Sunday, October 16, 2016

Lola's Star Wars 4th Birthday

Each year Lola gets to choose what kind of birthday party she wants. I love that she always seems to pick something "unique." Since she aspires to become an astronaut- she is intrigued with anything space- and that includes Star Wars. Neither Tyler nor myself are big Star Wars fans, but she has really taken to it and so she chose a Chewbacca themed birthday party because he is her favorite character. 

It was definitely a little challenging for me but I loved coming up with some fun ideas to celebrate with my little girl. 

First let's start with the most important part of any party- THE FOOD!

Next here are a few photos of the activities we had set up for the kids. They enjoyed battling Storm Trooper with Light Sabers made from pool noodles. Then we battled Darth Vader as a piñata. Lastly, we had a special guest who visited the party to open gifts and play games. 

She had a blast at her party and each child got to take home a special favor bag filled with Star Wars bouncy balls, fruit snacks, tattoos, candy and other fun goodies. 

Here are few more fun details from the day! My talented sister made the amazing Chewbacca Head Cake!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Snowy Soup Day

Today we had a little snow, not nearly as horrible as they thought it would be. I'm not complaining because I am definitely going a little stir crazy with two little ones inside and we don't go very many places since Willa is still so little. Whenever it snows, soup always sounds the best for dinner. This recipe is honestly the best soup i've ever had. It's easy, healthy(ish) and tastes delicious. Hope you love it as much as my family does!

Here are the steps to making this delicious soup:


  • 4 slices of bacon - cooked and diced up (I just do this in the microwave)
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage (for a bit more spice) OR 1 lb ground pork (super cheap and yummy)
    • I actually used 2 pounds tonight for dinner and liked it with a little more meat.
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3-4 cloves garlic
  • 4 Cups chicken stock
  • 3 Cups potatoes
  • 2 cups Kale
  • 1 Cup Cream
  • Grated Parmesan 
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Get your meat cooking in a dutch oven or big pot. While it is cooking make your bacon, and chop up the onion, garlic cloves and bacon. If you don't have this slap-chop from Pampered Chef it is amazing and makes chopping onions tear free!

Then dice up your potatoes. I use the baby blonde potatoes but you can also use regular if you'd like.
 Side note: if you're wondering how I am getting all this done with two kids - I wear Willa A LOT. It is such a life saver and she usually will fall asleep. I am wearing a Tula.

Anyways, cook up your meat and get that all browned and ready to go.
 Then add your chicken broth - a whole carton full!
 Then add onions and sauté them for a bit.
 Then add in your bacon and garlic and cook for a minute or two more.
 Here is my other happy helper. She rides this unicorn all around the house. Nothing like getting your ankles ran into by a pink unicorn - it hurts like a mother.
After you've put an ice pack on your toes from the unicorn ramming, add your potatoes. Then put on the lid and simmer until the potatoes are tender.
 While that is simmering, get your kale ready. Kale is so yummy and healthy for you. It is one of the vegetables I can actually get Lola to eat so we eat it quite a bit. I made Kale chips as well by shredding them, tossing with EVOO and salt and cooking at 350 for about 10 minutes. They are delicious! Sometimes we add parmesan cheese and bacon bits.
If you aren't familiar with kale, you need to pull the leaves off the thick steam. I just pull them by pinching them the stem and then ripping them into smaller pieces. 

 Make sure to wash well as they are grown in sandy ground.
 She was actually eating this raw - which surprises me because she refuses to try salad.

 Add in your cream and kale and mix around.

Let it cook for a few more minutes to let the kale cook down. 

And that's it! One pan dish that healthy and delicious. 

We served it with buttery crusty bread. Delicious on a cold snowy day! Enjoy!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Lola's 3rd Rudolph Birthday Party!

Yesterday we celebrated Lola's 3rd birthday party! When we were talking about themes for her party she brought up that she'd like a Rudolph party almost a year ago, and has stuck with wanting that theme so that's what we went with! I was a little worried that I would have a hard time finding things but thanks to Hobby Lobby having their Christmas things out crazy early, I was able to find everything I needed when combined with my Christmas Decor I grabbed out!

First I'll start with the most important part of any party - the food! Being 8 1/2 months pregnant I opted for a little simpler spread this year. We usually do a lunch but we decided to move the party to later in the afternoon and just have some snacks. It worked out perfectly and the kids loved all the snacks.

Donner's Donuts were some fun donut holes! It wasn't easy getting them to stay in a nice pile (especially when people pulled from the bottom) but they were all gobbled up. Donuts are an easy treat to serve , especially when I am craving them - yum!

Last year we opted to go with cookies instead of a cake since I think people like eating them more and they are little less messy. See link to Lola's Frozen party here. This year we had Purdy Cookies make cookies to match our theme (follow her on Facebook for her amazing designs!) I was blown away by how detailed these ended up. They not only looked fabulous, but they seriously tasted just as good. We will definitely be ordering from her again. We had a few left over and I jokingly told Tyler we should freeze them for Christmas to enjoy again! 

Yukon's Silver and Gold were some chocolate wrapped gold and silver coins! I used to love getting these under the tree at Christmas so they were a fun thing to add. 

One of Lola's favorite candy is Rock Candy, so we had to add in some Rudolph rock candy to the spread. This was a bit hit with the kids. I used a few old Rudolph books on the table as well to jazz it up!

Here is the spread of everything put together! I used my Cricut machine and some pre-cut Rudolph heads from Hobby Lobby to create the banner. I found a free Rudolph printable here that I used as well. I borrowed some evergreen trees to help make it seem extra Christmas-like. We also sprayed the other windows with Ice Crystals so it seemed like it was a frosty day outside.

 My talented sister made a cake for Lola so she could have some candles to blow out when we sang to her. I love how it turned out - she is amazingly creative! Lola licked up the nose right after blowing out her candles!

Other things I had on the table were:

  • Cookies and Cream Puppy Chow (store bought)
  • Chips and Dip
  • Pretzels and mustard dip
  • Festive Fruit (I forgot to take a close up as it was still in the fridge before our guest arrived!) All i did was buy a tree shaped pan and filled it with green grapes, honeydew melon, kiwi and then topped it with raspberries as 'garland' Super easy and fun! I got that inspiration from a party I saw here.

The birthday girl couldn't help sneak a few goodies while waiting for her guest to arrive. 

I found fabric for her skirt on clearance at JoAnn's and my Mother-in-Law sewed it for her. I love how it turned out and bonus is that she will be able to wear it for Christmas again! Score! Her Rudolph bow was ordered online here

I also set up a little photo booth for our guests to take pictures at! I just used red table clothes (for $1 from Wal-Mart) and the extra pinwheel decorations that matched the decorations upstairs. We added our front door Christmas JOY sign and a tree! I picked up the photo booth props at Hobby Lobby

We were also lucky enough to have some friends that own a bouncy house we borrowed! The weather was perfect for jumping around outside. I think all the kids slept good that night after a day of bouncing!

We also rented a snow cone machine from our local True Value. This was the hit of the party! Kids LOVED having snow cones!! I'm pretty sure each kid had at least two. I bought the syrup from Walmart in different flavors. Can't beat a $40 rental!

Also not shown were some craft tables I had set up in the basement. Kids could create their own Rudolph Christmas Ornament to take home or a stick puppet of Christmas characters.

We also sent home treat bags that had a light up red Rudolph right, Christmas chapstick and a snowman marker. We also displayed pictures of Lola throughout the year in the shape of a number 3 in our entry way.

I had a blast planning her theme this year, even being super pregnant it was a fun and unforgettable year.

Happy 3rd Birthday my sweet Lola.