Be a better parent. With 24 Hours in a day, give them one.

- my life

It’s probably pretty ironic that I’m writing a post about parenthood because to tell you the truth sometimes I feel like I need to read a book (or few hundred) to teach me how to be a better parent for my kids myself. This week I got a good reminder on one simple way to be a better parent and maybe my advice might just help someone else be a better parent too. I’ll call it my parenting reality check.

At this point in his life, my two year-old has a case of the jabbers. He jabbers all day about Power Rangers or whatever crosses his little mind. It doesn’t really matter what he’s jabbering about, he seems pretty content as long as his lips are moving and someone is close enough to hear him.

In all Smith fashion, I heard him for a solid hour saying over and over, “Mom. Mom. Mooooom. Mom. Mom. Mooooom.” So naturally, I ignored him the best I could, that’s what moms do after hearing that dreaded three letter M-O-M word day after day, inside and out. It wasn’t until some time later that I finally said, “what, Smith?” with a large emphasis on the what. “Mom, I wuv your hair!” He said. I’m not so sure I had much of a response besides a little, “thanks”. Lesson learned Mom, lesson learned.

parenting, how to parent, improve your parenting
Fast forward a little while to my 5 year-old and our bedtime routine. He informs me that instead of me reading to him the usual “Errol the Squirrel” or “Where’s the Bathroom”, which we’ve read so many times he has memorized before we even turn the page, he wants to tell me about Minecraft. In a simpler form, he just wanted to talk to me. My first instinct was to just grab the book and read it quickly because it had been a long day, but then I realized he wanted me to sit there and have a conversation with him about something he loved, something I found silly but he loved. He wanted me to listen and his explanations about Minecraft slowly turned into me hearing him talk about parts of his life at school and his friends. I never would have known any of this if I brushed off his request and hurried through “Errol the Squirrel for the billionth time. Lesson learned Mom, lesson learned.
parenting, motherhood, time, family, priorities, family time
These might have been the simplest of examples, but they were my wake up calls to pay attention, to slow down and ask my kids about their lives… to answer the endless “mom, mooooom, mom” echoes. These things are important to them and someday the silly Minecraft chatter will turn into something bigger and hopefully by this point they will already know they can talk to you.  I pray I can be there for my kids when they need me, that I can support them with whatever they are going through. I want to be their person.

I think I’ll go now and ask my kids about their day…


Family Favorites – Beef Goulash

- Recipes
pasta, red sauce, marinara, recipe, goulash, beef goulash, dinner ideas, slow cooker recipe, crock pot recipe

When we lived out of state, our family’s Sunday dinners were the one thing I missed the most.  Sunday dinner is always loud and crazy and exactly how we like it. The adults get to enjoy each other and catch up on life while the littles run around causing chaos.

So one of my family goals is to cook more home-cooked meals that will draw people together and create an atmosphere people can linger around. Now we are living back in Utah with family close by, I want my kids to have the same memories of chaotically perfect, Sunday family dinners.

When searching for some new meals to make for it, I’ve found myself in the mood for some thick and hearty recipes lately. Maybe to warm myself from this crazy weather. You know the recipes that make you feel like you grew up on a farm and your mom slaved away in the kitchen all day to fill your belly with warm pasta goodness? Those kind of meals… Small problem, I didn’t grow up on a farm and I definitely don’t have close to the amount of time it takes to cook like that.

My solution, I took a 1970’s vintage recipe and updated it to make it plausible in this hustle and bustle of my crazy mom life. You can make it on the stove if you prefer, or if you are in a hurry you can stick it in the crock pot to simplify life a little.

There’s nothing better than a thick, rich meat sauce and the good news is it tasted like I slaved away all day and even my pickiest of my kids snarfed it. That’s a win if you ask me.

Beef Goulash Recipe

serves 6-8
prep time: 25 minutes
cook time: 1 hour stovetop, 2-3 hours slow cooker


  • 1 1/2 lb. Beef, cut into 1″cubes, flour, seasoned w/salt & pepper
  • 3 T. Butter
  • 1 med. onion, chopped
  • 1 C. Sliced Celery
  • 2 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. caraway seed
  • 1 jar RAGÚ Italian Cooking Sauce (I’ve tried Old World traditional or Sauteed onion & garlic)
  • 3/4 C. Sour Cream
  • 3 C. Cooked Noodles
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • ½ cups Mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • Parsley leaves to liking

Stovetop Directions:

  1. Cut beef into 1″cubes and dredge in seasoned flour & brown in butter. Remove beef & set aside.
  2. Saute onions, celery & paprika.
  3. Add beef cubes, caraway seeds & RAGÚ Italian Cooking Sauce & simmer, covered for 1 hour.
  4. Cook pasta till al dente, according to package instructions, drain well.
  5. Add cooked pasta, Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese to the meat sauce and stir to combine.
  6. Cook on high for 30 minutes or until cheese is melted, stirring occasionally.
  7. Blend in sour cream right before serving, heat thoroughly but do not allow sauce to boil.
  8. Serve hot with parsley as garnish.

Slow Cooker Directions:

  1. Cut beef into 1″cubes and dredge in seasoned flour & brown in butter. Remove beef & set aside.
  2. Saute onions, celery & paprika.
  3. Layer beef cubes, caraway seeds & uncooked pasta in the slow cooker. Add RAGÚ Italian Cooking
  4. Sauce atop uncooked noodles, cook on high 2-3 hours (avoid low settings to prevent soggy noodles)
  5. Right before serving add Parmesan and Mozzarella cheese, blend in sour cream, and heat thoroughly but do not allow sauce to boil.
  6. Serve hot with parsley atop and any extra cheese as garnish.

If you make this recipe, I’d be excited to see how it turns out or if you recreate it yourself.

Hello Drifter Beanies and Jewlery

- my life, trend alert, Uncategorized

Hey friends,

Winter is here and we are loving all of the fun beanies and jewelry trends out right now!  We thought we would share some of our favorites!  What have you guys been loving this winter?  Most days is a toss up between dry shampoo or a beanie… Beanie for the win! hahaha

I8 o img_4629 img_4630 img_4631 img_4632 img_4633 I img_4635 img_4639 img_4640 img_4641 img_4642 snapseed

img_3606 img_3625 img_3636 img_3642 img_3654 img_3675

How to Plan a Simple Halloween Party

- Halloween, holiday, party, Uncategorized

It was so fun being invited on Studio 5 to share some Halloween party tips on the show. I just wanted to take a minute and give you the links to the ideas I shared and where you can find some awesome tutorials on how to plan a simple Halloween Party yourself.

The Invitations

Every good halloween party starts with an invitation. Lucky for you, I created a cute little invite for you to use with your guests. Now there isn’t an excuse in the world why you shouldn’t invite some friends over.

Click here to download the Halloween Freebie Invitation

Cute free Halloween invitation from Happy Confetti

The Decor

All of the cute decor I was talking about was from my favorite pop up boutique in Northern Utah. I love it for two reasons… first, because the stuff is adorable and not too expensive. Second, the boutique is for a good cause. The proceeds go to a sweet little boy, Jack, to raise money to help with the costs for his Cystic Fibrosis. The best way I follow them is searching #givebacktojack on Instagram. Find them, I swear you will fall in love. Best news, they have another boutique coming up November 19-21 in North Ogden, Utah. If you are anywhere close, seriously go there!

how to plan a simple halloween party

Oh these fun bottles. Makes me need to take a trip to the thrift store. There are some cute bottle labels to stick on the front similar to the ones I’ve shown on Lil’ Luna and The Elli Blog.


Don’t you just adore those spooky books? There’s a great tutorial you can check out on Better After so you can customize them yourself. This might be one of my favorite finds.

These books would make a great Halloween Party Decor - lots of cute ideas

Food and Treats

I hollowed out a good round pumpkin (placed a bowl inside) and filled it with ice for the drinks. The mummy juice boxes are wrapped with duct tape (I used glow in the dark because it has a canvas look to it) and hot glued goggly eyes to them.

So cute- how to plan a simple halloween party on

The cookies were store bought, for the sake of time…and don’t we all need more time around the holidays?) and I put a similar knife to this one on top with red gel frosting to look like blood. So easy!

easy Halloween cookies and cute ideas for a Halloween party

Okay, I told you I found the absolute yummiest caramel apple recipe and it really is. It held to the apples like a champ and the toppings stuck to it perfectly. Did I mention it was yummy? Make sure your apples are cold before you dip them. I think this made the biggest difference with keeping the caramel on. My kids loved putting mini marshmallows on them but my favorite turned out to be the toasted coconut. Yum-mo. We used sprinkles, MnM’s, butterfingers, smashed pecans, white chocolate (for the blood apple and mummy apples) and smashed Oreos. I also found putting the toppings on the top of the apples, instead of dipping them in the candy on the bottom, held up better and didn’t make the caramel sag as much after sitting.

how to plan a simple halloween party - make caramel apples with guests

Halloween Caramel apples - how to plan a simple halloween party

Goody Bag

The cute pumpkin goody bags were an idea adapted from Martha Stewart. They were so easy. Instead of crepe paper, I just used tissue paper because I could get it at the dollar store and instead of floral tape, I just used some cute masking tape I found (or washi tape would work too). I love them because these could really be as big or small as you needed. Then I whipped up a cute little tag to complete the look.

Click here to download the Halloween freebie bag tags

Free Halloween thank you tags from happy confetti

Very cute halloween party ideas

Party Awards

Last but not least was my boyfriend, the skeleton trophy. Oh how I had fun dressing these little guys up. Tell me how fun it’d be to win one of these at a Halloween party? Um, yes please. All I did was found a hanging skeleton at the dollar store, this one happened to be a necklace, and I hot glued all his joints together so he was stiff. It’s kind of fun molding them in silly stances too. Then I spray painted him gold and added some fun clothes to fit the type of trophy he was. Some ideas I had were best overall costume, funniest costume, scariest costume, best couple costume, best group costume, best handmade costume, most creative, etc. These guys were just glued on a black plastic bowl but you could really use anything as the base of the trophy.

Halloween party ideas - funniest costume trophy

Simple and cute Halloween party ideas -  Best Costume trophy from Dollar Store materials

If you missed it, you can see my Confetti party segment from Studio 5 here (I’ll post the party trend segment I did soon too).

Hopefully this gave you some good ideas on how to plan a simple halloween party. Do you do a halloween party yourself? I’d love to hear what fun traditions and ideas you have.

5 Cement Fireplace Ideas

- house inspiration, let's build a house, Uncategorized

Hello industrial! Cement almost does the same thing to me as raw steel, it gets my heart a pumpin’ and I adore it. It’s modern and masculine and exactly what I like. (I know I’m a girl and I shouldn’t love masculine design like I do, but it’s so edgy). The large cement blocks really set the focal point in a room and the hard cool surface really demands attention. I like this because it makes it easy to balance out the masculine cement by adding in warm soft textures in the finishing touches like the blankets and rugs.

Because we’ll have a pretty warm and modern kitchen, wood with white, I think it’s safe to take a little risk on our fireplace. We have a two story great room, so the fireplace reaching almost 21 feet high and 6 feet wide could be quite the focal piece if we do it right.  Here are some of my favorite looks of modern/industrial cement fireplaces that I’ve found. We’ll incorporate a few of them in our own design. Wish us luck.

1. Cement Fireplace Ideas

2. Mantel and 3.Hearth Ideas

I’m pretty set on the cement being the base of the fireplace but the mantel and hearth (the surface in front of and/or on the sides of the firebox) adds an entirely new variable to the fireplace design. A couple things I like are 1. the asymmetrical look is everywhere, lots of modern fireplaces are leaving the hearth longer on one side than the other.  2. I love the idea of having the hearth and mantel in a contrasting color as the fireplace background or even a contrasting material.
These guys put a thin piece of steel as their mantel. So cool.

4. TV Ideas

The dreaded TV. I hate even talking about how much I despise putting a TV above our fireplace. It will basically ruin any artistic value the cement fireplace might have had (yes, I am allowed to be dramatic about this one). Aesthetically I truly don’t want to put it above our fireplace but in this case practicality wins. Having a TV in our living area is practical and since the fireplace will take up most of our wall (yes, we’ll only have one usable wall because one is full of windows, one is an open staircase, and the other is open to the kitchen) so it has to be the place for both. Because of this, I found some gorgeous rooms that the TV still would look classy against a cement fireplace. There’s even an idea about a hidden TV. Hmmmmm…

5.Wood Additions

Even though we are using a gas burning fireplaces, I still adore the addition of a wood element to a fireplace as a little natural decoration to incorporate the warmness of wood.
What do you think? Do you like the look of a cement fireplace and what do you think makes them work in a room?

Modern Interior – Utah Valley Parade of Homes Tour part 1

- house inspiration, parade of homes, Uncategorized

I’m sure part of it is the barbecues, crisp air, yummy desserts and a little house planning that makes this time of year so fun, but a big part of my love for this season is it’s Parade time. Utah has a few different areas that host the Parade of Homes so from June to September we pick and choose houses to walk through (and probably see 75+ homes) from the St. George Parade of Homes, Utah Valley Parade of Homes (definitely my favorite), Northern Wasatch Parade of Homes, Salt Lake Parade of Homes and Park City Showcase of Homes (which is also a favorite) and we love every dang second of it. There’s something about the Parade that gets my blood a bubblin’. Modern interiors and out-of-the-box ideas are in the air.

To say I’m a Parade veteran is an understatement. We’ve went for as many years as I can remember and the love started waaaay before I ever planned on growing up, having a family or building a house of my own. I’m only half teasing when I say my obsession with houses is my dad’s fault. I remember helping pick out his countertops at his projects when my sister and I were still in Elementary school.

To start this series of posts, I want to share with you some of my favorite houses from the Utah Valley Parade of Homes and give you a glimpse into some of my favorite houses that incorporated modern interior design perfectly. So, here you have part one of your virtual Parade of Homes tour.

In order of my favorite houses, (it was a hard race for first place between #1 and #31) but first up house #31 by Emerald Homes. Too cool. The thick beams and the stacked brick were my favorites on the exterior. Let’s not forget the incredible modern landscaping and don’t you love the steel boxes that make a cozy little home for those killer trees? Inside you can find the same stacked brick on the fireplace and the same thick cedar exposed beams. It made a great combination for a mid century feeling while still keeping a very modern interior and a sense of elegance.

This stacked brick chimney shows the modern design in this awesome house tour on Happy Confetti Design
Modern landscaping details with metal flower beds in this Parade of Homes house tour on Happy Confetti Design

modern house numbers and flower beds in this home tour on Happy Confetti Design

This stacked brick fireplace and modern carpet shows off awesome elements in this trendy house tour!

Very few houses rock the flooring like this one did. The carpet, tile and wood were all unique and definitely caught my eye. On the tile they mirrored the same stacked look as they had on the fireplace and paired it with a very light contemporary wood that had tons of texture.

Way cool modern floor in this house tour on Happy Confetti Design

Love how modern this tile looks stacked like this! Find more trendy house ideas on Happy Confetti's Parade of Homes house tour.

I’m still searching for these awesome copper air plant holders that were on their kitchen table. Love their styling and attention to all the little details.

These awesome air plant containers were found in this modern house tour on Happy Confetti Design.

Loving this modern desk with exposed wood and open shelves in this modern house tour on Happy Confetti Design!

Such cute details with this marble tray and succulents in this house tour by Happy Confetti Design.

Check out this modern interior house tour in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes

Check out this modern interior house tour in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes

Doesn’t this light look an awful lot like my favorite lights ever I talked about here?!?

Check out this modern interior house tour in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes

Check out this modern interior house tour in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes

There’s something about a black wall in a bedroom that I can’t get enough of. Classy.

Loving this Modern Interior House Tours in the Utah Valley Parade of Homes

Coolest bedroom in this modern interior home tour

I’d love to know what you think? Do you like it or any ideas that inspire you?

Next up is house #1 by Magleby Construction. Come back to see what’s behind this awesome entry…

Awesome modern glass door in the Parade of homes house tour on Happy Confetti Design