Friday, May 1, 2015

Kids Birthday Parties Gone Wild....


Birthday Party


I'm sure everyone has seen this demanding email by now.  After reading it I first thought 'poor child' and then it started me thinking about birthday parties in general for little people.  I don't know about you but birthday parties when I was younger meant some cake and ice cream and opening (modest) gifts for the lucky birthday girl or boy. Times have changed, yes?  For the better?  Not really.

We've all heard about the parties for celebs kids which are over the top outrageous but how many of us have been to a party with the same outrageous-ness (new word I just made up) just on a smaller scale?  In a world where bigger is better how can we top a really BIG fest next year?  People spend hundreds and thousands (!) of dollars on their little prince or princesses parties.  There are even party planners for kids birthday parties.  Who knew?

We've done big parties here and small ones and I think the smaller ones are more memorable for the kids.  The year we did a 'field day' type of party and I believe every child we've ever met was invited (and attended) was they year I said 'enough'.  Since then I've tried to keep it smallish.

Until a party planner was born.  When my daughter turned 13 in January she wanted to go all out. Oy!  But she did everything herself and we kept the costs down (I'm good at that!) I'm wondering what next year will bring?

One thing I know is that the Dollar Tree is your best friend when planning your party budget.  It's the best place to get all the paper products for the fete.  Remember, it all gets thrown out about 5 seconds after you serve that cake so why pay an arm and leg for it?

The other thing I know is that I have never and will never send you an email with my gift demands for my precious little angel.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Fixer Upper...

Source

Just when I was about to call Directv and tell them to take HGTV because it wasn't worth watching, 'Fixer Upper' miraculously showed up.  Oh happy day!  I just love this show!  Chip and Joanna Gaines are a hoot!  And the work they do is pretty darn fabulous.


Source

My favorite thing about this show is not Chip and Joanna, or Joanna's awesome style but the fact that they find homes in price ranges that are more middle America than what we see on Property Brothers or Love it or List it.  A $200,000 budget is not uncommon.  They find a house that's $120,000 or so leaving them $80,000 or so for renovations.  Pretty cool.  And pretty easy to relate to for many of us. Million dollar budgets?  Not so much.

Chip and Joanna come across some really great fixer uppers.  Almost makes me want to move to Texas!

Source

I love Joanna's style.  She is creative and, being a mom of 4, she understands that homes need to work for families with storage options, family friendly materials and spaces that can do double duty. Joanna's blog is super fun with design tips, recipes and all the other fun things we love.

If your haven't seen Fixer Upper yet, you really should take a gander soon. You can even watch full episodes on HGTV.com .

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sweet Treats....

www.kraftrecipes.com

When we were younger we made a bunny cake each year.  We started a tradition a few years ago after my husband and daughter reluctantly tried real coconut (as opposed to the flakes from the bag) and low and behold they liked it.  Yippee.  That means we make this cake each year!  I still leave the bow coconut free just in case we have a guest that doesn't like coconut.

I also make these sticky buns for Easter morning.


 It can't hurt to have another 'sweet' tradition!

What are your Easter food traditions?

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Bunny Flag (Pottery Barn Knock-off)



A couple of years ago I saw the cutest little bunny flag at Pottery Barn.  Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately) it was out of stock  so I decided it was something I could easily make.  At least something similar and just as cute. This is the inspiration from PB:


Cute, right?

I set off to make my own and I came up with this:


Cute also.  Super easy too.  A quick stop at Hobby Lobby and I was ready to go.  I already had some burlap and white flannel at home.


I traced a bunny silhouette on the flannel.  I did it freehand but there's bound to be something out there on the internet that will work well.


I stitched the bunny on to the burlap, folded the top of the burlap over to make a pocket for the rod (a dowel and 2 wooden finials), painted to rod black (to give it a wrought iron look) and glued that little bunny tail on to the flannel.


Super quick and easy.  If you don't sew the entire project can be done with hot glue and/or Stitch Witchery.


This makes a cute addition to any Easter decor and even would be cute in a little girl's Easter Basket.

Linking up to Inspire Me Monday at My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia.

Friday, March 13, 2015

5 Ways to Take your Table from Everyday to Easter Day...

I love a great table scape. Easter is an especially fun time to make your table extra pretty.  All the pastels make it really fun to put together. Start out with white dinner plates and the sky's the limit.

Here are a few really cute and easy ways to add Easter to your table.

You don't have to go out and buy an entire new set of dinnerware (not a bad idea though, if it's in your budget.)  One or two whimsical little touches will work just fine.  I love this 5 section bunny egg holder from World Market. 


Wouldn't it be cute with dyed eggs in it?  And it's only $6.99.


Be still my heart! I am in love with these little bunny plates from Pottery Barn.  They are perfect right on top of your white plates.


This bunny serving bowl from Williams-Sonoma is just too cute for words.  And there's dinnerware to match.  Perfect!



Add a little fun to your table with these bunny napkin rings from Crate & Barrel.  Wouldn't they be fun with a pastel napkin?


A table runner is a little less formal than a table cloth and this one from Pier 1 is super cute.

So you don't have to spend a fortune outfitting your table for Easter Day, just add something fresh and fun to get everyone in the holiday spirit.


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Easy Salsa Recipe...




We try to eat healthy around here but still like a little snack every now and then.  I love chips and salsa and this homemade salsa is really quick and yummy (and makes me feel better about the chip part of the snack).  This is also a great way to use up excess tomatoes.


Super Easy Salsa Recipe

3 Roma Tomatoes (or any ripe tomatoes you have on hand!), chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
Banana peppers, chopped - to taste
About 2 TBSP of juice from banana pepper jar
Fresh cilantro, chopped -  to taste
Salt to taste

Mix all ingredients together.  Refrigerate for at least and hour.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

20 Sugar-Free Easter Basket Fillers...


I posted this a couple of years ago but it's almost time for the Easter Bunny to make his appearance again so I thought it might be useful to all of you bunny helpers out there. I've made a couple of changes to the post but some of the sugar-free treats are tried and true...

Peeps, chocolate bunnies and Cadbury Creme Eggs.  There has to be more to an Easter Basket than sugar, right?  With the size of baskets these days (that's another post, for another time) non-sugar goodies are a must for Easter.  While I don't want Easter to turn into another Christmas-like gift giving holiday, I am always searching for gift ideas to pass on to the Easter Bunny.  Here are my 20 sugar-free Easter basket ideas for kids of all ages:

For Little Kids (0-8 years or so)

  • Bubbles
  • Playdoh 
  • Coloring Books and Crayons - there are awesome Easter Bunny & Religious coloring books out there this time of year. 
  • Legos - I love the 'Friends' line that is out for girls now.  The usual cars and trucks and airplanes are still out there for the boys.
  • Small Play Characters - like Little People & Polly Pockets.
  • Sidewalk Chalk
  • Gardening tools - kid sized shovels, hoes and rakes in cute patterns start showing up in stores like Target just in time for Easter.
For Bigger Kids (9+)
  • Magazines - Buy the current issue of a favorite magazine and add a note saying that a year's subscription is on its way.
  • Gift Cards - itunes & Amazon are big around here.  Your local bookstore or Barnes & Noble is also fun.
  • Movie Gift cards - Going to the theater is always a fun activity on a rainy Saturday.
  • Sunglasses
  • Journals - There are so many pretty journals on the market these days.  There's still time to order a personalized one from a site like Minted if you want to splurge.
  • Note Cards - Target has some really cute ones for not a lot of money.  Or get personalized notes from somewhere like American Stationery - one of my favorite places to order from - good prices and service.
For Everyone
  • Books - always a good gift - especially to get the little ones in the habit of reading.
  • Puzzles 
  • School supplies - always need them!
  • Paints (watercolors, finger) & paper.
  • Socks - fun & useful.
  • DVD's or a Netflix subscription
  • Beach towels and toys - it will be summer before you know it. 
Filling Easter baskets can get expensive so I check the dollar store for things like coloring books, school supplies, beach toys, sidewalk chalk & bubbles.  We do a little bit of candy - and fill in with these extra little goodies.  And there's always a toothbrush!