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?

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. 

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..

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! 

(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?}

Visits with Grandma and Papaw

Growing up I spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house in Rudy, Arkansas.  Or at least it feels like it was a lot of time.  I remember Christmases there that were made up of all the stuff a really fun childhood Christmas is made of.  I also remember getting to go stay at their house in the summertime.  Once I tried to go by myself and just cried.  I vividly remember sitting in my Grandma's lap, watching cartoons, and wanting my sister badly!  Twin probs. :) 

It is now my greatest pleasure to take my own girls for a visit to my Grandma and Papaw's house every few weeks!  Their yard and flower beds and gardens are just lovely, full of all varieties of plants and flowers to admire.  Of course both Grandma and Papaw have such knowledge of what things are and how to get them to grow it's fun to talk to them, especially with my lack of knowledge! 

We've fallen into our little routine each time we visit.  The girls and I arrive mid-morning and play outside.  I love being able to see the pond where I fished as a kid and the pasture where I was so scared of the cows.  Look at me now-living on a cattle farm! Ha!  Life is funny, isn't it? 
There are games I remember playing as a kid...that I now watch my own children play. 
I could say it a million times, but it really IS just the strangest/best feeling.  
Kind of like deja vu. 

I enjoy hearing stories from when Grandma and Papaw's kiddos were little too.  Sometimes if one of the girls is having a toddler moment either Grandma or Papaw will help me remember it's normal and that I'm doing a good job as a mama.  I never have to worry about being embarrassed if the girls get ornery at their house.  THAT alone is huge!  Their home is such a safe, fun place! 

I got tickled at Betsy Grace during one of our last visits because she thought she heard an owl.  I admittedly, thought it was an owl too but Grandma told us it was a mourning dove.  We hear the exact same thing at home and the girls have in their minds they are scared of the sound.  Silly girls. :) 
The sound of a mourning dove is actually one of my favorite sounds in the entire world. 
Especially now that Grandma said it was her favorite too!

Have you heard one before? 

We always leave with something....a hug, a bouquet of flowers, a fun memory tucked into our minds.
That alone is a great lesson for me.  It's exactly how I want others to feel about visiting my home or even my heart.  Hands full.  Heart fuller. 
What can you do to leave others with something in their hands or heart today? 

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...