Elmo Birthday Party

We weren’t originally going to have a party for Jameson, but I got it in my head to make some invitations and it was all over after that.


We did tone it down quite a bit as compared to last year, and banners and party favors were purchased at a party store. They make it so easy! We also invited quite a few less people so the house wasn’t so crowded.

The other Elmo touches were brought in by our cupcakes and fruit tray, inspiration courtesy of Pinterest.

Elmo Cupcakes

Elmo Cupcakes

The cupcakes themselves were a box mix (had to make something easy!); the mouths are Oreos which were tough to cut right. The eyes are large marshmallows, cut in half, and topped with store-bought brownie icing pupils. The noses are candy orange slices.

The icing was the hardest part. I borrowed a fancy icing tool from a friend and used a star tip to get the fur effect, and by the end my thumb was numb for a day or so! We used the red food dye in a tube from the bakery aisle to get the very red color, and used the majority of the small tube for it.

Elmo Fruit Tray

Elmo Fruit Tray

We thought we would half left-over fruit for sure, but as it turns out, young kids love fruit! And parents love giving it to them. We had no fruit left! Brian also made little hot dogs, buffalo chicken dip and a jarlsberg cheese dip. We didn’t actually have that much food left over this time.

And that was about it for Elmo decor! From there, it was all about Jameson, his friends, gifts, blowing out the candle and capturing all those moments on camera.

Playing with Grandma

Jameson’s cousin Griffin loved playing with the boys. He played fort, ball, and assisted wherever he could! Jameson and Jonathan loved him.



Lily, another one of the older kids of the bunch (though only by about 6 months or s0!), also wanted to be a helper! Jameson didn’t mind at all. He’s pretty expert at opening gifts now, but extra hands never hurt!

Opening Gifts

Opening Gifts

Opening Card

I had dad help with most of the unwrapping so I could capture the moments on camera. Jameson was very serious about his gift opening, rarely pausing to relax. This was one of the photos where I actually caught a reaction from him.


Jameson got some new books from mom and dad!

Mr Potato Head

One of the other big hits was the tools. Brian said yesterday Jameson was playing with his toy tape measure and wrapping it around his head (like they did at the doctor’s office just last week!)


Brian’s Uncle Mike and cousins Gabrielle and Griffin gave Jameson extra large gifts!

Big Gifts

Big GIfts

Perfect for his current love of the Lion King and wild animals! Jameson got a couple wild animal playsets. We can’t wait to get these set up for him!

We followed gift opening with dessert!


Blowing out Candles

Jameson actually blew out his own candle! Way to go Jameson!

Eating Cupcakes


He knew they were Elmo cupcakes! Jameson’s friend Jonathan also knew it was Elmo and got very upset when his dad pulled off one of the eyeballs, it was too funny!

After dessert, it was play time again!

Playing Keep Away

Included in the party favors (which I may or may not have forgotten to mention to the first party-leavers, oops!) were whistles, which I’m sure all the parents loved. Jameson’s doesn’t leave his mouth!


We had been telling Jameson “Happy Birthday” all day long, with his response occasionally being “happy day”. Without prompting, at bed time and after goodnights, he told me “happy day!” so sweetly. Yes it was Mr. Jameson!

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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!

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A Bridal Shower for Emma

Emma’s bridal shower was this past weekend, which meant another trip to grandma and grandpa’s house (the second in a month!). Grandma and grandpa loved it, of course. And this time he was walking, so we had loads of fun, and they got to babysit while I ran the shower.

The shower was a success! We had less people than anticipated, but it was a blessing in disguise, since that meant that everyone got a prize (everyone loves prizes!) and everyone got a centerpiece. Plus, it was nice to get together with all our old high school friends which doesn’t happen frequently now.

Me, Jamie, Katie #1, Tracy, Emma the bride, Tara (and Katie #2 arrived later)

I used blue, brown and white (reminiscent of her invitations). We covered the brown tables in brown table clothes for a uniform look and I (conveniently) used the same plates, napkins and utensils I purchased for Jameson’s birthday party. I bought the plastic wine glasses from Party City which were cute touch that I wouldn’t have done otherwise if I didn’t already have the other eating necessities!

The shower took place inside a church fellowship hall (Emma’s mother’s church from when they lived their before). It was perfect, with the little buffet tables, kitchenette in the back and a lovely room with poles to string streamers from.

I purchased hydrangeas from the Flower Man, which carries loose flowers for cheap. They were perfect inside the wine glasses which Brian stripped off labels from (regular powdered Oxy Clean and water). We had 6, with a grouping of 3 in the center, a couple at the buffet, and one on the gift table.

Since we were a small crowd, I was able to put the place settings on the table, and I made madlibs for fun on nice, hard cardstock that I actually had left over from my wedding. The madlibs came from here and here, but I copied and printed them in the same fonts I used for the shower invitations. I printed the words on the front and the story on the back.

The madlibs were for fun, but I also had some games for prizes! As I said before, everyone got prizes in the end but the winners got to select first.

We had guess how much money is in the honeymoon fund jar, a word scramble from here, and the name game where I took Emma and Joe’s last names, gave them 3 minutes and gave the prize to the person who thought of the most words to be combined from their names! We also had the lucky coin game, but no one sat in the chair that I put the coin under, so I sneakily moved it while people were getting food. Oops!

It was difficult to find games appropriate for a smaller shower (the bridal bingo is hard to play with just a few gifts) but I think I did well and everyone enjoyed them. Particularly the madlibs, and those weren’t even a prize winning game!

Emma, ironically, guessed the least amount of money in the jar (I told her she must think I’m cheap, haha!). In the jar were coins, bills, and I also filled it with little faux flowers and faux crystal beads.

The prizes were adorable reusable shopping bags from Forever 21 that I found online, and I put candy or cards and a little something extra from Target (like a bowl, or socks) in each.

Jamie was wonderful and helped me set up before the shower (I had to run around for the flowers, the cake and ingredients for our punch!) And Tara brought fruit skewers and an absolutely amazing salad that she found and modified on Pinterest (Skipped the bacon & poppy seed dressing to save on fat…replaced feta with goat cheese and pecans with almonds. Delish!). She has a lot of great food pinned.

And we had to have, at Emma’s request, the best pizza ever from Marion’s, a local place. My mom was great and brought it over for us! The sausage is our favorite. They even ship pizzas frozen too, if you’re interested.

Kroger made an excellent cake. We don’t have a Kroger by us at home here, but our grocery stores make great cakes so I knew that Kroger would be perfect. The price was right, too, at $10.99. It was chocolate with whipped icing and the perfect size for our shower.

And the gifts! Emma received some wonderful gifts. I gave her Thank You cards already addressed, matching her invitations. (And the honeymoon fund jar — have you guessed how much is in there yet?)

She also got adorable Mr. Right and Mrs. Always Right wine glasses. I dropped the Mrs. Always Right glass though when we were loading her car. MAJOR FAIL. If anyone knows where to get a replacement, let me know!

While unwrapping a bubble wrapped plate from Katie #2, I asked her how many kids that counts as since she spent so long on it.

Her mom gave her a lovely set of Longaberger baskets and pottery inserts. They were cute next to each other (I wanted to take photos instead of writing down who got her what)

Katie #1 helped put together her rehearsal bouquet.

It was a great shower, and I think that Emma had a blast. Poor Katie #2’s car broke down though, and I dropped the wine glass. But as Emma said… it’s kind of hilarious she ended up with just Mr. Right. And the day was wonderful because of the people. A piece of glass can be replaced.

Okay, did you guess how much is in the jar?

$41.43! Emma’s mom won that one. That’s a smart lady!

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Birthday Bash: Circle Garland

On Sunday, I finally had a chance to test out my proposed circle garland from here which I found on Pinterest while Jameson napped!

Early last week, I went to Home Depot and stole acquired some paint sample papers. I was convinced that this would be the best, cheapest (read: free) method for creating a decorative garland for Jameson’s birthday. Midway through acquiring the samples, I realized they only had color on one side and I’d have to glue two sides together.

That’s okay, it ended up being kind of an awesome feature of my garland.

My favorite thing about this garland is that I didn’t need to use the sewing machine. I originally thought I would follow the same method shown here, but realized I would probably spend more time threading the sewing machine and unraveling jams because of the thickness of my glued-together-circles.

I didn’t want to deal with it. I mean, I know you get better with more practice, but… for a project like this, I didn’t want anything too time consuming.

Instead, I followed this method (or lack there of, since this is as easy as it gets)


  • shape puncher (particularly cool when you have two sizes)
  • paper (or paint samples)
  • glue stick
  • needle and thread

A couple quick notes: if you’re doing the needle and thread method, I think stiffer paper works the best (or in my case, two papers glued together). Also, this method tangles very easily, so I have my finished garland on a hanger in the closet until the big day.

Aside from a little hand cramping, this was really easy.

I punched out some circles. I randomly (and sloppily) glued them together (because the needle and thread will really hold them together, so don’t stress over the glue).

Each side was a subtly different shade of blue, with a jolt of green or darker blue every foot or so. I strung them together with needle and basic white thread.

I’ve only made about 6 feet of garland, and have decided that one more garland for a total of 12 feet will be ideal for my each of my lights. It’s just a little sparse right now.

Total time spent: Jameson’s nap, which was a little longer than usual 😉 about 2 hours for one garland, but I think I’ll get quicker as I go along.

Total money spent: Free, assuming you have a shape puncher already.

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Birthday Bash: Invitations

Jameson’s first birthday is right around the corner. He’ll be 10 months this weekend, so that leaves me a just a couple weeks to get out invitations which friends tell me should be mailed 6 weeks in advance.

So I went to my inspiration friend, Pinterest, and looked at some invitations I had pinned a while ago. I immediately was sold on the “One Year Old in a Flash” invite from The Macs because it seems so appropriate for my photo-happy self. Because, you know, first birthdays are more about the parents than the kids 😉

My original plan was to DIY the invitations myself from 8-1/2″ x 11″ cardstock, cut in half, attached to another layer printed at home with the party details and tied with a bow or something else clever but simple. But, after designing it in Photoshop, I thought the easiest and best way may just be to get the whole invitation printed.

I’ve selected Smart Press to print them, mainly because I designed it in at 4.25″ x 5.5″ (half a regular sheet of paper) and they can print that size. Plus, I can get A-2 envelopes for reasonably cheap, and the more I buy the cheaper it gets. Right now, I am just waiting on some paper samples from them since they have a wide variety of choices at a reasonable cost.

Without further ado!

My adorable winter baby’s party will be in light blues, silvers, whites and a touch of the lovely green. I’m hoping to imitate some more decorations from the One Year in a Flash party, like the paper circle garlands which I can hang from a few chandeliers and the time capsule.

We’re also going to do appetizers instead of a full catered or cooked meal, so that we can invite other people without needing to seat them for a meal.

paper circle garland | time capsule | photo age wall | photos on clothespins garland | hot chocolate party garnishes | wishes for baby for time capsule | make a wish time capsule sign | marshmallow snowflakes | sugared pecans in a crock pot | wooden one letters with balloons | cards bound with rings

Who’s excited?!

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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.

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for the man who has everything…

For the man who has everything, you hope that something breaks before his birthday.

I think gift giving is particularly hard for me. Because the problem with Brian and my dad all men is that they always buy what they want right before their birthday or holiday! I got lucky this year in that our old George Foreman broke down leaving a convenient void in our household appliances, easily remedied with a birthday gift this year, idea courtesy of my mom. So I bought Brian a Griddler.

Okay okay, for anyone really thinking about this, you know that the last thing you need in the summer is an indoor grill. Fair enough, but as a bonus, I even bought some waffle plates for him for me. See, we have this old waffle iron from my grandma’s that makes the most amazing waffles. However, it happens to be a fire/ electric shock/ baby hazard. So I’m hoping these new waffle plates will be a perfect replacement, because I love waffles five times more than I love pancakes.

Jameson of course needed to get him a little something as well. Because bucko bucks have already been spent, Jameson didn’t want to go overboard and purchased him a little something that they can play in together (sort of…haha) in a month or two when Jameson is sitting up.

Now, the best gifts I ever gave have always been homemade, but don’t worry, there’s Father’s Day coming up for a bit of crafty fun (inspiration courtesy pinterest). Sorry dear readers but I can’t share until complete.

Happy Birthday Mr. Husband Sir.

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I <3 Eating

I was thinking, I am not sure whether its the act of eating (sitting down at a meal, chatting with friends), or if it’s the food I love. But seriously, food is one of my favorite things. I can never turn down a meal out, and those who know me know that I am always game for doing just about anything that involves food.

Ironically, I don’t often make food myself… Brian’s birthday is tomorrow (he’s turning the big 3-2), and I don’t have any meal planned. Usually I manage about 5 meals a year, usually special occasions (NOTE: I do bake more than that. Cookies are my specialty). Birthdays would be one time I usually make dinner, but with everything that’s been going on that particular plan has fallen by the wayside. Sorry hun. I do however have some quick and easy things saved in my pinterest I could perhaps try this weekend though… we’ll just make it a week-long birthday!

But this whole eating thing has me concerned about stopping breastfeeding. I am a believer in the “breastfeeding diet”. I mean, I can pretty much eat anything. I am not losing weight anymore, but I’m not really gaining either. I’ve been hovering in the same 5 pound range for the past two to three months. All while eating super unhealthy. Really. I have had enormous grilled cheese sandwiches (both Brian-made and restaurant-made), cheesecake, fried macaroni and cheese balls… (seems to be a theme there…). I really like this right now.

Brian-made: 16 types of cheese!

All the more because I had gestational diabetes (all diet controlled) and I think I’m still not over it. I swear, I went carb crazy after Jameson was born. I had no idea before all that went down that I had to watch CARBS. I thought diabetes was all about SUGAR. It is, of course, because carbs are converted into “sugar”. I had to go to a nutritionist who set me straight and keeping to that diet was very difficult for me. Anyway, since then, any thought of a diet went out the window. I am not supposed to be dieting while nursing anyway, but I know there’s probably articles out there about how I should be eating better because that all gets transferred into my milk… In that case, I know I’m just passing down my love for cheese to Jameson.

Before Jameson, Brian and I tried various diets. The one that actually worked best for me was calorie counting. Reporting it to a website made me more accountable. That was also a time when I was able to go home for lunch everyday because I lived so close to work. It’s a lot harder when things aren’t convenient. Does that make me lazy? Brian also tried the Atkins a couple times (pseudo healthy version with lots of turkey, chicken, pork rather than beef). Atkins worked for him really well the first time, not as well the second… so where to from here? Luckily, this is a good time, because summer is approaching, which means more activity in general and

The farmers market that we go to is opening up this weekend! This is my favorite time of year. I adore fresh vegetables (and I am pretty sure that I can eat as much of those that I want), and I’m planning on buying extra now to make some baby food for Jameson. So far, he has had oatmeal, brown rice, peaches, squash, and carrots (all pre packaged, not homemade). I finally purchased my baby food equipment yesterday (we already own a food processor, so I just needed a convenient freezing tray), so in the next week or two if the farmers market has some early vegetables we will be attempting to make Jameson’s first homemade baby food.

So many things to look forward to, and food is just one of them.

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What I’m…

Today, I asked Brian to answer some questions to make a post that includes a little about him. Thanks Brian for being a trooper and responding today while you were at work. You win some hubby points.

What I’m…. Reading
Brian: The World is Flat and Designing Great Beers

Hilary: I don’t read much of anything anymore, there isn’t time! In my queue are the newest books by Jacqueline Carey, Kim Harrison, Juliet Marillier (some of my favorite fantasy authors). If I’m reading anything right now, it’s magazines like Better Homes and Gardens or Readers Digest.

Brian: No Reservations, Dexter, Archer.

Hilary: In Plain Sight, 16 & Pregnant and The Sanctuary all just started back up. I am also watching Extreme Couponing and Pregnant in Heels, all of which I watch without Brian haha. I also have a Netflix DVD that’s been sitting waiting for me to watch for a month, oops.

Both: We like to watch Desperate Housewives, 30 Rock, Outsourced, The Office together, Family Guy, and Archer. That’s a lot of TV. We’ll be watching less when some of these shows end their season and it starts to get warm and sunny. Maybe.

Listening to
Hilary: Baby Lullabyes and whatever is on the radio to and from work. I haven’t discovered any new music in a long time. It would be great to start listening to something new again.

Brian: This changes frequently but the latest is: Wizard Smoke, Dax Riggs, Crowbar, Pink Floyd, Slim Cessna’s Auto Club.

Brian: Beer Forums, Lifehacker, Gizmodo.

Hilary: I follow all kinds of mom-blogs now including Babble, Early Mama, and Design Mom. Also, Young House Love is a favorite. When I’m not reading those blogs, I’m getting inspired on Pinterest, shopping on Amazon, getting updates on facebook, or researching some new baby or crafty thing (most recently, I spent a lot of time researching photo book sites).

Doing in my spare time
Hilary: Usually, I’m sleeping, or taking and editing photos. I spend a lot of time discovering new methods of processing in Lightroom and playing with photos.

Brian: Being a Dad, Brewing beer, Yard work.

Brian: To ride more this summer and build a shed ramp.

Hilary: I’m planning a digital scrapbook for Jameson first year (have a lot of the “elements”, just have to start putting it together so I’m not doing it all at once in December!); also, I’m planning a picture frame wall in the entryway or up the stairs and have been collecting frames for that purpose; and I am going to make an Easter basket for Jameson for next year. Oh, and I’m also thinking about doing some sewing too like a table runner or pants for Jameson.

Hilary: I am dreaming of what our basement will look like all finished and what our yard will look like a few years down the road with some new perennial flowers. But that’s all dreams, I haven’t done any real planning yet for those.

Brian: Don’t remember.

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Everybody’s Working for the Weekend


This week went by fairly quickly though actually. Hopefully soon I’ll be able to share some fun news, I am crossing my fingers and toes.

Last Saturday, Jameson visited with his friend Jonathan again. Jonathan is getting so big; he’s also a very hungry little boy! He had 8 oz of formula/milk just while we visited that evening! Meanwhile, Jameson’s pretty casual about his eating (until he gets really hungry like at night). Oh, you would like to feed me now?  Okay, I’m game.

Lisa has to go back to work soon, and I know that’s rough, so we definitely wanted to have a fun night with them before their routine changes again. I think sometimes that’s the hardest part. Not really leaving them (because sometimes it’s nice to leave them, really), but it’s just changing up the routine.

And on Monday we finally got to visit with Carrie and Matt and Jameson’s new friend, Nicholas. Nicholas is 2 months old but very alert. Him and Jameson had a little staring contest, it was funny to see them so aware of each other.

This week was also exciting for Jameson; he got to go in the exersaucer at daycare! The exersaucer is the round toy-filled fun standing seat. It helps them practice putting weight on their legs while being surrounded by super fun toys. So Brian put together our exersaucer at home and put a blanket underneath because even at the lowest setting he wasn’t quite touching the ground. Jameson immediately started reaching for the toys. I have a couple photos to post soon.

I also want to share my new favorite site, Pinterest.com. It’s like a bookmark in that you save sites you visit, but it’s all about the images. So I have some new inspiration boards, particularly for our basement which will eventually finish off, and also for Jameson’s first birthday party (it’s never too soon!)

Tonight we’re seeing Jameson’s great Aunt Carol and cousins. It will be a fun visit! And tomorrow we’ll be doing our longest drive with him yet, to visit his great grandma and more aunts and cousins! It will be a fun filled Easter weekend for him, full of family and up to 6 month clothing (since I finally washed it all haha). And maybe he’ll sleep through the night again? He did last night! but not earlier this week, so maybe it’s wishful thinking.

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