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Watch Them Grow

The days are long, but the years go fast. So they say with raising children. I have to agree with that sentiment. Each year as summer ends I find myself looking at my kids and reminding myself to “Watch them grow!” Both as a reminder to not miss the growth (with all the distractions and responsibilities that adult life brings) but also as reflection on how far they’ve come since the last time we turned the calendar page to August. Whether there are children in your life or not, I’m sure we can all agree that childhood is fleeting. Instead of stopping to smell the roses, I need to remind myself to “stop and watch them grow”—you can’t see it if you stare, but you’ll surely miss it if you blink! It helps me to set aside intentional time to be present with these fast little growers. 

For us that looks like setting a special table to spend time sharing (or drawing) how we’ve seen them grow over the summer before jumping back into school routines. Making DIY game boards together and then having a family game night. Making snow cones for an after-dinner treat or, for a bigger wow factor, for breakfast! They will never forget that one, I promise. (Psst! my snow cones are made with fruit juice so it's Mommy approved too!)

As August rolls in and the calendar tells us that it's time for back-to-school shopping, the weather does not usually agree that the times are changing. I find that it's such a weird dance between what looks like the change of seasons when I open my calendar but not when I walk out my back door (heat wave!). On one hand, we’re still in full throttle of blazing temperatures in the Midwest and with no end in sight. At the same time, being thrown into back-to-school shopping, Meet-the-Teacher nights, resuming the regiment of packing school lunches, and if you’re a homeschool parent, all the to-do lists and lesson plans in order to launch into another school year. As we find ourselves with one foot in summer and the other in a classroom, how do we embrace and (dare I say) celebrate this month? Instead of feeling ungrounded in the juxtaposition of August, I am inviting myself, and anyone who would join me, to embrace the opportunity to celebrate the in-between seasons that this month brings. My hope is that these ideas help spark your imagination on how to keep you cool in the heat, launch your kiddos into a new school year, and to set aside time to watch them grow.

DIY Game Boards

Welcome more play into your life with this little DIY project. At our house we like to keep outdoor game boards around for short moments together as well as full blown game nights. These game boards are meant to be kept outside but could also be brought indoors as well. 


  • Pebbles for Checkers, 24 similar sized

  • Small stones for Tic-Tac-Toe, 8 similar sized

  • Acrylic paints (black, red, yellow and white)

  • Paint brush

  • Raw wooden boards + black paint marker 

  • Reclaimed wood + black acrylic paint

  • Polycrylic spray


  1. Game Pieces: Paint your rocks with acrylic paint. For Tic-Tac-Toe you’ll need a total of 8 rocks, 4 of each type (here I’ve painted 4 lady bugs and 4 bumble bees). For Checkers you’ll need a total of 24 rocks, 12 of each color (here I’ve used black stones, painting half of them red). 

  2. Game Board: For raw wood (such as our Tic-Tac-Toe board), use a ruler and black paint marker to create board lines. For reclaimed or treated wood, use paint. Let game pieces and game boards fully dry. Seal with a polycrylic spray for protection from heat and moisture.

Snow Cones

We adore snow cones at our house! If you’ve been to our house then we’ve probably served them to you. A shaved ice machine makes it oh-so-easy! You can purchase premade snow cone syrup flavors or make your own healthier version by using fruit juice concentrates. Simply thaw the frozen fruit juice concentrate and put the liquid into squeezy bottles for an easy way to pour over shaved ice.


  • Ice, lots of ice!

  • Snow Cone Machine

  • Snow Cone Cups

  • Snow Cone Straws

  • Snow Cone Syrups (or frozen juice concentrates, thawed)

Use a snow cone machine to shave ice into snow cone cups. Top with your favorite flavor—either store bought snow cone syrups, homemade syrups, or our favorite—fruit concentrates. Stay cool and celebrate the last days of summer heat!

Tablescape Guide

To recreate this tablescape, see the list of items below. This list is meant to be used as a guide and not a rule book. Using items that you already own not only saves you a shopping trip but also encourages (often forces) creativity! All it takes to make a tablescape beautiful is by using LAYERS both vertically and horizontally. For layering vertically, create a centerpiece with three different heights. On this tablescape I used:

1) a plant for the highest layer

2) outdoor spheres as a midsized layer

3) wooden items such as game pieces and game boards for the lower layer

For layering horizontally, layer your place settings by using 1) terracotta plant saucers, 2) green plates, and 3) mini cupcake stands topped with a small terracotta pot and flower. 

Centerpiece Items {Layer Vertically}

  • Large plant (I used my Pothos)

  • Game pieces (yard dice shown here)

  • DIY game boards (see instructions above)

Place Setting Items {Layer Horizontally}

You will need one of each item per guest at your table:

  • Small terracotta pot

  • Small wooden coaster

  • Mini cupcake stand

  • Green plate

  • Tea towel (instead of napkins)

  • 12.2 inch terracotta plant saucer (as plate chargers)

  • Flowers (faux or real)