Monday, January 19, 2015

Welcome to Camp Wren! | Camping Themed 4th Birthday Party

I can't believe Wren is already 4. Seriously, where has the time gone?!?!

If you'd like an up-close look at the party, check out this video:

For her fourth birthday, we decided on a camping theme. I actually decided on the theme basically as soon as last year's Mermaid Party was done. Selecting a theme early was a great way for me to save money and stock up on items all year long instead of having to buy everything the month before the party. I share lots other tips for planning a birthday party on a budget in this video in case you're interested: 

But onto this year's party! Like I said, the theme was selected long ago, and I got lucky that Wren was so into it. She was super excited about the camping theme!
The first stop was invites! We decided this was the year to include Wren's classmates in the part. In the past, we've just done cousins and family, but I think 4 is a good age to start including friends.

Of course I turned to Pinterest and found some adorable designs. My favorite were these green and pink themed invite and printables from the PaperFoxDesign Shop on Etsy. Andrea, the shop owner, was so wonderful to work with and I was able to customize the wording on her invite

I also ordered this sign, which I printed twice and had hanging at both the food station and also in our entryway:

You can see the cute little menu cards here:

As you can see, I kept the food pretty simple.
Sticking with the camping theme, we did silver serving dishes as plates and I added
the plastic-but-looks-real silverware to cans for a festive look.
I also loved the way the tree coasters added a rugged, yet decorative look.
I did "bug juice" and water for drinks.
Food was as follows:
Camper's Chili (not pictured)
Sleeping Bags (not pictured-but basically pigs in a blanket)
Happy Campers Trail Mix (Golden Grahams, Chocolate Morsels, M&Ms, and Marshmallows)
Fresh Fish (Puffy Goldfish)
Bears (Don't feed them!)
S'mores on a Stick
...and...CAKE! Of course!

Here's my sweet girl with her adorable cake. I showed this pin to my cake lady and she hit it out of the park!

The girls both wore Matilda Jane, of course! I swear I could plan parties around Matilda Jane clothing!
I just so happened to luck out and these dresses released last year right as I had decided
to do her party in this theme so I snatched them up when I hosted a trunk show last fall.

Wren wore the Festival Tank Dress and Landscape Ruffles and Piper wore the Campy Circle Skirt with a solid tee and denim jacket.
I wish I'd gotten better pictures of them together but it got a little crazy--and a little LOUD--once all the little girls showed up!

Josh put his skills to work and made these cute little tents for the party. They were a huge hit!
He didn't go off of a specific tutorial, but I know he checked out Pinterest and ended up going with
his own creation which made each of the tents less than $15.
I had hoped to do a tutorial on them but we ran out of time.
We added the girls' Pottery Barn Kids sleeping bags and festive pillows and voila, we were all set to camp!

Everybody loves a good "pin the tail" game, so I always try to do one around the theme.
Last year, we did Pin the Fin for the Mermaid Party, and for Wren's first birthday, we Pinned the Spot on the Ladybug.
This year, I decided we should Pin the Sleeping Bag in the Tent.
I used felt for the tent and I cut up some knee high socks I got a while ago at Target to make the sleeping bags.

The one and only request Wren made was that we have a pinata.
I don't even know where she learned about them, but when your 4 year old little miracle girl asks for a pinata, a pinata she shall have!
I went to work a few weeks before the party and made this (video tutorial coming soon):

Finally, I wanted to do something fun for favors, but I didn't want to spend a ton of money.
Thankfully, I still have tons of fabric left from when we did Wren's weekly pictures, and I was also able to pick things up throughout the year.
I decided to make little hobo satchels for each of the girls:

I was able to make each of the satchels for less than $4!
Here's what I included:
-Butterfly Net ($1 at the Dollar Tree)
-Create-A-Town Camping Sticker Set ($1 at the Dollar Tree)
-Water Canteen ($1 at the Dollar Tree)
-Honest Kids Water Pouch (~$.50 each)
-S'mores Snack Pack (All supplies on hand from the party)

You can see that the girls ended up opening presents inside the tent!
Wren also got THIS tent for her birthday from Josh's parents, so between the three tents, the girls had a blast!

And if this isn't the face of one "Happy Camper," I don't know what is!!
(She was thrilled with her Barbie camper.)

I hope you enjoyed the party! I have so much fun celebrating my girls.
I feel like I'm getting better and better about planning ahead and starting early so that the week of the
party isn't a big hurried, rushed, and stressful time. I'm not kidding when I say I pretty much already
know what the theme will be for next year's party!
Unless Wren has a huge change in opinion, I think it's safe to say I could start pinning ideas any day now!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy New Year! | Goals for the Blog + a Chit Chat Video

One of my goals for this year is to make a concerted effort to dust off this rickety old blog and post regularly on here. I have become much more active over on my YouTube channel, but sometimes I think there's a place for both. I don't have a whole lot of free time, but I hope to post one to two blogs per month, and would like to, at the very least, share some of the same topics that I'm talking about over on my vlog.

I also have a goal of migrating over to Wordpress, which I hope will include a whole new design. I'm on the hunt for someone who can do great design work, so let me know if you have suggestions!

I also have a goal of attending one blogging or vlogging class, conference, or workshop to focus on skill building.

What are your goals? Are you a blogger AND vlogger? If so, how do you determine what you'll post where? Are you a blogger thinking about venturing into the world of vlogs? (Do it!!) Are you a vlogger hoping to expand your blogging skills? Or are you like me and hoping to do a bit of both? I'd love to hear from you guys!

Finally, if you'd like to see my full chat on what my plans are for my YouTube channel this year, and also a bit of a discussion about dreaded post-breastfeeding weight gain (and what I'm hoping to do about it), take a peek here:

I hope to see you on the vlog, and over here very soon! I have a blog post already completed with details about Wren's camping 4th birthday party, so look for that shortly!

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year, no matter what your goals may be!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Bloglovin' {Get with the Times!}

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I finally made the leap and joined Bloglovin'! I'd love if you'd head over there and follow the blog. I feel a little overwhelmed by social media, to be honest. The blog has certainly taken a backseat as I've grown my YouTube channel. I hate that, but I feel like our family is on the verge of some peace, at which time I hope to have more time to devote to my vlogs AND some blogs! I also need to be better about embedding some of my videos here into blog posts because I know there are still a good number of you following along over here!

A little family update: Wren will be 4 in November and Piper will be one this month (what?!?!). My girls are the joy of my life, and life is quite busy! I began a new job about 3 months ago, and we also started a business 2 years ago. I decided to put my frugalista ways into action and we began a children's consignment event. We've enjoyed growing that and have had a ton of fun meeting some other moms and getting some great bargains! Life is crazy, to say the least. This summer has been full of spending as much time with our nephews as we could because they moved to Florida. The girls are so good, and so fun. And so sassy!

Anyway, I just wanted to make a really quick update to let you know that I'm still around. If you'd like to really catch up with us, head over to my YouTube channel. I'm vlogging every day for the month of August and have some really fun things planned!

We'll see you soon, thanks for sticking with me, friends!!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

The Perfect Gift for a New Big Sister

I received a complimentary copy of Wren's book from I See Me! to facilitate this review.
All opinions expressed are my own and I am not being compensated for my review.

As I was preparing Wren's Big Sister gift, the one that we would give her upon the arrival of her baby sister, I really wanted something that would be personalized just for her and help us instill a sense of pride in her for her exciting new role as Big Sister.

The star of the show in her Big Sister care package was this beautifully illustrated I See Me! Personalized Book: 

Naturally, we chose, "The Super, Incredible Big Sister," book. The great thing about this book is that it is completely customizable and allows you to indicate whether the new baby is a boy or a girl, and you can even include the names of both Big Sister and the new baby. Obviously they also make this in a version for a big brother.

As you can see, the pages are illustrated in a way that is not only really appealing to a little one, but there are also a lot of conversation starters on each page. You can see lots of different little kids in the picture below, and Wren quickly found the little blonde girl and concluded very quickly that it was her in the picture!

The story itself is very simple but also really sweet. One thing that we have made a point to do since Piper arrived was to remind Wren often how much her baby sister loves her. We talk about how funny Piper thinks she is, how much she loves to watch her sing and dance, and how she can't wait to grow up to be big enough so they can play together. We want Wren to be proud of Piper and also proud of herself for being a great Big Sister, and this book really reiterates that focus for us. 

With a high quality hardback cover, and 20 pages full of beautiful, whimsical illustrations, I could not be more pleased with this book. Wren is a big fan as well!

As a momma who has not taken the "normal" approach to names, I am fully aware that we will never be able to walk into a store and find a book or a pencil or a shirt with my girls' names on it. I love that I See Me! offers many great products that can be personalized just for my girls.

I See Me! offers a plethora of personalized books for every occasion...holidays, adoption, back to school, birthdays, and more. Some of my personal favorites are "The Very Important Preschooler," and the classic, "Who Loves Me? Personalized Book." I love that they offer a full tour of each book so that you can see how and where they are individually personalized, and so that you can read the story in its entirety.

They don't stop just at personalized books though! There is also a great selection of puzzles, growth charts, stickers, coloring books, placemats, and more! I've already got my eye on this adorable lunchbox for when Wren starts preschool, and I think this personalized coloring book is going to go perfectly in Wren's Easter basket!

I can't say enough great things about I See Me! While the price point is certainly an investment, the way I look at it is that these are items Wren (and Piper) will have for years to come. I don't ever foresee myself getting rid of Wren's Big Sister book. It's something that I will save for her forever!

I would highly recommend signing up for the I See Me! Newsletter, which you will be prompted to do if you head over to their website. They are always offering fun promotions, discounts, and coupon codes, so if you have your eye on anything for the special little one in your life, definitely get on their mailing list and watch for a deal! They also have special promotions on their Facebook page that are just for Facebook fans, so head over there as well.
Other places to engage with I See Me!:

If you'd like to hear more about why we loved this book, check out my video review here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Wren's Mermaid Birthday Party

We had a wonderful time celebrating Wren's third birthday earlier this month! We decided to keep it very small and stick to just having her cousins over. I asked what she wanted as the theme and I got a resounding "Mermaids!" response. So I got Pinspired and had so much fun getting creative with the party.
I will also link where appropriate, but I will mention that a TON of blogs had similar ideas and I saw a lot of the same ideas in several spots, so definitely check out my Pinterest board to get more specifics.
General D├ęcor & Food:
I loved the mermaid fin wall that I saw on Meaningful Mama's blog. I decided to do my own version using lots of glittery, sparkly paper (on sale at Michaels!) and I covered the desk/buffet station wall as the backdrop for the drinks and desserts.
Not pictured, I made an altered version of THIS blue punch. It was so tasty and looked adorable inside the mason jars. For the jar toppers, I just roughly drew some circles onto scrapbook paper and then laminated so the liquid wouldn't make the tops soggy.

These clam cookies were so easy. I got the swirl cookies from, of all places, the Dollar Store, and they were actually really good! I used a premade tub of icing, my pastry tube, and some white Sixlets that I got at Party City for the pearls.

I was so pleased with the cake! When I went into the bakery, I had 2 ideas in my mind. One was a cake that looked like the fin wall, similar to Mindful Mama's, and the other was an ombre cake made to look like waves. As luck would have it, the bakery had one of the ombre ones on display and I loved it! I didn't want to cut it! I added a starfish that I got at Michael's, and before we sang to Wren, we added a blonde mermaid to look like the birthday girl. I made the mermaids with some leftover sparkly paper the Life is a Beach Cricut Cartridge.

When I asked Wren what kind of cake she wanted, she didn't care except to say that she wanted pink. You can see her pleased little face when she saw that it was, in fact, PINK on the inside!
We had "Mermaid Munchies" of Saltwater Taffy and coral-esque rock candy. We also made "Sea Turtles" that were the simple Pretzel-Rolo-Pecan turtles that are so easy and so incredibly delicious.

We also served "Seashell Pasta Salad," "Chicken Salad of the Sea," which was Josh's homemade chicken salad, and "Crablegs and Seaweed" veggies and dip.

 The first activity was one I didn't see on any other blogs, but it was really fun for all of the kids. All of the parents were nervous about paint on our carpet, but I wasn't worried about that. It was all washable and we didn't have any issues.

Since all but 1 of Wren's cousins are boys, I didn't want everything to be too princess-ish and girly. I wanted the boys to have fun, too, so I decided to get a treasure chest for everyone that they could decorate and then they could go searching for treasure.
I set everything up on Wren's craft table from her playroom. It is low to the ground so we didn't have to worry about chairs for all of the kids. I got a variety of treasure chests (using coupons from Michaels and Hobby Lobby), put lots of paint, Do A Dot Markers, Crayola markers, and some "jewels" that I got in the dollar section of Joann's for the kids to glue on. 

Then when they were done decorating their treasure chests, it was time to go hunt for treasure! This beautiful trunk is one that my Papaw got for me at an auction, and it was the perfect prop for their treasure. I got the sequined fabric at Joann's, and then we added Ring Pops, pearl necklaces, eye patches, Trader Joe's gold coins, candy necklaces, and some huge diamonds and a crown that Josh found. I loved how this turned out, but I didn't get a great picture of what was inside. (If you check out my vlog, you'll see a better view of what is inside.)

We also played "Pin the Fin," which was an free download that I found from the Parties and Patterns blog. What's a birthday party without some sort of "Pin" game?!

Here it is with the fins after everyone had a turn.

This is the best picture I got of Wren's adorable skirt. (Is there a toddler on the planet who actually poses for pictures? Because my girl wasn't having any of it!)

I cannot say enough wonderful things about the Wicked Cute Kidz Etsy shop. She was great to work with and shipped this out so quickly! It couldn't be more adorable.
And baby sister got in the mermaid spirit, too!
I think that's it! If you'd like to see more, check out my vlog about the party here:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Guess Who?!

Well. It only took me 11 months, but I'm back! A lot (like, a TON!) has happened in the 11 months since I posted.

Mainly, this little beauty:
Piper arrived 10 days early on August 11th after a pretty wonderful pregnancy and an incredible and swift delivery.

She is sweet as can be.

Big sister has adjusted really well. She is so proud of her baby sister.
Wren just turned 3 (I'll be posting pics of her mermaid birthday party soon!) and she is seriously the most adorable little girl. Her imagination is insane. She's still really shy, and very opinionated (read: stubborn), but she is my pride and joy. She's my little fashionista partner in crime as you can see:
Anyway, I wanted to make a quick catch-up post. I've appreciated all of the emails I've received asking about us and how things were going. I apologize for the blogging hiatus. I have been very active over on my YouTube channel, so if you want to see more clips of Wren, updates on my pregnancy, etc., head over there!

I've got some fun things coming up here on the blog, so stay tuned! Also, I've made the whole Google+ switch, so you can find me there, too!

See you soon, and thanks for sticking with me! :)

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Wren's Special Announcement

I wanted this to be the first thing I share on my blog in 2013!
We'll be 10 weeks tomorrow.
EDD is August 22, 2013.

More to come soon!

In the meantime, check out this cute video of our little lady announcing that she'll be a big sis.


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