Monday, March 24, 2014

Monkey Themed Birthday Party

My Daughter just turned two years old and I threw her a Monkey Themed Second Birthday Party! It was a blast! We call her our little monkey because she is a very adventurous climber and has shown no fear when it comes to trying almost anything. I thought that a monkey themed party would fit her well and she loved it! 

Here is my little monkey eating her banana split!

Cooper eating his banana split!

Here is my husband, myself, and Chloe at her party. I love this picture of us!

Here is a picture of my monkey opening her birthday presents.

Here is a shot of the table decked out in pink, my daughter's favorite color, and monkeys! 

Plates and utensils

Cupcake Tower: Chunky Monkey Cupcakes and Cookies and Cream Cupcakes


Banana Split Bar

Banana Split Bar

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Sweet Potato Chips

PB&Js for the kids

Turkey Club Wraps

All the essential liquids at any party: beer, juice, and soda!  

Monkey's hang'n out

Chloe is OBSESSED with balloons so of course I had to get her some!

Thank yous

"Thanks for swinging by Chloe's party!"

I made all the cupcakes, food, banner, and tags for food and cupcake toppers. It was pretty easy to make everything and kept the ideas small so I wouldn't overwhelm myself. I cut all  the monkeys out with my Cricut and I used Word to create the tags. I also made Chloe's birthday dress, which she loved and I will have to try and take some two year old pictures of her in it. Chloe got a trampoline for her birthday present and the kids spent most of the party bouncing on it and having a blast in the gorgeous 70+ degree weather. We all had a blast that day and loved seeing all our friends and family! I love birthday parties! 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Top Five Baby Must Haves!

Let me start by saying that I am not getting paid to write this or advertise for these products. I am simply sharing the best baby products that I have found to be the most useful and cost effective over the years! I have two small children, ages three and two, and a third baby on the way! These are all products I have used, loved, and am sharing with all you new mommies to make your shopping list a little easier.

1. My most favorite baby product is the Ergo. There are so many baby wearing devices, but none compare to the Ergo with strength, durability, safety for your baby, and ease for you! You just plop your baby in, clip it to you, and you are done! Hands free for as long as you and your baby are happy. The price tag is a little on the higher side, but it is worth the cost. 
These range in cost from $100-$120 depending on sales. Also, you can look on craigslist or other local resale sites and buy used ones for cheaper!

2. My second favorite baby product are the Avent baby bottles, both in 4oz and 9oz sizes. They have a wide neck, so pouring the formula in is not an issue and the wide body of the bottle makes it easy to grip for little learning hands. I have used Avent bottles for both of my children and will again with my third. 
These range in price, depending on size of the bottle and how many to the pack. They are price comparable to other bottles. 

3. Disposable Diapers. Period. To be a little more specific I love both Huggies and Pampers. Now, you may be shaking your head going "How can you love two different brands?" Well, I will tell you!
Huggies: Plain and simple they are the best diapers for poop explosions. And yes, your kid will have at least one massive explosion in his first year of life and more than likely a handful more to come! The fitted back of the Huggies diaper helps hold in all that sloshy baby mess just long enough for you to carry your child to the waiting tub for a disinfecting bath-time.
Pampers: They are the most absorbent diapers for pee. I always put my kids in Pampers for night-time so that way there sleep isn't disturbed by being a wet mess of pee. 
Typically I put my kids in Huggies during the day and save Pampers just for night-time since Pampers do cost more than Huggies. 
These range in price depending on sales and coupons you may you use. I always find the best diaper deals at CVS drugstore and don't ever pay more than $5 a pack with coupons and the sales. Here is a link to my post on How To Get Cheap Diapers! 

 4. The Britax infant carseat. It is one of the most top rated infant carseats and has remained at the top pretty much since they were invented. The price tag is comparable to other infant carseats and they often go on sale so keep your eyes peeled for a deal! I found mine on clearance at Target for $105! Awesome price!! 
Note: Never buy a used carseat. 

5. A jogging stroller is a must! There is no need to buy one of those travel sets with the horrible plastic wheels and just a whole lot of plastic latches asking to snap off making the whole thing unusable. All you need is a mid-level jogging stroller! The rubber tires are inflatable, like a bicycle, it steers with such ease, and they simply fold in half and fit in your trunk no problem. I love how easy jogging strollers are! I bought my single jogging stroller at Target for $50 during a promotion they were running plus a $20 off $100 baby coupon and a 20% off baby item coupon! I also have a double jogger that was my Mother's Day present after my daughter was born.  A lot of people are scared to buy double jogging strollers because they think they wont fit through doors, in stores, etc, but I have never had that problem. I have fit through every door I have tried with no problems and have never had a problem maneuvering my double jogger in a store. I borrowed my friend's double front to back stroller once and hated it. It felt like I was pushing a train and the tires were horrible. I was working way too hard to maneuver the train of a stroller and couldn't wait to get back to my jogger! I love both and both will get years and years of use!
Note: Unless you are an avid runner, make sure to get a jogging stroller with a swivel front wheel (as pictured above) instead of a locked wheel. It will make for much easier, one handed, pushing.

I hope this post was helpful for all you new mommies! Good luck on your new adventures! 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Confessions of a Lazy Gardener

Confessions of a Lazy Gardener

I will be the first to admit that I do not have a green thumb. In fact, I have a black thumb. I kill anything that was once green and it does not end well. Thankfully I can make and grow kids instead! ;)

That all being said, I did attempt a garden last year. It went surprisingly well. Needless to say, I was shocked! I will share with you what I did and just how easy it is to have your own garden in your backyard! 

Step one: Buy or build planter boxes. I bought mine from Home Depot for $30 each. I got four so I could separate the plants out evenly and satisfy my OCD.   They were sold as a planter box kit, but it is basically four pieces of wood that attach together. I filled the planter boxes with three types of dirt: Dirt from my own backyard, Black Cow, and Garden Soil. I did equal portions for each and mixed them well. 

Step two: Buy one packet of each variety of fruit/vegetable that you want. I bought a packet of cucumbers, jalapenos, green peppers, zucchini, lettuce, broccoli, basil, cilantro, Roma tomatoes, and cherry tomatoes. I then used a small hand rake and sewed the seeds into the dirt. I also added a couple wire towers (shown in the second picture) to the tomato and pepper beds so the vines could climb. Lastly, I watered the seeds and went about my business forgetting about my garden for a few days. I think I watered my beds a grand total of ten times over a four week period. Like I said, I am a lazy gardener. 

Step three: Be prepared to have an abundance of giant fruit! Seriously. I was shocked what came out of my garden beds. My zucchini exploded, my cucumbers were regenerating like crazy, and my basil was amazing. I watered my garden about once a week and weeded....occasionally....very occasionally....very.......occasionally. :)

If I can have a garden than anyone can! It was amazing being able to go in my back yard and pick some items for our dinner. I still have a couple pounds of shredded zucchini in my freezer along with about a pound of jalapenos. Now that it is March I am getting my beds ready for this year. I am weeding out the beds and once this cold weather disappears I will repeat the same steps I did last year: toss seeds in the bed, water, and wait. I can't wait to have more fresh veggies and herbs! I even bought a packet of watermelon seeds this year. I am excited to see what happens with them. Yummy!

Happy Planting Everyone!