Easter Baskets: Keeping it Frugal and Fun!

Just a few days until Easter! Are your Easter Baskets ready? Mine aren’t assembled yet, but I do have everything purchased and ready to go. Because time is running out, I put a little video together for you showing what I have chosen to give our little girls this year (and other family members as well). I hope you find it helpful and feel free to leave your ideas and links on the comments! After all, it’s never to early to start ticking away great ideas for next year! Thanks for watching!

xo, 
Kristi 
Find the video {here}.

easy holiday art!

hey, friends!

ok, quick little post here.

i adore my little shelf. in our previous home (a three story townhouse), i had it hanging on our foyer wall. it didn’t get a lot of love. it was used as a coat rack and the same candles sat on it all year ’round. boring!

now, it has a permanent home in one of the busiest and coziest rooms of the house – the dining room! i love it here. it holds my favorite mugs – my anthro monogram mugs. back when we were a family of five, i had a mug with everyone’s initial displayed, but when we discovered that another bambino was on the way, i took a moment and came up with a five letter word that would take their place and make sense for our home – l.o.v.e.d. perfect!

now for the decor:

the contents on the shelf are pretty consistent, but still easily changeable. the petite glass cake stand has some sewing/crafting-related items as a nod to my hobbies and business. i’ll change out the ribbon seasonally, but that’s about it. on the opposite end, i have an inexpensive white frame from ikea that is home to whatever art i’m loving at the time. for many months, it was my ‘bless your heart’ print courtesy of  ‘happy mommy box’ (love them).

well, i felt that the display needed something to represent the holidays. i considered printing a few free printables that i found via pinterest, but knowing that the printer is still in the basement (we moved in last august…) and it is out of ink anyway, i knew i’d have to have whatever i chose printed somewhere else. that equals time and money, and this mama doesn’t like to add extra, unnecessary trips to my day with three little sidekicks in tow.

that’s where target and my martha stewart paper trimmer came to the rescue! i live in target. seriously. i am there at least twice a week. at least. and i’ve had my paper trimmer for years now and love it. it is so small and easy to store and it works like a charm.  i’ve used it for so many random projects.  totally worth the money.

anyway, it hit me while i was putting up our christmas decor on saturday…there are so many beautiful greeting cards out right now! bingo! so, i looked around while i was in target this week (fyi you will probably have the best luck in the ‘for anyone’ section; they’re not as wordy on the front), and i finally discovered a card that i thought was perfect for our space! i like that the design on the front had both texture and depth. i love the colors, and i also love that it says ‘merry christmas’ rather than ‘happy holidays’.

the card cost me $4.95, but it was worth it. i’ll keep it for many years, and i was very careful while trimming it down a bit in the event that i would like to use it as a card for someone.

today, while at the post office, we checked out their greeting cards, and they had a few beautiful ones as well, and they were even cheaper! $2.95 for a card! they were glittery, beautiful designs on quality paper too. so…keep your eye out for great designs on cards and snag them up when you spot one that you love!

i was drawn to both the ‘have yourself a merry little christmas’ chalkboard card on the top left and the simple, glittery christmas tree that caught ava’s eye too!  (great minds think alike.)  πŸ™‚

so that’s my easy christmas wall/framed art project! i hope it inspires you to try it out, and if you do, please share! enjoy your thanksgiving, friends! talk to you again soon! xo

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg
(function (tos) {
window.setInterval(function () {
tos = (function (t) {
return t[0] == 50 ? (parseInt(t[1]) + 1) + β€˜:00β€² : (t[1] || ’0β€²) + β€˜:’ + (parseInt(t[0]) + 10);
})(tos.split(β€˜:’).reverse());
window.pageTracker ? pageTracker._trackEvent(β€˜Time’, β€˜Log’, tos) : _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos]);
}, 10000);
})(’00β€²);

tips, tricks, and our pin-it party!

hello, my pin-it party friends!  i must admit, i haven’t been in the blogging/writing mood lately.  do you ever get into funks like that?  either my thoughts are too heavy or my day is too full.  one thing i can appreciate, though, during these times, is this party.  i love the variety of the pins.  i can find something to help soothe my heavy heart, something funny to ease my troubled thoughts, or something crafty or creative for when this mama-brain is plain ol’ fried and doesn’t want to think for itself.  πŸ˜‰  you know?  

here are a couple pins that i especially liked from last week’s party:

this first one, ‘fabulous no-sew curtain panels’ from 3 little greenwoods, i have actually attempted myself in our previous home with some ikea fabric.  i wanted to make custom curtains for our sliding glass door on the cheap.  this trick worked well.  my only advice/warning/disclaimer would be that you may have some parts that come undone after washing (our curtains were white and washed often), so when i ironed them after washing, i had to add a little more tape to those sections.  realizing that, i kept it handy with my ironing supplies.  it’s a simple project, and i have found that target often has great deals on tablecloths, so you can create a spectacular panel for less $$$ and find some pretty unique designs that weren’t available in the curtain panel selection.

next up, another post that i stand by 100%, is this one, three tricks to managing laundry, from finding joy in the journey.  i have tried everything under the sun when it comes to a laundry system that works…assigned laundry days, weekends, washing everything in one day from sun up to sun down.  nothing…i repeat…NOTHING has worked for this family of five other than washing at least one load every single day.  every.single.day.  i finally got myself caught up.  even my husband noticed the clear floor in front of the washer/dryer and asked how i did it.  i took two days off this week, our oldest got sick and threw up on clothing, dolls, and two beds, and all of a sudden i am six loads behind again!  seriously.  this works.  if you wash your largest load every single day (and even your largest will probably be relatively small when you are doing this), you will stay on top of it.  i promise.  i like the breakdown that offers in the post.  i may try that, since i’m already washing daily.  no matter what, though, don’t skip days, unless you want to have to put the extra time in making up for it, and who has extra time?!  not me.  

and on that note, time to throw a load in and get back to my family.  enjoy your weekend, friends.  talk to you soon!

ok, your turn to pin!

participating in the party is so easy!
here’s what to do:

1. follow the co-hosts on pinterest (links below)

paula from beauty through imperfection

becky from your modern family

gabrielle from MamaGab

me! kristi from klover house


2. pin our “pin-it party” picture. (one of these)

3. add as many of your great pins as you want!  remember to get your pins from pinterest & not from your blog page. it will make it easier to re-pin a pin instead of a post.

4. hop around and re-pin other pins from this page- lets share the love!

5. adding your link gives us permission to use an image from the pin (or post connected to the pin) to feature on next week’s pin-it party. because of this we ask that you only link up images from your own site, and images that you have taken, created or have legal rights to.

thanks!!!! REMEMBER: when it asks for your NAME, you can put your PIN NAME or your BLOG NAME. essentially, it’s your pin’s title.

***PLEASE NOTE*** if the post that your pin leads to contains any offensive or derogatory wording (e.g. profanity), i will not be able to feature your pin, no matter how great the article or how terrific the idea. the use of those terms simply doesn’t align with my personal convictions, and what we, at klover house, aim to promote. thank you in advance for understanding!

join the klover house family on facebook, pinterest, and twitter!
  

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg

(function (tos) {
window.setInterval(function () {
tos = (function (t) {
return t[0] == 50 ? (parseInt(t[1]) + 1) + β€˜:00β€² : (t[1] || ’0β€²) + β€˜:’ + (parseInt(t[0]) + 10);
})(tos.split(β€˜:’).reverse());
window.pageTracker ? pageTracker._trackEvent(β€˜Time’, β€˜Log’, tos) : _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos]);
}, 10000);
})(’00β€²);

making a house a home: where we are today – the family/living room

welcome back to our making a house a home series!  today, i’m sharing our living/family room.  just like the kitchen and dining room…we still have a loooong way to go!  so put on your designer’s cap and feel free to add your thoughts once you take a look!

our first family home was a brand-new three story townhouse. we spent probably 75% of our time in the main living space. since it was a townhouse, we didn’t have any other sitting rooms, or play rooms for that matter, so all of us – the adults and kids – spent our time together in this one large space for the majority of the time.  that being the case, i had to find little nooks and crannies for all of our young ones’ toys, books, puzzles, craft supplies, etc, etc, etc!  it was quite the challenge at times!  thanks to my grandmother’s sideboard/hutch and ikea expedit bookcases, we were able keep our spaces looking adult-friendly while being kid-appropriate.

here’s a glimpse of our previous home:

kitchen/dining

family/living room

now that you’ve seen where we came from (design-wise), you can see how our desire for a living room that doesn’t double as a play room and catchall was one of our top priorities when looking for a new house.  this house has a formal sitting room (which we happily converted into a play room) and an open-concept living space.  i love the openness, b/c once we find the right stools for the kitchen island, there will be so many spots for people to sit and chat between rooms during get-togethers.  

another desire of mine was to create a space that felt light and airy in comparison to our old space.  i was ready to say good-bye to our brown sofas and our current color scheme.  

that’s when i came upon the perfect couch.  a light tan leather sectional from value city furniture.  the color was perfect, the size was perfect, and the price was perfect!  that was in april of 2013.  i held my breath while we waited for a buyer and finally in august, we were able to move and much to my surprise, my dream couch was still available and still at the same, low price!

i love this couch.  it’s comfy, yet firm.  i like that i can sit my anthro coffee mug right next to me and it doesn’t tilt or spill!  unless the monkeys come running towards me, of course.  the pillow shown is actually a play room pillow that we brought out.  i have inserts for this couch, but i can’t seem to make up my mind on the covers yet, so no pillows as of right now.

we chose to keep our old loveseat for the basement (whenever it actually gets finished), the full-size sofa went to a friend, and the over-sized armchair went up to our master bedroom.  the kids enjoy using it as a springboard onto our bed…

we kept all of the rest of the pieces, like the end tables (tj maxx and target finds), the tv stand (target), and the slate top coffee table (a $3 estate sale find).  the other two end tables (greenish ones from tj maxx) also went up to the master bedroom.

my plan is to eventually purchase the liatorp sideboard from ikea in white, once the tv is mounted to the wall, and use it to pull in other pops of white throughout the space.  (it’s a great size and will hold our dvd player, direct tv box, photo albums and books perfectly.)

i may paint one of the wicker pieces, the base of the coffee table, or the distressed end table white.  feel free to share your opinions on that one!  i feel like i change my mind every day!  the trim and baseboards will all be a crisp, pure white, so that will help tremendously.  i also plan on painting white borders onto the wall behind the frames hung on the tv wall.  i saw a friend do this in her nursery, and the finished look is gorgeous!  you trim out the painted area in white molding/quarter round, and it creates the look of a large, matted frame.  love it.  i plan on putting updated family photos in those frames.

the frames were target clearance finds.  the ‘love’ and ‘pray’ pieces were tj maxx finds and used to hang in isla’s nursery.  the mirrors are also from target.  they are a great price when compared to others of similar design.  (i wrote about that in this post.)
the old flooring was ivory carpet.  i am a fan of light carpet, especially since we don’t wear shoes in the house, but hubs is not, so i let him pick the new carpet.  it’s a little darker than i would’ve wanted, but if he’s happy, i can live with it.
here’s a peek at the chaotic week of carpet/flooring being installed.  that sheet-covered mountain was our laminate flooring ‘acclimating’…aka sitting in the middle of the floor for two days while i yelled at the monkeys not to climb on it.  awww, sweet peanut eden was just a wee babe at four months.  *sniffle*

and here we are back in the present… 
(notice the girls playing ‘store’.  they are too funny.)

here’s a better view of the mirrors.  i liked the one that i bought so much, that once we decided on this house, i gradually purchased two more, knowing that i would want them in this space opposite the large window.

the lamps are from kirkland’s, and the chair was a pier 1 clearance find.  noticing a trend?  i buy almost everything on clearance!  eventually, i want to help that chair and its cushions out.  it used to be in ava’s old bedroom.  i had my eye on a gorgeous arm chair from home goods last october.  i was in love with it and its price.  hubby drove me all the way out there (like 35 mins) with the intentions of buying it for me.  he took one look at it and said, ‘no.  no way.’  i cried.  i really did.  i couldn’t believe he was that against it.  the pattern wasn’t even crazy!  it was a gray and muted yellow ikat print.  i think there may have been a little blue accent.  it.was.gorgeous.  i am still mad about it.  so, this old chair is here in its place for now…  once i make a decision on fabrics, i will recover the cushions.

the curtains shown are actually our bedroom curtains.  i still need to purchase a new rod for this space.  i’m thinking a cream, pottery barn style one.  i will be hanging them midway between the window and the ceiling.  we’re waiting on installing all of the rods until after the windows are replaced.  the curtains i plan on using for this space are threshold from target.  they are oatmeal in color with oil rubbed bronze grommets.

the picture shown is one from our wedding day.  the actual photo is an engagement photo, but we had our guests sign the mat and to the right, i plan on vertically hanging pictures of our children as newborns.

what we have left to do:

  • purchase the liatorp sideboard from ikea
  • paint the walls (an undecided color)
  • paint the tv wall a darker accent color (also the bottom portion of the pillars)
  • paint the trim and baseboards white
  • replace the windows
  • replace the back door and adjacent window with a slider or french door
  • update rods and curtains
  • paint furniture
  • cover cushions and make accent pillows
  • paint ‘frames’ on tv wall
  • mount tv to wall
  • add kids’ baby photos to wall above chair
here’s a link to my ‘living spaces’ pinterest board.  you’ll notice i love light, airy, and eclectic spaces!

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg
(function (tos) {
window.setInterval(function () {
tos = (function (t) {
return t[0] == 50 ? (parseInt(t[1]) + 1) + β€˜:00β€² : (t[1] || ’0β€²) + β€˜:’ + (parseInt(t[0]) + 10);
})(tos.split(β€˜:’).reverse());
window.pageTracker ? pageTracker._trackEvent(β€˜Time’, β€˜Log’, tos) : _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos]);
}, 10000);
})(’00β€²);

making a house a home: where we are today – the dining room

i don’t know about you, but we use our dining room for nearly every single meal…breakfast, brunch, snacks, dinner…and every single craft too!  (oh yeah, and sewing some days!)  we use it constantly.  i often catch myself looking at pictures on pinterest with longing or meandering with awe through a friend’s pristine dining space, wishing that our space could be this or that, but the truth of the matter is – we are just in it too much!  with kiddos almost 5, 3, and 1, our dining room takes a lot of abuse, but i guess you could say that it also sees a lot of love.  

in that respect, our dining room is kind of like the tangible kiss i get to put on my family each meal.  we gather there, pray together, share our stories and our hearts (and our frustrations at times), and i get to feed their bellies!  it’s probably my favorite space for those reasons.

as far as inspiration goes…my designer-friend has labeled my style as ‘scandi-chic’, and i think she nailed it, b/c i love this mixture of cottage, vintage, shabby-chic, eclectic, minimalist all at once!  i like pretty things.  i like things with charm, and i like to keep it plain and simple.  to attach some images to what i just tried to explain…  πŸ˜‰  i love the old-world feel of this space (especially the wood tones and chandelier!).  this space reminds me a lot of what direction we seem to be going in as of now.

we were gifted our current dining room table and chairs by the previous owners.  i love the curves in the chair-backs and have envisioned them as white since day 1 (kind of like the ones found in  this pin).  

i plan on reupholstering them soon, but haven’t taken the plunge simply b/c the kids continue to use them as art easels!  so, i do apologize in advance for when we ask you to come over for dinner and you are sitting on milk stains, blue paint, stickers, and dried applesauce.  i’m really sorry.

to give you a quick tour, here are a few photos of the space from when we moved in all the way up to this week:

when we moved in, the dining room was carpeted.  boy am i so glad that we decided to carry the laminate throughout the entire first floor (with the exception of only the family/living room).  had we not, this mama would have certainly cried over spilled milk about 16 times already.

originally, while i was waiting for the chandelier to decrease in price, we spray painted our brass light with rustoleum’s aged bronze, and it really made a huge difference!  i stood in the yard like a scarecrow for what seemed like an eternity dangling it to dry, but regardless of the awkwardness and pain, i highly recommend doing that if you aren’t happy with the finish of your light fixtures.  (i still have it stored in the basement in case we ever want to use it elsewhere).  we also sprayed all of the registers the aged bronze, making them blend into the floor nicely and dealing with the rust spots at the same time. the picture of one below was taken before painting it – see what an eyesore they were!

here is a peek of where we are today:

i found that purple vase and the pear stems in target’s clearance section this past week.  i appreciate that i can’t kill faux flowers – or fruit in this case.  

remember my grandmother’s sideboard/hutch that hubs and i painted and i nearly had a heart attack?!  yes, it was that scary for me! {post here} but we do love how it turned out.  the hardware is from target.  we kept the existing hinges (just sprayed them to match the rest of the piece).

i know that i’ve already shown you this collage, but i just wanted to share it again to point out that this chandelier was the one that i mentioned in yesterday’s kitchen post.  we originally planned to have this one hanging above the island, but the large scale of the island simply dwarfed this fixture.  it really did it no justice whatsoever.  originally $159, it is also on sale at lowes for under $80!  
so many items in this room are from clearance bins, sale racks, and thrift shops.  the shelf, pitchers, runner, curtains, curtain rod, artwork, the mercury table lamp and shade were all sale/clearance finds, and that’s just to name a few.  i think the only full-price expenses have been our books, and my anthro items (initial mugs and flower pot – shown below).  
i really, really, really want these pinwheel curtains from west elm, but they are out of my budget for now.  i found a happy compromise though at target.  the white poly sheers (threshold) and the single tan heathered herringbone panel (nate berkus) were on a clearance shelf.  i plan on cutting the nate berkus panel down the center (hemming it) and using those two pieces to frame out the white sheers, since we have a rather large window.  why not get a second panel, you may be wondering.  the answer:  b/c ppl are flat out greedy on e-bay!  haha  i’ll make do with the one.  anyway, i love the light that comes into this room in the morning, and the white sheers allow for that while granting us needed privacy from the street.  and yes, that is our real ‘time out’ chair (that i made using a thrift store chair, spray paint, and vinyl lettering).  sadly, the girls spend a great deal of reflection time there on some days, thus naturally antiquing it for me…such darlings. πŸ˜‰
the cabinet that hangs above my great-great-grandmother’s buffet table was relocated from the desk space uppers that we took down in the kitchen.  i store my cookbooks, extra vases, and miscellaneous things in it for now.
what we have yet to do in this space:
* reupholster the chair cushions
* replace the windows
* hang the new curtain rod and draperies
* paint the baseboards (crisp white)
* paint the cabinetry on the wall and update hardware(same as kitchen cabinets)
* paint the chairs 
* update/refinish existing tabletop
* paint the exposed staircase railings white or stain/replace rails to match tone in flooring
* possibly knock down half of the wall shared with the kitchen
so that’s it!  haha  oh, the lists are long, and the days are short, but we will get there eventually!
as i said yesterday, i would love your thoughts/feedback!  please feel free to leave a comment here or on our facebook page!
i’ll be back tomorrow with the weekly pin-it party, and on sunday, i hope to talk you through our family/living room!  until then…

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg
(function (tos) {
window.setInterval(function () {
tos = (function (t) {
return t[0] == 50 ? (parseInt(t[1]) + 1) + β€˜:00β€² : (t[1] || ’0β€²) + β€˜:’ + (parseInt(t[0]) + 10);
})(tos.split(β€˜:’).reverse());
window.pageTracker ? pageTracker._trackEvent(β€˜Time’, β€˜Log’, tos) : _gaq.push([‘_trackEvent’, ‘Time’, ‘Log’, tos]);
}, 10000);
})(’00β€²);

unique and affordable gift ideas!

looking for a unique, touching Christmas gift for the ladies in your life?

well, i’ve got some great ideas for you! (note: none of these links are affiliate links. aka – i’m not getting paid for saying this! i love these ideas/products!)

1 – STITCH FIX! this company is awesome. it’s convenient. it’s fun. and the best part…it lets you shop in the comfort of your own home! what neat is that you could easily send a loved one a ‘fix’ and let them shop from a surprise box of beautiful and unique fashion-finds. for example, send it to your bestie, or sister, or mama, and say, ‘pick out your favorite piece! it’s on me! merry christmas! xoxo” and then, they pick it, pop the remaining items back in the mail, and there you have a fun way to take your loved one shopping! it’s got that element of surprise combined with the control that every woman appreciates when shopping for herself. i know i’d love one for christmas!

2 – HAPPY MOMMY BOX! i love this idea, and i think the ladies behind it are superb! win-win! simply, get online and send a Happy Mommy Box to that mommy (or mommies) that you want to bless. like Stitch Fix, the contents you (or she) will receive are a surprise! knowing natalie and mandy, though, they will be fabulous month after month. there’s still time to receive a december box {click here}. you could gift the entire box, or you could sort through it and gift each piece separately to people you have in mind! for example, last month’s box contained adorable finger puppets and a beautiful necklace (among other items). so…give your niece the puppets and your sister the necklace! perfect!

3 – CHELSEA MADE APRON! – yes, i am partial on this one. {see why here.} i love these aprons for the big or little cook in your life! the quality and uniqueness of these aprons are unmatched. i am 100% in love with anthropologie, people. like, in love. BUT, i can say that even their aprons can’t compare when it comes to craftsmanship and artistry! Chelsea makes each piece by hand and adds any personal touches that the customer desires. on top of that – the aprons are lined, making them durable and soft. you can visit Chelsea Made here and use the code ‘klover house’ for $5 off until december 25th. just think, a matching set for a mom and her sweeties would be such a thoughtful gift!

4 – CHOCOLATE APPLE ORCHARD!ginormous apples drenched in caramel, chocolates, and nearly every good thing you could imagine. does it get any better?!!! i have had enough of these to know that they are all divine! they even make custom orders! you can check out my daughter’s personalized ‘belle’ apple in this post. for ava’s birthday, we are having chocolate apple orchard create six of the disney princesses. she is going to love it! this company also makes chocolate/caramel dipped pretzel rods. these are perfect if you’re looking for party goodies or if you want to send someone a little treat in the mail. (they are available for delivery.)

5 – THE VINTAGE PEARL! – i’ve personally ordered from this company and i love their stuff! (and the heart behind the company!) you can customize pieces and they are so dainty and beautiful.

6 – RUBY RAY JEWELRY! i love these bangles! this mama is the epitome of ‘cool.’ love her taste and craftsmanship. there are so many styles to choose from, and if you follow her on instagram, twitter, or facebook, you will be the first to hear of new pieces and specials/deals. wear these pretties alone or with a chunky watch…dress them up…dress them down…swoon. love ’em.

ok, so there are my ideas thus far! i’ll keep you posted as i come across more!

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg

pesto chicken pasta (easy dinner)

happy saturday, folks!

so, dinner was easy last night.
 it’s nice to have a no-brainer kind of meal once in a while, isn’t it?

so here you go…


{image credit: madlyinlovewithlife via photopin cc}

  • bring home a little jar of pesto from the grocery store. (pesto is made up of garlic, basil, pignoli/pine nuts, olive oil, and parmesan cheese. can’t go wrong there!)

  • pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  • thaw a few chicken breasts
  • pound them out to an even thickness
  • toss them in a skillet of melted butter (about 2-3 tbsp).
  • salt & pepper them, and cook for about 3-5 minutes per side.
  • place them in a glass baking dish
  • top them each with a dollop of pesto and a HEAP of mozzarella cheese.
  • pop it in the hot oven until the cheese begins to turn a golden brown.

  • meanwhile, boil a pot of pasta (i chose angel hair)
  • make your sauce in the same skillet (with the original butter from cooking your chicken) add:
    • 2-4 more tbsp of butter
    • 1/3 c. white wine
    • 1/3 c. warm water (tap or pasta water) or chicken stock
    • 4 tbsp. pesto.

  • drain the pasta, toss it in the sauce, top it with your hot-from-the-oven pesto chicken (pan juices included).
  • eat.  πŸ™‚  (best if served immediately)

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg

join the klover house family on facebook, pinterest, and twitter!
  

isla’s ‘beauty and the beast’ birthday party!

i am so excited to share our latest birthday party with you!
our sweet, isla (‘eye-la’) rae (‘ray’) turned the big TWO!
i can’t believe how quickly this last year has gone by!
our little cutie pie absolutely adores her ‘belle and beeee,’
as she calls them.  them being ‘beauty and the beast.’
if you have daughters and speak toodler-ese,
then you know exactly who i’m talking about, right?!
being our summer baby, we never know what we’re going to get weather-wise,
but we always plan for an outdoor party.  for both her first and second birthday,
we picked a quaint, little, local park.  easy to get to, clean, and, with its
mini rock-climbing ‘mountain,’ swings, playground, ballfied, and bike/walking path,
it’s also the perfect place for little ones (and big ones) to be entertained!  πŸ™‚
last year, it was so hot, you could cook a hotdog on the pavement.
this year, we had rain, and rain, and rain, and more rain…
so, in case the equipment was too yucky, we had some additional
supplies in-tow:  cornhole, bubbles/bubble wands, and giant rubber balls
*the giant balls were $3/ea. at target & the bubble supplies were from the dollar store.*
here’s a glimpse of the party & all the details:
favors & centerpieces:
i loved this stuff!  the stuff you see below was custom-made by the shop,
‘created to play.’  you can find them on etsy {here}.  and you can also
check out their facebook page {here}.
the incredible pretzel rods were also custom-made by a shop i love called,
chocolate apple orchard.  you can find it on facebook {here}, and you
can visit their website {here}.  they are soooo amazingly delicious and pretty!
she also does custom orders and flavor combos.  these pretzels aren’t to be
taken lightly…they are dipped in caramel before they are drenched and drizzled
in chocolates and toppings!  omgoodness.  ‘tasty’ is like an insult.
they are sooo good, you will consider pretending you forgot to hand them out.
i was a good girl, and i gave them to isla’s guests.
(but if you didn’t come, i ate it.  don’t hate.)
favors consisted of several items:
a large bouncy ball (i purchased these from a giant ‘gum ball’ machine in
old navy, of all places! i mentioned that back in this post.)

items from the dollar store…princess washcloths (the kind that open in water),
bracelets, toothbrushes (for ava and isla)

“smarties” and “dum dums.” okay, that’s funny. 
 i just realized that i gave the kids an oxymoron in treats…
totally not on purpose, but actually kind of funny.

princess tattoos…boys got slim-pickins, b/c i had to cut the ‘friends’ 
away from their princesses, so the boys would have non-girlie options. 
 like, i cut ‘flounder’ away from ariel…the frog away from tiana…
‘pascal,’ the lizard from rapunzel…yeah, i did that.

belle squinkie rings (found in the clearance bin at target!) i super-glued the squinkie
to the ring, so that they would be less of a choking hazard, and i made sure to only
give them to the older children of the group…i tried anyway.
yes.  i did all of this in love.  πŸ™‚

chocolate apple orchard also made this custom ‘belle’ apple!  it blew me away!
i think it was one of my favorite aspects of the party details…
party prep / supplies / food:
last year, isla’s party was “sunshine” themed, so i had a lot of yellow items
leftover to use for this one (belle’s dress is yellow).  i keep all of our party goods in a
large tote all year long.  if it’s not perishable, it’s here.  easy storage.  easy transport.  good.
those large, yellow, rubber tubs were found somewhere last year (target maybe?).
i like to use them to carry stuff to the party location, and then, i fill them with ice and drinks.
last year (remember i said it was hot?), the kids also used them as ‘baby pools.’  fun times.  πŸ™‚
food for somewhere between 30 and 50 mouths:
hamburgers and hotdogs (50 of each, and we make our own patties to cut costs)
buns (50ish of each – remember most little ones won’t need one anyway)
pasta salad (made by my m-i-l.  so yummy.  she made 2lbs)
lemon bars (my mom makes these – recipe {here}.  these are amazing!)
brownies (i made four boxes…roughly 100 sm. squares.  the 85 that i ate were delicious!)
brownies were on clearance for 92 cents a box!  score!
i use coffee in place of the water.  it’s better that way.  we’re already letting our kids
gorge themselves with sugar at parties… 1/50 of a 1/4 cup of caffeine won’t hurt, right?!
TWO boxes baked together on a cookie sheet for exactly 20 mins yields about 50 squares.
some additional ‘keep it easy’ ideas…
‘beauty and the beast’ themed balloon anchors.
i bought four gold anchors
and four red, silk roses w/wired stems (on clearance), and attached each rose
to a base.  wrapped it w/coordinating ribbon.  done.  
(sorry you can’t see the entire thing in the collage.  
mama messed up, and i’m hanging up my ‘perfectionist’
hat for the day.  maybe even for a week…)
favor box:
i put all of the favor boxes in a cardboard box, and
i made myself a little chart with a sharpie, so that i could grab the appropriate
favor box as quickly as possible.  (each box was catered to each child’s gender & age.)
drinks and labels:
rather than spend a ton of money on cans or bottles of teas / pops / ades…
we purchased four jugs of drinking water, removed the labels
(had i not saved this for the last minute, i would’ve done a better job),
and used clear packing tape to affix our coloring page labels.
hubby thinks i was just looking for an excuse to color…  πŸ˜‰
maybe.  or maybe our printer was packed and out of ink anyway…
then, i just poured the water into a pitcher with each mix and redistributed
the beverages back into their appropriate containers.  this way, you just 
dispose of them when the party’s over.  i vote recycle, btw.  πŸ™‚

the cake:
ahhh…the cake.  i adore these cakes.  literally slices of heaven.
thank you so much, adam and joanna for exposing us to this 
incredible italian buttercream!  i ate way too much of this, too,
but it is seriously so good.  i will probably buy their cakes forever.
jury’s still out though on which is better…chocolate or raspberry filling.
i vote raspberry (last year’s choice), and hubs says chocolate (this year’s).
i think we should try raspberry again in october, just to see…  πŸ˜‰
two good things about this year’s cake:
1) a quarter of a sheet is plenty (compared to the whole sheet cake that i ordered
last year.  we were passing out brick-sized pieces and still brought some home!)
2) they spelled her name right this year!  last year, she was “ilsa.”  oops.
the last little tidbits:
the girls’ matching ‘belle’ t-shirts, crown, and the beauty and beast figurines were
all purchased at the disney store.  they were pricey, but still inexpensive
in comparison to the things i was finding on etsy.  plus, t-shirts were
perfect for a rainy-day-at-the-playground party…
the figurines doubled as part of isla’s gift from us.  the two shown
also came with some of the other characters from the movie.
i hope you enjoyed this post!  i know i don’t
get as into it as some, but i try my best to 
keep it relevant, fun, and very low-cost.
splurges for this party came in the form of disney store items, the treats 
and the cake.  everything else was so inexpensive that it all balanced out.
that’s what’s most important.  balance.  and fun.
you’ll remember the budget, but your babies will remember the FUN!  πŸ™‚
stay tuned for our ‘birthday party’ themed giveaway
coming NEXT week!!!
i’ll give you a clue…
it starts with a “minnie” and ends with a “mouse!”
xo,
kristi

 photo a9de1fdb-52d3-4604-a79d-ba7ee6db5adb_zps8f990315.jpg

godiva goodness

do you smell that???  is it chocolate?

no!!!

it’s the adorable truffle pop burning a hole in your wallet!

i joined the godiva rewards club like forever ago.  which entails:

rewards club members enjoy
  • FREE piece of chocolate every month
  • spend $20 and receive a free gift the following month
  • free standard shipping for one online order

so each month, the girls and i trek out to our local shop and treat ourselves to a truffle. but, yikes, it is EXPENSIVE! three of these cute under the sea themed pops cost me $8!!! (2 for $5 or $3 each!) plus, they don’t count in the selection for your freebie. i always get the pops, b/c along with cuteness that instantly draws in the girls, anything on a stick, versus the palm, draws in mama! (especially anything involving chocolate on a stick.)

so after today’s splurge of 3 truffle pops (for my two big girls and my niece) and 2 regular dark chocolate raspberry truffles for me and my mom (aka “mema”), i looked at the whopping total of $10.25, and the wheels started turning…

we only do this once a month, but it is really expensive. i’d hate to nix it all together, so i thought of a way to shave just a few of the dollars off… ready?

bring your own sticks!!!!!

ahh! ureka!

the cutesy pops are super cute, and yes, themed unfortunately, so they are going to be really hard to resist. but…if i buy a regular truffle decorated with pink drizzle or those little white balls – we’re sold too!

our purchase today:

2 truffle pops @ 2/$5
1 truffle pop @ $3
1 reg truffle @ $2.25
1 reg truffle FREE
TOTAL: $10.25

if i would’ve brought my own sticks:

1 reg truffle FREE
4 reg truffles @ $2.25 each
TOTAL: $9.00

see? if i had thought of this a year ago…that would have saved us a lot of money by now!

i have a bag of those little white cake pop sticks. i’m going to throw like 10 in a ziploc and keep them in the car, so when we go to godiva next month, i’ll have them handy. then, before i give them to the girls, i’ll just shove a stick in each! can’t believe i’ve been paying extra essentially for a stick that i’ve had at home and just gets thrown away after 94 seconds anyway. (and a whole bag of those little sticks only cost a couple of dollars!)

beat the boredom! summer series and giveaway!

hello, lovie bugs! can i call you that? that’s what i call my kiddos, and they like it, so…

anyway! good things in store this week! starting TODAY, we (six fantastic bloggers and i) are teaming up to bring you the ultimate guide to surviving the summer! it’s flying by, and maybe your fuse is already fizzled, or you feel like, “whoa, mama, i didn’t even get to get this thing started, and it’s almost august!” we’ve got it covered. we’re there too – wherever ‘there’ is – i’m sure we’re there with you. kids climbing the walls…bank account draining faster than that sixth pot of spaghetti noodles you made this month already…dreading yet another night of trying to plan a meal that might not involve the oven – can’t we all just live off of watermelon until september???

yep. we’re there too! and we’ve got some awesome things in store for you this week. loads of ideas! worst case scenario…you’ll find some inspiration that will kick-start your own creative juices and get you enjoying the rest of the hot, summer days ahead! (or the rain. yes, we’ll also address the rain. bleh.)

oh, and on top of that…there’s a generous giveaway coming up on sunday, july 14th!

here’s an easy schedule for you to follow. just stop by klover house every day this week, and follow the links below to check out each day’s post! hop on over to that blog, and while you’re there, make sure you peruse some of the other writings. these ladies know their stuff, and i admire each one of them! true gems.

monday (today! 7/8) your modern family is bringing you some fantastic ideas for free (or almost free) summer activities for your kids and family! who doesn’t need or love free?! i know we do! summer can be expensive!

tuesday (7/9) mamagab will be showing you the ins and outs of a busy bag swap, and (i love how she puts it) keep them away from the heat and away from the tv!” oh you know we’re there…”moooommmm, can i watch cinderella [for the twelfth time this week]???” “noooooooooo. go find a caterpillar.” huh? yep. i need a busy bag.

wednesday (7/10) beauty in the mess is sharing outdoor activities for preschoolers and beauty through imperfection will be posting about indoor activities for preschoolers! woot! woot! i need this one too…

thursday (7/11) here at klover house, i’ll be sharing ideas for summer-living in small places & spaces. (we are currently townhouse owners with three small kids, and we are also in the process of home staging/selling, so i’ve got some sanity-savers for ya!)

friday (7/12) smartter each day is talking about starting and hosting a neighborhood bible club. daunting? nope! not after reading this! πŸ™‚

saturday (7/13) snippets of inspiration is sharing some great summer recipes with you! hallelujah. a meal that someone else has already planned out for me and may not involve watermelon. we will all sing your praises, danielle, here at the klover house.

sunday (7/14) stop back here to link-up some of your favorite summertime ideas, recipes, etc., and for a chance to win these great products. we are each contributing to the giveaway package, which means that one of you will win all of these prizes! not too shabby!

the winner will receive: a pink summer necklace with earrings, another beautiful jewelry set, a personalized ipad/e-reader slipcover case, bottle of essential oil, a scentsy warmer, scents and an extra light-bulb, pampered chef products, the book, a familiar shore, and primal pit paste.

(the primal pit paste is our contribution here at klover house. i personally use this product and will rave about it until my stink comes back! haha which i hope is never! seriously though, this is the first product i have found in nearly sixteen years ~since everyone smelled like ‘teen spirit’~ that has eliminated my arm pit odor! unreal. but real. totally real. and the ingredients are all natural! i am not a fan of chemicals in and on my body, so this made me especially happy. only four simple, clean, organic ingredients and zero stink. i’d say that’s enough to make you want to happy dance, right? and it’s your’s if you win! and if you don’t win, still go check out their website and buy this stuff up! i plan to write a review post at a later date with more details. and, no, i am not receiving anything in return for this stellar review. ha! i just like it that much and love to share about it! and the company graciously is gifting the product to you on our behalf! no need to smell ferociously after a day of chasing littles at the park! you’re welcome!)

*fyi* for anyone new to klover house, our site is still being referred to as “ava.n.isla” on the rafflecopter form below. once you click on the link, you will see our new name. oh lovely technicalities…

a Rafflecopter giveaway