Summer Picnics are #NaturallyAmazing

*This post is sponsored by French’s, a #NaturallyAmazing product.  All opinions are mine.

A clean eating dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy kids ask for a dinner picnic almost every single night during summer.  And fall.  And spring.  So we try to have them as much as possible.  There is something absolutely magical about sitting outside as the sun turns golden.  Eating outside brings an entirely different energy to dinner time.  It is much more casual and playful.  And the food is always kept simple and fresh.  This picnic set up shared through out this post, however, is a dream scenario.  In our real dinner picnics, the blanket gets all wrinkled, plates get kicked over and there is grass.  Lots of grass.  Everywhere.  This is what summer picnics would look like if my kids were robots that I could control with a remote control.

Lavender lemonade is the perfect drink to bring to a picnic or potluck.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy robot children would willingly try all the wonderful and delicious foods that I love.  They would not be afraid of things that sound a little bit different.  They wouldn’t turn their noses up at lavender lemonade.  They would drink it and be instantly transformed in to a wonderfully relaxed state of mind.  They would never ask for soda even though they know they only drink it very rarely.

Fresh veggies and a tangy mustard based dip are a great dish to bring to a picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI am very lucky that my kids do, in fact, like vegetables.  They don’t hesitate to grab them off a buffet table and never complain when I send them in their lunches.  Up until a little while ago, my oldest son couldn’t eat anything with milk in it so he never really had anything to dip them in.  We are very fortunate that he seems to have outgrown that allergy.  For this picnic I made a delicious mustard dip.  French’s mustard is, and always has been a natural food.  What I love about it is that is adds SO much flavor.  And it is an absolute essential for summer grilling.  It is perfect with hamburgers and hotdogs but also delicious grilled veggie sandwiches.  It also sort of inspired the color palette as well.  You normally don’t think of mustard yellow as a summer color but I think these rich colors are perfect for the time just before sunset.  French’s wants you to get inspired also.  They have a new Pinterest page and it features other great ideas for #naturallyamazing entertaining and recipes for any occasion: graduation celebrations, picnics, summer BBQs, light lunches and more!  You can follow them by clicking the image below!

French's is now on Pinterest!

Cabbage salad for a delicious and easy dinner picnic.  #sponsored #NaturallyAmazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy real family has recently started eating more salads.  I’ve always loved salads so this has made me so happy.  However, only my robot children would eat this cabbage salad.  While the cabbage is really mild in flavor, the herbs would totally throw my kids off.  I loved the bright flavors of the mint, basil and cilantro.  And the lime sesame dressing had a touch of sweetness that paired with it really nicely.  Robot children are the best, aren’t they?

A vintage blanket works perfectly for a summer picnic.  #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods #sponsored // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd only my robot children would be able to eat on this vintage blanket with a mustard dip…

Wooden cutlery for a summer dinner outdoors. #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchfoods // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI decided to keep the elements of this picnic really natural.  I mixed wooden utensils with wooden plates and platters and recyclable paper containers for easy clean up.  But since this was for pretend children who don’t break things, I used my fave blue glasses for a pop of color.  In a real scenario I would probably use some clear plastic cups, nothing colored as I wouldn’t want to compete with this gorgeous blanket.

Succulents transport well and are really great for decorating picnics.  Also, wine.  You should always serve wine.  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comSucculents are a great thing to bring as decorations when entertaining out of the house.  They are a really hearty plant and look great.  I also like to use bright-colored fruits because they double as part of the meal and decoration.  My robot and real children love cherries.

Mustard is all natural and a great way to add flavor to summer picnic dishes!  #sponsored #naturallyamazing @frenchsfoods  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comEating healthier, more clean, doesn’t have to be boring.  I look for ways to add in flavor to keep me the meals from tasting the same.  I use a lot of fresh ground black pepper, fresh citrus juices and French’s mustard to add a wonderful savory tang.

vintage-blanket-and-grass-picnicThis has been a tale of my robot children and this fantastical picnic we all enjoyed together.  All the tips still hold true, just maybe not as a family picnic.  Maybe your picnic won’t be as fancy as this one but French’s and I encourage you to bring some fresh tastes to your table this summer!  Don’t forget to follow French’s for time-saving hacks and useful cooking tips as well as memorable meal ideas!

French's Mustard is #NaturallyAmazing #sponsored

 

Thank you for supporting the companies, like French’s, that sponsor my posts and allow me to create.  My robot children appreciate it also.

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Cereal and Ice Cream Communal Sundae

Eat ice cream together with your friends.  And top it with cereal.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMmmmmm.  Ice cream.  It is one of my favorite things.  And it is something that I don’t hardly eat.  I’m not just a one scoop kind of a gal.  So I know that if I indulged in ice cream the way that I want to, I would need to buy a whole new wardrobe.  In another size.  So I save it for vacation or eating out at a restaurant and splurging on dessert.  But I thought I would share with you one of my favorite ice cream toppings.  Cereal.  Cereal and ice cream are perfect together.  Those who know me know are not going to believe this.  But people who knew me growing up know that I was super athletic.  Every summer I would go to volleyball and basketball sports camps.  Most of them were held at colleges where you stayed in the dorms and ate in the cafeteria.  One of my favorite things to eat was the soft serve.  But they never had any toppings to go with it.  So I would always hunt down the cereal.  I need crunch with my ice cream.  And since ice cream is pretty much the same as milk, it is a match made in heaven.

The communal ice cream sundae.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI knew this was going to get messy, but I really thought it would be fun to make this a communal treat.  Individual bowls are so last season.

Fruit Loops are where it's at.  Eat them with ice cream for a tasty treat.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAny type of cereal will do.  Well, except for something healthy.  The Fruit Loops were always my personal favorite topping.

Cereal makes the perfect ice cream topping. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhy does this look so pretty to me?  I would totally blow this up and frame it for my living room.

Grab some spoons and eat ice cream with your friends!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comGrab your spoons.

Ice cream and cereal.  Dig in.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd get at it.  I’m not going to lie, this can get super messy.  A lipped tray would work way better than this flat slate tray.

A fun twist on an ice cream sundae.  Make a huge one and share it with your kids and friends. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMe thinks your kids would really like this.  Do it.  I’d love to hear their reaction!

 

Popsicles for Summer Family Fun

“This shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® and Fruttare, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia  http://my-disclosur.es/OBsstV A DIY popsicle topping bar for your next summer party! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAh, summer.  To my family, it means long days of playing, finding new adventures and spending tons of time with our extended family.  Our local cousins moved in to a new house with a pool a few months ago so we end up hosting a lot of family gatherings and swimming playdates there.  Mostly the kids don’t want to get out of the water for snacks – which is CRAZY, since when at home, all my kids do is ask for snacks. But you can always entice a kid with a popsicle.  These Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bars have become a favorite of all of us, kids and adults alike.  So on our latest family swim day, I decided to bring out some toppings so everyone could boost their bars.  Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bars are the perfect treat for your summer swim parties!  #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy mom had been talking up these bars to me for weeks.  She loved that the have a real fruit flavor and that the ones with milk are super creamy and refreshing.  I finally checked them out and was bowled over at how many choices there were for flavors.  I had to get Strawberry and Milk, duh, you ALWAYS have to get strawberry but also grabbed a box of the Black Cherry because I knew my boys would be all over those.   Have a family swimming party to kick off summer!  #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWhile the kids swam (PHOTO BOMB!)  I got the toppings together to create an easy little DIY bar “bar.”  Set up a popsicle "bar" for your next family get together.  Provide Fruttare Pops and then let each person add their own "toppings".  #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI had never tried this idea before but it sounded good.  So through some trial and error, each kid picked their favorite bar and jazzed it up with yummy topping options.  NOTE:  On a hot day, these bars melt quick.  It worked best to keep them in the freezer (which is where you can find them at your local grocery store.  I found mine at Ralphs, or Kroger to you non West coasters) and have each kid make theirs one at a time. Kick your usual popsicle up a notch by adding toppings! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe tried several ways of adding the toppings.  We tried dipping the bar in water and then adding the toppings to a cup and trying to shake them on the bar.  The water was not needed.  The popsicle, as it warms up, was tacky enough to get the smaller toppings to stick to it. Dip your Fruttare Bar in to dark chocolate chips for a super yummy treat this summer! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd because I am mess averse, the way I liked best for the kids was to give them a cup with a handful of the toppings that they wanted and then they could just dip the bar in a little at a time. Have each kid add their own toppings to their Fruttare Fruit and Juice Bar for a DIY dessert! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd then we realized that when the bars got smaller, you couldn’t reach the toppings in the tall cup.  So we turned to smaller bowls.  This kid certainly wanted his bar covered… Customize popsicles with delicious toppings at your next family party! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd I’ve never known popsicles to need a plate to be eaten off of but… Popsicles and pools.  The perfect way to have summer family fun.  #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut the best thing about these bars is that they are really great on their own.  The kids loved the black cherry flavor and I’m glad I demanded a bite of one before they were all gone.  Celebrate summer with family and popsicles.  #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThese Fruttare bars were the perfect refreshing treat for this hot summer day. Nothing says summer like eating popsicles in the pool! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis guy had never had food in the pool before.  You’re welcome, sister-in-law.  I’ve just corrupted your son.  Just wait until he experiences his first swim up bar!  His head might explode.  I know mine did.   Popsicles are the perfect treat for your next summer family get together! #ad #FruttareMusic #PMedia // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis DIY popsicle topping bar was a super fun thing to try out but really the star of the show was the fruit bar itself.  Fruttare has a really fun summer promotion going on right now where you can find a special code on the boxes which can be redeemed for a $4 music reward where you can download music.  See full details on their site.  Codes available through July 31, 2014 and are available while supplies last.  Follow Fruttare on Facebook and Instagram to learn more about this awesome summer treat!

Thank you for supporting the brands that keep Cupcakes and Cutlery running!  I run on summer treats!

 

Cool Minecraft Party Ideas

Dude.  It's your birthday.  Have some cake. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comHow is he 8 already?  It’s crazy.  My husband and I can still remember my water breaking plain as day.  I mean, you don’t really forget something like that.  Of course back then, I wasn’t sure what was happening and made my husband google it.  Oh the laughs we had about that.  But enough details about fluids.  My oldest turned 8 and of course he wanted a Minecraft party.  I didn’t want to throw a big party this year and you know how quickly themed parties can get out of control (ahem, Lego Dance Party complete with kid discoteque…).  So instead, I billed this as a playdate and had him invite just his cousins and a few school friends over one Friday afternoon.  It worked out really well.  It was small, but still really fun and I know some of you are probably looking for cool Minecraft party ideas.       

Coming soon, the coolest shirts ever.  Put whatever you want on them! // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comThis kid.  He’s super awesome.  But gone are the days when I really get total say over his parties.  He definitely has a point of view and I really have to sell him on some of my ideas.  Oh, I kinda also waited until the last minute to pull this together so color me surprised when I figured out that none of our local stores really sell any pre-made Minecraft party stuff…Time to get creative. 

Minecraft inspired birthday party decor // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI looked on Etsy but didn’t really have enough time to order any party decor.  So I purchased some Minecraft themed digital papers and created a super simple Minecraft birthday banner with brads.  I tell you what.  No one else has that party decor so he thought that was pretty cool.  I’ll tell you something else.  Kid’s don’t really understand what Happy Cake Day means.  But “birthday” was far too many letters for me to cut out.  And saying Happy Birthday is just like, so cliche. 

Cool Minecraft posters make party decor hip and original.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI knew I needed to add in more Minecraft touches.  So I spent some time online browsing.  I came across these cool Minecraft propaganda style posters and knew they would be perfect.  I printed out a bunch of them and tacked them to the wall.  The kids thought these were pretty awesome.  And when the party was over, I let my boys move some of them in to their rooms.  I felt like their graphic design was good enough to have it be art on their walls.  

Black, green and white is the perfect color combo for a Minecraft party // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI thought about the creepers (do you know Minecraft? There are these things called creepers.  and they are shades of green) so I used their color scheme in my kitchen area for the plates and cutlery.  It really just helped to play up the Minecraftedness of the party…

 

ice cream sundae bars are where it's at for kid's parties.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe also decided to forgo the cake in favor of ice cream for the party.  We used the black, white and green color scheme over here too.  I did create a wall hanging above the table of what I thought were squid…but all the kids thought they were endermen.  Either way.  It was Minecrafty and it worked.  I didn’t get a photo of it though.  

No cake needed.  We made ice cream nachos for my son's birthday party and they were a big hit!  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comWe could have done just normal ice cream sundaes but we decided to do ice cream nachos instead.  I mean, really that is just an ice cream sundae but my mom made waffle cones and we broke them up in to pieces and those were the chips.  I also made mini chocolate cupcakes as a topping because how often do you see cupcakes as a topping for an ice cream sundae? 

Timed skittles game is easy, cheap and a great activity to play at kid's parties!  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut how do you keep kids entertained?  My husband and I watch Jimmy Fallon just about every night (well we tape them because we are too old to stay up late enough to watch them when they are really on) and he plays some really amazing games with his celebrity guests.  So I tried to figure out which ones we could modify for the kids and to fill in any gaps I searched for “minute to win it” style games.  These kept the kids really engaged and because each one was done in heats, they all hung around to cheer each other on.  Another great part was they were super inexpensive!  I presorted Skittles for the game above and two kids went head to head and had to separate them by color using only one hand.  The first one done, wins.  It doesn’t really seem like they would be that in to it but they seemed to really enjoy it.  

Kid-friendly flip cup for a fun birthday party activity. // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comYeah, we played flip cup.  So?  Ok, so not the traditional drinking game flip cup but a more kid friendly version.  I thought about using soda for a split second and then just realized we didn’t need any liquid.  AND we started preparing them for their college years…

Jimmy Fallon inspired water wars game is perfect to play at kid's birthday parties.  // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comBut the most fun game was water wars.  I saw Jimmy Fallon play it with Li Lo and just knew the kids would love it!  On the invitation I asked everyone to bring a change of clothes or swim trunks.  I bought a cheap deck of cards (in case they got ruined from the water) and used plastic cups.  All you do is split the deck and have two kids face each other.  Each kid turns over a card at the same time and whoever has the higher number gets to throw water in the other persons face…so funny right?!  I think my husband had them do best of 3 and then that winner advanced to the next round.  

Water war is a super fun game to play at a kid's summer birthday party //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI can’t wait to do this again!  I ordered some pizza for dinner (which I’ve never done before and it was SO easy!) and then it was time to send the kids home.

Easy and inexpensive kid's party favors from Target // www.cupcakesandcutlery.comI had thrown around some Minecraft favor ideas with my son (like cool Minecraft socks!) but he was not in to it.  So instead we went with these fun mustache glasses party favors from Target and a small water gun.  

Go Pro is the PERFECT gift idea for little boys.  It provides hours of enjoyment for the whole family and also helps teach responsibility. //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAll my son wanted for his birthday was a Go Pro.  And he got one.  I really wish he would have had this before his playdate.  Just think of the footage we would have had of the water wars!  So I guess this is the least Minecrafty party you could possibly have.  But it worked and still looked pretty cool.

 

Loom Inspired Rubber Band Garland

Loom bracelet inspired rubber band garland. //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comMy 8 year old son gets all the credit for this DIY.  Last month he was super in to those loom bracelets.  One day I had a bunch of rubber bands sitting out and he started linking them together like you would if you were making a bracelet.  Duh.  That would make for a super cute and super easy loom inspired rubber band garland.

Easy DIY rubberband garland.  //  www.cupcakesandcutlery.comAnd because this is inspired by a super hot fad in kidland, you could probably even talk your kids in to making these for you.  Genius. [Read more…]