Holiday Entertaining Made Easy

Ahh…Christmastime, my favorite time of the year! There’s nothing like this special time of year to have a gathering of friends and family. And while there are many decorating themes you could go with, I’m going to show you some basics that could be incorporated into whichever party theme you choose.

SETTING THE SCENE

No matter the time of day, candles add an elegant touch to any event. If your party is in the evening, turn your lights down low and let the candles work their ambient magic. Below are simple ways to dress up plain white candles. You can find different types of glass containers and candles at your local dollar store. You’ll also want to have some music playing and there are a variety of holiday channels you can find on internet radio stations that will suit the mood of your event.

FESTIVE EATS

So that you aren’t slaving in your kitchen all day, pick up some frozen appetizers from the grocery store. You’ll be able to find mini quiches, filled puff pastry, and much more. You can also use your crock pot to make meatballs, cheesy dips, or hot buttered rum. For a festive touch you can dress up your cheese balls by making them into a snowman, create a tree out of fruit and cheese, or make the pretty and delicious Sparkling Cranberry Brie Bites shown below. Recipe can be found here: http://www.annies-eats.com/2012/12/19/sparkling-cranberry-brie-bites/. And don’t forget a signature cocktail like an Eggnog Martini!

TABLEWARE

For those of you hosting a holiday dinner, you’ll want to create a gorgeous table. A simple touch is to dress up your silverware by using felt craft store stockings that can double as favors or a simple pine sprig and ribbon. You can also spray paint the frame of a cheap mirror and use it as the base for your centerpiece. The reflection of candlelight makes for an elegant meal.

THE SWEET STUFF

For a sweet ending to the night, why not let Polka Dot Bakery take care of the baking. We offer Hot Cocoa Cupcakes, Gingerbread Roll Cake and frosted sugar cookies to serve or package as favors.

DIY FUN

With a little bit of time and money you can make your own ornament favors, photo props, or decorations. The ornament garland is easily made by stringing dollar store ornaments on ribbon and the glitter pears are made using fake dollar store fruit, glue and glitter. Free photo prop templates can be found here: http://talkcraftytome.com/2012/12/06/christmas-photo-booth-props-free-printable/.

With these ideas and more you are on your way to hosting a fabulous holiday party!

 

Easy Thanksgiving Entertaining

Between Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations this time of year can be very overwhelming, especially if you are hosting an event. Today’s post is aimed at helping you have a less stressful, and therefore more enjoyable, time with your friends and family.

TURKEY, GRAVY, AND STUFFING…OH MY!

You don’t have to bear the burden of cooking the food all alone. Never mind the stress of planning the meal and purchasing the food, but not many of us have kitchens equipped to feed a small army and the space issue can be a big stressor by itself. So tell your guests that you will be providing the turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing and they are each to bring a side dish or dessert. This way some of the burden is lifted off of you and everyone gets to enjoy a taste of things they might not otherwise have tried.

SETTING THE SCENE

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, atmosphere is important for setting the tone of your gathering and some simple music and decorations can go a long way. I am a jazz lover so some soft jazz would be what I would play but any type of soft background music will do. Just nothing that will overpower conversation. However, you don’t want it to be so dull that people are nodding off prior to their turkey induced tryptophan coma. Decorations need not be extravagant. A simple tablescape and some well-placed decorations in food serving areas will go a long way. Suggestions include a vase filled with mini pumpkins, acorns, or pinecones with or without leaves and flowers. Tea lights placed in hollowed-out gourds, a simple candle surrounded by cranberries or adding a festive flourish to existing candle holders or lanterns.

SOMETHING FOR THE KIDS

Besides plopping them in front of the TV to watch the parade, Thanksgiving can be a little boring for kids. Make sure you have some games for them to play, some coloring books and crayons and maybe even plan a Thanksgiving related arts & crafts project. They can make pilgrim hats, hand turkeys, or the older kids can make the cool Q-tip dot trees pictured below.

SOMETHING FOR THE ADULTS

Besides the regular offerings of wine and beer, offer a signature cocktail. A pumpkin pie martini or cranberry mojito will liven up your palate and your party! You might also want to have some games for the adults to play since everyone will be too full to leave the table for a couple of hours.

 

A SWEET FINALE

For a new spin on some old favorites, you can order one of many desserts Polka Dot Bakery has to offer. Some of the more popular treats include Pumpkin Cheesecake, Cranberry Hand Pies, Pumpkin Pie Cookies and Pumpkin Chocolate Pie. Any of these would be sure to delight your guests and would save you some time in the kitchen!

With the tips listed above, you are now on your way to an enjoyable and less stressful holiday gathering. Happy Thanksgiving!

New Year’s Eve for the Kids

For the past two years I’ve had my nieces over for a New Year’s Eve sleepover. We make our own pizzas for dinner, play games, and drink sparkling cider. It’s a blast and is always fun to see who stays up the latest! In this post you’ll find some ideas to get you started on having a fun-filled kid’s party of your own!

IT’S ABOUT TIME

Children’s sense of time is not very developed and telling them that there’s only three hours until midnight sounds to them like an eternity. Having a visual countdown will help them to know how much time is left until the new year. One way to countdown to midnight is with balloons. Each balloon gets labeled with a different time in increments of 15, 30, or 60 minutes. You can hang them up somewhere or attach them to a board or mirror. Each kid takes a turn popping a balloon at the proper time and the fewer balloons there are, the closer it is until midnight. Another idea is to put together activity bags that can be opened every hour. Activities can include making dinner, watching a movie, playing a game, doing a craft or having a dance party. And of course don’t forget the noise makers and a toast at midnight!

Balloon Countdown                    Activity Bags

BRING ON THE ENTERTAINMENT

Kids get antsy quickly and it can be a challenge to keep them entertained all night. Even though I always feel like I have plenty of things planned to span 5 hours or so, it never seems like enough. So I ask my nieces to bring their favorites board games with them and we usually play a couple of those but have also been known to engage in epic Wii dance parties. Even their uncle gets into it! Some other ideas are arts & crafts, coloring, or baking and decorating cookies. Since having multiple kids help you make dough in the kitchen would require sainthood (or a bottle of wine), it’s best to have the dough prepared and ready to roll out.

GOOD EATS

Most kids I know are bottomless pits and my nieces are no exception. Since it’s a special occasion, I put out appetizers for them to munch on before and after dinner. These usually include a veggie platter, cheese and crackers and mozzarella sticks or another hot item. For dinner I purchase individual pizza crusts from Hannaford and allow each kid to put their own sauce and toppings on it. They seem to really enjoy doing this and we usually end up with a pepperoni smiley face or two. For dessert you can do make-your-own sundaes or eat the cookies you decorated earlier.

REMEMBERING THE FUN

Besides taking pictures, another way to document your parties from year to year is by having the kids answer some simple questions about their current lives. The great printable form pictured below, as well as a tutorial for the activity countdown bags, can be found at: http://www.wonderfuljoyahead.com/2011/12/new-years-eve-tradition.html.

Hopefully I’ve stimulated your imagination and you’re ready to create your own fantastic New Year’s Eve party for kids. And if you need any help with desserts, Polka Dot Bakery is here to help!

Spooky…Scary…Happy Halloween Party

Now that October is here it’s time to start planning your Halloween party. Polka Dot Bakery is here to help you with some great party ideas. In addition to cupcakes and baked goods we also offer party planning services and custom decorations. Give us a call and we can help you start planning right away!

How to plan a spooktacular party in five easy steps!

1) “Finger” Foods

There are tons of creative recipes you can find online; here are a few of my favorites.

Severed Finger Hot Dogs-Make slices for the knuckle and attach a piece of onion with ketchup.

Deviled Eyeballs– Avocado filling with a cayenne pepper bloodshot glaze and black olive eye. Recipe: http://blommi.com/deviled-eyeballs-halloween-appetizer/

For the kids: Mummy Pizza

For the adults: Caramel Apple Martini

Recipe: http://www.inspiredbycharm.com/2014/08/caramel-apple-martini.html

2) Devilish Decorations

You already know the basics such as pumpkins, ghosts, bats, spiders, cobwebs and skulls. Add gauzy black fabric, purple and orange lights and some dry ice to bring your decorating to another level.

3) Ghoulish Music
A mixture of Halloween songs and spooky sound effects will keep your guests entertained way beyond the witching hour!

4) Spooky Sweets

Polka Dot Bakery offers a variety of Halloween themed cupcakes and desserts guaranteed to delight your guests. Below is a sampling of what we offer.


5) Terrifying Treats

What’s a Halloween party without a little candy? Send your guests home with a fun favor to thank them for coming to your frightful soiree!

Whether your party theme is creepy and scary or spooky and fun, Polka Dot Bakery can assist you with all your party needs. Contact us today to get the party started!

How to throw a Frozen themed birthday party

In this post I’m bringing you some ideas on making your little girl’s Frozen party dreams come true! Themed parties don’t have to be expensive but do make for a festive and memorable event. Polka Dot Bakery can provide you with Frozen themed cupcakes and cookies for your party. Pair our baked goods with some of the simple ideas below and prepare to wow your guests!

Here are the 5 steps to having a fun Frozen event:

1) The Sweet Stuff

What’s the number one thing people expect to have at a birthday party? Cake of course! Polka Dot Bakery offers Frozen themed cupcakes or snowflake sugar cookies to complete your party. Snowflake cookies also make great party favors when packaged individually or you can order undecorated snowflake sugar cookies and have the kids decorate them for a fun party activity.

                    

 

2) Fun Foods

Simple snack ideas include cubes of blue Jell-O as Kristoff’s Ice, rock candy on a stick, snowman snack mix (pretzels, marshmallows, chocolate chips, and candy orange slices cut into pieces), and Frozen punch (Sprite and blue Hawaiian punch).

 

3) Winterize Your Decorations

Get out those Christmas decorations! If you have a white Christmas tree, put it up! Use Christmas lights wrapped in tulle to decorate around doorways, as a backdrop or run it along your table. If you don’t have any snowflakes you can make your own out of paper just like you did as a kid. Cotton batting aka “snow” can be used as an accent and anything blue and white or glittery will work as well. You can pick up colored paper goods at your local dollar store to keep with the theme.

4) Fun and Games

I personally think that music is an important part of any event and really helps to set the mood. Yes, it’s a kid’s party but it really adds something extra. So get out the Advil, play the soundtrack to the movie and prepare to be serenaded by a dozen children singing “Let It Go”!

Another way to keep the children entertained is by playing games. Keep it simple with a game of Snowball Toss. Simply take a few plastic buckets, label them with different point values and stagger them at different distances. Roll up socks to use as “snowballs”, let each kid take a few tosses and have prizes for the ones who get the most points.

5) Favors

No party is complete without giving out favors to thank those who attended. Inexpensive ideas include a pair of blue and white mittens or a bag of Hershey’s Hugs with a tag like the one in the picture below.

           
With these ideas, your own creativity and a little help from Polka Dot Bakery, your child’s party will be one to remember!

Welcome to the Polka Dot Bakery blog!

In this first post I’m going to give you an overview of what PDB offers. In addition to delicious baked goods we also offer party planning services. Scroll through to see some of our popular treats and visit our website for a complete listing.

Cupcakes…in any flavor you can imagine!

Flavors include Chocolate, Vanilla, Red Velvet, Key Lime, Orange Creamsicle, Lemon, Chai, Lavender and Strawberry to name a few. Please visit our website for a full listing of cake and frosting flavors.

Cookies

We offer a wide selection of cookies including sugar cookies decorated with royal icing which are perfect for party favors! Below are some of our most popular cookies.

            Chocolate Chip                      Key Lime Coconut                      Snickerdoodles

        Jam Thumbprints                   Peppermint Patty             Cranberry Orange Pinwheels

We also offer assorted baked goods such as S’mores brownies, Kit Kat bars, raspberry crumble bars, scones and muffins. Mini desserts offered include parfaits, petit fours, apple crisp, fruit tarts, hand pies and more.

Polka Dot Bakery also offers full service event planning, invitations and custom decorations. Please visit our website for more information. We look forward to working with you to make your event a success!