DIY Ice Cream Party

I Scream, You Scream.  We all scream because birthday parties are so expensive!

Ahhh….that’s not the ending you’ve heard before? 😉

But seriously.  Birthday parties can be so expensive.

I was able to pull off an ice cream birthday party for my ten year old for very little money.

I started by making her birthday cake.  It has become the tradition that I make the birthday cakes for my family.  I used this tutorial to get an idea for how to make this ice cream cone cake.  I was a little rushed and I had a few helpers in the kitchen but it turned out just how she imagined.

We found ice cream cone bubbles in a three pack for $1 at Dollar Tree!  Score!  They were perfect party favors.

We found the birthday banner and the stickers for the party at Dirt Cheap!  What a great find!  I simply let her put the stickers on folded posterboard and wah-la, we had a sign!

I bought coordinating plates and napkins at Dollar Tree.  I NEVER buy party plates anywhere else.   I also found the cups for the ice cream toppings there.

The blue spoons were from our free ice-cream swirls that we got all summer long at our local Race-Trac!

I went into the yard and cut a few branches of magnolia,crepe myrtle and boxwood and stuck them into a farmhouse pitcher for a table decoration.

And there you have it……our ice cream party on the cheap!

What are your best tips for saving money and still pulling off an extra special, special day?


Gifts for Those Who Dislike More Stuff

Clutter.  Stuff.  Energy-sucking things.

This is how I could describe the things that can so easily creep into my life and home.  I know that there are different degrees of minimalism and I’m somewhere in there.

I like to have a few sentimental things and a few choice pieces in my home.  However, I need for my smooth surfaces to be clean before I can rest my mind.  I’d like to say that this means that my surfaces stay clutter free…it basically means that my mind doesn’t rest as much as I’d like.

I’d really like to be able to sit and read, or play, or anything in the middle of a mess.  But I can’t.

I spent years making myself feel guilty because I couldn’t turn a blind eye to the dishes in the sink and the laundry to be folded in order to do something more fun.  I’ve now decided that I need to be efficient in getting those things done so that I can then move on to the “more important” things.

I detest clutter.  I look at possessions and think how much of my life they will require me to give up.

I’m sure that makes me pretty hard to shop for.  I’m a little embarrassed to say that there are very few gifts that I appreciate.  I don’t mean that as harshly as it sounds. I appreciate the thought but most THINGS  just don’t impress me.

Before you think that I’m being unkind, let me throw out a few things that would be great gifts for someone who doesn’t like stuff.  I’ll stress that this is my own personal opinion. If you want to buy me a gift, then check the list.  That would be super cool. 😉  Otherwise, chances are there might be someone in your life who might have a similar personality and interests and might simply dislike things.

Here are some ideas that I think would make great gifts for those who don’t want more things:

Consumables such as:

  • pretty napkins or paper products
  • nice soaps
  • a candle
  • homemade cleaning supplies
  • essential oils
  • a bird feeder and seeds

Items that might need to be replaced:

  • a nice pillowcase
  • pretty dishtowel

Food items:

  • homemade jams/jellies
  • raw honey
  • fruit baskets
  • baked bread
  • herb garden
  • specialty coffee or tea

Thoughtful Personal gifts:

  • a cutting from your garden in a pretty pot
  • an online subscription
  • a gift card for an outing
  • a night of babysitting
  • a certificate for a pedicure

While many of these things may be specific to me, I think that most people who dislike more “stuff” would find one or two things that they could appreciate.


What about you?  What would you add?  What is your view on stuff?

My Obsession with Houses

I have a confession to make.

My name is Monica and I’m obsessed with houses.  There.  I said it.

I’m not sure exactly when this started but houses just make me happy.  It could possibly have roots in the Tuesday night trips to Pizza Hut from my childhood.  While there was nothing special about Pizza Hut (although in that day the Tuesday night “smorgasbord” was my daddy’s favorite), it was those drives around through neighborhoods after we ate that I looked forward to.

Driving around and peering into windows (from the street of course) and spying little lamps and cozy little comforts just made me feel all warm inside.  It still does, actually.

Before the flood, I kept a little table in my front entrance that could be seen through the front door for just that purpose.  It gave me such comfort to drive up and see my lamp shining.  So cozy.

I realize while I’m typing that those ideas might sound really weird.  Ha!  It’s my story and I’m sticking to it.  I love houses.

I adore “home.”

I absolutely love to be surrounded by pretty things, things that hold a special memory for me.  Things that appeal to sight and smell are my favorite.  If I could sit in lamplight, curled up with an afghan and a good book with the scent of cinnamon filling the air….Ahhh…..that’s where I would stay.

Here are a few glimpses around my house that make my heart happy.

We purchased these antique knobs at a store in Jackson, MS and couldn’t wait to get them installed.

This countertop was made from a board that washed into our yard during the flood.  My husband made it with a living edge and it’s just perfect in every way.

I really like the way this star light looks there.  I found it on clearance at our local Cracker Barrel.  It is a pendant but I have no where to hang it. I’ll eventually detach that chain. 🙂

Our stairs could not be repaired to their original condition so I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in black and distressed them.  I really like how they turned out.

I was recently gifted this pony plant (no idea what the real name is) and it makes my mantle complete.


So those are a few things around here that make me smile.

I love house snooping 😉  I’d love to see photos or links to photos that make you feel all cozy and warm inside.