Stylish Playdates

Why host a playdate? Because kids and moms deserve organized fun where kids play and moms play catch-up.

Playdates don’t have to be structured, and shouldn’t be most of the time. But every once in a while, perhaps a few times a season, have a playdate with kids and their moms. Host a gathering filled with a craft, a game, and a bit more to eat than pretzels. The children will be excited about the play, activity or holiday celebrated, treats served, and special memories are sure to be created.

This time also builds mom-to-mom relationships, giving you a chance to chat with each other about things that touch your lives: charities, hobbies, or passions, all while enjoying a cup of tea or glass of wine. It doesn’t need to be spectacular, but can be easy, with simple crafts, and recipes and you’ll find it well worth the effort.

 

Mother's Day Bucket of Blooms

 Happy Mother’s Day! Here’s a really cute, easy idea that will have your mom smiling throughout the year. For my mom, my kids and I created the darling decoupage bucket you see here. The fact that it’s personalized makes it extra special, whether it’s used as patio accent planter, a stylish carryall for her desk or in the kitchen. Either way, this is a great gift that you know she’ll love.

All supplies are available at your local craft store and it’s a very kid- and cost-friendly project. Here’s what you need:

1 galvanized tin bucket

 Tub of Mod Podge

 A foam brush

Scrapbook papers in similar colors – your mom’s favorite!

Scissors

Stenciled letters or trace a letter printed from computer and cut out of colored paper

First, cut the scrapbook paper in various small sizes. Cover over a small section of the bucket with a good portion of Mod Podge. Start layering on the pieces of paper in a decorative pattern. Work your way around the bucket until it is covered with colored paper. Let dry. Cut the initial out or the word “Mom” and apply with Mod Podge to the center of the bucket. We used the initial “M” for my own mother, Mary. (Happy Mother’s Day, Mom!)

Then, simply fill with beautiful blooming flowers or a cute topiary or fill with stamped stationery or your kids’ homemade projects from school. Wrap with clear cellophane, tie with a matching ribbon and you’ll have the best present around!

 

 


Easter Egg Hunt

 

Spring has Sprung! Everyone is anxious for time out-of-doors in the fresh air. This playdate is a perfect way to welcome spring in an easy to pull-together
festive setting.
 
Children no matter their size, I find, can't get enough of finding treasures, and an Easter Egg hunt is the perfect occassion to get them outside hunting for treats
to fill their baskets. I love the look on their faces when they've found a treat glistening in pastel foils, or a brightly colored egg getting them ready for the egg roll.
Serving the grown-ups a refreshing springtime cocktail and chocolates makes everyone enjoy the afternoon in true spring spirit!
 
 
Plan this playdate for a spring afternoon after the big kids get out of school, this way the running of errands will be done for the day, and everyone can relax and enjoy the fun. There are also conference days when school is not in session, giving you plenty of time to host. Either way, you can take advantage of the longer days of
glorious spring sunshine.
 
When getting the word out, be sure to mention the hunt is going to take place outside and to dress the children appropriately, with jackets, and boots to navigate the spring's wet, muddy ground. Also, request that each child bring a basket or bucket to gather treats and to carry their craft project home.
 
 
 
 
The Hunt
 
Since it is a hunt, I have instilled a few helpful hints to ensure the little ones get their fair share. I like to have fragmented starting times.
This allows for the little ones to gather some treats before the bigger kids come running. Also, I always put out a plastic egg or a treat bag 
with each child's name clearly marked. This assures each child gets something just for them and the treats are distributed evenly. Have a few extra baskets or buckets around
for those who have forgotten thiers. Get the grown-ups involved by having go and check on the kids during the hunt, champagne-in-hand.
 
 
 
 
 
Pretty Paper Eggs 
 
This festive craft is easy and certainly less time consuming than boiling eggs and mixing up dyes. Plain paper eggs can be found in craft stores or on the craft internet sites.
Cover a table with brown craft paper or newspaper and set down small shallow bowls filled with modge podge, paint brushes, and containers of small squares of tissue paper in different colors and patterns. Have the children coat the top half of the egg with modge podge and artfully arrange a layer of tissue. on the glued egg. Next, coat the paper with a top coat of modge podge. Flip the egg over and decorate the other half. Empty egg cartons work well to house wet eggs.
Display the masterpieces by hanging on fresh branches brought in from the yard, or lay them in a bed of colorful shredded paper for an easy centerpiece.
 
 
 
 
The Treats 
 
Sweet to eat these tweet inspired cupcakes are a Easter egg hunt favorite. The grass is coconut mixed with a tiny bit of green food gel. Add jelly beans to the center for the egg-stra-special topper. My kids made them, happy, messy bakers gone wild for spring!   

 

  


Valentine's Playdate

Love and friendship are in the air! It’s Valentines Day – a most perfect holiday to host a playdate. It’s also the perfect time to get-together and spend time socializing over the cold winter months with your friends and their children.

 Get started by sending homemade  “invitation” valentines their way, pick a day, starting time and you’re off! Planning this heart-filled playdate is easy: Plan a few lite bites for the adults, a simple menu for the kids, top it off with a heart-felt craft and life is rosy!

 

ADULT MENU

 
 

Hearts are all around here, and so easy to make. Red pepper tortillas have been cut out using heart-shaped cookie cutters, lightly fried in vegetable oil, and sprinkled with salt. Serve them with a garden fresh dip, or add a few tablespoons of sour cream to bottled Ranch dressing to thicken. Garnish with a tiny heart.

 

Red Hot Punch

Making a punch for your playdate is like serving a party in a bowl. It’s easy to make, while a festive bowl of Valentine’s punch lets your guests serve themselves and frees you up to enjoy the playdate! The jewel-toned pomegranate seeds look like tiny red hots as they float about the punch for a most colorful libation.

 

Serves 4

1 bottle (750ml) brut champagne or sparkling wine (chilled)

4 oz. St. Germain Liqueur

8 oz. cranberry juice (chilled)

1- 4 oz. package of pomegranate seeds

 

Decorative ice ring, or 2 cups ice cubes

 In a punch bowl or glass drinks dispenser, combine liqueur and cranberry juice. And pomegranate seeds. Slowly pour in champagne, add the ice ring or cubes, and serve.

 

TIP: For a mocktail, substitute 24 ounces of ginger ale and 12 ounces lemon seltzer. And for a suggestions on home to make a decorative ice mold or ring, see my book,PUNCH.

 

 

Hearts On Fire Pizzas

 

Kids just love shaped food, and these pizzas are so easy to whip up. Use cookie cutters to make heart-shaped pizzas cut from pre-made pizza dough. Add a little sauce and cheese and presto! Pizza for little ones and a craft to boot!

 

 

Serves 4

1-10 inch pre-cooked pizza dough

4 -inch heart cutter

½ cup marinara sauce

¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Place pizza dough on work surface or cutting board and press heart-shaped cookie cutters down firmly to cut shapes. Spread sauce and sprinkle cheese evenly. Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted and starts to bubble. Let cool before serving.

 

 

TIP: To cut hearts, lay cookie cutter on top of dough, with the bottom point in the center, cut out and work your way around the dough, one dough yields 5 hearts.

 

 

Tie-dye cookies

 

Swirls of sugary colors make these shortbread cookies a hearts-on favorite. Heart shaped sugar cookies have been iced, and then dotted with pink and red icing. The tie-dye effect is made by taking the small end of a spoon and joining the red and pink together in a swirling motion.

 

 

Makes 24 cookies:

1 cup unsalted butter

1 cup granulated sugar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

21/2 cups all-purpose flour

¼ tsp. salt

vanilla icing

1 tube red icing

1 tube pink icing

 

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray.

 

1. In a medium bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Stir in vanilla. In a medium bowl, combine the flour and salt. Stir with a wooden spoon or whisk to blend.

 

2. Gradually add the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. On a lightly floured surface, shape the cookie dough into a ball. Place in self-sealing plastic bag and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

 

3. On a lightly floured surface roll the dough into ¼ inch thickness. Cut out heart shapes. Transfer to cookie sheet and bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool.

 

4. Ice the hearts with vanilla icing. Put dots of red and pink icing all over hearts, using the back of a spoon, make swirls to connect the pink and red and create the tie-dyed effect.

 

TIP:  If you’re short on time, used packaged sugar cookie dough, found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store. Kids also like to help decorate the cookies if you want to add another craft to the party.

 


Vanilla Icing:

½ cup unsalted butter

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

3 cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

3 tbsp. water

 

In a medium bowl, combine butter and vanilla until smooth. Stir in confectioners sugar ½ cup at a time alternating with water until fluffy and smooth.

 

 

 

Strawberry Lemonade

A valentine twist on the classic lemonade, its light pink color and sweet taste gives new meaning to sweethearts!

 

Serves 8:

1 quart lemonade

1 container frozen strawberries, in syrup

2 cups seltzer

1 pint fresh strawberries for garnish

 

In a larger pitcher filled with 3 cups of ice, pour lemonade, thawed strawberries, and seltzer. Pour into glasses, garnish with fresh strawberry, and serve.

 

 


KIDS CRAFT

 

Hearts on a String

 

Hang your messages of love for all to see! Ideal for little ones of all ages, these foamy hearts can be covered in glitter glue, ribbons, stickers, or smaller, colorful self-adhesive hearts.

 

These hearts on a string are showcased on a tree of white branches. A base of Styrofoam set in a bright red bucket secures the branches, and shredded paper in a valentine’s shade of pink fill the base for a perfect finish. This makes an ideal setting to put their artworks on display, put it on the kitchen counter, table or sideboard.

 

You’ll Need:

Foamy sheets in shades of pink, purple, red and white

Heart shaped cookie cutters

Decorative foamy hearts with adhesive backs

Craft glue

Glitter in shade of pink

Hole punch

Ribbons

Scissors

White branches

Styrofoam square

Red bucket

Pink paper filler

 

To Make:

On a protected surface, trace and cut out different sized heart shapes. Layer them together in pleasing patterns, glue and glitter where desired. Let dry. Hole punch the top centers of hearts and string a ribbon through to hang on tree.

 

TIP: For glitter, place heart on paper plate, glue and sprinkle glitter. Let dry. Gather the unused glitter from plate and pour gently back into glitter tube.

 

 

 


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Copyright © 2010 Colleen Mullaney, All Rights Reserved.