Category Archives: Family Festivities

Five Ways to Take Your Easter Party to the Next Level

By Steve Hansen, of


Easter is one of those holidays that is steeped in tradition. Donning fancy hats or bonnets, enjoying delicious family feasts and, of course, discovering hidden eggs – sometimes weeks later. But sometimes it is fun to break tradition, just a little bit. So we’ve put together a list of great ways to build on your family’s Easter traditions – five things you can do this season that will thrill both adults and children.

Eggstravaganza1. Ensure a confirmed sighting of the Easter Bunny
For so many, the Easter Bunny has always been like Santa – a visitor who comes and goes without being seen, leaving clues in the form of filled stockings or hidden Easter eggs. (For the rest of us, it often means a late night before the big day!) With AtmosFX’s latest digital decoration, Hoppy Easter, you can be certain the Easter Bunny will make an appearance at your party that will have everyone talking. In the case of Hoppy Easter, you can project onto a window or wall a high-spirited computer animated rabbit who’s getting ready for the Spring season, planting flowers, decorating eggs, and performing magic tricks. With a confirmed sighting of the Easter Bunny at your gathering, it is sure to be the talk of the neighborhood. Just make sure to buy some extra Easter candy ­– you’ll need it!

peepshi2. Carve up those Peeps to make ‘Peepshi’
Over the years, there we have seen some pretty masterful projects utilizing the fabulously fluffy fowl of Easter, Peeps. But we are particularly taken with Niki Achitoff-Gray’s creative genius at Serious Eats, where she turns Peeps into sushi. Achitoff-Gray dissects peeps to create inside-out rolls, nigiri, maki – she even adds Nerds to make a Technicolor tobiko. And using Rice Krispie treats as sticky rice? A masterstroke! The many colors of Peepshi are a joy to look at and great for a party – plus, it might just be the only way to get the kids to sample this Japanese delight. Just make sure to order the real stuff for the adults.  Find it here

Egg Pinata3. Ditch the plastic eggs and make egg piñatas
Sure, the plastic eggs of Easter are useful and reusable – but soooo boring! We like the South-of-the-Border flair of Easter egg piñatas. With just some leftover paper streamers and a little glue, you can use blown-out eggs to create something a little more magnífico. Stuff the hollowed-out eggs with dollar bills, Peeps or other lightweight surprises, and you have a festive take on the Easter egg. Heck, you can even let your guests take a few swings at the eggs in true piñata fashion – and even decorate a few un-blown-out eggs to create a little mischief.  Find it here Consider a late-night Easter egg hunt
If you’ve made the egg piñatas (above) and now wonder what to do with your empty plastic eggs, consider this unusual egg hunt that works great for both kid and adult parties. Do it in the dark! Grab a bag of small glow sticks, put one in each egg, and then scatter them indoors or out. Outfit your guests with flashlights if you choose – or just let ’em bump into things. To continue the theme, you can also decorate Easter eggs with fluorescent paint and replace a few incandescent bulbs with black-lights. And for those who want to really take it up to a notch, the dark environment is a perfect place to display AtmosFX’s Hoppy Easter (above).  Find it here

ham5. Leftovers that turn Easter brunch into a two-day event
For the Sunday feast, we won’t presume to provide the perfect Easter Ham recipe – we all have an uncle or grandmother who has passed-along their prized family recipe from one generation to another. We can’t top that. But what of the leftovers? That’s what Thanksgiving is known for, but we’ll take the post-Easter brunch possibilities any day. We love the many sandwich ideas at Food Republic – particularly the ham and gruyère waffle tartine. They’re so good, your guests might choose to make the Easter brunch a two or three day event – depending on how long the leftovers last.  Find it here


By Steve Hansen, of AtmosFX
AtmosFX is a digital decorating company that helps people customize their homes for holidays and celebrations with fun and entertaining animated characters and stories. There are currently 23 AtmosFX Digital Decorations on the market, as well as additional peripheral products. For more information about AtmosFX, Visit here.

Fun run and Mountain Bike ride in Mercer’s vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills to be held May 20, 2017

Mercer Estates Winery and Survivor Champion, Ethan Zhon have joined forces to create this inaugural event – The Eagle and Plow Race –  5K fun run and 15K/30K Mountain Bike ride in Mercer’s vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills to be held May 20, 2017.

Both groups donate all of the proceeds from the day to causes near to them – the Semper Fi Fund and Grassroots Soccer.

ethan zoneThe event includes a 5k run around Mercer’s Eagle and Plow Vineyard and/or a 15K/30k Mountain Bike ride around several vineyard lots on some very exciting terrain.  The first race will kick off at 10 am.  Prizes will be awarded to top finishers, biggest group, best dressed or themed among others.  After the race Mercer Estates is holding a late lunch at the winery in Prosser.  Ethan will also be selling tickets to be the lucky guests to watch his Survivor Africa Reel later that night at the Mercer Tasting Room.

The idea was spearheaded by Rachel Mercer (Mercer Tasting Room Manager) and Ethan Zhon (former American professional soccer player and reality TV contestant who won $1,000,000 on Survivor: Africa) after Ethan chose to serve Mercer Wines at his wedding.  The two discussed their mutual passion for philanthropy and helping to make the world a better place.  Ethan offered his celebrity and Mercer offered a venue, and The Eagle & Plow Race came to life.

Ethan invested most of his Survivor winnings to co-found the organization, Grassroot Soccer which uses the power of soccer and the energy of youth to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to improve health. Ethan has been an important force in driving the strategic direction of GRS and building partnerships that have helped to provide lifesaving education for more than 1.9 million young people in 50 different countries.

Rob Mercer, owner of Mercer Estates Winery founded the Eagle & Plow charitable project 3 years ago with long-time friend, John Derrick.  Derrick lost his best friend on Flight 93 in 2001 and Rob served a tour with the USMC in Iraq.  Eagle & Plow gives 100% of the proceeds raised from its’ BLOCK 93 vineyard to organizations supporting our service men, women and their families.  Over the past 3 vintages, the project has donated approximately $70,000 in cash and wine donations to this deserving audience.

This is the first race the Mercers have held out in the vineyards, which are located about 25 miles south of Prosser WA in the heart of the Horse Heaven Hills wine AVA.  The plateau is mostly flat with some canyons allowing for some terrain and gentle slopes.   The mountain bike trail has been under development for over a year and is two laps of an approximate nine mile course.  “There are hills, sand, gravel, mud, rocks and dirt – it is the perfect mountain bike course”, says avid mountain biker Rob Mercer.  The 5K Fun Run will wind through the North portion of the Eagle and Plow vineyard on established dirt roads and trails.  May is traditionally a very calm and relatively warm month – so we are hoping for a great race day!

The races will start and end at the entrance to the vineyard.  Prizes for the races will be awarded in the vineyard by Mercer and Zohn.  The race is supported by volunteers from Mercer Ranches and Mercer Estates, local school and running groups, and area Marines.  After the race, everyone is invited back to the Mercer Estates Tasting room for a celebration lunch, mingling with Ethan Zohn, wine tasting, yard games and much more.  A limited number of tickets will be sold at the event to attend “The Survivor Africa Reel” with Ethan Zohn at 7pm on the big screen in the Mercer Barrel Room.

Pricing for the races including race t-shirt, swag bag, race entry and lunch:  Youth $30 and  Adults $50.  A limited number of “Survivor Reel” tickets will be available online and through the tasting room.

To sign up for the race as an individual or a team go to  Race forms will also be available at VeloCity Bike Shop on Keene Road in Richland.  You can email  or call (509) 786-2097 for race registration forms.

“We hope to raise awareness and a lot of money for these two growing and important initiatives and have a heck of a lot of fun along the way”, says Rob Mercer.  “Come run, ride or be an enthusiastic supporter”.

Follow Mercer Estates on  Instagram ,  Facebook  and  Twitter  

More about Ethan Zohn

Cofounder grassroot soccerAfter playing professional soccer in the U.S. and Zimbabwe, Ethan Zohn went on to win the CBS reality show, Survivor Africa. He used his prize money to Co-found the organization Grassroot Soccer (GRS) that uses the power of soccer and the energy of youth to educate, inspire and mobilize communities to improve health. Ethan has been an important force in driving the strategic direction of GRS and building partnerships that have helped to provide lifesaving education for more than 1.9 million young people in 50 different countries.

In 2011, after twice surviving a rare form of Hodgkins Lymphoma and two bone marrow transplants, Ethan ran the NYC and Boston Marathon and is now an ambassador for many health related charities. Ethan is currently the host of State Of The Revs on Comcast Sports Net. In addition, he hosted the Emmy nominated show, Everyday Health on ABC and Outside Today on the Outside Television Network. Prior to that, Ethan was the host of Earth Tripping, an eco-friendly travel adventure show that brought him to over 20 countries. Ethan returned to reality TV as a contestant on The Amazing Race, Survivor All-Star, Fear Factor and Eco-Challenge.

Ethan travels the world as an inspirational speaker emphasizing resiliency, character, leadership, service and the importance of investing in clinical trials and cutting edge medical technologies used to create a healthier world.


Seattle’s Pike Place Market’s 8th Annual Flower Festival Celebrates Mothers Day Weekend

A fresh bouquet of beautiful, locally grown flowers from the Market and a personalized Market Charm make perfect gifts for Mother’s Day

flower festivalPike Place Market presents the 8th annual Flower Festival on Mother’s Day weekend on May 7-8, 2016. The festival features fresh, locally grown flower arrangements from more than 40 farmers of King, Snohomish and Whatcom Counties.

In the early morning hours, tents will be set up on either side of the cobblestone street of Pike Place to showcase the farmers’ abundant bouquets of tulips, daffodils, irises and peonies. Browse the tents and watch the farmers carefully arrange the flowers, pick up a bouquet or two, and enjoy shopping and dining at the Market.

Also present this year is the Pike Place Market Foundation tent, which will offer another gift option: a Market Charm engraved with mom’s name. Proceeds support the MarketFront expansion and will help provide opportunities for local shops, farmers, and artists, as well as housing and services for seniors and low-income neighbors. For more information about the Market Charm, go to

Event Details 

What: 8th Annual Pike Place Market Flower Festival
When: May 7-8, 2016 from 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
Where: Pike Place Market from Pike Street to Virginia Street

Pike Place Market is Seattle’s original farmers market, founded in 1907, and is one of the oldest continuously operating public markets in the U.S. The market operates within a nine-acre historic district and is a bustling neighborhood of hundreds of vendors, residents and businesses, including farmers, craftspeople, independent shops, buskers, and residents, many of whom are low-income seniors, and five social service

The Pike Place Market Preservation & Development Authority (PDA) is a not-for-profit, public corporation chartered by the City of Seattle in 1973 to manage the properties in the nine-acre Market Historic District. The PDA is required to preserve, rehabilitate and protect the Market’s buildings, increase opportunities for farm and food retailing in the Market, incubate and support small and marginal businesses, and provide services and affordable housing for low-income people.

Festive Pick of the Day: top 25 “Howl-O-Ween” States

Pet Trick or Treats / Milk-Bone & Milo's KitchenHalloween is usually considered a “human holiday,” and according to a new national survey, increasing numbers of “furry kids” are getting in on the fun.

Parents are packing up the family pets and taking them out for holiday adventures. Fitting costumes on Fido is growing in popularity and homeowners are beginning to stock treats for furry trick-or-treaters.

Big Heart Pet Brands (the makers of Milk-Bone, Pup-Peroni, Canine Carry Outs and Milo’s Kitchen) conducted an original survey of 3,000 U.S. dog parents to determine the top 25 states that most include their pups in the Halloween festivities.

Virginia, New Jersey and Pennsylvania top the list, with Washington state coming in at 20.

Milk-Bone and Milo’s Kitchen’s top 25 “Howl-O-Ween” States

  1. Virginia
  2. New Jersey
  3. Pennsylvania
  4. South Carolina
  5. Missouri
  6. Ohio
  7. New York
  8. Wisconsin
  9. Michigan
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Louisiana
  12. Kentucky
  13. Arizona
  14. Georgia
  15. Massachusetts
  16. Tennessee
  17. Florida
  18. West Virginia
  19. Indiana
  20. Washington
  21. Iowa
  22. Nevada
  23. North Carolina
  24. South Dakota
  25. Texas

To determine the rankings, Milk-Bone and Milo’s Kitchen asked local pet parents about whether they dress up their dog in costume, take their dog trick-or-treating, or include them in a variety of other Halloween activities.   Washington State results are shown below:


Different breeds have their favorites:

  • 52% of Working Dogs — including Dobermans and Great Danes — prefer “natural meat and meat jerky” treats (like Milo’s Kitchen)
  • 59% of Toy breeds — including Pomeranians and Pugs — most love “soft and chewy” treats (like Pup-Peroni)
  • Soft and chewy snacks (like Canine Carry Outs) are also the favorite treats of Terriers (58%) and Non-Sporting breeds (47%).
  • Biscuits and crunchy treats (like Milk-Bone) are the top choice of Hounds (53%), Herding Dogs (56%), and Sporting Dogs (57%).

  For more dog-friendly Halloween ideas — including DIY pet costumes for $15 or less — please visit this link

For a chance to see your dog’s Halloween costume featured on Milk-Bone and Milo’s Kitchen social media, tag it on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter with #TreatsForAll.

Today’s Festive Pick of the Day provided by:  Milk-Bone and Milo’s Kitchen