Tag Archives: fun

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin Patch

Pumpkin patch? You may ask why I am bringing up pumpkins after Halloween is over and we are on to the next big holiday. Well my friends, my life has been utter chaos for the past month that I will be quite frank with you: I haven’t had the time.

Life has passed me by with a roller coaster ride that I jumped onto and didn’t realize I was participating in. I skated through on roller coaster to the next and my head was spinning so rapidly I couldn’t slow down to see which direction was up. Finally my world has stopped spinning….haha okay that’s not true at all. I have come to realize my world will forever spin and I will jump from one roller coaster ride to the next without choice. The only choice in the matter is my attitude. So with that said, I am currently jumping ship from one to the next and right now I have a moment to spend reliving the pumpkin patch that came and went before I even blinked an eye.

We journeyed to Sauvie’s Island for our third year in a row and drug alone a friend who works with Michael. We encountered a field of rotting pumpkins, fresh corn on the cob, tractor rides, corn maze and every food cart you can imagine. We had a lot of fun touring our own Disneyland right here in Portland.

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Cooper was beyond fixated on the tractor rides that nothing, I repeat nothing else mattered. Pumpkins became a lower class citizen that was not worth Cooper’s time. It was unbelievable.

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That’s right, your eyes serve you correctly. He is holding a GREEN pumpkin while starring down the tractor.

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And you are right again….everyone is looking at the camera except Cooper. He is still fixated on the tractor pulling us along.

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I guess when you are the only girl in a group of “boys” you will find that your sense of fashion becomes meaningless with men. There was a long debate before we even go to the pumpkin patch about whether I should wear my nice boots or tennis shoes. I was fighting a loosing battle with these men. They go practical without even hearing what my justification was.

Here’s what happened. I had my nice brown boots that matched my outfit perfectly. I also brought along my “junk” tennis shoes in case it was rainy and muddy. The problem lied within the color of my shoes. They are gray and purple and clashed with my outfit 110%. I think you get where this is going… there is no need to fight a loosing battle, I simply ignored them once I realized I was receiving no help in this area and opted for my boots. Once this decision was made, boy was there comments to be had about how muddy they would become. I fought myself to the grave on this stating I wouldn’t walk where I shouldn’t and that it was all going to be just fine….

Here’s my clean boots

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And here I am traipsing around the field still in my boots.

Pumpkin Patch

Covered in straw.

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A little remnants still remains…

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And back to the tractor for our fifteenth ride. Well maybe not quite, but I did take him around and around while the boys went and toured the corn maze.

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Loving life

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Dreaming of being a farmer one day?

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The forgotten pumpkins!

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And here ya have it….my boots got splattered but not destroyed!

Style trumped boys!

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And most importantly, we had some amazing Bratwursts that are always a big hit in our family!!! Mmmm so delicious.

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A little Cook family pumpkin patchin’

IMG_7766Bravo everyone.

Happy Birthday To Me

My birthday was this past weekend it was fabulous. Before I get into it, let me start by saying it was a very good birthday full of yummy food, date night and family breakfast.

BUT— lets pull the reigns on the horse for a minute and begin by stating how wonderful my birthday was last year. Last year we were in the Bahamas and Orlando for 14 days and it just happened to fall on my birthday! Okay, I may have planned it that way! :) Needless to say, it was a fabulous birthday and though this years was amazing, nothing beats a great Bahamian vacation.

IMG_3556Michael and I enjoying our wonderful travels. My husband is a must travel guy. What this means is this, he is in desperate need of a new vacation every year AND he is a great trip planner; always finding deals and steals making our trips affordable. 
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Just looking at this picture makes me realize how beautiful our world is and how small we are in comparison. We have such beauty at our fingertips. Praise God for beauty as it makes life more relaxing.

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It was paradise.

We even traveled with the little munchkin and he did AWESOME!!! He is the worlds best traveler.

Okay, enough reminiscing.

This year we went to coffee and pastries with Cooper since later that night we would be going on date night to dinner and a movie. We had yummy pastries at St Honore Bakery and fun time walking around the last Farmer’s Market for the year.

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Later that night, we enjoyed date night with dinner and a movie. The concept is almost too simple but so worth it to me. I’m a simply gal and enjoy the little things.

Having a HOT dinner, without kids and full of good company and good food. A movie that’s entertaining, not on our couch and again, without my sweet little baby, though I love him, I enjoy a little time to myself and rarely get it. This is a wonderful way to get away!

I enjoyed myself a good 12 ounce Rib Eye and crab cakes.

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For dessert we had the original New York Cheesecake! Mmmm mmm mm it was delish!

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And the movie we saw was The Judge. It was so worth it and had a couple tears shed but for the most part it was a really good movie.

Time well spent as a husband and wife on my birthday.

Happy birthday to me and it really was! Nothing beats family time!

Thank you hubby for a wonderful birthday and thank you Cooper for being my son! :)

The Magical World of Narnia-In Our Backyard

 Exploring In Our Very Own Backyard

My niece and sister have been frequenting our abode this summer and using our pool, picking blueberries and lots of fun walks to the river or through the forest. It’s amazing the beauty to be had with our “backyard,” you simply walk past the pool and enter the Chronicles of Narnia’s, a whole new destination closet leading somewhere entirely different. Isn’t that fabulous?

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The heater got turned off in the pool leaving it to be an extra cool morning as well… Cooper opted out of getting in the water but chose to play and splash from the sidelines. 
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Mommy and Me time! 
coopsWe entered the “closet” so to speak and the world opened up before our eyes. 
They absolutely loved this magical rock where they could hide beneath it. 
the kidsThey grew sick of us telling them where to stand and to “smile,” so off we traveled across the path to the water that filled our eyes with a beautiful glow where the beaver lives. 
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We stumbled across the beavers home. A place where he has become very comfortable with all the runners that cross this path. He has lived here for quite some time but I personally have yet to see him. I’ve heard he comes out every morning and evening when it’s not too hot out.

We decided we would “wait” for him to show his little tail to us before continuing on in our journey of Narnia!

Waiting for the beaver…
cooperI just love this little gal, she’s my favorite niece in the WHOLE world. Beyond precious!

And she enjoyed the world of Narnia being held in our backyard! 

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This tree has given it’s life to the Beaver…
tree“Could that be him?”

babyNo beaver today… 

Cooper found an awesome curly-que stick that would only be found through entering Narnia and handfuls of dirt to throw in the creek along our way home.

coopieStopping to play at the park in our neighborhood. 
swing“Bye Park” Our journey is ending.

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Definitely lunch time and nap time!

swingsL eaving the world of Narnia was a good thing. These kids needed a nap and their minds needed a break! ;)

We had such a good time exploring the many things which lay within our own backyard. The kids love the pool, walks and water along the way. They tire with all the walking and take wonderful naps upon returning home! (Sigh)

So glorious to have time as family and to do fun things together!

We’re Going Camping Now We’re On Our Way…

We’re Going Camping Now We’re On Our Way…

“We’re going camping now we’re on our way. We’re gonna climb up a mountain and run and jump and play…” This was a song from my childhood. I have no idea who sang it and what it was on, but it definitely is still a memory my entire family holds. :)

We went camping last year but Cooper was a little too young to remember. I on the other hand, remember all too well. Not an ounce of sleep was able to rest upon my droopy eyes.

Cooper had an incredible time playing in the dirt and water but by the time bedtime approached he could not fall asleep. I believe the noise was ever so present from surrounding campsites that he was so confused. He was too young to explain this to, so we bore the brunt of our sleeping while holding him and walking around. Sitting in the car trying to fall asleep. Nothing worked!

So with that beautiful story in mind, we took the risk and headed out again this year…. crazy aren’t we?

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He was excited to go to the “big park” as we had no other idea how to explain camping.

Watching the Gator drive around was his biggest highlight.

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Trying to get a squirrel up a tree with the tent poles…. needless to say, it did not workout for him.

IMG_6603Daddy and Cooper setting up the tent…

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Rather playing with the tent! Shouting and screaming for joy!

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What an accomplishment….the succeed at tent making!

IMG_6599Going for one night was a lot of work, but not knowing how Cooper would sleep, wasn’t worth the chance of a two plus camping trip.

Getting dinner prepared with a twig and a blanket on the table wasn’t too easy! But the Buffalo Blue Cheese Chicken Burgers were fantastic!

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Story time before bed! He loved it! 
IMG_6590Forgetting our mattress pump, Michael believes he can work up enough air to fill this sucker up. I’m not sure he succeed though I’ll leave that to your imagination.

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Chillaxin’ or shall I say getting ready to pass out from all the air loss.

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Good morning sunshine….6 am sharp, this little monster was up and ready to play. Luckily he slept through the entire night! Praise Jesus because I think we all would have reached insanity after being up all night!

IMG_6593Whoops, my mascara was played with by a little rascal.
IMG_6594We had a lot of fun but it definitely is a lot of work to camp over night and even though Cooper slept through the night, Michael and I were still pooped the next morning! We had fun and would totally do it again…next summer! 

Maybe a yurt, this time around!

Movies in the Park

If you want a cheap date night or family night, look for your local movies in the park. In Oregon, you will find them all throughout the Portland-metropolitan area. In our own neighborhood we have them every Friday night, and just one stop further, we have them every Thursday night.

This has been a great past time memory that we have participated in since Cooper was born. And although Cooper hasn’t been old enough to enjoy the movies, he has enjoyed playing in the park and having a picnic. Last night was fabulous. The weather was perfect, overcast skies, and an over zealous baby! He was beyond happy and content pushing his little truck around, playing in the water and most of all…playing with his mama. ;)

We went 2 hours early to the park to enjoy some time playing around and also because I wasn’t sure if Cooper could manage that late of an evening. We got home at 9:30 about 45 minutes after the movie was set to begin. Cooper had a blast and so did I.

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This is a great water park

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Ready-Set-Go

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And he’s off…

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Playing in the Water

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And out of the water

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Trying to wear mama’s shoes

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Taking a breather from playing

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Mommy and me

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Adorable

Getting ready for the show.

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Making himself comfortable

Oh what a night… so many activities took place just while hanging out in the park for one night. Tired little boy slept extremely well! 

Wardrobe Update

From exciting to dull… I have been going through my closet on a ‘what not to wear’ basis. My husband had mentioned that I have so many clothes and don’t wear half of them. Emphasizing the “so many clothes” part, as my husband is a true man with style but does NOT understand a woman and their deep obsession with clothing.

If you have yet to read the initial post about my wardrobe, click here.

So it all began 39 days ago. I have been going 39 days strong…until last weekend where I began contemplating tossing the remainder of my clothes because I simply don’t care for them. “Are they in style” “Do they still fit me” “I don’t like the way this shirt lays” “This one has the wrong color swatch for the days mood” so on and so forth. I could make every excuse in the book and then some. I truly did not like anything in hanging in there. So, I decided it was time to go for a swim and avoid the topic all together. Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually go swimming, but that was a good thought that may take place next time I have this same conversation with myself while looking at my rugged old wardrobe.

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Thanks to theartofsimple.net

So, as promised, I took the vow to wear all of my shirts (weather appropriate) before wearing a top for the second time. If I do not wear it, I will toss it. I’ve only tossed two thus far and have donated two with tags still on to my mom and sister. I enjoyed my outfit today and have thought to myself many times throughout the past 39 days, why I haven’t worn a few shirts more often. Eh, my husband may be right…

The truth hurts my friends. Going through your closet can be refreshing and some shirts are very exciting to wear again. My husband was right, I have many shirts that I barely wear, and all for no good reason.

I will update once I reach the end of the line in the closet and let you all know whether I tossed them, wore them or gave in and quit this dumb ol’ bet.

Corn Dogs

Easy-peasy yummy and easy. Who doesn’t love a corn dog, I know I would eat them all the time if they were as healthy as the blueberries we grow.

Anyway, this recipe developed through a long time pondering what to make for our annual movies in the park picnic. All week long I had thought and contemplated what delicious picnic to pack. It was opening night for movies in our neighborhood park this past weekend and my conclusion ended with these delicious homemade corn dogs.

With a busy day watching a girlfriends two kids and my son getting pictures all in the same afternoon, I was hoping to conquer my desire to make these corn dogs as well unsure how long it would actually take. Preparing early in the morning was my best friend. This enabled a helpful evening of simply frying them during Cooper’s nap so when we returned home, dinner would be DONE!

Waking my son up from a nap led me to believe pictures would be a challenge let alone, a long evening with a late bedtime. To my surprise, my little bundle exceed expectations and we returned home by 9:30 with a very happy baby. I love nights where my son is uber-snuggly and interacting with me on a level I didn’t realize he was old enough for. It was precious to play with his super-duper sweet attitude while we also laid on the blanket looking up at the sky. The trees that billowed out above us and a pink sky surpassing the quiet trees was absolutely astonishing. His little mind taking in the essence of a “pink” sunset was adorable. So much so we even talked about it the following morning.

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We played on the blanket with toys and even played in the water feature the beautiful park holds. We left when the movie got going as my son wasn’t there for a quiet evening but rather, an active, loud adventure. We enjoyed our corn dog picnic and couldn’t have asked for a better night.

Ingredients:

Batter:

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1 cup unbleached flour
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup milk

Hot Dog Prep:

  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 8-10 hot dogs
  • 3 cups Vegetable Oil
  • 4-5 wooden skewers, cut in half

Mix together all the dry ingredients for the batter into a small bowl or measuring cup and mix well.

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In a separate bowl mix together egg and milk.

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Add in dry ingredients. Place in refrigerator for 20-30 minutes.

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Meanwhile, in a fry pan, add your oil and heat on low heat. I use this pan specifically for frying only. It’s become that pan.

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While the oil is heating, prep your hot dogs….

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Cut skewers in half and slide hot dog onto skewer.

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On a small plate with flour, coat your hot dog. This helps the cornmeal stick to the dog.

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After cornmeal has been refrigerated, dip the dog into the batter. This will take some manuvering to get the batter to stick. I basically dump the batter on top. Let it rest, than flip the dog and do the same on the other side.

IMG_5136Quickly transfer dog to oil and slightly turn up the heat. 
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Use tongs to help hold the batter close to the hot dog.

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After the batter begins to cook, flip the hot dog with tongs to keep from burning yourself with the oil.

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Once fully cooled, place on a foil lined baking pan to catch the oil.

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Serve with a delicious honey mustard or spicy mustard. Mmmm so good!

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Adapted from Carlsbadcravings.com

Fruity Smoothie

I was at the grocery store yesterday and the clerk asked me if I was enjoying summer. I looked at Cooper and with a big smile I said yes. My little man has made this summer incredible. Spending time traveling as a family, park dates, family pool time and just hanging out has been all I could ask for.

The lady behind me spoke up and said “this heat is a killer though!” As I agreed, I also explained that we can’t seem to be happy here in Oregon with it’s extreme weather changes. If we all had AC, there would be no question about it. She nodded and said she it glad she lives here but definitely wishes the weather to be mid 70’s-80’s so people would stop complaining.

I thought it was funny as we can’t ever seem to be happy. Either it rains or it scorches. I love the sun, so I am not too worried about it and our house stays really cool. :) I’m thankful for beautiful weather and a beautiful backyard to enjoy it in.

So since summer is here and will be over before we know it, take time to enjoy the sun and relax with your family while doing something exciting. And don’t forget to drink a protein packed smoothie full of vitamins and nutrients your body is craving in this hot heat.

IMG_5108Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mixed fruit; mango, pineapple, guava
  • 1 apple
  • 2 bananas
  • 1 spoonful protein powder (almond butter is a great substitute)
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 cup coconut milk

Compile all ingredients into a blender and ENJOY!!!!

These hot weathered days must enjoy a healthy snack.

4th of July Extravaganza

This past weekend we went to Bend, OR as a family to get away and relax in the beautiful weather and scenery surrounded by four beautiful mountains. We had a great time full of fireworks, swimming, walking, river, Mt Bachelor, petting zoo, bouncy houses and watermelon eating contests. It was incredible.

Our little man did very well without naps and later bedtimes. I never worried about this previously, I was a very relaxed mother when it came to bedtime as I knew my son was a great sleeper. But now that he’s older and has been having some health issues, I tend to be very “by the book” so to speak; our book that is. I was a bit apprehensive over his lack of sleep and the high heated weather, that for sure he would come down with a fever. To my surprise and with great joy, he didn’t.

This was our beautiful drive!
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Redmond hosts a large kids activity center at the fairgrounds each year on the fourth of July. It was free admission, free activities and most of all…free watermelon that was homegrown. This watermelon was probably the best watermelon to date. It tasted as if it was freshly picked and cut on the spot. It was so good my husband even ate it and he hates watermelon.

(High hopes that my watermelon grows to be that tasty)

So DELICIOUS!

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They had a brand new Semi-truck out on display. They let Cooper climb inside and play with all the gadgets. He was beside himself. So cute!

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He played in a bouncy house and had no fear. Sweet baby!!!

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Jumping and jumping. Finally we had to have the volunteer go in and pull him out because he was having so much fun, he did not want to leave.

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The petting zoo. Pygmy goats and llamas.

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One of the many water features for him to play in…

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This fairgrounds had the best kid activities especially for a fourth of July weekend. It was a small town feel. Very friendly and very focused on kids. It was great! :)

After our extravaganza we went to dinner at a local pizza joint and Cooper was beyond wild from lack of sleep and excitement. He wanted to play in the arcade area for-ev-er!

After dinner we walked across the street and got the little popper snap fireworks that go off when you throw them. Cooper was hilarious and kept asking for another one. Michael would throw them super close to Coop’s feet and he would laugh and jump all over. Me on the other hand….well I wasn’t that excited because last year Michael threw one at my leg and ruined my white capris. I hole burned right on through. So this year, I was very clear to keep them away from me. :)

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Stomping on the little buggers

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“One more!”

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Completely unafraid…

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Throwing fistfuls at a time

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This is our firework show: Perched by the window watching the show take place at 10 pm while Cooper slept soundly by our side.

Getting ready…

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The following day we drove 25 minutes to Mt Bachelor. So close and Cooper loved it. Great change in scenery as he’s our little outdoor baby.

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IMG_4995 What a beautiful drive.

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Later we enjoyed a walk along the river through the middle of Bend. Cooper really hoped for a kayak ride.

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He loves putting his toes in the sand and the water.

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Later that evening we went back to the river and took take out for dinner. Cooper was so excited as usual, that feeding him always becomes an issue. He is so ecstatic that food seems extremely unimportant to my little man.

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Daddy trying to bribe the kid with food…

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Stopping for a brief moment to take a sip of milk….and off running again

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Family Photo

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The following morning we headed for our much needed iced coffee and found a playful area with a coffee stand together. Cooper was so happy to play in the water and play with his trucks along the ledge. We hung out for a couple hours and let Coop get wiggles out before beginning our long trek home.

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We talked….

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Cooper played!

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Goodbye Bend! Hope to see you soon! 

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We had such a good time! It was relaxing and beautiful! Is it time to go back yet….? 

Tractor Cake

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My sick little baby trying to have a good birthday! :(

My son had his birthday a couple weeks ago and as you all know, we headed to the beach to have our trip be quickly interrupted with an ER visit. Although, the first couple days were great, the last two were horrible. I state that very matter-of-fact as they were legitimately horrible.

For my sons first birthday, I didn’t get the pleasure of making his cake as we had moved 1 week prior and we were hosting dinner at our house. I also had planned a friend birthday party the following day at the zoo with lunch and cake. I had very little time to do much more than that. So, this year I was adamant that I would make my son a cake he would love; tractors!!!

I used two bread pans and baked the cake and manipulated the cake in more ways than one to turn it into a tractor. It was pretty challenging to say the least, but it worked out. I will also state that this is the first time I’ve ever made a cake into something other than a circular pretty cake. Practice makes perfection– so I hope!

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IMG_4811 IMG_4812I used Kit-Kats for the wheels and smoke stack. 
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Moment of Truth: Manipulating a cake isn’t the easiest thing, especially for the first time. You make a mistake and you must keep going. Though there are many imperfections, I was thrilled to have it resemble a tractor that my son would be utterly happy about. :) The older he gets, the better I will become! :)