Cloth Diapering Milestone: Cloth Wipes Rock!

Plus recipe for DIY wipe spray/solution

I started cloth diapering not out of necessity or principle, but out of frustration. For a few days every time there was a poopy diaper, it was a blow out; not just any blowout either. Each diaper failed at the waist in the back and inner legs, getting poo all over.

These poo-tastrophe diapers pushed me over the edge. I was ready to try anything to contain these eliminations. I’d been sitting on a stash of flat diapers and pocket diapers just waiting for a reason to use them. Some washes, a Snappi, and a few YouTube videos later, Porter was sporting a fun cover and *ahem* expertly folded flat diaper, just living his baby life in natural fibers.

Immediately, we used cloth and disposables about equally, but a few days in we were using cloth 24/7. We soon ran out of the regular wipes we always used for diapering. Matt defeatedly offered to run to the store. Ever one to take on unnecessary projects, I proclaimed that I was going to use CLOTH WIPES! Matt had a look of subdued skepticism, but asked if I had what I needed. *Swoon*

A requisite scroll through Pinterest to research bolstered my confidence in my ability to add another layer to my already multifaceted cloth diapering system. Apparently, all I needed were cloths soft enough for baby booties, large enough to cover your hand, but also small enough to store in large sets. Not everyone in the blogosphere insists on using wipe spray, but plenty sites did, so I figured that I might as well make spray and go the distance.

What is wipe spray? This spray takes the place of the liquid chemicals in commercial wipes. I prefer to use a spray and dry cloths instead of prewetting cloths. Some people get really fancy and fold their wet cloths in a way that they “pop” up in succession like traditional wipes in boxes and keep them in wipe warmers. It’s like a spa treatment, not a butt wipe. I have read some experiences with wet wipes becoming moldy if left too long. I’ll pass on that, thank you.

I ended up creating my own spray combination because I had to substitute for pretty much every ingredient the how-to’s recommend. I’ve had great success with my spray. The secret ingredient is Young Living Seedlings Baby Oil. The “calm” scent is heavily lavender and makes a soothing baby oil. I even use it when I get a kitchen burn; it helps pain, swelling, and blistering.

Making the spray is extremely easy, with only 3 ingredients. This recipe makes about 16 oz. You need:

  • 1 16oz spray bottle
  • 2 Tbsp clear baby wash Opaque kinds separate and look kind of like an abandoned science project in this mix.
  • 2 Tbsp Young Living Seedlings baby oil “Calm”
  • 2 cups warm water

Add all ingredients except water into spray bottle. Slowly add water. Put the cap on tightly, give the bottle a good shake, and grab some wipes! If you plan on spraying directly onto Junior’s bum, set the nozzle to mist or wide spray. Nobody wants to be shot in the butt with a spray bottle set to stun. If you are just too extra, you can put your bottle in a bottle warmer or a cup of hot water (or tea or coffee) to warm it up pre-spritz.

What have you used when you’ve been out of wipes? Or even toilet paper?


Transitioning to Tiny

Matt started construction on our tiny house conversion on Christmas Eve 2017. He had originally estimated needing 3 weeks once our tax return came in to fuel the project. Now, mid April we are still finishing painting, laying tile, and installing shelves.

These four walls became our home early March as soon as there was a floor and the door locked. We think we are about 85-90% finished with the *initial* build. We joke that we have to live here for “x” years in order to break even on our investment of time, energy, and funds. Every day we seem to come up with new projects and fixes. We are in it for the long haul.

Big Changes for a Tiny Life

It has been an adjustment to basically halve our living space and confront all my baggage (literally, like 90% of everything we own is mine and 90% of that came with me from high school). It has been easier than I thought to purge 26 years of junk. Most of my stuff has been hidden in closets, under beds, or under piles of clothes for years, so I didn’t miss it.

Some items have been more difficult to part with. Often, it’s a feeling of guilt that makes me question whether or not something should be tossed. I feel guilty for not using the item, guilty that someone gave it to me and now I am getting rid of it, guilty that I’ve neglected it, just guilty.

I read a great quote on Pinterest about sentimental clutter: no one wants the stuff they give you to cause you stress. If my feelings attached to items are negative, why do I want them? My mom didn’t give me this yoga mat so that I could look at it, remember that I don’t work out, feel guilty, and stress about whether or not she’ll know I haven’t used it. An item that was intended to help me relax is now a source of stress. Am I just hanging on to it so I can suffer for her sake? Like I’m justifying its presence and therefore clutter as penance? Suddenly organizing had become extremely introspective.

So far so good

This first month of tiny life has been extremely encouraging, though not easy. The studio-ish nature of our tiny house is not too much different than us sharing a one bedroom apartment. Even sharing a room in our old house, Autumn had a bed but always wanted to sleep in ours. Autumn again has her own bed and a “room” carved out in our tinyness. While her little nook is cozy and on its way to being princessified, Autumn still wants to sleep with Daddy, on the couch, or anywhere but her Big Girl Bed some nights. Not much has changed there.

Some positive changes have come from our new smaller lifestyle. Now, we can’t “send” Autumn anywhere but outside if she is too wound up, which is probably a good thing. Similarly, we can’t “take a break” or “get some space” anywhere but the bathroom or outside. Though it rarely happens, no one is able to storm off and pout. We are forced to communicate more effectively.

Autumn is never physically excluded completely. Her desire to be involved in everything gets met most of the time since she can see what is happening all through the house. Since Autumn can see everything from her bed, we can’t put her to bed and then stay up to watch TV. If we want Autumn to go to sleep, and believe me we do, we also have to turn in at the same time- for a while at least.

Going to bed at 8:30 when Autumn and Porter are sleeping has been wonderful for me! No, I don’t get anything done around the house in the quiet time after they are asleep. I am able, however, to muster more energy and patience during the day to accomplish the tasks I would have slogged through into the night. I don’t need to sleep when the baby sleeps anymore to be able to function throughout the day.

While I am eager to get more shelves and storage established, our first month of Tiny Life has reassured me that I CAN survive in a space without stuff. This transition period has been a great opportunity to purge our belongings as well as identify areas where we can streamline our lives. Even though our living space has been minimized, we are able to enjoy our time together as a family to the maximum!

Proverbs 31 Woman: The Wife & Mom I Want to Be

Since starting my new position as Domestic Engineer for our family, I haven’t found my groove. I am really struggling to find purpose, meaning, and worth in this new life. While I am a home body, I have never been particularly motivated to do any (like ANY) chores, planning, or crafts outside of my own random ideas. Since I had no mom friends, I looked to mom bloggers for ideas on how to be an excellent mother and wife, while also living a fulfilling and meaningful life.
I’ve been seeing lots of posts about “Being A Proverbs 31 Woman” so I figured, I’d crack open my Bible and check out this passage (Proverbs 31:10-31). I was impressed. The description of a Godly woman in Proverbs 31 is the PERFECT woman and wife. She is a supporter of her husband, a provider for her family, charitable and loving, but also strong and empowered.
This is a woman who is a great model for not only Christian wives, but all wives and mothers. This ideal woman is a far cry from the mousey, subservient one that I’ve always envisioned when pastors and Bible study groups discuss Godly women. She is someone who I would love to know and aspire to be. This passage is truly a turning point for me on my spiritual journey.

10 Virtues of a Proverbs 31 Woman from

I had avoided churches and religion since I was a teenager. I never quite felt that I fit in or that the messages taught were even applicable to my life. Understanding and believing in God, Jesus, and the Holy Ghost, and salvation through Jesus’ atoning sacrifice were easy to swallow and understand. Teachings of life-living and the dreaded “when you’re married” lessons were where they lost me. What 15-year-old wants to be submissive and silent to a hypothetical husband?
In my home growing up, my parents’ marriage was unhealthy and abusive. My model of marriage and family was not anything near the fantasy tales of ideal relationships. The way I had seen it, marriage and family was an “every man for himself” kind of game. While my brother and I received plenty of love, we weren’t shown a loving marriage.
Here I am, 3 years into motherhood, desperately wishing that I knew how to be a loving wife, mother, and productive Keeper-of-the-Home. I’d shied away from potential mom friends since I was pregnant. All were nice, and though we shared experiences like young motherhood, breastfeeding, and locale, there was no “spark” or potential for a lasting friendship.
The few early twenties moms like myself don’t share my holistic and homesteader ideals, but at the same time “older” moms treat me like a child, a project that needs guidance and OBVIOUSLY can’t be doing a good job because of her youth. I needed to expand my horizons and seek fellowship with moms and families that I can share experiences with and seek guidance from. But where are these mystical unicorns of families? We live in rural suburbia, where people work, watch high school football, and go to church!
Here in Fallbrook, there is a whole section of town saturated with churches: Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, Mormon, and 3 Baptist churches, mostly on the same street. Since joining the LDS church, I have met so many moms and wives that embody the Proverbs 31 woman. I love that the Church encourages equal partnership between husband and wife. Now, I am surrounded by families that exemplify unity, shared responsibilities, and place value on homemaking and motherhood.
Am I a Proverbs 31 woman yet? No, not really. My house is messy, I’m exhausted with pregnancy and chasing Autumn around. I am, however, more confident in my abilities in the home and more driven to be an equal partner with my husband. I still strive to be a Proverbs 31 woman, not *for* my husband or anyone else, but for myself.

Knitty Gritty: Cable Knitting Demystified + Pattern

I LOVE to knit! I have been in a good groove where I finish projects instead of starting them and abandoning them after a few days. I have been on a cable knit kick lately. Cable knitting looks impressive and complicated, but it’s really not hard at all!

This technique is a great way to kick your knitting up a notch from basic purl and knit patterns. Cable knitting has many applications from apparel, blankets, and even Christmas ornaments. Cables can be knit flat or in the round (which is ultra convenient because you never work wrong side rows!) making them a go-to for adding texture and flair to socks, which is my personal addiction.

It surprises me how many people are put off or intimidated by cable patterns. Maybe it’s the charts or the addition of a cable needle that seems overwhelming. Reading cable charts is easy once you get a feel for common cable stitches and common symbols used in charts. Additionally, cable patterns can be written out in word form for those of us that prefer text to charts.

My Favorite Cable Knitting Pattern

Let’s check out my favorite beginner’s cable pattern. This pattern is adapted from this blog with corrections made to get the cables right. This pattern is a great starter cable project because it has mirrored cables and repeats throughout. Once you knit the 2 cables a couple of times, you won’t even need to look at the pattern.

Cable Headband Action Shot

While this pattern is made for a headband/ear warmer, it can easily be made into a scarf or even a band for a hat. (My hair is up in a bun or pony tail 99% of the time, so I like the headband style best.) This is a one skein pattern that isn’t yarn or needle specific. Use what you’ve got on hand.

cable headband chart


There are some errors in the chart that are fixed in the following written pattern:
Following the chart as written will probably give you a seed stich border, which is cool if you like that look
The cables are actually 6 stitches, not 5

*I end every row in a K stitch and slip the first stitch of every row to get smooth edges.*

CO 29 st

Row 1: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K3, C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 2 & 4 (back side): S1, K1, P1, K1, P1, K2, P15, K2, P1, K1, P1, K1, K1.
Row 3 (front side): S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, K15, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Row 5: S1, P1, K1, P1, K1, P2, C6R (3st onto cable needle hold back, K3, K3 off cable needle), C6L (3 st onto cable needle hold front, K3, K3 off cable needle), K3, P2, K1, P1, K1, P1, K1.
Rows 6-8: repeat rows 2-4

Up Close Look at the Cable Pattern

Repeat rows 1-8 until desired length. Seam edges together in preferred method. I pick up the CO row and kitchener stich the seam if I’m feeling fancy. Otherwise, I join the edges in whatever method feels easy.

Helpful Tip

For all cables using a cable needle, a left leaning cable brings the stitches to the front of the work. Right leaning cables bring the stitches to the back of the work. Knowing this little tidbit, you’ll be able to replicate cable patterns you like without needing a pattern and you’ll be able to make your oown cable patterns.

Have you tried cable knitting? Do you prefer charts or written patterns? Share any tidbits of wisdom you’ve acquired in the comments!

My High-Risk Pregnancy: 1st Trimester Recap

I am now 15 weeks along and in the 2nd trimester (hooray!) of my second pregnancy and first high-risk one. Thus far, I have had a completely different, and rather unpleasant experience than I had with Autumn.


Sick as a Dog Mom

With Autumn (3 years ago) I was blessed by not experiencing any nausea or vomiting (sorry) until 12 weeks, and then just a few days of discomfort. I spent the first trimester not feeling pregnant at all, except for tiredness and needing to pee a lot.

My luck has run out. I have been ridiculously sick round the clock with this little nugget. When I vomit, I have a seizure (which is not terribly abnormal) so on top of feeling “pregnant sick” I get the joy of also feeling “seizure sick” often.

I had to be seen in the ER last week because I wasn’t able to keep anything down for FOUR DAYS STRAIGHT. IV fluids and a prescription for Zofran has helped me battle this incessant nausea so I can actually eat… most of the time. So far, I’ve lost 10lbs since my first OB visit. No one is worried; I have plenty of extra chub to make up for the loss.

As my doctors and friends remind me, feeling sick is a very reassuring sign that a pregnancy is progressing and hormones are a-working. If I had any doubts that there is really a teeny tiny baby growing in me, they would be quelled by the 5 (yes 5) ultrasounds I’ve had so far.

High-Risk = TONS of Sonograms

Just hearing the little gallop of baby heartbeat on doppler is nothing like seeing your little nugget growing and actually seeing the heart as it beats. While I was pregnant with Autumn, I only had 4 ultrasounds throughout the entire unremarkable pregnancy. Now, as a high-risk mama, I get the FANCY equipment with 3D imaging and high-resolution every single visit.

I’ll admit, when I wasn’t feeling any flutters (they just started, yay!) I would wonder if things were really going OK in there. Having the opportunity to actually see the little nugget at every office visit has been so reassuring through this otherwise uncomfortable and stressful pregnancy.

Waiting for Relief

Now that I am in the “honeymoon trimester” I am anxiously waiting for the relief of my worst symptoms. It is nice to hear from family, friends, doctors, and blog moms that the best is yet to come. At he same time, it’s kind of frustrating to hear the fairy tales of bliss and happiness that I SHOULD be having, while I’m still living on the couch with near-constant migraines, on constant vomit watch, and unable to eat like a normal person.

This Too Shall Pass

I have to remind myself that even if it takes 9 months, I WILL feel better. I have tried several remedies for morning sickness and headaches (thanks again, Pinterest) all to no avail. I have accepted that Tylenol is my friend and use it sparingly. I recently started magnesium supplements, but the jury’s out on its efficacy. I’m still searching for my miracle cure or the magical moment of 2nd trimester relief. I’m happy that my illness and discomfort is all proof that I’m growing a tiny human, which is the best reason to be sick.

Do you have any awesome suggestions for general pregnancy malaise? Have you had sickness that went beyond the 1st trimester? How did you cope?

SOAP and Scripture Study

“Read your scriptures!” this statement is probably the 2nd most common admonition in the LDS Church (second to “pray always”). When I was considering baptism and a SUPER new convert, I read my scriptures nearly around the clock. One day, about halfway through 1 Nephi, I realized that even though I had read the pages, I could barely describe the events, let alone the spiritual significance of Lehi’s family fleeing Jerusalem. I knew I needed to find a better method for actually studying my scriptures; the message and personal meaning needed to break through.


A quick Pinterest search for “Scripture Study” will reveal countless posts on flash cards, study guides, and Bible Journaling (which is awesome and totally on my list of things to try), but one suggestion pops up frequently: SOAP.

What? What does soap have to do with scriptures or studying? SOAP is an acronym: Scripture, Observation, Application, and Prayer/Ponder. SOAP is a great tool to break down important passages and verses that just stick out to you. Let’s see it in action…


Scripture: What is the verse/passage that you are struck by?

“I will go and do the things which the Lord hath commanded.”—1 Nephi 3:7

Observation: What is happening? Why does this stick out to you?

Nephi follows Heavenly Father’s commandments, even though the task is hard and he is discouraged by his brothers

Application: How does this verse apply to my life?

The commandments given by Heavenly Father to His church and Saints can seem overwhelming and unattainable. I know that we are never asked to do more than we can; we must try to follow the commandments, even when we don’t think we can.

Prayer/Ponder: Pray on the passage, ponder-ize its meaning and how you can incorporate the scripture into your life. Get personal, honest, and on your knees before Heavenly Father

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for the blessings of your words through the scriptures. I want to be more courageous and valiant in my testimony. Help me to stand for my faith and follow your commands without hesitation. Let the Spirit flourish in my heart that I may hear your promptings and act in faith. Help me to walk in righteousness so that I may always have the companionship of the Holy Ghost. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ, amen.

Hit the (Good) Book

SOAP works for all forms of scripture study, not just in the Book of Mormon, as shown here. You don’t have to get crazy deep with it, but being true and honestly reflecting on what the verses mean to YOU will make your study more meaningful, help you memorize, and fulfill the purpose of having God’s word on Earth: to learn.

SOAP can be adapted to “normal” study as well. I don’t have a fancy acronym for secular applications, but using the basic premise of Read, Summarize, Apply, and Reflect can help make any topic (even in math!) sink in a little deeper with some critical thinking.

Do you have a study method (faith-based or not) that helps you think critically and more deeply about reading materials? Do you struggle with reading comprehension or other barriers that a study method has helped with? Share your ideas!


My High-Risk Pregnancy: Week 4

Change of Heart

After Autumn was born I struggled with Post Partum Depression and began having seizures. I was put on medications, had to stop nursing and lost my Driver’s License. I was devastated, scared, and certain that I would never be physically, emotionally, or mentally ready for another child. I had all but decided that Autumn would forever be a Singleton. Slowly (very slowly) I began to miss the baby days.

At the beginning of this year, Matt and I began discussing the possibility of adding another member to our family, addressing my fears about the potential impact my health and medications would have on a fetus. We were able to separate my irrational fears from the actual medical concerns that surround epilepsy and pregnancy. In March, we decided that we were ready to have another baby, like ASAP.

I was able to go off of my most risky medication and was given some much-needed reassurance from doctors that more than likely I would be able to have a safe, healthy, yet high-risk pregnancy. The odds were in my favor. We were ready!

Big Fat Positive

I woke up on Monday morning feeling off. I had a weird dream (which is especially odd for me since I don’t often remember my dreams) and felt uncharacteristically sick, like I had the stomach flu. Something inside me knew that I was pregnant.

Conveniently I had a pregnancy test in the medicine cabinet. While Matt and Autumn were still waking up, I took the test. I anxiously watched the dumb little windows on the test and had to pinch myself when I saw the oh so faint line in the “Pregnant” window. I double checked the instructions to make sure I read it correctly. I did. I was almost speechless when I showed Matt the test. We had a Big Fat Positive.

We went to the Women’s Health clinic at my doctor’s office to confirm my test results. I was dated about 3 weeks 3 days along, just barely pregnant. I guess I’m really good at knowing when I’m pregnant; with Autumn I knew around 5 weeks. My Estimated Date of Delivery (EDD) was placed around February 3, 2018.

It’s Really Happening

After we told our parents and siblings, there was business to tend to: I need to find a Maternal Fetal Health specialist that accepts my insurance, can see me before my 6 week mark, and isn’t terribly far from our little rural town outside of San Diego. That’s a pretty tall order.

I have been oddly comforted by the annoying queasiness, food aversions, and mood swings (sorry Matt). These symptoms remind me that there’s really a bun in my oven. Since I’ve already been pregnant, I feel way more prepared and ready to face the special obstacles that my high-risk pregnancy carries.


Risky Business

All pregnancies where the mom has active seizures (like me) are considered high-risk, as well as pregnancies where the mom is taking medications known to pose a risk to the growing baby (like my mom had with my brother and me). I will be monitored more frequently than “normal” moms, need more invasive tests, and likely not have all the options for delivery that are offered in low-risk pregnancies.

This time around, I am more focused and dedicated to being the healthiest vessel for my little baby-to-be. I need 5 times as much folate as a typical mom, I need to practice the best self-care I can, and commit to regular exercise. Following these recommendations will help reduce risks caused by my medications, prevent seizures, and help me carry to term.

Heavenly Father cares for all His children, born and unborn

T-Minus 9 Months

Here I stand, at the beginning of a 280 day journey to meeting our new baby. I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared. Though the statistical odds of me having a healthy, event-free and full term pregnancy are in my favor, the usual concerns of birth defects and other average complications are always in the back of my mind. I try not to dwell on the negative possibilities, especially those related to my unique condition.

I am doing, and will continue to do, everything in my power to give our baby the best chance at a healthy start. I can only control so many factors and worrying about “what ifs” can’t do anything for me other than stress me out. I am educated about the potential risks of my medications and have considered with Matt what these scenarios would mean for our family. The only thing that really matters is having as healthy a baby as possible and providing the love and care that our baby needs.


Sunshine After Rain

My Post Partum Depression Story

New & Expecting Mamas, I’m sorry to be another person to cast a dark shadow on the beautiful, bright, Norman Rockwell fantasy motherhood scenarios many of you may dream of sharing with your new bundle of joy(s). We need to talk about the very real, very scary, and for some reason very stigmatized boogie man: Post Partum Depression (PPD).

I’m not here to preach about PPD as a sickness from a clinical perspective, but to open up about my experience, struggle, and journey to health again. I hope that creating more public dialogue about our experiences with Post-Partum Depression, more mothers will come forward to seek early help without fear.

Beyond “Baby Blues”

Seriously ladies, babies are exhausting! Even the most energetic and resilient moms will have moments where they feel overwhelmed and exhausted, especially at 2am when Jr. just won’t stop crying or feeding. “Baby Blues” are temporary and maybe a trip to Starbucks with a friend, or letting Grandma get her wish of an afternoon with the new baby “So you can sleep, honey,” can help relieve your exhaustion and fortify your spirits.

PPD is so much different. When your crying just won’t stop, you always feel desperate, inadequate (though all mothers feel inadequate periodically), never attached to your baby, empty, numb- not feeling anything at all. These are all indications of PPD, though many other signs can identify this complex condition. Most seriously, anger and suicidal ideation can manifest in Post-Partum Depression. These are never symptoms to ignore. Seek help immediately if this describes you.

Precious Moments Lost

Autumn was born in October 2014. Immediately she had problems nursing. This was a crushing blow to my hopes for motherhood. The only thing that I wanted to do was nurse Autumn for the first year. Everything else I would play by ear. The entire hospital stay was a nightmare of painful feedings, unhelpful lactation consultants, and a feeling that Autumn was someone else’s baby that I was babysitting. *Red Flag!*

Things didn’t get any better when we got home. Her feeding problems persisted and it seemed like she nursed around the clock, but was never satisfied. My nipples were wrecked, she wasn’t getting as much milk as I was making, and I still didn’t feel like a mother. At her doctor’s appointment, she was checked off as gaining weight OK, but I didn’t feel like I was adequately providing for her needs. She cried ALL. THE. TIME. I felt so out of touch with her and hopeless.

I couldn’t handle it. Like, I literally dreaded the days that my husband worked night shifts and I had to brave the seemingly endless nights of painful feeding, constant soothing, screaming from her, tears from me alone. Who was I to complain? Innumerable mothers had valiantly swallowed their discomfort for the sake of their precious bundles of joy. Why couldn’t I buck up and take it like a mom? I felt so ashamed at my feelings of displeasure, borderline unloving, and straight up misery that I didn’t say anything and refused to acknowledge these true issues for months. Months of bonding, joy, and love with my baby were lost because I hid my depression.

Getting Help

After I went back to work, things didn’t improve. As a direct service worker for adults with disabilities, I worked very closely with medical and psychological professionals. After leaving a shift with a client who had a history of severe mental illness, I decided that I needed to get “checked out” for Post Partum Depression. (I think this was March 2015!)

My doctor’s visit wasn’t scary, shameful, or awkward at all. My doctor, (who is now my primary doctor, how cool!) a mom herself, was very compassionate and open about the prevalence of PPD. She did give me a bit of a finger wagging for not coming in sooner, but a concerned, loving one. I was so relieved to have more understanding, hope, and a reason for my feelings. medication and counseling were the best options for me and they helped immensely.

It’s a Journey

Since my original diagnosis of Post Partum Depression, I have “graduated” to Major Depression. That just means that my symptoms didn’t end after the technical Post Partum period. I’m ok with that. I am not ashamed; it’s just a sickness that needs treatment just like my epilepsy. I don’t love being on a bunch of medications for seizures and another for depression and anxiety, but I am beyond grateful to be in a place where I feel love, joy, connection, motivation, and like my daughter’s mother and my husband’s wife.

Power of Prayer

I can’t meditate. I just can’t not “talk” in my mind. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormon) and having a personal communicative relationship with my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ is deeply important to me. Prayer has become my meditation- meditation where I can talk.

I don’t ask to be “healed” in prayers, but I tell Heavenly Father what I’m feeling, the pain that I’m going through, and the anxieties I have. I try to focus on scriptures that empower me and remind me that through Christ’s Atonement He not only saved us from sins, but He felt every pain and affliction we have and ever will experience. Knowing that I am not alone in my pain nor talking to a “brick wall” is some of the best (and free) therapy ever.

Sunshine After Rain

Mama’s new, again-ers,  empty nesters, and everyone in between: let’s not continue to stigmatize and hide our individual stories of depression and mental illness wellness, post partum or otherwise. Speaking up and letting others know that they are not alone can create a closer community of sisterhood, healthy mother-baby relationships, and increase early access to behavioral health.

Take heart, the rain never lasts forever. Even the gloomiest places get pockets of sunshine. Love yourselves, love your babies and families, and know that you are never alone.

Wishing you joy,


Holla for Some Challah!

I have a confession: I can’t remember the last time my family bought bread in a store. In fact the only time we eat store-bought bread is at Sacrament Meeting at church.

Don’t get me wrong, we LOVE bread. We aren’t “that family” that gloriously lives on all things organic, non-GMO, farm raised, fair trade, and otherwise idyllic consumerism (if this is you, please email me and teach me your secrets!) We just love to bake, and have found a recipe that we love and just happens to be free of preservatives, additives, and is just darn tasty! (No judgement or any such other thing toward store-bought bread, y’all)

Enter Challah

I have had a lifelong love affair with Judaica and jewish traditions, especially the gorgeous braided Sabbath bread, Challah. Challah is an enriched bread, like brioche, with eggs. These impressive loaves look complex and intimidating to bake, but smell and taste divine and their slices have ideal texture for spreads.

I made my first Challah in Thanksgiving 2013 while living with my mom & brother and I was hooked. It was far easier than I had anticipated, much more delicious than I remembered, and our loaf disappeared far too quickly. I had to stop myself from baking another loaf so that I didn’t eat it (mostly) by myself again.

Family to Feed

Now that mom, dad, and baby makes 3 we eat a lot of food. Since I have been staying at home with Autumn, we are on one income and often looking for ways to save money. Autumn went through a period of only wanting PB&J for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and drained our bread supply quickly. Matt ran to the store every other day for bread a few times until we both agreed to stop the insanity. We’re both cooks, we’ll make bread!

I dusted off my trusty Challah recipe and tried it out in our new home in place of sandwich bread. We’ve never looked back (or bought bread). We are happy campers with Challah filled bellies.

My Challah Hottie

Aprallah Challah

2 tsp active dry yeast
1 cup warm water (under 110 degrees),
1/4 cup sugar,
1/4 cup oil,
2 eggs +1 yolk (reserve white for egg wash before bake)
4 cups flour + more for kneading,
2 tsp salt.

In a medium bowl, bloom yeast in water for 5-10 minutes until surface begins to foam. In bowl of stand mixer, combine flour & salt.  Add sugar, eggs and oil to yeast mixture. Using dough hook attachment, SLOWLY (on speed 1 or 2) pour the yeast mixture into the dry, moving back and forth around the bowl to evenly disperse yeast mixture. Knead for 10-15ish minutes until dough doesn’t stick to your fingers like bubble gum. Pull the dough of the hook at least twice during the kneading. Once kneaded, place dough into a greased pan in a warm place, I use a stock pot, and cover. Let rise until double in bulk. Divide and shape portions into long ropes for braid (can braid just like hair). Braid & let rise again for an hour. Brush with reserved egg white for color and shine. Bake @ 350F for 45 min until brown & hollow sounding when “knocked” on.

Get Baking!

I hope you love Challah as much as we do here in the Apra house. Please send me pictures of your loaves, ask me questions, and tell me your stories. This recipe is a great starting point to get creative. I like adding rosemary and other herbs for Challah rolls. Also, leftovers and ends make great french toast and stuffing. Wonder Bread has nothing on Challah!

Rising! Making Challah for my baptism

Wishing you joy,



Re-Meet the Apras

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Let’s Start Again

Hi! I’m Leah. I have some great recipes, crafty tips, and parenting shenanigans to share with you. I’m just getting back in the saddle after having baby #2, so please bear with me as I dust off the cobwebs.

Who are the Apras? We are a young family setting down roots in Sunny San Diego. We are at the beginning of a Tiny Living journey and are still downsizing all of our extras so we can fit the 4 of us into 200 square feet. Myself, my husband Matt, and our two offspring Autumn and Porter are learning to let go of stuff so that we can hang on to what really matters: Love, Memories, and Time Together.

Throwback to Thanksgiving 2015!

We love cooking, baking, and from scratch living. We aren’t totally hippies, but I do breastfeed, cloth diaper, and Baby Wear, so if you’ve ever wondered about any of those “crunchy” activities, I’ve got some stories to swap. This blog features some of our favorite family recipes, activities, and DIY adventures. Stick around and see what we are up to!

Wishing you joy,