Jillian surprised me with her costume choice this year! She decided to be Tigress from Kung Fu Panda- a movie both the girls just love! I think we saw all 3 of them when they each came out in theaters...anyway- fat panda theme-let's do this.

James was Po (he was actually pretty excited about it!). To make his costume I bought two giant sweatshirts, eyeballed it and cut them each and sewed them together, then stuffed it with pillows! For the belt I just sewed yellow and red scraps of fabric together. Let's stop there for a moment- don't be impressed- I am NOT a sewer- I can sew basic straight lines but anything much more complicated than that and I'm out.

Olivia was Master Shifu! She's tiny...he's tiny...seemed fitting. She would only wear her mask for this picture though and then immediately wanted it off so most people thought she was that girl Star Wars character like half the world dressed up as..(what is her name? We aren't Star Wars people...)

And I was Mei Mei! A fat ribbon dancing panda? That's my spirit animal right there. ;-)

 For both mine and Olivia's felt masks, I used the templates here and just modified mine a bit to be more like a lady panda, including gluing on fake lashes.

Trick-or-treating was magical- as it is every year! Our tradition is to join our friends the Gunnells and have dinner at their parents' house, then head out to their neighborhood to score candy! It really is something out of a movie--fire pits lining drive ways, hot chocolate, butter beer, caramel apples and hay rides- it's like a real live Halloweentown.  

Olivia caught on REAL quick about how the whole trick-or-treating business worked. "Oh, I just go ask for candy and they give it to me? EVERY time? Done."

I was also really proud of Jillian who was brave enough to head up to the doors with just her friends this year! 

Long live Halloween. Oh, and we STILL have candy stashed at the top of the pantry. Mostly Snickers, because blegh. ;-)

a halloween dinner party

I know...the rest of the world has moved onto Christmas at this point (Olivia even commented on all of the Christmas decorations taking over the stores, "Look! Dare's Chri-mus ev-ee-where!"). But I'm currently running my life approximately 3 weeks behind schedule (including laundry), so here we are.

The weekend before Halloween I threw a Halloween dinner party for some of my favorite people! With the girls' birthdays this year being pretty simple, I start to go a little crazy if I go too long without coordinating napkins and centerpieces (you know what I mean?..If you don't, congratulations on being sane *insert upside down smiley face emoji--why don't computer keyboards have emojis yet?) 

I LOVE Halloween. Not so much the scary, bloody, haunted house parts...more like the candy apples, Hocus Pocus, and cheesy parts--that I can totally get behind. I wanted to go for a gothy-glam vibe, so I used lots of black lace, a neutral color scheme, and candles for mood lighting. And huge thanks to Aleksi and Nick for one- letting me crash their house and use their patio,  two- already having the perfect lighting strung from the trees, and three- helping me set up earlier that day!!! 

 ^Let's take a moment to appreciate that Clayton did his own makeup.

The candle holders were a cheap DIY made by painting a bunch of thrift store flower vases sloppily painted with brown and black craft paint. Once that dried I used the "toothbrush" technique to spatter on more black paint. The centerpieces had floral moss, skeleton bones, and some greenery.

Vampire napkin rings were another cheap DIY! I bought plastic vampire teeth from the party store and spray painted them with antique gold spray paint in like 5 seconds- my kinda project.
 ^Torn up cheesecloth is another quick and easy added layer of spook!

^Kristen and Kyle went for the hard-working, successful, and awesome parents look-- and they NAILED it! ;-p 

 ^Olivia slept with that skeleton chihuahua for probably a week after Halloween. Not weird at all. 

 ^A pirate, Wendy Darling, and the cutest little Tinkerbell I ever did see! 

 ^Cupcake goodness from Alisha's Cravings in Pleasant Grove- hands down the best in Utah!

 ^And this is why I love Jenn and Gordy.

 I decided I should buy dry ice more- it's just really cool. Also, I scored a punch recipe for my Mom that sounds so simple but is like- beyond amazingly delicious. I'm going to share it with you, because it feels wrong not to:

1 quart orange juice
1 quart pineapple juice
8 oz lemon juice
2 quarts water
2 cups white sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 quart gingerale 

Just to give you an idea, that is supposed to serve 80 people...maybe 80 midgets because the 12 of us went through almost an entire serving...yeah...

 ^US! A pig in a blanket and a ceiling fan! (Totally stole the non-costume costume from someone at our church party the night before, but it was very fitting for James and his anti-Halloween nature. ;-)

 ^I didn't know the candles would look even cooler when they started melting- so that was a fun surprise!

 ^Adorable babies disguised as pumpkins are always welcome at ANY party of mine. ;-)

All in all such a fun night with a fun atmosphere, delicious food, and the BEST company!


anniversary trip to portland

James and I celebrated our 8 year anniversary last month! (Yes, I'm THAT behind on blogging...oops...). We flew to Portland for a long weekend getaway (huge thanks to my Mom for flying out to be with the girls! Not like I have to twist her arm to make a trip out though!)

Originally we were going to stay almost the whole time on the coast, but a bad storm decided to make landfall the same weekend. Our hotel said they couldn't guarantee we wouldn't lose power, so we changed our plans at the last minute and spent most of our time (eating our way through) in Portland- which is such a fun city!

First we hit up Blue Star donuts and Powell's Books. I was impressed with both- the key lime curd filled donut was easily our favorite. Powell's in one of the biggest book stores I've ever been in- ever! James was happy to find a whole section about soccer and I of course ended up in the children's literature aisles. (It's a life goal of mine to write a children's book. It's already done in my head but in reality- not so much. ;-)

 After a little more city explorin' we made our way out to Multnomah Falls. Pictures don't even do it justice- it was beautiful! We did the 2 mile hike to the top of the falls (stupidly without bringing any water along), but the views along the way of the Columbia River Gorge were spectacular. 

 I was also pretty happy about having an excuse to wear my Hunter's every single day, thanks to the drizzly weather. ;-)

Another day we visited the Japanese Gardens, which were also beautiful! I also loved the neighborhood around the gardens- all of the houses looked like magazine cover homes. I made us walk around the block under an umbrella in the rain because houses like that deserve to be looked at and appreciated. ;-)

I pretty much planned our whole trip, except for the Portland Timbers soccer game we went to! Because sitting for 3 hours in the rain watching what feels like nothing happening isn't exactly my favorite thing, but it IS James- and that's true love people. ;-)

 ^Pine State Biscuits y'all...worth the wait AND the hype. 

Our last day there we finally made it over to the coast! We decided to go to Cannon Beach.
Growing up in Florida, I definitely was not used to needing boots and coats while on a BEACH, but the whole cliffs and rocks plus sand and water thing was pretty ah-mazing. We enjoyed some delicious clam chowdah' and the cute little beach shops.

^More beaches need swing sets, don't ya think?

Before heading to the airport we stopped by for some Salt and Straw ice cream- best decision EVER. They have some really funky flavors that I wasn't brave enough to try...but the flavors I had were exceptional! James even bought a t-shirt- so that's sayin' somethin'. 

Oregon you are GORGEOUS! We had a wonderful time recharging and celebrating our eight years of awesomeness. :-D