♥ merry christmas ♥

Dec 23, 2012

Family Photo :: Session Nine Photography
Photo Collage :: Thank you Instagram!


In Our Home :: Thanksgiving & Early Dec

Dec 8, 2012

Thanks to the gentle nudge of a blog reading friend I was encouraged to update our little blog space.  I mean, one post a month just isn't working with some of our readers I guess?!  ;)

I apologize to all of you avid Flies Blend blog readers who anxiously await new blog posts (all 5 of you, right?!).

Without further ado, here is the newest addition in the "In Our Home" blog series.  


1) Alan's mom, Ardyce, spent Thanksgiving week in AZ.  We started the week off with a trip to the SeaLife Aquarium.  Both Nora and Elsie love this little place.  It's certainly no Monterrey Bay Aquarium but it's a nice little morning activity.

2) As you can see by this pic, the girls LOVED having Nana in town!

3) I humbled myself this year and purchased the pre-made Fresh and Easy Thanksgiving meal. It was only going to be the 5 of us (3 adults, 2 kids) and so I thought this would be more favorable than spending the entire day in the kitchen slaving over each dish.  Now some of you may think this is genius but in all honesty, I love to host, entertain and cook, so the thought of not making each dish from scratch made my little heart squirm.  However, now looking back, I'm totally not ashamed to admit that it ended up being the best decision!  Thanksgiving day was so relaxing and the food was so super yummy!

4) The girls had a blast doing our Thankful Tree this November.  If you didn't get a chance to read that post, be sure to do so!  It's totally a family tradition I'd strongly suggest doing next year.  Such an easy and practical way to be reminded of all of the things we all have to be thankful for. So pin the post and remember to come back to it early November!

Our Christmas Tree & Advent Calendar

1) & 2) We may be one of the few AZ people who get a real Christmas tree, but we love it!  There's just nothing better than the fresh smell of a Christmas tree in December.  Now keeping it alive until Dec 25th is a little bit of an ordeal.  We'll see how our green thumbs do with this year's tree.  Last year I was pretty certain  that come Dec 25th our tree was a massive fire hazard. (eek!)

3) Does anyone else do the Pickle Ornament (a German tradition)?!  We love it... especially b/c I love giving gifts (my primary love language, as noted in The Five Love Languages is Giving/Receiving Gifts).  There are lots of ways to do it but the basics of the tradition are that we hide the pickle ornament on the tree and whatever child finds the ornament first gets the first gift of the Christmas season. This was the first year that Nora actually understood the tradition and she was super excited about her Dora the Explorer play tent (which happens to have already broken... oh kids!)

4) I was super stoaked to put up our DIY Advent Calendar this year.  If you missed those directions be sure to click here for the free printables!

Gingerbread House Party

All three girls were thrilled with all of the sugary sweet goodness that a friend planned for them this past Friday at their very first Gingerbread House Decorating Party!

I mean who wouldn't be excited about gumdrops, skittles, sprinkles, Twizzlers and everything else that makes a Gingerbread house so amazingly wonderful?!

We have more family coming in this week and will have much more to report as we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth at the end of the month!

Merry Christmas Season!!!  Eat your tummies silly!


DIY Thanksgiving Tree

Nov 15, 2012

Please tell me I'm not the only one that is still STUNNED that Thanksgiving is less than a week away?!

Somehow our calendars jumped from June 1st to November 15th in two seconds flat (well, at least it feels like they did).

Regardless of what speed the calendar seems to be moving, Thanksgiving is next week and so our hearts turn once again to the giver of all of life's great gifts - God Almighty.

This Thanksgiving I wanted to be intentional about spending daily family time reflecting on all of the many good gifts God has given us.

In order to make this as visual as possible (we have a 3 year old, remember?!), we decided to make a Thanksgiving Tree.

I'd seen a number of Thanksgiving Trees on Pinterest and knew it was something I wanted to do one day when my kids were old enough to understand the idea of being thankful for things (big and/or small).

Specifically this year I bought a tree wall decal (Target) and made our leaves with a variety of pieces of fall colored card stock.  Each night after Alan returns home from work, we all sit down and talk about what we're thankful for that day.  The only rule is there are no rules. Our thanksgiving leaves have ranged from the seemly insignificant (iPhone, coffee) to the very significant (family, friends, Jesus).

It's been so much fun for us! And what's been the most fun is that we have been completely FLOORED each day when our sweet Nora takes 10 seconds to ponder what she's thankful for and always seems to come up with something so very heartfelt that it makes your heart melt in the process.  (Nora's leaves to date read: family, friends, neighbors, the park and swings)

I'd totally encourage you to start the family tradition of doing a Thanksgiving Tree this year too!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Steph's Pick : Graco SnugRide Click Connect 40

Nov 5, 2012

A couple of weeks back I was invited to attend an event, sponsored by Graco and hosted by Kelly L {Everyday Childhood}, where 15 local bloggers were given the opportunity to learn about their newest car seat, the Graco Snu­gRide® Click Con­nect™ 40.  

Now I'll be honest, I totally went into this thinking "What more is there to know about car seats?!"  Well ladies, I was wrong!

Even with 
having two small children and having read Abbi's post on the New Car Seat LawI still had a lot to learn! 

As many of you probably know, the Amer­i­can Acad­emy of Pedi­atrics recently made the rec­om­men­da­tion to keep all chil­dren in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. In response to this recommendation, Graco set out to make a new product so par­ents can keep infants rear fac­ing longer while still keep­ing them comfortable.  Their results were the Graco Snu­gRide® Click Con­nect™ 40.

Here's a few things I love the most about the Graco Snu­gRide® Click Con­nect™ 40

  • The Simply Safe Adjust harness systems allows parents to adjust their baby's height as their baby grows, all without having to rethread the harness. 
  • 8 recline positions to give your child more legroom as they grow.
  • Slide up kick plate/foot rest to protect the back of your seat from dirty little feet.
I encourage you to read more about this product and watch the informational videos provided on the gracosafety.com website. And please consider this car seat for your little ones! Avail­able in two fab­ric choices, the seat retails for $219.99 and is avail­able at Babies R Us.


The Graco SnugRide® Click Connect™ 40 – the first and only newborn to two-year infant car seat that actually grows with your baby from four pounds all the way up to 40 pounds. The car seat is designed for a parent on the go. The infant car seat can be easily removed from the base and used as a carrier when the infant is small, providing portability and convenience so you can easily move your infant in and out of the car without disturbing them.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recently made the recommendation to keep all children in rear-facing car seats until the age of 2. Graco set out to make this product so parents can keep infants rear facing longer while still keeping them comfortable. 
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Graco. The opinions and text are all mine.


{giveaway} :: zpizza gift card

Nov 3, 2012

I love me some {good} pizza!  

I wish I could blame my love for pizza on this sweet little girl growing in my tummy but this isn't an "only when I'm pregnant" love.  Sadly, it's been around a lot longer.  

Therefore, you can imagine my excitement when we were given the opportunity to review a pizza at zpizza for all of you, our readers!  Eek... I. Was. STOAKED!

Just last night Alan and I placed a carry out order for a large Thai Chicken Pizza (Ingredients: peanut sauce, mozzarella, antibiotic-free chicken, red onions, cilantro, carrots, fresh bean sprouts and Serrano chiles). And it certainly did not disappoint! Holy Moly was it heavenly!  

But here's where it gets fun! zpizza is giving away a $10 gift card for one lucky The Flies Blend reader!

With zpizza locations in AZ, CA, CO, MN, NC, NY, TX and many more states, surely there are plenty of readers out there who should be registering for their chance to win!  (See locations HERE). 

Here's what you need to do to enter for your chance to win...


All you have to do to enter is simply leave a comment. Winner will be randomly drawn and announced next Friday. 
Good luck!


In Our Home :: Fall...kindof

Oct 15, 2012

Hello Fall... {kindof}.  

We're still seeing temps in the 90s every day but are anxiously awaiting highs in the 80s and 70s (hopefully soon).  Rather than mourn AZs lack of fall weather, we're making the most of it and spending loads of time outside... in our swim suites!  ;) No... really!  

Regardless of the temps... my calendar says it's fall so here is our "fall" family update.  
1) Baby Girl #3 (yes.. in case you missed it... baby 3 is a GIRL!) at 17 weeks.
2) Honeycrisp Apples.... one of my very favorite snacks this time of year.  Simply delicious.
3) and 4) Baby Flies 3 at weeks 18 and 19.
1) I'm officially obsessed with this chalkboard that my friend made me!  She is one of the most creative people I know.  In case you don't believe me, just sure check out her Etsy Shop : Gathering Wishes Studio.
2) Our first experience with finger paints.  Too. Much. Fun.
3) Breakfast outside.  Amazing!
4) We're finally back at the zoo!  With the temps below 100, we've decided to add the zoo back into our monthly play date rotation.
It may not seem totally like fall around here (hence the Ode to Fall post), but we're pretending like it is with some fall decor and the must have kids-by-the-pumpkin(s) pics :)
After living in AZ for nearly 8 years, we thought it was time we visited the AZ State Fair.  Now this statement alone needs a little clarification.  Here's why it's taken this long to attend -

1) We were afraid it would just be a massive disappointment as it doesn't even come close to what is considered the greatest state fair in all of the country - the Iowa State Fair (no joke.. it's in the 1000 places to see before you die book).

2) Pre-kids, the fair seemed to be dirty, creepy and full of fried foods.   Oh.. and HOT.  Didn't sound worth it.

Well - we decided to go against our instincts and check out the fair.  Why?  Well - mostly b/c Nora has been talking about going to the fair and riding a Ferris wheel for 3 months straight.  How could we possibly deprive the girls of their chance to go to their first fair, right?!

After seeing Nora's response to telling her we were going to the fair, we knew we'd made the right choice!  If you didn't see that video on FB, be sure to watch it here.

Thankfully the fair exceeded all of our expectations.  Nora got to ride the Ferris wheel and go down the big slide with her daddy.  We all enjoyed some fried food (a corn dog and fried snickers) and some yummy fresh squeezed lemonade.  And everyone was in great spirits (minus the last 15 minute meltdowns) for virtually the entire time.

I'll be writing more about our fair experience and bringing children to the AZ State Fair on Scottsdale Moms Blog shortly so be sure to stay tuned.


And that's about it!  Until next time....


Ode to Fall

Oct 3, 2012

Ok .... here is some cold, hard, honest truth peeps - I miss fall!

So badly.  So so so so, so so so badly.

After living in AZ nearly 8 years, this year it has finally caught up with me and I just need a little blogging meltdown minute to lament my sadness about AZ being a 2 season state (Seasons: HOT and cooler).

Hope that's ok b/c here I go...

I miss the clothes of fall (yes, I realize I'll be wearing those very clothes during our AZ winter...but not right now... I'm still rocking shorts and tank tops every day), boots, changing leaves, HOT Starbucks drinks (yep... haven't ordered one of those yet), fresh apple cider from the orchard, college football games and tailgating, apple orchards, corn mazes, wearing sweatshirts in September, jumping in piles of leaves, etc.

Honestly the list could go on and on.

Now I fully realize that our "fall" comes right at the time when most of the country is moving into winter.  And boy am I looking forward to that day!

Until then I'll just continue to search "Fall" on Pinterest and spend my nap time hours dreaming of the beautiful smells, tastes and cooler temps.

Now back to nearly 100 temps, an Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte and playing in the backyard in our swim suites.... I guess that isn't so bad!

{This post was written as an emotional response to seeing this post from my friend Katie and this post from my friend Allie (miss you girls!).}


City Moms Blog Network Informational Video

Sep 14, 2012

Oh poor poor blog (and blog readers).

I know... you've been a bit neglected the past few months.  Between pregnancy, 2 toddlers, life, family, business growth and loads of laundry I just can't seem to find the time for you.  (tear)

But have no fear... I've still been busy.

The business I co-founded last year with Joy C, City Moms Blog Network, is growing a ton!!In an effort to get the word out about this amazing opportunity for mommy bloggers, I've been working (with my friend, editor and producer, Michelle F) on a City Moms Blog Network Informational Video.

And I'm pleased to tell you that's it FINISHED!!  Totally ready for you to view.

Lucky You!

For your weekend viewing pleasure I present....the City Moms Blog Informational Video (hehe)...

If you, or anyone you know, is interested in learning more about joining our network and starting your own sister site, please click HERE to learn more.


Baby #3 Gender Reveal...

Sep 9, 2012

Who's excited about finding out the gender of Baby #3???


Well luckily today was the day for us to reveal the baby's gender to our family and friends! We (as in Alan and I) found out the gender earlier in the week (thanks to a new blood test offered in my OBs office called the Sequenom Fetal RHD Genotyping test) and have been keeping it a secret from everyone...until today!  Thanks to the test we were able to find out the baby's blood type and gender in a simple blood test that can be administered as early as 9 weeks.  (I took it at my 12 week appointment)

Oh how I wish I was someone who could wait to find out the gender until the baby's actual birth.  But alas, I'm not.

Which brings us to today (and the reason for this post).

In planning for this party, we couldn't forget to include our family and friends who live across the country.  To make them feel included, we asked for everyone to submit a photo of themselves holding/wearing something blue or pink that designates their guess for the gender of this sweet lil' thing.  Here's a peak at their submissions.

Now for today, we decided to host a small party for our community group.
Upon arrival, our guests were asked to cast their votes for Team Pink or Team Blue by selecting blue or pink sunglasses, the corresponding Jones Soda color and taking a picture to document their vote.

Let's just say Team Blue was the "winner" if going by votes alone.  

After all of the votes were accounted for, it was time for fun in the pool, followed by some yummy pizza.  

And finally it was time to make the big announcement (and eat cake)! I mean... who wouldn't be stoaked about eating this cake?

Didn't my friend, Lexa, do a fabulous job with the cake?!!  She says making cakes is "just a hobby."  (Let's just say I'd love to have THAT hobby).  

And now for the big reveal...

It's a....


We couldn't be more thrilled!  

Here's to more PINK!!!!  



2 + 3 = FIVE!!!

Aug 29, 2012

Yes... you read that right.

We're pleased to announce that we're expecting Baby #3 in March!

We're thrilled, shocked, excited, nervous, so happy and so so very humbled.

Will post more about this pregnancy, baby and our thoughts on becoming a family of FIVE soon!



in our home | Iowa & BlogHer in NYC

Aug 14, 2012

On Friday night we returned to AZ from a 12 day long adventure in Iowa (and in my case, Iowa and NYC) where we visited friends and family and escaped this wicked hot heat.  

Unfortunately Alan wasn't able to join us this time, so the girls and I flew out on our own.  Yes.  You read that right.  I flew with the girls by myself.  Even after "successfully" (aka: none of us died) completing two flights by myself with the two girls, I still wouldn't recommend it to anyone.  Unless absolutely necessary of course.  

Thankfully we made it all in one piece and we had lots of people that were thankful we did!  

Here's a little picture recap of our time away...
1) Nora making brownies with GG Mary in her new apron (made by GG herself).
2) Nora playing with homemade play dough with Great Aunt Debbie.
3) & 4) I was lucky enough to see my sweet high school friend, Liz and her two boys, Easton and Titus, before they move overseas this coming weekend.
1) My beautiful hometown, Mt. Vernon, Iowa.  As I grow older, my appreciation of the beauty of this small town only grows greater and greater.  
2) There's no denying it, Nora LOVES carousels.  Honestly, if she could ride a carousel each and every day, she'd have such a happy little heart.  It must be the combination of quick movements, lots of pretty colors and fun animals.  Thankfully this time I was able to "con" my dad into taking Nora on the carousel.  Let's just say carousels are just not very pleasing to this mom's stomach.  
3) & 4) Nora and Elsie just loved my parent's dog, Carly.  Carly proved to be the best playmate, toy and friend to the girls while we were away. If dogs weren't a decent amount of extra work, I'd sign us up for a dog today.  (Alan maybe not... but the three ladies in this house, hands down yes)
Before flying to NYC for my first ever BlogHer Conference, I was able to spend the night at one of my dear college friend's homes.  Katie and I were joined by Allie, another friend that I met from Iowa State.  Between the three of us, we've shared so many memories and I truly consider these two women sisters in the faith.  We've walked arm-in-arm through some of the hardest times and some of the best of times.  What a sweet treat it was to see them both during my trip to Iowa.
And then I was off to the Big Apple to represent the quickly growing network of local moms blogs, the City Moms Blog Network

For those of you who don't know, my friend, Joy, and I started City Moms Blog Network a year ago, in an attempt to encourage and equip moms all across the country to start their own local moms blogs in their cities.  We started with just Scottsdale Moms Blog.  Then added Dallas Moms Blog, Peach State Moms Blog, Quad City Moms Blog and Austin Moms Blog.  And within a year the network has 16 sister sites and growing.  (Be sure to check out all of our sister sites and see if we have one in your area.  And if not... I'd love to help you start your own)

It really is a huge honor and privilege to "work" with these ladies as they influence their communities.  
1) & 2) What some of you may not know is that I traveled to the city BY MYSELF!  Eek.  It still sounds scary after doing it.  And I wasn't so much scared for my life but just scared that I didn't know a single soul (except through Twitter).  Out of all 5,000 attendees at BlogHer, I was alone (kindof).

Thankfully I passed the time trying to figure out how to make a conference Bowflex lanyard look cute.  (Hehe... that's not the only thing I did of course... but these pictures needed some sort of caption)

3) My roommate, who I met via Twitter, Brittany, proved to be a great blessing.  Here we are in the Out My Window suite. 

4) One of the fun things I was able to do while in NYC was support a Phoenix based non-profit, the Lost Angels Foundation of Hope and help the founder, Kelly, get the word out about the lip gloss, Lite n Glossy, that she created to help raise awareness (and funds) for the Lost Angels Foundation of Hope and help raise awareness of the epidemic of child sex trafficking. 

LOVE this lip gloss.  (Plus it has a pretty cool side mirror and LED light built into it). 

My parents were sweet enough to take the three of us out on the boat on a couple of occasions.  Nora just loved it.  Elsie... not so much.  Could our girls be any different?
But above all, I think the one thing that the girls (and I) loved the most about being in Iowa was being with their Mop and Papa outside.  The temperatures were AMAZING.  We'd spend hours upon hours running barefoot in the grass, picking vegetables from the garden, playing in the sprinkler and laughing throughout a game of hide-and-go-seek.

Let's just say we're dreaming of the days that the temps drop below 100 here in AZ (which probably won't be until the end of September at the earliest).

All in all, the trip was filled with so many special memories.  We're certainly happy to be home and re-united with Alan, but we're missing all of the fun (and cooler weather) that we enjoyed in Iowa.

Till next time!


MOPS Publicity Templates

Jul 27, 2012

Front Side of Business Card
Back Side of Business Card
One of the things I've committed to doing this fall is heading up the Publicity Team for MOPS at our church. I'm excited and humbled that I was asked to fill this roll and am THRILLED to see what God is going to do this next year at MOPS.  

Now as you may (or may not) remember, last year I was entrusted with the responsibility to publish and print our quarterly MOPS Newsletter. I went through the long and sometimes tedious task of trying to find an updated, 21st century looking Newsletter template.  All of my searching was to no avail.  Nothing. Nada.

So I made my own.  Click here to check out the MOPS Newsletter Template that I created.

This year I found myself in a similar situation when I wanted to create a few promotional items for MOPS.  Unfortunately I wasn't able to find anything that I was crazy about so once again, I designed my own.

And here's where it gets fun.  After putting in the work to check Dr. Google (multiple days in a row) and design business cards and posters for our MOPS team I figured, why not share?

So sharing is exactly what I'm doing!

If you (or anyone you know) is interested in a MOPS Business Card Template, a MOPS Poster Template or a MOPS Logo in White (and purple) please, please, please don't hesitate to email me and ask.  Email me at alanandsteph@gmail.com.

MOPS Poster - to print as 8.5x11

And last, if you're from the Scottsdale/Phoenix area - you MUST check out MOPS.  I'd love to have you at my table (the yellow table).  For more information go to http://scottsdalebible.com/ministries/women/moms


Happy {3rd} Birthday, Nora!

Jul 19, 2012

July 13th marked the THIRD Birthday of our sweet as can be Nora Marie. 

It really does seem like just the other day I was sitting down to write Nora's birth story to share with ya'll.  

In just three short years we've seen our little girl go from this... 
to this...

From July 13, 2009 to now, Nora has brought oh so many smiles to each one of our faces. 

This next year, our prayer for Nora is that God would use her great passion, strength and energy to accomplish great things and that ultimately she would learn to love God and serve others, just as Christ Jesus did for all of us!  


In Our Home | Summer {so far}

Jul 15, 2012

Why hello devoted blog readers!  Did you think I forgot you?

Promise I didn't.  Really.

And to reward you for your devotion (I hope you read that as if I was saying it with a large amount of sarcasm), I thought it was time to bring back another edition of "In Our Home."

You ready?  Here we go.

1) & 2) - We are love, love, lovin' our goodies from our most recent Kids Craft Exchange.  This meeting's theme was Busy Bags. I made the Easy Felt Fishing Kit and one of the other fun busy bags was a Popsicle Color Match.

3) & 4) - Nora has been enrolled in swimming lessons since the middle of May and is becoming quite the little swimmer.  She's been lucky to have some girlfriends along for the ride.  Colette (on the right with Nora) and Lola have been showing off their swimming schools 2x/week too!

To see Nora showing off her diving skills, Click HERE.

1), 2), 3) & 4) - Early last Saturday morning (and by early I mean.... EARLY.... like 3:30 am early), while ya'll were probably still sound asleep, our little family ventured out for a family photo shoot.  Because the sun rises so early, and our planned backdrop was hot air balloons (which take off really early), we had very little choice in what time we met our photographers, Session Nine Photography.

Luckily the shoot turned out amazing (well - we think so anyway).  So far we've been given 2 pictures to serve as a sneak peek of the shoot (pictures 3 and 4).  We can't wait to share the rest of the photos when Jess and Jason have them ready for us!

Happy 4th of July (12 days late)!!!!!

Our 4th of July was filled with lots of family time (even a trip to Ikea - #3) and a BBQ and swimming with our sweet friends, the Cherricks.

We're so very thankful with each passing year of the great freedom that we have in this country!

And last but not least....

Nora turned THREE!!!

1) We put together a special surprise for Nora when she woke up.  How did she respond?  Let's just say that she wasn't nearly as excited about it as her mommy was ;)

2) & 3) To celebrate Nora, we met a handful of her little friends at one of her favorite places, AZ Airtime.  Nora got to do what she loves to do most - jump, run, laugh, be with friends and eat sweets.

4) After waking up from her nap, Nora was greeted with a handful of gifts AND her big birthday gift, a little kitchen!

More to come about Ms. Nora's 3rd Birthday in another post later this week.


GIVEAWAY | AZ Mom's Night Out Tickets {@ The Sanctuary}

Jul 3, 2012

You ladies are going to FREAK!  No...really... you are!

I'm here to announce the details for the next Arizona Mom's Night Out! It's going to be at The Sanctuary on Camelback Mountain (yes...I happened to work there when we first moved to AZ) and it is sure to be AH-mazing!

Here are the details...

Arizona Mom's Night Out

Tuesday, July 31st
7:00PM - 9:00PM
Enjoy a night out with friends at one of the top resorts in the Valley!
Join us at The Sanctuary on Tuesday, July 31st from 7-9PM*

Your $10 ticket entitles you to:
:: a glass of wine ::
:: delicious appetizers ::
:: raffle entry & chance to win spectacular giveaways ::
:: additional entry in our #freebraces giveaway from Great Big Smiles ::

Doors open at 7PM. Raffle prizes drawn beginning at 7:30PM.

But here's where it gets fun! I've been given TWO TICKETS to give to two lucky The Flies Blend readers! Tickets are valued at $10/ticket so this is a great opportunity for all of you local moms to win a night out!


All you have to do to enter is simply leave a comment. Winner will be randomly drawn and announced on Friday.


Too eager to wait and see if you've won? Well - you're in luck! Scottsdale Moms Blog has been gracious enough to open up early bird registration for all of YOU (aka : our friends).

Our events sell out so quickly that oftentimes even our closest friends are not able to snag a ticket. So here's your opportunity to beat the mommy masses to the punch ("official" registration launches next week).... so don't delay!


Good luck, and for those of you who don't live in AZ, be sure to still check out City Moms Blog Network because we have lots of other cities around the country as well!


Ticket #1

Blogger LesleyAnne said...
Looking forward to it - I've never been to the sanctuary before :)

Ticket #2
Anonymous Michelle said...
I haven't been there in so long, sounds like a fun night out!


Favorite Things Party

Jun 22, 2012

If had limitless time, friends and money I would totally throw a party a couple times a week.  Yes... that's how much I love me a good party!  

Because of that I'm always looking for new party ideas.  Thankfully I'm pleased to announce that I've recently attended/co-hosted my very favorite party to date - a Favorite Things Exchange!  

Delicious food.  Yummy drinks.  Dear friends.  Great new finds.  

I'm already planning the next one. 
How soon is too soon?  

Are you interested in hosting a Favorite Things Exchange?  Here are the details...

How to Host a Favorite Things Exchange ::

1. Invite Friends 

via Printed Invitation or Evite.
Because Favorite Things Exchanges are not super popular (yet), it's best to give your guests a brief description of the event in your invitation.

Ours read ::
Come over for a super fun 
~Favorite Things Exchange~
Think of something that you LOVE that costs under $6. 
Bring five of that item. 
We will draw names and everyone 
will go home with five amazing new finds. 

2. Decide Decor & Food Specifics.

We specifically asked our guests to bring a favorite sweet or bottle of wine of their choice. We figured it just added to the Favorite Things theme. 

We also made individual bags for each guest to bring their items home in.  (Our Kraft Bags were purchased at the Dollar Tree FYI)

3. Event Details. 

As guests arrive, encourage everyone to display their 5 Favorite Thing items on a table where all of the other Favorite Things will be displayed.  At this time be sure to also encourage each guest to write their name on 5 individual pieces of paper.  Those pieces of paper will go into a large bowl. 

As soon as your guests have had their fill of treats, gather everyone together in a circle.  

Have each guest draw 5 names out of the bowl. (making sure that they do not draw their own name or duplicate names) **Note: Doing this first helps to eliminate the chance of someone getting more than one of an item. 

One by one each guest will get up and do a brief explanation of their favorite thing being sure to mention why they love that specific thing,  the cost of the item and where they purchased it.  They'll then read the 5 names of the guests that "won" their item.  

And that's it!  

Everyone goes home with 5 new goodies, full tummies, smiles on their faces and happy hearts!  It's a bit like Christmas.... with much less stress.  

Get your friends together. 
Host a Favorite Things Exchange. 
It will be your favorite.  

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