Spring Clean The Exterior of Your Home| How to Brighten the Front of Your Home For Less

As we have had some warmer days and the daffodils are starting to pop thru the soil – I had an itch to brighten up my house. When we bought our house, I felt like it looked old, run down, and almost haunted due to the faded light blue/gray color of the house. I have been determined to update the front of our house inexpensively until we save to get the entire house painted. This caused a flurry of research and pictures for inspiration. Here are some great ideas on how to freshen up your home for this upcoming spring!

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{ Picture by: Drew Carlisle – First day of owning our home}

Plants: This is a great way to freshen up your house. You can start with something small and simple like potted or hanging plants. Or you could do something more drastic like re-landscaping flower beds (for a more expensive fix). The pots and hanging baskets are nice because they can be changed with the seasons to keep your house looking fresh and updated. Here are some of my favorite inspirations.

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{I love my litten hen planter Photo by: Lauren Cop}

I love this fresh green look for a front bed:

I love a great overflowing flower bed!

These unique porch pots provide a great enhancement:

This vintage birdcage look is lovely!

I love these ideas for front porch plants:Here are some great tips for hanging baskets:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great list of porch flowers:

Furniture: Sometimes a small piece of furniture, accent pillow, or rug could be a nice and simple change to a front porch or entry way. Pillows and rugs are simply ways to add color and can easily be changed for each season. Furniture is a more fun and permanent way to update your home. You can add chairs, tables, hammocks, ladders – the possibilities are endless. Below are some of my inspirations.

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{Viv enjoying some porch sitting Picture by: Lauren Cop}

I love this décor for a small front porch:

This traditional front porch look is timeless:

If you prefer elegance, here’s a great front porch look:

Lights and Wreaths: Light fixtures and wreaths or front door signs are another simple way to keep the front of your home looking modern and in-season. Lights are relatively cheap and easy to install by yourself. It is a great way to modernize your home, too! Wreaths and front door décor are a very simple and inexpensive way to be able to update your home as well. Listed are some of my ways to update a home in this manner:

I love this floral bouquet for the front door:

How great is this unique welcome sign?

This is a great DIY wreath that you can complete for your home as well:

Here is a great list of other door décor items:

I love this door handle – another great way to refresh the front of your home:


Here is a fantastic list of porch lights that won’t break the bank:

Paint: This is always my first go-to for refreshment. It is permanent, cheery and can really modernize a home. I love all the rainbow colored doors I get to see on a regular basis. It a fantastic way to personalize a home. Recently I painted my front porch and the trim around our windows. The update was pretty drastic and cost us a fraction of what it would have cost to restain or replace these items. Here is our result and some other inspirations for you as well.

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{Updated front of our house – window trim, porch, and front door Picture by: Lauren Cop}

I love this big list of colors:

Here is a great list of trend colors from 2016:

I love this list of trends for 2017:

 

I am so excited for the new trends for 2018!

 

Refreshing my home has caused to me have a newfound love and appreciation for my house. You should always feel love and warmth when you arrive home. If you don’t, than its time to make some adjustments. I used to feel like my house looked haunted – now I feel like it has a fresh new look and I am excited to come home and look at it. Please share with us how you have updated the front of your home. We would love to see our readers’ improvements as well!

auren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

Wedding Wednesday Season of Love | Some Favorites for a Winter Wedding

Since it is the season of love and one of my brothers recently got engaged, I decided that it was time for me to do another wedding Wednesday with a winter twist! Winter can be such a great time of year for a wedding. Many people get time off from work for the holidays and families are already planning on getting together. I have been to several beautiful winter weddings and I can’t wait for more in the future year. Here are some of my favorite winter wedding items.

Colors – This is very important to any wedding because it can create such a great visual for your wedding. It also often establishes the palette for your lives’ together. Here are some of my favorite winter selections.


Dress – Your wedding dress is such a statement piece – it really is one of the most important details of the wedding. Even if you choose not to wear a dress, it really sets off the tone for the rest of the event. Here are some of my favorites for wedding attire.

I love this chic wedding dress:

This great untraditional wedding style is stunning:

Check out this simple and elegant dress:

Gorgeous simple wedding dress...beautiful for Winter Wedding.
I especially love this dress because it reminds me of my own!

Here are some great ways to stay warm and stylish while also emphasizing your dress:

Shoes – We at the Olive Shoe are obviously obsessed with shoes! So this is clearly an important piece for us. I love when brides choose to wear untraditional footwear in their wedding. Here were some of our favorite pieces.

I love these simple, colorful wedding shoes:

 

These flat wedding shoes are great:

Warm boots are perfect for the coldest of winter weddings:

These beautiful wedding sneakers are awesome – perfect for a bride who needs comfy shoes!

I love the fun booties for a wedding:

These bridal cowboy boots are fantastic for a wedding:

Bridesmaids – Bridesmaid dresses can be really difficult to choose. There are so many things to consider – style, cut, color, etc… Especially when there is a potential for cold weather, choosing the right dress or accessories can be difficult. Here are some of our favorite ways to keep your bridesmaids warm during your winter nuptials.

I love the traditional pashmina look:

The look of these long scarfs is stunning:

 

A faux fur is a great way to emphasize your winter fantasy wedding:

I love these plaid scarfs as an untraditional additive to a wedding:

I love the beautiful coat/dresses, bridesmaid-style:

Décor – Now winter months can be kind of barren but that doesn’t mean your wedding has to be. There are lots of ways to keep your winter wedding bright and cheery. From floral arrangements to centerpieces, your winter wedding can be so beautiful.

I love this more traditional arrangement:

This unique field-inspired bouquet is gorgeous:

How about the succulents in this arrangement:

The texture of this bouquet is fantastic!

I love this untraditional bouquet

This boutonniere caught my eye, especially because it is also one of my favorite flowers:

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I love this untraditional bouquet

This sweet place holder is a lovely addition for a winter wedding:

This venue creates a stunning setting for a great rustic wedding:

A ladder as an accent piece – brilliant!

I love this use of wood, candles, and floral arrangements:

This alter theme is really beautiful:

I love this list of different wedding decorations:

Cake – Wedding cakes nowadays are a centerpiece in themselves. Here are some great options that would be a great addition to your décor for your wedding.

I love this new water color trend:

This is a super fun hombre cake with great texture:

gorgeous white silver gray ombre effect on this beautiful architecturally layered wedding cake

This is a great look for a rustic winter wedding:

This gold painted cake is a show-stopper:

I love the greenery on this cake:

Want something unique? Try this naked cake look:

Here is a great list of additional winter cakes:

Photography – Wedding photography is really so important. It is the best way to capture one the best days of your life. Here are some really fun winter wedding posing ideas that would be a great way to capture your wedding day.

I am not huge into ring photos, but this one is super beautiful:

I love this sweet pose:

A sprig of mistletoe provides a subtle way to imply the season in this sweet pose:

I love this warm and cozy pose:

Who doesn’t adore a picture by the fire?

Beautiful and creative lighting to illuminate the umbrella in this photo:

Lastly I love this fun bridal party photo:

Honestly, you can’t go wrong with a winter wedding. There are so many fun trends, flowers, and décor you could choose. Not to mention the great styles – it’s just a magical time to celebrate. I am so looking forward to my brother’s winter wedding – in addition to others of course – and I hope you are too! Please feel free to share with us your winter wedding experiences; we would love to hear from you!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Special Day of Love with the Kiddos| Quick DIY Activities for Valentine’s Day | By Lauren Cop

Valentine’s Day is all about the celebration of love. Temper tantrums, mealtime and bedtime battles, sibling rivalry, social life, errands, work, bills – it all contributes to a chaotic life. It is easy to let our appreciation of our children and the importance of expressing love and appreciation go to the wayside. Love is a powerful emotion that can solve many problems. With love, we can include, appreciate, and solve problems in a peaceful manner. I talk about love with my children all the time – the more it is talked about, the more my children can be made aware of the powerful effects of love. This Valentine’s Day, I plan to start my first celebration of love with my children. Listed below are just a few fun projects you can do with your children in helping your children to celebrate love.

Love your body – You get one body. Period. It is important that you teach your children how to appreciate their bodies from the get-go to prevent unnecessary health issues later in life. Discuss nutrition, fitness, mental health and especially how to appreciate their unique features. The Valentine Heart Hop was so fun to play with my little one. Through this game they are working on fitness and education so they are, in a sense, loving their bodies. This game is soo easy to put together and you probably already have all the materials in your home! You can work on numbers, counting, and of course hopping! Give it a try and see what fun you can create with your little one.

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{ Valentine Heart Hop, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Here are some other great Valentines Day games for the kiddos to play.

Throwing a Valentine's Day party? Here is a great rounudp of Valentine's Game of kids!

 

Love is messy – both figuratively and literally – it can be gritty, dirty, dangerous, and even obsessive. Love is also not tangible. What better way to express something that isn’t tangible than playing with slime! Discuss with your kids how often times, big concepts cannot be confined to one form or put in a box. Love can be muddled, change shape, and grow during your relationships with people. This is another of those easy recipes that has many materials that you may already have in your house! Have the kids help in making this slime and really get down and dirty in the discussion of love.

**Note: When using this recipe, make sure you are using borax-based liquid starch. Anything else will not work – I learned this the hard way and totally devastated my children.

Here is another great messy Valentines Activity

Here is a great list of another sensory Valentines Day Actvities

Love as an expression – As a parent, I try to express to my children how much I love them every day. Not only by saying the words but recognizing good behavior and telling them the things that make me happy and proud to be their mother. It has gotten so prevalent that my oldest Viv often asks me “You happy Mama?” What better way of getting your children to show their love for others than by making cards. I took the typical ‘Love you to pieces’ card and added this easy step. I asked my kids what they love about each person and wrote it down. We talked about how each person is special and how they help our family as well. It doesn’t matter how silly what they say may seem to you – it means something to your child and the people who will receive your card. Expressing love isn’t easy so help your child learn to express their emotions early with this easy activity. You will not regret their answers J

**Note: Instead of contact paper, I used tissue paper and glue.

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{ Love You To Pieces, Photo by Lauren Cop }

Love through foodFood is a love language all to its own. It is necessary for survival and so easy to show your appreciation of others by creating yummy food for them. This is kind of two-fold. You can have your child create food for loved ones and share them. Or, you can create sweet little Valentine’s inspired lunches for your children. An easy way to do this is just to cut everything into heart shapes! If you click here you can also find a lot of other Valentine’s Day lunch inspirations. Also don’t forget the note! My Mom would randomly leave notes in our lunches and Valentine’s Day was one of those. Even if it just says I love you – it will make your child feel so appreciated and loved.

Love is time – I don’t think I could ever spend enough time with the people I love. Many people are far away, work, get sick, are busy, etc… So it is not necessarily about how much time, but more of what do you do with that time. Have your children been especially difficult lately – which makes you yell, get frustrated, and in a constant role of disciplinarian? Maybe take a break, regroup, and devote some real quality time with your kids. Take them on an outing, eat an indoor picnic, have them choose what’s for dinner, play a game – engage your children! Ignore the bad behavior and try to praise the good behavior. Even if only one day this month is free, take that time for your kids. This is what will mean the most to your children – the time you spend with them. It is what they remember – do you want them to remember the disciplinarian or the silly Mama who isn’t afraid to wear a bowl as a hat!

Other Fun Love Language Links – If none of the above strike your fancy, check out these other fantastic links!

So as cliché as Valentine’s Day may seem, make it a day of investigating love with your children. Bring up the big topics and importance of love. Love is a convoluted, complex concept that we all need in our lives. Help your children grasp those concepts and in-turn show them a new side of your love for them! Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be another Hallmark holiday – make it fun and special for your children so they one day understand this intricate concept. I mean, can’t we all agree that there needs to be more love in this world?

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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Being Treated the same is NOT Equal: Learning to Individualize my Children

NEWS FLASH!!! My children are not twins. I repeat my children are NOT twins!! However my children are twelve months apart and it is so incredibly difficult to remember that they are in such incredible different stages of life. Recently my Viv (4.5) was upset that I wasn’t doing the same things with her as I was doing with her sister. Noli (3.5) is also insistent that she MUST do and like everything that her sister does. When my girls make these comments it gives me pause… have I somehow prioritized my time with one child over another? Am I treating them too different? Am I treating them too much alike? Am I honoring their personality differences? I think every parent who has multiple children, especially multiples, would agree we all seem to have these questions looming in our heads on a daily basis. Here are my conclusions on these thoughts.

{Picture taken by Nicole Myhre: School pictures of my girls are the best}

Honoring Individuality – My girls really couldn’t be more opposite – I mean, one has almost black eyes and the other has the lightest of blues!! Viv is type A, driven and cautious. Noli is silly, sassy, and beats to her own drum. They are NOT the same person. Even if they had been twins, they are in fact individuals. Noli loves to be tickled and teased. Viv gets very upset if she is teased and really isn’t a fan of tickling. Viv prefers direction to learn new hobbies. Noli wants to try it on her own first!

I say all of this because it is SO important that I remember to keep my expectation of each child independent. I can simply ask Viv to clean up all the Legos and she will. Noli needs to clean an area because she will get ‘lost’ if she has to clean just one type of toy (like her father but that’s another story). I try each day to do things with each child that they love and is specific to them! For Viv it’s talking, reading, and learning. For Noli its being silly, playing dress up and telling stories. Each may seem similar but is carried out in different ways.

{Photo taken by Lynn Coppotelli and Me: Pictures of how my girls dressed to go fishing}

Since I have started to honor their individual traits their behavior has significantly improved. They are also less jealous of each other when they do see their sister getting some special Mommy time! It has also made my role as Mom more fun because I get to share these special moments with each girl differently.

Developmental Differences – As a preschool teacher, I definitely understand developmental differences. They seriously change so much within each year and from year to year as they grow through these early stages of life. However, with my girls so close in age I find myself treating them as if they can do the same tasks – which is simply just NOT the case.

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{Picture taken by Drew Carlisle: The girls with their Cinderella pumpkins}

I had to recognize that Viv and Noli can do different tasks at different times. When I make a request and they don’t/won’t complete it – instead of getting upset I have to ask myself if this was a reasonable request. For instance, it is not reasonable to ask a 3 year old to sit in silence for 5 minutes – but I can expect that of my 4 year old. I also had to recognize that my children have different skill sets as well. So it is important for me to recognize that when I am asking anything of my children.

Since I have recognized the importance of their skill set and developmental stage, the girls and I are less frustrated with each other. It is such an easy concept, but being able to meet reasonable expectations is rewarding. Being expected to complete something out of your skill set is so frustrating! Communication has become more fluid as well between all of us – which also cuts back on a lot of conflict as well. Lastly, I find that my children play better together now that they see me modeling different expectations as well.

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{Picture taken by me: Girls in downtown Jacksonville, FL}

When to be the same? Ok so I definitely think there are times to treat your children the same. Especially because my kids are always concerned they aren’t getting the “same”. Some of the things they get the same are basic staples of life – meals, clothes, shoes, signs of affection etc… These are important because they are concrete and daily reminders that even though they are individuals they are ultimately equal in our home. One child who makes a poor decision doesn’t mean that the other one can make the same poor decision without similar consequences.

The consistent elements of equality have been very important in our household because it makes my children feel secure, accepted, and safe. It is so wonderful for my children to understand that they in general have similar expectations for behavior so there is no “she got to do it and I didn’t”.

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{Picture taken by me: The girls in similar attire for a rare occasion}

Obviously this isn’t a perfect system. I fail often and most of the time daily. But when I do succeed, it really is a beautiful thing that I can observe the differences in my children’s behavior. I know that I will never perfect this skill because I am human, but I hope to work on becoming more of an expert. I also realize that this has permeated the rest of my life with my expectations of my students, other family members, and friends. I believe continuing down this path will encourage my girls to honor their individuality, have a greater grasp on equality, and ultimately prepare them for how to interact with others in the adult world!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she teaches at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

12 Days of Christmas // Crock Pot Hot Cocoa Recipe // Hot Choc Bar and Printable Sign

Y’all. This week kicked my boohiny.

Here’s the second day that should have posted on, ummmm, Wednesday. See day 1 HERE. Guess you’ll be getting double whammys at some point a couple of times over the next week!!! (I’m ambitious, but also stubborn…haha). Click the image below or HERE to download your free 5×7 or 8×10 (or both) “Hot Cocoa Bar” sign to use this winter! You can print it at home, at Walgreens, CVS or wherever photos are printed.

Hot_Cocoa_Bar_Printable_Freebie_By_The_Olive_Shoe_Square

I have made this hot choc in the crock thrice now and it is a HIT. Great for a crowd. Easy to make. Serves about 20 even though the recipe says 6-8. It’s rich, so little cups are perfect. Garnish with all the hot chocolate fun garnishes you can think of or keep it simple with marshmallows and whipped cream. I’ve adapted my recipe from this one by One Good Thing. I made just a few tweaks, but I certainly can’t take full credit.

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{Photo by The Cookie Rooke – and another variation of recipe}

Ok, here ’tis: 

  • Crock pot (duh)
  • Ladle
  • Spoon Rest
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy whipping cream
  • 6.5 cups milk
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Instructions: 

  1. Combine all ingredients in a crock pot and set heat setting to low.
  2. Stir occassionally, heating for approximately 2 hours.
  3. Once chocolate chips have melted and beverage is hot, it’s ready to serve!
  4. Garnish with your choice of additions. Enjoy!

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Ideas for garnishing and items for your hot chocolate bar: 

  • whipped cream
  • mini-chocolate chips or chocolate shavings
  • peppermint sticks
  • cinnamon sticks
  • marshmallows
  • Bailey’s Irish Cream
  • sea salt
  • caramel syrup
  • cocoa for dusting
  • caramels
  • sprinkles
  • biscotti
  • toffee bits
  • peanut butter powder
  • white chocolate chips or shavings

Hot-Chocolate-Bar-760-x-500-3

My entertainer-extraordinaire-in-denial friend orders these dehydrated marshmallows this time of year just for hot chocolate and I think it’s amazing. On my hot chocolate bucket list.

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And a few more combinations you might like:

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…and just a couple more cute hot chocolate bar setups to inspire you!

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Merry Christmas! Just 10 days until Christmas!! Come back tomorrow for something else fun created just for you!

You might also enjoy: 

Please visit the shop to find a surcee for yourself or someone you love! (Or both!)

Please note: We will be closed for new orders from December 15th through January 1st. We will reopen on January 2nd excited to begin the new year! All orders will be filled in the order they are received. Please let us know if you have any questions! Email hello@theoliveshoe.com or call (844) 4PAPERIE

The Olive Shoe Paperie & Goods | Cultivate. Create. Celebrate is owned by Lauren {LAC} James © 2013-2017 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

The Blog | A Creative Collective is curated by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle and maintained by Lauren {LAC} James.

 

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an industry leading international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Hot_Cocoa_Dessert_Bar_0646wm

 

12 Days of Christmas // 101 Christmas Songs Playlist // Freebie – Printable Gift Labels

Hello there friends!

The 12 Days of Christmas at The Olive Shoe starts today! We are finishing up Christmas orders and are excited to gift you 12 little surcees over the next 12 days before we close up shop for the holidays.

Tune in each day for a new surprise just because we love you!

TODAY’s surcees* are a two-fer:

1. Head over to Spotify to follow theoliveshoe and enjoy our craftily curated Christmas playlist with 101 songs – perfect for your holiday parties or just hanging out at home. It’s an eclectic mix of old and new, traditional and contemporary with artists including: Frank Sinatra, Bob Dylan, Ella Fitzgerald, The Head and The Heart, Weezer, She & Him, Seth McFarlane, Bing Crosby, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Michael Bublé, and more!

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2. You can also enjoy these FREE printable 2″x2″ gift labels, downloadable HERE. They come 12 to a page and are compatible with Avery Labels 22806. You can print them at home! (Don’t worry, the grey outlines won’t print.)

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Just buy the blank labels at Staples or Amazon**:

Avery_Labels

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Merry Christmas! Come back tomorrow for something else fun created just for you!

*Oh, what the heck is a surcee, you ask? Click HERE to find out!

You might also enjoy: 

Please visit the shop to find a surcee for yourself or someone you love! (Or both!)

Please note: We will be closed for new orders from December 15th through January 1st. We will reopen on January 2nd excited to begin the new year! All orders will be filled in the order they are received. Please let us know if you have any questions! Email hello@theoliveshoe.com or call (844) 4PAPERIE

The Olive Shoe Paperie & Goods | Cultivate. Create. Celebrate is owned by Lauren {LAC} James © 2013-2017 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

The Blog | A Creative Collective is curated by Lauren Coppotelli Carlisle and maintained by Lauren {LAC} James.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an industry leading international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

**affiliate link: no extra cost for the consumer, just a little bonus for us bloggers. Thanks!

 

 

100+ DIY Christmas Ornaments

If anyone knows me, they know I am mostly a totally scrooge about Christmas. However, I do love to decorate the Christmas tree! Every year since my children’s birth, I have had them do an embossed handprint ornament to send to family members (directions are below). However, as their hands get bigger, I need to come up with other ornament making ideas. Here is a great list of Ornament ideas that will fit all of your Christmas tree needs!

My Embossed Design – So I have seen in several locations on Pinterest glittery hand print ornaments that look oh so cute! BUT many of us HATE the mess that glitter makes. Not to mention that craft glitter makes me break out in an itchy rash (ugh). Lastly, glitter will continuously fall off not matter how much glue you use. Sooo, I have been doing embossed handprints instead. One of the things I love about the embossed ornament is if the print is messed up it is easy to clean up! I also love that it is a nod to our wedding invitation which we embossed by hand as well.

Directions:

What you need:

  • GLASS Ornament that your child’s hand or foot can fit on (the small ones are great up to age 2)

*NOTE: With Matte finish ornaments if you mess up the print the embossing ink will remove the matte finish is you need to wipe it off!

  • embossing ink pad (clear is what I prefer)
  • embossing powder
  • embossing heat tool
  • Child

Steps:

  1. Make sure your child’s hands (or foot) are clean.
  2. Ink you child’s hand really well.
  3. Before the ink dries put your child’s print on the ornament.
    *NOTE: For infants its best if they’re asleep. For older kids roll from palm to fingertip OR ask child to grab the ball and let go as fast as they can. Also if you mess up no biggie use a damp paper towel to wipe the ink – let dry – and try again.
  4. Immediately after inking, cover area with embossing powder (this can be messy so make sure you have a tray to do this with so you can save the powder for more projects)
  5. After all ornaments have been powdered, then heat the powder with the heat tool
    NOTE: If you use plastic it will melt. Also if it bubbles then you have heated it too much. Once the powder begins to turn dark it is done!

IMG_20171127_203318

{Picture taken by Lauren C Carlisle of Vivian’s First Ornament}

Other Print Ornaments – Obviously I love print ornaments. They are so fun to do and great to see how your child has changed over time! Lastly, I just love how easy many of the ornaments are to create! Here are some other great print ideas.

I love this print ornament because it’s great for all of the winter season.
2015-11_DIYHandprintKeepsakeChristmasOrnament_ALittlePinchofPerfect10copy

These are seriously too cute and great to do year after year:

I love this simple and sweet print ornament :

I love how adorable these prints turn to reindeer!

Here is another great example of a non-human print:

So this is a link to a shop to have this created – however, I don’t think it would be terribly difficult to make something similar on your own with salt dough and paint. It wouldn’t look the same but definitely the same concept.

I love this handprint ornament:

I love this sweet print ornament that is great through February as well:

I love this print Christmas tree ornament:

I love this sweet ornament which is great for older and little kids alike:

This link doesn’t have instructions, but I think they can be made simply with salt dough and some paint!

Here is another print ornament that doesn’t involve the body, but definitely could be done with the kids’ help:

Another fingerprint ornament – but will definitely need some adult help!

I can’t wait to do this one with my children someday:

In case you need more salt dough creations, here is another list!

Keep Sake Ornaments – These keepsake ornaments are really fun and special. In fact I plan on going back thru some of my stuff and creating new ones from this list.

This is my favorite keepsake item! It is great for a first Christmas for a baby, or couple or other special event!

I love this sweet silhouette ornament:

I love how simple this ornament is to make.

I love how simple this keepsake ornament is to make as well:

LOVE this keepsake idea:

Adore this rustic looking keepsake idea! It would be a great one to collect for your children’s wish lists over the years:

I love this picture ornament and great to create every year!

Easy Children DIY Ornaments – These ornaments are great crafts for the children to make outside of using their prints. Plus it is a great way to pass the time while your kids are home from school during the holidays!

I love this fun children’s ornament:

An adorable elf ornament:

This super fun mosaic ornament:

I love these simple great smelling ornaments

This ornament is simple and easy and all kids can complete it!

I remember making these ornaments as a kid and I loved doing it as well:

I love this sweet DIY ornament:

This is another old school ornament that I love as well:

This is another great ornament that is also unique:

I love these ornaments because they would make a great gift or keepsake, too:

These sweet trees and all the creativity they could inspire are spectacular.

Here is another great simple and traditional ornament:

I love these fun ornaments that children can make:

LOVE this beautiful ornament:

This is a great twist on some more traditional ornaments:

Love this snowman one for the kids:

Love this snow pail and so easy to make with the kids:

I love these fun ornaments plus it’s a great way to get rid of some holiday candy:

These ornaments are beautiful and easy for kids to help with!

Here is another beautiful ornament that children can help with as well:
Glitter Dipped Handmade Ornaments #michaelsmakers

I love this sweet ornament made with stuff found at home:

This is another ornament that I grew up making and are so simple!

I love this cute and easy Christmas tree:

These would make a great family gift:

I love this easy project for children. Not to mention it’s a great way to clean up the pine cones.

I love this whimsical ornament and a great one to do with children:

I love this ornament – our neighbors made some for us and they are so adorable!

Rustic Ornaments – I love the look of rustic ornaments. They are so fun and emblematic of a simpler time. Not to mention it is so fun to bring in some of the natural elements from this time of year.

LOVE these rustic looking stars! They are so beautiful and could be easily made into picture frames!

I love this sweet rustic ornament:

This doesn’t have instructions but I think it is pretty self-explanatory and so sweet.

I love this rustic ornament because it is perfect from fall through winter.

My mother always says every tree must have a bird and these are totally adorable:

I love this rustic ornament that even children can create:

I love this sweet nativity type ornament:

These rustic snowflakes are fantastic:

These lanterns would be perfect on your rustic trees:

These rustic arrow ornaments are also really fun and unique:

I love this simple rustic ornament:

I love these rustic ornaments that could also be great for a wreath as well:

I love these cute acorn ornaments:

I love this rustic floral ornament:

This simple major jar ornament is sublime:

Love these gorgeous string ornaments:

I love these fun rustic ornaments:

How fun is this felt tree?!

I love these snowflakes and an easy way to recycle old books.

Every Christmas tree needs a sleigh!

Another recycled paper project that I love:

I love these chalkboard ornaments:

Fun Ornaments – Christmas trees don’t have to be stuffy or uniform. I love a Christmas tree with lots of fun ornaments that are reminiscent of different memories, people, or places. Here are some fun ones you can create to add some spice to your tree.

I love this fun and unique ornament:

I love these fun and bright ornaments:

These reindeer ornaments are great!
Easy DIY Wine Cork Decor Projects | Get all the products you need to create your DIY projects from SkyMall.com!

Love this fun ornament that could easily be done from a great beach trip:

I love this felt ornament and this could easily be done with other objects as well:

I love this super fun and non-traditional ornament:

This super fun and whimsical ornament:

This is another great ornament that could be made with simple objects from a local craft store:

I love these sweet angel ornaments:

I love these fun terrarium type ornaments:

These DIY ornaments are a great new take on a traditional ball ornament:

My family LOVES scrabble so this ornament definitely touches my heart:

I love this whimsical ornament:

This is a super fun ornament for the outdoors person in your life:

I love this super fun ball ornament:

These are super fun and cute (PS – these are for my Nole fan friends):

I love this fun and easy pearl ornament:

I love these super fun and self-explanatory pig ornaments:

I love this fun ornament and great for someone who has a winter birthday!

These seashell ornaments are great:

I LOVE these adorable yarn hats!

I think these are so fun:

I love this fun odd shaped snowman:

These marbled ornaments are so cool:

I love this super adorable ornament!

I love these great wreath ornaments:

These glitter ornaments are so fun!

These ornaments are awesome and a great way to use short crayons:

I love this list of light bulb ornaments!

Well if you made to the end of this list I applaud you! These were so fun to find and I can’t wait to start creating with my children. There is nothing better than a fun and creative tree! I am sure there are several you could use on your tree among this list. Enjoy the creative process and happy holidays everyone!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 


 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What’s In A Kitchen? Cooking With Toddlers | By Lauren Cop

FOOD. I love everything about it – cultivating, harvesting, preparing, and consuming. I would consider myself a foodie in training. I don’t always eat organic, local, or Avant-garde food – but I do have knowledge of flavor and aim to improve upon my palate daily. Since my husband and I are so into food, we think it is very important that our children understand the importance of nourishment. We consume and grow a variety of foods. One of the easiest ways you can help teach your toddler the importance of good food is through cooking. Cooking is a basis of family life – think about it: most major family events are centered around a meal! What is more fun than having everyone enjoy your food that is prepared by the whole family and not just grandma in the kitchen?

What would give me the notion that I could cook with my toddlers? I mean how could you do anything elaborate with toddlers? Surely you must think I am nuts – but I really don’t know any different. My grandmother put me on a kitchen chair at about two years old and introduced me to cooking. A little back story of my grandmother: she was born during WWII in Germany and came to the United States as an orphan, to be adopted by her aunt and uncle when she was 13-years-old. At every family gathering, she would sit in wonderment – as a girl, she had no idea just how large her family would become. She has 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 2 great-grands. Grammy (as I call her – Omi to my cousins) always made sure to encourage us to honor your family and be thankful for them because you never know when they will be gone.

With heavy German and Italian roots, family food is very important to us Coppotellis (as with most families). Everyone looks forward to the antipasti, bread, and other home-cooked goodies. Grammy would allow me to help her prep veggies (especially peppers), bread chicken, roll dough, break eggs, etc.… You name it, she would allow me to be a part of the process. She let me taste, smell, and touch everything. Even if it was something that many might consider dangerous for a young kid – she allowed me to be a part of the process. Once I got a little older (late elementary school), she could basically let me be on my own in the kitchen to prepare chicken cutlets or veggie side dishes. I have always enjoyed this special time with her in the kitchen – learning new tricks, talking of family history, and laughing or singing a lot!

SCN_0014{ Grammy and Me – Photo by My Parents }

My other grandmother and her family have also taught me a lot about food. Me-ma (as I call her and Rammy to my cousins) grew up on a farm in Southern Georgia. She is from a large family so it is not surprising that her family has grown to match. She has 3 children, 9 grandchildren, and 2 great-grands with another on the way. I recently attended the Chapman family reunion in Sylvester, GA on the family farm. My grandmother’s 5 siblings were there, along with several cousins of varying generations. As with most family gatherings on this side of the family, most of the women helped in some way in the kitchen.

However, in the kitchen there is a lot going on outside of just cooking – watching children, discussing the family news, checking up on “the game”, and of course all aspects of food preparation. I love being in my grandmother’s kitchen because she is meticulous – about everything! She is precise in her cooking, always done perfectly (even if she claims it wasn’t), and cleans as if nothing ever happened, all while holding on to any of the ongoing conversations and watching the children.

My late Great Uncle Arthur is another family member I must mention in my discussion of my food history. He was an eccentric man who was in the military, taught at Yale, wrote speeches for Kennedy, traveled the world, and was an excellent chef – just to name some of his trades! Every time I went to visit him in his little 1800s guest house in Hell’s Kitchen (yes that’s right a house in NYC) – you felt like you were in Italy. He had a slate patio with a fountain, some meal cooking on the stove, classical music playing, and lots of libations being poured. One of my favorite Christmases was when he and my father cooked homemade gnocchi. He too introduced me to lots of new tastes, smells, and combinations of food! My Uncle made foods come alive with his life stories, combinations of flavors, environment, and love for a good meal.

257101_10150217820902727_300364_o{Great Grand Uncle Arthur Coppotelli | Pic Taken by LAC }

My mother kept a kitchen much like her mother in the fact it was the center of family gatherings. We ate, did homework, danced, sang, and shared passionate conversations in that kitchen. My mother also encouraged us in the kitchen. We made cookies and other meals often throughout our childhood. She encouraged us to make our own meals and decisions about food. My mother tried to make our special meals, school lunches, and even birthday cakes whatever we decided (within reason). My father also partook in the kitchen, on Sundays mostly. He would cook some kind of sauce all day and we would have some kind of pasta that night. I grew up helping make these dishes along with my brothers – which we now all can make based on taste and touch. The kitchen was where all the action was with new faces, friends, and family all coming and going – the heart of the house! At time, my mother would sometimes need to shoo us out of there to get out from under her feet, it was always where my family was and still is located – eating, discussing, loving.

My husband’s family is also very into cooking and have introduced me to new cuisines and flavors. My husband has worked in restaurants and was encouraged as a child (along with his sister Lauren) to do things in the kitchen. He, in fact, does most of the dinner cooking in our home – always trying new dishes, flavors, and making them health-conscious. One of Drew’s favorite activities from his childhood is reading Alligator Cookies and making the cookies from the story. As a gifted and talented teacher and creative mother, my mother–in-law’s kitchen is also very important part of the home. A place for learning, exploring, and enjoying! My sister-in-law, Lauren, has continued this tradition by sharing her artfulness in the kitchen. All of her dishes are gorgeous, tasty, and creative (as evidenced by recent food blogs about fall flavors). Lauren’s food draws people in and holds them together.

scan0008{ Pic of LAC | Photo Taken by Gene Carlisle }

As you can see, kitchens and food are important to me. Although my husband tends the kitchen sometimes more than me – it is our common domain. All 4 of us make meals – smoothies, cookies, breads, dinners, etc.… We all enjoy the smells, taste, and touch of all the ingredients – in addition to helping grow as many ingredients as we can. Everyone preps, cooks, and cleans. We gather, share stories, and create! My children have smelled, touched, tasted, washed, cut, pealed, poured, and measured for prep. They have pushed buttons, stirred, smashed, and plated meals in the cooking process. They have loaded and unloaded the dishwasher, mopped the floor, and put away items. Everyone pitches in and everyone reaps the rewards! The kitchen is the soul of a family to me – and I love that mine is full of life!

Here are some quick tips on helping involve your children in the kitchen:

Preparation: Washing is probably the easiest task. Have them wash vegetables, fruit, or utensils in the sink with a small bowl of water. This way they don’t use too much water and won’t make too big of a mess. They can also help gather ingredients from the kitchen. In addition to tasting, smelling and touching are some of the best teaching opportunities for children. Trust me tasting a little baking soda is not going to kill someone!

Cooking: Some of the easiest things you can do are having them dump and mix ingredients. Sometimes I pre-measure the serving and explain to them how the different measurements correlate. For example, six teaspoons of sugar equals 2 tablespoons. You can also have them set the time and temperature of the oven/microwave. Lastly, you can have them decide on how to arrange the meal on the plate – with some gentle guidance, of course.

Cleaning: Give your child a spray bottle and wipe and let them go to town – or for little ones a small bowl of soapy water and sponge. Who cares if they make a mess – have them help you dry it with a towel. I always dreaded letting my kids play with soapy water – but I use kid safe soaps, and give them some direction and they really do a nice job cleaning!

20151026_112800-1{ Pic of Viv and Noli | Photo Taken by Lauren Cop }

Don’t be afraid to include your children in the kitchen. They can really help you and learn a good deal. Without our kitchens and food, family gatherings maybe wouldn’t be nearly as rich and memorable. Kitchens are the soul of the home and ones that are well-used are well-loved give the most happiness. Share the joy of life with your children, help it grow and prosper – especially through the food in your kitchen.

 

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

Reflecting on Gratitude for Thanksgiving | Thankful Crafts for Family Gatherings

Thanksgiving is definitely one of my favorite holidays. It is a wonderful time for family gatherings, gratefulness, and the harvest. Now the history of the holiday is ugly and disgraceful. It is apparent how the Natives in the United States were treated. However – I do believe in the spirit of having a holiday about being thankful, gathering of family and celebrating the harvest.  Growing up, my family always made sure to share what they were thankful for and it became one of my favorite parts of the holiday. I hope to continue the traditions with my children as they grow up. Here are some really great activities that everyone can participate in to evoke the spirit of gratefulness.

This first one was very common in my home growing up. It was so fun to have everyone open a different reason to be thankful that wasn’t their own.

I love how cute these pumpkins are and they would be great to bring out for future Thanksgivings as well.

This pumpkin design is another great tradition.

I love this beautiful thankful tree! It would be great on a mantle or as a centerpiece that could definitely be added to over the years as well.

This thankful tree is also very beautiful but it is definitely more budget friendly than the one previously listed.

I love this easy and simple tradition. It is sure to bring up great memories for years to come.

I love this thankful frame. It is really beautiful and perfect for any household.

I love this thankful board. It is a great way to celebrate gratitude throughout the whole month.

I love how all of these Thanksgiving activities can easily incorporate family into sharing with each other with lots of love as well.  It is so important to share gratitude with your family – it really helps to build strong bonds with loved ones. This is part of the reason why I love Thanksgiving so much. The togetherness and great food are a wonderful recipe for a good time! I can’t wait for our Thanksgiving traditions and I look forward to hearing about yours as well.

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

 

 

 

Add a Little Sunshine to Your Food | Yellow Food Recipes

Yellow is a fantastic color! It’s a color of lights, brightness, and warmth. It also reminds me the changes of the color of leaves this time of year, curries, and desserts. It also happens to be one of my daughter’s favorite colors. I love to cook food with bright colors so I often find myself cooking with things that are yellow; peppers, squash, onions, turmeric, and lemons of course. I think lemons are my favorite thing to cook with. Yellow foods are also very nutritious and have been known to help with digestion and brain function. I love these yellow recipes and am so excited to share them with you all.

Appetizers – Appetizers are my favorite foods. I seriously could live on a variety of tiny meals. These apps are super yummy with great flavors as well. I am sure you would enjoy them for a variety of occasions.

I love this fresh and delicious salad. Great for a first course!

I love this vegan appetizer:

I love this corn salsa as well:

This salsa is a staple at most of our family’s events:

This could be a great appetizer or side dish:

Entrees – I think it is really easy to get into an entrée rut. Many of these entrees are easy, and can be done on the fly with ingredients you have in your home. I also love the variety of flavors shown as well.

I love a great paella!

This is a great vegetarian dish with fall flavors:

Love this simple and easy dinner:

This is a great entrée and could also be used as a side:

Here is a great one pot dish:

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes:

This is a great slow cooker recipe that I have made for my family multiple times:

Love this curry dish – filling and delicious:

I love a good Mexican casserole and this one is fantastic!

Side Dishes – I love a good side dish. Many times it can really help make or break an entrée. Not to mention that many of these side dishes can also be used as a main dish.

This dish could be great as a side or entree

I love this bright and delicious side dish

This is a great side dish

I love this fall side dish

Here is another great side dish

This side dish would go great with anything on the grill

I love this side dish we make it multiple times a year

This side dish is both beautiful and hearty – it could definitely stand on its own as well:

Soup – It is finally fall and the cool air has finally arrived. These soups are a great addition to the rotation and great to freeze and use later as well.

I love this heartwarming soup:

This is a great soup with lots of flavor:

Here is a great fall dish:

I love this summer soup:

This is a great soup both hot or cold:

I think this is a beautiful and hearty soup:

Desserts – I LOVE fresh desserts. I feel that many times during this season desserts get too heavy. These are a great list of light and refreshing desserts.

I love these cookies – they are super cute and delicious without being too sweet:

These lemon meringues are so cute and delicious!

I love a good curd:

This pie is to die for – fresh and delicious:

I love this quick easy vegetarian dessert:

I love how beautiful these cupcakes look!

Who doesn’t love a dipped pretzel?

A great alternative for a traditional cheesecake:

Sticky rice is always a hit!

Drinks – Can’t have too many fun drink recipes. These are light and refreshing and some that are perfect for the fall season as well.

I love non-alcoholic lavender lemonade!

This drink is so refreshing:

Another refreshing drink that would be good with or without alcohol:

Here is an alcoholic version of the lavender lemonade:

I love a good spicy cocktail!

Smoky whiskey cocktail – yes please!

Who doesn’t love a good sangria

I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as I do. It is so important to remember to cook with color so you can bring in more nutrients and variety to your dishes. Plus, you never know when you will be throwing an event or going to an event that will require a specific-colored food. Let us know how they go!

Lauren Cop is a part-time SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor ciao_laurencop_sig-01of the Olive Shoe Blog. Currently Lauren and her family live in Tallahassee, FL where she helps teach at a local pre-school. A Clemson fanatic, alumni and general sports enthusiast. She loves reading, gardening, food, and traveling. Follow her TwitterInstagram, and Pinterest.

The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Lauren {LAC} James © 2015 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on FacebookTwitterPinterest or Instagram! Pleasesubscribe to receive emails, of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!