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Embracing Summer

Making memories in your own backyard

Growing up, my family spent long portions of our summers at my grandparents’ house on Lake Michigan in Door County, WI. It is a place where all of my good memories live. We didn’t need much entertainment and certainly didn’t have electronics back then. Our days were filled with paddling around in Opa’s worn out red canoe, painting on white rocks, fishing and exploring the great northern woods. I personally loved bird watching and documenting the song births as they built their nests, laid and hatched their eggs and finally flew away. In addition to all of our outdoor play, we would take a day to visit the art galleries where my Oma and my Aunt’s paintings were displayed. Hopping in and out of our favorite antique stores along the way. Only slow summers allow for those sorts of things. I treasure those slow summer days. 

Last year the world experienced the world's longest summer, quite literally. My kids were home for a solid six months with nothing but nature to entertain them and while it was quite a shock, they were able to experience what slow summer days could truly be like. Although I am so thankful that there are more things scribbled on the calendar this year, I also don’t want to lose the slowing down that we experienced last summer. I know my kids would like that too.

In the moments between fishing in our pond and swimming in the pool, our family will celebrate birthdays and have outdoor parties. True to form, I love creating something traditional in an untraditional way. My beach ball garland is a spin off of the traditional balloon garland. Everyone uses balloon garlands… so let’s make one out of beach balls instead! Everyone serves a birthday cake… how about one carved out of a watermelon for a crazy twist?? I hope you join me in the making of these fun additions to a party! 

Beach Ball Garland

Have you ever noticed that when blown up, beach balls have a little plastic loop that forms where they are blown up and sealed?  It makes for the perfect place to string twine through and use as an outdoor “balloon” garland! String it up, add some extra beach balls to the pool or yard and you have all the party decorations you need!  


  • 2 packs of assorted sized beach balls (assorted 20”, 16” and 12” for a total of 36)

  • 1 pack of mini beach balls (5” sized, total of 25)

  • Thin rope or twine

  • Air pump 


  1. Using an air pump, blow up all the beach balls... It takes a while!

  2. Arrange inflated beach balls in a line on the ground, alternating sizes as you go.

  3. Starting on one end, thread your string or twine through the blow loop of each beach ball until you reach the end. 

  4. Tie each end of your beach ball garland to a post or tack to a wall.

Watermelon Cake

A cake that you could eat for breakfast! Made only of fruit and (if you want to go real crazy) some fresh mint and whipped cream too. A few years ago we started making watermelon cakes for our summer birthday celebrations due to one of our little ones suffering from food allergies. In order to make a cake that even she could enjoy, the watermelon cake was born in our lives. Even if you don’t have family or guests with food allergies, this cake is a thriller and loved by all! 


  • 2 large watermelons

  • Assortment of berries and fruit

  • 4 wooden skewers

  • Toothpicks

  • Whipped Cream (optional)

  • Fresh Mint (optional)


  1. Prep both watermelons by cutting off the rinds and sculpting to create a cylinder shape with a flat top and bottom. Make the bottom cylinder bigger and the top cylinder slightly smaller.

  2. Stack your smaller watermelon on top of the larger using wooden skewers to support the center.

  3. Use assorted berries and fruit to decorate the outside of your watermelon cake. For the sides of the cake, use toothpicks to help the berries stay in place.

  4. Serve alone or with a dollop of homemade whipped cream.