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Father's Day Grilling Aprons

Thursday, July 23, 2015


I am so excited to finally share with you the Father's Day gift we made for my hubby this year!  I knew he might see it if I wrote about it prior to that day, so keep this gift idea in mind for next year!  It was a huge hit!

Hubs got a new grill as an early Father's Day/ it's summer and our old grill is falling apart present, so I knew I wanted to get him grilling accessories to go along with it.  I put together a grill basket with some new grilling tools in it.  I also love to give handmade gifts, so Henley and I made him an apron and I made one for her too.  They turned out so adorable and they both loved them!  They are so easy to make; only took me maybe an hour total.


What you need: 

• Canvas aprons
• Fabric paint
• Sponge brush
• Small paint brush (for lion's face detail)
• Silhouette machine
• Vinyl
• Transfer tape

NOTE: If you do not own a Silhouette, you can still make your own version of this!  You could get stencil letters at the craft store or draw freehand and paint over it!

Directions: 

1. Using fabric paint and the sponge brush, paint your child's hand and make a fan shape of handprints on the Daddy apron. Let dry, then using the small paintbrush, paint a lion's face over the bottom portion of the prints.  (The fingers make up the mane and the palms make up the face).  Let dry completely. 

2. Create your stencil on your Silhouette software and cut it out using vinyl. I buy basic vinyl on Amazon instead of Silhouete brand stencil vinyl because it's cheaper and you get more. I also use coupons at craft stores to buy transfer tape at 40-60% off depending on the coupon.  Saves so much money that way! 

3. Weed out your image and use the stencil tape to place your vinyl stencil where you want it on your aprons. 

4. With a sponge brush and fabric paint, paint over your stencil carefully.  I go over the image at least twice to make sure I have a bold and even coating of paint.  Allow to dry completely before removing the vinyl (I let mine dry overnight, but a few hours is usually fine). 

5. Iron over your image if your fabric paint calls for it.  Silhouette brand fabric paint does, and in my opinion it's the best.  It doesn't dry stiff like I have found some brands to do.  Now, you're done! 




These aprons were a hit!  My hubby couldn't wait to try them out, and our little one was so excited to grill with her Daddy.  



Father's Day was great at our house!  We started off with a nice breakfast, had a picnic lunch at the pool, then finished with a BBQ (of course)! How did you celebrate? 

My First Jamberry Manicure

Monday, June 22, 2015

I was not blessed with beautiful nails.  Mine are always short, flaking, and breaking on me.  When I started taking prenatal vitamins, they got slightly better.  They will grow longer, but it is always only a matter of time before one or more of them breaks.  The way I get them to stay (somewhat) nice is by painting them...but then the polish chips within a day or two.

I am always on the hunt for a new at-home (who has time for pro manicures each week?) remedy to my chipped polish and broken nails.  Enter Jamberry....they have adhesive nail wraps that you apply at home and come in super cute colors and patterns.  I have been eyeing these nail wraps for a while and wondering if they stand up to they hype.  I was scrolling through Instagram a couple of weeks ago and low and behold, the gal behind one of the shops I follow also is a Jamberry consultant!  She was super sweet to send me some samples to try.  This is my first Jamberry experience:

After putting my little one down for the night, I sat down with a glass of wine, The Bachelorette, and my Jamberry wraps and supplies.  The application was super easy.  All you really need is a nail file, hairdryer (you use the hairdryer to apply heat to each nail wrap when you are applying them), and your wraps.  The whole process only took me about 20 minutes, which is how long it takes me to do a regular manicure, minus the drying time.  I love that you don't have to wait for your Jamicure to dry, and when I was done, they looked great!



Day 3: My jamicure is slightly worn at the tips of my nails, but its not very noticeable.  I have gotten several compliments on how cute my nails are!



Day 5: Still looking pretty good!  My nails have grown quite a bit and you can see the growth at the nail bed, but all in all my jamicure looks pretty good still!



Day 7:  This was the end of the line for my Jamicure.  One of my wraps was coming off, so I decided to take them off.  I did have extra wraps left that I could have used to replace the one that came off, but my nails grew a ton (!), so I wanted to start fresh. 



When I removed the wraps, I was happy to see they didn't damage my nails and my nails grew more than usual in a week!   I have to say I am very pleased with my Jamicure.  I will definitely do another one again soon!  If you are interested in Jamberry, check out Heather's site here!

Biscuit Enchiladas

Thursday, May 28, 2015

I love Pinterest recipes.  Only once or twice have I been let down by a recipe I have made that was a Pinterest find.  I think part has to do with that I know what I like and that I like cheesy, buttery, not healthy stuff, ha!  So, when I came upon a recipe that looked cheesy, yummy, and was a Mexican food-type dish, I knew this one was calling my name.

Upon reading the recipe, which dons low-fat cheese and subs ground turkey for ground beef, I decided to nix the low fat version for my own full fat one.  If there's one thing in this house we don't skimp on, it's cheese.  We are cheeseballs in personality, photos, and food!  The more cheese, the better, and low-fat cheese just isn't the same.  I also am weirded out by ground turkey, and I don't know why. If you prefer a healthier version, you can use ground turkey and low-fat cheese and biscuits.


Not only is this recipe delicious, it's fun and family friendly.  It's also easy and quick to throw together for a busy weeknight meal. Onto the cheesy, biscuit enchilada goodness...



Ingredients 


  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • 1 1/2 C. shredded cheese (Mexican blend or cheddar Jack) 
  • 10 oz. can of enchilada sauce (I use mild for my kiddo's sake)
  • 16 oz. can of refrigerator biscuits (I used Pillsbury Grands! Homestyle Original)

Optional
  • 1 can of corn
  • 1 can of black or pinto beans
  • Any toppings you want! (I prefer sour cream and salsa verde)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13" pan. Brown ground beef in a skillet and drain the fat.  


2. Add enchilada sauce to the ground beef and let simmer while you prepare the biscuits.  If you are adding in corn or beans, do so now as well.  I usually do, but forgot to get some at the store this time, oops!

3. Open the can of biscuits and cut each one into fourths.  Lay the biscuit quarters in the greased 9x13" pan. 



4. Spread beef mixture over the biscuits and toss.  Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.  Use a fork or toothpick to make sure if the biscuits are done.  


5. Top with shredded cheese and return to oven for ten minutes. 


6. Serve with desired toppings and enjoy!

Henley loved this dish, which was pleasantly surprising!  When she finished what was on her tray she said "biscuit! biscuit"! Sorry the pics aren't pretty, but the taste will make up for it, I promise! 





My First Stitch Fix

Monday, May 4, 2015

Chances are you have heard of Stitch Fix already, as it has been becoming more and more popular.  I you haven't, though, you really ought to check it out!

I have been seeing Stitch Fix on a number of blogs, and finally decided to go ahead and try it after months of thinking about it.  It has been increasingly hard to shop with a little one running around who is less and less inclined to sit in the cart or stroller anymore, so I thought this would be a great way to shop without having to leave the house!  I was right.

Stitch Fix is a unique personal styling service that brings new clothes and accessories, tailored to you, straight to your door.  To begin, you fill out a detailed survey about your body type, style, preferences, and any special requests you may have for your shipment.  For instance, I noted in my survey that I am a mom of a toddler, so I need comfortable, functional pieces, but I wanted something a little more stylish than my everyday routine of basic tees and tanks.  I also told her that I live in Southern California, where it is getting hot, and I prefer sleeveless or short sleeve styles, dresses, skirts, and shorts.  I specified that I do not want outerwear, jeans, or accessories.  There are different price points to choose from, and for all of mine I put "the cheaper the better".

Next, you pick a date for your delivery.  You can choose to get a one-time Fix or to get one shipped to you as frequently as every two weeks to every few months.  A few days before your delivery date, a stylist picks out your items and you will be charged a $20 styling fee.  If you like any of the five pieces you are shipped, you pay for them and the $20 is credited toward your purchase.  Whatever you don't like you ship back, but if you do not keep anything, the $20 credit is forfeited.  There is a bag included with prepaid shipping that you have 3 business days to return unwanted items in.  However, if you love everything and choose to buy it all, you get 25% off of your total purchase, which is awesome!  I have seen quite a few ladies keep it all.

Now onto my first Fix!

I was so excited for my first Stitch Fix to come, I woke up feeling like it was Christmas morning.  Of course, of all days my mailman was late, ugh!  But better late than never!  Here is what I got:


1. Misa Embroidered V-Neck Top by Skies are Blue $44: I wasn't sure about this top when I pulled it out of the box, but when I tried it on, I loved it!  It was too big for me, so I sent it back.  I did debate keeping it for a while, though, and decided last minute that I probably wouldn't wear it as blousy as it was.  



2 & 3.  Topson Crochet Detail Blouse by Fun2Fun $38 and Lya Geo Print Short by Skies are Blue $38: I really liked both of these pieces straight out of the box.  The top is chiffon with crochet detail on the sleeves and back.  It was a little big, and I have something very similar, so for the price I figured I should send it back and just use what I already have.  The shorts I was on the fence about.  I wanted to love them because they are so comfy and they have pockets (I LOVE pockets), but they are pretty see-through, and I am not one to fuss over uncomfortable undergarments (slips, Spanx, etc.), so back they went.  


4.  Brie Printed Dress by Skies are Blue $68: I disliked the print on this dress from the get-go, and thought the style was a little old for me, but when I tried it on I was surprised that it did look cute.  I had asked for a dress and mentioned that I like v-neck or henley style necklines, so my stylist was right on target with what I asked for.  She also picked the palm tree print since I said I live in So Cal, which was sweet.  All in all, I didn't love it and it was too big, so back it went.


5.  Edmond Chevron Print Henley Shirt by Pixley $54: I had seen this top in another color and loved it, so I added it to my Pinterest board in hopes of receiving it or something similar, and was so excited when i saw it in the box! It is so comfortable and fits great.  At $54, it is more than I typically spend on a top, but since it was the only thing I kept, I decided to splurge.  I am so glad I did, because I have worn it a ton since!


I had originally scheduled my Fixes to come every other month, but I was so pleased with this first one that I changed it to a monthly shipment instead!  I cannot wait to see what my next Fix has in store!  If you are interested in Stitch Fix, check it out.  I think you will be pleasantly surprised!

*This post contains referral links, from which you get a credit every time someone signs up to receive a Stitch Fix.  

Look Whoo's One: An Owl Themed First Birthday

Sunday, April 19, 2015

I am so excited to share with you Henley's First Birthday Party today!  First of all, can I say, where did the last year go?  It seems like just yesterday I had a tiny newborn in my arms, nursing and sleeping the day (and night) away.  Now, I have this beautiful little toddler (sniff, sniff) who walks, talks, eats, and dances all day, and thankfully sleeps all night.  Time has flown by, but I can say that this year has been the best of my life.  Motherhood is the most precious gift that I thought for some time I would never get to experience.  Henley is the biggest, most wonderful blessing I could have ever imagined and I am so grateful every day that I get to be her mommy.


Anyway, back to the party!  From the time she was little, Henley has loved owls.  It may or may not have to do with the fact that I love owls and have bought owl-themed toys for her often.  As she has gotten older, though, she finds them all on her own and says "whoo whoo" whenever she sees one.  So, when thinking of a theme for her party, it was obvious.  I also knew I wanted the colors to be coral, pink, and gold.  I took to Pinterest to search for pink and gold owl themed parties and found the most perfect invite and matching poster from Prettiest Print Shop on Etsy.



I am obsessed with pictures, so I wanted to have a lot of them on display at the party.  I have loved seeing how Henley has grown in her monthly photos, and I knew her guests would too.  I used my Silhouette to cut out monthly titles to pin with the corresponding photo onto a banner.  I also framed photos to place around the party.  I printed out photos from Henley's Cake Smash and used mini clothespins to attach them to little trees on the dessert table as well.









I made owl tissue poms with eyes and beaks that I cut out using my Silhouette.  I also used the tissue banner that I made for her Cake Smash Photos.  I made two other banners with scrapbook paper that matched the theme of the party that said "Happy Birthday Henley" and "Whoo is One?!", and an owl banner for her high chair that said "Henley is One".







I am most proud of the owl cake that I made for her dessert table.  Henley and I were both sick the week leading up to her party and I was almost going to forget making this cake, but I was SO glad that I did.  Henley's eyes lit up when she saw it and she kept saying "whoo whoo"!  The cake was one of my favorite things that I made and probably the best cake that I have ever decorated...I am soooo not good at cake decorating!




For fun for the kiddos we inflated a swimming pool and put balls in it for a ball pit.  I found an adorable owl piƱata for the older kids to enjoy, which was a hit.  Finally, I made these owl goodie bags for everyone, which I think turned out to be a "hoot" of a parting gift!







Henley's party was a ton of work, especially feeling under the weather trying to get it all done, but it was SO worth it.  Everything turned out perfectly and everyone had a wonderful time.  She may not remember her party, but I know we will never forget it!





How to Take Your Own Cake Smash Photos (For Less)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Lets talk cake smash photos.  We have all seen them: cute little babies diving into their own personal-sized cake for their first birthday.  I think taking cake smash photos is a wonderful way to document baby's first birthday.  That being said, I don't think you need to spend an arm and a leg on a professional photographer for them.  In fact, I KNOW you don't.  I took my own cake smash photos of Henley and I am thrilled with how they turned out.  I made everything for her shoot as well, and I will tell you all about it!

How to Take Your Own Cake Smash Photos for Less


The Setup:

In a room in your home that has the most natural light possible, choose a wall that is well lit, but doesn't have bright sunlight shining directly on it.  This is where you will tape up your backdrop and set up.  If your house is not well-lit, like mine, take to the outdoors and pick a nice shady spot.  I set up our cake smash in my backyard and taped the backdrop to our sliding glass door.

Backdrop:  I bought a vinyl backdrop off of Etsy from Bubblegum Backdrops.  There was a sale going on at the time, so for a 4'x5' backdrop, I paid $48. I plan on using it again, for photos or for party decor, so I was willing to spend the money on it.  You could also buy patterned wrapping paper of your choice or a solid roll of paper for the backdrop for an inexpensive backdrop option.

Flooring: You will also need a solid roll of white paper for the flooring.  I think that white looks best and works best for lighting.  They sell large rolls of white paper at craft stores (I bought mine at Hobby Lobby with a coupon and spent about $5).

You can buy one large roll of solid white paper to use as a seamless backdrop and flooring.  Just tape one end of the roll at the top of where you want the backdrop to start and roll it all the way down and onto the floor.

Baseboard: To look as professional as possible, I bought a 5 ft long white baseboard from Home Depot to camouflage the seam between the backdrop and paper flooring.  This is optional, but for a few bucks, it really makes a difference!

Decorations: I made a tissue banner and some tissue poms in pink, coral, and gold to coordinate with the color scheme for Henley's birthday party, because I was planning on displaying the cake smash photos there.




The Cake:

I made Henley's cake for her cake smash following these directions I found on One Little Project.  It worked perfectly and was the best looking cake I have ever made!  I came terrible at frosting desserts and it was surprisingly easy to do.  It only cost me maybe $20 for everything because I cheated and bought a tub of decorator's frosting at Michael's.  I also bought edible gold glitter for $5 to sprinkle on top.


You can also buy a cake from your local grocery store.  I was at Albertson's the other day and they had mini cakes specifically for cake smashes/first birthdays for around $10.

The Outfit:



Remember that your little one is going to be covered in cake and frosting and that is the purpose of these photos.  That being said, less is more.  For girls, great ideas would be: ruffled bloomers, a romper, or a tutu.  Accessories like a crown, headband, or chunky baby jewelry look great too! For boys: a solid diaper cover, pants, or plain onesie.  You could also have them wear a tie, bowtie, suspenders, or party hat!

I made Henley's ribbon-trimmed tutu (tutorial to come soon) and had her wear a crown headband that I found at Target.  I took a few pictures of her without the cake in her tutu and then changed her into ruffled bloomers that I didn't mind getting icing on.

The Photos:

Take these photos when you have a helper around.  I made sure to pick a day my husband would be home to help set up, manage Henley while I took photos, and to help with clean up.

Make sure to set up and have everything ready to go before you get your baby ready.  Take a few pics of the cake with the backdrop too! Test out the lighting and play with the settings on your camera to make sure that everything is just right.



Get some photos of baby without the cake first...some pretty "before" shots, if you will.  Then, have your helper set the cake down in front of baby and point, aim, shoot!  Take pics from a variety of angles, distances, etc.  Realistically, you have a few minutes before the babes get over it.  Have fun with it!












The Clean Up:

Have a tub ready to go...your little one will be messy!  Take some pics to document the clean up, too.  We have a galvanized metal tub that we filled with warm water and bubbles in the yard to wash up in after the smash and it worked out great and made for some cute photos.




There you have it!  I know that some people spend hundreds of dollars on professional cake smash sessions, but you do NOT need to spend a fortune on these pics.  After all was said and done, I spent about $120 for everything (backdrop, decor, cake, outfit, and prints of the photos), however, you could easily spend under $50 and still get great photos!  I hope this helps and gives you some idea as to how to do your own cake smash photos.

P.S.  If you have a dog, you may want to treat them to the leftovers, like we did with Reese!  Ha!