Shadow Boxes For The Win

As a mom, I’m always trying to find ways to commemorate the moment’s in my children’s life. The first time they walk, the first time they laugh, the first tooth they get. All of these moments are monumental and special for each kid. But, there are also many moments in between as well. I find myself trying to find the best way to compile these in between moments with the more in your face moments without creating something that is cluttered and chaotic.
In our day of Pinterest it’s easy to get caught up in the ideal of perfection. The perfect photos, the perfect crafts, the perfectly dressed children and the perfect Instagram photos. My biggest advice is to just craft, put your heart into it. Love what you are doing and don’t worry about the picture perfect pot of gold at the end of the rainbow ideal.
At the end of the day, you will want these memories, and so will your children.
There is nothing better then your kids seeing something you made, regardless of perfection, to commemorate them and your love for them. Growing up I remember looking at my baby book and photo albums and loving the special moments that were captured. And I don’t mean my first anything, I mean, my dad brushing my hair and my mom snapping a picture of it in the moment. My sister and I under the Christmas tree, hair a mess and in the midst of present chaos. The moments that no one thinks they are going to look back on and miss.
So, I went forth to create a Shadow box to commemorate the birth of my second son. And while I plan on making Smush a shadow box as well, chunk  monster just happened to come first. The idea really started back in august when visiting my parent’s in Wisconsin. I was pregnant still and had just started cross stitching full force and had asked  my husband to pick up something, anything for me to stitch. So he came back with a birth sampler. And the idea was born. The birth sampler he selected wasn’t necessarily one I would have picked on my own, but it was special because he had picked it. And I really didn’t want it collecting dust somewhere when I finished it, I wanted it to be displayed. So I found a shadow box and put it all together. I’m going to show you a few methods that you could use for creating a shadow box for your little one.


First your going to need a shadow box, and possibly pictures, some form of adhesive…I recommend a strong glue or pins depending on the level of permanence that you are looking to achieve. The clingy cat to oversee your project is totally optional.


Above are two shadow box options that would probably work great. My first tip is that if you are wanting to include baby’s first outfit or the likes to go for a bigger shadow box size then I did, which is why I included the shadow box that’s 12X15. I was disappointed because I couldn’t fit little chunks outfit in the shadow box with everything else I wanted.


One idea for you would be a minimalistic approach:


I made sure to get a picture of chunk in his first/take home outfit. and I really loved the way that this approach looked. It was so special and so simple. I just pinned the outfit down on the inside of the box, then pinned the photo up in the corner. Voila! Done!
(I apparently have issues with commitment with this project because I pinned everything instead of using a permanent adhesive)

Option 2: First week photos


Maybe you never put the baby in the take home outfit, or when you got to the hospital you didn’t love the take home outfit (this happened with smush, I also was ridiculous and thought I wasn’t allowed to change him out of the hospital onesie).
Or maybe you love the pictures from the first week so much that you want to showcase them. This would be perfect for that. Its amazing how easy this one is, and again how special it felt. Those first couple weeks with the new baby are so precious, and so amazing to look back on. Again, all I did was place the photos in and pin them down. Done.

Option 3: Photos with special quote/birth record


I REALLY loved this idea, and if I hadn’t already done a birth sampler I would have gone this route. The paper is placed in the middle to show you a general layout idea, but what would be in it’s place is a beautiful calligraphy piece, with a quote or the baby’s name with birth date and weight.
What sweeter way to celebrate your baby then by placing a meaningful quote in the middle. I think words are so powerful, and to pick something that you would hope your baby would live by, or be inspired by would be so sweet and touching.
The picture below is work by oliveandevergreenink

If this idea is what you love, I’d suggest checking out her work, she does some beautiful items.

(This image is acquired and used with the consent of the creator. This image should not be copied, shared or used without additional consent from the original creator.)

And finally you can go with the approach I went with



Like I said, I had this idea in mind for a while. So when I took my first few pictures I also installed the baby pics app so that i could create the picture in the bottom corner, with chunk in his special outfit and also with all his birth info. The middle is that birth sampler, and I selected 2 pictures from the first week with one additional photo. I picked that photo because I love his little smile. I also included the picture of him in the hospital swaddled in the blanket even though the lighting isn’t great because I had a blanket from the hospital (Sorry hospital) to cut and place some of the fabric in the background. I had wanted the outfit in there as well, but didn’t have the room, and now am glad I didn’t because I think it might have been over kill. And again, it was simple, I placed everything and pinned it.

I hope this was helpful in giving inspiration, maybe just that little kick you need to preserve some special memories. Even if it’s not for a baby. There are other special moments in life too.
I don’t know about you, but I want a house filled with decorations consisting of this stuff.
A house full of love.

Pins and Photos,


Conversations after dark Part one

Conversations after dark20171228_194542

Just a note, this content is in no shape or form pg, and isn’t suitable for children and those under 18. If you are family and don’t want to read some oversharing please click over to another blog post and enjoy that content 🙂
This post is brought to you by countless sleep deprived nights and perpetual exhaustion topped with a sarcasm cherry.

J: If you don’t want to be sleeping with the fishes tonight, I suggest you shake your blanket out.
A: What? *confused look*
J: Edwin was eating goldfish while sitting on your blanket, and by eat, I mean, he meticulously placed goldfish in your blanket *Picks up blanket and shakes it, goldfish crackers scatter everywhere*

A: Do you want to get Del Taco?
J: Sure
A: I mean, it’s that or the kid eats’ his fingernails.
J: Sooo….fiesta pack?
A: Absolutely

J: Do you want to have sex?
A: I have breast milk and baby spit up on me, and I’ve yet to brush my hair in 3 days.
J:…….so….is that  a no?

A: I feel like we are raising an evil genius
J: ….aren’t we still coming out ahead of the game if that’s the case?

J: The kids are winning tonight.

A: Sometimes I really get why some animals eat their young
J: Are you trying to say you want to eat babies?
A: I really didn’t see the conversation going that way.


(Doodlebug is running through the house shrieking at the top of his lungs)
J: Our child is a Viking
A: What?
J: Don’t you hear his warrior cry?

January BUJO highlights

*This post contains affiliate links*

Have you guys heard about Bullet Journaling? I feel like its a pretty big craze. But if you haven’t its a way of doing a journal and planner created by Ryder Carroll.
You can use various different books to start/set up your bullet journal. There is an actual brand of bullet journal’s and a lot of people also use these:

I tried to use these but I didn’t love it, it was too small for me, so I actually use composition notebooks.
I think the entire point and design of the bullet journal is to be open to whatever page layout or creative idea you want to do.
Ive failed at other planners because I hate the planned out spaces, they are either too big or too small for me, and I don’t like feeling limited.
But then I get caught up on other peoples gorgeous bullet journal layouts. Like the people who are actually artists unlike myself, who can draw and paint and etc.
So I wanted to share some of my favorite layouts that Ive created, not necessarily being the best artist to hopefully inspire you.


In my bullet journal I like to do a monthly spread before the weekly pages. I typically do a calendar so I can see the days for the month and a page for the goals I’d like to accomplish for that month. I think it helps me prioritize a little bit better, and it allows me to recognize what I didn’t have time to finish up the previous month and to maybe make that more of a priority this month.
I really liked how this one turned out and it was really simple, and honestly all of mine will be, because by the time I get the washi tape out and start doing stuff one of the kids needs me. I got the calendar from the dollar store (the dollar store is your best friend for inexpensive planner items) and just tore out the pages, cut them down and added the washi.
This is the Washi tape I used:

I feel like for those who are a little more artistically challenged washi tape is your best friend.

Here’s a layout showcasing my horrible drawing abilities. But I actually really loved how it turned out. The cup of coffee features my blog, of course, and the little coffee beans feature the mood of that day. I do have a key at the bottom that I hid because I didn’t feel like it was important for everyone to know how my month was 🙂
I had originally tried a year in pixels but I didn’t love it, and didnt keep up with it. I am finding that I enjoyed the monthly mood tracker way more. And thats the other beautiful thing about BUJO’s you aren’t stuck doing it the same way forever, you can change it as you desire.

Alot of my pages are focused around random images I find, cut outs from old greeting cards and ETC. I honestly don’t remember where I got that little picture from, but It is not my own work. All I did was add the kitty washi and the image and done. This is my example of how you can change your mind on how you want the layout to go. I was doing my weekly pages like this for a bit, then decided I didn’t love it. The washi tape I used for this one: Kitty washi

I decided I wanted my weekly layouts more like this. I loved the concept of the dutch door for meal planning, grocery list and the water tracker


And last but not least, I was going for an ancient Egypt, Cleopatra kind of feel.
If you are looking for more ideas you can always puruse my board on pinterest: Paperdaffodil bullet journal board


washi Tape and Pens,

A.B. After baby




*Contents in this post could have triggers, please proceed in reading this with caution. This post is not meant to upset anyone in anyway, but to express emotions and feelings on my part.  Any stories in this post that bare actual resemblance to a real story are purely coincidental. I am not a medical professional, and nothing I ever post should be taken as medical advice, if you feel in anyway wrong or that you are experiencing symptoms of any ailments such as but not limiting too postpartum depression please seek medical advice immediately. *


After a baby, your whole world changes. And I don’t mean just on the outside, where everyone can see. I don’t mean how your whole world becomes diapers, and wipes and is the diaper bag ready? The baby toys, the pack and play, the swings, the bouncer that overrides your life and your home, that leaves you sitting there wondering if you are ever going to have some semblance of adult normalcy back. I mean, you change as a person. You can’t watch things on the news any more, and if you do, sometimes it’ll leave you crying and going to grab your sleeping baby to hold and kiss…and yes I mean the sleeping baby you just spent an hour trying to get to sleep and now you are waking them just to feel their skin on yours and to smell them, just to know they are still safe and sound in your arms.
When I was pregnant with my first, I remember having these moments, filled with fear. And not for them. For me. I knew that this was going to be a huge change. I just didn’t know how much it was really going to change. I felt like I was closing this chapter in my life that I wasn’t completely ready to close. And so many people would answer with ‘well you have 9 months’ like that was plenty of time to wrap up all the things I didn’t even know I needed to wrap up.
And then the baby is here.
And people no longer see the baby inside of you, and it’s like they automatically think that with the removal of the baby you’ve gone back to who you once were. And you haven’t. Your so far from who you were.
They think you’re back to normal and your really this ball of emotions and sentiment that’s tangled and messy and possibly never going to be neat again.
Then there’s this baby crying and needing you, this tiny human you love with the entirety of your soul. And that emotion alone is new, foreign, and twisting inside next to that clumsy ball of emotions you keep shoving down.
People don’t see all this mess, and they just expect you to be snapped back, to the world they live in.
It’s like the purpose in life is to find, label and sort out the colors, and place them in neat little piles, but after a baby they’ve blended into this huge incomprehensible mess, everyone keeps telling you to get started on getting it all sorted it out, but not only do you not know how, you don’t want too. You cant be bothered too. You don’t feel like your smart enough too.
That’s what postpartum depression has felt like too me.
And I think the truly worst part of it is that tabooness it incites. The looks people give you when you talk about it.
Because omg, postpartum depression automatically means you are going to be like Trudy who locked her kids in the car with her and drove off a bridge. They give you this look like you are wrong and broken and the entire time you are screaming I KNOW inside of your head.
I know.
Ive told myself many times that I am not worthy, I am not good enough, smart enough, strong enough.
I’ve asked myself what was I thinking putting myself on this path in my life when its clear I would never be ready enough.
I don’t need the looks, that you think you’ve cleverly hidden when this topic comes up.
And at the same time I have enough clarity to know I am not wrong. There is nothing bad about me.
It’s the expectations that society has placed on women. That they pop this kid out and go back to who they were and how it was, when in truth some women, like me are just trying to shift through the emotions and place them back to where they belong.
What not enough people tell you, when they instead give you this look like your bad, is that for a little while it’ll feel like your drowning but eventually you catch your breath.
This is a rediscovery of yourself.
Be patient. Take breaks when you need them. It’s ok to take those moments to take deep breaths.
And when the second baby came, I was bracing myself for all of this again. So imagine my surprise when it didn’t come. It’s different every time, for every person and every pregnancy. Which is why we need to be patient and loving to each other.
It’s that simple, and that complex

Iced coffee and baby diapers,
Paper Daffodils

Why being a Mom is one of the loneliest things to be


They always tell you that when you have a baby of your own, you’ll finally fully get what it feels like, that sheer amount of love and devotion that erupts through your body and capsizes you with every living breath you take. Every waking and often times every sleeping moment is devoted to your children. Every single molecule that makes you who you are have now turned their existence into making your children happy and healthy.
We can talk about theories of evolution, of why we put our kids first, we can talk about the psychology behind this, we can talk pure human nature behind this. But one thing is for sure. You will never know how much you need your mom, until you are a mom.
There are so many sleepless nights, so many days spent feeling like a zombie, going through the actions and getting through the days. You no longer get to be the fun one, the carefree one, the one who has no responsibilities. Because there is a tiny human depending on you to be at 100 percent. Every moment of every day is spent worrying, it’s spent fear filled. Am I doing enough? Am I being enough? Are they going to be safe with this person, or that person? Can I protect them from this or that? Are they developing properly? What if kids pick on them? What if no one shows up for their birthday? What if the two brothers hate each other, and are cruel to each other? Did they eat enough? I could have been more patient. I could have said that differently. I shouldn’t have let him see me this upset.
It goes on and on, this is just the tip of the iceberg.
And the only person who completely understands how you are feeling and what you are going through is your mom.
By creating this life and birthing this life, you have created this singular strand, this connection, that I’m sure women have felt for generations, to your mom. She has walked in your shoes once before, although circumstances are always different for everyone, she has felt what you are feeling, and cried the tears you are crying. Her heart has broken from the way the world has treated you. You have broken her heart intentionally and unintentionally.
And sometimes it sincerely makes being a mom feel like the loneliest thing to be in this entire world.  Because although your husband or family member’s could be the most supportive and best people in the entire world, your mom is this version and connection of you that nothing and no one can replace. One person to understand what you are going through to the full magnitude doesn’t seem like enough sometimes.
You grow this tiny human inside of you. For 9 precious months you get to keep them from the world, protect them in a way that no one else could ever dream of. And then, you have to give birth to them, you have to hold them out to the cruelties of the world and still try your best to protect them, knowing full heartedly that there’s no possible way to do so.
It is the most humbling, terrifying, satisfying. and frustrating thing that I have ever experienced.
Being a mom means being judged constantly, by other moms, by non moms by strangers, by friends, by enemies. It means, having to find confidence in the actions and choices you make for yourself and your children each and everyday, and not having to explain yourself and having to explain yourself all at the same time.
Being a mom means trying to explain all of this, and still feeling the entire time like you haven’t fully captured the feelings.
But your mom, doesn’t even need an explanation, doesn’t need you to tell her. Shes already been here.
And that’s so completely harrowing.

Peace and love,

Summertime mean’s Bug Spray and Sunscreen

I’ve been meaning to get this post up. I feel like that is the headliner of all my blog posts. I’ve been meaning to get around to this, and I’ve been meaning to get around to that. That could seriously be my life motto. The title of my memoir, ‘Mama meant to get that done yesterday’.
It’s what it is I guess.
What spurred this on today then, since it’s something I’ve been meaning to post since July? Well you see my child decided to rip a handful of my hair out today, just for the hell of it. Why did that spur this on? I have no idea. Because it doesn’t really relate to this at all.
Back in July we flew back to Wisconsin to spend some time with my parents and sister. Smush adored them, and I think it goes without saying that the feeling was mutual. Guys, there’s really something to say about being home that is irreplaceable. The place where you grew up and ran wild, it’s your roots. And nothing can ever take that away or replace it.
However, I didn’t miss the bugs and mosquitoes that seem to come with Wisconsin. Seriously, the joke is that the state bird is the mosquito. You can say that being from California, my husband is a little paranoid about getting bit by bugs, especially mosquitoes. And I really didn’t want doodle to suffer the fate of my child hood, being covered head to toe with mosquito bites.
“I swear guys, it’s not the chicken pox. Mosquitoes just feasted on my flesh.”
The mosquitoes can be relentless, sometimes even after bug bombing, burning citronella candles and spraying with bug spray.
We all know the stuff that’s in bug spray, stuff that I’d prefer to avoid putting on my infant if at all possible. So I went in search of something we could use for doodle, being well aware of how bad the mosquitoes are from my own past experiences.
And I came across Babyganic’s Bug spray:

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Now, according to the bottle, it say’s its made with 100 percent natural essential oils, it’s non-greasy, Paraben and Deet free, not tested on animals, and a few other great qualities. I can for sure get behind that.
Except I couldn’t.
I wanted to love this. But, again, I couldn’t.
It smelt weird to me, now in retrospect and rereading the ingredient’s I’m assuming it was one of the essential oils listed on the bottle. And it say’s its not greasy. But I found that not to be true. It didn’t spray well, and considering the consistency of it I’m not quite sure why they chose to put it in the spray bottle. I had to spray it onto my hands then try to rub it onto Smush. It didn’t absorb well what so ever, it felt like I was taking a stick of butter and rubbing it all over my kid, and I’m pretty sure it stained his outfit.
So what right? That’s the price I’m willing to pay to have less chemicals and more goodness, with a side of confidence in a good quality product….right?
Because it didn’t work.
Or maybe it just didn’t work against the caliber of those Wisconsin mosquitoes, because they still went after him. We ended up using OFF!; which worked great.
And I’m sure I looked like the crazy California hippie trying to go chemical free, and fix something that wasn’t broken. Basically, I was disappointed. I had hoped for more with this one.
Their sunscreen however, was amazing. Because let’s face it, no matter where you are in the summer time you need to protect yourself and your babies from too much sun.

(Please note the image above is a an affiliate link, this means that if you click on it or use the link to purchase the item some money does find it’s way back to me.)

Do you guys remember, shortly before July a bunch of parent’s were coming forward with pictures of their infants who had suffered burns from their sunblocks and or bug sprays? That’s what set me off on this search. I had a little mommy melt down. Because I’m freaking super mom, with a cape and sword, supposedly protecting my children, yet just a few months ago I was rubbing the same brand sunblock on my kid that these other poor babies had suffered from. I beat myself up over it.
It’s really hard in such a consumer driven world to always make sure you are getting the best of the best. Especially because sometimes you are mislead about the quality of a product. I’m not perfect, but I try even harder now to eliminate excess chemicals and other stuff from my children. I wish we lived in a world where that wasn’t necessary.
According to the bottle this sunblock is made with seed oils and is free of all the crazy stuff, fragrance free and etc.
And it was great. My husband and I also used this and none of us got burnt. Except for when he went fishing with my dad and decided he was going to skip the sunblock. Seriously, husbands.  It absorbed and didn’t leave any oily residue, which is important to me, because as an especially pale child I always hated how oily and gross sunblock left me. But I had to have it put all over or risk being miserably burnt after 10 minutes.  And while no one loves being lathered with sunblock, Smushsmush tolerated it, the fact that it absorbed quickly helped. It didn’t have a weird smell, and it performed by preventing sunburn.
What a contrast in products.
And on that note, I hope this helps. The reason why I choose to ever review anything on this blog is to be helpful. I do reviews, because sometimes I feel really tired of going to read what someone has to say only to find out that they are selling the product or brand. And when I search for real people, real moms with real opinions I can’t find many. I just want a real perspective. And while I do have the affiliate links, I chose amazon so I could review whatever products I wanted as honestly as I could with no affiliation to the actual brands/companies.

Hungry mosquitoes and fun in the sun,


Letters To My Son Vol. 3



Letters To My Son in roughly 7 weeks and 6 days will become Letters To My Son’s. Well, that’s the countdown for the estimated due date. We all know that children have a tendency of doing as they please, especially when it concern’s due dates.
So it’s with great joy and trepidation I bring the next installment of Letters To My Son. A post all about my eldest becoming a big brother. Trepidation? You ask. Why yes, because one kid is hard enough to wrangle, and I’m barely managing that. And of course since we are somewhat gluttons for punishment we are already bringing the next kid into the mix. Don’t get me wrong, I’m excited, but definitely nervous about how this is going to go.  So, let’s get into it.

Dear SmushSmush,
Very shortly here you will be subjected to a screaming, crying baby. And so I thought it necessary to write this for you to read someday in the future.
First I want to say daddy and I are sorry. But we also aren’t. We’re sorry for all the times you will be asked to be quieter because the baby is sleeping, we’re sorry for your loss of status of being the baby. That’s something you’ll never get back. I’m sorry for any of the times you need and want mama but won’t get my undivided attention because your brother needs it more.
That’ll be something that will never change. As you grow a sibling is inevitably going to take our attention when you might want or need it. Know that your dad and I will always try to be fair, but at times we may fall short in your eyes. I don’t expect you to understand it. I just hope you can forgive us for any and all perceived shortcomings. Despite our best efforts we will fail you and your brother at times. This is just a fact of life. Becoming an older sibling means being held to a higher standard. This isn’t fair. We all know it. But it’s what it is, and it’s that way because it has to be. Your brother will be watching you, looking to you for guidance. He will mimic your actions. And so your dad and I will be relying on you to help lead your brother down the right paths. Please understand and don’t mix this up though. We don’t and won’t account his failures as your own and vice versa. You will mean more to each other then either of you will ever be able to see at first, maybe if ever. It is my hopes that when your dad and I are no longer here, you have each other. The best allies in the world, someone to always guard your back. Someone to watch your progression through life in a way that no one else will ever be able to do. When we are gone; for you to not be alone, and never be on your own is one of the most important things. Because the world is a hard and cold place, especially when you have no one in your ball court. You could be a superstar and it’ll mean nothing without people around you to share it with.
There will be times when this little thing will be screaming and you won’t understand why. I’m sure it’ll be annoying and frustrating to you. And I’m sorry for that.
All of the sudden you will have to share your attention, your love, your toys, your comfort items. And you’ll just be expected to do it, with no explanations. We will just expect you, in some ways to have just grown up over night.
It’ll be expected that over night you will need mama less. Because you’ll be over a year when your brother comes. So, why would you need us as much?
I understand on so many levels how unfair this will be for you. To share your space and attention with something and someone you wont understand until you are actually older and more capable of not needing mama.
But in this little baby that you wont quite understand we are hoping you will find a close friend and a forever companion. So no, it wont always be fair for you, but we hope it’ll be somewhat worth it, in moments of your life, maybe even solid chunks of moments towards the grown up parts of your life.

SIECINSKI_0013 (2)(1)

The times that I’m too tried after tending to your brother, to give you what you really need, I hope you forgive me for.
The times my frustrations aren’t checked and you realize them, I hope you forgive me for it.
When your brother hurts your feelings and you wish we had never had another kid, I hope you see the bigger picture for it.
Being the eldest sibling puts you on this level that you will never be able to get down from. And you had no choice in the matter. As an older sibling, I understand how this feels, and I hope you will forgive me for it.
You will be asked to be the bigger person on numerous occasions, on occasions when you shouldn’t have to be the bigger person. The times when you should be able to express how truly hurt and pissed off you are will be overshadowed by the necessity of you being a good example.
We love you both very much, we have so much love in our hearts to give, and that’s why you will have another sibling. Because we want our house filled with laughter and love.

A loss of direction

I took a hiatus. If we can call such a long term lack of blogging a hiatus. So this is simply going to be an update, then after this it’ll hopefully be a constant stream of bloggy wonderfulness.
I spent a lot of time on this break, trying to decide what the purpose of this blog was. Was it to chronicle my parenting? Was it to explore gardening? Was it to become more green and eco-friendly? Was it to showcase my crafts?
I didn’t know.
I still don’t know.
So it halted, any thought’s I had of writing. Until just recently I decided that it didn’t really matter to me any more, of what label I placed on it. I’m just going to go with it. And maybe on it’s own it’ll lead me to where I need to go.
There’s a couple other reasons the blogging came to a halt. The big one is school.
When you are spending 6 plus hours a day trying to do homework and not bang your head repeatedly against the wall all while wrangling a toddler it doesn’t leave much passion to sit down and write.
This is math for me folks. I lovingly refer to it as torment and hell though. It just doesn’t work with how my brain works. Although my husband joyfully likes to remind me that math is in knitting and cross stitching and cooking. I choose to ignore him, he’s one of those weird math loving types. It’s best to look away and not make eye contact.
The other has been my emotions. You see, I’ve never wanted to turn this blog into a place to pour out negativity. And that’s all I’ve seemed to have in the past months. Blame it on the hormones. Blame it on going into a 2nd pregnancy so quick after the first. Blame it on my personality. I don’t know. But I’m trying to figure it out guys. It just didn’t seem like a journey I needed to take you guys on. I’ll try to explain it somewhat quickly, and maybe touch on it some more later.
Have you ever felt like your mind is a literal train wreck?
And I’m not talking about the train wreck part where everyone stops to stare in complete unabashed horror as the train crashes and implodes taking along with it anything and everything in it’s path. I’m not even talking about the part where people are standing together to help with the wreckage, and everything else that comes along with it. I’m talking about the part where everyone has gone home, a few weeks have gone by. The earth has continued to spin on it’s axis and people have forgotten or tucked away the occurrence that was the train wreck. And the only people left standing there are the one’s who have the most to lose, like the owner of the train company. And there they are standing there, trying to figure out what the hell to do. Not even what the hell to do, but how the hell they are going to clear away the rubble and rebuild what was once there and now isn’t.
That’s me and my mind. We will just leave it at that.
So, on to the update.

It ticks by. Sometimes I can’t keep up with the day’s and others the days drag on. Sometimes I feel caught up and sometimes I’m drowning. That’s just the tune of the song, to go with the beat of the drums. I guess that’s vague. But it’s been pretty steady and boring over here. With the 2nd boy on the way I’m trying my best to enjoy whatever moments of peace I can.

Gardening: I somehow murdered my lavender plant. One day of being in too much direct sun will completely kill your Lavender plant, if anyone is curious. There’s no saving the poor thing, it’s brown and crispy. When you live somewhere that feels as hot as being next to the devil’s scrotum I guess you should never doubt the suns capabilities to kill resilient plants. I have gone through 3 cucumber plants, because I can’t seem to keep those even somewhat alive but am determined to keep trying. I also have gone through a basil plant. Not sure what, but something kept casting webs all over my plant, which seemed to kill it. I have no idea what because I tried everything to get this thing off of the plant and it just kept coming back. My bell pepper is clinging on for dear life, praying to whatever god it knows that I don’t manage to kill it too. Jalapeno is dead. Rosemary is doing alright, considering that it was close to the grave this is an amazing feat. I’ve gotten about 5 tomatoes off of my tomato plant, but that thing never really bushed up and produced well. And pretty much the rest is dead. So. we are chalking this years gardening up as a loss. And, at this very frustrating point I am unsure that I’ll be gardening next year. I think most plant’s would be glad about that since all I seem to do is kill them.

Crafts: This part may get boring, if you aren’t already bored, so I definitely don’t blame you if you dip out. Hopefully future posts will be less like ripping off a hang nail and more like eating a spoonful of peanut butter with chocolate chips. That might just be me and my pregnancy cravings though on that second one.
I’ve started a blanket for the 2nd boy. And cross stitching has been my addiction.


The pattern’s from Ravelry. Its a basic two line pattern but looks super nice. I can’t remember who it was by or where I got it from specifically or I’d include the link because I just wrote the pattern down , that’s how simple it is. It’s working up quick. Let’s just hope it’ll be done by October though.


This is a Santa clause cross stitch that I started and progress is pretty slow on it. But at least I got Ariel keeping me company.


This one is going to be a gift, that’s got tucked to the back burner because if I have to stitch any more black I’m going to scream.

This one’s basically done I just need to finish up the back-stitching which is basically the outline and detail of the piece so it’s pretty critical. I’m thinking about not doing a so typical finish with this one for a Christmas  decoration. It’s my goal with cross stitching to think outside of the box with finishes so it’s not just the typical framing the piece and hanging it on the wall, although you’ll see some of that too.


This was a start to just get rid of the cross stitching blues caused by the shoes that are an endless sea of black. And of course the starting stitches are white. Needless to say this one got tucked away pretty quick. And that’s also why you can’t see much to it.


This one is one Jason picked out for me in Wisconsin, its a birth announcement and it’ll be for baby 2. I have my heart set on a dinosaur themed one for doodlebug. (Big shocker there). It’s working up pretty quick, this is probably a weeks worth of work, on and off and not dedicatedly stitching.

Needless to say I’ve fallen into the hole of starting too many projects. So here’s to hoping I finish some, which doesn’t seem to be a personality trait of mine.


Unfinished projects and chocolate chips,




Black Bean’s without the can

We’re in the kitchen. One of my favorite, yet often neglected areas. Neglected because with a 7 month old, it’s impossible to be in the kitchen making things from scratch the way I love to do. Maybe someday you will find both the little man and I covered in flour, making homemade tortillas. Or maybe I’ll finally venture into my desire to make tamales and make it into a family tradition. “All hands on deck!”
I always have large dreams when it comes to my kitchen, like starting a sourdough starter. And making a homemade veggie broth. I did manage to accomplish the veggie broth, now I just need to get it in the freezer. The sourdough starter? Well that’s going to be added to my ‘maybe next week’ list.
With everything that was  going on, holidays being sick and etc. It’s no wonder when I went to my freezer to reach for one of my handy bags of black beans, I came up empty.
This was traumatic for me. I frantically searched my entire freezer, completely unbelieving of the fact that I had allowed us to not just run low on black beans, but to completely run out of them! I have made sure we have black beans in our freezer, we have not run out, not once, in probably over a year. Us running out of homemade black beans is like us running out of ketchup (my husband uses an ungodly mount of ketchup) it just doesn’t happen in our house. So, an emergency kitchen session happened. And I thought I’d share the recipe. Bare with me, because I’m not much for writing down what I use, I usually just throw it together.

Crock pot Black beans
2 16 0z bags of dry black beans
1-2 Medium yellow onins
2 garlic cloves
2 Tablespoons Chili Powder
1 Teaspoon garlic powder
2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
1 1/2 Teaspoons of Cumin
1/4 Teaspoon of salt
1/4 Teaspoon of pepper
1/4 Teaspoon of Thyme
3-4 Bay Leaves
2 Veggie Bullion Cubes or about 4 cups of veggie broth
You will also need to add some water, but I honestly forgot to write down how much. If you do the bullion cubes you will need to add more water. If you do the veggie broth you will probably only need a few cups of water. you want enough that the beans are covered but not drowning.

You’re going to start off with soaking your black beans over night. On the back of most packages it provides you with a basic guideline on this. But basically you are going to pour your beans into a bowl, pour enough water into the bowl to again cover but not drown them and let them sit over night. I find that I usually need to add a little more water, the bean’s seem to soak up the water after an hour or two.
After you’ve soaked them you are going to strain and rinse them, and search for any little rocks/pebbles.
Then you simply dump the black bean’s into the crock pot.

(This hellion of a cat, seriously has to be in everything I’m doing!)

Then you will move on to chopping up your onion(s). I love onion so I used all of the 2, But 1 1/2 of the onions is plenty. You have a couple options with this one. You can just chop up big chunks and toss them in. You can quarter the whole onion and toss them in, or you can use my method and dice the onion. I originally tried the quartering method, but was extremely disappointed because I really like the onion in it, and with such large chunks of Onion I just ended up pulling them out and throwing them away. You are also going to chop up your garlic cloves right now.

I like to put all my spices and stuff together so I can pull out all the spices at once, then put them all away at once too. I find it leaves less mess for me. Once you have your onion and garlic chopped you can add those into your crock pot with your black beans. Then add your spices in whichever way you  please.

(And I guess that was all the pictures I have of this. I know I took more, but my phone had to be reset, and while I thought I didn’t lose any pictures…I apparently lost a couple.)

Black beans

If you are using bullion cubes, you are going to go ahead and add those as well, and add the 4 cups of water…or however much water the packaging says. Add any additional water necessary to cover but not drown the beans. If you are using veggie broth, you are just going to add about 2-3 cups of water, again, only enough water to cover not drown.

Then set your crock pot on low for about 6 hours or until the beans can be pierced with  fork/ are tender. I went to work and so mine went for 8 hours and they turned out perfectly fine.
Allow your beans to cool, then, I take a 1 cup measuring cup and measure out 2 cups of black beans including all the juices and put them in zippy’s, I then lay them flat in the freezer and allow them to freeze, once they are frozen, I do stack them all up into a larger freezer bag. Then…black beans away!  I add these to tacos, when we have sweet potato tacos. Enchiladas, soups, salads, rices. It’s endless. I also have started to make hummus out of them.
And on that note..all I have to say is..a certain someone may have received a dehydrator for Christmas. So stay tuned if you are interested in seeing that adventure.

Black beans and Tacos,





Hey guys, Onto the Chococurb box review.
Chococurb is a monthly subscription box that sends you good quality/artisan chocolate bars.
If after this post you are interested, head on over: Chococurb

There are 3 different boxes you can get, a Nano for 10 dollars month which gives you a mix of 5 bite size chocolates. Chococurb Mini (which is the one I picked, I had a coupon so instead of the original 20 I paid 17.00)
The mini gives you 3 chocolate bars/items a month for 20.00.
Chococurb Classic is the big beefy box. You get 5-7 assortments of chocolate bars/items but this one is 35.00 a month.

And here’s where it gets real. I was really looking forward to this box. I waited to order it, because I wanted to treat myself. I rushed to the mail box as soon as it said it was delivered. I excitedly opened it in the car before I even drove home….hence the late pictures with the already opened candy bars.
And to my dismay…two of the three bars/items were peppermint chocolate.
Okay. Anyone who knows me, knows that I absolutely hate with all the passion in the world mint and chocolate as a combo.
If I wanted  mint with my chocolate I’d brush my teeth, then with a mouth full of toothpaste eat a chocolate bar. Sound appetizing? That’s how I associate mint chocolate.
I know, I know ton’s of people love mint chocolate, so this is preferential. In fact the quality of the chocolate I received was amazing.
But here’s my other issue…just because it’s December, doesn’t mean everyone want’s a box of mint chocolate.
The curation of this box left something to be desired, and so I’ve already cancelled. Don’t get me wrong. I still love the idea, and so at a later date I may give chococurb another shot. But I think 20.00 a month is just too much to spend and not love all the items in the box, or at least one…which I didn’t.
Ok, I’ll quit talking as much now and get to the pictures.

Here’s how it came, it was a nice presentation.

Here’s all the chocolates. Like I said, I had already gotten into them. There was a ‘Delicate Embrace Floral Lavender Lemon and Rose Guava chocolate truffles.’ ‘Forte artisan chocolates, classic peppermint bark holiday favorite’ and ‘Ethereal confections, handcrafted inclusion chocolate bar. 66% cacao topped with crushed candy cane bits and cocoa nibs’

All the peppermint….argh.


Here is the Rose Guava truffle, the lavender lemon isn’t pictured, I ate it already in the car.
The Lavender Lemon truffle was actually kinda decent. The lemon flavor was strong with a hint of Lavender, I didn’t hate it. I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it either. The second one, which is pictured, was so overwhelmingly flower tasting, I felt like I was eating a chocolate dipped flower petal. I didn’t finish it.



This one was actually kind of good. If I could get over the big chunks of candy cane that is. It was a very good quality deliciously smooth dark chocolate. I can totally get behind that. Then you get the crunch of cocoa Nibs…..and….candy cane. It just makes me wan’t to cry


And last, the peppermint bark. I mean….I don’t know how much I can really say about this one. It was pepperminty…and barky..I felt like I was crunching on a  hard mint. Not my thing guys.

And that’s it. sorry if this post seems a little off, I developed a head cold over night and am trying to get over it since Christmas is this weekend and it’s little man’s first. Oh, and cause you know, being sick while at work sucks too.

Chocolate cravings and holiday cheer,