Aloha Summer Neighborhood Luau

Have you ever noticed that during the summertime is when you tend to get new neighbors? It’s the prime time to move if you’ve got kids.  That way, things get settled in before a new school year begins. We had a few families move in this summer and my friend and I thought it would be fun to have a Neighborhood Luau. The perfect theme party for the end of summer and a fun way to get to know your neighbor.

I think the best part of a Luau is the food.

The Menu:

Pulled Pork Sliders, Cole Slaw, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Hawaiian Fried Rice Fruit, Pina Colada cupcakes, and Volcano Cakes.

Signature Drink: Coconut Margarita

My assignments were the Meatballs, party décor, and desserts.  The party decor I found at Party City.

Meatball Recipe was delish!

I made the sauce the night before and marinated about 4 lbs. of frozen meatballs (from Costco) in it overnight in the refrigerator. Popped those babies in the crockpot a few hours before the party on low and Oh….my….meatballs….they were ah-mazing! Do I need to even mention there weren’t any leftovers?? Not a one.

The Pina Colada cupcakes recipe:

The only thing I modified in the recipe, is I cut the oil back to ½ cup and I used Rum (as suggested) in the frosting instead of milk.  I love a good presentation when it comes to party food. So I dressed these cupcakes up so they were Luau theme. Time to get crafty, I really can’t help myself!


Heidi Swapp has the cutest Minc cupcake kit at Michael’s. Gold, turquoise and bright pink foil and K & Company Hawaii stickers was the color scheme I needed


The Minc Machine is the best when it comes to foiling projects. It’s basically a fancy laminator. So if you have a laminator, I’ve heard that works with the Minc products also.  There’s three basic steps to foiling.

Place the items to be foiled in the laminator sleeve.


Lay the foil over the paper and feed the sleeve into the machine.


When the sleeve comes out of the Minc, pull the foil sheet off and viola!  Beautifully foiled items.!!


I foiled the cupcake flags to coordinate with the wrappers, and placed a Hawaiian theme sticker on each flag.


Volcano Cakes….here’s where I cheated. I say cheated because I’m a big fan of making things from scratch. But…the occasional cheat is ok… and this one was with William Sonoma’s Devils Food Bundt Cake Mix. Now that is worth every penny. I baked the cakes using a the William Sonoma Pop Over pan and baked the cakes for 20 minutes. Let them cool completely on a wire rack and before removing the cakes from the pan, use a serrated knife to cut the tops off so that the bottoms of the cakes will be flat.


The hot lava is dark chocolate, orange and red candy melts. The dark chocolate layer is first. For that I melted a 90% Lindt dark chocolate bar with a Hershey’s Special Dark bar and spooned the chocolate over the top of the cakes so that it would run down the sides. Then put those in the refrigerator so that the chocolate will harden quickly. Then using red candy melts, do the same thing over the top of the dark chocolate. Put them in the refrigerator again to cool. Last step, melt orange candy melts and spoon over the red and dark chocolate. Viola! You’ve got what looks like hot lava oozing out the top of the cakes.

These look to good to eat you say?  Oh no way!  No morsel was left behind…I love a good dessert and these two recipes are keepers for sure.

The Luau itself was a big hit also. Quite a few guests attended and a good time was had by all.  The best thing?  We now know who lives next door and hope to have more get togethers soon 🙂




We’ve all gone Mad

Mad Hatter Tea party that is….

The truth of the matter, my husband and I LOVE parties and it’s no surprise that we’ve passed that on to our little ones! When it came time for my oldest daughter’s 8th birthday she was dead set on having a Mad Hatter Tea party straight out of Wonderland itself.

Of course, my mind was reeling with all the creative possibilities. I wanted our house to BE Wonderland.  I had my work cut out for me, let me tell you.  My plan was to have the tea party table emulate that you see in the movie.


But not only that, when the party guests arrived, I wanted them to have the feel that they were entering Wonderland. So, I came up with some props.


Metal flowers from Hobby Lobby I stuck in the grass along the front walkway.

The giant toadstool is made of a metal toilet paper stand covered with paper, red umbrella and white spots cut out of paper. I placed ceramic toadstools bought from Hobby Lobby on the ground also. On top of the “umbrella” toadstool is an abstract caterpillar made from blue tissue pom poms. I tied the pom poms together and then laid them on the umbrella. (I should’ve had the smoke machine going) but that didn’t come to fruition…couldn’t find the darn thing in the garage…lol.



One thing I definitely wanted as part of the decor was playing card soldiers. This was made with a piece of white poster board and red cardstock. I chose hearts, because quite frankly they were the easiest shape to cut out.  The numbers were that of my daughter’s birthday.

The goody bags I displayed in the entry way. They are silver glittered party bags from Target and the red heart tissue paper is also from Target. The “Take Me” tags was an image I found online with Google and had printed in color and hand cut them out and tied them on with a thin ribbon.


As you can see I really like to get into details when I’m party planning.  There is much much more to see so stay tuned for more when I share how to design the table scape and buffet of treats.

It’s Always Tea Time!



Organize and Save School Papers

Here we are again at the beginning of another school year and swept into the whirlwind of stress that brings. One of the things I can’t get over is how much “stuff” the kids bring home from school each week. Ok, it’s great to see their work, art, graded homework, etc. But add that to printed school announcements, reminders, event flyers, after school program info, and on and on and on let’s face it, I’ll be buried in papers in no time flat…. So how on earth do we stay on top of this!? Keep reading 🙂

My kids (1st & 3rd graders) bring home a “Friday Folder” full of stuff and the teachers want the folder back empty on Monday. I try my darndest to get that out of their backpacks on Friday afternoon, but I’ll admit it’s usually Monday morning when we’re emptying that thing out in a hurry. And that’s because one of my kids is freaking out because they won’t get their Spirit Star or Golden ticket or whatever their collecting to earn their way to the class Treasure Box!!  So where do those papers go when you can’t sort through them right that second? Into a sorting basket of course! I have a rectangular basket it goes into where it waits patiently to be sorted.


I can’t stand stuff piled up on my counters or tables so this basket works for me. Then one evening, I’ll sit down and go through it. You don’t want to wait too long or the next thing you know you’ll find the reminder for picture day that was the day before, Yikes! I separate the papers out by child and only keep what I feel is worthy of memory keeping. This stuff goes into a 12”x12” plastic container with my child’s name on it.


Ok so what’s next is up to you. How should you plan to do your memory keeping?

Here are several suggestions:

  • Photo album with actual school work pieces put in it.  This is the quickest solution, especially if you are using sleeved photo album pages.
  • Take photos of work and put those photos in the album and discard that actual school work pieces.

This takes more time and effort, but if you have the Becky Higgins Project Life app that I blogged about previously  (, you can easily make photo collage pages featuring the school work:


  • Put all the work for the year together and bind it.


For all of you crafters out there, pull out your Bind It All or Cinch machines and get busy. For those of you who don’t have the binding tools, don’t want to get them, or aren’t interested in doing this yourself, No worries! That’s what places like Staples, Office Max, or Kinko’s is for. Take your collection of ORGANIZED papers and they’ll bind it for you.

If you are going to make a point to save this stuff, then it’s important to make it so that these memories can easily be enjoyed at a later date. If it’s all stuffed in a box somewhere, it will be there when your kids move out and you’ll be trying to hand it off to them. Not good. They won’t want a box of piled up papers from grade school and you’ll be wondering why you bothered saving it in the first place.

Find what works for you and you’ll be in good shape all year!



Marquee Love with the Kids

Hello, hello!  Apryl with you today to share a little Marquee Love!  Heidi Swapp has these great DIY Marquee letters available at stores like Walmart, Michaels and Hobby Lobby.  They come in A-Z, and some assorted shapes like arrows and hashtags and are around $12.  Marquees are all the rage right now in home decor and  the DIY version is perfect for those of you who want to add your own style and flair.  This DIY kit is really simple.  So simple the kids can do it.


What it is, is a plain white letter that comes with a letter template, the lights, and the bulbs.  The sky is the limit when it comes to decorating these.  If you don’t know where to start, don’t worry.  There are Heidi Swapp Paper pads, washi tape rolls in the perfect sizes, glitter and Marquee glue to get you started.  For this letter, my daughter and I began by tracing the S (using the provided template) on to the glitter paper.  We also marked the holes.


After cutting out the letter from the glitter paper, we punched the holes out with a hole punch.  The holes are an important detail to remember because that’s where the lights go!

We then took a roll of Heidi Swapp pink and white washi tape to cover the outside edge of the letter.  This washi tape is the perfect width and you just roll it out and smooth it along the sides, careful not to get air bubbles,  It’s easy to lift up if it takes a couple of times to get it lined up just right.

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Once the decorating is done, it’s time to get the lights in.  The bulbs simply push down into the holes and fit nice and snug.  On the backside of the letter is where the string of lights go in.                 \                                                                                            IMG_8361

Most letters will stand up on a flat surface or can easily be hung on the wall.  My daughter Sydney proudly displays her first initial masterpiece on the wall in her room.


Hope this inspires you to create some Marquee decor of your own with your kids, or on your own.  Have fun with it and be creative!



Collect Moments Not Things

Hi it’s Apryl and in my last post I shared some photo taking tips using your phone and shard some recent vacation photos of mine.  Today I’m here to show you how to get those fabulous photos from your phone and into photo albums.  It’s all done with your phone.  Have you heard of Becky Higgins and Project Life?  If you haven’t you need to check it out.  She has developed an easy way to scrapbook and this past year has brought it to the next level by creating a Project Life App.  Right now it’s only available for iPhones, but rest assured the Android version is currently being developed as well!  It’s awesome.

Here are a few pages I made using the app:

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To make these pages, you need your phone, your phone pictures, and the app.  Here’s what the app looks like so you can find it easily in the app store:


To give you a good idea of what the app is like here is a bit of a step by step.  You are given some page templates and kits when you first by the app and of course you can purchase more kits for $0.99 or $1.99.  Once you have completed pages, you can have them printed straight from the app.  Choose either 8×8 pages for $0.99 each or 12×12 pages for $1.99.  The quality is AWESOME and when they arrive you just slip them right into the page protectors of your album.




You’ll have a ton of fabulous pages in your photo albums in no time at all!!



Have fun with all this creativity right in the palm of your hand!

Altered Lamp

Hello there, it’s Apryl here to share my next crafting adventure!  I picked up this lamp at Home Goods over a year ago (and possibly longer than that shhhh!) with the idea in mind that I was going to turn in into a headband holder for my daughter.


You’ve all seen those ditty’s on Pinterest made with an Oatmeal canister haven’t you?  Well that’s where I got my inspiration and when I saw the lampshade on this lamp, my light bulb lit up!  So here’s my attempt to make my idea come to fruition.

I started out with removing the shade from the lamp, and deciding on using Heidi Swapp Semptember Skies Paper Pad to cover the shade with.


And here’s the paper combination I decided on.


I chose the grey paper with the floral pattern to use on the lampshade.  The lampshade was effortless to cover.  The size of the paper was 12×12 and had to be trimmed down about an inch on one side in order to fit.  I chose to glue the paper directly to the lampshade using Beacon’s 3 in 1 glue.  This brand of glue is amazing and my absolute favorite.

So here’s what the new lampshade looks like!  I love it.


Moving on to the lamp base.  I wasn’t quite sure at first what I was going to do with the base.  Sure it looks great in it’s original condition,  but thought it would be fun to dress it up a bit.  Again, I just used paper for this.  I created a template for the top portion of the lamp so that I could cut out the correct sizes needed out of the patterned paper.  For this, I used black & white polka dot and a floral pattern similar to what is on the lampshade.  Before gluing them on, I added some black ink around the edges of the paper.



I wasn’t worried if the papers didn’t exactly match up, because when being creative and artsy, things don’t need to be perfect.   It adds to the character of the piece.  For fun I added some ribbon that I already had that reminds me of a cute little tutu and happened to match my color scheme perfectly.  I wrapped it around the base, securing it with a thin line of glue.   Isn’t it the cutest?  My daughter is going LOVE this!



For the final touch, I found this saying  “Let Your Light Shine” in the embellishment pack that is also part of Heidi Swapp’s collection and it is absolutely perfect for this project.    So I took the rectangle piece, inked it with black around the edges, and added the paper flowers all around it.  I glued this cute bundle to the bottom of the lampshade near the floral pattern.  And Viola!  The lamp is finished!  Time to add the headbands and barrettes!  Hope you enjoyed this fun project and it’s inspired you to make one of your own.

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Let’s Have A Circus Party

Here is @adh_j ‘s way of creating the PERFECT 1st BIRTHDAY party! Here’s why we LOVE APRIL: she’s extremely creative, loves being a mother and wife and is a God-send to us over at @paperplanelaneboutique! On top of her daily duties she also is a member of ‘s Design Team and has her own blog at : !

Welcome to the Circus Party! 

“Da Da DaDaDaDa Da Da Da! Circus Afro! Circus Afro!” ~ Madagascar 3

I love a fun party theme, and when I plan parties I tend to run with it.  For my daughter Kirra’s 1st birthday party it was a Circus theme and man oh man was it a blast.  I wanted to have the look and feel of a circus, from the décor, guests, goodies and entertainment. 

As part of the décor, I really wanted to have a circus tent without renting an ACTUAL circus tent….(we do have our limits).  So after some brainstorming, my husband and came up with a way we could make it happen.  It took an EZ UP, a roll of plastic table cloth, and some magnets. 



Here’s what we did:  We put up our EZ Up and raised it only half way up.  We then rolled out the red plastic table cloth the lengths we needed and cut the pieces.  Then we draped the pieces across the roof of the ez up and secured them to the EZ Up frame with magnets.  We made the diagonal pieces long enough so they draped down and wrap around the legs.  This method worked perfectly and because we used really strong magnets, it held up to the breeze that came along throughout the day. 

My whole family got into it and we all wore costumes, but we wanted the guests to get involved with the theme without them feeling like they had to dress up to attend.  So, we set up what I call a “Photo Prop Stop”. 

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I took a plastic crate I already had at the house, had the kids round up any fun glasses, hats, wigs that we could use as photo props.  I didn’t want to go out and buy and bunch of stuff for this if I didn’t have to.  We managed to round up a couple of sunglasses from a Minecraft party we attended, a clown wig out of our Halloween costumes and some paper top hats.  What I did purchase was a bag of red clown noses from Amazon and an oversized clown tie.  This was a big hit with all the kids. 




What else do kids love at parties???  Goodie bags.  I put a lot of thought into the bags and tie them in with the party theme.  I couldn’t find the style goodie bag at the party stores, so I made my own.   

If you have a die cut machine, such as a Silhouette, you can find the cut file at the, it’s called “Lori Whitlock treat bag”.  If you don’t have a machine, here’s the template and you can cut it out with scissors. 

The cut file fits perfectly on a 12”x12” piece of paper, and the treat bag measures 7.7”x4”x1.5” when complete.  The dashed lines should be scored for easy folding.

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I went with a polka dot patterned paper, and used a clown cut file also found at the Silhouette store.  But if you aren’t a clown fan, you can use any circus animal to put on the front of the bag.



Hope this inspires you to have your own Circus Party!