A Blessing Way : derived from a Native America tradition, those closest to our dear friends gathered together to share words of encouragement and blessings before the births of their babies. An evening of relaxation, laughter, good food and a beautiful henna to grace the womb through the final stages of pregnancy.
Each lady was encouraged to create their own variation of bath salts, using muslin bags, himalayan and sea salt, and a variety of soothing and fragrant herbs and flowers.
Words of encouragement and blessings were written on a chalkboard, and each guest was given the chance to share the meaning behind their chosen word.
Henna tattoos for each of the ladies.
Belly Henna for the honored mothers.
The evening was a beautiful celebration of motherhood and sisterhood, and the expectant mothers were left feeling encouraged and pampered and prepared for the much anticipated births and joys of welcoming their babies that lay ahead.
A simple, sophisticated evening of celebration, laughter and great food. I have to say this is one of my favorite events to date. Mindy knew exactly what she wanted and solicited my help to bring her dream into reality. Now I’ll let the photos speak for themselves… dreamy.
Guests signed up for toasts; having a physical sign up sheet helped the evening flow more smoothly. A basket full of blankets kept guests warm as the night drew on and became a little chilly.
My favorite place to be: behind the scenes making sure everything runs beautifully.
I had phenomenal help by the talented Taylor, as she free-hand wrote much of the chalkboard calligraphy throughout the party. And not only that but she and her fiancee helped manage the entire event; they definitely made the evening run perfectly! Check out her Instagram @impressionprints
Photo Credit Sarah Withers: dwellrichlyphotography.com
Beauty doesn’t have to be complicated. And this book and story-themed bridal shower was simple, yet absolutely exquisite–by far the most lovely, relaxing, and enjoyable shower I’ve ever been to.
Hello, my name is Ariana. I’m beyond blessed to be the matron of honor for our bride-to-be, Abby.
As a long time friend of Tearah’s and a major in creative writing, she asked me to share my experience of this shower with you all. Enjoy!
Five tables with five genres of literature sat in a lush side courtyard filled with greenery and flowers. The guests inside, after getting light appetizers and coffee, were drawn into the fairytale-esque courtyard to peruse the beautifully detailed tables.
An icebreaker game of sticking the names of different book characters on people’s backs led to much laughter and animated discussion on which Shakespeare play started with O, or which red-haired twin in Harry Potter was George Weasley’s brother.
We wrote advice for the bride-to-be on cards that said, “The key to a happy marriage is…” Tearah’s sister Haven found delightful little keys that we attached to the advice cards. Now Abby can hang this “advice branch” in her home where she’ll have an aesthetically-pleasing place to find marriage advice!
Then we all watched a sweet video of the groom-to-be, Josh, answering silly and serious questions about Abby. The information in the video came in handy when we meandered back out to the courtyard for our next game: writing short stories about Josh and Abby. Depending on which table a guest sat at, they’d write a fairytale, a mystery story (Tearah’s team wrote a play!), a romantic story, a fantasy story, or a poem.
Then Abby judged which stories she liked best, and the winners got scented candles and chocolate. But we all felt like we won something, because every story we listened to was unique and entertaining.
I sat at the fantasy table, partly because I love fantasy and am writing a fantasy novel, and partly because the decorations were so accurate to the genre. Beautifully-bound Harry Potter books adorned the table, surrounded by greenery and dragon eggs and adorable little animals.
But the mystery table won the prize for the most epic. My brother’s copy of a Kurt Vonnegut book he didn’t like was slathered with melted candle wax, then stabbed into with his ornate dagger. The treasure chest, magnifying glass, and Sherlock Holmes books on a burgundy tablecloth completed the scene.
The fairytale table had all the things a little princess needs with plenty of flower crowns for the fairytale fans, a white unicorn, a swan, and of course the Grimm Brothers’ talented works.
The bride-to-be’s favorite table, poetry, was graced with some of the most classic poems ever written, with faded books and roses to add to the aura.
And the romance table was just…romantic. Something about the rose petals and candles made me sigh when I saw it.
Many thanks to Tearah, Haven and Kellyn for attending to every last detail! It is so wonderful to have friends whose talents lie in the areas of decoration and organization to make a party perfect.
Crisp Autumn air, warm and richly colored fall decor, friends, family and Thanksgiving. What’s not to love about November?
This year I hosted an intimate gathering of close friends to share our thanksgivings over a warm meal and sparkling drinks.
And yes, tis’ mid-November and the afternoons are still warm enough to leave the front door open for a while…
Trust me, I would very much love to be lighting a fire and dawning layers of scarves, but alas – this is Phoenix.
Grapevine wreaths make for a simple seasonal decor, and we just added a touch of felt acorns and bronze colored “berries.” I think I’ll just add some boughs of holly in a day or two, and my Christmas decor will be well underway!
As always, vines make for great additions to any season.
Cocktail garnish and Pinterest recipes to follow.
And a delicious apple pumpkin bunt cake for dessert.
The simple yet elegant table spread featured our favorite linen tablecloth and my grandma’s vintage silverware.
The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with Joy. Psalm 126:3
Have you heard of CCI?
It’s an amazing program where kids can learn about cooking, nutrition, math, & science all through a weekly hands on experience in the kitchen. My kids have participated in the preschool classes and loooove it. Awesome parent perks? They now beg to help me fix dinner, and they can do much more to help than I ever thought they could. They grate, chop, measure, dump, & stir. I love that they’ve become more adventurous in tasting food when they’ve helped prepare it. I love the healthy relationship they are developing with food. I love how much fun they have cooking!
CCI is the best
And they also do parties.
And since that’s our thiiiing at here at To Entertain, you’re about to see one fabulously fun food themed party. Hold on to your chef hats and get ready for a children’s birthday party–Children’s Culinary Institute style.
Brilliant food is often the focus of a good party, but at this event, the miniature guests not only enjoyed it by tasting, but also helped prep, cook, and decorate it. What a blast! Each little chef had their own cooking tools, apron, & tiny toque. Each contributed to each aspect of the meal…entree, side & beverage. Each left with huge smiles on their faces and happy bellies.
The theme was “Mad Hatter Tea Party”.
First up on the menu? “Painting the Roses Red Rolls”.
These were made by slicing strips of dough, then rolling them right up & baking them. Eager eyes (& bellies!) watched as the rolls “blossomed” in the oven. Then the kids got to paint them with red food paint. What fun!
Later those rolls were sliced and transformed into cucumber sandwiches.
The cucumbers were sliced, spread applied, and assembled, all by the kiddos. They beautifully plated their little morsels accompanied by “Cheshire Smiles”, & “Smash Berry Juice” in tiny tea cups. The little guests practiced their manners as they poured each other juice from “Mad Hatter” tea pots.
The little ones each got a closed baggy full of berries that they smushed and mushed for punch perfection. Each one got a turn mixing their berries into the punch.
Simple super cute decorations helped create the Wonderland atmosphere with touches from the famous story.
A playing card banner, pictures of characters, “A Very Merry Un-Birthday” sign, bright fun colors, a White Rabbit’s clock, personalized chef hats & playing card place settings…the kids had SO much fun! In fact, at a typical birthday party, feeding miniature guests usually “eats up” a small portion of the party time, but these kid were entertained every minute as they learned, cooked, chopped, & ate at their deliciously Mad Tea Party!
More of those parent perks?
The CCI instructor that coordinated the party, set it up, ran the party in a completely organized and kid-friendly fashion, aaaaaand cleaned the whole thing up. Hallelujah!! That’s my kind of party The birthday participants left the party with goody bags full of simple little kitchen tools (provided by the birthday Momma), happy tummies, & instilled with new skills and confidence. What a great way to celebrate!
If you are interested in hosting a Children’s Culinary Institute Birthday Party of your own, click here to find an instructor who does birthday parties, or to find a location near you for class enrollment! If you can’t find a location near you…start one! CCI is accepting instructors who are passionate about teaching little ones to cook! If you’re interested in turning your kitchen into a fun-loving learning environment, visit Childrensculinaryinstitute.com
For more information on birthday parties & play dates, click here!
We bid the summer adieu with a Sunshine and Sprinkles BaBy-Q!
Yes, it’s still hot and summery here in Phoenix, even in the middle of October–and trust me, we’d all appreciate some “fall” weather! But for this occasion, the bright yellow sun followed by a fiery red sunset was the perfect backdrop.
And for the perfect invitation? We turned to VintageLeeCrafted where Amanda personalized her beautiful yellow-and-grey invitation to meet our request. I particularly love her wine labels – what a great idea for making announcements or a personal request. With the winter holidays fast approaching, check out my favorite label.
Guests were greeted at the door with this sweet and simple request. I love the idea of using a classic children’s book for the guest book! It’ll be read throughout the years and always remind him of everyone’s love.
Prizes for the diaper raffle were sent to us from Sendabox.
What a brilliant idea this is–sending a “box of sunshine” as a gift, a get-well present, to welcome a baby, or just because. For this occasion I split the contents of the original box into two prize boxes for the winners. Jen is currently working on opening her own business website, I will post the link when it is launched, for now you can send your requests directly to her at: email@example.com
Dinner was preluded with a chalkboard menu and BBQ sauce party favors!
These adorable little bottles and custom labels were created by SouthernStickers. I’ve had my eye on these for some time now, and was thrilled to be able to feature them before the summer’s end.
Our Sunshine and Sprinkles theme came to its height at the buffet table, with tissue paper pompoms as the sun, sky and clouds. I added some raindrops from my previous sprinkle shower.
October, and time to break out the bats again! Though the weather forecast calls for upper 90’s all next week, these past few days have been our first true taste of fall, with the slight chill in the air and beautiful Phoenix rain.
I spread out the bats a bit more this time around, since I have plans to add more black bats to the “cloud” this year, but I kind of like the simplicity of the colony I have now, so we’ll see
I’m still totally in love with this chalkboard pumpkin which was contributed for last year’s holiday card. Check out the past post here: Chalkboard pumpkin
It’s official. I’ve fallen in love with shimmery golden bats this year.
With my love for fun decor and affinity for elegance, I simply couldn’t help myself!
I was inspired by the many “bat walls” I’d seen on Pinterest this Halloween season, but I wanted something slightly more chic: a smatter of beauty added to the cuteness of bats – yes, I think they’re simply adorable.
So I hunted down some bat-making tutorials. I copied, pasted, flipped, rotated, printed, cut, traced, and repeated until I’d created my very own colony of gold and black bats.
I started by printing my edited bat page onto regular paper, and then copied it onto a thick piece of cardboard. This allowed me to save it for future bat creations. I then traced as many bats as I could onto 4 sheets of card stock and cut them out.
To achieve 4 sizes of bats (I’m sure you could as many sizes as you want) I just cut the smallest bat both inside the sharpie lines and outside.
Here is my PDF of the pattern: bat’s printable
Frightful Fact: a group of bats is called a Colony.
And here is the original link from Martha Stewart to print a half bat: Half Bat Print out