Five on Friday | Recent Paintings by Michael Hayes

 Today we’re going to be in New York all day.. YAY! I might post a lot of pics on Instagram but maybe not because I suck at social media as you probably have figured out. Whatever. Anyway, it’s been some time since I’ve posted/bragged about my husband’s painting career and I wanted to share some of the latest with yall.

Homage to Rothko

http://www.michaelcliffordhayes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/homage-to-rohtko.jpg

Green

http://www.michaelcliffordhayes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/painting-2.jpg

Blue Geometric Forms

http://www.michaelcliffordhayes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/painting-3.jpg

Composition with Purple Forms

http://www.michaelcliffordhayes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/painting-4.jpg

Composition with Black Forms

http://www.michaelcliffordhayes.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/IMG_20160419_074011.jpg

He has four upcoming exhibitions this summer too!

July 1st | Corrigan Gallery | Charleston, SC

August 12th | Anne Irwin Fine Art | Atlanta, GA

August 26th | Fabulon | Charleston, SC

September 23rd | Fabulon | Charleston, SC


 I would love if you’d check out his website, and/or follow him on everything:

Instagram | Twitter | Pinterest | Facebook

Have a great weekend you guys!

Linking up with Amanda; Katie, Tif, Della, Caitlin; Karli and Amy; Liz, Christina, Natasha, and Darci; Andrea, Erika, and Narci

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How to Make a #1 Cake for a First Birthday Party

For my daughter’s first birthday I knew I wanted the cake for her party to be shaped like the #1. They probably make pans shaped like that, but I wasn’t about to buy one, so I DIYed it. It was super easy and you can totally do it too!

How to Make a Cake Shaped like the #1 for a First Birthday Party | The Lowcountry Mama

For the cake board I simply wrapped up a big piece of cardboard with cute wrapping paper. That’s it.

I made the cake with this recipe but I TRIPLED it and divided the batter between two 9×12″ cake pans. The recipe tasted good, but was a little dense, I’m not sure why. Mine also didn’t turn out very pink because I tried to avoid using food coloring by using strawberries instead, and it didn’t exactly work out as planned. But, like I said, tasted good.

When the cakes are done take them out and arrange them like so. Cut them into the #1 with a knife.

How to Make a Cake Shaped like the #1 for a First Birthday Party | The Lowcountry Mama

When you ice it you will completely hide the seam, there will just be a little more icing in that area. I followed this recipe (tripled) and to make the colors I followed this amazing chart. My colors were Ice and Cotton Candy.

And for having the prettiest offering at the bake sale::

Source: Pinterest

I spread the Ice all over the cake, and then for the roses I used a 1M piping tip. This was my first time making roses and literally they are the easiest thing.. just swirl in a circle. As long as your icing is the correct consistency they’ll turn out perfect.

For the bottom edges I used a small star tip to create a shell border. I love decorating cakes.. I used to be a cake decorator when I was a teenager actually. I’m a little out of practice but would love to get back into it!

How to Make a Cake Shaped like the #1 for a First Birthday Party | The Lowcountry Mama

How to Make a Cake Shaped like the #1 for a First Birthday Party | The Lowcountry Mama

Overall I was super happy with it. It served 20 people with a lot left over!

See the rest of my daughter’s garden-themed first birthday party here.

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Should You Invite Children to Your Wedding?

I’m starting to get invited to some weddings now for the first time since I got married. Some of them I know that kids aren’t invited, so therefore I won’t/can’t go. I TOTALLY understand.. there’s first of all the budget, second of all the possible chaos if you have tons of kids, and frankly I know some parents might just like the excuse to have a night out. If you’re in the midst of planning your own, I’m going to discuss the pros and cons a bit to maybe try and help you decide.

Should You Invite Kids to Your Wedding? The Pros and Cons | The Lowcountry Mama

Going over the guest list and putting it together has GOT to be the most stressful part of wedding planning. I started out saying “I want a small wedding” then before I knew it we had 200 people.. that I somehow narrowed down to 160; the other 40 was mostly children. Frankly, 160 people would’ve KILLED my budget, but we knew that since it was kind of a “destination” wedding for most people, that we wouldn’t actually hit that number. They say don’t invite over 10% more people than you can actually handle, in my case I invited 100% more haha

Anyway, I wasn’t yet pregnant when we made the guest list. Maybe I would’ve been more understanding? I don’t know, I guess it’s just like when you’re making the list and you need to narrow it down, “kids” seems like the easiest group to take off without offending too many people. But then you need to decide “what is a kid?”.. teenager? Under 21? Under 15? But then what if a 16 year old has a 12 year old sibling? Then there’s like your friend’s kid who is out of control and you know he’s going to rip down the tent.. so yea that kid probably shouldn’t be invited, but you want to invite your cousin who is the same age but you can’t because then your friend will be like “what about my kid?” It’s a slippery slope. If my siblings had kids of course then it would’ve been different but we didn’t have any really close children, so we didn’t even have a flower girl or anything.

That’s why we just ended up not inviting kids. Everyone was over 21. It was easier to just say fck it instead of working out logistics.. but now as a mom, I kind of feel bad. Especially if you’re a hardcore attachment parent like me with a baby (toddler?!) who doesn’t sleep alone and still nurses constantly, you have to choose between attending a wedding and feeling intense mom guilt/worrying the entire time or missing out and maybe offending the bride and groom. But then again, the baby stage is so much different than a rampaging 6 year old, so I don’t know, maybe I should’ve said only kids up to three and none between the ages of 3 and 14? Haha NO see that doesn’t work! It’s like literally impossible to think about this stuff even after being married for a year and a half!

Pros of Inviting Children

• Not offending anyone
• Getting to have your nieces and nephews there
• More people might be able to come if they can’t leave their kids

Cons of Inviting Children

• A bit of craziness should be expected if there are a lot of children
• Some people apparently view weddings as a welcome break from kids
• Budget concerns; children usually cost at least half as much as adults plus babysitter fees
• Logistics concerning hiring a babysitter, arranging kids’ activities, e.t.c.

Some people allow just the kids in the wedding party to attend. Others decide that kids can come to the ceremony but not the reception, which seems like a happy medium but that doesn’t change the fact that some people have no one to watch their kids later. Really, it’s totally up to you. Looking back, I do kind of wish I just opened it up to kids, mostly because I feel really awkward now when people are like “Oh I would’ve came to your wedding but my kid……. ” It’s weird to me because I don’t know what to say, except come read this post LOL. I mean, bottom line is, our families are so big and there were just SO many children. I think the main thing was the budget and the logistics. If we had needed even one more additional table then we would’ve needed a bigger tent, more lights, more decor, e.t.c. We were already rushing to get things booked (since my wedding was pushed up 4 months), and we were lucky to even find a tent with such short notice; originally when my wedding was booked for April, we weren’t going to have one!

So like, I’m at the point now where if kids aren’t invited to a wedding, I’m probably not going to be able to go. However, there are NO hard feelings at all because I 100% understand and empathize. It’s not the bride and groom’s place to worry or stress about the fact that I’m at the baby/toddler mom stage in life, or that I’m a breastfeeding, co-sleeping parent who can’t leave her daughter. Some people don’t understand that; they don’t get why I can’t leave her for one night/a few hours- but along the same lines it’s not their place to worry about my parenting style or my child’s needs either. If you choose to not invite kids, I hope the parents that you do invite are like me and will just GET it. If they don’t, then too bad. Seriously brides, you don’t need to worry about that on top of the million other things you have going on. Choose what’s best for you, the vibe you’re going for, and your budget.

Did you invite kids to your wedding? Are you going to invite kids to your wedding?

Linking up!

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Recipes Inspired by New Orleans

We weren’t in New Orleans long enough to eat as much as I would’ve liked.. but I saw a lot of recipes that I wanted to try out on my own. Creole and Cajun cuisine is such a great blend influenced by so many different cultures.. French, Caribbean, Southern, African, e.t.c. The difference between Cajun and Creole is that Creole is more “city” food while Cajun is more “country” food, and Creole uses tomatoes whereas Cajun doesn’t. Almost all recipes use the “holy trinity” of vegetables: onions, celery and bell peppers. So far I’ve tried a few recipes and they’ve come out amazing; here are some of those and some that I want to try soon.

Recipes Inspired by New Orleans | The Lowcountry Mama

Gumbo

I haven’t tried making gumbo yet but I’m definitely excited about it. This is only one recipe I found on Pinterest but there are SO many variations out there.

Gumbo Stew - A Intensely flavorful gumbo loaded with chicken, sausage, shrimp and crab legs. Easy to make with step-by-step pictorial.:

Jambalaya

Jambalaya is a one-pot dish.. kind of a Louisiana stir-fry, if you will. Again, there are so many variations out there to choose from.

This easy jambalaya recipe is SO good, and so simple to make homemade. Recipe and step by step photos included.:

Kolaches

The kolache isn’t actually from New Orleans, but it’s the first place I ever had one and it was so good that I had to make them at home immediately. I followed this recipe but used andouille sausage instead to make it more Louisiana-like. I made 8 and literally they were gone in two days.. so amazing.

Recipes Inspired by New Orleans | The Lowcountry Mama

Shrimp Creole

This is another recipe that I HAVE tried and it was soo good. It was super spicy but that was totally my fault and we still really liked it.

Recipes Inspired by New Orleans | The Lowcountry Mama

Etouffe

While gumbo is more of a soup or stew, etouffe is a main dish and consists of one type of protein, usually a shellfish like crawfish or shrimp. I haven’t worked with crawfish before so I’m going to try shrimp first!

Shrimp Etouffee ~ I do believe this is what I made for Kim Panoff when I was 6-7 months pregnant & the poor girl came over & thought we were going out clubbing!:

Shrimp Po Boy

One of New Orleans’ signatures.. bonus points if you bake your own french bread!

Make tonight special with Easy Shrimp Po' Boy Sandwiches! | MomOnTimeout.com #MomVictory #sponsored:

Red Beans and Rice

This dish was traditionally served on Mondays because the pork bones from Sunday’s dinner were used in the dish.. and Mondays were “wash days” so the women could leave the beans to slow cook while they scrubbed clothes. Now idk about you but over in my house.. ever day is a damn wash day. However, I’m not scrubbing in the creek out back so I guess that’s good.

Red Beans and Rice in the Slow Cooker - delicious and EASY recipe! Dinner practically prepares itself. | APinchOfHealthy.com:

Beignets

And finally.. how could I go to New Orleans and not be inspired to bake some beignets?!

Make PERFECT New Orleans-style beignets right at home! SO SO GOOD. Can be made ahead of time too!:

Note: All the recipes that are pictured here link back to their recipes on Pinterest if I didn’t link it in the text!

I’m so ready to make all of these

 

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Healthy Watermelon Baby Smash “Cake” with Coconut Cream Icing

Hey yall! Hope you had a great Father’s Day weekend. We’ve been/are traveling some more but after this week things should slow down a bit for the summer, except for a few trips to Atlanta for one of Michael’s gallery openings. It’s been nonstop but fun!

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

For my baby’s first birthday I knew I wanted to have a smash cake.. but not just any regular cake. First of all, I’m kind of crazy and want to hold off giving her sugar for as long as possible, second of all, I think she might have a slight dairy allergy and didn’t want to make a cake/frosting with butter, eggs, milk and all that. I opted to cut a watermelon into a mini cake shape and it worked out perfectly!

Literally all I did was cut off the ends of a watermelon so you had three pieces and the middle was about 5 or 6 inches high. Then, I cut off the rind in a circle. For the ends, I sliced off the top so that they were flat because I used them to make little “cupcakes” and also used a flower-shaped cookie cutter to make a watermelon bouquet.

Tip: Cut the watermelon one day in advance and refrigerate for 24 hours, it makes it softer for smashing!

(I’m wearing this glove because if you remember, I cut off the top of my finger with a mandoline slicer a few months ago. Not messing with sharp shit anymore ha)

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

For the coconut cream icing, it’s as easy as buying a can of coconut cream from Trader Joe’s (in the baking section) and chilling it in the fridge for 24 hours, then whipping it in a stand mixer until light and fluffy. You can also add a teaspoon or so of maple syrup and/or vanilla extract to taste. I covered the entire cake with the icing then piped roses on top!

My first batch worked perfectly for piping- but the second time I had a hard time keeping the icing from melting, I think because of the humidity on that day! This icing is NOT ideal for an outdoor party, and I suggest you keep the cake in the fridge until right before serving.

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

Note: My “roses” are not so much roses here.. because I didn’t have the correct 1M piping tip yet, and this was the trial cake before I made the real one on her birthday. I didn’t get a pic of the final watermelon cake, but you can see the roses made with the 1M tip on her other birthday cake in this post.

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

Healthy Watermelon Smash "Cake" with Coconut Cream Icing | Dairy, Sugar and Egg Free | The Lowcountry Mama

Isn’t it cute?! My daughter loved it and was able to dig in just fine, and I didn’t have to worry about sugar (except natural sugars of course) or any dyes or dairy at all. We got some really cute pictures and I think she loved it =) It was the perfect solution for a first birthday smash cake alternative.

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4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

I planned to post this yesterday but totally failed because I randomly came down with something HARD on Monday night.. fever plus chills and whole body aches and a sore throat and pounding headache. It was intense. Seems to be a 24 hour thing because now I feel a lot better- I think that’s what my baby had last week and if so I hope she didn’t feel as bad as I did. Anyway…..


 One of the things I made last minute for my daughter’s first birthday party was this Pineapple Salsa. I saw an idea once to put salsa in a pineapple on Pinterest.. so just for that purpose I made up this recipe with some random ingredients, and it’s actually soo good. I literally did it in 10 minutes and it’s the prettiest, quickest recipe that will be making an appearance at probably ever summer party I ever throw haha.

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama

Here are the steps in pictures:

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama 4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama

I used my Kitchenaid hand blender. Seriously I use this thing daily.. it comes with a ton of attachments but my favorite is this chopper attachment, which works like a food processor, but more compact and easier to clean. It’s TOTALLY worth it. I use it to make salsa, chop herbs, make baby food, make homemade red pepper flakes, basically anything that calls for a food processor. The other attachments I use to make soups, whipped cream, and everything that you’d use a hand blender for. For a cheaper version (3-speed instead of 5, less attachments) see here. It still comes with the chopper. If you don’t have this, just use a food processor!

Enjoy!

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Perfect Summer Recipe for Parties, BBQs and Appetizers - Quick and Easy! | The Lowcountry Mama

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 2 pineapple halves full of salsa

8-10

4-Ingredient Pineapple Salsa

Ingredients

  • 1 pineapple
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 green onion, diced
  • 2 medium tomatoes or 4 small ones, diced
  • Salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. Cut pineapple in half, slice on each side of core, in a circle around the outside, and across a few times (pictured in blog post)
  2. Scoop out with a spoon
  3. Add to Kitchenaid hand chopper attachment
  4. Pulse a few times
  5. Drain
  6. Pour back into pineapple half and serve with tortilla chips
http://www.thelowcountrymama.com/4-ingredient-pineapple-salsa/

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Comparing Two Airbnb’s: $350/night vs $60/night

On our trip in May I stayed in an Airbnb for the first time- actually, two very different Airbnb’s. One in Houston and the other in Atlanta. It was definitely a completely different experience versus staying in a hotel, and I’ll continue to browse Airbnb every time we have somewhere to go especially if hotel prices are high. I wanted to compare and contrast the two Airbnb’s that I stayed in to give you some perspective on what your money gets you! The house in Houston was $350/night whereas the house in Atlanta was $60/night.

Comparing Two Airbnb's | The Main Difference Between a Luxury Stay vs a Budget Stay, and Why I Think Airbnb is Worth It | The Lowcountry Mama

Space

This is kind of a given, but the expensive house was about three times the size of the cheap one. Four bathrooms vs one, three stories vs one, four bedrooms vs one. My entire family stayed here- grandparents, parents, siblings and us, and we still all had enough room.

©The Lowcountry Mama

Privacy

Both were single family homes, so you weren’t connected to anyone, you had a yard and you had parking. However, for the cheap house, the guy popped in one day unannounced to get something out of the 2nd bedroom which is apparently also his office. I read that might be a possibility online but it would’ve been nice if he texted, because the baby was sleeping. There are SUPER cheap options if you’re cool with renting a room in an already occupied house, but I would never do that, I always search for “entire home”.

Location

Both houses were centrally located in their respective cities, and were close to parks and downtown.

New Atlanta Attractions | Things to do on a trip to Atlanta | The Lowcountry Mama

Cleanliness

This was huge. It was quite obvious that the dude at the cheap house does NOT pay someone to clean, he does it himself, and he’s not very good at it. From now on I’m not going to count “no cleaning fee!” as a perk.. book with someone who does charge a cleaning fee, at least you know they’re probably hiring someone. The expensive house was absolutely spotless and I could lay my suitcase on the floor without feeling weird (you know, like in hotels).

©The Lowcountry Mama

Amenities

Our big house had a pool.. but it didn’t have a coffee maker weirdly enough. The cheap house had the essentials but I didn’t really want to use anything. The expensive house provided soaps, shampoos, e.t.c. Both provided towels, and the cheap house provided water bottles and granola bars.

Responsibilities

This we knew beforehand and it was totally fine.. we had to take care of a dog in the Atlanta house! She lives there and you just have to feed her and take her outside twice a day. She was super sweet, but I can imagine if you didn’t read carefully you’d be surprised when you showed up there!


 So, these are obviously two extremes, but I think it can give you some perspective of what to expect when booking an Airbnb. For me, if it’s just my family of three, I think we’ll try and stick in the $100-$120/night range.

I just can’t stress enough how important it is to read the reviews.. but sometimes they’re not entirely accurate. If you don’t see anything about a place being clean, assume it’s sub-par. Airbnb is kind of hard to decode sometimes because the renter writes a review first.. and if you write a bad review, then you risk the host writing you a bad review.. so it’s kind of biased in my opinion. Of course, there is always bound to be someone who is completely honest, it just might take a little digging through dozens or even hundreds of reviews haha.

Overall if a place is updated and super clean I’d go with Airbnb every time, especially for longer trips. I think I’ve contradicted that statement before but this experience changed my mind. I really like that you can usually find an Airbnb in fun areas whereas most of the time, the majority of hotels are located in the same spot. These days any affordable hotel seems to be just a decent place to crash, but if you want a nice place to actually relax with a view or anything it’s going to cost big time; on Airbnb places like that are available for less.

Have you ever stayed in an Airbnb?

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{Three} on Friday 6/10 + Announcement!

Soo you’d think that by not working anymore I’d have more time to post daily and work on quality blog posts.. WRONG. When we got back from our trip I immediately started planning my baby’s 1st birthday, and then we had visitors in town for over a week, and now I’m trying to clean up from all the festivities. It’s been a BUSY start to the summer, and it’s hot as can be down here, but beautiful as ever.

@thelowcountrymama Instagram

ONE

On top of all that, baby girl was super fussy from the moment she woke up on Wednesday. I didn’t understand what was wrong and as we were getting ready to go to the beach I noticed she was warm, so I took her temperature.. 100.7. She never had a fever before, but I wasn’t freaking out because I know fevers are the body’s way of healing itself. Anyway, we scratched the beach plan and I monitored her the rest of the day.. the highest it got was 102 and by Thursday morning it was back to normal. I suspected it was teething and I was right, because Thursday afternoon she started freeeeeaking out and I finally saw a tooth poking through next to her bottom four. So far, these teeth coming in have been the hardest!

TWO

We went to see that house I talked about a few weeks ago, but I’m unsure about what’s going to happen. You see, apparently finding insurance on a home that was built before the Civil War is kind of hard LOL. There are a lot of updates that need to be made, and not fun stuff- things like electrical, lead paint issues, e.t.c. I don’t like new homes (no offense, I like looking at my friends’ new houses and think they’re nice- but they’re just not for me) and I’ve always wanted to restore a legit plantation house.. but I’m a little discouraged at this point, especially considering we’d already be spreading ourselves REALLY thin moneywise. Oh, and it doesn’t have closets in the bedrooms haha! So, we’ll see what happens. I might just keep my eye out for other historic homes in the area, we might buy this one if the price is right, we might add on to our home now OR if we find the absolute perfect lot somewhere I might be open to building a completely custom plantation look-alike home from scratch- but like I said, I don’t like new homes, so I would want to utilize historic windows, doors, e.t.c. and manage to just make the bones and the floorplan new, if that makes sense. I really want a ton of acreage so we can homestead. This is hard. Zillow rules my life.

THREE

The Lowcountry Mama

Time for the announcement.. Macy and I are starting a new linkup!! On the first Tuesday of each month, stop by for our Monthly Recap linkup and let us know what you’ve been up to. Sometimes my weeks just aren’t very interesting or I have other topics that I want to post about, so monthly recaps work well for me, especially when I’m feeling reminiscent and want to look back at what I was doing at a certain point in time. It’s nice to have a more concise series of posts that I can go through for my own memories, and to update yall on my happenings. It’s also the perfect opportunity for photo dumps, favorite post roundups, and goal progress reports. It starts on July 5th- we’d love for you to join!!

Linking up with Amanda; Katie, Tif, Della, Caitlin; Karli and Amy; Liz, Christina, Natasha, and Darci; Andrea, Erika, and Narci

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First Birthday Party: Garden Theme!

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

Well I did it! I accomplished throwing my daughter’s first birthday party. It was harder than I thought.. a lot of work goes into these things. We had so much fun though and I think I captured the Garden Tea Party theme pretty well, without spending a wedding budget on the thing, which surely these Pinterest parties have got to do (right?!).

The Invitations

You may have seen this when I posted it before, but I designed these and sent them out about a month ago. I love them.

First Birthday Party Garden Invitation Design | The Lowcountry Mama

The Decor

I decorated with some simple tissue paper flowers that I hung on the fence near the deck, and also some tissue paper pom poms that I hung on the big tree. I made a #1 out of cardboard and painted it with white paint, then sprinkled it with gold glitter. Other decorations included flowers in mason jars throughout, balloons everywhere and I used my repurposed frame to display each of her monthly pictures since birth.

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

The Menu

My dad was the main cook and made burgers and hotdogs on the grill. He also made a cucumber tomato salad, and my mother in law brought potato salad and macaroni salad. I made some pineapple salsa with chips, and a fruit salad and vegetable platter for appetizers. For drinks we served up waters, sodas, lots of beer, wine and I also made homemade bourbon & lemonade that I displayed in a cute glass pitcher. The lemonade was homemade, not the bourbon, HA. We now have leftover alcohol that will last like 30 years, because apparently parent friends don’t drink as much as our single friends. Well actually, we have two friends coming in from Atlanta tonight, they’ll probably kill the last 100 beers hahah.

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

We got lucky and had no rain at all, but it was hooooottt and there were mosquitoes and what not, so most of the food was put out in the kitchen instead of on the tables outside.

I baked a cake that I shaped like the #1 and decorated it with homemade whipped buttercream icing. I’m really happy with how that turned out. I also cut watermelon into flower shapes and displayed it in a flowerpot.

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

On my baby’s real birthday, I made a watermelon smash cake with coconut cream icing (she may be allergic to dairy, and I’m trying to hold off sugar for as long as possible, so no cake for her lol). This pic was the trial run, before I had the right piping tip to make proper roses like on the cake above.

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

Recipes coming for some of these things soon.

The Activities

We only had babies around the same age as far as kiddos go.. so I set up a baby pool and a little play area outside. I also successfully made the swing I’ve been talking about and that was a huge hit (that was also my gift to my daughter for her bday from me!). Pics coming of that soon. I am totally going to get in this pool some days.

First Birthday Garden Party Theme | Birthday Ideas | The Lowcountry Mama

We had an amazing time! It was hard work.. like really hard work. It took a ton of planning and Michael literally spent 349693 years cleaning up the backyard, but it was worth it for our baby girl. I still haven’t cleaned up the house it’s like a legit tornado in here. I hope everyone who came had fun and thank you for making it so special =)

A HUGE thank you to my parents for everything you did! They don’t even read my blog, but ya know, just in case they ever do.

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My First Year as Mama

My First Year as Mama | The Lowcountry Mama

My baby girl turned a year old this past week. A whole entire year old. I’ve been pretty nostalgic lately with my first Mother’s Day, and then thinking back to a year ago being “overdue“, and now that her birthday has come and gone I feel that way even more. It’s just been such an amazing, perfect year. I can’t believe it’s been that long, and I also can’t believe it’s been that short of a time that we’ve been parents.

Mama is the best role I’ve ever been blessed with. My favorite title, my number one priority.

Those first few months were something else. Between postpartum hormones (encapsulate that placenta yall), learning how to take care of a baby, and visitors pretty much every day it’s hard to keep track of things. We always joke that when you’re a couple, no one cares about you and you can go off the radar for weeks at a time. Once there’s a baby involved, it’s seriously overwhelming how many people want to talk to you, see pictures, visit, keep in touch. That’s something I’d probably “warn” all parents about.. prepare to talk to people you haven’t seen in YEARS haha. I love it though.. I missed family a lot and felt bad that I moved so far away, but after baby girl was born we’ve had a lot more opportunities to see extended family and friends.

There’s nothing like having a newborn of course, but honestly each month has just become more and more fun. I’m not one to enjoy being clueless about things.. so being a first time parent was kind of weird to me, especially when you’re constantly surrounded by visitors and you feel like you’re being watched. I’m excited for the next time when I will know everything (to a point ha) and when people give me “advice” I can finally voice my opinions without being told “yea you’ll see….” I’m referring to a lot of things here, but mostly natural birth, exclusive breastfeeding, cloth diapers and all my other crunchy tendencies. I was told I’d get tired of nursing after a few months, I’d give in to pain meds during labor, I’d want her out of my bed at night. Everyone was wrong, and with the next baby at least I can be like stop I got this.

Speaking of next baby, I’d love to be pregnant again. We all know I want like 15 kids, but I am still nursing a lot especially at night, and I have no plans to stop until she self weans. I love it, it’s easy, and of course there’s the health benefits, so I won’t wean just to bring back fertility. I feel like that’s selfish since I’m still young and shouldn’t be in a rush. I mean, maybe if we get to five years or something and I’m still not pregnant I’ll re-evaluate 😉 haha but for now that’s my story. I also want to enjoy having my little girl be my one and only for the time being.. this is a special time.

I’m excited to have a toddler.. I’m excited for her to talk and want to be like me and run around with Lacey in the backyard. I’m excited to homeschool and watch her learn and grow, take her places like the zoo and aquarium and watch her be excited. I’m even excited for the tantrums, to put my gentle parenting principles to the test.

So of course, the first year has past, and while that’s sad, it’s also really happy. There is SO much to look forward to! I really think I did a great job of enjoying every moment of her first year- that’s the #1 thing people tell you when you’re pregnant, “enjoy it, it goes so fast.” I constantly kept that in mind, and while I know I’ll reminisce and be nostalgic at times, I hope that I feel this way forever- feel that I enjoyed every moment of my first baby’s first year to the fullest.

I love you so much baby girl.

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