Monthly Archives: June 2012

patriotic USA BBQ plus Carnival Americana – a stars and stripes party

Over Memorial Day weekend we had a fantastic USA party for my husband who just became an US citizen. We wanted to celebrate it as American as it can be, so we had a big BBQ with a picnic area in the backyard.  A while back, I already posted about the party, just click on the pics to get to the different topics. Here a little review:  We had

a Carnival Americana with fun games plus a special area for the guest of honor, who arrived straight from Washington

a Tattoo Station

Photo Booth Props (of course)

and of course The Flag Challenge

The party was all about stars and stripes and the garden was shining red, white and blue. I am happy how patriotic it turned out and this theme would be perfect for a 4th of July bash. Like I already mentioned, some of the fun was already posted, just click on the pics, but I got sick shortly after the party and did not finish writing about it. With 4th of July around the corner, it is the perfect time to post the rest of the pics about the favors, the decoration and the food:

The Favors

Instead of having “take home” favors, I came up with the idea to make these patriotic crepe paper flowers for all the guests to wear. We had different messages like : Party in the USA, Quarato for president, Stars & Stripes, USA and different designs… It came out really nice and it was fun to see everybody in red, white or blue.

We also gave out sparklers, which would be a fun idea for July 4th. Sparklers are so festive and are mini fireworks right in your hand. Both of my kids liked to watch them, but Luca did not want to hold the sparkler… (and Giorgio was not allowed to hold it yet)



The tables and the food

One of the most important aspects of a party  is the food and its presentation. When we decided to do an American BBQ, the first thing that came to my mind, was to have a self-serve burger and hot dog station. Everything else fell in place after that…

 The Burger and Hot Dog Station

I love how the table turned out. We had all kind of condiments for every taste like pickles, tomatoes, different cheeses, lettuce, chilli sauce, sauerkraut, jalapeno, roasted peppers, relish, mayo, ketchup, mustard etc… I had researched different hot dog recipes like the New York Hot Dog or Chicago Hot Dog and we had small recipe cards on the table to make these local favorites. My father was the grill-master and grilled the perfect patties or dogs….

We also served corn on the cobb skewers, potato chips in individual cones and potato salad in patriotic plastic glasses. I love individual portions. It looks so much more stylish than a big pot of chips or salad (but takes a little more space)

All the Sweet Treats

Since I could not make the burger and hot dog toppings look very patriotic, I wanted to have extra special treats for the desert table. Now, sugar cookies (if you know me or followed the blog, I had to bake them for the party) are wonderful, because with some practice you can transform them in whatever design you can come up with. They are much easier to make than baking a cake and will amaze the guests. (and they taste really good)…  We also served meringue, a flag cake, jello stars, patriotic lollipops (some of them personalized) and candy treats in red, white and blue.

To make the cookies stand out, we had built a cake stand out of boxes, covered them with paper and paint, glued them together and drilled holes inside. To make the cookie/cake stand consistent with the theme, it was decorated with blue mini garlands.


Next to the liquor of the flag challenge, we also served water, coke and American beer. We toasted with champagne in special patriotic glasses to celebrate this perfect day and Chris.

Picnic Area

Since it was a BBQ, we needed a picnic area, rather than a lot of tables and chairs. (we still had our stone table with extra chairs). It also gave us additional shade from the sun (or shelter from the rain, if you remember my last party). My parents had a flag blanket, which was perfect. It turned out really cozy and was immediately occupied by my kids… and the sign – this is how you write picnic in German, haha)

Last but not least a picture of one of the hot air balloons we made as a decoration and had throughout the garden.



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Summer bucket list – make a giant hand/foot outdoor painting

You need:

large white sheet (depending on the weather, you might need some weights)

fingerpaint diluted in water

lots of small hands and feet to make super cute prints

It did not look great outside, but I was promising to do this activity for days. (it had been raining every day) Luca wanted to do this sooooooooooo bad. We took the gamble and it worked out perfectly. Since it was overcast, it wasn’t too hot outside and the rain kept waiting until we were finished.

Everybody had such a blast and we added splash painting and an impromptu water fight to the activity. Perfect!

But I am getting ahead. I wanted to use store-bought fingerpaint mixed with water for the painting, which did not work out very well. It was impossible to combine them and make a smooth paste. Since I didn’t have time to make the perfect fingerpaint, we just combined water and cornstarch and added some food coloring.

I didn’t measure, but the mixture should be still “somewhat watery”. The boys had a lot of fun mixing the colors and we were already getting messy.

Luca went right ahead with hands and feet… Giorgio wasn’t to convinced at first and really only wiped the fingers on the sheet. Until he started to experiment with the feet. They were both super busy printing, stamping, stomping, mixing colors, getting dirty, splashing and we spent a good hour until all colors went brown. I loved that Luca came up with the idea to use the mixing spoon for splashing the colors and Giorgio immediately grabbed the other spoon and followed his example.

 Luca also experimented with the store-bought colors, but it wasn’t really satisfying for him and I did not like them as much, since they didn’t dry.

The cornstarch on the other side was perfect for us, but left a dry, sandy residue on hands and feet before washing it off.  Here one more shot of the end result:

I did not want to clean the boys in the house, so we got the gardening hose and washed everybody off. Luca enjoyed it, Giorgio not so much. Chris just came home right then and we splashed him too. He went back inside and the cleaning fun continued. I did not see him coming back outside with a big bucket full of water at first. When I did, it was too late. I was completely drenched in water. 🙂 And Luca was allowed to pour one time as well…

It was a lot of fun and this project was much more than I expected. I highly recommend it and cleaning is super easy. It was the perfect activity for all of us. 

Now, I did not want to keep a big sheet with prints and paint.  (by the way the paint gets lighter when it is dry) We cut out some pieces which were extra cute and I might use them for the baby book or showcase them in a treasure box for a while. I don’t know yet, but I need to remove them from the kitchen table, hahaha…

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Summer bucket list – family bike tour

I am super happy that the weather was good yesterday afternoon and we could do the bicycle tour. This was one of my favorite things from the bucket list and I want to do many more this summer. I actually want to do the nature hunt on the bicycles too. 

We stopped at the playground and stayed more than an hour, but Chris and I were still the only tired bikers, when we came home. It was the perfect afternoon… Here are some of my favorite pics : 

Categories: children, summer bucket list | 1 Comment

We are featured on Mom-A-Logues…

I am super excited about this feature plus giveaway. Dawn had contacted me for the photo booth props for the wedding of her brother. It looks like it was a success. Now she has a giveaway for our USA photo booth props just in time for July 4th. Check out the review here:

There is still plenty of time to participate in the giveaway too. Thanks again, Dawn. This was a great start of the week  🙂

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Summer Bucket List for my kids

Luca’s first year in preschool is over. I cannot believe how fast time went by. Between children birthday parties, holidays and lots of fun stuff in between, the school year is over. We had several different options for summer camps, but decided to wait and have him go a little later in summer. It makes working for me definitely more difficult, but we also have lots of fun and his little brother became his shadow. They play, fight, play, fight each and every day, but I enjoy watching them bond. Of course I need to have plenty of entertainment for both, so we sat together and created our own summer bucket list for this year. Luca comes up with crazy stuff. Not all of his requests are included… sorry, buddy. I also tried to have everything “Giorgio-friendly” (most of the activities at least). It is important to me to include both of them, by the way one is 4 1/2 and the other one almost 2 years old. I am late posting about this, because we have already started. I am planing to take pictures of the activities as we go and post them (with instructions) on the blog.

Because it has been raining constantly and every day, it reminds me of my summer break in Germany when I was in school. The big difference is that there were only 5 weeks vacation, but a lot of years it started to rain with the beginning of the break. Shortly before school was over,  it was hot and sticky in the classrooms and everybody was dreaming about going to the community swimming pools…

Today I can smile about it, but we have a lot of outdoor activities planned, so hopefully we will have plenty of sunshine again soon.

Here is our ambitious summer bucket list for 2012:

– go to the beach a lot of times                                                                           

roadtrip to visit grandparents

– have fun in the swimming pool

– try geocoaching

– have a picnic in the park

– go to the children museum

– (Luca wants to go to the cinema – depending on the rain)

– pick berries at u pick farm (just researched it and all the strawberry farms in South Florida are already closed. Let’s see what we can do)

– photo scavenger hunt                                                                                             

– make a bicycle tour with entire family –                                           

– go on a color palette nature walk                                                                                                            

– nature walk summer funny faces

– fly a kite

go to a museum or other park

– plant tomatoes and other gardening                                                                   

– build a sand castle                                                                                                      

– start a shell collection                                                                                                                     

– make pet shells and pet rocks                                                                           

build a tent in the living room on a rainy day

– have an Italian Day

– have a German Day

– make clothes line tent

– have a teddy bear picnic

– make fizzing sidewalk paint

– have an ice party – freeze toys in ice – color ice – eat ice cream

– make pet rocks                                                                                                                 

– stamp summer flowers with potatoes

– build a boat or raft and let it float

– make a hand made birthday gift for the aunt

– water balloon craft

– sand craft at home – color sand

– make a giant finger and foot outdoor painting (we combined it with a splash painting and a water/ clean-up fight)

– make a bubble painting

– make ziplock ice cream                                                                                      

– make popsicles

– make smores

– make frozen raspberry lemonade

– make homemade pasta for Italian day

– make German pancakes or pretzels for German Day

– (Luca wants to bake cookies) – not sure yet which ones

– try a new fruit

– do a scavenger hunt

– have a water balloon fight                                                                               

– see an outdoor movie

– play in our yard (they just played pirate ship on the swing set)

– get a summer hair cut

I have a couple more things for the “arts and crafts” section planned, but wanted to get this list posted before summer is over, 🙂

Thanks for being part of the summer bucket list party 2012.

Categories: children, summer bucket list | 1 Comment

San Francisco Photo Booth Props custom-made

When I started the blog, we never anticipated that photo booth props would be such a big hit for us. We still do all kind of things party related, but photo booth props have become the focus right now. I love that other people also like our props and we get custom requests. One of the requests was for a wedding in San Francisco. We just finished the props and they came out great. I love San Francisco (Chris and I visited this amazing city last summer) and when I heard about the request, I got super excited. There is so much material you could do…. Now since they are photo booth props, we did not want to feature just landmarks, so the idea of the “Lombard Street Tie” was born… Now there were many other things I would have liked to do and I am sure we could do a complete new set for San Francisco, but I am excited about how it came out.

One of my favorites is of course the sea lions…. Almost as cute as the real ones at Pier 39. The crab hat was also inspired by my visit last year. Eva really liked the hippie glasses and even wore a hippie dress with peace signs… (this is devotion, hahaha).

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new article about us on blog.holamama

I was really happy to find a blog post about us this morning. Positive feedback is always appreciated, but getting praise or feedback in a blog post, is the best compliment ever. Here is the story about us in Spanish:

Thanks blog.holamama for the feature. It made my day.

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and more photo booth props – the funniest yet – cartoon silly faces

I am still laughing about these. They are so much fun and will transform your face instantly.

Normally you need to come up with some silly faces yourself to match the props, but not with these guys. Just putting the glasses with the anime eyes in front of your face gives instant cuteness, 🙂 while the witch nose changes the looks of the entire face. We definitely need to use them at the next party. I mean laughter and fun will be guaranteed…

oversized green glasses – yellow psychedelic swirling glasses – cartoon anime eyes sticking out – cartoon tongue – full beard with lips – goatee with mustache and lips – toothy big grin – long witch nose – oversized nose – nose with attached mustache – purple 50’s glasses with cartoon eyes and nose attached – red glasses with cartoon eyes – pig nose – red mustache – zipper mouth – pouty red-hot lips for kissing – open mouth showing tongue and teeth

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extra special Father’s Day Card or Father’s Day present personalized for you

We came up with this idea just recently and I think it is so cute. A personalized father’s day card using photo props….
Daddy will be so surprised….. (my husband not soo much, if he sees it now…) 🙂

We are selling it in etsy of course…

After we received payment, we will send you the props by e-mail. Take your picture and send it back. We will take the picture and will apply effects, frame and writing as in the sample picture and send it back to you by e-mail. You will have a unique and personalized present or card perfect for Father’s Day or Daddy’s birthday… If you don’t want step 2, we will just send you the props. Maybe you already have a picture, you would like to use. No problem, we will be able to use that as well. 

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European championship photo booth props – the ultimate soccer fan accessory

I just posted a post about soccer memories of the world cup in 2006. There was already much soccer excitement before the European cup had even started, because Luca was not sure which team he will choose (meaning Italy or Germany)….

We had to make soccer photo booth props! We actually have another similar set (when the European cup is over) for all soccer fans. But for now we are all the way focused on the championship. Since being a fan is all about the country, it was a nice challenge to make something personalized for each country. We used Germany, Italy and France as examples, but our props can be personalized for any country participating in the cup. Just let us know the country and we will send a flag and other personalized fan accessories inside the set.

We could have been a little earlier, but now (Chris is watching the game Germany – Portugal right now) I am in total soccer mood. Actually they just won… GO GERMANNNNNYYYYYYYYYYY….. I hope after checking out our pictures you are also in total soccer mood!

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