Caden’s Loves Elmo, 2! (Sesame Street 2nd Birthday)

Caden’s second birthday cannot possibly be here already! 😱

He is obsessed with Elmo, so we knew Sesame Street was the way to go!

Caden’s Outfit

  • I used Avery Light Transfer paper on an Old Navy T-shirt to create a custom Sesame Street shirt. I also made M is for Mommy and D is for Daddy shirts for Sean and I!

Food

  • We had pizza, club sandwiches, pasta salad, veggies, fruit, chips, pretzels, cupcakes, cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels.
  • For drinks we had bottled water, iced tea, Arnold palmers, and Capri suns!

Last minute I decided to use Avery table tents leftover from our wedding to label food with the characters!

Decorations

I cut a large number 2 out of a cardboard box and covered it in pictures from the past year.

I printed picture of the characters and made a Caden Street sign to make centerpieces. They are actually attached to a wooden spoon and hot glued into the mason jar. The mason jar is filled with dollar tree shredded paper.

Staples sells 12″ x 12″ x 12″ boxes. We used clear packing tape to assemble and colored duct tape to decorate the edges. I printed and cut out the ABC 123s for the sides.

This sign will be placed near the parking lot to guide guests towards the party.

I love having a guest book for our parties, so this sign will remind people to sign!

Favors

  • We used Sesame Street party bags from Party City to put a box of crayons, goldfish, and a rubber ducky. I created these tags to go on top of the bags. We also had bubbles that didn’t fit inside the bag and were more fun to use during the party anyway!

JCPenney Portraits does a great job for cheap! Check out some of our pictures. Caden was not in a smiling kind of mood, but I love how the props we brought (stuffed animals and balloons) gave the brick backdrop such a Sesame Street feel!

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Pampers PURE Review

We cloth diaper of course, but it is important for those that use disposables to really inspect their diaper ingredient lists. There are so many toxins for something that goes on such a precious bum. Pampers PURE are a great place to start if you aren’t ready to go full-on-cloth! They’re a brand you can trust with an environmental conscious. On the EWG’s Skin Deep app, Pampers Pure wipes scored a 1, which is great! They have no chlorine bleaching, fragrances, parabens, or latex. Premium Cotten is used in this plant-based product.

****This item was received free for testing purposes from Influenster, but all opinions are my own!*****

Caden’s Golf First Birthday

I’m a little late to the game, but I wanted to share how we decorated for Caden’s first birthday party!

Caden’s attire:

-Custom Moccs from Everleigh Meadow Moccs

-Custom Shirt Embroidered with Caden and 1 with a matching bib from Etsy (Addie Kakes Kreations)

– Shorts from Gymboree

Food:

-TeeRiffic Pasta Salad

-PUTTato Chips

-Watermelon Wedges

-Putting Green Dirt Cake

-And of course pizza, hoagies, wings, and macaroni and cheese!

-Two Amazing Cakes from Cakes in Cups

-Extremely Creative Cookies from Jess Dunleavy

-We has an Arnold Palmer Making Station, too!

Caden’s Smash Cake 🙂

Decorations:

-White paper lanterns and printed the Titleist logo on them to look like gold balls

-green table cloths

-a balloon arch

-Centerpieces: $1 glass bowls from Walmart filled with golf balls and navy blue flowers

-Guest Book: We plan to always have a new book that matches the theme for guests to write a happy birthday message. We chose Badges, Egg Salad, and Green Jackets: The Masters A to Z!

Favors:

-Plastic golf clubs with balls from the dollar tree. We turned a large cardboard box into a Titleist golf bag.

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Pennsylvania Public Library – Quest Summer Reading Program

Growing up, visits to the library were my favorite! (Thank you, Aunt Debbie) This summer Caden is the PERFECT age to start attending some of the different activities they have to offer. I wasn’t sure which library to check out since we have so many amazing ones near us. We have Carbondale, Dalton, Abington Community, and the Nancy Kay Holmes library all within a half hour drive. There are even more that I just haven’t visited yet. Best of all – their activities are FREE!!!!!

We have attended BabyGarten at Nancy Kay Holmes and Baby Storytime at the Abington Community Library. Both activities involved play, songs, listening to a story, and a craft. Next week, we plan to dive in with some more activities, such as other “age level” story times since Caden is in between the baby and the pre-school age crews, block parties (building with Legos), and music time. All of the Lackawanna County Libraries have rotating times for magic shows, jugglers, art exhibits, zoo mobiles, and other animal exhibits. Children 4 to 13 can even earn a free ticket to attend a RailRiders game!

Abington Community Library Schedule

June Schedule

July Schedule

Special Event Schedule

Nancy Kay Holmes Library Schedule

June Schedule

July Schedule

Ages 0 to 5 Summer Quest Recording Sheet

Children earn “points” for reading for 15 minutes or completing an activity. Some of the activities that I think are really cool are –

  • Visit a Farmer’s Market – Shopping local is SO important! I desperately want to instill this in Caden from a young age.
  • Eat a “tech-free” meal with your family – I am hoping that we can always keep our meals “tech-free,” but I know that this is a struggle for many families.
  • Write your name in the mud or sand – This is great for sensory exploration and practicing letters!
  • Find shapes in the grocery store – This is something simple that I can start incorporating in our weekly visits to the grocery store. We can also point out the different colors or food groups, too!

Adult Summer Quest Recording Sheet

Adults also get points for reading for 30 minutes or selecting an activity to complete. Some of the adult activities that I think are really cool are –

  • Visit a local business that is new to you – Clarks Summit has so many amazing small businesses that I would like to explore. This will be the push that I need.
  • Visit a farmer’s market – same reason as above 🙂
  • Write someone a thank you card
  • Complete a DIY or home improvement project – Another activity that I need an extra push on!
  • Visit a new city – This is ALWAYS on my summer to-do list!

Happy Reading! ❤️

End of the Year Teacher Gift

As a teacher, gifts are never expected or necessary, but they are always appreciated! 🙂

We adore Caden’s daycare teachers, and he will be moving up to the next room when he returns in the fall.

We made a S’Mores basket with an added Amazon Giftcard for an extra sweet treat as an end of the year gift! It was super quick and easy, but looks adorable all assembled!

What’s in it?

  • Small Blue Tote from The Dollar Tree
  • Box of Graham Crackers
  • Bag of Marshmallows
  • Pack of 6 Hershey’s Chocolate Bars
  • Amazon Gift Card

*Shrink Wrap Cellophane and Bow are also from the Dollar Tree!

I printed out a label that says, “Thank you for making this year S’MORE fun than anything! Love, Caden”

Sneak Fruits & Veggies into your Child’s Meals with Beech-Nut Naturals!

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Beech-Nut Naturals offers a variety of natural purees. Some flavors available are…Just Sweet Potatoes, Just Apples, Just Carrots, Just Pear & Blueberry, Just Apple & Kale, Just Carrot, Corn, & Pumpkin, Just Spinach, Zucchini, & Pears, and so many more! Beech-Nut Naturals is inspired by homemade. It is made with real fruits and vegetables, just like you would use at home. 100% natural, nothing artificial. Beech-Nut Naturals uses only ingredients you can pronounce (which is important!).

Caden would share that the honeypot jar design is really fun for stacking. He is constantly trying to sneak them out of our cupboards to stack!

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My favorite think about Beech-Nut Naturals is their great taste! Caden is past the days of eating purees out of the jar (or a bowl) on a spoon. He wants to be on the move. I scoop one of the many delicious flavors into a Squeesy Gear reusable pouch and let him run free! Caden THINKS he’s getting some special snack, but really I am just pumping him with fruits and vegetables.

Another big mom secret is Beech-Nut Naturals purees are perfect for sneaking into meals. If anyone else has a pasta monster like I do, Beech-Nut can be added in for a boost in vegetable intake. I love to sneak sweet potatoes into Caden’s macaroni and cheese. 🙂 Just look at that smile…. he must love Beech-Nut Naturals as much as Mama does!

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#BeechNutPartner #realfoodforbabies #ad #FreeProductsWereReceived

Why Exclusively Pumping?

Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT MEDICAL ADVICE! This is one person’s PERSONAL experience with exclusively pumping. I do NOT have any type of medical degrees or certifications! ALWAYS consult a lactation consultant or doctor for assistance with providing breast milk for your child. 

I wanted to share a little about Caden’s birth story and why I ended up choosing the exclusively pumping route.

I was induced, so labor was EXCEPTIONALLY long. Sean and I have different blood types, so although no one mentioned it, I really believe there was some type of Rh+/- thing going on between us. Caden had trouble staying latched. I was in severe pain. There could have even been a lip/tongue tie issue, but I didn’t really hear much about those until I was in mommy facebook groups after we were already home. Caden was jaundiced (although he didn’t look it, his bilirubin levels were high!). We had to keep him in the incubator box with lights shining on him. I wanted to be able to take him home as quickly as possible, so I was afraid to take him out to feed with all of the issues we were having. I knew eating a lot was the best way to flush the bilirubin out of his skin. We had tons of lactation consultants and nurses practically forcing me to latch Caden, even though I was balling my eyes out in pain and fear. I BEGGED for a pump. I wanted to try one before we left anyway just to be sure I was using it correctly. (PS: Definitely use the pump in the hospital, since then you get lots of extra pieces to take home if it’s the same pump you have at home! It’s also SUPER powerful!) The lactation consultant on duty was kind of discouraging. She told me that I probably wouldn’t get anything. I got 10mL! PERFECT! We fed it to Caden through a syringe to keep him in his little light box. I would occasionally take him out to try latching, but I felt comfortable knowing that I KNEW he was getting so much from pumping.

We had to stay an extra day in the PICU. The nurses were awesome, but we were so exhausted and just wanted to get home. I continued to pump and latch occasionally with great success.

Funny-ish Side Note – When we were released, Caden still had elevated bilirubin levels, but we just had to go get bloodwork daily/every few days to watch the levels. The one day in particular they were higher than anticipated. They told us to put him in a window to get some sunlight since that is supposed to help. We set him up in his rock-n-play under our sunlights. He sat there for about two and half hours. Then, I asked Sean if he remembered the doctor saying anything about how long we are supposed to have him in the light for. I call back to be sure he’s fine still in the light. Her response….. “About 10-15 minutes. Most babies won’t be comfortable and will begin to whine when they want out anyway.” Whooooop!

When we got home, it was just easier to pump than to struggle with latching. I was producing over 3 ounces at that point, so it was going really well! I only had 3 weeks off, so Caden was going to have to get used to a bottle soon anyway. We used Dr. Brown’s bottles and had great success. We rarely (maybe once?!) struggled with any type of tummy trouble or gas and that one time was when we started solids!