Wednesday, July 31, 2013

creating moving cards {with picmonkey}

Hope your week is going good.

Finally my day to day life has gotten to a point where I could take some time to create our moving card to send out to friends & family to let them know our new address. I wanted to make it more personal by including a picture of the front of our home, but blur it out quite a bit so the words were the focus.

Moving card pics 004{here is the picture I chose, unedited}

I used picmonkey with different options to add just a focal point to the front door {since that’s where you greet your guests} and blur out the rest of the photograph. I really love picmonkey! I have photoshop elements, but these days, I find I just use picmonkey since I can pretty much do almost any kind of editing I need to in one place. After I had the picture blurred, I tried different font combinations. I really love a swirly script, but since this is an address card, I didn’t want there to be any possibility that it wouldn’t be completely legible. I am pretty pleased with how it all turned out.

Moving card for blog
I selected an extra-large postcard on recycled paper from vistaprint’s site. They are really very reasonable cost for quite a bit of quantity. They are all addressed now and ready to be mailed.  Address cards, check. {Are you a list checker-offer, too?}

So now on to the next project…

Monday, July 22, 2013

puppy party for Reed’s 4th birthday


Hope you had a great weekend!

I’ll be honest. I am dog-gone tired {pun-intended}. We had Reed’s birthday party on Saturday. It was inspired by all things puppies. He is pretty much obsessed with all things dogs these days, so when I asked him what kind of birthday party he wanted and he said a blue {his favorite color} dog party, this is what I came up with.  I really do love hosting and coming up with creative ideas for food, activities & decor, but putting it all together is still tiring nonetheless. I always think I am going to make it “simple”, but I just can’t. It’s not in my nature, ha ha.

I thought I would share the details of the party. I thought things turned out really cute. We had it at our home, because I think there is something so lovely & comforting about opening your home to your guests {despite recently moving in}.

I found these really charming evites through Finally, an online invitation that looks like you could actually send it in the mail {and some of the designs you actually can}.
So this is what the receivers saw when they opened their invite {with their respective names, of course}:

Puppy Party invite envelope{used the ASPCA “stamp” that dontates 5 cents for every invitation sent}

Puppy Party Invite

puppy party invite message   {we decided a couple years ago that receiving gifts at the parties is just all too much…and frankly, spending the time with people you care about is the best birthday gift of all, and you know what? Reed not once asked where any gifts were}

pawty sign
{little sign at the top of the hill to direct guests through our back gate}

dog house copy {Jeff built this out of two cardboard boxes, we have a few of those around here…and I decorated it}

Table {set up the long table on our screened porch and dog faces & ears on balloons, by yours truly…the sad artist that I am…}

Reeds Pawty Sign 
adopt a puppy

treat table 
treat table 2

bark {Barefoot Contessa’s French Chocolate Bark recipe}

bones 2 {bone shaped rice krispie treats}

fetch sticks 2{pretzel rods dipped in chocolate with bone sprinkles}

puppy chow 2  {everyone has heard of puppy chow, right?}

bone sippy cups

reed and puppy 2  {happy guest of honor with his new adopted "puppy"}

I think everyone enjoyed themselves, kids & adults alike. :) We had hoped to have more of the party outside with it being summer, but it was sooooo ridiculously humid. The kids played outside a bit in the dog house and then we hid some “dog bones” made out of poster board and gave the kids clues where they were hidden, but other than that, they played in the playroom we created on the first floor and upstairs in Reed’s room while the adults hung out in the kitchen where the food and beverages {if you know what I mean"} were. :)

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a gift of dinner {in a crate}

food basket copy

A friend I met last summer {through our kids’ sports class} just had her third little boy last week! I wanted to make life a little easier for her so I made them dinner yesterday and then went to Trader Joe's to get a few extra goodies to round out the meal {I added sea salt brownies & blood orange soda for something festive, yet non-alcoholic} and lined a crate {the kind you can find at any craft store} with some “linen-look” muslin fabric and tied it all up with some jute and a card with dinner instructions. She was touched. :)

I thought I would share this yummy recipe with you. Back in the day when I wasn’t much into cooking, I came up with this recipe, and just have embellished it over the years. It still never disappoints. :)

Sausage Sandwiches {serves 4-6}
1 lb pork sausage {mild or spicy}
8-10oz marinara {jar or homemade}
1 green pepper
1/2 white or yellow onion
3 Tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
hoggie rolls or french rolls
provolone slices

heat oil in pan. Slice pepper & onion into strips and sautee with a pinch of salt & pepper on medium until softened and just starting to brown. Remove from pan and set aside. drain excess oil.

remove sausage from casings and add to pan.  break up into small pieces as it browns. drain excess grease.
add marinara and scrape up brown bits in the pan. simmer for about 10 min to develop flavor.

add sausage to rolls, top with peppers & onions and add a slice or two of cheese and melt under broiler.

make a nice salad and a delicious dinner is served!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

healthier homemade chocolate milk

Hello-hope you had a great weekend.

We hosted dear friends from out of town this past weekend so I cooked up a storm, so I have some yummy recipes that I will have to share with you another time. How about, toasted marshmallow milkshakes, homemade donuts and chicken, tomato and grilled bread kabobs, sounds delicious doesn't it? They were, if I do say so… ha ha

Homemade Chocolate milkV

A couple weeks ago I started making homemade chocolate milk for Reed {well, at least the “chocolate” part is homemade, maybe I will attempt homemade almond milk soon}. I have a goal to keep making more and more things myself because I just need to know exactly what we are eating.

You can certainly use whatever “milk” you want, I just use almond because that’s what we drink. After looking up several recipes online, I tweaked them to make them a bit more chocolate-y and ended up using agave syrup instead of sugar.
I found this super cute “milk” bottle at Pottery Barn so I can make a big batch {about 5-6 servings} and store it in the fridge.

healthier homemade chocolate milk
3 cups of milk {of your choice}
3 Tbsp of cocoa powder
2-3 Tbsp of agave syrup
2 tsp of vanilla extract
Add all ingredients to blender and mix. Voila.

Make some for this kids, they will love this treat {and frankly, you will too}.

Now, its time to start planning a doggie inspired four year old birthday party! Lots of cute, cute ideas out there. I found a charming site for paperless invites that look like stationary you would actually send. Wait until you see!