Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer Bucket List

For me, Memorial Day is the official start to summer, and I wanted to share with you a few of the things that are on our summer bucket list as a little family of three! 

Most of the items on this list are simple activities our family can do as a way to spend quality time together.  This is the first bucket list I've made, but I think it’s something I want to continue doing each season - filling it with our favorite things, places we've wanted to go and things we've been eager to do.  

So, I’ll get right to it, here is our Summer Bucket List for 2014:

What's on your summer bucket list?  I'd love to hear!

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Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day Weekend Wrap-up

Happy Memorial Day, friends!  How was your weekend?  Mine was jammed packed - definitely not one of those relaxing, "go with the flow" type of weekends.

We'll start with Friday.  Friday night was spent at a graduation party for Ryan's cousin.  It's always great getting to spend some time with extended family!


Saturday morning was perfect weather for a short, six mile run with a couple of friends.  My half marathon training is officially over after this week - the race is Saturday (eek)!

Later that morning, I headed out with my sister for a little garage sale hunting.  Unfortunately, we didn't find much -better luck next week!

The afternoon and evening was spent outside playing football in the backyard...

...and patio sitting while enjoying one of these!

I love you, Summer!


Sunday, Ryan and I woke up bright and early to drive up to the lake!  Ryan's parent's were nice enough to invite my sister and cousins out to enjoy the day, too!  We spent the day grilling, boating, tubing, and sipping a few drinks!   The weather was cloudy, but little did we know how much sun we were actually getting!  Nothing says "long weekend" like the first sunburn of the year!


Today (Monday), was spent back at home to begin the first phase of our landscaping project.  Let me tell you, I totally understand why people hire this stuff out.  H-A-R-D-W-O-R-K!  This was our second time landscaping.  We did a large landscape project at our previous house and vowed that if we ever moved again, we'd buy an older house with mature landscaping.  HA, yah, right.  If you've been following my blog, you know that our plan didn't really work.  Oh, well, it'll all be worth it when it's done.

Here are a few pics of the project so far:

We've still got quite a few plants to put in the ground - more to come when it's finished!

Have a good night!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Party Planning

Rowen's second birthday is coming up in exactly two months, and I've officially given myself the "green light" for planning!  Eeek!  I love party planning - and with the help of my very party-savvy sister, I can't wait to get started!

This was the party my sister and I planned last year for Rowen's first birthday (post taken from my other blog, RPSDesigns).  Check it out...

About a month ago, we celebrated my daughter’s first birthday!  I cannot believe how fast this first year has gone by!  The day could not have been more perfect, it was a bit windy, but it was warm and sunny and that was enough to please me!

My sister was my biggest help in planning this party!  I keep telling her that she needs to open a party planning business, but of course she wont listen to me.  Anyways, I spent the last few months deciding on the perfect theme for the big bash.  I knew the party was going to be outdoors and wanted a theme to go with the setting.  So after scouring through hundreds of Pinterest pictures and other blogs I finally found the perfect theme...LADYBUGS, and I had a great idea for the invites!

 Now normally everything I do is digital (I have zero patience for crafts), but for this party I made an exception.  Each ladybug body was hand cut and then assembled onto a card stock invitation.  In the beginning I was really nervous that the final product would look like a third grade art project, but was pleasantly surprised how good they looked when all was said and done!  I finished off the invitation with a bright red envelope a fancy wrap label (love them!) and a thank you card to match! {For a tutorial on these invites click here}

I rented out a local park shelter for the location, and then drove straight to Hobby Lobby to buy up everything ladybug-ish I could find to decorate!  The main colors were red, black and white with pops of yellow and green added in for more of a summer look.  It turned out great!


Next came the food.  We did a grill out for everyone and then had cupcakes for the guests and an 8 inch smash cake for the birthday girl!  I ordered grass green cupcakes with little ladybugs and a simple, white smash cake with red piping.  I then found a lady on Etsy to design a custom cake banner!


We had an incredible turnout of family and friends and we felt so incredibly blessed to have our little girl surrounded with so much love and support on her big day!  


The girl is 100% spoiled rotten!  There is no doubt about it!  She received tons of new toys and clothes for her birthday, more toys and clothes than we know what to do with! 


Thank you to everyone who came, celebrated, and wished our little lady well on her 1st birthday.  Even though she may not remember it, the pictures/videos and memories we will most definitely share with her someday as a reminder of the amazing people she has in her life!

Photography by Alisha & Julie Photography
Ladybug Dress: Dillards
Ladybug Bib: A Baby Notion
Cake Topper: Especially Paper
Cake/Cupcakes: Bevs Cakes
Picture Banner: DIY 
Ladybug Frame: DIY 
Flower Pots: IKEA & DIY

I'll be sure to post this year's party pics here in a couple of months, so stay tuned!

Monday, May 19, 2014


I’ve been slacking recently on Weekend Wrap Up posts.  The month of May has been a crazy, busy month, so today’s “picture dump” is my attempt at catching up!

Here are pics from our last two weekends!  Enjoy...

Last weekend, we took a walk to get ice cream with Rowen’s best friend, Gabriele...

....painted a bird house for Grandma Susie's birthday...

...and spent Mother's Day out at the Lake... 

...where she experienced her first boat ride!  (Side note:  yes, she wore a life jacket - boat was parked here)

This past weekend we had ice cream with daddy...

...spent some quality time with Grammy and Grampy at the park...

...enjoyed the sunshine with a new toy...

...and then wrapped up the weekend with pizza!

Short but sweet!  :)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Five on Friday

Just a little over a month until it is officially summertime!  I cannot wait!  Here are Five things I am most excited for this summer…

1. Happy Feet:  Essie came out with their Summer 2014 collection and I want it – loving every color!  I cannot wait for painted toes and flip flops!

2. Fruity drinks:  Check out this health blog offering recipes for lots of mouthwatering drinks without all the calories.  Can’t wait to sit on the back patio and try a few!

3. Party: Rowen’s 2nd Birthday is coming up in July and I am slowing starting to plan her party!  It won’t be anything big, but I can’t wait to celebrate with family and friends!  Here's a pic of her smash cake last year!

4. Farmers Market: The Des Moines’ Farmers Market is something I look forward to every summer!  There is nothing better than waking up early, grabbing a cup of coffee and strolling through the outdoor market.  Every year the event seems to grow with new vendors – I can’t wait to see what’s out there this year!

5. Pool: This weekend we plan to buy our pool pass!  The pool is about a mile from our house and I fully intend to take Rowen there at least once a week!  I’ve also signed her up for swimming lessons!

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Rowen's Springtime Favorites

1.  Little Tykes Endless Adventures Spiralin' Seas Waterpark:  Rowen has something very similar to this that she is obsessed with at daycare.  I think we are going to add it to the top of her list as a potential birthday gift.  It'll be perfect for the warm weather days ahead!

2.  Fubble Bubble Wand:  By far the best bubble wand we've found to date!  Some of the other bubbles we've tried are nothing but a sticky, slimy mess.  The Fubble brand however is not, and makes bubble play much more fun!

3.  Treehouse Organic Apple Juice:  We don't give Rowen a lot of juice, mainly just milk and water, but the other day I caved.  I thought they would be perfect for her to sip on during warm days playing outside! She's loving them!

4.  Cozy Coupe Car:  Rowen was gifted this car by my parents at Easter and it is by far her favorite outdoor toy!  She loves being able to drive it herself and even pretends to fill it up with gas - so cute!

5.  Kinetic Sand:  This stuff is AWESOME!  It's the the perfect activity for indoor play and doesn't make a mess!  It's even fun for the parent's to play with, too!

6.  Circo Jegging Short:  I am normally not a huge fan of the Circo brand at Target (it tends to shrink), but when I saw these shorts on sale I decided to go for it.  Then, when I realized how well they actaully fit Rowen I went back and bought two more pair!  The length is great (right above the knee) and the material is stretchy enough to allow for comfortable play - I definitely recommend them!

7. Cherokee Infant/Toddler Hair Clip:  Rowen FINALLY has enough hair that I can start pinning it back with little clips, and these work great, plus they're cute!

8. Keen:  If you're looking for a durable summer shoe that will allow your child's foot to breathe, yet at the same time keep their toes protected, then I highly recommend Keen sandals!  Rowen was given a hand-me-down pair from a friend, and so far we are loving them!  I anticipate buying her another pair before the summer is over!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

May = Pork

For many people, the month of May means warm(ish) weather, budding flowers, Mother’s Day, and Memorial Day.  For the folks at the Iowa Food and Family Project, May means PORK!  The Iowa Food and Family Project is an initiative I learned about a couple of weeks ago when I was given the opportunity to chat with 12 other Iowa Bloggers at a local meet-up.  The Iowa Food and Family Project's main goal is to connect Iowa's families to the farm families who grow and produce the food put on their plates at meal time  - very cool!

Since the meet-up, I've been inspired to cook more.  I've mentioned in previous blog posts that cooking is definitely not one of my favorite pastimes, but since having Rowen, it’s become more apparent that if I want to feed her healthy, well balanced meals, cooking is something I am going to have to learn to do – and like!

So with that being said, this past Mother’s Day weekend, I set out (with Ryan’s help) for my first ever attempt at the grill!  Is it sad that I didn't even know how to turn the thing on?  True story.

Our normal "go-to" meal on the grill is usually chicken, but in honor of May being Pork month, we decided to switch it up! 

Check it out…

Hawaiian Fusion Chops

(4) Boneless 6-8 oz. Iowa Pork Ribeye Chops
(1) Small can pineapple rings in juice (not syrup) – retain 1 tablespoon juice
2T Soy Sauce
2T Brown Sugar
1t Ground Ginger
1t Onion Powder
1t Garlic Powder

We started with the marinade:

Combine the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, ginger, garlic powder and onion powder in a small bowl for the marinade.  Mix with a small whisk or fork to incorporate the brown sugar until there are no lumps.  Place the chops in a zip-lock bag (I find the freezer bags work best), and pour in the marinade.  Be sure to squeeze out as much of the air in the bag as possible before sealing it up!  The marinade will only need 20-30 minutes to soak in.

Then we fired up the grill: 

Grill the chops for 7-10 minutes per side depending on your grill.  Make sure to turn the chops only once to seal in as much juice as possible!  We also grilled the pineapple slices alongside to be placed on each chop.

Serve with your favorite fresh seasonal vegetables (we sautéed asparagus, red onion, and portabella mushrooms) and white or brown rice for a healthy, light tasting meal with a savory Hawaiian flavor.

There you have it!  A grill-easy meal for the month of May! 

In about 10 minutes, my plate went from this...

to this....

So delicious!

Anyone else have any pork recipes they'd like to share?  We'll definitely be grilling pork more often so I'd love to hear them!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five Randoms on a Friday

1. Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!  I will be celebrating my second Mother's Day as a mom and am very excited to spend some quality time with my little booger this weekend!

2. Before Ryan and I became parents one of our favorite things to do together was watching movies.  Now though, I don't think I've seen a movie in MONTHS!  I hope to catch up on these soon! Anyone recommend one over the other?

3.  I am in the midst of organizing a play room for my daughter.  I thought it was finished until the other day when I stumbled upon this awesome fabric website.  I instantly thought of another small project for which I purchased these fun, fabric prints!  Blog post coming soon!

4. Guess who finally joined Twitter yesterday?  Yep!  I attended an Iowa Blogger Meet-up last week and all the other bloggers were talking about Twitter and how well it works with blogging. I realized I was missing out, so I decided to join the fun!  I currently have 5 followers (how sad) help me out, follow me @EDConfetti  :)

5.  So far May has been a very exciting month...why you ask?  Well, if you follow my blog you know that my husband and I are on the path to being debt free and we are SO close.  We just paid off our LAST EVER student loan (over a year and a half early)!  I could not be more excited!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

Operation: Organized Garage

Over the past few weekends, Ryan has slowly been chipping away at organizing the garage. We've accumulated so much {for lack of a better term} crap in our garage since the move, it’s almost overwhelming!

One of the must-have items on our house-hunting list last summer was a three-car garage.  We knew we’d be collecting quite a few bikes and toys as Rowen got older, and having adequate space to store them was a must!

From the outside, it doesn't look like we have much more than a two-car garage, but looks can be deceiving!   Our garage is what they call a two-car tandem, meaning it's extra deep (extends the depth of the house), giving us a little over 850 feet to work with!

Although our work in the garage is not yet done, I thought I would go ahead and show you a few organization ideas that seem to be working well for us so far!

As I said, it’s not finished yet, but it’s getting there...

I have a few trips to Goodwill and a garage sale planned in the near future!  I'll be sure to do another post when it's completely done!

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The Grits Blog