Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our Favorite Gifts For The Holidays

Well, the time is upon us and I am currently looking at our Christmas Tree and a pile of presents waiting to be wrapped to go underneath it (there is a never ending to do list this time of year, right?) I LOVE buying gifts for people and honestly find more joy in watching them open their gifts than recieving them myself.  I am going to apologize to my friends and family members in advance, as this blog is going to let them know what they are getting (so stop reading now if you want the surprise! HA!)  You all know how much I love a personalized gift and this year we have a slew of products just waiting to be personalized at every price point!

This year Ella has two teachers and in the past I have made crafts for them, but this year I came across these adorable monogrammed scarflets and at $24 each, they are a steal!  How cute are these?
They are available in brown, aqua and red.  We also have these clever monogrammed scarf slides for only $11 each!  They are such an easy way to update your favorite scarf and another great teacher or mother in law gift!
Speaking of mother-in-laws, Rick's Mom will be getting one of our beautiful aprons with her monogram on it (of course) and at only $25, that's a pretty good deal!
Meanwhile, all of the men in my life (brothers, brothers-in-law and father-in-law) will all be getting our monogrammed rosewood pocket knife.  I gave one to Dad for his 60th Birthday and he just loves it!  They are beautifully made and have 11 tools, plus they are only $22-not bad!
And the kiddos in the family are getting the super cute splatter craft aprons.  They have three pockets in the front and are perfect for everything from cooking in the kitchen with us to finger painting their hearts out.  Oh yeah, and these are only $16.99!
I hope some of these products have sparked ideas for you and can help finish off your list of who's been naughty and nice.  Ground shipping can still get to you in time as long as you place your order by December 14th!  I have about half of mine here now and need to wrap them up before Owsley wakes up (trying to wrap presents with a 14 month old teetering around is not so much fun!) but feel free to email me with any questions you may have and know that I will personally email you confirmation of your order before we go into production!  Happy Holidays to all and good shopping as well!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ella's 4th Birthday (PSA Essentials Cupcake Style)

It's official, I am the mother of a big kid.  No more toddler talk for Ella, though we have known for a while now that she is quite grown up.  Sunday afternoon she gathered her favorite girls for an afternoon at the ballet school.  All the girls came in their princess/dance attire and I may have even been caught donning one of Ella's tutus...
Miss Jess (our dear ballet teacher) led the girls in an hour long dance class where they danced themselves silly!

I had a blast doing all of the decor and favors, shocker I know, and put the colors pink and purple to work!
I had each of the girls places set with their favors...a tiara and a wand, of course!  I tied them together with a simple pink bow and labeled them with a key chain stamped with crowns and pointe shoes from the PSA Peel & Stick Cupcake set.  It is the ultimate in girlyness, with leotards, purses, cupcakes and butterflies, oh my!

It was tu tu cute (pardon the pun, I just had to!) and Ella had such a great time with all of her buddies!  She is such a big girl now and I am so proud to be her Mommy!  Happy 4th Birthday Ella Bell Ballerina!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Holiday Cards With PSA Stamps!

It's hard to believe that the time of year is already upon us to start thinking about sending out Holiday Cards!  Now that we have children, it seems more important than ever to do them.  It really is a great way to let people see your children growing (for the sector of the population that doesn't check Facebook hourly) and what all you have filled the past year with.  We have already started compiling the pictures for our Christmas Card and there are quite a few, so this year I think we are going to use this clever card from Tiny Prints.
I LOVE this card!  It has many options (and we know I love options!)  It is also great because, instead of being tossed onto a pile of other cards, folks can hang it on their tree as an ornament-adorable!  The option for multiple photos also really appeals to me so that I can tell our friends and family a story through the pictures of what all has happened in our lives over the past 12 months.  A few of these pics will definitely be making our card...

So many to choose from and so many stories to tell!!  Another way to really top off the personalized Holiday Card is with a PSA Holiday Stamp.  They have some adorable choices this year and there is something for everyone's liking...
The best part about these is that are compatible with the entire Peel & Stick line.  All you have to do is have your family name and address on the outer ring and then you can simply order the next season's (or whatever the occasion may be) Peel & Stick set, remove the Holiday center and VOILA you have a year round stamper, ready for Valentine's Day cards (and yes, we have been known to do a Valentine's Day family card, lol!)  The Gammon's will be using the Snowfamily this year, just in case you were wondering...

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Little Miss Monogram Goes To Paris

Paris is my kind of place!  On my first trip to Europe, it was the perfect place to start!  In addition to my dearest friend Libby, we were accompanied by our beautiful mothers on the vacation of a life time.  The four of us toured the city for 5 days and boy did we cover some ground!
Cynny and Libby have been to Paris on a few other occasions and with their guidance we did that city the right way!  We toured the Louvre, the Pompidou, the l'Orangerie and (my favorite) the d'Orsey.  I never knew that I enjoyed art as much as I did once I saw it all up close and in person.  The Impressionists really hit a home run with me, but it was thrilling to see all the different era's of art in such amazing surroundings.
We also visited all of the required sites (like the proper American tourists that we are.)  We stopped by the Arc de Triomphe, Notre Dam and the Eiffel Tower.  We also made it to the top of Paris and went to Sacre Coeur, which grabbed my heart for the beautiful setting and amazing stain glass.
Now, to the good stuff.  Literally, the good stuff, like Foies Gras, Escargot and French wine in plethora!

The eating was phenomenal!  I have never enjoyed so many consecutive meals.  We went to so many different places ranging from the local dive to the most she-she of establishments.  Strange thing was, the small, local places were our favorites! They just had the intimate feeling that all of us had in our minds when we conjured up what a Parisian meal meant to us.

Between the sight seeing and the eating, we even managed a touch of shopping!  While perusing the streets, we came across some famous monograms
I love finding a good monogram anywhere!  It's just a reminder of how a few simple letters can make such a mark!
All in all, it must be said, that this one truly goes down in the books as one of the greatest trips ever.  Making memories for a life time with friends of a life time!  C'est la vie!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dad Turns 60 And We All Benefit!

Well, it was another long weekend in the Blue ridge Mountains as we all came together to celebrate my Dad's Big 60th Birthday.  Mom made sure it would be a night to remember and she no doubt succeeded!  Sev flew in from Colorado to surprise Daddy and Knox had to work, but all in all, we were there together.
It was the most perfect fall evening we could ask for and the party planners in us took off!  There was a large white tent brought in just for the occasion (you would have thought it was a wedding!) and a 6 piece band showed up with their sound guy in tow to treat us all to some great hits from the 60's and 70's.  Dad's buddy Bobby Mentzer has a roaming BBQ trailer called "Bobby-Q" and he was there to spoil us with pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw and home made mac n cheese (we love our Southern food, if you haven't caught on by now...)

 It was quite possibly the biggest shin dig we have thrown up there!  Mom, Robbie and I also went to town decorating the inside of the tent and surrounding tables.  We went with the whole Festive Fall theme and had a ball doing all of the tables and center pieces!  Mom even had a table full of pics of Dad through the years.
I also used a larger version of our wooden tray to make a yummy cheese platter to hold folks over until the main course was served.
It was such a fun filled night and many of Dad's old high school buddies showed up, as well as a bunch of the younger generation, who love him almost as much as we do.  He's a pretty awesome guy and we were lucky to celebrate such a monumental birthday with him!  Thanks Pa Chunk for all you do for us and know how much we adore you! (Now, can we do it all again next year and just say you're turning 60 again?  I've done it with 29 for 3 years now!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Another Daughter, Another Birthday

So in the last post you got to see the super cute Halloween Birthday Party we threw for Miss Ella and that kind of made me realize, ummmmm, may need to start planning for her party this year! Geesh, the time is flying by!  She is going to be 4 and I just cannot believe it!

She is very into her ballet and princess world right now, so when we were thinking of a theme we decided to go with "Ella Bella Ballerina."  For those of you who have not had the joy of meeting Ella Bella Ballerina, she is a magical little girl brought to life in a series of wonderful stories by author James Mayhew.
He has written on Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella, and as much Ella adores him.  We found an invite on Tiny Prints that resembles her quite a bit and ordered Ella her own PSA Essentials "Princess" Stamp.  We also added the "Cupcake" Peel and Stick pack to the order as it is the ultimate in girliness with cupcakes, lady bugs, purses, ballet slippers and, of course, a tutu.  We stamped our hearts out on the outside of the invite in order to let the guests have a sneak peak of what the theme would be and we are pretty pleased with the turnout if we say so ourselves!
We also had a good time changing out the inks and playing with both the grapefruit plain and the grapefruit/espresso dual ink pad.  That's what was really fun about this craft, Ella is old enough to get involved and PSA Stamps are a real no mess way to let your kids just stamp away. (And believe me, I am a no mess kinda Mom!)

Probably the coolest part of this whole theme was that I wrote an email to the author himself and he was so thrilled by the idea of it that he wrote a blog about it himself.  Make sure you check it out and read a few of his books, he truly is a gifted writer and illustrator.

Monday, October 3, 2011

How Do I Love Halloween, Let Me Count The Ways....

Halloween may be one of my favorite holidays of the entire year.  Why, I truly cannot figure that out but I will tell you that is has been a life time obsession of mine.  Now don't get me wrong, I am not all into the fright night, gothic, ghosts and goblins thing...it's more like carving the pumpkins, roasting the pumpkin seeds and making the pumpkin bread.  And now that I have kids, its all about finding the perfect costumes for them.  We also love to break out all of the fall decorations for inside and outside the house.  There is a whole tub in the attic waiting to be brought down this coming weekend!

Last year, Rick went all out for Miss Ella's pumpkin and carved her a Tinkerbell Pumpkin.  It was quite the beauty compared to the other three in our family patch out front, but she deserved it...it is pretty close to her birthday after all.  As much Ella had a Halloween themed third birthday last year.  We had it on Halloween, so all of the kiddos came in costume and ready for some treats (and tricks....)

Soooo cute, right?  The pumpkin buckets had double duty as they were filled with favors and had all of the invitees names on them to use that evening.  This year the girls will both be collecting their goodies in our personalized buckets
These will look so adorable with their matching Strawberry Fairy costumes (don't worry...plenty of pics to follow!)  But back to last year's birthday party, the tricks came out when we played quite possibly my favorite party game EVER!!!!  We tied donuts to a string, hung from another string, made the kids stand with their hands behind their backs and eat their donuts....
It was epically hysterical and required about three boxes of baby wipes to clean off their faces, but we all adored it!  Afterwards, we went our separate ways and gathered up enough candy to fill their buckets a few times over.  Maybe that is why I love Halloween so much, it is always so memorable.  Last year more than ever so, as it was our first holiday as a family of four.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Tough "ONE" To Top

When you name a child Owsley, you must take the responsibility of doing things differently for that child.  Her first birthday party was no exception!  You have seen the crafting and the invites that have led up to the big day, but now I can share with you the beautiful pictures and reactions that came along with her big day.  The Sandbox Party Room was transformed into a nautical wonderland and our favorite local bakery (Ronnie's) took our ideas and ran with it.

We also took it to the next level by adding her Monogram to the top of the sandcastle with our Little Miss Monogram Acrylic Cake Toppers.  The whole name would have been cute, but can you imagine the size of the cake that would have required-ha!

All of her friends began to arrive and they played through out the Children's Museum.  It's always so much fun to see the babies that used to roll around next to each other now share toys and give each other hugs.

After some play time and Mommy catch up time, it was time for Ows to smash her cake.

There was very little smashing, as she's kind of a light weight!  She was sugar wasted!!!!  Not long after, all of our friends began to head out, but not before we gave them all of the favors we had been working on.

Then, the greatest thing started happening that evening!  Friends were calling to say how much they enjoyed the CD mix and the Orbit Labels.  Even better, a few of them sent us pictures with their Orbit Labels in use

Here is Miss Emma Rose with her pink Orbit Label on her pink sippy cup (the girls likes pink, can you blame her?!?) And then there was Silly Uncle Mike who sent us this shot

You know, in case he forgets his last name?!?!?  Interesting new use Uncle Mike!  Good to know that they are also a highly fashionable accessory!

On a serious note, we appreciate everyone that was able to join us for this ever so special day.  We love all of you and thank you for the love you have shown our precious baby girl!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Fabulous Favors

So the big day is upon us and Miss O will be smashing her cake tomorrow afternoon!!!!  I know she has no idea what is going on but I am simply beside myself!  Last night I finished putting together all of the favors for the kiddos and adults alike.  I mean, everyone loves to leave a party with a little goodie even if you are over the age of 5!  Sussie and Lisa helped me craft the favor bags and I did a simple PSA stamping (much like on the invites) for the CD cover

The tater tots at the party will be walking away with the incredibly awesome orbit labels by Inch Bug that we all know I am obsessed with!!!

Meanwhile, the adult attendees will be leaving with something that is very special to both my husband's and my hearts.  When Ella was born, we started a play list on our iTunes of songs that just made us think of her.  She was our "Everything" by Michael Buble, our "Little Miss Magic" by Jimmy Buffet and thanks to the chart topper of that year she was our Ella, Ella, Ella, "Umbrella" by Rhianna (though we went for the more toned down version by Taylor Swift.)  Every time I hear one of the songs from her play list it brings a tear to my eye and makes me think of our sweet baby girl.  We decided we wanted to share this with all of of family and loved ones that come to her first birthday party and made them each a copy of "Ella's Mix" to enjoy themselves.  My Mom still calls me every time she puts it on in her car.

So to follow suit, Owsley has quite the play list of her own.  Owsley had a rough first few months due to acid reflux and colic and I remember just saying over and over to her "What can I do to make you smile?!?" and then I would sing her Tim McGraw's "Just To See You Smile." So that makes the list!  My husband and I also have a slight hippie side and one of the first sound engineers for the Grateful Dead was a dude named Owsley Stanley.  Now hold up here, because we are not that hard core!  Take peace in knowing that she is named for my Great Grand Mother's maiden name, just a coincidence my husband finds awesome!  In honor of this there is a little "Sugar Magnolia" on there as well as "The Waker" by Widespread Panic.  And to round off her list is Katy Perry's "That's What You Get For Waking Up In Vegas," cause not everything that happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, got me?  Her CD is fun and makes me smile when I think about how much it matches her personality.  I know it's a simple favor but it means a lot to u to share it with our friends and someday, when the girls are old enough to get it, hopefully it will be special to them too!  Almost like a scrapbook of memories set to music....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Keeping The Memory Alive

On Monday evening we lost my Dad's mom.  Her name was Mary Day Martin and she was the epitome of a character.  She was 88 years old and everyone in her town knew her and knew her well.  She often quoted Thomas Fuller by stating that      "Fool's names, like fools faces - Are often seen in public places" and as much, tended to stay close to her home, though her home with my grandfather Johnny was often rocking. 

Growing up, some of our favorite memories with them were their monthly porch parties.  This was no small shindig.  The porch around their cabin had as much living space as the inside of their home and come party night it was filled with rows and rows of tables and a plethora of chairs.  Folks from all over the county (did I mention they lived in the country...and I mean COUNTRY) would arrive with their most famous dishes and the food was beyond dynamite.  Us kids would drown ourselves in the ambrosia, boiled custard, home made cobblers and bundt cakes.  In the mean time, there would be a band of locals playing their guitars and mandolins and on the special occasion a few of the women would break out their clogging shoes.  It was an incredible time.

Mary began to loose her battle with Alzheimer's about the time I was in college and she didn't make it to our wedding though I did have the opportunity to introduce her to Ella on a few occasions
And then, just recently, when we knew that she was in quite poor health, we took Ows to meet her as well.  Neither of them may ever remember the moment, but my Dad and I always will
That woman could cook like no one I have ever come across (well next to Johnny.)  We would go out to her garden and pick okra only to come inside and her fry it up fresh.  Her biscuits were like air and her chicken and dumplings could make any day better. I am trying my best to help Ella learn some of her dishes and we are spending a lot of time in the kitchen together
I need to get Ella out of the princess dress and into one of our kiddo aprons to match mine http://www.littlemissmonogramshop.com/index.php?p=detail&pid=277&cat_id=, as my Mary always had aprons on us when we were covering her entire kitchen with flour, only to make her laugh.  I am going to miss her dearly but hope that we can keep her memory alive, especially through her cooking.  Don't you agree that food just takes you back?  It will always take me back to her kitchen.  I love you Mary and will miss you dearly.....