So as promised, I have a few details of the ‘how’ behind some of the aspects of our book party….

1. The invitations: I used one of my favorite Design Aglow templates for the base design (adding the Joyful Life Library logo). The invitations included a main invite page, a letter to parents explaining the ‘why’ behind the party, and a book plate for each child to include on the inside cover of their donated book. I wrapped the three pieces together with a strip of scrapbooking paper and sealed it with some masking tape. You can find colored masking tape on etsy…look for ‘japanese masking tape’.

2. The movie screen: We made this up as we went. Originally we borrowed a basic projector screen, but it just wasn’t big enough. We needed it to be cheap, so this is v1.o our screen. I bought two paint drop cloths for $5.00each from Walmart. We layered those drop clothes and stapled them to two 2x4x12 boards. We then stood the boards on one end and used tent spikes and rope to secure it. Chris tied some slip knots and the stakes were hammered into the ground – the boards were not in the ground at all. Being married to an Eagle Scout comes in handy when you need a good knot! It wasn’t windy, so that saved us from a lot of headache. We did grab some chopsticks and poke holes all over it to help a bit.

Our next version is going to be with cloth and nicely cut holes to help with wind.

3. The food: Popcorn in cute boxes from Hobby Lobby.

4. The bugs: My dad has a fogging machine, so we fogged the whole area several times before the event started. I think a lot of the guests still used bug spray and there were still some bugs.

5. Book reading: We read books for a little over 30 minutes. Chris read some and a few of our guests read some as well. 30 minutes was too long, I think the kids got a little restless…at least a lot of the boys did!

6. The movie: A classic 3o minute Cat & The Hat

7. The projector: We borrowed it.

I think that sums up most of it. It was pretty simple and required very little planning. Hopefully everyone had a good time.

And just because….my niece. Sweetness.

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  • Stacey - This is so great. My mom has always wanted to do something very similar at our farm in Kentucky and that screen seems like a snap to pull together. I’ll have to let her know and maybe we can get that done before the summer is over.

    AND I love the idea of doing a book drive like this… My friend works at Children’s Hospital and they can always use books and toys for the kids there. Always. Great job!

  • annie - So sweet- I just love how you take care of all the little details – I am very envious. It all turned out so well AND for such a wonderful cause. Wonderful!

  • giozi - You did a really good job, wow.
    And yes your niece is sweet

  • Shannon Phillips - I love this so much! We are already dreaming up a outdoor movie party to have out at our in-laws house when fall hits and the weather cools down a bit (I mean…a freaking lot!) ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the amazing idea and I am so inspired by the way you made it for a great cause.

  • Cecilia - The Google gods must have heard you. I stumbled across your wonderful blog site just surfing Google, so it seems to be fixed. Truly enjoyed everything. You really are resourceful. Aren’t imagination and inventiveness just the best things in the whole world? ๐Ÿ™‚ Carry on Girl! Cece

  • the inadvertent farmer - We have looked into purchasing a projector for outdoor movies but they are all quite expensive…I need find someone that I can borrow from.

    You did an awesome job, thanks for the tips! Kim

  • Shannon - How fun! I love how you took extra details to make it special! I have gotten a lot of ideas for an upcoming girls night IN shindig I am hosting. I can’t wait to put some of these fun things to good use!

    And now I am wishing for a field!

  • lifeologia - I love this movie night and ooohhhh that last picture – what a bundle of LOVE.

  • Casey - I had to link this story on my blog. The kindness in your heart to always do for others is nothing short of amazing. I think you are a incredible woman and mother. How awesome would this world be if we were all half as great as you!

  • Anna - This is just amazing! You did such a beautiful job and everyone is better for it! Thank you for sharing.

  • teaworthy - I have wanted to do this for years. I LOVE IT! So happy to have discovered your blog.

  • Books and a Movie Party : Multiply Delicious- All About the Kids - […] savour the last nights of summer,ย I’m loving this amazing and thoughfulย outdoor movie party idea that Ashley Ann and family of Ashley Ann Photography hosted recently at their Oklahoma […]

  • Cheryl - Can you tell me what kind of projector was used? And also…what about did you work that?

  • 12 Things I Love… « Live Freely - […] 9. This movie night. Soย fun! […]

  • Muna - wow! this is such a great educational yet fun party theme for kids. i would love to have this for my own party too! hehe ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Last Day of Summer! | - […] do if I live in a warm country one day! They celebrated the last day of summer with this fantastic outdoor movie party! And not only was it a fun night, they also connected it with charity giving of books for children! […]

  • Jamie - i realize this was about a year ago, but…
    u mentioned u’d use ‘cloth and nicely cut holes for the wind’…do you have any more details to that? or any other suggestions to add?
    …we’re attempting an outdoor movie this weekend, and would welcome ANY helpful suggestions ~ thanks so much for the great ideas!!!

  • Jamie - i realize this was about a year ago, butโ€ฆ
    u mentioned uโ€™d use โ€˜cloth and nicely cut holes for the windโ€™โ€ฆdo you have any more details to that? or any other suggestions to add?
    โ€ฆweโ€™re attempting an outdoor movie this weekend, and would welcome ANY helpful suggestions ~ thanks so much for the great ideas!!!

  • katie - love the movie night idea!! i think we are going to have a lot of wind, do you think the drop cloth way will hold up? and as far as cutting holes how big should they be? look forward to hearing from you.
    thanks so much!

  • To DIY For: Outdoor Movie Theater @ That Blogger Gurl - […] drive-in movies. I’m sure I’ve mentioned this a billion times already. So when I saw a post about an outdoor movie party, I instantly fell in love. The idea of watching a movie in the park or in a backyard just sounds […]

  • Danae - Hey there, I own a cafe and was looking for cheap ways to do a projector screen so we could have outdoor movie nights. How did your screen turn out? I was reluctant to buy anything just yet because I was told using simple sheets would not work. I would love details about your projector screen and how the picture turned out.

  • My Perfect Summer Party | Home and Heart DIY - […] 9. Movie Screenย  […]

  • Stef - Can you give a few more details on how you built the screen? I’m planning on doing some visual art at a 5-day outdoor festival; I have found a white polyester fabric in a 12′ x 9′ size, but am worried about cutting wind holes, in case it tears up. Also, how were you able to stand the screen up without driving the wood into the ground? Just by staking the ropes that were tied to the top? Do you think that’d be stable enough to stand for a few days? Sorry for all the questions….just been searching the web a lot for easy solutions and this seems to be the best choice so far ๐Ÿ˜‰

Last year I had some girl friends over for a Little Dresses for Africa party. That party was one of the highlights of 2009 for me. It was so fun to hang out with close friends and do something both creative and meaningful. It was a great day. I knew this year I wanted to do something similar. I thought about another Little Dresses party, but I also wanted to do something with the boys this year. A little while back I was reading Heather’s blog Blessed Little Nest and came to the page about her precious son Samuel. Samuel lived 6 weeks on this earth. To celebrate Samuel and honor him, his family began The Joyful Life Library. The Joyful Life Library has been established at the hospital that cared for Samuel. The goal of library is to make sure that all the children and their families have access to books during their stay at the hospital…and even a brand new book to take home.

My boys love to read. As a mom I know the joy that reading brings to my kids. Hospital stays are rough and the simple act of reading a new book can bring so much joy to a child and a parent. After reading Heather’s blog I thought my boys could get really excited about having a party to collect books for children in the hospital. So that is what we did.

We sent invitations to some of the older boys close friends. The party included a movie outside so the time was pretty late….too late to invite our younger kids’ friends. It was a little late for everyone, but we encouraged the kids to come in their pjs and bring a blanket.

The kids got bookplates with their invitations. The bookplates were signed and placed in the donated books.

Our evening included reading books and watching The Cat & The Hat.

Disclaimer: There are laws concerning showing movies…there is a difference in public and private viewing. You will want to read on that before you show a movie to a large group. You can do a basic search on google for more info.

Cute girls ready for a movie. I kept asking them if they wanted to take off their fleece robes since it was 90+ outside. Fashion before comfort.

Checking out all the books that were donated. I really love that this little guy’s book is upside down.

We had a bag with extra bookplates in case guests brought more than one book to donate.

A few bedtime stories before it got dark enough for the movie.

The sword made more than one appearance. During the movie I saw it on the screen…he figured out how to block the projector with it.

It was a good, hot, Oklahoma night. There are things I’ll change next time, but for a first run I think & hope everyone had a great time. I’ll post some details on the “how” of everything tomorrow. Sometimes I think we assume that doing charitable acts requires great personal sacrifice or is just hard. Really I think it can be as simple as knowing what you enjoy and using those things to benefit others. Having a bunch of friends over to eat popcorn and watch a movie in our field was far from a personal sacrifice or some kind of big great deed – it was a fun night with friends.

When the idea first popped in my non-stop brain I ran it by a few friends. I even picked the date based on when they could come, just to be sure someone would be there other than just my family. I have such great supportive friends. I am thankful for girlfriends that encourage me in my random ideas and show up with their families to support mine. I want my kids to grow up with it being second nature to combine what they love with ways to help others, but it starts with me being intentional to demonstrate it…and having supportive friends makes that possible.

So THANK YOU to those of you that came, endured a little too many bedtime stories, and donated books. We are so grateful.

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  • Maike - what a lovely idea! It looks great, so I would not change anything at all…. except inviting me?

  • amanda torres - I love everything about this! Fabulous idea!!!

  • christina larsen - What a great idea. I have a friend who’s little boy has been in and out of the hospital with brain cancer for the past few months. That’s a great way to get kids involved. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • colleen - okay! I am inspired! I have a friend who is a neuro-surgeon at the children’s hospital here in Birmingham, AL. Think i will give him a call and ask about donating books for some of the waiting/children’s areas there! Would love to know how you went about picking a hospital, getting permission, etc. Thanks Ashley Ann, you have encouraged me to try something like this with my big (8 & 10) kids!

  • Jeannette Swan - Ashley – I hope you know how much we appreciate you and all that you inspire in us!! I am blessed by your willingness to allow God to use you to greatly enrich the lives of so many people! Keep the ideas coming since I don’t have original ones of my own!

  • Chrissy - I love this idea… we had a movie in our backyard a couple of weeks ago. I wish we would have done something for others too! I think we will have to do this again:)
    Thanks for your heart for others… it’s contagious!

  • Mandi Smith - So awesome Ashley! I love all the ideas that you come up with and how creative you are to show Christ’s love to people around the world!

  • Emily Lusk - You should send this idea in to Family Fun magazine!! Or you should put all your ideas together in a fun book! I know I would go out and buy it!! I guess I am going to have to print off all these fun ideas you have so that I can remember them for when my kids get a little older!! What a great idea and looks like the kids had fun!

  • Anna Joy - That is such a great idea!! That is something the kiddos will never forget…getting to give something away that they love to someone who needs it and then getting the chance to hang out with friends and watch a movie outside! you’re such a genius! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Evie - That may be the cutest thing ever! Working in a hospital I know how much that would mean to family and patients… and staff that are taking care of the patients!! LOVE LOVE LOVE this idea… thank you for sharing!

  • Nicole - another wonderful idea!!

  • andy - what a great idea
    love it

  • megan - This is an amazing idea. Not only the charity, but the movie night as well. What a fun way to get people involved and wanting to give! And your words on how tough hospital stays are totally struck a chord with me. It is so hard, and I know from experience how just one nice thing that someone does for you or your child when you’re in there makes such a difference. It really does.

    I am completely inspired by your idea and I am ready to start planning my own party asap! Thank you for being so generous and inspiring!

  • Abby - Ashley, this is fantastic! What a fun way to give something back and get kids involved. Really lovely.

  • laura - there’s evidence of grace in your life…i just love it! i am INSPIRED….

  • giozi - Wonderful idea. I only can say that God is big and he put you in the way that a lot of people as face to face as online. I feel love in your pictures, in this party.

  • Yanet - What a cool idea! Ilove how you incorporate your entire family in your good deeds and make it so super fun for everyone. I wanna be like you when I grow up!

  • ~abi~ - i am always impressed by your ideas–but especially the ones that help others and teach your kids to help, too! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Cate O'Malley - Sounds like a wonderful night! We have a Back to School Rainbow Cake party in a few weeks that I want to combine with a little bit of charitable giving; I’m thinking either PJs to go to the pajama program or books. It really does take so little to do so much. Wonderful example, Ashley!

  • patti - so awesome! thanks for sharing!!

  • Heather - the party looks like such fun! we are truly so grateful that you felt a connection to our project and used it as a way to help teach kids about helping others. those books are going to be loved by so many kids and their parents. thank you! thank you! thank you!

  • Amanda - I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! How fun! I might even think about doing something like this as well! I love what you said at the end about how it all begins with you being intentional about doing things for other people and setting that example for your kids. It’s so true. Seeing the example by someone they love and respect is probably one of the best ways children learn!

  • Donna - I LOVE this idea! We have been hosting backyard movies every summer for 4 years and we have guests bring pantry items for a local food bank. For every item they bring, they get a raffle ticket to win giant boxed candy to eat during the movie. I linked your post to my blog.

  • tamara - wonderful idea!!!!!!!!!

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - Oh Ashley, what a beautiful idea! Really sweet. Great job.

  • Kristy C - What a great idea! I definitely would have been there to support such an amazing cause that would have been close to my own heart. Thank you for being such a giving person.

  • Liene - What a great idea! Very fun pictures! And I love the cat in the hat although I am from Holland and I am not brought up with books from Dr. Seuss. My boys have books from Dr. Seuss in Dutch and English. Great pleasure to read them in both languages!

  • the inadvertent farmer - We have seen this done by our neighbors at our cabin and would love to try the whole movie sheet thing…can’t wait for details.

    Thanks for being an intentional person…if we are purposeful in how we live our lives we can indeed make a difference in this world. Kim

  • Brooke - Really, really fun ideas. Who doesn’t love an outdoor movie, even if it’s super hot? I think that is a wonderful idea to do something great. Way to go ๐Ÿ™‚

  • sandi - What an awesome idea! Love it!

  • meg duerksen - this rocks.
    we made our invites today…..noe we have to figure out the details ๐Ÿ™‚

  • candace - as a teacher and wife of children’s hospital employee – i am absolutely in LOVE with this idea. trying to find a way to do this here!

  • Cassandra Marie - How wonderful is this?! Such a good idea…I’m sure the kids loved it ๐Ÿ˜€

    Well, I wanted to stop by and let you know that Iโ€™m hosting a really great giveaway on my page, just in case you wanted to enter!


  • Jenn - What a wonderful party!! I love the movie night idea!! hm… wheels are turning! =) My little girl and I have hosted a few charity parties…tying fleece blanket parties and a sewing feelie hearts for Children’s hospital… they are fairly easy to plan… so fun and so rewarding… and the kids learn about helping others… beautiful beautiful! I Love Heathers blog and her story of strength and choosing to help others in memory of Samuel is so beautiful! Thanks for sharing!! I am off to read your post about the dresses!! =)

  • Linda - Such a great idea! I may have to borrow it.

  • shelly@familyblt - Love your party and idea! Those books are going to be great ๐Ÿ™‚
    love Heather’s blog too!

  • kristine - thanks for supporting samuel, heather and the library! you do great work!!

  • emily anderson - oh ashley, this is an amazing idea.

    i loved that you got the boys involved too. great job.

    also, we finally let the cat out of the bag about our adoption! posted it on our blog today!

  • Kelly Beane - What a beautiful and inspiring idea! Love all the little details as well!

  • Regina - what a fabulous idea! i’m trying to figure out a way to do it in our last few weeks of summer.

  • Jess - What an awesome idea Ashley. I love everything about your movie night. When Levi gets older we will have to plan a movie night at our house…a Kansas movie night.

  • Casey - Ashley
    You are such an inspiration to others. I love your ideas, your posts, your skills and your mothering antics…

    The story about samuel made me cry. I had to link this post as well as blessed little nest on my blog to bring readers here.. I hope thats okay.

  • Joy Andrews - Super fun idea! I think I will try it in our neighborhood!
    thanks! again!

  • Chuck Duffie - I want to try this on our block. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful idea in such a wonderful way.

  • julie - Simply beautiful. Thank you for your big heart and thank you so much for doing this for Samuel. Thank you.

  • Vikki Kast - Your blog is amazing! I enjoy it so much:) Your talent is endless!!!

  • Charissa - You are so creative and fun!

  • Weddinic – Wedding Articles » Blog Archive » A Book Party - […] about our shared love of literature. With that said, I was incredibly inspired when I saw this book party hosted by Ashley Campbell of Ashley Ann Photography and the incredible blog Under the Sycamore. […]

  • Jess @ Pen N' Paperflowers Studio & Design - I’m so inspired by your “parties with a purpose”. This book party turned out adorable and with the sweet meaning behind it – well, it’s just all the more darling. I’ve shared your inspiration on my fb fanpage… THANK YOU!!

  • erica922 - wow such an inspiring event dear
    tfs such wonderful act!

  • Books and a Movie Party : Multiply Delicious- All About the Kids - […] party and all for the best reasons.ย  Please stop by Ashley’s amazing blog to see more of this party and just to be amazed.ย  Her site is beautiful and her photography breathtaking.ย  Thanks […]

  • gathering event inspiration - […] 2. Children’s party inspiration, a party filled with special meaning as books are gathered for a hospital library at Under the Sycamore […]

  • A Book Party | The Sweetest Occasion - […] about our shared love of literature. With that said, I was incredibly inspired when I saw this book party hosted by Ashley Campbell of Ashley Ann Photography and the incredible blog Under the Sycamore. […]

  • Blessed little nest shoot » Lauren Jean Photography - […] knew when I read about this project I wanted to help. In addition to wanting to throw my own awesome book party for the cause I also knew thatย  what every awesome blogger needs is some rocking pictures […]

  • Evy M Tofte - Hi can I blog about this? I will surely reffer to your blog, and use some pics from your site ๐Ÿ™‚

  • And Now the News… - […] Ashley Ann Photography Watching movies outside under the Oklahoma stars? Now that’s a play […]

  • blogger summer faves: parties « - […] { Via Under the Sycamore } […]

  • 30 Block Party Ideas - The Dating Divas - […] Book Party – Do some charity work while having fun with your friends.ย  Invite everyone over and bring […]

Do you want to know how get 4 and 6 year old boys worked up?

Well, let me share how I do it.ย  First let the boys spend a good hour building a fort for the “good guys” – complete with a dropping floor that leads to jail for the “bad guys”. Once they finish and leave the room to go and find their cowboy hats and swords, you go to work. As fast as you can add pink blocks to the top. I also recommend adding little white picket fences and flowers around the perimeter of the lookout tower. Finally, round up all the single ladies and set them all over the top. These pictures don’t show it, but I also gave each gal a weapon and a coffee cup…so they didn’t fall asleep defending the tower.

Here is the fun part. When the boys return they will have looks of shock and panic on their faces. When they ask what you did, simply tell them, “The girls defeated the guys and took over control of the tower.” When they ask where their LegoMen are tell them, “They fell threw the floor and are in jail.”

They will quickly find their guys and remove all the pink and flowers…a little annoyed with you, but I promise it is worth it. Funny stuff.

Big Brother was very proud of himself after he removed all traces of pink & girls from the tower.

His sword is always in his back. I’m going to miss it when he grows out of this phase.

This is such a perfect picture of summer and boyhood to me. I really, really, really like this photo of him.

We took crazy to see their new cousin…they came bearing these and these. I am thinking she is going to like having these boys as her cousins.

She kills me. I probably drive her parents crazy with how much I rub her cheek next to mine. My do I love her.

And the newness wore off and they went their ways…

Is it redneck to leave lights on your Sycamore tree all year long?

Because I leave my Christmas lights on my sycamore tree all year long and I know all the words to every Brad Paisley song….

(here’s to all my sisters out there keeping it country…only about 10 you have any clue what I just wrote about)

That last photo is also a peek at Monday’s post….hmmmmmmmmm

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  • Bridget - Redneck or not, it’s puuurty! And i am looking forward to knowing what this outdoor Dr Seuss action is all about. I love it!

  • Christa - Redneck? Only if your hubby checks you for ticks.

  • kristin kanner - I knew exactly what you wrote about and laughed! Love the lights on the tree…festive all year round. Beautiful pictures and beautiful baby!

  • Cara - You ought to get some of those cool bigger barebulb lights you see at outdoor cafes. Not so christmasy. Or you could just not care. I vote for not caring! You gotta have light under you big ol’ tree! ๐Ÿ™‚ BTW, I’m super-jealous of your big ol’ tree.

  • Shannon - Cute! Now I need to get some pink legos…and for some strange reason we have NO girl lego people! Maybe it’s because the majority of our legos came from a garage sale. Hmmm…Christmas gifts! Ha!

    Love the sweet baby visiting pictures. It’s so nice that y’all live so close so that your kids can grow up as friends. Priceless!

  • Rachel - I love that your daughter is pointing to your sister’s baby girl…like “look what I found”!!

  • Jodi - Let me get a “Hell Yeah”. I grew up riding horses and listening to country music in a little town in California. I get it! I love it.

    I am so intrigued by your movie night under the sycamore tree! Your kids are going to have the best memories.

    Congrats again on your little niece. She is adorable.

  • Colleen C - I totally keep it country all the way up here in Massachusetts. Had a flatts song as our first dance song. Woo! Also, that photo on the swing is beautiful.

  • Anna Joy - You little “Redneck Woman” you! I think the lights on the tree is awesome. White Christmas lights are good all year round. Now the color ones….maybe not so much. I can’t wait til I get to pull those types of pranks on my little guy! And Paisley is oh so precious!!

  • anne c - If redneck is keeping Christmas lights on your tree all year long, then I am really redneck. we have Christmas lights hanging around the top of the living room all year long! people always look at me crazy…but those lights relax me for some reason..I think it reminds me of the Christmas season..which is the most wonderful time of the year!

  • Elisabeth - Definitely get it and I love the screen on the green you’ve got going–we do that in our backyard, too!

  • Sarah - Biggest Brothers sunglasses on his shirt crack me up! He looks like a little man. Too funny

  • Sarah - Oh I know exactly what you are talking about! Of course it’s not country to leave your Christmas lights on the tree! It looks beautiful; not Christmas-y at all!

  • j cole - Baby P. will also like having Firecracker for a cousin! They will be great friends. Also – LOVE the pink legos!

  • Lindsay - Yay for google reader working! For now, right?
    I LOVE the lights. If I had a sycamore tree… or a house for that matter, I would have lights on it all year round too. The tree, not the house.

  • Kelly Clarke - Laughed so hard about the pink Legos! Loved the sword pic, too… reminds me of a classic boyhood photo that he’ll have for a lifetime and show his son/daughter someday!

  • jody - Where’d you get your movie screen? did you make it?? LOVE it!!!

  • Lori K - Oh, I bet they were surprised to see those girls! how funny. I do funny things to Sterling all the time. just to mix it up.
    That photo is precious -a boy and his childhood. And yes, I was raised in Oklahoma, lived in Texas for over 15 years so I can keep it country. I like the lights. (movie night is awesome) you are great at creating family memories.

  • Kara P - Love Gretchen Wilson (at least that song)!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Can’t wait to see Monday’s post- it looks fun!

  • Jenna - Love the lights! Nothing wrong with having a little redneck in your blood. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • MGF - Legos are an everyday thing around our house. But no pink legos to torture them with

  • robyn - i love this post!
    have you read “wild things: the art of nurturing boys”??
    its an amazing book about raising boys! your pink lego coup made me think you would enjoy it!
    enjoy your niece… nothing better than being an aunt. its like the fun of parenting without the immense responsibility!

  • Jessica - oh i love it! the sweetest little family. her birth pictures were really precious too. can’t get enough of your blog.

  • Cathy - You go Gretchen!
    Cathy – from Nashville, TN

  • the inadvertent farmer - I had some smart arse kid comment once that lights are only for Christmas I responded ‘not if you’re a hick’…

    From one hick to a fellow red-neck…good post! Kim

  • Julia Crigler - PS…I LOVE Brad Paisley….and gettin’ a little mud on the tires. That is how we roll in Alabama! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Sarah - Let me get a big “HELL YEA” for all the redneck girls like me! There’s classy redneck and there’s trashy redneck…and you are definitely classy ๐Ÿ™‚ Its not like you have multi colored lights on your front porch in July! ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for brightening my day with your blog!

  • Leanne - those baby shoes are adorable! I’m sure your sister was thrilled! I love the photo of your little girl pointing to the baby in the bed. SO cute. Gotta love some twinkle lights!

  • Jolie - I love love love the pink lego overthrow idea….need to try that one out! (and move on to small lego!)
    Your niece is divine, as are your photos (are you sick or me saying that yet?)
    Oh, and weird thing but all your posts suddenly showed up in Google reader this morning, and I usually have to look you up, so maybe the Googlies are sorted now??

  • Anna - Got to love Gretchen Wilson! Love the idea with the magnets- going to have to do that soon!

  • Jill - 1: no, it’s not redneck because I do it and even though I live in Tennessee now I grew up and spent most of my life in California and Alaska so I don’t think I can qualify as redneck.
    2: we did a movie in the backyard too this summer….wasn’t it magical?
    3: The sword killed me. I have a picture of my second boy when he was 5 sitting on the corner, 2 swords in hand, waiting for his older brother to walk around the bend on his way home from school. Priceless. Now that older brother is starting high school and that younger brother is starting middle school and my heart hurts so much I think somehow a vice grip made it’s way into my chest cavity. Good for you for savoring each moment of their young-ness.

  • susie whyte - oh, the legos… that there’s funny, i don’t care who ya are! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • georgia - Just spent the morning in “Cowtown” (downtown Fort Worth) we love some country around her too.

  • pickel - My dad put lights on a tree in our backyard once and never took them down. It was for my wedding and he dubbed it my wedding tree. The lights eventually grew into the tree. But, it always looked so pretty.

  • Mary Craig - You crack me up! Love the pink legos and the women that took over. Hilarious!

  • Not Teri - I love the sword down the shirt and I miss those days too. They grow too fast, but years down the road you’ll still catch a glimpse of that sword down the shirt.

  • Heather - 1. i can’t seem to stop singing beyonce’s all the single ladies after reading about your lego adventures.
    2. after seeing that baby and the last photo i’m crying, but they are really, really good tears.
    3. have you ever cried while singing that song. it takes talent my friend. lots of talent.

    have a happy weekend!!!!!

  • Heather - ooh, i forgot to add that us desert dwellers do the same thing (with xmas lights). us south westerns never met a white twinkly light we didn’t like.

  • Lacey McKay - Hell Yea!

  • Kara - that picture of ur son on the swing is PRICELESS! Looks like a greeting card…so cute!

  • Linda - Your Lego idea cracked me up. I may have to go out and purchase some pink Legos just to try it with my son; I’m certain he won’t find it amusing. Congratulations on your beautiful niece; the pictures are gorgeous as usual.

  • Amanda Schultz - love it….. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - First of all, Brad Paisley rocks. When we moved out here to AZ, I thought I’d be the only one singing country songs… but today at work, someone chimed in and sang Mary Chapin Carpenter with me… rock on.

    Secondly, I love all the baby goodness around here! Keep it comin’!

    Have a super fabulous weekend!

  • meg duerksen - we have outside movie plans this last few weeks of summer.
    i am anxious to see what you did.
    HOW you did it.
    that’s my only issue that i can’t quite figure out….HOW we will have outside movies.
    i hope you have the answer for me.

  • giozi - I love the pictures where your babygirl is pointig with her little finger. And your youngest son’ face looking her cousin.
    My husband has 4 siblings. My husband is the oldest brother. They are 3 brothers and 2 sister. He told me that when the youngest borned they said, AH! let see the new one. ๐Ÿ™‚
    My husband is from 1970 and the youngest is 1976. ๐Ÿ™‚ is a ladder.

  • Daniela - What a pretty baby!!! Your photos are great!!!!!
    Greetings from Switzerland, Daniela

  • Stacey - I was actually thinking how that didn’t look redneck at all… I know some redneck when I see it and your Gretchen lyrics definitely did the ending in! lol ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kirra Sue - Ok you are HILARIOUS. I love what you did with the legos. Pure genius. And I love Brad Paisley! Oh and please keep taking pictures of that niece of yours….she is sooo yummy.

  • Tricia - What a fun post! I love the lego escapades, oh, and the photo of your little guy with the sword, and the baby pics, and…. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    You can include me in that 10 who know what you’re talking about, btw. I don’t care if it is redneck to keep your christmas lights on your sycamore tree all year. It’s so beautiful!!

  • Lesley - I love the girly take over! That cracks me up. Thanks for bringing crazy over – we loved seeing you guys. I don’t think Paisley can get enough Auntie cheek time ๐Ÿ™‚ And the gifts are adorable!

  • meg duerksen - and i know the song reference too. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • Dana - Ashley- your blog showed up on my google reader yesterday!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! WOO HOO!!!

  • pamela - lights the way you have them are not redneck. now if you had santa and his reindeer up on the rooftop and twinkle lights around all your windows, we may have a different story : )

    ps i wiiiiisssssshhhhh we could watch movies outside at night here. too many mosquitoes…womp womp

  • Dana Moran - I just found your site & LOVE IT! You are extremely talented- love all the pics of your family. I need to bring my camera out more often.

  • tamara - Love your trick was great and love love the swing and sword photo and the lights too

  • Brooke - First, I LOVE the picture of little brother too…such a good capture of this stage…and the sword ๐Ÿ™‚ So sweet. I also love the gifts you took to the new babe. I have given both of these as gifts…

    And for the record….Not redneck….awesome ๐Ÿ™‚ If i had a sycamore tree, or any land at all, there would be lights.
    Hope you have a wonderful week!

  • shelby - love brad paisley! ๐Ÿ™‚