Monday, June 25, 2012

The weekly menu

Photo from eleven Magnolia Lane
About 6 months ago, I was inspired by the fabulous pantry reorganization photo above and decided to chalkboard paint my pantry door. I vowed to plan out weekly meals and write them on the board using the menu to make a grocery list and shop just once a week instead of my almost daily trips to the local grocery store. 

The meal planning was going pretty well through the winter and spring. But then... the warm weather hit and as pathetic as this sounds, I just do not have the energy to come up with a new menu every week and a new grocery list for that matter! Luckily, I spent some time with a good friend last Friday who mentioned that she has come up with a standard weekly menu for the summer. What? One menu all summer?  That means I could create one grocery list and just use the same one all summer long! Why didn't I think of this? Brilliant, just brilliant!  

I told my husband the plan and he seems a little skeptical. The same 7 meals all summer? Can we at least have one day that is a "wild card," he asked? But when I reminded him of the meals we've had over the last few weeks (or lack of meals rather), he agreed. Though we're still negotiating the "wild card" day!

So what do you do to make meal planning easier at your home? Do you have a standard weekly menu? Do you just wing it daily? Or are you somewhere in between? 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Beat the heat!

Summer is officially arriving this Wednesday and with it this year comes our first really hot days here in the North East. I personally would be very happy with 70 degrees all summer long, but I know I have some friends out there who are going to welcome the heat! Whether you love to sweat or prefer a cool breeze like me, we thought we’d offer up some of our favorite things to do when you can’t stand the heat!

Back Yard or Park Sprinkler
Just head to your closest playground with a sprinkler or hook up the hose right in your backyard. Simple, inexpensive, and so much fun!

Go to a Museum
Spend a nice relaxing morning playing in an air conditioned museum.

Community Pool
Find your closest community pool, or better yet, make friends with a neighbor with a pool!

The Beach
Ahhh, the beach. So nice any time of day, but I love the beach in the late afternoon when the crowds have started to disperse. Bring a picnic dinner or pick up a pizza on your way. A great way for the whole family to cool off after a scorcher of a day!

Ice Cream Shop!
And of course, my very favorite way to cool off is to head to one of my local favorite ice cream shops. No matter what my mood, ice cream is sure to make it better!

These are just a few of our favorites. Where do you like to go to get out of (or enjoy) the heat?  

Monday, June 11, 2012

A few of our favorite things

We have been busy little bees here at Love and Life cards over the past few months with lots of very fun birthday invitation designs. We want to share a few of these creative custom birthday invitations to give some fun summer birthday party ideas and to give you a little preview of what will be available on our site very soon! 

First we have this super fun, very creative lego birthday party invitation. This mom and birthday girl created the scene, took a high quality photo, and then we simply designed the invitation around the picture. How fun and original!

Then we have one of our favorites (I think it's the pink T-Rex that won us over). This dinosaur invitation was just the starting point. The party details followed through with a "dinosaur fossil dig" and food labeled with "herbivores" and "carnivores" as well as an amazing gigantic pink dinosaur cake!

There have been some great ideas for shared birthday parties as well. The pirate party invitation below was sent for a shared birthday party for two good buddies who share birthdays close together and of course a love of pirates!

And this last one is probably one of my personal favorites. Three sisters who have birthdays pretty close together got to share one big cowgirl party in a fantastic old barn including pony rides and all!

So... do you have a party to plan? We hope some of these help inspire you! We'd love to customize one of the above designs or create something totally new and unique just for you!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Most popular baby names of 2011: Mason, Jayden or ???

Every year in May, the Social Security Administration releases the most popular names of the previous year. A few weeks ago, the top 10 (along with top 1000) names of last year were published and there were a few surprises in the top 10 boys names, at least for me!

Jacob coming in at number one isn't such a shock, but I really didn't expect Mason to be the runner up. How did this name jump to second place so quickly? In 2010 Mason was number twelve. Then I did a quick bit of research via google and found out the reason. The name Mason has been rising for years, but when Kourtney Kardashian named her son Mason at the end of 2009, we just couldn't help follow suit. And why not, nameberry writes of Mason, "an occupational surname that's been heating up for several years, a fresher sounding replacement for the Jason we've moved way beyond, in step with the newer style Cason/Kason."

Now Jayden completely shocked me this year too and I'm not sure why. Jayden holds steady at number 4 as it was in 2010. Why don't I remember it even in the top 100 in 2010? And in 2009 Jayden was listed at number 8. Where have I been? I thought Jayden was more popular as a girl's name. Then I did a little more celebrity research and found that of course, Britney Spears named her son Jayden. 

So a few lessons I have learned: 
1. I might need to catch up on my US Weekly and 
2. Start watching those celebrity baby names now and I might just be able to predict the top 10 names of 2013!

Are you surprised by the quick rise of Mason or Jayden? Or are you all caught up on your celebrity news and knew this was coming years ago? What new rising stars do you predict will be in the top ten for 2012? 

To see the full list of popular names from 2011 go to the Social Security Administration website.