Party Like It's 1999

Loveys, this is a party post! Saturday night we celebrated the Jeffster's 40th birthday by having a 90s themed party at our house. So. Much. Fun. For real! When I started planning Jeff's birthday party, I scoured Pinterest for 90s party ideas and came across a couple that helped. So I want to post pictures (I'll pin them for Pinterest) to share the love.

First let me say that this party was important to me. Jeff hasn't had a birthday party in umpteen years (I'm from Texas, ya'll), but you only turn 40 once and I think it's a milestone that deserves celebrating in a memorable way. So when I decided to throw him a party, my hope was that it would be so fun, when we went to sleep that night, the last thing we'd say was that it had been a great night and an awesome party. That absolutely happened! It was such a special night for Jeff. And I want to say thank you to all our amazing friends (and family, Sara and Nemo!) for getting sitters and coming to party with us. Having our house filled with people who care about us made Jeff's birthday all I wanted it to be. It means everything to me when people show up for you, and for that reason, my heart is so grateful for every person who came and listened to 90s music and played video games and brought cards and celebrated with us. THANK YOU.

So, when I first told Jeff we were going to have a party, I sort of threw out there that we should get a deejay. He laughed like I wasn't serious! But don't you totally think music makes a party awesome? We haven't hooked up our surround sound through our house yet, but I knew I wanted 90s music playing so I needed to do something. Jeff and I were both in high school in the 90s and we started dating in 1998--that music is our scene and I wanted to bring that back. We're talking about a guy who knows every word to Ice, Ice Baby. So...then Jeff remembered that one of our friends has a lot of cool stereo equipment (for weddings or parties). Score! We rented a sound system from Jeff's buddy and it was perfect. I created a playlist (so fun, by the way, listening to Hootie and Third Eye Blind and TLC, etc.). Then I decided to make CDs as party favors! All of our guests went home with a 90s mixed CD.

On to decor! So the 90s were all about the boomboxes. Pinterest gave me an idea for a table centerpiece. It took some Goodwill shopping and a little spray paint, but totally worth it. Really, I love this so much and it cost me less than ten dollars.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do with it now but I can't throw it away! I'm thinking the kids will have 90s themed birthday parties next year! Ha!

I also knew I wanted a banner and I wanted it to be a nod to Friends (which Jeff and I loved). Do you remember how nearly every single Friends episode's title began with "The One Where..."? I wanted a banner that read, The One Where Jeff Turns 40. I ordered this amazing banner for a super reasonable price at VistaPrint. I LOVED how it turned out. Loveys, this banner was everything. Jeff was so excited when I rolled it out!

I also knew I wanted game stations. Because for me, the 90s were filled with all-night Mario 3 Nintendo sessions. Old school, baby. So we had two game stations where you could play either the original Nintendo (mine from childhood) or PacMan, Galaga, Frogger, and so on.

One of the things I love about parties are photo booths/photo props! So fun! So we had a Polaroid camera and lots of 90s photo props. I ordered these online. I love all the pictures so much. Jeff picked out the mullet though. (I told him it looked oddly natural on him! Ha!) (And yes, I'm wearing a T-shirt with Jeff's face on it. Jeff wants me to wear it all the time now. Good times.) 
So for the cake, I decided to use a photo of Jeff. I looked at other styles, and to me, it just fit our theme best. It turned out great and was just what I had hoped for. I wanted our decorations to be very personal (like looking through an old photo album of Jeff!). So I pulled out Jeff's old letter jacket from high school. His Star Wars case of toys, old movies and games we had, Jeff's basketball awards from the 90s. I framed pictures of Jeff from childhood. I wanted it to feel like a blast from the past!

We had a champagne toast instead of singing Happy Birthday and then we cut the cake. And I had really wanted Jeff and I at least to have one dance. So when KC and JoJo's All My Life came on, I pulled him outside and we had our moment (thanks, love). That was super special to me. Eighteen years together and we're still dancing. It's not always easy but we work for it. (Yes! Our sound system came with super cool lights that changed with the music. Loved it.)

Loveys, it was such a good night. I hope all our friends had as much fun as we did. House party, ya'll. 90s style.


Party Planning and Gratitude

Loveys, I've given in to fall. Today was gorgeous, with cool breezes, and it felt so much like fall that I almost bought a pumpkin--then I remembered that I have children who like to pick them out. I did go ahead and pull out a little d├ęcor (I'm going minimal this year) and brought autumn to my mantel. It feels delicious outside and it's just what I need at the end of a tired week. Something about fallish weather makes me hopeful. And thankful. Sometimes being thankful takes work--you know those times, amid lots of doctor bills rolling in and when your car is suddenly making a scary noise and leaking something--but beautiful weather and candy corn candles and brownies and pizza do help.

Loveys, the countdown to our 90s bash is officially here and I'm feeling just a little anxiety. I love throwing parties. I love having friends over. But because this is specifically for the Jeffster, and because I want it to be really special for him, I'm probably more nervous than usual. I've been party planning a little at a time--so I'm not completely freaking out the day of (I read somewhere that a good hostess is calm and happy for all her guests. Oh dear). I still have a lot to finish by the big day. Keep your fingers crossed for me that all goes well. The cleaning alone....heaven help me.

The fun part about having a big party at the end of September, is that it's almost a kick-off to fall. I'm hoping it's not too cold, so we're still comfortable hanging out outside around the fire-pit. Cool nights and the smoky smell of a fire. Drinks and music and friends. It's our first fall party of the season and I can't wait! What do you love about fall, lovey? Are you one of those pumpkin-spice-latte fans? For me, one of the things I love about fall is having fallish get-togethers. The weather is cool and crisp but you're not usually having to trek through snow up your friend's sidewalk. You get to wear adorable boots and sweaters (and eat more). I like warm drinks and wine and fall flavors. My BFF Michelle reminded me that last year we were together for the Harvest Moon and together we hosted a Harvest Moon tea party. (Michelle, by the way, I miss you and love you tons.) I'm not doing a Harvest Moon tea this year--obviously I'm freaking out about Jeff's 40th. But I hope to host a few small gatherings before winter.

Fall tends to be fast in Colorado so we try to enjoy every second. Seriously, all the leaves could fall in a day! At least, it feels that way. I LOVE fall foods. Give me chili and beef stew and corn bread and pecan pie and apple cider. Pumpkin dip with ginger cookies. Soups like chicken and dumplings and tomato bisque. Cinnamon scones. I like candy corn and chocolate. Black tea with cream and sugar. Fall is such a fabulous time to make memories. Pumpkin patches and apple picking--while those kinds of things can be super fun, have you found that they can also be so expensive? Maybe it's just Colorado. But if you're going to a pumpkin patch or a place to pick apples, it can be frustrating that it costs so much. I was thinking about the fact that my favorite memories growing up didn't cost anything--watching Anne of Green Gables at home with my family and eating popcorn. Drinking hot chocolate while we watched The Night They Saved Christmas. Pot roast at Mimi's house. Enchiladas at Grandma Dori's restaurant. (Yes, all my favorite memories involve food! For real, it's Friday night and the Jeffster and I are watching Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and wanting to try Cuban food. We're food people.)

Amazing fall memories don't have to be expensive either. We buy pumpkins from Walmart and the kids LOVE carving them outside on the deck. Ash loves to bake so I'm thinking we'll buy a big bag of apples this year and try to make a homemade apple pie. Thrift-store shopping for Halloween costumes. Trips to the library for fall-themed movies and books. Hot cocoa with jumbo marshmallows.

Family life is awesome, loveys, even if it needs to be managed on a budget. I'm all about party planning on a budget as well. If every gathering cost a fortune, they would be few and far between at my house. But coffee and scones and breakfast casserole are doable. Add in a couple of friends and you've got yourself a fall memory in the making.

My first party of the fall season is almost here, lovey. I'm ready to make some memories that will last a lifetime. It's not every day my other half turns 40. I'm so thankful for the years we've had together, and I hope for many more. It's time to celebrate. Bring on the champagne!

Pajamas and Clouds

Loveys, it's a super cloudy morning over here in Colorado and I'm one of those people who believes that staying in pajamas on cloudy days is the most logical thing to do. It's been a good week. My sweet mother-in-law has been out here visiting us. We've loved having here here. Now she's flying home this morning and I've just dropped the kids off at school. It looks like it will be a very lazy morning for me and Miss Lily. Which is maybe just what I need. An extra cup of coffee and a little Food Network watching (while Lily climbs onto the laptop or unplugs it every other minute). We're just about halfway through September. I had a great birthday loveys. I crossed over into the land of 37 to gifts and cake and time with friends and it was really nice. (Isn't that cake gorgeous? It looked like something out of a Jane Austen movie. Thank you, June. Love you.)

 Now we've got only got the Jeffster's birthday left. Which is the main one since the boy turns 40 this year and it needs to be epic. It's going to be fun, loveys. Be prepared for pictures. I'm channeling the 90s and it's going to be a good time. I can't wait! I was actually at Goodwill yesterday picking up a few goodies that are going to be magically turned into fun decorations. I love this kind of stuff. So the countdown is on and you'll get a full recap with lots of ideas to share.

Loveys, for real, I've been rebelling against fall. I just haven't felt ready to put up fall decor and let go of summer. We've still had very hot days and there's green everywhere and I just want to hold on for as long as I can. But there was a nip in the air this week that felt very much like fall. And this morning, I lit my candy corn candle that Sara gave me. (I freely admit we've already been eating candy corn at my house like it's going out of style.) It's just about here and with it comes some change--now that I know I am ready for. You might have noticed the new look to the blog, I've just been wanting change lately. Some of my birthday treats ended up being gift cards, which inspired me to mix up my bedroom a little. A few new pictures. Switch out my comforter for one I haven't used in a while. Buy a couple new pillows. Nothing earth-shattering, but it definitely gives the room a different look, and that tends to breathe new life into spaces.

I like new life into old spaces. Sometimes we really need change. And I confess I love the smell of fall. Pumpkins and spices and apple crisp. It's right around the corner and it's drawing me in. (Please someone make me some zucchini bread!)

Time goes fast. It seems like just a minute ago, Jeff was 22 and we were meeting in the alleyway between our jobs (romantic, I know. Not really). We turn around and he's on the brink of 40, with our three kids barreling through the house and toys everywhere. Leftovers in the fridge and dishes in the sink.

Good days. Long days. Moments that smell like cinnamon and sugar. The sounds of leaves swirling or rain falling. Ashtyn and I have just started reading Harry Potter together at bedtime. For this reader girl's heart, those are memories I'll hold on to forever. My goal this fall is to have a positive spirit. There's a lot of negativity everywhere. Complaints all around us. Not enough. Too much excess. Opinions on everything. You can't click on a webpage without seeing another opinion article from everything to cupcakes at school parties to a response to how someone looked at someone's kid at the park.

Some days I'll click on those links, many days I'm not really interested.

For this wonderful fall season, I think I want to focus on joy and contentment and being positive at the Bruce house. I know that can be challenging in an election season. The other day on the way to school, Ash was talking about the people running for president (I think they'd been talking about it at school that week). She and Linc know who we're voting for and they seem very excited about the "race." Which is great. It's part of our country's process. But I reminded them that we can pray for both candidates, and whomever wins, we believe in Jesus above all. It helps to remind myself too. Life will go on regardless and we'll celebrate Thanksgiving and have turkey, and get ready for Santa, and do homework and go to work and be thankful for the blessings of this amazing country.

I'm grateful for that.

I'm taking today off, lovey. It's a pajama and no-makeup kind of day. Pioneer Woman is calling my name. We've got lots of leftover pot roast so there's no need to cook. Clean-up begins tomorrow. I'm working on a super-exciting book project with my sister (more to come on that later--I can't wait to share with you!), and it's perfect reading for fall. Birthdays, fall teas, book launches, Halloween (I went to the library this week and there were so many cute Halloween picture books and cartoon movies on display! Fun!)--I'll take a breath and begin again tomorrow.

What are you looking forward to this fall, lovey? Are you diving in or holding on to summer just a bit longer?