Our Little LION’s First Birthday Party

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I wanted to drop in for a minute and share Sprout’s first birthday party. Our little lion is loved by so many and it was such a joy to celebrate his first year with family. As I mentioned a few weeks ago I saw a precious smash cake for another little lion’s first birthday and just rolled with it. The party was at 3:30 so we served light snacks and cupcakes. We had the party at a park so the big kids could play & Sprout could spend time on a swing (his favorite). It was quite a WINDY day so a lot of things were blowing around but we manged to batten down the hatches and have a fun party to celebrate Sprout! 

Here is a little slideshow :)

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Here is the tutorial that inspired Sprout’s smash cake. It’s impressive and above my pay grade. So I had a little help to make my lion cake come together…check out the diagram below to see how this little cake came together. 

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So how did you celebrate your little one’s first party?? 

DIY Chalkboard Menu from a Picture Frame

This sponsored post is written by me, on behalf of the Meredith Corporation. Thoughts and opinions are, as always, all mine!

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It has been just over a year since we moved into our house! So much has happened (like adding Sprout to our family) and lots of renovations have been done. One of the biggest projects was in the kitchen. When we moved in it was VERY white with a lovely flowery tile backsplash. However, now with a little hard work and a little love, it became the kitchen of my Pinterest dreams.

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It only needed a little artwork on the walls. Luckily, Martha Stewart Living was there for me & my walls. They challenged me to Make It Better. They actually challenged me to make my entire Spring routine better & they sent me a fun goody box to help out!

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Do you see all these goodies???  Wouldn’t getting this box make your day better! So during Sprout’s nap time Chickadee and I got to work. First, I took apart the picture frame & decided to paint the solid backing with Martha Stewart’s Chalkboard Paint.

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I used a roller to get a smooth surface. As the directions stated I let the first coat dry for an hour & then the second coat dry for 24 hours. Next came the liquid chalk. This is by far the coolest craft product I’ve seen in a long time! The chalk is in the bottle & it’s topped with a cool foam ball which soaks up the paint.

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Using a silkscreen I sponged “Menu” onto the top of my freshly painted chalkboard.

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I then used a brush to add the days of the week. The cool thing about this liquid chalk is the although it goes on and seems like paint, it will wipe right off with a wet sponge. How cool is that!! It came in very handy as I smudged several letters the first time. I then added this week’s menu which I know III will appreciate since I get a phone call most afternoons from my hungry husband who is looking forward to dinner & curious what we will be having. This was such a fun and easy project, and adding to the walls in the kitchen definitely make it look even better!

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Now, let’s recap what is in the box! 

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CRAFT IT.

Martha gave me everything I needed to turn a picture frame into a menu chalkboard for my kitchen. My walls thank you!  

TRY IT.
I wear very little make up as a stay at home mom, but with Maybelline’s SuperStay ® 24 hour 2-Step Lipcolor I feel ready for Spring. High color impact on one end and moisturizing balm on the other end to seal in moisture and keep lips comfortable all day.  

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MAKE IT.

Chickadee’s FAVORITE food is grilled cheese. But this spring I plan to makeover the classic grilled cheese. And enter The Grilled Cheese Recipe Showdow® . Enter your best grilled cheese recipe using Wisconsin cheese for a chance to win $15,000. Hurry, contest ends May 15. Enter at www.GrilledCheeseAcademy.com.

ENJOY IT.

Now that I am not pregnant or nursing (it’s been my life for 3+ years straight! I am going too need to watch my sweet tooth/calories! Weight Watchers sent this Salted Caramel Brownie Bliss® as just the right time! Made with real caramel, it’s a decadent sweet and salty experience that you have to taste to believe. 

Tasting Is Believing Challenge

Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods is bringing back its Tasting Is Believing Challenge, allowing you to purchase a tasty treat from the Weight Watchers Sweet Baked Goods line and if you don’t love it, you’ll get your money back.  Join the Tasting Is Believing Challenge from April 1 to June 15, 2016.

So how will you make Spring even better? Spice up your kitchen? your beauty routine? or your recipes? 

Happy First Birthday Sprout!

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I feel like I blinked and you turned ONE. Just yesterday we were holding you with the feeding tube coming out of your nose and the monitors attached, crying as I left the hospital and you needed to stay a few more days…and now folks look at that round little belly and big grin and would never believe you entered this world 5 1/2 weeks before we had planned. You are PURE JOY little man. Such a people person and you love your mama, daddy & big sister fiercely. We love you so much and know without a doubt that you came into our life in God’s perfect timing. What a gift you are. Watching you grow, learn, play, and just be has been wonderful. We continue to pray over you and ask that God use you to move mountains for him. We know that He has BIG things planned for you Sprout and we anxiously await the day that you root Jesus deep into your heart & begin to follow the path he has set out for you.

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It’s amazing how much you have grown and changed over the past month. You definitely got the memo that you were turning one. My favorite are the open mouth kisses you love to plant on our cheeks (I won’t mention that sometimes they turn into bites…we will work on that!). You crawl toward us with such determination and squeal in pure elation. It is priceless. You are cruising all over the place and standing for a few seconds as you go from one piece of furniture to the next. You are also getting a lot of practice n the walker. I am hoping you start standing/walking soon & praying that means you will be less interested in eating the mulch when we are playing outside! You are making all kinds of squeals, sighs, and sounds but not really saying any words consistently, yet. All in good time, little one. You mastered clapping and wave bye bye most of the time. 

We started supplementing a little formula in with your nighttime bottle and it has made a huge difference in your nighttime sleep. About two weeks before your birthday we started moving your bottle closer and closer to dinner time and you make the transition beautifully. Good work! We also transitioned from nursing 2x a day to 1x and then by the beginning of April you had weaned completely. You began drinking whole milk in a sippy cup around this time and after 2-3 weeks you mastered the straw cup and whole milk was a hit. By April 5th you were weaned off bottles, breastmilk, & formula. Only whole milk and water in a sippy cup from here on out buddy. You continue to be an awesome eater, and eat the same as the rest of us for all your meals! Meats are always a hit & you’ve even started coming around on eggs and avocados. Steamed carrots and sweet potatoes are probably your favorite though.

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 You love playing with your sister, but you are also super content crawling around doing your own thing. You love looking through books and throwing/rolling the ball back and forth. You conquered going down the slide and squeal super loud when you get to swing. You napping has been quite the downfall this month, but I am praying it is a season and that one day you will see the beauty of enjoying a little rest. 

We celebrated your first birthday in Oneonta with family. It was a LION theme and you enjoyed the first half of the party…unfortunately you spiked a fever near the end, and once we knew you were okay I took it as just a little more snuggle time with my baby before he becomes a toddler. We love you soooo much little man and can’t wait to see what God has in store for you this next year!

7 Tips for Keeping Toddlers Entertained in the Car

*Disclosure: The post is sponsored by XFINITY, but opinions as always are all my own! I am thankful to work with companies that provide my family with a little extra spending money and for readers like you who come and see what I have to say. 

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Living in a different state than all of our family means we spend a lot of time in the car. We are lucky that everyone makes the extra effort to travel to us often, but we still spend hours in the car when we head their way. Since we now travel with a one and two year old I wanted to share a few things we do to make the ride a little more enjoyable for everyone!

1. Pack an entertainment bag/box Each of the kids have soft, round Easter baskets. They also make perfect car bags! Before we go on a trip I let Chickadee fill her basket up with all kinds of goodies. She usually chooses several board books, her baby doll, and her Melissa & Doug Water Wow coloring pads (these are amazing & you can find them here (affiliate link)). For Sprout I will also put in a few board books, as well as some squeaky toys, and teething rings.

2. Play music The kids love listening to “their music” in the car. Chickadee will even request a CD change when she hears “daddy’s song.” Their favorite CD is from the music class we attended. The class was pricey, but they sent us home with a CD & it’s amazing. The second we hit play the kids settle down…makes writing the check worth every penny. We also listen to kid’s worship songs & a lot of “Let It Go” Make sure and learn how your stereo system works, it’s nice to turn the music to play in the back of the car!

3. Snacks I try to hold out on snacks as long as I can. However, in my opinion snacks almost always end up being a must! Make sure your child is capable of eating the snack you choose to give them with limited supervision since you will probably be up front. If you are uncomfortable giving a snack in the car you can wait until you make a pit stop or have an adult sit in the back with them. We use the snack catcher snack cups that have the soft flaps on the lid that the kids can push their hands through to retrieve whatever it is I have packed for them. They also always have water cups!

4. Car Games We often play games in the car with Chickadee to keep her occupied, and Sprout tends to enjoy listening to the conversation that comes along with a game. Eye Spy is a favorite. She also likes looking for different color or types of cars. Animal Sounds are always fun. We will take turns making them and letting Chickadee guess which animal sound we are making.

5. Stop If you can stop along the way. One idea is to pack the meal you will be eating on the road. YOu can then stop at a playground or rest stop to eat a picnic meal and let the kids run around and burn off their energy. If you aren’t sure about a park/playground stopping at a restaurant with an indoor playground is another great options!

6. Sleep This one is tricky, so you need to know your kid’s sleep habits. For us it took some trial and error. Our kids usually like conditions “just so” to sleep. Chickadee & Sprout are rarely a car sleeper and has to be an hour or two past her nap to even have a shot at falling asleep in the car. We have found they actually do better if they are well rested. So leaving in the morning or right after a nap we have found usually works best for us. If your kids are good car sleepers, I’m jealous!

7. Show/Movies With technology the way it is these days, allowing your children to watch their favorite show or movie in the car is now an option. You can bring DVDs and use a portable DVD player or if you are an XFINITY subscriber start counting your lucky stars! XFINITY has you covered, thanks to X1 DVR! With X1 DVR, you can watch your recorded shows from anywhere – Google Fiber can’t offer that kind of flexibility. With X1 DVR, you can take your kid’s favorite recordings on the go to enjoy anywhere. Download shows and movies to keep the kids entertained for part of your next trip. The cloud technology from X1 allows for 500 GB of storage, meaning you’ve got tons of shows you can load up. For Chickadee I would definitely make sure I had plenty of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood and Curious George loaded up! I wouldn’t be able to do this with Google Fiber.

Do you have any other tips for road tripping it with toddlers? My last piece of advice would to be to not give everything out too soon!! Our little ones will go at least 30-45 minutes just looking out the window and making each other laugh. Save all of your goodies until you need them! Happy Travels!

Guy’s Birthday Gift Idea

III, sometimes, is hard to shop for when it comes to his birthday, Christmas, anniversary, etc. He usually asks for things like shirts or newspaper subscriptions. While I am sure they make his eyes light up, they just aren’t any fun to shop for. So this year in addition to a lovely button down dress shirt I added a little fun to his birthday bag.

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I bought Little Debbie Spring Cakes (like the Christmas trees from Christmas but the sprinkles are spring colors), Highlighters, Nutter Butters & Coffee. All things that III loves! Then on PicMonkey I created these little signs to attach to each one. I included the signs I made (just right click and save the image), but you can create your own too.

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Here are a few other gift ideas…

Socks – We make a great pair!

Chips – You are all that and a bag of chips!

Snickers Bar – You always make me snicker!

Gift card – You are such a gift!

Beer, Wine Opener, Wine – You make me weak in the knees!

Nuts – We are nuts about you! (We did this one for Father’s Day a few years ago…so cute!)

So, get creative when you are buying your guy’s gift…he’ll love it just as much as his new sprinkler head.