First Birthday Party

My baby’s first birthday is just 6 weeks away, and I’m feeling the pressure to create a wonderful party for her. I know it’s more for me and the grandparents than for her, and I’m honestly not super stressed about it, but I’m completely stumped for ideas and full of questions.

How should I decorate?
Should I handmake her invitations, or buy them?
If I buy them, should they have a photo of her on them?
Should I hire a photographer for the party, or be happy with snapshots?
If I don’t hire a photographer will I be stuck behind the camera the whole time?
What should she wear? Fancy dress or normal everyday clothes?
Rent a venue, or do it at home?
Cake or cupcakes? Bake or buy?

I’ve seen dozens of blog posts about people’s amazing baby showers, crafty unique weddings, parties that seem extraordinary due to their simple details. I can’t think of any that have been about a baby’s first birthday party. So I’m calling out to you, my few readers, in search of ideas. I’m lost. I want the day to be wonderful, and I don’t want to regret missing things that should have been

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Dandelion Update

In May ago I wrote a review of some dishes I won on a blog contest. I was happy that I won, and looking forward to using the products with my baby. She just started eating solid foods a few months ago, and we’ve been using the baby feeding spoons. They’re great!

I’ve been using small ceramic or glass dishes to feed her from. Last week I decided to pull out the corn bowls so that I could let her try feeding herself applesauce from a bowl. I knew it would be a huge mess, but I wanted it to be a safe mess so I eliminated the glass by enlisting the corn. And then this happened:

That happened while removing the packaging, not even during normal child use. I assumed that being a child’s product that it would be able to stand up to being smacked around. I fully expected my baby to pick it up and smack it on her tray within seconds of placing it in front of her. I’m so glad it didn’t get that far, because those edges are sharp! She would have really hurt herself if she’d been holding that in her hands.

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New Mom Questions And Answers

When I had my child almost 8 months ago, I was completely unprepared. Of course I had a nursery ready for her, I had clothes, and I had diapers to last a year, but once she came out of me none of those things seemed to matter. I had heard about the struggle it is to have a newborn. I had heard about sleep deprivation. I thought I understood, but I really had no idea. Until you live it, there is no way to truly get it. Mo matter how prepared you believe you are, you’ll likely lose all confidence as you’re loading your 3 day old baby into your car in the hospital parking lot. I nearly had a panic attack.

In the frenzied days and weeks that followed, I did more googling than I had ever done before. The collective knowledge of the internet answered hundreds of questions for me, but also left me hanging on some. There were also things I learned along the way that I wish I had known sooner, but had not known to look for. So now I’ll add my admittedly limited knowledge to the vast resource that is the internet.

My newborn

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Thanksgiving 2011

I have no pictures of the spread. Once again, I failed to snap a shot before everyone dug in. Whatever, though, here’s what I made.

Turkey, slathered in compound butter made with sage, thyme, garlic, parsley, coriander.
Maple-cured spiral cut ham
Mashed yukon gold potatoes
Mashed sweet potatoes with goat cheese and kale
Roasted root vegetables (potatoes, carrots, parsnips, beets, onion)
Winter squash soup
Baked kabocha squash
Traditional stuffing
Cornbread stuffing with cranberries
Homemade applesauce
Sweet corn
Roasted asparagus
Green beans with bacon
Cranberry sauce, both homemade and from a can
Cream biscuits
Sweet potato rolls
Gravy

Let me just state that this was way too much food for 8 people. Especially when one of those 8 people is a baby. I blended up some turkey, gravy, asparagus, and corn in my food processor, and my baby loved it. She loved it so much that she dropped the gingersnap she’d been sucking on to eat the turkey slurry.

Everything turned out great except for the cream biscuits. The dough felt very wet, like I didn’t use enough flour. I added more, because it was unworkable. They didn’t really rise, and they came out kind of damp, dense, and doughy.

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Favorite Photo 2011

I was let on to a photo assignment by Jennifer over at Bread and Putter. I met her at Big Summer Potluck 2010, and have been enjoying her recipes and wit ever since. I’m the kind of person that works best when on assignment, so I think I’ll be following Scott’s blog and attempting his assignments.

This is an especially easy one to start with, as it doesn’t require me to shoot any new photos. Picking just one favorite from the year my first child was born, however, is not actually so easy. I found out about this assignment late, sadly, and have missed the deadline. Whatever, though, I’m doing it anyway. Hopefully Scott will forgive this transgression, since I’m new to his blog.

So here it is, my favorite photo of 2011. My daughter, 6 weeks old, caught mid-sneeze.

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Spider

I walked into the laundry room and saw a huge spider. Mega spider. The sort of spider an arachnophobe dreads finding in her home. I yelled for my husband, also an arachnophobe.

“I’ve got a spider I need you to kill, and you’re not going to like the look of it!”

He saw it, shuddered, and found something to kill it with. It was in an awkward spot, perched high up in the corner behind the washing machine. I left the room, because if there’s anything worse than seeing a giant spider in my laundry room it’s seeing a giant spider move in my laundry room.

I’m safely out of the room, playing with the baby, when I hear, “Whoa! The fucker jumped at me!” This is totally not what I wanted to hear, and I said as much.

“Well, he’s gone,” says my husband.

“Gone?” I query. I’m completely unsatisfied with this.

“He jumped at me, and then dropped behind the washing machine. I’m not going to pull the washer out to hunt for the spider. He probably crawled into a dark crevice. I’m sure you’ll never see him again.”

I’ll spare you the whining and sniveling that came

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