Crazy fun baby shower theme: Surfing Monkeys

surfboard-monkey-CPLeave it to our customers to come up with fun baby shower themes! Combine beach allure, surfer casual and energetic monkeys and you get a gnarly surfing monkeys theme. It’s mod, fun, unusual! (And we love a challenge!)

The hostesses plan is to add centerpieces around the umbrella poles over her tables. We recommended printing a theme wrapper to go around the pole, and add flowers. (Even dollar store flowers are fun if you pack them in tight enough.) She planned to use raffia and beach accessories to further decorate the tables. Here is what we came up with to support the theme.

plush monkeys from Oriental Trading
Add miniature diapers to these plush monkeys from Oriental Trading company and add them to beach and surf decor to tie in the monkey aspect.

Working with a color pallette of sand, orange and sky blue, we can set the base colors for table ware, table covers, signs and banner. Other beach brights added here and there for variety, such as beach towels over the buffet table and beach balls suspended from the ceiling. Accessorize with beach buckets and shovels, fondant surfboard decorations on the cake, scattered sea shells, and little umbrellas in the drinks. Add some small plush monkeys to the decor to incorporate the baby monkey. Tiny diapers added to them would add to the baby monkey aspect and get lots of “awwww!”s. Surfs up! Catch it, Dude!

Favors could be little beach pails filled with goodies, surfboard cookies, surf theme insulated cups, floral leis, or even beach towels.

Make a banner look like a giant surfboard, or use bright color papers to make pennants to “Welcome Baby” and hang it over the dessert table. We added some cute cake ideas to our beach baby shower pinterest page. Browse it for even more ideas. http://www.pinterest.com/mom3kkb/beach-baby-shower-ideas/

We found these fun accessories at Party City and Oriental Trading Company. Check them out online by clicking the image. Get beach accessories in the spring or early summer at your local discount stores for best selection.

oriental trading company beach ballsOriental Trading CompayParty City Caribbean blue party ware

Cinco de Mayo – Mexican Independence Day

Cinco de Mayo InvitationYou don’t have to be Irish to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, and you don’t have to be Mexican to throw a Cinco de Mayo party! Invite your guests for May 5th with colorful fiesta invitations and request that they dress like their inner vaquero (Mexican cowboy) or dancer.

Traditional multi-colored paper flowers are easy to make. Put them everywhere! Polish off the hanging decorations with a burro piñata from your grocery or party store, and some strands of lights. Use plenty of green, white and red for Mexican flag colors, or all the bright colors you see in a beautiful mexican serape.

Cinco de Mayo InvitationYou’ll think you’re in the heart of Mexico on Independence Day if you play an assortment of Mexican guitar music, mariachi music and some salsa. Your library should have a good selection. They may also have some instructional DVDs to teach you a few salsa dance steps you can teach to your guests during your fielta. You may be surprised who’s the best dancer!

Completes the south of the border setting with Mexican goodies: tortilla chips, queso and homemade salsa on the tables for snacking, with warm quesadillas, tacos and fajitas on the food bar. Cold Dos Equis,  a big pitcher of Margaritas or  refreshing mojitos on ice fit the bill, as do delicious Mexican wedding cookies and coffee flavored with cinnamon, vanilla or cocoa for dessert.

Enjoy these important times with close friends and family, and you will have the best of old Mexico!

Top 10 Graduation Gifts under $200

photo graduation invitationMoney Well Spent

The graduation invitations are received and the big day is coming. If you didn’t have a budget, you could get the graduate something incredible… like a car, vacation, or a new laptop. The list for their new adult life is endless. In the real world, on a budget, you may be looking for some ideas for practical gifts that will really be used and appreciated. Here are some favorites for less than $200.

1. Prepaid Cell Phone – start at about $79

Teens and young adults consider cell phones to be more than just a convenience. They are the main tool of their social life. If the mom-sponsored cell phone is ending when the graduate moves out, a great gift is a prepaid cell phone. You can get a prepaid kit, like one from T-mobile that includes a cool wireless phone, starter minutes, a battery, a charger, and a hands-free headset. You can add more starter minutes if you have a slightly larger budget.

2. Camera

There are plenty of fun times ahead, without the family camera available. Does the graduate own a decent camera? When choosing one, don’t necessarily get the first one you look at. Choose one with the longest optical zoom. (Digital zoom and 12 megapixels won’t really help you capture better photos.) Also, make sure the camera has a rechargable battery. Cameras that use AA batteries will cost the grad a fortune in batteries just to keep the camera going. Check Consumer Reports for a fast comparison. We love our Olympus and Sony cameras and recommend them often.

3. Dorm Refrigerator

If the new dorm does not provide refrigerators, which many are doing now, it is a college-life necessity. Then when you go visit the cramped and cluttered dorm room, you can have a cold drink, and your student can keep perishable snacks available.

4. Luggage

What student has decent luggage? About none. A good, sturdy suitcase will hold up for years of student excursions, weekend jaunts and trips home. If left to their budget, they may only be able to afford a cheap suitcase that will not weather many luggage handlers. Check the bag ratings. The wheels need to last!

5.  Resume Writing Service

Does your grad have goals, but trouble getting started? Great background and experience but no presentation? Or an interesting job history which needs careful translation? A professional resume writing service can provide a great start to their job search by presenting all the details in a positive, succinct and beautiful resume. Just add job leads. Check out grandresume.com

6. Soft-Sided Briefcase

If your college grad is going into business, a professional looking briefcase is necessary today. Taking work home is the norm, often with the company laptop. A quality, versatile briefcase is a nice polishing touch to their new business persona.

A versatile soft-sided briefcase makes the trip to and from work a breeze. Consider a leather messenger bag for a trendy look that will make a good impression at school.

7. iPod or MP3 Player

Kids today download the songs they want onto their MP3 player and take them everywhere. Since they travel, they also get beat up. How about a gift of a fresh new iPod to take to college?

8. A Small TV with DVD Player

A TV is a necessity to any student today, making it more appreciated as a gift. Two items any student will want for her dorm room, or first apartment, and for many years to come.

9. Clothing Gift Card

The young grad always appreciates the opportunity to get some new outfits for their new life. A gift card to their favorite clothing store ensures that they will feel good about their wardrobe in their new life: work, college or travels.

100 dollar bill
The Stand-by Gift for All Occasions

10. Money

OK. This one is obvious. Money is the one thing that works with any need, at any store. Maybe it doesn’t seem personal or caring to give cash, but it is always appreciated by the graduate. He is saving toward some big purchase… computer, tuition, car… and you can be a part of that goal.

Biker Baby on the Way!

Born to ride! Biker Mom and Dad-to-be can enjoy preparing for their new little rider with a motorcycle theme baby shower, or a motorcycle theme nursery. Whether it is a Harley-Davidson, Indian or another cruiser obsession, you can combine motorcycle art, biker gifts, like the amazing and unforgettable pair of crocheted motorcycle booties, bold elements like flames, and some tire tracks. Orange is the obvious answer for a motorcycle shower color theme, with gray and black accents. It is unique, colorful and unisex. Substitute pink or blue for the orange and you keep the motorcycle feel, but make it feel much more baby-ish. The born-to-ride baby shower invitations are a must, as are the large Mylar balloon and the flame pennants. Have a little fun with the decorations, serve a delicious meal (maybe with a diner-foods theme) and crank some rock and roll. It will be a baby shower they will remember!

mohawk baby hat with flames crochet motorcycle jacket blue motorcycle bike diaper cake infant fire hat
flame theme pennants motorcycle baby shower invite baby motorcycle hat
snarly motorcycle mylar balloon
pink baby shower favor motorcycle mini diaper cake motorcycle baby motorcycle hat
blue motorcycle baby onesie
pink infant hat with motorcycle
orange motorcycle baby shower invitation
pink motorcycle diaper cake
crochet motorcycle booties

Guests could opt to wear their best biker gear, or let them add it at the shower with a supply of bandanas or biker hats from a party supply store. Offer temporary tattoos with a baby theme. The favorite of the party will be the tiny biker gear for the newborn. Check the preferred bikes website for logo gear on various items. Can you hear the response? LOL.

DIY Beach Theme Party Decoration Accessories!

Flip Flop Baby Shower
Fun Flip Flop Baby Shower Invitation and Decorations

printable PDF shower accessoriesBeginning with the popular flip flop baby shower theme, Naptime Productions is pleased to announce a FREE PDF file with invitation orders allowing us customers to print out matching items for their shower. The letter size pages can be printed on your color printer and include the following items for our customers to cut out and add color to their party tables.
1. Small Flags for drinking straws or to tie to favors or cake pops.
2. Cupcake wrappers to cut out and slide over the paper cup that the cake bakes in.
3. Napkin rings – colorful bands to match your theme colors that look great on your tables!
4. Scalloped circles in three designs/colors. Cut these out to add to each place setting, arrange on a cake or cupcake plate, or add color under and around your centerpieces.

This free PDF is available only with a matching invitation purchase. Also available is an inexpensive PDF file for the print-at-home pennants you can cut and attach to a string to make a splash of color on your party wall. Looks great above the dessert or gift table. Or both!

beach baby shower favor stickersFor centerpieces, consider the colorful theme-wraps which can be bought separately to go around your flowers or balloons, or our new table decoration kits which include the wraps plus stickers, card holders and cards to spell out B-A-B-Y on each table. Just fill the theme wraps with shredded paper, balloons, tissue paper or small plants.

For quick and colorful party favors, add matching stickers to clear bags of candy.

Naptime Productions also offers shower activities to match your theme including baby gift bingo cards, advice cards to have guests fill out for the mom-to-be, and matching thank you notes. Just add plain color plates, napkins and table covers from your dollar store.

 

Try These Tasty Acorn Treats at your Fall Festivities

acorn candiesLooking for a cute treat idea for fall? Offer a nutty party candy by making acorns from Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, mini Nilla Wafers and peanut butter chips. Children will love to help with this project, especially if you have an “it is okay to eat the ugly ones” policy.

To make these super cute candies, all you need is one box of mini Nilla Wafers, one bag of peanut butter chips, Hershey’s Chocolate Kisses, and a tiny bit of milk. These snacks are extremely easy and fast to make! First put about two tablespoons of peanut butter chips into a bowl and melt them in the microwave. Stir the peanut butter chips to melt them. To get the right glue consistency, add a teaspoon of milk and stir it in. Add more milk if necessary until you have a white glue consistency.

When your peanut butter glue is ready , grab a Nilla Wafer, unwrapped Hershey’s Kiss, and a peanut butter chip. Dip the bottom of the kiss into the peanut butter glue. A small amount of the glue should stick to the bottom of the kiss. Then put the kiss and the flat side of the Nilla Wafer and push them together. Then do the same with the peanut butter chip, but push it to the rounded side of the Nilla Wafer (as shown in the picture). Voila! You now have an acorn! Once you have a fair amount made, loosely cover and refrigerate to protect them from melting.

The acorns are delicious! These snacks are perfect for candies at parties. Because of the small size, they make excellent snacks at school Halloween parties or a tiny treat for your kids’ lunches!

Display your acorns on a fall-colored plate or tray, or layer them over paper leaves (the kind you use to serve cheese on a tray.) Not only do they make a great impression on your table, but offer just the right amount of chocolate to satisfy a craving.

A Baby Shower for the Newest Wee Lad or Lassie

Welcome the baby-on-the-way with Irish spirit! A baby shower incorporating the colors, symbols and traditions of Ireland can not only be fun, but also build Irish-American family spirit and camaraderie. Take a look at these fun finds for an Irish theme baby shower!


shamrock brownie bites

Leprechaun Baby Hat

Irish Coffee Recipe

Irish Baby Shower Invitations

lavender cake recipe

Pumpkin Date Scones

Irish and Celtic Folk Classics

green and white tables

The first step: Irish baby shower invitations that set the scene and let your guests know all the details of the baby shower. Be sure to share helpful information like registry information, nursery theme, and if the baby is a boy, girl or a total mystery.

Next, plan some Irish into the shower with traditional Irish foods and music. This menu for an Irish Bridal shower would work just as well for a baby shower. Serve wild rice and barley stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. Feature salmon, Irish broccoli and cheese pie (quiche), roasted mustard potatoes, Irish coffee, and Irish chocolate truffle cake for dessert. Other fun classics you could serve are scones, tea, Baileys mini brownies, and lemon lavender cake. Yum.

For Irish music, choose any contemporary or traditional Irish music. Since people will mostly chat and mingle during the shower, play your music softly to provide a pleasant Irish background. Music by the Chieftains, or perhaps a compilation of folk songs like O’Malley’s Irish and Celtic Folk Classics or this collection of Irish Classics.

Add some green to your tables, and possibly a bit of the live variety if possible! (Silk shamrocks are hard to find! If you have some, please advise!) Try one of these idea for cute Irish/green centerpieces:

  • Grow wheat grass in cute containers and stick in springs of lavender (reminds me of Ireland) or small orange flowers.. inexpensive and really charming!
  • Use green glass bottles and jars with fresh cut daisies and orange accent flowers for a light, simple countryside look.
  • Put a couple small shamrock plants on each table and add a colorful wrap around the pot. If it needs a bit of filler, try popping in a few small flowers.
  • Use bouquets of white and green flowers in simple white vases and green table covers.

Gifts for the little one are part of the fun. Take a look at these fun finds for ideas for your gift to the mom-to-be for the biggest “awwwww” response at the shower…
Irish Onesie from EtsyIrish baby hat from EtsyThe Donegal Cutest baby hat from etsyJaqui's Preemie Pride Irish Shamrock Baby Suit with VestTSBPhotoPropsDonegalHat

Accessorize Your Rock and Roll Party

Jubilee Shop Bake Rattle and Roll Cupcake KitThrowing a rock and roll theme birthday party or baby shower? This fun theme gives lots of play to musical props and edibles. You’ll want to include some of these goodies on your rock star dessert table or in with your party favors. Drum up some smiles with musical note lollipops, rock star cupcakes, guitar shaped chocolates and drum set cookies. Get some inspiration from all the wonderful ideas we found to add to our rock and roll theme party!

SweetNSmiles Note Pops

Cupcakes are workable for the amateur baker with a helpful kit like this one with wrappers and picks. More adventurous bakers can try creating fondant music notes, guitars, drums and miniature vinyl albums to decorate their cupcakes. Limit yourself to the color scheme you have chosen for your party for all your dessert table items and table items to coordinate with your decorations. Black and white with a bright color or two seems to work easily into a rock and roll look.

Party Supplies Delivered plastic microphonesNote Cutouts from Wallys Party FactoryCentury Novelty Guitar Mint Tins

Include chocolate music pops with your party favors, tied with coordinating ribbon colors. These can be found in the shapes of music notes and guitars from online favor or candy shops. For children’s favor bags, add a pack of Pop Rocks, a rock candy stick and a kazoo. Decorate colorful favor bags with black music notes for an easy tie-in.  Favors for grown-ups may include chocolate pops, dark sunglasses, and a toy microphone. The latter will likely be found in the hands of enthusiastic divas during the party.

rock and roll baby invitationmusic straw flagsFor your tables, top your table decorations with cutout black music notes and guitars. These can be used on the tables like confetti, or attached to tooth picks or longer sticks to add them to arrangements. Add some 1950’s rock-n-roll cafe fun by providing drinking straws that have been decorated with coordinated flags as well.

Everything for Your Anniversary Party

What items do you need for your 50th anniversary party? Enough to make it look and feel special. Enough to create a “look” without breaking the bank. Somewhere between dollar store and Martha Stewart.

Invitations

Champagne Invitations from www.naptimecards.com

Cost effective anniversary party supplies can start with a reasonably priced anniversary invitation that is special enough to draw the crowd you want. This anniversary invitation is an example of a very popular photo design that is a joy to receive. Customers love the positive comments they receive about the invitations which capture the then and now of this lasting relationship.

Sending out Save the Date cards is a good idea if your guests will be coming from out of town and you want them to have plenty of time to plan. Where invitations normally go out 4-6 weeks prior to an event, you can send out save-the-date cards much earlier, increasing the odds that more special guests can attend.

R.S.V.P. Card

You may want to include a separate R.S.V.P. card which will add a touch of formality to the event. Many people today are simply requesting their responses via phone or email, eliminating the separate enclosure. The separate card does help to remind guests to respond, but it is perfectly acceptable to simply include this as a line at the bottom of your invitation.

Sharing Cards and Memory Album

If you would like to encourage guests to provide some comments toward a scrapbook or anniversary album, one of the easiest ways to do this is to include a sharing card in with your invitation. The card can be used to collect comments, stories and well wishes to put into an album with photos. Display the album at the party, or provide the cards to guests at your tables and make the scrapbook afterwards with the resulting collection. Either way it is a memorable and meaningful gift to the anniversary couple … made easier.

Golden Centerpieces

Most options for banquet table centerpieces will add up to quite a lot of money. Some options to decorate your tables include:

  • Hire a florist to make floral centerpieces for your tables ($25-50 per table minimum)
  • Scatter the tables with gold confetti and gold finish frames of a variety of photos from over the years ($5-10 per table and time to buy frames, order prints, and put them together.)
  • Order anniversary photo centerpiece kits like the ones from NaptimeCards and assemble them at the event. ($13 each)
  • Use gold pop-up table centerpieces from the party stores. (about $6 each)

Signature Photo Mat

A popular alternative to a guest book is to offer a large white photo mat for guest messages and signatures. Craft stores like Michaels carry these in stock. Add a current photo of the lovebirds, and set it out at the entrance of your party. Be sure to put the first comment and signature on the mat so that guests understand they are supposed to sign. Give this to the anniversary pair after the event in the frame it came with.

Party Favors

While not required, offering small party favors to your guests is a nice touch. It serves as an immediate thank you, the guests get something to take home, and the favor itself becomes a decoration on your tables. Easy and inexpensive options include chocolates in little white boxes with a gold bow, gold wrapped truffles, small gold frames that double as place cards, and gold pens. Many items sold as wedding favors make excellent anniversary favors as well.

Memorabilia Display

Open that box in the attic! Display mementos from the original wedding day. You can display everything from the wedding dress, marriage certificate and cake topper, along with photos of the couple through the years, to create a great conversation center at the gathering. Arrange photos on the wall  bulletin-board style, or form the snapshots into a large numeral 50.

Thank You Notes

Required! Be sure to send hand-written thank you notes to the people who attended the party for sharing the day, especially if they gave an anniversary gift.  Not only is this good manners, but it also lets you share your feelings and strengthen your friendships.

 

10 Things to Do When You are Home Sick from School

Cough. Cough. “Mom, I’m Sick!” You convince your parent that you need to stay home from school with a dramatic blend of discomfort and fatigue. Since Mom’s condition for this home recovery is a day without television, computer games and iPod, you know you need something to do or this day of quiet could go on forever. No friends. No outside play. No softball practice. Try these ideas to fill the day when you are not sleeping or catching up on homework:

  1. Organize your bookshelf alphabetically by author. This activity will likely get you reading things you forgot you had and help you find something you did not know you’d misplaced.
  2. Clean out a junk drawer or toy box. You’ll feel more organized, enjoy the sense of completion and probably spend more time playing with old toys than cleaning.
  3. Read your favorite childhood short stories. You may be amazed at how short they are now.
  4. Research a favorite subject, i.e. albino dolphins, and make a power point to show your parents. You get computer time for an educational project and get to play with a fun program.
  5. Make an interesting lunch. Assuming you can eat, try making your peanut butter and jelly sandwich jelly first, or try a cream cheese, cheddar and Parmesan cheese bagel. Then clean up your mess. Leaving a trail of crumbs and dishes does not make the day better after Mom gets home.
  6. Crafts. Do what you like. Clay, collage, drawing, painting or a sculpture from Popsicle sticks. Once again, clean up the mess.
  7. Find all the loose change in the house and count how much there is. (This does not make it your money! :) How many states can you find on quarters? How many state parks on quarters? Any really old pennies?
  8. Draw a sketch of your dream home or dream bedroom. Write a story or explanation to go with it.
  9. Play with your hair style while no one can see. Try a new hairstyle, or comb it the other way.
  10. Write a blog article for your mom or dad. You know they are overworked and will appreciate it.

Enjoy your day off from your normal schedule and get well soon!