Keeping our Family Happy on Road Trips

by Jillian Leslie on

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To our family, McDonald’s means travel. It’s a tradition. We get in the car to take a road trip, we haven’t left the driveway yet, and my daughter is already asking, “When can we stop at McDonald’s?”

Every year for my daughter’s birthday, we take a road trip to Disneyland. The only places we stop along the way are McDonald’s. We know the exact ones we like. We usually get breakfast at our first stop, lunch at our second, and a snack at our third.

I’m a big fan of the McDonald’s salads (and fries), my husband gets a Quarter Pounder, and my daughter always always get a Chicken McNugget Happy Meal, with preferably a “girl” toy. Before she starts eating, she must open the toy first. It’s a rule. She even keeps the toys as souvenirs, right next to her princess dolls from Disneyland.

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Since we can find a McDonald’s wherever we go, it’s our one family constant when we’re on the road.  I know this provides a sense of comfort for my daughter, who’s not the most adventurous traveler. Travel is all about flexibility, broken routines, the unexpected... and having McDonald's as something my daughter can depend on, makes her more willing to take risks, and venture into the unknown. On our travels, we’ve eaten at McDonald’s in Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix, Palm Springs, Palm Beach, Maui, and rural North Carolina.

As a mother, when I think of McDonald's, I always think "special treat." (Nothing ever makes up for a shot at the pediatrician than a surprise trip to McDonald's.) So to be honest, I'm thinking more about convenience, than quality.

But for this post, I got to learn a few things about where McDonald’s food comes from, and I have to admit I was pleasantly surprised. Just like how we, as a society, are thinking more about the foods we eat, so is McDonald’s.

The way McDonald's is able to keep prices low, is not by lowering the food quality. It’s from buying in advance and buying directly from the supplier. This made me feel better writing this post, and I’ll be thinking it the next time we need a special treat after the pediatrician or when we hit the road.

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“Disclosure: Compensation was provided by McDonald’s via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of McDonald’s.”

Welcome to the New Catch My Party!

by Jillian Leslie on

CatchMyParty Stacked Logo

Hi Everyone,

We're super excited to be rolling out our new design!

We wanted it to be simple to navigate, easily viewable on mobile and desktop, and minimal and clean in feel, so your beautiful photos are what take center stage!

We have so many people viewing our site on a myriad of devices, so while we think we've fixed all the bugs, there might be some still lurking out there.

Please let us know if you find anything weird or wonky on the site, either by clicking here or by emailing me at jillian(at)catchmyparty(dot)com. And if you like it, please give me a shout out, too. I'd love to hear what you think...

Have fun and enjoy!

Jillian

Catch My Party Redesign

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week - July 27th

by Jillian Leslie on

Check out my favorite parties added to our site this week...

A lovely pink and gold ballerina birthday party, an adorable spring kitten girl birthday party, a colorful art boy birthday party, and an amazing Alice in Wonderland birthday party for two little girls.

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week on CatchMyParty.com!

Clockwise from top left:

We have a fun surprise coming today! Stay tuned...

Budget-Friendly Back to School Party Ideas

by Jillian Leslie on

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

Laura Aguirre from Laura's Little Party is here with Part II of her back-to-school party posts!

First she shared her budget-friendly back to school wreath DIY and now she's sharing how to put together a budget-friendly back to school party! Take it away, Laura...

Another school year is about to start! I always like to celebrate back to school to get my kids excited,  so. I found this free back to school printable set from Printabelle, and scoured my local Dollar Tree for fun & inexpensive items for our own celebration.

What’s nice about the items I chose is the party guests can take home their favors, and use them as their own back to school supplies!

Party Set Up

I love using fabric as a table cover. I used a bright red chevron pattern to display my party spread. Printables, school supplies, sweet treats, and lots of color, brought the entire back to school party to life.

Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

I displayed pairs of scissors inside of a chalkboard eraser. Just a fun, little detail that was eye catching!

Dessert Table Backdrop

I attached two foam boards together and taped classroom themed posters and borders to it. I also found some cute paper apples, and attached them down the middle of my backdrop. The cost for this was less than $5.

I hung the banner between two large decorative pencils that I found a couple years back at Hobby Lobby.

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

Party Display

I thought it would be fun to display some of the school supplies on plastic lunch trays. Flash cards, pencils, markers, and crayons fit nicely on the trays. I attached paper straws to the juice bottles, and added mini glasses that I found at Michael’s.

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

My table centerpiece was a simple plastic caddy that held gift bags filled with scissors & pencil sharpeners. I also added boxes of crayons, and mini crayola markers.

I attached a “super star” cut out to a pencil, and stuck it inside with the gift bags. I also attached a “you rule” cut out to the front of the caddy, that was resting on top of a dry erase alphabet board.

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

Sweet Treats

Store bought cupcakes are always a quick fix to a last minute party. You can always make the simplest cupcake look enticing, by adding fun little touches. The details can be as simple as adding brightly colored A+ cupcake toppers, and fun themed cupcake wrappers. I found a pack of 3 mini composition books that worked perfectly as my cupcake display.

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

Chocolate covered pretzels that resemble a #2 pencil couldn’t be more perfect for a back to school party! And the little marshmallow pop apples are another darling treat to get your guests excited.

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

Back to school parties are a fun way to get your kids excited for the new school year!

Budget Back to School Party Ideas | CatchMyParty.com

I hope you’ll be able to use some of my back to school party ideas for your own celebration!

Vendor Credits:

Thanks, Laura, these photos actually get me excited for school to start! I weirdly love the smell of new pencils. :) To learn more about Laura, please find her at Laura's Little Party and on Facebook and Pinterest.

For more inspiration, check out these back to school parties from our site,  plus our free back to school printables, and our back to school Pinterest board.

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe

by Jillian Leslie on

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

I was asked by PAM Cooking Spray to come up with a healthy recipe for summer. I knew I wanted to make something that incorporated all of the incredible summer fruit I'm seeing at the farmer's market, so I decided a pie was in order!

But not just a big 'ol pie, but mini pies I could make in a muffin tin. I thought they'd be more portable and bite size, great for a picnic, plus aren't they darn cute?!

Here are the peaches and blueberries I picked up at the farmer's market. What I love about summer farmer's market fruit here in California, is not just how sweet everything is, but how complex the flavors. These peaches, for example, were definitely sweet, but they were also tangy and floral.

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

To lighten up the recipe, first, I used PAM Cooking Spray instead of butter or Crisco to keep my pies from sticking to my muffin tin (plus it made cleanup a cinch), and secondly, because the fruit was so rich and complex in flavor, I barely used any additional sugar. In fact, I used a touch of salt to bring out the sweetness.

PEACH BLUEBERRY MUFFIN TIN PIE RECIPE

Ingredients:

for the Crust

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 cup cold water
for the Filling
  • 4 large peaches
  • 1 1/2 cups of blueberries (~6 oz container)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla
for the Assembly
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sugar
  • PAM cooking spray
Directions:

We used the basic crust recipe from our Mini Cranberry Apple Pie Recipe. Check out that recipe for more detailed instructions and photos of the process.

Start by cubing the butter, and use a food processor to mix it with the flour, salt, and sugar for about 30 seconds until it has a breadcrumb texture.

In a chilled mixing bowl add 1/4 cup of cold water, and mix it with your hands. When the water is absorbed, add another 1/4 cup of cold water. That should be enough to pull the dough together. If it still seems crumbly work in another couple tablespoons of cold water.

With a floured work surface, knead the dough just a couple times to work into a nice smooth ball. Cover it in plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400F.

Heat the blueberries in a saucepan until they start to burst. Stir in the brown sugar, salt, and vanilla until it is dissolved. Set it aside and dice the peaches. We kept the skins on.

Roll out the pie dough and cut circles about twice as large as the muffin tin. Thoroughly spray the muffin tin with PAM cooking spray. Push the dough down into the pan.

Stir the peaches into the blueberries and spoon into the muffin tin.

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Roll the remaining dough out again, and using a pizza cutter to cut into 1/4 inch strips. Lay them across in a lattice pattern like this.

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Beat an egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush across the lattice. Sprinkle a pinch of sanding sugar over each pie.

Bake for 15-20 minutes. until the crust is a deep brown and the filling starts to bubble and you can't resist taking them out of the oven.

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Then enjoy your delicious, light mini pies. They're perfect for summer entertaining or just as a special treat! And I promise , they won't last long...

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Peach Blueberry Muffin Tin Pie Recipe | CatchMyParty.com

Leaving up to 99% less residue, PAM is your ally in the kitchen and allows you to save time during prep and clean up.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by ConAgra via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of ConAgra.

Summer Challah French Toast Recipe

by Jillian Leslie on

Challah French Toast Recipe with Nutella and Strawberries | CatchMyParty.com

I love the taste of challah. It's soft, light, eggy, and a tiny bit sweet. For those who don't know, challah is a traditional egg bread eaten by many cultures, but especially by Jews at the sabbath.

It's also my favorite bread to make French toast with, because it brings so much flavor and richness all by itself.  But this time I wanted to step out of my French toast comfort zone, and add some new flavors for summer.

SUMMER CHALLAH FRENCH TOAST

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 6 slices of challah (1/2 inch slices)
  • 1/2 stick of butter
Here's the challah I picked up at my favorite bagel store. It usually comes braided like this... pretty.

 Challah French Toast Recipe with Nutella and Strawberries | CatchMyParty.com

Directions:

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla to a mixing bowl. Mix until thoroughly combined, then stir in the milk. Transfer the liquid to a flat pan (a square cake pan works well).

Put the bread in and let it soak for 30 seconds a side, then let it rest on a rack for at least 2 minutes.

Challah French Toast Recipe with Nutella and Strawberries | CatchMyParty.com

Heat a skillet to medium heat, and add about a tablespoon of butter. Cook until browned then flip and cook the other side. Add new butter between batches.

I dusted my French toast with powdered sugar. Then, since I'm not a big syrup person, but I am a big chocolate person, I drizzled Nutella on top, and I added fresh farmer's market strawberries.

This is the first time I put Nutella on French toast and it is now my favorite way to serve it. Plus, the summer strawberries, with their sweet, tartness, added a layer of brightness to the whole dish and made it feel like summer.

My family loved it. I made six slices and they were eaten by my husband, daughter, and myself in about six minutes!

Challah French Toast Recipe with Nutella and Strawberries | CatchMyParty.com

Challah French Toast Recipe with Nutella and Strawberries | CatchMyParty.com

To go with my summer French toast, Nutella also asked me to share what music I'm listening to this summer. I'm loving a lot of songs this summer, but here are a few of my favorites (in a YouTube playlist) that make me happy, and that I thought would go beautifully with my French toast!  See if you agree...

Nutella® hazelnut spread is a happy start to every day! Pick up a jar of Nutella in the spreads aisle and enjoy it with whole wheat toast, waffles, pancakes, strawberries, bananas and many other foods. Nutella. Spread the HappyTM.

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Disclosure: Compensation was provided by the makers of Nutella via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Nutella.

Budget-Friendly Back to School Wreath DIY

by Jillian Leslie on

Budget-friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

Is it back to school time already? It isn't even the end of July, but my daughter heads back to school in four weeks! 

Laura Aguirre from Laura's Little Party is here with an easy budget-friendly wreath to get your kids (and you) back in the mood for school!

When there is a holiday, or special occasions, I like to hang a wreath on our front door to celebrate an event. They’re easy to make, and are usually pretty inexpensive.

I’ve recently created a simple back to school wreath to get ready & welcome the new school year!

Budget friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

Supplies:

  • Wreath {can be a grapevine wreath like I used, pool noodle, styrofoam, etc.}
  • Hot glue gun
  • Twine
  • School related embellishments. {I chose paper apples, and paper rulers}
Directions:

Before I start attaching all my pieces to the wreath, I like to place them lightly on top of my wreath, to figure out where I’d like to glue everything down. Once you figure that out, start hot gluing your items to the wreath.

Budget-friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

I evenly spaced my paper apples, and started the hot gluing process.

Budget-friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

I continued gluing my items, until I had finished attaching them all the way around my wreath.

Budget-friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

I attached twine towards the top center of my wreath, to hang my paper rulers. I then glued them to the twine.

Budget-friendly back to school wreath tutorial DIY! See more crafts at CatchMyParty.com.

This project was very inexpensive. I used one of my existing wreaths, spray painted it, and purchased my back to school embellishments from my local Dollar Tree store. The total amount spent for this project was $2!

 Amazing, Laura, $2??  I love budget crafts! To learn more about Laura, please find her at Laura's Little Party and on Facebook and Pinterest.

For more inspiration, check out these back to school parties from our site,  plus our free back to school printables, and our back to school Pinterest board.

Free Summer Printable Roundup

by Jillian Leslie on

Free Summer printables and blog hop | CatchMyParty

Now that we're knee deep in summer, and in my house we're even coming down the home stretch because my daughter goes back to school in four weeks, I'm excited to be part of this free summer printable blog hop (with some of my favorite women on the web) and share these summer printables to give you some ideas and inspiration on how to spend your time, or how to decorate a party or two.

Take a look, I promise you'll be inspired!

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For more inspiration and party ideas, check out these awesome summer parties on our site and all our free summer printables!

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week - July 20th

by Jillian Leslie on

Check out my favorite parties added to our site this week...

A gorgeous red Minnie Mouse birthday party for a five year old, a lovely blue Frozen themed birthday party, a colorful snow cone pool party, and a woodland Little Red Riding Hood birthday party!

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week July 20 | CatchMyParty.com!

Clockwise from top left: Feels like summer here as I'm baking peach and blueberry pie today with all the beautiful fruit I bought at the farmer's market! Hope you're having a relaxing Sunday eating something yummy!

9 Must-See Circus Parties!

by Jillian Leslie on

9 amazing circus parties you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

Circus parties are super popular right now, and what's great about them is they work well for both boy and girl birthdays and baby showers. Check out some of the best circus parties from our site!

1. Cute Animal Circus Party

Amazing circus party you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

2. Traditional Circus Party

Amazing circus party you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

3. Girly Circus Party

Amazing circus party you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

4. Colorful Circus Party

Amazing circus party you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

5. Dumbo Circus Baby Shower

Amazing circus baby shower you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

6. Big Top Circus Party

Amazing circus party you've got to see! | CatchMyParty.com

7. Sweet and Feminine Circus Party

Amazing circus birthday party you've got to see! CatchMyParty.com

8. Outdoor Circus Party

Amazing circus birthday party you've got to see! CatchMyParty.com

9. Circus 1st Birthday Party

Amazing circus birthday party you've got to see! CatchMyParty.com

If you're planning a circus party and need more inspiration, check out all the fantastic circus parties on our site, our circus party supplies from the Catch My Party Store, and our circus party Pinterest board.

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