Saturday, July 4, 2015

Take a photo walk. (a weekend challenge)

The girls and I love to look through old photos.  Whether that be scrolling through the past on my blog or turning real pages of one of the many photo books we have lying around, there's just something about looking back and reliving all the fun memories we've had as a family.  

One day last week Anna Ruth requested to look at some photos from last summer so I brought the computer to the table and we all gathered around.  As our eyes began to take in the view I felt a certain kind of sadness.  There was something to my photos from last year I was missing but didn't even realize it until that moment.  My first thought was "Oh no, I've lost it.  My photos this year don't capture quite the same beauty."  Of course, immediately following that thought was my realistic voice, the one that knows better.  I inwardly picked up my megaphone and gave myself a talking to.  The truth is every single day is just as beautiful as the last.  If anything changes, it's our eyes.  Some seasons of life may hold only a tiny moment of beauty, big enough to only be called a speck.  But still, something.  We rose from the breakfast table, amidst happy squeals from my girls over last year's photos.  I decided to let the laundry and dishes wait and instead picked up my camera to head outside. 
I heard my soul tell my feet to slow down. 
So I did.
With camera in hand, I noticed.  
There is an art to this noticing.








Friends, nothing...not one little speck of beauty had changed.  It was all still there. 
Flowers tucked in among the rocks and dirt, light sprinkling through the trees, wildflowers blooming and braving freely. 

This weekend as we celebrate our freedom, I challenge you to slow down, take a photo walk, and invite the beauty in to sit a while.  

I'll see you Monday and don't forget to read yesterday's post to get signed up for my next craft night! 
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Friday, July 3, 2015

Join me for Craft Night!


Local gals, join me for Craft Night in my art studio! 
This night is all about having fun with bags! We'll be creating whimsical paper frames, crafting flowers and feathers, painting banners, and making our own birds' nests! 

I'll share unique ideas for putting your creations to use as well!

When: Friday, July 17th from 7-10 p.m. on my farm/in my art studio
Details: We'll craft and eat snacks among new friends and old!  Price includes snacks and all craft supplies (plus a little treat from me!)
Price: $35
Sign-up: Signing up is easy! Simply email me (sunshinebysara@hotmail.com) and I'll invoice you via Paypal! 

Grab a friend, your bible study gals, or your mom, sister, or aunt, and sign-up! I hope to see you there!





Thursday, July 2, 2015

I believe in light.

I believe in light. 
Shimmers and glows and spots that seep. 
Light that squeezes its way through the tiniest of cracks. 
Lights that bring us home. 
I believe in light that spills. 
That floods over your shoulders like a an umbrella of hope. 
I believe in light that dances and the foot steps required to follow.
I believe in beams of light,
that pierce the darkness in our deepest moments.
I believe in the light only God can supply, 
the kind that lasts and lasts. 
I believe in light that's multiplied when shared. 
I believe in holding our lanterns high
and lighting the flame of the sister next to us if the way begins to darken. 

I believe in light. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Easy Backyard Birthday Party!

Happy day friends!  Are you doing well, tired, or a bit of both?  As the saying goes, we live on Jesus and strong coffee around here so we're a mix of both.  The girls and I had the best adventure in town today and we've got a little dinner party set up for ourselves in the yard tonight!  Summer is in full swing!

Both my Anna Ruth and her cousin Lainey had birthdays this month so we decided to celebrate with an easy backyard birthday party.  I remember wearing myself out with details for Anna Ruth's first birthday and now I'm totally in "two child syndrome" mode.  Meaning when it comes to a party for the five and under crowd, cupcakes and pinatas go a looooong way.  Simply put, kids will appreciate a fun mama who didn't wear herself out over the fanciest party decorations Party City has to offer.  At least that's my laid-back (lazy?) approach.  Think smarter, not harder folks! :) 
 The two birthday girls got to unwrap a present from grandparents, but to keep things easy for friends we requested no presents. 
 Our piñata was purchased at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon. 
The kids took this so seriously but had so much fun with it too! 
Easy fun. 


 My twin sis made blue cupcakes with pink icing and sprinkles, per the little girls' requests!  
We also had water on hand in a small cooler and considering the party took place from 10-11:30 this was just the perfect amount of treats.


 We had mostly family at the party because my older sister's family and our home church families weren't able to attend.  We sure missed them but had such a fun time sitting in a yard full of people we love.  The weather was perfect this day…high 70's with a breeze.  The adults visited and the kids played and played.  It was wonderful!
My dear neighbor friend came with her kiddos.  She and I get together at least once a week and exchange texts often.  She means so much to me and I'm delighted God placed a friend right down the road, even before we moved in! 

I suppose the Rosy Life tips for an easy party are quite simple-keep it simple, offer one treat and something cold to drink, and make sure the kiddos have plenty of activities for fun! We had the kiddie pool full of water balloons, the playhouse, and the piñata available and really the kids made their own fun and games. 

The decor was even easy for this party! I simply "shopped" from my own home and set up a few props around the kids' picnic table.  It took about 10 minutes, maybe.  And THAT is yet another reason I have to collect props. :)

Do you have any fun backyard bashes planned for the summer?



Monday, June 29, 2015

What I'm painting.

Last week I bared my soul and split my heart open wide to explain the meaning behind a new series of art I'm painting, called "Grace and Gladness, Trusting and Treasuring." 

The short version is that I've never painted in a series before but something about this season of life is different than any others.  I almost dislike saying that because it sounds like such a "christian" or good thing to say.  "This season of life"...kinda takes a turn for the Hallmark side of things.  What I mean is I'm finally learning lessons that have taken almost my entire life thus far to grasp. Of course, then I forget the reward of the lessons and have to start all over again.  But the spaces between learning again are closing in and becoming less and less. 

And so for that reason, it made perfect sense for me to paint what I feel and know.  
I'm painting about community, our stories, and the sweet moments that are tucked into my life and yours.  I'm smashing colors together, creating art that makes my eyes fill with deep tears.  I'm going back to my sketch book and putting paint to canvas when a drawing makes me feel down to my toes and up to the tippy-top of my head. 

I'm praying and standing still and listening to seek where this blog is headed, so that I'm not just another gal on the web, trying to make a name for herself. 
Rather, how do I go about making a BIG, sweet name for Jesus?

We'll see. 
I'll have plenty to share about mid-July.  Maybe later. 
'Till then, 
I paint and pray on. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Favorite Art and Nature Supplies!

Although I like to pack light when we camp or step foot outdoors, there are a few items that we like to bring along to enhance our learning time and noticing!  Learning about both ourselves and the world around us is something really important to me.  If my girls hear the call of a beautiful bird I'd love for them to have the opportunity to make a painting in response, rather than hurry their little selves along, never stopping to notice.  Whether that means my trusty Jansport backpack from my high-school days is packed up or this cute picnic basket I thrifted, we seem to always have a vessel to hold a few essential items for play time in the yard or adventures outside the gates of our lovely farm. 
These are the same items I packed up on our big camping adventure with the cousins that I shared about yesterday so they really are quite portable!  I suppose I could pack super light and do without all this but the rewards of having them are worth far more than the extra baggage. 

Check out the list below to see what we love!
These aren't affiliate links, they're simply things we adore. 
We love this set because Crayola brand watercolors are so extremely vibrant! Plus this comes with two rows of paint inside the plastic container, so we simply open it up and each girl gets their own! 
Ok friends, I have to say something a tad bit negative.  This paper got rave reviews on Amazon but I'm really not impressed. It is super thin and my girls like to use a lot of color in their painting so the paper gets a bit soggy/crinkly pretty fast.  For on the go, the easel in the backyard, or for camping it's just fine.  But I wouldn't use it everyday. 
How many ways do I love a water brush? So many.  Too many to list probably.  A water brush is a paint brush that holds water in the handle, making it extremely portable!  Seriously, we pack our water brushes for outings on the farm, paint time in the yard, camping, the car, etc.  EVERYWHERE.  They are so easy for kiddos to learn to use too! I taught my nieces and nephews how to use them last weekend and they had the hang of it within minutes.  Your kids need a water brush! (and you do too!)
This book is AMAZING.  It is an illustrated guide to all things nature.  We have gazed at this book for hours already.  It answers many questions we have while exploring outside, as well as answering questions we didn't even know we had yet! They also have a book called Farm Anatomy that is next on my wish list.  

I hope this has left you feeling inspired to take your art and learning on the go!  The natural world is just as fascinating as it gets to me.  Having these simple tools handy to join us on our adventures has made the ride really sweet this summer..

Friday, June 26, 2015

Adventures in our pop-up camper!

Since our first camping trip in our pop-up there's been no turning back.  We are definitely an outdoor type of family.  We don't mind being hot and sweaty and the sight of bugs, leaves, trees, webs, and water gets our blood pumping in the best possible way.  We are most at home and near our heaven on earth (if there is such a thing) when we're outdoors.  Naturally, camping is the perfect road to travel for us as a family of four, with two toddlers.  
Although I don't think owning a camper is necessary, it is really nice to have the air-conditioning on at night! Okay, so maybe we're spoiled campers.  But today I wanted to share a few tips with you that have made each of our trips very enjoyable.  First, I personally like a pretty table.  Remember, this is The Rosy Life's version of tips so you might not care at all about how things look when you camp and that's okay too.  To each their own!  I thrifted the tablecloth (and several others for later!) and filled up this giant jug with wildflowers before we left the farm for the weekend.  
Now isn't that better than a plain picnic table?! 
I thought so. 
Here's a peek at our pop-up in the middle of the day.  I've seen plenty of ideas on Pinterest for "redoing" the camper and putting up new curtains/recovering all the cushions.  That sounds like WAY too much time and money and work for me.  Instead we keep a bunch of colorful blankets and banners I've made or thrifted inside the camper and within 10 minutes the camper is cloaked in color!
We usually plan one "big" activity per day when we're on the road.  This particular day we visited a local "beach".  So basically the Arkansas, country gal version of a beach, on the lake! The kids and their cousins had so much fun playing in the sand and wading out into the water.  We always make the girls wear their life jackets the entire time they're by the water and keep a close eye on them as well.  


After all that fun and exercise, of course good food is a must! And by "good" I mean meat and veggies and potatoes.   Specifically garden potatoes and veggies! We keep a small variety of cooking items tucked away in the camper which makes packing for a trip a breeze.  That's probably what I like the most about camping.  We keep it so low maintenance as far as clothes and food goes, we can load up for a weekend away much faster than if we were staying in a hotel. 
I must say, this is me at my happy place! 
Makeup free and hair pulled back. 




I've also learned it really helps to have some fun transition activities.  For example, in-between playing on the campground playground and dinner, I led the kids and cousins in a quick art lesson which helped the time pass quickly until time to eat! 
I'll be back tomorrow to share some of my favorite outdoor learning/art supplies! 

YUM.
(Do you have a favorite camping recipe? Please share if so!)

One last "rule" of camping for us is that we let the kids stay up late! Only a couple of our kids (between my twin sis and I) actually nap so in order to make sure all the kids sleep soundly we keep them up an extra hour or more after dinner.  This particular night we went hiking for an after dinner activity!  

In case you're wondering, our kids sleep pretty great in the pop-up and my sister's kids did really well in their tent also! Exercise for the win! 



And that's a wrap! 
There are certainly parts of camping that can be a bit challenging.  Mostly if things don't go according to plan and the kids end up having to spend a lot of time waiting and being patient.  We tried to rent a boat this particular trip but none were available, so we moved to plan B which was to swim in a particular area.  Well, that area was flooded, so we moved to plan C.  By this point the kids were getting a bit grumpy (well, some of them).  

But overall the adventure far outweighs any other feeling that might show up on the trip.  Sitting around the campfire, going to bed early, watching the sunset, discovering new bugs and plants, eating delicious food, meeting other nice families, and being together makes camping my fave. 

Brett asked me after returning home, "Do you think we're a camping family?"

Yes, I most certainly do. 

{How are you adventuring this summer?}