#ad This is a sponsored post by Wild River Country. My experience and opinion are my own.
Remember our trip to Wild River Country last month? I ended up making a video of our fun outing and I am so glad we got to capture a fun time and memories of our first summer in Arkansas.
If you are planning on visiting (which you should), here are some tips for making the most of your fun day!
Weekday vs Weekend //
Since our schedules are pretty flexible, we tend to try and do things during the week while others are in school or at work. This always cuts down on how crowded a place is so if you can swing that – go during the week. If weekends are when you can go, try and go right when they open. Chances are you will have less crowds and dibs on things like lockers, seating and rides before there are too many people at the water park.
Just Eat It //
Wild River Country has a wide range of food (that was pretty good) that made lunch time super easy. Since I am a mom of three boys, I am use to them having bottomless stomachs. So being able to order their food (and something they actually like) and not worry about the mess was great. They liked that they could swim while we waited for food and that it didn’t cut into their play time.
Lock It Up //
One of my concerns going anywhere is taking my things with me. There is nothing more annoying than to have to haul your stuff along as you follow your kids around at a park. I loved that Wild River Country had affordable lockers that fit everything we needed.
Park Map //
I was the child that had the mom that would stand at the gate of Disneyland and look at the map. It was the WORST! We were all ready to play and walk and she wanted to see where everything was. So before going to the water park I checked out the map that was on the Wild River Country website. We looked at all the rides, where the bathrooms were and figured out what everyone wanted to check out beforehand. This saves from the annoying mom and map incident and also helps everyone be on the same page of activities.
Cabana oh la la //
I love this option sooooo much! Rent a cabana. Wild River Country has three options (with three different price points) and are perfect for a small group or a party!
I have so much more to share with you about our trip to Wild River Country so stay tuned!
Always follow your rainbow!
MUA: Manuela de Stefano | Models: Greta and Irene , SQ model agency
Clothes credit: Guess, Met, Patrizia Pepe, Art, Adidas, Piazza Italia
Biscuits, J. Crew, Tushinda, Splendid, MSGM Kids, Naturino, Rasberry Plum, Hucklebones, Degas, Little Creative
Factory, Birkenstock, Tamberre
When our daughters expressed interest in helping us out around the house, we thought providing them with a real-life looking kitchen would be a fun way for them to pretend during play time. Imaginative play can help children identify with the adult world, but is also beneficial for social and emotional development, too. When I found this used kitchen at a thrift store, I knew it would make the perfect DIY project!
With some gorgeous blue Behr paint and some metallic spray paint I picked up at Target — the transformation instantly took place. I used marble wallpaper from Livettes to cover the countertops, and then just added some real plastic plates, bowls and cups. The project only cost me a total of $25, but has brought countless hours of joy for all three of my kids!
Photos and Crafts Rachel Fox
Image above: The original house had three cubby holes at the top of the stairs that I thought was such a waste. The old owners put photos and lights in them. I originally didn’t want any cubby holes but as we started changing walls and the original space I thought it would be a great way to personalize each boys space with their own shelving. We made it with leftover 2×4 wood that we got at a local hardware store and filled it up with things the boys collected through the years and tons of books. The wire baskets are from Schoolhouse. They are perfect to collect items and I love the gym (industrial) look they give! Everything else on the shelf was either thrifted or bought throughout the years.
Image above: This room was originally the master bedroom. There was no bathroom and a small walkin closet. Since we have had to redo the whole house, we moved the original stairs which made room for a full-size bathroom for the boys to share. This corner originally was home to the door to the walk-in closet. The rug is washable and totally appropriate for active boys. You can find it at Lorena Canals. The chair is from Homeday and is the cutest. I made sure to get a leather one so it was easy to clean.
We decided to build in the boys beds. We would have had no room for play if we hadn’t done this. It was costly but so worth it! They love it and its just such a fun part of the room. Bedding is from Perfect Linens. Pillows are a mix of Oeuf and Lorena Canals.
I decided to add a light (the light is from Bella Cor ) right above our Donkey Animal Print Shop image. This is one of my favorite pieces in our home and special. It was the original artwork I put in my sons nursery. You can see that space HERE.
Image Above : I added vintage artwork, taxidermy that we used in our homeschool room (see it HERE) and combined it with more modern art I got on Minted.com and Etsy.
Image above: The storage in this room was tricky so we just added things like white lockers from IKEA and this black (with leather pull) cabinet from IKEA! I filled it up with bright things that make me happy. It also has a ton of our homeschool books organized by color. I don’t see the same cabinet on Ikea.com but you can get a black cabinet and add these leather pulls HERE. The light I LOVEEEEE and it’s by Schoolhouse and you can find it HERE.
Image above : This sofa from Interior Define is so good. Its a gorgeous blue velvet and the gold legs make it extra special. We love to hang out here, watch movies, read books and watch storms go by.
These lockers were key in this room since there is a lack of storage. They also bring in that cool industrial vibe I wanted but look modern because they are white.
Image above: I have always wanted a cowhide and when I saw these at Ikea I know I wanted to get one for the boys space.
Isn’t this light from Schoolhouse just so good?
The bathroom I am so happy and proud of. I used black and white cement tile on the floor from Cement Tile Shop. We used cross tile from Mercury Mosiacs and then did white subway tile up the whole shower.
Image above: We used the same 2×4 to create a shelf above the toilet and added these gorgeous towels from Schoolhouse.
Image above: This butterfly artwork I had wanted to put somewhere else but it added a little bit of color to the bathroom…. so it stayed. The artwork is from minted.com and mirror is from Ikea. The faucet is from Bella Cor and the vanity is from Lowes.
I am no stranger to redemption. Adopted from the streets of Brazil at age five, I knows how powerful second chances can be. So when she and her family moved to Northwest Arkansas from Southern California and were met with decay and mold inside the property they’d intended to transform into a community farm (@folkandflora on Instagram), Priscila was not deterred. “This too shall pass,” she says, paraphrasing the words found in the book of 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 in Bible. “Throughout this renovation, it’s been a deep encouragement to me how these ‘light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”
Ever since my childhood running wild down the orchard rows near our ranch, I’ve had a dream of owning my own farm. I envisioned many a night camping under the stars, radiating with laughter, and snuggling under blankets, as the storms of summer — and life! — rolled by. And so our family decided to pack up our things in California and buy a farmhouse in Arkansas, so our three boys could live out their childhood in wild surroundings, too. Little did we know we’d be camping a whole lot sooner — and for different reasons — than we originally hoped! Last year, as we knocked down the walls and began renovations, we unearthed unimaginable amounts of mold. This decay had been hidden so intentionally and deliberately, under layers and layers of hastily-added paint, flooring, and cabinets — none of us could have ever anticipated the extent of the damage. Faced with deeply rotted boards and planks, we had no choice but to move forward, choosing to believe in redemption, and choosing to embrace the truth that beauty can arise from ashes. And so we began the painstakingly slow process of stripping the house right down to the studs. Since the house wasn’t livable in this state, we set up a travel trailer on the property and took refuge there. As you can imagine for a SoCal family of five, it was quite an adjustment! But our cramped quarters served as great motivation to get the whole family involved in the renovation. The process was more complicated than expected; weather, permitting and zoning, physical limitations, and financial delays all slowed our process considerably.
The original footprint of the home was over two thousand square feet, but since the mold took such a tight grip on the place, the salvageable pieces left us with about half the space. As we began to build back up again, our first priority was to get our boys situated again. We started by reframing the master bedroom, and converting it into a bunkhouse. We built four twin-size beds right into the wall, creating unique rooms-within-a-room which each boy could personalize by decorating the shelves and beds as he pleased. While giving each of the boys space, this dual-function design also allowed for the center of the room to focus on imagination and play.
I’ve always been a fan of eclectic style, never drawing fully from one genre, but instead mixing all kinds of elements to create a one-of-a-kind atmosphere. (Have you ever seen a velvet sofa and velvet drapes in a boys’ bunkhouse before? I hadn’t — until I designed this space!) Since there’s a lot of white in this room, I didn’t want the lighting to fade away into the ceiling, so I added contrast with industrial lights and Edison bulbs from Schoolhouse Electric.
Surprisingly, even though this was the original master bedroom, it didn’t originally have a bathroom. So we moved the stairs to create enough space to accommodate a full bath, and installed cement tile (cement ought to be able to keep up with three growing boys!)
When designing, I have to keep the future of the space in mind, while also balancing my own sense of aesthetic with the needs of three active boys. Mercury mosaic tiles added a splash of modernity to the shower floor — not enough for the boys to be bothered, but enough to make the space feel fresh. And we tied in a few industrial elements here, too, to extend the style from the main bunkhouse.
Those metal towel racks and tissue holders? We made them ourselves, using pipe sections from the local hardware store, then fashioned shelves from leftover two-by-four lumber.
This room was a labor of love, one we are very proud of as a family. We all came together, and worked long hours alongside one another. We all pitched in. Even the boys helped, taking out nails in the subfloor, sanding, painting, and helping put together the finishing touches. We wanted our boys to have the rich life experiences growing up on a farm would offer them, but getting to this point has been a bit of a wild ride. We still don’t have a completed home, but our menagerie of farm animals is growing, the wildflowers are bursting up out of the ground, and we’ve created lifelong memories already.
Every time we look at this bunkhouse, we’re reminded of the miracle of hard work and perseverance, and the magic of never giving up on our dreams.
And through it all, I can see redemption being carried out, every day, in ordinary corners of the world — and any bumps we experience along the way are not permanent.
I carry in my heart the hope of the eternal. This too shall pass.
photography Angelina Lopez | design Priscila Barros | article PRISCILA BARROS as told to ALLYSON HAAS
A laid-back summer party //
1 + 2 + 3 = PARTY
It’s summer and school is out! This means no more PTA meetings, field trip permission slips, or homework projects which somehow are forgotten until the eve before they’re due. To us, this feels like cause for celebration. And maybe because we spent all year over-planning, over-scheduling, and over-committing, we’re feeling the need to take a break from the over-styled, over-orchestrated — and, frankly — over-budget style parties of the past. We’re keeping it simple. So pull up a lawn chair, follow this easy equation, and join us on the sunny side of the street. This party will keep you wishing daylight would last, so the street lights wouldn’t need to flicker on at dusk (the old-school cue it’s time to call it quits).
1. STAY LOCAL
Do you have a park in town, a cul-de-sac, or even a backyard? Put it to good use. Reserve the spot, and send out the invites. For this celebration, we took to the neighborhood sweet spot where they had a splash pad, a play structure, winding paths and a shaded picnic area. With so much natural action there wasn’t much more we needed to provide in terms of entertainment. Just a few colorful balls, bubbles and some hula hoops.
2. RAID THE CLOSET
Somehow we missed spring cleaning, so we took this party as an opportunity to rid the supply closet of items from parties past. A mix-and-match combination of streamers, tissue pompoms we ordered from the Oriental Trading Company, some leftover leaf plates from our favorite party supply shop, Meri Meri, and some balloons. The closet was cleaned, the picnic area decorated and the kids were none the wiser.
3. PACK A COOLER
Brown bag it on ice, just as if you were headed to the beach. For this gathering, we packed homemade sandwiches, store-bought donuts we decorated with cereal, fruit, and ice cream — and of course, a cake. Because really, it’s all the kids want anyway! We picked up our gorgeous layer cake from Confection Deception.
Aside from the squeals of laughter and beaming faces, the best part of this party was its simplicity. Ten minutes to set up — and even fewer to break down — meant we mamas enjoyed ourselves as much as the kiddos. So much so, we’re thinking we may bring back ye old summer block party. Grab the Kool-Aid and meet us in the cul-de-sac!
We’d love to see your take on a simple party. Hashtag pics from your event with #babiekinsmag for a chance to be featured on the blog.
Credits : photography Analicia Herrmann | styling priscila barros |article Allyson Haas
Party Supplies: Confection Deception, Meri Meri, Oriental Trading Company
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