Handmade Coupon Book Gift: {With My Cricut}

IMG_6047 My husbands birthday just passed and when I asked him what he wanted for his birthday, he said coupons!  Coupons for things he rarely gets to do…like sleep in, now that we have kids.  I love that he loves homemade things and doesnt want me to spend money! Handmade coupon books are an easy and quick gift to make…and if you have a Cricut Explore machine or any other cutting/crafting machine…it gives them just a little bit of a cleaner more professional look.

In my Cricut Design Space…I simply went to “Insert Images,” and typed “Coupon,” and this was an option to be printed.  What I love is that it is perforated so it can actually be torn off for “redemption.”

IMG_6040This is the first cut-out.IMG_6043The inner piece is a seperate cut out and I also had the cricut write “Good For:” to give it a more profesh look.  Then I just glued them together prior to filling out.  IMG_6042 (1)IMG_6045Then I just filled them out! (I hate listening to talk radio on the AM station…the dull buzzing gives me a headache!)IMG_6044It’s coupons like these that make me want to request a coupon book for my next bday haha!IMG_6046I’m sure there are better ribbons or fancier ways of tying this…but I could only find brown ribbon and I knew he wouldn’t care haha.  I just weaved it through the holes and tied it all together….I probably should have made the bow in the front… oh well!IMG_6039I also used the cricut writing feature to write “Matt’s coupon book” on the front.

Simple and easy gift and my man loved it!

If you are looking into a Cricut, be sure to click the Cricut banner on your right for $50 off your machine!

XOXO,

Care

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

30: Not so Dirty or Flirty


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“Dirty Thirty” and “Thirty, Flirty and Fabulous” are just some of the many sayings that women adopt in their vocabulary when the big 3-0 approaches.  For some the idea of turning 30 is so scary that this is their coping mechanism.  And for others, perhaps, these sayings embody deeper thoughts like “Hey I’m not old, I’m still hot…just because I am 30 doesn’t mean I’m dead!”  While the root of these phrases is empowerment I don’t fully identify with them because I am not necessarily dirty or flirty… just 30 (too bad “Clumsy and Thirty” doesn’t have the same ring to it).

A few years ago when one of my good friends was turning 30 I asked her how she felt about it.  Her response was, “Good…I am just entering my prime.”   She said it so casually as if my question was not one to be entertained.  The idea of turning 30 didn’t scare her but rather excited her.  I on the other hand was scared of 30 and the idea of getting older, but at the same time envious of her attitude.   Why did she have a better outlook on life and why was she enjoying herself more than me?  I was in my 20’s after all…I should be feeling sorry for her.  I didn’t have to worry about gray hairs, moisturizer, or crows feet.  In my opinion the 20’s were everything and she was leaving them!  How depressing!  I mean the 20’s are about discovery, new freedom, youth, exciting beginnings, late nights, carelessness, etc.

But the more I surrounded myself with her and her friends that were “in their prime,” the more I actually wanted to be in my prime.  I discovered that “being in your prime” wasn’t about a number or for someone just in their 30’s, but it was about perspective.  It was about knowing yourself, being an established person, being confident, and choosing to enjoy life (despite your crows feet)- because life is precious and should be enjoyed!  They didn’t need to keep looking back longingly at their 20’s because they were content and excited about where they were.  And that is empowering.

So as 30 approaches for me I am not going to let the number intimidate me, or wish I had my 20’s and youthful skin back (after all there’s always Botox).   I am not going to parade around saying I am dirty or flirty, but proudly “I am 30”.   And as people begin to ask me “How are you feeling about turning 30?” I will simply answer, “Great, I am in my prime.”