Memory Making: Family Picnic

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Every year, before school is out, we sit down as a family and put together a Summer Bucket List: all the adventures and activities we hope to enjoy as a family before school starts up again. This year we put “family picnic by the lake” on that list and although summer vacation hasn’t yet begun, I got a little excited and jumped the gun this past weekend with a surprise afternoon picnic for the boys. I loaded up all their favorite fruits and sandwiches and cheese and crackers. Then, before we headed out, Sawyer and I tried our hand at some fun lemonade recipes – ya know, to make our picnic feel more fancy. We started with our favorite, all natural Simply Lemonade® from Simply Beverages™, which doesn’t have any added preservatives, colors or artificial flavors. We LOVE this lemonade on its own and we’ve even been known to throw some in a blender with ice and make frozen lemonades. But for our picnic, we decided to come up with some fun and refreshing recipes by adding yummy ingredients to Simply Lemonade. Since Sawyer was my helper and berries are his favorite, we came up with a berry blend that was perfectly sweet and delicious! For a more tart and refreshing flavor, I came up with a sparkling mint and honey lemonade that Ben and I loved.


13-IMG_1170 Sparkling Summer Refresher


  • 15 ounces Simply Lemonade®
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 10 mint leaves
  • 6 ounces sparkling water

Combine Simply Lemonade, honey, mint leaves and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until well combined. Then add the sparkling water and stir. Be sure to add the sparkling water AFTER shaking so you don’t shake out all the carbonation. Makes two 10 ounce servings. Pour and enjoy! 07-IMG_1121
14-IMG_1168 Berry Bliss Lemonade


  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 1/4 cut strawberries
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 20 ounces Simply Lemonade®

Combine Simply Lemonade and ice in a cocktail shaker. In a small bowl, drizzle the honey over the berries then use a fork to mash the berries. Pour the berry mixture into the cocktail shaker and shake until well combined. Makes two 10-ounce servings. Pour and enjoy! I packaged the lemonades in mason jars with lids to make them easy to take on our picnic. 11-IMG_1154
We’ve learned to manage expectations as parents. So often we’ve made big plans, had big hopes for our adventures with our boys, only to be disappointed when the adventure ended with tears and tantrums. Now we work on living in the moment. We take each adventure minute by minute. Soaking in all the goodness, feeling gratitude when the boys are kind to each other, counting the smiles and giggles, making memories while trying to forget the meltdowns.

A few weeks ago Wesley asked me if I remembered the first time we took our puppy, Maverick, to the beach. This “adventure” was nearly two years ago and YES I remembered.

I remembered because it was a miserable outing.
We got lost on the way to the dog-friendly beach.
It was way colder than we dressed for and the wind was blowing sand in our ears and eyes.
The boys cried and whined nearly the entire time and Maverick got the leash tangled around every other dog there.
I remember feeling stressed and exhausted.

Wes: That was a really fun day. We should go again.
Sawyer: Yes let’s go to the doggy beach again Mommy!

I almost corrected them but a fleeting thought made me pause. They didn’t remember the sand in their eyes and shivering until their teeth chattered. They didn’t remember the tears. Nope. Their memory was a good one. They remembered taking their excited puppy to the beach for the very first time. And they wanted to do it again.

Me: That was a special day, wasn’t it! Let’s add that to our Summer List!

I’ve talked on this blog before about being the memory makers for our children–about how I feel it’s my responsibility as their Mom to make opportunities to build the memories that will be the foundation of their childhood. I’m a realist and I know that not all of those memories can be positive. But I also know that children are inherently optimistic and what we may see as a sandy, miserable day at the beach, they see as an exciting adventure with their puppy.

I prepared for our picnic this weekend as if it were another trip to the windy dog beach. I managed my expectations. Surely they would spill their drinks, fight over the last strawberry and complain that I didn’t pack dessert. But you know what?! Our picnic adventure was dreamy! The sun was shining, the boys were sharing, the food was yummy and the drinks refreshing. We chased the ducks, threw the football and tried to catch unsuspecting fish with a net…and while I sipped my lemonade, I gave thanks for the gift of this day: a day that the boys and I will BOTH look back on with fond memories of childhood adventures. 21-IMG_1257

What’s on your summer bucket list? Tell me in the comments for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

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This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older (or nineteen (19) years of age or older in Alabama and Nebraska). Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the [email protected] email address. You will have 2 business days to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

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Ashley Stock
I'm Ashley. Sometimes I craft, occasionally I cook, everyday I write, and I'm always Momma. This is my blog. I keep it real while still seeing the rainbows and butterflies in all of life's lessons.
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock
Ashley Stock

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Ashley Stock


  1. Sandy A says:

    We are visiting our daughters and families this summer, and on our list is to see as many museums, zoos and botanical gardens as we can in the cities they live…

  2. Kristin says:

    Taking my son to the zoo, and then also riding the merry-go-round when we get there…not sure which is more exciting for him. 🙂

  3. christina lipscomb says:

    LOVE those bowls you have your food in – where are they from?

  4. Shannon says:

    Hi Ashley!
    I’m not entering anything…
    Just want to make sure you know about the great off-leash beach at Rincon Point. It may be a bit far, but it’s totally worth it.
    I don’t have a dog, but I walk there sometimes on Sunday mornings. The people and dogs are so nice!
    The boys will love the tide pools at low tide, too!


    (P.S. Love the pink hair! Zack’s wife recently added some pink, too!)

  5. We’re having baby #4 in about 3 weeks, then we’ll see what we can get done on the list for camping, picnics, hiking, swimming and other adventures!

  6. going camping is on my list

  7. Julie Wood says:

    On my bucket list is for me and the kids to take a vacation. I have not been on a vacation in years and we are going to California! It is going to be so much fun seeing my family!

  8. Julie Wood says:


  9. Mami2jcn says:

    I’d like to introduce my baby girl to the pool.

  10. Mami2jcn says:


  11. Jessica To says:

    We want to go to a water park and a professional baseball game this summer.

  12. Rosa Osorio says:

    Going to move close to my daughter and grandchildren. I cannot wait……

  13. Kristen says:

    On our bucket list is a beach trip with my daughter and plenty of swimming!

  14. Natalie says:

    This summer my bucket list includes training for a marathon, traveling to Georgia to visit family, painting my bathroom and kayaking!

  15. Natalie says:
  16. Margaret Smith says:

    Taking our kids fishing and camping with family.

  17. Margaret Smith says:
  18. Kelly D says:

    I would like to take my kids to the beach this summer.

  19. faith heimbrodt says:

    I am so excited my oldest daughter is coming home from Boulder to visit for a few days this summer and that will be my favorite part of summer!!

  20. Jessie C. says:

    Family camping trip is on my summer bucket list.
    tcarolinep at gmail dot com

  21. Jessie C. says:


  22. Steve Weber says:

    going camping and seeing 6 DMB concerts is on my bucket list this summer

    groogruxking40 @ gmail dot com

  23. Steve Weber says:
  24. Lisa Brown says:

    taking a road trip to Oregon is on my bucket list.
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  25. Lisa Brown says:

    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  26. Hiking and Camping with family.

  27. I want to explore more trails and nature walking paths and maybe go camping.

  28. Going to the beach!

  29. My summer bucket list is take the kids to the parks, beach, maybe a short road trip, sleep in, have summer BBQs

    amy [at] uTry [dot] it

  30. Visiting my brother and sister-in-law and their brand new baby girl in Japan is on my Bucket List, and I just booked my ticket to leave in a couple of weeks! So excited to see them and meet my sweet little niece! 🙂

  31. heather says:

    Water skiing is on my Summer bucket list this year.

  32. shelly peterson says:

    I would love to make it to the beach this Summer.
    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  33. shelly peterson says:

    cshell090869 at aol dot com

  34. Madeline says:

    Our summer bucket list includes a week-long trip to Williamsburg, and also camping with my in-laws.

  35. Madeline says:
  36. Taking our girls kayaking for the first time!

  37. natasha Lamoreux says:
  38. natasha Lamoreux says:

    My bucket list has taking my kids to Disneyland!

  39. Hanging out with my daughter during swim lessons!


  40. We have the same kind of day out planned for a day this week when my husband is off of work! Lunch at the park to discuss what we want to do this summer. I have a feeling our bucket list will include going to the splash pad, one on one dates with each of our 3 kids, beach time, strawberry & blueberry picking, visiting our local farm (they have the best mini donuts!) and going to get ice cream a jillion times. Your berry lemonade recipe sounds amazing! Just added the ingredients to my shopping list.

  41. Jeffrey says:

    I’d like to take my kids to Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world. They are both little thrill seekers and I think it would be a blast!

  42. Jeffrey says:
  43. I don’t have a bucket list, but my goal is to go outside every day for an hour. Rain or shine.

  44. Kathleen says:

    I plan on finally taking that romantic vacation with the hubby – no kids allowed!

  45. Stefanie Gladden says:

    I would love to have a big bbq with friends and family this summer!

  46. Kristen says:

    A family and friends camping trip is on my list…..I hope we can get everyone together.

  47. Kristen says:
  48. Allison Swain says:

    Going camping is on my summer bucket list.

    Thanks for the chance to win

  49. Allison Swain says:
  50. Tamra H says:

    Taking a trip to NYC is on my Summer bucket list! Looking forward to it!

  51. Tamra H says:
  52. Judith VanAlphen says:

    Just got back from camping with my 3 teenage granddaughters. In August going east to visit family.

  53. Judith VanAlphen says:
  54. Nicole Larsen says:

    Lots of camping on my summer bucket list this year

  55. Nicole Larsen says:
  56. Loosing some weight is on my bucket list for summer – and I am doing okay so far!

  57. Margaret Smith says:

    On our summer bucket list is going fishing and camping. Haven’t gotten to do either yet. Thanks so much.

  58. Margaret Smith says:
  59. On our bucket list is to go to mackinaw island and ride our bikes around the entire island now that we have no littles with training wheels this year.

  60. Our summer bucket list includes lots of learning and lots of fun! We’ve already crossed off times tables for one kiddo and tying shoes for another! It’s so fun to see them excited about learning something new!

  61. Candice Cheeks says:

    One thing we did this summer was explored lighthouses! The zoo and splash pads are other favorite memories!!

  62. road trip to Yellowstone with my son.

  63. We plan to spend a lot of time at the lake. Drinking ice cold lemonade is always delicious too!

  64. Cynthia C says:

    I’m still hoping to get to the beach before summer is over.

  65. Barbara Montag says:

    On my summer bucket list – I want to go water skiing!
    thank you

  66. Barbara Montag says:
  67. maria cantu says:

    Go to disneyland.

  68. Susan Smith says:

    Our Summer bucket list was spending time at the zoo and the pool.

  69. Susan Smith says:
  70. Stephanie Phelps says:

    On my summer bucket list is to take a cruise!

  71. Ellie Wright says:

    On my bucket list was a weekend getaway for just myself and my husband.

  72. Take a trip to Niagara Falls

  73. going to the beach with family

  74. Betty Curran says:

    I’ve already crossed off the main item on my summer bucket list although it’s very small one. My grandson and I spent a lazy afternoon at the lake with our fishing poles. No fish dinner, but a great time together.

  75. Betty Curran says:
  76. To take a trip to the beach is on my bucket list!

  77. Thomas Murphy says:

    I want to go on a camping trip.

  78. Thomas Murphy says:
  79. Camping by the lake!

  80. Seyma Shabbir says:

    Visiting Universal Studios orlando was on our bucket list and we did it!!

  81. Seyma Shabbir says:
  82. we visited Las Vegas this summer and had a great time

  83. state fair and picnic with my family

  84. Elizabeth pergande says:

    I keep cool by drinking lemonade! truckedford(at)gmail(Dot)com

  85. Elizabeth pergande says:
  86. going to the ocean is on my bucket list

  87. Tammy Shelton says:
  88. Tammy Shelton says:

    We crossed off everything on our Summer Bucket List. Disney World, Sea World, Camping & lots of Beach Days!

  89. Jerry Marquardt says:

    Cooling off in the pool and doing some swimming is on on my summer bucket list.

  90. Jerry Marquardt says:
  91. Wanda McHenry says:

    My summer bucket list is to keep on working in my yard to make it more beautiful every day.

  92. Wanda McHenry says:
  93. Tabathia B says:

    Going to the beach, amusement park and visiting hershey park

    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  94. Tabathia B says:


    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

  95. #SweepstakesEntry- comment

    road trip to New Jersey to visit my mom for two weeks

    [email protected]

  96. Anastasia Falling says:

    My summer bucket list has one last bbq on it! Let’s hope we make it 🙂

  97. Anastasia Falling says:
  98. I want to explore more trails and nature walking paths and maybe go camping.NFL Snapback Hats

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