Category Archives: Parties

Birds of a Feather: The Twin’s 3rd Birthday Party

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If I were to count how many of my parties have been inspired by random clearance buys…I’d probably keep going until I included every party I’ve ever thrown.

That’s just how I roll. Start with something cheap. Add a bunch more somethings cheap (or free), and end up with a hodgepodge that’s good enough for me.

In the case of the twins’ EXTREMELY loosely themed “Birds of a Feather” 3rd birthday party, the idea came to me when I spotted these cute cupcake picks in the deep discount bin at Marshall’s.

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(PSA: the red and blue velvet Duncan Hines cake mixes are the best I think I’ve ever had. They call for butter rather than oil, and the texture/flavor is so good, even with all of the food coloring that must surely be in them to produce such vivid colors. Swirl a little homemade cream cheese buttercream frosting on top, and everyone will think you went to all the trouble to make the cake from scratch too!)

So…funny story. After I posted a bunch of furniture to that Facebook swap ‘n shop that I’ve mentioned a few times, I had several people ask me if I was a decorator and offered my services at large. My response was, of course, no. But then a couple more people asked, and I responded to one lady that, if she was serious, she could message me, and we could figure something out.

So, she did! And I went to her house and helped her decorate her dining room. And it was so much fun. Not only that, but she paid me in cookies. Which…sounds weird, I realize. But when you take into account the fact that she’s a highly sought after professional cookie-maker in our area and pretty much stays solidly booked, it was a pretty legit payment.

ESPECIALLY when the cookies looked like this!

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Seriously, they were like little pieces of artwork. I sent her pictures of the cupcake picks from above and told her that I wanted some black/white polka dots mixed in, and then she worked her magic. I almost felt bad eating them because they were so stinkin’ pretty. But the second I took a bite, I didn’t feel bad anymore because they were also delicious!  If you’re ever in need of some custom cookies in the East Texas/Tyler area, you totally need to give Robin a shout. You can find all of her info on her Facebook page.

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After I got my themed desserts set, I contemplated bird-themed outfits for the girls, but honestly, the second that I saw these adorable sets from The JimmieLee Boutique, all ideas of themed outfits flew (ha. ha.) out of my head. party17

If you recall, these are the outfits that the twins wore when I took pictures for their 3-year-old update, and several of you asked me where they were from. So, now you know! Kayla is also local to me, but she can ship anywhere in the U.S., and I just love giving shout-outs to sweet, hardworking mamas. You totally need to go check her out (or give her a like on Facebook or a follow on Instagram @thejimmieleeboutique) Her stuff is adorable, and her prices are really reasonable!

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Last year’s party for the twins was almost a complete bust in terms of attendance (that’s what happens when a stomach bug starts making the rounds the weekend of your party). But this year, we had gorgeous weather and a great turnout.

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In lieu of one big cake, I threw together some easy pudding + whipped cream parfaits (because cookies and cupcakes couldn’t possibly suffice), and they were the biggest hit of the party!

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Seriously. They were there when I went inside to grab some more ice, and by the time I got back outside, they were gone, gone, gone.

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(Second PSA: sprinkle just about anything with chopped up bits of heath/chocolate and Andes mints, and people will go gaga for it)party9

Oh, and while I’m being all bossy about party instructions, can I just encourage you to buy you flowers from Sam’s or Costco? I bought all of the flowers you see there for about $25 and split them up into 5 different mason jar bouquets, which I scattered throughout rooms in my house when the party was over. $25 for gorgeous party decorations plus fresh flowers in your house for a week afterwards is totally worth it in my book.

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I joked on Instagram about how sometimes I try to go for neutral themes, and it never works out, and one person commented that if that’s what I was going for here, it was a total fail.

She wasn’t lying.

But the thing is that I always end up decorating a party table with things I have in my stash and recycling the same serving pieces over and over. And since I tend towards colorful staples, then the results tend to be kind, well, loud.

And I’m good with that.

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There’s this really cute shop in Riverside, CA called Mrs. Tiggywinkle’s that I’ve stopped into every time I’ve been there with Shaun, and they have an awesome collection of decorative papers. I always come home with at least one, and this time it was that “celebrate” party-themed one in the background. Ultimately, I think it would be fun framed for a little girls’ bedroom, but for now, it made for great impromptu party decor.

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And it wouldn’t be a party (as far as I’m concerned) without patterned straws and napkins. I pretty much have a stash leftover from all past parties, and I just pull out a handful and stuff them in a mason jar for some instant/functional cuteness.

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Oh, and just in case you thought that all we ate was sugar…nope. There was a subway sandwich bar too. I highly recommend this idea! I buy my bread/cheese/meat in bulk from Sam’s, then throw the meat/cheese on at the last second and set everything out with a huge platter of veggies, condiments, chips, and drinks. Et Voila! Dinner for a crowd in no time flat. And so much cheaper than ordering from a sandwich shop that there’s really no comparison.

Oh, and just so I don’t leave you with an image of a heap of sandwiches.

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We had so much fun celebrating the twins and hanging out with friends and family. Sometimes, I feel a little bad that the twins are the ones who most consistently get a birthday party because it just so happens to fall at a convenient time, but when I see all of my other kids chasing their friends through the yard and squealing in delight over getting to share cupcakes with cousins they don’t get to see as often as they’d like, it’s a good reminder that, while they may not be the ones getting the presents (as if they really need anything more), but they’re still having a ball.

And that’s a wrap! Stay tuned for Friday. I’ve got a killer #mamalifehacks tip that you’re going to love. Or at least find marginally useful. I hope.

Ahem. Should’ve ended with confidence.

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Twins Are Twice as Sweet 2nd Birthday Party

I wasn’t sure until maybe a week and 1/2 before the twins’ 2nd birthday party materialized a) whether we were even having a party and b) what it would be like if we did.

Last year, I planned a big outdoor shindig for their 1st birthday...

And then it rained, for like the first time in 2 months…pretty much exactly and only during the hours of their party.

So, we moved everything and everyone upstairs to our big room, which I am so grateful to have. But, I’m not going to lie: it was crowded, nothing was particularly cute (despite hours of prep for several days ahead of time), and I was borderline pouty about the whole business.

This year, I didn’t have the energy for that kind of pressure (cough, pregnant, cough), so when I finally did decide on a semi-applicable “theme”–which then meant that there needed to be a party  to accompany it–I knew I didn’t want to go big. At all.

Of course, I also wasn’t planning on going quite as small as we ended up being after two of the invited families ended up with sick kids on the day of the party. What a bummer!

The plus side? The weather was absolutely gorgeous (which only slightly lessened the grudge I’m still holding against last year’s thunderstorm) and we got to eat yummy food and play with family and friends. Which is really all that little kids (should) care about.

The boys and I had fun making no-bake treats as a supplement to our homeschooling (um, hello? fractions, measuring, reading…it’s practically a flippin’ SAT prep course!) several days in advance, and the rest I did a little at a time throughout the week (up until the ultimate all-day-long, can’t-sit-down, too-much-to-do push of the day of).

The results were pretty much what I’d hoped for: cute, simple, and–you guessed it–very sweet.

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The best part was that I already had almost everything you see on the table here (which was the only thing I decorated, so be prepared for shots from every angle). The wrapping paper I used to cover the ugly folding table…the striped bags for the favors…the party cups…the napkins. Practically all of it, I had either collected on super-clearance over time or had leftover from another party, and it felt pretty good to just toss all of it together in one big, sugartastic explosion of color!

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It’s hard to get much more on-the-nose with a “Twins are Twice as Sweet” theme than pretty glass jars full of very sweet things–in this case, chocolate-dipped pretzels, jelly beans, Lemonheads, caramels, gumballs, and homemade caramel popcorn. twinparty2

 

I had ordered a grab bag of items from Pick Your Plum months before, not having a clue what I’d get. But several cute party accessories were included–like those yellow cookie-holders. Okay, so I don’t know what they’re actually intended for, but they were the perfect size for the chocolate-dipped morsels of death by marshmallow fluff cookies that the boys and I made, so I went with it.

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Another fun item from the same PYP haul was these cupcake wrappers/embellishments. They fit perfectly in with all the bright colors and candy-related theme.

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I already had a pretty decent stash of pretty paper straws leftover from bygone parties, so I tucked them into those white laser-cut holders from the Target Dollar Spot.

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You’ve seen this chalkboard make several appearances already, including in my family command center and my fall-themed buffet reveal.

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I didn’t really do much with the chalkboard trend when it first started, but now that’s it’s been going strong for a while (and is probably petering out, honestly), I’ve been having a lot of fun playing around with different fonts and embellishments. Although I’m not much good at coming up with the pretty stuff on my own, I usually have a design in mind and am decent at hodge-podging together elements that I scrounge from Pinterest or Google searches. At least, I’m happy enough with the results. twinparty8

I borrowed the small candy jars from a sweet friend, but the large apothecary jars were my one big splurge for the party, since I knew I could use them again and again, both for future festivities and for decorating/useful purposes in between. They were 1/2 off at Hobby Lobby, but they still cost about $22 each. Honestly, though, after doing quite a bit of looking around both online and in stores, I couldn’t find a better price for something of this size and quality.

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Those little double mint cookie balls were a major labor of love (AKA: a pain in the bohonkus) but I kind of adored how cute they were when all the fussy parts were done. Oh, and they were YUM-MO! (I’ll share more about some of these treats soon).

Of course, pretty-looking treats can only serve as (forgive me) eye candy for so long…

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Eventually, they must be eaten.

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Not too surprisingly, none of the party guests complained too much about that task…

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And the birthday girls seem happy to do their part as well.

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Not that I didn’t try to do my fair share. (This is the plate I made for me and Shaun, but I was so tempted to caption it: “It’s for the baby”).

It was such an enjoyable evening right up until the moment that I crawled into bed and realized that my raging allergies from the week leading up to the party had morphed into something else entirely (evil).

But, after spending the weekend downing Echinacea and Vitamin C and taking as many naps I could cram into a 72 hour period that was already pretty full of schedule obligations, I feel a whole lot better. At the very least, I can breathe out of one nostril at a time for longer than 30 minutes. And that, my friends, is progress.

Ultimately, I’m happy that I made the effort to do something fun for the twins’ birthday, but I’m not so sure they’re getting another one until they’re at least five!

Do you guys throw a party for your kids every year? We don’t. But neither do we really have a system for when we do. Simon and Della get somewhat gypped every year because their birthdays are so close to Thanksgiving (Simon’s is actually on it this year). But we did manage to throw them a mega-bash a couple of years back. And Ezra has gotten something resembling a party every couple of years or so since he was born. I suppose some day, we’ll have to figure out something that makes it more “fair,” but, for the most part, my kids don’t seem to notice too much if one gets a party and another doesn’t. A cookie, though? Well, that’s another matter entirely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dinner Dress Decisions (Wanna help?)

So sorry to post so little this week. Tomorrow’s dinner party has me hopping, plus lots of other fun last-week-of-school craziness, which has translated into several posts started but never finished (clearly, this one almost didn’t make it, considering the 2 PM post time). I’ll be back on a regular schedule next week, but for now, I’m asking for your help again (shocker!).

Two years ago, when we hosted our first Summer Dinner Party, I surveyed you guys to ask which dress I should wear to the party.

Ultimately, I ended up with Option E, none of the above. But that was mostly because each of the dresses I was considering had something that made it slightly less than ideal for a 24-weeks-pregnant twin belly. Since I don’t have to worry about that this time, I was able to shop my own closet with freedom (I have neither the time nor the need to go buy something specifically for this party), and I ended up pulling out several dresses that I haven’t worn in ages (and two that I never have), accessorizing them, and then deciding that I would, once again, ask you guys to share your expert opinion on which one would be best suited for this year’s party.

If you weren’t here last time or haven’t seen the inspiration board for party, then just know that the idea here is relaxed elegance. I want to look nice, but not stuffy. Fancier than usual, but still relaxed.

Also, just in case you were wondering or can’t tell from the way the dresses lie on the hanger, none of them have any fit issues for me either in size or modesty. So, that’s  not a consideration.

So, without further ado, I give you…

1. The Earth Mother

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I’ve had this pretty maxi for years (I think I got it on clearance from Beall’s for about $12) and have worn it everywhere from church (with a jeans jacket) to a wedding.

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I really like how much the watercolor heels dress it up. And since the collar is already decorative, I’d throw on a pair of pretty dangly earrings and call it good.

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2. The Flower Girl

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I never got to wear this E-Shakti dress that was supposed to be my Easter frock last year (we all got sick and didn’t go to church), but I really like it paired with this fun, Anthro-esque necklace from F21 and my wedding shoes.

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3. Rainbow Bright

This one definitely plays to my love of color, and I especially like the color-blocking, with the white at the top.

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I’d pair this one with my awesome birthday shoes that Mandy got me, a pair of gorgeous funky earrings my MIL gave me, and a Wal-Mart bangle.

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4. The Garden Party

I scored this dress from the J. Crew outlet for $35 (regularly $170) on our trip to New Braunfels last year, but I have to yet to find the right occasion for wearing it (isn’t there something exhilarating about going in your closet and pulling something out with the tags still on?).

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I love the embroidery and the pretty pom-pom details at the hem.

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I think I’d keep my accessories super-simple with a pair of white heeled sandals and some vintage jewelry.

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And there you have it. Four different dresses with four very unique styles.

Do you have favorite? Which one do you think I should wear tomorrow? I’d love it if you weighed in!

P.S. I know this is trivial, but if you think of it, could you pray that it doesn’t rain us out tomorrow? I reeeeeeeeeally want to eat out on our patio, but it’s been thunder-storming on and off all week, and the highest chances of evening showers are—of course—forecast for tomorrow night.

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Dinner Party Remix (and inspiration board)

Two years ago, we hosted a dinner part on our back patio, which at that point was nothing like it is now.

I think I joked that, despite it being loads of fun, I wouldn’t be ready for another one until 2015. But here we are in 2014, and I’m planning another one! (Apparently, dinner parties are like labor. You forget about the pain and just remember the good parts. Until you’ve got, like, a week to go. And then all you remember is the pain. Ask me how I feel about this dinner party in a couple of weeks).

I did learn a thing or two from my last go-round, though, and I think I will benefit greatly from that knowledge this time around.

1. Less is definitely more. One of the reasons that the last party was such a monumental undertaking is because a) I wanted everything to be peeeeerfect, and b) I wanted to include all kinds of unique, memorable, distinct little details. Honestly, I managed to pull most of them off, but probably nobody much noticed but me, and the majority of the fun did not come from my adorable (read: complicated) DIY place cards. So, this time, I’m keeping the projects and details to a minimum.

2. Flowers are gorgeous, but big centerpieces are a no-go. If you go back and look at the recaps, you’ll see a couple of really pretty floral arrangements in the middle of the table. Thing is, they disappeared as soon as the dinner got going because it was impossible to talk around them.

3. Food doesn’t have to be fancy to be enjoyed. Not that our food was so very upscale, but I did choose several dishes that required lots of prep and several different steps, and this time I’m keeping it dead simple (with a focus on things I can make well ahead of time).

4. I’ve already done color and pattern (which, of course, I love). This time I want simplicity. (Sensing a theme?).

With these lessons in mind, I did a little rooting around Pinterest (you can follow me here) and came up with a simply chic inspiration board for the look I’m going for this year.

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(I’m not re-linking below, so if you’re wondering about a source, be sure to use the numbers above)

1. I’ll be pulling out my trusty aqua mason jars yet again. They’re one of my favorite investments in terms of dish/home decor. I drink out of them every day. They make great vases. They immediately dress up any dinner. Plus, hello, they’re aqua, which pretty much equals instant love as far as I’m concerned.

2. String lights are a must. We have been enjoying dinner out on the patio pretty much every night for several weeks now, and the kids get excited every. single. time. Part of that has to do with the “twinkle lights” we have over the patio table that Shaun made. They like to claim dibs on who gets to plug them in each time. Not that I mind. After all, twinkle lights can make anything—even Tuesday night turkey burgers—seem a little bit magical.

3. Love the idea of faux flower DIY napkin holders. Easy AND they can double as wrist corsages for the girls once they unwrap their napkins!

4. These plates are from Crate and Barrel, which is way out of my price range, but I have a stash of white plates from the Dollar Tree which cost, yes, $1 each, so that’s how we’ll roll.

5. I love black and white. Yes, yes, yes. I know. I love color. But next to my beloved jewel tones, my next favorite is a completely neutral palette with pops of black and white pattern. And stripes? Swoon. I’m thinking of making a simple table runner (or just draping it down the center of the table without bothering to sew it at all).

6. I love the idea of adding a little sparkle to the proceedings. I found all kinds of tutorials for DIY glitter-dipped place cards, but I think I’m going to skip the dipping and go straight to slapping on a little strip of this glitter washi tape to jazz up some plain white cards.

7. At this point, my plan is to serve my chicken pot pie in individual oversized mugs. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn’t like this dish. I can make the filling ahead of time. And there will be no need for big dishes or serving spoons taking up lots of table space. Plus? No need to dish out sloppy helpings. WIN!

8. We’ll see whether I can make myself splurge or not, but my favorite flower right now is definitely ranunculus. They’re a bit on the pricey side, but I love the idea of just one per white bud vase. I think they’ll add fun pops of color to an otherwise largely neutral table without adding unnecessary height to talk over.

So, there you have it, friends! A plan for an easy (ish :) ), low-fuss, beautiful evening with friends.

Anything you would add? Any tips or tricks for streamlining the feeding of lots of folks? Hosted any dinner parties lately? I’m all ears!

P.S. You guys are being awfully shy about the M is for Mama print giveaway, so here’s the deal: you don’t have to do any social media shares to enter (although, if you’re willing, I won’t object). Just tell me your “M” word as a mama in the comments, and you’ll be entered to win a set of all 3 prints (TWO winners!). C’mon! You know you wanna! (I’ll announce a winner on Monday).

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A Baby Shower for Halleli

Things are hopping in the sister-in-law + babies category around these parts. My brother’s wife, Hannah, is expecting their first baby in two weeks, plus we just found out that my other sis-in-law, Steph, (married to Shaun’s brother, Kyle) is pregnant with their 4th.

I have to admit that it’s pretty exciting to get to be involved in all this new baby business without actually having to carry the new baby around in my own belly right this second. :)

Speaking of being involved, I promised to show you pictures from Hannah’s shower that we threw last weekend, so I’m delivering the goods today.

In case you missed the inspiration board, you can go back and check that out, but I want to just throw out a disclaimer and say that the end result was not as ethereal as I would have liked. I know, I KNOW. I should never begin a post with a disclaimer, but even though my mom and I did lots of prep before the party, and we had help from our other two hostesses as well, we still ended up doing a fair bit on the day of, mostly because I reeeeeeally wanted to have it outside but kept watching the weather since Saturday was (of course) the only day of the week with a chance of rain.

Once all the food was completely prepped and all the decor had been compiled, we started to set up outside (since the online forecast had dropped from a 30% to a 0% chance of rain), but pretty much the minute we set up the first table, the sky started spitting on us, so back into the house we went, and it was a mad rush from then until shower time to get everything ready.

All that to say that my inner perfectionist would have been happier if I’d had another hour to fuss with the placement of each decoration, but it’s probably a good thing I didn’t because the point of this party was not be Pinterest-worthy but instead to be a blessing to Hannah.

And she looked like this most of the time (at least the smiling part…she didn’t walk around sideways with her hands under her belly…that would have been awkward), so I’m guessing we accomplished our goal.

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Isn’t she just ridiculously tiny and adorable? Pfffttt. Darn cute pregnant ladies. (Every now and then, I stumble across a picture of me at 38 weeks pregnant with the twins, and I audibly gasp; that was one BIG belly).

AAAAAand now to the actual party pictures.

Mandy was nice enough to nab some decor shots for me as I was running around finishing up the last minute details, and I grabbed a few more toward the end, so between the two of us, we got some fun detail shots, but this was the main shot of the full table that I had.

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The attendees had already descended upon the food like a hoard of hungry locusts the proper ladies that they were, but as you can see, we had plenty left (my mom and I have a tendency to make enough food to feed small armies).

On the menu?

  • Chicken salad croissant sandwiches
  • Pimento cheese sandwiches on the yummiest nut bread ever (baked fresh and local)
  • A fruit tray (Sam’s always has the best produce)

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  • A veggie tray with a side of dip in one of my pretty PIP china bowls

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  • Mini cherry cheesecakes (I’ll share the recipe soon)

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  • Mini carrot cake cupcakes + a mini cake for Hannah to take home

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  • Salad with Craisins, almond slivers, and feta cheese

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  • Pink lemonade, which we served in my aqua mason jars with the adorable striped pink and white straws.

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  • Water with lemon and orange slices

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It was quintessential chick food, which was great, because it was a room full of chicks!

See?

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I included this next shot, not because of the decor but because if you look closely, you might spot white paint on the inside of my left arm (there was more on my leg, but my skirt covered it).

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That’s because I had spent the previous evening spray painting a mirror to turn into a chalkboard for my new little niece’s room.

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For the shower, I scrawled, “Praise the Lord for little girls” on it and hastily scratched some flowers in the corner right before the shower started, but I asked Hannah to choose a Bible verse that she loved, and I’m going to use it in conjunction with the baby’s name to make some chalkboard art for her nursery.

So…what is her name?

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It comes from the Hebrew word, “Hallel”(which is where we get “Hallelujah”), which means “praise.” It’s pronounced Hah-LEH-lee.

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We also used that pretty garland to do a playful little message on the food table.

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The flowers were another one of my favorite shower elements. I got them at Sam’s Club, and when I first got there,  I was disappointed that they didn’t have what I was looking for, but then I started eyeing the pink and white carnations and imagining them with sprigs of chartreuse green, which is exactly what we ended up with.

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I think we managed to make 6 or 7 small bouquets with $25 worth of flowers, which is pretty amazing.

Probably my very favorite decoration of all was this adorable diaper cake.

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It was made by Hannah’s other sister-in-law, Lia, and I thought she outdid herself matching the shower’s color scheme (which just so happened to closely mirror baby Halleli’s nursery, so the diaper cake should be able to serve as decoration there too).

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My mom put together a game in which you guessed the identity of common baby essentials inside favor bags just by feeling and shaking them, and here they are all laid out on the diaper cake table. It was a really fun way to give Hannah lots of practical necessities.

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Hannah got all kinds of other great loot too…

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…including the pack n’ play AND complete car seat and stroller system from her registry.

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{I’d forgotten how much first-time mama showers ROCK}

In case you’re wondering where my kids were, Daddy had the older three at Grandma’s while the twins trundled around begging food and generally being cute.

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This is Evy, and looking at this picture, I can’t believe a) how long her hair is (they both still refuse to keep clips in their hair) and how much red is in it.

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It makes me laugh because, even though their Aunt Hannah is only related by marriage, the twins’ hair color is almost identical to hers.

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Oh, and I couldn’t leave these out:

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Hannah’s aunt made them as party favors. The best I can tell, she made them out of Styrofoam cups. Aren’t they the cutest??

And here’s a group shot of all the hostesses with Hannah.

IMG_9798 {My mom, Beth, Me, Hannah, Holly, a friend from church, and Lia, another of Hannah’s sisters-in-law}

I can’t wait  for baby Halleli to come out! And I was so honored to get to do something to (hopefully) make Hannah feel special and loved during this special time in her life (first babies only come once!).

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P.S. If you want to see pics of other showers that I’ve helped host, you can check out Jolinda’s and Mandy’s baby boy showers as well.

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Try-it Tuesday: Bright Baby Boy Shower

Many moons ago (okay, so more like 2 1/2 months, but still), some friends of mine and I hosted a shower for Mandy’s then not-yet-born baby boy, Zane.

You know you’re behind on a post when you finally get around to blogging about a baby shower, and the baby in question has already been born, is a month old (Today! Happy 1st Month Birthday, Zane!), and is wearing 3T clothes (just a little joke; he was 10 lbs. when he was born, and he’s fast gaining on the twins). 

If you saw Mandy’s adorable nursery reveal last Friday, then you know that the inspiration for Zane’s nursery is an Alexander Henry fabric with lots of bright happy colors like red, yellow, blue, orange, and chocolate brown.

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(That Z is covered in the fabric I’m talking about, and I’m laughing so hard right now realizing we set it up backwards; face palm).

We took our cue from her nursery colors and incorporated lots of the same hues for the decorations. The party was at my house in “the big room” (yup, that’s actually what we call it) upstairs, where we also hosted Simon’s and Della’s Pirates and Princesses birthday party last year, and I was thrilled with how well the colors in the room lent themselves to the shower “theme” (there really wasn’t one; just general bright baby boy happiness).

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Here’s a shot of the spread on the main table.

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The chalkboard is actually a fun barn sale find from several years back that I painted (both the yellow and the chalkboard).  Then, our crazy-talented artist friend, Lindsay, did the chalk art. Free hand. Seriously. Isn’t she amazing?

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Speaking of artistic talents, Lindsay comes by them naturally. Her mom, Alison, does the most gorgeous floral arrangements, and she made two of these pretty bouquets at cost for us (she has such a generous heart).

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I stole the turquoise garland from the twins’ room and discovered the yellow one hiding away in a cabinet on the day of the party, which was such a fun little happenstance since it really added to the vivid color scheme.

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The food consisted of a mix of sweet and savory. I made carrot cake cupcakes from this sinfully delicious recipe. I also made a very ugly but very yummy version of this chicken cranberry croissant ring, and it was a huge hit!

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(that cute chalkboard name art is from Lindsay as well; I know, right?)

Mandy’s sister-in-law, Cayse, who is one of the sweetest souls I have ever had the privilege to know and who just moved away to Arkansas (booooo!), was able to be there for the party, and she made this adorable diaper cake.

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Of course, what’s a baby shower without games? And since I do gross way better than I do cutesy, we played the “What’s in the Diaper?” game, which produced many giggles and expressions like this one.

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(if that’s not the most realistic-looking fake “newborn poop” ever, I don’t know what is)

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Another lovely specimen.

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BRAVE WOMAN!

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Meanwhile, the twins happily played on the crumb-strewn floor and produced very real, very fragrant diaper contents for their mother to guess at later on.    

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Almost all the ladies, minus Sheila (and one other), who kindly snapped the pic.

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Oh, and one of me and the lady of honor (I don’t know how kosher it is to post pics of pregnant women after they’re no longer pregnant, but when you look this darn cute and tiny pregnant, I say it’s okay).

Whew! Glad I finally got all that off my chest. Plus, it was fun to look back at the pictures and reminisce about the fact that I have friends that are brave enough to taste-test the contents of a diaper that at the very least looks like it was recently attached to a real baby bottom. Everybody needs a few friends like that.

So, what about you guys? Do you stick to themes for parties or are coordinating colors good enough? OR are you just happy if the cheesy hamburger dip gets melted? (No judgment here; I once had guests helping me make the cupcakes for my own daughter’s first birthday party).

I’ve still got 18 days left to finalize plans for the twins’ party, so hopefully, there won’t be a cupcake (or lack thereof) catastrophe repeat, but I’m not gonna lie. I need to get moving.

Have a terrific Tuesday, y’all!

P.S. Anybody want to take a guess at what was in those two diapers in the pics?

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Feature Friday: Jolinda’s Baby Shower

If you’re looking for Feature Friday FREE-FOR-ALL, you can find it here!

Last Saturday, I got to help create a fun shower for my good friend, Jolinda (she’s from South Africa and has the coolest accent; in case you were wondering, her name is pronounced, “You-linda”).

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There were 10 hostesses…

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…and somehow, we managed to miraculously capture all of us (minus one who had leave early) with the timer-setting on my camera, and we’re all smiling and looking pretty (even though there were toddlers running with swords in the foreground of this shot, and I was convinced it wasn’t going to turn out).

I was working with the decorating team, which, as you know, made me very sad, considering just how much I despise anything to do with home décor and decorative accents.

Ahem.

Okay, so we all know I was over the moon—especially since Jolinda and I happen to share a love of all things blue-green, and this shower’s primary color was aqua (with orange and gray accents).

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Thankfully, everybody in the décor group was a DIY type (my favorite!), so nobody minded when none our “aquas” were exactly the same color since were creating an overall look rather than focusing on the need to buy/order things so they would be perfectly color-coordinated.

In fact, minus maybe the napkins, every single other item was either made or nabbed from somebody or other’s stash, which made for a very fun, very eclectic, and very wallet-friendly end product.

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The food team really outdid themselves as well (I am determined to track down the recipe for that delicious frittata in the pic above), which made it pretty much impossible to pick just a few things.

I started out with a reasonable plate, but I think I went back and got at least one of everything before it was all said and done.

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Other than the color scheme, there wasn’t a specific theme, which was good because, even though Jolinda’s having a boy, it was a pretty darn girly-looking shower. The invitations did have a bowtie on them, though, so I made this little miniature cake with a bowtie on top.

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It took some sweet-talking (and lots of frosting) to convince the little guy to stay in one piece, but ultimately, he kept it together, and did a good job of looking cute, which was his primary purpose.

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Of course, he had some help in the cuteness department from that adorable cake stand. Seriously? It almost “accidentally” ended up in my pile to take to the van at the end of the day.

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One of my favorite touches were these monogrammed petite fours from a local bakery, which added the perfect chic touch to all our homemade creations.

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Another favorite was definitely the flowers that a super-talented friend of Jolinda’s did practically at cost for us.

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She managed to work in all our colors (orange roses, plus little gray puffy things that I don’t know the name of because I’m plant-ignorant, and white accents, all displayed in aqua mason jars)…

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…and the effect was just gorgeous.

Here are several more shots of the colorful details and accents that helped tie everything together:

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Aqua tea light holders across the mantel.

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Pretty gray and white paper straws.

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Polka dot gray and white ribbon for the drink dispensers.

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This pretty tea service was another item that almost ended up home with me regardless of its rightful owner (apparently, I have klepto tendencies when I’m around pretty stuff).

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We used this turquoise bassinet to corral all the gift bags.

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Ashlee, one of the sweet hostesses (whom you can see diligently making out the gift list above), made this fantastic diaper cake. Isn’t it the cutest??

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And we also set up a station for the guests to write notes to baby and to address Jolinda’s thank you notes envelopes.

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I had the twins with me, but since I was occupied taking pictures for a good bit of the time..

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“Hey there!” 

…the girls got to hang out with a lot of other nice ladies, which, considering the shower demographic of 100% female, weren’t too hard to come by.

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(Remember those pom-poms from the table at our 2-for-1 birthday party? I just strung them together with white ribbon, and—voila—a garland was born!).

Thanks to the hard work of some really talented ladies, the shower was a complete success and a lot of fun to boot!

Of course, everything was made instantly better by the fact that we got to have it in the uber-stylish home of this lovely lady:

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Meet Sheila!

I tried to get a better picture of her, but she was in constant movement—scrubbing dishes, gathering up the giftwrap, refilling drinks.

She was a hostessing whirlwind, I tell you!

And?

You will get to see more of her lovely (DIY-friendly!) home on Monday when I share the rest of the pics that I sneaked in among the shower shots.

Until then, enjoy your weekend, and try to remember, amidst the bustle and the stress of gift-buying, final exams, and holiday parties, that Jesus is the real reason for the season!

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