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Family Valentines Dinner at Home

I love love. I love spending time with my main man. I love our kids. I love making ordinary moments special. I love making holidays special. What I do not love are overly gooey Valentine’s Day themed price-hiked meals surrounded by couples I don’t know who likely feel the same but feel obligated to participate. The last couple of years, and since the kids are old enough to appreciate it, we have made a new family tradition. We have a “fancy” Valentines Day Brinner (breakfast for dinner). We dress up. We set the table with our best dishes. We light candles. And we make heart shaped breakfast. I mean, what’s not to love here?

Today I am sharing our tradition with you, photographed beautifully by the amazing Cati Teague Photography. First, the table.

We love flowers at our house. We always have fresh flowers in the middle of our kitchen table. When it comes to setting mood, candles are a must. We dim the overhead pendant, light votives around the table and giggle at each other through candlelight. It’s pretty awesome.

The dinner plate is from Anthropologie, charger and napkins (tea towels, actually) were found at HomeGoods and the rest (silver, dishes and vase) are vintage, found at antique stores and flea markets.

Valentines Table Setting

You may remember that arrows are among my favorite things. Since that post, I have received an arrow tote, bracelet and t-shirt from readers. You people are my favorite. I made these arrows and will post a DIY about them in the next few days! Stay tuned…are. they. not. the. cutest?!

Valentines Day Dinner And now for our Valentine’s Day Brinner Menu. It is a crowd pleaser and could not be easier.

We have milk and orange juice in champagne and wine glasses because that’s fancy. Bacon is baked on a sheet pan in the form of a heart and sprinkled with maple syrup and cracked pepper. Toast is cut into heart shapes and spread with fruit preserves. Eggs are usually scrambled but I stepped it up here by simply placing a cookie cutter sprayed with cooking spray on a skillet and cracking an egg into it. Beautiful heart-shaped egg! To top it off we have a side dish of Red Hot applesauce. It is exactly what it sounds like and it is amazing. Pour applesauce from a jar (or make your own, but really now) in a sauce pan, sprinkle a handful of Red Hots to taste, chill or bring to room temperature, and you get a red applesauce with a bit of spice and cinnamon that you will love. My grandma taught me this trick in Idaho decades ago. She was genius.

Valentines Day Dinner BrinnerAnd because you should always have dessert, even with breakfast, French Macarons. French macarons are like edible little trinket boxes. They are beautiful with their candy colors and smooth tops, crunchy outer shell and creamy delicate centers. Oh dear lord, they are my top 5 foods of all time. Buy them fresh from the bakery or frozen from Trader Joe’s or equivalent, but please do end your Valentines Day Brinner with French Macarons.

Arrows and French Macarons

Avoid crowds and cost this year and celebrate love with the little and big ones you love best. Steal our family tradition and please take the time to tell me all about it!

Love,  Gina <3

PHOTO CRED:  Cati Teague Photography

 

 

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Party Tent DIY

I have had several inquiries about the tent I made for Anna’s Vintage Camping Party. The party was such a blast I want to recreate it every weekend and just roast different things over the fire (a girl can handle only so many s’mores, can I get an ‘amen’!? No s’more!).

There are many A-frame tent tutorials on the web but I like this one – it is more indestructible and folds up easily and is simply a cinch to make! Bonus: All the wood cost roughly $10.00 and I had the rest of the materials on hand.

You’ll need:

5 – 1 1/2 x 3/4 inch boards, 54 inches in length (for use, vertically, as the A-frame, and one to lay across the top)

4 – 1 1/2 x 3/4 inch boards, 42 inches in length (for use as the cross beams)

16 – 1 1/2 inch nails

2 – 2 inch bolts

2  wing nuts

Hammer

Drill

A piece of fabric roughly 46×104 inches (I used a sheet we found at a thrift store and folded it almost in half)

Staple gun

Potato and acrylic paint (if you want to stamp it)

Here is the finished frame:

A-Frame Tent

To make the bottom of frame, nail your 46 inch board inside the two longer 54 inch boards, roughly 2-3 inches from the bottom.

It will look like this: Inside board flush with 2 nails

To do the top section, position your 46 inch boards on the outside of the frame. Like this: Top of A-frame, shorter boards nailed to the outside of frame.Use a drill to secure the two parts of the frame together with the bolts and wing nuts. The 5th 54 inch board simply sits at the top between the “V” so the fabric can drape.

Drape your fabric over the top, stapling the sides around the boards and at the bottom. It will look like this.

DIY A-Frame Tent

As you can see, we decided to fancy up the fabric (a thrift store sheet we found). We made a stamp out of at sweet potato and stamped green and blue acrylic painted triangles.

Potato Stamp

Potato stamped tent

We made a few tassels to decorate the front, set the tent on top of rugs and quilts and filled it full of pillows. Camping party goodness!

Tent DIY

DSC_1693

Anna's Campsite

So grab some boards and your hammer and in no time, you’ll be camping out in your own backyard.

Happy backyard adventures to you!

See more pictures and the full party Here!

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Anna’s Vintage Camping Party

I asked my almost 7 year-old what she wanted for her birthday. “I want a s’mores party,” she said. That’s my kid, thinking about the food first.

This year was the first year she truly got involved in the party ideas and execution. It was so fun to do with her! The girl’s got some fun and quirky style (as evidenced by the vintage embroidered tea towel that she is wearing here and has worn for 10 days straight)! So we took a vintage camping spin on the s’mores theme and went to town.

Thunderstorms were projected for the start of the party and after we took everything in three times over the course of the day because drops were felt, it never actually rained! I am convinced it is because I found my little 7 year-old inside the tent on her knees praying for “overcast skies only, please!” And for braving an outdoor party at the end of June in Georgia, I have to say, God loves little Anna. We even put a fire in the fire pit and didn’t melt! Large fans, plenty of cold drinks and spray bottles as water misters certainly helped. We had a blast!

Stay tuned for the tent DIY next week (so easy and fun and something we will use over and over)!

Reading in the tentSuitcases with peanuts and a DIY tentThis Party is Peanuts!

Outdoor Camping Party Decor

S'moresgusborg

Marshmallows and Graham Crackers

"Le Camping" vintage print
In case you didn't get enough s'mores.... s'more for later!

Some here, "S'more for Later"!

Click on an individual picture to see a gallery scroll of all the fun details and descriptions!

 

Happy Vintage Camping and S’mores Party to my Anna and Happy Fourth of July to YOU, Friends!

Make a tent and roast some mallows and celebrate with your loved ones!

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Love and Snow

Happy Valentine’s Day! This week has been full of snow days, homemade valentines, and, since my husband was in California on business (bless his heart, snark, snark), quality time with my kids! Enjoy some of our favorite snow and love moments of the week:

My new favorite app “Waterlogue” gives us a very cool take on the classic “look what the snow looks like out MY window” pic!

Painted in WaterlogueStreet Sledding!

street sleddingValentines in the snow.

Doilies in the snow

We could not leave the house to buy anything (icy roads!), so we got creative at home. Happy Valentines Day from Anna!

Anna and Her ValentineAny finally, from my sweet family to yours, we wish you loads of love, kisses and joy, today and everyday!

Sims LoveXOXO,

Gina

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Calling All Party Animals!

Last weekend, party animals came out of the woods for a roaring good time (grrr, couldn’t help myself). My four-year old loves animals and breakfast so we combined his favorite things for a super fun time!

My advice for menus is to keep it simple and easy to make and eat. Our menu was bacon on a stick, donut holes on a stick, fresh fruit cups and marinated sandwiches. We served orange juice, milk and coffee in awesome animal cups. I purchased the cake and decorated with animals and a tiny pendant garland. Delicious, fun and couldn’t be easier!

Decor was bright in color mixed with a natural feel in the newspaper, craft paper, twine, etc. My absolute favorite things were the tiny hats I made for his toy animals. Cutest! I painted a large canvas black and used chalk on it for the sign behind the elephant stilts tub. I tried my hand, for the first time, with face painting and had so much fun doing it. I discovered when you’re drawing on someone’s FACE, you best not mess up! My father-in-law even got in on the action (hysterical!). Happy Birthday, to my sweet, filthy animal!

Come inside ya filthy animals

Elephant Stilts Game

Elephant Stilts for Kids Game

Animals in hats party favors

Animals in hats party hats

Elephant in a hat

Donut holes on a stick

table scape bacon on a stick donut holes animal cake

Animal Birthday Cake

marinated sandwiches table scape

tablescape decor animal table

animals in party hats

Zebra Pick your Nose animal cups

face painting butterflies

kitty cat face painting

face paint comb over

Face Painting - my tiger

ROAR!! All day long. Not Quiet.

ROAR!! All day long. Not Quiet.

Happy Birthday, Tiger!

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