Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Blessings

Happy Easter from the Lester Family!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Ice Cream Party Buffet

For Emma's recent birthday party, we invited friends to join us for a trip to Emma's Ice Cream Parlor. Since the Birthday Girl doesn't like cake, we made sundaes with all of her favorite toppings.

Printable designs from hello love carried our pastel vintage look throughout the celebration.

Laden with candies, cookies and sprinkles, our buffet held tempting surprises for all our guests.

Tiered servers covered with doilies and sprinkles held parfait glasses, perfect for making sundaes.

I didn't have enough sundae glasses for all our guests, so my sister-in-law Shana let me borrow her set, which belonged to my mother. This added a sweet element of nostalgia.

I made these cupcake toppers on lollipop sticks, intending to slip them into the girls' sundaes, but they looked so cute clustered in an extra sundae glass that I left the little bouquet on the buffet.

You can never have enough sprinkles!

The girls were eager to sample our sweet treats!

A vase of sugar cones offered an alternative to a sundae.

We served ice cream and wet toppings in the kitchen, then let the girls finish their cool creations in the dining room.

The Birthday Girl was first in line, of course.

After she fixed her sundae, we sang "Happy Birthday."

(Trick candles = Big Hit in the 8-year-old crowd.)

As soon as Emma blew out her candles, we served the other guests. Cousin Kadence saved her sundae from dripping. Isn't she a sweet princess?

Cousin Bailey contemplates her ice cream cone. Such a cutie! 

Eliminating the homemade cookies and ice cream I had originally intended to make ensured this was a relaxing party for me and my family. Often Joe will take the children out for a meal while I finish last-minute party preparations, but simplifying my plans allowed me to join the group for lunch at our favorite bakery-cafe. If the extra family time was the whipped cream on our festive day, then coming back home to celebrate with friends and family was the cherry on top.

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

"Once in a young lifetime one should be allowed to have as much sweetness as one can possibly want and hold" ~ Judith Olney

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Emma's Ice Cream Party

"Ice cream is happiness condensed." ~ Jessi Lane Adams

We celebrated Emma's 8th birthday with an old-fashioned ice cream party a few weeks ago, and I have to admit, this was one of our easiest themes to date. But it was also one of our most enjoyable. Our schedules are so full now with work, school, church, and extra-curricular activities that it makes sense to simplify our celebrations. It is difficult for me to let go of grand ideas for taking our parties "over the top," but I have discovered that Joe and the kids don't miss those details at all. I did not prepare any food for this party, which allowed me to focus on making the printables and decorating our tables. The Ice Cream Parlor party collection from hello love designs gave me the soft palette and vintage charm I was looking for. Here is a peek into Emma's Ice Cream Parlor.

I will be dishing about our ice cream in my next post, so stop by for a scoop of fun!

Photos by Nathan Prichard. Used with permission.

"There's nothing wrong with me a little ice cream won't fix." ~ Author Unknown

Monday, April 14, 2014

Step Into Our Parlor

"I doubt whether the world holds for anyone a more soul-stirring surprise than the first adventure with ice cream." ~ Heywood Broun

Several weeks ago we celebrated Emma's 8th birthday with an old-fashioned ice cream parlor. My brother, Nathan, captured the party in vivid detail. The photo above offers a little peek of the fun to come in my next posts, so I hope you will visit often this week.

The weather forecast may predict rain this week, but on the blog expect sunshine ... and sprinkles. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Miss Manners PJs and Pancakes Party Preview

"Good manners are just a way of showing other people that we have respect for them." ~ Bill Kelly

Visiting my dear friend Missy Jones was one of the highlights of last week's Spring Break. Missy and I bonded over our love of all things creative. Through the years we enjoyed coordinating our congregation's book club. Take a look at our quarterly picks and parties here.

Missy is putting both her party-planning and teaching skills together to mentor the young girls of our church through Miss Manners parties. The participants above are learning invaluable social graces during bimonthly themed parties. From RSVPs to thank-you notes, Missy is teaching these young women how to interact with others with thoughtfulness.

At this month's Pajamas and Pancakes Party, the girls learned about sleepover etiquette. Missy has shared all the party details on her blog, Our Neck of the Woods. To learn more about her festive decor and menu, visit this post.

And for details of the craft and lesson, visit this post.

"Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy." ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A Glimpse of Her Journal

"I believe our lives are the pages we write, and the ribbon marks the spot where we begin anew each day. I invite you to join me on this adventure!" ~ Phyllis Hoffman DePiano

Yesterday I celebrated my first full year working as assistant editor of Victoria magazine. I still wake up every day grateful for this opportunity. The creative work is fulfilling, but being part of such a talented team is truly inspiring. From sampling delectable treats in the test kitchen and observing photographers and stylists during food shoots to chatting with seasoned editors and writing feature stories for the magazine, each season in this creative workshop holds delightful surprises.

I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to a new venture for Hoffman Media President and Publisher Phyllis Hoffman DePiano. When I started my job last April, my first project was our Victoria Classics issue Monograms. This special edition was close to Phyllis' heart, and I enjoyed getting to know her during the publication process.

People ask me often what she is like in "real life," and I am pleased to report that Phyllis really is as warm and gracious as you would hope her to be, meeting her in the pages of her magazines. But you might be surprised to learn how funny she is. She cautions our staff often that people who don't like to have fun won't enjoy our work environment. With my desk steps away from her office, I can attest that there is always hearty laughter when she is here.

If you have ever wanted to sit down for a visit with Phyllis, you will enjoy perusing her new web site, The Ribbon in My Journal. Along with the creative tips, decorative inspiration and vivid photography you expect from magazines like Victoria, Southern Lady and TeaTime, you will discover a more personal expression of her thoughts. Childhood memories and family anecdotes are sure to make you smile! 

"In pondering the name for my blog, I recalled meeting the writer Alexandra Stoddard ten years ago at a book signing," Phyllis shared in the July/August issue of Victoria. "As she inscribed her signature in my newly purchased copy of Things I Want My Daughters to Know, she placed a length of ribbon in its pages as her special way of adding a grace note to the moment. I named my blog as a tribute to Alexandra and the gracious lifestyle she promotes through her contemporary philosophy detailed in the twenty-seven books she has published."

I encourage you to take a peek at The Ribbon in My Journal. I'm sure it's a site you will want to bookmark as a favorite.

I will be sharing party inspiration in my next posts, so stop in again soon!

Screen shot used with permission.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Welcome Spring!

Happy First Day of Spring!

(Bunny topiary directions here.)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mary Ashley at 10

"A daughter may outgrow your lap, but she will never outgrow your heart." ~ Author Unknown

"A daughter is a miracle that never ceases to be miraculous ... full of beauty and forever beautiful ... loving and caring and truly amazing." ~ Deanna Beisser
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