Category Archives: Family

Meet Baby Will!

William Christopher
Born August 12th, 2011 at 4:18 am
8lb 6oz and 22″ long

Meet Will, the newest member of the HAP family! Both Will and I are doing great so far!


Filed under Family

Little Peanut Party: A First Birthday

I can’t believe our little peanut is already one year old. Time sure flies! To commemorate the anniversary of Lincoln’s birth, we threw our man a Little Peanut Party. As a child, I was obsessed with elephants (and still am). We often refer to Lincoln  as “Peanut,” so the theme just came together. This party was fun and very cost effective, as a large bag of peanuts costs, well…peanuts.

I came across this Debbie Mumm fabric at JoAnn’s and couldn’t resist. With the help of my sister who freehanded the letters on card stock, the cheap and easy Happy Birthday sign was strung on ribbon and pinned to the fabric and table. I designed the invitation (which is available on my Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs).

Guests were treated to an array of themed homemade goodies, from Peanut Butter Swirl Cupcakes, to Elephant Ears, to Peanut Brittle.

Lincoln tore into a piece of Mommy’s labor of love elephant cake. The cake was baked in a Wilton cake form using the Wilton recipes for butter cake with buttercream frosting.

Guests drank from elephant toe cups, silver cups with cut labels to resemble toenails.

Peanuts were strung from the chandelier in the dining room tagged with pictures of Lincoln throughout his first year. Vases of peanuts and stuffed elephants were placed on the table as centerpieces.

The kids received bubbles as party favors, while the adults each received a bag of roasted peanuts with a special note from Lincoln.

The birthday boy was very excited for his party! Thanks to everyone for making it such a special day!


Filed under Birthday, Entertain, Family

Picture Perfect Valentines

Every year, we send valentines to family and friends and I was getting a little tired of the same old Valentine’s Day selection. So, I decided to create my own Valentine’s using things I had around the house: my camera, my photogenic 2 year old and a cute pink polka dot sweater. I will admit, I did go out and purchase a red heart shaped pillow from the $2.50 bin at target, but luckily that didn’t break the bank.

I started by creating our very own photo studio by moving some furniture away from the wall and pulling a fluffy white rug into the corner. Then, I just turned on some music and let my daughter be herself – all while snapping loads of pictures on a sunny Saturday morning. I took over 50 pictures in order to get just the right one. Here were some of our outtakes:

Finally I took these pictures and immediately knew I had what I wanted. My daughter played along as I told her to play peek a boo with the pillow.

Stef helped me create some Photoshop magic be erasing the line created by the corner of the wall and adding the wording. This is what we came up with!

Once I had my pictures, I created a double sided postcard by sending the pictures off to an online printer (we used We got 25, 5×7 double sided postcards with envelopes for $13.70. That is only $.55 per card!

Inexpensive and personalized Valentine’s your friends and family will love.


Filed under Family, Holidays

New Year’s Resolution: Declutter

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”      ~William Morris

The beginning of a new year brings new resolutions. For some reason, mine almost always deal with eliminating clutter in our house. I am not a hoarder type, however I do find myself always holding onto things “just in case” I might need them in the future. With this being my one major roadblock, I needed to create a solution that would allow me to get rid of things, without sending me into a “what if” panic attack. This is especially true when I think about creating extra space in my closet.

Therefore, I am using a new decluttering method that will help me to get rid of things, but still allow me to hold onto them in the event that I regret tossing it.

The steps are simple:

1. Grab a garbage bag and head over to your closet (or toy room, or office, or living room…)

2. Fill up your bag with items that you no longer use or wear on a regular basis

3. Close up the bag and mark it with a tag reading “Bedroom 2011” or “Toy Room 2011”

4. Stash the bag in your attic or basement where it will be out of sight.  Chances are you will forget you ever put that bag in the attic, however in the event that you regret getting rid of something, you can sneak into your attic and remove the item from the bag.  Just remember to tie it back up tight!

5. Next year, at this time, when 2012 rolls around dig out the 2011 bag.  Do NOT open the bag, simply toss it into your car and take it directly to your local GoodWill or Salvation Army.  They key here is not to look in the bag.  If you haven’t needed it in a year, chances are you don’t need it at all.  Peeking inside will only get you thinking, oh “I might want to hold onto this, just in case.”

Repeat this cycle every year and your clutter will slowly start to disappear.

I have finally reached a point in my life where I realized I cannot hold onto every single meaningful artifact in my life and save it for myself, my children, my future grandchildren…etc.  In fact, the more I hold onto, the less special it becomes.  I would rather have a few really meaningful items than bins full of things I didn’t have the heart to get rid of.

I read this quote once by someone named Stephanie on an organization board and it resonated with me:

“Present Me is tired of holding onto future Me’s crap. Future Me will just have to deal with it.”

Sorry, future me, your stuff just got sent to Goodwill.


Filed under Family

Creating a Mom Cave

I have always referred to our basement as the man cave. It is a place where my husband goes when he needs a break, to hang out with his buddies or to watch a game.  I recently heard the term “mom cave” and I was instantly intrigued. What is a mom cave? I want one!

Turns out a mom cave is a relatively new trend giving women, not just moms, a place to regroup, get organized or even (gasp) relax.  It is essentially a prettier version of your typical home office.  While women have been designing spaces for themselves for many years, Elaine Griffin, one of the Top 100 Designers named by House Beautiful, gave it a catchy name and reinvented the concept. Mom caves can come in many shapes and sizes and it turns out creating one can be quite easy. They can be a transformed extra bedroom that never gets used, a little nook hidden under your stairs or simply the far corner of your bedroom.

Here is some inspiration for creating a space in your home that is just for you.

Photo courtesy of centsational girl

Photo courtesy of Three Men and a Lady

Photo courtesy of Young House Love

Photo courtesy of HomeGoods

Photo courtesy of The Life Styled

Photo courtesy of The Container Store

I have this very awkward wall at the end of my upstairs hallway that is too big to leave bare, but too small to turn into a room.  I am starting to think it is the perfect spot for my mom cave.

Step 1:  Find the perfect wall color.  Have any suggestions for paint colors that your currently loving?


Filed under Decorate, Family

Campfire Birthday Party

campfire birthday partyMy sweet little girl turned 2 last week!  She has recently fallen in love with messy, gooey smores, so we decided to throw her a campfire birthday party.

campfire birthday invitationThe adorable red invitations were created by fellow HAP blogger, Stef and set the tone for the fun, outdoor party. The invitations can be ordered here in her Etsy shop, Morning Star Designs.

kids birthday party bug juice

Guests were served “bug Juice” in mini canteens adorned with name tags.

We snacked on all of Isla’s favorite foods!  Jagged cut wood signs painted with black paint were used as food tags.

owl birthday tshirt

The birthday girl wore an adorable personalized pink and red raglan tee created by Jamie at Sweet 3 leaf prints.

S'more cupcakesInstead of cake, we treated ourselves to smore cupcakes: devils food cake topped with marshmallow butter cream and topped with Hershey squares and mini graham crackers.

No campfire birthday party would be complete without a smore buffet!  My favorite combination?  Peanut butter cup smore on chocolate graham crackers with marshmallow fluff.

A red bandana banner created by Andrea at Where the Green Grass Grows hung above the food table.

S'more birthday party favorsAs party favors, guests were asked to take a “smore for later.”  The cellophane bags were tied with jute and a tag also created by Stef.

campfire party favorsAll the kids left with bandana knapsacks filled with treats and small toys.

happy trails bandana birthday favors

Happy birthday Miss Isla!


Filed under Birthday, Entertain, Family

Pink and Brown Ladybug Party

My niece, Isabelle, just turned one and my sister threw her the most adorable birthday party.  It was a pink and brown ladybug party and she thought of every detail!

The house was decorated with pots of planted grass that were adorned with pink ladybugs!

Flying ladybugs hung from the lights thoughout the house.

Pink and brown were the colors of the day!  The napkins were wrapped in pink and brown and tied with coordinating ribbon.

Guests snacked on “bug bites” which were PBJ’s and cream cheese with strawberry jelly sandwiches shaped to look like ladybugs.

All food had adorable tags that were created with pink paper and a ladybug stamp.

Guests sipped on pink ladybug lemonade from brown cups that had a pink ladybug stickers created by Ladybug Labels.

No ladybug party would be complete without ladybug cupcakes!

The birthday girl had a special outfit too!  A pink tutu and headband made by Sweetie Pie Tutus with a ladybug shirt created by Sticheroos.

As favors, guests were given tins filled with pink and brown M&M’s and topped with an adorable ladybug tag also created by Ladybug Labels.

Everyone, especially Miss Isabelle, enjoyed a wonderful party!


Filed under Birthday, Entertain, Family