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I realized I hadn’t taught Dresden to blow out candles, so his sister stepped in and did the honors.

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Nom nom nom, he’s a natural!  

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Oh the glory of a smash cake…I opted for giving him just a slice of cake, but upon hearing his one and only word, “more,” I couldn’t help but treat him to a little more, followed by lots of fruit. He throughly enjoyed this moment.

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Love the detail of his party? Then I’m sure you’ll love his sister Cozette’s first birthday Garden Party.


A Floral First Birthday

At the beginning of June we celebrated a lovely little girl’s first birthday in style. In an event inspired by summer peonies and ranunculi we created a whimsical and bright atmosphere to delight party guests of every age.

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The celebration commenced on a bright summer morning. Oversized balloons danced above tables laden with savories and sweets; children ran giggling through towering lace tents while their parents mingled beneath a ceiling full of garlands. It was a grand time and the house was filled with family and friends all gathered to celebrate the birthday girl.

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When guests first arrived they were greeted by a small table filled with handmade party hats. We added a bright ranunculus to the birthday girl’s to set it apart using a hot glue gun and silk flower. The kids each donned a hat and then moved on to grab a lunch box with kid-friendly foods inside. Because we intended to serve more refined foods at the party, we decided to offer familiar options for the kids in addition to the buffet. Our boxes were filled with PB&J’s, grapes, and animal crackers.

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_MG_2928_MG_3183_MG_3195One key element in building a beautiful party is to create a few focal points, where the majority of decorations converge. For Charlotte’s floral first birthday we made the buffet table, the cake table, and the children’s play area the focal points.

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The buffet table featured a variety of bruschetta boards filled with cheeses, fruit, roasted veggies, salamis, and spreads.

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On the wall above the table a beautiful vine trailed down, sent to us by ForeverBloomsByLori. The leaves were the exact shade of green we were hoping for, and brought life to the table. We held the vine in place with Scotch Indoor Mounting Tape, which held up the heavy vine without peeling paint or leaving holes in the wall. I used an ample amount of floral wire and after cutting the ends off of a few, wired together a total of 6 branches into three large vines to create the arch_MG_2947IMG_0496IMG_0493IMG_0499

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Charlotte’s mama is a photographer, and has a 365 project of Charlotte in the works, so photographs of the birthday girl were an abundant feature of the party, and added the perfect backdrop to the cake table. We tacked twine vertically across the window and curtains and then taped the photographs up and down each strand._MG_2955

In keeping with our floral theme, we wound strands of vine and plastic flowers around the balloon strings. Small vases of peonies and other summer flowers were scattered about the rooms, and fresh, edible flowers adorned even the cake! The naked vegan almond cake was adapted from this recipe. We simply baked four cakes (and a teeny one for Charlotte) and used true whip whipped cream to layer them. The mini bunting was created with scraps from the large bunting we hung above the children’s play area.

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We created all of the garlands ourselves. The vine garland was simply strung together using plastic vine and floral wire. The string of tassels was made from scrap yarn, and the felt floral garland was created using this tutorial. The floral bunting was our favorite, and was born out of some creative ingenuity. We found the perfect pattern of flowers as a role of wrapping paper! We glued the wrong sides together using paper cement, traced triangles in the size we desired, cut them all out and then sewed them together with white all-purpose thread on a sewing machine. Swinging high above the play area, the abundance of garlands added a sweet and festive look to the room.

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As we dreamt up this party, we knew that the kids would need somewhere to play indoors thanks to the scorching Arizona summer. We created the whimsical lace tents based off of this Pinterest pin. The tutorial called for wooden dowels to keep the frames together, but we would suggest purchasing knobs for a dresser or something similar to keep them from coming out of the frame. The teepee was created using a canvas painter’s tarp and cotton duck material, and was inspired by this tutorial.

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The celebration was spectacular, and little Charlotte was showered with love on her special day. The party was fresh and beautiful – the perfect way to celebrate a lovely little girl. We thank all of our contributors for helping to make the event a success!


4th of July Summer Party

“Summer Breeze makes me feel fine”

What makes us feel fine? Well, for a hot and sunny 4th of July celebration it’s the cool mist of a water park enjoyed by little children, the great company of friends, and some delicious homemade treats!

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– Watermelon Popsicles: Blended frozen watermelon. That’s it!

– Coconut Popsicles: 1/2 can of coconut milk, coconut flakes, milk (I used vanilla flavored soy), and sugar (optional), and freeze.

– Tilting Jello Cups: I used the “quick set” method, so the jello wasn’t too hot for the cups. I balanced them in a tupperware container (propped up by the empty jello box and each other) refrigerated, and then added some homemade coconut whipped cream and blueberries.

– Coconut whipped cream: I wish I had read the recipes BEFORE opening my can of coconut milk! It turns out refrigerating the can for several hours to separate the cream from the water is important in getting the right consistency. You can find the recipes I would suggest using by clicking on our photos which will take you to our 4th of July Pinterest page.

– Patriotic Red White & Blue Strawberries: White chocolate and blue sprinkles! The photo will take you to Pinterest as well.

– Blueberry water: I dropped some frozen blueberries in an ice tray, added water and froze. My daughter was entertained for quite a while waiting for the ice to melt so she could eat the blueberries… =)

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Fun, Fresh and Nautical. Being fashionable doesn’t need limits! We took the extra step and switched out our  iPhone cases for some summer swag. Phonecasedziners provided these pretty blue designs, which seem to say “keep it cool this summer!”

IMG_8561toent 4th4IMG_8575toent 4th7Nothing is cuter than dressing up a little angel in festive red, white and blue. We shared this sweet headband with some little friends too! Now all the mamas have some fun 4th of July memories to keep 🙂  BabyliciousDivas has so many adorable designs at such reasonable prices – be sure to stop on by and get one for your little angel before the summer is over!

DSC_0064DSC_0055IMG_8612toent 4th5These fabulous fluttering butterflies created by Needlejob drew a lot of attention at the splash pad – we even had a friendly little girl come running up trying to “catch” them because she thought they were really flying! She was soon joined by her mom and grandma, who came over to admire our little get-together and 4th of July celebration and swoon over the impressive patriotic decor. How fun!

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We’re staying classy this summer! Every girl loves a party: the love; the laughter; the style! MILSPECcouture provides feminine, festive accessories that would make any lady feel couture. Military wife Chelsea opened her Etsy shop after discovering how difficult it was to find cute and patriotic clothing and accessories. She now offers many beautiful items, including branch-specific apparel, to women who want to support their military spouses and loved ones in uniform. What a wonderful way to support our troops and their families! Thank you, Chelsea, and thanks to all those to whom we owe our freedom this 4th of July!

The party’s not over yet! We’ve got a 30th birthday coming up this 4th – what an awesome day to be born! And what better time to celebrate? We’ll be sharing more patriotic inspirations with you soon!

Have a safe and happy Independence Day!
 


“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom. July is dressed up and playing her tune.” (Seals & Crofts)


Chocolate Recipes

A post to make your mouth water…

My amazing sister made the majority of these delicious chocolate treats for an afternoon Bridal shower for our sweets loving friend.

Here are some links to the fabulous recipes!Ariana_Shower_04

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Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Banana Split Bites


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Coffee Cream Brownie Bites

Pistachio Emerald Chocolate Truffles

 

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Mocha Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

“Rolo” Knock-Off’s

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Be sure to check out the complete Bridal Shower HERE!

 


Birthday Freebies!

April is my birthday month, and this year I decided to take advantage of the many fabulous birthday freebies some restaurants offer. Now that the month is over and I was able to try them all out I’m ready to share the list with you!

Birthday-Freebies
Some restaurants have expiration dates on the deals. The below freebies expiration dates are in reference to my birthday and/or when I signed up. I signed up for the freebies April 8th, and my birthday is April 14th.
Note: Have printer ready, as several offers must be printed immediately or within two views.
Some places also send you a welcome deal for signing up.
Enjoy!
RA Sushi: Half-birthday special. When your half-birthday comes around they will send a $20 gift certificate special.
Kona Grill: $15 certificate.  exp 4.30
Benihana: $30 certificate dinner only M-Tr after purchase of entree. Must print.      exp 5.06
Carrabba’s: Free appetizer with purchase of entree.      exp 5.24
Culver’s: Buy one get on free value basket.     exp 4.23
Olive Garden: Free appetizer or dessert with purchase of two adult entrees. Welcome and bday gift the same.      exp 4.21
Islands: $5 off purchase of $25.      exp 4.18
Melting Pot: 6 free chocolate covered strawberries with $60 purchase.      exp 7.07
TCBY Frozen Yogurt: Birthday: $3.00 off total purchase. Welcome gift: buy one get one free up to $5.      exp 4.22
Jersey Mike’s Subs: Buy one get one free regular sub.
Rubio’s: Free meal up to $7  – welcome gift for signing up: 1 free taco. Show on smartphone.     exp 4.23
Denny’s: Grand slam breakfast on date of birthday. Must show ID and print.  exp day of birthday
Arby’s: Free 12oz shake with purchase.  Welcome gift: free roast beef classic. Must print.     exp 4.16 & 15
Grimaldi’s: Free large one topping pizza. Welcome gift: $5 off next bill.  Dine in dinner.     exp 4.19 & 18
Cold Stone: Buy one get one free.      exp 4.23
iHop: Free breakfast. Welcome offer: free breakfast.     exp 4.23
DelTaco: Welcome offer: 2 free grilled chicken tacos.      exp 4.24
On The Border: Free brownie sundae or bowl of queso. Welcome gift: free queso or sopapillas with purchase of entree.    exp 4.23
Einstein Bros: Free breakfast sandwich with drink purchase.  Welcome gift: free bagel with drink purchase.     exp 4.16
World Market: Birthday: 15% off purchase.      exp 5.08
Dairy Queen: Welcome: buy one get one medium blizzard.      exp 4.23
Orange Julius: Welcome: buy one get one fruit smoothie.      exp 4.23
Baskin Robbins: Birthday free ice-cream scoop, kids size.      exp 4.19
(Note, the image is also a link to more freebies! I will be checking those out next year;)

Hosting tip: Feeding a crowd

To end our “feeding a crowd” series, here are some cute & helpful charts/ideas we liked : )

Chickabug_party_food_and_drinks_guide
Guest Prep Chart from Chickabug


How to lay out a Buffet Table from SasInteriors

16 party food stations
16 Party Food Bar Ideas from C.R.A.F.T