Valentine’s Day Balloon Surprise

 

In today’s busy world, I just can’t realistically be that perfect “Pinterest mom” who crafts every day with her little ones (as much as I would love to!) When a holiday rolls around, I do try and set time aside to create something special for my children – it’s no surprise that I am big on celebrating special events and love creating memories for my kids! Valentine’s Day was a lot of fun this year (especially because it was cheap, easy to do, and of course cute), and it really surprised my daughter. It was perfect!

The holiday is about all things love after all, so I wanted her to wake up and immediately feel it surrounding her! What better surprise than a room full of balloons? Balloons are always fun.. but I added a little twist to make a game out of it. Hanging from each balloon string was a paper heart: on the front side was a letter, and the back side was a number. I scattered the balloons randomly throughout the room. She had to put them in numerical order from 1-20 to decode the secret Valentine’s message “We Love Emmie and Easton!” She loved searching the room for each number and grabbing the balloon. I loved the educational aspect of it. My favorite part was after she woke and saw her ceiling covered in balloons, she ran into my room and said “Mom, it is so pretty!” and gave me the biggest hug. I knew she really appreciated it!
To make this happen, it was really very simple. I used 20 balloons (a mixture of pink and teal, her favorite colors), string (which I grabbed from extra gift wrapping supplies), paper hearts (cut from construction paper), a hole punch, a marker and a helium tank. The helium tank was bought at Walmart for $23. The night before Valentine’s Day, I cut out the hearts, punched the holes, and wrote the message on the hearts. I also pre-threaded the string into each heart (about 5ft-6ft length) so it was once less step I had to do in the morning. I waited to blow up the balloons until the morning, otherwise they would have been on the ground by morning, which doesn’t really have that same wow factor :) I woke up at 5:30 am, blew up the balloons, and tied them to the string. I quietly tiptoed into her room to scatter the balloons around so she would find them by the time she woke up, two hours later. I was done by 6:00 am and was able to hop back into bed. This special surprise cost me about $30 and an hours worth of time. Not bad!
I would absolutely recommend doing a surprise like this for any birthday or holiday in the coming year –  worth it just for the smiles :) Happy Valentine’s Day!
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4th of July Party Kit Giveaway

Untitled-1It’s less than a month away, have you decided how you are going to spend your Fourth of July? If you need a little help, we got you covered. We are giving away a Red, White, and Blue themed Party Kit! One lucky winner will receive this patriotic mini Kit to celebrate the holiday!

One lucky winner will receive:

  • 12 Red Stripe Paper Plates
  • 8 Silver Star Dessert Plates
  • 16 Silver Star Napkins
  • 25 Red Stripe Baking Cups
  • 1 Large 36″ Blue Star Balloon
  • 25 Star Party Picks
  • 25 Paper Straws (Mix of Red Stripe, Silver Stripe, and Multi Colored Stars)
  • 1 Star Garland

Visit www.undercoverhostess.com to enter! 

Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends 6/21.

Peter Rabbit Themed Easter Party + Inspiration

I have always loved Peter Rabbit. Growing up I read all of the stories, and now that I have children of my own I get to read them the books before they go to bed. So it wasn’t a surprise that as soon as the Peter Rabbit products arrived in our shop, I knew I had the theme for my daughters annual Easter egg hunt! I hate to play favorites, as I do love all of our products, but I think these might be at the top of my list. The soft colors are beautiful and the illustrations on the paper products are so sweet and charming! Just perfect for any baby shower or first birthday – but they also worked quite nicely for our Easter Egg hunt!

This party was a huge success on all accounts: the kids had a great time searching for eggs and munching on desserts; I loved planning, hosting, and had a fabulous time socializing with my friends; and my husband was pleased since the whole party (including décor, food and entertainment) cost me only $250! That was for 24 people including 15 kids!  There is no greater satisfaction than seeing a lovely party come together that is also budget friendly!  So how do you get this look? I’m happy to share how I was able to do this so effortlessly and cost effectively!DSCN2430

Décor

Using tableware from the Undercover Hostess Shop, I bought 24 Peter Rabbit plates, 2 Peter Rabbit serving trays, a set of Peter Rabbit napkins,  a coordinating paper table linen (loved this as it looked high quality and was easy to clean up after), and 24 blue and white polka dot plates for the kids table. Decor Cost: $50.

DSCN2399DSCN2441Coincidentally a few weeks ago, I received several too-cute-for-words Peter Rabbit baby gifts after the birth of my second child. How perfect! I love being able to re-purpose items I already have! I also pulled from some of the Easter décor I had around the house (the ducks, rabbit, wood crate, etc.)

DSCN2445DSCN2437DSCN2397Below you can find some of the Peter Rabbit themed decorations:

Peter Rabbit stuffed bunny – Barnes & Noble
Peter Rabbit quilt (hung on wall) – Barnes & Noble
Peter Rabbit ABC Blocks – Barnes & Noble
Blue Peter Rabbit plate – Pottery Barn Kids

Food

For kids, I always look to find something easy to prepare and serve. This time I made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in festive Easter shapes using my Easter themed cookie cutters. For sides, I filled three different snacks (cheese cubes, grapes and Annie’s Bunny Crackers) in plastic Easter eggs. The plastic Easter eggs were displayed in egg cartons that were from reused from the deviled eggs. It is really cute for presentation purposes, and it was very easy for the kids to just grab one and add it to their plate. The kids loved opening up the eggs to find out what was inside!DSCN2444DSCN2446DSCN2460For the adults, I wanted simple food that I could keep in the refrigerator and just set out after the egg hunt was over. I tend to have a habit of going overboard cooking, which means I don’t get to enjoy the party and I miss what it is all about. To ensure I was able to see my daughter take part in all the fun with her friends, I made most of the food the day before. I also bought appetizers from my local grocery store or Costco. The menu consisted of: chicken salad sandwiches (Costco), club sandwiches (homemade), salad (homemade), Italian meat rollups (Costco), caprese salad (homemade), deviled eggs (homemade), and fresh fruit (grocery store). Food Cost: $150.

DSCN2442DSCN2443DSCN2395I purchased mini cupcakes from my local grocery store, which were a steal at 36 for $10. DSCN2398DSCN2436 As a special dessert, I whipped up some very easy Rice Krispie treat nests. To make these all you need are Rice Krispie treats, green icing, and jelly beans.

Activities

The main event was the Easter Egg Hunt of course! I hid approximately 160 eggs in my house, which gave each child the opportunity to collect roughly 10 eggs. The plastic eggs were purchased from Wal-Mart ($2 for 48) and stuffed with candy, stickers, pennies, and small toys. The Dollar Store is also an easy and budget friendly option to find treats. Activities Cost: $30DSCN2457

This party was a blast, and am thrilled everyone had such a great time! The Peter Rabbit theme turned out even more adorable than I imagined. Now I am even contemplating using it for my son’s first birthday next year!

Love this party theme for yourself? Right now you can purchase select Peter Rabbit tableware, and even more specialty Peter Rabbit products are arriving in the shop next month! We will also be adding a Peter Rabbit Hostess Kit! Make sure to check back for you next baby shower, birthday party, or even for next Easter!

DIY :: Metallic Easter Egg Designs

Easter is on its way, so I thought I would share this fun silver metallic egg DIY with you guys. Decorating eggs is always fun, and I love how everyone can make them their own. There is so much inspiration on Pinterest for unique ways to color and display eggs – so here is just one of the many! 

easter-egg-materialsFor the materials, I used:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Egg dye tablets (you can also paint the eggs, or just leave them white for a clean, simple look)
  • Egg dipper – if using dye
  • Martha Stewart Liquid Gilding in Silver
  • Pencil with unused eraser
  • Paint brush

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First I dyed the eggs and let them dry. I wanted more of a pastel color to them so I didn’t let the eggs sit in the dye for very long. Once they were dry, I used the metallic silver gilding to make patterns. For easy polka dots, dip a clean eraser into the metallic paint and then apply that gently onto the egg. easter-egg-step1You can keep adding polka dots by repeating this step in any pattern you like. Wait for one side to dry before rotating around so the paint doesn’t smear.easter-egg-groupOnce I had my polka dots I wanted to mix it up so all the eggs didn’t look the same. I used a paintbrush to paint the lower portion of the egg with the silver liquid gilding. easter-egg-candy-cup2Ta-da! Cute metallic Easter eggs ready for display! metallic easter eggsThese fun eggs will make any Easter shine! Enjoy!

Huddle Up : Get Free Football Party Printables + Party Ideas

This past weekend was the last football Playoff match up. Did you catch any of the games? Even if you didn’t see them, you probably know by now that the Seattle Seahawks (with their insane comeback against the Packers!) will be playing the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl on Feb 1.  Our free football printables were such a hit last year, we created some again! Since the Seahawks are in it for a second year in a row, you can get our old printables herebut we’ve updated them a little in our new versions as well. See the bottom of the post for the full resolution .pdfs for download.

football-printablesNow that you’ve got the printables, here are a few entertaining ideas we love for the game!Football Coasters 2Create and set out these adorable burlap football coasters for guests. Stitched by Crystal has the tutorial.

Use yellow balloons to make a goal post for a backdrop. Creative use of the paper lantern as a football gets the extra point (source photo).

Chili-BarFootball and chili is the perfect combination. Celebrations at Home does this chili bar right.

It’s not a true football party without delicious game day finger food. Here are a few recipes below that are sure to be crowd pleasers.

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Hip2SaveMmm. Slow cooker buffalo chicken sliders from Hip2Save.

Beer-Candied BaconBeer. Candied. Bacon. Enough said. From Tide and Thyme. Once you see how easy it is, you will have to make it!

Super Bowl Party Ice Cream Sandwiches | Kim Byers TheCelebrationShoppe.comMake a fun dessert like these ice cream football sandwiches! See the tutorial over at the Celebration Shoppe Blog.

Seattle Seahawks printables: download full .pdf here
New England Patriots printables: download full .pdf here

Enjoy, and happy hosting!

XOXO Valentine’s Day Party Inspiration

We are in full on Valentine’s Day mode at Undercover Hostess. Glitter, hearts, and all shades of pink are filling up our shop! Before we created a few of the specialty Valentine’s Day items this year, of course we envisioned the fun parties and dinners for kids and significant others, but we wanted to focus on the other super important people in our lives.. our friends! We love the idea of a love-filled day with girlfriends celebrating friendship. Host a brunch, party, or dinner, have some cocktails and snacks, and share it with your favorite people! If you are planning on doing something special, we’ve put together a few ideas below on how you can style your Friendsentines Day (that doesn’t work as well as Friendsgiving, but you get the idea :)) or any party! valentines day cupcake and toppersPink and gold is such a sweet combination! These gold plates and cupcake wrapper provide a touch of glam softened with light shades of pink. And who can resist these cupcake toppers? The cupcake goes without saying. No one can resist cupcakes. Use the toppers to decorate all kinds of desserts or appetizers.valentines day party supplies

valentines day drink and pink pom pom stirrers

Mix and serve a fun pink drink! One of our favorites is Pink Sparkling Punch (see bottom of post for recipe). Garnish the glasses with strawberries and drink stirrers to complete the lovely look.

pink candy cups - valentines day

valentines day heart confettiDecorate your table with heart confetti! Yay!

ombre striped wooden utensilsOmbre striped wooden utensils are eco-friendly and oh so cute. valentines day favor bag and tagFill these favor bags with your favorite homemade baked good as a token of your appreciation for those we are lucky enough to call friends. Be sure to decorate your goodies with our free printable favor tags! 

valentines day party suppliesYou can shop all of the party supplies featured here (and many more!) in our Valentine’s Day shop.  

Download the full .pdf printable favor tags here (2 versions, shown below): Undercover Hostess Valentine’s Day Favor Tags

valentines-day-printables---xoxo valentine's-day-printables---happy-valentine's-day

 

 

 

 

OUR FAVORITE VALENTINE’S DAY RECIPES

Pink Sparkling Punch:

Ingredients: 1 can frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, 1 bottle Champagne, 1 bottle sparkling grape juice.

Directions: In a large punch bowl, combine raspberry lemonade concentrate, Champagne, and sparkling grape juice. Stir to combine and dissolve frozen lemonade. Ladle into glasses and serve.

Strawberry Wonton Cups - These elegant wonton cups come together so quickly and easily, and you can even make them ahead of time!With just a handful of ingredients and very little time, Damn Delicious shows how to make these Strawberry Wonton Cups. I’d say they fit the blog name perfectly.

Pillsbury Pie Crust recipe, heart shaped pie, heart shaped food, valentine's day recipes-vertHungry Happenings provides you with the how-to for these very tasty Mozzarella Cheese Filled Hearts with Roasted Red Pepper.

Rice Krispie Valentine Lollipops || FoodieCrush

Love these rice krispie Valentine lollipops from Foodie Crush, If there was such a thing as too cute to eat, this would be it. So sweet!

Strawberry Brownie Kabobs

Brownies, strawberries, and marshmallows as a kebab? Yes, please! Sweet Tooth gives you the instructions for this delicious recipe.

Enjoy, and happy hosting!

Black + Gold New Year’s Eve Table

Undercover HostessWhen you think of a classic New Year’s party, what comes to mind? Black, gold, and glitter! We are excited to share this chic NYE party filled with lots of styling inspiration!  We love this party for a small dinner get together or an all out New Year’s bash. We used our New Year’s Eve Mini Holiday Kit for the tableware, decor and other party supplies.Undercover Hostess

Undercover HostessIn keeping with the black, gold, and white theme, we used similarly colored desserts to compliment the gorgeous table. Chocolate covered strawberries, white and gold cake pops, and black and white cookies look just lovely (and delicious)!
Undercover HostessUndercover Hostessnye-blog2Undercover HostessUndercover HostessUndercover HostessWe added coordinating (and budget friendly) items to add color, depth, and fill in space on the table. The gold polka dot “tablecloth” is actually wrapping paper from Michael’s. The gold, black, and white trays were purchased from Hobby Lobby, and the white boas can be found at both Michael’s and Hobby Lobby. We love a great deal – each of these items was under $10!
Undercover Hostessnye-blog1

Want to add more sparkle? Pretty up your champagne flutes with this glitter DIY from one of our old blog posts.

We hope you have a wonderful New Year’s! Cheers!

Vendors:
Plates, Napkins, Drink Stirrers, Balloons, Menu Cards, Banner :: New Year’s Eve Mini Holiday Kit from Undercover Hostess
Cake pops :: The Chocolate Box Chattanooga
Photography :: Dotson Studios 

A Very Merry Sale!

We’re having a great sale on our Be Merry Kits! Take 30% off and get free shipping! We’ve got you covered for any last-minute parties too – after your order is processed you’ll have three day shipping (yup, that’s free too). Get yours in the shop now! be merry holiday kit sale

My Annual Gingerbread Party (+ A Hot Cocoa Bar!)

Pic1Continuing with tradition, I hosted my annual Gingerbread Decorating Party. I love doing it every year for my daughter, because she always has so much fun with her friends. But wow, it is always exhausting! I tried a few different things this year, some were a hit, others not so great.  I think it’s important to recognize this because that’s how you learn and know where to improve the next time around.

As with any of my parties, I always try to have a “homemade” element, something where I go the extra mile. Keeping it realistic, I also try to find shortcuts. Typically, I make my gingerbread houses from scratch using this really nifty mold from The Chef’s Toolbox (which you find on Amazon). The houses always turn out fantastic. They are easy to assemble, stick together well, and are large, which the kids love. This year, being 32 weeks pregnant, that wasn’t happening. I decided to change it up this year and purchase a gingerbread kit for each kid I found on sale at World Market. That didn’t go so well. The houses were a lot of work to assemble, and half the ones that made it, crumbled. Now this could definitely just be a result of the brand I bought because I know there are really decent kits out there.  I think it scarred me though, so I’m sticking with making it from scratch from here on out. It may be extra work for me before the party, but it will be much easier to decorate for my guests!

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This year, I decided to set up a hot chocolate bar. I knew it would be fun, simple, and a favorite for the kids. I found several different kinds of hot cocoa mix in small packets at World Market – ranging from Peppermint Cocoa to Dulce de Leche (so good!). I displayed these in little ramekins so guests could pick which flavor they wanted. What’s hot chocolate without toppings? There was peppermint cotton candy, regular and peppermint marshmallows, candy canes, whipped cream, and chocolate chips. The kids had a blast adding the toppings and making their own hot chocolate. To make serving easy, the hot chocolate bar was set up close to my kettle on the stove.

Overall

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I thought about purchasing fancy glassware from the store, but figured I would try mixing Christmas mugs I already owned for a unique look. I like how it turned out! I added fake snow ($3 from Michael s) on the table to achieve a cute little winter wonderland hot cocoa bar!

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For the food, I cooked a majority of the dishes myself (with recipe help from Pinterest) since I opted out of making the gingerbread houses. The kids loved the Grinch Santas, and I loved them because it was a fun and healthy snack. Baking cups from the Be Merry kit, were used to hold the cupcakes I made. I topped the cupcakes off with a gingerbread cookie and a dancing Santa on the “north pole” (the straws from the Be Merry kit I cut in half).

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Watching my daughter laugh and play with her friends the entire time is enough to make me want to do this every year, despite how pregnant I am or how exhausting it may be. Plus, it is an added bonus that I can spend it with my girlfriends, whom I really cherish. I love everything about the holidays – it really is a magical time for me – and I am so lucky I could share in it with my amazing friends tonight!

Style Me Pretty Holiday Feature

Style Me Pretty has released their Holiday Magazine and it is full of fabulously festive DIY’s, recipes, design, and parties. What more could you want? Seriously, there is some pretty great stuff in there. We are so thrilled that our Be Merry Holiday Party was chosen to be featured in the magazine this year! Check us out as well as all the other gorgeous content. You can view the issue now here.
style me pretty holidayFor the full feature on our party, see the SMP Living Blog here.  Enjoy!