Viewing entries in

How to Make Your Glow Party Epic


How to Make Your Glow Party Epic

My kids love to give me a challenge. I always flinch when I ask the question, "Your Birthday is coming up, what kind of party would you like?" because anything could come out of their mouths. Hedgehogs, circus, rainbow unicorns, mermaids the list goes on and on but when Madeline said she wanted a Glow Party, I was a little surprised.


Football Team Party at Goldfish Swim School


Football Team Party at Goldfish Swim School

This fall our family embarked on a new adventure, Flag Football. My husband was the head coach and it was the first year Dylan played on a flag football team. I had no idea what we were getting ourselves into but it was a fantastic experience. The kids and families on our team were awesome. My husband had a great time coaching the kids with his other two coaches. Last weekend was Homecoming and the boys were in the parade. After the parade they had a tournament and played the other flag football teams in their league and they won the tournament!  

football mom

We wanted to celebrate the end of the season with the boys and all of the families. The one question is where can you celebrate with 11 (VERY ACTIVE) boys??? Having 20 kids at our house wasn't an option. (insert laughter)

I had seen that a Goldfish Swim School had opened up in Mundelein. If you aren't familiar with Goldfish Swim School they are a leading water safety and swim school offering classes for both infant and children. They offer family swim time weekly and birthday parties. I thought that Goldfish would be the perfect venue for the team football party.


I loved hosting our party at the Goldfish Swim School because it was EASY. They provided everything (plates, napkins, juice boxes, cupcakes and goldfish crackers) we just showed up. You can also bring in anything you want, which I love for future parties. We ordered pizza's when we arrived and they had a promotion with a local pizza place that made the cost inexpensive.

When the kids arrived they went over the pool rules and had all the kids take a swim test. They had a lot of fun pool toys for the kids to play with and the lifeguards played a few games. goldfish swim club

goldfish swim club

goldfish swim club

goldfish swim club Thanks to Goldfish Swim School for providing us with the perfect place to celebrate an awesome Flag Football Season! Goldfish Swim School has seven different Chicago-area locations with more coming soon! They also have locations in 10 states across the county. You can find a gold fish location near you on their website.


Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

1 Comment

Macy's Presents American Icons LIVE Events!

I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere has provided me with compensation for this post. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

As summer rolls in, there are so many iconic moments that I have captured with my children. Charlotte JUST had her first popsicle, which I recall consuming mass quantities of as a child. She rode her bike around the block for the first time last week, with some help from mom. She wore her first denim jacket, which is so fashionably iconic America.

As for Bryson, he started playing baseball this year, America's past time. He discovered his love for s'mores on a camping trip with my mom and I last summer. He also loves to bake, and makes a huge mess in the kitchen! These are all the childhood memories that many kids share across America, making them iconic moments in our lives.

Macy's is hosting a series of events to celebrate what makes America the place we love to raise our children, and you are invited to join the in-store party! Macy's American Icons events are family fun and fashion bashes to kick off the summer right. I will be attending the event at the Chicago State Street Macy's location on this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm. Make sure to join me and participate in these events sure to get you ready for the warm weather!

Take an #AmericanSelfie with Chicago's own Stanley Da Bear, snack on Garrett's Popcorn and hit up the lemonade stand.

How about BBQ, is that iconic America enough? Well, you can learn tips & tricks from Milt's Barbecue for the Perplexed AND Brad Saylor, Macy's Executive Chef.

If you are in the mood for a little music, the steel band Potts & Pans and a cappella quartet No Big Deal will be on site, belting tunes and charming the audience.

And of course, what Macy's event would be complete without shopping? Everything you need to put together a timeless ensemble will be on hand during the fashion party as you shop to the DJ-mixed beats.

Don't live in the Chicago area? Make sure to check out for over 20 additional locations. I am almost tempted to hit up NYC at Macy's Herald Square on May 14th to meet Carl Ray, makeup artist for America's First Lady and Maksim Chmerkovskiy from Dancing with the Stars! Or how about Macy's Union Square in San Francisco? The Pitch Perfect 2 costume designer Salvador Perez is hosting a fabulous fashion show celebrating iconic style from some of my favorite American designers on May 16th. Make sure to check out the website to see if the Macy's American Icons party is coming to a Macy's near you!

Macy's is also a proud partner with those who have served our country alongside Got Your 6. Each year, 250,000 incredibly brave women and men return from service, and Got Your 6 works to make sure they have the support and tools they need to become leaders at home. (The phrase "Got Your 6" originated from an old pilot system where directions correspond to hours on the clock, so anyone at your 6 is behind you, so "Got Your 6" means "I've got your back.") These are the true American Icons, and Macy's has declared Saturday May 16th Got Your Six Saturday- if customers donate $3, they get a 25% off pass to use all day May 16th.

I hope to see you this Thursday, May 14th at 12pm at the Chicago State Street Macy's!

1 Comment

Party Planning with Birthday Express


Party Planning with Birthday Express

March has become really busy for birthday parties in our house!  Ellie and Will are (7 years and) 10 days apart so party planning was intense.  Down the road I'm sure there are joint parties in their futures but we wanted to make sure Will got his big blow out first birthday party and Ellie had the sleepover of her dreams. Ellie, now 8, has big party ideas that she needs me to help her execute.  She knows what she wants and has specific taste.  For her American Girl sleepover, we used their classic star for our party decorations.  Birthday Express has an amazing selection of balloons of stars in every color that were the perfect compliment.

We used the pink chevron plates and napkins for a fun pop of pattern and the pink tablecloths to keep our granite free of craft casualties and food spills.  Polka dot paper straws are always a fun addition to any party.

Will's party had a classic rock theme based on his nursery.  We again used a chevron print - grey this time - and a really fun backdrop for super cool photos.

Star balloons were a great accent for the party as well as paper straws in vintage milk bottles.

What makes Birthday Express so fun and easy to use is their Complete Birthday In A Box.

You simply plug in your number of guests and all of the coordinating party supplies.  Cups, napkins, plates, table clothes, decorations and more are all right there available to purchase.  It takes the guessing and searching out of buying party supplies online.

Not only can you buy a complete party in a box, Birthday Express also has tons of great party ideas based on your theme.  One of the suggested themes for boys is 'take me out to the ball game'.  When you select the theme, these ideas and DIY tutorials pop up as well.

Birthday Express

Birthday Express also can really personalize banners, plates and party supplies.  How cute is this birthday banner with the birthday boy's picture?!

We love these personalized favor boxes with birthday kid photos as well as plates with the child's name!

So cute, and truly personalized to make the birthday boy or girl feel special.

What parties are you planning?

Thanks to Birthday Express for providing products for this post.  All opinions are honest and my own.



Party Style: American Girl Sleepover

My kids get into party planning.  They come up with their theme, help figure out decorations and have LOTS of ideas.  Ellie has had an American Girl Birthday Party at the Cafe in Chicago when she turned six but this year she wanted a Grace inspired  American Girl Sleepover Birthday Party at our house.  Wish granted!


For decorations we went with the American Girl star and brought it into the birthday banner, star balloons, etc.  We decorated the cupcake area using a set of twin sheets, similar to what we did at our Barbie Party a few years ago.  The flat sheet hangs on the wall and the fitted sheet goes over the buffet.  It's really easy and looks great!  The girls and my mom made paper chains which brought in the colors of the girl of the year, Grace.

american girl sleepover

An AMAZING family friend made monogrammed pillow cases for all of the girls and a coordinating doll pillowcase in our party theme colors.  We displayed the pillows on the fireplace and it softened up the feel of the stone and gave a focal point for gift opening.

monogrammed sleepover pillowcases

In case you didn't know, Grace Thomas is the American Girl of the Year!  She is a baker who goes to Paris for the summer to visit her aunt, uncle and cousins.  As soon as Ellie saw her in the catalog, Grace was all she wanted for her birthday.  When she unwrapped the doll she screamed and kissed the box.  Her friends couldn't stop laughing!

grace thomas american girl of the year


This was our first slumber party and we had ten girls 8 and under.  My goal was to keep the party fun but under control!  We partnered with American Girl and they sent Grace Aprons for the girls and an activity box filled with crafts, games and coloring sheets.

First the girls decorated turquoise Grace aprons for themselves and their dolls.  There was a little dot pattern that they could trace and then they could add more if they wanted.  Ellie decided to draw the Effiel Tower on her aprons!

american girl theme sleepover birthday party

The girls also made their own recipe boxes, decorated their small doll pillowcases and played Paris BINGO.  BINGO came with blank cards and stickers with French phrases.  The girls made their own cards and then the fun really began.  Prizes were the Grace Thomas book and we kept playing until everyone had their turn to throw their hands up and shout BINGO! american girl sleepover

In the spirit of Grace and her love of baking, instead of having a cake we made cupcakes and let each girl decorate their own.  They had a great time icing the cupcakes and adding lots of sprinkles.  And licking fingers.

cooking birthday partybaking birthday partybaking theme birthday party

The girls also iced and decorated sugar cookies to take home to their families.  While we kept the girls busy in the kitchen, they really loved having so much to do!  When the decorating was done, we sang Happy Birthday to the Birthday Girl and she blew out her 8 candle.

girls birthday party ideas

After all of that crafting, decorating and playing, the girls put on their pi's, grabbed their monogrammed pillowcases and relaxed with their favorite magazine.

girls sleepover party ideas

The girls had the most amazing goody bags ever.  They each brought him their pillows, then American Girl gave each girl the Grace book, the current issue of American Girl Magazine, a Grace Poster, the Grace Apron, their decorated aprons and their craft projects.  We had American Girl shopping bags from the Chicago store for each girl to bring home all of their goodies.

But the very best part about having a sleepover for your 8th birthday?  Spending time with your friends.

Plan Your Party:

Balloons, Party Decorations, Paper Products:  Birthday Express

Birthday Girl Dress:  M.A.D.Grrl (giveaway going on now!)

Crafts, Games, Aprons & Goody Bags:  Courtesy of American Girl  Find Grace activities at a store near you at!

Monogrammed Pillowcases:  Email for purchasing information

A HUGE thanks to American Girl, Birthday Express, M.A.D. Grrl Clothing and our helpful family and friends for making this "the BEST birthday party EVER!!!"