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A Last-Minute Bob & Larry Birthday!

This past week, my little Henry turned 3 – I can’t really believe it! And as is custom here on the blog, I like to share the details of his birthday celebration. If you’ve been coming around here for a while, then you might notice that compared to years past, this celebration was very low-key. It was so low-key in fact, that it all came together (mostly) on the same day! Although this party wasn’t full of my usual party antics (i.e., weeks of preparation, lots of DIY, and lots of fuss!), it wasn’t short on fun or laughter; and at the end of the day, the Birthday Boy had a great party. Let me show you what we did this year!

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By request from the 3-year-old himself, our party theme was VeggieTales (even though small and informal, I always have to have some sort of theme 😉 With all that’s been going in our family this year, I just wasn’t up for the work involved with a big party; however, I still wanted the little man to have a birthday celebration. The original concept, per the invite, was to have cupcakes and playtime at a park near my Dad’s house, to celebrate with some local friends and family. Easy, little prep, little clean up, and hassle free but high on fun!

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I was pretty excited about our low-key park birthday party until I heard the weather forecast: freezing rain, sleet, wind and SNOW! Not a good day for the park at all. Here’s a snapshot out the window the morning of party day!

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Uh oh! Instead of a hassle-free and clean-up-free party at the park, we had to execute our back-up plan: a party at my Dad’s house. Not sure why, but the idea of having a small gathering of people over to my Dad’s house for cake and playtime seemed a lot more formal than just meeting at the park. Suddenly, I felt like I needed to have a little more to offer (especially since people were going to trek out in the bad weather for it!). Thankfully, our group was small with just a few toddlers in tow, but I still wanted to have some party-like things to offer our guests. So the morning of, my sister and I headed out to the grocery store; and in a single trip, we brought home just enough to pull off a great afternoon party!

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In a single trip and for about $50, here’s what we bought:

  • Makings for goodie bags: squeeze fruit, fruit chews, and lollipops
  • Makings for Bob and Larry cupcakes: twinkies, chocolate cake mix, red icing, green icing, black icing, cupcake liners, and lifesavers
  • Snacks: cucumbers, tomatoes, veggie dip, chips and salsa
  • In-a-pinch entertainment: marshmallows and pretzel sticks to make “creations”

Now, before I go any further, I want to set the stage a bit. Some of my siblings and I were visiting my Dad for the weekend to help de-clutter the house to eventually allow him to downsize. In the midst of running loads to the local dump, running loads to GoodWill, having people come over to assess and purchase items, and the bad weather, we managed to squeeze in this party prep. It was a busy busy day, but amidst the craziness, I was determined to make Henry some Bobs and Larrys for his birthday!

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The Larry cakes were made with the green frosting and twinkies, lifesavers for the eyes and black frosting for the eye balls and mouths. While they turned out super cute, I wish I had taken a minute to look again at a picture of Larry the Cucumber (instead of just the one in my mind), as I forgot the noses! Shucks! Henry and all our guests were still able to identify these cute little guys, but if I were to make them again, I would add m&ms for noses and do the mouths in white!

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The chocolate cake mix was made into cupcakes, which were then frosted with the red frosting and given the same mouth and eye treatment as Larry. I also added a bit of the green frosting for the leaves on top of Bob’s head. These also turned out cute, but those noses and white mouths would have helped these look more like Bob and less like happy apples 😉 Admittedly, that’s my crazy party planner talking, all of our guests were thrilled with the Bob and Larry treats just as they were!

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Setting up for the party took no time at all thanks to some really simple off-the-shelf snacks. In addition to the Bob and Larry cakes, we put out cucumber slices and small tomatoes with veggie dip (in keeping with the theme!) and some chips and salsa. All of these things took little-to-no prep and provided just enough for an afternoon snack!

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As for the party decor, we raided my Mother’s incredible “stash” of party supplies, which included an abundant supply of red and green party products. Red and green table cloths, paired with red cups and plates pulled the whole party together!

Oh – and let me show you one of my favorite “finds” of our last-minute grocery shopping trip: VeggieTales fruit snacks! Who knew?!? I was so excited to find these little treats right on theme at our local grocery store. Combined in little red bags (also from my Mom’s stash) with squeeze fruits and red lollipops, our goodie bags turned out simple, sweet, and coordinated with everything else! These little fruit snacks totally made my day…it’s the little things, people 😉

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Although it was a miserable day outside, we had a lovely group of friends and family come by to chat, play and sing Happy Birthday to Henry. Even though this party had significantly less “fuss,” we still had a great time!

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Once home from our travels, I made some simple Bob the Tomato thank-you cards to send to our guests.

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To make these cute little notes, I found and printed out Bob’s face onto glossy photo paper and cut them out with scissors. Then, I cut out white ovals (roughly the same size as Bob’s face) and small green flowers using my Cricut. To assemble the cards, I folded the green flowers in half and used glue to attach each side of the flower to the white oval and Bob’s face to create a card.

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I absolutely love throwing big themed parties. I honestly loved every minute of all the thought and prep that went into Henry’s First and Second birthday parties. However, this was a great experience for me to see that even with limited funds and limited prep time, you can still pull off a fun, festive and well-executed gathering! Because, honestly, no matter how many decorations or party favors or themed foods you have, it’s the friends and family gathered around the Birthday Boy that make it special and memorable!

It wouldn’t be a birthday party post around here if I didn’t close out with a look back at my little Henry and revel in how much he’s changed and all that he’s become. Here’s he and I three years ago and now. He’s always been such a handsome little dude!

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Before my very eyes, Henry has shed his “baby-ness” and is now ALL little boy. While 3 has already proved challenging (and he’s only been 3 for a few days!), he is also turning into one of the sweetest, good-natured, silly, and kind-hearted kids I’ve ever know. Gosh – I’m just so proud he’s mine 🙂

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Speaking of my big boy, I’ve been hard at work on his room makeover. I’ll have an update here for you on Wednesday! See you then!


“On the Go” Second Birthday Party!

This past week, my Henry turned the big TWO! We threw an “On the Go”-themed birthday on Saturday to celebrate the occasion. It was such a great day, attended by lots of friends and family!

I tend to really get into party planning, and this venture was no different. The “On the Go” theme was lots of fun once I got moving (ha!), and ideas really started to fly. In the end, I was really just restricted by time (which was probably a good thing!). This party was so much fun to pull together; we had a gorgeous day to celebrate, and I am pretty sure the birthday boy and all of our guests had a great time!

I know I should space out all these photos over several posts, but I can’t help showing you everything today! Like last year (with the Monster Birthday Party), I’ll go back and give some details about different aspects of the party…but today, you are just going to get lots and lots and lots of photos (that’s your fair warning ;).

Okay, here we gooooooooo!!!


 I’ll go into more detail later this week, but the theme was all things “on the go,” and the color scheme was blue, green, orange and black. The color scheme actually came together “accidentally,” but in the end I was really digging the combo!

 A bunch of paper circles provided a striking backdrop to our table!


A few shots before all the food was put out…

Yes, I used mini cones as vases for some flower arrangements!

I even got to re-use the “Happy Birthday” banner from last year.

A few “stoplights” adorned the garden beds!

A quick snapshot of the porch as we were putting things out!

I really, really wanted to keep the food simple. It was a 3:30PM party, and I knew guests wouldn’t want to fill up too much between lunch and dinner. Light snacks coupled with some fun sweet treats were just the ticket!

No big cake this year, just cupcakes – perfect for toddler hands!

Toddler staples: gold fish and animal crackers.

We did have some veggie sticks and fruit to keep things a bit healthy! Everything was finger foods though, so no utensils required!

Two of my favorites of the day: the stoplight sugar cookies and green cake pops!

Fruit kabobs and pita chips with dip rounded out our offerings!

Am I the only one who gets all giddy at the site of a pretty party table??

We had just the right amount of food – almost everything was gone by the end of the afternoon!

Oh, and beer, lemonade and water were provided at the “Fuel Station”!

On another long table, we had room for gifts and favors!

I didn’t have time to make favors this year, but found these adorable wooden cars on Etsy. Each child got to pick a car to play with at the party and take home with them!

Other favors included candy pouches and curly straws. Each child had a bag with their initial on it to fill with goodies!

The candy pouches were for adults and kids alike and were filled with M&Ms.

We had a lot of fun activities out to keep the little ones busy! A wooden race track (for those wooden cars), which I painted and Greg made (more on this project later this week), and the ball pit were huge hits!

Bubbles were the other big hit of the day!

We also pulled out the chalk…

…and other outdoor toys to keep the little ones busy!

For the adults, we had Corn Hole…

…and a lounging area to sit and snack and chat!

Oh, and would you like to see some snapshots of my big boy? He had such a great day playing with his friends and sampling all the treats!

Mom and Dad had a good day with their friends too!

It’s such fun to watch Henry turn into a little boy who can run and jump and talk and laugh and play! He’s such a great kid with such a happy personality. As I said last year, it’s amazing what a difference a year can make…

Phew! I was exhausted on Saturday after the party, and I’m exhausted from re-living it through all these photos! Nonetheless, it was such a great day, and I hope you enjoyed seeing all of it here! I will be back later this week and next with details about everything (well, most everything!) you see here!


2012 In Review!

Happy New Year’s Eve Friends! Sorry I kind of disappeared on you last week. We were busily preparing for Christmas morning, and then have been enjoying some downtime ever since. The good news is that Mrs. Clause got all of her Christmas projects made, done and under the tree in time; AND we had an amazing Christmas. The bad news is that she is pooped and needs some time away from the sewing machine and garage workshop! I did want to pop on today, however, to look back at our year of crafting and DIY projects!! When I went to compile the pictures from this last year, I was AMAZED at how much I was able to squeeze into the year.

Are you ready for a walk down memory lane? Hold on to your seats…here we go!

In January, I started the year off nice and easy with a flannel quilt for my friend’s new baby and a busy box for Henry. I then did a mini master bedroom makeover, taking it from pink, orange and brown to tans and blacks.

In February, I revealed our Valentine’s Day mantel (one my favorite projects of the year) and designed and implemented our new meal planning system with my Magnetic Menu Board – this project has taken off more than I ever dreamed it would have (you find all the details in Part I and Part II)! I then showed you how I made some simple artwork for my walls as well as my son’s owl-themed nursery. I also made a personalized coloring tote as a gift for a little girl! And lastly, I shared my tips on what to make (and what not to make) for new babies and took on a new design project in my niece’s bedroom!

In March, I made some very simple thank-you gifts, showed you my Craft Room, shared all the details of Henry’s Owl-Themed Baby Shower, created a new way to store ribbon, re-painted an old coat rack for storage in the  baby’s room, and helped clean out and instal new furniture in my niece’s bedroom!

April was all about monsters – making lots and lots of monsters in preparation for my son’s Monster of  a First Birthday Party. You can see all my monster-related posts HERE!

In May, we started to wind things down in Virginia in preparation for our next move. I gave you a home tour of the rest of our house before it got packed up (The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly), I showed you how to pull together a dinner party in 24 hours, and then made some cute gifts: a DIY Toddler Toy Box (Part I and Part II), a Coloring Apron, and a Spring Planter. In May, I also started contributing to Positively Splendid with this 3D Paper Flower tutorial!

In June, we were stuck living in a hotel waiting for our house to become available. During that time, I revealed every nook and cranny of my niece’s pink and orange bedroom makeover. You can see all the posts HERE! I also found a new way to store all of our electronic cords (in an ornament box!) and created another really popular project: The DIY Drink Holder (from an old can!).

In July, we moved into our new house in North Carolina and set straight to work making it our home. We started with painting our entire house in 4 days, after which we revealed our really ambitious paint job here on the blog. The blog also got an overhaul to match our new house, and I shared my tips for doing your own blog design. Lastly, I created these no-slip headbands to help keep my frizzy hair off my face during the hot summer days!

August was a big month around here with unpacking, organizing and decorating in full gear. We installed cabinets and a counter into our spare bedroom to become my craft room, and I shared exactly how I organized the space here. I turned my son’s old crib bumpers into window valences for his new room, with the help from my mom during her visit. While she was here, we also made some bold window cornices and chair slipcovers for our dining room. The dining room got a few other additions with some new cloth napkins, a hanging lantern planter, and some artwork on the walls. I also (somehow) squeezed in time to paint our garden bench a fire engine red and “tile” our backsplash with a vinyl decal pattern! I also made this cute reversible bag for a new friend’s birthday.

The playroom got most of the attention in September. I painted a small table and chairs I found at the ReStore in red and chalkboard black. I then created a Magnetic Learning Station from a lot of supplies found at the hardware store. I then made a bunch of luggage tag labels to organize all of our toy baskets, and created some simple star printable artwork to complete the display. I also created the Purse Portfolio to help me keep all my decorating samples and specs straight, and finished out the month creating our new end tables!

October was another really, really busy month around here. The big reveal was our Family Command Center – the new heartbeat of our home. You can read all the posts for this big project HERE. The other big undertaking was that we (finally) landscaped our front yard and then got it ready for fall the very next week! I also made a color-block sandbox from a bookcase as part of the DIY Wayfair Challenge. Inside, we re-finished a china cabinet hutch to become a bookcase and then salvaged an old window to become an oversized mirror. These two pieces completed our entryway and our holiday display area. It got a funky display for fall this year. Last but not least, I made some Mickey Mouse shirts for a birthday gift and made a family of Super Hero costumes for Halloween!

In November, our family room got some much needed attention. With the arrival of our new couch, we were able to finally put the finishing touches on some projects for this space, namely the new Media Stand (from the china hutch base) and a new DIY ottoman. I also made some very cute Thanksgiving jars for our holiday table centerpieces.

December was all about the holidays and giving you all a “virtual” Holiday Home Tour. I started in the family room with simple and cozy silver and grey touches, then showed you our festive red entryway/mantel. Our bathroom was turned into a mini North Pole, while outside was given splashes of red to make it look festive! Our dining room and kitchen were done in teal and green tones, while the baby’s room and other nooks of the house didn’t escape my holiday touch! In addition to showing you our house, I also showed you a really neat DIY USA Wall Art gift idea, and showed you the Cookie and Craft Night I hosted with my girlfriend!

PHEW!!!!!! What a year. I’m not sure what took more time: all those projects or writing that post! 😉 And believe it or not, there are some things that got done around here that I haven’t yet had the chance to show you…like the Laundry Room and the Baby’s Room (both of which are all done and I’ll be showing you in the New Year!).

Thank you to each and every one of you who come around here regularly or even just every so often, who leave lovely comments, “pin” or “like” my projects, and/or reach out to me via email or Facebook! This blog has brought me so much joy and satisfaction over the last year, and I look forward to bigger and better things in 2013! Thank you for making me part of your week and part of your life – Happy New Year!


Holiday Home Tour – Green & Teal Dining Room

I’m busily prepping a bunch of Christmas gifts, but wanted to continue with our “virtual” Holiday Home Tour as promised! Today’s stop…in the dining room!

In this room, I did a bunch of staging and crafts to bring the holiday spirit to life! Some nooks were quick and simple to pull together with some live elements, balls, and baskets…while other crannies of the room got some easy but oh-so-festive new additions…

 A small live tree (I love these table top furs) was given some white lights and then set inside a blue and white bucket (leftover from the Monster birthday party!). The base of the bucket is filled with white and mirrored snowballs (also from my holiday stash). This little tree brought much needed flare to an otherwise boring corner!


On the table, I opted to keep it simple. I stretched a white and silver obi (purchased while we were in Okinawa) down the table to act as a runner. I then filled a large cylinder vase with epsom salt (to look like snow) and then filled the vase with teal, green, and silver bobs and bobbles. A simple ribbon and felt snowflake adorn the jar.

 I am such a sucker for these things at the craft store. I found lumping them all together made the best effect!

The real crafting and projects for this space were done to fill the bookcases! I hadn’t actually gotten around to styling these for our everyday decor, so I essentially had a blank slate to fill with holiday goodies!

Let’s peek at the left side first!

My favorite elements of this space are the big glass jar filled with white, silver, teal and green ornaments and the mini cake plate with the oversized green disco ball ornament! I find decorating with balls keeps things simple and clean yet perfectly festive. The other candy jar is just filled with some coordinating scrapbook paper.

I found these white tins in my stash (kind of forget that I had them ;). The other sides of them say COFFEE and TEA. I just turned them around and added some vinyl letters to say NAUGHTY and NICE!

When I style bookcases, I like some shelves to be arranged and hodge-podged, but I like others to have some symmetry. A row of mason jars helped things from looking too cluttered. Medallions made with a combination of paper and fabric cheer it up a bit.

On the right side of the shelf, I made another festive vignette…

I simply placed some fabric in a frame and cut the santa/sleigh silhouette from white vinyl (it’s attached to the glass, not the fabric). The hardest part of this 10-minute project was picking out which image would go in the frame! I love that this could now be swapped out as seasons and holidays come and go!

On the same shelf, I added a few more cone trees (wrapped in Michael Miller fabrics) and a star burst ornament on a pedestal.

On the top shelf, I added some large snowflake votives (again, bringing in a dose of symmetry), and then filled another square vessel with ornaments. A family photo completes the display!

This room was a lot of fun to pull together, as it was the center of most of my holiday crafting. I feel like I struck a nice balance of festive holiday decor without too much fuss – just a bit of glam for our dining room this year.

I have one more “virtual” Holiday Home Tour post for you – all the other corners of the house I haven’t shown you yet but don’t really deserve their own post 😉 On Friday (I hope…depends of Mrs. Clause gets all her present projects done!!), I will show you the last few Christmas corners in our house!


Holiday Cookie and Craft Night

It’s Monday and one week until Christmas Eve! I have lots to get done before the big day, but wanted to pop on today to show you some photos of a Cookie and Craft Night I shared with some friends last week!

If you’re keeping track…yes, this made for two parties in our house within 5 days of each other (first the Holiday Home Tour, and then this party!). But compared to the home tour, this party was a low-key, fun-filled evening with some friends and simple crafts. I made some simple decor for this party and arranged the craft projects, while my friend took care of all the baking and beverages! I tell you what – sharing the hosting duties is the way to go this time of year.

I’m going to show you every last detail of this party, from the decor to the food to the craft project, right after the jump!


Pulling the decor together for this party was really fun and really simple. I didn’t buy a thing and just turned to all the supplies I had in my stash! The inspiration for the decor scheme was this Funky Christmas Trees fabric by Michael Miller:

I didn’t get to use a lot of my pink and red decor around the house this year, so I was excited to pull it out, even just for one night! The first thing I did was make a very simple pennant banner using red, pink, and green holiday papers hot glued to a hot pink ribbon. I hung the pennant banners on some hot pink fabric I already had (by the way, I find having a “backdrop” really gives your holiday table a cohesive look!)

I didn’t want to make standard flower arrangements, so I filled some green tins (I had left over from the Monster Birthday Party) with some branches from outside, sparkly “doodads” and some pink and purple ornaments. I placed one on each side of the table.

I then used the Winter Wonderland cricut cartridge and some plain card stock to make some simple standing trees. These took just a few minutes to crank out and added the right touch of whimsey to the table!

I had a bunch of trees on both sides of the table, all trees were at varying heights!

It’s amazing sometimes how party details can come together. I found these hot pink tree plates at Marshalls the morning of the party, and the napkins were also leftover from the Monster Birthday Party!

All of the decorations and food were placed atop an old window valence (the white cloth with green trim) and then a stretch of the Funky Christmas tree fabric…

Although I didn’t have a lot of the fabric, the pattern on the table brought all the decor elements together!

We chose not to make party favors for the event; instead, we provided goodie bags for everyone to fill with all the leftover treats! These were simple white lunch bags adorned with tags made with the Very Merry Tags cricut cartridge.

Now, let’s talk about the food!

My co-host is a desserts pro, and boy, did she deliver! I don’t have recipes or details for you, but lots of pretty pictures of these scrumptious treats! She made Red Velvet Trifles…

Peanut butter fudge…

Adorable red and green pinwheel sugar cookies – YUM!

And my favorite: Mint Chocolate Truffle Cookies!

To cut the sweetness a bit, she also made two versions of Deviled Eggs!

I made all the food labels using MDS

I just printed out all these labels and glued them to card stock “tents.” We also had a drink bar that served coffee, fruit-flavored water, and Christmas punch. Didn’t get a snapshot of it…shucks!

While we all munched on cookies and drank coffee, we did some simple crafts…

We made small yard wreaths…this was the sample I made to show the ladies what we were making.

I had all the supplies bought, cut, and ready!

Each person started with a wreath form (from the Dollar Store) and some ribbon and pins at their place.

I then had baskets filled with cozy and sparkly goodies that our guests could choose from. With the wreath forms from the Dollar Store, and all these items often on sale this time of year, this craft project is really affordable to provide for a “crowd.”

By the end of the night, everyone had an adorable wreath to take home (along with their bag full of cookies!)

All in all, the party was a great success. Really, though, what could be better than a night filled with cookies, craft projects, and good friends?

I know I promised more pictures from our Holiday Home! The tour will resume on Wednesday with a look at our Dining Room and Kitchen decor!