DIY Personalized Rubber Band Boats – Favors for a Nautical 2nd Birthday Party

So Graham’s 2nd Birthday was almost 2 weeks ago – and it was a total blast! I’m going to do a post on the little party itself, but today I wanted to share with you the personalized favor that I made for all the kids!

I do little DIY/Homemade favors at each of my kids parties. It’s sort of become my thing – and I don’t really consider myself crafty – except for my kids birthdays!

At Brooks’ 3rd Birthday, I made everyone a personalized superhero cape. At Graham’s 1st Birthday, everyone got a massive ball with their name on it. And for Brooks’ 2nd Birthday, I made everyone personalized smocks, since it was a art party!

outfit details:

top / denim {on sale!} / shoes {similar!} / jewels

So we had the party at this really cool spot in the city – Sister Cities Park – if you are in the area or planning to visit with kids, be sure to stop by and check it out. Especially in the warmer months because there is a really cool water play area for the kids! This is where I got my inspiration for the boats! I wanted to get the kids something fun they could play with in the water at the party. Thus began my inspiration for a nautical themed party!

Seriously, how perfect are these cute little wooden rubber band boats?!

The water area has a little ‘river’ up a hill that the kids can put boats down, which float under bridges and down the stream to the little wading pool. My kids LOVE this park and I’m so happy the weather cooperated that day for us to enjoy the water activities and the boats I made!

I was able to score these awesome wooden rubber band boats at a local store in Philly for a great deal, so then I decided I wanted to personalize each boat for the kids, so everyone knew which was theirs! I picked up these stencils in a smaller size and put each kids first letter of their name on the front of each boat. We only had one letter that was repeated, so I did different colors for that – added in a cute little star on the corner for fun and they were good to go!

I did a few layers on the letters to get darker colors, and then I sealed everything with modge podge so the paint wouldn’t have any issues in the water. It sealed it all perfectly.

Each boat came with bonus rubber bands, because it is a rubber band boat which powers it, and of course rubber bands can break. So I had those on hand incase anyone wound up their boat too much! But its definitely a solid little toy that I hope all the kids enjoyed playing with because I enjoyed making them!

Are you a fan of DIY or personalizing party favors?

What’s the coolest thing you’ve ever made? I’d love to hear about it!

Now it’s time to start thinking about my next project for Brooks’ 4th Birthday in January!

Wish me luck!

That Cold Shoulder Top Though.

Outfit Details

// Marcella Cold Shoulder Top /  Raw Hem Denim {58% off!} /

Strap Sandals {50% off! + also similar} / Kensington Leather Tote  /

Jasper Fringe Earrings / Dark Pink LipSense 

I don’t know about you, but I am LOVING the cold shoulder trend. ESPECIALLY for Fall! I love how easy and instantly cool the look is. And on this top with the stunning lattice finish on this flirty cut out detailing – the cold shoulder is even more fun. This top has just the right amount of feminine edge to pair back to your favorite jewels.

And don’t even get me started on the raw hem denim going on right now – I love it so much and want all new jeans in my life. Don’t get me wrong, I love the distressed look too, but sometimes you can wear jeans with holes in them, and other days, you can’t. These jeans are perfect for the other days! Not to mention the raw hem pairs perfectly with these ankle strap sandals {that are 50% off right now + selling out quick, these are super cute,very similar and on sale too!}

I think I need them in black too – what do you think?

#shoeobsession

All wrapped up together with a big, beautiful, black leather bag {that’s so stinkin’ soft and buttery!} Large enough to hold your laptop, if you are in the market for a new bag, add this on to your list!

Are you a fan of the cold shoulder + raw hem denim trends?

Let me know what you think!

What’s For Dinner: Lasagna-Stuffed Peppers

I have been in a bit of a recipe rut lately. So I spent a good portion of last week searching for some new ideas to cook up something delicious in the kitchen. It was good timing I guess, because our fridge died – so we had to clean it out, get a new one and start fresh. Luckily, I did my menu planning before the new fridge arrived – so when it was time to grocery shop, I had already planned out my week of meals & ingredients.

Something I seriously need to do more often, meal planning makes life SO MUCH EASIER!

But I’m sure you already knew that!

So today is all about that Lasagna – Stuffed Peppers!

I made this earlier this week and it was just too amazingly delicious NOT to share with you on the blog. I LOVE a good lasagna, BUT I’ve been trying to do the whole ‘less carb thing’ whenever I can. This combination seemed like a yummy one, so I was excited to try it out.

And obviously if I’m sharing it on the blog, you can guess it turned out pretty fantastic!

Here’s how it all went down:

1. Preheat oven to 350˚F | While the oven is preheating, cut the top off of 4 bell peppers & remove the seeds. Transfer to a square baking dish and bake for 20 minutes, to soften. When they are removed from the oven, drain any excess water inside.

2. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add the 1 chopped onion and 4 cloves of chopped garlic, cook until softened.

3. Add 1/2 lb. ground beef, 1/2 lb. sweet Italian sausage and salt & pepper {to taste}. Cook until the meat has browned on all sides.

4. Add 14 oz. can of diced tomatoes and 14 oz. can of tomato sauce. Bring the mixture to a light simmer for 5-10 minutes, remove from heat and set aside.

5. In a small bowl, combine 15 oz. whole milk ricotta, 1 cup grates parmesan cheese and 1 egg. Mix together with a fork, set aside.

6. Prepare 1-2 cups of any pasta of your choosing al dente.

7. Assemble the ‘lasagna in each pepper’. Alternate meat sauce, pasta, ricotta mixture until the peppers are full. Top with mozzarella cheese.

10. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly browned. Rest for 10-15 minutes before serving and Enjoy!

This dish turned out great for so many reasons. The 4 lasagna stuffed peppers were perfect dinner for Charles and I! And the measurements for the meat sauce made extra – which would be perfect for another pepper or two {depending on how many people you are making dinner for OR it was great to add to the extra pasta I prepared as a instant dinner for the kids!

The kids loved the meat sauce {I thought it was crazy delicious too!} and so easy to make with just a few ingredients – not to mention the sweet Italian sausage gave it a little extra yumminess to it! Might make this sauce again just for dinner on pasta, like the kids had!

While the sauce is all sorts of delicious, the perfect mixture of the ricotta cheese, a touch of pasta {which was way less than if I had made traditional lasagna} all in a cute little pepper cup. It was a really delicious meal. Came together quickly, easily, was something different that I hadn’t made anything like it in a while and everyone loved it!

I’ll be making these again for sure!

What’s the best thing you’ve made lately?

Please share!


gn

The Room Where It Happens – our day in NYC to see Hamilton on Broadway

So last week was a big week! Brooks started pre-school, Graham turned two, I chopped about 5 inches off my hair and WE WENT TO SEE HAMILTON!

Big things happening!

outfit details: // Tribal Coat {only $25!} raw hem denim /

ruffle top / booties  / earrings

We bought these tickets almost 10 months ago, and FINALLY the day came, right before Graham’s birthday! We got tickets for the 2:00pm show so we were able to take the train up in the morning, grab lunch, see the show have a little bit to eat and head home. It was the best day!

We started out at 30th Street Station in Philly to catch our train, and obviously a day without the kids was a easy and relaxing one! Grab a coffee, grab a magazine and chill.

This was my first time checking out the Porch at 30th Street – which is right outside 30th Street Station. Such a cute little area with a great view of the city. Obviously, it was a overcast morning, but no rain {yay!} My mom and I headed outside to check it out while we waiting for our train.

After an uneventful and quick Amtrak ride to Penn Station, we headed out in NYC. It was still a little overcast, but no rain, which was awesome. We headed over to the Richard Rodgers theater to check it out. I wanted to get some photos outside the theater before it got too crowded, which turned out to be a great idea!

No crowds and great photo opportunities! If you are going to see the show, make sure you stop by the theatre a few hours before the doors open so you can get some good pictures under the signs!

Our crew was pumped for Hamilton – but first, lunch!

I had a bunch of recommendations from friends, family + fabulous readers {thank you!} and we decided to go around the corner in Times Square to Dos Caminos.

Guacamole + Margaritas?! Yes, please!

We had the traditional guacamole for the table {it was DELICIOUS} andI had the Grilled Grapefruit margarita – {riazul blanco tequila, grilled grapefruit, agave} Perfect to start the meal!

Here’s a look at our fabulous meal:

 

Sizzling Arrachera – grilled skirt steak, caramelized onions, guacamole, pico de gallo, wheat tortillas

Dos Enchiladas – roasted chicken, queso menonita, mole poblano & tres chiles sauce

Asada Tacos – natural skirt steak, caramelized onions, queso cotija, guacamole

Chiles Rellenos – soufflé battered poblano chiles stuffed with mexican cheeses, salsa mestiza, crema mexicana

The meal was insanely delicious. I’m bummed that there isn’t a Dos Caminos in Philadelphia – because I would eat there, on the regular! Everything was so tasty! If you are headed to NYC anytime soon and are into Mexican food – be sure to check out this restaurant – I believe there are a few locations in NYC. So worth it!

Then it was time for the show! AH!

We got pretty good seats and had a great view of the state. The theatre is pretty small, so I think most seat are good, but I loved being able to see all the facial expressions of the performers. Really happy with our seats.

And obviously I am a fan of the music, I’ve been jamming out to it for over a year, so I knew what I was getting myself into with the show, but seeing it live, in person, on broadway was such a treat. And such a amazing experience. Our whole group loved it, everyone had a blast – the actors were insanely talented and the music, in person was so beautiful.

If you have a chance to go see Hamilton on Broadway – don’t think about it, just go!

You can thank me later.

I’m already counting down until 2018 when Hamilton comes to Philly! I can’t wait to see it again {and be in the room where it happens!}

Are you a Hamilton fan? Have you seen it in NYC, Chicago or LA?

About that Jacket – Tribal Coat under $25

So last week, I got to enjoy the best day ever and went up to NYC to see Hamilton on Broadway.

// Tribal Coat {only $25!}

We got tickets for this 10+ months ago, so it was a day we planned a long time ago – it was well worth the wait!

I’m going to share our whole day in NYC with you on the blog tomorrow, but today – the star of the show is this gorgeous jacket.

// raw hem denim / ruffle top / booties  / earrings

Obviously, I planned my outfit for Hamilton a while back. I had a really cute top & booties earmarked for the special occasion. BUT as the day came closer and closer on the calendar – so did the weather forecast, which was predicting rain, LOTS of it. I didn’t want to ruin a new pair of shoes and since it was going to be raining, I needed layers, which I wasn’t planning on.

Luckily, this gorgeous coat arrived on my doorstep right before Hamilton day, and it was a pretty perfect piece to wear for a day in NYC on Broadway!

I received SO MANY compliments on this jacket. It was crazy how many people told me how awesome it was. The print is fantastic – so many gorgeous colors. The sleeves are really different, a little cropped & a hit of a bell sleeve. And can we talk about the embroidered detail along the trim?!

Oh and its currently 50% off – only $25!

A close up of the details.

These earrings are amazing because they transform into studs. And a Blu-Red & Bombshell LipSense combination might be my new go-to!

So happy I got to wear this jacket for a fun day in NYC. I can’t wait to pair it with boots, maybe OTK – and maybe even find a fun belt to wrap it like a dress! Lots of possibilities with this beauty!

What do you think about the jacket? Are you a fan?

Stay tuned for a recap of our NYC Day tomorrow! Can’t wait to share our fun in the Big Apple!

Another Trip Around the Sun, Graham. Happy 2nd Birthday!

Happy Birthday to my sweet little Graham! Today you are TWO!

It has been a crazy year that has flew by in the blink of an eye, but then when I look back at these photos from a year ago, it seems like forever has past. Time is funny like that when its both quick and slow at the same time.

This year was a big year for my little Graham – and right in front of me he has gone from a baby, to a little boy and THAT is what makes me weepy. I love baby cuddles and the sweet baby smell and baby wearing! But I love seeing my little boys grow, learn and develop – being at home with them and seeing everything through their eyes is the greatest gift.

This year, Graham learned to walk, and now he’s a running, skipping, jumping, scooting manic who loves to race and go FAST! {Just like his big brother.}

This year Graham stopped nursing. We made it to about 14 months {which was about the same with Brooks} and he still had breastmilk from my sweet stash for another month or so. Proud of that and for us, weaning was easy both times – Forget a baby moon, I’m all about the post nursing trip! Woohoo!

This year, Graham learned to talk! Brooks started speaking way earlier, and I assumed it would be the same with G, but I think he enjoyed listening and learning to B talk {who goes a mile a minute!} so Graham wasn’t in much of a rush. But the past few months he went from a few words, to all the words. I love hearing his little voice tell me whats going on, its the sweetest.

This year, Graham moved into a room with Brooks. The two share a room and it’s been really great – they love it and I love having the two of them in there together, looking out for one another. It’s the beginning of an amazing bond I know they will have for the rest of their life.

Graham is very passionate about everything. He loves to play with Brooks {and bestie, Noah!}, he loves his favorite stuffed buddies {Teddy + Neigh – who is actually Bullseye from Toy Story} and he’s obsessed with orange juice. Brooks & Graham’s favorite music of the moment is anything N*Sync {so proud!} Graham is my sweet little love who even though he’s a big kid, is still my little bitty babe who loves to cuddle with mama and be carried all around. But at the same time, he’s very independent, loves to do everything on his own and is fearless {again, just like big bro.}

Graham full of spirit, loves to draw & paint and mostly love to get his way {or else we all feel the wrath of Gam} BUT his big brother is the best at getting him all crazy & excited but also calming him down too.

I love you, little G so much, I can’t wait for the years ahead to see you grow. You are a light in our lives, my little love, my sweet little bep. Gam, Gammin, Gammers, G, GOB, little baby sweets – we have all the names for you. {These are the nice ones – Ha!}

We love your highs and a hug from mom or dad can usually cheer you from any low. Your big eyes are full of wonder and you give the tightest little hugs along with the sweetest little kisses. Can’t imagine life without you in it, you are a beautiful soul

Happy Birthday Graham – here’s to another trip around the sun!

Too infinity & Beyond! xo – mom

Here are way too many pictures of Graham from the past year, but this is my little online memory book, so they all have to be here! And for a look back along memory lane with G, check out these posts:

Graham’s Birth Story / Newborn Photos / Graham’s Page / A Year of Graham / Graham’s First BirthdayMonthly Updates

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Three Things

Happy Wednesday! Just a little check in to share with you what’s been going on this week. Here are three things on my mind at the moment:

1 – Today is HAMILTON DAY! aka – Best Day Ever! We got tickets 9-10 months ago to see the show in NYC on Broadway and the day is finally here – EEEK! I have been jamming out to the soundtrack for almost a year straight and I can’t wait to see it live, up close and personal today. It’s going to be amazing! I’m beyond pumped.

Are you a Hamilton fan? If you are – we should be friends! Ha!

// Hamilton shirt 

2- Brooks started pre-school this week! <cue the mom tears> My little man is growing up! I can’t handle it! I loved our fun summer together, but I’m excited to watch him learn and flourish in school with his amazing teacher and friends. I think he is excited to be back in the swing of things too. He is so interested in the world around him and he’s so stinkin’ smart! Can’t wait to watch him take over the world one day!

Happy first week of school little man, you are a rockstar!

Do you have a little one fresh in school this week? How’s it going?

3- I did a little choppy chop on my hair this week. Was starting to get itchy for a little change. Cut off almost 5 inches and tones down the color for a more Fall look. I’m really happy with how it turned out – it feels so light, like I’ve lost 20 lbs! I haven’t had short hair in YEARS! So it’s a big change for me, but I am excited to explore possibilities beyond the #mombun I even got excited and ordered the curling iron my stylist used on me {it was so adto hopefully add in a little volume every day, because I love this beach hair vibe!

If you are on the fence about a fun cut/color for Fall – just do it! It’s just hair! Have fun with it!

Would love to hear a thing or two going on with you this week!

Please share and I’ll send one or two friends a cool shirt from my avocado party! Woohoo!

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