A mini vacation: Silver Dollar City

Have you heard of Silver Dollar City or Branson, Missouri?  I'm delighted to see that several of you reading lately aren't from Arkansas.  Which means you might not know about some of these local spots in the South.  Branson is such a show....everything there is flashy, showy, and all about a good, cheesy time.  Hopefully that didn't hurt any Branson enthusiasts feelings.  Don't get me wrong-we love Branson too! 

Silver Dollar City is like the smaller, southern sister of Disneyland.  Like much, much smaller.  It's an amusement park with an old-timey feel.  I grew up going there and have such fond memories of the place.  Brett and I hadn't been since our dating days so we decided to take the girls.  Our first stop was the big ball pit.  The kind lady asked me if she could pour the balls on Betsy Grace.  I responded sure, but that I didn't know if she'd like it. 

And well, you see what happened. :) 

Anna Ruth loved playing in the balls, shooting the giant water guns, and riding the carousel.  One of my favorite things about this little mini vacation was that Brett got to have such a special time bonding with the girls.  They both adore their Daddy, Anna Ruth especially. It was wonderful for him to have more than just an evening to spend with them.  

The weather was crisp and the colors phenomenal.  Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to take in...including the food. 

We played hard, ate delicious food (including a funnel cake!), rode the train, and stayed the night in a hotel.  The girls (Anna especially) acted like we'd taken them to a magical place.  Mission accomplished. :) 

Where do you and your family go for fun?  Any fun vacation ideas for little ones?

Fog and Webs

One morning we awoke to a beautiful fog.  Our bodies creaked and groaned, our yawns were a little wider, our stretches-a little longer.  Life with two little ones means sometimes the sleep just isn't there....for one reason or another.  We can discuss it 'till the cows come home (which I've learned is like forever) or we can just acknowledge it and move on.  So back to this particular day.  I was "awake" but not really fully awake.  The girls were both asleep at the same time and I don't remember now if it was for a rare nap or what.  But instead of crawling back in the bed and hiding (which was my first inclination) I crept outside instead.
It was the light that got me.  It's always the light.  Light is safe, a symbol of God's ever-present help in my life.  It's the reason why we have a bajillion lamps in our house, lots of windows, and twinkle lights in the craft room. Light speaks to me.  I grabbed my camera and went out to explore.  (this topic is something I talk about in-depth in my online course, A Rosy Retreat. More info. on the tab above)
See, this is how I like to challenge myself.  As soon as I walked outside and took a couple of obvious pictures....things like the light shining through the leaves I still yearned for more.  At first glance I thought "nah, there's nothing interesting left to capture."  But, I felt God tell me, look again.  So I did.  Suddenly the wood pile looked like a pile of art....not just future warmth for cold days.
That dew that was getting my slippers and jeans all wet?  Diamonds.  Glistening, shining, cheering me up.

And the webs!  Oh, the webs.  They were everywhere.  I don't know how I've missed these glorious autumn webs but I was fascinated with them.  So intricate, so fabulously designed.  I could stare at these webs all day.  I appreciate the hard work that went into building it, I could think of several life lessons out of a web like this.  It's art.
This bike had me dreaming of autumn bike rides....with a basket of flowers and baked goods.
Even the tiniest of webs still looked so delicate yet strong enough to last on the farm gate.  Is it possible we can also learn to be delicate and strong in God's mighty strength too?

One of my favorite parts of the morning that I wasn't able to fully capture were the birds.  They were playing hide and seek in our trees in the woods.  There must have been hundreds of happy chirps.  Heard, not seen.  But it was happy, happy music to my ears.
I'm going to be honest, this day (along with many, many others) was one I had to push myself to be creative.  It would have been so much easier to crawl back in bed and hide.  And somedays-I do that!! But a lot of days I coax myself to be creative, take photos, make art, blog my heart out, even if just for 10 or 15 minutes.  And you know what?  I always, always feel better.  I feel like I got in touch with God himself.  I know I was made to be a creator.  

What were you made to be?  What relaxes you?  I'd love to hear.

Drench on, autumn sun.

(Photo available in my shop here)
 These pictures are some of my favorites.  And you know what?  They weren't taken on a magical day where we sat in the golden field all day.  In fact, the girls and I had been in the house most of the day while I tried to clean.  We conquered the mess in the house but it honestly wasn't the most fun.  Two busy gals are two blessings for sure.  But also two little people who like to get into things and be ornery sometimes while mama has to clean.  So. 
(Photo available in my shop here)
 After a day of cleaning (because it really is necessary around here and I want my girls to see what it means to create a house that's taken care of) I loaded the girls up and we went for a farm drive.  I've been doing that more often with them now.  Just me and them.  Windows rolled down, conversation about the cows, squeals from Betsy Grace. 
(Photo available in my shop here)

The sun was just right.  Have I mentioned how much I just love a good autumn sun?  It speaks to me.  It doesn't try to show off, or hide like the summer sun.  It's a comfortable in its own skin kind of sun.  It shows up, does it's job well, and casts a glowy haze over the earth that makes your heart beat a little slower, and your smile a little wider.  Drench on, autumn sun. 

We've been savoring our time in the yard in the late afternoons too, noticing how our green leaves are turning red.  This particular branch was a great lesson in perspective for me.  From the other side of the tree the leaves looked dark and almost like a maroon color.  Spotted with some kind of black dots. Basically, not very pretty.  But then I walked around to this side....and saw this stunning sight.  All these leaves needed was the sun shining through them to look beautiful.

Sounds like my own life to me.  

5: a sneak peek at FIVE new mini series coming to the blog!!

 5 is the lucky number today.  That's how many new little series are coming to the blog!
I love blogging.  And there's been nothing wrong with the way I've been posting so far. But it was time for a change...I've been wanting to share more of the crafts, creativity, and dreams that happen in my brain on a daily basis.  To challenge myself to use all these ideas tucked in the filing cabinets of my mind (which I picture painted bright yellow, FYI) and make good on my heart's promise to use the gifts God has given me,  in my real life, with what I really have available.  

So, today I'm happy and very excited to introduce you to the new concepts coming in a week or two!   
These first two series will happen several times a month....

Let's start with ADORN: Seasons Celebrated Fully
A series on embracing all that each season has to offer, in the way of food, decor, weather, activities, and traditions.
Make Merry: Inspiration for beautiful table settings, merry meet-ups, grateful gatherings, parties galore, feasts and celebrations.  With your family, friends, for yourself, or your spouse. 

Homespun Happiness: Do-able how to's for all things crafty.  Even for those who think they're "not crafty".  This'll be fun, I promise. :) 
(a weekly series, coming soon)
Pages: Ideas, layouts, inspiration, and how-to's for art journaling.  
(a weekly series, coming soon)

Truth and a Dare: (this one might be my favorite)
A series highlighting the random "truth's" of my life, and a dare to go along with it for YOU! 
A few truths to come.......I should really wake up earlier than I do, wearing the same shirt twice in a week is a GOOD thing, snail mail matters (bringing back the happy mail I said I would never do), and I love seeing the message "_______sent you a pin!" on Pinterest.

(a weekly series, coming soon)

Of course, I'll still be blogging about our regular life in snippets too....

So, what do you think? 


Persimmons are the prettiest.  I noticed them one day in the yard and thought what a pretty little flower shape they had on top.  Have ya'll heard of persimmons?  This was the extent of my "knowledge", if you even want to call it that.  I just thought they were a pretty little berry type thing that got smashed all over my shoes when I walked outside.  Then my smart sister-in-law brought over some Persimmon Pudding for Sunday lunch.  Oh you guys....it was goooooood.  Like, really good.  We ate it chilled with homemade whipped cream on top.  It tasted like cinnamon and spice....like fall on a fork. 
After such a delightful taste I got motivated to try to pick some of my own.  The trick is you can't get the ones off the ground because we've had cows in the yard frequently lately (mooo) and deer galore.  But, there's only so many persimmons I can reach while holding Betsy Grace on my hip (because she eats everything at this stage).  Still, Brett helped me one afternoon and we gathered some up.  They're small and squishy and smell divine.  Anna really got into helping with the basket.

Of course there are persimmons galore taunting me from waaaay up high in the trees.  Anybody have persimmon trees and a good recommendation on how to get them down?  I think I just need a good ladder and to sneak out there while the girls are asleep. Can you imagine me trying to get on the high ladder with the girls running around underneath me?  Disaster. 
(this picture is actually of our field that had grass seed spread on it. I thought the neat little rows of seed looked pretty)

After such a pretty ode to persimmons you probably came expecting a delightful recipe or craft to do with them huh.  Me too.  :)  I have plans to make persimmon bread but in the spirit of keeping it real, have to admit I haven't gotten around to doing it yet.  I did some research one day and read that you can also make persimmon jam as well.  Sounds lovely. 

I'll try to pick some more persimmons and give you an update soon on the bread!  
Do you have a persimmon tree, or some other type of food-bearing tree at your house? 
What do you make with the crop?  I'd love to hear! 
We also have walnut trees on the farm I'll tell you about soon. 

GIVEAWAY winner. Was it you?

The winner of A Homemade Year book is......
Jennifer Dvorak!! Email me (sunshinebysara@hotmail.com) with your mailing info! :) :) :) CONGRATS!

The great pumpkin jaunt

 The tale of the great pumpkin jaunt.....
two cutie pies,
one great pumpkin.
 Ranger ride,
gray skies.
 Caterpillars, vibrant leaves, tiny flowers found. 
Campfire made.

Pumpkin carved,
conversations, chuckles, togetherness shared. 

terra studios.

Hi everybody!  How is this autumn treating you?  We've been working away at our autumn list, that I posted here. Our goal was never to have more to do this season, simply for the reason of doing.  I've heard a quote several times lately that says something like to stop glorifying the busy.  Amen and amen.   

Our list is more like a roadmap, guiding us to the fun spots of the season instead of simply focusing on the grueling tasks of work and chores.  As we're traveling along our little autumn journey it's delightful to get to circle another item off the list, tucking another memory into our hearts.

Last weekend we went to Terra Studios, which is a local place that makes glass bluebirds.  The grounds around the artist's shop/workshop are fun and artsy.  

The last time I was here Anna Ruth was pretty little and wanted to be held most of the time.  Not so this time!  She enjoyed walking and running all over the place, as fast as her little legs would carry her.   Brett wanted me to photograph this little playhouse because our dreams for the spring are to build a playhouse for our gals! :) 

Oh Betsy Grace, curious little thing.  She is like a different baby all of a sudden!  SO curious, so into everything.....I just love it.  It's fascinating and hilarious to watch her because I truly never know what she's going to do or try to say next.  
After we walked around for a while we got a bit chilly so we headed into the store they have, where you can also watch a man making the glass bluebirds.  The shop is full of local art and a lot of pottery, as well as the bluebirds.  I enjoyed looking around very much, despite Betsy Grace being like a bull in a china cabinet. LOL.  

Brett let Anna Ruth pick out a bluebird, and she chose the color green. 

I love these sweet little moments Brett captured with my girls.  Anna Ruth is very loving lately, it's a new thing for her.  She's always been sweet, but now she'll come up and purposely hug me or pat me on the back.  My favorite is when she tells me she loves me.   I sure am in love with these sweet girls. 

Where have you traveled to this autumn?  

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...