Bambina Mia
Toddlers, Parties and a Day in the Life.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


There is something so supremely creepy about this 6 foot man in a raggedy bunny outfit clutching my little girl. And the fact that I had to pay him for the privilege is equally if not more disturbing. We actually tried to get her to sit on the Easter bunny's lap for a photo op last year, but apparently she had sharper instincts back when she was only one because she took one look at the mutant rabbit was not about to have any part of that nonsense.

But there you have it. Easter. And all its weird trappings. I'm sure it's all very confusing for my 2 year old since it has no religious connotation for her. The bunnies, the marshmallow chicks, the jelly beans, the dyed eggs. Very colorful, but very strange.

And we do all the silly stuff. I've come to the conclusion that as her parents, we are in charge of the hefty responsibility of all of her childhood memories. So it's up to us to do it up right and take the opportunity to make these holidays and traditions something special that she'll look back upon fondly.

This year was our first attempt at dying eggs and it was a huge success. Brad and I had fun experimenting with different dying techniques - using rubber bands, stickers and even vegetable oil. And Abs had fun just dropping the eggs in the colorful cups and stirring the contents.

Good old PAAS

Abby and Brad dying eggs

Our snazzy eggs

We left old fluffy buns a little bribe to be sure he'd stop by.

He took our snacks and left behind a little memento.

He also left behind some footprints.

The girls each got baskets from both the Easter bunny and grandma and were ready to start the great Easter Egg Hunt of 2010. Let the fun begin!

The loot.

Thrilled with her score.

We had so many eggs for the girls to discover in the backyard. There were two dozen of the hardboiled variety and at least 4 dozen more plastic eggs filled with candy and small change.

The girls had a blast and were surprisingly competitive about it. It was hilarious to see them in their Easter finery duking it out over gaudy toy eggs filled with stale candy.

After the egg hunt madness was done and all the booty had been found and collected, we headed inside for Easter brunch. I decorated using tons of fun and bright finds from my favorite department store (The Dollar Tree). The entire family had a great time and it was another happy memory in the bank for our baby girl.

The kids table

The adults table

Sweet centerpieces

Friday, June 25, 2010

Splashin Around

Aaaah! Summer's in full swing and we are totally making the most of the glorious summer weather. Abs has a best friend named Hailey (or "Hails" as Abby calls her). They met in Gymboree, but really it was because her mom and I kept crossing paths in random places all around town that their fate as besties was sealed. They've been friends for over a year now and, considering they're two, that's like forever.

Today we took the girls (and buddies Thomas and Julia) to a new place to play in Stanton - Harry Dotson Park. It was uh-mazing! Tons of playground equipment. But not just your typical run of the mill monkey bars and swing sets. Oh, no. We're talking real rock wall boulders, an enormous pirate ship for climbing and sliding, and a kick ass water-fun section for splashing and keeping cool. There's also tons of shaded picnic tables for parents to watch the kids from and best of all it's FREE! The perfect way to while away a summer afternoon.

The ship - pretty awesome, right?

Climbing . . .

. . . climbing . . .

... and more climbing.

Matching swimsuits. Yup - we're those moms.

Splashin' around.

Banana break!

Flower children

Thomas says, "D'oh! Girls!"

Stroll and Savor

We took the babe down to 2nd Street for their Stroll and Savor event and had a fantastic family fun night! We bought two 12-packs of tickets for $20.00 total and perused the delicious offerings from the restaurants and eateries along the boulevard. Our brilliant criteria for where to eat was the shortest line available. I guess that should be counter intuitive - the longer the line, the better the chow - but with a two year old in tow and packed streets to navigate, the shorter the better.

First stop was for some mediocre and dry Pad Thai and egg rolls at Phuket Thai (meh). We got the babe a slice of cheese pizza from NY's Upper Crust, which she gobbled down in record time (so I'm giving them the thumbs up by proxy). And spent the rest of our tickets at Sweet Jill's to round out the night with their decadent chocolate cake and some walnut crusted cinnamon rolls to enjoy tomorrow for breakfast.

The hubs and I had heard of Stroll and Savor events happening in Belmont Shore for awhile now, but neither of us had ever ventured to go before. I always imagined the parking to be a nightmare and the crowds unbearable, but neither was true. Brad (aka "the Mayor of Long Beach") even ran into a couple of old friends also enjoying the festivities, and we passed along the last of our tickets to one of them before packing up the babe and our goodies to enjoy at home in front of the tube. It was a great, low key family night of street food and people watching. Summer is definitely here!

Waiting in line for her tickets.

Mission accomplished.

The strolling.

The savoring.


Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Someone's In The Kitchen With Mama...

This afternoon's culinary adventure with Abby resulted in a delightful confection now aptly named RAINBOW SPRINKLECAKES! I'm not claiming it's revolutionary (or even nutritious for that matter), but it sure was fun cooking with my baby.

After fooling around all morning in the back yard with the kiddie pool and the garden hose (hence the adorable yellow ballerina-style swimsuit), the divine Miss A declared several times, "I want pancakes!" I finally relented and let the ballerina princess help me make her very first stack of flapjacks. And since it was her first time, I decided to kick it up a notch. With sprinkles, duh.

Now I make pancakes. A lot. Like two or three times a week a lot. And I like 'em big. Like as big as your head big. So I've tweaked the Bisquick recipe on the box to yield two Texas sized pancakes, which is more than enough for my husband and I to share with the babe. And it's easy as can be.

1 cup of Bisquick
1 cup of milk
1 egg
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Rainbow sprinkles - 1 adult handful or (3) two-and-a-half year old little girl handfuls

Whisk together all ingredients and pour half the batter into hot nonstick or greased frying pan. Batter will be thinner than normal and should fill the entire pan. Because you can never have too many, sprinkle additional sprinkles on top of batter and cook until small bubbles begin to form all over the surface. Flip your super-sized pancake using two spatulas - this is tricky and takes practice! Cook until done and repeat with remaining half of batter. Serve with butter and syrup aaaand... voila! Childhood obesity, here you come!

Adding the essential ingredient.

Whisk-y business.

A little extra for good luck.

The flip.

Don't worry - there's a diabetic rainbow of happiness hiding inside.


Mmmmmm... sprinkle-y.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my dear sweet husband Brad! I asked him what he would like for his special breakfast this year and he said, "pumpkin pie." An odd request (well, not really - thinking about breakfast the day after Thanksgiving...), but his wish was granted and he had a big slice of pumpkin pie and hot coffee waiting for him when he got up this morning. He doesn't actually like breakfast IN bed so we had it at the dining table like civilized humans.

In addition to his pumpkin pie appetizer I insisted on continuing with our Father's Day tradition of serving up a fluffy stack of dadcakes. I look forward to making these freeform pancakes that spell out D-A-D every year and can't wait until Abs can really lend a hand in making her dad's special Father's Day treat herself. Happy Father's Day everyone!


Brad's first Father's Day - 2008