Sweet Caroline's Baby Shower

It all started with this frame I made! Well, that's not really how it 'began' but the celebration part of baby Caroline started with my very favorite little girl pattern ~ this beautiful sheet of paper that I purchased with no one particular in mind.
When Kelly, a good friend, called about doing a shower for her daughter, Devon and her soon-to-be granddaughter, Caroline, I immediately thought of this frame! The colors and pattern are so bright and cheerful, just like the Mommy-to-be!
I couldn't wait to make a matching set of blocks as a gift for the nursery and at the same time, personalize the shower a bit!

We were in the middle of a cold, snowy winter so it was quite refreshing to work with this color scheme! But with it being Spring almost everywhere else, it seemed there were accessories everywhere to help make this a a bright, Spring-themed shower!! Kelly and I had fun planning...the texts, pictures and calls back and forth, from shopping trips, were nonstop ~ seemed all of our purchases complimented each other and added to the celebration! 
Kelly is remodeling her basement and had just added a new bar. It was the perfect location for the 60+ guests that were invited. And what better way to brighten that space than to have 60 poms floating! (yes, that was a few evenings of me, movies and tissue paper!) 

Devon, the Mommy-to-be, loves her candy so it was a given we would have a candy and dessert bar. I had ordered gerber daisy napkin rings from Crate & Barrel and they seemed to work perfectly on the apothecary jars. And in Kelly's shopping she also picked up some but on clips...they finished off the ends of my onesie banner nicely.
As usual, Tracie did an amazing job with her sugar cookies!! What a pop of color! And Dawna's fruit tart...beautiful!

I had ordered some fondant toppers for the cupcakes but ended up using them on the cake pops. I kept the cupcakes simple and just made coordinating wraps to add color and the pinwheel to top it off. 
Just to be sure the candy would be okay for the the guests, Danika, the aunt-to-be, and her daughter Addison sampled it!

Caroline's big sister, Kamryn figured she should sample it, too! (yes, Grammy bought them shower-coordinating outfits!) 
When the Spring theme was decided, I knew exactly what we could use.....those amazing watering cans and milk buckets I had purchased from a Pottery Barn clearance sale ....you know, one of those 'you never know when you might need 8 milk cans and ten mini watering cans' kind of purchases!!  
They were perfect! The cans held the centerpieces and the mini watering cans held the menu item labels. 

I love the wishing tree idea. 
Shauna, my daughter, couldn't wait to write her wish for baby Caroline!
Kelly found the most fitting sign in the gardening section on one of her (many) shower shopping sprees! 
I did mention they were also celebrating the remodeling and new bar, right?
Whether you are a Red Sox fan or a Yankee fan, you know what Sweet Caroline means.....Daddy is a Yankee fan so it was quite fitting to balance out all of the Sweet Caroline (yes, I am singing it now) with some Yankee gifts! 

And here's the wonderful hostess, Kelly, with her daughter Devon and granddaughter, Kamryn! 
Devon's shower was so much fun to work on and I think it brightened up everyone's cold, snowy afternoon! 
Looking forward to the next celebration with Kelly....two weddings in the next two years and then you know there will be more babies on the way!!

Sponge Balls ~ DIY

I saw this fun idea on One Charming Party's blog. And knowing that a few friends had pool parties in the planning stages, of course, I had to run out, pick up some sponges and try it!  
Initially, I picked up the more dense sponges like what was shown in the tutorial (on right). There were lots of colors to choose from and looked great...til they dried out, became hard and didn't keep the shape.  When I looked at it after a few days, I thought there had to be another option as I knew some would be part of favor bags and have to be dry. (If you are making them for play at home or can dampen them for presentation at a party, then the more dense definitely have more color options for you.) 
I was then on a mad search to find the lower density sponges that would look pretty when dry but still add lots of color to the party. Little did I know, that unless they have the bright polka dotted or striped scouring pad on the top, then it is very difficult to find many color options! I am sure the manufacturers weren't thinking 'Sponge Balls' and pool parties when producing them!

I followed One Charming Party's DIY tutorial. I cut three sponges in half, then in half again, creating 4 pieces. Then twist them as tight as you can (yes, I have assistance~ones twists, one ties). You can use dental floss, as suggested. I used a thin gauge flexible wire, twisted tightly and ends hidden. I wanted to be sure it held together...as I can imagine a bunch of 5-10 year olds putting them to the test! I didn't want one falling apart when it hits its target!
I cut my strips ahead and that way I was able to mix and match and have as much color possible in each sponge ball!!
Just wanted to re-share this idea with all of you planning pool parties, end of year/summer parties or even great to make up a few one summer afternoon for a surprise water fight with the kiddos!! 
I look forward to sharing pictures of these sponge balls in use, very soon!!! 
Bring on the Summer Parties!

Chocolate, Chocolate and MORE Chocolate! The cookies I only make to give away!

My mother shared this recipe with me a few years ago when I was looking for something to make for teachers, friends and neighbors.  And while it is not fancy or gourmet, the cookies have been a huge hit! Some might say that no matter the recipe, as long as it involves chocolate, of course it will be a hit!  As you will see from the ingredients, that is why I make them and get them out of the house as soon as possible! 
Because they are smaller cookies and the outer shell is harder like a brownie, they are great to put in bags/containers and give as gifts. 

Chocolate Chunk Cookies
6 1 oz semi sweet chocolate squares 
2 1 oz unsweetened chocolate squares 
1/3 cup butter
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips
2 cups chopped pecans
2 cups chopped walnuts
Combine first three ingredients in saucepan (my pictures are a double batch) until chocolate melts. Beat eggs and sugar and add chocolate mixture. Combine flour, baking powder and salt. Add to chocolate mixture. Fold in chocolate morsels, pecans and walnuts. 
Lightly grease cookie sheet. (I use parchment paper)Bake at 325 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. (I usually do 12...similar to a brownie, they will get shiny on top). Cool 1 minute then move to wire rack. 

You can fill some fun containers to deliver them or simply a favor bag and tie a bow....or yes, you may just want to pour a glass of milk and enjoy!