frustration {me and Christmas tree decorating}

It happens every year. Every year. When it comes time to decorate our Christmas tree I always end up frustrated. I heard once a definition of frustration is ‘when expectation does not meet reality’. Good definition. In the past, I’ve been frustrated because I’ve wanted a beautiful tree decorated just as I like it…faded colors, a bit vintage, a bit bohemian…but with happy little helpers gathered around me. The happy little helpers are never found. Last year the tree never really got decorated. I wanted to do it my way. The kids weren’t interested. I gave up.

This year I had a plan. I decided I’d give the kids free reign over the tree. Instead of faded vintage ornaments and trim, I would let them cover the tree in Blue, Red, Green & Purple (light saber colors). We would go early in the morning to cut down our tree. Then we’d return to the house for our own family Christmas party. There would be Christmas music playing. There would be decorations and Star Wars crafts. There would be special cookies and hot chocolate out of mason jars. AND, since they would have to get out of pjs to go get the tree, they’d be all dressed so cute for our little party. All the little details to make it a special day would mean for the first time ever….we’d have a fun time as a family decorating the tree. Just like all those stories I hear from other moms or see in magazines. This was our year.

I waited until they went to bed. Then I stayed up past midnight decorating, sewing streamers, gathering crafting supplies.

Cupcake liners strung. Remnants of trim, lace and tulle tied loosely. Ruffled crepe paper streamers….

I covered the kitchen table in bright wrapping paper and added supplies to create whatever they wanted to hang on the tree.

Special cookie ornaments. Mint Chocolate cookies. Hot chocolate with fun straws, marshmallows, & chocolate chips.


It was going to be a great day. They were going to have fun. I was going to have fun.

We’d end up with an ugly Star Wars covered tree, but that was totally fine with me this year.

Only it didn’t go as planned.

Heavy rains woke me up in the middle of the night. The pounding water continued to wake me up until the morning hours. By 7am it was still raining and I knew there would be no tree coming to our house that day. Even if it stopped raining the tree farm would be too muddy, too cold, too windy…and the trees would be wet. I heard the kids waking up, but I just sighed and rolled over. I could hear FireCracker coming down the stairs saying, “Wow. Oh, wow. Wow!!!” She loved the decorations. I hated the cold rain. I wasn’t even out of bed yet, but already in a grumpy mood.

Eventually, I got up…bummed out and with a bad attitude I couldn’t shake. The kids loved the special cookies. They loved the hot chocolate. They loved the special straws. No one else seemed remotely sad that we weren’t cutting down a tree. No one else missed the perfect little Christmas party that had been floating in my head for weeks.


3 stayed in their pjs. Luke Skywalker changed to his all black Jedi attire. They had fun creating initial ornaments for the tree.

It lasted about 20 minutes and with no tree to decorate, they were off to their usual antics.

I decided to decorate small trees for some snow globes…then realized I didn’t have snow.

Too much rain to decorate one tree. No snow to decorate other ones.

So, the day I had planned didn’t go even remotely close to what I had in mind. We still don’t have a tree. I’m not sure if I’ll get little helpers to decorate it with me or not. I have a few friends with kids that love decorating trees, maybe I’ll invite them over. We shall see.

That’s life though, right? Even with great planning and great expectations….sometimes things just don’t go like we planned. I ended the day wondering if it was worth all that effort. It was not worth it in regards to my own joy – I was bummed out. However, my kids had totally different expectations for the day. They hadn’t been planning. They hadn’t be dreaming. They just woke up to a downstairs full of surprises and they loved it….even it was only for 20 minutes.

Even with a bad attitude, I knew it was worth it. So things weren’t ‘perfect’, but are they really ever? My kids felt special and celebrated and at the end of the day, that is better than any perfectly perfect day I had planned.

The cupcake liners and streamers I decorated with (and the cute straws) are all c/0 Green Party Goods. I wanted to host a giveaway with this post to help one of you plan your own party…..maybe your party will go a little more according to plan!


Prize: $75.00 gift certificate to Green Party Goods

One winner, chosen at random

Contest ends Thursday, December 1st, 9:00pm GIVEAWAY CLOSED

To enter: Visit Green Party Goods, then come back here and leave a comment telling me something you’d like to use for hosting a party

Β I also wanted to share a few resources I used for my party:

Ornament and Chocolate cookies c/o JulseyMarie, use the code ashley15 to enjoy 15% off your order

Strung cupcake idea came from Cookie Monday

Ruffled Streamer idea & tutorial from MADE

Wood letters, little trees & green wrapping paper are from Hobby Lobby

grumpy attitude compliments of rain

Last night I got a sweet email with a link to a precious video. The sweet girls featured are in the process of being adopted out of the foster care system. A first tree together. A first Christmas together. A perfectly perfect video of finding a tree and decorating it – this would have made my grumpy mood disappear instantly. Love this. Click here to be taken toΒ Chris+Jen’s blog to see the video. It will make your heart smile.

While you are at it, click here, to read about when Jen became a mama again. “Bianca Sparklewings”…best toothfairy name EVER.



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  • Megan S. - i spy some gorgeous lanterns!!

  • Ashley E - I love the hand painted dogwood garland. So sweet!

  • lindsey g - i’m sorry your day decorating didnt go as planned. that definition of frustration is so true! thank you for keeping your blog so true!! =) and hopefully your kiddos will help you decoate! ** and i love all the stripped straws and cute cupcake liners from green party goods!!

  • jody - Love the simple striped straws (my boys want straws w every drink!!) or the polka dotted balloons!! how fun. And of course garlands!!

  • jennifer - The striped and polka dot cupcake liners are so whimsical!

  • Sue Anne - I love the cupcake wraps. So fun!

  • Erin A. - I’d use every color of stripe straws for my parties!

  • Crystal O. - The jr. baking set is perfect! Plus all of those cute balloons!

  • Suz McA - i love the paisley cupcake liners!

  • Anna Marie - I want some of those red stripey straws and every one of the knit finger puppets!!!

  • Sara - Love the cupcake liners!

  • Julie - Would love that eco-rocket toy for my son’s Toy Story bday party and some cute straws, too!

  • Elise - I always love those stripey straws!

  • jen - aw what a perfectly imperfect day. your kids are adorable!

    thanks for the giveaway & i am SOLD on the striped cupcake liners πŸ™‚

  • lindsey - there is so much to love about this post. the honesty. the cupcake liner garland. firecracker saying “oh wow!” – but I cried after watching the video. what a wonderful, wonderful time this couple has given these girls!

  • Erin - The straws!

  • Lori - Hey – my comment went all crazy!! Basically – you are hilarious. I would have been glad to stay inside and deink more hot chocolate and watch some old movies and I love love love the streamers. I love the polkadot and I really like that vintage tablecloth on your coffee tables. too pretty! Great idea! for the party!

  • Kimberly - I would love to serve a yummy punch ( the kind with some ice cream in) in a cute cup and a fun stripe straw!

  • Heidi - I love the felt pirate ship and the adorable (and bidegradeable!) polka dot balloons. Thanks for sharing about your frustration; it is such a familiar feeling.

  • Beth - I love the garlands. So sweet and fun! Thanks for the giveaway!

  • JessicaF - I think it would be so cute to use those cupcake carriers to let people take home cupcakes from the party!

  • Sarah - hahaha. That made me laugh. Mainly because it’s totally something I would do! But I’m glad you saw the light at the end of the day, you are better than I am- I probably would have stayed grumpy! πŸ™‚

  • ashley - i love the striped and polka dot cupcake liners!

  • drea - i rarely get my hopes up for things, because i hate being disappointed…but it’s almost to a fault, because i feel like i miss out on the anticipation sometimes.
    you are a great mommy. everything looked beautiful and your babies are going to have such fond memories of their childhood, and of a thoughtful mommy. you’re absolutely right that it didn’t matter to them…but i do sympathize with you. πŸ˜‰

  • Holly Sax - all the garland is pretty and festive.

    thanks for sharing your disappointment. so often bloggers let just the perfect and joyful show through. thanks for being real. i always love your posts.

  • Christen - If I may be so bold: From an older mama to a younger – I so remember those days! Your kids are blessed to have you as their mama. And you are right – they will only remember all the special things you did for them. They won’t remember what you “didn’t” do. You are doing a great job. They are loved.

  • Amanda B. - Oh, I just love the turquoise floral cupcake liners on their site! How cute!

  • Erica - I love the green striped straws and red striped straws. Can you imagine them stuffed in root beer bottles for a Christmas party? FUN!

  • Becky - I would hang a bunch of the colorful tissue paper pompoms!

  • Jenn C. - I love their beeswax birthday candles, so simple and beautiful! We also made some of the mason jar snow globes, I totally got the idea from your pictures of The Christmas Gathering, they are so cute!

  • Katelyn Garlow - I am loving the hand made banners!!!

  • Mel - What a great store that is! I love all the fun party favours, especially the mod slinkies. thanks for the chancw!

  • Rebecca Smith - i love the turquoise and pink cupcake liners for my little girl’s first bday party!!

  • Elise - Oh my goodness, I am going nuts over those cupcake liners!! I have quite a fetish for them!! And while not party related, all those wooden toys would make great stocking stuffers!!
    I love your party, even if it didn’t go as planned.

  • Nori R - Life definitely doesn’t go as planned! You got some great pics, though, and they had fun. I would have been thrilled to work at that loaded table too!! πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the giveaway. I visited the site, and their cupcake liners rock! I especially like the Enchanted and Fence designs.

  • Hannah - I LOVE the polka dot balloons and the banners!!! What an awesome site!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Beth H - I love the cupcake toppers. They would certainly make the next kid’s birthday party easier. The liners are cute too.. way cuter than the ones I get at the grocery store.

  • Candy - The festive garlands and banners were beautiful, but I think my favorite things were the animal flashlights you squeeze!

  • colleen from alabama - I love lime green and red for Christmas! The cupcake wrappers, straws, balloons and crepe paper would all be such fun to decorate with & expecially since it all MATCHES! That would be a first :0 Thanks for sharing your “party”. Maybe God has something special up His sleeve that He wants to do surrounding your tree cutting. When my plans get scrapped, it often means He is up to something creative πŸ™‚ He is so much more creative than i, if i will just LOOK for Him! Thanks for being real (and for having pictures so we can copy your fun ideas!)

  • Felicia - Beautiful post about “frustration”. Sometimes it is so hard to focus on the moment vs what we want the moment to be. I love your posts to remind me of this.

    I love the cupcake liners! Now I know where to buy the potato forks they use at the Dallas Zoo

  • Maggie McKenney - I was going to say alot about what you wrote until I watched that video & now I am crying…there are so many things we want our Christmas to be~ sometimes it is best to just let it happen & really enjoy the ride. Loved the post xo thanks~ will be passing this one along πŸ™‚

  • Mandy - Goregous photos. Looks very warm and inviting! =)

  • Susan - Lol…i hate to say it, but I was laughing before I got through the first paragraph of your post. I’ve been there with the “ideal” Christmas tree decorating and kids… Love the cupcake liners and straws! Too cute!

  • Abby S. - I love the polka dot cupcake stand!

  • Melanie - Absolutely love all the effort you put into everything especially the fantastic family party. I would love to use the lime green polka dot, black and white zebra and pink and white striped cupcake lines

  • Deanna - Love the mod dots goodie boxes for Christmas cookies! I try to load my daughter and her friends up with sweet treats before finals.

  • Crystal C - “Exotic Bohemian Flags” please πŸ˜€ They are amazing and would be so cool with the bridal shower ideas I have for my sisters shower in the spring!

  • Gretchen - I am a sucker for pretty straws and cupcake wrappers. Love them!

  • MichelleD - Love all the stripey straws and the banners. The “green” toys are awesome, too!

  • kate C. - love the little boxes for special holiday candy and treats!

  • Michelle - I love your cupcake liner garland. So sweet and a great idea.

    Thanks for introducing me to this shop! We haven’t used plastic straws in a couple years now, so I would love to have some of the red striped paper straws. And those biodegradable utensils would get some use too. : ) Happy for the chance to win!

  • AnissaW - I love the robot cupcake kit! My son would absolutely love it!

  • Naomi - I love all the eco-wooden cutlery; I’d definitely use those for a party and write each guest’s name in Sharpie on their own cutlery to save confusion!

  • Liz - I love the polka dot balloons!

  • Katie @ explanationrequired - I loooove some of those floral cupcake liners!!

  • Sarah - I would get the red stripe liners, the green strip liners and the red polka dot liners for sure! Also the red stripe straws! Christmas fun!

  • R Baker - Definitely liking the polka dot cupcake stand!

  • Mis - The funny thing is, no matter how we, as mamas, picture those special things playing out, little people so often throw their own spin on things. Bottom line, those precious little ones made precious memories–as planned or not. πŸ™‚ That’s the goal, right? Mission accomplished. Loved all your details, girl. I made the ruffled streamers from the same tutorial for my youngest’s first bday and I loved ’em…great in red and white! GPG looks like such a fun shop! I’m a sucker for those stripe-y straws so those would be my pick. When the tree finally goes up, I hope your decorating will go down with lots of belly laughs, new memories and undoubtedly, a couple yellow-headed Lego dudes nearby. Take care, girl! Merry Christmas!

  • Teri - I love the aqua and green straws.

  • nicoleigh - These cupcake wrappers are amazing! Eating a cupcake or muffin could be a party all by itself! πŸ™‚ {And I like the straws too. Someday I’ll get myself some.}

  • Katie - I love the paper straws! The grey ones are definitely my faves, but I love all of the party supplies here. Thanks for the introduction!

  • Lisa - I really liked the recycled tea set and the little chef bake set. Sorry your tree party didn’t work out. I know exactly how you feel.

  • Lisa - I love the recycled tea set and the little chef bake set. Sorry your party didn’t work out. I know exactly how you feel.

  • Ruthy T. - The recycled glass eco gifts so nice, and the cupcake liners the turquoise one with flowers………pretty!!

  • Heather D - Thanks for sharing these days too. I have days like this where I plan an have a certain idea in my head. However kiddos and daddy don’t always seem to be on the same page with me. Actually had that kinda day yesterday.. Happy to know I’m normal for feeling a little bummed about little things. πŸ™‚ would love to decorate my house with a few of the things listed!!! Hope you get your tree, it might snow this weekend!

  • Jennifer - My daughter’s birthday party is going to be on St. Patrick’s Day next year, so we are having a green party. There are so many things I could use from their site to make it even more festive!
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  • Amber Willis - Love the red polka dot cupcake liners and striped straws!

  • Erin - I love the handmade banners!!

  • Alice H - I always have the perfect picture in my head too. Unfortunately my kids do not share the same photo. My older 2 (12.5 and 11) could care less about the darn tree!! And my toddler (almost 2) thinks all of the ornaments are BALLS and wants to throw them! Haha!

    Oh and thanks for the giveaway! I love the Polka Dot Cupcake Stand!! So cute!

  • haley - I LOVE the turquoise floral cupcake liners!!!

  • Lesley - Torn between the dove garland and the sheep garland…but for a holiday party, definitely the dove…

  • Kim Gayton - Love the houndstooth cupcake liners – and the lemonade stand, too cute.

  • katie R. - Love the red stripe straws!!!

  • Lora - I L O V E the pirate cupcake liners. I am in the process of planning a surprise 50th birthday for my husband and he is in the process of building our kids a pirateship in our backyard so we are going to use a pirate theme. Thanks so much for the giveaway and I’m sorry your day didn’t go as planned, but I hope you will get to have that awesome tree decorating party soon. πŸ™‚

  • Kathryn Mc - I love all of the cupcake liners & paper straws! Couldn’t pick just one favorite!
    Btw, I can totally relate to your disappointment. It’s so easy sometimes to focus on what we don’t have (or what hasn’t gone our way) instead of the blessings God gives us. And the thief of joy is always lurking to discourage us. Thank you for being real on your blog & sharing your life. Your children are precious & it is obvious that you love & enjoy them!

  • Dena - I can relate to your disappointment. I love the planning and get so excited and then when it doesn’t go as planned… so disappointed. BUT your kids had fun. My tree is never catalog perfect as I envision it, but the kids do help some so I shouldn’t complain. I love the lime polka dot cupcake liners. Happy tree decorating!

  • Mandy - I want to have garlands just like that for my little ones Birthday Party

  • Kristen - Love the pink pinwheels cupcake liners.

  • hope - i would love the cherubs cupcake toppers!

  • Alecia - Your party looked really cute! I am sure they were thrilled – I am sorry it didn’t go as planned. I like the hand painted leaf garland.

  • Larisa - I’m LOVING the polka dot cupcake stand and oh my I love the cupcake liners, too! So cute when Firecracker said oh wow. πŸ™‚ Sorry it didn’t go as planned, but I can tell your kiddies loved it! πŸ™‚

  • ange - Loved your sweet party. Things like that happen to all moms!! Okay, I would want to get a cupcake stand if I win. Thanks!

  • Megan - I totally relate to this post. But you are a good mom for creating such a special memories for your kids, whether or not they turn out just right. As for Green Party Goods, I really like their dove garland. That would be a fun addition to our Christmas decor and the striped straws would be great for the “Cookies and Milk” party we are having in a few weeks! Lovely πŸ™‚

  • Natalie - All day Sunday we cleaned the house, psyching the kids up about decorating the tree in the evening. We did a bunch of work, had dinner and baths, put them in Christmas jammies, got the video camera out…then I dug out the tree and ornaments. Everyone was SO excited at our house. I opened the box and remembered…I had loaned the christmas tree stand to our church’s VBS last summer. Its gone. no one has it. Numerous text messages have proved we just need to get a new one- of course it was specifically for that tree, so we have to get resourceful. We put up the nativity and called it a night. Thanks for this post, glad to hear I’m not the only one without a tree! Except i have an artificial tree and still don’t have one, haha~

  • Chandra - The Recycled Cardboard Airplane Kit-with pens would be fantastic as goodie bag stuffers!

  • Laura - The beeswax birthday candles would come in handy this time of year. So many birthdays on their way!

  • Taryn - Oh my. Absolutely love the pink bird garland. And the toile and damask cupcake liners and napkins. I think I need one of each of the straws and cupcake liners, too. Priorities!

  • Elizabeth - there’s lots here to love…the wooden colored twig pencils would be awesome for hosting birthday parties, along w/ the robot cupcake kit! of course i’d love the red & white straws AND the gray & white straws as well!!

  • Taryn - And yeah, because I forgot to say it the first time, I am the queen of unfulfilled expectations. My husband says I build everything up in my mind to be so lovely and glorious that nothing will ever live up to it. Some have been close, though!

  • Kristen - Best laid plans…I sympathize with you. Thanks for the giveaway though, the stripey straws and cupcake liners would make it into my shopping cart!

  • Laura W. - I’d love to plan a party for my mom’s upcoming birthday. She never really had a separate party because it’s so close to Christmas so this year I would use the cute striped straws and fancy plates to make it great!

  • lisa and tate - Love your idea for the tree party. Love the streamers of cupcake cups. Favorite things are the cupcake liners and striped and polka dot cupcake liners.

  • Chelsea - I love the striped straws! Perfect for any party!!

  • Morgan - I too set my expectations too high sometimes and feel disapointed when reality doesn’t reach them. Why do we do that do ourselves? I do love the pink and white straws for my daughter’s 1st birthday next month. We are flying to California from our home in the midwest to celebrate with all of my family and extended family and church family! I hope I am not setting my expectations too high for her 1st birthday. My husband says the good news is that she will never remember if it doesn’t go as planned…oh, but I will:)

  • nicole @ deliajude - the colorful straws and fun cupcake stands would cause a festive party to rock the house.

  • Catharine - I heart the wooden log cabin kit!

  • Lilly Piper - the straws, love the unexpected twist on an ordinary thing. merry christmas! by the way, we just moved to kenya (well, in august) and our crate of personal items was supposed to arrive in october and now is stuck in saudia arabia – with all our christmas decor, presents, etc….oh well, so much for the best laid plans πŸ™‚

  • christa - this is the best giveaway ever!! I would get every single color straw and a bunch of the cupcake liners!! so fun!!

  • RuthM - What a fun website! I LOVE those edible Garden Critter Edible Art–my daughter would love these for her birthday party!

  • Dee - I’m a sucker for recycled glass. Bought glasses from wine bottles in SAfrica & they’re my favorite. And BTW – you are a brave woman putting out glitter!

  • Heather | Cookie Mondays - Totally get it! My ornaments are my most prized collection… adding a monster one-year-old in the picture, and it’s pretty clear I won’t even bring that box in from the garage this year! We’re going to do an all felt, yarn, and paper tree. Hopefully not distastrous, but we’ll see!

  • allison henderson - i have been actively trying to stop planning perfection in my mind so that i may be able to let go and let life and just enjoy the moments. thanks for the reality check post that im not the only one!

    oh and where did you find those trees for the mason jar snow globes?! i couldnt find any anywhere so I just painted pinecones and added some sparkles.

    for the contest…
    i used the spiral straws in my wedding and it was a huge hit- so id love to use those again for new years! and the turquoise blue cupcake liners are so beautiful!!!

  • e l l a - Wow what a sweet giveaway πŸ˜‰ I’m loving the wooden log cabin kit!
    Your decorations are looking beautiful Ashley.

  • Caroline - either the colorful straws or the fancy plates!!

  • K - I would love to use some fun cupcake liners and paper straws!

  • Kristina H. - I love the rice paper lanterns…..This would be perfect for the Asian Christmas theme I would like to do this year πŸ™‚

  • Heather | Cookie Mondays - Adding to my other note: An excuse to purchase $75.00 worth of paper straws? AWESOME. What a great shop! And thanks for the opportunity! πŸ™‚

  • Carrie - I love the striped straws! And your party was perfect!

  • Alena - Love all the cupcake liners and straws! I have a weakness for straws!!

  • Candice Forte - I think I would go for some cupcake liners! But, I really love the old toys on that site!

  • domestic diva - I like the biodegradable red stripe straws.

  • Becs - I know it didn’t go to plan, but I bet your kids look back and say ‘remember that awesome morning we went downstairs and there was hot chocolate, cookies and craft stuff…..wasn’t that just the best.’ I know that’s that sort of thing I remember from my childhood. πŸ™‚

  • JILL - the paper straws! i’m still not sick of them and don’t know if i ever will be. so much much much better than plastic. very cute christmas party, ashley!

  • Andy - for sure the garland. love it all

  • Carrie Haywood - oh, it’s soo hard to pick!
    but i like the goodie boxes and paper straws!

  • Lisa C - I would get the lovely flower garland, and drape it everywhere!

  • shelby@honeysuckle - I would love to get some of those paper straws for a fun christmas party! I think your party looked super fun and beautiful!

  • Beth - The striped straws looks super fun!

  • Jamie - I would love to use the polka dot balloons and festive banners! So fun!

  • Ingrid - i have been wanting stripey straws for a while ow so i would pick those in red and white (for christmas).

    i love that quote about disappointments – it has helped me in my life a lot πŸ™‚

  • mixedmollydesigns - The cookie tree is awesome. Love the video too! What a great story and a blessing for that family.

  • Tara - I would LOVE a bunch of those paper straws in all sorts of colors. Perfect for our Christmas celebration!

  • Elizabeth - Oooh, I love the straws, polka dot balloons and the garlands.

  • Sarah Z - love the different striped straws….

  • Cathy - I love the blue striped straws! They would be perfect for our upcoming wedding!!

  • emmybrown - OH, how lovely! What great pictures….even without a tree! πŸ™‚ I’ve been collecting cupcake wrappers to make a garland like yours….so I’m sure I could spend a pretty penny at Green Party Goods (thanks for the link!)

  • Renae - I love striped paper straws! Some blue striped straws and blue swirl cupcake liners and a white paper garland would be perfect for a baby shower I’m hosting in January, maybe some blue/teal pompoms too! Thanks for such a nice giveaway! Sorry about all the rain…

  • Jess - The WASARA biodegradable plates are so stylish, yet earth friendly. Those would be perfect for a NYE bash!

  • Rose t. - Love the meri meri robot cupcake kit and also the paper straws!

  • Tanya S. - I love the cupcake liners, how you can mix and match for an awesome streamer!

  • Christy K - Loving the hand painted Poppy garland! πŸ™‚

  • Stephanie George - Love the knitted cupcakes. I know a little girl who would love to have a party with those! Thank you.

  • Tessa - The felt party hats and banners are so cute!

  • heatherp - My kids are in LOVE with straws – I would love to have some eco friendly ones for them to use

  • Katie S. - Dear Ashley-

    Thank you once again for making me soooo incredibly jealous of your most creative mind & putting my attempts at making fun memories with my girls to shame! Had I put together this “little party” for my girls they would have decorated and decorated and decorated for hours! However, I’m the Type A, OCD mom who can not let go of control of the Christmas tree! Please continue to make me feel inadequate…it pushes me to “be all that I can be” πŸ™‚ I guess I need some of those cupcake liners to make my own decorations!

    Good luck on the tree decorating party!

  • Meranda H - The polka dot cupcake stand is too cute! I’d love that.

  • Erin - So hard to choose! It is all so adorable. But I do love the red and white straws. Precious!

  • Susan - love the felt pom pom happy birthday banner. thanks for your honesty about life with kids!

  • Kirsten - I have days like those! So glad I’m not the only one.

    I love all of the fun and colorful cupcake liners – so much more exciting than the generic pastel pink/yellow/blue/white ones I get from the grocery store.

    Thanks for such a fun giveaway!

  • Christina - What a sweet party you set up for them! I love all the details. Thanks for sharing this site. I like the polka dot balloons, cupcake liners, and cupcake stands.

  • Leah S - I love all the striped straws – they would be awesome for a party or any gathering!

  • Stephanie Drummond - I’m kinda in love with the zebra cupcake wraps. Adorable!!

  • Emmeline - Would love one of the handpainted banners!

  • Mayo B - I love the recycled green square glass container!

  • Sandi - Love the zebra striped edible strips. What a great cake decorated with this on it. Maybe hot pink or turquoise icing with it.

  • chantelle - Ooo, I LOVE the balloon powered boat! What great, green party favors!

  • Krisi - I love the bamboo utensils and plates!

  • Maria - Love the straws…in red, green, and silver. And the little robot cupcake Molds too…

  • monique - so hard to choose – gorgeous napkins and amazing cupcake holders – thanks!!

  • Becky Z - I love the striped straws, but the cupcake wraps and liners are my fav. We love a good cupcake around here.

  • Melissa F - i would get anything with read and white. we are hosting a happy birthday jesus party in december and theme is going be red and white. i especially loved the polka dot cupcake liners.

  • annaO - I’ve always wanted striped straws and there are so many to choose from. I like the red and gray. Also the floral cupcake liners are pretty awesome.

  • annaO - I’ve always wanted striped straws. I love the red ones and the gray ones. Also the floral cupcake liners and the tulip table runner.

  • Alisa Biggs - I love the red & lime green straws!

  • jackie - I just moved to houston from okc back in the summer, and i must say i miss the rainy days and the turning of fall and winter! But i totally understand how it can ruin a day very quickly! Good luck on the tree hunt! πŸ™‚ … i took a look at the web site and found some bamboo plates and bowls i would love to use at my cookie exchange! Hope you find your tree soon!

  • Aimee - I would love some of the polka dot ballons and the skull cupcake molds are so cute..

    You know me and my little brother are 14 years apart and my whole life my mom and grandma buy us ornaments every year so our tree never has a theme but my mom loves it that way because its just full of ornaments from our whole lifes from when we were born.. and to my mom thats what makes it beautiful and because there are no rules my little brother that is 9 loves decorating the tree he loves seeing all his ornaments and remembering why he got that ornament and who gave it to him

  • Lori L. - the alice in wonderland cupcake wraps would be great for my daughter’s birthday! They have some of the prettiest liners I’ve seen! thanks for introducing this company!

  • Amanda Sadler - I love the felted party hats and the straws. What fun!

  • Jess - I would love some cupcake liners-the striped and polka dot ones are my favorite.

  • Kim Wike - I would go with the biodegradable streamers! I love streamers, they are so bright and cherry but I hate putting it in the trash when I’m done, now I could put it in my compost!! yay!

  • donna - I asked you a question yesterday and I thank you for the beautiful answer (Chris & Jen).

  • JuliAnn - I would love the striped table runner!

  • amanda torres - I really would like to come live at your house. Some pretty awesome stuff going on. And, I’ll take one of everything from the shop!

  • Jacci in Ohio - Ashley, thanks so much for the honesty here. I could be completely off base, but I kind of think a lot of the expectation or pressure has to do with *being visual* and also wanting it all, like you said, to all pretty much turn out like a magazine spread w/ a happy, smiling family. do you think the blog makes this harder to get past? that’s rhetorical – i don’t expect a reply. but, you have a moment in mind but also, when it comes down to it, a blog post in mind. and that’s part of the expectation. for what it’s worth, my favorite thing about your blog is the Ugly Star Wars Tree moments. Not the stellar craft posts. I certainly *like* the craft posts, but the real life kid stuff is the bestest πŸ™‚ but i do all this, too, at times. i let the expectation for a MEMORY MADE get in the way of actually making the memory.

  • Samantha - Love the post on Chris+Jen, thank you for allowing us to peek into someone else’s heart. Lovely.
    Well, on the note of Green Party Goods, I would have to say the balloon race cars! My 3 boys would love ’em.
    Oh happy day.

  • serena - oooh! how i long for those adorable paper straws!!! sorry your decorating didn’t go as planned, i can totes relate.=)

  • Kristin - Thank you for sharing and Jen and Chris, how sweet!

    The biodegradable purple floral cupcake liners would be perfect for my Besties’s Baby Shower!

  • Jen - I LOVE that recycled cardboard barn ready to color and decorate. Such a fun idea.
    (sorry you had a grumpy day…happens to the best of us!)

  • Pearl - You have a lovely beautiful home filled with so much love!
    I adore all the christmas crafts you make!


  • Meg T - The pink pinwheel cupcake liners are super cute.

  • Carrie - the banners and the flower garlands are my fave. Spring in my house when it is not even spring πŸ™‚

  • the chronic utilitarian - oh my!
    i love those cupcake kits and liners and straws.

    in the need of a holiday fix-
    thanks for the giveaway chance.

    the party is to die for.

  • Stephanie F - I think I would start with the pink pin wheel cup cake papers then from there….hmmmmmm.

  • the chronic utilitarian - i love those cupcake kits and liners and straws.

    in the need of a holiday fix-
    thanks for the giveaway chance.

    the party is to die for.

  • Dina S. - Love all your ideas and site recommendations! I was on the Green Party Goods Site and love the wooden colored pencils along with so much other good stuff! I am going to bed every night thinking of my upcominmg daughter’s birtday party. I am going to do a woodland animals party based on the storybook The Mitten by Jan Brett. I think those pencils would be great little party favors.
    happy holiday season.
    love your post about the tree, i need to relax next year as well. I think I was a bit too stressed the other night with my 3 little ones trying to help!

  • amber - Well. That is such a plain great idea. I love any reason to have a party;). Unfortunately I know all about grumpy moods you can’t shake, I’ve been having those lately. I blame it on being pregnant. Hormones. Yucky. That giveaway is amazing. I’d take those super cute polka dot cupcake wraps or liners. For sure. And, I’m pretty sure that video is going to make me cry…but thank you for keeping it all in perspective. That’s why your blog rocks. Yeah!

  • Kim - Loved this post. Especially that the kids had such a fabulous time even if it didn’t go as you planned. Loved everything about this post. And I love the giveaway. Green Party Goods has lots of yummies. I really like the recycled cardboard stuff.

  • gynnab - It’s definitely the little things that kids love!
    I love the square cupcake stand, it’s more modern than some round ones I’ve used!


  • susan - I love this party so much – even without a tree. I love the stripy paper straws!

  • Kira - My daughter is obsessed with cupcakes, so I would have to have a few sets of the cupcake liners…I like the houndstooth and damask ones, although probably not together.

  • Mara - Those biodegradable balloons are pretty cool!

  • able mabel - Every year I think I “need” the “perfect” tree and every year the kids end up decorating it however they want. It ends up being perfect every year because they are thrilled to be able to do it! (Love the initial idea. One of my girls got an “A” from her Godmother so I was thinking I should make some for the rest of the kids.)

  • Brianna - Oh my, I love the striped straws!

  • Amanad - I’d have a hard time choosing between balloons, straws, and cupcake liners!! Or maybe I could get all three? Sorry your day didn’t go as planned!!

  • Jessica H. - I would love to get some fun cupcake liners for baking and craft making. I’ve always wondered where the cute straws came from. They would be fun to use in my classroom and at my family Christmas party! Thanks a lot!

  • Renee - I love the hand-painted Robin garland. So very pretty! Every year I decorate the tree by myself. I get it. I’ve learned to lower my expectations. The tree will be beautiful regardless!

  • Sara M. - I love the plaid cupcake liners. Would be fun to use for a cookie party.

  • CLDesigns - Our kids choose the best moments to teach us life lessons, and its never when we feel like learning. They don’t need perfection in order to have a perfect experience. They just want to have fun and make cool stuff. If only all of us design-obsessed mamas could embrace it the way our kids do…btw, you are an inspiring mama. thanks for sharing your lessons with us.

  • Sara - I love the striped straws – especially the lime green and gray. They would be so fun to use for a party!

  • Emily Peck - Thank you for the party resources and for sharing your frustration that I feel like I have as well. I always have such high hopes – visions in my head that never come to be….then I get bummed….why do I do this to myself? I’m trying to be better about letting go. You are so completely darling to set everything up and prepare for the kiddos – they will remember that some day. πŸ™‚

  • Emily Peck - I love the yellow stripe cupcake liners!! And, polka dot balloons πŸ™‚

  • Dawn - I’d love the cupcake cups! πŸ™‚ Loved those christmas colors! So fun!

  • Erin @ Sew Abundantly - Oh wow! What amazingly beautiful cupcake liners!

  • Carolyn - I don’t want to win a giveaway (not sure I can since I live in a different country?) I just wanted to say how much I loved today’s post. Helpful and encouraging for when the plans that I cook up in my head go astray. My toddler thought black stars would look beautiful on our Christmas tree…I did not. I’m slowly learning not to micro-manage craft projects, and just go with the flow! Thanks for being real πŸ™‚

  • Amy Beachy - I love all things polka dot. I also thought the cupcake rings were cute for my little girls birthday party.

  • sophie - I would use the striped straws. Fun for a party, and fun for a regular day drink special!

  • Brianna - I love the painted poppy garland. I kind of want to put those everywhere!

  • Karie @ The HoB - I love the Zebra Liners in Hot Pink!

  • Kim B - I like the hand painted poinsettia garland

  • Lindsey@ Piecefully Home - this was such a good post! it looks like your kids had a wonderful time at their no-tree decorating party. i know exactly how you felt. i’ve so often planned events, family fun days, cooking or what not and had them not go as planned. i so want things to go the way i’ve planned them and get in a funk when they don’t due to weather or simply a child’s attitude. my husband has been teaching me to let things go. πŸ™‚ he’s good at it, i’m not!

    if i won the giveaway, i think i’d buy $75 worth of striped straws. so fun!

  • Elisa - I’m sorry it didn’t go as planned… It sucks when you have great expectations that aren’t realized.

    I love so many things from green party goods shop… the dessert goodie boxes,twig pencil set and especially the balloon powered boat!

  • Sarah - I’d try the red striped straws, they’re all the rage right now and I’ve been wanting to try them. Plus, drinking eggnog out of them would be so awesome. πŸ™‚
    And on a personal note…
    This year will be our second Christmas away from our families and I’m kind of feeling how you felt. I want SO much to be excited about Christmas, but my husband isn’t huge on decorating the tree and we have no little ones to help us. I want to be back home, or have my family here, and I want us to gather around the tree and talk about each ornament and what they mean to us, to listen to music, to make cookies with my mom. But I’m going to make the most of it, and try to enjoy what I DO have- a loving husband who doesn’t care how I decorate the tree (So I can do it MY way), a warm home, 2 loving furbabies, and friends to share Christmas with us.

  • Kari B - I love the straws, red striped and green striped would add a little sparkle to any party!! Maybe in the little tea set they also have πŸ™‚

  • Leah - I love the poinsettia garland–so festive. And I love the magic you made for your kids.

  • Leah - I love the poinsettia garland–so festive! And I love the magic you made for your kids.

  • Jennifer - I love the recycled glass bowls…

  • Karen - I love the turquoise floral cupcake liners!

  • Paige Rodriguez - Oh geez! I hate when our expectations are shot! Well it all looked darling and your attitude is always right on target. I would get a boatload of cupcake liners now bc of how cute your garland is!!!

  • angie - banners! can never have too many!

  • Michelle - Love all that stuff but especially the edible art for the cupcakes. That would be a fun addition to party decor!

  • Amber Machado - I love the robot cupcake set and all the cute cupcake wraps!

  • Alisha - Aw, bummer about the party. But good for you for looking for the joy! I love those grey striped straws from green party goods. So cute!

  • Mary Claire - Well first off I managed to leave my commment on the previous post which makes no sense at all! Doh! Maybe you will take pity on my busy two days before vaction brain and delete it? πŸ˜‰ Anywho….I’d get lots and lots of cute paper straws! We got our first real tree this year and I’m loving it!

  • Natalie - Ummm, does the cardboard castle count for hosting? Because my kiddos would definitely turn that into a party!

  • Marykay - I would have to get some hot pink striped straws for sure! I also really like the dogwood garland and those cupcake wraps (all of them)

  • Haley - I would love to have the square cupcake stand. I could use that for every occasion!

  • Cate O'Malley - Kids and our own ideas of fun always remind me of kittens and empty toilet paper rolls. You don’t need the fancy pet toys from the store – they’re just as happy with something that was heading to the recycling bin. Having huge plans for fun is awesome, especially when they come to fruition, but often the upside-down-we-didn’t-plan-this plans are the most memorable. Love the straws – perfect for our rainbow cake party in June!

  • Pam K - I love the wooden twig pencils.

  • Lauren - I have always loved paper straws!!

  • Lauren - I have always loved paper straws!

  • Julie B - We went to the tree farm the day before Thanksgiving. It was perfect because they weren’t busy at all and we had the whole place to ourselves. We just love the owner and he helped us pick out our tree. I too have those same visions of tree perfection. I’m not sure it will ever be like it is in my head. This year our tree has 90% of the ornaments out of what I think is toddler reach and still there are a few that have been taken off. Life happens when plans don’t go as planned, right? πŸ™‚

    Oh and I think I could easily blow $75 on cupcake liners alone, especially those turquoise floral ones, oh my goodness!

  • Shelly - The Maru Wasara round plates are awesome. Modern but fun at the same time.

  • Mary-Beth - I really like their yellow and white striped cupcake holders!

  • Mary-Beth - I love their yellow and white striped cupcake holders!

  • Jordan F - love the “Hand Painted Rose Garland.” and also love your post… so refreshing to know that others perfectly planned events don’t always go as perfectly planned. and that its ok. we need those reminders!

  • Elizabeth P. - The cupcake liners are adorable! They make any party feel more special.

  • Jermaine D. - I would love some of the striped straws and fun cupcake liners!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love the brown rectangle platter ~ so cute! And i love your party. I would have stayed in my PJs, too.

  • Aubreymstewart - I love the hand painted and dyed garland. What beautiful pieces!!

  • jessica w. - I love their grey and white striped biodegradeable straws!

  • Mallory - OMG. The ENTIRE cupcake section! My little sister got me obsessed with cupcakes! And my daughter will have her FIRST BIRTHDAY in a month and I want to make a few different kinds.. that would be pleasing to a babies eye πŸ™‚

    Your cupcake garland was really inspiring, as is all of your entries. πŸ™‚ Thank you for what you do!

  • Katie m - I love all the cupcake papers and straws…i’m all about cupcakes. And $75 would get a LOT of papers. πŸ˜‰

  • kiley - i love some of their paper lanterns…to hang in a corner of my livingroom…just to be pretty! then some other supplies for a ladies tea at my house :o)

  • Amber - My kids would love the straws and the food face plates!

  • Jessica S. - I love the banners!

  • Sarah - I’m not sure I could choose! I love the cupcake liners and was inspired by a few for my son’s birthday πŸ™‚

  • Karen - i love the gray and white striped straws!

  • Megan - first of all, I hope my family is half as precious as yours one day!

    and if I won, I’d buy tons of those red and white, and grey and white straws! And maybe some cute cupcake liners too!

    loved this post!

  • Whitney - I’ve been dying for some striped straws…such a cute way to spice up any party or just a dreary rainy day!

  • mydezine - I love striped straws. It’s the little details that I love to make a party special.

  • Ali Thompson - My dad once used the term “anticappointment” just a combination of the anticipation and disappointment that sometimes clash together. cute pictures as always!!

  • Ali Thompson - My dad once used the term “anticappointment” just a combination of anticipation and disappointment that sometimes clash together. And, as always, love the pictures & decor.
    p.s. not sure if i’m posting this under the right post…

  • Shawnee H - I love the variety of cupcake liners. So cute! I’d love to win and plan a fun party for my baby’s first birthday coming up!

  • katherine - would love some of the striped straws!!

  • Karla Swalve - thanks for once again sharing a story that is real, encouraging and humorous all at once. sometimes when I read different blogs, I can get almost melancholy thinking that everyone else has “it all together” with things running so smoothly….its encouraging to be reminded that even the most talented and amazing moms experience frustration. To you, it was just 20 minutes, but the them it was a memory they will have forever πŸ™‚ Thanks for sharing…..

  • Mareike - Hey Ashley,

    your Blog and your Photos are amazing!

    Greets vom Germany,