never can say goodbye

We need to talk.

If you follow this blog then you know the following things:

>> I am seven months pregnant.
>> My husband is leaving town in a few weeks and will be gone until this baby gets here.
>> I am starting up an online business to sell my art prints soon.

What I have failed to mention on the blog is this:

>> I have enormous projects for my bookkeeping business that I have to get squared away before the baby.
>> It's getting harder to clean my house and stay on top of things.
>> I want to value our family dynamic before we add another little one.

A few weeks ago I could for see myself crashing hard. My plate is too full at the moment and something has got to give.

So, blog, it has to be you. Just temporarily though!

And it's not you, it's me. Really.

I still have a bunch of fantastic posts planned and will postpone them until my baby is here and I am feeling up to it.

I guess you could call this a maternity leave.

I do have some fun new plans for the blog as well as my shop and am hoping to have everything up and running for good come October!

So, I may pop in and say hello on occasion. I may not.

Just know that I am thinking of you ;)

Adios until baby (most likely).

**I will be posting on Instagram and Pinterest >> Links on sidebar.

**And when I am back in full swing I will catch you up on what happened while I was on leave. You won't miss a beat.

how to shred chicken like a champ

People--this has changed my domestic life.

Maybe this is old news to some but it's new to me! I'm actually kind of mad it didn't dawn on me sooner.

I don't like chicken chunks. I prefer my meat shredded. Typically, shredding is a lot of work so I tend to avoid it.

Not anymore!!

At the beginning of every week I boil my chicken breasts. Then I throw them in my electric mixer with the paddle attachment. Start slow here. Trust me--if you start out at a medium to high speed their will be chicken boobies flying all over your kitchen. You've got to work your way up to the higher speeds.

A machine shreds the chicken for you. It's beautiful, effortless, and oh so fast!

I sprinkle some salt and pepper on it, throw it in a bag and toss it in the fridge. I use it for lunch and dinner for the next few nights or so. Enchiladas, chicken salad, casseroles, green salads, pasta salads, anything really.

Super helpful in the kitchen.

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eat-up >> buttery apple crumb bake

This is my dish, y'all.

It's European. So fancy, I know (except it's not).

The real title is Swedish and I could never pronounce it. So in my immaturity as a high school student I started calling it "Apple Crap". Then my sometimes unorthodox family called it that too. They still do.

"Whatchya bringing?"

"Apple Crap."

"Oh good! I love Apple Crap!"

We're classy. I renamed it officially today. You're welcome.

And it's not so much an "apple crisp" like most Americans make dessert with their apples. Therefore I found it to be a unique treat that everyone loves. It's a crowd pleaser.

Did I mention it's easy? No? Well, it's easy.

Spray your pan with cooking spray (or butter it up). Peel your apples (I use Gala usually) and cut them up. I use one of these. They are life changing--and mine just broke. Whaaa. I like my apple pieces small. Bite size. And then sprinkle lovingly with cinnamon.
Crust time! I use to hate getting my hands messy but now I love it. Throw your butter, flour, and sugar in a large bowl and go to town mixing with your hands. Break up the butter and incorporate the flour and sugar well. It should form big crumbs. You don't want huge globs of butter because when you bake it it will just melt and lay flat. Some tricks I have learned over time: 1. make sure your butter is room temp--It's so much easier to get the right texture and size of crumbs. 2. Flour is key. Sometimes I will add more. The crust will stick to your fingers but it shouldn't be gooey sticky. If that's where you're at then add more flour a little at a time until the butter gets more separated.

Cover the apples with the crust and bake.

Easy and sooooo good. It's even more amazing with ice cream. But it's probably the best the next morning for breakfast....

FYI: Father's love this dessert. Just thought I would mention that with Father's Day around the corner ;)


Buttery Apple Crumb Bake

3 apples, peeled and chopped
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups butter, room temperature

1>> Preheat oven at 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch glass dish.
Add apples evenly. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

2>> In a large bowl, add butter, flour, and sugar. Mix with your hands 
until all components are integrated, the butter begins to piece a part 
and generous size crumbs form. Be sure that mixture is not too 
sticky-gooey--add more flour if needed.

3>> Cover apples with butter mixture. Bake for 30-45 minutes until 
golden brown.

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freebie >> food is love dinner tags

The thing to do these days in my neck of the woods (...or cacti...) is to have a baby. Almost all of my friends are having babies this summer or soon after.

It's pretty standard to bring your good friend some dinner after she has a baby. And it's a great opportunity to sneak in her house and get a chance to drool over newborn amazingness.

I decided I really wanted to make some little label or tag to write down any directions they may need to know about dinner--like what it is and how long it cooks.

I painted veggies for the first time. Super fun and very different than my usual style. The carrot is my favorite.

With no further blah-blah-blah-ing, I give you a free download of my Food Is Love Dinner Tags! 

They are intended to print on Avery Shipping Labels (#8163) which are  2"x4". If you don't have the labels, by all means print them on card stock and cut them out. Use some cute baker's twine and doll up your casserole!

Download here!

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hello monday


* Cacti in bikinis--only natural. And might I add that you will only find this kind of display in the retirement communities or trailer parks of the East Valley in Arizona. I'm proud.

* My sweet friend, Candice, organized a little lunch date for my besties and I to celebrate this little baby girl. I'm so lucky to have such great friends.

* Tyler went to Pennsylvania this week for a few days to take a mighty expensive exam. I told the kids to smile like they miss their Daddy--and they provided one of my favorite pictures of them to date.

* We had a quiet Sunday dinner at home with just my little family (usually we get together with extended family). It was great. I made Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Pies (recipe coming soon!) and I may have had seconds an hour after dinner...couldn't help it.


* Starting to freak out about my major list of baby prep--maybe I shouldn't have written it down...Hoping to tackle at least one thing.

* Father's Day shopping! Why is it so hard?!

* Lot's of painting and shopping for a printing company I like. Wish me luck!

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monthly {free} iphone wallpaper >> June's Roses

I am so excited about this little series I am doing!

Did you know that every month is represented by a flower? Neither did I. 

In case you haven't caught on, I kind of love flowers...a lot. I also love to paint flowers...a lot

So, on the first of every month I will be offering a free download of some wallpaper for your iphone painted by yours truly! Whatever blossom represents that month will be the theme of the painting. (And yes, I do realize I am behind on June...the idea came to me after the first.)

June's flower is the rose. The rose stands for love, gratitude and appreciation. 

I love you. I am grateful for you. And I appreciate here are some digital roses to make your phone extra happy this month.

Download wallpaper for iphone 5 here!
Download wallpaper for iphone 4 here!

If you are viewing this from your iphone:
1 >> Download the wallpaper using the links above
2 >> Take a picture of the screen with your iphone (press top button and home button together)--make sure the full image is in view.
3 >> Go to your photos and crop the wallpaper to the edges. Save.
4 >> Save as wallpaper.

If you are viewing this post from your desktop:
1>> Download the wallpaper using the links above
2 >> Email the image file to yourself
3 >> Open the email on your phone
4 >> Save the image to your phone
5 >> Find the image in your photos and select to save as wallpaper


I will be adding a link to my sidebar where all of the monthly iphone wallpapers will be hosted starting in July--so keep your eyes out for that!
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a little bit about flipping out and kindness

cannot find the source for this...sad.

I flipped out today.

It wasn't pretty.

After a morning of pregnancy symptoms setting me back, feeling inadequate when it comes to ...well...most everything, missing my husband who is out of state for a bit, struggling to get some of the "business-y" loose ends tied up so I can open my shop (someday!), a sink full of dishes, and toys literally on every surface of my home (seriously, they are even in my bed...), I snapped.

All because I stubbed my toe on one of those blasted toys.

I started getting after the kids about how they need to pick up their toys--saying things like "I hate toys!". Which sounds pretty funny as I sit here typing it out.

After the ranting came the sobbing.

The ugly cry.

Nora started scooping random toys into a pile on the floor (blocks, necklaces, princesses)...because that's the same as picking up I guess. She was mothering Byron to help pick-up.

Byron started singing our picking up song while he sat in one place and did nothing at all.

"Clean-up, clean-up, everybody everywhere.
Clean-up, clean-up, everybody do their share."

Apparently he thinks that if he sings his support then no one will notice that he is, in fact, doing nothing.

I think I have said this a million times but I am tempted to throw all of those toys in a massive pile and light a match to them.

Not really. Really, but not really.

Why is liquidating the toy chest so hard? I love seeing my children play--and whenever I get to purging I pick up an alphabet puzzle with the intention to get rid of it and then my mind is flooded with memories of Byron learning the alphabet super early in life and how proud and surprised I was. And then it's a hard choice.

90% of the mess in my house is toys.

And guess who is too pregnant and round to bend over a million times in a row in order to fix this mess? Me.

Hence the melt down.

I put my make-up on while crying my eyes out (really effective), loaded up the kids, and headed to Granny's house where friendly faces and fried fish awaited me. It really was just what I needed.

Later, Nora out of the blue said, "Mommy, are you happy now?" and my heart nearly snapped in two.

I hold such a responsibility to these children and the God that entrusted me with them.

I should never treat them so poorly.

They are my ultimate happiness and are so special. I am blessed to have them.

Kindness has been on my mind lately. It's crucial.

Yesterday I felt like the only person who was kind to me was the guy behind the fryer at lunch who gave me an extra chicken strip with a wink (I wanted to point simultaneously at my belly, wedding ring, and sloppy hair and ask him if he saw it all).

I needed kindness yesterday after another rough morning.

I thought how important it is to be kind to everyone because we really have no idea what they are facing.

And then the very next day I snap and let that whole concept fly out the window so easily.

Moral of the story >> Be Kind.

Everyone deserves kindness.

Even ourselves.