Party Prep and Inspiration – Carnival Birthday

Jude’s birthday is around the corner.  (How do I have a ten month old!?  …..but that’s another post.)  I am in full swing for party prep around here.   I first saw the idea for a circus party, this post actually, late one night while I was up with a tiny newborn, and I have been in love ever since.  Now it seems like circus/carnival themes are EVERYWHERE, or maybe I am just noticing them more since it’s on my mind.  I love that so many elements are DIY and can save you lots of money since parties can be quite expensive if you aren’t careful.  The internet is a goldmine for inspiration on this theme, and Google Images is my best friend lately.  Behold the beauty!  (Click on the image if you want a closer look.)

Sources for the above inspirations: Peppers and Pollywogs, The Sweetest OccasionMartha Stewart Miko Design , Joyful Weddings and Events, The Creative Party Place, Gordon Gossip, 45 Wall Design , Jolie Jolie Design


With a mobile and curious little boy, I don’t have loads of time, so most of my crafting is done late at night after he’s asleep.  I have managed to sew a few pennant flags.

I love the idea of using fabric instead of paper so that I can reuse them in years to come.

….And make a banner for his high chair when he eats his birthday cupcake.

I can't wait to see him smash cupcake on his face!

There’s much more crafting to be done, and I know the date will sneak up on me, and I’ll be in a mad fury to finish half-done projects the week before, but as a party-planning fiend, I’m excited to see the final result.  I’m also designing my own invitations for the first time ever using my digital scrapbooking program.  In the end, after you pay for cardstock and ink, I’m not sure it’s that much cheaper, but I’m going to give it a try.

So that’s where I am on party planning around here.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite party blog that you use for inspiration?  What about a post of your own where you profile your own soiree?  If so, leave me the link in a comment. Can’t wait to see what you’ve got!


ETA:  See my completed birthday carnival extravaganza here or here.  🙂

Photo Heavy Post: Father’s Day Weekend and Summer Goodness

I hope everyone had a lovely Father’s Day weekend.  Summer is in full-swing here in Georgia, meaning it is H-O-T.  Hot, hot, hot.  As a native Georgian, I can handle the heat and rarely complain, but it’s getting to me this week.  How did I make it last summer pregnant?

Despite the brutal temperatures, we are surviving around here and enjoying the season.  Jude is becoming more active everyday, and his mobility has led to a newfound curiosity.  It’s hard to snap a picture of him lately with his wiggly little movements all the time.  We’ve been eating lots of fresh food thanks to my grandparents and their AMAZING garden.

Jude and his Great-Grandaddy....Reaching for those tomato cages.

Squash, onions, peas, peaches, potatoes… we can’t get enough and neither can Jude.  I am so blessed to have such a good little eater on my hands.  He might squinch his face at the first bite of something new like onions, chives, or garlic, but after that, he welcomes the rest by opening wide up.  As much as I love making purees for him, I think we are soon going to be simplifying so that he just eats what we eat.  It’s a great feeling sitting down at the table to share a rounded meal with the baby.

no baby food here, dude. refried beans and sliced avocado on Mexican night. yum yum.

So on to Father’s Day.  There was lots of summering and celebrating around here, and we started the weekend with a Saturday morning trip to a local farmer’s market.  Next time I plan on getting there a lot earlier to get the good stuff, but we did get some juicy blueberries, and we loved trying out the new Ergo.

Saturday’s lunch was at Dad’s favorite new deli where we dined on shawarma and falafel and fed Jude tiny bites of french fries.  I might be having a little too much fun with the color pop camera feature in this photo, but with those blue eyes, I just couldn’t help it. It’s a new restaurant, so we were some of the only people in there, but the food is great, and we’ll definitely be back.

There was also cooking involved with some lime-glazed cookies for a Saturday BBQ we attended …..

and Sunday brunch included Ina’s Cheese Danish……

You know we love food around here, but most importantly, the weekend was about celebrating dads and one very special Dad in particular.  Seeing Scott with Jude is a joy for sure.  They both light up when the other one walks in the room, and they have the same kinda-sweet, kinda-mischievous little grin.  I can’t wait to see the trouble these two get in to in the years to come.  Jude picked out some cufflinks especially for his Daddy so he can wear them to work when he travels and remember someone’s sweet face.  Scott’s nickname for Jude is “little monkey,” so we were excited to find the perfect card.  It was such a great day to celebrate our little family.

I love Etsy. You can find these at Analiese Designs.

I feel like there’s a lot of focus on how motherhood changes you.   There are blogs, books, mommy groups, magazines…..but no one really discusses how fatherhood changes your perspective.  The truth is I don’t know the answer to that one, not being in that role.  But I will say that these two guys are never happier than when they are together.

Parties. And randomness.

A rare quiet moment in our household as Jude is sleeping and all I can hear is a humming washing machine.  It also smells like pears since they are on the stove for Jude’s newest food batch.  Yum.

I should be cleaning, but that’s no fun, so I am perusing the internet with a cup of tea.  Can I say that I LOVE parties?  Planning them, cooking for them, getting invited to them… LOVE them.  My friends and I are hosting a baby shower for a friend of ours at my place next weekend, and I won’t give much away yet because I intend to do a massive photo post of our cute little details, but let me say that we have some fun ideas thanks to Mr. Internet.  There are some incredible ideas out there about throwing fun theme-y but not too theme-y parties.

Jude is not yet 7 months old, and I want time to slow down, yet I am looking at fun ideas for his first birthday party.  WHY?  So far away.  But just look at the deliciously cute ideas!

more party details by caroline armelle photos.

photos by Caroline Armelle

Look at the fun Big Top Circus party one crafty mom did.  There’s a similar one at Thoughtfully Simple.  The photo booth is the best idea ever, and what a  great way to get away with serving cheap food!  Hot dogs, corndogs, pizza, chips….You could even serve popcorn in classic carnival popcorn bags.

As always, Etsy has a million ideas to correspond like these invitations, these tags to put on bags of party favors, cute circus-themed cupcake toppers, or even an adorable circus birthday boy tee.

So much cuteness.  I can’t take it.  I should be doing something productive, but I can’t stop looking.

Easter Goodness

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter.  The weather in Georgia was unusually HOT, even for here.  It was so nice to see the sun shining, though, and it made for a great Easter weekend.  Spring has arrived!

Aside from a bout of thrush that seems to be getting better for Jude and worse for me [OUCH], our Easter was perfection.  We put together Jude’s Easter basket from a variety of things we already had since God knows we don’t need anymore stuff.  While I am sure this probably seems pretty cheap to some of you, he’s six months old; he has no idea what’s going on.  Doing it for the sake of tradition, we didn’t want to purchase random stuffed animals and baby toys when we already have A LOT of things. I’ve been inspired by a number of blogs lately to simplify, simplify, simplify, and this was a good chance to do so.  I did buy some Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo though.  There’s that.

So after pretending to be surprised and excited about the Easter Bunny while Jude looked the other way, we had lunch with Scott’s family and dinner with mine and all in all had a good day of family fun.  I made a delicious salad for our dinner get-together, and I’ll list the recipe at the bottom of this post.  It was perfect for springtime, and I’ll definitely be making it again.  The only thing yummier  than my spinach-strawberry salad?  Jude in his Easter outfit.

He's a very very serious reader.

Jude also got to hang out with his cousin, Evie, at lunch time.  He has a way of getting your attention when he wants to tell you something important.  He babbles SO MUCH already; I know when the real words start flowing, there will be no shutting him up.

Not that this can compare to that Easter cuteness, but here’s the recipe for the salad as promised.  Happy Easter and yay for spring!


Spinach-Strawberry Salad

One large bunch of spinach (It’s on the Dirty Dozen, so always buy organic.)

One 16 oz. package of srawberries (also on the Dirty Dozen, buy organic)

Half of a red onion, thinly sliced


Crumbled Goat Cheese

Toss the above ingredients together in a large bowl and pour the vinaigrette over the salad.  (Homemade vinaigrette: 2 parts olive oil, 1 part balsamic vinegar, 1 part red wine vinegar, teaspoon of sugar, poppy seeds if you have them on hand.)

Colorful and delicious!