Entertaining

Mother’s Day Brunch Bunch

On Sunday, May 6th, with the help of my fabulous co-hosts Jen Znosko, Amy Schuster, and Julie Fowler, I hosted a Mother’s Day brunch to benefit Westchester elementary.  It was a fun way to raise money for the school while also taking time to celebrate moms who work so hard for their families and communities. The goal of the party was to allow moms to have fun and celebrate Mother’s Day free of distractions for a few hours.

Just like the selfie scavenger hunt we hosted back in April, this was also a fundraising sign-up party. In honor of the beautiful spring weather, we created a light brunch menu. First up were some cute “mom-osas” served with pink-and-white straws and “spa” water (fruit-infused water). Along with plenty of brunch finger foods, a simply decadent chocolate tasting courtesy of Bissinger’s Chocolates was a perfect way to round out the menu.

Mom-osa brunch

We wanted to keep the brunch menu simple yet delicious, so we chose finger foods and appetizers that everyone was sure to enjoy. Nothing is more simple and scrumptious brunch food than skewers. You’ll see there were several on the Mother’s Day brunch menu, and they certainly didn’t disappoint!

Here’s what was on the menu:

“Mom-osas”

The perfect fun brunch drink to celebrate amongst fellow hard working moms.

Mother's Day Brunch

 

Mothers Day Brunch

Momosa brunch

Spa Water

Mother's Day Brunch

We loved having two different types of infused water to keep things fresh and light. My favorites were Detox Cucumber (cucumber infused water) and Citrus (oranges, lemons, and basil).  These H2Os were beautiful and refreshing!

Veggie Cups and Dip

Mother's Day Brunch

Veggie cups

The veggie cups with dip were simple, delicious and healthy; a can’t-miss brunch food idea!  Simply put some dip in the bottom of clear plastic cups, then place carrot and celery sticks, broccoli and a tiny skewer of grape tomatoes in the cup on top of the dip. These made such a bright, colorful, and fun addition to our brunch food.

Bacon Skewers

Bacon Skewers

If you want an amazing brunch item that looks simple but is anything but simple in the taste department, then trust me—these bacon skewers MUST for your next gathering! They were spicy, sweet and simply amazing! Amy found these taste bud electrifiers on Pinterest, and I couldn’t stop eating them. Get the recipe here

Yogurt parfaits with Irene’s granola

Irene's granola parfait

Here’s another simple brunch food idea that was beautiful and easy to assemble. For our yogurt parfaits, we simply layered yogurt over fresh-cut fruit, then topped it off with Irene’s soft granola for a little bowl of heaven!  Irene’s granola is made locally in Kirkwood and is amazing.

Quiche

Momosa brunch

You can’t host a brunch without serving quiche, right? It’s a great brunch food since it’s filling, but pairs perfectly with finger foods and appetizers. For our quiche, we decided to offer some variety with a two-pack from Costco. We chose the spinach-artichoke and cheddar-broccoli flavors from La Terra Fina, and we were super pleased.  They were healthy and delicious!  Check out their site for a coupon.  My friend Jen said the spinach-artichoke dip is amazing.  I can’t wait to try that too!

Fruit Kabobs

fruit kabobs

Who doesn’t love a fruit kabobs?   These little gems were on our brunch menu! So light, so delicious, and so easy! Cut the fruit and skewer.

Donut Hole pops

Donut Pops

This was an easy brunch treat to assemble and provided such a fun presentation.  My friend Julie bought a box of Munchkins donut holes from Dunkin Donuts.  We skewered each one and served.  Perfection!

All these foods were super easy for a busy mom who doesn’t have time to be slaving away in the kitchen.  These would be great ideas if you are hosting a baby or wedding shower, graduation parties or having brunch with your favorite girls.  Whatever your event, this easy and simple menu will give you more time to toast with your friends.  Cheers!

XOXO

Sarah~

Special thanks to my co-hostesses Jen, Amy, and Julie.
The businesses who made this party special:  Elizabeth from Gladly designs for all the beautiful signs and food tents, Irene’s granola for the amazing granola.

Plus all the amazing businesses that donated to the Mother’s Survival Kit swag bags:

Swag Bag
Kidzxplor, Yoga 6, Fit Flavors, Chick fil a- Des Peres, Bissinger’s,  Marley Lilly, The Daily Bread Cafe, Wee Tutoring, Kendra Scott, Shine Tan, European Wax, Soap Box and Prana Yoga.

We did a self-care accountability activity check out that post here.

Photos from @missverajeanae_

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Staying accountable to self-care over the summer.

Hey ladies.  I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation after being with my boys non-stop for 10 days.  We had so much fun but I’m exhausted.  Since a vacation is not possible my goal this week is all about self-care.  Can anyone relate?

Beach Vacay, Gulf Shores

A few weeks back I co-hosted a brunch for some other 1st-grade mom friends.  I wanted to have an activity that encouraged these moms to engage in a little self-care over the summer. As hectic as mom life is all year ‘round, somehow the summer months always seem to be the most frantic of all. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re suddenly tasked with entertaining your school-aged kids all day, every day—no easy task! And if you’re a working mom, it’s a challenge; I literally made a spreadsheet of what camps Logan will be at each week. You’ve got to schedule camps, sitters, and activities to fill all those hours your kids used to be in school while you’re at work so they are not plugged into the TV all day!

Gladly designs

With all that madness going on, it’s so easy to put ourselves last. Many of us can’t remember the last time we took five minutes to decompress and just, well, think our thoughts. With that in mind, I partnered with Gladly Designs to create a stack of beautiful note cards for my event. Then, at the brunch, I handed a card to each mom and asked her to write down at least one personal goal she wanted to complete over the summer or a self-care task that she’d like to accomplish. Maybe that’s meeting up for a summer MNO happy hour, going to yoga, or getting a pedicure; whatever their goal was, I asked the moms to write it on their card, address it to themselves.

Gladly designs

Gladly designs

The activity was a challenge for some and fun for others.  I loved hearing what they are willing to commit to doing for themselves. At the end of the summer, I’ll mail each of the moms her card so she’ll get a chance to check in with herself and see if she completed her task. I can only hope that they all do.

My question for you is:  What self-care do you want to commit to doing for yourself this summer?  You deserve it.  Here are a few of mine:

Meet with my health coach
Try a new yoga class
Float in a float tank
Get a facial

Thank you to Gladly designs for partnering on this activity.  To see all her amazing design work check out the Etsy shop here and be sure to sign up for a discount coupon on your first order.

Below are a few things she designed for the party and if you missed the brunch details check them out here.

Gladly Designs

Gladly Designs

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Swag Bag Party Photo Wall

I have always loved taking and having lots of photos so when I was planning my Holiday Swag Bag Party I knew I wanted to do some sort of fun photo wall.

I have an accent wall in my office that is a leopard pattern so I thought I’d start with that.  I rented a “pipe and drape” (poles and drapes) at a party rental store that defines the space a little more for the background.  Then I pushed aside the furniture in my office.

I found some fun photo props at TJ Maxx and got the letter balloons to spell out FUN.  The day before the party I took the balloons to my local grocery and had them filled with helium.  Then Wal-la!  A photo backdrop.

I have loved looking back at these photos.  Life is too short not to have FUN!!  🙂

FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party FUN photo wall Swag bag party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fun Photo Wall Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and Aboutpics were taken by @verajeanaephotography

Have you seen the other Holiday Swag Bag posts?

How to host a holiday swag bag party here
Holiday appetizers and drinks I served at the holiday swag bag party here

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Easy appetizers and drinks I served at my holiday swag bag party.  

Cheers Sarah, Christine, Rachel and Ann Santa define nice

 

 

 

 

 

I was in search of some easy appetizers and drinks to make for my holiday swag bag party.  I called my go-to foodie friend Christine to discuss options.  I knew she’d be a big help, because she knows I don’t have time to spend hours in the kitchen cooking, but still want to wow my guests with a fun snacks and drinks.  

The primary goal for my menu was to serve appetizers I could assemble quickly, that would require three or fewer ingredients. I decided to showcase a mix of sweet and savory apps that were served cold and hot.

Here’s what I chose:

filo cups

Spinach Filo Cups.  

  • Filo cups
  • Your favorite dip (spinach artichoke works great!)

This is my “go-to” appetizer for all my parties, and are a huge hit.  They look really fancy, but they’re the easiest tasty bites to assemble.  Dierbergs carries already-baked filo cups.  While you’re there grab some of their fresh spinach artichoke dip.  All you do is spoon the dip into the filo cups, and bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.  You can also order them at pre-assembled, and take them home to bake.  

Anne and Sarah Jessica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crockpot Meatballs

  • 1 package of meatballs
  • 1 bottle of BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays’ Honey Chipotle is really good).
  • 1 jar of apricot jelly

The crockpot can be your best friend when hosting a party.  Just throw the ingredients into the crock, and it takes care of the rest.  The apricot jelly adds a different twist to this classic appetizer.  My guests raved about this one, and requested the recipe.

cream cheese stars

Red Pepper Stars

  • 1 brick of cream cheese
  • 1 bottle of red pepper jelly

Divide and cut the cream cheese into a creative shape using a cookie cutter.  To prevent the cream cheese from sticking, spray the cookie cutter with Pam.  Then just top your shapes with the red pepper jelly, and enjoy with toast bites or crackers.  These are a simple way to make the holidays special.  For Valentine’s Day do hearts, shamrocks for St Patrick’s Day, and pumpkins for Halloween or Thanksgiving.

Baked goat cheese and marinara

  • 1 jar of your favorite marinara
  • 1 log of goat cheese
  • Fresh basil for garnish

This appetizer was inspired by my favorite tapas restaurant in St. Louis: Barcelona.  It’s so simple and looks so festive.  All you have to do is pour the marinara sauce into small baking dish.  Next slice the goat cheese and bake at 375 for 15 minutes, or until toasted and sauce is bubbling.  Serve with toast bites.

Cinnamon Chip Breadbowl

Cinnamon chip bread bowl

  • Cinnamon Chip bread bowl  from @Great Harvest Bread Co
  • Cheesecake fruit dip
  • Apple slices

I love making this Cinnamon Chip bread bowl into an amazing party treat.  This bread tastes like heaven!  Just core out the top and put in the smooth and tasty cheesecake fruit dip from Dierbergs’ deli department.  I also like to serve it with fresh apple slices.  If you’re looking for a show-stopper; this is it!

 

chocolate dipped clementines

Chocolate covered clementines

  • Clementines
  • Dark chocolate or chocolate chips
  • Sea Salt

First, peel and divide the clementines.  Next, melt the chocolate chips in the microwave, and dip half of the clementine into the chocolate.  Sprinkle with sea salt before the chocolate hardens.  Finally, place them on parchment paper and let cool in the refrigerator.  

Veggie Platter

Veggies and Dip from Dierbergs

I like having veggies as a healthy option for my guests.  I ordered a veggie platter from Dierberg’s because they’re always fresh and beautiful.  Just throw them onto your own platter and it looks like you did all the preparation.  

Buntini's

Bundtinis from “Nothing Bundt Cakes”

These delicious miniature bundt cakes, may be small, but pack a punch for any sweet tooth. Nothing Bundt Cakes has two   locations in Chesterfield and Brentwood.  They have a compact variety of flavors in six types of products (i.e. bundt cakes and bundt towers).  I went with chocolate chocolate chip (yep, that’s twice the chocolate) and red velvet for this party, and they all disappeared quick.

What we drank:

Very peary cocktail

Very Peary Breeze

  • 1 part pear vodka
  • 1 part cranberry juice
  • 1 part apple juice
  • Frozen cranberries
  • Rosemary

Just like the name indicates, this drink is like a fresh breeze.  Once mixing the three drink ingredients, throw in some frozen cranberries.  These make for festive ice cubes, a nice pop of color, and keeps your drink cold without watering it down.  Finally, garnish with rosemary.   

Wine decisions red or white? Heather C

I also had a variety of red and white wines and water on hand.  You can jazz it up the water by putting a large ice cube with frozen oranges and cranberries inside the container.  

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So that covers what we ate and drank at the Swag Bag Party.  If you missed all the fun swag items you will want to check that out here.  The recipe for the Peary Beary Cocktail here and other party ideas here.
Next I’ll be showing you how I turned my office wall  into a photo back drop.  Here’s a sneek peek.
Photo wall
XOXO  Sarah
Party Pic photos by the talented @verajeanaephotography

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How to throw a swag bag party and all my tips.

This is the hottest girls night out idea and perfect for the holidays.  You don’t need to be a celebrity or a blogger to get a great swag bag.  You just need to host a FUN filled holiday swag bag party and I’ll tell you how.  Swag bag party | Sarah Out and About

  1.  Invite your friends.  The swag bag party is a modern twist on the favorite things party.  The same premise applies.  Set a budget,  mine was $5.  I let my friends decide how much they wanted to spend but if you bring 4 items (spend $20) you take home 4 new items in your swag bag.  If you bring 6 items (spend $30) you take home six new swag bag items.

Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and About

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.  When the girls arrived I had them put the swag on my dining room table and asked each of them to write their name on a piece of paper for each item they brought.  So if they brought 4 items they wrote their name down 4 times.  Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and About

3.  After eating, drinking and taking lots of FUN photos (blog posts on all those details to come) we started the swag bag game.  Here’s how it works:  Each person talks about their swag, why they love it, where they use it, etc.  Then they tell everyone where they can get it and depending on how many items they brought they draw names and those people get to take home the swag.

I also handed out a swag bag to each guest to put all of their goodies in.

Holiday wrapping tip:  My friend Jessica gave me this idea.  She gets the Erin Condren labels personalized and buys the brown or white paper bags then coordinates the label with the tissue.  This makes a custom and super affordable gift bag for the holidays.

 

Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and AboutIt is such a fun party and getting to hear what your friends are loving and hearing about new items you may not know about.  I had a friend write down each item so that if you didn’t get swag you were interested in you can check it out later.

 

These items are all great stocking stuffers, teacher gifts, gifts for your BFF, sister, mom, friends, etc. Who doesn’t want a swag bag?

Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and About

Swag Bag Party | Sarah Out and AboutSwag Bag Party | Sarah Out and About

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is a list of all of the swag bag items brought to the party

Gold Bond Hand Lotion Target

Silicone wine glasses Amazon

Mini gold wallet Old Navy

Bissinger’s gummy pandas Bissinger’s

Woodsy Owl Ornament Cracker Barrel

Hand Made Holiday Soaps Christopher’s boutique

Aveda Foot Lotion Ginger Bay Salon

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm Target

NYX Lip Moisturizer Target

Plaid Blanket Scarves Online

Silver Arrow Earrings Zulilly

Buntlett Cakes Nothing Bundt Cakes

JR Watkins Hand Soap and Yogi Chai tea Target

Fingerless gloves Old Navy

Wet Brush Target

Burt’s Bees Lip Balm Target

Chapstick Total Hydration Target

Johnson & Johnson Travel items Target Aveno Lotion, Neutrogena make up remover, Listerine, Lavender Bath, Neutrogena hand cream

Ok so tell me what you would bring if you went to a swag bag party.  I want to know all the fun things you love!

XOXO  Sarah

Photography by:  @verajeanaephotography

 

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Are you ready for a very peary holiday cocktail?  This drink is so simple and festive for the holidays.  It looks like your drinking Christmas.  Yes!!

You’ll need:

Pear vodka
Apple juice
Cranberry juice
Cranberries and lime for garnish

Mix equal part of the pear vodka, cranberry juice, and apple juice.  Stir, garnish, and enjoy!!

Party Tip:  I like to freeze cranberries and the juice to add to the cocktail.  This prevents it from getting watered down.

very peary holiday cocktail cranberry ice cubes very peary holiday cocktail

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The O’Fallon Brewery pumpkin pack is one of my favorite treats when it hits the shelf at Dierbergs during the fall season.  These tasty brews will have you looking forward to autumn every year.  The popularity of the O’Fallon Pumpkin Pack is so high though, they fly off the shelves shortly after being stocked.  Last year I could not find it anywhere.  This year I decided to plan ahead reserve a Pumpkin pack and and host a pumpkin beer tasting party because there’s nothing like enjoying the Fall season with your girlfriends.      

How to host a pumpkin beer tasting party  

  • Set a date
  • Find a venue
  • Contact the venue
  • Think about food and drinks
  • Have an activity 
Pumpkin_Beer
O’Fallon Brewery Pumpkin Pack

1. Set A Date:

Talk to your friends and see who is interested in attending and what dates and times work best.  I wanted to keep this group to between 6-10 people since I wasn’t having it at my house.  This makes it easier to talk to everyone too.   I decided 8:00 p.m. was a good time, I wanted to squeeze in a little quality time with my boys after work and have time to freshen up, before heading out.

Pumpkin Beer Tasting
Pumpkin Beer Tasting

2.  Find a venue:

Many times hosting at your house is the natural option.  If you’re like me, hosting a party at my house can be stressful after working all week.  Picking a neutral location can make it a lot more enjoyable because you won’t have to worry about getting your house picked up prior to your guests arriving, and cleanup is a snap.  The Dierbergs in Des Peres on Manchester Rd. was an ideal location for this party because it features a balcony area by the main entrance, they provide glassware, and every Friday night there’s a live band.  Plus, unlike at a restaurant, you won’t have to worry about how long your party runs and if you’re occupying much-needed tables during busy times.  Think outside the box when deciding on a venue.  It’s more important to get together than to have the perfect setting.   Some other options are  Park pavilions, Recreation facility, church hall, private rooms or alcoves at restaurants, your neighborhood clubhouse and coffee shops.

3.  Contact the venue and find out all the details.

It’s important to note any policies they might have, so you don’t have any snags once you arrive.

4.  Think about the food and drinks:

If you love cooking, making your own food items for the party is a great cost-saving approach.  However, I literally did one-stop-shopping at Dierbergs for my food and drinks.  The beer was not the only item that was pumpkin themed  here is what I got:

  • O’Fallon Brewery Pumpkin Beer 12-pack, which included flavors like “Jack O’ Latte”, and “Pumpkin Bread”
  • Sweet bakery items: pumpkin gooey butter cake bites,  pumpkin cupcakes, and scones.  I asked Dierberg’s to put this together for me since I was sticking to a pumpkin theme.  They were easy to work with and charged me for the food and a few extra dollars for the platter so just ask them if you want something you don’t see.  

 

Pumpkin_platter_of_treats
Pumpkin_platter

5. Have an activity:  

I like to have some sort of activity or simple icebreaker, especially if your friends don’t all know each other already.  I thought  it would be fun to get my friends’ engaged in tasting each beer, so my husband created a pumpkin beer tasting sheet.  Then they can make comments and grade each flavor.  The results from my tasting had the classic O’Fallon Pumpkin Beer claiming the blue ribbon, and O’Fallon Jack O’ Latte was runner-up. 

The food winner was far-and-away pumpkin gooey butter cake bites, followed by pumpkin cupcakes.

So, what’s your favorite pumpkin-themed recipe?  Is it a scrumptious sweet item, savory entree, or are you a novice brewer who makes your own pumpkin beer?

Happy Fall everyone!

XOXO Sarah

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