July 22, 2014

A Minnie Birthday Bash: Part One

With so many pictures to share, I thought I'd start off the fun with the part I spent the most time on: the details. I started planning Miss A's party two months ago, browsing Pinterest for ideas, making my very own "Minnie" board, figuring out what I could DIY and make myself, and what I had to purchase from the store. We had a small budget (at least in regards to a party) and I was determined to make it special, festive, and beautiful. I've always loved party planning and was up for the challenge. I loved every minute of it and honestly, I already miss it! I'd craft during nap time, nights when my husband was working, and if I had the rare moment where Miss A was occupied on her own. I made everything, except the cake!

The party was held outdoors, however, that didn't stop me from decorating indoors too! We had the cake table inside to keep it away from bugs and from the heat (it was awfully hot that day, which was a bummer). I decorated the mantle in our family room with the board I made for her photo shot (more on that in a future post), two stuffed Minnie's she already had, a "two" banner that I made, and pink and white streamers. I also printed out several pictures from her photo shot and framed them. 

On our front door I hung a welcome sign that I made using my printer and decorative cardstock. I also tied a few balloons and streamers to the walkway.

By far my favorite aspect of the party was the cake table. Everyone helped me put it together, handing me strip after strip of tape, being my eyes from afar, and making sure I didn't fall off the chair I had to stand on. I made the "happy birthday" banner, the streamers, and printed out the Minnie cutouts. 

I also made the cupcakes and decorated them with mini Oreo's for ears. The two Minnie dolls we already had and the stuffed Minnie and Mickey were gifts from her grandpa. I ordered the "2" stickers from an seller on Groopdealz

Ah, the cake! I can't take credit for the cake. My friend made it to a "T" of a picture I showed her. She was spot on with what I asked for, it was gorgeous, and tasted really good too! I didn't want to cut it, it was so beautiful.

We had two tables outside for guests to eat and chat. I covered the tables in matching pink tablecloths, a glittery pink runner that I found at Michaels, circle dot confetti, and bucket centerpieces I made with Minnie cutouts. I printed out the Minnie's on white cardstock, cut them out, and taped them to lollipop sticks. I made the black cutouts by hand and printed out the bows and cut those out. I stuffed the buckets (from Walmart) with pink Easter grass and stuck on a "2" sticker to the front. 

Miss A's friends had lots of toys to play with. Her ball pit, lots of cars to ride on, a sidewalk chalk mat that I put together with old cardboard boxes, her swing set, and a coloring station. 

For the food we had chicken fingers (Goofy's silly fingers), pigs in a blanket (hot diggity dogs), chex mix (Pluto's doggie treats), veggies (Daisy's garden veggies), a pasta salad (Minnie's bowtique pasta), and fruit salad (Mickey's fruity salad). Sadly I completely forgot to take a picture of the drink table, which was out by the tables. It was also covered in a pink polka dot tablecloth (Amazon) and we served pink lemonade, sweet tea, water, and wine for the adults. I also had pink polka dot straws for even more festiveness!

Tomorrow I'll share the rest- family shots, Miss A in her birthday dress, cutting the cake, and opening presents. Stay tuned!

July 21, 2014

Our Two-Year-Old Photo Shoot

Hi there! I'm finally coming back to the blogging world after two weeks of a little hiatus. Miss A's birthday celebrations kicked off early with the arrival of my in-laws, followed by my parents, friends, and a weekend of partying. She is a very lucky little girl! I can't believe we have a TWO year old. I thought this day was stil so far off in the future. Low and behold, her birthday has passed, the cake has been eaten, the presents unwrapped. She was spoiled rotten by all and absolutely loved all the attention. I can't wait to show you all the photos from her party!

But first, I want to share with you her photos from her two-year-old session. With so much going on it was nearly impossible for me to pull together a blog post, hence why I'm now getting around to sharing these. I've have had this post drafted since the beginning of the month!

Our photos were taken by Southern Seedling Photography, a local photographer in the triangle area of North Carolina. We took our pictures at a park and we were blessed with hot, humid weather. Haha. At least it didn't rain! Without further adieu, here are a few of my favorites.

Sadly, this is the only time Miss A actually smiled. Girlfriend was NOT in the mood to be photographed that day. Sigh. Nothing can ever go to plan with a toddler right? At least we have this beautiful picture of her up on her Daddy's shoulders. He can always get her to smile. 

Just precious. This one is already framed in our living room. 

A favorite for everyone. Printed and hand delivered to her grandparents and this one is also sitting framed on our mantel. I love the expression on her face. 

Also another favorite! I do wish she would have smiled. Oh well!

There you have it! I'll be back tomorrow with lots and lots of pictures of her party. Happy Monday!

July 2, 2014

Currently Loving

It's been a while since I've done a currently loving, as known as, brain dump, random thought post. Let's hop to it- I've got a lot on my mind!

1. I absolutely loved this blog post I read today on The Newly's: Mothers Can't Have It All. Sadly, I am one to believe this. In some way or another, we, women as mothers, will sacrifice. Whether it be your career because you're a SAHM, time with your child because you're a full-time working mom, time with your spouse, or other opportunities that unfortunately slip away. It seems impossible to "have it all" if you want to have all those things. Of course, you can look at it the other way; say that IS exactly what you want, to be at home with your children all day or to have that stability and adult interaction at work. Then you really do have it all. Such an interesting topic. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

2. I saw this Oreo Popcorn today and just about died. I'll have it all please.

3. I finished TWO books in ONE week. This is a huge deal for me. I read My Last Kiss and The Husband's Secret. You must read both! Go! Also, are you on Goodreads? I love it, such a great way to keep track of what I've read and what I want to read next. Let's be friends.

4. I'm addicted to a new show, Chasing Life, on abcfamily. I stumbled upon in the other day on demand when there was nothing on TV and watched all three episodes. I'm a sucker for these kinds of story lines. I'm also still watching Mistresses and Devious Maids. Both are not hitting the bar though, which is kind of disappointing. :(

5. Miss A and I went blueberry picking over the weekend and I got the cutest picture of her. Lately she flat out refuses to smile for pictures so I couldn't believe it when I told her to smile and she actually stood there for a long enough moment for me to capture this shot. If only I had my DSLR with me.

6. Pinterest activities. I love them! It's HOT out, many of our friends are on family summer vacations, so we've found ourselves with quite a few free afternoons lately. Doing something new and creative is good for the both of us. And fun!

7. I'm getting so anxious for Miss A's birthday party, which is less than two weeks away! Her dress arrived today and I'm almost done picking up a few last minute things. I can't wait for her to be able to understand that her birthday is coming up and share the excitement with me. Party planning is something I really love, and trying to do it on a budget is a challenge I'm totally up for. I can't wait to show you it all very soon! 

8. In case you were wondering, our A/C was fixed late last week. I could hardly stand another minute in our hot, humid house. I'll never complain about it being warm in the house again!

June 26, 2014

Surviving the Heat

The last three days have been hard. We still don't have A/C', Miss A isn't taking naps in the house because it's so hot, and has been giving me a daily dose of the terrible two's. I'm sure it's because she's hot and cranky like I am. Not taking naps is also part of the problem. So we've been doing our best to get out of the house to air conditioned places, whether it be the bookstore, the mall, a friend's house, or the library, we've been there.

She was really excited to find this Frozen stand at Barnes and Noble on Tuesday. We spent some time looking at every book- coloring books, board books, and sticker books. I wish I could have gotten them all! There was a set of four board books for a great deal, I might go back and get it as one of her birthday gifts. Later on that day we met a friend at the pool, which she wanted no part in. She wanted to snack away the afternoon instead of playing in the water. You win some, you lose some.

Yesterday we were out of the house for most of the day. The temperature in the houses continues to rise; it is so uncomfortable unless we're sitting under a ceiling fan or are upstairs in the spare room with the window unit blasting. So we went to story time, played at a friend's house, and killed time walking, shopping, and playing at the mall.

I haven't wanted to cook since it's so hot in the kitchen. So we've been having lots of sandwiches and easy prepared meals. Last night I decided we'd have a little picnic on the floor under a ceiling fan, just the two of us, since my husband was working. 

So today, hopefully, we should be hearing back about the part arriving for our A/C. I don't think I can handle another warm night in our house. It is SO uncomfortable trying to sleep. I've been running two fans for Miss A and her room, poor thing, since she doesn't have a ceiling fan. I can't wait to have a working air conditioner again, after this, I'll never take it for granted! 

June 24, 2014

Fourth of July Recipe Swap- Smore's Cookies

With summer in full swing, I'm so excited that the 4th of July is right around the corner! Honestly, I can't believe how fast summer is already flying by. I'm not ready for it to be July already! A few other bloggers and I are hoping to get everyone involved to do a festive recipe swap; anything and everything that screams summer. Watermelon, Popsicle, ice cold drinks, hot dogs, and ice cream cones topped with sprinkles are all foods that I associate with summer. What about you?

Here's how it's going to work- we'll each be sharing a Fourth of July themed recipe and will be including a link up below for anybody who would like to join. So into the kitchen and get cooking! Post your recipe on your blog and link up by next Tuesday, July 1. Entries will close and everyone will be matched up to another blogger's recipe on Wednesday, July 2. Then, recreate the recipe; make it your own and share your results of the swap by Wednesday, July 9. That's it! 

I'm sharing one of my favorite cookie recipes that reminds me of summer. Of course I make them any time of the year, but summer time is THE time to make smore's. Am I right?

I have taken these cookies to many BBQ's the last few years and they are always a hit, everyone asking where they can find the recipe. I love using milk chocolate Hersey bars, but my husband loves it when I use dark chocolate. Even more of an indulgence! 

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups mini chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups mini marshmallows, or large ones cut up
2 Hershey bars, chopped

Preheat your oven to 375.  In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture, and mix until combined. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking soda. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Use 2 tablespoons or a medium-sized ice cream scoop to drop rounded tablespoons of dough onto cookie sheets. Bake for 7 minutes and remove from oven. Push a few marshmallows and pieces of chocolate into each cookie and return to the oven to bake an additional 3-4 minutes. Allow to cool on wire rack.

I can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with! Happy Summer! Make sure to stop by and check out what these other ladies are serving up!

Natasha @ Hello! Happiness
Colleen @ Meet the Sullivan's