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Blue Velvet Cake- Bettey Crocker

Baby Cakes: Hosting A Gender Reveal Party

Here’s a fun and memorable way expectant parents are revealing the gender of their baby.

alexis+dave+wedding

SNEAK PEEK  | Our daughter Alexis got married last spring, and now she and her husband Dave (pictured here on their wedding day) are expecting a baby. Last week, they went for their 20-week ultrasound. This imaging technique is used five months into a pregnancy to determine whether a fetus is developing normally. At 20 weeks, it can also detect whether the baby is a boy or a girl—if the gender is visible, of course.

Lexi and Dave wanted to know the sex of their baby. And they wanted to share the experience of finding out what it is with members of their immediate family, so this past weekend we had what’s called a gender reveal party at our house.

Here’s what Lexi and Dave did to ensure the baby’s gender was kept under wraps (and unknown even to them) until the appropriate moment.

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Plastic Eggs - iStock

How to Organize An Easter Egg Hunt

This clever spin on the traditional Easter egg hunt is participant specific.

Easter Egg Hunting-shutterstock

 

CREATIVE SOLUTION | At first it felt unnatural to hide plastic eggs instead of real ones because we didn’t grow up hunting for plastic on Easter so having our kids do so felt not only anti-Martha but like some kind of cheesy cop-out. But at some point it stopped being okay to sacrifice three dozen perfectly good hard-boiled eggs to the springtime muck in our backyard just so our kids and their friends could charge around Easter morning and ideally find them—yet never eat them.

So we have changed our tune and completely switched over to plastic, keeping the hand-decorated chicken eggs in the fridge for snacks or sandwiches. The plastic eggs have proved fantastic because we can hunt for them outdoors in all weather conditions and recycle them year after year.

Here’s how our hunt works: Read more

Chinese Lanterns On Mini'lights - Martin Tessler

Make A Lantern Plant & Mini-Light Display

Harvest Chinese lantern plant pods to create the perfect, illuminated holiday display.

Chinese Lanterns On Mini'lights - Martin Tessler

 

CREATIVE SOLUTION | I first spotted brilliant orange Chinese lanterns fitted over mini-lights on an organically decorated Christmas tree. This is one way to use them for sure, though I like them better when they are used to create an original Thanksgiving or Halloween display. I love them threaded through a tangle of branches on the front porch or on top of the mantel or on a dinner table. I also love mini-lanterns strung around doorways for a punch of spot-on seasonal colour. Read more

Handpainted Easter Cookies iStock

How To Paint Cookies Without A Pastry Bag

For decorating cookies, there is an alternative to both tricky pastry bags and pricey tubes of store-bought frosting.

Handpainted Easter Cookies iStock

 

SHOPPING AROUND | Nothing says spring (and Easter) like hand-painted sugar cookies. My kids are begging me to make some, but since I didn’t inherit Cake Boss genes, I decided to YouTube for decorating advice where I ran across Iron Chef America’s Cat Cora channelling her inner Martha by cranking out these adorable designs on holiday cookies. Hopeless at using a pastry bag, I was about to settle for uneconomical grocery-store tubes of icing with clip-off tips when a girlfriend suggested a cool alternative: squeezable frosting bottles with interchangeable decorating tips. Read more

Repro Paintings - Photo By Calvin Whitehurst

Throw A Fab Party With Dollar Store Supplies

Here’s how to throw a fabulous end-of-summer “arty party” with supplies from your friendly Dollar Giant.

Repro Paintings - Photo By Calvin WhitehurstDOLLAR STORE DAYS | I believe there’s an artist in everyone and I’m throwing an end-of-summer party to prove it. I’m inviting a close group of friends —many of whom have never picked up a paintbrush —to my first “arty party.” We’ll gather in a room with a raft of art supplies and let our imaginations take a walk on the wild side. We may unleash our inner Picassos, our native Carrs, our chaotic Pollocks (well, maybe paint-throwing Pollocks will get to create on the back lawn). Read more

Cocodot Invite

How To Throw A Last Minute Oscars Party

How to throw a last-minute, stress-free Academy Awards party that everyone even the host will enjoy.

Cocodot InviteEASY DOES IT | Pamela Anderson, one of Frugalbits’ favourite food writers, says people should stop entertaining and “have people over” instead. “Having people over,” says Anderson, is about coming together casually with good pals and enthusiastic acquaintances. It’s about serving uncomplicated food and having no other expectation for an evening other than that it be fun. The Oscars this Sunday is the perfect “having people over” occasion. No worries that today’s Thursday and you’ve only got four days to get your event together. We started planning our Oscar party yesterday, and you’re welcome to follow our game plan and our menu.

Frugalbits Oscar Party Day-By-Day Game Plan Read more

The Cheaper Show Has Art Worth Every Penny

The place to be this Saturday night is The Cheaper Show, the coolest, most egalitarian and original art-buying event in the city.

Collage by Erica Larsen, The Cheaper Show No.9

 

CHEAPER DOES IT | Do you have $200 burning a hole in your pocket? If so, there are plenty of fun ways you could spend it: mani-pedis at Holt Renfrew for you and your BFF; gourmet hot dogs (and then some) for a group of your nearest and dearest at Japa Dog’s new restaurant-style eatery on Robson Street. Or you could buy something that isn’t disposable at all, something your family and friends will also be able to enjoy for years to come: a great piece of original art. Read more

Paperless post

For Elegant Invites, Paperless Post It

Get your next party started with stylish online invitations no one can refuse.

Paperless post

 

SAVE ON CHIC | There is a beautiful way to scrap the paper and cost of traditional invitations but keep the timeless elegance of stationery. With Paperless Post, an online stationery service charging just $5 for 60 invitations plus a way to track RSVPs, you’ll save time, money, the planet and your sanity.

Paperless Post is the brainchild of New York siblings and business partners Alexa and James Hirschfeld, who founded the custom online stationery service in 2008, packaging aesthetics and efficiency into one neat virtual envelope. Read more