A Day with The McGrory's

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I say it all the time. I had a great childhood with lovely memories. Sometimes when I'm having a bad day, I close my eyes and picture myself, back in the neighborhood that I loved so much, with my best "buddy ol' pals" as Jack says. I lived across the street from my best friend. It was perfect. We always planned on digging tunnels or some strange rope and pulley system that would allow us to hang out all the time. Nobody would notice...But Sarah is still my very best friend to this day. Her family is like my second family. I could go in without knocking, open up the fridge, grab a drink and sit down and watch TV and they wouldn't question a thing. In fact, I think that has happened before...Sarah's mom, Anne is someone that I look up to as a mother. Back in the day, she would scold us for saying "shut up," "hate," "stupid," etc. We thought she was so annoying. Well, when I heard Jack pick up the word "hate" from one of his friends...I scolded him. I pulled a "Mother Anne." And I just laughed.

On Monday, Jack and I went up to their house in NH for a cook out. Jack is obsessed with Bernie. Truly, obsessed. Back when we went to Southwick's with them, Bernie bought Jack a camel. Jack named it Bernie and sleeps with it every night. It was kind of nice, I didn't have to chase Jack around once...since Jack would not leave Bernie's side! Muahahaha maniacal laughhhh (name that movie). We sat on the deck, ate some cheeseburgers, played soccer and laughed and laughed. A dose of the McGrory clan was much needed! Oh and Dudley too :-)


Typical Jack :-)
Jack is starting soccer in May. Nate was helping him dribble the ball and head but!
Hahaha Dudley's still got it 
Action shot face!
Cutie pie!


"I'm sorry I threw the ball at Dudley's face, Anne"





And of course, in true Jack fashion, he heard the word dessert and went mental. I do too, jack, don't worry!
And attack Bernie some more...
Jack slept allllll night but naturally was up at 6am as usual! 





Constructive criticism is welcome but any comments that are malicious and mean-spirited will be removed. Ain't nobody got time for dat.

What makes you happy?

Saturday, April 12, 2014

 Just like everyone else on earth, I have been listening to "Happy" by Pharrell until I couldn't stand it any longer.

But it had me thinking...what does make me happy? Of course my family and friends make me happy, but what about what makes me, as a person, happy. What hobbies do I enjoy? What sights and sounds make me smile from ear to ear?

Three things. Photography, The Cape and family trips.

About two months ago, I started my photography business. I have to say, I am quite lucky that it is going to be a busy Summer for me and that people enjoy my photographs. It started out as a hobby but I quickly realized it could be more than that. Even though I photograph people and events, I have to say my favorite will always be animals and landscapes. I am that crazy person that pulls over to the side of a road to take a picture of a horse or a really nice sunset. Meet Bulls-Eye, Jack's "best buddy ol' pal"
Now one thing I think everyone knows about me, is how much I love The Cape. I never mind the 2 hour drive (without traffic), in fact, I look forward to it every summer. We need to go more often. I hope to rent a house for 2 weeks in a few years every summer so we can sit and enjoy ourselves. For every year of Jack's life so far, I made it a point to go every summer. Jack was about 6 months old the first time when we slept over my Dad and Veronica's summer rental. Then the past two years we have gone to Rick's parents Cape house and loved it (well, kinda...toddler tantrums) But it is something about The Cape that I find so relaxing. The shops, the smells, the incredible, fresh seafood. And my favorite...the shingles on all of the adorable homes. In fact, if we are lucky enough, I'd love to have a permanant summer home there one day. I think that is one of my goals and dreams. A summer house on The Cape. Here's a little flashback of Jack's first time at The Cape (and first time at a beach...he loved it)
Lauren was so cute and made Jack's name out of seashells and rocks. We saved the rocks and shells and we have them tucked away in storage...crazy mom status.
My Dad, my sister Mary, Jack and my sleep-deprived self. I remember him being up the WHOLE NIGHT that night.
He ended up loving the water and splashing around his little legs and feet.
 He always loves grabbing my Dad's hat!
 Love this picture!
I hope to go down alone this summer as well. I haven't had a chance to drive around and photograph The Cape as I hoped to. Here are some shots I took last summer.

You can read more about our Cape trips here, here and here.

The last thing that makes me crazy happy, would be family trips. It's all about the memories people. The last thing I want Jack to remember is sitting inside playing video games and doing a whole lotta nothin'. We had one amazing childhood. I want to give that to Jack as well. So I love taking him to Zoo's, museums, parks, etc. We recently went to The Ecotarium in Worcester and I have never seen Jack have so much fun. I took 400+ pictures...but seeing a smile on his face and say outloud "I'm having so much fun!" really makes me happy.We hope to go to Edaville again this year to see Thomas the Train (his other "best buddy ol' pal") He is starting to reach the age where he is WAY more interested in space, nature, sports, science, etc. So we really want to focus on making sure he learns ALL about anything he wants to. This summer, I want to take him to some tide pools since he was really into that at The Ecotarium. He loved the little fish and other creatures you find in tide pools.

 
So what makes you happy? Now all I want is summer! But, it is going to 70 degrees this week! Getting there!



Constructive criticism is welcome but any comments that are malicious and mean-spirited will be removed. Ain't nobody got time for dat.

Just a quickie

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

No, not like that. Last weekend, (or was it the weekend before? My Mom brain is mush today), I had some friends over  that I hadn't seen in a long time for some drinks. It was a BLAST! My Mom said she could watch Jack for me so nobody would end up leaving with a broken nose and no sanity, so I had to drop Jack off at my Mom's before they came over. I had about 20 minutes to get ready before everyone came once I got back home.

I whipped up some iced tea (same recipe that I made here) and a vegetable platter. My girlfriend Kristen was bringing wine, so I set aside a variety of wine glasses in case there were different kinds of wine. I also had the fridge stocked with Corona (mmmmm, Corona) so I had cut up limes. I also set aside a wine and beer opener and some coasters.



For the vegetable platter, I added plain hummus and just spiced it up with red pepper flakes and black pepper. Similar to what I did here. DE-LISH.

I always feel like your home should look prepared for guests, so I was glad I was able to whip up this bad boy in a few minutes. Now, who wants a Corona? ME ME ME ME ME ME I DO CAN YOU TELL I WANT ONE


Constructive criticism is welcome but any comments that are malicious and mean-spirited will be removed. Ain't nobody got time for dat.

Reader Question: How to throw a Roaring 20's party

Saturday, April 5, 2014


Back in December 2012, Jon turned the big 3-0. After he turned 29, I asked if he wanted to do anything special for his 30th. All he said he wanted, was a party with his close friends. No fuss, just drinks, music and fun. So about six months out, I was watching an episode of Boardwalk Empire when Nucky mentioned "the roaring twenties". Then it hit me...Roaring Twenties...Saying GOODBYE to your roaring twenties. And then, the idea was born.

The party I threw is the most popular post on my blog and I get emails about it a lot, so I figured I will do a follow-up to the general emails/questions!

You can throw this party on the cheap. One thing I knew is that if I threw a large bash (renting a place, crazy costumes, DJ, etc) Jon wouldn't have enjoyed it as much/we wouldn't be able to get our countertops. We were building our home at this time and all spare cash was going to the house and supplies. So, I knew I had to throw the party on a budget. THIS CAN BE DONE. How? Let me tell you.

1.) Use cheap vendors/websites. I bought 5 things off of Party City. I bought the silver chandelier, champagne glasses, balloons beads and the horn things for when Jon walked in. At the time they had supplies for "gangster parties" and "new years eve" parties. PERFECT. I just got a few things from each themed party. It totaled $30. The things I "splurged" on were the Photo Booth props from PAPERandPancakes and the Champagne fountain from Amazon.

2.) Facebook for Invites. Dude. I straight up made an event on Facebook. This way, it was easier to communicate with who could come and if there was a chance I needed to cancel due to weather (it was December). Also, IT WAS FREE. I didn't have to buy $50+ worth of invites, stamps, etc. You can make a 20's invitation for the Event photo and post any information like address, time, etc.

I created an "invite" in about 10 minutes using Picmonkey (free) and Photoshop.
1) In PicMonkey, open up any picture and click on "canvas color" and choose a black background.
2) Google "art deco wallpaper" and select in image for free. I chose this one below and saved it to my desktop.
3) In PicMonkey, click on the butterfly image and select "add your own", then select the image you chose off of google. You can have the image be your ENTIRE background, or you can do a banner like I did so the font sticks out. If you choose to do the entire background, just select the image and stretch it till it fits the whole image. If you want to do a banner like I did below, move the image to a corner. Then right click and press duplicate and keep moving the images until they line up and form the banners. On the top of the invite, I rotated the picture as well and did the same "duplicate" step. Enlarging this, I realized it is NOT STRAIGHT AT ALL HOLY COW, but then again, I can't cut a straight line and I did this in ten minutes haha.
4) Once I had this, I couldn't find any Art Deco fonts on PicMonkey, so I opened up photoshop and used "Volstead" "for Saying Goodbye to Jon's" and "Desdemona" for the rest.
You get the idea!

3.) Plan months ahead and shop SALES for food, drinks, clothes, etc. I planned this party for six months with Glenn (Jon's best friend) since they were going to be in NY together and I needed someone I could trust. Since I had months to plan, I would plan the menu and shop sales. I researched popular food from the era and found a lot of beef entrees. I decided to make a beef stew. I was shopping 2 months before the party one day and found a BUNCH of healthy ground beef on sale. I bought enough for 25 people for $10. Then, just save your coupons for anything you can and shop a few days before the party for the perishable foods. Alcohol wise, I would buy a bottle of this and a bottle of that for six months so it didn't add up during one trip. I think I bought a bottle of something every month (Jack Daniels, wine, bourbon, whiskey, etc). My dress was from the Juniors section from Macy's. I still have it and I want a 20's party for my birthday this year, so I'm glad I kept it! The headband was from BrassLotus, but I bought it for my wedding, not the party, but it worked with the theme so I wore it.


4.) If someone offers to bring something, LET THEM. I used to struggle with accepting help from others. I love doing things MYSELF. I was terrible at group projects and normally took over in school. But, I have started to realize that it is ok to accept help. Our dear friend Kristen offered to bring supplies to make Old Fashions and Glenn's gal Arianna (the hottest gangster over), made a mango salsa and brought chips to go along with it. But, it helps so just suck it up!

5.) FREE MUSIC. I have to thank the Boardwalk Empire soundtrack for this one. But, the music is the one thing i would do differently. The CD player wouldn't repeat all of the songs, so it would turn off once it was done. What I recommend is to make a 20's themed soundtrack on iTunes or Spotify etc, and shuffle all songs. Here's a playlist I would use:
So it all depends on the TYPE of party you're throwing. Is it more for family/adults/a cocktail party? Do you and your friends all want to party like it's 1999? For more of an ADULT party (no, not like that), choose classier hits like George Gershwin, The Artist soundtrack, The Charleston and Louis Armstrong. For more of a wild party, do the entire soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann's movie Gatsby. I listen to this soundtrack all the time and it is the perfect mix of slow and booty bumpin' (is that what its called?)

6.) Plan the menu around the era. Honestly, you can eat whatever, but I wanted to milk this theme for all its worth. The menu I planned was:


Dessert was Jon's favorite: Confetti cake...cutie pie. I baked two cakes and in-between, I did a layer of frosting and sliced strawberries to make it more interesting.

7.) Pinterest is your friend. As always, utilize Pinterest to get ideas, tips, etc for any theme. Follow my Party Idea board for more ideas!


I really hope this answers any questions you had and offers some tips as well. We (ok I) want another 20's party this summer for my birthday, so we will need to start planning since that is very soon!



Constructive criticism is welcome but any comments that are malicious and mean-spirited will be removed. Ain't nobody got time for dat. 

Woo hoo!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Woooo! Jon is BACK! Jon was in Nashville, DC and LA for pretty much the last month. He's finally home and we are so excited! 
If you are wondering why I haven't been posting much, that's why. The last week before he came home was a bit if a doozy (toddler tantrums/I was exhausted) so I went to bed pretty much when the jack attack did. But starting Monday, I'll be back full-force! If there's one thing that I love about blogging and working for yourself, it's that you can take a break when you need to. 

Sunday is my sister Mary's bridal shower and I am so excited!  

I hope you have a great weekend! 

Blog Design by Nudge Media Design | Powered by Blogger

Linkwithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Hover Pin It Code

 
09 10