Birthday Dinner

Coraline’s big party was on Saturday after her birthday, a couple days following her actual big day. On her birthday, Brian’s mom and sister came over for family dinner (pizza) and cake, of course.



We opened some gifts first before dinner, and Coraline was very interested in the Mega Blocks from Grandma. Whereas Jameson used to tear things down at her age, Coraline likes to put things back together. She does her fair share of tearing down though, too.


After pizza, Coraline, with Jameson’s help, blew out her candle on her cake.



We tried getting Coraline to eat the cake again, since she didn’t like it during her cake smash session in the morning, but she still refused.


Afterwards, we opened more gifts from Aunt Melissa, and then a couple from mom and dad and Jameson.



She quickly got the hang of feeding her new baby doll!


And herself, haha.


A couple weeks prior, I took Jameson out for lunch and errands. He had a great time, and we went to the toy store to pick out a birthday gift for Coraline. Of course, he got a little something too (a little wooden train, Diesel #10). But he also picked out a great gift for Coraline, this little scooter bike.

It’s small enough that I think she’ll get some use out of it later this summer after she’s walking. I look forward to her trying to follow Jameson around as he rides his own bike!


The next day, Meemaw and Aunt Holly came up to visit before the party the following day. We opened some more gifts on Friday then too, and Jameson was excited to get a few things himself again, like this little zipper monster pouch for good zipping practice!





But in particular, both kids really enjoyed the airplane from Aunt Holly. The Little People were a hit, and Coraline received more Little People gifts at her party. Both Jameson and Coraline like to play with them!




Coraline had such a great birthday celebration from the day she turned one through her party. Now that it’s over, it’s hard to believe she’s one.

It means we need to make some changes over the new few months, like transitioning to whole milk and moving her from bottle to sippy (she never did like holding her own bottle, nor could she be trusted to eat enough if we weren’t holding it anyway, so that will be a big change!). I am thankful we won’t need to eliminate the pacifier this time though!

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Pink Pinwheel Party

Coraline had a pink pinwheel party for her first birthday. Sometimes pink can be elegant and playful without being overwhelmingly girly, and that’s what I was going for. We rented a little community center nearby for her party since there are so many more kids with friends and family now! It was well worth it to reduce chaos, and that we we didn’t need to figure out what to do with Sasha, who is confined to our first floor at home now that she is older.


We had two kids tables, one of ours and borrowed one from a neighbor, which was a great idea. We had a lot of 2 and 3 year olds in attendance!


The kids had a little craft to make their own pinless pinwheel they could do as well, and while I think the parents enjoyed it, I think it would be even more perfect for 4-5 year olds. I prepared all the paper for the pinwheels so no hole punching was needed, and gave directions for finishing off the pinwheel. All you need are some pipe-cleaners, pencils, stickers and crayons, plus scissors & stapler for parents to secure the pinwheel.

Microsoft Word - Make-Pinwheel-Instructions.docx


Each table had pinwheels for a playful centerpiece (a few of the arrangements were taken with them by guests, a sign of a great little centerpiece in my opinion!!). To make the pinwheels, I used a spray adhesive to make double-backed 12×12 scrapbook paper, then cut them down with a paper cutter in various sizes from 8×8 to 11×11 (most were around the 9×9 range).


I made the pinwheels without using pins, to keep it safe for all the kids attending the party so no one might be pricked. Instead I used pipe cleaners and buttons (I will allow that the buttons were small and a choking hazard themselves, but trusted they would keep secure to the sticks under parents’ watchful eyes, as they did).

The pinwheels are attached to candy sticks I purchased at Jo-Ann, or pre-painted dowel rods I purchased from Factory Direct Craft. The two types of clear glass bottles were a relatively cheap find at Factory Direct Craft (I cannot find them online anymore), and I put sand at the bottom.


I wanted to integrate photos into her party, just as I did with Jameson’s, since I take so many and love the conversation starters they provide to guests. Since the room had a chair rail along the walls, I avoided doing the giant “1” in photos that I did with Jameson’s because it would’ve looked awkward. Instead, we randomly put photos around the room with painters tape.

She also had her monthly photos banner above her high chair. I made small pinwheels, secured with brads and a glue gun to the clothespins, hung on twine. The pinwheels are top heavy, so it needed to be against a wall where they wouldn’t move around much.



For food, we kept it simple party fare: pulled pork, pasta salad, cheese & crackers tray, veggie tray, chips and an assortment of dips, fruit salad and of course, dessert. I made the same yellow cake recipe from her cake smash into cupcakes, and tried a chocolate cake from the same site as well.



I thought maybe Coraline would like a chocolate cake since she wasn’t fond of the vanilla, but no dice. She did taste it though, but putting her tongue right out onto the icing!



Daddy cut up the cupcake a bit and she tried the actual cake, but for the most part she was content (and sometimes concerned) just to look around at all the activity.


Coraline is big into trying to put things back, and she attempted to buckle herself up without success.


Meemaw and Aunt Holly came up for the occasion; unfortunately Uncle Tyler and Grandpa had to miss it.



We also had some baby friends join us, and Jameson’s friend Nathan came as well ready for St. Patrick’s Day!




When it was time to open gifts, Jameson wanted to jump right in and help. He certainly entertained, putting a bag over his head!




Coraline wanted to “try” her gifts before opening them. She got a lot of great toys and adorable clothes. She’s become partial to the Little People dolls, as well as putting together the Mega Blocks (Jameson was always into taking things apart when he was this age, so it’s fun to see Coraline putting things together instead).





We were so excited with all our friends and family who were able to come. We saw cousins and uncles who we hadn’t seen in a year and nearly all our friends invited were able to join us to celebrate Coraline’s birthday!




I love this one of Coraline, playing peekaboo with Grandma with her hands which is new!


I can’t believe that our little girl is one. From here out, our little baby will be growing up into an awesome little girl.


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Coraline’s Cake Smash

This year, I decided to try and do a “real” photo shoot for Coraline’s first cake. Spoiler alert: she liked it just as much as Jameson, which is to say, they were quite a bit concerned with what was on their fingers.

For Jameson, I went the healthy route and made a cake from baby food. It tasted just like carrot cake, except better (if I do say so myself). I made a relatively healthy cream cheese frosting to go with it, and he wasn’t super impressed and didn’t dig in the way I’ve seen some kids do so. One of the things I’ve seen since his first birthday is the cake smash session, where baby gets a photo shoot all to herself, so I decided to give that a shot.

This time, thinking I would get better results from said baby, I made a traditional yellow cake. I used this 3 egg yellow cake recipe, because I only had 3 eggs on hand. It actually turned out great and very moist but solid enough that I didn’t accidentally carve it up while icing, and I’d make it again in a heartbeat. For the frosting, I realized I needed to get more ingredients regardless, so I went all out with a frosting recipe calling for 3-1/2 pounds of powdered sugar that I actually found on a couple different sites. I’m saving the leftover frosting in the fridge for the cupcakes I’m making for her party on Saturday.

I didn’t know, but for decorating cakes, a “crusting” type of frosting is recommended. I didn’t add all the powdered sugar (I did about 3-1/4), so mine didn’t crust too much and actually stayed just right for what I wanted for Miss Coraline. This frosting is intensely sweet but such a wonderful consistency.


For decorating, I borrowed a friend’s decorating bags from Wilton and her decorating tips. After doing a “base coat” of frosting to help the roses stick, you want the larger star-shaped tip, and you’ll just go around in the circle to make the rose. I wasn’t too worried about making mistakes or leaving gaps, I just made little “daisy” flowers between. I’m no professional, but I think it looks great! Here’s a great tutorial for even more professional looking results.








I even cut a slice out (which I later ate) to show her the insides, and helped her taste the cake itself, but still no dice. She’ll have plenty of opportunities to try it again in the next couple days. This still made for some super cute photos, and I’m really glad I took the time to do it!


Oh, that super duper poofy tutu? I made that, no sewing involved. The hardest part was cutting!

I figured, no sense in paying a lot for something that’s going to get ruined with icing. The ribbon was more expensive than the tulle so if you already have ribbon to use it would’ve been about $2 to make. But, I will say that if you want it to go all the way around you need more than 2 yds of tulle! I wasn’t too worried about not having enough; it reached a little over half way around her waist and I tied the ribbon in the back. Total cost was about $4! If you want to try your hand, check out this tutorial I followed.


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Balloon Birthdays

The Sunday before last, we celebrated with our neighbors for their kids’ 3rd and 1st birthday. They borrowed our bouncer and the day was perfect for it!

The big hit though wasn’t the bouncer but the balloon guy!


The birthday girl got a pink dog first.


Jameson however insisted on a caterpillar despite other suggestions. It actually turned out great though; even the adults were impressed with the caterpillar which seemed very complex as he threaded loops of balloon into one shape.




The birthday boy got a Mickey Mouse, appropriate for their Mickey & Minnie themed party.


Each child got two balloons, and Jameson requested a motorcycle next after he saw another little boy get one. We did have to be careful with this one since Jameson wanted to vroom it along the grass; the grass was pretty dry and sharp and easily popped balloons. Jameson’s stayed intact but a couple of others eventually popped.


We chose one balloon and had all the kids “stand” for a photo. This one cracks me up since Jameson is off “vrooming” his motorcycle and no one is paying attention.


During the party, he tripped while barefoot and got one of his toes bloody from removing a little bit of nail. He wanted bandaids on both toes though to feel better, so we did.


After cake, Lily played with her favorite gift, the doctors outfit. She had to check out Coraline to make sure she was okay!


Meanwhile, Jameson was acting like a crazy dude as always. He loves the cornhole and tries to play it whenever it’s not in use. He also tried to use Lily’s scooter in the grass which was pretty funny.




As you can tell, everyone had a blast!


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Vivienne Turns The Big One

Saturday was Miss Vivienne’s 1st birthday party! It was unseasonably cool (in the 60’s) and neither Brian nor I knew that it was going to be held outside. So, when we arrived and discovered how chilly it was outside, Brian headed home for some jackets for Jameson and I.

In the meantime, food arrived, and I imagined my terror toddler squirming out of my grasp and/or grabbing at the food to dump it all over me. I was grateful that JP & Lisa were there with Jonathan so that if necessary I could have an adult helper!

However, Jameson was in rare form, and sat still in my left arm while I also held the plate of food right next to him and which I ladled onto with my free hand. I was impressed with myself, for sure.

He then sat like a little angel on my lap on the picnic table, eating off the plate politely with me. Pizza, blueberries, a little pasta. I also enjoyed the meatballs and chips and cheese dip, which Jameson tried at our second helping and enjoyed as well despite a little spice.

Finally, Brian returned with our jackets, and while he ate, we took the kids off to play with the toys they had around!

It was breezy, so it was easy for Jameson to “blow bubbles” by simply holding up the wand at the right angle. He was so excited. He loved playing with the bubbles.

The breeze didn’t stop him from trying to blow the bubbles out himself though:

He didn’t try to dump out the bubble solution either. We were pretty impressed with his maturity; we’ve considering picking a big bubble wand up from the dollar store. It was a long time of entertainment, and would’ve been longer, except that we had to share.

Before Vivienne opened her gifts, we took a break and went down to the nearby playground, which Jameson also loved. It was a perfect location for a birthday party!

After break time, we headed back up for a diaper change and gift opening. I went with my practical-but-still-seems-frivously-awesome StrideRite gift card for shoes for the soon-to-be-walker, and then I also found this gem: Wooden Shape Sorting Clock. It says 3 and up, but the pieces didn’t seem too small for a 1 year old as long as that one year old isn’t insistent about stuffing their face with wood.

Anyway, it seemed like a great grow-with-me toy, and our lucky day, this lucky lady likes to sort shapes like crazy so I’m sure she’ll enjoy it.

Jameson was a champ, but since he had an interrupted nap in order to arrive in time for the party, he was starting to get a little antsy. He said goodbye to Vivienne’s mom Lisa, and gave high fives all around. He’s always adorably shy around Vivienne which makes me laugh.

It was a great time, despite the cool weather (which I argue is better than 100 degree weather any day!). The location was ideal, and makes me wish Jameson’s birthday was in warmer weather. Oh well… we’ll just have to find other excuses to party in the summer!

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Party Like You’re One

Jameson’s friend Jonathan turned one a few weeks ago and had his party just last weekend! Jonathan’s party was in red and blues, a sophisticated polka dot theme.

JP made pork and macaroni and cheese (with goldfish on top!). And as for the cake: The birthday boy definitely knew what cake was since he had had it a couple times by the time his party rolled around, so he dug into his personal cake with a vengeance.

Jameson had some of Brian’s cake, and asked for more after he finished that so he got an extra piece just for him.

While I took photos, Jameson meanwhile kept stealing Jonathan’s walking toy and power walking through the church. Brian and his friend Kyle followed him around, to the indoor slide and through the dark hallways which Jameson had no fear of.

Of course, Jameson-Trouble-Maker also wanted to attack the balloons (which we only let him near a couple times since he was scratching and squeezing them and trying to eat them), and he wanted to climb on chairs.

Friends Jason and Lisa and their daughter Vivienne were there as well. Vivienne is 6 months old now!

Then it was time to open gifts! Jonathan was a champion gift opener. He helped pull out cards from the bags, and was cheerful the whole time.

Jameson got Jonathan a stool with his name on it. Like puzzle pieces, the letters can come out of the stool. It was very sturdy and well made, I’m really happy with how it came out. I purchased it from Personal Creations.

Jonathan had a fan club while he was opening gifts, too cute!

Then it was time to say goodbye, both Jameson and Jonathan were exhausted.

Since then, Lisa and I got together on Monday night without the babies to go Kohl’s shopping (30% off!). I bought a new purse and jeans (since crawling around on the floor is wearing mine out, and I need some for work). I’m excited to announce that I am ten pounds down and fitting into both my goal pants! I will be trying on my bridesmaid dress this weekend and hopefully I will be able to zip it all the way up. Phew!

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The Party

Saturday was The Party. Clutter was cleared out to the upstairs spare room, balloons were blown up, cakes were iced and decorated. It was a little bit of last minute chaos but it all came together.

My parents, sister and brother came up for the day, along with my brother’s girlfriend who I was finally able to meet.

The outfit Jameson has on, he had on for his photo shoot on Friday too. They were a clearance find, along with his first birthday bib, from Babies R Us. The bow tie was $2! Note the upside down polar bears on it though. Both my dad and Brian seem to have trouble putting it on right side up. Oops!

Jameson’s always a little uncertain of his grandpa he doesn’t see as often, but he warms up after just a little while. My family and Brian’s parents & sister kept Jameson occupied while we finished up the details. Like borrowing an ice bucket from the neighbors and getting help from said neighbor, my sister, and cousin Sam to work the balloons.

And then the guests began to arrive!

JP, Lisa and Jonathan in his adorable hat (he’s so good with hats) came with the nachos and taco dip. Jason and our other friend Lisa came with not as little Vivienne!

Carrie, Matt and their son Nicholas arrived too. We hadn’t seen them in a long time (not quite this long, but still long).

Cousin Nicholas who’s birthday was just last week arrived too with parents Jerry and Lisa and brother Nathan. (Lots of Lisa’s)

That’s a lot of babies!

After some play time (Jameson has a thing for water bottles right now), and food for the adults, it was time for cake!

Jameson didn’t blow out any candles this year. He also was quite a bit more delicate with the cake than I expected, though he enjoyed it! He was also fascinated with the balloons attached to his highchair.

We didn’t expect to open many gifts, but Jameson made it through all the gifts for the people who were there with us. First up, neighbors Kelly & Curtis and their daughter Lily. Then came Lisa, JP & Jonathan.

The babies wanted to help open the gifts they got for Jameson, it was so cute!

Jameson is learning how to clap, or maybe it’s patty cake (per his grandma). This is the very first time I saw him do it, and it was even captured on camera!

Uncle Ty’s girlfriend Emily took the camera from here and got some great shots. I was really excited to be in some photos for a change (open mouth and all).

Proof that some of the classic, old school toys are the best. Jameson wouldn’t let go of his little man peg (reminiscent of the Game of Life) the entire night from Jason, Lisa and Vivienne.

Here I am, trying on Jameson’s onesie from Aunt Holly. Captured on camera thanks to Emily, haha.

This used to be a card from his grandma and grandpa.

One of the last gifts of the evening, and one of my favorite photos. A frog hat, from my friend Teresa.

Jameson had a good time, but he missed an afternoon nap and was so tired at the end!

We had a great time! We opened more gifts, from us to Jameson and others who missed the party, on Sunday. Jameson really got the hang of opening gifts by the end. Some of his favorite things, of course, are the wrapping paper, bows and tissue paper. It’s the simple things, right?!

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Birthday Bash: The Party Details

This is all about the hard work that went behind the scenes of Jameson’s first birthday party!


Jameson didn’t care much about the theme (haha), so I decided on a “one year in a flash” style party I found inspiration for here. The colors I chose were blues, whites, silvers and a flash of bright green, and I planned on using his photos and the time capsule in the party as well. Here’s my original post on the party theme. And in the end, I even found a way to use his love of his little brown bear stuffed animal in his outfit.


The invitations were printed with SmartPress on their Felt Weave paper. Here’s a recap and more photos of the final invitations.


Each invitation included a card to fill out for Jameson’s time capsule. Jameson ended up with $15 in ones (hmm…); an Akron neighborhood map; lots of well wishes, and some sealed envelopes which I didn’t open even though I’d love to know what’s in them.

I still need to get a final box or jar to put everything in and seal it up for eternity 18 years.


You probably didn’t forget these lovely garlands on the chandelier. Here’s a recap on how they were made.

I also did one that I hung Jameson’s 12 months of photos on over the fireplace, so there was a festive garland in just about every room.

We had balloons everywhere. We rented a helium tank from ABC Rentals. You get more helium for the same price it costs for a tank from a party store. I actually think the balloons did the most to shout “birthday party!”, more so than the garlands of dots and snowflakes. Everyone loves balloons!


In addition to the garland with 12 months of photos, I had a photo wall in the shape of a 1 for Jameson’s party. This was my favorite part of the whole party and everyone loved to look at the photos. It was hard to select the ones to display.


We decided to do a couple stations of food to try and break up some of the crowd since we had this in our home. A lot of people attended, and it only felt crowded for a little while when people first were getting food. It was all easy food too:

meatballs in Brian’s special sauce
spiral ham & buns
pasta salad
mini hot dogs in crescent rolls
veggies & dip
nachos & taco dip
chips & pretzels
cheese & crackers
relish tray (pickles & olives)


Brian and I argued over the cake a few times (to say the least). I was planning on a mini bundt cake for Jameson, and I wanted to do a (or a couple of) regular bundt cakes for the adults. Bundt cakes would mean I could make a homemade cake myself, but they’re practically pre-decorated so I wouldn’t have to do anything sophisticated to decorate.

In the end we compromised with a store-bought cake for the adults that I decorated with frozen pound cake cubes to make blocks. It is clearly homemade decoration, but no one seemed to mind.

As for Jameson and the other baby cakes? They turned out fabulous. I made them on Friday night and I followed this recipe with carrot & peach baby food and applesauce to the T and was very happy with the results.

I baked them in the 6 mini bundt cake pan for 19 minutes. (P.S. I doubled the recipe and got a ridiculous number of little cakes, some 19 or so, I didn’t realize how much it would make). The icing was also great and I would make both again.

Jameson was pretty neat with his eating, but he liked it! In fact, I think he liked it all.


Finally, everyone got to leave with a photo (of course) and hot chocolate peppermint bag that Brian and I made on Friday. I couldn’t have done it without his help. The cocoa powder made a mess of the bags and made the marshmallows look “dirty” so the bags needed scrunched up close to a funnel to keep it fairly neat. My brother had his last night and said was good, so it was worth it. I followed this recipe.

The best part is the leftovers can be used as gifts for Jameson’s daycare teachers and co-workers.


Thank you’s are doubling as Christmas cards this year, so I’m knee deep in getting them done by tomorrow. I am so happy with how everything turned out and we had so much fun! We have such great family and friends.

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Happy Birthday

Happy 1st Birthday to my little handsome man, Jameson.

Today, we’re opening some gifts, taking naps, taking pictures, eating pears, eating pizza, and playing with lots of toys.

Plenty of time for reflection next week. For now, it’s all about joy.

The grand finale (just like fireworks, we piled all the blocks on Jameson). He loved it.

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Birthday Bash: Circle Garland Finale

I finally finished the circle garlands for the chandeliers, but I have to be honest: They looked a little incomplete. So I added cheap snowflake ornaments from Target (4 for $1!) and wa-la, finished product. I love them, and I’ll probably leave them up until Brian tells me to take them down.

They were very hard to photograph so you can see the details. I paid a lot of attention to the background of the photo because if it was too busy, it was too hard to see the snowflakes.

Each room of the first floor is decorated with the subtle garland and snowflakes (with a surprise one I haven’t shown here in the living room). Even in the entryway swing the large snowflakes from the banisters upstairs.

I’ve also been careful with the red this season. Jameson’s party colors are blues, whites, silvers, and a touch of bright green, so I limited the red ornaments that went on the tree and decorated around the house with as much blue & white as I had.

I hope everyone is ready for the ridiculous amount of photos I am going to take tomorrow, Jameson’s BIRTHDAY, and this weekend for his PARTY. I am so excited.

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