dancing safari

Every July we celebrate many important birthdays and anniversaries in our family…3 of them being my kids birthdays. Yes, I have three children with July birthdays. It’s a challenge every year to come up with a theme applicable to all three {especially that’s budget-friendly}, but with a boy obsessed with animals and all 3 that love to dance, a DANCING SAFARI made for the perfect theme this year.

With Kraft paper, animal print accessories and fabric, duct tape, a disco ball and creativity, this year’s party was a hit. Here’s the details…

APPETIZER TABLE
Fabric {from Hobby Lobby} cut into strips and then stapled over already existing curtain rod for a backdrop.

I revamped existing lamps and lampshades into Safari Hats by adding rope and a strip of Kraft paper around the lampshade. Just simple clear packing tape was used to keep the rope and Kraft paper in place.

We served Hippo’s Favorite, Avocado Salad, a Lion’s Share of beef and chicken sliders {toothpick with duct tape pressed together and cut into the shape of a flag}, Animal Artichoke Dip, a Cheetah Cheese Plate, Elephant Broccoli Salad and African Fruit Salad.

DINING TABLE
I used a strip of cheetah print fabric for the runner, and then placed an antique piece of wood on top of it. I lined the wood with candles, giraffe bowl and figurines {from a dear friend, Sandy, who carried them with TLC all the way back from Africa} and a bark vase filled with local mountain wild grass.

Place settings inside were made from Kraft paper and on each of them, I used animal stencils to paint giraffe, zebra, lion and hippo silhouettes, and used my alphabet stamp set to add an animal fact to each one.

DANCING DETAILS
I made the dance floor using cardboard and animal print duct tape. I bought cardboard boxes for .60 cents at Wal-Mart, and cut out each square side. I placed duct tape in rows to cover the cardboard, and once all the squares were complete, I laid out each square on the floor, and used black duct tape to ‘tape’ it all together. And, no dance party would be complete without a Disco Ball. I found the Disco Ball for $15 from Party City and used a hook to hang it from our outdoor patio roof.

OTHER DETAILS
The lemonade table is an antique wine barrel {$30 from Wal-Mart}, just turned upside down. The large Mason jar drink dispenser for the lemonade is from Pottery Barn.

For more DIY details, I taped a cardboard box together to make a box, and then wrapped it with Kraft paper. I added the words, “BEWARE” and “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS” with black acrylic paint. And, I saved a large branch from my yard that I spray painted black to add a more ‘outdoor’ touch.

I covered the back of an antique window pane with Kraft paper and added photos of my children on the front, in each window pane opening. With bright animal print paper, I cut triangles to create a banner to add to the window pane, and a larger banner to hang from the curtain rod in the dining room.

My husband is a builder, so it often comes in handy when I need pieces of wood {conveniently and sometimes inconveniently located on my garage floor}. I used Acrylic paint to write my kids names on antique pieces of wood, and next to each name, my hubby nailed a wood number {from Hobby Lobby} for their age. This matched the look of the invite too!

Guests were greeted with a custom hand-painted wood arrow sign that read, “dancing safari” and an easel with a hand painted photo of an African scene.

FAVORS
Each Safari Adventurer  received a burlap bag with a water bottle and an African animal {hippo, giraffe, zebra, lion and rhino} and each family went home with a CD of all my kids favorite songs {think popular POP artists} to keep the dance party going at home.


VENDOR LOVE
Invites: Custom made by Jenna at Fleur de Lis, a paperie
Cupcakes: Mountain Cupcakes

thursday night FAC

It’s almost Friday, so make this week’s FAC on Thursday. Come on, you deserve it. Today, our ingredient from the garden is fresh strawberries, so it seems fitting that you celebrate your Thursday FAC with a Strawberry Margarita. I planted strawberries years ago, and they come back every year bigger and better. I don’t do a darn thing, and they keep growing. As long as I pick them before the rabbits and birds get them, life has been sweet with strawberries this summer.

The BEST….seriously, the BEST…margarita is a strawberry light from The Rio in downtown Denver {or Fort Collins, or Steamboat}. I can’t drink any other margs – they just don’t even come close. However, I think I’ve created one that does…I savored every last drop. Hope you do too.

Strawberry Margarita
recipe adapted from friend, Reid Griebling
yields 4 glasses

Ingredients
6 counts {yes, count 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6…sorry I didn’t measure and followed bartender orders} white 100% Agave Tequila
1-2 tsp Agave Nectar
1.5 count Cointreau {or Triple Sec}
20 fresh strawberries
3 limes + 1 lime for garnish
2 cups of ice

How To
Add strawberries, agave nectar, Tequila, Cointreau, fresh squeezed lime juice and ice in a blender.
Adjust to taste.
Cheers!

{images via Tutto Bella}

YoBanana Split

National Banana Split Day is August 25. There’s nothing like a banana split – it’s an American Classic. Too many will send our bodies into sugar overload though, so this year we’ve ‘healthified’ the Banana Split and we’re calling it YoBanana Split. We’ve substituted all the sugary ingredients with healthy alternatives so your Banana Split is not lacking in ingredients or flavor, and I promise, it’s really good…so good and healthy for you, you can have several times a week. Plus it will keep you full and satisfied. Since this is so healthy, you should host a brunch, or just incorporate it into a party with a YoBanana Split Bar. All the items/ideas you need are below to make your party bananas of fun!

Ingredients Comparison
Banana Split vs. YoBanana Split
banana = 1 banana
ice cream = 2-3 scoops of Greek yogurt
sprinkles = 1/8-1/4 tsp ground flax seeds and 1/8-1/4 tsp chia seeds
chopped nuts = ¼ cup walnuts
chocolate sauce or Oreos = ¼ cup blueberries
caramel drizzle = 1 tsp honey drizzle
cherry on top = 1-3 rainier cherries on top

Begin with a banana on the boat-shaped dish, and then add scoops of yogurt on top of it. I made mine with 3 scoops, 1 strawberry flavored Greek yogurt and the other 2 plain Greek yogurt.
Then, sprinkle the chia and flax seeds on top.
Add walnuts, blueberries and then drizzle honey for a touch of sweetness and top it off with a cherry, or 3!
Enjoy!

Party Ideas
Make your own DIY invites – here’s a banana inspiration from DoItYourself Invitations.com.
Send guests home with a treat in these adorable Banana party favor boxes from Piggy Bank Parties.
Set up a YoBanana Split Bar with inspiration from here and here. Just remember to fill your bowls/containers with healthy ingredients.
If you really want to make a statement, Oh Happy Day! made some kids really happy when they constructed a 10 foot long Banana Split. You can do the same, even with different ingredients.
Order these Banana Split boats for your guests to create their own YoBanana Split.

Happy {early} Banana Split day from the 3 sisters at Tutto Bella.

{images via Tutto Bella}

take a bite…

out of Shark Week.

Yes, it’s Shark Week 2013. For 7 days {starting last night}, we will see sharks bite, swim, jump and feast in our oceans. We will be amazed, and perhaps frightened, in the comfort of our living rooms by one of the ocean’s top predators.

We love Shark Week, so consider today’s post a friendly SHARK ATTACK.

Chris at Celebrations at Home featured an adorable shark party with DIY tips for hosting your own party. Be sure to check it out here.


We love these shark seat covers from Wishworks, featured on Tattle Mag.

This party doesn’t miss a thing with shark fins and homemade scuba tanks. See more photos at Hostess with the Mostess.

Recycled State by John Birdsong has Upcycled Sharks in his etsy shop that would be perfect for a shark/underwater party, or even room decor.

Incorporate a shark into your food with these tips on how to make this impressive watermelon shark carving by National Watermelon Promotion Board.

Your kiddos will be the cutest bite around town with this shark towel by Rosenberry Rooms.
Shark attack snack mix, found at CupKate’s Event Planning, would be the perfect favor for guests…or just as a ‘bonus’ in this week’s lunch box in honor of Shark Week.

Wear a genuine shark tooth necklace by Five of Mine, found on Etsy.

Castaways Hall made a school of shark fins that would look great in a beach house.

Check out this cool and unusual mug with a shark appearing mid-way through your morning coffee. The Accoutrements Shark Attack Porcelain Mug can be found at Amazon.
 {Celebrations at Home, Tattle Mag, Hostess with the Mostess, Recycled State by John Birdsong, National Watermelon Promotion Board, Rosenberry Rooms, CupKates Event Design, Five of Mine, Castaways Hall and Amazon}

buzzworthy {continued}

Yesterday we showed you some amazing eye candy from the grand opening celebration of Eclectic Hive’s new warehouse. Today, we’re sharing the rest of the beautiful party…and some of their inventory.

Epicurean Catering catered the event, and did a fantastic job creating a ‘hive’ look. The tubes in the wire netting below had delicious soup in them. And I was told the honey bacon brittle was yummy.

For those of you LOVING the aspen tree bar like me, it is a white bar frame that they can slide different panels in such as the aspen trees you see here, corrugated metal and hedge wood grass to name a few.

And now, here’s just a glimpse of some treasures in their warehouse that may just be perfect for your next event.

VENDOR LOVE

Eclectic Hive (warehouse/decor)
The Workshop
 (event planning/coordination)
Jensen Sutta Photography (photography)
Peak Beverage (drinks)
LMD Productions (lighting)
Jacob Sanchez of DanceTrax Productions (music)

{images via Jensen Sutta}