Thursday, July 18, 2013


Echinacea, also known as the Purple Coneflower, has got to be one of the easiest flowers to grow.

When we moved into our apartment where we live now (about 3 years ago), there were some blooming along the driveway. Very pretty, a nice touch of color in the summertime.

After each season I have cut them down nearly to the ground and that's that. Each year they come back on their own...usually spreading out more and more each year.

The first year I dried a bunch of them and saved the seeds, but I never had to re-plant them (so, I have a whole bunch of seeds if you want some easy to care for flowers!) 

Anyway....the second year they came up, we noticed that some of them were WHITE instead of purple. These are apparently called "White Swan Echinacea".  Why they weren't there the first year and then they were the second and third, I don't know, but they are pretty too and we don't mind the additional flowers.

Now, just the other day I was out looking through our flowers and noticed that one of our purple ones has two heads! Apparently its not uncommon with Echinacea, but I still thought it was really fun!

So, that was my fun find of the day.

I will say though, that even though they are SUPER easy to grow and require almost NO maintenance, I do have just ONE problem with the Echinacea, and that is how much the bees LOVE it. There is always a group of bees flying around our cluster of flowers.

I know, I know....Bees are good for pollination and all that, and we love Bee Movie at our house...but I still hate them. I've been stung a few too many times (most recently a couple weeks ago on the top of my foot, GR!) to fall into the category of people who say "leave them alone and they'll leave you alone." 

Oh well, I guess I'll deal with them as long as they keep my flowers blooming :-)

Monday, July 15, 2013

Memorial Day 2013

To start back off on the right foot, I thought I'd start off with a fun post which you may find to be a recurring theme here: Memorial Day.

I know, I seems like it was forever ago already, but we always have a lot of fun on Memorial Day, and I have a few really awesome things I want to share with you all. 

One reason I love to share with you all is because I know many people out there are still on a limited budget, or are simply "bargain hunters". We are always working with a limited budget, so I love sharing with everyone all of the simple, cute, budget friendly, easy ways to make your parties POP. 

I wont lie....a lot of my ideas this year came from Pinterest. But, I always love finding an amazing DIY or Craft on Pinterest that actually works, so I love to share all those great ideas that actually work with you too :)

I'll even be nice and NOT do a picture overload post for my first post back, I'll just hit all the fun highlights and do a mini overload :-)

Off to it then!

First, the decorations:

To start, my mom was awesome and brought these cute little red, silver and blue stars, mason jars, rocks to weigh them down, and red doily's to go underneath. I didn't have enough time to finish up enough centerpieces I was making myself, so these were the perfect addition to fill in the table with. They were simple, yet incredibly cute.

Next, I have seen quite a few posts about coffee filter flowers and garlands, and being able to stain or color the coffee filters. I looked up a couple tutorials and thought that they would make great centerpieces and a cute garland. Coffee filters are incredibly cheap (I think i bought a package of 150 for about $4.00?) so there was no way I was NOT going to try it.

I used the "dip dye" method for my flowers, which is fairly simple. The worst part was finding somewhere for them to dry when we had no clothes pins (I rigged something up with safety pins on our drying rack), then waiting for them to dry. 

The result was a darling garland that we hung along the retaining wall that runs along our driveway, and some super cute centerpieces:




Now...about those centerpieces. 

I was inspired by another amazing blogger over at A-Z Celebrations, who originally shared a DIY on how to make them for Cinco De Mayo. (See her full post HERE).

They were SUPER simple to make..
Well...they should have been, but I tried to use super glue instead of hot glue (fail...always use the hot glue)....then I tried to add stems to the flowers instead of just using ribbon, and then I had to have rocks in the bottom to hold the stems up and the flowers kept falling off...and yeah...

Just follow her DIY and your life will be MUCH simpler and all the more cute. They are super budget friendly and stunning on any table and you can do them in ANY colors. 


I think paper straws are as much a part of the decor as they are useful, so we'll throw them in with the decor too. The straws were purchase from a shop on Etsy called The Party Fairy.

She has all kinds of great party goods, and I couldn't resist the combination of the Chevron with the Stars for these straws. I threw them into a mason jar and that's all they needed!


Next: Some fun outfit additions :-)

It's been noted that I wear a lot of dark colors. Lots of black, grey and sometimes blues, so finding something Red, White AND Blue to wear was difficult for me. I decided I would wear what I was comfortable in, and just add some festive decor to my outfit. 

I purchased a simple Chiffon Lace flower on Etsy from Wholesale Dezigns.
I slid a piece of round felt into a bobby pin, and hot glued the flower to the felt and pin. 

Quick, simple hair flair!


Next, I made a cute pin from my own Spiral Paper Flowers, covered them in glitter spray and they were a shiny fun addition to my ensemble.

Lastly, I fell in love with these leg warmers I had spied on Etsy at Three Bird Nest a while back. Luckily, the went on sale about a month before Memorial Day, and I had to scoop them up.

Even though it was a little hot, I HAD to wear them. The Uncle Sam in the parade (who walks with the Uncle Sam Choir) absolutely LOVED them, and had to point them out to the entire choir that was riding on the float behind him.

 Makes for a fun story, if nothing else ;-)


Lastly: Food and Drinks!

Oh my goodness! I think I had too much fun this year with our food...but it was too fun not to.

First of all...Did you know that you CAN, in fact, dye pasta while you cook it?? This is one of those things that I wasn't sure would work or not when I read it...but it was really simple and came out so fun!
Of course, my pasta had to be Red, White and Blue, so I did have to cook it in 3 batches, but that means I ended up with some really fun pasta salad!

Yes, those are cute little red and blue pasta stars. You simply just need to add food coloring to the water before you add the pasta and as it cooks, it sucks in the food coloring. This might LOOK better with an Italian dressing type of salad (so the Mayo doesn't drown out some color), but we love our Tuna mac salad in our family, so this is what we got :)

Another awesome find: Did you know that you can layer drinks based on their sugar content??
I knew you could layer alcoholic drinks, and I always thought that was based on alcohol content...but these drinks are 100% alcohol free, and were actually really tasty, even though there are 3 different flavors of drinks in there!


The cups are simply clear plastic cups and I rimmed them with Red, White and Blue rimming sugar that I purchased from Dell Cove Spices on Etsy.

It did take me 3 tries to get the layering right, and I had to look up tips online in order to get it to work.
The biggest trick to this is to add the first color (the one with the most sugar content, the one you want on the bottom) and then fill the cup with ice. Then you SLOWLY pour the next one over the ice so that it doesn't mix. The results are totally worth the multiple tries to get it right!

(My first attempts results)

For my drinks I used:
Red: Ocean Spray Cran-Apple Juice (32g Sugar)
White: White Cherry Powerade (21g Sugar)
Blue: Blueberry Pomegranate G2 (Gatorade) (7g Sugar)


Dessert time! I made two different cakes this year, simply because I couldn't decide between the two. The simple cake was a flag cake, made using a flag shaped Wilton cake pan (purchased at a yard sale for $2?) and decorated with strawberries and blueberries on the outside. The inside was of course, red, white, and blue cake.
This one was cute, but didn't get cut (and therefore pictures of it) until the next day because everyone wanted some of the OTHER cake. 



Now, this second cake was a bit more difficult, but came out great and was the cake that EVERYONE had and raved about.

It looks simple enough on the outside...a white layer cake, covered in sugar (it's actually that rimming sugar from Dell Cove Spices again!. I ordered too much and thought that would be the perfect use for it!) 

The real fun comes when you cut into the cake ;-)



The cake was delicious - simple white box cake, with vanilla frosting. I couldn't find a pre-mixed bag of Red White and Blue M&M's, so my husband and I sorted out Blue and Red in both regular and Mini Size, and the white and dark blue are actually York Peppermint Patty Bites. The touch of mint made a really nice addition to the cake.

The cake was inspired by THIS cake on the Betty Crocker website.

My only issues with the cake were:
1) I have different sized cake pans (6,8,10 and 12") so I had to cut my layers to be the same diameter, and it came out a bit uneven (you can see the bowed part in the first picture there).


2) The part I took out in the center was much too large of a circle. It took a LOT of candy to fill it. Not that the kids had any problem with that..


Hope you had a great holiday, and  great 4th of July too!

Party Inspirations:
Recycled Tin Can Centerpieces: A-Z Celebrations
Surprise Cake: Betty Crocker

Party Supplies:
Paper Straws: The Party Fairy
Rimming Sugar: Dell Cove Spices
Flower in hair: Wholesale Dezigns
Flower Pin: Origami Delights
Leg Warmers: Three Bird Nest

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Hello everyone!

I just wanted to give you all a heads up that things are finally winding down a bit here, which means that posting will be revving UP soon! 

I have some really fun and special posts planned, so stick around and keep an eye out for them to start in the next day or two ;-)

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hello out there!

Oh, hello there!

Yes, I am still here and well. I hope you are as well!

Thank you to all my wonderful readers, followers, and friends who continue to hang around and check in, even when I have gone weeks without posting.

I know my posts have been sporadic (to say the least!) but I want this blog to be successful. The issue keeping me from posting more often at the moment is simple - it's work.

I currently have 2 part time jobs, in addition to my own small business AND my Etsy shop (which has done so well and has amazingly become nearly a full time job on its own, Thank you everyone!), plus finding time for family time and activities with my husband and two boys.

It seems like a lot (and it is, trust me) but at the moment it is necessary. 

So, to say the least, blogging has fallen a bit lower on the ladder of "things I need to do today." 

I hope that you will all continue to hang around and check in here and there with me. I have some great posts lined up to share with you guys when things slow down a little. Until then, I will post as often and as much as I can, and I hope you enjoy what I can share with you all.

Have a great day, and I'll be back to you all soon :-)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Time Flies...

Can you believe its already February? An entire week into it at that.

It seems like Christmas and New Years were just days ago. 

I think that is one of the problems of ALWAYS being busy - time just zips right on by and before you know it, another day...week...month..year has passed.

Anyway...the big talk around here right now is SNOW. 

I love snow. I don't ski...I don't like the cold...but I definitely love it when we get a big storm...and boy are we about to get it!

Well....really...we are only in the 12+ range, but I'll have to take what I can get.

Why do I like snow so much, you ask?

It's beautiful to look at (before it gets plowed and muddled brown with dirt).
It's beautiful for pictures.
It's FUN to go sledding and have snowball fights and make snowmen with the kiddos.
(Don't tell my mom...she HATES snow and is already cursing it, I'm sure)

We have plans to go sledding on Saturday, since we haven't gone all year. Last time it snowed, it was about 5* out the next day which is, of course, no good for taking the kids out.

So, we are ExCiTeD to say the least :)

Stay warm, and snowball fight on!