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CELEBRATE | Ella's Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Party

Monday, March 31

I am beyond excited to finally be sharing Ella’s Rainbow Unicorn Party today.
It was an exclusive feature on HWTM last week which now allows me to post freely all of the photos and details here on the blog! Yay! 

Ella started dreaming of a Rainbow Unicorn Party months before her big day. When I asked her what kind of party she’d like to have I shouldn’t have been surprised

ELLA | Tuesdays are when the magic happens

Thursday, March 27

Tuesdays at my house have become my favorite day of the week.
It's my day to take Ella to our local library before she heads to pre school for the afternoon.
She's got her own library card now and looks forward to swapping out her current five books for five new ones. (We picked the number 5 since that's her age and it completely eliminates the need for me, or her, to remember how many books we need to return every week).

This week, however, Ella did not want to return one of the books we found last week…Carrot Soup.
She was really upset about the thought of having to take it back so we re-checked it out and have it for another 5 days. She's been enamored with this adorable story about a rabbit whose carrots go missing in the field after he's worked so hard to plant and harvest them. He'd been so excited to finally have carrots to make his very favorite soup.

There's even a simple recipe included on the very last page of the bookand I've already made it!
It's DELISH. (I'll be sharing it on the blog soon).

I love the crumbs stuck to the back of the book - 
she was hiding her face because she was done with me taking pictures. Ha!

Books are magic. Strangely enough I didn't feel that way when I had to read them as a kid. It felt more like a chore or a good way to lull myself fast asleep. Guess I just wasn't reading the right ones? I remember my friends being peculiarly into them and not understanding AT. ALL.

This all changed though when I became a mom. I vowed to read to my kids before bed every night and that's when I really developed a love for reading. It's truly one of my favorite routines and trust me when I say I get into character. I do "voice-overs" and sometimes get creative by singing the books instead of reading the words...just to spice things up a bit. *wink*

This week, when we re-checked out Carrot Soup…we also brought home one of the books I remember reading (and actually loving) as a child: The Little House.  For whatever reason, I remembered it one day in the library and asked if they happened to have it. They didn't have it and had to order it from another library so I was thrilled it was there when we came this week. It's such a charming little book and I find it interesting that the elements of a story I adored as a child actually define the very essence of my personality today as an adult…touching on things I adore and things I hold near and dear to my heart today… cute little cottage-style houses, country living, open fields, star-filled skies, nostalgia, family history, and  giving new life to old architecture, etc. 

Anyone else remember this story too?

Anyway…on this particular day, Ella was on the kitchen counter reading Carrot Soup to me and as if that wasn't magic enough…what happened next was even more magical.

I had the window cracked open a bit (and the french doors to the back patio open). Ella laid her book on the counter as the sound of the wind coming through the screen caught her attention. Next thing I know, she begins plucking off the petals and leafs of some wilted flowers we'd put in small bud vases the week before.

Ella discovered the wind coming through the window created just the right amount of "pull" to hold the petals and leaves up against the screen. I know it sounds silly but it truly was magic in Ella's eyes and the magic for me was in her sweet intrigue…and the fact that she was taking the time to do this.

I was mesmerized by her sweet little five-year old fingers and hands gently pulling and placing each leaf and petal…just as much as she was fascinated by the wind holding everything in place.

And then I took a moment to snap a picture from behind because I know one day, Ella will be too big to sit up on this counter; Too big and too busy to pick petals anymore. The quality of the photo isn't all that great but you know what…it doesn't even matter. I simply wanted to record how small Ella is right now, at five years old. She's tiny compared to the size of the window but we all know how quickly this will change. Her curiosity will change too…because we all know as we get older we don't take the time to engage in the magic of the world all around us. I'm so grateful today for moments like these. Tuesdays, for me, really are when the magic happens. I wish it could be Tuesday every day! *wink*

Reading books to Ella is a ritual I look forward to every most nights. (sometimes when I find myself having to work on the computer after dinner I get irritated having to stop and interrupt my train of thought on the particular project I'm in the middle of). On those particular days, it never fails. As I march my grumpy self to the couch to meet Ella with the book she's picked, my heart kicks me in the gut as I look at Ella's sweet little face and realize yet again…these days are numbered.  Having 2 older girls 10+ years older than Ella makes the reality for me that bedtime routines change dramatically as they continue to age and I will ache for the days when she was small enough for me to cuddle in my arms and young enough to actually still WANT me to read her a book. I experience that ache right now with Clara and Ema.

CAKE | Healthiest Cake on the Planet

Tuesday, March 25

It's "Fresh Fruit Cake" time around here again! Yep! Ema asked for her favorite birthday cake for the THIRD year in a row. She actually asked to help make it instead of letting me surprise her with it. She gushes about how much she loves this cake every year and this birthday was no different.

We still used a watermelon as the base and much of the same fruits but we did add tangerines and pomegranates (one of Ema's favorites) this year. I think it's the prettiest cake yet. We're getting pretty good at this, don't you think?

It's seriously the best cake ever (unless you absolutely don't like fruit), because this cake can be eaten by anyone. There are no added preservatives. People with food sensitivies or allergies are good to go. Family members who are watching their weight will be relieved there isn't a big ole tempting sugar-laden cake staring back at them. Parents who are tired of feeding their kids refined sugar or are avoiding HFCS will love you. And those health fanatics avoiding sugar, wheat, gluten or dairy just may choose this for their own birthday cake…you watch!

All you need is some fresh fruit, toothpicks and an imagination and you've got yourself the healthiest cake on the planet.

If you are thinking it's going to be difficult to slice with all of those hidden toothpicks - it's actually surprisingly easy. Just use a long sharp knife and cut it just as you would a traditional birthday cake…in slices. When you serve the slices the toothpicks should be removed prior to eating - especially before you serve it to young children.

Now…I have seen some people slather their fresh fruit cakes with cool whip so the watermelon is hidden underneath and it resembles an iced cake. However, Ema's whole goal in her original request for fresh fruit as a birthday dessert is to keep things healthy - why ruin a perfectly healthy cake?

See the step-by-step process from THIS POST on how to create a Fresh Fruit Cake.

Watermelon (base)
Pomegranate Seeds

Making a fresh fruit cake is NOT cheap.
But you could do a mini-sized version by selecting a smaller watermelon as the base and only adding a few different fruits.

Now…I'm off to dig my toes in the sand at the beach with all three of my girls!
Looks like it's going to be the only halfway sunny day this entire week so I'm planning on making the most of it!

Pssst…Ema has already taken (and passed) the test to be given her Learners Permit so we'll be heading up there on Friday for her to have her photo taken and to make things official! (I can't believe she is 15). Craziness!

CRAFT | Amy Tangerine Plus One Paper Crafting Collection

Thursday, March 20

This project post is a part of a paid marketing campaign with Snap. 
Although this post is sponsored the project idea and all opinions expressed are my own.

I'm super excited to be sharing lots of eye candy today!
I was fortunate enough to have been selected to try out some of the new adorable Amy Tangerine Plus One Paper Craft Collection.

Before I show you what I ended up doing…I want to show you how seriously cute these products are! 

Amy Tangerine Whittles
(adorable decorative  mini wooden clothespins)

Amy Tangerine Alphabet Embroidery Stencil Kit
for incorporating easy stitching elements into your paper crafting, t-shirts, tote bags, scrapbooking, etc.

More pieces of the Amy Tangerine Alphabet Embroidery Stencil Kit
orange pad to protect surface when using the poking tool to pre-punch holes into your craft item 
along with some cute thread and needles.

Amy Tangerine Thread Kit
Extra thread colors to be used with the embroidery stencil kit

Amy Tangerine Roller Date Stamp and Mix Tape
A quick fun way to add a date and sentiment to any paper crafting project. 
And who doesn't love mini washi tapes in fun colors and cute designs?

Amy Tangerine Letter and Number Sticker Book
A fun way to add names, words, sentiments to your paper crafting projects

Amy Tangerine Roller Date Stamp, Mix Tape, Adhesive Bagdes and Fabric Brads
The adhesive badges are like those buttons we all know and love except they stick on instead of pin on.
Fabric brads are a simple way to add a pop of color to your scrapbooking page.

An even closer look...

Amy Tangerine Rub-Ons
Use the wooden popsicle stick to transfer these rub-ons onto your 
scrapbooking or other paper crafting projects. How fun are these?

Now that I've gotten your attention…before we dive into what I ended up making you need to know
the Amy Tangerine Plus One Paper Craft Collection will be for sale on HSN, on March 24th! Mark your calendars! This collection was the top selling signature line released in Winer 2014 and sold out in most stores and online. I'm telling you this because when the Amy Tangerine Plus One is up for grabs on the 24th at HSN there will be FIVE discounted bundles starting at just under $20 bucks…so I have a feeling they'll be selling like hotcakes.

The bundles will include a basic kit, embroidery kit, embellishment kit and a stamping kit.
BONUS: The sold out Plus One Project Life Mini Kit will also be available at a discounted rate.

Let me show you what the kits look like…

If you are into paper crafting and scrapbooking you've got to be completely excited right about now!


For my first project, I was inspired to use the beautiful coordinating Amy Tangerine Plus One 12x12 acid-free paper to create this…

"XOXO Before You Go" - 15x30 Canvas Art Print

This is a new little sentiment we have started saying around our house…inspired by the "Hands-Free Mama" book I've been reading. It's a gentle reminder to kiss and hug each other before leaving or going about our day.

All I did to create all of those colorful hearts was use THIS HEART CRAFT PUNCH 
and almost every sheet of pretty decorative paper from the Amy Tangerine Plus One 12x12 pad.
(The gold glitter hearts are from my own personal stash)

After letting the "XOXO Before You Go" sentiment dry after painting it onto the canvas using black acrylic paint, I filled the rest of the canvas up with the paper hearts. I layed them out to figure out placement before gluing them on. I then added a little Amy Tangerine Adhesive Badge - the pink one with the house and heart was too perfect for the finishing touch…don't you think?

For some added texture, I pulled the sides of each heart away from the canvas so they looked 3 dimensional. I decided to leave the gold ones flat since the glitter card stock was thicker and I personally think it adds a little more interest. (that's the artist in me talking - ha!

Simple, right? Canvas + Pretty Paper Hearts + cute sentiment = Instant Home Decor. I love it.
You could even eliminate the sentiment altogether and just do a canvas filled with nothing but paper hearts!

So then…
it was time for my next project.
Although I was only asked to do one project, I really wanted to get my feet wet again with scrapbooking. It's been awhile and I've had the itch to get going again for some time so this was the perfect excuse to dive back into it!

I decided to use a photo from Ella's birthday photo shoot since the colors from her Rainbow Unicorn Birthday Party blended perfectly with the color scheme of the Amy Tangerine Plus One products. Yay!!

Do you love it? I think it turned out really, really cute!

Here's a bit of my process…
I used an 8x10 piece of white card stock as the foundation for my scrapbooking page because I knew I wanted to actually frame (without glass) and hang this when I was done.

I first figured out where my photo was going to go and then I built my layout/design around it. I used this stencil from the Alphabet Embroidery Stencil Kit to poke holes into my white card stock.

I stitched the thread onto my paper using the colors to match the cute rainbow colors from Ella's party.
I then added two black arrows from one of the rub-on sheets. 

TIP: See the extra pieces of rub ons I accidentally transferred onto my paper? (see below)  Look above and below the black arrows. Those of course weren't supposed to be there. Oops! No biggie. I ended up using a white eraser to remove those. It worked like a charm. I rubbed gently but firmly until they were gone to avoid damaging my paper.

See…the extra rub ons magically disappeard. So then I got my black ink pad and stamped "love love love" right underneath the arrows using the Amy Tangerine Date Stamp.  Just because I thought it was cute!

The words "Look…she's five" are handwritten 
and then I added some gold glitter mini hearts I punched from gold glitter card stock. 

The Amy Tangerine adhesive badge was a really cute accent and the criss cross lines in it matched the word "Look". 

I added the Amy Tangerine Whittles to the layout using Glue Dots and inserted hand cut strips of paper with Ella's name, the date Ella turned five and a couple more stamps from the Date Stamp.

I added some strips of the Mix Tape to two corners of Ella's photo and there you go…my very first "come-back" scrapbooking layout in about 7 years and Ella's very first scrapbooking page EVER - thanks to Amy Tangerine + American Crafts.

I love how it turned out and Ella was delighted to see it when it was finished.

It's definitely been awhile since I've scrapbooked like this.
I had forgotten how much I enjoy it and how relaxing it is to get creative in this way.
I've been inspired to create a birthday album for Ella.

Now…to get that layout framed and hung will be my next project so I can call it officially finished!

1. I messed up on the first canvas when painting the words on it. I had to start a whole new canvas.
2. Ema was jealous that I chose to do a scrapbooking page for Ella instead of her when she's the one that's been begging me to get back into it for a couple of years now. She just LOVES looking at the ones I made for her and Clara. Despite her jealousy she gave me a thumbs up on Ella's! *wink*
3. My studio is a freaking disaster area right now from these fun projects! Ha! *blushing*

FREE | Monthly Printables Blog Hop :: Spring Art Print

Tuesday, March 18

Spring has definitely sprung here in Florida!
My trees are blooming (the purple one in the photo came straight from my yard) and I'm keeping my fingers crossed we actually get peaches from our fruit trees in the back!

To help welcome the new season, I've designed this really special art print that I'm totally in love with.
It's a soft watercolor art print with a really sweet and simple design. I'm just loving the color palette and the entire vibe this is giving off. Makes me happy every time I look at it.

I want you to be happy too so how about a FREE downloadable 8x10 or 5x7 of this art print for each of you? (see the links below to download).

Spring Has Sprung Art Print

I really do love how this turned out and I hope you do too.
If the FREE Art Print from me today didn't make you happy enough…
How about some MORE FREE Easter/Spring Printables…

Yep…it's time for THE MONTHLY…

Remember... I'm joining up with 7 other amazing bloggers to bring you a YEAR FULL OF FUN, FREE PRINTABLES! (See the freebies from January and February)

 Check out all of these cute FREE Spring/Easter Printables we've created for you this month:

Just click on the links below to start 
"HOPPING"(visiting) each blog to score the corresponding FREE goodies!!

1. HWTM (Hostess with the Mostess) 
2. Nest of Posies 
3. NoBiggie 
4. Catch My Party 
5. Kori Clark - Paper & Pigtails 
6. Skip To My Lou 
7. Living Locurto 
8. Pen N' Paper Flowers

St. Patrick's Day may have been yesterday but you've GOT to be feeling LUCKY right about now seeing all of these adorable free designs? Am I right?

Make it a great day everyone!

The watercolor art print is actually completely digital - but it looks like the real deal, doesn't it?
Hey, I won't tell if you won't tell? Deal?

CRAFT | Darling Mini Gold Glitter Banner

Monday, March 17

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!
I'm celebrating with this adorable mini gold banner I made and these really cute "Gold at the end of the Rainbow" cupcakes.  Both are super easy to put together too.

I think the mini banner turned out so cute and it's a darling idea for any celebration.  Find out how to create it in minutes -  details over on The TomKat Studio.

And how cute (and simple) are these cupcakes with gold foil-wrapped chocolate coins? So quick to assemble you could run out right now and pick up some cupcakes and gold chocolate coins and have them ready for when the kids get home from school today. I got my cupcakes from Cupcake Delights and picked up my gold coins at the CVS counter - right there with all of the other candy selections that beg for your attention as you are checking out! 

The green pearl candies from Sweetworks were just what I needed to add some adorable St. Patrick's Day lucky charm to the cupcake presentation. LOVE them!

Looking for that adorable cupcake stand? Find it RIGHT HERE!
This mini gold banner will go perfectly with the FREE Gold "Kiss Me" Banner I shared on SNAP! earlier this month.

And don't forget the FREE She is the Gold Art Print...
Hope all of these free printables are making you feel lucky today! *wink*

I don't get much into the St. Patrick's Day holiday spirit aside from wearing making sure the girls know to wear a little green to school so they don't get pinched. I actually prefer to focus on the gold and cupcake rainbow aspect of it all. I actually experienced a little bit of "mom guilt" the other day when I realized Ella didn't know what a leprechaun was. *blushing*

It was Em's birthday yesterday…
I'll be posting the details of her cake soon.
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