Archive | May, 2014

Narnia Springtime Birthday Party

When you have boy/girl twins it’s not always easy coming up with a birthday party theme to fit them both. With Narnia’s Lion, Witch & Wardrobe being our favorite family movie this year, I decided to take a jab at creating the perfect Narnia celebration for them. It all starts with the invitation….. Narnia Party

The Invitation- Narnia Birthday Party

“Sons of Adam and Daughters of Eve, Your Presence is Requested at the 10th Birthday Celebration of King Connor and Queen Cassidy”.  A simple Canva design layout which I transferred to Microsoft Publisher helped me design this beautiful invitation. Narnia Birthday Party

The Decorations- Narnia Birthday Party

The wardrobe in The Lion, Witch & Wardrobe is an essential part of the story, so I decided to turn my foyer into the wardrobe using a white bed sheet and some brown acrylic craft paint. I penciled the outline first, then painted it in before cutting a slit up the middle for guests to walk through. Yes, that’s a rolling coat rack just beyond that sheet with fur coats hanging on it… faux of course! No letters from PETA please. Narnia Party Ideas   And as if painting one white bed sheet wasn’t enough, I decided to paint a Narnia scene on a second sheet and hang it at the end of my entry hall. Once guests passed through that sheet, it was on to the party. I also had to break out some Christmas decorations from storage. Narnia Party Decor     White cotton balls strung on fishing line and hung from the ceiling to create snowfall. I opted for the cotton after carefully weighing my options for creating snow, from falling paper confetti to a snow machine- no thanks. Narnia Lion Witch Wardrobe party Thank goodness for Grams! My grandmother has been my slave laborer since the twins were born in helping me create the details for these parties. This year, she made these Narnia flags to hang outside. For Narnia! Love you Grams! Narnia Party decorations

The Activities- Narnia Birthday Party

Petting Zoo

A petting zoo was the perfect main attraction for our Narnia themed party. Although Petting Zoo To U didn’t have any fauns, lions or talking gophers, the guests loved the goats, bunnies and ducks. Narnia birthday party IMG_5344-001 IMG_5343-001 IMG_5323 IMG_5313-001 IMG_5308-001 IMG_5302-001 IMG_5334-001

Being Knighted

Each party guest received a red cloak and shield of armor before being knighted a King and Queen of Narnia. Of course, once the swords come out, it’s game-on. Narnia Party Narnia Party   I found these “make your own shield” activity kits complete with stickers at Birthday In a Box for only $2.99 for a pack of 4. I purchased 6 packs and paid less than $20…what a steal. Narnia Party   Guests marched off to practice for battle…. right after a quick snack. IMG_5369-001 IMG_5376-001 IMG_5383-001

The Games- Narnia Birthday Party

Who’s up for a little Scooter Jousting? Anyone? Narnians hopped on their scooters and rode off to battle before slaying the White Witch (otherwise known as the pinata hanging from the basketball hoop). Narnia party IMG_5390-001 IMG_5393-001 IMG_5403-001   And if Scooter Jousting isn’t your thing…. there’s always an archery contest to prove your skills in battle. Narnia Party This is Brooke emceeing the archery contest and I wish I would have video recorded it because I’ve always warned my husband that we need to prepare ourselves for her career on Saturday Night Live. Onlookers do not look thrilled with her.

Narnia Party


Once a King and Queen of Narnia….

After opening gifts it was time to say goodbye to Narnia and head back through the wardrobe. Narnia Birthday Party Parting gifts consisted of trinkets and candy along with a note to remind them of our birthday adventures. Narnia Birthday Party


Ten years has gone by too fast. Tear.

Ten years has gone by too fast. Tear.

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Red, White & Blue Potato Salad- 4th of July Menu

4th of July Menu

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

With blue cheese and creamy sour cream, this potato salad is delicious and festive for 4th of July.

Memorial Day potato salad

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad

Red, White & Blue Potato Salad


  • Petite Red, White & Blue (purple, actually- but close enough) Potatoes (I found the perfect ones at Trader Joe’s)- 3 lbs cleaned and quartered
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles- 8 oz.
  • Sour Cream- 12 oz.
  • Salt- 1 tablespoon


  1. Heat oven on Broil
  2. Place potato chunks onto baking sheet and season with salt
  3. Drizzle olive oil over potatoes and toss loosely to distribute oil
  4. Cook until potatoes are brown, approximately 35 minutes
  5. Transfer to mixing bowl
  6. Add blue cheese and sour cream to potatoes and toss
  7. Serve warm or chilled


Our Red, White & Blue Potato Salad is part of a complete 4th of July grilling menu.  These simple holiday recipes are easy to make and delicious. Print out a complete Grocery Shopping List for this menu below!

4th July Steak

Herb Marinated Flank Steak

memorial day menu



Grilled Herb Flank Steak

I marinate my steak about two days in advance, so come grill day the steak is ready to cook- saving me lots of time.

Memorial Day Steak Recipe

Grilled Herb Flank Steak


  • Flank Steak 3-4 lbs, cut into 2-inch strips against the grain
  • Dijon Mustard - 1 cup (no need to measure exactly- it's more than half of a 12oz. bottle)
  • Red Wine Vinegar- 1/3 cup
  • Soy Sauce- 1/4 cup
  • Dried Oregano & Basil- 1 tablespoon each


  1. Marinate steak a day or two in advance
  2. Make Marinade:
  3. Combine mustard, vinegar, soy sauce and herbs; mix well
  4. Place sliced steak into large zip-top baggie or shallow container
  5. Cover with marinade and coat steak evenly
  6. Seal and place in refrigerator to marinate
  7. Time To Grill:
  8. Remove steak from marinade directly to hot grill
  9. Cook until brown on both sides and desired wellness


Summer Vegetable Cavatappi Salad

Memorial Day pasta salad recipe

Summer Vegetable Cavatappi Salad

Summer Vegetable Cavatappi Salad


  • Cavatappi Pasta- 1 lb
  • Zucchini & Squash- 1 each, diced into half-chunks
  • Red Grape Tomatoes- 1 pint, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Yellow Grape Tomatoes- 1 pint, sliced in half lengthwise
  • Olive oil- 1/2 cup
  • Salt- 1 teaspoon
  • Parmesan cheese- 8 oz., shredded or grated


  1. Boil pasta in salted water until tender
  2. Drain pasta reserving 1/2 cup of cooking water, then rinse pasta under cool water
  3. Transfer cooled pasta to salad bowl
  4. Heat oven to Broil
  5. Place zucchini, squash and tomato slices onto baking sheet and season with salt
  6. Drizzle with olive oil and toss to cover vegetables
  7. Cook until vegetable are tender and tomatoes begin to release juice, approximately 12 minutes
  8. Add vegetables with juice to pasta along with pasta water, then toss
  9. Top with Parmesan cheese



The Grocery Shopping List

Print the below grocery shopping list for this entire menu here:

Gourmet 4th of July Menu Grocery Shopping List

Gourmet 4th of July Menu Grocery Shopping List


  • Flank Steak 3-4 lbs
  • Petite Red, White & Blue (purple, actually- but close enough) Potatoes (I found the perfect ones at Trader Joe’s)- 3 lbs
  • Zucchini & Squash- 1 each
  • Red Grape Tomatoes- 1 pint
  • Yellow Grape Tomatoes- 1 pint
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles- 8 oz.
  • Parmesan cheese- 8 oz., shredded or grated
  • Sour Cream- 12 oz.
  • Cavatappi Pasta- 1 lb
  • Dijon Mustard - 12oz. bottle
  • Staples:
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Olive oil
  • Dried Oregano
  • Dried Basil


  1. This menu serves 6 people, so double for 10-12 people
  2. Check back to for more holiday recipes!


Summer Beverages

Homemade Summer Sangria. For the best sangria, prepare 2 days in advance.

Homemade Summer Sangria from Toni Spilsbury The Organized Cook

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Memorial Day Highlights

Memorial Day definitely sneaked up on me this year, as it does every year. The last Monday in May is just another day off work for some, and for others it may be a weekend add-on day for travel.

I woke up this Memorial Day and consciously asked what this day is for me and my family and here’s what I came up with.

Memorial Day is…..

Memorial Day blog


1. A day to celebrate with family and friends the freedoms that we share because of those who protect them.

Memorial Day blog

An afternoon barbeque turns into tranquil chatter



2. A day to share my favorite grill recipes.

Grilled Herb Flank Steak from The Organized Cook, click here for recipe



3. Time to start wearing my favorite white jeans.

Memorial Day blog

White jeans…. yes, tomorrow! Right now it’s an evening swing with kids in PJ’s. (check out the Las Vegas sunset behind us!)



4. A deadline for planting my Spring garden.

Read “7 Reasons To Grow a Home Garden” here



5. A time to make my #WineWork “To Do” list to catch up old work and clear my calendar for Summer.


Read “Wine Work” here



6. A time to start planning Summer family vacations.

Carlsbad summer vacation

Summer vacation in Carlsbad



7. A reason to have a lemonade stand.

Read “Lemonade Stand, A Family Bucket List” here



Many blessings to you and your family this and every Memorial Day!


Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2014 via Instagram @ToniSpilsbury




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Wine Work

Creating a master “to-do” list, scheduling pediatric dental appointments, paying medical bills, filling out field trip permission slips, planning birthday parties, locating the receipt for the dress I need to return, responding to emails and organizing my purse are just a few of the many jobs I include in my “wine work”.


Toni Spilsbury, blogger

Messy office in much need of “wine work”

What Is “Wine Work”?

A simple iPhone autocorrect is responsible for a new term that I like to use to answer that time-old question, “What are you doing?”, on days that I’m doing my dreaded busy work which never before had a name.

On a recent sluggish weekday morning I was weeding through the pile of paperwork and sticky notes on my desk when I decided to text my friend, Vanessa. You see, on my “to-do” list, was “schedule lunch with Vanessa” because it had been months that my dear friend and I were trying to carve out time to catch up.

Mommy Blogger

“Wine Work” supplies

“What are you doing?”, I inquired on text, hoping we could connect for that long overdue lunch date.

“I’m in sweats doing wine work.” she replied.

Voila! There it was! The perfect name for work that once had no name. Oh how clever that Vanessa can be.

Later, however, I would find out from Vanessa that she’s not sure what she actually typed because she’s never heard of “wine work” and therefor it must have been autocorrected on her iPhone from her original message. Even more brilliant.

I’m not the only woman out there doing wine work today. In fact, countless women across the globe are going through their agendas, purses, cars, mail and emails to prioritize their wine work before picking up a call and trying to answer the question, “What are you doing?”

Wine Work blog by Toni Spilsbury

Some Myths About Wine Work- True or False?

Myth #1:  Wine work is not work. FALSE. Wine work is crucial for women, especially moms, who don’t want to live a frantic, hectic, unorganized and uninspiring life. Wine work is the work that we must get done and out of the way in order to allow new and inspiring work into our lives.Toni Spilsbury, blogger

Myth #2:  You must drink wine while doing wine work. FALSE. Although, I do highly suggest it. A bubbly Prosecco or light rosé is perfectly paired with waiting on hold with your insurance company to check the status of your claim.

Myth #3:  You can do wine work with a friend. FALSE. Wine work is best done alone and in sweats… with a messy bun…. and no makeup….. wearing fuzzy socks or Uggs.

Myth #4:  You must schedule time to do wine work. FALSE. You’ve got to feel like doing wine work in order to do it effectively. If you don’t feel like getting your wine work done, it will feel like a chore and take forever. You’ll know when the time is right to get your wine work done. The planets and stars will align perfectly to allow you that window of uninterrupted time when you feel most inspired to do it. Trust the universe. It has never let me down.

Wine Work

Some Tips to Doing Wine Work

  1. Light a candle.
  2. Exercise beforehand to get the brain running.
  3. Turn off the television.

    Wine Work

    “Wine Work” Lunch

  4. Wear comfortable clothes.
  5. Don’t answer the phone to friends who’ll want to gab for a long time.
  6. Do answer the phone to people on your “to do” list.
  7. Keep healthy snacks nearby.
  8. Don’t slow down your adrenals by eating candy or potato chips.
  9. Don’t get sidetracked by surfing the web (darn you Pinterest!).
  10. Reward yourself for a job well done…. with wine, of course.


This post is dedicated to all the ladies out there getting their wine work done today.



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