I figured it would be best to start this post with another sneak peek! This is a little piece of a new background set we are releasing this month. I am so excited to share this new set with you next week as we countdown to the June release, because it offers a very innovative concept that we are looking forward to playing off of throughout the coming year! You'll love it just as much as Polka Dot Basics, if not more!
Today will be a busy, happy Sunday in our house. I have gotten up early this morning to prepare for dinner guests we are having this evening. As I've said before, I love to cook. One of my favorite tasks is chopping. There is just something therapeutic about the precision that really speaks to me. We are having two couples over tonight and we are really looking forward to their company. The menu I have planned is a simple summer compilation that we will be eating outside. The weather is hot & muggy today, but the shade of the evening should bring some relief and it looks like we will be able to eat under a blanket of a clear starry sky. Here's tonight's menu. I will try to remember to take photos of each of the dishes and share recipes with you throughout the week!
cheese & olive tray
bacon cheese tartlets
tossed roasted corn & avocado salad
roasted tomato & basil vinaigrette
homemade rustic croûtons
David's famous grilled tenderloin steak
asparagus & prosciutto bundles with lemon
double baked potatoes with crumbled bacon & fresh chives
fresh strawberry & mango salsa with homestyle vanilla ice cream
This morning I'm thinking happy thoughts. It's been one of those mornings where you wake up with a smile on your face, noticing all the little things. Little things that make you happy. Like all three kids playing together quietly, the morning sun streaming in and the excitement of what the day may have to offer. Today will surely be filled with lots of happy little things. What a blessing to be able to appreciate such overwhelming happiness at this moment. So thankful for my life and all of my happy little thoughts. What are your happy little thoughts today?
I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday weekend! David worked Saturday & Sunday and is off Monday through Wednesday this week, so we are *unofficially* still celebrating! As many of you know, we threw a large party on Memorial Day and I have been promising to share some snapshots with you!
---------This is the invitation that we sent out to all of our guests (you can click to enlarge if you like). We invited 18 families, so I kept them simple by designing them on the computer and printing them on a nice quality matte photo paper. As a special *paper crafty* touch I added little rhinestones to the centers of the stars.
David and I just love entertaining. There is something nostalgic and heartwarming about inviting people to your home to share food & good company. Just so the mood was set as soon as our guests arrived for our Memorial Day event, we added a little patriotic decor to the front of the house.
We had lots of fun things planned for the kids attending. One of which was firefly catching. I made each of the children their very own firefly catching jar, complete with a personalized label. Cases of canning jars were the perfect, inexpensive container. I adhered the labels onto the jars with tacky tape from Provo Craft.
The majority of our event was planned around evening activities including making s'mores over a fire & a fireworks display. This is one of my favorite shots I took during the party. You can see all of the guests back lit by the warm glow of both the fire and the strings of lights hung around the deck.
To make s'mores roasting a little easier, I decided to put together s'mores kits. They were really simple to make and it made it so much easier to divvy out the three necessary ingredients for the special fireside treat; marshmallows, chocolate & graham crackers. (I wanted to give a quick shout out to my friend Amanda who took the treat bag group photo during the party for me. She is super talented with a camera. Be sure to stop by her blog and see some of her amazing work!!!)
Each kit contained enough supplies for two s'mores. It really helped everything run smoothly since people didn't have to fumble in the dark to find separate ingredients. They just grabbed a kit and they were good to go! The kit contents fit perfectly in Papertrey's small frosted tin tie bags.
I have formatted a few downloads for you of the different design elements I created for our party so you can use them yourself next year. They are even appropriate for the upcoming 4th of July holiday. I have included completed versions for the s'mores kit and blank elements for the remainder of the items so you can just add a text box with your own information. If you want to recreate what I did, the fonts I used were Aviano Sans & Chopin Script.
My best friend Wendy tagged me on her blog. I normally don't participate in these types of things, but a few of the questions really intrigued me (and I just happened to be in the right mood! *wink*). The buck stops here though, as I have not tagged others. But I hope you will enjoy reading about a little of my history!
What was I doing ten years ago?
Let's see, ten years ago would have been May of 1998. I had just finished my first year of college and I was beginning my summer full-time work at Casco Bay Lines as a ticket agent. I was living in our summer cottage on Little Diamond Island and commuted every morning on the very ferry that I sold tickets for all day in town. I really enjoyed those commutes. There is nothing like beautiful ocean views and a salty breeze to start the day! I was dating David and was head over heels in love with him (little did I know he would propose in five short months!). I had dreams of one day moving to the city and having a high profile job in advertising or fashion. I really wanted to combine both and become a fashion merchandiser. I loved the idea of starting out on my own and being independent. I had $150 in my savings account with the goal to save as much as possible that summer for living expenses the following year at school. It was a fantastic summer, full of newfound love with David and my favorite place on earth to this day.
Five snacks I enjoy:
My homemade guacamole & chips
I shared the recipe last year in a Papertrey newsletter. I'll make a note to post it here on the blog sometime soon so that you can give it a try yourself this summer!
Multi-Grain Wheat Thins & Cabot Pepperjack Cheese
I just LOVE anything spicy! Cabot makes THE best Pepperjack cheese in my opinion. I haven't found another brand yet that I love as much as theirs.
Pop-Secret Homestyle microwave popcorn
This is the only kind of popcorn I will eat. The summer cottage I spent so much time at while growing up had an electric popcorn popper that was ANCIENT. I'm not even real sure how old it truly is, but it operates much differently than anything that has ever been for sale during my generation! Anyhow, it makes THE best popcorn, and my mother always popped some on rainy afternoons when we would stay warm and cozy inside by the fire. Reading would be the entertainment for the day and I just loved it the little routine that we did. To this day I love to eat popcorn when reading! Soooo, believe it or not, the Pop-Secret Homestyle popcorn tastes almost exactly like the popcorn from that old electric popcorrn popper, and that's why I love it so much!
I don't really care for any of the flavored varieties, just plain & simple, red can variety Pringles!
Apple slices & peanut butter
Sometimes people think I am strange for enjoying this combination so much, but I love the contrast of the crisp apple & creamy peanut butter. My favorite apples for this are Fuji & Golden Delicious.
Five things on my to do list today:
David and I are preparing for a big party we are throwing on Memorial Day this Monday. So much of my to-do list has to do with that!
1. Go grocery shopping
2. Finish mulching the garden around the pool.
3. Print labels for firefly jars & s'mores goodie bags, then assemble them.
4. Photograph all of the elements of the Memorial Day party and post them on the blog.
5. Finish up some patterned paper I am working on.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
-International travel. I have never been overseas, but am anxious to do so. Europe especially. There is so much history & culture to explore across the ocean and I would love the opportunity to go and take all three of our children as well!
-Donate as much money as possible to my two favorite charities, Habitat for Humanity & Donors Choose. One of the things I look for in a charity is how they are truly changing lives. Not just a hand out, but helping to build better lives for the future. In other words, something that has a long-term effect on everyday life, close to home.
I have been donating to Habitat for Humanity since I got my first job in high school. I find the entire program motivating and inspirational. I also feel that having someplace to call home can be the basis of an entirely different outlook on life and how one perceives themselves within a community. I don't think there is anyone who would contend the sense of pride associated with owning your own home. And just imagine how much more motivated one would be to be a positive asset to the world when they sleep in peace & comfort, within surroundings that are all their own. I firmly believe that this charity provides a solid foundation for people to find sucess & happiness in all areas of their lives!
Donors Choose is something I heard about through NPR (National Public Radio). The premise is that teachers from around the country can add a request to a revolving list. They ask for a particular amount of money to fulfill a need or wish for their classroom. With all of the education budget cuts you hear of, this charity sheds light on what could be a dismal situation. I love being able to choose exactly which teacher's cause I would like to fund, and the donation amounts are almost always small. A little money can make a HUGE difference in a child' life and their educational future, therefore in the end, preparing OUR future too! These are our up and coming politicians, lawyers & doctors! You even get thank you notes or photos from the children blessed by your donation! Such warm fuzzies!
Five jobs I've had:
1. Ice cream scooper
2. Pizza & sub chef (according to David this was some of the best training, since I make the *best* sandwiches!
3. Clothing store sales associate
4. Portrait photographer (THAT didn't last long!)
5. ticket agent for a ferry terminal
Five of my bad habits:
1. Biting my fingernails
2. Grinding my teeth
3. Leaving milk out of the refrigerator
4. Over salting food when cooking
5. Interrupting people when talking on the phone (especially if I'm excited!)
Five places I have lived:
1. Norridgewock, Maine
2. Bath, Maine
3. Beacon Falls, Connecticut
4. Olmstead, Kentucky
5. Clarksville, Tennessee
Six random things:
1. I don't have a sense of smell, technical term anosmia. Really, I don't. Not even a little. I am fairly certain I was born that way, but it's hard to say. My friend Wendy told me not too long ago that she always thought it was strange that I was indifferent about missing one of the five senses. As long as I can remember, I have been without it, so I never really noticed it's absence. In the last few months I decided to see if there was anything I could do to correct it and began to get hopeful with a little bit of a lead I received from one of the health professionals I had sought out. But that path ended quickly. Ever since that glimmer of hope became extinguished, I've had a lot of mixed feelings about this missing characteristic of my life experience. I spent some time really absorbing the fact that I just needed to appreciate the senses I DO have and not long for something that I will never have. I think I have finally let go again and have peace of mind about the situation.
2. I have way too many hobbies that I am overly-passionate about. And I usually go through phases as to which one is at the top of the list. My list includes stamping, scrapbooking, sewing, knitting, crocheting, gardening, beading, reading, cooking & home decorating. What I really need is more free time so I have enough hours in the day to squeeze everything in!
3. Both sets of my grandparents are still living. I will be 29 this summer, and I am proud to say that both sets of my grandparents are here to celebrate with me. I feel like this is one of the biggest blessings in my life. I love talking to them, absorbing their history & stories. I love to hear about the way things were. I love the silly stories about my parents when they were children. I love having them here and it will be very difficult to let go when they pass on since they have been in my life for so long.
4. I am the oldest. I have a younger sister & brother. I personally didn't care for being the oldest. I had to *break* my parents in. I definitely had to battle my way through high school with overly strict rules & regulation that were lightened up quite a bit once my youngest brother got to his high school years. Although, now that we have all moved out of the house, I enjoy being able to offer my siblings advice when they ask for it, since I've *been there, done that*!
5. I played ice hockey in high school. Offense. And I loved it. My favorite part was when we scrimmaged against the boys team from our high school. They always thought they could obliterate us on the ice, and it was *too* fun proving them wrong!
6. I adore old movies. Anything made before 1960, I am so there. A few of my favorites are Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, Some Like it Hot, Gone with the Wind, and The Shop Around the Corner. I wish they still made movies like this. So wholesome & non-violent.
I love to experience the sunrise; all of the warm, rich colors. The silence that drapes over the earth as everything and everyone is still sleeping. The feeling of peace that you gain from experiencing a simple, yet magnificent act of God.
I love the opportunity that the day holds. What will come of the day? Who will I reconnect with? What will my creativity bring? What blessings will I experience? What new adventure will unfold?
I love to plan my day. Make a list of goals & tasks. See what can be accomplished in the next 24 hours that will benefit myself, my family, my home, my business.
I love to read with a cup of hot tea (peppermint is my favorite). Especially the latest issues of all my favorite magazine subscriptions that have arrived in the last day or two. I just love a new magazine.
I love having a few quiet moments to myself before the house wakes up. Ponder. Think. Savor where I am right now, in this moment.
I love early mornings.
We went to our neighbor's Annual Halloween Party this afternoon, so the kids got to wear their costumes for the first time. We took THIRTY picture total and this is the best shot we got. Ethan is actually absent from many of the shots because he mysteriously wandered off! LOL!
Ethan is an adorable little chicken. Hannah decided to be a 60's Glamour Girl and Owen a Magician. Now, I don't know about you, but when I was a kid, we never purchased costumes. We just used our creativity to transform things we already owned. It seems today that costumes are all about cartoon characters or dark gothic looks paired with cheap materials and horrible construction. And these store bought versions aren't cheap either! I decided that this year we would do it the old fashioned way! Although, much of it we didn't have around the house, it all was found in unconventional places to create a costume that they can use all year for their "make-believe" box!
Owen's suit jacket I found on a clearance rack for about $10. I made the simple cape for him (it even has lettering on the back that reads "Owen the Great"! HE loved that part!) for a few dollars in materials. His wand is a wooden dowel rod painted appropriately. He has a silk carnation pinned to his lapel and the top hat was found at a party store in town. Hannah's shirt & skirt came from the clearance rack at our local Goodwill for a grand total of $3.50! I altered them a bit for size, but that's all the changes that were made to those! I made the fur stole for her and contributed some of my own costume jewelry to the cause. They both LOVED their costumes and I am sure they will get a lot of wear out of them in the future as well!
Did you do anything fun this weekend to celebrate Halloween? I would love to hear about it!