Cole is Nine

Cole is Nine

Yesterday my Cole bug turned nine. I just don’t know how it’s already been 9 years – it honestly feels like just yesterday I was bringing this sweet little guy home. The day he was born really was the start of the best chapter of my life – motherhood. Nothing has brought me as much joy as getting to be a mom, and every day I’m so thankful for my boys. I hate to sound like one of THOSE parents because of course Cole isn’t “perfect” (like all kids he has his struggles and his moments!) – but he’s pretty dang close. He’s just one of those kids that for the most part is easy to parent. He’s smart, responsible, kind, compassionate, and funny. He’s a kindness ambassador at his school, he’s dedicated to Taekwondo, he is always determined to do his best at school and extracurriculars, and he’s a good friend to anyone he comes across. He’s incredibly sweet natured and loves to make people laugh. I don’t even know how I got so lucky to have this awesome little human as my son and I’m continually so proud of him. He’s truly one of the best people I know.

This past weekend we celebrated his birthday with a fun superhero themed party at our house! I created the backdrop using PVC pipe (tutorial here) and made a DIY balloon garland which I will share a quick tutorial post of how I create my garlands in the next few days! Cole told me for months that for his birthday he just wanted a bounce house with a slide and to have toys guns for a gun fight like he had at last years party. He also loves hot dogs, so I thought it would be fun to have a hot dog bar! I had a variety of toppings & a “menu” of some different creations – and the more adventurous kids had fun trying some of the different toppings. While we kept the overall theme of the party a somewhat generic superhero theme – we had a “Cole Danger” birthday cake as one of his favorite TV shows is Henry Danger. In addition to the toy guns (which the guests took home as a party favor) we also had superhero masks for the kids to wear (and keep) as well as a candy bar to take home a goodie bag of treats!

(It was windy so I had a tough time getting pics of the backdrop/balloons without it blowing all over!)

PARTY DECOR SOURCES:

Superhero backdrop

Backdrop frame: DIY (tutorial here or purchase backdrop here)

Balloon garland: DIY (tutorial coming soon! I use inexpensive balloons like these)

Plates, cups, napkins, black tablecloth: Zurchers

Red table runner

Galvanized tray

Galvanized tub

Galvanized utensil caddy

Cake stand: Arthur Court (similar)

Popcorn boxes

Superhero tablecloth

Candy jars

Gun party favors: Dollar Tree

Superhero masks

Superhero name tags

Bounce house: Idaho Inflatables

Cake: Albertsons Bakery

For his actual birthday yesterday, we had a simple family celebration at home. I kept up his backdrop from the party and added some party hats (and of course another cake because you can never have too much cake!). Evan picked out a few small gifts that he paid for himself (so cute!) and we surprised him with an Xbox which he’s been asking for for well over a year. We’ve kept telling him no so he was stunned when he got it – and it was a really fun surprise!

Cole’s PJs

Happiest of birthdays my sweet boy! I love you more than words can say…

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Fall Craving: Leopard

If you haven’t already noticed, leopard is everywhere for fall. I have always loved leopard because while it is a bold print, it is still really easy to wear as you can truly wear it like a neutral and pair it with anything. I have several leopard pieces in my closet, but I’m definitely looking to add a dress and a sweater or two. Here’s a few pieces I’ve been loving…

LeopardLove-1LeopardLove-2

 

One – This looks so much more expensive than it is! I just ordered this one.

Two – A furry leopard coat is a must have. This one is under $100.

Three – A minimal and sophisticated take on the trend.

Four – A splurge, but these are seriously the cutest.

Five – A classic style and cashmere at a great price.

Six – The wear with anything skirt.

Seven – I love the dark print and balloon sleeves on this one.

Eight – Love this fun, bold print.

Nine – The perfect fall bootie.

Ten – A great neutral taupe and super affordable.

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Throwback To Cole’s Plants vs Zombies 8th Birthday Party

Throwback To Cole’s Plants vs Zombies 8th Birthday Party

As Cole’s 9th birthday party is creeping up on us and party prep is in full swing, I’ve been reminiscing about birthdays past and I thought it would be fun to do a throwback post to his 8th birthday party from last year! Plus it’s Friday the 13th so sharing his zombie party seemed fitting.

Every year Cole picks his party theme and last year I was a little concerned I wasn’t going to be able to come up with anything when he told me he wanted a Plants vs Zombies party (if you aren’t familiar it’s a popular video game!). While I think his “Where the Wild Things Are” 6th Birthday Party will always be my favorite – this ended up being one of my favorite party themes and was a ton of fun to put together.

I always keep food pretty simple for my kids’ parties (the kids are usually more interested in playing than eating!) but the brain jello was definitely a hit. To keep the kids entertained we had a bounce house, and a zombie survival station where the kids could arm themselves with guns, glow sticks, and candy that fit in with the theme. The guns were a huge hit and the kids formed zombie teams and spent hours playing! They also made for a fun party favor to take home (I’m even thinking of getting them again for this year’s party). We also had a “jalapeño piñata” – because you can never have too much candy.

Plants vs Zombies Party Decor:

Birthday banner

Tablecloths/Plates/Cups: Zurchers

Balloons

Traffic cones

Galvanized serving tray

Galvanized bin

Galvanized caddy (similar)

Brain jello mold

Artificial sunflowers & vases: Dollar Tree

Candy jars with galvanized tray (also here)

Dart shooters: Dollar Tree

Glow sticks

Beware of zombies sign

“Keep out” streamer (similar)

Bloody handprints

Chili pepper piñata

Cake by Albertsons Bakery

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Life Lately

It has been awhile since I’ve blogged! After returning from our trip to Wyoming school started and life has been CRAZY. The first few weeks of school are always chaotic trying to get into our routine and adjust to all of the extra commitments that we have. I always say we aren’t going to join every club and volunteer for every committee…but like a crazy woman I always end up doing it anyway. (Say hello to room mom, party planner, reading volunteer, art auction committee member, soccer mom…) Yes I’m insane – but I do love getting to be so involved with my kids’ schools and activities.

The kids’ first few weeks of school have actually been going great for them. They are off to a great start and really enjoying their school year so far.

Cole’s shirt // shorts // shoesI love Cole’s first week of school musings (#futurephilosopher)

Evan’s shirt // shorts // shoes

Mom and dad also had our first day back to school with back to school nights for each of the kids’ schools. I wore this outfit to Cole’s and this cute top is such a steal. It reminds me of this Reformation top for a fraction of the price.

Top // Skirt (H&M – old, similar) // Sandals // Bag // Earrings

We’ve also been squeezing in some time for fun! One of my favorite annual Boise events is the Spirit of Boise Balloon Classic which was a Labor Day weekend. This year the kids even got to go for a tethered balloon ride!

We also celebrated one of our dear family friend’s kids birthdays! They had the cutest little under the sea theme pool party.

I have some organizing projects I’m trying to get finished with the kids back to school – and one big one I finally finished was my entry way closet (it was becoming a “Monica closet” situation). I had all of the kid’s school art and memorabilia crammed in there and I have been meaning to organize it into boxes for each of them…and I finally got around to it (it’s only taken a few years). These boxes are great for storage!

Boxes

I’m also starting to work on 2 of our biggest projects this time of year…Cole’s birthday and Halloween! Cole’s birthday is coming up very soon and I’m really excited about his theme and what we have planned this year. I think it will be a lot of fun! We have also started looking at Halloween costumes and getting ideas of what they will be this year. It’s one of our favorite holidays and we love doing a family theme, so it’s never too soon for us to start planning! We had lots of fun at the Halloween store recently getting some inspiration.

No we aren’t doing these – but these masks were hysterical!

Evan has been wanting to be like his big brother and do Taekwondo for ages, and he’s finally old enough. He just started a few weeks ago and it is the cutest thing ever. The beaming on his face the first time he put on his uniform was priceless.

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End Of Summer Getaway To Jackson Wyoming

End Of Summer Getaway To Jackson Wyoming

Warning…very long, photo heavy post ahead! Our family had decided awhile back that we really wanted to end our summer on a high note and take a vacation somewhere during our final week of break. We had thrown around a few different location ideas over the past few months, and ultimately decided a few weeks ago to take a trip to Jackson. We have heard so many amazing things about it, plus as it sits right on the Idaho border, it isn’t too far of a destination.

Dress // Sandals // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar) // Bracelet // Bag

For our first evening in Jackson, we went to dinner at Calico. I had heard that it was a great place to take kids as they have a huge field full of balls & toys right next to their outdoor patio, plus their kids meals are very affordable. What I hadn’t heard as much about was the food…and we were in for a real treat! I booked the restaurant thinking it would be a great place for the kids to be able to get their wiggles out after a long day of traveling, and thought the food would probably just be okay. This turned out to be our favorite meal from the entire trip. We shared a caprese salad and I had the shrimp linguine and everything was absolutely incredible. This restaurant is a must on a trip to Jackson – be sure to call early for reservations to get a patio seat.

After dinner, we headed downtown to see the famous elk antler arches in the town square and do a bit of shopping. Teton Toys is an incredible toy store and they have a huge selection. My kids settled on toy cap guns and stick on mustaches so they could feel like real Wyoming cowboys! After shopping we went to CocoLove for a nightcap dessert. I had the Mexican hot chocolate and a few chocolates (the lavender was incredible!), while the kids had gelato.

On the next day of our trip we headed to the Snow King Mountain Resort for a day of fun! I highly recommend purchasing a Big King Pass for all of the activities, and if you buy online in advance you get a 10% discount as well. My kids loved riding the Cowboy Coaster and the Alpine Slide over and over, and Cole’s favorite activity of the day was the Treetop Adventure.

My Tee // Shorts // Sneakers // Sunglasses

In the evening we headed back to the town square for the nightly shootout and dinner at the Million Dollar Cowboy Steakhouse. The shootout is the longest running shootout in the country and is held nightly during the summer at 6:00 pm. It only takes about 15 minutes, and is definitely a must do at least once. My boys really loved it! Also make sure to stop at Moo’s for their amazing homemade ice cream.

My Top & Skirt (The Kooples, old – similar top, skirt) // Booties (Marc Fisher, old – similar) // Bag

The next day we hopped in the car and spent the day touring Grand Teton National Park. If you are going to drive yourself, I highly recommend purchasing the Gypsy Guide Grand Teton app which will tell you what you are seeing and all the history of the land as you drive – as well as the key places to stop. Our highlights were stopping in at Menors Ferry and shopping in the old general store, taking a boat ride across Jenny Lake to hike to Hidden Falls, stopping at Mormon Row, and of course spotting wildlife! I still can’t get over the awe inspiring beauty of this place and can’t wait to go back.

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For dinner we headed back into town for Sushi at King Sushi! You wouldn’t think Jackson would have great sushi and is more of a steak and potatoes kind of place…but the sushi here is some of the best I’ve had. It is also an old historical blacksmith building which makes the ambiance even cooler.

In the evening we put on our western finest and headed to the Jackson Hole Rodeo! Little known fact about me…I grew up in a small farming and ranch community in Oregon and grew up riding horses and competing in local riding clubs, horse shows & 4-H. I was also a rodeo princess of our local professional rodeo my senior year of high school! So it’s kind of fun taking my kids to rodeos and showing them a bit of how their mom grew up (they think it’s quite funny!). The kids even got to compete by joining all of the other kids to attempt to grab a bandanna off a sheep to win prizes. It was absolutely hysterical and just made the rodeo even more fun for them.

My Poncho (Shopbop, old – similar) // Jeans // Booties // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar)

The next day we decided to have a low key day with a trip to the National Wildlife Museum. While there is of course some incredible wildlife art – the museum is surprisingly a lot of fun for kids as they have a children’s gallery where kids can create their own art. I also highly recommend downloading the museum app as you can play animal noises that go along with the paintings you are viewing (which keeps it more interesting for kids). They also have a restaurant at the museum which is quite good – and they have a really fun “paint a cookie” dessert.

img_5229Dress // Sandals // Bag

In the afternoon we headed downtown to walk around a bit more and do some more shopping! Altitude is a really fun boutique and I also love the Pendleton store (I grew up near Pendleton so their famous wool is sentimental to me!). We also stopped at this fun art alley for a few silly selfies.

For our last dinner in Jackson we decided to do the Bar T 5 Chuckwagon Dinner Show. This kind of thing could easily veer into being cheesy…but this was far from it. The whole experience was easily a highlight of our trip. The people were so nice, enthusiastic and talented, the food was great, the scenery was beautiful, and it really made for an all around fun and memorable evening. The history and story about how this show came to be is also fascinating. If you visit Jackson this is a must do – and we will be doing this again on our next visit!

Our horse team Bob and Sherman!Jacket // Top // Jeans // Booties // Hat (Rag & Bone, old – similar)

On our last morning in Jackson we went to Persephone Bakery for brunch before heading home. A friend who had lived in Europe for a period of time and had eaten at Persephone told us we must go as it easily rivals any patisserie in France. It did not disappoint! We tried a variety of pastries including the huckleberry croissant and the lavender lemon loaf, as well as a lavender honey latte, and an egg sandwich. Every single thing was incredible.

This was somewhat of a spur of the moment trip, and also easily one of our favorite family vacations we’ve ever taken. Jackson is truly a gem, and we’ve already decided this needs to become an annual tradition for us. I can’t think of a better way for us to have ended our summer break!Signature

Cool Backpacks For Back To School

Cool Backpacks For Back To School

Evan’s backpack

My kids still aren’t at ages where they care a ton about picking out their back to school wardrobe, but one thing they sure get excited about shopping for is their backpacks! Today I wanted to round up some really cool backpacks that are sure to get your kiddos at least a little excited about heading back to school. There’s so many cool options out there this year with fun prints, 3-D styles, and even glow in the dark. There’s also some really affordable options starting at under $10!

One // Two // Three // Four // Five // Six // Seven // Eight // Nine // Ten // Eleven // Twelve // Thirteen // Fourteen // Fifteen // Sixteen // Seventeen // Eighteen

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Life Lately

Wow…we are really in the home stretch and coming to the end of summer. We only have 2 weeks left, and with those weeks filled with camps and activities it is going to fly by. On one hand I’m ready to get back to our routine and structure. On the other…at the risk of sounding like one of those annoying moms…I’m not ready for the fun with the kids to be over. I’m always reminded of the fact that you only get 18 summers with your kids, and this one just flew by way too quickly. I’m so grateful for all the fun and memories we’ve made, which I have to constantly remind myself of when I start longing for time to slow down.

We’ve been trying to cram in as much time at the waterpark as we can and have gone several times.

If you’ve not tried Marysia swimwear – I highly recommend it! Nobody nails the scallop swimsuit like they do, and the fabric is so pretty (it’s more like a knit vs a traditional swimsuit) that it can easily double as a body suit as well. One thing to note – when the suit is dry it does tend to not stay in place well and things can get a bit…cheeky. But once wet it sticks to your body and stays in place.

Swimsuit (also here and version without laces here) // Sarong // Sunglasses // Hat

As I wrote about in another post, we went to see Witness for the Prosecution at the Shakespeare Festival. I wore this shirt dress that is such an incredible buy at under $50.

Dress // Sandals // Bag

Evan went to one last summer camp this past week! He went to space camp and he learned so much and he’s been so excited sharing what he’s learned with us. The kids wear swimsuits to camp because they also get to spend lots of time outside playing in water and his teacher sent me the cutest pictures of him lounging and drying off with his favorite stuffed pet Jingle. Can’t even handle the cuteness.

We took an afternoon and went to do our back to school supply shopping! I love making this a fun day with the kids every year by going shopping and then going out to eat or for ice cream after. Cole loves getting to take his list and run around picking out all of his own supplies, and even though it is a reminder that summer is almost over, it has become a day my kids really look forward to.

I wore this cute little puff sleeve top that is under $20 and comes in tons of color options.

Top // Shorts // Bag

We finally went to go see The Lion King over the weekend. It has been one of Cole’s favorite movies for years, and he and I even went to see the Broadway show when they were touring and came to Boise last year. I wore this tie waist white tee that is on sale – I love a white tee with a little extra detail.

Tee // Jeans // Sandals // Sunglasses// Bag

Cole is going to robotics camp this week which I think will be a lot of fun for him – plus it has the added bonus of forcing us back on a schedule pretty close to our school schedule. It was a little tough getting everyone up and out the door on time this morning, so fingers crossed we get adjusted quickly!

Have a great Monday!