Liam turns 6

It’s official– I have a SIX year old. Something about six feels like a bigger milestone than the rest of the last few birthdays and we are going big this year for Liam because of it. Not only is he celebrating his birthday with friends and family in Vegas later this week, but we also have a day of birthday fun planned for him AND he got to have a little birthday party with our Arizona friends over the weekend. In the words of Liam himself, he is “living the life”.

Liam has been 100% on the Toy Story hype train with the release of Toy Story 4. We’ve watched the first three Toy Story movies at least 50 times in the last month and half his birthday list consisted of Toy Story toys, so throwing him a Toy Story themed birthday party was an easy decision.

Combining almost entirely things that I already had + a handful of new Toy Story toys, the table spread came together super easily and affordably. All toys + the table cloth + Toy Story napkins, plates, and coloring pages were purchased at Target. The foil balloon cake topper was purchased from the Oh Shiny Paper Co Etsy Shop. The crate was purchased at Ikea.

Since it’s Arizona in the middle of the summer we put an inflatable pool in the backyard and let the kids go wild with bubble wands and a bubble machine. I also had the Toy Story movies playing in the background of the party as well as a TeePee and coloring station so that the kids could have some indoor activity options as well. Liam had a blast, totally scored in the gift department, and I would say the party was a success! Looking forward to a day of indoor trampoline park, pesto pizza, and whatever else my birthday boy requests!

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

(PS: drinking game idea— take a shot for every time I said Toy Story 😂 )

Three.

We’ve officially got a threenager on our hands and he certainly seems to have gotten the memo. With all the attitude of a teenager packaged into a toddlers little body, that kid  has been giving me a run for my money these days. With his new age has also come a whole new world of vocabulary and while he thoroughly enjoys arguing with just about everything that I say, I cannot help but to burst out laughing at half the sentences that he manages to put together. One moment the kid has got me on the verge of fuming, the next moment he’s squeezing my face saying “mama, love you soooooooo much!” and in those moments, all I can think is that motherhood is the most amusing and beautiful journey I’ve ever been on.

To celebrate three, we hosted a brunch themed birthday party. I’m fairly positive that Liam would be perfectly down for eating turkey bacon and donuts at every meal for the rest of his life if I let him, so I figured nothing would make him happier than a house full of his favorite people and a table full of breakfast.

I centered the decorations around shades of blue with silver/metallic accents. As always, with the help of Etsy I found a donut banner here for the photo backdrop, and I also found the cake topper and drink stirrers here. For the photo backdrop I used a metallic tassel garland that I found on Amazon.

For food, donuts were obviously the star of the show. I ordered a variety of gourmet  styles from PinkBox donuts, 80% of which were gone in the first hour. I tell ya, say the word “donuts” and people come ready to eat their weight in sugar. Of course there was also turkey bacon–three entire jumbo packages of it because well, people like their bacon just as much as they like their donuts. Keeping with the brunch theme, rather than filling the cupcake stand with cupcakes, I filled it with blueberry muffins and a spinach-artichoke crustless quiche (Pinterest recipes for the win). I made pancakes and as much as I would love to say they were from scratch, given the mass quantity of pancakes that I needed to whip up real quick, I got shake and pour Bisquick (which ended up being such a lifesaver time-wise). To top it all off we had sausage patties, my family’s traditional super chocolate cake, and a bunch of fruit.

No birthday brunch is complete without a mimosa bar for the adults, which is always a hit. We stuck strawberries and raspberries on the drink stirrers, had grapefruit juice and orange juice to offer, and an ice bucket full of champs.

Activity wise, I was able to find the perfect sized kiddie pool on Amazon that we put in the backyard along with water guns and a water table. Put a bunch of kids in a backyard with multiple water activities and they’re happy for hours, it’s awesome. Luckily the weather was on our side and the backyard was actually really comfortable to be in, which is almost unheard of for Vegas in July.

Most importantly, my son had the best time ever. So many of his favorite people were able to make it, he had like 3 donuts and a stack of turkey bacon to himself, and our living room was covered in new toys for three days straight.

This house officially has a three year old, and we are so excited to see the new developments that come with this age.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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24.

If my 24th year of life is as good as the birthday itself, then it’s going to be one for the books. Surrounded by some of the sweetest most thoughtful people, we brought in my birthday with a wine tasting/pairing party, calling the theme “Wine tasting in Napa”. From meats/cheeses and dips to chocolate covered everything and girl scout cookies, we had a plethora of both traditional and slightly unusual pairing options to choose from, all centered around a bohemian inspired decoration spread. Multiple wine glasses were broken throughout the night (precisely why I buy dollar store glasses for parties), so obviously good (and tipsy) times were being had. I woke up the next morning (my actual birthday) and went to a bottomless mimosa brunch downtown with friends, followed by an evening well spent with my family and an absolutely delicious chocolate cheesecake made by my Nona. The weekend was a dream, and I can’t help but feel like one of the luckiest most blessed girls on the planet. Thank you thank you thank you to all that played any part in making it special.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur.

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Camp Liam

With each passing year, I discover more and more that all of those older folk who approached my big pregnant belly saying things like:

“time flies by in the blink of an eye!”

and

“You’ll be sending that kid to college before you know it!”

….they were all right. Just two years ago on this day, I was on my way to the hospital to bring our little guy into the world. Now I sit here trying to throw together a blog post as my toddler runs around the house saying “help me! help me!” about every tiny little obstacle he comes across. My 6.5 pound baby is now capable of putting on his own shoes, verbally communicating what he wants, and riding a scooter across the park… and man is it crazy to watch sometimes.

To celebrate the big T-W-O we threw our little guy a camping themed birthday party, complete with a teepee, ‘Camp Liam” banner, and all of his favorite people. Being the obsessed and slightly overly organized party planner that I am, this party was in the makes for at least 4 months. I have surfed every pinterest board, every etsy deal, and made about 10 lists full of ideas to say the least.

What ultimately brought me to the decision of a camping theme was the over all ease of it. Camping is simple, laid back, and always a good time (unless you’re camping in the actual woods and forget one of your necessities or get attacked by mosquitoes). All we had to do was throw up a camping shade, put out some camping chairs, and fire up the grill and bam… Camp Liam was open for business.
The party took a lot of prepping and planning but was 100% worth it. Liam had a great time, was left with some awesome toys, and was absolutely exhausted by the end of it all…so I would say: mission accomplished.

Tonight we will put our one year old down for bed, and tomorrow we will wake up with a two year old jumping up and down as we attempt to get him ready for his big adventure to the children’s discovery museum. At some point in the day I’m sure that I will stare at my baby’s newborn photos and probably get embarrassingly teary eyed, but ultimately be comforted by my little man will running up to me and giving me a big sloppy kiss as he wraps his arms around my neck saying “ma-ma!”. It will be a grand and exciting day as we celebrate two years of time on this earth, two years of memories, and two years of our world being shaken up in the greatest of ways.

Happy Birthday to my two year old.

Cheers,

The Whine Connoisseur

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First Birthday Party attempts by a pinterestaholic.

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Going into my son’s first birthday, I repeatedly told myself “He’s one… How hard can planning his party be?”. The answer: HARD.

Part of my problem probably lies in the fact that I am a pinterestaholic. For months and months, I laid in bed pinning away on my “First Birthday” board. Because of this, my bar was set high. After changing the theme multiple times, I finally settled on a Tribal theme. If you’re anything like the rest of my family, you have no idea where I’m going with that.. so by tribal I mean arrows and dream catchers and things of that nature. Honestly, even I thought I was crazy as I attempted to put it all together, because let me tell you… tribal theme is by no means a “popular” theme at this time. So of course, I went to Etsy. Etsy has never failed me. I was able to find a grande assortment of everything I had envisioned, and as each item started to arrive, I could see my vision coming together.

Finally, the day arrived. With the help of my friends and family, we were able to pull off what was easily the best first birthday party I’ve ever thrown. Ok, it was the only first birthday party I’ve ever thrown, but it was definitely the best I have ever attended. From macaroni salad and spinach dip, to sangria and passionfruit tea lemonade, there wasn’t a person who left hungry or thirsty, and there wasn’t a baby who didn’t leave completely exhausted. A party that produces an excellent nap time can never be a bad thing, right?

My husband and I had a tornado of a mess to clean up the following day, but we could both agree that it was completely worth it. Next year’s 2nd birthday party will be a whole other adventure… Good thing I’ve got a whole year to prepare!

Cheers,

T.W.C.