Baby’s 1st Birthday

Oh my, this has been sitting in my drafts folder for-e-ver! I haven’t posted in a while so now is as good a time as any to share! As promised in a previous blog post and without further ado here are the details for Margaret’s 1st birthday. Hopefully you enjoy the pictures and maybe take something away for future kiddo’s birthday parties 🙂

** Warning, this post contains A LOT of photos. Why? Because it’s her birthday, she’s adorable, and I worked my butt off on it 🙂

  IMG_5575

I was kind of on the fence about going ‘all out’ with a party for her. I mean, she’s 1, she wouldn’t remember it at all. Well, as more and more moms in my moms group were posting their ideas, themes, and cute crafts, I decided I definitely wanted to do something for her. Who doesn’t love time to celebrate with family anyways?! Our place is way to small to host a party so my in-laws hosted, such a gorgeous (spacious) home!

IMG_5644
‘Birthday suit’

When think about a theme the 1st thing that came to mind was that I wanted her to be able to wear this cream skirt with gold polka dots. I like to pair it with a cute pink and gold shirt she has so I thought getting a “one” onesie would be perfect! There was the ‘theme’ pink, cream, and gold. It’s not like she’s got anything in particular that she loves to use for a theme…unless I had done a food themed party (she l o v e s food!)… we did have a ton of food anyways.

 

IMG_9437I wanted to have a birthday chalkboard, but my writing is not pretty! Luckily someone in my moms group posted a link to a blog that walks you through doing your own online by downloading this program (I’ll search for the link and attach it when I find it). Be warned. If you use this website, once you save your chalkboard you can add to it, but you can not make changes to it. SO frustrating for me because my computer kept freezing and shutting down. I finally got it, and was very happy with the results. I printed it at Walgreens, it was the cheapest I found, and I googled coupons and got an addition % off! I definitely recommend googling coupons for everything you plan to purchase on line. I got a cheap frame from Hobby Lobby and that was that. 1 thing down!

I wanted to have a banner hanging saying “Happy Birthday”, and in an effort to save money (seriously party planning sucks up money f a s t!) and because I wanted it to be really sparkly I decided to make my own. I drew up a template for my triangles, and then cut out the desired amount in light pink & dark pink. I had some alphabet stencils I had bought last year so I used them to trace on the letters (leaving room for the top to fold over the string). I then ordered a big ol’ jar of gold glitter off handy dandy amazon and a friend and I used modge podge to stick it to the letters. FYI if you go this route put the glue on generously, it stays wet longer and the glitter looks much better. Once you cover the glue in the glitter gently use your finger to pat it down to make sure it’s stinking (but not too hard). I was SO happy with the result. Be warned this is messy. make sure you do it over something that can contain the inevitable glitter mess.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


I decided to make cupcakes instead of a cake for all the guests and we were expecting 22 so it was perfect! I used Duncan Hines vanilla mix because my mom swears it is superior to Betty Crocker, sorry Betty, Mom knows her baking! I made icing and divided it into three bowls before colouring. The cream was good because the vanilla made it ever so slightly off white, the light pink was a couple drops of red food colouring, and the dark pink was a number of red and 1-2 drops of blue food colouring. I used some pink cups (but they didn’t look too pink afterwards), and gold foil ones (loved these!) I then sprinkled them with some sprinkles, glittery sprinkles, and tiny balls. Once again, so happy with how these came out. Now I know how my mom feels staying up until 2am doing cupcakes… and I was only doing 24 simple ones!
PS: check out her work here. It’s uh-may-zing!

I also wanted to do something to decorate her highchair so I made a ‘skirt’ to go around her tray. I used tissue paper, as well as some gold ’tissue paper’ from Party City (it was not tissue, but it looked good!) I cut the paper into 3 sections and then folded those in 1/2 length wise. I then cut strips about 1/2″ wide all the way up, leaving about 1-2″ before hitting where the fold was at the top. I would then unfold the paper and lay it flat. I had originally been rolling it up like a rug with the dangly ends on the outsides but it wasn’t working to well. So I folded/scrunched it up in the middle. Then I twisted it in the centre and folded the twisted part in 1/2 to make a loop (where the string could go through to hang it). I used a thin piece of tape to keep the loop in place. When I was done I strung them all up, and tapped it to the highchair once we were at the party. It was really time consuming cutting all the fringe parts of each tassel, but it’s mindless work and I got to choose my colours, so it was worth it.

 

I had wanted to hang a garland up in the kitchen with her monthly photos. I even had cute little tiny pink clothes pins to do it .. but time was not my friend. So, I just stuck them to the windows behind her chair so people could look at them. I was not a huge fan of displaying them this way, but it worked. It’s so hard to believe she was so teeny once!

IMG_5686
Note the garland on the table. Close to getting done, but no cigar.

I decorated the rest of the table with streamers, and placed the lanterns & puffs I bought around the table and beside the banner. I sprinkled some gold confetti on the table, and set out the cups, plates, cutlery, and straws. I ha two plastic clear jars that I put candy and tissue paper in, and 2 gold ones that I filled with more chocolates. The little wooden “M” was the last touch.  (My house was SO pink, and cluttered with party decorations, for a couple weeks)

 

Obviously we had lots of sweets on the ‘fancy table’. But on the kitchen island we also had dip, chips, veggie and fruit trays. I had been planning on not having a meal (hello huge expense) but my husband ended up having to work that afternoon so we moved the party up to noon. We bought medium sized soft tortilla’s, alfredo sauce, red sauce & BBQ sauce, as well as all the other pizza toppings; and people made their own personalized pizzas. It was a big hit, filling, and easy (just have somebody who’s keeping track of the oven so nobody gets a  burnt pizza). I would definitely recommend it for a birthday party for a child of any age!

We didn’t do a ‘cake smash’ photo shoot because, well, photographers charge a ton, and I didn’t see the necessity. I just made her a cake to ‘smash’ at the party and then eat afterwards, since she couldn’t have the cupcakes – thanks allergies! I put a table cloth on the grass so she wouldn’t mind sitting outside, we sang “Happy Birthday” inside and then we all came out to watch her ‘smash it up’; which she did not. Haha. She did enjoy squishing the icing in her hands though. Everybody loved getting to watch her, and I took a bunch of pictures. Moment recorded, for free – booya!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We brought her inside to her highchair to eat her own slice of cake. I guess she really started enjoying the icing because she went ham on that thing!

Because her birthday is so close to Christmas she really didn’t need anything so we asked our guests not to bring gifts. However we knew most of them would still get something, so we asked that if they really wanted to get anything money towards her big girl car seat (those things are not cheap!) would be great. So that’s what people did and we only ended up with a few physical presents.  This was definitely the best idea because we were able to get her a nice one  –Graco4ever – that will last her until she doesn’t even need a booster anymore, without having to worry about the months bills. Definitely something I would recommend for anybody who’s baby does NOT need more stuff.

So that was it, You might as well have been there after all that detail, eh? Happy planning party people!
– Emily

PS: I am going to be selling the party things online
so if you know anybody looking for supplies for a
pink/gold/cream party point them my way!/ comment below!  🙂

January’s Yummy things

In my last post I promised to update with the recipes for some of those absolutely delicious looking pictures I shared. Well, it would seem I am pretty awful about actually posting in a timely manner. So, as promised here are a few of the recipes that I found online.

So when we 1st kicked this lifestyle change over I was REALLY craving some snack food. If you don’t know me in real life, I LOVE snacks; especially chips. So I found this recipe for Spinach and Artichoke did. YES PLEASE! I love it because I also learned that I can make cashew butter really easily. Not being able to have peanut butter anymore made my heart cry a little bit.

IMG_8473
Spinach and artichoke dip w/ sweet potato ‘chips’

Spinach & Artichoke dip:

  • 2 (14oz) cans artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 16oz frozen spinach (I used fresh and it turned out great so I would say either is fine)
  • 1 cup cashews, roasted and unsalted
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Get the instructions here. There’s also an option to add goat cheese if you want. I found it amazing even without.

We cut up and pan fried some sweet potatoes in an attempt to make sweet potato chips. They were definitely not a ‘potato chip’, missing the thin crunch, but they were delicious (kudos to the hubby for taking care of that part of the snack!)

 

One of my other favourites from the month was this bacon wrapped, citrus tangy, pork tenderloin. I think I just drooled a little bit. I mean it’s bacon wrapped, so you automatically know it’s going to be amazing!

IMG_5544
Yes, It was as good as it looks!

Ingredients you will need:

For the sauce
  • 2 cups orange juice (I had no store bought orange juice so I literally squeezed the orange, maybe didn’t quite get 2 cups, more like 1.5 but it turned out great)
  • ½ cup coconut aminos
  • 1 heaping tablespoon honey (I had no honey so I substituted maple syrup – so Canadian, eh?!)
  • ¼ teaspoon fish sauce
  • zest of ½ an orange (about ½ tablespoon of zest)
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
For the tenderloin
  • 1-1½ pound pork tenderloin
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½-3/4 pound bacon (about 7-8 strips of bacon)

Get the baking directions here. Seriously. SO delicious!! Just look at the picture again…drooling yet? Do yourself (and your family) a favour and put this on the dinner menu this week, you will not regret it!

 

I would be doing you a huge disservice if I didn’t share about these burgers. It’s like a Mexican burger but instead of actual cheese sauce it’s a ‘sneaky-paleo-delicious sauce’, top with caramelized onions. HELLO flavour. Just because you are eating a caveman diet doesn’t mean you need to be eating bland, straight up caveman food.

IMG_8503
these are the burgers! ❤ ❤

Ingredients:

For the burger itself
  • 1 lb buffalo (or ground beef)
  • 1 (6oz) can of green chiles
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon chipotle red pepper (or chili powder, that’s what I used )
For the toppings–
  • 1 package mushrooms (I didn’t have any so I didn’t use them)
  • 1 red onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ 14oz jar of roasted peppers, sliced (I just used this for the sauce)
  • 2-3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • ¼ teaspoon chipotle red pepper or chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
For the Avocado Roasted Red Pepper sauce–
  • 2 avocados (All the avocados at my store weren’t ready yet so I bought some plane guacamole and used that. it was perfect!)
  • ½ 14oz jar of roasted peppers, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ½ lemon, juiced

Get the directions here. I served the burger with tomatoes, and brussel sprouts another time. I also kept the sauce in my magic bullet container in the fridge and continued using it during the week, SO tasty!

 

The final piece I will leave because I LOVE them and they’re super easy to make is fried plantains. Plantains unlike bananas are actually good when the peel has black on it, so if you shop for some don’t think they’re all too old and pass them up.

IMG_5550
Fried plantains are seriously SO tasty! Buy some!

Ingredients

  • Plantains.

Directions don’t get much simpler than this. Heat some coconut oil in a pan, slice up your plantains, and them to the hot oil and let them fry. Flip them once they start to get brown on the pan side (or once they’re however dark, or light you want them). I usually sprinkle then with a very little bit of sea salt, I have also tried used a very small amount of cinnamon before. Both ways are good but typically I have them with eggs for breakfast so I prefer the salt. My daughter just turned 1 and she LOVES them too. Grab 1 or 2 next time you are at the store and give them a try 🙂

Bon Appetit!

 

If you try any let me know how they are,
and if you have any recipes that I must try link them in the comments!

 

Paleo Newyears Resolution – 1 down 11 to go.

Well, here’s my followup to my new years resolution post. Check it out here if you haven’t read it yet. Okay. So this Paleo/caveman diet has been good, but rocky (he, he). The 1st day my husband opened for work so when he was coming home he text me saying he brought home food. IMG_8407

So, that was how we started. We cleared out our pantry, fridge, and freezer of all things non-paleo, which left them essentially completely bare. It was kind of nice to start from scratch, and we donated all of the items that could be donated to the food bank. Pope Francis would say “Wasting food is like stealing from the poor”. Never throw away food that could be donated when you have a food bank in your area. Most grocery stores take donations for the food banks (it’s easy to drop your things off that way). Win – Win!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

** I am only keeping the baking supplies because I knew I would have a birthday party to bake for in February & the cereal is for the baby.

One of the purposes of this resolution was so I could grow in self control. While I would say I am growing in it, it is more of a slow gradual growth. We went on a trip to California for a friends wedding mid month. I knew before we left that we were going to be breaking paleo, although when the options were there I would try to stick to paleo. We made our own trailmix for on the plane and for during our travels. (6 hr drive to dallas Lovefield airport – yuck! But worth it to fly southwest and it cost us nearly 1/2 the amount it would to fly from our home airport). When we were there we bought some tuna snack packs and chicken breast. We baked them to take on the go when we needed, and we made eggs for breakfast. Hmm… The more I am typing the more I am realizing we actually didn’t do as badly as I thought while we were out there – YAY!! Coming home it was hard to get back onto being full time paleo again, and we definitely had a number of non-paleo meals (pizza buffet after Church one Sunday! I confess, I am so human! lol) I would say over all this month we probably adhered to the diet rules about 75% of the time. Not fantastic, but certainly better than we had been doing before.

For the first half of the month I kept a log of what I ate each day. It wasn’t like calorie counting or anything, just a list of what I ate and when I ate it. This REALLY helped me to stay on top of things. For me personally having something I can see and record helps me to follow through (ie: daily prayer & keeping a prayer journal, thank you blog post!) After just a few days I have to say, I honestly felt good! I felt like I looked better, and had (to my surprise) a lot of energy. I eagerly hopped on the scale … and realized I hadn’t lost anything. Thankfully that was not discouraging, because, I felt good and loosing weight wasn’t the overall goal (just a nice perk). After going to California and having ‘regular’ food again, I felt bloated a lot. I think my stomach was enjoying being grain free. I LOVE pastries so that’s a bit sad, but also encouraging! With the month said and done I have lost 5 lbs (which is really nice), and managed to eat Paleo about 75% of the time. Small victories. But I will celebrate them!

This month I have my daughter’s 1st Birthday Party! (I’m not sure how that’s possible already!) So I know I’ll have at least one day of making cake… and eating it too, but I am fine with that. Life is to be lived and enjoyed, and so I will  🙂

I found some great websites and recipes this month. Here’s a few pics from a couple meals below. SEE, eating Paleo does not have to be plane and boring. These burgers with the caramelized onions and avocado roasted red pepper sauce were AH-MAZING!

I’ll make another post this week with the recipes for these images, so stay tuned! Hope your new years resolutions are going well! Celebrate your small victories and don’t be discouraged when you trip up.

This month I am going to try to menu plan better for the week to avoid needing to ‘grab something’ while we are out, because I had nothing in mind/thawed for dinner. It turns out paleo ‘fast food’ is nearly impossible to find. I think planning AND getting back on to writing what I’m eating will help. Time to get a daytimer – EEE! (Choleric-giddiness at this thought!)

Peace and blessings y’all!