Wednesday, March 31, 2010

the country bunny and the little gold shoes

(photo courtesy of Barnes & Noble)

This is my favorite Easter book for kids. I loved it when I was a little girl and enjoy reading it to my own kids now. I love that it has a strong female protagonist, a good message and beautiful illustrations. "It is difficult to believe that this very modern feminist tale was originally written in 1939. A gem of a fantasy in which kindness and cleverness win out over size and brawn." (Learning Magazine) This book would be a perfect addition for an Easter Basket. You can find this book here . How cute would it be if you also tucked in a pair of gold shoes! I found some here, here and here.

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Monday, March 29, 2010

I couldn't believe how cute these clear bunny boxes were when I found them. They resemble chocolate bunnies (at 8 inches tall) with all of the details and the possibilities for filling them are endless! They can be tucked inside an Easter Basket, given as prizes for an Egg Hunt, used as a fun centerpiece for the kids table, filled with someones favorite candy as a gift, even as an adorable holder for a gift certificate. They would also make perfect favors for an Easter themed Birthday Party. If only I had seen them last year. I filled this one with a spring mix of m&m's - my daughter's favorite! The best part about these cute boxes is that they were only $1! After purchasing a handful I had to go back and buy more. I'm totally smitten. Please share how you would use these little gems.

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bunny birthday wishes

At every birthday I leave out something for our guests to sign and then turn it into a scrapbook page for my kids. Since this was an Easter party, I put a white bunny in a glass basket with different colored eggs for people to sign. The bottom picture is the last page of my daughter's scrapbook with all of the messages form her friends and family. This year we are having an art party with a French & Monet's "Water Lilly" theme. I am working on all of the final details and will share them after Easter.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

easter egg hunt

I had planned to do an Easter Egg Hunt outside....But, it was April in New England and it rained.
Instead, I hid the eggs in our living room and let the children choose what color they wanted to look for. I gave each child a metal pail filled with paper shred and decorated with ribbon in the same color as the eggs they were searching for and pointed them towards our living room. The kids enjoyed looking for their eggs and since they only had to find one color it made it a lot easier for everyone involved. Since Easter was the day after the party (and I knew that the kids would be getting a ton of candy the next day) I decided to fill the eggs with craft supplies instead. I found mini craft punches for a dollar at Michael's, stickers, confetti, tiny rubber stamps, etc. I did include one small bag of jelly beans with a note attached that read "thanks for "bean" here today to celebrate my birthday. " If you are hosting a large gathering for an Easter Egg hunt this year you might think about using this idea of color coding the eggs to ensure that everyone gets the same amount.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010


Since my daughter turned three last year, I decided that instead of having one structured activity it would be more age appropriate to have stations set up in different rooms around the house. This helped the party flow and allowed the kids to choose activities that they were interested in.

The activities were:
1.)Sponge painting Easter Eggs: I put put paint, small sponges and hard boiled eggs out and let the kids decorate them.

2.) Egg hunt: I filled a water table with bags of Easter grass and hid small, glittery plastic eggs in the grass. I left out some tiny baskets for them to collect the eggs in.

3.) Cookie decorating: I made sugar cookies shaped like Easter baskets and let them use frosting and different Spring themed sprinkles to decorate them.

4.) Pretend play: I made a little bakery. I put out all of our pretend sweets, a cash register and a sign that said "baby cakes."
The kids were happy and stayed busy with the different activities. This allowed the parents to relax and enjoy themselves too. We also had an Easter Egg hunt that I will share in an upcoming post.
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Saturday, March 20, 2010

easter birthday party

It is hard to believe that Easter is in just two weeks. My daughter was born in April and her birthday usually falls right near Easter. Last year it was the day before so we decided to have an Easter themed party. I found paper plates form Target that had green grass printed around the edges. I used a combination of flowers and petite terra cotta pots for napkin rings. To serve the food I made my own cake stands by turning terrra cotta pots upside down and using the saucers for the platters. I served Peanut Bunny and Jelly sandwiches- just PB&J cut into the shape of a bunny with a cookies cutter. I also had little cupcake liners filled with baby carrots and another with cheddar bunnies- little cheese crackers shaped like bunnies. For dessert I served fruit (and even cut melon into little bunny shapes with a tiny cookie cutter) and carrot cupcakes. Over the next week I'll share more about the activities and favors. So, stay tuned!

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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

cliffs of moher

The west coast is a must see for any visit to Ireland. Galway, Dingle, and the Cliffs of Moher are some of my favorites. I remember the first time I saw the cliffs, it was a similar feeling to when I first saw the Grand Canyon. It is simply breathtaking and pictures just don't do it justice.
Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Duit!
Happy St. Patrick's Day!
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Monday, March 15, 2010

shamrock cookies

I made these cookies for my daughter to take to pre-school tomorrow. I think you can tell from my sons face that they probably taste better than they look!

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

st. patrick's day menu

Most Americans enjoy eating Corned Beef & Cabbage on St. Patrick's Day. In Ireland they have something similar that they call Bacon & Cabbage- but, Corned Beef and Cabbage would not be a traditional meal to eat on St. Patrick's Day. I thought I would share our menu for St. Patrick's Day this year. To start we are going to have brown bread with smoked salmon. For the main course, I am making Avoca's recipe for Shepard's Pie and will be serving it with a simple green salad. And for dessert...Irish Cream Rice Pudding. I like to set a table that is both simple and elegant and that has a mix of formal and casual. I have some bells of Ireland in a crystal vase and have pulled out my Irish linen napkins. This year my husbands sister will be visiting us from Ireland, so I wanted our table and menu to be extra special. What will you be serving for St. Patrick's Day this year? I would love to hear about your recipes and menu.
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Thursday, March 11, 2010

irish coffee

"Only Irish coffee provides in a single glass all four essential food groups: alcohol, caffeine, sugar and fat." ~ Alex Levin

I made these individual Irish Coffee's as gifts. In each cellophane bag there is an Irish coffee glass and a petite bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. Traditional Irish coffee's are made with whisky, but I prefer Bailey's. However, you could certainly include a small bottles of Irish Whisky instead. On each tag I included the quote from above. I think these would make darling gifts for your Irish friends or as favors for people attending a St. Patrick's Day dinner or party at your house. Slàinte!

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 jigger Irish whiskey (1 1/2 ounces or 3 tablespoons)
Heavy cream, slightly whipped

Fill footed mug with hot water to preheat it, then empty. Pour piping hot coffee into warmed glass until it is about 3/4 full. Add the brown sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Blend in Irish whiskey. Top with a collar of the whipped heavy cream by pouring gently over back of spoon. Serve hot.

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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

orla kiely

(photo courtesy of Anthropologie)

My favorite Irish designer is Orla Kiely. Anthropologie carries some of her handbags... but, you can browse and purchase her designs straight from her website here. She has fabulous handbags, some clothes, and beautiful housewares. "The world of Orla Kiely is one where color, pattern, graphic control, texture, and rhythm continually work and rework together. Orla has a unique, immediately recognisable design language, developed though graphic patterns that celebrate her optimistic spirit."
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Friday, March 5, 2010


I created some fun traditions for my children for St. Patrick's Day that I thought I would share with you. After my children go to bed on March 16 I use this technique to make small green footprints all around our house. I used to do this in my classroom when I was teaching and the children always loved the magic of it! All day they would try to figure out who could have left such tiny footprints. I use green acrylic paint and only put the footprints on places that will be easy to clean after St. Patrick's Day is counter tops and windows. And, since leprechauns are cobblers, they leave the kids new shoes (preferably green) outside their bedroom doors, filled with gold coins and other little treats. Although these traditions certainly are not of Irish origin, I had fun creating them for my kids. Do leprechauns ever visit your house? I would love to hear all about your St. Patrick's Day traditons too.
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Thursday, March 4, 2010

irish soda bread

(picture courtesy of Ina Garten)
This is a wonderful recipe for Irish Soda bread from Ina Garten's cookbook "Barefoot Contessa at Home." Although this is not a traditional recipe for soda bread, it is delicious and even my husband approves! You can look at the recipe here on food network. I love the combination of the orange zest and currants. I'll definitely be making this soon. I hope you'll give it a try too.

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Wednesday, March 3, 2010


(photo courtesy of Nicholas Mosse Pottery)
If you ever get a chance to visit Ireland you should definitely pick up some Nicholas Mosse pottery. I love all of the bright colors and patterns, they simply make me happy! He describes his designs as "Inspired by the rural surroundings, our patterns capture the charm of Irish country-living and bring it straight to your home." Now, who wouldn't love to bring a little Irish charm into their homes? Check out his website to see more of his work.
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(photo courtesy of Avoca)
My favorite store in Ireland, hands down, is Avoca. It has fabulous home furnishings like the beautiful blanket above, gourmet foods packaged to perfection, toys for kids, oil cloth and so much more. It sort of reminds me of Anthropologie here in the States. The original Avoca store is in Wicklow and is well worth the trip. The drive just to get there is beautiful and worth the effort. I have also been to the newer store in Rathcoole on the Naas Road in Dublin. I can spend hours just walking around looking at all of the amazing displays. And, the best part, when you have finished your shopping you can go upstairs and enjoy delicious gourmet food or simply have a cup of tea. There is only one Avoca in the United States located in Annapolis, Maryland. If you are lucky enough to live anywhere near there I suggest you make the trip. I am confident you won't be disappointed.
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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

tea time

(photo courtesy of the Shelbourne Dublin)
If you have ever been to someones house in Ireland I am confident that you were offered a cup of tea. And, even if you said no, they would have told you "oh go on" until you politely obliged. Tea is a major part of the Irish culture. The kettle is always on and Irish people definitely have a favorite type. My husband will only drink Barry's, preferably from the red box. Whenever I am in Dublin I love to go to the Shelbourne for high tea, located right on St. Stephens Green. My 5 sister-in-law's brought me there for the first time eight years ago and I have been hooked ever since. My husband and I even considered having our wedding reception there but decided the country was a better fit for the style and feel we wanted. But, I did have my bridesmaids tea there before our wedding! I hope that if you ever have a chance to visit Dublin, Ireland that you will stop by the Shelbourne for an afternoon cup of tea and that you will love it as much as I do.

Below is a description of the tea room from the hotel's website, which can be found here:

Lord Mayor's Lounge
"Timeless elegance in a luxurious setting, the lounge offers the perfect opportunity for quiet discussions and deep thoughts, all enjoyed around the aroma of the freshest whole leaf tea. Famous for serving Dublin's only true Afternoon Tea experience. "

Doesn't that sound inviting? I have not been back since The Shelbourne was bought by Marriott, but I am heading to Ireland in May and will certainly have to make a stop there to check it out.
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Monday, March 1, 2010

Style me Pretty!

I just found out that one of the weddings I did favors for was featured on Style me Pretty today! Check it out here..... I am beyond thrilled! You can see my previous post on the favors here.
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luck of the Irish

My husband is from Ireland... so March and St. Patrick's Day are reason enough to celebrate in our house. For this reason, I have decided to designate my March posts to all things Irish. I'll share favorite recipes, places to visit in Ireland, some of my favorite designers and even a tradition I created for my kids on St. Patrick's Day, so stay tuned! To kick it off right I wanted to have a give away to welcome all of my new followers and to thank everyone for their kind words and support last week. When I do have a moment to myself I like to relax in a bath. I am giving away this petite bag of "morning rose" bath salts that I bought on a recent trip to Ireland. To enter, please comment below on how you like to spend your free time. All comments must be made by midnight EST on March 3. A winner will be chosen at random and announced on Thursday, March 4. Good luck!

** Loralei who wrote "In my free time, I enjoy finding delightful blogs on the Internet that amaze and inspire. Congratulations on making the list!" Today is your lucky day! You have won these lovely Bath Salts from Ireland. Please e-mail me at with your address and I'll pop them in the mail. Many thanks to everyone that commented- I wish I could send all of you something. I'll just have to have another giveaway soon so that you can try again!
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jelly beans

Can't decide what to get from the Little Red Wagon? Laurie also has gift certificates! I designed these packages, which are little clear pillows filled with jelly beans and a gift certificate in any amount you choose. What little girl wouldn't want one of these in her Easter Basket? Candy and the opportunity to pick out an adorable hair clip or head band, awesome! Contact Laurie for more details.

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