DIY Nautical 1st Birthday Bash


It is hard to believe it has been a year since I gave birth to my little O.  When I think back to the first few months of his life, it seems like a lifetime ago.  And I seem like a completely different person from that terrified, bluesy mommy of the early days of O’s life.  I have found my footing as a mother.  My tentative wobble has turned into a confident stride.  I can honestly say, I’m good at this mothering thing.  And I couldn’t be happier.  All of that,  along with the one year milestone for O, means there is MUCH to celebrate!  It seems appropriate to share some party tips I used  for my little ones first big day.

I chose to do a nautical theme, as I did with O’s nursery.  We have such a connection to the sea, especially now living here on the beautiful South Coast of Massachusetts.  I adore sailboats, shells, anything to do with the ocean.  If you live anywhere in the Northeast, you might be familiar with the Christmas Tree Shops.  They have a wonderful assortment of beach and nautical themed paper and party goods.  I got a lot of stuff from there.  But most all the food and baked goods were made by yours truly.  It is more time consuming than store bought, but I actually enjoy cake making and decorating, so it is worth the extra time it takes.

I decided to do a picnic/party, as most of the guests were adult relatives and it took place on Memorial Day weekend.  So the fare was pretty typical.  Hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, cole slaw, and baked beans.  It was the appetizers that I got to have a little fun with.  I can’t take credit for the idea of this red pepper crab, but I love it! Found it on Pinterest, of course.

Veggie and hummus tray with a red pepper crab critter for decoration!

Veggie and hummus tray with a red pepper crab critter for decoration!

I also wanted something a little more unique to add to your typical chips and salsa.  So I did a mix of goldfish crackers and pretzel nets.  Get it? Fish and nets?  Turned out very cute and there is nothing to it.  Just put them into cute little baskets lined with colorful napkins.


I also decided to use a beverage dispenser filled with lemonade and sliced lemons, rather than sodas.  Nothing worse than a bunch of 2 liter bottles or cans all over the place.  I used clear cups and added blue and green straws for a pop of color.  Again, super easy….but the theme and color scheme stay intact.  As far as decorations, I used light blue and aqua colored balloons and a nautical banner I got from Christmas Tree Shops.  I attached it to the drink/app table.  I thought of adding shells and starfish around the tables, but to be honest I forgot them at the last minute, but they would have been cute.

Drink & Appetizer table.  Banner is from The Christmas Tree Store.

Drink & Appetizer table. Banner is from The Christmas Tree Store.

The real focal point was the dessert table that featured the Smash Cake and cupcakes, among other treats.  I added glass candy  jars of Swedish fish and blue, white, and green M&Ms.  I made the cake and cupcakes on my own.  Even the cupcake toppers.  I couldn’t find anything nautical that I liked, so I made little navy blue flags with toothpicks and colored masking tape. Unbelievably easy.

Dessert Table!

Dessert Table!

DIY cupcake picks! Nautical Flags!

DIY cupcake picks! Nautical Flags!

Now the Smash Cake is new to me. We didn’t have those things when I grew up, nor when my nieces and nephews had their first birthdays.  But, I kind of love the idea and the photos I’ve seen of other kids smashing into them are just dear.  To tell you the truth, I didn’t know how it would all go over.  O has never had sweets yet, so I wondered if he would even like it.  As it turns out, he wanted nothing to do with it.  No cute photos.  No face filled with icing.  It wasn’t his bag.  I can see where I went wrong.  The texture of the buttercream icing must have felt odd to him, as well as it being light blue.  It tasted GREAT to US….but that really isn’t the point of it.  I think I will try it a again on his actual birthday this week and use homemade whipped cream and Cheerios to top it.  He is familiar with Cheerios.  Lol.

The "un-smashed" Smash Cake!

The “un-smashed” Smash Cake!

The cupcakes were super yummy. I made two kinds. Blue Raspberry with a vanilla buttercream icing.  I found the cake cups in the Marshall’s Home Section.  Loved those! The second variety was vanilla with vanilla buttercream icing.  You really just need an icing bag and a good icing tip.  Again, Christmas Tree Shop has a box of 20 bags with 3 tips for $1.00.  Crazy, right?

Blue Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

Blue Raspberry Cupcakes with Vanilla Frosting

We had such a nice day with my family in NJ.    I can’t tell you how thankful I am for all of them.  It’s so important for us to have O grow up with a sense of family, which is why we make the 4 hour trip as often as we do. We were exhausted at the end of the day, but it was all so worth it.  Thanks for letting me share and, as always, thanks for reading!!









Feeding Time Confessions of an Overwrought SAHM


I really do love lists.  To do lists.  Grocery lists. You name it LISTS! It’s a type A person’s daydream. Oddly,  I have never written a list as a post for my blog.  But the other evening I was finishing up feeding little O in his high chair and I found myself picking up the dropped macaroni from his seat and putting them in my mouth.  I was eating the discarded droppings from my sons tray.  Was this a new low? How had I come to this? Rather than go four feet to the trash bin, I used my mouth as a human garbage can to avoid getting up and throwing it away.  I was beyond tired.  I was overwrought.  It was then I knew I had a list I had to share.  The following admissions are not for the squeamish or easily grossed out.  You have been warned.  Sometimes motherhood is just a dirty job.

10 Feeding Time Confessions Of An Overwrought Stay At Home Mom:

1.   I eat the puffs that fall on the floor from O’s highchair. Yup.  I do.   P.S. Puffs taste like nothing, but they seem like crack to Little O.

2.   If I’m not hungry, I sometimes pick up a puff from the floor and put it right back on O’s tray for his consumption.  Is that the five second rule? Or is it three seconds? Whatever it is, he doesn’t seem to mind.

3.   I eat the food that falls out of O’s mouth.  Yes, I use a wet wipe, but occasionally, I use my finger to get that glob of mashed up sweet potatoes and carrot purée off of his face.  It occasionally goes in my mouth.  Delicioso!

4.   I often (more often than not) accompany O’s dinner feeding with a glass of wine for myself.  I prefer a nice Cabernet with most puréed delicacies.

5.    I have ever worn the shirt I wore to bed the whole next day.  If my sleeves have baby food on them, I just roll them up.  Classy.

6.   If we have potato chips in the house, I will eat them in a mindless trance if O cries because he was just put down for a nap.  Its an SCM (snacking coping mechanism.). I try NOT to keep such trigger  snacks in the house.

7.   I feel guilty between 10-20 times a day for feeling like I’m not doing enough for my LO.

8.   I often have pee on my clothes and spit up in my hair.  Yes indeedy! I have a friend who says, “you are always so put together!”  It’s all smoke and mirrors, folks.

9.   I sometimes cry because I am so tired.

10.  I often cry because I am so happy.


A Little Help From My Friends


There are hundreds of topics to be written about.  Endless opportunities for conversations about the journey of motherhood.  Yet my mind doesn’t want to let go of a comment that came after last weeks blog.  It was basically tips on how to keep my sanity/self whilst being home raising my child.  I believe it was posted with the best of intentions.  It was not mean or malicious.  It was a comment filled with concern.  Dare I say, worry.  It was another mother being blatantly honest.  But it left me wanting to defend my writing, my actions, my choices.  And then I took a breath.

After my initial reaction of wanting to announce to the world that A, “I’m not drinking alcohol during the day with my 11 month old!!!” And B,  “Sometimes I add dark humor to my writing to make it more entertaining because I think it’s funny!!” I sat back and realized this woman was not only compassionate, but she was right.  A woman I don’t know, who reads my blog, was sending me a huge hug over the internet.  She was sending me support.  It was everything I say is missing in our modern day Motherhood Madness. And my initial reaction was defense.  Silly me.

Now I stand by the notion that every one of our journeys is, indeed,  our own.  That all our circumstances are individual.  That every child is unique and brings different circumstances and challenges to the table.  But we must remember,  there is a big difference between bashing and constructive criticism.  What is the idea? It takes a village? Well, when did that just become a catch phrase and not an actual thing we engage in?

I remember growing up in the 70’s and 80’s.  Neighborhood parents would actually parent.  And ones who didn’t or who weren’t right there, had no issues with other parents jumping in.  It was more of a collective effort.  In today’s world if you correct another person’s child, or admonish them for bad behavior, you likely have a disgruntled parent telling you to mind your own business.  Yet, a common theme among Moms is the feeling of isolation.  But when someone offers help, we get defensive.  As if someone thinks  we aren’t capable.  That we aren’t doing enough.  But the truth of the matter is, in many cases, it is our own self criticism that makes us defensive.  I know in my case it was.

Shouldn’t we be grateful someone else is watching out for our children? Watching out for our well being, as a mother? It’s complete b.s. when people say “I don’t want to get involved.” Or “It’s not my business.”  We are a culture of peeping toms watching everyone’s business on Facebook, YouTube, and every other form of social media.  But we do it in the privacy of our home, or on our cel phones.  It lets us peer in, and often judge from a distance.  But let’s own the fact that we are interested, even (oh my gosh!) involved.  How often do you read a post or share a story on Facebook that touches you for real?  That makes you feel something?  For real?  That’s involvement.  Scary that today’s “involvement” can be so removed.

Anyway, I just wanted to thank this Mom.  For actually caring.  For trying to share some tools to help me succeed.  After all, I did ask for help! Why was I so surprised someone would actually offer it? I will keep her advice.  And be grateful.  It was not only helpful to me, but a ray of light in these dark times of the Mommy Wars.  There is hope that this era of judgement may someday become a thing of the past.  There is hope that the “village” will actually lend you a hand on this journey, and not just Tweet about you from afar.

Until next time, I’m gonna keep on keepin on…and lighten up on myself a bit.  Cause I have to be there for O…happy, fit, and rested.  A friend gave me that piece of advice.  🙂






Crash Test Mommy


I don’t know how it happens.  It’s like I go from 0 to 60 in a matter of moments.  Everything is going fine, I’m handling the day with O.  I should say, enjoying the day with O.  Ok, I didn’t sleep great the past couple of nights, but I’m tough.  Then I navigate family stuff  i.e. dysfunction,  over the phone while I’m trying to get some exercise by taking a walk.  Then, I make baby food while I figure out what we will have for dinner.  Then I field emails and calls to make our crazy (at the moment) life actually function. Add laundry, keeping our house show ready for prospective buyers,  throw in a trip to the post office,  a stop at the grocery store and a diaper run for fun.  Then O decides not to take a nap, but rather stand in his crib crying until Mommy comes in to save him.  And every whine and whimper sends my head spinning further and further into a place I don’t know how to return from sometimes.

By the time my husband gets home,  I’m feeding the overtired wonder boy in his high chair, while he wears some of his meal, as he has now taken to swatting the spoon away and then crying because there is no food in his mouth.  Of course, I have a large glass of wine beside me.    I swear, O will be a toddler able to open a bottle of wine like a professional sommelier and make a killer dirty martini to rival Dean Martin.  He’s seen it done enough.  I look like I’ve been through a prison camp.  A camp where they dress you in yoga pants and make you wear your hair in a ponytail everyday.  My husband asks me if I’m ok? He is truly concerned.  He takes over feeding our child.  And all I feel is guilt.  Like I have somehow lost the battle of the day.

I then don’t know how to come back? Has that ever happened to any of you? It’s like I don’t know how to wipe the day away  and start over.  The guilt of getting frustrated or of wasting the gift of the day stays with me.  I can’t imagine how my husband could love me.  I’m so so far away from what he signed  up for.  And it seems I can’t handle even the simplest task.  I can’t even keep it together as I write this.  Thankfully, I know this too shall pass and I will recover and become “me” again.    But in the midst of the whirlwind I seem unrecognizable, even to myself.

When I was dealing with postpartum  baby blues, I’d often have the “drive away”  fantasy.  I didn’t  know how many women had this fantasy until I started reading other women’s blogs.  I’d see myself getting into my Kia and just driving away.  To nowhere.  Just to breathe.  Just to feel the wind on my face.  I didn’t know how far I’d go… I always planned on coming back, but in my mind it was the perfect escape.  Now my escape fantasy involves a bath and a nice hotel room.  I fantasize about sleep like it is some elusive unattainable thing.  When I start fantasizing more frequently, I know I am approaching my breaking point.  I am getting close to crashing into the wall.

I am not a super woman.  I am just a woman.  I’m trying.  Everyday I try.  That counts, right? My number one concern is that I do right by O.  That I give him everything I can, everyday.  That I teach him what I know and more, to make him a decent kind loving person.  But inevitably, there are days when you are at the end of your rope, and you wind up teaching him something negative.  A curse word you said out of frustration (it only has to happen once) …or how to make a killer dirty martini.  How can you be the perfect mom at every moment?? If you have the answer, let me know.  Until then, I’ll be putting one foot in front of the other.  Occasionally, I’ll take a step backwards…because I’m only human.

Moving Mommy


I am officially certifiable.  My husband and I are moving house, again.  Good Lord, give me strength.  It’s bad enough that we moved from Florida to New England when O was only 3 months old.  I truly don’t know how we did it.  I think I must have been on auto pilot.  Like some sort of new mommy zombie.  It’s the only way I could have gotten through it.  We kept our Florida house furnished, so we didn’t pack up every last morsel. It was tough enough packing up all our personal things with a newborn infant.  But this move will require us to move EVERYTHING…all with a 12 month old, who is crawling and cruising like a demon and getting into anything and everything that isn’t safety sealed shut.  Like I said, Good Lord, give me strength!

Of course, it will most likely NOT be an easy, care free transition.  You see, we haven’t found the house we want to move into yet.  (Nervous smile).  So we could very well be packing this home up into a storage facility until the right house comes along.  Eek.  Live out of a suitcase much? Good thing I have lots of experience with that from touring.  My biggest concern, however,  is not how I will handle it, but how O will adapt.  When he was 3 months old he was completely adaptable.  I knew he would have no recollection of it.  The several transitions he made were easy peesey.  But will it be that way this time? I mean, he won’t remember it, but will it affect him adversely?

If things don’t go swimmingly, as they most never do with real estate…then we may be moving in with my Mother-in-law until we secure and close on a new residence.  Thank goodness I adore her! I can only hope she will still love me after this possible cohabitation. To say we are grateful for her is a great understatement.  A huge positive will be O getting to spend more time with her.  You know how I feel about grandparents! I’m a big advocate for Grammy time.  See, I’m trying to focus on the positive side if things.

I’m certainly not dreading any part of this journey.   I guess it’s just that I just want to be settled.  Once and for all.  I went from leaving my “in and out of town” career to be settled for what turned out to be  a hot second…to move up to New England to stay with my MIL until our house was available, to be in our house for another hot second, to now be packing it up for some unknown abode.  I feel like I’ve  been on the move since forever.  It’s just time to slow down and get settled. Time to nest.   My soul feels it.  Hell, my bones feel it.  I not only want to plant roots in the home that O will grow up in…I want to plant a garden and be around to watch it grow.  I want to plant perennials and see them pop up next spring and the next 10 springs to come.  It’s something THAT simple.  I’m ready for simple.

It’s not like this move is news to me. It’s all part of our plan.  We actually want to move.  But the reality of it is just starting to set in for this Mommy, and it’s a tad daunting.  So if any of you Moms have any advice to make the whole undertaking easier…fire away! I am in need of some serious input.  I figure I’ll need a secure place for O to play.  So far, O doesn’t seem to mind being in his pack and play.  He actually seems to like it.  If I put a few toys/activities in there, he is usually quite content to amuse himself while I get dinner ready or go to use the bathroom.  But packing up a house? Eek! That’s a little more time consuming. And a pack and play isn’t a very big space for him to move around in.   I guess I will  rely on his nap times? And after his bedtime? Woof! This is gonna be one crabby tired Mama.  I guess it will all just happen, as everything does.  One day at a time.  One box at a time.  One foot in front of the other….all while keeping a routine that O can count on.  Did I say “Give me strength?”  Oh, that was the third time? Well, third time’s a charm.  Wish me luck, Ladies.

Until next time, keep on keepin on.  And remember, behind every great kid, is a mom who is sure she is messing it up! 🙂 Like me! Like 20-30 times a day! 🙂