Summer Activities

Elin is going to be starting preschool in just 2 short weeks! She is beyond excited and I am thrilled for her because I think she is going to love it and learn a lot. She will be going three days a week and she will still have dance class on one of her days off from school, so pretty soon her schedule will get busier than ever. She has been able to do many fun things with her friends this summer and I’m sure she will pack more in before summer is over. The following photos are of some of her favorite activities with her friends.

Elin is always up for the park and the swings are her absolute favorite. She meets there for play dates a lot during the day and sometimes we go in the evening after I get home from work. The park has not been my favorite place lately with the heat. I’m looking forward to the days where you go and wear long sleeves without the need of coats yet, but when the sun is out it’s still very warm.



 She just went there this weekend with her friend Kelsey.  These two were all smiles.





Swimming is another favorite of Elin’s right now. She usually gets to go during the day while I am work. Her Nanny takes her and she meets up with her friend, Lydia.




Elin and Lydia get to do many fun activities together like going to story time each week, dance class, and sometimes the zoo.



Can you tell she is enjoying her dance class?


Elin also loves anytime she gets to spend with her cousins, Ethan and Max. She sure will miss them when they go back to school soon.





Puppet Show

It’s true, I have been neglecting this blog very much. I’ve been working on catching up on various projects and photo books. I am impressively slow at making photo books and I feel like I need to work really hard on them these next few weeks. There is just never enough time to get everything done.

I am very excited to share some keepsake boxes I have been working on as soon as I get them all assembled.

The summer is flying by and I have not shared much of anything Elin has been up to. Here is a random smattering of photos:


Elin attended her first puppet show at the library. We were excited that our local library was bringing in this travel puppeteer and his show. Elin was super excited they they were performing Sleeping Beauty. Anything princess-related is a hit. She loves all the events the library puts on and this was no different. She was so good to sit on the floor with all the kids during the whole 45 min production.

The marionettes were all carved out of wood and were over 60 years old.

None of my photos from the production turned out since it was dark and there were bright spot lights, but we got some photos of Elin with the puppets after.




She was thrilled when they let her go behind the set and check out all the puppets and stage props.


Lately the weather is either stifling hot or raining. A combination of both has left us mostly indoors recently, but a couple of weeks ago Elin enjoyed playing with the granddaughters of a family friend and she had a blast playing with the girls in a motorized car and skateboard.



Last week, Elin mentioned out of the blue that she wanted to bake cookies–so we did. We made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. She helped with the whole process and enjoyed watching them as they baked.




This girl is getting so big and is ready for preschool to start in just a few weeks.



My dearest Fiona “Fifi” passed away on July 3rd at 8:10 A.M. I cannot even begin to express how sad and lost I am without her.

On Thursday, June 25 in the middle of the night we awoke to her having her first grand mal seizure. It was so scary to watch her and at the time I didn’t know if she was going to survive it. We rushed her to the animal hospital and they kept her for 24 hours. She did fine in there and had no seizure activity. Unfortunately, she had one the next night. She was then put on her first seizure medicine of Phenobarbital. We were so encouraged when another 24 hours passed and she had no seizure activity. But then on Sunday, June 28 she started having cluster seizures. She was rushed back to the animal hospital and got Keppra added to her Phenobarbital. When we took her home from this visit things seemed to go downhill and she was still having seizure activity. Several trips to the vet later we also added Prednisone and Valium. We gave it over 24 hours to kick in but unfortunately, Fifi seemed lost, miserable, and unaware of her surroundings. Most likely she had a brain tumor and there was nothing we could do.

She was 14 years old and in October we would have had her for 12 years. Those 12 years went by in the blink of an eye.

As a way to memorialize her I want to share a letter to her.


My Dearest Fiona,

I’ll never forget the day you came to live with me in October 17th, 2003. I was so excited for you and your sister, Angel, to come live with us. I remember everything about Leila coming over and dropping you off. I remember that I had no idea how to take care of a dog, but you made it so easy. You were so loving from the first moment I met you. You were estimated at 2 years old and you had a lot of energy for taking walks, playing with your nyla bones, and tearing around the yard. But you were so docile and loved to sit on my lap and follow me around. You never let me out of your sight if I was around.

I’ll never forget taking you back and forth to college, taking you on countless walks, celebrating all the holidays and especially your “Arrival day” birthday each year, sitting with you every single evening and petting you as you stared up at me with those adoring brown eyes, all your countless kisses, carrying you around like a baby and having you swaddled up because you loved to be babied.

The most amazing thing about you is how wonderful and good you were. You always listened to my commands and never got in trouble. You were the best dog I or anyone could ever ask for you. There has never been a sweeter dog than you. You have been one of the biggest blessings in my life and I thank God everyday for bringing you to me. It’s so hard not to mourn the time I am missing with you instead I am trying to also thank God for every minute I had you with me.

I was not there when you took your first breath in this world, but I was there for the last and it was my honor and privilege to be there for you and to be your mommy.

I will love you always.

Love always,

Your Mommy


Strawberry Festival 2015

The annual strawberry festival means the beginning of the summer! This year was luckily not as hot as last year. We went in the morning and stayed until early afternoon and then went back after dinner until late for fireworks.

Elin, of course, loved walking to all the different fire trucks and checking them all out.


Love this pic of her giving the thumbs up to the fireman!  She LOVED wearing the earphones. Reminded her of when she wears similar ones on the riding mower with papa.


Look how much she has grown from last year. I think it’s amazing how much older she looks.

Firetruck-2014-2015Ringing the bell was another favorite of the day.


She also got a lesson on wearing a life vest on the water. Sadly she never gets time on a boat so she enjoyed checking out this one on dry land.



This siren they let her press was insanely loud! I can’t believe they let her press it several times.


Then she played on the three different playgrounds forever until we finally dragged her away for lunch and a nap.

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After her nap time we made it back in time to see lifeline land and got to get a quick look inside before we watched them fly away.

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The highlight for Elin was when her good pal Lydia showed up for playground fun and fireworks. These two are two peas in a pod. They looked so cute in their little pink matching bag chairs watching fireworks.


3 Year Update


The Stats:

Weight: 31.75 lbs
Height:  37.25 inches
Clothes:  3T
Shoes: 7-8



Favorite Books:
  • 5 minute Princess Stories: Disney
  • Look and Find Minnie Mouse: Disney
  • Aqualicious: Victoria Kann
  • Paulette the Pinkest Puppy in the World
Favorite Activities:
  • Reading
  • Dancing
  • Going to the park
  • Swimming
  • Play-doh
  • Chasing the dogs
  • Cuddling with dogs
  • Disney Princesses



Elin is officially 3 years old! She has had such an amazing and exciting year! She has grown so much physically and intellectually. She is becoming more outgoing everyday.

Two weeks before her birthday, we celebrated by going on her first Disney trip. She got the royal treatment all week long, and when we got home we celebrated her actual birthday by taking her to see the Cinderella movie in the theatre and also got her presents. A few days after that she had her birthday party with family and friends.

She has recently changed from a 45 minute dance lesson to 1.5 hours and she now takes ballet, tap, jazz, and hip hop. We are planning on trying gymnastics in the near future.

In two short months she will be going to preschool and will probably start learning and growing exponentially.

I’m so proud at the sweet, funny, smart and loving little girl Elin has become. She couldn’t make me more proud if she tried!


Cinderella Birthday Party: Part 2

If you would like to see Part 1 of Elin’s birthday please click here.

On the day of Elin’s third birthday party, she woke up so excited and ready to party! She was in awe of the ginormous Cinderella balloon from Party City. She would not let it go for a second. She drug it all over the house waiting for party guests to arrive.



I love this picture of her peeking outside in eager anticipation of her guests! She was so excited for everyone to get there. A family friend Carole who is a hairdresser came over to put up her Cinderella updo that day. Elin was so excited to get the whole Cinderella look going on again just like in Disney World.







Finally her cousins were the first to arrive and she was thrilled!



Once her friends got there, they sat down to start working on Cinderella necklaces.



After that they played a little in the castle tent.


Then they played pin the shoe on Cinderella. However they were not fans of the blind fold, so they just sort of stuck shoes everywhere.


Then it was time for a little birthday cupcakes. I think all the girls found them delicious. Don’t the little girls look adorable in their dresses? They all looked so beautiful!!






After some cupcakes, they started coloring Cinderella coloring pages. Some of the girls started on making foam crowns as well.



Then Elin starting to open all her lovely gifts. She loved everything! She received lots of new princess themed toys. All the girls were eager to start playing with her new Cinderella castle.




Group shot that didn’t quite include everyone but almost!


These two got into their treat bags and got into their princess suckers. I have a feeling these two will get themselves into lots of trouble in the future.


I love this moment of Elin going in for a kiss with her beloved Papa. She loves him to pieces! She was modeling her new sweater knitted by her Oma.


Elin had such a good birthday party and I’m so grateful for all her lovely friends and family who came to celebrate with her. She was one tired girl when everyone left, but it was well worth it for an awesome party with her friends.

Cinderella Birthday Party

When I started to plan Elin’s birthday, I wasn’t sure on the theme, but as it got closer to her birthday and her obsession with Cinderella grew, it was clear that we definitely needed a Cinderella themed birthday party! We wanted to stick to the iconic blue color from Cinderella’s dress and and the beautiful silver from her Coach. Elin and I have watched the 1950s Cinderella film so many times now that I can tell you in more detail than you would ever want to know about the color of blues and silvers in the movie.

This post will just show some of the party details and in the next post I will share images of Elin enjoying the party with her friends.


Elin loves the beautiful coach that Cinderella rides in and she was so excited when I found these wire carriages at Hobby Lobby. They were a bright pink, so Elin’s Papa spray painted them a perfect silver for us.




The cake turned out perfectly! It was seriously a work of art. The bakery, Confectioneiress, matched the blue color perfectly and made all the little details look beautiful!





The cake is quite the challenge to cut and thankfully I have a friend who takes on the task every year (thank you, Diana!). So in the meantime, cupcakes are perfect for little eager hands to hold and I find that the little kids enjoy them.



A party is not complete without gorgeous flowers and our local florist makes everything more beautiful. I think they turned out fit for a ball for Cinderella! The beautiful beads were the perfect embellishment.




I knew the girls needed wands for all the bibbidi bobbidi boo magical fun so, I made these out of tulle and used them for decoration and then party favors.


Of course we had to incorporate Cinderella’s glass slipper! I found a variety of sizes and decorated with them in several different ways.




Elin is the perfect Cinderella to me, so I used a photo of her dressed up like Cinderella from our recent Disney trip to personalize the cake plates.


I used my other carriage to decorate the mantle. The florist did the flowers inside it.




I am in awe of how this centerpiece came out. When searching for inspiration of Cinderella items on Etsy I came across a seller who made beautiful Frozen centerpieces and I asked her if she could make Cinderella-themed wands and these turned out so beautiful! The detail was amazing and they were sparkly and beautiful!


I used one of more beautiful Cinderella book (we have several different versions) to decorate in the kitchen.




I had the printables for the party made by Paige from Paiges of Style. I love how they turned out!





We moved out all the sunroom furniture to make a special area for Elin and her friends. We moved in her tent since it looks like a castle.




I put a crown at each of the princesses’ spots along with their first craft which was a necklace making set with Cinderella-themed beads.





The picture is actually for a party game of pin the shoe on Cinderella.






I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the details of the party. I enjoy party planning and love watching all the little details come together.

If you would like to see links from her second birthday you can check them out here and here.

Vendor List

Disney Day 6

It was so sad to wake up on the sixth day of our trip and know it was a our very last day in Disney. We tried to pack as much as we could the night before so we could enjoy as much time as we could in the park.

I had to get some shots of the park from our hotel room on the last day.


The Grand Floridan hotel was also a beautiful view from our hotel room. I would love to have enough time to check it out on a future trip.


On our way into the park I noticed this posted above the entrance and I have no idea why I never noticed previously.


It was very crowded in the park and we didn’t have a lot of time to spend, but we managed to ride a few different things; one of which was the Peter Pan ride. It was an insanely long wait and in retrospect it was not even remotely worth the wait, but I felt like we needed to see it before we left. At least there were lots of things to look at while waiting in line. It took you all through the Darling household and had some very cool special effects as you saw TinkerBell flying all around.




By the time we got off the ride, we only had enough time to get Elin a quick lunch and head back to our hotel to catch the Magical Express bus from our hotel to the airport.

Check out the chocolate mouth. She had just devoured a chocolate chip cookie.


We arrived at the airport and Elin immediately spotted a Snow White statute and wanted to get a picture with it. She must have really regretted not getting a picture of her at Cinderella’s Royal Table.


Once on the plane, Elin got strapped in along with pink doggy, Gus, and Jaq and she enjoyed Mickey Mouse Clubhouse episodes until she fell asleep until just before the plane landed.


Elin was excited for her friend Kelsey’s birthday party the very next day! The party was at our local Gymboree and had a Frozen theme. This picture cracks me up because Elin was very focused on the birthday girl blowing out her candles.


Notice the room has completely cleared out but these two were s-l-o-w-l-y enjoying their cake. Catching up with a friend post-trip should not be rushed.




Such happy girls! Friends from birth to three years old.

Disney Day 5: Part 2 – Cinderella’s Royal Table

On to the second part of our 5th day. If you missed part 1 you can see it here.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking around Magic Kingdom and taking pictures and just taking in all the sights and sounds.


Ariel’s Castle.



We had an early dinner reservation for Cinderella’s Royal table. We were excited for this and I packed Elin’s Cinderella costume for her to wear. Castle Couture let us change in her in their nice dressing rooms which was much better than trying to change in her a public restroom!



Cinderella’s Royal Table is yet another one of those hard reservations to snag. It’s the only restaurant in the castle and it is the only option to see inside the castle other than the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. It seemed like every time we walked by there was a cluster of people outside by the hostess stand begging for a reservation. I highly recommend Cinderella’s Royal Table! It was by far my favorite restaurant we ate in Disney World. The food was wonderful. I had read a lot about how the experience can be rushed because they are running on a tight schedule and I would say that the waitstaff seemed very busy and prompt, but we personally never felt rushed. Our server was beyond awesome and truly was magical! That reminds me that I need to figure out a way to to send a positive comment to Disney about him.

They call back families one by one and you get to come in the first level of the castle and get a private experience of meeting Cinderella. I’m not sure if it’s always like this but it was for us.


Elin loved holding Cinderella’s hand and talking to her. I love how this photo shows the details of the dress and how closely the costume you can buy in Disney World resembles the costumes that the cast members wear.




After seeing Cinderella, we were escorted up a long and winding staircase to the upstairs restaurant. They sat us immediately and gave Elin a wishing star and a wand.



The first princess we meet upstairs was Snow White. I was shocked when Elin wouldn’t stand with her for a picture! She loves Snow White and usually is not scared of her, but she was not into it there; therefore I have no pics of her. The funny thing is I think Elin was sad that she didn’t get her picture with her because she asked us to go back and see her later that night and during the rest of the trip, but it was too late.

After Snow White, we saw Aurora. Although Elin looks nervous in this photo, she was excited to see her.


Then Ariel came by and she was a true hit. Elin really loved her! I think all those rides on the Ariel ride reminded Elin of how much she liked her. We saw Ariel in grotto in the beginning of the trip, but it was nice to see her in her princess dress and with legs–not a fin!



Then we meet Jasmine. We have only watched part of her movie and I wasn’t sure if Elin would be thrilled with her, but Elin seemed to really like her and talked about her a lot later that day.


They had moments when you were supposed to wave your wand around and Elin really loved that part. I was scared to death she was going to let go of it and sending sailing and hitting someone, but luckily that didn’t happen. She sure got wild with it though.


Our server was seriously the best! He brought Elin out a cupcake for her birthday and sang to her. She was all about it!






If you are interested in seeing the adult dessert, here was the “Clock Strikes Twelve” dessert. It was almost too pretty eat. The dessert in the upper left corner was the kiddie dessert. They gave Elin that along with her cupcake.


Posing on the royal changer….


After we left Cinderella’s Royal Table, we saw Aurora on way out of the park. Elin was thrilled to see her again!



We went back to the hotel to work on packing for our departure the next day. Not a fun task at all! We thought Elin could take a mini nap, but she choose to watch Cinderella on the tablet and just relax before we made our way back into Magic Kingdom to watch “Wishes” and the electrical parade.  It was sad to think it was the last time to watch before our trip was over!




Disney Day 5: Part 1 – Mickey and Tiana


How cute is this princess sleeping? This is how Elin looked when we woke up on day 5 of our trip. This day was exciting but sad because it was our last full day in Disney and we wanted to enjoy everything!

Our first stop of the day once we arrived in Magic Kingdom was to go see Mickey Mouse at the Town Square theater. This is the only place in Disney that you can hear Mickey talk during a meet and greet. This is well worth using a fastpass for if you have a Mickey loving person in your party.


Of course all the details to look at while you wait are seriously so amazing and intricate.




Mickey was so awesome and we got to spend a decent amount of time with him. He first asked Elin to do the hotdog dance with him which was so adorable! Elin was shy of course, but it was clear how much she loved him. She embraced him and literally would not let go until we had to practically pry her off of him.





After seeing Mickey, we rode rides including the Ariel ride and of course we made it to see old Belle again.





We also enjoyed the Mickey PhilharMagic show. I wasn’t expecting much from this 3-D movie show but it was so cute and had extra touches like air blowing on you, a light water splash, and smells piped in. Truly unique and fun. It only lasted 15-20 mins or so.


Then we went and saw Princess Tiana for the first time. We went early and were the first in line, so I got a few pictures of Elin with the flowers as we waited.


Tiana was beautiful and very sweet. Her dress was one of the prettiest up close.





Then we made our way over to watch the afternoon parade. They perform this Move it, Shake it parade at least two times a day and it’s fun and loud. Lots of dancing and singing.






We also watched a show in front of the castle and Elin was waving to all the princes and princesses.



I’m on picture overload at this point and will have to split this day into 2 posts. Check back soon for Part 2 of day 5 at Disney World.