I love knitting.

There’s something so rhythmic and therapeutic about knitting. When you hit a groove and it’s just stitch after stitch, creating something. When you see the project grow and take shape. It’s an incredible feeling.

My grandma taught me how to knit when I was 9,10,11……somewhere in there. I remember watching her knit and thinking it seemed so complicated and then she taught me how to knit and helped me knit my very own Condo Sweater. It looked similar to this….and was the perfect pink/peach shade.

I was SO proud to knit my own sweater, especially because it was a popular style back then.

I knit off and on over the years but really started to pick it back up about 10 years ago.

It’s definitely a therapeutic experience for me, now.

So today, I’m so thankful that my grandma taught me to knit so many years ago and I’m thankful that I have ways to de-stress and relax.

What are you thankful for today?


To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong. Joseph Chilton Pearce

I don’t know where I received the message but as a child, the message I understood was that Art was frivolous. That working a job in business, was acceptable but creativity was something that foolish people persued.

As a child I devoured books. It didn’t matter if it was fiction or classic literature or encyclopedias. I dreamed of being an author. But I was terrified that if I ever said that dream out loud that I would be mocked or shamed for wanting to do something so silly.

I would hear music and songs and feel like I needed to move; that my body needed to express the sounds and feelings in movement. I wanted to write lyrics and dreamed of standing in front of crowds of thousands singing with all of my heart. But again, I was scared that if I tried, I might fail or worse, look foolish.

I saw art, paintings and sculptures, and my hands itched to create beauty but fear held me back from even trying, “because I might get it wrong, or not do it right.

Somewhere along the way (and with an immense amount of therapy), the longing and desire to create, overwhelmed the fear. I have begun to accept the child inside of me who wanted to explode with creativity. I’m not a trained artist but I am creative. I live and breathe creativity. It’s like air to me. Without it, I feel like I’m strangling.

I feel like I’m finally starting to live authentically, as who I was created to be. I’m messy. I’m sensitive. I’d rather create something beautiful, different or weird than do just about anything else . I see beauty everywhere. I want to add more beauty to the world. I’m happiest when I’m creating. I want to inspire creativity. I want to encourage others to not be scared to just try; or to just do it, in spite of being scared. I want to encourage others that you can’t do art wrong. You can’t create beauty in a wrong way. You may see my art as mess and I may see it as beauty. We might both be right, and that’s okay.

Once, I started to let go of the fear of doing it wrong, the most amazing thing happened……i started to see beauty and creativity everywhere. I’m so aware that the things we do, create beauty…..and yet, I’m not so sure that people see it that way.

The programmer, the code he creates and what he can create with that code, is beautiful.

The teacher, who invests in the future, our children….they are creating beauty in and for our world.

The plumber or electrician, the way they can run pipes or wire and have pieces of equipment sing to each other….it’s beautiful.

Accountants create beauty within lines and spreadsheets and with money and it’s beautiful.

Librarians create order out of thousands of pieces of literature and they promote wonder and fantasy and knowledge with access to literature. That’s incredible.

A boss creates an intricate dance between employees. They can create a culture of respect and responsibility…….that’s amazing.

A mom literally creates human beings and then has the opportunity to mould and guide those beings into beauty …..that’s a fantastically beautiful thing.

The cashier who can Tetris a bag of groceries in the most incredible way AND communicate love and acceptance to the people they come in contact with……that’s art and it’s beautiful.

We, humans…..I believe we were created to create, to bring beauty into the world; and everything we do can be beautiful.

That doesn’t mean that there isn’t ugliness in the world, because there is……but we have the privilege and opportunity to bring beauty and light into the world, in whatever way we are passionate about…..and that’s amazing. My hearts cry is to create more beauty around me, to tip the scales and drown out the darkness.

We don’t all have to do it the same, nor should we. The diversity itself is beautiful.

I’m so very grateful for art and creativity and for the ability to contribute beauty into the world.

Have you ever considered that what you do brings beauty into the world? I’d love to hear how you create beauty.

Are You a Winner?

I’m not really loving the fast pace of our lives right now.  I mean, everything is fine and okay and good.  We are trucking along just doing life, but it seems to be moving along at quite a fast pace, and I so much prefer a bit of a slower pace with more “breaks”….maybe I’m just tired and so everything feels more difficult.

I’m not complaining about my life and I hope that’s not what it sounds like.  We just have a million things to do and probably enough time to do them all in….I should just be thankful that we are healthy and that things seem to be holding steady at this pace for right now.

I’ve got a few things to post about here…to record our lives and what’s going on, but for right now…I just wanted to send you over to the Simple Choices Website.

I’m talking about Body Butter and having a giveaway.  I hope you’ll enter to win.

I’m planning on sitting down tonight and pounding out a post.  It’s on my list of “things to do”.  Let’s see how far down that list I get today.

Barking Seals

Not sure what the deal is, but the baby hasn’t slept well in the past three nights and this means that mommy and daddy haven’t slept well in the past three nights.  I’m feeling SO INCREDIBLY DRAGGY this morning.

It doesn’t help that both Jeremy and Josiah sound like they’ve swallowed a family of seals and are hacking and coughing up both lungs.

I just want to crawl back in to bed, but I’ve got to run to the store and pick up some Mullein – it s a herb that is FABULOUS for soothing the respiratory tract and works WONDERS on coughs.

And I’ve also got to mail out a few packages of product for Simple Choices.

My Mom agreed to come and watch my barking seals while I ran around and so as soon as she gets here, I’m off.

I hope you have a good day.

Have you checked out the Simple Choices Products?  And check out the $10 off coupon code……MERRY10……when you buy $20 or more of product.


This and That and The Other Thing

I’m not sure why but the baby has started to take a nap on the couch. What I mean is that if I nurse him, he will fall asleep and then if I put him on the couch….he will stay asleep. If I put him into his crib….not so much. This makes no sense to me but if I can have a few minutes without someone whining and clinging to my pants legs…..then I’m just going to go with it.



I’m EXHAUSTED. I’ve been on the go since November the 13th because I’ve had one thing or another planned. First I was trying to get ready for the Craft Fair, and then I needed to get ready for a Christmas Party/Cookie Swap and I also was feeling quite a bit of stress about doing the whole Hospital/Chemo thing by myself….

Today is more or less a down day except I have to pile ALL the kids into the car and take Geli and Jeremy to see our Family Dr. later this afternoon. It always feels stressful when I have to take all of the kids somewhere especially when there is a fairly good opportunity to act out or misbehave.


I’m trying to figure out what we are going to do about Christmas this year. With Jon being laid off from work and the lag in getting his next paycheck, things are tight. I’m trying to figure out what I can make – as in homemade gifts – but there is always this guilt that the kids are going to be disappointed. I know that in the grand scheme of things that life and love and togetherness are the most important, but as parents we want to give our children special things, right? I have been talking with the kids about “giving” as opposed to receiving and I do know that things will work out okay. I just seem to do really well when I have a plan; when I know exactly what I’m going to do or what to expect….I’m still trying to figure things out and to be able to do it without feeling frazzled or stressed.


I’m really trying to eliminate stressors from my life. I want to be able to enjoy life and to not be stressing about too many things on my plate or about all the things that I could or should be doing. It’s not so easy to find the balance and yet I’m really working on it. I’m trying to live within my capabilities and to be able to really enjoy “living” life and not just existing. I’m trying to be present for my family and with my kids. This is also not as easy as it sounds like it could be and yet…I believe it’s doable. I’m also trying to embrace the season that I’m in.

I’m a mom. I have two little boys. I remember how much work it was when I had three little ones (Geli, Xani and Jeremy) because I’m right back in the thick of those early days. Siah is 4 and Judah is 1 and it’s not an easy phase. What I have going for me is that I know that it won’t last forever and that I want to really enjoy this time with them. It’s tough. It’s exhausting. It’s messy. There is a lot of whining and diaper changing and wiping runny noses and cleaning and tidying and doing the same things (like rescuing a child from on top of the table, building block towers, or reading the same 2 books) over and over and over again. There is little sleep and even less “me” time, and yet, when I look at these little boys….at all of my kids, I’m so thrilled that they are mine and I’m awed with the responsibility of raising them. I believe in them and will try my best to raise them to be amazing men and women. It’s a lot of work, but they are worth every bit of time and energy.


We had our day at the hospital yesterday and for whatever reason, the Oncology clinic was PACKED with kids and parents. At one point every seat was taken, inside and outside of the clinic and there were a TON of parents and kids standing. This meant that the 1 hour appt took 4 hours. Which SUCKS SO BAD! And, the whole deal with Angelica and the itching that she’s been experiencing…..nothing. They don’t believe that it has anything to do with the chemo or anything Oncology related and so we are just to Monitor it. That’s not so cool as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know what to do exactly and I’m just hoping that things will get better and not worse. I’m hoping that Geli will “test the waters” so to speak, tonight and we will see whether or not things are improving, holding steady or getting worse.

Aside from the itching, Angelica is doing okay. She is on the mend, but it taking longer than is normal or expected…..Normal is really not a good term for it….because really, what is normal?


I’d love it if you’d check out my shop. There are some great products, in there.

Simple Choices

I think the favorite products right now are tied between:

the Lotion Bar – EVERYONE who has tried it has RAVED about it.
the Calm Room Spray – it can be sprayed in kids bedrooms to help settle them down
the Breathe Cream – to help with congestion, due to coughs and colds
the Refresh Cream – to help with headaches, digestive issues, sore muscles and for a general “pick-me-up”

And everyone seems to LOVE the lip balms….the peppermint seems to be the winner right now.


I’m hoping to be able to make a gluten-free Gingerbread house with the kids in the next few weeks. We’ve been talking about making small ones. I hope it works out. You can get the MOST AMAZING gingerbread recipe over at Gluten-Free Girl’s website. I made a batch which makes around 72 cookies and my kids have DEVOURED them. I have less than 2 dozen left….they are just that good.



Do you have a favorite Christmas Cookie?

I love Whipped Shortbread, and those Gingerbread Cookies up above.

And, the baby just woke up and so I’m done for now…..

The Craft/Small Business Fair

Well, I did it and I survived.

Saturday morning, I was up bright and early after about 3 hours of sleep. Geli and I got ready and then took off for the school.

Putting labels on
Putting Labels on the Night Before

We got there just after 8:30am and it was scheduled to start at 9:30am.

We found our table and got everything set up.

I was so nervous and ended up texting Jon that I felt like I was going to be sick. I know that it was ridiculous, but… is what it is.

The Craft Fair opened its doors and people started to come in.

Ready to sell

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but people came……some walked by and some stopped and bought and some didn’t……..and it’s all okay!

It was AMAZING to have a few of you come up and introduce yourselves. It was SO nice to put names to faces.

Probably my favorite moments of the day were when I had people come up and mention that they had problems with their skin and then they tried some of the Simple Beauty Products. To have them mention how amazing the products felt or how they didn’t hurt or burn their skin like some other creams and lotions have, and how they noticed that they felt “better” even after just a few minutes……that was my favorite part. It felt wonderful to be able to have these products that could help other people. I know how they have helped in our family; and to be able to share that…….AMAZING!

If you are interested in checking out what products there are, just click here on the link, and it will take you straight there.

Simple Beauty

To all who came by the table this past weekend….

I am so thankful for your support and encouragement.
It means so much!

So Many Thoughts, Not Enough Time to Think

I have so many things that I’m trying to think through and I just wish that I could just “sort” a few of them out so that I could “file them and put them away” if you know what I mean.

There are things that we are working through and trying and wondering about and it’s all complicated and messy and well….there are a whole bunch of “adult decisions” that we need to make right now.

Well okay, we don’t have to make any decisions at this exact moment and some things we cannot make decisions about right now, but that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t think things through so that we can at least make well thought out decisions if and/or when the time does come right.

One of the things that it taking up WAY TOO MUCH mental space inside of me is the whole “store” deal.

I love to create! I love creating things and I have for as long as I can remember. I feel like it’s something that I’m supposed to do and yet I don’t know “what” it is that I’m supposed to do with that creativity. I could just create for pure enjoyment purposes, but I keep feeling like I am capable of doing more with my creativity and yet……I don’t know what.

I’m beaten and battered by insecurity and fear when it comes to putting myself out there to see if anyone would be interested in purchasing the things that I create because, for whatever twisted reason, I equate lack of purchases with personal rejection.

See, these things that I create….I put a little bit of myself into each one, so when I try to sell things (and I’m not even talking just about right now, this is right now and in the recent past and in the far distant past) if they are not wildly received and purchased in a mad flurry of excitement and energy – then I feel like “I’m” not good enough….

Messed up, eh?

I know it is. I don’t want to live like that and so I keep trying. Often I try badly, with only a half attempt so that no one knows or guesses how much I care. Often I throw it off like a passing interest so that I don’t seem that invested in it, all in an attempt to fool myself into not caring and then not getting hurt.

I can tell myself that I love to create. I can tell myself that regardless of what happens – I will continue to create and give things away because I FEED and THRIVE ON CREATIVITY.

Even saying that, I plagued by thoughts. Comparisons, insecurities, criticism….so many thoughts and yet…


I think I’m saying that in an effort to personally grab a hold of that concept and embrace it as truth.

“I” am creative!

I “AM” creative!



All I know is that I love to create….

I bought a small watercolor journal in the summer and told myself that I was going to paint. Just…..PAINT! If it was crap – well then it was my crap! I painted my feelings and paired them with words and inspirations that mirror those feelings. I can see the difference between my first painting in that book and the most recent ones. I’m a bit more comfortable. I’m a bit more confident. And that’s only in the last 4 months….

I’m going to continue to create.

Intentionally! I can only get better. It doesn’t matter what it is – I need to create, even if it is only for me.

And I’ve decided that I’m going to give the whole store a go. I’ve been waffling so badly on it and every day the mental anguish has been worse than the day before….the thoughts and fears and insecurities swirl round and round and round until I’m dizzy and sick because of it all. And because I do not want to live that way, nor model that for my children, I’m just going to say it out loud here (more for myself than for any of you)…

I’m going give the whole “store” a real go..I’m gonna try. I’m going to CREATE things and stock a store and attempt to sell things and I will attempt to NOT find my worth in the things that I create. I’m so much more than that….

Currently my store is on Etsy, but we are working on a better one….Whether anyone buys or not – I’m going to work as hard as I can at creating beautiful things to stock the store with. Things that I love! At the very least, I will have amazing gifts to give away whenever I want to….I don’t even have to wait for a special occasion. I will not judge my worth by whether or not people buy. This is a tough time in the economy – we understand that and regardless…..I’m going to create.

I hope you understand that I’m not saying this in an attempt to manipulate you. I needed to put this out there for myself. I need to face these thoughts, these Worry Dragons and tell them to “Be Still” or better yet to “Be Gone!”. I need to remind myself that I am loved and not rejected. I need to remind myself that people are out there ready to accept me and not waiting and searching for an opportunity to reject me. People are not looking for something to knock me down with but they are there to encourage and support me and life me up.

I choose to accept those as truths in my life. I am worth being accepted. I am worth being loved.

This past year has played a big number on me and while I accept and appreciate all your support and love….my life has been so insular and I’ve not had a lot of personal, face-to-face, human contact; and so many of the fears and worry dragons that I had faced, beaten back or even beaten down have slowly crept back up and are trying to get back into my life and I don’t want to let them in.

And so, I make no bones about it…..I have a store. Currently it’s over here (click to go through to Etsy)… will be here for now and I’ll continue to add more things to it, until the new store (yes, we are working on a different store option and it’s going to be amazing when it’s done) is finished being set up.

That being said, the name of my store is “Simple Choices“…..I’d love it if you would check it out. I’ll be adding more and more items to the store in teh coming days, so keep checking back.

I am passionate about living simply. I’m passionate about having healthy, natural alternatives to the chemicals that we so often use without even realizing; whether it be on our babies or on our bodies or in our homes. I’m passionate about simple toys that won’t harm our children (with chemicals in the plastic) and that will stimulate creativity and imagination. I’m passionate about learning about healthy and natural living and sharing that knowledge with others who want to learn about it. I’m so excited to share how small simple choices can make such a HUGE difference.

My life has been radically changed (for the better) by a whole bunch of small, simple choices. It didn’t happen overnight and I have so many more choices that I could make to be healthier, but like the name of the store, “Simple Choices”… Life is all about the simple choices. You might be surprised at how those simple choices add up…. That doesn’t mean that it’s always the easiest choice, but there are a lot of times in life where the harder, more difficult things are often appreciated more because of the effort that we must put in to them.

Simple Choices can make a huge difference in your life…I know they have in mine. I know that as I continue to make simple choices, I’ll continue to see the benefits in my life and in the lives of those around me….

“There may be a thousand little choices in a day. All of them count.”

Dr. Shad Helmstetter

I’d love it if you would take a look at my new Website….it’s still under construction, so you might want your hard hat and your steel toed boots, but I promise that we’ll be up and running smoothly in no time.

Come on over and join in on the fun…..

ps….you can also check out the Simple Choices blog. It was supposed to be a little readier than it is, BUT…we’ve had some fun this morning. Check back tomorrow for all the CRAZY Drama from this morning…..

A Whole New Level of Craziness

Things have felt a bit intense over here recently and I feel like I’m going non-stop from the moment I crawl my OH-SO-TIRED self out of bed in the morning, until the moment I flop into bed at night.

Now to be completely honest, I shut down for the evening around 8:30-9:00pm on a “normal” night and then Jon and I sit on the couch and watch a show or two and then I do the whole “flopping into bed” thing.

So I’m not on the go ALL DAY, but boy it sure feels like it. And it’s been worse over the past few weeks because my babies have been sick. Josiah brought home some lovely virus from the Cruise ship (YAH OVER A MONTH AGO) and he was sick for a week-ish and then I got a sore throat and cough and then Judah picked it up and then just as he was getting better…..both Judah and Siah managed to pick up another bug from somewhere.

And those two little boys have been CRANKY!

And Judah’s not sleeping (not at night or during the day) and he’s wheezing quite a bit and I’m using Eucalyptus Cream on his chest 4 times a day and using a Castor Oil pack on him twice a day and trying some homeopathic medicine twice a day away from the Eucalyptus….and between his clinging and whining…..when I sit down at the end of the day….I’m so DONE!

Unless I’m holding him…..this is typically what Judah has looked like for the past week or so….It’s about as awesome as it looks….blurry photo and all.


He seems to be a bit better today than he was yesterday and I’m hoping that tonight is better than last night….Hello 3:30am until 5:30am – it was nice seeing you!

Jon has spent the greater part of this week Job Hunting and it seems like his efforts have paid off. He should have the contract in his hands as of Monday, but he has been contracted to do a great job for the next three months. Hopefully, there will be more work at the end of the three months, regardless, I know that we will be okay. He should start on Monday November the 14th. Yah!

I’ve been working on making a bit of grocery money in my spare time (HA HA HA HA!) and I have a few things put up in an Etsy shop…with a few more things to come….I just need to take pictures of the products.

If you see something that you like, you are more than welcome to contact me personally and we can work out payment details….I know that some people don’t like to pay for things online and that’s totally cool. I understand!

If you’re are interested in checking it out, please click here. I’ll be adding new things over the next few days so be sure to check back.

I have planned to “MAKE” time tomorrow to sit down and pound out the rest of our vacation. I can’t believe it’s taken so long to get to it. Life has just been that crazy busy for us! It’s mostly good, but I’m a big fan of quiet, peaceful, SLOW times. The business gets to me after a while. I crave the down times and lately they have been elusive.

New York, T-Shirts and Spending Cash

The Sunshine Kids take several trips per year with kids that are dealing with cancer. Angelica has been chosen to go to New York for the “Summer Broadway Break”, July 17-23 this year.


Everything is covered for the trip (transportation, food, lodging, admissions, etc) and the kids are treated like royalty. The kids only need to bring their own spending cash for shopping in Times Square and the like.

So, Angelica is looking for ways to raise some money for that spending cash, and seeing as the traditional methods like babysitting are out for her (with her low counts) Angelica has been thinking about putting some of her artistic abilities to work. She’s thrown around the idea of designing t-shirts a few times over the years and so we decided to try to make this happen. Here is the first design…


(depending on interest, she has a lot more ideas)

the t-shirts are available in three styles and two colours each, and there is a hoody. Here they are:

Shirt Style Sizing Chart

straight cut in white with black image or charcoal with silver image

Click for larger image

Ladies cut in white with black image or dark heather with silver image

Click for larger image

Youth fitted cut in white with black image or charcoal with silver image

Click for larger image

Hoody in white with black image or dark heather with silver image

Click for larger image

Click Here to order

Please note that we are not starting with inventory, and so we will be compiling the first weeks orders, then getting them printed, then shipping. Please allow 3 weeks for delivery (5 weeks for international). Also, please let us know if there are any issues with the PayPal shopping cart.

More Homemade Presents

In some lighter, non-cancer related news…..I haven’t yet shared about the presents that Jeremy gave to his brothers and some of the cousins…..

These building stacker’s are AWESOME. Again, you can find them all over the internet, but I wanted to make some of our own and they were super easy and totally fun to make.

We made a few in the traditional rainbow shape…..


And then, Jon made one that was a bit more free form and it is pretty cool.


We have all enjoyed playing with these. You can stack them in so many ways.

You can have them laying flat on the ground…


Ok, so that is a lame picture of them laying on the ground, but you can make cool designs with them laying flat….when I was taking pictures, I just didn’t think to make some to take pictures of. Silly me!

or standing up….


You can create tunnels with them…..


Our kids love to sit at the table and take turns seeing who can come up with the most creative idea. We have a few of them here at our house and it’s extra fun to use 2 or 3 sets to create these huge amazing towers and creations.


I’ll see if I can get a couple of good shots of the kids and what they create with these simple stacking blocks. Again, we cut them from a hardwood (Maple) and sanded them smooth and finished them with flaxseed oil.

We’ve had a LOT of fun playing with these from Jon all the way down to Judah, who loves to see them all fall over and BANG onto the ground only to have us set them up again.


They are 1.5 inches thick and at the tallest part, they stand 5.75 inches and they are 11.5 inches wide.

These are great sturdy toys and definitely spark creativity and the imagination.