Pink and Gold Graduation Party Ideas

YOU ARE SIMPLY THEWe thought it would be more difficult to use the colors pink and metallic gold for our daughter’s grad party in 2013. It wasn’t challenging. It was actually quite fun!

First, we decided to host the party in our garage. We cleaned and hung dollar store plastic table cloths to spruce up the interior. Everybody helped!

A(9) helping to hang the plastic tablecloths in our two stall garage.

A(9) helping to hang the plastic tablecloths in our two stall garage.

I rented several tables and chairs to seat the 100+ guests we expected to stop by. On the right, we set up the inflatable ice table to keep the food cold and also the drinks. In addition to the paper decorations, we hung string lights in the rafters of the garage and they looked beautiful after dark.

The view into our garage grad party.

The view into our garage grad party.

One of the guest tables that was in the garage.

One of the guest tables that was in the garage.

In the back, we placed the spectacular dessert buffet. We only ordered (two of) the square ombre-iced cake on the white stand. The rest of the goodies were homemade and hand-dipped.

Frosted animal cookie truffle balls dipped in chocolate.

Frosted animal cookie truffle balls dipped in chocolate.

Pink Lemonade Pound Cake with Edible Metallic Gold and Various Pink Sprinkles

Pink Lemonade Pound Cake with Edible Metallic Gold Sprinkles and Various Pink Sprinkles

I used a recipe that enhanced the cake mix with instant pudding mix and included real lemon zest and juice.

Our awesome pink and gold dessert buffet.

Our awesome pink and gold dessert buffet.

We hand-dipped the pretzels, marshmallows, pringles, animal cookie truffles, and rice krispie treats. I baked the pink lemonade cupcakes, and added a variety of pink candies.

The pink and gold dessert buffet from the other end.

The pink and gold dessert buffet from the other end.

We spray painted oodles of vases and ball canning jars metallic gold and used pink silk flowers we found on clearance to fill them. We picked up the pink and gold table covers and hanging decorations a little at a time starting in February.

Memory/Photo Table

Memory/Photo Table

Her Aunt Jenn and Uncle Scott made the arrangements for her t-shirt quilt. The grad actually chose the shirts that were included.

Uncle Scott (wearing the suggested pink) giving the Grad her t-shirt quilt.

Uncle Scott (wearing the suggested pink) giving the Grad her t-shirt quilt.

One of her favorite gifts: A t-shirt quilt from her Aunt Jenn.

One of her favorite gifts: A t-shirt quilt from her Aunt Jenn.

Our party lasted from 3:00-9:30. The glow stick glasses were a huge hit. Not pictured: A firepit and s’mores and some sparklers.

An early evening shot of friends in the glow-stick glasses.

An early evening shot of friends in the glow-stick glasses.

The teens and guests did enjoy the photo booth accessories and backdrop. They were encouraged to use their own cell phone cameras and text the pictures to me.

Photobooth Fun

Photobooth Fun

Photobooth Fun

Photobooth Fun

Photobooth Fun

Photobooth Fun

This year, our second daughter graduates from high school. She’s chosen royal blue and silver as her party colors. I’ve started a Pinterest board here, if you’d like to see some ideas I’ve gathered. We think that it’s too funny that neither chose their high school colors! If you’re on Pinterest, I’d love to have you follow me!

If you have more ideas that you’d like to share, please add them in the comments. What was your favorite from our party pictures? Do you have grad parties like this in your part of the world?

Take care of yourself and each other,


No Housework For Me Today

tuesday10 4-7

My mid-century modern home. We use a long-handled squeegee to tackle those front windows.

There’s no way to avoid doing some kind of housework each day. We all eat and leave some kind of dirty something. We wear clothes that get smelly. Even my friends with no messy kids around are victim to housework practically every day. This week, though, on April 7th, is National No Housework Day. It is America’s national day of sitting on your couch watching TV and eating some kind of a salty or sweet snack. How is this different from the rest of the year? Well, we are all doing nothing together on the same day. So join me on Tuesday, while we binge watch Netflix and nap the afternoon away.

In honor of this very special holiday here are 10 chores I wish I never, ever had to do again.

1. Scrubbing bathrooms- Teen girls with long hair plus a 10-year-old boy equals ICK.

2. Cleaning windows- I can NEVER get it streak free. Plus, my house’s entire front wall is a giant window (pictured above). Thank you mid-century modern design (which I love with all my heart!).

3. Taking out the garbage- I like to set it by the door for the next person to take on their way out. It’s a much better use of time.

4. Cleaning out the mini-van- The floor of my van reminds me of the giant trash-compactor in Star Wars.

5. Washing the dirty laundry- It’s the carrying of the dirty laundry down to the washer and carrying the clean laundry back up that kills me.

6. Changing the sheets- I just find the whole stooping over, tucking, lifting, hospital-corner folding hard on my back.

7. Grocery shopping- I like the hunt and gather part, but really hate the putting away of items at home.

8. Unloading the dishwasher- A chore that can be done less skilled than I, such as an offspring

9. Dusting- I swish the imposters away, and hours later, it seems, they’re all back.

10. Scooping dog poop- It smells. Bad.

What housework would you wish away? Would you like to do any from my list?

I’m joining Lisa from The Golden Spoons and Rabia from The Liebers for their #TuesdayTen link-up. You should join us! It’s a hoot!tuesdayten

Take care of yourselves and each other,

April is Autism Acceptance Month


April is Autism Awareness Month, but I won’t wear blue. Instead, I’ll walk in red.

Autism Awareness is only the beginning. I believe that most of society is aware that autism exists and what it may entail for a person. If you don’t, please continue to educate yourself. I suggest you visit Thoughts of an Introverted Matriarch. She blogs about living life as an adult with autism and raising her three children who are also on the spectrum.

It’s time to move on. Move on to acceptance. Accept that not all autism looks or sounds the same. Accept that individuals on the spectrum are not valued less than others.

Humans with autism = humans not with autism. Society needs to accept it.

I follow online and converse with adult bloggers who are on the spectrum. I have learned that the organization Autism Speaks is not all it’s cracked up to be. In a nutshell: It has no adults with autism on its board of directors. It promotes “curing” individuals of their autism instead of accepting and providing the supports they need to live in our society as children and adults. They continue to convey that vaccines cause autism.

Autism Speaks basically took over Autism Awareness Day/Month with their Light It Up Blue campaign. It’s not their month. It’s our children’s month. It’s our friends’ month. Let us walk in red in acceptance of those on the spectrum; supporting them while they navigate our non-accepting world.

In our home we accept our kid with autism by:

Listening to his extremely, over-the-top-loud vocalizations that he uses to cope with anxiety: Sentences, lyrics, noises, usually while he’s watching TV or playing.

Making a different meal because he has a limited diet due to sensory issues of texture and taste.

Preparing him ahead of time due to his inability to cope with a change in the routine or plans.

Hosting his neighborhood friends for after school and summer play.

Maintaining his morning school routine year-round for back-to-school success.

Providing resources to meet his obsessions with “Wimpy Kid” books, Lego’s, Minecraft, and telling corny jokes.

Waiting patiently for cheek-smooches and side hugs, that I relish when they come.

Allowing him to sleep on our floor for the last year; afraid that we would vanish overnight.

Seeking the professional supports we need to improve his behavior, decrease his anxieties and increase his communication skills.

To learn more about #WalkInRed please visit: #WalkInRed2015 Facebook Event

Take care of yourself and each other,


10 Easy Elf on the Shelf Ideas


I’ve seen the Elf do amazing work. Does an Elf visit your house? What magic or trouble has he stirred up for your child?

Take care of yourself and each other!

Five Things Teachers Want Parents To Do Right Now


Five ThingsTeachers Want Parents To Do

In my previous life, I worked as a special education teacher. I was in public schools for about 11 years. I am currently raising two kids in our local school district (The third one graduated. Eek!). I’m still around the schools and talk with some old co-workers. I have witnessed trends happening out there that need to turn around. Consider these five things that teachers want parents to understand and implement.

Hold your child accountable for more than homework at home.  Household chores are lifelong skills. If your son’s only responsibility is homework, he can start to resent the teacher and develop an entitled attitude. Why should he do his homework when he doesn’t have to do any work at home? If he refuses to do his homework, or not to study, the natural consequences should be on him. Learned helplessness exists and is hurting your student. And no, Kindergarten is not too soon to start.

Put time into your kid and provide the individual help they need outside of school. A teacher has many students. She cannot dedicate large chunks of class time on basic remediation for each child at the expense of the others. You are the parent and the most important teacher he will ever have. This help can come from yourself, an aunt, a friend, or anyone you can recruit. His education is not 100% of the teacher’s responsibility. On the other hand, if he is easily getting straight A’s, he might not be challenged with the regular curriculum. You should talk with the teacher in this situation. However, these circumstances do NOT automatically deem your little guy gifted. Simply, he may be average or above average earning high grades. Even with average grades, average kids succeed in school and life. Don’t try to make your child out to be something they are not.

Send your child to school prepared. Schools have many cases where they are the only ones feeding, clothing, and caring for a child. Don’t let your child become part of the burden that the schools have taken on (in place of the parent). If your student lacks any of his basic needs, he misses valuable instruction. Of course, if these are things you do not have the resources to supply, and the school is in a position to help, that’s a different story.

If you find that Common Core is blowing your kid’s mind, take a breath. Then, practice the basic skills with him. Math facts, sight words, spelling lists, and other basics are all areas that kids slide backwards on during the summer/semester breaks. Also, it’s not his fault you don’t agree with this teaching method. Don’t punish him by refusing to help him. Don’t complain about it around him. The Common Core is here, till the next big thing. So support your student with as little negativity around him as possible.

Which leads me to…

Don’t bash your child’s teacher in the presence of your student. Yes, teachers make mistakes. They are all human, like you and me. Assignments could be unclear to both you and your kid. A test could have a weird question. A school dance form never came home. In the grand scheme of life, do you want to teach your child respect and understanding, or would you rather teach him to criticize and disrespect those in authority? Speak thoughtfully.

So there you have it. Any educators out there have any others to add? Parents, do these seem appropriate to you?

Take care of each other and yourself,





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Photo Credit: Here, CCL: Here,  Changes: Photo placed on green background with text above.

15 Things Your Nine Year Old Doesn’t Tell You After School (And the one thing he does!)

  1. What he ate for lunch.
  2. Who teaches him science.
  3. Who he sat with on the bus.
  4. Who he played with at recess.
  5. If he turned in last night’s homework.
  6. What he has for homework tonight.
  7. If he had his regular teacher or a substitute.
  8. How he got that new bruise on his leg.
  9. When his map project is due.
  10. Where he left his library book.
  11. How many minutes he lost off recess.
  12. The location of his glasses.
  13. Where his jacket could be from that morning.
  14. Where he left his band instrument.
  15. Why there’s a number 3 written in marker on his hand.

And the one thing he does:

1. The name of a specific server, which he wrote down in lunch and placed in his lunchbox so it wouldn’t get lost, to play Minecraft online with his friend from school while Face-timing, because he also wrote down the friend’s Apple ID.

I’m thinking that it’s not just in my house. Do you have any to add to the list?

Laugh on!




Depression Doesn’t Own Me

I write about my mental illness to fight the stigma. I write about bipolar disorder, anxiety and depression because these illnesses lie to us, telling us that we are alone in a depressed hell. I want to reach others so that they can hear the truth:

You are not alone.

depression mental health bipolar suicide prevention

My rain clouds, black dogs and gloom aren’t haunting me. It has taken me over 15 years to get here. Depression does not own me today.

I walk the mall, grocery shop, and go to movies. All things that I could not tolerate.

I shower, do my hair, make plans with friends. All things I had no desire to complete.

I maintain my housekeeping (in no way perfect), follow a different schedule every day (Mom’s taxi service), and heed a recipe for cooking dinner. All things that I could not accomplish independently.

I appreciate the smell of bacon, seeing pink skies at night, and reading a good book . I recognize my early signs of anxiety and help myself instead of panicking. I’m honest with myself, my family,  and my therapist.

I still have rough days occasionally. Everybody does, though. I cherish these better days and keep them as my reality. So when the depression lies again, I remember.

There is light. And air. And hope. There is always hope.

I am not alone.


I wrote this post in honor of World Suicide Prevention Day. If you or someone you know is at risk for suicide please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Logo

Take care of yourself and each other,

Did you know? #TuesdayTen


Tuesday, September 9th is National Wonderful Weirdos Day! In the spirit of Individualism, I’m listing ten lesser-known facts about me! (Psst…If the words are underlined, it’s a link. Go ahead and click and read more about it.)

1. I worked at a ranch resort in Colorado the summer I was 16. I was there on vacation with my family. A job opened up for a maid/waitress, and I applied for it. My parents left me there with all college kids. I loved it.

2. In 2004 DH and I visited Ireland with his rugby team. They played three matches against Irish teams and we toured all over the island. It was amazing. Yes, we toured Guinness and the Gravity Bar.

3. I cannot stand the sound of unnaturally running water. I love listening to rain, waterfalls or streams. But PLEASE for all that is holy, do not leave the kitchen faucet running while you walk around clearing off the table. Don’t turn on the shower and leave the bathroom to make your bed. It makes me stabby.

4. I have never been arrested, but I was patted down once in my younger days. I giggled the whole time because I am so very ticklish.

5. I was raised on a working farm. Every afternoon I collected the eggs, fed the chickens, and checked the rabbits. Our cows had babies throughout the year. In the fall, we sold  pumpkins.

6. I attended a rural high school whose mascot was The Golden Beaver. Anyone else? No?

7. I’ve been married twice. Both times to the same guy! DH and I were first married in 1994, divorced in 2000, and remarried on 2-29-04. Love him!

8. I love bread pudding. I could eat the whole dang pan every time. My mom’s recipe is custard-like and my recipe is more bread-y. Either way, I could eat it all. (This baked French toast casserole comes real close.)

9. I was one of 20 contestants in our county’s Junior Miss (now called Outstanding Young Woman) competition when I was 17. I didn’t win a thing, but it was a huge honor, and I enjoyed it tremendously.

10. I actually researched the cost-to-alcohol content for boxed wine. For the record, the best deal is Fish Eye Pinot Grigio. You get three liters for under $18.00 with 12.5% alcohol. And it’s yummy. You’re welcome.

Thank you to The Golden Spoons and The Liebers for hosting this link-up!


I’d love to hear what’s unique about you in the comments below. Come on, any other Golden Beavers out there???

Take care!

Top Ten Skills To Master #TuesdayTen


Happy September! My kids are back in school filling their brains with all sorts of knowledge. They’re not the only ones learning in our family. I’m setting some goals for myself, too. Lisa from The Golden Spoons is hosting her #TuesdayTen link up with the topic of ten things we’d like to learn. As a former teacher, I enjoy taking in new information. I believe that even learning one of these skills would be a personal gain.

Top Ten Skills To Master #TuesdayTen

1. Knit – I’d love to knit a chunky scarf. My daughter, B(19), just taught herself last fall. I think I know whom to learn from.

2. Yoga – Last November I went through lower back surgery #2. Using yoga, I hope to develop a stronger core. Also: RELAXATION.

3. Photography – My point and shoot digital camera has many features that I don’t use because I just don’t know how.

4. Basic Coding – This blog is hosted by WordPress and maintained by ME. I could use some coding skills for the minor changes like font size.

5. Housekeeping – I’d appreciate any resources from moms that have a weekly go-to list for certain chores on assigned days. I need this so we don’t have to spend half a Saturday every weekend cleaning the house all grumpy-like. It’s not a pretty picture.

6. Bake Cheesecake – I know I’ll need a spring-form pan thingy. Maybe I’ve been watching too much Golden Girls.

7. Social Media – I’m on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I just don’t get the when and how of using them to help my blog readership grow.

8. Budget – I’ve attempted this in the past. I suck with the follow through. The whole numbers thing gets foggy, and I get way too lenient.

9. Listen Carefully – I just get so excited about what others (first) say, it gets hard to follow the rest of what they’re saying.

10. Converse – I’d like to talk with teenage girls (ahem, daughters) so that every basic conversation we have does not turn into a screaming match an extremely loud discussion. SRSLY.

What are you setting out to learn this school year? If you have a list, come link up with Lisa and the gang at The Golden Spoons/#TuesdayTen. Or, I’d love to read about it in the comments below!

The Golden Spoons

Take care of yourself and each other,


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