S’More Fun at a Camping Birthday Party – Linc Turns Two

July 27th, 2016

On Saturday we celebrated Linc turning TWO with a camping birthday party! I debated doing a camping theme last year, because it just seemed so fun for a summer birthday, but decided he would have more fun at his own party with another year under his belt. I’m glad I waited, he had a BLAST.

Here’s the truth about throwing a lot of “fancy” birthday parties: After a few, you start to realize that being fancy really is less important than making sure everyone has food they like to eat and fun stuff for the kids. So although I still have strong commitment to a theme, I’m more flexible when it comes to including stuff that might have a cute, camping themed label. For example, hot dogs are camping-themed on their own without a clever name. But adding a bunch of Goldfish and Swedish Fish and calling it “The Fishing Hole” is on theme because of the name. See how reasonable and flexible I have become??

I am SO relieved we didn’t have rain and could be outside because I didn’t have an indoor backup plan. I am NOT thrilled that it was 90 degrees and I couldn’t offer anyone a cool place to relax. But I did plan ahead on the beer and water and juice boxes and lemonade so everyone stayed hydrated, the kids had the sprinkler (and eventually the toddlers ended up in the kiddie pool) so besides letting my own child get a sunburn (SO SORRY EVAN) everyone survived. Even me, which was the person I think everyone was most convinced would pass out at any moment.

All my supplies this time came from either Amazon or Oriental Trading (unsponsored and un-comped, because I wasn’t smart enough to ask ahead of time). I didn’t do a super great job of taking detailed photos, but hopefully these give you some ideas if you want to throw your own camping birthday party. Poor third child’s life isn’t nearly as well documented as the first or second.

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It is a shame I never got a good photo of all the kids in their adorable Happy Camper shirts, but they barely wore them at the party. Luckily I got photos before to use as decoration, so please accept this as proof they exist even though the photo isn’t really OF the shirts. I got them from a shop on Etsy.

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My sister made a chalkboard sign for the door.

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The photos I took on our camping photo shoot made good dining room decoration.

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I made the banner with craft paper, a free font and a free plaid paper download.

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These VERY realistic State Park Camping Signs came from Oriental Trading. I had one young guest worried I might have stolen them from an actual park.

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Two balloon from the grocery store, because I forgot to order a more on-theme red one.

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Extremely half-assed banner I made with leftover camping tent fabric.

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Bucket of sunscreen and bug spray for the guests.

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Chalk, tic-tac-toe rocks and card games for the big kids.

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I was going to do the food outside but it was too hot, so thank goodness we have a huge dining room table.

Our menu was:
Trail Mix Buffet
Walking Tacos
Watermelon
Cheese Puffs
Fruit
Veggies
Dirt Pudding Cups
Candy
Corn Muffins
Cupcakes
And, in theory, a s’mores buffet – but it was REALLY HOT and no one wanted to start a fire. So no actual s’mores were made.

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WHO KNEW individual bags of Fritos with meat, cheese, lettuce, salsa, sour cream and taco sauce would be SUCH a hit?! I ordered a huge box of Frito bags from Amazon and was sure I would have most of them left over. But nope, everyone ate multiple bags. They were a great lunch.

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Trail mix buffet – I had paper bags to fill with nuts, dried fruit, candy, pretzels. cereal and marshmallows. The kids loooooved this.

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Bait = gummy worms and chocolate dirt pudding cups (pudding, crushed oreos, more worms)

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Berry Patch sounds more like camping than just “fruit”

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Cheese puffs look sort of like a campfire, right?

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Cupcake toppers, invitations, food signs and thank you labels all designed by the VERY talented and my most favorite Becca of Jumping Jax Designs.

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My poor, unused s’mores buffet. Oh well, we’ll make good use of all that chocolate and marshmallows at the lake.

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Our party guests might have actually been more kids than adults, so I worked hard to make the party as fun for children as possible. I’m pretty sure the combination of bounce house and sprinkler helped me achieve extreme success.

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Fishing was very popular. $12 kiddie pool and 3 plastic fishing pole sets from Oriental Trading.

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E made tents out of scrap wood and I sewed (actually sewed! with a sewing machine!) the covers. They were less popular than the bounce house. Shocking.

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Giant fishing bobber balls from Oriental Trading

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This was a Pinterest idea that worked out even better than expected. E found a branch and cut it into slices, then drilled holes so I could make them necklaces. I provided markers to decorating the medallions (we kept it supervised with the toddlers, since they’re permanent markers) and every single one of these was used. Total cost: $9 worth of colored string, because I already had the markers.

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Linc had an amazing time. I barely even saw him and definitely didn’t take as many pictures as he deserves for his second birthday (because, you know, I NEVER take pictures of him…) but he slept for almost 18 hours that night. Thank you to everyone who took the time to come be hot and sweaty and slightly miserable in my back yard to make is day special.

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I made Linc his own tiny smash cake with “flame” frosting. He ate none of it, but did eat 4 cupcakes.

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We had funfetti cupcakes, vanilla cupcakes and chocolate cupcakes. They were all equally delicious (and from a box).

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Lake of the Woods 2016

July 25th, 2016

I promise to have Linc birthday party pics up soon, but these are a) done and b) on a drive that hasn’t yet overheated so I still have access. Plus I like documenting our annual things the best, since I can go back and look at last year vs this year. (I took way more pictures last year, because I was way less hugely pregnant.)

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My Week(299) in iPhone Photos

July 24th, 2016

It’s only Sunday and I’m getting this done! Because it is too hot to do anything besides sit very still!

Sunday:

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That looks safe

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Middle of nowhere

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Apparently, some of my relatives are buried at this obscure graveyard in Ohio (that’s my maiden name)

Monday:

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Waking up at the lake means 8 am swim call

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Books books books

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Future captain

Tuesday:

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The lake has a menu

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My baby is on that tube

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Chips are very exciting

Wednesday:

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Everyone loves the swim platform

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I guess that’s fair

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He likes the boat a lot more than this face implies

Thursday:

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Tired, hot, filthy children are finally home

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That “mild” sunburn hurts A LOT more than it looks

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I taught them how to send FB messages

Friday:

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Back at our own lake

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Recital in two weeks!

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Catching Pokemon from our front porch

Saturday:

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Caroline the Bond Villian

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Camp food!

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The birthday boy was not in the mood for pictures

All the kids had a great time at Linc’s party and no one died of heat stroke. This week is going to be busy with making up appointments and commitments we rescheduled when we went out of town, plus it’s my last busy week of photo sessions before I start telling people I’m too pregnant. I mean, I’m ALREADY too pregnant, but I still like working. I’m going to “take it easy” from now until the end of August (which will more likely be the middle of September, since I always have boy babies late). It will be easier to take it easy once it is not 95 degrees every day. When can someone work on that?

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July 19th, 2016

We had an unexpected change in plans last week, and spent the end of it in Ohio for a funeral. Also the kids had control of my phone about 50% of the time trying to catch Pokemon, so I think I’m missing some pictures, unless you want to see 400 photos of ceilings and/or random sidewalks.

Sunday:

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More pajamas are always necessary

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Experienced shopper

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Caroline picked these out

Monday:

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Mystic looking misty

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Rocking out at the Aquarium after hours

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It’s not actually historic, but it’s pretty

Tuesday:

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The penguins are judging her

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I don’t know what he’s doing.

Wednesday:

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Look kid, I’m just doing laundry, I’m not part of the resistance

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They learned their daddy can do magic

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I told him it’s bedtime

 

Thursday:

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Early morning Tappan Zee

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Nap cuddles

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This baby might be tired of Pokewalks

 

Friday:

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Cousins

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And games

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And more cousins

Saturday:

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Hi Linc

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More cousin time

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This is not an iPhone photo, or even my photo, but it made me laugh (especially after last night)

 

Now I am going to go swim in a lake and not watch TV (unless it’s the Great British Baking Show) and ride in a boat really slowly to hatch Pokemon eggs. It’s better than real life.

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Gotta Catch ‘Em All

July 14th, 2016

We’re playing Pokemon Go. I don’t actually want to hear about how it’s a secret plot from the CIA to data-mine us all or whatever. I don’t care. It’s been a super fun way for our family to spend time, outside, together, getting lots of fresh air and exercise. It’s gotten my tired, pregnant butt off the couch every day since I downloaded it. The kids are all exhausted at the end of the day from the walking. And believe it or not, looking at REAL animals or boats or flowers is still really fun, in between catching Clefairies (Caroline’s favorite) and trash birds (stupid Pidgies are everywhere).

And if you want to visit Mystic in the summer, may I recommend the Monday night after-hours at the aquarium? The outdoor section isn’t all open (no penguins) but it was SO fun to visit when the place was empty, plus the octopus, whales and frogs were all extra active and fun to watch.

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