And just like that I have a toddler. I can’t believe my beautiful baby girl is already one year old. To mark the occasion, we invited family and friends to Georgia’s first ice cream social. It was the perfect theme for a hot summer’s day and we had a blast turning our home into the cutest little ice cream parlour. Check out the details for this sweet celebration!
I’m obsessed with pastels at the moment so ice cream was the perfect theme for a pretty colour palette. Soft pinks, yellows, greens and white with pops of metallic and sparkle peppered décor and tableware. Honeycomb ice cream cones, tassel garland, rose gold balloons and pale purple daisies were a few of my favourite finds when setting the scene. I also shrieked in delight when I discovered Indigo sells ice cream-themed accessories as part of their summer stock. A fun indoor/outdoor throw cushion and beach towel featuring frosty sweet treats were both added to our ice cream social inventory. We also thought we’d put the one million and one pictures we’ve taken of our baby girl to good use and filled frames and walls with strings of pictures from the past 365 days.
An ice cream party wouldn’t be complete without an over-the-top sundae bar featuring oh-so-tasty toppings and fun and festive tableware. Guests were asked to SNATCH a cone, cup or waffle bowl, SCOOP their desired ice cream flavours, SPRINKLE with their favourite toppings, SAVOUR the sweet, sweet goodness and finally, SAVE room for birthday cake. Our toppings included gummy bears, vanilla cake bites, cookie crumble, whipped cream, confetti sprinkles, Skor bites, marshmallows, caramel and chocolate syrup, and maraschino cherries to top it all off. We used a mini deep freezer to hold the ice cream and ice cream treats. To make it look a little less industrial and a lot more parlour-esque, we wrapped the freezer in bright blue wrapping paper and added black letters on the front. It was a simple DIY that fit in perfectly with the rest of the décor.
Once guests had their dessert of choice, everyone was encouraged to head outside for lawn games galore. Chris built beautiful wooden games for our engagement party, so we were excited to break those out and use them once again. Giant Jenga, ladder golf, washer toss and horseshoes were great party games for the young and the young-at-heart.
The cake was the only element where I drifted away from our theme. A nickname like Georgia Peach demands a peach birthday cake and Hello Cupcakes did not disappoint. The adorable two-tier stunner was accented with pale peach and white frosting and the cutest handmade sugar peaches on top.
Upon exiting our little ice cream parlour, each party-goer was given a small tub filled with “1”-shaped sugar cookies. With the help of vistaprint.ca, each tub featured a custom-made ice cream truck sticker with a little note of thanks.
It was the perfect day and I’m so thankful to everyone who came to celebrate our sweet baby girl. Now what will we do next year?!
First Birthday 101
Fun fact: our babies were born just four weeks apart from one another. That means July has become a pretty special month for our family and we’ve been busy planning fun and festive first birthdays for our little ones. With one birthday down and one more to go (insert “I can’t believe my baby is growing up so quickly” sobs here), we thought we’d share a few tips that helped us during the planning process.
Timing is everything
When scheduling your little shindig, pick a chunk of time when your baby isn’t usually napping or gearing down for a sleep. We tried to schedule our afternoon fetes shortly after a big nap and feeding to avoid any overtired, hangry (hungry/angry) babies.
Keep the guest list limited
It may be tempting to invite as many people as possible to such a momentous occasion, but keep in mind that a large guest list may be overwhelming for your little one. We’ve had so much amazing support this year and while there were oodles of people we would love to share this day with, we did our best to invite immediate family and a few close friends of the family. We wanted our babies to know everyone at their party and see familiar faces only.
Well done, you
Let’s be real. Yes, this party is obviously to celebrate our little ones’ first year on earth, but we’re also giving ourselves a pat on the back after our first 365 days of motherhood. From breastfeeding and dirty diapers to teething (why, tho?) and sleep training (or lack thereof…), it’s been a rollercoaster year and we say three cheers to us!
We get a little crazy when it comes to the details of any festive affair and a first birthday party is no exception. That being said, we were proactive when it came to the planning and execution of the day. Get as much as you can get done in advance and don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Take lots of pics and videos
For Jacqueline’s son’s birthday, she requested someone take photos and someone else record videos. That way she and Craig didn’t have to worry about capturing those special moments themselves. At this age, your baby likely won’t remember the day, so images and videos are a great way to share the highlights of the day when they get older.
Be in the moment
It’s easy to get caught up in details and lose sight of the sole purpose of such a special day. That’s why we really wanted to plan ahead and check all the boxes before the day-of. Be present and enjoy every single second of celebrating the first year with your little one.
What tips do you have when planning a first birthday? And how will you celebrate? We’d love to hear from you!
xo Jacqueline & Lindsay
Pumping at Work
Going back to work after maternity leave can be a challenge. Not just practically, but emotionally. For the past year, I spent almost every waking minute with my little one and I loved it. As maternity leave started winding down I began having some anxiety about pumping at work. I work in a traditional office setting and I had concerns about how conducive it would be to my pumping regime.
The good news is it’s not as scary as I thought it would be. Is it awkward? Yes, a bit. It is manageable? Absolutely.
Before I share my tips, let me say that it’s a learning curve. You’ll eventually learn what works best for you. Simple things like what clothes to wear will become more obvious as you go. (But work appropriate yet pumping friendly clothing is a whole other topic…#momlife.) Each day will be a little easier as you develop a routine that suits your needs. Just hang in there.
OK, on to my tips!
1. Plan ahead
Before you return to work, contact your employer and let her or him know you will be pumping so arrangements can be made in advance. More and more employers are anticipating that women will need to pump at work, but having a plan in place before your first day back will help ease your mind and ensure your place of work is ready for you. If your job is mobile and you know you won’t have a designated place to pump, make sure your employer or anyone relying on you knows you will be MIA a few times throughout the day.
2. Pack smart
I use the Medela tote. In my tote I have an ice pack and bottles in a freezer bag. I have a nursing bra that I wear only to pump. I have the pump itself and I have a blanket to catch any leaks. If you know you will be using a nursing bra at work but haven’t used one before, make sure you try it out ahead of time. You may also want to bring a nursing cover depending upon your comfort level and your pumping setup. You want to be confident in your tools.
3. Be open
Things that may seem obvious to you might not be obvious to others who are not in your situation. If you are unhappy with the arrangements that have been made, tell someone. Chances are they will work to find a solution to ensure you can pump as comfortably as possible. Pumping is not shameful, and we shouldn’t feel embarrassed to talk about it when we need to.
4. Ignore the Guilt
When you’re focussed on your job, it can sometimes be hard to disconnect just to eat lunch, let alone to pump. But try as best you can. I don’t check my work e-mails when I pump. I look at pictures of my son and I check with his caregivers to see how he’s doing. If it’s possible, do whatever you can to relax and know that this is a way you can take care of your baby while you’re at work. In a way, it makes me feel closer to my baby boy while in the office.
5. Keep that milk safe
As soon as I’m done pumping, I put the lid on my bottles to avoid spills. I then put the bottles into the freezer bag and the bag into the freezer.
6. Keep it clean
You may want to wash your pump after every use, use a wipe, or put your pump parts into the freezer bag along with the milk so any milk on the pump stays fresh.
7. Don’t leave the milk behind
This may seem obvious, but I wasn’t used to thinking about collecting my milk before I left work. To ensure I don’t leave it behind, I set an alarm that pops up on my phone at the same time every day, reminding me to grab my milk!
If you’re pumping at work, you are not alone! There are thousands of us standing with you. You got this, mama!
If you have tips for breastfeeding at work, leave them in the comments. I’d love to know!
A Carnival Themed Birthday
My little boy recently turned a year old and to celebrate this momentous occasion, we turned Lindsay’s backyard into a carnival fit for a (little) king! My inspiration was Jillian Harris’ birthday party for her adorable son Leo. I read and re-read her blog post showcasing fun décor, yummy treats and smiling faces. I knew I had to do something similar for my own baby boy.
While I loved all the details at the party, I think my favourite detail was the candy bar. We purchased a variety of glass jars and filled them with gummy bears, sour candies, lollipops, jellybeans and more! It was a kid’s (and kid at heart) dream!
And what’s a carnival without cotton candy and popcorn? Glow Parties supplied concessions, carnival games, and balloons. The last time I had cotton candy I was eight years old at the circus. This nostalgic, sugary treat put smiles on everyone’s face!
My husband, being the extraordinary dad that he is, made corndogs from scratch and nachos with an amazing cheese sauce. Oh my goodness!! They were so good!
We ordered a cake from Frostings Cake and Event Design and it was truly a work of art. It was a three tier, carnival-inspired masterpiece. And even though I knew we had an amazing cake for our guests, I wanted to bake my son’s birthday cake myself. I made a six-inch round funfetti cake that I hope to make every year for his birthday.
My son enjoyed his party but let’s be serious, he likely won’t have vivid memories of this birthday. So, I purchased a personalized guestbook for him to have as a keepsake and read when he gets older. Guests took a polaroid photo of themselves and wrote a message next to their photo in the book.
It was such a special day. Our guestlist was small so my son felt comfortable and was able to enjoy himself. I honestly cried about five times, beginning the night before the birthday (there were no tears at the actual party). They were tears of joy and gratitude. (Can you cry tears of gratitude? I think I did! 😊) I am so thankful for this past year and the blessing of my son. From start to finish, his birthday was an absolute celebration of an amazing little boy.
Thank you to Lindsay and her husband, Chris, for sharing their house and party planning expertise. A big thank you to my parents for assembling décor and helping to pull the day together. Of course, thank you to my husband, Craig, who listens to my ideas and helps me execute them. This man is seriously so supportive, and he worked so hard to throw an amazing first birthday party!
Happy birthday, baby boy! We love you more than words can express.
After an amazing long weekend full of patriotic love and first birthday festivities, we’re looking ahead to the next few weeks and have compiled our checklist for July. This month, it’s all about delicious and nutritious meal prep, lots of time outside and spending quality time with the ones we love. Check out what we’ve got planned for July!
Sensational summer salads
While we can always get down with a burger, on hot summer days we tend to crave a fresh, hearty and oh-so delicious summer salad. Spinach, shaved carrots, nuts, quinoa and cold noodles are all seasonal salad staples. The best part is it can be made in advance and munched on throughout the week (three cheers for make-ahead meals!).
First things first
Summer 2018 comes with many firsts for our little ones. We’re looking forward to the first time their little toes take a dip into a fresh body of water, their first taste of sugary goodness at each birthday bash, their first picnic in the park and lots of day trippin’ to not-so-far-away hidden gems.
We recently celebrated Jacqueline’s son’s first birthday and now we’re just weeks away from celebrating Lindsay’s baby girl. With just four weeks between the two (not planned), July has officially become a party month for our family.
If you’re looking to update your outdoor décor, now’s the time to scan stores for their summer deals. Many retailers are already stocking up for fall which means their summer merchandise gots-to-go! Snag your very own steal-of-a-deal to complete your outdoor space.
We love hosting a good backyard bash, so we’re always looking for ways to improve our outdoor spaces. From grooming our gardens to giving our patio furniture a good scrub-a-dub, we’re excited to create an outdoor oasis perfect for hosting and toasting!
What's on your to-do list this month? Happy July friends!
Jacqueline & Lindsay xo
Jacqueline and Lindsay are sisters and new moms living on the East Coast of Canada.