Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Gender Reveal Party

My husband and I will be welcoming Baby Casto #3 in November, and we found out the gender last week.  My friends were anxious to know and celebrate, so we moved our July monthly dinner back a couple weeks to accommodate.  A gender reveal party is a great way to build anticipation as well as tell family/friends in a cute way.

Invite: I themed the party around mustaches vs. lips with the phrases Hello Handsome and Hello Gorgeous, so I wanted these on my invitation. I designed the invitation on Microsoft Word using simple text boxes.  Nothing fancy.

Entry: I made this sign and mini banner for my front door. You can't see it well in the photo, but I cut out a blue bow tie for the cross on the letter "H" and cut out a pink bow for the top of the "S".  On the steps in front of this, I had a blue stuffed animal on one side with balloons and a pink stuffed animal on the other with balloons.

Decor: A set a my table half with a blue tablecloth and half with pink.  For a centerpiece, displayed our dessert cupcakes and vases of flowers in pink and blue.  I also bought pink and blue blocks from the Dollar Tree to spell out "baby" on each side.

I modeled my place cards after the Hello Handsome and Hello Gorgeous theme, but substituted my friend's names. Pink or blue napkins with the female/male symbols were placed on the guest's plates depending on which gender they voted for.

I made smaller versions of the place cards to use as wine charms.  I also set out two bottles of wine with labels to tie in with the mustache and lips theme.

To have some fun with photos, I made mustaches and lips out of card stock and attached them to skewers.  These made for some silly photos!

Menu:  As guests arrived, I had mustache/lips chips and salsa for them to snack on.  To make the chips, I used a mustache and a lips cookie cutter on white and wheat tortillas.  I placed the cut tortillas on a baking sheet, sprayed them lightly with Pam, and sprinkled some Kosher salt on them.  Then baked them in a 350 oven for 5-7 minutes.  Cute, easy, and healthy.

For the main meal, I wanted to incorporate the mustache/boy and lips/girl theme as much as possible. I served Bob's Big Boy inspired burgers (notice I drew a mustache on Bob), Bow Tie/Bow Pasta Salad, and a Strawberry Jello with lips on top.

For the burgers, I set out various toppings for guests to add what they liked: lettuce, tomato, onion,
bacon, avocado.  For the bow tie pasta salad, I followed Jamie Dean's pasta salad recipe.

1 pound bowtie pasta
Kosher salt
1 cup frozen edamame (out of the pods)
2 carrots, sliced into 1/2-inch chunks
One 12-ounce broccoli crown, cut into bite-size florets
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved (preferably yellow and red)
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup mayonnaise
1 teaspoon sugar
1 large clove garlic, minced
Freshly ground black pepper
3 green onions, thinly sliced

Add the pasta to a large pot of boiling salted water. Set a timer and cook the pasta for 3 minutes less than it says on the back of the box. When the timer goes off, add the edamame and carrots and cook for 2 minutes longer. Next add the broccoli, and continue boiling for 1 more minute. Drain the pasta and veggies in a colander in the sink. Rinse well under cold water to stop the cooking. Make sure to drain off all the liquid. Add the pasta mixture to the large bowl along with the shredded cheese and cherry tomatoes.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil and vinegar. Then whisk in the mayonnaise, sugar, garlic and some salt and pepper. Add the dressing to the salad and toss well. Fold in the green onions. Serve immediately, or cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 hours before serving. 

The lips on top of the jello is just the recipe for Jello Jigglers.  The recipe for what I called the Lip Smackin' Good Strawberry Salad is...

1 package strawberry gelatin
1 cup hot water
1 package frozen strawberries, partially thawed
1 small package cream cheese
1 cup whipped cream

Dissolve gelatin in hot water.  Separate frozen strawberries with a fork.  Soften cream cheese with a small about of strawberry juice.  Add separated, frozen strawberries to gelatin.  When mixture begins to thicken, quickly add softened cream cheese and fold in whipped cream.  Refrigerate.  Serves 6-8.

For dessert, I made chocolate cupcakes with pink frosting in the center to reveal the gender to guests. I topped them with scrap booked mustaches and lips on toothpicks. I had originally intended to have guests bite into these as my kids did the official reveal, but the girls and I decided to eat them after, so we could just focus on my kids' excitement.

The Big Reveal:  I painted a big box white and decorated the outside to go with the night's theme.  Inside, I blew up pink balloons to reveal the gender.  My daughter and son LOVED opening the box to discover they were going to have a baby sister.  I also gave out pink and blue silly string dispensers to some of the guests, so this added to the fun as they squirted the string everywhere!

A fun toast with the girls to celebrate the big reveal!  The champagne (sparkling cider for me), was served in glasses with sliced strawberries or blue berries on skewers to fit with the theme.  Notice how many of my friends guessed girl and wore pink! Turns out they were right!

Favor:  I made chocolate suckers as a parting gift.  Each guest, got a red lip chocolate sucker and a chocolate mustache regardless of which gender they guessed. I also colored in Hershey bars with permanent marker.

All in all, it was a very fun night and a special way to reveal our baby's gender to our children as well as some of our closest friends. Only a few more months and the real adventure begins!!  We cannot wait for HER to arrive!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sixth Anniversary Gift

As you may remember from my Fifth Anniversary gift post last year, I like to try to give my husband gifts that match up with traditional or sometimes modern wedding anniversary gift traditions.  For a sixth anniversary, the traditional gift is candy or iron and the modern is wood.  Here is what I came up with:

I bought an iron bucket from Michaels and filled it with various candy bars.  I attached cute sayings to each candy bar for a personalized touch.  It isn't a keepsake gift, but it was fun to put together and come up with special/funny phrases for the candy bars.  Here are just some of my favorites...

You could totally use this idea for Valentine's Day or as a birthday gift. When my hindsight kicked in, I was also thinking I could have given my husband a candy bar a week or every other week throughout our 6th year as a gift instead of a one-time basket.  This may have been a better idea to keep the silly romance going all year long as well as spread out the tooth decay!!

I made the tags on Microsoft Word.  If you would like the file, comment below with your email address and I'd be happy to send them.

Happy Anniversary Honey!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Summer Bucket List 2013

Happy Family Movement

Have you signed up for The Happy Family Movement’s Summer Bucket List Challenge?  I found out about this super neat idea from a fellow blogger.  The purpose is to encourage families to do things together and create meaningful memories.  It is right up my ally, and after talking with my family over dinner one night to get ideas, I created our list right away.

We tried to pick activities of varying price ranges and time commitment.  Some of the items we do often in the summertime, but others we have never done before which will be really neat.  My four-year old daughter got so excited to scream out her bucket list items like painting seashells, going fishing, and smoothie night.  My two-year old son was adamant about a bike ride, train ride, and donuts!  I created the chart, printed it, and tacked it to our refrigerator.  We use a yellow highlighter to highlight items after they've been completed.  This way we can see our progress, but it doesn't hide the event from view.

Just some photos from our Summer Bucket List fun so far...

Can't wait to complete more fun activities as a family!!