M + Adopt Don’t Shop = 2

DIY, family, motherhood, Uncategorized

My baby is two y’all. Holy… Holy crap. For her one year birthday, I didn’t do a theme. She’s one. I have no idea what a one year old likes… So I picked 4 or 5 colors and went to town with decor that way. It was still super cute, but I was VERY excited for a themed birthday this year. My Dad, used to make a really big deal out of our birthdays, go all out for them. I went way more into this birthday than any other event I’ve thrown… it’s also the 2 year anniversary since he passed, so it’s one way I stay semi sane… Keeping my head down and knowing he would love every detail of what I am doing for her.

I got a couple of comments from people on the extent of the work I put in, but that’s just the thing. It isn’t work for me. I started this oddly enough, 4 or so months ago and little by little would piece it all together. This saved on both stress and money by spacing it out. Maybe birthday parties are a stress for some parents, but I always sucked at math and science etc… but give me art and projects where I can dream something elaborate up and complete it with nothing but my bare hands… Nothing short of heaven for me.

Pinterest has a ton of ideas for rescue theme type birthdays. Mila is obsessed with dogs, so picking the dog theme wasnt difficult… I love that it’s about rescuing as well, considering my BearBear and most of the dogs I had growing up were rescues.

I found these puppers on Oriental Trading. 20 bucks for a dozen. MUCH cheaper vs buying individual stuffed animal puppies. My husband works at Omaha Box Company and they manufacture corrugated boxes. He made the carriers, along with the long box to put the stuffed animals in. I wrote a sign up for the kids, little steps for adopting a dog… This was a cheap white board from Hobby Lobby that I got custom framed for my studio space up stairs. I love the look of it.

As far as projects go for this, I made the signs for the carriers, the certificates and the ribbon collars… Complete with picking out fun names with the help of friends… This was the most fun part of it. Smee, Hei Hei, Odie, Le Fou, Gus Gus… Can you tell I’m a Disney fan or nah???

Drink station is above – Thanks to a girlfriend who told me about these galvanized party supplies at Wal-Mart. Of course, I can’t find a direct link to the line… but drink stands, utensil holders, serving trays… etc. I got the ice bucket from there and borrowed my friends matching drink stands. Save where you can! I served this cucumber melon sangria that was a HUGE hit with the adults, white sangria with mint… I can’t count how many times I said refreshing… Sorry to my friends for the redundancy.

As you can see, the colors I picked were pink, yellow and pops of orange. Those tin cans? Target dollar section from last Easter. I have them in black and orange from Halloween as well, stock up on little things like this that can be reused. Thought the mismatched utensils looked hella cute in them. Shout out to my MIL for the awesome banner, that woman can make just about anything off her circuit machine, with a photo reference.

Scooby doo mix and the Jell-O water bowl ideas, all off Pinterest. Make sure if you make them, you include that they are kid friendly on your tag… raised a lot of eyebrows with parents… “No, I promise I am not trying to get little Nathaniel white girl wasted.”

DESSERT BAR – I mean, I might spazz every time I see one at a party… Self explanatory goodness.

One way to lessen the load for a party… Delegate that stuff out. My MIL ordered the cookies for us from her favorite place Simply Home Sweet Home. Bones, dog houses and puppies. She also brought the chew sticks (twizzlers) and the rice crispies. Other friends brought chips, juice and corn dog muffins. Saves you some money and you can really focus on the main dishes.

I normally would stress myself out by making a cake or cupcakes… but its one thing that needs to be fresh, so I opted to try our local bakery that’s within walking distance. The Omaha Bakery gave them two ideas of what I wanted and dreamed up this bad boy of a cake, complete with Bear on top and my childs ridiculous nickname I gave her. I love sassy sheet cakes… They look perfect and then there’s something odd written on it. Quite the beautiful contradiction.

I made the Oreo pops. For some reason, I forget how hard it is to work with chocolate… wont do dipped anything for years… this was my learning lesson to stay the eff away from chocolate melts. The devil.

The morning of the party, I had an hour or so to myself… Got to break up all the party prepping by coloring with chalk in the driveway. Honestly was therapeutic… Again, art and me just go hand in hand.

Outside I set up a table for the guests to sign a dog book for Mila, koozie tray for the adults… and a tattoo station for the babies. We rented a bounce house from Bo Bo’s Bounce Rental in Omaha. They were THE nicest couple, very throughout with rules and our rental was 5 hours but we had it for about 8 hours So we definitely got our $$$ worth out of it and would use them again. The lady reminded me of my half-sister Lisa, very warm and kind. The kids went NUTS over it… reports of lots of tired babes last night so job well done there. I set up a table for coloring as well, as I am an adult who gets overwhelmed in social settings… I’m equally social/hermit and need to decompress often. Figured there might be someone who needed a play break.

This was another favorite of the decor for me… Tyler cut these out at work, I painted them and added ribbon to their necks. So bright and just fun! I also did the sign on my kid art easel. Surprisingly no kids attempted to wipe it off. Innocent kiddos.

The tattoos were a fun thing to bring out mid party. Little Russell wanted 4 total…. My kid… wanted nothing to do with it. Go figure, but that’s my girl.

So, the onesie for Mila was a mixed tape onesie from where else but Etsy. I never by fancy kids clothes unless it’s a very special occasion. Literally everything is second-hand or from Target. This was well worth the splurge.

Awkward family photos anyone? T.B. III isnt into anything else but play when kids are around and rightfully so. Grandma insisted on a picture, so we tried.

So, last week… I tried to gear her up for blowing candles out. Lit up her desert after dinner complete with me singing to her and she bursted into tears. Too much attention. Which, I totally understand. Birthdays are overwhelming for most, I never wanted to open presents in front of my friends… still don’t enjoy it. I warned everyone ahead of time that she might cry, but she just burrowed into Granny and we all sang… Had no care to blow the candles out. Sweet shy girl.

Favorite gifts from the party… My friend Stephanie MADE THIS unicorn for M. I mean… talented!!! We also got a covered wagon which is goodfor a break up of biking to the Farmers Market… Mila enjoyed snuggling up with her new unicorn friend. The most inventive gift was from a guest who donated in Milas name to The Nebraska Humane Society. A place we visit monthly and oogle at all the sweet babies who are waiting for a good home.

Mind you, all animals go through temperament testing, get spade and neutered as well as shots. They are perfect and ready to love on you forever. A common misconception is you can’t find the specific breed you want, oh but the power of Google. There are breed specific rescues in every city, from small to large dogs. Saving a life is the best thing you could possibly do in my opinion… They will reward you for years to come.


The party was an absolute success and I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.



Feelings like a Mother Trucker

family, motherhood, omaha, Uncategorized

Imagine you find out you are pregnant days before your birthday. You arent married… The man you have been dating, well its only been 3 months. The three people closest to you, gently advise you to get an abortion. Even, offering to drive you to the closest facility. Even though, you’ve basically decided you couldn’t live with yourself for going through with it.

Fast forward a couple of months – Your Dad is diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. In order to achieve the best possible life for you and your new family, you decide to move 989 miles away from what you know. You leave a job you love, your whole network of friends and family… temporarily unemployed.

Weeks before your child is born, your father dies. You have a newborn baby, you’re smack dab in the middle of the MidWest… trying to navigate getting to know your partner, all while being a new Mom.


If you havent figured it out by now, this is me. This is my story. This is my reality. They say moving, having a parent pass will eventually get easier. To be honest, it still feels like I am pulling myself through 4 feet of mud. Its been two full years. It hasn’t gotten easier. I wouldn’t wish all of those events on my worst enemy. It’s a lot of life, in a short time window. Nobody should lose a parent before 30.

Today is my beautiful girls second birthday. I made what I thought was an honest post on my personal Facebook, on my feelings of being a Mom. Along with a silly video, proudly displaying my goofy child for all the world to see…

“My mini weirdo, you adorable mismatched butterball… I don’t love being a Mama, but I sure as hell love YOU fiercely and the person you are forming into. Happy Birthday Tornado Banshee III. Here’s to another year of barefoot shenanigans!”

The line, “I don’t love being a Mama…” Struck a cord with some people. You know, I get it… partially. I wear my heart on my sleeve, I’ve been this way since I was a kid. Asking someone like me, to keep it in… is like asking a bird not to fly… ya know, if they could talk.

So, WordPress… Here I am. Writing my first emotional word vomit on my feelings of Motherhood.


The second you are pregnant, and the world is aware. All of the questions are about you. How are you feeling? Are you nauseous? Are you swollen? Are you hungry!? The second the baby comes… all of the concern is immediately about the baby. Nevermind the intense labor you went through, all of your swollen bloody bits, the fact that you are too scared to sleep… You become second. You take a back seat and thats how it is for the next 18 years… right?

Maybe, the majority of women are able to cope with this much more gracefully. My Mother for one and the women I’ve been raised around… You couldn’t possibly give them a better job or lifestyle. STAY AT HOME MOM!? Sign em the hell up. The go apeshit over babies and all the things that encompass being a Mom.

So what is wrong with me? Is there anything wrong with me? Why am I not fulfilled by just being a Mom. Why do I constantly dream and feel I mentally and emotionally NEED more? Why am I not like the rest of the women in my family?

This post isn’t solely for those Moms, this is for the few who understand that pain. This is for the ones who go back and forth with the good and the bad… The ones who can’t just Betty Crocker the shit out of everything with a damn pearly smile. Maybe, it’s also for the Moms who are that Mom. Maybe, this is so you can understand those struggling around you a little bit better.


Parenthood is a mind fuck. (PUT THAT ON A T SHIRT) It just simply is. There are SO many expectations of what your family, your spouse’s family, your friends, other parents etc. expect of you. Its a constant battle of, “Am I doing the right thing?” questioning all your choices. Just when you feel like you are figuring it out, BAM… it changes.

“Oh you breastfeed? Great. Just don’t do it past _____ months, years… or its weird!”

I’m pretty sure if you ask the above question to a group of people, you’ll get all different responses of it being ok… but only for x amount of time… or no, it’s just odd why wouldn’t you use formula!? Etc. Insert in any parenting topic, and get the same results.


Basically, if you aren’t doing it their way… or talking about Motherhood as if its rainbows and butterflies…. you are a terrible person. These people don’t see my day in and day out with my kid. They dont see HOW much I have given and continue to give my kid, to the point of loosing myself completely. They dont understand, maybe they never will.

Maybe, in a few years… when I learn HOW to balance being a Mom and myself, I will look at Motherhood differently. Currently? I hate it. I hate the pressure, I hate the expected gender roles, I hate the illusions people give off, I hate the judgement from those closest to me… Contradiction, yes. Why put myself out there if I don’t want judgement? It is for me. It is my therapy. Finding a select few people who PM me their stories and struggles… That is what gets me through. That currently is the glue holding my shit together. The ones who are brave enough to accept their truth and bare all, and guess what… grow from said pain.


My husband and I both grew up in households that are very limited emotion and communication wise. Often when we would talk about the types of parents we wanted to be, it was having that honest relationship with our child. Bringing her up where she can fully express herself and we will unconditionally love her irregardless. If we love, we love hard… If we are struggling, we will handle it in the open. Ever since I was pregnant with her, I wrote her letters. Events in the world, trips we took, important life lessons… etc. This open communication hasnt ALWAYS been the forefront of my relationships, until recent and is ideally what I want for my relationship with her.

I want her to be able to recognize her weakness and struggles and in the healthiest way possible, be able to navigate those feelings… without fear. So yes, I wrote I don’t love being a Mama. I loved who I was prior. I dont feel like being a Mom is this ultimate life goal, or the end goal…. much like marriage. Those are fantastic events, but they shouldnt define you. I am a selfish Mom, I need time to myself. I have to decompress often. I can’t carry the load myself and expect a lot out of my partner. We share this parenting gig together.


Currently, I have the majority of my feelings pointing to the fact that I don’t want another kid. The only reason I would be is to give her a sibling, but I feel like it would shatter me right now, at the stage I am in. So this is why, I stay at home with her. I nannied so many families prior and saw all the moments working parents would miss. I selfishly, didn’t want anyone to get those moments over me. If this is my only kid, I want to soak up every glorious moment with her possible, before she is in school.

I don’t need to love being a Mom, to love her. The Mom role for me has a lot of negative feelings towards it… however, being a parent and loving a child arent mutually exclusive to me. I love my baby with my entire heart. So much so, those close to me have seen me slowly die, in order to give her more. Those close to me have been very aware at how overly obsessive I am with her. She is my only family out here, she is the one I am with 24/7… What parent wouldn’t be hyper attached after tragedy? I give her literally all of me every day, I put off cleaning and work until she is mainly in bed, then I get those tasks done and barely have a few minutes to myself, if at all. I run myself into the ground for her. How could I not though? Have you seen her cheeks!?

I post about her life almost every other day on my social media, I used to photograph things very much an amateur, but I have always been obsessed with photos. Freezing time. Documenting funny things, sharing with the world my sarcastic views of being a wife and Mama, cause lesbehonest… there’s enough of the cheesy captions for everyone and then some. #InspirationalShit


This is my current battle, and I wear my emotions for everyone to see… good or bad. How do I maintain my happiness, while being a good Mom at the same time? I didn’t have a good role model with this myself, so I am currently figuring it out in the best way I can, so I can do better this go around. It may look like a hot mess, but in the pain… by acknowledging the pain, there is growth.

When I was a personal trainer, it was so easy for me to spit out to people, “You have to take care of yourself before you can take care of others.” The majority of my Motherhood experience is listening to my own words haunting me and figuring out how to get it all done. Thats who we are as women, we take it all on head first and multitask our way through it all. I personally drown the majority of the time, but I sure as hell will figure this out. Again, this isn’t for experienced Moms… or the cookie cutter Mamas… This is for the ones who need a tribe of honest women around them. I just can’t fake a smile, and simply say, “Being a Mom is the hardest yet most rewarding job ever!” (Cue a million eye rolls) Can we as women just stop generalizing Motherhood!?

Instead of it being an all-inclusive parenthood resort, which sounds cool initially, all the scheduled activities and menus of high-end food… eventually, that shit gets old and boring real fast, there’s a dress code if you want to eat inside?! I can’t possibly always look presentable, this isn’t realistic for everyday life yall. Why cant it be a wide open outdoorsy type of deal? You might prefer the forest by the river, growing your own food… Where I prefer the mountains and being away from the crazies, where Cindy just might like letting it all air out in the big friggin field. Everyone does their own thing, theres no damn schedules or expectations of how to be. You simply just be. Live and let live or whatever dumb Pinterest worthy quote you wanna throw in.


As much as I harbor bad feelings towards my Mom, I do recognize I now understand her better and her struggles. I see that a lot of my emotions and mental capacities are strikingly similar to hers. I look at my baby and see and understand that one day, she might be in my shoes as well. What would I do different to raise her so she doesn’t look that way towards me? But instead, has all the tools and emotional and mental strength to deal with marriage and motherhood like a boss.

Those close to me, know I am a word vomiter. Its how I process and deal with my shit. Holding it in… literally is painful and makes me sick in more ways than one. So here I end it, naked and vulnerable AF.



May in Des Moines

Food, Shopping, Travel, Uncategorized

So my partner and I took our first trip sans baby. She’s almost two, and he has left plenty… I’ve had one babe free trip to my homeland of Georgia. So a weekend without her was very much long overdue. I hadn’t been to Des Moines before, Tyler went to Iowa State which is about 30 minutes from there. A couple of his college friends were getting married pretty close to the same weekend we did a year ago.

First stop, West End Salvage if you are familiar with HGTV, you’ll recognize this name right away. For everyone else – They had a show where they would repurpose antiques into funky new pieces. I’ve always wanted to visit their building! This is literally a dream if you love antiques and quirk. I was SO happy to get to explore all 4 floors without a baby running loose. Parents know, shopping with a kid is typically just chasing said kid… not much looking is accomplished. The pictures are of their adorable coffee shop, all the tables and chairs are for sale of course.

Do y’all SEE this staircase? Windy as hell and goes on and on with all the exposed brick and piping… Yup, weird lover of old buildings here. Also, note the funky green themed room. A favorite color of mine, so this was peaceful to stumble into.

Top left picture — Trying to show how LONG the space is on each floor. I literally was a kid in a candy shop. Some of my fondest memories with crazy Mama Surgent involve antique-ing with her. Its one sure-fire way that I can unwind… Spawns creativity for me as well. Do y’all see these giant corbels?? Hands down, the most corbels I’ve ever seen in one location. Most of my time junking, you find maybe one neat one but hard to actually find in pairs. Moment of silence for this craftsmanship…

Their very top floor had doors, bathroom fixtures, misc wood items… Basically a good place to go for materials. Look at this creepy yet beautiful door… Theres a man in it! She’s a man, man!!

Lunch time was calling after climbing all those stairs, I previously had asked friends where to go for food, Zombie Burger was highly recommended from not only one but quite a few people. So, yeah… If you are into walkers and REALLY good food. This place is fantastical. Let me just say, they were packed when we went it but we sat at the bar, another thing I miss about not having a baby. Ordered our food and it came in under 10 minutes. The food is essentially gourmet style burgers and a long list of intense sounding milkshakes, spiking optional. We got the two girls one cup. (I’m sure I don’t need to remind anyone of that video) Either way, burger was cooked to perfection, the peanut butter chocolate shake was killer… You MUST order the fries with the cheese sauce and thank me later. Dip fries in milkshake… because, childhood memories.

We also stopped into a place called Sticks. The above two left pictures shows a small portion of their work. Wood items that are engraved and painted. Insanely gorgeous. The oven mitt in another gift shop made me really smile. I’m terrible.

When we parked near Zombie Burger, I spotted a shop that had “Greatest Store in the Universe” written boldly alongside the building. Clearly, my curiosity got the best of me and I had to stop in there. RayGun is the shop, and its filled with unique apparel and hilarious shit. There is NO other way to explain it. I didn’t get the whole “Raygun” on the shirts etc… so asked an employee who didn’t explain hardly anything to me about the shop itself or how it came about. So, from my research, this guy started out of college selling shirts on the street in Des Moines… turned into a shop which has spread to Iowa City, Kansas City, and Cedar Rapids.

They have a ton of hilarious items as well as items for a good cause. I believe Hillary spoke there, so lots of “resist” items and my favorite feminist items. From their website, they have raised over 20k for Planned Parenthood. (WOW)

They had a whole section of science themed shirts for kids, which I loved… but back in the kids corner was this tiny RayGun door. Couldnt help but wonder in. How COOL is this!? A spot for the chilluns’ to play while you spend too much money on funny things!? Seriously genius and adorable. Que the — When I was a young kid, I had to sit for hours on end with NO electronics or toys… *womp womp womp*

So — Koozies guys. They are my thing. As much as I love shopping, I am pretty cheap so koozies are something I can’t ever pass up… due to the low-cost. THERE WAS AN ENTIRE WALL OF KOOZIES… A COLLECTORS DREAM AMIRIGHT!? The one thing that got me really excited, was the knitted ones. I got one at a Braves game years ago and havent been able to find one similar since. Clearly, I had to pick the most ridiculous one, which was the pug in a tutu with its tongue out.

The resist kitty, the Abe Lincoln on a T-Rex Freedom one, the Lake of the Ozarks — All were my take homes from this store. One simply can’t go to a wedding without a handful of koozies.

The wedding we attended was at the Scottish Rite Consistory, the building itself dating back to the 1860’s. The ceremony was held in this gorgeous auditorium. Really a beautiful historic building. My date in the right picture…

Here is a rare picture of me with my hair down and doled up. Quite the rarity these days… Middle is of the succulents they had at our table to take home, as well as koozies! Also, major shout out to the couple for using my legal last name. I didn’t take my husband’s name and get quite annoyed when people use his last name. Perhaps, I should start sending people glitter bombs with their maiden last name or to men with their wives maiden names? Ha. Petty, yes… but why should anyone care?? You took your husbands last name? Wonderful. I couldn’t think of signing my name differently after nearly 30 years of having it. Plus – I like it…. I digress. (Maybe a future blog post in the making?)

The wedding was fun, but let me tell y’all. I simply can’t hang anymore. Drinking isn’t really my thing… unless, my close friends are around. I don’t do well without sleep, so we left and headed back before the actual wedding was over. You know who the young parents are at a wedding when you see them trickling off early. They know the value of sleep. What I really was looking forward to, was the hotel bath tub. A luxury.

For serious – My old apartment in Roswell, Ga had no tub. For 6-7 years, I couldn’t take a bath. When we moved to the Midwest, our rental had one… which was a dream. The house we purchased… No tubs. You’d think it would be something on my list… but no, I forget how to girl the majority of the time. After a night of heels, and a lot of walking in a new city… This bath was calling my name. The things you can’t fully appreciate, until you don’t have access to it anymore.




Fancy Shmancy : Kids Table

DIY, Saving Money, Uncategorized

Who doesn’t love a good before and after? Or saving money? I am a big fan of Ikea’s unfinished wood furniture that can be refurnished in whatever way you wish. I have a couple of night stands from there… but that is a project for another day. Pinterest has a TON of ideas for this wood table to really transform the look.

Left picture is how it comes to you. Cant beat it for $24.99 for the whole set. I put this on Mila’s Christmas list and procrastinated the heck out of completing it. Currently going through a rough time, and what is a better distraction then painting and getting to be creative AF?? I taped down the ends in order to have that dipped leg look. I have zero patience so just eyeballed it.

COLORS — The FUN part. So I wanted the legs and chairs to be mismatched. Picked a fun blue and yellow from Target for this. I’ve been meaning to try their paints out. The blue was super thick, I did two coats of it. The yellow was extremely watery and dripped like crazy when I painted. I wound up grabbing some grey paint I had left over from another project. Country Chic is the brand and the color is Hula Hoop. This paint already has the primer in it so you typically only need one coat.

As you can see the yellow didnt hardly show up. Super bummed because it looked REALLY pretty in the jar.

I taped the legs off and did blue on the table, grey on the chairs… removed the tape, retaped above the pre-existing line and did the legs of the table in grey. I decided to keep the raw wood on the chair legs.


After painting and pealing the tape all off, I used MinWax in Natural to seal the project. This is crucial for easy clean up from spills or dirt. You need two rags. First one, fold over in half and then again making a fluff square. Really butter it up with the wax and rub away on your project. Use the second clean cloth to buff out the wax.


Voila!!! Absolutely adorable and doesn’t cost very much to upgrade it. Planning on adding a thin wood top to the table and chairs but for now… I love it!

Happy painting,


Veggie and Meat Roast!

Cooking, DIY, Food, Healthy Foods, Saving Money, Uncategorized

Well, I’m in the middle of a fitness challenge and I’ve been watching just about everything going in. More on this fitness challenge once it’s completed. We had company over last night and I needed something a little special for it… Jumped onto Pinterest and found this Italian Sausage and Veggies bake!

I swapped the sausage for kielbasa… Anytime I can eat kielbasa is a good time. It was one of my late Russian Dads favorite proteins.

There is basically just A LOT of chopping with this recipe. I bought baby carrots instead of whole ones… slice those in half. Everything else with this recipe I did the same, except I added my own flair to the rice. I can’t get enough of homemade yellow rice right now. It’s the turmeric that gives it flavor and that yellow color. You can read all the benefits of it here. I mainly like it because it’s an anti inflammatory and who doesn’t get bored with plain white rice??

I prepped the meat and veggies ahead of time and just put it in the fridge until I was ready to bake it. Pre-measured my spices as I had plans… Pulled it out right before baking, added the olive oil to the spices and poured it over. I needed extra olive oil and I never measure what I’m doing and had a lot of extras. This was a great thing, as it tastes even better the next day.

Yellow Rice 

  • 1 teaspoon of – Turmeric  & salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon – Garlic powder, pepper, onion powder
  • Few drizzles of EVOO, Optional – Pad of butter
  • 2 cups of water
  • 1 cup of rice


  1. Heat a pan over medium heat, add your oil and butter
  2. Gently pour in your water, add your rice and seasonings… stir well.
  3. Cover and reduce so it’s gently simmering.
  4. Cook for about 15 minutes… Add water as needed.


Serve together and enjoy!!! This will easily feed about 5-6 people with plenty of veggies and meat left over!!! This meal was a hit and will be making it again soon, even chopped some of the veggies and taters up this am and added it to eggs for a healthy breakfast scramble.



Make It – Charming Tree Swing

DIY, omaha, Saving Money, Uncategorized

Do you love swinging??? Because I LOVE swinging. I have these two giant trees in my yard that were begging for a babe to swing on its beautiful branches. If you know me, you know I had to design and make it. So here’s how we did it!!!


  1. 2 x 12 wood
  2. 3/4″ rope
  3. Stain – I used Jacobean
  4. Cricut vinyl sticker (optional)
  5. Outdoor sealant
  6. Sand paper


  1. Miter Saw
  2. Drill (3/4″ spade bit)
  3. Hand Sander
  4. Pencil
  5. Tape measure

We have a ton of scrap wood lying around so I picked the widest board possible and wanted it to be quite large to sit on. I hate when swings cut into my thighs haha! Again, perks to making things custom!

First, cut the board to the width of your desire, this one is 12 x 30 inches. Then measure 2 inches from each side and mark your spot for rope holes. 4 in total. Pre drill the holes and then use a spade bit that matches the diameter of your rope. Again, ours was 3/4.

Sand the board and the holes really well. Wipe clean with a damp cloth. I chose to used a vinyl monogram design, my chincillas initials. Can you tell I’m Southern yet? I decided to stain the board so after applying the vinyl, I used a small paint brush and very gently painted around the vinyl. After this I stained the rest of the board. Once it was dry, I slowly peeled off the vinyl and saw it had bled slightly. Initially was discouraged and wanted to paint it, but decided to post my project on a home group I’m on and the majority loved the imperfect look. I’m glad I got a few second opinions!!! Perfect is boring.

The next step was to seal the wood with an outdoor sealer. This dries very quickly and I used 2 coats in total. The day I sealed it, the temperatures had dropped really low and it was rainy. Lil babe and I were freezing but I was determined to get this swing up and running. My husband cut the rope in half and tied a double bowline on each rope. Looks hefty huh?! I kind of have a thing for knot tying.

We didn’t use a ladder for the next portion — Don’t have one (ha), our tree is about 10-12 ft high. Throw the rope over the branch, pull the free end through the loop and tighten. You obviously want each rope to be about the width of your swing. Once this is completed, thread the loose end of the rope through the top of the board, under the board and back up its matching side. Do this on both ends. We used a triple hitch knot and left a tail, babe is quite small so she uses the tails to hold onto while she swings, plus I like the look of it. After trying this out, we decided to replace the knot with a bowline knot.

Y’all don’t judge my yard. Previous home owners didn’t take care of it. Something we are trying to work on this summer. #MudYardForLife

In total, because we already had the wood… the project was under 45 bucks! I’m hoping this will be something special my babe cherishes and winds up having it in a home of her own one day. For now, we will break it in!!!!



National Penguin Day : Snack Attack


This morning I got a message from my husband, informing me that TODAY is National Penguin Day. He is obsessed with penguins so of course he wanted to celebrate. How does one celebrate penguins??? Yeah, I was stumped too.

He came up with two options…

1. Pin the bow tie on the penguin… Way too involved for my taste.

2. These penguin snacks. Yes… I admit they are cute.

Off to Hobby Lobby I went. Snagged the candy eyes and dark chocolate melts from there. At Hyvee, I grabbed nanners and dark chocolate m&m’s. Four ingredients… Simple right? Seriously this is easy… I don’t normally like fru-fru looking snacks and this took all of 20 minutes max. My time is probably longer with a crazy pre toddler running wild.



The recipe is on the blog mentioned above. I found using a butcher knife was way easier for chopping the candy. Make sure an adult does this. Freeze and enjoy!! *I made a small batch of these, wouldn’t recommend letting these stay in the freezer for more than a couple of days.


I clearly got bored with just orange… mix up the colors. Why not? Also, these eyes remind me of Hay-Hay. Clearly I’ve been watching too much Moana.




JUNKSTOCK : Omaha’s Greatest Event

omaha, Shopping, Travel, Uncategorized

If you love antiques, handmade goods, music & food… Junkstock is the place to be. It’s the first event I went to when transitioning to Omaha and fell head over heels for it. They hold the 3 day weekends over spring, summer, and fall. I am typically found at 2/3 events. This is by far my favorite event that is specific to Nebraska.

200+ vendors, 20+ food trucks, an impressive line up of bands all weekend… There truly is something for everyone. Junkstock has moved to Sycamore Farms just an exit or two up from the original location. I feel like they are constantly growing and evolving this event. Traffic this season was a million times better vs the fall. Way easier to get in and no long wait to get out… the ticket line even died down. I still would recommend purchasing tickets in advance, save a couple bucks and time getting in. They do cut this off about a week out from the event, otherwise you can purchase at the gate. Kids 12 and under are FREE! Parking is also FREE.

There are a bunch of booths that they’ve organized into areas – 13 total. Makes it easy to navigate if you are looking for your favorite vendors. Some are outdoors, some are inside really cool barns or horse stables. The experience walking around the farm, doesn’t get anymore creative than this, Im tellin ya! I tried to capture as much as I could to fully give out-of-towners the feel of the event, but it just doesnt do it justice without being there. I often refer to it as ‘my Christmas morning.’

As you can see, handmade goods all the way to repurposed furniture, and my favorite the antiques. Look how gorgeous this giant hutch is. Apologies for the poor pictures, it’s literally impossible to get views without people, it’s just a busy event 🙂 If you do purchase a larger piece, the “Junk Hunks” haul it to a pick up tent outside of the event where you bring your ticket to them and they help you get it in your car. Smart right!?

For kids, they have bounce houses, face painting, this year the pony rides were in a covered area so we took a break for this. Mila was insanely thrilled, her first time on a pony and her giggles were well worth the 5 bucks. Stella was insanely sweet and the man running the pony rides was incredibly kind and welcoming.

Junkstock and their vendors really go all out with the decorating here, this fun teepee tent was a new feature!! Theres plenty of picturesque spots waiting for you and your family. This year this new barn was opened up for the first time, loved how spacious it is!!! Junkstock always sells their gear and had set up right in the middle of it!

So,  goodie time!!! Tried to grab cards when I saw them, but forgot a couple. The Chipped Cup had a ton of handmade shirts, headbands, baby clothes etc. Snagged a set of these very soft t-shirt headbands. Getting to meet fellow Etsy Sellers, is one of my favorite parts of going to Junkstock. The second picture is a cake platter I found for 15 bucks. I’m planning to start a collection, so far I have 5 or so (ha) work in progress here.

Ok, girl squeeeeeeeel. The above items are from a vendor I found last fall. Happy Handmade Co is the name, the lady designs and sews herself. I snagged a fall dress and Christmas dress from her last season. Religiously follow her on Instagram and she happened to recognize my crazy ass on Saturday haha! Bought these adorable shorts and Easter romper from her. I can’t get enough of her things, they are so well made and are just about the only thing my frugal self will splurge on for my babe.

I found this one vendor that had these cute state key chains, snagged one of course to remind me of home!! Second picture is the famous Junkstock stage… They have all sorts of eclectic seating around and it makes it so home-y… love the feel of it. At the end of all this, had to get a drink in the beer garden. All the walking and chasing a toddler, it was well over due.

One thing I am really pumped for, my biggest success of the day — I found a shop that hand makes corbels. Giant, chunky, scroll corbels. Forgot a picture of these beauties but will be ordering from these craftsmen soon.



  • Bring Cash, ATM is on-site… Some vendors take CC 
  • Bring a stroller or wagon, even if you don’t have kids it makes it easier to put all your finds in there vs carrying it all. 
  • Bring comfy shoes, sunscreen and water!

Junkstock Spring 2017, was an incredible time. Already ready for the next installment… Maybe one day, I will be lucky enough to be a vendor at one… who knows?

Peace, Love & Junk,


Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Baking, Cooking, Food, Uncategorized

When I was pregnant I had a Mexican hot chocolate for the first time, I fell in love. Chocolate with spices!? I had to tell everyone. Everyone meaning my sister and my best friend. HAVE Y’ALL HEARD OF THIS WARM MIRACLE DRINK BEFORE!? I was hooked. I love when food gets creative. When you are eating/drinking something traditional and get a hint of something odd and it makes you think, makes you wonder why it wasnt always made THIS particular way for all eternity.

So, speaking of cravings… When it’s that time of the month for me, it’s a mix of sweet and salty that I am needing… On top of the usual chocolate and all things bad. Go figure. It is also my Father-in-laws birthday this week and he likes spicy foods. In lieu of skipping the gym on Tuesday, ok… Monday AND Tuesday, for reasons mentioned above why not bake all the unhealthy things??

My Father-in-laws favorite cookie is oatmeal chocolate chip. I had the batter perfectly made and at the last second, decided to add in cocoa powder and all the hot spices and see what came of it.

Glory. Glory came of it. Well, the batter was incredible… after it baked it wasnt quite right, in that I couldn’t taste the spices as strongly and I knew where I needed to improve it. Round 2 came about yesterday and I altered a little too much and got the dreaded pancake cookies. Y’all, I wanted to cry because the batter tasted even better than the first but I didn’t chill my batter and used the wrong butter and sugar. (FYI if a recipe calls for brown sugar, use the damn brown sugar. Also, don’t use Kerry Gold butter in baking) Laugh at my mistake below. Go ahead, I’m giving you full permission.


The kicker is, even though I was annoyed… I still ate the damn pancake cookies off the tray with a spoon…. Okay, okay…. with my fingers. Not kidding, this batter is killer. So, I am selling myself out. I am not the worlds best baker, its obvious. I don’t have the patience, however… I do know flavor. For the life of me, I hate bland foods. So with a little trial and error, I eventually figured it out. I took a few different recipes and blended it together to my liking, some MHCC only have 1 or 2 spices, this wasnt good enough for me. The other recipes dont have oatmeal, I was wanting extra texture… because life is too short people. My tips for the worlds best cookies are below.

Any great baker will tell you, bring all your liquids to room temp. I will tell you, do the above but it’s ok to cheat. Honestly, who remembers to let these things sit out for hours ahead of time?? Besides Martha damn Stewart.

Cheat Code For Lazy Folk

  • Put buttah in a microwave safe dish, chop into cubes, heat in 15 second waves until room temperature 
  • Cold eggs – Hot tap water in a bowl or cup, place eggs in warm bath… Lush bath bomb optional (kidding, don’t be stupid)


(Authors Note : Dont get all healthy on me, use what this recipe calls for, kale me crazy… but it’ll be worth it)

  1. 1 stick of buttah
  2. 1 cup of brown sugar
  3. 1/2 cup of white sugar
  4. 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  5. 2 eggs
  6. 1 1/2 cups of flour
  7. 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  8. 1/4 cup of dark cocoa powder
  9. 3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  10. 1 teaspoon of chipolte chili powder
  11. 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  12. 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda
  13. 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  14. 1 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips


  1. Spray your cookie sheet, try not to salvate.
  2. Cream together your butter and sugar with your mixer, until light and fluffy. Add in your eggs and your vanilla. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl (boo dishes) add in your flour, oats, cocoa powder, cinnamon, chipotle chili powder, cayenne, baking soda and salt. Mix, mix, mix yo.
  4. Add your dry ingredients to your wet, mix only until combined, or the baking Gods will strike you with lightning. Gently fold in your chocolate chips. Cover your bowl and chill in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  5. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  6. Use a small cookie scoop to place the cookies on your sheet. Place 1 1/2 – 2 inches apart. This should make 2 dozen, if you are a hot mess like myself, you might not get a full two dozen. It is what it is, I don’t fight it anymore.
  7. Baking time may vary. Something I wish Pinterest would acknowledge, we all don’t have the same ovens or climates dagnabit. 9-12 minutes. These were done in about 9-10. WATCH these suckers. Theres nothing worse than a dry ass cookie. Except for a pancake cookie.
  8. Let cool on pan for a couple of minutes, transfer to a cooling rack.


These honestly, taste like a warm magnificent spiced brownie. I don’t know about y’all, but the perfect cookie for me is still soft on the inside and slightly gooey. YAAAS LORDT. Would be extra fantastical along side milk or coffee. Tell your friends, tell your wives. Post your results and thoughts on Instagram #BearfootMamaBanshee and follow me @leahnaomiii!!! Would love to hear what y’all think. Also, sweet drink coasters in the header can be found in my Etsy Shop. This set says Vino, Brew, Java & Agua.



Whisk + Measure

Breakfast, Food, omaha, Uncategorized

If there is one sure-fire way to make me REALLY happy… It’s exploring the city, by stumbling into a new food related place. This morning, we went to a second-hand cloth diaper sale, scored an exclusive BumGenius print (that’s out of production for 13 bucks!) called “Free Spirit.” How fitting to describe the day?? Followed by trading in some of my babes old clothes. As we were pulling into the parking lot at the second hand store, my husband spotted this adorable coffee shop. WE MUST GO!!!

The outside of this coffee shop, is so stinking charming. The whole strip has this really chunky molding, each shop having a different color. Whisk + Measure has this really gorgeous and welcoming green molding. IT basically entices you like Hansel and Gretel searching in the deep forest for bread crumbs…. Maybe, it’s just me… But, if you get near the door and have a whiff of their baked items, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

Y’all. Could this shop be anymore adorable?! I seriously muttered under my breath, “This is WAY better than Starbucks.” First of all, the insanely charming decor… Which, I am a sucker for. Bright open shelving, showcasing their most odd and amazing mug collection. No two mugs are the same. I have a mug collection of hand painted pottery myself, so this was probably one of my favorite details. They then have, not one but THREE displays of baked goods. It made me feel like a kid in a candy store.

They have a drink of the month, which happened to be a Nutella Mocha drink! Free coffee refills, Tyler clearly loved. Their menu is brightly displayed on this 3 piece metal design. Literally, every detail of this shop is precious. Down to my water being served in a mason jar, which made this southern girl very happy.

So the above, is one of their 3 bakery displays. Whoever does the handwritten signs, gets an A+… I’m a sucker for good handwriting, this just adds more of that warm charm. They also make all their items in-house!!! Little delicious bites, all the way up to full-sized cakes.

The 2nd picture, is their seating area which is very spacious… you will never feel cluttered here, also free WiFi. Lets talk more decor… Exposed painted charcoal ceilings, love. The medium sea blue epoxied floor… so shiny and really brightens up the space. Big giant, beautiful windows all around, bringing in the natural lighting. A warm reclaimed wood wall with touches of photography around the room, which are up for sale. My favorite thing, in this space, was these green geometric patterned felt pieces draped above. This easily and rightfully so, took my attention span away for a while.

So, what did we try!? First off, the left hand picture cracks me up. My 1-year-old could NOT wait to dig in. Even she knew the gold mine we had struck. Tyler picked white chocolate, raspberry quick bread. Which honestly tasted more like pound cake to me, either way, extremely moist and as you can tell… the babe loved it. They were serving 3 types of homemade mallows. (Peppermint, vanilla bean and espresso) Of course, I went with espresso. These were slightly tart, then very sweet… If you’ve never had a homemade marshmallow, you are missing out. 3rd, was the best macaroon ever. Peach mimosa. I mean, there’s nothing else to say… other than these people really know how to make a quality macaroon. Oh, and funky zebra cup, that kept us sweet company.

So, in summary… I’m obsessed. I’d like to move in, and/or work here… It’s that relaxing. Prices are extremely reasonable, way less than your typical chain coffee place. When we left, I was sure to tell two family members about this new hidden gem. It is worth the drive from our Elmwood neighborhood. Definitely a great place for a weekend pit stop, or to bring out of towners to.

Whisk + Measure 

2505 S 133rd Plaza, Omaha, NE 68144