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Sweet Little Nest(laces)

18 Jun

Three Sweet Little Nest Necklaces - ready for presentation

Yes, I know we just celebrated Father’s Day … but I haven’t told you about the Mother’s Day gifts I made a loooong time ago. I have a whole bunch of new mom friends who are super busy being awesome moms and working full time so it took me a couple of months to get these presents distributed. I couldn’t really share the pictures before I had presented the gifts, you know? Actually, I still have one to give (Katy – pretend you didn’t see this post, okay?).

I saw this idea on, duh, Pinterest - the filing system for all that is awesome on the Interwebs. Tutorials abound: here and here.

They seemed like a great gift from the blogger behind SWEET LITTLE NEST, huh?

I really love how my first attempts turned out and I think I could get even better over time. The wire wrapping takes a little practice so the more you make, the better you’ll get.

The nest with three eggs was gifted to my friend Kelly, mom of three great boys (her youngest is about 6 weeks old)

The chains also came from Michael’s, though I think I will order something different if I decide I want to make some more (other than one here or there for new moms).

The single egg nests were given to my friends Jaimie and Katy. They both have infant sons as well.

On the back of the cards I stamped one of my signature birds (we used these birds on the bag of our Christmas cards, as well). While not a perfect match for our blog header, I think it gets the point across.


The reverse side of the gift tags was blank so I was able to stamp a little bird back there.

Speaking of Pinterest, I tried a few new recipes for a Flag Day party we had this weekend. Remember that on our list of family favorites for the adoption placement agency I said that my favorite tradition is hosting a backyard bash to welcome summer and Don’s birthday? Well, Don’s birthday falls on Flag Day so we always call this our Flag Day party and theme it red, white and blue. I wanted to make some themed desserts so I tried out this red, white and blue trifle from Skinny Taste.

This picture is a little dark. I guess I should have taken the photo outside like the one I found on Skinny Taste. At any rate, it tastes awesome. Two thumbs up.

I also made a version of Martha Stewart’s No Bake Cheesecake recipe. I made my mine in individual plastic cups, though. I really like the way they turned out. Maybe I will post the instructions in a future post since I shot some pictures along the way.

Hats off to these flag cupcakes.

So, how about you? Did you make any of your pins a reality over the weekend? How was Father’s Day?

The Decor, the Game and the Favor Bags

8 Feb

I think this is my last baby shower post. Thanks for hanging in with me guys.

To recap:
For our Book Worm Baby Shower, there were invitations, there was food, there were onesies (not actually book worm-themed) and there were Hershey Kisses.

Today we’re going to take a look at the decor, plus reveal Katy’s fun game and cute favors.

First the decor. Back in early December when I scored those Hershey Kisses for 70 percent off, I also found this great Hanukkah banner on super sale. It was a semi-DIY kit – the ribbon, blue circles and white circles are all separate pieces. There were also felt letter that I discarded. I printed out new letters to spell out BABY and Jaimie and Dean’s last name (you’ll have to use your imagination on the image below since I had to block out the last name to respect their privacy).

Here’s a closer look:

The mantle also sports those cute little blue tissue paper puffs. Here’s a tutorial from Pinterest, or you can do what I did and buy the kit from Martha Stewart. When I first looked at a tutorial (I’m not sure if it was that one or another one), it seemed kind of confusing. Now that I have done it from the MS kit,  I know it’s actually pretty easy and if I ever have to do it again I will start from scratch (and make them bigger).

Here’s a look at the table centerpiece:

It’s pretty simply – just a couple of white flowers in a square-ish vase on top of a small pile of children’s books. I was inspired by the awesome book themed party I saw on Pinterest.

Now, on to the games and swag. Cooking and decor is a lot easier for me than games, so when Katy offered to pitch in I gladly took her up on the offer. As you may remember, Katy is herself a new mom (I couldn’t help but link here and above to different pictures of Katy’s cute little man).

Well, when it came to the party game, Katy rocked it! She came up with Kiddo Catch Phrase, a game in which (much like the real Catch Phrase) teams compete to see how long it takes them to guess 20 correct answers in a randomly assigned category. In keeping with our literary themed shower, Katy came up with appropriate categories like fairy tales and nursery rhymes (my team was assigned fairy tales). Katy started the timer and handed the first person a card, then you had to get your teammates to guess what was on the card without saying any of the words on it. So for example, one of my cards read “Puss in Boots” and I gave the clue, “It’s a cat who wears shoes.”

Some of them were so hard and I was really impressed with the teams who had super heroes and nursery rhymes. It was also funny to see who knew some of the more obscure things like “Wee Willy Winkie”. Katy’s mom is a recently retired librarian so I bet she was very proud of Katy for coming up with this game – especially since it required making something like 120 unique cards and knowing what all of those things were so she could help us out (which she did pretty liberally – thanks, Katy!).

Here’s the sign she made for the game:

Can you tell what the pictures are on the outside edges of the poster? They’re little cards / stickers depicting The Cat and the Fiddle nursery rhyme. Here’s a closer shot:

I think everyone really liked the game … and you just never know with this things. No one wants to smell and taste any more melted candy in baby diapers, right?

Katy also put together the darling little favor bags with our Hershey Kisses and these cute little notebooks that look like a library collection:

Yup. That pictures says it all: Thanks Katy!

Okay – back soon with actual adoption stuff.

Watch Me Grow Onesies (Free Printable)

6 Feb

** Free Printable included at bottom of post **

Here’s a look at the gift I made for Jaimie, Dean and their baby boy.

I know I personally will want to see pictures of this little muffin every day so I came up with a way for them to document his growth each month – custom onesies announcing his age.

They turned out so cute. Here’s how I did it.

Watch Me Grow Onesie Project:

Supplies -
12 white onesies (3 0-3 month, 3 3-6 month, 3 6-9 month, 3 12 month), washed in baby safe detergent
3 sheets of Iron-On Transfer paper (you can buy it at office supply stores and craft stores)
Color ink jet printer

Directions -

1. Wash the onesies in baby-friendly detergent like Ivory or Dreft – or use just baking soda.

1. Using PowerPoint I created 12 graphics depciting every month for the first year of baby’s life - each one with a different color or theme. A few of the onesies are very specific because I know his due date. For example, he will be seven months old in October so the seven month onesie is a pumpkin instead of a circle. This could obviously be done in Photoshop, but I was just using my little slow laptop that doesn’t have it AND since there was nothing fancy needed and no complicated layers, I didn’t see any need to use my Mac Mini.

2. I printed the graphics four per page onto iron-on transfer paper. I had to change the settings on our color ink jet printer to ‘mirror image’ so the text would read properly after I transferred it to the onesies. If you’re going to make these at home, don’t forget to check your printer settings like I did the first time.

Once printed (properly), I cut out and trimmed each individual graphic. Don’t leave too much white space around your graphic. Here’s what mine looked like after I cut and trimmed them.

3. Place the iron-on transfer and get ready to iron. Once you start there’s no correcting it so be sure you love the placement.

4. Very carefully iron them on. It requires constant, even pressure – and quite a bit of it. The cotton onesies are pretty delicate so there is a small amount of yellowing / browning on a few even though I was super careful.

5. Carefully peel backing away from transfer. I don’t have pictures of this step because it requires an even hand. Once you have peeled the backing away, your onesie will look like this:

6. Repeat 11 more times.

So cute and so easy. After I was done, I folded them up and put them into a seagrass basket.

And guess what? I made a pdf so that you print your own! I took out the graphics specific to how old this baby will be during certain months of the year so these will work for any new baby. Remember to make sure your ink jet printer is set to ‘mirror image’ when you print.

Have you made a special gift for a new mom or mom-to-be?  OR have you documented your baby’s growth in some photographic way?

Baby Shower Invitations

5 Feb

When my friends Jaimie and Dean first talked about decorating their nursery, they thought about going with a Winnie the Pooh theme. A few weeks later they decided on a Yankees theme. 

*sigh* I know, there’s no accounting for it. They are both from New York so it can’t be helped I guess. Don keeps alternating between saying he won’t babysit for them at the house because he won’t put the kid down in the Yankees room and saying that he wants to babysit so he can take down all the Yankees gear.

Anyway, when they ruled out the Pooh nursery theme I thought I would make the shower Pooh-themed instead. That’s why when I sent the Save the Date announcements way back in December, I used the little image of Pooh and Piglet and the quote that’s just perfect for a new baby:

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.

I was actually having a hard time coming up with stuff that really inspired me for a Winne the Pooh themed shower though, and it was not for a lack of pouring over Pinterest and the Interwebs looking for inspiration either. My poor mother-in-law was even dragged around on a fruitless shopping venture over the Christmas holiday.

By that time, Jaimie had mentioned to me that she would love for guests to bring a book to help grow a great children’s library for her little boy. An idea had been wiggling around in my brain, and finally I decided to change the whole shower theme to books.

I was shopping for supplies at Michael’s when I ran into our friend Karla. She’s just as excited about Jaimie and Dean’s bundle of joy as I am, and she very graciously and generously offered to buy the supplies for the invitations. Not only was that just so darn sweet, but it also allowed me to splurge on some fun matching envelopes AND make coordinating thank you cards. So, thank you Karla!

Here’s a look at the invitations and matching thank you cards.

The invitation itself is made of two pieces of paper glued together. The piece in the back is blue-, white- and brown-striped scrapbook paper and the piece on the top is white card stock. I printed the invitations on our ink jet printer, three per page. The little bookworm is just made from blue and brown circles – like the ones of the top and bottom of the cards. The text in the large blue circle explains the baby book idea. Here’s what it says:

Greeting cards are nice, but only get read once or twice.
So instead of a card to be put away,
please bring a children’s book to be enjoyed some other day. 

Our friend Katy offered to plan a game with prizes AND put together favor bags. So with those matters in capable hands and the invitations done, I just had to plan the bookworm menu and decor. Yup. I had a couple of fun book themed decor items, too. Stay tuned (I’ll also tell you about the super fun game Katy put together that matched our theme!).

Have you been to, planned or been honored with a themed baby shower ? What was it?

Bookworm Food

4 Feb

My friend Jaimie’s baby shower was this afternoon. I am so excited for Jaimie and her husband Dean and I wanted to make sure we had a great event with lots of thoughtful touches.

Jaimie mentioned that she would like for people to bring books for the baby. I decided that sounded like a great theme and I put together plans for a Bookworm Baby Shower. Even the food was themed based on childrens’ books. Here’s what we served:

Green Eggs and Ham
Spinach & Ham Egg Quiche

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Rainy Day Meatballs (Yeah, these I just bought at Ikea – everything else was homemade.)

Savory Madeleine Cookies 

Pete’s a Pizza
Petesa Balls

Chicken Little
Little Chicken Pockets

Peter Rabbit
Peter’s Veggie Cup

Blueberries for Sal
Blueberry Ricotta Flatbread

The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Caterpillar’s Fruit Salad

Super Fudge
Fudge Crunch Ice Cream Cake

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Cookies

James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach Bellini 

Lemony Snicket
Lemony’s Lemonade ( just regular low sugar lemonade with lime and orange slices floating)

Red Fish, Blue Fish, One Fish, Two Fish
Just the Red Fish
Here are the menu cards (the book cover with the name of the food item below it) if you’d like to host your own book-themed lunch or baby shower. I think the chicken pockets were my favorite.


A Heartbreaking Tale on Every Level

12 Jan

Photo courtesy of mazaletel
holding mama’s hand
courtesy of mazaletel

You already know that my parents have a little experience with adoption, but you might not know that Don’s dad does, too. He serves as a guardian ad litem for Miami-Dade county in Florida. A guardian ad litem is an individual appointed by a court to represent the interests of a child in a particular legal action or proceeding. In other words, let’s say there is a legal proceeding in which a child is an issue but is not either party actually involved in the action (divorce proceedings, custody arrangements, etc.). The parties involved have attorneys who protect their clients’ interests, but the child – who is not a part of the formal legal action - does not. Enter the guardian ad litem whose job it is to make sure that the court considers the best interests of a child in handing down its decision.

In his role as guardian ad litem, Don’s dad has worked on a few cases involving adoption - including one that I was reminded of recently when I read this article about a biological father whose two year-old daughter was placed at birth with a family in South Carolina.

A few weeks ago, the birth father was granted custody of the child even though the adoption had already been finalized in South Carolina. As a member of the Cherokee Nation, the birth father was able to point to a provision in the Indian Child Welfare Act that protects Native American families from being separated. An appellate court in South Carolina ruled that the Indian Child Welfare Act overruled South Carolina law in this case.

The adoptive family who raised the girl for two years is planning an appeal.

So, back to Don’s dad. A couple of years ago we were discussing a case we’d heard about where a family who had been fostering a child and hoping to adopt her was likely going to be denied because the birth father, who claimed no prior knowledge of the child’s existence, had turned up wanting to parent. Don’s dad explained to us the state’s position – which was that since the child was in foster care (the family was only hoping to have the chance to adopt her), since the birth father appeared to have no knowledge that the state had been given temporary custody of his daughter and since he appeared to be a fit parent, the birth father was likely to win custody. Don and I both recognized the terrible situation the court would face, though I think I was far more sympathetic to the birth father’s position than Don.

The potential adoptive family, Don argued, had been there for the baby since birth. One night of fun with the birth mother does not a father make. Fathers are made by showing up, by changing diapers and drying tears, by planning for the future and living every moment.

I can’t argue with any of that. I know as well as anyone that families are made in a lot of ways and biology is only part of the equation (and not even the biggest part in my opinion). On the other hand, if the birth father didn’t even know the child existed, and if he would have behaved differently had he been made aware, then shouldn’t he have the chance to parent his daughter? Or at least have the chance to be given consideration?

Situations like this have elements of sadness on every level. There is no way for both families to win. Someone is going to get custody, and the other side will likely not be a part of the child’s life going forward.

Take the case of the Native American child. Her birth father loves her and wants the chance to be her full-time dad. Her adoptive family loves her and they’ve spent two years nurturing and caring for her. The adoptive family is all the child has ever known, but the birth father claims to have been fighting for custody since shortly after the child’s birth.

So – it’s sad for the birth father who didn’t want to place, and it’s sad for the adoptive family who consider the girl their own child. But, of course, it’s really sad for the two-year old whose biological father and adoptive parents are fighting about where she should live and who she should be.

I don’t know the specifics of either case, and even if I did I would have a hard time issuing a declaration about the right solution for either. As a casual observer I can only offer the opinion that there’s a lot of heartbreak happening in both of these cases. I can say with confidence, that we’re so lucky situations like this are extremely rare.


A Rose by Any Other Name

2 Dec

In my other life, I work in the field of public relations. Yesterday I logged in to PR Newswire to upload a press release and notice a headline that caught my eye:


From the Jersey Shore to the Royal Palace, Pop Culture and Celebrities Offer Inspiration While Sophia and Aiden Still Reign Supreme

Truthfully, I hadn’t been waiting … but I couldn’t help but take a peek. The list of the top names for baby girls and baby boys was interesting enough - lots of Sophias and Aidens out there this year, but the follow up commentary was even more interesting.

The rise in popularity of the name Mason (#3) is attributed to Kourtney Kardashian’s son. *sigh*

Also, Briella (what?) and other names inspired by New Jersey-based reality shows including – and I am not making this up – the first name Jersey. Really? *double sigh*

I also noted with interest the rise in royal name like William, Harry, Kate and Pippa because if Don and I have a son our top contender for his name is Harris, after Don’s grandfather. Baby Harry. It’s so cute right? Except, it seems, he might be in school with a lot of other Harrys. Oh well – we’d probably call him Harris anyway.

Sometimes the Smallest Things Take Up the Most Room

22 Nov

My best friend is pregnant! She’s due in May and I am so excited to be an auntie.

Her shower is in early February and even though I am going to send formal invitations in the mail I decided a little advance notice would be appreciated by everyone – especially with the holidays approaching.

Here’s the quick Save the Date invitation I created. I saved it as a JPEG and sent it out via e-mail.

I chose Winnie the Pooh because Jaimie and her husband discussed a Winnie the Pooh-themed nursery before they decided on a Yankees-themed nursery instead. I’m going with classic Pooh, because the modern Pooh wearing a shirt and no pants is troublesome to me. I’m mostly kidding, but I do prefer the old-fashioned bear.

Plus, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the quote I found written  by A.A. Milne for Winnie the Pooh and it’s certainly true for anyone expecting a baby.

Apparently, I’m not the only one who loves the quote for new little babies. Here’s a wall decal you can buy on Amazon for your own nursery.

Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart
Winnie the Pooh quote (jandle) 36×14

This is sort-of what it will look like, though this is obviously Photoshopped onto a blank wall: