Sunday, February 27, 2011

Brooklyn's 1st Birthday party

On January 9th we celebrated Brooklyn's 1st Birthday by throwing her a bumble bee party!! The theme was bumble bees & letter B's along with polka dots. Most people probably think I carry out the whole "theme" concept a little much, but I have so much fun putting together all of the decorations and little details that I challenge myself to be creative (and its so much more cost affective). We were super excited, because it was the first party where we could invite all of our family & friends in Illinois! We had the party at our house and served S&T home-aide pizzas for lunch along with some delicious dips my mother-in law made. With good company, The Bee Movie playing on DVD, and our house packed tight we had an absolute blast.

The invitations for the party I ordered online and then stamped with bumble bee stamps. The thank you cards I bought and stamped the envelope with a bumble bee.
The Birthday banner I made out of this cute polka dot wrapping paper.
Tissue paper pom poms and hanging letter B's that I painted black to match the party hung as a centerpiece.
I also made flower centerpieces to put on the tables by covering toilet paper rolls in the wrapping paper and cutting petals out of craft foam and topping them with a hard boiled egg (an idea I got from Family Fun magazine). And of course, I always love to put out recent pictures of the Birthday girl!! This one is a favorite of mine....
I bought this little bumble bee outfit almost 6 months before her Birthday, because I just couldn't resist!! It is a Gymboree bee outfit that even has little wings that stick out on the back. It is so cute and made for the perfect party theme attire;) The polka dot headband topped it off!
I have to laugh at this picture, because Brooklyn
and I are making the same face! lol!
The dessert table consisted of a bee hive cake that I made, cupcakes
topped with frosting flowers & lemon drops, lemonade, hot tea served with honey, black licorice bites, bumble bee cookies, & letter B cookies.
These little bee cookies were a hit! Thanks to my friend & professional baker Taylor:) Her cookies are not only adorable but delicious too! You can check her out @
Unlike her big sister (at her first Birthday), Brooklyn couldn't wait to dig into the cupcake!!
Olivia enjoying her cupcake:)
Considering the fact that first Birthday parties are primarily attended by adults, I had two games for everyone to play. The first one was a game I put together by placing some of Brooklyn's favorite things in sealed paper bags each starting with a letter from her name for people to guess. Some of the items included a picture of Olivia, a kiss, and even a nap (the girl loves her sleep). The other game was a bumble bee trivia game.
And the prizes for the games were gift cards & Burt's bees chap stick wrapped in these cute little boxes I decorated with wrapping paper & ribbon.
Party pictures....
Time for presents!
One of my favorite things about the party (which I also did
for Olivia's 1st Birthday) was that I asked everyone to bring a book for Brooklyn and write something inside. I also had everyone sign a photo mat to hang in her room with one of her Birthday pictures in it. And like Olivia's first Birthday, I had everyone write a little piece of wisdom or sweet message on slips of paper which I put in a tin to give to her when she is older.
Favors were little bags of black licorice tied with ribbon and tags stamped with "Thank you." For some reason I always enjoy giving editable favors, because they can be enjoyed at any age.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Brooklyn's First Birthday

We celebrated Brooklyn's 1st Birthday on December 26th!! I can't believe she is already one!! With her Birthday being the day after Christmas there was so much going on and it was one celebration after the next. It was so much fun!! On her Birthday we decided to stay home and let the girls open up all of their new toys they had gotten for Christmas, because with going from one party to the next they didn't get to play with any of their presents. They had a blast playing with all of their new toys. My brother & sisters came over during the day to hang out with us and help with the toy assembling. My Mom came out later in the day and all of us went out to dinner to celebrate Brooklyn turning one.
Family photo
Olivia helping Brooklyn open her present from her:)
Singing "Happy Birthday"....

....and Brooklyn's first taste of chocolate :-)
My whole family @ dinner
Aunt Kate & Liv

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Christmas & New Years

Well this post is long overdue! I can't believe I am blogging about Christmas in February. We have had so much fun since we moved to Chicago that I still have a lot to blog about and I never want to skip anything so here I am blogging about Christmas & New Years months later. We celebrated Christmas with all of our family this year, which was so nice considering last Christmas was the first one that we weren't in Chicago because I was having Brooklyn:) So, we made sure this Christmas was extra special by making all of the necessary stops....

On Christmas Eve this year we started a new family tradition in my family- brunch at my Mom's house, which turned out to be perfect. We had a delicious breakfast that my Mom made and we exchanged our gifts with one another. Then, all of us met Brian's family at church and celebrated the true meaning of Christmas-the birth of our savior. Olivia was so excited to celebrate Jesus' Birthday!! It is so joyous to watch her love for the Lord grow.

Brunch and presents @ Nana's
On Christmas Eve evening we dropped by my cousin's house (on my Mom's side) to exchange presents and spend a little time catching up before we were off to our final location for the night- Grandpa & Grandma Giaretta's. We had a lovely dinner and got to visit with family who had never met Brooklyn. The girls were in a grab bag with the other cousins and it was fun to see them exchange gifts.
On Christmas morning we woke up to find Santa had stopped at our house!! The girls ripped through all of their presents from Santa & of course a few from Mom & Dad.
After presents and breakfast at home we traveled to Papa & GG's house for more presents and a yummy lunch cooked by my sister-in-law.
After their house we headed back to Nana's house for dinner, dessert, & (can you believe it) even more presents. Every year, my Mom has her family over for Christmas dinner. It was a nice relaxing evening and a great way to end our two days of running around.
It was kind of funny that we celebrated Brooklyn's 1st Christmas just one day short of her turning 1!!
The annual Beninato family photo by my Mom's 15ft Christmas tree!
New Year's Eve has also become a tradition between our families....Brian's parents always end up having everyone (even my family) over for an evening of board games, snacks, & lots of fun! It is so nice to have in-laws that love my family and everyone gets along so great that we often spend holidays with both of our families together. We stayed the night at my in-laws house and the girls didn't quite make it to midnight:-)