October 30, 2019

¡Taco Twosday Birthday Fiesta!

Our sweet Nova turned two on October 8th! We celebrated a few days before with her closest friends here in Texas! It was so much fun to put this party together for her. I started planning it months in advance, as I usually do with any party! It all came together so well. I knew I wanted to do some sort of "punny" birthday theme. At her age, I can pretty much do whatever I want and she'll just be excited that there are balloons and cake! I have a feeling she may be a little more opinionated next year ;)

Our kitchen opens up to our living room, which I love, but that left us with a lot of open space. I decided last minute to make a little console table to go up against one of the walls in our kitchen. I put all the desserts on this table with a few decorations. Let's be real, cookies and cake are part of the decorations! I made some 2 shaped cookies and had my friend, Cami, make the adorable fiesta chocolate cake!

I got so many comments and messages about the cookies. I've been working on getting better at royal icing and trying to have a steadier hand when making the outline. It is SO hard! But these turned out super cute and the little cactus was such a fun little addition. Nova is tall enough to reach her hand up onto the counter so she kept stealing them while they were drying. They were dang good though so I can't blame her!

Let's talk about that fun "Taco Twosday" wall though! Y'all. I couldn't believe how cute this turned out! I started two nights before the party putting this together because I knew I would overdo it and needed time to get it perfect. I started with the streamers. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to lay down a piece of shipping tape face up, the length that you want your streamer hanging to be. Hold that tape down with some painters tape. Then cut your streamers about the same length and place them whichever order you want your colors to be in. I put it up on the wall with more tape. It took me about an hour and cost about $6. Each color streamer was $.97 from Walmart. 

Food really is one of the first things I think about when planning any type of get-together. I decided a taco bar wouldn't only be easy but also a crowd pleaser! I did chicken tacos in the crockpot with all the toppings. We had spanish rice and refried beans. We also had kid-friendly food of course. Chicken nuggets, sweet potato tater tots, bananas, fruit leather, pretzels and caprisuns. I made some fun paper crafts for the cabinets and nothing is complete without some banners!

I started buying Jarritos months in advance. It was so much fun for the drinks to go with the theme and everyone loved them! Something extra special and thought out.

We did do a fun little activity for the kids! I got a bunch of the ceramic piggy banks from the dollar tree. Each of Nova's friends (or their parents) picked out which one they wanted to paint and everyone was able to take home their own little painted craft! It was so cute and a fun little addition to the party activities.

All in all, this was such a fun party for Nova. I don't think she quite grasped what was going on though. When we started to sing happy birthday, it totally wigged her out! But as soon as we handed her a piece of cake, she was totally happy again. That's two-year-old for ya!

Going into this party all I cared about was that she had fun and that her friends had fun. Which I definitely think we achieved! We sent all the kids home with a small little goodie bag (goldfish, bubbles and fruit snacks!) and the parents were sent home with cookies. It was such a blast!

October 22, 2019

Mountain Adventure Baby Shower

Something you may have not known about me is that I am a certified Event Planner! I absolutely love organizing and planning the perfect, pinterest-worthy party! I oftentimes tell myself I'm going to keep things simple, not go too over-the-top... well it's always a lie because I'm very EXTRA when it comes to parties! I want everything down to the food to be intentional. I love turning to pinterest and instagram for inspiration but try to be original and work with the space that I'm throwing the party in. 

This past weekend I threw a baby shower for my very best friend of thirteen years! This was a dream come true for me because I never actually knew if we would live close to each other again after we graduated high school. Her little family is welcoming their second little boy so I decided to go with a Mountain Adventure theme with lots of wood elements. It turned out beautifully and I was actually really surprised with how well everything came together!

I start every party by planning the food because hello! Food is one of the biggest focus of any party, am I right?! Since we were doing the party at 11am, I decided that a bagel bar wouldn't only be cost affective but also very filling. I got three flavors of bagels from Sam's Club, everything, asiago and cinnamon raisin. I bought blocks of cream cheese and whipped them in my kitchen aid! I made three flavors: plain (with a splash of vanilla and powdered sugar), honey cinnamon and chive and onion! I just added a bit of milk to bring it to a whip and let me tell you: they were delicious! I don't think I will ever buy pre-made spreadable cream cheese again! I linked the original recipes for two of the flavors at the bottom of this post! 

Going along with our brunch theme, I had got a mango orange juice and put it in my beverage dispenser. I added some slices of oranges and lemon to the top. That's such a simple and easy way to "fancy" it up! Again, small effort to make a big difference and impression! 

Next I needed just a few appetizers. Things we didn't need any utensils for but that everyone could just grab and pop in their mouth! I found a picture of these cucumber bites on pinterest and thought they looked beautiful but also like a refreshing bite! I make deviled eggs for a lot of special occasions. They are one of my favorite snacks during the holidays and another perfect, filling appetizer. You can never go wrong with them, especially when you put in just a little bit of extra effort to put the filling into a piping bag with a star tip. It makes them appear even more special! And of course, you can never go wrong with strawberries and grapes!

I consider the dessert table to be almost like decoration! So, I always want my dessert choices to go with the theme but also be delicious. The cake was made by friend here in Austin, Cami Bourne from Bourne Baking Co. She also made the cake for Nova's second birthday party. We love her chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream. It is so moist and creamy! It's always a huge hit! I asked her to keep it simple and white - she did a fantastic job! I made the cookies. My special double chocolate chip cookies and sugar cookies cut into cloud shapes! I've worked hard on both of those recipes (took about a year to get them perfect!) and I'm so glad they both turned out perfect for this shower. 

Now on to the very last but almost most important aspect to any party thrown by me... the decorations! I searched pinterest and instagram from all sorts of inspiration but ultimately, most of this came from my own ideas, which doesn't usually happen for me. As I've gotten better at party planning, I've become more creative and I love that whole process. I needed a balloon garland somewhere because honestly, they are not hard to make but again, make a huge impact on the feel of the party! I purchased balloon garland tape off of amazon (linked below) and it took about 65 white balloons, all blown up into two different sizes and about an hour. 

I'm a little garland crazy! I love garlands of all types. I don't know what it is exactly that draws me to them so much but I love them! I made one out of old newborn white onesies from my girls, a couple mountain garlands made out of construction paper from Hobby Lobby and a cloud one I made out of felt. I actually used the cookie cutter from the cookies I made to trace out the clouds for that garland so they matched perfectly!

I wanted to add just a few other little touches I included to make this a little more special for the mama-to-be. I asked her to cut out a couple of her favorite ultrasounds images and we put those in some frames I had at home. I also used my letter board to add a cute quote! All in all, this really was rather simple (to me!) but everything came together so perfectly. What I wanted at the end of the day was for my best friend to feel special and loved!

October 20, 2019

i n d y : f o u r | m o n t h s

To be totally honest, not a whole lot has changed from the last month for Indy besides her size! She has definitely been gaining some weight and got some deliciously cute, chubby cheeks! It's funny how when you have more than one child to take care of, the months blur together so much more. With Nova, I remembered every little detail of the different things she was doing every month. Now, I'm lucky if I remember Indy's month mark at all! I love them equally of course, just this season of motherhood is so different in comparison to how it was when I only had one. 

Indy truly is still just the happiest baby! We've had more days this month of needing to be held more but we are working on gently teaching her how to self-soothe. She's found a love for sucking on her left thumb (same one I sucked on as a babe!) and can get herself to sleep if she's fed! That's been a huge tender mercy when I need to make dinner or give Nova extra attention or, let's be honest, just be alone for a moment! But she really is just the best little baby regardless of her occasional fussiness!

 falls asleep almost instantly on car rides

 wearing 3 months clothes + just about to get into 3-6 months

 went on her first plane ride to California!

⋒ does not like to lay on her back for too long, loves sitting up 

⋒ laughs when you tickle her gently! 

⋒ still breastfeeding but taking two bottles of formula a day to give mama a break! 

⋒ continues to smile 90% of the time she is awake

⋒ loves watching her hands and grabbing rattles

The biggest thing that happened for Indy this month was getting blessed by her daddy! This was such a special time with both of our families and loved ones together to celebrate Indy. From our church website, here is a quick explanation of why we bless our babies: "...The naming and blessing of children is a commandment of God. It is proper for a worthy father to name and bless his children. Blessing of children was done during the time of Christ, and it occurred in the early years of the restored Church. The ordinance has become a regular practice followed by Church members ever since." For more information, you can visit lds.org

Indy is so special to us and every day my heart grows bigger. I love watching Nova and Indy interact, even if it only lasts for a moment each day. It warms my heart and I feel so blessed honored to be their mama!