Orange You Glad for Orange Foods

The color orange has permeated my life which has caused a strong attraction for me. All of the schools I grew up in had orange for their colors. I wore an orange senior prom dress and had orange as one of my wedding colors. My front door is even orange and I married someone who loved orange just as much as I do! Because of my love for orange, I also love to eat orange foods this time of year. Especially since it’s football season (Go Clemson Tigers!) and also almost fall and Halloween as well. Not to mention, most orange foods are also extremely heathy as well. Here is a great list of recipes with some fantastic orange colors and flavors.

Appetizers/Side Dishes – Side dishes and appetizers are always needed. If it’s for a meal, party, or Wednesday night dinner there is always a reason to have some good appetizers or side dishes. I often find that my side dishes get dull after a while. These dishes are sure to spice up the meals and your taste buds.

I love how beautiful and fresh this side dish tastes!

This dish reminds me of a soup that my Mom used to make around Thanksgiving that I adore:

I love this recipe because it is tasty and delicious:

Refrigerated pickles are amazing!

 

This is a great appetizer or side dish:

Here’s a great, simple, quick soup:

I love this roasted squash recipe because it is so adaptable to other types of squash:

Yummy kumara cakes!

I love this salad: it’s bright and delicious!

I adore the versatility of this dish:

How about this breakfast idea – great flavors to warm you up on a cold morning:

I made this the other night for dinner and it was a great crowd pleaser:

Main Dishes – Orange main dishes are so fun and delicious. It doesn’t have to always be carrots either. There are plenty of other orange foods as well! Not to mention they are perfect for a tailgate, Halloween or thanksgiving meal.

I love this recipe for vegan BBQ:

This recipe looks absolutely delicious and perfect for fall:

I LOVE these tacos:

This recipe is delicious and perfect for the upcoming fall season:

I love this turkey chili!

A delicious take on a taco:

I love how delicious and cute this dish looks!

This is a fantastic salmon recipe:

This is a fantastic shrimp recipe:

Cocktails/Mocktails – Now as I have said before the BEST parties have a fun cocktail or mocktail to go with the fantastic dishes. Orange drinks can be used so many times throughout the year and with multiple themes as well. I hope you will try some of these amazing drinks the next time you throw a get together.

I love this smoothie and it will surely please any pumpkin lovers:

Here’s a great, fresh take on an Arnold Palmer:

I love this drink because it is also an immune booster:

This smoothie is fantastic too!

Unique flavors and mocktail potential (sparkling water instead of champagne) make this a winner:

This cocktail is perfect for the holidays:

A great cocktail sure to please any whisky lovers:

I love this spin on a classic cocktail:

This cocktail just oozes fall flavors!

I love how light and fresh this cocktail tastes:

A Halloween inspired screwdriver – yes please!

Here’s a great new twist on a Moscow Mule to add color to your summer:

I love this spin on a mojito as well:

Desserts – In addition to a fun drink, you always need something sweet to finish the night off as well. Now people don’t ALWAYS eat a ton of dessert nowadays – but many still look for something small and delicious before leaving for the evening. Many of these desserts are great for any event you could be planning.

I love this dessert!

This is great for a dessert or breakfast:

I love this dessert – it’s so cute and can be used throughout of the year!

This dessert looks incredibly delicious:

A scrumptious spin on a traditional brownie:

This dessert is soo yummy and will become a regular in my home:

Who doesn’t love a great fudge recipe?

Halloween + popcorn = winning.

Adorable and delicious:

My husband loves monkey bread and I can’t wait to try this kind with him:

When I first started looking for orange recipes, I wasn’t sure what I would find. I am seriously surprised and excited to try so many of these new recipes (several of which I have tried this week). I hope that you will find some great inspiration for your upcoming orange-themed get together! And remember to cheer on those Clemson Tigers in the hopes we reach another National Championship!

Lauren Cop is a 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!

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Fun and Creative Painting Activities For All

My children and most children I have met LOVE painting activities. They are great for inspiring creativity, sensory understanding, and motor skills. In the past, I had run out of different painting activities – so I created a great list of ideas so that way I wouldn’t run out again. These ideas are great because they using different textures, brushes, and other creative ways to paint as well!

Textured Paint – I love this idea that paint doesn’t have to be just fluid! There are so many ways that children can paint without using actual paint. When my children were really little I used food products like kool-aid and died yogurt. Here are some other great ideas as well!

Puffy Sand Paint – perfect for our school which has a sandy playground!

I love this idea for post rainy days!

Fun, messy and edible – YUM!

What kid doesn’t love to play with ice? This is perfect for one of those final hot days of summer!

Love the way this type of paint turns out!

This fizzing art activity is great for science and art alike!

This puffy paint recipe is awesome and easy to redo over and over!

Creative Paint Brushes – There is no reason you have to use just brushes, sponges, or fingers. There is so much out there that you can use as brushes that will also create some amazing pictures as well. What is especially nice is most of these objects can be found around the house or are free!

I love this idea with a rolling pin!

I love this idea for pendulum art!

I love this leaf print idea – especially with the fall leaves coming we could make some lovely projects!

I love this print activity because citrus is so beautiful and perfect for making a masterpiece.

Love these natural paintbrushes! Cheap easy and creative!

Another great way to paint with minimal clean up!

Love this painting activity. Definitely would require help for the younger kids.

This is great and takes some time as well – so the kids will stay entertained. #parentingwin

I love this activity! Who doesn’t love to use a hammer?

These are another great set of DIY paint brushes:

Pointillism is great and will continue to develop the more the kids are able to practice.

Other fun activities with paint – There are so many ways to enjoy painting. Here are some other fun activities that will help keep us from these bored rainy days!

I love how cool this activity looks and would make a great gift for family.

Makes a pretty sun catcher! -- 29 of the MOST creative crafts and activities for kids!

I love this tissue transfer art project! Not exactly paint related – but it looks like a water color masterpiece!

I love this paper twisting activity!

Not quite the time of year… but we are not too far away yet…

This is a great idea for kids to create some really fun creations!

I love this idea because it also keeps the kids active!

I really love this activity because it helps teach colors and has no mess! Make sure to TAPE the top closed to prevent leaks!

Love this idea because you can create all different designs with tape and stickers as well!

Squish art is also super fun as well!

Painting is seriously my children’s favorite activity – but sometimes it can be hard to keep them focused if they are doing the same old thing. I also am not really into constantly purchasing kits from the craft store when there are so many great mediums and objects lying around the house. I hope you found this list as inspiring as I did! And don’t fret – the mess won’t last, but those memories will! Happy painting everyone!

Lauren Cop is a 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!

 

 

 

 

Wedding Wednesday | A Look Back At The Perfect Fall Wedding

WOW! I can’t believe how quickly the years have gone. This October marks 11 years together and 5 years married to my husband, father of my children, best friend, and partner in crime. As with all relationships this one has had its ups and down for sure – but in all the obstacles we have both come out as better people. This to me is what make relationships work – do you make each other better people? Can you overcome struggles together? Do you know how to make each other happy? I have never written about my wedding day and that’s sad because it was truly spectacular and deserves recognition. I am sure it won’t do it justice but I hope you will understand the essence of what it meant for Drew and I to begin our family together.

How We Met? Drew and I met in college at Clemson University.  It is comical now and was to me then but I was visiting an ex when Drew knocked on the door. I was at the apartment alone and refused to let him in – I mean he could have been a predator (HAHA). My now husband stood outside for 20 minutes until someone came home!  Once we met though we totally hit it off – and things with my ex quickly fizzled. Although I tried to get Drew to date my roommate at the time because I knew he was “marriage material” – I couldn’t deny our chemistry! Since the moment we kissed we have been pretty inseparable despite waiting so long to get married. Although we dated for a long time before getting engage we both had agreed we wouldn’t get married until I had graduated college and we were ready to have children. I am so thankful that we made that decision.

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{Picture of Drew and I the first night we kissed}

The Engagement Drew and I got engaged during his birthday dinner at The Green Room in Greenville, SC during restaurant week. I was pretty shocked because after 5 years together I wasn’t sure it was ever going to happen! After looking back on it I should’ve realized what was happening because my mother was texting throughout dinner asking me strange questions! She knew because Drew had asked for my father’s blessing, which was very charming. We decided on an eighteen month engagement despite some minor familial protests. We knew that this was best for our finances and timeline and I wouldn’t have done it any other way!

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{Engagement Picture taken by Lauren James at Brookgreen Gardens}

The Stationary Drew and I made our own stationary for our wedding. With our save the dates we took Andy Warhol style pictures of each other. It was so fun and easy! These pictures are still some of our favorites. As far as the wedding invitations we made a stamp out of a picture of an oak tree that we took at our wedding venue. With the stamp I printed the words and embossed the tree for each individual invitation. We also included information on local hotels, restaurants, and entertainment since for many Charleston was a new destination for some. As for the RSVP we printed a picture of the house that we got married at – which many people recognized once they arrived! For our thank you notes we had pictures from the wedding printed on the front with a general note it the center. I thought it was sweet, thoughtful and a great reminder of the day.

The Rehearsal I was honestly a TOTAL wreck for my rehearsal. I have always dealt with anxiety and it definitely culminated that evening. I spent most of the evening in the bathroom and was too nervous to even stomach the dinner. However the location of the rehearsal was totally charming. The food smelled excellent (and tasted fantastic I hear). Plus the cake was so adorable!! I loved seeing my closest friends and family together. We also had a great slide show made by Lauren and was so adorable seeing pictures of us growing up! It really was the perfect set up for the following day!

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{Picture of our rehearsal taken by Lynn Coppotelli}

My Attire I am so incredibly blessed with what I was able to wear for my wedding – it really was a fantasy! First my engagement ring is a Carlisle family heirloom that is over 100 years old. Personally this makes it more special to me – and is definitely my style! Secondly is my dress. I wore a Grace Kelly style wedding dress that was my Grandmother’s that my Mother also wore in her wedding. It was in such wonderful condition and really the most perfect dress for the setting. I also wore a cap instead of a veil that was made by my very talented MIL. It contained an orange cameo, peach colored earrings made from shells that were Drew’s great grandmother’s, and lace we found in a fabric store on a trip to New York City. It was absolutely exquisite! As far as jewelry I borrowed by Mother’s sapphire and diamond earrings and my other Grandmother’s diamond tennis bracelet. As far as shoes I found stunning shoes at Rue La La that were Badgley Mischka and I got them for a steal! I really could not have worn anything better!

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{Pictures taken by Classic Photography}

The Décor and Location Honestly the wedding probably wouldn’t have come together without the help of my family and friends. But there is one person in particular that was extremely helpful and that was my close family friend Gillian MacDonald. She is an event planner by career and offered to be my wedding coordinator. What she was able to create even remotely (she lives in PA) was amazing and I will always be so thankful to her! When Drew and I chose our wedding venue I wanted something that didn’t need much decorating, was outside, and a historic site. Low and behold we found the Legare Warring House at the Charlestown Landing State Park. It really was a fairy tale location. We also used minimal floral arrangements with ranunculus, hydrangeas, spider mums, anemones, protea, and some roses. Our other main decoration was lanterns to keep a low light level and stay true to the location. The “alter” was flanked by two tiered planters that included a variety of fall flowers. We used chalk boards instead of programs. We also had pictures of my grandmother, my mother, and my bridal portraits inside of the house as well. This basically concluded the décor – it was all I wanted. Simple and elegant!

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{Pictures taken by Classic Photography}

The Ceremony The ceremony was by far the most important to Drew and I. We do not believe in organized religion (a long story) but wanted to keep the ceremony meaningful and personal. We chose two friends to merry us (a man and a woman) who became some of our dearest friends! We wrote our own vows which were obviously very meaningful and personal. We had my Uncle choose something to read – of his own choosing – and he couldn’t have picked something better for the occasion. It was a piece by Mya Angelou and was just beautiful! However I think the most personal things we chose for our ceremony was the music which was played in acoustic by some of our most talented friends. The bridal party walked to “We’re Going to Be Friends” by Jack White. I walked down the aisle to “Maps” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. During the ceremony we had “Here, There, and Everywhere” by the Beatles played – which was also played during my in-laws wedding. Our recessional was to “In an Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutromilk Hotel. As you can tell our ceremony was deeply personal and really invited our family and friends into our hearts and what truly made us a couple. I really wish we could do it all over again!

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{Picture of my Uncle Blake reading taken by Classic Photography}

The Reception Our reception was so fun under a tent with perfect lighting in front of the Legare Warring House. The lighting gave the night a nice warm glow and perfect ambiance. There was dancing of course… Our song was “Earth Angel” by The Penguins. Instead of tossing a bouquet or garter we did a dance off of sorts. We asked all couples to the stage and ask people to leave the dance floor for the number of years they had been married. The winning couple who has been together to longest received my toss bouquet. It was a really fun way to celebrate love with our guest.

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{Picture taken by Classic Photography}

As for food we did heavy hors d’oeuvres  from Charleston Café. This included a mac and cheese bar, shrimp and grits, and table of dips, cheese and fruits of sorts. We had Arnold Palmers and passed heavy hors d’oeuvres post ceremony. Our cake was also truly a masterpiece. We asked the baker to do what she wanted – with the following guidelines – wedding colors, color blocking, and something unique. What the end result was truly wowed Drew and I. It was definitely a masterpiece and tasted amazing!

We also had a photo booth that was all my SIL idea and it was just wonderful! The pics from it were truly amazing and some of my favorites from the wedding. Our gift to our guest was stone ground grits in a small orange lunch bag with a shrimp and grits recipe that was my SIL. Small thoughtful and not something that would likely be thrown away. It was a great gift IMO. Lastly we ended up having the Clemson game on during out reception. Even though it wasn’t my choice (long story) it ended up being fine and didn’t take away from the reception too much. We left under a bridge of hands and drove off into our wonderful lives today.

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{Pictures of cake and send off taken by Classic Photography}

What Have I learned? Oh this is a big broad topic that I will try to answer after having ample time to think about the wedding. Here are my top 5 revelations about my wedding…

  1. The best piece of advice I received “Don’t worry about what doesn’t come to fruition – no one will be any the wiser. We are here to celebrate you and everything else is pomp and circumstance.” And let me tell you it is so incredibly true!! Don’t sweat the small stuff and enjoy the moments while they happen. Focus on what is truly important to you both and the rest will fall into place.
  2. If you are not a planner or into weddings… get a wedding planner. I could have paid my friend her weight in gold and it still wouldn’t cover the service she did for me. I could never repay the amazing wedding she gave us. I wasn’t super into wanting to plan this wedding. It’s not something I dreamed about often as a child. So having a planner was pivotal for me. One that note take advantage of your friends talents. We used friends for music, DJ, planning, décor, photography etc.. It really allowed everyone to enjoy the wedding and become a part of it.
  3. Make it personal. People are there to celebrate you… so make it about YOU! Have something special that only people who truly know you would understand. Not only does this make your ceremony more meaningful for you but also give your guest an insight as to who you will be as a family unit!
  4. Take LOTS of pictures and record your ceremony. Although I feel like we took lots of pictures there were definitely some we missed which are my biggest regrets! I have no pictures of my brothers and I from our wedding or recordings – something I will never be able to do again and it is something that still weighs on my mind. Although I remember our wedding I wish we could relive it on video.
  5. Lastly and this I feel very passionately about – Marriage is a lifelong commitment and should never be rushed… ever! Drew and I discussed every facet of life before we were engaged and have continued that conversation after we were married. I think this is what has allowed our relationship to be so strong. Marriage includes a lifetime of growth together and if you haven’t grown together as a couple beforehand you may never be able to grow as a couple. You need to sow some roots and become established before you can reach your full potential.

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{Picture of our great wedding planner taken by Mallory MacDonald}

I am so incredibly thankful for those that allowed my wedding to go off without any major difficulties. I am also so blessed to have found the perfect partner and father to my children. I always knew Drew would be the best husband and still am in awe that he is in fact mine. Although our relationship isn’t perfect, it is perfect for us. I am confident that there is no obstacle that we can’t overcome together. Although we may never be rich monetarily we will always be rich in family and love – and for me I couldn’t ask for more.

ciao_laurencop_sig-01

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of 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!

 

Lawn and Garden Shower

As a new member to Tallahassee I was honored to be asked to help host a wedding shower for a co-worker and friend of mine. Honestly, my house is made to host parties – especially of the garden variety – because of the way our house and lawn is set up. This couple in particular has been so welcoming to my family as transients to Tallahassee. They also have helped babysit my children and I am thankful to have found such a wonderful house for events like this. I was lucky enough to be able to host with my friends, Merritt (with her catering company Merritt’s Munchies) and Becca. It was really a lovely party and I am thankful for how it turned out.

Invitation – The invitation was created by our own Lauren James, of course! This invitation isn’t new – but is certainly one of my favorites. It is whimsical, creative, and so fun! Not to mention how fun Lawn and Garden showers are… this invite is the perfect one to add to your stationary list.

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Menu – Our menu was out of this world thanks primarily to Merritt’s Munchies who came up with the menu. Nothing is better than home cooked items that don’t come from a store. Our goal was to have fresh heavy appetizers that were also delicious and I definitely think we accomplished that.

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  • On the side tables we had boiled peanuts and charcuterie
  • For dessert we had lemon strawberry cupcakes, s’mores cups , and chocolate flower pops

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Décor – We kept our décor pretty simple. We knew we would have about 100 guests so there really wasn’t a need for all kinds of fancy décor. We kept things simple with using mostly whites and greens. I used field flowers for center pieces in mason jars. I also made chocolate flower pops in stands for centerpieces as well. We also used the hostess’ gift – a wheelbarrow – to hold the gifts as well. I think it came together so tastefully and everyone seemed happy. Honestly, it was mostly so easy because I had other ladies to bounce ideas off of and help pick out items in order to complete the look for the party.

Things I Learned – After hosting a party I try really hard to learn from mistakes to improve upon the next one. I also reflect on the good things in the hopes that I remember them for future events.

Things to improve upon – Hosting a party in August in Florida is soo hot!! My A/C didn’t stand a chance. Luckily everyone understood and were still having a good time. Secondly more beer and less wine. Buying drinks can sometimes be tricky and usually I have tons of extra – but I would have been better off with more beer. I could never have enough ice for the temperature it was outside!

Things that went well – Hosting with others is really a blast and I should try to do it more often. Having the food and drinks spread about the house really helped with the flow of people. Even though we had tons of food I am glad that we had so much because no one had the excuse to leave hungry.

I love how this party turned out! It was so fun and a great way to kick of the showers for this wonderful couple! I look forward to continuing to help them celebrate until their wedding day. I am also thankful for such great friends in this city who allow me to essentially join their families. This party really helped provide visibility to how far we have come in this community. Also, I can’t wait to throw another lawn and garden shower like this one! It really was beautiful and so fun!!

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Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

Pot Luck Game of Thrones Style

Huh GoT? Well if you have been living under a rock then you probably have missed the biggest series on TV since The Roots (in my opinion)… it’s Game of Thrones of course! Now everyone has their own style of Game of Thrones viewing – in private, on big screens at the local bar, binge watching after the season has finished etc…  But now that we are coming to the final episodes (queue tears), I believe we will begin to see more and more Game of Thrones-themed parties. I decided to get a jump start on the fun and share my GoT finale party idea with you all. I love a good ol’ fashioned pot luck and wanted to do one GoT style…. So here are the rules…

  1. Everyone must choose a house/family/character to represent (I used Evite to allow an easier way for people to sign up)
  2. Everyone must bring a dish that represents their house/family/character
  3. NO talking during the show
  4. Coming in costume/themed T-shirts are strongly encouraged

Food – Now obviously the food is pot luck style, which I love of course! I love pot luck because it’s so fun seeing all the new creations and tasting new foods or old flavors in a new way! Plus it really takes a lot of the responsibility off of the host as well. Here are some ideas that some of my friends and I came up with for a Game of Thrones pot luck!

Lannister – This house has a lion for the house symbol and their house quote is “A Lannister always pays his debts”. Some food ideas are golden cookie hands, gold coins, or some hummus and veggies in the shape of a lion.

Stark – Their house symbol is the direwolf (mythical creature) and their house quote is “Winter is coming”. Some of the food ideas that I thought would fit the house is turkey legs, wolf shaped cookies, or edible snow.

Targaryan – Their house symbol is the dragon and their house quote is “Fire and Blood”. Some ideas for food are spicy deviled eggs, dragon shaped cookies, or dragon fruit popsicles.

Bolton – Their symbol is the flayed man (yes a man skinned alive… ew!) and their house quote is “Our blades are sharp”. Some ideas for food is mini wieners, flayed man cheese ball, or hand shaped meatloaf.

Greyjoy – This house symbol is the Octopus and their house quote is “ We do not sow”. Some ideas for food are sushi, grilled octopus, or marsala braised seafood.

There are many other houses and great recipes to choose from as well. But I thought I would just show a sampling of the great variety of food and creativity you could create with the food for this party.

Décor – Since GoT has gotten so big there are lots of options for party décor that are relatively easy. Here are some great ideas that you could use as well!

Here are some great party décor printables!

Here is a great list for party ideas and décor as well:

Side note if you like this chair check out how to make one into a phone charger!

I love these GoT prop printables!

Awesome Attire – Whether you want to dress up like one of the characters or just find a cool shirt there are lots of options out there. Not to mention that because the show is Medieval Times themed, there are so many different ideas and themes you can cover – and may even have something at home to fit the theme. Here are some of my favorite ones.

I love this one because it isn’t a specific character but represents the time and can be worn for multiple reasons.

I love this one as well because it represents a character but could definitely be used for more than one reason.

I love this shirt because it can be worn for multiple reasons:

I especially love this one because it represents my favorite character!

:

I also love this one because it represents so much for a character in the story:

GoT is so fun for so many reasons – its filmed to perfection, its whimsical, dramatic, entertaining, and makes you think. So it really just encourages people to celebrate this fantastic show for a variety of reasons. It is the perfect show to throw a party that will really be a blast. As much as I am sad for this show to end, I can’t wait for our first GoT party to establish the bar for us to surpass with the series finale!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

Creative Water Animal Activities

During the month of August my children often discuss water animals. Between shark week, beach trips, and it being the first theme at school each year – they get very interested in water animals during this month. I personally LOVE water animals and never really tire of looking at them or learning new things. Here are some great ideas to help you children create, learn, and engage different senses with water animals.

Sensory – Sensory activities are so important for a variety of reasons. They can help children who have sensory issues and it also teaches all kids about the importance of using and trusting their senses! Here are some great water animal activities that are fantastic for sensory learning.

Love this ocean dough idea! Cute and easy to create!

Love this fishing game!

I love this sensory activity because it includes sorting and a variety of textures:

Love this sensory activity because it is something they can continue to play with long after the activity is over.

I love this sensory table activity because it includes math and science as well.

I love this sensory activity because it includes element of environmental awareness:

I love this sensory activity because it is part sensory and part science.

Science – I love science activities for the kids. They are great for learning and so fun for me to do as well. Science activities are so important to understanding the world around us. These are terrific because they show a variety of different unique characteristics specific to water animals!

I love this activity because of the different layers and levels that can be completed by the children.

I love this activity because it involves both math and science!

 

This is another great activity demonstrating the layers of the ocean.

Learn about ocean zones and marines animals for kids

This science experiment is so fun!

Love that this science activity involves animals outside of ocean animals.

I love this environmental awareness activity.

Here is a great list of additional science activities that involve water animals:

Creations – Children love to create new and unique creations. It definitely promotes children to use all kinds of skills and creates a positive self-outlook. These creations are super fun and should keep your children entertained for hours as well.

I love this craft so much! It’s beautiful and so creative!

 

 

This book is great and I love the associated project that goes with it.

Ok so this isn’t necessarily a craft, BUT it is a great way to help children with reading and letters!

Love these Jellyfish creations!

I love this creation… guaranteed to create hours of imaginative play:

I love this creation with the different forms of medium:

Love this turtle creation:

Love this creation activity because of all the options children have to be creative:

Love this creation!

I love this great list of water creature creations!

There are so many more great water animal activities out there that it was kind of hard to choose. I hope you enjoyed these activities as much as I do. These activities are great for a variety of reasons because they inspire creative play in addition to different learning activities. I hope they inspire some great family memories because that is what these activities should really bring out for both you and your child!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

 

 

 

Let’s Celebrate | First Day of School is Almost Here

That’s right – summer is coming to an end and school is just around the corner. As a student, I had mixed feelings of excitement and sadness. As a teacher (both high school and preschool) I needed more time but was excited. As a parent, these last days of summer seem to drag and I look forward to some minor freedoms – BUT when they do go back I do feel pain in my heart at how much they have grown from the previous year. School is so important to our little ones’ lives. After experiencing the first day of school from multiple perspectives, I decided to write a post about some of my thoughts on school in preparation for the upcoming school year.

School Clothes – Oh I have agonized over this on so many levels. Although it may not seem like a big deal – unfortunately, clothes do make the very first impression. Now I am not saying to go out and purchase a ton of new clothes or anything like that. In fact, I think most new clothes should be bought throughout the school year and not at the beginning, especially since we do not know how much a child will grow in a year. Here are some basic pointers I have learned over the years.

  • Wear Layers – the schools are usually super cold. Kids often come in not dressed appropriately in sandals, shorts and tanks. It can be hard to pay attention when you are too cold – so bring layers.
  • Wear Something Basic – the simpler the attire the less likely you will receive unwanted attention. I am not saying NEVER wear those items to school. But the first day of school is already stressful, so let’s not add to the stress!
  • Wear Something Appropriate – For middle and high schoolers, please make sure you follow the school dress code. There is nothing worse than being the teacher that has to call out the kid for not following dress code. Also for preschool and elementary kids, please try to have the kid wear clothes they CAN get dirty. Please eliminate the stress from you and your child by allowing them to get dirty in their school clothes.


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This image was created by me using Polyvore – Most of the clothes pictured are from Gap, Old Navy, and Target}

{ This image was created by me using Polyvore – Most of the clothes pictured are from Gap, Old Navy, and Target}

School Supplies – School supplies can be so daunting especially if you are on a tight budget! Not to mention all of the options out there for kids to choose from – making it so much more difficult for our Moms. So here are so helpful hints that I have learned over the years for getting all of those school supplies together.

School Supply Lists – First of all, when you get those lists a lot of times there are necessities and some are extras for the teacher. If you are on a budget, you may want to check with the teacher on which items they will use most often and at the beginning of the year – and which ones you can get later in the season. For instance, they may not need the paper protectors until October. Also the supply lists may be general for the grade level – so teachers may have their own additional lists. So it’s very important to talk with your child’s teacher about the school list. Also, teachers often have to buy their own tissues, Clorox wipes, and paper. If you do have extra funds, I am sure your teacher would be incredibly grateful for any extra supplies you can provide.

Back Packs – Backpacks are definitely essential to school. Now I am not for getting a new one every year! In fact my husband still has his from middle school. So again I wouldn’t get a character backpack. But some of the ones with patterns or animals are really cute and could definitely be used again. I also really like the backpacks that kids can color – even if they are just plain because it allows them to personalize their bags. Here are some of my favorite backpack options.

I love galaxy prints! They are so fun and timeless!

You can never go wrong with a Jansport. Whether in a color or pattern, they are a trusted brand for a reason.

This is a fantastic bag for young kids. Plus they have lunch boxes and other school supplies with the same animals.

Love this backpack – patriotic and timeless!

I love this backpack because it’s really fun and simple at the same time!

Lunch Boxes – Now, school lunch boxes I feel like are needed every year. They get so much bacteria, mildew, and beaten up during the year that they deserve an update. This is one of the few items where I think buying a character is acceptable. Here are some great ones that I really like. Although I will say, I do love a brown paper bag as well!

I love the Bento box style lunch boxes. This one is especially my favorite because it has a handle, is indestructible, and keeps foods warm.

I love this lunchbox because of the included icepacks that are built in! This way you don’t have to worry about the kids losing them or accidentally throwing them away.

I love this lunch box because it is durable, has a lifetime guarantee and is so cute!

Other Fun Stuff – Here are some other fun items that you may want to add to your kids’ shopping lists. Not only are they fun and cool but they are must-haves for this school year!

{These images were created by me using Polyvore. Most items are from Target}

Student-Parent-Teacher Relationship – This relationship is extremely important to the success of students in the school system. Parents need to play an active room in the classroom yes – but also let the teacher teach. They are trained professionals. Yes, they are also human and can make mistakes. It is important that everyone establishes their own boundaries and reasonable expectations to have a successful school year. So please make sure…

  • Students respect their teacher’s authority
  • Parents are in contact with the teachers but generally let them do their job
  • Teachers care for their students as if they were their own
  • Teachers communicate with parents so they understand where their student is succeeding AND also where they need improvement

First day of school is so fun and first impressions are often impactful for the rest of the school year. I hope these few ideas on outfits, school supplies, and teacher relationships will help you start off with a fantastic school year. Education is so important and making the right first impression for these young kids will definitely set them up for success. Happy first day of school!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

Reflections on Another BlogHer Conference

This year’s BlogHer did not disappoint! There were inspiring speakers, great sessions, and great attendees! It was a little bit different than I expected because it included food bloggers as well.  I had the added bonus of having a great time bonding with my SIL at Disney World! Not to mention I was able to complete some bucket list items of listening to Chelsea Clinton and Cecil Richards speak AND meeting Carla Hall!! We have already implemented some of the information that we learned and we have already seen a great boost in our blogging and response from our views (so THANK YOU). So far this BlogHer was one of the best ones for our site.

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{Photo by Lauren Carlisle : Lauren and I at Disney Hollywood Studies }

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{Photo Owned By Lauren Carlisle : Lauren and Carla Hall at BlogHer }

Goals Achieved – I had several goals in mind that I discussed in my previous post ——— . This year I feel like we did such a better job with meeting our goals, keeping open communication, and networking.

Sessions: This year I made a conscious effort to be more selective and deliberate in attending sessions that better fit our goals! I learned so much from the sessions this year that it has already really helped to streamline what we are doing with the Olive Shoe while also driving more viewers as well. Instead of feeling overwhelmed by the sessions this year, I felt much more empowered.

Networking: We also were more successful with networking this year. We were able to recognize and reconnect with some of the women from last year which was amazing! It was so nice to see them and how things had changed for them over the year as well. We also made some great new connections which has already helped us learn about more conferences and how networking can further improve our outreach. I look forward to cultivating these relationships in the future.

Anxiety: I can safely say my anxiety was at an all-time minimum this year! I didn’t let myself get overtired or anxious. I took time out when needed. I knew my limits. It was seriously one of the best trips I have been on because I was able to curb my anxiety!

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{Photo Taken by Lauren James : Lauren and I entering BlogHer 2017}

What’s Next? So what is next for the Olive Shoe? Well, Lauren and I have lots of plans for new content, new products, videos and more collaborations to help others who want to spread their creative spirit! In fact, some of our favorite projects are working with other Creativity Crusaders like us. I cannot wait for you all to see the changes that are bound to come for the Olive Shoe.

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{Photo Taken by Lauren James : Lauren and I post BlogHer }

Future BlogHer Improvements Although BlogHer was a great success for us this year… we still have more plans for future BlogHer events. There is no end to the amount of knowledge, information and inspiration that we can gain from conferences like this. We hope that in future conferences, we can keep up our new connections and friends. We want go to more private events for more intimate connections. We want to go to more sessions so we can gain more knowledge on how to improve our blog and brand as a whole. We want to see more women succeeding in what they are doing and help them to get to their goals in any way we can!! It really is so inspiring to be together with these women and see so many of them succeed in such a short period of time.

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{Photo Taken by Lauren James : Welcome Sign for BlogHer 2017}

As I said before, BlogHer seriously did not disappoint. The things we have learned at the conferences are indispensable to our future. We have already doubled our amount of viewers… sometimes even tripled them! I cannot thank them enough for their inspiration and advice that we have been able to use with our brand. I seriously cannot wait to fully implement everything we have learned. So cheers, BlogHer, to another successful event! We looks forward to joining you for many more in the future.

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

Summer Sun | Bring Out the Water Guns

I LOVE the summer time!! It’s my second favorite season… after fall of course! There is so much fun to be had outside – where I try to live year round. Growing up in Pennsylvania, we didn’t have the beach or a lake. We had the Delaware River, Jersey Shore, and public pools. Most days my Mom would round us up and we would have swim practice in the morning, go home for naps, and then spend the rest of the afternoon at the community pool. However, we also had several days at home where we would play in the sprinkler, paint the driveway, use a water table etc… Now that we live in Tallahassee, I have to come up with fun, new creative ways for water play – since we don’t have a pool and can’t always make it to the beach or lake. So after some searching, I found these great water play activities that have been wonderful to use with my girls!

Science Activities – I personally think these activities may be more fun for me than the kids lol. Sometimes kids don’t like to wait for the reaction. Luckily with these activities they do not have to wait long! Plus they are easy to do over and over again, allowing the kids plenty of time to learn a new concept while also having fun!

This is a great activity to show how water reacts to different surfaces, runs, and mixes!

This is a great activity to help kids learn how to measure and how water flows. There is tons of learning to be had with this activity. Not to mention if you add some food coloring, it’s a great way to show how to mix colors.

I love this activity because not only is it sensory play, but it also has science to back it up!

I LOVE this super easy science experiment!

I love this activity too – so many possibilities for the races with obstacles… change in vehicles etc…

 

Sensory Activities – Sensory activities I think are mine and my kids’ favorite activities to play. Not only do they learn so much but it really is so fun to do! The only drawback to sensory activities is it does take some planning and can sometimes be messy. What I love about these activities is many of them can be done outside or inside in your bathtub!! Check it out!

I love this “small worlds” play activity. It is surely going to create hours of fun!

Frozen figures are one of my all-time favorite activities! Its great for hot weather or in the bathtub as well!

This is another great sensory activity because it has multiple mediums and will also teach your kids how to clean their toys! It’s a total win-win!

This activity is also super fun… plus you can leave it up and they can play it for several days in a row without needing much clean up!

Here is a great list of sensory activities for both toddlers and infants!

More fun – Here are some other fun water activities that you can do with the kids that really take minimal set up and will be so fun for the kids to play! These will surely be a crowd-pleaser and most are easy activities to add to your summer parties and BBQs as well.

Who needs to buy a water table when you can create one for a fraction of the cost! I really love this idea because it can really change the game for many people.

This is a great activity to inspire imaginative play!

This is another great imagination play activity that could easily lead to helping in real life – who doesn’t love imagination play that can teach how to complete future chores!

Here is a great collection of activities to do with water play

These great activities can be used at home for the kids or for a gathering at your home!

So water play doesn’t have to be just a location, sprinkler, or water guns. There are so many different activities that you can do with water to keeps the kids entertained and cool as well. Although I will say my family has some pretty epic water gun fights since we keep them stashed around the house for any time an occasion crops up. SO get out in that sunshine and cool off with some of these great activities. And who knows… you may even learn something in the process!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

American’s “Christmas” in July | Local 4th of July Ideas

So this blog post is going to be pretty short – but definitely a sweet one! The 4th of July is by far my favorite holiday… EVER!! Seriously nothing makes me happier than fireworks, BBQ, drinks, hot weather, picnics, and friends and family gathering. I have spent the 4th at the beach, mountains, cities, country-side, and even in other countries! I grew up in a Philadelphia suburb so the celebrations were very large when I was growing up – especially since fireworks are illegal any other time of the year! I have had some people suggest to me that the 4th of July celebrations in the North is larger than Christmas – this couldn’t make me more proud by the way – and it is so true! Everyone gets together for some kind of big event.

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For my family we usually hosted a large party with our neighbors. During our annual travel to South Carolina to visit family, my Dad would stop at South of the Border to pick up fireworks for the celebration. My mother made her annual dessert, a sorbet dessert that looked like a watermelon. Neighbors partook in a pot-luck, games, and lots of fellowship! Some of my favorite childhood memories are from this holiday! Listed below you will find some great links on some of our local 4th of July celebrations.

Tally Suggestions – So this year I am new to Tallahassee so I had to ask for suggestions and get information from the locals in order to figure out my 4th of July festivities! Luckily since we live in a state capital and near the water there is really no shortage of firework view options. There are also several community events and even a race to attend! I so look forward to celebrating the 4th in our new home this year.

Best List of Attractions: http://fun4tallykids.com/Whats-Happening/July-4th-Events/

Best Event : http://www.talgov.com/parks/july4.aspx

Laws on Fireworks : https://cms.leoncountyfl.gov/Portals/0/PolicyPdf/02-02-3.pdf

Upstate Suggestions – Now the upstate is a little bit different than what I grew up doing for the 4th of July. First of all it is a mostly rural community so the big events are far apart and you may not be able to find many events locally. Luckily fireworks are legal all year so it is easy to stock up, grab some friends, and head to the lake for an epic bash! There are some great events in the upstate though – even the local events are pretty well done and often include parades. I will definitely miss celebrating the 4th with our family this year.

Best List of Attractions: https://kiddingaroundgreenville.com/fireworks-july-4th.html

Best Event: http://www.visitgreenvillesc.com/includes/calendar-of-events/Wells-Fargo-Red-White-and-Blue-Festival/27812/

Laws on Fireworks: http://www.scstatehouse.gov/code/t23c035.php

See, I told y’all this one would be short! I really just wanted to hone in on some of my hopeful and favorite events that we could celebrate with this year. But honestly celebrating the 4th really takes minimal effort… put out those red, white, and blues, fire up the grill, grab loved ones, beer, music and you got yourself a fantastic celebration! And if your one of the lucky ones you will be surrounded by fireworks and the show of a lifetime! Happy 4th of July!!

Lauren Cop is a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) of Irish Twins and Senior writer/editor of ciao_laurencop_sig-01the 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!