Blog Archives

2014 REA Award Winner!

August 20, 2014
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Our Cupid Call campaign we launched last January started out as a little idea, but turned into a BIG blessing for all parties involved.  Word spread about it like wildfire so we thought it was a perfect marketing acheivemnet project to enter for the Gifts and Dec annual Retail Excellence Awards.  We were thrilled to be selected as a finalist which means we get a lovely write up in their magazine.

rea marketing award In addition to the write up, we also get invited to a 4 star dinner and awards ceremony in New York City at the Chelsea Piers!

rea award I brought my lovely date Danielle, our Berkley manager and we basked in the sun reflecting off the Hudson River during cocktail hour.

rea award There are a variety of different categories stores are selected for including… visual merchandising, store events and store design/redesign.  Each category had 3 finalists that were featured.

rea awards

Cupid must have shot his arrow into the heart of the judges because they selected catching fireflies as the winner!  Ahhhh… my mini oscar moment.  I shared a short little speech and received this lovely Waterford vase recognizing my achievement.

rea award Our mitten state was very well represented that night because Mary Liz from Leon and Lulu also won for visual merchandising!

What a wonderful night we had.  We’re so lucky to be in the business of making days brighter and this evening really shined!  A BIG THANKS to all who helped make our Cupid Call campaign one to remember.

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7 clever campfire recipes

August 19, 2014
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As summer is winding down, one last adventure may be on your calendar…a camping trip. In addition to your campfire classics- make this year especially memorable by trying out a few new dishes on your menu.

campfire recipes

These tasty offerings may even have your pickiest diners coming back for seconds!

A burger for breakfast? Yes-according to Emily of the Jelly Toast Blog. Her Campfire Breakfast Burger is actually perfect any time of the day. These delicious sandwiches start with a black pepper cheddar biscuit and are loaded up with a sausage patty and an egg.

Looking for a really quick and easy option? This Camping Quesadilla from the Cupcake Diaries Blog is your answer. Alli says to make things even simpler, prepare the chicken at home ahead of time and then all you have to do at camp is load up your ingredients, cook over the fire, and dinner is served.

Hankering for a bite between meals? Then the Campfire Spinach Dip that we found on Twin Dragonfly Designs may be right up your alley. If for some strange reason you have any leftovers just keep the foil packet close to the fire where it will stay warm and melty until everyone is ready to dig in again.

Campfire Popcorn- 3 ways…whether you like yours fruity and nutty, hot and smoky, or sweet and sticky-The Juggling Act Mama has got a recipe that you need to check out. She shares her basic popcorn recipe then shows you how to create the perfect snack to enjoy on your next camping trip.

The recipe for these Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls is not only clever, but sooooo easy! All you need are store-bought cinnamon rolls and 8 oranges. Here’s the cool part: the oranges are hollowed out and used as a cooking vessel for the rolls and add an infusion of orange flavor into the rolls. Want to learn more? Head over to the Oleander and Palm Blog to find the directions for this delicious breakfast.

Sometimes a new spin on an old favorite is all it takes to get the kids to come running! Take your everyday hot dogs and turn them into Spider Hot Dogs (looks like they might even cook a little faster with this method).  Take a trip over to the Naptime Creations to check out Emily’s instructions along with other suggestions for campfire cooking.

End your day with a sweet treat by making these S’More Cheesecake Campfire Cones courtesy of the Making Memories With Your Kids Blog. You wrap up these goodies in foil and heat them up until creamy and velvety.

Like easy to make recipes that get wows?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

our kitchen picks

August 13, 2014
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Has your kitchen taken a break during these sweet summer months?  Get back into the swing of things with a few of our fun kitchen picks.

814 april

I don’t have a lot of kitchen clutter but these birdies are more than welcome to nest on my counter… making them easy to grab whenever I’m whipping up tasty treats.  $28.95 for the cups & 15.95 for the spoons

eco clean deck

Since I had my kids I’ve been really into making sure everything in the house is safe for them. This deck is great because it gives me things I can do for all types of things around the house that are safe for not only my kids by myself as well. I’ve also learned that I wind up saving money because most of the things I already have around the house or do not cost much at the store. $14.99

bird spoon perch

I love this little bird roost, because it doesn’t take up space on my counter like a spoon rest. When you’re done cooking, just wash it off and toss it back in the drawer! $5.95

michigan tumbler

I’ve always loved collecting cool and unique glasses and this one would definitely be a great one to add into the mix. With all of the color and detail it makes a great gift for any Michigan lover out there! $13.95

vino venti

This easy to use device let’s me control the taste of my favorite wines. It’s a lot more effective than any aeration devices that I have used in the past. The design is well engineer, so you know you can use the VinoVinti many years to come. It also makes the perfect gift for any wine lover on any occasion! $39.95

what to eat pad

When I lived alone, I always knew exactly what was in my cupboards and rarely had trouble whipping up something to eat. It’s a lot harder with a household! With this mapped out pad of paper, we can sit down once a week and not only plan who is making what when, but draw up a list of required ingredients, making the trip to the grocery store so much simpler and quicker (and cheaper) $6.95

m measuring cups

These super cool measuring cups have been on my wish list for a while now. I love quirky items that add a fun flair to my kitchen, but it’s even better when they are functional too. This set of matryoshkas measuring cups is also great because each nesting doll cup stacks inside the others to save space on your counter or in your cupboard. These unique kitchen accessories by Fred are some of my all time favorites!  $13.95

silicone steamer

I’m a fan of kitchen gadgets that are functional & easy to store. I love how this is a colander and a steamer along with being dishwasher and microwave safe. As a veggie steamer lover with limited cabinet space, I’m sold on this eco-friendly product and you will be too! $21.95

whimsical cocktail napkins

I absolutely adore these fun Curly Girl napkins! The saying couldn’t be more true and the napkins are perfect for any occasion. Your kitchen will be a little brighter when using these! $5,50

 

simply soft disc

This tiny little clay disc works wonders! You can add it to a brand new bag of brown sugar and it will keep it moist or you can add it to stale, crunchy brown sugar and within a few hours it will soften it up! It is an essential product for anyone that bakes! $3,95

dog flour sack towel

catching fireflies has carried these towels for over 10 years and they are still a customer favorite. Great as a hostess gift, or for that person who has everything, or a simple thank you. Wrap up some cookies or a bottle of wine in one for that personal touch. $9.95

slow cooker recipe book

As Summer winds down and my busy Fall schedule gears up, I am anxious to get prepared for the more hectic and cool days coming. I love using a slow cooker, so I can prep my dinner before I take off for the day and can come home to something wholesome and delicious! Lots of yummy recipes in here and great suggestions on how to adjust recipes to make them healthier! $12.99

Do you like seeing what team catching fireflies is loving? We’re happy to share some of our favorite finds.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

corn-on-the-cob kicked up a notch

August 12, 2014
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While I’ve never been a big fan of canned or frozen corn, corn-on-the-cob is a whole different story. There’s nothing quite like biting into a  fresh, sweet, buttery cob of corn in the summertime.

I recommend taking advantage of this delectable veggie while it is in season–who can resist? And here are a few new ways to make a good thing even better…

 

Just looking at this photo–you know that this side dish is bursting with flavor.  If you like a little heat, try out the Spicy Hoisin and Sesame Glazed Corn Recipe over on the BetsyLife Blog.

Talk about texture and flavor…your tastebuds won’t know what hit them once you take a taste of this Mexican Street Corn that we found on A House In The Hills.  These cobs are drizzled with a lime crema sauce and topped with cashews and cilantro.

You’ll probably want more than Just A Taste of this Cheesy Roasted Garlic Corn. In her recipe, Kelly slathers these ears with roasted garlic aioli, grated Parmesan, and a squeeze of fresh citrus.

Over on the Frugal Living Mom Blog, Jen is serving up her version of Curried Corn On The Cob. Adjusting the heat on this is easy–simply use a milder curry powder.

Have you ever even considered incorporating fresh corn into a pizza? Ashley was inspired to come up with her mouthwatering recipe for Bacon, Corn, and Caramelized Onion Pizza from her childhood when her mom used to treat her by ordering delivery pizza and renting movies on the weekends. Take a trip over to the Baker by Nature Blog, where she reminisces  about those fun times with her mother.

If you’re looking for the perfect side dish for your BBQ, your search has ended. Christine of First Home Love Life suggests  you let this Sweet and Spicy Corn Salsa sit in the fridge for a few hours ahead of time so that all of the unbelievable flavors can mix and mingle for a while–then serve it up with tortilla chips!

Silky, smooth, and creamy are the delicious details that Debi uses to describe her Fresh Summer Corn Soup. You can find the step-by-step recipe over on the her blog, Life Currents.

Like easy to make recipes that get wows?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

summer boredom gift guide

August 11, 2014
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Ads for back to school supplies are going strong but we don’t want this spectacular season to end  quite yet so here are a few fun finds for kids who are still soaking in summer vacation…

Shop all fun finds for kids HERE.

for outdoor fun  86 summer fun outdoors

1.  Eyeball war is on with this silly monster popper. It shoots up to 20 feet! $11.95

2.  Your own wind power can make these jets soar in the sky $16.99

3.  The classic boomerang has met its match with this new modern marvel $13.95

4.  You can’t find this magical mixture at the beach or in your sandbox!  $24.95

5.  Kick it old school with some good old fashioned sidewalk games  $8.95

6.  Another classic find that spells summer fun ~ snappers  $.75

for creative imaginations

86 summer fun imaginative play

1.  Transform any hand into an instant puppet with these funny animal tattoos  $6.95

2.  Color these beautiful butterfly masks with your friends & perform a fantastical play  $11.99

3.  Or if you prefer to draw directly on your body, these doodlers will do the trick!  $8.95

4.  You and 19 of your friends can rule the world with cool color-in robot masks  $11.95

5.  Transform into a fairy with some help from these lovely lightweight wings  $18.95

6.  Googly eyes have the power to turn almost anything into a cool creature  $1.95

for kids who love art

86 summer fun artsy

1.  Turn yarn into adorable puppy dogs with this cool kit $19.95

2.  Turn your doodles into jewelry with this cool shrinking craft kit  $8.95

3.  Spread smiles in your community with super cool sneaky art projects  $12.99

4.  Catch the sun while it’s still shining with these pretty paper shapes  $9.95

5.  Get inspiration for new doodles with this snazzy drawing book  $12.95

6.  Create a super smelling picture using these scented glitter pens  $9.95

really great reads

86 summer fun books

1.  Q & A a day is a great way to create memories with your kid throughout the whole year  $16.95

2.  Take a break from electronics and become swift with some string games $14.95

3.  Need new ideas for these last few weeks of summer?  This is the book for you!  $25

4.  Talk about some sweet science projects!  $14.99

5.  Create your very own robot army with junk you find around your house  $26.95

6.  Learn simple ways to live green with this resourceful read  $12.99

for the fashionista

86 summer fun fashionista

1.  Need a little help drying your nail polish… this mighty cute monkey will work his magic  $13.95

2.  Go green and get some serious style by making paper bead jewelry  $11.95

3.  Ink some of your favorite doodles with these body pens $5.95

4.  Help illustrate a one of a kind magical and fashionable story  $6.99

5.  Turn your fingernails into a marvelous mini zoo $5.95

6.  Remember fashion plates?!  This mini version lets you mix and match to heart’s desire  $9.95

Do you like finding gifts that are outside of the box? We’re happy to share some of our unique ideas.  Simply sign up to receive these blog posts in your email and you’ll be in the loop & get our latest scoop.

delightful diy wedding shower

August 9, 2014
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I enjoy hosting parties… especially girly ones so when my friend, Suzanne got engaged recently I volunteered my nest for some wedding shower fun.

tulle pom pom garland

First, the garland.  I believe this sets the tone for a festive environment.  Whether it’s party pennants, paper streamers, or puffy posies… stringing this happiness through the house says ‘party time’.

diy tulle garland

I chose to make my pretty puffs with tulle.  I’ve made poms with tissue paper before, but honestly using tulle was quicker and it’s less fragile so I’ll be able to use this garland again at future functions.  For 7 inch puffs I wrapped the 6″ wide tulle ribbon around a 7 inch book 16-17 times and tied it in the center with yarn.  20 yard spools of tulle will give you 3 puffs.

tulle pom poms

After tying in the middle leave the strings long so you can tie it on your garland.  Cut each side of the tied tulle and fluff.  Repeat accordingly.  Then tie your puffs to the yarn or ribbon you plan hanging them on.  String wherever you want a bit of happiness.

zinnia flowers

Flowers also always fancy things up a bit and I was so happy it was zinnia season because I scored 4 giant bouquets at our local farmers market for less than $20!  These pretties looked perfect in aqua tinted mason jars and I gave a few of our guests these arrangements if they scored a lucky plate with surprise markings on the bottom. washi tape wreath supplies

Now on to more crafting… Suzanne’s wedding colors are coral & aqua.  So the original plan was to have all the shower guests apply washi tape to clothespins to create this memory wreath.  I played around with it at first to make sure my vision would work and quickly realized that I better do it ahead of time instead.

diy washi tape wreath

It’s easy enough to apply the washi tape to the clothespins, however positioning and gluing them to the embroidery hoop was where technical difficulty occurred.  Even after drawing out the 10.5 inch circle size on a pizza box and testing out the spacing… it was still tricky hot gluing the 56 clothespins on.  I tried to stay consistent in where I glued each pin and also staggered every other one so the clip part was facing in and then out.

washi tape clothespin wreath

It did end up turning out okay but some pins were definitley more slanted than others.  I hung it with a ribbon tied through the top of the embroidery hoop and had each guest write down a few words or a sentence about a special memory they had with the bride.   We clipped them to wreath for a lovely keepsake gift.  There are plenty more spots on the wreath to clip future memories or blessings the bride will want to remember or celebrate.

washi tape cards

Since Suzanne was a guest at a baby shower I hosted last fall, she did have a couple requests for her special gathering — one of them involving crafting.  This gathering was considerably larger than the previous baby shower so I did some serious pinterest perusing and found something hopefully everyone would feel comfortable doing.  I came up with these diy favors.  Everyone got a pack of 4 colorful blank notecards (one card already washi taped up), 3 clothespins with magnets adhered to the back (one already covered in washi tape) and a party pennant pen.

wash tape card ideas

I did up a variety of card designs so the guests would have some ideas with what to do on their other 3 cards.

washi tape Each table had a bowl of assorted tapes and scissors and I was totally impressed with the creativity of our guests!  The clothesline design won my blue ribbon… how cute would that be for baby card!? I also love that Suzanne’s mom’s flower card totally matches her blouse ;-)

cookie bar Since all my crafting got a little out of control, I delegated the dessert to a few of our friends who graciously offered to help out.  I remember seeing this ‘cookie bar’ idea for graduation open houses and thought it was so clever.  So I we had six different delicious cookies the guests could indulge in.  Knowing we would have many left over, I purchased cello treat bags they could fill up and take home with them along with the recipes of all the cookies offered.  Steve was hoping to come home to feast on these leftover sweets, but I have to say the gals only left him a few crumbs.  This worked great as an additional favor for our guests.

wedding shower food Other eats included fruit kabobs, chicken pasta salad, artisan greens with feta, strawberries, grapes, candied walnuts and dried cranberries with poppyseed dressing, berry cups and lemon blueberry muffins.

girls wedding shower

tiaras and mustaches wedding shower game After dining & crafting we returned inside for a silly game of mustaches and tiaras.  Another friend worked out all the game details and I transformed kabob sticks and fun foam into amusing props our guests needed to participate.

suzanne and  nathan All in all it was a fun and memorable afternoon celebrating Suzanne and the exciting next chapter of her life with best beau Nathan.

Like to get a little crafty now and then or plan festive parties that will be remembered? Stay in the loop by signing up to receive our gems we found on the web in your email inbox!

beat the summertime boredom blues with an empty cardboard box

August 5, 2014
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So…you’ve run out of ideas to keep the kids busy this summer? As you will see below-some of the most fun activities can start with just a simple, empty cardboard box.

cardboard box toys

No matter how ambitious you are, we’ve rounded up the perfect project for you and your little ones to tackle–everything from an inventive cardboard box camera to a cardboard box airplane.

Once you create this cool Shadow Puppet Theater using the instructions from Jennifer on Classic Play, the kids can re-enact a favorite fairy tale or better yet–ask them to come up with their own creative storyline.

Boys and girls alike will spend hours playing with this clever Cardboard Box Toy Box. The Little Red Window Blog also includes photo ideas for furnishing this cute little house!

Say cheese! Got an aspiring little photographer at your house? Now you can make them their own Cardboard Box Camera using the easy instructions provided by Leslie on her Pink Stripey Socks Blog. She says this project was inspired by her son eating cheese and wanting to touch her camera.

Get ready for take off….please your little pilot by whipping up a Cardboard Box Airplane. Sarah of Repeat Crafter Me said that making this took only around 30 minutes and her kids played with it for over 2 hours.

If your little ones would rather take to the open seas than fly into the great blue sky, then this Cardboard Box Pirate Ship is just the ticket.  Michelle from MollyMoo got her idea after taking her kids to see the latest Tinkerbell & The Pirate Fairy Story at the movies.

There’s a reason the blog is called Make It & Love It…who wouldn’t love these cool Cardboard Guitars???  They’re perfect for any aspiring rock star :)

If you’ve got an extra computer box in the garage or basement, head over to Frugal Fun for Boys and find out how to make a Skee Ball Game with it. It’s a nice activity for those summer days when it rains or when it’s just too hot to play outside.

Like creative ideas that will keep your kids entertained?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

I like exchange students

July 29, 2014
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Three years ago about this time Steve & I made the decision to host our very first exchange student.  It was a little scary and exciting all at the same time considering it had been just us two since we tied the knot over 10 years ago.   Now we are happy to say our little international family consists of three lovely European daughters… Tessa, Jule and Iitu.

It’s been over a month since Iitu returned home to Finland and her exit was definitely not without tears… but it didn’t start out that way.  Iitu was the first girl we hosted that let us know being an exchange student wasn’t necessarily her idea.    This made me a little nervous about our upcoming year together but it wasn’t long until she stole our hearts with her silliness, seriousness and her full rainbow of other characteristics in-between.

iitu blog

So when it came to creating a going-away gift, this quote leaped off my pinterest page.  I’m all for carefully plotting out safe and secure plans but sometimes when a wise person suggests you make a right turn down a road you’ve never been on before… that’s often when your trip gets more interesting… more rewarding … more rich… more memorable.

That’s why I like exchange students.  What do you like?

i like giving

You don’t need to have teenagers live with you for 10 months to make that right turn (but if that does interest you… check out YFU)  This inspiring book and website is jam packed with loads of simple stories that change the direction of your normal routine.  A quote from the book reads, “When we choose to give, we change, and the people around us change.  When we move from awareness to action, miracles happen.  When we allow giving to be our idea, a world of possibilities opens up before us, and we discover new levels of joy.”

the girls

And I definitely can attest to that.  This summer, both of our German daughters came to visit and I enjoyed some fantastic times I would have never experienced if they were not here.

I know I’m in the business of selling gifts, but I’ve found that often giving is one of the the best gifts you can receive.

7 satisfying pasta salad recipes

July 28, 2014
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Sure–these amazing pasta salads can be served year-round, but they seem like the perfect side dish to enjoy with a main course from the grill (but some are even hearty enough to serve alone as your meal). They’re creamy, tasty, and if you manage to have any leftovers at all…they always taste better the next day!

pasta salad recipes

Try out a few of these scrumptious recipes from some fellow inventive bloggers…

When her dad requested Macaroni Salad for his retirement party, Emily of Is This Really My Life? made it her mission to find the perfect recipe. She adapted a classic from FamilyFavoriteRecipes and her research paid off~it was a huge hit!

Nicole from Prevention RD came up with the yummy nutrition-packed Pesto Tortellini Salad one night when she brainstormed. She used ingredients that she had on hand and whole wheat tortellini which added fiber to the recipe. The end result?–an amazingly delicious dinner!

pasta

If you want to try your hand at making Jessica’s recipe for her  delightful Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad–make sure you pick up a bunch of asparagus on your next trip to the grocery store. For a full list of ingredients, head over to her blog…Sunny Side Up.

Looking for a new way to enjoy seafood? Try out a great recipe for Shrimp Pasta Salad on the Jennifer Cooks Blog. A combination of mayo and buttermilk make it the perfect choice for a light lunch.

“Summer in a bowl” is the phrase that Des uses to describe her recipe for Creamy Bacon Tomato and Avocado Pasta Salad. Her inspiration came from her all-time favorite sandwich~Bacon, Lettuce, Tomato and Avocado.  She shares the complete list of ingredients on her blog, Life’s Ambrosia.

Tonight, why not resist the urge to order pizza delivery and instead enjoy a big serving of some Pizza Pasta Salad?  We found this mouthwatering recipe on the Butter with a Side of Bread Blog. Click here to find out easy it is to prepare this savory meal in a bowl.

This is one of those that will make you say–”now why didn’t I think of that?”.  Cyndy from The Creative Exchange added pasta into the mix and came up with a unique version of Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad which is heartier than a traditional caesar, but still light enough to love after a long, hot summer day.

Like easy to make recipes that get wows?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

6 super tips for better vacation photos

July 22, 2014
By

Here’s something you might want to read before your set out on the open road this summer…whether you rely on your smartphone to snap your vacation photos or carry along a digital camera, this useful advice will take your photos to the next level.

vacation photo tips

Have you ever successfully captured fireworks on your camera?–keep reading to get the scoop on everything from special lighting situations to creating a great family photo.

Amy from She Wears Many Hats has a nice blog post on different tools and stresses the importance of getting to know your own camera.

Do your summer plans include a visit to Disney? Then get set to get wet and find  all of the photo tips you’ll need over at Capturing Magic.  A photopass sounds like the way to go :) —read all about it here.

photo

The whole family photo thing not really working out for you?  Find out How to Look Awesome in Family Vacation Photos from Peanut Blossom (advice courtesy of Jessica Gwozdz).

I have to admit, I’ve never attempted taking a photo underwater, but after seeing the amazing results over on  The Handmade Home –I think it’s time to try. Martin of Britsnap Photography gives some very insightful tips on capturing some great shots at the pool and beach.

When those beautiful colors light up the night sky, you’ll be ready to get a great photo…just make sure your read Michelle’s post on How to Photograph Fireworks over on Decor and the Dog.

And, last but not least–once you’ve got all these great vacation photos, don’t just leave them sitting in your camera. Aniko from Place of my Taste will walk you through the easy process of organizing your photos from start to finish. Once that’s done, printing your treasured memories will be a breeze!

Like helpful tips that preserve your memories?  We love sharing our finds. Don’t want miss out on our future features… simply sign up to receive these blog post in your inbox.

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April McCrumb

I'm April McCrumb ~ a creative gal from Michigan that loves to share clever gift ideas, simple recipes, my favorite tunes & all things crafty.  Thanks for stopping by my whimsical world. I hope you enjoy your visit.

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