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February 05, 2022

Annual Kids Valentine Dinner

 One thing I get asked about a lot when I post photos after the fact on Facebook/Instagram is about our annual Kid's Valentine Dinner that we put on each year. We started this tradition quite by accident back when our oldest kids were around 6 or 7. I found a cute idea on a blog, printed out the printables and put out a simple but cute dinner. It was a HIT. 

Every year, our kids ask when we are doing Cupid's Cafe and every year it makes my heart so happy to hear that they still love it. I take that as quite a compliment considering those big kids are now 14 & 15. Our 7 year old has been doing Cupid's Cafe since she was a baby and so it's pretty much all she knows :) 

I get asked a lot about how we do it, what we cook, where the printables are, etc, whenever I post photos so I thought I'd compile everything here to have a quick reference for anyone wanting to create their own Valentine tradition..

Hubby & I celebrate our anniversary on the 2nd of February so we typically combine celebrating our anniversary and Valentines together and it's not usually ever close to Valentine's weekend. We save that time for us to spend special time together and make Valentine's weekend about the kiddos. 

The evening that we decide to do Cupid's Cafe we ask the kids to vacate the main part of the house so we can set up. They can hang together or just go to their rooms. Our 7 year old loves to use this time to get dressed up in her fanciest outfit. The teenagers fluctuate between putting actual decent clothes on and wearing hole-y hoodies. We are just glad they still like to show up :) 

Hubby takes on food prep & I decorate the dining room. 
I've collected various items in the 8 years or so that we've been doing this so do not feel like you have to go and spend a bunch of money on cute things. Just dress it up a smidge and they'll feel the extra effort you put into it! 

The essentials that you need are: 

*The Menus (the most important part to create Cupid's Crazy Cafe) I cannot take credit for this amazing idea. The Dating Divas outdid themselves and have the free printables here

*An idea of the food you'll serve 

*A few decorations if desired 

If you are like me, and love to go all out, some fun things I suggest can be: 

*Placecards (I printed on cardstock and use the same ones every year) 

*Cute plates (Target and TJ Maxx are my go-to) 

*Fresh Flowers 

*A few Valentine specific decor pieces for the middle of the table

*A tablecloth (I use fabric layered with wrapping paper) 

*Paper Straws in fun prints

When everything is set up, we call the kids out and have them sit in their assigned seat. Typically I have their Valentine gift sitting in their chair (we usually buy just a small happy, nothing big). 
The point of the dinner is to turn the tables on them and have the adults serve them dinner all by themselves. You'll essentially get to act like you're their waiter/waitress and they think this is just the best ever! 

However, there is a twist. 

When you print the menus, you'll notice that inside there are random numbers with silly names. 
Then empty spaces for them to fill in with those numbers. 

Hubby and I create our menu and then have a list in the kitchen with what each number means. 

Example of what we do: 
#1: Dessert
#2: Pink mashed potatoes
#3: Spoon
#4: Drink
#5: Steak
#6: Napkin
#7 Fork
#8: Side item

The kids fill out their menus with random numbers on the right side. They'll have no idea what each number will get them which is what makes for such a silly meal. 
Sometimes they may only get a napkin and their steak but no utensils to eat it with. 
Or their mashed potatoes and dessert. And so on. 
We usually wait several minutes between each portion of the meal to let the silly sink in. 

I also laminated our menus so we could use dry erase markers and use them from year to year! 

It's just the most fun tradition and although it takes a little bit of effort to set up, it only has to be as complicated as you want to make it :) 

The kids look forward to it every single year and if it keeps them willing to be silly with us, I'm all for keeping the magic alive. 

I hope this helps with inspiring a fun tradition for you and your family on Valentines!! 

November 27, 2021

Christmas Home Tour 2021

 I honestly can't believe I'm already talking about Christmas, considering my last post was about Fall decor. 

I think that's more a reflection on how poorly I keep up with this account more so than the passing of time. But regardless, fall has absolutely flown by and Christmas is more than underway. 

I'm actually feeling the itch to go wrap presents which has to mean it's fully the Christmas season, right? 

Let's just be honest, this will more than likely be my last post of the year so I figured we couldn't let it pass without sharing all the fun Christmas decor. 

So here's to the beautiful Christmas season and all the fun trimmings that go with it. I'll share my favorite spaces of the house with you & try my best to list sources as I go. I'm feeling extra sentimental about it this year since there's a pretty good chance it may be our last Christmas in this house. As we embark on a crazy adventure to build our dream house, it's looking more and more likely that the possibility of not being here next year may come true. 

So even more of a reason to document it fully! 

The main focal point of my decor every year is our mantle/fireplace. It tucks into the corner of our living room and sets the tone for the entire house. 

I opted for lots and lots of layered neutrals this year with pops of red throughout the rest of the house. 
The mantle this year sort of just fell together with a mix of past decor and a few new pieces this year. 

The tree is always my Achilles heel when decorating. I get a little better each year but it still doesn't achieve pro status. 
I opted to weave two types of ribbon through the tree in golds and rose golds and then the kids helped heap all our family ornaments on it. 
Hubby made the wood box that goes around it last year and I just love it so much. Our cats destroy tree skirts so that has never been a great idea in our house :) 

I love that the tree drips with family memories all throughout it! 

Even as the kiddos get bigger and don't shadow me while decorating as much (Little bit still does but easily gets distracted, this year by books) our pup, Rosey, has dutifully taken up being my shadow and follows me everywhere to check out what I'll put up next. 

Plus, she's always willing to pose in my photos which is endearing :) 

This year, the centerpiece of the fireplace became a beautiful mirror that I got for my birthday last year. It was perfect for spring decor and it popped in my head for my neutral Christmas set-up too. 

I hung a simple wooden snowflake from it to add a little holiday touch to it. 

I used several different golden candlesticks to lift my little village houses to varying heights throughout the set-up. They all light up and it's so pretty at night! 

I wove lights and simple flocked garland throughout the base of the whole thing for a little texture and glam. 

The large flocked trees were a new addition this year, I found them at Kirklands and fell in love. These are actually the medium size and they light up too! I felt like they were the perfect grounding pieces with the large mirror. I added a few other sizes of trees to taper it down as you reach the end of the mantle. 

The bell garland is simple but elegant and I love the vintage touch it brings the whole look! It's strung across and attached with command hooks. The greenery garland does a great job of hiding my hooks. 

The cute golden tiered trees were another new find this year that looked perfect tucked into the whole set-up! I scattered a few vintage gold bells throughout for a little more touch of vintage glam too. 

Our stockings are from last year- I opted for two different types of white stockings for a little texture and interest. They are hung with little white cup hooks that screw directly into the trim around the fireplace. 

This is our first year with our new white tiled fireplace and I just love the look of the stockings against the sparkling tile! 

Those darling stocking tags are from a favorite small shop, Oak Knoll Creations

This little set-up is tucked right next to the Christmas tree in the living room. The matching chair gets banished to the garage for the Christmas season while these two get some holiday glam. 

I recently painted the hardware gold on my little table and I'm loving it. The touches of gold on the table are the perfect finishing touches and I used my tried & true wood slices and cover-less books to provide some height to the vignette. 

That little Christmas pillow on the chair is a placemat pillow I made years ago and it's still going strong. I love the vintage feel it gives off! 

Looking at these photos makes me wonder about painting the hardware gold on this piece too! However, I have big plans for it in the new house so I'm holding off on any adjustments here :) 

I opted for more neutral colors in the dining room with lots of touches of gold & wood tones with some greenery in the wreaths! 

These trees have been gathered for the past few years and look perfectly stunning on their own with a simple wood bead garland and gold ornaments strewn around. 

I try to keep the tabletop simple in case we need to move things off for family dinners. So a simple tree surrounded by some DIY gifts I made years ago felt perfect. 

I added a few brass candlesticks, gold ornaments and couple little houses I found this year. Aren't those tiny golden trees the cutest?? 

A few fun Christmas touches reached the kitchen (I'm always terrible at photographing those spaces so I tried to remember this year!)
I added a little grouping in our coffee area & a little right in the middle of the island. 

Honestly, layering cookie cutters throughout the ornaments balls is one of my favorite little touches! 

One of my favorite things to bring out each Christmas- this hand carved nativity scene we bought while in Silver Dollar City at Christmas time. It's such a special reminder of the season. 

Maggie's little toy kitchen got a little Hot Chocolate love for the season too :) 

The foyer gets extra love during the holidays since it's the first area you see when walking in. 
My Harry Potter magical tree lives here and you can see all the enchanting details about it here

My faux mantle is on a huge wall and needs large pieces to make it look filled. 
I layered a huge white mirror that I had repurposed years ago with another thrifted mirror that I did a treatment on years ago that allowed it to have a vintage, mercury glass look to it. I love that you can peek through that mirror just barely. 

More neutral wood tones, brass and golds are layered throughout. 

This new countdown was a fun find this year and I love the white & wood tones. It stretches across the mantle beautifully! You move the star to a new house to count down to Christmas. 

The little brass reindeer & sleigh are one of my most favorite thrifted finds ever. 

And, of course, my magical Hogwarts tree is one of my favorite details. I started this tradition last year and love it just as much this year. 

Every year, we bring out our collection of christmas books to read throughout the season. It's like finding brand new books every time!!! 

I added a few pops of red on my foyer table because I love it against the faint blue of my table so much. Those trees were the very first trees I DIY-ed almost 10 years ago! 

I love that the little wooden reindeer look like they are prancing through a Christmas forest. 

Our entertainment center doesn't get much so as to not be too distracting but I love glamming it up just a touch. 

The Frame TV got new art for the season which is such a fun element. 
I added a cluster of gold trees & candlesticks to either side of the entertainment center and my absolute favorite piece, my huge white reindeer that we lovingly named Prancer a couple years ago. I love that he's keeping watch over the room :) 

We didn't go big on our front porch this year and opted for a few simple lit trees, creates and a little bit of red under our cute door mat. It's all Rosey approved :) 

I hope you enjoyed my little Christmas tour. 
It makes my heart happy to decorate every year and I just love sharing it with all of you. 
I'll add a source list below for each area and try the best I can to share where I got certain things! 

I wish you an incredibly Merry Christmas season & blessings to all of you! 
Thank you for hanging with me & blessing me with your presence. 


Source List: 

Fireplace Mantle: 
Mirror: Hobby Lobby
Wooden Snowflake: Hobby Lobby
Large flocked trees: Kirklands
Greenery garlands: Hobby Lobby
Golden Candlesticks: At Home
Marble & gold candlesticks: Tuesday Morning
Small golden trees: Target Dollar Spot
Lit Houses: Hobby Lobby
Bell garland: Michaels 
Stockings: Hobby Lobby
Stocking Tags: Oak Knoll Creations (Etsy) 
North Pole Pillow: Ross
Red Blanket: TJ Maxx
Couch: Hanks Fine Furniture
Tree: Wayfair 

White Table Set-up: 
Reindeer Head: TJ Maxx
Tree: Gifted
Table: Thrifted & Painted by me
Star Candle: Tuesday Morning
Lamp: Hobby Lobby
Chair: Target
Pillow: Made by me 

Dining Room: 
White Trees: Tuesday Morning
Wreaths: Hobby Lobby
Mirrors: Hobby Lobby
Wooden Gifts: DIY by me
Houses: Hobby Lobby & Target

Copper reindeer: TJ Maxx
Wooden Tree: TJ Maxx
Mistletoe Sign: Oak Knoll Creations (Etsy) 
Night Before Christmas Sign: Hobby Lobby
White Tree: TJ Maxx
Cookie Cutters: Walmart 

Front Porch: 
Red Plaid rug: Hobby Lobby
Doormat: Oak Knoll Creations (Etsy) 

Hot Chocolate Bar Sign: Hobby Lobby
Jolly Sign: Oak Knoll Creations (Etsy) 

Mirrors: Thrifted & DIY'ed by me
Countdown: Kirklands
Wooden Sign: Oak Knoll Creations (Etsy)
Bells: Hobby Lobby
Brass Snowflake: Hobby Lobby
Brass Sleigh: Thrifted
White Poufs: TJ Maxx
Red Trees: DIYed by me
Wooden Trees: Hobby Lobby
Reindeer: Hobby Lobby 

Entertainment Center: 
TV: Samsung The Frame Tv
Art on TV: Alluring View Shop (Etsy) 
Golden Trees: Hobby Lobby
Golden Candle Trees: Target
White Reindeer: Unknown
Candlesticks: Thrifted
Entertainment Center: Thrifted and redone by me