using everything he gave me… this is my creative life to live.

Finding Nemo: Ethan’s 2nd Birthday Bash Invitations Make a BIG SPLASH! May 24, 2013

I typically start planning for any party we throw at least 3 months in advance.  There are menu’s to plan, decorations to consider and so much more.  Then Ethan was born and it wasn’t until15 days later we got to bring him home from his arduous stay in the NICU.  That was when I started planning his 1st birthday party because boy oh boy did we have something to celebrate!!!

That was my record – planning a party 10 1/2 months in advance – until now that is…  Granted I’ve truly only been planning Ethan’s Nemo party now for 5 months but my new record is that I’m also already planning his 3rd (Toy Story) and 4th (Cars) birthday parties as well!  I just can’t help it.  It is so exciting to see his eyes light up over the smallest things and it brings me great joy to make his eye’s light up and to fill his world with wonder.

I’ve spent months turning his bedroom and bathroom into a private tropical paradise for our little guy so I just had to pull out all the stops for his invitations too.  Check my splashy invites out – they’ll be swimming to a doorstep near you very soon!


To make these invitation you’ll need to start by making your husband drink lots of Starbuck Fraps – the bottles are perfect for so many wonderful crafts!


Add one charming little clown fish AKA Nemo.  I floated Nemo on a clothespin knowing I’d need something tall that would be fairly simple to maneuver through the top of the small glass bottle with just the tips of my fingers.  I covered the clothespin with cardstock using Power Crafty double sided tape.  Using the “flip” feature I was able to print a reverse image of Nemo so that no matter which side of the jar you look in you see him.  I also pinched a small 1 x 2 strip of contact paper in the clasp of the clothespin sticky side down so that the clothes pin would stand somewhat straight and centered in the jar until I was able to fill it with the goodies that would really stabilize it.  For the sandy ocean floor I added Nabisco Honey Maid Graham Cracker crumbs.


Next add water via M&M’s custom color candies that can be purchased online or in your favorite specialty candy shop like Fuzzywigs.


Don’t forget to add a few fishy friends so Nemo won’t be lonely in his new home!  These tasty Goldfish crackers are a staple in our home!


I created a tag that could then hang over two sides of the jar – the sticky sides from where the labels came off.  The front side says:

“It’s o-FISH-al, Ethan’s turning 2…

Join us for a WHALE of a good time in the Big Ol’ Blue!”

I just love this whale stamp from Stampin’ Up!  However, I added Marlin and Dori with black pen and highlighters being freed from the whale much as they were in the movie.  Notice also how the orange cardstock resembles a fish tail coming out from behind the white stamped cardstock.  I made sure the white mat crossed the orange just as a stripe would on a clown fish 🙂

 edited for addr

 The back of the jar features some of the hit lines and characters from the movie…

I also wanted to add an interactive feature so if you notice the orange “fishy tail” sticking out from under the lid you’ll be included to hold it while removing the lid.  There you’ll discover photos we took of Ethan in his room after we filled with two shades of blue balloons and one orange one.  “Find Nemo” we said and he had so much fun!  His photo’s accordian out of the small lid adhered with double sided tape to about 12″ of the sheer orange ribbon anchored by his custom made Nemo stickers.  Stickers and Nemo address stamp are all thanks to one of my favorite websites  The top of the lid is covered by the custom nemo address stamp on orange cardstock with a little bit of blue ribbon wrapped around the side.

I hope you enjoy this idea as much as I have enjoyed creating these!  Now I’m off to finalize the menu, games, prizes and favors!

“Just keep Swimming!”


St “Peppermint” Patties Chocolate Mint Brownies March 16, 2012

Our favorite Irish holiday is fast upon us which inspired me to hit the kitchen after devouring one of my favorite treats… peppermint patties.  Shortly thereafter I made a new discovery in the bakingisle that I just had to test out.  I hope you enjoy my quick and easy recipe just in time to make some gooey St Patricks Day treats!


You’ll Need:

1 Box of Betty Crocker Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

1 bag of Parsons Peppermint Patties (my personal preference)

1 Can of Duncan Hines Frosting Starter (Brilliant!)

1 Duncan Hines Chocolate Mint FrostingCreations Packet


Now grab your favorite brownie pan – my go to pan is the PerfectBrownie pan, especially for gooey creations such as these!



Chop up 17 peppermint patties and set aside.  Mix brownie mix as directed by the package.  Gently stir in the peppermint patties pieces and bake according to the directions on the brownie mix for the pan you have selected.  You may need to add 3-5 minutes to baking time due to the addition of the patties.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before cutting and removing from pan.

Stir frosting packet into frosting starter as directed by packaging and top each brownie with a a healthy dollop using a 1″ cookie scoop.  Use remaining patties and top off each brownie as shown above.   Refridgerate to set brownie and frosting.  Enjoy and remember – calories don’t count on holidays!!!           






Air Tight Candy Storage – Colorful Too! February 21, 2012

I came up with these about two years ago, originally to sneak a bottle into the movie theatre… shhhh! don’t tell on me!  Number 1, I hate the sound of rustling bags in a quite theatre and Number 2 – movie candy = “CHA-CHING!”

Since I started doing this I’ve added all kinds of flavors to my movie wall including Mike & Ikes, Mentos, Golfish and even Sour Patch Kids.  The SPK don’t come out super easy but they are colorful and they stay fresh, soft and chewy!  Today I added my long lost love – Skittles!  Just thought I would share this fun tip!

Now hit the dollar store and load up on candy!