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Entertaining

Wayfair, couchgating, tailgating, football

Are you ready for some football? I’ve always wanted to say that. Seriously, do you love football? I do. It’s right up there with Cubs baseball (Go Cubs Go), Blackhawks hockey, ballet, gymnastics and cheer. What can I say, I love me some eclectic group of sports?

I love the ritual of watching sports. I love the excitement, the tailgating and the group outing aspect but I don’t particularly care for being outside in inclement weather. In the same way that I adore the idea of sleeping out under the stars in a national park but in reality, I need a yurt with Wi-Fi and a bed. I want it all; the best of both worlds. I’m a complex bird, okay.

I especially love tailgating. I have since my days at Purdue but I don’t really want to suffer for my recreation unless that suffering includes bad penny beers and wings at a packed sports pub. That’s why couchgating is perfect for me now that the weather has started getting a little chillier out but to be honest, I prefer being inside when it’s hot out too.

Tailgating is a blast until you can’t eat your hot dog because your freezing to death and your teeth are chattering so badly that you can’t get the damn thing in your mouth and your beer has frozen in the red solo cup. Think I’m joking? Just try tailgating at the Oaken Bucket game in November in Indiana. It’s also not so much fun when it’s 100 degrees out and you’re doing everything in your power not to sweat your face off or smell like a pig’s pen.

I prefer couchgating in my house with family and friends gathered around a big screen and pot luck food simmering in crock pots while, depending on the weather, the party ebbs and flows in and out of the house. Maybe there is some cooking on the grill, a little corn hole and beer pong during halftime or we just stay inside and stay warm. That’s the beauty of it; there’s options and they are all warm and comfortable unless you prefer to freeze. Totally up to you. I’ll be inside nibbling from the charcuterie tray and sipping on some sangria.

Here are my picks to help host the perfect couchgating party!

 


Deborah C.

Couchgating Done Right
Deborah C.
Dual Tap Freestanding Beer Dispenser

Dual Tap Freestanding Beer Dispenser
Kegco
Margaritaville® Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker

Margaritaville® Key West™ Frozen Concoction Maker
Margaritaville
Appetizers on Ice with Lids Keeps Acrylic Tray

Appetizers on Ice with Lids Keeps Acrylic Tray
Prodyne
Freezable Beer Pong Rack Set

Freezable Beer Pong Rack Set
GoPong
Cheers 16 oz. Pint Glass (Set of 4)

Cheers 16 oz. Pint Glass (Set of 4)
Chloe and Madison
Taverna Pint Glass

Taverna Pint Glass
Arte Italica
Gold Luster 20 oz. Stemless Wine Glass (Set of 4)

Gold Luster 20 oz. Stemless Wine Glass (Set of 4)
Fitz and Floyd
Barock Round Soup Spoons (Set of 6)

Barock Round Soup Spoons (Set of 6)
WMF Americas
Rustic Cheese Fork Marker Set

Rustic Cheese Fork Marker Set
Epicureanist

Today I’m teaming up with my friends at Wayfair.com to show you how to host the perfect couchgating party right at home! I am also sharing a couple of my personal favorite appetizer recipes, Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe for warm artichoke and bacon dip with homemade chips and Bobby Flay’s sangria pops.

 

Wayfair, couchgating, tailgating, football, sangria pops, warm artichoke and bacon dip

Warm Artichoke and Bacon Dip

Total Time:45 min

Prep:10 min
Cook:35 min
Yield:6 to 8 servings
Level:Easy

Ingredients

Pita Chips:
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 to 4 pita breads
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Dip:
Butter, for greasing the baking dish
5 strips thick-cut bacon
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, optional
2 shallots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
One 8-ounce bag frozen artichokes, thawed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (16 ounces) mascarpone cheese
1/3 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

For the pita chips:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, combine the chili powder and cumin. Drizzle the tops of the pita breads with the oil and sprinkle with the spice mixture and salt. Cut each pita bread into 8 wedges and arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.
For the dip:

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch round ceramic deep-dish pie pan or a 1-quart baking dish.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and bacon and cook until crispy, about 8 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. When cool enough to handle, crumble into 1/2-inch pieces. Set aside. In the same skillet, add the oil (if needed), shallots, garlic, artichokes, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat until the shallots are translucent and the artichokes begin to brown, about 8 minutes.
Transfer the vegetables to a food processor. Add the mascarpone cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, lemon juice, 1/2 of the cooked bacon pieces and the remaining 1 teaspoon salt. Pulse until combined but still chunky. Place the dip in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining bacon pieces. Bake until just warmed through (do not let the dip boil), 10 minutes. Serve the pita chips alongside.
Wayfair, couchgating, tailgating, football, sangria pops

Sangria Pops

Total Time: 8 hr 35 min

Prep:15 min
Inactive:8 hr
Cook:20 min
Yield:makes 10 to 12 ice pops
Level:Easy
Ingredients
1 (750-ml) bottle fruity red wine
1 cup unsweetened pomegranate juice
1/4 cup simple syrup
2 tablespoons corn syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
2 tablespoons red grape juice
2 apples, cored and chopped
2 oranges, chopped
2 ripe pears, chopped

Directions

In a medium saucepan, reduce the wine to about 2 1/2 cups. While still hot, add the remaining ingredients and steep overnight, refrigerated.
Strain the mixture and fill ice pop molds; freeze until solid.

Then enjoy your football the it was intended to be; with friends, family, good food and soe tasty cocktails. What’s your favorite couchgating recipe?

 

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Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

Have you ever heard of Revo AlcoMate? Neither had I until I was recently sent one to review but now, I can’t believe everyone doesn’t have one. It’s a simple, easy way to keep ourselves safe this summer during all the fun and celebrations.

Summer is right around the corner. You can already feel the electricity in the air.  It happens every year, the weather warms up and the atmosphere is instantly charged. It’s like we can’t help ourselves; we need to celebrate the sunshine. We are happy for no reason and then we become our most primal selves.

I love summer. I love being outside. I love barbeques with family. I love a frosty cocktail after a long afternoon of yard work or playing with the kids. I love the beach, the lake and the pool and exploring on new adventures in undiscovered places. I love late nights with friends around a campfire. I’ve been known to involuntarily dance and smile like a simpleton. I can’t even control it. Doesn’t everyone feel that way when the birds are singing, the world is blooming, the sky is blue and the sun is shining bright in the sky? Summer is the best.

There are a million different music festivals, fairs, and outdoor concerts. There’s baseball and fireworks and beach nights and do you know what comes with all of this? Alcohol. Maybe not for everyone but for a lot of us, summer celebrations go hand-in-hand with sitting on a deck somewhere enjoying a glass of wine, a frosty beer or sipping on an ice cold cocktail. There’s no shame in it. I think most of us learned in college that alcohol makes things a little more fun. Or maybe it makes us a little more relaxed so that we can enjoy our lives.

I don’t think most of us need it but a lot of us like it to be part of our summer ritual. We consume in moderation, or if you’re like me, almost nothing at all. Not because I have anything against alcohol, in fact, in college I was a big fan. Just ask anyone who knew me back then. They would be shocked to know I’m not a falling down drunk these days.

The thing is that once I got pregnant, I obviously didn’t drink. Then there was breastfeeding and then I became this responsible person, the one my mom said to always make sure that you’re wearing clean undies in case you were ever in an accident. Well, I wanted to have a clear mind in case my child ever needed me during the night or there was an emergency. There just didn’t seem like there was anything worth me not being mentally available and alert at all times; spoken from my high horse of 11 long years of parenthood.

Anyways, at this point, I’ve mostly just lost my taste for it. I do still want and have drinks on occasion but it always seems to be predicated on something else happening. For instance, I ‘ll have a drink once the kids go to sleep but by the time they go to bed, I’m too tired to pour my glass. But a few times a year, the Big Guy and I get an overnight baby sitter (grandma, I’m looking at you) and we head out on a date night and return to a kid-free home. On those nights, I have drinks because I can actually enjoy them.

This weekend will be one of those such occasions. The Big Guy and I will be heading to our local RockNBrew Fest! That’s my gift to him for our 17th wedding anniversary. He is a big craft beer fan so we’re going to a fest with 150 different beers to sample. He’s very excited and so am I, just to be out as an adult but we’re responsible so, tucked away discreetly in my purse will be the portable AlcoMate Revo breathalyzer. This way if the Big Guy consumes too many samples, we can check his blood alcohol level before ever getting behind the wheel and aside from keeping us safe and out of jail, it could be saving someone else’s life. The technology behind the product makes it the most accurate of any commercial breathalyzer.

Revo alcomate, DUI, how to avoid a DUI, breathalyzer

This Revo AlcoMate really is ingenious.

I wish I would have had one in college, luckily I walked everywhere so I didn’t get into too much trouble, other than the occasional wipe out on the walk home. The AlcoMate Revo have replaceable sensors, which means they never have to be sent in to be replaced, can always be manually re-calibrated, have a longer lifespan and can be returned to day-one accuracy. The AlcoMate Revo is so reliable, in fact, that they’re the only breathalyzers trusted by the Marines and the Navy. I think these should be standard issue in every single car and maybe there should be a fail switch that if you don’t pass your breathalyzer, your car stops running?

Anyways, like my mom always says, “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” So wouldn’t it make more sense that we have access to a Revo Alcomate because then we could all make the road’s safer by just taking an Uber or a cab instead of “hoping” we were sober enough to drive. We would know.

My point is that I never even thought about owning my own breathalyzer before but the Revo Alcomate has proven to be invaluable when it comes to all the summer time outdoor parties and such. Simply do everything in moderation and always check your alcohol content before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle; its against the law and it’s dangerous.

What do you think of the idea of owning a personal breathalyzer like Revo Alcomate?

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Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

Thanksgiving is seriously my holiday jam and this year, I needed a Thanksgiving tablescape to convey that. No joking, aside from Christmas, it’s my absolute favorite holiday. I love everything about it; the food, the family and even the chaos. I love the smell of pumpkin, roasted turkey and sweet potato casserole baking that permeate every nook and cranny of my house. As soon as you walk in the door, it’s like a great big giant hug and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Normally, we host between 30-35 people for Thanksgiving dinner. Don’t feel bad for us. We love it. I come from a huge family and it’s always been my dream to give my girls that feeling of a big family. We host dinner for both sides of the family because we want everyone to be close. For us, it is one family.

Nothing makes my heart soar more than hearing my girls chatter on about their lives to their great grandma Gigi or the way they patiently listen to stories of when their Great Aunt Maxie was a child. I love seeing all of my nieces and nephews laughing and joking together. I love seeing the melding of the Latino and the German cultures but mostly, I love all the love that fills the room like air.

Unfortunately this year our guest list will be much smaller. This year it will be an intimate Thanksgiving dinner for 13. Since breaking my leg, everyone wanted to give me a break this year and made other plans with in laws and such. It’s okay and I do appreciate the thoughtfulness. I’m still not fully walking on my own and I know they’ll all be around my table again next year. But I will definitely miss the house being filled with the warmth of family.

You see a long time ago, my husband and I decided that we wanted to host both families for Thanksgiving and we always would because no matter what happened, we wanted our parents to always have a place to come for dinner to celebrate.

This year may be small but I thought I’d take the opportunity to make it extra special and kick everything up a notch. This is the year for experimenting with a little more elegance and refinement starting with my tablescape.

Normally, there are so many guests that we use Thanksgiving themed plastic tablecloths and paper goods along with plastic silverware and napkins. This year, with there only being a small group, I’ve decided to break out the chargers and the china.

The food is always spectacular (here are all the recipes for the perfect dinner) but this year, I want the dinner to be an experience. I want it to feel special and cozy and warm. We might not have the bodies this year but I still want the house to feel cozy and inviting. I want the people who are here to know that they mean everything to us.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

For my Thanksgiving tablescape, I decided to go with warm neutrals with a little bit of sparkle for elegance.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I chose a burlap runner because I feel like it gives the table a natural and inviting feel.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I topped that with small wreaths that I used to surround the bottom of my candleholders.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I chose white candles to accentuate the crisp white of the plates.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I went with robin’s egg blue chargers to give the table a little pop of color and tie in the wallpaper in the room.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I opted for my charcoal grey napkins that have silver and gold striations in them. I felt they tied in well with the centerpieces.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

I feel like it looks beautiful and I can’t wait to eat dinner at this table surrounded by the people that I love most. For more great ideas to create the perfect Thanksgiving tablescape check out Wayfair.

Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

What will your Thanksgiving tablescape look like this year?

Disclosure: I am a Wayfair ambassador and  this is a compensated post but, as always,  all opinions and this Thanksgiving tablescape are my own.

Wayfair, Thanksgiving, tablescape, thanksgiving tablescape, holidays, thanksgiving recipes,turkey, entertaining, family

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holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

Disclosure: This is part of a sponsored collaboration with DiMeMedia and Shutterfly. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

The holidays feel as if they came a little quicker this year. It definitely snuck up on me. It’s been a crazy year and with spending this autumn out of commission, it feels like I’ve missed an entire season of my life. In many ways, I guess I have. I hate missing these moments, especially the ones that involve my daughters.

Luckily, I am on the mend and feeling much more like myself these days. Thanks to television and a few over ambitious neighbors I am full-steam ahead in holiday mode. A week from today is Thanksgiving, which marks the official beginning of Christmas. Coincidently, this also is the same day that I become hopelessly behind.

For me, Christmas cards are very important because it is the one time of the year that I know I will reach out to family and friends and they will do the same. I have friends and family that I never get to see in person because of the distance between us but without fail we exchange those cards with photos of our families. Without fail, we think of one another at least for a little while once a year. It is such a small thing but it means the world to me and I look forward to seeing those photos of our friends and their families far and wide each year. It makes us feel so much closer in this great big world.

Life is a celebration, and every moment spent with family and friends is a moment worth capturing. From baptisms and quinceañeras, to Sunday gatherings and Christmas eve, “Mi Vida Shutterfly” ( Shutterfly’s new Spanish-language design offerings) helps you cherish every moment and share them with the people you love who speak Spanish.

Every year, I have this convoluted fantasy of getting our Christmas card design chosen, appropriate photos available, ordered and mailed before actual Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, since giving birth and living with actual children, I haven’t had the time that I’d like to capture those perfect pictures and get them to our loved ones in a timely fashion. Well, at least not since they’ve been able to talk and walk and do anything more than sleep. Motherhood is a full-time job that requires all of your attention and brain cells.

By the time I have actual “free time” (you know the 20 minutes after they fall asleep and before they wake back up trying to get into my bed) I’m simply too exhausted to remember that I’m supposed to be designing, ordering, addressing and mailing Christmas cards. But this year, I tried something different.

holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

I’ve been stuck on the couch due to my broken leg but my days are packed with deadlines. I knew I wanted to order my cards and have them ready to mail out the day after Thanksgiving so I gave myself 30 minutes one day, jumped on Shutterfly used the uninterrupted time to design our Christmas cards.

It was that simple. I chose a photo of the girls in their cute matching outfits and then I picked a photo of the whole family together this fall at my sister’s wedding (ironically it was taken about 30 minutes before I fell and broke my leg), added a couple sentimental statements and placed my order which means, for the first time in years, I will actually be mailing beautiful, personalized Christmas cards on the day after Thanksgiving instead of hand delivering them to my parents and in laws on Christmas eve like some kind of half-hearted afterthought.

holiday cards, Christmas, Christmas cards,Shutterfly

They are absolutely beautiful. I love them and can’t wait to share them with family and friends.

Shutterfly offers an easy, creative and convenient way to share family milestones. Now, its even easier to share these with your abuelita, mother, neighbor, tía and other loved ones with Shutterfly’s new Spanish applications (complete with ñ’s and accents). They’ve also added Spanish language customization and Spanish-language customer service.

Take advantage of exclusive offers and promotions visit Shutterfly.com/mivida

Also, I will be randomly choosing one reader from the comments below to win a $50 Shutterfly Gift Card. 

Giveaway ends Dec 2nd at 11:59 EST. Open to all readers over 18 years old.

Simply leave a comment below telling me what your favorite holiday card design is at Shutterfly.

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general Mills, How to celebrate Dia de Los Muertos, home, celebrating, dia de los muertos, day of the dead

Disclosure: This post about Dia de Los Muertos is part of a sponsored campaign with General Mills. However, all opinions expressed are my own.

When someone we love dies, it can be crippling. The hardest part of living after losing someone is surviving without them. It doesn’t matter if it’s an elderly grandparent or a new baby that you never got to meet; it hurts in a primal way that makes you want to crawl inside of yourself and die. Having experienced this pain, I can truly say that I look forward to celebrating Dia de Los Muertos with my family.

I know it sounds macabre, especially if you don’t know what it’s all about. Firstly, it’s not Halloween. That’s the holiday where little kids dress up like monsters and get free candy from their neighbors. Actually, Halloween is one of my favorite holidays but it is nothing like Dia de Los Muertos.

As a Latina, fall season means Dia de Los Muertos is right around the corner. Last year, we watched the movie Book of Life, with our girls, to start the dialogue. It’s a big part of our Mexican heritage. They’d seen sugar skulls but didn’t fully understand what the celebration of Dia los Muertos was about.

Dia de los Muertos is a Mexican holiday that lasts for 2 days, November 1-November 2.

November 1st is Dia de los Inocentes, honoring children who have died. In preparation of the holiday, the graves are cleaned and those of the children are decorated with white orchids and baby’s breath. November 2nd is Dia de los Muertos, honoring adults, their graves are decorated with bright orange marigolds. On Dia de los Muertos we honor our dead with festivals and celebrations; it’s a marriage of indigenous Aztec ritual and Catholicism. I love this part.

The cemeteries in Mexico that are normally grey and melancholy, like any other cemetery, suddenly are bursting with color and life. You can’t believe the vibrant colors of beautiful sugar skulls and marigolds that fill the cemetery. My father celebrates this every year by going to Mexico and decorating the tombs of my Tio Narciso, my Abuela Bertha and my Abuelito Manuel. I know this is hard for him but it is also cathartic to celebrate their lives, rather than just be sad they are gone.

We believe that our dead loved ones would be insulted by mourning or sadness, so on Dia de los Muertos we celebrate the lives of the deceased with food, drink, parties and activities that the dead enjoyed while they were alive. For my Abuelito that would mean leche con pan (he was a simple man with simple tastes), for my Tio Narci that would definitely mean a Big Mac (he loved the United States, especially Big Macs and Ronald Regan) and for my Abuela it would mean as many beautiful marigolds as you could fit at her burial site.
I like that Dia de los Muertos recognizes death as a natural part of the human experience, a continuum with birth, childhood, and growing up. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead are also a part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with loved ones. It’s a very healthy way to look at death and takes away some of the fear of the unknown.

The most familiar symbol of Dia de los Muertos are the calacas and Calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday: in candied sweets, on Pan de Muerto, on parade masks and even as dolls. Calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed as enjoying life, often in fancy clothes and entertaining situations because it’s a celebration of life.

In addition to celebrations, the dead are honored on Dia de los Muertos with ofrendas—small, personal altars honoring one person. Ofrendas often have flowers, candles, food, drinks, photos, and personal mementos of the person being remembered. For example, if I were to make an altar for my Abuelito Manuel it would include lots of sweets and breads like Pan de Muerto.

Pan de Muerto (Spanish for “bread of the dead”) is a big part of the Dia de los Muertos traditional celebration. Pan de Muerto is sweetened soft bread shaped like a bun and decorated with bone-shaped pieces. The living eat the bread along with our departed loved one’s other favorite foods in their honor. No Dia de los Muertos celebration would be complete without Pan de Muerto.

Bonus: You can save $3.00 when you buy 3 Big G cereals and “Pan de Muerto” bread to celebrate Dia de los muertos.

 

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Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

In our house, weekends equal sleeping in, relaxing and indulgent brunching. All week long, we are always in such a rush to get to all the places that we need to be that we seldom have time for anything more than toast or cold cereal. There is no time to linger and have long conversations over hot breakfasts and warm coffee. This alone makes us look forward to Sunday mornings.

 

As our daughters get older, life goes by faster. I know it sounds crazy because time never actually speeds up. But I swear it seems like just yesterday my girls were being born and that first year seemed like an eternity but now, they are 8 and 10 years old and the days, months and years are flying by. Sometimes, I just want to hit pause and Sunday brunch is our way of doing that.

 

We know that Sunday mornings are the one day a week that we can all sleep in until the girls jump in bed and wake us to butterfly kisses and tiny giggles. Then we come downstairs in our pajamas with no place to be and as a family, we make brunch.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Usually the Big Guy or myself make the meal but the girls are always close underfoot to help set the table, clean the fruit, squeeze juice or at the very least chat us up about the weeks happenings at school, ballet and tumbling. This is when we really talk about everything and nothing. In order for us to parent effectively, we have to listen and engage in these fleeting moments.

 

Brunch usually includes music playing in the kitchen as we have impromptu morning dance parties while the smell of bacon and something scrumptious in the oven wafts through the air. This weekend it was ooey, gooey Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls. There is just something so comforting about biting into a warm, freshly baked pastry dripping with icing. It’s like a warm hug.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Honestly, the only thing better than the smell of bacon and cinnamon rolls wafting through the house is the sound of little girls giggling and mommies and daddies sharing inside jokes, winks and stolen glances as they take it all in. They don’t call it Sunday Funday for nothing.

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

In my book, it doesn’t get much better than sleep in your eyes, random hugs and cuddles and food that makes your soul dance. What’s your favorite Sunday morning family ritual?

Pillsbury, cinnamon rolls, family, breakfast

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Pillsbury through their partnership with POPSUGAR Select. While I was compensated to write a post about Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls, all opinions are my own.

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Bella in Wonderland

Every year since Bella has had a birthday party, it’s always been a really big deal. I believe it has something to do with the fact that when I was little I seldom remember having a party.So,when it comes to my girls, we love to celebrate the party in a big way. I mean, who doesn’t love a party? I am fully aware that the Bellapalooza of 2009, when she turned 4, was a bit excessive. I do recall something like 4 parties being had in a one week span of time. There was the family party on her actual birthday, the Fancy Nancy tea and spa experience with her fellow ballerinas, then there was the birthday play date celebration and last but not least the extended family and traveling friends party. It really was Bellapalooza but it was so much fun & Bella has since referred to her birthday week as Bellapalooza.

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The cakes made by the Big Guy!

This year, Bella was adamant that she wanted a Alice in Wonderland birthday party.This girl always wants a theme that is “not available” in stores. Of course you can’t find party favors for Alice in Wonderland, so we  improvise..as always. But this year, I was determined to keep the party to 1! After 6 years of birthday parties, I’ve come to the realization that the party is about the birthday girl having fun..the rest is not important. So, after much searching and creativity, we found just the right decorations. It was a small party with all the immediate family and  a few friends and classmates.

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Obviously, Bella dressed as Alice.She dresses in costume for every theme party.

The Wonderland aspect of this party was really the friendship and family. Bella was over the moon that her friends from school and her play date friends were all there to celebrate with her. She was also over the moon because her Grandpa Manny, my Dad, who normally comes and serenades her on her birthday ( this is a long standing tradition in our home. He has serenaded me and my sisters every birthday with Las mananitas (traditional Mexican birthday song) since we were born. Bella was absolutely devastated that he would be out of the country for this birthday party) called from Mexico to play the guitar and serenade her.All was right with the world!

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Bella (Alice) & her best friend.By sheer coincidence, he came as the Mad Hatter (her favorite character).*Awwww,swoon*

Party was a huge success and birthday girl was over the moon! The.End!

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Wonderland punch!

 

 

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