Friday, September 25, 2015

Amos's Nautical Themed 2nd Birthday Party

Now that I've updated you about Amos's 2nd year, it's time to talk about the party!! Having a pool at our new house, I thought it might be fun to throw a nautical-themed pool party, so that's what we did for Amos's 2nd birthday earlier this month. I decided to go with classic shades of blue and red for the colors. First on the agenda, the invitations.

I also like to add a little something to the invites to make them unique. This time, I used Amos's favorite - Lifesaver mints! Yes, he loves these things! They were the perfect touch to add to his invites. I also created coordinating 2" round stickers to seal the envelopes when I mailed the invites.

After the invitations were mailed, I started brainstorming ideas for the party. To decorate the house, I bought some light blue, navy and red latex balloons at the local grocery store. I made a custom banner that read "Happy 2nd Birthday Amos!" using the same nautical/color theme.

Here's an example of the banner letters, close-up. I threaded jute rope through the pendant pieces to hang it. It worked well and looked great! I also made a "Welcome Aboard" sign for the front door to greet guests as they arrived.

For the party favors, I made little bags of goldfish crackers labeled as Amos's Catch of the Day. I also made personalized sailor hats for each of the little party guests. I ordered these from Amazon, then stapled on the name tags I made. Unfortunately, the hats didn't look as nice in person as they did online, but they served their purpose. I also bought the fun fishing net on Amazon as well. It was the perfect size for covering our entire table! After reading reviews on some of the other nets I found on Amazon, I decided to go with this one to be sure it would be big enough. I'm glad I did - it was perfect!

Amos shared his party with my side of the family this year with his cousin, Jacob, who turned 8 a couple weeks before he turned 2. :)

I made cupcakes for the party instead of cake. What better way to decorate than to turn the cupcakes into little sailboats!

I stuck these toppers in some delicious caramel cupcakes. These cupcakes definitely deserve a post of their own. Topped with a "sea" salted caramel frosting, they are my new favorite. You can find the recipe, from Sally's Baking Addiction, here. They are simply amazing, and super easy, too! Be sure you let the frosting cool longer than I did. ;) I waited 15 minutes like the recipe said, but it was still really warm, so you can see that the piping didn't hold up very well. The next weekend I made them, it worked much better giving it longer to cool first. :) You also don't want to wait too long though, because the frosting will stiffen and become hard to pipe/spread if it gets too cool.

I bought red napkins and used jute to secure the utensils in the napkins. I added another mint here, perfect for each guest to enjoy after dinner. They looked super cute in the anchor bucket that I scored from the dollar section at Target! ;) I also bought the red and white striped plates and navy plates at Target. They were perfect for the theme! An additional jar of mints was the perfect touch to the display.

I bought red and white striped paper straws on Amazon, and added some cute navy AHOY! straw flags to complete the look. These adorable mason jars (with lids that had cutouts for straws) were on sale at Target, so I couldn't pass them up. No more buying disposable cups for parties - I can re-use these for years to come. And decorate them to go with the theme, of course! ;)

I think these may have been my favorite part.

It was surprisingly difficult to find nautical-themed food ideas online! Fish-themed items were more common, but I wanted to try and keep it more nautical, if I could. I finally resorted to scouring a nautical glossary for ideas. So, no, "cog" and "helm" didn't just pop in my head. ;) For the dinner menu, I finally decided on the following:

  • WATER-melon: seedless watermelon wedges
  • Caprese SCHOONERS (skewers): grape tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and balsamic glaze
  • BATTLEships (chips) & CRAB dip: Maryland crab dip and pita chips
  • Corn on the COG (cob): oven-roasted corn on the cob
  • HELM (ham) sandwiches: toasted ham and Dijon mustard on Hawaiian sweet rolls
  • ANCHORS away parfaits: layered cornbread, shredded BBQ pork, and coleslaw
  • SEA-salted caramel cupcakes: caramel cupcakes with salted caramel frosting
  • Chocolate chips AHOY!: cookies
  • 'Lil SAILOR'S punch: cran-pomegranate juice with Sprite, frozen blueberries
I love creating themed party food items. Seriously. It's so fun! It was a yummy spread, too!

Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his parties!! :) I bought him a cute navy and red striped shirt from Target (surprise! haha!) clearance to look cute with the theme.

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card with a picture of the birthday boy.

Because who doesn't love getting something sweet in the mail instead of bills? ;) We had a couple adorable, fun parties for our water-loving tiny man!

Happy 2nd Birthday to our tiniest little guy!

All items you see above are available for customization and purchase through my business page, kreations by kristy. You can also find me on Facebook and Etsy.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Amos is TWO!

Age of Child: 2 years

Size of Child:
  • Weight: 23 lbs 6 oz (up to the 4th percentile), +4 lb 13 oz from his 12-month visit and +2 lb 4 oz lb from his 18-month visit
  • Length: 33 inches (down to the 16th percentile), +3.25 in from his 12-month visit and +1.75 in from his 18-month visit
  • Height-to-Weight ratio: up to the 7th percentile
Amos is still wearing a size 3 diaper (but it's probably about time to move to a 4), and mostly 18-24 month, or 2T, clothes. He is wearing a size 6 shoe now!

  • None! He did need to get another finger prick to check lead levels. All was good there.
Doctor's Visit Summary:

His visit went well. The only concern we're dealing with is that his speech seems to be a bit delayed. I think he is ahead of where Ethan was at this age, but definitely behind where Noah was. He has recently started trying to say many more words than he was though, so I think we're ok. I guess when you have 2 big brothers who talk constantly, it's probably hard to get a word in! ;)

Accomplishments this Year:
  • First trip to a zoo and aquarium
  • Made his first big move
  • Took his first cruise
  • Weaned from nursing after 20 months
  • First night away from Mommy
Last September, not long after turning one, we made a trip to Ohio for our university's homecoming football game. While there, we decided the kids might like to check out the Cincinnati Zoo and the Newport Aquarium. It was a packed weekend of fun, but they had a blast!

We packed up the family and moved from Tennessee to North Carolina in February. While the big boys had made the move from Georgia to Tennessee, this was Amos's first move. Lucky for us, it didn't seem to phase him much. While he misses his best bud, Owen, he is pretty happy about gaining a pool in the back yard. This boy loves the water!

We took a family cruise to the Caribbean in April and Amos was the perfect tiny traveler! Though he was relegated to the baby pool since he wasn't potty-trained, he didn't let that stop him from having a wonderful time. His highlights of the trip were multiple desserts with each meal, ice cream cones on demand, nightly strolls around the ship, and beach time! He had all the ladies wrapped around his little finger all week. ;)

Amos continues to be our very adventurous eater. He will still try literally everything you put in front of him, but his favorites are probably pasta, rice, fruit, and pancakes. I weaned him at the beginning of May, after 20 months of nursing. He was doing a great job with whole milk and it just felt like the right time. He did fine with it and we still enjoy nightly cuddles in the rocking chair in his room. We tried to then wean the pacifier shortly after this, but it did not go nearly as well. So, we allowed him to have it again for naps and nighttime. About a month ago, we tried taking it away again and this time it went much better, so we're paci free now! Yay!

Amos is a great little sleeper. He is going to bed around 8 pm, and sleeping until 8 am. He is also still taking a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon. Fortunately, he also did ok with his first night away from me. Josh and I escaped to Charleston to celebrate our 10-year wedding anniversary in July and the boys stayed behind with Grandpa and Grandma Frank. He did great!

Amos has discovered a love of all things Star Wars. Some of his first words were "Star Wars," and "Darth Vader." Oh yes. He even hums the Star Wars tune whenever he sees anything Star Wars. It's pretty adorable. He loves to grab the Star Wars books from the boys' room and sit and "read" them. It's also one of the only ways to get him to sit still - by watching one of the movies! I guess you know where you will find ALL of us when the new movie comes out in theaters this year! ;)

Amos has continued to be our crazy little guy. As the only one of the three that we really needed to baby-proof the house for, he continues to keep us on our toes! It's not uncommon to turn around and find him dancing on the dining room table, climbing as high as he can get on a piece of furniture, digging out snacks from the pantry, removing all of the DVDs from their cases, emptying the coffee grinds from k-cups all over the dining room floor, and unscrewing child-proof medicine bottles. Sigh. He's so very creative. He's lucky he's cute! ;)

And here is his final year two summary.

Happy 2nd Birthday, little Amos! We love you!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Noah's Dinosaur Themed 4th Birthday Party

Now that I've updated you about Noah's 4th year, it's time to talk about the party!! When I asked Noah what he wanted for his birthday party theme this year, he told me he wanted dinosaurs. So, away I went planning an adorable orange, lime green and turquoise dinosaur-themed party for my little guy. First on the agenda, the invitations. I love including photos of the birthday boy on the invites, and of course, it also had to include his 2 favorite dinosaurs - "hammer head," and "long neck."

I also like to add a little something to the invites to make them unique. This time, it was wiggly eyes! Yep, wiggly eyes covered the dinosaurs at this year's party! I love how they turned out.

After the invitations were mailed, I started brainstorming (aka, browsing Pinterest and Google) ideas for the party. To decorate the house, I bought some turquoise, orange, and yellow latex balloons (inflated with helium and hi-float) at the local party supply store. For this party, I also bought a silver "4" and a generic T-rex dinosaur balloon. I made a custom banner that read "Happy 4th Birthday Noah" using the same dinosaur/color theme. I also hung up fun arrow signs directing guests to the watering hole (swimming pool), feeding area (seating area), privacy bushes (bathroom/changing area), carnivores (main course), herbivores (appetizers), and sweetivores (dessert)!

Here's an example of the banner letters, close-up. I attached the pendants with mini clothes pins to a jute rope. It worked well and looked great! I also made a mini "WELCOME" version for the front door to greet guests as they arrived.

For the party favors, I bought plain kraft paper bags with handles (from Target) and added tags that said "Thank you for making my party DINO-MITE! - Noah." Inside the bag, there was a bag of "Dino Chow," which I packaged in clear, plastic bags and topped them with tags. The chow consisted of pretzel sticks, chocolate covered raisins, peanut butter chips and a gummy worm.

To complete the favor bag, I added a "Grow a Dino!" egg with instructions for hatching their own dinosaur, along with information cards about the dinosaur they might find. I purchased the Animal Planet eggs from Amazon.

This year, I made cupcakes for the party. I didn't want to attempt any elaborate decorating of the cupcakes on the day of the party, so I made cupcake toppers and wrappers to coordinate with the banner and invite elements.

I stuck these toppers in some delicious dirt cupcakes that I could quickly make the day of the party. These cupcakes probably deserve a post of their own. They were delicious! I used my mom's recipe for Texas sheet cake for the cupcakes. Noah is a chocolate man, so I knew he'd love these! ;) Then I topped them with a peanut butter frosting that I'd never tried before, but I was so glad I did. It was heavenly. You can find the recipe here!

After the frosting, I crushed up some Oreos to sprinkle on top, as the dirt part of the dirt cupcake. :) They were the perfect touch for a dinosaur-themed party.

The napkins and utensils were some that I already had. I used jute to secure the utensils in the napkins. They looked super cute in the bucket that I reused from his 2nd birthday party! ;) I bought the kraft paper straws at Target, and added some cute ROARRR straw flags to complete the look. I used the plastic dinosaur skeletons for decorating the food area. I also purchased those on Amazon.

For the dinner menu, I chose:

  • DINO chips & dip (pita chips with homemade roasted red pepper hummus)
  • Veggies & DINO dip (carrot sticks with ranch dip)
  • Watermelon SPIKES
  • PB&J sandwiches (sandwiches cut out in dino shapes with this sandwich cutter)

  • PTERANODON wings (chicken wings with sauces)
  • BRONTOSAURUS burgers (sliders on Hawaiian sweet rolls)
  • DINO nuggets (dino-shaped chicken nuggets - thanks, Tyson!)
  • DINO bones (yogurt-covered pretzels)
  • Dirt cupcakes (chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter icing and Oreo crumbles)
  • FOSSIL cookies (I had also planned to make these, but ran out of time - sugar cookies with dino footprints, sprinkled with cinnamon)
To drink, I had JURASSIC juice for the kids (Honest juice pouches), and the WATERING hole for the adults (ice water with lemon and orange slices). I wanted the food to go with the party theme, which is why I chose what I did. ;) Added bonus that Noah loves PB&J and dino nuggets!

Here are some pics of the birthday boy enjoying his THREE parties!! :) His dinosaur shirt, featuring a "Noahsaurolophus," was made by my aunt, from the dinosaur I created for his invites. :)

The final item to take care of was the thank you notes. I made a simple flat 4" x 6" card to go with the theme.

Because who doesn't love getting something sweet in the mail instead of bills? ;) It was an adorable, fun party for a little guy who loves dinosaurs!!

Happy 4th Birthday to our little middle!

All items you see above are available for customization and purchase through my business page, kreations by kristy. You can also find me on Facebook and Etsy.

Monday, August 3, 2015

My Little Middle is FOUR!

Noah may still be tiny, but he's quite the grown up little guy now. We celebrated his fourth birthday this year with (THREE!) dinosaur-themed parties (more about those soon!) for friends and family, and on the 14th, he officially turned 4! Yes, I'm a few weeks behind here. Busy month!

The day after his birthday, I took Noah to his new pediatrician for his 4-year well-check. Everything went great and he appears to be right on track with his peers. He weighed in at 33.2 pounds (up 4.2 pounds from his 3-year check), and measured up at 40 1/4 inches (up 1.5 inches from his 3-year check). This puts him right at the 50th percentile for height and 25th percentile for weight. Looking at both figures, he's now up to the 10th percentile for height-to-weight ratio, with a BMI of 14.37! He also had to get his last round of vaccinations before starting kindergarten next year. So, he received the DTap, polio, MMR and chicken pox vaccines at the visit. Just a few tears escaped before snuggles with Mommy made it all better. Hearing check went well and vision is checking out at 20/40 right now. I'm hoping that doesn't mean glasses in a couple years, but my guess is along with inheriting my baby blues, he also inherited my horrible vision. :/

Noah still sleeps around 10-11 hours a night and normally takes a nap, anywhere from 1 to 2.5 hours, in the afternoon. He still shares a room with big brother, Ethan, and it works well, as they enjoy talking and laughing in their beds for hours some nights. They now go to bed by 7:30 or 8 pm during the school year, with Ethan's early school schedule (the bus comes just after 7 am!). Wake-up time is at 6:45 am on school days. For the summer, they are going to bed between 9 and 10 pm and sleeping until 8 am normally. It's a nice break from the routine. :)

Noah has a pretty good appetite and is usually willing to at least sample most foods. He'd still live on pasta and dessert alone, if we'd let him. He is a chocolate boy and normally picks that over vanilla!

Highlights of the past year:
  • Potty trained!!!!
  • Successfully made the move to a new preschool & easily made new friends
  • Completed his second year of preschool
  • Learning to swim without his Puddlejumpers
  • Took his first cruise
  • Counting to 30+
  • Knows the letters of the alphabet and colors
It's so fun watching the boys grow and their personalities develop. Noah is quite the jokester and as most 4-year-old boys do, he loves potty humor. Why are farts so hilarious?? He still sounds years older than he is when he talks most of the time. It's amazing some of the phrases that come out of that boy! He can be a bit moody as well though. No idea where he would get that from! ;) We'll be sure to remind him many years from now how his legs would often "break," and he couldn't move when we asked him to. Sigh. Hopefully he'll grow out of that one soon. He's still an amazing little cuddler, and of the three boys, he's definitely the most attached to his Mama. :) He always has "just one more hug and kiss" for me, and I can't say that I mind that one bit!!

We sure love our sweet, fun, little middle.

Like I did last year on his birthday, I asked Noah some questions that I'm going to ask every year now, to see how his responses change over the years. Here they are:
  1. What is your favorite color? green
  2. What is your favorite toy? little Legos
  3. What is your favorite fruit? strawberries
  4. What is your favorite tv show/movie? Dinosaur Train & Super Heroes
  5. What is your favorite thing to eat for lunch? peanut butter and strawberry jam
  6. What is your favorite outfit? my dinosaur shirt
  7. What is your favorite game? Dino Meal & Candyland
  8. What is your favorite snack? bunny crackers & pretzels
  9. What is your favorite animal? a cheetah
  10. What is your favorite song? Dynamite by Taio Cruz
  11. What is your favorite book? Balto
  12. Who is your best friend? Austin
  13. What is your favorite cereal? Frosted Mini Wheats
  14. What is your favorite thing to do outside? play on the playground & in the pool
  15. What is your favorite drink? apple juice
  16. What is your favorite holiday? Halloween
  17. What do you like to take to bed with you at night? fire dog
  18. What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? oatmeal & pancakes
  19. What is your favorite dinner? mac 'n cheese
  20. What do you want to be when you grow up? an "army," or an engineer
Happy 4th birthday, Noah. We love you!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Independence Day!

Tomorrow we celebrate our nation's birthday. For most, this means food, fun, and fireworks with loved ones. It's always been a special holiday for me, being so close to my birthday. It sometimes felt like a big party for me, with a great light show at the end. I loved laying under the stars and looking up at the night sky as it lit up with fantastic fireworks. I love that all of my boys are as mesmerized as I am by the sight of it. I still love to celebrate Independence Day, but July is a busy month now in our lives. In addition to my birthday, we now celebrate Noah's birthday, and our wedding anniversary in July. So, sometimes I don't get to take in the 4th quite as much as I'd like, but I'm going to try to do so this year. Hopefully the weather cooperates, so we'll get to take in another great fireworks show this year!

I decided to make a simple, but pretty banner this year for my fireplace, to help the house look more festive amongst all the dinosaur decorations currently set up for Noah's birthday parties! Haha! If you're also in need of some last minute decorations, you can download this PDF printable for free by clicking here! Just print on cardstock, trim the flags, and hang from some jute/yarn/ribbon. I attached my flags with mini clothespins, but you could also punch holes in them and thread the jute through the flags. A simple, beautiful way to bring the flag into your home for the holiday.

Happy Birthday, America!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Homemade Cajun Seasoning

I know I promised this ages ago, but I'm finally delivering, since I took pics while making a batch up the other night. ;) Here it is, our recipe for Cajun seasoning. I use this seasoning in sooooo many of my recipes. Anytime anything calls for Cajun, which for us is a good number of meals that we eat (i.e., Cajun Chicken Pasta, Cajun Stuffed Peppers, Crispy Shrimp pasta, Orange Dijon Pork Tacos, on grilled/blackened salmon, etc), I use this! It's simple, easy to make, and then you know exactly what's in it. :) It has the perfect balance of spice, with a hint of sweetness. Enjoy!

Cajun Seasoning


  • 3 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper, ground

Combine all of the spices in a small, airtight jar or container. Shake it up to ensure everything is mixed together well. Store in a cool, dry place.