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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 http://party-wagon.com/childrens-party-blog/2012/3/15/sweet-st-patricks-day.html

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St. Patrick’s Day Printables

Found these through Pinterest and thought they were great:

http://livelaughrowe.com/irish-blessing-printables/

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St. Patrick’s Décor

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

http://www.twotwentyone.net/2011/02/thrifty-hurricane-tutorial/

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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:

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/corned-beef-and-cabbage-i/

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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

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day everyone!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  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.

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Simple Super Bowl Party

29 Jan

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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.

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TABLE DÉCOR:

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.

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BUFFALO CHICKEN WREATH:

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:

http://www.tablespoon.com/recipes/buffalo-chicken-crescent-ring/c7838ab9-a5ca-4e05-bbd7-c37579ece129?nicam4=SocialMedia&nichn4=Pinterest&niseg4=Tablespoon&nicreatID4=Post

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INDIVIDUAL SEVEN LAYER DIPS:

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:

http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2011/12/individual-seven-layer-dips.html

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CHEESY BACON OVEN CHIPS WITH CHIPOTLE RANCH SAUCE

Cheese and bacon – enough said!

http://vittlesandbits.blogspot.com/2012/02/cheesy-bacon-oven-chips-with-chipotle.html

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FOOTBALL STRAWBERRIES

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

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GAME DAY BINGO

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…….

http://www.sheknows.com/food-and-recipes/articles/813200/super-bowl-party-game-super-bowl-bingo

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 www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  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.

Appetizers

Turkey Vegetable Tray

Turkey Vegetable Tray

http://www.livinglocurto.com/2012/10/turkey-vegetable-tray/

Turkey Veggie Platter

Turkey Veggie Platter

http://www.eatingwithfoodallergies.com/turkeyveggieplatter.html

Cranberry-Stuffed Brie en Croute

Cranberry-Stuffed Brie en Croute

http://www.annarbor.com/entertainment/food-drink/holiday-brie-en-croute/

Creamy Artichoke Bruschetta

Creamy Artichoke Bruschetta

http://www.culinary.net/recipes/RecipeDetail.aspx?ID=3512&CourseName=Appetizers&CourseID=1

Soups & Salads

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Roasted Butternut Squash Salad with Warm Cider Vinaigrette

Read more at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/roasted-butternut-squash-salad-with-warm-cider-vinaigrette-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

Pumpkin Soup with Chili Cran-Apple Relish

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/pumpkin-soup-with-chili-cran-apple-relish-recipe/index.html?oc=linkback

Main Course

A Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

Simply Perfect Roast Turkey

http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/A-Simply-Perfect-Roast-Turkey/Detail.aspx?evt19=1

Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Sage

Olive-Oil Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Sage

http://www.marthastewart.com/1038824/olive-oil-mashed-potatoes-garlic-and-sage?czone=food%2Fthanksgiving-center%2Fthanksgiving-center-dishes&gallery=274448&slide=1038824&center=276949

Quick Skillet Garlic Green Beans

Quick Skillet Garlic Green Beans

http://magpiesrecipes.blogspot.com/2013/02/quick-skillet-garlic-green-beans.html

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

Sausage Stuffing Recipe

http://www.chow.com/recipes/29030-sausage-stuffing

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

Baked Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

http://southernfood.about.com/od/sweetpotatoes/r/bl40329j.htm

Honey Glazed Carrots

Honey Glazed Carrots

http://www.katiekayskitchen.com/2013/02/honey-glazed-carrots.html

Desserts

Pear, Apple and Cranberry Crisp

Frame 17

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/pear-apple-and-cranberry-crisp-recipe/index.html

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

Easy Blackberry Cobbler

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/easy-blackberry-cobbler-10000001816143/

Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust

Double Apple Pie with Cornmeal Crust

http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/double-apple-pie-with-cornmeal-crust-10000001831980/

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/pumpkin-pie-recipe/index.html

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 www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  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:

Bananas

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

Cheese-Fingers

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

Hamburger

Rice

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

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

This family friendly blog is provided by www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com.  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.

Summer Sports – Survival Guide – Post #3

11 Jul

One of the best things about kids being on a team is seeing them start as a bunch of individuals and seeing them build friendships throughout the season and really come together as a team.  Kids make friends so easily when they share common interests.  A little help from coaches and parents can go a long way in helping this process along.  A team that plays together stays together.  In this post I’d like to share some of the things that my son’s baseball team did to turn individual boys into friends.

Making New Friends

Parents talking at practice/parties – Parents and kids are both required to dedicate themselves to the team.  Kids are required to be at every practice and game (commitment is for 7 days a week).  The fact that every family supports the kids is a wonderful example of how we as parents are committed to the team and shows the kids that they should also be as dedicated.  One of the biggest examples of this is the fact that many parents actually bring their kids to practice and stay for the 2+ hours watching every practice.  Many friendships among the parents begin during these practice times.

parents in bleachers

Team Van – Our team mom was able to secure a 15 passenger van that she decorated with the kid’s names & jersey numbers as well as ‘Berlin All Stars’ (we live in Berlin, CT).  We meet at our home field before every game and all the kids piled into the van to ride together.  The kids love to get to travel together and it showed a real team presence as we drove up to the field in a decorated van.  The coach would give the kids a pep talk while they were in the van before we left our home field and revved the kids up for the ride.

van1

Team Song – Each year the kids come up with a popular song that they all sing in the van on the way to the games.  Last year the ‘team song’ was “Call me Maybe” by Carly Rae Jepsen.  The kids had the best time with this song because this was a song that the Harvard baseball team had made up some arm movements to go with the song.  Each day, the kids would sing and ‘dance’ in their seats on the way to every game.  Our kids had the best time with this song!

singing in van

 

Equipment Truck – As a simple form of team unity, my husband would pile all of the kid’s baseball bags and the team equipment in the back of his pickup truck and follow the team van to get to the games.  The kids would pile out of the van and go over to the equipment truck to get their gear.  This is something that didn’t go unnoticed by the other teams…

equipment truck

 

Caravan to the games for parents that could travel early – In addition to the Team Van and the Equipment Truck, we have a Caravan of parents that drive behind these vehicles to get to the games.  This shows part of our families’ commitment to the team because we travel to games together at least 2 hours before game time.  Many parents need to leave work very early (like taking a ½ vacation day) to travel to every weekday game.

caravan of cars

“Fan Shirts” – One of the best ways to show team unity is for the fans to show their team spirit with team shirts.  Last year the mom’s on our team got matching All Star tank tops when our kids won the District championship.  We wore these tanks at every game while the team played on in the next round of play.  The funny thing is, the dads were far too superstitious to wear fan shirts.  They had to wear same shirt they had been wearing and even had to stand in same order next to each other at fence as long as kids were winning…)  This year we ordered fan shirts before the season started with their kids name and number on the back so now our dad’s can wear the same clothes AND show their team spirit!

fan shirt frontfan shirt back

 

 

 

 

 

 

Going out to dinner – One of the easiest ways for team building was the picking a local restaurant and a bunch of families go to dinner after the games.  Since we would meet so early before the games, everyone would be starving by the time the game ended.  Since there would be so many of us, we would generally get seated at multiple tables.  The kids would all sit together and the parents would sit nearby.  This gave the kids time to decompress and relive the game and the parents would have the same opportunity to relax and have some fun.

Practice dinners – Because of the time commitment of practices every day with practices ending after 7:30 pm, we have been organizing dinners after practices.  Each night, one family organizes a dinner to bring to the field so the families can eat dinner right after practice.  What a huge help it is to not have to start making a dinner after 8:00pm!

team dinners

Pool parties / Lake House party – Summer means hot weather, and summer fun.  Weekend games are often followed up by a family offering to have the families back to their house for a pool party.  These parties are often kept simple by ordering pizzas – allowing the kids to relax and be kids in a pool.  The adults can hang out and talk while enjoying a few drinks.

pool party (2)

Sharing Memories – One of the easiest ways to capture the memories is to share pictures with the team families on a shared website.  I have used Shutterfly for years and have set up a free ‘Share Site’ for many of the teams my son has been on through the years (this is also great to do if you are a room parent for your child’s elementary school class – lots of nice features for a classroom).  At the end of the season you can easily pull together a commemorative book for families to buy, or to give as coaches gifts.

Shutterfly Share Site

What are some of your favorite ways to bring a team together?  Share them with us by commenting on this post.

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com

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

Quick and Festive Fourth of July ideas

3 Jul

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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: http://www.glorioustreats.com/2012/06/strawberry-blueberry-mini-cheesecake-trifle.html

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 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:  http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/06/red-white-and-blueberry-trifle.html#more

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 www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com

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

Make Your Own Tissue Paper Poms

6 Jun

One of the many functions I hold within the Little League Organization in our town is running the annual fundraising dance.  Since the purpose of this event is to get the parents together for a night of fun, it is also ultimately to raise money for the league.  Because of this, I am always looking for easy, but economical – OK, OK, I’ll say it – CHEAP decorations.  This event is held on the back deck of the clubhouse of a golf course in town.  They have a huge covered deck that is perfect for holding 200+ people outside, but is covered in case of inclement weather.

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This year, the decorating committee – all 2 of us – decided to make paper Poms out of tissue paper.  Here’s how you can make them for any event you may be having.

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Supplies Needed:

  • 12 pieces of tissue paper – one color or multiple colors – cut into 18“ x 20” sections (or whatever size you’d like, just not a square as that’s the most difficult to manipulate into a full Pom).
  • Floral wire (cut into 10” – 12” lengths)
  • Curling Ribbon (ours was cut at a 72” length – depending on where your Pom will be hung, you can make this ribbon longer or shorter.  If you aren’t sure what length you will need, you are better off to leave the ribbon on the longer side.)

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What To Do to Make the Pom Pictured Above:

Step1:  Alternate two pieces of colored paper with 2 pieces of white paper – for a total of 12 pieces of tissue paper.

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Step 2:  With the shorter side of the tissue paper facing you, fold ‘accordion style’ in approximately 1 ¾” inch widths.  The tissue paper we had was uneven at the edges so the accordion fan you end up with will not be perfect.

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Step 3:  Take a length of floral wire and twist it around the center of the tissue paper to secure the tissue paper.  Do not ‘crunch’ the paper in the center – the floral wire is only there to make sure the accordion doesn’t come apart.

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Step 4:  Thread the length of curling ribbon through the floral wire wrapped around the center of the Pom.  There is no need to knot this ribbon so it stays in place.  Since we were transporting the Poms to a different location and then fluffing them, we did choose to put a quick knot to be sure the ribbon didn’t slip out during transit.

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Step 5:  Trim the ends of the tissue paper.  We cut ours into a triangle, but you can make your edges rounded for a softer look.  You need a good sturdy scissors to trim this since you are cutting 12 pieces of tissue paper that have been folded over many times…  With a triangle shape you can just start from the edge and trim to the middle on both sides using straight cuts.  With a round edge, you need to be careful that you can trim evenly around the end of the Pom.  Trimming the edges makes the Pom appear ‘fuller’ by adding dimension to the edges.

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This is where we stopped for the majority of the Poms until the day of our event.  We chose to transport them flat to the venue and were going to “fluff” them that day.  If you manipulate these Poms too much, like moving them from location to location before hanging, they will actually flatten out – especially if you can’t suspend them from the ribbon right away…

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Step 6:  Open the accordion fold on one side of the floral wire and make it look like a fan.  Carefully fluff the Pom by separating each layer upward for ½ of the layers in your Pom.  Tip – to get the fullest Poms, you will need to gently work to separate the layers of tissue paper right near the center – near the floral wire.  You may need to play with these layers a little bit to separate the layers.

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Step 7:  Repeat on the other side so it looks like you have a ½ circle of fluffy Pom.  Remember, you are working with tissue paper which is very thin and easily ripped.  You need to be gentle.  Every now and then, you will more than likely put a rip in the tissue paper.  This is OK as you won’t be able to tell on the finished Pom.

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Step 8:  Flip the Pom over and fluff the other side.  Be careful that you don’t completely smash the first ½ you fluffed.  At the very end, you can certainly do a final ‘fluff’ to even out the sides and make it as round as possible.

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Step 9:  Hang your Pom from wherever you are going to and do a final ‘fluff’ to separate the edges and get your final fullness in the sphere.

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Step 10:  Enjoy!

Because the color combinations are only limited by the colors of tissue paper, this project is very versatile for any event you may be hosting.  We think this would be perfect for a Baby Shower, Baptism party or First Communion party!

Take time to try this easy DIY project for your next event or get together and let us know how your Poms come out.  We’d love to hear from you!

Anne-Marie Dunn is the owner of www.BaptismalGownsPlus.com

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