Monday, September 29, 2014

Girls Birthday Party - Photo shoot

Over the years we've had all sorts of birthday parties for the kids. And as Brookelyn gets older I've found myself struggling to find something fun and creative to do for her birthday. This year my friend Sara and I were chatting about ideas and cam up with a brilliant one, a friends photo shoot! We told Brookelyn about the idea and she was stoked! The planning and prep was actually incredibly simple, which was just the kind of party that I was hoping for. 

So I hope you're ready for a whole bunch of pictures of the party, because that's what the party was all about. Sara is a fabulous local photographer here in the Milwaukee area. She came over in the afternoon when the girls were all due to arrive and took photos of them getting their hair done (by me), chatting, laughing, and having cake. 
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Each of the girls were given a beautiful necklace with an inspiring quote from LooluhRue! They were all so sweet and the girls were thrilled to wear them for the photos. If you're looking for a sweet gift for yourself or a friend, check out her adorable shop. And, a huge thank you to Amanda at LooluhRue for sending the sweet necklaces.
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Is her hair amazing or what? I might be a bit biased, but my girl got lucky! She's got such beautiful hair. 
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There were so many silly moments and the girls shared so many laughs, you'll see lots more in the photos to follow. The three friends that we chose all hang out in different "circles", so it was nice to have them all together for once. And, they got along beautifully! 
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After getting all gussied up, cake and gifts Sara and I took the girls out to a local park where there is a gorgeous field. We tossed down a quilt and some props, borrowed from another photographer friend of mine, Amy, and Sara got to work!
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Brookelyn, Norah, Sage and Hannah are all such gorgeous girls, inside and out. I truly hope that each of the girls felt as beautiful as they looked on this day. I hope that these photos will always be a special memory for them and that they really know just how lovely each of them is.
Let's be honest though, when you've got a group of 10 & 11 year old girls, things can't always be so serious. There was so much laughing and giggling, silly faces & comments and requests to take "funny" photos. These are some of my favorites though, getting to see them be themselves and loosen up!
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After our time in the field the girls got dress in jeans and tank tops and we headed to downtown Milwaukee for dinner at a wonderful, local eatery called Trocadero. Sara took the girls out on a bridge over the river to snap a few quick photos before we went in for dinner. The four girls had their own table at dinner. Sara and I sat close by and enjoyed chatting and watching the girls. 
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I have to say a HUGE thank you to my friend Sara for hanging out with us all afternoon & evening. We had a fabulous time and the pictures are all beautiful & amazing. The girls had a fabulous time and loved her. If you're in the Milwaukee are and looking for a photographer, I'd highly recommend Sara
Girls Birthday Party Idea: Photo Shoot
Do you struggle trying to figure out fun ways to celebrate the kids' birthdays? Have you thrown a party that was different from the norm? 

All photography: Photog by Sara Daniell
Necklaces: LooluhRue

Friday, September 26, 2014

Nine Twenty Six Fourteen

Do you ever feel like the weeks pass by super fast? I remember being a kid and feeling like a week lasted so long and now, a week is gone in a flash. I'd give anything for more hours in my day. But, here we are. Another Friday, another week gone by. 

How fun is that chevron pumpkin? I couldn't not pick it up during my Target stop last Friday. I'm excited that it's pumpkin season. I love all of the fun colors and shapes.
Prior to my Target run I went to see my awesome hairstylist for a much needed trim. Some days it's just fun to have my hair straight every now and then. Even though I went home and curled it with the curling wand. 

It has been years since I've planned a baby shower. My friends Karri, Amy and I are hosting a shower for one of our friends/neighbors. The invitations came, courtesy of Pear Tree Greetings this week, and I love them. Soon I'll be sharing all about the shower here on the blog.
Both kids have had a few things on their walls and a few things have been stacked against the wall, just waiting to be hung. This week I finally got the motivation and hung up a bunch of stuff in both kids' rooms. Brookelyn's is mostly done now and I can't wait to post all about it. That little silhouette puts a smile on my face (3 yr old Brookelyn) and she loved her new sign (the "original" from Prim & Proper Signs, inspired by Brookelyn's favorite quote)!
Another of my favorite spots in her room is this one. The sign from The Printed Palette is perfect and pops against the teal on her walls! 
Cohen's wall still needs a couple of finishing touches. Some of them I have & need to paint, but I still need to purchase a couple of things too. What would you hang here?

Cohen is our "fever" kid. Once a month or so he comes down with a fever. Nothing else, no other symptoms, just a high fever. Luckily it only took some snuggling with mom & tylenol for it to go away. And now he's back to himself!
I am seriously considering ordering the new Baladea system from Holly Perkins. She's such an inspiration to me and I absolutely love her workouts. She's motivating, without being annoying. I've heard great things about the system, it's got good reviews and the price is totally reasonable! Have you tried it? Know someone who has?

We've got another busy weekend, filled this time with volleyball both days. I'm hoping that maybe we can sneak off to an apple orchard too though. What are your plans? Anything fun and exciting?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

There is nothing quite as nice as a warm tasty soup for dinner on a chilly fall day (or a freezing cold winter day). And I'll be honest, I've had a fear of making soups for a long time. I do not like stew and always ended up making some sort of chili or potato soup. This fall though, I want to make more soups and experiment with some ideas that are swirling around in my head. 

Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup #chickensoup #souprecipe
Our family loves Chicken Pot Pie, so that's where the inspiration for my Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup came from. I wanted something a little creamy (but not too thick or rich), with veggies, chicken and a flavor that would mimic pot pie (without the crust).


Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup #chickensoup #souprecipe

Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

2 tsp coconut (or grapeseed oil)
2 tsp butter (I prefer unsalted grass-fed)
4 tsp whole wheat flour
2 cups chopped carrots
1.5 cups chopped celery
1 red onion (diced)
2-3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 cups chopped chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken.)
4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (or stock)
1 1/2 cups milk (1% is fine)
1 cup half & half
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp salt 
1 tsp pepper

In a sauce pan create a roux by combing the oil and butter, and slowly whisk in the flour. Once combined, remove from heat and set aside. In a large skillet or pot spray with some coconut oil or just pour in a tsp or so, add the carrots, celery, garlic and onion. Saute for 6-8 minutes. Slowly pour in broth, milk, half & half and remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, stirring the entire time as to not let it burn. Once the soup has come to a boil, turn the stove down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, continue to stir. Turn stove off and transfer soup to crock pot. Cook on low, stirring occasionally for 4 hours (or less, you're basically keeping the soup warm at this point. But the flavors will marry over time.). Serve and enjoy!


Creamy Chicken & Vegetable Soup #chickensoup #souprecipe
This soup was SO delicious! Everyone in the family loved it and suggested that I make it again, often. Next time I might add in even more veggies, like peas and green beans. 

What are your favorite soups to make? Or, what are some you want to try making?