sam's train birthday party

Thursday, November 20, 2014

This last weekend we threw a little party at home with friends to celebrate Samuel turning two.  His actual birthday isn't until Friday, but with Thanksgiving coming and people traveling, we decided to throw his party a little early.

Like every little boy his age, he is completely fascinated with trains.  There are several railroad crossings near us and as we drive through you can hear Sam in the backseat going, "choo-choo! choo-chooooo!!!"  It is ADORABLE.  So for his party, it had to be train themed.

Railroad tracks made out of black duct tape led guests to the front door.  The railroad crossing sign was made out of black and white foam board, and red glitter scrapbook paper for the lights.  It was then duct taped to a piece of electrical conduit left over from another project.

We had a super simple set up with food for the kids.  The "table" is actually a piece of scrap plywood sitting on top of buckets.  I draped my go to black and white striped fabric (I also used it for Izzy's 5th and Sam's 1st birthday parties) over top and no one knew what was hiding below.  I then topped it with a piece of kraft wrapping paper where I drew a train track and labeled the food items.

Those red balloons?  I wanted to do those mega round latex ones, but they were out (story of my life when it comes to those big balloons).  But, Party City had these smaller perfectly round foil balloons called Orbz that ended up working even better.  They are significantly cheaper, and since they're made out of that foil material the helium lasts so much longer and you don't have to worry about them sinking part way through the party.

I used a train shaped cookie cutter for the PB&J.  After the party we took the leftover parts of the cutout sandwiches with the dreaded crust (good grief, why do they hate the crusts so much?!) over to feed the ducks.

The biggest hit was the coal!  Rice crispy treats with Oreos and black food coloring.  You can find the recipe here.  WARNING: Wait to eat these teeth and mouth blackening bombs until after you take photos :D

The train cake topper is a paper print out I cut out with an Xacto knife and taped to toothpicks to stick into the cake.  The 2 was cut out from the red glitter paper I used for his railroad crossing sign, and again taped to a toothpick so I could stick it into the side of the cake.  Easy peasy.

The train track on the table was black washi tape.  It was a last minute thing that turned out completely cute, annnnd..... then bit me in the butt.  I thought I was golden using washi tape on the table because I've never had it do any damage before.  Well, when I pulled it off it took some of the polycrylic I used to seal my table with with it.  Doh!  I'll now have to refinish the top of my table.  Ugh.  Before you try this, test it out on an inconspicuous spot first.

The train and little trees were found at Hobby Lobby, as were the red bandanas and striped straws.  The place tags are just card stock cut with pinking shears and a large round hole punch to resemble train tickets.

Judging from this picture, which is the ONLY one I got of him that day that isn't a blurry mess, you would have thought he had a horrible time.  But, I assure you he had a blast :)

All of his little expressions here just kill me!

Happy Birthday Sam Jam!!!  May this next year be filled with more stink facin', walking with your eyes closed just for the fun of it, bouncing around your crib like it's a wrestling ring, sticking your feet in my face for smooches, and tossing out drive by snuggles.  You are a RIOT, my boy.  I love you like crazy.      

framed bathroom mirror

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

This is one of those projects I've had done for a while, but haven't yet shared.  I had a boat load of photos documenting the process of how I installed the wood trim around my master bathroom mirrors and was so excited to share it with you guys.  Unfortunately those photos were all on the SD card I lost a while back.  Boo!  Since I still haven't found it (I'm sure it's in the dump since I cannot find it ANYWHERE) I'm tossing plans of a tutorial out the window and just giving you the finished product.

In the name of saving money, I always planned on framing out the builder grade mirrors instead of replacing them with something else.  I had done a chunkier frame in Izzy's bathroom in our KS house with crown across the top, and while I liked it there, I wanted to do something different and simpler here.  I saw this image on Wills Casa and immediately knew that was my answer.  1x2 pine, baby.  Doesn't get much simpler (or cheaper) than that.

I did have to take the mirror off the wall first so I could use mirror clips that were slimmer and then used a small chisel to notch out around them so the 1x2 would lay nice and flat against the mirror.  The wood was stained gray using one coat of Minwax's Classic Gray and attached to the front of the mirror using Liquid Nails once it was dry. 

For those perfectionists out there, try to ignore the wonky cabinet pull in the below photo.  I didn't notice it until I sat down at the computer and well, I didn't want to retake the photo ;)

Here's a side-by-side, before the hardware, bamboo shade, and mirror frame.  While it doesn't look like too much of a change in the photos, it's a huge improvement in person.  I loooove it.

Christmas "swag"ger

Monday, November 10, 2014

Top o' the mornin' to ya!

Today you can find me contributing over at Playdates + Pearls a "swag"-o-licious DIY for your Christmas decor and lots of inspiration.  

And, I'm super excited to say that, I'm going to be a regular contributor for Samantha over the next few months while she preps for and enjoys her newest baby girl who should be arriving pretty darn soon!

See you all over there!  And while you're there, make sure you check out the other amazing contributors that are joining in!

halloween | 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hope you're not sick of Halloween posts yet, because here comes another one!

I'll give you one guess as to who Izzy dressed up as this year????

Queen Elsa!

She was SO happy with her costume!  Sam on the other hand is not at all thrilled with his costume, but I still think he makes an adorable little dragon.  Is it bad that I kinda love pictures of toddlers crying in their costumes?  I feel the same way about Santa's lap pictures.  I just think it's adorable!!!

Ok, enough is enough there Sam Jam!  He was really timid going up to people's houses, but after he scored a Blow Pop it was game on.  He went from being drug down the sidewalk like a cat on a leash (no need to call the authorities, he wasn't really on a leash!) to skipping once he had his paws on that lollipop :D

This year I decided (last minute - why do I always do this to myself) to make the kids trick-or-treat bags.  It was my first time using the ol' freezer paper trick and I am LOVING the results.  You can find the tutorial and template downloads that I used here.

Izzy made out this year with several costume changes as you may have seen on my Instagram.  The day of Halloween the school had Book Character Dress Up Day.  Izzy chose the American Girl Doll, Isabelle.  I don't really think it counts as a book character, but since she had the book it was all good.

And then the following Monday was 50's Day at school to celebrate the 50th day of school.  You guys, I cannot handle how ADORABLE she is in this!!!

Ok, I'm off to go hit up the kids' trick-or-treat bags again.  Lord help me, I can't stay out of them!!!

inside my bag | playdates + pearls

Monday, November 3, 2014

Hope everyone had a great weekend and has finally recovered from the candy overload you confiscated from your kid' trick-or-treat bags!  I know I was UBBER excited to see so many pieces of "mom candy" (aka Reese's PB Cups, Snickers, anything chocolate) pop up this year in their bags ;D

Today I've got Samantha from Playdates + Pearls stopping in for the Inside My Bag Series!

Ok, so you know those girls that are just plain cool?  That's Samantha.  I look at her Instagram (which you MUST follow) and I'm all, "She's just so flippin cool.  I wanna be cool.  But I'm so not cool.  Waaaaa!!!!"  She even has a super cool mini me (and another about to arrive any day now!) who rocks the most amazing outfits.  Like, I want her daughter's clothes.

Her house is just as much fun as she is.  I suddenly need more color in my life!

Here's Samantha!

Hi Crazy Wonderful Peeps! I'm Samantha, from Playdates + Pearls, and I'm so excited to be guest posting as part of Shelley's "What's in my bag?" series. As soon as Shelley asked me I was like "DUH!" - But as time got closer and closer I started worrying about dumping my bag for y'all, which contains everything but the kitchen sink...I might have hoarding tendencies...don't judge me.

I'm expecting my second daughter within the month, so my bag is in a state of transition as I prepare to add in all the diapers, wipes, and toys.
Ok, enough excuses, let's just jump right in.

I carry the largest LV Neverful (whoever named this bag clearly hasn't met me) that my husband bought me on our trip to Paris last September. I begged and bribed him the entire trip, and then got "lucky" when my bag was stolen on the beach in Cannes, so then I "needed" a replacement. Darn the bad luck! ;-)

I bought a diaper bag organizer from Daffy's Dream on Etsy and I L-O-V-E it! It keeps me organized, and helps my bag keep it's shape. (Link to bag organizer:

Let's breakdown the junk:

Passports, wallet, and a ticket. OOPS! In Texas you have to have your car inspected annually, on time, or else. They aren't joking.

My iPhone, AKA social media lifeline, and the charger because my battery dies at least once a day. I also always carry one of those twisty bobby pins to put my hair into the notorious mom-bun.

My Tory Burch sunnies that are forever dirty, and a House of Harlow hard case because TB cases are soft and I'm really rough on them.

I'm pregnant and eating ALL. THE. TIME. so I keep Whole30 approved snacks on hand (I'm on day 8 of 30...yes, I'm insane!) I've also managed to convince my 3 year old that the KIND bars are candy bars, and use them as bribery.

Doesn't everyone's purse have 11 lip products in it? No? Just me? I struggle to commit.

An assortment of  jewelry because I'll put it on in the morning, get annoyed of it halfway through the day, and dump it into my bottomless-pit-purse along with everything else.

Paint chip leftover from painting my daughters nursery.

Last but not least, random samples I'm sent, eyedrops, sanitizing wipes, and bandaids. Without fail, my daughter will get hurt every single time I don't have a bandaid with me, so now I carry a handful of them at all times. I'm also currently carrying the newest InStyle magazine, because T-Swift, and a Blue Avocado collapsible tote bag for when I pop into the store and forget all those reusable plastic bags that I intended on bringing...but always forget...ALWAYS!!!

So there you have it. The good, the bad, the tickets...

Thanks so much for having me Shelley!!

XO - Samantha


I am eyeing that organizer.  It might give me a leg up on my current bag situation.  And, I was wondering how well they kept track of the vehicle inspections!  Thank God my husband took care of it for me last time or I would be in the same boat ;)


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