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The Fireplace Mantel, Decorated for Christmas

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Confession: we waited until after Thanksgiving to put our tree up, but I started bringing out the Christmas decorations for the rest of the house a couple of weeks ago! The fireplace is sporting a mix of decorations that we already owned with a few new additions from Target.

Christmas Fireplace Decorating #Target #MakingitLovely

I really liked this holiday berry garland, but I used the silver ornament garland that we already owned and then added a few loose gold ornaments to fill in some bare spots. The candle holders are the same ones you saw last month in the dining room. I picked up several small and large bottle brush trees in both silver and white to add to the mantel, and further staggered the height by propping a few of the trees up on small upside-down bowls that are hidden behind the ornaments.

Christmas Fireplace Decorating #Target #MakingitLovely

The brass deer are vintage. I loved decorating with them each year in the old house, so it’s fun to see them here on top of the fireplace. You can pick up this guy if you’re looking for a new deer of your own, or maybe just a small ceramic stag head for kicks?

Christmas Decorations #Target #MakingitLovely

Had the vintage painting leaning on the mantel been something more precious, I probably would have hesitated to string the “happy holidays” glitter banner across it. It may not be the greatest work of art, but I think it is the perfect backdrop for those sparkly letters! And speaking of sparkle, behold. Glitter! Gold! Silver! It’s all very merry.

Christmas Decorations #Target #MakingitLovely

Our stockings will soon be hung by the fireplace, but that isn’t the only change to come. My sister is hosting a Christmas party this year and she asked if she could borrow some decorations, so I have a feeling some of these will be moving to her apartment soon. At least I was able to enjoy this setup for a little while first! Besides, what are sisters for? (For stealing all of your cute Christmas decor, apparently. Ha!)

Christmas Fireplace Decorating #Target #MakingitLovely

This post is sponsored by Target. Shop Home Décor for modern luxury made easy.

A Ninja Turtles Back to School Party

This post is sponsored by Target. More Turtles, More Bold and Daring Fun: Blur the lines of fantasy and reality with your favorite Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles at Target.

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We have friends and neighbors in the area with kids the same ages as ours, so we thought it would be fun to have everyone over for pizza last weekend. It was a low-key party in celebration of the first week of school, and in anticipation of the first week of preschool for the younger ones. August is into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles now, so we went with the Turtles as a theme.

Turtle Power!

We had turtle shells, masks, and toy weapons on hand for all the kids, and they got to take them home when the party was over. They could dress up right away, but I kept the weapons out of sight until it was time for “ninja practice.” To keep things as calm as possible when a whole bunch of kids are going nuts with play swords and nunchucks, we made it clear that they were only allowed to hit the inflatable bad guy and all toy weapons had to stay in the practice area. Thankfully, the rules worked!

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Shells and Masks

Ninja Practice

I picked up some TMNT plates and green decorations from Target for the party. We ordered pizza (on theme!), and the kids sat around the table while the adults gravitated toward the kitchen. For dessert, we had mint chocolate chip ice cream (because: green) and Turtles (of course).

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Party Decorations

Pizza Party

We had eight kids in the house, and eight adults. The Ninja Turtles theme was perfect because it kept the kids occupied and entertained so that the adults could actually have a conversation. Hurrah, time spent in the company of grown-ups! Plus, hello, the kids looked adorable.

Wee Ninja Turtle

p.s. The shells are quite flattering on a very round, pregnant belly. And with such a nice protective quality!

Shell Belly

Eleanor’s Fifth Birthday Party

We had two birthday parties on Sunday. The first was for Eleanor’s friends, and the second, later in the day, was for our family and also celebrated Brandon’s birthday. We tried this last year, thinking that it was a good way to separate the events but still have everyone involved, and it went well. This year? It felt kind of bananas. But it went well too, so yay? (We were tired that night!)

Happy Birthday Sign on the Fireplace

We had a dozen five-year-olds in the house, and the party was fast and fun. I snapped most of these photos after they had left, but before our family came by.

Paper Lanterns and Horse Lights

Birthday Party, Dining Room

Hey look, a sneak preview of the books on the shelves! With a weird, giant horse balloon.

Horse Balloon

And more use of those giant balloons… There were three in all, and the kids loved carrying them around the house. (Brandon had them filled at the grocery store for $2/each with heart-shaped weights. The party store quoted $7/balloon with just string.)

Silly Baby Photo

That photo of E from when she was six months old still cracks me up!

The kids at the party spent most of their time up in the playroom, playing with Play Doh, using the toy kitchen, and trying on dress-up clothes. We didn’t want to interrupt them and steer them toward activities (like Pin the Tail on the Pony) that they might not really enjoy when they were already having fun, so we went with the play that was happening naturally. At one point, Eleanor and some of the other kids formed a marching band and they went through the house making a jolly racket, and my favorite getup was the girl who paired leopard-print kitty ears with black glasses and bongos. I like your style, young lady.

Pin the Tail on the Pony

(Eleanor was kind of bummed about not playing the pony tail game with her friends, but we did do it later when our family came over. The adults were all pretty sure the older kids cheated, because their tails were all right on top of each other in just the right spot.)

We put down a plastic tablecloth and rounded all the kids up when the pizzas we ordered had arrived. To keep them busy in their seats while we got the food ready, we had markers and pre-cut circles of paper that fit my button making machine. The kids ate while Brandon made their designs into magnets, which they took home at the end of the party along with their goody bags.

Kid-Made Magnets, and Goody Bags

After pizza came the birthday cake. I didn’t get a great shot of it because Brandon and I were both busy keeping up with all of the kids, but the cake looked similar to the one in my post on horse birthday party inspiration. Instead of bunting, I made some big paper hearts to go behind a toy horse.

But oh! The look on Eleanor’s face, and her friend’s hand on her arm. Love this shot.

Birthday Cake

And thus went our birthday celebration weekend. I don’t know if we’ll divide the parties up the same way next time though — we were all exhausted! I’m curious… do you combine the kids and the family into one party? Have them on separate days? Just do one or the other? We might need to rethink our approach.

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