Sugar & Spice 1st Birthday Party | Part 1

I had been anxiously and excitedly waiting as my sister edited all of the photos from my daughter’s 1st birthday party. It is a wonderful thing having a photographer in the family (she is amazing, by the way)! Visit her Facebook page here. But then I got busy, and every time I went to edit my post here something would interrupt. I am determined to finish this post this morning before the day gets busy! Happy Friday, by the way. :)

Everything came out so lovely for my daughter’s first party, and I couldn’t have asked for a better day! While some may spend hundreds of dollars on a party for their child, I chose the more affordable route, yet kept it as pretty and exciting as possible.

The planning was a lot of fun! I found a couple ideas on Pinterest, and then kind of ran with it. Our main colors were mint, pastel pink and gold. I love that color combination, and I knew it would be beautiful for sweet baby girl’s first party.

I know some people may think that putting a lot of work into a first birthday party is not worth it, but that wasn’t the case for us. No matter how much time and energy I put into this, it was worth every minute to me! What a special, fun day with our family. We will all look back on it with fondness at the delight and fascination of a 12-month-old opening her gifts and eating her first taste of cake.

This will be part 1 of our Sugar & Spice party theme, and I will work on getting a part 2 up soon. Part 2 will share recipes, as well as how to create some of the party decorations.

This was our party invitation. We only invited family and extended family, so it did not require a ton of effort getting them out! More on this in the later posting.

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I created these using Photoshop and backed them with cardstock. I originally wanted to frame them, but ran out of time. The floral arrangement was made from various flower bunches I found at Michaels and the Dollar Store!

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Above is the dessert table. We decided on an assortment of finger desserts, because of the Sugar & Spice theme.

Mini Pumpkin SPICE cupcakes. :)

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Dipped pretzels.

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The food table, which consisted of: chicken salad and egg salad sandwiches, chicken noodle soup, cheeseburger soup, veggie platter, chips and dip and spinach and kale salad.

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My sister (AlyssaBeth Photography) made this backdrop for Layla’s cake smash. We used it for family pictures as well. It was exactly how I pictured when I asked her to create something. She did a fabulous job!

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Tags to describe the food items.

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Vintage paper straws. So fun to use!

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Birthday banner.

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Rag garland.

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The setup of the party. We alternated between mint tablecovers and pink tablecovers.

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The tables were set with gold plates, a pink napkin, pink cups and a bowl for the soup. If you look closely, there is pink and glittery gold confetti scattered over the tablecloth.

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I made a rag garland for her high chair out of mint and pink fabric, and hung it on glittery gold ribbon.

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Opening her gifts.

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The cake. Nothing special, but it worked. :)

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The cake smash.

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She actually ate her cake all lady-like at first…

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Feeding her daddy cake. I’m in love with this picture!

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Photo garlands.

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We love our little one-year-old.

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I couldn’t have done without the help of my husband and family. My husband took Friday off just to help me get everything ready, especially the food preparation. We had some people volunteer to bring food, so that helped us out too. Definitely designate small jobs to family members to lighten your load. I was able to enjoy myself and have a stress-free party because of lots of planning ahead and delegating jobs.

What matters the most is savoring every moment, whether or not your party ends up exactly how you imagined. Everything will be beautiful to you if you take the time to let everything go and enjoy these special moments! I certainly shed a couple tears at her party. It was just so meaningful to look back at that very first year of being parents and see how far we have come.

I hope you enjoyed looking through these party ideas. I look forward to sharing instructions for the decorations, as well as recipes for a couple items.

Have a great weekend!

The Happy Homemaker

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Thanksgiving Party Set | FREE Printable Download

Thanksgiving is just around the corner. I know, I know, it’s coming way too fast! Only a little over a month (37 days to be exact) to prepare for this day. Wow, where did summer go? And fall? The leaves here are fading so quickly! I just want it to stay for awhile! Well enough of my boo-hoo story. I have something better to tell you about!

Here is an absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving set to make your home festive for the holiday. And guess what? It is FREE! All you need to do is download and print onto nice, sturdy paper. If you don’t have a printer, well, send it off to a store that will print it for you! 

This party collection is offered for free by Pizzazerie. There are so many fun pieces to this set, and I love that it features Psalm 107:1 on the large printable to frame.

The set includes:

Thanksgiving Food Tents
Thanksgiving Give Thanks Print
I’m Thankful Cards
Thanksgiving Invitation
Leaf Flags
Leftover Tags
Give Thanks Banner
Thanksgiving Menus
Thanksgiving Party Circle Logos
Thanksgiving Recipe Cards
Plaid Paper
Striped Paper

thanksgiving printable party set by pizzazzerie

What’s not to love? The colors are so beautiful and festive. I love the recipe cards! There’s always someone who wants the recipe to that ______ – you fill in the blank!

Free Thanksgiving GIVE THANKS Banner on Pizzazzerie.com

A pretty banner to hang anywhere in the house. There is just everything you need in this party set!

I am Thankful For Card Printables by Pizzazzerie

We always share what we are thankful for in my family around the Thanksgiving table. These cards are a wonderful way for your family and friends to share what they are thankful for. It leaves plenty of room for lots of blessings!

Thanksgiving leftover tags from pizzazzerie

Left-over tags? Don’t you just love that idea?! And the banners attached to vintage straws gets me. Such a great idea. You can find Thanksgiving Celebration Straws for a great deal on Amazon! In fact, I am going to have to order some myself. They are way too pretty to pass up. If you won’t be using a lot of them, you can always use what’s left for your drinks to match the decor.

Are you having a hard time believing this set is FREE? I am! Thanks to Pizzazzerie, our Thanksgiving tables will look gorgeous this year.

Download the file now, and don’t forget to print it out ahead of time so you can get to work on cutting the pieces out. Here is the direct link to the download: http://pizzazzerie.com/free-topic/free-thanksgiving-party-collection/

I’m counting down the days now…

Enjoy this Autumn day while it lasts!

The Happy Homemaker

Handmade Christmas Gifts

If you are anything like me, you enjoy making your own handmade Christmas gifts each year. While I do not exclusively make all the gifts we give out, I do make about half them if I am feeling ambitious. The key is planning ahead, and this year I feel like I am just a bit behind. Never fear though… we still have a little bit of time to get these crafts in motion! I have come up with a list of DIY projects that I thought were unique, yet some are traditional. Believe it or not, many people like to receive the traditional handmade scarf or hat. These days things like that are harder to come by! The fun with making your own gifts is also personalization. If you know the person well enough, you should have no problem picking colors or figuring out the style.

Craft stores already have Christmas items in stock, and many are having major sales. Now is the time to start planning so you can shop for what you need. If you are a knitter or like to crochet, these projects can tend to take time. Try to plan your projects so you get the most time-consuming ones done first. Seems like a no-brainer, but the longer projects can get boring, and many tend to want to do the quick, easy ones. Like me. :)

I am excited about some of these ideas! Some of them are so unique. So, here we go.

Plastic Canvas Ornaments.  These are meant to be ornaments, but I could see them as beverage coasters too! This would be a cheap project, especially if you used left-over yarn scraps.

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Jute Wrapped Monogram Wreath. This is so pretty! The receiver of this gift can keep the “wreath” up for long after Christmas.

GREAT handmade gift idea!

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Homemade Vanilla Extract. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic version. I have been wanting to make this for so long. One day I will! Give yourself some time with this one – it takes weeks to “brew”.

Making Homemade Vanilla Extract is so easy. Would make a wonderful homemade Christmas gift. #homemade

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How to make soy candles. It is actually rather simple! The lavender sounds wonderful.

EasyHandmadeGiftDIYSoyCandle thumb Handmade Gifts: How to Make DIY Soy Candles

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Sugar Cookie Sacks. This is one of my favorites! Perfect to give as a family gift, and so stinkin’ adorable!

Cookie sack trio

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These little handwarmers would be perfect for children and adults alike. This project would take very little time for all you who love to sew!

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Wood Slice & Burlap Wreath. I absolutely love this wreath! How different, yet gorgeous! I want to make one of these so badly, and even the Hubby thought it was cool. ;)

WoodSliceandBurlapChristmasWreathcopy thumb Wood slice & Burlap Christmas Wreath

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Ginger and Coconut Oil Scrub. I love sugar scrubs. In fact, I make them each year and love the effect it has on my skin. Making your own sugar scrub is so fun, and is a wonderful gift to give to the ladies! There are many more scrub “recipes” out there, so look around.

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Make this Christmas Countdown for your husband! This is more of a pre-Christmas gift, but it is soo special! I did this one year, and I think my husband appreciated getting a note each day. The Dating Divas have so many great ideas.

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I’m sure most of us have made or been given something from a mason jar before. Who wouldn’t love to receive a chocolate chip cookie mix in a jar?! So pretty, and the recipe is supposed to be OUTSTANDING. Comes with the free recipe and printable label. What’s not to love? Be traditional. I think this is going to be added to my list!

CUTE Cookies in a Jar Gift - free tags on { lilluna.com }

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Below are some of my own Christmas gifts I have made in years past. I will try to explain a little about each one, but if you would like more in-depth instructions, please let me know! I will make another post in the future on designing your own labels for gifts.

Homemade Pomegranate Vanilla Shea Butter Soap. This is basically made by melting a shea butter soap block, adding your scents and dyes and swirling to make a pretty design. Super simple!

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Pomegranate Splash Sugar Scrub. You can tell I was into pomegranate that year! This is made by combining two ingredients: Olay Dawn dish soap and sugar. Perfect for rough feet and hands.

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This project is a little more time consuming, but went over so well with my family members! If you have already canned jams, jellies, butters, sauces, etc., then this could go by quickly! In the basket (which was 50% off the week before Christmas at Michaels one year): Grape jam, apple butter, biscuit mix, peppermint oreo pops and handmade cotton dish cloths.

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There’s a lot of guys in my family. If you are into crocheting, then this hat is great! I started with someone else’s pattern and ended up making a ribbing along the bottom. Warm, and the guys love these hats! I have added the link for you to get the basic pattern.

I know figuring out handmade gifts for men can be hard. Yep, I understand! Here are some other ideas:

-Homemade spice rubs for grilling

-Handmade Shea Butter soap just like above, but with manly scents and colors

-Homemade trail mix

Paint dipped golf tees

Homemade rosemary mint shaving cream

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This post could last forever-n-ever, but I think these should last you for a while. Also check out Pinterest. There are always bloggers that make up a list of their most favorite DIY projects and make a Pin. Like me. :)

I realize I don’t have many children friendly DIY gifts above, but a few of these can always be made in children’s sizes and styles. Be creative! Kids always love what adults have, so if you have a father and son in the family, make them matching hats! Or a mother daughter duo – make them matching scarves! Or give the kids their own unique ornament. Or better yet, get them some supplies so they can make things themselves. I don’t know many kids that don’t like hands-on projects.

Have fun! And do let me know what you make. I love seeing handcrafted projects come together!

The Happy Homemaker

Weekly Menu Planning

Planning the weekly menu for some people can tend to be daunting. Where do you start, and how do you do it? I am a weekly shopper. That is, I make my menu up and shop only once a week. No extra trips to the grocery store every couple days. That can add up! Here are my tips for keeping up with menu planning, and saving yourself time and money in the process.DSC_1063 1. Always start at the beginning of the week. If you have time, create a menu on Sunday and get your shopping done then. That makes the rest of your week look a whole lot easier, and you will have food in the fridge and pantry, ready to go. If Sunday isn’t going to work for you, get it all done on Monday. My husband and I used to go out on Sunday afternoons, but lately I have been getting it done on Mondays.

2. Create a menu plan. Ask your family members for ideas, or browse Pinterest (my usual choice). Make your menu up until Friday, or if you make full meals the entire weekend, go into Sunday. I personally only make a menu until Friday. When the weekend comes, sometimes we eat out or grab a couple items from the grocery store. Or sometimes we munch. Weekends are usually my time to have fun, so we don’t generally have full sit-down meals.

3. With your weekly schedule, a lot of times you have different things going on different days. Maybe you work full-time, or you are a stay-at-home mom and are busy certain evenings, or your child is involved in school activities such as sports. Try to remember what you have going on and base your menu on that too. I am busy every Tuesday and Wednesday night. I usually try to have a crockpot meal on Tuesdays (I love coming home to a complete meal!), and Wednesday nights I make dinner early (something simple like pasta) and bring it with me to church so my husband can eat.

4. Make your grocery list based upon your menu and where you will shop. Add your other everyday foods, such as breakfast items, snacks, drinks, etc. I like to get all of my shopping done at one store. I take my 11 month old with me, and I am not usually up to hauling her all over town to hit a bunch of markets. You know what stores carry what. Make your menu according to what place you will be shopping at. For instance, I like to shop at Trader Joes now and then, but they do not always carry specific items other stores carry. So, I make my menu plan based on what Trader Joes may carry. I know their prices on certain items as well, and that helps me make decisions. If you like to shop at numerous stores and that’s your thing, then go for it! I hope to be like you someday!

5.  Be prepared to change up your menu while shopping. Sometimes I get to the store and find they do not have what I am looking for. Say it’s a big part of one of your meals… what will you do if they don’t have it? There’s always the option of checking another store. Or, you could have a back-up meal just in case and change the menu. I have had that happen to me many times. Sometimes it’s as easy as finding a substitute, while other times you just have to make a complete change. This is why I make my menu and grocery list on the same page. It helps me to remember what the menu plan is, and give me ideas on how to switch it up if I need to.

These are some very simple tips, and may not be new for you. When I was first married, I was so excited to make menu plans and shop each week. I still am! The feeling of getting all your food for the week is just really awesome. I know many people who wonder what they will eat for dinner each night. That doesn’t have to be you! By taking some time to sit and write a menu, it could transform your whole week. I know it does mine! I have learned a lot over the past few years, and am sure I will have more to share later down the road.

Here is a menu of what I will be making this week:

Monday: Baked chicken leg quarters, couscous, veggie blend ~ http://www.food.com/recipe/crispy-baked-chicken-leg-quarters-very-easy-one-dish-449452

Tuesday: Crockpot chili (my own recipe), cornbread

Wednesday: Dad’s Friday night pasta dish ~  http://www.halfbakedharvest.com/dads-friday-night-pasta-dish/

Thursday: Roasted sausage, potato, onions and peppers (the link to her site is no longer, but you can check out my Yummy Things board on Pinterest and get an idea of what it is)

Friday: Pizza

I hope this gives you a little inspiration and helps lighten your load a bit. I’m sure there is a lot more advice from much more experienced people out there. If you have more tips, I would love to hear them.

Here’s to making our lives better, one day at a time!

The Happy Homemaker

Father’s Day Ideas

Last year for Father’s Day, I was pregnant with our daughter, Layla. We didn’t know at the time if she would be a boy or girl, but I still wanted to give my husband something for Father’s Day. After all, you are already parents before the baby is born! I bought a gender neutral pack of onesies that said “I love Daddy” and surprised him with a cute card. Now Layla is 7 months old, and it is time to start thinking of all the Father’s Days in the future and coming up with creative ways to let him know we love him!

Pinterest is my go-to place for things like this, so I have collected a few to share with you. Here are some of my favorites! I know that some of these ideas are meant to be from really young children, so I’ve tried to include some for the older ones as well. Just click on the photos below and it will take you directly to the site. Have fun!

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I absolutely love this idea! I may save it for another year when my daughter is older, and we possibly have more children. It is a FREE printable and so easy to assemble! Just make sure to plan ahead. :)

I love this idea on The 36th AVENUE. While I was not able to get a picture on here, you can just trust that this is another awesome idea! And there are free printables for you. How awesome is that?! I would say this has to be a pretty easy gift to whip together.

 http://www.the36thavenue.com/2013/05/fathers-day-gifts.html

This adorable photo collage displaying things kids love about the men in their life is the PERFECT Fathers' Day gift!

Really cute idea. Yet again, another FREE printable comes along with it!

 

 

This has to be one of my FAVORITES ever! How easy could this be? And how cute to keep up with every year.

Decorating golf balls as a great father's day activity and gift

Does Dad like golf? Here is a fun idea! Not only for young ones, but could be fun for older kids as well to personalize for their dad.

 

An activity jar for daddy and son/daughter. This is brilliant!

 

Those are a few that I have seen on Pinterest that stood out to me. I love handmade gifts. They are so special, and I am sure daddy will love something you put time into too. There are sooo many other ideas on Pinterest, so check it out and get to work on creating a fun, memorable Father’s Day for the dad you love!

Other Father’s Day activities:

Breakfast in Bed – this isn’t just for the mom! Serve daddy breakfast in bed to make him feel like a true king!

Picnic at the Park or the Beach (depending on where you live). Bring along some games and things to do!

Go out for Ice Cream. YUM!

Shop at his favorite stores, and let him pick out a gift he will truly love.

Take him mini-golfing!

Go out to eat – maybe take a little trip to a special place that he doesn’t get to go often.

Let him kick back at home while you wait on him – sometimes the simple things are the most relaxing and fun for him.

End the day with a funny movie and popcorn while you snuggle.

Make dad a special dessert, whether it is fresh baked cookies or a cake you made up the day before. Don’t forget to make sure it is his absolute favorite!

Try to have the refrigerator and pantry stocked with his most loved food and drinks. Give him a “menu” that he can order from throughout the day and you can be his waiter/waitress! He will be sure to feel special.

 

Most of all, tell dad you love and appreciate all he does. That alone will make his heart happy, and put a smile on his face for the whole day. :) Enjoy your Father’s Day!

 

The Happy Homemaker

*None of the ideas in the photos are mine! All were ideas taken from Pinterest and copied off their websites.