Jack’s Labrador Themed First Birthday

Jack’s Labrador Themed First Birthday

This past weekend my baby turned one, and we hosted his first birthday party!

Jack's First Birthday

We chose a black lab theme party in honor of Jack’s ‘older brother,’ Tebow!

Jack's First Birthday

Planning for a birthday party – especially the first – can be a little stressful. I tried though to really enjoy the planning and to focus on providing good food and drinks, and creating a relaxing, laid-back time for our guests more so than making the party an over-the-top Pinterest-inspired event.

Jack's First Birthday

Now I did put some creative thought into the decorations and theme, and made sure there were a few special touches like Jack’s onesie and the highchair and fireplace banners, but for the most part I stuck with the basics and I think everything turned out perfect!

Jack's First Birthday

We were a little nervous that our house would be a bit tight to have everyone over, but honestly it was just as I had hoped. It was cozy, but everyone still had room to move and a place to sit to eat. The weather called for rain so we planned inside, but of course not a drop fell the entire party. I don’t think the tighter space seemed to bother anyone though as everyone was busy chatting away and catching up. Tim and I truly have some of the greatest friends and family!  My mom helped me so much with the food preparations and decorating, and we had guests drive more than two hours just to come celebrate our Jack’s birthday. It was such a reminder how blessed we are and how important family and friends are to our lives, and to our boys. He is so loved, and we were so thankful to witness the love toward him!

Jack's First Birthday

I actually made his ‘Smash Cake’ using yellow and chocolate cake batter, and I hand piped all of the blue and white droplets on his cake. (PS – coloring icing is hard! I tried to make a navy blue, but didn’t quite get there. I still think the blue turned out pretty! The suggestion for navy was six parts blue – three parts purple – two parts black. I kept adding, but never could get the navy just right!)

Jack's First BirthdayWe did basic navy streamers, tablecloths, and navy and white balloons, and then I added in paw print balloons to tie-in the lab theme and to match his paw print pants from Carter’s and the paw print fabric used in his banners.

Jack's First Birthday

His onesie I ordered from Etsy. The shop is called bebe boutiques and the owner was awesome to work with! I even got to choose the navy and white stripe fabric on the lab’s party hat! I loved how his onesie was personalized and tied everything together. I wanted him to have a special party-themed outfit to wear and to celebrate in and I couldn’t have been happier with the result!

Jack's First Birthday

They say that the first birthday party really is more for the parents, with I agree with except for the fact that Jack seemed to LOVE his party! He played and laughed and giggled and crawled the entire almost three hour party.

Jack's First Birthday

He helped rip the paper on his presents, he thought the cake smash was fun and yummy and I swear he would have ate the whole cake if we had let him, and he loved playing with his cousins and checking out all of the newborn baby guests who were there to celebrate too! I was really proud of him and was very happy the party was FUN for him! He played until his heart’s content and then crashed hard once everyone had left.

Jack's First Birthday

So here we are now into Jack’s second year! It was a whirlwind of a first year and my plan for year two is to truly savor each moment and to soak in his sweet spirit and inquisitive nature. Happy first birthday Jack! Looking forward to many, MANY more with you ahead my sweet boy!

Jack's First Birthday

Tomorrow My Baby Turns 1 …

Tomorrow My Baby Turns 1 …

I had no idea I would be this sentimental. The fact that Jack is turning one tomorrow has my head spinning! Where has the year gone? When did my 7 lb. 14 oz. baby turn into a little boy? How does my love for him grow stronger every day? Who is this boy that has stolen my heart?

The first year was a whirlwind! As my busy mind tries to sort through all that happened since Sept. 17 of last year,  I thought today I would share a few of my favorite posts from both pregnancy and motherhood so far. I have been reminiscing and reading my old posts, so I figured maybe you all would enjoy looking back at them as well. (Don’t forget too that you can read all of my Pregnancy and Motherhood posts in the Page Links at the top of the Homepage.)

Jack’s ‘big’ first party is tomorrow and Monday is his one year check-up, so I’m hoping to get a 12 month update post up sometime next week! Until then, here are some of my top posts for both pregnancy + motherhood:

pregnancy announcement

 

 

Tim and Jana

Janie and Jack

Babymoon to Jekyll Island

Baby Shower

Maternity Pictures

Birth Announcement

Jack's Birth Story

Jack's Newborn Pictures

Nursery

Post-Baby

Jack's First Christmas

For Those Who Love Blogs + Posts

For Those Who Love Blogs + Posts

I read this post a few weeks ago and as both a blogger and consumer, it pulled at my heart. Basically the post talks about how we are consumers of content on the internet and we want to see our favorite bloggers continue to share new posts and updates, but so often we scroll through these webpages and social media feeds without a single word, a single piece of encouragement for those who share their hearts and lives with us, and a lot of times for free or very little.

Social Media + Blogging

There have been plenty of times as a blogger that I literally want to scream HELLO! Is anybody out there?! I wonder if my posts are even being read. If the time and energy I put into the posts and my blog are even worth it? The truth is that I love blogging and have been doing so for almost five years. This little piece of the internet is my creative outlet. It’s where I’ve gone to document some of my very favorite moments. Even today I LOVE going back through my pregnancy posts and reading all of my weekly updates. It was such amazing therapy for me, and are such great memories to look back on.

However, unless you are a blogger, you may not realize how much time and effort really does go into posting. Not only are you dreaming up content, but then you have to create it! You have to sit down and write…and edit… and take pictures… and edit said pictures… and link… and research… and finally market your post by sharing on social media and via email. It is a LOT of work, so sometimes when I get very little conversation going or traffic linking back, I wonder if it’s all worth it. If I could get just as much out of it by keeping a personal diary than I do sharing so much of my life online.

Social Media + Blogging

But here is where it gets ironic, I too am a consumer of blogs! I follow bloggers and social media influencers and crave content from these spaces of the web, but very few times do I actually create conversation – do I actually ‘react’ to their posts. I find that I just scroll through my Instagram and Facebook feeds without acknowledging a single post. I make recipes I love and don’t share them on Pinterest. And I read blog posts, nodding my head yes the entire time and relating so well to the words on the screen, yet never once comment or share the post with a friend. Who am I to want that gratification from others when I am not willing to take the time to do so myself? Even with hundreds or thousands of followers, the internet can be a lonely place when you feel as if you are talking, but nobody is talking back. A one-way conversation is boring, and I don’t love feeling as if I am speaking at people and not with them.

So what have I learned, besides the fact that I need to follow the golden rule in a way, “treat others the way I would like to be treated?”

I am going to make it a point to engage with the bloggers who I follow. When I see a post I love, I am going to like it or comment on it. When I find a blogger whose feeds I love to follow, I am going to share her sites or usernames with my friends. I am going to share those posts I love on my own social media and encourage and support others the way I would like to be. Friends, it’s so important to remember that nothing in life is free, not even content on the internet. So many bloggers don’t make thousands of dollars a month from their posts, but the relationships they build and conversations they have with their readers and followers makes the hard work worth it. I know that I choose to share online so that I can relate to others, and so that we can find solace, encouragement and a peace by knowing we aren’t alone through life’s many ups-and-downs along the way.

Conversation Time.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this! If you are a consumer of words, do you feel as if you do a good job at conversing and encouraging the writers around you? Do you let these bloggers and writers know that you want them to keep going, and that you relate to the posts they share?

Apple, Walnut, and Feta Salad for Fall

Apple, Walnut, and Feta Salad for Fall

So I realized after creating the title for this post that it’s actually a bit misleading. It turns out that the following salad recipe isn’t just perfect for fall, but any time of the year. The combination of apple, walnuts and feta is seriously one of the best I’ve tasted. You get all the good stuff at once – salty, sweet, and some serious staying power and energy boosters from all the healthy fats.

Apple, Walnut and Feta Salad for Fall

I feel as if the walnuts tame the feta, and the citrus from the apple just freshens everything right up. I added avocado to my salad, because, well, I had it on hand. Turns out that avocado pretty much tastes delicious with everything. Oh, and the Cranberry Walnut & Gorgonzola Dressing from Trader Joe’s brings it all home.

Apple, Walnut and Feta Salad for Fall

I posted a Live Facebook Video on Wednesday explaining how I pack my salads for lunch ahead of time. Head over to Facebook and watch the video to see my tips! I packed my salad for Thursday during the video, and it tasted delicious yesterday!

P.S. – This salad would also make for an awesome dinner entree. Just add some grilled chicken for a little extra protein!

Apple, Walnut, and Feta Salad for Fall

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Ingredients (Makes Two)

4 cups leafy greens

2 cups shredded red cabbage

4 tbsp. feta cheese

1 small apple, diced

1/2 cup walnuts

1/2 avocado, diced

4 tbsp. Trader Joe’s Cranberry, Walnut & Gorgonzola Salad Dressing or dressing of choice

Directions

Place 2 cups greens into each of two bowls, followed by 1 cup cabbage, 2 tablespoons feta cheese, 1/2 small diced apple, 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/4 of an avocado. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons salad dressing. Enjoy!

Conversation Time.

  • What are your favorite salad toppings? Do you have a favorite for fall?
Palette of Threads Giveaway

Palette of Threads Giveaway

You guys – I am so excited about fall – cooler weather, football season, and fall fashion! I have a couple #mompreneurs to highlight in the next couple weeks, and if you like fashion, this is the place to be. One of my favorite things to do on this Blog and on my Social Media channels is to highlight moms who are busy raising a family, and making a living from a home-based business. It’s such a joy to meet these driven women!

My friend Jessica started Palette of Threads Mobile Boutique earlier this year, and her business has continued to grow and grow ever since. Palette of Threads is the first mobile clothing boutique in the north Dayton area, and since the beginning, Palette Of Threads has been literally popping up all over town!

I’ve bought a few things from Jess myself, including this open-back tank and the striped maxi-dress. I plan to carry both into the fall as well by layering a jean jacket or cardigan over the top.

Palette of Threads

Palette of Threads

Along with in-person retail sales, you can also buy Palette of Threads’ clothing through the company’s Facebook page. Jess posts pictures of the new clothing arrivals, and to purchase you simply comment SOLD with your email and size in the comments section of the picture, and then an invoice is sent to your inbox – it’s that easy!

Palette of Threads also hosts “Pop-up Parties” where you can invite friends, family and co-workers to shop, and in return as the hostess, you can earn free clothes! Jess has done parties all over Dayton – north and south – and has even gone as far east as Columbus. The pop-up parties make for such a fun girls night, and the parties have also been very well-received as a way for co-workers to bond and take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of the day. I know that teachers and school staff love a good pop-up party!

Today, I am teaming up with Palette of Threads to give away $25 toward a Palette purchase! (Palette of Threads clothing is extremely affordable – so $25 can go a good way!) Also, you don’t have to be local to enter as Palette of Threads’ Facebook page is an easy way to buy the clothes you want from anywhere!

To enter the giveaway:

  • Simply leave a comment below sharing what fall fashion you are most looking forward to wearing in the upcoming months!

For additional entries:

The giveaway will end Friday, Sept. 2 at midnight. Good luck!