365 Project: My birthday cake with Christmas tree lights in bokeh

Per my birthday wish, my hubby ordered this delicious carrot cake from Nourish Sequim, an all gluten-free restaurant. It’s easy to feel forgotten when your birthday lands smack in the middle of the holidays but, my hubby was determined to make my birthday (birthday week actually!) special and memorable! 🙂


Gluten-free carrot cake with fresh whipped cream, topped with sweet shredded organic carrots…YUM!

365 Project: Images from an 8 year-old girl’s birthday party :)

Family, friends, an American Girl theme, balloons and cake…Nora’s birthday wish came true for her 8 year-old birthday party! 🙂


The birthday girl by candlelight


Nora with her Lola Norma


Nora’s American Girl doll, Makena, is having the best birthday ever! LOL


I don’t care if this pic is a little blurry. The sentiment of these BFFs is priceless!


Slumber party!! With Paco our cozy dog 😉

365 Project – 345: “stripes” – Day 10 iHeartFaces photo challenge (December 10, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/2.2, ISO: 800

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/2.2, ISO: 800

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 332: Capturing a child’s literary milestone (November 27, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/3.5, ISO: 800, converted to B&W in Lightroom

I love this photo because it captures the first year Nora really cared about reading her birthday cards and she read with such ease. I also like the focal point placed on the words from her daddy. It’s a birthday perspective I’ve never tried before which I think tells a sweet story about an important childhood milestone.

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 331: Norita celebrated the big “7” at Disneyland :) (November 26, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/250, Aperture: F/3.2 ISO: 400

At the “happiest place on earth”, it was just a bit happier when Norita was greeted with extra smiles, waves and “Happy Birthday Nora” wishes all day.  If you’re there for your birthday, ask for the magical birthday button.  It made our birthday girl feel extra special!   🙂

See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

365 Project – 259: It’s Friday! Are you ready to Jumble? unscramble HIXLE (September 14, 2012)

Shutter Speed: 1/50, Aperture: F/5.6, ISO: 400

TGIF! I’ll let YOU take a crack at unscrambling it first.

Unscramble HIXLE

If no one answers, I’ll post the answer later today. Keep up the gaming and Happy Friday!! 🙂


Jennie at J.E. Creations answered correctly first! Check out her awesome crafty blog with beautiful photography from this mama currently living in Italy.


See more of my 365 Project: Untouched photos from my Nikon D5000 with 50mm lens

How 5-year old Nora celebrated her birthday

Previously I posted a list of birthday themes Nora had planned for the next 5 years, including this year’s 5-year old party which was supposed to be a ballet party.  While making her guest list she decided she had too many boys she wanted to invite and “boys don’t do ballet” (yes, I’ve had the Mikhail Baryshnikov talk with her but, that didn’t matter) so, she used her female perogative and switched it to a plain old dance party.  We proceeded to invite her 20+ friends, of which less than 10 were girls, and threw a fun Zumbatomic dance party which ended up being a better theme for her energetic group of little friends!  Despite Nora waking up with a cold (criminy…another birthday cold!) she still was a fun party girl, albeit with less energy than normal. 

We rented out the Sons of Norway, Thad and my step-dad Michael decorated it ahead of time, my friend Mel made a yummy chocolate sheet cake with buttercream frosting, and I decorated it with packaged letters and flowers.  To add some dancers I cut out one of the disco paper  plates and used cocoa powder to sprinkle on the sihlouette.  It turned out great and was so easy! (NOTE: if someone offers to make your child’s homemade birthday cake as their birthday offering, ACCEPT THE GIFT! you can still decorate it if you want to, so you’re still part of making the cake too!)

The yummy birthday cake Mel made, and I decorated.

Thad and I were so happy to throw a relatively stress-free party. But, next year I think we’re dialing it down to a smaller celebration. NOTE TO SELF: keep it simple and smaller next year!! Or, let’s just whisk ourselves way to Hawaii! Hmmm…now that’s a great idea!! LOL

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Although her party was fun she probably enjoyed her one on one time with her best friend, Isabella.  When she found out Isabella could come over after the party they both practically ran to the car to go home and start part two of the party!

Part three of the celebration continued two days later on her actual birthday and once again Isabella made her day.  It was a VERY snowy Monday and our friends impressively (or crazily?) made the trek to our house to join our small birthday dinner.  Nora was all smiles playing dress up, dancing, having a pajama party and getting to watch Cake Boss with the mamas.  (Yes, that’s one of her favorite shows!) I made steak enchiladas (they…were…soooooo…good!) and per Nora’s request, she wanted taquitos (the ones from Costco) for her bday dinner. Nora was in heaven and a very happy birthday girl! And, gratefully, she was over her cold and celebrating sniffle-free! 🙂

Nora with Isabella celebrating Nora's 5th birthday

And, boy howdy, did it snow on her birthday!

Pretty Nora in the snow

Probably one of the most precious moments of Nora’s birthday celebration was when she presented the donations for the Port Angeles Food Bank which she received in lieu of birthday presents at her party. This is the second year Nora has given up presents from friends (although some still give her presents) and given donations to a charity. Last year it went to New Family Services at our local hospital.

Nora still gets presents from her family for her birthday. She is not a deprived child. In contrast, we feel she is a privileged child and she is learning that we are fortunate to have so many blessings and comforts and we have the luxury to give to those that are cold, hungry and sick. She’s getting that and she asks about the cold, hungry and homeless people and wants to help them. She chose the food bank as her charity this year and I’m so proud of her.

Here she is with the executive director of the Port Angeles Food Bank where she gave a fully loaded shopping cart (top and bottom) and $100 cash.

Nora making her donation to the Port Angeles Food Bank for her 5th bday

You’re growing up too fast but, I love the sweet, beautiful, bright, spunky and compassionate young girl you are becoming!! I love, love, love you sweet Norita!