{Mommy Monday} Photo Update from the iPhone

What, it’s Tuesday!?!
Well, I had just WAY too much fun this weekend and completely didn’t get around to updating on Monday. So, today’s {Mommy Monday} will be a quick update via iPhone photos.
My baby bump is growing! I had to take some fun artsy photos with one of my new photo apps.
A profile of the belly at 28 Weeks!
My husband’s work threw him a baby shower (how freakin’ sweet is that!?!) and one of his coworkers made these adorable cupcakes. She made the little robots out of CHOCOLATE!
Starting to paint the nursery!
This is our first painting job as a couple… man, did we not know what we were getting ourselves into!
Feeling silly.
Working on the crib!
We have a crib! (and painted walls!)
And, all the fun wasn’t just baby related. At 29 Weeks I attempted an hour and a half hike. Somehow I made it.
Well, that was my week and weekend… how was yours?
Also, I want to send a big CONGRATS to
(the couple and blog that inspired my Mommy Monday posts)
YEAH! Their adorable son is HERE! 
She is making me really look forward to the arrival of my little man!

Memorial Day Weekend

Happy Memorial Day everyone!
I hope you are having a good memorial day weekend and are taking advantage of any time off it might bring. I know I am… getting a ton of stuff done this weekend!
I will be posting a {Mommy Monday} later today, 
but I wanted to add in a special memorial day post.
Memorial Day…
Pictured flowers that were placed in honor of my husband’s grandfather

I’m very much missing my family in Oklahoma this Memorial Day. 
Every year we would get together to visit the graves of our passed relatives 
(those that were in the military and not). 
It was always a special time to reflect and remember
We spent time together as a family and remembered those we’ve lost.
I don’t know why it was always such a special time but, 
for me it was part of what made our family kind of amazing

Memorial Day has another special meaning for my family as many of the people in my 
family have served (or are currently serving) in the military. 
Both of my grandfathers, two of my uncles and both of my brothers have taken a turn serving the country through one of the arms of the military. 
My two brothers (and the future uncles of my little one) have both been to war and it is 
in no small way that I am so very thankful 
that this memorial day we are not remembering their passing, 
but rather reflecting on their sacrifices and time spent away from family and friends. 



Thanks brothers!
 I’m so glad 
you are safe 
& thankful
for your
hard work!
You are both 
AMAZING
men.

Also, a quick holiday note from a 

guest blogger Jill:  
Image Credit to Hibben Photography of Shawnee, OK
  At my house, Memorial Day is my work weekend. 
The spring storms usually leave us quite a bit of tree limbs to clean up, even more so in this year and last. (You may remember that we live just east of Oklahoma City. I’ll take a few downed limbs any day compared to what I could be facing.)
The end of school and impending summer camps means a hectic work schedule for my husband (who is a youth minister) and I like to take at advantage of the long weekend to work ahead a little on the honey do list.  This helps us free up the precious few other family weekends for fun. Usually my husband and I work side by side while our daughter plays nearby. 
This year, with a mobile little one in tow, I don’t expect to get near as much accomplished!
Next week I’ll be back for another {Mommy Monday} post with tips on cleaning up the outdoors! 
 On a more personal note:
 Please remember Oklahoma in your thoughts and prayers, especially the Hamil family.  Many more families were left damaged or destroyed homes, and would appreciate your prayers as well.
Please keep them in your thoughts, as well as the many others that have suffered during these tragic storms throughout the Midwest.
Such heartbreak is hard for all of us to swallow, much less imagine. Thank you.  
 Thank you for stopping by the blog today.
What are your weekend plans? Do you have traditions for this holiday weekend? Please leave a comment letting me know!
NOW—get outside and enjoy the weekend! 

a little inspiration on a blue day

I’m feeling {blue} today.
Not sure why exactly… just feeling a little down and out. 
Feeling uninspired. 
Feeling just a little bit
BLAH.
In efforts to get out of my funk I did what I normally do… 
I surfed the internet and looked at pretty things. 
Pretty things and pretty parties really tend to make me happy.

In my web surfing I spent some very productive time on the 

website. 
SWOON.
talk about pretty. 
So, I wanted to share a few images that are pulling me out of my state of bluedom.
 
PHOTO SOURCE
 See, pretty. 
I’ve been thinking about my wedding lately
(probably because my 5-year anniversary is right around the corner)
and, I’m really daydreaming about how I’d design the wedding now… 
5 years later.
These images and products would certainly make an appearance if I planned 
another wedding to the best man I’ve ever met.
Well, now that I’ve been reminiscing about my wedding
&
my someday party for celebrating my amazing relationship…
well, I’m beginning to feel a lot more
HAPPY.
LINKS TO THE ABOVE BEAUTIFULNESS:

{Working on it Wednesday} Library Themed Birthday Party

I’m really excited about this next party 
that I’ve been gathering inspiration for lately. 
(I’m still working on my Beer before Baby party and will have an update on that one soon…
but, wanted to share my inspiration gathering for a different party that I’m working on.)
I have a dear friend that for some crazy reason I ALWAYS forget that their birthday is coming until the day it is here. The past couple of years we’ve celebrated the occasion nearly a week or two late, mainly because I don’t remember and plan something til way too late. 
Well, this year I am going to be on top of it… mainly because she is 
{AWESOME} and deserves a fabulous party.
So, I’m currently 
{WORKING ON}
a Library Themed Birthday Party
for this dear friend.
My Pinterest Board for A LIBRARY THEMED BIRTHDAY
A little background on this friend:
She LOVES books as much as I do… maybe even MORE. 
(Which, I would have a hard time believing of almost anyone… but, she is studying to be a librarian.)
She is easy going. She loves wine. She loves good food. 
See why we’re friends?
I think she is a CLASSIC lady in every way. 
She is sweet, proper and just so beautiful… I think of her as a LADY. Which makes me want to put some fun girly details into this party (although, I wouldn’t call her girly…)
Some of my favorite “PINS” from the above Pinterest Board:
 

I love the idea of using “book pages” throughout the decor.
(Check out how the pages were used in an awesome party over at Catch My Party.)
Unless I have an extra copy that I don’t mind cutting up then I’ll most likely make copies of pages to cut up and use throughout the party decor. But, I think the idea is just AWESOME.

This book bag makes me laugh out loud.
I may just have to buy it! 
I’d like to either have a bookbag decorating activity or possibly make some bags for favors.

These beautiful bookmarks are DIY!
(Check out the DIY instructions HERE.)
Again, I’d like to either have a bookmark making activity or make a few in advance as favors.

This invite (well, and this entire party) really inspires me. I love the idea of using the details from a library (not just the books) throughout the party.

Besides looking delicious this cake would bring in just the necessary amount of “girly” into the party. 
(Of course it is a Martha creation.)
I think it is just beautiful!
Thanks for checking in with my current project! 
Do you have any suggestions for a Library Themed Party?
Also, what projects are you working on?

{Simple Soiree} Grill Nite

One of the things I’ve promised myself as of late is to cut back on parties a bit….
“WHAT!?!” you ask.
Well, I’m about to have a baby.
(In case I haven’t tooted that horn enough.)
But, babies are EXPENSIVE
And, well, so are many of my parties. Even the ones I do on an extremely limited budget can add up when you throw as many of them as I do. 
But, I can’t stop myself from wanting to entertain… 
so, I promised myself that I would cut back on the WAY I throw the parties. 
Enter the {Simple Soiree}, a party that is just about hanging out and 
enjoying the company of my friends. 

I’ve thrown a couple of these “get-togethers” and have had such a fun time I’ve forgotten to take photos! But, I managed to snap a few of my recent “Grill Nite”
and thought I’d share some photos and recipes.
~*~
Grill Nite  
The sun has given us a few days of dreaming about summer… so, I decided to throw a “Grill Nite.” 
To go along with my {Simple Soiree} idea I asked everyone attending to bring something to throw on the grill and to drink. Funnily enough my friends like good food as much as I do and we ended up with a ton of amazing dishes. We were literally cooking and eating from 6 PM til 2 AM.
(That is a LONG time for this future Mommy.) 
I think overall I spent just over $20, which amounts to less than an evening out on the town and MUCH less than my normal event.
First Course:
Grilled Herbed Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream and Lemon Slices
(recipe at the end of the post)
~AND~
Turkey Sliders 
*Read ON for the 2nd-4th Courses and RECIPES!* 

 
Second Course:

  Grilled Lamb & Asparagus
 Third Course:
Spiced Steak on Grilled Bread with Feta
(recipe near end of post)
 ~AND~
Grilled Herb & Butter Corn
   Fourth Course:
Grilled Pound Cake with Fresh Strawberries and Whipped Cream
(recipe near end of post)
~*~
RECIPES
Now, I won’t claim to be a chef or anything… 
but, I do sometimes throw together something yummy.
 I’ve created a couple of these recipes and felt like sharing them. Unfortunately, I didn’t really take any “in-the moment, tutorial-type” photos. If you have any questions please just leave a comment!
Grilled Herbed Potatoes with Chive Sour Cream & Lemons
Ingredients:  
—Potatoes (red, yukon or bakers)
— Fresh Herbs (your choice… although, I used Basil, Chives and Parsley)
—Olive Oil
—Sour Cream
—Lemon
Directions:
—Potatoes—
1. Cut potatoes into 2-inch thick slices
2. Bring to Boil in salted water. 
Boil until a fork pokes though, but not until they are so soft that they mash.
3. Toss potatoes in olive oil (enough to cover potatoes) and herbs
4. Place on hot grill until both sides have beautiful grill marks and potatoes are heated through again.
  —Chive Sour Cream—
 1. Mix Sour Cream with Diced Chives
When eating… PLEASE sprinkle the potatoes with lemon juice. It is amazing! 

Spiced Steak with Grilled Bread and Feta
Ingredients:  
—Flank Steak -or-New York Strip (your preference)
—Red Pepper Flakes
—Chili Powder
—Salt & Pepper
—Feta Cheese
—French Bread
—Olive Oil

Directions:  
1. Rub steak with a BUNCH of chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper. Rub on both sides and then let sit approximately 30 minutes at room temp. If you have time to let it set in fridge longer then out at room temp for 30 minutes then do that. The flavor just SOAKS right in!
2. While steak is soaking up that rub go ahead and cut the french bread into 1-inch think slices. 
Brush bread with olive oil.
3. Put steak on a HOT grill and cook to Med-Rare (or preference). 
4. On the other side of the grill go ahead and plop down the french bread pieces and grill until toasted.
5. Once steak is done pull it off heat and let it sit without touching for about 10 minutes. You can place the bread pieces out on a serving dish while you’re waiting.
6. Thinly slice steak and pile slices onto grilled bread.
7. Top with Feta cheese. YUM!

 Grilled Pound Cake with Strawberries and Whipped Cream
Ingredients:  
—Pound Cake (buy it or make it…but, you need it!)
—Strawberries (A pint is plenty… the fresher the better)
—Sugar
—1 Tsp. Vanilla Extract (or, vanilla bean if you are feeling fancy)
—1 Cup Whipping Cream
—Melted Butter- half a stick or so
—Mixer of some type
Directions:  
1. Slice strawberries and put into a sauce pan with a little water and 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir until sugar dissolves and strawberries are breaking up a bit. Once the liquid has a bit of syrup consistency take the strawberry mixture off the heat. Put strawberry mixture in a bowl and into the fridge to cool.
2. As strawberries are cooling put the whipping cream into a large bowl. Mix the cream with a hand or stand mixer. Keep mixing until peaks form (this takes some time). When peaks form add the vanilla and some sugar. Continue to mix… add sugar to taste. 
I personally like it without any sugar at all but, sometimes a little is good. Place finished whipped cream in fridge while you grill the pound cake.
3. Slice the pound cake and brush with melted butter. 
Place on hot grill until it is heated through and has grill marks.  
4. Top grilled pound cake with strawberry mixture and a big dollop of whipped cream.
I hope these are understandable directions. 
They were delicious little treats for sure.
Now, for a REAL chef and her delicious recipes take a 
look at my friend’s website The Sweet Smith. 
She should be sharing some of the recipes for the other pictured treats soon… but, in the meantime you should check out some of her other amazing recipes!

{FEATURED} Breakfast for Dinner Party Featured on Catch My Party

I love checking into the Catch My Party website and 
seeing one of my parties on the rotation of 
“Party of the Day”!
Catch My Party

 It is always such a treat to be featured along with the other great parties I see on the site.
So, swing on by catchmyparty.com to see the “Breakfast for Dinner” party running along side some really amazing events! 

{Mommy Monday} The Mother of all Fix-it’s: Baking Soda

Today I am excited to have my first GUEST blogger
for my {Mommy Monday} series! 
While I LOVE dishing all about the pregnancy I really have been enjoying getting tips and tidbits from actual “mommies” out there. So, I’ve asked a few friends to step in and add in their own information about pregnancy, motherhood and the like.
Well, with no further ado…. please, let me introduce 
Jill with her “Mother” of all fix-its!
~*~
Image Source: Hibben Photography of Shawnee, OK
Hi there! My name is Jill, and I’ve been friends with Jenni for a long, long time – even helping with her first Well Crafted Parties! If you’ve ever thought those tissue paper flowers look hard to make, well, I will say she makes them look easy because we’ve practiced a lot! I am excited to accept a guest blogger invite for the Mommy Monday posts. I’m a mom of two. My daughter, Ella, is four and my son, Ethan, is 9 months old.
* Read ON for More about JILL’s family and her “Mother” of all Fix-It’s* 

 We have some fun parties, some of which you may see here. We had a surprise Barbie party for my daughter’s fourth birthday party, a fancy tea party to celebrate the end of the dance season, you name it! Ella is about to start Pre-Kindergarten, and it may break this momma’s heart. I’m not ready to welcome this change, but at least I have until August.

Hibben Photography

Ethan is currently farming his second tooth. He doesn’t crawl, but scoots. With both legs out, hands in front of him…yup… you have the right visual. Just like a dog scooting on the carpet! He belly flops down and slides backward like a lizard if he’s scooted too far from his lovie, Mikey the Monkey. I look forward to his walking milestone, but I’m glad we haven’t hit it yet. He keeps me moving! They give me lots of giggles and great stories. 

Hibben Photography

We live in our hometown, about two houses down from your favorite blogger’s childhood home. I can see the spot of that infamous luau from my front porch, and it makes me smile every time. I married my high school sweetheart; we celebrate six years of marriage and 11 ½ years together this June.

Hibben Photography
I have an Associates Degree in Small Business Management, and work in insurance. I’m a firm believer in living for the 5-9, not the 9-5. I like my job, but my kids are a lot more fun! We have a family dog, Buddy or Bud-Bud, depending on what he’s into. He’s an Australian Terrier mix/pound puppy. Mostly, he’ll just love you to death. And my son just wants to pull his fur.
We try to be the best family we can be – make it fun, make it educational, but most of all, make sure they feel loved. It always warms my heart to read an article online about fun things to do as a family, and recognize some of the suggestions as things we already do. My house is currently covered in card board tablet paper strips, with the pre-primer Dolch sight words. It may look messy, but it’s definitely a learning environment.
The biggest challenge for me is dinner time. I’m a type two diabetic, my daughter and husband prefer to live on pizza and chicken nuggets, and my baby will eat anything and everything within his reach. We’re working hard on adding in new flavors and veggies, so hopefully I’ll find a few fun ways to work some in. And if they work, I’ll be sure to pass them on.
~Jill’s Fix-It Tip~

In my not-so-many-years of parenting, I’ve come across some fun party ideas, some fun random mommy ideas, and LOTS of tips. Hopefully you find my contributions something to look forward to, a perfect solution to the most random of questions. Feel free to contact Jenni with questions for me – if it makes a mess, I’ve cleaned it!

So, for my first cleaning tip for this series – repurpose baking soda.
Check out Arm&Hammer’s website for tips, tricks and COUPONS!

Just because you didn’t buy it in the cleanser aisle doesn’t mean it won’t do a fantastic job. Baking soda is a favorite cleanser at my house. Not necessarily for the environmental factor, but because it’s cheap, works great, and if the baby gets into it, he’ll just foam a little ;) Some of my favorite uses are listed below.

Baking soda – average cost $0.50 per box
Not just for cookies, Baking soda is an amazing abrasive cleanser. Have one of those obnoxious deep fryers? (Remember those chicken nuggets I mentioned before? They have to have fries!) Use a paste of baking soda and water on a towel or old tooth brush. A little time, a little scrubbing, and it will look like new. This is especially great if you have a stainless steel fryer, because it’s not abrasive enough to damage the exterior.
Have a bed wetting accident, but no time to wash the comforter? Did it get into the mattress? This tip usually takes the whole box. I take the comforter and spread it on the dining room table before leaving for work. Shake baking soda on the wet spot. While you’re gone, the baking soda will draw the moisture out of the blanket. Shake some over the wet spot on the mattress for the same result. Then when we get home, my daughter likes to vacuum up the baking soda with the hand vac. It amuses her while I’m cooking dinner, cleans the mess, and she still gets to have a fresh smelling blanket at bedtime. Taadaa! Super Mom! If there’s a stain on the mattress, mix a little baking soda and water to a consistency a little thinner than a paste. Use a brush to rub it over the stain, let it dry and vacuum up the remainder. The stain vanished for me, and even worked on a stain that had been in the mattress for a long time.
Smelly sneakers? Shake a little into your shoes and let sit overnight. I can never remember to pick up the commercial sneaker refresher stuff, and then kick myself once I get home from the store. This works great in ballet slippers too.
Don’t forget my grandma’s trick to make a paste of baking soda and water, then use to brush your teeth. She swears it’s a great whitener. I prefer not to foam at the mouth on purpose, so I’ve never tried this one myself.
Thanks for checking out my guest post. I look forward to getting to know you, and finding great tips together!
Well, back to another Manic Monday!
Jill
 
~*~
Thank you to Jill for her great tips and for introducing us to her beautiful family!
What do you use baking soda for in your home? 
Any cleaning tips you’d like to know about?
Please leave a comment for Jill and let her know!

{DIY} Chalkboard frames and mugs

I had a lot of fun creating simple props to be used in the “Breakfast for Dinner” Birthday Party that I co-hosted a few weeks ago. I thought I’d share some links, photos and tips for my DIY projects, including the chalkboard frames and mugs!
(If you like the “Eggs and Bacon” favors from the party check out this {DIY} post.)

{DIY} Eggs and Bacon Treats

If you saw the “Breakfast for Dinner” Birthday party then you saw that I made
“Eggs and Bacon” treats for guest favors.
These were super simple and tasty treats that really added a little something extra to the party.

{Real Party} Breakfast for Dinner Birthday

A few weeks back I helped a friend Joan throw together a simple, but fun “Breakfast for Dinner” Birthday Party for a mutual friend, Ryan.
His only requests were “Bacon and something with Chocolate for dessert.”

{Working on It Wednesday} Beer Before Baby Party

I’ve decided to create a new “series” here on A Well Crafted Party.
(Series tend to help keep me on track with my posting…)
So, welcome to the very first
{Working on It Wednesday}
This series will be featured on Wednesdays (duh) and will include inspiration boards and projects for upcoming parties… parties that I am “working on.”
~*~
So, with no further ado… one of the parties that I’ve been working on is a 
Beer Before Baby
Party for my hubby
So, while I’m enjoying a fun baby shower he will get a party all for him and his friends to taste beers and gather advice on how to be a father. I figured he’d have some fun with a beer tasting with friends before he has to come straight home every evening to be with me and an infant. :)
Why did I decide on beer? Well, the boy LOVES beer. He loves it so much that he dabbles in home-brewing and blogging about home-brewing. (Check it out… we’re a blogging family)

I’ve been working on the {INSPIRATION} for this party and keeping track of everything on Pinterest
My new FAVORITE social networking site.

BTW… if you don’t follow me on Pinterest and want to please do—I’d love to follow you.
Don’t have an account and want an invite?
Leave me a comment with your e-mail address or e-mail me!



Pinterest Board for Beer Before Baby Party:

Some of my favorites from the board above:

Think the hubby will take a photo like this? Probably not… but, maybe with a little bit of a change I can get something similar! 

Source: ffffound.com via Jenni on Pinterest

I LOVE this party that was featured on Pizzazzerie.com

I think I need to buy this print for the party and the guest of honor!
Source: etsy.com via Jenni on Pinterest
One of my favorite photographers recently did photos of local breweries for a job and her blog… I can’t wait to buy a few prints for the party!

Thanks for visiting the blog today and I hope you like the 
{Working on it Wednesday} 
idea and post.
I’ll try to keep it up with updates on current parties I’m working on. If you’d like to be a {guest blogger} here on A Well Crafted Party for one of my series then please check out 
my CONTACT page and e-mail me—I’d LOVE to feature you!

{Mommy Monday} Decorating the Nursery Pt. 1

Thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s {Mommy Monday} Recent Reads
I really enjoyed the responses and am excited to pick up a few of those books suggested!

So, I have approximately 13 weeks before baby.
(if he arrives on his due date that is…)
YIKES!!!
I need to get things ready! I think I just now hit that time they call “Nesting.” 
I’ve been planning out his room the past few weeks, but am just now getting around to doing something about it. This weekend I bought paint samples, material for his crib sheets, and organized the clothes we have into plastic bins. I also started going through ALL of my entertaining supplies trying to condense them into one closet instead of the three that they are currently in.

*Keep Reading to see more on how we plan to decorate the nursery*

We decided to go with a vintage(ish) robot theme for the nursery. 
(Which I’m SUPER excited about.)
To help with the planning of the nursery I created a MoodBoard over at Mydeco.com.
Check it out:

Robot Themed Nursery

  • Madison 4-in-1 Convertible CribMadison 4-in-1 Convertible Crib from CSN Stores
    $448.95
  • Baxton Studio 19"h X 28"w X 21"d Chrome Base Solid Rocking Chair -Baxton Studio 19″h X 28″w X 21″d Chrome Base Solid Rocking Chair – from Sears
    $128.69
  • Ferm Living Mr. Large and Small RobotFerm Living Mr. Large and Small Robot from Velocity Art and Design
    $33
  • Cici Art Factory 11 X 14 Robots In Love Series Paper Print - Donka Loves 80s MusicCici Art Factory 11 X 14 Robots In Love Series Paper Print – Donka Loves 80s Music from Cymax
    $29.95
  • Cici Art Factory 11 X 14 Robots In Love Series Paper Print - Bom Loves HockeyCici Art Factory 11 X 14 Robots In Love Series Paper Print – Bom Loves Hockey from Cymax
    $29.95
  • Baby Changers: Baby Colorful Patterned Changing Pad CoversBaby Changers: Baby Colorful Patterned Changing Pad Covers from The Land Of Nod
    $29
  • 8 oz. Vibrant Interior/Exterior Paint Tester #370B-68 oz. Vibrant Interior/Exterior Paint Tester #370B-6 from Home Depot
    $2.94
  • 8 oz. Granite Grey Interior Paint Tester8 oz. Granite Grey Interior Paint Tester from Home Depot
    $2.94
  • 8 oz. Spring Green Interior Paint Tester8 oz. Spring Green Interior Paint Tester from Home Depot
    $2.94
  • 8 oz. Sunbaked Orange Interior Paint Tester8 oz. Sunbaked Orange Interior Paint Tester from Home Depot
    $2.94
  • 8 oz. Blue Balloon Interior/Exterior Paint Tester # DC3A-70-28 oz. Blue Balloon Interior/Exterior Paint Tester # DC3A-70-2 from Home Depot
    $2.94
  • Baby Mod - Modena 3-Drawer Changing Table, Two ToneBaby Mod – Modena 3-Drawer Changing Table, Two Tone from Walmart
  • Moda Robotics Stars TurquoiseModa Robotics Stars Turquoise from Fabric
  • Moda Robotics Robot Stripe GreyModa Robotics Robot Stripe Grey from Fabric

Paint Samples
Like I said…. I went to Home Depot over the weekend and hmm’d and haw’d over paint chips for a while. I ended up buying three samples for wall paint and then brought home some paint chips of the colors I’d like to feature as accents throughout the room.
The colors look a little distorted from what they actually look like on the wall. I think we’ve decided on the middle color (a light grey) for the walls with the yellow, blue, green and orange as accent colors. (Although… not as dark as they are pictured.)
I bought orange material to make a few crib sheets—I’m super excited to use the crib sheet tutorial from Prudent Baby to sew up a few sheets for the little man’s bed.
I’ll keep updating as I get more in the room done! 
How did you decorate your nursery?
Or… what are your plans for your nursery?
I’d love to see moodboards, blog posts, pictures… etc!

One Year Old!

Evidently, while I was out being pregnant and not paying attention to 
my space in the blogosphere my blog turned ONE!

Photo Credit: Martha Stewart’s Birthday Cakes from Start to Finish

So, I wanted to thank everyone for sticking with me and paying attention to this little blog. 
It is still just a personal hobby of mine that I hope to someday do more with, 
but for now it is just where I need it to be. 
I love that I have a place to share my hobby with other people who enjoy the same type of things.
*Read on to see a year’s worth of real parties!*

So here is a small review of the parties I’ve thrown over this past year:
A Childhood Birthday Revisited
Purple and Pinwheels Birthday Dinner
Vegas Themed Wedding Shower
Bike Themed Cocktail Party
Cheery Summer Wedding
The Dynamic Duo ties the Knot Congrats Party
Mad Tea Party
Baby, Welcome to the Circus Baby Shower
Some of the other parties that I threw, but for some reason didn’t feature include an ice-cream themed personal shower and Sesame Street themed adult birthday party. 
I’ll have to dig out those photos to share with you all soon!
Again, thank you so much for following the blog and sharing it with your friends! I’d love to see (and share) your parties and ideas as well. Please shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment with a blog post that you think would fit into this little space of the blogosphere!

{Mommy Monday} Recent Reads

I’m a reader. I am also a planner. I try my best to prepare myself for future events. Before going to college I read about how to be a successful college student. Before getting married I researched and planned for the wedding, went to pre-marital counseling and studied many books over marriage. And, I know that I can’t be prepared for EVERYTHING, but the extra preparation and time I put into being prepared helps keep me from worrying. And, if you’ve met me, you would certainly know that I need help to keep from worrying.

Anyways, I’ve been working on preparing myself for pregnancy, birth and the upcoming years of being a first time parent. I thought I’d share some of the books I’ve been reading and my insights on them. If you have any books that you’d suggest I’d love to know about them!

The “What To Expect” books: 

The “What to Expect” series is a great, straight-forward set of books that help in the step-by-step planning process. I found that I could easily skip around in these books to find out the information I needed the most. These were recommended to me by many people and the First Years book was suggested as a good source book from a pediatrician.
by Armin Brott & Jennifer Ash
Now, I’ve only read bits of this book because I bought it for my husband… but, so far it has been a GREAT resource for him. The chapters are organized by the months of pregnancy. It gives some fun suggestions for how the dad-to-be can deal with his partner’s pregnancy as well as some items that the father-to-be may want to begin thinking about.
by Alice Bradley and Eden Kennedy 
Okay, so this book isn’t a book with practical advice. It isn’t one to prepare you for pregnancy or having the baby. It isn’t a book for those who LOVE being pregnant. And, it isn’t a book for someone who doesn’t have a sense of humor. Which means… it IS a book that made me laugh out loud and helped me think about pregnancy differently. I know there are a lot of other people out there that love being pregnant… but, I have NOT enjoyed it. This book let me think about pregnancy in a much different way and probably saved my sanity at just the right time.
by Heather Armstrong 
I devoured this book. It is such an honest memoir about pregnancy, postpartum depression and dealing with being a new parent. It made me laugh and it made me cry. One of my biggest fears is going over the edge after the little one gets here (family history of bipolar disorder and depression make me worry about this as a possibility). This book prepared me for the signs and the triggers. It also made being pregnant MUCH easier… it is always nice to read about someone who had it worse. ;) kidding. 
Oh, and this fantastic author is a pretty famous blogger of the blog dooce.com.
*Read more and check out bump photos from the past two weeks*

by Harvey Karp M.D.
You hear about the babies that CRY all the time and the parents who can’t handle it. I fear that… I think most soon-to-be moms do. This book is mainly for colic babies, but the tips the author shares seem to make a lot of sense. Hopefully I can utilize these tips to calm future Baby Bost when he seems to be doing nothing but crying.
by Penelope Leach
I’ve baby sat before. I was even a nanny for few years to three precious little ones. But if you asked me how to bathe a new born or the best way to get a baby to latch for breast feeding, you would probably see me begin to panic. I plan on taking birthing and newborn classes… but, I wanted to have a general resource book. This book is GREAT for that. It provides information on feeding, sleeping, bathing and all the important milestones along the way through the first year.
by Dr. Jenn Berman 
This is the latest book that I’ve picked up and I’m finding it extremely informative and useful. The author is a family and child therapist who also wrote the national bestseller, “The A to Z Guide to Raising Happy, Confident Kids.” She focuses on different ways to interact with a child to best benefit the child’s development. I’ve really enjoyed the advice she gives about communicating with a child, creating security and promoting language development. I don’t subscribe to everything in the book, but find most of the advice I’ve read so far very smart.
Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think? 
Any other books I should pick up?


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