Baby & Toddler · Holidays · kid-friendly · Tips and Tricks

Our ‘Georgia Peach’ 1st Birthday Party! {& Peach Sangria recipe}

You may remember that my child turned one in August. As in, August of 2014. You may also remember a three-week hiatus immediately following said birthday, during which we all shared the stomach bug (including our poor house guests) and then attempted to take a “relaxing” trip to Myrtle Beach as a family. Well, let’s just say this post fell by the wayside.

if only we knew the torrential stomach flu about to befall us, we wouldn’t look so happy

I decided to finally post it this week, though, for two reasons: we have so many spring babies in our life — we know five born this week alone, with more due next month — that it really got me thinking about when my G was born and how I spent all year looking forward to her first birthday party, and I wondered whether other moms might enjoy reading about a cute birthday party theme as they get ready to celebrate their spring babes! Secondly, a friend just asked to borrow all my “peach” decor for a baby shower she’s throwing, and I thought that was awesome. Happy to give these things another life, especially the ones I worked so hard to make by hand. And I just love the idea of a “little peach” themed baby shower. How perfect!


But most importantly, I’m already planning Georgia’s next birthday (because darn it, the good places get booked WAY too far ahead of time for this flaky mom) which means I really, really need to get her 1st birthday post online before she turns two.

We had so much fun planning her “Georgia Peach Party,” and can’t wait to share the awesome vendors who helped make it happen, from the local bakery that custom-crafted peach-infused cupcakes for us, to the Etsy party shop that helped make our decorations look peachy, to the sangria I had to make in our recycling bin (!) when the punch dispenser wouldn’t fit in our 1950’s-style kitchen fridge. All in all, Georgia had a really fun day surrounded by family and friends, and Mom and Dad (and our house) survived the festivities! So, without further ado: the Peach Party.



Full disclosure: I knew I wanted to do a one-year peach themed party before Georgia was even born. As soon as it became socially acceptable to do so (when she turned 9 months old?) I created a Pinterest board for inspiration. Then we decided the key details: have it at home, or in a park or hall? (home). What time of day? (11 to 2, to work around her naps). How many people? (between 30 and 40, since we have a small yard and 1200-square foot house). Make our own food, or order catering? (mostly catering). Budget? (say what? I’m married to Mark Linehan).





Because it was a hot day, we served the food inside, pushing our dining room table up against the window to make room for foot traffic. This way nothing spoiled and we didn’t have to worry about bees or flies. Drinks we kept in two coolers outside (booze and non-booze). Then, I decided to make a festive peach-themed cocktail for the adults, which would have been easy except that the drink dispenser wouldn’t fit in our refrigerator to soak overnight as required, so I had to MacGyver an insulated cooler large enough to hold the darn thing out of our recycling bin, which I left on the porch overnight to blend. It worked perfectly, and the recipe is below. In addition to the beverages, our menu included homemade chocolate cookies & custom peach cupcakes for dessert, fruit salad, tossed salad, a cold cuts & cheese platter, eggplant Parmesan, chips & dip, as well as rolls for making sandwiches.


<< optional: pouring five bags of ice into your recycling bin, covering the top with three layers of aluminum foil, and weighting it down with cardboard to deter insects from devouring your sangria overnight >>

Peach Sangria


  • 8 peaches, pitted and sliced
  • 1 large container of strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 4 bottles of rose wine, chilled (I chose a dry, mid-priced organic option from Trader Joe’s that was well-reviewed)
  • 1 bottle sparkling wine, chilled (I used prosecco)

Combine the fruit and rose wine in a large serving pitcher and chill overnight, or at least 8 hours. Just before serving, pour in the sparkling wine and stir. Serve cold with chunks of fruit in each glass.


We stuck a “1” candle that I ordered on Amazon into a cupcake for Georgia instead of ordering a “smash cake,” and this turned out to be a very good plan because she was extremely tentative and dainty about eating it at all. No smashing actually occurred.



I go the Dollar Tree route for everything plain (tablecloths, platters, punch bowl, straws, plates, napkins, utensils), embellish with fabric ribbon from A.C. Moore, incorporate items I already own such as vases, mason jars and baskets, and customize where it counts by ordering theme-specific invitations, address labels and banners from artists on Etsy. Balloons and the “first birthday” cupcake stand are from Party City and the tent we snagged for $100 at Ocean State Job Lot; with our sunny yard, we will use it for years to come. Sangria container and banquet tables were purchased from the Christmas Tree Shop and Pier 1. I also — to my husband’s deep embarrassment — placed peach-scented soap and candles in our bathroom, both from Bath & Body Works. He hated it, but I can’t tell you how much of a finishing touch it felt like to me.



I used Paperless Post, which I love. You can customize the “envelope” lining, the theme (there was nothing peachy available, so I picked the next cutest thing) and it’s animated when guests open it. By purchasing “coins” through their site (60 run you $14) you can further customize your options and add larger and larger quantities of people to your invite list. There’s also an ipad app, and it lets you add registries or wish lists, too. Great for showers!




I made these myself after being inspired by this post on Kara’s Party Ideas. I created peach tags that I could use on favors and as menu cards, with pink and orange craft store ribbon and clear favor bags, and bulk ordered peach candies on Amazon. I created the labels in Microsoft Word and bought heavier stock gift tags at A.C. Moore, cut out the labels, punched a hole in each tag, glued on the labels and tied them to the bags. It took about an hour. Assembling the banners took another hour of cutting, tying together with the same ribbon used on the favors, then having Mark help me hang them.




Things I didn’t get to: I intended to make a farm stand sign for the front door (like this or this), and I had also wanted to print out month-by-month photos of Georgia to hang inside the house as additional decoration. I also wanted to order peach iced tea in bottles, but that was cost-prohibitive. I think I was getting carried away by the Pinterest-ization of baby’s first birthday, so I heeded Mark’s opinion that hand-making the decorations, favors and a themed cocktail was already beyond the call of duty. I took two days off from work before the party just to clean my house, prep the yard, make and hang decorations and start the Sangria ~ but as moms, we always feel like we should have done “more,” don’t we??


the most challenging aspect of party planning: cat interference
the most challenging aspect of party planning: cat interference


Georgia had an awesome day with awesome weather. She greeted everyone, spent time with each person who came, and went right down for her nap by 1:30. Relatives stayed all afternoon, snacking, opening gifts and sipping Sangria, and then little G woke up refreshed and ready to try out a few new toys. This year, we will probably have it somewhere around town instead of at our house, but I wouldn’t change anything about this day. It turned out perfect, just like my perfect little Georgia Peach herself!

And yes, I did get a peach pedicure for the day, and yes I did color-coordinate the thank-you notes and address labels.




Paper Goods — WhirliGigsParty Co.

Custom Address Labels — Sweet Pea Petite (formerly Le Petite Peapod)

Catering — Anthony’s Italian Specialties

Cupcakes — VCVC Cupcakes

Georgia’s Dress — Janie & Jack


Holidays · Recipes

St. Patty’s Day Confession

That’s right — I gave in to temptation this week. I did it. I caved. I’m totally, utterly weak. 


an irresistible temptation since childhood.
an irresistible temptation since childhood.

After all, who can blame me?? It’s St. Patrick’s Day, which is basically bigger than Christmas in Boston. Plus I have this cute Irish husband and consequently a bonnie Irish babe at home! I can’t resist being just a wee bit festive.


This does not mean I had it together in the clothing department. Lacking a shamrocked onesie, I dug out the only item of green(ish) attire Georgia owns: some Gap jeggings that are really more chartreuse, with teeny white stars on them, and called it a day. And for myself?

at least my walls are green?

The only one who really pulled out his A Game was Mark, because he was working the Freedom Trail today.

So I’m going to add value today not sartorially, but by sharing my favorite St. Patty’s Day recipes from around the interweb. Like:

A healthy Shamrock Shake knockoff by Hungry Girl

Slow Cooker Corned Beef & Cabbage by Rockin’ Mom’s Kitchen

Mini Grasshopper Ice Box Cakes by Lulu The Baker

Irish Coffee and Guiness Floats by Pioneer Woman

That’s all, my friends! Have a fun St. Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you all year ’round!

Holidays · Recipes

5 Great Pies for Pi Day!

It’s Pi Day (in the U.S., anyway) and what better way to celebrate 3.14.15(92653…) than with a roundup of my favorite PIE recipes, starting with one I just saw yesterday that I haven’t made yet but cannot WAIT to try, courtesy of Smitten Kitchen:

Black Bottom Oatmeal Pie from Smitten Kitchen

That’s zooming to the top of my must-make list!

Next up comes my Key Lime Pie, which I often make for Easter. Either that, or Strawberry Shortcake, which is also inside that key lime post, because one year I made both and my lucky relatives got to eat it all up.

Then there’s the classic Raw Pecan Love Pie from Kimberly Snyder, which I just love.

And who can resist this go-to Chocolate Pie by Pioneer Woman, so easy and so good. Mark just eats this up.

Next is something a little bit different: a Pumpkin Pie Smoothie!

Which can’t hold a candle to my Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp filling, which can be used just as easily to make a pie, as I have done and will continue to do every year.

And what’s a post about pie without some savory options?

Like Shepherd’s Pie, or Roasted Zucchini & Tomato Ricotta Pie, just to name a couple of examples.

But here’s the embarrassing part.

My favorite pies — pumpkin and apple — are two that, believe it or not, I DON’T have recipes for on this blog yet! So I am hereby setting a goal to rectify that this year.

Maybe I can get my mom to guest blog about her famous lemon meringue pie, and then eventually I’ll have to share my family’s recipe for Swedish Apple Pie, too. And come to think of it, what about Ricotta Pie??

Clearly, I have a lot of catching up to do! Stay tuned, and hopefully there will be some new desserts coming your way in short order.


What about you? What are YOUR favorite pies? Tell me in the comments 🙂 And have a great weekend.

Baby & Toddler

It feels like spring!

There’s still a solid two and a half feet of snow on the ground, but that hasn’t stopped me from all but declaring it Summer Vacation this week, because it is nearly in the 40s outside and you can actually see some pavement for the first time since late January. Except, of course, for those a-holes who never shoveled their sidewalks at all and will now block the rest of us from walking to the train or taking our cooped-up babies out in strollers until June.

Georgia practically can’t wait to go for walks again. The last time we were able to go to the pond was the week after Christmas, when we all only needed fleece jackets and we kept remarking on what a nice winter it had been so far. I even said that I wondered whether the snowsuit or hat and gloves I bought Georgia would ever get used! Ha.




One sure sign of spring, albeit an early one, is the switch to Daylight Saving Time. You may remember in the fall I was worried about how it would affect Georgia’s sleep schedule. We managed to survive then with no hiccups thanks to a strategic effort to nudge her bedtime forward during the two weeks preceding the time change so that it was an hour later (8 p.m.) than normal on the night before “falling back” to the old time (7 p.m.) You can read more about ways to do that here. Or, you can opt to do nothing, which was my route of choice this week because the time change totally snuck up on me! And boy, did I pay for that decision dearly yesterday, when she did not nap at all for the first time in probably a year. This led to me frantically rocking, feeding, and patting her in futile attempts to induce sleep, until after an hour I just yelled “abort! abort! abort!” and took her for a long drive. During which she did not sleep, but every few minutes would let out a maniacal cackle or shriek. Scary times.

nah, she doesn't look tired at all.
nah, she doesn’t look tired at all.
here I am giving up
here I am giving up
snacks...snacks will fix it, right?
snacks…snacks will fix it, right?

So that’s what has been new with us. Mark has been busy shooting a couple of different commercials, and next week he starts up rehearsals for Shrek the Musical. He’s playing Lord Farquaad…..eheheheheheh. Mark has been watching clips of the show so many times this winter that now Georgia does all the arm motions along with the music. And if you’re interested in how a 6’4″ man becomes that short, here’s a video that shows the costume magic behind the Broadway production. Did you know? That character is almost always played by a super tall actor, who sings and dances on their knees, attached to a complicated back brace with springs. It’s crazy how they pull it off. He’s been working out really intensively all winter to prepare for the physical challenge, and I can’t wait to see it.

Another definite sign of spring? The Honest Company’s new diaper patterns finally came out this weekend! I set our bundle to ship ASAP. Love the bumble bee one especially.

diaper screen shot

Since I totally missed the boat on going to see a hockey game this year, I’ve turned my attention to the Red Sox season. Finally they sucked enough that the prices came back down to Earth. If it wasn’t already sold out, you could get bleacher seats to see them play the Yankees for $40!

Looks like someone needs a new onesie!
Looks like someone needs a new onesie!
I only root for the Sox in super-unflattering pictures of my parents.
I only root for the Sox in super-unflattering pictures of my parents.

I have seen some bad winters, but I’ve never been more ready for spring and summer than I am this year. How about you — what’s got you most excited for nicer weather? Playing in the park? Picnics? The Marathon? Grilling?Gardening? The beach? All of the above for me!

Have a great week 🙂 xoxoxo

Baby & Toddler · Tips and Tricks

Coping with a sick baby

It’s that time of year again: germs are circulating, snot is flowing, and everywhere you look it seems like someone has an ear infection, croup, or the stomach flu (or all three)! And it’s no wonder, given how cooped up we’ve all been this year. Our house has caught more than a few bugs during this unusually cold and snowy winter, but by far the weirdest illness we’ve experienced to date is what Georgia came down with last week…scarlet fever

Total lethargy: a sure sign of a sick baby

Did mentioning that make anyone else think of The Velveteen Rabbit? Just like in that book, G woke up from her nap one day with a really hot fever and a bright, splotchy body-wide rash. She was actually at day care, so they understandably made us come get her right away, because it was hard to tell what was going on. Though it sounds scary (note to self: next time lie to grandparents) we learned that it’s no longer a serious disease because of the availability of antibiotics. And, it’s caused by the same bacteria as strep throat, so coming into contact with someone who had that (maybe on the plane?) is probably where she picked it up. The poor thing.


So, a few hundred hours of sleep and several key oatmeal baths later, she is feeling a million times better, and we are infinitely more thankful for good health, even when she wakes up at 3 a.m. for no reason or throws a tantrum while getting dressed. (Which P.S., we are living in tantrum hell right now! Did anyone else out there go through this around 18 months? And P.P.S., all these germs and tantrums are what’s been keeping me from the blog all week. I’ve missed you! )

It’s no secret that having a sick kid sucks, for you almost as much as them. Their sleep is disrupted, they go through ten times as many clothes in a day as normal, they whimper and cry and you just can’t fix it…it’s the pits. And that’s not even including the hours you spend waiting at the doctor and pharmacy, or cleaning up once it’s all over with. So what are the key things we’ve found that help relieve stuffed noses, upset tummies and feverish foreheads?

To Relieve Sniffles

  • Elevate the crib mattress. Just like adults stacking pillows, this really helps when they are congested and coughing or struggling with thick post-nasal drip. Just tuck a rolled-up blanket between the springs and the mattress; never elevate the whole crib. At day care, they let the stuffed-up babies sleep nestled in a boppy on their backs, but that’s because someone is always watching them. You could do this at home if you plan to be in the same room the whole time.
  • Stock up on baby saline mist and use it with the NoseFrida snot sucker, which is gross but works miraculously to clear gunk from teeny nostrils.
  • Wipe crusty noses with baby wipes, to prevent chapping. Lots of folks like Boogie Wipes for this purpose, but I see no reason to purchase an additional product when the ones you already have will work just as well!
  • Shower with them to de-congest them before bed or in the morning, or do a eucalyptus bubble bath.
  • Since you can’t use Vicks VapoRub on kids under two, the next best thing is something like the Honest Company’s organic breathe-easy rub, which I slather on Georgia’s neck, chest, behind her ears, and on the bottoms of her feet inside her footy PJs. It contains eucalyptus and tea tree oils with lavender and rosemary, and does not have menthol.
  • Run a cool mist humidifier in their room. We like this one by Holmes, available at Target and on Amazon. We used to have this popular Crane humidifier, but it broke within 6 months and we had to send in for a replacement, which took forever. The Holmes model is easy to fill with a water bottle with one hand and the light can be more easily covered up in a baby’s room,which is the one flaw in so many humidifiers we looked at! Georgia really sleeps better in a darker room, so this was important to us.
  • Zarbee’s natural syrup is great for babes over a year. They have options for other ages, too. That was what our pediatrician recommended when Georgia had a persistent cough earlier this fall.
  • If they will drink it, water with lemon and/or honey is also OK for babes over a year, just like it is for adults.
  • Give plenty of fluid if they want it, including more milk, formula or electrolyte solution if they seem extra thirsty. Don’t push food; their appetite will come back when they’re better.
  • Just like us, eating healthier foods (Georgia likes fresh berries cold from the fridge) can help speed along recovery.

For Reducing Fevers

Note: newborns need to see the doctor immediately for any type of fever. The following tips are for infants and older.

  • Dress your baby in whatever they find most comfy and cozy. G likes her footed fleece PJs when sick and I don’t see any reason not to let her stay in them. Don’t follow the old advice to bundle a baby with a temperature in the hopes of “breaking” it. Outdated info!
  • Use a no-touch thermometer to check their temperature while they’re sleeping. It won’t wake them, and it can remember the past few temps you’ve taken, in case you need to give your doctor a history when you visit.
  • Offer baby tylenol or ibuprofen. Georgia, we learned the hard way, reacts badly to ibuprofen. So we stick to tylenol, even though it only lasts 4 hours instead of 6, and (I’m told) isn’t as effective on lowering fevers. We actually buy the Target brand because it’s much cheaper and G actually prefers the dye-free grape flavor it comes in. Get the correct dose from your pediatrician, not from the box.
  • For a fever over 104, call your doc or head to the ER right away. Read more info here.

For an upset tummy

  • Liberally use Pedialyte, either the traditional variety, these more natural versions, or the fun freezer pop kind, which are messy but may be better received, and can be awesome in the hot summer. Georgia had the stomach bug so bad right after her first birthday that she couldn’t even keep down milk or formula, so we had to give her straight Pedialyte for almost three days, then build her back up to regular bottles over the course of a week by mixing in 1 oz. of milk at a time until there was no more Pedialyte. By the way, you can also make your own electrolyte solution.
  • Wait a good half day since their last time throwing up before you even offer bland food. Start with something simple like oatmeal, a banana or toast, or of course breastmilk/formula if that’s all they are eating depending on age.
  • Keep a good stain remover handy for pre-treating bedding, clothes and rugs, and try to stay ahead of the laundry when they zonk out so that you don’t run out of clean sheets or sleepwear. And whatever you do, don’t let them get into bed with you, even if you occasionally co-sleep as we do, or you WILL end up with no clean bed for anyone to rest in!!

For ALL Types of Illness

  • Have lots of fresh sheets, pajamas and clothes on hand & already washed. I recommend owning three crib sheets and at least four seats of pajamas in the right size. A baby with the flu could require three or more changes per night if they toss their cookies, cough until they vomit, or have a runny enough nose that it gets an entire end of the crib messy. Easier said than done, right? The baby getting sick is a guaranteed way to put my laundry timeline into a tailspin for weeks.
  • Offer lots of extra cuddles and as many naps as they want! When Georgia has been sick, I’ve known her to sleep in until 10 then take her usual nap at 1 and stay down until 4, then go right to bed for the night at 7. Just like us, they may need to literally sleep the day away in order to recuperate.
  • Little babies may want to nurse overtime for comfort, and you should let them. G got her first bad cold a few weeks after I had weaned her, and I nursed her again because she needed the comfort. It worked (and I still had milk, which was totally weird and cool).
  • Clean all the toys and play areas when everyone is well again. And don’t forget to buy a new toothbrush!
  • Don’t send them back to school before they are better, for their own good and for the health of all the other families. It just contributes to a cycle where everyone is sick all the time.
  • It shouldn’t have to be said, but everyone in the family needs to get a flu shot every year, including grandparents who babysit, and do your best to get all your child’s vaccines on time. We haven’t had much trouble with ear infections, but our doc always reminds us that a good preventative tip is to let baby drink their bottle/sippy only when upright, not lying down.
  • For the love of God, if you and your spouse are both sick at the same time, call in reinforcements. It will have to be a family member who really, really loves you, or someone who doesn’t care about the fact that they will probably come down with whatever gross illnesss you have, but what else are you going to do when both of you are vying for the bathroom and can’t stand up to do a diaper change without passing out? Not that I say this from experience.

So what did I miss? What works for you? Are there natural remedies out there I should know about? 

Cross your fingers for me that Georgia being sick so often in her early years means I’ll have an easier time of it come Kindergarten, when the babies who never went to day care or preschool tend to catch everything like we are now!