It seriously seems like we were just cleaning up after Juliet’s one year birthday party and whoosh…another month has gone by. My sweet girl is 13 whopping months old now and the time just seems to be going faster and faster. I try to combat this by cherishing each quiet nursing session, our fun playtime after I get home from work, every time she rests her head on my shoulder when she’s tired and all the moments in between.

Here are her latest milestones:

  • She started saying no…or more specifically “neh”.  She knows what it means and she uses it in the right context.  When she doesn’t want to drink out of her straw cup anymore she will push it away and say “neh”.  
  • Juliet started doing “soooo big” and putting her hands up in the air right after her first birthday (or maybe it was on her birthday).  My mom has been trying to teach Juliet this for a while and her other Grandma also taught this to her when she was visiting over Juliet’s birthday.  Something seemed to click and now she does it all the time.  She gets lots of praise from mama and dada and looks so pleased with herself.  
  • She plays patty cake, claps her hands along with the song and when we say “toss it in the pan” she throws her hands up in the air.  Grandma Karen taught her that over Juliet’s birthday weekend.  
  • Juliet is getting stronger and has better balance now while walking with support.  I still think it could be another month or two before she’s walking but I really have no idea.  There is no rush, she will do this in her own time and when she’s ready.  
  • Juliet transitioned to whole milk at daycare in her bottles.  We did half breastmilk and half whole milk until last week when I used the last bag of my frozen milk stash.  I took a photo of that last bag (yes, I seriously did).  My frozen stash was very important to me and that last bag was a symbol of a lot of hard work of pumping, pumping and more pumping.  Fortunately, the transition to whole milk was a non-issue.  Juliet loves it and for that I am very happy. 
Juliet is still breastfeeding and it’s going very well for us.  She eats in the morning and evening before bed, on the weekends as much as she wants and at night if she wakes up (which, unfortunately has been kind of a lot lately).  We are on no timeline for weaning, I am just going with the flow on this and doing what feels right.  I did cut pumping sessions back from 3 to 1 a day.  I had the intention of quitting pumping altogether but at the end of the day, I just couldn’t completely quit (for fear of losing my supply).  I pump during my lunch hour at work and it’s not too bad.  I am so happy I cut out the session before I went to bed.  I pretty much dreaded that one every day and not doing it anymore feels liberating.  
I have no idea if I will continue these monthly updates or not.  I didn’t have any plans of stopping the updates at a year but I haven’t really thought about how long I’ll continue.  I love having this digital journal of my girlie with all her milestones documented.  So I may just continue.  
It’s crazy to see how much she’s changed in just one short month.  Her little pony makes her look like such a big girl and is much needed to keep her hair out of her eyes.   I love brushing her hair and she sits very still for me while I do her hair.  
The days with my sweet love just keep getting better and better.  Love you so much silly girl.  Happy 13 months!
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I’m always on the lookout for healthy, homemade breakfast ideas for my toddler.  Juliet has pumpkin oatmeal cookies a couple times a week but I wanted to mix things up a bit with a good muffin recipe.

After a lot of searching I found an awesome recipe for toddler muffins.  It was a great recipe to start, but I modified it a bit to make it even better (in my opinion).  The recipe has no flour or sugar and still tastes great.

The muffins are insanely easy to make.  One caveat is that you do need a regular sized food processor to whip these up, but if you have one you are set.  All the ingredients get thrown into the bowl of the food processor and it eliminates making a huge mess in the kitchen (which I am known for).

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Juliet’s one year photo session was a little over a month ago.  It’s crazy how much older, and much more like a toddler Juliet looks versus these photos.  She is changing every day, especially her hair…it is getting so long!  I have to put it in a side ponytail on top of her head to keep her bangs from falling over her eyes.

These photos were taken by Gruman Photography (she also took Juliet’s newborn photos and 6 month photos).  I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again…I did invest quite a bit in documenting Juliet’s first year with professional photography and I am so happy and grateful I did.  These photos are so dear to me and I will forever have a beautiful collection of my baby girl’s first year.

For Juliet’s one year photos, I wanted the session to be very authentic and lifestyle-focused.  So we had the photos taken in our home.  I kept Juliet’s outfits pretty minimal.  I think she is most adorable and sweet crawling around with just a diaper on…so we went with a less is more approach.


Juliet maintained her stance of not wanting to smile much for the camera.  She still looks adorable in my opinion! This may be my favorite photo of the session.  We took a few photos on a huge white rug with Juliet in a cute ruffly diaper cover.

I’ve taken photos of Juliet on our pink glider chair every month since she was one month.  I’m glad we got a smiley one here!But then she got distracted and had more important things to do. We took a few photos outside our front door.  Juliet was not very amused with being outdoors.  This part of the session lasted about 3 minutes.   I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do a cake smash as part of the session, since I knew we’d be taking plenty photos during her actual birthday party.  But at the last minute I bought a cake and topped it with a gold heart and decided to go for it.  I think this was Juliet’s favorite part of the session and I’m glad we did it.   Apparently a big bite of frosting =  a smile.  Yummy! I love these photos so much.  I immediately printed my favorite six in 8×10 and Erik hung them on the wall in our living room.

Thanks to Sally Gruman for so beautifully capturing my little sweetie for this big milestone birthday.

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I’m a big fan of quinoa and am always looking for ways to make dinner out of it.  Some of my favorite quinoa meals include quinoa taco salad and quinoa caprese.

This quinoa mac and cheese is a new favorite.  Best of all, it’s a great toddler meal.  I packed this in Juliet’s lunch two days in a row and she ate it all up.

Even though it’s called mac and cheese, this meal is far less cheesy than any mac and cheese I’ve had.  It is still plenty cheesy and pretty healthy.  You can change out the veggies for your favorites.

Quinoa mac and cheese (recipe source unknown, passed along by a co-worker)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 yellow squash, diced
1 zucchini, diced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 large eggs
1 cup skim milk
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Directions

Lightly saute the squash and zucchini with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.

Prepare quinoa according to package directions until fully cooked.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Coat a 13×9 inch glass dish with cooking spray.  You can also use individual ramekins (I used a couple ramekins and put the rest in a pyrex).  Whisk together the eggs and milk in a large bowl.  Fold in the quinoa, vegetables and cheese.  Add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Stir well, allowing the cheese to begin to melt.  Transfer to prepared baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes, sprinkle parmesan on top and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

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Thanks for stopping by part two of Juliet’s “baby love” first birthday party.  Part two has all the sweet dessert details and best part of all…the cake smash!

Click here for part one.

We set up a simple and lovely little dessert table.  We displayed Juliet’s smash cake along with cupcakes, macarons, cookies, cake pops and candy.  We also had two more cakes that were displayed on the brunch buffet.  

I loved the heart backdrop and it was pretty easy to make as well as low cost.  My sister-in-law cut out all the hearts by hand (this was before I figured out how to use the Cricut).  Total cost of the backdrop was probably about $15, including the foam core and paper.  I’d like to frame this and hang it in Juliet’s playroom.  
Photo credits to Jessica Rose Photography, unless otherwise noted.  

I super loved Juliet’s invitations.  I made them using a printable template from Onto Baby.  The glittery gold paper was so pretty and the heart design was perfect.   Rock candy is so silly, isn’t it?  No one eats it.  Literally it’s sole purpose is looking pretty, which it does.  Good thing I found it for only $5 at Party City.   The smash cake was so adorable.  Erik made it!!!  We had high ambitions to make a somewhat healthy, carrot cake recipe from Wholesome Baby Food but by the time I went grocery shopping for ingredients it was already 9pm the night before the party.  So we ended up with a yellow cake mix. Regardless, Erik baked it and frosted it perfectly.

My brother’s girlfriend (we call her Lumbie) made the awesome heart cake toppers.
  The beautiful macarons were purchased from Cocoa and Fig on Valentines Day.  They had tiny white hearts on top.  Guess how many were eaten at the end of the party?  Only one.  What the heck?  I guess people filled up on cake.  

I made simple cupcake toppers using gold paper, a mini heart punch, toothpicks and glue.  

It’s hard to tell in the photos, but the fabric on the dessert table was gold with little flecks of gold glitter.  It could have used our steam machine to get the wrinkles out but who has time for that?!!!  

I found the fabric at JoAnn Fabrics and after using a coupon and geting another discount (thank you Katie) for a black smudge on a corner, I only spent $9 on it.  The fabric was used as a tablecloth on the dessert table, drink table and as the photobooth backdrop.  

Each dessert had a pretty label.  Aren’t these cakes lovely?  They’re from Target Bakery.  I ordered two for $16.99 each and they were delicious. I brought a photo of rossette frosting to show the baker and they said they could easily do it.  I was really happy with how the cakes turned out.  We had a white cake with vanilla buttercream frosting and raspberry filling and a chocolate cake with chocolate buttercream.  Pretty little heart-shaped sugar cookies from  Fun Sugar Cookie Etsy shop. If you are a parent, then you know the cake smash is where it’s at for first birthday parties.  This is the moment I waited for all day and was super excited about.  I knew my girl would love her cake and I couldn’t wait to see her adorable face covered in sugary frosting.  My heart was exploding in my chest as we sang Juliet happy birthday.

She was actually quite dainty about tasting her cake at first, and then she dug in a bit more.   Mmmmmmmmmm. Yum, yum.   Sorry for the cake smash photo overload, but seriously…her big eyes…her adorable frosting covered face.  I love these photos.   The party was lovely, right?   It was everything I dreamed it would be. The details were just perfect, the food was great and all my family and close friends were there.  But my girl?  Well, she was a bit of a crab cake during the party, as well as the entire weekend of her birthday.  

Juliet is very rarely crabby.  She is a happy girl 95% of the time.  The weekend of her birthday was the crabbiest I’ve ever seen her.  I think it was because she was getting over strep throat and she had been kept home from daycare for three days to recover and feel good for her party.  She was out of her routine and missing daycare.  Also, I’m sure she could feel her momma’s stress from party planning as well as the fact that I was a bit emotional leading up to her birthday…and well, babies are intuitive like that.  She was probably feeding off my energy.  
Despite the fact that she was a bit fussy during the party, I am also quite sure she enjoyed it, including eating her cake, opening presents and seeing friends and family.  Oh, and she loved the heart-shaped pancakes, too!  
No, she wasn’t perfectly happy during her party.  But it was still a perfect day and she’s my perfect girl, crabbiness and all. 

She was also getting a bit sleepy at this point.  I was asking her to “stay awake just a bit longer my dearest, it’s almost time to open presents!!!”
I set up a “photobooth” in Juliet’s playroom using gold fabric and a pink heart banner.  We had some fun props like heart-shaped sunglasses, a gold frame, a love sign and a sign that said “love is sweet”.

These photos were taken with a digital camera.
Above photobooth pics taken with Instagram on my iPhone.

Let’s have some cake!
I know I’ve said I had a lot of favorite details of the day…but honestly and truly one of my absolute favorite details was this photo slideshow.  I put it together the week before Juliet’s party and we played it on our big screen TV for all our guests.  It was 3 minutes of our sweet girl’s first year and I made sure to include photos with beloved grandparents and other family members who helped make this year so wonderful.

You can see in the photo above that Erik and I both look a bit wistful while watching the slideshow.  I was emotional and Erik actually admitted that “he started getting a little teary and had to get up and walk around”.  If you knew my husband you would realize how crazy that is for him to get that emotional and then admit it!  What can I say, becoming a mom/dad changes you.

And there you have it.  Juliet’s “baby love” first birthday party.

Juliet, you are my sweet little love, my darling one year old girl.  This party was such a wonderful celebration, all for you.  You deserved each fleck of gold glitter, every sugary taste of frosting, the crazy amount of presents.  Every little heart displayed at this party was a HUGE symbol of our love for you.  We love you so, so much.  Happy birthday.

Vendor credits:

Photography: Jessica Rose Photography
Event styling: Jenna of Eat Drink Pretty
Macarons: Cocoa and Fig
Rosette cakes: Target bakery
Mini heart sugar cookies: Fun Sugar Cookie Etsy shop
Invitations and placecards: Printable template from Onto Baby

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I am super excited to post Juliet’s “baby love” first birthday party!! Of all the many parties I’ve hosted, this is one of my favorites.  I was, after all, celebrating my sweet little love’s first birthday.  What a reason to celebrate!  Her first year brought more joy than I ever could have imagined and while this party was a big celebration, I quietly celebrate her every. single. day.

I’m not exactly sure how I came up with the idea to do a “baby love” party, but I think I just wanted something relatively simple and something that conveyed the sweetness that is my baby girl and my enormous love for her. So “baby love” it became. Also, since her birthday is so close to Valentine’s Day, I thought it was fitting.

I chose a pretty color scheme of light pink and sparkly gold.  All of the decor and details from the party are being re-purposed into Juliet’s playroom.

I loved planning Juliet’s party and I love how it all came together. I was fortunate to have lots of help from family and friends leading up to the party.  One important thing I’ve learned since having a baby is to not be afraid to ask for help.  I have an awesome, supportive family who is always here anytime I need them. They all helped and I appreciate it so much.

We held Juliet’s party on her actual birthday on Saturday, February 16th. Erik and my immediate families were invited plus my closest four girlfriends and their families. In total, we had about 27 people over.

I’m going to break Juliet’s party into two parts because I have tons and tons of photos.  Jessica of Live the Fancy Life blog photographed the party.  She recently started consulting (for event planning as well as PR) and she also has a side business doing photography called Jessica Rose Photography.  I knew the day was already going to be crazy enough getting ready for the party, while taking care of a toddler, and I didn’t want the added stress of having to take my own photos.  Hiring Jessica was the best decision.

Photo credits to Jessica Rose Photography.When guests arrived, they were greeted with a “LOVE” table.  I asked everyone to write a “love letter” to Juliet using a pink heart.  I’ll keep these in her baby box and we can read them when she’s older.

Erik spent the couple weeks leading up to the party helping with odds and ends, like spray painting these frames and the giant mirror gold.  I have been planning on getting that up for a while and Juliet’s party finally motivated us to hang it!  The mirror was a $16 find at Good Will.  Spray paint was an additional $15.  I found these cute heart pillows at Target before Valentine’s Day and had them on our couches.

Above the table, we displayed cute LOVE prints I ordered on Etsy and a photo of Juliet from her recent one year session.

I bought the letters at Michaels and had Erik spray paint them gold. Showing the birthday girl her party decorations. This pink yarn wreath with a mini heart banner was on the front door the day of the party. I made this “One” sign (and most of the heart decorations) using a Cricut machine from Staples. The Cricut is awesome and once I figured out how to use it (took me a couple hours) it saved me a lot of time. It cuts shapes and letters with all different fonts.  I will get tons of use out of this thing for all my future party planning!
We had a pretty little display on our mantle above our fireplace.  The love printed frame and all the photos are always there and I added the heart banner, pink yarn wreath with a gold heart and the beautiful “chalkboard”. This chalkboard sign was one of my favorite details of the day, made by my sister-in-law, Nikki of Lovely Scribbles.  I saw something similar on Pinterest and sent her a photo asking if she could make it for Juliet’s party.  Nikki used a piece of black foam core and luckily chalk worked well on it.  It looks like a real chalkboard at a fraction of the price.  The foam core was only $8 at Michaels and Nikki already had the chalk.

We featured Juliet’s “loves” on the sign.  Isn’t it just awesome?  I love it so much I haven’t taken it down. Hearts, hearts and more hearts. We had a drink table set up in the dining room and above it I strung a ribbon with monthly photos of Juliet.  Each photo had a little pink heart in the upper corner with her age.  I love seeing how much she’s grown month-to-month, 12 whole months of my little, beautiful girl.  
We used pretty pink and white striped drink straws for “build-your-own-mimosas”.We kept drinks pretty easy and offered water, orange juice, coffee and mimosas.

See that pretty Jenny Lind high chair?  I found it on Craigs List and Erik spray painted it white (this was sort of last minute and the chair could have really used a second coat).  This was supposed to be Juliet’s smash cake chair but we ended up not using it (Juliet was happy in her other high chair and we decided not to chance it by transferring her).  We had a little “fake” cake smash in Juliet’s one year photo session so we still have cute photos of her in this chair.

Yes, I dressed in theme.  Target had this cute pink heart sweater that I couldn’t pass up for her party.

Juliet’s party was a brunch (my favorite…and Juliet loves it too!).

Here is the menu:

Ham and cheese quiche
Quiche Lorraine
Three cheese quiche
Spinach and cheese quiche
Roasted red breakfast potatoes
Build-your-own-fruit-and-yogurt-parfaits (vanilla yogurt in individual cups with strawberries and granola mix-ins)
Donuts
Heart-shaped pancakes

Almost all of the food was store-bought.  I love the frozen quiche from Byerlies.  Honestly, I’ve learned to be ok with having store-bought food at my parties.  With a baby (toddler!!!) there is not as much time for homemade goodies.
I used a mini heart punch and glued hearts on each cup for the build-your-own-yogurt-parfaits. Can’t have a brunch without a donut tower.  The kiddos loved the donuts. Another one of my favorite details were these heart-shaped pancakes.  I have to give a big shout-out to my mother-in-law, Karen.  She came into town for the weekend and helped out so much.  Karen and Erik made all the pancakes the night before and cut them the morning of (using a heart-shaped cookie cutter).

Aren’t they so super cute?  Idea from Pinterest.

My beautiful little birthday girl!!!  She wore a cute, heart ruffly dress from Old Navy with a pink heart headband from Gap.

Playing with her “desserts” and her new play kitchen.
Hanging with grandma.
Please stay tuned for part two including the invitations, dessert table, photo booth and cake smash photos!!!

Update: click here for part two!  

Vendor credits:

Photography: Jessica Rose Photography
Event styling: Jenna of Eat Drink Pretty
Each beat of my heart Etsy print (in yellow and pink): Etsy Hairbrained Schemes shop 
I love you this much Etsy print (in hot pink): Etsy Hairbrained Schemes shop 
Heart banners, One sign: Cricut Machine from Staples 
“Chalkboard” love sign: Lovely Scribbles
Placecards: Printable template from Onto Baby

Disclosure: Staples provided me with the Cricut Machine.  All the opinions are my own.

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