Up Up & Away Co-Ed Baby Shower

How’s that for a throwback?? This picture is from 2010. 2010. Say hello to the skinnier, baby-faced, dating versions of Daniel, Laura, Tiffany, and Cole. :) We share a very special kindred-spirit kind of friendship with the Newtons, and it’s been wonderful to watch them go from friendship to dating, to engagement, to marriage, to ministry, and now to parenthood. I’ve known for years that I would throw Tiffany a bomb.com baby shower, and I FINALLY got the chance last month!

Originally, the plan was for Tiffany to come to the shower with her baby still swimming around in her belly for another month, but baby Éowyn surprised us all and came 5 weeks early! There is NOTHING like going to the hospital to see some of your best friends with their new baby, exhausted but glowing with love for that little life they created. We got to praise God together for a safe, easy birth for Tiffany and the fact that no extra oxygen was needed for Éowyn, even though her lungs were and are still developing. The Newton girls are both warriors. Baby girl is so, so tiny, and getting to hold her made my heart burst!

I don’t remember when exactly it happened, but several years ago, Tiffany and I started talking about babies. Up until this point, we did literally everything else within months of each other – dating, engagements, finishing school, weddings, new jobs, new homes, even getting dogs – so it was just natural to imagine our future kids and arrange their marriages. I have a vivid memory of her saying she wanted to decorate a nursery with hot air balloons, and from that moment on, I always knew that whenever I threw her a shower, it would be hot air balloon-themed.

In all honesty, this is probably my favorite shower I’ve ever thrown. I put months of thought into the little details, and I’m over the moon about how great it turned out. I couldn’t have done it without the help of my co-hosts though – I owe a huge “thank you” to Brittany, Lenzie, and Pamela for their hard work, and to Nancy at the museum for helping me pull this thing off!

The Three Valley Museum was an absolutely wonderful place to host this shower. The exposed beams, brick walls, and vintage accents created the perfect atmosphere for a fun, adventure-themed party! Nancy made my job so much easier – all I had to do was set up the decorations and the food. The tables, chairs, coffee, and GORG antique wagon that served as the food table were all provided by the museum. I love discovering new event venues, and this one will definitely stay on my short list.

When guests came in, they were encouraged to sign the globe guest book and write pieces of advice to the new parents. I put pieces of paper with individual alphabet letters printed on them on each table and asked guests to color a picture of anything that started with that letter. The pages would later be turned into a homemade alphabet book for baby Eowyn. And I got everything from nice things like “Y for Yellow Yak” to a bizarre drawing of nothing but eyeballs as “A for Albino.” Thank you, Jeremy Burns.

THE MENU: 

Snack bags on the guest tables
Cupcakes
Individual veggie cups
Chips & snack mix
“Babies” in a blanket
Coffee bar
Fruit-infused water
Hot air balloon cake balls

The cupcakes had a special twist. Before we knew baby Newton was a girl, my original plan was to create a mini blue cake and a mini pink cake, and fill one of them with colored frosting. Cole would cut into one and Tiffany would cut into the other, and whichever one was filled would be the supposed gender of their baby. Instead, I just made two pink ombre cakes, and I filled one of the cupcakes! I created a sign to display next to the cupcakes with a caution for guests to choose wisely – whoever chose the sprinkles-filled cupcake would be the next to get pregnant. And, of course, it was hilarious when Tiffany’s younger brother Kevin discovered he had picked that special cupcake!

All of the decor was DIY. I was really nervous because I hadn’t ever worked with giant balloons before, but they turned out great! I ordered the balloons and nets online, and got most of the baskets from Hobby Lobby on sale. The banners were individual triangles…cut out and painstakingly taped on string…by me. (Labor of love.) Because the museum was already decorated, I didn’t have to bring anything with me besides tablecloths, the hot air balloon centerpieces, Mason jars for the paper pinwheels, my giant chalkboard, and little odds and ends like sequin table runners and stuff for the guest book table.

mom and dad

This was the only picture I got of the sweet parents. Seriously – she does not look like she just had a baby, am I right??

And I had to take a pic of two of my favorite guys! :) This little dude made me an aunt. I can’t believe he’s already two years old.

IMG_0079

Honest to goodness – could not be happier with how this shower turned out. I’m still really proud of myself and so thankful to the co-hosts for everything they did. Thanks again to Pam, Brittany, and Lenzie! And happy parenthood to Tiffany and Cole – you’ll probably never sleep ever again. ;)

 If you need help planning a party on a budget, picking a theme, or figuring out a menu or decorating scheme…let me know! I’d love to schedule a consultation (a fancy word for “let’s go get ice cream and hang out”). Hope you have a lovely week!

Vacation Reveal #2: Simma Family Edition

If you missed my first vacation reveal, here’s a quick recap: Daniel and I are cruising to Alaska this year, and I’m freaking out about it a little SO MUCH. But we’re also visiting another new place with my family! Daniel and I haven’t taken a trip with my family since we met almost 8 years ago, and I’m over the moon about the chance to bring together two of my favorite things – traveling with my family and traveling with Daniel. When my siblings and I were kids, we used to go to Mississippi to see our grandparents twice a year, every year: once in the summer and once for Christmas. It became a much-loved tradition, and I have many fond memories of listening to Adventures in Odyssey, stopping at the same travel plazas to get snacks, reading an entire book series during the 12-hour drive, holding our breath over the Mississippi bridge, and (when we got older) watching movies on the laptop. My family hasn’t really traveled long-distance since my grandparents moved to Oklahoma, so a trip together has been long overdue!

I’m dying with happiness over the fact that we’re going to….

colorado

COLORADO.

(Just typing it makes me shiver with excitement.)

My parents have been several times, including for their honeymoon, but none of us kids have been before. I’ve been dreaming about seeing genuine, huge mountains for my whole life, and if just looking at pictures of them can make me feel things, I can’t even imagine what it will be like to actually stand in front of one. I’m preparing for my breath to be stolen again and again!

We’re going to spend almost a week in a timeshare cabin outside of Pagosa Springs. While we’re there, we’ll take a ride on the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad train, go whitewater rafting, and possibly even visit Mesa Verde National Park. And our home for the week looks awesome!

I’M. SO. READY.

I’ve never been to Colorado before, and I’m not sure what to pack! We’ll be there during the summer. Any suggestions?

DIY Healthy Snack Bins

I’m so glad Pinterest exists.

I love snacking way too much, and I’m much more likely to grab something unhealthy when I get the munchies, especially since unhealthy things are so convenient. But I finally bit the bullet and brought one of my multiple-years-old Pinterest pins to life: a grab-and-go snack bin!

I made one box for the fridge and another for the pantry. This project only took me about 20 minutes to do, and I didn’t spend any extra money than I usually would at the store.

Here’s what I picked for each box:

FRIDGE:
String cheese/co-jack cheese slices
Honeycrisp apples
Tapioca pudding
Strawberries
Red grapes
Petite baby carrots

PANTRY:
Ritz cracker sandwiches
Pretzels
White cheddar popcorn
Granola bars
Trail mix

Before you judge me, I realize that not all of these are necessarily “healthy.” But everything is around 150 calories or less, and the fact that the snacks are prepackaged forces me to eat smaller portions. And that is a big step forward, because now, I no longer have an excuse for eating an entire family-size bag of white cheddar popcorn in one sitting.

I’ll definitely keep up with this project! I’ve already decided to change up the box every so often with different easy snacks, like…

⋅ Hard-boiled eggs
⋅ Sliced cantaloupe
⋅ Homemade protein balls
⋅ Bananas w/ peanut butter
⋅ Edamame
⋅ Yogurt cups
⋅ Dried fruit
⋅ Homemade popcorn

Feeling inspired and/or ambitious? Let me know what you think in the comments! Or better yet, go make one of your own, and send me a picture! Happy Monday, y’all :)