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Wednesday, November 23, 2016




It's just a little nutty around here!
My niece recently found out that she was no longer allergic to nuts!  (I've never heard of allergies that go away, have you?)
As a family who loves nuts and cooks with nuts, this was VERY, VERY exciting!
To celebrate her 11th birthday she chose to go out to eat at a restaurant that throws peanut shells on the floor!  
Don't you love that?  You know I totally get into themes and this one required a clever, little nut gift.  You know, all those yummy nut treats that she's never had before.  




I whipped up some 'nut tags' to attach to the box.
This gift theme would work perfect for college students, too.


And then, AH (Awesome Husband) and apparently Awesome Uncle wrote my niece this little note on the back of the tag.



Dear Alex,

     I'm so excited to 'pecan' your life and see what a great person you are becoming.
Makes me want to bounce off the 'wal(nut)' and 'almond-st' shout for joy!
Hope you have an awesome birthday.
We'll 'cashew' at the next one.

Love your Nutty Uncle



Click here to print your own NUT tags.


Here's some more NUT ideas for you.
Nutty Thanks to You.



A Nutty Teacher's Appreciation

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving. 
Hope it's not TOO nutty!


***UPDATED!
I also designed these tags to be valentines.  Click here to see.
Click here to print your own nut valentines.




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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

When you think of an African safari, you automatically think meatballs, right?!?  Who would ever put safari and meatballs together?  I mean, do they even eat meatballs in Africa?

Did you see our African Safari Party?  Click here if you missed it.
I served meatballs because I knew we would have a bunch of men and teenagers at the party.  I just happen to know that men and teenagers LOVE meatballs.  To make the meatballs go with the party theme, I threw in pineapple.  You know, tropical fruit...African safari.  Alright, maybe a stretch?

Well, those Pineapple Meatballs were the hit of the party... besides the fun safari decor, right?  Those teenagers kept going back and back and back again to get their fill.  The adults kept asking for the recipe, so here it is.  It's so simple that I'm a bit embarrassed to have a whole blog post about them.




In a crockpot stir together:
-1 16oz. can of pineapple chunks or tidbits with liquid
-1 24oz. bottle of ketchup
-1 cup brown sugar
-1/2 cup real maple syrup (make sure it's REAL maple syrup)
-1/4 cup soy sauce
Add in 2 (20oz) bags of Trader Joe's Party Size Mini Meatballs.  Cook on low for at least 3 hours.




These Trader Joe's meatballs in the party size are the best!
Of course you could make your own meatballs, but then this recipe could no longer be called quick and easy, now would it?




To download a printable version of the recipe-- Click here.











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Monday, November 14, 2016


Our family is going to Africa!
We're traveling to Arusha, Tanzania to visit our friends who are working with World Vision.  We'll be with a World Vision team of 12 other people (adults and teens) for 10 days. We're so excited!

Our team wanted to have a little gathering to talk about our trip.
This 'gathering' was to take place at our home, so of course that meant I needed a party theme...

Not only will we be seeing many World Vision projects in Tanzania, but we're going on an African safari together as well.
Which gave me the perfect theme...

It's a Safari Party!


I transformed our kitchen table into a safari themed appetizer and dessert party...and it only took a few decor items.  Most of these were found around my house.
(This post contains affiliate links to help you locate products.)


-old globe (found at a garage sale)
-raffia (from a dress up Hawaiian costume)
-bamboo trays (found at Goodwill)
-dark wooden tiers and iron food stands (I have a collection of these picked up from various places.)
-woven paper storage basket
-zebra wrapping paper
-animal print scrapbook paper
-fake banana leaves (found at Joann's Fabrics and Crafts)
-giraffe print ceramic travel mug
 (Can't find the exact mug online, but this one is close.)




I cut a wide strip of the zebra wrapping paper to make a runner down the center of my table.  (Wrapping paper is my favorite way to make table runners...super easy.)
As a centerpiece, I laid out the raffia skirt and turned the woven basket upside down to bring some height to the globe and vase. The banana leaves were placed in a dark vase behind the globe with a few dark sticks that I already had.


The little chalkboard easel was found at Michaels, but this is a close match.
It was a perfect way to display how many days left until we leave!

  

My giraffe printed mug worked well for holding forks.  The wild animal napkins brought in more of the giraffe pattern and added the leopard/cheetah pattern to the party.

On the globe, I placed a star on the country of Tanzania.  It seems so far away, I can hardly believe we're going there!

The food was placed around the table for guests to easily help themselves.  And yes, the food went with our theme...you know me well.


Simple animal crackers were placed in cheetah printed cupcake liners.  I placed a sheet of scrapbook paper underneath and added a chalkboard label.


Tropical fruit is a must at any Safari party.  I chopped up cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon into tiny squares.  These were displayed in glass parfait cups 
(no longer available at Pier 1), that I use all the time.
Mini forks were stuck in each one and I wrote Melon Cups on the chalkboard label.





One of the biggest hits at this party was the Pineapple Meatballs. (Click here for the recipe.)  Everyone loved the pineapple tangy sauce these meatballs were drenched in.  Bonus: they're so easy to make!

I served a few other treats, you might have seen in the pictures...tropical picks (mango, pineapple and sausage on a pick) and also coconut macaroon cookies.  I then tried my hand at a zebra cake--another big hit of the party!



This was a square, double layer, white and chocolate cake.
White buttercream frosting with black marshmallow fondant for the zebra stripes finished it off.



I tried to make the inside look like a zebra, but it didn't quite turn out the way I had hoped.  The guests didn't mind a bit!  The idea came from here.
Also served was Tanzanian coffee.




And that was our little Safari Party!


Now, the hard part...what to pack?!










 Want to see more of my themed parties? Click here.



Linking up to:  CraftyCornerLinkParty
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Thursday, November 10, 2016






What's on your Thanksgiving table this year?  

Are you decorating with fresh leaves?  Dried leaves?
Cute little turkeys and pumpkins?  

How about adding paper sack leaves filled with candy corn?

I'm sure these candy filled paper leaves will be a crowd favorite. My family was into the candy as I was trying to make them as fast as I could!
You can write names on the leaves and they work perfectly as place cards. Take a look at how simple they are to create.




(This post contains affiliate links to help you find products.)
1.  Click here to print out the leaf template. (print in horizontal view.)
2.  Cut out the leaf.
3.  Trace leaf onto a folded paper sack.  Use as many sacks as you can easily cut. I cut out about 4-6 layers at a time.  (Use lunch bag sacks.)


3.  Cut out leaf shape out of the paper sacks.
4.  If you want to personalize your leaves, do it now.  (I learned the hard way on this one.)


5.  Using 2 paper sack leaves, sew up each side of the leaf.
Leave the bottom open.



6.  Indian Candy Corn works the best for filling the leaves.  You can push a candy into each point of the leaf.  About 6 pieces work well.


7.  With the candy inside the leaf, finish sewing up the leaf.
Be sure to leave a tiny bit of room for a stem.


8.  Insert twig inside bottom of the leaf.





How fun are these finished leaves?


Place on top of each place setting.


With or without being personalized.  I like the look of a real leaf underneath the paper sack leaf.


Did you see my Unbe'leaf'able tags?  Click here.



Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!







Here's some more ideas for your Thanksgiving table.

Turkey Tags for the Table


Washi Tape Turkey Sacks


Pumpkin Place Card Holders


Candy Turkey Favors


Dollar Store Thanksgiving Decorations 



Linking up to: LinkPartyPalooza, 
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Monday, November 7, 2016




It's so easy to thank others and it always means so much, especially around Thanksgiving time, actually any time! Everyone loves to receive a thank you note.  Pair it with a treat and it's even more appreciated.
Here's a quick thankful tag to print out and attach to a 'leaf' treat or gift.  Just be sure to write a little thank you note on the back.

(This post contains affiliate links to help you locate products.)


Here's another idea to attach these tags to...a glass urn filled with oak leaves.  This makes a perfect hostess gift for Thanksgiving.





Or just tie a tag around a bushel of oak leaves like a flower bouquet. 

Click here  to print your own tags.





AH (Awesome Husband) loves maple creme cookies.  He first had one when we were in Canada and couldn't stop talking about them. Our grocery store only had this generic brand, but they worked perfectly.


I placed 3 maple creme cookies in a cellophane bag and tied it up with twine. You could always make your own leaf cut out cookies, but when time is limited, this works just fine.


If you're wanting a green leaf printable, click here.


Now, do you need some thankful 'leaf' gift ideas?  
Just 'leaf' it to me...Hahaha!




You always 'leaf' me smiling.






Need some more thank you ideas with clever puns?  Click here.


Linking up to WowMeWednesday, CraftyCornerLinkParty, LinkPartyPalooza,

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