Sunday, December 15, 2013

{Christmas} Xmas Cards 2013

Today I'm sharing my Christmas cards. This fall I took a picture of my babies on a beautiful day and threw in a few little props. The red wreath hangs on my door for the Christmas season, and the turquoise stool is a Home Goods find that is used in the bathroom so Dean can reach his toothbrush and turn on and off the water at the sink.

I took over 50 pictures, and there was NOT ONE with both of my children making eye contact with the camera and looking semi cute. So, I settled on this picture. You can't even see my baby girl's little face, but there is something sweet about her with the stool, so I went with it. And hey, it's real. My kids will barely look at the camera for a picture, and if they do, it's a miracle. To get a smile on top of eye contact is a rarity! So, this is real life with my littles ;-}

I incorporated red and turquoise on the wrap labels this year. Off they went in the mail last week. Now, onto finishing my shopping, wrapping gifts, preparing a menu for Christmas brunch, etc. Busy, busy! Enjoy your Christmas!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

{Parties} Drew Rebecca's First Birthday

On Sunday, November 10th, we threw our little girl a first birthday party. I was going for simple, feminine details with a rustic flare. To start, I lined the mirror on my buffet table with burlap and lace and added a large print of Drew at her cake smash with Karen Carpenter Photography. I also added a shimmery beaded lantern and kept the branches with hanging crystals that usually sits atop my buffet. Lastly, Karen lent me the doily banner attached to the front of my buffet.

Next, I hung a branch from my backyard above the buffet and used rustic/natural looking ornaments and a mason jar lantern to adorn the branch. I still haven't taken it down because it transitioned nicely to compliment my Thanksgiving decor.

I love this chalkboard and use it constantly to decorate and add appeal to the buffet. It changes monthly depending on the season and/or holiday. I saw this first birthday idea on Pinterest and made it my own with Drew's stats and favorites.

On the 13th of every month, I take Drew's picture with the same little chalkboard and a white onesie. I will take her last picture in a few hours :-((( I love seeing how she changes every month and made a banner with the pictures to display for the party. You can't tell from the picture, but I used mini clothespins to hold the pictures in place that I glittered using pink shimmer dust/glitter. They looked so cute!

I made Drew's birthday cake. It was a vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. I used a cake mix right out of a box, and you know what? It was darn good! Ha! I used a heart shaped cake pan for my little "love's" cake. Mmmm. The simple burlap heart toppers and the pink glittered number 1 were also crafted by mommy.

My little girlfriend ate every little drop of her cupcake. She licked her fingers too! The burlap topper I made for her cake smash with Karen and just reused it for her party. No use reinventing the wheel ;-}

The Occasional Cookie made the yummy cookies that sat on either side of the cake. There were hearts and #1's, and they were delicious.

I wish this picture wasn't blurry because these favor bags were adorable. The TomKat Studio's mini muslin bags were the perfect little treat sack that I filled with pink shimmery gumballs {also from TomKat}. I cut out a heart and used the pattern to make the glittered heart on each bag. These would be adorable for Valentine's Day too.

My mantle was also all about Drew. I decorated with a burlap wreath and banner I made and added some other little details like her homemade party hat {made with scrapbook paper, elastic, feathers, and a good hot glue gun ;-}. Karen also made the cutest little collage of Drew's cake smash that now sits on a shelf in her bedroom.

Another Pinterest knockoff here ;-} I used a wooden dowel, an empty wrapping paper tube, kraft paper, and ribbon to construct and hang "A Year of Firsts." I printed pictures of all Drew's "firsts" from her first year of life and displayed them for the party guests to view.

My kitchen island was filled to the brim with yummy sandwiches, pasta salad, fruit salad, chips, pickles, and all kinds of drinks. I've thrown parties where I've served dinner, breakfast/brunch and now lunch. Lunch is the easiest!

You can't go wrong with veggies and dip. I put my dip inside a hollowed out half head of red cabbage {as seen on Pinterest}. Sidenote: I used the leftover cabbage to make a very simple, yummy, and healthy side dish for my family the other night. Even Drew liked it! I may post it soon.

My sweet sweet birthday girl. I just cherish this little one. Happy Birthday, baby girl. XOXOXOX.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

{Giving} Halloween Treat

My little man brought in a simple teacher treat to preschool this week in honor of Halloween. Dean loves ALL sweets, so we decided to share one of his favorites with his teachers this year.

I have bottles of all shapes and sizes that I collect, so we found the appropriate size and filled them with candy corn. Then I cut burlap squares, frayed the edges a little, grabbed some orange and black twine and made some make-shift lids for the bottles. Then I attached a quick tag I made.

Super simple!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

{Invitations} Drew Rebecca's First Birthday

My baby girl's FIRST birthday is approaching quickly...AHHH! I'm not sure how it's been a whole year already, but it has and a party is in the works. I made Drew a first birthday invitation similar to her big brother's first birthday invitation. I chose to make a card that opens to display her picture on the left and the party details on the right.

My friend Karen {Karen Carpenter Photography} took Drew's first birthday pictures a few weeks ago, and I love them! I choose one of the close-ups of her sweet face for the invite. I am going to try and keep this birthday party on the simple side with girly touches like pink and lace, and also touches of burlap for a little rustic flare.

The front of the card is simple as well, with a cut-out of a burlap #1.

I usually always make wrap labels, but my little girl's birthday kind of crept up on me, and I didn't have time. No biggie....I ditched the wraps for burlap hearts and my own hand-writing. I also hand delivered the invites to my family, so addresses weren't needed.
Our little "LOVE" is almost one. Stay tuned for her birthday party details!

**I made a simple Halloween treat for my son's preschool teachers that I will share by the end of the week. Check back in soon!
**Our mini-getaway is almost here. Goodness, I can't wait! I'm anxious about leaving my babies, but so so excited to have a little time with my hubby ;-}
**Have I mentioned that I've taken up running again, and I'm feeling better than I have in a long time?! I'm running a 5 mile race this weekend...nervous and excited! It's a far cry from the miles I used to log back in my running prime, but hey, I'm closer to 40 than I am 30 these days, so I'm just proud of myself for getting back in the game so to speak ;-} Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

{Parties} Travel Themed Adoption Shower

My mom, sis, and I threw together a shower for my sister-in-law, Jane, in a matter of a few weeks. Because Jane and my brother, Rob, will be traveling to Africa {the Democratic Republic of the Congo to be specific} to adopt their boys, the date of the shower was unknown until they received word from their adoption agency that the adoption was a "go." Their travel plans are still not set in stone, but we're hoping and praying they can get their boys very soon. A few more details still need to fall into place.

Because Rob and Jane will be traveling so very far for their boys, I thought it'd be cute to add some travel touches to the dessert table.

Let's talk business first. Enter in dessert. Michelle of The Occasional Cookie made the adorable and delicious cookies for the dessert spread. She used my invitation as inspiration and created the cutout of Africa for one kind of cookie.

The other cookies were little African boys' faces. I mean seriously. HOW CUTE! The pic is a little blurry but if these weren't the cutest things. I couldn't even eat one, it was so adorable. I tried the Africa one instead ha!

My mom also ordered yummy cupcakes from Country Sweets, and I made flag toppers.

Back to details now. The backdrop for the table was a variety of frames and and old window. Inside one of the frames, I hung a sign that I made that said, "Africa, here we come!"

The other frame held a cutout of Africa that I crafted using scrapbook paper. I added a heart in the place where the Congo is.

I love this old window. Using more scrapbook papers, I made a bunting that I hung from the window.

When my little man, Dean, turned one, I ordered these suitcases for his dessert table. If they weren't perfect for our travel themed table, I don't know what was. Inside, I added some old maps, my expired passport, and a little jar that held the party favors.

My mom asked me to make a bookmark as the favor. I added a bible verse that my brother and sister-in-law like to the bottom.

The kitchen held the eats and drinks for the guests. My mom and sister did a great job with all of the food. It was a yummy luncheon.

My mom, sister, me, and Jane....I'm thankful for these ladies!

All in all, it was a really nice afternoon, and we all had a chance to tell Jane how excited we are to meet the new members of our family!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

{Giving} Back-to-School

The kiddies are pretty much all back to school at this point, and another school year is underway. I'm still somewhat in a state of shock that my little mister is now in preschool two mornings a week. We met his teachers last week at orientation, and his first official day is Monday, September 9th. I'm not trying to brown nose, but as a teacher myself and a parent, I wanted my son's teachers to know how much we appreciate them {and pray that they are caring, loving, patient individuals with hearts for children} by sending in a little teacher gift.

I haven't been in the classroom since last November and am taking another year off to be home with my children, but I know I would have loved these little personalized note cards. In fact, I always kept a stack of notecards in my desk at school because there would be many times that I would want to send a little thank you to a student, a note home to a parent, or an encouraging note to a fellow teacher.

I also made some matching apple tags that I plan on attaching to little treat bags. I used pretzels to display how I might use the tags, but I plan on sending in chocolate covered pretzels. I mean, come on...after the first week of school with three-year-olds, more than chocolate is needed! I probably should ditch the pretzels and just send in a bottle of wine ;-}

Speaking of back to school, I took some "school" shots of my little guy and my nephew a few weeks ago. The weather and the kids cooperated, and the pics turned out really cute.

My nephew started kindergarten last week....say what?!

** I'm excited for the fall weather...are you?!
** The old desk I used in the above pics? My hubby trash picked it for me a few years ago. I knew it would come in handy one day ;-}
** My sister-in-law's shower is today! Pics and details next week.
** My hubby just returned from a Cape Cod guys weekend/fishing trip. I'll be planning my girls get-away ASAP. Ha!

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

{Invitations} Adoption Shower

My brother and his wife are adopting two brothers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a month -- AHHH! This has been a long time in the making, and we are all so excited for them. My mom is throwing them a little shower in the next two weeks to celebrate and welcome the boys into our family, so I whipped up some invites for the occasion.

I used boyish colors, simple fonts, and...

...crafted a blue/green "world" with Africa in the center.

Rob and Jane would like to bring some items with them to the orphanage where their boys have been, so I included an additional enclosure asking our guests to consider making a donation for these children and workers that have so very little.

**I'm working on some details for a dessert table now. I'm hoping it turns out the way I am envisioning in my head. STAY TUNED!
**My little mister is going to pre-school this year, and I'm putting together a little gift for his teacher, whom I've already met and really like! Not a gift per say, just a little something. POSTING SOON!
**I've also got my baby girl's first birthday on my mind. It'll be here before I know it {November}, and I've got to get MOVIN' on some of the details!
**My hubby and I planned a mini-getaway for this fall, and I'm so excited! We are headed to the city of Charleston, South Carolina. I NEED this!
**Soaking up the last of summer, but also looking forward to the fall at home with my sweet babes :-}

Thursday, August 8, 2013

{Invitations} Maura Kate #3

My neice, Maura, has a birthday that is approaching. She will be three, and we will be celebrating with a pool party at our local swim club. My sister pretty much gives me complete freedom to design her children's birthday invitations however I want. I thought some fun, summery colors would be fun and went to work. The above proofs are what I ended up with. My sis picked the one with her girl's sweet face. I also made coordinating wrap labels and thank you cards. Wishing my pretty neice a happy #3!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

{Decorating} Hair Clip Frame

I've tried my best to jazz up my daughter's nursery a little with some pretty touches here and there since I decided to keep the blue walls, rug, and bedding that she inherited from her big brother. In another two years, we'll do it up girly style with a big girl bedroom. Until then...let me introduce to you yet another Pinterest knockoff ;-} In other words, an old frame with wire to hold some of my baby girl's clips.

It was simple really. The frame originally came from my in-laws home. I spray painted it lime green for my son's first birthday party. Then last summer I added wire to the frame to hang pictures of my parents and family for their 60th birthday dinner. So, all I had to do was find a spot to hang this baby and add some clips.

Enter in a lonely little wall on the other side of my girl's closet. You don't even see it unless you walk all the way into the nursery, stand at the far wall, and turn around and face to door. It's slightly hidden, which I kinda like.

So, these clips? Not much use for them at this point. As you can see, my girlie is pretty much a baldie! I love that little, round, peach fuzzed head. And I'll be ready with some cute clips when her hair finally does decide to come in ;-} No worries...I was bald until I was two {my mom used to tape bows on my bald head...ha!} and if you know me now, then you know I've got a head of hair on me.

Friday, June 7, 2013

{Parties} Dedication Celebration

My baby girl's dedication was a few weeks ago, and we had a small, private ceremony at a local country club followed by brunch. All of our immediate family were present for this special day. A family friend performed the dedication ceremony...he also baptized me when I was ten, married my husband and me almost five years ago now, and dedicated our son three years ago. We were honored that he was able to dedicate Drew, and he will forever hold a very special place in our family.

Our family had a private room in which I set up a SUPER simple little display. A baby dedication is a celebration, but it's not really a party. It almost felt inappropriate to go over-the-top with decorations and party fluff because the day is really about so much more than that. I have Drew's first birthday for all of that fun stuff...ha!

I did order a cake, which was actually somewhat of a waste because Scotland Run's brunch is overflowing with decadent desserts. Oh well. I added a pink and green cake topper made from ribbon scraps that I made a few years prior but never used.

Behind the cake, I brought along my chalkboard and added the verbage, "God Bless Drew."

My friend Jamie made me sugar cookies and decorated them as pink and white daisies. I used these as a simple favor and way of saying thank you for coming. I bagged the cookies in clear plastic treat bags and added tags that I whipped up a few days prior. They sat in a white pot that I bought for Dean's dedication centerpieces. I took the brown and white polka dot ribbon off and added pink and white for my girlie.

At each guest's place setting was a little program listing the order of events for the dedication ceremony. I quickly created these and layered them onto dark pink shimmery paper.

Two days before the dedication, I went to Shoprite's floral department and picked out about ten bunches of varying floral blooms. Once home (and when the kiddies were napping), I spread them out on my kitchen island and mixed and matched the blooms together. I used my own glass holding vessels...most of them were just mason jars from spaghetti sauce that I rinsed out and saved. Lastly, I added some pink and white polka dot ribbon around the jars. So for approximately $25-30, I made four pretty centerpieces. Not bad.

My family of them! I tried to stay in keeping with a dark pink and white color palette. I ordered my son a tie from Etsy and my hubby had a few pink ties in his closet already. I found a dark pink shirt that I paired with white slacks, and my sweet girl wore a very simple dress that I unexpectedly found at Carter's {I wasn't even looking for a dress}. I had my son's dedication outfit made from the train of my wedding gown and my daughter got an $18 dress from Carter's. Don't has been a little busy! I had Lisa of My Sunshine make Drew a sweet headband {Lisa made my bridal jewelry and is a very crafty and talented lady!}.

All in all, a great day!

**TGIF! Boo rain!