16 January 2010

Birthday Girl

I think the birthday girl had a nice fourth birthday.

Happy Birthday!

I know everybody says it, but really, FOUR? What the hell?

We celebrated on Friday with Daddy, who had just flown in on a red-eye from DC, ready for a party! Let's ROCK AND RO-zzzzzzzzz... Daddy? Daddy?

On her fourth birthday

We went to Sesame Street Live and played with favorite neighbor Emma.

Bella and Emma

Bella set the menu for dinner: macaroni and cheese, apples, ice cream. Then we opened presents. She got a new book, dollhouse furniture, a video game, some art supplies, and I had been working all week on a special present. A Princess and the Pea set!

The Princess and the Pea

It has twelve mattresses (just like in the Book), a pillow, princess, blanket, and of course, a pea!

The Princess and the Pea

I also made a bag, which is where I was finally able to use some of my previously hoarded Heather Ross princess and the pea fabric. So cute!

The Princess and the Pea

Today, we had the big Strawberry Shortcake party with 7 little friends. We really berried it up!

We had strawberry shortcakes, strawberry milk, strawberry lemonade, strawberry jelly beans.

Cupcakes and Strawberry Lemonade

Birthday girl!

Strawberry Pinata

That's the pinata we made. It took forever. But it was a big hit. BIG HIT! Groan!

Good hit Bella!

Pinata Frenzy!

I even made strawberry play dough, played strawberry music, and had strawberry air freshener. It was totally over the top and so fun.

Party table

We played a couple strawberry-themed games, but mostly the girls were having a great time playing with all my old Strawberry Shortcake toys. Which, luckily, my parents saved, so I don't have obsess over anything on ebay. Thank goodness.

Happy Birthday Bella!

Happy Birthday Bella!

11 January 2010

Savor the Sweetness

Emily and Bella

I am constantly amazed at how sweet Bella is. She is thoughtful and sincere and genuinely compassionate.* When I do something like stub my toe, she will demand "which toe?" and go get an ice pack. She loves to setup Emily with lots of toys, which Emily typically throws aside so she can crawl around and eat sock lint, and Bella will run around, "She needs fresh toys!" gathering different toys. At preschool they wrote down what each kid said they wanted to be when they grew up and Bella was the only one who said "a momma." Awwww.

I realize this is probably a big sister phase, and the clock is ticking before the crazy I-hate-you-all-and-I-want-a-cell-phone tweenager phase kicks in. But for now, let's savor the sweetness. I thought a good way to encourage her compassion and thoughtfulness would be to have her help me volunteer. So I did a little searching around for good pre-school volunteer opportunities, and found a bunch of great ideas. When both girls are older, there will be a lot more "on-site" opportunities, but for now I stuck to the at-home things.
  • Minnesota Visiting Nurse Agency has many ideas for "kits" you can shop for and assemble at home and bring to their offices for their home-visit nurses to bring when they visit low-income families. The one that I think would be most interesting to Bella is the "Rub a Dub, Safe in the Tub Kit." It includes baby towels and washcloths, baby wash/shampoo, wipes, diapers, diaper cream, a bath toy, and some onesies. Lots of fun things to put together! And don't you love thinking of a little baby having fun in the bath, all clean and splashy? There is nothing cuter than a baby having fun in the bath. Another donation idea they gave was that they are always in need of books. Because, they say on the website, 95% of the households they work with do not qualify as what they consider "literary homes," which means they have less than 12 books in the house. IN THE WHOLE HOUSE. I realize I am sheltered, but OMG. We have like 1200 books. My heart just broke.
  • Habitat for Humanity cookie baker! How fun is that idea! We love to make cookies. And apparently Habitat for Humanity likes to deliver cookies to job sites to reward volunteers. But we would just deliver them to the main office, so that's easy enough.
  • Chemo Angel. Kind of a heavy subject for a little kid, so I'm going to dumb it down: sick person needs cheering up. I think at a basic, non-cancerous level, this is the kind of personal mothering activity that Bella is drawn to. And since it is all through the mail, it is pretty non-threatening. I think she'll be a wonderful chemo angel assistant!
So those are my ideas for my sweet little girl. I'll let you know how they go!

*Just to be clear, Bella has her moments. Two nights ago she screamed like a banshee and shouted "I AM SO ANGRY! AND FRUSTRATED! AND NOW I AM SAD!" (she will continue adding emotions--scared, lonely, thirsty--for as long as they keep surfacing) all because I had put her stool in front of the sink to brush her teeth. But it was the wrong sink! I AM SO ANGRY!

06 January 2010

Happy Birthday Brent!

Pineapple Dream Cake

I think Brent had a nice birthday. I made lasagna, the recipe from Apples for Jam, more or less, and it was sooo good. That is one of my favoritist cookbooks ever. The recipes are right up my alley and all of the text and pictures are about children/childhood. It has such a cozy, sweet feel. Love it.

Happy Birthday!

We (Bella and I) also made pineapple dream cake, which is just yellow cake with special pineapply frosting. Bella added all the ingredients to the bowl, even the 3 eggs. She is actually becoming quite a help in the kitchen!

Happy Birthday Daddy!

We were highly amused by little 10 month Emily Bea stuffing chunk after chunk of cake into her mouth. She ate half my piece! When she was 3 months old, she was "student of the month" at her daycare and I had to fill out a sheet of her 'favorites,' and for favorite food, I jokingly put Twinkies. WHO KNEW?

The girls and I had a fun day getting ready for Daddy's birthday. We also went to Party City to get ready for Bella's birthday! She was so excited and cute, picking out her Strawberry Shortcake supplies. And then pouring through them when we got home, and showing them all to Daddy when he got home. So sweet!

Here she is swimming!

First Swimming Lesson!

She was not as big of a fan as she looks in the photo. But hopefully it'll get easier. I signed her up at Foss, which is the yuppie swim school around here, in an effort to make her first experience as great as possible. And I suppose it was a pretty good first lesson, but the instructor decided to spend the last 10 minutes making them take turns putting their ears in the water. Which destroyed Bella. I ended up squatting at the edge of the pool, trying to pat her back while she sobbed that she didn't like swimming lessons. Kind of heart breaking. I have a feeling this experience is going to involve lots of bribes and some advanced parenting techniques.

02 January 2010

A couple recent projects

Check out this pirate house! I made it for my swashbuckling nephew.

Pirate Playhouse

Pirate Playhouse, side

I got the idea from missprettypretty's etsy shop. She has amazing card table tents. I can't imagine how she does it.

And another playhouse, except this one is about the size of a lunch box. It was a Christmas gift for Emily Bea.

Sweet Little Play House

It even has a little Emily to live inside!

A wee little occupant

Once in a while she likes to chew on the buttons or on the point of the little Emily's head. Other than that, she would rather bang on her piano.

One of my next projects is a Princess and the Pea set for Bella's birthday. I even found pea green roving to needle felt the pea. So exciting! Bella isn't too interested in the whole handmade scene at the moment, but I've decided she still needs a special something from mom. And did I mention I found PEA GREEN ROVING? She must have a pea. At least she was excited when we whipped up a sleeping bag for her My Little Pony the other day.

How were your holidays? We had a nice relaxing week, did lots of cleaning and organizing. A nice way to start the new year--clean and organized!