Sunday, July 17, 2016

Family History Can Change Lives and Perspectives

I have had the goal of sharing a family history story per week with my family, ever since attending Roots Tech in February. We have been pretty successful. Last month, we had a family history barbecue night, and I invited my parents and siblings, as well as my niece Emily who doesn't live with her dad (my brother). 

This is a photo of our gathering from my Instagram account:

We finished up eating, and I shared the story of Alexander Hill Jr, who is a grandfather, who was born in Scotland, and was a sailor from a very early age. He sailed in, The Battle of the Nile, and The Battle of Aboukir, under Admiral Nelson, who is also a cousin on my dad's side, and a famous naval leader in Europe. We talked about how Alexander Hill Jr. and his family were given land to colonize in Canada, and were maple syrup farmers. They then joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and immigrated to the United States, first to Nauvoo, then walked the plains to Utah. Alexander took a shot in his leg during one of the battles, and walked with a limp his whole life, even as he crossed the plains.

Every time we share a family history story, I get out our giant fan charts, so I can show everyone how we are related to the person in the story. This night was no different. After we finished the story, my cute niece asked if she could take a closer look at the fan chart. She was very interested, and we spent a while talking about it, and the names of our ancestors listed on it. I told Emily I would like to get her a fan chart of her own, but didn't exactly know how to go about it.

About a week later, I got this message from Emily's Grandma Debbie, who is married to Lis' (Emily's mom) dad;

"Emily keeps talking about a relative from Sweden named Alexander Hill. Telling us a story about his leg. Could you maybe send me a copy of that part of the history, and a chart as to where he fits in the family line for Emily?"

I was bad, and totally dropped the ball on sending the story because I am usually just on my phone, and the story was on my computer. So today, I decided I would send the story.

Earlier toady, Emily's mom, Lis, posted a really cool video on Facebook, showing people finding out the countries from which their ancestral dna originates. I loved it, and shared the video as well. Lis and I were commenting back and forth. She told me that her sister, and dad both got their dna tested. She told me both her mom and dad were adopted, and they had no info at all in regards to her dad's ancestors, and she had only two names for her mom's birth relatives, the name of her Great Aunt Alice Hardman, who was a daughter to Thelma, and that was it. She had no idea of the year she would have been born, or of her grandmother's name. I offered to help find them if I could, and typed the names into I had no idea what would pull up, if anything, being that I knew so little, but I did know Lis' mom was born in 1959, so her grandmother would likely need to be born in the 1930's or 1940's. 

This is what I typed in:

Who was Levinah? The name was familiar to Lis.

I pulled up the census record. Here is Aunt Alice.

There she is again. If Alice was the Aunt, and Adelouise and Joy both died as babies, the only possibilities were Naomi and Levinah. Lis' grandma died when her mom was maybe 5-6 years old, so Levinah had to be the grandma! It was getting so exciting! I was Facebook messaging Eryn, Lis' sister, as well, trying to figure out how to make sense of it all.

Eryn confirmed that Levinah was indeed her mom's birth mom. I pulled up the profile for Levinah, and went into her family tree. Can you imagine my surprise, when I saw that the very Grandpa Emily was excitedly talking about on her dad's side of the family was also a grandpa on her mom's side of the family? I got chills. This happens all the time in family history, people being born to parents that are related. My husband and I are related in two ways, through both sets of parents. The thing I thought was amazing, is that this same grandpa that Lis and I are both related to happened to be the same grandpa whose life we had discussed at our family gathering, and in whom Emily was so interested. It wasn't some other relative that I could have shared a story about that day, it was Alexander. I believe in miracles, and that everything happens for a reason. This was one of those miracles. It was not a random happening. These grandparents are looking down on us, and they love us. 

I started sending photos to Eryn, and she told me her mom had never seen a photo of her birth mom, and I would imagine that if her mom hadn't seen one, she hadn't either. Thanks to Family Search, these daughters and grand daughters would get a glimpse of their genetic past. Isn't Levinah lovely?

Family Search contains numerous photos and stories that, I am sure, are all new to my niece and her mom and aunt. Faces looking back at them, hopefully making them feel connected. 

I got a little teary. I don't know how it feels to be adopted, or to place a baby for adoption. I don't know how it feels to not know the names of your birth parents or even your grandparents. I am sure emotions are mixed when you are faced with new information. All I know is I have felt, with assuredness, that my ancestors on the other side love and care for me. I know they are looking down on me and mine, and that they care. Yours are too. They are cheering us on, they want us to succeed. If one of my great grand daughters placed for adoption, I would still love that baby, no matter what. If I had placed a child, I would still love that child, for eternity. Our ancestors love extends through the corridors of time, to warm our hearts, and give us a sense of belonging.

Now for the question: 

How is this information readily available?
How can I help others find out who their ancestors are?

This information is made available by people who have the info on hand (like family histories, etc.), and have entered it themselves, and also by volunteers who Index. You and I can help by indexing. Indexing is entering information from various sources, like censuses, and other informational sources about people and significant dates and times, across the world. Once the info is loaded up to the internet, people like you and I, and my niece and her mom and aunt can access information about their past ancestors, and get a small glimpse into their lives, and learn how we are all connected. You can index for a few minutes or a few hours. You get into the indexing tool, by going to, and clicking on the indexing tab. It will walk you through the process.

Thanks for visiting today. These Family History miracles keep happening. They keep giving me chills, and they keep making my heart beat a little faster. They keep making me tear up. Sometimes they even take my breath away. I am thrilled to be a part of them. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative day,


Sunday, June 12, 2016

BOHO bedroom

My daughter has been hinting for months that she would like a boho style bedroom. She was showing me pins of macramé, and saying how she wants all sorts of plants in her room. THIS is her old bedroom, so it was going to be a big change. I felt like the emoji that looks like a deer in the headlights, the shocked face. You know the one...

This is not a style I have ever decorated before, and I didn't even know where to start! But, I have done my research, and come up with a formula, sure to help even the most confused mom, channel her inner gypsy, and give her daughter (or herself) the BOHO bedroom of her dreams! 

BOHO, short for Bohemian, named after a group of people that inhabited present day Czech Republic, and were known for their gypsy lifestyle.

These are the 5 points that will help anyone achieve that gypsy feel.

1) WHITE WALLS - the detail for a boho style room comes from accessories, which will be rich in detail and full of texture. Paint your walls white, and avoid wall treatments, unless they are structural features, like exposed brick. White walls will brighten the room, and the bohemian decor will help the white not feel stark and cold.

2) USE LARGE SCALE WALL HANGINGS - We are seeing these all over the place, especially Urban Outfitters. They call them Wall Tapestries. I happened to have a Mayan Calendar tablecloth that we picked up in Mexico years ago. It was a perfect fit for the space.

It actually feels nice to move on from the collage wall, and still make an impact on a large wall with a statement piece, rather than lots of small pieces grouped together. 

Yes, that is a record player. We have had a blast with it! My daughter and my mom have bonded listening to old records that my mom had saved. I am lying on the floor, and listening to ABBA on vinyl as I type. My husband is confused my the record player, and got it for her anyway. He's a good dude. She has apple music, and can listen to anything on demand. But, there is something about hearing it on vinyl that makes you smile. She and her friends have had a blast with the records as well.

3) USE WOOD AND NATURAL MATERIALS  - I found this headboard at Ross for $39! Its not really a headboard, but a room divider. Think outside the box for what you use as a headboard. They range from $200-$600 online. This is really the centerpiece of the room, and adds so much interest with its dramatic height, and intricate detail. The thing that is so fun about it is that we turned her twin mattress sideways, and it feels like a couch, and opens her room up SO MUCH! She is now hanging out in there with friends, where she never did before we changed it up.

4) DECORATE WITH ITEMS FOUND IN NATURE - including shells, crystals, plants, rocks. They bring an earthy feel, and just look cool! Geodes and crystals have been hard to find in the past. I have always loved them, and am a rockhound at heart. They are becoming more mainstream. I even saw geodes at Target the other day. I also like to find them at stores like Homegoods and Marshall's. Look at these AWESOME knobs I found at Hobby Lobby! Crystal and agate in knobs make me so happy!  

I swapped out the top row of knobs on her ikea dresser for abalone inlaid knobs. Also form Hobby Lobby. I spray painted the bottom knobs gold. I can never escape the gold.

See the sea shell doubling as a jewelry dish? That was a shell that belonged to my husband's grandmother. I love having sentimental pieces in my decor.

I mentioned she wanted plants everywhere. She had been wanting me to tie some macrame plant hangers, but we found them at Target in the yard section, and liked them better. 

We like plants that don't need much attention. Snake grass, and cacti are our go-to plants for impact without maintenance. See the cool salt crystal? My daughter loves it, and thought I bought it for myself when I brought it home. She couldn't hide her happiness when I told her it was for her room.

5) ADD TEXTURE IN LAYERS - The lights hanging on her headboard are from the target dollar section. She loves them. When I first saw macrame come on the scene, I wanted to get far away from it. Same emoji face. I didn't like it, and thought I would NEVER put it in my home. Well, I am eating my words. We made two pieces for her room, using yarn, and sticks from outside. We just googled simple knots. They add texture and interest, and make me feel five years old again.

She loves them, and that's all that matters.

Most boho bedrooms have the mattress on the floor, with no bed frame, and no need for a dust ruffle. We couldn't quite go that far, and stuck with the bed frame - her choice. It is hard to find a day bed style dust ruffle, so I had to get creative. I got an old tablecloth at Goodwill. I cut it in half, and wrapped it around the box springs, letting it pool on the floor. Bed Bath and Beyond has these cool bed pins that twist right into the box spring to hold things in place. 

I see lace valances in second hand stores all the time, that would be perfect as dust ruffles. None of them spoke to me for her bed, but that would be a great option as well. I love the texture, interest and originality the lace brings into her room. The randomness of the placement of the lace helps it feel not stuffy or frilly. 

The other thing that is not authentic boho, is that we have pillows intentionally placed, and her bed is made. Most pics I saw of boho bedrooms had disheveled bedding, and not many decorative pillows. I just can't do it. Insert laughing until you cry emoji.

Her room is, "rad," from every angle - her words. Every time her friends come over, they all tell me how much they love look and feel of her room. I always find it interesting when they comment on the feel and the mood. That is just what I was hoping/trying to achieve, an overall light, and chill atmosphere.

I'll be sharing my son's room next. It's also really cool and desert themed. Be sure and check back!

Thanks for stopping by. 

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kid Tested, Mother Approved - Paka Blueberry Muffin Mix

In the last year, I turned 40. I kind of had a midlife crisis and decided it was time to take control of my health and my weight. I lost the weight on my own, by doing a couple major dietary things, and many, many other small things. People ask me all the time, what I did, and how I did it. These are the two major dietary things I changed: 

1) I cut out all processed sugar (I did eat fruit.) 
2) I cut out all grain flour. I am not gluten intolerant, but had noticed that bread made me feel and look bloated.

Cutting out sugar is hard! If I had known about this company, it would have made my weight loss process much more bearable. I'm not gonna lie. I may have cried a few times when I was detoxing from processed sugar. I am so glad I have found Silver Fern Brand now, for maintenance. These baking mixes meet my two main criteria, no processed sugar, and no grain flower. They provide so much more than that! 

I was recently provided with a couple Paka Baking mixes, by Silver Fern Brand

I decided to try out the Blueberry Muffin Mix. The first thing I noticed when I opened the box, was that the mix filled the bag all the way to the top. It was fluffy, and smelled good! The muffins take two ingredients, 1/2 cup room temperature unsweetened applesauce, and 3 large room temperature eggs. Easy as can be.

It looks like a regular muffin mix when all the ingredients are combined. And, are those whole round blueberries, not just blueberry flavored dehydrated apple chips? Yes my friends, they are! All the ingredients in these baking mixes are all natural.

The muffins bake for 12 minutes, and remain in the muffin tin until they are completely cooled.

These muffins are a perfect balance of fluffy and dense. They are very moist, but not greasy! They are perfect muffin consistency. The flavor is amazing, and does not have a hint of a chemical flavoring, or a funny aftertaste. See the beautiful blueberries? I was thinking I would take a couple to healthy girlfriends on my street, but I am feeling a little greedy, and want to keep them all for myself! 

There are a couple things in these baking mixes, combined as a whole, that I have not seen in other mixes. 

1) Whole Algal Flour - This is rich in good fats, and not bioengineered whole food, and gluten free. It is made from a microalgae strain that was found in Holland, cultivated in Brazil, and processed the US. They have searched the world over, to bring us the very best in nutrients. 

 2) Acaia Gum - This is a prebiotic (promots a healthy gut) improves the way the muffin feels in your mouth.

3) Kakato Sweetener - this is not hard on your teeth, is also a prebiotic, is low glycemic, and has 2 grams of dietary fiber per serving! Who couldn't use a little more fiber?

What's a prebiotic? Prebiotics are new to me,  and I recently learned that they feed probiotics. They aid in the absorption of calcium and magnesium. They help triglycerides in your blood stay at a lower level. They also help your immune system. In a nut shell, they promote overall good health!

Every ingredient in these baking mixes is intentional, and serves a purpose. None of the ingredients are there just as a filler. Even the sweetener contains fiber!

These muffins don't crumble when you eat them. They have a great taste, texture, and overall look.

My last test was on my husband and kids. My two oldest have been going without processed sugar since January 1 of this year. They are doing it to earn some money at the end of December. They will each earn $200 if they can go a whole 12 months without. Can I take a moment and brag, and just say that my 11 year old son dropped 19 pounds in two months, by cutting processed sugar, and increasing his activity level? We are so very proud of him. We did not say a word about his weight when we started this process. The weight loss was just an added benefit, and he feels like a million bucks! 

Processed sugar is not healthy. Processed Sugar is not necessary. We function better without it. End of story.

My kids were SO EXCITED to try these muffins, and I didn't feel like they were cheating on their, "no sugar challenge," by having one, because of the amazing nutritional benefits. They all gave the muffins a, thumbs up!

My husband was a little reluctant to try one. He has never been a fan of low and no sugar, and low fat baked goods. After the kids had theirs (and were asking for seconds), he asked me if they really are good. I told him they are, so he tried one. Our youngest asked him how he liked it. He said, "They are pretty good." He took another bite, and said, "Actually, they are really good! Wow! What's in these, babe?"

I give this Paka Blueberry Muffin Baking Mix my seal of approval! I hope you'll try them out!

This post was sponsored by Sliver Fern Brand.
The opinions expressed are completely my own.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy, Creative and Healthy Day!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Sanctuary Book Review

I recently received a copy on the new book, Sanctuary, Essential Wisdom for an Inspired Home, from the amazing Interior Designers at, Liv Showroom.

At first, I thought it might just be a book full of pretty pictures. It is full of pretty pictures, and it is so much more!

It is a guide for making your home a sanctuary, and creating feeling, rather than just pulling pretty things together. The book addresses Structure, Atmosphere, Expression, and Reflection in the home. 

This book has given me great direction for  a few projects I have coming up, including decorating my kids bedrooms. Each of my children have very different personalities, and I want to create a different feeling in each of their rooms, and create for each one of them, their own personal sanctuary. 

Besides practical advice, the book also provides you with yummy photos, that make you want to really think about, work on your space, and design with purpose. These are a few of my favorites, but they have photos and suggestions for every style.

A section of the book I really enjoyed, addresses the atmosphere you are trying to create in your home,

and the use of light.

You can get your own copy of the book here:

It even comes for your kindle! If you choose to buy using the link above, it helps support me and my blog.

Thanks for stopping by!

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


How to use firefly lights!

Terarriums on Studio 5

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mini Easter Gardens on Studio 5

Today on Studio 5, I shared dead for mini Easter/Spring gardens. The following are links to the exact project.

Thanks for stopping by.

Have a Happy and Creative Day!


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