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.  


My Top 5 Pinterest Recipes

Jun 18, 2012

Looking for new recipes to try?  You're in luck!

I'm over on Scottsdale Moms Blog sharing my (current) Top 5 Pinterest Recipes.

Click HERE to check it out.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

And if you haven't yet  follow my Tried and True Recipes Pinterest Board where I share all of the recipes I've pinned, made and love!   


Elsie | 1st Year

Jun 13, 2012


Elsie Grace, 

Since the day you were born we've grown more and more in love with you with each passing day.

You're such a perfect blend of both sweetness and resourcefulness. Your infectious smile always comes at the perfect moment and never ceases to brighten all of our spirits. And your resourcefulness?  Let's just say that it has come in handy on a number of occasions (hey - your nickname is "Stealthy Elsie").

We've spent countless hours giggling with you and saying "You're so cute," because well, you just are!

Our prayer is that you become a woman who loves unconditionally, serves enthusiastically and trusts in the only One who is worthy of our trust.

Happy 1st Birthday!

xoxo - 
mommy & daddy



In Our Home :: A Month of Celebrations

Jun 6, 2012

Phew... a collective sigh was heard around our home.  

You see - we've had a crazy month.  Lots of house guests + 3 birthdays (in one week nonetheless) + 1 birthday party + our anniversary + saying goodbye to our closest friends in AZ + work + life = CRAZY. 

Fun...but crazy (busy). 

Here's a recap...
 1. We were blessed to have my mom and dad stay with us for the week of our birthdays.  (Steph - the 14th; Elsie - the 19th and Alan - the 21st... in case you were wondering).

The girls adore them and of course we think they are pretty much the best too (love you mom and dad!). Having them in AZ is a much needed breath of fresh air.

2. While my parents were in town we had double the fun because Nick & Abby (and the kids of course) came into town to help celebrate all of our birthdays as well.

Luckily we were able to slip away to one of our favorite Valley Restaurants, A Different Point of View, for a much needed double date night (with N&A that is).

3. Unplanned matching cousin swimsuits.  Too cute, huh?!

4. Nick and Alan were together for their birthday for the first time in a number of years.  Here they are showing off their birthday beverage of choice.
1. I kinda think eating outside is my new favorite thing in the whole wide world.  'Nough said. 

2. Check out my Top 5 Summer Picks post to read more about my Soul Detox bible reading plan.  I'm loving it.  And you would too!

3. & 4. After our family left, our friends, Greg, Amy and Silas, moved in with us for a few days. They were two of the very first friends we had in AZ and they chose to spend their last few days (for now at least) in AZ with us.  How sweet is that?

The girls loved having baby Silas around.  And we loved soaking up some quality face-to-face time with all three of them.

Miss you guys already!  :(
1. & 2. June 3rd marked our 7 year anniversary.  7 YEARS??!! We both just can't believe how fast time has flown. Nor can we believe how young we looked 7 years ago!

3. & 4. We spent the morning of our anniversary with some high school friends, Aaron and Liz, and their sweet-as-can-be boys. 

It was a great treat having them in from out of town.  They will be moving overseas at the end of the summer and so I'm soaking up any extra time I can get with them. 

BTW - Aren't Nora and Easton (#3) just the cutest little things you've ever seen??!!!
 1.  Nora playing dress up for the first time...EVER!  So many little girls are all into princesses and playing dress up.  Nora has always been far more interested in throwing toys across the room and running around in circles.

For some reason her estrogen must have kicked in earlier this week and she asked to play dress up with some sweet little hand-me-down Tinkerbell outfits.  Aww....

2. We celebrated the graduation of some of our dearest friend's daughter, Kelsey, early this week.  Here we are at her graduation party.

Congrats Kelsey!

3. & 4. I really don't have much to say about these pics other than the fact that Elsie is just the sweetest little soul on the face of the planet.  I pretty much could spend every waking minute giving her kisses.  She. Is. So. Sweet.

And here we are the night of our anniversary at one of our new favorite places in the Valley, North Arcadia.

Lastly (and certainly not least b/c it's probably one of the funniest videos we have of Nora to date)... in case you didn't catch this on Facebook ::

And that's it....

Our month in a nutshell (or blog post).

Until next time....xoxo


Steph's Pick | Top 5 Summer Picks

Jun 1, 2012

1. Pioneer Woman's Iced Coffee

So I know I talk about this iced coffee recipe a lot.  But I just plain like it.  I actually really, Really, REALLY like it.  

If you haven't made it yourself, do so today. (Ok - maybe not today.  But sometime in the near future).  

My favorite add-ins are half & half, maple syrup and vanilla extract.  Mmmmm.  So yummy. Tastes better than something you'd get at a coffee shop. Really. 

2. Coffee in the morning w/ my Bible in hand 

Have you been up early in the morning recently?  It's AMAZING!  I've loved the time I've been able to spend with God in the early morning hours.  Yes... early means before your kids get up.  Like 6 am (ish). 

I'll admit - I haven't always been good at this.  It's something that I'm learning to appreciate more and more.

Looking for a bible reading plan to help guide you through the scripture?  Read along with me (and lots of other amazing ladies) using the #SheReadsTruth "Soul Detox" reading plan.

To get started, download the Soul Detox plan via YouVersion.  Every morning lots of other women are sharing their thoughts and journal clippings on Instagram and Twitter using the hashtag #shereadstruth.  I'm currently on Day 8 but it's not too late to start!  YouVersion makes a handy dandy little app for your iphone so you can really do this plan whenever you want. 

Don't knock it until you try it!  

3. Seche Vite

Time for getting a pedicure is a luxury around our home.  So I made it my mission to find out how to make a home-pedicure (and manicure for that matter) last as long as possible.  

Thankfully a friend of mine came to the rescue (thanks Moriah!) and suggested using Seche Vite - a fast drying top coat.  And this stuff actually works!  My nail polish on my toes (and fingers) has never lasted so long.  

The best part?  You can find Seche Vite at Target! 

4. Barefoot Moscato

AKA - Liquid goodness.  

I'm generally a red wine drinker but when it comes to the wicked hot summer months (at least in AZ) I find that I need something sweet and refreshing.  

Barefoot Moscato (at $8.99 for a large bottle) is my new found favorite summer drink.  So delicious, refreshing and dare I say addicting.  

5. Backyard BBQ Parties w/ Friends

It's no secret - I love throwing a good party.

After moving into our rental home in October I've embraced the newly found Backyard BBQ Party ( to us it's new) option with open arms.

Now I realize with temps in the triple digits, our outdoor eating days are quickly coming to a close.  But until it's still in the triple digits at 8 pm at night (yes... that does happen for all of you midwest people reading), we'll keep eating outside.

Happy Summer!   

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