Sunday, March 30, 2014

Cute as a button, and so much fun...

I hate to admit it, but...

I am THAT mom.

The one that planned her daughter's first birthday for six months prior to the actual event.

But you know what?

It was worth it!

I had the most fun ever getting ready for Parker's "Cute as a Button" themed party.  Everything was DIY- from the food to the decor.  It took a while to figure out what was going to be needed and just how to go about doing everything.  I realized though that if I could have any job in the world, it would be party planning.  I love this stuff.  I think I planned more for this party than I did for our wedding!

It all started with a picture that I found on Pinterest. It is from Hostess with the Mostess.  I fell in love with the idea- the gallery wall, the buttons... It was precious.  And I had to create my own version.

I began working on the items for the gallery wall first.  The button monogram was my first piece.  The frame is actually painted foam board cut out.  Much cheaper than buying a real frame! For the monogram, I printed off the "P" and simply covered it in buttons.  So easy.

Instead of buying a cake, I made cupcakes.  That way no one would have to spend any time cutting pieces.  Everyone could just walk by and pick one up.  I did want to make them cute, though, but I am not a cake decorator by any means.  Instead, I wanted them to be simple.  Rather than try (and fail) to decorate them, I decorated toothpicks instead.  Trust me, I am much better with a glue gun than with a piping bag! For these little guys, I bought a decorative hole punch, scrapbook paper, and tons of buttons.  I punched out my paper circles and hot-glued a button to the front center and a toothpick to the back.  Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? Just as much!

My next project was my "Cute as a Button" painting.  I liked the one from my inspiration picture, but I didn't want to just recreate what someone else had done.  Instead, I painted the canvas, made button flowers and hot-glued them to the canvas, and then hand-stitched (yes, HAND-STITCHED) stems and leaves under the flowers.  For those of you who may not know, I do not sew. At all. Ever. But anything for the baby, right? I used this technique to trace my words and filled them in.  It turned out so well!

I wanted to add some extra posters to the wall, so using the the left over foam board, I framed two small graphic designs that I created using

I bought frames from the dollar tree and covered them completely in buttons! These hung on the wall as well: her pictures from 3, 6, and 9 months.

I finished the wall with two big prints in fancy frames and some fabric flowers, and the gallery wall was complete! 

For the tables, I found some really pretty burlap and lace ribbon to use as a table runner. There was no sewing involved! On the runner, I put pictures of Parker from newborn to one year.   I found some beautiful, bright flowers and put them in my decorated jars.  I also made marshmallow pops for guests to enjoy as they sat around.  Those were so simple!

I had originally wanted to fill the jars with all button flowers, but after I realized that would take WAY to many buttons, I intermingled the button flowers with the real flowers.  It was the perfect touch!

The marshmallow pops were insanely simple! Dip half a marshmallow into water, let drip, and dip it into the sprinkles.  They held up very well for the party and all the kids loved them (and the adults too!)

I made a tutu for the highchair using this technique, but instead of putting it on elastic, I used yarn and attached it with tape.

Parker's party was as fun as could be! I still can't believe my sweet baby is one year old! I had a blast decorating and planning her party! I'm already looking forward to next year!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Sunday morning breakfast

I got up with the one year old this morning while my husband slept in. It is ALWAYs the other way around. But today, she demanded "Mama!" So I fed her breakfast and realized I wanted some breakfast of my own. Not just a bowl of cereal, but real, southern, comfort-food breakfast. I had a box of hash browns in the pantry. I had eggs in the fridge. That'll do. 

These hash browns are super easy to make. Fill the container with hot water and let sit for 12 minutes. Then drain the water and pan fry until they are a nice golden brown. 

I put the cooked hash browns in my pie plate. I scrambled four eggs with cheese and bacon bits and pour them over the hash browns, and sprinkled more cheese on top. Baked for 24 minutes at 350, this dish came out deliciously! I had made pancakes earlier in the week and frozen the leftovers. I heated those up and we had pancakes and quiche for breakfast! My husband was so surprised and happy and FULL!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Philly cheesesteak pizza

Tonight's dinner was a little late, but I had promised myself and my husband that I was going to try to make Philly cheesesteak pizza. It was even easier than I thought! The pizza was ready before the oven had even preheated!

I used a pre-made pizza crust prepared according to package directions. While the oven was preheating, I spread two tablespoons of Alfredo sauce onto the crust. I cooked three slices of steak-ums steak, crumbled the meat, and spread it on the sauce. I topped it with sliced provolone cheese. My pizza crust baked at 450 for 9 minutes and came out perfect and golden brown. It was a fast and delicious dinner that I will definitely make again!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Decoupage Tea Light Holders

Look how much fun my kids had today! It was the Friday before Spring Break, and the kids were going stir crazy. There is nothing better to do with hyper kids than to give them an outlet for all that energy in a constructive way! An art project was the way to go. We sometimes struggle to find art projects that are easy enough for them but not babyish. 

I have been saving tons of Parker's baby food jars without really having a real purpose in doing so. I looked up baby food jars in Pinterest and tons I ideas came up! One idea I actually had all the necessary materials for. Decoupage tea light holders. 

I had the baby food jars, tissue paper, and glue. It's so easy and makes a really nice product. 

The kids ripped the tissue paper into small pieces, then coated their baby food jars in a mixture of water and Elmer's glue. 

Then they placed their paper onto the jar and revisited the paper with more glue. 

When the whole jar is covered, it is done! It takes a few hours to dry, especially if they are coated in lots of glue and many layers of paper. 

Once they are dry, place a tea light into the jar. The light looks really pretty coming through the colored paper. 

I love how excited the kids got making these! It makes me smile to see them so happy!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PEP Talks- Month 12

Happy birthday to me!!! Can you believe it? I am a whole year old. Mom and Dad woke me up on my birthday by singing Happy Birthday to me. It would have been much nicer had it not been so early. Shouldn't birthday girls get to sleep in??  It was a great day though. I wore my special birthday shirt, and Mrs. Scott took me shopping for my birthday present and that night, my family went to eat dinner with Lucy Paige's family. Lucy and I were even dressed the same! We'd called each other :)

But before I turned one, I had a whole month of activities and growing. First of all, I am definitely standing on my own.  Before I only did it if I didn't notice that's what was happening, but now I do it on purpose.  My hands are so much more free for activities! I can hold two toys at once and bang them together.  I also got to play outside more this month since we've had some warmer days.  I love to kick and throw my ball in the yard.  If I could, I'd spend all day, everyday outside.  Once it gets warm and stays warm, Mom said that will be the plan! 

I am still trying to eat more foods.  I am an extremely picky eater.  If I don't like something, I won't swallow it.  I also will not spit it out (spitting is not lady-like). I hold it in my mouth until someone takes it from me.  Then I bite them for their effort.  And speaking of biting, I have 10 TEETH! I am getting my one year molars right now, and let me tell you, that is no fun! I've been a trooper, though.  Hopefully they'll be fully through soon.  

I had my doctor's appointment this afternoon.  I am 19 lbs 5 oz and 29.25 inches long.  I am just below the 50th percentile on everything.  The doctor said I probably won't grow up to be as tall as my mom, but that just means I'll always get to look up to her (at least that's what SHE says). 

So now that I've covered just about everything else, let's get on to the really fun stuff: my birthday!!!

After school that day, my mom and I pulled up to our house, and guess what we saw! A surprise! Aunt Ryan had decorated the front porch in honor of my birthday! There were streamers and paper balls and a happy birthday banner.  And CONFETTI!!!!! Lots and lots of confetti! I was so excited, I clapped my hands and laughed. Mom let me sit in the confetti and play with it.  It was so sparkly and colorful!

I wore my special birthday outfit with the balloons on it.  I really love balloons! I had fun shaking it back and forth.  I bopped myself in the head with it a few times, but it didn't hurt! It was just funny.  

My mom and Lucy's mom and my Paigey stayed up really late the night before my party to get everything decorated.  They did an awesome job! I'll save all the details for my mom to blog about, but here is a sneek peek of everything.

We had my party at Lucy's church in the youth room.  Lots of my friends and family were there! I got some really great toys and clothes, but I was more excited to spend time with everyone.  Also, I got to eat a whole cupcake all by myself! I had no problem chewing and swallowing a cupcake =) Hint, hint Mom!

My favorite toy of all of my birthday presents was from Aunt Jessica and Uncle Anthony. They got me a cat! It's not a real cat, but it can walk and meow, so I'm just as happy.  I've insisted on taking it with me wherever I go ever since we brought it home.  

Last but most certainly not least, the other thing I've figured out this month: I've learned to WALK! That's right! I'm a toddler now! I've taken about 5 or 6 steps at a time, several times.  I'm still faster when I crawl, so that's still my preferred method of transportation.  I will have to keep practicing.

So this is the last post from my very first year! I probably won't continue doing monthly updates, since I'm so busy now, but if there is anything big that happens, I will let you know! It has been an honor to share with everyone for the past 12 months.  Thanks for keeping up with me!

Until next time,

Parker E. Poe

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Beef tips with gravy, ranch mashed potatoes, and Parmesan roasted asparagus

This meal is simple and fast start to finish, but it tastes and looks like you spent lots of time and energy. A very impressive meal with very little effort. 

Beef tips
2 lbs beef tips
1 tbs flour
3 tbs butter
1 tsp minced garlic
1/4 c water
1 beef bullion cube
Salt and pepper

Melt butter in skillet. Add beef tips. Add flour. Stir to coat meat. Add garlic, salt and pepper. Add water and beef bullion cube. Cook through. Gravy will thicken as the meat cooks. 

Ranch mashed potatoes
4 large potatoes, cut into one inch cubes and boiled until soft. 
1/2 c milk (more if it's too thick)
1 packet ranch seasoning
1/2 block cream cheese
Salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients into a bowl and blend together. Season to taste. 

Parmesan roasted asparagus 
Olive oil
Garlic powder
Grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 425. Drizzle asparagus with olive oil. Top with salt, garlic powder, and Parmesan. Roast in oven for 12 minutes. 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Tortellini Alfredo with broccoli, bacon, and turkey

This recipe made a ton, and the leftovers were just as good! It's a great dish to make for dinner and then take for lunch the next day. 

1 bag frozen tortellini, cooked according to package directions
1 bag frozen broccoli, cooked according to package directions
1 lb ground turkey, browned
2 oz bacon bits
1 jar Alfredo sauce
1 pkg Italian dressing mix
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Combine jar of Alfredo sauce with the Italian dressing mix in a large bowl. Stir in tortellini, broccoli, bacon bits, and ground turkey. Pour into casserole dish. Top with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then broil for three more minutes. 

This dish also freezes well. If you want to freeze it, prepare all the way but do not add the cheese to the top. When you're ready to bake, bake at 375 for 45 minutes. Remove from oven and top with cheese. Broil for three or four minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. I love to have dinner already made and ready to be baked. It makes busy nights so much easier!