Category Archives: girl

Moving Day

Hey there. Me again. Back after a brief hiatus with more photos and fewer words. I promise I’ll be back on a regular schedule once we are all moved in but until then I hope you’ll settle for a photo update of the last few days.

Friday was spent down in Champaign celebrating with family and friends before the 5th running of the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon. Technically this year marks the 6th annual race but this was the 5th year of our family running let’s just go with that.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

It was so nice to see my Champaign family and to squeeze the little ones before we leave. We were blessed (and cursed) with nice weather throughout the weekend as well, making for a very hot race the next day.

christie clinic illinois marathon, racing, half marathon, champaign, family,

Jake and Owen came over for the youth run on Saturday well-prepared with their under armor superhero shirts. I missed the run but highlights included Jake getting a side stitch approximately 30 seconds into a 1K distance, Owen blazing to the finish and Jake asking the volunteer why he was getting a medal if he didn’t win.

Saturday evening we celebrated our move with some of our closest Chicago friends. I feel very blessed to have had these girls (and guys) in my life over the last 6 years and will miss them so much. It’s so nice to have a bunch of people to look forward to visiting each time we come back though.

chicago going away party, haymarket pub, friends, Chicago

Approximately 4 hours of sleep later we were onto Sunday where we celebrated the upcoming arrival of the first grandchild on Matt’s side. If you can’t tell by the shower colors, it’s a girl.

girls baby shower, tassel garland, candy bar, sweets table, diaper cake, pink baby shower,

5 or so hours of sleep later it was moving day. Chicago sent us off just about the same way it treated us all winter long with gray skies and wet conditions but we made the most of it. We had a bit of a fiasco with our movers last-minute so we called in some family to help us make the trip. Once the truck was packed, Matt and his brother started the trip down and I headed to Springfield to pick up my dad and Finn.

spring weather, chicago moving day, moving truck

I’m not typically one to consider signs but I am now convinced that Bloomington hates me. You may recall I ran into a big winter storm coming through Bloomington a few months back so I guess it’s only fitting to get hit with a tornado warning on my last trip home.

So dad and I hit the road early this morning with the hope of making it to our new home in a day or so. Matt and his brother are of course already nearly there thanks to a few naps and a lot of caffeine.

Next stop, Florida.


The Girlfriend Games of 2014

Let me tell ya ’bout my best friends.

best friends, simply social blog

Even though my phone is probably going to start blowing up immediately once this is published due to the photos included, I’d be remiss if I didn’t give you a little context before I tell you about my best friends.

They are pretty awesome. I know everyone thinks their best friends are awesome, hence the whole ‘best’ modifier on the word, but mine have the stats to prove it.

1) Time spent as friends. Our friendship dates back to first grade. I came into the mix just after 5th grade at a point which they obviously needed one more to round out the group. Every good pop group needs a 5th, right? Besides without me they would have no documentation of the history of our friendship in a public sphere such as this. It’s a blessing really (says the author.)

2) Shared interests. Sure we all liked the same sports, clothes and N’Sync songs over the years but only best friends can trade middle school boyfriends and still come out on top. Now that’s a strong friendship.

3) Frequency of cat fights and silent treatments. Getting these out of the way by junior year is best, leaving your college and adult years for smaller spats that end quickly. Everyone knows that isolation tactics and bullying strategies peak at age 15, especially with girls. Having survived these war zones together will make friendships throughout adulthood seem like a walk in the park.

4) Effort and Balance. Now that we’re all living in different cities, our frequency of seeing one another has scaled back considerably. Fortunately, we don’t let it inhibit the strength of our friendship. It may take more effort to maintain communication when new responsibilities come into play, but it’s just a matter of effort and balance. I’m very grateful for friends who are strong in both categories.

And I’m excited to see what the next generation has in store. If they’re anything like us they are in for a lot of laughs and love in the years to come.

babies, girls weekend, girlfriend games 2014, simply social blog

This weekend, we got together for a girl’s weekend to celebrate just that, friendship. We spent Saturday relaxing at a local spa and Saturday night in friendly competition, per usual. I’m a little obsessed with the Olympics so I thought it might be fun to keep with the spirit with a competition of our own. And so the first annual Girlfriend Games came about.

girls weekend activity ideas, girlfriend games 2014, olympic games for girls weekend, trivia, game night ideas

What do the Girlfriend Games consist of? Trivia mostly. Interspersed with a few rounds of acting out the names of coaches and teachers and do-do-doing popular songs from the 90’s.

We separated into two teams of two. Each team had to come up with their team name and was given questions about members of the other team for points. At the end of each round was a bonus question worth two points, usually related to something we all experienced together.

The song round was perhaps the most challenging, requiring one team member to sing a song without using any lyrics. The other team member had to hold up the song title on their forehead until it was correctly guessed. The team who guessed their songs in the shortest amount of time won.

girls weekend activity ideas, girlfriend games 2014, olympic games for girls weekend, trivia, game night ideas

But in the end, aren’t we all winners? We looked back on years of friendship. We laughed. Some of us complained that the other’s team questions were easier. We argued over points and we had a blast.

I recommend incorporating an Olympic event into your next party, but I insist that you take a minute out of your day and tell you’re best friends how much you love and appreciate them.

Have a great week!

Oh look, more snowflakes

Happy Monday y’all!

I’m in my southern character today, accent and all, in an attempt to escape the cold spell we’re about to get hit with again. I don’t know about you but I’m over the snow. Fortunately, I’m at the tail-end of a rare four-day weekend, so I can’t let another mini polar vortex ruin my day-off spirit.

Speaking of snowflakes, this weekend we celebrated the first birthday of yet another one of my best friend’s daughters with a winter ‘one’derland theme.


winter onederland birthday party, first birthday party winter theme, hot chocolate bar, cupcakes, birthday party ideas,

If you were reading along last year, we threw a series of baby showers for an influx of little girls coming our way throughout the winter season. Four to be exact. It’s hard to believe they are all turning one already. If you mommas are reading this, you might want to consider another theme for year two as each party has been accompanied by LOTS of snowflakes, both inside and out.

grayson first birthday, winter onederland theme, little girl birthday party ideas

My girlfriend went all out with this theme so Grayson could celebrate her first birthday with 60 of her closest friends and family. Little lady is barely one and she already has a higher attendance record than I do. Both my friend and her husband come from large families so shoe counts like this are not uncommon.


After lunching on hot dips, chopped salad, mac n’ cheese and baked mostaccioli, guests enjoyed the hot chocolate bar, dozens of cupcakes, cookies, brownies and sweet treats galore.

winter onederland birthday party, first birthday party winter theme, snowman oreos, snowman marshmallows, iced snowflake sugar cookies, birthday party ideas,

In reference to the photo above, you are in fact seeing double. Grayson’s cousins are twins, 16 months old and lightning fast. I was just happy to get them both in the frame.

winter onederland birthday party, first birthday party winter theme, birthday party ideas,

I think it’s safe to say Grayson had a great time at her party. According to her mother she had so much fun that she decided to wake up every 3 hours later that night to see if anyone still wanted to celebrate.

i had a little free time on Friday so I made a batch of snowflake sugar cookies. Completely unnecessary as my friend had plenty of sweets, but they fit in nonetheless.

iced snowflake sugar cookies, royal icing, snowflake sugar cookies, winter wonderland first birthday party, simply social blog


iced snowflake sugar cookies, royal icing, snowflake sugar cookies, winter wonderland first birthday party, simply social blog

I’m off to get a few more things done before the snow starts again. Have a great week!

It’s the Christmas countdown

final countdown santa hats

I’m sorry. I can’t type the word countdown without hearing that song in my head. And no that’s not the original album cover. I jazzed it up a bit for the season.

Speaking of seasons, did you know Christmas is just a short 10 (by the time you read this 9) days away? Are you freaking out yet? Pretty sure the better part of Chicagoland is. I can say this because I experienced their craziness first-hand while out shopping yesterday. Blame it on the late Thanksgiving or the coldest December on record, but Christmas is coming and no one seems to be ready, yet.

We got hit with a big snowstorm this weekend which put a royal kibosh on our plans to travel to Indianapolis for this little one’s 1st birthday party.

Apparently someone heard the theme was winter ‘one’ derland and took it ever-so-literally.

baby grace turns 1 simply social blog

So Grace turned one. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating her upcoming arrival with a cute little baby shower and now she’s on her way to becoming a teenager.

grace turns one, first birthday party cake, winter onederland party

photo credit Grace’s mom


In just a few years I’ll be known as that auntie who is going to tell a bunch of teenage girls:

I remember when you were a tiny little baby! 

Someone slap me if I ever resort to cheek-pinching though.

As bummed as I am to have missed the celebration, I got to ogle over the party details thanks to technological advances like the iPhone and Facebook. Plus, because Christmas is only, wait for it, 9 DAYS AWAY, I get to see my friends very soon.

ugly sweater party, simply social blog, reindeer antlers

Then we can reminisce about the times we were tan and wore ugly Christmas sweaters.

I did manage to start my holiday baking this week. And by baking I mean that I dipped some Oreos in white chocolate and decorated them with sprinkles. I was snowed in and unprepared.

holiday white chocolate oreo cookies with holly sprinkles

Regardless of my lack of ingredients, these holiday Oreos really are revolutionary folks. I’ve made these nearly every year 1) because I refuse to pay extra for 7 of the white fudge Oreos that taste like rubber and 2) you can make them a week ahead and add them to your holiday assortment, should you be the crazy type that gifts a holiday assortment of treats each and every year no matter how intense your battle with royal icing becomes.

I hope to have more treats to share with you later this week. Virtually of course. You know so you can get ideas for holiday cookies without enough time to actually make them in time for the holiday? Just kidding. Kind of.

Have a great week!

>Oh Baby!


My sister is throwing a baby shower for a friend this weekend and was looking for a cute saying to put on the cookies. In my research I came across some adorable treat ideas and thought I would share.

Fortune Cookie Baby Shower Cupcakes from Pink Cake Box

Brown and Pink Medley by Posh Pastries

 Monogram Cookies by Alis Sweet Treats

Onesies by Sweet Tiers