Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Family Visit and Bears' Maryland Birthday Party

We decided to have a second party for Bear so that Hubby's side of the family could celebrate with us as well.  It is rare that we are stationed close enough to family for this to happen so why not take advantage of it. 

Any party with this side of the family typically revolve around food.  Then again most parties do.  I spent the night before company arrived prepping the following nights dinner and soaking in the silence.  The quiet before the chaos.



I made spinach stuffed shells.  A huge batch for the guests and then extras for the freezer.  



The next evening I sat down with a beer to relax just before company arrived. 



After all the kids went to be we had some more drinks, some snacks and played cards.  Rummy 500 to be exact.  We barely made it to 200 before we all were ready for bed.



In the morning the kids watched Curious George before enjoying some pancakes. 




After breakfast we all piled into our cars and headed to the National Aquarium.  This was our 3rd visit to the aquarium.  We are really taking advantage of this season pass thing.




When we had had enough of the aquarium we headed back home for some lunch and nap time.



I took advantage of this quiet time to make the cupcakes for the party a day early. 




I also made apricot bars for that evenings dessert.




When I finished all of my prep work I started in on dinner for that evening.  









Along with the salad we had garlic bread.  




And obviously the spinach stuffed shells.




It was all very good if I do say so myself.



Once the again when the kids went to bed more drinks were poured and out came a board game.  The Big Bang Theory Trivia Game. It is played individually, however teams or pairs may have been better seeing as one person in the group had not watched the show as intensely as we all had.  That said, they do try to give players like that an advantage by tossing in questions like draw the symbol for pie.  Though there is no guarantee they will get those questions.   Additionally they toss in many "rock, paper, scissors, lizard, Spock" squares.  They can easily change the game.  It took us about an hour for someone to win.

The following morning we spent relaxing And catching up with family.  We attempted to watch "cloudy with a chance of meatballs" but the kids were all a bit too rowdy for that.

With the party approaching and final guests set to arrive soon we got to work making the final dishes.



One of the favorites was the 7 layer bean dip. 






Along with the 7 Layer Bean Dip we had Pop Pulled Pork Sandwiches on buns, Spinach Vegetable Dip, a crudites, and chips.  One person even brought us up some yummy crab salsa to go along with it!  




Bear tried some but was happy with his hot dog, avocado and chips.  



After cleaning up dinner and waiting for the dishes to finish I set out the cupcakes.  I have a double stack cupcake holder.  When I was attempting to clean off the bottom of the top tray I almost dropped it.  I managed to only mess up a few but as you can see they didn't look that pretty anymore.  Oh well. Thankfully no one cared.



This time around Bear attempted to actually blow out his candle.  He enjoyed a few bites before throwing it on the floor. A behavior we are still working on.




I had told everyone to have Bear open the gift they brought whenever they wanted, but to just let me know so I could take pictures of it.  No one took me up on this so we all sat down and had him open up his gifts one after the other. 




The Cheerio book was his first gift.  He loves books so it was a good pick.



Up next was a CAT dump truck that lit up.  Let me pause here for a moment.  Gift bags at this age are amazing!  They pull out some paper and boom there is the toy.  Even better they all actually opened the gifts from the packaging so he could play with it right away.  They offered the packaging later.  This works well if you know they will like the toy and if you didn't get any repeats.  Good communication here is key!

It was a bit tough for him to move on to the next toy but he did.  

I missed pictures of it but he also opened up some paw patrol "trucks" (Zuma and rocky) and a little people helicopter.  He struggled with the helicopter at first but he has since gotten a handle on it.  



His last present was the gas and go mower,  he loves it!  It is like that old popper toy with a few more functions.  



Personally I kind of like seeing Bear a bit overwhelmed bouncing from toy to toy not knowing what to play with next.  It part of the joy of a birthday.  Had there been a larger crowd we may have done this in waves so as not to overwhelm him too much but with there being only 5-6 gifts it wasn't too bad at all for him. 

Shortly after this the majority of the family left.  They had a decent drive home.  Two of my BIL's (brother in laws) stayed the night.  We all drank and relaxed after Bear went to bed.




We also explored a box of alcohol that my father had given us.  They were from all over my grandfathers house.  This one in particular we discovered after much research is 47 years old!  We aren't sure exactly what we plan to do with all these old bottles but who know.  




For dinner that night we kept it a bit lighter and made steak over salad with the lemon dressing.  We had made this previously. 




I forgot to take a picture of what it looked like as I was too hungry so here is a picture from the last time.  We made it look exactly the same as before.



The next morning all company was leaving so I sent them with some food to go, mainly cupcakes.  I wanted all junk food out of the house so I wouldn't be tempted to eat it.  Have I mentioned how well bread tins work for sending people home with leftovers?  Some tinfoil on top and they are good to go.


All in all we had a good time despite the few hiccups we had along the way.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

Dream Home with Sarah Richardson



When I think of my Dream Home I instantly think that I want the amazing Sarah Richardson to be the one to help with the details.  To have her help with filling the house and making it all look pretty.  If you haven't seen her on her various shows Sarah's House or Sarah 101 you are missing out.  Go search for it now. OK well maybe after seeing some of her amazing rooms from Pinterest.  Rooms I would love to have in my Dream Home.


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Meet Sarah Richardson.

Below are some of her work that I absolutely love!


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I love everything about this kitchen! 
I want this in my dream home.
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Now to only live in one place long enough and to have an endless budget.  


What home designers do you like?

Friday, July 24, 2015

OXO Container Makeover

Every house we have lived in has been slightly different kitchens.  In this Maryland home it feels very different!


As you can see the top cabinets don't have any doors.  Not even glass ones.  This open concept is killing me.  I am consistently trying to keep them neat and tidy as well as make them look pretty.  All of the colorful bakeware or dishes needed to be displayed.  One spot in particular that needed some help was my OXO containers.


I love them, I really do.  However, when you fill them with things that need directions or need labeling you need to put that information somewhere.  For me this solution was to use a sharpie marker directly on the container.  This way if I wanted to change what was inside a little rubbing alcohol and some elbow grease.  That would give me the clean slate that I needed to refill the container with something else. 


One day I was messing around on Pinterest and saw this.  

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These containers have labels on them.  It was my jumping off point.  When looking for some fancy labels on Amazon I saw Chalk Labels.  That's when I knew I had to have them for this project.  The prefect compromise, rewritable labels.  Toss some chalk markers into the cart and I was set!  When everything came in the mail I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked the labels.  I got right to work.


This is what they looked like before.  Which was fine when no one saw them.  yet out on display this simply wouldn't work long term.  

I started by writing down the instructions on a post it note one at a time.  Then I used rubbing alcohol to get the sharpie marker off the containers. 


Peel the label off and eyeball it to the same level as everything else. 


Then get your chalk pen working.   Write down whatever name or instructions you want on them.  I will say that I do not have the prettiest handwriting so some sort of stencil may have helped me make them look fancier.  I have read about printing up the writing and covering the back in standard chalk then tracing it.  This is something I am looking into for when I have more time.  Or you can even ask someone that does have nice handwriting to help out.  For now this will do. 


While it is "erasable"  you need a splash of water to get this off once it has dried.  I found that if I try with paper to get them back to the clean black look a magic eraser run over it lightly helped a ton!


So here is what they look like all finished up.  I think this is something that I may have skipped if they were in the pantry but I am really happy that they worked out and look as pretty as the do.