Halloween Moana-Style


I wanted to do a blog post for this because my super talented mom HAND-MADE most of our costumes for Halloween this year and it’s just too good not to share the details.  Grady has been pretty obsessed with the movie Moana the past several months so we decided early on that we would do a family theme based on the movie.  So, we thought it was fitting for John and I to be Moana’s mom and dad, Evelyn to be Baby Moana, and Grady to be Maui.  Of course, it’s impossible to find a Maui costume anywhere since Disney discontinued it…and the mom and dad are semi-obscure characters, so we pretty much had to compile the costumes from scratch!  I wanted to do some side-by-sides for fun…so here goes!


Maui – My little man made the cutest Maui, if I do say so myself!  That tattoo shirt is hand-drawn with permanent marker free-hand by my mother…yes, you read that correctly!  Do yourself a favor and zoom in.  They are ridiculously accurate and it’s super cool to look at each ‘story’ on his sleeve.  I purchased a tan leotard online and she drew everything with a thin black permanent marker.  Then, we made the skirt by using rattan string and a collection of silk leaves from Hobby Lobby.  We added additional string and shells to the front to mimic Maui’s and give depth.  I also, glued a bunch of leaves to a pair of green gym shorts of Grady’s as an underneath/back-up option.  I’m super glad I did that because as cute as the skirt is, it just wasn’t super realistic to withstand the wear and tear of a toddler for hours and hours.  Lastly, my mom hand-sculpted the teeth and necklace pieces to create an over-sized version fit for a toddler. I LOVE the way it turned out…too darn cute!


Baby Moana – I don’t think there is anything cuter than a bald baby Moana, hahaha. I actually bought her outfit on Etsy here. Then we made the shell necklace small enough for her to replicate the one from the movie. And lastly, I bought a realistic Plumeria on Etsy and then bought some nylon headbands.  My mom sewed the plumeria onto the headband so it would stay in place.  This was a perfect costume for little Evie because it was simple and comfortable.


Sina and Tui – It just made sense to be Moana’s mom and dad since Evelyn was dressing as her.  This was truly challenging though since all of it had to be created from the ground up.  My mom set out on the challenge to find the right fabric, sew it all together, and layer the pieces to look EXACTLY like the real thing.  She hand-drew the tattoos for John’s tight shirt as well. His necklace is also hand-sculpted from clay.  And then, of course, we had to include Tui’s ceremonial Chief’s headwear for John…..all of which my mom also painted, sewed and glued from scratch (some pretty ingenious stuff she did to get it all to work and fit appropriately!!). My headpiece was purchased on Etsy and added the perfect final touch.


Accessories – Lastly,  we incorporated some of our favorite accessories to complete the look.  I purchased a Hei-Hei doll and a light-up Maui Hook from Target.  Then I made these Kakamora Treat Buckets by spray-painting pumpkins.  My husband painted the faces on and I think they came out so cute!

To say we had fun as the Moana family is an understatement.  The best part is that it’s something Grady has been watching for months in our house, so it was fun to make that come to life for him.  The things we do for our kiddos (and grand-kiddos in my mom’s case :))!

Here are some other favorite pics from the night we spent at Magic Kingdom in our costumes:


Grady’s 2nd Birthday Farmstead Party


We had so much fun celebrating our tenacious two year old last week at his birthday party!  It took us quite some time to finally decide whether to throw him a party this year since large crowds with attention focused on him are not some of his favorite things (to say the least).  But after much thought, we decided to take the plunge and to make the day as comfortable for him as possible. As I’ve said here before, I truly believe that taking the time to celebrate life’s little (and big) moments is essential to living a fulfilled life.  So, I couldn’t let this day go by without a proper party capturing all of Grady’s most-loved things at this moment in his life.

The idea of having a petting zoo here at our house is actually what originally sold us on a 2nd birthday party for G.  We knew that if we had that, there was  NO WAY he could possibly be uncomfortable during the celebration.  He is literally obsessed with animals and we frequent just about any petting zoo we can.  Once we had that booked, the theme just fell into place as a Classic Farm Party.  At this age, farm animals are some of his favorite things to play with and it was so fun pulling all the pieces together.

I knew I wanted the theme to be classic and simple….not too cheesy and cartoony.  So I went with red and white as the main colors at the party itself.  I designed this amazing backdrop and my parents literally built it from the ground up and made my vision come to life.  I looooooooove the way it turned out!  I took some inspiration from this blog post  (she’s so brilliant) and adjusted quite a bit to fit more closely with a little boys’ birthday theme.

I found the invite on Minted and loved it because it was whimsical enough for a 2 year old party, but it was still fairly simple and clean to match the rest of the party details.  I decided to carry the image from the invite on throughout….my mom recreated the image onto the chalkboard and the painted face backdrop too! She is ridiculously talented and I am still in awe of how those turned out.

And since Grady’s birthday is at the end of October, I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of pumpkin-patch theme into this farm party.  So, we created this super fun, simple and classic pumpkin patch photo set-up so that all of the families attending could get some photos together (without the crowds of people and hassle!!).  Lucky for me, my sister works at a local farm here who sources pumpkins, so I was able to get a batch of about 45 pumpkins to create the area.  We used old fencing, burlap, and dried corn stalks to create the backdrop for depth. Then we added my parent’s old whiskey barrel and baskets to create a vintage feel…and of course a little pop of red thanks to my mom and some handkerchiefs she tied together for a banner. I love the way it turned out and I think it offered a great place for family photos!

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a toddler’s birthday party with out an activity area.  As part of Grady’s birthday present, I built the red barn dollhouse for him.  My mom was actually able to recreate the “Grady’s Farmstead” lettering we used on the backdrop for his barn…I love that he will have this barn for years to come as a token of his birthday celebration.  My parents gave him lots of tractors and animals to go along with the barn, so we placed those out on some hay for the kids to play with.  Then, we added lots of coloring books, farm animal stamps, and custom coloring sheets to a tabletop.  We had the Radio Flyer Horsie already so decided to add that to the area as well! And my wonderful friend let us borrow her son’s ride-on John Deer tractor for the kids to play with too. Between the activity area and the animals, I think it’s safe to say, the kiddos had a blast!

Of course, what makes days like these so special are all of the people who came to show their love and support for Grady and our family.  We are eternally grateful for all that our families did to make this day happen and to our friends who took time out of their Sunday afternoons to spend it with us.  My husband worked his tail off to get our outdoor yard ready for the event…and it was absolutely the most beautiful backdrop for the day.  Every ounce of blood, sweat and energy was worth it to see our beautiful son smile with happiness.  And in my mom’s words…THAT is why we all do what we do.


Menu: Crudités, Corn Husk Popcorn Treats, Pigs in a Blanket, Chicken Tenders, Chick Deviled Eggs, Peanut Butter Birthday Cake (homemade by my mom!), Chocolate Cow Patties & White Chocolate Haystacks (also made by my mom), Assorted Pies, Cow Tails, Sheep Cupcakes, & Farm Animal Sugar Cookies.

Kids Favors: Egg Crates as the container, Sidewalk Chalk, Washable Paints, Clay, Wooden Egg filled with Chocolates, Animal Stickers, Crayons, and bubbles (all of Grady’s favorites!).  Tip: don’t buy the party favor packages.  They are overpriced and you usually get smaller amounts in the containers. It is much more economical (with better quality) to buy in the normal art or toy section and divvy up the portions accordingly.

General Favors: Small Mason jars with plastic animals glued to tops and spray-painted white. Filled with red-foiled dark Dove chocolates

Evelyn’s Nursery

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For me, there is not much more I enjoy than putting a nursery together for my little one as I anticipate their arrival.  It helps me to connect with them by creating a little oasis where I know they will create amazing memories. Evelyn’s nursery is something I have been dreaming about for some time, but it also posed a huge challenge for me since we were in the middle of moving and relocating during most of my pregnancy.  As soon as I found out we were having a girl, I started piecing together some of my favorite things.  I wanted a room that is soft and feminine and slightly sophisticated….but most of all, somewhere that she can dream and be inspired to imagine. Considering everything was sort of piece-mealed together over a few months of living out of boxes, it actually all came together better than I could have imagined.

There are so many personal and meaningful touches in her room, and I can’t wait for her to discover them as she grows.  The antique light fixtures were repurposed and custom-made by my parents–they were actually used at my baby shower for Grady originally as custom pieces there as well.  My husband and father-in-law personally built out the wainscoting in her room, which adds the perfect amount of white to go with her girly pink walls. The antique shadow-box shelf was built by my mom and my sister handmade the beautiful dream catcher that hangs on her bookshelf….I mean, how lucky can this little girl get?!  Then of course, there’s the Icelandic sheepskin I bought for my ‘future little girl’ during my trip to Iceland before I even conceived her.  So many things that all came together perfectly to envelope her with pure love.

Since the space is fairly small, it was a bit challenging to accomplish everything I wanted, but I think it has just what she needs during the first few years of her life.   I wanted to incorporate lots of beautiful texture along with several shades of pink/rose and cream/gold. I set up a cozy little sitting area where I hope she will read and learn, daydream and imagine, and simply discover what it is to be a little girl.  I love how soft it feels in there….and I have a feeling it will perfectly match her personality.  I can’t wait to find out and discover who she is within her own little sanctuary!



Changing Cabinet (RH Baby Brigitte Wide Cabinet)  – sold out similar here


Side Table

Pink Stool


Reading Nook Floor Pillow

Wall Tapestry

Wooden Name (we sewed/glued the name to the wall tapestry and hid the strings to create the final look I wanted)


Crystal Table Lamp


Llama Bookends

Dolls and Bunny

Gold cups/vases

Heart-shaped clock

Bow Hooks

Baby Photo Frame (received as a gift)

Bow Holder

Flamingo Plush

Large Cat Plush

Assorted Pillows from Home Goods and Target

Books from Amazon!  (girl/pink books are hard to find! These titles are some that I scoured the internet for)

Gold Baskets from Target



A Pretty Little Sprinkle


Yay! I am so excited to have the pics back from the Baby Sprinkle my mom and sister hosted for us.  We are so thrilled to have these beautiful images to capture the day we spent celebrating our little girl.  It was really important to all of us to have a family-friendly affair with girly flair….and I’d say we accomplished just that!  Grady did not enjoy the event as much as we would have hoped and was extremely anxious the entire time, so that made it difficult for John and I to thoroughly relax with our family and friends….but we made the most of it and had a fabulous time!

My mom of course took it to the next level (as she does), but my sister and I were sure to help with the details along the way ( you guys know I can’t keep my fingers out of these sorts of things hahaha).  We went with simplistic — feminine pinks, touches of gold, natural greenery, and lots of bright lighting thanks to the beautiful venue.  Some of my favorite things that helped make the day extra special included a Balloon artist for the kids (and adults!); an activity area set up for the kids to keep them entertained (equipped with mess-free Crayola markers, jumbo faux wood blocks, a teepee, and a magnetic board with the alphabet); beautiful pink and gold dresses lining the fabric-tufted walls of the venue (so excited for these beauties to be added to her closet thanks to my mom and dad); hand-sewn gold strands of hearts as the back-drop to the dessert table (all hand-made by my amazing mom!); and gold and pink heart balloons lining the perimeter. Every single detail came together so beautifully and we feel so blessed to continually be showered with such love from family and friends.

After such a gorgeous day, we are reminded of the perfect blessing we have in this baby girl. We cannot wait to meet her and to share her beauty with the rest of you.


Venue:  The Addison 

Photography: Thompson Photography Group

Balloon Artist: Balloon Masterz 

Cotton Candy Favors: Cotton Candy Confectionery

Eucalyptus Garland: Fifty Flowers 


Our Last Few Weeks of a Family of 3

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With Evelyn’s due date right around the corner (July 6th), we are counting the limited days we have left as a family three. It’s definitely bittersweet…I’m sure it’s going to be hard to see Grady go from my baby to the big boy of the family.  But we are also so excited to meet this little angel and watch him fully embrace his new role as a big brother.

As I look back over these past 9 months and all of the heavy decisions we made along the way, I can honestly say that I am so happy with where we are.  The decision to stay at home with Grady was never an easy one, but it is the best decision of my life.  I have learned so much about myself, motherhood, and happiness over these past few months. And while we have faced plenty of challenges along the way with selling the house and preparing our new home, we have also seized our opportunity to fully relish our time together.  Grady and I have developed a bond even stronger than I ever thought possible…and there is absolutely nothing in this world that can replace that.  He continues to push me and to teach me on a daily basis, and I only expect for him to challenge me further as the days progress.  Obviously, I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I often get asked about the status of starting my business.  And honestly, I just have not had the time to concentrate on that at this point.  While it is still very much a goal of mine, it is not my primary focus at the moment and will likely take a back seat until after we settle into our new home with our newest addition and I have the chance to evaluate any true opportunities.  The interesting thing is that I don’t feel a huge urge to dive right into something….I am perfectly fulfilled staying at home with my babies. If you had told me that 5 years ago, I would have said you are crazy.  But this journey has taught me to expect the unexpected and to truly appreciate the quiet and fleeting moments in life.

I have been working on some fun projects in our new home like the new Playroom and Evelyn’s nursery, so I will share that here soon!  But I wanted to just give a quick update on what has been keeping us so busy these past few months.  We are finally settled and counting down the days to being a Family of Four!

It has been a long few months and we are so thankful to our family for all of their support and of course our friends who have helped to keep us sane along the way!


Grady and the Growing Bump

526A5324526A5307526A5188526A5202526A5209526A5260526A5266526A5272526A5285526A5287526A5291526A5296526A5316As baby girl continues to grow more and more every day, John and I are trying to relish every remaining moment with Grady as an only child.  Grady is definitely in a challenging stage as he develops his opinion and learns to assert his power, but it also so much fun at the same time.  We laugh at his budding personality on a daily basis….and we are super excited (and nervous at the same time) for him to become a big brother.

As we continue to try to sell our house, prep for baby #2, and settle into a new home, we are busy beyond belief…but I trust it will all come together before our sweet girls’ arrival.

We took some time the other evening to capture Grady with my growing bump and to take photos of our family so that we remember this stage of our journey. G is keeping us on our toes; he is constantly chasing birds and playing ball, always picking me flowers anywhere we go, and invariably refusing to settle for anything less than what he makes his mind up for.  Our hearts are simply happy and growing every day with our love for both of them.

Baby T #2’s Gender Reveal


We had the most magical day this weekend while discovering the gender of our next little babe.  To be honest, John and I would have been thrilled with either a boy or girl (especially since I am a big proponent of Team Boy these days thanks to G)…but when the confetti popped pink, it was just an insanely emotional moment to know we have been blessed with one of each. I have always dreamed to have a little girl of my own, so this is truly a dream come true for me.

We originally planned to do a super simple photo with just Grady, John,and myself to share with family and friends.  But after John and I started pulling everything together, we wanted our parents to be there with all of our closest ‘friends’ (really, they are more like family) for our special moment.  We threw it out there to everyone as a totally optional and small gathering….and in true fashion, they all showed perfect support and EVERYONE wanted to come!  So of course, we couldn’t NOT do something special to celebrate the occasion.

Since we did Grady’s gender reveal in the Oak trees outside, we thought it would be fun to do something different and do this one on the beach overlooking the ocean.  We ended up at a pavilion at Phipps Ocean Park and it was a perfect venue for our intimate affair.  It was a bit too windy to do the confetti box overlooking the ocean, but there was a beautiful shaded tree that worked perfectly just a few yards away that we were able to use.

Of course my mom was my savior and helped to take the event to the next level. She handmade the garland, centerpieces, cute Beach sign, and onesie cake (as well as the reveal box). I created some signage and banners and pulled together some fun pink and blue items for the table…and I think it came together perfectly!  We literally pulled it all together in just over a week after deciding to make it more of an occasion rather than just a gathering, and I honestly could not be happier with the way it turned out.  It was truly special:   A beautiful, breezy south Florida winter day with our loved ones.Life is genuinely beautiful when you take the time to celebrate the little moments.

I am so excited to start fully planning the arrival of our little girl! She is already so loved by so many and I cannot wait to share the beauty of the world with her.