25 September 2015


My MIL cans tomatoes every year.... Her garden is A-MAZE-ing...the envy of everyone within a 20-mile radius. She has about a dozen tomato plants. This year that produced enough tomatoes for THREE rounds of canning. She usually can handle that much canning, but she broke her foot at the end of summer and has had to give up some of her produce. I was lucky enough to join in the fun this year.

On her second round of canning, we picked a few buckets of tomatoes, scalded, peeled, cut, boiled, and canned 17 jars all for my little family. This tomato sauce is the best start for soups, spaghetti and countless Mexican and Italian dishes throughout the year. I feel so lucky I could burst.

If I had space, patience and a gift for canning I would do this for myself every year in my own backyard but I don't. I just glory in these little moments that happen every so often.

04 September 2015


Could she ask for anything harder than seahorses? I sweated for a moment then took it to the vast array of options in the ocean theme. I couldn't deny her little five-year-old heart because she has another two parties coming to her... if we're comparing to her sister, that is.

She loves blues, greens, and yellows, so I started with that color palette but made the yellow a florescent yellow. She also loves Friends With You so her dad designed a cute invite with that in mind.

For food, I was keeping it simple with candies in fish bowls, cookies and cake. I had some Target plates on hand that were perfect, and I made skewers with pom poms on the end for the grapes. It was important to have something seahorse, and cookies seemed doable... but this was my first try with royal icing. I managed ok, but I've got to practice that one to make it a true skill. But they're cute. I also used my grandma's cookie recipe which in hindsight I wouldn't do again because they're softer, not great for decorating. The jello cups were easy enough. And I made a triple layer cake. That actually turned out ok. Let me just say this... with baking, I usually PURCHASE, for sanity sake, but I wanted something specific, so I just did it. and made some cake stands with vintage ice cream glasses and clear plates.

The activity was a treasure hunt with the party favor at the end. Eating, playing with gel balls, fishing and unwrapping presents were all built into the clues so that the end could be back to play time. Honestly, the biggest hit was the pool of gel balls. They would've been happy with just that.