Friday, August 15, 2014

A Fun Jet-Ski Birthday Party on the Lake!

Our very middle boy turned 12 years old this July.  He is one giant big heart.  He smiles big, loves big, and lives big. He turns everyday into an adventure and he is always taking the time to process and understand how people feel and if they're OK.  We love our Kotah Bear in a crazy huge way, it makes me feel like I could burst!
But anyways...about this boy's party...!

We had a kickback, classic summer experience for his special day.  I was very sick during this time and was unable to throw a fancy-pants party.  ;) His party was actually just 2 days before I had surgery and before I began my "feel well again" journey.  His birthday on the beach was just what our family needed.  His "theme" was jet skis and laketime.

For a cute beachy themed snack, I made a goodie tray full of goldfish, chocolate sea shells and fish, brown sugar sand, and blue jello water.  

I used these unique chocolates that my Grandma brought me back from Europe! 

Go fish and dig in!

I used my beverage cart for another snack area:

I also made fruit kebobs.  I make these often for our lake days! 

For lunch, I ordered Subway Sandwich platters.  Absolute lifesaver.

I decorated only with beach balls and free-hanging streamers.

Kotah and his friend, Kaleb, had fun with all the beach balls...

Cameron chasing the beach balls...

 Dakotah invited one friend, Kaleb, for his party for the day and then to spend the night over at our house.

Those two!

I needed something simple for the cake since I wasn't feeling 100%.  I made an ice cream sandwich cake that was extra yummy!

I just used some ingredients I had in the house to come up with the whipped frosting. 
To make:
Prepare whipped frosting by combining a package of softened cream cheese, a jar of marshmallow whip, and whipped cream (I like to whip mine fresh instead of buying the cream in tubs).  Add a little bit of sugar.  Fold together.
To assemble: 
Make 2 long rows of ice cream sandwiches.  Spread a layer of hot fudge on top.  Spread a layer of frosting over the fudge.  Repeat with all 3 layers again.  Sprinkle with pretties and freeze for a couple hours before serving!

Make a wish!

12 years to celebrate!


Time for presents! 

 I have always liked to match some of the gifts to the party theme.  It is a lot of fun! This year, we bought Dakotah a Lego jet ski set to match his jet ski lake party!

My parents also got him his first SNAP ON Tools.  He was in awe!

This is not how you use tools boys...

Titus gave his brother Hot Wheels.  LOVE.

After the festivities, we had a lot of water time fun!

Me skiing

Chris knee boarding

The boys paddleboarding

Jet ski time of course!

Our birthday boy wakeboarding!

 It was an exciting day under the sun, celebrating the adventurous life our very special middle boy.  The boys happily spent the rest of the day entertaining their friend Kaleb at our house, and enjoying a fun birthday sleepover!

Happy 12th Birthday Dakotah!
Love you always.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Cozy Reading: making a backyard reading room picnic!

Cloudy with a chance
 of cozy reading...

 We made a backyard reading room.  I can't decide if this made a better photo shoot or a better summer experience!  Every angle was peacefully beautiful...JUST the sort of thing I double love.  I was excited to snap picture perfect moments and the boys (except our Kotah Bear) were excited to read, read, read!

I am a lover of picnics and we try to celebrate at least one each summer.  At the end of this post, I will share a list of our past picnics if you all want ideas!

Last summer we also had a summer reading day on a cloudy day.  It ended up being one of our favorite days of the summer.  We created a time-out from the world and simply soaked up the nothingness of relaxation underneath the big sky.  We did it again this year in our new backyard instead of the park.

It only took 5 minutes to rush around the house, grabbing every cozy blanket and pillow we could find.  I snatched a bouquet of wilty flowers, the boys found some outdoor tables, Cameron gathered piles of books, and we made up some quick snacks.  A few minutes later, we brought the inside OUTSIDE, making our own outdoor room.  Our home expanded outside for the day. 

We waited for this weather.  Most of our summer days are spent running barefoot under the giant sun, cooling off in sprays of water,  being carefree and loud.  However, a handful of summer days give us cozy skies, stuffed with grey clouds, covering our world with a quiet shade.  These are the days to relax, to read, and to simply be.

Bringing out the watermelon and cheese tray...

Rows of books ready to read...


Blankets sprawled and pillows piled...

Let's rest and read and just hang out...
(this is so real, not staged...cracked me up how intensely still my busy boys were!)

Cameron's love of reading is unlike anything I've seen.  That kid is crazy in love with books.  He literally stayed reading here for hours and hours...long after the rest of us had moved on for the day.

My oldest bookworm,
nothing makes him happier than a good book.

Dakotah is entirely the opposite.  He just can't sit still! Books only hold his interest for maybe 25 seconds.  He is our busy boy, always on the go.  Every couple of minutes he would interrupt our peaceful silence and ask us questions: ask if we were ready for snacks, ask if our books were done, 
ask if anyone wanted to play tag.

That's our Kotah. 

Easy-going Titus can get zoomed into a story if he is given one.  He won't usually pick up books on his own, but once he gets started, he is hooked, just like Cameron.  
His brow furrows as he studies each paragraph 
and I watch his face expressions as the book takes him into another exciting world.  

Our very-loved Titus.

This makes me laugh lots!  I spy lil legs and toes sticking out from the teepee tent.  love.

I also enjoy reading and always have!  
Taking pictures is my most favorite, but I read some chapters in between snapping moments and cleaning up tens of sticky fingers.

Reading outside made me want to sleep alllllll day.  

Taking a break for watermelon rounds and string cheese.


 We soaked up the cozy weather, 
listening to the stillness of outside, 
and letting the books take us away for a couple hours. 

These boys have my heart 
and I am extra happy about the minutes
that I get to spend with them.

 Moore Picnic ideas:

Early Morning Summer Reading Picnic at the Park

Moore Reading ideas:

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