Halloween Fun

We had 2 Halloween costumes to chose from, so here’s our little Minnie Mouse AND Tinkerbell. We enjoyed a nice evening at a friend’s party with LOTS of kids running around in costume!  I had decided to take a night off from carrying my camera around (since I feel like I do a photo shoot everyday). I should have brought it because the hostess did such a great job with decorating. She created a “kid’s cookie station” where the kids could customize their cookie with spooky toppings. Super cute idea.  She did a lot of work on the party, all while caring for 9-week-old twin boys!  Hope everyone had fun trick or treating!

What did you dress up as? Please share!

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Pumpkin Patch Rice Krispie Treats

Since it’s still 90 degrees and doesn’t yet feel like Fall here in Florida, I decided to create my own pumpkin patch. I came across this Rice Krispie Treats recipe in a magazine at the hair salon this week. I didn’t feel right about ripping out a recipe from a magazine that didn’t belong to me, so I created my own version of these autumn treats (the magazine version hid mini candy bars inside the pumpkins).

Ingredients (icing not pictured):

1. Prepare Rice Krispie treats according to package. Add orange food coloring (I mixed my own from red & yellow) into the marshmallows.

2. Shape Rice Krispies into various sized balls. Spray your hands with non-stick cooking spray to make them easier to handle.

3. Add “stems” at the top using green gumdrops (or in my case, Mike & Ike candies, since my husband couldn’t find gumdrops at the store). Add leaves or vines with green icing.

Hint- make an indentation in the top of the pumpkin and add a dot of icing so that the stem stays in place. I didn’t figure that out until my last couple of them.

4.  Add candies or chocolate chips to make a jack-o-lantern

For the leaves, I use the Wilton icing tip to create leaves. You can also purchase fondant or gumpaste leaves from Joann’s or Michaels.

Happy Fall! Is the weather cool where you are?

For more fun ideas, stay in touch…

Happy Halloween Peeps

I love this idea from Jenny at Bloom Designs.  In fact, I pretty much love all of her ideas!  Check out her blog HERE, she’s giving away the printable labels for free.  I have my labels ready to go, and have been so excited to make these, but can’t seem to find the ghost peeps.  Does anyone know where to buy them?

For more fun ideas, stay in touch…

Cool Destinations for Summer Travel

Is it hot where you are?  Perhaps you’re one of the fortunate ones who lives in a temperate climate year round.  As for us here in Florida, it’s the dog days of summer.  It’s been hot for months, and there’s no end in site.  I’m longing for a vacation to somewhere cooler.

Here are a few of the summer travel deals I came across in cool climate destinations.

Waldorf Astoria Park City, Utah

Photo credit : Waldorf Astoria Park City 

You may recall from my “Luxury Travel Ideas” article that our vacation bookings are often quite impromptu.  Yesterday was no exception.  One minute I was browsing for vacation ideas, and the next thing I know, we booked a trip to Park City, Utah!  I’ve never been there before, and not sure what to expect, but I know it will be cooler weather than Florida!  I’m looking forward to bringing you the full review of the Waldorf Astoria Park City in a few weeks.  Wow, did I mention how phenomenal the rooms look, and the residences have full kitchens?!  And since it’s off-season in Utah, the rates are a fraction of what they would be in the peak of ski season.

 Four Seasons Resort, Vail, Colorado

We stayed here for a week in late September/early October last year, and it was incredible.  From the minute we walked in the door, we were pampered.  They had a full size crib for our baby, bottle warmer, baby bath tub & bath amenities, toys, milk and cookies with her name on it, and the list goes on and on.

The fall colors were in their full glory.  Being off-season, it felt like we had the place to ourselves (which I could hardly believe given how GORGEOUS the weather and foliage were).

The best part of all- the price was amazing.  We booked on a special “every 2nd night FREE” rate- at the Four Seasons!  Just when we thought it couldn’t get better, the package also included “buy one get one free” spa treatments, and dinner entrees!  We had such a fun family vacation at a price we may never see again at Four Seasons.  Read more about the Four Seasons Vail spa HERE.

Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch, Colorado

 Photo Credit: Ritz Carlton Bachelor Gulch 

I’ve had my eye on this resort for a while now.  It’s nestled into the mountains in Avon, Colorado.  The lodge-like feel looks so cozy and inviting.  Being a long-time spa junkie, I am drawn in by the 21,000 square foot facilities with 19 treatment rooms!

And for the best part, I found “pay in advance” rates in September for as low as $143/night!  $143 at the RITZ CARLTON!  Wow, I could jump for joy.  Off-season has it’s privileges.

Fairmont Pacific Rim, Vancouver, British Columbia

I’ll be honest.  Before my business trip to Vancouver in May, I hadn’t really thought about visiting here.  I had no idea what I was missing…Vancouver is fabulous!  I cannot wait to go back.  My bathroom at Fairmont Pacific Rim was the best hotel bathroom I have ever experienced.  It should be on the list for top 10 hotel bathrooms in the world.  The view was delightful, and the tub…oh my.  Before this trip I only used showers.  The thought of using a bathtub was icky.  Well, I was transformed at the Fairmont.  I used the tub everyday.  I would have used it twice a day if I had more time.  I was mesmerized by the view from the tub, watching cruise ships coming into port, and sea planes take off and land.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the flowers of Vancouver.  Everywhere I turned, I was in awe of the lush landscape and abundant floral beauty.  The rates in the summer are not what I would consider a “deal” (Vancouver is an expensive city), but the weather is oh-so-blissfully refreshing.  Read more about my Vancouver experience HERE.

Those are just 4 great spots.  I am also a huge fan of California (San Francisco, Big Sur, Cambria, and Malibu- just to name a few!)  What’s your favorite vacation spot when you want to escape the heat?  Leave me a comment and let me know.

Single Tier DIY Cupcake Stand

For the new and improved 2-Tier version of the stand below

Looking for a new way to display cupcakes or desserts?  It’s easy to make an attractive cake or cupcake stand in minutes.  My daughter’s first birthday is at a park this weekend, and I didn’t want to haul all of my glass serving trays.  Instead I used a box and some fabric to invent a stand.

Supplies needed include a box, fabric, ribbon, and glue

Simply wrap the box like a present with the fabric of your choice.  Instead of tape, I glue the edges and creases using fabric glue.  To make it easier you can first tape, then go back and glue.  I prefer to buy “fabric quarters” from Joann’s, so I don’t have to wait in the seemingly always LONG line for fabric cutting.

Glue ribbon to the bottom edge for a finished look

Choose any ribbon to go around the bottom, or even the top crease of the box.  You can mix and match different colors to go along with your fabric.  Ideally, you would use several different size boxes to create a tiered effect.

Jazz up everyday cupcakes with toppers and a nice fabric stand

These fun St. Patrick’s Day cupcake toppers are a free download from The TomKat Studio.  Just click here to print yours.  Wilton makes the petal cupcake cups in a variety of colors.

It’s easy to make grass with Wilton icing tip #233

Once your fabric stand is complete, the cupcake possibilities are endless.  These “grass” cupcakes are a cinch to make.  Simply use Wilton icing tip #233, and mix up a batch of buttercream icing and add green dye.  I made the flowers using the Wilton lollipop molds and candy melts.

Try something different by baking cupcakes inside ice cream cones

If you’re looking for a unique idea, try making your cupcakes inside ice cream cones.  I use Wilton icing tip# 1M to make the “ice cream”.  Super fun for a kid’s party.

Nursery and Kid’s Rooms Ideas

Want to win $3,000 in kid’s furniture and decor?  While looking up ideas for nursery and children’s room design, I came across this giveaway from Rosenberry Rooms, so I thought I would pass it along.

It’s the “Pin it to Win it” giveaway.  Create a Pinterest board of your favorite items from Rosenberry Rooms, and you could win the items you choose.  Check out this link for full contest details.

I decided to go with a funky nursery design for my “Very Rosenberry” board.  Here are a few of my picks…

A cozy haven for kid’s to read in bed

I would have loved this tent when I was a kid

Check out more fun finds on my Pinterest board.  Do you have a great nursery idea?  Please share.  Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at [email protected]

Happy Pinning!

Spring Break Getaway Idea

Dreaming of a vacation?  South Seas Resort offers an array of family friendly options.
My husband’s family has been coming to South Seas for years, and we all came back again last July 4th weekend. We stayed 4 nights in the Harborside Hotel rooms. The rooms were renovated after the hurricane several years ago, and are clean and comfortable.

Harborside Hotel Room

If you have never stayed at South Seas before, the main thing to keep in mind is that it’s not what I would consider a “luxury property”. Yes, there are people who own 100-foot yachts who come to the marina, but the resort should not be confused with the Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton. Imagine something more like a Disney property, but bigger and more spread out, and on the beach. Almost like an upscale summer camp for families.

Games and activities for the holiday weekend

That being said, we always have a wonderful time and come back again and again. It’s just important to know what you’re getting when you book at South Seas. It’s a large property (you can rent golf carts or take the trolley to navigate around) with many different rental options, most of which are individually owned and managed by the resort.

We like to stay on the north side of the property, as it’s closer to the marina, golf course, Harborside Grill, beach, and other activities. The property is under new management, and they seem to be doing a much better job with customer service and keeping guests happy.  We are avid boaters, so we usually request a marina view, as it’s fun to look at all the boats. Many people may prefer the open water view (which is considered a higher category) if you’re staying in the Harborside Hotel.

We ate several times at the Harborside grill, and had good food each time. Service ranged from decent to good, depending on how busy the restaurant was at the time. The resort was completely sold out over the holiday weekend, so given the large # of guests, they did a good job.
South Seas doesn’t have too many dining options. They do have grills all over the property and many people bring food and make it in their condos (most units- not in the hotel- have full kitchens). the Ship Store has a small but well-equipped deli and meat selections. If you don’t mind spending a little more, it’s not even worth hauling a cooler and going shopping ahead of time, you can get what you need at the Ship Store (especially if it’s only for a couple of meals over a long weekend).

The main beach has a designated area for chairs and umbrellas, and when it’s a busy weekend, it’s packed. It would be nice if they could expand the “sitting” area. The beach itself is huge, but there are private homes on the south side and you cannot sit in front of them, and the golf course is on the north side, and they will not set up chairs in that area. It’s a wide beach, so they just stack the chairs 3 rows deep to accommodate everyone.

Main beach can get crowded; walk north or south and you will have shoreline to yourself

I highly recommend bringing or renting bikes. You can cover a lot of ground, and bike all over Captiva Island. Be sure to bring bug spray, as there are lots of mosquitos here.  The nature center is a fun place to stop into, especially for kids. Vince does a great job running the place, as he has for years. The new management cut the hours for the nature center, so it seems like it’s barely open.

Lots of activites for children at the nature center and kid’s club

You can rent pontoon boats from the smaller marina, and it’s a great way to get out on the water for the day. There are also cruises on the Lady Chadwick that run on a daily basis. The pool is large and has water slides for the kids, but it does get quite crowded. I would hit the pool first thing in the morning (while it’s nice and clean and calm) then head over to the beach midday.

Have the pool to your self early morning or evening

Overall, South Seas is a fun place to come with family, and there’s plenty of things to do. Don’t expect posh lounges or luxurious rooms, but set your expectations appropriately and you will have a great time with your family.