Liv’s ‘Sparkly Star Party’ 4th Birthday Inspiration

We packed up Christmas a little early this year (I have a teensy fear that labor will get in the way and we’ll end up having our tree proudly lit through President’s Day), and it was a little sobering to say goodbye to such a warm and joyful holiday season.

But… there is a little known perk to having a January baby and that is that planning something amazing for a special little someone gets you right back into the spirit! We have an awesome sparkly party up our sleeves for Liv’s 4th birthday and the giddiness has set right back in.

Liv’s requests were broad this year. We started with: sparkles, snow, mermaids and even a consideration for her little boy friends (that far out number her girl friends right now) with Bob the Builder. After gentle persuasion and much consideration at the craft store, we narrowed our sites a bit and settled on a sparkly star party with bits of Frozen elements, like serving hot chocolate and building marshmallow snowmen. Our color theme was going to be a lot less Frozen-ish (ahhh commercialism, you kill me) with more pink, gold, silver and white.

Liv's Sparkly Star 4th Birthday Party Inspiration | PepperDesignBlog.com

I love an inspiration board because it helps to capture the magic and feel of what we’re aiming for – not so much to work as a checklist of what must get done. Full Pinterest board right here. Plenty of glitter and sparkle is making me so excited for this birthday, and as usual I’m pulling it together days before the party. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone but it’s all part of the fun :).

Inspiration sources:
Bronze, pink , silver & gold glitter stars
Star drink stirrers
Star appetizer ornaments
Star shaped kid’s sandwiches
Glitter drink bottles
Star marshmallow wands
Chocolate dipped spoons
Glitter gold hot chocolate bar accessories
Star cake topper

Glittered gold, pink and bronze craft paper – check. Birthday cake waiting in freezer – check (Livy and I baked it together on Sunday). Food, favors, drinks and other decor to be determined…

Looking forward to sharing the after photos with you!

PS Liv’s circus/carnival 1st birthday, flowery pink 2nd birthday and camping/outdoor movie night 3rd birthday.

A Snowy Day Trip to the Mountain Town of Idyllwild

Family Snow Trip to Idyllwild | PepperDesignBlog.com

What does one do when it snows in the mountains near San Diego? A family trip, of course!

Our 60 degree weather broke routine just around New Year’s when a big (for us) storm blew down from the north. It powdered our local mountains and everyone from the greater county drove out to see it on the 1st.

Family Snow Trip to Idyllwild | PepperDesignBlog.com

We had to join in on the fun. Liv has been dying to visit the snow (she was sure that she would wake up to a ‘white Christmas’ even though we assured her we wouldn’t have snow on our lawn on Christmas morning).

We opted for a slightly longer journey to the small mountain town of Idyllwild (we could have hit snow just about 40 miles east of San Diego but the roads were at a crawl! Everyone really was anxious to play in the white powdery stuff). Instead of local snow, we packed up the girls and headed north about 2 hours for an afternoon of sledding – on a boogie board, we’re from San Diego after all :-) – and a cozy Italian dinner in the mountains.

Family Snow Trip to Idyllwild | PepperDesignBlog.com

Ahh the girls are getting to be so sweet with each other. Check out this moment that I stole on film:

Family Snow Trip to Idyllwild | PepperDesignBlog.com

Taylor’s snow boots were about three sizes too big (and check out that bum, would you?) so Livy helped her traverse the landscape. T wasn’t quite sure what to think of the snow covering the ground. it was cold, wet and she didn’t want to wear a jacket or hat :).

As for the rest of our journey, not a cloud in the sky to be spotted. Who knows when snow will fall again here in sunny Southern California?

Family Snow Trip to Idyllwild | PepperDesignBlog.com

PS more Everyday Stuff and Weekend Fun posts, where family lives on this site :). Hope the snow is treating you right wherever you are.

2014, a Year in Review: Part 2

Happy, beautiful Monday! Looking back on these Year in Review posts has been energizing. Even though it didn’t always feel that way, we did accomplish a good chunk in 2014 and I’m really excited about that.

Last week I shared a roundup of some of my favorite home, food, motherhood and working mom posts from 2014. Today, I thought I’d pull together my favorite projects, style boards, tech tips, travel destinations and family moments. I may be feeling extra sentimental at 38 and a half weeks pregnant, but putting these posts together has been like a 2014 flip book of what we’ve been up to. It’s been awesome to look back on.

Homemade A-Frame Tents | PepperDesignBlog.com

In the project world, we started our year off celebrating Liv’s 3rd birthday with a camping-style outdoor movie night and built simple a-frame tents (I know that these have been all over the internet but thanks to a little fabric spray glue and dowels, these guys were about $10 each and took 10 minutes of assembly). Loved T’s first birthday equally in June, it was full of citrusy colors and a few fun projects that included these painted bamboo forks.

The arrival of spring in March meant that Easter was just around the corner. We celebrated with a spring party, giant tissue paper flowers and egg decoupage kits.

Tutorial: Giant Tissue Paper Flowers | PepperDesignBlog.com

Welcome, Spring Egg Decoupage Kits | PepperDesignBlog.com

The rest of the year was full of diy projects, too. Other favorites: gold rimmed marble & slate tile $8 cheeseboards, Valentine’s Day cereal necklacesa teacup hat rack, diy wooden circular wall hooks the climb up the wall for extra storage.

DIY Marble & Gold Cheese Plate | Emily Henderson & Pepper Design Blog

DIY Wall Hooks | PepperDesignBlog.com

…continued… gilding everything gold for the fall, marbling mini pumpkins with nail polish, milk art with watercolor paper leaves, wood block (bed post!) candle holders and Liv’s flower girl Halloween costume to name just a couple ;).

A New Tea Cup Hat Rack | PepperDesignBlog.com

Plaid Thanksgiving Table | Wooden Bedpost Candlesticks, Glitter Gold Pumpkins, Brown, Black, Tan Plaid Tablescape | PepperDesignBlog.com

Kid's Thanksgiving Project Idea: Fall Leaves Milk Art & Place Cards | PepperDesignBlog.com

I can’t forget about my 2014 obsession with all things houseplants (including cool potting ideas, tips for caring for a fiddle leaf fig, growing succulents from clippings part 1 & part 2, and our summer and winter garden boxes).

Houseplants | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Garden Box Harvest | PepperDesignBlog.com

Something about attempting to master that green thumb that is truly rewarding.

One of my last project ideas of the year was a nesting set of wooden dollhouses for the girls. Possibly a favorite Christmas present to date.

Handmade Wooden Dollhouse | PepperDesignBlog.com

I didn’t post as many style boards as I have in the past, but my favorites were probably a fall series that highlighted cooler weather gear (part 1part 2, part 3). Also perhaps thoughts on necklines, oversized cardigans, simple jewelry and giant baubles.

Wardrobe Style Board: Fall Finds | Transitioning Seasons | Plaid, Leather, Sweaters & Boots | PepperDesignBlog.com

Other style board posts shared include my favorite kid’s brands and these (still awesome) sandals. It’s taken me years to find them, but I have two go-to sunglasses now and they’re especially awesome for small faces.

Maternity-wise, I put together posts on non maternity dresses (part 1 and part 2) and shared on a beach coverup that I adored.

I tried out a couple of online consignment shops for buying and selling from the home (my three comparisons) and gave Stitch Fix a whirl (a virtual stylist of sorts) until the pregnant belly couldn’t manage.

Favorite Kid's Clothing Stores + Cyber Monday Deals | PepperDesignBlog.com

On the blogging tech tips front, favorites include an introduction of Canva (great graphics tool for those that don’t have Illustrator or Photoshop), Codeable (WordPress coding help by the project), WP plugins to consider adding to your blog, ideas for managing a crazy inbox and a flexible editorial calendar.

Blogging Editorial Calendar | PepperDesignBlog.com

The blog went through a big site redesign this fall (still love that old look, but really digging the new one!!) that took a good chunk of 2014. I’ve shared part 1 on hosting and have plans to walk through the rest of a major site overhaul soon.

yearinreview_2013_redesign

Travel-wise, we logged fewer miles (many of them closer to home) which was just fine for this little fam. I shared our experiences exploring Catalina Island, Wilder Ranch in Santa Cruz (my hometown), river & desert retreats, our big Maui trip, and snippets of other adventures (like Sedona, Arizona) in Everyday Stuff posts.

Sedona:

Awkward Family Photo | PepperDesignBlog.com

Senator’s Wash on the Colorado River:

Weekend Fun: Desert Life | PepperDesignBlog.com

An anniversary getaway to Catalina Island:

A Guide to Catalina Island | PepperDesignBlog.com

A Guide to Catalina Island | PepperDesignBlog.com

Hiking Wilder Ranch:

Weekend Fun | Father's Day at Wilder Ranch | PepperDesignBlog.com

Weekend Fun | Father's Day at Wilder Ranch | PepperDesignBlog.com

Focusing on the family has always been a HUGE priority of this blog. I’ve always thought of this site as an opportunity to collect happy moments and this past year I tried to do that as casually (and non stressfully) as possible through Everyday Stuff posts.

Home Tour: Outdoor Sandbox Space | PepperDesignBlog.com

Everyday Stuff | March-April 2014 | PepperDesignBlog.com

Family Hikes | PepperDesignBlog.com

Family news: Taylor walking for the first time – the best!

Taylor Learns to Walk | PepperDesignBlog.com

And possibly our biggest 2014 project ;), a baby on the way:

Baby #3! | PepperDesignBlog.com

Now due in a little more than a week!!

Thank you for sharing the 2014 journey.

PS Start from the top of A Year in Review for 2014 with part 1 to catch all of my post favorites.

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