This summer I was asked to party along with the Home Depot Outdoor Challenge, which by the way, is just as fun as it sounds. I’m a huge (obsessed) fan of Home Depot. It’s true. When Clint asks me what I want to do as a family, it usually involves a preliminary trip to the big HD and then a couple hours of painting/planting/woodworking to follow. Having a 6’6″ assistant has it’s advantages when roller painting a ceiling, you know. So when Home Depot’s Blog, The Apron asked me to build an outdoor game it felt a lot like coming home. Like my natural shopping habits were merging with my blog job. So I enlisted the help of my bearded sidekick to construct an fun and sturdy (very sturdy) kid sprinkler toy perfect to combat the summer heat! Find out how to make your own sprinkler kid wash!
Last week I shared with you a sweet birthday party I designed for my friend Corrine’s (Mint Arrow) daughter Anabelle! It was featured on Sweet Little Peanut and I couldn’t be more excited about it . As part of the party I wanted to create some cupcake toppers that were really special, after all I do adore Corrine and Anabelle. One of my favorite party decorations is the Jumbo Balloon! You may have seen that jumbo balloon in action HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE. What a better way to honor the awesomeness of the jumbo balloon than with a mini jumbo balloon cupcake topper!? And no jumbo balloon is complete without a fringe tassel, obviously.
Stuff you need:
- Water balloons in the colors of your choice. Water balloons are the perfect size for mini balloons and the perfect round shape, just like a jumbo balloon
- Tissue paper
- Paper straws
- Baker’s twine or string
- Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
Step 1: To being, I cut a sheet of tissue paper into several 4″ X 3″ pieces. Then, to create a tassel out of the tissue paper piece cut little strips all along the 4″ side making sure to not cut all the way through the tissue paper piece.
Step 2: Next, fold cut piece in half once, twice, and even three times transforming it into a miniature tassel. Repeat steps 1 and 2 with other colors of tissue paper to create a bunch of mini tassels.
Step 3: Now, in order to create fringe for the bottom of each balloon, use the hot glue gun and glue several tassels together at their folded top.
Step 4: Paper straws are the perfect little base for your mini balloon cupcake toppers, but they may be a little too long. I cut mine in half for the perfect height.
Step 5: Time to blow up the balloons! After all your water balloons are full of air and ready to go, tie a piece of baker’s twine around the base of the balloon. Then tie the balloon to the top of a straw.
Step 6: Break out the hot glue gun again and glue the tassel fringe to the top of the straw as well.
Finished! Stick those mini jumbo balloon cupcake toppers in your party cupcakes for a festive and friggen charming party treats!
Today I’m excited to share with you a little party that I put together for my friend Corrine’s daughter Anabelle. Corrine is my adorable friend that I met through blogging. She blogs at Mint Arrowand is really just as beautiful on the inside and she is in all her photographs. We wanted the birthday to be all things girl, so of course there was glitter and tassels and ribbons and feathers. I made garlands drenched in ribbon and tinsel. My favorite part was the little pink and teal party poppers that had golden does on them. Corrine made the food, and I have to say that I would eat anything that girl makes, even off the floor. For real. She has cooked for me several times and I’m telling you that girl has a gift! Here is a sneak peak of Anabelle’s birthday, but the full party is being featured on Sweet Little Peanut today! Go check it out!
We are still celebrating National Ice Cream Month around here because when I choose to believe in something I really commit . One of my favorite ice cream treats is a banana split. It’s totally a healthy dessert because it involves cherries and bananas. So it’s basically a fruit salad for dessert…basically. I’m also a huge fan of mini desserts and anything bite size because it’s dessert without the guilt. Just the perfect little taste of banana-y split. And these mini banana split bites are ideal for parties!
What you need:
- Melting chocolate…I always go for a good brand of chocolate.
- Ice cream in a flavor of your choosing
- Fresh cherries…yum.
- Wax paper
Prep work: before you start to assemble mini splits, you will want to melt your chocolate. Break the chocolate bar apart into a microwave-safe bowl. Melt it in the microwave for about 90 seconds, taking it out every 30 seconds to stir. Make sure you don’t over melt the chocolate! Next peal your banana and cut it into slices about 1/4″ thick.
Step 1: To start, dip each banana slice half way in the melted chocolate. I replaced the typical chocolate syrup you see on banana splits with the dipped chocolate to make the mini dessert a little more special. After dipping the slices, place them on a sheet of wax paper to allow the chocolate to harden.
Step 2: After the chocolate-dipped banana slices harden, place them on your serving dishes and add a mini scoop of ice cream. All that is left is to add a cherry on top and enjoy!
This morning I am writing this post with a dream hangover. Do you ever have that? Where you experience a vivid and emotional dream and then wake up feeling like those dream emotions still have a hold on your brain? Last night I dreamt that some kind of alien invaded earth (but we never saw them) and then everything after that got very weird. Everyone was forced to wear matching forest green T-shirts (aliens with no style, apparently), all cell phones were taken away, and everybody moved around like drones. The more I think about it this just sounds like the world was taken over by private school. I of course kept it very cool the whole time and investigated what was happening and then Tom Cruise and I saved planet Earth. Just kidding, I totally freaked out, was arrested a bunch, and kept yelling randomly at drone passerbys. If this is indicative of my auto-response in apocalyptic situations lets just all pray that Clint has it together.
So when I sat down to write this post I found myself thinking, fruit drink stirrers are so inconsequential when the world is being taken over by invisible aliens. And then I remembered that there is, indeed, nothing of more consequence to the success of your summer entertaining than fruit drink stirrers. If your backyard party is an alien invasion, then the fruit drink stirrers are Tom Cruise. And that, my friends, was the strangest analogy ever written.
I just want to take a moment and apologize for how ridiculous this post is, but you should know that I believe deeply that these fruit drink stirrers are fabulous and a necessity for summer entertaining. I love that guests can sip drinks and eat refreshing fruit kabobs without holding a drink and a plate in their hands. Fruit drink stirrers are the perfect appetizer while mingling. The best part is you can whip out an appetizer for 20 people in less than 10 minutes!
You want to make some now, don’t you!?
Here is what you need:
- Kabob sticks, one per drink (or two if you are crazy like that)
- A small cookie scoop
- Melons of your choice! A variety of colors helps keep things interesting
Step 1: Using your cookie scoop, dig into the cut melon in a circular motion, creating a round little piece of melon. Repeat this a billion times (or until you have enough melon ball pieces for all the kabobs).
Step 2: Next, stick around 5 melon balls on the end of your kabob stick in a fun and colorful pattern! Add the kabobs to you drinks that tada, appetizers for all!
Happy Independence Day America! This 4th of July was a little bit hard to know when to whip out the camera and take pictures. It was an incredibly relaxing day…we slept in, watched Frozen (at the strict demand of Liam), and did neighborhood fireworks of epically mediocre proportions. A lovely day. I rested a lot because, as it turns out, I may have overdone it that week and was feeling dehydrated and exhausted. Like marathon exhausted. Building a human is a lot of work. More on the pregnancy front to come. My favorite part of July 4th was spending the entire day with my Clint and Liam. I just thoroughly enjoy their company. The other day some of my friends and I were talking about YouTube videos of North Korea (I know that took a weird turn, but stick with me here) and there is one video in particular where a tour bus took a wrong turn off the perfectly manicured tour bus route and straight into a poverty-stricken neighborhood. Poverty that was unfathomable. Most days my steepest challenge is accomplishing laundry, quality time with my boys, and finding time to work all in a day. What a fortunate set of problems I have. My heart is full of gratitude for this country I was born into. I know I am privileged to live here and that I live in privileged circumstances. I get to see my family when I want and have the freedom to spend my time how I want. My heart is full of gratitude for the women and men who make that kind of freedom possible. I only hope I can make something of my life worthy of such blessings.
^^ Here is the face of a completely complacent toddler who couldn’t care less whether his mother was trying to get a good picture or not. Fun fact about Liam, his favorite movie is Nacho Libre and the only time he will pose for the camera with enthusiasm is when he is A) wearing his wrestling mask or B) posing like a wrestler from the movie. Quick pics with mom don’t really make the cut. Even apathy looks so adorable on those chubby dimpled cheeks.
^^ We watered aunt Michelle’s flowers for an hour or so on the 4th, which is basically the same thing as drowning flowers and creating a huge mud puddle. Those are two things where our little man excels. My porch flowers flinch when he comes at them with the hose.
^^ A Pregnancy Update:
- Oh boy am I ever getting pregnant. When pregnant I tend to grow in my belly (for obvious reasons) and on the back side as well. Why my derriere expands to great proportions is beyond my comprehension. Maybe it’s for the extra support (or quite possibly it’s because I have been eating too much cake) but my back feels like it is in a constant tug-of-war between my baby-filled-abdomen and my huge butt. Women who look cute pregnant are like Katy Perry’s hair…I’m just not quite sure how she does it.
- My face is getting rounder…which is a nice way of saying my face is starting to look fat. There are only two periods in my life where I have boasted a double chin. The first is from age 11 to 14, what I affectionately call my “awkward phase”; and the second is pregnancy.
- Baby girl kicks all day! By far the absolute best part of pregnancy. Best part. I love feeling her little appendages rearranging themselves to get comfortable, or perhaps to get some exercise in. Every now and then a leg or an arm finds my bladder and I pee my pants a little. TMI but I don’t even care. When I feel her move I am reminded of the absolute miracle it is to be pregnant. What a lucky chubby tired pregnant lady I am!
When I was pregnant with Liam I wrote this post, like, forever ago: Man. Teenager. Snooki. You might find it just as thrilling
Happy 4th of July and Friday friends! I hope you are eating all kinds of sprinkle-dipped ice cream, lighting sparklers, and wishing America a happy Independence Day. I am one of those people who tends to focus on human similarities across nation boards and cultures. I think we have more in common than not, and that’s a pretty wonderful thing to celebrate. I am, however, very grateful to live in America. My life is blessed daily because of where I live and the freedoms I enjoy. So don’t mind me while I festively eat watermelons, listen to country music, and watch my country celebrate pyrotechs for a full 24-hours. God bless America, really though.
Some really great things I found this week:
I have craved lemons this whole pregnancy so I will be making these darling cupcakes!
Today, July 1st, marks a very important moment on our calendars. A momentous occasion. Doughnut month is a thing of the past (thank the heavens).
Pies and cakes are delicious indeed. But this month, this July, is National Ice Cream month! Finally, a whole month dedicated to what I do best…eatting ice cream. Consuming ice cream is really one of my top talents. I’m a proud ice cream eater no matter how lactose-intolerant pregnancy makes me. July 20th is National Ice Cream Day, so you have time to make the necessary preparations. Consider yourself notified. To kick off such a special month, I have a special food DIY – sprinkle dipped ice cream cones!
What you need:
- Cones of your choosing. Waffle cones sure do make for some festive sprinkle dipping though.
- White chocolate…make sure it is a baking chocolate that will melt (some chocolate has stabilizers in it so it doesn’t melt as easily).
- And ice cream, duh.
Step 1: To begin, melt your chocolate in the microwave. I’m sure some chef out there is rolling their eyes at how barbaric it is to use the microwave to melt chocolate, but in all honesty every time I try to melt chocolate on the stove I end up scorching or burning it. Not so good. The microwave does the job great however! On the chocolate bar it should have melting instructions. I microwaved a whole chocolate bar (broken into pieces) for about 90 seconds, taking it out every 30 seconds to stir it. Once the chocolate is melted, grab a waffle cone and thoroughly dip the open end in the bowl of chocolate.
Step 2: Next, add sprinkles to your dipped chocolate. I found it worked best to drizzle the sprinkles over the chocolate rather than to dip the cone into the sprinkles. For full sprinkle coverage don’t be afraid to make a mess. It’s ice cream month, go crazy.
Step 3: It may take a while for the chocolate to harden, especially if it is a hot summer day. I would recommend propping your cones upright in a cookie cooling rack (or something similar) and popping them in the fridge for about 30 minutes. That should do the trick.
Step 4: Finally, add ice cream. Add lots and lots of delicious ice cream!
Let’s just address the elephant in the room…there is no glitter in this DIY. (gasp). I know that the 4th of July as a holiday just begs to be covered in obnoxious amounts of sparkle, but when it comes to my nation’s birthday, I tend to error on the side of rustic. Yep, I like my 4th of July to look more like a Pottery Barn 4th rather than a Desperate Housewives 4th. We keep it classy. But don’t worry…this DIY twine star art may not have a single touch of tacky but it is still very very cool. So cool you could probably keep it around all summer long and break it out during the winter holidays (oh I went there…versatile!). And, because I appreciate your busy lives, it’s also so easy that you can whip it up in time for your 4th of July festivities!
What you need:
- A piece of particle board cut into a 21″ X 21″ square.
- Three 7″ wide boards cut to 21″ in length.
- 12 screws and a drill with a bit that fits your screws.
- White paint. I used wall paint, but you could use acrylic craft paint or spray paint. This is a free country after all.
- Nails, 5 to be exact. And a hammer. (what’s a nail without a hammer?)
- Twine in whatever thickness you prefer. I went with a medium thickness twine.
Step 1: To start, I attached each of my 7″ X 21″ boards to my square sheet of particle board. I drilled a screw in all four corners of each board so it was securely attached. You may want to drill a small pilot hole (smaller than the diameter of your screw) prior to drilling in the screw so that your screws go in easier.
Step 2: Next I painted the surface and sides of all three boards. I also made sure to paint the sides of the particle board because they were a nice shade of royal blue, and we were going for stark white here. Because I applied a thick coat of paint, I only needed one coat.
Step 3: After my paint completely dried it was time to hammer in the nails, marking the 5 points of my star. I began with the top nail, hammering it in centered on the top board (at 10.5″ in) and 3″ down from the top of the board. For the middle two stars I measured down 8.5″ and in 3″ from both sides. The bottom two were hammered in at 18.5″ down and 4″ in from both sides. My nails were not all spaced at the exact same distance from each other because I didn’t want a perfectly balanced star. If balance is your thing though, go for it!
Step 4: For the fourth and final step I began by tying the end of my twine to my top nail. Then in the same order you would draw a star, I wrapped the twine around each of the five nails, repeating the pattern six times. So I went from the top nail, to the bottom right nail, to the middle left nail, to the middle right nail, to the bottom left nail, and back to the top nail. I did that pattern 6 times total. To finish off the star I simply tied a knot around my final nail and cut off the end.
That’s it! I styled my star art with some vintage rustic pieces on my mantel and now it’s time to celebrate!
Today is my husbands birthday. He is turning 30 and I am feeling like we are reaching adulthood. I’m just so proud of everything my very grown up husband has accomplished. He’s grown up in the sense that he is fiscally responsible, takes care of his things and his people (me and Liam specifically), and he is motivated to learn new things and improve. He’s also quite emotionally stable and mentally healthy, which is a good thing to hold on to these days. I would say he is grounded but there is still A LOT of adventure running through his veins and I like that too. All in all I made a good choice . Every day (or at least when my blood sugar isn’t low) I absolutely adore him. We are going to celebrate today with good food and whatever the heck he wants to do because it’s his day, dammit . I’m feeling overwhelming lucky to be his wife
Above images taken by me at the #amidsummermingle. Juice by Mend Juicery.
And now, some of my favorite links from this weeks:
Why have one doughnut to choose from when you can have a doughnut bar?
Mindy Kaling is hands-down one of the most hilarious humans alive.