Saturday, March 31, 2012

How to give up Starbucks but not the latte's

I am a coffee-aholic, in that I can NOT have just one cup everyday. My husband knows not to talk to me until I've have had my coffee or else he ends up talking to a very angry ZOMBIE! Hence, I have about 2-3 latte's or mocha's or several shots of espresso on a daily basis. We are not rich or even well off and could never think about affording a Starbucks habit.

When our coffee machine broke after 6 years of life it was time to spring for another one. We however are Mr. & Mrs. Cheap-o's. We refuse to spend full retail price, but we like to buy the best of the best. When we started researching coffee makers, we realized that we wanted an espresso machine so we could make those delicious Starbucks drinks we love but could not afford. We researched for 2 months, and found the top 3 espresso machine we wanted. They were very pricey and ranged from $500-1200. I know what you are thinking. I am nutts right? So lets break it down. If you buy 1 Starbucks a day for 1 year you will be spending an average of $1,514.75. Okay I will give you a second to stop hyperventilating. Even though springing for a expensive espresso machine, you still have to buy the beans, the favor's for the latte's plus the milk.

What we did to save even more money was start searching for used espresso machines on Craigslist. After a few weeks, we found one. It was on our top 3 list and was listed for $120. It was only 5 months old, and the only reason it was selling and for so cheap was because the couple broke up and the steam wand on the machine needed to be replaced (which is a $15 replacement part). When we met up with the seller (at a target! Never meet them at their home) we asked them to plug it in a target outlet to be sure it worked. We haggled them down to $100.
Because this machine was used, bought these decalsifing tablets that clean the machine and a new wand.

We started buying our espresso beans in bulk on amazon as well as our favors. Not that it matters, but we buy our milk (soy) at Winco because they are the cheapest in our area. Now our machine used about 4-5 beans per shot of espresso and we use a teaspoon of flavoring and a 1/2 a cup of milk to make our amazing lattes that taste JUST LIKE STARBUCKS! One latte at our home costs less than $0.50. Lets do some math again. Having one latte at home a day is less than $182.50 per year and if you add in the espresso machine we bought, the first year is $282.50 which is $1,232.25 less than buying one Starbucks a day.

Now I know that deals on craigslist are hit or miss, but if you do the research and find a machine you like and do find it, I encourage you to take the leap. Our machine is the best investment we have made this year. We LOVE LOVE LOVE our machine and our coffee.

If you have any questions during your espresso machine research, or any questions I will be more than happy to answer. We did a massive amount of research. I am practically an expert in the area of coffee.

(Here is a photo of my 4th Love! After of course my husband and kids)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

It's a Smashbook

It's Spring Break for me, which means it's crafting time.

Today I started a Smashbook. You might ask "What's a smash book?" Well I have an answer for you. It's a notebook, sketch book, or daily planner "smashed" with anything and everything that inspires you, reminds you, or makes you smile.

My plan is to use it for inspiration and designs and things that make me happy.
Here are some photo's from my Smashbook fun (and mess)!







Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Like my Mother + a Letter to God

My mother has always been a strong woman, throughout her life before me and always before mine. She's has been knocked down on her feet many times in life, but stood up each and every time. Losing her mother at a young age, getting pregnant and then married just 5 months later, dealing with me as a teenager and my fathers anger. Ups and downs pass through her life consistently. She is a woman of prayer and I know that God watches out for her, but beyond that I believe she overcomes by her brutal strength. I look at her now, more than I ever have before as a role model. Now that I am a mother, I see and feel what she has gone through. Difficult days that make you feel as if you are about to drown and those good days that make you feel as if to burst you are so happy then everyday in between.

I use to say that I would never be like my mother (as a teenager), because in my mind I had it all figured out. I was a free spirit and did not want to be held down, or protected. I was lost during this time in my life and drifted far away from family, friends and all who loved me. Now that years have passed, and family and friends are most dear too me, I see just how much I am like my mother and my only hope now is that I can take on her strength.

Like my mother, I am a stay at home mother. Like my mother I was planning my wedding and found out I was pregnant a few months before the "big day". Like my mother I have passion for all things crafty. Like my mother I HAVE passion for to many things. Like my mother, I am a perfectionist and take on more than I can handle. I am this, and so much more...Like my mother.

I am proud to be this, what I am. I am proud that I am like her. And today after having a difficult morning I found myself praying for her strength or at least what strength God will give me.

Dear God, (Yes I start my prayers like a letter)

I am in pain right now father, and need to overcome this feeling of letting the people in my life down. I need more time (though since that is not an option) I am asking for strength to get through each day and striving very hard to give all my time to family and school. I want to be there for my children when they need me to cuddle, to play and not just the bare essentials. I want to  be there for my husband when he feels I am not providing enough time for him. Allow me the ability to put down the books and the cell phone so I can give him what he craves. There are far worse things that I could be complaining about and I am thankful to you for my wonderful life and the love I receive from my family. Please help me Lord, to give them more of myself. Please Lord, give me the strength that I crave.

Love your daughter,


Monday, March 26, 2012

Potty training! Need I say more?

We have been attempting potty training, need I say less? I am sure most have you have either gone through this or know someone who has. In my case I know very few people who have as most of my friends kids are my daughters age.  At first I had no idea where to start, so I did what I do when I am clueless. I research, I've been reading article after article trying to find the best method or at least one that most people find successful. I have read about potty wrist watches, potty books, songs, just letting them be free and so much more. After all of this research my head is spinning and I had to take a Tylenol (lol). Needless to say, we are amateurs and need help...

Over the past month or so we have had some silly moment.

Chloe got stuck in a toilet

Chloe reading my fashion magazines


And even though we try a few times a day I rarely get her interested for more than a few minutes or actually using the toilet.  At this point in my life I feel like a diaper changing machine. Our trash cans are overflowing and I am always re-ordering more diapers it seems. Sometimes the kids like to play jokes on me and I'll have to change 4 diapers in a row (with just 2 kids). Needless to say, I am so completely over having two babies in diapers. My Chloe bug just turned 2 years old and it's time to get her out of them and into big girl undies.

So if ANYONE out there has some ideas or could tell me what worked best for them I would greatly appreciate it!

The Diaper Bandit

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Top Hair Styles I use everyday (with links to learn)

I love hair. I love trying new styles as I get board easily, not doing the same thing every time, and not allowing a bad hair day to ruin my day. I constantly get people asking how I learned how to do my hair, well here is my big secret....I youtubed it! Yep, you heard (read) me right. I love you tube. I learn how to do everything on here, my hair, makeup and even how to cut out a snowflake. Anyway, I hope you enjoy!

Here are my Favorites

The French Twist
The link to try this is Here

Half Curl
The link to try this is Here

The Straight Edge
Well its probably common for all of you, but just in case you can find it Here

The pouf and Bun
The link to try this is (half up half down pouf) Here and(bun) Here

The fishtail Braid
The link to try this is Here


Keeping your life in balence is a hard act to keep up. We all wear so many hats it's insane (mother, wife, daughter, family member, friend, financial advisor, maid, cook, for some like me a student as well) and then on top of all that we need to take care of ourself with exercise, beauty regamines, eating healthy indulding in hobbies etc. and then the topper is when life throws you curve balls.

Things can get pretty insense sometimes. Like today, I felt like all my "hats" were about to fall off. I felt shamed that my balence hasn't been 100%. Shame is not a good feeling and I almost cried today because it's not like me to be out of sorts. In usually very good at wearing all my hats.

When my husband came home for lunch today I was telling him how I am feeling, and that I was sorry about not having everything handled like I usually do. It was then that I realized that I had the best husband ever. He reminded me that he is here for me when I'm holding on for dear life. He then offered to take some thing's off my plate so I could balence and not feel so shamed. It just reminded me that we don't alwags have to hold it together because we all have a friend, husband, a family member, or God who could help us out. Life can get hard to balence and asking for help IS OKAY. I am so guilt in that I try to take on everything and it's usually more than one person can handle. I honestly didn't even think about asking him for help till he offered it.

Let us remember that no matter who we are, we are not completely alone and asking for help is okay.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Oh what have I gotten myself into?

Yesterday I signed up for a 12k run due to take place April 15th. Yes, it is less than a month away and I can only run up too 4.5 miles right now. I am admittedly a little nervous. However, I then remember why I did this.

Your Body deserves it. Your body is the most important thing you will ever own. Treat it well. Feed it health, feed it exercise and it will be good to too.

When I am down and missed a work out or even a week of work outs, I have to remind myself why I am doing this. I am doing this for my body, for my children and my husband. You may ask why these are my motivators and I will tell you; My body because it is good to me and I am rewarding it, my children because they deserve a happy active momma and not a slug, my husband who deserves a hot and health wife.

How I am going to treat my body Well today with exercise:
Today I am starting my heavy and intense training for this 12k. I will be running 4.5 miles today!

How I am going to treat my body Well today with food:
My Meal Plan:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with apples and cinnamon
Lunch: Veggie burger
Snack: Trail mix
Dinner: Green Smoothie
Dessert: a few Carob chips

Here is some motivation for myself, but hopefully you will find it helpful too.





Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Shout out to my dear friend KraftyKash!

I was lucky to have met so many wonderful and talented women during my retreat to Creative Estates. I seriously was overwhelmed with the creativity that these beautiful woman have. Inspiration seemed to hit me at every corner with the colors surrounding me, the crafts that evoked my happy side and the kindness that poured from these women were breathtaking. One in particular I found myself inspired with the power of words and memories that can be found on maps. Let me introduce you to KraftKash. She is a very talented maker of beautiful things. Her specialty is necklaces, rings and vintage jewerly.

You can find her shop HERE
You can find her blog HERE

Show her some love and spread the news of this talented woman won't ya?





Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love your body week

It's love your body week at my school which has inspired this post. Back in my day everyone wanted to be skinny skinny skinny. Anorexia was everywhere and many of the celebrities had a major problem. Over the years many people saut help and some overcame their disease.

Now the new trend is to be real big and beautiful with voluptuous women spread everywhere. They call themselves real women and mock those who are skinny.

In my life time I have seen weight tip the scale both ways though now I see a war breaking out between the two. I see skinny girls looking at volumptuous woman and calling them terrible word (fat, unhealthy, lazy, jealous). On the other side of this these volumptuous women are calling skinny women, naturally skinny women (bones, anorexic, sticks, ugly). I see it both ways. A battle between what is "Real", what is true or should be true.

I am sickened by what I see. This battle between vulumptuous and skinny hating the other side on both ends hurts me deeply. My hope, what I yearn for is peace. Love for every body big or small and everything In between. This prejudice over which type of body is the better needs to be ereased from our minds.

Everybody is unique. Our DNA shows that no one person is alike. Personality is original, bodies are original. We may all fit in to a type or category (volumptuous, average and thin) but even then categorizing can be difficult and wrong.

What I suggest is Love. Love for everyone, every body type. It is DNA and choices that make up a body type and hatred of any type is prejudice an ill hearted. I will encourage you to do something for me, for yourself and the world our children will inhabit. I encourage you to tell someone the opposite body type as you that they are beautiful. Allow this love to protrude from you like a shining light.

I hope you try this. Try it out and see how it feels. I am sure that if you do, you will know just how good it does feel to send out a bit of love in this world.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, March 19, 2012

Thoughts about a Birthday

As a child I pretty much counted down to the second when my birthday would arrive. It was such an exciting time to be celebrated in such a grand setting as my Birthday. I always thought it was only special to me and me alone because I got the presents and cards and the party was all about ME ME ME. Sounds kinda selfish as I'm typing this up, but in all honesty this is what I thought.

Now that I have two kids of my own and Birthdays keep coming around I am finding that I was wrong for the past 24 years of my life. Birthdays are not just for the person being celebrated. I didn't just celebrate my daughters 2nd anniversary of her birth. I felt just so much more. Pride was a feeling that seemed to leap out of me through out the day. Proud that so many people came to party with and for this precious girl of MINE. Proud, that me and her father could put the effort in to throwing a party for her and lavishing her with gifts. Having so many close friends and family member nearly brought tears to my eyes. I kept thinking, "Wow, I am not the only one who loves this little lady to death." Hence, the LOVE I felt through out the evening as well. By the end of the evening, people started to drift toward their cars, with goodie bags and tuckered children tagging along. As my husband (Brian) and loaded up the car, packed the never ending pile of gifts and somehow got the kids in too, we headed home with the biggest smiles on our faces.

Later that evening after the kids were tucked in, and pj's on we both reminisced at the love we felt surrounding our special daughter and then passed out asleep. Both of us woke up in the middle of the night to move to our bed, not even knowing how we fell asleep in the first place. So the final feelinG I would like to share is EXHAUSTION. Oh boy are parties exhausting.

I hope you enjoy some pictures from this special day!

(Friends give love)

(Hanging out with Friends)

(Cake time)

(Getting sleepy)


(She got tired of opening, so Mom had to take over for her)

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Happy Birthday my Chloe Bug

My daughter (my oldest) is turning 2 years old today. I know I have heard parents say that "Time flies," and I feel so cliche saying this, but it truly does. I still remember her first crawl, her first word, her first steps. And now that she is getting so much bigger I see her taking steps into girly-hood. With each step she takes in life I just gasp at what use to be so small can do. I love my girls so much and on my Chloe Bugs Birthday I decided to write a letter to her. My dearest first child (As my second child is my dearest second child).

For my Dearest Chloe Girl,

You my dear are very much like me in almost every way. You are wild and silly and very much a free spirit. You love our tickle times and when we play "throw the socks" (which is taking rolled up socks and using them to attack mom and dad). Oh, the silly times we have had. Every day with you is a smile in my heart.

I think about the future little miss chloe bug and wonder what you'll be like and the best I can come up with is that you be just what you are now. Happy, persistent, and carefree little bug that has daddy wrapped around her little finger.

I know that there will be times that are difficult for you, and days when you are sad but I know that with your spirit and love you will out shine everyone. You are special my dear and to me you will always be. You are my Chloe bug and my only hope is that your life is as happy as can be.

Love your Mother,

P.s. I can't wait to give your pink radio flyer tricycle tonight!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

The luck of the Cute Kids!

I had a pretty busy day so Today's post is all about luck and pictures of my kids and how we party after the kids bed time.

Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent. ~Langston Coleman


Aparently I can't handle Irish Car Bombs anymore....

Oh Yes, Green Baileys is much more my style.

Friday, March 16, 2012


Utterly breathe taking was the grand canyon. I hadn't been there in years, but now that it was real and right in front of me, it just took my breathe away.

Staring out at this vast deepness was intimidating and a bit scary I will admit, though it tugged at a part of my heart. It made me yearn for travel for even though this Beautiful picture was right it front of me, all I kept thinking,"This doesn't even look real." It was like looking at picture, but it wasn't, it was real and right before me.

I went with a bunch of amazing women from the creative Estates retreat. This retreat was built upon crafting and interacting with women alike all weekend. Though it was also a learning experience as well. I learned how inspired I can be, how moved I can feel getting to know these incredibly talented and sweet individuals. I learned how high expectations can cause sweet people to turn bitter. I learned that going with the flow truly does make for a great vacation. I re-learned that people, all people need to be treated with respect. We all have feeling and difficult lives to attend too and not doing so can break people. We are all in this life to enjoy it, grow in it, love in and create in it. In this life there is drama, difficulties and stress I know. these difficulties are amidst all of us, yes, though it saddened me to see others hurt from others expectations. as a lesson, i have decided to not expect from people but to graciously accept what they have to offer for not matter their battle, the problem or The fight there is a person on the other side of it. A real, raw human that deserves respect and love.

Keep these thought in mind when looking at the beauty I was able to witness. The world is so big and people can be thought of as small, replaceable and easy to hurt. No matter the situation, everyone deserves respect and kindness.

I remember going to see this amazing place when I was younger but all I was interested in was the gift shop at the time. (I am on the left)
Here i am now, actually enjoying it's beauty.


This is me with some of the awesome Girls on my Vacation to Creative Estates!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Promises of your future my daughter

The other night my daughter saw me getting ready for school and seemed a little upset crying when I did my hair and makeup because she knew. She new I would be leaving her and tonight was a 'daddy tucks me in only night'. As I bent down to give her a kiss goodbye she started crying so hard. I knew she loved me and I my heart ached that she did not want me to go. My initial reaction was to stay and skip class, then I thought of her future. If I did not go, I would be hurting my career as a student. I remembered that I am doing this for her. I am getting my education for her, so she and her sister can have a better future filled with after school activities, family vacations, college, a wedding. I am going to school so I can provide a better future for her and my family. Once I remembered that these tears are only temporary and she wont even remember this in a few years, I bent down and spoke to her. I told her what I was doing, and who this was for. I explained that she probably wont understand a word I just said as she will be 2 in only a few days. I gave her a big bear hug, attempted to kiss her again and left. My heart did still ache as I heard her cry once more, but I knew what I needed to do.

I think we all need a little reminder that sometimes, the things we want the most are the hardest to achieve. in all aspects in life. At times your heart will break, you'll want to give up. As your long term goals are being worked on, it seems that you create a sort of relationship with these goals (a love and hate relationship). And in order to continue, to not give up we need to remember the end result. Envision this goal and meeting it. How will you feel when you can finally say "I did it". Envision you children, husband or family being proud of you and inspired to succeed at their own goals.

I am at home now, after class. The kids are tucked in and I am enjoying a glass of wine. So cheers to our futures and to that day I can finally say to my girls, "Thank you for being paitient my sweet ones, now that I have my degree (BA in accounting), and have a good job we can spend even more time together, go on vacations, enroll you in dance or soccer or whatever you want. I love you for waiting and loving me through this. Now who wants some icecream?"

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Hello. It's nice to meet you.

This is me. This is my life and in a blog I will show it to you. I hope to intrigue you, inspire you, evoke emotion, make you laugh or cry (the good kind) and sometimes provide some shock and awe. This is what I hope to provide to you. I should probably give you a little run down of who I am or who I think I am, what I do, and who and what I love, so...

My name is Mandi Durborough. I am a stay at home mother to two of the sweetest little girls. My oldest is will be 2 in less than a week and my youngest is just 6 months. Yes I am a wiper of butts. My husband and I did some calculations and we realized that we use about 1480 wipes in a month. That is a lot of butt wiping.


I have an amazing husband whom I've been married to almost 3 years! He is my rock and there for me when I need him and even when I don't. I still love him like the moments I first met him about 6 years ago, but now that love is just so much more.


I am a full time student at the local Community College working on the last few classes to earn my AA and then will be transferring to Sacramento State to attain my BA in accounting. subsequently I am a coffee addict. Like seriously stick a IV in me filled will coffee and I'll be good. I am a vampire and coffee is my blood.

I am a lover of all things crafty! I have been sewing and sketching on and off since I was 5 when I first sewed a very sad looking sock bunny. Ever since I was little I have been drawn to being creative. I feel like creating things is a part of my soul much like my girls and husband.

I am all about my family and friends. They are dear to me and I believe in a family and friendship that never goes away no matter what happens, who says what or who did what. Forgiveness is key ingredient in a family and I plan on teaching my girls that families and friends stick together. Large families are my favorite and my husband sure takes the cake on that. He has 15 first cousins alone! Most of my family lives in Southern California and most everyday I ache because I am missing them. Though some of my aunts and uncles, cousins and grandmother on my fathers side do live near me and I love that I can see them often. Family and friends like a marriage take work, but if you are will to do that work, they will be with you forever.

(me and my sister, and mther)

I am this, this being who tries to constantly create, communicate and grow. I hope you are intrigued. Follow me, and watch what I can do.