the one year birthday party

My child is one! I had so much fun throwing her a birthday party (with lots of help from my parents) and wanted to share some of the memories with you.

Her day of course started with birthday waffles. How could it not?

After breakfast we got ready and headed out to my parent’s house for the festivities. Birthday Girl had 3 outfits to wear that day…her “I’m cute so let’s take a picture” outfit, her “smash cake tutu” outfit, and the “okay people, leave me alone now” outfit.

I’m sure I had more fun with the outfit changes than she did.


Our festivities included lunch, with lots of her favorite vegan foods, a little photo booth session, the smash cake, and presents.

What was on the menu at a 1 year old’s vegan birthday party?

Appetizer: Squash and Carrot Soup
Salad: Big green salad with lots of fresh veggies
Main: Lentil Bolognese over pasta
Dessert: Fruit
Drinks: Sparkling Wine
Dessert: Vegan Cupcakes


Birthday Girl was hilarious with the photos. She’s such a squirmy active girl, so it took a lot of effort to get her to smile at the camera.

And then came the smash cake. Holy. Cow. This cake was delicious. (and yes, I totally ate some of her cake) #MinimalistBaker, you know what you’re doing. It was really fun making the cake. I couldn’t really justify spending money on a cake that would most likely end up on the ground, so I made it myself. It turned out delicious!



Our last activity, opening presents, was a lot of fun. Birthday Girl did it all by herself! She knew exactly what to do with the bags and tissue paper. She was really cracking us up though with the cards. She was super into a pink cat card from my grandma, and the other cards that were big. The cards that were smaller she would just toss to the side. Picky little girl! As the presents kept going she would periodically return to playing with the cat card. Sorry Birthday Girl, you are not about to get a cat.



I think the other highlight of the party was BG showing off her newly acquired skill of responding “baaa” to the question, “What does the sheep say?” How could you not love that?

This girl has stolen our hearts. She’s loves to laugh and be with people. She just started walking this week, so the adventure is definitely going to continue to get interesting! Up next…climbing!





the day it all started


February 25th… One year ago today, I woke up with the anticipation of Baby Girl arriving at any moment. It was my due date, so get it together kid…it’s time to come out.

I went to work hoping to make it through the day without my water breaking all over my cubicle, or something horrifically embarrassing like that. Thankfully that didn’t happen. Instead, I started feeling the tiniest contractions every 30 minutes in the late afternoon. “This is it,” I thought.

Little did I know that it would be 48 more hours of contractions, 3 visits to the delivery unit, and a heck of a lot of pain and screaming before I would get to meet Baby Girl.

One year later, I’m planning a birthday party, sipping my coffee, and enjoying the giggles of my little girl.

In one year so much has changed in our lives. Date nights require babysitters, the apartment gets really quiet after the 7:00 pm bedtime commences, and getting out the door is no small task.

Our vocabulary has changed to include baby babble, our Amazon cart is full of diapers and wipes, and our apartment looks like Toys R’ Us’ vomited all over the place.

Despite the chronic sleep deprivation and busy schedules, this has been the best year of my life. Baby Girl is full of personality, loves to laugh, and is a social butterfly. She will literally stare you down until engage in conversation with her. She thinks it’s hilarious to jump on Daddy’s pillow in the morning while he sleeps. She gives very open mouth kisses and puts the phone up to her ear when you say “hello.” She is incredibly active and basically never stops moving. Her favorite thing to say (and then giggle) is “ba-di-gum.” Maybe one day we’ll figure out what she means.

This is my girl.

I’m treasuring up the last two days before Baby Girl turns one. The countdown to the smash cake has begun!




sleeper sacks we love

I have no idea how to swaddle a baby. I’ve watched the YouTube videos and seen other people do it, but for some reason, the blanket and I don’t work well together.

It’s fine, though. Honestly, I see no reason why this skill is needed when there are amazing sleeper sacks that will swaddle your child in about 2 seconds with a little Velcro.

I’ve fallen in love with our sleeper sacks over the past 11+ months and wanted to share the ones we’ve used and enjoyed. We’ve transitioned from the types that swaddle to a simple wearable blanket that’s easy to use, and keeps my little sugar plum nice and cozy.

I should probably mention that we use sleeper sacks for two reasons:

  1. Swaddling was a lifesaver the first few months. Like I mentioned before, I can’t swaddle to save my life. But, swaddling is like magic. To be more precise, the 5S‘ are magic. So when I saw blankets that swaddle my child with a zip and a piece of Velcro, I was sold.
  2. I’m not into putting blankets in the crib. Maybe it’s “first child” syndrome. Maybe I’m just super cautious. If there’s a safer option for my baby than a blanket, let’s do it.


The Newborn Days of Swaddling

Sooo. Our favorite sleeper sack that swaddles is the HALO SleepSack Micro-Fleece Swaddle. This was so incredibly easy to use, and held Baby Girl snug and safe. I also like how it comes in different fabrics, depending on the season.

One night as we were checking on Baby Girl we saw her arms escape the swaddle sack and then sneak back under the fabric…sneaky little girl! We decided that she might be ready to have her arms free at that point, so we started wrapping her body in the swaddle wings and leaving her arms out. This was after she was about 3-4 months old.


Freeedoooom, Freeeedom! Let my arms out!

When she outgrew the Halo SleepSack we transitioned to Carter’s Sleepbag 0-9 Months
with fleece arms. This was perfect for the summer, as it’s not too thick but keeps the chill of the air conditioning away.



Stop Growing Up! 

And then it happened. She outgrew the 9 month sleeper sack. How was this possible? It was so huge when I got it at my baby shower. This can’t be right.

But it was…

I’m a few weeks shy of having a toddler. Over the last few months we transitioned into the Baby Deedee Sleep Nest .This is an amazing sleep sack. When it came I was a little skeptical. The arm holes seemed big, so we waited another month before trying it out. Once we did, we were hooked. BG stayed nice and warm and had plenty of room inside the sack to move her legs. She sleeps so well in this!

We love our sleeper sacks!

What about you? Do you have a favorite sleeper sack?

Hope you are staying warm! Happy Friday!



Toy Rotation Baskets


Toy Rotation Baskets

Want a quick weekend project that is going to save you time and money?

In about 10 minutes, I created Baby Girl’s Toy Rotation Baskets. What is this, you might ask? This is a way to stop buying new toys all the time and reduce the number of toys you have to clean up every day. This is a way to keep the novelty in what you already own.

So what did I do? First, I laid out all of the toys, stuffed animals, teethers, and books that we own, outside of the big toys like the exersaucer or activity mat.

Next, I made piles of similar items. All the stuffed animals go in one pile, books in another, etc.

Finally, I grabbed 4 baskets and divided each type of item equally into the 4 baskets. What we are left with is 4 different baskets that all have each category/item type.

Now what? To keep your current possessions fresh and novel to both you and baby, put one basket out for 1 to 2 weeks. At the end of the time frame it goes back on the shelf and the next basket comes out. Tadaa! New toys! New books! New stuffed animals! Awesome!!!

Here’s my one exception: anything that baby is incredibly attached to or you seriously need all the time, keep out all the time. For us, it’s Sophie the Giraffe. Sophie is our best friend.

So now you’re able to save money by not buying new toys, and save time by having less to pick up every day.

We’ve been trying this out for a little bit now, and love it! The basket is even a fun part of the playtime options as Baby Girl can flip it over and climb on it. I’ve also come to enjoy toys I didn’t even realize we had or barely touched before.

What do you do to keep the novelty in what you already own?

Have a great day!



The Pincer Grasp has arrived!

The pincer grasp is starting, people!! Can I tell you how excited I am that Baby Girl can now pick up little pieces of food? When we first started introducing solids, I attempted the method of feeding called Baby Led Weaning that gives baby long thin pieces of soft foods like avocado, strips of banana, etc. BG did pretty great with this method and was able to hold the long strips and gum away at the food.

As soon as teeth started popping through though, she would take gigantic bites, which completely freaked me out. Back to purees, kid. Mommy is about to have a heart attack over here as you swallow giant strips of banana.

So I went back to purees. Unfortunately, that little taste of independence left Baby Girl with a newfound dislike of spoons being put into her mouth. “Hi Mom! Let me just glare at you with my mouth shut as you try to feed me that puree.” Fail.


So for about a month we tried pouches, giving her toys while we spoon fed, or sticking pea-sized pieces of food into her mouth off of our fingers. It was okay, but I didn’t feel like this was a great way to teach her how to eat.

So now it’s here…the pincer grasp. She can pick up tiny pieces of food that she really shouldn’t choke on. YES!!!

Here are some of the foods she likes, can pick up, or have some independence with:

  • Tofu:
    Cut into pea-sized cubes. Cold or microwaved for 5-10 seconds.
  • Broccoli:
    Steamed until soft. I typically hold the stalk and let her chomp off the leafy parts. You could also just cut off the stalk and cut the ends into pea-sized pieces.
  • Acorn or Butternut Squash:
    I bake it until soft (400 degrees for about 45 mins) and then cut it into pea-sized pieces.
  • Sweet Potatoes:
    I boil these until soft and then cut into pea-sized pieces.
  • Banana:
    Somewhat harder for her to pick up, so I let her try with some, but feed her little pieces off of my finger as well so she doesn’t get too frustrated.
  • Peas:
    She can pick these up and loves them! I either steam them for a few minutes or microwave for 2 minutes in water and covered with a paper towel.
  • Green Beans:
    I cook these the same as peas and then cut them into thirds/ pea sized.
  • Beans (black, kidney, chickpea):
    After soaking the beans overnight, I boil them until soft (about an hour), and then cut them in half.
  • Avocado:
    Cut into pea-sized pieces. She loves loves loves these.
  • Pouches:
    These are great in a pinch or on the go. I had to help her the first few times, but she’s really starting to get the hang of it and realized food comes out of the little spout.

It’s fun seeing how she reacts to different flavors and textures. Quinoa elicited a few funny faces. Raspberries were good the first time and then a lot of “this is disgusting” faces came the second time she tried them. 

If I were to do it over again, I would just stick to purees until the pincer grasp showed up. You live, you learn, and you make note for next time.

What foods does your little one love?

Have a great day!


Playtime essentials 0-6 months

In my mind, the first year of a baby’s life can be split into two sections: the stationary days and the “it’s time to childproof everything” days. David and I have entered into the latter section.

Baby Girl seems less and less like a baby, and more and more like a little kid cruising around the floor looking for any and everything to put in her mouth.

Coming out of the stationary months where Baby Girl could either just lay there or roll over without getting too far, I came up with some of the most helpful toys and products that encouraged different types of play.essentials books

Tiny Love Lights and Music Gymini Activity Gym
: encouraged grabbing and reaching. It has lots of fun colors and textures, as well as a mirror to help make tummy time a more enjoyable experience for everyone. This was perfect for the first 4 months or so.

: encouraged standing, playing independently, movement around the saucer, and motor skill development. Bonus: it is a safe place to set baby while you run to the bathroom. This was perfect starting at about 5 months.

Bumper Jumper
: a great place for baby to use those leg muscles and play independently. We put ours in the bathroom door frame so that we could get ready while she played or the kitchen door frame so we could cook without worrying about her getting into something. This was perfect starting at around 5 months.

A nice quilt
: we put Baby Girl’s quilt on the floor with toys and books. This encouraged tummy time, reaching for toys, and provided a clean place on the floor for her to roll. We’ve used our quilt from day 1 and love it! She can easily pick up or get rolled in other blankets. The quilt stays on the ground very nicely.essentials quilt

Lots of books
: reading to your baby from day 1 is recommended and fun. Pick books that offer sensory experiences, bright colors, and black and white pictures for the first few months.  

: Providing a variety of  types of toys will help baby develop. Toys that have different feels/textures, make sounds, have different colors, etc will give baby a diverse learning experience. We love these toys:

essentials toys

It’s so fun seeing Baby Girl grow and start moving and discovering more of the world. I’m excited to see what toys and products will be helpful for this next phase. I know one thing; a second cup of coffee will be on my list of helpful things as I chase Baby Girl around our apartment!

What did you find useful for the first 6 months?

Have a fantastic day!



*This post contains affiliate links which are only included if I truly love the product.

Babies on trains

Babies on Trains

I strap BG in her stroller, throw the diaper bag under her, and take a quick 5 minute walk to the train stop. If we are really late, we jump right on the train as it pulls up. If we planned our time well, we wait on the platform listening to music over the loudspeaker and get a little giggling in before we board.

Once on the train, we go to the designated area for strollers and put the brakes on. I pull her out of her seat and she sits or stands on my lap looking around at the people around her. As the train pulls away she looks out the window at the beautiful bridges in the city, trees and shrubs along the tracks, and even gets views of our iconic crooked river. She giggles as I describe to her what we see and loves that she is free to bounce on my lap. A few people try to wave at her or say hello. I politely respond and get back to baby. As we approach our stop, I strap her back in her stroller and we wheel away for another quick walk to our destination.

The more I’ve used the train to get from one CLE neighborhood to the next, the more I love it!  If you’ve never tried the train, let’s go! Visit RTAs website to learn more about how to ride or join me on a trip to one of Cleveland’s great neighborhoods to get some vegan ice cream! 

Hope you are having a great week!