Wordless Wednesday: The Rainbow Connection

This past weekend we had Isora’s big 1st birthday party with all our family and friends at our favorite local kiddo hangout, Play. in East Lansing.

I really can’t say enough good things about Play. and it’s owner, Kasey. We LOVE it there and having birthday parties there is so fun and easy. If you’re in the area, do yourself a favor, book your little one’s next party there. You won’t regret it!

In attempt to stay on theme with Isora’s St. Patrick’s Day birthday I decided that her first party would be a rainbow party. Cause the rainbow leads to the pot full of gold and lucky clovers and leprechauns, doesn’t it? Well it does in our version of St. Patty’s lore 😉

I’ve been pinning rainbow ideas for months on Pinterest and took all of my favs, well at least the favs that could be done easily and by myself, and put a rainbow plan into action. And then with the help of my fast leprechaun helpers we got the whole thing put together just as our first guests were arriving.

The cake and present table with our Pinterest-inspired rainbow striped table skirt.

The food table with our last-minute-how-can-we-make-that-table-look-cute-with-tablecloth-scraps rainbow striped runners. I think the girls did an excellent job with it. Don’t you? And another Pinterest win…rainbow fruit kabobs!

The chalkboard lovingly decorated by Auntie Kylara. Though in fairness I did have to add the ‘1st’ and tell her how her how to spell Isora. ::smh:: Teenagers.

The goodie boxes were set on a shelf out of action until it was time to leave.

The kiddo table with little leprechaun hats that no one wore. I am SO taking those to Parade Day next year!

The Birthday Biz. So content to build a little tower all by herself.

My sweet big girl. Look how old she looks with those braids! Photobombed by Anna.

So busted. Daddy and Ella on the slide. Against. The. Rules. We went to Play. today and I had to explain 1,001 times why parents aren’t allowed on the slide. Thanks Daddy-O.

Sweet Juniper Monkey. I love her almost as much as I love my own babies. I wish you could hear her laugh. It’s infectious.

The adorable Olivia, very concentrated on her fruit. Isn’t she a doll?

Sir Anna was the knight protecting the ballerina princess butterflies. Or just being Brave.

Izzie and her cousin Salem. Salem actually took this picture and smiled for me. Even though when her mom asked her to take a pic and smile she ran the other way. Sorry Mary, they only listen when it’s not their mom talking.

Even the Dads were playing. Not sure what it is but these two were very intense about it. See what you missed Leslie and Kate? SERIOUS robot fort building.

And the grownups getting to the real business. The lunch.

Birthday Girl!! Thankfully Grandma Becky brought a new bib since that was one of the only things I forgot to bring. Thanks !!

And the show stopper. The Rainbow Cake. You’ve seen it on Pinterest and thought “That’s so cool but no way I could ever pull that off.” Right? Well let me tell you, if I can do it, you can too.

Cutting the cake. I love Izzie peaking out from under my hair in this picture.

And the money shot. Look at all those rainbow-y layers. Covered in real buttercream icing. It was divine.

Isn’t it pretty? The secret? Plenty of cake pans, gel food coloring and patience.

Don’t I look WAY too happy to be serving this cake? It’s cause I was so nervous it wasn’t going to turn out. Patting myself on the back for this one.

Grandma Linda will now be called The Cake Pusher.

Izzie loved it so much she felt the need to share.

The rest of the kids digging in. Olivia looks really happy with her cupcake.

And the gifts. I had two special helpers opening packages, until one of my helpers (aka Isora’s Big Sister) decided she was bored. But Anna stuck around to help. Because she loves her some Izzie. Turns out my baby really loves cards. So do I. Twinsies.

Anna helping us unwrap another cool toy.

And perhaps the best gift anyone has ever gotten ever. Three little tiny babies to snuggle. I think she likes them. And I think Salem can’t figure out what the hell they are.

Isn’t she the sweetest thing. Look at the smile. God I love her.

We had such a whirlwind tiring exhausting lovely day. And we are so thankful for those who came and showed their love for Isora. How lucky are we to have such a great family and such an amazing little girl?

Special thanks to our set-up and tear-down crew: Lucy (who was up with me making the table cloth until the wee hours the night before the party), Tracey, Mom, Kylara, Grandma Becky, Kristyn, Aunt Bea & Uncle Randy, Sabrina & Mike, Mary & Glen and of course Kasey 😉

But none of this would be possible without the man that helped me make this incredible creature. So thanks Mr. Eyebrowz. The road may be rocky sometimes but we always walk it together. I love you.

Happy WW all!! And in case anyone is looking for decorations for the SCOTUS Gay Marriage ruling party…I got you covered!!



It’s a Winter One-derland!!

Cedella is a winter baby.  So she will never have a fun outdoor party with a bounce house or a pool.  So in my search for a super cute theme for a winter birthday I spotted some great ideas from a Project Nursery inspiration board.  Then to add to the cuteness I found some really fun ideas from a friend with a winter baby.  Then with all kinds of help from my lovely sister Tracey I set out to create this whole red & aqua wintery party for my little Snowflake.

First up, the invites showcased on Project Nursery.  Tracey worked some Photoshop magic and designed these which I dressed up with some red and clear rhinestones and shimmery silver envelopes…

Sorry for the crude Photoshop on this pic.  Haven’t mastered it yet…

I ordered an adorable personalized onesie from Stitcheroos on Etsy.  That with some polka dot tights from Baby Gap, a silver tutu from Babies R Us and her gray See Kai Run mary janes and Ella’s snowflake outfit was complete.

Running away with a new dress

Next we had to decide on the menu.  I knew I wanted to make cupcakes for all the kids attending.  And I knew I wanted to make Ella her own cake to smash into.  The goal was to keep the food pretty low-key and kid-friendly.  And to add a bit of the wintery theme I needed to find out how to make these adorable little olive penguins that my friend made.

My version of the March of the Penguins

 I found an igloo ice cream cake on Martha’s website that was WAY too labor intensive.  Then like a ray of inspiration I found an igloo shaped pan from Williams-Sonoma.  Tracey and I set out to make Martha Stewart’s Red Velvet cupcakes and Yellow Buttermilk cupcakes, with cream-cheese and buttercream frostings respectively, and an igloo shaped cake with buttercream frosting.

 My lovely assistants Auntie Tracey & Birthday Girl
The Red Velvet burnt.  Which according to my mother and sister has never happened to either one of them in their combined 60+ years of baking cupcakes.  Great.  Leave it to me to burn them.  We blamed it on the pretty but super conductive shiny red foil cupcake liners we baked them in.  Oh well.  Looks like we won’t be opening a cupcake shop anytime soon (Thank the universe for Sugar Shack!).
They looked so good going into the oven…

The Yellow Buttermilk worked out well.  Only 3 of the 36 burned.  Which was way more than we needed but perfect none the less.  They weren’t too sweet and were still nice and moist.  Great recipe Martha.  

The Fluffly Vanilla frosting in Martha’s Cupcake book was sinfully ridiculous.  There is seriously a pound of butter and pound of confectioner’s sugar and not much else in this recipe.  It was to die for…

Then came the Mt. Everest of baking.  The damned Igloo Cake.  The recipe was written very strangely and the steps were complex.  In the end turned out glorious browned and perfectly formed but super dense and hard.  WTF?!  It may be really good for an angel food or lighter cake batter.

Igloo & Yellow cupcakes fresh out of the oven

But the real challenge of this cake was in the icing/decorating.  I tried several different pastry tips and small off-set spatulas.  Nothing made this cake look right.  We decided to just slap a really heavy layer of buttercream on it and spike it out, like real fallen snow.  I was not entirely thrilled with how it looked, but we threw it on a platter with some shredded coconut snow, a penguin buddy and a birthday flag and it was imperfectly cute.

 Cedella’s Igloo Diorama

Tracey also made these cute decorative circles in the party colors to top the cupcakes.

Finally the venue.  My Inlaws agreed to let me have the party at their home.  Even with the threat that their beautiful decorated and decidedly un-baby proofed home would be overrun with 10 kids under 9, they agreed.  So with my Mom, sisters, sister-in-law and MIL we decorated the house with snowflakes of all shapes and sizes, happy 1st birthday banners and snowmen.  I think we did a fabulous job!

 Dessert Table
 Food table
Snowflakes everywhere!!

Then the kids arrived and the chaos ensued.  I don’t think there has ever been that many kids in their home before!  Every kid is older than Cedella, but that didn’t stop her from getting right in there and having a good time with them.


And of course she went cuckoo crazy when her BFF Anna arrived.  It was soooooo cute.

She even snuck in a kiss to her very shy little cousin John (he didn’t seem to mind one bit).

When it came to her Birthday Cake I don’t think Monk knew what to do.  She touched the icing but that rock hard cake wouldn’t give.  I tore off a piece for her which she ate like a dainty little lady.  So I gave her a cupcake.  And wouldn’t you know it, she smashed the whole damn thing in her face trying to get it all in her mouth at once.  She was inhaling frosting through her nose.  Just look at this cuteness…

Then it was time for the gifts.  And thanks to our incredibly generous family and friends it was like a second Christmas.  All the older kids wanted to help with the presents.  So while Evan was in charge of trash, Addison was in charge of helping Cedella open her gifts while the other kids each took a turn picking out what gift she would open next.

Second Christmas
Cedella’s many present helpers
Monk’s First Chucks

Everyone, family & friends, kids & adults, seemed to have a great time.  By the time we opened everything and people started to pack up and go home I thought my poor little Monkey was going to collapse from exhaustion.  Not to mention she had been starting to sniffle and was really congested by that evening.  But she was such a trooper all day, took a late nap despite the massive amounts of sugar coursing through her body and slept pretty good that night.

Putting on a show for her guests

Now I know, no one remembers their 1st birthday party.  It is definitely more for the parents than for the baby.  But the way I look at it is that we were celebrating not just this miraculous day one year ago, but that we, as new parents, have survived this first year.  So many changes have occurred and so many challenges have come to us as parents and spouses this year that it just felt right to wipe away some tears and say “Happy Birthday!” and “We did it!” all at the same time.  When we look back at this day, this event, hopefully we will think fondly of all the love, support and generosity we were surrounded by.  Not just for this one day, not just for this first year, but hopefully many many years to come.

With my MIL Hilda 
Cedella and her Jiddo John
 Hanging out with Daddy
 Playing piano with Grandma Linda
 With my baby sister Kylara
 With Grandma & Aunt Sabah
With her Fan Club AKA Auntie Dana & Auntie Talia
Me & my Monkey