Jan 31, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer Birthday Party Ideas for Kids

I know you might be thinking that it's too early to be planning a summer birthday party, but I would disagree.

First of all because it gets you thinking warm thoughts, and that alone is a good enough reason.

But also because the earlier you start planning, the more money you can save, (by buying when things are on sale instead of last minute!), and the more organized you can be!

So here is my list of Top ten Summer Birthday Party Ideas for kids!

10. A Swimming/Beach theme!  My friend over at Amy for Him did this last year and it was a HUGE success.  She decorated with sand and shells and gave out sand pails filled with treats for the favors.  The kids loved it!
picture via: http://amyforhim.blogspot.com/

9.  A Camping theme!  All kids love the adventure of camping, and I'm sure that this would be a big hit, especially with boys!  Some ideas are to have a bonfire and lets the kids roast hot dogs and marshmallows, (or you could even have a smores bar!), decorate with lanterns and canteens etc., and have a big tent set up that the kids could play in!  Here's a site with some fun ideas!

8. A Carnival theme!  This is a great idea for young children!  You could have different carnival style games set up (ring toss, fish for the prize, cake walk, etc.), and serve carnival treats like popcorn and cotton candy! 

7.  A Park Party!  This is a great idea if you can't/don't want to have the party at your home.  Most local parks have shelters that you can rent and the entertainment is already built in!  These are easy because you can order pizza or can do food picnic style!

Image Detail

6.  Hawaiian Luau Party!  This is great for girls who are a little older.  My sister did this for my niece and sent invitations like a message in a bottle, and decorated with lots of bright colors and fresh flowers!  The food should be tropical and don't forget the music and lei's!  Here's a site if you need a little help with the planning!

5.  Summer Garden Party!  This is a really sweet theme with lots of possibilities.  You could do fun finger foods, different flavored lemonades, and lots of plants and fresh flowers around. 

4.  Pirate Theme!  This can be done both indoors and outdoors, but boys will definitely love getting into this theme.  Make sure to have head scarves and eye patches for all the kids and do games with a pirate theme.  You could download the Pirates of The Caribbean theme music and if you're really into it, build a pirate ship out of cardboard for the kids to play in!

3.  Water Fun!  This is a great party for super hot days!  You can do different water games like water balloon toss, slip-n-slide,  dancing through the sprinkler, a water obstacle course, and end the day with a fun water fight! 

2.  Outdoor Olympics Theme!  This is a great one for boys and girls!  You set up tons of games that the kids compete in Olympic style.  Some suggestions are:  Sack races, badminton, relay races, balance beam walking, and discus throw!   Make sure and have lots of medals to give out, and trophies, banners and the ceremonial torch for decorations. Here is a site that has lots of suggestions!

1. An Ice Cream Social!  This is the one I am planning to do with my daughter this year (she'll be six!).  I am still thinking through ideas, but for sure we will have an ENORMOUS ice cream sundae bar, an ice cream cone pinata, and ice cream themed games like pin the cherry on the sundae.  Because summer and ice cream just go perfect together!

Ice Cream Shaped Cake

So tell me, do you have a summer birthday theme to share? 

I'll be linking up with Oh Amanda for Top Ten Tuesday and We are THAT Family!  Be sure to check them out!   

Top Ten {Tuesday}

Jan 30, 2012

Mix It Up Monday: Layers, Layers, Layers

I am wimpy when it comes to the cold. 

And I am ALWAYS cold!  Especially in the winter.

My husband says it's because I'm cold blooded...whatever.

But at any given time during the winter, you will find my hands as cold as ice, and my nose so frosty that I have actually wondered if I could find some kind of nose covering to wear.

Anyhow, that is why I have to wear several layers at all times during the winter months.  Because it's hard to stay warm and still be somewhat fashionable. 

(And because honestly, if I had it my way, I would be wearing my flannel pj's and a fleece around pretty much all the time.)

This outfit is just one example of my layering skills.

Turtleneck and leg warmers: Target, Black shirt: Old Navy, Sweater: Garage Sale, Jeans and Boots: Avenue, Headband: Charming Charlie

I wore it to church and for running errands yesterday and although it kept me mostly warm, I still had my cold nose :(

So tell me, what are some of your tricks for staying warm in the winter and still looking fashionable?  And also, do you know anyone who knits nose sweaters? :)

I will be linking up with Momma Go Round for Real Momma Real Style and The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.  Be sure to check them out!

Momma Go Round

pleated poppy

Jan 27, 2012

Dreaming of The Beach

Image Detail

My family decided a few weeks ago that we would spend our spring break in Destin, FL!

(Now, before you get too excited, I should share that when I say 'my family' I mean my WHOLE family...sisters, nieces and nephews, grandparents, everyone.  Should be interesting.)

I have never been to Destin and I am SUPER excited!

I have heard such great things about it and I am already planning out the details.  So far, people have told me that we have to go to Seaside, must take the kids to Fudpuckers, and need to try Pompano Joes.  We're planning for all of that!

And who knows if it will be warm enough to swim, (we'll be there the first week of April), but you'd better bet that I will be spending a good amount of time on the beach anyway.

There's just something about being able to kick off your shoes, put your toes into the sand, and stroll along the waves while looking out into those great big waters.  It allows you to let everything else go and just appreciate that moment

I cannot wait!!!!

So tell me, have you been to Destin before?  Have any suggestions for activities we MUST try?  What are your plans for Spring Break?

Jan 26, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Kangaroo Brand Flatbread

It seems like forever that I have been on the search for the perfect pizza crust for when we make pizza at home.

I have tried frozen premade, refrigerated premade, non-refrigerated premade, and recipes to make your own

Some of them were okay, and some were just awful, but we never found one that our whole family loved...

until I tried using Kangaroo Flatbread!

I kind of accidentally stumbled upon these when I was looking for a quick way to make individual pizzas for my daughter's birthday party.  I thought, "these girls won't care so much what they taste like.  they'll just like making their own".

But oh man was I surprised when not only did the girls at the party love them, but my whole family.  In fact, my husband told me to put them on the regular dinner rotation!

So, we have been having 'make-your-own' pizza night a lot lately.  And what's even better is that these flatbreads bake up quick, so dinner is done in about ten minutes. 

And did I tell you how affordable they are?  A package of five is only about $2, so it's not only a quick dinner idea, it's inexpensive too! 

I love it when I win!!!

I am linking up with The Diaper Diaries for Things I Love Thursday.  Be sure to head over and check out all the other 'things' getting blog love today!

Jan 25, 2012

Enough Is Enough...Or Is It?

I know every family struggles with these same questions.

But seriously, how much is too much when it comes to activities, sports, clubs etc.?

Because right now, this is my life:

Cheer practice, and Student Council one time per month for Addy, on Mondays, House Church, plus Girl Scouts one time per month, on Tuesdays, Ballet and Tumbling on Wednesdays, Thursdays are the day I take my mom to chemo (I get 1 "off" week per month),  Fridays, (and Saturday evenings), are usually busy with birthday parties, date nights, get togethers, or other social things, Saturday morning is Upward cheer, and Sunday is church, and a cheer board meeting one time per month. 

Plus, scatter into that, various other meetings for cheer, play dates, watching The Bachelor on Monday nights with my posse, (I seriously can't quit that!), homework and school projects, making meals and other errands etc. for my mom, trying to help with Jeremy's dad, grocery store runs, cleaning my house (Ha!  Who has time for that?), Doctor appointments, various PTO obligations, trying to write blog posts, and occasionally having a real conversation with my husband!

It's enough to drive me crazy just typing it.

But I know that this is actually pretty "normal" for most families.

But does it make us happy?  What's the purpose of all of it?  Why are we maxing ourselves out?

And don't get me wrong, I LOVE being busy and keeping my family active.

I'm The Family Fun Mom for cryin' out loud!

But I just keep wondering if a more simple life, a life with less 'busyness' would be better for all of us.

I wish I had the answers.  But every time I start to think about eliminating something, I get anxious. 

Questions and statements like,

"how will they be able to continue in cheer if they don't tumble?" and

"every little girl needs to do ballet, don't they?" and

"all of her friends are in girl scouts" and

"This is the way to raise well rounded children" start to pop up. 

Then I convince myself that we're doing the right thing. 

Until the next week comes and I start the questions all over again.

So tell me, how do you know when it's enough?  How do you decide, when your child comes home and asks to do one more activity, what to say?  And how do we continue the balancing act of staying on top of it all?

Jan 24, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Superbowl Food

Image Detail

Congrats to The Patriots and The Giants for making it to The Superbowl!!!

And I only know that those are the teams going because my husband told me :)

I'm not really into watching The Superbowl, but I am into going to Superbowl Parties!

And you can't really show up at a Superbowl party without a delicious dish...so I have some suggestions for you!

These are my top ten picks for yummy treats to share at your Superbowl gathering:

10.  Pepperoni Pizza Puffs!  Everybody wants pizza but with all the goodies to try, it's hard to fit in a whole slice.  These are the perfect way to get that pizza fix in a small bite!

maybe for the superbowl?

9.  Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili!  Chili is a MUST for any Superbowl Party!  This is a different take on a standard and it is soooo good!

Slow Cooker Cream Cheese Chicken Chili

8.  Buckeye Brownies!  No party would be complete without something decadent and sweet.  These buckeye brownies are just that with peanut butter and chocolate chips to take ordinary brownies to a whole new level!

Buckeye Brownie Recipe

7.  Baked Buffalo Wings!  Wings and football go hand in hand  I have heard marvelous things about this baked version, and I can't wait to try them!

Baked Buffalo Wings - Super Bowl!

6.  Feta Dip!  Dips are all the rage for parties, but having the same old taco and buffalo chicken dip can get boring.  This is a great way to mix it up!

Feta Dip,  And it’s ridiculously, embarrassingly easy.

5.  Hawiian Sweet Roll Ham Sandwiches!  These sandwiches take the place of those tired old hoagies.

Hawaiian Sweet Roll Ham Sandwiches

4.  Bacon Jalepeno Poppers!  These are a homemade version with cresant rolls and bacon.  Who doesn't love bacon??

Bacon, Cream Cheese, Jalapeno and Crescent rolls...great appetizer

3.  Pulled Pork with Sweet and Tangy BBQ Sauce!  These would be perfect served on slider buns!

superbowl staple

2.  Individual Veggies and Dip!  For the healthy eaters at the party, (who invited them, anyway?), this is a fun way to serve the veggies.  Everyone gets their own cup and they can double dip as much as they want!

veggies in dip

1.  Beer Punch!  Because the men want beer and the women want girly drinks. 

raspberry beer punch

I will be linking up with Oh Amanda!  for Top Ten Tuesday and We are THAT Family for Worls for me Wednesday!.  Be sure to check them out!

top ten list

Jan 23, 2012

Mix It Up Monday: My wedding re-do

Image Detail

Do you watch the show, "Say Yes To The Dress"? 

I am OBSESSED with it.

My husband has no idea how I can watch hours upon hours of women just trying on wedding dresses.

I have no idea how anyone could resist!!

I love seeing the women try on all the different styles and trying to choose which one looks best on them.  Often times I am yelling at the tv, "Pick that one!  That other one looks ridiculous!".  Sometimes they listen to me, sometimes they don't...

But that, mixed with the fact that my friend Maria, over at The BMC Report is helping to plan a wedding, has me wondering about how I would do things different if I got married today.

My husband and I are coming up on our 10th anniversary, and while I loved my wedding and had the best time planning it, I think that some of my tastes have changed since then and if I got married today, my wedding would definitely reflect that.

And of course, I would start with the dress.

Here is the dress I wore on my wedding day:

bad pic...sorry!!

Now, I like this dress very much.  It was within my small budget, it was traditional, (which is what I tend to go for), and was comfortable.  And of course, it holds wonderful, beautiful memories for me.


IF I had to do it again, and

IF I had an unlimited budget, and

IF I had the body I wanted,

then here are some of the dresses I would be trying on!

wedding dress
This dress is definitely different!  The beaded bodice is so pretty and the detail on the skirt is impeccable!

Wedding dress
This dress is romantic and sweet.  I think the full ballgown skirt is soft and flattering.  The slight bit of bling at the waist is the perfect touch.

wedding dress
If I wanted to go short and sassy, this would be my pick.  Ideal for a more casual wedding and perfect for dancing!

Pinned Image
This dress says chic!  It is sophisticated, cool and classy. 

vintage wedding gown
This dress is GORGEOUS!  Love the traditional style with the beautiful belt.

Dennis Basso Sweetheart Princess/Ball Gown Wedding Dress with Empire Waist in Taffeta. Bridal Gown Style Number:32286965
This dress is a stunner.  If I wanted drama, this would certainly be in the running!

And of course, I am a sucker for the back of a dress, too.  Because let's face it, that is what most people are looking at most of the ceremony.

are some of my favorite backs...

Paisiello Wedding Dress (Back) – Peter Langner Vienna 2012 Collection
The pattern on this is perfection.  Simple and understated, and still magnificent!

Elegant Lace Back Wedding Dress
My ABSOLUTE favorite back of all time!  I WISH I could pull this off because it is timeless!

back of a wedding dress
Who doesn't love a lace-up corset?  And the champagne sash is just the right touch.

Lauren Wedding Dress (Back) – Langner Couture Berlino 2012 Collection
I don't know if I even have words...this is just amazing!

So there you have it!  Now tell me, what would you change about your wedding?? 

I will be linking up with Momma Go Round and The Pleated Poppy.  Be sure to check them out!

Momma Go Round

pleated poppy

Jan 9, 2012

The Birthday Weekend

Last Friday was Addy's 8th Birthday.

What?  It feels strange to even type that.

How in THE WORLD could I have an 8-year-old?

Because I am clearly not older than 25.

Or so...

Ahem.  Anyhoo, it was a weekend full of birthdayness.

Friday evening we had a small family party.  I made all of Addy's favorite foods, which included mini corndogs, mac and cheese, (the boxed kind), mini sloppy joes, chips, and veggies and dip.

Obviously my kids have gourmet tastes.

But we did have cake!

In fact, we had this FABULOUS cake made by my friend Cortney from Sweet Top Cakery! 

After then it was time for presents.  Which, by the way, is getting more difficult.

I am finding that buying for an eight-year-old is delicate business.  She still wants toys, but not baby toys. 

Which seems to be every toy.

And while she is beginning to like clothes as gifts, she is VERY picky about the clothes she gets.

Apparently, only skinny jeans,  leggings, and "cute tops" (I wasn't aware I was buying "uncute" tops?), are acceptable choices.

I did the best I could.

But we also bought her new bedding because she recently inherited our queen size bed.  And grey is not a cool color for an eight year old girl's bedding.  (At least I know that...)

Saturday was her friend party.  Addy wanted to have a slumber party, and that was fine with me, but I had to limit the number of girls invited.  Because if Addy had it her way, we would have had 25 girls here.

I have to draw the line somewhere.

Since she pretty much planned the entire thing herself, I wanted some element of surprise for her.  I found this super cute idea of a candy bar on Pinterest, and I knew she would love it.

While my husband took Addy and her younger sister out for the afternoon, I decorated and set up the bar.


In fact, she said it was her favorite part of the party.

Yay for mom!!!

The girls had so much fun together, and I had fun watching them.

They painted their nails and made these cute little sleeping masks.

They made their own pizza's and chowed down on fruit, veggies, and chips for dinner.

Then we had yummy cookie cake and Opened Presents.

They watched movies, ate popcorn and danced to music.

They laughed, and were silly and talked about clothes, and music all their favorite things.

They stayed up SUPER late, (1am), and played games like truth or dare and would you rather, (with mom's supervision of course!).

They slept in late (8am), and then had cinnamon rolls and smoothies for breakfast.

I would say it was pretty close to perfect!