Summer Bucket List

I made a summer bucket list with the girls a month ago. They had all kinds of fun ideas for what they’d like to do this summer, but I had only one item to add to the list – family float time at the lake. We used to do this before Everett was born: a hot summer afternoon + something to float on for everyone, and a few hours later, I had my all-time favourite summer memories, every single time.

But it’s been three years since this has happened! We’ve had some great weekends at the cabin since Everett was born, but we’ve never had a HOT weekend! It’s been rainy and on the cooler side every time we’ve gone out there the last two summers, and I was starting to get desperate! How was it possible to miss out for so long on my favourite summer activity??!

We finally got our hot weekend, and our family floated, and now I don’t care what happens for the rest of the summer, I have been satisfied.

We stayed at the lake until Monday so that we could drop Kaylia off at camp, which is five minutes away from my parents’ cabin. It’s her first time going, and we’re all pretty curious how this will go! It’s been awhile since we’ve only had two kids in the house, so Anika and I have a list of chick flicks to get through, and Everett is missing his little playmate, so he’s filling his time with “helping” me, which we all know is outrageously helpful. Although, he did empty the whole cooler when we got back from the cabin, which was legitimately helpful, so maybe it will turn out okay!

I hope your week is off to a wonderful start!



Beginning of Summer

I love the beginnings of things – the first day on vacation, first thing in the morning, first page in a journal. You just never know where things are going to go, and I enjoy the anticipation. I’m not as good at squeezing out the last drops. I guess I keep jumping ahead, and start thinking about the next thing too soon, which is great for having motivation to start something new, but not so great for staying in the moment.

End of summer and I have some work to do. But beginning of summer? We get along great. I love the promise of great things to come, the long stretch of beautiful days before us.

Speaking of anticipating things, next week is my birthday, and I’ll be doing my usual “Birthday Favorites” giveaway – I share my favorite finds of the year, and anyone who shares theirs in the comment section over the next two weeks is entered into a draw. I’ve heard such great tips and things to try from all of you in the past, and I’m super excited to get started!


Vacation Favorites

Have you ever noticed how awesome we can truly be at forgetting the bad stuff, and only remembering the good stuff? It is possible for pain to fade fairly quickly – it’s why women keep having babies. It’s also why we’ll go on vacation again next year.

Oh, my word. I haven’t been so tired since Everett was a newborn. We spent five days at the lake, and planned to stay another day, but we just couldn’t do it. Everett sleeps terribly at the cabin. When Ben looked at me with bleary eyes, and said, “I will not feel rested when I go back to work on Thursday”, I thought, “What in the world are we doing??!!”

At this point in life, sleep is precious. So we packed up, and went home. I may possibly have considered it our last trip to the cabin this summer. I was just that tired.

But two days later, I was editing photos from our vacation, and I caught myself thinking, “Oh, that was such a good time!!!”

What??! That is fantastic. Thank you, Jesus, for a brain like a sieve. And there were really good moments that were very enjoyable, so we’ll focus on those, and try again next year.

In the meantime, here are my photos that make it look like the best vacation ever…..

lakeB&ElakekidssunsetmorningmoonSee, I want to go back already.;)

Weekend Favorites: At the Lake

I am not a spontaneous person. I like to have everything planned out well in advance. But every once in awhile, things will just suddenly drop into place, and I’ll suddenly realize that spontaneity takes all the stress out of things – if I don’t know about it ahead of time, there’s no time to get stressed! Just rush right in.

That was this weekend.

We had planned to go to my parents’ cabin with them and two of my aunts, but I got sick on Thursday, and the mountains of dirty laundry surrounding me didn’t help me feel any better. Packing for all five of us for the weekend felt extremely overwhelming at that point, so we said we weren’t going.

On Saturday, my mom texted to say that the aunts had brought loads of food, hoping we might still come, and she asked if there was any chance I was feeling better, and we might consider going to the cabin after all, to help eat.

I still wasn’t feeling great, but the laundry was now clean, and lying around at the cabin or lying around at home wouldn’t make much difference, but at least I wouldn’t have to cook at the cabin!

So we threw our stuff together, and got ready to leave in two hours.

cabinThe food was great, and it was good to spend time with family, but Everett’s night was horrendous, and at 4am, I really thought we’d made a huge mistake.

Sunday was so beautiful, however, that in the end, both Ben and I were able to overlook the awful night, and agreed that the spontaneous decision turned out to be a good one.;)

cabinMy highlight was Everett’s first boat ride. I was very curious how it would go – when Anika was a baby, the lifejacket made her scream, and she kept on screaming until the boat started moving. Kaylia, on the other hand, started screaming as soon as the boat started moving, and would wail through every ride until we finally got her used to it.

But Everett decided to show them how it’s done.

EverettHe was totally cool and calm throughout the whole thing. Ben’s reeeeeally hoping he’ll act the same way about waterskiing, since the girls refuse to try it.

AnikaKaylia, like Pocahontas, showed us a thing or two about painting with all the colors of the wind….

KayliaKayliaKayliaShe’s obviously gotten over her fear of boats.

EverettAnd Everett was so happy, you’d never guess he had the worst night of his sleeping career.

EverettAfter a beautiful day of reading, eating, and napping, we headed home.

drivingAnyone else feel like the better the weekend, the harder the Monday?! It’s a bit hard to transition from all that to school and dirty dishes!


Weekend Favorites

We spent our first weekend at the cabin this year! It was good to be back.:)

branchThe trees are just starting to bud, but there isn’t a whole lot of color anywhere yet! I went in search of some green…




wiener roastwiener roast

We celebrated Kaylia’s birthday. It’s a bit early, but it looks like this is becoming a tradition in my family – birthday party on the long weekend at the cabin.:)

KayliaKayliacupcakespresentsEveryone else left on Sunday evening, but we stayed until Monday – we love slow mornings when we have nowhere we need to be!

Ben and girlsWe packed up near lunch, and drove to Brereton to grab some fries and let the girls run around for a little while before heading home.

beachpussy willowsCan’t wait for all the buds to start opening! I hope you had a great weekend!

Weekend Favorites

What a beautiful weekend! And it’s not even over yet!

But I wanted to quickly share a few favorites from our time at the cabin:


We had a very spontaneous birthday party for Anika at the cabin. My mom happened to have a cake mix on hand, we whipped up some paper chains, and Anika made place cards for everybody.

After our Thanksgiving/birthday party meal, we headed outside. It was such a beautiful afternoon!033

It’s our fall tradition to climb up to Look-Out every year, right when the leaves are at their brightest, and it was so much fun to be able to share this tradition with the rest of my family!036 037 045

073 069 078

It’s also family tradition to take a family picture there, but unfortunately, Ben was feeling so sick that he stayed back at the cabin while everybody went on this little adventure.080

Today we keep celebrating, this time with Ben’s family.

I hope you all have a fantastic Thanksgiving!

Making Summer Awesome – Week Four

We’re back from a fantastic week at the lake! Making summer awesome was very easy this last week!

flowermisty dockWe went back for a visit to our old beach at camp…

Red Rock Bible Camp KayliaWe relaxed, read lots and lots of books, did some puzzles….puzzles

…and soaked in tons of sunshine!

soaking in the sunshineWe took the girls to Rainbow Falls…

August 2013 557 August 2013 548 August 2013 575 flip flops

…and laughed at some ducks jumping over the falls!Rainbow Falls August 2013 532The week was hot, hot, hot, so we tried to spend every afternoon at the beach.

swimming kayak sand castleBesides just having a great time as a family, I think we accomplished a few other things, as well:

  • We experienced enough heat to make me ready for some cooler fall temperatures!
  • We relaxed enough to make me motivated to come home and get stuff done.
  • We were on vacation long enough to make us miss home, and be ready to come back!

It’s hard to say goodbye to a good summer, but I find the easiest way to deal with it is to go hard, squeeze every little bit of enjoyment out of it, and then move on to fall with no regrets.

But my friend Chantelle is right – summer is not officially over until September 22! I have a few more things on my list to enjoy…



Making Summer Awesome – Week Three

So, remember how a few weeks ago I realized that although I was pretending to think summer was awesome, I wasn’t really enjoying it?

And then we started this whole “Intentionally Making Summer Awesome” idea, and…something happened….

I was cleaning up clothes in Kaylia’s room a few days ago, just sorting through stuff, trying to figure out what she’s outgrown, and what I might need to buy her for fall. I was thinking about how it was almost time to pack away the big stack of bright, summery clothes, but then this thought popped into my head: “That’s okay, I don’t mind getting ready for fall. I think I’m okay with moving on to the next season soon, because it’s been a really great summer.”

What??! What was that, there?

Two and a half weeks, people. That’s all the time it took to turn this thing around. I have been so much happier since I figured out what was making me unhappy. The steps I’ve taken to reach my summer goals haven’t been big or impressive – they’ve just been intentional. (Here’s Week 1 and Week 2, if you missed out…)

Some of these might look familiar to you, but here’s a recap of what we’ve done during Week Three of my “Make Summer Awesome” challenge:

1) Go to the lake with friends.

Ben’s parents were gone for a few weeks this summer, and told us we could make use of their cabin while they were gone. We tend to spend a lot of time at my parents’ cabin, because summer is about the only time I get to see my family. (My parents live in Florida from October to April, so we try to make up for lost time during the summer.)

But a weekend at Ben’s parents’ cabin sounded good, and we were able to spend it with friends we love to be with, but don’t get to see very often. Beautiful weekend!


2) Give the deck a mini-makeover.

I’ve been feeling like our deck is very brown, and very bare. It needed spicing up a bit, so I headed out to the city one evening to see what kind of end-of-the-summer sales I could find for patio accessories. Pickings were slim, but I managed to find what I need for $25, and happily checked this item off my list.


When I asked Ben’s opinion on my new outdoor cushions, he studied them for a second, and then said, “Well, I can’t see myself using them for anything.”

I tried to explain that they’re not for using – they’re just for looking pretty!

3) Put on a Homeschool Forum.

Last spring, my friend invited me to drive out to Winkler with her for a Homeschool Forum. It was a great evening – very encouraging and informative. A panel of parents answered a series of questions about how and why they homeschooled their kids, and I was able to pick up many great tips for the evening.

We decided to try the same idea in Niverville, and it was great! I loved listening to the many different opinions and ideas that were shared, and I loved being able to share the night with other parents who are seeking advise and ideas.

4) Take pictures at the Mennonite Landing.

I love the Mennonite Landing. There’s trees, and water, and when camp seems too far away, this place will fit my craving.

I’ve taken pictures there in fall and winter, but not spring and summer, so it was my goal to get down there to add another season to my collection of photos.

Mennonite Landing

What have you been up to? Back into the swing of things with fall? Squeezing out the last drops of summer before the end of August?

Making Summer Awesome – Week One

After my post on Friday, I sat myself down and made a list – what would I like to accomplish this summer? What will I make sure to intentionally enjoy, so this beautiful month of August does not slip by too quickly?

You can help keep me accountable – each week, I’ll post my list of what we’re doing to make this month amazing!

Clouds1) Get Anika to Camp!

This was an obvious one on our Summer Bucket List. Anika was at camp last week, and had a wonderful time, but I think all four of us were very ready for her to come  home this weekend.

There was a sweet reunion between these two girlies, and many repeated hugs throughout the day.


2) Big Birthday Bash for my Dad!

We spent a beautiful weekend at the cabin, and helped celebrate my dad’s 65th birthday. My sister even organized a ski show….

ski showski show

3) Spend Time with Family

Because my parents go to Florida for the winter, my family gets a bit disconnected during the year. I am so glad that we’ve been able to spend time together at the cabin this summer!

AmberswimmingcabinWe’re off to a good start! Can’t wait to share with you what we’re up to this week!

What are you doing to make summer awesome? I want to hear your list!