Monday, December 1, 2014

Exclusive holiday designs

We've been busy little elves here at Love and Life working on exciting things to come for 2015. But don't worry, we haven't forgotten about the 2014 Holiday season. We are in full holiday swing over here and there is still time to get your card order in! Order by December 12th to guarantee Christmas delivery.

We are sharing a few of our favorite new designs not yet available on the web site.

Colorful Holiday:

Insta Year:

Joyful Glitter:

Tri Color Merry:

Stars of Joy:

If any of these new designs strike your fancy, simply email sona@loveandlifecards with your photo(s) and reference the card name you would like. 

You can also go directly to our web site to customize your 2014 holiday card and see an online preview as you go. 

Wishing you a joyful December!

Monday, September 8, 2014

The best (and easiest) granola

Photo from Martha Stewart Living

In these back to school days, I am trying not to stress about silly things like lunches but that is easier said than done. I will be packing two lunches starting this week which is a big jump from packing only one lunch one day a week last year. That said, I'm trying to get organized. I've been packing lunches the night before for starters. And I'm also trying to have lots of easy, healthy breakfast choices on hand. This yummy granola recipe is super easy and my kids (two out of three anyway) love it. I got a similar recipe from my friend Alyce a few years ago and have adapted it here and there. Mine still doesn't taste quite as good as hers does, but I think that credit is due more to the baker than the recipe. 

Homemade Granola

3 cups Old Fashion Rolled Oats
1/2 cup toasted wheat germ * optional
1 cup slivered almonds (you can use any combination of nuts)
1 cup dried cranberries (you can use any combination of dried fruit)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup (1/2-3/4 cup is plenty)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees
Step 1. Mix all the dry ingredients together.
Step 2. Stir in the maple syrup and mix until everything is coated.
Step 3. Spread out on baking sheet.
Step 4. Bake at 325 for 20-30 minutes stirring the granola halfway through.

My girls eat it with yogurt, milk, or just by the handful for a quick bite on the go. Now the only problem is that I might love it a little too much...

Monday, August 25, 2014

S'more summer please

I really cannot believe summer is over. My oldest goes back to school on Wednesday - two days from now! What better way to close out summer than with a back yard camp-out and s'mores party? We actually designed this invitation for a birthday party and thought it was such a super cute idea. 

The tent under the stars on the back just might be my favorite of this s'mores party design.

We hope you enjoy these last moments of summer. Happy roasting!

Monday, August 18, 2014

September resolutions

As much as I hate to see the summer coming to an end, I always feel like September is a good time for new resolutions, or mainly, refreshing my eternal quest to become more organised. The school supply list is made, the uniforms bought, and now to tackle some of the paper chaos that school brings. One thing I am terrible at is keeping kids pictures, papers and certificates organised. So this year, I am trying something new - preparing ahead with these files:
A folder per school year
I am busy catching up on Rebecca's last 2 years, including report cards, special artwork, certificates and photos.  I am also TRYING to remember to take first day last day photos like these:

First Day Year 1
Last Day Year 1

I'm keeping Finn's Reception folder and Rebecca's Year 2 folder in my filing cabinet to put things in through the school year.  The rest are going in the loft - clearly labeled so I don't have to open and close 10 different boxes every time I look for something.
One box each
I have also FINALLY set up email addresses for both the kids. It's been on my "to do" list for about 5 years. My intention is to email them photos of days out, send them a soppy love note, or tell them what they are into at the minute, like Finn's recent fondness for photo bombing.
Finn the Photo Bomber 
Please, please send us your organising ideas…we will share them, try them and hopefully use them to make our lives just a little easier.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A treasure hunt birthday party

Our little Eva Bean turned four last week and we celebrated the occasion with a treasure hunt among family and friends! The birthday girl had requested a treasure hunt themed party back in June and has not wavered from the theme all summer. 

This is the invitation we sent out to friends and family a few weeks before the big event. 

And what Love and Life invitation would be complete without a snapshot of our little treasure hunter on the flip side?

We kept things simple with snacks like Pirate's Booty

and watermelon on a stick. Because everything tastes better on a stick, right?

Once everyone had a chance to make a pair of custom treasure hunt binoculars (more on that soon) and decorate a bag for collecting the loot, we were off. Four silly, rhyming clues around the yard led us to this hidden treasure (or kiddie pool filled with sand and toy necklaces, rings, jewels and gold coins).

Here is one of Eva's best buds showing off a favorite find.

And here are a few more of the crew enjoying their loot and a little pizza.

The forecast was for rain all day with the highest chance being from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. which of course was the exact same time as the party. We set up a little tent just in case, but luckily for us the rain stayed away!

Our little chocolate loving birthday girl could not wait for cake and this treasure hunt themed cake from a local bakery — Henry's — did not disappoint

I just love this cake faced shot of me and my birthday girl.

And a little sister love to end the day. 

Phew... as much as I love a good party, it sure was nice to put my feet up at the end of the day. What about you? Do you love to host a party and feed on the excitement or does being the hostess with the mostest simply wear you out? I think I'm some kind of hybrid of the two. I always feel exhausted after hosting a big gathering, but I love doing it and every time I think "that was the last party I'll host for a while," I seem to decide it's time to plan another. Speaking of which... what are y'all doing next weekend? Want to come over? :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Mini-vacation

As much as I adore home, sometimes it is nice to just get away. Last week we went on a mini-vacation to Maine. In theory, I would love to rent a house on the water somewhere for the entire week or even two, but because of other commitments we knew that just wasn't in the cards this summer. 

Our first stop was in Freeport where we made the obligatory LL Bean stop. We didn't take advantage of the 24/7 hours. Yup, they are open all. night. long. But we did take a moment to snap a few shots on (and next to) the giant boot.

We checked out a few light houses...

saw some of the beautiful, rugged coastline...

and spent more than one afternoon on the beach.

Despite the fact that I never really felt "oh, this is so relaxing" while we were there, I do think we were relaxed. Things that might normally annoy me (clutter) or Ben (traffic) didn't seem to bother us. We laughed. A lot. The girls had fun on our excursions, but also just loved exploring the house. I wish I'd taken a picture of them in their "secret hideout" which was basically a teeny walk in closet under the eaves of the barn-like house we were renting. 

So in the end maybe a mini-vacation was just what we needed. Not too much time off of work for Ben to stress about being away and just the right amount of time away from it all. It was good just to get away from the every day routine and be together. Just the five of us. 

What do you think about a mini-vacation vs. a longer one or even two-week trip? We'd love to hear your vacation experiences both with and without kids! 

And what vacation is complete without a family cliffhanger?

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fruity fun

Photo from Martha Stewart Living

Nothing says summer like a little backyard entertaining. And what better way to start a party right than with a yummy cocktail? We made these Blackberry-Plum Mojitos over the weekend and they were delicious! 

The Recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart Living):

1 1/4 cups sugar
juice from 3 lemons
2 lbs plums (pitted and cut)
1/2 pint fresh blackberries
1 cup fresh basil leaves
3 cups vodka
sparkling water

Bring sugar and water to a boil stirring consistently until sugar is dissolved (about 3 min). Let cool 15 minutes. 

Combine lemon juice, fruit, basil and syrup in a bowl. Refrigerate 1-4 days. (I was lucky to get in marinating for just under 24 hours)

Add vodka and sparkling water to fruit mixture in a pitcher. Serve over ice. Garnish with basil and mint.

I was just a little bit intimidated about making the simple syrup for some reason, but the whole thing was so easy peasy and it was such a fun cocktail to serve and drink.