How to have A Low Stress First Birthday Party

I did a little research before organising my son’s first birthday party and I must say I’m really surprised at the level of pressure out there to perform when organising this event, when personally I find that very unnecessary!

Themes? Seriously? You don’t need that. For goodness sake, talk about stressing yourself out when you don’t need to! I just strung up a couple of balloons with some recycled ribbon! Prettily printed invitations sent in the snail mail? Come on! Just email your friends, easy! Thankyou bags? Maaaybbeeee, if you really want to, but doesn’t that make it all a bit too formal? I’d rather have a relaxed affair where the mums and babies can have a good time. Well, I hope my friends had a good time at our party. We just had it at the pool area of my gated commuity, where there was plenty of space. I could have invited more people, several did say they wanted to come. But I was worried about the weather forecast which predicted rain, then we would have to all cram into my small house, which would have been ok, but not as nice. Luckily, it didn’t rain. But I do think it’s nicer to have smaller gatherings, then I can relax too, and get to chat to everybody. If I had everyone over on the same day, it would have been far too rushed and hectic, and I would have worried about neglecting some of my guests. It was far nicer, for example, to have my brother and family visit on the previous Sunday so we could hang out as a family without a bunch of people they didn’t know.

One dilemma I did have was the question of gifts. If you read my blog, you might know I’m not really keen on our tradition of gift giving. But I don’t want to be a kill joy either, nor do I want to offend my friends and family. So I did some research on this topic and discovered in some forums, that some people have quite a passionate opinion on this. I would have preferred to have said in the email ‘please, don’t bring gifts’ but in my experience, that never works and some people always bring gifts anyway, no matter what you say. I found some people find it really sad and it takes the fun out of it for them. I also read that it was polite etiquette not to mention gifts at all, that to say ‘no gifts please’ implies that people should bring gifts, which some people think is rude!

My husband was home from work on holidays, so we decided we would put some nice nibblies on for the grown ups, and I decided not to mention gifts at all. That way, if people wanted to bring gifts, it was up to them if they wanted to, and at least we put on some food as a thankyou. I do think that if people bring gifts, they shouldn’t have to bring food as well. It’s not that hard to put on a bit of food. My husband baked some pesto and sweet chilli scrolls, marinated chicken wings and rosewater biscuits which were very popular. I made up a fruit platter and some dips with crackers. To further reduce stress, I tried to open gifts as guests arrived. This way there would not be a big parade of gifts everyone has to sit and watch, which I don’t like. Unfortunately, I didn’t quite manage it as three mums arrived at the same time when we were busy, so we opened their gifts after we did the cake ritual.

The fun thing is, I now have presents to make for 5 more babies as they all turn one soon, because Thomas was the eldest in our mothers group!

Easy 1st Birthday Cake

I’d highly recommend a cake like this, not just for a 1st birthday, but for older children as well.

There are two great things about this kind of cake. First is, it’s fairly easy to make and decorate. Secondly, there is no cutting of the cake, nor plates and napkins to organise. Guests simply grab a cupcake as they wish!

My husband made the cupcakes using coloured cupcake papers in a muffin tray, and a chocolate cake recipe. Then I iced them using the icing recipe on the pure icing packet. I even got blisters on my thumbs from mixing it, that’s a dedicated mum for you! Then I used writing icing in bright colours to decorate the iced cupcakes. I highly recommend that product because it was so easy to write his name, I just needed a steady hand and sat calmly on a stool at the kitchen bench. It was easy to simply put one letter of his name on six cupcakes, making the cake nice and personal.

On a whim I decided to decorate a few with pink icing! I decided there was nothing wrong with having pink icing on my son’s cake, especially his first birthday cake, as it was us who were celebrating, and as his mum I decided I needed some pink! It has certainly been a hard year that I am glad to put behind us.I’ve been looking forward all year to seeing Thomas eat a chocolate cupcake on his first birthday. For a couple of months there I was worried he wouldn’t be able to do it. Feeding my baby and making sure he ate enough has been my main worry all year, although he’s never been technically underweight he’s always been a small baby and small eater. I was so happy when he finally devoured his cupcake for all to see, making a very big mess!

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so, the pink cupcakes went first. Most of the guests were mums, and we all like a bit of pink sometimes. They were very, very yummy!!

Homemade Quilt for Thomas

On the weekend, we got a visit from Nanna and Poppy (David’s dad Brian and his wife Freya) and they came with many gifts, including this special handmade quilt for Thomas!

How very special this quilt is, including a lively print of playing frogs and a print of blue hearts. I’m sure this quilt will get some use, probably in the cot as it’s a bigger size than a bunny rug. Freya is very good at making lovely quilts. I think they would be too tricky for me to try, whenever I cut material it always comes out wonky. And once you cut it you can’t save the material. That’s why I like to crochet, any mistakes I make I can just undo and retry. I guess everyone gravitates towards the crafts that suite them the most.

Besides the quilt, Nanna and Poppy also brought a lot of fresh produce from Stanthorpe, including these tomatoes and zucchinis home grown in their very own garden. We’ve already eaten some in the few days since their visit, but I’m a bit worried that some might waste there is so much! They also gave us several jars of home-made pickles, again using fresh veggies from their garden. It must be so satisfying to eat from your own garden. I know it is and our own garden only has herbs and a lime tree!

They also brought this lovely posey of roses from their garden, now my kitchen smells like roses again! It’s a pity they live so far away, it’s a long three hour drive one way. Hopefully we’ll see nanna and poppy again before too long.

My 39th Birthday

Last Sunday was my 39th Birthday, and David baked a wonderful meal to share with my parents who came to visit.

David made pumpkin soup, this time without the chilli, a roast chicken dinner and this amazing classic baked cheesecake with a passion fruit top! As always, his cooking was fabulously perfect and a wonderful birthday gift.

Mum and I talked a lot about crochet and she brought me a big bunch of wool. She also gave me a great transparent bag which will be perfect for crochet projects.
We had a lovely, relaxed day and watched Alice in Wonderland with Johnny Depp. I can’t help but think that my next birthday will be very, very different!

❤ ❤ ❤

David's Red and Blue Dragons

David just loves dragons! When I asked him why, he replied because they are strong and intelligent, and also because they are both beautiful and terrifying! Here I will showcase David’s collection of Dragons. I couldn’t decide if this collection is more red than blue, so I’ve decided it is equally both, which is why I’ve linked this post with two parties, Blue Monday and Ruby Tuesday. If you’d like to know more about Dave, be sure to check out his cooking blog.

This red dragon ornament was given to David by his sister. It lives beside my Chinese Tea Set which my mother gave me, and is decorated with blue Chinese dragons. Its considered good luck to face dragons toward doors to scare away any bad luck or negativity before it enters the house, as the red and blue dragons are doing here.

David’s favourite t-shirt is worse for wear, it’s his favourite colour blue with a dragon on the front! I wonder what the Chinese writing means?

The other weekend when we went to the Rocklea markets on Sunday and picked up some cute trinket boxes, we also grabbed this red dragon box. I don’t know what’s going to go inside it, but David just had to have it!

Besides the red dragon box sits his collection of dragon books – the Eragon trilogy. I haven’t read it yet, maybe I will one day! We also own a copy of the Eragon DVD and are still eagerly awaiting the release of the sequel movies. This is a very special movie for us, it was the very first movie we saw together on our very first date on Boxing Day 2007! Awwww, isn’t that romantic?!

Last Valentine’s Day I made a gift using some cut out dragons. Should I tell you where these dragons came from? He had a couple of boxer shorts with dragons on them that were falling apart but he couldn’t bring himself to throw them away, so I had to recycle the dragon print didn’t I? LOL! I cut them up and made them into a bedside organiser! Hanging off the hooks are two dragon key rings he has been given, the one on the right I gave him a while ago now.

Another special dragon David owns is this red-winged dragon candle. I don’t think we will ever burn it, its just too special!

I bought this dragon pendant in 2008 and he loved it, wearing it all the time until he woke up one morning with it bent out of shape! So now it is a little memento.

Finally, below is a picture of a delicately etched glass dragon. I bought this for David from a shop in Toombul when we lived on the Northside of Brisbane in 2007.

I hope you liked looking at pictures of David’s red and blue dragons!

David has started his own cooking blog and is calling it “Dave’s Home Cooking“. If you like cooking, be sure to check it out!

My selected highlights from this week’s Blue Monday party

My selected highlights from this week’s Ruby Tuesday party

Red Hearts of Love

All these photos were taken last Sunday morning. When I saw them in my pictures folder together I realised they were all red so that gave me an idea for a post to join in with Ruby Tuesday hosted by Mary at Work of the Poet!

After a couple of hours of me checking the Pink Saturday blogs and he playing a computer game, we got peckish for some breakfast. We were in the mood for our favourite lovey dovey breakfast, sausages and tomato with love heart eggs and mushrooms!

On Saturday, David took me to a Salvo’s store (Salvation Army charity shop). We hadn’t been there before and there were lots of bargain treasures to be found, some of which I decided I coudn’t bring home. One thing I did grab was this very good toy for developing fine motor and hand-eye coordination in very young children. It’s pretty solid, not flimsy, so I grabbed it for $3. In the background you can see a red love-heart bag. I can’t remember where I got it from but I keep some Barbie things in it, it’s so cute. Also in the background you can see my tiny teddies where they live now, sitting on one of the vintage doll’s chairs to keep Barbie company. The doily you can see I believe was made by my great-grandmother, which I hope to try copying one day.

Another bargain treasure we found at the Salvo’s store on Saturday were this pair of lovey dovey coffee mugs. We’ve decided to collect coffee mugs with love hearts on them, as well as other things with love hearts because we are sooo lovey dovey! /awwww… lol! These are probably not so great because the shape means that one is smaller than the other. I don’t like the idea that to be in love one person must be smaller.

Our first love heart coffee mugs we bought were these very cheap ones we saw at the supermarket a couple of years ago. We got four, one broke and has been thrown away. That’s a shame, I really must remember to keep broken crockery for my mosaic projects I hope to do one day. Two of the remaining three mugs have broken handles, so one is now used as my pens holder by my pc. That’s why I’m afraid to use the 3rd mug for drinking as I have a terrible vision of someone spilling hot coffee over them when the silly handle breaks! But they are just too cute to throw away, they are too lovey dovey! When a coffee handle breaks, it can still be recycled into something useful.

I also took a photo of this very cute red chocolate tin. It cost me $5 full of chocolates from Coles online last Valentine’s Day. I havent’ decided what it will be used for yet, but I’m sure it will turn out to be nice. It’s sitting on top of the table my great-grandfather made, which I will do a post about one day.

I didn’t realise how many red love hearts I have about my house!
❤ ❤ ❤

Be sure to check out other Ruby Reds at Ruby Tuesday!

Highlights from this week’s party

Easy Ways to have a diet high in Omega 3

It’s not always possible to eat fish every day, nor would you probably want to. One easy way we add omega 3 to our diet is to eat Soy and Linseed bread, as linseed is one of the highest sources of omega 3.

Canola oil is also high in omega 3 so we use margarine with canola oil in it. Although olive oil and rice bran oil are good to cook with, we also have canola oil as a choice. We also take fish oil capsules when we remember, not that David is in particular need of a diet high in omega 3. Finding simple ways like these to add omega 3 to our food means we don’t have to think about it much, it’s just part of our daily routine.

It’s good to skip the meat and have a vegetarian meal regularly, which I’m so grateful my husband doesn’t mind. Today we had toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches for lunch which were spiced up with our Awesome Sauce! So we add these into the Calorie King, as well as the daily exercise we’ve started doing, to work out your daily calorie intake. Yes, we are now on a diet and exercise regime, which is well overdue – the final straw being the Wii Fit told me I have now crept over into ‘obese’, WTF! Diet time!!!!

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