Sunday, October 30, 2011

Pumpkin Cake Pops

Cake pops..
and they are soooo cute.
But I (the dessert loving queen) have NOT tried to eat or make them :( :(
so therefore
I attempt the impossible...Impossibly delicious that is...

So I got this wild cake pop idea, but couldn't find any cute but actually doable (as in on my skill level) cake pops so I kinda winged it so.. here ya go!

Step 1:
      Prepare a basic cake recipe, any flavor. I baked mine in a 9 by 13 dish, but it DOESN'T matter how you make it because ultimately you're destroying it (which is kinda fun).

No.. I did not take a huge bite out of this cake... YES.. I wanted too.....

Step 2:
      Let it cool and DESTROY IT!! YAY!! Ok.. so carefully destroy it and I didn't let mine cool completely.
To carefully destroy it take two big chunks and rub it together, you are trying to get "fine crumbs", whatever that means...

Fine crumbs?? I tore the pieces apart with two forks.....

Step 3:

Add frosting, but gently working it in with forks. Almost EVERY recipe calls for canned frosting!! WOOOHOO! Easy street! Most people say use ONLY 3/4 a can of frosting, however I used almost a whole can in mine, maybe the cake was a little dry?

Basically you want it to be able to hold form in a ball (not swished into a ball-tried that) not fall apart and not too mushy. I thought at this point I was a total failure..
Cake balls were one up on me....
But I made the balls anyways and stuck them in the freezer to wait. You should let them sit in the freezer for a LEAST an hour (you dont want them rock hard) you want them firm!!!!

Step 4:

Melt your candy melts... This CAN be tricky, I've found heating them on defrost (50% power), and stirring every 30 seconds at LEAST is best. DO not walk away from candy melts.. big big BIG mistake... Stir in a little vegetable oil to help the melts if they are thick (I add this almost EVERY time!).. So my little dance goes like this: stir, start microwave, stir, start microwave, stir....

Step 5:


Here it comes.. the moment of greatness... Will the pops fail? Or will you go on to pop victory?? This is a GREAT tip I picked up:
---------Dip the pop-stick into the candy melts a little bit THEN stick it into the VERY firm cake balls, this helps the pop stay together!!MUST DO!! See the undipped pops above?? This is kinda what they look like after.
Step 6:
Do the dip and roll...
This is my method, lay the pop on one side and roll so that the melts cover the pop, you may have to roll a couple times to make sure the pop is completely covered.. Then wait....

Basically you're done!! Do a little cake pop dance!!! You can decorate now like I did to make "pumpkin pops" and of course.. EAT!!!!!!! Btw.. the were DELICIOUS.. and now I'm dangerous because I know how to make them and how very delicious they are.. sigh...



Brainy Cakes

These fun cupcakes are super-duper easy and turn into grossly delicious little cupcake, a friend is bringing brain-dip so I thought this would fit the theme nicely....

This is what you need:
    Cake Mix
    Stuff for the cake mix (oil, water, eggs- whatever)
    1 can white frosting (you can do it from scratch if you get crazy enough)
    No. 10 (I used 7, it worked fine) frosting tip & bag
    Frosting coloring

1. Pick the cake mix of your choice (I chose a basic chocolate)

2. Prepare as directed (see I TOLD you it was easy)

       HERE'S The trick for PERFECT cakes- when you make your cupcakes
                1. Fill cupcake wrappers 3/4 full
                2. Preheat oven to 350 THEN right before you put the cakes in DECREASE the oven to 325 and bake for 25 minutes.. PERFECT!

3. Let the cupcakes cool and......

4. FROST! I colored the frosting will a little black and a touch of pink, my hubby and I had a very interesting converstaion about the color of brain matter (like we would know) and we decided that this color was perfect. Use your tip and basically swirl back and forth, think making a bunch of U's connected.

---- Tip: the recipe I followed here (click click click) said to frost it first, and it would have probably been a good idea since you could see the brown underneath, but either way I think they're pretty cool!

Now.. go eat your smart food!!!

Brainy Momma

2011 Halloween Bake-stravaganza

I love to bake..
It's like good therapy to me, the smells, decorating, and finished product.. ahh..
So heres my "bakers anymous" declaration
Hi, my name is Michelle and I like to bake....

Any type of holiday deserves a good bake-stravaganza and Halloween definately qualifies, so in honor of the upcoming festivities I chose to make:

Cake Pops (my first time! eek!)
Spooky Spider Cookies

So hold on my friends and let the bake-stravaganza begin!!!!!!!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Vi Peel: Days.......

Well my friends, I'm back.....

Haven't heard from me for a dew days because well HOW many times do you want to hear me say
I'm peeling
I'm peeling
I'm peeling....
Because well.. that's all I've been doing.. peeling.. and avoiding the sun like a vampire on  a Twilight movie which BY THE WAY is hard to do in sunny SoCal...

So after the peeling (and peeling and peeling) here's the verdict:

My skin DOES look better, the melasma around my lip is much much better and my skin feels smoother and softer.

When I asked my hubby if my skin looks better he said "it looks like your tan peeled off".. sigh.. and lol.. Yes my skin is considerably lighter so if you have a super tan body and get the Vi be aware your skin on your peel area will be lighter- they are peeling off layers of skin right??

So here's the summary and to answer some of the most common FAQ's I've been getting:

1. Does it work? YES! However, its not the cure all, one time fix, I'm going to need multiple treatments which I was aware of (you can't cure years of damage in a week... sigh...)

2. Would it do it again? YES! See above, I would like to fix the damage...

3. Does it hurt? YES! Ok, so I'm the girl who gets cavities filled without painkillers but this thing burnnnnnnnnnnnedddddd! Not when it was applied, but the first two nights when I put the post procedure wipes on it burnedddddddddddddddddd! I did the "owie" dance in my bathroom, which would have been hilarious if there would have been anyone to see it, which there wasn't, so it just verged on ridiculous.

4. Should I do it? Yes! Why not? I haven't had any other peels but I hear the treatments are very painful and don;t always show good results.

1. Don't get your eyelids done, hindsight is 20/20 and one of the most painful aspects were my peeling eyelids.. ouch..blink.. ouch.. blink... Seriously I don't care if my eyelids are sun damaged- who REALLY is gonna see that? If you don't care either just ask them not to do your eyelids..

2. Stock Advil, it helps, take if to reduce swelling and also shorten the time of your "owie" dance

3. Get cuticle scissors for the peeling, and peeling and peeling.

4. Prepare to not leave the house for day 3,4,5.... You can leave the house (and ifs its conveniently around Halloween it makes a great costume) but its not pretty, and I found myself apologizing for it alot...

5. Put the moisturizer on, I tried it one night without to avoid the burning when I apply it, and my face was soooo tight.. ugg.. put it on....

Well that's all folks I hear my LO calling for Momma..

Finally done peelin' Momma...

P.S. Doubt it peels like crazy?

Monday, October 24, 2011

Vi Peel: Day 3

Let the peeling begin!

Well folks they DID say it would start peeling about 48 hours after the peel was applied so I can't say I was surprised when I woke this morning to the human version of a lizard losing it skin.

But I'm jumping ahead of myself you want to hear about last night and the second post peel wipe right?? Well if you were hoping for a second rendition of the ants and itching powder you will be disappointed, after rinsing my face and applying the second wipe it stung a little but no itching!!YAY!

Now I have just confirmed  that the first night was definitely my fault for not rinsing well... sigh....

Today was pretty uneventful except for me leaving small pieces of my face wherever I went (grosssssss) My LO even said "Mommy face is yucky!!".... Sigh... 

Very little pain, more the discomfort from knowing that your face is pretty gross, I applied the moisturizer a few times today and it stung a little but really, overall, this whole process hasn't been too bad (if you ignore the ants of course).

This is my picture, but you really cant see the peeling much (I just trimmed my face.. I cannot believe I just said that) but its pretty shiny from moisturizer and peeling. My friends said they can notice a difference already.. Basically it feels like a sunburn that's now peeling.. and on to day 4

Peelin' Momma

P.S. Tip: get a cuticle trimmer, you will need it for your face

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Del Mar Harvest Festival

Del Mar Harvest Festival

My LO was distracted by the 10 foot Cowboy

So amidst all this Vi Peeling I decided to visit the Del Mar Harvest Festival (thanks to the SDMomfia for the free tickets), I was able to take a few pictures after I picked up my "official" badge that proclaimed that I was a blogger  #Proud. Here's a brief recap of the day:

Our FIRST stop was Greyhounds 2 Go :( Sadly I didn't get any pictures with these great doggies, my LO had to pet each and every one of these gentle souls and they were just lovers... So tempted to take one home with me, when I explained that we didn't have a big yard they told me that one 20 minute walk is all that these retired race dogs need each day (hmm... could I hide it from my husband??) .. soo soo tempting! Completely sweet natured dogs- show their cause some love, they're San Diego local too!

Our second stop was Anthem's "Bring Back Recess"
They had all these little stations set up where you could do different "recess" activities, my personal favorite was sticking the pretend food in the giant wooden man belly (see the propped up man in the background). There were tons of kids jumping rope, playing 4square and dancing to music, we of course had to join! When you entered they gave you this little stamp card and for each area you completed you got a stamp, when you were done you turned the card in and they donated $1 the Boy and Girls Club :). We got our $1 donated, although the LO had a few issues with the hula hooping and jump rope (she got her Mommies skills... and she's 2).

Thanks for the fun times! It was great to see all those kids exercising and parents having fun too!

Right outside Blue Shield we ran into Mama's Kitchen, this fun young man was sporting his "I'm a Mama's Boy" sticker which I of COURSE loved!!


Love Mama's Kitchen.

GREAT volunteer-driven nonprofit organization that provides meals to those affected by AIDS and other critical illnesses. They are selling holiday pies, DELICIOUS looking, temptingly affordable, and delivered to your local Wells Fargo pies. For $20 you can get an apple, pumpkin, pecan or no-sugar-added apple pie PLUS when you buy the pie you provide 6 meals to those in need... Those calories never tasted so good!!!

Seriously folks, this Thanksgiving cut your cooking time, order your pies and give some very deserving people something to be thankful for.. YOU!
P.S. Did I mention EVERY time you buy a pie you get entered to win a 64GB Ipad 2?? oh yea.. thats sweet too..

They're on facebook too

Next up I hit "dip alley" and probably gained 20 lbs, soooooo sooo many delicious dips and fondues and spreads and dips and and and... well you get the idea! It was a taste testers dream!! I couldn't leave without tasting a couple (10+) and of course buying some nuts.

This is his smile.

This booth caught my eye- ALL their nuts are grown in California (see California IS full of nuts! LOL), Chico California to be exact. I really dug thier home grown small business feel and had to get some to take back to the fam in the midwest- my Dad is nut fantatic and their Sizzlin BBQ or Wasabi infused almonds may just tempt his tastebuds.

This place is HARD to track down on the internet, they really are a little family owned ranch and I just LOVE LOVE that, reminds me of the good ole days on my Grandpa's ranch in the midwest, visit their nut farm here 

10 foot Cowboy's biggest little fan

And on to my LO's favorite attraction, the cowboy on stilts. I have NO idea what attracted her to him, have NO idea... I would think this would terrify my munchkin.. as in RUN AWAY giant man in chaps and spurs.... but no, she followed him around until after 1 balloon butterfly and 1 balloon bear later, I had to tear her away (he also made balloon animals??!! seriously can you come to my next party?). The entertainment was fantastic, live (very appropriate) music, jugglers and well.. just a really good feeling.

I should mention the crafts, since they were the main attraction right? HUGE HUGE selection, I think their boast of 24,000 is ... conservative... It was overwhelming, you need a day or possibly multiple days to see it all.

Pros: great craft selection, fun and FREE entertainment, delicious samples, paying for 1 day gets you in for all 3!, great family atmosphere

Cons: paying for parking :(

Would I go again next year?? YOU BETTER BELIEVE IT! Next time I'll bring my girlfriends but definitely not leave the LO at home- she LOVED it.

Harvest Fest Lovin Momma...

P.S. I received NOTHING free for this, I'm recommending these businesses/locations and this event because I liked them.. that's it... nothing more ..

Vi Peel: Day 2

Vi Peel: Day 2

2:34 am

This is not when I posted this blog entry, this IS when I woke up because my face was itchy.. To say itchy may be a slight understatement, to say that it felt like a million ants rolled in itching powder were dancing on my face would be a better statement... No exaggeration...

Thankfully I slept with my Vi moisturizing cream next to me (I had an idea it may happen as I had a similar itching episode before I went to bed), and after a liberal application I felt pretty good and went back to sleep.. ahh...

According to the directions (and from what Ive seen) this is NOT normal and I think relates to the fact that I didn't rinse my face before applying the Day 1 face wipe. Also I SCRUBBED VIGOROUSLY all over my face with the wipe, me thinks I should have gently wiped- the directions said you may want to rub vigorously areas that need more attention and well, since that's my whole face.. there ya go..

P.S. HORRIBLE picture alert

Overall I am pleased, itching episode and all- already I can tell a difference in the discoloration and skin issues - its awesome.. EVEN with the itching episode (once again I attribute to my exuberance) I'm really excited to see what the next few days bring.

Today my face felt a little tight (not bad) and a little swollen, but not much redness at all- think what you would feel after a sunburn.

Tonight I do the second wipe and hope that the itchy episode does not repeat itself.

TIP: Get hydrocortizone 1% cream, they say this can help with the itching as well (and the moisturizing cream has some in it)

About to peel

P.S. They say in the directions that your face will "slough" off.... this is NOT a comforting word LOL! Had a good laugh (nervous) at that one...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Vi Peel: Day 1

Day 1: Application

Today I had the Vi Peel applied at Oasis MD at approximate 12:30pm, my experience may be a little different because it was done in public, but I believe basically the process is the same no matter what.

First the disclaimer signature (my new blogging friend from The Rehahn Family should laugh at this) which I only read AFTER I signed it.. oops! LOL

First they prepped my skin with acetone (I'm pretty sure this removes paint as well? LOL), then applied some different solutions. There was a little bit of stinging, reminiscent of  those crazy Noxzema pads from the high school days. The smell was very.. pungent (Phenol, if that tells you anything? I didn't know until I REALLY did).

Post application they briefed me on the follow up procedures which was basically Vitamin C/Retina wipe before I went to bed.

Immediately after I really didn't feel any pain, a little tightness and some tingling and

 basically for the rest of the day no noticeable side effects.

I JUST put the wipe on and well.. the tingling is definitely there now! They said use an ice pack and ibuprofen so I will take them up on that, maybe I shouldn't have rubbed it on so "vigorously" lol!

The exciting thing is I actually have noticed a little big of a change already in the melasma in my skin!! Its incredible!!

Well this ibuprofen should kick in any time and Im headin to bed.. On to tomorrow!!

Tingeling face Momma

Oasis MD: Vi Peel

Announcing a Winner!

Well Ladies and Gents I did it..
I got the Vi Peel... ahhh!! Not a, AHH! Im scared AHH! More like, I can't believe I did this I really hope half my face doesn't peel off and the feeling comes back in my lips kinda AHH! but Im jumping ahead of myself....

Today Oasis MD had an open house featuring (da-da-daaaaaaah) The Vi Peel!!!!

When I first walked in I thought hmmm... All these gorgeous people with perfect skin? What's going on? Then I realized a lot of them were returning patients??! That's a good sign! I quickly found some nice ladies who I totally bonded with over our skin issues one had just demoed the Vi Peel and she looked great. They were fantastic ladies, two retired teachers who once again convinced me our educators are the best (I wonder if they will read this blog?? hmm...) 

I also met up with a fellow blogger from The Rehan Family  and we shared a lot of laughs, and pictures... We have her to thank for the pics of me getting the Vi Peel (and the fanning.. that was nice)

I'll detail my experience more- but here's the basics..

My new blogging friend demoing the Skin analyzer

They raffled off FREE Vi peels every hour (and at the end started giving them away to almost everyone who was willing to do the demo there- ummm.. amazing...)

This is what you need to know about Oasis MD
1. They are a Plastic Surgery and Medical Spa in Encinitas (you can get basically a new anything there)

2. They are AWESOME and love to do promos on their facebook page- they just gave EVERYONE a free $50 gift card just for liking their page (like it by clicking here)

3. They are a small family owned operation, which means they recogize you and you won't get lost in the masses LOVE small businesses...

This is what you need to know about the Vi Peel
1.Its the ONLY peel I've ever heard of that works with melasma (you know that horrible pregnancy induced coloring that is not at all flattering and WON'T go away)

2. It doesn't hurt. REALLY! It didnt' hurt, in fact I kinda enjoyed the pampering, especially the part where the wonderful woman fanned my face... ahhh.

(insert pic here)

3. It DOES stink.. Well, you really can't get around that right? I mean they are using some major stuff on your face, chances are its gonna have a smell, thankfully they were so kind as to fan my face and eventually the smell will go away..

4. No immediate side effects, my face wasn't red, tight, painful.. anything.. I walked out pretty confident! Note, they were sure to warn me that in 48 hours exactly it would begin peeling.. LOL!! woohoo!!

5. Its good for all skin types, races, problems, removes sun damage, discolorations, and it removes precancerous cells (not sure what THAT means, but hey- it sounded good to me!)

SOOOO... Follow me my friends, for the NEXT WEEK I will be detailing my journey with the Vi Peel and how it feels, looks, and of course my favorite before & after photos!! :)
Blogger pose with Oasis MD friend!

Peelin Face Momma

P.S. I DID receive a free Vi Peel, but so did the majority of the people there, so here's my disclaimer- I'm NOT getting paid or getting ANYTHING free from anyone for posting this. I'm doing this because well... I want too, and if I can help someone else out with horrible skin like me-  I will!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Free Vi Peels + Champagne = my kind of day!

Hello Everyone!

What are you doing THIS Saturday?

What?? No plans? from 10:00am-2:00pm

What? You have a babysitter?

What? You would LOVE a little relaxation plus FREE Computer skin analysis and a chance to win a FREE Vi Peel??

Then join ME!! Saturday at 10:00am at the Oasis MD Medical Spa and prepare for some fun....

Why you say?? Well here's some great reasons:

1. Yours truly will be receiving a Vi Peel LIVE at the event (eeeek) and then following up the next week EVERY day displaying some great photos.. did I say great?? I probably meant gross.. but AWESOME "after" photos... I cannot wait

2. You have a chance EVERY hour to win 1 of 4 Vi Peels!! They are raffling off 4 EVERY HOUR!! That's incredible odds my friends..

3.Free treats and champagne...mmmm! I'm TRYING to diet, but I can treat myself Saturday right??

4. You will get to meet THE creator of the Vi Peel!!??!! Awesome! If you ever had any questions now is the time!!Ive been dying to get this peel for MONTHS- its the only one that works with Melasma (also known as the pregnancy mask, i.e the little discoloration you get on your face when you are pregnant.. thats me) and now I can talk to the person who created it! When was the last time you talked to THE person who created manicures?? lol.. ok so maybe not the best comparison but still awesome...

So prepare for fun times friends, and of course.. some pretty awesome photos (Halloween lovers eat your hearts out- I hear your face peels for about 5

About to get peelin' Momma

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Free Vi Peel- Oct 22

October 22

FREE Vi Peel at Oasis MD in Encinitas

Enjoy some brunch bites and complimentary champagne, plus everyone takes home goodie bags!
They will be giving away 4 peels EVERY hour- plus the creator of the Vi Peel will be there to chat and answer questions.
Ive actually been interested in getting the Vi anyways since its the only peel that actually works with melasma and pre-cancerous cells (melasma i.e. pregnancy mask) with no pain. Join me!

Call 760 635 7800 SPACE LIMITED

$10 FREE from Plum District (today only)

Use coupon code 10today for a FREE $10 off a $10 purchase!!

TODAY only so act fast. I used mine on the Citrus Lane deal (the resuable sandwich bag deal sold out- boo!) $30 -after the $10 off gets you 3 months of baby friendly gifts!!

Think- the baby shower gift that keeps on giving, and with ALL my friends getting pregnant this is probably wise..

Each month they send a gift package based on the age (0-18 months) valued at $50, so basically Im getting $150 off quality baby gifts for only $30.. not too shabby.. I checked out some of the boxes and its quality stuff.. SOLD..

You choose- hopefully there's a cheap deal in your area or for that perfect baby gift that keeps on giving click here:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy Birthday 2! Bug-tastic

Well, we did it.. We survived another year of parenthood.. well actually SHE survived another year of our parenting and of course we had to celebrate!!
Here's our little touches that made our birthday BUG-Tastic....

1. The Theme: WHAT do you do for a theme? possibilities are endless, I decided after MUCH debate, well.. basically me debating with myself.. to do bugs. It's kinda generic (so easy to find fun treats that match), gender neutral so (boys can have fun too), and well.. super cheesy.. In short .. PERFECT

2. The Cuppy-Cakes: Once again we decided to go with Stater Bros, they beat out all the competitions prices by $50 at least?!!! WHAT?? When you're planning a party for 100 of your closest friends money matters friends, money matters.. So I got the ladies at Stater Bros to make grass-ish icing on the top and slapped on some MEGA cute bug gummies from Oriental Trading- the were delicious and cute (note: you could EASILY make these by hand I just didn't have the time to whip up 106 cupcakes)

Also got some boxes from Fed-Ex FREE (thanks Julie!! <3) and wrapped them in cute paper, VOILA! Instant, cheap, FAST, cupcake tower.

3. Food: We went light due the crowd size, Veggie Straws from Costco, M&Ms (birthday girl's fave), MORE gummy bugs and the cutes little pretzel buggies you've ever seen!

 The bug pretzels were one of my bestie Kara's ideas (I have AWESOME friends), basically you dip your pretzels in colored candy melts, wait to dry, dip the heads in black melts (dark chocolate would probably work- I ordered black), QUICKLY place on your candy eyes then decorate as you wish! We made bumblebees (bum-bum bees according to the bday girl), green bugs, lady bugs and blue bugs. Candy eyes and colored melts were surprisingly cheap I ordered them from the Country Kitchen- they also provided the inspiration. CLICK HERE

4. Games/Location: We chose a park, THANKFULLY Cali has the best weather and parks are plenty! PLUS since our party was later (3:00) we didn't have to reserve it so it was FREE!!
We chose Discovery Lake park, which came complete with small sand playground, splash area, lake with walking trail and lots of SHADE!

Since our kiddos were mixed ages but for the most part pretty young we did game "stations" so the kids could play at their leisure. All with appropriately "buggy" names and signs we created from posterboard and dowels from Michaels.

There were Bubble Bugs (a bubble station), Water Bugs (for the splash area), Buggy Ball (for a ladybug ball we put in the play area), Chalk Bugs (for sidewalk chalk drawing), Bug Hunt (Oriental Trading had bug shaped Easter eggs on clearance which we put a couple "bug eggs" aka M&Ms in) and Be a Bug (with wings and headbands for all) my PERSONAL favorite! Headbands courtesy Oriental Trading and wings from the Dollar Tree of all places!! SUPER CUTE!

5. Treats: No party is complete without a take-home treat for everyone so we found some cute bug boxes on Oriental Trading, decorated them with paint pens, and stuffed them with bug stickers, tattoos, rings, necklaces, bug eggs and magnifying glass.

6. Entertainment: The kids were enough entertainment of COURSE, but our big treat was having a special musical guest- Clint Perry and the Boo Hoo CREW! He came, he danced, he joked, he dressed up as a pirate and my daughter could NOT get enough.. For only $75 for a half hour it was a STEAL!

7. Decorations: God created a pretty beautiful outside- can't really improve on that right? But we definitely added a little touch or two! My wonderful friend Julie (here she is again- fantastic right?) made these beautiful tissue paper poms (it took HOURS-shes just awesome awesome) and hung them from the trees.. Can you see it in the right hand corner? AWESOME! They really set the mood, and then the beautiful banner made by my friend Nikki (reusable!) was just perfect..

8. Guests: I invited the best people in the world, all our friends and family (we only have a few local family but my Dad flew in) and almost all of them showed up... You can't ask for better friends and family.. Thank you all for coming and helping and just loving us!!!

TIPS (things I've picked up along the years)

1. Opt for a FREE location: this saves money you can use on bigger things- try back yards, community buildings, parks you name it!

2. Choose an "off" theme: We chose bugs and thankfully almost everything bug related was spring theme so was on 50-80% clearance. Shop for your theme in off season and you can get DEEP discounts- pick up your next birthday items now for next year and save some MAJOR $$$$.

3. Get 1 BIG Entertainment item: Wether its a bounce house, balloon artist, Elmo character (1st birthday) or LIVE music, its totally worth it and the right thing shouldn't cost more than $100. Can't afford a big ticket item? If your party is big enough talk a local band into coming for free to get their word out or you could even find sponsors (strange but not unheard of).

4. Go big or go home: Big parties are NOT for everyone, choose what fits your personality/budget and plan accordingly- no one cares. The birthday baby REALLY doesn't get it until they get older anyway.

5. Get Help: friends are awesome, get as many friends to help out as you can- their creativity and friendship can add so much richness to a party.

6. GOOGLE it: Pick a theme and search away, more than likely someone has done it before and had GREAT ideas, use them.

7. Shop around: Shop Party City as a LAST resort, check the Dollar Tree (or other dollar stores), Wal-Mart, Target, Amazon and especially Oriental Trading. Those colored plates you had to have you may be able to pick up for a $1 at the dollar store.

8. Splurge a little: Where it counts the extra little splurge is fun, like my little one's shirt is custom made to match the theme and with her name/age- courtesy ETSY. It was $20 which is a little rich for just little shirt but quality made and I LOVE it! We will wear it quite a few times, this matched with a custom Tutu from my friend Meagan's Tutulicious company.. too cute for words..

9. HAVE FUN! Things will go wrong, will break, get lost, not show up, or just plain stink- shake it off and realize no one (not even THAT Mom who compares her baby to yours EVERY time you see her) will realize the little things you missed and will just see the awesomeness which is birthday.