Flower Garden: Penelope’s First Birthday

pbday2Penelope’s first birthday has come and gone, and I’ve lived to tell the tale. Barely.  We actually had to reschedule the birthday just hours before people were going to show up due to a nasty little stomach bug that was making its way around our house.  Five days later, with the family healthy, we re-invited our guests over for dinner and cake, and almost everyone was still able to come! I enjoyed having my house decorated for a week.  It was nice to enjoy all the hard work for more than just an afternoon.

The party was inspired by our beautiful and bright flower of a girl, Ms. P herself. I wanted the feel of a cheerful and enchanting garden.  To start, the invitations were folded, hand-cut cardstock that opened up to look like a flower.  They were embellished with pink-dyed coffee filters and a printed yellow center.  Time consuming? Yes. But worth it (to me).

pbdayinvite     pbdayinvite2

The cake table was centered under two of the giant flowers and Penelope’s name in gold (stolen briefly from her room).  I also made the big #1, which I covered in hand-cut green leaves. The cake was made by Josh’s dad.  A pretty, pink flower.  It was amazing and yummy! I used a vintage, floral tablecloth and watercolor floral napkins as finishing touches.




pbday15For the party, I made ten GIANT paper flowers in yellow, light pink, and fuschia.  They were 5 and 6 feet tall on bamboo poles.  I LOVED them, and Penelope couldn’t stop pointing at them and smiling.  They were placed all around the living room and dining area. I also hung up her weekly picture collages that I made using Postal Pix. I hung a green leaf garland above.

pbday18There was a guest sign-in area, where I asked each guest to write a birthday wish or a guess into Penny’s future.  We will be saving the notes for her to open in 20 years! I gathered some favorite Penny pictures from the year as a backdrop for the guest table. My, how she’s grown!

pbday14pbday12pbday13And, now, for one thousand pictures of the beautiful birthday girl and her fabulous family.




pbday20And, of course, the cake pictures…

pbday23pbday24pbday25pbday26pbday27pbday28pbday29pbday30pbday31pbday32pbday33pennybday1Happy Birthday sweet Penelope Marie! WE LOVE YOU!




Project Simplify: Update

Well, it’s been a couple of months since I have posted, but life has continued and my efforts have been elsewhere lately.  Summer is in full swing here in Louisiana, so our days are filled with playing outside and going on “adventures” in the area.  I prefer to spend my days playing with my kiddos, so I have been working hard to not work so hard around the house (does that make sense?) I initiated Project Simplify a couple of months ago to help me get my life in order and establish a routine for myself.  This post is to show myself that I HAVE made progress, even when it doesn’t always feel that way.

kitchenFirst off, I have been doing much better with housecleaning and maintenance chores.  I adopted a “morning routine” and “evening routine” that I read about on some blog somewhere.  In the morning, I unload the dishwasher, start a load of laundry, and prep dinner.  This has been SO incredibly helpful to get my day going and to feel like I have already crossed a ton off my to-do list.  The dinner prep part has been the most helpful, and I seriously encourage ALL stressed mommies to get into this habit.  With dinner either in the crockpot, thawing for the oven, or just prepped and ready to go, I feel like I don’t have to worry about it and don’t have that crazy 4:30 meltdown period in my day anymore.  It has been amazing!

My evening routine is a little more work, but it really works well for our schedule.  Once the kids are in bed (usually by 7:30 or 7:45pm), I get ALL dishes in the dishwasher, wipe down sink and counters, sweep kitchen, and get the playroom back in a state of order.  I can usually be sitting and relaxing by 8:30pm.  I love the feeling of waking up to a clean kitchen, and the kiddos appreciate having a clean space to start their morning play.

preplistAnother big change I have made to simplify my life is to have a big shopping and cooking day.  I have tried it twice since my last post, and I am really loving the time it gives me in the long run.  I will meal plan about 25 meals (includes double batches), shop for almost everything, and then spend a day cooking a TON and freezing meals.  For the rest of the month, I either pull from the freezer or have most ingredients on hand to whip up a quick dinner.  I only have to make a quick grocery run once or twice the rest of the month for fruit or a whole chicken.  (I am hoping to get a deep freezer soon, so I can have room for ALL my meat for the month at once.)

I really feel like I am finally starting to “figure out” this phase of my mommy life.  The kids are in good routines, the flow of our day is lovely, and we have time and energy to really get out and enjoy life.  I know soon enough things will change again, and I will have to get a new plan and adapt once more. But I kind of love that about mommyhood.  It is a constant challenge but with never-ending motivation to be and do the very best!

The above pictures are from my Instagram feed. Follow along @angehayden for a glimpse into our happy little life!

Trying to Simplify


One thing I am good at: getting my kids on a routine.  I don’t think I could bear getting out of bed if I didn’t have an expectation of how my day with two littles would go.  Jonah has had a solid routine for almost two years now, and although it has changed from stage to stage, he knows and expects it.  Let’s just say, you don’t want to be around if he misses a nap.  Penelope already seems like a much more laid-back kid, but even she gets fussy and overtired when our routine is off for the day.

I’m not a drill sergeant.  I will be flexible one day a week.  Sometimes.  :)

It is just really important to keeping my kids and myself happy when we have a flow to our day.  So, here’s where we get to my problem.  I can’t seem to get MYSELF on any sort of routine, and it’s driving me crazy! The house is never cleaned in any order.  The grocery shopping/cooking is random, even when I try to meal plan.  Projects around the house don’t seem to ever get finished.  My hobbies (aka blogging and reading blogs) are inconsistent (ahem, Ipostonceamonth, ahem).  What is WRONG with me?!?! Why is it so easy for me to manage the littles but not myself?

I’m declaring the rest of this month “Simplify and Organize My Life” month.  I want to FINALLY figure out a cleaning/cooking/shopping/planning/project-doing routine for me.  One that works and that is simple enough to actually stick to.  I am a stay-at-home mom for goodness sakes.  The major blessing of that: I HAVE TIME! I need to use my time more wisely and get myself together.  If it’s on the blog, then it has to happen.  Right? :)

I would love any tips or tricks you may have on keeping yourself in a simple, weekly routine.  How do you find the time to get all the chores and personal stuff done without feeling bogged down and crazy? I’m looking forward to posting what I decide to do soon.  First on my list: carve out weekly blogging time.  No, seriously.  I miss this and you all!


we’ve been doing a lot of playing outside,


a lot of learning new things,


a lot of getting some sun,lately3

a lot of being handsome,lately4

a lot of being potty-trained too (!),lately5

a lot of chatting with friends,lately6

and a lot of having adorable feet.lately7

Love these days.