Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Cookie Mason Jars

So, it's been a SUPER long time since I last posted! Like, a crazy long time. I'll address our goings on another time.... And I plan to be back in full force (I hope)! Today I want to share with you a cute Christmas gift idea. If you're looking for teacher gifts, neighbors, etc., this is a perfect solution. It's no secret that the Smith family is on a major budget. We also have a ton of people to gift this year between the hubby's coworkers, school teacher, dance teachers, etc. I was totally freaked out trying to come up with something affordable for so many people. Baking always comes to mind, so I searched Pinterest (duh) for a yummy cookie recipe. But how to package them in a cute, creative way? Mason jars! They are too cute, and you can do just about anything with them. So here's what I ended up doing.

I chose a recipe that I found on Pinterest for soft and chewy dark chocolate sugar cookies as my main cookie. You can link to the pin here. I totally wish I could take credit for this deliciousness, but all the glory goes to The Baker Upstairs. Genius! As a backup I used a recipe for chewy brown sugar cookies, also from Pinterest (here), thanks to Sally's Baking Addiction. Both cookies turned out AMAZING! The chocolate cookies were the standout though. I did love the brown sugar cookies, but the chocolate got RAVE reviews from everyone my husband works with, so I'm making another giant batch this week. You could bake just about any cookie for this.

Besides the cookies, the only other things you need for this little project are Mason jars and ribbon. I always use grosgrain. Just a personal preference. Anything works. I didn't measure, but I would estimate I used about 2 feet of ribbon per jar. Also, make sure you buy wide mouth jars, otherwise you'll be making some tiny cookies. :) Once you're done baking and everything has cooled, put your ribbon inside the jar like this.

 This is for decoration, but it also helps to get the cookies out when you're ready to eat them. Load your cookies in one at a time. I did some jars with just chocolate, and some with alternating chocolate and brown sugar. Anything goes!

When you've filled your jars to the top, take a break and let them settle for a bit. I noticed that a little while after I filled and sealed the first batch, they settled so much I could have added 1 or 2 more cookies in some jars. You just want to give it a few minutes so you don't end up with a big empty space at the top of your jars. Then the tops can go on, and you can tie a pretty bow! Viola! I also added hand stamped Christmas ornaments that I made to the bow for an extra something. You can be creative!


I'd love to hear some of your creative gifts on a budget! And if you try this, let me know!


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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Giggles & Glitter Spa Party

I posted not that long ago about Mason’s eighth birthdayparty, so I wanted to follow that post up with a more detailed one. I couldn’t resist, being that it was possibly the cutest little girl party ever! I can’t take the credit for that though, it has to go to Jessica and Jordan with Giggles & Glitter.
Giggles & Glitter has two locations. The original in Nevada, and it looks like a second one in Southern California. Basically, they come to your house, and bring just about everything you need for your child’s party. They have several different themes to choose from, including princesses, fashion show, and even a pirate theme for the boys! We chose the spa theme, and Mason had her girlfriends show up in their jammies.  Giggles & Glitter brought a gorgeous tablescape, complete with linens, centerpieces, and individual manicure stations. The also provided a hair station, glitter lotion craft station, and the best part, the pedicure station! The threw some super cute blankets on one of our sofas, and had foot spas for the girls. Could you just die? The only things we had to be responsible for were invitations, food, and favors! So easy, right? They show up an hour before your party begins to set everything up, and then they basically run the whole show, so you can play hostess and just enjoy your child’s party! It doesn’t get much better than that!
We just set out the food so the girls could snack all through the party whenever there was downtime. Mason is a SUPER picky eater, and I wanted the food to be stuff she liked, so we went really simple. I did a veggie tray, lots of fruits, finger sandwiches, tortilla roll ups, along with pretzels and goldfish. Instead of cake, Mason wanted a waffle bar. Hubs to the rescue! Eric whipped up a few different kinds of waffles for the girls, with lots of toppings to choose from.

G and G’s party ran pretty smoothly, especially considering we had 12 girls (and about 5 parents!). Each girl got to put on a cute spa cover up, then we started with all the girls around the dining table for manis, facials, and makeup! Kind of a tight squeeze, but the girls didn’t mind!


After the first station, some kids escaped to the backyard to play, which was fine, and others stayed inside to take advantage of the hair styling and pedicures. Jessica whipped the girls hair into amazing  styles complete with glitter! AND each girl got to take their hairbrush home with them!

The pedicure station was a huge hit! Three girls at a time were able to have their toes done by Jordan, and others waited their turn and read magazines. This might have been the cutest thing I’ve ever seen!    


I brought out Mason’s bead collection so any girls that didn’t want to partake in these activites would have something else to do. Luckily it was a beautiful day in Vegas and we were able to open the back doors and take advantage of the sunshine in the backyard!


After everyone had their hair and toes done, they got to make their own glitter lotion and decorate the bottle!

After an adorable group photo, Jessica and Jordan started packing up their stuff, and it was waffle time! I actually think this was the kids favorite part of the whole party! I love that Mason wanted to do this instead of cake. We had regular, chocolate, and cinnamon roll waffles, with maple syrup, icing, whipped cream, chocolate syrup, and sprinkles for the girls to build their perfect waffle. Everyone sang Happy Birthday, grabbed their ice cream (Blue Bell of course), and headed outside to chow down!

While everyone was eating  the Giggles & Glitter ladies to finished  packing up their things and headed out! I just need to rave about them one more time. Jessica and Jordan were so wonderful. They were so sweet to all the girls, did an AMAZING job, and once they were gone you couldn’t even tell they had ever been there. I am so impressed with this company, and all the other moms that stayed for the party were as well. In fact, one mom is already planning to schedule her daughter’s party with them! They really took the stress of party planning off of me, so that I could enjoy the party as it was happening. What a gift to be able to see the joy on my little girl’s face, instead of running around trying to take care of everything. Thank you Giggles & Glitter for making Mason’s birthday party such an enormous success!
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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Sequins and Polka Dots


I have to be honest, my life is SO not glamorous. I'm a stay-at-home mom. I volunteer at my daughter's school and drive back and forth to the dance studio three times a week, in between household chores and trips to the grocery store. I'm not one to slump around in yoga pants everyday, I do try to look put together. But my look overall is very casual.  When the hubs and I do get a chance to go out, I try to take full advantage! A sequin tank and blazer are always a great last minute go to for dinner! And I LOOOOVE my polka dot pants (hubs does not agree).
What are some of your favorite looks for date night?
Sequin tank: TJ Maxx (similar here) / Blazer: Express (old - similar here) / Pants: Target (similar here) / Tassel Necklace: GroopDealz / Clutch: Aldo (old - similar here) / Pumps: Calvin Klein (from Ross) / Lip: Revlon Love That Pink
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Thursday, March 13, 2014

Giggles and Glitter

Mason turned 8 years old back in January, and I can't believe how fast my baby girl is growing up! She hasn't had a birthday party in a few years, so we promised her she could do pretty much whatever she wanted this year. The holidays are always crazy, and I have such a hard time catching up, that we JUST had the party this past weekend. Better late than never, right?
This year Mason wanted a party at the house. At first I was super excited about the prospect, because I thought it would be cheap and easy, and no fuss. but the more I started thinking about it, the more stressed I became. The only thing Mason had really decided was the location, and that she wanted a pajama party with a waffle bar. Not a sleepover pajama party - I'm not brave enough for that. But we thought if we did it late morning the waffles would be a cute idea. My only concern was how on earth to keep a bunch of 8 year old girls occupied for 2 hours? Our house is not huge, nor is our backyard, and I was just coming up with anything creative. So I started googling other venues in town for new ideas, and there are some cute places out there, but everything is SO expensive! Since I'm a gal on a tight budget, we were back to option one, the house.

Photo from Giggles & Glitter.

Luckily, that's when I stumbled across Giggles & Glitter. They are a company that will come to your house and put on a party for you! They have all kinds of themes to choose from, and they provide the decorations, activities, and staff. They come early and set everything up for you. All you have to do is the invitations, food and cake, and favors! Sounds too good to be true, right? They must cost an arm and a leg you're thinking. Guess what? You're wrong! Giggles & Glitter is actually very affordable. And coming from me you know that's accurate. I love a good deal! Needless to say, when I found them online I contacted them ASAP to schedule Mason's spa party. Jessica contacted me back right away, and answered all my questions, and we were ready to go! She sent me all the necessary paperwork to fill out and send back to her, which included a rundown of how exactly the party would go and what we could expect. Mason was crazy excited about the spa theme, we sent out some invites, and just sat back and waited for the day to arrive!

Photo from Giggles & Glitter.

I could not be more pleased with Giggles & Glitter! If you live in Las Vegas, you should definitely check out their website. What a genius idea for a company. I wish I had thought of it! I am so glad they are around to fill the need for cute kids birthday party ideas! I've got another post coming up soon with all the details of the party, with pictures of course, so be on the lookout for that, but I just wanted to rave for a minute about Jessica and her amazing company Giggles & Glitter. Such a lifesaver!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bachelor Finale.....Adios Juan Pabs!

I have never been excited for a TV show to come to an end, but this season of the Bachelor was actually painful to watch. I started off being excited Juan Pablo was the new Bachelor, and excited to do these recaps every week, as I had never done that before. But writing these posts has gotten kind of tedious. Juan Pablo has definitely overstayed his welcome on my television screen. And instead of going out on a high note and making us almost forget how totally awful this season was, he did the complete opposite and displayed his worst behavior to date, making us seriously dislike him, if we didn't already. Here's my take on last night's finale. Thank goodness it's over.

So Clare and Nikki each get their meet the family moment, and it seemed to go about the same for them both. They pretty much were told to run. As fast as they can. Even Juan Pablo's family doesn't really like him all that much it turns out. Or maybe they just know he's not really on this show for the right reasons, and neither of these girls is going to end up with him in the long run. JP's mom actually says that he can be rude, and Clare doesn't get scared off by that. No, she licks her lips and says she loves that about him. Then JP's cousin asks Nikki how much fighting she can handle, because Juan Pablo can be difficult, and she seems to think that's sweet, and I am so confused. What in the world is wrong with these girls? Open your eyes ladies! This dude's own family is trying to warn you that your boyfriend is bad news, and you're like, "Aw, how cute!". I mean really. These are some serious red flags ladies!

Next is the final one on one dates, and Clare goes first. While they're on their helicopter ride he apparently whispers something to her that is totally disrespectful. She is completely shocked, because it was something sexual. She seems really upset, and I feel really bad for her. And also, this is the most real I've seen her all season. Anyway, I don't blame her for being upset. Telling a girl you don't know her at all, but you loved "hooking up" with her is not cool. And by now we all know he didn't say "hooking up", but I'm not going to repeat what was actually said, because EW. BUT, Clare did go swimming with him in the ocean in Vietnam, and by now we all now what swimming is code for right? NOT that I'm defending JP mind you. Absolutely not. What he said was incredibly disgusting and I would be livid if someone said that to me. Clare got over it pretty quickly though. All he had to do was put on the charm and she was putty in his hands again. Gross.
Nikki's date was less controversial. Not all that exciting actually. After the excitement with Clare none of us were all that interested in poor Nikki. Oh well. I do want to mention how much I love Juan Pablo's dad though. He is the sweetest! I guess the apple fell a little too far from the tree in this case.....
Time for the final rose ceremony. Again, Clare is up first. She starts in on this monologue about how she's fallen in love with him, and he just lets her talk! Why Juan Pablo? Why let her get all of that out just so you can tell her you have to let her go? And woah, Clare is NOT happy. JP tries to give her a goodbye hug but she is having none of it. She tells him off completely, and I kind of love her for it, because he was a total jerk. That being said, she did sign up to go on a show called the Bachelor, and compete with 25 women for just 1 man, so the odds weren't really in her favor. I hate when girls get mad at the end when they don't get picked. Have they never watched the show?

Nikki's next, and she's so excited and expecting a proposal (and wearing a dress with a super scandalous slit), and the fairytale romantic ending we've come to expect from Bachelor finales........does NOT happen! This was the most awkward finale I've ever seen. He tells her he has a ring in his pocket, but isn't going to use it because he's not 100% sure he wants to marry her, but he likes her a lot. Huh? I do applaud Juan Pablo for not proposing just for TV's sake, but I like you a lot? You couldn't do better than that buddy? Poor Nikki looks so disappointed, but of course ends up accepting his rose, and we're supposed to believe they're going to have their happily ever after. Wrong. This is all just so wrong. I mean, like I said earlier, painful to watch.  But then we have After The Final Rose to get answers to all our questions, right?

Wrong! Believe it or not, things got even weirder! I don't even know how to sum up the ATFR for you, because I really didn't understand what in the world I was watching. Clare came out in the beginning, and I respect her for not wanting to talk to Juan Pablo. She got the closure she needed apparently, and as much as I (and most of you too) disliked her this season, she almost won me over. Maybe if she wasn't constantly licking her lips it would be easier to like her, I don't know.

Nikki comes out and says she's still in love with JP, but when Chris Harrison asks her if she thinks JP loves her back, she can't answer the question, and strangely doesn't seem to mind. Hmm. Then Juan Pablo joins her onstage, and the real crazy begins. Chris asks JP himself if he loves Nikki, and he flat refuses to answer the question. He just talks in circles like he always does, and Nikki sits there cuddled up next to him and smiles, and it's just WEIRD. Let me also say, that I love Chris Harrison even more than I did before if that was possible. He handled the crazy very well, and was hilarious. You could so tell that JP was just over the show and being on TV and wanted no part of it anymore. But guess what? You knew what you were signing up for, so don't be mad now that you came off like a total douche.

Thank goodness this season is over. Worst Bachelor ever. Time to move on to the Bachelorette. I'm very excited that it's Andi, because she was definitely my favorite, as I've said in previous posts. And hey, no matter what she does she'll be better than Juan Pablo! Adios!

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

I would say my first giveaway was a success! I hope you all enjoyed participating! The winner is .....

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Tiffany!

And thank you to everyone who entered! You're support is much appreciated! I hope to do more of these in the future!

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Bachelor Women Tell All

Disclaimer: I'm writing this post on my phone, so my apologies in advance!

I've slacked in my Bachelor recaps lately. I think I've missed the last couple of episodes. I just wasn't inspired to write anything. What is there even to say?Seriously, this season is killing me.  I'm so ready for it to be over already, and let's move on to Andi being the next Bachelorette. Last night's Women Tell All episode was going to be my saving grace, but yet again, so boring. 

Sean and Catherine were adorable as usual, but not exciting in the least. I thought overall most of these girls just came off as bitter. Jealous of JP's "special ones". Get over it! It's like they all saw the overnight dates and saw what Andi had to say about Juan Pablo, and decided to jump on the bandwagon. They were all singing a different tune when they were on the show. Anyway...

Sharleen in the hot seat was my favorite part of the night. I totally agree with Chris Harrison, that she was definitely the most intriguing character this season. And I thought it was really sweet the way she defended Juan Pablo at times (but not all the time!). It was very obvious to the viewer throughout he season that he liked her more than the other girls. He just acted totally different around her than anyone else, even the final two he has left. He seemed completely smitten, and she seemed a little sad that it didn't work out between them.

So glad to hear Mama Rene has a new man! She totally deserves it! And I still love Andi! Kelly still cracks me up, but other than that none of these other girls made an impression on me. Kind of forgettable. 

Loved when Sharleen said JP had a case of "buyers remorse" about "swimming" with Clare. And the bloopers are usually hilarious. Other than that, Juan Pablo might be one of the best looking, most boring Bachelors ever.

Did this post bore you? If so, more or less than this season of the Bachelor? Just curious.

Don't forget to enter the giveaway! There are still a couple of days left to enter!