The time has finally come and we are super excited! What better way to celebrate the launch of Everyday Grace than with a BIG virtual party that you can all join in on. Best part is we can all be in our pjs from the comfort of our own homes.

We’ve been asked many questions so I hope I can make it easy by sharing all the details here. Come and join in on the fun.

Date: Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Time: 9:00pm to 10:00pm EST

Where: The party will take place between our Facebook page and this blog. (thanks to silly Facebook page rules)

**Note that some of our prizes do depend on location or need to be picked up from our studio in Aurora or a location in Brampton. That is all noted in the prize details so please make sure you read over the fine print carefully.

Make sure you stay to the end for our BIG GRAND PRIZE!

So how does it work?

1. Come to our Facebook page and sign in that you are there to celebrate with us at 9pm EST.

2. Watch as we post questions.

3. Follow the link in the posted questions to our blog where you can enter your comment for your chance to win.

4. It is that simple. All you have to do is enter your comment or answer into the comments section on the corresponding post for your entry.

5. Don’t worry if you are having trouble keeping up. You can easily go back and find all of the questions and we are here to help you along.

6. The party questions will stay active until 11pm for entries to allow you the chance to get in on all of the prizes.

7. All questions have 2+ prizes so multiple people will have the chance to win.

8. Winners will be selected after the party is over by random generator and will be posted Wednesday morning right here on our blog.

 

Our prizes are so generously donated by the following amazing companies. Please make sure you take a moment to like their Facebook page and visit their websites.

Clippo, momstownShot in the Dark Mysteries, Kathy & Kim Originals, Kirsty Kernohan Marketing & Design, Glowbaby, Jennifer Gilbert Photography, KIOKKOChâteau des Charmes, CHILDish, My Smart Hands, Jen van der Vecht Photography, Look Who’s Growing, The Mobile Bike Shop, MompreneurScentsy Independent Consultant Tara Collyer, Name Your Tune, Playing it Safe, Matrix Canada

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Traditionally, bridal showers have been put together by the maid-of-honor, but times they are a-changing! These days, the entire bridal party typically pitches in, and oftentimes other close friends and family members become involved as well. This is great because it divides the responsibilities and costs among many people, and makes for a better bridal shower experience! The most important part of putting together a successful bridal shower is planning ahead and operating on a timeline…here is a loose schedule to follow to ensure a stress-free party planning experience!


Eight Weeks Before the Shower

Bridal showers typically take place four to six weeks before the wedding. About eight weeks before the anticipated shower date, start putting together a checklist of what needs to be done for the party. This will help you keep track of budget, who’s taking care of what, and miscellaneous tasks that will need to get done. At this time, you should also set an exact time and date for the shower. Consult with the bride about who she would like to invite, and try to get some insight into where she would like the shower to take place.

Six Weeks Before the Shower

Contact a caterer (this site is a good resource to check out) and plan the menu…showers typically include an informal brunch or lunch buffet of small finger foods that allow your guests to eat easily while mingling. A fun, budget-friendly idea is to ask guests to make their favorite dishes for the buffet and bring the recipe along for the bride’s recipe box! At this time, invitations should be sent out, and the location should also be booked.

Two to Three Weeks Before the Shower

Call your vendors to confirm the party reservations…this includes the venue, caterer, and musicians. If your guests are bringing food, confirm what they are bringing to make sure that there will be an even spread of appetizers, main dishes, and desserts. Pick up any beverages that you anticipate having at the party, and don’t forget champagne for the toasts! If the shower will be taking place in someone’s home, ensure that there are enough dishes and utensils available, or pick up paper plates and disposable utensils. This is also the time to purchase decorations, bridal shower games, and bridal shower favors…all of these things are available from online retailers like American Bridal. One fun idea is to buy a disposable camera for each table at the shower, and allow the guests to take pictures at the party. Have all of the photos developed and put them together in an album for the bride, as a supplement to her wedding album.

The Day Before the Shower

Get to the venue EARLY. You’ll need at least two hours to decorate, set up tables and chairs, and set out the food and favors. Remember to bring a pen and notepad for documenting who brought which shower gift, and don’t forget your camera. Also, keep in mind that showers are supposed to be casual and fun! If something doesn’t go as planned, remember that this day is about celebrating the bride, and no one will notice if the spinach and artichoke dip gets lost along the way!

This guest post was written by Leslie. She likes to explore popular trends and creative ideas for every stage of planning a wedding. Along the way, she has picked up many tricks of the trade, and enjoys sharing them in freelance articles that she writes for various wedding blogs.

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Children and birthday parties. It’s as natural a pairing as icewine and foie gras or cookies and milk or peanut butter and jam. Or headaches and ibuprofen (and NOT because of the icewine).

Yes, from the time our sweet babies turn one, we obsess over these milestone celebrations. Why? Because we want every detail to be ‘just so’. Planning a birthday party these days is akin to planning a wedding. (Party Mommas, anyone?) It is an exercise in frustration over balancing budget with guest list, finding the right venue, food and decorations. Whoa! News Flash: Your child just wants to play with her friends, blow out some candles and tear open some gifts! Really!

Okay, so as not to sound hypocritical, I love to throw a party with a theme. It’s fun to tie in colors and decorative touches. From the invitations to the games to the cake I go all out. But, I am also on a pretty tight budget and big on the DIY concept. So how DO you throw a fabulously fun theme party for your child without maxing out the budget and stress levels?

Here are 10 Tips for a Great Party on a Budget:

Here’s how I pulled off my son’s 6th birthday Pirate Parrrty without having to walk the plank for over-spending (you can adapt these tips to any theme):

  1. Theme:  Pick one fairly far in advance to ease the planning process. Not everybody likes a theme. I do. This year was Pirates.  Aye!
  2. Timing:  Establish the date and time—beginning and end—(two hours is plenty long). Be considerate of nap times or other scheduling conflicts that may result in meltdowns later. Also, this year I followed up with an email reminder the day before the party (in full-on pirate jargon). The moms thought that was a great idea.
  3. Location:  Plan to host the party at your home instead of renting out a facility. No minimums to respect. No worries. This has always been my preference.
  4. Guests:  Keep the number manageable; for instance, forgo inviting the entire classroom and instead ask your child to invite a handful of his best pals. (Perhaps feel out the parents for workable dates to ensure everyone can make it.)
  5. Invitations:  Channel your inner Martha. So you don’t fancy yourself crafty? What? You don’t have a color printer? Start Google-ing or Pinterest-ing for simple ideas. I printed off the party details on one sixth of a pirate treasure map for each child and rolled them up scroll-like with a sticker ‘seal’, all made from home. If your budget allows, order custom invitations on-line and have them delivered to your door. Grace Announcements does just that! Or if you want an eco-friendly and inexpensive alternative, send out e-vites.
  6. Decorations:  Plan ahead, shop early, get crafty, beg, borrow and sift through your junk.
    • Depending on the theme, there is a chance some decorations might be seasonal so you may want to shop early for some items. I totally lucked out and found Halloween pirate bandanas & eye patches in January.
    • You also never know what you’ll find in your own backyard! Until my friend mentioned bringing one, I hadn’t even thought of using an old brass candelabra I had sitting in the garage!
    • In lieu of a big gift, my girlfriend volunteered to make the party decorations, lent me some pirate gear and helped get the house ready the night before, which was a HUGE help! Do you have talented friends and family? Barter for their expertise!
    • Make it a family affair. Enlist the creative genius of older kids for making, coloring and putting up decorations.
    • Troll the ‘dollar’ stores for paper streamers, plates, napkins and tablecloths in bright, complementary colors.
    • I also tend to splurge on a fun balloon bouquet so if this is up your alley, make sure to order ahead and book a pick-up time the day before the party to avoid last-minute running around.
  7. Loot bags:  Not sure where the idea of giving loot at the end of a party originated. Regardless, there are few things that annoy me more than cheap-o loot bags. You know: the ones you toss in the trash the minute you get home. It’s not hard to find inexpensive quality items or one main loot item. I estimate each pirate loot bag (painting and baking aside) cost between $7-$8.
    • ‘Dollar’ stores carry great licensed products (pencils, erasers, notepads, books, stickers) if your little Bobby or Suzie are into superheroes or princesses.
    • You can also find great craft items there. My girlfriend scoped out fantastic little treasure boxes for the treasure hunt that she then painted so we could fill them with chocolate coins, candy necklaces (both bought in bulk), Ring Pops and pirate tattoos.
    • Though originally the pirate booty at our party was to be the treasure chest & candy plus a cake pop, a last-minute trip to the ‘dollar’ store yielded Pirate activity books and Peter-Pan and Tinkerbell books that I couldn’t resist.
    • Make an edible treat! I made pirate and jeweled crown cream cheese sugar cookies in addition to the pirate cake pops I make as my alter ego EG Cakes. The cookies were originally intended to nibble on during the party but since the kids didn’t touch them, I sent them home with their other treasures.
    • With enough advance notice you can also order the fabulous Loot Bag Combo from Mabel’s Labels in fabulously fun colors and designs.
  8. Games and activities:  Structured activities should be kept to a minimum and a free-play area should be designated. You may also wish to have a craft or activity for younger or older siblings to keep them occupied. Six-year-olds are able to handle a couple of party games. When our swashbucklers arrived they each received a bandana and eye patch before setting out on a Treasure Hunt. Rhyming pirate clues were left at each location to spur them on their adventure! Afterwards they had fun with a home-made pirate “I Spy”-like game. Then they tore up the basement till it was time to eat.
  9. Menu:  Keep it simple and make your own food. In my experience kids generally don’t eat much at birthday parties. Something about all the excitement, I guess. Prepare your own veggie and fruit trays, put out pretzels or Goldfish crackers. Make-ahead sandwiches free up kitchen duty and easy cheesy pizzas are a breeze on ready-made, individual pita crusts. Juice boxes or bottled water are easy drink fixes avoiding the easy spillage action of paper cups. Consider coffee for parents who may be sticking around.
  10. Cake:  If you are buying it, make sure you have ordered it and are able to pick it up or have it delivered before the party. If you are making it, you will need to consider the timing so you are not rushing to finish it the day of the party. This is my strength, fortunately, because I would not be able to afford to buy the ‘fancy’ cakes I undertake for my kiddos. The commitment is one of time rather than money. If you have a friend that’s particularly savvy in this area, consider bartering or asking them to ‘gift’ the cake in lieu of a gift.

Above all, have FUN, me hearties!

Bonus tip:  Avast! Don’t forget thank-you notes to your guests! I prefer the old-fashioned hand-written note, but consider some other ideas: Order custom thank-yous at the same time you order your invites. An email to the parents is more acceptable these days, perhaps with a photo or two of the party attached. Or, time- and technology-permitting you could burn a CD or DVD of the birthday festivities with a video thank-you at the end.

Have you got any budget-friendly party-planning tips you would like to share? We would love to hear from you!

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Who doesn’t love a party where everyone gathers for fun and food? The annual Super Bowl is the time to have fun, for us it is a time for everyone to party, not just the men! The kids and I are big fans, just like my husband, so it is a family and friends affair. I just got some menu hints from the friends we are celebrating with this year and let me say I am counting down the days!

Here is a little inspiration for your Super Bowl party.

If you want to make your mouth water pop on over to my Super Bowl Inspired Pinterest Board. Warning: Do not attempt this on an empty stomach!

Photo Source: Bakerella, Catch My Party

 

There is always speculation about celebrities and if and when they are going to procreate. The media is constantly guessing whether a star is preggers or will be in the near future.

Who will announce that they pregnant next? Here are my top five picks!

Katie Holmes

Is she or isn’t she? That has been the question recently as Katie Holmes’s so-called baby bump has been photographed endlessly. Although her rep confirmed she is NOT pregnant, the rumors continue to fly.  I think we just want to see Tom and Katie have another child, and Suri have a sibling!  If Katie has another girl, would Suri be jealous? If they had a boy, would he look just like Tom?  Ah the questions!

Kate Middleton

Now that the royal wedding and honeymoon is over, when will the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a baby?  We are all anxious for a royal baby!

Gwen Stefani

Gwen and rockstar hubby Gavin Rossdale already have two boys, Kingston, 4, and Zuma, 2. Will this hot couple try for another baby, a girl perhaps?  Come on Gwen!  Look at Victoria and David Beckham – they have three boys and they were brave enough to try for a girl.  And look – it happened!  We want to see a bleach-blonde little Gwen running around your brood.

Beyonce

Tick tock – is Beyonce’s biological clock ticking yet?  She and Jay Z have been married for three years… isn’t it time to make some offspring?   Beyonce is releasing a new album which means she’ll likely go on tour! So a baby might not be in the cards quite yet.

Fergie

There have been countless rumors that the Black Eyed Peas singer is preggers but she is NOT – not yet anyway!  She and hubby Josh Duhamel recently said they are ready to start a family soon so a baby will be on the way, eventually!

 

 

Maria is the mom of two rambunctious boys and publisher/editor of www.amotherworld.com, an online lifestyle magazine for the modern mom. Follow her on Twitter!

 

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