Juliet-23

Well…10 months later I am finally posting Juliet’s Dreamy, Clouds 2nd birthday party. So much has happened since this party and life got really busy (new job, a pregnancy, etc) and every time I thought about posting the party I got overwhelmed because of how long I knew it would take. So instead, this is going to be mostly a photo most, with some thoughts and details about her party.

I loved this party. It was dreamy and beautiful and white and light and totally my style but also borrowing from the sweetness that is my daughter. I knew this would be the last party that I can fully influence because after 2, I assumed (correctly) that Juliet would have her own opinions about what type of party she would want. And with 3 approaching soon, she definitely knows she wants a Peppa Pig party. And I’m happy to give her that and include all the special touches I would have had I chosen the theme myself.

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A couple weeks ago a few friends and I hosted a baby shower for our dear friend Emily. She is having a baby boy, due on New Years Day. We are all so excited to welcome her little one into the world.

Emily’s husband, Jesse, is at talented musician so we wanted to incorporate a subtle music theme throughout the shower. We kept the decor fairly light and focused on serving really great food, with small, special touches.

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I made the cupcake flags and they were extremely easy. I just googled vintage sheet music and printed out a couple images I found, then cut out flag shapes, and glued them to toothpicks. The whole thing cost about a dollar (I already had some stock paper) and about 30 minutes to assemble.

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We served simple cupcakes from Target bakery and delicious macarons from Whole Foods.

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The dessert set up along with her vintage music invite displayed in a frame (purchased the printable invitation file from Etsy).

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We had fall-inspired decor such as these berries. The candles were for each guest and once Emily is in labor we will send around a text-chain for Emily to send well-wishes and light their candles.

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Delicious anti-pasti skewers

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Two different types of salads. I can only remember one; it had avocado, grapefruit, toasted pine nuts and poppyseed dressing. Delicious. 

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The food set-up. The shower was hosted at 1pm, so we served appetizers, desserts, coffee, hot chocolate, sparkling water and a lavender-infused champagne cocktail.

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I provided two different kinds of toppings for crostini. This was the brushchetta (super easy, just cut up cherry tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, add a splash of balsamic vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt/pepper to taste).

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The second crostini topping was one of my favorites, parmesan artichoke.

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An assortment of macarons. These were devoured quickly. 

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I purchased pretty, fall flowers from Target and arranged them in multiple mason jars.

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The adorable momma-to-be

The events/parties I’ve been hosting lately are a bit more laid back then I’ve previously executed. And I’m ok with that. Now I enlist lots of help (or be sure to always co-host as opposed to doing it all by myself) and limit decor. This shower was still an incredible time spent with good friends and delicious food. It was all about focusing on the mom-to-be and her journey towards motherhood.

With that being said, Juliet’s birthday is coming up in a couple months and now that she’s old enough to choose her own theme (Peppa Pig!) I really want to make it special for her. I have a Pinterest board started and even though her birthday is still a ways away (mid-February) I am trying to get a few things started because I know time will be scarce once baby girl #2 is here in January.

I hope you are all enjoying the long Thanksgiving weekend!

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It’s no surprise that I love holiday baking and entertaining. Every year the women in my family gather together for a big cookie baking day and I inevitably host at least one, if not more, get-togethers at my place.

Last year Erik and I hosted a holiday appetizer party and it was so much fun. We had Thanksgiving-inspired foods like a mashed potato bar, cranberry cream cheese dip and green bean casserole quiche bites (so good!)

And as much as I love savory appetizers, when the holidays start to roll around there is nothing I love more than spending the day baking sweet treats. Now that Juliet is old enough she participates and while that makes everything a bit more messy and adventurous, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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It’s been 2 1/2 years since I had a newborn baby, but I remember well those early days, along with the things that helped make life easier during such a big life change. One aspect of having a newborn that I wasn’t expecting was the extreme anxiety I had pretty much Juliet’s entire first year. It might have been postpartum anxiety, and looking back on it now I realize I should have sought help for it. Definitely therapy of some kind. But I didn’t realize what was going on at the time and just powered through it. The anxiety wasn’t really debilitating and I had so much happiness and joy with being a momma for the first time. I really loved it. So the anxiety was something I thought came along with the territory. Only later did I realize that my anxiety was on the extreme side.

I never could have gotten through those first few months (or first couple years actually) without our video monitor. It helped ease my anxiety and while Erik wasn’t a fan of the glare of light coming from the video screen at night, it allowed me to get better sleep and prevented me from going into Juliet’s nursery to check on her every hour.

I know now that my case of anxiety was a bit extreme, but anxious or not, I think having the peace of mind to see your baby when she’s not in the same room of you is invaluable.

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I had the opportunity to receive and review this Motorola Video Baby Monitor, I’ve been using it for about a month now and am a huge fan. More details on the benefits of the monitor are below.

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Without a video monitor, you can find me peeking into Juliet’s room to check on her while she naps. This drives Erik crazy as he always worries that I will wake her up. When she was a baby, this was definitely the case, but she’s a much heavier sleeper now.

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Crystal clear viewing of your little one

 

newborn must haves use

I put together a list of items I think are must haves for the newborn phase. Of course, this is based on my experience and all babies are different so what worked for me may not work for you. But I have heard these products recommended by many new moms so there is a good chance you will find something on this list that resonates. All of these products would be great additions to your baby registry.

1. Not surprisingly, a video monitor is up there on my top must-haves for newborns. This Motorola Digital Baby Monitor has so many awesome benefits. I had a different brand baby video monitor for Juliet’s first year and a half and it was no where nearly as great as this Motorola. Plus it totally broke after just 18 months, which was a huge bummer.

This Motorola monitor provides super clear sight and sound of your little one. It has two-way communication and a full color LCD screen. Plus, you can remotely pan, tilt and zoom the camera. Another feature I love is the room temperature display to make sure it’s not too hot or cold in the baby’s room.

When our second baby girl is born in January we will be sure to get another camera, this monitor allows for up to 4 cameras and you can scan back and forth between rooms.

2. I love Bambino Land organic swaddling blankets. They are soft (and get softer when you wash) andsuper  versatile. We used them for swaddlers, stroller covers, nursing covers, etc. Juliet still uses them.

3. We are huge fans of Honest products in our house and have been using them since she was about 6 months old. Our favorites are the lotion and shampoo/body wash. You can get the products on their website and they are also carried at Target. We plan to use their diapers for baby #2.

4. The Rock n Play is also in our top must-haves. Juliet slept great in this for about 4 months. We didn’t get one until she was 4 weeks and that night she slept for almost 5 hours straight, which was the longest stint of sleep she’d had by at least a couple hours. We were hooked. The Rock n Play was also a great place for her to lounge when I was in the shower, cooking, etc.

5. I am a huge fan of baby wearing and wore Juliet until she was a little over two years old. The Moby Wrap is perfect for newborns as it allows for super close snuggly wearing. It was our go-to wrap until Juliet was about 5 months. The Moby takes a bit of practice to put on, I had a lactation consultant show me how to tie it and place Juliet in it and after that it was smooth sailing.

6. Pumping helped my milk come in when Juliet was born a bit early at 36 weeks. I pumped every single day for a little over a year. I can’t say I really enjoy pumping (who does?) but it helped me build a freezer stash which was nice. And this particular Medela Freestyle pump is awesome because it is battery chargeable, you don’t have to be plugged in to use it.

What products were your favorite in those early newborn months? Please comment and share.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

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I am attempting to enforce a new rule in our household of no TV until after dinner. This applies mostly to Juliet who loves running in the house after daycare and laying on the couch with her beloved Peppa Pig. Many days we let her because she has had a full day of activities at daycare with her friends and honestly, she likes to unwind much like Erik and I do when we walk in from work. But I hate that she sits in front of the TV for an hour or more.

So I’ve been trying to plan activities every evening when we walk in the door from work/daycare. Ideas I’ve come up with so far include:

– Painting on her easel while I cook dinner
– Helping momma with dinner
– Playing in her playroom including her favorite activities; tea party, puzzles, letters (on her alphabet mat)
– Calling Grandma on FaceTime
– Playing outside on her playset or jumping in leaves (we will not be able to do this much longer)
–  Baking

We baked these pumpkin gingersnap cookies as one of our “no TV” activities last week. The other day Erik and I agreed that this stander/Learning Tower was one of the best things we ever bought for Juliet. She uses it multiple times a day (she loves to eat breakfast in it and it allows her to be counter height to help cook and bake with me). It isn’t cheap, but over years of use is so worth it. It’s pretty big though, so you should have a fairly decent sized kitchen for it.

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I made this carrot cake a couple Sundays ago for one of our Soup Sunday meals and for my mom, who was celebrating her birthday. Carrot cake is one of her favorite desserts. I had ambitions to make this into a beautiful two layer cake to display nicely on a cake stand…but I went the easy route instead and poured the batter into a pyrex and avoided the task of building and frosting a cake. The original recipe calls for this to be a sheet cake anyway and it. was. so good.

Quite possibly one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. Hands down best carrot cake I’ve ever made (and eaten!). 

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