Oh My Stars!

June 16
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So, I hate to mention this fact but it is now beyond the halfway point in June!  What?  It seems like school just got out yesterday and now it’s already time to gear up for all those Fourth of July festivities!  I hear that some people believe when the 4th arrives the summer is half over…and some believe that the holiday is the official celebration to the beginning of the summer season…I think I’d like to go with the latter!  It is true, as vacation standards go, the summer CAN be half over when you consider early start-dates or school activities that begin well before the first day of classes.  But I’m not going to concentrate on that fact…I’m here to share some inspiration for summer fun and celebrations that have really JUST begun!  So today I’m seeing stars…a fun theme for a patriotic or ANY type of party!

star-spangled snacks!

Graduation, Moroccan Style!

June 12

It’s been a fun conclusion to a long couple of weeks filled with all the normal end-of-school activities combined with graduation ceremonies, university orientation, and grad parties…including our own!  My son requested a smaller gathering for his graduation celebration, more like a large dinner party.  And the food request?  A traditional Moroccan meal…lucky my hubby just happened to live in Morocco as a child!  And though he didn’t know how to cook back then, he’s a wonderful at-home chef now and specializes in Moroccan delicacies!  We were lucky to have received a Moroccan cookbook as a wedding gift from my in-laws and what makes it extra special was what was written inside.  Within the pages of this book were the personal recipes of the cook who worked for my husband’s family  while they lived in Morocco.  My Father-in-law worked for the State Department and enjoyed the benefits of a staff while stationed in certain countries…they weren’t royalty or crazy rich, in case you’re wondering!  But we ultimately reaped those benefits too when we received all those wonderful and completely authentic recipes!  I do feel fortunate that my family has enjoyed these delicious and unique meals as the boys have grown throughout the years…and on special occasions they think nothing of eating without utensils, digging into a community pot, while seated on the floor!  So this very experience was my son’s request…to treat a small group of friends to a taste of something we hoped would be special!  Let me share with you our wonderful celebration for our son and some of his friends…

a sample of Morocco…

Monday’s Favorites

June 5
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It has been a really busy last couple of weeks around here!  School ending, baseball frenzy, parties galore…and my oldest graduating from High School!  I’m actually surprised that I was able to keep my head above water!  So needless to say today I’m keeping it short and sweet so that I can get caught up and wrap up some some things before we FINALLY get to enjoy summer vacation!  And speaking of summer, I’m sharing some favorite things today that are perfect for all your warm-weather gatherings!  With so much happening lately I realized I hadn’t done a “favorite things” in quite some time…and I will remedy that today!  So have a peek at some summertime goodies that I think will be your favorites too!

get ready for summer fun!

Nautical Twist

May 30

Often times when I think about summertime parties I envision the crisp colors of red, white, and blue!  Perfect for patriotic celebrations and ALL summer long with clean stripes, polka dots, and nautical images that remind us of the sea!  Clam bakes, barbecues, ice cream and s’mores are just a few of the summer food favorites that also come to mind when I’m dreaming of outdoor entertaining and gatherings with my family and friends!  So today I’d like to share with you some nautical inspired party ideas that you can use at your next backyard celebration…and when I say nautical, I guess I use the term a little loosely because it might not be exactly what you think!  But that’s the fun of party styling…letting your creativity flow with no rules to follow!  When I come across decorating items that I love, I just have to share them…in hopes that you can find lots of inspiration for your festivities!  I also love sharing ways to use these items outside of what they were intended for…that’s what can make your event (big OR small) unique to you AND let you get lots of bang for your buck by having loads of options for your goodies!  Let’s get started on summer fun now that the unofficial beginning of the season has come and gone!  Check out this backyard gathering with understated nautical touches!

lobster-up your nautical!

Eat Cake for Breakfast!

May 25
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Yesterday I co-hosted the final Breakfast Club gathering for the school year.  My sweet friend helped me to dish up some morning goodies to some of the ladies who make up this really fun and wonderful group!  I have to sing praises for this group which began several years ago when many of our littlest kiddos went to school full time.  It was such a wonderful way to stay connected to moms who no longer had little ones to take to playgroups anymore.  The only new “rule”…all grownup time!  I miss those playgroup days but I do have to admit that it’s so wonderful to have uninterrupted conversations with old and new friends…the group is open to all newcomers as long as they don’t have kids in tow!  And once in a while, a new mom with kids at home might actually have a second without her littles and pop in for a cup of joe and a “mommies only” moment!  I just love the way this group offers the opportunity to meet women we might not cross paths with due to the different stages of our kids or working schedules!  So since this is one of my favorite things and being the last gathering until fall comes around, I wanted to do something a little special on my buffet…without going crazy–this is supposed to be easy fun after all!  But with a little recycling, I could make a pretty food station with simple treats to celebrate friendships!

breakfast club season finale!

Red, White, Blue…and Sip!

May 22

After my patriotic project last week creating the cork firecrackers for my holiday table, I  stayed in the mood for red, white, and blue!  It’s such a fun, summertime color combo whether you’re celebrating a stars & stripes holiday or not!  Inspired by something I saw in a catalog, I decided to try my hand at another really easy project to sweeten up a favorite hot-weather drink…the milkshake!  In our house we seem to be making this favorite treat any time of the year but summer is the season my boys REALLY crave them!  And though the official start of summer hasn’t arrived quite yet…it sure felt like it for a few days making it the perfect time to try this treat out!  The great thing about this project is that you can use the idea for any drink or any time of year…but since patriotic celebrations are on the horizon, I’m sticking with the holiday color trio for my frosty beverages!  See how easy and fun it can be to add some sugar to your sipper…

candy coat your straws!

Patriotic Project!

May 18

It certainly has been feeling like summer around here lately!  I was complaining that it had been too chilly…and now all of the sudden it went from cool, spring showers directly into the sweltering dog days of summer!  The temperatures are feeling a lot more like July than May…so it got me a little inspired for some Red, White, and Blue.  And bonus, Memorial Day is just around the corner so this little DIY I have planned for today will be a fun addition to your May 29th celebrations AND the Fourth of July!  So we’ll get right to it today and work on a patriotic project to celebrate those red, white, and blue holidays!

create some “kaboom”!

A Taste of New Orleans!

May 15

During our Christmas break my family traveled to New Orleans for the first time!  You may remember me sharing some of the fun from that wonderful vacation in a city that was so much more than we ever expected!  We were so taken back by the wonderful citizens who dwell in that colorful town, the music was amazingly incredible, and equally wonderful…the food!  We were so fortunate to have some of our friends tell us all their favorite places to sample the flavors of Nola…so as a little “thank you” we decided to treat them to a meal, New Orleans style!  Our original intent was to replicate the  muffuletta sandwiches from Central Grocery…a most favored little store that made these delicious and ginormous sandwiches in the back of the shop!  But when we began to research how to make a sandwich that was as similar as possible…we discovered that we could actually have the real deal shipped directly to our doorstep!  Needless to say, we decided to throw out the idea of making them ourselves and treat our friends to an authentic taste of the city!  If you’ve not heard of Goldbely, you really should check them out!  They can bring to your door some of the most wonderful eats and sweets from all across the country!  From steaks to cupcakes, deli sandwiches to cookies & ice cream…if you have a favorite from somewhere you’ve visited check to see if they’ve got you covered!  And if not, I can guarantee you’ll see something that looks delicious!  So over the weekend we enjoyed good company and good food…made simple!  And even though I really didn’t prepare anything myself, I’d still like to share how I set up some simple munchies for our “thank you” meal!

nibble, munch, and celebrate NOLA!

Fancy Egg Scramble

May 11

The countdown is on and soon Mother’s Day will be here…and as I promised on Monday, I’m sharing a wonderful brunch recipe that’s perfect for any special occasion!  (You can grab the printable recipe at the end of the post) This breakfast casserole is a family favorite…and what we love best is the fact you can substitute the meat or veggies to make it just right for you and your guests!  You can prepare it ahead of time too and simply bake it on the morning of your gathering so you can relax and enjoy your celebration!  My mom gave me this recipe years ago…and today I’d like to share it with you!

scramble up some goodness…

Mother’s Day Brunch

May 8

Mother’s Day is coming soon…and that means it’s time for special breakfasts, brunches, or dinners to celebrate mom!  Today I’d like to share an almost effortless way to dress up your table no matter what you might serve up!  I love the idea of a simple breakfast dished out on a pretty tabletop…but that doesn’t mean it requires a lot of work to make it look festive.  Let me share these easy ideas with you…

set a springtime table…