Thanksgiving Dinner Party

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.Fall Dinner Party-3

Natural branches and sparkling colors to greet guests at the door. Hosting an event always inspires me to break out the festive pieces I’ve created over the years.
Fall Dinner Party-1

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.

Fall Dinner Party-2

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!

Fall Dinner Party-5

As always, vines make for great additions to any season.

Fall Dinner Party-7

Cocktail garnish and Pinterest recipes to follow. Fall Dinner Party-10

Autumn-themed appetizers and dinner menu made for a particularly delightful dinner.Fall Dinner Party-8

Fresh-baked homemade bread.Fall Dinner Party-12

And a delicious apple pumpkin bunt cake for dessert.Fall Dinner Party-20

The simple yet elegant table spread featured our favorite linen tablecloth and my grandma’s vintage silverware.

Fall Dinner Party-15

Fall Dinner Party-19

Fall Dinner Party-18

A fresh Persimmon atop each plate added the rich orange glow that we are so fond of this time of year.Fall Dinner Party-16

The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with Joy. Psalm 126:3


Puppy Party Recipes

Recipes and tips from our Puppy Party Lunch!


The Original Rice Krispies Treats

Serves 12.


3 tablespoons Butter
1 package (10 oz) Marshmallows

In large saucepan melt butter over low heat.
Add marshmallows and stir until completely melted (don’t leave them!)
Remove from heat, and pour over Rice Krispies
Stir until well coated.
Using buttered spatula (I just dipped a large spoon in coconut oil) evenly press mixture into large pan coated with cooking spray (I used a rimmed backing sheet, lined with wax paper)

We added cute little candies and used our awesome cookie cutters!





Chex Muddy Buddies or Puppy Chow 😉

Serves 18.

9 cups Chex cereal
1 cup Chocolate Chips
1/2 cup Peanut butter
1/4 cup butter (I used more peanut butter, I think they weren’t as soft as if I’d used butter but they were still delicious)
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 & 1/2 cups powdered sugar

In large bowl  measure cereal. Set aside.
In 1 quart microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips, peanut butter, and butter, for 1 min. Stir. Microwave 30sec longer or until smooth.
Stir in Vanilla.
Pour over cereal, stirring until evenly coated.
Pour into 2 gallon Ziplock bag (or smaller groups into smaller bags, but this step is a must, and fun for the kids;)
Add powdered sugar, seal, and shake until well coated.





The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies:

Serves 24 (Make sure to adjust the serving size, it’s auto set to serve 60!)


1/2 cup & 1 tablespoon & 2 teaspoons Butter, softened
3/4 cup & 2 teaspoons white sugar
1-1/2 eggs (I used 1 large egg)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour (although wheat tastes delicious, it is sticky and does not roll out)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt


In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth.
Beat in egg & vanilla.
Stir in the flour, baking powder & slat.

Cover & chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Roll out dough on well floured surface (I like to rub flour on top of the dough and on my rolling pin too)
1/4 to 1/2 inch thick
Cut into shapes and place 1 inch apart on an ungreased cookie sheet
Bake 6-8 min (I did 6)
Cool completely







Grilled Panini

Simple, cheap & super delicious!


Favorite toppings. We like: Jalapeños, sun-dried tomato, pickled artichokes and a splash of dressing (like Caesar or Italian)
Meat & Cheese


Butter the outside of two pieces of bread
Add ingredients

That’s it!

I provided a small cutting board and knife to chop up the toppings and a hot skillet for grilling (could also use a Forman grill or toaster oven)




Check out our Puppy Party here =)

Artichokes & Shrimp Scampi, Recipe

People. It’s summer. Summerrrr! June 21st marked the first day of this glorious skinny dipping, watermelon dripping, campfire songs season! Want to celebrate? Try one of my favorite summer traditions coupled with Mel’s (of Mel’s Kitchen Cafe) Shrimp Scampi…a combo that will have you shouting for joy guaranteed!
Artichokes are beloved in our family–by all by the big cheese himself, my husband. How do I persuade him into enjoying them with the rest of us? Add a little protein baby. This shrimp dish is the best scampi I’ve ever had. It has me licking my fingers, dunking my artichoke leaves, and contemplating dunking my napkin in when all the bread is gone. Well done Mel. Salt water, toes in the sand, hot butter & sea food…Summerrrr!

We dip our artichokes in melted butter but the butter sauce these plump shrimp are bathing in is even better. Throw in a loaf of french bread and dinner is served.
DSC_0092DSC_0097DSC_0888Mel’s Kitchen Cafe Shrimp Scampi

& An Artichoke “How To”
1. With a serrated knife, cut off the tip (about 3/4 inch) of the artichoke.
2. With a pair of scissors, snip all of the tip off of the individual leaves layering the outside.
3. cut off most of the stem leaving about an inch on the base of the artichoke.
4. Place in a big pot of boiling water. Make sure the artichokes are as submerged as possible…mine always bob around so I shift them with a wooden spoon during the boiling process to ensure they are evenly cooked.
5. Cook in the boiling water about 25-45 minutes. Cook time will depend on the size of your artichoke. Check for done-ness by pulling on one of the bottom leaves, if it comes away easily, you’re ready to eat.
6. Peel & dip leaves until you get closer and closer to the “heart”. When all of the leaves are gone, scrape out the “hair”–the fuzzy part covering the base & stem–and dip what’s left into the butter. The heart is the very best part!



Chocolate Recipes

A post to make your mouth water…

My amazing sister made the majority of these delicious chocolate treats for an afternoon Bridal shower for our sweets loving friend.

Here are some links to the fabulous recipes!Ariana_Shower_04


Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Banana Split Bites


Coffee Cream Brownie Bites

Pistachio Emerald Chocolate Truffles



Mocha Coconut Macaroons

Coconut Macaroons

“Rolo” Knock-Off’s



Be sure to check out the complete Bridal Shower HERE!


Birthday Freebies!

April is my birthday month, and this year I decided to take advantage of the many fabulous birthday freebies some restaurants offer. Now that the month is over and I was able to try them all out I’m ready to share the list with you!

Some restaurants have expiration dates on the deals. The below freebies expiration dates are in reference to my birthday and/or when I signed up. I signed up for the freebies April 8th, and my birthday is April 14th.
Note: Have printer ready, as several offers must be printed immediately or within two views.
Some places also send you a welcome deal for signing up.
RA Sushi: Half-birthday special. When your half-birthday comes around they will send a $20 gift certificate special.
Kona Grill: $15 certificate.  exp 4.30
Benihana: $30 certificate dinner only M-Tr after purchase of entree. Must print.      exp 5.06
Carrabba’s: Free appetizer with purchase of entree.      exp 5.24
Culver’s: Buy one get on free value basket.     exp 4.23
Olive Garden: Free appetizer or dessert with purchase of two adult entrees. Welcome and bday gift the same.      exp 4.21
Islands: $5 off purchase of $25.      exp 4.18
Melting Pot: 6 free chocolate covered strawberries with $60 purchase.      exp 7.07
TCBY Frozen Yogurt: Birthday: $3.00 off total purchase. Welcome gift: buy one get one free up to $5.      exp 4.22
Jersey Mike’s Subs: Buy one get one free regular sub.
Rubio’s: Free meal up to $7  – welcome gift for signing up: 1 free taco. Show on smartphone.     exp 4.23
Denny’s: Grand slam breakfast on date of birthday. Must show ID and print.  exp day of birthday
Arby’s: Free 12oz shake with purchase.  Welcome gift: free roast beef classic. Must print.     exp 4.16 & 15
Grimaldi’s: Free large one topping pizza. Welcome gift: $5 off next bill.  Dine in dinner.     exp 4.19 & 18
Cold Stone: Buy one get one free.      exp 4.23
iHop: Free breakfast. Welcome offer: free breakfast.     exp 4.23
DelTaco: Welcome offer: 2 free grilled chicken tacos.      exp 4.24
On The Border: Free brownie sundae or bowl of queso. Welcome gift: free queso or sopapillas with purchase of entree.    exp 4.23
Einstein Bros: Free breakfast sandwich with drink purchase.  Welcome gift: free bagel with drink purchase.     exp 4.16
World Market: Birthday: 15% off purchase.      exp 5.08
Dairy Queen: Welcome: buy one get one medium blizzard.      exp 4.23
Orange Julius: Welcome: buy one get one fruit smoothie.      exp 4.23
Baskin Robbins: Birthday free ice-cream scoop, kids size.      exp 4.19
(Note, the image is also a link to more freebies! I will be checking those out next year;)

St Patrick’s Day Picnic

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Green, symbolizing Catholicism, Orange, Protestantism, and White in the center to signify Unity. First unfurled in 1848 the current flag of Ireland was adopted as the national flag in 1921.

Perfect weather with a slight breeze and great homemade food shared with friends and family –  who could ask for a better way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Waving in the breeze, detailed to perfection, a clover garland in the traditional colors of the Irish Flag  was the eye-catching backdrop to our little front yard picnic.  TransparentEsDecorIMG_6262IMG_6279IMG_6266IMG_6242Isabel provided not only the stunning clover garland, but also these adorable double-sided felt table confetti!

I am so in love with these classy paper straws, provided by The Simply Chic Shop. With the numerous  designs available you can dress up any party table!
I only wish I had my camera handy to capture the precious moment of my daughter strolling through the grass, sipping iced tea through her gold heart straw . . . she’s only 18 months,  but looked like such a little lady 🙂  TheSimplyChicShop


Glitter & Tinsel & CakePops, oh my! Aren’t these little spoons just adorable?  They were the fist thing my six year old nephew noticed. “Wow, can I have one of those spoons?” He then proceeded to tuck it safely in his notebook as a “bookmark” to take home. Chocolate CakePops with tinsel toppers were a huge hit with the little ones (and the mamas –  yum!). There isn’t a better way to wrap up lunch than with dessert and a new toy =) RepublicOfParty

We wrapped up the day with these delicious Vegan CakePops. I used the cake recipe from HERE, sprayed and flour dusted the pan, and reduced the cooking time to 20 min. I covered them in melted chocolate and green sprinkles, and they were so moist and simply delicious!

Thank you for visiting us! We hope you enjoy our parties. For even more party inspirations check out our Pinterest page!

Happy St. Patty’s Day to you!

A Huckleberry Baby shower

We recently celebrated our soon-to-be baby Huck with a lazy summer river party worthy of his name.  There were lemonade drinks, huckleberry pie, a bonfire, and mason jars with “lightening bugs”. It was exactly what you’d expect, and absolutely splendid.
Thank you to my sisters for putting it all together & thank you to the finest company a girl & her red-head could ask for.





Pregnant with Huck1
Table decor featured mock pussy willows & other river flora in empty glass bottles with quotes from Mark Twain piled underneath. Crookedly hung glass jars dotted with glow-in-the-dark paint (lightening bugs), silhouettes of river folk, and an “Oh Boy!” tree banner made of pages from the book, and no Tom & Huck themed party would be complete without  a straw hat & a pipe or two.


Treats included “Mock Huckleberry Pie”, homemade vanilla ice cream (gah!), chilled watermelon slices, & mason jars of lemonade.


Each jar was fastened with twine & a “fish tag” and had a sharpie nearby for drink labeling. Drinking from these jars made my inner Becky want to come out and I had a real hard time not talkin’ in a southern accent y’all.

Thanks to Angela for contributing this super cute banner–you know, I love a good banner–made of pages from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. A copy of the book was also wrapped in brown paper fastened with twine and was given to each guest as a party favor.
(They also made excellent fans on the warm summer night)

My sister Kara (MFTM) made these weathered checkerboards for each table. Opponents played buttons vs. pennies, stored nearby in a mason jar.


Remember me mentioning that “mock huckleberry pie”?


Let me preface this with the fact that I am not at all a fan of pie. Chocolate pie with graham cracker crust? I’m all over that business, but something about warm gooey fruit has never been all that appetizing for this girl–chocolate is my preferred flavor of sweet. That being said, I’m not sure I can say enough about the scrumptious mini pies at my baby shower. Unable to find actual huckleberries, my sister, Arlena made up this recipe and by golly it was so yummy. With a pie crust bottom and more of a “crumble” top, the middle comprised the perfect amount of berry filling as to not be too overwhelming (No yucky gooey texture!–my sister knew her audience) & was thoroughly complimented by it’s icy, creamy, home-churned, vanilla companion.
Recipe featured here on Kara’s blog.


and now, ready for some mouth full of pie faces?




When guests weren’t stuffing their mouths full of delicious pie, they could be found at the “fishing hole” (a bucket full of paper clip clad fish accompanied by a wooden dowel with string & magnets attached). You could try your luck at a “big fish”–various gift cards, or, a “small catch”–bundles of Swedish candy fish. There were also pens nearby so guests could write their best baby advice on said fish, and then toss it back into the bucket.




Pregnant with Huck2

We got a bundle of fun things for our little bundle, but the best was hanging out by the “river” with the most tremendous group of family and friends a little baby Huck could ever dream of.
Thanks for the awesome baby shower!