Classic Christmas Dinner Party Set-Up

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiveHappiness #CollectiveBias

During the holidays, I always want to have people over for parties but it seems like I get so busy that I don’t have the time to plan the party, decorate, and make food. This year I found a great way using Walmart’s prepared meals to make entertaining over the holidays easy and fun, and to give back to the community at the same time.Share happiness (11)

I wanted to have a dinner party with a classic, timeless Christmas feel. I decided to go with a color scheme of rich reds and lots of white, with accents of natural greenery throughout. I love all of the vintage Coca-Cola crates and bottle holders that I mixed in with the food and décor; they give it that vintage-y, cozy feel that I love.

Behind the food table, I hung a boxwood wreath on the wall with a cute Christmas sign as a simple, clean backdrop for all the great food we’d be eating. I love using decorations that can stay up through the whole holiday season so I can enjoy all my effort for the whole month! Share happiness (45)

I really wanted our guest to have no problem mingling and talking over dinner, and so I kept the table centerpiece low that way everyone could see each other.  I love having something long and low to fill the space and really pull everyone together.
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The plaid table runner brings in the pop of red that I was using without being too matchy-matchy. A few days before the party, I cut about twenty boughs of Boxwood from the bush at my parents house and made a faux-garland with them; this was so easy to do and looked so pretty. All I did was start with the larger branches and lay them on the table end to end, making a kind of “S” shape, then I took smaller branches and filled in anywhere that it was a little bare to make it more lush looking. I simply tucked the ends of the branches underneath each other so it would have the same look as a garland but it took less than two minutes to do!

Christmas party table decoration (1)Christmas party table decoration (2)Once the boxwood was in place, I filled in the curves of my garland with these cute mason jar snow globes I made. They were such pretty center pieces and can double as a thoughtful party favor for your guest to take home. I love that I can re-use them as holiday décor all season. DIY-Snow-globes-mason-jar

To make snow globes yourself, you just need mason jars with lids, gorilla glue, glycerin, distilled water, fake snow, glitter and cute things to put inside. For our jars I used bottle bristle trees and model train scale people.DIY Snowglobe (2)DIY Snowglobe (3)

My jars came with the classic silver lids, but I found these red ones sold separately and they were perfect for Christmas. You could easily spray paint the lids that came with to any color you want. To make the jars, first decide what you want your scene to look like and maybe do a dry run before putting on the glue to make sure it all fits. Your snow globe scene will be glued to the inside of the lid, so can’t go too far to the edge of the lid or the jar can’t screw on. Once you know where you want everything, put a little bit of glue on each item and press it to the lid. Hold it there for about twenty seconds and then it should be set. Once everything is glued down, it needs to sit for about four hours to dry and set.

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Once your scene is set, fill your jar with distilled water. You can use tap water too, but distilled is just a little clearer. Next I poured about two teaspoons of glycerin in and shook in some glitter and fake snow- I used about two pinches of glitter in mine and maybe one tablespoon of fake snow. Over the sink (in case any water leaks out), screw your lid onto your jar, and give it a shake! On two jars I added a ribbon for a finishing touch.

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I got so many compliments on the snow globes, our guest loved them! To accent the mason jar snow globes, I put matching bottle bristle trees mixed in with the Boxwood and the cute vintage Coca-Cola bottle holder adds a little bit of height without blocking anyone’s view. I love bottle bristle trees, they remind me of the 1940’s. I put a few glass Coca-Cola and Sprite bottles in the bottle holder, they look old, but they’re just the glass ones sold in the soda aisle. Our store has them year long, but almost every store sells them at Christmas.

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Each place setting at the table had a paper plate and a cute little wreath with all the utensils and napkins. I wanted to use paper products to save time, but still have a personal, nice touch. I simply bought wreath ornaments, removed the hangers, and tied a plastic fork and spoon to them with pretty ribbon. Set on top of a folded napkin, it makes every seat look pretty. I wanted to let guest choose their seats but you could easily add pretty little name cards on the wreaths if you wanted to assign places for your guest. These are a great thing to put together a few days before your party, or even a week, that way you are free to focus on your guest on the day of your party.

The guest we were inviting would all be bringing kids and my kids would be at our party too, so I wanted to have a kid table with everything the adult table had but in miniature. I took my extra boxwood branches and swooped them around the center of the table, hiding the ends under the leaves and then placed another home-made snow globe in the center. For the kids snow globe, I did everything the same but I used a Lego Christmas Tree set instead of bottle bristle trees and used a plastic jar.  DIY Snowglobe (8)DIY Snowglobe (9)DIY Snowglobe (10)
Sawyer loved getting to help make this one, and the kids loved playing with it at the table.Lego Snowglobe for kids diy craft christmas tree
Instead of glass Sprite bottles on the tables, I placed a mini Sprite can at each seat and made miniature Christmas trucks for each guest that looked liked the one on the food table. To make the trucks, I simply used the same mini-bottle bristle trees I bought  for the snow globes, cut the stands off, and gorilla glued them in the bed of red match box trucks I bought. Kids always need some kind of fun activity to do whether they are waiting to eat or are just done faster than others. The kids were excited to see them and had a great time driving them around and playing with each other with them.

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To decorate the food table, I used vintage Coca-Cola crates to add levels and height. It always looks more decorative if you have something other than just food on the table. I stayed with the color palette of the Coca-Cola crates white and red by using all white dishes and the red crates and truck mixed in. On the food table I mixed in really big and really little bottle bristle trees and some neutral candle sticks where ever there were holes. Share happiness (25)

Now here was the best part of prepping for our dinner party- I didn’t make a single bit of this food. Walmart and Coca-Cola have teamed up this holiday season to offer great already prepared meals that also give back. For every deli meal bought, Walmart and Coca-Cola will work to provide warm meals for needy families through the Salvation Army. The Christmas season is about being with family and giving back and I love that they are focusing on that and making it so easy just by purchasing their great food.Coke

For our party, I headed to the Walmart deli and grabbed Sprite, coleslaw, sandwiches, fried chicken, chips, salad, pinwheels, and french bread and grabbed a delicious cake from the bakery while I was there. I never have time to cook a full party meal during the holidays, but the food from Walmart so good that it didn’t even matter. To make it feel more home-made and hide how incredibly easy it was to do, I simply put the deli meal into my own serve ware. Here’s the before and after so you can see-  Share happiness (2)Share happiness (12)Share happiness (19)

This spinach dip was sooo good and I just cut up the French bread to dip in it. I think the spinach dip was the biggest hit!

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I loved being able to focus on our guest and not have to worry about being in the kitchen the whole time. Knowing I didn’t have to prepare a meal meant I had more time to do cute decorations and sit and enjoy the food with my friends and family!

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I had so much fun finally having a Christmas party thanks to Walmart and Coca-Cola and love that it gave back to needy families. You can help families in need too, not just by purchasing a Walmart prepared deli meal with Coca-Cola products, but also by sharing a picture of your family enjoying it with the hashtag #GiveHappiness to spread awareness about the great work they are doing this year!

SoFabConnect – Coca-Cola #GiveHappiness | Facebook

Fall Glamping

Thank you to Collective Bias, Inc. and it’s advertiser for sponsoring this post. This blog has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #FallGlamping #Glamping #CollectiveBiasDIY Teepee easy how-to

For the last few weeks we’ve been trying to take the boys camping but at least in our neck of the woods, it has been nothing but non-stop rain this fall. Lucky for us the rain has also brought 80 degree weather so we decided to make the most of it and go glamping right in our own backyard. What’s the difference between glamping and camping? Glamping means not giving up all the comforts and luxury of home (ex: real bedding, good food, pretty décor, etc.) but still enjoying the beauty of being outside. I probably lean towards glamping every time I go camping, I mean, the last time we went camping I brought our actual mattress and a tower fan. I can definitely hold my own when we go camping at the lake (we’re talking primitive, on an island, no electricity or bathrooms. It is all natural) but I’m more of a glamper at heart. My Pinterest is filled with images of pretty camping spots and campers. Taking something plain and making it pretty just does my heart good.

Who says you can’t have pretty things when you go camping anyways? I’ve got nothing against the plastic, plaid tablecloths, but it’s just as easy to throw on a pretty one. I took our Glamping experience to the next level with comfy surroundings like real chairs and plates, a teepee, pretty lights, glittery décor, and great food- Freschetta Pizza with garlic butter dip and an amazing 5-chocolate S’mores dip (spoiler alert: you’re family is going to love it). I’ve included the recipes and how-to’s later on.

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We chose a spot in between the two magnolia trees and set up camp. For our glamping decor, I went for a boho feel: fringe, tapestries, and patterns were my inspiration. I stayed with floral and feather motifs to complement the pretty fall scenery. Anything I didn’t already have on hand, I grabbed at Wal-Mart. In true glamping fashion, I wore a dress and we set up our tent, camping table and chairs. For our table I put out real dishes and goblets nicer than the ones we usually use. The pretty lights, candles, and fire all dancing off the glittery feathers set the perfect atmosphere for glamping.

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I hung pretty tapestries and sheets and brought rugs outside. We hung a hammock to relax in, put our camping chairs by the fire and we made a teepee for the boys to play in with a little lounge area beside it. The boys loved the teepee so much, Rhett played in it for hours.

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I love all these mis-matched plates I picked up at Wal-mart. They look so pretty outside. For food I planned a meal that could be made on the campfire but didn’t need any utensils to eat so we’d have less clean-up. The glittery feathers and lights above the table gave the whole set-up a dreamy feel. I wish we could eat out there every night, it was so pretty. The feathers are actually Christmas ornaments that I simply hung from the clips on the lights.

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The Teepee we built might have been the highlight of the experience for Rhett. It gave him somewhere safe to play away from the fire and he just loved siting in there and playing with toys.

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D.I.Y. No-Sew Teepee Directions:
There are so many great teepee how-to’s out there, but have you ever read them? They sound easy until you get to a point where they want you to calculate angles and bust out the sewing machine and make a pattern and maybe I’m just lazy but I left geometry back in high school, but I really wanted to have a teepee to take along since they are so cute, and they fit the glamping experience perfectly so we figured out a way to make one with no math and no sewing!!!

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Supplies:
1X2 boards- you’ll need 5 that are 8 feet long (or longer if you want a taller/wider teepee)
Canvas Painters Dropcloth (ours was 4’X10′ prior to cutting it)
Rope
Leather Cord

I knew I wanted the teepee to have an authentic/rustic look to it, so the first thing we did was take all five boards (these will be your poles) and planed the edges of them. We used a hand planer to take off all the hard edges and then sanded the sides and the tops. If you don’t have a hand planer you can use a pocket knife, it will take longer but have the same look. Then we measured a foot down each board and drilled a hole for the rope to go through, and followed up by sanding the holes.

DIY Teepee Poles instructions

Next you’re going to want to stand up your poles back to back and run the rope through the holes, putting about a foot of rope hanging down on the other side. Then spread your poles out out in five different directions and wrap the rope around from top to bottom. When you get to the end, tie the ends together in a secure knot. The frame for your teepee is done!

diy teepee no sew easy fast quick cheap glamping

To make the cover, grab your drop cloth and drape it over the frame. I pulled ours around the front and then used a clip to hold the front together so I could move the canvas around to where I wanted it to hang. This can get tricky and is much easier to do with two people. You’re going to want to decide how much overhang you want in the front, and where you want your cover to touch the ground all the way around. I wanted a slight overlap in the front and then it to turn before it touched the floor. We took a pencil and traced most of the lines and then put it on the ground and cut; I also ironed the drop cloth at this point. Once it was cut (and your cuts can be a little rough, we’ll fix that in a minute), we put it back onto the frame and clipped the top to hold it again. At this point I went around with the scissors trimming up anywhere that I wanted a little more curve or anything really jagged.

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Next you’re going to cut six holes for the leather lacing that holds the canvas on. I simply pinched the fabric where I wanted holes, and made a small cut with my scissors. You can add fray check to the cut holes if you want to, but I liked the frayed look. My boys have played with our teepee a lot, including knocking it down and pulling on the laces, and we haven’t had any problems with the holes unraveling or tearing. Next take your leather cord and cross lace it through the holes to secure the canvas and to add a nice leather touch. Tie it off in the back and cut the excess cord.

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Now your raw edges are going to look very unfinished at this point. To give them a finished, boho-inspired look, I frayed the fabric along the cut edges. The easiest way to do it was to simply hold the fabric taut with one hand and then to lightly pinch the fabric with my other hand and slide it down the edge a few times, fraying the strings. Any strings that hung out too long I trimmed even with the others. I love the way the fringe edge looks and because the canvas is so durable, it’s not going to easily unravel, but if you are concerned about that or you use a less-tightly woven fabric, you might want to use fray-check on these edges as well.
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Now you have the perfect easy teepee for all of your glamping adventures!

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My boys were really excited about cooking the pizzas over the fire- they don’t normally help with the meals when we go camping and have never had campfire pizza before. We love Freschetta pizzas, they have the best toppings and are so much better than other pizzas so we bought the Freschetta® Brick Oven Crust Roasted Mushroom & Spinach variety and the Pepperoni (the Freschetta® Naturally Rising pizzas are really good too, just sayin). You can find them in freezer aisle at Wal-mart20151102_170007

Cooking them over a fire was really simple and easy. Keep your pizza frozen until you’re ready to use it (and don’t eat them before cooking, yuck), remove the pizzas from the packaging, double wrap them in foil, making sure the entire bottom is covered especially, and place on a grill top over the center of a low fire (put your grill top on the fire five minutes before the pizzas so it can heat up). The cooking time varies based on how hot your fire is, and can be affected by wind or how cold it is outside, ours took about 15 minutes but you’ll know they’re done when the bottoms are golden brown and the cheese is all melted. Remove the pizza from the fire and let them sit for at least two minutes to cool off and then they’re ready to serve! Any you don’t eat can be put back in the cooler or thrown away.

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They were so good and definitely added to the glamping experience having something we truly enjoyed eating. Make sure you bring along something to cut the pizza too.

I also made a great garlic butter pizza dip to go along with the pizza; it taste just like the ones that come with restaurant pizzas. This dip is great for glamping because it will do well in a cooler without getting hard. I used a butter spread instead of real butter so that it would stay soft. Pop&Cook garlic is great too because you don’t have to do any prep work, you just pop them in and go.

For the dip, you’ll only need three simple ingredients: salt, butter spread, and garlic.
In a microwavable bowl, place 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/2 a cube of the Pop&Cook garlic (it’s above 1/2 a glove of crushed garlic), and 1/2 cup of the butter spread. Microwave it for twenty seconds on high.
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Take it out, stir it, and it’s ready! If you’re taking it camping, let it cool and then place in a cooler-safe container and have fun!

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That’s my sweet niece eating with us. She joined into help out with the boys. She is the best helper! Once we were done with dinner, we moved on to dessert.

I had an idea I wanted to try for a S’mores dip that is cooked over the campfire, and it came out better than I could have even planned.

Smore-Dip-RecipeCampfire dessers glamping smores chocolate
Ingredients:
Marshmellows
Five Kinds of Chocolate- I used regular milk chocolate, alpine milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate with cookies and cream, and the secret ingredient- white coconut chocolate
Graham Crackers

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Directions: Pour your bag of marshmallows into a cast iron skillet. You don’t need to worry about spraying the skillet with any kind of oil as long as your skillet is still seasoned well. Put your skillet on the fire and let it cook until you begin to see the marshmallows browning on the edges.

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Remove your skillet from the fire and put all of your chocolate on top. (I wish I had stirred my marshmallows before so I could have marbled the chocolate in, so if you’re going for looks, mix the marshmallows before adding the chocolate.) Then put it back on the fire. It only needs to sit on the fire long enough for the chocolate to melt. Stir the chocolate in until evenly mixed and remove from the fire again! Serve with graham crackers to dip in and it’s the perfect S’more!

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I knew this was gonna be good, but I had no idea. It was SO good. You know how your chocolate never melts enough and your marshmallow is always burnt? Problem solved. Plus, it’s a great dish to share.

We spent the rest of our night cooking marshmallows, playing in the teepee and just enjoying our cute camp spot. It was the most perfect evening and I can’t wait until we get to do it again. Hopefully the rain lets up and we can enjoy being outside again!

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I had such a fun time glamping with my family, and now I really want to plan a girls trip. Have you ever gone glamping? You know you’re dying to go now, aren’t you?

Sawyer’s Second Birthday

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Yesterday was Sawyer’s second birthday. I know every Mom says this, but I cannot believe he’s two already. Year one seemed like forever, year two has flown by. He learned to walk, talk, sing, act silly, read some and so many other things. He is my little buddy who follows me around and wants to play non-stop. This terrible two’s thing has definitely not hit us yet (knock on wood), he is actually easier than he’s ever been right now, even with the new baby.

We spent the day running errands and going to the doctor for the baby, but I did get him a little cake to celebrate. Our little party of four was perfect.

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I thought I’d get a quick picture before we cut the cake

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but he seemed to recall his cake smashing from his first birthday

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at least now he shares

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As you can see, it was quite the exciting party, haha. We really did have a good time just playing and eating cake though! Rhett spent most of his day just like this…

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I think I may have gotten a sleepy baby this time!

Lyndsey’s baby shower

 

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I had the honor of helping host one of my best friend’s baby shower last weekend. My best friend Lyndsey, and owner of Winsome Jones is the most adorable pregnant lady, and I can’t wait to meet her little girl. She’ll be just a pretty as her mom. For Lyndsey’s shower, we went with a pink and gold theme, and just over-all girly. No one has had a girl around here in a long time and I think we were all excited to be able to buy pink and ruffles!

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Guest had their picture taken and wrote advice for the mama-to-be in the guest book. We also wrote the gifts list in there and I put all of the pictures from the shower in for her to keep as a little scrapbook from the shower. The book I used is made by SMASHbook, I got it at Michaels.

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The food was amazing, these princess cakes from Ikea were to die for.

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We had a headband station set-up where guest could make cute headbands for the baby girl to wear when she comes. We bought a pre-made kit from Etsy.

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Lyndsey and I are only due two days apart! So excited to raise our babies together!

Kelsey + Taylor: Part Two

Kelsey and Taylor’s wedding reception was the most wonderful combination of beautiful and happy and relaxed. I took a million pictures, but culled it down to these beauties. My favorite things about the wedding were all the different bridesmaids dresses, the amazing flowers, and the beautiful bride and groom of course! I absolutely loved my dress and the different hair pieces for the bridesmaids, so pretty. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves!

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stole that last one from @lyndseycrose instagram. It was too pretty not to share!