May Showers

This week has been pretty rainy; in fact, so far it seems as though April and May switched months. April flowers bring May showers? Yes indeed!

My friend from work, Lauren, had a baby shower last Saturday, and I was honored that she asked me to take some photos!

I think my next focus, after I get the hang of shooting in manual, should be white balance. I don’t white balance in camera, which requires a lot more effort post-process.

Homemade candy on each table, and little bags of cherry-yogurt covered pretzels for favors. The whole shower was elegant and girly.

Appropriate because, obviously, the shower was for for a girl. Take that back, TWO girls. Lauren is having twins!

She is just in to her third trimester with twins, can you believe how small she still looks? She’s blessed with being tall with a long torso. She also works out. Yep, not jealous at all. Not at all.

Yes, that is a chocolate fountain. It’s a good thing I was dedicated to photo taking, or I would’ve eaten a whole lot more.

Also, she decorated her own cupcakes. A perfectionist at heart!

This watermelon was done based on a Pinterest find by her mother!

We played word un-scramble, which I did poorly at (that is my sheet there, and obviously had already given up on figuring out any more of them).

And we played baby bingo while she opened gifts, at which I am AWESOME. But I didn’t win, so not really that awesome. I thought I had my strategy down… oh well.

Here is her lovely friend, helping the day of with the games and gift record.

I have never seen such loot at a baby shower! It was wonderful to see all the people out supporting her with two of every outfit and blanket and diapers.

I got her the diaper caddy she registered for (which I had to dig for, by the way, this is a JJ Cole item and it is discontinued at Babies R Us).

I filled the diaper caddy with essentials, some things registered for (like nail clippers and aquaphor) and some things not (like security blankets, gas drops, medicine, and tooth brushes).

We wrote notes on each little thing. Like “Jameson helped shake these up for you” on the saline drops for her. Not that they needed shaken. And “Dye-free = stain free” on the ibuprofen we purchased. And my favorite: “Why did you register for this? You need a nosefrida” on the little nose suction bulb.

Because really, as gross as they are, nosefridas work so much better.

While Lauren continued to open gifts, this little gem was hamming it up for my camera.

Can you see that tooth there? Jameson wouldn’t have been so happy with that!

While she opened, we also had the opportunity to decorate onesies and bibs for the babies.

If prizes were given out for the winner of the onesie decorating though, Lauren’s sister would’ve won hands down with her onesie drawn like a bathing suit, both front and back!

Congratulations Lauren, we can’t wait to meet them!

Continue Reading

Bridesmaid Woes

I’m losing weight. Counting calories is working for me again. At first, I felt like I was starving myself. It’s true that your body adjusts though, and I feel pretty good now. Except my constant craving for chocolate and pasta. But that is totally normal. Honestly, I’m not pregnant or breastfeeding, I don’t need to consume 12,000 more calories a day anymore. Just 1,200, cause I’m sedentary. Woes of an office job.

Goal 1, fit in my first set of smaller pants, is met as of today! Now I need to fit into the second set, and then that bridesmaid’s dress I already bought. Woes of a bridesmaid.

Speaking of bridesmaid… planning for my friend’s shower is well underway. Invitations went out on Monday, so they should arrive today or tomorrow.

(I need to mention here that I re-created and modified a design I saw on another site; therefore this design was solely for my personal use and no profit will ever be gained from it. Hence the line through it.)

The best part is that they were free, though not without some trials and tribulations. I printed these with Vistaprint, but they gave them to me for free after two sets of them came with various defects (the first set I bought, half of them had lines down the side; the second set, all of them had a white line on the back top). Luckily, Emma had cut down her list somewhat and I didn’t have to use many of the defected ones at all.

The fonts are from the Lost Type Co-Op; Wisdom Script & Mensch.

EMMA – if you are reading this, you should stop here unless you want to ruin one of your gifts.





I also had Thank You’s printed in the same design, and pre-labeled envelopes for her as a bonus. Isn’t addressing Thank You’s the worst? This is part of my shower gift for her.

These I actually printed with BestValueCopy, which I have used before for other projects. They print great, I’ve never had any problems. Unfortunately, they don’t have paper stiff enough for invites, but for Thank You’s it was perfect. Their index paper is almost a semigloss. I had envelopes from previous projects, but you could get them in bulk easily enough.

As for decorations, I’ve been collecting wine bottles and baby jars, I just need to decide what to do with them. Next weekend, I am going to visit the room to see what it looks like so I can continue moving forward with the planning. Stay tuned!

Continue Reading

Gifts for a 1 Year Old

Yes, it’s true, babies don’t need a whole lot. They play with the things that aren’t toys the most anyway, right?

But Jameson is both our firstborn and first grandchild in our family. He has both a birthday and Christmas coming up. He’s bound to get a lot of new toys and clothes and necessities and a lot of un-necessities too. Here are a few things that we’ve gotten him, know that he is getting, and a few things we’ve gotten other babies around his age.*

Stride-Rite gift cardPlay tunnels | Kid-sized towels

Every new walker is a growing boy or girl who will need new shoes again and again sooner than their parents might want.

They’re also really into exploring, a perfect time to introduce these collapsible play centers (and keep them away from exploring other areas of the house like the toilet seats or trashcans). However, a lot of them say they have small parts and aren’t to be used by kids under 3, so use at your discretion!

And if your baby or your friend’s baby hasn’t already outgrown those small newborn baby towels, maybe now is the perfect time to give them a new kid-sized towel that will last longer than their newborn towels did.

Blocks | Giant stuffed animal | Sled

Blocks made for babies are great because they make them now with interactive elements, like mirrors, bells, and textures. Jameson is getting two different sets and the great thing about these is that they can be used for years to come as their block collection can grow.

I don’t know about other babies, but Jameson is loving pillows and soft items. So we thought it would be fun to get him a giant stuffed caterpillar for him to dive into.

And a sled? That timeless classic will never get old for winter birthdays. For the one year old though find one with sides, maybe even handles, and check to see if the little one already has one first.

Finger Paint | Walker & Riding Toy | Puzzles

It’s never too early for finger paint. With supervision, any baby can make masterpieces before they’re old enough to hold a crayon.

Or if you’re looking for something perfect for that age, a walking and riding toy would be ideal.

To develop coordination, puzzles with extra large knobs are also fun. I know Jameson has a lot of books, but no puzzles yet.

Clothes | Touch & Feel Books | $$

Even (maybe especially) the second baby in the family would benefit from new clothes, particularly those clothes that maybe mom and dad don’t spend the money on. You know, the nice sweaters that aren’t on sale yet or high quality pants from a store that penny-pinching parents wouldn’t typically shop from.

Jameson has a lot of books and they are like magic to him right now. I’m not opposed to any number of books if they capture his attention. Baby Touch and Feel books are his favorite right now.

Last, a parent may not say it but money for a big purchase might be the most appreciated, such as for car seats or a college fund.

Bath Toys | Bibs | Snack & Food Utensils for Toddlers

Bath time is really starting to get fun for the one year old. Stick on letters, paint or crayons for bath time (I’ve also seen water dyes), or this endless water spout would be great. Plus, they’re getting more baths now because they’re messier right? Or is that just us?

Likewise, Jameson needs some new bibs, a lot of the ones he has are the small cloth ones we got at our shower, and he’s ready for some big boy bibs. Plus, bibs get gross. You can never have enough of these, I think.

One-year-olds are also getting to the age of snacking, spoons and forks (well, not quite yet), plates and bowls. I like the juice drink holders for when he learns how to use the straw, and the snack catchers are perfect for keeping fist fulls of food in the container instead of on the floor.

Kid Chair | Toys with Wheels | Personalized Stools or Puzzles

I’ve heard it from several parents that their kids just love their own personal kid-sized chairs and sit in them all the time.

And personally, Jameson loves toys on wheels. He’s not coordinated yet, but he tries to roll his animals on wheels, so we’re giving him a big red car that will be easy for him to push around. Vehicles, the pull behind doggy, and plenty of other wheel-ed toys are great. The risk here is that if you are buying for a friend, they may already have a lot of vehicle toys as these are a staple for little boys!

This sign is great for kids any age, but 1 is a special year and parents will appreciate the extra time and thoughtfulness of a personalized stool or puzzle.

Soft Ornaments | Christmas Tree | Food

Instead of a fancy first Christmas ornament, why not a few that baby can hang (or play with) him or herself that are soft or made of felt? I have a lot of ornaments that Jameson can’t touch, but not a lot that he can play with for hanging low on the Christmas tree.

And I admit it, this Christmas Tree I just think is adorable. It can even be personalized!

And for a stocking? Every baby loves puffs, cheerios, and teething cookies to fill that space.


What not to get (or at least consider carefully): Toys that take up a lot of space for babies that live in storage-limited homes and items without a gift receipt or way of returning. Let’s face it, even when you’re trying to find the perfect something, your perfect may not be their perfect. That’s okay, because your gift will still allow them to get something else they may really need.

*I have not used or experienced all these products, but I think they’re great ideas. As always, consider your purchases carefully and note any age specific warnings and details.

P.S. Looking for gifts for a 2 year old? Check out some of my suggestions.

Continue Reading

Jameson’s First Art Projects

Last week, Jameson came home with his very first art project (okay, not very first– he’s had his hand prints and foot prints done). So I guess I mean, his very first creative art work, where he was free to mess to his heart’s content. He came home with a lovely blue painting, now on display on his dresser.

This inspired me to help Jameson make a birthday gift for his lovely Aunt Melissa who turned 30 on Friday!

Four tubes of finger paint later, Jameson was sitting in his high chair stripped of his shirt, ready to paint. I put four globs on paint on the paper and let him have at it.

He was kind of delicate at first, but he got into the swing of it pretty quickly.

He only tried to suck on his fingers twice, and eat the paper once. I rescued him all three times, and no paint ended up on his chest, so that is pretty much a win-win-win.

Aunt Melissa loved it! Grandma was a little jealous…

As an aside, I don’t think Jameson will be opening his own gifts on his birthday just one short month away. He was fascinated with eating the box and wrapping. Aunt Melissa has threatened to give him just an empty box on his birthday, which I’m sure he would love.

Continue Reading

Toy Talk

I am nearly one month out from Jameson’s birthday, and one-ish short week from that until Christmas. What in the world am I doing buying Jameson more toys right now?

So far for his birthday and Christmas, I have planned mostly practical items, so he I deserve a little treat, right?

  • Winter snow suit
  • Winter boots (haven’t found those yet)
  • Sled? (unless we get Brian’s from his parents)
  • Some new pajamas and a cute t-shirt
  • Toothbrush sanitizer (I know, I know)
  • HABA discovery blocks
  • A couple books
  • A custom made board book (from here, I haven’t started this yet)

I just feel like he is developing so quickly I want him to get the most out of his toys. If that means a play table now instead of later, so be it .

If that means some balls to chase after (so fun to watch!), so be it.

Jameson is actually really playing with his toys recently too. He still enjoys banging the coasters, hitting door stoppers, eating the handles on the freezer and pulling up on the most inconvenient of places. But he is also spending a lot more time with his toys, which is so much fun to watch.

I am still excited for Christmas and his birthday. I don’t plan on jumping the gun on anything else, but these were definitely worth it. Jameson agrees.

Continue Reading

Picture Day

I’ve been waiting for a perfect moment to dress him in this adorable shirt I got from Zulily. It’s all one piece, soft and comfortable-looking.

I’m so glad I decided to take some photos yesterday morning (and consequently show up to work a little late! oh the sacrifices we make). One of his teachers told me when I picked him up yesterday that he wasn’t a huge fan (I think they used the word “timid” on his sheet… lies! I’m sure he was wailing)

They had to wake him up from his nap for his photos, and then I woke him up from his nap to go home later, so he was a touch cranky when we first got home.

But, he is easily distracted with a few of his favorite things.

Okay, the shoes aren’t a favorite thing. Yet.

These are Padraig Alaskan slipper shoes, from Alaska, for reals. My friend who lives there sent them to us when he was born, and look how they still fit nice for this season! That’s my small dude.

Beat that, pro photographer man.

Continue Reading

Christmas in July

Yesterday I spent my time working on something else. It’s hard to find the time to do all the things I love, so no post yesterday. Read through to the end to see what I was doing!

I’ve been seeing everyone celebrating Christmas in July. So here are some of my favorite gift ideas, before July is over. Shocker, they’re not from Amazon, but from Etsy. I love Amazon, but there are (gasp) a few things you just can’t find there.

Without further ado…

Continue Reading

Mmmmozzarella Cheese Making

I know this is nothing new; there are all kinds of sites out there with directions on how to make your own cheese. But I bought a kit from Urban Cheesecraft a few years ago for Brian for Christmas, and this is the first time I’ve documented our process. I thought it was about time!

The basic ingredients for making mozzarella is:

Vegetable Rennet Tablets
Citric Acid
Cheese Salt

Pretty sure you can buy all that separately, but the kit is only $22, and I’m telling you, it’s worth it. The instruction book alone is probably worth that price. It addressed all my questions and concerns and offers advice. Brian and I have made mozzarella with just the cheese salt, and also added herbs on occasion. We’ve been impressed with it almost every time (the time we wildly experimented with salt amounts didn’t turn out to our liking).


First you need a glass of wine.

Well, I needed a glass of wine. Brian was doing all the hard work while I took pictures.

Continue Reading

Father’s Day: Brought to you by the letters D and A

It’s already Thursday, but I thought I’d give you a recap of how Brian’s first Father’s Day went! And of course, show you the awesome project that Jameson and I did (if you haven’t seen it already– I talked about it on Twitter and displayed it on Flickr; you can follow me!). I was waiting with anticipation to show you the project, and wanted to show it off early, but Brian couldn’t (or wouldn’t!) promise me that he wouldn’t peek. In any case, if you love it, file it away for next year!

I was inspired by this find on Pinterest. Just before I started  the new job, I had a day without Brian or Jameson. Well, before Jameson went to daycare that morning, I put him in a fashion show photo shoot with letters D & A that I picked up for about $3 each at Jo-Ann. I edited the photos in 3 different styles of black and white, in a number of poses, and printed them all off.

Continue Reading

Merry Monday: Happy Anniversary

Yesterday was our 2 year wedding anniversary. It arrived with much less fanfare than last year’s did. I actually forgot… like 3 times that day. In the morning, Brian was the first to say it. Then, I saw his card for me on the table, and I remembered to get his out. And last, he sent me flowers at work for the first time, and my Monday-mommy-addled brain said, why am I getting flowers?

They were lovely, and are still sitting on my desk just as lovely today.

We didn’t have time to share cards in the morning, so we saved them for later. I suppose I should be thankful I even remembered to get a card, but let me just tell you that I am SUPER awesome at card giving this year. Because of a website called tinyprints.

I got Jameson’s baby announcements from there, and was very impressed. Greeting cards are just as impressive: they can get pretty custom. Typically I’ll throw in an photo or two of my own on every card. I love that they can print on all sides of the card. I was sold, even at their regular $3.99 price (because let’s face it, that’s the average cost of a card in the store.) But then they ran a promotion then where I got to be a super sender for a year free, and now I’m hooked. They link in to my facebook and note birthdays to send me reminders. Which is a good thing, because the only downside to this service is that you need to have a week or so to spare to allow time for shipping.

I am a card fiend now: for Father’s day and birthday, Brian got 3 custom cards each (Sasha puppy wanted to send him a card too); Grandpas got extra cards from Jameson. I’m having a blast with it so far.

Here’s a few screenshots of my fabulous cards:

So celebration yesterday consisted of cards, flowers, and a wonderful dinner made by Brian (chicken rotini pesto, made from our very explosive basil plants). It was excellent. But I am even more excited for the weekend.

1) Our new couches arrive. Somehow we always end up getting one nice new piece of furniture a year around our anniversary and we call it our gift to each other (so far anyway, though that might be because of the new house! I think we will need to continue the trend… haha)

2) We are going on a “co-anniversary” outing with JP & Lisa. Jameson and Jonathan will be staying home while us new parents enjoy some time away visiting wineries and eating cheese. Lotsa cheese.

It’s only Tuesday though. I have a little while to wait.

Continue Reading