Coming to America - Welcome Basket

Friday, August 29, 2014

Lisa McDowell:  So why did you come here?
Prince Akeem:  To find something special.
Lisa McDowell:  It's a long way to travel.
Prince Akeem:  No journey is too great when one finds what he seeks.

I couldn't resist using Coming to America in this post. I'm a lover of 80s flicks and this one was classic! When I learned we would have family traveling from Rome staying with us...I instantly wanted to put together a fun basket full of goodies.

After getting married our relatives traveled to California for their honeymoon. They were doing a road trip starting in Southern California ending in Northern California. My idea was to give them some snacks and goodies to use on the road. This is all fun stuff that they might not otherwise try or have in Italy. Mainly consisting of quintessential American junk food.

The contents:
Cooler, Twinkies, Girl Scout Bars (cookies are out of season and these are the next best thing), gum, suntan lotion, Map of the United States, hand sanitizers, wet wipes, Boom Chicka Pop Kettle Corn, champagne, Pringles, iced coffee (yes, Starbucks is everywhere, but not all have iced drinks), gold fish, trashy magazine (bonus that Kim Kardashian is on the cover.)

I also included this hand lettered quote. I thought it was great for two people in love and traveling. Download a copy for free here.

30 Day Challenge - Results

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If you follow me on Instagram then you know I didn't make it to 30 days. What went wrong? Life got the best of me. I could list a bunch of excuses, but that's the bottom line. Sometimes things are out of our control and you just have to except it and move along!

What went right? I worked out 21 days in a row for 30 minutes! That certainly is something to celebrate in my book. It is disappointing not to meet my goal, but I have plans in the works to get back on track. Stay tuned. For now, I complied my #30minuteexercise photos into one image to stand as a visual record of my progress.


Sawyer's First Birthday Party!

Friday, August 15, 2014

I am so excited to share some photos from Sawyer's first birthday party. I started thinking about party themes when he was 4 months old. On my Pinterest account I created a first birthday board, cataloging all of my ideas and themes. Anytime I saw something I loved I would pin it here. I went from pancakes & pajamas to monsters, but finally settled on woodland animals. I saw this theme featured on Schoolgirl Style and fell in love. The cute animals, decor details, and staging of this printable set really sold me. I'm so happy with how everything turned out and feel so lucky to have shared such a special day with all of our family and friends. Sawyer is one lucky boy to be surrounded with so much love.

I enjoy creating different areas at a party for guests to explore. I thought it would be fun to have a photo booth, but wanted to do something a little different. My hip spin on the idea was to setup a Selfie Station. Guests could grab a animal mask and take a photo of themselves in front of Sawyer's first birthday sign. They could hashtag the image and post it to share. In my mind this was the best idea ever! It was fun, but it was not as big of a hit as I thought it would be. I felt like Marty McFly in Back to the Future after playing Johnnie B. Good. "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet... But your kids are gonna love it."

Selfie station details.

I rented a covered area with picnic tables at a park. I added woodland animal pennants, cut-outs, and paper lanterns to decorate the area.

Side note...I love that my girlfriend is taking a selfie in the background.

Woodland animals hung from paper lanterns above picnic tables.

I'm in love with these blue mason jars I scored at target. I used three jars per table with a few white flowers. I also filled two chicken wire racks with chips and placed them on the tables for snacking.

Figuring out food at a party can be overwhelming. I always like a good theme, but from there I try to keep it simple. I decided it would be easy fun to have a sandwich bar. I filled trays with meat, cheese, and veggies. I rounded out the meal with three salads: green, potato, and Fleetwood Macaroni Salad.

The table was covered in a burlap tablecloth and pine cone pennants. I used all of the wood accent pieces I could find around my house to go along with the theme. A picnic basket for rolls, old soda crates and a tree stump to create height.

Build your own sandwich bar sign.

It's all about the details for me! This framed print is also part of the Woodland Animals Collection.

I had a separate table for drinks and dessert.

 What first birthday is complete without a signature drink? Yes, I said first birthday not wedding. I was thinking of having a lemonade stand, but settled on Watermelon Fresca for a bit of a twist on the norm. I juiced two watermelons, added some fresh mint, and lime. It's a refreshing way to enjoy a summer's day. I placed the drink in a large Mason jar drink dispenser (sadly not pictured) and built a mini drink stand complete with paper straws to sip in style.

Guests got their sugar fix with bundtinis from Nothing Bundt Cakes. These are my absolute favorite and they won't break your budget.

The CAKE...OMG the smash cake debacle!!! Being the planner I am...I tried ordering the cake weeks in advance. There was a mix up with pricing and my mushroom smash cake went from $20 to $100! I was floored. This cake is for a one year old who is going to smash into it pieces!? I could not spend that kind of money! SO, I made my own. Never making a layered cake...let alone one in the shape of a mushroom seemed like a daunting task. Well, I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself and it may just become a new birthday tradition!

I removed the red mushroom cap...a last minute judgment call. I had visions of my sweet baby with red stained skin...looking like a bloody mess! It took Sawyer a hot minute to fully understand the sugary goodness that stood before him. Once he did he really went for it. As you can tell in the last photo he was over all the paparazzi style photography.

The best part of having the party at a park was being right next to the playground for the kids. I also thought it would be fun to have another activity to keep them busy. I purchased these Color-Me Leaves Cut-Outs and crayons for coloring. The best kept secret for parents is to buy party supplies and décor from a teacher store or printing company. You can really save big! The leaf cut-outs I used are from Creative Teaching Press. One set of cut-outs had 36 in the pack and only set me back $5.99. I placed all the items in one area for kids to congregate.

 Party favors consisted of a stuffed animal pet adoption. This was a total hit! I placed woodland stuffed animals in a basket and each child picked whom they wanted to adopt.

I made this adoption form...just to keep it official!

For the adults I placed Frisbees, items for playing catch, and a beanbag toss under a tree, which was, adorned with Sawyer's first birthday chalkboards.

 I used a string wrapped around a tree and clothespins to show Sawyer's first year.

 I could not have pulled this off without the help from friends and family. Thank you all for the constant support! To my sweet Sawyer...I love you more and more everyday and I'm so excited to watch you grow!