Sunday, December 14, 2014

Airplane Birthday Party: Owen's Flying 1st!

This boy is one.


Who, me?

A year ago we were still reeling, and he was this little bundle of comfort and happiness. Every month the 21st and 22nd are inextricably linked by life and loss, but having this little reminder of life makes the loss seem more bearable. 

When Daddy is a pilot, what other choice do you have than to throw an airplane party? You know me. I love a good theme party, and I love doing it in a reasonable, budget conscious way. This party fits that bill, and was so much fun to put together! 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Our 2014 Advent Book List

Hi Friends!

Christmas is upon us! I can hardly believe it. We are pulling out the decorations tonight and I am SO excited!

We're starting a new tradition this year. An Advent book basket!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Get Moving with LeapTV

This post is sponsored by LeapFrog. All opinions are 100% my own.

Hi friends!

Has November been crazy for you? It's been crazy for us! I think this time of year just moves in double speed.

The snow arrived yesterday. Boo. I'm sitting here watching flakes fall from the sky outside my window. Nothing is accumulating yet, but it's coming. We live in an apartment with no playground nearby, so getting active play in can be tricky on a good day. Add in the cold weather and it gets even harder! Impossible? No. But an every day occurance? Probably not. That is why I love to have a good arsenal of indoor active play ideas.

Good thing LeapFrog has me covered!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Creating Simple Holiday Traditions and GIVEAWAY

This shop has been compensated by #collectivebias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone. #northpolefun

Hi friends!

I'm talking about Christmas today.


It's coming whether you're ready or not, so we might as well pretend like we're ready, right? Right.

I love holiday traditions. There is something comforting about knowing that in all the chaos that can come with the holidays, there are some things that are the same every year. We didn't get to do a lot of our holiday traditions last year because we were still trying to find normal. I want to get back to them this year! Every year for all of my life we have had advent calendars. You know those German cardboard ones with the perforated doors and the molded chocolates? Yep, those. LOVE them. Every so often my mom would step up her game and we would do something fancy, but those cardboard ones were there every year without fail.

Those simple traditions are the ones that stick.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Stacked Autumn Wreath

Hi friends!

I haven't had the chance to do a decor project in ages! This one fit the bill perfectly.

I love fall decorating. Like, LOVE it. Probably more than Christmas. There's just something about these warm colors. I don't really do the creepy Halloween decorations, so my fall stuff stays out from September until the day after Thanksgiving (when the Christmas stuff comes out, duh!)

I have a wreath on my front door pretty much year round. Grapevine wreaths are my favorite because they are so easy to switch out with the seasons! However, they can be a little thin sometimes. This fixes that, and gives you more ways to personalize! Bonus!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Chipotle Chicken and Bean Enchiladas with La Morena

This shop has been compensated by #collectivebias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone.

Hi friends!

I grew up, and currently live, in the Midwest. Not exactly the hub of authentic Latin food. Tacos were always a staple in our family dinner rotation, but "authentic" isn't quite the word I would use to describe them (unless taco seasoning packets are authentic, but somehow I doubt!). However, my husband and I moved to Phoenix just after we got married, and were introduced to real Latin food. Man, oh man! We had been missing SO MUCH GOOD FOOD! Now I love to get as much authenticity into my recipes as I can, and having products like La Morena available is a huge help! These enchiladas are delicious, and can be personalized to your taste. They also freeze beautifully, and are a great meal to give away!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Sausage and Potato Grill Packs

Hi friends!

I have been trying desperately to avoid turning on my oven this summer. In fact, I've only used it 2 or 3 times since June. I would call that success! In order to do that, I've been using our grill a LOT. However, grilling meat can get expensive, and it can be hard to stretch your budget as far as I'd like. That's why I'm a huge fan of grill packs! This is one of our favorites.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Enough: A Book Review & Giveaway

Hi friends.

Have you ever started reading a book for one reason, and realized rather quickly that God put that book in your hands for so many other reasons? 

This is that book.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Easy Peasy DIY Cloth Diaper Safe Laundry Detergent

Hi friends!

I've been on a mission over the past year or so to get as many harsh cleaning chemicals out of our home as possible. One of the easiest ways to do that is to make homemade laundry detergent! I was using the most common dry recipe out there with Fels Naptha, but I found out when I was pregnant with Owen that Fels Naptha can build up in cloth diapers and impact their absorbency. No good! Then I found out that Castile Soap doesn't build up, and life was good again!

Here it is, my favorite recipe.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Berry Cultured Butter with Lifeway Kefir

This shop has been compensated by #collectivebias, Inc. and its advertiser. 
All opinions are mine alone.

Hi friends!

I am usually all about simple recipes. I love quality food that doesn't take a long time. However, some things are worth waiting for.

Cultured butter is one of those things.

The creaminess of butter with the tanginess of yogurt. Yes, please! It gets even better when you use something delicious like the flavors that Lifeway Kefir offers. Throw in some fresh berries and now you really have something amazing!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How To Throw A Simple Frozen Party Without Losing Your Mind (or blowing your budget!)

 Hey there friends!

Abbey turned 5 last month. FIVE!

And, like every other 5 year old girl on the planet, she wanted a Frozen party.
I love throwing themed parties. I really do! They give me a direction for planning, and get my creative juices flowing. Her rainbow party was so much fun to do! However, it can be so easy to see all of those beautiful parties on Pinterest and get a little jealous. I can't ice custom cookies, I don't have 15 cake stands, and let's be honest...those parties take a budget much larger than mine! They are beautiful, and lots of fun, but you can absolutely throw a great themed party with an every day skill set, and a small budget.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Share Your Story Saturday

Hi friends! 

I'm co-hosting Share Your Story Saturday again this week. There were some great link ups last week. I would love to see even more this week! 


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Get Ready for Kindergarten with LeapFrog!

This post is sponsored by Leap Frog. All opinions are 100% my own.  
Hi friends!

At this point it's pretty much common knowledge that we're big LeapFrog fans around here. When I learned about the new Get Ready For Kindergarten series I knew it was going to be fantastic! The new series includes a game cartridge for the Leap Pad, as well as books and activities for the Leap Reader pen. Both series center around four students, Chris, Pilar, Daniel and Grace, who are starting Kindergarten. Throughout the games the learn new skills, explore their new classroom and have lots of fun!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Share Your Story Saturday #1

Hi friends!

I am part of a brand new linky party called "Share Your Story Saturday"! What a perfect name! Every Saturday you can link up your favorite posts from the past week and share it with people all over the interwebs! We want to hear your story!

I will choose a few favorites to highlight next week during our Share your Story Blog Hop.


Becky at Tales of Beauty for Ashes (host)
Please send Becky an email at talesofbeautyforashes at gmail if you would like to cohost!
I have some awesome co-hosts this week, please stop by and say hello to them:
Heather at It's a Long Story (cohost)
Alecia at Learning to Walk (cohost)
Susan at MomLoves2Read (cohost)
Terri at Life with the Grothes (cohost)
Jenna at Called Home (cohost)
Joyice at Raising Boys Homeschool (cohost)
Please take a few moments to visit a few blogs and leave a comment letting them know you stopped by!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Picky Eaters & Family Fun Pizza Night

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community. This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
Hi friends!

Do any of you do family pizza night? We do, every week! It is a great way to spend time as a family and reconnect after a long week. Even now that most of us have moved out of the house, we still do our best to get together at my mom's house every week. Sometimes we order delivery, and sometimes we pop something in the oven. Pizza is a great way to feed a large group, but it can get expensive! I'm so glad that there are yummy choices like #DiGiorno in the freezer section!

Who here has a "cheese only" kid? Everyone, right? Aren't we always hearing that getting kids involved in making their food will help with picky eating? Well, DiGiorno nailed it! These #designapizza kits will get your kids excited to put all sorts of things on their pizza. Pepperoni? Yep. Chicken? Yep. Veggies? Bring 'em on!

So, we headed off to Walmart and grabbed a couple pizzas from the freezer section.

I think she's a little excited, what do you think? Excited about peppers? That's a start! 

Here's what we ended up with. Two pizza kits, and a plain cheese (just in case!)

All of the toppings come in these little trays. No dishes! Woot!

Then you get to decorate. Is there anything a newly 5 year old girl likes to do better than decorate things? She started out wanting to make flowers...

Then Noni jumped in to help make a smiley face, complete with hair and cheeks!

Now, pop that artwork into the oven. While you wait, cut up some fruit and veggies. Pizza night should be easy! We love having fresh choices to pair with our pizza.

Ding! Pizza's done!

Now, the moment of truth...

She looks happy with her pizza, but this wouldn't be the first time that she changes her mind at the last minute...
Side note: Do you see Owen eyeballing that pizza? This kid.

:deep breath:

Success!! She ate the entire piece, complete with pepperoni, sausage and peppers! I call it a win!

Thanks, DiGiorno and #collectivebias!

How do you encourage your kids to try new foods?

Be blessed,

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pink Lemonade Baby Shower

Hi friends!

I had the opportunity this past weekend to work with some wonderful ladies to bless a friend of ours. Julie was pregnant with her third baby, a girl. Now, I realize that most people don't have baby showers after their first baby. However, Julie had commented on the fact that she needed things like burp cloths, and a nice baby carrier. It had been 5 years since her last baby, and 8 years since her last girl, so she needed a little refreshing. So, we decided to throw her a "sprinkle"! Get it? Not a full shower, just a sprinkle? Ha!

We knew we wanted to do something simple, but cute. After throwing out a few ideas, we settled on Pink Lemonade! Pink, yellow, mason jars, lemons, cupcakes! Perfect for a new little girl.

We started out by starting a group board on Pinterest to collect ideas (private, of course, so mama couldn't see what we were doing!) This was so helpful! Now we all had the same vision, and could keep an eye out for things as we were out and about shopping. It's a lot easier to find deals when everyone knows what to be watching for!

This banner from TaterTots & Jello was perfect! Most of our decorations were light pink and yellow, but I loved the fun pop that these brighter colors gave everything. 

To play off of those bright colors, I made some tissue paper poms in the same bright colors. These are such an easy and affordable way to make in impact with party decor. Tissue paper can be found in just about every color you could need for just a few dollars. You can make large poms, or if you really need to stretch your budget you can make lots of little ones. House On The Way has a great post about how many layers to use to get the most out of every size! Mine were all between 8 and 10 inches across.

Table decorations were also super simple. Easy flower arrangements, colored peanut chocolate candies, and of course, lemons! We found this Pinkalicious book that was just too perfect, so it became part of the table decor as well!

Another flower arrangement and some more poms on a side table tied everything together. 

We kept food simple. Fruit and veggie trays, and taco dip. One friend brought some adorable finger sandwiches.

Another friend made a fruit baby! So cute!

We made a simple pink lemonade punch. Pink lemonade concentrate, lemon seltzer water and raspberry sherbet. Easy and not too sweet. Perfect! We also had a drink dispenser of lemon water. Of course, all of it was enjoyed in mason jars! What else? Cute paper straws add a great touch, and are pretty easy to find!

Every baby shower needs fun games. As people came into the party they had the chance to do two things. First we had some wall art with baby's initials on it. It was made to match her nursery. My friend Christine makes those photo blocks. How cute is it? 

Baby's name was a secret, so everyone took a chance to add their guess to the list.

Then, we had these absolutely adorable Wishes for Baby cards from Parraclan Designs. Everyone got the chance to leave their wishes for Baby B. While they were all heartfelt, nothing was sweeter than the wishes from Big Sister! The cards also match the nursery, and we gave them to Mom with a white shadow box so that they could be used as decorations. This nursery is AMAZING! It was done by Kelly Kate Interiors, and you can check it out here.

Instead of cards, we requested that guests bring a book with (or as) their gift. This way Baby B had the beginnings of a great library, and each book had a sweet note from someone who loves her.

I think Mom was happy, how about you? Isn't she adorable? 

We must have thrown a great party, because Baby B decided that she just couldn't stay inside any more! She was born 2 days later (9 days early) and is absolutely beautiful!

What are your tips for throwing a party on a budget?
Did you have a baby shower for more than one baby? 

Be blessed!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chalk It Up

Hi friends.

Sidewalk chalk season is in full swing around here. Abbey loves it, and between our balcony and the sidewalk out front it is out almost every day. I don't know about you, but I can only draw so many flowers, write so many names, and create so many hopscotch boards before I'm out of ideas. I'm not an artist, like, at all, so I need all the help I can get! Here are 10 fun ways to move beyond plain old chalk drawings.

Exploding Sidewalk Chalk Paint from Growing A Jeweled Rose: This looks like so much fun! A combination of a classic science experiment, chalk art, and the perfect amount of anticipation!

Grid Art from The Educator's Spin On It: What a great project! Turn any picture you want into a grid and transfer it, square by square, onto your sidewalk. This would be perfect for an art birthday party, or even just a group of neighborhood kids. You can also make it easier or more complicated simply by changing the picture!

Glitter Chalk Paint from Still Playing School: Oh my goodness, Abbey would love this! I love that it is just as good on paper as it is on the sidewalk. Good for rainy and sunny days!

Scented Chalk Paint from Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails: Don't have a glitter fan? Add fun scents to your paint instead! Think of all the options! 

Nature Mandalas from Nurture Store: These are absolutely beautiful. Find flowers from your yard, or take a nature hike and make these. It's great for little ones who are working on their colors, too!

Mess Free Sidewalk Chalk from De Tout et De Rien: This is perfect for those kiddos (and mamas!) who don't like the feel of chalk on their hands. They also store so easily! I may be making some of these soon.

Chalk and Tempera Painting from Buggy and Buddy: OK, so this one isn't a sidewalk activity, but it was too cool not to include. Again, I'm not an artist, so things like this are new to me! I love how using the white tempera paint leaves you with a watercolor effect. So cool!

Wet Sidewalk Chalk Art from Happy Hooligans: This one is so simple that you're going to smack yourself for not thinking of it yourself. It is amazing how one little thing can change the entire look of chalk drawings!

Fizzing Sidewalk Paint from Kids Activities Blog: More science fun! This one let's kids create what they want, then turn it into fizzy fun!

Sidewalk Puddle Art from Lemon Lime Adventures: You can either do this one after a great summer rainstorm, or bust out your hose and create your own puddles. Either way you'll end up with the prettiest puddles ever!

How do you get creative with chalk?
Have you tried any of these before?

Be blessed!

Monday, May 26, 2014

DIY Juicy Lucy Bar

I am a member of the Collective Bias®  Social Fabric® Community.  This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper amplification for Collective Bias and its advertiser.
Hi friends!

It's Memorial Day today here in the States. A chance to remember lost service members, and spend time with family. Parades, spending the day outside, and barbecues are standard fare.

This is what you want to do at your barbecue. I promise.

For those of you who may not know, a Juicy Lucy (or Jucy Lucy, depending on your history) is a midwest thing. More specifically, a Minneapolis thing. Basically it is a cheese-stuffed burger, with cheese on top. Yes, please!

Now I don't know about you, but Kraft is the first name I think of for cheese, and you want good cheese for this. Walmart has all sorts of choices, but I went with Sharp Cheddar, Italian 5 Cheese and Mexican 4 Cheese. I grabbed some barbecue sauce and mayo while I was there, too.

Confession: I typically fall on the Miracle Whip side of the aisle, but for this mayo was perfect. I don't like mayo on its own, but I love it mixed with other things! Tonight it was sriracha and pesto. Yum!

OK, now lets get down to business!

Ready, Set, #SayCheeseburger!

Here is what you need:

  • Ground meat (1/3 lb per person)
  • Cheeses
  • Toppings: bacon, lettuce, tomato, etc...
  • Sauces: Mayo, BBQ sauce, ketchup, relish, mustard, whatever else you like
  • Buns

Start by portioning out your meat of choice. We used beef, but you could easily do this with turkey, too! I season my burgers with a generous helping of my favorite garlic/sea salt grinder. Easy peasy. We went with 1/3 lb burgers, with a smaller one for my daughter.

Now get that cheese ready!

Remember making pinch pots in Kindergarten art class? Do that with your burger. Then fill your pot up with your cheese of choice!

Pinch it up, squish it into a patty, and toss that baby on the grill.

Try not to drool too much as the cheese inside gets all melty and gooey.

Once your burgers are cooked, it's time for the fun part. Toppings!

Cheesy bacony goodness? Yes.

BLT with pesto mayo and cheddar? Yes and yes.

Marinara, pesto mayo, and oozy, melty mozzarella? Yes, yes, and YES!

Bananas? Also good.

We kept our toppings pretty basic this time, but you could go as exotic as you want to. Have a crowd that likes spicy food? Layer on those peppers! Mexican night? Guacamole burgers! The possibilities are endless! This is also great when you are cooking for a crowd because everyone ends up happy, even the kids.

Thanks, #collectivebias!

Want even more burger ideas? Check out the ideas that Walmart has!

How would you top your burgers?
Are you a wild topper or a classic burger builder?

Be blessed!

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