family fun motherhood photography

Her musical ballerina treasure box.

ballerina music box

Her first music box.

It was a birthday gift from her great grammy, along with some adorable bracelets that she wears basically everywhere now.  The music box dubs itself a treasure box because it has tiny drawers on basically every corner of the box to keep your most prized possessions in – so every bracelet now has it’s own special home!

Both kids love to turn the dial and then ever so carefully open the lid and watch the little ballerina spin to the music. Again. And again. And again.

Some things are timeless.

family fun motherhood photography

A 4th Birthday Celebration Fit for a Princess!


We almost didn’t have a party for BB’s 4th birthday. Looking around our group of friends, it has occurred to me that she really only has one female friend her age that would get super excited about the concept of a Princess Party. But when she started announcing all the things she wanted to do at her birthday party, shortly after her brother’s party in April, I knew that I wouldn’t get away with skipping it even if we did have a company picnic that afternoon and her brother and daddy were going to Cub Scout Camp the next day. A party was happening.

So I invited two of our friend families who basically comprise her best friend and MM’s best friend and their associated siblings and Dan’s best friend and his wife for good measure. Enough people to feel like a party but a small enough guest list that it would be pretty low key, which I am loving lately. I ordered a Princess ice cream cake from Dairy Queen, picked up a few princessy decorations and goody bag items for the three girls in attendance and some more boyish and gender neutral stuff for everyone else.

I found some great Disney princess line art drawings on Deviant Art that I was able to download and print for free that the kids all used as coloring sheets while hubby heated up the grill and we waited for guests to arrive. The food was pretty much just staple BBQ stuff – hot dogs, brats, a veggie platter, chips & salsa. We opened presents (just enough to feel spoiled and delighted but not so many that I was panicking trying to imagine putting them all away later) and had ice cream cake and in general kinda just hung out and chatted while the kids played. I didn’t really need to establish party activities because the kids kept themselves busy. I really think ALL birthday parties should be this easy and laid back. It reminded me a lot of my family’s birthday celebrations growing up.

Thank you to everyone who joined us for the party or sent gifts or gift cards before or after the fact. BB felt like a True Princess for the weekend and had an amazing fourth birthday!



Book Review: The Selection by Kiera Cass

the selection I have been eager to read The Selection by Kiera Cass since I first laid eyes on the cover art. Reading the description, I was hooked enough to buy a copy stat. Of course then it sat on my bookshelves for awhile waiting for me to be in between book club books and other books that had simply grabbed my attention first, but then finally it was time to read The Selection!

“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”

So the story is sort of  like The Bachelor but set in a dystopian future society in which America (the country) is almost unrecognizable, with a new name and new leaders (royal ones) and a new way of life involving a caste system which determines what jobs you can have and how much money you’re likely to make doing it.

But every time a crown prince is of age to marry, they hold a Selection that women from all over the country, regardless of caste, can enter for a chance to woo and marry him. The whole thing is televised and publicized and very much in the public eye – because of course a futuristic America would do that!

So the only thing that kept this from being a five star read for me is that the writing itself is not quite up to par for me – but it’s a book written for tweens and teens so I think that’s likely the reason. This is almost completely made up for by the fact that the story is really good and the characters are fantastic.

This book sucked me in and refused to let go until I was finished a dizzying two days later. If you know me, you know that that is an absurdly fast time for me to read a book. I literally spent all day Wednesday with the book by my side, reading it any chance I got until I finished it that night. It was that good.

Really, it’s the love story which makes this book compelling for me – give me a good love story and I will follow it until the end typically. Add in a sassy heroine who refuses to just do what society asks of her and really makes an excellent narrator as she is very hyper aware of everything going on around her – and two love interests that are equally compelling for different reasons. I downloaded the sequel to the book and a novella short story featuring the Prince before even finishing book one. It was that good.

How long does it typically take you to read a book?