My little family!

My little family!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Let's chat birthday parties!!!

It's no secret if given the chance to do anything, I'd be a wedding planner. Putting together our big wedding extravaganza in 2010 was a dream come true. I loved every second of our 18 month engagement and fell into a deep sadness post "I Do" because I loved the idea of putting together a huge party. Fast forward 5 months and finding out we were pregnant with Layla Jules -- and thus began my new favorite job -- planning children's parties!!! While I loved planning Layla's baby naming at our house a few weeks after she was born, the real fun began when the birthday parties began. Below is a list of all the places we have had birthday parties at... I recommend them ALL if you live in the Philadelphia area. If not? Message me - I'm sure we can whip up something together. Maybe one day I'll start an event planning business -- weddings & children's parties & everything in between ;) 

Layla's 1st birthday Party -- Castle Park <-- click for more info. 
We LOVED this party. I had thought long & heard and ultimately decided on renting a pavilion at Castle Park. I always laugh at this because I was hesitant to book at his far this was. We now live about 3 minutes from this park! It was a wonderful day. We were able to rent the pavilion and decorate it to our heart's content. We went with a Sesame Street theme - it was so much fun. The kids all loved playing in the huge playground and massive 3 story wooden castle. Very cool spot. The biggest issue was how much we had to carry to the pavilion -- it took about 10 adults to set everything up. It was hard work but so worth it!

Sign by my extremely talented friend Amy Fowler with JKreations2013 <-- click for info

My best friend Jaime Silverstein made Layla an adorable Cookie Monster cake!

Everyone that came to celebrate Layla's 1st birthday!!



Layla's 2nd birthday Party -- Romp N'Roll Willow Grove <-- Click for more info. 
When Layla was roughly 12 months old, we started classes here & loved them. It's a big (but not huge) indoor playground full of safe, easy and fun things for toddlers to do. She loved going so much that we ended up having her 2nd birthday there - Muppets theme!! It was great. Here is where I learned how much easier it is to have a birthday party at a place that does everything for you (welcomes guests, serves food, cleans up, puts gifts in car). It is worth every penny to have a few sweet girls run the show so you can sit back and enjoy the party!!

 
I have NO pictures from Layla's 2nd birthday that I can find :( BUT - look at my sweet girl! Thanks Portrait Innovations!

Benny's 1st birthday Party -- Music Class Party <--- Click for more info.  
When Layla turned 6 weeks, I started going to a weekly music class with the incredible Miss Sandy. We loved it SO very much. It was so nice for me to be out of the house, it was great for Layla even as an infant, and it was FUN! We continued going for years (Benny also started going around 2 weeks old!). We have stopped going but you better believe if I have a 3rd baby, music class will start again!! Because we loved it so much, I chatted with Miss Sandy and we put together a private music class! It called it a Mustache Bash - it was so much fun. It required a bit of set-up but overall was easy and fun!! I loved this party!


 
CHECK OUT THAT CAKE!!! I'm clearly Karolyn's Kakes obsessed! This is truly where my Kake obsession began! <-- click for more info!


SO much fun!!!


Layla's 3rd Birthday Party: -- Little Mermaid Movie Party!! <-- Click for more info!
I found out about the Hiway Theatre from my good friend Sari who made several birthday outfits for my babies (see here!) - she mentioned she was throwing a Frozen party for her daughter and told me all about this fabulous little movie theatre. We were able to bring in all of our own food (it was a Sunday morning so we brought in breakfast foods like bagels, yogurts & yummy pastries!). We had full access of an entire full sized theatre and each kid received popcorn, a drink and the freedom to run around like crazy babies! We served food and played for a while before showing The Little Mermaid! It was so much fun -- no need to be quiet because we were the only people there. I loved this party so much -- it was nice & cool for a hot June morning and I loved it. 

Another Karolyn's Kakes creation -- every bit is edible and seriously delicious. 

I loe this little family of mine. 

Happy 3 year old!!!

Overwhelmed by everyone she loves in one room!!!
Benny's 2nd birthday -- Sesame Street Little Pod Party!! <-- Click for more info!
Back to Sesame Street theme and on to an awesome little place. I was told about The Little Pod and later became FULL obsessed. It's a small venue filled with arcade games, bounce houses, a climbing tower & a FULL sized swing set - all indoors. Perfect for the winter months!! Benny's 2nd birthday fell on an ICY Sunday morning which resulted in more then half of our guests not showing :( Nonetheless, the party went on and it was so much fun!!! They did a great job once again taking care of ALL the details so I could celebrate with my little guy!! The theme choices were limited which is why we went with Sesame Street but they provided ALL the paper goods, food and more. Another Karolyn's Kake incredible creation and lots of fun!!

  
C"MON with this cake.. incredible, no? Karolyn is amazing.

Check out my big boy!! Shirt from Etsy!

Waiting for his guests.. this room was adorable.

BFF

Singing to my boyfriend. 

Layla's 4th Birthday Party -- My Little Pony at Bounce U! <--- Click for more Info!
Upon attending no less then 8 birthday parties here, Layla insisted she have her 4th birthday party at Bounce U. I LOVE THIS PLACE. It's made up of MASSIVE bounce houses (think Adult Style) in a huge warehouse. They do a fabulous job of keeping things safe, moving and fun!!! Layla loved this party because this was her first time really including all of her friends and cousins and people. She loved her other parties but this time she was obsessing over who to invite, who to include and what to decorate with. Bounce U provides everything and all we had to do was decorate a bit and bring another incredible Karolyn's Kake :)

Sign by Etsy, Cake by Karolyn's Kakes, FAMILY!

Turning 4!

I love this girl

Benny's 3rd Party -- Superhero Chuck E Cheese!! <-- Click for more info 

Our most recent party!! Benny insisted he wanted a "Batman, Superman, Spiderman" party -- we ultimately decided on Chuck-E-Cheese and I'm so glad we did! When we were kids in the 80s, Chuck E Cheese got a bad rap and began to decay. As it turns out, it's now INCREDIBLE!!! Clean, good food, fun, easy peezy!!! The kids all loved it as did we. We were able to pick a theme thanks them which included Superhero! They gave Benny a cape, glasses, and fun paper products! They dedicated several tables to us giving us tons and space and room. We had a great time there with the mouse!! 

ALL 3 of Benny's cakes... they are works of art!

Me and my boys!

My Aunt Elaine made me this fun collage!! 


...so that's that. ALL the birthday parties. I love them all, individually. You get ONE day a year to celebrate YOU - and I make it a point to let me kiddos know how much they are loved. The next party we are planning is Layla's 5th party (NOOOOOO!!) - she chose a Barbie Luau theme (no, seriously) and it will be a swim party at our house!! I'm a little worried about it not being warm enough (or raining..) so we decided to hire a Barbie to come!! She will play games, do make-overs and cut the cake with the kids!! Layla also decided she wants to have a girls only party... pretty sweet (and much easier). We are up to 22 girls and I know it'll be a blast. I've already started collecting decorations and decided on the menu. Call me crazy, but I LOVE a birthday party :) 

Let me know if you have any questions!
-Courtney



Thursday, January 14, 2016

What I'm doing....

Howdy!!

A little update on what I'm doing, nowadays. I love reading these types of posts on other blogs because it opens my eyes to new food, books, tv shows & movies!!!

What I'm watching....Literally, right now, I'm watching Making a Murderer on Netflix. It's a documentary made over 10 years about a murder (amongst other things) and it's MIND BLOWING. I'm numb watching it because it's just insane to me. I don't want to ruin it (plus I'm only on episode 5) but PLEASE tell me you are watching too. Then let's get together, drink coffee & discuss all things wrong with the judicial systems. (Also, American Crime, Pretty Little Liars & Gilmore Girls)

What I'm reading... 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It's JUST SO GOOD. I can't put it down. I'm about 100 pages in and already loving the characters. Ironically this is my first King book but won't be my last. I have 4 books stockpiled in my Audible account (do you listen to books on tape? I love it) but they are taking a back seat to all things JFK.

What I'm eating... I officially weighed in this morning after taking the past month off of eating healthy. It was sad and frustrating (I'm up 4.8 pounds) but tomorrow starts my 3rd 21 DAY FIX challenge (2nd as a coach) and I'm beyond excited to get back on board. Did you gain weight over the holidays?? Let me know and I'll help you get back on track!!! So.. I'll be eating a lot of fruits, veggies, lean meats and nuts the next 3 weeks. So this afternoon I'll be inhaling mocha iced coffee one last time.

What I'm wearing... give me ALL THE PLAID. It's basically my uniform this winter. I love it so very much. It's cute, comfortable and overall just fun! I remember wearing plaid back in middle school but this updated look is way more fun. We had our first snow 2 nights ago and already I'm dreaming of Spring weather (hahaha).

What I'm excited about... Benny's 3rd birthday (today!), Josh's parents visiting this weekend, Benny's birthday party on Sunday, my sister's 40th birthday in a couple of weeks, my best friend's 32nd birthday in a  couple of weeks and my favorite Floridian having her 2nd baby boy at the end of the month!!

What I'm planning... think ALL things travel related. We are heading down to Florida in April for our 6th anniversary so we're planning a mini-trip to Miami for a couple of nights. I'm looking for hotels, restaurants and fun things to do in Miami! In August, we'll be heading back to Florida and plan on doing another mini-getaway to Key West. I LOVE it there and haven't been since Laura's bachelorette party so it'll be a fun getaway! We'll head to Florida AGAIN for thanksgiving and once more at the end of the year... where I'm planning a BIG getaway to Mexico!! We are looking at Excellence Playa Mujeres - it's come highly recommended. It's the same 8 of us (family) plus this time we're inviting friends! Good stuff!

What I want to buy...Benny's big boy bed, dressers for both kids' rooms, a new dishwasher, an ottoman for my living room, an ottoman for my closet, and about a million other fun things.

What I'm listening to...lately, it's been a lot of Beatles goodness (I've even brought up the Across the Universe soundtrack). Also, Jewel. Also, Alanis.

That's about all, folks.
What are you up to?

Benny turns THREE!!!!
























Still cooking in my belly!
My first glimpse of you, sweet boy. 

I weigh HOW much?? 10 pounds, 1 ounce? WOAH BABY.

Meeting Layla for the first time....

CHUBBY!!!




Height - No idea but I'd guess well over 40 inches.
Weight - Around 38 pounds.
Hair - Dark Blond, Always needs a haircut.
Eyes - Big, brown, shiny!
Body - Tall, broad, losing your chub and BIG!

My little buddy...

HAPPIEST 3RD BIRTHDAY BOYFRIEND!!! I'm not quite sure you know or understand or care that you're turning 3 but we do!! You are so excited about your Shabbat birthday & your Batman party & all the exciting things that come along with a birthday (presents & cake!). 

Three years ago, we left your sister (19 months old at the time) sleeping while Dada & I drove to the hospital. I had been contracting for weeks prior (pretty intense) but you sat quietly kicking, waiting to make your entrance at 39 weeks. I laid on the table while the doctors took you out via caesarean section. They pulled you out and the nurses screamed WOW!! I remember begging them to tell me what was wrong and they happily exclaimed "He's perfect! He's HUGE!" - and you were. 10 pounds, 1 ounce - all perfection. I couldn't have loved you more then I did that very second. They laid you on my chest while they finished surgery and we were forever bonded to each other. 

And now we have hit a huge milestone - three years old!!! You are ALL boy - you love to run, jump, fight, dance, play, kick, lick and yell. BUT - you are also still such a little love. You always want to hold my hand. You always want to sit curled up in my lap. You love to snuggle and cuddle and always have a hand resting on my arm (even while eating, coloring or just sitting watching a movie). 

Your relationship with Layla is your most important one. You are each other's mirror. You have your own language that only you two understand. You play games, watch movies, wrestle and giggle all day, everyday. I can't imagine your days without each other and it's so much fun to watch. You are very protective over her and I hope you always will be. You often fight over toys, movies, attention and more but at the end of the day, you get back to playing or giggling together. I love watching the two of you together and I believe your relationship will grow over time.

Your relationship with your cousins & friends is so special. You LOVE your boy cousins (Max, Andrew & Justin) and at the same time, you're fascinated and love to play with the girls (Ava, Marley, Abbey, Remi & Sammi). You can sit quietly and play by yourself for a long time (usually with your little guys - Batman, Superman, etc). Your friends from school are becoming more & important to you - especially one little girl who, dare I say, is your first love. Her name is Ryann and you really, truly adore her. It's so cute!!! You also love to talk about Brody, Tuli, Leighton & Chesna.

One of my favorite things about you is your giggle. It's LOUD & infectious. Sometimes I tickle you for as long as you can take it just so I can hear your sweet laugh!!! It's my favorite, along with your sweet little voice.

Some of your favorite places to go are the zoo, the aquarium, the mall, Sesame Place & Disney World. We recently went and you really loved the sights, sounds & rides!! Your up for anything and willing to try it all (unlike your sister who recently developed a fear of many rides at Disney). We went on one ride alone together (Lilo & Stitch) and it got VERY dark and quiet for a long time. It was quite scary and you clung to my hand, whispering you wanted to get out and see Layla. I felt so sad for you but you pushed through and told me after "That was very scary and I hated it!" Poor boy.

You love your grandparents so much. We recently spent lots of time with your Grandma & Grandpa in Florida and you really, really loved it. Your quite attached to me but it's really sweet that your okay while we're away!! You also ADORE your Mom-Mom & Pop-Pop. You talk about them all the time. You learned which roads lead to their house so whenever we drive, you always get excited when we are near their house. You also have two incredible great-grandmothers. Mom-Mom Millie (who we will visit tomorrow on your birthday!) and GG (who we spent lots of time with in Florida). You're so lucky and special to have all these grandparents & great-grandparents who love you!!!

You are in the middle of your 2nd year of school and seriously loving it. Last year, you really grew in Miss Lizzie & Miss Jen's room. This year you're LOVING life in Mrs Gave & Miss Elaine's room!! You are learning so much and enjoy your days there. You'll go to camp again there this summer which you loved last year. I love that you are learning all the Jewish traditions and hope you continue to explore this part of your life.

You are an INCREDIBLE eater -- you love any and all foods and you're almost always willing to try something new. Your favorite foods include: Chinese Food (specifically Wonton Soup & White Rice), Mexican Food (specifically burritos with EVERYTHING in them, brown rice, beans), pizza, mac & cheese, chicken nuggets, raisin bran cereal, purple juice boxes, vanilla ice cream with sprinkles, bagels with butter, eggs, pork roll...the list goes on. Suffice to say, you love food like a good growing boy!!!

You have recently started to care more about TV & movies. Your absolute favorites are Peter Pan and Hotel Transylvania. Also, Dada introduced you to Jake & The Neverland Pirates and your a big fan! Still, you'd rather play then watch TV or sit on an iPad. When you ask to play on my phone, it's to look at pictures of you & Layla, watch Youtube videos of Captain Hook or do puzzles. You LOVE to read books -- recently we have been reading  a Bubble Guppies book and Hungry Little Caterpillar. 

You like to learn and I'm going to really start on teaching you spelling and sight words soon. You love to sing your ABCs and count your numbers. We are working on counting objects.
My baby boy, I love you so much. You are kind and funny and smart. You love to learn and love to play and love to cuddle. You are going to start sleeping in your big boy bed tonight. We are going to work on potty training over the next few weeks. You love your glasses. You love superhero apparel. You wear pajamas 4-5 days a week. You are so special and loving and everything I could ask for. 

I love you forever,
Mama

Benny & Layla first kisses

Bundled up and ready to go home on January 17th, 2013!

So alert, so sweet, so handsome. 

Me & you, always.

Baby Benny

Right before your bris. You peed all over this outfit. 

The cutest little cowboy. 

I LOVE YOU BUDDY

3 month picture.

baby + crab

Swinging fool!