Thursday, August 21, 2014

Big Meadows, oh how I love thee!

Such a perfect day.....I'm so glad I spent it with Sophie, Clara, Mom, Dad, Jen, Jose, Alejo & Sofia.

(The last 7 photos are courtesy of my Dad....thank you, Dad!)

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Fun With Nature

So the girls and I are on the road yet again, doing our best to soak up every last minute of Summer vacation!  We're at my parents right now preparing for a visit to Big Meadows (oh my goodness!).  I'm very excited because Mom & Dad are coming with us.  As an extra special treat, my roommate from college is also joining us and bringing two of her children.  Sophie, Clara and I are thrilled to share one of our favorite places with some of our most favorite people!

Lately, the weather has been cooler (SO NICE!) and quite rainy.  My parents have a number of large oaks around their house and some of the roots have grown back above ground.  The rainfall created small pools in these exposed roots that were the perfect size for a Playmobil party!


There are also mushrooms growing everywhere.....all different kinds.  The oak pools and the mushrooms are too fun and great for a child's (and, okay, a Mom's too) imagination!

75 degrees.....sitting in the shade of a large oak tree....Mom & I sipping on hard cider.....Clara playing quietly......aaaaahhhhh, if Summer is like this all the time, I'll take it!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Reflections on Clara's 3rd Birthday

 Before too much time goes by, I wanted to capture some of my favorite details from Clara's tiny little birthday celebration.  My general rule for birthday parties is to invite the number of children equivalent to my child's age plus one (I've only broken this rule once and boy do I ever regret that ~ it was a DISASTER!).  So Clara had four friends over along with my parents, my cousin and her boyfriend.

In the past, I've thrown down plenty of time and money on the birthday cake.  We've had some stunning cakes over the years (mostly, thanks to my talented friend, Elizabeth!).  This year, because Clara is on a gluten-free (GF) diet, I purchased some GF cupcakes from Trader Joe's (quite good, I might add!).  Yet Clara kept mentioning that she really wanted a cake.  I headed out to the grocery, picked up some GF cake mix and baked a simple cake.  Since I'm a rookie GF Mom, I had no idea that a $5-6 box of cake mix only makes one level (just in case you're wondering why my cake if so short!).  The very day before the party I saw this pin and couldn't get it out of my head.  I raided the girls' massive animal collection, chose a few friends and created the below.  And, I'm not even lying to you, it is my favorite cake we've ever had. I love the whimsy, imagination, sweetness and childhood magic of this cake. Alain and my Dad know how much time I spent laboring over those miniature party hats..... and I'm telling you, it was worth EVERY second.  They were a BIG HIT!

Each year I try to incorporate some birthday wrapping paper that I saved from Tio Iggy's last birthday present.  Last year I was able to wrap a couple of presents in it.  This year a small scrap made up the chimpanzee's party hat!


Mom & Dad blew up all the balloons, around 30 of them in all.  Thank you, Mom & Dad!

Clara's Abu and Nonno Carlo sent this lovely dress from Switzerland.  It is so adorable and was perfect for the party!

The little message board got filled during the party and I've saved all the notes for Clara to read when she gets bigger.

The party was held at brunch time so we had bagels and bubblies.

There was no theme for the party but a strong color theme and loads of yarn pom poms.  I LOVED making the pom poms (use this tool if you ever need to make them ~ it's AWESOME!).  They appeared on the favor boxes, on flower vases and in various other places around the party.

When I sent Alain out to buy champagne, he found this one.  Couldn't be any more perfect!

We had frozen blueberries to keep our drinks cold.....a tip I picked up from a club in New York City!

As I looked back at the photos of Clara unwrapping her presents, I was overcome by how much she has my mannerisms.  Considering the amount of time we spend together, it's not surprising.  Still, it warms my heart.  (Have I mentioned lately how happy I am to have daughters?)

Big Sis was just as excited about all the presents as Clara!

Alain and I gave Clara this tiny little bike as our main gift.  She'd been asking for a bike with training wheels for many months.  Well, she was ecstatic and has probably taken a ride on it every day since.

All in all it was a beautiful day/party.  There's no question that Clara enjoyed it immensely! 

A Big Thanks to Mom & Dad, as always, for making the drive and helping out with all the party prep!
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