Monthly Archives

November 2016

scrapbook layout 4 ways using bella blvd by the creative copycat

Scrapbooking Layout 4 Ways

Happy Scrapbooking Sunday. I have a quick tip to share that helps me create more pages faster. When I find a layout I like, I make 4 versions of it at the same time. For example, this layout was from a Bella Blvd kit and I just love it, especially the fact that it allows me to get so many pictures on the page.

scrapbook layout 12x12 using Bella Blvd by the Creative Copycat

Instead of just making the kit and moving on, I chose four different themes and events from different years so the layout wouldn’t be included in the same album, then made all four at the same time. I picked out, formatted and printed all the pictures together, I typed up and printed all the journaling together and cut all the paper together, then assembled each page and added all the little embellishments and details. Using this method allowed me to create four scrapbook pages in a little more than the time it would have taken me to make one.

autumn 12x12 layout using bella blvd Hello Autumn by the Creative Copycat

december scrapbook layout 12x12 using bella blvd by the creative copycat

scrapbook layout 12x12 using Bella Blvd by the Creative Copycat

In case you are interested in creating this layout, here are the details:

Photo sizes: 2.5×3 (1), 4×3 (1), 2.75×2.75 (2), 3.75×3.75 (1)

Paper: 2 strips 4×11, 1 strip 1.25×11, 1 strip 1×11, 1 strip 0.5×11

Hudson’s 1st Birthday Party

To me, a first birthday party is just as much about the parents as it is the birthday kid. Let’s be honest, that first year is tough and I kind of think of that first birthday party as a “congratulations parents you survived” just as much as I see it as a celebration of your child’s first year of life. So, I kept that in mind when creating this party and theme. I was inspired by all of Hudson’s favorite things, which all happened to start with the letter B: Balls, Balloons and Bowties and threw in a few of mommy’s favorites too like a Bubble Bar. 😉  I liked this because it gave me direction without being too specific. I decided on the colors blue, yellow and green and had so much fun with it. I love that the theme incorporated all of Hudson’s favorite things, but wasn’t such an overbearing theme that I can look back on it three years later and still be totally in love with it. I mean, it really is the only party for your kids where you get complete control so you might as well create a party you love!

first birthday family photo

I made a guestbook showcasing the highlights from the past year with space for guests to write Hudson messages like where he will be in 20 years and his best trait. I used the wedding guestbook template on Shutterfly, then changed it up to make it work for a 1st Birthday Party and absolutely love how it turned out.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party guestbook

I printed out Hudson’s weekly photos and hung them to the shutters above the welcome table using clothespins I had dyed blue, green and yellow using this tutorial.

first birthday guestbook bowtie display table with weekly photos hanging

I made bowties for all the guests to wear. You can find instructions here.

first birthday diy no-sew bowties

We had a photo booth with tons of fun props. You can get the details for my DIY Photobooth here.

first birthday party diy photobooth

I bought a few of those funny mustache and lip pacifiers and set those in a bowl along with paci wipes so our littlest guests could get in on the photo booth action too.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party photobooth strip

We had a ball pit using an inflatable kid pool, which was a huge hit with the kids.

diy ball pit is a great idea for a first birthday party

We had a bubble pool with tons of wands for the kids to play with. I think the big kids enjoyed this one more than the little kids. 🙂

first birthday party bubble pool

We had a bubbly bar for the adults. 😉 I bought the buckets from Joanns and added a “shelf” to two of them so I could stack mason jars.I tied ribbons around each jar and bought straws from shop sweet lulu to make them more festive.

bubbly bar for bowtie first birthday party with mimosa bar

We served lemonade, iced tea, water bottles with wet your whiskers labels on them, champagne and juices for making mimosas.

hudson's bowtie first birthday party mimosa bar

For food we had: manwhiches (sandwiches from Subway), fruit cups, bowtie pasta, veggie cups and puffs. I know how hard it is to eat as a mom running after your little one, so I tried to serve the food in small portions that could be eaten on the move. This approach  worked well for the kids too. Above the food table I hung a banner I made showcasing Hudson’s monthly photos. I also made labels for the veggie and pasta containers and made flags for the sandwiches using Bella Blvd washi tape.

bowtie first birthday party food table with manwiches and bowtie pasta

Cakegoodness created an amazing dessert bar consisting of tons of candy, cake pops, mini cupcakes, #1 rice krispie treats and Hudson’s gorgeous vegan cake. I made the banner and treat bags and ordered bowtie and #1 cookies from the RP Confections on Etsy.

bowtie first birthday party dessert table

bowtie ruffle cake for first birthday party

real men eat dessert bowtie cupcakes for first birthday party

bowtie first birthday party dessert details-bowtie cupcakes, one rice krispy treats, one cookies and candy

For the centerpieces, I bought buckets from Party City, filled them with hydrangeas from Costco, and stuck homemade bowtie sticks in them. For a last minute centerpiece idea, I thought they came out looking really cute.

bowtie first birthday flower centerpiece using bucket and hydrangeas

For favors, each kid took home a bottle of bubbles with a personalized label to match the theme.

bowtie first birthdya party bubble favors

I also found Hudson’s vintage highchair on-line, sanded it, then Nic spray painted it. I made the ONE banner and ordered the hat, Hudson’s onesie and his special bowtie from Etsy shops.

bowtie first birthday party vintage high chair, candy bar sign, hat and diy i am one banner

We sang Hudson happy birthday and watched him dig into his cake.

first birthday party cake smash

The best part of the day though was sharing it with all of our favorite people. Our families and friends helped us get through a challenging and extremely rewarding first year and it was so fun to celebrate Hudson’s big day with everyone. We are so blessed to have so many wonderful people in our lives.

hudson first birthday party ideas collage


fancy pumpkin pie using cookie and pie crust cutters

How to Make Your Pumpkin Pie Look Fancy

I know I haven’t been blogging here long, but if you haven’t already noticed, I use the word easy a lot. 🙂

I love crafting, baking and party planning, but if I can cut a corner or make my life easier in any way, I am taking it. I am constantly juggling a million things, have two little kids who have an insane amount of energy and I’ve gotten very little sleep in the past 4 years (sounds familiar, right?) so as much as I love making elaborate creations, I have had to compromise. With the holidays coming up, I just wanted to share a really simple way to fancy up your pumpkin pie, although these would work for any pie.

pumpkin pie and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie

My first trick is that I always buy Pillsbury refrigerated dough. I know, I know! I honestly can’t tell the difference between this and homemade and everyone who has tried my pies agrees, so I save myself the time and effort by skipping homemade crust. I like the Pillsbury dough for a number of reasons. First of all, you place it in your real pie dish so it looks like you made it (I have gotten tons of compliments on my pie crust-I always share my secret, but again, this just re-enforces my corner cutting ways). Second, it comes with a second crust that I use for decorating. I don’t have to roll it out and I am guaranteed to have my designs be the perfect thickness, which is a double bonus because I am terrible at rolling out dough. (I really wish Pillsbury were paying me to write this, but I just really am a fan of their product ;)).

pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters

I use Williams Sonoma pie crust cutters, which are amazing! You push it in and it cuts and presses a design on the dough, then pops it out. I am a huge fan of these! I also bought a mini ABC cookie cutter set from Amazon so that I could cut out letters. I was really happy with how easy they were to use (I used a knife to gently push the dough out) and think they will be fun for tons of different baking projects.

pumpkin pie cutters from williams sonoma

I placed all my cutouts on a silpat lined cookie sheet, put a little egg wash on them (one egg lightly beaten with 2 teaspoons of water) and baked them in a 375 degree oven until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes.

williams sonoma pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie

Once the decorations and your pie are cool, you can decorate away. And if you are an over-achieving mom who makes her pie crust from scratch (I use that term with love as I am a total over-achiever), you can still use these cutters and impress all your family and friends even more than you already are. 🙂

pumpkin pie cutters and cookie cutters for fancy pumpkin pie

scrapbook tips for busy moms

Scrapbooking Tips for Busy Moms

I love traditional scrapbooking, but as a mom it can be difficult to find the time. With our busy lives and the juggling of 10,000 things it can feel nearly impossible to find time to shower, let alone scrapbook, right? Once you fall behind too, it can be so overwhelming and difficult to jump back in that you just never do. I didn’t scrapbook much for the first few years of being a mom and it was hard to get back into it. I was overwhelmed and exhausted and whenever I had a few minutes I just found myself staring at my supplies feeling totally lost. I’m happy to say though, that for the past 9 months I have been scrapbooking pretty consistently and I have a few tips to share.

  1. Use kits, which are pre-designed pages that come with all the products needed to complete the page (minus basic crafting supplies) and step by step instructions. It is obviously very rewarding to create your own pages, but at this point in my life, I rarely have time for that. By the time I pick paper, coordinating embellishments and select my pictures, my time is up. I make a lot of kits these days because I can actually finish a page. I will usually start a kit while watching tv with my husband or on a craft day with Hudson and by the following week, I can usually be on to the next kit. I put this one first because when you haven’t scrapbooked in a while a kit is the perfect place to start. No thinking involved (which is an especially welcome blessing for this exhausted mama), it is fast and watching kits pile up and start to fill albums is a huge motivator. Some great places to look for kits are Paisleys and Polka Dots, Down to Details, ScraptiqueOut on A Limb Scrapbooking and Lotts to Scrap About.
  2. Do as much on your phone as possible-edit photos, make collages, etc. You have this little tool in your hand all the time so you might as well use it right? Especially since most of us take the majority of our photos on our phones these days,and we are already adding filters and making collages for apps like instagram and facebook, so we might as well print those photos out and use them.
  3. Try to find a space where you can leave your stuff out- I know I am so lucky to have a scrapbooking room, but even if you don’t have a dedicated room if you can find a dedicated space it will make a huge difference. That way if you find a few minutes of time, you can just pick up where you left off instead of using all that free time to put out and/or clean up your project
  4. Buy a printer and start printing your pictures at home. I bought a Canon PIXMA iX6820 Wireless Business Printer for under $150 (it was on sale) and it has been a game changer for me. I am not organized enough to plan ahead and order pictures, so being able to print out exactly what I need in the size I need while in my pajamas has made a huge difference in my productivity.
  5. Get the kids involved. My oldest son no longer naps so I have had to get creative with my crafting time. One day a week while his little brother naps, we craft. I give Hudson paper, punches, scissors, stickers, etc. and he loves it. Cutting paper into little tiny, impossible to vacuum pieces is one of his all time favorite activities. He has his own little stash of supplies in my scrapbooking room now and I can usually squeeze in about thirty minutes to an hour of crafting time.
  6. Try to attend a scrapbooking retreat or event annually. There is just something about being around other scrapbookers and having time to focus on something you love that can really re-spark your passion and get you motivated again.
  7. Use sketches or pages you like for inspiration. Scraplifting is totally encouraged in the scrapbooking community so take advantage. Follow scrapbook blogs, IG accounts and personal scrapbookers that you love or search on Pinterest and then copy away. The Bella Blvd blog even offers a monthly Project Sheet with step by step directions to copy a layout from one of their designers.
  8. Repeat layouts and designs. If you find a layout you like, re-use it. Your family isn’t going to notice, I promise.
  9. Read your scrapbooks as bedtime stories. Every few weeks, we pull out a scrapbook and look through it together as a family before bed. The kids love it and it really inspires me to keep creating.
  10. It’s better to be finished than to be perfect! This is the one I struggle with the most. I want every page to be amazing, but the most important thing is the pictures, the stories and people behind them.

Happy Scrapping!

10 scrapbook tips for busy moms

Do you have anything you would add to this list?  What works for you?

photo booth diy using ipad

DIY Photo Booth

A friend of mine did this at her daughter’s first birthday party years ago and I loved it so much I just had to copy her. I have since used this at every one of my kid’s birthday parties, my own birthday party and holiday gatherings. It is always a huge hit! It seemed a bit pricey up front, but it has more than paid for itself over the years.

diy photobooth

Here is everything you need:

Ipad Floor Stand (You can most likely find more affordable options on Amazon for the ipad stand. I personally like this stand because it rolls, it is adjustable, it is quick and easy to insert the ipad and most importantly the ipad feels secure once strapped in. I also love that we can keep our ipad in the protective case while using the stand just for added re-assurance.)

Pocketbooth App

Ipad

Backdrop (This is what we have, but this is totally optional. You could easily make your own backdrop, but this backdrop set does make it nice and easy to create a clean space that you can then decorate however you want.)

For the first few parties we linked the ipad to a wireless printer so people could print out their photos, but now we don’t bother with that and instead everyone just e-mails their pictures to themselves through the app.

Sometimes we use chairs or benches to sit on and sometimes we don’t. We find for kid parties no chairs work better so that the kids can use the set-up unsupervised (why do kids feel the need to climb on everything?)

I also thought I would mention props. I have slowly added to my generic photo booth props over the years, but my favorite props are actually theme specific. I have a board on my pinterest page titled DIY Photobooth where I have included many of the props I have used over the years. Most of these are free, but a few are not.

I also always make a photobooth sign and stick it in a frame. If you would like to use this one from Hudson’s 1st Birthday Party, you can get it here for free.

bowtie party photobooth sign free printable

 

candy stuffed chocolate chip cookies-milky way

Candy Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

I had planned to make these earlier in the week, but Luc wasn’t overly excited about baking with me, so Hudson and I made these cookies this afternoon while Luc napped. Hudson has always loved baking with me and now that he can eat chocolate he was more excited than ever to assist.

candy stuffed chocolate chip cookies baking helper

These cookies are the perfect way to use up leftover Halloween candy, unless you managed to eat it all already. 😉 I always buy a bag really early, feeling accomplished for being on top of things, then it disappears before Halloween night and I have to buy more at the last minute.  I also always end up with tons of leftovers on top of the candy the kids collect, which up until this year, they couldn’t even eat. So after I gather up a large bag to donate to a local dentist’s office who sends the candy to Operation Gratitude, I bake up a batch of Picky Palate’s Candy Bar Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches, or as I like to call them Candy Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies. In my opinion, these are the best way to eat candy! 🙂 She uses reeses, kitkats and snickers, but because Hudson could eat the cookies this time I didn’t make any with nuts. Instead we used twix, milky way, and kitkats, but I’m sure any candy would be delicious.

Candy Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • Servings: About 24 large cookies
  • Print

Delicious cookie recipe from Picky-Palate using leftover Halloween candy.

Copycatable Rating:????? Credit: Picky-Palate

Ingredients

  • 2 sticks softened butter
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla
  • 3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 10 ounce bag of chocolate chips
  • Variety of mini candies

Directions

  1. Pre-heat oven to 350F.
  2. In a stand or electric mixer, cream butter and sugars until well combined.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Place flour, baking soda and salt in a large bowl; mix then slowly add to wet ingredients.
  5. Add chocolate chips to combine.
  6. Using a cookie scoop take one scoop of cookie dough and place on top of snack size candy bar. Take another scoop of dough and place on bottom of candy bar. seal edges together by pressing and cupping in hand until candy is enclosed with dough.
  7. Place onto a parchment or silpat lined baking sheet and bake cookies 9-13 minutes or until cookies are baked to your liking.
  8. Let col for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

bubble gum gender reveal 3

Gender Reveal Photo Ideas

I love making big, important announcements fun and creative so when we found out we were having our second boy I knew I wanted to do a gender reveal photo shoot. My photographer and I had discussed some ideas before the shoot and decided that bubblegum would be a cute announcement. Our original plan was to have Hudson pop the wrong bubble, but he was scared of them and kept running away crying every time we blew one. We still incorporated him into some of the other shots though and to this day this is one of my favorite photo sessions.

Apparently, other people liked it as well because the bubble gum shot went viral! It was kind of crazy, kind of weird and kind of fun. I once had a mom “recognize” me at a Gymboree class and friends were seeing our picture pop up on mom’s groups and Pinterest all over the world.

gender reveal photo using bubblegum its a boy

A friend of mine also recently informed me that a few of our photos from that shoot are included in an article on Tiny Prints that provides gender reveal ideas.Here are the photos featured in their post:

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

gender reveal photo its a boy bubblegum

gender reveal photo bubblegum its a boy

Here are a few more of my favorites from this shoot:

gender reveal photo its a boy

gender reveal photo its a boy

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

gender reveal photo using balloons its a boy

I hope these give you some ideas for your own gender reveal announcement.

A few quick tips if you plan to do the bubblegum one: We bought the cute blue and pink gumballs for the photos, but used bubbleyum for the actual bubble blowing. Even though we practiced ahead of time, bubble gum blowing isn’t the easiest so be patient and have fun with it. We were cracking up the whole time.

To view more gender reveal ideas, you can check out the tiny prints article by clicking here.

Photos were taken by The Letter B Photography one of my favorite photographers who I highly recommend. 🙂

gender reveal photoshoot ideas using bubblegum balloons and baby clothes

Halloween Bathbomb Gift

My oldest son is currently in Pre-K and I am still learning all the ins and outs of “school-dom” For example, I did not realize people give teachers gifts for Halloween. I already dropped the ball last Valentine’s Day and had to rush out to buy some cake pops and cookies from a local bakery so I should have been a bit more prepared…but yet here we are. I saw a few friends posting about teacher gifts just days before Halloween so I didn’t have much time. I came up with a nice simple idea, bought bath bombs from Lush, made cute labels (I know the saying is trick or treat yo’ self, but I couldn’t bring myself to write that on a gift going to a teacher ;)) and packaged everything up. Then I had a million things to bring to school, the kids were acting crazy because they were excited for Halloween and I forgot the gifts at home. Oops. Hopefully the teachers will still be happy when they get them late because they really are awesome and they deserve a little relaxing treat. From now on, I am just going to assume that any time I bring classroom treats for the kids, I should bring teacher gifts as well.

To download the free gift labels click here.

trick or treat yourself free printable - use lush bathbombs to make a cute Halloween gift
trick or treat yourself free printable - use lush bathbombs to make a cute Halloween gift