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Countertop Review

This time last year I was packing up our house to prepare for our down-to-the-studs renovation in our kitchen, family room, and master bath as well as the addition of a screened porch. The family room wasn't originally part of the plan, but that's a post for another time. The kitchen was where I really had to plan and scheme, and, yes even fret, to stay in our footprint and budget and to get the function and look I wanted. I love a challenge like this, though, so despite some occasional frustration with my client (aka me! ), I enjoyed the process. A key "want" of mine was honed marble countertops. There are dozens--maybe hundreds--of blog posts, articles, and showroom sites that compare various types of countertop materials and their pros and cons. I read most of them and took notes from a lot of them in the months leading up to our start date. One of the most helpful things was visiting a sweet friend's kitchen, where I was able to ask questions about cleaning, a

And when we party,

Well, truthfully we’re pretty low key.  Big did seem to enjoy his 18th birthday—the food was plenty hearty, and I think that for fellows his age, hearty food is key.  The weather and setting were perfect.  The guests were polite and appreciative, and the Mister and I enjoyed the afternoon as well.
IMG_1881Here’s some of the gear, ready for loading into the van.  IMG_1884 The centerpiece featured an old picnic cooler rescued from my great uncle’s garage.  It is always a hit at casual parties.
IMG_1889Here I am with the birthday boy and Lovely Girlfriend, who was a big help with the invitation list and setting up.  IMG_1887 Big is crazy for Magnolia Bakery cupcakes, so I made several batches of the vanilla with chocolate buttercream frosting to create his 18 “cake.”  We replenished these all afternoon and still were able to send some home with Lovely to share with her roommates.IMG_1883I bought this bread board years ago, and I have loved serving from it.  Usually I use it for cheese and fruit, but I thought the cupcakes worked well, too.Cheeseburger-Made-In-A-Rice-Cooker Cheeseburgers, grilled to perfection by dear friend Old Bean, were a big hit.IMG_1886We put enamel plates of fun-sized candies on each table.  The cloth was a heavy muslin with a blue-and-white ticking overlay in the center.IMG_1900 Some of the gang.IMG_1897 Good friends (Old Bean and the Redhead) gave Big a new tire for his Jeep.  The Mister and I gave the other three.  When Big unwrapped the tire, the boys let out an audible and collective “oooh” of appreciation while the girls exchanged glances.  Who knew tires would be such a hit?IMG_1896     Our recyclables, about halfway through the day.  Don’t worry, the brown bottles are from root beer.  
IMG_1904With all the planning and cooking, my gift wrapping skills sank to a new low—I didn’t want to get “caught” wrapping Big’s other gifts, so instead of going downstairs for boxes, gift wrap, and tissue paper, I just snagged some bags and newspaper ads.  I don’t think it’s going to be a trend.
For more birthday fun, check out Suburban Princess and It's a Golden Day.  It’s a big week for birthdays!


  1. Looks like everything was a success and a good time was had by all. New tires. Funny. :) xoxo

  2. Everything looks great! I love the centrepiece!
    Lovely looks so tiny! What a cutie!
    How does it feel to have an 18 year old?

    Thanks for the plug!

  3. Love the party. Wonderful centerpiece and flowers.

    And it looks like a great bunch of kids. You must be a very proud Mom of Big and his friends.

    Thanks for "advertising" my blog post. April is a busy month for birthdays in my family: Husband on the 5th, S on the 13th, and my father on the 20th!

  4. I want one of those coke fab! Looks like it was a big hit.

  5. what a brilliant 18th birthday party. you set such
    a perfect note with the adorable coke cooler, and
    i am dying for one of those cupcakes.

    so many moms just go over the top and lose the
    proper perspective. you have such a great balance
    of making it special but not over shadowing the


    i'm stealing every detail . . .

  6. Love the colors! And that any leftovers?

  7. Happy Birthday to your baby boy! Mine is 26. I am happy to have found you while visiting Henley on the Horn. Nice to "meet" you - see you again soon.

  8. What a great party! I am so happy to have come across your blog via Suburban Princess. Looks like your birthday boy had a terrific time, cokes, cheeseburgers and chocolate, perfect birthday meal! Love the tires, that is so cute, they were a hit! Your table is set up so pretty, the coke tin and flowers are wonderful!

  9. I just found your blog via Tickled Pink and Green - LOVE it! Your family is beautiful, and your decorating is fabulous. I'll be back!


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