Thursday, June 23, 2011

Sunny is Walkin' in Memphis!

We've had a visitor these past couple of weeks!
The infamous SUNNY the Party Chick made a landing in Memphis to visit us!

We were delighted to have her visit our nest! 
And, since we heard that Sunny and her mommy Natalie were big Elvis Fans, we thought she needed to visit Graceland at least once! 
Cross that one off her chicken bucket list!
Sunny couldn't get in that day to visit Elvis' Jungle Room, but I hear that there were some really raging parties thrown in there in his day!

So, she had to make do with paying her tributes to the King outside the gates. 

When she got back to our roost, she visited with Mr. GreyGrey himself, who was looking really serious. That giant animal is one of Grey's big sisters, Kaia. That's Kaia's couch. Kaia and her couch live in their own room in our house. That's where Kaia and her sister Keiko throw their own parties.  And since Sunny is such a wild animal, she had to visit Kaia's apartment. 
Kaia and Sunny got along great! 
Sunny also helped me organize my party closet! It may not look organized, but you should have seen it before. Sunny was a big help, lending me a wing when I needed it. 
After that, GreyGrey packed Sunny's suitcase and she was off to Florida!
Sunny is going to continue her tour of the South when she visits with Kori @ Paper and Pigtails!!
Can't WAIT to see what Sunny gets up to in "Sunny" Florida!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Currently Obsessed with: Yarn Balls

What party trends are you currently obsessed with? A few weeks ago, I wrote about my love of chevron and it seems like that is EVERYWHERE lately.
But, my newest obsession are these DIY yarn balls. 
I remember my Nana teaching me to make these for Easter when I was a little girl, but I had not thought about them in years until they started popping up all over the party blogosphere. 
They are so simple to make (albeit MESSY), and they add a really big impact from the ceiling, much like the old standby of tissue poms!

I particularly love this arrangement, it's so lush and vibrant. 

So, after seeing all this gorgeousness, I decided to make some for my upcoming little one's nursery, instead of some tired old mobile. I love the way they turned out, and the best part is that it was a $10 project. Just, FYI, though--keep your toddler WAY away from this project. 
(The wooden monogram is from Vintage Blue by Sophia)

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Inspiration Board: Curious George

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Kari asked me for some ideas for her son Grant's upcoming 4th birthday. Being a fickle three year old, he went back and forth between a Buzz Lightyear party and a Curious George party, but he finally decided on George. 
So, I came up with some ideas to help her out. 
I am sure that Miss Meredith will be helping her with this as well!

There are some super cute Curious George parties out there in party-land, so this was an easy one to put together for her. 
Sources:
Curious George Cake Pops: Mom's Killer Cakes
Red and Yellow Dessert Table: Gwynn Wasson Designs
Red, Blue, and Yellow Invitations: Posh Tot Parties
Red Striped Favor Bags and Yellow Striped Straws: HeyYoYo
Door Sign: A Bunch of Scrap
Snow Cone Cupcakes: Just Jenn Recipes
Red and Yellow Popcorn: Kernel Encore
Red and Yellow Candy buffet: Chickabug
Cookies: Killer Zebras
Ribbon Backdrop, Cookies Pops, and Drink Dispensers: On To Baby
Striped Invitation: Once Upon a Bash

Menu Ideas: 

Sweets Buffet

Monkey Bread
Cupcakes with Fondant Curious George cupcake toppers
Curious George Cake Pops
Banana Runts
Banana Laffy Taffy
Hot Tamales or Cinnamon Imperials
Twizzlers or Red Licorice
Mini Banana Puddings or Mini Strawberry Shortcakes
Pineapple and Strawberry Skewers
Cherry and Banana Popcorn


Savory Buffet
Pizza Cupcakes--Recipe HERE
Build Your Own Trail Mix Bar
Lemon Chicken Skewers-Recipe HERE. 
Poppy Seed Party Sandwiches
Fresh Vegetables and Hummus (or any other dip that the kids might like)


Beverages
Red and Yellow Izze Carbonated Juices
Juice Boxes with coordinating scrapbook paper wrappers
Strawberry Banana Juice


Favor Ideas:
Barrels of Monkeys with custom favor tags
Curious George Cookies
Animal Crackers with custom favor tags


Games/Activities
Pin the Banana on George
Monkey See, Monkey Do


I can't wait to see what Kari comes up with for this sweet little man's party!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Recipes: Low Country Shrimp Boil

 I've had a few readers ask me for my husband's recipe for his famous Shrimp Boils, so here it is, directly from Chef Ryan himself!


Ingredients: 

Yield: 10-12 servings (depending on the size men you are serving!)

Shrimp
(Good rule of thumb is 1/2 lb of shrimp per person-I usually like to use 
                      U/15 or 16-20. Shell on....frozen or fresh....obviously fresh is better.)
24-30 Small Frozen Corn on the Cob
 5 packages Polska Kielbasa, cut into 2 inch pieces. Each package yields 6-8 pieces. 
2 bags of Red New Potatoes (depending on the size of potatoes, you may want to cut this amount)
3 Large Lemons
2-3 entire heads of Garlic
 (Peel the garlic and separate into individual cloves....just peel off the white/papery wrapping and keep the cloves whole.)
1 8oz Zatarain's Liquid Crab/Shrimp Boil
2 Zatarain's 3oz Boil in the Bag


Directions:
In a 30 gallon (or larger) pot fill with water about 2/3 to 3/4 full (I use a propane fueled turkey fryer with a metal basket/colander for easy removal). Add in Zatarain's 8oz liquid boil (about half the bottle to start) and 1 or 2 of Zatarain's 3oz Boil in a bag.  I usually use just 1 bag and add more of the liquid along the way. Use a long wooden spoon to help stir all the contents in the pot for each step.

1. Once about to boil, halve the lemons and squeeze juice into pot and then put the lemons in. Also, dump in all the cloves of garlic. Wait to come to boil.

2. Add in potatoes as these take the longest. Bring back to boil. This will take maybe 10-14 minutes

3. Add in corn. Bring to boil....another 10 min or so

4. Add in kielbasa...bring back to boil. Shouldn't take too long because they are already pre-cooked, but you want to have them soak in spices.

5.  At this point, test a potato to see if it is tender. If it is still hard, use your judgement to boil longer.

6. Once all is cooked, take the basket out with all the contents and place on table covered with newspaper, etc and cover somewhat with foil to keep warm.

7. Put basket back in, add a little more liquid boil, and add shrimp. This should take only 2-3 minutes....until they are pink.

8.  Turn off the burner/heat and let the shrimp soak in the spices (the water is hot enough to cook the shrimp and too much heat will over-cook them. Maybe 5-6 minutes more.

9.  Take the basket with shrimp and add to the rest of the spread on the table.

10.  Have cocktail sauce (for those who want it), spray butter for the corn, Saltine crackers and spray butter for the garlic (THIS IS MUST....THE GARLIC TURNS INTO A BUTTERY SPREAD and is perfect with the crackers.

11.  Enjoy the feast and the easy clean-up....roll all the discarded food up in the newspaper and toss in a garbage bag.

Hope this helps and everyone enjoys this great time with friends or family!

Friday, June 10, 2011

{Real Parties} TJ's Puppy Party

This past weekend, we went to a super cute 1st birthday party thrown by our friends Tommy and Lauren for their son, TJ. 
It is hard to believe it, but TJ was the baby that I did my What's It Gonna Bee? gender reveal party for! I can't believe he is already ONE!
Well, TJ loves puppies, so Mommy Lauren decided to go with that theme. She asked me for some ideas early on in her planning and I sent her a few links to some cute stuff, like some of Martha's ideas or a puppy party.
But, she took this adorable theme and absolutely ran with it. 
It was PRECIOUS!

One of my favorite details were the newspapers and tennis balls hanging from her chandeliers. So clever!
I love the way she did this banner in her windows as well!

Cute puppy balloons right? (That is a picture of TJ's real puppy, Roscoe at the bottom)
For the favors, everyone got dog bone shaped cookies. 
She handmade this cute little doghouse. I love that she used paper shred for "grass" and served the snack mix out of actual dog bowls. 
The table centerpiece was fish bowls filled with real dog treats. 
And the cupcakes were some of the cutest things I have ever seen. Lauren's friend Michelle MADE these cupcakes. 
There were several different "breeds" of cupcakes, but my hands-down favorite was the Pug!
Could you die? I don't have any idea how she made these look so realistic!
Nutter Butter EARS! So so so cute!
Fabulous job to my friend Lauren for throwing TJ an absolutely precious Puppy party!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis--A cause very special to our hearts

For those of you who regularly read this blog, you will know that there is a cause that is very special to me.  
That cause is the Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance. 
The Tuberous Sclerosis Alliance is a huge part of my every day life because my son, Greyson, was born with this disease. 
For those of you who are not familiar with Tuberous Sclerosis, this is the official definition of the disease: 

Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) is a genetic disorder that causes tumors to form in many different organs, primarily in the brain, eyes, heart, kidney, skin and lungs. You will see it referred to both as tuberous sclerosis (TS) and tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC). The term TSC is used in scientific literature to distinguish tuberous sclerosis complex from Tourette's syndrome. 
The disease affects some people severely, while others are so mildly affected that it often goes undiagnosed. Some people with TSC experience developmental delay, mental retardation and autism. However, there are also many people with TSC living independent, healthy lives who enjoy challenging professions such as doctors, lawyers, educators and researchers.


When Greyson was born, he was perfectly healthy. We had no indication that anything was wrong until he was two months old and began having infantile spasms, which are a particularly devastating type of seizure in infants. He has struggled with seizures almost every day since. 
We had never even heard of Tuberous Sclerosis. 

Greyson is considered mildly to moderately affected by TS, which results in him having intractable (uncontrolled) epilepsy and tubers (or benign tumors) in his brain, retinas and kidneys and learning disabilities. He is almost completely non-verbal at the age of three and attends a special needs pre-kindergarten within our local school district. He is also on 2 different seizure medications and a hypertension medicine daily. 
 In addition to Tuberous Sclerosis, Greyson also has polycystic kidney disease, which is linked closely with TS because of the proximity of the genes in your DNA. At some point in Greyson's life, he will most likely be faced with a kidney transplant or brain surgery.  
In spite of this, Greyson is a trooper, inspiring everyone he knows on a daily basis. I have never met a stronger soul than him. I am not saying that just as his mother, but as someone who has seen every blood draw, sedation, EEG, MRI, and other invasive testing he has gone through. 
He is the absolute light of our lives. We are honored to be his parents. 
And any parent who as seen their child suffer will know that is the worst thing that you could ever imagine.
But, there are many who are much worse off than him. Some patients have hundreds of seizures a day and are severely mentally and physically delayed. 

I write this not soliciting pity, but in the hopes that spreading the word about Tuberous Sclerosis and educating those who are not familiar with this disease will raise the profile of the TS Alliance and therefore help them help Greyson, and the millions of others with TS. 

There is NO CURE for Tuberous Sclerosis. 
And it can happen to anyone. 
Two babies are born every day with TS in the United States. 
But, we hope to change that. 


For the past three years, my husband and I have been involved in our local Middle Tennessee chapter of the TS Alliance, helping to raise funds through their annual walkathon. 
Last year, TEAM GREYSON was the #1 fundraiser for our walkathon, raising over $5000 for the TS Alliance. 
This year, we hope to exceed that. 

  This year, I was so honored to be asked to be the chairperson for our local walkathon. 
This year's Step Forward to Cure Tuberous Sclerosis Walkathon--Middle Tennessee Chapter, will be held on Saturday, October 22nd, 2011 at Centennial Park in Nashville. 

What I am asking my readers is to please help us out!
Greyson has a fundraising page all of his own, which you can access HERE. 
All donations are 100% tax-deductible. 

But, in addition to the monetary fundraising, I am looking for silent auction items and in-kind donations. 
In-kind donations can range from anything from a case of bottled water to a big-ticket silent auction item to volunteering your time!

But, more importantly, I am asking you to share this page. 
Raising AWARENESS is just as important as raising money. 

Thank you for reading!

Brittany