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St. Patrick’s Party

15 Mar

Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!!!

We are getting ready for the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and to keep the celebration going, we will be going to the O’Rourke’s for their annual St. Patrick’s Day party.

Here are some ideas for you to help celebrate the occasion with your family and friends:

Candy Bar

Check out all the cute ideas for a St. Patrick’s Day candy/dessert bar from



St. Patrick’s Day Printables

Found these through Pinterest and thought they were great:


St. Patrick’s Décor

Check this out for the fastest way to decorate with great colors:


The real staples of a St. Patrick’s Day event – Corned Beef and Cabbage and Scones

Corned Beef is a really easy meal to make – and it definitely tastes better the next day.  Check out this super simple recipe:


And being a 1st generation Irish American girl, I would never offer up a recipe for traditional Irish Scones off the internet – it’s just not done in my house.  You have to use my Aunt Bridget’s recipe to make scones


Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Simple Super Bowl Party

29 Jan


Are you ready for some football???? 

As it seems like we are getting busier and busier, the thought of all the preparations needed for a Super Bowl bash can seem too daunting to even attempt to tackle.  Here are some pretty simple options that may help make the Big Game memorable – without the hassle.



How cute is this ‘tablecloth’?  All you need is a roll of craft paper, masking tape to make the 10 yard lines and white number stickers.  I think I might add end zones  on each end of the table by cutting out letters for the Bronco’s and the Seahawks.



I tend to make a Buffalo Chicken Dip that is served from a crockpot using crackers or nacho chips to serve the dip. This is a really cute alternative that doesn’t take much longer in its prep time.  I’m also including the link to the blog post that gives you the recipe:



Take a cue from ‘The Girl Who Ate Everything’ and serve your 7 layer dip in individual plastic tumblers – this gives you the chance to have all your guests have the pleasure of a perfectly formed dip and not the inevitable ‘mush’ that this dip turns into once a few people dig into a big platter of this dip.  Here’s the link to her blog post with the recipe:



Cheese and bacon – enough said!



How cute are these?  Pull out your Candy Melts and piping bag and pipe away…



How many people watch the Super Bowl for the commercials?  (Weird, isn’t it?  Imagine WANTING to watch commercials….)  This is a great idea to keep folks interested DURING the actual game – click on the link below to get to the game boards that folks can use to play football bingo.  Have a fun little prize for the winner.  You could probably play one round for each quarter to really keep your gang on their toes – all it will cost you is a few fun trinkets…….

We hope these simple solutions help you pull together a festive gathering in no time – we will be pulling out all these stops in my house on Game Day.

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Thanksgiving Recipes

21 Nov

Can you believe that Thanksgiving is just one week from today?  Now is the time to kick your Thanksgiving dinner preparations into high gear!

Here are some recipe ideas that should help you out – whether you are cooking the whole meal for your family and friends, or if you just want to bring something to the hostess so you don’t walk in empty handed.


Turkey Vegetable Tray

Turkey Vegetable Tray

Turkey Veggie Platter

Turkey Veggie Platter

Cranberry-Stuffed Brie en Croute

Cranberry-Stuffed Brie en Croute

Creamy Artichoke Bruschetta

Creamy Artichoke Bruschetta

Soups & Salads

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Read more at:

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

Main Course

A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Sage

Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Sage

Quick Skillet Garlic Green Beans

Quick Skillet Garlic Green Beans

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Honey Glazed Carrots

Honey Glazed Carrots


Pear, Apple and Cranberry Crisp

Frame 17

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

We are so grateful for our loyal customers and friends and we wish everyone a very happy and healthy Thanksgiving!

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Pumpkins, pumpkins everywhere!

14 Nov

Between jack-o-lanterns for Halloween and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, it seems like pumpkins are everywhere for the months of October & November…. Growing up I thought they were just for Halloween, but the older, more mature (?) me appreciates so many things about pumpkins…  Here are just a few of those things:

Decorating With Pumpkins

There are SO MANY ways pumpkins can be dressed up for the season.

Here is a link to our post on How to Make a Pumpkin Planter

how to make a pumpkin planter

How about these pretty pumpkins?

pretty pumpkins collage

You can carve your Pumpkins…

carved pumpkins collage

Cooking with Pumpkins

Make a Pumpkin Shake:

2 scoops of vanilla ice cream

1/2 cup of milk

3 tablespoons of pumpkin purée

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Tastes just like pumpkin pie in a glass!

pumpkin pie milkshake

Pumpkin Bites – see our previous post for how to make them


Roast Pumpkin Seeds:

2 cups pumpkin seeds

1 1/2 TBSP butter

1/2 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic salt

2 tsp c

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Clean and dry to seeds.  Melt butter in saucepan and stir in salt, garlic salt & Worcestershire sauce.  Add seeds and stir to coat.  Spread seeds on a single layer on a large un-greased cookie sheet.  Cook for 60 minutes stirring at the 15, 30, 40 and 50 minute marks.  Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

roasting pumpkin seeds

Pumpkin Soup (courtesy of

Makes 8 to 10 servings6 cups chicken stock1 1/2 teaspoons salt

4 cups pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley

1 cup chopped onion

1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

5 whole black peppercorns


  1. Heat stock, salt, pumpkin, onion, thyme, garlic, and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes uncovered.
  2. Puree the soup in small batches (1 cup at a time) using a food processor or blender.
  3. Return to pan, and bring to a boil again. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes, uncovered. Stir in heavy cream. Pour into soup bowls and garnish with fresh parsley.

pumpkin soup

And finally, you can always store your false teeth in them!

pumpkin with teeth collage

This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Fun and Fast Halloween Snacks

31 Oct

What does everyone automatically think of when they think of Halloween?  CANDY!

But what I have found is that the kids that hang out at our house for Halloween night prefer snacks other than candy.  Of course they will dig in to their candy bags after Halloween, but for the party night that is Halloween in our neighborhood, here are some fun and easy ideas that you can try for your little ghouls & goblins!!!

Halloween Snack Mix

1 Bag Chex Mix

1 Bag Candy Corn Harvest Mix

1 Bag Peanut M&M’s

1 Bag Plain M&M’s

Combine in large bowl.

Could this be ANY easier???

halloween snack mix

Banana Pop Ghosts:


White Candy Melts

Mini Chocolate Chips (for eyes)

Popsicle Sticks (lollypop sticks don’t support the weight as well…)

Wax Paper

Cut bananas in half and freeze them for 30 minutes. Insert Popsicle sticks and dip them in melted white candy melts. Add eyes & freeze until ready to serve.

Kids love these little ghostly creations!

ghost banana pops


Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Mozzarella string cheese

Green bell pepper

Cream cheese

Use a paring knife to cut each string in half and then round off one end to make it look like the top of a finger.  Carve out a shallow area where the fingernail will be – just below the rounded end of the ‘finger’.  (You may want to use gloves or plastic wrap so your fingers don’t smudge the texture of the cheese.)

Mark the joint right below the nail as well as the knuckle joint by carving out tiny horizontal wedges of cheese, as pictured.

For the fingernails, slice a green bell pepper into 3/8-inch-wide strips. Set the strips skin side down on your work surface and trim the pulp so that it’s about half as thick. Then cut the strips into ragged-topped nail shapes and stick them in place at the ends of the fingers with dabs of cream cheese.

Watch the kids (and adults) reactions when they check these out!

cheese finger food

Carrot-Finger Food

Courtesy of FamilyFun Magazine

Vegetable dip

4 long carrots

1 medium carrot

Softened cream cheese

Sliced-almonds (5 to be exact!)

Baby carrots

To prepare them, just fill a serving bowl with your favorite vegetable dip. Wash and peel 4 long carrots for fingers and 1 medium carrot for a thumb.

With a paring knife (a parent’s job), cut a flat, shallow notch in the tip of each carrot. Then use a dab of dip or softened cream cheese to glue a sliced-almond fingernail atop each notch.

Stick the fingers in the dip, as shown, and serve with plenty of peeled baby carrots for dipping.

A creepy way to serve veggies and dip!

carrot finger food

Dracula Donuts

Glazed donuts

Chocolate chips (for the eyes)

Plastic Dracula teeth

The Dracula teeth go in the center of the donut, press 2 chocolate chips point side down into the donut for the eyes.

This is ALMOST as easy to make as the Halloween Snack Mix and will get a great reaction!!!

dracula donuts

Stuffed Pumpkin Peppers

Since you have to eat dinner on Halloween, I suggest you make these to start your night out – I made these last week and my family loved them…

Green, red, orange and yellow peppers



Spaghetti sauce

Shredded mozzarella cheese

Using a paring knife, cut jack-o-lantern faces into the peppers.  Boil the peppers in water for 10 minutes.  While the peppers are boiling, brown the hamburger meat and cook the rice (I use minute rice for the quickest preparation).  Mix together the hamburger, rice, spaghetti sauce and mozzarella together and stuff in the peppers.  Bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

stuffed peppers


This family friendly blog is provided by  We specialize in high quality, affordable Baptismal gowns, rompers & suits, First Communion dresses, girls headpieces and boy’s suits.  In addition, we have a full line of Confirmation robes for churches to choose from with sizes to fit any size Confirmation candidate.

Easy School Lunch Ideas That Your Kids Will Actually Eat

29 Aug

It’s that time of year again, when your house is barraged with the routine that comes with going back to school.  One of those routines is religiously packing a lunch for your darling little ones and hoping that they actually eat what you send to school.

 girls with brown bag lunches

Scouring Pinterest (I just LOVE that site), I found that the trend for school lunches seems to be lunches that are de-constructed.  It seems that breaking apart the meal into little compartments allows the most flexibility with your menu of choices. 

 Pinterest school lunches

Ziplock or Rubbermaid reusable containers with dividers provide the ‘compartments’ you need without ‘breaking the bank’.  Remember folks, these are kids we are talking about so fancy expensive containers are just as likely to not make it back home to you as the cheaper containers.  Save yourself the headache…

Ziplock divided containers

The following suggestions are the ones that I thought were the most “fun” for the elementary school set:

Easy School Lunch Ideas from Emmy Mom

Emmy Mom lunches #1 Emmy Mom lunches #2


Project Lunch Box from Family Fresh Cooking

 Project-Lunchbox-lunch suggestion

Lunch Box Idea List from Wendolonia

 Wendolonia Lunch-Box-Idea-List

And probably the most clever idea of all is this DIY Ice Pack to keep your child’s lunch chilled until they get a chance to eat it.  Thanks to My Kitchen Escapades for the idea!  Unfortunately, I could not copy a picture of it to entice you to go o their blog post, so I would ask that you

click here button

to see the picture and read the blog.

Happy Back To School to everyone!  Feel free to comment on this post with any fun ideas you have to make lunches good enough to eat.


Anne-Marie Dunn is the Owner of
We specialize in Baptismal and First Communion Apparel for both boys and girls.


Quick and Festive Fourth of July ideas

3 Jul


We interrupt summer sports for the Fourth of July… well, we are fitting in the Fourth of July in AROUND the sports…

Since school has been out for the summer, it’s been a whirl-wind at my house!  I can’t believe tomorrow is the Fourth of July!!!  My son has a baseball game tomorrow, and then we are off to multiple parties – and I haven’t figured out what to bring yet…  When I need some inspiration, and some easy but fun recipes, I usually head off to Pinterest to see what’s out there.  After pinning some really cute things for the fall and Christmas, I found some of these ideas for Fourth of July that I thought I would share with you.

Strawberry Blueberry Mini Cheesecake Trifle

Aren’t they adorable?

The how-to instructions can be found at this link:


 American Flag Cupcakes

Cupcakes are such an easy ‘grab and go’ food for a party.  And these are Soooo simple, and so cute when arranged on a tray.  All you need are 2 dozen cupcakes frosted as follows:  4 blue, 10 red and 10 white.  Using a star tip on a piping bag, pipe a few white stars on the blue cupcakes.  Follow the picture below arrange on the tray, and voila – you are done!  This is certainly an easy project that still looks festive.  I wish I could bring these to baseball tomorrow, but they won’t last 4 hours in the car, and I’m not sure we have a cooler big enough to keep them chilled.  Or do we?  At the very least, maybe I will bring it to one of the parties we are going to…

American Flag cupcakes

Patriotic Strawberries

Chocolate dipped strawberries are so easy to make, yet make such a wonderful impression on party guests.  For my son’s birthday party – which happened to be on Memorial Day this year – we made these strawberries:

Red White and Blue Berries

Red White and Blue Berries

Although these are adorable – and very patriotic looking – they are very messy!!!  The blue sugar goes everywhere when you try to eat it and we had blue colored children as well as my kitchen floor and deck area.  That blue dye is hard to get out as it stains.  I would definitely suggest making these if they would be served outside – maybe on grass, and you don’t mind your guests having blue mouths and tongues.

I went on Pinterest looking for an alternative to the decorations above and found this:

Fourth of July strawberries

There should be much less evidence that your guests ate a strawberry from this version of strawberries!  BUT, the chocolate will crack and little star confections will fall off when someone bites into them and the blue and red stripes will probably come off in long strands so outside may be a better option for serving them.

The last pin I found on Pinterest is a Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

Since it’s easy to find strawberries and blueberries in the grocery store this time of year, and the rest of the ingredients are very easy to find in the grocery store, the biggest prep you will need to do is allow time for the tub of whipped topping to thaw out…

The how-to instructions can be found at this link:

Red, White and Blueberry Trifle

On this Fourth of July, enjoy the food, enjoy the fireworks and stay safe!

What are some of your favorite ideas for Fourth of July festivities?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

Fun Foods for Memorial Day

23 May

Memorial Day is upon us, and in our house we are having our first get together of the Summer season as we celebrate my son’s 12th birthday.  In planning the party, I went straight to Pinterest to check out all the fun things I’ve been ‘saving up’ for just an occasion.

I thought I’d share with you a few of the ideas that I will be including in our celebration, in the hopes that you might find one or two things that you might want to try to make your memorial Day weekend a bit more festive!  As I go, I will be including the links to the source of these recipes so you can check out what other ideas these authors have that you may like.


Fruit Flag

Fruit Flag

Strawberry, blueberry and banana kabobs line up beautifully to salute the grand ol’ flag. The berries are the perfect colors for this no-fuss patriotic dessert (marshmallows make perfect white stripes, too). A drizzle of chocolate syrup goes great with these, but either way, kids and grown-ups alike will eat ’em up!



Shirley Temple


Bring Out the Stars

Bring out the stars – Fun Drink for Kids

A little summer fruit in your party cups is a quick, easy way to turn even the most basic beverage into a festive party drink. Whether it’s sangria or a Shirley Temple, make it U.S.A. all the way by adding sliced star fruit, sliced strawberries and a handful of blueberries. Red, white and blue all the way!


Shirley Temple-Drink

1. Add 3-5 ice cubes to a highball OR martini glass.

2. Add 3 ounces of lime juice.

3. Add 3 ounces of Ginger Ale OR substitute it with 7-Up or Sprite.

4. Add a dash of grenadine.

(The grenadine’s function is to serve as color more than taste. Adding too much can make your drink painfully sweet)

5. Add a cherry (or two) and a straw.

6. Stir…and enjoy!


Red White and Blue Berries

Red White and Blue Berries

Red, White and Blue Berries  (I can’t wait to try these – they look so easy and yummy!!!)

You’ll need:
Strawberries- As many as you plan to dip
1 pkg.white chocolate chips or white dipping chocolate (bark)- found with baking supplies
Blue sanding sugar or sprinkles (The kind you decorate cookies with)


1. Wash your strawberries and let them dry thoroughly. Pat dry if necessary. Set aside.

2. Line a baking sheet or tray with wax paper or nonstick foil.

3. Pour about half of the sanding sugar into a small bowl.

4. In another small bowl, melt white chocolate according to directions on package. I usually melt it in small increments in the microwave on low power until about 80% of it is melted. I then stir it until it is completely melted. If it is too thick, add about 1/2 teaspoon shortening (like Crisco) and stir until melted and smooth.

5. Holding a strawberry by the leaves on the stem end, dip into the white chocolate to cover about 2/3 of the berry. Let the excess chocolate drip back into the bowl. (If there’s a “glob” of chocolate on the end of the berry, scrape it off onto the side of the bowl.)

6. Dip the bottom third of the chocolate covered berry into the blue sanding sugar.

7. Carefully place each berry onto the prepared tray or baking sheet to set. (They will set quicker in the refrigerator.) Refrigerate until time to serve. These are best served the same day they are prepared!


Berry Cream Cheese Pastries

Berry Cream Cheese Pastries

Berry Cream Cheese Flags

Berry Cream Cheese Flags

Berry Cream Cheese Pastries


1 package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed

1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar (or more)

4 Tbsp. butter, softened

2-3 cups strawberries, hulled

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 cup fresh blueberries


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Lay out thawed puff pastry on a floured surface, and gently using a rolling pin to even out the creases. Use a pizza cutter or a large knife to cut the pastry into your desired shapes. (I made about 16 squares with one sheet, and 6 rectangles with the other sheet, but you can also use cookie cutters or cut different sized shapes.) Lay out the cut pastry dough on a baking sheet or two. Then use a fork to then poke numerous holes into the middle of each piece, to minimize inflation.

3. Bake pastry according to package directions until it is puffed and very lightly golden, about 12-15 minutes. Remove and let cool.

4. While pastry is baking, use a blender or food processor to puree strawberries and sugar. Transfer mixture to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until reduced and thickened. Remove from heat.

5. Meanwhile, whisk together (or use an electric mixer to combine) the cream cheese, butter and powdered sugar on medium-high speed until smooth. Add more powdered sugar if you would like a thicker cream cheese spread.

6. Assemble the pastries by topping the cooked puff pastries with the cream cheese spread, then layer with the drizzled strawberry mixture and blueberries. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to a few days.


Please share with us what your plans are to make this Memorial Day special!!!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.

5 Things to Do With the Kids on April Vacation – Without Breaking the Budget!

11 Apr

April vacation is upon us (well, next week in my town) and here are some ideas that you can do to entertain the kids that won’t break the bank…. flower

Bike ride to a Park

The weather is finally turning nice, and now’s your chance to jump on your bikes, feel the warm air on your face and have a leisurely day (or just a couple of hours if you prefer) with the kids at a local park.  Pack a picnic lunch in a backpack – grab a Frisbee or a tennis ball – and go.  Don’t forget to stop and smell the flowers – and if the flowers aren’t bloomed in your area yet, have the kids notice the different buds that are hopefully forming.  You can talk about the ‘rebirth’ that happens each spring and have the kids notice what blooms earlier in the year and what blooms later.

family bike ride

Treasure Hunt

If you happen to be going on a long car ride, or just a walk around your neighborhood, create a Treasure Hunt for the kids.  You can write up the lists before you leave and challenge the kids to see who can find the most things on their list before you get back home.  Lists can be tailored based on the various ages of the children.  (Non-readers can get a list of pictures they need to find.)  Give each one a pencil or crayon to mark off the items as they find them.  After a successful Treasure Hunt, the reward at the end can be a trip to the ice cream shop!

scavenger hunt

Camp Out at Home

If chilly weather won’t allow you to really ‘camp out’ by sleeping in a tent in the backyard, you can still have your first camp out of the season.  Light up the fire pit in the back yard, sing songs, roast marshmallows and cook up some s’mores, and sing some camp fire songs.  When it’s time for bed, head in to the family room and sleep in sleeping bags on the floor as a family.  To make the effect of really sleeping in a tent, you can make an indoor tent by draping blankets over chairs or the couches.

kids around campfire

Work in the yard

As you do your Spring clean-up in the yard, challenge the kids to dig in and get dirty.  Who can find the biggest worm in the soil?  How many different plants are sprouting out of the earth?  And if you are really ambitious to have the kids help out, getting them their own ‘kid size’ garden tools might inspire them to be great gardeners someday.

kids gardening

Cook up a Storm!

Check out Pinterest to see a huge variety of ‘Fun Food’ ideas that are very kid friendly.  From a fruit kabob rainbow to no-bake desserts you make in a mug, there is something to excite just about everyone.  Here is a link to my ‘Fun Foods’ board on Pinterest:  Use some of these ideas, or search around to find other fun ideas.

rainbow fruit kabobs

Whatever you choose to do while the kids are off from school, doing it together is the best way to build fun memories!!!

Please share your favorite ‘wallet friendly’ ideas for the kids with us by commenting on this post.


Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of

Please feel free to visit our website or send us an e-mail at to let us know what you think.