Friday, June 5, 2015

Pirate Party

Anique decided she wanted a pirate theme this year for her birthday. With the help of Pinterest and Hobby Lobby I think we did a pretty good job pulling it off.

Since we were going to host the party at home, I put together a few crafts to keep them busy. There was of course also a nice pirate flag flying outside the front door so her guests could find us. 

I picked up some pirate accessories: eye patches, tattoos, mini swords, bandannas and mustaches (because who has time to shave on a pirate ship). 

Then I picked up several plain white tees. The kids used scissors to pirate-ize their shirts. Ragged hems were cut and then they added their selected props. I think they looked so great!

Snacks included: Cannon balls (olives), Fish & Chips (gold fish & potato chips), Pirate Jewels (melon balls in a watermelon pirate ship) and hard tack (graham crackers). 
I learned watermelon carving is not my area of expertise. 

Finally, I had picked up some plain brown paper "fry boxes" to hold the party favors. I put the party favors in cellophane bags and set them aside.  I set out mustache stickers and markers and they had fun decorating their boxes. When they were done I just dropped the bag of treats inside and voila!

The cake came from the store crooked. I'm not sure if this was Bailey's driving skills (he was super helpful and picked it up for me) or if it started off that way. I ordered a plain white cake and decorated the top using food color "paint". I'm sure I took a better picture of it but I can only find the hand-pirate selfie version.

It was fun to see it all come together and the kids had a great time! Pinterest is definitely a good resource for ideas but as always, mine never look quite the same...

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Anique & Maddy - Age 11

Once upon a time, many, many years ago, I decided to coach soccer for Anique. No, I have no idea what I was possibly thinking. The second year of coaching I had the most amazing team ever. The girls were sweet, the parents were awesome. Honestly, it was fantastic. 

Anique and Maddy met that year and it turned out four of the six girls went to the same school. Those four can still be found at each others birthday parties each year. As a person who attended three different elementary schools, it is a blessing to have watched these girls stick together from Kindergarten through 5th grade.

Maddy and Anique are inseparable. They talk everyday before, during I'm sure, and after school. They are growing up together. Arguments happen from time to time but they are fast friends. I look back on photos of them from when they first met and am stunned they are so grown up now. 

They still play and pretend, but boys and fashion are starting to creep into the conversations more often. Oh wow, I'm really not sure I'm ready for this!

If you follow my Facebook page you've seen these, but if not, here's a view of these two now in all their practically grown up...okay I'm exaggerating a bit...glory.

Monday, April 6, 2015

One Bloggers Humble Opinion of Blue Apron

When it comes to domestic skills I am seriously lacking. Actually, it's not so much a lack of skill so much as a lack of desire. I can cook and reasonably well. Don't let the frequency of the smoke detector tell you otherwise. Really, I think it's a flaw in where it's placed. Really.

Ever since switching to a regular 9 am-5 pm work shift I've never found a good time for grocery shopping. Previously, I could shop during the day when it was a little quieter or much later if I was working a late shift. I could avoid lines, crowds. It wasn't so bad.

I then switched over to using and would definitely recommend it but I'm a terrible meal planner.

We joined Blue Apron a two weeks ago. Blue Apron is a fabulous service where they do the meal planning and send you the ingredients. We are signed up for the family meals. We receive 2 meals twice a week.

Everything comes pre-measured out and cleanly packaged. I just unpack it into the fridge and recycle the packaging.

Each meal comes with a recipe and clear, easy instructions with photographs. You just prep the supplied ingredients and cook away. So far, each of our 4 recipes has taken an hour or less to prep and cook.

Brown Butter & Butternut Squash Gnocchi
with Red Leaf Lettuce, Ricotta Salata & Walnut Salad
We are trying food that we would have never eaten or thought to try. The kids have liked each of the meals so far. The best part is that we are sitting down to dinner and eating together for these 4 nights a week. The kids help with the prep work and it's becoming a family activity.

The portions are substantial and we have even had an extra guest on two of the nights and there was plenty. We had been eating out or picking up fast food or deli food most of the nights a week so I feel like the cost for this service is reasonable (less than before) and we are eating real food with fresh ingredients. There's no contract and they give you plenty of notice on what meals are coming up next. You can skip a delivery anytime without penalty as long as you submit the request 6 days before.

I would definitely recommend it if you are looking for something to change up your meal plan. I have four more free deliveries to give away (US only). If you're interested in trying it out for free,  send me a message and I'll send you the invite. This is not a sales gimmick. I don't make commission, I just have been pleased with the service so far and thought I'd share my opinion.

Lamb & Beef Tagine
with Swiss Chard, Date Molasses & Whole Wheat Couscous

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Anique Turns Eleven

My little Anique turns 11 today. She isn't so little anymore. A recent growth spurt has brought her up past my shoulder now. A few more inches and she'll have passed me by.

She is a sweet, tender-hearted, dramatic child. Her emotions play out in real-time. Unguarded and open most always. She can be quick to anger but is also quick to let it go. She is a chatterbox and always has something to tell you, a song to sing, knowledge to share.

She is a smart, beautiful girl. It is a pleasure to watch her grow up. See her quirky personality shine through.

Someday I'll digitize all those baby photos I have of her too but here's the last few years.These aren't maybe the best photos but they show a pretty good glimpse into the goofy child she is.


This is what happens when you leave the camera and remote your were testing up when you leave for work.  

Talent show. She has guts. Wrote her own song and performed it in front of the whole school parents without musical back-up.

Friday, March 27, 2015

New Painting

As the wall colors change in the house, it has become very apparent that the art work needs an update too. First, there was a new painting for the entry way. The old paintings were re-located to the downstairs hallway.

The painting that originally hung in the dining area has been moved to our bedroom for the time being. Its colors were a bit too warm and beachy for the newly painted space.

I hosted a Craft Night again last weekend and worked on a new painting as my craft. Hopefully next time, I'll remember to take a couple of pictures. It's pretty awesome to have a room full of girls and women who are just chatting and working on crafts of all kinds.

Our house has a pretty open layout upstairs with the kitchen, dining area and living room all in one open space. I wanted something casual but inspiring. And something that would flow with the new brighter colors.

It's where the kids get ready each morning before school, you can see it from the living room where we hang out at night. And lately, I've been working at the kitchen table because it's sooooo cold downstairs.

Monday, March 23, 2015

LOVE this Family

I am honored and flattered to have had the opportunity to photograph this family for the past year or so. They have grown from 4 to 5 during this time. It is so wonderful to witness a marriage that is strong, one which is founded on the love between the parents. Three beautiful busy boys and one big cute (but somewhat frisky) dog.

This mama glows with love for her boys.


Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Easter Preparations

Several months ago Anique, Ellie and Soulea helped make several papier "eggs". 

Okay, I'll admit it, you caught me, I wasn't being super organized and ahead of schedule. They were supposed to be made into a garland of large ornaments for Christmas time. By the time they had dried I was onto other projects and they sat neglected in my office. 

We used balloons for the shape and covered them using white copy paper and mixture of flour and water for the paste mixture. 

The girls took advantage of the relatively nice weather and took their painting project outside. The each chose a few pastel colors and voila! the intended ornaments became Easter eggs. Now I just need to assemble my backdrop and it's time for Easter pictures.

I love these two girls. Despite the age difference, they work well together and will chat up a storm while they work. Ellie is super sweet and patient with Anique. 

Bailey and Lily hung outside with them for a little bit too.