Anchor Ashore: Sawyer is Four! Birthday Party

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Hi Friends!

This past weekend we cruised to the Land of Four on the S.S. Sawyer for Sawyer’s 4th birthday sail-a-bration! We all had such a fun time! I wanted to share some photos and details from the day.

 

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The Invitation

All of our family and friends received Boarding Passes inviting them to sail to the Land of Four with Captain Sawyer.

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Invitation available in my Etsy shop, here.

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As our family and friends arrived, they could grab a sailor’s hat and get ready to set sail! I ordered the hats from Oriental Trading and then stenciled a red anchor on each one using a fabric marker. The Passenger Boarding sign, “Let’s Set Sail” banner, Octopus and Sailboat wall decor are all available in my Etsy shop, here.

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I thought it would be so fun to make some origami boats to have on the different tables outside. I designed them to look like the S.S. Sawyer from the invitation and then I filled them with Swedish Fish, a definite favorite in our house! These origami sailboats are available in my Etsy shop as well. You can find them, here.

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Outside the kids had a lot of fun playing in the sand in the S.S. Sawyer. Scott built the framework of the boat and then I stained it and added the stencil and fabric sail.

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We also did some off-deck fishing and boat races!! :-) These printable signs are available in my shop too. You can find them, here.

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The Food

I had so much fun planning the food for the party. The nautical theme lend itself perfectly to having octopops, pretzel fishing rods, octopus dip, clamshell cookies…and we can’t forget the crab croissant sandwiches and ocean water punch!

I am in love with the cake that Bella Christie’s made for the party. They have made Sawyer’s past 3 birthday cakes and every year they blow me away! This year, I emailed them the invitation design that I made for the party and they coordinated the cake and favor cookies absolutely perfectly. They are so talented! I can’t thank them enough for their beautiful work.

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You can find all of the printable food signs, here.

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A Sweet Send Off

Before all of our family and friends set sail to go home everyone had to stop for a sweet treat to take with them. We had sailboat cookies, and Swedish fish swimming in “ocean water” (blue jelly beans and blue sixlets).

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Favor sign and personalized thank you tags are available in my shop, here.

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A huge thank you to my amazing and talented friend, Jen of Rose Photography for taking such wonderful photos of the day. I can’t thank you enough Jen!

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Every good captain needs a great first mate pup!

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Happy birthday my sweet Captain Sawyer! I love you more than every drop of water in the ocean. May your wild imagination, creativity, insatiable curiosity and love for life never change. Four years ago you made me a mama and I have thanked God for you every single day since. You and Easton are my greatest joys. I love you! Happy Birthday!

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alison_name

Hack the Summer: Fun Things To Do in Pittsburgh

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Hi Friends,

I hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July holiday weekend! Our weekend was filled with family and friends…and lots and lots of water balloons, swimming, grilling, fireworks and red, white and blue festivities!

I can’t believe this summer is flying by so quickly. It’s so hard to believe that next week is Sawyer’s 4th birthday! Where does the time go?

In an attempt to make the most of every minute of this summer, I wanted to share with you today a really fun project that I recently designed for Chick-fil-A Pittsburgh and The Motherhood (in partnership with the bloggers of Brown Mamas, Pgh Momtourage and Sugar Aunts and their community of readers).

I am always looking for great tips and tricks and fun places to visit with my crew for some summertime fun in Pittsburgh so this project was right up my alley! Even though I’ve lived in Pittsburgh most of my life, I didn’t know of most of these hidden gems! Not to mention, most of them are free (can’t beat that)!

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I can’t wait to head out with my guys and give some of these places a try!

Have a great week, friends!

alison_name

 

Pool Noodle Pony

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Hi Friends!

Summer break is in full swing over here. Sawyer has been having an absolute blast at his morning summer camps. Each day has such a fun theme (that he gets so into) and they have been making the most adorable crafts.

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When Sawyer brought home this Pool Noodle Pony I knew I had to share it with you all. How adorable is this?! And it’s so easy to make! You fold over the top of the noodle and use decorative duct tape to keep it in place. Then just glue felt on the top for the pony’s mane and two large eyes on the face.

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How perfect would this be for a Cowboy birthday party? I think I would make a bunch of them and give them to all of the kids as party favors. I’m always on the hunt for unique, inexpensive play/gift ideas. Also, it’s 100% “Sawyer Approved”–he has been playing with it in the backyard so much!

Have a wonderful week!

alison_name

“Mani Thanks” Gift Idea With Free Printable

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Hi Friends!

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Today, I wanted to share a sweet gift idea with you. Sawyer gave these little “mini manicures” to his teachers on the last day of school. I think they make such a cute teacher gift, but they would also be adorable as a bridal or baby shower favor. They are so easy to make…just add your favorite nail polish, hand lotion, and nail file!

If you would like to extend “mani thanks” to some special ladies in your life download my free printable gift tag. I removed the wording at the bottom of the tag so you can write in any message or name that you would like.

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Have a wonderful week, friends!

alison_name

End of the School Year Bubble Gift Tags with Free Printable

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Hi Friends,

It’s officially summer over here!! Yesterday was Sawyer’s last day of preschool. I can’t believe how fast this year went by. It was truly a wonderful first experience of school for him. I couldn’t be happier! He learned so much and made such great friends.

For the last day, Sawyer wanted to give all of his friends a little treat. He picked bubbles from the store. I made these little tags to go on each bottle of bubbles. If you would like to gift some bubbles to your favorite little ones to kick off the summer, download this free printable tag!

I also can’t believe how much Sawyer grew in one school year. I’m so happy I took some first day of school pictures of him so I can compare them with his last day of school photos. Where has my little baby gone?!

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I can’t wait to see what Sawyer wants to include in the rest of his School Days Yearly Record. You can download yours, here.

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On Monday, I’ll be sharing a cute little gift that we gave Sawyer’s teachers.

Have a wonderful weekend, friends!
alison_name

3 Tips for Making Dipped Oreo Pops Easier

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Hi Friends!

This past week Sawyer celebrated his “summer birthday” at preschool. Everyone at his school is so thoughtful and kind. They didn’t want any of the children with birthdays that fall in the summer months to be left out from having the chance to celebrate their birthday at school, so each child had a special day to celebrate their “summer birthday.”

A few weeks ago, Sawyer and I spotted candy eyeballs at Target. He thought they were so funny and had been talking about what we could make with them. So when we realized that Sawyer’s special “summer birthday” was coming up we had a great reason to use those eyeballs…on his birthday celebration treat, Monster Dipped Oreo Pops!

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I’ve seen dipped Oreo pops in the past and figured they couldn’t be that difficult to make so we gave it a try. Sawyer absolutely loved the way they turned out. They weren’t extremely hard to make, but during the process, I definitely realized a few tips and tricks to make them a lot easier.

First, here is a list of supplies you will need (to make 24 Oreo pops):

2 packages of MegaStuf Oreos (You will want extras, because a lot of the Oreos break!)

2 bags of Candy Melts

Lollipop sticks

Candies for decorating the pops (I also bought these Wilton Candy Decorating Pens. But I would not recommend them. I was hopeful since it said on the box that they are made for use on candy melts, but they really did not work well at all.)

A styrofoam block to use as the dipped Oreo pops are drying upright

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 Here are my top 3 Tips for making dipped Oreo pops easier!

1. First, “unlock the magic” as the Oreo commercials used to say and take the top cookie off of the Oreo. Create a little impression in the filling using your lollipop stick. Then dip your lollipop stick in the candy melts and place it in the groove. Then put the cookie back on top. Allow this to set and it will concrete the cookie and filling together. I found that this is so helpful as you start to dip the Oreos. Before I started doing this little trick, the Oreo would fall off of the stick every time I dipped it.

2. As you are waiting for your Oreo and lollipop stick to set (tip #1), take your styrofoam block and pre-punch holes in it using another lollipop stick. Once the Oreos are dipped they become pretty heavy and if the styrofoam is not pre-punched, making the holes as you go will create a wobbly, drippy mess from your pops! Also, another tip, try to find the deepest/tallest styrofoam block you can. I wished the one I bought was even deeper since my lollipop sticks were pretty long.

3. Once you have dipped your Oreo pops let them dry completely before trying to decorate them. I think the only exception would be if you were only putting sprinkles on them. If you are decorating the pops with any other candy, due to it’s weight, definitely let them dry fully first. Then, just dip one end of an extra lollipop stick in your extra candy melts and put a small dab where you would like to add the candy. This is so much easier than trying to add the candy right away and having the eyeballs slide right off the Oreo pops, trust me!! :-)

Well, there you have it! I hope these 3 tips help you to make your Oreo pops a lot easier!

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Have a great week, friends!
alison_name

 

Thanks A Latte Teacher Appreciation Gift Idea with free printable

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Hi Friends!

Since tomorrow is Teacher Appreciation Day I just wanted to share a quick gift idea with you. As I’ve mentioned before, both Scott and my mom are teachers so I see firsthand, on a daily basis how much time, love, energy, and dedication it takes to be a teacher. Let’s celebrate all of the wonderful teachers in our lives tomorrow, and every day!!

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This is the easiest little gift, and a super cute way to dress up a gift card. When you purchase the gift card at Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts, etc. just ask for an extra cup or two. Then just add some krinkle paper, a bow, and this printable tag and you are good to go! I’m including the printable tag with and without the “Happy Teacher Appreciation!” wording at the bottom. I’m also including a version that says “Have a great summer!” so you could use it as an end-of-the-year gift if you would like too!!

You can download the printable, here!

Have a great week, friends!

alison_name

Play-doh carrots

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Hi Friends!

Yesterday, I had the fun opportunity to help with the Easter party at Sawyer’s preschool. I think the kids had a great time at the celebration. We made bunny masks, ate bunny shaped Rice Krispie treats, read Easter books, and did an egg relay game.

I wanted to make a quick, inexpensive little treat for all of Sawyer’s classmates. I know this weekend will be filled with chocolate bunnies, jelly beans and other sugary deliciousness, so I wanted to stay away from candy. Sawyer loves play-doh and I am a huge fan of this flour and salt recipe. I make it all the time! I usually try to blend up different and unusual colors with the food coloring, but a batch of all orange worked perfectly for these carrots. I mixed up the dough, squeezed it into triangular candy bags that I found at Michael’s Craft Store (in the candy section) and then just tied the top with green ribbons! So easy! I think they are so adorable!

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If you are looking for a quick, last little item for those Easter baskets this weekend, give these play-doh carrots a try!

Happy Easter!

alison_name

 

Get daily texts (and a selfie) from Santa!

This post uses affiliate links. However, all opinions are 100% own. For more information, read about my disclosures, here.
 
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Hi Friends!

Fall is in full swing around here. Sawyer has started his first year of preschool. The mornings are crisp and the evenings have become cooler. Some leaves have even started changing colors and falling from the trees. We will be making trips to some local farms for apple and pumpkin picking in the next few weekends too.

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is less than 3 months away! As you can see from Sawyer’s shirt, we definitely “believe in the beard” around here. So I’m super excited to share with you an adorable and fun way to celebrate with your kids during the entire month of December leading up to Christmas…with texts from Santa! The big guy in red (along with Mrs. Claus and the elves) will send a custom text message to you and your kids every day during the month of December leading up to Christmas. The personalized messages vary from festive holiday cheer, to games, to spreading goodwill (example: Do 3 nice things for someone today to help {your town} have the highest number of good kids!). As a parent, I love the spreading goodwill idea! Then on Christmas morning Santa sends a photo of himself next to your stockings or tree in your living room!! (shhh! you can submit the picture for Santa through the website) A selfie from Santa!?! How fun!!

The cost is $9.95 to receive a personalized message every day in December leading up to Christmas. Sign up right here and get into the holiday spirit!

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Also, Texts from Santa is currently running a kickstarter campaign to raise funding for even more fun features for the future. Check out their campaign here and support this awesome company!

This post uses affiliate links. However, all opinions are 100% own. For more information, read about my disclosures, here.alison_name

 

Sawyer’s First Day of Preschool

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Hi Friends!

This fall marked a major milestone in our household…Sawyer started school!! I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that he is even old enough to be starting school but I guess that’s a discussion for a different day. He’s in the 3 year old preschool class that meets 3 days a week and is truly loving it! Just as I had suspected, there were no tears or fears (on his end at least!) with me dropping him off on the first day. He’s only gone a few days and I can already see so much growth and change in him. He wakes up so excited for school. His curiosity and thirst for learning is truly inspiring. At drop off he always gives me a quick hug and then he’s off running to the first activity, never looking back. This is going to be an amazing year watching him grow and become even more independent.

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I originally shared my School Days Yearly Record on my dear friend Abby’s blog but in an effort to capture these fleeting days and years I just had to share it here as well. I designed and created my School Days Yearly Record as a way to see/remember (and document!!) all the ways children grow and change from the first day of school to the last day of school.

A really fun feature of this little record book is that it is completely self-contained. On the first day (or close to the first day) of school have your children fill out the five “First Day of School” pages. Then, just flip the whole book over and on the last day of school have your children fill out the “Last Day of School” pages. You can read all of the first day of school pages, left to right and then when you reach the center of the book, just flip the entire book over and read the last day of school pages, left to right, until you reach the center again. The entire year is captured in this one little book!

To make your record book, first, download the printable, here.

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If your printer is able to print double sided that would be the easiest way to quickly produce your record book. If not, no problem at all. Just print each sheet individually then glue together pages 1 and 2, 3 and 4, and 5 and 6.

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Next, stack all of the pages in the order of the printable PDF. (Page 1 should be facing down on the bottom and page 6 should be face up, on top.)  Then fold all of the pages in half and use a hole punch to make two holes for the spine of the book.

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Then just thread a ribbon through the holes and tie a bow. Now your School Days Yearly Record is complete and you and your children are ready for a wonderful school year ahead!

Have a great school year Sawyer! I am so proud of the little independent boy you are becoming. You inspire me daily and it’s an honor to be your mommy. I love you so much!

alison_name