Spooky Halloween Lunch

I always love to put a little something together for my kids to celebrate each holiday. It’s so cute to see them both enjoy something together as brother and sister and to get into the holiday spirit!

They loved all of the spooky snacks and yummy treats…and their favorite part was (by far) the mini skeleton shot glass cups from which they they drank their water ☺️.

Our menu includes the sugar cookies we baked together; white-chocolate dipped Oreo ghosts; breadstick snakes; orange pepper jack-o-lanterns filled with spinach and artichoke dip; and mini chocolate cakes from our grocery store topped with Halloween bottle brush trees. Overall pretty simple, but festive!

Below I’ll include some sourcing information in case anyone is interested. Hopefully this inspires some fun moments with your favorite littles this Halloween! 😘🖤🧡

Spiderweb backdrop– HGTV has a great how-to on Pinterest we followed for this. I used the extra thick yarn (1 roll) from Michaels to give it a very defined web. Then we added spiders on smaller yard for a drop-down effect.

Halloween Banner – Michaels holiday section

Bottle Brush Trees – Halloween dollhouse/miniature section of Michaels

Mini Skeleton Shot Glass Cups – Michaels, Martha Stewart Brand

Skull Melamine Plates – Home Goods, Nicole Miller brand

Black Gingham Mini Platter Hearth & Hand Magnolia

Black Cake PlateRosanna

Evelyn’s Cat DressStylin Sophie


Sugar Cookies

Baking and decorating sugar cookies can be very daunting, and in my opinion it’s definitely an art! If you ask my mom and I, a sugar cookie is really only as good as it tastes. We’ve baked lots of sugar cookies, both for taste and for cuteness…and finding a balance between the two is definitely a challenge. The recipe included here yields delicious cookies! They don’t fully hold their shape, so we re-cut the shapes after baking and cooling for a clean and crisp shape. Honestly, it’s the best way to accomplish the perfect cookie shape. Below is the recipe and all of my mom’s tips for baking the perfect sugar cookie. A huge Thanks to her mom for sharing all she has learned over the years!

Cookie Recipe:

2 cups salted butter

2 cups sugar

2 large eggs

1/2 tsp salt

3 tsp vanilla (we used a vanilla bean paste)

5 cups flour


Beat butter with a paddle attachment, adding sugar one cup at a time until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and beat just until incorporated. Add salt and vanilla and mix until just incorporated. Add flour in 3 different batches and mix until just incorporated.

Split cookie dough into two evenly distributed batches. Place each batch of dough between two pieces of parchment paper and slightly roll into a flat circle before refrigerating. Chill for a minimum of one hour. After chilling, roll dough (we did about 1/4 inch thick cookies) and cut into shapes. Re-chill shaped cookies. Bake at 375 for approximately 10-12 minutes–don’t overbake! Allow cookies to cool and then store in an airtight container until decorating.

Some tips to keep in mind:

  • Handle the dough as little as possible and add as little of additional flour as possible
  • When rolling out the dough after chilling, leave it between the two pieces of parchment to prevent sticking to rolling pin, counter, etc (this makes the process SO MUCH cleaner!!)
  • Keep dough as cold as possible. The warmer it gets, the stickier the dough will be and the less they will hold their shape
  • After cutting dough into shapes, re-chill on a parchment lined cookie sheet before baking
  • Bake cookies of similar sizes in each batch
  • Freeze cookies either undecorated or fully decorated (or both) if you’re not serving right away. This will allow you to serve the freshest cookie possible!
  • We personally only re-work the dough once for re-rolling. After the second rolling/cutting, we bake the scraps for snacking, practice decorating, etc. if you re-work dough too many times, the texture of the cookie will change

Buttercream Icing Recipe:

2 cups butter

6 cups powdered sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tablespoon milk


Beat butter with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat on high until light and fluffy. Mix in vanilla and milk. Split icing into the desired number of batches for coloring. Add gel coloring (These and these are our favorites) until desired color is achieved. Place icing in piping bags and have fun decorating!! I used icing in piping bags to outline and fill the cookies and then used a small spatula to spread the icing to get a cleaner look.

DIY Pumpkins

I had way too much fun crafting these pumpkins to add to my pumpkin collection. I love the variations of color and texture and that they are uniquely mine! The great thing about this project is that the possibilities are truly endless!

Decorating craft pumpkins is something that offers a wide variety of options. I opted to do a scrapbook paper mod-podge with different patterns and then added a yarn scroll for a variation of texture. For the paper, I looked for the 12×12 paper that was fairly thin so that it could be molded to the pumpkin shape. I purchased the smaller white pumpkins from the floral section at Joanne Fabrics (instead of the big crafting pumpkins they sell in mass) simply because I like the shape and size better…but the more drastic the humps are, the more tedious the mod-podge process is! You’ve been warned ☺️.

Here’s a quick step by step process I did for the mod-podge pumpkins:

    Cut the paper into strips, approximately 1″ wide and as long as the pumpkin from top to bottom
    Strip by strip, apply mod-podge to the back of the paper and apply to the pumpkin from just under the stem to the bottom center of the pumpkin. Use extra mod-podge to gently work the paper down to the pumpkin. I did add small slits into the paper where it was lumpy and far from laying flat. It takes a lot of patience and time just working the paper strip to fully lay down. By the end of it, the paper will likely be fully coated in its first layer of mod-podge
    After the entire pumpkin is covered in paper, add a 2nd coat of mod-podge for securing it all down
    After 2nd coat is dry, apply 3rd and final coat
    Paint your stem your color of choice (I went with a gold)

Have fun choosing papers that work for you but be sure to go bold and choose a fun pattern that might not be your norm. It’s fun to blend the simple with the interesting!

As for the yarn pumpkin, just use hot glue to create a mixture of patterns on the pumpkin itself. Fill in holes at the end to make sure no white is peeking through.

Halloween Season Surprise

Okay, I swear not everything I share will be Disney related, but as I mentioned before, we have an upcoming trip so that’s currently the theme around here :).

These treat baskets actually have a dual purpose for me. I love getting the kids seasonal jammies and goodies to celebrate the upcoming holidays….But instead of them just showing up in their drawers and not really appreciating it, I like to make the delivery of the gifts special as well. And on top of that, I wanted to surprise them with a little something when we leave for our trip. I plan to have these waiting in their car seats when we pick Grady up from school and hit the road! It will be an amazing tangible indicator to him about where we are going and what he can expect. I just feel like these add a touch of magic from a little kids perspective.

I packed the buckets with some snacks and goodies for the ride and a pair of the CUTEST pajamas from Gap. Our little man is donut and sprinkle-obsessed, so these are literally everything right now. And of course, I know the Mickey bucket and light-up necklaces will be huge hits the entire camping trip. The great thing about these gifts is, we probably would have ended up getting these things for the kids at the park anyhow…why not make it a little more personal and special with the way we give it to them?

One of the other things that inspired this was Disney’s own Surprise Gift arrival program. I stumbled across this while planning one of our trips and I thought the idea and gesture was adorable for families. The pricing is a little high and I feel like your money goes so much further by doing it yourself. So why not plan ahead and bring a surprise goodie bag for the kids for arrival? Pack it with all the things you know you’ll probably get or need or want anyway, and make it a magical moment of the trip. Disney’s online shop sells a lot of the park goodies and seasonal items….and they often run promotions with discounts and free shipping. So, just an idea to add a little thoughtfulness to your next Disney (or non-Disney, for that matter) adventure!

Disney (or any vacation) Rocks

So I know that painting rocks is not a groundbreaking idea, BUT we did this little project to get ready for our upcoming Disney trip and I’d thought I’d share! To get the kids excited about our camping trip to Fort Wilderness in Disney World, we spent a day painting these rocks that we would be able to share with other kiddos. I love that it helped to build the excitement for our vacation and that we were able to talk about doing special things for others. Grady was excited to hear that we would be hiding these for other kids to find, knowing how happy it would make them. I mean, how simple and cool of a concept to pass on to our little ones?! I just love it. Since our vacation is Disney, we chose some of our favorite characters and gathered lots of inspiration from Pinterest. But this could totally be tailored to any vacation destination. I think it will become a new tradition of ours!

For the rock project, we used a bag of white rocks from Home Depot. Make sure to wipe the dust off (or wash them prior to painting and let them fully dry). To paint them, we used an assortment of acrylic paint from the craft store. And then we just sprayed a thin coat of clear sealer after all of the painted designs were dry. Pretty easy!

The kids can’t stop playing with them and looking at them, which is always a good sign for a project. Hope this inspires a new tradition for some of you! Here’s a closer look at some of our cute rocks. Thanks for stopping by!

Hello (Again) World!

It’s hard to believe that it’s been almost a year since my last post! If I’m being honest, there are many reasons for why that’s the case–a mix of finding our new groove as a family of four and feeling uncertainty as to the direction I want this blog to take.  But I have recently felt a huge urge for a creative outlet and the timing just feels right to me.  So, I have decided to buckle down and give this a chance in a more serious and structured way than before.

I’ve been wanting to start this process for quite some time but I wasn’t sure how to blend my personal social media accounts with this new adventure.  After careful consideration, I believe that keeping my personal social media private is the best interest for my family and my children.  It’s funny, I often read that many people stumbled on blogging ‘by chance’ and just happened to create an audience.  At one point in time, I would have told you that I wished for something like that; but after observing the pros and cons that scenario creates, I would much prefer to have a deliberate community with whom I can share curated content.  I truly love following along to both types of Bloggers, but I think this works best for me.

My dream of starting a business is still alive, but at this point there are so many other things that take priority over my own aspirations.  What I love about this Instagram and Blogging world is that it allows me to still focus on what matters most to me (my children, my family, celebrating big and little moments, creating lasting memories, photography, etc), while also diving into a challenge for myself.  I have no idea if it will stick, but if I don’t try, I’ll never know, right?

So, anyway, here we are!  I am SO SUPER excited to re-brand my blog as Thoughtfully Curated and really give try to create something meaningful and fun. Hopefully I can create, capture and share some good stuff along the way!

North Pole Breakfast


Today our Elf came to help us officially welcome the Holiday Season!  He brought us a beautiful and festive breakfast, some Christmas jammies for the season, and some awesome new Christmas books to read.

Excited to continue watching Christmas through Grady’s eyes this season.  Everything is so much brighter and more beautiful!  I can’t wait for Evelyn to experience it in the same way one day.


Backdrop Fans and Banner

Elf Letter Printable

Christmas Tree Cake Toppers 


Red Suitcase

Santa Cups, Santa Plates, Furry Bench – Target

Halloween Moana-Style


I wanted to do a blog post for this because my super talented mom HAND-MADE most of our costumes for Halloween this year and it’s just too good not to share the details.  Grady has been pretty obsessed with the movie Moana the past several months so we decided early on that we would do a family theme based on the movie.  So, we thought it was fitting for John and I to be Moana’s mom and dad, Evelyn to be Baby Moana, and Grady to be Maui.  Of course, it’s impossible to find a Maui costume anywhere since Disney discontinued it…and the mom and dad are semi-obscure characters, so we pretty much had to compile the costumes from scratch!  I wanted to do some side-by-sides for fun…so here goes!


Maui – My little man made the cutest Maui, if I do say so myself!  That tattoo shirt is hand-drawn with permanent marker free-hand by my mother…yes, you read that correctly!  Do yourself a favor and zoom in.  They are ridiculously accurate and it’s super cool to look at each ‘story’ on his sleeve.  I purchased a tan leotard online and she drew everything with a thin black permanent marker.  Then, we made the skirt by using rattan string and a collection of silk leaves from Hobby Lobby.  We added additional string and shells to the front to mimic Maui’s and give depth.  I also, glued a bunch of leaves to a pair of green gym shorts of Grady’s as an underneath/back-up option.  I’m super glad I did that because as cute as the skirt is, it just wasn’t super realistic to withstand the wear and tear of a toddler for hours and hours.  Lastly, my mom hand-sculpted the teeth and necklace pieces to create an over-sized version fit for a toddler. I LOVE the way it turned out…too darn cute!


Baby Moana – I don’t think there is anything cuter than a bald baby Moana, hahaha. I actually bought her outfit on Etsy here. Then we made the shell necklace small enough for her to replicate the one from the movie. And lastly, I bought a realistic Plumeria on Etsy and then bought some nylon headbands.  My mom sewed the plumeria onto the headband so it would stay in place.  This was a perfect costume for little Evie because it was simple and comfortable.


Sina and Tui – It just made sense to be Moana’s mom and dad since Evelyn was dressing as her.  This was truly challenging though since all of it had to be created from the ground up.  My mom set out on the challenge to find the right fabric, sew it all together, and layer the pieces to look EXACTLY like the real thing.  She hand-drew the tattoos for John’s tight shirt as well. His necklace is also hand-sculpted from clay.  And then, of course, we had to include Tui’s ceremonial Chief’s headwear for John…..all of which my mom also painted, sewed and glued from scratch (some pretty ingenious stuff she did to get it all to work and fit appropriately!!). My headpiece was purchased on Etsy and added the perfect final touch.


Accessories – Lastly,  we incorporated some of our favorite accessories to complete the look.  I purchased a Hei-Hei doll and a light-up Maui Hook from Target.  Then I made these Kakamora Treat Buckets by spray-painting pumpkins.  My husband painted the faces on and I think they came out so cute!

To say we had fun as the Moana family is an understatement.  The best part is that it’s something Grady has been watching for months in our house, so it was fun to make that come to life for him.  The things we do for our kiddos (and grand-kiddos in my mom’s case :))!

Here are some other favorite pics from the night we spent at Magic Kingdom in our costumes:


Grady’s 2nd Birthday Farmstead Party


We had so much fun celebrating our tenacious two year old last week at his birthday party!  It took us quite some time to finally decide whether to throw him a party this year since large crowds with attention focused on him are not some of his favorite things (to say the least).  But after much thought, we decided to take the plunge and to make the day as comfortable for him as possible. As I’ve said here before, I truly believe that taking the time to celebrate life’s little (and big) moments is essential to living a fulfilled life.  So, I couldn’t let this day go by without a proper party capturing all of Grady’s most-loved things at this moment in his life.

The idea of having a petting zoo here at our house is actually what originally sold us on a 2nd birthday party for G.  We knew that if we had that, there was  NO WAY he could possibly be uncomfortable during the celebration.  He is literally obsessed with animals and we frequent just about any petting zoo we can.  Once we had that booked, the theme just fell into place as a Classic Farm Party.  At this age, farm animals are some of his favorite things to play with and it was so fun pulling all the pieces together.

I knew I wanted the theme to be classic and simple….not too cheesy and cartoony.  So I went with red and white as the main colors at the party itself.  I designed this amazing backdrop and my parents literally built it from the ground up and made my vision come to life.  I looooooooove the way it turned out!  I took some inspiration from this blog post  (she’s so brilliant) and adjusted quite a bit to fit more closely with a little boys’ birthday theme.

I found the invite on Minted and loved it because it was whimsical enough for a 2 year old party, but it was still fairly simple and clean to match the rest of the party details.  I decided to carry the image from the invite on throughout….my mom recreated the image onto the chalkboard and the painted face backdrop too! She is ridiculously talented and I am still in awe of how those turned out.

And since Grady’s birthday is at the end of October, I knew I wanted to incorporate some sort of pumpkin-patch theme into this farm party.  So, we created this super fun, simple and classic pumpkin patch photo set-up so that all of the families attending could get some photos together (without the crowds of people and hassle!!).  Lucky for me, my sister works at a local farm here who sources pumpkins, so I was able to get a batch of about 45 pumpkins to create the area.  We used old fencing, burlap, and dried corn stalks to create the backdrop for depth. Then we added my parent’s old whiskey barrel and baskets to create a vintage feel…and of course a little pop of red thanks to my mom and some handkerchiefs she tied together for a banner. I love the way it turned out and I think it offered a great place for family photos!

Lastly, it wouldn’t be a toddler’s birthday party with out an activity area.  As part of Grady’s birthday present, I built the red barn dollhouse for him.  My mom was actually able to recreate the “Grady’s Farmstead” lettering we used on the backdrop for his barn…I love that he will have this barn for years to come as a token of his birthday celebration.  My parents gave him lots of tractors and animals to go along with the barn, so we placed those out on some hay for the kids to play with.  Then, we added lots of coloring books, farm animal stamps, and custom coloring sheets to a tabletop.  We had the Radio Flyer Horsie already so decided to add that to the area as well! And my wonderful friend let us borrow her son’s ride-on John Deer tractor for the kids to play with too. Between the activity area and the animals, I think it’s safe to say, the kiddos had a blast!

Of course, what makes days like these so special are all of the people who came to show their love and support for Grady and our family.  We are eternally grateful for all that our families did to make this day happen and to our friends who took time out of their Sunday afternoons to spend it with us.  My husband worked his tail off to get our outdoor yard ready for the event…and it was absolutely the most beautiful backdrop for the day.  Every ounce of blood, sweat and energy was worth it to see our beautiful son smile with happiness.  And in my mom’s words…THAT is why we all do what we do.


Menu: Crudités, Corn Husk Popcorn Treats, Pigs in a Blanket, Chicken Tenders, Chick Deviled Eggs, Peanut Butter Birthday Cake (homemade by my mom!), Chocolate Cow Patties & White Chocolate Haystacks (also made by my mom), Assorted Pies, Cow Tails, Sheep Cupcakes, & Farm Animal Sugar Cookies.

Kids Favors: Egg Crates as the container, Sidewalk Chalk, Washable Paints, Clay, Wooden Egg filled with Chocolates, Animal Stickers, Crayons, and bubbles (all of Grady’s favorites!).  Tip: don’t buy the party favor packages.  They are overpriced and you usually get smaller amounts in the containers. It is much more economical (with better quality) to buy in the normal art or toy section and divvy up the portions accordingly.

General Favors: Small Mason jars with plastic animals glued to tops and spray-painted white. Filled with red-foiled dark Dove chocolates

Evelyn’s Nursery

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For me, there is not much more I enjoy than putting a nursery together for my little one as I anticipate their arrival.  It helps me to connect with them by creating a little oasis where I know they will create amazing memories. Evelyn’s nursery is something I have been dreaming about for some time, but it also posed a huge challenge for me since we were in the middle of moving and relocating during most of my pregnancy.  As soon as I found out we were having a girl, I started piecing together some of my favorite things.  I wanted a room that is soft and feminine and slightly sophisticated….but most of all, somewhere that she can dream and be inspired to imagine. Considering everything was sort of piece-mealed together over a few months of living out of boxes, it actually all came together better than I could have imagined.

There are so many personal and meaningful touches in her room, and I can’t wait for her to discover them as she grows.  The antique light fixtures were repurposed and custom-made by my parents–they were actually used at my baby shower for Grady originally as custom pieces there as well.  My husband and father-in-law personally built out the wainscoting in her room, which adds the perfect amount of white to go with her girly pink walls. The antique shadow-box shelf was built by my mom and my sister handmade the beautiful dream catcher that hangs on her bookshelf….I mean, how lucky can this little girl get?!  Then of course, there’s the Icelandic sheepskin I bought for my ‘future little girl’ during my trip to Iceland before I even conceived her.  So many things that all came together perfectly to envelope her with pure love.

Since the space is fairly small, it was a bit challenging to accomplish everything I wanted, but I think it has just what she needs during the first few years of her life.   I wanted to incorporate lots of beautiful texture along with several shades of pink/rose and cream/gold. I set up a cozy little sitting area where I hope she will read and learn, daydream and imagine, and simply discover what it is to be a little girl.  I love how soft it feels in there….and I have a feeling it will perfectly match her personality.  I can’t wait to find out and discover who she is within her own little sanctuary!



Changing Cabinet (RH Baby Brigitte Wide Cabinet)  – sold out similar here


Side Table

Pink Stool


Reading Nook Floor Pillow

Wall Tapestry

Wooden Name (we sewed/glued the name to the wall tapestry and hid the strings to create the final look I wanted)


Crystal Table Lamp


Llama Bookends

Dolls and Bunny

Gold cups/vases

Heart-shaped clock

Bow Hooks

Baby Photo Frame (received as a gift)

Bow Holder

Flamingo Plush

Large Cat Plush

Assorted Pillows from Home Goods and Target

Books from Amazon!  (girl/pink books are hard to find! These titles are some that I scoured the internet for)

Gold Baskets from Target