Fall Backyard Dinner Party

A couple of times a year now we host a casual backyard dinner party for my husband and his work teams.  It has become a fun tradition where work and outside of work life collide.  We love having people in our home and getting to know the people my husband works with everyday is an extra bonus.

We conveniently live just down the street from my husband's work which is out in the middle of nowhere.  So people are able to pop by after work and stay for as short or long as they would like.  It is low commitment on their part but provides a great opportunity for team bonding. 

After two years of living here, I finally pulled out my hot drink carafes!  It was so nice to dust these beauties off and put them back to work.  It ended up being the most perfect fall day to accompany some warm drinks.

A friend of mine (another co-worker's wife) helps with the majority of the food.  She always does an amazing job with the most delicious food.  Her desserts are always a major highlight!  And it frees me to focus on getting the house ready - especially this time around with my six month pregnant self!

 Look at this Oreo cake!  She makes everything from scratch!  So impressive!

Now that we have hosted this gathering a few times, it has been fun to reconfigure the set up each time to better accommodate the festivities.  Since it was such a nice crisp fall evening, I decided to keep the tables close to the fire pit.  I put out blankets on the chairs around the fire and I separated the food from the desserts so people could wander around to different stations.  It felt good to pull out all my old entertaining strategies!

I used some of my leftover fall decor for the centerpieces.  I wanted them to be simple yet pretty.  I love the ritual of walking out into the wooded area of our backyard to pick out a few stems to put in vases.  And bonus - I didn't even bother to fill the vases with water!  One less mess to deal with!

We even dug out our old tiki torches that we used to keep out at our home back in Sacramento.  The more we entertain, the more some of our old standbys start coming out. 

We continue to be in such a different season than to before we moved here.  But being able to have people in our home, the creative practice of setting up for a party, and seeing these pictures keep the moment alive just a little longer - are all reminders that it is just a matter of time before we find our place.  Being patient and allowing it to happen naturally has been such a gift.

Firefighter and Dalmatians: Family Halloween Costume

I love a good family Halloween costume.  So this year I was on the hunt for something bump friendly and a costume for our son he could get more wear out of.

While I loved our Superhero costumes from last year, I quickly realized that the costume for our son would be a one time wear.  We already have a Melissa and Doug construction worker outfit that our son loves so adding this firefighter costume to our collection was an easy sell.

The firefighter dress up outfit from Melissa and Doug comes sized for ages 3-6.  Our son is two so we have quite a few years of dress up ahead with these.  Plus he is super into fire engines and the sort so he was pretty happy when we pulled out his new costume this weekend to take some pictures.

To make this a family costume I pulled together some simple dalmatian costumes for my husband and I.  Brent did roll his eyes a little this year about our costume.  I suppose not the most masculine!  But he was a good sport!

I purchased some black and white felt and headbands from the craft store.  I hot glued the ears and then used gold safety pins for the spots on our shirts.

Here is a our little firefighter in action.  He's not as big on smiling for pictures these days - so these candid shots show a little more of his genuine excitement.

These ones I like to caption as him already bossing around his little sister!

Earlier this month my parents were here visiting and my husband and I were able to take a few glorious nights away for our anniversary.  Of course when we came home, grandparent spoiling had been in full force!  They bought him a motorized fire engine!  He completely loves it and it worked out well that we could also use it for some photos!  

We have a fun little street near us in our small town that puts on quite a big trick or treat event.  We are looking forward to seeing our son take in the whole celebration.  Though he does know a bit more about candy this year so that will be an interesting new parenting experience to tackle!  Hope you all have a happy and safe Halloween!

Adding A Teepee To The Nursery: Neutral Boys Room

We have started a slow transition to a big boy room for our son.  For his second birthday we got him a teepee and needed to move things around to make room for it.  Our next step is to shop for a twin bed within the next few months so that we can use the crib for baby girl coming in February.

Our son does use his room quite a bit to play in so transitioning to the teepee being a new highlight of the room worked out well. 

I wanted to decorate his teepee for his birthday but didn't have the time or energy to finish it in time.  I did eventually make some banners and tassels that I will show the next time we do an update on his room.  They really make the teepee extra cute - so definitely worth the additional effort in my opinion.  Our son points to it and says, "decorations!"  I also have some ideas of how I might like to embellish it for Christmas.  Who knew a teepee could be such a decoration piece?  The mantel of kid's rooms! ;)

The teepee is from Crate and Kids (part of Crate and Barrel - used to be Land of Nod).  You can find the sources for all the other items in his room in his nursery tour.

It took some maneuvering around to find a good balance for the room - finding plenty of room to get to the crib while still using the window side of the room as the main eye catching corners.

And here is our sweet newly two year old the day I got his room all set up.  He wanted to drag out all his "babies" to hang out in the teepee.

While I LOVE the teepee and he loves to read books in it at bedtime when we allow it, I am going to give some honest truth on how much it gets used.  I knew that getting a teepee was one of those kid risks - if it doesn't get used much it is kind of pricey.  We purchased one on the more expensive end so I had to make a deal with myself that it would be a part of his room and the decoration.  If we were still in our old house, we probably wouldn't have bought it because it takes up so much room (and I didn't want to store it). 

I do think that it is a toy that will grow with him.  So I am hoping in the coming years he will enjoy it more.  And again, super neutral so baby girl can call it her own as well.  But right now he doesn't play in it much.

And really, it is one of those parenting dreams of mine that was able to come true.  Years ago my husband and I were driving in downtown Sacramento, picking something up from a Craigslist deal.  All the homes there are so sweet with a lot of character and I remember seeing a pink teepee sitting in one of the back yards.  It was long before teepees were popular and I remember thinking to myself - one day when we have kids we are going to have a teepee! 

So whether or not it is the favorite toy in the house - it meant a lot to me.  They can be an expensive luxury and I want to make sure I am the first to admit it.

These floor pillows we have had for years have come in handy for the teepee.  We now just leave them in there when not being jumped on or cuddled with.

When it comes to decorating a nursery or kid's room, I am finding I really like to stick to neutral pieces that can work anywhere in the house.  It makes mixing and matching so much easier.  I still feel like his room is fun and kid friendly but as seasons change I can move around accessories and furniture with other areas of our home.

With all the grey and white, I love how some simple wicker baskets add earthiness and warmth to the room.  It allows me to play it safe with our large investment purchases staying in the white category. 

The opposite side of the room is where we store toys, books, and mementos.  It is so much more colorful than the rest of the decor but I really like it.  I try really hard (like I spend way too much time) finding toys that are in a certain color family.  I tend to lean towards muted rainbow - burgundy, teal, and mustard for example.  They do have a lot more neutral wood tone toys these days but they can be really expensive and maybe slightly less fun?  I like that my muted rainbow colors are gender neutral - they lean towards my love for pink and blue but aren't totally primary colors either.  Mixed and matched with plenty of white and neutral decor and I feel like it is a nice balance to the rest of the room.

Those white bins are from Pottery Barn but I was so sad to see that they have been discontinued.  I was really hoping to get a few more for baby girl's room.  I know that we are all about the open shelving these days.  But practically I need something to hide the not so cute stuff!  We bought some similar shelves for the new nursery and I think I may have to stick with wicker baskets to hide things in her room.  I am glad I bought so many over the past two years so that we have a nice little collection.

Next up is shopping for a big boy bed.  We have been prepping him with this book and I am currently looking for something white and classic.  The thought is that this room is big enough to eventually be a shared room (whether we have another child or want to use the other room as a guest room or play room).  So I want to be able to buy a second bed one day, similar in style, but doesn't have to be identical.  Who knows what lies ahead - kid wise and for how long we may continue to live here.  But I love a good plan so that is what I am sticking to until things change!

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