Story Book Themed Baby Shower

We try to get together for a ‘girls’ weekend once a year with just my mom and sister and this year we also included my two aunts.  In June, they all came to Lancaster for a few days.  It’s raining babies over here on my side of the family, my brother had a baby this week and my sister is due in October.  While here we surprised my sister with a little story book themed baby shower.

She isn’t finding out the gender and the nursery is taking on a story book theme so that made it easy.  My mom also kept some of our childhood books that are still in good condition and were given to us as a gift so this made a perfect surprise as well.  Search Pinterest for Story Book Themed Baby Shower and you’ll be totally inspired.  We aren’t a fussy bunch and knew we wanted to keep in simple so here I asked everyone to bring a book and then based on the books my mom had kept, I picked a few that I knew I could make food ideas out of.

Story Book Themed Baby Shower

Book & Recipes: (some links are affiliate links)

 

My go to book to give little ones is the Monster At The End Of This Book – it even comes as a board book!

Monster at the end of this Book - Book

 

My sister asked me to make a directional sign with fictional places from stories that both her and her husband love.  I surprised her by also making a bookshelf to go along with it!  I can give a lot more detail on how I did both but I think that will be another post!

Tree bookshelf and sign

 

Weekend full of wine, family and wonderful Keuka Lake Views

This past weekend I had the awesome opportunity to revisit a little bit of childhood at Keuka Lake – with a 21 and over perk.

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Growing up in Western NY State we spent plenty of time camping and exploring.

One of our favorite destinations was Keuka Lake – one of the finger lakes.  Our neighbors growing up, the type of people you love so much you affectionately call Aunt and Uncle, purchased land there and slowly built their retirement dream.  As retired teachers, they now have an awesome lakeside dock as well as a beautiful house on the hill that they live in permanently.

view from the lake house - Keuka Lake Views

Growing up we spent a lot of time there camping on the then vacant property.  Then indoor camping as the house was framed and then slowly finished.  We would spend our time snorkeling, boating, skiing, and bobbing up and down on our floats hoping a boat would soon go by to give us some waves!

This trip, however, was a tad different.

My parents, sister and Aunt all met our ‘neighbors’ on Thursday around lunchtime.  We quickly caught up, had a quick lunch and ventured out.  We knew our theme of this trip was wine tasting but more importantly it was reconnecting and taking in beautiful Keuka Lake.  The girls headed out separate from the boys (actually we didn’t see the boys again until dinnertime).  We took in a few wineries, pottery and antique shops.  All in all I think we drove about half way around the lake.  Each stop was beautiful in it’s own way and Keuka wineries have some views!  Back in time for some dockside wine and cheese and then we headed up to the house for dinner.

sister, me, Aunt, Mom

Point of the Bluff Vineyards - Keuka Lake Views

 

Point of the Bluff Vineyards - Keuka Lake Views

The next day was pretty similar.  We were up early, had a hearty breakfast and headed out to a few more wineries.  One being one our ‘Aunt’ works at – talk about the hookup!  We were back at the house for lunch and quickly out on the boat for a long cruise on this perfectly sunny day!  Back at the house to freshen up for dinner and then headed to The Lakeside – which was fantastic!  There are so many options for outside, lakeside seating and it was the perfect night for it.  I do recommend reservations though.  I had a great beer, Local Mocha Stout from Keuka Brewing Co., paired with Louie’s BLT (no B 🙂 ).  The next morning we all headed out after breakfast.

view from Heron Hill Winery - Keuka Lake Views

Lake view from Bully Hill Winery - Keuka Lake Views

Keuka Lake Views

This was a great little trip with some of my favorite people!  I need to remember this is the reason we moved back north, to be closer to family and do things like this.  Darn you winter! 🙂

First Meal Delivery Box Experience

About a month ago I was looking for an idea to gift my mom for her birthday.  Our family has definitely shifted from giving gifts to giving experiences.  None of us really need anything so we all agree we would rather do something together or experience something.  So for her birthday I decided to give a gift card to Blue Apron.  I had never personally tried Blue Apron but recently some of my favorite bloggers were posting great things about them.

Gifting was easy!  Just filled out the form and how much to give (options are one, two or four weeks worth), I opted for one week which included three meals for two people.  An email was sent to her and my technologically challenged mother had no trouble signing up and selecting her meals.  A few week later my parents were enjoying some new recipes!

My mom said she needed to wear a 'blue apron' ...oh mom!

My mom said she needed to wear a ‘blue apron’ …oh mom!

After ordering her gift I really wanted to try it too!  I had a $20 off coupon code so we gave it a try!  A few weeks later our first box arrived.

I’m a vegetarian so in our box were the recipes for:

• Fontina & Preserved Lemon Grilled Cheese Sandwiches with Endive, Clementine & Mint Salad

Vegetable Bibimbap & Kimchi with Enoki Mushrooms & Roasted Turnip

Roasted Butternut Squash with Stewed White Beans, Brussels Sprouts & Gremolata

Love how everything was packaged! So cute with the exact amount.

Love how everything was packaged! So cute with the exact amount.

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Everything was great!  My favorite was the Bibimbap and Tim loved the Grilled Cheese!  It was really fun to make these new recipes.  With our order we did have to sign up for a subscription but you can skip deliveries whenever you want with no penalty so at this time this is the only delivery we’ve had.  We would love to do it again in the future but it is a tad expensive.  I can see it being really helpful if you are just coming back from vacation or for a special occasion.

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We would definitely order for ourselves again and even more likely to gift it to others in the future!


*I have not been asked by Blue Apron to write nor was I compensated for this post…just sharing the love!

Mad Hatter Tea!

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Almost two weeks ago we arrived in Ohio to wedding dress shop with my sister.  We decided to make the whole Friday a girls day, starting with Mad Hatter Tea!  This was actually our mother’s day gift to our mom.

She didn’t really know what we were up to until she arrived at my sister’s house and saw the little hats we were going to wear.  We ordered matching hats on Amazon.  They were $10 – $12 each and were so cute!  They stayed on really well with two clips on each end.

Our destination…Mad Hatter Tea theme at Sweet Shalom Tea Room in Sylvania, Ohio.  We arrived at a sweet Victorian home where we donned our hats and were seated by Alice in Wonderland at our reserved table (you do need to make reservations for the special events).

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Mom at her first tea

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How cute was this table setting!?!?  Our names were printed on playing cards, the tea sets were perfect and the rest of the house was so whimsical.  Our menu consisted of four courses and unlimited pots of tea.  Our first choice in tea was the Choco-Nut Blend, which remained my favorite.  We also tried a vanilla peach tea.  Then our first course was up, orange pinwheel scones.  Then a Mad Hatter Salad, which was like a slaw with crunchy ramen noodles…it was very tasty.  While waiting for our main course one of the owners read a few pages of the Alice in Wonderland book.

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Next up was the main course.  A blend of little cucumber sandwiches, mac and cheese, veggies and dip, chicken salad and a few dessert selections.  We were amazingly full after all these tasty tiny bites.  How cute is the presentation!

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A big surprise to us was when they announced a tie in the ‘best hat’ contest.  We didn’t even know there was such as thing, but we won!!  $5 each to come back another time…sweet!

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Pinkies up!

There was actually one more course, a dessert!  We were feeling a bit full and felt a bit in a rush.  Holly had scheduled an appointment at a wedding dress place that afternoon.  So we told the ladies we were really enjoying ourselves but felt we needed to scoot to make the appointment on time.  While were we gathering our things they ended up packaging up our desserts for us to take on the road so we didn’t miss anything…how sweet!

This was such a special day and we all said we would love to return another time – when we aren’t in a hurry.  Both my mom and sister said they would love to take groups of friends there as well.  So if you can make it to the Sweet Shalom Tea House…take your time, it will be worth it.

Surprise 70th Birthday Party – 50’s Diner Style

This past week my parents and my mom’s sister, brother and spouses have been gallivanting all over Lancaster County to celebrate my Aunt Carleen’s 70th birthday and 50th wedding anniversary.  It was my aunts idea to have them all meet up in Lancaster since it is sort of a central point for all of them coming from Ohio, New York and Mississippi.  My mom wanted to do something special so we decided to have them over for dinner at our apartment one night and throw a fun little surprise party….50’s Diner Style.

50's party

With a few weeks to plan, I ordered almost everything I needed on Amazon and did a simple diner menu.  Tim served as the line cook and I was the waitress.  Even Penny got into the spirit.

Party Supplies:

Cat Eye Glasses

Hair Twist for my Waitress Costume

Waitress Apron

Dog Costume

Car Prop 

Side Burns

Greaser Comb

Greaser Wig

50’s Wig Brunette

Red Wig

Blonde Wig

Poodle Skirt

Straw Fedora Hat

Soda Shop Wall Clings

Condiment Caddy

Hawaiian Shirts – My Dad brought them

Bobby Socks – Girls Dept in Target

Food Baskets – Target

Coke Glasses – Dollar Store

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We had 50’s music playing and a World Series Baseball game from the 50’s playing on the TV…I think Tim found that on YouTube.  Once everyone arrived the guys went to one room to don their duds and the ladies to another.   After plenty of giggles and LOTS of photos they sat down in the ‘Diner’ to order.

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I made the menu with a combination of Google images and Microsoft Publisher.  For the Guest Check I found an image on Google and enlarged it a bit.

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Surprisingly, all the food came out sort of at the same time…good job line cook Tim! 🙂  After dinner and desserts we cleaned up a bit and had Aunt Carleen open gifts.  Nothing fancy we all just got her 70 of ‘something’ for the 70th birthday.  I took a jar and but 70 rocks in it and a candle and said ’70 Rocks!’.  Someone else gave her 70 Hershey Kisses.  Another gift was a frame with a penny with all the important dates in her life.  We also had her senior yearbook and enjoyed going through old photos and memories.

It was a great night with family I don’t see very often.

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