Cowboy Party Food

Co-hosting a baby shower with a cowboy theme was terrifying to me!  My style is far from country & I didn’t want to spend a lot of money…so here’s how we pulled it off:

{pin me!}



Obviously, with a cowboy theme – we went with cowboy party food:

Cowboy Caviar

This is an Italian dressing based bean dip, best served with Fritos scoops.  IT IS COMPLETELY ADDICTIVE!  {CLICK HERE for the recipe}

To display:  I had these fabulous buckets that I found at a consignment shop in St. George, Utah.  They were in my kiddos playroom with cars & wooden blocks in them.  I’m a big believer in using what you’ve got!



Garden Cups

We used large condiment cups with ranch dressing in the bottom and sliced carrots & celery nestled in there.

To display: I found the cute tin cans at Target in the dollar section.  But you could just save an empty can or two for other things they may want to add to their cups.  We used cherry tomatoes & cucumber sticks.




Pigs in a Blanket

These turned out surprisingly well.  I’m not much of a Hot Dog girl…but it just worked with the theme and we were trying to go with finger foods.  We used cocktail weenies and wrapped them in refrigerated croissants.  Just cut the croissant dough into small strips to wrap the cocktail weenies and bake according to the croissant package directions.

To display:  I had this galvanized metal tray that I had picked up years ago.  I’ve seen them everywhere lately, for sure at Target in a slightly bigger size…but that could be a good thing!  I lined it with parchment after washing, because this, too, had a home in our playroom!




That was it for the savory foods…we spent more effort on the sweets.  (why wouldn’t we?)

Pie Pops

Okay…so they were destined to be pie pops…but I couldn’t get the dang sticks to stay in!  They were still tasty, though.  {Any suggestions on getting the stick to stay in??}

We used pre-made pie dough and cut 2 circles per pie (one for the bottom and one for the top).  Place a small spoonful of pre-made pie filling in the center of the bottom circle then cover with the top circle.  Press the edges together with a fork and brush with a light egg wash.  Cut a slit across the top for venting & bake according to the pie dough package directions.

To display:  I had this sectioned wooden piece (again from my playroom) that I had picked up at Home Goods in the office supply section!



Hay Bales

They were just rice krispie treats…but I’m sure that you knew that already.  My husband made them, because his are the best.  I’m not allowed to make them at our house because mine are “inferior”.  Not sure why.  We just use the recipe on the box of rice krispies.  He claims it has something to do with my inability to turn the heat from high on anything I make.  I have no patience in cooking.  Low just takes too long!  So I guess my tip here is to keep it on low & they will be wonderful.  We packed them in thick so that they would cut into long cubes instead of flat rectangles.  More hay bale looking.



S’Mores Cups

My absolute FAVORITE dessert at the party! My friend & co-host, Audrey, makes them.  These babies are DELICIOUS and I don’t even like S’Mores!

{CLICK HERE for the recipe}


And just because I had an extra tier on my stand, we added in some COW TALES that they could take for the road. (yeah…I spelled the sign wrong…sigh)

Cow Tails

We also added a “Watering Hole” on the Island in my kitchen.  We offered Lemonade in this darling Drink Dispenser & Bottled Water.  Simple.

I also grabbed some flowers & put them in a Mason jar inside of my daughters boot.  I sat it all on top of some rolled out BURLAP to add some texture.



Here is a full shot of the spread:







We kept it simple (isn’t that the Cowboy way?) as far as serving ware.  Plastic forks in one of the tin cans from Target, brown paper trays from Restaurant Depot {if you don’t have a card THESE PAPER TRAYS are a good alternative} & paper towels off the roll.

The table skirt is a DIY from the blog {CLICK HERE for the tutorial!} and I rolled out some darling wrapping paper that I scored at Home Goods to protect my tablecloth and add a nice background.

If you’d like to use the Buffet Cards…

you can download them HERE.  (for personal use only, please)



I hope that this post has been helpful!  With the 4th of July coming up this weekend, I hope that you can use some of our ideas in your own entertaining!

Happy 4th!!


p.s. You may want to check out Jodi’s post on Photographing Fireworks to be ready to capture your own wonderful shots!!



My Entry in the Mystery Thrift-Off Challenge

For those of you that don’t follow me on Instagram (ummm…I’d love it if you did!) – I was lucky enough to be part of the Mystery Thrift-Off.  A crazy fun contest that Lindsey, of the blog Better After, dreamed up.  For more details on all of this contest madness – READ HER POST HERE. (while you’re there – you should browse – her site is FANTASTIC!!  SUPER INSPIRING!)

One day my hubby and I were just chillin’ on the couch on a Saturday afternoon…and suddenly there was a knock at my door.  I had a very SPECIAL delivery!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Delivery

I was super nervous to open this box – the letter she wrote me apologized profusely for how hideous and horrible it was inside…and I was supposed to make it fabulous.

Here’s what I found inside:

My Mystery Thrift-Off Item

Hello Mr. Shepherd.  What the heck am I going to do with you????  There was a significant amount of stewing.  I contemplated busting the mirror and making a mosaic, but it’s not really my style.  I could make a mirrored table…hmmm…possibilities.  I could make a serving tray that would also be a great conversational piece.  My sister threw this idea at me:

A distinguished German Gentleman


Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha


It finally boiled down to: what could I make that I need?  We are in the process of moving kids rooms and my oldest daughter is first on the list to decorate hers.  She wants to do a teal and white room with gold accents, so I thought that I could use this mirror above her vanity table in her room!  She, as I’m sure most teen gals do, struggles with self-confidence.  She has a very unique personality and I wanted a daily reminder for her that she is unique and beautiful!!  I found the quote, and I had recently seen a tutorial on using Heidi Swapp’s new screen printing supplies, and I REALLY had been wanting to try them out.  So, I thought that this project would be the perfect platform!!

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Here’s the process I used to transform my Mystery Thrift-Off item:

Step 1: I removed the silver frame and spray painted it gold.

Step 2: The dog had to go, so out came the razor.  It scraped off super easily using a little bit of an angle on the razor (thanks, mom!)

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

Step 3: I used the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit  to add the teal flowers to the border of the mirror:

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Mystery Thrift Off Transformation using the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Kit

Step 4: While the paint was drying, I designed the graphic and cut it onto vinyl using my Silhouette Cameo

(seriously – almost every project I create revolves around this machine!  If you don’t have one – GET ONE!! I don’t get paid to say that.  So you can trust me ;0)…ha ha)  If you can’t get one – you can always use an exacto knife!!)

Step 5: Using transfer paper – I transferred the vinyl to the mirror.

Mystery Thrift-Off


Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 6: Remove the transfer paper.

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 7: I applied Heidi Swapp’s Gold Metallic Screen Ink {using the rubber scraper that came in the kit} to the vinyl.

**Tip** I thought that it would be pretty easy to apply the ink over the vinyl, because it was so easy applying the flowers over the screen.  But…it was a little trickier than anticipated.  Still possible – but trickier.  When using the screen – you want to scrape off all of the excess ink so that it has a smooth finish, and because the screen is between the mirror and the ink, you can.  Without the screen there, I had to lay the ink on pretty heavily, or the scraper would just take it right off of that spot.  So – if you’re using vinyl, go heavy on the ink.  In the end, I kind of like the textured look that it produced!

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 8: **IMPORTANT!** Remove the vinyl before the ink dries…otherwise you’ll be cutting around the ink with an exacto knife.  I learned this the hard way!!

Step 9: I wanted the YOU to stand out a little more – so I masked off the “BE” and the “TIFUL” with paper and the creative caution tape that came in the kit. (so cute!)

Then I sprayed just the “YOU” with gold Glitter Blast Spray:

Mystery Thrift-Off

Mystery Thrift-Off

Step 10: Peel off the vinyl and use the razor to clean up any mishaps and you’re done!

I just hope that this mirror sends subliminal messages to her every morning!!  {She is pretty beautiful, if I do say so myself.}

Step-by-Step instructions to transform a thrift store mirror into a beautiful vanity mirror with an important message every teen should have in their room!

Mystery Thrift-Off

And just for fun – here’s a close-up of that glitter!!  Love that stuff!

Mystery Thrift-Off

**AND**  Just because I like you so much, If you’d like to make your own, you can download the ‘beYOUtiful’ graphic as a PDF:

Glittered Download Button

or if you already have the Silhouette, you can download the cut file:

Glittered Download Button

It would also make a fabulous art print, if the mirror and screen printing route seems like WAY too much!  Just print and frame.  Easy peasy.

Mystery Thrift-Off Transformation

What NOT to do:

Ha Ha.  It was trial and error on this one…I’m not gonna lie.  Here are some things that I tried that just really didn’t work.  AT ALL.

1.  I thought I could do this using Gold Vinyl and Glitter Vinyl and skip the painting all together.  You could.  But, I tried it & it just looked a little chintzy.

2. I tried using gold spray paint instead of the Heidi Swapp Screen Printing Ink.  It dried too fast and peeled off with the vinyl.  And when I wiped it with a cloth – it rubbed off. Boo.

3. I tried sprinkling gold glitter onto the “YOU” instead of using the glitter blast spray.  It made a mess and rubbed off too easily.  The glitter is sealed in with the spray.  Much better.


I hope that you’ve enjoyed the tutorial!  Voting begins tomorrow, Thursday June 9th, Go take a peek at ALL OF THE ENTRIES and cast a vote for your favorite!

**Shameless Plug**

If this was the first visit to my site – I’d love to send new projects and inspiration right to your inbox!  If you’d like to subscribe – you can fill out the sidebar info – or simply CLICK HERE.

Thanks in advance!  I look forward to getting to know you!


p.s. If you use the graphic in a project, please share your link in the comments!  I’d love to see it put to good use!



You’re A Peach {free printable tag}

Perfect healthy neighbor/friend gift. Drop by a basket of peaches adorned with this watercolor "You're a Peach" gift tag printable {there is also a Silhouette print & cut file} - purdueavenue

I know that we’re a little ahead of the season here in Arizona when it comes to growing.  The warmer weather has it’s benefits when the peaches are ripe this early!!  It’s the perfect healthy snack to drop by a friend/neighbors house to let them know how great they are.  Since I can’t share our tree-ripened peaches with all of you, I thought I’d share this free printable tag!  That way, when peach season hits in your area – you’ll be ready to share the love! I like to print mine onto watercolor paper – just to give it a nice texture and make it look more authentic.

You can create your own tags like this one using these water color pencils and a wet paint brush.  Or alternatively, I really like using these water brushes instead of the wet paint brush – I feel like I have more control over the amount of water distributed, and you don’t have to worry about the cup of water that needs constant changing.  Plus – it makes it easy to travel with and play around when I’m not in a place where I want to drag out a lot of supplies.  You really should try it out!  It’s easier than you think!

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{If you have a Silhouette Cameo – you can download the print & cut file HERE}

**Tip: To glam it up – you can always use a sprinkle of white edible baking glitter on the peaches!  Just wash the peach and sprinkle the glitter on while it’s still damp – it will stick even after it’s dried!





Bake Group: Mothers Day with Baking Chez Moi

Bake Group Pin It Image

Bake Group is one of my favorite things.  I get to feed my belly…and feed my soul with some of the amazing women I am blessed to call my friends.

What is Bake Group?  We basically review recipe books…via taste testing.   We choose a book, each pick a recipe, and have a little soiree while we taste the outcome & talk about how hard/easy the recipe was to make, what we might do differently, and wether it’s worth purchasing the book or not.

This month (and last month, actually – I still need to get that one posted, too!) we reviewed tasted  Baking Chez Moi: Recipes from My Paris Home to Your Home Anywhere by Dorie Greenspan.  The verdict??  You need this book in your life.  Not only do the recipes LOOK delightful, but all of them (& counting this one, we’ve made 9 of the recipes) – all DELICIOUS – all fairly easy to prepare.  That’s the sign of a good recipe book in my life!  We’ve had some great books, but this is by far MY FAVORITE!!!  Trust me when I say that you NEED this book in your life.   Here’s what we made today – and you can decide for yourself:

 Smoothest, Silkiest, Creamiest, Tartest Lime Tart

This is THEE BEST Lime Tart I've ever had!! No subtlety to the lime, but not too tart.   #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #LimeTartRecipe #LimeTart

That really is the title of the recipe in the book.  Believe me when I say that it’s the correct title.  Vickie chose this one…and nailed it!  She said that she was surprised at how much lime zest was in the recipe – but I’m so glad there was.  There’s nothing worse than biting into a lime tart – or key lime pie and trying to find the lime in it.  Not the case here.  The topping was a mixture of sour cream and confectioners sugar helping the zing factor along nicely.  The crust tasted almost like a shortbread cookie.  I REALLY LOVED IT!


Palets de Dames, Lille Style

Meant to resemble womens parasols - these are like a sugar cookie - only airier and lighter.  SO GOOD!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #sugarcookie #frenchcookie

Meant to resemble womens parasols – these are like a sugar cookie – only airier and lighter. SO GOOD!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #sugarcookie #frenchcookie

While the name isn’t easy to pronounce, these cookies were easy to take down.  The frosting was really more of a glaze and had hardened slightly – which I liked.  They are like a sugar cookie, only airier and lighter.  Which could pose a problem.  Sugar cookies tend to be heavy enough that it’s easy to stop at one…not the case here.

The author said that they are meant to resemble women’s parasols – they were darling to look at.  Karin said that she would double the batch, as this yielded only 20 cookies – even though the recipe said 40, and that tinting the glaze in a variety of colors would be easy.  Perfect for a party!


Carrément Chocolate, The Simple Loaf

This chocolate cake loaf was AMAZING.  With chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout...a very good recipe! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #chocolatecakeloaf #chocolate

This chocolate cake loaf was AMAZING. With chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout…a very good recipe! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #chocolatecakeloaf #chocolate

Randi made this beauty.  INCREDIBLE!!  There were chunks of salted chocolate mixed throughout the loaf cake – so every now and again you’d catch a bite that just elevated the whole delicious thing.  She said that it was very easy to make, and would make a beautiful gift for a friend.  She served it with fresh whipped cream and raspberries.  They cut the richness of the chocolate enough that eating a whole slice was no problemo!

Odile’s Fresh Orange Cake with Poached Citrus Topping

This cake is perfect for making a day ahead.  It soaks up all of the juices and was moist perfection!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #OdilesFreshOrangeCake #PurdueAvenue

This cake is perfect for making a day ahead. It soaks up all of the juices and was moist perfection!! #PurdueAvenueBakeGroup #BakingChezMoi #OdilesFreshOrangeCake #PurdueAvenue

I chose to make this one, because the author said that she liked it better the next day.  Since I was hosting – making my dessert ahead of time was VERY appealing!  {With that said, I should have photographed it the first day.  The citrus was plump and juicy looking – where the second day it looked a little sad.}

It was so easy to make.  The whole thing was done in 30-40 minutes – including baking time.  I will say, I wish I had done only oranges.  The grapefruit was a little too much bitter for me.  I think I would have liked pure sweetness.  The orange gave enough tartness to overpower any sickly sweetness there might have been.

My favorite part of this recipe was zesting an orange into the sugar and then rubbing it together with my fingertips to combine until the sugar was orange scented.  {You can see pictures of the process on my Instagram Feed}  The smell was INCREDIBLE!!  Such an interesting technique that I think I’ll incorporate into a lot of other recipes.  That sugar was mixed with eggs, flour, baking soda, salt, & butter for a simple batter.

For the topping, the citrus was sliced and poached – and then the poaching liquid was drizzled over the warm cake.  It just absorbed into the cake and it elevated the flavor like you wouldn’t believe!!  The hardest part of this whole thing?  Slicing the citrus.  Make sure that you have a sharp knife!!  I mangled the fruit pretty bad and went through WAY more than was called for!  Ha Ha.

Because I admire these women so much, not just as people – but as Mothers – I wanted to make something for them to take away besides a belly ache….since you don’t even get the belly ache – here is a little Mother’s Day Gift for you!  I put 2 on a page so that you can print one for a Mother that you admire, too!!

#MothersDayPrintable #PurdueAvenue #Motherhood #NeilLAnderson

#MothersDayPrintable #PurdueAvenue #Motherhood #NeilLAnderson

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Here is a shot of the place setting: I placed a small arrangement of flowers at each persons place setting using my collection of mis-matched crystal glasses.  {I scour Goodwill for them every time I go in!} The place card & Art Print were made using the Heidi Swapp Minc Foil {watch for that tutorial soon!}

Mothers Day Table Setting - visit the blog for a free Motherhood Printable!

And her is a full shot of the tablescape:

Mothers Day Tablescape

I hope that you all have a WONDERFUL Mother’s Day!



Table Styling: A few tips and tricks

I was SO excited & beyond flattered when I was asked to collaborate with Laura from Pink Cake Plate on her Christmas Themed Downton Abbey Tea Party for World Market. We had so much fun! For this post, I thought that I’d just share a few tips and tricks that I used to style her table that will help to make your own table setting stand out this Christmas!



Trick No. 1

Think about new uses for traditional items.

Laura was asked to feature the Downton Abbey Tea Set from World Market:

Screen Shot 2014-12-12 at 3.07.11 PM

 Photo from World Market

My first thought:  Laura and I are both LDS and we don’t drink tea.  So this “tea party” was really more of a schmorgesborg of yumminess – which meant that the tea cups were kind of the odd man out.

My second thought: Let’s turn the cup & saucer to make every place setting their own little personal cake pedestal!

Kate Eschbach Photography-13

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Make the most of what you have available & find a functional use for it. It would have looked silly to have the tea cups sitting there empty.  But with all of the desserts at this party – a cake pedestal was a great use of a great item.

Trick No. 2Layering.

It works with clothes – why not decor?

Since this was a Christmas themed party – we used a wreath as the centerpiece and made it functional by resting a 3 tiered platter in the center.

Kate Eschbach Photography-16

Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6  You could use a regular run of the mill wreath – OR – you could layer two to make a bigger impact.


Trick No.3Elevate.

Add height and dimension to the table using dishes that you have hanging around.  I like to work in 3’s…but this table was already pretty crowded, and we needed places to put the food!  I didn’t like how it looked to have 2 plates together, and knew that we needed the 3rd.  The solution?  I flipped a dessert plate upside down and placed the 3rd platter overlapping the 2 sitting side by side.  It gave it just enough height to clear the two plates and added some much needed height and dimension to that part of the table.  You may have to go through some trial and error to achieve the right height – it feels like Tetris sometimes, but the result is worth the effort!

Kate Eschbach Photography-29  Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

Trick No.6Add glue dots for stability.

We used this trick on the centerpiece as well.  Resting the 3 tiered platter directly on the wreath left if super wobbly and unstable.  The Solution: Placing a ramekin upside down in the center of the wreath, I added some glue dots to the bottom.  When I added the platter, not only was it the right height, but it wasn’t going to be knocked over by a hungry guest trying to get the last scone!

Trick No. 4

Make the most of your Space.

We had a ton of goodies to fit onto a pretty small table! The solution was to combine the place cards with the napkins to save on our valuable space!!

To make it pretty: I used thin ribbon that coordinated with the color scheme, and a vintage clip on earring to secure the place card to the ribbon.

Kate Eschbach Photography-10Photo by Kate Eschbach Photography

As promised on Laura’s site – here is the Place Card Printable:

{I’d just love you forever if you’d pin this image for me!}


Glittered Download Button

***NOTE*** If you like the font I used – MAKE SURE TO DOWNLOAD & INSTALL THE  FONT BEFORE YOU DOWNLOAD THE PDF FILE!  Otherwise – you have to delete the PDF, download the font, and then re-download the PDF.

{Ugh – too much work.} Also – you will need to have Adobe Reader installed to download this file.  You can get it for free HERE if you need to.  :0)

You can download the font HERE.

Trick No.6
Personalize it!

Fillable means that you can add your own text to the PDF.  Alternatively, just print the PDF without typing anything to hand letter the names for a more personal touch!

Trick No. 5Enjoy Yourself!!!

There is a reason that I like to have everything crammed onto the table.  I don’t like getting up and down to refill platters.  I don’t want guests to have to get up and down either.  By having the full spread on the table, you can enjoy yourself and the conversation doesn’t get cut off every time the hostess needs to take care of another detail.  Your guests aren’t there to eat your food – they are there because they are your friends and they want to enjoy their time with you!  Work the details out in advance so that the party runs smoothly and it’s possible to just sit back and ENJOY YOURSELF!!

Those are a few of the tips and tricks that worked well for this party – What are some of your go-to Tips and Tricks?  I’d love to hear them!!


Merry Planning!



p.s. Don’t forget to enter our Pin It to Win It Giveaway going on through December 19th!

A MEANINGFUL Twelve Days of Christmas Advent {Free Printable}

  1. As I mentioned in my last post, I’m so excited to have a less commercialized, more Christ-Centered Christmas with my family this year.

One way that we will be doing that is this Twelve Days of Meaningful Christmas Advent Calendar:Twelve Days of MEANINGFUL Christmas Advent


In keeping with our Homemade Christmas…my gift to you is this printable advent.  

You will need to start on DECEMBER 14th to begin on time – or just jump in whenever :0)

Twelve Days of MEANINGFUL Christmas


This Advent Calendar has 12 days of scriptures & activities to encourage a more Christ Centered Christmas.

Putting it together couldn’t be easier!

Step 1: Download & Print both sheets of the PDF.  I printed mine onto cream colored – textured card stock.  I love the faded look that it produced!

Glittered Download Button

**If you’re a photoshop user and would like to change the activities/scriptures – you can download the psd file HERE 

**If you want to change the activities & have no photoshop skills – you can just slip a piece of paper behind and hand write the scriptures & activities. :0)

**If you want to LEARN how to HAVE Photoshop skills – CLICK HERE

Step 2: Use an exacto knife to cut 3 of the sides to make a little door on each day of the calendar. Like This:

Screen Shot 2013-12-12 at 3.39.09 PM



Step 3: Glue or tape the sheets together – with the activity page on the back. {so that they peek through the doors when opened}

Display it in a frame without the glass, or just washi tape it to the wall.  Give it to friends & neighbors, or as a Visiting Teaching handout! No matter how you choose to use it, I hope that this Twelve Days of Meaningful Christmas will bring the True Spirit of the Season into your home this Christmas!!


Ice Cream Party Games

Who doesn’t love a game of bingo?  And you can’t go wrong with cards this cute!!

Candy Bingo Card Printables



You will need:

Candy for each player (at least 25 pieces – we used jelly beans but would suggest smarties for younger children so they don’t roll around)

Bingo Cards DOWNLOAD OUR VERSION HERE  {the original images are from THIS WEBSITE – we just gave them a makeover)

Picture Squares (The first page of the printable PDF has the pictures that you cut out )

To Play:  (just in case you don’t know how)

Print and Cut the Sweet Shoppe Bingo Cards onto card stock (you can laminate them if you want them to survive for re-use)

Give each guest a card (there are 16 different cards in the file)

Draw from the Picture Squares



Have guests place a marker (jellybean) on the square of the image that was called



Once they have 5 in a row  – they yell BINGO!  And then they get to pick a prize from the prize bowl!  There were enough prizes for everyone to get BINGO – so you just continue play until everyone has had a chance to choose their prize.  We kept the prizes to things under $1. Some prize ideas include:

nail polish

ice cream flavored lip gloss

jump rope

fingernail stickers



We also played pin the scoop on the ice cream cone.  I just enlarged the cone, scoops and cherries from our Party Invitations to fit on a 12×12 sheet of paper.

Each girl got their own color of scoop so that we could see who got the closest to win the prize!  Of course, we had 2 cherries for the 2 birthday girls to stick on the top!






Very easy & affordable games – and the girls had a GREAT TIME!

Friday I’ll show you the food we ate and the darling goodie bags the guests were able to take home!!


p.s. If you’re like me and love BINGO for every occasion – check out the holiday BINGO cards in my Etsy Shop.  OR – I’m happy to design a set for your next big shindig!  Just convo me and we’ll figure it out ;0)



You’re Invited…to an ice cream party!

Summer is officially over at my house.  The kids are back in school and my quiet house feels super lonely.  So – I’m glad that I have all of my friends in blog land to keep me busy & happy!!  Thanks in advance!!  It was really nice to take the summer off and just enjoy being a mom, having some fun with my kids, and not be at my computer all day every day…but…it’s GOOD TO BE BACK!

I thought that this month I would catch you up on some of  what we did over the summer – and hopefully inspire you in the process!

The first thing was my daughters ice cream birthday party!  Since she and her BFF share a lot of the same friends, and their birthdays are so close together, and we both wanted to do an ice cream party, we did it together – and I’m so glad that we did – because her BFF just happens to be the daughter of my BFF.  Perfect.

If your kids aren’t back in school yet – this party would make a FUN back to school get together as well!!  Whatever reason you do it – ice cream parties are always a good idea.

To keep the post from becoming a novel – I’ll break it up into different projects we did leading up to the party, and then have all of the pics from the party on Friday.

Obviously – when throwing a party – the first thing that needs to be done are the invitations – and these ones are DARLING!!

{if I do say so myself}

Ice Cream Party Invitation

They were very simple!  I added the clear glitter to make it look a little bit “frosty” – here’s a closer look: {scroll down for the tutorial}

Darling Ice Cream Party Invitation Printables!

To make your life easier – I’ve attached the printable files for these darling invites!  Just CLICK HERE to preview them and download.

You can:

Print & Cut out with scissors the old fashioned way!  This means that you will need to hand write the party information in yourself.

If you have photoshop, you can edit the file to add in your party info or make any changes.  You’ll need to download the fonts I used: Airplanes in the Night Sky & Engravers MT

{If you would LIKE to use photoshop – but don’t know how – I’ll teach you!!  CLICK HERE for more info on my Photoshop for Newbies Online Classes.}


**If you have a Silhouette Electronic Cutting Machine**

I’ve made a video tutorial that will walk you through creating the cards.  I can’t give you the studio files because I don’t own the artwork :0(  Sorry!


To Make 6 Cards You Will Need:

{adjust your numbers for the amount of invites needed}

Cardstock (mine was textured bazzil stock from Hobby Lobby) in these colors:

     For Scoops: 1 sheet of each color 


Light Pink

Dark Pink

     For Cones:

Light Brown

     For Back: 3 sheets

Dark Brown

     For Cherries: {1 sheet will make TONS of cherries!}

*Note: I put the cherries for the place cards on the same file as the invitation cherries.  If you don’t want to make place cards – just disregard those cherries.


Glue Stick or Pen


Step 1:

Print & Cut the Scoops, Cones, Backs & Cherries

**NOTE: I suggest printing on the NON-TEXTURED side of the cardstock on the cones, backs and cherries – that way if your cuts aren’t perfect – you don’t see the printed image.**

Step 2:

Start gluing pieces to the BACK starting from the CONE and work your way up, ending with the CHERRY on top.  HA!

Apply the glue around the outer edges, and then add a little scribble of glue in the middle.

Repeat with all of the pieces until your card is assembled.

*OPTIONAL: tutorial on adding the glitter to give it that “frosted” effect.

It’s super quick and easy and it really gives it some wow factor!  {This is actually of me glittering the place cards for the table – but the steps are the same}

What you’ll need:

invitations, printed & cut & glued together

glue pen (I like the EK Success Zig 2-Way Chisel Glue Pen)

clear glitter (I used Martha Stewart Coarse Crystal Glitter)

Step 1: Apply glue randomly on the cherry and each scoop of ice cream.

(I painted blue on the places that I applied the glue)





Step 2: Cover the entire card in glitter

(I do this on a glitter tray or piece of paper to cut down the mess and transfer the excess glitter back to the jar)



Step 3: Tap off excess glitter & admire your awesomeness!


This next picture shows the glitter better



**Note: I like to set the glitter using hairspray or Mod Podge Spray. It dries clear and isn’t sticky at all!

That’s the invitation – Wednesday I’ll show you how I made this darling chalkboard banner to go above the Ice Cream Creation Station!



and this one in the window:



See you then!!



Oh, how do you survive in the summertime?

Ahhh….summer.  In my mind, summer is what I see in the magazines.  Outdoor picnics, working in the garden, family bike rides…lots of outdoor fun.

OH WAIT!  I live in Phoenix, Arizona.  Stepping outside is like opening your oven.  These activities just aren’t possible here in the summer time.

And here I have 4 kiddos home from school for the summer to entertain and it needs to be indoors as much as possible.

So today, I thought I’d share some of my solutions:

First of all – we needed to have some kind of schedule.  My family just functions better that way.  The kids like having something to look forward to, and it keeps me from hiding from them.  {ha ha…don’t judge me…}

One of my super genius friends told me about hers a few years ago and it is the #1-must-happen in my summer time planning.

Our Weekly Summer Schedule

Make-it Monday: It can be a craft – it can be a treat.  But we create something together.

You can get ideas on my pintrest board HERE


If you feel like you just don’t have the crafty gene – Kiwi Crate has SUPER cute crafts that get shipped right to your house.  The kids LOVE them!! {even my 13 year old!!}  You can do a subscription or just buy individual crates.

Intelligent Tuesday: We head to the local library and spend time finding and reading books.  They also get to have computer time there.  You can give them research projects if you want to step it up a bit.

Wet Wednesday: We do SOMETHING involving water.  We don’t have a pool – so we go to a local splash pad, wash the car and have a water fight, swim at the city pool, go to a water park, etc.

Theatre Thursday: Our local movie theatre offers summer movies.  $5 per kid gets them a movie every week all summer long.  They love it and it gets us out of the house.

Sci-Fri Friday:  This was my sister-in-laws genius idea. {And I think the name is AWESOME!!} Every friday the kids go to her house and do science experiments.  THEY LOVE IT!!

That takes up a few hours every day.  Then what?  My kids self-entertain pretty well.  They love legos.  They love to play board games and card games and stuff.

But sometimes…it comes to “Mom, I’m BORED!”  

I got tired of the usual “what about this, what about that” game…so I’ve created an “I’m Bored” Activities Jar.


This is in no way an original idea.  I’ve seen them around for forever…but I wanted to make it tailored to my family.

I’ve pinned all of the activities that need instructions onto my Summer Survival Pintrest Board.   If you follow it – any new pins will be sent your way.

For example: if you need to know how to make the bouncing bubbles – just click on the image on my pintrest page and it will take you to the tutorial.

There are a few rules associated with the “I’m Bored” Jar that I laid out to the kids ahead of time.

1. You MUST do whatever the stick says.

There are more than just fun things to do in there.  I have 3 categories: * Fun * Jobs * Educational *

So – if they draw a job – they have to do it.  In return – if they draw something fun that I need to help with – I have to drop what I’m doing and do it.   Fair trade, I’d say.

2. You can only draw 2 sticks per day per person.

I have 4 kids – but if you have a smaller family – you may want to up the limit.

3. We let everyone do the fun & educational sticks together.

The job sticks are yours to do alone.

Obviously, you can set this up however you want – and I’d love to hear any improvements or suggestions!!

I’ve included copies of the sticks I’ve created for my family for you to download & print. The image below is just one of 3 pages full of fun!


If you need a good old fashioned printable file that you can cut out yourself…you can download that HERE.

If you have a Silhouette:  I have a print and cut file all finished in the silhouette studio for you with the registration marks and all!!  You can download it HERE.

** I’ve included a blank page in each file – if you want to create your own or just add to what I’ve made.  The font I used is Cafe Rojo from Fonts101.  You can download it HERE.

**The stick size I used is the Jumbo Craft Stick (5.9″ x 0.7″)  I just found them at Wal-mart in the craft section.

**I spray painted one side of my sticks yellow so they were a little more cutesie…just because I like to make things more difficult.

**I left the inside free of a pattern to save on ink…but if you want to cute-ify it even more – you could print your pages on patterned scrapbook paper.  {I think a light gray or yellow chevron would be DARLING}

**Once you have the paper sticks cut out – just use a glue stick to attach the paper stick to the wooden stick.

{I let my kids help me make the sticks.  Not only did it give them something to do – but they got to see what was on them.  They are super excited about them now and I can use them as leverage.  Bwahahahaha.}

Thanks so much to everyone who contributed ideas on the Facebook Page!!  I’m going to try and use the blog’s Facebook page more for the giveaways and stuff like this – so make sure to LIKE US so that you’ll get our posts ;0)




Allowance Checkbooks

A few weeks ago I posted our Scratch off Job Cards and Caught Being Good Reward Cards.  So today I thought I would show you the rest of our discipline system with our kids.  This one we’ve been using for about 2 years and it has been WONDERFUL!

I’m one of those mothers that have tried EVERYTHING.  Allowance (I hated constantly getting cash in small bills), buttons(they lost them), tickets (they lost them), you name the system, I’ve probably tried it.

This system was introduced to me by my sons teacher.  The reason I immediately tried it out, is because he has Aspergers Syndrome and it’s hard to get him to follow through with things.  He loses interest quickly & revolts a lot. Things are easily overwhelming for him, and this seemed to work in the classroom – so of course – I implemented it at home.  It works very well for all of my kids!

So during the week – they use their checkbox cards.  They don’t get paid for these.  I think it’s good to have family jobs just because you’re part of the family.  However, every Saturday – we all work together to clean the whole house – they have 3 assigned rooms each.  They get paid $1.00 per room.  If they finish before the timer they earn a $2.00 bonus. (they get 30 mins per room – if they finish ahead of the timer – they have extra time on the next room, etc.)  So a total of $5.00 per week is possible at our house.  Plus – I’ll throw in the occasional – “if you do this for me – you can have $1.00 in your checkbook.”  Of which they get very excited.

We use regular ol’ check registers.  You can use the ones that come in your boxes of checks – or – I got these bigger ones at Staples.  I will eventually get them all a Ledger Book – because I think they are too fun.

My favorite part is that it teaches your kids how to manage their finances

For example: In a store when they are begging for something, I just say “Do you have enough money in your checkbook to buy it?” If the answer is no – then they take note of the price and they have a goal, if they do have enough – they can get it.  It stops the whining, gives them goals, and makes them manage their money responsibly.

We also use it to show them that if a mistake is made, they have to pay a consequence…literally.   If they are being naughty, they have to write us a check.

I made these ones for our kids:

If you want to use them, you can download the photoshop document (you can fill in your own info and change out the background paper) HERE or email me: – I’d be happy to design some for you for a small fee.

I only use the check writing for punishments.  I like them to have to write it out and hand it over.  This reinforces them owning up to their mistake, because they have to write out what they did wrong.  I.E. “Didn’t do my homework” “Talked back to mom”   Also – if they don’t do a job – they have to pay me for doing it.

I suggest taking them to the store every once in a while to get them excited about working toward something.  They do MUCH better when they have a set goal they are working toward.

I hope these work for you as well as they do for my family!  Please ask any questions if the info wasn’t very clear :0)