November 30, 2018

12 Days of Christmas Giveaways 2018

I'm so excited to bring another round of giveaways this year for you all! I've been so so thankful for all the love and support I've been given this year in you choosing to bring my art into your homes, so I wanted to give something back to you as a little way of saying thank you for making this season so fun and special for our little family!

I've teamed up with 12 small shops that I LOVE and ADORE to give away items for the first twelve days of December. Starting December 1st, I will feature a new shop each day with something they are giving away along with something from my shop I'll be giving too. All of this will be happening on my Instagram, so be sure to look over there for how to enter and follow along. I'll be sharing more about each shop and why I love them in my stories and on my posts too.

Here are the shops involved in case you want to start shopping early for some perfect and unique Christmas gifts this year.
Hope you enjoy!

(The order of the shops below is not the order that they will be featured, check my instagram to see which shop will be featured each day)

November 12, 2018

Intentional Advent

As the season of Advent quickly approaches I wanted to share a bit about the intention of this calendar I created and share a few ideas on how our family has used it over the year as my kids have gotten older. 

When I first designed this calendar a few years ago Shane and I had just welcomed out first baby and I quickly began dreaming of the family traditions we would create together. Even though she was just a baby, I knew that doing something at Christmas time with intention and teaching our kids the story of Jesus was something I wanted to bring into our home. 

A friend of mine had suggested I illustrate an advent calendar as a cute countdown to Christmas day. I loved the idea, but knew I wanted to make it more than just a little countdown--something with intention behind the countdown. As I thought of my kids and how we could teach them what this holiday was about I thought of writing simple verses to read each day of December leading up to Christmas. An activity that we could do together as they grow up, reading the verses, talking about the story, asking questions, and learning alongside our kids. 

I've made a few different versions over the years but the verses and story has remained the same. This years illustrations were meant to bring simplicity and beauty as they are hung up in the home and allowing the story written on the back to bring the deeper meaning and beauty to the season. 

In case you're curious how to do this with your family here are a few ideas I've come up with or some things we have done together in the past. 


Idea 1:
-Leave the calendar in a pile set on the mantle or next to a place you will string them. 
-Starting December 1st, sit with your family each night to read the verse on the back aloud.
-Hang up the verse that was read for that night on the string you want to display it on.
-Repeat this each day, reading the new verse and hanging it up, using it to count up to Christmas day. 

Idea 2:
-Hang the calendar on a string across your mantle or some other creative way showing the number side first. 
- Each day, starting with #1 have your child read the verse aloud. If your kids are reading age, you can have a different child read each day alternating who gets to read. (kids LOVE to be involved in the activity. This will also create a sense of them owning the tradition with you as well instead of just being read to)
-Ask prompting questions after each verse is read to talk more about what this story means to them.
(ie. how does it make you feel knowing God loves you? why do you think Jesus was born? why did Jesus have to come as a baby? what does the name Jesus mean? Do you think Jesus is close and with us now?)

Idea 3:
Something we have done each year is have a small Christmas tree next to where our calendar is hung up. After each verse is read I ask the girls one thing we can learn from that verse. For instance we can learn from his name being "Immanuel" it means that God is always with us and won't ever leave us. After we read it together and say what we've learned we take a small ornament to hang on the tree for that day. 
On the last day of the calendar I use our Jesus story bible (a favorite of ours!) and read through the whole Christmas story from this book. I love the way this book brings simplicity and truth in a meaningful way that is tangible for kids to listen to.


My girls get excited each year to sit and read these together (and mostly hang the ornaments haha), but even if most of what's being said is going over their head, my hope is that this is something they look forward to each year and can remember more about the story as they grow up. I think kids are usually more in tune with what's going on and being said around them even if they can't quite articulate it, so I know just doing the activity together is doing something deeper in their heart. And from there I get to trust God with how he's allowing these words of truth to be woven into their story. 

So with these simple little activities, you can probably go from here and get creative on how to use these ideas with your own family. My hope is that this calendar also creates a deeper meaning for you as you read through them as much as we hope it does for our kids. Even more that that I hope you realize more than ever before how crazy our God is about you and how deeply He loves you!

I'm honored and so thankful that you would choose to bring this calendar and any of my work into your home and lives.

Please share on instagram how you have used and displayed yours and tag me so I can see!
@coleykuyperart  #ckartadvent

October 27, 2018

DIY Quail Family Costumes

I remember seeing a family of quails running across the desert a while back and thinking "thats exactly what we look like when others see our little family walking by"--a mama and dada leading the trail of little birdies hurrying closely following behind. I used that image as inspiration for our halloween costumes this year and the idea of it couldn't have fit more perfectly! 

I'll admit that it took a little convincing for a certain set of twins to get on board with the idea of being quails for our family costume. But when I showed them that we could put pretty jewels on our masks and spruce up the wings with some glitter they became more into the idea. 

It's getting more and more fun each year to think of how we're going to dress up as a family. Especially this year when the girls were excited to help make our costumes together. I'm not a into the scary and dark side of halloween, but I do love creating memories for my kids and making ways for us to be creative together, so thats the part of this holiday that I find fun. 

Running around in the desert for these photos was so fun to see my little idea come to life. The girls have embraced the whole quail ensemble and are giddy about dressing up as a quail family. They tell pretty much anyone they come into contact with now about they're outfits! And the best part of this day photoshoot was seeing a flock of quails scurry by us as we finished up. The girls couldn't have been more excited to see that. 

Each year when I come up with our costumes I'm always thinking of how I can make it as cheap and practical as possible, especially since there's so many of us! I like to find pieces that they can wear over again when the costumes are no longer needed. I made each of their outfits for under $12 and it was super easy to put together. So hopefully this can inspire you in some way to create your own costume without spending an arm and a leg to make it. I'm giving the full tutorial for this below. 

I can't end this post without acknowledging how sweet and amazing my husband is for joining in on the family fun and letting me make him dress up like a silly bird. He embraces it with us and joins right into it, which is what makes doing this whole thing even sweeter for me. He really is the best! I really really love this quail covey of mine! 


I used all the supplies listed in the illsutration above. I purchased all the items I needed at Walmart which made this a super cheap project over all. 

-Long sleeve shirt: $3.88
-Leggings for girls: $3.88
-Felt sheets: $0.39 each (I used 12 sheets for all of our outfits and masks)
-Elastic for head bands: $2 (I used less than half the roll for all of our masks)

-Diamond jewels we used for the mask: $2 (for a pack of 300)
-Glitter spray adhesive: $3 for one can

Step 1:
-Outline a feather shape on your felt sheet. I made up 2 different sizes for the feathers and used the larger size on the bottom feathers on our shirts and smaller size on top. 

Step 2:
-Cut out feather shapes on felt and repeat until your have enough feathers to fill the back of the shirt

Step 3:
-Place your feathers in rows on the back of the shirt and layer them on top of each other. I started with the bottom row first and layered on top of each row going up towards the neck. I shifted them around on the shirt until I liked how they looked. Once I liked a row I used the hot glue gun to glue it in place onto the shirt. 

Step 4:
-Outline a bird face shape and cut out. 

Step 5:
- Cut out eye holes (if you're going to wear them on your face, we ended up wearing them as headbands mostly). Paint, decorate, stick on feathers to your liking. 

Step 6:
- Measure the elastic around your head to sew or hot glue onto the mask. Once your bird mask is finished attach the elastic to your mask. 

And there you go! Super easy, cheap, and simple halloween costume. Hope you all have a safe and sweet halloween with your little ones this year. Thanks for following along!

photos take by: Monica Mae Photography

October 18, 2018

Pumpkin Day

We celebrated our first annual pumpkin day this year. Any time there is a reason to celebrate and plan a day of fun activities, I'm AAAALL in! The girls and I were at the grocery store one day and saw a mountain of pumpkin flavored things in the middle of the aisle and came up with the idea together to have a day, "pumpkin day", consuming all the pumpkin-y things and making an activity day out of it to welcome the fall season. They were ecstatic about the idea as we loaded the cart with pumpkin spice everything! 

It was a simple day. We started with pumpkin pancakes followed with a trip to pick out pumpkins to carve and paint on. Every year we have a day of painting on pumpkins together so it was fun to keep that tradition alive and add it to our day. After the girls rested, we made this delicious pumpkin dutch apple pie, ate pasta with pumpkin cream sauce and finished the day watching "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown". There were more things on our list that we didn't get to (maybe I was a liiiiittle over ambitious), but it only meant that we had more fall activities to do together on another day!

Before I had kids I knew that creating traditions and memories like this would be one of my favorite things to do as a parent. The best part is watching them get into it and be so excited for the day and tradition too. By the end of the night they were all saying that they didn't want pumpkin day to end! I love that these girlies of mine are just as into celebrating as I am. Doing it together is what makes the tradition so special anyways. 

In case you are wanting to start your own pumpkin day traditions I came up with some more fun ideas to do for the fall season. I'd love to hear more if you have more ideas that come to mind too, so please feel free to share!

-Go to the pumpkin patch
-paint pumpkins
-draw pumpkin pictures
-make pumpkin shape cookies
-carve a pumpkin together as a family
-play pumpkin bowling
-play pumpkin ring toss
-play hide and seek with pumpkins around the house
-bake pumpkin pie
-bring a pumpkin to someone you love just because
-make a fall garland together
-make pumpkin spice apple cider
-watch pumpkin/fall themed movies 

I also created this free download coloring page for you to use with your littles whenever you start your pumpkin day tradition too. Click here to grab it:

And if you do, I'd love to see! So please share and tag @coleykuyperart/ #coleykuyperart so I can see how you celebrated too!

Happy Fall!

October 2, 2018

Twins 4th Birthday!

Yes, I realized that it is OCTOBER already and I'm JUST now posting these. But I'm documenting them nonetheless. The twins turned 4 in July and we celebrated with a sweet and simple rainbow popsicle party. Having a summer birthday growing up in Phoenix doesn't give much room for doing anything outside other than swimming. And I'm sure you can see by the sweaty glow on our faces in these pictures that this day was a HOT one. But it didn't stop us from doing something special. Swimming was their favorite activity all summer so it only made sense that we added that into the fun. This summer they both learned how to swim on their own fully so that was another milestone to be remembered in this fourth year of their life. 

These twins of mine never cease to keep me on my toes, constantly challenging the boundaries and figuring out what they can and can't get away with. It's exhausting to say the least, but recently the thing I've reflected on most in being their mama is how much of myself needs to grow up. The things that are hard in parenting them have began to shift my perspective and grow my heart in ways I didn't know needed to grow before. And for that I'm eternally grateful for this gift in them that I see God has given. Apart from the hard stuff, they are the epitome of joy and excitement and all things FUN. They know how to laugh at the silliest things and create beauty and kindness around them. 

Throwing this rainbow themed party for them was just a reflection of who they are...bright, beautiful, and something you always want to be around. We ate melted popsicles, swam until the sun went down and celebrated with homemade rainbow cupcakes. These girls have been a surprise and challenge since the moment we found out they were arriving, but my heart couldn't be more thankful for them and how they have made our family what it is today.