Save the Work, Book a Party!

I can’t honestly say that I am making this post based on personal experience or even word of mouth advertising. This recommendation is being made solely on my first impression of “Sweet Impressions“. This quaint bakery, studio and giftware shop is hidden just off Pembina Highway at 669 Stafford Street. I happened upon it by accident when I was searching for a Clarinet music book for my daughter at a nearby music store. The store front immediately captured my attention and I just had to check it out!

The front of the bakery has a wide selection of good quality giftware, most of which I have not seen anywhere else. I especially love the product line of aprons and baking tools for kids. I was totally captivated by the attention to detail and visual appeal of the gift shop. I had a chance to chat with Krista, one of the owners, and she explained how she managed to pull the look together on a shoe string budget, by scouring Kijiji and then putting in the work to give old pieces of furniture a fresh new look (no wonder I loved the place so much!)

Aside from the great look and feel of the bakery, they offer something unique in that they are 100% nut free. As well, they do not use any additives or preservatives in their baking. To hear the story about how they got started and how their successful business evolved, check out their video.

Of course, I couldn’t leave with out sampling some of their products! I bought a cupcake and some cookies and was very impressed with the quality of the baking ~ delicious!

Despite the delicious treats and nut free environment, my primary reason for this post is because I was so head-over heals impressed with the studio in the back. I absolutely love any space that is beautifully decorated and the studio was just too cool! I loved planning detailed theme parties for my kids when they were small, but those parties seem to be something of the past as my kids continue to get older and aren’t interested in party games or themed loot bags. I’m not sure that Eden, at 12 1/2, would be interested in a cookie decorating birthday party, but for those of you have that have children interested in baking…this is seriously “da bomb”!  The studio is decorated in a wonderful retro look with everything perfectly matched and so quaint! They offer birthday party packages that are completely all encompassing with everything included from cupcakes to invitations and goody bags. You simply show up and pay the bill. I honestly don’t think there could be a more perfect location for a birthday party. If you are looking for something different, that is simple, safe for all participants (nut free) and the perfect backdrop for the best party pictures ever…this is it!

I didn’t have my camera with me because I was out shopping for a music book. These pictures are courtesy of the Sweet Impressions web site.

I think it’s safe to say I won’t be booking a birthday party, but they do off adult decorating classes as well. Maybe I’ll sign-up for a class and learn some tricks of the trade!

Whether you are looking for a special gift, picking up some allergy safe treats or booking a party, I would highly recommend checking out Sweet Impressions. It is recommended that you book birthday parties several weeks in advance to avoid disappointment. If you are one of those people who have had a party there, I would love to hear from you. Please share your experience by commenting below.

I enjoy hearing the success stories of others, especially those who rise-up and take a risk, put it all on the line for their vision and beat the odds and build a successful business. I wish the gals at Sweet Impressions continue success in their venture!


Snowman Birthday Party

Well, it’s January and with it brings Eden’s 12th birthday. I can’t believe it….she is already booked for her first babysitting job. Now that the kids are getting older, they aren’t very interested in the “over-the-top” theme parties that I used to do. I still like to make a nice invitation and cake, but the theme related games, decorations and activities seem like they are becoming nothing more than a distant memory. How sad! I used to love pulling those parties together ~ maybe I’ll be a Party Planner in my next stage of life? We hope to finalize some plans and pull things together for finalizing her plans for this year, but I know that my role is progressively becoming less significant as the girls are quite happy just to hang-out and amuse themselves, but in honour of her January birthday I thought I would share some ideas from one of her past parties.

Snowman Birthday Party

I need to begin by saying that this was early on in my birthday party planning craze and I was not yet adept at making sure every single detail was taken care of. She didn’t have a birthday party with friends until she started pre-school. Because the party was primarily adults,  there weren’t any games, activities or loot bags.  I have included some of the ideas I used for Eden’s party, but have also included several others that I either thought of or found on the web. This party was back in the “olden days”, pre-digital camera and I couldn’t find the negatives anywhere. I am embarrassed to say that the pictures I am sharing are photos of photos. How tacky!  Anyway, no other choice. I was also quite surprised to learn that I don’t even have a full picture of the birthday banner. I think I got better at taking photos of everything, as I did more parties.

As shared in my previous post on the basics of planning a birthday party, I always consider 6 main areas when pulling a party together:

  • invitations
  • decorations
  • activities/games
  • food/snacks
  • cake(s) ~ plan, design and bake a cake/cupcakes (or save the hassle and order one)
  • loot bags

Snowman Party Invitations:

snowman birthday invitationThere really is nothing fabulous about the invitations I did for Eden’s party. I was not yet into card making and thought I was brilliant because I scanned the napkin so that the invitations matched the napkins. They were fine, but nothing special. I would do something totally different now that I am into scrapbooking and card making. If you simply google “snowman birthday invitations” under images, you will see hundreds of great ideas. You can also refine your search to “homemade snowman birthday invitations” for even more ideas. I often search the web for ideas before coming up with my own.

Snowman Party Decorations:

Again, I don’t seem to have great pictures from the party, but below are a few of my favourite party ideas from her snowman themed party. I always make a huge hand-painted birthday banner that is theme related. This might have been the first year I started this tradition! I don’t have a picture of the whole banner, but I remember it was on black with both light blue and white paint. My favourite part was the snowman family in the bottom left corner. Each member of our family made a footprint and then I added the details to make them into snowmen for the banner. Of course, there were snowflakes painted on the banner as well. After the party, I cut-out Eden’s footprint and included it in the scrapbook layout from her 3rd birthday party. The foot print is a great memory in itself. I did something similar for Shay’s pirate birthday with a hand print parrot on his banner.

For this party, I wanted to have an indoor snowman for photo opps. I purchased a large white Christmas tree bag over the holidays and then we stuffed it with shredded paper. It worked fine, but it was quite a bit of work collecting enough paper and you really had to have white or it showed through. If I were doing it again, I would use some of the other great ideas I found on Pinterest for making indoor snowmen. When I think back to the planning of her party 9 years ago, I realize how much has changed in terms of technology. I did find some ideas on line back then, but the ideas (especially the images) were quite limited. Social media sites like Pinterest have made it so much easier to share great ideas.

For the centrepiece on the table, I made a snowman ice sculpture. I froze water in balloons (with varying amounts of water in each) and then melted the flat side slightly so that the balls would adhere to one another. This worked perfectly. I added the embellishments the same way…..I slightly melted the area I wanted to adhere the eyes and then attached them. I did prepare the snowman ahead and re-froze him on my steps. Very cute!

I really don’t have a picture of them, but I had also used plain white balloons that I decorated with a face and hat so that they all looked like snowmen. They also turned out well.

Here are a few pictures from Eden’s Snowman Party.

When preparing for this post, I found so many other great ideas. If I were doing another Snowman party, I might consider including some of these great ideas.

For more creative indoor snowman ideas, visit Amazing Interior Design.

Snowman Party Activities and Games:

As mentioned earlier in the post, I didn’t plan anything for our party as Eden was only 3 and it consisted primarily of adults and older kids. However, being a teacher, I can tell you that there are many great ideas based on a winter/snow/snowman theme. Pinterest is always a great source, but here are a few that I came up with quite quickly. Of course, you would need to pick activities that are age appropriate.

  • pin the carrot on the snowman (you could even use the refrigerator for this as shown in the pictures above)
  • make your own snowman using cornstarch and shaving cream
  • snowman bowling
  • Snowman Game using toilet paper and accessories to dress each other up like snowmen. Check this and other great snowmen ideas out at Fun on a Dime!
  • make snow globes
  • go sledding
  • in a perfect world you could actually go outside and build a snowman with the freshly fallen sticky snow (Ha! Ha!)
  • marshmallow snowman (lick and stick the marshmallows on paper to make a snowman picture)

There are so many fabulous ideas for this theme, I could go on forever, but I am becoming deeply saddened that I will probably never get to plan another snowman party again. Rats! I would do it SOOOO much better if I had another chance.

Snowman Party Foods:

Snowman Cake and Cupcakes:

For Eden’s party, I opted for a 3D snowman cake. I wanted a really bright white icing and so I used my mom’s recipe for 7-Minute Frosting. I find it a bit sweet now, but it was my favourite when I was a kid. Again, you can search for all kinds of great cake and cupcake ideas, but here is a picture of Eden’s cake. I actually can’t totally remember what I made the hat out of, but I want to say a “wagon wheel”  with chocolate cookies stacked on top??  The hat is very dark in all of the pictures and I made this cake 9 years ago, so I don’t exactly remember. I still have the print out of the recipe and directions, but I know I did a bit of my own thing as well. I tried to find the link, but the page is no longer there. Sorry! Again, this is certainly not one of my better cakes, but I guess it illustrates my growth and development….let’s celebrate that! What drives me the most crazy is that I actually left the finished snowman displayed on a messy plate. I can’t believe I wouldn’t have cleaned-up the icing drips and crumbs ~ what was I thinking?

Loot Bags:

I didn’t hand-out any loot bags at the family party we had, but here are a few ideas:

  • a snowman cookie in a cellophane bag (I have made those melted snowman cookies before and they are so cute!)
  • snowman kit (I’ve included the link to mine, but you could make a much simpler version if you had lots to make.)
  • crazy carpet
  • snowman or winter book
  • snowman soup (hot chocolate, marshmallows, candy stick (candy cane), chocolate kisses). There is a little poem to go with this, but it is a bit more geared to Christmas. I am sure it could be modified. I have sometimes made these as little Christmas gifts.
  • the crafts the kids make at the party will be taken home as well (example – a snow globe)
  • you could even put all of the loot in a “snowman’s” hat in lieu of a bag

This is theme is so much fun and the ideas are literally endless. So, if you have a winter birthday party to plan why not plan your own snowman party?

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Hawaiian Birthday Bash

For my daughter’s 7th birthday, we had a Hawaiian themed party.  It was one of my favourite birthday party themes and we had so much fun.  I followed the same structure that I use for most parties, and even duplicated some of the ideas.

  • invitations
  • decorations
  • activities/games
  • snacks and beverages
  • cake(s) ~ plan, design and bake a cake/cupcakes (or save the hassle and order one)
  • loot bags
Hawaiian Birthday

This is Eden all dressed up for her party. All of the girls received similar “costumes” as part of their loot bag. We used this backdrop for many of the birthday photos.

For a complete breakdown of party planning steps and organization, see my Birthday Party Planning post.


At this point, I had not done much card making, so the invitations were made on the computer with cute fonts and clip art.  It was nothing special, but contained all of the information and matched the theme.  I tried to put a sample in the post, but I have changed from Word to Mac, so the format was all off and didn’t look nearly as good as the original.  I normally make an extra invitation to put in the kid’s scrapbooks as well.


I made my traditional happy birthday banner for Eden.  In addition, I made a huge ocean/beach backdrop for photos. I don’t usually buy those decoration sets, but did purchase a few for this particular party.  You can see the Hula Girl and a few other decorations that are not homemade.  Some of the murals/decorations were lent to me for the party, as the grade 2 classes in my school do a big Hawaiian theme.  The colours were very beachy and bright, and we had tiki lights around the room.  We had grass skirts around the buffet in the dining room and a centerpiece that consisted of floating flower candles and scattered sea shells.  We had coconut incense (very mild), flip-flop plates and butterfly and fish serving dishes.  There were beach towels randomly placed around the room, a palm tree with “balloons” for coconuts, and we used the wicker chairs from our outdoor furniture set to add to theme.  I also used decorations from past birthdays such as the homemade butterflies from Eden’s second birthday.  We also dressed up in theme related attire.  Tropical music played in the background and was used for the games.

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Games and Activities:

  • Pin the Coconut on the Tree – We separated Fudgee-O sandwich cookies.  The girls licked the icing and stuck it to the tree.  The cookies were the coconuts!
  • Pineapple Bowling – I made paper maché pineapples from 2 L pop bottles and then we used a real coconut for a bowling ball.  Our long hardwood floor hallway made a great bowling alley.  (These were used later in the year for Shay’s Pirate Party)
  • Musical Beach Towels
  • Hula Dancing and the Limbo (under a pool noodle)
  • Pass the Present – Wrap a little gift/surprise item in a box (in paper that goes with the theme, if possible).  You then proceed to add layers of wrapping paper on the outside equal to the number of kids, so that each child will get a turn to unwrap the present. You pass the present around the circle to music and when the music stops, the person holding the present gets to unwrap a layer.  The person that unwraps the final layer gets to keep the prize inside.
  • Craft:  The girls made bracelets with seashell beads.

Snacks and Beverages:

  • We served fresh fruit, fish crackers and a little plate of fish-shaped jube jubes.
  • Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris were served for the beverage.  The drinks were served with a slice of fresh fruit on the edge, a straw and of course, an umbrella!


Cake and Ice Cream:

I made two cakes.  One for Eden’s Hawaiian Party with her friends and one for the family party.  The Hula Girl cake was served at the party she had with her friends and the flip-flop cake was served later in the evening to family.  The Hula Girl cake was based on the same idea as a Barbie Doll cake.  I just tweaked the idea for the Hawaiian theme.  The flip-flops were easy and didn’t require much prep.  I simply made two sheet cakes and cut them each into a flip-flop shape.  I frosted them and then decorated them with a Fruit Roll-Up. I don’t seem to have a picture of the cake and ice cream being served, but I cut a 2 L box of ice cream into slices and then used a pineapple cookie cutter to make ice cream cut-outs.  I sprinkled yellow coloured sugar on the pineapple and green on for the leaves.  They were then re-frozen on a tray until serving time. Everyone got a piece of pineapple ice cream (vanilla flavoured) with their cake.

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Loot Bags:

Each of the girls received a lei, grass skirt, sunglasses and a flower for their hair as soon as they arrived.  This would all be taken home at the end of the party as part of their loot. They also received flip-flop barrettes, homemade flip-flop cookies and a beach themed discovery bottle.  The discovery bottles were made from recylced water bottles.  We filled them with water, blue food colouring (a bit of oil – I think), some sand, seashells and a few tiny  sea animals (plastic or erasers). To be honest, it was a few years ago and I don’t exactly remember or have a photo of the finished bottles.  Once they have been filled,you simply glue gun the lid closed.  All of their loot was taken home in a canvas bag that had big tropical flowers on it. I have so many great pictures of all of the girls against the backdrop all dressed-up with their umbrella drinks in hand.  So cute, but I didn’t feel I could share photos with anyone else’s children, so you just have to use your imagination.  I absolutely love giving costumes as part of the loot.  The kids not only have fun at the party, but can continue to play dress-up at home after.

This party was so much fun.  We have so many great photos of the party.  I always try to get a few group shots and a picture of the birthday boy/girl with each of their friends, in addition to all of the random snap shots that are taken. A party like this is so much work, but my daughter still remembers it and talks about it. It seems like the days of theme parties are behind us, as the kids have gotten older and just want to hang-out with their friends.  I am so glad I put the extra effort in when they were little!

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