Valentine’s Day Prep

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“Oh the Places You’ll Go” Birthday Party

One of my favorite parties to date is the Dr.Suess “Oh the Places You’ll Go” birthday party I planned for my son Jake’s 1st birthday.  I had so many different themes I wanted to use, but I ended up going with Dr.Suess because I loved all the bright colors and fun rhymes.  Now I realize that the first birthday party is pretty much for the parents, but I think a party is always in order because every parent deserves a celebration after making it through their first year of parenting!  We invited close family and friends and had an afternoon filled with fun, food and cake/cupcakes.  I kept the food pretty simple; we served mini ham & cheese sandwiches, “Hop on Pop” popcorn, “one fish two fish” swedish fish, pretzels, GoGo Squeeze applesauce and cupcakes.  For first birthday parties I love doing a “first years banner” including one picture from each month (12 pictures total).  It’s such a fun thing for your guests to look at and its a neat keepsake to put in your baby book!

ImageThe primary colors used were red and blue, with accents of green and lots of stripes and polka dots.  We used balloons and streamers throughout the house and placed Dr.Suess books throughout the house on display.  All of the food, drinks and cupcakes were gone by the end of the party and the kids had a wonderful time running all around the house!

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All of the cupcake toppers, water bottle labels and decorations were done by Splendid Celebrations. 

ImageOne of my favorite details from this party was Dr.Suess’ “The Birthday Book”.  When people arrived at the party, there was a poem asking them to sign Jake’s book and it will serve as a keepsake for many years to come of our dear friends and family that helped him celebrate his first year of life.  When you do this though, make sure to have several of the same type/color of pen so that its the same throughout the book; and preferably, use a non-gel pen as they tend to smudge when people rub against them!

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As people left the party, the kids were given goodie buckets with bath/pool toys, silly straws, bubbles, chalk, and a bag of snacks (puffs, goldfish, crackers) and the adults were given a bag of whoopie pies.  This is always an extra step to provide your guests, but I always think its a nice idea to give a little token of appreciation for the people who are sharing in your life experiences!  ImageSo while your baby may have no idea what is going on during their first birthday party, I know I will have fun showing them pictures from their birthdays earlier in their lives.  Everyone loves a party, especially when it involves a baby smashing a cake!  I hope everyone is having a good week and getting excited for Thanksgiving next week!!!! Make sure to get out to get your turkey sooner rather than later. 

Vend Raleigh Holiday Event

With the holidays quickly approaching, what better way to get started early than to attend the Vend Raleigh Holiday Sip and Shop on Friday, November 17th from 6-9:30pm.  It is being held at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex; more details can be found on the website: http://vendraleighsipandshop.weebly.com/

Make sure to check out the sponsors (support local!) and get a good start to your holiday shopping with your girlfriends!  Keep a look out for some Splendid Celebrations swag if you attend!

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone!!!!! I hope everyone has had a nice week; its hard to believe we are only two weeks away from Halloween.  This weekend we are in full fall mode: pumpkin picking, hay rides, applesauce-making and house decorating.  I think its time to break out the fall clothes and put away summer!

This past week I discovered an amazing new location for parties around the area, Giggles:  http://gigglesdaycareinc.com/index.html .  It’s a drop-in childcare center, but they also host private parties on Sundays.  The prices are on their website and they have an amazing facility for kids and their families, not to mention the wonderful and accommodating owners.  I already can’t wait to use them for our next birthday party.

Tomorrow morning I’m taking my boys to the NC State Farmers Market to pick up apples for our homemade applesauce.  It’s a long-standing family tradition every fall to make several batches of applesauce for the holidays and to freeze for the winter months.  There are a couple different ways to make it, but one of the simplest ways is to throw it all in the crockpot.  I like to use a mixture of apples from the market, and if they are good apples all you’ll need to add is some cinnamon and brown sugar.  And feel free to use any leftover apples for apple crisp or pie!  Here’s a recipe to get you started: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/10/crock-pot-applesauce.html

Enjoy your weekend, time with the family, and fall/holiday prep.  Don’t lose sight of what this time of year is about……making memories with those around you.  And speaking of memories, if you’re headed out to the State Fair be careful and go early to beat the traffic!

Baptism Prep and Party Planning

It’s hard to believe our littlest guy is already 2 1/2 months old; this week is his first week in daycare (my first week back at work) and we’ve all adjusted pretty well so far!  Jake definitely loves bringing Tyler to school with him in the mornings, and I know I get so excited to see them both at the end of the day.  Next month we are having Tyler baptized; baptisms are a big deal in our family so we are looking forward to having the family together and celebrating Tyler’s first “party” of sorts. 

When planning the baptism I knew I did not want to have to cook and clean my house prior to having family in town, so I began the search for a place to have about 20 people for Sunday brunch without having to spend a fortune.  Most places require a deposit or a food/beverage minimum and we just wanted to keep things simple.  We decided on Relish ( http://www.relishraleigh.com/ ) and I met with the owner this week to pick out our menu!  They have a separate area in the restaurant for parties and large groups and they will customize the menu however you would like.  If you want the area to be completely private for your party, there is a $200 minimum, but if you’re having at least 15 people that should not be a problem.  No deposits, personalized menu, helpful employees and great food = perfect party venue!

I’m so looking forward to having our family together for this special occasion, and I’m excited to try out a new restaurant that doubles as a potential venue for parties/get-togethers/events.  Make sure to check out Relish for lunch, dinner or Sunday brunch!  They also sell salsa from my favorite store at the NC State Farmer’s market : http://www.yahsbest.com/

 

Free Smash Cake

This will be a short post as I am getting everything ready for my first day back to work after 10 weeks of maternity leave!  It’s hard to believe the time has gone by so fast, but I am looking forward to getting in the swing of things back at work, and I know Jake will keep a good eye out on Tyler during the school day.  I have kept up with parties during my maternity leave, but I have not done much for my other job as a clinical research coordinator at Duke Medical Center, so I’m sure I’ll need a couple days to regroup and get back to “work normal”.

I came across this picture from Jake’s 1st birthday party over the weekend.  I didn’t know at the time of Jake’s birthday, but have since found out that Harris Teeter provides a free smash cake for your child’s first birthday.  This is such a great deal, especially considering all your child is going to do is destroy it!  You will need to provide them two weeks notice (atleast), and depending on the location (all that I’ve used have been wonderful) they will create a cake for your theme.  If you already have a baker or want to create a masterpiece yourself, atleast use the free cake for a fun family dessert for the child’s first birthday.  Who doesn’t love free cake?!

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Fun daily bargain site

Fun daily bargain site

If you’re anything like me, you get a ton of emails daily from an assortment of daily deal sites ranging from clothing to kids gear to travel/hotels.  Groop Dealz is by far one of my favorite daily deal sites that reminds me alot of etsy; unique clothing, jewelry, housewares, and most importantly unique party supplies.  I have found great bridesmaid gifts, party favors and party decorations on this site and have been very happy with everything I’ve received.  If you don’t have a party coming up that you need anything for, its also a great place to start your Christmas shopping!  Have fun shopping!