Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Reptile and Amphibian Birthday Celebration

We recently celebrated my son's 5th birthday with a Reptile and Amphibian Themed Celebration. Ever since his preschool class adopted a turtle as a class pet, my son has been fascinated by reptiles. Since I was not willing to grant his request for a slimy pet of his own, I decided that a Reptile and Amphibian themed party was the next best thing!

I had the pleasure of working with Amanda of Lil' Sprout Greetings on all of the printable designs for the party, including the party invitation and welcoming sign.

Upon arrival, guests were welcomed, given a safari hat and binoculars, and sent on a reptile safari. It was amazing how many snakes and lizards they found crawling around!

I wanted to keep the snack table simple with healthy options (other than the cookies and cake), and in theme with the party. I created a safari-like backdrop of leaves and vines and used the coordinating printables that were created by Lil' Sprout Greetings. Snacks included Gecko Grapes, Python Pretzels, Alligator Apples, and Turtle Trail Mix. I also created frog-topped, chocolate dipped Oreo cookies and a reptile safari cake (don't judge me too harshly...this was my first attempt covering a cake with fondant).

The highlight of the party was a live, hands on reptile show which was led by a Wildlife Educator from a local company called Reptiles Alive. The children were able to view and touch live reptiles (turtles, lizards, frogs, and yes....snakes!) while the educator shared fun facts about each animal. The kids loved it!

Images: Reptiles Alive!

The birthday boy even got to help hold the reptiles and pass them around for his friends to touch. Better him than me! He was so happy, as you can see!

We had a great time celebrating my little man's big day!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Giveaway Winner....

Congratulations to last week's Giveaway winner, Kelly L.! I hope that you enjoy your Daisy Days store credit. Thank you to everyone that participated and to for sponsoring the giveaway!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Easy Halloween Spider Punch

Loving this Halloween Black Licorice Spider Punch from Apron Strings!

Isn't the licorice spider the B.E.S.T.!  Stop by Apron Strings, here, for the recipe and directions.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Daisy Days Giveaway!

It's Giveaway time again! This week's Giveaway sponsor is Daisy Days, a great online resource for wedding invitations, accessories, favors, and gifts. Not in the market for wedding related items? Daisy Days also offers a varied selection of items for other celebration worthy special occasions, such as birthdays, graduations, the arrival of a new baby, and Sweet Sixteen. Here is glimpse of what Daisy Days has to offer:

This week's Giveaway winner will receive a $25 gift certificate for With such a large selection to choose from, you better starting searching for your favorite item!

To enter this week's Giveaway, become a Sheek Shindigs follower if you aren't already and:

1. Visit Daisy Days, here, and leave a comment on this post about your favorite item(s).
2. Follow Sheek Shindigs on Facebook, here, and let me know that you did so.
3. Post a link on your facebook page about this giveaway.

You must be a Sheek Shindigs blog follower to be eligible to win. Each individual may enter to win up to 3 separate times. Please make sure that I am able to contact you if you are chosen. A random giveaway winner will be chosen and announced on Tuesday, October 25, 2011. Good luck!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

{Halloween} Black Cat Cookies

Trade in your pumpkin and ghosts cookies for a black cat this year. Aren't these Land O Lakes Black Cat Cookies so cool! From their candy corn eyes to their cute little whiskers, these Black Cat Cookies are sure to win over your little trick-or-treaters. 

In addition to being super cute, these cookies are fairly easy to make and the kids will have a blast helping you decorate them. With all of the rainy days that we have been having lately, this recipe may get pulled out sooner rather than later at our house. Here is the Land O Lakes Recipe:

Black Cat Cookies

2 cups sugar
1 cup butter, softened
3  Eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Candy corn
Red cinnamon candies

Directions: Combine sugar and butter in large bowl; beat at medium speed until well mixed. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Add vanilla; beat until well mixed.

Combine all remaining ingredients except candies in medium bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture to butter mixture. Beat until well mixed.

Divide dough in half. Shape each half into a ball; flatten to 1/2 inch. Wrap each half in plastic food wrap. Refrigerate until firm (at least 2 hours).

Heat oven to 350°F. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface, one-half at a time (keeping remaining dough refrigerated), to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut with 3-inch round cookie cutters. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets.

Using fingers, pinch up ears at top of each circle. Place 2 pieces candy corn onto cookies for eyes and 1 red cinnamon candy for nose. Press tines of fork on each side of cookie below eyes to form whiskers.

Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until cookies are set. Let cool 1 minute on cookie sheet; remove to wire cooling rack.

* If you want your cookies to be served on a stick (see above picture), carefully insert popsicle sticks into the bottom of your cookies before baking.

Love it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

ABC Paper Party Cups

Yesterday I came across a fun Etsy find and just had to share. Check out these ABC Paper Party Cups from Isakay Boutique. Aren't they great!

These paper party cups come in packages of 30 cups with 2 different letters on each cup (one on each side), plus a heart and a period symbol.  If you are looking for an easy and unique way to personalize your next shindig, these cups may be your answer. I love the idea of using them for a word party banner...

To help "label" your food...

Or, to just help you get your message across.

What would you say with your ABC Paper Party Cups?

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{Halloween} SpOOky BOO Bags

After posting about the fun Halloween tradition of BOOing yesterday, I came across these SpOOky BOO Bags from the girls over at How Does She? and found myself wishing that I was crafty with the sewing machine. How cute are these! I am orange with bag envy. I want one of each!

You can make these spooky felt bags and leave them, filled with treats, on the doors of your unsuspecting friends and/or neighbors when you BOO them this year. They would also make great teacher gifts, party favors, or trick-or-treating bags for your kiddos. Stop by How Does She?, here, for the diy directions.

And for those of us who aren't gifted with the sewing machine.... the pumpkin pattern was done by hand with a blanket stitch. Feeling crafty?

Monday, October 10, 2011

Have You Been BOO'ed?

Any day now, our street's traditional Halloween BOOing should begin. Up until about 4 1/2 years ago, when we moved into our house, I had never heard of this Halloween tradition. One October night our doorbell rang right around bath time and when we went to answer the door we were greeted by a mysterious basket of Halloween goodies and a cute little "You have been BOO'ed" poem. My kids thought that it was the coolest thing ever and since then they look forward to it every year.

There are some great printable BOO'ed signs out there, however this is the first BOO'ed door hanger that I have come across and I LOVE IT! Skip to my Lou designed this adorable printable door hanger that has a BOO'ed poem on one side and a "We've Been Boo'ed" sign on the other side. So smart and creative!

To create, simply download the free door hanger printable, here, and follow Skip to my Lou's easy directions, which can be found here.  Once you have made your door hanger, start the BOOing! Hang the hanger on your friend's door and leave some treats for them to enjoy. Once they have been BOO'ed, they can turn the door hanger around and continue the tradition by BOOing another unsuspecting friend. It is so much fun. Just trust me!

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Halloween BOOfast Celebration

Halloween is just around the corner! Are you ready to celebrate with your little ghosts and goblins? If you are a regular follower, you know that breakfast is BIG at our house. It is my husband's and kids' favorite meal of the day, which has led me to the tendency of styling breakfast themed tables in place of the popular dessert tables on occasion. I liked the idea of a Halloween BOOfast Celebration because it allows guests to celebrate Halloween and the autumn season without the focus being on candy. Don't get me wrong, I know how important candy is to young and old alike on Halloween. I'm not trying to veto the candy! This just allows for a festive celebration  before the main event (Trick-or-Treating!) without the sugar overload.

I wanted to make the Halloween BOOfast table simple and easy to re-create, healthy enough to satisfy my fellow moms, and appealing to even the littlest party guest. This breakfast themed table would be perfect for a Halloween party, playdate/playgroup celebration, or even to surprise your little ones on Halloween morning.

The BOOfast menu included pumpkin muffins, a variety of cereals, yogurt parfaits with various topping choices, and milk. Everything was "dressed-up" so that the kids wouldn't even notice that the candy and sweets were missing.

It's amazing how a little wrapper and cupcake topper can transform a muffin! The kids won't even notice that the extra sugar or icing is missing from these pumpkin muffins.

I found these adorable mini tins a few years ago in the Target Dollar Spot and I have gotten so much use out of them. I decided that they would be perfect for getting the kids excited about having a bowl of cereal. Don't be fooled...these cereal choices are healthy and light on sugar content as well (Fiber One, Whole Wheat Chex, and Gorilla Munch). Just don't tell the kids!

Milk in a plain glass just won't do for this celebration. Instead, I transformed empty jars into a Ghostly Glass of Milk! My kids LOVED these and they are so incredibly easy to make.

I used small, paper-wrapped canning jars to serve yogurt & fruit cups while the ceramic pumpkin containers held granola, dried fruit, slivered almonds, and other topping choices for the guests to choose from.

To dress up the serving table, I covered two lamp shades with black card stock and added some buntings for fun. This is an inexpensive way to temporarily transform an item that you already have at home (in this case, a lamp) to add to your table's decor and the overall presentation. I also made some paper rosettes and used a few Halloween decorations that I had at home (the cute witch and the spiders on each end) to finish things off.

I hope that this BOOfast Table has inspired you to start your day off with a little Halloween Celebration!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Autumn Craft Ideas

Last week I took my youngest two for their first autumn nature walk of the season. We had so much fun collecting "treasures" along our walk. Five days later,however, we have had two bags full of leaves, sticks, and acorns sitting in our garage, waiting to be put to use. This afternoon we did some traditional leaf rubbings which were fun, but short-lived. I decided to look for some other fun, crafty uses for our treasures and this is what I came up with:

How beautiful is this Autumn Tree craft from Full Circle! I love the simplicity of the project and it is the perfect craft for making use of our crunchy leaves.

These Leaf Ghosts from are just so cute. Not only will your little one have fun painting their leaves, but you will get an early start on your Halloween decorations, too!

Let everyone create a few mini trial versions of their jack-o-lantern design with these Acorn Pumpkins from Family Fun.  When everyone is done, vote on the best designs for when the real deal rolls around.

Let your little one help add a festive touch to your holiday decor with these Acorn Picture Frames from Better Homes and Gardens.

Looks like we are going to be busy crafting this week. I hope that I have inspired you to get out with your kids, collect some treasures, and have fun crafting!