A Baby Shower for Dara + Baby Berry

2D032AEF-9273-4B08-9571-BEE428B87B50

Last Sunday, I had the great privilege of throwing a baby shower for my sweet friend Dara, and it was the cutest thing, if I do say so myself! Dara and her husband Les are in my community group from church, and we were just over the moon for them when they told us she was pregnant. I knew instantly that I had to throw her a party – that was the easy part. The hard part came when it was time to pick a theme, because the Wesberrys decided to wait until the birth to find out if “Baby Berry” is a he or a she!

Soon after they told us the news, our group quickly started referring to the baby as “Baby Berry,” so I decided to carry the berry motif into the baby shower too. At first, I worried that it might be too girly, if Baby Berry is a boy, but then I thought…who cares?? The shower is kiiiiiind of for the baby, but mostly for Mama, and I definitely want a shower that the mom likes. Dara is super girly and always looks so cute, so I knew this theme would be right up her alley.

55F2308F-2A6B-4CEC-AFB5-C447CCFD2289

The menu included mini berry cheesecakes (thanks Mistie!), mini strawberry shortcakes, and “pop”corn chicken (since, ya know, she’s about to POP). Two of my favorite touches, however, were the strawberry mason jars and the balloon garland. I loved the triple-layer detail of the drinking glasses – doily, strawberry, tied with twine. And that balloon garland….whoo, y’all. Labor of love, right there! I blew all of those balloons up with my own hot air, and tied each one individually to a long piece of twine. It took hours, but it was worth it!! (I have since been told about something magical called balloon decorating strip on Amazon, which I will 100% use next time. lol)

We played a couple of games, including a hilarious round of Baby Pictionary, but my favorite activity was making a birth day banner for Dara. I bought a blank pennant banner and gave each person a piece of it to write out an encouraging note or prayer to Dara. After I strung all the pieces back together, I gave it to her to put in her “go bag” so she can hang it up at the hospital for encouragement while she’s in labor! I absolutely adore this idea, and I hope to replicate it at every baby shower I host from now on.

On the way out, guests grabbed favor baskets – berry baskets filled with a bottled drink, a ring pop, and a note encouraging them to “Pop It When She Pops” and enjoy a toast on whatever day Dara has the baby.

Cute little mama with her mama. :) I swear, I have the prettiest friends, and I know she’ll have the prettiest baby – boy or girl! Can’t wait to cuddle that little one!! ♥

If you need help planning a party, let ya girl know – I’d love to get ice cream or coffee with you sometime and talk about your vision!

Guest Room: Midnight Snack Basket

How many times have you spent the night at someone else’s house, only to have a snack craving after your host has already gone to bed? Unless your host is your own mom or you haven’t eaten in three days, you’re probably not going to sneak into the kitchen and rummage through the pantry. But any guest who stays at MY house doesn’t have to sneak around, because I put snacks in their room for them!

9575F854-40D2-41C6-8CD5-5AEAF6998FD4

It’s important to me that people feel comfortable at my house, whether they come visit for an hour or stay for a couple of days, and giving them a great place to sleep is a big part of that. Even when Daniel and I were newly married and living in a tiny apartment, I dreamed of having an inviting, cozy guest bedroom for guests to use. I inherited my love of hosting people in my home from my mother, and I hope that someday I’m as great of a host as she is!

A38CE360-BB14-4572-A29D-42257403CF2E

If you have a guest room and want to really kick it up a notch, making a snack basket is a super easy way to start. I just try to cover the basics and think about what kinds of things people might forget or want when they aren’t staying in their own home. Your options are virtually limitless, and you can change it up throughout the year too! Here’s a short list of what I typically try to keep in mine:

Magazine
Lotion
Hand sanitizer
Anti-wrinkle spray
Chapstick
Bottled water
Snacks
Gum or mints

I also have a little basket of toiletries in the bathroom! Again, I just stick with the basics: toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and face wash.

This isn’t an expensive project, but it can have a big impact. With just a little bit of effort, you can make your guests feel extra special when they stay with you!

What little details make you feel taken care of when you’re a guest in someone else’s home?

Playing Catch Up

It does NOT feel possible that tomorrow is the first day of November. October went by in a FLASH, and boy was it full! I’ve got lots of content planned, but here’s a little preview/life update in the meantime!

This wasn’t technically in October, but I hosted a sprinkles-themed baby shower for my friend Brianna and her baby girl Mallorie, and it was so perfect!! I’ll share more pictures soon. I can’t wait to meet Mallorie in a few short weeks!

Daniel and I got to take a trip to Las Vegas at the beginning of the month, because I EARNED IT. Still doesn’t feel real to say that, even though I’ve got the pictures and everything to prove it. I met some goals in my MONAT business this year and earned this trip, for free. We stayed at the Planet Hollywood resort, and it did not disappoint!

Fitz continued to be adorable, like always.

Speaking of adorable – I got to welcome the most perfect human into the world last week, and my heart still explodes every time I look at this picture. Say hello to my “nephew”/self-appointed secondary child by proxy, Cole Alan! ♥♥♥

I also got to check something off of my 30 By 30 list – throwing someone a surprise party! And what an EPIC surprise party it was. My friend Sheridan wanted to throw one for her husband, Jeremy, and asked me to help. It was incredibly nerve-wracking keeping the secret and hoping it didn’t get ruined, but we pulled it off! Jeremy was very surprised, and we had a blast celebrating with everyone. And it’ll be really hard to top a Stranger Things theme.

What a lovely month it was! Stay tuned for more detailed posts and lots more photos of our October adventures :) 

DIY Gift for a Mama-to-Be

For those of you who don’t already know – MY COUSIN IS PREGNANT!! And I’m over the moon!!! (Obviously, because of all the exclamation points.) I’m so ready to cuddle Mini Briggs this fall, and I’ve thrown myself into baby shower planning, especially now that we know Mini B is a BOY. :) I’m a big gift giver, though, so I couldn’t stop myself from giving Jennifer a “mama-to-be” present a few weeks after she told me she was pregnant.

In the basket:

Tums Chewables
Baby book
Mom’s favorite snacks
Water bottle
Stretch mark cream
Baby boots (gender neutral)
Prenatal vitamins
Super-soft black leggings

I also got her a 10×10 wood pallet wall hanging (not pictured) and some mini bottles of paint. She loves crafting, and I knew she’d enjoy making something for the nursery!

A DIY gift basket like this doesn’t have to be complicated. If you know the mom really well, pick things that make you think of her, things you know she’ll like. If you DON’T know the mom well enough to pick out her favorite things, that’s okay! Avoid the snacks and stick to the more practical stuff, like comfy PJs, gender-neutral baby items, and pregnancy survival necessities. No matter what you give her, though, make sure you pick out a sweet card. Or better yet, write a note inside the baby book!

Mamas, what was the best pregnancy/baby gift you received?

30 By 30 Update, June 2017

Y’all I’m SO FIRED UP right now!! I have checked a bunch of stuff off my list lately, and I’m totally giddy. Something about crossing things off of a checklist gives me a boost of energy to go cross everything else off. Haha! Here’s what I’ve done since my last update in November:

#2 – Take an Alaskan cruise. I cannot appropriately explain how mind-blowingly awesome this trip was. We got to visit Seattle, Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay, Ketchikan, and Victoria. Plus, we got to take anniversary pictures in Juneau (SWOON) and hang out with friends on our last day in Seattle! Dreamy, amazing, once-in-a-lifetime experience. I’m still reeling from the beauty of it all.

#6 – Read 10 new books. I really feel like I’m on a roll with this one. I’ve finished a bunch since my last update, and I’m excited about the ones in my ‘queue’. So far, I’ve read Bossypants by Tina Fey, The Energy Bus by Jon Gordon, The Defining Decade by Meg Jay, Adulting: How to Become a Grown-Up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown, and Wild and Free by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan. Our community group from church is reading The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller, and I’m also working my way through Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers again (I’ve read it before, but MAN it’s so good).

#11 – Deliver meals to new parents. So far, we’ve taken food to the Whitley family to celebrate baby Abigail, and the Newton family to celebrate baby Éowyn! And there are lots more babies coming this year (including my first niece, Karis – she’s a doll!!), so I know we’ll get to do this again. :)

#18 – Take anniversary pictures with Daniel. Check check CHECK!! I don’t know if we’ll ever be able to top the experience of one of our wedding photographers, the amazing Catie Bartlett, taking our pictures at a glacial lake in Alaska.

#20 – Update my home décor. Technically this one was already on my last update, but I’ve added new things since! I got a gorgeous wooden ‘Oklahoma’ from my mom for Christmas, I updated our living room bookcases with new decorations, added a gallery wall in our master bedroom, and finally decorated the guest bathroom with an easy DIY craft project that I unfortunately did not take pictures of – bad Laura.

#21 – Make our backyard fun. There’s still lots to do, but adding some globe string lights and a planter of wildflowers definitely improved the back porch!

#26 – Visit 5 new states. Washington, Alaska, and Colorado are new additions – three down, two to go! We technically visited Utah…but we were only in the airport, so it doesn’t really count.

#30 – Take a road trip. The Simma clan family vacation to Colorado helped me knock this one out. Wayyy too many hours spent in the car, but lots of music, pretty views, snacks, and inside jokes with my siblings made it better.


Can’t wait to keep checking more off of this list – almost a third of the way through, and I still have 2½ years to finish the rest! To check out what else is on my list, go here.

 

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!

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 :)

Spring Cleaning: 60 Things in 60 Days

60-things-in-60-days

Since it’s March (and I’ve basically given up on ever getting to enjoy snow again in 2017), I’m starting a spring cleaning challenge! I found this adorably awesome post by Magnolia Moon while Robyn and I were in Chicago over Christmas break, and I knew instantly that I wanted to do it. De-cluttering my house AND only having to sort through one thing per day? Win win.

I still hate cleaning with my entire being (there’s a song in there somewhere..), but ever since the experience I had doing the dishes with God, cleaning is becoming weirdly therapeutic for me. Even though I’d still rather listen to NPR for 8 hours than spend 15 minutes cleaning my kitchen, I’m starting to see every act of service, every moment I choose to take care of my blessing of a home, for what it really is.

WORSHIP.

Everything we do is a way to prove that we mean it when we say we ‘love’ God. It’s not enough to love Him with our words – “Actions speaker louder” and all that. :)

Wanna join me in the challenge?? Comment below, head over to Magnolia Moon’s website for a free printable list, and tag me in your spring cleaning pictures on social media! 

Facebook | Instagram | Pinterest

World’s Okayest Party Planner: Part II

img_1753

I realize I haven’t thrown THAT many parties, but this will probably always be one of my favorites, no matter how many more I plan. I started planning this party the moment I found out Daniel had passed his first CPA exam. I didn’t know when I would get to bring it to life, but I knew it would happen eventually! I never doubted that he would pass every exam, and this party was the perfect way to celebrate his hard work.

img_1728

I also realize that camping and lumberjacks aren’t really a “new” party theme, but I thought it would be a fun theme for a manly celebration. The best part was that pretty much all of this party was DIY! The main way I kept costs down was by borrowing and re-purposing most of the decorations. My mom is one of those party-planning, quilt-making, dessert-baking, basically-everything-domestic creative geniuses, and she always adds such perfect touches in her own decorating. I knew I could count on her to have some cute camping/outdoors-themed stuff. The main pieces I borrowed from her were the red/white tablecloth, the red lantern, the silver campfire coffee pot, and the big wood slices (LOVE these). My favorite big decorations, though, were the burlap and plaid strip banner behind the food table, and the “YAY” backdrop with the gold CPA balloons!

The camping-themed menu included:

  • Pretzels and caramel corn
  • Apple cider
  • A chili and hot dog bar with lots of toppings
  • S’mores cupcakes
  • Candy corn and candy pumpkins

The cupcakes didn’t turn out quite like I planned, but my meltdown only lasted about 3 minutes, and then I got over myself and made it work. GIANT shout out to my mom and my mom-in-law for helping with everything from food to serving to helping clean up!

I think I mentioned this before, but I find beauty in little details. Sometimes the smallest things can make a big impact. For example, for this party, we ate off of metal pie tins instead of plain old plates! (Sidebar: I wanted to get wooden silverware, but I ran out of time. Boo.) Mom also made the cutest tiny tree confetti to sprinkle on the tables, and I used other little things like my wood candle holders, my mustache mug, and the blue speckled spoons (also from my mom) to reinforce the woodsy, manly vibe.

The best part, of course, was the people who came. Their love and support was overwhelming, and it was so much fun to celebrate with a group of people who love Daniel genuinely and prayed faithfully for us during that season of our marriage!

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!

World’s Okayest Party Planner – Part I

img_1533

Sometimes, I wish that I could just do nothing but plan parties for people I love! It brings me such a unique kind of joy, and it’s one of the only talents I have that I’m genuinely confident about. I’m okay at the piano and I’m an okay singer; I’m barely okay at decorating my house; and I guess I’m okay at writing? But give me a party to plan and I truly feel like I’m in my element.

Last fall gave me two opportunities to share my gifts – (1) a rain-themed baby shower for my dear friend Kelli, her husband Blake, and their son Elijah, and (2) a woodsy, lumberjack bash to celebrate Daniel passing the CPA exams. First was the shower for the Moore family!

Whenever I plan a party, one of my consistent goals is to stay away from anything that is done too often. I like unique themes and little details that make a big statement. My inspiration for Kelli’s shower came from this cute pin I found on Pinterest a few years ago – I mean, Babybel cheese umbrellas?? Come on. I had to.

The final menu included:

  • Chocolate chip and cinnamon streusel muffins
  • Rainbow fruit
  • Babybel cheese umbrellas
  • Cloud and raindrop sugar cookies
  • Turquoise punch (a fancier way of saying “I mixed lemonade and Sprite together, and then spent about 10 minutes trying to put in the perfect amount of blue food coloring”)

I was thrilled with how everything came together! I had a few mishaps, but nothing too tragic. Although I can definitely tell you that I never want to cut out a tiny cloud by hand…ever…again.

Hands down, these were my two favorite things – the ‘too cute to eat’ cookies made by the very talented Marissa Dodd, and the cloud straws (AKA my labor of love).

Cute little parents :)

I think the most fun part was the games. I created something called the Blind Olympics, which consisted of 3 different games that all had to be completed blindfolded. Some were done on teams, and some were completed alone, but all were hilarious. I wish I had taken more pictures of them!

The first game was called “Clean Up After the Baby.” We set up a line of chairs, and one member from each team sat down facing the rest of the group, blindfolded. They were given one bowl full of cotton balls to hold in their lap, an empty bowl to hold on top of their head, and a spoon. The first person to scoop all of the cotton balls out of the bowl in their lap and put them in the bowl on their head was the winner.

The second game was called “Draw the Baby” and was inspired by the game on this post! Instead of just drawing a baby blindfolded, the participants were given a ridiculously short time limit to finish their drawing. They were also given instructions while drawing, such as “Now give the baby an article of clothing” or “Now set the scene – is the baby outside throwing water balloons, or inside drawing on the walls…?” Kelli and Blake judged the drawings and picked two winners: Most Likely to Look Like Their Baby and Most Terrifying-Looking Baby of All Time.

The last game (the BEST game) was called “Feed the Baby.” I divided everyone in to teams of two, and each team was given a jar of applesauce and two spoons. Everyone blindfolded themselves and stood in two lines, each person facing their partner. When I said “go,” the team members fed the applesauce to each other at the same time. The first duo to finish their applesauce won! I don’t think I stopped laughing the entire time they played.

Even the prizes followed the ‘blind’ theme: winners from each game got to draw a random prize out of a giant mystery prize box! I wrapped the top of the box with wrapping paper and cut a hole in the middle, large enough so they could reach in but couldn’t see what they were grabbing. The prizes included cute kitchen towels, Cheese Whiz, movie theater boxes of candy, a top hat, a whoopie cushion, alphabet fridge magnets, an extra-large mason jar travel mug with a lid and straw…all kinds of nonsense.

img_1531

If you liked this party, you’ll definitely want to read my next post: Daniel’s lumberjack CPA bash! Coming soon! :)