food

Celebrating a New Addition!

I've got some exciting news with today's post (perhaps only exciting to me and my immediate family, but I thought I'd share anyway). My sister-in-law welcomed a new bundle of joy to the family last week - a beautiful baby girl, Sophia. She's super cute, happy and healthy! But, before I show you a photo of the beautiful newborn, let's go back a week or so. Today's blog topic was actually planned to be posted last week, before the baby arrived, but, as you can see, it didn't! So, even though the baby is already here, I wanted to share some of the fun that occurred before she arrived!

Logan and I had decided to throw his sister (and her husband and daughter) a little surprise baby party. Ok, so it was pretty much a baby shower, but since it is their second child (and showers aren't customary for a second child) we had been calling it a baby party! And, since they already have a lot of what they need for the newborn, we didn't intend to shower them with gifts, but instead just celebrate the new life that we would all be welcoming into the family very soon. And, because they had been trying for a second child for quite sometime, this new baby is such a blessing and worth celebrating!

So, a couple Saturdays ago, we hosted the little get together, and I thought I'd share some of the details from the event. As usual, we planned out everything from the menu, to the DIY decorations, to the games that we would play. Nonetheless, we kept it simple and inexpensive. Luckily, we have connections with the Country Club of Harrisburg, so we got to use the venue and furnishings for free - good deal! And no, the slip-covered chairs are not necessarily my style, but the atmosphere in person was quite nice - light and airy with a sense of formality! But, to bring in a little fun, we decided to DIY some cute tissue paper pom pom flowers for the centerpieces in gender neutral colors (since they didn't want to know the gender of the baby)!

Centerpieces

Other than the centerpieces, we didn't do too much in the way of decorations. The only other decoration was the sweet little DIY bunting flags hung on the fireplace.

Bunting on the fireplace.

A close-up on the bunting.

What's a baby party without games? Boring, haha. So, we, of course, planned a few fun little games for the guests to enjoy! Here's a peak at some of them.

What's your Prediction game.

Guess the Gerber game.

Measure of Love game.

Guess Who game.

An even more important part of any party is the food, right? We decided on a theme of small, or baby-sized, sweets and eats with cute baby names, of course. So, here are just a few of the goodies we had!

Baby sandwiches.

Deviled Eggs

She's ready to pop-corn.

Baby Muffins.

Sugar Cookies

Mini Whoopie Pies.

And, a party isn't a party without the guests! So, here are few snapshots of guests enjoying their time.

Guests playing games.

Guests mingling.

In lieu of gifts, we asked each guest to provide an anecdote, story, memory, advice, etc. regarding parenting or siblings. Then, we compiled each sentiment into a scrapbook for the parents-to-be.

[caption id="attachment_3698" align="aligncenter" width="324" caption="Here's a guest perusing the scrapbook.. and you can also see that, despite our request, lots of guests also brought gifts. How sweet!"]

Overall shot of the party.

And, here's a pic of the glowing mom-to-be with her mom, Grammy.

Mom-to-be and her mom, Grammy.

Maternity Photo.

It seemed that everyone had a great time! Congrats again to the family of little Sophia! And, here's the cute newborn photo I promised you.

Baby Sophia

I'm Dreaming of a..

decorated Christmas! With being so busy, I'm embarrassed to admit that we've been slacking on spreading the Christmas cheer around our house. We haven't even decorated our Christmas tree yet! It's horrible, I know. But, the good news is that we finally have it, in the stand, watered and ready to go - that, in and of itself, was a big step. We have been saying, "Let's go get our Christmas tree tonight" everyday for the past few weeks, and we finally did so last night! So, now, the plan for tonight is to get out the ornaments, decorate the tree while listening to Christmas music and baking yummy cookies, since we only have 10 short days to go!

So, without any photos to show you of our holiday decorations, I thought I'd post some creative, unique Christmas decor ideas from our Pinterest pin boards not only to inspire others, but to get inspired myself. Let's face it, everybody needs a little inspiration sometimes. Hope it works!

Enjoy!

Green and silver decor.

Hot chocolate.

Simple, neutral decor.

Scrap wood christmas tree.

Simple wrapping!

White christmas decor.

Burlap stockings!

Bold graphic gift wrapping!

Simple vintage wood deer!

Reindeer cookies

Christmas tree decal!

Well, I'm inspired! Happy Holidays to everyone!

It's Still Fall!

I'm sure, like me, you've noticed that when November arrived stores, homes, and even design blogs have traded their pumpkins in for snowmen, and their warm rich earthy color palettes to cool crisp icy colors. Well, wait just a second! With the mildly chilly weather only now in full swing, beautifully colored leaves still floating to the ground and Thanksgiving just around the corner yet, fall is still here! Right? In fact, I am only now finally getting excited about all things fall. As you probably know, I'm not a huge fan of cold weather, but I do have to say the shift from summer to fall does give me a good feeling. It means it's time for cute sweaters, hot chocolate, warm earthy colors, yummy food, time with family, beautiful nature and scenery, etc. And, I've recently gotten to enjoy most of these.

Pumpkin roll!

So, before my warm fuzzy fall feelings turn into winter blues, I thought I'd browse a few of my favorite sites for some fall inspired finds, decor ideas, and the other lovely joys of fall.

Leaf pillow.

Paper mache pumpkins.

Yarn wreath.

Leaf and Gourd decor.

Cupcake toppers.

Pinecone wreath

Table centerpiece.

Leaf garland.

Fall scarf.

Pottery Barn fall decor.

Wishbone servewear.

Candy apples.

My front door.

Side Note: This last photo is actually from last year - fortunately we kept the mums and they came back this year.. unfortunately they came back about 1/3 as big and beautiful and do not look like this!

So, while most people may already be moving on to the Christmas season, I don't like to jump the gun. I'd rather enjoy the fall and the Thanksgiving holiday first. After all, I am very thankful for not-frigid weather (along with many other things, of course).

I hope today's post reminded you of the many joys of fall, and also hopefully reminded you to slow down sometimes. Christmas will be here soon enough. In the meantime, be thankful (hehe) for the fall!

The lovely images from today's post came from Etsy, Pinterest, BHG, West Elm, Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn and, of course, my camera!

Even if I Leave Empty Handed..

So, I wrote a blog post quite a while back on flea market finds.. but today's post is less about the finds and more about the journey. In talking with my aunt and uncle recently about flea marketing, I simply asked my uncle, "Well, what are you looking for at the flea market?" And his response, "I don't know yet". While my question was more curious of what his interests were, his answer quite simply explained the joy in flea marketing. My aunt went on to add to the answer, "Yea, I don't know what I'm looking for until I see it." I just love that statement, and I couldn't agree more!

Most flea market enthusiasts would answer the same way, because unlike shopping at the grocery store or the mall, you don't necessarily head to the flea market with a list or even an idea of what your looking to buy. Instead, you head there with the excitement that you never know what you might find and often leave with something you didn't know you needed, ha!

Male dress form at a flea market stand.

Garlic press bird.

Turquise owl necklace.

Anyway, though there are times I do head to the flea market with a "mission", as I like to call it, to find something I just haven't been able to locate, most often it's more about the journey - what will I come across today? who will I meet? what will I just have to buy? and sometimes even, what will I learn today? And, that's just one of the reasons I love stopping by the flea market, a yard sale or even thrift stores.

So, summer is coming to an end, and as the chilly weather begins, most flea markets start to dwindle. So, before that happens, I wanted to make sure I got out there. This time, I went to the Williams Grove Flea Market that I had mentioned in that old post, for a lovely day of "flea-ing" (that's a good term for it, right?) and also, finally took a few photos of the interesting old amusement park grounds to share with you.

Oh, and for the record, though some part of me really wanted each of the items in the above images, I didn't buy any of them.

Shot of the mid-way.

Shot of the wooden roller coaster.

The old basketball shooting game.

Shot of the old train tracks.

Showing the old bumper car pavilion.

The bingo building.

The old water slides..

Used furniture under the old concession stand.

Another thing of beauty at flea markets is the retail merchandising, or lack there of, hehe. I'm always a fan of collections (or piles) of items. Not sure why, but my eye always goes toward them, and so does my camera!

Collection of antique skeleton keys.

Collection of antique boxes.

At the end of the afternoon, though my belly was full with the yummy homemade soft pretzel stick you see in the photo below.. my hands were empty. I didn't buy one single thing, but I was still leaving with some new ideas, lots of inspiration, and of course, having had a nice journey!

Me with my soft pretzel stick!

Eating Local!

DISCLAIMER: Today's post has pretty much nothing to do with design, but I wanted to share it anyway =) View of the farm fields.

So, although we have known about the idea for quite awhile, this is our first year as a member of a local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) thanks to my sister-in-law who asked us to become members and split a full share with their family. We are already about half way through the harvest season, but every time we get a new delivery (which is every week) it just makes me happy and that's why I wanted to blog about it today!

View of the Spiral Path Farm sign

So, first, I guess I should mention (specifically for any local readers) that the CSA we chose is Spiral Path Farm, a 255 acre family farm located in central PA. Spiral Path offers a "wide variety of certified organic vegetables, herbs and annual fruits", as they say on their website. And it's true, already this season we've gotten strawberries, sugar snap peas, radishes, spinach, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, yellow squash, and tons of lettuce and greens!

The neat thing about it is that you don't know exactly what you'll be getting that week, so it's always a fun surprise! And, even more awesome is that you get foods you may not typically eat or, if you are like us, possibly something you've never had. Which does present the issues of "well, how do I cook this?" or "what am I gonna make with this?" - but I think that's really the joy of it! One example of that for us was getting swiss chard. While I have seen and heard of swiss chard, I had never tried it or attempted to cook it. But Logan gave cooking it a whirl, and it was really pretty yummy!

Oh, and Spiral Path also includes several recipes for the specific food we get each week. Bonus!

Overall it's really a great opportunity to support a local family farm while getting extremely fresh organic produce delivered to you each week, and for a reasonable cost. How can you beat that? Plus, it shortens my time at the grocery store, which if you know me at all, is a huge plus!

A hand written strawberries sign.

The awesome thing about it too, is that they have Open Farm Days, which are, just as they sound, days when they open the farm up to their CSA members to come and have fun - you can pick your own fresh fruit, veggies and herbs straight from the plant, have the opportunity to see the fields where your organic produce is grown, buy other goodies from other local vendors (like meats, cheeses and breads), and of course experience a little taste of farm life. Not to mention, they also make it fun for the kids!

We, of course, went to an Open Farm day several weeks back with my sister and brother-in-law and our niece. Here's a bunch of photos from our day at the farm!

Isabella planting herbs.

Valerie and Isabella picking strawberries.

Ann Marie and Isabella with a full basket of strawberries!

Logan and Valerie with our basket of strawberries.

View of us walking by the sugar snap pea plants.

Close-up of the sugar snap peas.

Shot of the bread vendor.

Well, thanks for letting me share! And, if you aren't already, I would totally suggest becoming a CSA member! For a local CSA in your area check out www.localharvest.org!

Versatile Veggies

Like many of you, I’m sure, Valerie and I attended a Super Bowl get together on Sunday. We went to my mom and stepdad’s house where we enjoyed good food and good company, emphasis on the food, of course.. haha : ) As with most of our family shindigs we all pitch in and bring something to share. This time, Valerie and I were assigned veggies. So, instead of just bringing your normal veggie tray (which we did for those who don’t like change), we also stole a delicious idea from one of our friends and made this:

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.


You might recall seeing something similar from our previous post about our potluck just before the holidays. We used the same recipe (available at pillsbury.com) as our friends did, however, we just changed the shape of the rolls to look like a football. It was as delicious as I remember it and quite a crowd pleaser!

See our process below:

Chopped vegetables on cutting board.

Baked dinner rolls in the shape of a football.

Mixing bowl of spreadable vegetable dip.

Dinner rolls with vegetable dip on top.

Vegetables placed on dinner rolls to look like a football.

Football shaped dinner rolls with vegetables on top.

Football shaped dinner rolls with dip and vegetables on top.

Close up of veggies.

So, as you can see, this is an easy and fun way to mix things up, and can be created for any event by simply changing the shape. For example, with Valentine’s Day coming up, you lovebirds who want to show your sweetie how you really feel, try making this in the shape of a heart!

Let’s hear about some of the tasty foods you shared at your Super Bowl parties!

And, for those Packers fans out there, congrats! For the Steelers fans, good try and good game! And, for the fans of any other teams, well, better luck next year : )

Un-decorating for the Holidays

Over the past month, we have decorated everything from the tree to table tops and even sugar cookies. Look below to see some of the creative and artful projects we’ve done here at our home. Christmas tablescape with peppermint bowls

Close-up of Christmas centerpiece.

Stockings hanging by the tree

Close-up of name tag on Logan's stocking

Close-up of ornaments on the Christmas tree

Decorated sugar cookies

But after all that fun and beautiful holiday décor, it’s now the first week of January and the holiday season is pretty much over. Therefore, it’s time to un-decorate. I thought I’d post a few tips for this often not-so-fun task that (for us) make the process simpler, practical and fun.

    Un-decorating Tips!

  • Break the un-decorating process into two stages – Instead of spending a whole day tearing down the entire house, after the holidays, first remove and put away only the holiday specific décor. Other winter related décor can remain up throughout the season and be enjoyed for another few weeks!
  • Donate old or unused décor items – Less is often more, and we are always up for cleaning out and simplifying. There is no need to store décor that you never use or don’t intend to use next year. But, don’t simply throw it away! Donate it or reinvent a new purpose for it – think art project!
  • Get organized – Perhaps when you unboxed all the decorations this year, you found that last year they had been tossed in boxes, tangled together and maybe even broken. Well, take the extra couple seconds this year to organize like items together, carefully wrap and box décor items and, of course, (if you know me at all) label, label, label. This will make both the decorating and un-decorating process a piece of cake for years to come.
  • Redesign your space – At Christmas, we often move aside furnishings and other décor to make room for the Christmas tree and all the other holiday décor! Well, when it’s time to put it all back, don’t just go back to the old layout, put your creativity hat on and change things up a bit. This will also give your home a fresh look for the New Year!
  • Bring in Spring – While the warmer weather is still many weeks away, get excited about the new season and lightening and brightening your space for spring! I don’t know about you, but winter weather puts a damper on my productivity and creativity, among other things. So, here is my opportunity to fight back! Design shops everywhere are launching their spring goods – go out and get inspired… maybe even snag a great find!

Well, I promise I won’t be posting anymore on the topic of Christmas, but we hope that our little look back over the holiday season, that we didn’t get to share while we were busy finalizing the launch of this blog, has perhaps inspired some ideas and Christmas cheer for next year! Now it’s back to work on a few client projects, and as always, more design and DIY fun here at our own home and studio!

Christmas Cheer!

Well, the day is finally here. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone! For most of us, there is always such a lead up to Christmas - with all the shopping, making travel plans, baking, and, of course, seasonal decorating of our homes, trees, etc. So, since our blog is less than a week old, and we didn’t get the opportunity to post about our happenings in preparation for today, I thought (over the next few posts) we could give a snapshot of some of our fun seasonal décor, holiday inspired events and creative holiday projects we’ve done over the past month. To start the season off right, Logan and I hosted a holiday themed potluck for a few of our friends early in December. While we encouraged guests to adorn holiday wear and prepare holiday themed eats, the latter of the two was more successful. =) Below are a few snapshots of some of the great dishes we enjoyed that night.

Appetizer displayed in the shape of a Christmas tree.

Closeup of a holiday cocktail

Honey maple glazed ham with pineapple

Milk and white chocolate brittle bark

Speaking of holiday meals, I’m always interested to know what other families enjoy around the holiday table. For many years, we have been spending Christmas dinner at Logan’s mom’s house; the meal is usually casual and traditional. Yet this year, we decided to mix things up and, while we’ll share our meal around the same table, it will be slightly different than usual. Our family opted for a brunch style Christmas meal! Logan and I don’t actually cook much of the meal (which is fine by me), but I hear the menu is going to include yummy goodies such as ham, eggs, breakfast potatoes, croissants, pumpkin bread, etc. Sounds pretty amazing to me! What meal do you and your family share at the holidays? Let us know.. comment below!