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Wednesday 31 October 2012

Halloween Cards

This year Ava and I made Halloween cards to send to her friends.

I thought we'd go for a printing technique that I haven't used in a really long time, so rather than printing the cards from our computer I made a linoleum block print from one of Ava's drawing.

We started with Ava's drawing of herself as a vampire from Hotel Transylvania. You can see the original drawing below. I resized it a little in photoshop and then traced over the print out to transfer it onto the linoleum block. Then it was time for the fun part: the carving. Ava was really keen to help out with this part but she had to give it a miss given how sharp the carving tools are and how easy it could be for her to a) cut herself, b) mess up the printing block or c) all of the above.

I hadn't done any linoleum block carving for about 15 years so I was a little concerned that it might take a really long time for me to get through it but in actual fact it was all done within a few hours. Much easier than I had expected and I found it quite a relaxing way to spend an evening.

Carving Pumpkins

It is now officially Halloween!

Ok, so it's 1am and the kids are tucked up fast asleep in bed so there won't be any celebrating Halloween for quite a few hours yet.

I've been meaning to share some of our Halloween preparations here on Little Hiccups but I've been so busy with said preparations that I haven't had the chance. Even as I'm typing this I still have to finish off my costume. Let's hope the sewing machine going in the early hours of the morning doesn't wake the kids in the next room!

So while I take a little break from the sewing machine, let's have a look at the jack-o'lanterns that we carved this year...

One of my jack-o'lanterns

Sunday 28 October 2012

A Visit to the Fire Station

Earlier this week Lola and her friends went for a little excursion to our local fire station.

As I'm sure most parents will have discovered, the average two year old is absolutely obsessed with fire trucks. It doesn't matter if they're a boy or a girl, they just love fire trucks. There just seems to be something about fire trucks that holds the imagination of most toddlers. Flashing lights and a blaring siren on a big red truck do tend to grab your attention pretty effectively.

Lola and her friends are no exception to this obsession with fire trucks. Every time a one goes past (sirens blaring or not) their little heads turn to watch it go by. Pretty much every day Lola points out a firetruck while exclaiming "Nee naw, nee naw!" with a look of glee on her face. She can spot them coming well before I do. It's as if she's on fire truck alert every time we step out of our apartment!

As you can imagine, the kids were pretty excited to visit the fire station and see the trucks up close. There was a little trepidation at first but they warmed up pretty quickly and had a fun time pretending to drive one of the trucks. I'm so glad that none of the kids accidentally stepped on the siren pedal as they climbed in and out of the driver's seat!

Here's a look at Lola and her friends on their trip to the fire station.

Eden, Lola and Sky: Berkeley's youngest fire fighters!

Thursday 25 October 2012

One Year in America

Today is the one year anniversary of our arrival in America. I can't believe it's been one whole year already. This time last year the girls and I had just touched down in our new home after 17 odd hours of flying.

It really doesn't feel like we've been here that long especially as there is still something new to experience almost every day. That said, at the same time it kind of feels like we've been here for ever. Isn't it weird how that happens?

To celebrate our first year in America I thought I'd share some photos of our favourite moments, many of which were also firsts: our first Halloween, first Thanksgiving, first wintery Christmas, first Valentine's Day, first trip to Disneyland... Not to mention the milestones like Lola's first steps and Ava starting school. It's amazing how many new things the girls have had the chance to experience since we've been living here.

It was hard to narrow them down, but here are a *few* of my favourite photos from our time in America so far...

Ava loved San Francisco right from the start! Here she is in Union Square when we first arrived.. 

Wednesday 24 October 2012

Fall Harvest Time: Apples

Last Saturday really was a harvest day for us. After spending the morning and early afternoon at Petaluma Pumpkin Patch selecting our Halloween pumpkins we headed a little further north to Twin Hills Ranch, Sebastopol for a little apple picking.  

Ava's bucket of Fujis

Tuesday 23 October 2012

Fall Harvest Time: Pumpkins

Less than 10 days until Halloween so it's time to get cracking with the preparations. The first thing on our list? Carving jack-o'lanterns! But before we can carve said jack-o'lanterns we needed to find the perfect pumpkins for the job.

Last year we arrived in America less than a week before Halloween. By the time we got over our jetlag and were somewhat settled in we had little time to go all out with the Halloween preparations. We made sure to carve jack-o'lanterns, however as we had left it so late we were left with the dregs of the season's pumpkins at our local supermarket. This year I was determined that we wouldn't let that happen again. We decided to get in a little earlier with the pumpkin selection and rather than just walking downstairs to our local Trader Joe's supermarket we hopped in a Zipcar and headed to the countryside. Dotted all around the countryside at this time of year are pumpkin patches. You don't need to travel very far out of an urban area to find them. In fact, there are even pumpkin patches within cities. I thought we'd go for the slightly more authentic option and get out of the city.

So on Saturday we headed to Petaluma, almost an hour north of San Francisco. Here we visited Petaluma Pumpkin Patch for our Fall harvest time fun. We started by selecting our pumpkins: Two medium sized pumpkins, three mini pumpkins and one swan gourd - a gourd that looks like, you guessed it, a swan!

Here's a look at our day of pumpkin fun!

Rolling pumpkins is easier than carrying them when you're little

Friday 19 October 2012

Mickey Mouse Piñata

For Lola's recent Mickey Mouse themed birthday party I made a piñata - a Mickey Mouse piñata, of course.

Lola has a go at smashing her piñata

I'd made a papier mache piñata in the past but this was my first time making a cardboard piñata. I must say, cardboard piñatas are much easier and less time consuming to make than papier mache piñatas. No worries about balloons popping, no waiting for layers to dry, no layers for that matter! Cardboard piñatas also open up a world of shapes that are just not possible with papier mache and a balloon, for example the traditional donkey shape.

It only took me two evenings to make the cardboard piñata from scratch.

Here's a look at how I made the piñata...

Wednesday 17 October 2012

Lola's 2nd Birthday

It's official... my little baby is no longer a baby. Lola turned 2 yesterday so I guess now she's a fully fledged toddler.

To celebrate Lola's birthday we had a little party on Sunday up on our roof deck. After a foggy, grey start to the morning the sun eventually came out and we ended up with a glorious sunny day. Good friends, lovely weather, lots of sugar... what more could a 2 year old want?

Lola has been a little obsessed with Mickey Mouse since our trip to Disneyland last month so it was pretty easy to pick a theme for her party. Mickey Mouse ears everywhere! On the cake, the cookies, the cheese platter, the piñata, the guests...

Here's a little look at Lola's special day.

Stay tuned for a few detailed posts about some of the Mickey Mouse goodies I prepared for the day...

Mickey Mouse birthday cake. 

My little Mouseketeers!

Saturday 13 October 2012

It's almost birthday time again...

I can hardly believe that my little baby is going to be 2 years old in just a few days. I know it's a cliche, but the time really has just flown by.

I've spent the last week working on preparations for Lola's birthday party which we'll be having this Sunday. She's been a *little* obsessed with Mickey Mouse since our trip to Disneyland so we're throwing a Mickey Mouse themed party for her. Mickey Mouse cookies, Mickey Mouse piñata, Mickey Mouse party hats, Mickey Mouse cupcakes... All handmade, of course. The list goes on and on. I'll have lots of Mickey Mouse party goodness to share soon but in the meantime I think a look back at Lola's first year is in order.

Throughout Lola's first year I celebrated the milestone of each "month birthday" by taking a photo of her with her age spelled out with foam letters; i.e. "I am 1 month old", "I am 2 months old" etc...
I was originally inspired by this post on the Famille Summerbelle blog. I loved the idea of taking the same photo of Lola each month as she grew. Of course, babies aren't always willing participants in photo shoots - especially as they get older - so the results are quite varied throughout the photos. In the earlier photos Lola was pretty placid and happy to just lay there while I snapped away with the camera. Once she reached 5 months she wouldn't lay down for the photos so she sat for the monthly photo from then on. From 7 months onwards she wouldn't leave the letters and numbers in place. On one occasion this resulted in me putting them back in the wrong order, not noticing my spelling mistake until I'd posted the photo on Facebook! There were months when Lola needed a toy or snack to keep her still. There were months when she just cried during the whole photo shoot. Posing for Mummy can be hard work!

So here they are. A year of monthly photos chronicling Lola's growth (and gradual change from brunette to blonde!) through her first year.

Friday 5 October 2012

Blog Inc. book launch

Last night I attended the launch party for a book by one of my favourite bloggers. 

Joy Deangdeelert Cho of the blog Oh Joy! has recently released the wonderful book Blog Inc. which I am currently reading. If you're thinking of starting a blog, or currently have a blog and are looking to grow it, I say get your hands on a copy of Blog Inc. right... NOW!

Blog Inc.

The launch party of Blog Inc. was held at one of my favourite home wares stores West Elm in nearby Emeryville. The launch party was just as pretty as Joy's blog. Gorgeous paper creations by the super talented paper artist Chloé Fleury were featured throughout from the book display, to the book signing table and fun photo booth. You really must check out Chloé's website. Her work is just amazing. Anyway, back to the launch party...

Lola is almost 2...

Can you believe it? My little baby is almost 2 years old. In just 10 days it will be her birthday. I guess she's not a baby anymore.

To celebrate Lola's 2nd birthday we will be having a little party with some of her friends.
The theme of Lola's party? Her new obsession: Mickey Mouse.

Here's a look at the invitation for Lola's birthday party...

One happy little Mouseketeer

Lola's invitation 

Thanks to big sister Ava for the beautiful drawing of Lola the Mouseketeer!
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