Saturday, June 27, 2009

Kids Birthday Goodie Bag Ideas

First, let it be known that there is no law that says you HAVE to give out favors or goodie bags at every party.

Although it's a fairly popular tradition at kids birthday parties, it's also increasingly falling out of disfavor with moms and dads who don't want their kids filling up on a bunch of sweet, gooey candy after every party they attend.

But if you still want thank  party guests for coming, and not buck the trend, here are some ideas for keeping kids AND parents happy at your next kids party:

Instead of candy, how about filling up your goodie bags with stickers, small toys & trinkets, colored pencils, sidewalk chalk, crayons, comic books, granola bars, snack juices, balloons, hand puppets, play doh, marbles ... and the list goes on with only a little thought and creativity.

Chances are good that at least half the parents will be eternally grateful for your thoughtfulness. The rest will probably be impartial or just grateful that you made their kids feel special.

Forget the bag, give a favor

Or, forget the goody bag altogether, and choose one simple gift as a special party favor "thank you" for coming.

Think coloring books, a colorful beach ball, flip flops, a small toy, kiddie umbrella, fannie pack, a kite, McDonald's or Baskin Robbins gift card, a group party picture in a frame, sunglasses, or bubbles.

Shop around or check online crafts and party goods at Michaels, Oriental Trading, Target, The Dollar Store and Wal-Mart. You're bound to find something you can buy in bulk that won't break the bank.

Alternatives to goody bags:

While we're at it, here are some more creative ideas if you want to give a goody bag that's not a bag:

  • Try paper or plastic cups (with lids) or how about toy piggy banks filled with chocolate coins or candy?
  • Flower pots or straw baskets - filled with seed packets and flower stickers - are perfect for a "Flower Power" theme or garden party.
  • A beach pail with shovel and party theme stickers are great for a pool or beach party.
  • Colored cellophane tied with a ribbon, or a cheap party hat filled with goodies are other alternatives to plain 'ol, same 'ol goody bags.

More about party favors and goody bag ideas around the Web:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Easy 4th of July Cake Decorating Ideas

While a backyard barbecue may be at the center of any festive 4th of July party, what's a celebration without dessert?

Check out these simple, fun and easy cake decorating ideas sure to wow family guests this 4th of July:

1. 4th of July Flag Cake

Probably the easiest of all, this one calls for a sheet cake and vanilla frosting. Decorate with blueberries and strawberries to form the stars and stripes.

2. Stars & Stripes Cupcakes

Bake up a batch of your favorite cupcakes. Use vanilla icing and food coloring to frost with patriotic red, white and blue. Arrange on a tray in the shape of Old Glory.

3. Uncle Sam's Hat Cake

This also calls for colored icing to decorate Uncle Sam's hat, made with strategic cuts to a homemade sheet cake. If you like, frost with vanilla icing and substitute red and blue icing with strawberries (or raspberries) and bluberries.

4. Star Cake

Make dessert shine with this star-shape cake frosted in red, white and blue. A sheet cake will do, or start with a layer cake with vanilla frosting in between the two layers.

5. Red, White and Blue Bundt Cake

Start out with your favorite bundt cake recipe and make a "fireworks" burst by dribbling basic frosted icing down the sides. Fill up the center with strawberries and blueberries.

More about 4th of July cake decorating around the Web:

Also see in the Chiff Party Blog:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

80s Party Food Ideas

Sure, it's easy enough buying the 80s posters, or jammin' to Duran Duran and just letting the good times roll.

But what food does a party purist serve at an 80's party?

Check out the following ideas and suggestions for an 80s party menu guaranteed to be not only authentic but, like, totally mondo:

80s drinks - Two words: wine coolers. A fashionable mix of wine, fruit juice and soda water, they were a huge hit with 20-somethings when they were first introduced in the 80s. And those who attended college during the 1980s will definitely remember jello shots. Seriously trendy cocktails of the day also included Long Island Ice Tea, Kamikazees, Grasshoppers, and Fuzzy Navels.

For the teetotalers, fill the cooler with Fresca, Tab, Crystal Light or Capri Sun.

80s party snacks - Although invented in 1964, buffalo chicken wings really only took off in 1981. And the rest, as they say, is history. Also think about serving heaping bowls of a relatively new-fangled snack called microwave (wow!) popcorn. "Lite" low calorie versions were huge.

80s party food - Sushi hit the scene! Veal or chicken francese suddenly became the favorite of 80s foodies in restaurants throughout the land, along with equally popular pasta salad - washed down with lots of cheap house wine - white, preferably.

80s cakes and desserts - Of course, no 1980s restaurant dessert menu would have been complete without mud pie or dirt cake. For a down-home (and easier to serve) dessert, try trendy 80s pudding pops. For the calorie conscious, remember that frozen yogurt stores could be found on every street corner in every major city, and was the decade's equivalent to Starbucks, at least for a few years.

Want to get your sugar rush on? Pass around favorite 80's junk food such as Skittles, Reece's Pieces, and Pop Rocks. Or, put them in a goody bag for guests to take home.

Gnarly, dude.

More about 1980's party food around the Web:

Monday, June 1, 2009

Top Ten Father's Day Gift Ideas

Of course, there are plenty of bad father's day gift ideas

Then there are the classics that are always sure to please. If you've already given the tie, the socks, hankerchiefs (or the requisite bottle of Old Spice), check out these time-tested Father's Day gift ideas that will really make him feel like King for a Day:

1. Sports events tickets - If dad's a sports lover, tickets to his favorite team's sporting event will catch his attention on Father's Day. Get tickets for you and your siblings to make it a fun family outing.

2. Beer of the month club subscription - If Dad is a beer drinker, this surprise is a gift that keeps on giving throughout the year, and a great reason to stay in touch to find out which one's he liked, and which one's he didn't, and why.

3. Food gift basket - Buy one premade online, or create it yourself. Just make sure it's filled with all his favorite foods, snacks or beverages for a truly enjoyable and memorable Father's Day Gift.

4. Universal remote - A great guy gift for any occasion. (For a good laugh, consider buying one of those oversized giant TV remotes that are too big to misplace. Mom will thank you, too.) If Dad's not tech-saavy, help him set it up. 

5. The gift of travel - Send Dad AND mom on a short cruise, a local winery tour, a weekend getaway, or golf resort. If money is tight, chip in with other siblings to defray the cost.

6. Dinner for two to his favorite restaurant - Does he rave about a great but pricy restaurant nearby that's normally only reserved for special occasions? Purchase a gift certificate to treat dad and mom to a night out on the town.

7. Keep him entertained - Shop around for his favorite movies of all time, like the Godfather trilogy, or a gift set of favorite action movies or westerns. You might also consider adding to dad's cable subscription with an upgrade to a favorite premium sports or movie channel.

8. Go top shelf - Make it special with the premium 12-year old single malt, or how about a vintage bottle of wine? Also consider upgrading him to a pair of hi-tech digital binoculars, or check out that new Swiss army knife complete with USB hard drive for geek dads.

9. Magazine subscription - With thousands to choose from, you're sure to find one he likes, whether its Travel & Leisure, Golf Digest, or even a Newsweek subscription for great bathroom reading.

10. Still not sure what to get? - Treat dad to a gift card or certificate to his favorite automotive center, home improvement store or clothing shop, and let him go wild.

More top Father's Day gift ideas around the Web: