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Who else is loving this Indian summer we’re having? Yesterday I was actually tempted to turn on our air conditioner, but I abstained because it’s almost November, and that would just be wrong. Can somebody tell me how it is almost November already? I still have pictures from William’s birthday party hanging out on my computer, which was more than a month ago. It’s high time I shared them with you.

I wanted to get William involved in making things for his party. I figured he was old enough to understand giving a small token of gratitude to his guests, and we had a nice little talk about what makes birthday parties special and showing how we’re thankful for the people that are there to celebrate with us. These are the favors William helped to make. We took a special shopping trip and he got to pick out the ingredients from the bulk bins at the natural foods store to make his very own trail mix. He came up with a pretty tasty mix! I ordered these die-cut forest critters from Etsy and together he and I glued them onto labels (just folded squares of paper). Then I wrote out the labels, filled the bags, and simply stapled them on. I love how they turned out, but mostly I enjoyed making them with my boy.

Camping must include fishing, right? Here is our fishing game. I sewed some fish out of felt, sewed some key rings to their noses, and made a fishing pole from a stick, cotton twine, and a couple of magnets. (Tutorial here, felt was another Etsy purchase from this lovely shop.) William thought it was awesome that the fish stuck to the tackle: “Look at dat!” And yes, I did think about the fact that the magnets would stick to the galvanized bucket. I figured it would be an added challenge for the rest of our guests, as 80% of us were over the age of 13.

Titus came up with his own variation.

And yet another version of the game: Auntie Erin caught a William!

I came up with a nature hunt to go along with some of William’s other presents. His aunties got him some adorable stuffed animals, and I made him a little nature notebook with descriptions of each of them, based on these from National Geographic. Here is an excerpt: “I am an active-at-night, or nocturnal, mammal that can live throughout much of the world…My nickname is ringtail, and it’s easy to see why: black and brownish bands encircle my bushy tail…I make my den in trees or at the tops of houses or buildings, high above ground. You can also find me living in in abandoned barns or buildings, hollow trees, or brush piles.” William had to listen and then use these “clues” to figure out what the animal could be and look around to find it. (I had hidden the critters around the campsite prior to the party.)

Can you guess this one? “I am very fast: when I sense danger, I ‘chirp’ and dart into a nearby tree hole or log for protection. I eat insects, nuts, berries, seeds, fruit, and grain, which I stuff into my generous cheek pouches and carry to my home to store…My den can be dug under tree roots, rocks, or nestled inside old logs.”

It’s a chipmunk! There was also a hedgehog. He was my favorite. Unfortunately, one of our four-legged guests found him before William did. It was my own fault, I should have been more mindful. Oh well.

There was also this. A Duplo fire engine. Quite possibly William’s favorite gift. I think he plays with it every single day. And now, I leave you with this picture of Auntie Erin instructing William on the finer points of marshmallow roasting technique.

I still can’t believe I have a three-year-old! William, I love being your mom.