Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Girl, that's me

Thank you to each one of you who offered support and votes for my picnic contest.
My submission won the Grand Prize at City Cradle Design! I am EXTRA excited and very happy.

I won...
- some Pottery Barn spending gift card love
(doesn't get better than that!) ;)
-an artful wall hanging of a vintage coke ice chest from Photo Atelier . This is IDEAL for me since I'm the
Coca Cola girl.
-I also get the privilege of being featured on the City Cradle's website in July. This is an honor. Vicky is an incredible event planner with her own unique decorating style that is always STUNNING! Her style mixes the charm of antiqued city living mixed with fresh and fun beauty.

Thank You lovies!

Monday, June 28, 2010

i need you....

...and you know...I always do.

If you missed my outdoor summertime picnic, you can see all the happy details here.

Once again, I'm depending on my {extra sweet} readers to help me out.
I was nominated for a contest at the City Cradle. They featured a post showing my recent picnic and YOUR comment on THAT feature at the City Cradle helps!

June is national PICNIC month...who knew?!! What a PERFECT coincidence that our family celebrated a Father's Day picnic during June AND just in time for this contest. I'm giddy and happy to be nominated for this contest.

(Image found on google image search and is not my own)

I'm also EXTRA thankful for your little love you give with your help! Click HERE to leave a comment which counts for your vote. I have 30 hours to make this shine!

X and an O,

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Charms of a Summertime Picnic

I'm ready to PIC-NIK!

Blackberries, Breeze,
Blankets, and Baskets.
Enjoying light food in an outdoor paradise...
On an old splintered table...
Beneath looming shade trees.

For this Father's Day we took a Sunday drive
to picnic in quiet and quaint Palisade, Colorado.

Palisade offers country charm...

...and Simple Pleasures.

I used plenty of little lanterns, old soda crates, fresh flowers, and my mom's vintage tablecloth to set the table.

The Menu for an American summer picnic:
Homemade Cold Buttermilk Fried Chicken
Sandwiches filled with cold cuts and veggies
Egg Salad sandwiches
Macaroni salad from the local deli
Fresh Melon Ball salad with a caramelized orange juice & ginger sauce
Tapioca pudding with fresh blackberries and whip cream
Layered Green Salad with homemade dressing
Homemade Chocolate Sheet cake with chocolate cream cheese frosting
Fun chips

Jars are an excellent way to hold picnic food! They transport easily and look much prettier than tupperware. It's a simple way to add beauty to the table and still keep it functional.

Tapioca Pudding with fresh blackberries
and whip cream

Jars and candles...

Salad works well in larger cracker jars.

I made a caramelized orange juice and ginger sauce
for the fresh Melon Ball salad.

This was Skyler and Kotah's favorite part...
kids love anything served in sundae cups!

Egg Salad sandwiches paired with
homemade cold Buttermilk Fried Chicken
is perfect on a hot June day.

Extra napkins required for fried food!

Titus is saying " I'm hungry mama" as usual...

I made both a french wheat sandwich loaf
and a plain french sandwich loaf
to accommodate ALL eaters! {wink}
Wrapping each sandwich individually
in parchment paper
gives it that extra special restaurant style touch!

Target sells special variety chips
when you're wanting something more unique than Doritos.

I used mini buckets for individual beverage icers

to keep drinks super cold.

Rich food works when it's Homemade Chocolate sheet cake
with cream cheese chocolate frosting.

The "necessities" are hidden in an old coke crate.
Wipes for messy fingers and lotion samples to smell sweet after the meal is done.

These adorable polka dotted napkins
were perfect tied with twine.

Papergood placesettings can be pretty too...
which makes me a happy girl!

And the kids thought a blanket worked better than a table...

Forget a park playground...
The guys enjoyed horseshoes while the LADIES prepped lunch.

and some kickball too.

Picnics give delight to little hearts
who want room to run

they give peace to older hearts
who need an escape
from the fast food lines,

and they give joy to the families who gather around the splintered tables to celebrate life.

Day is done.

This post is linked to: Centsational Girl,

Today's Creative Blog, Tasty Tuesday,
Foodie Friday, Tickled Pink,Lovin It, Inspired By, Strut your Stuff, Show Off Your Stuff, Tablescape Thursday, Show and Share Day, Show and Tell, Spotlight Yourself, Works for Me Wednesday ,Weekend Wrap Up DIY Day

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Super Heros

Awhile ago, I overheard a group of little kids talking at the boys' school. "My dad is SO much stronger than your dad!" said one child. "No, my dad can beat up your dad!" responded the other. The arguing went back and forth as I walked past. I thought about how interesting it was that some things stayed the same throughout generations. When I was a kid growing up, I distinctly remember the same argument in my own childhood classroom. I was entirely confident as a little girl in my Dad's "mighty" abilities. To me, he was the fastest, strongest, and most amazing man in the whole wide world.

My Dad and me water-skiing when I was a teenager

I wanted to marry him and was frustrated when my Mom tried to gently explain that I wouldn't be able to. I simply thought my Dad was so cool, a super hero.

He raced dragsters, jumped motorcycles, rode wheelies, and could fix anything.

He helped me design award winning projects, gently corrected me when I needed it, and let me drive his super cool cars when I was a teenager.

He bought me surprises randomly, and he gave me flowers, along with my mom, every single Valentine's Day that I can remember.

Why do a lot of children see their Dad as a superhero? (Or if not their Dad, some other figure in life becomes a hero at some point) We are designed to need a leader, a guide, a protector, someone we look to in awe, someone who amazes us every second! As aspiring little humans in a great big world, the fuel we use for potential success is the admiration of the ones we respect, love, and elevate. These heroes put wind in our sails and renew fresh hope with each day to reach our dreams. Having heroes is healthy for all of us.

My dad and me on my wedding day

And now as an adult, my husband is a superhero to our own boys! I see their little eyes light up when they watch their Dad jump high or win an arm wrestling contest. Chris' actions are being studied every second by his sons. Everyday when he takes his coffee and leaves for work he is setting an example of how to be a dependable provider. Every word he speaks to me is setting a standard to our boys on how to speak to women. I am so proud (and excited!!) of the incredible father Chris is. He is a true hero for them.

Father's Day Sunday 2010,
Chris and his boys

And my personal responsibility as a mom is to raise little heroes, little boys who will be great men, who will take the responsibility of fatherhood seriously. I make a lot of mistakes but my heart tries! Because having a superhero Dad is one of life's most beautiful gifts. And as moms, we have the opportunity to influence tomorrow's next hero.

Happy Father's Day.

This post is linked to Inspired By, Lovin It, Spotlight Yourself, Tip Junkie Show and Tell

Monday, June 14, 2010

Party Planning & Organization with SKINNY MONEY

Baskets are absolutely the BEST organizing tool! They allow you to mix function and beauty at the same time. I'm all about making everything look pretty, while still being useful. I've shared some organizing tips, here, or here. Today I wanted to share a simple way to keep party and gift wrap supplies functional. I also wanted to share a couple SKINNY MONEY tips, helping any budgets that are on a diet.

I found these delicate white wire baskets at the {beloved} Target dollar section. WIRE is IT in baskets right now and these ones are adorable! The possibilities are obviously endless.

To dress up any organization I like to find playful tags to label each thing. These are gently tied with Martha Stewart tags from Michael's. (I never shop at Michael's without a coupon!)

I also stock up on pretty ribbon from Michael's whenever it is on a good sale. Never pay full price for anything at craft stores because there are constant opportunities to get discounts via online or newspaper coupons.

The basket categories include:
Ribbon, Gift Toppers, Balloons, and more...

Right beside these cabinets in our utility room I keep gift boxes and a gift wrapping/laundry work station. The curling ribbon is threaded through our laundry clothing rod for easy access. Half of the area is still available for laundry too.

I also store a lot of my entertaining and party goods in this room.
Tea Lights and Candles in a Jar:

Once, when I was younger, I packed my holiday candles away in the attic with the rest of my holiday decor only to find a disfigured heap of wax the following year. Now ALL candles are stored inside. {wink} I have always kept my seasonal and pillar candles in individual brown paper lunch sacks. This keeps them free from dust and also prevents colored wax from other candles rubbing onto each other. So, if you open that cabinet door, you'll see a row of paper sacks!

Bag them up!

A frugal tip I constantly use is salvaging the ribbon off of store bags. How often do you return from a shopping trip from the mall with a handful of beautiful bags? The bags are just as pretty as the items in the bag sometimes. I hate majorly dislike wasting things! I wish I could reuse the store bags as gift bags but the stores have their company logo plastered on the front. However, I always remove the ribbon and save it in my ribbon basket! The ribbon can be used when gift wrapping or decorating for a party.

Save the ribbon!

This box is labeled with my favorite: chalk ink. I've showed it in action several times throughout my blog. The box is filled with a GIGANTIC variety of party paper goods!

In the box: every color of the rainbow to choose from!

Some years, our kids can anticipate an amazing party for their birthdays. I {double love} party planning and throwing events so it's a treat for me too. HOWEVER, it is a lot of work AND money.

I have 3 kids.

If I were to throw them a SuperStar party every year
until they were 18,
that would be 54 SuperStar parties
and literally thousands of dollars.

Obviously, we keep those parties to a minimum and most years we simply do sweet family gatherings. On those years our kids get to pick from this party box what papergoods they want for their birthday. It's always a hit! And it saves A LOT of money to help keep the budget SKINNY.

Give it a try! Save your "leftover" party goods in a special box and watch your kids' eyes light up whenever you pull it out to use for special birthday love or even an easy celebration like the last day of school.

-What are some of your favorite ways to use baskets for home organization?

-How do you incorporate a moderate budget as you party plan and organize?

Share your Secrets,
I'm a Secret-loving girl...

This post is linked to: Organize and Decorate Everything, Frugal Friday, Lovin It, Spotlight Yourself, Weekend Wrap Up, Inspired Room, Show and Share Day, Works for Me Wednesday