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First Birthday!!!

I am now the mother of a one year old. OH MY GOODNESS!!! When did that happen? How did we skip to one already?? So now it’s time for….FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY! I love hosting parties – a lot more than my wallet wishes I did! For me it’s not necessarily the size of the party – but the details. With first birthdays, it pretty much is the ONLY birthday that you as a parent are guaranteed to pick a theme that YOU like. By the time a child is 2, it’s pretty clear cut what they like and it’s pretty hard to not choose something along with their taste. First Birthdays to me are all about individuality and fun. Make it about your favourite book, your favourite activity, your favourite food – just make it about you as a family unit!

For Cheeks’ first birthday, we decided to go with something that was not only unique but loads of fun! Both my husband and I LOVE comics (him a little more than me, but I NEVER miss a DC or Marvel movie) so we thought the best theme for our little Cheeks would be ONE-der Woman (Wonder Woman). The perfect way to celebrate a ONE-derful little girl ;).

If you don’t know about Etsy, you will after this blog. I think next to Pinterest, Etsy is my online obsession! I found so many amazing products that helped me to personalize Cheeks’ special day. I ordered a gorgeous personalized invitation from my personal friend Alyson of SimpAlyPapers who created a beautiful custom invitation for me (she also did my baby shower invites – she’s soo good!). I also ordered a customized first birthday guest book created by MonthsofMay (again, I’m a repeat customer of hers because she did a great job with my Christmas cards). I also ordered a fabulous commemorative birthday poster from ChalkyPrints, and all of the party labels were from QTpartydesigns. Rod at Executive Services (https://www.facebook.com/caymanexecutive) helped me with getting everything printed – local, great quality service – what more could you ask for? My Etsy orders really helped to tie in the theme that I was going for!

Alyssa bday 1
Alyssa bday 2water bottle wraps
crayons

So you remember my infatuation with tutus a while back? Yeah, I still have it! I had do a cutesy tutu for my little heroine. Unfortunately she wasn’t too pleased with the crown or arm bands so we opted for a simple headband which she still ripped off after a few minutes!

Alyssa bday 7

The superhero guests came in their regalia, and it was a sight to behold for sure! The kids had a blast playing with balloons (who would have thought??? Get as many balloons as you can – they are a hot commodity amongst the kiddies it seems). Guests enjoyed finger foods, drinks and of course, no birthday is complete without the CAKE! A One-der Woman themed cake and smash cake from CAYKE provided a sweet finish to the day.

Alyssa bday 5
Alyssa bday 6

Babies received goodie boxes of superhero themed rubber duckies with super hero food (raisins). The older kids received bags of customized crayons, super hero wrist bands and other fun goodies.

Alyssa bday 4
Alyssa bday 3

While doing a non-traditional theme is a lot of fun, it is also a lot of work. So if DIY favor tags and water bottle labels that have to be printed and cut out by hand aren’t your cup of tea, by all means hit up the party stores where everything is good to go (which is what I will probably do next year because it surely was a LOT of work). Remember – first birthdays aren’t a competition – it’s a reflection of who you are as a family! Have fun rocking out with your little ONE ūüėČ

Until next time,

Cayman Mummy

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The First Noel (A Baby’s First Christmas and Christmases to Come!)

Why am I writing about baby’s first Christmas in February? Firstly, it’s because I’m woefully behind on all of the great blogs I had in mind for you! Secondly, I LOVE CHRISTMAS – it’s my favourite time of year (in fact, I’m going through Christmas withdrawal as I type this). Lastly, I am a firm believer of the adage of “better late than never” so, I proceed with writing this blog for any other Mummies and Daddies who want to plan for Christmases to come! December will be here before you know it right?

When it comes to baby’s first Christmas – there’s always a lot of pressure for new parents. You want it to be perfect, and you want to do it “just right”. Mummy has her traditions, Daddy has his traditions and you have to find a happy mix of the two to pass on to the next generation. There is also another pressure – to start NEW traditions – ways that your family will celebrate Christmas year to year. Some of these fun traditions may be things that honestly, baby couldn’t care less about (like baking Christmas cookies) – however, they are things that in the future will be something that your child will LOVE doing. If it’s important to you – it will end up being important to your child so have fun with choose traditions and make them a reflection of your family.

I did TONS of research on things to do for Baby’s First Christmas. I also tried to incorporate things that would be great traditions for years to come. There are so many traditions to choose from – making ornaments, choosing a fresh tree every year, baking cookies, reading Christmas stories, the “Elf on a Shelf” etc.

These are some of the ones that I chose to do for Cheeks’ First Christmas and plan to do for Christmases to come.

1. Yearly Ornament. I had a great time with doing a handprint ornament with Cheeks’ and a couple of her friends (okay really it was with Mummy’s friends who have daughters the same age as Cheeks but we are determined that they are going to be the next generation of friends in true Caymanian fashion!) We got glass ornaments, child safe glue and some glitter and went to town! It took us a few tries to get the handprints but a few smudgy handprints later, we all have an ornament to treasure. Each year I will try to find some cool way for us to make, decorate, or choose an ornament so that our tree can eventually be filled with ornaments of Christmas memories.

handprint ornament

2. Pictures with Santa. At least until it’s not important to Cheeks anymore. She did so great with her Santa pics (honestly, I was hoping for the tearful shot, but I’ll take the cute doll look any day!) and you can find some great places on island to get them done reasonably. Camana Bay is a favourite spot, but we lucked out and got ours through Creations at Little Darlings.

aly with santa

3. Christmas Pyjamas. They have such cute pyjamas year, after year – why not get a special set JUST for Christmas?? Save them year after year and you can pass them on to the next generation. Personally, I think it would make a cool Christmas quilt that you can then gift to your child when they are an adult.

4. Christmas Story. We read the original Christmas story, of Jesus’ birth and sang some Christmas Choruses as well. This was a tradition in my family and something that I really want to pass down to Cheeks. Jesus is the Reason for the Season, and while we love and enjoy EVERYTHING about Christmas, we always take the time to reflect on the best Christmas gift ever received.

5. Christmas Eve Box. A friend of mine clued me into this one. A box filled with your Christmas pyjamas, snacks, a Christmas book and a Christmas movie to enjoy on Christmas Eve. I didn’t go all out with Cheeks’ box this year – just pyjamas and a book. But when she’s older, there’s going to be a lot of fun attached to this one! What I like about this one as well is that it gives parents some down time from all of the Christmas Day preparations. You take a couple hours on Christmas Eve to SPEND TIME with your kids rather than running around trying to make Christmas Day happen. As your children get older the time spent will be treasured so much more than the physical gift that was received.

6. Gift Limit. Both my husband and I initially said we would do a single gift each for Cheeks…but then there were so many cute things to choose from that we couldn’t control ourselves. We limited it to the old Victorian tradition of “Something you want. Something you need. Something to wear. Something to read.” (Keeping in mind that for a baby/toddler – they don’t really “want” anything so it’s more of something that Mummy and Daddy WANT you to want!). It’s so hard to not get caught up in the commercialized version of Christmas, so keep in mind to keep a balance – so that your children will learn to love Christmas not only for the gifts but for the magic of the season as well!

6. One Gift on Christmas Eve. This is one that is from my husband’s childhood and Cheeks had a great time ripping the paper off that gift. Not to mention it was great practice for the big finale the next day!

christmas eve present

7. Christmas “Outfits”. Since Cheeks is still a baby, I think I can go a little “out there” with her little outfits (plus it’s her first Christmas – come on!). This year she had her Christmas church dress, her opening presents outfit and two Christmas outfits for the Christmas Day (babies aren’t known for being tidy). She won’t have 4 outfits for Christmas again next year, but a nice Christmas Dress and a Christmas-y outfit for family dinner will definitely be the norm for years to come.

Christmas outfits

8. Christmas Day Church Service. Taking the time on Christmas Day (away from the cooking and the cleaning) to go and share in the celebration of the Reason for the Season. Not all churches in Cayman hold services on Christmas Day but the Webster Memorial Church in Bodden Town does as well as a few others smaller churches on island.

9. Remaining Gifts on Christmas Day night. This one seems like torture, but believe it or not, it’s a tradition from my family. A traditional Christmas Day was you went to church, you changed into a Christmas-y casual outfit, you spent the entire day enjoying Christmas food and spending time with your family, opening your Christmas presents with the extended family and then we ended the night with fireworks. As a child, yes, it was torture to know you had presents you had to wait to open, but looking back it was a pretty cool tradition that I decided to carry over with Cheeks.

10. Christmas Lights. The tenth and final tradition. There can be no Cayman Christmas without going to look at the lights! Especially the ones by Mr. Rex Crighton’s house and Ms. Maxine and Maureen Bodden’s home. Cheeks had such a good time – her eyes were wide as saucers and she just took it all in and pointed to everything her little eyes could see. I want to see the magic of Christmas lights through her eyes every year.

mr rex's lights

Some of these traditions might appeal to you and others may not. The traditions around any holiday should be specific and unique to your family! Most importantly, use these traditions to make MEMORIES because that’s what makes the beauty of Christmas last in our hearts all year round!

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First Halloween!

Halloween is one of those holidays that you either love or you hate. While I’ve never been a HUGE lover of Halloween, I do enjoy a good dress up every now and then and I appreciate the opportunity for the kiddies to get all cute! This Halloween was Cheeks’ first Halloween and I challenged myself to get craftsy with this one and make her costume. Originally, I was planning to dress her as a cat – sounds simple enough right? Yeah not so much for a beginner crafter so that was scraped and I opted for something that was a little more acheivable but just as cute – a Little Pumpkin :).

I have been dying to get Cheeks into a tutu outfit since she was in the womb…what’s the point of having a baby girl if you don’t dress her up?! Tutu outfits aren’t exactly easy to come by here in Cayman and I’ve always been a bit intimidated by making a tutu, however, fortified with a multitude of pins from pinterest I pressed on…and was able to make a pretty decent looking tutu!

tutu

I figured I’ll pair this with an adorable “My First Halloween” onesie – and I’m done! She’s super cute – pumpkin-ish and will look great for photos. Except I didn’t factor in one thing…there weren’t any “My First Halloween” onesies on island! Sooo Plan B went into effect! I took one of Cheeks’ plain white onesies, some of the leftover tulle from my tutu making escapade and grabbed my glue gun!

doing the pumpkin

After some weaving, twisting and glueing I finally got the onesie completed and of course, a tutu outfit is not complete without an oversized bow or flower to complete it! I raided this adorable fall flower from my friend Sabrina’s stash (she owns and operates Sweet Pea Personalized Gifts – such adorable stuff!!!). And voila! We were ready for Halloween!

Completed outfit

Looking forward to the process again next year!

Until next time!

Cayman Mummy

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The Now Ever So Popular…Gender Reveal!

I’m seeing more and more people jump on the gender reveal trend and I have to say, I LOVE this idea. People are always excited to find out if you’re having a boy or a girl…and why not do it in a fun way?! When I was still pregnant, I didn’t see anyone on island doing gender reveals, but was reading about how this trend was picking up in other countries.¬† As a hobby baker, I decided I would make my very own gender reveal cake, and with lots of posts on facebook, I was hoping this was a trend that would pick up on island.¬† Needless to say, it has and I’ve now seen more parents-to-be opting for this cool trend!

Personally I love the concept of using a baked goodie – cake, cupcakes or even cookies to reveal your little one’s gender.¬† This is for obvious reasons – I LOVE to bake! Gender Reveal cakes are a fun way for the parents-to-be, extended family and friends to find out what gender the baby (or babies) are! Traditionally, the ultrasound results are delivered to the baker, who will bake a pink or blue cake and ice it in a very gender neutral way.¬† The only way to find out what gender baby is – is to slice the cake!¬† It’s a fun surprise for everyone involved.¬† I was a little unconventional because I was my own baker.¬† So when we did our gender reveal, my husband and I knew the results but we waited for a few days and announced the big reveal at a family gathering.¬†

It was so much fun to experience all of the Old Wives Tales, having people feel the baby bump, inspect the shape, ask about cravings and other pregnancy things to figure out if they could accurately guess what gender this baby is!

I LOVE Bee themed baby shower ideas and thought it would be fun to do a bee themed gender reveal cake.  This is the cake I made:

what-will-it-bee

And by now everyone knows the result of this reveal…as a slice inside of the cake revealed that Cheeks is a GIRL!

its-pink1

Everytime I find out that a friend or family member is expecting, I encourage them to do a gender reveal, if for no other reason than the amount of fun it is for all involved.¬† Baked goodies (as I mentioned before) is my favourite way to do a gender reveal but I’ve seen some really brilliant ideas out on blogs, websites and other social media.¬† These include:

  • Having pink or blue balloons placed in a box, and the parents-to-be open the box and whatever colour balloons fly out, you know what baby is.
  • Playing a “boy” vs. a “girl” song for family and friends to reveal baby’s gender.
  • Placing pink or blue confetti in balloons or a pinata – pop it open to see what baby is expected to be.
  • Parents-to-be are given a present, based on what is inside the present (pink vs. blue onesie, hair bow vs. bow tie etc.) they know if a boy or girl is on the way.
  • Painting party – pop open the can of paint to have a paint fight, and whatever colour the paint is, is the expected gender.
  • Putting a hair bow or a bow tie on the baby’s ultrasound picture and present it in a gender neutral envelope.

Those are just a few of the very cool, and in some cases, quirky gender reveals I’ve come across.¬† Pregnancy had lots of fun experiences for me…and the gender reveal was just the first of many celebrations¬†that we’ve had for and with our¬†daughter. Treasure each memory and moment! ¬†Until next time…

Cayman Mummy