First Birthday Activity Ideas

Ahhh… the First Birthday. Such a weird age to throw a party for! You get the food done and the decor done and then it is like…
What is everyone going to DO?
Often a first birthday will have an array of different ages of people. Our first birthday had about 20 adults, a teenager, a 9 year old, and 5 babies! I was completely stumped for a long while trying to figure out some fun activities for everyone. Mostly everyone chatted, played with the babies, and took a lot of photos. (Common… 5 babies together, not crying, is probably one of the cutest things EVER.)

Here is what we came up with for our particular spread of people….

For the adults—

  • We had lots of food and beverages. Some of those beverages were adult-only type beverages. It made the whole party go smoother in my opinion.
  • Instagram/ Twitter Hastag Fun— I planned this one, but then forgot to put out the sign with the hashtag or use it myself. But, Adi’s Where the Wild Things Are party did a GREAT job with this idea!
  • “I Remember When” and “Advice for your Birthday” slips for people to write memories or advice for the birthday boy. (Look for a free printable next week!)

 

For the Babies— 

We wanted happy and comfortable babies for the event. So, we wanted to provide shade, food, and toys. I don’t recall any of the five kiddos having a melt-down!
  • TOYS! Put out some baby friendly toys for the kiddos. We put out several of X’s stuffed animals, cars, and wooden toys. The main event though were the yellow beach balls!
  • Do a baby time with a story and some songs. If you have ever brought your kiddo to “Mommy & Me” groups, Gymboree classes, or Book Baby programs at the library then you know what I’m talking about. Pick out a few fun books to read (in excited voices with lots of movement). Break up the story time with songs that have movements. Of course, we had to sing “You Are My Sunshine!”
Books that would be great to read at a You Are My Sunshine First Birthday:
Songs to Sing:
 
You are my Sunshine, My only Sunshine
You make me Happy, When Skies are Grey
You’ll Never Know Dear
How Much I Love You,
I Love You More, and More
Everyday!

* Photos by Motormouth Studio
** Some of the above links are affiliate links. Affiliate links help support the bloggers that post them. I do not link items I have not used and/or do not like. For more information on my Advertising Policies click HERE.

 

{Recipe} Italian Pressed Sandwiches

When planning the menu for my son’s first birthday I wanted to have plenty of easy adult friendly and kid friendly food. Sandwiches were the best bet in my book.

I saw this great pin via Pinterest and wanted to give making Italian Pressed Sandwiches a shot for the more adult friendly food (although, the kids ate it up too!) These sandwiches are great for mixing and matching things that you love.  **READ MORE FOR RECIPE**

Italian Pressed Sandwiches
Makes approximately 24 1 inch by  2 inch sandwiches
Ingredients:
  • Ciabatta bread: I used one very large loaf, but you can get small rolls instead if you desire, probably 6 small rolls would work
  • Italian Dressing: Any kind of Italian salad dressing will work. I use my favorite, Newman’s Own Family Recipe Italian Salad Dressing.
  • Pesto: You can buy some or make your own! I made my own by processing  pine nuts, olive oil and basil in my food processor. I made approximately 1 cup.
  • Fresh Basil leaves about 24-30 leaves
  • Roasted Red Peppers: 1 jar works
  • Three types of Italian cured meats. I used pepperoni and two styles of salami. I bought one package of each and used enough to cover a layer.
  • Provolone Cheese: 1 package of sliced cheese
  • Pepperocini: Again, you can use whatever your local market has… I used Mezzetta Deli-Sliced Golden Greek Peperoncini Peppers
  • Toothpicks
  • Heavy Books, bricks covered in foil, or a cast iron pan
Directions:
  • Slice the ciabatta bread in half
  • Spread Italian Dressing on one of the two halves of bread
  • Spread Pesto on the other half
  • Put a layer of provolone cheese on the half of bread that has the pesto. Build your sandwich from there.
  • Layer on top of it a layer of pepperoni
  • Layer on top of it a layer of salami
  • Layer another layer of salami
  • Layer on Basil Leaves
  • Layer on red peppers
  • Top with the Italian Dressing side
  • Press sandwiches by putting a heavy object on top of the sandwich! I like to put a layer of wax paper on top of the sandwiches just to keep the food safe. Keep sandwiches pressed for about 30 minutes.
  • Cut Sandwiches into 1 inch by 2 inch rectangles
  • Top each sandwich with a pepperocini by spearing the pepper and sandwich with a toothpick

 

Mmmmm… I want another one right now! You will probably have left over ingredients. That is okay, you can use them throughout the week. I’d love to know how things turn out if you make these!

*Photos by Motormouth Studio

**Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. I do not promote items that I do not use or believe in myself. Purchasing something through an affiliate link helps support the blogger that posts them. For more information about my advertising policies or find out how to contribute to my coffee habit, please click over to my policies page

 

Recipe: Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

I love Fall. The leaves changing. The warm shades of colors. Tights. Boots.
Oh, and Pumpkin Spice everything!

Recently I was invited to a friend’s house for dinner and I wanted to bring a treat. So, I decided to make a cake. I love cake. And, sometimes I make my cakes completely from scratch. When pressed for time, however, I cheat a little and use a mix. I ALWAYS make my frosting though. I don’t think I could ever go back to store bought frosting now that I know how to make my own.

This cake was a bit of a cheat. I had seen somewhere, probably Pinterest, that someone had mixed a can of pumpkin into a box of spice cake. I thought it was brilliant. But, when making this cake I had no idea where I found that link and couldn’t remember what they added or didn’t add to make the cake come out right. I knew the pumpkin would change the moistness of the cake. So, I experimented. The cake came out wonderfully. So, I decided I must share how I did it.

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

The Cake:

Ingredients—
  • 1 Box of Spice Cake Mix
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 Can of Pumpkin Puree (15 oz)
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2— nine inch round baking pans
Directions: 
  • Heat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Mix wet ingredients together, pour into dry mix, incorporate by mixing with hand mixer for 2 minutes
  • Pour into cake pans
  • Bake for 28-31 minutes or until tooth pick stuck into the middle of the cake comes out clean
  • Let cake cool on baking rack before frosting
Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup and extra for drizzling
  • 1 stick of butter at room temperature
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese at room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Dash of salt
  • milk to be used if needed for consistency ( I didn’t need it… but, some may!)
Directions:
  • Whip together butter and cream cheese using a hand or stand mixer
  • Slowly add in powdered sugar and continue to whip
  • Add in salt, syrup, and vanilla as you are adding in the sugar (makes the whipping process go easier)
  • Problem Solve. Is your frosting too thin? Add more sugar. Too sweet? More salt. Too thick? Add some milk. Too lumpy? Keep whipping. 
To frost cake: 
  • Trim tops of one of the two cake layers to make a flat surface. 
  • Top the trimmed cake with a large dollop of frosting, spread. 
  • Drizzle the frosting with maple syrup
  • Top the layer with the second layer of cake
  • Add a large dollop of frosting and spread across cake. 
I chose not to cover the sides of my cake. I also added some of Trader Joe’s amazing Trader Joe’s Cinnamon Sugar Grinder along the rim of the cake. Finally, I topped the cake with little flags made from fabric scraps and wooden dowels.

This was seriously one of the best cakes I’ve ever made. I’d love to know if you make this cake and how it was received!

This post has been linked up to Create and Share Linky Party over at Trendy Treehouse and Pincushion Creations Homemade By You.

*A link above is an affiliate link. I use and love the products I promote. But, if you happen to buy the product via an affiliate link then you help support the blogger that posted it. See here for my advertising policies. And, thanks for supporting me and my blog!

First Birthday Surprise

One of the things I really, really want to do as a mom (that I feel my parents did for me) is make each and every birthday extra special. It doesn’t need to be anything crazy, like a huge party. It needs to be something special though.

X’s First Birthday was on a different day than his party. We didn’t know what to do for him, because honestly he won’t remember much and not a whole lot of stuff leaves a huge impact on him. We decided to have a big family breakfast and then go to the beach during the day that day. (X loves the beach.)
We had decided to not purchase him a gift from us, and instead throw his birthday party. At ten in the evening, the night before his birthday, I got really sad that he wouldn’t have a gift to open on his actual birthday. I wanted something for him to open, that would not sit around the house and collect dust, and that would engage him. Thus came this idea…

First Birthday Surprise

Our little man felt like he needed to climb in the box rather than open it the traditional way.

But, he was still pretty surprised!

DIRECTIONS:
1. Inflate balloons with helium. I used a disposable helium tank that I had already and “Happy Birthday” balloons.
2. Pack balloons into a large box. Tape box shut— I used painters tape and only on the edges so that my son would have an easier time getting the box open.
3. Wrap box. (Do not use a lot of tape so that the wrapping is easy to get open.)
4. Let the kiddo wake up and have a blast opening his/her surprise!

“Where did all the balloons go!?”

{Recipe} Kid Friendly Banana Cupcake

So, a few things before I share this recipe with everyone:

  1. I am not a nutritionist. I am not a doctor. I am a mom who likes to cook. That being said, I do know a little about things like calories, sodium, sugar intake etc. 
  2. I have no problem with sugar. I like sugar (a little too much). And, I don’t think it is a bad idea to introduce sugar to a child as long as it is managed. That being said, my son had not had sugar other than fruit (a whole different type of sugar) and exactly one bite of vanilla ice cream before he turned one. I didn’t want to load him up with sugar on his birthday. 
  3. I like cake. I love making cakes. I someday hope to share that love with my son. I wanted him to have a little smash cake on his birthday… so, I came up with a recipe that was tasty but didn’t load him up on a bunch of unnecessary fats & sugars.
  4. This is not gluten free. It is not dairy free. It is not vegan. It is not made with super awesome, healthy grains. This could be a whole bunch healthier. Personally, I probably wouldn’t eat it then. 

Now that bit is over with… this cake was TASTY. The cake was basically a normal easy cake recipe where I substituted banana for sugar and applesauce for oil/butter (another thing I wanted to cut back on in his first treat). The frosting was whipped cream cheese with a touch of vanilla and a touch of powdered sugar. The cake consistency was close to muffin rather than cake. But, it was a small price to pay when cutting out butter/oil!

(The smash cake did have a food coloring spray to make it yellow. I opted out of putting it on the cupcakes that all the other kids were eating.)
Funny thing about this cake… everything on the sweets table was melting in the sun at my little man’s party. Everything but this cake. They looked and tasted perfect the entire time! Thanks to Motormouth Studio for the pics!

Kid-Friendly Banana Cupcakes
Estimated Time: 28-25 minutes, Approximately 24 standard sized cupcakes

Ingredients
  • 1 cup smashed and strained banana
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
Directions
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • Prep cupcake tin with liners
  • Sift (I like to throw my dry ingredients in a food processor instead of sifting) flour, baking powder, and salt together in one bowl.
  • In another bowl, mix together the apple sauce, banana, eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk just a little bit so that they are fluffy. 
  • Slowly incorporate the flour mixture into the apple sauce mixture.
  • Spoon batter into cupcake liners (a hefty amount, but not too full… about 3/4 the liner works great)
  • Bake for approximately 18 to 25 minutes. The bake time varies with different ovens. If a toothpick is put in the center of the cake and comes out clean then the cupcake is done!
  • Let cool and top with frosting. Right before serving add a slice of banana to the top.

Now, I couldn’t go and make a healthier cupcake and then top it with sugary frosting. But, come on.. a cupcake just ain’t a cupcake without frosting. So, I opted to put a dollop of whipped cream cheese frosting on top. I made WAY too much frosting. So, if using this recipe plan on either putting on more frosting per cupcake, attacking frosting with a spoon, or saving it to go on a batch of cinnamon rolls!

Whipped Cream Cheese Frosting:

Ingredients:
  • 1 Large bowl, 1 kitchen mixer (hand held or standing work… you could do it by hand and not powered, but you have to have more muscles and time than I have!)
  • 2 packs of cream cheese (pretty sure that is 16 oz) at room temperature (very important)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon powdered sugar (this is significantly less than regular icing)
Directions:
  • Whip cream cheese in large bowl until fluffy.
  • Mix in vanilla and powdered sugar until incorporated.
  • Put in piping bag and pipe a dollop onto each cupcake
If you end up making these cupcakes (or a variation) I’d love to hear about how they turned out! 

First Birthday Party

Yes, we are THAT family. You know, the one with matching shirts. Got our shirts via Etsy

My son is nearly fourteen months already. I can’t believe it! A couple months ago we celebrated his 1st birthday in true “A Well Crafted Party” style.

Today I posted some of the awesome photos that Macey of Motormouth Studio took of the party. I’ll be posting party details, projects, and free printables throughout the week.

But, I wanted to post some of my favorite photos of the party that aren’t related to the decor or food. THE PEOPLE! Thanks to all the lovely people that made it out to X’s first birthday.

The Bost Men

There were five adorable babies in attendance at the party. Afton and Ruthie (The Boho Mama‘s twin girls); Jaxson; Jack (The Garden of Edlen‘s son); and X!

X loves his Uncle Jonny to pieces 

He dug right into his presents!

X’s GoGo flew up from Oklahoma to spend his birthday with him. He was so happy to see her!

X’s party was a ton of fun. Check back tomorrow to see what we did on his ACTUAL birthday.

{Real Party} You Are My Sunshine First Birthday

The song “You Are My Sunshine” has been one that I often sing my son. Living in Portland, Oregon the sun only really shines during the summer and early Fall. So, my son keeps me smiling year round. 
I hired Macey from Motormouth Studios to hang out at the party all day and take photos. She did a fabulous job!
There were a ton of DIY details that I want to share with you, including printables, recipes, and activities. But, they all can’t go in this one post. So, today will be a picture overload. Stay tuned this week for all of the DIY items!

New head shots

I’m super excited about these awesome photos that my friend Macey from Motormouth Studio has taken of me for my head shots. As a blogger I have a lot of social media displays and blog images. And, currently, they are ALL different. I’m excited to have a set of great photos to use throughout my online presence. And, of course, my little bug crawled into a few shots as well!

Now, the hard part is deciding which photos to use where! #hardlife #thankgoodnessfortalentedfriends

By the by… if you are a Portland area blogger/business owner and you want head shots done then you are in luck! Motormouth Studio is offering a head shot special right now.

Motormouth Studio Blogger Head Shot Special
$75

30 Minute Session, 1 location

8-10 edited images

Full copy right and print right release

Photos delivered via DropBox within 5 days

Blog post about session linking to your blog
E-mail Macey (motormouthmacey [at] gmail [dot] com) for more info!

Friday Finds: Hot Air Balloon First Birthday Party

So, I have evidently been a little frazzled this week. I posted the Friday Finds: Halloween Goodies yesterday… and, I genuinely thought it was Friday ALL day long. But, alas, today is Friday. 
I’ve decided to put up one extra Friday Find today with that is non-Halloween related. 

Want to Pin something from this party? Please click here and pin from Kira’s blog!

Hot air balloon first birthday party via Rain or Shine. Such an awesome idea for a first birthday party. It would work for a girl or a boy! Some of Kira’s DIY details could work themselves into a variety of events. I’m especially fond of the Hot Air Balloon Photobooth!
Over the next couple weeks on A Well Crafted Party: 
{Real Party} My son’s first birthday party.
Plus, a {recipe} for a birthday cake that has less sugar than normal, but is still a super tasty treat.
{Real Party} Pink and Glittery 25th Birthday Party
with free printables and some DIY activity ideas!

Friday Finds: Halloween Goodies

These past few weeks tons of Halloween goodies have been popping up on all the blogs I read. I myself am gearing up for the spooky holiday’s annual party and posts. Couldn’t help but share some of these links to seriously awesome Halloween freebies & tutorials.

Do you have some fantastic Halloween Inspiration to share? I’d love to hear about it or visit a link!

I’m a writer

It might be silly, but for the first time in a long time I am happy to tell people what I do for a living. Before I would cough under my breath my profession. Not because I thought it as a bad profession, but because it wasn’t what I set out to do.

For a blip in my lifetime I got to say that I was a journalist when someone asked my profession.

“And, what do you do?” people would ask.
“Lifestyle Editor,” I’d say with a smile.

Well, now my smile is just a bit bigger… because for as LONG as I could remember I’ve wanted to be a  writer. And, while I’m not seeing my name in print anywhere (other than online) right now, I am seeing stories and books that I have ghostwritten being published as Ebooks and SELLING.

Over the past three months of being a Freelance Writer (the past month being my first full-time freelance writing gigs) I’ve written a lot of words. As a matter of fact, between my freelance work and my blogs, I’ve written (approximately) 200,000 words in the past three months. That is nearly as many words as Moby Dick. More words than a Harry Potter novel! The same amount of words as two of the Ender’s Game books.

It makes me wonder why in the world I have not finished my novel that I’ve been working on for about three years.

It is motivating me. And, for the first time in a while I have no problem with someone asking me what I DO.

What did you want to be when you grew up? Do you smile now when asked what you do? 

Hair Do or Not to Do?

My changing ‘Do over the past five years.

I just realized that for the first time in my life I don’t have a job that dictates how I look. Nearly all of the jobs I’ve had since I was sixteen dictated, in one fashion or another, what I could or couldn’t do regarding my hair, tattoos, piercings, nail color, and/or dress.

I have always liked changing up my hair. It was my one way of controlling something when all was going crazy or my one small way of rebelling against the status quo without going out of my comfort zone. I put together the above collage of my hair over the past five years or so just as proof that I like to change things up. (Please excuse the fact that I now have a mega collage of my face on the internet.) Short, Medium-Length, Long… blonde, red, brown, black… I’ve done them all. But, now I can really do ANYTHING I want. So, I’m thinking it might be fun to get a non-natural color.

Sources: 1. UK Hairdressers 2. Soul Prophet 3. Gigi Pandian 4. Shanaz Hair Design

Above are some of the ideas I’m playing around with for the new do. Are the ideas played out? Should I do it or wait a bit and see if this crazy urge for change passes me by? And, if I wait… how long?

What has been your favorite personal hair experiment?

Giveaway: Tickets to SCRAP’s Rebel Craft Rumble in Portland


Portland, OR is a sort of mecca for creative people. So, of course… leave it to Portland to host a seriously awesome competition around crafting!

Mash up the “Mad Max” upcycling aesthetic with the gruelingly hilarious face-off of “Iron Chef,” add some of that quirky “Portlandia” flair, and you’ve got SCRAP’s annual Rebel Craft Rumble.
On October 18, four pre-qualified contestants will compete in dramatic timed face-offs in front of a live audience to earn the title of Portland’s Craft Master. Crafty competitors will have a random selection of reused materials serving as the only weapons in their holster.

The goal: turn waste into “Wow!” An official event of ReuseConex, this crafty affair presents an exclusive opportunity for SCRAP shoppers, volunteers, supporters, and fans to bear witness to a full-fledged DIY brawl, win raffle prizes, and get excited about the creativity that reuse inspires.

When: Thursday, October 18, 2012 Time: 7:30 pm Where: Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd.)
Tickets: $10 21+ only
Sponsors: ReuseConex, Chinook Book, Supportland, ReDirect Guide, Portland Mercury, Concrete5, Tonkon Torp
Emcee: Diane Gilleland of CraftyPod.com
Judges: Ian Karmel (comedian), Julie Sabatier (Destination DIY), Stephen Marc Beaudoin (Executive Director of PHAME Academy)

One very lucky person will win a pair of tickets to this awesome competition. Winner and guest must be 21+ and have valid ID to get into the venue. Winner must also be in the Portland area (or plan on being here during the time of the event).

There are several easy ways to put your name in the hat! Use the Rafflecopter giveaway widget below to enter. (This Giveaway is also featured on the Portland Bloggers‘ site.)

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