Tuesday, May 31, 2011

'The Great Outdoors' Birthday Party

My son turned eight years old!
We celebrated with a birthday party in 'The Great Outdoors!'
We had to have mason jars, because his name is 'Mason!'
The minnow bucket with hydrangeas and gardenias made the perfect centerpiece for this outdoor party.
You have to have trail mix or 'gorp' for a 'Great Outdoors' party!
An old metal number '8' serves as a paper weight for the napkins.  We served hotdogs with chili and slaw, popcorn, fruit, pickles and trail mix...simple, simple.
S'mores cupcakes were perfect for this warm day...no bon fire needed to roast these marshmallows!
Stay tuned...I will share the recipe for these s'mores cupcakes soon!  These cupcakes had it all...graham cracker crust in the bottom, chocolate chip morsels and chocolate cupcake in the middle with a marshmallow icing and a Hershey bar on top! Yum.
Another metal number '8' is displayed on one of the tables. 
A vintage playing card '8' is displayed on an old French stand.
The 'O' in Mason is an old milk top.  The metal letters came from Hobby Lobby.
The tree house was the hot spot for this party!
Rob installed a pulley system with a basket on the tree house.  This is the third basket we have hung, because the kids keep trying to hoist each other up and it breaks!  I used it on this day to send up a snack for the kids.
I love enamelware...this set of 'Hot Popcorn' enamelware was a find!  Plus, we eat a lot of popcorn.
You can see more of the tree house here!
The theme for this party started with the idea to learn some survival skills as part of our summertime project.  'The Great Outdoors' theme was perfect for my son's birthday and to kick off our summer project!  These cards are from the 'Worst-Case Scenario' card game travel edition.  I put these in the tree house for the kids to play.
Every kid needs a compass!  These came from Hobby Lobby, and I hung each on a piece of twine for the children to take home.
Their 'goody bag' was made like a bindle with a bandana attached to a stick.
Inside the little bag was a bag of popcorn, smore's, a pixie stick and some gum...just enough to survive for a day!  This looks like something Opie from the Andy Griffith show would carry.
I packaged my son's gift with different colors of tissue paper to resemble the flames of a fire and embellished the bag with some stickers that represented our outdoor theme.
Our gift to Mason was this adventure set from REI that included binoculars, flashlight, a whistle and a compass.  This summer, we will learn how to study the stars and use a compass for direction!  I don't know a thing about the stars, so I am excited about our project!
The kids enjoyed some outdoor adventure fun climbing in the tree house, and some swimming and canoeing on the lake.  For a 'Great Outdoors' party, you could have the children follow directions using their compass and have them find a treasure in the yard.  You could also have them draw a map of their own backyard and label it north, south, east and west.  This type of party offers countless ideas!

Edit: I linked a separate post about my tree house (here) for the Summertime Activities Challange at the CSI Project.  I will join the CSI Project again for their Red, White or Blue Challange with this 'Great Outdoor' Party!'
Visit thecsiproject.com

Thanks for stopping by!  I will be linking to my favorite sites found here and in the sidebar!  I am having trouble with blogger and the display of the buttons!  Hopefully, it will be corrected soon!
I am also linking to Wow Us Wednesday at Savvy Southern Style, the  Open House Party at No Minamalist Here and Under the Table and Dreaming Sunday Showcase! 
The DIY Show Off

Visit for some great inspiration!

Our tree house was chosen as the #1 project over at the CSI Project for their Summertime Activities Challenge!  Thank you so much, Cassie at Primitive and Proper!  My boys will be so excited, too!
Visit thecsiproject.com

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Monday, May 30, 2011

A Son Who Never Knew His Father- Remembering on this Memorial Day

I feel very blessed to have these things of my grandfathers.  His army hats, badges, a medal, his army bag and even the little book with prayers and the Star Spangled Banner, which all army men carried in their coat pocket.  I even have the little sewing kit he would have carried during WWII.
My grandfather and so many of my great uncles fought in the war.  My grandmother was pregnant with my mom when my grandfather left for France.  It would be two years before he would meet his baby girl, my mother.  In fact, my grandmother had received word that my grandfather had been killed.  She had also received word that her brother, Ed had been killed.  Her sister-in-law was pregnant at the time and their only son, Bo would never meet his dad.
My grandfather did survive the war and came home to everyone's elated surprise.  He lived to be 89 years old, and I often enjoyed hearing his 'war stories.'  I could listen to him for hours! 
My mother, an only child, passed away fourteen years ago.  Her parents were still living and suffered terribly at the loss of their only child.  Eventually, they would move to my town to be cared for and would live until they were almost ninety years old.
Upon their deaths, I found letters, lots and lots of letters.  Many of the letters were from my grandfather to my grandmother during the war.  There were also a substantial number of letters written from my great uncle Ed to his mother (my great-grandmother) and to his sister (my grandmother) about the little boy he hoped to return home to and teach to play ball.  The little boy was my uncle Bo.  I didn't know him very well, as he lived far away.  I packed the letters and took them to my grandmother's funeral, in the hopes that he would be there and I could pass them along.  They were so touching of a father, killed during battle, wanting to meet his son; this son who now stood before me in his sixties.  He cried as he read the letters from a father he never knew. 
War and the price for freedom...A gift to so many, yet a heartbreak to this grown man.  A life of never knowing his father.  These letters meant the world to him.

Happy Memorial Day and thank you to all who fight for our freedom and to all who have loved ones who have died in battle.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011


The precious gift of freedom...
...given to us by so many willing to risk their lives.
The two men on the right have both fought for our freedom.  The older gentlemen was in tears as he stood looking at the Memorial, remembering the lives, probably friends, of those who perished while fighting for our freedom.  His son was being deployed the next day.  I made my children tell them 'thank you,' for their service, although they didn't really understand what the 'service' was or the sacrifices these men have made.
So many lives given, so that we might live...in freedom.
I hadn't been to Arlington Cemetery since the sixth grade.  The rows and rows of markers, representing the men and women who died while fighting for us, were overwhelming, and yet, were only a small representation.
In addition to the men and women who have given their lives in battle, I am thankful for the presidents who have fought for our freedom.
I am thankful for the freedom in our country where my children have the freedom to pray, or speak their minds, or to run and laugh out loud!  I am thankful my girls have the same opportunites as their brother...to vote, to go to college, to have careers and to have strong voices.
I give thanks that we can go places and explore and have the freedom to do so.
Oh, the freedom to be silly!
My children don't understand the freedom they have living in this country...or I should say, they don't understand living without this precious gift of freedom.  It is all they know.  I pray they will understand as they grow to appreciate what it means to be 'free.'  I pray they will always have a heart for the men and women who sacrifice, so that they can have life.

This reminds me of Someone else who sacrificed so that we might live. 

Jesus said, “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free." ~ Luke 4:18

Thank you, to all of you who have fought for the freedom in our country.  I pray that we never take this incredible gift for granted.

Blessings to you on this Memorial Day Weekend!

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Symmetrically Simple Summer Mantel

I think my mantel is pretty traditional looking in my hodge podge style home!  This is my little summer spruce up!
I found these  Spode plates called, 'Spodes Wicker Dell' for ten bucks a piece at a consignment store.  Reasonable, I thought and purchased them to brighten up my mantel.  After a little research, because they are marked with an old stamp, these plates were probably made around 1930.  Ebay sells this plate for around $22 a plate.  Needless to say, I was thrilled that I paid less than half!
The wooden box belonged to my grandparents.  Their marriage certificate is still in there.
This ironstone pitcher is old, and I only have one.
I purchased this small vase from Homegoods for about six bucks.  It provides some balance without being exactly the same!
Mantel after Christmas.  Blah.  Yellow tipped roses can make anything look more beautiful!
A Woodland Mantel Christmas 2010

I am linking to these great sites!  Check them out for some summer inspiration!
I am also joining The Lettered Cottage for their Summer Mantels and Ideas party!  Stop by for some great ideas!

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