We're in post-vacation mode over at casa shim after a two-week trip to California. We had such a wonderful time. And although I regret not taking as many photographs as I would have liked to, I wanted to post a recap so we would remember our trip.
// flew with the boys down to la // first time traveling with the boys without appah // the boys are great travelers [hello, six countries in one year!] // met my super sweet baby niece // she is the cutest thing ever // the boys fell in love with her // spent a nice day at the getty with bonnie + miss v + peggy // dinner with old college friends in ktown [why oh why can't portland have one decent korean restaurant?] // appah flew in from asia // watermelon frozen yogurt @ pinkberry // red velvet cupcakes from sprinkles // macarons from paulette // visited my parents // my father swam with all his grandchildren every night // i forgot how night swimming feels so magical // in + out //
// drove up to the bay area // stayed up way too late every night chatting with old friends // miss being around friends who have known us for a long time [way before we were married] // loved seeing the boys play with our friends' children // park play date with the lovely lisa s + sweet miss f // they have the best smiles // lunch at my friend's mother's burrito shop // i used to eat there every week when i was in graduate school // stocked up on fall clothes for the boys at h+m // balsamic strawberry + salted caramel ice cream at bi-rite creamery // walked along ocean beach // ate our favorite roasted crab + garlic noodles at thanh long // took j's photograph on his street // burgers at the counter // bbq at the park with good friends //
// yummy mexican food in central ca // back at my parents' home // legoland with my sister's family // better than i expected + the boys loved it // granny's apple fries @ legoland // lunch with christine + henry at umami burger // they are so cute + sweet // orange county with old friends // a shim + huffman family meet up // coolest family in oc // consumed the biggest bowl of strawberry shaved ice @ guppy house // quality time with my sister's family // kissed my baby niece a million times // flew back home to portland // missing our family + friends already //
I love simple + sweet food kits. They can be used as favors [like our caramel apple kits we gave away for j + Miss E's birthday party, hostess gifts or I-think-you-are-a-great-friend gift [the best kind of gift in my book!]. Food kits can also be quite affordable, easy to assemble and fall under the category of "I would definitely enjoy and use it if I received it but probably would not make one for myself". Last month I was inspired to make s'more kits and as I was brainstorming packaging ideas I came across some cute s'morekits that were given away as wedding favors.
I could have gone the homemade marshmallow + homemade graham cracker + gourmet chocolate [with a package of sea salt] route but I went the around-the-corner-market route. I repackaged the marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate into clear glassine bags and placed them into a glass jar from Ikea. I love using glass containers for packaging because they are attractive and reusable.
I printed out a "wishing you s'more summer fun" label on to sticker paper and placed it on the outside of the jar. I also included "directions" on how to make the s'mores. Have you tried baking them in the oven? I highly recommend this route if you are campfire-less or don't want to roast your marshmallows on the stove. The final touch was tying a bow of gingham bias tape around the lid of the jar. I've given a few away to friends and made some extra kits to store in our pantry [you can place the re-packaged chocolate in the fridge to make sure it doesn't melt].
We will be leaving soon for a family trip to California. I am excited to hold my new niece, spend time with family, see old friends, meet new ones and eat some good food! If you have any recommendations for restaurants/shops in LA or the SF bay area, please let me know. My plan is to squeeze in as much fun + food as possible! Wishing you all s'more summer fun!
Our sweet j turned five last month. Yes, FIVE!! [I keep telling my boys to stop growing up so quickly but they don't seem to be listening!] This year we celebrated j's birthday with Miss E, a classmate + family friend. Miss E's mother and I both share a love for planning birthday parties for our children so I knew we would have a lot of fun with this birthday party. The party venue was our local park which has a nice covered area and bbq grills. As I mentioned before we chose a red + white + blue color palette and opted not to have a specific theme for the party. Instead we focused on the concept of "Hello, Summer!" which gave us a lot of options when it came to designing the birthday party print material, decorations + favors.
I've been wanting to design party invitations with cute bunting ever since I saw Sharilyn's darling invitations for her daughter's 1st birthday party. Since I love texture I thought it would be fun to make the bunting out of washi tape. I printed out the text on to heavy white card stock and then cut and placed a bunch of washi tape triangles on to the card. The invitations were paired with my favorite polka dot envelopes which I picked up in Korea. The thank you cards are similar to the ones I've been designing for several years now. The simplicity of the cards make it really easy to get them in the mail shortly after the party [which is key in my book!].
My favorite thing about party planning is coming up with new + fun decorations. I try to keep things simple by using items and materials around the house or in my studio. For the centerpieces I filled mason jars with candy [red hots] and added several different handmade decorations. Using painted bamboo skewers as the base I glued paper flowers + flags, tied strips of fabric and made picture circles of the birthday kiddos [I love the picture Miss E's mother took of the j + Miss E while they were playing dress up].
After sharing with Miss E's mother about my failed attempt at making caramel apples for J's 7th birthday party favors, she decided to have a go at it. And although her caramel apples turned out better than mine we decided it was a bit time consuming making the 25+ favors needed for the party. So instead she made caramel apple kits for the party favors. She put the ingredients + instructions in a clear bag and tied it up with twine and custom label. I love edible favors + cute food kits so I was thrilled with how these favors turned out. And even after making more-than-you-can-imagine paper globes for J's school carnival, I made more for the birthday party. Paper globes are one of my all-time favorite decorations because 1) I usually have all the supplies on hand, 2) they come together quickly, 3) they are reusuable, and 4) they are versatile. You can hang them, string them or toss them onto to a table.
Miss E's mother sewed the birthday boy + girl sweet coordinating fabric birthday crowns [which j LOVES] and we each made them our traditional fabric applique birthday number shirts. Using fabric from my stash we sewed together yards and yards of bunting and reused some bunting from j's 3rd birthday party [see, using the same color palette over and over again comes in handy!]. Miss E's mother also made a cute birthday banner for the party.
We enjoyed yummy food prepared by Appah + Miss E's father [grilled chicken, ribs, fresh veggies + fruit, salsa + chips, freshly squeezed lemonade] and our traditional vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and rice krispy treats [for our non-cake loving friends]. This year we tried something different ordered a red velvet sheet cake from a local bakery [it was so good] which we decorated with red + blue M+M's. I made little cupcake toppers and a paper banner decoration to put on top of the birthday cake.
Needless to say the birthday party was a lot of fun and the birthday boy + girl had a great time. And I actually took some photographs at our homemade photobooth this time around. One of my favorite props was the blue frame [which is an old matte frame covered with blue paper] and a painted embroidery hoop.
I have to admit I was going through birthday party planning withdrawals after the party. But since I cannot wait another 9 months to throw the next birthday party I've decided to throw a few non-birthday parties for the boys + their friends. Stay tuned!
Summer is the perfect season for afternoon sweet treats. Our favorites? Popsicles, ice cream, gelato, sorbet, fresh fruit, frozen berries, homemade smoothies and freshly squeezed lemonade. What are your favorites?