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Children/Motherhood
Children/Motherhood

Balloon Garland Tutorial

Balloon Garland Tutorial

One thing I've come to love over the years is creating the pièce de résistance (important focal point) for my children's birthday parties. I'm normally a fan of having birthday parties outside of the house because it is A LOT less work, but I also love to host and appreciate an opportunity to get creative. I have to say, I've really impressed myself with my recent ability to make a vision in my head come to life (Peep this blog post I wrote a couple years ago from my daughter's Mermaid Birthday party - those jellyfish turned out so cool!).

I'm thrilled to share this super EASY tutorial with you on how to make a balloon garland. I made this balloon garland for Knox's first birthday and it turned out exactly as I envisioned it.
(If you want to see a video tutorial of the balloon garland, head over to my instagram stories to see more.)

Materials needed:

-Balloons (I made three streamers, two are pictured above, using about 150 balloons total)
-Pump to blow up the balloons (optional)
-Packing tape
-Hole punch
-Low temp glue gun
-Command  strip hooks
-String or twine


The EASY process:

Start by blowing up all of your balloons. I recommend that you use three or four different colors of balloons to help add a bit of variety to your garland. I also recommend enlisting the help of your spouse or mom or a friend to help you blow up the balloons. OR you can use a pump to blow everything up. Tolar and I decided to blow all 150 balloons up ourselves; we watched a sitcom on tv while we got to work. Blow the balloons up to different sizes. (Note: the next time I make a balloon garland, I will have many more small sized balloons)

Grab your packing tape and measure it to however long you need it to be. (We measured the length and width of our doors to determine how long we wanted the garland and cut the packing tape accordingly.) Next cut another strip of packing tape the same length and tape the pieces to each other to make the streamer (you WILL need a partner to help you with this). I taped four pieces of packing tape together to make sure it was sturdy. When I made my practice garland, I only used two pieces of tape and it would sometimes rip. Four pieces did not rip and worked perfectly.

Take your hole punch and zig zag holes into the packing tape streamer. It doesn't need to be perfect, just punch holes wherever you like.

Balloon Garland tape

Now it is time to assemble!
Take a balloon and thread the tied end through one of the holes. Then grab another balloon and thread the tied end through but from the other side of the tape, so you have balloons both on top and on bottom of the tape. Keep adding balloons to your streamer. I didn't create a pattern per se, I just grabbed different colors and sizes and tried to make sure I didn't have too many of the same color together in one spot. When you first start assembling, it will feel like the garland is going to be flimsy and not so full, KEEP GOING. Trust me, by the time you fill the packing tape streamer up half way, you will already see the garland taking shape and it will be nice and full.
Balloon Garland Assembly
Balloon Garland Balloons

Once you get the garland assembled, it is time to hang the garland. I punched one extra hole on the end of the tape streamers when we went to hang the garlands. Then I tied twine (you can also use string - or really whatever you have) through the hole, making a loop. Next we placed Command strip hooks on the wall where we wanted to hang the garland and just hung the garland up by the string that was looped through. I do recommend that you hide the Command strip hook behind the garland to conceal it.

After everything is hung, you need to fill in any holes. The holes are best filled in with small balloons, this will certainly add dimension to your garland. Using your low temp hot glue gun (because a high temp one will pop the balloons!), glue small balloons onto the garland to cover up any bare spots. This is also a great time to cover up any areas where you can see the packing tape peeking through. You can also use faux greenery or flowers to cover up the packing tape.
And that's it! Easy peasy.

We assembled the balloon garlands the night before the party. I found it easiest to assemble ahead of time so I wasn't stressed the next day. If you do assemble your garland the night before, save some extra balloons just in case any deflate over night. Then you can easily blow up your extra balloons and replace the ones that deflated when you are ready to hang them up.

For a very small cost and just a couple hours time, you can create a stunning decoration for any occasion

Balloon_Garland_Helper
Balloon Garland party decor
Balloon Garland decoration





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Low Carb Dinner: Zucchini Noodles, Tomatoes and Chicken

Low Carb Dinner Zucchini Tomatoes and Chicken
A little over a month ago I started a new program called FASTer Way to Fat Loss. I'm loving the program, I've already started noticing results (my husband too!) and I'm feeling great. With this program, I have two days a week where my food intake is low carb (under 50g net carbs). I've been experimenting each week with different low carb recipes and this one is too good not to share. I found this recipe from a Tasty video and I modified it to fit my family's needs.

When I cook dinner, I usually look for recipes that don't have a zillion ingredients and that take about 30 minutes to prepare. This recipe certainly meets the criteria!!!!

(The FASTer Way to Fat Loss program is six weeks and I'll be writing a full blog post about my experience when I'm finished with this round.)

Ingredients:

-4 zucchinis
-4 chicken breasts
-1 1/2 tsp salt, plus another 1 tsp salt
-1 tsp pepper
-1 tsp garlic powder
-1 pint grape tomatoes
-2 tsp dried basil
-1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions:

1.) Using a potato peeler, peel each zucchini longways creating zucchini noodles. Stop peeling when you reach the seeds. Discard the seeded portion.
2.) Place zucchini noodles on a towel and put inside a large bowl.
3.) Sprinkle 1 1/2 tsp salt over the zucchini noodles and mix with your hands until the zucchini is coated with the salt.
4.) Let stand for 20 minutes.
5.) While you are waiting on the zucchini, dice up your chicken breasts and cook them in a large pan until white with a little bit of olive oil.
6.) Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper and 1 tsp garlic powder to chicken. Stir to coat the chicken.
7.) Slice grape tomatoes in half.
8.) Once the 20 minutes are finished, squeeze out as much juice as you can from the zucchini and discard.
9.) Add the zucchini and the tomatoes to your chicken.
10.) Add 2 tsp dried basil and stir to coat.
11.) Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over the mixture and warm until the cheese melts.
12.) Enjoy!


Macro Information: 4 servings
10g carbs
15.2g fat
42.9g protein
Zucchini Noodles
Zucchini Tomatoes and Chicken

Pin this for later:

Low Carb Dinner - Zucchini Tomatoes and Chicken






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One Year Old!

12 month old baby


We made it to one year!!! 12 whole months with our precious boy and what an incredible year it has been!!!!!

Stats: 22 pounds. 28 1/2 inches long. Knox had a bad cold last week which landed us at the doctor (after he had RSV when he was 1 month old, I get nervous when he has a cough!) so we found out he weighs 22 pounds. Tolar and I were both shocked and expected him to weigh a bit more, but I guess all of his fast crawling has kept him in the low twenties.
I did a quick measurement of him at home for his length.

Development: Knox started taking a few steps right after he turned 11 months old. He would only take about 2 or 3 at a time and then sink to the floor to crawl. At the beginning of his 11th month, he would really only "walk" if we stood him up and tried to get him to walk between Tolar and I. But as he got closer to 12 months, he started taking steps on his own. And then on his birthday, he walked about 8 steps! He loves to cruise around furniture and walks pretty fast that way as long as he is holding on.
He has been clapping for awhile, but would really only do it if we were holding him. Now he claps all the time, especially when we ask him to. He also gives us high fives and he knows his first sound...a zombie. HA! Tolar was proud that a zombie was Kendall's third sound (after a dog and cow), but I taught Knox the zombie sound once I realized he could do it. He is so proud of himself when we ask him to clap, give us high fives or make the zombie sound.
He still only says Da Da Da Da Da, but he is able to make the mmmmm sound, so I'm working on Mama.

Loves: Knox loves bath time, the trashcan, the nightlight in an outlet, his Daddy's drum set, climbing up the stairs, his sister's toys and he REALLY loves his sister. Knox has so many toys, but rarely plays with them. He much prefers all things that a baby really shouldn't play with...so you can imagine how fun each day is at our house. I have absolutely adored seeing the bond between Knox and his big sister. He wants to be around her all the time and always has a big smile on his face when they play together. Parent pick up at school is the best example of how much he loves his sister: he gets fussy a lot just sitting in the car while we wait our turn to pick up Kendall. But as soon as she gets in the car, he starts smiling and will look over to where she is sitting the entire way home. If she is around, he is very happy. When I cook dinner, I've started having Kendall play with Knox because I know she will keep him entertained and out of the kitchen. 

Dislikes: The boy does not like it when you take something away from him that he was holding. Knox likes to crawl with items in his mouth and it makes me nervous when he puts drumsticks in his mouth because they could get pushed down his throat, so I always take them away from him and he loses his mind!!! He is already showing me that I got off lucky with his rule follower sister and that he is going to be a completely different toddler. I'm dreading going to the store with him one day and saying no to something he wants.  

Sleeping: Knox's bedtime is between 7 and 7:30 p.m. and we've followed that for awhile. He does sleep through the night, which we are very thankful for. He's been sleeping through the night pretty consistently since he was five months old. But he sometimes like to wake up at 5 or 5:45 a.m. However, since his birthday this past Saturday, he's been sleeping until 7 a.m.! I am saying that is his birthday present to us!!!
His naps are extremely consistent and much longer now, which I'm very thankful for. Although, we are late to church a lot on Sundays because he will sometimes stretch his nap to past 10 a.m. Thank goodness for live streams and podcasts!

Diapers: He continues to wear size 3 Pampers Swaddlers and size 4 Pampers Baby Dry (for bedtime).

Eating: We switched Knox to cow's milk about 2 weeks ago and he loves it. Tolar gave it to him one day and he didn't act like anything was different; he drank it all!
He very much prefers real food and we have pretty much gotten him on our eating schedule instead of eating every 4 hours like he did when he was a baby. He LOVES pancakes for breakfast and eats as much as his sister does...if not more. He also loves cheese and black beans. We gave him a tiny taste of peanut butter and he loved that too! We are certain that in the very near future he will be finishing whatever his sister doesn't eat.

Clothing: He is completely into 12 month clothing. I just packed up all of his 9 month clothes because they are too short. And we put him in shoes for the first time yesterday!

Miscellaneous: Bath time is a game changer in our house. If Knox is having a bad day and crying a lot, I will give him a bath and his mood totally changes. He loves the bath! 

One Year Old Baby



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Healthy Cookie Dough Dip

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Recipe Pursuit of Pink

For the past three weeks I've been making significant changes in my eating habits. After having my second child nearly a year ago, I figured it was well past the time to do something about the way I look and feel.
Spoiler alert, I'm feeling fantastic and I've already lost an inch on my waist and hips each. But that is a post for a different day. If you want to know more about what I'm doing, shoot me a message or find me on instagram - I'll be sharing a blog post with full details when I'm finished with the first round of my program.

I've been swapping out tons of different food items and finding healthier options to take their place. While I've significantly curbed the amount of processed sugar I'm eating, I still do want an occasional sweet treat. This Healthy Cookie Dough Dip recipe does the trick and it just might shock you what is in it!!!!! Keep reading for the super easy recipe.

Healthy Cookie Dough Dip Recipe
Cookie Dough Dip Recipe

INGREDIENTS:

-1.5 cups chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
-2 tsp vanilla
-1/8 tsp baking soda
-2/3 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup almond milk
-1/4 cup peanut butter
-1/2 cup chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:

1.) After draining and rinsing the chickpeas, add them to a food processor along with vanilla, baking soda, brown sugar and almond milk.
2.) Blend until very smooth.
3.) Add the peanut butter (don't skip this step!).
4.) Keep blending to get the mixture very smooth. Blend, blend, blend.
5.) Mix in the chocolate chips.
6.) Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

A couple things to note:
-The texture will be different than regular cookie dough, so prepare yourself ahead of time.
-Adding the peanut butter into the mix takes away the chickpea smell and makes it smell sweet.
-You can serve it with graham crackers or apples.

Macro Information:
22.6g carbs
6.1g fat
3.4g protein
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10 and 11 months update!

10 mohth old baby
11 month old baby


"Second child syndrome" is a real thing! With Kendall, we never missed taking her month photo on the same exact day each month. With Knox, we are lucky to get it within two weeks of the same day. Oh well, such is life.

But here we are, with an 11 month old...who will be ONE in just a matter of weeks! AH!
Since I missed the 10 month update, I'm combining it with his 11 month update into one big update...enjoy the stats on our boy.

Stats: We don't go back to the doctor until he turns one, so I don't have any specific measurements for him. He is certainly growing as he used to be short enough for me to open the fridge door right over his head, now I have to make sure he is squatting or else I will hit him in the head.

Development: At 10 months old Knox got his first tooth and then a few days later a second one magically appeared. No other teeth have shown up yet, but I imagine they will soon as his sleep seems to be a bit off. Knox started standing on his own without holding on to anything at 10 months old and took his first REAL steps at 11 months old. He is much more interested in crawling at this point because he can move really fast when he crawls.
He also started saying Da Da Da Da Da a lot. He isn't saying it because he knows that is Tolar's name, although he does get a huge smile on his face whenever we tell him to say DaDa.
Separation anxiety is NOT a thing with him (and I hope I don't jinx us by typing that). Knox is very social and will go to any of our friends and family with no problem.
Baby's First Tooth


Loves: Anything he isn't supposed to have, he wants and loves. His favorite thing might be the trashcan (ah!!!!). He is always trying to open the lid and play with it, which makes me cringe just picturing the germs all over him. He also loves playing in his sister's room and making a mess with her toys. The dishwasher is another favorite thing of his; the second he hears me open the door he comes rushing over. Chewing on his drumsticks is another thing that we can add to his list of loves.
Crawling up the stairs is a sure favorite. We do have a baby gate to keep him from mounting the stairs by himself, but occasionally we will let him climb up the stairs with us right behind him. He thinks this is the greatest thing ever and will giggle uncontrollably as he climbs.

Dislikes: His own toys apparently. Knox has SO MANY TOYS and hardly plays with any of them. He would much rather play with his sister's toys or anything not intended for babies.

Sleeping: His naps are finally more consistent. Most days he will sleep about an hour in the morning and roughly an hour and a half in the afternoon. I'm so glad he is finally taking longer naps! I think growing and teething really affect him as he often goes through seasons where he wakes up really early. He will wake up early for a couple days (usually accompanied by crying) and then will go back to sleeping until 7 a.m. a few days later. I cannot figure out why he will wake up early, so I think he is experiencing growing pains or teething soreness.

Diapers: Since Knox is very active and mobile (keeping him from gaining a lot of weight), he is still in size 3 diapers as he has been for MONTHS. We use Pampers Swaddlers and love them. We've always been a Pampers family.

Eating: Knox is certainly consistent. He loves to eat and always has. Right before he turned 11 months old, he decided he was more interested in real food and less interested in drinking a bottle. We give him as much table food as we can. The boy has never turned away ANYTHING. He will eat whatever we give him.

Clothing: Clothing is crazy, he still wears a ton of 9 month sleepers but wears 12 month onesies and pants. Although he is almost too tall for his 9 month sleepers, so I need to buy more 12 month fleece jammies. It is COLD here so I keep him in his fleece sleepers almost all day.

Miscellaneous: We had to install child locks on our kitchen and bathroom cabinets because he gets into everything. Luckily, he was more interested in making a mess and rearranging my cabinets than he was in trying to ingest things he shouldn't.
I continue to be amazed at how different my children are. We never had to install any kind of child lock with Kendall, she stayed put and would only get into what she knew was hers. If something is on the ground, Knox will put it in his mouth. We have to be VERY careful and constantly pick things up off the floor - especially paper. This kid has eaten a lot of paper in his lifetime.
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