Category Archives: Birthdays & Celebrations

DIY Rainbow Treats

Not only are rainbows beautiful, they were sent as a promise from God.  These quick and simple little treats are perfect for Easter, March, or even Rainbow themed parties!

DIY Rainbow Treats: Quick & Simple

I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. Genesis 9:13

On a recent trip to Sam’s Club, a demonstrator was making these adorable treats and they were so perfect, they had to be shared!  The entire month of March we see rainbows with a pot of gold at the end.  During Springtime, they are prevalent throughout Easter and frequently seen across the clouds in the sky.

Continue reading DIY Rainbow Treats

Wedding Day: 13 Tips For The Perfect Day

Tips to Make Your Wedding Day a Success

We have gathered 13 fabulous wedding day tips to help make your day perfect!  When you are done here, be sure and check out Event Planning 911, stocked full of free resources, tips, custom invitations and more!

 13 Tips for a Fabulous Wedding Day

Weddings in one word: stressful. It’s the most amazing day of your life. You get to marry the person of your dreams, but surprises and roadblocks make it feel like the day will never happen. Everything will seem to be going against you on the days leading up to your wedding day. There will surely be a problem with the cake or the dress or the venue. Just the thought will make you consider eloping.

You have nothing to really fear though. When you take the right steps and are prepared for anything, your perfect day will go off without a hitch. Here are ten tips that you can take to ensure that your walk down the aisle is super smooth.

 

  1. Start Getting Fit and Looking Sharp Months in Advance

It’s only natural that when people get married, they want to look their best. Whether that’s losing weight, getting a brighter smile, or starting a skin care regimen, there are all sorts of ways that you can start planning now so that you’ll be the most splendid version of yourself on the big day.

 

To get fit, and also to keep the stress to a minimum, exercising outdoors is ideal. No matter the season, you can find season-appropriate hiking gear. The exercise will not only help you achieve your fitness goals, but research has shown that being in nature helps to elevate your overall mood and reduce stress.

 

To ensure that you and your soon-to-be life partner have winning smiles in all your wedding photos, you will also want to pick up a set up waterpiks. Use these along with regular brushing to eliminate plaque and get a brighter, whiter smile.

 

  1. Discover Your Dream Dress ASAP

This is for the ladies. You want to make sure that you find the wedding dress of your dreams as soon as you’ve said yes. You would be amazed at how many women put off the dress buying stage for months, thinking they can lose just a few more pounds before getting fitted. But when you go to buy your dress, there will be so many options that it will be a very involved and difficult process to find one that really is perfect for your style and the ideal vision of how you want to look when walking down the aisle. And the fitting? Remember, you can be fitted for the dress right before the wedding, so there’s really no sense in putting it off.

 

  1. Make Sure You’re Organized

No matter how much cash daddy dished out to make your day special, it’ll be a mess without organization. The size of the wedding isn’t a factor in this either. Big or small, if a wedding hasn’t been properly organized there are going to be some nasty bumps along the way.

 

Have a notebook set aside where you jot down the ideas you have for the wedding. Write down the tasks that need to be done in here as well. Organize them into a logical order and determine when you need/want each task to be done. Checking these things off will show you the progress you’ve made as well as make everything feel more manageable. Plus, if you think of something new then you can just write it down.

 

  1. Make Sure You’re on The Same Page

Everyone is told that the wedding day is the bride’s day, but that isn’t true. A marriage is a promise between you and your partner. There shouldn’t be just one day dedicated to what one person wants. You want to incorporate things that you both enjoy so that this day is the most important day for you both.

 

While you both may love your friends, siblings, and parents, they aren’t apart of your marriage, Make sure the person you’re on the same page with is the one you’re marrying and no one else. They’ll have some good intended ideas but you shouldn’t change anything about your wedding just because they said you should. The only two opinions that matter on this issue are yours as a couple.

 

  1. Handle the Big Stuff First

The best way to tackle your “to do” list is tackling the biggest tasks first. These elements include the guest list, venue or venues, and the budget. But in addition to the wedding, the big stuff includes getting the other things that will change after the wedding day settled and out of the way. Many couples move into a new home after they get married, but if that’s something you’re planning, you want to think about those plans right now, not later. The planning for the wedding will be stressful enough, so be prepared ahead of time by looking into homeowner necessities like a home warranty lender months in advance of even purchasing a home.

 

If you don’t live together already, you will also want to think about what kind of mattress to share as a couple. That way, on the day of your wedding when you walk into your dream home, everything including your mattress will be perfect, just the way you planned it.

 

When you have all of these things in order, the more enjoyable part of planning begins.

 

  1. Be Flexible

While the perfect June wedding seems like something to aim for, it will make your search way easier if you have flexible dates. When you don’t have a date set in mind, it becomes easier for the venue you’re interested in to accommodate you. Popular venues are usually booked months in advance. When you don’t have a date in mind, it helps to stop disappointment before you can feel it.

Check out our Wedding Collection! Perfect gifts for the Bride & Groom only at theapollobox.com!

In addition to scheduling, you also want to be flexible in other areas of your life, including your attitude. Many people hear the horror stories of the bridezilla who torments everyone trying to get things her way—don’t become that person, not toward your friends, family, or even your fiancé. Instead, be flexible. So your partner likes to come home and spend the evenings playing high-stakes live casino games. While you might prefer he spend that time with you, don’t try to control every aspect of his life to meet your expectations. Becoming a control freak in the months leading up to the wedding will show in the tension on your wedding day. To avoid all that, stay flexible.

 

  1. Narrow It Down to One Venue

A wedding is an extremely personal thing. It can be either a religious ceremony or a civil ceremony. When it’s a civil ceremony, it makes it easier to combine venues to fit all of your functions. Doing this can save you money on transportation and time.

 

  1. Secure Your Suppliers Early

To avoid disappointments and last-minute cancellations, secure your videographer, photographer, hair stylist, and makeup artist as early as you possibly can. They have schedules to keep too, so you want to think about these things as soon as possible.

 

  1. Make Sure Your Suppliers Are Recommended and Reliable

 

Just like with buying any service, research is key. Spend your time perusing their portfolio to see if their aesthetic matches yours. Set up a meeting with them so that you can gauge your interactions with them. You want them to make you feel comfortable, happy, and confident.

 

  1. Show Your Suppliers What You Want

You got wedding inspiration from somewhere. Show that to those you’re working with. Whether it be pictures from a wedding magazine or photos off of Pinterest, show where you got your ideas, so they know what you expect of them.

 

  1. Pick Up a New Talent

You might feel like you don’t have time to pick up a new talent, but when the wedding day rolls around, you’ll wish you had. Your wedding is your day to shine, and what better time than to astound your friends and family by showing off your new singing skills that you honed through online professional singing lessons? Maybe you can sing your vows, or you and your loved one could partner up and sing a duet for the whole audience.

 

  1. On the Big Day, Delegate Tasks

You don’t want to be running everywhere on your wedding. Assign jobs to your wedding party so that the photographer knows where you want them, the suppliers are paid, and people are gathered where they’re supposed to be. You’re supposed to be carefree on this day so give everything to everyone else.

 

  1. Hire a Planner

If planning seems too much for you, there is one simple solution: a wedding planner. Planning is an underestimated art that is time-consuming. Wedding planners work to ensure you are not stressed. They do everything on the above list for you, so the day isn’t the only day that you’re relaxed.

Event Planning 911: Free Printables, Resources, & Custom Invitations

Event Planning 911: Free Resources for weddings, graduations, announcements & more

Planning an event is fun for me, but I’ve recently seen first hand how stressful it can be for some!  A dear friend is planning her wedding and it seems to be causing some serious anxiety for her.  Of course, I’ll help as much as I can.  There was a twinge of guilt when I had to admit that I didn’t plan my own wedding, My Uncle, whom I’ve worked with in helping other brides with their day, did all of the arranging and planning for our wedding.  I was and still am very grateful!  If you live in Arkansas, or want to have the best for your wedding, check out this wedding & event planner!  I assure you, you would not be disappointed!  What I did do, completely on my own, is our wedding invitations.  This just so happens to be what my friend is battling at the moment.  So, like any good

Event Planning Help: Free Printables, Resources, & Custom Invitationsmatron of honor, I thought I’d do some research for her.  What kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share with you as well?

Event Planning Help: Free Printables, Resources, & Custom InvitationsBasic Invites has a selection worth looking into!  Not only do they have beautiful custom wedding invitations, they also have photo, graduation and party invitations, and for after: collage thank you cards that are out of this world perfect!  I love that they have both foil and non-foil cards as well as SO many different colors and a ton (over 40) of colored envelopes!  They are truly gorgeous and I wish I’d known of them when we got married!  Fortunately, I know of them now and will be using them in the future!  While there won’t be another wedding, there will be plenty of other events!  With graduation coming up, I think they’ll come in handy soon!  I have yet another niece who insists on growing up and graduating soon.  Plus the first will be getting married in the next couple of years.

Continue reading Event Planning 911: Free Printables, Resources, & Custom Invitations

Monster Cookie Recipe

Making Book Clubs Fun…With Food

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With summer’s arrival, it’s a great time to break out the stack of unread books for pool time or beach lounging. At least we always think that’s what will happen. Often, the summer ends and our reading list has barely budged.

A great way to ensure you get to some of those great reads is to create (either for yourself or your kids) a summertime book club. Rather than picturing you and your friends curled up next to a fire discussing your most recent reads of a hot cup of coffee, a summertime club begs for a summertime solution.

Some ideas:

1) Pick books with a setting near you that you can visit with a group.
2) Pick books with action in the plot that you and your friends can try. Choose a book with sailing in it and then have your book club take a sailing lesson together.
3) Hold your meetings on the beach or by a pool.
4) Play games related to the book.
5) Base your meetings around food related to the book.

The last is my favorite (and the easiest to do.) I’ve included my wife Nicole’s super-secret recipe for Monster Cookies below that we serve at Jack Templar Monster Hunter events. They get more accolades than the books. If you try them, you’ll see why!

Enjoy and have a great summer.

MONSTER COOKIES

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Monster Cookie Recipe

Ingredients:

Combine:
3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cup chunky peanut butter

Stir in:
4 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup M&Ms

Preheat oven to 350
Bake for 13-15 minutes
Do not over bake…or the monsters with strike!

Enjoy with a copy of Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy.
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Jack Templar and the Monster Hunter Academy (Book 2)

After barely surviving the onslaught of monsters that tried to kill him the day before his fourteenth

birthday, Jack Templar leaves his hometown on a quest to rescue his father and discover the truth

about his past. Joined by his friends Will and T-Rex, and led by Eva, the mysterious one-handed monster

hunter, Jack sets out for the Monster Hunter Academy where he hopes to find answers to his questions.

Little does he suspect that the Academy is filled with dangers of its own, many of them more terrifying

than anything he’s faced so far.

 

 

Jack Templar: Monster Hunter

Orphan Jack Templar has no memory of his parents and only the smallest details from his Aunt Sophie

about how they died. The day before Jack’s fourteenth birthday, things start to change for him. At first

it’s great: A sudden new strength helps him defend his nose-picking friend “T-Rex” from the school bully,

and even his crush, Cindy Adams, takes notice. But then a mysterious girl named Eva arrives and tells

him two facts that will change his life forever. First, that he’s the descendent of a long line of monster

hunters and he’s destined to be in the family business. Second, that there’s a truce between man and

monster that children are off-limits…until their fourteenth birthday! Jack has only one day before

hundreds of monsters will descend on his little town of Sunnyvale and try to kill him.

As if that weren’t enough, things get even more complicated when Jack discovers that the Lord of

the Creach (as the monsters are collectively known) holds a personal grudge against him and will do

anything to see that Jack has a slow and painful death. To stay alive and save his friends, Jack will have

to battle werewolves, vampires, harpies, trolls, zombies and more. But perhaps the most dangerous

thing he must face is the truth about his past. Why do the other hunters call him the last Templar? Why

do they whisper that he may be the “One?” Why do the monsters want him dead so badly? Even as

these questions plague him, he quickly discovers survival is his new full-time job and that in the world of

monster hunters, nothing is really what it seems.

Amazon * Barnes &

Noble

Awards for Jack Templar Monster Hunter

Book of the Year Finalist by Forward Magazine

Next Generation Indie Book Finalist

Indie Excellence Finalist
Parents Choice Recommended Book Award

Author Jeff Gunhus

Jeff Gunhus grew up in Cyprus, Greece, and Saudi Arabia where there was a distinct lack of television.

He quickly found books were the gateway to incredible adventures, fascinating characters and

unbelievable discoveries. Now, with five children of his own (all who watch too much television, in his

opinion), he has enjoyed revisiting his old books and reliving those adventures all over again.

Originally posted 2013-06-20 00:14:24.

Bow Napkin Folding Tutorial

Hey everyone!  You may remember the recent book review I did “Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds“.  While I was unable to do a giveaway on this one, the awesome people who allowed me to review the book has decided to let you have a sneak peak!  Above is an example of one of my favorite folds!  This is how each of the step by step tutorials are written out.  Hope you enjoy and that you’ll consider visiting here and get your copy today!  Your friends and guests will think you are super fancy!  The book will be our little secret!  😀

Originally posted 2013-02-15 06:00:00.

Top 100 Step-by-Step Napkin Folds Review

napkin.collage
Hey everyone!  Here at the Zoo we love having people over for dinner and what not.  Feeding people is Chief Zoo Keepers favorite hobby.  Generally, he does all the cooking and the house and any creative bits are my job.  I recently came across this book and was super excited to try it out.  At the time, we didn’t use cloth napkins but you know I just had to switch!  I’m really glad I did, because it really has saved a lot as far as napkins are concerned and they just seem so much nicer without much effort!
ISBN-10: 0778804232
ISBN-EAN: 9780778804239
Price (USD): 29.95
Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 224
Published Date: Oct 2012
The book contains exactly what it says: 100 Step by Step Napkin Folds!  I had never explored this area, never really cared to before, but I am super glad I did!  It is so easy and really adds such a special touch!  Each fold has a picture to picture step instructions to make it all the more easier, and I promise you can do this!  It just takes a few minutes and once you fold one of the designs, you are left wondering why you had never thought to try it before!  They have really fancy folds and even informal cute folds to fit any occasion!
Denise Vavaldo is the author whom has catered over 10,000 parties!  She founded Food Fanatics which focuses on recipe development, food styling, and catering.  Through her firm, Denise has catered the Academy Awards, Governor’s Ball, Hollywood Wrap parties and even more!
The book can be found here at Robert Rose Publishing for $29.95.  If you ever have people over for dinner, or even want a special meal for you and your loved ones, you’ll be glad you got it!

 

Originally posted 2013-01-11 14:48:00.

Easy Luau/Beach Decoration

Hey everyone!  I was recently visiting Journey’s of the Zoo and guest posted one of my crafts I did for my daughter’s luau themed party.  It turned out really cute, I think.  Humorously enough I liked it when I made it then LOVED it when I looked at the pictures.  LOL.  Probably because I looked at them AFTER I took it down and apart.  LOL.  Anyway, check out their Zoo here and you can check out my guest post!  Be sure and give them some Zoo Comment love! 

Let me know your thoughts, by all means!  Got any good beach decor?  I’m dying for more!

Originally posted 2012-08-28 05:00:00.

Thomas the Train Birthday Party

My beautiful little God daughter is in love with Thomas!  Trains in general, I think, as well!  For her second birthday, she got to choose the them.  Naturally, she chose Thomas!  So, I thought I’d share the lovely homemade cake and some of the decorations.  Hope you enjoy!

The train tracks on the cake were made using licorice and the jelly beans add a nice rocky effect!  The little kit so that you have the train and plastic decoration can be purchased online or at anywhere you get cakes from.

Em loved the toys off the cake.  I will admit, I remember picking cakes for the toys when I was a kid.  Kind of like picking a kids meal for the toy.  LOL. 

I used my Cricut to cut paper trains then traced them with marker.  You may have the dedication to do the wheels and such in layers of multiple cuts, but I do NOT!  LOL.  Lil girl had fun putting them up on the wall too.  😀 

Some other ideas:

  • Red bandanas make great party favors to go with a little train conductor hat or (if you are brave enough) whistle!
  • Make train boarding passes for the invitations instead of buying them, then you can have hand stamps for when they enter
  • Make cardboard signs to use as decorations (such as stop signs, RR crossing, etc)
  • Set up little play areas where the kids can rotate through playing with different train sets
  • Make a duck tape railroad track for the kids to play on.  (just be careful what you stick it to, I’d stay with carpet!)
  • MUSIC!!!  Play music and/or videos in the background to help keep the mood going.

What is your favorite kids party theme???

Originally posted 2012-06-29 05:00:00.

Luau Birthday Ideas & Such

So, Monkey wants to have a luau themed birthday party…  Sounds easy enough…  Right???  Anyway, I’m trying to do research to get her party decor together.  Of course, I want to make as much of it as I can so I thought I’d share with you the things I’m looking at.  Also, I’ve got some needs for suggestions so feel free to link or throw ’em out here!


Found this on at Coolest Birthday Cakes.com

**Read a suggestion of using crushed graham crackers for sand!  Found that on the Wilson Discussion Forum.


I think these would be adorable draped around the back porch!  You can find them, and more here!