Monday, September 30, 2013

A Father-Son Campout Birthday Party

This weekend will go down, without a doubt, as one of my favorites to date. 

Because over the weekend, we celebrated Banks' 4th birthday a la a Father-Son Campout Party. Unlike years past, I wanted this year's party to be different: smaller and more intimate but still very fun and special for my little buddy. I think we succeeded based on the squeals of delight that echoed throughout the evening and the late-night flashlight wars that painted the dark. 

And now, I present Banks' 4th birthday party: 

When campers arrived, a campout sign awaited them, pointing the way to the party

There were three different tables set up on our screened in back porch. First up, the "Drink Station": 

All precious party printables made by the wonderful Nellie of nellie*design

Campers were offered "Spring Water" for earlier in the evening... well as hot chocolate, complete with camping-necessity Mason jars and striped straws for when the temperatures began to dip later in the evening.

The table was also adorned with a lantern (because every good campout includes lanterns, right?)

The second table was the "Eats and Treats" table:

"Camp Banks" bunting hung overhead the table.

And napkin rings with "4" and camping tents were ready for post-meal messes.

The menu consisted of, what else?!, but a campfire cookout! Burgers and dogs, hot off the grill, were ready for the boys and their dads...

...along with "all the fixins'" to make the grilled dinner taste just right.

And what good are burgers and dogs without "taters for the tots"?

Of course, every good campout comes with trail mix, right? In this case "Happy Trails" trail mix. :)

One of my favorite decor/food items from the party: The tackle box candy station, which included worms, acorns, and tootsie roll "logs."

And it goes without saying, that no party is complete without a yummy birthday cake. I made this cake from scratch, with love for my birthday boy:

I saw something similar on Pinterest months ago but wanted to do something different and unique for the "flame" of the campfire. As I was browsing the grocery store aisles, it hit me: fruit roll-ups! I simply molded them into a red/orange/yellow flames and used a few skewers to help them hold their shape. Twix candy bars served as the logs, chocolate sprinkles as the dirt, and red/orange/yellow gummy bears as the embers:

And finally, the "Fun and Favors" table:

The party kicked off with a nature scavenger hunt, with each camper instructed to find the items on their bag, put said items in their bag, and then use their twig pencils to check off their items. Successful scavenger hunt campers were gifted with a tasty prize: gummy fish!

Also on this table were the supplies needed for fireside s'mores, including these s'mores skewers and mini galvanized buckets (which said, "S'mores 4 Later") that I scored from the $1 bin at Target. 

Each camper was also gifted with his own pair of personalized pajamas, with the guests  given brown shirts...

All adorable jammies made by the talented Amanda of Goat & Lulu

...and the birthday boy given red.

A mini flashlight (also found in the $1 bin at Target. Thank you Tar-jay!) was included with the pajamas, which were all tied together with twine. 

And now, the most important part of the party, of course, the guests and festive fun!

Banks and Raleigh were so excited for the party to begin they could hardly stand it!

And I was one proud Momma!

As soon as the campers arrived, they, along with their dads, sent up their tents in our backyard: 

We then kicked off the party with our nature scavenger hunt.

After lots of running around, present-opening, and playing, the boys had worked up quite the appetite; so, dinner was served...

...which was followed immediately by cake!

Soon after, the boys put on their personalized pajamas...

...and little sister needed her own special "glamping" jammies, too!

Next up, fireside s'mores!

Now, it was time to burn off some of that energy! The boys absolutely LOVED the flashlights they were given. One of my favorite memories from the party was definitely  watching four very excited little boys running around our backyard, in the dark of the night, with flashlights blazing as they squealed with joy, chasing after one another, without a care in the world. Priceless. And so precious. 

Meanwhile, the dads were able to get in lots of college football watching.

Soon, it was time to call it a night, and four very happy and tired little boys retreated to their individual tents for bedtime. 

In the morning, the campers were served buttermilk pancakes with a side of fruit salad... 


...which they thoroughly enjoyed: 

We squeezed in a little more play time before the party came to an end. I'm pretty sure it was a night these campers, and their dads, won't soon forget! :)

My favorite part of the entire party, though? The moments I was able to steal, alone, with each of my babes, separately, to hold them tightly on my lap while we gazed up at a beautiful, Fall sky full of breath-taking stars as I whispered Momma secrets to each of them. Two precious moments I will never forget. 

I don't know if we'll ever be able to top Banks' 4th Birthday Party. But. We sure will try next year! Anything to celebrate this sweet boy:

Sunday, September 29, 2013


My once upon a time came true
The very day that I met you.

With eyes as blue as Summer sky
And hair as blonde as cornsilk's sigh;

Your tiny grip so fierce and strong
Into my life where you belong;

Love danced across your perfect face
Into the crook of my embrace.

Your breath breathed life into my own
Connected forever, at last, home.

My life forever changed that day
Your Momma for always, my sunshine to stay.

True, still, crossing to four from three
One day more than always, my baby you'll be.

Happy 4th Birthday to my sunshine, my favorite little boy in the whole wide world.

With All My Heart,


Friday, September 27, 2013

Coffee Date Friday: Birthday Weekend Bliss

Happy Friday to you, friends! Thanks for coming on by to join me for a little coffee break to start off the day (via link up with Rags to Stitches). 

Were you to join me at my home today, you would probably notice:

...That I am sipping on a (skinny) Pumpkin Spice Latte (mmmm!!). That yes, I drink my Starbucks with a straw. And that, yes, I am rocking a fun new Autumn hue on my nails, Essie's "Wicked."

...That there's a party atmosphere among us, as my little buddy is set to turn 4 (!!) on Sunday! Which means, tomorrow night, we'll be throwing down, camp-out style, to celebrate the fun-loving little boy who made me a Momma. He, three of his closest buddies, their dads, and my hub will be pitching tents in the backyard and camping out under the stars. I have some fun things up my sleeve planned for them, and thank goodness the forecast looks perfect for the big birthday bash!

...That also, speaking of the birthday boy, I am super, duper excited for a fun birthday surprise we have planned for his actual birthday.

...That I need an extra hug or two. Sometimes, a Momma just needs an extra squeeze. 

...That my little Raleigh's hair, which was so slow to grown in during her first year of life, now seems to be growing by the minute, into the sweetest blonde curls. 

...That I have some new pictures I took of my little duo last weekend, in the exact garden where my hub and I were married going on 10 years ago. And also, a beautiful picture of my mother "in law" and my little lady, that so captures how lucky we are to have her and our Pop in our lives. 

...That I am gushing, just a little, over how much I adore my girlfriends. I would celebrate the fact that I have an amazing group of loving, involved, supportive women in my life and that I don't know what I would ever do without them. They believe in me, know the true me, and are readily available to lift a girl up when needed. Of course, their brains, beauty, Christian values, and fun-loving spirits are just added bonuses. I hope to be just like them when I grow up. 

...That our home is slowly transforming as more of the things we ordered for Operation: Make This House Our Home, come in. Yippee!

...That I look a little run-down. I credit poor sleep the last week or so for my under-eye circles. Yuck. Please pour me another cup o' PSL.

...That there is also an air of excitement on my face because my most favorite shows,  Parenthood and Homeland, start back up this week! It's the little things...

...That, as much as I love this quiet time with you, I need to get movin' on the last few details of my little fella's birthday party, including my favorite part: the cake makin' and decoratin'!

Of course, before wrapping up our conversation, I would certainly want to spend some time hearing about YOU, any struggles you've been having lately that you may want to share, as well as any celebrations you have going on in your life right now. After the warmest of hugs, we would go our separate ways in search of all the weekend has to offer. 

See you again soon, sweet friend!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Always, Sometimes, Never

I ALWAYS... hamburgers, hotdogs, and sandwiches condiment-free. Mustard? Barf. Mayonnaise? Disgusting. Ketchup? No thank you. Special sauce? I'll pass. Plain is where it's at for this lady.

...feel better on the days I exercise. Lately, I've been hitting 5 or 6 days a week, including long walks with my kiddos the days my hub's out of town. Let's see if I can keep this up now that bathing suit season has come and gone.

...have MUCH more energy at the beginning than the end of the day. I can knock out so much more by 7:30 am than I can at 7:30 pm. I am definitely a morning person.

...miss our Atlanta church, Buckhead Church. I still listen to Andy Stanley sermons online. our weekend dinners because often it means we are either eating with friends, bringing home take out, or my hub is taking the reigns. Have I mentioned I do not possess a passion for cooking? seeing how much they love each other. 


...wish the era of social media and smartphones would die down already. Sadly, I think we are still in the first chapter of this long technological novel. 

...go too long before shaving.

 ...well actually, often these days, wake up in the middle of the night, with my mind racing, and I feel unable to turn it off. It can be exhausting. I wish my brain would kindly realize that a Momma needs a full night of uninterrupted sleep!

...get sooooooo tired of playing with race cars. But. I try to remember how much a certain little buddy loves them and, thus, suck it up. 

...feel like I am doing a good enough job as a Momma. And sometimes I don't. What the heck does "enough" even mean? I wish I would give myself a break sometimes. At the end of the day, if nothing else, my babies know how much they are loved. And sometimes, that is enough.

I NEVER... being late. It drives me nuts! 

...turn the channel if I run across Shawshank Redemption or Fried Green Tomatoes, two of my top five favorite movies that just never get old. 

...take my family or friends for granted. I am blessed by these relationships and my life is only as valuable as the love I have in it.

...can relax unless my house is picked up. Clutter has the capacity to put me over the edge, and I am constantly picking up throughout the day. Yes, I realize this is a little obsessive. Call me clutter-compulsive if you must, but I'm a happy clutter-compulsive. 

...skip breakfast. Nor lunch. Nor dinner. Nor mid-morning, mid-afternoon, mid-evening snacks. 

...can have too many pumpkin products during the Fall season. Lattes, pies, oatmeal, ice cream, you name, I'll eat it. 

...have enough date nights with my hub. I would love to make it a bi-monthly, or at least monthly, occurrence, especially with his travel schedule. I spy a 2014 resolution...

...get tired of seeing these two sweet faces, the little loves of my life: