Friday, September 28, 2012

Isabella's 5th Birthday

I know, it is cliche to say time flies, BUT it really has!

Our little girl has turned five!  We couldn't let this opportunity to celebrate pass by without some fanfare.  We started the fun with a trip to Disney's Goofy's Kitchen the Saturday prior to her big day.  It was a day fit for a princess.  No one was more excited than Isabella, as we met Mulan and Belle.

  We so enjoyed our shopping spree at Downtown Disney's Disney Store! 
Isabella picked Sleeping Beauty's Castle as her special present.

The night before her big day I decked out Isabella's bedroom door with number fives.  I made her favorites for breakfast (cinnamon rolls and bacon) and we preprepared for picture day and some celebrating with her friends at school!

Cake pops and goodie bags for Isabella's classmates!

Isabella received the most darling gifts from her school bestie Deige!  
Are these pics not sweet or what?

Later in the evening we headed to Grandma's for more celebrating.  
Gram and Gramps put out all the stops!  Italian dinner, gifts, and cake! 
 A super fun time for Isabella and her brothers, Michael and Joseph!

 I know our 5 year old had sweet dreams after such a wonderful celebration!
BIG thanks to our family and friends who showered Isabella with love.  
All of you near and far helped make our little girl feel special.  
We are so grateful for your generous hearts!

As her mother, I am overwhelmed by this little girl's precious soul...she is filled with spunk and the most imaginative spirit.  I know she is getting older, but I am savoring these days. 
While the days maybe long, the years are short!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Bliss

Every mommy needs a go to oatmeal raisin cookie recipe.  Look no further, this cookie is chewy and loaded with raisins. If you love a cookie with texture and flavor this one ranks high in both categories!  The only thing better than this cookie, is this cookie and cold milk.

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Whisked together and set aside

1 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup  firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla
Cream together

3 cups old fashioned oats (no instant)
1 1/2 cup raisins (I mixed golden and regular raisins)
Combine gently

Method: Preheat Oven to 350.  Whisk dry ingredients in a bowl; set aside.  Mix wet ingredients together at low speed, increase speed to cream until fluffy.  Stir in flour mixture and combine gently.  Add oats and raisins until incorporated.   Avoid over mixing. Drop 2 tablespoon scoops of dough onto greased (nonstick spray) cookie sheets. Bake approx. 12 minutes. Cookies should appear golden but a tad moist under cracks.  Allow to sit on sheets for 2 minutes before transferring to cooling rack.  Yields 36 cookies

Monday, September 17, 2012

Monarch Magic at Gibbs Park

Gibbs Park has been restored as a beautiful habitat for overwintering monarch butterflies.  The park has received countless hours of volunteerism to create the perfect environment for monarchs to thrive.  Our long time neighbor and friend, Mrs. Leslie Gilson has spearheaded the restoration.  To show our support we attended Monarch Magic, a fundraising family event at Gibbs Park.  Nana, Gram and Gramps, and the trio and I enjoyed the sunshine, band and children's activities.

Gibbs is a lovely setting for a picnic.  The park offers shade and is full of towering eucalyptus trees.  You'll be greeted by monarch tiles and information is posted about these fluttering beauties too. Beds include milkweed and a variety of flowering plants.  Located in Huntington Beach across from Meadowlark Golf Course, Gibbs Park is really a gem!
Girl Band, Noted Dreams
Bean Bag Toss
Meeting "Marina"
Happy Clown
Butterfly Ballons
Gramps and The Trio

Butterfly Parade

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mask Painting

I always keep an eye open for fun children's activities.  Our latest discovery was too much fun to keep to ourselves.  We found fall themed masks at Joann's for just $1.49 and couldn't pass up the darling fall themed designs.  (Michael's also has similar masks currently priced at just $1)

We painted our masks with Washable Crayola and Tempera Paints.  However, you could have your kids use markers or crayons as alternatives to paint.  

The kids and I had a good time painting and talking about upcoming fall holidays.  We are going costume shopping soon, so this project had them all giddy about Halloween.

If this looks like something you want to do with your kids, run out to the craft store soon. The masks were selling fast.

Isabella as a Witch

Michael as a Pilgrim

Ready to play!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Fall Garden Makeover

My kitchen window azaleas are in bloom
It has been HOT here for the last few weeks. With the uncomfortable temps, I stayed away from gardening. (I know, how could I neglect something that brings me such joy, but the HEAT and HUMIDITY had been relentless.) A little over a week ago I went out to survey the condition of our flowerbeds...sadly, the damage had been done.  The vegetation looked shabby at best, weeds had begun to settle in and our beds were pretty dry too.

I waited for an overcast day to begin my makeover.  Tending to the small ones while weeding, clipping, digging and running to the garden center was challenging at times, but put me into an industrious mode. The kids selected red and purple bedding plants to spruce up our rose beds. Isabella and Michael took comfort under our tree, while I toiled away. They entertained themselves by collecting seed pods, digging holes and playing with a few dinosaurs.

With just a few afternoons of sweat equity, we are seeing the fruits of our labor.

Isabella's bird, affectionately named Tweeter
I bought this in a 4 inch pot for St. Patty's, it LOVES water and shade!

Our Cheerful Scarecrow

Pumpkin Fun

A dino cameo
Front door gussied up
It feels a lot better to pull up into our driveway since giving our garden some TLC. I am ready for the scent of pumpkin, cooler days, and longer evenings.  How about you?