Peering in.

Oh these girls.  Life with Anna Ruth and Betsy Grace is such an adventure.  Sometime's it's an inviting adventure-like life itself is saying "Come on!  Grab my hand and let's laugh, explore, and learn! It'll be fun!". Other times, it's quite like speaking a foreign language.  It's a bit intimidating, and no matter how many times you practiced the scenario in your head, you're just not sure if you're getting the words right.  Or if you're just rambling a jumbled mess, fumbling the whole thing up.  

But, on our great adventure days AND on our rambling, fumbled days one thing remains constant.
I am head-over-heels in love with these girls.
Our weekend drives to check the cows are worth more to me than money could buy. Betsy Grace stares the cows down out of one window, Anna Ruth does the same in the other.  What's really funny is when the cows get too close to the open windows on both sides and both girls get to squealing and yelping like a couple of little puppies.  We roll the windows up real quick when that happens! 
Betsy Grace has learned to bang things on her highchair tray with reckless abandon.  It gives her the biggest thrill to throw her arm way up in the air and bring something down hard on the tray, in this case-her ice. She wants to make sure she's heard too!  
What a wonderful love Betsy Grace blesses me with. She loves to snuggle with me and I like that. I often think of the quote "It is no small thing when they, who are so fresh from God-love us."

Anna Ruth and I have been having some pretty big adventures in the yard lately while Betsy Grace naps.  We both love a good wandering.........
you just never know what you'll see and hear (and feel) along the way. 
 And this is why the post is appropriately called "peering in."  One afternoon Brett drove me over to photograph some wildflowers.  We, of course, had both girls in the truck with us.  I snapped away to my heart's delight, and saw this when I turned around to get back in the truck. 

I just laughed and laughed.  The next words out of my mouth were "This is my life".  Oh, these girls.  They are right there, always watching their mama.  I pray that they see me take life by the reins.  That they know whether the day-to-day feels like an adventure or something foreign, that their mama loves Jesus and is going to approach each moment with confidence, grace, and a strong, fierce love.

All that is gold..

"All that is gold does not glitter,
not all those who wander are lost.
The old that is strong does not wither,
deep roots are not reached by the frost."
J.R.R. Tolkien 

{diy} Hand-painted Map Placemats

Does your table get as messy as mine?
Before we moved into our house I remember picturing a table filled with great food, drinks here and there, children and people piled around it.  A little decoration, a lot real life.  

I still picture that.  I see it daily!  To have a real life table I must be realistic that things will get spilled,
delicious food will leave sticky spots sometimes, and life will leave it's mark.  So, easy placemats that can be thrown away and made again (or not) are necessary! 
 I'm not sure what gave me the idea for these......perhaps I saw it on the web or in a magazine somewhere.  Sometimes the line between an idea I've saved in my mind and saw in real life gets blurred between something I dreamed up.  (does that ever happen to you? Please tell me I'm not the only one who thought she created a FAB DIY and then saw the same idea on Pinterest)

I was lucky enough to find an old Arkansas atlas at the library's bookstore for $.50 one day.  So creating these was super, super easy.  I just tore single pages out of the atlas and trimmed around the edges a bit (which isn't even necessary).  I then used Modgepodge to glue an old book page in the middle of each placemat.

Last, I stenciled words on the middle of each book page with craft paint.  Words like sip, eat, yum, and mmmmmm. 
 They look cute and colorful,
and now life can freely resume around my table. 

Book Exchange Birthday Party

For Round 3 of Anna Ruth's birthday celebrations we had a Book Exchange party!  My twin sis and I decided that since three of our kids have birthdays really close together we'd have one party celebrating all three cousins! 

All of our kiddos are blessed with more than enough toys, so we decided to lighten the load for the guests by asking them to bring a gently used book to exchange in lieu of gifts. 
Beatrice the Bookworm decided she'd keep watch over the cupcakes,
left un-iced so everyone could decide how much they wanted,
or whether they wanted icing at all! 

 Betsy Grace decided she was going to be a party animal and snatched Anna Ruth's cupcake up!  She crammed it into her mouth, before quickly realizing that maybe that's not what she wanted in the first place. 

 The birthday kids! 
(aren't they precious?)
 I adore the "lipstick" created by icing in this picture.

 We kept the food simple: fruit, goldfish crackers, and cupcakes out of a box. And the kids were thrilled! That's the most important thing to me. If the kids are having fun then our mission was accomplished.  

The decorations all came from my house....I just gathered up what I had lying around and quickly assembled the table before the guests arrived.

Anna Ruth got to open a present from her Grandma and Papaw also! 
She knew just what to do, as you can tell by the concentrated look on her face. 

This was such a fun, easy party. which party can I plan next?

TV free and inspired photos

So a little over a month ago I was sitting in my craft room one evening, making massive to do lists and feeling crazy inspired.  Like, wanting to sew, paint, party plan, take photos, all at once. All day. I suppose that's a good problem to have, right? 

Since I'm a mama to two baby girls and I don't craft, sew, party plan, or paint while they're awake (I do take photos though ;) ), I knew I could either resume feeling overwhelmed with ideas and feeling short on time. Or I could cut something out of my busyness.  We can't do it all folks. 

The first, most obvious thing to pop into my head was to cut out t.v. I love t.v. and I'm not ashamed to admit it! But for some reason, (God I think) I just decided to quit watching it. And that was that. No more sitting in front of the t.v. for an hour or two at night. 

Oh my word, it's been w-o-n-d-e-r-f-u-l!  I have ideas (like these photos above) free to jump into my mind because it's less cluttered. I clean and exercise FIRST while the girls nap, I diligently work on chores/activities with the girls, etc. while they're awake. 

And then at night-I relax. I thought I was relaxing when I watched t.v. until 9 or 9:30 (I wasn't.) 
I'm talking about-sitting outside with a big stack of books or magazines,
drinking coffee,
breathing deep,
thinking, praying, 
the real kind of relaxing.
And then some nights going into my craft room to paint, sew, party plan, journal, etc.
Other nights, complete free time to spend quality time with Brett.  We've had some of our best conversations and most fun in the garden together, without the distraction of the t.v.

I've discovered a new layer of living I didn't know existed in this pocket of free time I've created for myself.
{You should try it. Just for a day! I know you can do it}

Hello Summer Fun (DIY Sensory Board)

 Hello Summer,
you've officially arrived! 

Hello playhouse,
you've provided endless hours of imagination and fun already! 
(Hello plans to design a "real" playhouse with doors and windows this fall!)
 Hello Betsy Bright-Eyes,
and hello weight gain.
Hello chubby rolls,
on a still small body.
Hello healthy. :)
 hello fun! 
Hello Granna and Poppa delivering a big treat for Anna's birthday.
 Hello helper,
(Anna takes her job of helping very seriously).

 Hello new pink slide! 
Hello to going FAST and landing on a quilt at the bottom. 
Hello to "I need the hand" and Anna learning to be brave.

 Hello homemade sensory board,
made from paint samples, fabric scraps, coffee cup sleeve, and an old Cheerios box.
Hello joint play,
and Anna Ruth teaching Betsy what each thing on the sensory board is. 
Hello creativity,
Hello trying to keep up with the speed of my girls' learning and imaginations,
Hello hot days, and cool mornings.

Hello to reading books (Currently: My Life in France), and magazines galore (Artful Blogging, Mary Janes Farm).
Hello to seeing a dear friend this weekend (I can't wait to hug your neck!),.
Hello to homemade iced latte's. 
Hello to morning bible time and a list of thankful things.

{What are you saying hello to this week?}

Walk with me? (Farmgirl adventures)

It's no secret I love our country/farm home.  Hobby farm that is.....sort of.  It's always funny to hear people react when I tell them we live on a farm. People either picture goats, chickens, cows, and pigs-you know the WHOLE nine yards, or they never even thought of us as farm people in the first place.  Usually the latter is true.  The truth is-we do have a farm (a family farm), we have cows (not sure how many currently, but over 50, less than 100).  My husband also works full-time elsewhere and YES, the farm takes work and lots of it! But-it is our recreation and relaxation too.......
My favorite parts of the weekends are when Brett takes us for farm adventures.  One day he said "Want to walk with me?" I grabbed up the girls and said "You bet!"  Off we trekked, into the pasture with the wild cows and fresh hay bales.  Seriously, these cows are silly and jumpy, like a bunch of rowdy school kids.  But the hay-how fresh and pretty looking, all baled up tight.  Like big pieces of shredded wheat plopped onto the pasture. 
We were an on adventure to pick up the ranger.  I was proud to show Anna Ruth that her mama has just as much "get up and go" as the farm boys (a.k.a. my husband and his brother).  So I got to drive the ranger back to the house, and run, run, run to close the gate before the jumpy cows came after me. (You think I'm kidding...)

This was the real treat of the walk.....
photos are the way to my heart. 
Brett held Betsy for a minute so I could snap a few pics of the wildflowers. 
Even though Brett tells me year after year that the purple "flowers" are really weeds called thistles and aren't good for the pastures at all....I just can't resist capturing their beauty. It's as if they're saying it's not their fault their so destructive AND beautiful. I suppose we can't have it all, as these thistles seem to represent. 

Although, being a sorta farm girl-I rather feel like I do have it all. 
Right out the front door, adventures await. :)

The rosy in my real life!

Hello friends! I'm here for another edition of "rosy in my real life!"  I tried to number these and do one for every week o...