1st Birthday Party
I can’t believe my baby girl is already ONE!!  This has been such a whirlwind year.  Phoenix Rae was born (if you are interested in reading her full birth story you can do that here), we found out we were moving to Texas, we moved 2,000 miles to a new town with no friends or family nearby, then my husband cut off the back end of his foot (you can read that full story here), we had to live in a hotel for over a month in Virginia while he was recovering, I took on a new job, and worked on losing the 65-ish pounds I had gained during my pregnancy (you can read a story about my first workout after the baby was born here).  It was such a crazy year for our family, and I feel like it just made this past year go by so quick.

**Side note: on my computer, all the pictures are aligned the correct way, but when I pull this post up on my phone half the photos are rotated sideways.  If anyone knows how to fix this, could you leave your suggestions in the comments?**

It feels like just yesterday that I was 41 weeks pregnant and looked like this:
41 Weeks Pregnant

About an hour after P was born

About an hour after P was born

Daddy got to hold P for about 45 minutes right after she was born while the midwives were attending to me. #delayedcordclamping

Daddy got to hold P for about 45 minutes right after she was born while the midwives were attending to me. #delayedcordclamping

For Christmas this year, we combined my stepmom’s Christmas, Birthday, and Mother’s Day present and surprised he with a plane ticket to fly out for Phoenix’s first birthday.  She hadn’t been to our new home yet so it was a really special trip.  Lincoln really wanted to bring flowers to her at the airport.
Airport FlowersIt was so nice to have her in town and have some help with the kids.  Of course, I procrastinated until the very last second (like I always seem to do) to get ready for the party.  The day before I ran to Target to pick up most of our supplies.  I’ll try to link the items I can if you want to get them yourself, but if you are wondering where something came from…..it probably was Target.

I don’t really like to spend a lot of money on decorations for parties, especially parties the kids will never remember.  We spent probably around $20 total on decorations for the party.  I grabbed some silver, pink, and white balloons from Target and they worked great. We just hung them from some string I already had, and then blew the rest up and left them on the floor for the kids to play with.

I found this cool chalkboard pennant banner at Target for $4.99 that came with chalk and two banners you could write on (and also wash off and re-use).  I couldn’t find the exact one online, but here is a similar one that Target has on their site.  You can’t see it that well but we just wrote, “Phoenix is One!” on the two banners.  We just used regular tissue paper (a lot I actually already had in my closet) in the same pink, grey, and white colors to make tissue pom poms.  These are super easy to make and each pom pom just takes 10-12 sheets of tissue paper and a piece of string.  That’s it!  Click here for a good video tutorial on how to make them.
IMG_5700 IMG_5699 IMG_5698The morning of the party Lincoln had a tball game.  My stepmom had so much fun watching him play.  I think he is just the cutest little 4-year old tball player ever!
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I just love this picture of Lincoln with his daddy. 1606968_575703998848_1672545886_nLittle miss Phoenix Rae was being funny and sassy like always.
1620508_575704163518_1855362297_n1920380_575704123598_552928140_nIMG_5671The party was from 3-4 so we got back and finished up the food.  We had Velata chocolate fondue with some fruit and snacks to dip into it.  A lot of you guys probably know from my other posts that I am a SuperStar Director with Scentsy.  Velata is another brand within the Scentsy family.  If you want to buy your own fondue set you can do it here.  The caramel milk chocolate is hands down my favorite flavor!
IMG_5711IMG_5712Instead of goodie bags, I just made some popcorn balls as party favors.  I used this recipe here to make them, and they turned out so awesome.  They weren’t hard like a lot of popcorn balls, but stayed nice and chewy.  I had to give the extras away to my neighbors because I kept eating all the leftover favors!

I scrolled through a lot of the comments on the Allrecipes.com site and got some great tips from other people who had made the recipe.  I used the inside of my crockpot to mix everything and sprayed it with non-stick cooking spray so the caramel wouldn’t stick.  I tripled the recipe on the site and it made 37 softball sized balls.
IMG_5706I used www.picmonkey.com to make these cute tags.  BTW….that’s the same site I use to make a lot of images on my blog.  It’s awesome and has a ton of great features.  I played around with the fonts and colors to go with the pink, white, and grey theme and just printed these little tags real quick on cardstock on my printer.  Some of the ribbon I got at Target, and some of the ribbon I just had lying around our house.
Popcorn Ball Party Favors, Natalie Hodson, www.nataliehodson.comI just used regular funfetti cupcake mix, but added a secret ingredient that my friend Ashlee told me about.  Her kids’ birthday cakes were always super moist and delicious, so one time I asked her how she did it, and she told me that she always adds a package of instant pudding to her mix.  It made the cupcakes taste so good!  Since we used funfetti, I used vanilla pudding, but you would just use the same flavor your cake was and then follow normal baking instructions.
IMG_5707 IMG_5713We got this cake decorating kit as a wedding gift, and I don’t use it often, but I am so glad we have it.  It makes the icing on cupcakes and cakes look so pretty and professional!  I just used a plastic spatula to put regular Betty Crocker icing in the frosting decorator, then used these pretty Wilton pearl sprinkles on top (I got them at Party City here). They ended up looking really pretty, and the best part was that they were super easy to make.  IMG_5709
Phoenix of course dove right into her cupcake!  Although she wasn’t too thrilled about the hat we made her wear.

I wish I would have gotten more pictures of everyone who came, but I got busy talking to everyone and it wasn’t until everyone left that I thought to bring out my camera!  I am so grateful my friend Ashlee and her husband Jake made the drive out from Houston with their three boys.  Phoenix and Ashlee’s little boy Jetten were born just weeks apart from each other so we always tell them tease that they are destined to be married.  Random side note: Ashlee and I met randomly when I was working at at Scentsy event at her church.  We started talking, found out our kids were the same ages, then realized our husbands worked together. We hit it off immediately, became best friends, and had so much fun going through our pregnancy together.  When we learned we were moving from VA to TX I was so sad to leave our best friends up there, then three weeks later they found out they were also moving to Texas!  They are still two hours away, but it is so awesome that we ended up moving just three weeks apart from each other.  1014026_575703729388_1881673420_nIMG_5731

Our boys love playing together, and of course two of the three are making silly faces 😉  There were 12 kids ages 5 and under at the party, they had a blast running around and the balloons on the ground were a big hit.IMG_5729

After everyone left we got this pretty little lady dressed in her new birthday jammies and she was in heaven running around playing with all her new toys.IMG_5746
Who, me?IMG_5738
We had so much fun, and I feel so grateful that I get to be the mommy to this sweet, sassy, feisty, loving, and sometimes crazy little girl.

Although the majority of this blog is about Phoenix’s party, I wanted to touch real quick on how I balance treats and such at parties like these with my normal healthy eating.  The short answer: I enjoy the party treats just like everyone else! I had a cupcake, some chocolate fondue and a popcorn ball and don’t stress or even think twice about it.  Because we eat healthy, mostly clean foods majority of the time, I really don’t stress about having treats at these types of parties.  That’s the whole reason I eat healthy most of the time, so that I can enjoy parties, or date nights, or family ice cream nights, and still stay in shape.  Once a week I usually have a free meal where I don’t stress about what I’m eating for that meal (I don’t give myself an entire day for free meals, but one of my meals in the day).  The next day I just get right back on track with my normal meals and workouts, I don’t cut carbs, or add a few miles into my workouts (which in my case I have found can lead to more binging and create a vicious cycle of overeating/undereating).  I just get back on track with my normal meals.

This post ended up really long, but thanks for reading!  A lot of my blog posts have been how-to’s or recipes but I’m hoping this year to do more normal blogging too and document some of our day-to-day events as well.

Your friend,

Natalie is a mom of two showing how to balance family, fitness, and a healthy lifestyle.