“P – A – R – T – WHY?! ‘Cause I Gotta!”

Jim Carrey, anyone? 😉 Matt loves him. And this post is about Matt’s graduation / 30th birthday par-tay (which finally took place last Saturday!) 😉 When I had first spoke about throwing this party for him, the tentative date was set for end of March. However, we went on our “house hunting trip” and so the party needed to be postponed. Since it was in celebration of two milestones, and his birthday is April 29th, an April party was perfect!

I had it at Matt’s brother’s church in Niagara Falls, which was the perfect location as this is where our families and most of our friends are! I had use of their kitchen including stoves and fridges, and any utensils/serve ware  that I didn’t have enough of. I had drove down from the base where Matt had been training (where our rental is) while Matt was working at the base where we got posted to. He came to the Falls once he was done his shifts, and met me there. I came down a week earlier because it was my sister-in-laws baby shower (baby boy!) :D. This allowed me to have time to book a cake to be made, and to shop around for any last minute decor. My sister, was a big help with the set up. She also took these pictures for me of the finished result:

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The ladder had an extinguisher on it, a “fire helmet”, an ‘M’ for Matt, and a the firehalls Dalmatian ;). My nephews and friends kids, loved playing with with stuffed puppy and tearing off the balloons!

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The candy bar had ‘burning buildings’ on them, and a chalkboard stating the top movies/ music / toys on the year 1985 (when Matt Q’s born!). A photo collage was created thanks to the help of my sister! It telly was a little more tricky to put together than I bargained for. Pictures of Matt growing up with family and friends were included. There was ones of him camping, drumming, and dating me, and our wedding day. I tried to capture the 30 years of his life so far, and to include a picture from all the guests that came to the party!

“Burning Embers” were Reece’s Pieces (beside the ‘burning apartment building). “Water buckets” were filled nearby with blue Carribean and blueberry jelly beans.

Hot Tamales were the spicy, hot candies.



I did a “Stop, Drop, and Roll” with Gobstoppers, Gumdrops, and Tootsie Rolls. Most of these candies are Matt’s favourite!


Nib Licorice was “Rescue Rope”…

…and Cheesies were “Flames” at this party 😉 !

My sister helped me dip pretzels in red chocolate to make “matches”.

  

Chairs were set up along the outside of the walls, and kind of grouped together to encourage conversation. We did buffet style with the food tables in the centre of the room. Matt’s favourite food, Italian, was out. Matt’s mom provided homemade lasagnas, and then spaghetti with a homemade meatsauce was also there with of course chillies and parm. Garden salad, Caesar and garlic bread accompanied the pasta dishes. I made a (red) punch, and then of course bottled water was also provided for this firefighter themed party 🙂 .





I displayed a couple of his textbooks, his graduation certificate of completion, and a couple cool firetrucks I picked up for our new house (maybe for in the family room?).

Everything was was done kind of rustic, and red, orange and yellow ( including dinner plates, napkins, etc), with a touch of black and white (Dalmatian).

The cake was SO good and was white, with strawberry filling (Matt’s fave) and buttercream and had his grad day picture on it. It was served amongst cookies with tea and coffee.

About 40 people came, which was a great turn out, and everyone seemed to have a great time! There were many cards and well wishes given and Matt loved it. He thanked me numerous times afterwards, and I know it meant a lot to have the support of his family and closest friends there. We are looking forward to the adventures that lie ahead and even though we’ll be moving away from where we grew up, we know we have loved ones praying for us back home!

 

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It’s All Coming Together…

Hello, hello! How’s your weekend going? Got any interesting plans? Last night we ordered a pizza and just stayed in. It’s still quite cold here (this is Canada, yo!) 😉 and the snow came down all day today again. Matt had a long day Thursday, as he went in at his usual early time in the AM, then came home for a couple hours in the mid-afternoon. He rested, we quickly ate at like 4pm, and then he went BACK in again for his first nightly practice run. They have been training on the more practical side of things lately, as they are nearing the end of the training. This is refreshing for Matt as he is more of a hands-on kind of guy, and he wasn’t particularly digging the theory side of things. The fire was a “Code 4” (which is the highest level of response for fire dispatch). It required all hands on deck, and he was out until well after midnight. So he was tired. Hence the reason he wanted to just veg last night. And I can dig it ;).

I went out shopping  with a friend Thursday. Partially just for fun, and also I wanted to be on the hunt for some party supplies for Matt’s surprise Grad/30th Birthday party this Spring. I found this awesome vintage looking fire truck which was hand crafted by artisans. So happy about it! I have officially began planning…trying to see what items I already have on hand, and which ones I still need. I sometimes find myself to be more of a kinesthetic (tactile, hands-on) learner, however occasionally a more visual type of approach works well, too. I love the use of visual boards to get my thoughts and ideas in order. Before our wedding I had numerous inspiration boards, and I think that’s one of the reasons I really like Pinterest  – it acts like a giant bulletin board. So, for the sake of inspiration, and gathering décor ideas, I decided I would share some of my party plans. 🙂

Ok, so first things first. This is the look I’m going for. The “firefighter” theme, and a bit rustic/industrial. I put some stuff together to get a rough idea of what the set up would look like!

Ladder with truck & extinguisher

Matts training Matts training 2

I’m going to print some pictures of Matt while he was training. I’ll either put them on a display board/Bristol board for family/friends to look at, OR, I will attempt to include these photos (along with baby ones and various others from his entire life thus far) and tape them on a wall to say “3-0” 😀

I also found this “Firefighter’s Wife Prayer” and would like to print it and have it framed and displayed.

Firefighter Tribute

Firefighter party Party City

I plan to pick up some (red) paper plates and red serviettes from the dollar store, along with streamers and balloons, of course! I also found these items from a party themed store. I think the “caution tape” would be awesome either be on the walls of the room, or just around the table with the food! The mini extinguishers are also pretty cute and I would just have them strewn about on the table.

Firefighter Party6

I thought this was a great idea, with the peppers cut up and looking like “flames” and in the cups with the dip. I’m still in the midst of tweaking the menu items a bit.

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Wire Baskets

I have a red table cloth that I will be using, and I have tons of cutlery on hand (often we use them if we take a picnics or have a BBQ). I also have numerous glass jars that I will try to implement (apothecary and mason). I want to have some snacks and candy with the cake and those will work perfectly. We have some galvanized metal buckets that I bought from the dollar store before our wedding (they hung from shepherd’s hooks and had flowers in them.) The letter “K” is for our last name 😉 . The wire baskets I will use also, for placing food in (chips for example). I have 4 identical square ones, and just the one with the basket base. I think these elements will help incorporate the industrial feel.

I know the local party store only has select “firefighter themed” supplies, but I did see that they have some of these plastic helmets. I know Michaels carries crates, that would work great for stacking food and/or décor on. And I also have a white storage unit identical to the ones in the following picture. It would work well in giving items some height off the table.

Firefighter party

I know initially these parties seem too childlike, but I do like certain elements.  I would like to attempt to make these smoke clouds, and have them hang from the ceiling. The flames are also cool, and seem doable enough to recreate. I might also have a few clusters of these around the parameter ;)…IF I’m feeling crafty!

Firefighter party2

I like the idea of having the signs on the table by some of the treats. “You’re a Lifesaver”, “Rescue Rope” (licorice), “Burning Embers” (Reese’s Pieces). Maybe a bit cheesy, but totally my style. He’ll have to love it! 😉

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Check out these other similar “firefighter themed” parties:

Firefighter Party Inspo Firefighter Party Firefighter theme party

This was the party I saw online that started it all. It looks so amazing!

My next step is to get some quotes on cakes! Check out these ones below – they’re so well done. They look awesome!

Grad Party cakes

I know Matt will be so excited to see everyone, and he really has no idea about this! I’m excited to see the look on his face. I ❤ party planning! 😀 My ultimate hope is to make him feel special and loved. I’m so proud of all his determination and hard work, and can’t wait to celebrate with him!

Sparkling Cranberries

Happy Friday! Or should I say, happy “less than one week until Christmas”?! 😀 Matt and I have been scrambling to get ourselves packed up to go down to Niagara for the holidays to visit our families. This includes clothes and hygienic products (enough for at least 2 weeks), baked goods and serve ware for a Christmas Eve party, presents for parents, grandparents, siblings, nephews AND everything that Mocha requires to live. Yes, our vehicle is going to be jam packed, and our cat is going to hate the car ride even more.

So, to take a break from all the packing, I wanted to stop and post these deliciously sweet AND tart sugared cranberries. “Sparking Cranberries”, if you will 😉 .

Sparkling Cranberries


Sparkling Cranberries:

Ingredients:

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup water

2 cups cranberries

3/4 cups sugar

Directions:

 1.) Rinse cranberries and set aside.

2.) In medium saucepan, heat 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and stir occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Do not boil.

3.) Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

4.) Once syrup is cool, put cranberries in a bowl with a lid, and pour syrup on top of cranberries.

5.) Cover with lid and refrigerate overnight.

6.) Once cranberries have soaked for allotted time, drain them with a colander. Syrup can be reserved for other recipes, if so desired.

7.) Pat cranberries dry with a paper towel. They should be tacky, not wet.

8.) Pour 3/4 cup of sugar in a shallow bowl.

9.) Working with small batches at a time (3-4 cranberries), roll cranberries in bowl of sugar.

10.) Place sugar coated cranberries on either a baking sheet or cooling rack and allow sugar to set. Approximately several hours. Store at room temperature.


Some recipes for your sparkling cranberries include:

Crock-Pot Cranberry Cider

Sparkling Cranberry Bites Appetizer

Sparkling Cranberry Party Punch

…And that’s not all!

sugared-cranberries

Life,love and sugar

Christmas sangria

Okay, I’m done. But aren’t they so pretty?! And such great recipes, too.

Sparkling cranberries are SO simple and can really add that wow factor at your next holiday party! They are also perfect for snacking on or for dressing up a dessert. I like being able to make something that can be so quick and easy, and yet looks incredibly special. This recipe is bound to get people oohing and ahhing over just how pretty and tasty they are. They’re sure to be a show stopper at your next get together!

Nifty Gifty

Christmas time is here…Happiness and cheer… Charlie Brown anyone?! It’s that festive holiday season and I’m sure most of you have your shopping well underway. No? Haven’t even started yet?! Well, that’s ok. I haven’t either. Shhh – Don’t tell! 😉

I’m planning on making a few gifts this year, actually.  We have a budget that we’re wanting to stick to, yet, I have so many gifts I want to give! All I can say is, “thank goodness for Pinterest!” I have found so many great, creative ideas that have piqued my interest. They all seem relatively inexpensive and most of these DIY’s can be whipped up in no time! They’re great for stocking stuffers, for teachers, neighbours, etc…I wanted to share a few of my favourites with you!


Grown Up Hot Cocoa Kit:

Grown up hot chocolate

Have mason jars laying around? Buy a couple bags of marshmallows, a few boxes of hot chocolate and some mini bottles of Baileys. Fill the jars, and tie the bottle to the lid with twine. You can even create tags if you want to personalize these gifts. Voila!

  Homemade Hand Scrub:

Homemade Hand Scrub

“A re’NEW’ing kind of gift” is what the blogger on the link refers to it as! 😉 I like it! In the Winter, my hands can get so dry. It’s an easy and thoughtful gift. All you need is a bag of sugar, couple bottles of Dawn Olay dish soap and some jam jars.

 Spa in a Jar:

Spa in a Jar

This is a cute, girly gift idea. Fill a jar with a nail polish, mini nail polish remover, cotton pads and a nail file. Most of these items could be purchased at the dollarstore. Add a bow/make a bow and there ya go! Just a nice gift to let someone know you were thinking of them and their “mistletoes” 😉

Thanks a Latte:

Thanks a Latte

This is more of a unisex gift, which is nice, as I’ve found a lot of these DIY ideas tend to be more geared towards women. Print off a design from Picmonkey on cardstock, get a bunch of cup sleeves and buy a couple gift cards and treat people to a Starbucks bevy.

Cleans Up Well:

Mens Pamper Gift

Grooming gift for men! Fill with products and tools. The blog link also includes printable labels for the jar.

 Christmas Hugs:

Pretzel Hugs

Pretzel hugs are a quick to make (and tasty to eat!) sweet and salty gift idea. Link includes printable tag for your jar!

 We ‘Whisk’ You a Merry ‘Kiss’mas:

Whisk you a merry Kissmas

I love the play on words. Just another thoughtful, quick and inexpensive idea. Whisk, Hershey’s kisses, cellophane and a bow! Let your neighbours know you appreciate them this year. 🙂

 The Gift of Baked Goods:

Gift of baking

Doing any holiday baking this year? Why not share some of your treats? I just love how these cookies are wrapped! Cute thread, wax paper bags, tag and mini clothespin seal the deal.


I hope those ideas spark some gift giving inspiration in you! Being generous can be so rewarding, yet is often so expensive.  Consider thoughtful DIY gifts this year. Let’s give generously this Christmas season and spread Christmas cheer!

Stay tuned next week when I share stocking stuffer ideas for men!