I still cannot believe that our baby girl is two.  TWO!  It’s surreal to accept that time has passed that quickly.  The changes that can happen in a year are completely mind blowing, and absolutely humbling.  I love this age, while it comes with an abundance of challenges, seeing her develop into her own is magical.  She has dozens and dozens of words, she’s sassy and sweet and smart, she can run like the wind, and her enthusiasm for life, puppies and snacks makes my heart burst.  But it’s when she says, “I love you Mommy” that makes time stand still, brings tears to my eyes and makes me wish I could freeze her exactly as she is.

Our Eloise is currently in a puppy phase (ironically just as both of our actual dogs have passed), and the Disney movie Bolt is at the top of her list.  So when I asked her what kind of party she wanted she enthusiastically demanded, a puppy birthday party.  I initially thought about doing a Winter Wonderland theme, playing off the Christmas decor that was already set up in my parent’s home.  When you see all the beautifully decorated and executed toddler parties on other blogger’s sites, it’s hard to relinquish the power and give in to the requests of your toddler.  But, how can you say no to that sweet face?  The most challenging aspect of planning her a party on the actual date is the proximity to Christmas.  Out sweet little bean was born on December 23rd, so amongst the Christmas planning, baking, decorating, and wrapping, adding another event to prep and plan for is a touch overwhelming.

Thankfully we have the best group of family and friends that made it a priority to carve out time in the busy Christmas hustle to come and celebrate with Eloise, brutal snowstorm and all.  I made cookies and cake pops and chocolate bark.  Tried to stay on theme, but also execute everything in a timely manner.  Thank goodness my little sister was also staying at my parent’s place or I never would have gotten it all done.  Despite Eloise claiming my cake pops looked more Mickey Mouse than Bolt I know her day was as perfect as it comes for a two year old.  Having everyone that loves her most in one place at one time filled both our hearts, and made me realize it does take a village, and I’m so grateful for the one I have.

An easy and ridiculously delicious dessert that is a go-to for me is homemade chocolate bark.  You can jazz it up with sprinkles, candies and various colours to compliment the theme you’re going for.  The recipe I use every time is this one by Sweetapolita.

I struggled with wanting to get a picture perfect bakery cake, to be the centre piece of the party.  But when I realized I would be doing it only for myself I let go of the vision of the ‘perfect Pinterest’ party.  Eloise’s absolute favourite dessert in the entire world is ice cream.  Why would I deny her that on her birthday?!

All designer dresses were removed before indulging in the cake.  Obviously.

No birthday party is complete without a little take home for the attendees, and we made ‘doggy bags’ for Eloise’s guests to take away with them.

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