Weekending: Second Birthday Edition!

More birthday fun was had as it spilled into this weekend. We had a pretty large party with lots of family and lots of friends. I think at times it was a bit overwhelming for Ellie (she did NOT want to blow out candles or have people sing Happy Birthday to her) but she enjoyed her one on one times with many of her friends and family members. There were lots of smiles and busy play and presents this year took on a new, much more exciting meaning too. It was a lovely day with so many wonderful friends and family to celebrate with.
2 wreathThe “Two” wreath I made up-cycling from last year’s. Ellie is a big Sendak fan (Where The Wild Things Are, The Night Kitchen and One Was Johnny are some of her favorite books), so I felt a watercolor “Max” would be perfect.
the houseA shot of our little house decked out for the party. I printed out Ellie’s Monthly Photos from 12 months to 24 months and hung them banner style in the main room.
carouselI could not get a decent shot of the centerpiece I made (so forgive the darkness in this photo). I worked on this centerpiece for weeks to get it right. Last year, my mom made hot air balloons as the centerpiece and this year, since one of Ellie’s most favorite things is riding the carousel and another favorite book of hers is Up and Down The Merry-Go-Round, I thought I’d try to recreate a little merry-go-round for her.
horseysI bought blank wooden horses from here and sanded them till their edges were smooth and rounded, wood burned the designs on each of them and then used watercolors to paint them. Lastly, I sealed them with a non toxic sealant and rubbed them down with beeswax so give them a softer texture. I was very happy how they turned out and Ellie has been carrying them around all weekend (they aren’t attached to the carousel).
The carousel on the other hand was a lot more difficult to figure out. The base was just a round wooden blank clock piece I found at the craft store. I used an old lamp shade, cut it in half and mod-podged a whole bunch of fabric scraps to it. Then I sewed a mini tent for the top, attached that to the lamp shade and made a banner for the very top out of felt and fabric. Everything is attached to the base by a simple wooden dowel. I hot glued some straws to the wooden base and attached ribbons to each of them. Then I placed the horses in front of the straws to make it look like they were attached. It ended up a bit on the crooked side, but I think it still worked. Ellie loved it, so I guess that’s all that matters right?
the whole set upAnother angle.
mac and cheeseWe had a little mac and cheese bar for the little ones (with all of Ellie’s favorite veggies like peas and broccoli) and a make your own sandwich station outside.
ribbonsA line full of fabric scraps to brighten it up outside.
tentsWith one of last years tee pee’s making an encore appearance, we had books and balls and musical instruments and tunnels and two sensory bins to keep the kiddos busy.
cupcakesAnd Jeff worked overtime the night before, cooking 75 carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting. We were all frosting, minutes before guests arrived (and no, we didn’t have 75 people. We just wanted to make sure we had seconds. This recipe was so delicious thanks Shannon)!

g parents

Unfortunately, I did not get a great picture of the birthday girl in her handmade Gramma dress.

dancingBut it was adorable on and Ellie loved the pockets and I’m so grateful I have a mom who can sew up a special birthday dress- she’s amazing!

peggiesWe sent everyone home with a little hand-painted birthday gnome.
ta daRealizing days before that we had more children coming than I had anticipated and therefore was short on gnomes, I’m thankful I am connected to an amazing online community and Claudia was able to send me out more little blank peg dolls just in time for me to finish these guys for the party.

It was a really wonderful day and I hope one that Ellie will remember, or at least enjoy seeing pictures of later on.
The rest of the weekend was a nice one. We had Nana and Papa with us (they are here for two weeks staying in the next town over). We enjoyed some time at the beach, played with new birthday toys and Ellie really enjoyed seeing the super moon and reading about the moon (a new fascination these days).
super moon date

moon books

*those lovely wooden moon toys are from here.

-joining Pumpkin Sunrise for Weekends.



a brothers bday

 sunday breakfast

some music

moving things

We celebrated my brother’s birthday this weekend at my parents house. We spent time with family and good friends. We moved around some furniture. We prepped for Ellie’s upcoming first birthday party. We went grocery shopping. We took walks. We listened to new (old) vinyl. We danced to jazz and Disney. We made french toast with maple syrup. We threw balls around the house. We ate curry pork chops and sweet potatoes for dinner.

Ellie and I are getting ready to go on a little trip next week to visit my Grandmother (Ellie’s Great-Grandmother) in Seattle. I may or may not be here in this space next week. We shall see.

Hoping you all had lovely weekends! I’m off to pack!

-joining Amanda for Weekending!

Making + Listening : Birthday Edition

MAKING: Yesterday was Jeff’s birthday. Being that it was a Wednesday workday, the day was pretty much like every other but I hoped we made it a little more special with some presents (primarily beer/brew books for my brewer husband) and some homemade goodies as well.

birthday loot

Beer books, beer t-shirt, a framed picture of Daddy with his little girl for his home office and a little something I whipped up- an embroidered (freehand) Hop plant.


daddy and boo open presents

i want that

reading up on hops

he likes it

I’m also going to include the cake I made for Jeff’s birthday. I was so excited about it because it was a Chocolate Beer Cake and I spent the night before and the morning of working my butt off to make it with a little girl tugging at my heels the whole time. It was an adorable cake but looks can unfortunatly be deceiving. I’m not sure where I went wrong but let’s just say we only had one piece. Tomorrow I plan to stick to what I know best and make it up to him with some chocolate chip cookies.

the cake

with candles

one slice

At least he got a good wish out of the cake!

As for LISTENING: Of course we have sung Happy Birthday a few times to dear old Dad this week but other than that we’ve been rotating between that Steve Martin c.d., some Sinatra and a bit of Elizabeth Mitchell while we play and fold laundry.

*joining Dawn with Making and Listening.



foggy farmers market

farmers market




strange vehicle


watching the parade


me and boo




pincher grasp


garden goodies





It was a very green weekend. Happy St. Patricks’ day to you! The fog rolled in and stayed thick until sunday afternoon. It seemed winter was upon us again. Ellie and Jeff seemed to be feeling better so we did our usual farmers market on saturday but stayed for the annual St. Patricks’ Day Parade downtown. Let me tell you, Ventura has some interesting parade people. It was fun and Ellie seemed to enjoy the marching bands and the chaos of it all. Jeff’s parents joined us and we invited them back to our place for potato and leek soup and hot cocoa. It was chilly that day! Ellie has been trying all sorts of new foods, peas, pear, squash, sweet potato. She surprisingly seems to enjoy the veggies over the fruits. I’ve been trying to add in solids regularly now these days, but it’s harder than I thought trying to make baby food and determining when to feed her etc. We’re working out the kinks as we go.

Sunday we celebrated my Mom’s birthday (it’s the 19th but she has to work). We drove up and over the grade, through the pea soup fog and into a much sunnier and warmer area of Southern California. We spent the day gardening and relaxing and enjoying each other’s company. I made a lemon pound cake for my Mom, that I couldn’t get out of the pan. We dug into it with spoons. Very Good weekend. How was yours?


* linking up with Amanda.