Bryant’s First Birthday Party!

Birthday Boy and his mama!

This past weekend my family and I celebrated my youngest nephew Bryant’s first birthday! We had an intimate gathering of family and it was probably a good thing considering how excited the birthday boy was to turn one. I think he may have sensed this was the beginning of getting older. There are some things going on with his brother right now, and the only way  I knew I could help out was to make some decorations and cakes / cupcakes. It took maaaybe an hour to assemble the decor and the cakes were even easier. Side note – if anyone wants a birthday kit in any theme, I can make you one for $30 (cakes not included as that really isn’t my specialty).

Let’s start with the cakes because really, that’s the best part.

{CAKE} – Bryant is majorly allergic to many things (eggs, peanuts, chicken, hugging, staying still, etc.) For his cake I used this recipe with the same frosting I used for the cupcakes (see below).  I just added some food coloring for his. Honestly, his cake was about 100 times better in my opinion than the cupcakes. It came out super moist and flavorful. I read online to wrap it and freeze it while it’s still warm from the oven. Worked great! Guess who didn’t agree?

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Bryant doesn't love frosting

Bryant doesn’t love frosting

{CUPCAKES} – For the guests we were able to have eggs in the cupcakes so I went with a homemade funfetti. In hindsight I should have gotten the boxed kind or chosen a different recipe. Live and learn!  They came out super dry and a bit too fluffy. I’m not sure what happened, but here is the recipe anyways.  The frosting that this recipe made was good but WAAAY SWEET.

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{DECOR} – For the decor I cheated and used some of the artwork I made for Jordan’s shower a year ago. It worked and I already had it ready to edit, so win-win. I made a personalized banner for the birthday boy, some cupcake flags, and tee-tiny bunting for the cake.  I printed and then cut out the flags, glued them onto some flat toothpicks and we were in business. Also on hand were some popcorn containers that we used for cheese puffs since a lot of popcorn is made with peanut oil and we can’t risk that.

Jack

Older brother Jack

tee-tiny bunting

Decor

Birthday Boy and his daddy!

Birthday Boy and his daddy!

Bryant and Granddaddy

Guess who gets a smile? Granddaddy!

Sister Squeeze

Sister Squeeze on Bryant! (pregnant people need to stay hydrated!)

At the end of the day Bryant decided that he would in fact eat something but only inside where he could make a mess and only when no one was looking. I caught this photo as evidence.

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Katie’s Baby Shower!

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This past Saturday was the big day…Katie’s Baby Shower!  It was so fun!  At 2 o’clock we all convened at my house to celebrate Katie and her baby boy.  Our friend Allison threw the shower with me and we are both so excited to meet Baby B!

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First up, let’s talk about the cake.  This ‘beaut was tasty too!  How adorable is it?  When Allison and I were planning the shower I did a quick sketch of a possible cake idea and the cake lady actually used it!  She matched the colors and prints of the invites so perfectly.  Everyone knows a gray cake can go wrong (um, Steel Magnolias) but this one is just lovely.  I’m pretty sure Katie loved it too!  If you’re in the Atlanta area, the cake was made by Heather of Sweets to the Sweet Bakery.  Allison has had her do numerous cakes (including my baby shower cake!) and she always does gorgeous and delicious cakes for a reasonable price.
Find her on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/Sweets2thesweet 

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For decor I made another crepe paper ‘b’ for Katie in a fun stripe that’s not too boyish and fun paper decorations.  I just cut out fun paper designs and then ran them through my sewing machine to make various garlands.  I used coordinating (ish) colors to the invites and in the end it all came together!

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Time for presents!
Baby B is super loved already!  Just look at all those fun and useful gifts!

We also asked that everyone bring a book for Nugget instead of a card so that Katie will have a nice start on his book collection!  To round out the afternoon, we had typical southern snacks…sweet tea, lemonade, pimento cheese, chicken salad, meatballs (cause why not?!) and of course a cheese ball.  It’s not a party without a cheese ball.  YUM.

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We had so much fun celebrating our good friend Katie!  We are approaching the final countdown on Baby B’s arrival in early January….we can’t wait to meet him!

Maybe we can get Katie to write a follow up post on some of her favorite shower gifts?!

Throwing a First Birthday Party!

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So, now that we’ve had some time to recover from Elem turning 1…I can talk about her party.  It took a while for us to finally take the decorations down, but with Katie’s shower coming up at my house I wasn’t sure she would appreciate a “tropical” baby shower theme (you’re welcome, Katie!)
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We knew from the start we didn’t want to have an over-the-top 1st Birthday party, but we also knew that that DOES NOT mean we couldn’t still decorate like we were having one!  We just had family and a few close friends come hang out for a while.  We love any excuse for tropical decor (hello…we already have a tiki bar in our 50’s split-level basement!) so this was a great excuse to pull out some decorations we already had and add some new ones.  We went with a loose “Gilligan’s Island” theme since we love all things 50’s-60’s and because we have one of the cutest ginger we’ve ever seen!  I acquired some gold lame leggings (for Elem, of course) and made her a little “S.S. Minnow” shirt to wear with them.  My favorite part was the tiny photo booth with an S.S. Minnow for the littles to stand in!  I also put some bowls of cheerios out for the littles…I had some rubber footed bowls which helped them not slide around everywhere and the kids loved this.  A real toddler ice-breaker!  We also had lots of delicious food, including Chinese style ribs (if you’ve been to Trader Vic’s you-know-what-I’m-talking-about).  They were delicious, as usual with anything my husband Jeff cooks!  The kids drank from tiny hibiscus print straw cups and adults got their choice of a coconut mug with fun silly straws!  You’re never too old for a silly straw, am I right?!

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We didn’t spend much on the party since we already had a good start on decor and I was able to make a lot of the decorations.  We were able to find most of our party goods online on the cheap.

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Things I made for the party:

-cardboard boat
-pinata style ‘e’ with streamers and cardboard
-“fish floats” with big balloons and decorative fish nets
-lots of small balloon “coconuts” for the fish netting and palm trees!
-up-cycled “palm trees” with packing material, green poster board, and balloon coconuts

Things we bought for the party:

-fish nets
-blow up palm tree (we couldn’t resist!)
-blow up fruit
-plastic coconut cups and hibiscus sippy cups for the kids
-paper fan decorations
-plates, napkins, etc.

Total Amount Spent:  give or take $120 (we spent about $80 on decor and $40 on food)

I still can’t believe my girl is ONE!  What a fun year!

Mom Purse Round-Up

I’m in the market for a new purse that plays well with others. By others I mean a diaper bag, a baby, probably a jacket, and whatever else I’m holding (shopping bags, cronut, wine, umbrella, etc.). I began my search by looking for something that is hands free, or “crossbody” as the industry calls it, and I came up with the following choices. Most of these are smaller as I’m not interested in having two diaper bags.

*Side Note: I know that these are more expensive than most people might spend, but in fairness my mom says she has a coupon for 45% off so I upped my limit. I did include one that is under $45 and it doesn’t stand out as cheap looking in my opinion. Also, I like bags that go with all of my clothes so I’m not constantly moving things from one purse to the other which is why most of these are black, gray, caramel, or a similar neutral palette.

What’s your favorite? 

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LINKS: 

1. Coach – Urbane Crossbody  2. Kate Spade – Cobble Hill Little Curtis  3. Kate Spade – Cobble Hill Ellen  4. Anthropologie – Bisbee  5. Tosca – Slouchy Hobo  6. Coach – Mini Tanner

{Elem’s} Eclectic Nursery

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My friend, Jodi Kendall,  is a wonderful writer who lives in NYC with her husband and their adorable son Townes.  A while back she asked to feature Elem’s nursery as a ‘Room Tour’ on her blog, where she shares everything from writing tips to baby product reviews.  Of course I said yes, and the story ran on her blog back in July.

I thought I’d share a little more here about the process of deciding how to decorate our nursery (when we didn’t know if we’d be having a boy or a girl) and how we pulled it all together to make the perfect home for sweet Elem.Mid-Mod Nursery

I started by making a general mood board with the Ikea crib and dresser we had already picked out.  The room actually ended up being pretty true to the original mood board, keeping our minty green wall color and adding pops of yellow throughout.  We wanted this room (this tiny room, the smallest of our 3 already small bedrooms) to have a lot of character and color without making it look cluttered and small.  My husband actually picked out the gray color for the crib (I almost fought for the natural one at Ikea, turns out, he was right…you know, just this one time) and then we thought the dresser was a nice mix of modern and kid-friendly (read: easy to clean and soft shut drawers).  We ended up getting all our big furniture at Ikea, the crib, dresser, rug, and floor lamp.  Now we had to make it not look like an Ikea catalogue in there…so we brought in some of our favorite vintage collections and some quirky small furniture.

Here are a few images of the room as it was coming together.  (At that precise moment of not knowing if it will ever, in fact, come together and yet knowing that a baby is going to live here in like two months…thank goodness for nesting.)
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This started the final phase of getting the nursery ready:  wall art placement and wall decor and my big plans for making my own roller shade.  Once the wall art was placed and we started “merchandising” the room (my favorite part, always and forever) I knew whether our baby was a boy or a girl, this was their room.  Turns out, it fits Elem’s personality pretty perfectly!  Here are more pictures of the finished room >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
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A year later and Elem still loves her room!  It is small, fun, and packed with personality…just like my Bean!
{Check out the story on Jodi’s blog to see some sources for furniture and decor!}

Right Now {Elem’s} Loving…

Here are some things Elem and I are currently loving!  She is a mere 6 days away from being one (WHAT?!), so she’s a pretty busy lady…her days are filled with climbing, eating reading books, pushing anything around, dancing, and taking her first steps.

Elem at 12 months

We’re loving:

*Finger Foods!  Elem is obsessed with feeding herself.  Her favorites are chicken, turkey, pasta with marinara sauce, lima beans, peas, carrots, beets and watermelon.  She is going to be devastated when she finds out watermelon season is over, the poor thing…luckily she has just discovered beets and is OBSESSED!

*Anything With Wheels!  Anything she can push around, she’s there!  She loves her wood wagon walker (a thrift store score for $3 with a ton of blocks included), and her Ladybug Wheelybug (these are so fun! they roll smoothly and although later she can ride on it she loves pushing it around right now).  {IKEA has an adorable modern wagon pictured above for around $20}

*Aden & Anais Blankets!  Elem loves these soft muslin single layer blankets.  I let her sleep with hers because they are breathable.  I tie hers into knots so that she can’t get it wrapped around her neck at night, and she loves to snuggle with that knotted up thing.  (Doubles as a nose-wiper during the night if-you-know-what-i-mean…ha, so we wash often and have extras!)
{I have only bought these on sale since they are pricey for the set, around $50…look for price changes on Amazon and good deals on Diapers.com for these!}

*Colorful Wooden Blocks!  The girl loves to carry a block or two around with her.  She’s really into multitasking!
{IKEA has a great affordable selection of colorful wood toys!}

*Jellycat Plush Toys!  These soft plush toys, especially their “Cordy-roy” series, are among Elem’s favorites.  She just can’t get enough of her Dino-Roar (dinosaur) or George Jones (lion) or Cleo the Cat!  A British brand, Jellycat is known for it’s quality and softness and they won’t break the bank!  They’re available in small, medium, and large sizes…with the medium being the perfect stuffed animal size and the small ideal for tiny hands in the car seat!
{Amazon and Diapers.com are both great for these, they run around $24 for the medium size!}

*BlaBla Knit Dolls!  I have to say, these are my favorite, but Elem loves them too!  She especially loves Willie Nelson, her bunny…and doesn’t go on a trip without him (he’s been to Cincinnati, Jekyll Island, Epcot, the zoo…you name it and Willie was there)!  These are quite pricey, but I view them as more of an heirloom toy.  To boot, they are also all sustainably handknit in Peru.  They are knit from cotton and have so much personality!  I love picking these out for Elem and they make a wonderful baby gift!  {BlaBla runs sales through their Instagram, so be sure to follow them there!  Sign up for their mailing list too so you’ll know when they have a warehouse sale or special promo…this is the best way to get a great deal on amazing dolls! www.blablakids.com }

DISCLAIMER:  These are not sponsored posts!  These are things that Elem truly loves and that we use on a daily basis in our household…we own a version of everything listed in the photo and they are all wonderful products!  

Space, the First Frontier

Hello world!

As I am the one currently “cooking” a little man I thought my first post could be about my design inspiration for our nursery and how the progress is going. I’m currently 7 months pregnant and deep into the nesting phase. I’m told I should try and bottle this energy and determination, because really, it’s insane. Several times a day I start thinking about how I need to clean the cabinets under my kitchen sink, repaint the foyer to cover scratches, and then remove cat hair from EVERYTHING.

Anyways.. back to the design. I’ve been following the blog LayBabyLay by Joni Lay (a fellow Georgia Tech Industrial Design Grad AND a sorority sister of mine) feverishly even before I found out I was expecting. She has amazing taste and really fun ideas for how to create a stylish nursery that isn’t overdone or from a ‘kit.’ The one that really caught my eye was called Stargazing Little Scientist-Revisited. If you know me then you know I love some grey, so obviously that was going to happen. My main takeaways from this inspiration included use of navy and mint, celestial maps, a refined space theme for my husb, and grey. We will be using a few things already owned and being refinished (more on that later!). Here’s the board:

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LINKS
1. Crib – Babyletto Mercer 2. Mint Artwork – Etsy 3. Rug – Akron Geometric Circles Plush 4. Paint – Benjamin Moore Grey Owl  5. Curtains – Ikea  6. Navy Artwork – Municiple Prints    7. Dresser – Ikea Hemnes

SNEAK PEAK OF PROGRESS

Obviously I need to hem the curtains and put some artwork up!

Obviously I need to hem the curtains and put some artwork up!