Just Tri It Triathlon and Our First Beach Day of the Summer!

DSC06499 Today was a busy day!  It started with all of us getting up early and heading to Manitowish Waters to cheer on Ethan as he swam, biked and ran his way through the Just Tri It triathlon.  This was his third time participating in this one and he beat his previous times this go round so it was fun to be a part of his personal victory..
It was also fun just to be around the energy and excitement that the day brought.  While we waited Zoey worked on some of her gymnastic moves and I got to people watch which is always fun.  I saw a family that had made t-shirts to root for their dad and I think we'll be doing that for Ethan next time.
There were 162 participants and Ethan placed 27th overall.  Within his age group though he placed 5th which is a personal best for him.
It's so easy for me to brush off his running every day as "his thing" but in reality it's a lot of work, dedication and a practice in self control.  Today when I left I felt a little energized myself and finding myself thinking that I want to do something like this for myself too.
Zoey of course was proud of him too...though she didn't really want to get too terribly close to him because he was so stinky and sweaty.
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After the triathlon we headed for home and decided to spend the afternoon at the beach.  Which Zoey wasn't thrilled all.  :)
She is a fish!  She spent all afternoon in the water.
I love how you can really tell she has my grandpa's ears when she wears swim goggles.
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And it wouldn't be an outing together if we didn't strike a silly pose for the camera.
What a great day!  It truly felt as though it was the first day of summer for us here.  Hoping for many more days like this.
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Etsy Find...The Wheatfield

I found an artist on Etsy that I am loving...her prints are so whimsical, simple and sweet and full of truth.  I just wanted to share some of my favorites here.  The above print reminds me of growing up along the Mississippi River.

I love this one below titled My Someday Cottage...I have something similar in my head for this.

The name of the Etsy shop is The Wheatfield (I even love the name!) and you can visit it here.  And you can find the artist, Katie Daisy here on Facebook if you like!

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Making Doll Crowns

Zoey had a friend over yesterday and we did a bit of doll crafting.  I had some colored sheets of foam as well as some foam stickers and sticky gems so we made some doll crowns!  They turned out so cute!   DSC06469 DSC06474
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Cocoa Daisy Sneaks for July!

It's a scrappy post!! Can you believe it? I almost can't...this summer has been so busy so far that I've hardly had a chance to sit down let alone scrapbook! But alas, there was some time to be found for scrapbooking after all, thank goodness! The July kit, Take Note, was a fun one to get to create with and it's actually ending up to be one of my favorites to date. I got several of the add-ons this month too which is always fun. Stay tuned for the full reveal and check out the full kit tomorrow evening at 9 pm EST.
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Making McKenna's Balance Beam on a Budget


Since our visit to the American Girl store at the Mall of America Zoey has been talking about asking Santa for McKenna's Balance Beam for Christmas and that made me start thinking about a way to make one of our own on a smaller budget than what is listed in the catalog.  A trip to the hardware store and the dollar depot was all we needed to get started. Bonus...when we went up to the counter at ACE today, we got a scratch off coupon and saved 20% off all of our items.  :)

Supplies Needed: Duck Tape (in colors of your choice), small tack nails, scrap wood packs (the pieces of wood that we used were sized 3 1/4 in. x 24 in.'s and 2 - 2 in x 4 in.'s), and a hammer.


First I taped up the ends of the long piece of wood and the edges along the side taking care to make no bubbles or creases.


Then I adhered long strips of tape on the larger flat sides of my piece of wood.


I then did the same to the smaller blocks of wood.  Taking care to note which side would be on the inside of the balance beam (not show) and which side would show (be on the outside) just so I would be sure that it would look nicer.


Now that  you have all of your taped pieces of wood you can arrange your blocks under the larger "beam" and get ready to nail them together.  I used two tack nails on each end.


When I was finished Zoey added some fun foam star stickers that we found at the Dollar Depot and we were done.  She couldn't wait to see how McKenna would like her new balance beam!



It's safe to say that she loves it!  She was showing us tricks right away of course!




Zoey is thrilled too and now I am thinking about how it is that I can re-create McKenna's bar.



Check out McKenna's handstand!  Pretty impressive eh?




Of course, if we were giving something our full attention than Leo had to come and check it out.


This was a fun and pretty easy craft to work on this rainy afternoon.  After it was finished Zoey said that she couldn't believe she had a mom that could do this...made my heart happy that something so little can make her so happy.

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Trip to The American Girl Place, Mall of America, Minneapolis


I was worried that it wouldn't be up to the hype...I worried for absolutely nothing! It was AMAZING and FUN and EXCITING and the most wonderful feeling watching and hearing Zoey and her friends giggling and squealing with delight and wonder for pretty much 48 hours straight. Visiting The American Girl Place for the first time was just magical and everything that a little girl could dream of and more!


My friend, and the mother of one of Zoey's best friends asked awhile back if we would like to make the trip to Minneapolis with them to visit The American Girl Place and we of course said yes...I am so glad that we made this little outing happen.  It was such a special thing to do as mothers and daughters.  It's something that I know that Zoey will not forget.


The little jester styled skirt that Zoey and her doll wore on the first day were birthday gifts made for her from one of my friends and her daughter.  My friend Misty made them out of old t-shirt scraps.  It was fun because when we were in The American Girl Place pretty much every employee at some point came up to her and asked about her skirt and ooohed and ahhhed about it.


Here is a little slideshow that I made up and put to one of Zoey's favorite songs of our visit.

Zoey had gotten some spending money from both of her grandmothers and Ethan and I had some tucked away for her too because we thought it would be special for her to pick out her very own doll of her choice since up to this point her dolls have been gifts that others have chosen for her.  She chose McKenna who is the doll of the year this year.  I have to say too, she's pretty darn cute in person.  :)


We ate at The American Girl Bistro for dinner on the day we arrived and then again for brunch the next day. The food was delicious and was presented in fun little displays for the girls.  I will say though that they provided A LOT of food.  Zoey wasn't able to finish either meal in it's entirety.  The experience totally made the trip though...getting to eat out with your doll at a fancy restaurant was pretty special and the waitstaff made sure to make it even more so.  The dolls had menus (that the girls got to take home), and they had special chairs that sat up to the table and had table settings as well.


The American Girl Place was two stories (Zoey had a blast on the escalators) and downstairs were the books, the doll salon (the dolls could get a spa treatment or their hair done), the historical dolls and accessories, the doll of the year McKenna and her accessories and clothing, there was a Bitty Baby section as well as a section for the Bitty Baby Twins and some of the Just Like You dolls as well as some of the store exclusive items (which are not available online).  Upstairs was the bistro and more
of the Just Like You dolls, McKenna items and exclusives.

It was fun to see all the employees interacting with the girls and not necessarily the mothers.  It was so fun for the girls to bring their dolls into the store and to get to just play while there.

We had some fun exploring The Mall of America too...I hadn't been there since probably when I was in high school so it was fun for me to check it out again now as an adult.


Zoey's friend and sister both got their ears pierced while we were at the mall and while Zoey was interested, she decided to not go ahead and get hers pierced yet.  :)  So instead she got some funny pink (non-prescription) glasses, pink of course.


After our first day at The American Girl Place the girls came back to play with their dolls at the hotel.  I think they went to sleep around 11:30pm that evening.  It was so fun listening to their excitement and chatter before finally collapsing in bed.





We had so much fun, and I have a feeling that we will be thinking about this trip for some time to come.  It's totally worth making the trip if you have a daughter (or granddaughter that loves dolls!).  Thank you Amanda and Gracie for inviting us along!
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