• How to Create Family Adventure Bags

    Adventure Bags

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    When I was a girl, my folks would load up our old truck and we would head off to some remote corner of the west. My dad worked hard so he could play hard, even if it was only for an afternoon. Our family business took a lot of time, energy, sweat, and sometimes tears to run and my parents soon learned that in order to stay sane they needed to give themselves, and us kids, a little time to be free.

    We called those trips “adventures”.

    Original Adventure Bag Patch {Gypsy Magpie}

    Our adventures took us everywhere from Capitol Reef to the Sequoias and to the hundreds of tiny towns, deserts, and mountain valleys in between. To be honest, it didn’t matter where we went or if we were gone for days or merely hours, all that mattered was that we were together as a family. {And, that there wasn’t a can of stain, piece of tack strip, or roll of heat seam tape in sight! Sorry Pops, you know it’s true.}

    Our adventures were OUR time, that little sliver of light that refilled the soul and energized the tired mind.

    Adventure {Gypsy Magpie}

    My mama started my first Adventure Bag over 30 years ago, sewing patches that we found on our trips onto a tiny blue duffel bag. Now as an adult, and parent myself, my little blue bag has become one of my most precious possessions. I don’t think my parents had any idea that their spur of the moment “adventures” would have such a lasting effect on our family, but of all the things that they did for us, other than teaching us how to work hard, their complete love of their Savior, and their loyalty to each other, those adventures had the most impact. It was on those adventures that we learned about overcoming fear, expressing love, and finding joy. It’s where we were strengthened as a family and, in essence, learned to like each other.

    As I sat and looked at that bag a couple months ago, I felt the urge to recreate a little bit of my past for my children. I want them to learn the value of discipline and hard work, just like my parents taught me, and along with that I want them to learn to fly.

    Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

    There is nothing quite like a giggly little girl reeling in her first wriggly fish or the wonder in a young boy’s eyes as he looks down from the majestic mountain he just climbed.

    You just can’t capture those moments, they have to be experienced.

    So, I set to work.

    I found 4 duffels on a killer sale at CABELA’S, well, plus 1 more not so little one for me. {That tiny blue bag can barely hold my shoes now so I figured I deserved a new one too.} I purchased the medium sized Ripcord Duffel Bags for the kids and the large size for me. But, any brand bag would do. You could use a duffel, backpack, or even a pillowcase if that’s what you had.

    How to Create an Adventure Bag {Gypsy Magpie}

    After I got the bags, I dug through all my little hiding places {you mom’s totally know what I’m talking about here} until I found the patches I had quietly been saving from our family trips.

    Then I pulled out my sewing machine, scissors, and coordinating thread.

    Adventure Bag Supplies {Gypsy Magpie}

    I didn’t take pictures, but you get the idea, I started sewing on all the patches. If you don’t sew, you can totally use BADGE MAGIC, PATCH ATTACH, or any other no-sew adhesive.

    My favorite patches were a gift that I have been saving for just the right project. They say “Made with Love by MAMA” and ain’t that the truth! I sewed those sweet little things right on the end of the bags which will probably bring embarrassment to my son in a few years, but they make me happy so he’ll live.

    Made with Love by Mama Patch & Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

    Because I am a procrastinator, I didn’t even start on the bags until the morning we were supposed to be leaving for Marysvale. {More on that in the next post!} I guess, as always, the last minute pressure finally got my rear in gear!

    Here is a little pic of the kids and their new adventure bags taken right before we ran around the house like mad packers.

    My Magpie's and their Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

    So, here’s the thing, patches and duffels are a fun little detail but they aren’t necessary. They are just the frosting on the cake. If it works for your family then by all means go for it, but if not that’s ok too. The meat and potatoes is the adventure, the exciting or remarkable experience that awaits you.

    Adventures don’t have to be big or expensive and they can be totally tailored to your family’s interests. It can be as simple as sleeping on the trampoline under the stars, taking a picnic to a park in another town that your son has always wanted to play at, snowshoeing by the light of a full moon, finding a hike you’ve never been on, or even following a little dirt road just to see where it ends.

    Taking an adventure is about getting out of our ruts and opening our eyes to the world around us. It’s about seeing our spouse or child in a new light that brings with it a deeper love and understanding. It’s about turning off the screen and truly being with each other… body, soul, and mind. In this ever spinning world, we all need a moment to unwind and remember why we chose the life we did.

    Love and Adventure Bags {Gypsy Magpie}

    My kids will probably never see the Tuscan villa’s of Italy or the Eiffel Tower in France, but they will have seen the magic in a campfire and a sky awash in stars. They will know the feeling of mud between their toes and the taste of fresh berries on their tongues.

    More importantly, they will know that even when life was busy and hard that their parents made time for them.

    That we loved them, in our own unique imperfect way.


    Adventure: an exciting or remarkable experience.

    “As soon as I saw you I knew a grand adventure was about to happen.”

    ~A.A. Milne


    **What are your family’s favorite adventures?**


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