1st Birthday Party for Baby Brother

 

We recently celebrated our youngest son’s first birthday, and had such a wonderful afternoon with family and close friends. I still can’t believe our baby just turned 1-year-old, where did the time go? A smiley and sweet little boy, G captured our hearts from the moment he arrived, and truly made our family complete. We love him more than words can describe! One my favorite parts of welcoming a second child into our family has been seeing the friendship form between C and G. They genuinely adore each other – albeit, even at this age they bicker 🙂 – and I’m so excited for the bond they will share. They will always be brothers, and I know they will always be great friends too.

I’d been dreaming about his first birthday party for months, as I knew it would be such a special time for our whole family. A time to honor the birthday boy, baby G, and a time to honor us, his parents, for making it through the first year – we did it! For any of you readers who have children, I’m sure you can relate to the exciting milestone that is the first birthday. While G won’t remember the party, it will be fun someday to show him pictures and share stories about the celebration.

On to the party details! Inspired by C’s first birthday, we held G’s party at our favorite neighborhood park, and kept it simple and sweet. Since G was born in the fall, we chose a “Our Little Pumpkin Is Turning 1 Theme”, and had the most adorable invitations created by our favorite paper designer, Lucy Murchison of Love Lucy Design. As always, she outdid herself with yet another charming and beautiful invitation filled with shadow pumpkins and a blue gingham background. As for decor, we covered the park’s picnic tables with powder blue table cloths and pumpkins of all sizes, and for a whimsical touch, tied blue gingham ribbons on the stem of each pumpkin. Blue and white balloon bouquets, pastel colored party hats, and orange and white striped napkins and plates added a fun pop of color to the tables. We also ordered a custom blue and white gingham “ONE” sign made for G’s high chair. At the party, children played on the park’s jungle gym and jumped in the bounce house, and guests enjoyed grilled hamburgers, chips and fruit skewers as well as vanilla birthday cake. Everyone took home a mini pumpkin too!

The party was a great success, and all of the guests had a fabulous time. As a hostess, I think there are always key learnings when you entertain, and this party was no exception. I learned yet again that while it’s so important to be organized and plan thoughtful details, it’s also important to relax and have fun. Ha, I’m still working on being a relaxed host! Maybe next year?!

Now that the boy’s birthday parties are behind us for the year, it’s on to the holidays. We’ll be hosting Thanksgiving this year, and we’re looking so forward to having our family in town. Keep an eye out for pictures of my tablescape on Instagram, and wishing everyone a great week ahead!

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

 

Like many families, we strive to eat healthy during the week and splurge with treats on the weekends. Of course I still whip up homemade meatballs and marinara sauce or lemon roasted chicken with croutons, however I always serve a mixed green salad and green vegetable on the side. Thankfully, both of the boys have been good eaters, enjoying grilled cheese sandwiches with sautéed spinach, smoothies, and fresh fruits. However, our preschooler recently decided that PB & raspberry jam sandwiches will suffice for all meals. Needless to say I’ve been plotting creative ways to add vegetables to his diet, and help reignite his love of healthy eating.

So how do I inspire said toddler to eat his veggies and healthy foods? I’ve noticed that he’s more likely to eat something if he’s prepared it himself, so I try to have him cook with me as much as possible, even if it’s a snack or something as simple as scrambled eggs. He loves to cook, so it’s such a fun activity for both of us. He helps measure, pour and mix the ingredients, and even cleans up after. Better yet, my brother surprised him with this kitchen helper, so he can safely stand at the counter and be my sous chef. If you don’t already have a kitchen helper, I highly recommend investing in one! It’s the perfect perch for little ones, and children can even use it at the sink to wash their hands. Not to mention the design is adorable with the cut-out shapes, and it folds up after each use or can be stored as is in a closet.

And so, I’m excited to share the recipe for one of our favorite baked goods that we make together – carrot zucchini muffins. Filled with nourishing carrots, zucchini, and almond flour, the muffins have a hint of sweetness from maple syrup and the warm flavor of cinnamon. They are incredibly delicious, and the perfect snack or accompaniment with lunch. I hope you’ll try them!

 

Carrot Zucchini Muffins

1 1/4 cup almond flour

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 12 muffin cups with paper liners. Next, sieve together the dry ingredients, and mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (oil, syrup, and egg). Add the dry ingredients and gently mix. Add in the grated carrot and grated zucchini and mix until just combined. Fill the muffin cups 3/4 full with the batter, and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

3rd Birthday Party

We recently celebrated our sweet son’s 3rd birthday, and what fun we had! I still can’t believe he’s 3 years old – time is going by so very fast! While I’ve always tried to cherish every minute of our boy’s childhoods, I’m finding myself holding on tighter than ever. These years are so precious and I am savoring every minute and every stage of life with them.

Back to the party! Since C is a summer birthday, we decided a pool party would be the perfect way to celebrate. What toddler doesn’t love to splash and swim on a hot summer day? C chose a construction theme, which is only fitting since he adores all things trucks, cranes and excavators. Once he had his heart set on the theme, it was off to the races with planning, and I found these darling invitations by our favorite stationery designer (we love Lucy!), which inspired the entire look of the party. Lucy designed adorable invites that combined C’s construction passion – cue the dump trucks! – with the charm of a third birthday.

We opted for simple and sweet party decor, featuring a bright and cheerful color scheme of yellow, red, blue and green. These Meri Meri plates and napkins stole my heart, and paired with the royal blue table clothes made for a swoon worthy toddler table setting. Multicolored confetti, party blowers, and shiny yellow construction party hats added festive bursts of color to the table, and a construction themed coloring activity and crayons kept the little ones busy post-swim. The kids nibbled on chicken fingers, waffle cut fries and fruit for lunch, as well as blue confetti birthday cake, and took home blue and green bubble wands  as party favors. As you can imagine, C enjoyed his party beyond words!

So what have I learned now that I’ve planned three birthday parties for our son? My biggest pieces of advice are to plan ahead and be organized, choose a theme that’s special to your child, offer an activity for the children, and of course delicious food and cake. At the end of the day, your child will love whatever party you host, be it a small family gathering or get together with their friends. Also, be sure to snap a handful of pictures to remember the day. And as always, have fun!

Next up is baby brother’s first birthday, and we’ll be celebrating with a “Our Little Pumpkin is Turing 1” theme. Stay tuned for all the details!