Doggie Arrival Day Party

Every year we celebrate the day our dogs came to live with us since we don’t officially know their birthdays.  Every year they get a treat and gifts and doted on for being fabulous.  This year I thought it would be fun for Elin to get involved and excited for their arrival day party.  We started talking about their arrival day and what that means.  We invited over Nana, Papa and their dog Daisy.

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The night before we made cupcakes for the humans. Elin enjoyed being a part of the process and pouring in ingredients.

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I found this cake mix at Target and thought it looked festive and interesting to try.

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I think they turned out pretty close to the picture.  Here are a few of our creations.

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These adorable mini ghost cupcakes were bought specifically at a dog barkery in town.

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On their arrival day we celebrated after we got home from work.  Elin got out her favorite party book to read to get into the spirit.

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The dogs got down to business and quickly devoured their cupcakes.

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Then it was time to try out our cupcakes. Elin donned her party hat and enjoyed the cupcakes we made. She was a huge fan of the sprinkles.

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I also found these adorable party hats for the dogs  at the pet barkery and luckily they were a perfect fit!

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Elin has a special bond with Fifi.  She loves to sit with her and pet her and Fifi is extra gentle with her.  I was so glad to capture this picture of them together.

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We finally coaxed Angel to get into the shot as well.

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We love our dogs to pieces and even thought it’s just silly and fun to celebrate their arrival day every year, I think it’s very important to celebrate them and what wonderful gifts they are.  They truly are such good dogs that are always good and sweet. They deserve this much and more every day of their lives.

Zoo Boo 2014

 

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This past weekend we took Elin to her first Zoo Boo.  She loves the zoo, so we thought she would love to get dressed up in a costume and see the zoo all decked out with Halloween decorations.  The weather was very nice but I still decided to put Elin in a different costume that what she plans to wear on Halloween just so she would feel more comfortable.  I put her in a cheerleader outfit and she loved it!

She was so excited when we told her where we were going.

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We went to her favorite area first which is the aquatics area.  She always gets lucky and the animals always come up close to her.

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The zoo has stations that pass out candy along the paths and even though Elin was tentative to walk up to strangers, she loved getting things put in her bag.  She did say “trick or treat” a few times but usually it was after they put the candy in her bag.

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She loved visiting the big tent that had pumpkin bowling and other games as well as really loud music.  She didn’t get quite get the concept of the pumpkin bowling and instead would run with the pumpkin and just hurl it over the pins to the guy catching the ball.  Thank goodness the pumpkins were light.

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She also loved drawing with chalk and dancing to the music.

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There was plenty of cute photo stations set up.  Elin loved this one because it was closer to her height than most of these things usually are.

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On our way out the door we spotted the best attraction of all.  To say she was starstruck when she saw Elsa was an understatement.  She first just stood there and stared at her.  Elin is not one to walk up to adults she doesn’t know really well and she is very shy when other adults that she doesn’t know well talk to her.  So we had to coax her to go stand by her and she just stood there so awkwardly like she was afraid to move!  Despite how her face looks in the picture she was extremely excited to see her.

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We had such a good time and good luck with nice weather.  Elin’s nap was only about 10 minutes in the car on the way home but she still remained in the a good mood later that day.

Pumpkin Painting

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Elin was super excited to be invited over to her cousins house for a little painting party.  She loves arts and crafts, but when you add in pumpkins it makes for an extra special experience.  It was a beautiful day which was perfect for painting outside.  My sister had so many paints, glitters, and jewels for the kids to use.

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Max has had lots of experience with painting and glittering and was a good teacher at showing Elin how it was done.

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They both did such a good job on their pumpkins and especially at keeping the mess to a minimum.

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She also got such a fun gift bag with fun Halloween goodies!  She is loving everything and uses her cup and toys daily.

After painting, the kids ate a picnic dinner and played out in the yard for the rest if the evening,  Needless to say, Elin was sad to go home and leave all the fun she was having.

Here are the pumpkins displayed on the mantle just liked Elin asked.  My sister knew a good tip of spraying the pumpkins with a clear coat in order to cut down on glitter transfer.  They turned out so nice!

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Fall Crafting and Books

Fall weather is quickly approaching and this past weekend we decided to start some Halloween crafts.  Elin is really starting to sit down and work on little art projects and crafts.  I am not very good at crafting so I opt to go the easy route and buy the little pre-made craft sets from places like Hobby Lobby, Michael’s and Jo-Anne’s.  I was late to shopping for them this year and there was not a lot of Halloween or Fall sets left but we did find this little black cat.  I’ve already stocked up on a some Thanksgiving and Christmas crafts for us to do in a few months.

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Elin was excited to be making a “ducky-ration” for the house.  I just love the way she says decoration!

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Elin loves books and she especially gets excited about holiday-specific books. She has been enjoying books that are longer and have more substance to them, but these books are still of the simpler variety with flaps and touch a feel options. They are cute and since we have read them so many times, she always points out everything and repeats the words in the book.

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Minnie’s Costume Contest, You Are My Little Pumpkin Pie, Where is Baby’s Pumpkin?, and I Love Fall!

We are looking forward to more Halloween and Fall crafts and activities this season!

Apples and Pumpkins

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This weekend we went to a festival at our local apple orchard.  Elin loves checking out the pumpkin patch.  They had all kinds of pumpkins in every shape and size and we went home with one large one, 3 white ones, and 2 baby sized ones.  White pumpkins are not as popular but I am glad they had several to choose from because I like them better than the traditional orange.  I am hoping to find a place to display those in the house.

Elin loves giving all the pumpkins a once over to see which ones she wants. She kept mentioning “Biscuit” because she reads the “Biscuit Visits the Pumpkin Patch” book at her Nana’s house.

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She even took a break and found one that would be a good seat to sit on.  She is so silly.

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She must have been getting quite tired because she also kicked back against a pumpkin in the wagon and rested while she rode around a little.

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She also enjoyed checking out the mums, petting the little goats, and playing on the playground equipment.  It was getting crowded and hotter later in the morning so we didn’t stay long. I think Elin enjoyed herself and I have feeling we will be going back to a couple different pumpkin patches this fall.  We will probably have a ridiculous amount of pumpkins before Halloween but I guess that is part of the fun.

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Pull Ups Big Kid Academy

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We cannot ignore it anymore. It’s time to take action in a little thing called potty training. I was hoping I could be one of those people who claimed that their kids potty trained themselves by following benign neglect. I don’t think I am going to get off that easy. Elin has had her potty chairs out for months now and they don’t even get a passing glance from her. The tactic worked and I just have been ignoring them, too. However, recently I came across the Pull-Ups Big Kid Academy and now I am feeling more assured and ready to start the challenge. Here are my 5 top potty training tips.

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5 Potty Training Tips
  1. Research & plan: I like to research everything  before I make decisions or embark on new adventures so I enrolled in the Pull-Ups big kid academy to get more information. I have been gearing myself up by checking out articles on potty training. I thought this was good one about potty training and working parents.
  2. Celebrate a new beginning: I purchased Pull-Ups with one of Elin’s favorite characters on them: Doc McStuffins! Elin Loves Doc and the gang, so she was thrilled to check the pull-ups out and was excited to try something new on. I let her know that these were because she is becoming a big girl and that this was so exciting to get new pull-ups! I let her get a good look at the new pull-ups so she was excited as well.
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  3. Make it fun: The Big Kids Academy offers way to customize videos with your child’s name and picture and you can Facetime with fun Disney characters to encourage going to the potty. Elin  loved it and she also liked just checking out the games. I have downloaded the app which can remind you when it’s time to sit on the potty.
  4. Incentives: This sounds better than bribery, right? Rewarding is always a sure fire way to get anything done and I am looking forward to rewarding Elin for her strides in potty training. When I signed up for the Big Kid Academy, I came across the cutest potty training progress chart that you can download (it’s free!) with no other than Mickey and Minnie adorning it. Elin loves anything and everything Mickey and Minnie, so I know she will be drawing the colors and graphics on her new chart. I had almost purchased something similar off of Etsy and I am so glad I waited. I’m going to get some fun stickers to mark her progress.DSCN9694DSCN9711
  5. Keep it Stress Free: Elin feeds off my stress level and the more stressed I get about something, she will follow suit. I am going to keep it light and happy and if I think she is getting to overwhelmed, we will take a break and start another day. I want her to keep being excited and not make it unpleasant for either of us. DSCN9729_

These are just some tips that I am following, but I would love to hear your tips! Please comment with some tips that worked for you or some advice that others have given you.

Many thanks to Pull-Ups for sponsoring today’s post and helping me potty train with the Big Kid Academy.

Elin’s 28 month update

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The Stats:

Weight: 28 lbs
Height: 35.25 inches
Clothes: 2T or 3T
Diapers: Size 5
Shoes: 7


Elin has a lot of favorites, so I will just post of her top five favorites in each of the categories.

 

Words and Phrases:

What is that?
Look at me!
Baby Care Bear? [Pick me up] (No one understands how this has come about.  She has no idea what Care Bears are.)
Clean Elmo [When she wants a new diaper--because Elmo is on her diapers]
What’s wrong baby?  (Says to herself when she is upset.)

 

Favorite Songs:

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
Are You Sleeping?
Flower Song
Cuckoo
Rock a Bye Baby

 

Favorite Books:

A Potty for Me: Karen Katz
Polly’s Pink Pajamas: Vivian French
Amelia Bedeliah’s First Day of School: Herman Parish
Commotion in the Ocean: Giles Andrea & David Wojtowycz
Anna’s Act of Love/Elsa’s Icy Magic: RH Disney

 

Elin is full of energy and full of life. She loves to dance and spin, all while singing and laughing. She also enjoys reading her books, watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and Doc McStuffins, playing with her kitchen, playing with her little friends, and petting her doggies. Mostly only Fifi because Angel is pretty scared of her.

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She still attends ballet class, Gymboree, and story time. She is always trying to do somersaults, so a gymnastics class might be in the near future.

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Elin has enjoyed toeing the line and testing the boundaries on what is right and wrong. We have been lucky to escape major tantrums but we have some mini ones of throwing toys, screaming, and running from me. She usually screams and runs and sits on the stairs when she is upset. When she is over it, she comes running back and acts like everything is normal.

I am constantly amazed at all the things she knows and picks up from others. You tell her something once and she remembers it for a lifetime. She is our silly girl and we love her to bits!

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Rosemary Beach 2014

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We just got back from a lovely vacation in Rosemary Beach, Florida with Elin’s Nanny and Papa. It was our second time there and we rented out the same house as last year which made things easy and familiar. We drove again this year which is quite a long drive but it went really well again this year and Elin was so awesome in the car going and coming home. I don’t think she cried even once! She was either all smiles and gabbing to everyone, watching her shows on the Ipad and portable DVD player, or sleeping.

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Despite the forecast prediction of rain we got lucky and the rain was mostly overnight.  The weather was hot and sunny–perfect beach weather!

We got in town early on Monday morning and after settling into the house, we decided to go to the grocery store to get staples for breakfast and lunch and then we shopped in town.  Elin kept asking to go to the beach so despite the drizzle rain we went to the beach to let her check it out.  We went home for Elin’s nap and then went back to the beach in the afternoon because the weather had turned sunny again.  We were happy to get in some beach time on our first day.  We then pretty much went the beach every morning early and stayed until mid afternoon before going back the house and getting cleaned up before going out for dinner and shopping in the evening.

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Elin loved the beach again this year!  She was a little more leery of the water because I think since she is older, she realized the magnitude of how big the ocean is and that was a little overwhelming but she loved it once she got used to it.

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She thoroughly enjoyed the sand this year with all her little beach toys.  We all had to draw Mickey in the sand a million times!  She also loved us to write her name.

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A fun activity that we did was go on another sunset cruise while we were there.  I highly recommend going on one if you are in there area.  Elin was really cranky the whole time we were on the boat but she was thrilled to see the dolphins and perked up each time she saw them.

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Another fun activity is shopping in the picturesque town.

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Elin is fond of the two toy stores in the town square, Gigi’s and Fitz and Emme.  She could spend forever in those stores checking everything out.

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Rosemary is known too for the celebrity sightings and a few own homes there. I had seen HGTV’s Designer of Design Star, Vern Yip’s house online in this article and so I was super excited to scope out the house and get a look of it it in person.  It looked stunning!

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There is a second story outdoor pool over the garage and there are apparently great ocean views from the pool.

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To say we were sad to see our vacation come to a close is an understatement.  We had a great time and can’t wait to get back there again soon.

 

Elin’s First Vacation – Rosemary Beach 2013

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I am excited to be getting ready for our vacation in Rosemary Beach and I thought I would document some photos from our vacation last year.  It was Elin’s first vacation and her first time ever at the beach and she loved it!  I cannot wait for her to experience the water and sand again this year.  I think she will love it even more.

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Last year, I wanted to find a vacation spot in the country that had beautiful white sand, blue waters and most importantly be more private and exclusive.  I knew that I wanted to rent a house on the beach and not stay in a hotel and I wanted something different and unique.  I originally was thinking of Martha’s Vineyeard or Cape Cod but then I found out about Rosemary Beach.

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Rosemary Beach is in Florida, but when you are there you do not feel like you are in Florida.  The town is so cute and quaint–it is more reminiscent of a small European village and the beach is just beautiful.

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For Elin’s first vacation, we went with my parents and rented a beautiful house that was so close to the beach and was beautifully decorated and elegant.  From looking at all the homes for beach rental, I don’t think you could go wrong with any of the houses. Renting a house as opposed to a hotel was so nice and offered lots of space for a toddling baby and 3 small dogs.

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We spent our time at the beach and walking around the town and the neighboring towns in the evening.

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We took a dolphin cruise and plan to go again this year.  Elin loves to point out dolphins in books and on her puzzles, so I know she will be so excited to see them in person again.

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I am sure she will also love getting a chance to drive the boat again this year.

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Even the doggies got to enjoy the beach.

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Target Dollar Section: Back to School

Who doesn’t love the dollar section at Target?  I am personally obsessed!  Some of their collections are better than others and recently the dollar section has been awesome!

Elin is not old enough for school yet and she is not in Preschool until next year but I went ahead and got her some workbooks and flashcards because I think she will enjoy looking at them and it never hurts to start purposeful play and learning.

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This beautiful clear acrylic container was unfortunately not found in the dollar section but was still a steal in my opinion for $7.99. I love clear acrylic accessories. This one is so similar to this one but the Target version is much more affordable. I love that all her items can be seen easily in this container.

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These flashcards looked right up Elin’s alley with Mickey Mouse and Doc McStuffins. I think she is going to love looking at all the pictures and learning the concepts of identifying the pictures and matching.

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Then I noticed these workbooks targeted towards Preschool.  I think they are too advanced for her right now but I was just looking at all the pictures on the cover and the inside thinking how much she would love just looking at the pages and I think this will be great to maybe start closer to when she turns 3.

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Then I spotted these cute first reader books and ABC stickers.  I know she will LOVE those stickers and the books.

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Other items I saw was this tin for storing crayons.  I think this will be a great way to keep different mixed sets all together and is much more durable than the cardboard boxes the come with the crayons.

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My next find that I love are these play packs of a little coloring book, four crayons and a sheet of stickers.  These are perfect to take on dinners out for entertaining and I stocked up for our upcoming vacation.  We have already gotten lots of use from these and it takes Elin awhile to get through a whole pack since there are a decent number of pages to color.  I hope Target continues to carry these.

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Last but not lease they have Frozen items in the dollar section!  Most of it was school related and not appropriate for Elin’s age but I love these puzzles!  I know these are advanced as well with 48 pieces but I thought she might enjoy checking them out and watching me put them together.  So basically this was a purchase for me but she might get some educational value by watching me put them together. :)

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I think I found some great items but I know not all Target’s sell the same things in their dollar sections.  Did anyone else find something interesting that I missed?