Tea Time for ONE!

The weekend before Everly’s first birthday, we had a tea party for her at our home. As a little girl, I loved having little tea parties. I am sure she will enjoy having them too, and figured I might as well start her young. Right?

I did a lot of prep work beforehand, and it still felt like I was running around like a chicken with my head cut-off, the morning of.

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The pom-poms I made myself out of tissue paper – they were super easy to make (I will post on how to make them soon). The banner I also made out of scrapbook paper, and the balloons were ordered from Party City.

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The first birthday stat board was surprisingly easy to make, and fun! I purchased a piece of white foam board from Michaels for $4.99, and covered it with black chalk board paint. I also purchased some chalk board markers, which were $19.99 but I had a 40% off coupon (for Michaels). I planned out the design on a piece of paper, and in some places I sketched it out lightly in pencil first. It turned out pretty good!

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The tea cups and saucers were one of my favourite parts. One of them was Steve’s grandma’s, which I chose from her collection when she passed away; and the other three are my Baba’s, and I chose them when my mom packed up my Baba’s belongings before she moved in with my Mom. (The spoons are also hers.)

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The plates/napkins and cutlery were from Dollarama, the paper straws I got at Target, and the candy I purchased from Bulk Barn. I thought it was a classic touch to put them in my fine china (which never gets used). After all, it’s a tea party; might as well be fancy!

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The shortbread I made myself, and picked up the cookie-cutters at Michaels. The Raspberry Jam Thumb-Print Cookies I also made from scratch and they were a big hit! I will be posting the recipe for that as well. The best part about them was the jam was homemade!

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Oh the cupcakes…mmm. I also made these myself, the night before her party. I feel like it was a bit ambitious to use coloured icing as it was more time-consuming to make separate batches of buttercream, but it was definitely worth it! The piping turned out alright – overall, I was quite pleased with how they turned out, and I think the tea party guests would agree!

I still wanted Everly to have a full-sized cake, at least for her first birthday. I found a local home-based cake business by the name of “Not A Cupcake” and she made an amazing tea-pot cake. It was much larger than I was expecting and I really didn’t need to make the cupcakes, but it was fun to have both. The cake only cost $40, and she threw in a free “smash cake” for her (details on that to come). I was so impressed with it – she did an amazing job on the design, and it was delicious!

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I wonder what was going through her little head…

A few more pictures of the afternoon…

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It was a great birthday tea party!

 

Video Baby Monitor Review

When I was pregnant with Maxton, I never really thought about purchasing a video monitor. I didn’t want to have the option to spy, because I was afraid I would just constantly stare at the monitor. He slept in our room for the first six months, so at that time I realized I wanted something great and reliable. I liked the idea of the Angelcare monitor, because it had the pad to put under the mattress to detect their breathing. We ended up coming across the same type of monitor by Tommee Tippee, The Closer To Nature Sensor Pad. It was the same idea as the Angel Care monitor but had a great two-way audio feature so you could talk to the baby from the parent monitor. This comes in handy to this day! We love it.

So when Miss Everly came along, I decided I wanted another great monitor. This time around we decided it would be nice to have a video monitor. It would be fun to spy on Everly in her crib, and we figured we could use it on Maxton when we move him into his big-boy-bed, to see if he actually STAYS in his bed without us having to go in every five minutes.

About a month-and-a-half ago there was a sale on some monitors at Babies R Us, and one caught my eye. The Summer Infant Baby Touch Plus Digital Colour Video Monitor. It retails for $269.99CA, but it was on sale for $169.99CA.

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It seemed like a great deal so I purchased it. I had read some reviews online beforehand, and a few mentioned the monitor would go “out of range” often, so this concerned me, but I thought I would give it a shot.

What a piece of CRAP! I cannot believe this item retails for that price. Within less than a month of purchasing it, it stopped working all together. All that would display was “Out of Range”, and the audio would not work either. Even if I was outside the door, the same message appeared. I wanted to throw it out the window. Also, from day one, the temperature gauge was off by ten degrees. So it would say 81 degrees, but it was actually 71 in the house. I loved the size of the screen, and that the touch screen allowed you to pan the camera, but this product is horrible and I give it a 3/10 based on the fact it costs so much and stopped working within a month. I read further reviews and the majority of them seemed to have this issue, so I can’t say it was just a dud. Back to the store it went.

PROS: Great video quality, being able to adjust the camera angle from the parent unit, compact, large screen, two-way communication

CONS: Epensive, horrible range, stopped working, temperature gauge incorrect

I then decided to try the Vtech Safe & Sound Video Monitor, which retails for $99.99CA.

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I give this monitor a 0/10. This one didn’t even last 24 hours in our house. There is nothing I liked about the monitor. The screen is small (which I knew when I purchased it), the quality of the picture is awful (both night and day), there is no temperature display (although it shows it in the picture), it lost signal within hours of being on, and the audio does not stay on. It automatically shuts itself off if there is no change in the sound in the room, which also shuts the video off – so you cannot hear that white noise sound of the monitor. (Some people may like this feature, I don’t.) The monitor kicks back in when your baby cries, although in the little time it did work, there was 15 second delay. Not acceptable to me. To me it’s enough time for a babe to cough and choke, or throw up, without me knowing (perhaps it seems dramatic, but still). Fail.

PROS: None

CONS: Poor video quality, sound is only activated when child cries, poor range, small screen, no temperature display

At this point I was feeling defeated, and feeling as though I wasn’t going to find a decent video monitor at an acceptable price point.

I thought I would try one more. I came across the Lorex Care ‘n’ Share Video Baby Monitor. This monitor retails for $149.99CA and I purchased it on sale for $129.99.

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I wasn’t familiar with this brand but decided I would go for it.

I am giving this one a 9/10! It’s a keeper! I am impressed with the monitor overall and would recommend it to anyone looking for a video monitor.

PROS: Large screen, great video quality, good range, good battery life, two-way communication, temperature display, nature music that can be played through the baby’s unit

CONS: Cannot change camera angle from parent unit, nature music cycles through various sounds, rather than being able to choose one sound only, parent unit is on the larger side (Steve jokes it’s like an iPad mini)

The “cons” really aren’t anything major, and I was just picking at things that I would change if I could.

I hope this helps for anyone out there looking for a decent video baby monitor!