This is scary…

…But I’m feeling brave!

Something has been weighing on me to blog about for quite some time now. It’s taking a lot of courage to post this, but I’m done hiding myself.

I am battling major depressive disorder and severe anxiety. I’ve felt alone a lot the past couple years. I’ve felt helpless. Abandoned. Heartbroken. Defeated. Disgusting. Un-loveable. Hopeless. Undeserving. Ugly. Alone.

I have come a very long way since that summer when I was very close to giving up. But that doesn’t mean I’m all better – it means I have to work very hard EVERY SINGLE DAY to continue to get better. I’m not sure this kind of thing ever truly goes away.

I got some help, thanks to the guidance (and very firm pressure) from a far-away-friend whom I wish was my neighbor. She really picked me up and saved me, and I am going to be forever grateful to her. She’s an amazing, beautiful person.

What’s so ironic, is when you need support the most, it seems like most people pull away. That certainly contributed to my issues. My husband, while I could tell he had no idea what to do for/with me, was endlessly supportive and assuring. Without the two of them, I’m not sure I could be where I am today.

I found a lot of peace in finding God. Prayer helps tremendously. I’m so grateful to have found a church home. I’m getting better at reaching out to the right people and I’m done being ashamed of my diagnosis.

I am ME. I am exactly who I am, and I’m not going to be apologetic for it. Take it, or leave it.

My point is – when someone seems like they need it, don’t be afraid to reach out to them. Encourage. Love. Accept. Appreciate. Be kind. Kindness goes a lonnnng way. Whatever you do, try not to pull away. Don’t judge. That hurts the most.

I’m not going to be defined by my diagnosis. So here it is, all laid out for everyone to see (if they want to, that is…).

DIY Sharpie Mugs – dishwasher safe!

The DIY Sharpie mug is all over Pinterest lately. Loving personalized gift-giving, I had to try it too! I did a bit of research, and read other’s accounts of successes and failures before deciding to try it myself. What a perfect inexpensive, yet thoughtful, gift! I made them for my boys’ teachers.

I have tried scratching at the finished product after the oven baking, and again after a run through the hot, steamy dishwasher. The ink didn’t budge!! SUCCESS!

There seem to be a couple tricks. The first one is using the oil based sharpies. I believe the regular sharpies would work for something decorative that wouldn’t be through a dishwasher cycle, but for these I wanted to make sure they’d stand up to every day use.

The second trick is baking them hotter a tad longer. I went with 425* for 40 minutes, instead of the popular 350* for 30.

I bought a pack of two (gold and silver) oil-based sharpies at Michael’s with a 50% off coupon. Don’t you just love those coupons? The silver came out great. The gold turned into a bronze after being in the oven. I didn’t buy the cheapest mugs I found because I found a couple I really liked and wanted the wonderful teachers to as well. They’re Better Homes & Gardens brand from Wal-Mart. I couldn’t find the font I liked in their scrapbooking section, so I bought those at Michael’s (on sale for 40% off!).

Here’s some pictures of the process and finished products.


I washed the mugs thoroughly in hot water and Dawn. I dried them very well. Then I centered my letters, smoothing them with my fingernail to make sure they were on well.


I chose my marker and began dotting around the letters. You could really do any kind of pattern you like. I almost wish I found teaching quotes and used smaller letters. Maybe I’ll make more.😉


I let the mugs cure for 24 hours before baking, so they aren’t a super quick finish project, and it definitely took some time to complete the dotting.


Don’t forget to remove your stickers before baking! They came off quite easily, but make sure the paint is totally dry first.



We’re quite the Harry Potter fans around here… I had an extra mug so I thought I would make one to *ahem* test the durability…😉 The other side of the HP mug says “Accio Coffee”.

My boys were so excited by these mugs when they got home, I might just have to make them each their own personalized mug for Christmas too!!!

Chicken and Dumplings (homemade)

Ahhh. Is there a better comfort food than chicken and dumplings? My husband would say no!

I’ve discovered making them in the crock pot – I so love my crock pot. However, if you need them done faster, or crock pots aren’t your thing, you could also make this in a stockpot on the stove. It’s pretty much the same, except yours would be done faster.

Start with a whole chicken, giblets removed. Rinse and pat dry with paper towels (if desired). Make sure you’re using safe handling – no one needs to get sick! I rinse my sink with hot water a few times, then spray a disinfectant and let it sit before rinse, rinse and rinsing again!


1 whole chicken (if you don’t want to de-bone, you could use boneless chicken breasts, thighs, pieces, whatever. I’ve done it before and it does make it faster and less ick on your hands)

garlic, pressed or minced (I used about 6 cloves)

sea salt, about a tsp

2 chopped yellow (or any kind you’d like) onions

6 celery stalks, diced or sliced

4-6 carrots peeled and sliced or diced (if you’d like)

I season my chicken with McCormick’s roasted garlic and herb, a bit of bay seasoning, fresh ground black pepper… you can add or omit as desired. I don’t measure those, but I’m pretty generous with my seasoning.

4 chicken bouillon cubes


Place all ingredients in the crock pot, and cover with water until there’s about 1/2-1″ of space at the top. Cover and cook on high (low if it’s more than 6 hours). Once the chicken is cooked through (they make handy thermometers for making sure!), remove and place in a separate dish to cool. I turn the heat down to low on the broth during this time. Replace lid. When chicken has cooled, break into small pieces and return to crock. After that’s done, you’re ready for the dumplings.


2 cups of flour

1/2 tsp baking powder (I make my own so I don’t have any GMO cornstarch in it – it’s just a 2:1 of cream of tartar and baking soda)

1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

pinch of sea salt

sprinkle of ground garlic (optional)

2 – 3 tbsp butter

Just under 1 c of milk

Combine dry ingredients.

Cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender

Stir in milk until ball forms.

Drop small pieces (about 1/2 tsp) into broth, return to high and let cook another 20-30 minutes so it can thicken and cook the dumplings. Stir periodically.

Mmmm, salsa…

I am attempting to make salsa for the first time today! Here’s a before picture…



3 cups chopped tomatoes – I used one can of diced (all natural) tomatoes – 14.5 oz and one large, ripe, tomato
1 medium diced yellow onion
1/4 cup minced fresh(!!) cilantro – really must be fresh for best taste
2 tbsp fresh lime juice
4 tsp chopped fresh jalapeno pepper – I used one pepper, with the seeds out of half. Be very careful – I wore gloves for handling the pepper.
2 cloves of garlic, pressed or diced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper (I eyeballed this with my fresh grinder)

Mix them all together. Place in a blender (I love my Magic Bullet) and blend until you reach your desired texture. Refrigerate to allow flavors to meld. I love the lime tortilla chips they have now. Yum!

I didn’t measure all of this exactly. It isn’t very spicy so if you like more spice, you could add in another jalapeno or some of a Serrano pepper.

This is my first time making salsa. I think this is a great base recipe to add to, so if you’re feeling adventurous, go for it! My kids love salsa, but not spicy salsa, so I made this with them in mind – and how healthy all that is!! This is inspiring me to add jalapenos to my garden.🙂 YUM!




Banana Avocado Bread

Banana Avocado Bread

This recipe will make two loaves.


  • 4 large over-ripe bananas
  • 1-2 large ripe avocados
  • 1/2 cup of honey
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 2 tsp lemon juice (fresh is always better, but I’ve used the kind in a bottle when I don’t have a fresh lemon handy)
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder** (see note at bottom)
  • 1 cup of sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups of unbleached bread flour
  • 1 tbsp (more or less to taste) cinnamon
  • chocolate chips and/or chopped walnuts or pecans if desired

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Mash the bananas and avocado together in a bowl until well blended. One by one, add each of the other wet ingredients, one at a time. For the honey and oil, measure and add the oil first. Then measure the honey. It will slide right out of your measuring cup!

In a large bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients. Slowly add it to the wet ingredients while mixing (I use a stand mixer). Once all are well blended, fold in chocolate chips and/or nuts if you’re adding them in.

Grease two loaf pans. Bake 40-50 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before slicing.