Illuminating Stella

Archive of ‘Holidays’ category

The rest of 2016 and a resolution to post more in 2017

Well 2016 ended on a high-note and we are into 2017 at this point, but I wanted to log in a few photos to document the end of the year. I decided today (the final day of winter break) was my deadline. HA! This Fall Stella started a new preschool, right nearby our home and we are very happy with the change and all love her new school. I especially enjoy being able to walk her to school. She also started Jamboree Soccer which was pretty adorable and took a Hip Hop Class at her dance studio. We had a wonderful Halloween where she was Princess Sofia the First, a beautiful Thanksgiving and a lovely little Christmas/New Year’s break with family and friends. Over the break we were able to take a few fun trips to Temecula Wine Country, the Getty Villa and Disneyland. Promising to blog more in 2017 and stay more up to date.

First Day of School, she said she wants to be a Dance Teacher, love it.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_4960

We had beach weather till the end of November.

img_5211

Jamboree Soccer, such a great time and met some really nice families!

img_4886

img_0135

img_0170

img_5203

img_5313-1

Aquarium visits.

img_5082

img_4864

John’s Garden and a nice big pumpkin he grew for Stella. I’ve been so proud of my Urban Farmer Husband and all his hard work with our plot at the Community Gardens. It’s been incredible what he’s been able to grow, it’s so exciting to be eating fruits and vegetables from the garden. I’m including a picture from the end of summer here too. Here it is replanted for late Fall.

img_1131

img_0193

img_4016

Halloween, as you can see we are still way into princesses around here.

img_0860 img_0925 img_0905 img_0892

img_0828 img_0720 img_0579

img_0560

Election Day……..big sigh. Don’t get me started on this nightmare. One day I can tell Stella that she helped me cast my vote for the first female presidential candidate.

img_1218

img_1209

First Haircut……..sigh. Our stylist cut like two more inches than we discussed, but Stella loved it, so I guess there you go. All the baby blond ringlets gone in a flash.

img_0239

Park Days and birthday parties are our favorite.

img_0336

img_1091

img_5096

img_1172-1

Somebody still loves a good dress-up play date.

img_1726

img_5567

img_5506

img_5522 img_1237

Thanksgiving was delicious as per usual. It was a great evening and holiday weekend. We also took the girls to see Moana which everyone loved! My cousin and I got in a quick visit with our friend Joe and picked up some pies from Cake Monkey Bakery in LA (also an old friend) that were delectable.

img_1558-1 img_1464 img_0630  img_1633 img_1623 img_1596

img_1651

Welcome to our newest family member…..Benjamin the rescue cat.

img_1757

School days, miss her so much when I am at work, but she is so happy to go. Stella is still such a gregarious, active girl with a lot of passion for the world and being with other kids.

img_0991

Hip Hop Dance Class Holiday Show. She had a blast.

aqec7496

Christmas Season. I could really do a whole blog post about Christmas, we did so much. Highlights were the Holiday Lights Tour on the double-decker bus, annual lighting of the floating Christmas Trees in the Lagoon, Belmont Shore Christmas Parade, the Marionette Show in Lakewood, a handmade Pocahontas Costume (thanks Grandma!) and lots of family time. This year one of my favorite memories was having Stella do some chores to earn money to buy Christmas Presents for the family. We went to Daiso (the Japanese $1.50 per item store) and she picked out gifts for everyone. It was very heart-warming to discuss each person and then she would pick out something really thoughtful based on each person’s interests. I want her to be a giver and I think she has the spirit.

img_2057-1

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_2530

img_2489

img_2738 img_2829

img_2905

img_2913

img_2942

img_2759

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_2959  img_3037

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

For New Year’s Fun, we went to two parties, first a Hanukkah/NYE Party and then a New Year’s Party where Stella actually stayed up till midnight and even got to enjoy fireworks from a treehouse. She passed out literally the minute we strapped her into her car seat. On New Year’s Day we met up with My Sister and family for a hike/scooter ride at the park. Beautiful California New Years Day!

img_3444

img_3390

img_3354

img_3472

img_3514 img_3490

Wine Tasting in Temecula. It was mid 70’s and just gorgeous.

img_3271

img_3188

img_3252

img_3214-1

Getty Villa followed by lunch at Malibu Seafood. Stella shocked us with some very grown-up behavior and pretty much followed the entire garden tour wearing headphones. The tour guide called her his little mascot and she really was.

img_3654

img_3534 img_3591 img_3619 img_3623 img_3672 img_3686

We are ready for a new year!

img_2653-1

Stella’s 4th Birthday!

We celebrated Stella’s 4th Birthday at the park “Under the Sea” style including a visit from a very special guest, The Little Mermaid herself, Princess Ariel. Unlike her musical debut, Ariel actually showed up on time…LOL. Of course, Stella had a wonderful time with all of her friends from play group and school. We had a “tattoo parlor” and some great re-usable snack bags John’s mom made by hand as favors. So nice of her! We thought something that reduced plastic possibly getting out to sea worked well for the theme. They came out so perfectly cute. I filled them with some Pirate’s Booty, Tropical Fruit Snacks and a chocolate covered macadamia treat.

John really outdid himself on the food and it was fantastic. He made smoked pulled pork sandwiches on Hawaiian rolls with an array of homemade BBQ sauces, braised chicken, homemade mac (shells) and cheese rounded out with asian slaw salad and watermelon. For dessert, instead of making cupcakes as planned we got an Ariel cake from the grocery store. It was a bit of a fail in that the brown sugar that was supposed to be sand on the cake had liquified. Birthday girl did not notice though. I also made some cute clam shell with chocolate pearl cookies to round things out.

After lunch our very special guest, Princess Ariel came and spent about an hour with the kids reading her story, answering many, many questions, applying eye shadow and posing for photos. She brought a cute little crown for Stella which she presented during the cake ceremony. All in all a great party with friends and family and some gorgeous weather. I cannot believe Stella is FOUR! Here are some photos.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_3243

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_3237

IMG_3239

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_3247

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_3252

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spring Break & Easter 2016

We had another wonderful Easter/Spring Break this year. Although with the job, we had to do a little juggling to cover Stella’s usual Tuesday/Thursday school hours. My parents were so helpful to take Stella overnight Monday and all day Tuesday and John took Thursday off work and was quite brave to take  Stella to Knott’s Berry Farm. It was a nice treat to get picture texts of them off on a fun Dad/Daughter adventure while I was at work. My cousin, Camala or “CC’ as Stella calls her came down and stayed a few days and joined us for Easter with the whole family, including Great Aunt Cathi and Uncle D. Stella was thrilled to have CC here, she is a total celebrity to her. Especially when she let’s her join her in the bathroom and get (not her first) a CC make-up tutorial as she got ready for Easter festivities. Listening in on that conversation was pure adorable. Camala and I also took in a great yoga class and a long walk on the beach.

On Friday my Sister and I took the girls to get pictures taken for our Mom as a 70th Birthday gift. Then we took the girls to the Santa Ana Zoo for the afternoon. We enjoyed Stella singing in church with her preschool followed by an egg hunt. We also had another great Easter Egg Hunt and Potluck at the park with our playgroup. Stella has been watching some “Surprise Egg” videos on Kids YouTube lately, so she was delighted to get three KinderEggs in her Easter Basket this year. She got the “american” choking hazard-safe version, but she loved them. I kind of got them on a whim on Amazon, since we decided we were doing very limited candy/chocolate in her basket since we knew she would get soooo much from all the events we went to during the holiday week. The three eggs were it. She was pretty jazzed to see the eggs in real life and did not seem to notice any difference. (In Europe the toys come disassembled inside hollow chocolate eggs. Here the egg is split in half with the toy on one side and kind of a chocolate fun dip with a spatula to eat it.)  I think she was most happy about more art supplies, as painting and coloring are her biggest passions lately. She has also become quite passionate about cooking and has been John’s dinner prep cook in the kitchen many nights. He even got her the cutest pink polka-dot apron for her to wear. On Sunday we celebrated my Mom’s 70th Birthday with a perfect brunch on the water at The Cannery in Newport. Perfect ending to Spring Break.

So here are the photos!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

img_0009

img_0028

img_0033

img_0047

img_0004

img_0020

img_0025

img_0009

IMG_1189

IMG_1192

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

IMG_1269

IMG_1284

IMG_1293

IMG_1137

IMG_1298