A decade old!

In February, Marica turned 10. TEN?? How does a decade go by so fast? Marica is growing up — both taller and also growing in maturity little by little. Or maybe not so little! Her independence in the kitchen is growing, and she’s becoming quite the cook and baker. It’s beautiful to see her help out her younger sisters and play with them in a kind way (most of the time), especially with Laurelin; and to start taking on more responsibilities and duties without so many complaints. She’s still a voracious reader, is getting really good at playing the piano and doing her schoolwork diligently, she can do some pretty impressive gymnastics moves, and loves our homeschool co-op. She’s also been trying her hand at sewing, much to my delight, though I see a problem brewing on the horizon — having to share my sewing machine when I want to use it!

This year Marica wanted a purple themed party. It was probably the biggest party she’s had yet (in number of kids). The kids made their own pizzas, baked brownies, played good old fashioned games, and ate ice cream cake. There seems to be a strong food-related theme going here! She got some really neat gifts — people clearly were thoughtful in getting their gifts for her, which was special. She had requested an ice cream crunch cake, which turned out very yummy.  All in all a lovely day for a lovely girl!

Laurelin’s 3rd birthday

In all the bustle of the end of the school year and then summer vacation, I’ve neglected to post photos of Laurelin’s 3rd birthday.

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Laurelin is now a full-blown 3-year-old and no push-over, in every sense of the word. She’s feisty, not afraid to push and shove people 2 or 3 times her size (we’re working on that…) and is learning to use her words to say what she means instead of whining or squealing. (On that note, check out her Twitter page, which we’ve started for her like for the other two girls. Some days when I need a laugh I reread their funny sayings on Twitter and that perks me right up!)

The other day at the playground I watched her run next to the merry-go-round, pushing it faster and then swinging herself onto it despite it going quite fast and the platform being about chest height for her. Despite her reckless feistiness, she is very funny, she’s caring, and she can play quietly for extended periods of time making up the most hilarious little stories if you just quietly sit and observe. She gives wonderful cuddles and I’m so thankful she hasn’t lost all her baby squishiness and smell. And yet… she’s turning into a little big girl before my very eyes, and I can’t help feeling just a little bit sad.

During our visit to New Zealand over Christmas, Laurelin was introduced to the wonders of Peppa Pig and has been watching it since then (such a cute show!). So it would be no surprise, then, that she wanted a Peppa Pig themed birthday party — which she got. Well, it was really just a glorified play-date with some decorations and a cake, but if you don’t tell, I won’t!

 

A Spring Tea Party

In our living room stands a beautiful wooden display cabinet that has been in my family for 3 generations. It displays a selection of pretty tea cups, teapots, milk pitchers and sugar pots I have been given from my grandma, my mum, and Ben’s grandma Tschetter. I love them all, but they’re of course too pretty and special to use on a regular basis… with the end result that they never get used! This is a problem that needed a solution.

So I organized a tea party with some friends! And what better reason to get a bunch of girls together to drink tea out of pretty cups than springtime? The first weekend of April we got together over some lovely food (contributed by everyone), a vast selection of teas and tea pots (some people also brought theirs to share) and had a lovely, lovely time chatting and forgetting a bit about everything else.

I think we just started a new tradition!

Marica’s 9th birthday

My oldest turned 9 last month. Where did the time go? I know all mothers always say that, but my oh my, they grow up fast. Gone is the little girl who liked her hair braided all pretty, and who would wear whatever her mother put out for her. Now she’s in the short-hair-for-life camp and has some very particular tastes in clothes. But, despite those unavoidable aspects of growing up, she has continued to grow up into a lovely young girl, whose mother I’m proud to be.

This year Marica’s birthday celebrations stretched over 2 days — her actual birthday, and the following Saturday when she had her birthday party.

On her birthday, there were presents from us and her sisters, a playdate, and her own choice of dinner (spaghetti and meatballs).

For her party, she wanted “fire colours”, so I tried decorating with red, orange and yellow for the most part.

Of course we had good old fashioned party games like Pin the Tail, The Sock Game, The Candy Game, The Chocolate Game, Pass the Parcel, and some other ones I forget now.

The cake was probably my best birthday cake attempt yet. I used this recipe (everything from SmittenKitchen is wonderful!), but doubled it to make a layer cake and stuck a whole can of dulce de leche in the middle. Mmmm.

And because I can anticipate questions: Yes, it takes a really long time to separate 4 packets of M’nM’s into different colours. And yes, here in the States you get different sized M’nM’s. You might not get them at every grocery store, but I usually find the mini ones and the mega ones at Target.

And now I have a 9 year old. Her last year in the single digits… forever. I’m sad to see her growing up, but also excited to see her become more of her own person.  Ah, the bittersweetness of parenthood.

We love you Marica!

She’s 8!

Marica turned 8 in February. It’s been so fun to see her grow up a bit more over the last year! I’ve especially enjoyed seeing her sense of humor develop a bit more (starting to understand and appreciate puns and subtleties), and to see her get a little bit more mature and responsible.

On her actual birthday, we had some special snacks in between our mini co-op classes — one of them being the kids making marshmallow snowmen. These two snowmen had already lost their scarves by the time I got around to taking photos.

DSC_0049 DSC_0051Would you believe that this was her favourite birthday present? The $2 pair of straw glasses!

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On the weekend, Marica had a birthday party here at home with 3 friends. Unfortunately 3 of the friends she invited couldn’t come, but we all had fun nevertheless (and perhaps a smaller group of hyper girls made it a little easier on the mother…?).

I’m a firm believer in good old-fashioned kids’ birthday parties. They can have a wedding-style reception one day… when they get married. In the mean time they’re kids, and they can have fun games, some cake and other party food (they don’t eat like this regularly, so then when they get it for birthdays it’s a real treat!).

For Marica’s party, we did Pass the Parcel, Musical Chairs, Musical Statues, Sock ‘Em, Balloon Burst, Find the Toy, and Pin the Eye On The Boy (a variation of Pin the Tail on the Donkey — Marica was keen to draw a picture for the game, so I asked what she can draw best and she said faces, so that’s what we did!). If you want to see the rules to any of the games above that might sound unfamiliar to you, you can have a look at this site.

After the games, it was time for the kids to make their own pizzas. While they were baking, the girls played some rowdy jumping around games downstairs, and then it was time for a pizza lunch, followed by cake. Marica has decided that she will have a new favourite colour each year, and her eight-year-old favourite colour will be light blue. The kids always get to choose a cake from my kids birthday cake book, and Marica chose the number 8 cake, much to my relief (nice and simple!). I had seen some gimmicky birthday cake candles recently and seeing that they were only $3 with free postage, I ordered it and hoped for the best, despite the Chinglish on the box. It was pretty cool — have a look at the video if you’re interested!