Friday, March 28, 2014

Free Printable: Simplicity

Simplicity.  Nowadays, it's not so simple--don't you think?  You need to actually work hard to find it. Apparently it was something to strive for in da Vinci's day as well: 

Simplicity Printable photo Simplicity-Web_zpsb2103ac6.jpg

Amen, Mr. da Vinci.  This is one of Lauren's favorite quotes, and she asked if I'd design something to hang on her wall--voila! She was even nice enough to let me put it up here so YOU can print it up if you'd like!  

Click on the image or HERE to download an 8x10 printable.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014


My daughter has had her heart set on a Frozen party ever since we saw the movie back in November, so even though the whole world would probably like to "Let it Go" at this point, we brought in our own personal flurry and created something truly magical for her birthday!

Now before we jump into a major photo overload- I have to say that this party would not have been possible without the massive amounts of help I received from my mother in law, Vicki, and my sister in law Kyrell. Kyrell threw a beautiful Frozen party for her daughter Sahara a few weeks ago and was gracious enough to let me re-use a lot of her decorations. Vicki pulled things out of her "Mary Poppins bag" (aka- her fabulous stash of beautiful things that she uses for her wedding business), helped me set things up the night before, and even let me use her house for the party. Family! What would I do without them?!

Let the fun begin! 

 I love how excited she is! When she walked in the room she gasped and whispered "Mom! Oh my goodness... it's so beautiful I think I'm going to cry!" her reaction alone was totally worth the effort. She's been counting down the days for a month now, and when the big day finally arrived she was positively giddy with excitement! 

The food for this party was so fun to put together!
The party took place after school on Friday so I wanted to have a few healthy options like string cheese-snowmen, yogurt parfaits, pretzel sticks (snowmen arms) and strawberries (dipped in white chocolate- aka- Frozen Hearts) ...  but of course we had to have a few kid favorites too!
We had glittery marshmallow pops, Kristoff's jello ice blocks, blue hershey's kisses, edible icicles (chocolate dipped pretzel rods)...
Snowballs (Coconut cake balls), an ice cream bar with pretty blue and white toppings to choose from, and beautiful blue gum-balls that were leftover from Kyrell's party. (Thanks girl!) 
Oh yes! More healthy food! Haha, THIS is why we take pictures- I had already forgotten all about the "bonus food table" we had to put up because I couldn't get all the food to fit on one table. 
Too much food?
 Psshh! No such thing! 
On our little extra food table we had Olaf noses (baby carrots), and frozen grapes- which are one of my daughter's favorite snacks. And of course we needed some water to wash it all down. 
I love the labels on the water bottles. :)

Check out that glitzy number 5! 
Goodness... FIVE?! Is my baby really FIVE YEARS OLD? When did that happen? 
Let's not talk about it.
In the living room we had set up a little activity station where we played games and built donut snowmen... you know... because we hadn't had enough sugar. 

This cake was so much fun to make. I just made a lollipop recipe I found online, and poured the whole batch into a greased cookie sheet. After it cooled down I cracked it into pieces and we placed it around the cake. Super cool!
For Christmas my girls received some Frozen toys from their grandparents, which was like 3 months ago. Since then they have been WELL loved. The night before her party Livy snuck the little Elsa doll into bed with her and rolled over her at some point during the night... breaking her left arm off. She also broke Anna's feet off at one point, and one of our little Olaf dolls is missing his hair and both of his arms. It's like a Frozen massacre! 
Just don't look too closely. :)

 When the guests first arrived we passed out princess crowns for the girls, and Sven antlers for the boys. Then we sat down to eat.
 Let the games begin! We played pin the nose on Olaf- which was a hoot!
 Had a "snowball" fight with cotton balls and built our donut snowmen...
And then we did a fun relay game that- in retrospect- most of the kids were too young to understand. The older kids thought it was great though! They were divided into teams and had to wrap their teammate up like a snowman using a roll of toilet paper, then wrap a scarf around their neck, and walk across the room without ripping the toilet paper... yeaaahhhh it was kind of advanced for our littlest party guests, who ended up creating a toilet paper snowstorm, which was fine by me!

 I just love parties! I love them just as much now as I did when I was little- maybe even more! Maybe I have a little bit of Peter Pan running through my veins because I never ever ever want to grow up. At least not completely. :) 

Thanks for inspiring me to keep the magic alive!
 Love you Birthday Girl!

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Awww, SNAP.

My husband made these.
To be fair, I helped dip them in the sugar.
I've got mad skillz.

One day he decided he reeeeeallly wanted ginger snaps, and he got to work. 
Now he's perfected his recipe and his method. 
I request them all the time, and we have been known to "pay" my parents for watching our kiddos with these.

People--these are AMAZING.
No joke. 
I could eat them ALL. DAY. LONG.

And I have.
Today, in fact.
I'll lose that baby weight another day.


1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup molasses
1 large egg

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp salt

Granulated Sugar


1. Heat oven to 375.

2. Beat brown sugar, shortening, molasses, and egg in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.

3. Lightly grease cookie sheet with shortening.

4. Shape dough into balls--about 1 inch in diameter. Dip tops into granulated sugar. Place balls, sugared sides up, about 3 inches apart on cookie sheet.

5. Bake 9 to 12 minutes or just until set. Immediately remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 
Note: If you eat them warm, they will seem slightly undercooked in the middle. But as they cool, you get that wonderful dense and chewy middle, with a firm, not-quite-crunchy outside. And they are even better the next day.


Makes about 2 dozen.

What are you waiting for!?

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Thursday, March 6, 2014

Rainbow Apple Snacks

Looking for something easy and yummy to bait your leprechaun traps this year?  Or maybe you have some ravenous lasses and/or laddies looking for something to devour.

Or perhaps, like me, you got your hands on a whole box of inexpensive apples, wanted to use them, and aren't good at pies. 

So we pulled out our nifty peeler-corer and all took turns slicing up apples.  We left the peels on, because these snacks need all the nutrition they can get!  It was very exciting, this apple slicing business.  If you have never eaten apples sliced that thin and curly, my friends, you need to try them.  It ups the deliciousness factor.  We ate half of what we sliced before we ever dried them!  But I'm pretty sure that 6 really tiny apples will fill up one tray.  Maybe 4 small apples from the grocery store.

 Next, some simple Jell-O will transform your apples into a rainbow! It doesn't take much--just sprinkle it on as much or little as you'd like.  If desired, you can just start chowing down now.  They are super yummy as is.

Or you can toss them in the oven heated to 170 degrees for 8.5 hours and have colorful, flavored apple chips.  This picture almost didn't make it to you, folks, because these apples were devoured in about 5 minutes.

Then we made more, but all blue (we do a lot of blue around here), and baked for 7 hours.  I like my apple chips a bit chewy.  They also turned out delicious.  Mmmmm.  And Jell-O isn't that bad for you, right?  I consider these quite healthy.

I think we need a dehydrator, because these suckers are going to become regulars!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Rock-A-Bye Baby Show

I've been dreaming up this shower in my head for years (Is that normal? To dream about parties? No?)  I have always wanted to throw a rock 'n' roll themed shower and had been searching for just the right mama to-be that would truly appreciate it's awesomeness. So when I found out my BFF is expecting a baby boy I just about hit the roof! She's never been a fan of "cutesy" stuff, and her husband is a guitarist- Tada! It was a match made in heaven! 

Now please pretend like these pictures were taken in beautiful warm sunlight. :) Apparently the weather has no respect for my party expectations. Rain rain go away... but until then, LET'S ROCK! 
There are so many details I love about this shower. 
Like the "clever" signs I made for the food table. I crack myself up sometimes.
I also love these fabulous records we snagged at the local thrift store for $.50 a piece. 
I'm so happy with the way these cookies turned out, especially since everything that could have possibly gone wrong in baking them went wrong... but let's not think about that. Let's just take a minute to adore the fabulous houndstooth sugar sheets I found at Walmart. They added the perfect little bit of pizazz! (And incase you're curious, one sheet made about 7 cookies.) 
 The rest of the decor included some tissue pom poms, cute framed maternity pictures, a slide show set to fabulous music, and some fabulous rock 'n' roll onesies.  
 All in all, it was such a fun evening and I am so excited to meet this little Rock Star! 

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