Monday, December 13, 2010

Don't forget

So Festive changed addresses, so update your link to this:

Become a follower on that site or like it on Facebook.

See you there. If you hang out here, you'll miss out on all the updates!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Since it has unofficially become a tradition to share my holiday mantles with you, here is your sneak peek of mine this holiday season:

I kept it fairly simple and used mostly things I already had.

Please share your holiday decor and/or projects by clicking on the link below!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thankful Turkeys

All to often Thanksgiving gets overlooked by Halloween and Christmas, so our family decided to start a little tradition to try and keep our focus on our blessings for the entire month of November. At the beginning of the month we put together what we call our "Thankful Turkeys". We each make a picture of a turkey and list things we're grateful for on the turkey's feathers. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just have fun with it! We hang them up somewhere in the house where we will see them every day to remind us of the things we wrote down. Then every day for the rest of the month we add a fall leaf with one thing written on it that we're grateful for. This has been such a great tradition for us and has kept our thoughts on our many blessings as we go through the Thanksgiving season. Here's some examples from the last couple years...
(Landon's 6 months old so he had a little help from us, ok a LOT of help from us!)

And here's a link for a PDF of the leaves and this year's Turkeys if you want to use them for your family...
Turkey (print 2 copies of the feathers)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Thankful Turkeys

All to often Thanksgiving gets overlooked by Halloween and Christmas, so our family decided to start a little tradition to try and keep our focus on our blessings for the entire month of November. At the beginning of the month we put together what we call our "Thankful Turkeys". We each make a picture of a turkey and list things we're grateful for on the turkey's feathers. It doesn't have to be fancy. Just have fun with it! We hang them up somewhere in the house where we will see them every day to remind us of the things we wrote down. Then every day for the rest of the month we add a fall leaf with one thing written on it that we're grateful for. This has been such a great tradition for us and has kept our thoughts on our many blessings as we go through the Thanksgiving season. Here's some examples from the last couple years...
(Landon's 6 months old so he had a little help from us, ok a LOT of help from us!)

And here's a link for a PDF of the leaves and this year's Turkeys if you want to use them for your family...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

It's official!-New blog address

new blog address:

image here

September 23rd is the first day of Fall! I love Fall!

I love making anything with pumpkin in it.
I love Halloween.
I love decorating my house.
I love the crisp air.
I love the changing colors.

Speaking of changing colors....I've decided to give this blog a little face lift. It was just too boring. I'm no graphic designer and who knows, it will probably change again. But, at least its at a new address that's easier to remember. From now on, you can read all the festive updates here:

Let me know what you think of the new design.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Cookie Contest Recipe #1

I made one of the cookie recipes over the weekend. The dough was amazing! And the cookies were really good too. I just wish I knew why my cookies turn out flat. Maybe its the oven?

My husband rated them a 7 1/2-8.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Hosting Tip #4

If you know kids will be coming over, make sure you have some things they can stay entertained with. A basket with puzzles, stuffed animals, coloring books, etc is a place to start.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The fun begins

Thank you for your chocolate chip cookie recipes. I am so excited to make all of them and hopefully find a sure winner! I received 10 recipes which I will be making over the next little while. I'll keep you updated...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Don't forget....contest entry deadline soon!

Submit your best chocolate chip cookie recipe by September 16th to

Check out September 2nd's post for full details.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Happy Labor Day!
I hope you get to do something really fun to celebrate.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A in?

So with all this back-2-school festiveness in the air, I've decided to hold a little contest.

I loved coming home from school to an afternoon snack of homemade chocolate chip cookies.
Its a good thing I don't have kids yet because I have yet to perfect any chocolate chip cookies that could be suitable for an after-school snack.

That is where you come in.

I am in search of the best, no- fail (because I'm good at failing) chocolate chip cookie recipe.

It's come down to this. I will make every recipe I receive. I'll post pics and let you know how they turn out. And then I'll choose the winner. The winner will be determined by how good the cookie turns out. My husband will even be the judge so it won't be biased.

To enter:
1. Email your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe (and detailed instructions) to
2. Entries will be accepted until September 16th.

Depending on how many recipes I get, I'll make them over a period of time (wouldn't want to get fat now), but I'll keep you updated on the process.

I'll post the winner on this blog and the winner will receive a SUPER AWESOME PRIZE. I have yet to determine what it will be. And while this may deter you from entering, let me promise you that it will be very cool. Besides, we have lots of festive holidays coming up. And I promise it will be festive and worth your time. Maybe a holiday decor basket and goodies?

Thanks in advance for your help.

May the best chocolate chip cookie win!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Gummy Worm Fairy

Maybe its not such a good thing that a lot of our traditions revolve around food. Especially when you’re trying to be healthy. Oh well. This tradition is a fun one that had some certain motivation behind it. I guess it could be improvised with something healthy, but it might just not have the same effect.

On our week-long camping trips, we had a special visitor called the “Gummy Worm Fairy” (GWF). The GWF would make a visit to our tents sometime between brunch and the afternoon. If our sleeping bags were “made” and our stuff fairly organized, she would leave gummy worms on our pillows. And if they weren’t, we either didn’t get as many or we would have to wait another day to get some.

In our excitement for her visit, we would even make little baskets or bird nests for the fairy to leave the worms in. As funny as it sounds, it was one of our favorite traditions and I’m sure it kept our parents happy!

{photo from here}

Friday, August 27, 2010

Favorite Camping Meals

We had lots of fun camping trips this summer. Camping is a great time for lots of things, but especially...yummy food. Some of our favorites:
  • Navajo Tacos
  • Fried sliced potatoes
  • Peach cobbler
  • Dutch oven pizza or chicken or lasagne
  • Tin foil dinners
  • Roasted starbursts
  • S'mores
  • Rice Crispy treats
  • Spaghetti and garlic bread
  • Roasted hot dogs
  • Flank steak and dutch oven bacon potatoes

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Camping Tradition: Treasure Hunt

Even though summer is winding down and there isn't much time left for camping trips, I'm going to share some of my family's favorite camping traditions over the next week or so. Mainly its my way of documenting our favorite traditions, but who knows, you might love some of these ideas you'll start doing them with your own family. I'm sure my mom and her sister started these as a way to make camping a little more fun. Now I'm not saying camping isn't fun. But with lots of little kids running around, I'm sure it was nice to have a few things planned. Here goes... (and let me tell you that these are tried and true camping traditions. We have done them for years. In fact, we did many of them on our most recent family camping trip and we are all grown up!)

Camping Treasure Hunt

On the last day of our week-long camping trip, we got to go on a treasure hunt. We looked forward to this so much! My mom and my aunt would write the clues...that is until their not-so-creative minds in that department gave room for my ever-so clever cousins to write up magnificent clues. Some years there were even themes like Pirates of the Caribbean, Pioneers, a treasure map, etc. But don't worry. You don't have to do a themed hunt to make it memorable. This year we had simple clues on simple lined paper.

They would hide about 6-7 clues around the campground in well-known places like the outhouse, canoe, campground sign, tent, fire pit, tackle box, etc. Looking back its funny because the clues were always hidden in the same places, but we would still have to figure it out from the clues.

The treasure was a giant box with a $1 gift wrapped up for each person and a little treat bag. So it wasn't anything elaborate, but we sure did love opening our treasures and enjoying them for the remainder of the trip.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Back-2-School cookies

I came across these cute cookies on Whimsy. Again, I really need to throw a back-2-school party so I can use these cute ideas.

{Photos from Poca Cosas}

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Edible crayons

I love back-2-school time. Oh how I wish I had an excuse to throw a back-2-school party. Someday, right? If I was throwing a party, I would make these:


Gourmet Mom-on-the-Go made these simple edible crayons. I think kids would get a big kick out of them and the best part is all you need is pretzel rods, white chocolate, food coloring, and crayon labels.

Check out the directions here.
Aren't those just so fun? I think sure think so!

Friday, August 13, 2010


Just wanted to say thank you to all of you who enjoy reading this blog.

This blog received the Versatile Blogger Award

from Finding Joy in the Journey

In my efforts to simplify my life, I have thought about stopping this blog numerous times. But then when I get comments or hear that YOU enjoy reading about new ways to celebrate holidays, birthdays, and life, that keeps me going. So THANK YOU! I think I'll keep this going afterall.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Back-2-School Fashion Show

I'll be honest. I actually liked when Fall came around. That meant BACK-2-SCHOOL! Even though my family didn't have a ton of money, we always got to pick out new school outfits and shoes. My mom would make sure she had a one-on-one date with each of us to help us find new clothes.

I loved shopping, except when I couldn't find just the right outfits. But when I finally did, I got really excited.

With all 7 of us the weekend before school started, we would put on a
Back-2-School Fashion Show!

{photo from here}

It was very simple. (Although each year I had grand visions of extending it to our neighborhood friends. I was weird sort of a child you could say. I did have fun. I was just all about planning events even at a young age.)

Anyways, the girls would go in one room for a dressing room and the boys in the other. Then one at a time, my patient parents would sit on the couch in the family room and watch us come out modeling our new outfits in every possible combination we could think of. It was a lot of fun and it helped us get very excited for school to start.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Schultute: A Back-2-School Tradition

If you have been a reader since the beginning, you already know that I picked up a few traditions while living in Europe. Today's post is another one of those traditions. It is one I am definitely going to do when I have kids.

So the German tradition is called a Schultute (pronounced shool-toota). The direct translation is school cone. Basically, its a cone filled with school supplies and goodies given to a child on his/her first day of school, however, some people give them to all their children at each start of the new year. The cones can be large or small and you can fill them with anything your children might need. Hey, you're going to have to buy school supplies anyway, so why not make a cute tradition out of it?

I made a simple one and it was...well, simple.

Just get a piece of heavy paper and wrap it into a cone-shape.

Then fill it with school supplies and goodies. I put erasers, pencils, pens, and glue in there.
A small notepad and a treat would be fun too. Just remember, you could make it as big as you wanted.

You can wrap it up with tissue paper and tie off the top. You could leave it on your kids' beds the night before school starts or have it at the breakfast table on their first day.

For some other fun examples, check out these cute and simple ones here and here. It's fun to see others carrying on this tradition. And right now, it seems like many stores are having good deals on school supplies so stock up now!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Pioneer Day

Pioneer Day is this Saturday, July 24th. My family hasn't ever really had any big Pioneer Day traditions, but there are some fun things going on in the Salt Lake Valley. For an entire list of events, click here

I would love to hear any of your Pioneer Day traditions!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Themed Party: Italian Dinner Party

My husband makes the BEST Fettucine Alfredo. Ever. I may be biased, but I would choose his any day over any restaurant's. We had been telling our friends how good it was and we finally had a dinner party so they could taste it for themselves.

This was a simple party, but still very festive. We decided to have everything Italian.


Appetizers~Olives, Breadsticks

Drink~Italian Sodas

Main Dish~Fettucine Alfredo topped with Grilled Chicken

Dessert~Homemade Strawberry Gelato


I didn't have much time to get anything fancy for decor, but let's face it. Lots of times you just have to improvise with what you have. I found a few things around the house. I moved this painting out by the table to set the mood and help us feel like we were really in an Italian restaurant.

I made some simple name cards. Name cards are an easy way to add just a little extra spice.

I love gelato! When I was in Italy, I saved a lot of the special gelato spoons for an occasion just like this. You don't have to go to Italy to get any. You can probably find a gelato shop near you. Make a date out of it and save the gelato spoons for your own dinner party! These are gelato spoons in case you didn't know what to look for:

I sent out an Evite just to add some extra flair and confirm a time.

It was simple, but the food was excellent and so was the company. Not all parties need activities or a lot of structure.

Buon Appetit!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Patriotic dessert

I came across this festive dessert on Taste of Home. Man, how I wish I had that star pan so I could make some for myself :)

Friday, June 25, 2010

4th of July Bread

Great Harvest Bread Company always makes a delicious 4th of July sweet bread. It has berries and white chocolate chips and is absolutely amazing! I look forward to this time of year just for the bread. Try it out!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

4th of July BBQ details

There are a few simple things you can do to spruce up your 4th of July BBQ.

Use a picnic basket to serve your buns.

Get some patriotic napkins. These were 20 for $1 at Dollar Tree. Also, use snappers as a favor for everyone.

Use a patriotic table cloth. Use as much red, white and blue to decorate as possible.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Summer

It's officially summer! What are some of your favorite summer activities?

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Do something special today for your father or your husband.

Friday, June 18, 2010

First Day of Summer

So the first day of summer may not be an "official" holiday, but who says we can't celebrate it anyway? Actually, I never celebrated the first day of summer growing up. To me, if school was out, then it was just another glorious day in the sun. Until I heard my friend's tradition, that is.

My good friend from college told me about a tradition that her family does on the first day of summer, which this year is June 21st. And boy, I would never forget the first day of summer again. Ready for this?

For dinner on the first day of summer, they eat ICE CREAM! What a child's paradise (and maybe a parent's nightmare, but I'm sure you could tailor it to your family). They have other, more substantial food to go along with it, but everyone can eat the ice cream they want--and first at that! I think this is such a fun and TASTY tradition, don't you?
You have a few days to pick up your favorite flavors and surprise your whole family for dinner on June 21st! Plus, this might just be the easiest dinner you will fix the entire year :)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

4th of July Jello Cake

Have you ever had Jello Cake? It is one of those delicious, easy, and inexpensive desserts...not to mention how FESTIVE it is.

I made one for our early 4th of July BBQ. And it was delightful!

To make your own 4th of July Jello cake,

1. Make a yellow or white cake as directed on the box.

2. Let it cool for at least 15 minutes. Then poke holes with a fork through the entire cake. It will look like this

3. Just before it has cooled, mix up 3 oz. jello as directed on the box. (I wanted 2 colors so I used 1.5 oz of each color).

4. Pour the unset jello over the cake slowly so that it is absorbed and doesn't rush to the bottom of the pan.

5. Refrigerate at least 4 hours, but the longer the better. Keep refrigerated until you serve it.

6. Before serving, spread cool whip on top and garnish with fruit or sprinkles.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Father's Day Frame Idea

I came across a very cute idea for a Father's Day gift. This won't work for me since I don't have kids yet, but its something I definitely want to remember for the future.

Check it out at here

Friday, June 11, 2010

Hosting Tip #3

If you know guests are coming over, make sure you have plenty of toilet paper in the bathroom. I would suggest putting a few extra rolls near the toilet. While you are at it, put a spray air freshener in there so you're guests won't be embarrassed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hosting Tip #2

If you don't have time to wash all the pots, pans, and dishes before your guests arrive, just stash them in the oven! Your guests will never have to know your little secret. Just make sure you are finished with the oven and it is completely cool before you put anything in there that could melt. Also, don't forget your to take it out before you preheat it or you might have an ever bigger mess!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hosting Tip #1

Put balloons on your mailbox or a sign out front so that guests that have never been to your house before know which one to go to. I learned this the hard way.

Friday, June 4, 2010

How to use Evite

You probably remember me talking about Evite in the invitations post. I promised I would dedicate an entire post on how to use Evite, so here goes:

Go to If you are a first-time use, click the login button in the top right hand corner. It will bring you to a page that looks like this:

Fill out the registration form. I un-check the box that says that I want party planning ideas, etc so I don't get lots of spam. After you sign in, you will see your home page:

Your home page is where you can view all of your upcoming events (both the ones you planned and the ones you are invited to).

To create an invitation, click on the "Invitations" tab. It will bring you to this page. Notice that you can choose a design from the 1. Design Categories or 2. A featured design.

Since I want to create an invitation for a BBQ, I'm going to click on the featured design invitation.
It will bring me to this next page:

Here you enter in an Event Title and all the details including time, address, etc. You will notice some other options right under your picture. One of the choices is "Invitation Options". If you click on that, you can select "Ask your guests to bring something". You can type in what you need and the quantity. Once someone selects an item, it will automatically reduce the quantity so another person can't bring the same thing! Cool huh?

You can also include an "End time" or have your guests suggest a date/time. There are so many options so just have fun exploring.

After your invitation is ready, you are ready to Add Guests. Click on the green button in the bottom right hand corner. Your next page will look like this:

Add your contacts from Facebook or your address book. You can select your reply style and also add a personalized message. Click send when you are ready. You can preview it also before you send it.

As the organizer, you can keep track of who has viewed the invitation and replied.You can add more guests and send updates.

That is Evite in a nutshell! If you have any specific questions, let me know!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mud Cup Dessert

I LOVE this treat. It's so simple and so fun for summer.

All you need for your mud cup dessert:
  • 2 cups crushed Oreos
  • 1 large box chocolate pudding
  • 8 oz. cool whip
  • Gummy worms (at least 2 per person)
  • Plastic cups (paper will also work, but it won't look as pretty)

First, mix the chocolate pudding as directed. Let the pudding thicken for 5 minutes. Then add the cool whip and 1/2 cup of crushed oreos.

Pour that mixture into the cups. Then add crushed oreos on top and gummy worms.

Keep these refrigerated until you are ready to serve them.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day remembering the ones you love and honoring their legacies.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Party Planning: Invitations

If you are going to go to all the work of planning and throwing a party, you will definitely want people to show up, right? That is why invitations are such an important part of party planning.

Before we get to the specifics, remember that sometimes you won't need invitations. If you are having a spontaneous or very casual event (such as a game or dessert night, or open house), invitations are not necessary. It will make your event too formal.

However, if you can answer yes to one or all of the following questions, you may consider doing invitations:

  1. Are you serving food?

  2. Is the event over a week away?

  3. Is the event at a unique location that would require an address?

  4. Are you making name cards or giving out favors?

  5. Do you need to plan for adequate seating or parking?
If you've decided that invitations are a must, let me share some different options and the pros and cons of each.

1. Handmade invitations
There is nothing like getting a handmade invitation in the mail or on your doorstep. I get giddy every time I receive a real invitation.

  • You can customize them to fit the theme of your event
  • It gives a very personal touch to your guests

  • They can save you money
  • They can be time-consuming

  • They can be expensive

2. Pre-made invitations

  • They save you time
  • They can be very professional looking

  • They can be expensive
  • You might have a hard time finding exactly what you are looking for

3. Evite
Although I love getting and making handmade invitations, I am a big of Evite ( Have you ever used it? It's actually pretty simple. I'll have a post specifically on Evite so stay tuned.


  • Your invitations are sent with a click of a mouse
  • There is no postage required

  • You can see which guests have viewed and RSVP'd to the event

  • You can have guests sign up to bring something

  • There are many styles that can fit your theme

  • FREE!
  • Some of your guests may not have access to a computer
  • If your guests are in an older generation that are not used to computers, they may not even see it
Momentice is a free guest list management system that utilizes social media to help gather addresses. The system helps you keep track of invitations sent, RSVPs, thank you notes and allows you to manage several wedding events at a time.

  • It's completely free!
  • You can manage large guest lists

  • You can utilize social media to gather address

  • You can access it anywhere you have internet
  • You still have to come up with invitations
***Whatever you decide to use for invitations, don't let it become a big stress. Parties are about having fun and there is a lot more to it than the invitations.
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