Tween Girl Gift Ideas by Annabelle

Gift Ideas for Girls put together by Annabelle. If you have girls 8 and up on your list, be sure to check out her list! Annabelle is sort of at an age (9 1/2) where she is not interested in toys, but does like to play and be creative. She loves to make slime. Loves to be cozy . Loves cute bedroom and desk accessories. Loves fashion and beauty. She has a nice mixture of items here that most girls would enjoy. There are just a couple of splurges, which I love to make Christmas feel extra special. All of the links are at the bottom. Happy Shopping!

BLOG - Annie Gift Guide

Kate Spade Rollerball Perfume | Vanity Mirror | Headphones | Anthro Throw Blanket
Eyelash Mug | Hunter Boots | Initial Pillow | Fish HotelPencils | Eyelash Hat | Hat | Faux Fur Coat
Slipper Boots | Pajama Pants | Ban Do Tumbler | Cotton Candy Scented Oil | So Slime

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Basketball Party ideas – Andrew turns 13!

Now I have TWO teens in the house! Andrew turned 13 this summer and we celebrated with a basketball party right in the heart of our bust travel baseball season. The party was held at our local town center basketball court, which also has classrooms where we set up the food and dessert after. Andrew came up with teams for a 3v3 tournament. I made a bracket and had it printed on poster sized paper. I wish I would have snapped a pic of the final bracket, the kids were really really into it by the end! We had a simple dessert table and (not pictured) pizzas that were devoured by these teen boys in a flash.

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Crazy good cookies and cake pops by my sister, Cecilia Derolf, Little Miss Sweet Tooth

Photos by the talented Maggie of Maggie Russo Photo.

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Girl Scouts Summer Camp – Bridging to Juniors

I blinked and another two years went by with this fantastic troop of girls. They bridged from Brownies to Juniors and we celebrated with a Summer Camp party.

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We hosted a summer day camp at a local park. Our lunch in the “mess hall” included grilled hot dogs, campfire mac-n-cheese and chili. For dessert we had S’mores, of course, mini cupcakes topped with vintage girl scout badges and the new Girl Scout cookie for 2017, S’mores cookies.

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I spent our entire last year of brownie’s keeping my eyes peeled at thrift shops for vintage finds in greens and yellows for this party.

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I designed little buttons as “merit badges” for each of our activities.

 

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Our Arts and Crafts project was a DIY arrow.

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Vintage camp patches were used for this fun little pillow project.

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Looking forward to what is ahead with this troop!

Photos by Maggie Russo Photography.

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A Classic Party on the Farm

We celebrated Annabelle’s 9th birthday with a classic farm party. The adorable animals from Paws and Claws made the party! There were snuggly little piglets….and the cutest Alpaca….and fluffy bunnies….and chickens…. and more! The party was styled in classic black and white with vintage touches and little bits of color. The lunch was meat-free per Annabelle’s request. We served pasta salad, fruit salad, cheese-n-crackers and chips-n-hummus. Since the lunch was light, the dessert was not. We set up “Annabelle’s Farm Bakery” with cookies, homemade cupcakes in three flavors, mini pies, old fashioned candy and a vanilla cake topped with fresh cherries.

My friend from Madison Avenue Soaps made indulgent Goats Milk Cream for all of the girls and the “favor farm stand” also included mini egg cartons filled with white plastic eggs and candy chicks.

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Photos by Maggie Russo Photo | www.maggierussophoto.com

Cake and Cookies by Little Miss Sweet Tooth

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Fiesta Bridal Shower Ideas

Host a small group of friends for a sweet Fiesta! Whatever the reason, bridal shower, baby sprinke, girls night, bachelorette party or birthday, this theme is fun and easy. Start with a soft and pretty invitation to set the tone. 

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Coordinate your wrapping paper for a fun pulled together look, especially for small gatherings.

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For small gatherings, serve individual servings of salsa and dips.

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Mini tacos can be dressed up with crumbled mexican cheese, fresh cilantro, chopped green onion and lime wedges. You can even take a shortcut and dress up freezer aisle tacos with fresh ingredients. Serve them on a wood board.

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Grilled shrimp with honey, lime and cilantro make simple bite sized kabobs. Fresh fruit seasoned with chile lime salt is a perfect sweet side dish.

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The kitchen counter is a perfect place to set up your spread and let guests linger. I got to use my friend Natasha’s gorgeous kitchen for this one!

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I love these cactus glasses made by Libbey for our signature drinks. They are nice and heavy and perfect for the occasion and beyond. This is why I love small gatherings, it makes adding these special touches reasonable. The yellow pitcher was a thrift shop find that I just love.

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My sister made these adorable cactus sugar cookies. Check out Little Miss Sweet Tooth on Facebook for more of her fabulous desserts.

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Serve a SIGNATURE drink like this Mexican Paloma with lime wedges on the rocks.
1 1/2 ounces tequila | 3 ounces grapefruit soda | 1 teaspoon salt | 1 slice lime

 

Pictures by Maggie Russo Photo

 

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Christmas Cocoa and Canvas Party

Annabelle’s annual Christmas party became our Girl Scout Troop Christmas party this year. We chose a Cocoa and Canvas theme. We used the conference room again for this one so that we had one large table for our painting crafts. We did two easy painting projects, one stencil and one free hand. The girls enjoyed Christmas cookies and a Hot Cocoa bar while they painted.

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personalized mugs held paint brushes and doubled as a fun take home gift

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always lots of fun and giggles with this troop!

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Photos by Maggie Russo Photo (except these last few were taken with my iphone after she left)

Adorable Mug Cookies made by my sister Cil, Little Miss Sweet Tooth

 

 

 

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Time to Deck the Halls!

Happy Thanksgiving! I am hosting Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow which will end with our favorite tradition of watching Christmas Vacation and looking at black Friday ads…..while eating pie of course! I can’t wait until Friday to start decking the halls over here!

For now…..I am throwing back to a couple of years ago when I let Annabelle and her friends trim the tree with homemade garlands. Fa La La La La …..

Stay tuned for 2016 Decor and entertaining!

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Black and White Halloween Decorating Ideas

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It’s Halloween season! I am sharing some of my favorite Halloween decorating tips and tricks. My favorite Halloween look is classic black and white.

Start by shopping your home for black and white décor. Black and white pillows, clocks, mirrors, trays, chalkboards, etc. With the right touch, they will add to your Halloween design.

Next, these are my simple tips for adding a little stylish haunt to your house…

Go Thrift Shopping.

  • Hardcover books run $1-$2, sometimes less. Look for all black books with spooky titles. Stack them in groupings of 2-3. They add height and are perfect with little spooky crittters or skeleton hands resting on them.
  • Tarnished silver or brass. The old finish is perfect for an old gothic haunted house. Fill bowls with poison apples or candy. Scatter candle holders with drippy candles. Use trays to group items. Love the look of tarnished metal for Halloween.
  • Old Mirrors. The older, the better! Old dresser mirrors look ornate, gothic and spooky when you add a little spider web to them.

Printing. My favorite!

  • Black and white is easy and inexpensive to print. Use inexpensive frames and group layers of vintage Halloween graphics on shelves or mantles.
  • To print Large scale, head to your local staples and print engineer prints. Skeletons, bats, crows, eyes and spiders look perfectly spooky in black and white print.

Get Crafty!

  • Iron on paper and a $3 Linen throw pillow cover can transform your everyday toss pillows into vintage black crow or spooky bat décor for a night (or the season). Amazon is my go to place for linen toss pillow covers.
  • Print engineer prints and attach wood strips to each end and hang by a string for custom artwork. (see my skeleton)
  • Paint your pumpkins black. Chalkboard spray paint works double duty for writing spooky messages on the pumpkins too.

Basic Halloween Must Haves

  • Black Gauze Fabric
  • Black Crows
  • White Web
  • Skeleton Hands

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DIY TIP … print a black crow on to iron on paper and create a custom pillow using inexpensive linen throw pillow covers. See Below:

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Carry your neutral black and white theme to your outside decor just as easily.

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Happy Haunting!

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Baseball Party and Concession Stand Ideas

Take me out to the Ball Game (again!). You might recall that my Baseball loving son, Andrew, also had a baseball party at this very park for his 8th birthday! Now, turning 12, he is more into baseball than ever so I could not deny this request for a repeat theme. This time it was a little more casual/vintage style. He invited around 25 baseball friends and they had a fun wiffle tourney and homerun derby in the field. Meanwhile, I set up a concession stand with all of the typical concessions and a dessert table all inspired by the great ball game.

 

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Photos by Maggie Russo Photo | Cookies by Little Miss Sweet Tooth | Graphic Design and Party Style by Homespun Hostess

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Science Experiment Birthday Party Ideas

It’s a Science Party and you are invited! Annabelle’s 8th Birthday Science Lab…. come on in!2

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I love this age where school is fun! My daughter has been loving science in school for the past couple of years so I was not surprised when she chose a science theme for her party this year. Turns out all kids love science at this age! This was a pretty simple party to pull together and plan.

I splurged a little and purchased real lab coats for each guest and had their names embroidered on them. Not only did they look adorable all wearing them at the party, they were so excited to go home with this keepsake. I am sure many will be re-used for costumes and experimenting at home.

The rest of the party was really done rather inexpensively. I was inspired by a really nice periodic table shown in a popular kids catalog that was way out of my budget. I used an inexpensive engineer print, wood strips, black spray paint and my staple gun to create my own version for around $10. This was the perfect backdrop to the small dessert table. The sweets were kept very simple with birthday cake, science cookies and take home candy. I used a very simple modern black and white color scheme, which worked really well with the chalkboards.

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We did four experiments. We had 14 kids. I carefully planned how I would quickly move from one experiment to the next. It actually went very well and the kids all enjoyed every experiment.

Experiment 1:    DIY LAVA LAMPS

Supplies needed: Cylinder vase, beaker (or cup), vegetable oil, food coloring, Alka-Seltzer tablets.

Directions: Fill vase 1/3 with oil, mix color and water in beaker, pour water into the oil, drop broken up tablets into the vase. Watch it bubble. FUN!

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Experiment 2: ERUPTING SODA

Supplies needed: 2 liter diet soda, mentos

Directions: Open soda (outside), drop in approx.. 7 mentos mint candies using a tube…stand back!

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Experiment 3: Expanding Soap

Supplies needed: bar of Ivory soap

Directions: microwave a bar of unwrapped Ivory soap for 1.5 minutes on a microwave safe plate.

*I demonstrated this and let the kids all touch the amazing fluffy expanded soap and then they all went home with a custom labeled bar to try themselves.

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Experiment 4: Flubber

Supplies needed: White school glue, borax, water, glitter, large ziplock bag, air-tight container

Directions: In bag, mix glue and ½ cup cold water. In cup mix together 1 tsp borax and ½ cup warm water. Combine all in bag. Add glitter. Mix until a ball of flubber forms. Dump off excess water. Store flubber in an airtight container.

*This one was passed out in “science kit” labeled gable boxes to make it easy on me to keep the experiments going. The boxes also doubled as an easy way to take home the soap, flubber and candy.

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PARTY TIPS FOR A SCIENCE EXPERIMENT PARTY

  • Chalkboards are always a party go-to for me. Worked especially well in this classroom inspired party. Engineer prints are very affordable to print and make big impact.
  • Label everything to keep a cohesive look throughout the “lab”.
  • Use Flasks or Beakers to serve drinks.
  • Dollar Store cookie baking sheets work well as lab trays to corral supplies and make for easy clean up.
  • Even if you do not want to splurge on lab coats, you can make everyone feel like they are in a real lab with printable ALL ACCESS lab badges.

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Happy Birthday to my future Scientist, Annabelle! 

anie

Photos by Maggie Russo Photo | Cookies by Little Miss Sweet Tooth | Styling and Graphics by Sara De St Jean, Homespun Hostess

R E S O U R C E S :

Flubber Speciman Jars | Soft Lab Coats | Petri Dishes | Test Tube Rack | Test Tubes | Mentos Speciman Tubes | Flask Cookie Cutter

Microscope Drink Sized Flasks | Set 3 Sized Flasks | Set 3 Sized Beakers | Lab ID Badge holder with Clip | Printable Party Set

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