ONE happy camper!

Our little man turned one in September and we celebrated in style: a rustic, outdoorsy, glamping style. Here are all of the details of our big party.

ONE happy camper!

We rented a picnic shelter space on Megan’s Island, in between two large fields and adjacent to a play structure. It was a pretty sweet spot. The only thing that would make it better would have been an infant swing, Michael’s favorite thing to do at the park.

The birthday boy

We opted for the Sunday before Michael’s birthday, which also ended up being the Seahawks home opener. We managed to squeeze the party in between Michael’s morning nap and 1 p.m. kickoff.

Food. We kept the food simple with 12 feet (FEET!) of Subway sandwiches, personal bags of chips, Aunt Nancy’s quinoa salad, and goldfish cracker packets and applesauce pouches for the little ones.

12 feet of sandwiches

Drinks. Since it was at a park, and 11 a.m., we decided to make Michael’s party nonalcoholic. We had a delicious hot cocoa bar and juice boxes for the kids. We offered toasted marshmallow syrup, mini marshmallows, and chocolate chips to customize their ideal cocoa.

Drink station: hot cocoa bar!

Dessert. I made these s’more cookie bars but the real star of the show was the Costco cake. Thankfully Costco makes a cake that was perfect for our party. We got the “over the hill” design minus the over the hill language.

Cake!

We had such a wonderful time celebrating our little guy, ONE happy camper!

ONE happy camper!

A couple of other favorite photos from Michael’s big party:

Cake table & Michael’s weekly photos

52 weekly photos of Michael with the same bear in the same chair

Warming himself by the fire

Snuggles!

More snuggles! Also: the pants that inspired the party!

Post cake chocolate coma

The Handmade Project

Umm… did you know that my wildest dreams might actually come true?! It’s a long shot, but when Brandon forwarded me the application for The Handmade Project, a reality television show about crafting (!!!!), I knew that I had to apply.

It took three weeks for me to perfect my responses to the dozens of questions they asked, find my craft projects and photos, and to film just the right 3 minute video. The stars aligned last week and I submitted my application!

You have to apply to be chosen! Fingers crossed!!

I’ve never applied to a reality TV show before, but I’m guessing it’s a little bit of a popularity contest, so I’d really appreciate it if you could please watch, comment, and like my application video on YouTube, this blog post, and on my social channels. (Links in the top right!)

Who knows… you might be seeing me on the big screen in August!

Here are some highlights of my application, so you can know what you’re supporting:

My PR/introductory blurb:

During the day, Megan Szerwo is a real-life Leslie Knope, making her living working on behalf of the people of the City of Seattle. After hours though, Megan grabs a glass of her favorite red and she gets down to business on her real passion: crafting. A jack of all trades, Megan focuses her attention on party and holiday decor, gifts for new parents, and any and every craft possible with her endless supply of corks. Megan’s three passions in life are easily described: cats, crafts, and carafes! Megan lives in Seattle, Washington with her husband, son, and two cats.

And some of the projects that I highlight:

My Q13 debut!

My small business: Little Britches Bakery

Our homemade wood-fired oven in the backyard

My party pinatas

My mad party-throwing skills

Cork art!

And a couple of projects that are new to you as a blog reader:

Michael’s ONE HAPPY CAMPER first birthday party! I promise you’ll see it soon!

Muzzle Guzzler glassware: coming soon!

Fourth of July onesies! (Post coming only a year late, but in time for 7/4/17!)

Since it’s likely that this show would just perfectly foul up our Buffalo moving plans, it’s almost guaranteed to happen!

Don’t forget to watch my application video, tell all your friends to watch it, and like/comment on this post!

Thank you for reading and your unending support of my creative endeavors!

Beautycounter visits the Island

Beautycounter2

Over the weekend I hosted a Beautycounter party with a few of my girlfriends. Think Stella & Dot or a Tupperware party, but with natural beauty products instead.

If you want to try out Beautycounter, you’re too late for their debut at Target, but you can order from my link! We all agreed that we want an introductory sample-sized kit of Beautycounter favorites, but it doesn’t currently exist, sadly.

I’m still figuring out exactly what I’m going to order, but here are the items I have my eyes on:

  • Nourishing cream cleanser ($26)
  • Nourishing day cream ($43)
  • Balancing face oil ($68)
  • Rejuvenating eye cream ($58)
  • Daily shampoo ($22)
  • Daily conditioner ($26)
  • Touch up skin concealer pen ($32)
  • Lengthening mascara ($29)
  • Winter warmth color palette ($58)

Beautycounter1

Beautycounter3

About Beautycounter

Beautycounter is committed to a health and safety standard that goes well beyond what is legally required in the United States. Their Never List is made up of more than 1,500 questionable or harmful chemicals that they never use as ingredients in our products. This includes the over 1,400 chemicals banned or restricted in personal care products by the European Union, plus additional chemicals screened by Beautycounter and found to be of concern.

While all Beautycounter ingredients are sourced with a higher standard of safety and quality in mind, it is well recognized — and accepted by regulatory authorities around the world — that incidental, trace levels of a chemical may inadvertently be introduced a cosmetic product due to the complexities of the supply chain and manufacturing process.

Check out this shortened, pocket-size version of their Never List that you can use for easy reference.

To compliment the Never List, the Environmental Working Group has a Healthy Living App that provides ratings for 120,000 food and personal items. I have downloaded the app but haven’t had the nerve to scan yet– I’m too scared!

Questions? Reach out to my friend CariAnn at www.beautycounter.com/cariannwitsoe

 

Michael turns one!

Last week we celebrated a very special holiday on the Island: our sweet baby Michael turned one!

Happy birthday Michael!

Happy birthday Michael!

It’s been a crazy, wonderful year. We’re so excited to watch our little one grow into a boy!

We celebrated with cake…

Baby's first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Baby’s first cake: Praline Dream from Bakery Nouveau. Delicious.

Cake? Yes, please!

Cake? Yes, please!

"Oh yes, this is good."

“Oh yes, this is good.”

"How have I not had this before?! It's so good!"

“How have I not had this before?! It’s so good!”

"I. Love. Cake."

“I. Love. Cake.”

"Best day ever!"

“Best day ever!”

And a balloon wake up…

Balloons!

Balloons!

Channeling his inner Bill Clinton...

Channeling his inner Bill Clinton…

And birthday pancakes…

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

Best morning ever: pancakes, whip cream and sprinkles!

And a special cake from daycare. He loved it all. What a great week!

More birthday cake!

More birthday cake!

"Candle? I prefer the cake"

“Candle? I prefer the cake”

The happiest one year old that I know!

The happiest one year old that I know!

 

2016 Super Bowl party

Brandon was born in Colorado and as a result he grew up watching the Broncos. (We even cheered on the Broncos when they played the Seattle Seahawks in 2014.) He knows everything about the team and will root for them every chance he gets. He was offered that opportunity a few weeks ago during SuperBowl 50.

We held a SuperBowl party and went all out– as all out as we can with an infant at home who’d not big on napping. Thanks to Michael’s four-month sleep regression, we had the “pleasure” of waking up at 5 a.m., an hour earlier than we had intended, which worked out perfectly for the brisket. Brandon was able to get it into the Traeger an hour earlier! (It’s all about looking on the bright side, right?)

Here’s the party breakdown.

Our Super Bowl 2016 spread

Our Super Bowl 2016 spread

Menu:

  • Beef brisket (smoked for hours by Brandon)
  • Baked beans (we were going to make them from scratch and then we saw them for sale at Costco: So. Much. Easier.)
  • Superfood kale salad — this kit is available at Costco and is so easy to put together. It’s delicious too!
  • Veggie platter
  • Blue tortilla chips with seven-layer dip (pre-purchased, so worth it!)
  • Half time pepperoni pizza. We bought this ginormous pizza at Costco. It took me mere minutes to rearrange the pepperonis and cut a string cheese as the laces. (Photo below!)
  • Desserts: orange and blue browned-butter Rice Krispie treats and the most adorable and delicious sugar cookies you’ve ever had from my friend Robin (she also made the beehive cookies at our gender reveal last year)

And of course some photos:

The most amazing Super Bowl cookies ever. I wish I could make these myself!

The most amazing Super Bowl cookies ever. I wish I could make these myself!

Orange and blue Bronco Rice Krispies treats

Orange and blue Bronco Rice Krispies treats

Football pizza

Football pizza

Our Peyton Manning prayer candle. Worked spectacularly this year!

Our Peyton Manning prayer candle. Worked spectacularly this year!

Super Bowl bingo was a big hit-- it combined commercials and the game.

Super Bowl bingo was a big hit– it combined commercials and the game.

Our little fan watching the pre-game

Our little fan watching the pre-game

How I watched the game: wearing a wee one, with a {plastic} glass of wine.

How I watched the game: wearing a wee one, with a {plastic} glass of wine.

World champions!!

World champions!!

Michael's new super bowl ring. Tastes like VICTORY!

Michael’s new super bowl ring. Tastes like VICTORY!

We've got Bronco spirit!

We’ve got Bronco spirit!

Hopefully we get to have another successful SuperBowl party next year! This little guy has his game face on and is ready!

Game face = ON!

Game face = ON!

{Read about our 2014 Super Bowl party here.}

Our bumble bee-themed gender reveal party

A couple of years ago I received a special order in my small business, Little Britches Bakery, for a bumble bee- themed diaper cake, for a “What will it BEE” gender reveal party. Ever since then I’ve been thinking about starting a bumble bee line for Little Britches and Mo/Michael’s big reveal was the perfect opportunity!

As usual, I started with some inspiration on Pinterest and a board.

Then I set about making the diaper cakes, and shifted the color scheme to yellow and white rather than yellow and black. I also added some burlap into the mix, which was very complimentary.

The full spread: What a party!!

The full spread: What a party!!

I always hang some sort of a banner (here, here) and this party was no exception. I wanted something light and airy, so I opted for tissue paper tassel garland. These are pretty easy to make and the bang you get for the cost and energy is definitely worth it!

My tissue paper and washi tape banner

My tissue paper and washi tape banner

I use 8 pieces of tissue for each garland and followed the instructions here for the most part. I did not bust out my glue gun and instead created a loop and secured the tissue paper with a black glittery washi tape. This was one of the first times I’ve used washi tape and as a result, I didn’t know that it wasn’t very sticky. I added a dot of of super glue to the edge of the tape and now the washi tape is there forever. Once the tassels were created, I alternated white and yellow when stringing them on the burlap yarn.

Because of the afternoon timing of the party, we opted for a light menu focused on desserts , with several of gluten-free options for our gluten-free guests. We enjoyed: a variety of cheeses, crackers, cured meats, a veggie platter, polenta bites, bee sugar cookies with royal frosting, meringue bee hives, spring Oreos (with yellow filling!), chocolate cupcakes with yellow frosting and chocolate bees, and lemonade.

It turned out to be quite the spread:

The food spread

The food spread

Even more food!

Even more food!  Did you spot the bees buzzing the lavender bush?

What will Mo bee? A "he" or a "she"?

What will Mo bee? A “he” or a “she”?

Handmade chocolate bees on cupcakes

Handmade chocolate bees on cupcakes

Beyond the diaper cakes, the beehive cookies were the focal point of the party. They were by far the best tasting items at the party. I normally try to make — or semi home-make — all of the items at my parties but I outsourced these cookies to my friend and former colleague Robin. She only makes cookies as a hobby right now, but she could easily be in business full-time! Her skill and creativity are both exceptional! Just typing about these cookies makes me want one right now… Just delicious.

The best cookies ever! Bzzzzzzzzz....

The best cookies ever! Bzzzzzzzzz….

I scoured the internet for old wives tales related to gender prediction — ok, it wasn’t just for the party. For the first 20 weeks of the pregnancy, every time I experienced a new symptom, it was off to the internet to try and gain some insight as to whether Baby Mo was a he or a she. I created this poster, and underlined the symptoms I’d been experiencing.

Old wives tales: truth or fiction?

Old wives tales: truth or fiction?

We had our guests guess Mo’s gender and they went along with the old wives tales and guessed girl. They were also wrong!

All signs were pointing towards Mo being a GIRL! (And yes, they were wrong!) Our little one will likely look like little Brandon, pictured here: 

Guess the gender!

Guess the gender!

The actual reveal took place in the form of this beehive cake. The results of the baby’s anatomy scan were given to our local bakery and they used blue or pink frosting in the middle. We had a great time cutting the cake and finding BLUE frosting! See the full party here!  We didn’t peek, this was the reveal to us as well!

What will it bee gender reveal cake

What will it bee gender reveal cake

If this Bee Gender Reveal party looks like something you would like to replicate, you can order most of my supplies and decorations on my Etsy shop.

Bumble bee diaper cakes

Bumble bee diaper cakes

As always, please ask any questions you might have! I’m happy to answer everything from suppliers to technique questions and beyond!

We're excited to meet our "HE" joining our family in September!

We’re excited to meet our “HE” joining our family in September!

 

2015 Oscar party

I’m a bit overdue in posting this, but it’s well worth it, so make sure you read on.

"Oscar goes to..."

“Oscar goes to…”

While I rarely watch all (or any, for that matter) of the Academy Award-nominated films, I have friends over each year to watch the Oscars.

The menu is different every year– we’ve gone from elegant appetizers to a panini bar and this year everyone brought a dish, potluck-style. The potluck is definitely the way to go. It was so easy!

Our 2015 Oscar feast

Our 2015 Oscar feast

We made a couple of dishes and both were total keepers!

First, these mushroom polenta bites. I basically followed my friend Kelsey’s recipe on her blog, A touch of lovely. I opted for the tomato sauce as the spread and the chubby polenta loaf from Trader Joe’s. I threw the polenta in the freezer while I cooked the mushrooms and after a few minutes of chilling it cut very easily into perfect rounds. I followed the instructions on the package for the polenta. Our “bites” were larger than bites and they were delicious!

Mushroom polenta bites

Mushroom polenta bites

For dessert I made the Smitten Kitchen’s buttered popcorn chocolate chip cookies. I really had no idea what to expect with these — I love both buttered popcorn and chocolate chip cookies independently — and was pleasantly surprised. These cookies were delicious! I substituted Trader Joe’s gluten-free all-purpose flour and couldn’t even tell there wasn’t gluten in the cookies. Next time I would have made less popcorn and would’ve added more melted butter to the popcorn. Try out the recipe and let me know what you think!

Buttered popcorn cookies

Buttered popcorn cookies, uncooked

Buttered popcorn cookies, cooked

Buttered popcorn cookies, cooked

Each year I have guests fill out their ballots, and just like every other year, my friend Kimmy won the award for the most-properly-guessed winners. There are some great ballot designs out there and we chose this ballot design.

Brandon making his Oscar predictions

Brandon making his Oscar predictions

I basically have a party-in-a-box for the Oscars that lives in my storage room. It includes a banner, set of silver chargers, a gilded vase, a silver and gold ice bucket, and several movie-themed party plates and decor. This year I found some great ideas on Pinterest and acted on a couple of them: my own Oscar statue and gilded, glittered champagne flutes.

I’m calling my Oscar statue “Oskar” and he started off as a very unfortunate Ken doll from the Goodwill.

Oskar, as Ken

Oskar, as Ken

Oskar cost $1.99 (he came with a Barbie that looked like she had leprosy; she went in the garbage) and I super-glued his hip joints standing straight and then his feet to a wood base from Michael’s. After he was dried, I spray painted him gold. After several coats, here he is!

Our "Oskar"

Our “Oskar”

I bought the champagne flutes at Target for $1 each and the Krylon gold glitter spray paint (which I wouldn’t recommend) for ~$7 from Michael’s. I had the gold spray paint on hand. On any given day I have at least 3 cannisters of this stuff in my basement!

Bottoms up! Oscar bubbles

Bottoms up! Oscar bubbles

I started by thoroughly washing the glasses with soap and water, taped the bottom at the stem with painters tape and sprayed, sprayed, and sprayed some more.

Champagne glass taping

Champagne glass taping

I tried using just the glitter spray paint and it didn’t cover well, so I started with the solid gold. I added the glitter spray paint on the second coat. All in all I am very happy with how these turned out!

Half painted golden champagne glasses

Half painted golden champagne glasses

It’s never too early to start planning for next year’s Academy Awards! Visit my Pinterest “parties” board for about a million ideas.