Monday, January 23, 2017

A Burger Themed Birthday Party!

My first born, my sweetest boy, turned 8 this weekend. On inauguration day to be exact. In a way I was so happy to have his day of birth as a distraction to a day I'd rather pretend wasn't happening... But that will be my only mention of politics on the subject- I promise you!

I took his birthday off from work so Shawn and I could break Cormac out of school for a birthday lunch, and I could work on some last minute party details. Instead of returning to school, Cormac joined me for a Costco party run, yelling my list to me in an isle, "MOM, DON'T FORGET TAMPONS... WHAT ARE TAMPONS ANYWAY?!" 

Bless it.

Choosing a party theme with Cormac is always a bonding experience for us. Themes are something we both enjoy hashing (and hashtagging) out and this one was no different. Well, it was slightly different in the fact that Cormac is till nursing his broken elbow injury and so I knew we had to revolve the party around something mellow, instead of our typical wild party games and pinatas.

I thought of the burger theme because our family cracks up that after each burger (Cormac's favorite food) he's eaten in the last year he proclaims every time, "That was the best burger I've ever had!" Whether it's a gourmet food-truck style hamburger, or Fatburger... It's his best YET. This is essentially how this kid lives life, excited about everything with positivity exuding him. So when I told him I think we could really rock a burger theme, he was all in. I got to work on eBay, Amazon and Etsy scouring burger decor- which came easily being as though fast food prints are trending like crazy right now. (Hence me and Birdie's burger print tees from Forever 21)

For the invite and graphics, I called on my #1 party girl Elena at World Wide Party. It's been about a year and a half since we worked together and I just knew it was time to reunite. As always, I gave her the "flavor" of the burger party (wink) and she just nailed the graphics... Some things never change!


Being as though I had MLK Jr. Day off, I was able to bake all of the cookies for the Cookie Burger Bar (using the same cookie recipe since his 1st birthday!), as well as all of the layers to the burger cake a week early which was a huge help. People always ask me how I get everything baked for the dessert table and it's all about doing it in advance, freezing it and using the night before the party for assembly. Time management is huge when planning a custom party and I've learned you've got to plan at least a week in advance with baking!

Friday night, my 2 besties from the Central Coast came down with their kids and we stayed up, the 3 of us until 2:30am stuffing favor boxes, snorting coffee out of our noses from laughing so hard and reminiscing on how many times we've done this between our 6 kids. Those late party nights give me life and I am always so grateful to have friends who share this party passion of mine and love my kids like their own.


The party was this past Saturday at noon and as far as I'm concerned it was a hit! The kids all loved the theme and seemed to have a blast at our custom Cookie Burger Bar where they could create a burger out of sugar (cookies, brownies, icing and fondant). Although some kids still refused fondant onions and pickles (they just couldn't get their head around it!!)- in the end, every one of them loved chowing down on a sugar burger. We played backyard games (including a fave from my own childhood: string the Fruit Loops on the Red Vines!) and I also had a little beading table set up complete with burger beads! In total we hosted about 60 people in our backyard under beautiful weather which seemed to clear up for us just in time providing a perfect day of family and school friends celebrating Cormac's 8th birthday. I seriously couldn't have asked for a better party- and if you know me, I'm very hard to please when it comes to judging my own parties. I can now see that stepping away from the event planning industry has allowed me to not care as much about ironed linens and symmetrical table designs. I can honestly say that even though there are still small stresses in throwing a party for my child, having that "business" aspect of things removed is a lot of stress relieved. My own husband even noticed, which is huge. Not that he didn't still call me "Miss Party Mom!" for a week before, every chance he could... But hey, the nickname is mine and I'll never be ashamed of it!

Enjoy our Burger Birthday...

party or die,
xo kenna xo
(aka Miss Party Mom)


 
 


 






 
 






 



 
 

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

A Gift Giving Guide for Procrastinators!

Last minute gift-buying... It's what I do best! When I hear about these ladies who are like DONE with gift-giving in October I feel bad that they don't even know the rush of a packed mall in December and the thrill of procrastination gift finding! Exhilarating... Am I right?!

Agree to disagree?

After studying the Tiny Prints website for a good while, I present to you my top finds... Items I'm proudly (really!) gifting this Christmas! Be sure to check for Tiny Prints coupon codes here, as they're usually running pretty great deals. Until tomorrow, a ton of items are 40% with the code JOYTOYOU. In this post, prices listed are original prices.

Check order placement dates here to ensure Christmas delivery!

The Mom/Grandma Gift:
Personalized Notepad & Matching Note Cards, $14.99 each
These are just a sweet little personalized gift for the lady in your life who still loves to pen a good letter or write a lovely thank you note. With so many designs to choose from, you're sure to find one that your mom or grandma will love. The note cards are printed on thick, high quality card stock- they're very high-end looking- I know my momma is gonna love these!

The Couple Gift:
Custom Photo/Year Zinc Keepsake Ornament, $34.99
By logging on to Facebook and dragging a photo of my brother and his boyfriend Hector on to my computer, I was able to create this truly beautiful keepsake ornament of them. It comes nestled in a sweet little pouch for safe storage and the weight of the ornament gives it that super high quality feel. I'm really happy with this gift and can't wait to see it on their tree!

I got Shawn and I a different style Bracket Metal Ornament, $29.99 to hang on our own tree- and I love it!


 
 
The Newlyweds:
Custom Letterpress & Thank You Cards (20) $87.99 & Photo Stamps (20), $27.99
Since my brother is hella fancy, I decided to splurge on these crazy nice letterpress cards. If there's one person I know who will appreciate them, it's him. The photo stamps are just the cherry on top!

The Teacher Gift:
Personalized Name Notebooks, $14.99
I'm really happy with how quickly these shipped and how great they look. These are the perfect teacher gift, either on there own or in a cute little gift basket.


 
The Spouse Gift:
Acrylic Photo Block, $49.99
These are absolutely beautiful and way over-exceeded my expectations. Not only are they quick and easy to create online, the finished product is just fabulous- everyone who sees it just loves it. It's a unique way to showcase a special photo or collage and has some nice weight to it... This is the 3rd one I've ordered! Since Shawn and I are going simple on Christmas gifts for each other this year, I'll be gifting him this as a little reminder of all the fun we had for our Christmas photo shoot this year... In a way I'm hoping offers it to me, because man would it look great on my office desk!






Now that we have some gifts checked off the list... Don't forget the amazing custom wrapping paper you can create through Tiny Prints. Not only can you easily upload your fave images in to a prearranged graphic (with loads to choose from), but you can add your families names as well! I am so stoked with how ours turned out- the glossy paper is super thick, the images print beautifully and I swear if people tear our beloved Christmas photos, I'm gonna be pissed! I can't wait to see people open our gifts!

 
Have an awesome Christmas or whatever else you celebrate! I hope it's filled with love, cheer, no family politics and a ton of great presents!

xoxo,
kenna

While I was compensated for this post, these are my true thoughts and #feelings on the product, swear.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Christmas Cards from The Perfect Family!


For the past 3 years I've partnered up with Tiny Prints to help force me in to one of my 2 blog posts of the year. The one where I show off our Christmas mantel and amazing Tiny Prints Christmas cards...

Oh how I love decorating a Christmas mantel... Don't we all?

The one thing I think we can all agree on is that Christmas cards on the other hand, are a total pain in the ass. The process of getting family photos taken is awful, it's OK to just openly admit it already. I am convinced no one hates it as much as my 7 year old son Cormac however. He has some sort of PTSD from years past I assume. At the very mention of Christmas card photos, he turns from a sweet, cooperative child in to some sort of rebel alien force I can not talk any common sense or good bribe in to.

About a month ago when I started mentioning that Tiny Prints wanted to work with me on a Christmas post again, he started turning. In my head I was like, "You got this Kenna. YOU. ARE. THE. PARENT." But no matter how many all caps and periods between words you tell yourself... If a kid doesn't want to take photos, no matter how good you sell it... They will not take photos (without a dumb face anyway).

So I had to get tricky. Sneaky. Creative. I had to dig in to my deep deep soul of manipulation and WOW the family with a new idea. A new way of doing Christmas photos. One that I not only knew would make them agree to smiles galore, but one that would leave Shawn and I laughing. Because everything is better if you can laugh your way through it, I said!

Enter: Ironic Christmas Card Photos from The Perfect Family.

You know the photos. You know the card. We've all gotten THE CARD. The one that makes you vomit and ask aloud, "How are we EVEN friends with these people?!". You may have even sent it. Possibly as recent as last year. You may be oblivious to it's obnoxiousness, or you may bathe in it like I do, knowing how awesome your family looks on that beautiful matte finish, round-edged card.

This year, I pitched the idea to Shawn: the 4 of us, on a beach, in crisp white shirts & denim, being, WAIT FOR IT: super in-love and all-around perfect. I thought it was enough. The idea made me laugh just thinking about it, I figured it was a clear winner. I texted my BFF. I said, "How funny is this idea?!..." She said, "It needs something more." I told Shawn... "It needs something more..." He said, "McDonald's. It needs us eating McDonald's." Juxtaposition. What a beautiful idea.

We told the kids. I waited for Cormac's response. He was confused. I felt like a winner already.
Cormac: "So wait, we can eat a McRib during the photo shoot? What if I get messy?"
Awesome Parents: "We welcome the mess. The messier, the better."
Cormac: "This is weird."
Awesome Parents [high fiving]: "We ARE weird!"

Next thing I had to do was get a friend to take the pics. It's not like I needed a professional. It's not the clarity of the photos I'm sending out, it's the idea. I ran it by my friend at work, "What if I take your kids Christmas card pics, and you take ours?" She was in.

As the day approached Shawn kept reminding me of all of the things we could do to make our cards even funnier. "Frolic in the ocean!" he said. I hate the ocean but I had to admit, it had me laughing. He took it farther, "If I carry you in to the ocean, you can't get mad, it's for the good of the Christmas cards." I felt like suddenly I was being manipulated. What a weird feeling.

We made it to the beach the day before Thanksgiving and waited for Golden Hour. We laughed, we ate cold McDonald's. We got wet. We confused our children. It was the most stress-free family "photo session" we've ever had. I don't know how we'll ever top this next year.

But I'm willing to try.
Merry Christmas,
The Perfect Family

PS- If you normally get a card from us, I'm getting them out this week! Shawn offered to address them but- hello- I am way to perfect for his handwriting.

These are probably my favorite just because they capture the juxtaposition so well... Matching white shirts, denim and... McDonald's. They're the most simple and to the point. #BLESSED.
A note telling the people how amazing and blessed you are is super important when sending The Perfect Family Christmas cards. Ours brags about our awesomely athletic children and the fact that Shawn & I didn't even need marriage counseling this year!
"What a Wonderful Life" braces the front of our tri-fold card which is complete with 15 pictures."Merry Everything!" along with our names & ages for every family member- this whole back panel really had me cracking up. I think it's about time we start implementing ages for all.

Photo stamps where you're making out with your husband on a beach are par for the course with a card like this!
This card is part of the Baby2Baby collection I've talked about at the bottom of this post. Of all the cards, it's definitely the nicest and most normal with it's beautiful shimmer card-stock and beveled edge design which Christmas card dreams are made of! Besides the McRib on Cormac's face and Shawn's shirt, and wet hair/sand on my cheek we look awesome... Way to be perfect Birdie.


Custom stamps and an address labeling reading "Joy, Peace and Love" are really the only way to seal off cards like these. AMIRIGHT!


PHOTO SHOOT
Taken by Bianca Serle
Photo Novice










 

If you're considering ordering last minute Christmas Cards I can assure you Tiny Prints cards are quick, easy and have a ton of options to choose from. They are some of the least expensive and highest quality cards you'll find. I made 4 different versions of cards this year, well- because I could. As you can see, they range from funny to downright annoying (think tri-fold). Each card is a different price and quality, and in total seriousness, the one thing I love about the "Peace & Love" card is that it's part of the Baby2Baby campaign. Why not help a family in need while getting yourself some Christmas cards! In total Perfect Family style, it feels like a win-win.

Be sure to check shipping dates before you place your order, so you can choose the right method of delivery for Christmas.

And definitely don't forget to use a coupon code, which can be found here!

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