Halloween (And Fall) Decor Around Our Home

Every year I am always so excited to pull out all of our fall and Halloween decorations and start making our home feel festive. We typically make a fun Sunday afternoon of it, and turn on a Halloween movie to watch while we decorate. Most years we wait until just after Cole’s birthday, but this year I really couldn’t wait and we decorated about a week before his party. While our decorations have now been up for several weeks, I’m finally getting around to sharing all of the fall and Halloween touches around our house!

Tray // Towel (Target, similar) // Candle // Vase (Arthur Court, similar) // Similar Velvet Pumpkin // Similar Metallic Pumpkin

Olive Plant // Sign

Similar Halloween Sign // Similar Halloween Tray // Chairs // Paper Towel Holder // Utensil Holder

Plant // Similar Metallic Pumpkin // Skeleton Hand // Spiderweb bowl (Target, similar) // Similar Pumpkin Filler

Faux Fur Pillow

Plaid Pumpkin // Similar Glass Gourd // Similar Velvet Pumpkin // Crows // Similar Skull // Bats // Wreath (Target, similar)

Spiderweb Mantle Scarf // Similar Faux Fall Leaf Branches

Photo Printable // Book Cover Printable

Creepy Cloth Lamp Covering // Similar Spooky Tree // Suede Pumpkin // Similar Book Decoration // Similar Skull // Similar Velvet Pumpkin // Rat // Spider // Spider Web

Creepy Cloth // Crows // Candlestick Holders // Gold Pumpkin // Similar Glass Pumpkins // Similar Velvet Pumpkins // Orange Pillows

Black Succulent

img_6794Fall Wreath (old – similar) // Plaid Mat // Door Mat (old – similar)

Signature

Our Halloween Costumes Over The Years

As I’m sitting here planning our Halloween costumes for this year, I thought it would be fun to take a trip down memory lane and share all of the costumes we’ve worn over the years! We haven’t accomplished it every year, but many years we’ve done family theme which we are doing again this year – and it is a lot of fun! Plus I know we only have a few years left before I’m quite certain Cole will be too “cool” to dress up with mom & dad, so I want to make the most of it while we can.

Baby Lion

Lion Costume

Yoda

Yoda Costume

Hippie Family

Cole’s Hippie Costume // My Pants, Glasses, Similar Headband // Hubs’ Wig, Vest, Glasses, Peace Medallion

Firefighter

img_6608-e1570073611729.jpg

Firefighter Costume

Skeleton

Similar Skeleton Sweatshirt

Scarecrow, Pumpkin, and an Astronaut

Similar Overalls, Bandana, Similar Straw Hat // Astronaut Costume // Pumpkin Costume

Star Wars

img_6606Princess Leia Costume // Yoda Costume // Luke Skywalker Costume, Lightsaber

The Nightmare Before Christmas

img_6639-e1570162750394.pngSally Costume // Jack Skellington Costume // Similar Lock Mask, Devil Tail // Oogie Boogie Mask

An Astronaut and a Bandit

Astronaut Costume // Bandit Costume

Jessie and Buzz Lightyear

Jessie Costume // Buzz Lightyear Costume

Spongebob Squarepants, Patrick Star, Sandy Cheeks, and Mr. Krabs

Spongebob Costume (DIY), Socks, Shoes // Patrick Costume // Spacesuit (DIY), Astronaut Helmet, Chipmunk Tail // Crab Mittens

Signature

Red White and Blue M&M Blondies

Red White and Blue M&M Blondies

I’ve been making these every year for the 4th of July for the past 6 or 7 years now. They are delicious, simple to make, and great for packing in a picnic. If you are looking for a simple & crowd pleasing desert for that 4th of July gathering, look no further!

Red White & Blue M&M Blondies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup M&Ms + 1/2 cup M&Ms for topping

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 13″ x 9″ pan with non stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl mix together melted butter with the brown sugar and stir until combined. Stir in vanilla and the eggs.

In a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture and stir until combined. Stir in 1 cup of the M&Ms.

Spread the dough into the baking pan and smooth the top using a spatula. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 1/2 cup of M&Ms.

Bake for 27-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out slightly moist with small crumbs.

Let the blondies cool completely and then cut into large squares. Store in a tightly covered container.

Wishing you a wonderful and safe 4th of July!

Signature

4th of July Tablescape Under $50

4th of July Tablescape Under $50

While out and about shopping the other day, I was grabbing a few last minute things to get ready for the 4th of July and stumbled upon these darling star plates for $1.50 each! They are reusable plastic so they would be perfect for an outdoor BBQ or picnic as well. And since I won’t exactly be using star plates very often, the price is really perfect! I found these in the 4th of July section at Target & unfortunately they aren’t available online (check your local store!), but I’m going to link some really similar ones below as well! I decided to put together a cute and festive tablescape for our family’s annual afternoon 4th of July BBQ & I love how it came together. I love using silver accents & galvanized serving trays for the 4th (it feels very Americana!) and I thought milk bottles for drinks added to the classic feel. I also plan to serve berries and pie with our meal – which will be pretty sitting on the table too. Everything is super affordable, and you can easily create this tablescape for under $50!

Plates (Target – similar options herehere and these are a bit more expensive but so cute and on sale // Chargers (you can also get a similar look with these or these for less) // Napkins // Milk bottles // Straws // Galvanized tray and I also have this one that is only $8  // Towel // Flag garland (Similar) // Mini flag

My silver pitcher is vintage Arthur Court (Similar), but here are a few other similar and super budget friendly options! (Option 1, Option 2, Option 3) I purchased my flowers at Trader Joe’s for around $15 (they have the best prices for flowers!) – but Costco has great deals too!

End chairs // Dining chairs // Similar table

Signature

How We Celebrate the 4th Of July

How We Celebrate the 4th Of July

(Throwback to 4th of July 2012!)

When we were living in California, the 4th of July was a brutally hot holiday (Palm Springs in the summer is frequently 110-120 degrees). Our typical day involved hiding out somewhere inside until the sun went down, which at that point we would venture out to watch fireworks. Our favorite way to watch was to eat a late dinner at a restaurant with a rooftop patio (and misters!) where we could watch the fireworks in relatively cool comfort. While it was a lot of fun, I have to say I love celebrating the 4th here in Boise as we make it an all day fun celebration!

We always start our day with the Liberty Day Parade downtown Boise. My favorite place to watch is near the capital building – but you must get there early to snag a shaded spot! Because we try to get there early we typically pack along a breakfast in a cooler and snack while we wait. Yes it’s extra – but I like to bring a patriotic inspired breakfast – typically homemade blueberry muffins and strawberry milk. Just a little tip – parking in the downtown garages is free on the 4th!

After the parade we typically head home to BBQ and spend the afternoon swimming or even just playing at home in the sprinklers! Because it gets dark in Boise so late in the summer and the firework show doesn’t begin until around 10:15pm, we try to squeeze in an afternoon nap or at least lay down with a movie for a bit.

Around 7:00pm we typically start packing up and heading back downtown to Ann Morrison Park for the big firework show! While they do have food trucks at the park, we like to pack our own picnic along with balls, frisbees, and glow sticks! We always pack along chairs and blankets so we can lounge and relax while we wait for the show to begin! Here is my list of essentials for 4th of July…

4TH OF JULY ESSENTIALS

FourthofJulyEssentials-1FourthofJulyEssentials-2

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine

Signature

Making Easter Special For Kids

Making Easter Special For Kids

I have to say Easter is one of my favorite holidays. Of course there is the important religious aspect, but even if you are not particularly religious I feel that Easter can still be a time for taking a moment to pause and reflect on the symbolism of new beginnings, hope and miracles. I’m also all about the cultural aspect of Easter celebrations and the start of spring along with bunnies, flowers, and baby chicks. And there are so many fun family Easter events and activities to partake in, which is of course right up my alley because I love celebrating every holiday in a big way and making it fun and memorable for my kids.

img_8752img_8778

Color Easter Eggs: We always spend an afternoon coloring Easter eggs – because it isn’t Easter without it! We usually just use simple store kits, but they do have some really pretty options these days (I really love the metallic ones). You can also just use food coloring as well. And these are so “extra” but I really want these darling aprons for the kids!

Make Easter Cookies: We make and decorate frosted sugar cookies for several holidays throughout the year. It has become tradition to make our themed cookies and we always have so much fun sitting down together as a family and decorating them.

Visit the Easter Bunny for Pictures: I always joke that the mall Easter bunny looks a little creepy and strange, but it has become a fun tradition to dress the boys in cute spring shirts and go see the bunny for photos.

img_9064

Go on a Easter Egg Hunt: We always attend at least one community egg hunt in the days leading up to Easter (last year we went to an evening glow in the dark one which was really fun!), as well as have our own small egg hunt at home on Easter. When we first started having our own little egg hunt, I didn’t think the kids would be super excited about it and did it more as an activity to keep them busy during the day. However it has become a must do as Cole will literally start talking about it weeks before the holiday and making sure we will have one. And on Easter he will ask all morning long about how soon we can have our egg hunt – so needless to say it has been a hit. At our house the Easter bunny brings baskets in the morning, and mom and dad set up the egg hunt in the afternoon. I also spotted this Easter Egg Hunt Sign Kit the other day and it is soooo cute. I really want to get it!

img_8997

Easter Baskets: Of course Easter isn’t complete without Easter baskets! The bunny always drops them off at our house very early, so the kid’s baskets are waiting for them first thing in the morning! With the weather warming up, I like having things in their baskets that get them outside as well as practical things they can use into summer. This year I found so many ridiculously adorable things in the Target $5 and under section! Things like bubbles, sidewalk chalk, kites, gardening supplies, pool toys/swimsuits, and a few treats are perfect basket fillers.

Bunny Plates // Carrot Napkins // Bunny Cupsimg_9082

A fun breakfast: I like setting up a cute, festive tablescape and adding a little craft or something the kids can work on at the table. There are so many cute Easter breakfast ideas on Pinterest, but if you are strapped for time (or don’t want to spend all day in the kitchen if you are making Easter dinner too), a make ahead breakfast casserole you can simply pop in the oven is a great option. Also just decorating a simple bowl of oatmeal or making a bunny pancake is another fun option. I also like this springtime waffle bar idea or even just dyeing pancakes pastel colors would be cute! Last year I served these Peeps fruit skewers at dinner, but they would be cute at breakfast too.

Watch a fun show: To get the kids to settle down after the morning excitement & pass the time until dinner, we like watching a spring or Easter themed movie or show. My boys just recently watched Watership Down on Netflix (they loved it!) and this would be a great Easter Day watch. A Charlie Brown Easter is a classic, and we also really enjoyed Hop last year! This year I’m thinking that we may watch Peter Rabbit.

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetimg_9081img_9075

Dinner as a family: We used to go out for brunch, but after several years of feeling that it was a bit of a hassle trying to get dressed up and drag the kids out, we started staying home and we have found it to be a lot more fun and relaxing. I always cook a big meal (I personally love a traditional ham!) and sitting down to dinner together with my family. While we aren’t regular churchgoers, we still observe the religious aspect of the holiday and talk to the kids about why we celebrate Easter. My husbands father’s family was Jewish, so we also like to talk about Passover so they can understand a bit about their family background and beliefs! I always use my mother-in-law’s vintage Pottery Barn spring plates – with the bunnies and flowers they are just perfect, and of course sentimental as well.

Wishing you and yours a blessed and happy Easter!Signature

Making St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

Making St. Patrick’s Day Fun For Kids

(Last year’s St Patrick’s Day Leprechaun Trap and treasure hunt)

I grew up in a very small, predominantly Irish Catholic community, so as you can imagine St. Patricks day was a BIG deal. The weekend of festivities was one of the big highlights of the year for the 1,500 residents in our town, and as a young child I remember being so excited about all of the fun activities to look forward to. We had a parade, sheepdog trials, lots of good food, and various performances. I remember one year when I was about 8 or 9, I was part of a square dance group where we got to dress up and perform (I remember being super excited about that big green twirly skirt).

Now living in Boise, most of the St. Patrick’s Day celebration festivities are directed towards adults, so there isn’t much for families. But since St. Patricks holds a lot of sentimentality and tradition for me (and thanks to a friend recently encouraging me to dig a bit into my family history where I discovered I have a ton of Irish ancestry!), I really like celebrating the holiday with my kids and teaching them about the history of it. And of course creating a little magic! Here’s some of the things that have become tradition for our family in celebrating the day:

Make a Leprechaun Trap

StPatsDayPlaceSetting2019.5

A few weeks before the big day, Cole will start thinking about the design and start building his Leprechaun Trap. He gets so excited at the prospect of possibly catching one and it is a fun craft activity for a lazy weekend or afternoon. Pinterest has tons of cute ideas for creating one (also lots of ideas here)! We were really excited this year, so we’ve already finished ours (pictured!) and we are hoping this is the year we finally catch one! Having Leprechauns make a little mischief at your house can be a fun St Patrick’s surprise too!

Treasure Hunt For Gold

We haven’t been successful in catching a Leprechaun yet, but each year those mischievous little men will leave the kids a set of clues to go find their own pot of gold (chocolate coins)! Of course you can create your own clues, but Pinterest makes it simple with tons of free printable ones as well.

Tablescape and Breakfast

StPatsDayPlaceSetting2019.2StPatsDayPlaceSetting2019.1

Placemat // Napkins // Forks // Pot // Chocolate Coins // Milk Bottle // Straws // Banner

img_2003

Green pancakes and milk are such a fun way to start the day but you can also make it super, duper simple and have a bowl of lucky charms & some green fruit. I like to set the table with some fun touches like a St Patrick’s Day placemat and napkins/straws.

Traditional Meal

One of my favorite traditional Irish meals is Cottage Pie (basically it is Shepard’s Pie but with beef instead of lamb). I make this nearly every year for the holiday and it is a delicious comfort food dish. I think it would also be fun to make traditional soda bread and have the kids help as it is so simple, and also a fun educational dish in teaching kids about the origin of it.

Green Treats

StPatsDayPlaceSetting2019.6

Shamrock cookie cutter // Gold Sprinkles // Shamrock Sprinkles

There are so many fun options for green food on Pinterest, especially desserts! (Tons of food ideas here) We also like making and decorating shamrock shaped sugar cookies with green frosting and “gold” sprinkles.

Educational Activity

Activity sheets and/or reading a St Patrick’s day book are fun activities that will also teach kids a bit about St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland. I found some free educational and activity sheets for my kids here. And if you are lucky, your local community may have some fun events or a parade to attend as well!

Wear Green

The easiest way to celebrate, and of course necessary if you don’t want to get pinched!

Signature