An Uncomplicated Life Blog


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Happy Birthday To Me!

I'm taking the day off because yesterday was my 35th birthday and I'm currently on a trip with the hubby! If you're into snooping, follow my Instagram Stories to see what we're up to. I'll be back here Monday with a personal post about fitness, how I fell off the wagon and how I'm getting back on it. See ya then!

Monday, October 14, 2019

The Nightmare Before Christmas Birthday Party

My twins turned one, so we threw them an October The Nightmare Before Christmas themed birthday party

And (NOT JUST LIKE THAT) they were one! No, this year didn't fly by. It was long. It was hard. There were a few times I didn't think I'd make it, and there were a bunch of moments I truly didn't enjoy. But, we're here! We made it. Around the 9-10 month mark, things started to get easier and now, it's like nearly everyday they get a tad easier. The twins turned one this past Saturday, so we threw us them a party and because we had mid-October babies, we went with a nice and weird theme: The Nightmare Before Christmas. It's my older boys' favorite Halloween movie, so clearly we had to use it for the twins. It's so funny, because I guess it's a movie with a big cult following, so even though it came out when I was in high school (I think?!) there's plenty of party supplies and clothes that all fit in the theme. If you've got a fall birthday in your family and want a fun party theme, look no further - check out this Nightmare Before Christmas birthday party.

First, the invites. I searched on Amazon but didn't like how I couldn't do printing, and I didn't want to hand write in some of the details of the party. I thought that looked tacky. I also searched on Minted, which is our go-to for printed things like invitations and Christmas cards, but they didn't have anything in our theme. I then found these adorable invites on Zazzle and I'm really impressed. Nice quality, easy to customize online and I found an online coupon for 20% off my order, so they were actually quite affordable, too. Pic of the invite in this post!

One big bummer was that my cake decorator is no longer in business! She was so talented and made cakes for Henry and Otto that not only were exactly what I envisioned, but tasted great too. My second choice bakery is Whole Foods. I love how their cakes aren't too sweet. I planned on getting smash cakes for the twins and then cupcakes for everyone at the party and just put a cake toppers on the cupcakes. That's way easier than cutting cake for everyone (learned that at Henry's birthday party...) While I wanted a white and black Jack Skellington design, the baker told me that they don't have black dye because they only use natural food coloring, so I'd likely be disappointed in the end result. I decided to go with a pumpkin design that they had in the case, and just add the twins' names to the little cakes. Easy peasy, and can't be beat for less than $10 a cake (that, let's be serious, will mostly end up on the floor anyway - another reason I opted to not use the black and white design, I don't need my furniture stained!)

We learned at Henry's party that keeping the menu simple and buying most of it (as opposed to making it from scratch) is the way to go. So the day before the party, I ran to Costco and picked up a tray of sandwiches, a fruit and cheese tray, and some beer and wine. Then we put some crackers out for kids and had some chips and dip. Again, easy peasy! I wasn't trying to cook a meal for 30 people from scratch, especially considering Otto, Knox and Teddy didn't have school the day before the party so I had super limited time to get everything done.

Knox enjoying his cake
The day of the party was unseasonably cool out, which was perfect! We blew up our bounce house for older kids who came and had some yard games out. Corn hole, bocce ball and a croquet set were out there for all to enjoy. A fire pit would have been perfect, but too risky with all the young kids who were going to be there. Simple food, simple drinks, and simple activities. This was only a 2 hour party, after all.

Teddy going to town on the icing while Henry looks on in disapproval of the mess

Our decorations, on the other hand, weren't as simple. Of course my house is decorated for Halloween, but I really enjoyed shopping for The Nightmare Before Christmas party decorations and favors. Here's some links to the exact stuff I got:

The twins' outfits
Plates and napkins
Table covers
Happy Birthday banner
Cling decals
Goodie bags
Tattoos (for goodie bags)

The party went well, and we had a great turnout. The twins of course had no idea what was happening, or why everyone was signing to them, or why a massive ball of sugar was put in front of their face (Teddy REALLY likes sweet things while Knox is so-so on them, and usually won't eat fruit). I've never cried at any of my kids' parties or birthdays but I found myself having a minute with the twins. Perhaps because they're my last babies, and I officially no longer have any babies - they're toddlers now! Although I never feel like babies are real toddlers until they hit 18 months or so. That's when the real toddler-ness comes out.

Poor Teddy was sick (as was I) but he still put a smile on his face for the party!

It was a good day! We invited all our friends, family members flew into town and the next day, the twins got baptized. Now that it's over, hubs and I are preparing to take off for our first solo trip in nearly two years for my 35th birthday, which is Wednesday. After that, it's on to the holiday season... And then on to 2020! Now that they're no longer infants, time is just flying by.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

The Ultimate Gift Giving List

If you've got people on your list whom are hard to shop for, check out these lists of potential gifts as we head into the holiday season

It happened just like I said it would. Once all the summer vacations are over and school resumes, all we have to do is blink and boom - it's the holiday season! Sure, this post is still early. But if you're like me, and have many kids or just a large list to shop for, you've got to start planning now. Especially for those who "have everything" or who you're just not sure what to get them. I've rounded up all my "lists"' posts that serve as great ideas for gift giving, and will break down for who each list is good for. This, friends, is the ultimate gift giving list. And bonus, most of it is Prime eligible (hey free shipping) and about 90% of it is $25 or less. No, I didn't actually calculate that stat, but still! So much of it is within even a tight budget. *Contains affiliate links*

Kitchen gadgets
Have someone who loves to cook? Maybe they're interested in brushing up their culinary skills. This is a great list for them! You could also get something off this list and pair it with a fun local cooking class or a wine tasting, or pair one of the gadgets with a cookbook for a well rounded and super thoughtful gift.

Wooden toys
Calling all people with young kids! This list is a must-check-out if you've got babies, toddlers or even young kids (ages 5-7). I love wooden toys because the quality is SO much better than plastic, and it's not nearly as destructive to the earth as cheap plastic toys. These are actually things you can pass down to other children and will withstand even the roughest of play times. They're also gender neutral so you'll *actually* be able to keep them for all your kids regardless of gender. The twins are getting the walker for Christmas... Just saying!

Dry shampoo
Know a mom? A busy woman? Dry shampoo is a life saver and I really break down which formula is best for who in this post. Whether you're on a budget, have dark hair, or are sensitive to the fragrance in most dry shampoos, I've got it covered in that post! If you've got someone in your life that needs a good dry shampoo, and if you have a mom or a woman with an intense career you most certainly do, check it out and give her not only a useful gift, but one she'll appreciate.

Nursing friendly clothes
Got a new mom in your life? This is a great list for her! Or a mother you know is breastfeeding? She'd most certainly appreciate clothes (because let's be honest - moms aren't buying clothes for themselves anymore, they're buying clothes for their kids) especially stuff she can easily nurse her child(ren) in. I have a closet full of clothes, most of which I couldn't wear for the last year because there wasn't a good way for me to nurse in them. My cute maxi dresses? Yeah, can't access the goods in those. A regular t-shirt? Fine, but I have to pull it up and let my tummy hang out, and that's not comfortable for me in public. Nursing friendly clothes aren't mandatory, but certainly something that is NICE to have as a nursing mom, so if you know a nurser, this list is fantastic.

Yoga fashion finds
I called these "yoga fashion finds" but they'd work for just about any workout... Or, just for wearing athleisure clothes around. If you have a yogi, a barre lover, or a fitness enthusiast on your list this year, check it out. The clothes are as cute (or cuter!) than Lululemon without the insane price tag. Literally, most things on the list are $20 or less and look like the high end fitness brands.

Zero waste eco friendly products
I love how we as a society are waking up to the climate crisis. Thanks, Greta! If you want to do something about it, get ANYONE on your list one of these items so that they can make an easy product swap. There's so many great things here, from travel coffee mugs to food storage to toothbrushes. Literally, products that everyone uses but without the harmful plastic and obnoxious waste of conventional brands.

Essential oils
I'm of the opinion that essential oils make AMAZING gifts. Even if all the person does is diffuse them in order to replace their toxic candles, that's a win! I wrote the attached post on all the ways I use them in my life. If you've got a "crunchy" friend who hasn't gotten into them yet, there are amazing gift options at Revive! Or you could get the oils associated with one of my DIYs or diffuser recipes, and print off the blog post so the recipient knows how to use them. Revive's oils are indigestible, 100% therapeutic grade essential oils that require no membership sign ups (buy them like you'd buy anything on Amazon) and always ship for free in the US and Canada. Use code PAIGE10 for 10% off your order, too!

Homemade gifts
Want to make your own gifts this year? I think that's a FANTASTIC idea! I have a bunch of super easy crafts to make that are quick and can be made in bulk so that you've got spare hostess or secret Santa gifts to give on a whim. That link is literally full of ideas on great things to make, from a peppermint foot scrub to a room spray to a massage oil. Whatever you might need, that post has you covered!

Gift giving season is upon us! I've curated this ultimate gift giving list to provide ideas for all kinds of people who might be on your list this year, from busy or nursing moms, to children to eco-minded people. I love it when some thought was put into the gifts I not only get, but to those I give. I love things that are helpful or needed, or that will help the environment. This year, give the GOOD gifts, both in helpful to the person and helpful to the world as a whole.