DIY Haunted House


I’ll be honest, I love me some halloween decorations, but I’m not a fan of the gore. And to find simple halloween decorations, that also don’t lean toward cutesie is hard. So sometimes one must come up with their own and DIY it. I made this haunted house last year and I think I must have spied something similar, but didn’t want to fork over the large sum of money it cost. I have my limits on how much I want to spend on seasonal decor.

While I was at the craft store, I spied some unfinished bird houses and the idea popped in my head to come up with my own low cost version and I quite love it. And it’s super simple…like I would do anything that wasn’t 😉 So without further ado, here is what you need:


  • Unfinished wood bird house from local craft store
  • Black acrylic paint
  • Black glitter
  • Paint brush
  • Sponge brush
  • Clear household glue (like this one)
  • Cookie tray with low sides to catch the glitter and lined with wax paper (or any kind of paper to protect your cookie sheet from paint)

How To:

  1. Place the bird house in the cookie sheet and paint it black with the paint brush.
  2. Once paint is dry, cover the house with clear glue all over with sponge brush.
  3. Before glue dries, add the black glitter. Voila! You have a sparkly haunted house!




Encouragement Greeting Card: Freebie



We all have a friend or family member going through a tough time in their lives and it’s sometimes hard to know what we can do to help. For me, I resort to food. When I feel stuck and helpless to help out…I bake or cook. If you have a dietary restriction, no problem! I will find a way to make something (hopefully) yummy. If it’s your special day, I will make you a cake! If you are tired after school, I will bake you a cozy treat. And if you have had just a down-right, bad luck of cards handed to you and there is nothing we can say or do to fix things other than time and prayer…I will bring you food. I wish I were more creative, but it’s in my blood and that’s how I show you I love you and am thinking of you.

I put together this little care package of chocolate chip cookies and a card of encouragement the other day for a dear friend. I love her dearly and my heart is aching for her right now. I want to wipe away all her problems, but I can’t. It sucks. But I can’t. It’s not much, but a few cookies and a card will hopefully put a smile on a friend’s face. Even if it’s small and it’s for a brief second, it’s worth it. Click here for the free greeting card. Pair it with their favorite fresh baked cookies and hopefully you bring a smile to their face and lighten their burden for a few seconds of their day. We could all use a little encouragement now and then, even if our problems are big or small. What’s your way of showing someone they are loved?!

Halloween Lunch Box Notes: Freebie!

halloween-lunch-notes_digital img_6483

It’s looking like halloween around this household and chatter about the girl’s costumes is underway…I need to start thinking about that! But in the mean time, I have successfully managed to put a lunch note in the girl’s lunch with a written note on the back EVERY DAY so far. I’ll give myself a pat on the back for that one 😉 I am getting tired of the same ol’ rotation of notes that I have, so I thought it would be fun to make some seasonal holiday ones to change things up for a few months.

I sat down today to come up with some halloween ones and I hope to follow up with some Thanksgiving and Christmas ones as well. You can download these free lunch notes here!

Easy DIY Abstract Art Paintings: Initials


So here’s the thing. I love art. I appreciate art and artists for their enormous talent and creativity. However, I have a hard time committing to purchasing “real” art! I admire art and am in constant awe of how artist’s minds can create paintings and sculptures and bring them to life. But for some reason I can never pull the trigger on actually buying art from artists. My husband has bought me several prints from Jenner Ament (she’s amazing!) and I love her work, but the key words here are, “my husband bought”. Truthfully (and somewhat embarrassing) most of my art around the house is from old calendars I have framed or something I have done myself. I have this mentality that I can recreate something myself. I’m a DIYer at heart and so if I see something I like, I usually find a way to create it myself.



With this in mind, I have been loving all of the black and white abstract art I’ve been seeing lately. I figured with my modest art/painting background, I could come up with something myself (this may be a curse or a blessing. I’m not sure which!). I have wanted to switch out the floral prints in my bedroom (…another old calendar installation) and so I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to dust off my paint brushes and see what I could come up with. I’ve had the supplies all summer, but I’ve been hesitant to start because if I don’t have something intentional to paint, then I could see it becoming a big ol’ mess of paint on the paper and no message behind the reasoning of the strokes. After thinking about it off and on over the summer, I finally got my inspiration! Two of the most inspirational people in my life are my two girls. Why not take their initials and paint them in a abstract way to achieve that “look” I’ve been admiring without it being so literal with a big “V” and “E” on our walls. After a few attempts and versions, I like how they turned out. It didn’t take a ton of time, wasn’t super messy, and it makes me think of my two little angels when I look at my bedroom walls. Easy peasy and something anyone regardless of artist talent (I’m by no means a painter!!!) could tackle.

School Morning Checklist Freebie


Does anyone else struggle with your kids never listening to what they need to do each school morning to get ready? Even though it’s the same thing EVERY morning, they look at you after you get mad like a wounded puppy that is just learning the ropes. “You’re telling me that you were completely blown away that you had to brush your teeth after breakfast and I’ve never asked you to do that before? Even one minute ago? REALLY?!”. I digress 😉


Can you tell it’s been a trying morning at our household?! Yesterday I decided to try out a check list they can look at instead of me constantly repeating myself and getting frustrated. We have yet to fully try it since I am taking them to get laminated this morning. This way, they can check off each box over and over without me having to reprint. I put the basic steps that I think most households do to get ready in the morning: eat breakfast, brush teeth, get dressed, brush hair and make the bed (not sure if this last one is standard for most, but I make them do this starting in kindergarten and they get a break on the weekend). I also created little pictures as well as words because my kindergartener isn’t quite reading yet. Fingers crossed this helps mornings go smoother and this Mama can rest her voice and save her sanity!!! Hope it helps you guys too! Click here for the download :)


Happy Monday!


Free Printable Stickers!!



Now that both my kiddos are in full time school now, I am trying to focus on creating new products for my Etsy site and up my branding game :) I haven’t settled in to a routine yet and my head is spinning with all the possibilities of what I can do with my time. I’ve also been knocking items off my to-do list that have been building over the summer. Here is one item I just knocked off the to-do list (feels so good!). I’ve been wanting to create a little promo sticker set to add to my printed orders as a little thank you to my customers. And if you haven’t ever checked out Moo for printables, you simply must. Their quality is amazing and their prices are awesome too. The biggest awesomeness about them is their site is super user friendly. And for a gal with not much time to fuss with things, this is a major bonus for me. I just sent these little guys off to Moo and I’m getting 104 for $25 with shipping. Not too shabby I’d say! I can’t wait to get them in the mail in a few weeks.


BUT…I wanted to share these with all of you as a free download!! Yippee! They come 20 per sheet with four designs and 1.5″ round. I’ve given a generous .25″ bleed so you don’t have to worry about punching them super exact. They are perfect to stick on an envelope to a friend, jam lids as a thank you, or whatever you can come up with. I hope you enjoy! Click here for the link.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

Blackberry Crisp – So Good!


I know, I know! I’ve been posting a lot of dessert recipes, particularly of the crisp variety. But I can’t help myself! Fruit and vegetables are plentiful right now and it’s the perfect excuse to rationalize my want for baking. We can’t let all this yummy food go to waste now can we?! And to my defense, I do make lots of dishes that aren’t dessert related, but the desserts photograph so much better I think :)


We went to my mom’s last weekend and she has fruit trees and berry bushes beyond what any one family can devour (her blackberries are ginormous!). So I happily help myself and squirrel home my goods. And to this, I wonder why I have to workout so much…hmmm. Let’s think here…maybe give up baking!!!! Ha! That ain’t gonna happen 😉

This is my latest baking creation that I have to say is so yummy and comforting for this time of year. Still the essence of summery berries, but also the comfort of a fall crisp topping. I adapted this from one of Ina Garten’s recipes. Her crisp topping is the all time best, so it’s hard to stray from something so perfect and foolproof. The filling is what I came up with. Crisps and pies usually call for flour as a thickener, but I almost always use corn starch these days. It thickens better and doesn’t leave a floury taste to the dessert. Hope you enjoy!


9 cups rinsed blackberries
Grated orange zest of one orange
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 + a scant cup granulated sugar (depends on how sour your berries are)
4 tablespoons corn starch

For the topping:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1/2 pound (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter, diced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place the fruit in a large bowl and add the zest, juice, sugar, and corn starch. Pour into a 9 by 12 inch baking dish.

For the topping:
Combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal, and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, until the mixture is in large crumbles. Sprinkle evenly over the fruit, covering the fruit completely.
Place the baking dish on a sheet pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, until the top is brown and the fruit is bubbly. Serve warm.

Apple Crumble – Gluten Free but sooo Yum!


It seems these days I have a LOT of friends that have diet restrictions. All for various reasons and all different restrictions. It used to be that I was the one that was difficult to have over for dinner being a vegetarian. Now I’m pretty easy by comparison! Last night we had over one of my long time dear friends and her family for dinner. She is gluten, dairy and soy free (gulp!). We ended up dividing the meal between the two of us to make it easier on both, but I said I would make a dessert. More or less because my mom just gave me a box full of apples that are perfect for baking and I needed to start making a dent in them!

A crumble is pretty easy to get around the no dairy – just use coconut oil for the butter. The flour in theory is pretty easy because it doesn’t call for much and there is gluten free flour, which I thought I had but I didn’t. I love a good food challenge so I set forth on creating a gluten and dairy free apple crumble. I used my base recipe from Skinny Taste (love her!) and went from there. After making a few additions and substitutions, it looked amazing, but did it taste as good? After the meal was chowed, and the table cleared, we dished up the crumble with some dairy free coconut vanilla ice cream and OMG! It was super YUM! So I am sharing it here with you…and let’s be honest. If it turned out terrible, I would be silent as a mouse 😉 This is all that was left after we dished up and by the end of the night there were just a few small bites…and by morning there was none :)




For filling:

  • 4 cups peeled, sliced cooking apples such as Granny Smith
  • 2 cups peeled, sliced slightly sweeter apple – I used Pink Lady
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 3 Tbsp. corn starch
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon

For topping:

  • 1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats
  • ½ cup packed light brown sugar
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp. almond meal
  • ¼ tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. xanthum gum


  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Lightly spray 9” x 12” baking dish with oil.
  3. For filling: In a large bowl, combine apples, honey, lemon juice, corn starch, cinnamon. Pour the mixture into prepared baking dish.
  4. For topping: In a separate bowl, combine oats, brown sugar, pecans, almond meal, salt, xanthum gum and coconut oil. Sprinkle topping evenly over filling. Bake until browned and bubbling, 50-55 minutes.
  5. Serve warm.
    Serves 8.

Apple Watch Review From a Non-Tech Person


I’ve been living with my Apple Watch since Christmas and so I feel I can now give an honest review. For the record, this is by no means solicited…just me on my own account. And can I start off by apologizing for my veiny hands and oddly tanned arms…we’ve spent a lot of time outside this summer. I actually edited the picture to make my arm look LESS orange :(

For a little back story, I wasn’t in the market for one, but my husband is a tech lover to the Nth degree and so several months after they came out, I ended up with one too. I’m not a huge tech person, but will try to stay at least somewhat up to date. But let’s just say I rely heavily on my husband to do all that for me :) I am a huge watch person however, so it wasn’t a struggle to get me to wear a watch, but I was really happy with my not too expensive wide banded gold watch. Looks and function-wise. I turned to look at my wrist and voila! There was the time!

When I got my Apple Watch, I tried wearing it a few times, but it comes with a white sports band and that was just not  “me”. I like my watch to double as a jewelry piece as well as be functional. I thought the Apple gold bands were crazy expensive, but I guess on Amazon, there are tons of compatible bands for far less cost. The one in the picture I think was around $18. Because of the white band, I was hardly wearing it at all until my husband gave the suggestion to buy a band from Amazon. That was a game changer for me having the gold band. For the last few months I have been wearing it pretty much every day. That said, there are some pros and cons for me. Keep in mind, I am not a tech lover and still prefer to write my grocery list on an old fashioned notepad.

So here’s my breakdown list of PROS and CONS:

  • With a band that fits your style, it’s a good looking watch
  • Tracks your steps, activity level and bugs you with a little buzz on your wrist to stand if you have sat too long
  • You can quickly glance at a text when you receive one
  • Tracks your walking and/or running
  • I can see when I’ve received an Etsy message
  • Shows weather…and a whole lot of other features. Let’s be honest – I don’t use it to it’s full potential
  • Incoming buzz updates on your wrist can almost cause an accident if you are driving in traffic
  • Clock doesn’t always light up when you turn your wrist to look – big annoyance on my part! I like a watch to work when I need it too. And my hands are usually full so I can’t tap the screen with my other hand.
  • You have to charge it nightly so you can’t use it for the sleep monitoring function
  • I can’t use it to play soccer or when I exercise with a kettle bell so the fitness function is a moot point when I do these
  • I also have a fitbit and the steps calculated are more than on my fitbit. Sounds good, but which one is accurate???? I tend to lean towards on the lesser side to be safe.
  • I’m always worried I will scratch or crack the screen
  • Replying back to text messages isn’t practical when driving. Your phone is much easier when you have a moment.

So there is my unbiased review! I hope my husband isn’t disappointed with all my cons, but for someone like him, he loves it. He optimizes his to it’s full potential and is a tech guy through and through. I’m on the fence about it and if you are someone like me, but aren’t sure about getting one. I’d wait until the next generation comes out.


Triple Berry Ice Cream



My seven year old has been in the kitchen lately and she is doing a fantastic job. I’m not sure if she has a knack for picking recipes or if it’s her cookbook The Silver Spoon for Children, but so far she has made some really yummy dishes. The recipes are super simple, yet with sophisticated ingredients that are familiar and liked by most people. Particularly children! And the illustrations are fun to look at too! I highly recommend this for your kiddos.

This triple berry ice cream is…how do I say this?…A.MAZING!  I can usually skip ice cream to save a few valued calories, but this is worth it. So worth it. Here’s the recipe in case you don’t go out to get the book. But really, the cookbook is worth it even if you are not a kid.


Triple Berry Ice Cream


  • 1 Cup Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 3.5 Cups of frozen berries such as blackberries, raspberry’s, redcurrants or blackcurrants (I used Trader Joes mixed berries)
  • Half a Lemon
  • 1 Cup Super Fine Sugar


This recipe makes enough for 6-8 people.
1. Pour the cream into a big bowl and using a hand whisk or electric whisk, whisk until it holds in soft peaks-when you lift the whisk out it should look like snowy mountains (if you whisk the cream to long it becomes firm & stiff).
2. Put the frozen berries into the food processor. Squeeze the lemon juice over the fruit, add the sugar and whiz until mashed up.
3. Spoon the mashed berries into the whipped cream and carefully fold everything together. Spoon into a freeze proof container (I used a bread load pan)), cover and freeze for 3 hours or until frozen.