Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall Smells

It has finally, FINALLY started cooling off some here. I've gradually been getting out some fall decorations, but it's hard to get in the spirit when it's still 90 degrees outside. This morning, it was 53 degrees out! So wonderful. Now I don't have to feel funny lighting up my fall smelling candles. I especially love this one. Can you tell? I may need a new one soon.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ice Cream Party

For Neely's second birthday, we had an ice cream party. I found these adorable invitations by Lilly Mae Designs on Etsy. Digital cards are wonderful! She had the file to me within 24 hours, and I was able to order and pick them up wherever I wanted.

Here's the party setup. I've been seeing these tissue paper flowers on party blogs everywhere, and I decided to try them out. You can check out the tutorial by Martha Stewart here. I did not end up cutting the ends into points to look more like petals. I tried on the first one, and not only did it look crazy, but it was hard! I may just have a bad pair of scissors, but trying to cut through all those layers of tissue just didn't work out. And to give credit where credit is due, I also did not do the "fluffing." On the one I made, I ripped more than I fluffed, so my mom and aunts are actually responsible for making the flowers happen.

The drinks were a snap. Bottled water, self-explanatory. The pink punch? One can of pink lemonade concentrate, then add equal parts white grape juice and lemon-lime soda. My favorite part of our drink setup was the ice, though. Isn't it pretty? That bowl was $2 at a yard sale. 

I can honestly say that the food for this party was the easiest I've ever done. I just set out all our favorite ice cream toppings in pretty trays, and voila! Instant party. It was really easy to clean up, too. And I think the kids enjoyed it.

We didn't even have a cake. I just stuck a big candle in the top of Neely's ice cream sundae. Of course, the picture of her blowing out her candle didn't turn out, but here she is opening gifts!

And here Neely is again, about 30 minutes after the party ended. She was one sleepy girl.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

She's two!

I'm a bad mother. Neely's birthday was two days ago, and I posted absolutely nothing. I'm sorry, baby girl! She had a great 2nd birthday, and we had a fun party with friends today! In celebration of two years of my precious little girl's life, I'm sharing pictures of her birthdays up to now.

This is the morning after we brought Neely home. Once this moment passed, Aidan paid on further notice of her until she was six months old.

My smiley girl on her first birthday.

Aidan enjoying his cupcake the other night.

And look, two years old, and she's still a total cheese ball. I love you, Neely bug.

Monday, September 13, 2010

San Antonio

This post is going to be photo heavy. You have been warned. 

As you know if you checked in with me last week, we took a trip down to San Antonio. Unfortunately, I lost the photos of the event we traveled down for on a corrupt memory card. Boo. Luckily, my SIL had a spare card, and I was able to take some of the rest of the trip. These are my favorites.

Of course, you can't go to San Antonio without visiting the Riverwalk. It's lovely at dusk.

It is also necessary to put a too-big cowboy hat on your child.

And laugh at the Jackalope

You also must take a walk over to the Alamo.

And take a photo...

...or two...
...or three.

Find a ride back if you're too tired or overstuffed with yummy Mexican food to walk.

Hang out with your family.

And eat cake. :)

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On the Road Again

Tomorrow, for the first time since we moved in 2005, we will be going back to San Antonio! I guess I should say it's the first time for me. John got to go back last year without me. Boo. :( Sometimes, you don't know how much you love a place until you leave it. That was San Antonio for me. In hindsight, it was one of my favorite places ever, and it was a wonderful first place to live as a married couple. We made wonderful friends and had lots of good times. And, ahem, we got Aidan out of it. I'm taking a little nostalgia trip tonight, so here are a few of my favorite pictures from the year we spent there.

This last one? There's a little Aidan in there. Can you see him? ;)

Pumpkin Spice

Who loves these delicious doses of fall in a cup? I know I do. However, I have been trying to stay away from the coffee drinks. Why? Fat and calories, folks. A tall (12 ounce) pumpkin spice latte packs 300 calories and 11 grams of fat. Oh, you're leaving off the whipped cream? That's 240 calories and 5 grams of fat...still more than I'd like to spend on something that isn't going to satisfy me for long. 

I do love that pumpkin-y goodness, so I have found a solution - make my own! At my local World Market, they sell a wide variety of Torani syrups, including pumpkin pie. I didn't go in looking for sugar free, but that was definitely a bonus. This one is made with Splenda. 

I don't have a fancy steamer/espresso machine, so I just use my regular coffee and the microwave. In the bottom of my coffee cup, I put 1/4 cup soy milk (about 18 calories) and two tablespoons of the pumpkin pie syrup. You could definitely use skim milk here, too. It's about 23 calories for 1/4 cup. Microwave the milk and syrup for about 30 seconds, then whisk until frothy. When I say whisk, I really mean stick the whisk in the cup and roll it between your hands for a bit. It's pretty much impossible to whisk inside a coffee cup. Now, just add coffee. Voila! Super low calorie fake latte. 

It's not as good as the real thing, which I'm sure I will have to indulge in a few times this fall, but it's keeping me from CRAVING the pumpkin spice latte. Also, at $6.99 for the bottle of syrup - instead of $4 a cup - it's going to save me a whole lot of money!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

We have a winner!

My good friend Lynley gets to try out the Emi Jay hair ties! Congratulations! Thanks to everyone who entered!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Dress Up Box

For Neely's birthday, we're giving her a dress up box. If you're in the mood to decorate a large plastic container with me, read on!

I began by printing her name off the computer in giant letters. It took a couple of pages, so I cut and pasted them together. I then taped the paper on the underside of the container's lid. Did I mention that it should be clear? It should be clear. ;)

Next, I traced and colored in Neely's name with paint pens. These are the kind I used - available at your local Wally World. I'm sure they have them at the craft store, too, but you can get both the container and the markers at Wal-Mart. I love one-stop shopping...especially if there are unruly children involved.

After I finished her name, I went a little crazy decorating it with ladybugs and little flowers, you know, to make it girly.

Now, all I need to do is fill it!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Giveaway - Emi Jay Pearl Collection

Who likes prizes? I know I do! The other day, my friend Annie B. gave me one of these sweet hair ties by Emi Jay. I wasted no time trying it out. I went jogging in it that very night. I love it! I had to make a special stop at The Cosmetic Market before returning to Louisiana to get some more. While I was at it, I picked some up for one of you! I have one package of five Pearl Collection hair ties to give away.

What's so special about them? They're handmade from some kind of lovely, shimmery material. They don't leave a massive dent in your hair when you use them. They come in TONS of colors. They don't cut off your circulation when you wear it around your wrist for the emergency ponytail. Need I go on? I could, but I won't.

This giveaway is going to be a quickie, so leave your comment, and leave it fast! The deadline to enter is this Friday, September 3rd at midnight, CST. Tell your friends! You can earn one extra entry by blogging about this giveaway, tweeting, or posting it on your Facebook page. Just come back and leave a second comment letting me know that you've done it.