You know what drives me crazy? Designer handbags. And before I get too far, I know many of my friends have them. Please don’t take an offense to this, I’m not picking on anyone in particular. I just want everyone to be more conscious about what you’re spending your money on.  When it comes to designer handbags, I just don’t get the appeal.  I think it was the combination of someone posting about a new Michael Kors store opening and then seeing a post about a new line of handmade bags on a facebook update. Everyone seems to have a designer bag or two, or three. Doesn’t it kind of bother you, that thousands of other ladies are going to have the exact same bag as you? And these bags all seem to cost a lot of money. This isn’t by any means a plug for buying my bags either. I know my bags have a handmade look and I completely understand that ‘look’ isn’t for everyone.  I make them because I enjoy the process, and just making things in general. I can only imagine what I could put together if I knew someone was going to pay me 100’s of dollars for the final product. And the end result would be an original that was handmade (with love). Not from a factory in a second or third world country. I read a statistic that the average designer handbag costs only $6.00 to make. That is an insanely low number! I can’t even buy a yard of fabric for $6!

So if you’re willing to spend the money to have a designer looking bag, I want to show you some businesses that make great bags that you can feel better about supporting.

Stephany Childers’ from Rebyc makes some badass bags! ( All her bags are made with recycled leather and fabric. Every bag is truly unique and original. If only I had a machine that could sew leather, and an unlimited supply of beautiful leather.  I’ve been eyeing her bags for SO long and someday maybe I’ll own one, if I could ever decide on just one.

Another company that is a little more affordable for the average person is,  They make beautiful bags and do a lot of giving back. You can definitely feel good about making a purchase from their shop. Here is a little excerpt from their mission statement “We hire women, who otherwise cannot get jobs, to work for BLB.  We rent them a sewing machine and tools while teaching them a skill set that allows them to become a primary or secondary provider in their families.  Most of these women are first generation immigrants from countries such as Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan, and Yemen, so we are also able to provide them with much needed fellowship and friendship as we visit their homes to deliver fabric and pick up orders.” And they give 10% of every sale to an entrepreneur in a developing country.

There are a lot of shops with beautiful bags that are worth checking out, weather its at a local shop in your town or on or  Be conscious when you spend money and know who you’re supporting.

I hope I didn’t offend any of my friends with this post. I really just needed get this out and don’t want anyone to take it personally.

’12 Days of Handmade’ Day 2: Cinnamon Cut Outs

'12 Days of Handmade' Day 2: Cinnamon Cut Outs

’12 Days of Handmade’ Day 2: Cinnamon Cut Outs

The house smells amazing after making these!

I found the tutorial here ( ) We had trouble with getting the dough consistency right but the kids had fun. It was like playing with cinnamon scented play dough. So I found a Martha Stewart version of the recipe ( ) so we pretty much just made the first recipe and added some craft glue until things took shape. Then in the oven at 200*F until they were dried out enough, it took a few hours. I thought about painting them or adding some glitter but we decided they looked neat with out anything added.

happy birthday to me.

So, I’m sitting here thinking about tomorrow. Well it’s midnight so I guess it’s the day. Today is my birthday. And I’ve always had mixed feelings about this day. I am excited and anxious for it to arrive and it always seems so long for some reason.  It’s the last day of the month. It’s not like it actually takes longer, of course, but its just how I’ve always thought of it. But the usual special attention and all that comes with this day is nice. It’s my day out of all the other days in the year, that is mine, except for the fact of sharing it with my birthday buddies, Tyler and Sarah. (Happy Birthday Guys!!!) But I’ve always been sort of annoyed but my birthday. I feel like I never really feel my age and that this number that increases every year, is going far to fast. I may be 28, but honestly I don’t feel as though I should be more than 20. I feel when someone finds out my age that it should come with a disclaimer or something. I may be 28 but I don’t feel that old, or I don’t look that old.. I don’t know. But this year as I’m thinking about it all. I vow to not be annoyed by a number. There is a quote out there about, growing old and enjoying it because it’s a luxury that not everyone is afforded. It’s so true. I was Given these 28 years and there are people out there are hoping for one more year, or one more month, one more day. There are soldiers and families that would give anything for more time. People like Sgt. Kyle Osborne died, so that I could could have these 28 years and if God willing, I get one more.  Everyday is a gift from God and so many of us need to be reminded of that.  This next year is going to be my best year yet. I am going to live it to it’s fullest and live it for those who weren’t so lucky to see their 28th year. I know it’s an overused phrase these days, but I am going to LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH.  I’m going to experience all there is to experience, especially in our new state, Alaska. I am going to explore, and seize every day. I am going to love those around me. I am going to give every ounce of love I have away, to my amazing husband, my kids, my parents, the rest of my family, friends and everyone else I meet along the way. And I am going to laugh and enjoy the little things. I’m going to smile. I’m not going to take life too serious, and I plan to find the positive in every situation. Life is FUN, and I’m going to enjoy every second of it.  Carpe Diem. 


My thoughts on Fast ‘Food’

I posted this link on my Facebook page and it started a discussion that I felt I could better address on here.


“What does this picture tell you? My doctor has had this “processed food” on her counter ever since 2010 and 2011 respectively. I asked her why she had it out, she stated “to show people what they are putting into their bodies”. This is man-made “processed food”, not real food. Over time real food will decay, grow mold and produce a decomposing odor. This “processed food” has not done any of that, matter of fact it has kept it’s original size, shape and texture. Your body has to work harder to breakdown and digest this stuff over real food.”


I have my opinions and others have theirs. I’m not always right and I’m not telling anyone that they are wrong, but this is how I feel. And it works for us. I don’t want anyone to take it the wrong way, but I feel like I need to share my view on it. No one is a bad person for eating unhealthy. I don’t look down on people for not eating the way I do, but I don’t want others to think I’m a snob for eating a certain way either. It seems like vegetarians and vegans get a lot of flack and its a touchy subject with some people. So no bad feelings, just open thoughts.

I’m not saying if you eat fast food you’re going to be un-happy. There is a balance to everything. Eating good food, thinking good thoughts, good people around you, being good to your body and right with God…  I feel like God/Creator (whomever you believe in, not trying to make this a religious thing exactly..)  gave us seeds to plant in the ground and to grow delicious food to put in our bodies. I feel like eating bad things is a big let down to the whole system of things. We can do better! And that we should be taking good care of the bodies God gave us. McDonalds is definitely not manna from heaven. LOL  I think about people throwing fits about tattoos and piercings, saying people aren’t treating their temple (body) in a Godly manner. I have no problems w/ tattoos and those things. I think that is sort of my thinking though when it comes to food and God. I want to take good care of my body and mind. I kept reading things about the clarity that people experience when they eat well and their mind isn’t in a fog. I kept reading about it and wanted to feel that way too. That was a big reason I started eating even better these past few months. Seems like it’s helped me get my priorities right, figuring myself out and getting right with God, purging the stuff that is taking up too much of my life. Getting the right people in my life.  I’m not telling you that eating good food will put you right with God. Just that I felt like I was being true to myself and who God wants me to be. I’ve been reading a lot about the food that goes into our bodies and what it does to us. It seems like I have a clearer mind. I’m not perfect, I’m not ever going to be. Just trying to do my best and what I feel like is best for my kids. I like to cook with them and make them smell the fruit and veggies we’re cooking. Close their eyes and taste the delicious flavors. I love to cook and I hope they will grow up to love cooking too. I feel like I’m cheating them if we get unhealthy food. I don’t feel good about it. We’ve come a long way at our house, and I’ve learned a lot about food these past few years. I’m learning new things everyday and not saying a certain way is the right way, but it’s working for us. I want to help others find their way and take care of themselves. I want the people around me to be happy, healthy and around for years to come.

Words of Vegan

I attribute my love of veggies and fruits to my parents and the way we ate growing up. We ate a lot from the garden year round but at the same time we always had lots of home grown beef and pork to eat also. I didn’t really think about what was in the foods I enjoyed until I met my friend Sara when we lived in Germany. I guess it was a combination of meeting her, Cameron being born, and getting into cloth diapering. When I would look up information on cloth diapering I would stumble onto some crunchy mom blogs and sites that had a lot of information on whole eating and living. So I guess that is where things sort of started for me. I started trying to incorporate more fruits and veggies into my cooking. Living in Germany doesn’t give you a lot of options for fast food, so it forced me to learn how to cook. Cooking is a lot of fun, I’d rather cook all day in the kitchen and chop vegetables than go out to eat. And there isn’t anything fun about putting some fish sticks and fries in the oven. I learned how much I loved garlic and my spice cabinet expanded. We stopped eating bad peanut butter (which has hydrogenated oils in it), and things with HFCS (high fructose corn syrup). I started reading labels at the grocery store and noticing what was in the things I was eating. It was just an overall awareness on the whole way I was living. I was always an active person, healthy, and Happy. I always thought I was pretty lucky to have a good metabolism but I knew that a good metabolism would only get me by for so long. So I wanted to make sure I was active, healthy and happy for the rest of my life, and that my family was also. Then we moved to Arkansas and I met Miranda. Another awesome person put in my life to get me to the next step in a healthy lifestyle. I saw the documentary Food Inc. and my eyes were opened even more to the food we eat and where it comes from and about the government’s control in our food system. Then I saw No Impact Man (link here for the video info). I’ve watched both of these many times. There is so much information in them that I am always picking up something new. Miranda gave me a juicer and taught me what the vegetable kale was. I love juicing and juice a couple times a day, everyday. It helps with my horrible addiction to sugar, so when I crave sugar I just make myself some juice and that craving is satisfied. We cut out fast food except for the occasional trip to subway. We cut back a lot on the red meat we ate and started eating mostly chicken and fish (mostly salmon). Then we moved to Minnesota and I’ve met even more wonderful people that have had a positive influence on my life. The resource of Harmony Foods Co-op, that we’ve become members of. The great selection of whole foods at Luekens is something we didn’t have in Arkansas without driving a long way. Since we moved to Bemidji in August and Garrick deployed (he’s the big meat eater in our family) we’ve been a pretty vegetarian family. Its so easy to be a vegetarian when so much wonderful produce is in season. My kids love to go to the farmers market and I let them pick out whatever they want and they are so into cooking and eating that fruit or vegetable. The same goes for juicing. I let them pick the fruits to put in and then they love to see how it turns out. Its a lot of fun seeing them get excited about things like that. This upcoming spring we’re planning to put in a garden and I can’t wait to see how excited they get when they are able to go to the back yard and gather things for a meal. I’m so excited just thinking about it. I’ve watched a couple more great documentaries in the past few months, like Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. It’s on reversing chronic illnesses through juicing and whole eating, and shows how stubborn and mixed up so many Americans are. Like hearing people say ‘I’m fat and happy and I’m going to die fat and happy’, C’mon, really are you truly happy with your life and how things are??  It’s really frustrating to hear. The most recent documentary that I’ve seen is Forks over Knives. This one was the one that really pushed me into thinking I can be a vegan. It was always something I thought wasn’t for me. But the more information I’ve consumed it’s hard to watch something like that and not tell yourself ‘How can I not be a vegan after watching that’. It talks about the connection between animal products and the links to cancer and so many ailments. High bloodpressure, heart disease… the list goes on and on. I mean, if I told you that there is a chance you could reverse your diabetes, or get rid of your horrible migraines, would you simply change the way to eat? Why not give it a try? What do you have to lose? Dairy is the culprit for my kids eczema. Why wouldn’t I want to try and help them get rid of the discomfort it causes them? There is so much information out there and It is overwhelming but I really have been wanting to share my thoughts and journey to where I am now. It was a process and I’m so thankful for the people that have been placed in my life that have taught me so much. I want to help other people out there that are struggling with things and show them that it’s not that complicated. Take things in phases and you’ll get there. Watch the documentaries that I’ve listed. I believe all of them are on instant Netflix. I also want to share a great book I picked up a little while ago. It truly is a bible when it comes to vegan eating.  The 30-day Vegan Challenge: The Ultimate Guide to Eating Cleaner, Getting Leaner, and Living Compassionately. It has so many brands of products and dairy alternatives. Its just a great book and I’d highly recommend it if you’re looking for a place to start. If anything just take a few of the ideas or concepts and use them. You’re not going to become a vegetarian or vegan overnight, there are groceries in your cupboards that need to be used and I don’t expect anyone to just throw things out. Okay I have done that but it was mostly candy and bad junk food,  not something like a pound of butter or carton of eggs. But just think about your food and enjoy it. Do you really need to add butter to a dish or have you even tasted vanilla almond milk? I have found a wonderful resource in Pinterest for an endless amount of great recipes. (send me a note if you need an invite for the site)

A couple foodie vegan blogs that I enjoy

The Vegan Stoner

Rawmazing  << she is from Minnesota too!! =)


Oh she Glows

Links for the Documentaries again

Food Inc.

No Impact Man

Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

Forks over Knives

And there is a new one out there that I haven’t seen yet, but looks good. Its called Fresh.

Its not on netflix yet so I have been to cheap to look it up to rent somewhere.

^^ this one is from

It’s Been Awhile

It’s been tough to write lately. Things are going well with Garrick gone. He was home in November on his RnR and it was so amazing to see him. The girls were so happy to have him home and so sad to see him leave again. I think Cameron took it the hardest, I know she doesn’t understand things like Brooklyn is able to. We just stayed home for the most part. Garrick had only see the house before we closed so he finally got to experience living in our new house. We had fun shopping in Minneapolis when he flew in and let the kids go to SeaLife at the Mall of America. Then on the day he flew out we did the rides at Mall of America. The kids had been asking for months and I had kept telling them that we’d do it when daddy was home. We all had a lot of fun and even Nora got to ride her first ride.


Nora's first ride

It seems like time as flown by since he’s gone back. Can’t believe it’s already been over a month since he was here. I hate wishing for time to fly by but it only means we’re closer to the next time we see him. We already know that we’ll see him agin in February. Things have been busy with the girls’ birthday’s in November. Birthday week went well and we now have a 4yr old, and 7yr old. And I am now 27. Another day closer to 30. haha We also had my sister’s, my mom’s and my sister in law’s birthdays during that week.   Christmas will be here in less than 2 weeks. The girls are getting excited but I am finding it hard to get into the Christmas spirit. It’s a lot to do with the fact that we don’t have any snow here in Northern Minnesota.  We’ve gotten the tree up and decorated, and the stockings hung up on the mantle. But it’s just not the same. I think Garrick being away has a lot to do with it too. This will be the first Christmas we’ve been apart. I sent him a little tree for his room. I hope they stay busy over there and do something special for Christmas. I’m sure January will go by slow. It always seems to be a slow month just from all the craziness that goes on in December.

We’re not exactly sure where we’re going to meet up with Garrick but we’re thinking somewhere warm by the beach. Mexico is on the list or visiting a friend in Costa Rica.  I still need to go in and talk with a travel agent. We’re open to anywhere really and flexible as long as we find an affordable destination. I’m just excited to go on a vacation. We’ve been back in Minnesota for a year now and I haven’t left yet. We drove across the bridge to Superior Wisconsin but I don’t count that, since we didn’t even get out of the car. We were spoiled with all the traveling we were able to do in Germany and I’ve been frustrated lately with staying in one spot for this long of a time. It’s just not like me to sit still. So, I’m really looking forward to this getaway.

On another note, my friend brittany is doing a challenge of blogging everyday for a year. She hasn’t missed a day and has been doing the challenge for a few months now. I am thinking about doing the same thing. Just intimidated by the challenge. We’ll see. It would be nice to keep up with things on here. I just don’t want to make it overwhelming and then not do it at all. And things are busy here, so I don’t really need another thing to keep up with.. But It would be nice.. So I’ll definitely give it some thought. And maybe even plan out a week of post ahead of time to give me a head start.

New House

A little overdue but finally some ‘before’ pictures of the new digs.  And please disregard the clutter. These pictures were taken when the seller’s family was cleaning out the house before we closed. I’ve misplaced the other pictures… ah, the joys of moving.   Happy Tuesday all!!

side view up the driveway to the garage

sunroom/dining room addition

brooklyn and cameron have the huge attic for their bedroom

nora’s room

can’t rotate this last one so you’ll just have to tilt your heads to the left a bit.  its late and i’m tired so forgive me.

Random Ranting

Seems my posts lately have been just about life in general. I’m feeling sort of stuck right now, still living with the parentals while waiting for house buying things to get finished up.  I’ve got so many ideas for some awesome DIY projects and minimalist living posts, and homeschooling, and sewing.. but I feel like, ‘after the move’ has been my excuse for everything. I guess I’ve been feeling a little uninspired lately. I’m one of those people that need the right environment and mood to get things done. Like when my sewing space is organized or when I’m in the right mind set, with some good music. And at the moment I just get frustrated that I’m not doing what I want to do. Just passing the time and waiting for house closing. It’s annoying knowing that we should already be in the house. And Garrick isn’t here. Ugh. My sister is visiting this weekend and my parents are home for a couple days, so it’s nice to have other adults in the house, finally. It’s been a long week. I do have some good news.  I sold the car this week  so that has eliminated a bill and we are again a one car family. If we didn’t have kids and safety wasn’t an issue, I’m pretty sure I’d be riding my bike everywhere or if I drove a car, it would be a 500$ car. Vehicles are not a big deal to me. I agree that there are some great looking vehicles out there that catch my eye and look fun to drive but it’s annoying how the vehicle you drive is such a status symbol. It’s such a waste of money, especially if has bad fuel economy. It was kind of sad selling the car since it was our first big purchase as a family.  VW jettas are such great cars. It was a 6 speed and a lot of fun to drive. But it’s a relief not having another vehicle to maintain and I can quit rearranging vehicles in the driveway. And other good news is that Garrick is getting stationed at the base he wanted. He’s not with his friend he was hoping to get stationed with but at this other base he will still get to see his friends because it’s a base that everyone has to go through when coming and going w/ their company. So,  it’s a good thing. And no tent living which is nice too. He’s at training/orientation this week and will be ‘in country’ next week. It’s exciting, and honestly I’m jealous of all the adventures he’s able to go on. That is one of the hardest things about being a parent and the sacrifices that are made when a person chooses to have kids. I’m so thankful to have such an amazing husband that agrees the best place for me is at home with our kids. There are many times that we’ve talked about me going back to work but for now while the kids are young, and with all the big changes in our lives the past few years, we agree staying home is best. I know all the moving and deployments are hard on kids so I’m glad I’m able to provide a constant in their lives. Seeing all the milestones in their lives is also huge and so rewarding.


It’s getting late and I tend to stop making sense after midnight so I better stop now, before it all turns into nonsense.

Have a great weekend everyone, and be sure to check out the Yellow Umbrella’s Grand Opening celebration this weekend!!!