Christmas Tea Party

christmas tea party

Little girls love their tea parties, don’t they? Lyla definitely does and after having countless tea parties with her stuffed animals and Dad, I decided it was time to host Lyla’s first “real” tea party. 

We invited a few of her little girlfriends and their mamas over for a Christmas Tea Party at our home yesterday. We set our dining room table for the girls. Each place setting had a sugar cookie for decorating, a candy cane and a festive hair bow to take home. The girls also had a plate of PB&J tea sandwiches and a pot of tea Capri Sun.

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Lyla was so patient while we set everything up. She loves tea parties and she loves Christmas, so the table was very tempting but she left everything as it was until her friends arrived. I was impressed. 

christmas tea party

I was just as excited to have my friends over as Lyla was. I set out my tea set as well as a spread of tea sandwiches – ham, apple and brie and the classic cucumber cream cheese – as well as some cranberry orange scones. 

christmas tea party

Right on time, all of the little girls showed up in their Christmas dresses. They all looked so cute. A lot of the moms dressed up too which was fun. I think us stay at home moms appreciate an excuse to get dressed in something other than sweats once in a while 😉

christmas tea party

^ aren’t they the sweetest? I love that the moms even dressed up the little sisters 🙂

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It is so sweet to watch Lyla grow and develop friendships. We really had a great time and are already looking forward to hosting another next Christmas and making this a tradition. 

What is your favorite Christmas tradition?

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Preparing Your Home for Summer Guests

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #tastehydration #CollectiveBias #CB

VITAMINWATER

Once you move to Hawaii, people seem to line up to come visit you. This year, we have had visitors from the mainland at least once per month, and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon.

Our current set up allows us a spare bedroom that we use for guests which is so great because we love hosting family and friends in our home.   

This week, we have had the pleasure of hosting our good friends Lisa and Kyle. They flew in from Georgia last weekend and we have been having a blast showing them around the island. 

lisakyle

When preparing for guests, I like to go beyond the basic sheet-changing and room-tidying by putting together small welcome packages. These small gifts make their arrival a little more special and really help the tone for their vacation. 

These welcome gifts are fun and easy to put together. I like to include… 

A coffee mug for each guest. Because we are in Hawaii, I like to give each guest a Hawaiian-themed mug. Something that they probably can’t get where they live. They can use it throughout the duration of their trip if they don’t feel comfortable going through your cupboards in the morning or just take it home with them as a fun souvenir. 

Postcards, pre-stamped. love getting snail mail – especially postcards from people on vacation! Make sure you throw a stamp on them so that they are ready to be dropped in the mailbox without any extra effort from your guests. 

Fresh towels. I always loved using the big, fluffy towels on vacation and don’t want to rob my guests of that feeling just because they are staying at our house instead of a hotel 😉 Pick up a new towel and washcloth for each guest to use during their stay (I try to get two different colors so they are easy to keep track of). Your guests can either take the towels home with them or leave them for you to add to your collection when they are done. 

Passwords. Share with them any information about the wifi connection in your home, or other important passwords they may need. I printed out this info and put it in a pretty frame to make it more appealing. 

vitaminwater Zero. There is a lot to see on this beautiful island so our guests are usually hit the ground running and don’t stop. It is so important that they stay hydrated when out in the hot Hawaiian sun so I like to include a few bottles of vitaminwater Zero. Vitamins. Electrolytes. Delicious. Zero blah. 

WELCOME GIFT SETUP

I leave a few bottles on top of the desk in the bedroom and let our guests know where in the house that they can find more. Sam’s Club sells large packages of vitaminwater Zero (20 in a pack) which is great because it makes it easy to have more on hand to ensure our guests are staying hydrated while on the go without having to stop and pick up more while they are out adventuring. 

SAMS CLUB VITAMIN WATER

Between now and April 30th, you can save $3.50 on the large packs of vitaminwater Zero at Sam’s Club with their in-store offer. It’s really a great deal! Click here to find them at the Sam’s Club nearest you. 

What would you want to find in a welcome package?

 

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DIY Thanksgiving Wreath

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #HappyThanksGathering #CollectiveBias

THANKSGIVINGPREP

I love Thanksgiving. The food, the traditions, the nostalgia – all of it. It’s the perfect kick-off to the busy holiday season and something that I look forward to every year.

Since getting married four years ago, I have been telling my husband that I can’t wait to host Thanksgiving dinner. Unfortunately, between not having a big enough space and our traveling to see other family, I haven’t had my chance yet.

This year, I will be much too pregnant to travel off-island and we have a home large enough to host family and friends so it looks like I’m finally getting my chance!

To say that I am excited is an understatement but I’m trying hard not to go overboard with the planning and preparation.

My main goal when doing any kind of hosting is comfort. No matter how great your kitchen and decorating skills are, your guests will eventually forget what you served them to eat, but they will always remember how you made them feel. That’s why creating an authentically warm, relaxing, and comfortable environment is key.

I feel most at peace in my own home when things are tidied up. I know that my guests will feed off of my energy, so I will be spending some time sprucing up the main living areas of our home before the big day to make sure that I am able to relax.  The last time I was at Walmart, I picked up a few of my clean-house essentials: Scrubbing Bubbles® Toilet Cleaning Gel, Scrubbing Bubbles® Disinfectant Bathroom Cleaner and Windex® Original Glass Wipes. (Bonus: there is an awesome rebate going on right now which saves you $5 on your holiday photos)

PRODUCTS

Clorox-in-store

Cleaning up the house, especially when you have a meal to plan/cook is a big job but with the right cleaning products and some holiday tunes turned up nice and loud it’s a big, fun job.

brother-cleaning

^My brother kindly demonstrating how easy and fun cleaning the bathroom with the Windex® Original Glass Wipes is. Isn’t he the best?

After the house is clean, and before I get to cooking, I’ll make sure that our house is decorated festively for the occasion with some traditional items and a special Thanksgiving wreath.

FULL

We all know to expect the “what are you thankful for” activity at the Thanksgiving dinner table but none of us likes to be put on the spot, right? I know I don’t. I think this is especially true when sitting around the table with strangers or a new group of people. (think your first Thanksgiving with your significant other’s family or maybe a group of your parent’s colleagues) but also applies to those dining with family and loved ones that they see all of the time.

Even though I have SO much to be thankful for, and love spending time reflecting on them, my naturally introverted self sometimes cringes at situations like these. To combat that awkwardness, and to make sure that all of my guests feel comfortable this Thanksgiving, I created this wreath that we will incorporate during dinner time.

close-up-wreath

The wreath is already hanging above our piano. Underneath, I have a box with pre-cut “thanks” circles and some pieces of leather cord. The idea is that from now until Thanksgiving, anyone who comes into my house can write down what they are thankful for and tie it onto the wreath. Guests who are here only for the day will have their opportunity to write down what they are thankful for while they are mingling and waiting for our meal.

THANKSGIVING-WREATH

During dinner, I will remove all of the circles from the wreath, divide them equally amongst our guests and we will take turns reading off what we are all thankful for. Of course, anybody can share more if they are so inclined but I believe that by having this anonymous way of sharing what we are thankful for will ensure that all of my guests feel comfortable, welcomed and pressure-free.

Sounds great, right? If you want to make a Thanksgiving wreath of your own, please feel free to download this free printable which gives you twelve “thanks” circles per page. Once you have the circles printed and cut out, punch a single hole into the top of the circle, cut some string and lay those items out with some pens.

I have so much to be thankful for this year – our wreath is going to be pretty full by the time Thanksgiving rolls around. I’m looking forward to it! That and, of course, the food. You can find more #HappyThanksgathering inspiration here. 

 

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Back to Ewa

The Byrds are on the move (again)

Last year, we did some major downsizing and left our little blue house in Ewa Beach for a charming little studio (in my Auntie and Uncle’s backyard) in Kahala. The move came at the perfect time for our family and we could not be more thankful that we have had to opportunity to be here for as long as we have. 

aloha, little blue house

^old house

Our current space is cozy and totally gets the job done, but as we get ready to bring another little Byrd home we need to move on to a bigger nest (I know, I’m sorry. I can’t help myself)

We have spent so much time looking at places and weighing our options. Should we buy or should we rent? Should we stay in town or go back to the west side? What about Kailua?! I have made about a zillion pros/cons lists and probably made Alex crazy with my indecisiveness (sorry, babe) all to decide that we are going to go back to the neighborhood in Ewa that we fell in love with when we first moved here.

sunrise ewa beach sunset ewa beach

^ can’t be mad at views like that!

I hate moving. All the packing and junk-sorting and unpacking is the worst but, I am excited to get into our new space and try to make it a home before little boy Byrd makes his appearance!

P.S. we are going to have an extra bedroom so book your tickets now!

 

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DIY Summertime Placemat

This week flew by, didn’t it? I thought time was supposed to move slower on vacation. Rude.

Anyways, our time in Michigan is wrapping up so if you need me I’ll be fishing, picking strawberries, riding 4-wheelers, listening to grandpa’s stories and smelling the basement (yes, smelling the basement – my cousins can vouch for me, it is one of the best smells ever). 

While I’m busy doing Michigan things, take a peek at my tutorial for a summertime placemat over on Simply Liv. 

summertime-placemat

Up next for the Byrds, California! 

 

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Mom’s Best Friend

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #NaturallyClean #CollectiveBias

green-works

Keeping the house clean with a toddler running around brings a whole new meaning to the word “chore”. I could easily spend my entire day chasing Lyla around picking up after her, wiping up sticky handprints and putting things back in their place but that would leave me with no time for anything else. Instead, I try to do a quick tidy up during her naps and right before bed. 

lyla-dirty

^ typical look for Lyla

Of course, a tidy house isn’t really a clean house and I try to keep up with the deep cleaning as much as I can. When Lyla became mobile, I avoided things like mopping the floors and deep cleaning baseboards for as long as I could because I was paranoid about what was going into her mouth. Sure, if I didn’t clean she would be exposed to more dirt and things but I figured that between a little dirt and harsh chemicals, the dirt would be the least harmful. [sounds kind of silly now that I’ve typed that out – I swear I’m a good mom]

Silly or not I’m thankful that I don’t have to make those choices anymore because I was introduced to Green Works by Clorox – a line of cleaning products that get the job done using natural ingredients that clean powerfully and don’t leave behind any strong smells or residue.

In other words, it’s every mom’s best friend. 
green-works-shopping

Another reason it’s every mom’s best friend? It’s only sold at Target (and this week there is a 3 for $8 deal) No need to add another stop to your errand running, adding another round of unloading and loading the kids again. (woohoo!) Last time I was at Target I picked up four of the Green Works products – the All Purpose Cleaner, Cleaning Wipes, Dishwashing Liquid and Laundry Detergent. 

I didn’t even make it home before I broke into the cleaning wipes. When I was getting everything put into the trunk, Lyla spilt a little bit of her milk so I used one of the wipes to clean it up. No more mess, no residue and no strong chemical order in the small interior of the car. I’m telling you – mom’s best friend. 

lyla-laundry

I’m also really happy with the laundry detergent. Sometimes Lyla’s skin is a little sensitive to our ‘normal’ detergent leaving her with a light rash on her tummy and back but since switching to the Green Works detergent, making that our new ‘normal’, we haven’t had any trouble with that. Again, mom’s best friend. 

GREEN-WORKS-PRODUCTS

I think it’s great that the people at Clorox realized that there are a lot of mamas out there that are looking for ways to live a more natural lifestyle and responded with these products that are safe, affordable and effective. Thanks for introducing my to my new best friend 😉

What are your secrets to keeping the house clean? I would love to hear about them below!

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tissue paper heart wreath tutorial

I don’t know about you, but I can’t believe it’s already Wednesday. Where is the time going?! My sweet mama-in-law was here from California over the weekend so we have been busy galavanting around the island and sharing the Lyla snuggles.

I’ll post more about her trip later, but today I want to send you over to Dream Crafter where my tutorial for a tissue paper heart wreath is being featured.

Valentines Day wreath DIY

In case you missed the announcement on Facebook or Instagram last week, I have been selected to work with Ali and three other awesomely-talented ladies this year as part of the Dream Crafter Creative Team. I am so pumped. 

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