Time moves so quickly when you become a parent. I remember people telling me this, but you really have no way of understanding it until you are there yourself. One minute you are pregnant, the next you have a toddler… Matty is two. TWO YEARS OLD! Agh! He’s definitely not a baby anymore. As of April, has been sleeping in a twin bed, potty trained, and weaned from the bottle. He managed all three transitions like a champ, and I couldn’t be more proud of him.

He’s definitely entered the “no” phase, and has an opinion on everything. He’s begun to fight back against his sister; he’s even caused her to submit. The noise level around our house is definitely at the hearing loss level. With a chatty sister, Matty has definitely learned to use his words! His vocabulary is nearly endless now. When he encounters something that he doesn’t know, he is quick to ask. He’s up to sentences of three words, the first ever was back in April, he said “head, bonk, ouch!” and oh my goodness, that was just the most fitting first sentence for him!

Matty is a very physical little guy. He is constantly in motion. He loves sports of all kinds, soccer and football would probably be his two favourites. He’s always saying: kick, throw, hoop, net, ball, in, go, go go! His dad is his favourite “team mate” and he’s constantly telling dad to “come on” while pulling on his hand. He is always climbing, running, and jumping. Thank goodness I had Everly to prepare me for the daily heart failure that accompanies mothering an adventurous child.

His favourite foods are noodles, and fruit. His favourite movie is Wreck it Ralph. He hates baths, and loves to read books. He’s the best cuddler around; always giving hugs and kisses. He is moved by music; rarely will his body be still if there is any kind of music playing. Babeh has created some interesting dance moves, that keep us laughing!

I’m happy that this little man calls me: MOM, mama, mummy, ma, MAMA!

 And of course the compare shot! On the LEFT is Matty at one year old. He weighed 24 pounds, 2 ounces, and was 31 inches tall. On the RIGHT is Matty at two! He currently weighs 29 pounds even, and is 35 1/4 inches tall. He has actually slopped out quite a bit. It is funny to look back at pictures of his first year, I forgot what a chunky monkey he was!


To celebrate Matty’s second birthday we hosted a Vintage Strongman themed birthday party! Matthew himself inspired the theme; he is both freakishly strong for a two year old, and aged beyond his years.

My paper products designs, DIY projects and tablescape were heavily influenced by vintage carnival sideshow posters and actual photographs from the 1930’s and 1940’s. I wanted to play up the dark side of the carnival, but still have it be appropriate for a two year old, so I incorporated some bright, traditional carnival patterns, and “children’s toy” accessories. I used the iconic strong man moustache, and weights as additional design elements to enhance the theme.

The menu was influenced by traditional carnival food: popcorn, cakes, cotton-candy, and salty snacks! There were a few guests who reported a noticeable “sugar high” (oops!). The treat bags held loot inspired by the carnival, the strong man, and his moustache.

Many of the design elements were generously donated to me, and I was very thankful to receive such lovely gifts. Many women in my life helped out with crafting, cooking, and set-up/take-down, I am lucky to be surrounded by so much help and creativity. This was the first party that I got to utilize my brand new Silhouette Cameo for, and all I can say is wow! This lovely machine and I (I’ve named her Joan), have a lot more projects in our future. I can’t believe how easy it made everything. We had a fantastic afternoon with our friends and family; the birthday boy was spoiled with so much love (and many treats!).

And now, the pictures!


Cotton candy barbell cake pops

Marble, tri-flavour cake

Vanilla cupcakes

Assorted macarons

Red velvet cookies

Bite size desserts

Mini strudels

Mini angel food cakes

Rice Krispy treats

Vanilla push up pops

Moustache sugar cookies

Salt water taffy

Kettle cooked ripple chips

Summer fruit


Cherry and grape soda

Apple juice




DIY Crafts:

Paper flag bunting

Snow cone bunting

Peanut and popcorn swags

Moustache and star bunting

Silver plated animals

Vintage cupcake pan cake stand

Paper poppies

Moustache crayons

Peanut jars

Crystal cake stands


Loot bags:

Circus theme pencils and stamps

Moustache shaped crayon, soap, and mini candies

Salt water taffy

Old fashioned peppermint stick





Cake Barbells: Schur to Please Wedding and Specialty Cakes

Cupcakes and cake: Cakes by Beth-Ann

Macarons: Bon Macaron Patisserie

Moustache cookies: Marcia Sedola (contact information available upon request)

Red velvet cookies, bite size desserts and mini strudels: Thrifty Foods Bakery

Washi tape, and paper straws: The Stationary Room

Press Printing, and stickers: Metropol Print Shop

Digital Paper Design: Artbitz Designs

Strongman Clipart: Madame Decolage 

Carnival theme pencils, treat bags, paper plates and napkins, sparkly foam moustache and star shapes, moustache duct tape: Michael’s Craft Store

Popcorn machine and cotton candy machine: Fun Time Inflatables

Present Tent and circus drum: A Thymble Full (contact information available upon request)

Moustache Soaps: Squeaky Clean Soaps

Paper poppy template: Silhouette Shop

Photography: Jessica Bender Photography and Design

Beverage labels, toppers, invitation, popcorn containers, snack containers, lolly labels, and circular stickers: Jessica Bender Photography and Design

Party Styling: Jessica Bender Photography and Design


How did this happen? My baby is four years old… sob. She really hammed it up for this session; striking poses, blowing kisses, and doing Beyonce dance moves. We had a ton of fun at the beach, taking advantage of a little early May heatwave. We interviewed her again this year, some of her answers stayed the same, some changed quite a bit. She’s getting too big! And that’s all I have to say, or I am going to get emotional and cry.

Everly’s Fourth Birthday Party

This year was the first year that I didn’t have a say in Everly’s birthday party. She wanted a “Beyonce” party, and there were no if’s, and’s or but’s about it! She has been obsessed with Beyonce since she saw the 2013 Superbowl Halftime show. She looked back at me, with stars and pure rapture in her eyes, she said, “I want to BE her,” the passion in her voice was unmistakable. Beyonce is frequently on our television, iPad, and in our conversations. When selecting clothes, Everly asks herself “what would Beyonce wear?” As a result, she has a fairly sizeable collection of clothing with sequins, glitter, and rhinestones.

When Everly first said she wanted a Beyonce party, I was a little bit stumped. I wasn’t sure how to do a party that would be appropriate for her age group. I sat with the idea for a few days, Googling Beyonce and learning a little bit more about her. I noticed that she was going to have a cover on the March issue of  Vogue, once I saw the spread, the ideas starting flowing! I decided to “recreate” the photo shoot with Everly, and use the Superbowl Halftime Show as inspiration for decorations. There was a lot of glitter!!! I went with a mini-mogul approach, and focused on the ways in which Beyonce has been a positive role model by including motivational quotes.

I designed the invitation to look like an oversized concert ticket. I used a photo of Everly, taken with inspiration from Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter World tour promotional posters. I made beverage labels, toppers, and popcorn boxes; even custom gift bags with a “House of Everly” logo (inspired by the House of Dereon). The swag bags had “Everly 4″ mixed CD’s, with the cover inspired by Beyonce’s 4. There were also Everly 4 pencils, and of course some bling; custom made rings by Little Wren!

When Everly saw the party room, her face lit up, and every late night design, or craft session was immediately worth it!


Vegetable sceptres

Fruit star kebabs

Birthday cake (orange and vanilla)

Mini cupcakes (raspberry vanilla)

Berry apple crisp push up pops (raspberries and apples)

Candy and caramel popcorn

Louboutin Cookies

Halo cakes (mini angel food cakes with raspberry sauce)

Ring cakepops (blackberry lemon)

Macarons (raspberry, mango, tropical)

Blueberry lemon loaf

Grammy lollipops



Party Design: Jessica Bender

Graphic Design: Jessica Bender Photography

Photography: Jessica Bender Photography and Kim Kalyn

Press Printing: Metropol Print Shop

Ribbon and Washi Tape: Michael’s Craft Store

Cupcakes and Ring Cakepops: Serena’s Sweets

Cake: Schur to Please Wedding and Speciality Cakes

Cookies: Marcia Sedola (contact information available upon request)

Macarons: Bon Macaron

Popcorn: Kernel’s Popcorn

Lollipops: Whirly Pops

Pencils: Oneup Designs

Rings: Little Wren

Location: Gordon Head Recreation Centre

Flower stems supplied by: Poppy’s Floral Art

A big thank you to my intern Emma for all of her help with this party- you’re a rockstar!

Welcoming Isaac

I have been lucky enough to witness six human beings enter this world; two of them being my own children. Isaac’s birth, on April 16 of this year was the first one I have been to since having my children. The other three I was years away from babies of my own, and knew nothing!! It sure makes a difference when you know what’s going on, and when you have an idea of how much pain the labouring woman is in, or how hard it is to give birth. It’s both joyful, and scary. It is physically, emotionally, and psychologically demanding; it’s not called labour because it’s easy!

Isaac took his time in arriving. He was born at exactly forty-two weeks gestation. Mama’s body needed a bit of help to kickstart things, but once her body got going, man did it move! It took twenty-one hours of labour, and three hours of intense pushing for this little gent to be born. His mom and dad were an amazing team. It was so moving to watch a couple as they welcome their first child. It was amazing to take pictures. At times I found it hard to adjust my settings because my eyes were filled with happy tears.

When he finally did arrive, Isaac weighed in at eight pounds, one ounce, was nineteen inches long, and is head measured at fourteen and three quarter inches!! He’s a perfectly made little squish.

Many thanks to Megan and Brendon for inviting me to share this event with them, and for letting me share these pictures with all of you. I’m so proud of my little nephew. xoxo

Jennifer Jones - April 25, 2013 - 5:32 pm

omg Jessica those are beautiful pictures I’m glad Megan has such a great friend……….and to Megan and Brendan he is absolutely adorable and Issac is blessed to have the parents he does…..congratulations Megan………much love Jen

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