Birthday parties are always a little chaotic, but I really love having family and friends at the house to celebrate our kids with us. I’m not really sure how our sweet baby girl is already one year old…that whole newborn fog for the first few months just isn’t fair, it makes time go so much faster, especially with the second one!
I always have fun getting creative with the kids’ parties and it was extra fun to plan a girl’s birthday party! We went with the theme Winter “One”derland…and I have no idea how people planned anything before Pinterest! The snowman cheese ball was a first time recipe, but it was cute…so I didn’t care if it was that delicious or not! 😉 It turned out to be really good as well as adorable, win-win! I got the recipe here.
“Snow Banks” was the only clever name we could come up with for a white chocolate Chex Mix recipe, I found that recipe here, but I’d leave out the vanilla. I love white hot chocolate and this recipe is delicious, but very rich!! Just don’t forget to turn the crockpot down after a bit or it gets too hot to drink!
With Kevin I thought I’d do a studio style milestone photo for each month, well that stopped after about month three and then I was lucky to remember any milestone picture. So, for Sloane I bought the stickers and stuck to it, sorta…I mean, she is the second kid! 😉 So we got one every month-ish in the same chair and it was such a fun addition to her party, plus it’s really fun to see how much she changed from one month to the next.
My favorite picture of the day! <3
A hot mess..every photo. Trying to get a posed family shot makes me sweat!
Happy Birthday, sweet Sloane! We love you!! And a huge thank you to our family and friends who came to celebrate our little lady!
Both of our kids LOVE bath time! I grabbed some bath fizzies at the store to put in Kevin’s stocking for Christmas and he was so excited to try them. The first time we used one, the whole upstairs smelled weird. They were “Birthday Cake” scented…so there’s that, but the smell lingered all night and was so gross. The second time we used one (because I forgot to throw them out before he could request another one), his face got in the water and he told me his cheeks were burning…um what?! All the children out.of.the.tub. And the bath fizzies went right in the trash.
I started searching for recipes to make our own and found a good one that has worked great!
The oils we chose were Peace and Calming and Lavender because these are great for calming before bed, and Grapefruit and Lemon because they are uplifting and Lemon is good for detox. Next time I would use the Gentle Baby blend as well.
-Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients separately.
-Then SLOWLY add wet ingredients and mix into the dry ingredients, again stir or whisk slowly. I added about 1 tsp at a time and stirred, then repeated until it was all mixed. If you do this too quickly, the citric acid will react! You still might see some fizzing, that should be fine.
-Then, fill the molds with the mixture-there is a trick to this. If you press too hard when you pack the molds, it won’t come out, if you don’t pack it firmly enough, it won’t stick together. It might take some trial and error, but you’ll get the hang of it!
Once the fizzies were formed into balls, I just set them on these silicone molds to dry, which worked great because they were soft. You could try just a regular baking rack as well.
These have been so fun, they fizz when you drop them in the water and I know exactly what’s in them with the added health benefits of essential oils for my kids!
Let me know if you make them! I’d love to hear how you like them! If you want to know more about oils, I’d be happy to chat! Leave your email in the comments or email me at email@example.com and I’ll get in touch!
Last weekend we took a trip on the “Polar Express” to the “North Pole” and it was one of the coolest things we’ve experienced as parents, and of course Kevin loved it too! Since the train leaves from Owosso, MI, which is quite a drive from Grand Rapids, and the train left at 10am, we stayed at a hotel in Lansing on Friday night. It was Kevin’s first time in a hotel and he could not contain himself! He was running all through the room and checking everything out, he went into the bathroom and yelled, “There’s even a blowdryer in here!!” (It’s the little things! 😉 ) Before putting the kids to bed we went to the pool for a bit and he went for a little ride on the luggage cart, again, in Kevin’s world…best thing ever. Sloane was along for the ride, but as far as we can tell, she loved the trip too!
The trip is actually called The North Pole Express and it’s put on by the Steam Railroading Institute. This train is the train they got all the sounds from for the Polar Express movie…ridiculously cool. The whole thing is very non-commercialized, reasonably priced and so special. All of the workers on the train are volunteers and are so excited about what they are doing and the excitement of the kids.
Kevin was AMAZED! He didn’t fully understand what was happening until we were on the train, but once we were on board, he kept saying, “Can you believe it?!” The train ride was an hour long through farm country and we drank hot chocolate, ate snacks, and saw lots of “reindeer”, the deer were running like crazy through the fields. Again, simple and so fun.
When we arrived at “The North Pole” which is actually a tiny town called Ashley, we got off the train and were given a map of all the things to do. Each child was given a piece of paper to put their name in the drawing for the first gift of Christmas which was handed out right before we re-boarded the train. The whole central part of town was decorated for Christmas and there were high school kids dressed as elves walking around and helping out. Each location was set up with things to do; there were animals to pet and feed, including reindeer, the community center was a toy shop where Kevin made a toy, Santa was in a large tent, cookie decorating, face painting, balloon animals, glass blowing, the list goes on and on. I’m really not sure how 800 people got off a train in a tiny town and there weren’t crazy lines, but we hardly waited for anything, except Santa, which was maybe 30 minutes and Kevin, Sloane, and I went to decorate a cookie while Charlie waited.
Watching Kevin as we got close to his turn to talk to Santa almost made me cry. He was so excited, and a little nervous, but so poised. He knew exactly what he wanted to chat about and ask for. I just wanted to bottle up the moment and keep him this age forever. I’ve always loved Christmas time, but kids make it so magical. The train was parked on the edge of town and pulled forward for everyone to board to head back, it was really exciting to see it moving since we were on it earlier and didn’t get to see all the steam. When we got back on the train there was a bell for everyone, we also got fun mugs (and I really love a mug to add to my collection!). We were in town for two hours, which was the perfect amount of time because we were all getting cold. Once we were on the train again, we warmed up, drank some more hot chocolate and snuggled two tired kids! It was an awesome day and one that Kevin will talk about for a long time.
A few things I’d recommend now that we’ve done this:
*Spring for the Cocoa Class, we did this and you have more room in the seats with a little table in between and you get hot chocolate on the way to and from the North Pole.
* DRESS WARM. We were bundled, but I would have bundled more had I known most of the activities, food, and santa were outside. Some things are in buildings and Santa was in a tent, but not a heated one! We had a cold, snowy day which made the North Pole that much better, but we could have used another layer!
*Strollers are necessary and super easy. When you get on the train they take it, when you get off, it’s there waiting for you. You’ll want it for littler ones once you arrive in town.
*Bring cash. Everything is SO reasonable and it’s way easier to have cash.
*Pack Snacks. The train ride was an hour, which was the perfect amount of time, but on the way home we were hungry, snacks would have been perfect and would have kept Kevin occupied.
*You have two hours in town which is the perfect amount of time, but start with Santa just to make sure you have enough time to see him and don’t have to wait super long.
Tickets for the North Pole Express go on sale early in the fall, September maybe?? I can’t remember the exact date. Follow their Facebook page for the info! Tickets go quick!
I hope you all have a magical Christmas with your family and friends!
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When your friends come from Ohio to stay the weekend and do family pictures and they are this cute, AND while talking over outfit choices I asked Laurie, “What’s Matt wearing?” And she replies with, “He wants to wear a bowtie…” you know it’s going to be a good session!
Beyond an awesome day for a session, we had fun wandering downtown Grand Rapids for Art Prize with the kids and catching up over campfires…which we don’t get to do that often since they are in Ohio. I feel so blessed to have such great friends who are willing to make the drive for my photography and our friendship.
I’d love to schedule a session for you! I’m now booking for 2017!
I had the chance to meet with Dan and Lillian to capture some maternity photos before I meet their new baby boy in a few weeks! I always love when my newborn moms book maternity sessions because it’s so fun to hear about all the baby prep, nursery decor, ALL the baby supplies, name decisions, and the general anticipation. Then when I get to see them again after baby arrives and they’ve settled in to their new role in parenthood, it’s so fun to catch up again about all the new excitement, baby snuggles, and sleepless adjustments.
Dan and Lillian are so excited to meet their little babe and like all parents are a bit overwhelmed by the amount of baby supplies that quickly filled their home from generous showers…those tiny little people sure require a lot of stuff!! I’m so excited to hear what name they decide on for Baby F., it’s a big decision and like Lillian said, “So permanent!”.
It’s clear that these two are a great pair and their baby boy is so lucky to have two amazing parents anxiously awaiting his arrival!
Be sure to check out my Facebook and Instagram for sneak peeks when Baby F arrives! If you are looking to book a session, I am now booking for 2017 and I recommend that you schedule your newborn session early in your second trimester to assure availability.
Be sure to jump on my email list so you never miss a session sale, mini session date, or update, and don’t worry, I won’t flood your inbox, just a little happy mail every now and then!! 🙂