Category Archives: kids

Daddies are the Greatest!

Father's Day 2012Happy Father’s Day to all the daddies out there. Daddies make the world go ’round. Special shout out to my Daddy. Missing you!!!

cat at table eating

Ajax thought the Father’s Day brunch looked too delicious to pass up. Totally busted him eating yogurt when I was setting the table!


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Beach Scavenger Hunt Birthday Party

beach party scavenger hunt birthday party invitationseaside beach in cardiff by the sea california8 year old birthday beach party carfiff californiabeach party scavenger hunt tide poolsfootball at sunset on the beach in cardiff by the sea californiafavorite gift home made birthday cardIt’s hard to believe my little one is already eight years old! This year for his birthday he requested a beach party scavenger hunt at Seaside Beach in Cardiff-by-the-Sea.

The kids got “a little” wet (some of them actually went swimming!) and had a blast searching for treasures like sea anemones, feathers, shells, lobster, surfers, swimming dogs, and whales. We spotted nearly everything on the list (including swimming dogs, excluding whales).

We celebrated with pizza, cupcakes and lemonade for the kiddos … and yummy cheese, warm coffee and cupcakes for the parents. One of the best parts of the party for me is the crazy easy setup and break down … all I brought was snacks, a drink bucket, a rollup portable table and some picnic blankets. I let Mother Nature do ALL the decorating! I did put together some goodie bags for the kids, with custom stickers, candy and a whoopie cushion. They are 8 year olds, after all. What could be better than sugar and a whoopie cushion?!

Happy birthday to my little guppy!


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Neighborhood S’mores Party

S'mores Party Invitation

S'mores Party Napkins

S'mores Party marshmallow on fire

S'mores Family Erika Firm John ArquetteS'mores Party FireA few weeks ago, just before school started, John and I invited the neighborhood kids (and their parents) over for a S’mores Party. It was a hot sticky mess, but also a ridiculous amount of fun.

I designed fun brown and white S’mores party invitations, as well as a few party accessories like brown cocktail napkins, but that’s as fancy as it got — overall the party was super low key. My dad made brats and we had a wagon full of beer, the kids ran around the yard playing tag, and patiently waited for dark so we could make s’mores. One of our neighbors brought over homemade marshmallows drizzled with caramel (we ate most of them before the fire was hot!).

Some s’mores party tips: 1. Buy cheap wood dowels at the hardware store for disposable s’mores sticks.   2. Keep a box of wet wipes nearby to help little ones get “unsticky.”   3. Put each ingredient in its own big jar with wide mouth, for easy access.   4. If you want to try something a little fancy: replace the Hershey’s bar with a Reese’s Cup. Trust me on this one.

//Top 3 photos by Erika Firm; bottom photos by Jessica Davis Photography

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Hooray for Long Weekends

hooray for long weekendsHello friends. I Hope you are enjoying yourself this long holiday weekend. Take some time to relax, okay? I’m trying to follow my own advice and am planning an afternoon at the beach with friends Sunday, and brunch by the pool on Labor Day.

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amazing treehouses

photos: TreeHouse Workshop

Photos: Barbara Butler

For Father’s day, my dad got a new chainsaw. Having trimmed all the bushes and trees on the property, he decided to move on to a fun new project: building a treehouse for my son! John and my dad put in the floor over the weekend, built a rope ladder, and the all-imporant dumbwaiter (for loading snacks up to the fort). 

I’m feeling inspired by these beautiful treehouses by TreeHouse Workshop and Barbara Butler. After seeing these, I think we may need to revisit the original blueprint for the treehouse:

Alexander drew a plan for his treehouse. Note the fun slide! 

photo: Erika Firm

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lessons from first graders

I’m in New York for the National Stationery Show (I promise to report trands and scenes from the show soon here and on my other gig, Creative-SoCal), but meanwhile just had to post these pictures from my son’s first grade classroom. The class read the book “It’s Okay to be Different” and then had the idea to write additional “pages” to the book. I love what they came up with! 

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only in SoCal: dogs and toddlers share the swingset

Yes, this really happened. I really did see a dog swinging on the swingset at the local park (Del Mar, Ca). That’s the pampered pooch’s master pushing him. He said the swing was part of his dog’s daily routine. I kid you not. My cousin (the adorable toddler in the photo) was not the only one confused by this. The doggie did seem amused, I must admit. 

Only in Southern California. 

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crafting with kids: valentines

photos: Erika Firm

One of my most treasured childhood memories is making Valentines with my best friend in first grade. I can still visualize the pink construction paper hearts and the pots of paste.

This year my son is in first grade, and his class is planning a “friendship day” Valentine’s Day party, complete with exchanging of cards. I was super thrilled about the idea, and set aside an entire afternoon to make all the cards with him. I wrote all about it on Mom Inc. Daily, so please head over there to see more photos and read all about the process.

Left: my son making Valentines. Right: one of his masterpieces.

For the whole scoop and more photos, please read my post on Mom Inc. Daily.

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root beer kegger part 6: 7th birthday party!

Our son just turned 7 and we had a Root Beer Kegger! See part 1 for the inspiration; part 2 for the color palette; part 3 for party decorations/inspiration; part 4 for root beer kegger food ideas; and part 5 for root beer party prep.

The Root Beer Kegger was super fun! The kids got all sugared up, played Legos until the entire city was destroyed (all in good fun), ran around the house like maniacs and had a great time. Of course I did the typical party host thing, and totally forgot to take photos. Many thanks to all our guests, who picked up my camera and snapped nearly all of these shots for me!

I know it sounds a little nutso, but we made two cakes. The chocolate frosted one at left is a gluten free vanilla cake with fresh strawberry filling (several of the guests have wheat allergies); the Bûche de Noël at right is my mom’s masterpiece. She used Grand Marnier to flavor the mascarpone frosting. Delicious!



The buffet table. The big empty plate at front is where the Paninis were placed. It’s crazy, but all of these props (the wood stump boxes, the cardboard 3-d stars, the owl, the acorns, the faux moss) I already had in my collection, props from my trade show days.


Favors for the kids: I found cute glass mugs, filled them with root beer barrel candies, and also gave each kid a bottle of root beer to take home. I tied a green and white striped paper straw, with their initial on the tag. Tip when preparing candy bags for kids: make sure each bag has EXACTLY the same number of candies in each bag, or tears may ensue. Photo at right is my breakfast treat day after the party: a root beer float. I was so busy chatting at the party I forgot to make myself one!


I created these custom root beer kegger birthday party invitations, along with the matching coasters, tags, place cards, flags, cake toppers, stickers, favor bag labels, etc. Lets just say I get carried away with paper stuff. Of course I forgot to take photos of most of these things! Whoopsie!


The kids, getting a heavy dose of sugar with root beer floats, before tackling the cake.


Morning after the kegger, he had the breakfast of champions: leftover root beer from the keg, and day old cake.

Overall, it was a great party. A few problems: invites got lost in the mail, took us a while to figure out how to operate the keg (stop snickering… it’s different from the ones we had in college. I swear), and I totally forgot to take photos. But everyone had a good time, especially the birthday boy, so this root beer kegger was a smashing success!

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