Bello Bambini

Twice as much to love – my beautiful cousin is having TWIN BOYS!

This past weekend I had the honor of attending my beautiful cousin Daneda’s baby shower for her TWIN BOYS! The thought of her being a mother brings happy tears to my eyes, and I know that she will not only have her hands full, but her heart will be even more full. Daneda’s mother (my Aunt) planned the most beautiful baby shower *side note: the nicest I have ever attended* for her daughter and her soon-to-be arriving grandsons, and I had to share some of the exquisite details with you. The venue was a log cabin out in the woods which she completely transformed with such care for every detail. In addition to the decorating, she cooked a delicious five course meal for the guests. Being surrounded by Daneda’s guests (much of it my own family) brought such joy to my heart. These two babies are going to be surrounded by LOVE!

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During the dinner, a very pregnant Daneda and I ventured off into the woods for a quick mini session. Even though I was a bit nervous that I might put her into labor with all of the walking, I wanted to make sure I captured my stunning cousin in all of her soon-to-be motherhood beauty.

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She is absolutely glowing ❤

I cannot wait to meet those two very lucky baby boys!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

The Biggest, the Loudest, the Craziest Party Ever!

A pink-rainbow-Troll-tastic recap of Lucy’s 2nd birthday party!

GUYS…Lucy is TWO – how is that even possible?! These past two years have been nothing short of amazing with our little girl in our lives. She is silly, loving, and so very smart! She sure does keep us on our toes. I am lucky that her birthday fell while on my maternity leave because it has given me actual time to plan a fun party for her!

It was a no brainer this year when deciding on a theme for Lucy’s 2nd birthday party. This girl can practically recite the movie Trolls word for word, not to mention her love for belting out all of the songs. We used Trolls as the main inspiration for the party and that went hand-in-hand with incorporating a whole lot of pink and rainbows as well!

We had such a great time celebrating and I wanted to share some of the pink-rainbow-Troll-tastic party details with all of you!

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Can we all drool over those cake images for a second? Keri at The Farmers Daughter Bake Shop baked up the a cake that was MADE for this theme! It was overflowing with rainbow-y goodness inside and out and tasted absolutely delicious! For the rest of the food for the party, I tried to think of as many rainbow treats as possible, hence the fruit skewers, Rainbow Goldfish, Rainbow Chips Deluxe, and the pretty (but not that great tasting) rainbow popcorn. Though the Million Dollar Dip I made had nothing to do with rainbows, it was a huge hit and I highly recommend it for your next party or get together. We used Wegman’s catering for the sandwich platters and they did not disappoint! Their menu options were much better than the traditional go-to Costco sandwich trays and the same price point!

A shout out to a few other vendors we used: I found the perfect customized banner and cake topper at ShopSwayDesigns. The favor baskets I put together included awesome sound and light bubble guns (a must for bubble obsessed toddlers like Lucy) and wouldn’t have been complete without the adorable Trolls headbands made by BlackBoneBows. For Lucy’s outfit, I found a sweet and affordable rainbow tutu.

love & lots of whit – jen xo

 

 

Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE

Highlights from sweet Lucy’s first birthday party, quack quack!

Lucy is ONE! How is this even possible!!?!

When deciding on her first birthday theme and after months of trying to rack my brain for something super creative and unique, it all just hit me one day – this party is for HER not me, and what does Lucy like? Ducks of course! Besides mama and dada, the only other REAL words in her vocabulary are duck and quack quack. She literally can’t get enough! From her ducky bathtub, to her ducky books, to her ducky toys – her face immediately brightens up when she see’s a cute yellow duck! With help from my amazing sister the theme was set in stone, “Rubber Ducky You’re the ONE.”

To start, I knew an invitation had to be created. I found an adorable ducky costume and put my little Lucy duck in the bathtub and viola – her invitation was made 🙂

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With help from my family and friends, this party came together and Lucy had such a blast! Bryan’s amazing friend, Amanda, made us the most perfect ducky cupcakes and smash cake. It was as delicious as it was adorable, and Lucy LOVED getting her little hands into that cake. We had wonderful food catered by JB Seafood, and my sister created amazing signs to play off the theme and name all of the foods (my favorite, the Quack-N-Cheese)! We had ducky beach ball party favors for all of the kids and set up a bubble machine outside in the park for them to play in! Please enjoy some pictures from Lucy’s big day!

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A huge thank you to all of my family and friends that helped make this party so fun for sweet Lucy! She is growing into such a loving, silly, beautiful little lady!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

We Love Lucy

This past weekend I attended my one-of-a-kind, extraordinary, family- and friends-filled, I Love Lucy themed, baby shower!

This past weekend I attended my one-of-a-kind, extraordinary, family- and friends-filled, I Love Lucy themed, baby shower! Together, my sister, mother, and mother-in-law (with help from other family members) planned the best shower I could have ever imagined. As you may remember in our name-revealing post, Bryan and I are naming our daughter-to-be, Lucy. Using one of my favorite TV shows, I Love Lucy, as the inspiration behind the baby showers theme was a no brainer! The creativity my family had in executing the theme was represented perfectly in the décor, games, and food.

The favors at the shower were grape juice and chocolates which go hand-in-hand with two of the most popular I Love Lucy episodes, ‘Job Switching’ and ‘Lucy’s Italian Movie’. There was a game to take the most creative Instagram photo using one of many photo props such as a chocolate conveyor belt, a grape stomping tub, and an insert your face here baby that my sister painted! In addition, there was a banner that hung over the main entry way which said “We’re having a baby, my baby and me” and throughout the rest of the space the lyrics to the full song that was sang by Ricky to Lucy on the ‘Lucy is Enceinte’ episode were displayed.

Even the food played on the I Love Lucy theme with the adorable punch bowl with the “Vitameatavegamin” signage from the episode ‘Lucy Does a TV Commercial’. Various finger foods were set up for guests to enjoy as well as an adorably pink cake and heart shaped cookies.

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Just call us Lucy & Ethel!
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A preview of what Lucy is going to look like if she takes after her Daddy…

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Adorable diaper cake made by my sister-in-law!

My fabulous shower planners came up with a ton of great shower game ideas which you will see some of pictured below! They were original and I hadn’t ever seen any of them done before. My FAVORITE game was one that required each guest to make a baby out of Play-Doh. Near the end of the shower I was tasked with choosing my top two favorite Play-Doh babies! Another game was called “Tinkle in the Pot” which simulated being pregnant. Guests had to hold a balloon in front of their belly, place a ping-pong ball between their knees (to create a waddle), and then rush to a jar placed on the ground as fast as possible to drop the ball. Let’s just say I was a pro at this game because I waddle daily! There was also a calendar displayed on the wall where guests had to guess the date, time, weight, and length of baby-to-be (details on who wins that game will be decided once Lucy decides to show up)! At one point during the shower for another game, each guest was given a sign with a photo of young Bryan and young Jennifer on each side and asked questions to determine “What Kid Was It?” Our mom’s came up with a lot of great memories about each of us that stumped many of the guests!

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“Tinkle in the Pot” Game

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This kid poured a full baby powder bottle into their crib and covered themselves from head to toe.
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This kid’s first word ever was “clock”.

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Here is where I THANK EVERYONE again that made it to the shower and made me, Bryan, and Lucy feel so LOVED. Between the words of wisdom and advice, the adorable books that helped to build Lucy’s library, the mountain of gifts, and the genuine excitement and support from our family and friends – our little growing family could not feel more blessed. To anyone who was not able to attend or who we were unable to invite, we also thank all of you for your kind words as we have started this journey into parenthood.

Lastly, the loudest THANK YOU to my sister, mom, and mother-in-law, grandma, dad, step-dad(s), step-mom, brother and anyone else I am missing, who all came together to put this shower together. The memories from the day will live on forever and I cannot wait for Lucy to have you all in her life!

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My mom, sister, and I
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My mother-in-law and I
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Bryan and Grandma

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love & lots of whit – jen xo

Fall Family Party Turned SURPRISE Gender Reveal Party

One unsuspecting day in October, we invited our parents, Bryan’s grandma, and my brother to come to a “Fall Party” at our home. It just so happened to coincide directly with when we would be finding out the gender of our little one! I couldn’t let the surprise factor go to waste so this post will highlight our “Fall Party” turned SURPRISE “Gender Reveal Party”.

One unsuspecting day in October, we invited our parents, Bryan’s grandma, and my brother to come to a “Fall Party” at our home. We had been wanting to have all of our parents over for quite some time to show them our gratitude and thanks for everything they do for us. It just so happened to coincide directly with when we would be finding out the gender of our little one! I couldn’t let the surprise factor go to waste so this post will highlight our “Fall Party” turned SURPRISE “Gender Reveal Party”.

To start, Bryan and I prepared a ton of home-cooked food for our family. I was able to bust out my fall decor and pretty dishes and light all my fall scented candles. Bryan was the master chef of the day, and prepared pretty much all of the food. We had an assortment of amazing appetizers which included antipasto kabobs, shrimp, buffalo chicken dip, veggies, and deviled pumpkin eggs. For the main course Bryan made an amazing apple cider pulled pork with apple coleslaw, homemade crab mac & cheese, and salad.

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Antipasto Kabobs
Bryan's famous deviled eggs, Halloween style!
Bryan’s famous deviled eggs, Halloween style!
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Homemade Crab Mac & Cheese
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Apple Cider Pulled Pork Station
Pumpkin Dip
Pumpkin Pie Dip

Between appetizers and the main course, we decided to use that time to surprise our parents. We had originally told them all that we were unable to get an appointment to find out the gender until the following week. This little white lie seemed to work. I then set up a “Guess the Gender” station where I instructed everyone to pour champagne into a pink or blue flute and whichever color they chose would represent their guess as to what baby’s gender would be. To aid in their decision, I also made an “Old Wives Tale: Gender Predictor” chart that showed some of the symptoms I was experiencing where the underlined word represented what the old wives tale said about the symptom.

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Once everyone casted their votes (about 20 minutes later…it was a tough choice!) we took group photos so that we would have “evidence” of who was right and wrong. Bryan and I casted our votes too. On the morning before the appointment we made sure to each cast our OFFICIAL guess so that we would be able to participate in the fun.

Team Boy vs. Team Girl
Team Boy vs. Team Girl
Wouldn't ya know it, Rooney even decided to place a guess!
Wouldn’t ya know it, Rooney even decided to place a guess!

After all of the guesses were made, we had another part of the plan in order to surprise the family. Bryan took Rooney downstairs to the basement to go outside to take care of his business…and when Rooney came upstairs he delivered the news with a balloon that was tied to his collar! Here is a video of exactly what happened!

The party was a great success and we enjoyed spending time with our family! After the party was over we made sure to call Bryan’s dad in Florida to let him in on our big news! To our family near and far: we love you all so much & are so grateful to have you in our lives! Here are a few more pictures from the party:

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A few days later we announced the gender on social media to the rest of our family and friends. Since Rooney had already done so well announcing at the party, we let him do the honors on Facebook too!

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Beautiful flowers from Grandma!

love & lots of whit – jen xo

Sunday Birthday Brunch

If there is one guilty pleasure that I have and obsess over, it is place-setting and small scale entertaining/planning. Kitchen Decor stores are tortuous for me because in my dream world I would have a different pattern/color dish set for each and every time I entertained. Lucky for Bryan and I’s wallet, I have settled on two sets of dishes (for now). A plain white set is a must (we have the Martha Stewart Kensington Collection), as it is versatile and can be made to fit any theme when added with table linens and decor. My other set (which I will highlight the next time I use it) is the Maribeth collection from Pier One. One day I dream of a big kitchen with a big dining table to host dinner parties (don’t we all?), but for now I make use of what we have!

Last weekend I played hostess as we celebrated my mom’s birthday! My mom, my step-dad, and my brother were in attendance for Sunday brunch. If you know my mom, you know how much effort and love she puts into her family and holiday meals. So much so that she hardly even sits at the table because she always puts everyone else first making sure we all have what we need. This time, it was my turn to pamper her! I wanted her to be able to relax while Bryan and I did all of the cooking and cleaning. Brunch is big in our family, so that is how we chose to center the meal around the daytime theme. First and foremost I thought of my color scheme for the brunch. I know, I know, most people probably plan the actual meal first…I just can’t help but think backwards when there are dishes and linens involved! I knew I wanted to incorporate tulips so that was where I started. I found the perfect yellow tulips that were bright/sunny and knew they would be perfect with the mimosas we would be serving! I used a water pitcher to display the tulips. I already had green placemats that would work perfectly with the yellow so that was an easy decision. I ordered some last minute yellow napkins (thank you Amazon Prime!) and used this video tutorial to fold them into a fun pinwheel shape. Here is the final table setting for Mom’s birthday brunch:

Yellow Tulip Centerpiece
Yellow Tulip Centerpiece
Sunny Pinwheel Fold Napkins on Green Placemats
Sunny Pinwheel Fold Napkins on Green Placemats
Bring on the Mimosas!
Bring on the Mimosas!

After figuring out how to stylize the brunch I had to come up with the perfect menu that would accommodate everyone’s meal restrictions! My brother is a vegetarian, and my step-dad is gluten free. After much food blog perusing, I came up with the perfect list! The main entree was this amazing gluten and dairy free Blueberry Lemon Overnight French Toast that I found on Whipperberry. This french toast was the perfect combination of sweet and sour and unlike the usual heavy french toast recipes I’ve tried, this felt more healthy. The lemon blueberry sauce drizzled over it was just divine! The variations I made to that recipe were instead of normal gluten free bread I used cinnamon raisin, and instead of vanilla soy milk I used vanilla almond milk.

Overnight Blueberry Lemon French Toast
Overnight Blueberry Lemon French Toast

To accompany the french toast, we also made Buns In My Oven‘s Baked Scrambled Eggs. I usually find every way to ruin scrambled eggs when cooking them stove top, but surprisingly this baking method was fool proof! In my family, everything is better with cheese, so after the first 8 minutes of baking I stirred in about a cup of shredded Velveeta Cheese before baking for the final 8 minutes.

Baked Scrambled Eggs
Baked Scrambled Eggs

We also made Homemade Home Fries by following No Ordinary Homestead‘s recipe. This was our second time using this recipe because it is just that good. This time however; we omitted the bacon so that my brother could eat it and substituted the bacon grease for canola oil as recommended by the recipe. Finally, we made some maple sausage on the side, used the french press to make coffee, and served up delicious mimosas!

Homemade Home Fries
Homemade Home Fries

Food and family go hand in and, and we had a wonderful morning spending quality time together. I want to wish my Mom a wonderful year ahead and I am so glad that we were able to spend time with her on birthday weekend! To finish the post a few family photos from the morning:

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mom!
Happy Birthday to my beautiful Mom!

love & lots of whit – jen xo