Archive | June, 2016

What I Would Wear: 4th of July

Our country’s biggest celebration is coming up this weekend and what better way to celebrate than dressing for the occasion?  Today I’ve rounded up several pieces that will be great to wear on the 4th of July and all summer long.

I narrowed my search to Old Navy, Gap, and Banana Republic and found some great pieces.  Old Navy and Gap have a collection called the Americana collection that is perfect for the 4th of July.  The great thing is that Gap and Old Navy are running a 40-50% off sale right now.  So hurry to get these items at a discount.

This red and white striped T-shirt dress looks super comfortable to throw on and go watch fireworks on the 4th of July.

If this t-shirt doesn’t scream summer, then I don’t know what does.  It has all of your summer essentials listed right on the front.  Be sure to hurry though, there are only a few sizes left.

Throw this flag print scarf on over anything and you’ll be instantly ready to celebrate the 4th of July.

Pair this red maxi dress with a denim jacket on a cool night this weekend and you’ll have two of the three colors of the holiday covered.  Plus, who doesn’t love a good maxi dress?  This one comes in petite for us shorties, and the hemline looks like it wouldn’t get tripped over.

This denim dress might be my favorite look.  It may be a little dressy for a 4th of July celebration, but paired with some red wedges, it would be great for any party.  I just adore the back of this dress!

 

If you need a shirt to stay cool in the summer heat, you can’t beat this red plaid tank top.  You could pair it with either denim or white shorts.  Just be careful in white shorts if you’re eating anything with barbeque sauce, watermelon, or melting popsicles.

These red, white, and blue paisley shorts would be easy to dress down with a simple white t-shirt.

If you need any accessory this holiday weekend, make it this great striped clutch.  It would look awesome paired with any of the outfits above.

I hope you have a great time celebrating our country’s birth.  May your celebration include lots of bbq, time outside, fireworks, and great summer weather!  I also just want to say a quick thanks to those that serve our country and allow us to freely celebrate.  Thank you for all of your sacrifices!

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Real Life Party: Daniel Tiger Themed Birthday

I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We were busy celebrating the birthday girl!  The best part is I’ve got all the party details for you today.

Pinterest Graphic-Daniel Tiger BirthdayI never thought I’d be the mom throwing a cartoon themed birthday party, but our girl loves Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood pretty much more than anything.  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood is a show on PBS that’s has a modern take on Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, but in cartoon form.   She won the battle, and I actually had fun coming up with ways to make the party decor not so cartoonish.  Take a look and let me know what you think.

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayThis is what guests saw on their way into the party.  Love doing this fake chalkboard method.

Daniel Tiger Kids Birthday

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayOnce inside, we had some red, blue, and yellow themed decor.  The trolley photo booth was a big hit.  It was pretty easy to make using a red tri-fold cardboard poster.  I just added some yellow construction paper “seats” and black wheels, after cutting out the “windows.”  I made the paper chain decor from a few pieces of scrapbook paper, then stapled them together to form the chain.

Daniel Tiger Kids Birthday

Daniel Tiger Kids Birthday

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayThe kiddos attending the party got some yummy goodies and fun things in personalized bags.

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayMy favorite part of the party was our dessert station.  The dessert station was a major focal point, the color scheme turned out great.  I may never hang anything on this wall in the dining room so I can keep using it as a backdrop at parties.  I used wrapping paper as a runner.  Blue pinwheels and red polka dot cups were purchased at Hobby Lobby.

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdaySo. many. desserts!  We had to give so much away because I didn’t want that much in my house for me to eat the leftovers.  I made the cake and chocolate covered “Tiger Tail” pretzels, and purchased the cupcakes from our local grocery store.  Another cute idea was drawing tiger faces on little oranges.   Surprisingly, finding little oranges was rather difficult because apparently they aren’t in season right now.

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayThe cake banner is a straw with red and white twine tied to it and washi tape banners.  Just fold the washi tape over the string then cut out the little notches.

Daniel Tiger Kids Birthday

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayI had a couple Daniel Tiger faces left over from invitations so I put them to use as cupcake toppers.

Daniel Tiger Kids Birthday I was pleasantly surprised at how good the cake turned out since I’m not a huge baker.  I just used a boxed cake mix, but I tried to make the inside look like tiger stripes.  It didn’t work out that well because the chocolate part of the cake ran into the orange part of the cake.  Either way it still tasted good.

Daniel Tiger Kids BirthdayThat’s a wrap on our Daniel Tiger themed birthday.  Thanks for stopping by neighbor (I just had to throw in some Daniel Tiger language!).  I wish you all could have been here to celebrate with us and eat some of that dessert!

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Thoughts on Motherhood After Two Years

Thoughts on MotherhoodI know Father’s Day was only a few days ago, but today is pretty special.  Today, my baby who is not such a baby anymore is turning two.  I wanted to talk about motherhood and how this 8 lb. 2 oz. human changed my life two years ago today.

Me&Leila
I’ve come to terms, from the beginning actually, that even with all the books, methods, and mommy group conversations you just have to do the “mom thing” your way.  The key to doing it your way is to not judge others if they do something differently than you.  Basically, I’ve been following the “winging it” parenting method and it’s working out pretty well. Its so easy to be bombarded with motherhood advice, kid talk, and warnings.  I’m sure it’s just this season of life, but it’s kind of overwhelming. A few things I’ve heard or seen lately have resonated with me when it comes to raising kids and being a mom.

First, The Nester’s frequent posts on how you only have 18 summers with your kids. She emphasizes that the days are long. Especially days when two year old tantrums combine with potty training.  But the years are short.  I don’t know where the last year went.  I feel like we were just celebrating her first birthday.  What were the milestones in that time frame?  What were the memories?  18 is such a small number it scares me.

Jamie Ivey’s Happy Hour podcast recently struck a cord with me. In this episode, Jamie talked about how becoming a parent changed her more than getting married. It totally makes sense because you chose your spouse, but God blessed you with that child. The enormity of the trust he put in you to care for and raise that child is mind boggling.  We can only pray that we are doing an ok job.

Lastly, there have been a lot of things going on in the news that made me realize the world is a crazy place. Alligators are attacking kids, kids get sick, people that want babies can’t have them, parents have to bury their babies.  It’s all just crazy.  I recently watched the documentary He Named Me Malala outlining the story of 2014 Nobel Peace Price Winner Malala Yousafzai, who was shot by the Taliban because she was speaking out for girls education.  I have a daughter and I’m so grateful that we live in a place that she can get an education.  I just wish it was that way around world.  I hope to teach my child that the best way to approach this crazy world is through God’s love. His love can conquer all.  The craziest part is that most of us are willing to be a parent more than once, and bring more children into this crazy world.

To my fiercely independent, silly, smart, always running, clumsy, curly haired blondie. Leila, I hope you know that I love you more than anything, even when you drive me so crazy I have to hide in the closet. I pray that you grow up to be the amazing person God created you to be.  Just don’t do it too fast!

Flower GirlHappy Birthday Leila!  I love you!

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8 Ways to Enjoy The Guests at Your Party

Good morning and welcome to summer, as it officially started yesterday!  With summer comes a lot of get togethers, parties, barbeques, and family reunions.  Hosting events can be stressful for a lot of people and when you’re focused on the stressful stuff you probably aren’t enjoying the party or the guests that you invited.

Enjoy Your GuestsToday, I want to share with you eight ways of how to actually enjoy spending time with the guests at your party.  Incorporating some of these ideas will take the stress away from hosting and you can fully enjoy the party, and hopefully you’ll want to entertain again in the future.

Plan Ahead– Make a lot of lists, grocery lists, guest lists, decoration lists, to do lists, and a timeline.  Keep all of your lists together so you can easily go from one thing to the next. Write everything down to help you remember what needs to be done and to get things done in a timely manner.  Always allow yourself plenty of time to get everything pulled together.  I like to have everything but last minute food items done well before the first guest arrives.  It doesn’t always happen, but that’s the goal.

Have a Potluck– By asking your guests to bring the food, you take a lot of stress off of yourself.  Provide the drinks, maybe a signature cocktail and all you have to do is wait for the food to arrive.  Be sure to have plenty of platters, bowls, baskets, and serving ware to lay out the food that is brought.  It’s a great idea to give your guests some direction by having a potluck theme.  Have your guests bring food for an Italian potluck, salad potluck, around the world, Mexican, or a burger night.

Have a Cocktail Potluck– For this idea you can provide the food and have everyone invited bring the drinks.  A great idea if you know your guests all drink a variety of beverages.  Asking the guests to bring the drinks means you don’t have to stress about providing something for everyone.  This way everyone is happy.

Don’t BBQ– If you don’t want to be slaving over the grill the entire time your party is going on, try smoking your meat instead of barbequing.  Smoking the meat can be done well ahead of time and then taken out just as your guests are arriving.  There is a bit of work involved with the smoking process, but it totally frees you up from grilling the whole time.  I’ll be doing a full post on how we smoke for a crowd in the future.  My husband is kind of obsessed with his smoker and how tender he can get the meat.

Hire a cleaning company, party planner, or decorator– If the idea of getting your house ready for a bunch of people is overwhelming, there is something to be said for hiring people to help.  If you don’t have time to clean, hire a cleaning lady to come the day or so before your party.  If you don’t have a clue how to set up for a party use a party rental company.  If you don’t want to do any of the work at all, hire a party planner. Party planners can help you decide on details for the event, find vendors, and help get everything set up.  Sit back and watch as everyone else does the work for you.

Cater the Event– I pretty much have a rule when it comes to entertaining in my house, if there are more than 30 people attending, I don’t cook.  For parties that big I get the meal, at least most of it, catered.  30 people is just too many mouths to feed.  There are so many options when it comes to catering.  Get a food truck, taco truck, platters from restaurants like Chik-fil-A or Panera.

Talk to Everyone– This may go without saying, but if you invite people to your party you should make an effort to chat with them. Try to have more of a conversation with them than just greeting them when they arrive.  Ask how they’re doing, what they’ve been up to and enjoy the conversation.  You can’t enjoy your guests if you don’t talk to them.  If you are busy with party details, try and break free for a few minutes to converse with your guests.  I promise nothing you were doing for the party is an emergency.

Take a Moment to Relax– Take a moment before your guests arrive to sit for a minute, have a drink, or take some deep breaths.  Concentrate on the fun you are about to have with your family and friends.  Get in the mood to have a great time with your guests and not stress about everything else.

Put these eight tips to use for a stress-free, fun filled event this summer.  Be sure to enjoy the people at your party too.  A party is more than just a party when you feel like you are connecting with the people around you.

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Father’s Day for the Dad that Entertains

So this weekend is Father’s Day, and like most Hallmark holidays, I have waited until the last minute to get any sort of gift to celebrate the dad’s in my life.  Do you do that?  I hope I’m not the only one.

If you are like me and need a gift quick, I’ve put together a few items, that thanks to Amazon Prime shipping, you’ll have in at most two days! #whatdidwedobeforeamazonprime These gifts are great ideas for the dad who likes to entertain, throw parties, and celebrate with his buddies.  Hopefully you can find something for your dad and get it to him in time for Father’s Day.

This pizza oven would be a great alternative for all of those year’s you got your Dad bbq gear.  It’s still the same concept but with a fun twist.  Help your dad throw a “build your own pizza” party in the backyard instead of another bbq.  Have everyone bring their own toppings while you supply the crust, sauce, and cheese, then see what kind of crazy combinations everyone can come up with!

While you’re waiting on your pizza to cook, play a round of washers.  Any sort of backyard game is a great gift for dad.  They are also great to get your guests up and doing an activity rather than just sitting around and chatting.  A little competition is never a bad idea.

For the dad that likes wine, and more so likes wine on the go, these silicon, no break cups are perfect.  They also come with this carrying bag to store a bottle of wine.  I could see this gift being used on a picnic, at the beach or pool where no glass is allowed, or on a hike.

Does your dad like to play cards or have poker nights with his buddies?  I know this gift is pink, but he’ll still love to make poker themed ice for his friend’s when they come to play poker.  You can also use this for chocolate molds, but I don’t know too many dads willing to put the time in to make that, haha!

After all the parties your dad is going to have with his fun new gifts, he may need an easy breakfast to help him recover.  This breakfast sandwich maker will do just that.  All you have to do is throw in the ingredients and it makes the sandwich for you.  It couldn’t be any easier!

So now that you have some great ideas for Father’s Day, all you have to do it use Amazon Prime to get it to him just in time for his big day!  Which gift would your dad love?

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Celebrating everyday!