Party Prep…

August 29
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I’m getting ready for an event coming up next month…one I’ve been thinking about for a LONG time!  Our house was built 100 years ago and I’ve been toying with the idea of a little celebration for about three years now…does that seem a little obsessive?  It’s just that my husband and I love living in old homes…there’s just something so charming to us about a home’s past and the wonder of who lived within its walls!  Even though it also means plenty of updating, repairing, repairing…did I say repairing?  There’s a constant flow of projects, big and small…some completed and some still on the “to-do” list.  But through it all, we’ve always chosen to live in old homes…and this current one is the oldest yet!  100 years…I think it’s a reason to celebrate so we will!  And since I’ve been thinking about it for so long, I’ve been able to prepare a little in advance which I find really helpful!  Over the years of entertaining I’ve learned that no gathering is totally perfect…it might rain or snow, a project might not be completed, an unexpected household disaster may take place hours before the guests arrive–but that’s life!  So even though I’m having plenty of fun dreaming about the decorations and the simple food I’ll prepare…I’m not going to sweat the stuff I can’t control!  So no matter what events transpire, whether my house is festively decorated or not, I’ll be able to fully enjoy my family and friends in celebrating this place we call home!  Today I’d like to share a peek at my party preparations, without giving anything away just yet…

the excitement of a plan…

Back to School Treat!

August 24
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Yesterday was our first day back to school!  Not entirely sure if I’m happy or sad about this…I think I’m mostly happy since life with a scheduled routine is usually better for ALL members of my family (although the boys may disagree!).  I have to admit I’m also a little sad since my oldest is a senior this year…how did that happen!?  But since I can’t figure out how to stop time, I may as well make it as merry as possible!  So for the very first after school snack of the year I decided to “tweak” the “after school” part and make it an “after dinner” treat for the boys and a few friends!  And since it still feels like late summer should, I decided that an ice cream sundae bar would be a nice way to celebrate the start of a new school year AND the memories of a wonderful summer!  So a simple setup on the patio was all that was needed on a gorgeous evening…

school night celebration…

Storage Style

August 22
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Not too long ago one of my friends tried to convince me to blog about my kitchen hutch.  I really hesitated since in my opinion, there’s nothing really special about it!  I’ve shared it before when it was all dressed for the holidays, but I never thought of its every day appearance as being all that exciting.   Not that I don’t love it, but it humbly holds a hodgepodge of serving pieces and party supplies, snacks and baking utensils…just about anything really!  I’ve always liked to organize and store my supplies in a way that I don’t have to go digging when I need them…but that means that they need to be out in the open.  And even though it can look cluttered, having these things at my fingertips is much less stressful for me and visually helps me remember what I’ve got on hand so I don’t unnecessarily purchase something I don’t really need!  So I have this odd, little nook in my kitchen that really isn’t big enough for an eating area or much else for that matter!  Our side door is also located there which makes it almost impossible for that space to be functional!  Without having custom cabinetry built my only option was to find something that would actually fit…which ended up being an old hutch that had been in my son’s room displaying outgrown Lego creations & stuffed animals!  My nook now had a purpose…a place to store all those extra kitchen items that I previously didn’t have room for!  I love this hutch for hiding extra linens and grocery items in the deep drawers and the open shelving can show off all the cute stuff…even if it is utilitarian!  I can’t take any decorative credit for its appearance…the things I store here are nice looking all on their own!  I just display my prettiest serving pieces, and use glass containers to hold colorful baking cups, straws, and other fun party products!  But at the urging of my friend, I decided to go ahead and share how I organize in this tiny space…it’s simple, it’s fun, it’s useful, and I hope you can find some inspiration for your home!

time to organize…

Eat a Little or Eat A Lot…at Eataly!

August 19

Good Friday morning!  I decided to sneak in a Friday post this week because we had SO many wonderful experiences during our long weekend in New York City I just had to end the week with another!  And of all the experiences, I have to admit some of the best moments were spending time with my family around the tables of eateries or even indulging right on the curbside!  We all love to treat ourselves to good food so we were sure to stop at as many places as we possibly could for multiple tastes!  I even got smart this time and ordered the smallest portions that I could so I could sample the mouthwatering offerings and still keep up with my boys who can afford to eat pretty much non-stop!  So we proceeded to make many pit-stops at food carts, sweet shops, and restaurants and enjoyed every morsel of each and every one!  We didn’t really want to keep too many schedules so we only ate at one restaurant that required reservations…the rest were more spur of the moment and casual…but no less impressive!  And my favorite eatery of the weekend was filled with such wonder that we were all awestruck by what was within the walls!  If you’ve ever eaten at an Eataly restaurant you know what I mean when I say it’s a unique experience!  Whether you eat rooftop or casually amidst market shoppers mingling through isles that separate multiple dining options…it’s definitely a treat!  And those shopping isles are brimming over with varieties of pasta, produce, breads, deli meats & cheeses, seafood counters, cookbooks, and kitchen accessories…the list goes on and on!  Even better?  You can grab a glass of wine for some sipping and shopping while you wait for your table!  And for those in the family who are too young to visit the bar…they won’t miss out on any pre-meal fun with plenty of sweet options available…like nutella crepes!  We WERE on vacation, which i think is a perfect opportunity to eat dessert first!  So if you’re looking for a quiet, private table for intimate dinner conversation–this place might not be it!  But for lively fun paired with fabulous food…this is the place to be!

a little taste of Eataly…

New York, New York!

August 17

I hope you enjoyed seeing the shopping excursion we had on our family getaway…and I’m continuing on this week with a common theme:  New York!  There’s so many wonderful sights and sounds in the Big Apple…I can only scratch the surface!  One thing that surprised me on our visit was how comfortable it felt to be there.  Even through all the hustle and bustle, it was still somehow comforting, as though we had lived there all along.  It was easy to keep bearings so it felt as though we totally knew where we were going…most of the time! I was also shocked at how certain areas of the city were so NOT crowded…like we could be walking in a downtown neighborhood almost anywhere!  But no matter where we were, or how many people were around, there was ALWAYS something fun to see or experience! And though much of the scenery is a familiar sight for most, actually being there and seeing it for real is something that I can’t quite totally describe!  So that said, let me show you NYC from my perspective!

“i want to be a part of it…”

The “ABCs” of Shopping!

August 15

I’ve been doing a lot of talking about our wonderful weekend trip to New York City a couple weeks ago!  It was my first visit and one I won’t soon forget!  And even though it was a whirlwind couple of days, we had so much fun packing in shopping, eating, and TONS of sight seeing!  Anyone who’s had the good fortune to spend time there knows that there’s no end to all the things you can do and see in that great city…so we need to go again, and again…and again!  When I asked one of my friends, who’s very familiar with the city, what shops we should see while we were there she told me that I absolutely HAD to visit ABC Carpet & Home….ABC Carpet & Home?? I wasn’t expecting that one.  Sounding a bit utilitarian, I have to admit initially it didn’t sound all that appealing.  But knowing she has such impeccable taste I went straight to the computer and googled…let me tell you that she was so totally right!  I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome their site is…and it goes without saying that the real deal is even better!  Let me share with you some of the best shopping I’ve ever experienced…

NYC shopping treaure…

Time to Celebrate!

August 10

It’s always fun to celebrate birthdays!  And like I said last week…we have plenty of opportunities to get festive with family members and special friends who all entered this world during the summer months!  So over the weekend we spent some time making merry on the day our youngest was born!  For each family birthday we normally have the tradition of going out for a special meal…but this year we decided to change it up a bit and cook something right at home.  Since it had only been a week since we got back from a long weekend in New York City (where delightful food was abundant) everyone was on board with the “dinner at home” idea this time around!  I love the tradition of celebrating together over a wonderful meal.  It really doesn’t matter if it’s fancy or simple, at a restaurant or at home…gathering around the table is always a treat, especially when you have a special occasion that brings family together!  This year the birthday request was for king crab legs…something I’ve never served before!  But half the fun is in the preparations…and fortunately for me my parents were here to help AND my hubby is pretty darn good in the kitchen, or in this case, with the grill!  Take a peek at our birthday fun…

a seafood celebration!

A House Full of Birthdays

August 8

I can’t believe the first week of August has ended already!  Where has the summer gone?  And even though this month brings with it the return to school…in our house it also brings plenty of birthday celebrations!  So this year I decided to create something festive on my chalk mantle, which had been neglected lately due to all of our summer activities.  Normally I would create a seasonal chalk drawing, something that I could leave up for at least a month or two!  But while trying to decide what to put up there for the late summer, or even if I should paint over it, the idea came to mind of displaying a birthday message for all who celebrate!  And bonus, the birthdays are all spread out so I can still leave it up for more than a few days!  Why not make it a prolonged party?  So if you have some celebrations that are within reach of one another…go ahead and extend the festivity!

let’s celebrate!

Pretty as a Box of Rocks?

August 3
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You know how much I like to create displays without spending money, right?  You also know by now that most of my projects are ones that you can create with the help of family members…if you want!  Sometimes you can kill two birds by keeping your kids busy or just creating family togetherness AND turning the outcome into a beautiful addition to the home!  Well today I’ve got a good one…a project that potentially can cost close to zero and requires minimal supplies that you may have at home!  Interested?  If so, have the kids go find some simple rocks, grab some tape and a little paint…and turn a box of rocks into something wonderful!

the beauty of a rock…

Breakfast Send Off!

August 1
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Last Thursday morning we made a special breakfast treat to celebrate spending a long weekend in New York City!  We were all very excited to go so I thought it was a perfect time to try a fun and easy breakfast idea that I was pretty certain my boys would LOVE!  Since we weren’t leaving until after lunch, why not make the morning as festive as the anticipation of fun in the big city?  So let me share our breakfast celebration…so easy you could even do it on a school morning!  Maybe a first-day-back idea?  Have a peek at the ooey, gooey sweetness…

celebrate in cinnamon roll style!