Sep 14

Living in Fear

I am just going to write because I am not quite sure how to begin talking about the fear going on in my head right now.

Today (8/11/14) I am living in fear for the fetus residing in my womb. I have reached the point of this pregnancy where I am emotionally exhausted. I am in my shell trying to figure out how to handle this fear. Heck, I even closed myself off from my confidant.

If I make an attempt to respond to anything via my phone, Michael yells, “Get off your phone! Put your phone away!”

If I am feeling well enough to sit at the computer to do the minimal work I have on my plate, Michael says, “Stop working and cuddle on the couch with me.”

Cartoon cuddles during my time spent on bed rest.

I know I shouldn’t close myself off. I know people do not consider me and my problems a burden because they care. I know it’s all in my head. I know this because I treat my MS symptoms the same way. I refuse to be the person discussing the problems at every family function. No.

Just, no.

There is so much happiness going on around me right now. My brother had a bridal shower and wedding ceremony in June. July consisted of my other brother’s bridal shower and Michael’s 3rd birthday. Just a few days ago I attended another bridal shower for a family member on Michael’s side. My bestie is about to rip her own vagina any moment now. This weekend I will legally gain a new sister-in-law. And today in general is ‘a good day to be a beaver’.

So much happiness. So many reasons to not rain on the parade.

So what do I do? I put on my party dress, make sure my eyebrows are fierce, double check that I don’t ‘look pregnant’, and celebrate the happy times.

I’m sure it doesn’t help that I haven’t been (what I consider) a good friend. I don’t get on social media much at all because taking care of this threatened miscarriage, pelvic rest, modified bed rest, and my effing MS symptoms is a lot of work. I’m tired.

Which means I sleep. I have 12 hours a night blocked off for sleeping and peeing and I sleep a few hours during Michael’s naps. Every day. And when I’m not sleeping, I’m in bed watching mindless television because I am supposed to rest.

But I digress…

Living in fear due to spotting old blood after a threatened miscarriage.

At the fucking crack of 4am, I had the typical urge to pee. No surprise there. So I pee. And since I live in fear, I look at the toilet paper each time I wipe. Every time.

Even though there were no lights on, I saw more than a little pregnancy spotting.

I set paper aside to be examined when I was a little more awake and crawled back in bed. Except I didn’t fall back asleep. At this point I was annoyed because I was now hungry and crampy, which meant I had to trek downstairs. Waking up before 8am is not my thing. Not even a little bit.

I popped my bagel in the toaster, poured a glass of apple juice, and watched a trickle of blood stream down my right thigh.

Fuck. Not again. No. This isn’t happening. I can’t handle this.

I’m light headed, but I manage to take my shorts off so I could wipe my vagina and thigh in the middle of my kitchen with a paper towel. A paper towel.

But that didn’t stop me from eating. Nothing stops a pregnant woman from eating. I finished making my bagel and scarfed it down before scurrying to the upstairs bathroom for a pad and new pants. Fuck, where are my pads? Fuck, why am I cramping so bad? Fuck, when did I last feel any movements? Fuuuuuuck.

And then I got back into bed and cried.

I cried because anything more than spotting is scary. I cried because cramps are uncomfortable. I cried because I was tired, physically and mentally. I cried because there wasn’t a thing I could do.

So here I am, another day in bed. Another day I had to bribe Michael with cookies because I didn’t feel like being a mom. Another day I had to tell him no because ‘Mommy is sick’.

Which is why I asked Michael to buy me a fetal doppler.



Sep 10

Cucumber Ginger Drink Recipe

I made this cucumber ginger drink recipe with Sweet’N Low as part of a series of sponsored posts for Socialstars. #SweetNLowStars

Grab the recipe for this simple cucumber ginger cocktail for your next party. #SweetNLowStars
I am about to introduce you to the tastiest, most enjoyable way to consume the abundance of cucumbers I am sure your garden produces. Well, if your garden is anything like mine. Some weeks I think my garden is only capable of producing cucumbers and weeds. I can’t grow a watermelon to save my life but I have enough cucumbers to bathe in cucumber water all summer long.

So I got creative in the kitchen. Again. What else do you do with free produce?

Back in the day, when we were able to go out sans offspring, we tried a cucumber martini. Which was surprisingly delicious. That martini coupled with my newest craving, ginger ale, is why my first thought was to experiment with these two flavors. Putting on pants that are not in the yoga family has lost all enjoyment these days. Read: You need to wear pants when you shop for groceries.

The ingredients needed to create a cucumber ginger drink recipe. #SweetNLowStars

Cucumber Ginger Ingredients

  • 3oz Cucumber Infused Rum (Put half a cucumber, sliced, in a 12 ounce jar of rum for about a week.)
  • 9oz Ginger Ale (Adding a little more for a weaker drink still tastes divine.)
  • 1 lime slice, juice squeezed into the cocktail.
  • 1oz Simple Syrup (Dissolve 8 tsp of Sweet’N Low in 1 cup of boiling water to create the syrup.)
  • Ice
  • Cucumber and limes, for garnish

This month’s infused rum is hands down the strongest infusion to date. It was delightfully cucumber-y. And unlike the previous drink recipes, there is no need to muddle anything. Heck, I tossed the ingredients into the drink container a few hours before our pregnancy announcement party began and it was perfect. Easy peasy.

Note- Yes, I have been doing a boatload of sipping, swishing, and spitting this summer. Michael is fairly low maintenance when it comes to libations so his opinion is best used as a second.

Tip- Set out extra ginger ale in case your guests are not big drinkers. #SweetNLowStars

Michael and I both thought the strength of this cocktail was on par, but my mom, who rarely drinks, added extra ginger ale. Which is just fine! I set the 2 liter next to the drink dispenser for the duration of the party to appeal to all of my guests. Just call me a people pleaser. Or the hostess with the mostess. Or a lush.

This cucumber ginger drink recipe is the perfect cocktail for your next party. #SweetNLowStars

Have I talked you into enjoying the guilt-free ways of Sweet’N Low yet? Are you are now itching to infuse your own rum? Maybe? <Insert subliminal, diabetic friendly messages that are perfect for your next party here.>

Quit fighting. Everything will be okay. You can trust me.


Sep 07

Threatened Miscarriage

Do you know what a threatened miscarriage is?

Neither did I…

Until I had one.

Heads up- I included pictures of bloody items in this post. Some might find them graphic but this is real life.

Now that the world knows I am pregnant with my second minion, we can backtrack to what was supposed to be one of the happiest days of the year, Michael’s birthday party. It was the first time I actually felt like everything was going perfect. The decorations were situated. The food was prepped and ready to go. Heck, I even got my pictures and a shower before people started showing up! Michael’s 3rd birthday party was on track to be the best one to date.

Our party guests were enjoying some delicious BBQ chicken as I checked in with Krista to see how the meatballs tasted. It was at this point I felt a gush of discharge run down my leg. Mmmmkay, it happens when you wear a dress, no big deal. I sat down to get some of lady goo to absorb into my dress. You know, discreetly. Only it didn’t work. So I excused myself and headed to the bathroom to sop up my crotch juice.

Except it was orangey/red discharge.

Fuck me. I called Michael and we looked out the window trying to figure out who to let in on our little secret. Who has a pregnancy clue and would keep my secret. Naturally, we picked my rock. My bestest friend in the whole wide world. Krista. She assured me spotting happens.

Bullet dodged.

The boys enjoying their toys.
I prepped Izzie on her role in the big tractor surprise and set the lime green camping chairs up for presents at 5pm. Michael was barely done with the first present when I felt the first gush. Krista caught my face and I made a gesture to explain what was going on. Surely it would be a single gush.

It wasn’t.

It was gush after gush of fluid. I had flashbacks to the gushes of water that come with each contraction after they break your water. At this point, there was no going back. I was stuck with the entire party watching Michael open his presents. There was no sneaking out, so I did what any hostess would do. I carried on with the party. Nothing to see here.

Michael loved all of his gifts. He was happy so I was happy. I played off my minor impatience with my excitement for his tractor. It made sense that I was excited for the tractor. Nobody would have known I was excited to get out of the pool of blood and fluid I was sitting in.

Experiencing a threatened miscarriage during the first trimester.

And then I was stranded.

Michael went off to do something and Krista wasn’t close, so I sat there and waited. Lindsay and Lauren came up to me and I was only able to half listen. I felt bad for people leaving without expressing how much I truly appreciated each one of them, but all I cared about at this point was hiding the issue and figuring out what the fuck was going on.

Just smile through it and figure out a solution.

I finally flagged down Krista and she gave me a big bag to hide my backside before we walked the bloody chair to the garage. No big deal. Meanwhile, the bloody fluid was flowing down my legs. But it wasn’t until I dropped my drawers and saw the blood that I became really concerned. Blood. Red blood. With cramps.

No. Just, no.

How to know when it's time to go to the hospital for a threatened miscarriage.

At this point I popped a Stayfree super pad on, called the answering service, and wrapped myself in Michael’s Star Trek robe. What will I tell people when they see that I changed my outfit? How about I pooped myself? Everybody knows I have bowel and bladder problems. Yes, an accident would be a partial truth.

Nobody asked.

The on-call doctor said I could go to the ER, wait to see if the bleeding slowed down before going into the ER, or stay home. Okay, got it. A hostess always waits until her guests leave.

An hour, a full pad, and an increase in my cramps later, I decided I should head to the ER once the bounce house guys picked up the monster truck. I used Michael’s super awesome, new Justice League backpack as his overnight bag and dropped him off at my mom’s house so we could drive an hour to Beaumont.

Going to the ER for a threatened miscarriage.
I had:

  • Bloodwork to see if I needed the Rhogam shot. I don’t.
  • Pelvic exam to check for clots, STDs, and a closed cervix. All clear and closed.
  • Ultrasound to look for bleeds and a heartbeat.

I was the most nervous for the ultrasound for a few reasons. First, if you don’t see a heartbeat… well… we all know what that means. Second, seeing an actual fetus moving around meant I would move into the ‘this will fucking suck if I miscarry’ phase of pregnancy. Losing a yolk sack with something that resembles a fetus is way easier than losing a wiggly fetus I have felt tickle my insides.

There was a heartbeat. It was dancing around. We saw its alien face.

I was put on pelvic rest with orders to follow up with my doctor on Monday. Sure thing, doc!

Editor’s note- Even though this is a delayed post, I have not altered the story to reflect whether or not I ended up miscarrying this child.

Edited to add:


Sep 04

Thing 1 and Thing 2 Party

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party ideas- the food table. #schuplinparty

In case you didn’t hear the big news, last weekend we hosted a Thing 1 and Thing 2 party to tell our friends and family about my pregnancy. It turned out so damn cute. Well, I thought it was gorgeous until everything was rained on 10 minutes before the scheduled party time. TEN MINUTES! It rained for maybe 5 minutes total? Still, rain is rain when you are talking about paper decorations.

Wah. Boo. Hiss. Meh.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- Cat in the Hat marshmallow tree. #schuplinparty
My Cat in the Hat  tower is the apple of my eye. The party decoration I am the most proud of. The project I sat back thinking ‘damn, I didn’t think it would turn out that awesome’. Total ego moment.

All you have to do is wrap a foam cone with wrapping papper, spear your Cat in the Hat treats, and stick them in the tower. Stupid simple and yet high impact.

Note- The Cat in the Hat treats are vanilla creme cookies covered with white candy melts and a marshmallow dipped twice in red candy melts. Tedious but easy.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- food table centerpiece made out of wrapped boxes. #schuplinparty

Wrapping the large box in red stripe wrapping paper and the smaller one in blue polka dot wrapping paper is pretty cost effective if you… you know, need wrapping paper for future presents or parties. Who doesn’t need wrapping paper at some point in the year? Bring on the Christmas clearance!

Next, I ordered these cupcake wrappers to contrast the ‘blue hair’ frosting. I thought about using cotton candy until I realized frosting accomplished the same look.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- drink and utensil station. #schuplinparty
I modified the drink station from my pink rehearsal dinner party slightly with: cucumber mint water instead of cucumber water, the newest cocktail for my Sweet’N Low series (so good and coming soon), party favors, and the tissue paper colors (bright blue and red). Sue me for not reinventing the wheel.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- 1 fish, 2 fish, red fish, blue fish party favor. #schuplinparty
I knew there was no need for party favors at a BBQ. I swear I did. I know I only made them because I am incapable of hosting any sort of party without beer, a cocktail, a theme, and party favors. My brain would explode if I tried.

  • I found the bags on clearance at Party City for .99/10 bags.
  • I used blue and red Froot Loops for a filler so the fish would be above the striped area.
  • I played off the red fish, blue fish idea and tossed in red and blue gummy fish.
  • Finally, I used the same design as my party invitation (see below) and added ‘Today was great, today was fun. Thank you, thank you, everyone!’.
  • Boom! Party favors.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- table centerpieces. #schuplinparty

I love my Thing 1 and Thing 2 centerpieces almost as much as the tower. Almost. I painted the vases from the pink rehearsal dinner red and made a tissue paper pom out of 3 pieces of tissue paper. I ended up using 6 pieces total (4 centerpieces) because I cut the sets of 3 in half. That was all I needed for awesome.

I used plastic white tablecloths again because… you know, they are cheap.

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party- chocolate covered pretzels. #schuplinparty There was so much freaking sugar at this party. I spent most of my time dipping things in chocolate because I wanted there to be boatloads of color. Mission accomplished.

Note: I bought the red and blue containers from Dollar Tree! 

Dr Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party invite for a BBQ #schuplinparty

Keep in mind I am no graphic designer, mmmkay?

I downloaded the Doctor Soos font for my invites and made them in Picmonkey. I found this free red stripe image, added a label in the blue color (2dc3de) and attempted to add something Labor Day-ish to the traditional Dr Seuss (XX is the month. XX is the day…) verse. It worked for me.

Now, you could absolutely add Thing 1 and Thing 2 to the invite if your pregnancy isn’t a surprise. Baby showers, etc., would benefit from the extra cutesy touch.

And one last thing!

We greeted the guests in normal, hide my extra baggage clothing and changed into our surprise announcement outfits (Thing 1 shirtThing 2 shirt, and Cat in the Hat accessories) for the big reveal. I will update this post when I get the picture because it was perfect. Just perfect.

Speaking of perfect, everything outside of the tiny rain storm ruining my decorations was perfect. I am so happy we were able to herd the majority of our family together for the announcement. I know online trolls get all cranky when it comes to ‘unnecessary’ celebrations like this but I LOVE celebrating anything positive. It’s much nicer to get together for weddings and babies than funerals. Amirite, or amirite?

Do a girl a favor and pin this Thing 1 and Thing 2 party collage!

Dr. Seuss Thing 1 and Thing 2 party ideas. #schuplinparty

Aug 31

Today is the Day

Today is the day The Schuplins have been waiting for.

Today is the day I start explaining my lack of online activity. A confession, if you will.

Today is the day we gather all most of our loved ones together for a surprise celebration.

Today is the day- Pregnancy announcement for wine and beer lovers.

Today is the day we tell the world I am 17w3d pregnant!

Pregnant as in knocked up. My womb is occupied by a fetus. I am the host to a precious parasite who is already giving me grey hair.

Today is the day we celebrate my second pregnancy.

Goodbye basal body temperature thermometers.

Goodbye tampons.

Goodbye condoms.

Bring on the D cup bras and late night trips to the toilet!

Yes, D CUP! Breasts. Boobies. Jugs. Mamaries. I forgot what it was like to have cleavage. Cleavage WITHOUT the assistance of chicken cutlets. Like, no help needed. You guys, I went from a pitiful AA to a small D and Michael could not be happier.

Today is the day we share and celebrate baby number 2.

This pregnancy has been difficult to keep it from certain people, like my sister, but I would do it again in a heart beat. At first the purpose of the secret was to reduce the amount of time spent answering the same gender questions over and over again.

  • No, we do not know what we are having.
  • No, we do not want to know what we are having.
  • Will you please stop TELLING me I am having a boy. Just, stop.

Being on team green tests your self control in many ways, so you can see how the repetitive questions in the middle of a pregnancy can wear a person down.

Today is the day we tell the world we will soon be a family of 4.

This time, however, the secret served a very different purpose. This time it protected me from further emotional exhaustion. You see, between 7/19 and 8/24, I was in a place. A dark place. A place that lacked excitement. A place I was thankful I didn’t have to relive explain over and over again as loved ones asked me ‘how I was feeling’. I wasn’t ready. Yesterday (8/24), taking our announcement pictures, was the first time I felt like I was ready to move past calling it a fetus.

Today is the day it becomes a baby.

Today is the day I enjoy sparkling cider instead of wine and cry when I can't open it.

I hope our birthday announcement video and pictures brought a smile to your perfectly contoured cheeks. I promise there will more pregnancy details coming soon. Along with a super cute party plan! Of course, right?

And if you are a friend or family member who received an invitation to our party but didn’t come, sorry you had to find out on the interwebz first. I tried!

PS: Here is the full wine label in case the pictures were too small for you to see the details.

Wine label pregnancy announcement for wine lovers.
And because I know the majority of you didn’t watch the SUPER QUICK *ahem* scroll back up and watch it *ahem* video, I made a GIF.

Pregnancy announcement Ice Bucket Challenge #icebucketchallenge

Aug 25

Pink Rehearsal Dinner Party

Save money on a pink rehearsal dinner party with these simple budget friendly ideas. #schuplinparty
This pink rehearsal dinner party was my first attempt at trying to save a buck or two on a party without compromising my design. It’s true. I usually shop willy nilly until I have all of the supplies I need to complete my party plan without a ton of work. I’m a one woman show, yo!

It drives Michael bonkers but he smiles and nods because anything else would result in death by dagger eyes. What can I say? I have a bit of a temper. <shrugs>

PS: There is a sponsored component of this party plan but it’s way down  there

Pink tissue paper garland is a cheap and easy party decoration for a pink rehearsal dinner party. #schuplinparty

Rachel loves pink everything and my pink bridal shower is proving to me that pink really is the most popular color out there, so I opted against reinventing the party theme wheel. The proof is in the Google searches. ’nuff said.

I started with a plastic pink table cloth ($3 Target) because I wanted the food table to be the focal point of my (very windy) pink rehearsal dinner party.

Since I was on a 48 hour deadline, I did not shop around for pink tissue paper. Which translates to- it’s a good thing Target had a great selection of pink tissue paper! Any other color and I would have been screw-to the-ed.

I ended up using 2 sheets from each of the 5 packages I purchased ($1.07-1.49/pack Target). I cut the sheets into 2 inch strips and tied them to the pink yarn I had in my craft room. One of those pound of yarn rolls that run around $3 at Walmart if you are starting with nadda.

Keeping the decorations simple for your pink rehearsal dinner party will save you a lot of money. #schuplinparty

We purchased 4 white tablecloths ($1/each Dollar Tree) and topped them with a simple tissue paper centerpiece.

Save money on the decorations for your pink rehearsal dinner party with this tissue paper flower centerpiece. #schuplinparty

Next, I shoved 2-3 strips of the leftover garland strips into vases I found in my party stash. The vases were a random clearance find during one of my many shopping trips because that’s what I do. ($1.49/each Meijer)

I used another leftover strip to create a small ‘flower’ and taped it to the top of the vase. Simple, right?

My thoughts exactly.

Pink rehearsal dinner party drink station includes a kiwi cocktail, cucumber water, and wine from Uncorked Ventures. #schuplinparty

The drink station included the kiwi cocktail I featured a few weeks ago, wine from Uncorked Ventures, and cucumber water. The cucumber water used cucumbers from our garden and… you guessed it… water. Making it free and a little classy.

I dressed up the drink station with my own ‘all because two people fell in love’ sign and a smaller tissue paper garland.

Enjoying wine from Uncorked Ventures during the pink rehearsal dinner party. #schuplinparty

But back to Uncorked Ventures, mmmkay?

I don’t care if it’s a baby shower, toddler party, or adult party… there will always be a variety of adult beverages to choose from. Always. Except… in the middle of the hustle and bustle that is party planning, I sometimes forget the wine. The horror!

This time I was prepared with my wine club shipment from Uncorked Ventures. Hello, brilliant party hostess who didn’t need to run to Rite Aid moments before the shindig began! I was poised, prepared, and proud of my wine choices for this pink rehearsal dinner party. Shoooot… my bottles were even looking dapper in their blinking ‘congrats’ bow ties. Presentation. Presentation. Presentation!

And don’t worry about getting Rite Aid quality wine in your wine club shipments. It’s not gonna happen. Uncorked Ventures prides themselves on 90+ point qualities from smaller producers who quite possibly will be new to you.

Oh! One more thing before I move on.

The wine was AH-MAY-ZING! Trust me on this one. It was glorious.

Easy party food will allow you to spend more time with the guests of your pink rehearsal dinner party. #schuplinparty

Another cost cutting corner is using generic silverware and/or grabbing them from Dollar Tree. Packages of silverware at Dollar Tree will run you $1 for 16 people. My mom picked up clear silverware, wrapped them in white napkins, and tied them with pink ribbon.

Note- Please shop around if time permits because this isn’t always the case. Oriental Trading carries 50 packs for $4.25.

She also picked up clear plastic plates to eat on because clear fit this upscale, backyard bash to a T. Making our final cost not much at all. Winner, winner!

Do a girl a favor and pin this pink rehearsal dinner collage.

Ideas on how to save money on a pink rehearsal dinner party without compromising the food and decorations. #schuplinparty

Aug 19

John Deere Birthday Party

John Deere birthday party invitation Would it surprise you to learn that my second favorite day of the year, only behind Christmas, is Michael’s birthday? I am willing to bet I get just as excited as he does. No joke.

It gives me all the feels to see him surrounded by most of the people who care about him. That and knowing how much he loves his friends (his fellow little people) and parties.

So, without further ado, here is Michael’s John Deere birthday party!

Psstt… even though I plug Oriental Trading on my own time all day, every day, I should disclose that they sent me supplies for this party.

John Deere party favors set up for a John Deere birthday party. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad

John Deere Party Favor Station:

One of my blogging besties sent me a fabulous birthday present that included a very special happy birthday banner with matching cupcake wrappers for the party! Seriously, coolest friends ever.

Note- She made it with her fancy schmancy Silhouette. *SWOON* 

Single servings of chips served in yellow popcorn boxes for a John Deere birthday party.

I wanted to serve chips, salsa, and spinach dip without worrying about grubby little hands digging into the community bowl, so I used these mini yellow popcorn boxes and created pre-made servings. And by grubby, I mean precious, tiny hands that happened to be on the playscape, in the sandbox, and all over the bounce house.

Drink and utensil station for a John Deere birthday party.

John Deere themed drink and utensil station:

Yellowgreen, and white streamers are the way to go if you are looking for a cheap and easy way to give your event some themed color.

Green silverware, wrapped in a green napkin, and tied with yellow ribbon filled my John Deere containers. Which paired perfectly with the yellow plates.

Oh, and the fruit infused water was a hit!

Colored drink coolers for a John Deere birthday party.
You guys already know I buy a lot of clearance (a lot as in a TON) when I know I have a party coming up.

  • The good news – I paid less than $2 for each of the coolers pictured above.
  • The bad news – Oriental Trading no longer carries these specific inflatable coolers.

Yellow food table for a John Deere birthday party.

John Deere themed food station:

I try my hardest to hide our family room during a party. I want the food indoors, but I want a separation between the party and the room itself so people focus on the party, not my messy house. I started by hanging 2 green foil fringe curtains behind the food table. Next, I covered the table with a yellow tablecloth, wrapped a yellow pleated table skirt around it, and placed a green reversible table runner down the middle.

Healthy party food for a John Deere birthday party.

I wanted to spend time enjoying Michael’s party this year so I picked a menu I could set out and not worry about food prep during the party. Unless something needed to be refilled, of course. Trust me when I say this is such an easy party menu that should please multiple dietary restrictions.

John Deere Birthday Party Menu

  • BBQ pulled chicken sandwiches (SO good!)
  • Meatballs with dipping sauces
  • Vegetable platter
  • Mixed fruit
  • Chips, salsa, and spinach dip
  • German chocolate cupcakes
  • Tractor cake

John Deere cupcake toppers and cupcake wrappers for a John Deere birthday party.

John Deere Desserts:

Speaking of cupcakes, I paired these John Deere cupcake wrappers with the ones my super awesome friend sent me, and finished them off with these John Deere cupcake toppers.

John Deere tractor cake for a John Deere birthday party.

But Amy’s shout out wasn’t the only one for this party! Nope. My Aunt Kelly has a pretty awesome cake hobby that complements my parties oh so well!

Simple centerpieces made out of candy for a John Deere birthday party.

John Deere party decor:

I grabbed a couple yellow tablecloths to start the outdoor tables and…

Yellow and green candy centerpieces for a John Deere birthday party.
… finished them off with a tasty centerpieces made out of yellow swirl popsgreen swirl popswhite pails, filled with yellow chocolate candies and green gumballs. I was planning on using tractors for the centerpieces until I realized 1- how expensive tractor centerpieces are and 2- I would not be able to reuse them unless I hosted another John Deere birthday party.

And we both know that isn’t happening.

Playing up the colors was the most cost effective way to go since I have color coordinated tubs in my basement waiting to be filled with items I can use again!

Monster truck bounce house for a John Deere birthday party.

I went with the same bounce house as last year because every party needs entertainment. Both the kids and adults love bouncing around! How else do you burn off the 4 cupcakes you just ate?

John Deere party favor boxes are perfect for John Deere themed birthday parties. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad

John Deere party favors:

I started with these John Deere favor boxes and you will find out how I finished them in my John Deere party favor post. What a tease, right?

Until next time!
John Deere party favors are the perfect way to end a John Deere birthday party. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad The party turned out better than I could have hoped and I even forgot to put out a few items! Who would have thought it would take me 3 years to figure out how to REALLY throw a birthday party.

Do a girl a favor and pin this John Deere birthday party collage!

John Deere birthday party ideas for decorations, food, and more!

Aug 13

Cats… The Other Women

I had no idea one of my cats would turn into ‘the other woman’. That’s why I was thrilled at the opportunity to share Fancy Feast® Broths (AKA my secret weapon) as a part of this sponsored post program. 

Snowball the white cat lounging in my bed like she owns it. #LoveABowl


According to the interwebz, spending quality time with your feline companion(s) has been proven to reduce stress and time spent bathing. And we all know everything we find in Google is truer than true. In fact, all of the information shared on Facebook is vetted ’round the clock by a team of highly trained monkeys. Swear.

Bandit the cat always gets her way. #LoveABowl

Do you guys know about Michael’s lady friend? I am reminded of her existence each and every time he travels for work. She might have the long, shiny locks I will never know in my lifetime. She might provide Michael with the warm cuddles he so desires when he crawls into bed. She might even comfort him more than I am capable of. Their umbilical cord is fused for life, but I know the ultimate key to to her heart, allowing me to maintain my alpha role.

It’s food. Wet cat food. Liquid gold to any cat.

Food is always the answer to life’s tough questions. Just like when it comes to the male she has wrapped around her furry little toes.

Bullwinkle, the only male cat, is also hanging out in my bed. #LoveABowl

Which is why I treat her with something tasty like Fancy Feast® Broths when Michael gets home from a trip. If I don’t… ooooo, girl! If she doesn’t get a treat in the form of something special like wet cat food, she gets all high maintenance on us. She needs far more ‘tell me I’m pretty’ attention than this old broad.

Case in point.

Michael strolled in from his last work trip around 10pm and immediately got ready for bed. You know, because he was tired from working all day. She clearly wasn’t please with the minimal attention she received from him because she stood outside our bedroom door singing the song of the other woman. Over and over and over again. Not even my earplugs helped muffle her diva-like cries.

Snowball the cat started spooning with her pet parent back in 2009. #LoveABowl

So she ended up in our bed, spooning with her main man.

Well played, Bandit, well played.

These new Fancy Feast® Broths are perfectly portioned and ready to pour even though they last all of 5 min in my house. I mean, I do have a few cats who love food. Pulling out one of the 8 varieties turns my house into a cat survival of a fittest match. Too much estrogen for me, sheesh!

Who else has cat boundaries? I can’t be the only pet parent who values the hours of 9pm – 9am!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf Fancy Feast®.
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Aug 11

John Deere Party Favors

“This John Deere party favors shop is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Wet-Nap but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #showusyourmess

John Deere party favors for a 3 year old's birthday party.  #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad
Every stinkin’ year I never know what to put in the party favors for Michael’s birthday party, but I know I can’t throw a party without them. Wellll… I’m sure I could but I would never commit such a party faux pas!

I kid. Sort of.

John Deere party favor boxes are perfect for John Deere themed birthday parties. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad

I always debate with myself whether or not the party favors should be full of treats, toys, toothbrushes, or goofy party things that will fill my trashcan on their way out the door.

Do I put candy in them? What if one of the kids has an allergy? What if their parents don’t allow them to eat foods with dyes? What about a cookie? I can make some green and some chocolate in case their mama is also a no dye mama. Why do I overthink the smallest tasks? Whhhhhhy?

Because I am a whackadoodle. I know this.

Filling the John Deere party favors with goodies for the kids. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad

I might be a crazy person but my John Deere party favors ended up being my best party favors to date. Here’s why.

John Deere Party Favors

Let me explain.

Michael is OBSESSED with cars… meaning the leftover cars have already worked their way into his collection. The Wet-Nap made it so the child was able to clean their hands before consuming the food portion of the party favor.

And the cookies? Well, I enjoyed my share of leftover sugar cookies. You know, the perks of being a parent.

John Deere party favors set up for a John Deere birthday party. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad
At the end of the day, each John Deere party favor cost somewhere between $2 and $3. Not bad. Not bad at all considering they weren’t filled with cringe worthy trinkets. There are some things you don’t realize until you have a child of your own.

Forgive my previous party favor blunders, mmmkay?

John Deere party favors are the perfect way to end a John Deere birthday party. #showusyourmess #pmedia #ad

Now, before you run out to Walmart for their everyday low prices and pick up a box of Wet-Nap packettes, print out this .55 coupon (while supplies last) and note that they could be in the napkin or pharmacy aisle. I found them by the pharmacy but I first looked in the napkin aisle.

Here’s a little food for thought… the latest Wet-Nap is stronger and softer than previous versions. AND they moisturize with aloe. You know, because kids like Michael are considered gentle giants.

Keep your peepers peeled because the full John Deere birthday party will be live in a few weeks!


Aug 06

Kiwi Lemonade Drink Recipe

I made this kiwi lemonade drink recipe with Sweet’N Low as part of a series of sponsored posts for Socialstars. #SweetNLowStars

Creating a kiwi lemonade cocktail is the perfect way to celebrate the final days of summer. #SweetNLowStars #client
Summer is pretty much over. Gone. No more. I expect there to be snow on the ground next week.

Just because the glorious days of 70 degree weather are coming to an end doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to create a summery cocktail to celebrate the final dog days of summer. Hence the kiwi, the rum, and the girl with the fruit covered hat…

… wait, what?

How to create lemon curls for the inside of a glass  of kiwi lemonade. #SweetNLowStars #client

Kiwi Lemonade Ingredients

  • 3oz  Kiwi Infused Rum (Muddle 2 kiwis in a 12 ounce jar of rum for about a week.)
  • 3oz Lemon Lime Soda
  • 1.5oz Coconut Rum
  • 1.5oz Lemon Juice
  • 1.5oz Simple Syrup (Dissolve 8 tsp of Sweet’N Low in 1 cup of boiling water.)
  • Kiwi, for garnish
  • Lemon, for garnish
  • Ice

Optional- For an extra decorative touch, use a peeler to create strips of lemon peel for the inside of the glass. This is, of course, totally optional and will probably only interest my fellow OCD party planners. You know… presentation, presentation, presentation!

Decorative lemon curls inside the glass of a kiwi lemonade cocktail #SweetNLowStars #client
*Cue the steel drums*

This is the point of the recipe where you don your grass skirt and coconut bra. For real. Your kiwi lemonade will not give you the full Caribbean feel, your hair will not dance in the wind if you do not wear the proper attire. Trust me.

So, muddle half a kiwi in a shaker, add a handful of ice, fill with liquid summer, and hold on tight as summer draws you in. Hearing the waves crash as you fill your glass with kiwi lemonade is a beautiful, not to mention delicious, thing.

Kiwi lemonade cocktail recipe #SweetNLowStars #client

If the remaining cocktails make it to the rehearsal dinner I am hosting on 8/15, we will find out what the masses think of my kiwi lemonade. Chances are they won’t, so I guess you will have to take our word for it! Have I ever steered you wrong? <winky face>

Just like the peachy black tea cocktail from last month, using Sweet’N Low is allowing my guests a chance to indulge guilt-free. You know, we all have dresses to squeeze into in just a few short weeks!


>>Psssttt.. you should share this recipe with your socially awesome friends! You know, because you pink puffy heart me.


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