glow in the dark egg hunt

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

I love Easter egg hunts!

I remember hosting my first one many years ago…my oldest (who is now 19) was two years old at the time.  We invited her playgroup over for snacks and to hunt for eggs.  I thought I was being super organized and got up early to hide the eggs in our backyard.  That didn’t go well because, along with our dog, the other critters (squirrels, bunnies, chipmunks, etc.) in our yard began hunting them long before our little friends arrived!

Suffice it to say, I’ve learned a thing or two about hosting an egg hunt since then!  With my youngest daughter getting a bit older, I decided to make it a bit more intriguing this year with a GLOW IN THE DARK EGG HUNT!

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

We started the evening with a craft project…decorating baskets to use for collecting those eggs.  These plastic baskets were perfect for tying strips of brightly-colored fabric in each of the cutout circles.  Each basket turned out very colorful and unique!

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

Now about those eggs…

I purchased glow stick bracelets and large-sized plastic eggs…you need a bit of extra room to fit the glow bracelet inside the egg.  Simply bend the bracelet to activate the glow and place it inside the egg.  Wait until the very last minute to do this, so that they are still glowing while your guests are hunting.  And then hide those eggs!

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

Now all we need is for it to be dark!

To keep everyone entertained until the sun set, we made glow in the dark slime (recipe for that is here).  I’m not sure if it really glowed, but they had a lot of fun making it!

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

And a party wouldn’t be complete without some sweet treats…neon green cupcakes, hot pink marshmallow bunny peep and donut hole kabobs, pretzel popcorn chocolate mix with neon sprinkles, and pop rocks!

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

I was so excited to find glow in the dark plates, bowls, and cups!  We had fun turning off all the lights and turning on a black light to illuminate them before eating the fun snacks.

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

glow in the dark egg hunt | polka dots and picket fences

When it was finally dark outside, the girls ran around the yard hunting for the glow in the dark eggs.  Of course, the girls themselves were also glowing with light up rings, glow necklaces, and glow bracelets!

I think they had so much fun that we decided every party should have a glow in the dark theme!

 

four-layer vanilla bunny cake

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

Easter is just around the corner, and it’s time to begin planning those brunches and dinners for everyone to enjoy after church!  And a day like this calls for a special dessert…

How about a four-layer vanilla bunny cake!

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

I’m sharing the recipe for the cake and buttercream frosting at the end of the post, but it is essentially a boxed cake mix with some extra ingredients added to enhance the flavor.  The fun part of this cake is decorating it after the layers are assembled and frosted.

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

I kept it simple by using just three items…edible green grass, gummy carrot candies, AND THE BEST PART…the chocolate bunny!

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

fou-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

Really, it’s all those small details that make it so appealing to the eye.  Now that sweet, creamy taste of the cake…that’s appealing to the mouth!  And the chocolate bunny…he’s really too cute to eat.  Maybe just nibble a bit on his ear…

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

four-layer vanilla bunny cake | polka dots and picket fences

Print

Four-Layer Vanilla Cake

Ingredients

Cake Ingredients

  • 2 white cake mixes
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tbsp vanilla

Frosting Ingredients

  • 3 sticks butter (room temperature)
  • 4-5 cups powdered sugar
  • 3-5 tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

Cake Instructions

  1. In a bowl, mix the cake mixes together with the milk, vegetable oil, and eggs using a beater.  Add the vanilla.

  2. Pour the batter equally into four 9" round cake pans that have been greased and floured.  

  3. Bake as directed on the box. 

  4. Cool completely.  Place cakes in the refrigerator to cool.

Frosting Instructions

  1. Beat the butter until light and fluffy.

  2. Add the vanilla and mix.

  3. Add one cup of powdered sugar and one tablespoon of milk, alternating until you have added 4-5 cups of powdered sugar.  Add a little more powdered sugar or milk until you have the desired consistency.

  4. To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on the cake stand that you will be using to serve the cake.  Top it with a light layer of frosting.  Repeat with all four layers.

  5. Cover the cake with a light layer of frosting.  Place in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to seal in the first layer of frosting.  Don't worry if there are crumbs showing, as you will cover those with the second layer of frosting.

  6. Remove the cake from refrigerator.  Frost the cake with the rest of the frosting and decorate it as you wish.

 

baker’s twine eggs

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

Easter is just a little more than a week away, and it’s time to start decorating those eggs!  Of course, my girls love to dye and paint them…but I’m not crazy about the mess those supplies can sometimes make.

This idea for decorating eggs is mess-free, except for maybe some sticky fingers from the glue.

You will need baker’s twine, scissors, and tacky glue…AND of course, the eggs.

bakers twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

To start, put some glue on one end of the egg and begin wrapping the baker’s twine around the egg in a circular fashion.

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

Continue wrapping the twine around the egg until it is covered…this is where those fingers may become sticky.

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

You can make several of these using various colors to create a fun display for those Easter festivities!

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

baker's twine eggs | polka dots and picket fences

So grab some twine and start wrapping those eggs…

hop over for a mimosa

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

The day that everyone celebrates by drinking green beer (also known as St. Patrick’s Day) has passed, and my thoughts have turned to spring and Easter.  In my home, that means adding some festive touches to the decor.

If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I enjoy browsing (and shopping) the dollar spot at Target.  I mean, who can resist some of those great finds priced at $1, $3, or $5 price points!

Recently, I spotted some great items for spring decorating…gold speckled egg garlands, paper straws, porcelain bunnies, and wooden bunny garlands.  After loading up my cart and paying, I headed home to put these items to use!

I decided to use them to style my bar cart for an Easter morning mimosa…

Hop over for a Mimosa

First, I adorned the edge of my bar cart with the two garlands.  I intertwined the gold speckled egg one (aren’t those colors just beautiful) with the more simplistic wooden bunny one (I just love those white pompoms between the bunnies).  I love how they look together!

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

And those paper straws I mentioned…how cute are those bunny shapes attached to them!  They even have little pompom tails!  I know most people don’t use a straw to drink a mimosa, but they make a darling addition to the bar cart.

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

My other Target find was the small egg tree…the eggs have a similar gold speckled look as the egg garland.  It adds some whimsy to the top of the cart, mixed in with glasses, napkins, and the all-important mimosa!

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

A few more decorative touches to the bottom of the cart…a white porcelain bunny and a grape hyacinth plant, along with bar cart necessities of glasses, appetizer plates, and napkins.

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fence

mimosa bar cart | polka dots and picket fences

With a few simple additions (love those Target dollar spot finds), my bar cart is ready for spring!  So hop over for a mimosa…


Sources…

Target–egg garland, egg tree, bunny garland, bunny paper straws, white porcelain bunny

Party City–blue turquoise napkins

Fresh Market–grape hyacinth plant, Mimosa

 

 

over the rainbow party mix

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

So this is the week in March that everyone has shamrocks, pots of gold, leprechauns, rainbows, and all things green on the mind!  We all like to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, even if we aren’t Irish.

Today I’m sharing a fun and festive treat that would be perfect this week, as we are looking for those four-leaf clovers and pots of gold…

Over the Rainbow Party Mix

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

You start with those yummy Chex Mix Muddy Buddies and waffle pretzels…that sets the stage for this sweet and salty treat!

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

Then you drizzle melted candy melts in all colors of the rainbow on top of the Chex mixture.

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

Drizzle one color at a time, and then sprinkle rainbow jimmies, rainbow nonpareils, and M&Ms on top of each color.  Talk about a rainbow of colors!

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

Once it has cooled, break it into small pieces.  Then snack away!

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

rainbow party mix | polka dots and picket fences

I’m sure your “snackers” will feel LUCKY that you made this Over the Rainbow Party Mix for them…remember to grab your printable recipe below!

Print

Over the Rainbow Party Mix

Ingredients

  • 7 oz bag Chex Mix Muddy Buddies
  • 10 oz waffle pretzels
  • 1/2 cup each candy melts (red, pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple)
  • 1/2 cup M&Ms
  • rainbow nonpareils
  • rainbow jimmies

Instructions

  1. Spread Muddy Buddies and pretzels on a large baking sheet, lined with parchment paper.

  2. Place candy melts in rainbow order in a large microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high in 60 second time periods until the candy is soft and melted.

  3. Using a spoon, gently stir each color to soften.  Starting with the darker colored candy melts, drizzle it over a small portion of the pretzel mixture.  Sprinkle with the rainbow nonpareils and jimmies, as well as the M&Ms.  Then continue with the rest of the colored candy melts, ending with the lighter colors in the rainbow.

  4. Once the candy melts have set, gently break up the mixture into smaller pieces.  Serve and enjoy!

valentine floats

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day!  Long ago (at the beginning of the school year in late August…well, I guess it wasn’t really that long ago), I signed up to provide the food and drinks for my youngest daughter’s classroom valentine party.  I’m not sure why, but I also volunteered for the valentine party food and drinks last year!  So when I told Claire that I needed to start thinking of what I was going to serve, she reminded me how much her classmates LOVED the valentine floats I made last year!

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

She even asked if I would make them again this year, so I figured “why not…..”  They are so simple to make with just a few ingredients, but yet the kids thought they were pretty special!

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

All you need to make them is strawberry soda, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream (the spray kind).  I usually throw some fun sprinkles on top, so add that to your shopping list, as well.

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

Just like with any other float, place a scoop of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of the cup.  Then pour the strawberry soda over the ice cream…did I mention that my daughter does NOT like carbonated beverages, but somehow she still loves this drink!

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

Then just spray some whipped cream on the top, add some sprinkles and a straw, and ENJOY!

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

Did I mention a spoon?  Yep, spoons are helpful for scooping out the extra ice cream at the bottom of the cup once the soda is gone!!  Serve with a spoon!

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

Now that I have decided to serve these valentine floats at Claire’s party once again this year (I hope none of the kids who were also in her class last year mind the repeat), I need to start working on the food…

polka dots and picket fences | valentine floats

washi wednesday—heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

Looking for a quick and simple valentine craft?  This one is perfect…no painting or glueing (i.e. no mess).  Even the young ones could make these!

You will need posterboard, washi tape, heart templates, scissors, magnets, and a hot glue gun.  I searched online for printable heart shapes, and traced them onto card stock to use as patterns.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

First, trace the heart pattern onto posterboard.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

Next, turn the piece of posterboard over so that the heart tracing is facing down.  Then, choose some coordinating washi tape designs, and begin adhering strips of it to the back of the tracing.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

You can put the washi tape across the posterboard horizontally…or for a fun twist, place it at a diagonal.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

Once the backside is covered with the washi tape, turn it over and cut out the heart.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

The final step is to glue a magnet on the back using a hot glue gun.

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

These are so fun to make because no two are like.  Each one is unique, and they add a festive Valentine’s Day touch to any magnet board!

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

polka dots and picket fences | washi tape heart magnets

Here’s hoping your wednesday is filled with some washi tape crafting!

crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

What do you get when you combine an afternoon of crafting, food, and friendship?  Well, a CRAFTERNOON, of course!

And that’s exactly what happened at my home last Friday…I hosted my first ever CRAFTERNOON.

When the guests arrived, the table was already set for the “craft” part of the CRAFTERNOON.  We created red heart button canvases, so all the supplies were ready and waiting…12 x 12 canvases, paint brushes, black paint, painter’s tape, red buttons, tacky glue, rulers, heart patterns, and pencils.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

And what’s crafting without some sweet inspiration…in the form of chocolate hearts!

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

We started the craft by placing strips of painter’s tape 1 1/2 inches apart on the canvas.  Then, black paint was used to create the stripes.  Two coats of paint should be enough so that it doesn’t look streaky.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

Once the canvases were painted, we set them aside to dry.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

While the paint dried, the guests enjoyed a light lunch of soup, salad, and muffins.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

Some of the canvases were still a bit wet, so I had a simple “bonus” craft to do while the paint continued to dry.  It involved one of my favorite products…washi tape!  I’ll share more on that tomorrow.  Be sure to check my blog post tomorrow for my “washi wednesday” heart magnet idea…

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

Now back to the original craft…once the paint was dry, we pulled off the painter’s tape and admired the black and white striped canvas.

The next step was to trace the heart pattern on top of the stripes.  I placed my heart in the center of the canvas for the sample that I made, but you could really put it anywhere.  One of the guests placed hers in the lower right corner, which I really loved!  I think she was planning to add some wording at the top.  Can’t wait to see how it turned out…

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

After tracing the heart, the next step was to use the tacky glue and go over the pencil tracing.  This provides an outline for all those red buttons.  Then, we began placing the buttons on the glue.  Don’t worry if the buttons don’t cover all of the glue…it dries clear.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

The final step of the craft is to glue red buttons on the canvas to fill in the heart outline.  As you have less and less space to fill in, you have to be strategic with how you place the various sized buttons in order to cover the canvas.

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

The CRAFTERNOON ended with a sweet treat for everyone…

polka dots and picket fences | crafternoon

I think I enjoyed the afternoon as much as the guests did, so much so that I’m planning another one for early spring.  I’ll share more details (date, cost, craft) soon…

valentine waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

Who loves waffles?!?

They are great for breakfast, or “breakfast for dinner” (which we do occasionally at our house).  Another fun option is to serve them at a valentine party, like I did at my daughter’s class party last year.

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

Start with the waffles…it is a WAFFLE bar, after all!  Heart-shaped waffles are very festive!  However if you don’t have a heart-shaped waffle maker, don’t worry…they will taste the same.

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

Now for the fun part…the toppings!  I used small metal tins to serve the toppings.  To help my daughter’s classmates know what was in each container, I clipped labels to each one with mini clothespins.

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

I also had chocolate sauce and syrup in squeeze bottles, as well as whipped cream for the kids to top off their waffles.

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

The valentine waffle bar was such a hit with my daughter’s class that I just may do it again this year!

polka dots and picket fences | waffle bar

Really…who wouldn’t be happy enjoying waffles with some fun toppings!

holiday card display

How many holiday cards have you received from friends and family?  We had a few trickle in the first week or so of December, but the mailbox has been filled with them each day for the past week.  We love opening them and reading the latest updates from everyone, and of course looking at those that contain photos!

But what do you do with them after you’ve read them?

Here’s an idea that has worked well at my house…

livingroom

We have three sets of double doors in our living room and dining room.  I hung wreaths using red striped ribbon in each of the doors.  I attached a long piece of the ribbon to the top, and let it hang to the bottom of the door.

As we began receiving cards this month, I attached them to the ribbon with clothespins and clips.

cards2

I used such a whimsical assortment of clothespins to clip the cards to the ribbon…holiday colors, tree-shaped, Santa, colorful patterns, and fun messages.

cards5

cards4

cards7

cards6

cards8

I’m beginning to run out of space on the ribbon, so I started clipping the cards to the wreaths.

cards3

cards9

My family loves coming come and looking to see who sent cards to us that day!

I love displaying them this way…we can enjoy seeing them throughout the holiday season, instead of being stacked together in a basket.

cards

Happy holidays to all!

I’m taking the next few weeks to enjoy time with my family.  I’ll be “off line” until January 2017.  Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I’ll be sharing our holiday happenings on Instagram, in case you want to “follow” me there.