The Best Neighborhood Night Games

Remember playing night games with the neighborhood kids? It’s one of the great enduring memories of childhood. With summer officially under way this week, it’s time to bring night games back into play. Teach these games to your kids, play as a family, and ask the neighbors to join you!

Kick the Can – You’ll need a group of at least three kids and a can. One player is chosen to be “it,” and the can is placed in an open space. “It” counts to a designated number while the other players hide. Once “it” is finished counting, he or she tries to find and tag the other players. Once players are tagged, they go to “jail,” a designated area usually in sight of the can. Any player who has not been caught can kick the can, and if this is done without the person being caught, the “jailed” players are freed, and the game begins again. If “it” catches every player, the game is over, and “it” wins. Win by kicking the can without being tagged, or finding all players when you are “it.”

Capture the Flag – Divide into two teams and determine territories for the two teams. Streets, driveways, trails or fence lines all make good border markers. Choose two brightly colored flags for each team (a bandana or t-shirt works great). Retreat by team into your territory to hide the flag. The flag should be hung at head height and be visible from 20 yards away on at least one side. Split into attacker and defender groups within your team. Each team assigns some attackers and some defenders. Attackers sneak across the borders to find and capture the opposing team’s flag without being caught. If a team captures an opposing team’s attacker, via tag, that player is in “jail,” a determined area. Teammates can rescue their jailed friends by sneaking into the jail and tagging them “free.” Win the game by sneaking all the way into the opposing team’s camp, capturing their flag, and making it back into your own camp.

Sardines – This game is basically hide-and-seek in reverse. The “it” person hides, while the rest of the players count with eyes closed to 100. After counting, players seek out the hider. Upon finding the “it” person, players hide with him or her, packing in like sardines. The last player to join the sardine can is the next “it.”

Flashlight Tag – A fun variation of regular tag, this game is perfect at night. The “it” person has a flashlight and counts to 50 while other players scatter and hide. “It” runs around trying to find others with the light off, flashing the light on for only a second when they think they’ve found someone. Once a a player is tagged with the light, they become the new “it” and take over the flashlight.

Manhunt – Determine the boundaries of the playing field. You can begin with one hunter or up to three for a large group. Hunters count to 100 while other players scatter and hide. If a player is tagged by a hunter, that player becomes a hunter. Play until all but one player is found. The last player to be tagged is the winner.

Do you have any other night games you loved to play? Share them in the comments section. And remember to review safety rules and measures to keep everybody safe in the dark.

{Image via Tyler Place.}

Wedding Party Gift Ideas

The wedding season is officially upon us. If you’re planning your own wedding or helping to plan another, here are some ideas to help you treat the wedding party and thank them for their participation.
Mrs. Fields Secrets Groomsmen Gift Ideas

For the Groomsmen:
1. Money Clip
2. Key Ring and Bottle Opener
3. Collar Stays
4. Cookie Cooler

Mrs. Fields Secrets Bridesmaid Gifts

For the Bridesmaids:
1. Monogrammed Pashmina
2. Custom Fabric Clutches
3. Aluminum Water Bottles
4. Precious Petals Ribbon Box

Mrs. Fields Secrets Logo Perfect Cookies

And my favorite gift for wedding guests? Our Logo Cookies, customized with your own message and design commemorating the day. It’s a perfectly sweet memento of the day.

Big Cookie for Big Thanks

Mrs. Fields Secrets Big Sugar Cookie

Here’s a fun idea for a teacher, graduate, or anybody who deserves a pat on the back after a long school year (maybe you?): a giant sugar cookie decorated like a sheet of school paper with your own personal greeting! In addition to my favorite sugar cookie recipe and royal icing, you’ll need some edible marking pens, dental floss, and masking tape to create this treat. Let’s get started:

School Paper Big Cookie

1. Prepare and chill cookie dough for several hours.

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3. Divide dough in half. On a sheet of parchment paper, roll out one half of the dough into a 1/2-inch rectangle. Use a sheet of standard paper to measure exact size, then trim excess.

4. Bake for 6-8 minutes, or until middle is puffy and edges are not-yet browned. Remove and cool completely.

5. Prepare royal icing (leaving it all white) to stiff-peaked thickness. Reserve a small portion for piping.

6. Smear a dollop of frosting in the middle of your cake plate or serving tray to keep the cookie secure. Place the cookie on top, then pipe the icing around the perimeter.

7. Slowly stir in one tablespoon of water at a time to the remaining icing until you have a more fluid icing to “flood” inside the perimeter. Fill in an even layer, using a toothpick to spread to the edges. Allow icing to set for several hours before decorating with markers.

8. To make the school paper lines, take clean threads of dental floss and secure them down and across the cookie with masking tape to create your grid. (One vertical red stripe on the left, then several evenly spaced horizontal blue stripes down the page.) Mark the red stripe first, then work from the top down to keep your markers from smudging. Remove the dental floss.

9. Finally, use the black marker to write a personal message or a custom design. Voila!

No time or energy for this project? Our Big Cookie Cakes available online and in stores can do the same trick in no time at all. You can have the message personalized with up to 20 characters and the frosting colors of your choice!

Thank You Big Cookie Cake

 

Father’s Day Catalog Preview + Early Bird Discount

Mrs. Fields Father's Day Catalog

Our Father’s Day catalog is hitting mailboxes soon, but here’s your first look at some great gifts for Dad.

Dad’s Mini Ribbon Box

Dad’s Mini Ribbon Box is one of my favorite picks for Dad. It’s the perfect little sentiment, filled with our famous bite-sized cookies.

Father’s Day Tool Box

For the dad who can fix anything, our Father’s Day Tool Box is the perfect gift. It arrives brimming with our original cookies and brownies, just the thing to fix his appetite!

Dad’s Bites Box

There may be enough bite-sized cookies and brownies in Dad’s Bites Box to share, but I wouldn’t count on it. Once he gets a bite, his generosity may begin to wane.

Father’s Day Personalized Tin

Is Dad the sentimental type? Share your favorite snapshots on our Father’s Day Personalized Tin. He’ll love it!

Mrs. Fields Father's Day

Is Dad a sports fan? How about a tin of our famous cookies featuring his favorite MLB, NBA, or NHL team? It’s a guaranteed win.

Check out all of the offerings in our Father’s Day Catalog online, or by request your free copy. Plus, take advantage of our early bird discount by using code 13KEF at checkout for 10% off your order placed before 6/3/13. You can order now and have your gift delivered just in time for Father’s Day on June 16. Go ahead, make Dad proud.

Edible Flowers + Recipe Ideas

Mrs. Fields Secrets Edible Flowers
Flowers dress up everything, so why not have them dress up your next dessert, salad, baked goods, ice cream, or punch? But wait, these edible flowers are not only beautiful as garnishes, they offer a unique flavors to enhance your food.

Need some inspiration? Here are some recipes to get you started:

Rose Petal Jam
Honey Lavender Ice Cream 
Bee Balm Syrup
Strawberries with Chamomile Cream
Chive Blossom Vinegar
Lilac Sorbet

HINT: Soak flowers in cool water to rinse them of any pesticides, then dry on paper towels before using.

Clever Ideas for a Graduation Party

Mrs. Fields Secrets Graduation Party Ideas
Whether you’ve got a graduate from preschool or a PhD, I’ve collected some party ideas to help give your grad a memorable tribute.

1. Hang a series of photos from the graduate’s life using simple string and tiny clothespins. It’s any easy way to decorate and everybody will love fawning over old photos on the timeline.

2. Copy yearbook pages and affix them to votive candle holders with Modge Podge. This is a simple craft that makes a great centerpiece or decoration.

3. Tie in school colors as well as all the graduate’s bright ideas with candy-filled light-bulbs.

4. What to do with all those boxes of school projects and art work? Create hanging folders to contain the highlights. Use them first as a decoration, then combine them into a scrapbook. Consider reading some creative writing from years ago to the party guests.

5. Transform soda bottles with tiny graduation caps. So easy and such a fun detail!

6. Have guests sign a cutout of the graduate’s initial or school initials, to create a keepsake from the party that can also be used as a decoration.

7. Gather photos to make a slideshow that can be sent to guests as part of an invitation, or as a follow-up from the party.

8. Personalized cookies make perfect party favors. Add your graduate’s photo or school logo to sweet Mrs. Fields cookies with edible icing to create a sweet memento for all the guests!

Have any other great ideas for a graduation party? Share them in the comments!

How To: Create a Perfect Mother’s Day Tray

Mrs. Fields Secrets Mother's Day Tray

Mother’s Day breakfast in bed is a tradition for a lot of families, but putting it together in a beautiful presentation can be a challenge. Here are some pointers for a perfect breakfast tray, a gift in itself. (Feel free to print this out and leave it conspicuously for your family.)

1. A personalized mug with her favorite morning beverage.
2. A colorful new tea towel lines the tray and also keeps items from slipping around.
3. A tiny gift box fits perfectly on the tray.
4. A small dish with a few pieces of chocolate is a must.
5. A petite vase or shallow jar with a handful of fresh flowers brightens everything.
6. A cloth napkin wraps around the silverware and makes everything feel formal.
7. Two plates with contrasting colors looks posh (and comes in handy if she decides to share her meal).
8. Mom’s favorite magazine fits under the plate for a delightful morning read.

Not sure what to make for your Mother’s Day breakfast? My Breakfast in Bed Menu is easy for Dad and kids to make. Plus, it’s delicious!

Mother’s Day Breakfast in Bed Recipes

Spring Salad Series: Appetizers

Mrs. Fields Secrets Salad on a Stick Appetizers
Every spring I find myself craving salad—fresh produce and greens, bright colors and flavors. I’ve got salads on my mind, which got me thinking that there’s so much more to be done with salads than we realize. Salads make a perfect appetizer, entree, or even a dessert. And if you don’t believe me,  I’ll to prove it to you over the next few weeks in our Spring Salad Series.

Today I’ve collected some salad ideas that make delicious appetizers when skewered on a stick (or even a sturdy green onion, in the case of the potato salad). No utensils or plates required, which is perfect for parties. The stick idea is also a brilliant way to get kids to try salads they might otherwise avoid. Check out these ideas and share your own in the comments section.

1. Strawberry-Spinach Salad on a Stick
2. Greek Salad on a Stick
3. Potato Salad on a Stick
4. Chef Salad on a Stick
5. Caesar Salad on a Stick
6. Caprese Salad on a Stick
7. Antipasto on a Stick
8. Watermelon Mozzarella Salad on a Stick
9. Garden Salad on a Stick

HINT: Drizzle dressings over salad sticks, or serve it on the side. Check out my favorite sweet salad dressings for more inspiration.

Harmless Food Pranks for April Fool’s Day

Toothpaste in Oreos

April Fool’s Day is Monday, and in case you haven’t plotted out the perfect practical joke to play on your friends and family, I’ve gathered some harmless food pranks you can put to use. Perhaps this is the one occasion where it’s okay to play with your food. But be careful and remember—revenge is sweet!

  • Replace the creamy white filling in Oreos with toothpaste.
  • Fill a brownie pan with an even layer of sponges, then top with a thick layer of chocolate frosting.
  • Place a chicken bullion cube in the shower head.
  • Switch gravy with caramel sauce for mashed potatoes.
  • Leave the plastic wrapping on a slice of American cheese in a sandwich.
  • Prepare red Jell-O in your drinking glasses and pretend to serve punch for dinner.
  • Make Chicken Pot Pies for dinner with this incredible lookalike.
  • Replace deviled egg filling with yellow frosting and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
  • Place plastic wrap over the tops of already-opened squeeze bottles.
  • Spread a thin layer of vaseline around jar rims.
  • Use several different drops of food coloring to change milk or coffee creamer a disturbing color.
  • Wrap everything in the refrigerator individually in aluminum foil.
  • Mix wasabi into guacamole.
  • Place a life-like looking snake or mouse in a cereal box.
  • Serve mashed potatoes and gravy in sundae glasses with a cherry tomato on top.
  • Fill the cookie jar with dog treats.
  • Create a caramel apple lookalike with an onion.
  • Switch the cereal bags in your cereal boxes.
  • Serve your friends or family this hideous-looking kitty litter cake.
  • Blow out eggs and replace them in the carton, or fake a spill.
  • These chocolate chip cookie look alikes are pretty clever and I hear they’re delicious with salsa.

Do you have a favorite food prank? Share it in the comments section!

Fun St. Patrick’s Day Pranks

Potato Candy by Munchkin Munchies

In the mood to mix up a little mischief this weekend? Play the part of a tricky leprechaun and arrange some fun and harmless pranks on friends and family for St. Patrick’s Day.

  • Drop some green food coloring into milk, juice, and other liquids in the fridge.
  • Use a green dry erase marker to write silly limericks on mirrors and windows in the house.

  • Make little leprechaun feet on the toilet seat and dye the toilet water green.
  • Deep sleepers in your house? Use a special Kool-Aid-based mix to put green streaks in their hair while they sleep. (Warning: could stain fabrics, and dye will last a few washes!)
  • Overturn chairs in the house, open cupboard doors, and make a trail of tiny, glittering footprints around the house made from cornstarch.
  • Dye sealed containers of Cool Whip, yogurt, or cottage cheese with this sneaky trick.

  • A couple of well-placed Fizzy Water Tablets (one yellow, one blue) makes the water in your faucets come out green.
  • Leave sticky notes on your friends’ car windows that say, “Sorry for the dent. Had to run.”

Do you have a great St. Patty’s Day prank? Share your ideas in the comments section!

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