Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Lily's Birthday

Lily turned 6 on Saturday, and it was such a magical, special day for all of us. Six is a big deal, right? You now have to hold up two hands when someone asks how old you are!


We've had small/low-key family parties to celebrate birthdays in the past (except for her 1st and 2nd birthdays where I thought they had to be Pinterest-perfect), but Rob and I agreed that once our girls hit kindergarten, we'd let them choose what kind of party they wanted. Lily wanted her party at Pump It Up (a local bounce house), and she wanted a Trolls theme. When I say Lily and Hadley are obsessed with that movie, I mean it. They love everything Trolls, and we're listening to the soundtrack on repeat over here.
 
I wanted the party to be fun for Lily and her friends, and I also didn't want to wear myself out making everything "perfect" for little children who are only interested in eating cake and playing with their friends!
 
We kept things really simple...I purchased disposable tablecloths, plates, and napkins from Party City. The party was in the morning, so there wasn't any need for a lot of food. Bugles, cake, and Capri Sun were served. The cake, by the way, was from Wal-Mart, and it was every bit as delicious as the cakes I used to purchase that cost an arm and a leg. And side note here: does anyone really like the way fondant tastes? And do kids really care if their cake is tiered?
 

 
Anyway, I did make some fun centerpieces for the party tables because I haven't fully given up the Pinterest-free persona yet! :) I thought they were so fun and colorful and fit the bright, rainbow Trolls theme perfectly. I spray painted some terracota pots a light purple shade and used foam sheets to make the flowers that adorn each side. I wanted them to match the flowers on Poppy's headband in the movie. Then I just hot glued those to the pots. The rainbow poms were an Etsy purchase from this shop, as were the Trolls cupcake toppers (from this shop). I added tissue paper and Starburst candy to fill the pots in.
 


 
I was on team #nopartyfavors for the longest, but when I found Trolls blind bags on sale for $1, I jumped ship. It was all downhill from there, and I ended up adding Trolls stickers and candy to each goodie bag. #sorrynotsorry
 
I found the invitations on Etsy (from this shop) and had them printed at a local Office Max (which, FYI, copyright issue...but I've learned being nice can get you almost anywhere. The sweet lady who helped me told me because I had been friendly and patient she'd print them for me!).
 
 
I also ordered a special shirt for Lily to wear at her party, and I thought it was just darling. I found it here.

 
And now, picture overload! I think you can tell by the size of her smile that she had a very happy birthday.

 
 
 
 
 
With two of her very best friends from school. She has the sweetest little friends.

 
At home opening presents. She was so excited to get another Wellie Wisher doll.
 
 
Well there you have it...Lily's 6th birthday round-up. At the end of the day as I was tucking her into bed, she said, "This was the best day ever." I'll take that. :)
 
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Hope everyone has a happy day.
 
 


Monday, February 20, 2017

Easy and Delicious Cupcake Icing

Happy Monday! We had a full weekend celebrating Lily's 6th birthday. I'm working on a recap post that I'll post tomorrow, but in the meantime I wanted to share a recipe I found for Buttercream Icing. It's just that good.
 
 
We sent cupcakes to school on Friday so Lily was able to celebrate with her class. She wanted funfetti cupcakes and white icing. Simple enough, right? I'm not a fan of jarred icing and wanted to make my own. A quick Google search later, and I stumbled upon the easiest, most delicious cupcake icing I've ever tasted. For realzzz, though. I feel like I should add a "yo" at the end of that for emphasis.
 
Anyway, this icing was easy-as-pie to whip up, and it gave the boxed cupcakes a fancier feel. The icing spread easily, and it hardened just enough overnight to make the cupcakes not too terribly messy. It was sweet and creamy and just divine. I ate the remainder with a spoon.
 
 
Easy and Delicious Cupcake Icing
{Recipe via Allrecipes.com}
 
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 Tablespoons milk
3 drops food coloring (or as needed)
 
Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer, the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.
 
Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring, if using, and beat for 30 seconds or until desired color is reached. Ice immediately and enjoy!
 
 
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Thursday, February 16, 2017

7-Ingredient Tuscan White Bean Soup

I've been on the hunt lately for easy, weeknight dinners. When the girls get home from school I hate spending the remainder of my day in the kitchen...so I like finding things that are quick yet tasty!
 
I ran across this recipe for 7-Ingredient Tuscan White Bean Soup, and it was just what I was looking for! Simple to put together, yet the flavors were really good. Make sure to add shaved Parmesan at the end...and have a big loaf of crusty bread for dipping!
 
 
7-Ingredient Tuscan White Bean Soup
{Gimme Some Oven}
 
4 ounces pancetta or bacon, finely diced (I used pancetta)
1 small white onion, peeled and diced
5 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
8 cups good-quality chicken stock
4 (15 oz.) cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
1 large sprig fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper
 
Heat pancetta in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Cook until crispy, stirring occasionally. Transfer the bacon to a separate plate, using a slotted spoon, reserving about 3 Tablespoons of bacon grease in the stockpot.
 
Add onion and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally until soft and translucent. Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant, stirring occasionally.
 
Add chicken stock, beans, bay leaf, rosemary, and half of the cooked pancetta. Stir to combine. Continue cooking the soup until it reaches a simmer. Then reduce heat to medium-low, cover partially, and let the soup simmer for 10-20 minutes so that the flavors will meld.
 
Add salt and pepper to taste. (I added a healthy few pinches of both!) Remove the bay leaf and rosemary.
 
Serve warm, topped with the extra pancetta. Garnish with Parmesan and serve with crusty bread.

 
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Hope everyone has a great day!
 


Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Life Lately

Hey guys! It's been awhile since I've posted a Life Lately, and these are some of my favorite posts to write. We've been doing really well, and I hope life is treating all of you much the same!
 
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First things first, many of you know my Dad relapsed for the second time this past summer. He's been on a newer chemotherapy regimen since then (with few side effects, thankfully!) and has already had one clean scan. We found out this past weekend that he had his second clean scan, meaning no signs of lymphoma were evident! I know many of you have been there, so I know you get it when I say it feels like we can breath again! We are truly filled with joy.
 
Dad celebrated his birthday last week, and we celebrated by meeting Lily at her school for lunch. She was so excited, and her classmates gave him the warmest welcome, complete with songs and dancing! It was so sweet.

 
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Lily's 6th birthday is coming up this month (can y'all believe it's February?!), and I'm in the throws of putting together her party. We have typically done small, family get-togethers, but now that Lily's a big kindergartener, she wanted something that included all of her new friends. So that's what she's getting! We're having a Trolls theme, and there are so many cute decoration ideas out there. The party is going to be at a local bounce gym, so that takes much of the pressure off! I'm trying to keep it as simple as possible. Do kids really care if there are fun centerpieces on the table? I don't think so. :)
 
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My sweet friends at Little Cosmetics sent the girls some pretend nail polish and pretend lipstick, and they are hooked. I've never seen fake makeup that looks so real! And the nail polish is really cool because it moves around in the bottle, but nothing comes out...like magic! The brush can be dipped in the bottle, but no liquid touches the brush, meaning nothing transfers to the skin so it's completely mess-free! Mama gets to keep her nice makeup intact, and the girls get to pretend to be big girls. Winning! P.S. This would make a really darling Valentine's Day happy!


 
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Lily's school celebrated their 100th day not too long ago, and it was such fun! I found the wig, glasses, shawl, and pin at Party City. I don't know about y'all, but I'm hopeful that I look this good at 100!

 
 And Hadley was not a fan of the wig. Ha!

 
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We also celebrated Rob's birthday at the end of January, and he had a really good day with us spoiling him as much as possible. I gave him a pair of designer jeans (yeah, yeah...I know...), but he needed them! Anyone else's hubby wear jeans that were cool in the 90s but not so much anymore? And I mean that with love! :) He actually really likes them, and the fit is great.
 
The girls love their Daddy...we are really fortunate. He is a fabulous husband and father.

 
 Rob isn't a huge sweets fan, so I didn't bake him a cake. But I'm a firm believer that you have to blow out a candle on your birthday. Individually-wrapped Hostess cupcakes for the win.

 
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We finally hung curtains in our keeping room, and I am loving the way they turned out. For those interested, they're the RITVA curtains from Ikea (I linked them below). We don't have a local store here, but Ikea does ship some items. Shipping was a little high (maybe $10?), but the low price and quality of the curtains more than made up for shipping costs. Seriously, a pair costs $34.99, and most importantly, they're long! Too long...118 inches! It's so hard to find long curtains these days that don't cost an arm and a leg.

RITVA Curtains

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I recently picked up these sneakers for Lily in both the Rose Gold and the Silver colors. They are perfect, and they're less than $14 right now! She loves slip-ons, and I love inexpensive shoes for her because she puts some wear on them!

Perforated Metallic Slip-Ons

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I've got a full day of grocery shopping, laundry, and taking a trip to Office Depot to get Lily's invitations printed. I hope everyone has a happy, happy Wednesday!

 


Friday, January 27, 2017

Valentine's Day Pajamas for Girls

I'm a holiday person. And I'm one of the few people on the planet, probably, who really does LOVE Valentine's Day. Pink and red everywhere and a reason to tell everyone (even more) that you love them? I'm in!
 
You know what else I love? Holiday pajamas. I rounded up some of my favorite Valentine's Day pajamas for girls, and I'd really like one of each for my babes. We don't do big Valentine's Day happies here, but I think a pair of pajamas would be the sweetest gift.
 
My favorites are below. Enjoy!
 
 
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This pair screams Hadley. She loves a good monster, but the set is still sweet.
 
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These are precious, and the price is right!
 
 
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I actually picked these up for my girls because they were on mega sale at GAP. They are absolutely darling on and in person.
 
 
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For those who prefer nightgowns, I thought this one was sweet.
 
 
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Hanna Andersson makes some of the best jammies. These are pricey, but the quality is top-notch.
 
 
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I love the hearts on the knees. Such a cute touch.
 
 
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Two pairs in one bundle. I love them both! These patterns also come in nightgown form if your little is more of a nightgown person.
 
 
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Love the little birdie and umbrella on this pair. And I think white always looks so sweet on little ones.
 
 
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What a fun pair! These remind me of the conversation heart candies (which I, by the way) hoard this time of year.
 
 
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This would make an especially sweet gift on Valentine's Day morning. A pair for your little girl and a pair for her doll! Lily has another set from this same brand, and the quality is great...plus they fit an American Girl doll perfectly.
 
 
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Does anyone else get into holiday-themed jammies as much as I do? Which pair is your favorite?
 
I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend! We plan on it. I'm working tomorrow and am looking forward to spending all day Sunday with my family. Love to all of you!
 
 
 
 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Cooking Made Easy With HelloFresh

**This post was sponsored by HelloFresh. I've very picky about sponsored content, so anything I share is something I truly love. All opinions are my own and were not edited by the sponsor.**


Y'all know I love to cook, but I'll admit I've been in a cooking rut lately. I don't know if I'm still in a post-holiday coma, but coming up with new ideas and going to the grocery to pick up those items has almost been too much.
 
I can't begin to tell you how excited I was when I found out about HelloFresh. Fresh ingredients and recipes delivered to my doorstep? Sign me up. STAT.
 
 
Not only is HelloFresh convenient for those who have too much on their plate (hello, everyone), but it's also a fabulous idea for those who enjoy cooking but are running low on creative juices. That was probably my favorite thing about discovering HelloFresh. The recipes that were delivered to my front door sparked new ideas for me and inspired me to try some different cooking techniques and flavor combinations. The recipes were so simple, and they could easily be built on or changed up a little bit to your individual liking.
 

HelloFresh offers three plans to choose among, and I chose the Family Plan to try out. I liked the idea of recipes that our girls would be willing to test as well. The Classic Plan and Veggie Plan are also available, so I love that there are options that appeal to all.
 
Once you choose a plan, you determine how many people you are cooking for as well as how many meals you'd like to receive each week. It's easy to pause or modify your subscription at any time, and I like that. The folks at HelloFresh select the meals that are delivered to you based on your preferences, but you also have the option to select meals from the weekly menu.
 
Each HelloFresh box contains fresh, top-quality ingredients from independent producers. Another perk? You don't have to be home to receive a shipment. The boxes are layered with wool and ice packs to keep the ingredients (meat included) fresh until you are able to bring them inside.
 

Recipe cards are included in each box with easy-to-follow instructions. Prep time and total cooking time estimates are included, as is nutritional information! The instructions are broken down into steps, with pictures, and I promise this is something that someone who doesn't cook often could easily master.
 
Now, the good stuff. Our meals! Since we chose the Family Plan, we had three meals delivered to our doorstep on a Monday. They recommended we cook the fish first so we did. It was amazingly simple, and the flavors were divine. I'll definitely be making the sauce again and think it'd be good on other fish and even chicken dishes.
 
 
 
 
The next night we tried the Beefed-Up Bolognese, and we really enjoyed it as well. The flavors were fresh, and it made a ton. We had leftovers for two nights!
 
 
 
Our final meal (sad!) was the Spanish One-Pan Chicken, and it might have been our favorite only because we hadn't tried anything like it before. I really liked the addition of the chorizo, and the fact that I really only dirtied up one pan, making clean-up a breeze.
 
 
So who wants to try HelloFresh now? I've got a special discount code just for y'all! To get $35 off your first box, simply enter code LINDSEYLATELY35 at checkout. That makes your first box almost, almost free! It's definitely worth it, my friends!
 
I'm also linking up with many other blogger friends at Simply Every's Mom Life Monday link-up. Check it out here!
 
 
 If you try it HelloFresh, please let me know. Hope everyone has a happy Monday and a great week ahead!