FREE 4th of July Party Printables by Designs by Serendipity

by Jillian Leslie on

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My daughter, Lainey, started camp this week, so summer is definitely in full swing! To help you get ready for your upcoming July 4th parties, we're giving away this collection of FREE "Let Freedom Ring" July 4th printables from Melanie at Designs by Serendipity.

The collection includes: cupcake toppers, cupcake wrappers, party signs, food cards, pennant flags (large and small), water bottle labels, straw flags, tags, and a "Happy 4th of July" banner.

Download the free July 4th printables here!

Here are the individual files...

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Thank you, Melanie! I love all the patriotic patterns you used!

To learn more about Melanie and see all of her designs, visit her Designs by Serendipity Etsy shop and check her out on Facebook and Twitter.

And for more inspiration, take a look at these incredible July 4th parties on our site!

{TRENDS} Sock Monkey Parties

by Jillian Leslie on

One of my favorite themes for boy 1st birthdays and baby showers is Sock Monkey parties. They have a built in retro feel and you can decorate them so easily with sock monkey toys (and other vintage toys), sock monkey cake pops, cookies, and printables!

To see more of these adorable parties, click on the link or the photo...

LOUISE S' Sock Monkey Birthday Party sock_monkey#1

AUTUMN G's Sock Monkey Reed Turns One!!

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JENIFER H's Up & Away Sock Monkey 1st Birthda

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ILA G's Miles 1st Birthday

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JILLIAN B's Sock Monkey 1st Birthday

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MARIAH L's Sock Monkey Baby Shower

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ANA P's Sock Monkey Shower

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AMIE K's Hudson's First Birthday

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For further inspiration, check out all the Sock Monkey parties on our site!

RECIPE: Salted Caramel Pretzel Bites

by Jillian Leslie on

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Molly from CakeFYI has been busy dreaming up some more delicious treats for us! Check out her newest recipe!

To me, soft pretzels are a dream come true. They’re kind of tough on the outside, but they’re so fluffy on the inside. They’re the perfect snack at any age, but let me tell you, those simple pretzels can get so much better.

It’s sort of a timely process to make pretzel bites, but it’s incredibly fun and pretty darn simple. I dunked these in a homemade salted caramel sauce and sprinkled them with sea salt to give them an extra kick of flavor. I don’t think you need any more convincing.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 C Warm Water
  • 1 Tbsp Sugar
  • 1 Pkg Active Dry Yeast
  • 4 1/2 C Flour
  • 2 Tbsp Butter, melted
  • 6 Cups Water, for boiling
  • 1/4 C Baking Soda, for boiling
  • 1 Large Egg Yolk
Tools: Stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, large pot, baking sheet

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First, add your water and sugar to the bowl of a stand mixer. Then sprinkle in the yeast.

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Give the mixture a little stir, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

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After about 5 minutes, the yeast mixture will begin to bubble and foam. Then, gradually begin to add half of the flour, mixing on low as you go.

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After adding half of the flour, gradually add the melted butter. Then, continue to add the remaining flour.

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Once you’ve added all of the flour, and the dough begins to pull away from the sides of the bowl, it’s ready to knead. Put your mixer on medium-high, and let it knead the dough for 5-7 minutes.

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Next, brush the sides of a large bowl with oil, or spray it with cooking spray. Roll the dough around in the bowl to coat it in oil. Let the dough sit to rise in a warm spot for about 1 hour, until it has doubled in size. Once the dough has risen, we’re ready to form the pretzel bites!

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Fill a large pot with water and add the baking soda before you turn the stove on high. Let it come to a rolling boil. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, divide the dough into 8 equal portions. Working with 1 dough portion at a time, roll out fat ropes of dough, about 10 inches long and 1 inch wide. Cut each dough rope into 8 small pieces, and set them on a greased baking sheet.

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Once your water begins to boil, carefully drop 6-8 pretzel bites into the pot. Let them boil for about 30 seconds, and then place them back on the greased baking sheet. I like to use a slotted spoon or a spatula to get them out. That way, there isn’t too much water on the baking sheet. They’re going to look a bit lumpy at this point, but don’t worry about it. They will take shape once they’re baked.

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Whisk 1 large egg yolk with a splash of water. Brush the pretzel bites with this mixture to give it an egg wash.

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Bake the pretzel bites for 7-8 minutes until golden. Immediately transfer them to wire racks to cool.

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Now, what about that Salted Caramel Sauce I mentioned?

Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp Butter
  • 3/4 Brown Sugar
  • 1/3 C Milk
  • 1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 3 Tsp Salt
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In a small saucepan, melt the butter. Once melted, add the brown sugar, milk, and vanilla and whisk well. Let the sauce boil over medium heat for 5 minutes. Do not stir it!

Once boiled, remove it from the heat and whisk well. Pour it into a jar or bowl immediately, and place it in the fridge for 5 minutes to slightly thicken.

Grab a cookie sheet, and place it under the wire rack. Dunk the top of each pretzel bite in the caramel sauce. Swirl it around to get the excess off. Top them with a sprinkle of salt, and let them set to dry for 1 hour.

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And voila!!! Bite size deliciousness... bet you can't eat just one!

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Thanks Molly, for the yummy recipe! To learn more about Molly check her out at CakeFYI.

FREE Race Car Father's Day Printables from Creative Little Stars

by Jillian Leslie on

Race Car Father's Day printables... how cool! Check out this new set we're giving away from Rachel at Creative Little Stars! If your husband or father loves cars, you must download these! The collection includes: gift tags, water bottle labels, Father's Day cards, printed paper, and banner flags.

Download the free Father's Day printables here!

Here the whole collections... free-fathers-day-party-printables And see them in action here... fathers day printable (1) fathers day printables free fathers day printables Thank you, Rachel! What a fun set! To learn more about Rachel and Creative Little Stars, please visit the Creative Little Stars Etsy shop, website, and Facebook page.

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week

by Jillian Leslie on

A fantastic celebration of science, an adorable sock monkey party, a gorgeous yellow and gray baby shower, and an unbelievably creative Hobbit party!

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Clockwise from top left:

Can't wait to see the start of your summer parties!

{RECIPE} Summer Gazpacho Salad

by Jillian Leslie on

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I love summer. I love the warm weather, the long days, and hanging out with friends and family. I also love taking trips. We're actually on our whirlwind summer trip right now to visit my family on the East Coast.

I'm writing this post from my hotel  room in NYC.  I put together this collage of some highlights of our NYC trip so far:

  • The view of the Empire State Building from our hotel room
  • A New York hotdog!
  • Gelato from Il Labratorio del Gelato
  • My daughter getting her photo on a cupcake at House of Cupcakes
  • Me trying on new glasses at Warby Parker
  • A pastrami sandwich and chicken soup from Katz's Deli -- an institution!
  • A ginormous Hershey's Bar my daughter would like me to buy her
To see more of my trip and follow me a long, check me out on Instagram.

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During the summer, I like to create food that feels casual and easy. So as a companion recipe to the Spanish Tortilla with Hot Dog I posted last week (and sticking to the Spanish theme), I also created this Summer Gazpacho Salad.

The salad features the flavors I love in a gazpacho - cucumber, tomato, pepper, and garlic with a nice kick from the vinegar and lime. The Spanish Tortilla brings a salty, richness to the menu, whereas the gazpacho salad brings a crisp, summer freshness.

SUMMER GAZPACHO SALAD

Ingredients:

  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 basket of cherry tomatoes
  • 1 spicy green pepper (Jalapeño or Poblano)
  • 1/2 onion
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tablespoons parsley (Italian)
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro
  • 1 lime
  • 2 shredded chicken breasts
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon red or sherry vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
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Directions: 

Dice the cucumber and red pepper, and add the cherry tomatoes (halved) to a bowl. To give the salad some heat, use a roasted a spicy pepper (we used a jalapeño). Remove the skin and seeds, dice the pepper, and add to the bowl.

Now shred or chop the chicken breasts and add to the bowl.

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Dice 1/2 an onion, and mince or press the garlic. Chop 1 tablespoon of parsley and 1 tablespoon of cilantro and add to the salad. Save the rest of the parsley and cilantro for garnish.

To dress the salad, mix 4 tablespoons of olive oil, juice from 1 lime (and optionally the zest from the lime), 1 tablespoon of red or sherry vinegar, 1 teaspoon of chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon of cumin, and 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Toss the salad in the dressing, and sprinkle some of the leftover parsley and cilantro over the top. You can serve immediately, but it tastes even better if you put in the fridge for a few hours and let the flavor marinate.

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For summer entertaining, the Spanish tortilla and summer gazpacho salad make the perfect match! I love serving them together at a summer BBQ!

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{DIY} Coupon Gift for Dad on Father's Day

by Jillian Leslie on

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Here's a perfect gift for Dad this year! In our "Best Pop" printables collection, we have some coupons we created with a couple of blanks for your kids to write in their own special coupons.

Supplies:

  • Coupon printables (scroll down and you'll see them)
  • Party circle printables
  • Paper cutter or scissors
  • Circle punch or scissors
  • Mason jar
  • Glue dots, glue, or tape
  • Ribbons
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Cut out the coupons using a scissor or paper cutter. Cut out one party circle using scissors or a circle punch. Tape or glue the party circle to the top of the mason jar. (I used a Glue Dot.)

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Stuff the mason jar with your Dad's favorite candy and with the coupons.

Tie with a pretty ribbons or two!

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Hope your dad enjoys it!!

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FREE Best POP Father's Day Party Printables from Printabelle

by Jillian Leslie on

Don't  you have the best pop? Well now you can celebrate him on Father's Day with these adorable "Best Pop" printables Michelle at Printabelle designed exclusively for us!

The collection includes: welcome sign, cupcake toppers, treat toppers, banner, gift tags and coupons for Dad.

Download the free Father's Day printables here!

Take a look at the whole collection...

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And here are the individual files...

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And learn how to make this simple coupon jar gift for Dad!

 

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For more inspiration, check out these amazing Father's Day celebrations from our site and all our Father's Day free printables.

And remember, if you’d like any of these printables personalized, Michelle will do it for $3 per file! To learn more about Michelle and see all the printable collections, head to Printabelle and the Printabelle Facebook page.

My 4 Favorite Parties of the Week

by Jillian Leslie on

A lovely blushing bridal shower, a fireman party that's so "hot," a bright and summery lemonade and sunshine party, and lots of pretty pink accents at this cowgirl party.

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Clockwise from top left:

Can't wait for next week!