Baby Girl Shower

I’m excited to take you on a tour of a baby shower for one of my friends…

My friend, I’ll refer to her as D, has 3 boys.  She was expecting a GIRL, so I wanted to make the theme of the shower very PINK & GIRLY.

I added 2 pink bottles {gift for D}, some pink & white curly ribbon and tulle to this wreath I already owned. {all supplies purchased at Dollar Tree} {Used a pink pipe cleaner to attach to wreath}

As you come into our home, the first room you see is on the right, our dining room. {I haven’t decided on a different paint color yet, for those of you who know I have been wanting to change the paint color in here.}  I found the sign and thought it would be PERFECT for decor and to give as a gift.  D can hang it up in the baby’s nursery.

These poms {my daughter likes to call them puffs} are easier bought than made.  Believe me, it’s difficult to find tissue paper large enough in bright pink and lime to make them.  Let alone, making them is way trickier than you think. {mine were a major flop!}  I found these at Party City.  They came in a package of 3: one pink, blue and green.  I think they were around $6 a package…DH bought them for me.  Be warned, however, you have to fluff them.  These poms are popular and I know why.  I believe they add a fun & wispy atmosphere to the decor.

The reason you DO NOT see my dining room table with the food we served…I forgot to insert my SD card in the camera.  Please don’t make the same mistake I did.  I went around snapping LOTS of photos of the spread without my SD card.  I didn’t realize this until the food was gone.  Sigh…see…keeping things real.

Menu:

  • Petite Quiches
  • Watermelon
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberries
  • Chocolate Dipped Strawberry Wafer Cookies
  • Relish Tray – Black Olives, Green Olives & Pickles
  • Vegetable Tray with cut up Petite Cucumbers & Carrot Sticks
  • Pink Punch
  • Cake

I made this above banner to hang in the entry of the dining room with scrapbook paper.  It’s as easy as cutting out triangles and hot gluing them to a ribbon.  However, the banner adds another special touch, which again, D took home to hang in her girl’s new room.

This metal tree adorns my small semi circle console table in the foyer.  I added these cute pink baby girl party favors.

I placed my vase into this small wicker baby bassinet for the floral center piece of the table.  All flowers, except for the hydrangeas were given to me by DH for Mother’s Day.  They still looked lovely so I added them with some hydrangea blooms I cut from my bush.

Do you see the pretty runner I used on my newly painted china cabinet?  It is a wall panel folded up.  It will be so cute hung in D’s nursery.  I am loving the chalk board on dishes scenario I have been eying all over Pinterest & blog land.  I bought a white plate at the dollar store, covered it with saran wrap, cut out a circle with a craft knife and spray painted some chalkboard paint {I already had} on the plate.  The paint bled a little bit, so I would recommend the chalkboard paint you use a brush to paint on instead of the spray paint. {fortunately you can’t tell in this photo}  I added the monogram of the baby’s name with chalk.

The rectangular plush ornament you see hanging is a cute door knob sign which states if the baby is asleep or awake. {another gift}

The cake was made by my talented friend, The Caker Baker.  She has skills!  So anyone local, look her up here.  Bonnie has been my cake maker for the last several birthday parties.  Not only are her cakes exquisitely decorated but they are magically delicious!  The best cake I have ever tasted!  Since I am a visual person, all I have to do is send her a photo of what cake I want and she will duplicate it!  The other special aspect included was the ability to use my beautiful milk glass cake stand.  It is a family heirloom {Thank You Aunt T.} and I was delighted to add the satin pink ribbon.

Pinterest was my friend in this baby shower endeavor.  I was able to use many of the ideas I have pinned in the past including the above balloons.  Take a needle and thread to sew the balloon ties for a lovely balloon garland without helium!  Below you will see I hung them to the entry way of our living room.

This table was dedicated to Wisdom & Wishes for D & her baby girl.  I gathered up some branches to add to a glass vase with white decorative rocks {$1}.  I used the Cricut to cut out the birds from scrapbook paper.  Guests wrote their wisdom & wishes on the birds which were attached to the branches using tiny wooden clothes pins.  The tiny clothes pins were in the craft section of Wal-Mart.  D took home the Wisdom & Wishes Birds.

On the above chalkboard paint plate you can see how the spray chalk board paint bled outside the saran wrap.  I will eventually repair this plate by buying some brush on chalkboard paint.  I meant to do it before the shower, but ran out of time.  Hey, it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough.  Fortunately, no guests pointed it out. 😉

Above is D admiring the sweet, beautiful dresses for her baby girl.  I can’t wait to see them on her at church. 😀

I love the name D picked out for her baby girl, don’t you?  Her name is Grace Joy, but they will call her Gracie.

The banner: in keeping with my love of chalkboard, I used some left over chalkboard labels for her first name, Gracie. {They were from my playroom closet organizing project}  I didn’t peel and stick the labels.  I just attached the label onto the ribbon using the small clothes pins.  The pink and purple pieces of cloth behind the name are baby washcloths {gifts to D.}  Since I didn’t have enough of the labels to do her middle name, I cut out some black card stock in the same size as the labels.  I still used chalk to write the letters on the labels including the black card stock.  Stencil letters helped me make the lettering for GRACIE accentuating her first name.  I wrote her middle name JOY free hand.

I want to say a little bit about D.  I admire her so much.  She is a rock star {not literally} Mom.  I appreciate her spiritual strength and dedication to her family.  She has been a wonderful friend to me and I hoped this baby shower somehow displayed my love &  gratitude for her.

I know sometimes people don’t hold baby showers for women who already have 3 kids.  But let me remind you, a baby shower is not primarily for outfitting the family of baby items.  A baby shower is a celebration.  It is a party celebrating a new life coming into the world.  Not only that, celebrating WITH the person with whom we care for.

After the shower was over D shared something with me.  This was her first baby shower.  She said her work held a luncheon for her before her first boy was born.  Otherwise, there was not a baby shower with a cake, games, etc. held in her honor for her previous 3 children.  When she told me this I was surprised, but grateful that a loving Heavenly Father inspired me to hold this special baby shower for her & Gracie.  Everyone deserves to have a baby shower.

Many of the decorating ideas you see in this post are not original.  This is important.  There is nothing wrong with duplicating good ideas.  If I see something I like, and think I can do it, I will do it.  Sometimes I add my own twist on the idea, but it is not wrong.  Ideas shared on blogs, Pinterest and other social media are there for this purpose.  However, it is crucial and polite to give credit to the original source of the idea.

Sources: Leslie from Goodbye, House. Hello Home! Kara from Kara’s Party Ideas {Thank You Leslie & Kara :)}

Grace Joy was born Monday, June 4th at 8:03 AM.  She was 7 lb. 2 oz.

Babies Bring Joy,

Teachers Are Like Anchors

Today is the last day of school.  I’m at the hair salon using the Word Press app while my color is processing.

I wanted to feature my youngest’s 3rd grade teacher today.  I’ll call her Mrs. L.  She has been a phenomenal teacher for my daughter this year.  Many days A {Daughter} would hop in the car and excitedly tell me about something she learned.

Mrs. L's wrapped gifts

In appreciation, we gave Mrs. L one of my favorite music albums ever.  It’s called Anchor by Mindy Gledhill. You see, we gave her Mindy’s Christmas album for Christmas.  She liked it so I thought we should share Anchor with her as well.  The title inspired me to think about how Mrs. L is an anchor to her students.

Mrs. L was the runner-up in our school district for Teacher Of The Year last year (for the whole district.)  I was thrilled to have her as my girl’s teacher this year. A talks about how kind & nice Mrs. L is.  I have seen an amazing jump in my Daughter’s desire to read.  Not only that, she has better confidence in her reading.

Mrs. L was nominated again this year for Teacher Of The Year.  I just knew she would receive the award.  She definitely deserves that honor & recognition.  I was looking forward to telling everyone how A was in her class the year she got the award.  Shockingly she was not awarded the title of Teacher Of The Year.  My Daughter & I are very disappointed. :(

This has weighed heavy on my mind, probably more so than Mrs. L, knowing her.  She is super sweet & laid back.  So I made a special gift for her to open today, the last day of school.  It is a plaque that says, “Mrs. L, our Teacher Of The Year 2011-2012.”

The class! {sorry I cut off the girl on the left}

I’m extremely grateful for all my kids teachers.  They have such big hearts with lots of patience!  However, I want Mrs. L to know how grateful I am for her.  In our minds she is Teacher Of The Year! 😀

Above {middle} is Mrs. L with A on the first day of school. Isn't she pretty, too? :)

Teachers bring JOY,

Making Friends…A Lost Art?

After attending BlissDom I am reevaluating who I am.

“Huh?” You might be thinking.

It’s interesting.  I’ve always thought of myself as an extrovert.  In job interviews I would confess I’m a people person.  It’s true.  I love people.

When I look back on my life, I recall a turning point.  Speech class in 8th grade opened up a new side of me.  I don’t remember if I chose to take the class or if it was required.  All I know is I was much more reserved before taking speech.  I learned I enjoyed speaking in front of a group of people.  I think this new found knowledge contributed to me gaining more confidence in who I am.  In a way, I think I was more of an introvert before taking Speech.  I didn’t have lots of friends but would have a handful of really close friends.  I was fine with this.  I can’t say after 8th grade I became the most popular girl in school.  That is definitely not what I’m saying.  I was just more open to talking to people and making friends.

Let me fast forward to present day.  On the first leg of my flight home from Nashville {where BlissDom is held} on Sunday I sat next to Melanie Nelson.  She was the speaker for the session I attended titled “3 Things You Can Do Right Now to Grow Your Facebook Fan Page.”  I was so excited to find out she lives in the same state as me {about 2 hours away.}  Melanie is very genuine and kind.  She has a book about Facebook coming soon.  We talked about so many different subjects.  One subject in particular has prompted this post.  Funny thing is it has nothing to do with Facebook, my blog, or anything relating to social media {even though we did discuss these topics.}  I was sharing with her how mentally drained I was from the conference.  She asked, “Are you an extrovert or an introvert?”  I was kind of surprised she asked me this question and paused before answering.  “I’ve always looked at myself as an extrovert,” I replied.  She explained to me the difference between extroverts and introverts.  I will summarize what she said: extroverts are people who become energized after being around lots of people.  When introverts are around a lot of people they are not energized.  Instead, introverts feel as though energy is taken away from them.

This made me think.  Am I an extrovert?  I do have instances when I feel energized after being around a lot of people.  Usually this happens when I’m around people I trust or I feel comfortable being with.

There were about 700 bloggers at BlissDom.  The friends I made last year at BlissDom did not attend this year.  So in a way, it was like I was new again.  There were a few girls I friended on Instagram I knew were attending and hoped to meet them.  There were a few other friends I made on Twitter I was hoping to meet as well, but again, I had not met them in real life.  Otherwise, I was going into a conference without truly knowing anyone. “That’s okay, I’m a people person.  I’ll make new friends, ” I thought.

I now need to add another aspect to this scenario of thoughts.  I have written about this before, but it is a very sensitive matter.  I don’t have a handful of close friends anymore.  I’ve lived in the same place now for 5 years and don’t have any real close friends.  There are 3 girls I really connected {consider good friends} with who have moved away.  However, living here has made me less confident in my friendship making skills.  Don’t get me wrong, I have friends/acquaintances who are kind and talk to me when I’m out and about.  It’s just not the same.  The upside of this has given me an opportunity to be closer to my kids and immediate family.

Back to the conference…I left feeling drained.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed it tremendously.  There were many instances in which I felt uncomfortable, though.  It was usually in the evening and I would end up sitting by myself.  Fortunately, I would eventually find someone I had met and try to mingle.  I just don’t like social situations like this.  I never have.  So maybe I’m not an extrovert?  Or is it possible to be an extrovert and turn introvert?  Or in my case, introvert turned extrovert turned introvert…???  I don’t know, maybe I don’t have to label myself.  It’s just a little weird.  You know me, analytical Shan.  Hey, I come by it honestly being my parents are both Social Workers. {Love you Mom & Dad!}

I also began to think about how social media has impacted having real life friends versus virtual ones.  How often are you getting together with real friends and talking to them face to face?  Has Facebook and other sites like it cut down on our real life interactions with people?  Honestly, for me, because of my predicament and where I live, I don’t think I would be a very happy person without social media.  This blog, it’s Facebook page, my personal Facebook page, Instagram and Twitter help me to feel connected with people.  I could get really lonely living in this little town without hearing from you.  It is what it is.  My 3 kids are at school during the day.  At some point during that time period I would like to have interaction with another person who is not the checker at Wal-Mart.  But stop and think a minute…if you do have at least one good friend to confide in about whatever.  Please be grateful.  Friendship is so precious.  Get together with your friends, go to lunch, hang out, play a game.

Julie & Me

Speaking of friends, I did run into an elementary school friend who was there working at a vendor/sponsor booth.  It was fun to catch up with and see her again.  We had lost touch completely.  Good to see you again, Julie! :)

Me & Jenna

Bernice & Me

I am grateful for each and every one of the friends I made at BlissDom.  I finally met my Twitter friends Bernice of Living the Balanced Life & The Stressed Mom, Alicia of Confessions of a Snowflake {Wish we got a photo together, Alicia} and Jenna from Made More Beautiful.  All are beautiful women inside and out.

Me & Melissa

Melissa from Overwhelmed by His Blessings is my lovely fellow photographer/Instagram friend.  I wish she & I were able to spend more time together.  She was on the photo booth staff and had to work the whole conference.  I am very happy we met at the Photo Walk which was held first thing on Thursday.  {I’m really not taller than her.  I was on the step above her ;)}

Rachelle, Jean & Me

Friday Night I met two adorably creative girls at The Lorax Party: Jean from The Artful Parent and Rachelle from Tinkerlab.  They were kind enough to let me crash their photo after just meeting me since I was alone.  I am super excited to get to know them more on their blogs.  I am sure I can learn a lot of fun crafty stuff from them.  Love that!!

Saturday I met and had a wonderful conversation with Amy from Amy Volk.  She is darling and has a good listening ear.  We ended up talking about all kinds of stuff and have much in common.  She said she writes about simplifying our lives and organization…sounds pretty good to me!

I also met a girl who is living the life I once dreamed of in New York City.  Heather not only is an editor for Parents magazine, but has her own blog at High Chair Times where she writes about her adventures of feeding her Son.  I learned a lot talking to her and highly enjoyed her company at Girls Night In on Saturday night.  Heather & I also met Sara, talented technology guru of Technology for Moms.  Sara is a fun-loving character of a girl.  She and I laughed the night away {completely sober, btw ;)} while watching Paula Deen jump up and down on her trampoline on Oprah’s new show Oprah’s Next Chapter.

Last but not least, I met the awesome Megan Tietz from Sorta Crunchy.  I began ‘following’ her on Instagram not long before BlissDom.  We didn’t meet until after the conference was over on Sunday at the airport.  I was a little embarrassed because I was without makeup.  {had about 4 hours of sleep}  My flight left at 6:55 AM, so I was NOT putting on makeup.  Anyway, not the best first impression.  Fortunately, she seemed to like me alright despite the pale face. {Thank you, Megan ;)}  Megan & I sat next to each other on the 2nd leg of my flight.  Talking to both Melanie and Megan helped the flights buzz by.  Even better, they are from the state I live in!  I love that!  I look forward to possibly seeing both of them in the near future.

Even though I may not see all of these women in real life every day; I have the opportunity to visit them online.  Our BlissDom experience will be a special memory for me.

Hopefully the above mentioned women would say I haven’t lost my friend making skills. 😉  ???

Friends Bring JOY,

What is BlissDom?

Last year I made the trek to a blogging conference called BlissDom.  As I prepare to return to my community of fellow bloggers this week in Nashville, I thought it only fitting to write about this experience.

What is BlissDom?

If you are a blogger and visit other blogs regularly you might be seeing badges like this:
Join Me At Blissdom!I'm Going to Blissdom!Gonna Get My Bliss On at Blissdom!This is my Second Blissdom!

Or maybe you are seeing bloggers talk about BlissDom on Facebook or Twitter and you find yourself wondering, “What is this?”

Well, about a year and a half ago I was experiencing this.  Many of the blogs I read on a regular basis had these badges and so I clicked on one.  There was a video about the previous BlissDom conference, so I watched that.  Watching the video was all it took for me.  Whoever put the video together will be happy to know their work paid off.  I knew I wanted to attend after watching the video.  I talked about it with the hubster and he was in support of me going.  {Isn’t he awesome?}  It’s always held in Nashville at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel.  This year BlissDom is celebrating their 5 year anniversary.

I remember trying to explain to my family and friends what BlissDom was all about last year.  Most people had a question mark look on their face.  It’s okay.  The whole blogging conference is relatively new to most, but especially for people who don’t blog.  Because of the video & information BlissDom offered on their website and reading posts by other bloggers who had attended; I had a small inkling of what the conference would be like.

My purpose in going was:

1. I wanted to meet other people who have a passion for blogging.  In other words, I wanted to meet people who “get me.”  I didn’t know one single person who blogged on a regular basis in real life.  This would be the perfect place to make new friends who understand what I do.

2. I wanted to LEARN how to grow my blog.  Let me explain, up until the time of BlissDom I had maybe a handful of friends and family {THANK YOU!} who read my blog.  As my interest in blogging grew, I enjoyed making new friends online.  I realized that not only could I provide ideas &  information on things I love, including family, but also form sort of a community of friends.  I wanted to know how to do this.

3. I wanted to LEARN more about advertising.  I was very curious how bloggers incorporated advertising into their blog.  Why did they do this?  Do they make money doing it and if so, how much?  Does your blog become a business when you start advertising?  What are the legal & tax ramifications?

4. I wanted to LEARN more about HOW to do things.  Why did some blogs look more ‘professional’ than others?  I enjoy graphic design but don’t have any professional training.  How are bloggers able to make their site look the way that it does?  BlissDom had classes about this!

5. I wanted to meet the bloggers from blogs I regularly visited in real life.  In the blogging world they are pretty much celebrities!  Good thing is, they can go out in public and not have paparazzi after them! 😉 lol

6. I won’t lie, seeing that Harry Connick Jr. came to entertain the bloggers the previous year perked my interest in BlissDom as well.  I didn’t know if he would come again, but I knew there would be some sort of musical entertainer.  As a stay at home Mom, there aren’t many opportunities to go to concerts like when I was young and single.  BONUS!

Here is the BlissDom video from last year…the one I attended:

BlissDom ’11 from Blissful Media Group on Vimeo.

Watching this video brought back many memories and has increased my excitement ten fold. {Amy, I saw you in the video}  By the way, the flash mob was held in a session I did not attend. :( Big Pouty Face because I would have been all over that!

Do you remember my post about Mat Kearney?  I couldn’t remember exactly what he said about being in a room filled with so many female social media enthusiasts.  Well, they showed that at the very beginning of the video…if you skipped watching you will have to watch it!  It’s pretty hilarious!

The clip with the man and woman on stage after Mat are the compassionate masterminds behind Love Drop.  Remember me writing about them?  You can read all posts I’ve written about BlissDom by clicking here.

So did I learn what I wanted to learn as stated in my purposes above?

ABSOLUTELY!

I learned all I wanted and MORE!  There are many sessions you can choose to attend led by experienced and successful bloggers.

My blog today is living proof of that.

I am so grateful for BlissDom.  The conference is a safe haven for bloggers…a community of social networking divas.

A few weeks back participants received a Prep For Bliss package:

Includes: Name Badge, Luggage Tag, Business Card Holder, Post-It Notes, Jewel CD & Various Free Food Coupons

 

Also included in this package was a letter from the BlissDom founders.  I want to share a profound quote from them:

“You are the pioneers of a generation who are forging the way in this new digital world.  We are living through the equivalent of the Industrial Revolution and the trails we blaze and how we choose to behave as a community will set a tone for generations.”

I was a newbie at BlissDom last year.  Not only was it my first Blissdom to attend, it was my first blogging conference to attend period.  Turns out there are many different blogging conferences held through out the year.  However, at this point in my life, being the family gal that I am, one blogging conference a year has worked for us.  { Don’t worry Amy I am considering going to another with you 😉 }  Balance is important. 😉

First thing I noticed was how everyone talked about each other by their blog name.  Instead of saying Shan from Family Brings Joy, they would say, “Did you meet Family Brings Joy?”  It was a little weird at first.  It’s understandable, though, because as a blogger, unless you have talked to the blogger personally, you know them by what the name of their blog, not by their given name.  Fortunately, we all have name tags on.  Sometimes I would see people reading my name tag as I walked by.  You see, we all have bloggers we want to meet while we are there.  I didn’t take offense when they would go out of their way to stop me just to see who I was and then say, “No, you’re not her.”  Scratch that, it bothered me just a tad.  However, I did the same thing, just never physically stopped them to read their name tag.  I would just look at them as I walked by.  I understand completely.

Other fun stuff about Blissdom:

  • SWAG {Stuff We All Get, meaning free products from the sponsors or participating brands}
  • Meeting celebrities {like Michelle Branch, Mat Kearney}
  • Food galore…didn’t need to purchase one meal while I was there.
  • Free shoulder/back massage and manicure
  • Networking Parties
  • The Gaylord Opryland Hotel is gorgeous!

I believe BlissDom chose their name because when you are there you are following your bliss…following your dreams.

If you haven’t been on Family Brings Joy’s Facebook page lately {join us!} then you will not know that this year’s entertainers/special events include for BlissDom include:

  • Handmade Marketplace
  • Nathan Pacheco {Singer}
  • Lorax {Dr. Suess Movie} Party
  • Joe Jonas {Singer}
  • Chris Mann {Singer}
  • Rascall Flatts
  • screening of OWN’s Oprah’s Next Chapter episode with Oprah and her friends Gayle King & Paula Deen

Wowza!!  What a line up!  Funny side note, when I shared with my 8 year old Daughter about Joe Jonas coming, she exclaimed, “Take lots of photos and video for me, Mom!”  Here is a text snapshot of what my 16 year old Daughter, who is a devoted Jonas Brothers fanatic said, when I shared the news with her:

My Daughter said later, “Why would Joe would want to go sing for a bunch of old women?”  LOL

Hopefully this post helped you understand a little bit more about BlissDom.

I leave on Wednesday!  If you are attending BlissDom, I have a special gift for the first 10 Family Brings Joy readers/friends.  Come introduce yourself to me.  I want to meet you!  Time for laundry & packing!

P.S: Please pray that I don’t get sick like I did going to my half marathon.  I would like to be able to enjoy the conference.  I just recovered from that sickness.  I know when you fly on an airplane that it increases your chances of getting sick.  I was worried about my muscles before my race.  I didn’t really think about how a cold/sinus infection/ear infection could impact my trip…it did.  It was a miracle I was able to run that race as bad as I was feeling.  Anyway, I would very much appreciate any prayers you might offer on my behalf.

Follow Your Bliss,

Perseverance Can Lead to Accomplishment

Thank you very much for all the well wishes {& Prayers} everyone sent me via Family Brings Joy’s Facebook Page, my personal Facebook Page, Instagram, texts and comments written here.  I felt everyone’s love and encouragement.  It means the world to me!

All photos of me running & scenery are taken by PBC Sports Photography

 

We can persevere,

Running Dedications

On our way to the start line here in Hilton Head.  My friend, Monica, is running with me. I wanted to take a few minutes for dedications.

Every mile will be devoted to my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ.

The first 6.5 miles I’m dedicating to my family.  Not just my immediate family.  My whole family, present & past…extended…ancestors.

The second 6.5 miles, I’m dedicating to you, my friends/readership.

I could not do this without all of you.

Show time! 13.1…