Saturday, September 29, 2012

B's First Birthday

It finally came. B's first birthday. I want to make sure this post doesn't get too weepy about my little man turning one, so let's keep it straight to business and I'll show you how we threw an awesome pirate-themed party on a budget. I gathered most of my ideas through my board on Pinterest (you can see the whole board here), so I'll give credit to each of the sites as we get to them. Also, I had plenty of help from my family members that were visiting so when I say "I" going forward it usually means "we" :)

Our homemade, pieced-together pirate costumes
Let's start with invites. We wanted to do something fun an memorable and knew the majorty of people that were being invited lived nearby, so we opted for a hand-delivered option rather than standard invites. We were came up with a message in a bottle concept. Now, keep in mind, the bottles alone were $1 a piece from the dollar store, but initial plans were to have them double as favors later. I'll get to that part in a bit...Anyway, so we had the bottles, a little chalkboard paint covered up the oil/vinegar labels Then I wrapped some twine around the top, threw in some "play" sand from Wal-mart and some sea glass and jewels that were on sale at Michaels. I also got the paper for the invite at Michaels. They had decorative scrapbook paper 6 sheets for $1.00. I printed them and then we burned the edges to give it that "rustic" look.

Total invite: $2.13.
Just painted over the label with chalkboard paint
Found some catchy pirate lingo online
All of our guests were going to come through the front door, so we had to do somethign fun. I saw this wreath and thought it would be perfect! I had to re-create it! Once again, I hit the Halloween section at Michaels and supplemented with the wooden crafts at Hobby Lobby to make this wreath. Total cost about $15. 
 Then came time to decorate the house!
The birthday banner was made with 2 large posterboard pieces, $.97 each, from Wal-Mart and twine from Hobby Lobby (A large spool that was originally about $5.00, but I had a 40% off coupon that you can print off their website). The sticks on either side were taken off the trees from the backyard and the black webbing was on sale at Michaels in their Halloween department. This was also used for the wreath. The red and white material you'll see throughout, I also got that at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon and the jars and vases on this table I already owned. The banner stringing was loosly based on this site.

I didn't want to go overboard on a cake, and trust me, there are TONS of cute pirate cakes, but none that I would have been able to make myself, so this one solved that problem! I got the recipe here. Instead of chocolate cake, I used marble instead.  The ring pops were four for $1 and candy necklaces were at the dollar store as well. Rolos were used for "gold". 

Whoppers, Sweedish Fish, and Kisses. The red skull is a borrowed vodka bottle with water and food coloring.

Many of my clever names came from here.

 This was the main table. Since it was an afternoon party, we went with snack foods rather than a "meal" of sorts. We used fruit, pasta salad, chips/salsa/guacamole, goldfish crackers, bread sticks and cheese cubes. The treasure chest in the upper left was a wine case that was on clearance for $1.49 at Michales that I just painted with acrylic paint. The candlesticks I already owned. 

  Another closeup of the decorations. I used the leftover seaglass from the invitations, soem party beads and plastic gold coins. Again, giving credit here for the awesome name suggestions!

 So these "cannon balls" came from this recipe and were a HUGE hit! They were honestly the first thing to go. We also grilled chicken wings (below) and served those with dipping sauces. The picture I took of the other dish didn't turn out so well, it was cocktail weenies and meatballs. We put them in one crockpot and labeled them Dead Man's Fingers and Eyes. Those went quickly too!

After all that food, you must be wondering what we had to drink. I borrowed two beverage jars from friends. One had cucumber water and the other had sangria. I didn't like the recipes I found for grog, so I made "sangroga" instead. The cups were mason jars wrapped in the red and white scrap fabric, the twine from earlier, and a plastic gold coin. All of it was secured with the magic of hot glue, and the coins functioned as a place to write your name so you didn't mix up glasses!

The next part was a fun one for me. We had 7 little ones at the party, all around the age of 1, with one older boy who was all of 3 years old! I found little wooden pirate dolls at Hobby Lobby for $1.49 each and placed them in ziploc bags. Each bag had a couple squirts of paint and then they were taped to a card table on the floor. The kids were able to "paint" their dolls through the bag without getting paint everywhere!

Since the paint took longer than expected to dry, it was all kept in the bag and then put into their goodie bags.

The goodie bags has temporary tattoos, a bag of Pirates Booty popcorn, the dolls, and these fun bananas!

These bananas were irresistible! The idea for them came from here. Notice that red and white fabric, showing up everywhere!

Lastly came the man of honor himself, his little outfit. What to wear, what to wear. Well, when you cloth diaper, a birthday party is the perfect venue to go without pants and show off some cute fluff!!

This pirate diaper was made by an awesome, local, WAHM. She owns My Goodness Creations and made this cute pocket diaper. I stuffed it with a MF insert and and hemp doubler just to make sure he lasted teh whole party in it, and he did! Not one leak! The fit was amazing, and the snaps held up fantastically. Little B has been known to be a diaper houdini and I'm happy to say, this diaper stayed on him the whole party long! It was easily 4 hours, not one snap was removed! This has since been a favorite diaper of mine and after a few washes, I'm happily shocked that the color hasn't faded at all! You know how much I love a great WAHM diaper and this one is definitely a great indication of a well made diaper, plus her prices are awesome as well! Check out her Etsy and facebook pages for more info!

So, after seeing that picture, you must be wondering what B is wearing. He rocked a customized, white t-shirt to go with his fluff. Remember the car seat cooler pads I reviewed? Well that mama, Heather, also makes custom clothes, so I contacted her to help me out with a shirt for B. I apologize for the crummy picture, that kid wouldn't stay still! It has a skull patch, and a little pirate ship in the bottom right. It also says "ARRRR! It's me 1st Birthday!" I gathered the initial idea from here and Heather helped me come up with the final plan. Plus, she added the name patch on back (above) which I thought was a cute touch!

So there it is, the whole party! Our sweet little boy is already one. It has been a memorable year and I can't wait to see the changes life has in store for us going forward.

My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, and your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you're out there getting where you're getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish
-Rascal Flatts "My Wish"

Monday, September 24, 2012

Kid Basix Giveaway Event

Baby Costcutters has teamed up with a great group of bloggers to offer three Kid Basix Stainless Steel products. Winners Choice!

About our Sponsor:
Kid Basix provides stainless steel bottles, sippy cups, and sports bottles. With the cups being made out of stainless steel you do not have to worry about BPA :) The SafeSippy 2 cup comes with a straw and three different inserts to adjust to your child's needs; a plug to put in if you are traveling, a sippy valve if they are still used to turning the cup up to drink, and a straw and drink through adapter.
Great news: While this giveaway is going on through October 8th you can save 20% off your entire order with the code: babycostcutters.
Baby Costcutters was given three cups to review in exchange for this giveaway. Here is what she had to say:
"My kids love these cups. When they came all three of them wanted to use them right away....even the 2-year-old. His was the SafeSippy 2 cup. The three different valves you can use in this cup will come in very handy as he moved through the sippy cup stages. My older two boys each received a Safe Sporter cup. They are using them to bring to school for snack time and are enjoying using them. We have not had any problems with leaks at all. With the cups being made out of stainless steel they are very durable cups and seem like they will last a long time!"

My mini-review: Because the summers here in AZ get so hot, I was worried about leaving/forgetting a plastic sippy cup in a car for a prolonged period of time. We found these cups and I LOVE the Safe Sippy2 which we use for B. The whole thing is dishwasher safe, however, make sure it stays on the top rack!! My handle accidentally slipped tot he bottom and melted near the heat coil on the bottom of my dinosaur dishwasher. B is still able to use the cup without issue and I can re-order just the handle part. PERFECT! :)

Open US only, must be 18+ years old to enter. Ends Oct 8th at 11:59pm est. Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

I'm definitely a crappy mom!

One of my fellow bloggers, Life with Levi, threw out a challenge to those that oppose the "mommy wars" that seem to be never-ending. A way to embrace the title of "crappy mom" that other parents choose to label someone who does things differenty. 

As parents I feel like we make the best decisions for our children based on our own experiences, knowledge, research, etc. Whether your a first time mom or Michelle Duggar, parenting can be scary. You always wonder how the decisions you make will affect your child, the last thing you need is some complete stranger at the grocery store, on the internet, or wherever to pass judgement on you simply for doing what you feel is best. Now, I'm not going to say I haven't been that person myself a time or two, but I try my best to internalize my judgement and not let it pass through my lips. If it passes through my lips, I try my best to share those feelings with people I trust and not at the mother/parent who's parenting style I may not agree with. Catty/snarky? Sometimes, but it's reality, let's be honest. 

I do my best to live by the philosophy that as long as the child is safe and loved that each parent's style for child-rearing is up to the parent. So, with that being said, I'm following suit with Life with Levi and proclaiming the ways I'm sure I've messed up Little B by someone else's standards: 

I had a c-section. 

I got an epidural as soon as they let me

I never read "What to Expect..."  and I never took a Lamaze or Birthing Class

I've breastfed (and am still breastfeeding) B since day 1

I'm a lazy babywearer, I use wraps/slings/soft-structured carriers because I don't want to invest over $100 in something made of organic whatever and learn 19 different ways to tie it

I don't work outside the home

We cosleep

B has been caught more than once with dog food in his mouth (as far as I know he hasn't actually eaten any of it)

We have pets; 2 dogs, 1 cat, our house has furballs...constantly

Our decision regarding circumsicsion was made between my husband and myself, it was our parenting choice either way

We immunize

We never used rice cereal

We never bought (or fed B) pre-made baby food

I often don't buy organic fruit

We do not own 85% of "recommended items" on standard baby registries
We cloth diaper (obviously ;))

When B cries at night, I pick him up, most times nurse him. He has never "slept through the night"

We listen to all sorts of music in the car, none of it resembles the Disney Channel

I've forgotten "story time" once or twice

When B pees on the floor during diaper changes, I laugh

His "off-white" rocker in his nursery is more than just "dingy" 

I haven't had a drink, by choice, since starting fertility treatments back in 2010. (Actually, that's not entirely true, I did have half a glass of wine on our anniversary and drove home without the headlights on, not smart)

I'm almost positive this list is endless and there's probably 10 million other things I'm missing. I'm also positive that some people reading this have pretty strong objections to some of the choices Polish Prince and I have made. Heck, there are times that I even question what we're doing. But at the end of the day, when I look at B, and he is a happy, healthy, playful, developmentally "normal" 1 year old, I can't help but feel like we're doing something right. Other people have done, and will do, the exact opposite and also have happy, healthy 1 year olds and that's fine. That works for them. This works for us. I hope that going forward I will remember that and bite my tongue when I'm about to pass judgement. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Oh my dear...

I know I've taken a blogging hiatus lately, but I didn't realize it had been so long! The summer has flown by and the holidays are already upon us. Kicking off the fall is a very special "first" for us. Our "little" B turns one tomorrow and it's very bittersweet. I'm sure I'm not the first, or last, parent to feel this way. It's been a whole year since our lives have changed, a whole year of changing diapers, of sleep deprivation, of crying, of giggling, of milestones, a whole year of growth that will never be matched.

This time last year I was waddling through the grocery store, smiling while gritting my teeth through this conversation:

Well-intentioned complete stranger:(WICS): "Whoa, you're going to pop any day now huh? What is that, twins?" 
Me *awkward laughter* "Yup, today's actually my due date, so we'll see I guess!"
WICS: "Now honey, I'm a nurse, and it looks like you're going to have that baby soon, you should be resting. "
Me: (not in the mood for "friendly" advice). "Oh, ok, thank you. Have a nice day. 

Polish Prince was not too far away and the complete look of shock on his face was pricelsss. It's weird that men don't realize how when someone is pregnant, it seems anyone within eye-sight, earshot, or 100 yards seems to lose their filter and say and do very inappropriate things to complete strangers. Mind you, said pregnant woman (if they are anything like me) is genearlly hormonal and "over-it" at this point. So yes, getting back to it, Polish Prince was shocked that not only was WICS giving me unsolicited advice, she also asked the twin question. At least she refraind from touching my belly. That was a pleasant surprise. Another side note, since when is someone *not* touching your belly considered a surprise...

Anyway, we had been home for about an hour after the grocery store excitement and I was folding laundry on the couch when my water broke and the adventure began. That day will live on in my memory forever and I hope I rememeber it as vividly as I do now. I also plan to take some time tomorrow to write B's complete birth story. Perhaps I'll share it when I do. 

Until then, please be patient with my lack of attention dear blog, I promise like an old friend I will return soon! I have big plans for you! :)

At the stoplight outside of the hospital. Going in a family of two, coming out a family of three!