JBF Issaquah Sale & Giveaway

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Shopping for outfits, toys, and gear for our little ones is so much fun… until you see the hefty price tag that comes with it. Have you ever walked into a kids clothing store, just to walk right back out the door? I totally have, because I refuse to pay a ton of money on clothes that will be outgrown in no time at all. Well I found the perfect solution to this issue! The “Just Between Friends” (JBF) sale!

JBF is a consignment sale, of gently used or new items, that has many events all over the nation. You can head to jbfsale.com to find your local event. Here are just some of the things that may be available at the sales: clothing (infant-teen, as well as maternity), diaper bags, pack & plays, strollers, toys, items for feeding, nursery gear, and so much more. I love going to my local sale because I can get clothes 50-90% off retail, Melissa & Doug toys 25-30% off retail, and pretty much anything Echo could need at a deep discounted price. I have gone to every JBF Issaquah sale since finding out I was pregnant with Echo. It has helped my family stick to a budget while still getting Echo super cute clothes.

Here are some of the items I picked up at the March sale!

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$90 for so many clothes and shoes!

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My favorite shirt I picked up for Echo, rhino shirt.

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Osh Kosh Tan Skinny Jeans

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Tucker & Tate black sneakers

If you sign up to consign or volunteer, you get to shop a pre sale before the public is able to. This is a great opportunity for families to make some cash for all of their gently used or new baby gear. I would definitely encourage any families with lots of clothes, toys, or gear to consign.

If you live in the Seattle area, come shop the Issaquah sale! I am giving away a Primetime shopping pass for the Issaquah sale which starts at 4pm on Wednesday October 4th. This is an opportunity to shop before the public. I will give one ticket to 2 winners and will announce them on Friday September 29th! Here’s how to enter: sign up to my email list (click the “follow” button and enter your email), like “Just Between Freinds Seattle East” on Facebook, like “The Lil Things Blog” on Facebook, then come back here and comment “done”. Super simple! Good luck!

Thanks so much for reading this! Share this with your friends so they can enter too. Hope to see you at the JBF Issaquah sale!

 

Happy Little Camper Review

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Have you ever looked at what is in your baby’s wipes? It is shocking what some companies want you to use on your child. Up until now I have made my own baby wipes from paper towels, pure castile soap, coconut oil, and water. Recently I started looking at better options than conventional baby wipes and found “Happy Little Camper”.

Happy Little Camper is a 100% non-gmo cotton baby wipe. They are hypoallergenic and biodegradable. These baby wipes contain organic Aloe Vera which leaves the skin nourished and refreshed. They have a great thickness to them and are very soft. It’s important that the wipes aren’t super wet and also not too dry. These are the perfect balance. They are durable and stand up to any mess (pee, poop, and after meal clean up). I am really happy with how these wipes perform!

These wipes are free of fragrance (known to be a huge toxin), silicone, parabens, polyethylene glycols (polymers of ethylene oxide), and polyethylene terephthalate (synthetic plastic polymers). It is also free of chlorine and ethyl alcohol! I liked that these wipes are free of some of the big nasty chemicals!

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Most families are on a budget, mine included. We aren’t made of money and the diapers and wipes cost adds up quick. These baby wipes are the same price as conventional wipes, but without some of the nasty chemicals. A 72 count pack is $3.99. They also have to-go wipe packs (3, 20 count packs) for $5.99.

If you are looking for a better baby wipe option, definitely check out Happy Little Camper!

Have you tried Happy Little Camper? Comment below 🙂 Thank you for reading!  Remember to click follow to get email upsdates on new content!

 

Sun’s out, Bugs out!

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Since Seattle has gotten a little bit of warm weather, the bugs are starting to come out. Insect repellents are full of crazy toxic chemicals. Last year I started hunting for better alternatives that still perform!

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Every year I get sooooo many bug bites! I do not know what it is about me, but mosquitos love me. Last spring/summer I made my own bug spray that I used. It is an essential oil mixture that performed AMAZING! I did not get any bites on the places I sprayed. I don’t use this on Echo, because I don’t know the exact dilution of my mixture and it hasn’t been tested. It is super easy to make and works great. Here’s the recipe:

-4 oz. blue glass spray bottle

-Fill 3/4 of the way with water

-Add 2 Tablespoons Witch Hazel

-Add 10 drops Peppermint Essential Oil & 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil (I use Young Living)

-Shake before each use & spray on

Puracy Natural Bug Spray

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For Echo, I really like using the Puracy Bug Spray! One of the big things that I like about it is that it is 100% DEET free. It’s also free of other nasty substances like Formaldehyde, parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and more. It is made up of essential oils and botanical extracts which smell great! The peppermint, citronella, geranium, lemongrass, and Vanilla all blend well together. It isn’t greasy when you spray it on your body and then rub it in. It is recommended that you consult with your child’s physician if you intend to use it on a baby younger than 6 months. I used this on Echo last summer when he was 17-21 months old. He had no reactions or anything to the spray itself. He didn’t get any bug bites, so it performed great! It is also pretty budget friendly at $12 for a 4 oz. spray bottle. We only used one bottle last spring/summer. Puracy was definitely a better option than conventional bug sprays for my family!

Hope you are all enjoying this Spring sunshine! Have you tried natural & non toxic bug sprays? Comment below 🙂 share with friends.

Thrive Market

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Due to my health struggles and how difficult it has been to live a normal life, I was on a hunt to find a place to buy natural/organic foods for my family online. I kept seeing other green living bloggers post about this online market called “Thrive Market” and decided to check it out! I think I have been a member for about 6 months now and love shopping through them.

To shop you create a profile and start a 30 day trial, then at the end of the trial period you start a membership which costs about $60 a year. One of the really cool things about Thrive Market is that when you pay for your membership, you are also sponsoring a low-income family so they have access to healthy foods! I have looked at other healthy/organic stores for the products i like to buy through Thrive, and you really are getting a good deal.

A feature that I really like about Thrive is that you can shop according to diet restrictions. Each product has multiple “values” which could include gluten-free, vegan, made in the USA, supports charity, and many many more. It makes it easier to find what you are looking for.

Some of the things I buy from Thrive Market:

One Degree Organic Foods- Organic Sprouted Brown Rice Cocoa Crisps

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We eat this cereal as a dessert most of the time. It is very sweet and chocolatey, so it makes the perfect sweet treat here and there. These cocoa crisps are organic, non-gmo, gluten-free, and vegan. Our whole family can eat them. The only negative is that for my house full of guys, the 10 oz. box doesn’t last long haha. But that isn’t that big of a problem.

Primal Kitchen Avocado Oil

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We used to use a lot of olive oil, but I was reading about smoke points (I’ll write about this in a different blog post) and wanted something with a higher smoke point. We tried out this avocado oil and love it! It is 100% avocado oil, and comes in a dark glass bottle.

Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Morsels 

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One thing that I struggle with is finding things that fit with the restricted diet that I stick to. These chocolate morsels were a great find for me because they are gluten, dairy, soy, and nut free (and free of a few more common allergens). We are a house full of cookie monsters, so this makes it possible for us all to eat chocolate chip cookies!

Primal Kitchens Chipotle Lime Mayo w/ Avocado Oil

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This is one of our absolute favorite products to order! It is seriously so yummy! It has a good kick and great flavor. We use it on sandwiches, sweet potato hash, and also use it as a dipping sauce for meats. This product is also another great find that fits with my restricted diet. It is gluten, dairy, soy, and sugar free. It is also organic and uses cage free eggs. This mayo is added to my cart with every order haha.

Simple Mills Almond Flour Crackers

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This is the number one cracker in my book! Simple Mills has three flavors that are dairy free: Sundried Tomato & Basil, Sea Salt, and Rosemary & Sea Salt. They also have a Farmhouse Cheddar flavor which is rBST free. They are all gluten and soy free as well as organic and non-gmo. These crackers are also toddler approved! Echo’s favorite is the Farmhouse Cheddar flavor, but he likes them all.

I also want to add that their customer service has been very helpful. Recently one of my sauces broke during transit, and I contacted them on how to replace it. Because they are an environmentally conscious company, they won’t just send out replacement products (which I thought was really cool). As a customer, it would be easy to freak out and say no I want my product. But as someone who is environmentally conscious I admire that they stick to their guns and just give you store credit so that you can purchase it with your next box of products.

No matter what your diet, definitely check out Thrive Market! What was your Thrive Market experience? Comment below 🙂 like this post and follow the blog.

“Just Between Friends” Consignment Sale

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If you have seen my Instagram stories, you know that last night was the “Just Between Friends” (JBF) Sale. Every fall and spring there is a sale near me. It allows me to get good quality clothes for 50-90% off retail prices. There are sales all over the Puget Sound area and the entire nation. To find a location near you, check out Just Between Friends.

My mother-in-love and I go to every sale to stock up on the upcoming season’s clothes. The one last night was the sale that I shop for spring and summer clothes, which Echo had none of. We spent a total of $83 on clothes. All the clothes and shoes were gently used and in great condition! I even scored a few designer brand items for super cheap. Below I will go through a couple of items that i picked up and what I saved.

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I am obsessed with this rhino shirt! So cute and different! It is from EGG baby and retails for around $50. At the sale I snagged it for $3, seriously. That comes out to 94% savings. It takes time to look through everything but there are such great clothes at the sale.

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We are a Vans and Converse family, so I really liked the style of these sneakers. They look like good shoes for church, since they are a little more dressy than the usual sneaker. At the register, the cashier was like “Oh! Tucker & Tate, good find!” and I had no clue what was so special about them haha. Well then I looked it up and these are sold at Nordstrom for $45+. They are in great condition and I only paid $9. That’s 80% savings.

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Along with Converse and Vans, we are a skinny jean family. These Osh Kosh skinny jeans would retail for around $28. At the sale they were $3! That is 90% savings.

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As a whole, based on this receipt, I saved 78% by shopping through a consignment sale. All the items would come out to around $400 at full retail price, but I paid $86 total. Children can totally dress fashionable on a budget :). Honestly, if I paid the full price for a lot of these clothes I would be paranoid about them getting dirty. I feel like I can relax and let Echo be a kid in his clothes!

Do you shop consignment sales? Comment below with your experience. Remember to subscribe to my blog for email updates on new blog posts!

 

Dealing with Emotions

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Health, relationships, finances, etc. can all stress us out and cause us to be emotional. It is hard not to get caught up in the circumstances that we find ourselves in. Life happens and we become overwhelmed.

I have been dealing with health issues for a while now. My health issues have made it hard for me to leave the house, and completely stopped my social life. After a while of struggling through each day, I started feeling down and lonely. The people that I saw all the time before I got sick, when I was out and about and that I did life with, I no longer saw or interacted with. Our church campus was an hour away along with most of our friends which was not doable for me and body. So we switched church campuses to one that was only 35 minutes away, but didn’t have many friends. I was embarrassed to share what was happening with me to the people that used to surround me. My physical limitations, extreme anxiety, and embarrassment led to me feeling completely alone.

One thing I didn’t really do was open up about what my struggles have been. Very few people knew what I was going through because I was embarrassed about my health issues. I also didn’t want to complain or “burden” people with my struggles. Looking at it now, I definitely would communicate what I have been going through. Friends are their to walk with you, pray for you, and love you through your journey. Let your friends in, so they can give you support. I am extremely thankful for those that have been there to encourage me and pray for me along the way.

I have read about the “baby blues” that happens for a couple weeks after childbirth. I have seen it in myself and other young moms that are adjusting to their new season of life. This was definitely something I struggled with. I had to adjust to not being able to go out to coffee with all my girlfriends on a whim, going shopping whenever, serving at church, and being on the go 24/7. Just to clarify, I am NOT saying that having a child is bad or an inconvenience. I am wanting to encourage other mamas out there to embrace this new season and pace of life. This is beautiful season of raising this little one you brought into the world.

After struggling with my health issues for some time, my physical limitations  and anxiety started to get to me emotionally. I was becoming depressed. I have dealt with depression before and did not want to go back to that place! This is when I mentioned my emotions to my doctor. I would encourage anyone dealing with depression or anxiety to talk with their doctor. Sometimes it might be a small change in attitude or habits that is needed, it might be a need for therapy, or it might need medical intervention.

Every single day I have to deliberately choose a positive attitude. When you are struggling to get out of bed and complete daily tasks, it is so easy to have a “why me?” attitude. If I’m letting that creep into my mind and stay in that dark space, I won’t get better. Health is mind, body, and soul. To get better, I have to choose joy everyday and trust that God is going to pull me through this. I shared this verse previously in my “health struggle” post, but this is what I have been reading over and over in this season:

“My health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is forever mine.” -Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

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Along with being positive in my attitude and surrounding myself with supportive people, I push myself to get out of the house. This is not pushing myself to where it hurts me more, but challenging and retraining myself gradually. For me, going to the grocery store, the park, the lake, the pumpkin patch, or the end of the block and back is all helpful and encouraging to me. These little victories help me physically and emotionally so much! Celebrate these little victories and soak up the moments!

I am by no means perfect, and am going through all of this as I type it. I am here to share with you my struggles/be transparent, encourage you, and believe that we will be whole and healthy. What is one of your little victories that you celebrate?

The Second Year

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Photo by Brittany Copenhaver

My favorite advice I got from a mom (before I was even married or had a baby) was “the days are long and the years are short, so soak up every moment”. A year feels like it goes by so quick! It’s my baby boy’s birthday and I like sharing the good and the not so glamorous moments from each year. So here we go!

  • Pets are great!

This year I noticed how good it is for Echo to have a furry friend to play with and adventure with. As Echo became mobile, started walking and running, Beefy and him had so much fun throwing the ball around or playing “tag”. They love each other, and I can’t wait to see what adventures they go on in the future! I would definitely recommend having an animal in the home whether it’s a cat, dog, or whatever animal you prefer.

  • Cuddle Often

Babies grow soooooo quick! Enjoy the infant stage, and then in the toddler stage soak up those cuddles. Echo isn’t the cuddliest child, but every now and then when he wakes up from his nap he will sit on my lap and snuggle with me. Take those moments! The to-do list can wait, it may only be for a minute or two, but these are times you’ll cherish as they grow.

  • Say I love you often

Your child needs to hear that you love him. I feel like I say “i love you” all the time, and nothing beats the little smile i get because Echo loves hearing it.  I also feel that if you are married your child also needs to see you and your spouse being loving and affectionate. I think it was in September or maybe over the summer, but Sterling and I were laughing and kissing and Echo was watching us from his high chair. Sterling’s mom came up and said it is so good for Echo to see that. It just stuck with me. I want Echo to see love and respect between Sterling and I.

  • Have Patience

This is one I remind myself of daily! I am your normal mom that struggles with having patience and keeping my cool in frustrating situations. The toddler attitude/tantrum stage is no joke. Pushing buttons, whining, throwing objects, throwing tantrums, pinching, and doing things that he was just told not to do, are all a part of my day with Echo. In these moments, I discipline when needed but remind myself he is learning how to handle his emotions and I need to have patience with him. I literally remind myself, whether in my head or out loud, because I don’t want to yell or get caught up in the moment (which still happens).

  • Every child is different

I said this in my “The First Year” post, but it is so true that every child is different and develops at their own place. Echo is struggling to say words or meet the amount of words he should have by now. It’s so easy for me to get discouraged and compare him to kids that had a ton of words super early, but that is not beneficial for him or me. The best thing I can do is continue to encourage him to say things and focus on helping him develop the way he needs. Every child is unique.

What have you learned this year with the two year old in your life? Comment below 🙂

Wedding on a Budget!

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Every wedding has a budget. Some people have lots of money saved up and others don’t. For Sterling and I, we were not swimming in cash when we got married. We had just finished an internship with our church, and did not have the cash saved up to throw a huge traditional wedding (we wouldn’t have wanted that anyway). During the planning process I had to get creative, while not settling on what we pictured for our special day. Here’s how we had our perfect wedding on a budget!

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I am a “Say Yes to the Dress” fanatic! So for me, of course the dress was a super important part of the wedding. I had seen a dress that a childhood friend wore at her wedding and fell in love with it! I went and tried it on (very important, because what you love may not be what looks good on), and it looked great! The dress, alterations, and a veil would have been close to $2,500 if I bought it from the boutique I visited. Now because I am not a person who could pay that much for a dress I’m going to wear once, I started searching discount dress websites to find my dress for less. We found it for half of the boutique cost! It was a bigger size, but close enough that I could have it altered to fit perfectly. The veil was another thing I saved money on. A new veil from the boutique was $200-$400. I couldn’t pay that, even though they were gorgeous. My mother-in-law helped by making one. The veil mesh material cost probably $3 for a yard, which we then cut to the right shape, and pinned into place with bobby pins and a tiara ($20). All together, for dress and veil we paid half of what it would have cost from the boutique.

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Venue is a huge part of a wedding! Everyone loves something different. For Sterling and I we wanted to have a summer wedding outdoors. How we saved money on the venue was choosing to have it at one of the campuses of our church. Sterling worked for the church, so he got a discount. The courtyard of our intern campus was perfect! We were one of 2 couples ever to use the courtyard for a wedding. Since it was a church, there were rules that we had to follow (no alcohol, no sit down dinner, no dancing, etc.). That’s where our personal quirks helped out too. Sterling does not like dancing and we don’t drink alcohol a lot; so we were able to make the venue work for how we wanted our ceremony to go! Now I understand not everyone works for a church and gets a discount, but being creative on the location and style of ceremony can help with your budget.

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For the guys, we added some unique touches to the outfit. We are not suit or tux kind of people and the one thing Sterling wanted was custom Converse. The guys outfit cost about $120 which included the white button down shirt, wax coated skinny jeans, bowtie, and Converse shoes. One thing I am thankful for now is letting Sterling have his say on what the guys wore, because it made our wedding that much more US. This outfit was perfect! And every anniversary, Sterling wears his custom Converse when we go out!

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Another way I saved money was not decorating with flowers! These bouquets are literally the only flowers we bought. Daisies are my favorite flowers (also one of the cheapest) and we only bought them for bouquets. Flowers totaled $60 from the flower warehouses in Seattle. Because our venue was had trees and plants already we did not need to add more flowers to it. We spent money on bulb lights for the trees, waterproof votive lights for the fountain, and goldfish to put in the fountain pond.

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At our wedding, we did not do a sit down dinner (HUGE MONEY SAVER). We served hors d’oeuvres and then had fire pits (supervised) and roasting stations for s’mores. We loved having this unique touch at our wedding! Some of our favorite things as a couple is stargazing and s’mores, and we were able to have both at our wedding. For the s’mores we bought gourmet marshmallows in bulk, chocolate in bulk, and built the boxes by hand to store everything. We took an afternoon to put together boxes and it was super easy. Measure, cut, nail together, and stain. To this day we still use these boxes as planters. They are on our deck currently.

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When planning a wedding, I cannot stress enough how important it is to be creative! A wedding is a celebration of two people coming together as one, so make it unique to you as a couple! That could mean a traditional wedding or one completely out of the box. Do what you want on your big day! Have fun, be patient, and stick to the budget (you don’t want to start marriage in debt).

What things did you do to save money on your big day?

Like, comment, share 🙂

All photos in this post are copyrighted by Art Mendoza of Art Mendoza Photography.

The First Year

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Having a child changes your life in so many ways! Some changes are amazing, but others are the most challenging things you will ever face. I’m a normal mom just like you and am constantly learning how to be the best I can be in this new season. In this blog post I wanted to share some of the things I have learned from the first year since having my son.

  • Enjoy the “lil things”!

Mom life isn’t always glamorous. You get thrown up on, blown out on, are exhausted and run on coffee, BUT nothing beats the little smile and the love that your little one gives you. Stay positive mama, and enjoy all the small moments of each “first”, take every cuddle your little one gives you, and shower your baby with unconditional love!

  • Everyone Has An Opinion

There is value in taking advice from people around you. However, when I got pregnant and after having my son, I was overwhelmed with people telling me “to do this and do that”. Everywhere I turned someone was telling me their opinions on how to raise my son. Whether that was breastfeeding, vaccinations, everyday activities, sleep training, etc. Do what YOU feel is best for your baby! I honestly thought I wouldn’t know a thing about taking care of a baby, but I was surprised that I naturally knew what to do. You’ve got this! You were made for this! And if you ever have questions, ask someone you trust.

  • Every Child Is Different

It is so easy as a mom to say “my friends baby was doing this by such and such an age, why isn’t my child doing that [?]”. Or “your child is so calm and well-behaved, I have a rebellious little one”. Do not compare your child to another little one! Instead, recognize that every child is different and grows/develops at their own pace, in their own unique way. Hang in there, your child will sleep through the night, gain weight, get teeth, start walking, start talking, and learn what “no” means. It will be at his or hers own pace.

  • Life Really Does Change

Having a baby changes your schedule and activities (an obvious one, I know). Going into motherhood, I don’t think I grasped just how much everything would change. We were late to everything or missed activities completely because our schedule revolved around eating and sleeping times. We struggled getting date nights because we didn’t want to leave our son, I started having health problems, and we were just exhausted. I also started feeling lonely because I wasn’t a social butterfly anymore. Give yourself time to adjust! Just like when people get married and are learning to live with your spouse, this season of parenthood is learning to live with and care for your sweet little one. It takes time to adjust and work through different emotions. Embrace the change, it is just a season. Family is the most important thing.

These are just a couple of things that I learned through pregnancy and year one. Just want to encourage all the mamas reading to enjoy this season and keep positive! You can do this! What are some things you have learned through pregnancy, the first year of being a mom, or the many years of motherhood? Thanks so much for reading!

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Happy Birthday!

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December 5th was the 1st birthday party for my adorable baby boy! I cannot believe that a year has gone by already! I love seeing my son grow and love his cute personality that is being shown more and more everyday. In this blog post, i wanted to share the pictures from the party and what I have been working on the past couple weeks! 20151205_121301-1

We had about 30 guests so we held the party at a small local event hall. Everything that I planned for the party was done keeping cost down and turning up the creativity. My first DIY aspect to the party was this “happy birthday” banner. I used a cardboard box (FREE) and cut out each letter, then I covered it with scrapbook paper, and duct taped the letters to twine. It cost less than $5 to make.

I bought balloons (blue & yellow) and really liked the idea of attaching photos, from the past year, to each balloon. I then needed to tape the photos to the wall so that they did not twist around. Balloons were probably the most costly decor item ($50 for 30). The photos were a promotion by shutterfly for 101 free prints ($7 s+h).

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Table centerpieces were made up of a paper mache “1” which I painted blue and yellow, then we attached a balloon to create height. We also scattered coloring pages on the table with pictures that related to different things in our son’s life (Bulldog, beekeeper, trains, etc.).

For food we did a baked potato bar, YUUUUUMMM! The toppings included butter, bacon, cheese, sour cream, chives, chili, sauteed veggies, and steamed broccoli. There was also a spinach, feta, avocado, almond, and craisin salad. We offered coffee and spa water as beverages.

MY FAVORITE PART was the milk & cookies bar! My family loves cookies so we decided not to do cake, and we went with cookies! Nom nom nom! Our baby boy loved his chocolate chip cookie with lots of whipped cream on top! I created each chalkboard that was scattered around the room from canvas or wood and chalkboard paint. So much fun being creative and making the large chalkboard that displayed info about our son.

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Lastly, as favors we did a package for kids that consisted of animal crackers, bubbles, and a toy. For the adults, i made small vanilla natural soy candles in baby food jars.

The party went so well, and we are so thankful for everyone who came and showed our baby boy some love on his birthday! Follow, like, share, & pin. Thank you for reading my blog!