May 22, 2019

Magnolia Trip



So it's been a hot minute since I've blogged and I realized this is my first post of 2019!! But its a fun one, so I guess its a good one to start out with. 

I'm finally getting around to posing about this amazing opportunity we got to be a part of! (And hello little blog...its been a while). I've had so many questions about our little (big) road trip to Waco last month and I knew I wanted to document it for our own memories in some way--- so here is the recap of our trip and all that we experienced along the way. 

When I was invited back in December to be a part of the Spring at the Silos at Magnolia, Shane and I immediately decided that this was an opportunity for our first family motorhome trip--something we've been dreaming of doing for a couple years now. Shane did all the researching and planning for renting our RV. He ended up finding this one on an RV rental site and negotiated with the renter outside of the website so we could get a better deal (he has a true gift in this area :)) And this trip couldn't have happened or been as smooth as it was if it weren't for all of Shane's endless help in every area imaginable. I still wonder how I got so lucky getting to be his wife.


We headed out of Phoenix on a Sunday afternoon with our goal to make it to Waco by Tuesday evening--we had a 15+hour drive ahead of us! My mom joined us for the trip out there to help with the kids while we were in the RV and Shane's mom and a friend of ours met us out there later in the week (life savers!).

The girls couldn't have been more excited when they saw Shane rolling up in front of our house with our new home for the week. They were running from bed to bed checking out every little detail within the 30ft space! It was some kind of miracle when we started on the road that they wanted to put themselves to bed for a nap-- I think the excitement of sleeping in a new fun bunk bed made taking a nap actually enjoyable for them--thank you Jesus for that one!


Our first night we passed through Hobbs, New Mexico to visit our friends at Perspective Design. We made a pit stop for a special treat and some breathing room before we called it a night in El Paso to sleep at a truck stop. 

The next morning we were up at sunrise and it was my turn to drive (yikes!). I was terrified at the thought of driving around this massive vehicle, but once I got in the driver seat it ended up being pretty easy. I'm just lucky I didn't have to make any big turns! 

Our next stop was to Lubbock, Texas just a few hours outside of Waco where we spent more time visiting with friends there. They took us to their favorite coffee shops and treated us to meals and it was a sweet time getting to be with people we love before hitting the road again.




We made it to Waco late Tuesday night to get settled in before we had to set up shop the next morning at the Silos. Wednesday morning came around and greeted us with some rain and a motorhome that wouldn't start! After a brief moment of stress we found some people to come help us jump start the RV and we made it in time to the silos for check in only to find that they were an hour behind schedule for vendors setting up (thanks to the thunder and lighting). 

I decided to not let this moment get the best of me and just rolled with it--and grabbed coffee to help with the whole situation. The time finally came, we set up shop and we were ready to roll on Wednesday evening for the market to open. 

 

Have I mentioned yet how amazing my husband was during this trip? The main reason I was able to do this was because of him. The encouragement to do my dream, the endless support of making avenues happen for me to use my talents and passions, the perspective he gives when I don't see things clearly, the selfless love of taking care of our kiddos so mama can package items or respond to emails or take a nap! All the little details that I hate to even think about that he takes care of...making sure the car is running smoothly, planning when and where we need to empty the dump for the RV (bleh!), DRIVING way more than he should've because I can't keep my eyes open on the road for more than an hour and half. And this was only before the market started!



I think I say this every time I do a market, but one of my favorite things about doing these is all the sweet people I get to meet and come face to face with. Being at this one especially made it fun to meet people from all over the country that I've "met" on social media or followed for years. I also had some dear friends from North Carolina come all the way out to see me here and I may have cried the minute I saw them walk up!


 (daddy wrangling in all the kiddos once again...and also it was reeeallly cold there, hence, Shane's get up! haha)



I could probably go on and on for what this week did for my heart. So many emotions and excitements and dreams coming to fruition all wrapped together. I cried a bit from all the emotions and just feeling so so grateful we were given this opportunity. I wrote this on an Instagram postright after our trip about my what I hoped this trip did for my kids, so I think I'll just quote it again here to wrap it up...

"I hope this week instilled in them the hope in knowing that dreams can come true.

I hope it showed them that adventuring is worth it even when it's a lot of work. 

I hope it created memories in them that they'll remember for a lifetime.

Most of all, I hope this week gave them a picture of what it looks like to live out of your calling and passion and trust what your closest people say about you, even when the doubts arise. And when you're surrounded by those people, encouraging you, and reminding you of who you are, you can't help but live out who you were made to be" 


No doubt in my mind that he makes me become more of who I am meant to be!



A few questions I thought I'd answer here too that I got a lot of during and after our trip:

How did you do nap/bedtime?
The motorhome we rented could sleep up to 7, which for us meant a bit more since our kids are tiny right now. So we had them sleep in the bunk beds or on the couches with a blanket and stuffy they brought from home to help them feel more comfortable. 

Surprisingly, on the drive out there nap time seemed to be exciting for the girls. I think since everything was new and adventurous, they wanted to put themselves down for a nap to sleep in the new beds. During the market, one of our moms would go back to the RV to do a rest time with them. On the way home, this was a different story, but once they started getting a little stir crazy. I made them each go in a bed to have a rest time. 

We brought Dash's car seat with us to nap him in that during the drive and during the days of the market. We would stick him in the back bedroom of the RV where we could close the door and block off the light so it was dark. It worked great for him that way! 

We were able to park at a friend's house that lived nearby downtown Waco so we didn't have to pay for a place. This was so great since we could also use their shower and toilets inside. Then for bed we would all sleep out on the driveway in the motorhome. The best part of this was waking up and being able to drive up to the market and park on the street nearby without having to get everyone ready before we left. Having our mom's and a friend there with us were such lifesavers for this too! 

What activities did the kids do?
On the road I brought looooots of coloring books, crayons and books to read. They spent a lot of time sitting at the table coloring  or looking at books together. I also downloaded a couple shows and movies to watch on our iPad for backup. We used this once on the way home and it came in VERY handy :) During the long hours of driving we also took a couple pit stops to get out of the motorhome for a few minute for them or played at a McDonalds play ground for a bit, which also seemed to help us all from not going insane. 

Where did you get your rental?
Shane was all the brains and work behind getting this together. We found out motorhome through  Outdoorsy, but rented outside of the site to save on all the fees. This can be a small risk for both parties, but we had a great experience.

How did dumping work?
This was something Shane also had full control over! haha But on our way home we had to find a place that allowed dumping. We basically had the guy that worked there show us and help dump everything. Thats about all the advice I got on that one! 

Could kids walk around/ carseats?
Yes! Everything we researched ahead of time said that it's perfectly legal to walk around during driving. The girls did great during this, so we didn't bring their car seats since they mostly would sit at the table or be laying down in the beds. Dash was the only car seat we brought for naps and when he wasn't sleeping one of us would be holding him or he'd be sitting next to us on the couch. 

Hope that helped a bit. Feel free to ask any more questions if I didn't answer some of them already.
Thanks so much for following along friends!

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! 





 QUAIL COSTUME TUTORIAL:


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)

Extras:
-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