Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Last Chance-Rosy Retreat in September!


Hi everybody!  With September quickly approaching, I wanted to extend the invitation to the Rosy Retreat one last time before registration closes!  I'm already so excited about the nine women who will be joining me Friday, September 12th for such a special evening on the farm! 

We will be learning how to tell a story with our photographs through two guided lessons,
making two crafts,
eating,
enjoying the twinkle lights on the back porch,
having great conversation,
and leaving with handmade gifts from me! 

You are free to use a "big" camera for the photography portion of the night, use your phone, or simply watch and apply the ideas once you arrive back home!  

To sign-up, simply email me at sunshinebysara@hotmail.com 

Any questions or comments?  Please ask!
*We are located 20 minutes from both Fayetteville and Springdale*
{I'll email the registered gals the first part of September with all the fun details of the night! }


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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Mini-Vacation How To

Last week we took our last mini family vacation of the summer season.  We debated on going somewhere further away from home, but only had a couple of days to work with.  We ended up having the best time on such a short trip and I've gathered a few favorite tips to share with you today on how you can have a grand adventure with only a little bit of time and money.  

And with that, I leave you with Tip #1 for a mini-vacation "How-To"-Talk to your friends and family to get a real-life opinion on the fun things to do in your town or a neighboring city! Then pick one main attraction. 

A friend of mine from our weekly playgroup told me about the Tulsa Children's Museum and how much fun her family had going.  We decided to make this the main attraction of our mini vacation!
For some families, picking only ONE main attraction seems like such a downer because perhaps you are expert travelers and have 10 kids dressed and organized with no problem.  

We. are. not. that. family.  EEEEKKK-not even close.  So for us, we are left with two choices: sit at home because it takes too much work to go anywhere, or pick one place do-able.  We choose the latter.
We got up the day of the museum and ate Chick-fil-a breakfast in the car while the girls watched a movie on the laptop.  
We then spent several hours at the museum (which the girls LOVED).  Because we didn't have anything else on our agenda for the day, other than the hotel pool, we were able to freely explore the museum without being rushed to leave.

(This particular museum even lets you re-enter later in the day if you wanted to leave and come back)!


How-To Tip #2: Pick a spot where you can interact WITH your kids,
not your phone.
I know, I know...the kids are finally happy and running off all that energy so it feels like the perfect time to peek at your phone, right?  I've certainly been guilty of this before and I don't always think it's a bad thing to look at your phone!  But for a really fun time with your kids, pick a place where you can easily interact, run, jump, and PLAY with them!  They will love it and so will you. 

The Tulsa Discovery Museum had this giant tunnel and slide made entirely out of packing tape.  I mean seriously, how cool is that?!  Mind-blown. 

I went through it twice and the girls went through lots and lots of times with Brett.  

Tip #3-Encourage friendliness with parental guidance.

A lesson we teach over and over at our house is to be polite and friendly when we're out as a family.  I want the girls to know that as long as mom or dad are by their side, it's ok to be friendly and make friends with someone new.  Anna Ruth quickly befriended this little boy in the background and they would tell each other "Good job!" as they were building.  So cute. 

(obviously I won't always be by their side through their entire lives.  But for their little toddler selves now, I want to be around when they're talking with a child who is also with another adult)
Tip #4-Don't be afraid to show your kids the ropes.

Kids aren't afraid to look silly because put simply...they usually don't even know they look silly!  They're just having fun.  So when vacationing, don't be afraid to try something to encourage your little ones to do it as well, just because you think you'll look "silly." 

Brett showed Anna Ruth how to swing on these ropes and she obviously adored the lesson and taking a turn herself! 

Tip #5-Talk to the locals!

We asked the sweetest lady working at the museum where a good place to eat would be that was kid-friendly.  When we go out to eat we're neither quiet or neat!  She recommended a great Mexican restaurant nearby and it was delicious!   Taking the time to talk to a local gal definitely saved us some cash and driving time while our tummies were all grumbling. 

What are your family vacation tips?  


Monday, August 25, 2014

The not-so-perfect family portraits.

 "It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful." 

The Nester coined this phrase and thank goodness for it! 
Sunday the stars aligned right and were were all ready for church with a second or two to spare.  This happens maybe once a year, if we're lucky.  (my pre-kid self had no idea what a big job mamas have on Sundays! )  So naturally, I decided we should quickly grab a family photo. 

 And this is precisely how they went.  Anna Ruth is three now and can understand directions.  She wanted to obey and make me proud so badly for these pictures she plastered an almost painful looking grin on her face.  Betsy Grace was so enamored with the cat next to the camera we could hardly get her to look up. (I caught her last week cradling the cat's face in her hands and kissing it on the lips!)

These pictures, are obviously the "outtakes".  But I like them just as much as the ones below.  They tell our story.  I admit, I always look at the perfectly posed families on Instagram and Pinterest and think "Do you really look like that? What's your real life like?"  This, my friends, is ours!  

I wouldn't trade it, you know.  I wouldn't trade a picture-perfect photo for these outtakes. 
 To some, you may have already been tempted to click away to another blog, wondering why in the world I would post such "bad" pictures on my blog.  

Let me ask you this-if not this, what else? 

If we don't celebrate our real life that's right smack in front of us...
what else is there?  Reaching for perfectionism? 
I've been there, done that, and I'm weary to the bone from it.  
 But these.....these are my people.  These moments captured put a big lump of tears right in my throat-which is always my test for a "good" picture.  What does the picture make me feel?  
We are Brett, Sara, Anna Ruth, and Betsy Grace. 
A farm-lovin', little country girl kinda family. 
We don't know what we're doing when it comes to parenting most of the time, 
we make dozens of mistakes.
But we choose to love and stick together.
In our home, we believe that there is beauty in almost everything.
In fact, we wake up looking for it. 

We don't have the answers or a grand plan for the next ten years,
but we know God whispers, yells, taps, and takes us right where we need to be each day. 

We seek to create a haven in our home,
a place that's safe, hopeful, full of Jesus, and FUN for our kids and all who pass through. 

Our challenges are greater now than when we had one tiny baby,
but so are our joys and laughs and conversations. 

This is us, unscripted,
un-perfect,
beautiful. 


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

So long summer....

Does it really have to be over?  I mean really, for sure....is summer over? 
Sigh..
I suppose so.  I'm usually not one to mourn the ending of one season because I'm so eagerly anticipating the next.  Not so this time around.  I must have asked myself a dozen times "Are they really gone?"  when thinking about the batches and fields and spreads of wildflowers that covered the farm not that long ago.  
I suppose for now, our summer is on the downward slope.  Not that our temperatures would give any hint of that.  It's hotter than ever this week, causing a bit of cooped up crankiness if we're not careful.  So with summers end and sweet September approaching both on my mind, we've been doing a few more planned art and/or learning activities the last week or so.  
This particular day we painted with cotton balls!  Thanks to my good 'ol friend Pinterest for the idea!  This was super easy to set up and facilitate.  I put some paint colors in mini boxes I had leftover from the mail and then gave each girl a few clothespins with cotton balls clipped to them.  I taped a huge sheet of plain white paper to the table and let them have at it!  

They both paint so differently, which I find very interesting.  I suppose some might think that all toddlers paint just about the same way, but it's totally not true.  Betsy Grace paints with much bigger swipes of paint than Anna Ruth does and she also more easily mixes her colors together.  Anna Ruth paints in a more structured way, leaving most colors on their own.  

I'm proud to say this week I tackled organizing and cleaning out all the toys and art supplies in the house.  WOW! Did that feel good!  Since doing that it's been much easier to pull a toy, game, or activity out for both girls to do while I'm cleaning or folding laundry.  

Those lashes and cheeks and lips and little tiny nose....and that dark hair.  
Get me.



This summer we've enjoyed playing outside in the water table, the playhouse, adventures on the log barn place, visiting the White River, eating at Wagon Wheel restaurant and Anderson's occasionally, time with Nana, peaches from the local stand, the Farmer's Market, grilling, wildflowers, gardening, having a very loose schedule, mini vacations to Tulsa and Branson, making mud pies, flying a kite, getting Bouncy, potty-training, Anna Ruth's big girl bed, chasing lightning bugs, fireworks, the sound of the bugs outside, finding heart rocks........


In this next season we look forward to a bit more of a routine, preschool, an autumn garden, apples off the apple tree, layers, warm soup, hot tea and coffee, visiting the pumpkin patch, decorating with fall colors and pumpkins, raking the leaves and jumping in, cozying up by the fire, reading stacks of books, art journaling as a family (the girls and I at least), afternoon learning time with mama, boots, campouts.....and so much more.
This is my newest art piece that will be added to the shop next week! 
(I'm super excited about this one) 

With that friends..I'm saying "See Ya Later!" 'till Monday!  
We're taking a few days off for one last summer celebration...
Summer,
you have been so good to us. 




The Rosy Life is Featured: Blissful and Domestic!


Hi everybody!  I'm very excited to let you know I'm featured on the fabulous blog Blissful and Domestic today, sharing a few top pieces of advice on Creating Beautiful, Right Where You Are! 

Danielle is the powerhouse behind Blissful and Domestic and her motto is "Creating a beautiful life on less."  When she contacted me about doing a guest post I immediately wanted to say "yes!"  I've been contacted many times before from the most random companies ever wanting me to blog for them and none of them have matched my goals for the Rosy Life and so I've always said no....until I met Danielle!

I love her passion for using the life and materials we already have to truly create a beautiful life.

I hope you'll click on over to Blissful and Domestic to read about the Rosy Life's guide to Creating Beautiful, Right Where You Are!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Finding my style: Shop Updates!


 Boy, this painting adventure sure is FUN!  And challenging too....which is good for my brain.  I'm learning to take in just the right amount of knowledge from books and other artists, without trying to cram too much in.  When I open the floodgates of new art supplies, new books, and Youtube videos galore my passion, ideas, and paintings come to a screeching halt.  I just get mighty intimidated.  
 But when I take a few tips, advice, and lessons and tuck them waaaay back in my brain and then let my fingers feel out what my heart tells me to do....
I'm happy with how my style is evolving.  

This original art piece above is one of my top two favorites, ever.  It's not even listed for sale because I just simply cannot part with it.  I love having it displayed on our piano top.  It reminds me of the carefree way I first started painting, when I wasn't worried at all about Etsy sales. You can find an art print of this original here!
I've been really excited to embrace all that is fall as well.  I suppose September is maybe the stepping stone into the true fall and autumn season, but the words "Sweet September" keep ringing in my ears.  I have a whole slew of paintings in mind I'd love to bring to life, to sweetly usher fall and autumn in.  I tried my best to go with dark colors for a more serious, "fall-ish" theme for these leaves and well...you see who won. 

Color and happy-1
Dark colors-0
 I like to look back at my shop and my paintings to see which ones consistently catch my eye and feel like "me".  Well, the answer to that is they all do or they wouldn't be listed! I've even removed a few listings over the past couple of months of having an Etsy shop open if a painting didn't seem like my true Rosy Life style on second glance.  These paintings, however, are a few of my most favorites.



You can find all of my 8 x 10 art prints in the shop,
as well as painted bunting (bigger versions coming soon!),
notecards,
and painted notebooks. 

I even take custom orders! 

You can find the shop here!


Monday, August 18, 2014

{DIY} Rainbow Rice Box


Good morning! 
Back to school is here, isn't it?  I admit, this time of year always brings a mix of emotions for me.  For those who don't know, I used to be an elementary teacher for five years before becoming a stay-at-home mama.  I loved teaching and look forward to getting back to it someday!  For now, it's my greatest joy to be able to teach my own children-what an opportunity! 

I had grand plans to do units of learning this summer and then summer actually happened and our days were spent with pools, popsicles, and playing outside almost constantly.  Of course every day is a learning day at our house, but we're just now getting back into the groove of including more structured play and activities into our routine. To ease us into a more school-like schedule, we started with something easy: Rainbow rice! 

This is such a fun activity for your little ones to help you make and then thoroughly enjoy afterwards! I bought the biggest, cheapest bag of plain white rice I could find and then poured some out into multiple Ziploc bags.  I then added a couple squirts of food coloring and a few tablespoons of rubbing alcohol into each bag.  Next, seal up bag number one and insert it into ANOTHER Ziploc bag-you won't to double-bag these so that your toddler help doesn't squirt the rice all over and end up with rubbing alcohol on their hands! 

Once you have the rice bags double-bagged, squeeze and smoosh the rice, food coloring, and rubbing alcohol together to create a consistent color.  

Last (I do this step myself) sprinkle the rice out on a foil-lined cookie sheet and let it dry out overnight.  

Let the fun begin!