ezra’s tutti frutti party

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it was hard getting him to smile for this photo

ezra’s 100th day party has come and gone; now we can all relax. the night before, dennis and i stayed up until 2am cleaning and organizing the house (him) and putting together last-minute details & decor (me). we knew we still had a lot to do in the morning (and still take care of two kids) so we tried to get as much as done as we could before heading off to bed. what helped was that ezra didn’t wake up until 6:30am! he slept his longest stretch yet: 11 hours straight. what a wonderful gift! even penny ended up being tired enough to sleep in until 8am. that was a great way to start the day.

 

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initially i had a different theme in mind for ezra’s party but the details and decor were turning out to be too elaborate so i saved it for his first birthday! (you will have to wait until then to see what it is.) plus, i had chosen a bright yellow lemon invitation from paperless post for ezra’s party so i wanted to stick with a fruit theme. while i love the trendy minimalistic / modern look that is so popular these days, the bright color scheme for the ‘tutti frutti’ was perfect for a mid-summer party.

it’s been two years since penny’s 100th day party so i will share briefly on the history of the 100th day celebration. back in the olden days when infant mortality rate was high, if babies lived to be 100 days it was thought that they had a very good rate for survival into adulthood. of course this doesn’t apply anymore as korea has one of the highest life expectancy rates in the world (especially the women) but the celebration still continues partly due to tradition but mostly for enjoyment purposes.

dennis was in charge of ordering the food. he decided to have restaurant bricco in west hartford cater, and we were very pleased with the decision. guests raved about the food and came back for seconds and thirds. my parents also brought tang soo yook (deep-fried sweet & sour pork) and beef bulgogi from their restaurant, and everyone loved those as well.

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a big staple in korean cuisine is ddeok, rice cakes, and these are important in celebratory events such as birthdays and weddings. it is known as “the food of the gods” and is usually a food that is shared. for the 100th day celebration, it is believed that if 100 pieces of ddeok are consumed by the guests, the baby will have bountiful luck. my mil brought homemade ddeok, lovingly prepared by a grandma from our church.

(the ddeok cake with raisins spelling out “baek il”, or “100 days” along with the 3 different kinds of round ddeok can be seen in the table display photos.)

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fruitcupcakes

as for dessert, i had planned on ordering cupcakes from nora cupcake company in west hartford. as is the case for many bakeries, their “regular” cupcakes are huge. i wanted to minimize waste and also make the cupcakes kid-friendly so i chose the mini cupcakes (which actually aren’t really that small). the price for 40 mini cupcakes came out to over $106! i understand these are gourmet cupcakes but that price is ridiculous. i decided to bake my own cupcakes as well as a cake. inspired by one of nora’s cupcake flavors, i settled on fruit loops cupcakes and cake. perfect, right? the actual cake part was funfetti cake mix for the festive colors.

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for the decorations, i turned to trusty pinterest for inspirational ideas. one pin led to a blog that had a fruit garland available for download. the creator suggested printing the fruit on ‘photo paper’ option (even though you will actually print them on card stock) so the colors would be bold and bright. as suggested, they printed beautifully. after cutting out each fruit carefully, i taped each piece onto twine.

*note: the pieces of fruit may flip over if there isn’t enough weight to the card stock. i had to tape some of the fruit pieces onto the tablecloth to prevent this.

i noticed on an event planning website that brightly colored poms in various sizes were used for a backdrop so i decided to incorporate those as well. i was stuck on what to do for the wall. i thought about using the window & shade in our kitchen for the backdrop but the sun sets in that direction causing light to filter in through the shade. i didn’t want to just use our wall either because the paint is an off-white color and wouldn’t look as nice as a bright white background. then i remembered we had a roll of faux wood bulletin board paper that we had used for penny’s cake smash so we opted to use that instead.

one detail that was spontaneous was the letterboard. this has made a comeback in recent days and is no longer just for churches and businesses. many people use these in their homes to write funny and/or inspirational messages as part of their home decor. while i was at joann fabrics to buy other materials, i stumbled upon a letterboard display and decided to purchase one with a white background along with large mint letters for a splash of color. it added such a nice touch to our 100th day table display, and i know we will continue to use it in our home.

plates

a detail that took up too much of my time were the “fruit” plates. to make the plates appear like fruit, i cut out seeds from black and white adhesive vinyl. there was a listing on etsy that sold 96 seeds in either black or white but i wouldn’t receive them in time. plus, they were $9.00. i would have to purchase about 4 (two in each color) to make sure there were enough. in the end, i stacked the plates so that every other one had the seeds on them. even though it was a lot of work, i still enjoyed making them and they turned out really cute.

my only regret, and there is always one, is that we didn’t take more pictures during the party. i had wanted to take more family photos with ezra but we didn’t get the chance. i don’t even have pictures of most of the guests! i also felt bad about pulling people away to take pictures but i still should have tried! he was sleeping for the first half of the party and then took another nap towards the end. he was passed around like a doll but he did so well! penny started getting more nervous with each arriving guest, so my mil took her down to the playroom to play and she ended up warming up to everyone later on.

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grandma lee feeding ezra

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dennis encouraging will to splash ryan with the hose

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poor will caught in the crossfire!

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lucky penny got to open up ezra’s gifts. she had one, too!

we took pictures with the grandparents the following day

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for ezra’s first birthday, i plan on having a friend take pictures so i don’t miss out on the actual party. usually i don’t mind taking pictures, but i miss out on a lot of opportunities to be in them because i’m the one behind the camera. i’d like to be in the pictures with my children, too. we still have some time before we have to think about planning for ezra’s birthday (much to dennis’ relief) so i won’t worry about that for now.

 

 

penny’s 100th day (백일)

baek-il, or 100 days, is one of several korean birthday celebrations. in the olden days, infant mortality in korea was high so if a baby reached 100 days of life there was a small celebration to give thanks for the baby’s, and mother’s, health thus far. prayers were also said for the baby’s longevity, wealth, and luck.

today, the baek-il is celebrated more for fun: it’s an excuse to have a party, and to take pictures of the event to share with everyone. as the baek-il is not as a significant milestone as the dol, first birthday, we kept the party intimate by only inviting immediate family members and relatives. since baek-il is not a big deal and everyone else lives in either eastern massachusetts or new hampshire, less than half attended.. we ended up having too much food but better to have too much (and leftovers!) than too little. the food was catered from a local korean restaurant -thanks to my in-laws – and the mini rice cakes and actual rice cake were made by a church elder.

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obviously there is very little downtime with a baby. whenever penny napped, i would work on the decorations. i made the bunting – ‘happy 100th day’ – during one of penny’s 3-hour naps. i used leftover 8.5 x 11 in. brown card stock for the background and a small packet of 6×8 in. scrapbook paper that i purchased from michaels.

for the sign, i used a ruler and pencil to measure and mark the halfway point on the bottom of the card stock. next, i placed the ruler vertically from the middle point to mark 4 inches above the point. then, i used the ruler again to help draw straight lines from the new mark to the bottom corners of the paper (to make a triangle). finally, i cut out the triangle to make a sign. i used the first one as a tracer to make more signs.

for the letters, i just sketched out block letters on paper without stencils. i did make sure that each letter was similar in width and height to make them uniform. in addition, i made sure to sketch the letters on the other side of the paper so if i made a mistake and wanted to erase, the markings wouldn’t show on the side that would be displayed. that meant, for some letters, i had to sketch a few letters backwards.

i also made a mini bunting for the cake using scrapbook paper, bakery string, and paper straws. i drew a triangle and cut it out, and then i used the original as a tracer for all the other ones. next, i taped the triangles to bakery thread. then, i used a gold sharpie to write the letters. finally, i tied the bakery string to the paper straws.

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the korean characters are pronounced “chook baek-il” which is an abbreviated form of “congratulations on the 100th day”

small rice cakes, reese's peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

small rice cakes, reese’s peanut butter cake with the bunting, and the traditional rice cake for the baek-il

for the streamer background, i found a cool how-to on pinterest. all you need is masking tape and streamers.  you tape up the masking tape – sticky side out – in a straight line. then you hang up strips of streamers by sticking each one onto the tape. i made sure to tape each streamer at a different point on the tape strip so the streamers would overlap. i only used three colors: hot pink, light pink, and white. my sister and her boyfriend came the night before to help me set up the streamers, arrange the flowers, make paper flowers, and clean and organize the house.

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some of our family members. my sister is on the bottom holding the dog and my brother is the one awkwardly standing away from everyone else, lol

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another look at the decor and food

for the paper fans, some were decorations from my baby showers that i had saved and some were made by me for the baek-il. these proved difficult to hang up because of the ridges. i used a lot of masking tape. for the heavier ones, i either used a clear hook to hang them or taped twine on the back and hung them up that way.

“penny gallery”

we developed images from penny’s newborn photo shoot and had them framed to hang up around the home. we also had wrapped canvases made as well. the paper garland is from etsy and was a decoration from one of my baby showers.

beverage area

beverage area

for drinks, we offered water, 3 different kinds of flavored san pellegrino, and soda.

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homemade strawberry and pistachio macarons by rebecca

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macarons for penny!

my friend, rebecca, made macarons for the event and stopped by to personally drop them off. they were a huge hit and were gobbled up by everyone! she also made a separate batch for dennis and me as well as a box of 6 for penny. such a kind gesture ~

pano view

pano view

i attempted a panoramic view of the event. my dog and one of my cousins were moving so they came out distorted. we held the celebration in our finished basement. for now, the basement holds our ping pong table and a few of penny’s play things but soon it will become penny’s playroom.

if you look at the beverage table, you’ll notice a baby monitor next to the coke bottle. penny napped for nearly the entire event! she had slept poorly the night before and was exhausted. good thing we took pictures with her before she napped.

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penny with my mom and dad

penny with dennis' mom and dad

penny with dennis’ mom and dad

fil wanted one with yuri :)

fil wanted one with yuri 🙂

dennis and brendan

dennis and brendan

jen and brendan

jen and brendan

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason's mom)

my cousins: sarah, mason, and sarah (mason’s mom). yuri was also begging for food.

william and mason

william and mason

my grandma couldn't make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny. she's afraid she won't live to see penny's first birthday :(

my grandma couldn’t make the event and sent over a bag of rice and thread for penny to sit on and wear (normally saved for the first birthday). she’s afraid she won’t live to see penny’s first birthday 😦

for the dol, or first birthday, an array of objects is displayed for the baby to choose. whatever the baby selects is supposed to predict the baby’s future occupation. some things that are laid out are rice, thread, pencil, and a book. nowadays, people also add things like a stethoscope and microphone among others to diversity the job field, haha.

my grandma told us to have penny sit on the bag of rice with the loops of thread around her neck. i had never heard of this, but i’m guessing that grandma wishes wealth (rice) and long life (thread) upon penny. here’s to that!

cute magnets from shutterfly

cute magnets from shutterfly

diy decor

i hope everyone had a lovely weekend. today is my last day of a 4-day weekend. normally, i would’ve had a week-long february break but it was shortened to two days due to our district having 9 snow days last year. i’m pretty bummed to be returning to work tomorrow but  at least it’s three more days until the weekend again.

valentine’s day was very low-key for us this year. first of all, we got hit with another snowstorm albeit a much minor one compared to the ones we’ve had but still not ideal to be out driving. dennis had to work this past weekend anyway and we just wanted to hunker down at home where it’s warm and comfortable. we told each other we wouldn’t give each other presents so we can save money for the baby, but dennis surprised me with a beautiful bouquet and a much-coveted patriots pom hat.

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i’ve been trying to purchase this hat since december but it was out of stock everywhere. (unless you count the exorbitant marked-up prices on ebay.)

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close-up of the bouquet. i love how the roses are placed in the center of the hydrangeas.

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with two baby showers coming up in march (ct and boston), i’ve been preoccupied assisting with details especially since one of my friends organizing the ct one is 33 weeks pregnant. we hung out on sunday to make tissue paper garlands and flowers. both looked easy enough on pinterest but we found out just how time-consuming the projects are, particularly the garlands. i was cutting each tissue paper by hand and painstakingly rolling them to make the garland.

i ended up purchasing a garland cutter from michaels so i could slice 4 tissue papers at once. using the device is a little tricky at first because tissue paper is so delicate and rips easily. the directions recommend not using less than 4 sheets of tissue paper and also putting a piece of copy paper on top to help prevent the papers from snagging on the blades. i also stood up to apply even pressure when moving the blades and instead of slicing them in one go, i made little cutting movements to prevent tearing. they were okay for the most part but some did tear in places.

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the adorable gray-and-white dewey decimal organizing drawers are from land of nod. i love that store – they have a lot of cute toys and accessories for babies, children and even adults. i plan on using the drawers to store things like diaper rash cream, q-tips and other things for the nursery.

here are the directions

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lastly, these two are great finds from homegoods. we can’t wait to hang these up above the changing table in penelope’s nursery. they go with our color theme and fit our vision for a modern-elegant nursery. the one on the left is a canvas and the chandelier one is a mirror.

dream big, sweet pea.