Thursday, November 15, 2012

Creative Pregnancy Announcements!

As social media continues to grow and become the new American past time, it is becoming increasingly more common to see special announcements in picture form for all sorts of life events; one of the most common I've been seeing lately are pregnancy announcements. Pregnancy announcements run the gamut from simple: a status update, to the very elaborate: professional photography sessions.

Wait. . .  quick backtrack here: I'm pregnant! 34 weeks today actually so I figured I'd better get some pregnancy related material on here while it is still relevant. 

Back to announcements; I never did anything fancy for my first 2 pregnancies. With my first in 2008, I simple started posting some photos of me with my belly in them at some point, and people got the hint from that. With my second in 2010, I the picture route with the "I'm going to be a big brother" shirt, definitely nothing fancy. Not this time though, I was fully ready to jump on the elaborate announcement bandwagon! 

There are so many adorable ideas out there, it took me a long time to really come up with something I liked. There are definitely some popular ideas that I really like such as the shoe lineup:
I have seen a few friends use this one and I think it is adorable, not to mention nice and simple since there are no wiggly children to pose!

The other one I really liked that has been gaining popularity are the math related ones:
From: The Road to Hope blog 
That last one is a personal friend of mine and the best part about it is she was a math teacher so it just fit so well.

I wanted something to fit perfectly for me too, but as the weeks started to fly by, I was still at a complete loss. Then I saw the perfect inspiration from one of the many photography blogs that I follow on Facebook. The sad part is that I don't have the link saved, nor do I even remember who the photographer was to go searching for it. It was an outdoor scene with 2 kids at a fancy party table with a caption stating they were celebrating the fact that they were getting a new sibling. I hadn't seen anything like it at that point which was refreshing. 

I figured I could do my own spin on it. Logistically it was a pain because I was on a tight budget, but I wanted the adorable table setting in an outdoor setting. I have loved several photo shoots in the past that incorporated tea parties so I decided to do a tea party picnic. I didn't want the pregnancy announcement part to too subtle, so I figured a 3rd place setting with a "reserved for baby brother" sign would cover that pretty well. I hit up a local junk/thrift store, and for less than $40 I came up with a picnic basket, and a bunch of fancy looking china for a 3 person tea party. The trick to keeping it inexpensive was to buy mismatched items which of course sell for a fraction of full sets. I don't think any 2 items matched, but it worked so well.
My mom made the dress for my daughter, and the only item I had to buy for my son was the hat so that was all very inexpensive. The photography was done by my lovely sister who is an amateur, but has a pretty good grasp on things already. We did the shoot right before sunset so that the lighting would be perfect, and I think it turned out pretty darn cute!
It was a big hit amongst friends, though at 28 weeks pregnant, most already knew. It was still a cute announcement, and I may just have a canvas printed to preserve this special time.

Here are a few more ideas for those currently brianstorming:

This kind has gotten some crap from joke blogs, but I find it hilarious:

Last one:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Trolling the Web for Toddler Fashions!

First of all, yes I still plan to keep up this blog. I realize I haven't posted in FOREVER, but ruts happen (and unhappen hopefully) so here I am!

I love this blog for collecting my ideas, and that is what brought me back really. I am hoping to get our annual family photos taken soonish, so I have been brainstorming ideas.

Last year's photos were bright, sunny, and in the middle of beautiful mother nature. I decided that I want a contrasting look this year with something more structured and urban. I haven't completely decided on a location yet, though I really should work on that. I also want a fall vibe versus a summer one. I'm thinking layers, jackets, boots, scarves, etc.

Here is one of my favorite inspiration photos for the style I want for the kids:
I hate putting up photos without giving credit to the original source, 
but unfortunately, I haven't had any luck finding it.

I wish I had a boy equivalent to get inspired from, but I'm thinking cargo or wool jacket over a cute printed button up and faded pants. Not sure if a newsboy hat would be over the top or not, but I'll have to consider it!

I want the looks to be a mix of preppy, fashionista, military, utilitarian, vintage, and romantic all in one. That's a tall order considering I have some opposites in that list, but I sure am going to try!

-Some boy outfit ideas after a little bit of surfing about-

Jersey Duffel in Navy by Boden USA - $38.00

Jacket in Black (I prefer the Navy) by H&M - $49.95

Secret Wash shirt in Gingham Hyacinth by Crewcuts - $39.50

Plaid Double Pocket Shirt by 77Kids - $22.95

Stripe Cotton Cardigan in Brocade Blue by Crewcuts - $52.50

Cardigan in Green by H&M - $14.95 BARGAIN BUY!

Sweater Vest in Brilliant Blue by GAP - $26.95

Slim Jeans in Light Denim Blue by H&M - $14.95 BARGAIN BUY!

Destroyed Bootcut jean in Light Wash by 77Kids - $34.95

Palladium Kids Pallabrouse boot in Dark Khaki/Putty or Metal/Black - $45.00
I can't decide which color I like best!
Railroad Stripe Newsboy Cap by GAP - $7.99 (sale price)

-and some girly stuff-

Hooded Cape by Zara (low on sizes - sad face)- $17.99 BARGAIN BUY!

Pintucked Ruffle Dress in Portal Purple by Old Navy - $16.94 

Structured Bermuda Shorts in White by Zara - $9.99 (sale price) BARGAIN BUY!

One of my favorite little girl clothes brand is The Measure Designs. They sell adorable handmade vintage inspired little girl clothes that are to die for! I bet my mom could duplicate a lot of the fashions herself, I just need to find the right fabrics. Here are 3 pictures showing off the clothing:
Their FB page is great too!

Minnetonka Moccasin 3 Layer Fringe Boot in Hot Pink Suede - $65.00
doubt that's in the budget though :(.

Ukala by EMU Taj Hi in Charcoal - $28.97 (sale price down from $59.00!) BARGAIN BUY!
Errrm. . . I might have ordered that one on the spot.

I would have loved an Ugg Bailey Button Triplet boot. . . but for over $150 less, it wasn't much of a decision:

That's enough online shopping for now. Hubby has now watched me "look at kid clothes" online for a couple of hours and thinks I'm crazy enough as it is. Who knows what I come up with after hitting the brick and mortar stores. At least I have some awesome inspo for now!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Fun Kid Questionnaire

Have you seen the kid questionnaires that have been circling the internet? I remember bookmarking one on my phone a year ago, but then I forgot about it after accidentally deleting the bookmarks. Basically, it is a list of simple questions that you ask your young child each year to see how the answers develop as they get older. It is pretty good for a laugh, and a cute memory to look back on.
Little Dude is in childcare for 2 hours every Tuesday while Baby Boo has her early childhood education toddler class with me. They always do some kind of art activity and today they painted Mother's Day cards. On the inside, the teacher filled out a questionnaire with them about mom.

A couple of the moms with kids in the childcare compared cards and they were so fun to read through. Here are little Dude's answers:
  • Q1 - How do you show your mom that you love her?
  • A1 - I give her hugs and kisses. (Awe)
  • Q2 - What is mom's favorite food?
  • A2 - Bananas
  • Q3 - What does mom like to do for fun?
  • A3 - Cook nummy food for me
  • Q4 - How old is mom?
  • A4 - 49. . . Oh wait, no she is 99 ((sigh))
  • Q5 - How did mom and dad meet for the first time?
  • A5 - I don't know (I think this concept is a little over his head still)
  • Q6 - What is something that mom loves?
  • A6 - Apples, bananas, and boys. . . like daddy! (LOL)
  • Q7 - What makes mom laugh?
  • A7 - My face!
  • Q8 - What makes mom mad?
  • A8 - I don't know, I'm playing right now.
There were a few more questions on the card, but the answers all turned into "I don't know, I'm playing now" after that. I guess he got tired of that game. The other 2 moms that I compared cards with had rather flattering answers for the age question (18 and 22), so we all laughed at my 99. I was also unaware of my apparent love for bananas!

This sounds like a fun little tradition to start for each Mother's Day. I might add some more questions for next year. Baby Boo is only 1.5, so I think I'll start hers next year. I highly suggest all you parents of toddlers try it out too, it really is a hoot!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Construction Party Cake & Decor

As we all know, Little Dude's 3rd birthday party theme was a construction theme!

    . . . If you don't know this, you might want to start at the beginning of this series here are the links:

We had a sandbox with toy construction vehicles as an activity that fit with the theme. The decor and cake tied in the rest. The overall colors used were yellow, orange, and black. I bought a 1000' roll of caution tape off of Amazon. The tape worked great all over instead of paper streamer. 

The biggest time hog was the cake:
I made it using 3 cakes baked in a 10" square pan. I cute the corners on the squares to make them kind of rounded, then cut up the top layer to make it look like uneven terrain from a work zone. The layers were separated by chocolate buttercream frosting. Both the cake and frosting recipes came from the Joy of Baking website:

Once the cake was assembled, I used more chocolate buttercream to cover the surface of the cake that would have "dirt" on it. Then I crushed a bunch of chocolate teddy grahams and sprinkled that all over the chocolate buttercream to create a dirt-like texture. It looked pretty cool. Then I filled in the rest of the cake using a white chocolate buttercream frosting (recipe from Food & Wine). I added some green food coloring and used a grass tip to create the grass. I considered using toy trucks on top, but opted for gum paste trucks since I could make those several days ahead of time anyway.

Next up was a banner. I figured that I had a ton of colored cardstock laying around so I should try use some up. Lots of freehand cutting later, I had a cute handmade banner:
The lower piece was not initially all crooked like that, but we closed the window in order to light the candles so it was left a little wonky. 

Remember these mason jar utensil holder project from the last birthday party?
I ripped off the old ribbon and paper, then did a little spray paint action:
Once they were painted I added some new embellishments and had some construction themed utensil holders. Yay for recycling!
Speaking of recycling. . . The cups and plates were all non-disposable. I bought them from Walmart for 4/$1. It was obviously more expensive than disposable, but I like that they will be reused many times. We even let people use permanent markers on the cups since a little rubbing alcohol cleaned it right off after the party.

The plate holder in the photo above was a $2 metal basket Goodwill find. I gave it the same spray paint treatment as the mason jars and it fit right in. Here it is before I did anything to it:

Another part of the main table display was the adult beverage. For Baby Boo's party I made a white wine drink for the adults, and it disappeared fast. I figured I would do it again for this one, only I made 2 batches this time and we still almost ran out.
Ingredients for 1 batch: 1 magnum bottle of wine, 1 bottle of Sprite, 1/2 gallon of Tropicana OJ, 1 can of peaches, 2 apples (chopped), and 2 oranges (chopped). Mix everything together and let it all soak a few hours prior to serving. 

Unfortunately, I don't have many photos of the outside decor, but it was pretty limited. We had two 8' tables with lots of chairs for people to sit outside. They both had black table clothes and caution tape wrapped around them.

Cheap plastic hard hats purchased off of Amazon were fun party hats for the little kids. . . and some big "kids":
My brother

I think that about covers it in terms of decor and such. I had planned on doing cute party favors and tool shaped sugar cookies too, but time (and organization) ran out. They didn't happen, but it really didn't matter in the end. I had enough going on that day as it was. Thank goodness they only get 1 birthday per year!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Make Your Own Pizza Party!

The last several parties I have thrown included a large budget for food. At Baby Boo's first party we even served steak kabobs! They were delicious, but I wanted to do something a little less expensive this time around that would still be a crowd pleaser. A friend of mine suggested we do a make-your-own-pizza party. I have been to one of these before for adults, but I hadn't even considered it for a kiddy party. I instantly loved the idea for several reasons:
  • Pizza is pretty universally liked (and vegetarian friendly)
  • It is totally customizable
  • It is relatively inexpensive
  • It is a fun activity for the kids in lieu of official party games
I used the same method for the party that I almost always use for homemade pizza, Chef Boyardee pizza kits:
The kit comes with a dough mix, pizza sauce, and powdered Parmesan cheese. 1 box is supposed to be enough for 2 pizzas, but I find that there is way too much pizza sauce and parmesan cheese relative to the dough. When making the crusts, I throw both dough mix packs into a bowl and combine them with 2 cups of whole wheat flour, as well as a 1/2 cup of ground flax seed. This way, there is a better ratio of sauce/cheese to dough, and I healthify the dough with the additions. I use roughly 2 cups of water with the new dough mixture and add more flour if it is too sticky. I found that 1 pizza kit yielded about 8 personal sized pizza crusts.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Construction Birthday Party

Over a week ago now, my Little Dude had his 3rd birthday party.
I procrastinated too much on a few things, but overall, it was a pretty awesome party.

I originally was thinking of a Bob the Builder themed party, but ended up generalizing it to a construction type party.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Too Funny Tuesday

I didn't want to wait for a Friday Funny so I figured I would make up a new (not quite) alliteration. Sorry it has been nothing but crickets around here lately. Between a couple of projects, Little Dude's upcoming birthday party, and some unseasonably gorgeous weather, blogging has been taking a bit of a back seat. I will eventually catch up though. . . (maybe!)

The funnies don't stop when I'm busy though, they just don't always get written down and immortalized in blog form. Here's a real simple one from the other day when I was having some knee issues: I sat down and complained to the hubs that my knee had locked up. Little Dude overheard, came running and said, "Oh no mommy, should we find a key?"

It always makes me laugh when kids don't quite get a figure of speech, yet try to use it anyway. My kids sometimes get confused by the singular versus plural forms of words. For example, Little Dude used to exclaim "Yike" instead of "Yikes" when he first started talking. He hasn't done that for over a year, but recently Hailey brought me back by starting up with "Oop" whenever something drops (accidentally or otherwise). Little Dude really took the cake today though. He tripped over something on the floor and in his frustration he yelled out, "Oh craps!"
        *Not my proudest mommy moment since I'm pretty sure I know where he got that from. . . 
I'm working on it.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Half Birthday Fun

My precious and amazing little Baby Boo is officially 18 months old! I can't believe how quickly the time has flown. It doesn't cease to amaze me how quickly a baby can go from a completely helpless little bump on a log to an autonomous little person brimming with personality.
Cuddly teething baby