Tag Archives | Sweet Surprises

Around Here: April 2014

I didn’t think that life could actually get fuller.  And then it did.  April has flown by and I’m trying to catch my breath and replace moments of overwhelm with confident faith that everything that needs to get done will.  This month I have been:

… finishing projects.

… planning surprises.

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… reading this article: I’m Done Making My Kid’s Childhood Magical and reflecting.  A friend sent this and it struck a nerve, especially since I place so much effort and emphasis on crafting beautiful events for the people I care about in my own life.  I both agree and disagree with this eloquent writer.  Childhood is truly a magical time.  I can almost see light bulbs illuminating for Olivia on a daily basis as she learns new skills or simply delights in activities like watching the puppies or walking around the neighborhood.  However, I also firmly believe that parents can create meaningful moments of engagement… there is a place for crafts, party planning, and beautiful decorations within the sphere of fostering beautiful memories.  It all goes back to intention- are you going through the motions simply for the sake of appearances?  Or, are you building a memory?

… visiting a precious newborn!

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… celebrating Easter with our little bunny!

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Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

Easter2014

Photo Credit: TH Photography & Design

… crying after finding this article: Time & Inspiration. LOVE, love, love Kami’s encouragement to embrace “moments of wholeness and tender growth.”  All the overwhelm/stress/anxiety melts away when you read something like this– suddenly your perspective widens and you are able to appreciate the here and now.

… running my silhouette nonstop in preparation for a special bachelorette weekend.

… listening to the magic of these four voices: (and checking off at least one item on my 30 During 30 list!)

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… managing temper tantrums.  My, oh my, yes… we have entered a new phase where running away in a fit of anger and then dropping to the floor in disgust (complete with tears and flailing arms/legs) is a common reaction to a simple redirection.

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… starting a new project.  Based on this inspiration, James is building me an “L” shaped desk in our living room.

Living Room Desk

… searching for delicious protein packed meals that are easy to make.  Cooking motivation is still eluding me!

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30 Days of Thankful: Week 3

Another week has gone by and I am loving Cathy Zielske’s 30 Days of Thankful project.  Here’s a peak at my pages through yesterday:

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Before our trip, my Mom and I stopped at Pottery Barn Kids and I picked up a pack of DIY butterfly paper masks to bring to Wisconsin for Halloween.  This darling set turned out to be such a fun activity for all the girls.  They even made a special butterfly cut-out for Olivia… priceless!

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A snapshot of my favorite details: fun musical notes, a camera tag, a little ribbon bow, and more!

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Project archives: Week 1, Week 2

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Gender Reveal Party: Activities

*This post is part 2 of my Gender Reveal Party Series.  To read about our decorations and theme, click here!

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To keep our guests entertained and mingling, our reveal party featured 5 different activities.  Here are 4 tips for creating a memorable gender reveal party:

1. Encourage guests to cast their vote by wearing PINK or BLUE!

It was so fun to see teams of pink and blue emerge among close family and friends.  It was also an instant conversation starter for groups of people that had never met before.

2. Explore the world of Old Wives Tales.

I saw this fun idea on Pinterest from the site SnugasaBugBaby. In this post, Amber explains how she encouraged guests to chart their predictions for a boy or girl based on the answers to Old Wives Tales.  For a creative spin on this fabulous idea, I decided to make Old Wives Tales cards using a package of invitations in the shape of diapers.  I covered up the standard invitation wording with layers of green and yellow paper along with a specific question related to pregnancy folklore.  Next to our manzanita tree, I arranged two bowls overflowing with hot pink bows and sparkly blue bow-ties.  I placed foam pop-dot on each embellishment so guests could easily record the right answer on our handmade score-sheet hanging on the wall.  James handed out each of these cards to certain guests during the party.  It was hilarious announcing all the answers to theses crazy questions and watching the tally of ribbons and bow-ties grow!

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3. Leave a note for baby!

I can’t wait for Olivia to read all these precious notes.  I know that I already treasure the loving thoughts and sometimes outright hilarious insights from our family and friends.

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4. Savor the reveal moment with an interactive story!

I knew I wanted to do something special and memorable for our big reveal moment.  When I came across this post from the blog, Mackey Madness, I knew I wanted to replicate her story surprise.  It was amazing!  Just like Megan described, I asked our guests to form a circle on our patio and listen to a story about our relationship.  Each time guests heard the words “left” or “right” in the story, they had to pass a handmade confetti popper in the corresponding direction.  Only one of the confetti poppers contained the correct color (either pink or blue)- all the others were filled with tiny squares of white paper.  We had no idea who was going to end up with the right popper!

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… And, we couldn’t have planned it better if we tried!  My sweet Grandma ended up making the big announcement with the words, “I’ve got pink!”  It was just perfect…  and definitely a moment I will always cherish.

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Our amazing photographer for the evening, Kurtis Hall, captured the beautiful images above.  He also created this video, which captures all the photos of the evening AND my audio of the story.  Password: RevealParty

 

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Gender Reveal Party: Decorations

Almost exactly at this time last year, our sweet family was celebrating a healthy report from my Week 19 ultrasound. James and I found out the gender of our growing babe on September 20th and shared the big news with close friends and family the following day at a big gender reveal party. I promised a full report on our celebration in this Pregnancy Update post…. here’s the full scoop!

Decorations:

A classic green and yellow color scheme adorned our dessert table, as well as gorgeous fresh flowers. I couldn’t have asked for more beautiful lilies or roses in honor of my sweet Olivia.

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On our dessert table featured mini cheesecakes, green and yellow candies, green grape caramel treats, and a beautiful layered cake from a local bakery.  A cluster of pom-poms in varying shades of green and white hung from the ceiling framing this focal area.

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My mom and I teamed up together to embellish festive lollipops, which also served as favors for our guests.  We used scalloped and circle punches, patterned paper, and cute rubber stamps to finish the look.

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To go along with our amazing layered cake, I served milk-tinis for dessert!

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Our bar area featured my manzanita branch tree, which was decorated with star mirrors, chandelier ornaments, and clusters of small white flowers.

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And, finally, I found these incredible lanterns from Pier1 to display on our patio.  Our friends and family gathered outside amid candlelight for the actual moment of the reveal- these beauties created just the perfect ambiance!

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***A big thank you to Kurtis Hall for capturing these gorgeous images.***

Click Here to Read Part 2: Activities and Reveal Moment

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Life’s a Fortune

FortuneLoving these.  Yes, please!

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Ideas for a “Lucky in Love” Wedding Theme

Two good friends recently took the plunge and said their “I Do’s” at the courthouse.  They have plans to throw a big 1-year anniversary bash next Spring.  In the meantime, the rest of our circle of friends decided to host a party in their honor.  I designed some fun decorations using the theme “Lucky in Love” and highlighting how their personalities are a “winning combination.”

Here’s a glimpse into the design:

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The main table featured a “Winning Combination” sign, which was embellished with die-cut images, red sparkles, and a cute photograph of the couple.  I love to use several groupings of flowers when creating a tablescape.  In this case, a small cluster of purple hydrangeas from my garden were paired with gorgeous red roses.

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Another area of the room displayed a “Love Story” sign complete with important dates in the couple’s relationship.

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The drink area was dressed up with a tiny bunting that spelled out M-A-R-R-I-E-D!

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I saw THIS PIN and knew I had to incorporate the reference to playing cards somehow.  Here’s what I came up with:

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This dimensional banner graced the front door:

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One of the first projects I worked on was creating a guest book activity.  The couple of the hour recently bought a house so I wanted the end result to be something attractive they could eventually display in their new home.  I was inspired by THIS PIN and started scouting local craft stores for the perfect letters.  I eventually settled on these huge letters from Hobby Lobby.  After a few coats of white paint and some strategically placed sparkle embellishments, these beauties were ready to go!

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Guests used silver and gold Sharpie pens to write their congrats notes.

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One of the main attractions of the evening was a DIY photo booth.  This activity was SO much fun!  A white sheet served as the backdrop.  To spruce up their outfits, guests could chose from a variety of hats and accessories stored in a nearby trunk.

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If you are looking to make some of your own party props, Pinterest is a great resource!  Check out THIS PIN, THIS PIN, and THIS PIN to get started.

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Last (but certainly not least!), I created a multiple choice trivia quiz featuring fun facts about the couple.  The newlyweds revealed the correct answers later in the evening.  This little activity ended up being a great conversation piece.

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It was a wonderful night full of beautiful details, delicious food, and great friends.

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“Posting” Our First Father’s Day Memories

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Photo taken by Karen Hendrix

I might be a bit biased, but this beautiful baby girl has the most amazing Dad.  To celebrate Father’s Day this year, I was inspired by Paige’s “Post-It Pictures” idea on The Dating Divas.  Instead of leaving general fun captions, however, I tailored each message to be a specific reason explaining why James is a fantastic Dad.  My project started with these guys…

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…which were turned into 65  little love notes to display on each picture of James or Olivia in our house.  The heart conversation bubble post-it notes were just perfect for this project!  If the picture was of Olivia, I tried to think up something fun that she might say or list how she already takes after her Dad in some small way.

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When James walked in the door, he found this little grouping that explained all the fun:

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The whole process of writing and placing notes took a little longer than I expected but it was so meaningful to walk down memory lane, focus on how our little family has grown in the past couple of months, and make predictions about the future.

Here’s a mini tour of where some of the little messages where placed:

In the Dining Room

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On the Refrigerator

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In the Entryway

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In Olivia’s Room

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James loved the fact that I incorporated a challenge into this Father’s Day gift.  He could only open up a final card once he found all the hearts!

Cheers to all the fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers celebrating this special day!

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Baby Bump Update: Week 12

Baby Bump Week 12

Time: July 31st- August 6th

Developmental Milestones: All major organ systems are in place!  Baby is working on reflexes right now.

Symptoms: All day nausea, fatigue, and heartburn are still constant companions.

Cravings: Nothing specific. Cheesecake, though, seems to be the first thing that pops into my head when thinking about a dessert!

Highlights:  James and I received a surprise (and free!) ice cream treat at Cheesecake Factory after our waitress felt bad that our food was taking a bit longer. Such a nice surprise after one of those days where you feel like nothing is going right.

We traveled to Minneapolis and Eau Claire, WI in early August for a family reunion. The weather was just gorgeous! More details to come.

 

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