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Here Comes The Circus! Planning The Kids’ Birthday Party (And Having So Much Fun)

(photo credit: Belly Feathers)

I am OBSESSED right now with planning Natalie and Liam’s joint birthday party. I am like a crazy person trying to do the most I can on a budget. Etsy is like… heaven. The women who have stores on that site are truly amazing and gifted. With their help, I think this birthday bash is going to be one to remember. Now, if only I can find out how to get a live tiger to show… LOL! Just teasing.

Last night, that’s all I did. I searched online like an ANIMAL and found so many party sites that offer creative tips on how to do it yourself.

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Then I took a break to cook dinner and when I minced my garlic… it turned green in the pan. I never saw such a thing! Has that happened to you? To hide the color I added some black tea to the pan which darkened the chicken. Voila! Bill doesn’t like to see the chicken white – so it actually worked to my advantage on two counts.

I’ve mentioned this before – but I love to cook with Black tea. Instead of using oil, I whip out my Honest Tea and it works just the same (minus the fat or points on Weight Watchers if you follow the plan).


Another thing that I started to use (when I am in a bind) is Uncle Ben’s Whole Grain White Rice. If I have the time, I usually make basmati rice from scratch. But when I want to get things on the table quickly, Uncle Ben’s is a good alternative.


My secret is to use chicken stock instead of water and to add a few Bay Leaves to the pot. It really adds a ton of flavor for minimal work.

After dinner, I picked up my friend Cheryl and ran to the Dollar Store. I wanted to get glass bowls to fill with candy for the party. I saw this amazing sweets table online that I am going to try to replicate. I can’t WAIT to have this party!!!

Do you know of any party sites you can refer me to? I am always up for a new URL. 🙂

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Vera Sweeney, mom, blogger, social media influencer and New York resident, is the founder of LadyAndTheBlog.com. She is considered one of the top female digital influencers in today’s social media space. Her lifestyle and parenting brand helps busy women stay on top of the latest trends in fashion, food, family and travel.


  1. Can you tell me how you made your tag? Thanks so much

  2. I LOVE this site for party ideas: http://www.hostessblog.com/. I have used many ideas from their pictures to jazz up my parties…and they have lots of pictures with the gorgeous sweets tables you are talking about.

    • Hi
      laughed when I read your blog re the tiger!
      I am planning a circus party for November !!! Well I love parties. Have seriously googles babies elephants . And told my dauvghter to ask mr. H if elephants are allowed in school hall. (will hire school hall as in Uk our houses as big as your cupboards ).
      I am planning to buy coloured t shirts fir each child . They will make craft props and be in groups hoses acrobats elephants tigers lions and clowns. Each will do a short sketch at end for parents .
      Big top – gazeebo parachute bunting .
      Good luck with your party
      sally x

  3. How does cooking with tea work? Can you use any tea? Do you add water? I’m full of questions but am on weight watchers and never heard of doing that!

  4. Instead of adding oil to your pan – add tea. It’s that simple. 0 calories and your meat will still cook and brown. 🙂 Never added water. I just use the tea I happen to drink in my house which is black tea. But I suppose anything would work.

  5. Mary, the animal crackers favor actually comes from a circus party ideas post on my blog. I’d be glad to create these for your event. I also sell a party planning guide for carnival circus parties that may be of interest to you. Here are some photos from a circus party that used my ideas.

  6. Do you brew the tea and then pour it into the pan?? I am on ww too and could use some new ideas!!

  7. I will have to try the tea for my next chicken dinner. Haven’t used Uncle Ben’s in years. A simple rice pilaf is brown some orzo and rice in a sauce pan and add some chicken stock.

  8. CapturingLife : May 13, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    I’m obsessed with Etsy, too. And if you can’t find what you are looking for, you can post a request in “alchemy” and get a ton of responses and bids from those willing to make what you need. LOVE that.

  9. I used http://creativepartyplace.com/ to plan my son’s first birthday. We had a golf theme with most of the ideas from here and Etsy… Have fun!!

  10. Wow, that new to me! Never heard of using tea instead of oil when you frying!
    Now i have only one question, i see brocolli and chicken and asparagus. What is that white sauce next to vegiies and meat????

  11. That’s rice Alana. No white sauce. 😉

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