Party Perfect Children’s Finger Food

I love entertaining my children’s friends with fun new activities. They can be sensory activities, art projects, games etc… But one thing is always consistent for any playdate or activities involving children – FOOD! Children can be picky, eat tons or nothing at all, and have dietary restrictions. Growing up, my Mom always had great options of snacks, lunches, or party foods. Not always the most creative, but there were definitely some that were pretty entertaining. Unlike my Mother, I have made the mistake many times about forgetting to have enough options on hand or even having some for my own children. Here is a great list of some fun finger foods that your child is sure to enjoy and aren’t too intricate to make. This way, you don’t have to be like me and be scrambling for more options for your children!

Breakfast – Breakfast for us gets dull quickly. I often struggle to find some variety that isn’t just 100% sugar related. My children can also be really picky with eggs and yogurt. Here are some great options that you can add to your rotation!

I love this breakfast option: its cute, healthy and delicious!

My husband makes these regularly and they are so quick and delicious! It’s a family favorite:

Here is a great classic twist on a traditional southern breakfast:

Lunch – For whatever reason I find lunch to be the most difficult attitude wise. My children are so incredibly tired and that often is their pickiest meal. Because of this, I have chosen to make this meal the battle I will not fight – mostly because when they get to school full-time it will be the meal I can police the least. I often fill their lunches with their favorite foods – but try to keep some protein and healthy snacks in there as well. Here are some other great lunch ideas what will allow you to add some more variety to your children’s lunches.

Here is a great healthy lunch (or dinner or snack) option that the kids will love:

Love this option for mini quesadillas:

Cheesy Wonton Quesadillas Recipe – Tablespoon.com

Cheesy Wonton Quesadillas
I make these for my girls all the time! It’s amazing how a change of shape can make this classic lunch taste better!

I think these would be a great lunch item and what’s great is the hidden veggies:

This is another great easy lunch or dinner item that the kids can make on their own!

Snack – I typically use snack time to just keep my kids appeased until dinner. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be healthy. Here are some great options for your children to have during snack time!

I love that this snack is healthy and delicious!

What can I say? I am a sucker for charcuterie!!

Here is a great snack that reminisces ice cream without all the mess:

Here is a great way to present the everyday snack:

This low carb snack is great for adults and children alike:

Dinner – Dinner time is a family affair in my home. We have dinner together most every night! My children also do not get other options for dinner – they eat what my husband and I eat… period! However, there are definitely times where that is not an option – babysitters, dinner on the go, expensive elements, etc… here are some great kid friendly dinner options that adults will enjoy as well!

This is a great option for dinner for the kiddos:

Here’s a great twist on pizza for the kids and they could make themselves!

These mashed potatoes are so cute and will really cut down on the potential messes:

Why not an updated nugget for dinner?

This would be a great lunch or dinner:

Other Helpful Links – Here are some great lists for other food ideas for the children. I mean you can never have enough options for these little fickle humans right?

This is a great list of wraps for everyone to enjoy:

This is a cute and EASY list of party food for the kids:

Here is a great list of some healthy options for your kids to enjoy:

These are a great take on some mini-pie like finger foods:

I love this idea for a kid’s party:

Well if nothing on this list seems like something for you… then check out this ultimate guide for children and toddlers:

I hope this list gives you some new and improved options for you to entertain your children and your children’s guests for any upcoming meals. I know how difficult dinner and meal prep can be – and often I find the more options I have to add to the rotation, the better!! I hope that if you do try one of these recipes that you share your successes and updates so we can share amongst our Olive Shoe community.

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

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Feed Me Seeds| Recipes and Benefits of Eating Seeds

Seeds are incredibly healthy and recently their discussion has become the  forefront on many nutritional discussions. While consuming seeds isn’t new, the change in direction of diets – i.e. high fiber, low carb, gluten free, plant based, high protein, etc. – has caused them to become a new focus for many people. Seeds not only carry many vitamins and minerals but also contain fiber and protein as well. Listed below are some health benefits of eating seeds and some recipes to give you some ideas on how to enjoy these seeds in your daily life.

Chia: Chia seeds seem to be a recent diet fad that everyone seems to be enjoying. These seeds are high in protein, fiber, iron, and Omega-3s, and calcium. Some claim that it helps promote weight loss because the fiber causes the stomach to feel full – however the results of medical studies do vary on this concept. However, the medical world seems to agree that Chia seeds are healthy and a good alternative to unhealthy grains and improve your overall nutrition. Here are some great recipes for you to implement Chia seeds into your life.

Who says eating healthy doesn’t include desserts?

Blueberry Chia Seed Cashew Cake Recipe. A beautiful and delicious treat for any occasion.

I love this healthy jam!

Easy Strawberry Chia Jam

I love a healthy granola bar for a quick on the go snack!

Vegan Chocolate Chip Chia Seed Granola Bars - No baking and just a handful of simple ingredients needed!

Here is a great way to make your pancakes more nutritious:

Blueberry Chia Seed Pancakes | A simple pancake recipe filled with chia seeds for added fiber!

I love overnight oats – so easy, delicious, and nutritious!

Make ahead, ready when you are. Overnight Turmeric Chia Oats | Plant Based, Dairy Free, GF Breakfast Recipe, #ad

Here is a great list of awesome pudding recipes:

This delicious chia pudding recipe will make you seriously rethink reaching for that pint of ice cream #healthy #chiaseed #recipes http://greatist.com/eat/chia-seed-pudding-recipes:

Flax: This seed is also not “new” but has actually been around for thousands of years. This seed is high in Omega-3s, Lignans, and fiber. This little seed is also high in other vitamins and minerals. It has cited for  helping cardiovascular health, diabetes, and cancer. King Charlemagne even decreed that his people must consume the seed because he believed in their health benefits. I often used flax seed to give an extra crunch in my breading for fried foods. Here are some other great recipes for you to add to your list.

A great cracker to go with any cheese:

flax seed crackers recipe angle

Here is a great smoothie to add to your list

Tropical Pineapple Smoothie With Flax Seeds

Here is a great granola bar alternative:

No-Bake Peanut Buttery Flax Bars

Here is a great gluten-free waffle recipe!

Finally! A Low Carb Gluten Free Flax Seed Waffles recipe! These turned out moist with crispy edges and remind me of whole grain waffles but without the carbs and gluten! Delicious with butter and/or syrup (sugar free if needed)! | www.OurLittleEverything.com

Here is a great gluten-free low carb bread substitute:

Low carb flax bread

Hemp: Even though this seed comes from a plant that carries a controversial reputation for its recreational use, it will not carry any hallucinogenic effect. In fact this seed is high in protein, potassium, and fatty acids in addition to other vitamins and minerals. It is even often used as a vegan protein powder. I oftentimes eat hemp seeds in smoothies and cooked with my quinoa.

Do you like Nutella? You will love this seedy substitute.

Here is a great way to update your hummus:

Hemp Seed Hummus - diettaste.com

Here is a great cookie with some healthy notes as well:

Get these healthy no-bake cookies in your belly immediately. Made with hemp seeds, oatmeal, cacao powder, and more delicious and nutritious goodness. Hemp Seed Oatmeal No-Bake Cookie Recipe

I love this recipe!!

Hemp Crusted Chicken Tenders -- this easy and delicious recipe is packed with protein and is also naturally #glutenfree! | gimmesomeoven.com #gf #recipe

Paleo low carb bread sticks?? YES PLEASE!

Low Carb Cauliflower Breadsticks with Garlic Butter & Hemp Seeds (Paleo, Gluten-free) - These crispy, low carb cauliflower breadsticks are low carb and paleo. Garlic butter and hemp seeds provide plenty of flavor. Gluten-free, healthy & easy!

Here is another great overnight oatmeal recipe:

This healthy Chocolate Hemp Overnight Oatmeal Smoothie tastes just like melted chocolate ice cream and packs an impressive 15 g of plant-based protein while meeting the minimum RDA for omega-3s! | runningwithspoons.com #vegan #glutenfree #recipe

Another quick and healthy breakfast recipe:

20120212-185021.jpg

Vegan Parm yummy!

Make your own vegan parmesan cheese with hemp seeds. It’s the perfect cheesy topping for pizza, pasta, veggies, salads, popcorn and more.

A healthy ranch dressing… oh yes!

Love Ranch Dressing, but you've got food allergies? This Homemade Vegan Ranch Dressing Recipe is not only dairy free, but it's also egg free and nut free too. Great as a dip, dressing, or spread for sandwiches and wraps. #paleo #vegan #dairyfree

Here is a guilt-free dessert option:

Poppy: I love these seeds and have been eating them since I was a child. These seeds are more common and less of a new fad but are no less important that the ones previously listed. These seeds are high in amino acids, manganese, and calcium. Although poppy seeds have nutritional value they can also be unhealthy in large doses – so please enjoy them in moderation. Here are some great recipes to meet your poppy seed needs!

Lemon and poppy seed is one of my Mom’s favorite breakfast foods… I can only imagine how much she would love these!

lwmon poppy seed pancakes

Here is a great dressing recipe:

Turmeric Orange Poppy Seed Dressing is tangy, slightly sweet and crunchy. You will feel an explosion of flavors in your mouth when you taste it. Perfect for fall salads! Plus, you can use the leftovers for smoothies.

Purim is such a fun Jewish holiday – why not enjoy it with this traditional Jewish dessert:

This Purim, make these no-fail hamantaschen cookies. Fill with nutella, poppy seed filling or your favorite jam!:

These sandwiches are great and perfect party food!

Make these quick and easy ham and Swiss sliders pop by adding some poppy seeds on top!:

This looks fantastic!

Finding Feasts - Polish Poppy Seed Cake_Makowiec

Pumpkin: I love pumpkin seeds and really enjoyed roasting them as a child. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium, zinc, iron, and protein. Pumpkin seeds are great for so many things including its great source of magnesium, but it also helps with bone health, diabetes,  heart, liver, insomnia, and pregnancy as well. Here are some great ways to include this super seed into your diet.

Roasting the perfect pumpkin seeds:

After you've carved your jack-o-lantern for Halloween, it's time to roast perfect pumpkin seeds! Here's how you can make this salty and crunchy snack, that's healthy too!

This bark is so tasty:

Cranberry pumpkin seed dark chocolate bark tastes just like fall and is super simple to whip up with only 4 ingredients! (gluten free, grain free, paleo, and vegan)

Dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan pesto!

Pumpkin Seed Pesto

Who doesn’t love a crunchy tasty snack? Check this one out!

A simple recipe for Coconut Pumpkin Seed Snacks infused with lime and honey. Easy, delicious! Vegan and gluten free! | www.feastingathome.com

Here is another great paleo/vegan snack:

Apricot Cashew and Pumpkin Seed Bliss Balls by Nourish Everyday | Tasty, chewy and nutritious bliss balls made with natural dried apricots, cashews and crunchy pumpkin seeds. Gluten free, dairy free, no added sugar!

Sacha Inchi: This is a seed you may not have heard of before but it is extremely healthy. It is also commonly known as the Inca nut and comes from Peru. These taste similar to pumpkin seeds and can add a great crunch to any recipe. These seeds are high in fiber and protein as well. It has also been known to help the brain, bones, and protect against cancer. Why not give this great seed a try?

Here is a great healthy cake:

Here is a great alternative to chocolate peanut butter cookies:

Chocolate Chunk "Peanut Butter" Cookies (Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Peanut Free, Legume Free)

This is a great tofu recipe:

Here is a great soup for you to try:

vegan acorn squash bisque with sacha inchi seeds

Here is a great vegan brownie recipe:

Vegan Maple Caramel Crunch Brownies and Imlak’esh Organics Sacha Inchi Giveaway

Sesame: These seeds also aren’t new and most people have probably consumed them or seen them at some point. They are extremely high in many minerals, vitamins, and Omega 6 fatty acids as well. In fact they are often referred to as the “Queen of Seeds”.  These seeds have been known to help with cholesterol, blood pressure, stress, diabetes, and several other health issues. Here are just of a few of the great recipes that I found on this seed.

I love this sweet treat!

Pasteli {Greek Sesame, Nuts & Honey Bars}

Here is another great snack:

Here is a great Carolina staple and dessert:

Benne Wafers

I love Tahini and here is a great recipe to make your own:

Homemade Tahini - this homemade tahini is only 2 ingredients and only takes about 8 minutes to make and its perfect for use in any recipes, especially homemade hummus!

This is one of my husband’s favorites:

This is a great flatbread recipe:

With a lovely buttery and toasted sesame seed flavor.:

This is a great chutney and/or side dish:

Nuvvula Pachadi Recipe (Sesame Seeds Chutney)

Sunflower: I not only love the flower but also love the seeds! In fact I eat them often on a road trip to occupy the time. The seeds are high in vitamins and minerals including vitamin E and copper. The seeds have been known to help cardiovascular health, bone health, skin health, prevent cancer, thyroid function, and diabetes. Here are some fantastic ways to implement sunflowers into your diet.

This is a fantastic peanut butter substitute recipe:

Homemade Sunflower Seed Butter | DoYouEvenPaleo.net

Here is another great pesto recipe:

Kale Pesto with Sunflower Seeds and Pepitas

This is a great dip to go with so many different dishes:

Vegan Cilantro Lemon Sunflower Seed Dip | ElephantasticVegan.com

Here is another great brittle:

This is an easy method that doesn't require a candy thermometer. The result is a delicious, toasted, nutty brittle. A great Fall party or shower favor, school or office treat. From The Yummy Life.

This is a great way to spruce up your oatmeal recipe:

Sunflower Seed Cookies by @Jill | Dulce Dough:

Not only is this delicious but it has a fantastic name!

Sunbutter

Cheese alternative say what??!

Sunflower Cheddar

Multi-Seed Recipes: There is no reason to solely eat one of those seeds alone. In fact, like with most things, you are best eating these seeds in conjunction with other healthy items. So why not eat these seeds together? Here are some great ways to include multiple seeds into your diet.

Here is a great gluten free and vegan bread substitute:

Pumpernickle Nut and Seed Bread 3

Here is a great gluten free seedy cracker substitute:

Zucchini Crackers

I love bread and this one looks like pure magic!

Sourdough Pain de Campagne with Toasted Pumpkin, Sunflower, and Flax Seeds

Love this crisp bread:

Scandinavian crispbreads made with minimal flour, some salt, oil, water and sesame, flax, poppy and sunflower seeds (and a few aromatic ones too) are a crunchy, delicate platform for butter, cheese, pickled herring and anything at all savoury. They are superb crunchy accompaniment to soup, too. Versions of knækbrød are eaten all over Denmark, Sweden and Norway and considered essential foods. High in protein, healthy fats and fiber, these are a near-perfect snack.

Seeds are essential to our whole ecosystem. They are the beginning of life and improve our own lives as well. Implementing vitamins and minerals into your diet naturally is the best way for your body to digest these items as well. I wasn’t really into these “nuts and berries” types of diets – but implementing some seeds into basic foods is easy and has improved my diet as well. So go ahead buy that big bag of seeds at the store and give these recipes a try. I am sure your taste buds will thank you!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Hosting a Garden Party and Plant Exchange

As evidence by my other posts I have a serious passion for plants and gardening. I have heard of people going to and hosting plants and/or seed exchanges and I always wanted to be a part of one! It seemed like such a great way to add variety to the garden while also making it a social event. This year I finally got the courage to host one. I wanted it to be fun, elegant, and successful. Luckily here in Florida people are as into gardening as I am – so it wasn’t too difficult to find people who were interested in attending. Then the real panning commenced… I took to Pinterest, talked to others who had been to a plant exchange, and got to work. I was pleasantly surprised at how successful it was and I hope to improve upon my endeavors in the future.

Invitation – I personally really like old school invitations to parties. I find that it is more personal and really sets the tone for any event. Luckily I have the most talented sister-in-law, Lauren James,  to help me with any graphic/invitation needs. I mentioned to her that I was hosting this party and asked her if she had something that would fit or if we should just create a new invitation. Luckily she had something that was really perfect already!! We changed up the wording to meet my needs and viola we had the perfect invitation. (Side note – feel free to contact Lauren with any of your invitation/stationary needs!)

SOCL004_Garden_Party_Invitation_LACJAMES_Product_Pics-01

Décor – I love party decorations! It is a kind of way to transport your guests to a fun new location. For the garden party I am lucky enough to live in a home with fantastic landscapes and greenery. Therefore actual décor was luckily minimal and many of them I was able to gather from my own garden. I knew I wanted a wide variety of flowers to be placed on tables and create a centerpiece as well. Overall I think the effect was perfect for the event.

IMG_20170319_11171020170319_123350_149005230188620170319_123419_1490052302140IMG_20170319_111634

{Pictures taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Food – As far as the food is concerned I wanted light refreshments that echoed the theme of the party – gardening and elegance. The menu was charcuterie, crudité, smörgåstårta (Swedish tea cake), Pistachio Bundt cake, and lemon lavender cookies. I was pleasantly surprised with how well all of the food came out remarkably well and really fit the theme I think. Listed below are the pictures of the food I created and the links I used for inspiration. I have also included any of the improvements that I made as well.

20170319_145916_1490052273813

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Charcuterie – I read several articles about how the create the best spread. I also love to eat this kind of food on a regular basis – which makes it very easy for me to create different tastes with the food provided. I will also say that I loved near a Trader Joe’s which also makes it easy to pick out good cheeses for a reasonable price.

20170319_145930_149005227374420170319_145942_1490052273528

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Crudité – This is also another food that I eat constantly. This also screams garden to me – for there is nothing better than eating produce straight from the garden. I found an example of this kind on pinterest and it just looked so lovely that I decided to create one as well. It was surprisingly easy to make the cabbage into a bowl which was nice.

IMG_20170319_144430

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Smörgåstårta (Swedish Tea Cake) – Tea sandwiches are such a classic taste and so easy to make. However I wanted to put a little twist on mine and found the idea to make the tea sandwich into a cake! It was surprisingly easy and tasted delicious! However I will mention my faux pas – I did not cut off the bottom crust which made the cake difficult to cut thru – but outside of that the flavor and look was fantastic!

Pistachio Bundt Cake– One of my favorite flavors is Pistachio – especially in desserts. My garden party was also near St. Patrick’s day so I thought it would be best to create something green as well. This recipe was really easy! Instead of using white icing like the recipe calls for – I made a lemon icing instead from the recipe below.

IMG_20170319_144444

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Lemon Lavender Cookies – This recipe was also incredibly easy and so delicious. I really wanted to do something with lavender because I think it add such a fun element to anything with lemon. Instead of cooking the lavender in the cookies I decided to just add some to the icing of some of the cookies (in case some people didn’t want the lavender).

IMG_20170319_144450

{Picture taken by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle}

Plant Exchange – So even though I read a bunch of articles and talked to several people about the exchange part I really didn’t know how this was going to all work out. Luckily the ladies there brought a wide variety of plants and were so cordial in the exchange – that it really made my job easy. If I am truthful I probably wasn’t the best host during this part since I didn’t really have a game plan with the exchange and kind of just let the others take over. Next year I think I will have some kind of orderliness to the exchange so that way everyone isn’t standing around and staring. So to be continued because I would love to do this again in the future with even more success!

Pins of Inspiration – Here is a list of some other examples that I found so inspiring and I hope to use possibly in future event or garden parties! I hope that you too can find some fun inspiration in these pins.

Plant Exchange Explanation

I found this article extremely helpful and plan on implanting more of these ideas on my next go round

How to Throw a Garden and Seed Exchange Party - girl. Inspired.:

I really wanted to do this but ran out of time – but it did inspire some of my decorative pieces

This article inspired me for a lot of the food I did

WEEKEND AT HOME / 27 | D E S I G N L O V E F E S T | Bloglovin’:

This article really inspired me for centerpieces for the party as well

Outdoor floating candles and flowers:

Despite some hick ups the party was an enormous success and I think everyone was able to leave with a plant that they will come to enjoy. I hope that I will be able to make this an annual event so that everyone can enjoy some new plants and some great fellowship. Honestly the day was perfect and I don’t think I could have asked for better weather or company. I am so thankful for these new friendships and the fellowship that we share. I hope that this post will inspire others to also get involved in gardening.

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.


Lauren {LAC} James
is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Rejoice! Easter Has Arrived |Spring Has Sprung

YES!!! FINALLY!!! It’s time to put up the movies, indoor activities, and winter clothing. Ok, maybe not quite yet – but it is almost time! I LOVE warm days and the promise of Easter. Easter itself holds a lot of nostalgia for me. Growing up in Pennsylvania, you never knew what the weather would hold – but I do remember most Easters being sunny and sometimes warm. We would all get fancy new clothes, dress whites, and begin planning for our spring and summer activities. As I have gotten older and moved away from the church (a long tumultuous story that I may share on another date), Easter has not lost its luster. It is a wonderful celebration of life, forgiveness, and rejuvenation. I hope that I will be able to continue to instill the importance of Easter upon our children as they grow older. Here are some great ways to keep some fun in your Easter celebrations this season.

Decorations – These objects really set the mood and can bring all of the whimsical elements to celebrating Easter. Here were some of my favorites – many of which remind me of some of my family’s favorite Easter decorations. I hope they inspire you to have some fun elements this holiday.

Here is a fantastic list of DIY decorations:


http://cf.the36thavenue.com/wp-content/themes/Extra/scripts/ext/html5.js
Easter DIY Spring Home Decor – The 36th AVENUE

Easter DIY Spring Home Decor

 

I am in LOVE with this Easter mantle:

This is another great table set up that is much more simple and just as stunning:

 

This is another great table set up that is much more simple and just as stunning:

Here is a super sweet decoration that is easy to create:

 

I love this take on a terrarium for Easter:

Clothing – Easter attire bring me great joy. It’s always so bright and cheery – a seriously fantastic welcome back from the dredges of winter. Although I do not necessarily love outfits to match too much, I do really enjoy when outfits coordinate colors! Easter is also a great time to take some family pictures. Here are some of my favorite springtime outfits for Easter and pictures.

This option is classic and perfect for an active family:

Bright colors are always a fun choice for spring:

These outfit are so fun and whimsical – they capture the essence of the season:

You can never go wrong with a classic Americana look either!

I also love this more classic Easter look as well:

Food – Ah yes the food! Everyone has their traditional dishes for the holidays. My family always had ham, sweet potatoes, ambrosia, and deviled eggs. Some friends of mine always have BBQ while others fry a turkey! Whatever you do decide – make sure it tastes good! Here are some fun treats to add to your tradition that add a decorative punch!

I love how beautiful this food looks:

This is adorably perfect party food:

These chicks are the perfect app for adults and children alike:

Unfortunately Easter isn’t warm for everyone – this is the perfect solution for a chilly Easter:

Here is a gorgeous take on a classic:

Here is the mother-load of suggestions for desserts if you need more inspiration:

Drinks – It’s not a real party without some fun drinks for everyone to partake.  Here are some fantastic options for both adults and children alike. I love how these drinks are so festive!

These drinks are so adorable!

Who doesn’t love a good milkshake!

How about an adult Cadbury Crème cocktail?

For those with a sweet tooth!

Here is a nicely comprised list of some more fun cocktails for your Easter celebration:

Activities – Easter activities often include Easter egg dying (ADD LINK) and an Easter egg hunt. Here are some other fun ideas you could add to your Easter traditions while also keeping the children entertained!

Here is a great list of Easter games!

Here are some awesome science projects to complete:

Here is a great STEM project that even adults will love!

Here some great crafts that even allow the toddlers to get involved:

Baskets – Easter baskets were always the best! The Easter bunny always hid our baskets and filled the plastic eggs – which my parents would then hide after Church. I always thought it was such a fun tradition. Here are some great Easter basket ideas that could even double as party favors!

These are too cute for Easter:

Perfect for the “nerds” in your home:

These are beautiful and great for years to come:

Perfect for those getting ready for hot weather or a vacation:

Who doesn’t need another mason jar?

Life, forgiveness, and rejuvenation – what a great time of year!! Easter is such a wonderful time not only for religious reasons, but also because of longer sunnier days, bright colors, and promise of life. For me, it’s a time to enjoy new fashion, get crafty, and down-right dirty in the garden (stay tuned for more on this topic later!)  In fact, I am currently writing this outside in the attempts to enjoy this warm weather before ‘Ole Man Winter’ decides he isn’t finished with us just yet! So what will you do this Easter… crafts, egg dying, garden walks? Whatever you choose, make sure it brings you joy and reinvigorates a sense of new life within you – after all, that is what the spring and Easter are all about!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

 

Keen on Green | Eating for the Season

Hello March! Spring is finally on the horizon after months of cold weather and snow. There is a promise of new life with a bright green hue. The color green has always been one of my favorites; it was even one of my wedding colors and the color of the master bedroom in our first home. Also, as someone who loves to garden (include link) – green is the sign of my favorite time of year. Speaking of gardening, the first crops are some of my favorites to eat! There are some other wonderful green foods to eat as well. Here is a fun list of green foods to help enjoy Spring or to celebrate St. Patty’s Day as well.

Drinks – Green drinks can often be sugary, full of green die, or full a spinach like a smoothie. But green drinks don’t have to be limited to these. They can be fun, light and refreshing. Here is a fantastic list of some fun drinks for you to share with some fellow green lovers.

This is a great cucumber cocktail which is so incredibly fun!

This is a fantastic twist on an Apple Martini:

Here is a super fun sangria that is light and refreshing:

This cocktail contains one of my all-time favorite liqueurs – St. Germain:

This is a fantastic take on the traditional Bloody Mary:

Additionally, here are some non-alcoholic drinks for kiddos or adults alike.

This is a great option because it will taste great as a cocktail or not:

This limeade is total amazing and will be fun for folks of any age to enjoy:

Another great punch for adults and children to enjoy:

Blue raspberry lemonade is so fun and refreshing:

Here is a fun new spin on an Arnold Palmer:

Appetizers – Here are some great appetizers that aren’t made with green die or full of spinach. They are sure to bring a refreshing taste and remind you of spring. They would be perfect for St. Patty’s, Easter, or another springtime festivity.

Fun green deviled eggs without dye:

Yummy green spicy hummus:

I love antipasti! It brings back so many memories of family events growing up. This is a great way to get those flavors in a small bite.

There is so much yum in this recipe I can’t wait to eat them all summer with the veggies from my garden:

These pesto goat cheese bites are so delicious and easy to make:

Entrees – Here is a great list of entrees. There is variety, great flavor, and freshness with each one of these. They are great for family dinner or to share with friends.

I love Thai curry and this recipe is the real deal:

Good dolmades are hard to come by in some parts of the country…this way you don’t have to wait anymore!

Herbs-de-Provence bring so many memories for me. My husband and I spent some time in Aix-en-Provence on our honeymoon and it was amazing. The herbs encompass many of the smells and tastes of this region – bringing back some of the most wonderful memories!! I hope this recipe can transport you to another location as well.

I am very hypercritical about pasta recipes. However this one is really fresh and what is great is the zucchini noodles cut the carbs in half:

Good Gumbo can be hard to come by outside of the Bayou. Why not create your own?

Desserts – When I was researching desserts I was seriously drooling over these recipes. They are so fresh and delicious. I can’t wait to make these a regular rotation in my home.

Make your own mocha with this recipe. Great frozen dessert with minimal mess:

This is a stunning fruit tart which is perfect for Spring:

No-bake cheesecake… yes please!

These ice cream sandwiches look incredible and are easy to make as well:

This dessert is simply stunning and with the flavor to boot:

Honestly when I started writing this article I didn’t expect to find so many fun and delicious recipes… but I was pleasantly surprised. There was tons of variety and flavors to choose from which could make anyone’s taste buds happy and green with envy at your fantastic cooking. What I especially love is many of these ingredients can be simply grown in your garden! So celebrate the rebirth of life and fresh new colors with these fun green recipes!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Snowbration

Snow is such an impressive phenomenon. It’s cold, solid, beautiful, heavy and sometime debilitating. I was lucky enough to grow up in an area that had enough snow to enjoy on a pretty regular basis. I remember long days of sledding, snowmen, snow angels, and igloos. Not to mention shoveling, freezing, accidents, and a host of other issues that can arise from snow. If you live in snow or in a place that would never have snow, I think it’s safe to say that it is a beautiful event that can bring so much joy. So in the spirit of our final month of official winter, I thought it fitting that we have a snowbration! Let’s celebrate this magnificent wonder with a party because who doesn’t love a party!!

Decorations – Of course we have to establish the setting. For some locations this may be easier said than done. Living in the south over the last 12 years has showed me how sometimes winter related things can really look out of place. However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little bit of fun with some snowflakes, snowmen, and snowballs! Here are some great examples of decoration you could you for your snowbration.

So cute and cheap: snowball garland!

Cute centerpieces that would be so easy to create with minimal effort.

Spruce up your snowflake-making skills with this new pattern.

DIY Snow Globes! How fun! I need to remember to do this with my children next year!

There can’t be a party without some “shine shine” (as my daughter calls it). These are just too fun to pass up – although this does look time consuming to make.

Foods – There of course must be food at the snowbration.  Now I know that lots of people pass on desserts, but I seriously LOVE desserts. Plus, the winter time is the perfect time to bulk up a little bit to prepare for those colder months. So why not throw a snowy themed dessert and cocktail party. Listed below are some favorites of mine.

Snowcream! One of my husband’s favorites!

These adorable lemon drops are sure to be the rage of the party!

These mooncakes are just stunning and so festive.

These marshmallows would be so fun to create really anytime of the year!

These cupcakes are almost too fun to eat… almost!

Drinks – Second only to food in my opinion are drinks. There are so many fun drinks out there that are both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. There are great flavors and looks to choose from when bringing drinks to the party. Also I know many people want to drink only water now a days, however I think everyone likes a fun drink once in a while so why not have a fun wintery drink!

Mmmm Chocolate!! Snow white-chocolate martini anyone?

Sex On a Snowbank is not for the faint of heart!

Moscato Slush for your sweet tooth friends:

Adult snow cones will bring out the inner child for all to enjoy!

Snow covered white Russian… almost sounds like the punch line to a joke! But oh so delicious!

Blizzard coco will warm up any frozen heart that shows at the party:

Non- Alcoholic versions of some great snowy cocktails…

Snowball punch – both yummy and a great decorative piece:

Adorable snow topped drinks:

Peppermint white hot chocolate – perfect flavor pairing for the season:

Snow Games – I find the best parties have some kind of activity or game for people to stay entertained. This could be kid based or not kid based games but often it can lead to lots of fun interaction among new friends, and a great talking point for the rest of the family. Plus, with so many days spent indoors, it is important to get out and get active. Here are some great games for your snowbration that even adults could participate in.

If you’re lucky enough to have snow, there are tons of great activities for you!

If you don’t have snow, then create your own! I have also seen snow made with shaving cream instead of conditioner as well:

Here are some great snowball games that are completed in a minute-to-win-it kind of style:

This cross country skiing game is sure to bring out some giggles:

Snow really is the best and brings out the inner child in the grumpiest of adults – which means it should be celebrated. Share in food, fun, and fellowship during this season. Before you know it, we will be experiencing the rainy days of spring wishing for something different – even if that sometimes means heaps and mounds of snow! This doesn’t mean you need to create a big ol’ party – but grab your neighbor, co-worker, or family member and celebrate this wonderful precipitous event.

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Celebrating the Color Red with FOOD

As I realize Valentine’s Day isn’t for everyone, therefore I decided to write on a color instead. From November thru February I feel like red is such an important color. There is red in nature, holidays, AIDS Awareness, the Election, and so on. Red has so many interesting meanings and brings different feelings to light when observing the color. So in the celebration of the color of red, I thought it would be fun to discuss some of my favorite “red” foods. Food is something that is so incredibly important to me as discussed in other posts like What’s In A Kitchen? and Creating Your Secret Garden Part 4: Keeping Your Harvest. Red food stuffs are some of my favorites: tomatoes, peppers, beets, strawberries, wine, and meat – the list is endless! So in the spirit of the month of love, I wanted to pay tribute to my red food loves.

Drinks – Let’s start with my favorite drink… wine! Wine brings lots of familial memories for me. Growing up with family who is Italian, wine is always not only an essential spirit, but also a pivotal ingredient at family celebrations. I love how this beverage has such a history and nuance of being produced (at least the good ones do) and can literally be paired with anything. My favorite red grape is Tempranillo. This grape typically is grown in Spain but is also produced in Portugal, USA, and Australia. I love this wine because it is a medium to full body red that pairs with many foods. If you have never had it before, it is very similar to a Sangiovese or Cabernet Sauvignon. If you need more information check out this great article by Wine Folly on Tempranillo. Honestly though, any red wine is going to probably be high on the list for me.

 

If wine isn’t your thing here are some other great red drinks to add to your beverage list…

Non-Alcoholic Red Drinks are also great for those who want to skip the booze.

Apps – I LOVE appetizers. I think I could seriously live on small plated food. That being said my favorite red appetizer is sausage stuffed peppadews. What I love about this appetizer is that it is so easy to make and can totally be adapted as well. Basically you take your favorite spicy sausage and stuff them into prepared peppadews (usually found in the olive bar at a grocery store). Then you place them in the oven at 350° for about 30 minutes (or until the tops are crispy) and then enjoy. You can also mix the sausage with mushrooms, spinach, and cheese to give them a more robust flavor. But the classic sausage is just as good. It has become a staple at our gatherings and will definitely be a crowd pleaser for you as well.

Here are some other great red appetizers to try out as well…

Entrée – When I think of a red entrée I automatically think of a red meat with a traditional red-wine demi-glace. I love to make this for my family. Its relatively quick and takes less talent than you would think to make it. Also, since it is a more old-world traditional dish it has lots of rich complex flavors. I tend to pair this dish with some sautéed mushrooms, onions, and asparagus. If I do choose to add a grain it is usually with couscous only because I despise making mashed potatoes. But honestly the dish goes best with mashed potatoes so you can enjoy all that fantastic red wine demi!

Here are some other great red entrees for you to enjoy!

Dessert – I don’t typically make dessert… but when I do make dessert it is usually chocolate of some kind or mini pies. I love to make mini pies because they are great for sharing, cook in a fraction of the time, and are great to freeze. My favorite is the mixed berry pie. I use strawberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Then I mix in some sugar, orange juice, and lemon zest. It is so incredibly delicious and fresh tasting. I prefer to enjoy my pies with Cool Whip but I know my husband and many others enjoy these pies with vanilla ice cream. This type of pie is not only great for the red months, but would also be great for the 4th of July.

16177583_10103115865267948_2438079957892890736_o{Picture of strawberry pies taken by Lauren C. Carlisle}

Here are some other great red desserts for you to check out.

Red is such a vibrant and rich color in food that you can find it in every cuisine. It can be savory, spicy, or even sweet, lending itself to please even the pickiest of eaters. I hope showing you the variety of red foods will help you not only celebrate with the color red, but also open up some new and exciting tastes for you and your family. So if you are celebrating Valentine’s Day or just need a pick me up of color in the kitchen, I think these great recipes will go a long way to creating happy taste buds and guests at your table. Bon appetit!

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

New Home New Thanksgiving Traditions

Since my family and I have relocated to Florida it has been a major topic of discussion on what to do for the holidays. As discussed in another post I am not super big on some holidays and I don’t like traveling for EVERY holiday. Although I experienced both plenty as a child, I want to do things differently in my home. Although my husband doesn’t necessarily feel that same way – he understands my sentiment on holidays and travel. So as we embark on new adventures here in Tallahassee we will inevitably have to make new traditions in addition to reinforcing some of our older ones. Thanksgiving has always been important to me for a variety of reasons and I can’t wait to celebrate this season in new ways while also paying homage to some of our family’s traditions.

Turkey Trot – In my youth I was an athlete who completed at a pretty high level. Since I quite competing in sports I have yet to enter into any athletic event. Honestly I have really missed it – the preparation, rivalry, and competition itself. Although I have been a coach for years – this year I decided to compete in my first distance running event. When we moved to Tallahassee I wanted to start running again but also wanted to keep up my interest in running as well. So I signed myself up for the 10k Turkey Trot – which my brother agreed to do with me. I should also note that the last time my brother and I were on the same team was when we were on a summer league swim team when I was about ten years old. I really like the idea of the Turkey Trot because it is set to be a family event and many of the proceeds go to local charities. So not only will we get some great sibling bonding time, we will also be helping those who are in need. I really couldn’t be more excited to do this with anyone else.

 

1609554_10101336565319308_1328483037_n.jpg

{Picture of my brother and I at the local swim club cirque 1990 taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

Thanksgiving Projects – One of my newer traditions that I have been trying to do with the girls is holiday related projects. Last year we had done a leaf wreath which was super cute – but a little messy and time consuming on my part. This year I wanted to do something a little bit more simple and also included their handprint – my theme for this year’s projects. This Thanksgiving we made turkeys. I first traced their hands on several different colored sheets of construction paper and cut each hand out. Then we cut out turkey bodies, eyes, beak, and gobblers. Then, with our help of course, we showed the girls how to put together the turkeys. We maintained control of the glue but they really did a great job on their own! Plus they are great keepsakes for future years.

{Pictures of Viv and Noli with their turkeys taken by Drew Carlisle}
{PS – Excuse their PJs they were sick this day}

Thanksgiving Meal – Since Thanksgiving is often centered around the meal – or at least it’s the best part in my opinion– we had to discuss what was going to be our own traditional Thanksgiving meal. My husband has been frying turkeys for Thanksgiving since we started dating, so that one was obvious. On a side note it is totally safe IF you know what you are doing. Then I asked my brother for his recommendations for the holiday meal which was – homemade mac and cheese and mash potatoes. Outside of that it was really up to us. I have decided to also add my roasted vegetables – this includes beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, shallots or onions, garlic, pumpkin and other seasonal squashes. I just season them with olive oil salt and pepper. It is so yummy and great after the fact as well. I will also be doing a sautéed Brussel sprout recipe as well which is super yummy and has great fall flavors. For dessert I will be making a good ol’ fashioned apple pie. I think this meal will be the perfect balance of fall flavors and tradition. I can’t wait to share this meal with my family and friends.

10731172_10152529061348379_5337617179043901939_n.jpg

{Picture of my Roasted Veggies taken by Lauren James}

brussels-sprouts-with-bacon-and-raisins

Sharing – One of the things I loved about Thanksgiving growing up is sharing our meal not only with family but friends. In the past I have shared with family, friends, neighbors, pastors, acquaintances, even the homeless. There is nothing like those warm fall flavors that puts a smile on everyone’s face and also makes them a part of the family. My parents always had seats for others at their dinner table – if it was a holiday or not. One of my favorite and most wonderful memories were those dinners when we had unexpected guests. My husband grew up in a family that is much the same way. Despite the fact that this holiday has a controversial history – I do think it is important to focus on the meaning the has taken on… bringing people together with love, being thankful for the harvest, and all of our blessings. This year will be the first year my husband and I will be hosting Thanksgiving together since we brought our families together in 2008. This year our guests will include my brother and some of his friends who are more like his Tallahassee family. I am so looking forward to these new traditions with them – even if they don’t eat Turkey.

Thanksgiving is a special holiday. Not only does it bring people together but it is a great time to reflect on what your life’s blessings are. I look forward to these new traditions of competing, crafting, cooking, and celebrating in this new place we will call home for the foreseeable future. Although we won’t have our parents, other siblings, and “framily”, it is time that we begin our own traditions to celebrate this great holiday in our own way. How are you going to celebrate this holiday season? I would love to see how you are celebrating with your family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving to all and have a blessed harvest season!

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

Going Gaga for Gourds | Let’s Hear It For the Squash

Ok I am making a confession – I seriously LOVE all gourds in particular the squash varietal! Gourds are typically defined as “any one of several types of fruits that have a hard shell and that are used for decoration and not for eating” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Squash is “any of various fruits of plants (genus Cucurbita) of the gourd family widely cultivated as vegetables” according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. This time of year is my favorite because not only do we get to decorate with gourds but there are plenty to eat and use creatively. Not only are these plants nutritious for you but are so easy to use in different crafts for kids. Listed below you will find why I love these fruits and I hope you will have a newfound appreciation for them as well.

Growing – I have found that growing gourds is one of the easiest things I have been able to grow. Yes they are prone to bugs and need to be pruned regularly – but it is very rare that I can’t get a single seed to grow. Also they grow in almost every growing zone. Listed below you will find several links to help you grow gourds in your region. And remember as I have talked about in other blog posts – growing is trial and error. You wouldn’t lose anything by trying.

Nutrition – Squash and gourds are extremely good for you. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and other health benefits as well helping the immune system and cardiovascular health. They are typically extremely low in calories, sugar, and fat content as well. Listed below you will find some nutritional information on different types of gourds and squash.

Traditional Uses – Gourds were used for all kinds of things in ancient times. They have been used for decorative or ritual pieces, bowls, or a part of nutrition. Especially in the Americas, gourds played a huge role. I was privileged enough to work on an archeological dig in Peru where we found several decorative gourd bowls, some of which people were buried alongside of them. Gourds are one of the oldest domesticated plants so it is no wonder that they have found their way into so many societies. Listed below you will find several article discussing traditional uses for gourds.

Crafts – There are so many crafts you can do with gourds – as evidenced by the ancient peoples in the previous links. The obvious that many people already do is pumpkin carving and painting. But why stop at pumpkins! They also can make great stamps or even bird houses. Really, the opportunities are endless for the creativity with gourds. Here are some great links to crafts you can complete with your littles.

  • Gourd Stamping – Note I like to use the top cross section of Acorn Squash because it looks like flowers!

Decorations – Well since it IS autumn you will definitely need to create some awesome centerpieces, wreaths, and other decorative items with some gourds. Especially because you can literally leave these decorations out from September harvest, Halloween, and thru Thanksgiving. Listed below you will find some great links for tips about decorating with gourds!

Colorful Gourds and Pumpkins

  • 30 Gorgeous Fall Wreaths – Now this one doesn’t include a TON of gourd ideas but the ones they do include I think are stunning

I love DIY fall wreaths and this neutral one is so beautiful!

Recipes – Now what would fall be without those fall flavors. And in all reality, gourds do not need to be eaten just in the fall. Many are eaten in the summer as well – which include zucchini and watermelon. But since we are in fall many more people are eating squash. Here is a great list of how to prepare different types of squash for great food and flavor year round.

Chickpea, Spinach & Squash Gnocchi

Silky Pappardelle with Zucchini Ribbons

Melon with Yogurt and Pistachio-Sesame Brittle

So as you can see gourds and not just important to me but to many other people throughout history and our society. They can be grown, eaten, crafted, used for ritual, or as décor. They are great for so many things!! I especially love this time of year because I am not the only one who seems to have developed a gourd obsession. So let’s all take time and be thankful for these gourds that are so important to our lives and history. And what better way to thank a gourd then by eating or crafting with one! So go ahead and get busy – I know I will be!

ciao_laurencop_sig-01Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop:

A Kiddoween | Making Halloween for the Kids

Halloween has so many levels and avenues to go down. The celebration can be scary, squishy, or silly. Our society is so focused on being ‘politically correct’ that I feel our kids are missing some opportunities for some REAL fun!! I am thankful that I found a preschool for my children that isn’t afraid to celebrate Halloween and make it fun for everyone. You will see updates on this at a later date. This post will give you some thoughts on how to bring the fun back to the Halloween celebrations and make it a true Kiddoween.

Scene:  The atmosphere can really make a kids party successful. It sets the tone for success. Now do you need a 50 ft. inflatable spider? I mean that is great and all but definitely not a requirement. It needs to be fun, visually stimulating, and with a touch of whimsy. Here are some of my favorite decorations for a children’s party both Amazon bought (for those working parents or not there is NO SHAME) and DIY for you crafty people!

Store bought:

I love these three dimensional bats. These are totally whimsical, fun, and most importantly a quick and easy decoration.

These eyes are totally fun. You can make them spooky or just add some fun to different objects in your home and/or yard.

You can’t have the best party without the music! This playlist gives you a great list to get your party started.

It’s also not a celebration in my book without some festive lights. I love these adorable pumpkin lights – you can put them up unabashedly in September and leave them thru Thanksgiving!

I really like using paper lanterns because they are light, easy to hang, and easy to store for a repeat appearance. They are also great to use as centerpieces as well.

I love this giant spider and web! One it has a spooky factor without being too scary. Two it can be outside and or inside. Lastly you can always hang your own things from the spider web as well!!

DIY

These are some great projects to decorate the outside of the property. Fun, festive and oh so cute!

I love these Halloween hacks because they are really simple and can be completed with things you may already have in your house or Halloween collections.

You don’t have to create all these decorations alone. Let the kiddos get in on the fun! You can do these as a before the party crafts or during the party crafts. Either way it is bound to create loads of fun!

Creations: What would a Kiddoween party be without some spooky creations? I remember as a kid Halloween crafts being some of my favorite. Not only because they included candy, but also because it was a time I got to create slimy and spooky critters. Don’t be afraid to get a little dirty with this holiday!

Tricks: What would Halloween be without some tricks. Tricks are typically carried out by mischievous teenagers. But these don’t need to be mean-spirited. They could be fun or even competitive. This is really where you can let your creativity fly! Don’t be afraid to create your own!!

Treats: Candy is the obvious go-to for Halloween. However, we all known how difficult sugared up children can be to manage. So listed below you will find some healthy AND not so healthy food options for your party. Regardless of what you choose, they will be fun, creative, and tasty.

Love this idea for a kids party or an adult party! Plus you can reuse them on a later date.

Here are some other great drinks that would be perfect for a kids or even an adult party!

Love these sprinkles. It makes it so easy to turn anything into Halloween related activity!

There are some really easy treats and some complicated treats in here as well. Plus make sure you check out the end of the article because there are more recipes provided!

Today we do need to be conscious of children who have severe food allergies. So just in case they can’t have what food you prepared you can get them a non-food treat! These are also great for the night of Halloween with your trick-or-treaters!!

Here is a series of adorable and healthy Halloween treats.

Even if you can’t help throw your kids’ party you can still send them with the coolest Halloween lunch! They will surely make the other kids jealous while also still being pretty healthy!

I hope I have helped get those creative juices flowing in regards to allowing Halloween to become a Kiddoween once again. Whether it is for a school party, neighborhood trick-or-treat, or a home party, you will surely have a great event with all the ideas listed above. Some of my most favorite memories have happened around events dealing with Halloween. I hope your family and friends all have a fun safe and spooky Kiddoween!!!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Other Posts by Lauren Cop: