Friday, April 22, 2016

A Friendship Party for Birds of a Feather

Springtime has granted us so many occasions to celebrate this year! Mary Ashley, a sixth-grader, will be joining our church's youth group this summer, so we wanted to give the girls in her class an opportunity to bond before they make that transition.

We decided to plan a casual Friday-night sleepover with a simple dinner menu, fun activities and an easy brunch.

I asked her beforehand if it was acceptable for me to decorate, and she was all for that. So I gathered fresh spring flowers to fill birdcages from Michael's. Pink roses highlight this centerpiece.

And white blossoms fill this smaller arrangement.

We made simple invitations to invite these birds of a feather to fly to Mary Ashley's nest for the party.

Notebooks and pencils at each place provided little surprises to greet the girls upon arrival.

And cupcakes from the bakery at Walmart added a bit of sweetness.

A rounded vase was perfect for this birdcage. Usually I slip a few stems into the arrangement, close the lid, and tuck in the last blossoms for a birdcage centerpiece. These blooms were so full, though, that I let the flowers spill from the container.

Mary Ashley's menu of choice for Friday night was pizza. We also kept snacks and sodas on hand for the evening. In the morning, we enjoyed a pancake buffet, bacon, and lemon slush punch.

The activities for the night included making scented lip balms (a craft kit one of the guests bought), decorating pillowcases to pack for upcoming youth trips, and writing each other encouraging notes. Plus there was plenty of singing, some movie watching, and maybe just a little sleeping.

Our group was small, but this party of five could not have been sweeter. They seemed to enjoy being together without any of the drama that can sometimes put a damper on the fun for girls this age.

With our family's hectic spring schedule, I wasn't sure if we would be able to work in this girl time. But in the end, I am so glad we made it happen.

Because as I told the girls before we offered thanks for our food, the friendships that will sustain them throughout life will be the ones with their Christian sisters.

I hope they had a great time last weekend.

And look forward to watching them grow into young women over the next few years. Our youth group is about to get even more special!

Have a lovely weekend!

Monday, April 18, 2016

An Enchanted Evening

"Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers where I can walk undisturbed." ~ Walt Whitman

Our sunset stroll through the Birmingham Botanical Gardens was a highlight of this past weekend's festivities, which included a slumber party for the sixth-grade girls of our church on Friday night; prom for Carson and his sweetie, Mallory, on Saturday evening; and Carson's birthday on Sunday. I have been wanting to visit the gardens since we moved here and cannot wait to go back. Here are a few of my favorite photos from our visit.

I cannot believe my baby is 17! It seems like just yesterday he was a preschooler, snuggling up with me to share PB&J's after spending the morning reading or swimming together. It makes my heart smile to remember all those little moments of watching him grow -- how quickly the years have passed! This year Carson asked for peanut butter pie instead of cake, which brought to mind all those sandwiches we shared at the kitchen counter. So today when we went out for a birthday lunch after church and he asked to sit beside me, I felt very special. As he is growing more independent every day, those moments of togetherness are truly a gift to treasure.

Mallory and Carson are as sweet and funny and kindhearted as they are gorgeous! Mallory's mother, her friend Claire, and I had such a lovely time taking photos of the two of them. Here are a few of my favorites from our time together. 

"Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope ... ." ~ Gustave Flaubert

Monday, April 11, 2016

Emma at 10

"Well, one can't get over the habit of being a little girl all at once ... ." ~ Lucy Maud Montgomery

On Easter Sunday when the children obliged me in taking a few photos, I knew to save Emma's individual session for last. This happy girl loves to twirl and pose in front of the camera, which allowed me to capture a bounty of images of her at 10 years old. This child is so full of joy, I can't help but smile whenever she is around. Here are a few of my favorite shots from our afternoon among the azaleas in Georgia.

"A daughter is the happy memories of the past, the joyful moments of the present, and the hope and promise of the future." ~ Author Unknown

Friday, April 8, 2016

Emma's Patisserie Tea Party: Bonjour to Au Revoir

"Paris is always a good idea." ~ Audrey Hepburn

Thank you for stopping in to view all the fun from Emma's recent French Patisserie Tea Party. The invitation above from Freshmint Paperie set the tone for her 10th-birthday celebration -- a merry gathering of girlfriends from her classes at school and church.

For a peek at our front porch -- styled to evoke a Parisian terrace -- visit this post.

Step into the dining room here.

View other place settings in this post.

And stop by here for another round of macarons and other tasty treats.

Find more fun and favors here. Before I tell you who won a bundle of Hoffman Media magazines brimming with French inspiration, I must tell you about a special gift Emma received from our friend across the pond, magazine stylist Marie Paule, who often works Victoria.

You can see Emma's excitement in receiving an international package with a birthday postcard and delicate bracelet with a tiny Eiffel Tower charm. Marie Paule wanted her to have this little token she picked up during a perfect day strolling through Montmartre. Isn't that the sweetest surprise? This kind gesture was the icing on the cake -- or perhaps the top macaron on the tower -- for a precious little girl's very special 10th birthday.

Congratulations to tea enthusiast and author Penelope Carlevato on winning the magazines!
Please message me your address, Penelope, and I will send your package.  

"A walk about Paris will provide lessons in history, beauty, and in the point of life." ~ Thomas Jefferson

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