Wednesday, August 12th, 2015
This past weekend we celebrated Baby Michael’s first birthday. I hadn’t planned on having a party but as the day was approaching the party itch started getting stronger. I started scheming and the images and ideas just wouldn’t stop flowing. With one week to go I developed a theme, menu, and concept, send out the invites and put it all into motion.
My theme was “Party Safari”. Baby Michael aka “Mink” has always evoked the energy of animals. When I was expecting I was drawn to elephants, giraffes, and zebras. I had never been particularly fond of these animals but it was like a switch turned on and I couldn’t walk out of any boutique without adding to our collection. So intuitively it felt natural to incorporate this into his first birthday celebration.
With one week and counting I had limited time to pull together the decorative elements that would create my vision. Many items were simply not available to me so I was forced to find alternatives that would work as a second option. Since I am innately drawn to fashion and design the word “Party Safari” immediately brought to mind wide fringe, animal prints, with organic textures and natural elements.
For paper goods I utilized natural leaf plates with disposable wood serving pieces displayed in simple small silver buckets. Zebra paper straws dressed up drinks served in clear plastic tumblers. The main buffet table was outfitted in a burlap table cloth that I fringed with simple cuts around the perimeter.
For the children’s table (which was a childs height banquet table-just adorable!) I utilized a roll of natural paper with a zebra print embossed in black ink as my table cloth. I covered the blue child size chairs with a burlap bag and tied a safari hat around the back of the chair for our cinched “bow” effect. I found really cute pineapple sip cups with green fringe detail on the covers. An animal parade dressed up with miniature party hats created the centerpiece display.
For additional decor I scattered Michaels collection of safari animals around the tables each adorned with a custom party hat! These party hats were inspired by the ultimate party DIY blogger Oh Happy Day!
Originally I had planned on using three extra large 36″ round balloons for the back drop of my buffet table. While setting up two of the balloons popped due to the heat adjustment from inside to out. We were left with one, which honestly worked out rather perfectly. I used it to embellish the birthday boys highchair.
I made my own balloon fringe using tissue paper. You can find a great tutorial here at Tom Kat Studio. I scattered tropical house plants around the yard for some additional Jungle flavor! I sent these home with adult guests as party favors, because every room could use the addition of a lovely green plant.
When I was designing Michaels nursery I found the Animal Print Shop, the work of Sharon Montrose. She is an artist/photographer with focus on baby animals. We took a family poll and selected her “Baby Giraffe” as our feature art above Michaels crib. I made an art print of this piece for the party and hung it from handmade table cloth fringe garland.
PARTY SAFARI MENU
Rosemary Split Chicken Breast
Spicy BBQ Steak Kabobs
Slow Cooked Baby Back Ribs
Classic Potato Salad with Reye’s Maine European Mustard
Fresh Farm Tomato Pesto Caprese Salad
Fresh Blueberry Pie: Helens in Machias, Maine (voted americas best in national geographic and life magazine, and featured by Rachel Ray)
Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream: Martels
Simply Chocolate Gluten Free Birthday Cake: Pure Elegance Bakery Michelle Arnold, owner has been making my cakes for 4 years now. She’s incredibly talented, and is always challenging herself with new methods and techniques. If you have not seen her work, well you must! Its cake as an art form!
While we were letting Michael do his first birthday cake smash, some little people were getting impatient looking at the cake waiting for them….they took a chance at taking a test without anyone noticing.
So one down with many, many more to come! I hope you enjoyed this peek into our Party Safari & celebrating one year with our baby Mink. We feel so blessed to have this special boy in our lives, our very own little baby animal to snuggle and love every day!
If you are interested in a custom theme party for your next birthday event please feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday, July 20th, 2015
I am currently still swooning over a beautiful NYC weekend with my family. Sometimes the best vacations are last minute, spontaneous decisions where you throw together essentials and hope for an adventure. This last weekend was one of those. We have coined them “runaways” and our children think they are just the best. They might be short stays but the memories made will be engrained forever.
New York City is such a fun city at any season. There are endless things to do and see for any and all ages. The energy of this city is unparalleled by any other in our country, you simply cannot help but leave feeling energized. We typically take this trip a few times a year, as a designer I love the constant source of inspiration and sourcing I can find, as a mother I love the experiences it allows my children. We have experienced lots of different places and still have a long list of things to do for our next time. I highly recommend a “runaway” vacation to NYC for any family.
The New York Palace located along Madison in Midtown Manhattan offers one of the finest accommodations that the city has to offer. The spectacular room views of the famous St.Patricks Cathedral are magnificent to awake to. Our go to for hotel bookings is hotwire.com last minute specials offer 5 star accommodations at amazing savings.
Centrally located in the heart of the city this location is short walks to Fifth, Times Square, and Central Park. Our favorite way to travel to Central Park is by the adorable red bicycles that the hotel offers as first come, first serve to their guests. Citi bikes are available throughout the city as well, I highly recommend it!
Central Park, the plushest landscape in the city is always on our list for a place for the kids to get out all that beautiful pent up energy they have after the long ride. After a road trip, several hours of running through the park will get them prepared for any lines or waiting at our next destination. Central Park is bustling with joggers, bicycles, and canoes this time of year. You cant help but feel good when you are surrounded by such activity.
My second favorite form of transportation in the city is Uber. This genius platform enables you to have clean, cost effective transportation to all five boroughs. When you sign up you receive a $20 credit and you get credits for all of your friends that download the app as well. Lyft.com also offers you three free rides and additional credits for sharing. We spent the entire weekends travel on credits. Pretty Darn Savvy!
The best way to fully grasp the depth of NYC is from the top of the Empire State Building. My children loved the simulated journey through its history and the “fast pass” trek to the top. Short wait times= Happy Parents & Children. The investment in this pass this well worth it.
My children are avid sports fans & Yankees Stadium breaths their language. Each trip to NYC is not complete without catching a home game (we actually only go when we know they are playing). An hour and a half before game time they arrive to run through the bleachers, watch players at batting practice, and hope to snag an autograph from one of their idols. Our go to ticket agent is vivid seats. Often times players sell their seats through the use of the agents here. You can get incredible seats at great price points.
Summer Trips to the city can get hot really quick. The place to be when the temperatures rise is at the Piers. Located on The Hudson River the piers offer food, outdoor water play, air & space museum and boat trips to the landmarks. The best eat at the Piers is at North River Lobster Co. on P
ier 86. This boat restaurant is sightseeing, sun, & seafood all wrapped into one. The quality of the food is great and there is no additional fee for the boat ride.
Ending a vacation is never fun. My kids just hate when they know it is time to start the trek for home. We have found a way to perfect our NYC trip endings. Serendipity 3is the ultimate luxury in desserts. World Renowned for their chocolate perfection they hold the Guiness Book of World Records for the most expensive sundae in the world. Its eclectic decor, fun wait staff, and incomparable treats make this place the perfect sweet cherry on top of our NYC “runaways”.
Every memory deserves to be documented, my boys have a tradition that I love. During the ride or flight home from vacations they write about their travels. I hope when they get older they will have these pages that hold our memories created.
Friday, July 3rd, 2015
We are prepping for our fourth of july festivities. Packing our picnic basket for our lobster bake at the oceanside. I love to create dishes that compliment the holiday or theme. This year I wanted to find a unique presentation for dessert. I made these adorable personalized shortcake treats. They were so easy to make and really are most convenient for packing up. I think the kids will love having their own special treat.
If you would like to try these for yourself you will need:
1. Mini Mason Jars
2. Fruits of choice (I chose raspberries, blueberries, snd strawberries)
3. Whipped Cream (I used fresh whipped cream topping)
4. Vanilla Cake (I used a gluten free version)
5. Sparklers (I found these adorabl
e star sparklers at Little in the Old Port)
6. Name Tags
7. Red or Festive ribbon
1. Make your cake.
I made my vanilla cake using my tried and true ATK Gluten Free Cookbook. Its a tedious recipe but when done right it is second to none. (Note. It did take me two tries tonight)
After the cake has cooled, cut into bite sized squares.
2. Fill the jar
Fill Mason jars with your combination of cream, cake, and fruit, Layering each item until you have filled the jar completely.
3. Decorate your jars. Get Creative! Ribbon, Tassels, Name tags…endless ideas!
4. Enjoy! Thats it’s! Sweet. Simple. Fun. Love.
Tuesday, June 9th, 2015
Today we’re here to share with you part one of our Breakfast in Bed series shot by Mackenzie Lamoureux Photography and styled by me, Amanda – oh, and I can’t forget to add a huge thank you to my handsome boyfriend for putting up with my crazy creative ideas (you’re the real MVP).
But, anyway, back to the blog.
Are you anxiously awaiting the weekend and maybe feeling a bit of the mid-week blues? This post hopefully will color up your day with some pretty pictures and inspiration for your weekend to come.
So, we all see “date night in” ideas on Pinterest, they’re composed of chinese food & a movie or card games & a few drinks… and, don’t get me wrong those can be fun, but how about spicing up your “date night in” with a little breakfast in bed? Now, as Kenzie pointed out in her blog post, we did not “wake up like this” however, many mornings of ours are spent together cooking omelets and drinking coffee. It’s our quiet time before our busy day begins. We both live a crazy hectic life so we embrace the little quiet time in the morning we get to spend together.
With that being said, we hope you enjoy the photos and have a wonderful rest of the week and an even better weekend! Continue scrolling to see a full style guide & recipe.
Recipe for 1 omelet:
eggs – beat 2 eggs in side bowl and pour over skillet on medium heat
spinach – add a handful spinach and break into smaller pieces – add as the egg begins to cook
ham – I use two slices of ham (but you could use any sort of meat/protein) and again break them into smaller pieces and add into the cooking omelet
turkey bacon – a healthier alternative to bacon that will add a nice flavor to your omelet. before cooking the egg, pop two slices in the microwave or on a skillet so they’re already cooked and ready to throw into the egg once it’s partially cooked
cheese – top with a handful of cheese & fold the omelet over and make sure the egg is fully cooked!
top with salt & pepper to taste!
Shop the Look: click the item name to direct to product webpage
Makeup by Amanda, inspired by: Marianna Hewitt – Makeup Tutorial
Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
Breakfast is my favorite meal. I love weekends because it allows us more time to enjoy it. I love sleeping in, cuddling a little longer with my lovelies and slowly entering into the day. I have one little boy who loves to cook so we are usually a team in weekend breakfast preparations. He is going to make quite a husband someday! I truly believe that when you put a little heart and soul into your food it has remarkable payoffs. There are so many studies that have been done around the importance of eating rituals and their effect on health. Establishing routines within your home will ensure that your children have a healthy relationship with food for the rest of their lives. My mother is an amazing cook, I can not remember ever hearing her recite orders into a loud speaker at a drive thru window. This healthy eating ritual is engrained into my lifestyle as a mother. I realize that life is super busy and their is always somewhere to run off to, but carving out time to nourish your body should be priority. Wake up ten minutes early, or take ten minutes longer to get going on weekend chores. Make beautiful meals, make messes, and make memories. Plan this weekends ritual today! Add Meraki!
Here are a few of Our Favorite Gluten Free Breakfast Recipes:
Gluten Free Fruit & Hemp Seed Pancakes
*The best gluten free flour ever is Americas Test Kitchen Blend. I dare you to serve this recipe to your family and see if anyone notices that they are eating gluten free. Its AMAZING and has made my life so much easier. Make a huge container and it will carry you through many, many recipes. I purchase all these products on amazon.com. If you do not want to use this blend than use King Arthur Gluten Free Pancake Mix as a close second. Follow the pancake recipe on the box and add your own flavor!
24 ounces (4 1/2 cups plus 1/3 cup) white rice flour
7 1/2 ounces (1 2/3 cups) brown rice flour
7 ounces (1 1/3 cups) potato starch
3 ounces (3/4 cup) tapioca starch
3/4 ounce (3 tablespoons) nonfat milk powder
1. Whisk flour blend, salt, baking powder, and baking soda together in large bowl. In separate bowl whisk buttermilk, egg yolks, and melted butter.
2. Whip egg whites until foamy with mixer, about 1 minute. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form.
3. Whisk buttermilk mixture into flour mixture and gently fold in whipped egg whites.
4. Heat teaspoon of oil over medium heat until shimmering. Wipe with paper towel to leave thin film of oil. Add about 1/4 cup batter into skillet and cook until bottoms are brown and top is bubbling. Flip and cook 1 -2 minutes longer.
We really like to use cookie cutters to make our pancakes really cute and special. We switch up our fruit ingredients…mashed bananas, a homemade cinnamon butter, and of course chocolate chips! The importance is letting your children feel like they are making their own decisions about what they are putting into their bodies, there is importance to this feeling of ownership.
(my favorite gluten free wrap is Trader Joes Brown Rice Wrap) it is not my choice for a cold sandwich but for a heated use like this its perfect!
Diced Peppers, Onions, & Mushrooms
Shredded Organic Cheese
1. Scramble your eggs. You do not need to add milk here, just scramble good and they will be light and fluffy.
2. Add your chopped peppers, onions, and mushrooms to your scrambled. You can really use any vegetable that you prefer, we like to make it feel like a mexican burrito and hence chose these.
3. Sprinkle Cheese Atop!
4. Remove Egg Mixture from Skillet.
5. Add a tab of butter to skillet and throw in your wrap.
6. Fill wrap with scramble mixture
7. Roll wrap up like a burrito, ensuring that each side gets a nice crispy brown glow.
3. Sweet Potato Shred
Okay, this is one of my favorites. Its super simple, really pretty, and oh so healthy.
Trader Joe’s All Purpose Seasoning
1. Heat tab of coconut oil in a skillet.
2. Use a potato peeler to remove and discard skin of sweet potatoes
3. Continue to shred with peeler into heated skillet
4. Turn Sweet Potatoes, Season, and allow to cook until soft.
5. Toss in Handfuls of Fresh Kale and allow to cook additional three minutes.