Happy Birthday

My sweet little baby is 2. I cannot believe I'm typing this and wishing her a Happy Birthday. Time has gone by so quickly. Seriously, like a blink of an eye.

Her 1st birthday seems like it was just yesterday ...

... and now she's two-years-old.

She has grown up - and changed - so much in this last year and really started to develop into a big girl. Her personality shines, her temper flares, she's finally starting to talk, and the Iron Chef and I can't seem to get enough of her.

Her birthday party bash was a success (stay tuned for more pictures tomorrow). She flaunted around in her flowy skirt and enjoyed every minute with her friends.

Happy Birthday, birthday girl!


Tea for Two

Dusting off an old box in my daughter's room is something I do not frequently do. Mostly because everything in her room and closet gets used or worn on a regular basis. All except one little box and a pink Vera Bradley bag holding a few treasures. This is a special box, colored in pink flowers and vines, which holds Ms. A's special tea set. This was a gift she received from her great Grandma and Grandpa for her 1st birthday party.

Since the little princess was finally feeling better, we decided to do something special today -- have a tea party -- and dust off that special box. We only save this set for special occassions because it's glass, small and breakable. We keep the more child friendly kitchen items out on a regular basis, but this tea set hides on the top shelf. :)

With dishes fit for the little queen herself, Ms. A and I indulged in cup ...

... after cup after cup of tea and enjoyed Melissa and Doug cookies as well.

Here's a photo of the adorable tea set and the setting up process. The bunnies and pastel colors are fittingly appropriate for a little girl and the set is neatly packed away in its own special basket.

The table setting. Thank you, A!

And although not easy to do, our tea party finally came to a close and the pieces were put back together in their basket. Dusting off the box and taking the special tea set out of it's basket is such a special treat for all young little girls. To see Ms. A squeel with delight and excitement is amazing. And, to know that she actually understand the concepts of a tea party. She pretends to sip on the cup, pours the tea or somethings coffee, makes eating noises and everything in between.

Tea for two. And, two for tea.


1st Chalk Experience

There is a first for everything, right?

Well Ms. A recently had her first experience with sidewalk chalk. I was excited because she's been into her art projects lately. But, she was still feeling a bit under the weather and we found out it was actually pretty cold outside. Not a great combination for outside play. [When I say cold, I mean like 55 degrees. Haha. Thank you California for such mild winters. But yes, it was cold].

We started off actually drawing on the ground and using the chalk the way it was meant to be used.

Then, Ms. A started zoning. Can you see her staring into nothing? I can.

Apparently the cold, hard ground looked more appealing than making little chalk animals and having chalky fingers.

There you have it. Our 5-minute experience with chalk ended just as quickly as it began.


A Little Bit of Inspiration

A sneak peak of some birthday party prep work. Yikes. Why on earth did I make this so time consuming. Ms. A is only going to be two-years-old. Probably because I saw these (see below) in a Pottery Barn Kids catalogue and fell in love with them, but not with the price tag. I thought they would be a fun accessory for her playroom upstairs.

Then I started thinking, wow, hmmmm, I could really do these. When Iron Chef and I decided on a Jungle Safari Birthday Party theme for Ms. A's 2nd birthday bash - we decided it was a must for the little kiddos to celebrate with lifesized jungle animals. Let's just say it's a good thing Ms. A has been low key this week watching movies and having quiet time while her little ears heal from their ear infection and her cough subsides. It's given me plenty of time to draw, cut, paint, and paint, and paint some more.

I would like to add that these PB Wall Decals will run $99 to $129. Or at least for the jungle themed ones.

I put my thinking cap on and went straight to work. My supplies - my creative hand, paint, poster boards, drawing pencil, paint brushes, and a little bit of elbow grease.

Next, I hand drew all of the animals (with inspiration from Pottery Barn) and cut those babies out with a pair of scissors.

Proceeding to paint and paint and paint some more, the animals came to life. One by one. I am more than thrilled to see how well they are turning out. My price tag is probably 95% less than the Pottery Barn decals so I'll take it!

Here's my favorite one thus far. A little blue elephant. At a price tag of $1.97 for a large blue paint, $1.97 for white paint, and $.97 for a small blue paint. Let's just say $5. And, this paint was shared with other animals as well and I have TONS leftover for future projects.

My elephant. My $5 DOLLAR, elephant, might I add.

Or, Pottery Barn's Elephant. At a price tag of $119.

You make the call! My adorable little blue elephant for $5 or pottery barn's WAY OVERPRICED elephant for $119.

The decision is easy. Thank you, Pottery Barn!

And, this is only the beginning of the fun safari decorations and jungle themed birthday party plans I have up my sleeve for next weekend.

Happy almost Birthday, sweet little A.


Losing My Mind

It must be a toddler thing. To stick 'something' in some place where it does not belong. Such as her sippy cup. No, it doesn't belong in the master bedroom closet underneath the Iron Chef's hanging pants. Nor does it mean that packing peanuts are to be shoved in between cereal boxes in my pantry.

I thought I was losing my mind - and my belongings - recently because certain items just seem to disappear or to be moved from their permanent spot.

I went to quickly throw on my New Balance running shoes before heading out to finish a few errands and came across this ...

Yes, something that went missing. I purchased window clings for Ms. A to help her learn her numbers and colors and found them in my shoes.

So no, I'm not losing my mind. I'm most definitely not losing anything, or at least most things; they have simply been misplaced and replaced by my lovingly toddler daughter. However, I am quickly realizing that if I ask her where she may have placed something. She will find it for me - alas - after going on the most random hunt to the most random place; she'll find it [sometimes] and other times she looks at me like I'm crazy and losing my mind. That, maybe I am.


That Was a Long Day

Yes, today was a long day indeed. Ms. A has been feeling under the weather all week and I finally took her into the doctors. Poor little thing. First of all, her weight has dropped to 24.7 lbs (20th percentile) and we found out she has a bacterial infection, virus of some sort, and an ear infection. Her first ear infection, might I add. Once again, poor little thing.

Our day has been incredibly low key with lots of books, snuggle time, and television watching. Anything to keep her from being active.

Our other fun symptoms include - horrible cough, almost vomiting every time she coughs because she has so much mucous in her throat, a fever (the latest addition), and I can't think of what else.

As for her remedy, lots of doses of love, coupled with the following: Vick's vapor rub, amoxicillin, back to using her flovent inhaler, Tylenol to control her fever, a cool mist humidifier, and more loving snuggles.

Yes, it's been a long day. However, we were thrilled with our pediatrician, whom we met for the first time.

She has a follow-up appointment the first week in March for her 2-year appt. Let's hope everything goes better than this last one.


Playgroup at the Park

Another beautiful day in California and another fun playgroup at the park. Here's Ms. A playing with some of her friends from playgroup. There was a pretty big group of us, but I didn't snap photos of everyone.

Now, Ms. A is recovering from a cold so we're stuck inside in front of the television and reading books. Anything to keep her to lay low. That's a hard concept for a little active toddler. Looks like we'll be enjoying the sunshine through the windows today.

Mardi Gras Madness

Happy Mardi Gras!

What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than with a neighborhood family fun event. Fun, food, good times, a little parade and lots of crazy kids! What a blast. And, for those that are wondering, yes beads were given and received. But ... for saying please and thank you. ;) haha.

Preping our floats, tricycles, strollers, and all of the above for our mini parade down our road (we live on this road, too). Ah, yes, take note of the beautiful GREEN grass. It's warm in California right now and we're L-O-V-I-N-G the warm weather!

The best float of the bunch (and our hostess as well).

The princess wagon-mobile.

One of Ms. A's favorite friends. They hug after every playdate.

Ms. A's ride.

Part of the group.

The BOBmobile. What would us moms do without a BOB? This was definitely gets a photo in the parade.

Another semi-group shot.

The big turnaround in someone's driveway.

A few close up shots of Ms. A and her tricycle.

The queen bee herself. :)

I wasn't able to snap photos of all the floats and all the kids, but we had quite a crew! Afterwards we enjoyed jumbalaya and all kinds of other Mardi Gras foods.


Perma Pen

Ms. A is obsessed with art projects. Yes, to the extreme. I have no converted an entire cabinet in my laundry room to her project supplies. Yes, she's not even 2 years old and can be completely satisfied sitting at her plastic picnic table with a bucket full of crayons, markers, pens, coloring books, stickers, etc. All sounds good, right? Until you think about the work pen. And, well, possibly even the word marker.

I was admiring Ms. A's choice of clothing and apparel this morning and decided to snap a few pictures of her walking around with one boot on. Or, as she says, "Boo," since she can't say that last part of Boot.

Here it goes.

Everything seemed fine and dandy. She was playing and I was unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the kitchen and family room. Everything seemed fine and dandy, until that pen came back to haunt me.

Yes, that pen ...

... and the one boot that apparently turned into a coloring book or sheet of paper. Literally minutes after I snapped the first picture and turned my back to attempt to do something product. Bam, pen on her boot. Thank you art projects and Ms. A's love for them and everything creative.

Drats! Those were a cute clean[ish] pair of boots. Maybe the mud from outside will hep wash away the remainder of the ink that wouldn't come out after a little scrubbing and elbow grease.


Hair Did

So I mentioned (back in Dec) that I chopped off my hair again. However, just to clarify, I guess it's not really a chop, just a hair cut. My husband, the Iron Chef, very much dislikes short short hair so I need to make sure this hair style qualifies for a longer style, which, it does. And, very much indeed. It still can be put back in a pony if need be. Well, almost. I'd say that qualifies for long hair.

Since I never really snapped pictures of my last chop, I mean hair cut, here they are this time.

I love it very much. Thanks Ambiance Salon in Lincoln!


Eye + Heart + U!

Happy Valentine's Day! The "Chef" family wishes you a wonderful day full of hugs, kisses and lots of love.

I (eye)

Love (heart)

You! (U)

A sassy little pose

Kiss, kiss. Happy Valentine's Day to you.