For the Joy of Life.






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A Spooktacular Kids Halloween Party

Today we threw a little Halloween party for kiddos and their mamas. It was so much fun to get together and let the kids play and the moms get some real conversation in, ha! But in all seriousness, I think play dates are so fun for both moms and kids. I used to have weekly play dates with my best friends in Utah and we all loved it. I looked forward to it each week because I craved that social interaction with other women. I love using any excuse out there to get together with other moms and give Oaks and Cam the opportunity to interact with other kids sooo a Halloween Party definitely seemed in order ;) 

I wasn't planning on doing this until a couple weeks ago when I walked by the dollar section at Target and saw all the adorable stuff. Honestly, I got most of the decor from the dollar store or the dollar section at Target! The dollar store is probably the best kept secret when it comes to party and holiday decorations. They always have festive decor for only $1, tons of serving dishes, lots of colors of plastic tablecloths, they even have costumes! The rest of it was from miscellaneous stores like Michael's, Hobby Lobby, Handmade, or things I already had. For lunch we had regular chili, white chicken chili, mac n cheese, Halloween Pretzels, salad, caramel apple dip with green apples, and some tortilla chips and Fritos for the chilis. For the activities we let the kiddos run around all they want and the trampoline was a huge hit. But, we also made lollipop ghosts with tootsie pops, napkins, and string. I also set out some coloring pages and crayons, and the dollar store had these cute foam projects but they didn't come with anything to stick them together so people just took those home haha. The last activity was cookie decorating! If you have an Albertsons near by they have the BEST sugar cookies, I bought a few packs of those, store bought frosting, and some festive sprinkles. 

The banners and witch hats are from the dollar section at Target. The felt kitties are from the dollar store. The spider web runners are from Target as well as the magic potion wood sign, the geometric white pumpkin, the black boo bowls, and the metal buckets. The black roses, vases, orange twig branches, bats, and spider web bowls are from the dollar store. 

The ceramic boo pumpkins are from the dollar store

Half of the paper fans are pre made from hobby lobby and the other ones I made with scrapbook paper. It's really easy and there's tons of tutorials on pinterest! The little ghosts are from Michael's. The chalkboard is really old but I think was from Hobby Lobby. The balloons are from the dollar store as well as the black spider webs.

The little pumpkin lanterns are from the dollar store and the Happy Halloween tape is from Target.

If you're planning on throwing a Halloween party or just need some festive inspiration, I hope this helped! Let me know if you have any more questions about anything! You can also find both of the chili recipes here and here. Happy Halloween everyone!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Blanket Ladder DIY

Are you ready for the easiest and cutest DIY everrr?? I have been wanting a blanket ladder for a while now. I think they are so cute and such a fun way to decorate and store blankets. I started to look on different websites to see how much it would cost me to buy one and it was absurd! I'm talking hundreds of dollars! And then the cheaper local ones I found were horrible quality or super tiny. That's when I got the idea to make one myself. I'm sure the guys at Home Depot hate me because I'm totally the girl that walks in like "heyyy I have this DIY project I want to do... can you show me how to do it??" Haha but they're always so patient and give great (and cheap) options. So, with the help of my trusty lumber Home Depot guys, this blanket ladder came to life at a whopping $8!! Can you believe that? And if you already have stain, it'll be even cheaper! I didn't take step by step photos because I honestly trust that you'll be able to figure it out based off what I'm saying. Well... hopefully haha. But seriously, it is THAT easy. 

Materials Needed:
(2) 2x4's cut to 76in (if you ask, they'll cut it for you)
(1) 1x3 cut into 4 14in pieces (again ask them to cut it)
1 small can of your choice in color of stain (i did the grey wash)
1 old rag
A drill
LONG screws. Guys, I can't find the box anywhere but I used wood screws and they were probably 6-8ish inches? Maybe a little longer. I'll update this if I find them. But, basically it needs to go into the side of the ladder and through the "steps" of the ladder so it needs to be quite long. 

How To:
Alright so obviously first go to Home Depot and get your wood. I didn't look for the most perfect pieces because I like the "rustic" look. When you get home use a rag to stain your wood. I found that two coats was perfect for the look I was going for. Let that dry completely. Alright, now you need to assemble your ladder. The best method I found was sticking the bottom of your ladder's legs flat up against a wall as if it was standing up so you can make sure they are at the exact length they would be if standing up. That way you can get your "steps" to be screwed in evenly. I put each wood step at 15.2 inches. Then I literally just took the drill and a screw and drilled them together. I went through the outside of the ladder and into the step. Since you wont actually be stepping on it, it just needs to hold together enough for decor to be held on it. Guys, that's literally it. I can't believe how easy it was! It was completed start to finish in a few hours and looks so cute. The blanket is from Cariloha, the sign is from Hobby Lobby, and the bucket is my mother in law's until I find one similar haha.

(If you look close you can see where I drilled the screw in this photo)

I hope you guys liked this DIY! Let me know if you have any questions!

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Finding A Back To School Routine

This post is sponsored by Sparkling ICE but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

I spent practically all summer wishing I had signed Oaklyn up for preschool. I love the kid more than I can handle, but I knew she was beyond ready. She spends a lot of her days following me around looking for something to do. She has tons of toys and plenty of things she could do, but she just wanted something more to challenge herself. We put her in gymnastics to give her something to do but she then broke her foot... oops. I ended up very last minute finding out I could still sign her up and we went for it! She was beyond excited and I was too! Finally a break! hahaha...

On the first day of school we spent extra time getting her ready and talked all about the fun things she was going to learn and do. It was so fun to see her walk in without any fear. I on the other hand, shed a few tears seeing my baby in school for the first time. I was SO excited for her, yet couldn't believe we were already at that point. It was the weirdest feeling leaving her there and just leaving. I missed her throughout the day and was just looking for things to do. When we picked her up, it was such a fun reunion. We were all happy to see each other and had so much fun talking about her day. 

We're now into week three of preschool and I have come to realize that having a routine really helps! Oaklyn does afternoon preschool because she has always slept in. So, we go about our morning as usual leaving a little extra time to get ready. We make sure to do her hair special for preschool and I involve her in picking out her outfits for school. It's such a fun time to talk and hangout together before we're apart. As I do her hair she gets to eat a snack so she doesn't go to school on an empty stomach.

Then we load up the car and head to school! After walking her in, giving hugs and kisses goodbye, and watching from the window for a minute... I'm a free mom! Well... free from toddler mom ;) haha. I still have my baby Cam but she can't argue with me yet sooo I'll take it! After Oaks had been to preschool a few times I realized how wonderful it was to be able to enjoy a special "mommy drink" in the car while running errands. Cambria is still rear facing so she can't see me and even if she could, she can't talk and beg for some! I love being able to enjoy a Sparkling Ice drink as we get the to-do list done. I drink water all day everyday. It's really all I ever drink. So, it's really fun to add some flavor and fizz to my day! Sparkling Ice comes in 16 great true to life flavors, has zero calories, and zero sugar. I love that the colors and flavors are all naturally sourced. My absolute favorite flavor is Pink Grapefruit. 

My favorite part of preschool days is picking Oaklyn up. I love hearing what she did and learned and the kids she played with. I wish so badly that I could be a fly on the wall to watch her, but I'll settle  for sitting with her and talking as she eats her after school snack. She loves when I save her a little bit of my "special drink" aka Sparkling Ice and I feel good about her drinking it since it is full of vitamins and antioxidants. 

Whatever your new routine may be as your kids go to school for the first time or head back to school maybe even for the last time, remember to enjoy it a little with a special treat like Sparkling Ice. Click here to order Sparkling Ice on Amazon where you can find all 16 flavors! Also, being an Amazon Prime member will get you up to 15% off with free delivery when you Subscribe & Save. What's your favorite flavor?? 

All my love,
Aleigh Joy

Cambria's First Birthday Party: Part One

Our sweet baby Cam turned ONE on the 14th and I truly cannot believe it! I honestly feel like her first year went by in a blink. She made the first year so fun and pleasant and we are all so smitten by her. I knew I was going to throw her a first birthday party, but until a month before I honestly had planned on not doing a super big one. Suddenly all these thoughts and ideas flooded my brain and suddenly I found myself at Hobby Lobby like every day and crafting every night. I honestly can't help myself! The first year is such a big milestone for the parents and the baby so even though she won't remember the party, I love throwing a big celebration. I also love that at this age it's a family party and I'm honestly always looking for an excuse to get together with friends and family. I had a lot of questions about this party and how it all came together. This post would be way too long to read if I touched upon all the things I want to explain and talk about so I'm going to do this in different parts. This first post is just going to reveal all the photos and tell you which brands were involved/ a review on the brands involved. Sooo here we go!

Alright, so I was asked how I come up with the theme of each party. To be honest, I have a vault of party themes stored up in my head and I just use them as the time comes haha. Generally I come up with themes from scrolling through Pinterest, seeing a display at a store, really anything sparks my imagination and then I write it down in my notes of my phone and just pick one out when it's time to throw a party. I've been wanting to do a pineapple, flamingo, hot pink and coral tropical party for like a LONG time now. I really wanted to throw a summer blogger party in Utah with this theme but never really had access to the right location. So when I was scrolling through my list of ideas for Cam's party I was so excited to finally use this theme since she has a summer birthday. My mind went crazy over all the different possibilities for decor and I honestly had so much fun with it all. 

I had the party in my parents backyard. I've been really lucky being able to use their yard. There's tons of space and areas to decorate. The first thing I did was think about everything I wanted there. My must have's to begin with are always good food and good entertainment. At Oaklyn's third birthday party we had a bounce house and it was a huge hit. This time I opted for a water slide and it was seriously SO fun. We had Chick Fil A at Oaklyn's third birthday party also and it was devoured by everyone there so I thought, hey that would be perfect again! We also had corn hole set out, a time capsule to write cam a note, a pinata, and baby pools. The next thing on my list is always to go through the different areas I want to decorate and try to figure out what to put in each are. Soo let's take a walk through the party, shall we?

We had everyone enter through the side gate because it's just a clear shot into the backyard which is where the party was. When you walked in, I had an Aloha sign i found at Hobby Lobby (always use a 40% off coupon no matter what the price is) and a chalkboard that said "Party Like a Pineapple." This was how I let guests know to enter that way. When guests walked in, the gift table was right there. That way, they could just drop their gift off and then mingle. At the gift table I use glass cylinder vases with rock and long wooden dowels to hang a first year photo banner in a spot without a backdrop. There was also a gifts banner that I had leftover from Oaklyn's first birthday, a large framed photo of Cam as a little baby, a little pink letter board that said "I want to be forever ONE", and a cute welcome sign! The letter board was found at the Target dollar section a little while ago. The welcome sign was from A Touch of LA. I'm going to touch upon her awesome business a little more in this blog post!

After dropping off the gifts, the younger guests headed straight for the water slide and the older guests headed straight for the food, haha! Gotta have something for everyone, right? ;) Let's head over to the food table. Over here we had a six foot table full of Chick Fil A. Guys, Chick Fil A is hands down the best food to have at a party. It ALWAYS gets eaten and everyone is always excited to have it. We had original sandwiches, nuggets, cool wraps, and fruit with tonssss of Chick Fil A sauce because everyone loves the stuff! Their catering is so easy and there is always plenty for everyone. My dad went and picked it up before the party came and it was nice and warm for guests to eat when they arrived. We LOVE our local Chick Fil A and how involved they are with the community. If you're in the area, make sure to stay up to date with all their fun family friendly events! Also on the food table was Cambria's smash cake. I wanted it to be the focal point of the table so I put it on a white crate, taped some palm leaves I bought off amazon, and stuck it on a cake stand. It was a six inch cake made by me. The AMAZING cake topper was made by A Touch of LA and I was legitimately obsessed with it. Like, would it be weird to save it as a decoration in Cambria's bedroom?? Haha she nailed it. It was exactly what I wanted! To either side of the cake was a vase with a little handmade decor. I used the vases for Oaklyn's first birthday. I just bought thrift store vases and used painters tape to tape off fun designs and then used gold spray paint to make them fun. I've used them several more times since then. For what's inside the vase, I just used scrapbook paper and cute out the circle shape, the flamingo, and the one with my cricut. I used a wooden skewer and attached it and just stuck it in the vase. These were in other spots of the party as well. On either side of those were ADORABLE signs made by A Touch of LA. Guys, I'm not kidding when I say she killed it on all the decor she made. Like, it was all so perfectly put together and added such a fun touch to the party. Prints are such a fun, cheap, and easy way to decorate at a party. These exact prints are available to purchase in her shop! The flamingo banner was made with my cricut and I just used tape to attach it to twine, the tassel banner is old but I want to say it was from My Paper Crush, and the photo banner was also from Oaklyn's first birthday party. It's super easy to make. I got the decorative paper doilies from Pebbles in my pocket and folded them in half. Then you stick them on twine. Then print out your fav pics and use a clothes pin to attach them. A cheap and easy way to add personalized decor. 

Next to the food table was the "tiki hut." Or in other words, the drink table haha. I originally wanted a snow cone machine here but that seemed like an extra $70 I didn't want to spend to rent haha. Instead we did lemonade, water, and capri suns. I bought a ton of Capri Suns and they were completely gone at the end of the party! Turns out they're still as popular as I remember! The decor for this table was a pennant banner made with my Cricut, the actual drink dispensers, a galvanized bucket to hold the capri suns, more palm leaves taped to the table in the back, and fresh pineapples on cake stands with sunglasses. The drink dispenser and bucket were borrowed, I used a plate and a candle stick with heavy duty glass glue to make the small cake stands, and the sunglasses were cheap party favors from walmart. I used an old fence my mother in law had to make the little tiki hut. I wish I would've taken step by step photos but basically I used and old box that was really big and used like an L bracket to attach it to the fence. It naturally curved like an overhang but I cut it down quite a bit so it wasn't too heavy. I then used grass hula skirts from Hobby Lobby to give it more of a tiki look. I just used a staple gun to attach them. I made the sign in photoshop and got it printed at Costco. That was also attached with a staple gun. 

Next to the drinks was the cake smash wall. AKA the whole inspiration behind this party haha. I found tons of balloon arch inspo on Pinterest and really badly wanted to recreate it. I'll do a post on how to make it a little later, but let's just say this was my absolute favorite part of the party. What is it about balloon garlands?? They're just adorable and mesmerizing! All balloons are from Shop Studio pep and for real you guys, I'm obsessed with the. they came in adorable packaging, they were great quality, and literally the exact color scheme I wanted. Like EXACT. I was legitimately giddy when I saw it go up. Shop Studio Pep has several different color schemes and they are all so darling. A balloon garland is a great way to create a really dramatic statement at a party and it makes for an awesome photo back drop. I HIGHLY recommend getting your balloons from Studio Pep! These balloons were from the Candy collection and the Dream collection. Those confetti balloons are seriously to die for! The banner for the backdrop and the high chair banner are from A Touch of LA. You guys, another huge win for her! I mean seriously, how is it that everything she made was perrrfectt?? Magic I tell ya. I loved that these two pieces matched so well and brought in some hot pink into this backdrop. Also, the quality of these banners can't be beat. They both laid perfectly flat because they were made with high quality materials. After the cake smash, we served cupcakes that I made and they had the cutest cupcake toppers also from A Touch of LA. So basically, I can't recommend her enough. She clearly made tons of the cute decor and it was all great quality. I sent her a little mood board to begin with and she took it and ran with it and I couldn't have been more happy. Lindsay makes custom party decor and works with you til it's perfect, then delivers it all straight to your front door. She really helps you nail down that "pinterest perfect" party and it's so convenient and easy. She has several different packages so go check them out! Also, check out her blog post where she styled all the decor she made for this party :) 

My parents recently built a pavilion in their backyard where they're going to create an outdoor living room. They're doing that in phases so currently there isn't much under there which gave me a ton of space for extra decor and shaded seating. I used four round tables and just got hot pink plastic tablecloths from walmart. That's something I absolutely always take the cheap route on because they are super cheap and then you can just throw them away. I used a large round mirror in the middle of each table which was borrowed from my mom's shop and then I stuck a fresh pineapple with sunglasses on it in the middle. It was all around super cheap and I thought it was cute and easy! I love choosing colored tablecloths because it's an easy way to add a pop of color. When I was first planning out what I wanted to do for this party I envisioned lanterns hanging from the ceiling of the pavilion so I bought a bunch of them. Hobby Lobby had a great selection of them but I chose the coral and hot pink ones. I seriously went there like everyday for a week because I wanted to use the 40% off coupon, haha! They came in a three pack so I got 6 packs and grouped them together in and hung them using fishing line. At the back of the pavilion I hung Ikea mesh curtains with hot pink tulle to give a soft pretty look. I also took a wooden C covered in glitter and hung it in a decorative frame. This was also hanging on fishing line. At this table I had Cambria's month board that I used to use for her monthly pictures. I stopped because I packed it away and then couldn't find it but we went through all of our stuff before the party and found it, yay! I also made a time capsule for her. I did this at Oaklyn's first birthday party as well and it was so fun. I still have all of the letters. Basically guests can take a card and write her a note. Then I lock them away until she turns 18. She then gets to read them! I've wanted to read Oaklyn's so many times when I come across them but I always end up waiting haha. 

Cambria's outfit was made by me! I used a crochet headband from walmart and cut strips of hot pink tulle then looped the strips through the holes to make it. It was kind of tedious and time consuming but it was really easy. I just used a plain white carters onesie and used my cricut to create and cut out the design. I used gold glitter iron on vinyl and loved how it turned out! I bought the bow from Hobby Lobby (did you know they have a really good bow selection??) and hot glued it on to a piece of rolled up old tights. She also wore hot pink Freshly Picked moccs! 

Alright, last but not least let's talk about the water slide! The water slide came from American Bounce Company and I was really impressed with their service! It was super easy to book and they sent the contract, tips for ahead of time, and came early. The slide was a HUGE hit. A lot of the kids didn't leave it the entire time. I got the 18' water slide and it was honestly a blast. Kids, adults, even grandparents went down! Every party needs entertainment, and I feel like this definitely did the trick! It was a really hot day so it felt really good to be in the water. For the littler kids, we had baby pools set up. Cam LOVED hanging out in the baby pool and it was perfect for Oaklyn since she had a broken foot. Adults sat in lounge chairs under the shade and talked and some adults even came down the slide in their clothes, haha! One of the last festivities was the pinata. I found a pineapple pinata at Walmart and thought it was so cute! We hung it from the tree and let the kiddos go to town. We passed out bags and they filled them up. I then gave each kid a chick fil a free kids meal card courtesy of our lovely local Chick Fil A. People stayed and hung out for a little while longer and all around it was a great day. 

If you have any more questions feel free to ask! I'll be doing some other posts with how-to's as well :)

All my love,
Aleigh Joy