Thursday, July 29, 2010

Every birthday needs a cupcake

Our middle son recently turned 8 years old. Time quickly passed since LAST YEAR when I wrote some "momma love" here for him on his 7th birthday....and now, I'm already writing about another birthday of his!

Kotah's 8th Birthday

We spent a classic summer day out at my Mom's house. She added the best touches for his long awaited little day.

Kotah doing little cannonballs

Titus splashing in the sunshine

I was simply captivated with the winning table my Mom created for Dakotah!
Because every adorable cupcake
should have it's own covered pedestal...

Her mocha chocolate homemade goodness...

8 candles on 1 cupcake...

We also made a visit out to the country store
for a game of pinball and an ice cream cone.

The Country Store was an old gas station
when the town was first founded
and sits alone as the only store for a handful of miles

Thank You Mom for highlighting our day with lots of COLOR!
Our hours spent at your home sweet home were summertime treasures!

coming up soon...
Dakotah's birthday's a hint at what's to come:
Specialty Lil Boo bear, tree, cabin, and canoe crayons from etsy....
These are CRAYONS for the treat bags!
Can you guess his party theme?
One more tiny hint...Dakotah drew a story of his FAVORITE thing in the world to do! This is trucks, camp trailers, motorhomes, 4 wheelers, and each family member out in the Big Pine trees
(source: etsy)

I will be sharing all the party details prepared for a LONG post. {wink}

This post is linked to: Cupcake Tuesday, Strut Your Stuff Thursday, Inspired By, Show and Share Day, Weekend Wrap Up, Cupcake Tuesday Hooiser Homemade, Lovin It,

Monday, July 26, 2010

Skinny Money Summer Fun

Life is expensive. But there are ways to maze through the Dollar Signs and save money.
Summer sports, gymnastics, and more always ADD UP to a lot of dollar signs! And you can still have healthy, well-adjusted kids without all of the expensive extracurricular activities! Once in awhile, Chris and I will sign our boys up for an extracurricular program but it's a treat and not something we do every year or on routine.

Instead I wanted to share some FREE activities to do
on these carefree days of summer.

1) Regal Theaters offers free children's movies during their annual film festival. We just did our first one last week and plan to do one or two more this summer. It was only the SECOND time my boys have ever been to a movie theater because we aren't big movie people so they thought it was a MAJOR TREAT! This would be an over $40 event if we went as a family and paid.

2) Lowes (or Home Depot) offers Kid's Workshops, a free, hands on workshop class on Saturday mornings. This is amazing! The kids get to practice their skills with a hammer and take home treasures that they built themselves! We go to Lowes.
They each have their own work apron, hammer, safety glasses, badge, and certificate of completion.

3) Michael's craft store occasionally offers kid's classes to complete seasonal crafts and more!

4) Restaurant Birthday Clubs
offer free treats and meals to happy birthday kids. You usually have to sign up online. This isn't particularly a summer activity but it is FREE! Cold Stone gives a free LIKE IT cup on your birthday, and a variety of other restaurants give complimentary meals on birthdays when you sign up. Check your area and sign up! We've saved a handful of money over and over again with this one!

Sometimes restaurants offer fun promotions for free food too. Chik Fil A offers a free combo meal if you dress up as a cow every year. Our ticket came to $24.81 and we paid ZERO! I'm too shy to show my face but I will shamelessly do almost anything for free goodies.

TOTAL COST: $0.00 unless you're a sucker and order extra food {wink}

5) Barnes and Noble does a story hour and craft a couple times a week. Sometimes surprise visitors show up (like Clifford the Dog, etc!!) My kids have met a lot of characters from their favorite books at Barnes and Noble story hour. After the story, there is always a fun craft to work on. And to finish it off, they pass out coupons to buy a mini cookie and your flavor of milk for $1.00.
Our boys especially love this treat because when we go out to eat
they're only ever allowed to order milk or water.
Sooo, to have milk full of flavored sugar is a treat!

TOTAL COST: $1.00 per child unless you decide to skip the snack

6) Library and Big Bookstores Summer Reading Programs are a big event at our house each summer! We have a COLLECTION of FREE BOOKS from doing these summer reading programs over the years. We are a family of little readers.

I believe I literally have over 30 photos taken at different times
of walking up to my kids at the bookstore
and wanting to capture the moments shown below!
It makes my "Mama heart" smile
every time I walk up to find them
deeply into a book!

These shots are all the boys on different days...

You can see my personal reading list from last year here and more info on the reading programs we've done here. Basically, the kids get rewarded in the form of new books by consistently reading throughout the summer.

7) Etc, Etc...Check your local museums for special celebrations and annual events when they waive fees. We visit museums, ice skating rinks, exhibits, etc in our town only on free days. It only takes a handful of minutes to do some research and it will always be worth it to keep your costs SKINNY!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Here's a view of assorted photos
of our family enjoying

They always love placing their order and handing their coupons to the cashier...
Kotah is working hard on his Barnes and Noble craft.

Titus is building a toy car garage at Lowe's Workshop.

I've made the mistake of helping before
and had my fingers smashed numerous times
from little boys with mini hammers.

Of course, walking trails, hiking, biking, swimming, and more is always an easy choice for free fun. Or a lazy day at home is a forever favorite for us!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Ruffled Emotion

The eyes of our great big world are always zoomed in on the sexy, the exotic, the grandeur, and the lavish glamor. But...we can't forget the cuddly, adorable, sweet things with lots of cuteness swirled on top!

A woman can replace the hard appearance of life with soft beauty,
add grace to the rat race,
and give gentle love instead of fierce selfishness.
Never loose your identity to any pressures to plow harshly through life filled with self-centered attempts to be sexy, powerful, and accepted. Women have a strong presence in society without conforming to empty demands.

SO....just chill.
Let yourself be adorable,
keep your heart sweet,
bless your loved ones,

and love the life you live!

And what defines ADORABLE more than ruffles?! I'm a ruffle girl.
Ruffles are flirty but still innocent, playful and sweet, the perfect accent for a girl's life.

My Ruffle Loves

Wouldn't this look fresh on your bathroom vanity? has a large selection of vanites, furniture, and more!

And this next photo is AMAZING!
It's one of my All-time favorite photos I've seen!
My all-time favorite ruffle find from Faded Plains, a farmhouse ruffle tote

Anthropologie Cirrus Duvet with ruffled volume

Anthropologie apron

Etsy love

This next love I've posted about before here
and still can't get it out of my mind
Anthropologie shower curtain

And another...
Anthropologie waves of ruffles shower curtain

And I have these shabby ruffle towels
and have shown them off all OVER my blog
on holidays and any days
as you may have noticed before.
Shabby Chic Cottage

And if you've never seen Gussy bags and accessories,
you are MISSING OUT!
Gussy Ruffles

My newest object of lust....can you imagine the possibilities
of entertaining with trendy parties using this tablecloth?!
Urban Farmhouse

And flirty dishes...

My favorite clothing company,
The Shabby Apple
has handfuls of ruffles...
this is one of many

so {someday} when I can do the "sweet sexy"
I will need an American Express black card to shop here!

Shabby Apple

Ruffles are the trend in fashion
with shoes, necklaces, bags, and dresses.

Ruffle dreams for you

The fine print goodies:
The new FTC government laws require me to share that this post is a sponsored post that I am being compensated for. Fun stuff!

This post is linked to: Show and Share Day, I'm Lovin It, Inspired Room, Tuesdays Unwrapped

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bucket of Summer Fun and Gratitude

Summertime is all about the FUN. Most of us use summer as the time to {try} to fit in all the fun activities we have mentally accumulated in our minds. How is it even possible for our kids to get "bored" with the string of ideas and activities constantly available in our generation?! Life is so action packed, with to do's written in the margins, that "BORED" starts to sound like a positive word that we all treasure.

This season my heart was conflicted as I started to plan some fun activities for the boys. If I constantly GAVE to the kids, and filled their life with pleasure it would result in them becoming takers not givers, spoiled not sweet, and selfish not giving. Of course I still wanted to sprinkle delight into their summertime but I desired to find a way to help teach them gratitude and a servant's spirit as well.

So, I made a
This bucket holds folded cards that are sealed shut with stickers. There are some solid colored cards AND also some checkered cards. The solid cards have EXTRA fun activities and the checkered cards have service tasks and show ways to help others.

Once a week they get to draw 2 cards from the bucket, one fun and one helping card! There is that little heart pitter - pattering rush of anticipation for little ones when they draw unknown surprises out of a bucket....and even more intrigue if the surprise message is sealed shut with a sticker! It's these little details that make ALL the difference for kids!

After the 2 cards are drawn, they are attached to the bucket for the week to remind us of the upcoming treats planned for the days ahead!

One activity will be an act of service. Once the act of service is completed, the boys can then do their fun activity.

List of Ideas to Use:
Acts of Service:
Pick up trash in your community

Bake cookies for your neighbors

Sweep your loved one's driveway

Help a friend of family member with chores

Summer Fun Activities:
Family Game Night
Farmers Market, Rodeo, or other community event

Hike with picnic
Lake and Beach day
Day trip to tourist town

The RODEO was our first treat
and Dakotah decided to make a BIG sign to hold up during the rodeo...
it was SUPER cute!

To summarize, the boys and I sat down, making butterfly legs in a circle and had our own pow wow...this is what we are learning...

1) We are going to practice 3 things when we are doing FUN STUFF:
having a grateful heart,
feeling lucky inside for what we get to do,
and being genuinely excited
for the opportunity to enjoy life.

2) We are also learning that it will help our hearts be healthy if we learn to serve others and give instead of always take. We decided that we don't want to be takers, spoiled, or selfish.

3) And we will practice having a grateful mindset, always happy and thankful for every single opportunity and blessing in life.

I drilled these 3 things
OVER AND OVER with the boys
so I hope they have it!

and a little PS...Summer Journals!
One more teeny tiny idea before I wrap this up...most every summer since the boys were little we've taken a blank tablet of art paper and made a summer journal of our activities done during the season. The boys would draw pictures when they were small, then later write special memories. It's a super cute keepsake. This helped seal gratitude in their little hearts as they summarized in a journal their summer fun!

This was a photo from a few years ago (look how TINY Titus is!!)
making journals with their cousins

Enjoy your summer fun and be grateful
for every second we EACH have to enjoy
this beautiful life!

This post is linked to: Lovin It, Inspired Room, Show off your stuff, Spotlight Yourself, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, Today's Creative Blog, Toot Your Horn Tuesday, Topsy Turvy Tuesdays, Making the World Cuter, Tuesdays Unwrapped, Show and Share Day