Monday, June 28, 2010

Bella's Favorite Chicken

My camera is lost forever--left at O'Hare Airport (otherwise known as the Pit of Dispair). This makes it difficult to blog, you know, with no pictures. However, my dear friend Kelly had compassion on me and sent me these snaps of one of our recent trips to Silver Beach in St. Joseph, Michigan.
Silver Beach is THE beach. If we mention a beach, it's this one. There are other lovely beaches, at Warren Dunes, or the Indiana Dunes State Park, but Silver Beach is delightful. As evidenced by the smiles on these two crazy faces.
Bella loves "Chicken" as she calls Colton. Loves him, loves what he loves (the movie "Cars", actual cars, swimming, whatever), loves to be just like him. And now Chicken has left us--headed to his new home in the Great White North of Alberta, Canada, with the rest of his family. When we went to the pool today, she got excited about seeing Chicken, since we usually do. I didn't have the heart or the ability to explain to her, so I just smiled. And cried a little inside. We miss you, Galbraiths!

(We miss you, Bradys, and Sandersons, too, but I don't have pictures of you guys. Send me some, and I'll dedicate a post to you. :)

Friday, June 4, 2010

Toads, toads, toads.

I have described my abhorrence of frogs and toads before on this blog. So jumpy. So unexpectedly jumpy. Yuck. However, my little Mimi princess girl has turned into a toad QUEEN. She finds at least one toad in my yard every day.

At least one, and usually two or three.

And with someone I love so much finding so much enjoyment in the ugly, hoppy creatures, it's hard for me to continue to loath them. But I still won't touch them.

(And here's the thing, really. As a mom, I want my girls to experience things fearlessly. So I try to pretend that I would really love to hold that toad later, but at the moment, I have some other pressing task. I think Mimi is still fooled, but I'm pretty sure Liv has seen through my little act.)

She's taken toads to preschool.

She has called both her grandmas to talk about her newfound pets.
She's even tested that "Princess and the Frog" fable about kissing a toad. (And I'm not sure whether she'd be more delighted having her little toad turn into a prince, or herself turn into a toad. Both sound equally exciting.)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

She's 7!

Olivia is 7! SEVEN years old. Didn't she just barely look like this?

And this?

And now she's old enough to want to do the writing on her own birthday cake?

Let me be accurate. She wanted to do the writing on her birthday cake, but she's also old enough to get incredibly frustrated when the "p"s are wobbly and the "y" is at the wrong angle, so after one word, she had me help by guiding her hands and telling her when to squeeze and when to stop. But still it looks pretty good, eh?

And let me tell you, it tasted amazing. Pioneer Woman's Life by Chocolate cake, with dulce de leche between the layers and ganache on top? Awesome. This girl of mine is a choc-o-holic, and she doesn't like cake mix cakes or store-bought frosting. So, we indulged. And it was delicious.

But then, a week later, we needed to have a friend party. And what better theme for that momentous 7th birthday than Rainbows. (I wish I had seen this link the week before the party, rather than the day after.) That calls for rainbow cupcakes, does it not? (White cake mix cupcakes with food-colored store-bought frosting. Violated every Olivia principle in the book, but they were cute!)

Even rainbow on the inside, right? Pretty tricky, eh? (Idea from here.) Just divide your batter into four Ziploc bags and add about a gazillion (really, 10) drops of food coloring to each part, and layer them in. The yellow isn't showing very well in these two. The best-looking ones had all been eaten by this point.

We decorated by tying rainbow colors of cheap ribbon to a big brass ring. (90 yards of ribbon, and no, I am not exaggerating.) I use that felt birthday banner for every single birthday, and those red and pink starburst things were made from a Martha Stewart kit I got on clearance at Michael's two years ago. We use them for every party as well. With a turquoise water jug and a Bolivian tablecloth, the porch was set.

We made straw-and-Cricut-flower leis, in rainbow colors, of course.

We danced the hula in our leis.

We sat for only a moment on the couch.

And then it was time for us to capitalize on the 87-degree weather we've been having around here with some slip-n-slide action.

You know, seven-year-old girls are giggly and squeal-y enough without speed and cold water.

But seriously, add it in, and watch out! Good thing I like giggles and screams.
When I picked this slip-n-slide up last year at the end of summer from Target, I thought it was kind of a funny thing to buy. However, with all the use we've gotten out of it, I think I'll never be without one again. It's the perfect party activity.

I hadn't met a few of these girls before the party, and it was a lovely treat (but not really a surprise) to learn that they are all so nice. After all, her friends that I do know are all fantastic. I'm happy that Liv has found good friends here in South Bend.