the bridal shower...


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{My Ole Miss little brother and his dear Meghan.}


 {My Granny's pound cake recipe that I turned gluten free.  Made 30 of these cute loaves for the party favors.}


 {Some southern family recipes graced the table: our Granny's cream cheese mints + chipped beef cheese ball that my sister made.  Aren't the mints beautiful?  They go fast when family is in town.}


{A flare of paper flowers.  I tried a few versions of these pom pom flowers.  I definitely prefer this tutorial because it makes fuller flowers.  Biggest complaint: the big flowers fall easily.}


 {Team work with the "matrimonial" game that my mother-in-law, the game queen, created.}

IMG_3314 {Flowers, flowers, and more flowers.  I used Meghan's wedding invitation for my direction in choosing colors for the flowers.} IMG_3287


{My twins picked wild flowers from the nearby meadow before the shower to go into little vases for tiny corners of the house and, yes, the bathroom.}


 {My older girls and their older cousins were invited to be a part of the special shower.  Their first shower!  They loved experiencing every part of it!}


{My baker sister-in-law's mini dessert cups.  I loved throwing this shower alongside my mother and sisters.}


 {And it wouldn't be a southern Dirle bridal shower (although held in the north) without the traditional bow bouquet hat-- made to be worn during the rehearsal dinner by the bride.  And Meghan learned right away that for every ribbon broken while opening gifts meant that many kids to grace their family. ;) ) 


I loved having aunts come up to join us for the day.  Sisters working hard in the kitchen to prepare special foods.  Seeing many handmade gifts opened by the couple from both sides of their families.  And having my home overflowing with many people that love Travis and Meghan.

Such a good day.  And the remnants of hanging flowers remain on my walls for a bit longer just to keep the magic in our home longer.


the sleepy time gal

yellow + gray






IMG_1360 I was pretty excited to help throw a baby shower for a friend using her preferred baby colors that were baby Rowan's colors: yellow + gray.

Using up the last scraps of my favorite fabric I used for Rowan's basket liners, I made a simple fleece-lined bib + matching wash cloth for the baby's first mealtime.

I've left the beautiful paper flowers hanging over the weekend.   I'm dying to learn how to make them for my to-be sister-in-law's bridal shower here this summer--think reds + burnt oranges.  (Yes--my little brother is getting married this fall!)  My friend makes these colorful paper flowers for every gathering and they never lose their classy touch.

The subtle yellows seem quite fitting for the first day of spring coming this week.  And boy, are we ready.  


Have a great start to this week.  Go out + live boldly!


the sleepy time gal

our fall harvest party....


IMG_3297 Good morning.

I hope you all had a fun + festive weekend with your families and friends.

I'm happy to report that my injury is getting better every day.  And that our Fall Harvest Party was so enjoyable.  Ironically, our party always starts right before it is totally dark outside.  With more tiki lights and the addition of one string of white lights on the food table, kids played, adults talked, and we were able to keep the romantic appeal of a night under the stars.

Come see our Fall Harvest Party (and some of the background stories that go along with every gathering)...



{I wanted a little more sophisticated tabletop from last year with white (painted pumpkins), gold (glittered pumpkin + jar), marigolds, and natural fibers (burlap + our log rounds I love to entertain with).  

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 {Our centerpiece pumpkin.  It's first life was as a lollipop holder (decorated by my friend!) for our church Fall Carnival.  Then she donated it to our Fall Harvest Party.  A little white paint, glitter, and those garden marigolds...}


{What would I do without mindful friends?  My friend thankfully texted me the morning of the party to check in to see if I needed anything.  Oh how I needed some help from being less mobile and not driving!  She picked up fruit and turned it into the cutest addition to my log round tiers.} 


{Grandma Shiffler organized a project with my girls to make these beautiful fall leaf candle jars.  Of course they would take center stage for the party!}



 {And simple little favors for families with kids: currently our favorite fall activity shaped as pumpkins.}



{The kids helped come up with games.  There was Caroline and Johanna's Bean Bag Toss + Bobbing for Apples down at the bottom of our yard. } 

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{And a little fall craft station of our tried and true paper pumpkins.  Kids taped and gabbed here throughout the night...}

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 {And last but not least... our fall photo corner.  Annabelle did the scarecrow and Ainsleigh did the pumpkins.  And I sat on ice and added details as we made this the morning of the party. :)  It's been hanging in our living room since then because I love it so much. }

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The night was crisp and exciting, kids running around while adults talked and warmed by the fire.


IMG_3485 Costumes stayed intact for the first hour until most of my kids asked to take them off.  Apparently "getting in the way" of play.  Fine by me.

So many adorable costumes , lively games, soaken wet kids from "bobbing", and so many memories made that night...

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It was a magical, fall night indeed.  Thanks to good food (thanks to all of the delicious food everyone brought!), folk music in the background, kids being kids, and wonderful friends and family coming together for these last moments of autumnal bliss.  


the sleepy time gal




right now...







Right now I'm...

sitting on a bag of ice, for the third time today

feeling sorry for myself that I have a strained piriformis

feeling grateful that it isn't worse

looking forward to being with friends tonight in the backyard (our second annual  Fall Harvest Party is tonight!) ...and sitting

glad we started some preparations for our party before the injury

loving my kids' leaf prints and other creations they've made for the party tonight

enjoying the last remaining dark mornings before day light savings while my kids sleep in

trying to be reasonable with myself with what I can and can't do on the road to recovery.  Sigh...

super excited to post a second time today for something very special happening this Saturday you all can be a part of...


Stay tuned!  And enjoy those two working legs of yours today.  :)


the sleepy time gal

her make-up party



Sometimes I'm surprised by my children.  Other times, I can see something coming from a mile away.

My Johanna that you've come to know in this space through her love of learning by playing the part (our medieval feast and Egyptian festival--totally for her) continues to change and mature as she grows.  Johanna is my one daughter that can be found scrounging through my jewelry, begging to wear this or that necklace, doing everyone's hair with hair chalk, and most recently, has come to love the creative side of face paint and make up.


Johanna loves her little stash of clear lip glosses and borrowing my blush.  And she loves using face paint to turn her sisters into characters, Indians, animals, and quite often. It is all about "playing the part" on her big stage of life--getting into character and staying there a while.  And so it was of no surprise that one of Johanna's 2014 goals was to plan and organize a make-up party.  She and the guests would play with make up and eat cookies that looked like make-up.  It was that simple.

For the past month after setting the date for her party (we would tie it into one of their pajama parties) Johanna would always ask to sit next to me on the couch with the iPad to sketch what the cookies would look like.  And so this has been the most planned part of the party: the make-up cookies. 


I made up a grain-free chocolate cookie recipe (a little almond meal, coconut flour, eggs, cocoa, butter, coconut sugar, salt, and vanilla) and we cut them into compact sizes to bake.  With a little help from the girls' favorite candy shop downtown, we picked candies for blush and eye shadow, and taffy for lipstick.  Saturday morning before the party Johanna and I rolled lipsticks, made a simple "glue" of melted chocolate chips with cream and began "adhering" the make up to the compact cookie.


{Johanna got the idea for taffy lipsticks from [amazon_link id="0547662424" target="_blank" ]Cupcakes, Cookies, & Pie, Oh, My![/amazon_link]}

I watched Johanna so much on this particular day, as the cookies she had dreamed up actually came together, as she began setting the party table in the early afternoon (although she had been asking to do it since she woke up), and she ran here and there, gathering her glosses and my light shadows and cotton balls.


{With a few heart bowls, shredded paper, and some of Gaummie's make-up too, the table was set.}



{The girls compromising what the night's activities should be}

And after all of Caroline and Johanna's decorating and patience waiting until 7pm arrived, two friends came to the door and Johanna's sweet and simple and yet, so anticipated make-up party began.





I sat in the other room trying hard to focus on embroidering while overhearing the giggles and silliness two rooms away.  From time to time Bobby and I would peek in to see girls playing with brushes and colors, some trying to look like clowns (Caroline) or some (Johanna) taking it a bit more seriously.  Either way it was innocent, little girl play with make up as the medium.

And my Johanna was in heaven.


She had done it--with so much fun, planning, and now wonderful memories--what she had set out to accomplish.

the sleepy time gal











a surprise cake



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Happy birthday, today, Bobby.  

Yesterday after church the girls and I pulled a last minute surprise-cake-gathering together for Bobby and kept it a secret until 7:45 last night.   Bobby walked through our door (with us excitedly in tow) to a unison "Surprise!" from friends who were waiting for our arrival.

Can I just say that one of the most special parts of yesterday was watching my girls all day.  Keeping the secret.  Keeping up our plan.  Pulling the twins aside regularly to tell them what not to say (cake, balloons, party) around Daddy. Helping me speedily hang streamers and coming up with a cake and cleaning up its mess and doing it all in three hours.

I was so proud of them.


This morning Caroline had us gather in the living room while Bobby entered the room to sing to him first on his actual birthday.  No wonder I was so proud of my girls last night; they weren't just helping and making his surprise party special because I asked but because they would do anything for their special daddy.  They love him so much.


Happy Birthday, dear Bobby.

the sleepy time gal



our fall harvest party





{Homemade popcorn balls with orange extract.}



{A cozy spot by the fire.}



{Farmer boy Rowan loving apples on a stick and our friend's banana cookies.}


{Magically, it is time for the harvest party to begin!  Sadly, it gets dark fast.}


{The sugar plum fairy bobs while the Indian princess, mermaid, and Scarlet O'Hara cheer her on.}


{Our happy caramel apples.  The trick (I just learned) for the caramel to stay put--ruffing up the skin a bit to remove the wax.}




{Miss Scarlet loving all the attention.}



This morning I hear the pounding of the rain outside my window, reminding me that we sure lucked out last night for our fall harvest party.

You've heard me mention it before--my dream to start an annual fall harvest party every October 31st as an alternative to Halloween--but I never planned to do it this year.  There has been so much planning and gatherings this year that I decided to hold off.  Then a few weeks ago, I heard a good friend of mine concur in wanting an alternative for the holiday.  That was all I needed to make it happen this year.  It would be simple and small and a start.

The girls and I had a couple fall harvest meetings to brainstorm ideas.  Annabelle wanted fireworks.  Ainsleigh agreed.  And Johanna took pictorial notes of everything we talked about from a fire to music (which we forgot about last night) to caramel apples.

Everything all came together yesterday--it had to--with art classes here, Nutcracker rehearsal there, and Bobby traveling in between.  (I do like the thrill of pulling everything together, from start to finish, with a short deadline.)  Yesterday looked something like this:


  • Caroline to her classical composer's class
  • Pick up apples from the store
  • Make caramel apples back home while Rowan napped (Thank you Rowan, we couldn't have done it without your compliance)
  • Girls make apple cider


  • Raid the house for antique, rustic, and fallish anything
  • Girls fill the wagon with leaves
  • Girls gather dried flowers and red leaves from the meadow
  • Rowan watches it all happen outside while it sprinkles off and on all afternoon
  • Make popcorn balls
  • String donuts while Bobby gets firewood and the usual rush before any gathering here


It turned out to be such a nice evening with a few friends, food, and the crisp, damp air.  Next year we'll start earlier to enjoy more daylight for our games and possibly turn it into a chili pot luck.

I love the beginning of a new family tradition.  There is this excitement in the air this morning with leftover goodies to enjoy today, memories from last night still visible with the standing tiki torches outside, and remnants and the clean up indoors.


the sleepy time gal













rowan's crab party



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{The quiet but happy birthday boy}


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{Brought back childhood memories hanging streamers}


{Bakie's shortbread cookie favors}

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{Last minute thought of using fishnet from this}


{The most beautiful, hand-painted crab tablecloth from four loving sisters}


{And one most wonderful little boy--with a party hat on!}


{What else but moist carrot cake for a first birthday?}

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{Presents--lots made with love}



{So happy he smiled when he opened my present--a present to cuddle with in bed}



{A special little morning for all of us}


If you enjoy party details:


the sleepy time gal









a mermaid party




{my shy, little mermaid}


{all ready for friends to come!}


{the beautiful sign my mother-in-law painted to welcome the mermaids around back}


{our little fishnet party favors: a collection of seashells, homemade shell crayons, and chocolate shells}


{Johanna's request of an ice cream bar, and, served by Daddy and sisters!}

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{The mermaid cupcakes.  Ahh... I was so excited about them.  More on them later.}

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{a gift of a mermaid tail--how fun! }


{Does the drift wood look familiar from the last party??}




{I totally thought everyone would eat the cupcake and save the cookie--the girls went right for the mermaid cookie first!  Definitely the sweetest party we've thrown.}


{I loved watching Johanna in her mermaid tail I made her.  I wasn't anything special (a seam up the back and such) but she really loves playing the part}


{my sweet Johanna--while everyone splashed and swam, she was often found outside of the pool.  here she is flipping through her new civil war book.}


{this is brown sugar.  the washed up bottles are in sand.  not to be confused.}



A special party, indeed.


It was so fun putting together an elegant mermaid celebration with simple details of shells, aqua and green, and rough and smooth textures.  I think my Johanna was happy--in her quiet way--she felt special to have the attention for the afternoon.  I loved watching her and capturing it (while playing hostess which always is tricky!) as she and her friends and sisters ate, played, and she opened presents.

And I had my Bobby there.  He helped where ever I needed him and was just there.  These celebrations matter so much more when the whole family is there.  My mermaid cookies-- which were quite time consuming to make--were the pretty and vintage mermaid centerpiece I was hoping they'd be atop of neutral colored cupcakes.  I love when there are some things that go just as planned.


And, thankfully, the sun did make an appearance by the end of the party.  It was a special afternoon.  Thanks for all of your excitement and encouragement.  I wish I could send you all a leftover cupcake!


the sleepy time gal














at the fairy pond...




Welcome to the fairy pond.


It was a simple party.  Fairy food, cake, and swimming.  The details were what I wanted special for these girls--I wanted it to feel like they had truly entered a wooded pond scene.  They would be the fairies and their surroundings would compliment them.


Our forest friends (from our fairy walk) cut the beautiful logs from fallen trees on their land.  (It was like my birthday receiving them since I've always wanted these for my girls' play!)  Some of the log discs I stacked to create tiers, others acted as platters.  How absolutely beautiful they were.



Fairy food was simple.  Fairy popcorn (our Valentine popcorn with pink chocolate), raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, macadamia nuts, sunflower seeds, and pistachios.  Caroline's choice of a fairy candy from our candy shop was pastel colored Sixlets.  Those went as fast as the raspberries.


It was exciting to see the collection of things from nature we had gathered over the past month: pinecones, our own flowers I clipped that morning, live moss we've been nurturing, acorns, bark, leaves, ferns (my favorite), and an enormous orange mushroom that looked like coral.  It was quite a living, breathing, table for an enchanted fairy woodland.






A simple favor Caroline and I made for her friends: silver fairy dust gel.   I found the ceramic jars for $1 a piece and covered the logo on the top with what would hopefully be a memory of the beautiful things from the fairy party.  Everything looked like it had just grown right there on the table.


Caroline was sure to let all the guests know you rub it on, especially your feet, so you can fly.  So everyone did with great expectations.  That was exciting to watch.


(The only male representation at the party: my little pixie.)


I wanted Caroline's woodland cake to just add to all of the nature around us.

I put a lot of time and love into it and learned a lot in the process.  I made Smitten Kitchen's Heavenly Chocolate Cake Roll recipe which, surprisingly, was flourless.  It was quite delicate to work with too.  I filled it with chocolate buttercream and made chocolate bark with this technique.   It was incredible adding the chocolate bark piece by piece to the log--it really came alive, especially with a sprinkling of cocoa powder.

(The heat began to melt the bark onto the cake so the bark didn't stand and bent as nicely as they did at home.  The heat wasn't too good for the log, sadly.)


I ingeniously (or was it efficiently?) used leftover royal icing from this for my ferns and mushrooms and dusted the mushrooms with cocoa as well.  Each of the girls requested a mushroom with their cake which made me happy to see them go to good use.

The only fairies we used to decorate with at the party were the ones we made--positioned on their own log and moss below the cake--like all of Caroline's sisters gathered around her.  And there was Caroline's beautiful pink fairy positioned right next to her cake, wishing her wonderful birthday wishes.




And one special corner of the yard was designated for dressing up and photo-taking.  With the cooler weather, the littlest fairies gave up swimming to stay in their fairy clothes.





 It was a calm, happy celebration in a quiet little corner of the world.  My little girl was so happy with it all.  We missed Bobby being there (let's just say another kitchen plumbing problem--how I missed him!) but saved him a piece of cake after all the guests had gone.  Both of Caroline's grandmothers were there to help decorate, hold Rowan, and support me.


I feel so blessed to have had such an enchanting afternoon spent with people I love.


We love fairies and here are more of our links:

flower fairy invitations

homemade flower fairies

homemade fairy dust gel

a fairy day...

where fairies live



the sleepy time gal