Sprinkled With Love : {Baby Shower}

Oh how different everything is the second time around haha.  I remember caring about every detail of everything for my 1st child….even the color’s for my shower.  This time around, I told my friends Heather & Julie, they could choose any colors they wanted…and I loved the finished product!  For my shower, or “Sprinkling,” they did a donut/brunch theme with multiple colors….you know, like sprinkles….how clever they are haha.   This post is way past due, but better late than never.  🙂
IMG_4638A big thanks to these ladies for all they did!IMG_4633JOetzell-lo_16They dipped this letter E in actual sprinkles! So adorable!JOetzell-lo_14JOetzell-lo_02JOetzell-lo_21JOetzell-lo_28JOetzell-lo_15JOetzell-lo_33JOetzell-lo_22JOetzell-lo_03
JOetzell-lo_23JOetzell-lo_13I was obsessed with this dress!  I also wore it in my maternity photoshoot.  It’s from Nordstrom’s rack, its not a maternity dress (I just bought a bigger size), and they had it in black as well!JOetzell-lo_17JOetzell-lo_62JOetzell-lo_30A beautiful shot of my eldest Evangeline
JOetzell-lo_37JOetzell-lo_45IMG_4646This was an adorable idea they had:  Every guest made a number/letter block for me, and after the shower, my friend Heather used Modge Podge to set them and I have a whole set of personalized, adorable blocks for my girls.  
JOetzell-lo_35I need to post the finished product, but everyone wrote wishes for my daughter Elizabeth, and my friends made it into a keepsake book to have forever!  


XOXO, Caroline

Mob Gangster Birthday Party {Mike’s 35th}

IMG_4126This mob gangster birthday party was open house style from noon to 10pm with people coming and going all day.  There were classic mob movies playing round the clock, multiple outfit changes by the birthday boy, and multiple meals (subs, spaghetti, cheese and crackers, and much more).  The hostess kept calling me her “Poppa”….as in her paparazzi since I was taking all the pics haha.  I couldn’t stay the whole time to get pics of the whole night but what I got was classic and I had a blast!  Happy Birthday Mike!

IMG_3948The idea was to make the place feel like an old fashioned Italian restaurant.IMG_3950The mantel was decorated with things like pasta, wine, grapes, corks, olive oil and balsamic.IMG_3962IMG_3961IMG_4005IMG_4009Wine for days!IMG_4045IMG_4019The bar had lots of extra props for those who didn’t come dressed as gangsters.IMG_4072IMG_3946There were cigars, tommy guns, gum, pipe cleaners, and firecrackers lying around.  
IMG_3985 IMG_3999 IMG_4002Had to sneak one of my girl in there with her “gangster” glasses on.  IMG_4017IMG_4024The birthday boy in his first outfit taking people for a spin in his Corvette. IMG_4026Some luxury cars were taking up the driveway.IMG_4032I just love the little touches of Mike’s outfit.  Not only was he wearing this ring, watch and track suit…but he had a gold chain, a gun and harness under his tracksuit, gold glasses, and blue contacts. IMG_4036The hostess with the mostess in her mob-wife attire!…..it suits her.IMG_4058The birthday boys second outfit and grand entrance.  
IMG_4065Getting a boutonniere pinned by his mob-momma.  IMG_4068IMG_4071IMG_4078 IMG_4079 IMG_4081One of the games people could play was “lock picking.”  There were tons of locks with bobbi pins, paper clips, and other tools for people to try and successfully pick.
IMG_4086The hostess handling business.IMG_4088 IMG_4097Walter White aka Heisenberg sighting!!  Def a gangster!IMG_4115One last pic:  Selfie of me with some of my faves wearing no gangster attire!

A Valentine’s Day Picnic : {Evangeline’s First Birthday Party}

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Last year I went into labor on February 13th and we were sure that we were going to have Evangeline on Valentine’s Day.  But of course she didn’t come until February 15th at 7:18am.  Even though we just missed it by a few hours, we still call her our Valentine’s baby. So when it came time to pick a theme for her 1st birthday party there was no contest; A Valentine’s Day theme!…hearts galore!  I had so much fun dreaming up the party, and then actually carrying all those things out (with the help of some awesome friends)!  I may have gone a little overboard…the house looked like a love bomb exploded in there haha. Happy Birthday my sweet Evangeline!

DSC_8174DSC_8177When people first walked in there was this sign with instructions on the party and the picnic basket of bubbles for the kids.

DSC_8149The “Love is Sweet” garland was purchased on Etsy here!DSC_8414My friend Jenna told me about where to purchase this sign on Etsy here.  I purchased the photo, had it printed at Costco for under $5 and mounted it on black poster board. DSC_8096I bought the cake toppers here! See my Healthy Cake Smash RecipeDSC_8394DSC_8067IMG_3419DSC_8095I bought these at the $1 section at Target.DSC_8144I am in love with this table runner I got on Etsy here!  See my always soft Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treat RecipeIMG_3440DSC_8211She loved looking at pictures of herself.  I kept saying “Who is that baby!?”IMG_3443DSC_8196DSC_8172I made these gorg mason jar gold glitter “vases” special for the party…now they decorate almost every room in my home and I love it!IMG_3458DSC_8326My good friend Claire was nice enough to make some heart shaped PB&J’s for the younger ones who weren’t into the taco bar.
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DSC_8216DSC_8383DSC_8447We had a decorate your own heart shaped cookie table as a party favor.

DSC_8449DSC_8594DSC_8541Evangeline’s adorable dress was purchased at my favorite Etsy shop for girls dresses: Twinkle & Whim
DSC_8654Children enjoyed the parachute games, park play ground, and bubbles.  DSC_8683DSC_8693DSC_8721See my Gold Heart Piñata DIYDSC_8924The piñata was a little too tough to break for the kiddies so my husband ripped it apart.DSC_8974The end result of the cake smash….no cake smashed haha.  Thank you Karla & Heather for decorating the high chair! DSC_9045We were so blessed by our friends and family.DSC_9058We had to sneak in a costume change to try on one of her new outfits while she played with her new toys. DSC_9004All tuckered out!  It was a great party with our lil’ nugget.

Healthy Smash Cake : {Healthy Banana Bread}

IMG_3412When it came time for my daughters 1st birthday party I immediately got nervous about her cake.  I know it’s tradition to give your child their first bit of sweets on their birthday but I desperately didn’t want to.  Now TRUST ME when I say I am not judging other moms that have, this is personal.  I am someone who LOVES sweets and has struggled my whole life to eat them in moderation…and I guess I don’t want my daughter to have that struggle.  Also she has already had sugar haha.  I came home from work one day to find out that my mom had fed my daughter donut holes for breakfast (this was months ago btw)…so she has had enough for the year.  Plus I already struggle with getting her to eat the fruit and veggies on her tray over her toast and meats…so why add another food distraction for her?  (My little sister was like this….I think she would only eat Cheeto Puffs and macaroni and cheese for the first 5 years of her life haha).  Anyway, so in order to give E a smash cake, I decided to make a healthy banana bread cake.

The Bad News:  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a healthy frosting so she got regular whipped vanilla frosting.  AND she didn’t eat any of the cake or frosting at her actual party!  In a nutshell she had a meltdown with frosting all over and wanted out of that chair ASAP.

The Good News:  The day before when I was leveling off the cake to make even layers I gave her the excess and she loved it!  (With no frosting) 

And who cares that the picturesque cake smash didn’t go as planned haha…I have enough “cute” moments with this girl to last a lifetime!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 Individual Unsweetened All-Natural Applesauce Containers
  • 3tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp Nutmeg
  • (Optional): Nuts & sugar or natural sweetener such as honey, agave, or stevia

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
IMG_3369 Rachael Ray says instead of peeling bananas and mashing them, squish them inside the peel, then peel and place in the bowl.  Supposedly when using bananas to cook with, it helps make the bread fluffier. 
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My bananas were not fully mashed which left chunks in my bread…this wasn’t a problem for me, but if you don’t want chunks, then take a spoon and mash the bananas down a little more in the bowl.IMG_3383I didn’t measure the applesauce, I just used two of these individual containers.IMG_3374Combine applesauce, bananas, yogurt and vanilla.IMG_3378 Beat the eggs prior to mixing into the applesauce/banana mixture.IMG_3379 In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, then combine with the wet ingredients.IMG_3382Pour into two 6″ greased cake pans.  (Just divide the batter in half), bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  (Toothpick center of cake to make sure it is done).
IMG_3385You can see the banana chunks in mine.IMG_3398Clearly I didn’t divide my batter in half haha! (Do as I say, not as I do).  Let cool on a wire rack.  It’s a pretty solid cake and won’t break easily, so let them cool flat side down.  IMG_3401 Once cakes are cool, level off the tops using a sharp knife.  (I used a serrated knife)IMG_3404After in was leveled and cooled I placed them on top of each other to ensure they were level and then placed on a cardboard cake base prior to frosting.  This is key because you need to be able to move it from your cake stand to the high chair!DSC_8955

Gold Heart Piñata : {DIY}

DSC_8719When it came time for my daughter’s 1st birthday party I immediately started looking for a heart piñata since it was a Valentine’s Day theme…but I couldn’t find one anywhere!  So I decided to make my own. Trust me when I say this isn’t as cool as it sounds, it is cute, but making it myself made me so nervous it wouldn’t hold together.  LUCKILY it did!…a little too well haha…my husband had to end up breaking it himself.  FYI I seriously just made this up as I went along so if you decide to make one feel free to change things. photo 1 (9)I started by taping large pieces of paper together so that I could trace my giant heart.

I Folded the paper in half and drew my heart.  I then cut out the paper heart and traced it onto cardboard. (Luckily I had a giant cardboard box from a wagon we bought).  Then with an x-acto knife I cut out the hearts.photo 4 (6)photo 1 (10)photo 5 (5)IMG_3325Confession:  I have no ruler, I measured the side panels with a C.D. lol. 
IMG_3327 I bent the side panels and just began glueing them onto one of the hearts.  IMG_3331Things to keep in mind (that I didn’t): 1. Make an open flap for where to put the candy 2. Poke holes at the top and string rope through PRIOR to placing final heart hahaIMG_3359 After placing the last heart on top I taped all the edges just to make sure it was really secure.  IMG_3367IMG_3360 I covered my piñata with gold mylar using the hot glue gun again (But you could cover in anything).  Since I wanted a side of it to be fringed, I cut strips (about 3″ thick) to fringe.IMG_3362To fill it with candy I cut a little square on the top of the heart, then glued and taped it back shut.  Super easy!  (DON’T cut the whole on the bottom).

Fresh Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad

Years ago my husband and I went to Puerto Vallarta for vacation. On the beaches of Puerto there are many places where beachfront restaurants cater to you with cool towels, cabanas, drinks, etc. as long as you buy their food. We would hang out at these places all day, tasting different dishes, reading, and getting our bronze on. One of these dishes was an amazing watermelon and goat cheese salad. It was my first time having goat cheese and I loved it!

So when thinking of a fun summer salad to make for Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q shower last week, I thought trying to make that phantom watermelon and goat cheese salad would be perfect! But when looking online for the recipe I couldn’t find one just like the salad I remembered…so I took the only watermelon/goat cheese recipe I could find (this one), and altered it a little. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • Lettuce (I buy organic spring mix blend)
  • Blanched Slivered Almonds (In Puerto it had toasted pine nuts…both are delish)
  • Thin Sliced Red Onions
  • Cubed Watermelon
  • Crumbled Goat Cheese (If they only sell it solid that is fine…just be sure to cube it small)
  • 1/2 Cup of Orange Juice (No pulp)
  • 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
  • Salt & Pepper (About 5 dashes each)

{With this salad the only thing I measure is the dressing ingredients…everything else I just throw in depending on the size of salad and taste. For example the onions really bring out a different flavor in the salad…which I love…but not everyone loves onions so you may adjust it. Also, I usually double the dressing ingredients and store in the fridge for multiple uses.}

Directions:IMG_1628 IMG_1629Cube the watermelon

IMG_1632Thinly slice the onions. I have a mandolin and I sliced, then chopped them to make them smaller.

IMG_1634Combine olive oil, orange juice, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper.

IMG_1640Whisk/blend ingredients….I used a milk frother (you will need to do this before using every time because the liquids separate).

IMG_1643Combine dry ingredients with lettuce, add dressing to taste, and toss!…This isn’t tossed but just a taste test for me before the party…you know….just to make sure its good!

IMG_1783Tossed and at Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q

Quick Vanilla Peach Jam : {Shower Favor}

IMG_1690My friend Heather called me a few weeks ago and asked, “Hey friend, do you want to make jam?” Umm YES! I love jam (Apricot and Boysenberry are my fave FYI)…hopefully this doesn’t sound weird but I love it not only because it is delish, but because it is so pretty! Anyway, she wanted to make it as a favor for our friends Karla & Jason’s Baby-Q Shower that she was throwing. What a great idea! Party favors can be so boring…it’s nice to get one you can actually use. (For the record at our wedding we had a boring favor (a C.D.). Yes I got married when they still made C.D.’s). Heather found this recipe on Pinterest for a Peach Freezer Jam.

The Good News: It takes a lot less time to make than normal jam.

The Bad News (Sorta): It stays fresh in the fridge for only about 3 weeks. (But you can keep it in the freezer for a year).

We followed the recipe and only changed it slightly. That’s what I like most about the recipe; You can change it! Add different fruit, different juice flavors, combine fruits, etc. It’s just great to have a jam recipe that doesn’t take long to make! Thanks Recipe Girl!

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened white grape
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • One 1.75-ounce package no-sugar-needed fruit pectin (or 3 tablespoons from a jar)
  • 5 to 6 medium peaches, peeled, diced and coarsely pureed in the food processor (3 cups of puree)
  • 1 cup granulated white sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Five 8-ounce freezer-safe glass jelly jars

Directions:

IMG_1467IMG_1463IMG_1468 IMG_1476Put peaches in a pot of boiling water until the skins loosen (about a minute). *NOTE: The longer you leave them in the water the less firm your peaches become and they could break down…..so keep an eye on them.IMG_1477IMG_1479Then transfer peaches to a bowl of ice water for 30 seconds.
IMG_1473IMG_1475Peel skin off the peaches (this is the fun part).
IMG_1484Chop peaches. IMG_1480Puree the peaches roughly. (You don’t want them completely smooth)
IMG_1486IMG_1490Bring grape juice and lemon juice to a boil. Then whisk in the pectin completely and let it boil for 1 minute.
IMG_1491Stir in 3 cups of peach puree, sugar, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. IMG_1495Bring back to a boil and keep at a rolling boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat.IMG_1498Divide the hot mixture between the jars (ours made more than 5 for some reason and we used tupperware which worked great too), leaving 1/2-inch room at the top of each jar . Place the tops on the jars and let them sit at room temperature until they are completely cooled off (12 to 24 hours). Then refrigerate or freeze!IMG_1504IMG_1911Attach a label or instructions to the jars for a cute favor!

Backyard Baby-Q : {A Chic Couples Shower}

IMG_2129This past weekend my friend Heather threw a backyard Baby-Q couples shower for our good friends Karla & Jason Reed. Karla (who is an instagram fashion icon…be sure to follow her, @karlareed) has a very classic look and style which Heather wanted to reflect in the simple shower design. When you think colors for Karla you think primary colors…especially navy blue. But Karla is having a girl so Heather decided to incorporate fuchsia, flamingos and touches of gold….it turned out so fun! It was a great evening of good food, good convos with friends, and celebrating baby Charlotte! I can’t wait to meet this girl!

The Food : {Straying away from traditional barbecued hot dogs and burgers, the food was unique, delish, and homemade but simple to put together!}

  • Pulled Pork & Pulled Chicken Sandwiches (Served on Hawaiian Rolls)
  • Cole Slaw
  • Mac n’ Cheese
  • Watermelon Goat Cheese Salad (Recipe coming Thursday)
  • Cornbread (Both traditional and Jalapeño served with cilantro lime butter)
  • Baked Beans (Topped with bacon strips)

IMG_1720IMG_1706IMG_1698IMG_1678IMG_1672 IMG_1670IMG_1726 IMG_1728We put dem boys to work. IMG_1736Apps: Deviled Eggs & Peach, basil, and mozzarella bites with balsamic glazeIMG_1738 IMG_1712Beverages: Mojitos (Jason’s Favorite), Melon No-Jito’s (A fresh honeydew melon non-alcoholic Mojito) & BYOB (There was a great variety of brews).

IMG_1754Loved Karla’s gold tipped nails, gold bow ring, and gold dress! Get it girl!IMG_1753Heather (the shower genius) with Karla.IMG_1783 IMG_1787IMG_1803 IMG_1817IMG_1807IMG_1846NBD Jason kills spiders….with a golf club.
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IMG_1733Love the gorg SoCal sunset!
IMG_1935IMG_1929Yeah…this happened. IMG_1955 IMG_1960 IMG_1917IMG_1995Gotta love it when good friends do the dishes mid-party for you! IMG_2043#teamjohnstonIMG_2074Karla & IIMG_2001IMG_2034Dessert: Ice Cream Sundae Bar & Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Buttercream Frosting

IMG_2058IMG_2083IMG_1690Party Favor: Homemade Vanilla Peach Jam (Recipe Coming Tomorrow)IMG_2098Let’s end with a salute shall we? Salute to the great evening we had all together! (For the record we had a serious discussion on how to properly salute…pretty much a professional saluter now)

Gearing up for Gatsby : {The Great Gatsby Viewing Essentials}

the-great-gatsby-2012The Great Gatsby (TGG) is available to own TODAY!

TGG is not only The Great American Novel according to most critics, but a story I personally love!  So when I found out the movie was being re-done (nothing against Robert Redford) I was so excited!  Especially when I found out Baz Luhrmann was doing it because I love his style…especially in Moulin Rouge and Rome and Juliet.

There is something magical and mysterious about Gatsby, his life, his home, and just that whole era in general….it’s inspiring!   Here are a few fun things that inspired me as I prepare for my Gatsby viewing….And of course I will be listening to the soundtrack all day today!

Gearing Up For GatsbyLinks:

H&M Chiffon Dress $49.95

Bauble Bar Gold Crystal Gatsby Pendant $34

Caesar Salad Recipe

SusietheSun Eternal Summer Jeweled Headband $135.6

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Peterson Rustic Wedding Reception

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We were invited this last weekend to a rustic style wedding reception for our friends Kiersten & Jared. They did such an amazing job transforming this park clubhouse into a romantic dreamland that I had to take some pics. I can’t help but appreciate all the work that was put into the little details of this party to make it so special.

Thanks friends for the invite and allowing us to celebrate with you! XOXO

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IMG_0188The hubs and Baby E

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