Sunday, November 23, 2014

Cruz is Three: A Firefighter Birthday Party

As you all know, we celebrated Cruz's 3rd birthday party last weekend. I love all things party planning, so I couldn't wait to get started and immediately hit up Pinterest for ideas. As usual, it didn't disappoint. {Check out this board for more firefighter-themed party ideas.}

Since we planned to have people over all day, we made quite the spread. I mean, what's a good party without loads of food to munch on? For the main dishes, we had a chili bar (with Fritos, shredded cheese, oyster crackers & sour cream), sub sandwiches and then brought out take & bake pizzas later in the day. It was all pretty easy and as you know, easy is my middle name. I got a bunch of compliments on the chili (probably because nobody is used to me making anything myself) and even my mom has adopted the recipe after trying it a while back. It's a knock off of Wendy's chili - check out the recipe here.

The dessert table was my favorite part, for obvious reasons. I decided not to do a big cake and instead put together a bunch of different dessert options. We had bundtinis & bundlets, cake pops, fire truck cookies and an ice cream cake.  Yum.

As far as the decor goes, the pictures speak for themselves.  Basically it's a mish-mash of others' great ideas and me tweaking them to make them our own. Most of the below came directly from pins on this board. And I love how it all came together.

For the buildings, I got the inspiration from this party, but basically just wrapped different sized boxes in silver tissue paper, cut a small hole in the top and then added a sheet each of red, yellow & orange tissue paper to create the "fire" coming out of the top.

The "matches" definitely took the longest, but I suppose that is why they are my favorite part of the party. If you follow me on Instagram, you've already seen these, but they were just pretzel sticks, white almond bark and red sprinkles. And they were delicious.

The flaming Jello is layers of cherry, orange and lemon jello. As soon as the kiddos realized they could eat them, they didn't stand a chance. I'm not sure what it is with kids and Jello, but it's always a hit and so easy.

I made the name cards myself. Just pulled an image of a firetruck from google and printed them on cardstock. (I just tried to find the image to give credit, but cannot locate it anywhere. Oops.)

I love the fire backdrop behind the wet bar - it's made from yellow, red & orange tissue paper and the tutorial is here.

And what is a firefighter party, without a fire hydrant and some buckets of "water" to put out the fires? 

The only thing missing was the firetruck pulling up in the driveway. It was scheduled, but of course it snowed all day, so we called it off. Maybe next year. =)

We had a great time and best of all we celebrated the best little three year old. Although, I may be a tad bit biased. Thanks to all of you for the sweet words about both the party and our little guy. It means the world.

Fire Hydrant: Hobby Lobby
Small Metal Buckets: Amazon
Large Metal Buckets: Amazon
Blue Sixlet Candies: Amazon
Metal Fire Truck: Hobby Lobby
Metal Cupcake Holder: Amazon
Chalkboard Banner: Amazon
Bundlet & Bundtinis: Nothing Bundt Cakes
Fred & Friends Plate: Amazon
Firetruck Cookies & Cake Pops: Kristen's Cookies
Invitations: Etsy
Pinterest Board: here

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Weekending: It Was All About the Birthday Party

Tee (here)  //  Gap Jeans (here)
Yep, I still have my tin skull banner up... =)

Another great weekend in the books and this one was extra special because it was ALL about our Cruz man. Just like it should be.

We celebrated his actual birthday with a little Jason's Deli - we are big JD fans around here - and a trip to the toy store where we let C pick out a few gifts. It was one of the most amazing things watching him run through the store from toy to toy. Everything was, "mama, I just gotta have that!"

We settled on a Home Depot drill he had wanted (that or we continue to let him play with our real one and that doesn't seem smart), a Melissa & Doug fishing pole set (turns out it's kind of lame), a racetrack that looked awesome, but was waaaay too advanced (it was age 8+...and basically took up half of our living room so it will be going in the Toys for Tots bin) and this shark boat. We're talking about the boy who is deathly afraid of alligators and sharks...and he picks this out. And hasn't stopped playing with it since. 

I will never understand kids.

Thankfully grandma came to town to hang with little man while I put some of the finishing touches on the party. We had Cruz's room painted this week (more to come on that) and finally put up his Vintage Marquee Lights "C" (via Zulily and the sale on these ends tonight!). I am loving it.

I also took an old shirt he is about to grow out of and ironed on some letters so he had a "firefighter" shirt to wear to the party. I had been eyeing one on Etsy, but to have it personalized it would've cost me $30. This was $5. Even if it was close to being a midriff shirt because it was like a size 24 months. =)

Then I finished some decor in the basement, set up tables & chairs and started on the food. 

And there were these. 

Yep. We made matches with pretzels, almond bark and red sprinkles. It was a lot of time (hence, the mason jar with vino) but I love how they turned out.

We had loads of family and friends over for his firefighter birthday party. We have taken to making Cruz's birthday a great chance to celebrate not only little man, but also spend the day eating, drinking, watching football and just hanging out with all of the people we love most in the world. It's a win-win in my book. And this boy was in absolute heaven with everyone doting on him. He barely sat down once all day. There was just too much to do and too many people to play with.  And getting him to eat anything other than sweets? That wasn't happening.

Of course he was spoiled with all of the gifts..and now I'm certain we need to buy a bigger house to store them all. He got SO.MUCH.STUFF.  Tractors, cars, a bike, camera, trucks, racetracks, more tractors, Hunter boots (yep - he has a pair & I don't), legos, tools, sports stuff. You name it, I'm sure he got it. 

But good kids get good stuff, right? And he is such a good kid.

A little weird, but a good kid. =)

Him: Gap Jeans (here)  // Me: Shirt (here), Jeans (here), Yellow Fitbit band (here)
More about the party later. There are just too many fun details to share!

I swear I could've slept in until Tuesday. 

What is it about planning parties and playing hostess that is just so tiring?

My parents and bro/SIL & their kiddos stayed over, helped clean up and got breakfast for us in the morning. Now who's spoiled? And I got to snuggle with this this guy. Hudson is just the best little baby. Nick & I were asked to be his godparents and we couldn't be happier! I mean, seriously those cheeks and that little bald baby head. Love.

After everyone left, Cruz passed out for the majority of the afternoon which allowed me time to get groceries, clean up my closet (the little girls had too much fun trying on all of my shoes), made more chili and meatballs & marinara for my two guys to eat this week while I'm out of town and then it was all about catching up on some work, while Nick & Cruz watched football.

Now we are back to reality.. and the new week. Hoping it's just as good as the weekend!

Of course, linking up with my gal Biana.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Cruz is THREE!

Our little Mango is three, you guys!

Today we are celebrating every amazing thing about our guy, Cruzer. These last three years have just flown by, but I also can hardly remember life before he came into it. Well, except when I remember all the sleep...and all the happy hours, that is. =)

Since I just talked about ALL the things that make this kiddo great a few weeks ago, I won't repeat myself, you can just go read about it here.

But....let me just say this.

He really is something special, you know that? 

He makes me smile every single day. More times than should be allowed. He blows me away with every word that comes out of his mouth. He brings out the silly that all too often we adults forget can be so much fun. He makes me giggle. I mean, really giggle. He melts my heart when he grabs my hand to hold it while he sleeps. He makes me so proud. He makes me the happiest me I've ever been. And he makes my life better just by being in it. I can't wait to wake up every single morning because I know I get to see his sweet little face.

What I feel for him is enough to make my heart explode. It's that good.

I am so lucky to be the one he calls mama.

And we have been so blessed to have him in our life.

Happy birthday to my best little buddy!!  You are loved more than you will ever know.

Friday, November 7, 2014

My Favorite Beauty Products + the Sephora Sale!

Alright ladies, it's that time of year again. The Sephora VIB sale is going on RIGHT.NOW.

20% off every single thing on their website through Monday.

Not only that, but Ebates has 8% cash back for Sephora purchases. If you haven't used Ebates yet, you have to check it out. I'm not saying it will make you a millionaire, but if you are already shopping online, why not make some money doing it. Getting $50 or so from them every couple of months definitely doesn't suck.

Unfortunately I wasn't thinking and recently made a fairly large purchase of things I needed from Sephora about a month ago. There are always things we just "need" from Sephora, right?

Like this bottle of Elizabeth and James Black Nirvana that I treated myself to. In my defense, I needed a new fall/winter fragrance. And I had been eyeing this one for ages. It definitely didn't disappoint.

The good thing is that I can always take advantage of the sale and stock up, plus while I'm at it, I will probably snag some presents since I usually pick up a bottle of perfume for my mom and MILs for Christmas each year.

And with this being my favorite things on this fine Friday, I figured I would list my top five items from Sephora. I'm no beauty or make-up expert - not even close - but I have tried a bunch of different products over the years and these are some of the best.

I mean, in my opinion at least...

Sephora Mist Airbrush Foundation. I prefer lighter coverage than a true foundation and this does just that, plus it provides better coverage than some of the tinted moisturizers I've tried. And this brush works great to apply.

Dior Concealer. For some reason, I was blessed with adult zits and bags under my eyes. Awesome, right? Um, no. Not even a bit. However, this definitely conceals better than any I've tried and lasts through the day. Important when you're dealing with the two previously mentioned situations. 

Sephora Baked Bronzer Duo. I used to use another bronzer that I swore by, but the jerks who made it decided to discontinue it (it was even a drugstore brand!), so I was on the hunt for a long time for one that gave me a nice sun kissed glow without looking all "tan mom" and this one does just that. 

Nars Blush in Orgasm. I started using this blush a few years ago after hearing a bunch of my girlfriends rave about it and now I rave about it. I'm not big into pinks, so the fact that this is more of a peach hue is perfect for my skin tone.

St Tropez Sunless Mousse. Best sunless tan ever. Hands down and I've been through a TON since I decided to give up tanning beds quite some time ago. I have recommended this to friends, family, people on the street and I've yet to hear anyone who didn't agree. And you just as well get the applicator mitt while you're at it.

Here's the deal, I still will not even touch another mascara or eyeliner. I'm a Loreal girl through and through and haven't found anything else I like better for those two things....if only that was the case with all of my go-to products, right?

Check out my Pinterest board for more beauty product faves.

So now it's your turn, what are some of your favorite Sephora finds?

Oh and we are celebrating this handsome man's birthday today. I love this time of year, the six months he is the same age as me. What can I say? I'm a #craddlerobber =)

As always linking up with my gals - KarliAmyAmanda and Natasha. Happy weekend!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Halloween: Toddler Style

Coat (on super sale! here) //Pajamas (here)

Well, we had another great weekend, quick but really great. And it's November. How is that possible?

Our Halloween was fantastic. We headed over to Tony & Marcy's for their annual "night of Halloween" party. Fortunately it was on a Friday this year, which made it that much better.  Cruz did his best to tag along with the big kids and follow them around the neighborhood to do some Trick or Treating, but with his boxing gloves, long robe and little legs, he just couldn't make it on his own, so I got to run behind him while he excitedly shrieked from house to house begging for candy. It was pretty awesome.

I worked Saturday and picked up C who spent the day with Nanu and Grammy and then we headed to dinner with daddy. Well, we attempted to. I swear Omaha has a gajillion restaurants and they are always jam packed. We went to three different ones that had long waits, before settling on Oscar's so we Nick could watch football while we grabbed a bite. Then I fell asleep really early, cuddled right next to Cruz. It was perfect.

On Sunday, Cruz slept in until 7:10am which was technically 8:10am with the time change and I slept in along with him. The rest of our day consisted of making our first batch of homemade chicken noodle soup of the season, homemade meatballs and marinara, laundry, a little shopping, some 3rd birthday party decorating (best part about having the party in your basement is that you can do it early), cleaning out C's closet, posting some furniture on the local buy/sell FB page and catching up on Sons of Anarchy. I'm finally caught up. And I have to say it has definitely improved since the first couple of episodes.

Anyone else watch SOA? I find myself covering my eyes at times because it can be a bit morbid, but I just love watching it - now Nick and I can finally get back to watching together on Tuesday nights since I am up to speed.

And that's that. Our weekend in a nutshell. I'm traveling to KC this week for work - only one night so I can handle that.

And on that note, I'm leaving you with some Cruz outtakes from Halloween.

Seriously, give a kid a robe, some gloves and a fake ab body suit and look at happens...

Boxer Costume (here)

I swear. This kid.

Hope you all had a great weekend!

Linking up with Miss Biana, Meg and Molly.