The Bibbidity Bobbidity Boutique. Dumbest name ever.

For J’s 5th birthday I took her on a surprise mother-daughter trip to Orlando, Fl–the dream destination for a princess lover like her.  You can read about our adventures getting there and at the Magic Kingdom here.

J loves the Disney princesses, having her hair done, getting makeup on and doing her nails.  So what better birthday present for her than a spot at the Bibbidity Bobbidity Boutique in Orlando!  Basically it’s a princess salon.  A “fairy godmother in training” does your hair, makeup and nails like a princess.  And if you feel like spending $200, your child can also pick out a Disney Princess outfit.  I decided to take the cheap way out and get her the Elsa dress she’s been talking about for months, bring it with me and give it to her the morning of her appointment instead.  Considering the fact that I spent $30 on the Elsa dress, shoes, wand, tiara, “hair” and gloves total, I’m happy with my decision.  And she was super excited to open her present that morning and wear her outfit so she couldn’t have cared less that she didn’t get one there.Js 5th Birthday Trip 6But I’m skipping way ahead of myself.  First things first:  score an appointment.  In the high season it’s damn near impossible to get in.  You can book 60 days out and spots for that day are gone within minutes.  I lucked out since I was going at a good time of year and was able to secure her an appointment at the Downtown Disney location for Monday morning (her actual birthday!  Bonus!) 35 days out.  Whew.

And then with all of our flight mishaps (long story short:  we arrived in Orlando 23 hours later than we should have) we didn’t have time for everything that I had planned for that weekend.  Something had to go.  Obviously we were doing Magic Kingdom, so that left either Sea World or the Boutique.  Although I was 95% sure what J was going to pick, I still wanted to leave the decision up to her.  As much as I hated to ruin the surprise, I told her the two choices.  To her credit, she did think about it for a few minutes before deciding wholeheartedly on the salon.

The morning of she opened up her Elsa dress and immediately put everything on.  A few hours later we headed to Downtown Disney for the appointment.  As we wandered around the Disney store the Boutique was located in waiting for it to be “Princess Jordan’s” turn, I was even more grateful I had pre-purchased the Elsa dress.  They were asking SEVENTY DOLLARS!!!!!!!  And theirs weren’t even as nice as the one I bought her (and by that I mean it was only knee length.  J will only wear “dresses that cover my feet”).  I mean I know Disney ups the prices of everything but you’ve got to be joking!

It was finally her turn!  And this is where we were both disappointed.  She only had 3 choices of hair styles:  a high bun that was very slicked back, a bun with a “colorful hairpiece” or a ponytail with “colorful hair”.  I had seen the girls walking around MK with the high bun yesterday and I’m not going to lie, that hairstyle didn’t look good on a single one of them.  It just looks uncomfortable!  And too beauty queen/pageant princess for me.  I like individuality.  J wasn’t too happy either.  I was under the impression that they would be able to pick a princess and have their hair styled similarly to her.  I mean I guess it makes sense, but for $60 you’d think the “fairy godmothers in training” would have a bit more hair styling expertise.

She went with the traditional princess bun…thank God.  I hated that style, but I don’t think I could’ve handled the other two.  I could tell how disappointed she was and how much she didn’t like it though.  But her fairy godmother was great, doing all kinds of things to make her laugh and asking her all kinds of questions.  So that helped to save the experience.  And she got to keep the makeup and nail polish, which she was happy about!Js 5th Birthday Trip 7Js 5th Birthday Trip 11Js 5th Birthday Trip 8Js 5th Birthday Trip 10Don’t let the smile and appearance of being happy fool you.  She was miserable for the rest of the day.  Well, I shouldn’t say miserable…disappointed is a better word.  She told me that she doesn’t want to do anything like that again, unless she gets to choose the hairstyle.  And that she wished she had chosen Sea World instead.  I felt so bad..mainly because I know J.  If I would’ve realized that she had practically no say in the matter I wouldn’t have booked it to begin with.  She is very particular about everything; especially her hair.  Had I known, I would’ve called around to kid-friendly salons and found a stylist who could do whatever she wanted and then just add glitter and makeup to it.  Probably would’ve been cheaper and she would’ve enjoyed it.  Oh, well…as they say, hindsight is 20/20.  At least we know for next time!


It’s a Party! A Big Dog Party!

So C turned one last week 🙁  Don’t get me wrong, I’m happy about it…but as all mothers can relate, it’s bittersweet!  Especially since I look at him now and he just looks older.  He’s not this itty bitty baby anymore…he’s turning into a true toddler.  He just looks so big!  And that’s saying a lot since he’s in the 5th percentile for height and isn’t even on the charts for weight, haha!

Hubby is currently stationed in Virginia, so we’re about 5 hours from my hometown in Pennsylvania.  Since it’s rare for us to be so close I figured I would have C’s 1st birthday party up there so they could join in the celebration.  Since we were in Kansas when J turned 1 and none of our family members could make it out, I decided to take advantage of it and throw the exact same birthday party for C as I did for J:  dogs!

I used the same Etsy seller, PlanB Designs, for C’s invitation:Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-InvitationThe food was served in dog bowls I picked up from the Dollar Tree for J’s party 4 years ago.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-1To drink I whipped up Belle of the Kitchen‘s absolutely delicious Watermelon Lemonade (which was a huge hit!  I doubled the recipe and all of it was gone by the time the party was over!).  To eat we had Puppy Chow (just the recipe off of the back of the cereal box.  No reason to mess with perfection 😉 ),Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-2raw carrots, cauliflower, cucumbers and broccoli with Vegetable Dill DipDog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Food-3and strawberries, watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe with Fruit Dip (easiest recipe ever:  just two ingredients!).  I used a dog bone cookie cutter to cut the watermelon, cantaloupe and honeydew to match the theme!

We also served hot dogs with all of the fixin’s.

Having experience with decorating cupcakes that didn’t go so well in the past, I wanted to stick with something simple.  I found this cute pin for dog cupcakes and did my best to replicate it.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-1I didn’t want to decorate them all the same, so I found a second pin that I liked, this one.  This replication didn’t turn out nearly as well.  Sigh.  Serves me right for trying to make things more complicated than necessary. Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-2Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cupcakes-3But these cupcakes still turned out loads better than the ones I decorated for J’s Farm Birthday Party when she turned 2.J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesI still shudder every time I look at that picture.  They looked so easy!!

Since I learned that C really wasn’t into cake at his Cake Smash photo shoot I kept this cake simple.  I used a box cake mix and canned frosting.  I still made it in the 6 inch cake pan I have, but I used a giant dog bone cookie cutter so it was about half the size of the last cake.  I threw some frosting on top, outlined the bone with a store bought tube of icing, stuck the candle in, and voila, fini!

Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-1Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Cake-2Try to ignore the frosting that’s everywhere on the plate.  Not only am I not a master cake decorate (obviously), but I’m also an insanely messy cook/baker.

I kept the decorations pretty simple.  I bought tablecloths, silverware and plates from the Dollar Tree in dark blue, bright blue and teal to match the invitation colors.  I also picked up a bag of balloons from there and blew up just the matching colors.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-2I used my amazing Silhouette to cut large dog bones out of dark blue, bright blue, teal and lime green cardstock to match my colors.  I also had it cut out all of the letters for “Happy Birthday Carter” and “One” out of the same cardstock colors.  I peeled the letters off, glued a letter onto a dog bone, punched two holes in the top and weaved balloon string through the holes to make the two banners.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-4There was a random balloon-animal-type balloon in the bag, so my sister had the brilliant idea to blow it up and form it into the letter C!  Loved it!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-5

The party was held in my father’s garage.  Super long story, but basically the garage is bigger than the house they live in.  And even though there’s a ton of space inside, at the end of the day it’s still a garage, which means it’s not exactly ideal for pictures.  To help remedy that we hung up an extra tablecloth on the bay door and laid down an orange blanket I happened to find that matched his birthday outfit perfectly!  We figured he could do his cake smash and open presents there.  That way the pictures wouldn’t look as bad.

Final touch:  helium birthday balloons from Party City tied to some Kongs as a centerpiece.  Even though I paid the extra 15 cents for helium for 18-36 hours, the teal balloon only made it about 10 hours before it bit it.  I paid $1.35 plus tax for that one balloon…I was going to display it dammit!Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-3The centerpieces for J’s dog party were much nicer.  I picked up dog toys and rawhides from the Dollar Tree, but I just didn’t care enough this time around to go into that much detail.Dog-Theme-Birthday-Party-Decor-1

I also cut out a “1” from posterboard and taped a bunch of pictures from C’s first year.  Unfortunately we couldn’t find anywhere good to hang it, so I ended up just leaving it laying on one of the tables.  Whoops.

Party time!

C 1st birthday party presents 1C 1st birthday party presents 2C-1st-birthday-party-dog-theme

And the cake smash went MUCH better this time.  Figures, the little sh*t!

1st-birthday-party-cake-smash-4 1st-birthday-party-cake-smash-7 1st-birthday-party-cake-smash-8 1st-birthday-party-cake-smash

The only bad part?  C got his first fat lip 🙁

C Fat Lip

Other than that, the party was a success!  Woof woof!


One?! Already?!

Well, we hit the big age mark with C on April 10th.  He turned 1.  Bye bye cute little blob of a baby…hello toddlerhood!  He took his first steps a couple of days before his birthday but hasn’t moved much beyond that.  Yet.  I know how this works…once he starts going there’s no stopping him!  Honestly I’m anxious for him to walk on his own (yes, I know.  I’m going to regret that statement back once he can actually do it.  Big time).  The kid isn’t satisified sitting…he has to be moving.  And since he can’t do it on his own yet, that means he needs Hubby or I to hold his little hands, hunch over him and walk all over the house.  All.  Day.  Long.  So the freedom will be so nice when he can move around all by himself!  So I’m definitely looking forward to walking, with one big caveat:  at home.  Once we leave the house to go absolutely anywhere–the store, a friend’s house, the pool, walking the dog–I know I’m going to miss the days of complete control.  That and it will official mean he’s no longer my itty bitty baby but now a real live boy 🙁

I did a cake smash photo session for J when she turned 1 and I wanted to do the same thing with C.  We hired a local photographer to take our Christmas photos and I absolutely loved her.  This one is my favorite from that session and is what we sent out as our Christmas card this year.


We chose a date (one week before his birthday) and time for the photo shoot and I started to gather everything I needed (okay, wanted).  First:  a birthday outfit.  Although I love both of my children to death, one of the things I miss the most about having a baby girl is dressing her.  J had on the cutest little outfit for her first birthday:  a customized birthday shirt from Etsy, a tutu, and the cutest personalized bloomers ever (also from Etsy.  Man I love that site!).  She looked freaking adorable!!

1st-birthday-outfit-girl-2 1st-birthday-outfit-girl-2









C was a much bigger problem.  I spent forever on Google Images searching for things like “birthday outfit 1 year old boy”.  I knew I wanted a bowtie but nothing I found seemed cute enough.  And then I stumbled on this image:

It was perfect.  I had to have it.  I bought a dark grey vest from and a pair of dark jeans from a local consignment shop.  I picked up two squares of orange and white fabric from Joann’s.  Finally I contacted a local seamstress and asked her to embroider a 1 and a paw print (his bday theme was “dog”) onto the vest and to make a bow tie and tie out of the fabric for me.  He already had a white onesie to wear underneath, the bowler hat from his Christmas photo shoot and a pair of black and white sneakers to complete the look.

Here’s the finished product.  I couldn’t be more pleased!!!!


Next step:  the cake.  My friend Ashlyn has this AMAZING food blog, Belle of the Kitchen.  I mean seriously amazing.  Her daughter turned 1 a few months back and the cake she made for her was so cute that it stuck with me all this time.  You can’t tell me that isn’t the cutest cake you’ve ever seen?!  Click on the photo to go to her blog and get all of the details!  And while you’re there check out all of her absolutely scrumptious recipes!

Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Belle of the Kitchen 1st Birthday Smash Cake

Of course C isn’t a girl so I didn’t think pink frosting would be the best choice.  And the roses seemed a bit girlie as well.  But I really liked her cake so I used her recipe for the cake and frosting.  Fortunately it made enough for a 6 inch cake, 12 cupcakes and 2 cakes in a jar (something special for J to have too) because it was delicious!!  Especially the frosting.  It is a must-try.  Like right now.  Seriously, stop reading and go make yourself a cake.  Or at least a batch of frosting.

I wanted to use Belle of the Kitchen’s basic decorating ideas so I searched around for a less-girly finished product.  I found this one and decided it was perfect.  Like Belle of the Kitchen, Director Jewels also kept going on and on about how easy it is to decorate a cake yourself, so I decided to give it a shot.  My attempts in the past have not been so pretty…like these farm cupcakes.  And I didn’t even have to actually decorate them!  They should’ve been super simple!

J-Farm-Birthday-Theme-CupcakesBut it actually did turn out to be relatively simple.  I made the cake, let it cool, then tossed it in the freezer for about 30 minutes (I read somewhere that makes cakes easier to decorate.  I figured I could use all the help I could get!).


While I was waiting I whipped up the icing and frosted the extra cupcakes.  Then I pulled the cake out of the freezer and coated it in white.


I actually didn’t end up having enough icing for the cupcakes and the cake, so if I were to do it all over again I would skip this step.  It was unnecessary and was just a waste of frosting (although I’m sure C appreciated it 😉 ).  Then I took about a third of the frosting out, squirted some blue gel food coloring in and mixed it until it was a shade I liked.  I have a cake decorating tool so I decided to use that, figuring it would be easier than messing around with decorator bags.  Definitely not the case.  That sucker was a giant pain in the ass and wasted a bunch of frosting.  Stupid POS.

frosting-decorator-1 frosting-decorator-2

Just look at how much frosting is left in there!  What a giant waste!

But anyway, I put the frosting in the tube, screwed on a decorating thinger (I’m assuming those things have an actual name but I don’t have the slightest idea what it is.) and placed random blue dots all over the cake.  Easy peasy!  I repeated the steps, making both green and yellow.  By the time I was halfway through with my second color I knew the frosting was going to be cutting it close to decorate the entire thing.  Fortunately I had only done the top, afraid something like this might happen.  Mental note:  decorate the cupcakes that are just meant for the family to eat at their leisure last, not first!


Around the sides I opted to go for the ombre look.

C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-3 C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-4 C-1st-birthday-smash-cake-5

C’s birthday is right around Easter (at least it was this year and last year…Easter is such a strange holiday since it’s date varies greatly every year!) and although it definitely wasn’t planned, I love how it turned out spring/Easter colors!


So we were all set for the photo shoot, which I was super excited about.  C LOVES food.  This kid can chow down like I’ve never seen before.  I figured with his love of food combined with his love of getting messy/dirty he was going to demolish the cake in seconds.  I thought we’d get some adorable happy photos of him in some cute outfits, make him naked and watch him destroy the cake.

As usual with kids, nothing ever goes as planned.  He spent about half of the 40 min shoot crying, so most of his pictures turned out like this:


Fortunately he’s the cutest crier ever, so at least those ones have an adorable-in-a-particular-way element.  And our photographer is absolutely awesome, so even though he spent a good portion crying, she managed to get some great shots in.  After, of course, 50 million verses of “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “Here Comes the Bumblebee”, taking a 10 minute break to walk around the parking lot and look at trucks and finding a life-saver stuffed bear in the trunk of my car.

C-1st-Birthday-Photo-Shoot-3 C-1st-Birthday-Photo-Shoot

Seriously, I’m in love with his outfit!!

And then the cake smash wasn’t much better.  He really didn’t care about the cake at all and made a minimal mess.


It was nothing like J’s 1st cake where not only she ate the entire thing, but she did it in under 5 minutes.  Twice (at her photoshoot and again at her birthday party).


And although the photo below makes it look like he ate a lot, that’s not the case.  J, Hubby and I were all snacking on it during the 10 minutes C picked at it.  At least it didn’t go completely to waste!

C-1st-birthday-cake-smash-1Oh well!  We got some cute (crying) pictures out of the deal, I learned that I’m somewhat capable of decorating a cake, and I knew I would only need a small cake for his birthday party next week!  So at least there’s that I suppose…