penny’s 3rd birthday

I promised myself I wouldn’t go all out for penny’s 3rd birthday, especially since I had spent so much time, energy, and money on Ezra’s 1st birthday. but, it just isn’t me to not find an excuse to stay up late party planning and making decorations.

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penny doesn’t really love anything else as much as minnie mouse; but since she had already used that theme for her 2nd birthday party, I didn’t want her to reuse it. I settled on the unicorn theme which is really whimsical and quite popular.

to make the backdrop, I purchased a package of diy paper flowers from Michaels. this particular brand is recollections, and I had read bad reviews – difficult to follow illustrations, no written directions, requires a lot of tape/adhesive – but as they were the only kind Michaels sold, I purchased them anyway. they ended up being 60% off (regular price $19.99 for four flowers) maybe because they’re being discontinued? I couldn’t find any other diy paper flowers at Michaels – online or in store.

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the flowers were… time-consuming. I thought I would be able to whip them up but I spent quite a bit of time staring at the illustrations to make sure I had the correct size petals and that I was assembling them properly. in the end, I winged it because I really couldn’t figure out some of the steps! (recently, I also began rewatching random episodes of one of my all-time favorite shows, the office, so that’s a huge reason why I took so long in getting things done!)

I purchased green, black, lavender, and gold glitter card stock to make the leaves, eyelashes, ears, and horn respectively. I just traced them freehand and cut them out. I used a thick gold calligraphy pen to draw in the leaves’ veins to make them look more realistic. for the unicorn’s ears, I had white card stock at home that I used for the inner part of the ears.

the party room’s walls are bright shades of highlighter orange and lime green so I bought two plastic white tablecloths for a white backdrop. unfortunately, the tablecloths weren’t thick enough to hide the colors and designs underneath but, at least, most of it was covered. (I had looked up the party rooms online in advance to see how they looked.)

the party favors were diy unicorn horns made of funmallows (mini flavored marshmallows). I purchased the styrofoam cups and 5 bags of funmallows from target. (I only ended up using 3 bags for 21 unicorn horns.) the cone shaped plastic bags were purchased from Michaels.

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I also purchased the unicorn tablecloth, straws, and napkins from target. good ol’ target – I also found penny’s unicorn t-shirt in the girl’s section (size xs). the unicorn headband along with the unicorn cake topper were purchased as a set from amazon. the pink tutu was a gift and the polka dot pants are from carter’s.

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for those of you that know penny, she LOVES to jump so having her birthday party at jump off trampoline park was a no-brainer. lunch was included in the cost – pizza and pink lemonade – however, I wanted the kids to have other options in case they didn’t want pizza or wanted snacks. the trampoline park has a strict policy regarding outside food besides cake and cupcakes, but an employee informed me that if snacks are included in the goody bags, they can’t say anything. perfect! my husband assembled separate goody bags – this time, in gold and white paper bags – with an applesauce pouch, goldfish crackers, and a sticker packet in each one. thank goodness because penny barely ate the pizza (like we knew she wouldn’t. she only had a few bites of the crust.)

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the unicorn cutouts are from Michaels

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the cakes were almost a disaster. I had one cake ordered from big y, a small New England  supermarket chain, because I didn’t want to spend almost $100 on a fancy cake like I did for penny’s second birthday and for Ezra’s first birthday. well, supermarket bakeries have their limitations as we know. I just asked for a simple, 10-inch white cake with lavender, teal, and pink flowers cascading down the back for the unicorn-themed party. the cake wasn’t tall enough in my mind for the unicorn decorations. plus, it was my fault in asking for “happy birthday, Penelope” to be written on the cake. the baker didn’t know where to write that since I had told them I was going to use a cake topper; so it was written on the side where I needed to put on the eyelashes.

after Dennis told them we weren’t pleased with the cake, we just got a smaller (and taller) one from the display and the baker quickly piped on the flowers. the manager told Dennis they normally wouldn’t accept our request because it’s too detailed for them. we ended up getting the other cake for free. it was actually great that we had two cakes because we needed both to feed 18 children and some of the adults!

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although I stayed up until 5am (and laid wide-awake in bed for an hour and a half) finishing up the party decorations, I had a really wonderful time making them. I don’t know if it’s because I was watching the office but I wasn’t feeling stressed or anxious. Dennis did wake up around 4am wondering why I was still up. he ended up coming downstairs to help me finish the details. ❤ Dennis and my mil also were kind enough to watch the kids while I took a nap on the couch for 2.5 hours later that evening.

I received a lot of kind words from the guests that day regarding the decorations and the party itself. the kids really enjoyed jumping on the trampolines and eating cake together. many of the parents thanked me afterwards for inviting them and we all remarked how the kids would have a great nap when they got home. (they did.)

the party’s over and done with, and I’m glad. but I did enjoy putting it together for penny. I hope she remembers how much fun she had that day.

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easter weekend

ah, penny’s in bed for the night and i’m on the couch updating my blog while taking breaks to eat 갈비찜 (braised short ribs) that my mil made.

today flew by ~~ these days seem to be going by so fast. i helped genie set up for olivia’s first birthday party this saturday so my mil watched penny from 12-6:30pm. i can’t believe olivia’s dol is this weekend!!! i’m actually nervous, and excited, for genie because i know first-hand just how stressful planning for a baby’s first birthday is. genie is very crafty (like me) and she made these beautiful tissue paper flowers as a backdrop. i can’t wait to blog about olivia’s birthday!

i finally started gluing the beans for penny’s dol towers. i need to make 3: one for her name, one that says “축 돌” (abbreviated form of “congratulations – first bithday”), and the last one of a lamb (penny’s zodiac). i’ve been putting this project off but now that i’m in the midst of it i find it oddly therapeutic.  i also started assembling her play kitchen today so i hope to finish that after i finish blogging.

speaking of her play kitchen, i finished refurbishing and putting together penny’s table and chairs set. i used 5 different spray paint colors because i wanted to do color-blocking.

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didn’t they turn out great??  i love the colors that i chose: ballet pink, watermelon, sea glass, white and gold.

materials needed

krylon spray paint

painter’s tape

pencil and eraser

ruler

big pieces of cardboard

i was inspired by a pinterest post on color-blocking ikea latt table and chairs. i measured 4 inches on the table and chairs’ legs and taped them off. then i taped other areas so they could be different colors. this project took a lot longer than i had anticipated. i figured i’d use 1-2 layers, they would dry and i would be able to put them together in 2 days tops. reality: it took about 4-5 days. the white spray paint goes on really thin, and i think the wood absorbs it, because i used up an entire can of spray paint even though i only sprayed 4 small pieces of wood on the chairs! i also used the white spray paint for the play kitchen so i’m on my third can now!

anyway, the large pieces of cardboard are to have something to spray and have the pieces of furniture dry on. at first, i used a huge sheet of craft paper but the wet pieces got stuck to the paper and i had to scrape the paper off and respray to get an even look. 😦

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they’re so adorable! i’m so proud of myself 😀

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the furniture was finished in time for penny’s easter portrait 🙂

we went to homegoods on friday to buy black pantyhose but ended up also purchasing a mini armchair and ottoman for $79 – so much cheaper than pottery barn kids and it comes with a a darling footrest! plus, i read feedback from multiple people that homegoods/tj maxx has better quality kids’ chairs than pbk. good to know!

notice the easter canvas? more artwork!

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baby feet are sooooo cute.. penny’s getting ready to dip her feet into paint!

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i used a disposable changing pad to protect the mat (i was going to throw it out anyway so i used that instead of craft paper.) i also had wipes and paper towels ready to quickly clean her feet before washing them with soap and water. it’s so much easier to do footprint art rather than hands because babies arent’t cooperative enough to lay their hands flat for an art project.

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ta-da!

i also made and mailed out easter cards. see below!

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materials needed

card stock

paint & paintbrush

glue

markers and fine-point sharpie pens

googly eyes

border stencil

i wanted the cards to fit in a long envelope so i measured to make sure they would. then i added an elegant touch by only stenciling the bottom.

 

penny rarely wears shoes. she’s not walking yet so what’s the point? more like a waste of money. but she’s standing more now and wearing shoes will help her get used to them. the above picture shows how fascinated she is with her footwear 😉

i hadn’t been to church in a few months because service starts at 10am and that’s during, or just before, penny’s naptime. this past sunday, i brought her after she woke up. we missed the entire service and lunch was al most over but we made it, at least.. and i was able to catch up with friends. i had also seen some the night before because one of our friends had gotten married at the waterview. dennis and i were the last ones off the dance floor, and we have a baby at home!

okay, it’s already 9pm sadly.. and i still need to finish my dinner, complete assembling the play kitchen, and glue some beans. i’m already falling asleep though…

valentine’s day + penny’s 9 months

happy 9 months to penny! she’s 3/4 of the way to being a one-year-old!

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this past month has been a whirlwind! penny is keeping us on our toes 🙂 she’s always been a fairly active baby, but now that she’s moving around we have to keep a close watch on her. she’s sooo close to crawling but hasn’t quite gotten the mechanics down yet. she does, however, creep around. that’s a weird word – creep, but that’s what it’s called when a baby moves around on her belly, and penny goes forward, backward, and all around. she does lift up her belly and bend her knees so she’s getting there!

she also goes from a sitting position directly to her belly so we aren’t always placing her on her stomach to do tummy time and practice. plus, she sleeps on her tummy so when she’s awake in her crib she’ll practice moving around as well.

penny is eager to see and touch everything as is evidenced in the photos below.

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she had her check-up today and thankfully no vaccines were involved. she did get her big toe pricked for a hemoglobin test but she was fine! she just sat there looking around =D she also had a vision and hearing test – she passed both – and got measured and weighed: 27 3/4 inches long and 19 lb. 2 oz. respectively. i was surprised at her height though because she was 27 inches at her 6-month appointment; i thought she’d be a lot taller especially since she’s wearing size 12 months. still, happy that she’s growing and is healthy.

we asked our pediatrician about penny’s eczema. she’s had it for almost a month now, i’d say. at first, it started off as tiny patches behind her knees and near her inner elbows, but then they increased in size. she also had a little patch on her chest (gone now) and now she has spots on her thighs and armpit area. 😦 they don’t seem to bother her as she’s sleeping well and not being fussy during the day but it makes me sad.

at a friend’s suggestion we started apply aquaphor and it helped a lot. however, sometimes it would flare up again; i thought it might be a food allergy so i cut out certain foods like yogurt, eggs, and peanut butter but when i slowly reintroduced them there weren’t any flare-ups. there was a flare-up when we applied coconut oil to the problem areas per my mil’s suggestion. then, i thought she might be allergic to coconuts but i ate coconut almond yogurt the other day and penny was unaffected. (whew.) it just might have been too greasy for her skin… i guess?

penny takes a bath every night as part of her bedtime routine so instead of bathing her with soap, some nights we will just splash her with lukewarm water. this seems to have helped because taking baths can be very drying for the skin especially during the wintertime. we also slather her in burt’s bees body lotion. aquaphor 3x a day and lukewarm water baths have worked thus far *fingers crossed

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penny in our backyard

we had a lot of snow last week. the groundhog (for groundhog’s day) had predicted an early spring but look at us now! december had record-breaking mild weather and we’re making up for it in february. this past weekend’s weather broke records in the new england area as well but for frigidity, not warmth: nights, and parts of the days were in the negatives! walking yuri was brutal and usually she wants to linger outside but after she did her business, she ran back to our house. no complaints there.

although it was too cold for walks, we did go outside in our backyard for a few minutes on the days that were in the 30s just so we could get fresh air.

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this picture reminds me of old-school korea

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penny’s first time touching snow. you can tell from her facial expressions that she’s not a big fan of the cold white stuff. it was good snow too; the kind you can pack into snowballs.

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i LOVE to do arts & crafts – i have bins and bins full of different kinds of paper, stickers, and all sorts of goodies from michael’s. valentine’s day, of course, called for some crafting!

dennis, penny, and i made valentine’s cards for some friends and family. we used ink pads to make thumb people on the cards and i wrote “thumb-body loves you!” i can’t take credit for this cute idea since i found it on pinterest, but the layout of the cards i did myself – definitely not hard to do.

the cutout paper hearts were easy but they were a leftover decoration from my baby shower (made by genie) and i had saved them, yay! i also used 4 different crafting scissors to cut out the card and give each one an individual look.

dennis held penny’s thumb while i pressed it onto pink, gold, and silver inkpads to make a thumb baby. dennis and i took turns stamping our thumbs as well. i had a lot of fun making the thumb-people as you can see! ^0^

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another project that i did was making footprint art. my mil was here to help me with this one. she held penny while we dipped her foot in paint and then i firmly planted it onto scrapbook paper. we tried to do handprint art but it didn’t turn out well.

again, cute ideas via pinterest!  i gave the butterfly one to my mil because that one also had a polaroid of her and penny. 🙂

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when genie and olivia came over a few weeks ago, we also did crafts together. genie had prepped these canvasses back in december for a future art project. since we already had done two christmas crafts together – mistletoes and handprint ornaments – we decided to save them. genie has this cool embossing kit so the word “love” is textured.

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a lot of wipes were used during this project! we used their handprint and footprints to help spell the word “love”. i’m sad i don’t have a picture of the finished product for both canvasses but it makes an appearance in a valentine’s day picture i took of penny.

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i used black paint for the letters “l” and “e” and i also decorated it using more paper hearts made by genie, a pink fuzzball tassle, and writing penny’s name along with the year using letter and number stamps.

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penny also got a mickey mouse microphone as a valentine’s gift from daddy! it plays music and lets you speak into it when you hold down a ‘talk’ button.

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penny was fascinated when my voice came out of the microphone. i had her try it out and she tried by licking it, hahaha.

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lucky penny also received a gift from her grandparents! leapfrog came out with a new toy recently. it resembles a bingo or lotto wheel but when you spin it, and a letter lands on the arrow it tells you the letter, the animal and sound, or plays music depending on the mode. penny really likes to spin wheels so this is a great gift.

she’s so funny.. she recognizes cute animals and figures so when we hold up dolls, she goes nuts especially over miffy, a bunny. the animal above is a blue elephant that my friend, ben, bought for her.

it’s also cute that penny’s hair is long enough to tie back into pigtails.

this should be another busy week! a friend may stop by tomorrow for lunch and on thursday we have two play dates. one friend and her 14-month-old daughter will stop by for lunch as they drive home to massachusetts from new jersey. later in the afternoon, penny and i will go to genie’s house and work on olivia’s dol (first birthday) preparations as well as getting things underway for a friend’s baby shower in may.

it’s also dennis’ short weekend thus his long weekend 😀 no big plans this weekend as of yet; just looking forward to relaxing together. we are huge fans of the walking dead and the mid-season premiere was this past sunday. it started off with a bang! can’t wait to see it next sunday!

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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.