Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Red and White Dessert Buffet

The key to a good party is good party food. It should look great, it should be easy to prepare, and it should taste delicious. One fantastic way to wow guests is to pick a colour scheme for the food. Today, I am sharing an impressive (and simple) red and white dessert buffet that you are going to love! This adorable tablescape would be wonderful for any party theme, but I especially like it for a picnic, a Canada Day party, or a carnival.

Start with a red and white tablecloth and backdrop. I used a dollar store cardboard tri-fold and red duct tape for the backdrop here. I also purchased an inexpensive red and white checkered tablecloth.

Then, for the food, choose things that are red and white. 

Strawberries dipped in white chocolate are easy to make, and you can add some visual interest by displaying them on an inexpensive cake stand.

Filling red and white containers with chips is also a great idea. Here, I used french fry containers to hold ketchup chips.

And individual condiment containers are fun and festive when they are filled with red and white candies.

Actually... any candy or chocolate with a red and white wrapper works well.

And... how cute are these individual cheesecakes served in small jam jars? They are delicious and absolutely adorable!

I love how simple this red and white dessert buffet is to create, and it really does look professional and impressive when you pull all the elements together.

What do you think of this red and white dessert buffet? Do you have a favourite element? Would you add something else to the display? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Gina Bell

(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Thursday, 29 March 2018

The Ultimate DIY Movie Night

Movie nights are fun for all ages. A movie night can be a weekly event for a family, or it can be a perfect theme for a party or fundraiser. I love the idea of making a movie night special by focusing on a few special DIY details. Today, I am sharing some of my best movie night DIYs, tips and tricks.

Set up a concession stand - Watching a movie is synonymous with snacking on special movie treats, so setting up a movie night concession stand is a "movie night" must. I love the idea of building a back drop from a tri-fold or piece of foam core. Just add stripes using red duct tape, and tape on the "concession stand" sign I designed. 

To download the concession stand sign: click on the picture below, right-click, save it to your computer, and print it like a regular 8X10 photo.

Make individual movie trays for the guests - Nothing makes people feel more special than something you have created "just for them". I love the idea of turning an old cereal box into an individual treat try. Just use duct tape for the sides and contact/shelf paper for the bottom. They are reusable too!

Display candy like a pro - To create a treat table that will wow your guests: use a variety of glasses and containers, use cake stands and other props to vary the heights of the goodies, play with colours, and use individual containers. Find more tips for displaying party treats here.

Pick the right movie - When picking a movie for movie night, carefully consider the age and interests of the people who will be watching. Classics like "Star Wars", "Back to the Future", and "Harry Potter" are always wonderful choices for older kids and adults... and Disney movies are perfect for younger viewers.

Party favours - Handing out a party favour at the end of a movie night is always a simple way to leave your guests with a positive impression of the evening. Glow sticks, a trinket related to the movie, or edible goodies for the next day are fantastic choices.

I love movies, don't you? Movie nights really are a fun way to spend an afternoon or evening, and these simple tips are guaranteed to make you the perfect movie night host. I hope you enjoyed my ideas for the ultimate DIY movie night! Feel free to leave some of your best ideas in the comments below.

Gina Bell

(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Party Prize Punches

Several years ago, I created a simple DIY party prize punch. My goal was to create a fun way to distribute hockey cards at my son's birthday party, so I headed to the dollar store and purchased some supplies. I made a fantastic prize punch with: a piece of foam core, plastic cups, tissue paper, and a glue gun. Since my first creation, I have made many different versions for all my boys' subsequent parties. Today, I am sharing everything you need to know to make your own prize punch... and trust me... if you can work a glue gun, you can totally make this DIY party game.

To make a party prize punch:
1) Fill plastic cups with prizes. 
2) Cut squares of tissue paper slightly larger than a plastic cup.
3) Use a glue gun to make a ring around the top edge of the cup, and quickly seal the tissue paper over the top of the cup. Repeat for all the cups.
4) Use hot glue to attach the base of the cups to a piece of foam core.

The best thing about prize punches is that you can fill them with whatever you want. My first prize punch was filled with hockey cards. I've also used mini chocolate bars, coins, candy, and dollar store trinkets.

You can also make prize punches in different shapes and designs. I made a pumpkin for Halloween and a heart for Valentine's Day. You could also make a Shamrock for St.Patrick's Day, an egg for Easter or a tree for Christmas.

You can also make them coordinate with any party colour scheme. I've also coordinated them with sports team colours and made them to match NERF gun bullets.

Usually the party guests just poke through the tissue paper, but you can be creative. For our carnival party kids threw bouncy balls, and at our NERF party guests had to shoot through the tissue paper.

Party prize punches really are easy and inexpensive to make, they add a custom detail to a DIY party, and they are a lot of fun. Give one a try at your next party. I guarantee that if you can work a glue gun, you can successfully create one using my step-by-step tutorial.

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Party FOOD ideas

Let's face it... good food is the cornerstone of a great party -- it's something that everyone will talk about and remember long after the guest have gone home. Setting up a fantastic food table isn't difficult. In fact, with a little effort, party food can easily be pleasing to the eyes AND the tastebuds. Today, I am sharing some tips and tricks for creating the perfect party food presentation for any party theme

CARS party food - Create a "Grand Stand Snack Bar" that is sure to be a rip roaring hit with party guests. Use dollar store foam core and decals, duct tape, and letter stickers to create signage. Then, fill the table with fun snacks named after characters from the movie "Cars". Luigi's Tires (chocolate cookies), Mater's Diptsticks (chocolate covered lady fingers), McQueen Sandwiches (sandwiches cut out with a car shaped cookie cutter), Grand Stand Popcorn, Fillmore's Fuel (juice), Sally's Specialities (fruit, cheese, and crackers), Finn's Finest (licorice), and Doc's Pops (marshmallow pops dipped in red chocolate with black and white sprinkles). You'll also want to serve a simple race car cake for dessert.

Carnival party food - Create a "Concession Stand" backdrop using a dollar store cardboard tri-fold, a sign printed on the computer, and some red duct tape. Then, add some pizza, popcorn, chips, cotton candy, and other candy treats... and don't forget a fun cake!

Harry Potter party food - Every Harry Potter fan knows that "Honeydukes" sweet shop has the most magical food. Set up your own DIY sweet shop by making a sign from a piece of dollar store foam core, some colourful duct tape, and some letters printed on a computer. Then, serve treats like: Bott's Every Flavour Beans (no name gourmet jelly beans), Ollivander's Edible Wands (black liquorice), Fizzing Whizbees (popping candy), Mad Eye Moody's Eyeball Gum (eyeball gumballs), Chocolate Frogs (chocolate frogs made from frog shaped chocolate molds), Remus' Werewolf Fangs (candy corn), and Golden Snitches (made by hot gluing feathers onto gold foil wrapped chocolates). You'll also want to serve a simple Harry Potter themed cake... a crest or a Quidditch cake.

Hockey party food - Every hockey party needs a fully stocked "canteen". A simple backdrop can be made with a piece of dollar store foam core, hockey tape (around the edges of the sign), a team log, and a computer printout. You'll also want to stock the canteen with rink chips, hockey pucks (chocolate cookies), playoff pizza, and Olympic hockey gold coins (chocolate gold coins). And don't forget the hockey rink cake!

LEGO party food - Fun food options provide the building blocks for a successful LEGO party. Set the stage with a backdrop of giant LEGO men made from coloured paper taped to dollar store foam core sheets.  A LEGO cookie decorating station is another fun option. Rectangle cookies, coloured icing, and coloured candy can be put together to make fun and simple LEGO cookies. And chocolate LEGO bricks make yummy treats and wonderful cupcake toppers. And, of course, you'll also need some fun and simple LEGO cakes.

Movie party - Movie parties are ALL about the snacks. To create a fun concession stand, make a simple backdrop using a piece of dollar store foam core or a dollar store tablecloth to match your colour scheme. You'll also want to serve traditional movie treats like popcorn, chocolate, candy, juice, and pop. Make sure you have plenty of treats that guests can easily grab and enjoy in their seats during the show!

Pirate party food - There are lots of great options for pirate party food. "Fish" sandwiches can be made by using a fish shaped cookie cutter to cut out peanut butter sandwiches... just add a chocolate chip eyeball. You can also serve: pixie sticks (filled with Tinkerbell's pixie dust), fish and chips (chips and goldfish), gummy sharks, and (chocolate) gold coin necklaces. Simple pirate cakes can be served too!

Pool party food - Set a party food table with a blue table cloth and a beach/pool themed backdrop. Use pool noodles, beach balls, and dollar store foam core decorated to match the theme. Then, serve food like: chips in (new and clean) beach buckets, gummy sharks, goldfish, fish and chips (chips mixed with goldfish), pool noodles (liquorice), and pool water (blue juice). You can also serve simple pool party cakes made with blue icing, sand (graham cracker crumbs), gummy candies, and drink umbrellas.

Red and White buffet - A strong colour scheme creates a cohesive and professional-looking food table at parties. Using inexpensive containers and carefully chosen food makes it easy to create an impressive buffet. I love red and white for a carnival, Canada Day, or picnic theme.

Star Wars party food - Pinterest is full of fun Star Wars party food ideas, but my favourite idea is to serve cookies with a "Come to the dark side... we have cookies" sign. It's easy to make with some computer printouts, tape, and a piece of foam core from the dollar store. Serving cupcakes topped with Star Wars rings or trinkets is also fun... and they make perfect party favours too. And don't forget the cake! A simple Star Wars cake can be made by topping a simple sheet cake with Star Wars toys, and the birthday boy/girl will love the extra present.

ANY PARTY THEME - Here are some ideas that work for any party theme:

  • Serve treats in a variety of colours or in just one or two colours that match the party theme/decor. Playing with colour creates a wonderful visual impact.
  • Use fun containers to serve treats (fancy glasses, dollar store candy dishes, bowls in colours that the match the party theme/decor, etc...
  • Use cake stands, boxes, books, etc... to create different levels of food/treats.
  • Serve some foods in individual containers so that guests can grab them easily. It also allows you to buy in bulk and control serving portions.

The food you serve at a gathering can really can make or break a party. Make sure there is plenty of food, add some DIY details, and display the food in a fun and deliberate way. And... don't forget to have fun!

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)


Sunday, 28 January 2018

HOLIDAY CELEBRATION tips, tricks, recipes and ideas

DIY details make holiday celebrations special and memorable. I love all things EASY and INEXPENSIVE, so today, I am sharing some of my best tips, tricks, recipes, and ideas for simple and fun holiday celebrations.

Click the links (below) for celebration info, activities, ideas, and recipes. (I've sorted everything by when the events occur in a calendar year.)

What is your favourite holiday? Don't forget to bookmark this post... or "pin" your favourite ideas so that you can find them easily when you are ready for your seasonal celebration!

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)

Friday, 19 January 2018


Every party needs a theme to tie everything together, don't you think? When picking a party theme, you need to consider why you are having the party, and if there is a guest of honour, you can select a theme based on his/her interests. Today, I am sharing some of my favourite party themes... and links to many EASY and INEXPENSIVE DIY party plans and details.

Check out the fun party themes below (in alphabetical order):

Cars party - Little kids love cars and trucks, and this simple cars party doesn't disappoint. The race track cake is simple and adorable, and the DIY details make the party really special. The checkered duct tape decor is my favourite.

Carnival party - What could be more fun than a carnival party packed with simple games and sugary treats? I love the FREE printable red and white signs that tie everything together.

Circus party - Clowns, games, and treats are plentiful at this circus party. I love the bright colours and the simple carousel cake. 

Harry Potter party - This is the perfect party for a Harry Potter fan. This party is packed with unique details that will delight all the party guests. I'm loving the 9 3/4 magical entrance, magic wands made from dowels, Honeyduke's sweet shop, free printable spell books and quills, and simple DIY cakes.

Jake and the Neverland Pirates party - Everyone loves pirates and treasure hunts, and this party is full of magical DIY details that will transport party guests to Neverland and beyond. The pixie dust, party signage, pirate hooks, and impressive cakes are perfection!

Hockey party - Hockey moms (and any sport parent) will love this simple hockey party. The cakes are awesome, and the simple DIY decor and themed party food are sure to impress.

Ice cream party - Summer is the perfect occasion to plan a simple ice cream party... but kids will love this party any time of year. I adore the simple decor and unique homemade ice cream treat ideas. 

LEGO party - This is the ultimate party for LEGO lovers. The decor is colourful, fun, and interactive... and there are wonderful games and activities. I love the cookie decorating station, the LEGO balloon tennis, and the simple cakes.

Monkey party - This is the perfect theme for a first birthday party. The yellow and red colour scheme is fun, the snacks are simple and suitable for pint-sized guests, the cake is adorable, and I can't get enough of the monkey party favours.

Movie party - Movie parties are wonderful for all ages, and they are a great way to entertain a large number of guests. I love the idea of an outdoor movie, and the little containers of candy at the "concession stand" are brilliant!

Music party - A dance party filled with wonderful music and karaoke is perfect for kids. I love the backstage passes, the guitar cookie decorating station, and the drum cake topped with lollipops.

NERF party - An epic NERF battle is a great way to celebrate a birthday. Active kids will love the battle, fun food, NERF target, free signs, and cute treat bags!

Olympic party - Transforming your yard into an Olympic colosseum is a great way to entertain active kids. Kids can play games, design their own medals, and feast on a simple Olympic themed cake. 

Pirate party - Pint-sized pirates will love this simple pirate party. Kids can design their own telescopes and make their own pirate jewels. The cake is pretty cute too!

Pool party - A pool party has never looked so cute! I love the themed games, prize punches, pool noodle decor, shark photo prop, and fun food ideas. 

Spy party - This is a wonderful theme for a party. The decor is simple and impressive, and the games are original and fun. I love the dynamite "hot potato" and the "pin the disguise on the spy" games. 

Star Wars party - Star Wars fans are plentiful, and the force is strong with this party. The pool noodle light sabres and death star piƱata are easy to make, and they are guaranteed to please your young Jedi guests. 

Super Hero party - This party invites guests to enrol in a super hero training academy and become a super hero. The homemade "no sew" capes and foam super hero masks could not be cuter!

Western party - Cowboy fans will love this simple western party. Guests can make their own Sheriff badges and create their own "most wanted" posters. 

The DIY details make these parties expensive, and they are all easy and inexpensive. Is there a party theme you would like to see that is missing from my list? Share it below, and maybe I'll create something fun to share with you soon!

Gina Bell
(Mom and Amateur Party Planner)